Monday, April 30, 2007

More Bluebells

We went to the bluebell wood in the afternoon again as it was such a nice warm day. The park was packed but the woods were quiet thankfully. Took loads of photos but only room for two here.
Today I went for a walk to town and got some bread and strange record of a man grimacing on the front of the sleeve. The LP itself isn't very good though - a cross between Liberace and Mrs. Mills. In another charity shop I bought some EP's by Pinky & Perky, The Roving Cowboys and a Lonnie Donegan impersonator on the Embassy label that Woolies used to sell in the 60's.
One of Hazel's students is drumming up some publicity with her eye catching work. Its been featured in the local press and now the Daily Mirror has picked up on it. She's also been on BBC radio. The media love this sort of thing as they can go mad with all the terrible puns at their disposal!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Boot Sale - Sandiway

First time for a boot sale at Sandiway as far as I can recall. Being a tiny village we had to park on a grass verge on a narrow lane opposite a farm gate. The sale itself was in the local village junior school. Tons of stalls so lots to root through. Found a pile of A4 creamy coloured paper for the printer for a pound. I went back for this later as I didn't want to lug it around. Also got a Joe Brown LP on the cheapo Marble Arch label which I expect will find its way onto Boot Sale Sounds fairly soon. I looked through lots of old scratchy records but didn't find anything of interest. We looked for fireguards too but none to be found. Keith & Dini had made a great rabbit run for their pet bunny from three old wire fireguards and we hoped to do the same as we feel bad about Flo being cooped up in her hutch all the time. Got some ephemera including a battered book of matches with spooky photo on, a small metal spoon and a card of "poppers" for Hazel's small metal object collection.

Archie didnt get anything though I bumped into one of the mother's from the junior school days who had a stall there and she said "It's Archie's Dad isn't it?" I confessed I was and what a amazing memory she had! She went onto say her daughter, who I had no recollection of, was going to a school in Sandiway now. She remembered Archie as being a "very nice boy". "He still is", I said "You might spot him around the car boot- he's grown a bit since those days though!"

Hazel has just gone off on a second foray to Sandiway with her sister . Its a lovely day for it. Archie is in the garden squirting things with his water gun and checking on his snails. He said that two were "mating" and had been spitting out "pointy things" made from mucus? I think Richard Attenborough should be informed of this phenomenon!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rumble In The Jumble

These are actually the spanish variety of larger bluebell in the garden and not the ones at Hopyard Woods. Its another gorgeous day of bright sunshine here. We just had our lunch sat out in the garden and it was rather nice except for the neighbours who had loud radios on and someone was sawing through a wooden leg some three gardens away.
I have missed afew days of bloggage and cant remember much about Wednesday or Thursday. I think I most likely walked into town again and got some shopping as we had run out of most things.
Yesterday I got stated on the LULU project again after figuring out how to alter margins and suchlike in Word. It was driving me crackers and I wasted so much time over it. I have done about half the book now and trying to do it slowly as not to repeat pages and make terrible mistakes when trying to do it fast. Slowly slowly catchy monkey - as they say around these parts.

I went into town with Hazel too and we popped into Ofam with a pile of videos and then the post office. Finally to Aldi for the the weeks shop. Aldi seems to be getting more popular now and we could hardly find space in the car park.

This morning there was a rare jumble sale dwon the road in the old chapel. It was mostly old crumpled clothes that had been stuffed into carrier bags and then stuffed onto a table and then stuffed back into plastic bags. Hazel bought some long jackets which had designer labels in. I bought a video of The Rocky Horror Show with Tim Curry. I couldnt get near the books as they were in a box balanced on a shelf and surrounded by rather portly elderly men who seemed determined to stay there reading them all one by one!

A bit of a disaster in the garden - I looked out of the window whilst making the tea in the kitchen this afternoon and I saw what looked like a large hedge that had been thrown over the wall and leaning on our line of washing. On closer inspection it seems that the trellis holding up the vine and climbing plants had rotted away and decided it had enough of holding up all this greenery and fallolloped over. We just had fun cutting it back and propping it up with a variety of wooden poles until some new planks could be hammered unceremoniously into the crumbling brick wall and whats left of the vine/creepy thing could be tied up to the bent nails and wonky screws jutting from the new wooden plankettes. It looks a lot better now and Hazel and Archie have filled a big brown wheelie bin ( a neighbour kindly lent us ) to the top with all the cuttings and twiglets. I'm sure Percy Sowerbutts would be horrified!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fish Pie Again

Just boiling the eggs for the fish pie. I can hear them rattling around the saucepan trying to get out. Archie is gone on a quest to find potatoes as we have very few left. He volunteered much to my amazement.
It's not so wet today as it was the last two days. I walked into town and back and bumped into Treena at Age Concern where she works from time to time. She mentioned the Sorting Office cabinets again and seemed keen to get me involved so I must sort out some mail art from the archive for possible display. At the moment there is very little in the display cabinets - just some framed certificates and cups for "The Tidiest Sorting Office In Vale Royal" etc.

