Monday, July 30, 2007

Beeston Castle and Slots

We went to Beeston Castle again today- one of our favourite spots for a picnic and to blow the cobwebs away! The rain satyed away which was even better though windy on top of the 500foot plug of rock that looks out over the Cheshire plain. We had a picnic before climbing to the top so Hazel's bag would be lighter. Some friendly wasps decided to join us and seemed to be licking something off the wooden bench we had chosen. Hazel and Archie moved away for fear of stings.

Later we drove over to the Candle Factory and the slot machine arcade which is really a museum of ancient amusements like the Ghostly Graveyard and the Drunkard's Dream and Test Your Strength etc. All good clean fun. Even the What The Butler Saw machines are very tame by today's standards. Archie won a candy stick and a weird nude pig in the crane machine. The chap who runs it was the same one we bumped inot over at Rye when we were visting Roger and Jilly. He was most welcoming again and showed us the DVD he was filming at the time. We bought a copy to watch later.

We had tea in the cafe and Archie found a half dead fly to feed his new pet- a fly eating plant called Audrey 2 that he bought at the Craft Centre yesterday. We went for a walk first at new place called Little Wumbly or something similar. It was an old wood where they used to hunt wild boar in media-evil times. All we saw though wasa rabbit and a moorhen. We heard Oulton Park race course close by and looked through the old gates to see some cars whizzing round and a steward holding up a notic saying "Pit Stop" or something similar. Hazel wants to go a see a race sometime but I don't fancy it much - all those cars going round in circles - sounds incredibly tedious!

On the way home in a narrow winding country lane a car got a bit close and knocked the cars wing mirror off- just the backing bit. Luckily Archie spotted it lyin g in the road as we sped away and we found a place to do a U turn and went back for it. It was cracked slightly but fitted back on O.K. I'm sure you are all very relieved!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Moss Farm

Went to a boot sale at Moss farm this morning but I didnt find a thing. Hazel got these two old Super 8 films but we are not sure if we still have a projector to play them on. We had a several projectors at one time but they have been givenn away or thrown away . Hazel has gone again to take her Mom and sister.

We drove over to Runcorn to see Harry Potter And The Tedious Two Hours the day after Hazel's birthday. Now the Regal has closed we are forced to go further afield to see any films. I wish we hadn't bothered to see this one which was far too long and garbled to say the least. Probably best if you read the book first and then you'd know what was happening! The small cinema is part of a multi-plex and was comfortable enough but the adverts went on for 20 minutes which didnt help. I dont think we'll be going back in a hurry. Runcorn is a mess of roads and we nearly ended up on the M6 on the way home after taking a wrong turning.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Far Far Away

Archie has made a new film about Wilf. He played the guitar on it too. Clever boy.
Yesterday we went to Crewe flea market. Got some cheap postcards and DVD of "Lost Boys" for pound, which is probably all it's worth. Thankfuly it had stopped raining and so it wasnt too bad. The sun came out in the afternoon so we decided to have lunch over in Nantwich at the wonky coffee shop over the bookshop in the really old building. Syl and Jonathan will remember it from their trip last year. We got served a bit quicker this time! Toasted cheese and tuna sarnies- I just had onion with mine. Then further shopping for clothes and junk. Archie tried on a jacket but it was too small and they didnt have a larger size. I bought a video of thingy ( transvestite comedian ) I hadnt seen before in the Oxfam shop.
Today it was Hazel's sisters 50th birdbath so we went for a meal to celebrate over at Plumley in a pub we sometimes go to on these occasions - the portions are giant size and it's very friendly. In fact the plates are so huge they hardly fit on the table. Hazel's MOm asked for a childs portion and all they changed was the size of the plate and the pile of food was just as big!
I had a pint of bitter which was a mistake as I felt very tired in the afternoon and dropped off on the sofa with my mouth open. Archie took some embarressing photos of me catching flies.
Then it was back to Granma's for tea and cake and a snooze and presnt opening. Hazel got some too as it;'s her birthday tomorrow. Not sure what we are doing. Maybe go and see the new Harry Potter film.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Liverpool Trip

Hada nice day out in Liverpool today. Got the train from Hartford which goes through Runcorn and other exotic places - takes about 35 mins. First to the Richard Wilson ( not the actor from "One Foot In The Grave" ) revolving building down some side street, miles from anywhere. Not quite as impressive as his room full of sump oil but quite amazing bit of engineering. The circle of facade takes about 4 minutes to rotate fully and makes a satisfying "clunk" every now and then. We watched it for about 15 minutes and took some film and photographs - a few others did too.