Archie is back with some rather spongey spuds but they seem like they will mash OK . He's gone in the garden to check on his snails.

Some time later. Here we are again the next day and the sun is out and the birds are yodelling in the back garden. Two more feet cards from Spain and USA. I distinctly heard the postman guffaw as he pushed them through the letterbox! Or he was choking on a Fisherman's Friend?

The blokes from the council came to paint the white line by our "dropped kerb" - it's only taken them 4 months to get round to it and as luck would have it a car was parked too close for comfort and they had to abandon the idea and come back another day. Oh the irony!

Hazel has gone into college today to meet up with the "Artifact Group" who spend too much time in museums and archives going through other peoples drawers. Another excuse for tea and cakes and gossip about the Dean I expect.

Copying some old comedy videos to DVD this morning whilst catching up with some blogging. Some smells of Reeves & Mortimer and some old Harry Hills. Did I mention we had tea with Harry and Tinky Winky from the Telly Tubbies once? I must tell you about it some day.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bluebell Day

A nice day today despite the weather. Went with our old chums Tony & Penny to the Bluebell Day at Marbury and listened to the Weavils ( see on left ) who played some nice calypsos and other hummable tunes as the rain came down. Also a few stalls around to look at - wood turning, kite making, willow weaving, etc. and horse and cart trips round the parkland. We also went on a guided tour with the park ranger who showed us the different types of bluebell and the troubles they are having with the invasive Spanish bluebell which is making hybrids with the native variety and causing some problems. We also had pointed out the various woodland flowers and plants around Hopyard Woods which they hope to have "ancient woodland" status eventually. Then back for a picnic under the shelter of a big tree as the rain came down once more.

Yesterday was Archie's piano lesson at Bruce's house. He hasnt been doing much practice due to the Easter hols. so had some catching up to do. I have given up my lessons as I fear I have no aptitude for learing any instruments -my musical ability is limited to putting the stylus into the groove of the vinyl and turning on the radio etc.

On Friday I went to the doc's again to see about high blood pressure. She gave me a prescription for some tablets to try for a while to get it back down again. I went for an ECG in the afternoon with the nurse as she had a cancellation. I'd never had one before so it was a bit of a shock having all those wires attached to my chest and ankles! It was quite normal I'm glad to say.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Mint Royale

Found this on YouTube today thanks to Video Sift thanks to another blog who mentioned it - probably Sebastian at Easy Dreamer.
Archie went on school trip to London yesterday to meet George Osbourne again ( oh the shame! ) and be shown round the Houses of Commons and Lords. He seemed to enjoy the experiance despite the heatwave down south and the terrible trains. Apparently the Linda McCartney sausage rolls I made him came adrift in his bag and clogged up his iPod! I'm sure he's just exaggerating though. Hazel came home early to drive to Crewe to collect him and his chum Matthew an d got cuaght up in all the rush hour traffic. The train was 30 minutes late ofcourse so no need to have hurried.

I went to see the nurse for my third blood pressure check which was still high so have to go back to my GP and get some pills to lower it. What a pain.

Most of the day was spent catching up with "feet" and other mail. Two more arrived and some nice comp. CD's from my mate Jim in Basingstoke. I have been trying to compile some of my own but the CD recorder is still playing up and stopping midway through tracks which is annoying.

The garden is looking very green and colourful at the moment with the bluebells flowering and the tulips out. Some intersting birds on the peanuts, seeds and fat balls including a wagtail, bullfinch and what looked like a lapwing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Photo Finish

Another short film that Hazel took- tripled and steam organ added. It's Archie trying out a Segway in County Hall when we were in London last week. He made it look so easy. I felt like my muscles would seize up any moment when I tried it!
Today I walked into town again to collect the 176 photos plus the two films for Archie he took in Austria. It came to a wopping 24 quid! Ouch! Archie's were as I feared mostly of his room- mates gurning for the camera and the odd shot of his thumb in front of a ski lift. We'll have to make him take the digital camera next time and then at least we can edit out the rubbish pics.

Also bought some more CD's in the library sale, including The Thrills, We Are Scientists (for Archie ) and The Strokes. Bought some smoked cod despite having rathera lot of fish last week on our travels. Luckily we like fish and they say its "brain food", whatever that might mean? I never feel particularly clever after a pair of kippers I must admit. Perhaps it's the accumulative effect.

More "feet shaped" cards today in the mail - both from Canada coincidentally. Also a lovely collaged card from Angelica of two rats sitting on a sofa in the ruins of Pompeii.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Northiam Jam

A few short camera clips that Hazel took all joined together in a sort of hodge podge. Archie's first play on some real drums and Archie and Roger jamming in the kitchen - this went on for a lot longer ofcourse and sounded great - shame we only caught part of it. Later on we recorded properly some poems from that huge best seller "Poems In Space" which will be hopefully mixed and tweaked so that a CD can be included in a limited edition. It all sounds a bit arty to me !

Sunday, April 15, 2007

London and Sussex Trip

It was nice to get away for a few days from noise and grime of Cheshire into the relative tranquility and peace of London for two days and then a further two days in the hurly-burly of Sussex.
We stayed with our old chums Jane & Graham in Waterloo first and saw a few old friends who live nearby. We walked miles along the South Bank and saw some interesting exhibitions at the Imperila Wart Museum ( Animals At War ) and in the re-furbished MOMI ( curios models and video by American artist duo whose names escape me for the moment ) and then to the Robots in the bowels of County Hall. This was very disappointing ( only three robots and one wasnt working!) but Archie had great fun on the Segways they had going round a track. Hazel and I had a go too and found it very difficult to control - standing on just two wheels and using your balance to push the strange vehicle forward. Archie made it look very easy and he was whizzing round like he'd rode on them all his life! At 4 grand a throw I dont think he'll be getting one for Xmas!

We also went to see Keith & Dini and the amazing automata dragon Keith had built out of old junk in his back garden. He decided, wisely, not to make the dragon breath flames and burn the kiddies hair but enstall a bubble blowing machine inside the beast's mouth which was less hazardous in the long run.

The next day we walked to the Tate Modern via the Jerwood Gallery ( which was re-hanging - missing out on all those punters on holiday at Easter!) and saw the huge tube-like slides in the Turbine Hall. Archie refused to queue up for 30 minutes to go on one. I can't say that I blame him. It was so crowded we had to leave after a while and find some cooling ice creams at Gabriels Wharf. The South Bank was heaving being Easter and the weather was very sunny and warm.

Also went into the Mediateque place at MOMI where you can sit and watch hours of archive films from the BFI with free headphones. A great resource for lovers of old films. They had a loads to choose from but we watched one about a fly balancing a pebble on his feet and one Public Information Film about how to make a "Good Cup Of Tea" which was very funny.

The next day we go the train to Sussex ( hellish journey!) to see our old chums Roger & Jilly. Roger met us at the station and drove us back to their lovely cottage where we had an al fresco lunch in the garden surrounded by peasants and other feathered friends. Later we went over to see the castle at Bodiam which is run by the National Truss. The moat was filled with huge fish which seemed to be eating all the ducklings! Only one poor little thing left and I didn't reckong on his chances of survival. We three went up onto the battlements to make a feature film whilst Roger and Jilly chastised some children below who were being unkind to some moorhens. Archie managed to capture all this on film and we shall be adding our own soundtrack at a future date no doubt!

The following day we had a lovely ride out to Rye and looked round a fantastic collection of old penny slot machines above the Tourist Office. Roger and Jilly didnt even know it was there. Strangely enough the man inside who was taking video film of the exhibits was the chap who runs the Penny Slot Arcade near us in Cheshire! He's making a DVD of all the penny slot and vintage arcade machines in England and publishing it by the end of the year.

Then up the cobbly streets to the tea shop and all the charity and junk shops etc. Had a great time rummaging in all the the old tat - just like home! Found some nice old french rubber stamps in one place and shared them with Roger and Jilly. Most are animals but some curious images of pipes and snails amongst them.

Then to Dungeness to see the old rotting fishing sheds and weird juxtapositions of Nuclear Power Station and bungalows and holiday chalets! Derek Jarman's old cottage was nearby and we had a look at his famous garden filled with sculpture made from the flotsam and jetsam of the beach. We made our own pile of junk from some rusty bits and took photos of it. Sat and listened to the sea and watched the fishermen winch their boat up onto the beach. We had a cup of tea and slice of cake in the cafe nearby , next to the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch light railway and watched a train as it pulled out of the tiny station . It was all very odd- like being in a Fellini film!