Then to find the Bluecoat gallery but it was closed so we went to the Tate to see the excellent Peter Blake retrospective. Lovely to see all the early work and collages. Not too keen on the Ruralists phase and the paintings done from his spell in the National Gallery. The POP ART was great though and good to see again the Toy Shop and LOve Wall and so forth. Downstairs was a show of Liverpool artists through the ages which was interesting- Adrian Henri and Fred Fasackerly etc. Hazel bought a nice book of Russian home -made objects in the book shop and we all got a Blake target badge each.

WE got tired of the endless walls of ART and went and had out picnic on the front by the Mersey- lashed by the winds and dodging the seagulls and pigeons.

Found out where the other Bluecoat gallery was ( seems there are about 4 which is very confusing! ) but the exhibition of Wunderkammer wasn't on yet much to our annoyance as we got the invite some weeks ago and assumed it had started.

Then to GAP to get some togs and then home- out feet throbbing on the hot Liverpudlian pavements.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunny Rainday

It's so easy to vegetate on days like this where the threat of a downpour is always present. Luckily we were able somehow to drag ourselves out for a walk in the woods at Marbury and feed the ubiquitous ducks and welly around in the mud for an hour trying to spot the "creature features"- a nature trail for kids with colourful posters dotted around - fixed to trees and gates etc. We spotted a butterfly, a spider and a squidgy green octopus.

We popped into LIDL on the way home and just as we got outside the heavens opened. One can see how flash floods happen as the rain bucketed down. My linen jacket soaked up the big splats of rain like blotting paper. I had to run from the car to the pet shop to get Archie who was browsing the hamster chews section. I got soaked again on the way back to the car. Great Zambesi's of water poured down the road and made huge puddles where the drains were blogged. We got home just in time for the deluge to stop- Archie rushed in to make a paper boat to float down the gutter. Lucky we left the woods when we did or else we would be wetter than the wet you get bathing a red setter. No that I ever have but imagine you'd get pretty wet.

Friday, July 20, 2007

In The Garden

Proof here that I do get into the garden occasionally and play "kick about" with Archie. I have never been a sporty person though I remember enjoying football and cricket etc. outside school for relaxation. In school it was became a chore due to heavy handed PE teachers and bullying children. Our PE teacher at the seconadary modern school I went to in Basildon was a particularly nasty peice of work called MR. Griffiths and ex-welsh fusilier who had a sadistic streak. He once slapped me round the face for smirking when out of step in country dancing ( too wet to play football outside ).

Very sunny and warm yesterday for a change so quite a nice change to get into the garden for any reason.

Earlier I walked into town to visit the usual haunts- the charity shops, the library and the Post Office to post a few packets of Hazel's "Emblem" book to people. Bought some cheap videos (3 for quid ) including double bill of Ray Harryhausen, Dr. Strangelove and Dave Spikey Live. Also the first Alien by Ridley Scott on DVD from the Woolies sale. We watched Aliens last week as Archie had never seen it. I think the first film is far scarier and superior in every way. It also has a "extras" including commentary by the director.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Another Exciting Day

Just found this great and very silly Richard Condie animation on YouTube. He's Canadian.He made The Big Snit which is a big favourite in our house.

Yesterday Hazel took a car load of stuff to the tip and the charity shops after a weekend of clearing out cupboards and shelves etc. Mostly Archie's old toys and games he never plays with anymore.
After dumping the bags at Help The Aged and The Red Cross we had a brief wander around the market. Bought some CD sleeves ( 100 for 2 quid ) and then drove to Aldi to stock up with bread and milk etc. Exciting eh? Then to the tip to dump the rest of the stuff the charity shops wouldnt want like the long sponge thing covered in camouflage material and the wooly jumpers with elongated sleeves etc.