More Trains in the evening when we played a daft board game that Roger & Jilly enjoy where you spend hours joining up track with tiny plastic carriages. Three hours later Jilly writes all the numbers down in a special "Numbers" book and Oh what a surprise - I got the least numbers and lost! Doh!

Anyway, we had a great time and sadly had to get back so Archie could do his homework. The trains were a pain coming home too but not as bad as going. No wonder everyone travels by car!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

We Are The Eggmen

Archie has accumulated many eggs and will make himself sick eating all that chocolate!
On Monday we went to the boot sale at Frodsham. It was pretty busy and we had fun dodging in and out of the punters who all seemed to hail from the Merseyside area judging by the accents. I found a strange record of "horror" stories from the 60's now uploaded to Boot Sale Sounds. Its not really that scary but I liked the cover art of the skull. Despite searching through heaps of old records I didn't find anything else. Hazel bought a " foxey" mug but the fox has a grey tail? I can't remember his name off hand but his punchline was "Boom Boom!" Also some curious lead nails with grippy tails. Archie got a matresscover- made of duck down - brand new, never been worn!
Then to Lady Heyes for some licorice and a snack before returning home round the bumpy lanes of Cheshire. So many squashed animals and birds in the road these days - mostly due to drivers going too fast I expect. Quite sad to see quite large animals like badgers lying dead by the roadside. We saw two last week on the way to Trevor's.

The above collage is quite an old one from the days of Curios Thing. Still hoping to get some compiled into a LULU book but it's taking longer than I thought to sort out. My initial enthusiasm for the project is beginning to wane! Maybe they were just meant to be little 'zines printed on a photo-copier.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Sunday

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Surprised that Archie wanted to go for a walk today after yesterdays travelling - we thought he would be having a well deserved lie-in. But we hada nice wealk over at Marbury. here we see Archie in his favourite tree - the one that's easy to climb! Below are some early bluebells in the wood. Next week they should look even better as there are swathes of them ready to emerge and dazzle us. The woods were very busy today with families out walking their dogs and children and talking very loudly on their wretched mobile phones. You'd think some places would be sacred wouldn't you but no - I'd happily ban them from public places if I had my way.

Lots to see in the countryside today including jays, a speedy vole or mouse, squirrels and a heron carrying a twig. Daft dogs paddling in the mere and blue tits on the peanuts by the hide. It was quite chilly when the wind blew but a nice bright sunny day all the same. Hardly any spaces in the car park at Marbury. The ice cream man was doing good business too. Archie wanted an ice-cream but we pointed out that he was already full of chocolate eggs he had been given this morning. Still lots of choc rabbits to find we had hid around the house. It's quite nice to know he's still not too old for such games but he's growing up fast so can't imagine he'll be doing so in a couple of years.

This afternoon Hazel has driven over to Anderton to show some friends of her sister the local sights of the region. No boot sales today but there is a few tomorrow I think. I still have a few LP's to add to the music blog and some more foot shaped postcards to make and send out. The washing will soon dry in this fine weather - the line is packed full of Archie's stuff! Hazel was very brave opening his washing bag without a peg on her nose when he got back with all those skiing socks!

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Another busy day today with a funeral in the morning and a visitor in the afternoon. Our dear neighbour Ellen who had been ina home for the last few years , died a few days ago and we went along to the local chapel for a service in the morning. Hazel went and collected the bunch of lilies and other flowers she'd ordered from town and we had a nice chat to Ellens relatives who had gathered outside her old house across the road. We follwed the hearse down to the chapel which was only 200 yards down the road. The service was rather spoiled by the occasional crackle of the vicars intercom and the boiler in the corner gurgling, also the organist sounded like Les Dawson! I think Ellen, who had a good sense of humour, would have found it very amusing.

After lunch we tidied up and hoovered for our visitor Treena who recently graduated from the MMU, on the course that Hazel teaches on. She bought some nice gifts including some metal bits fro Hazel to sort through and an intriguing roll of film for Archie. Treena also showed us some lovely little books she'd been making using candle wax and other items pressed into the pages. We had a nice chat over some tea and cake about the lack of exhibition space in the area and the possibilty of a mail art show in the sorting office . Treena said they had some empty cabinets in the foyer there which would be ideal for a small exhibition of some kind relating to the post office maybe.

These photos are from our visit with Trevor - his boat and the view from inside the cabin.

Its a bit misty this morning but slowly the sun is beginning to break through.The new bird feeder we bought in Stafford is on the shed but the birds haven't spotted it yet. We watched The Truman Show again last night - one of Jim Carey's best films. Archie seemed o.k. though tired after a party and disco. Better go and get the re-cycling bins in as the bin men have been and emptied them.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Shropshire Union Canal Trip

Had a nice jaunt over to Staffordshire yesterday in the car with the help of Mr. Tom Tom. Managed to find my old chum Trevor straight away as we looked over the canal to the Wharf beyond - he was painting a narrowboat in the bright sunshine. It was quite surprise to see him there as I expected to do some detective work as I hadn't heard from him for about 7 years and imagined he had moved. He hadn't changed all that much - a few more white hairs like the rest of us baby boomers. He had time to take us over to his moorings and show us the delightful spot he'd found under some huge trees and far from lifes hustle and bustle. It looked a bit like Steptoe's yard with lean-to's and tree houses and old rotting tractors and steam engines etc. Also a handy workbench and welding gear. Several boats were tied up there and so we were invited to sleep in one that was empty overnight instead of the B&B we suggested. It was great to catch up with what he'd been doing and to see his daughter who lives nearby. We went for a nice meandering walk in the woods to see the "fairy glade" where the magic yew stood and to see the badger tracks and leavings. It was quite a climb up the top of a steep bank and see the canal far below glinting in the last rays of the evening sun. Later we had a drink or two in the local canalside pub and a nice meal.

We had a rather uncomfortable nights sleep due to the bed with a dip in the middle and the sounds of badgers hooting in the woods ( or were they furry owls?). It was freezing cold too. Trevor's boat is amazing- it's like walking into a smokey museum! Nice to see he'd pinned up some of Archie's old Xmas cards amongst all the drawings by his girls and the piles of books and other debris.

We left for home after toast cooked on the wood burning stove and managed to find a different way back via Whitchurch.

Oh, I forgot to mention that while Trevor was painting his boat in the afternoon we went off to find Stafford which was about 10 miles away and had a look round the shops and bought a few useful items like sheets and a duvet cover. Also Hazel found a hole punch that you hit with a hammer in a charity shop. I found some smaller varieties with numbers on in Booksale.

This afternoon we went into town after lunch to get some milk and bread. I found a nice book about cartoons and comics in Booksale again. Archie seems o.k. at the moment ( fingers crossed ) his texts are more cheery and he seems to be enjoying the evenings entertainments like bowling ( with a square ball ) and the quiz.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Ye Olde Stamping Grounds

Here's those green jelly polymer stamps I mentioned - now mounted on some wooden blocks and used to print on some feet shaped postcards you can just about see underneath.
Below is the arts centre in Frodsham , where we went yesterday. I'm gradulally catching up with myself. Still a pile of mail to answer and lots of records to blog- not to mention the collages I have to do for Scrapiteria and the other blogs. I sometimes think i will never catch up - that two weeks of illness really put a spanner in the works!

Archie has been texting all day - surprised he has any left on his phone. I think Hazel topped it up yesterday. he seems happier now he's had a good nights sleep and some food and out in the snow. Hes fallen over a few times he said so has been put back in the beginners class for a day to find his feet again. We told him that some dry ski slope lessons would help but he wouldnt listen!

The boot sale at Anderton was pretty good this morning despite being smaller than most. The stuff was very cheap and we found a few bargains including a Harry Hill DVD still in its cellophane wrap for onefifty and some PS2 games for 50p! Also a big thick photo or maybe postcard album for a couple of quid. Hazel bought some pansies for the garden and some to give to a neighbour who kindly disposed of a heavy paving slab that had been leaning up against the bay window for ages. The builder promised to come back and remove it but never did.

Hazel took her Mom and Sister to Anderton later when they had their breakfast. I expect they missed all the huge balls of wool we saw there earlier. It was very nippy out but later the sun managed to make it feel like Spring again. I took the trays of plants over to the neighbours and they showed us the work they had been doing in the garden- making fences and chopping wood for the stove etc.

A new programme on telly tonight about celebrities learning to play an instrument. Tonight its the turn of Frank Skinner on the banjo , so that should be quite amusing hopefully. And dont forget the short three minute films about the one man band on C4 tomorrow and the next four days. Its a regular on the novelty song yahoo group so weve had fair warning.