My cold is better thankfully so well enough to go to dentist for check-up this morning.
Archie has gone on school trip to Liverpool Maritime Museum. He's been before with us so expect he will find it very dull. Still it makes a change from lessons. It was almost cancelled at the last minute when someone in Archie's class had their show stolen and nobody would own up. The whole class was punished and had to miss break and write who they thought did it on bits of paper and put them into a hat. Archie's said "I have no idea". Nobody had any idea it seems and so the teacher said the trip to Liverpool would be cancelled if nobody owned up which seems a bit cruel and unfair.
Anyway, it was just a bluff it seems and they are off. Hope it doesn't rain too much. Fat chance!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Record Finds At Boot Sale

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Quite a haul of old kiddie records today at the Hartford boot. I could not resist these for 5p each and a Beatles Monthly No.7 from 1964 for 5p also from the same stall. Sadly still cannot upload tracks to Boot Sale Sounds at the moment. I suspect the gloriously gaudy sleeves are much more exciting than the audio anyway! Also got a couple of metal thingamies for Hazel I hid away but she found them stealing my plastic bag later to protect her car from a slimey pot plant she bought from LIDL on the way home. She says she didn't notice what I'd bought which annoyed me even more! She still insisted they be wrapped up for her big day ( 27th ). Also purchased for pennies - a wooden photo frame and a 3 DVD boxed set of an obscure 80's BBC Sci-FI series called "Space Cop" ( by the writer of Blakes 7" ) for the pathetic sum of 25p! MInd you, after watching a bit of the first episode I realise why I'd not remembered it and why it was so cheap!

Archie bought a green plastic crocodile and Hazel bought some ink pads and rubber stamp that says " DO NOT WRITE ON THIS SIDE OF THE PAPER" which I have adopted already until I get bored of stamping it on correspondence.

IT started to rain half way round so we came home via the aformentioned LIDL where we stocked up with comfort food and lots of biscuits and cakes.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

King Kukulele

Here's another YouTube film of King Kukulele to cheer us up as it's STILL raining and I have a rotten cold, sore throat and generally feel lousy. Spent most of the day yesterday dripping like a tap. I think the raindrops and my nose were trying to syncronise in some strange way. I did make a couple of collages which you can find on Scrapiteria. The new theme is CATS so hade fun looking for felines through my teetering pile of snipping books.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Crewe Flea Market

This is actually a photo taken at the Great Indoors Festival at the G-Mex Conference Centre last week. Archie contributed a drawing of Wilf or maybe another hamster? to the Art Wall.

Yesterday we went to Crewe market which was a bit damp but the drizzle soon dried up. Quite a few stalls there for a change despite the inclement weather. Good to see the old postcards back. WE were just starting on the big 5p box of mostly assorted scenic views when we were told they had all been sold to a lady nearby for a fiver! Audrey and I were quite miffed as we felt we had already chosen a few and with reluctance they allowed us to keep them. It got a bit crowded so I went round the charity shops. Found some cheap DVD's ( I dont know when I"ll have time to watch them!) in Cash Convertors for 2 quid each- even a boxed set of sci-fi inc. Aliens, Abyss and 5th Element. Also Goodfellers, Undead ( Oz zombie film ) and Corpse Bride by Tim Burton.

I met Audrey and Hazel later by the chip shop. Audrey had bought some fish 'n chips for lunch for her and Granma. It stunk the car out despite being in the boot. Phew!

I rotated this photo so it should be the right way up so don't understand why it's gone back to being like this. Just to annoy me I suspect! Its Archie with a small cardboard suitcase that Hazel bought to put things in. She has quite collection of suitcases now - mostly stuffed with blankets, duvets and old mail art.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Buggy Sunday

No excuses for uploading two more photos taken in the wonderful Insect Circus Museum we saw yesterday ( see yesterdays posting ). It's still very much in our memory. Today the rain held off thankfully so we could get to two boot sales - the first In Verdin Park and the other in Weaverham. Both very well attended much to our surprise. Got a few frames for collages and some silly games. Hazel found a box of small Toronto torch bulbs and a big tube of rusty welding rods. We bumped into Treena and her sister at the Weaverham High School boot- she was selling baby clothes and old toys etc. We saw her again later and she'd just found a great book about postman who had been given a camera to take snaps of their round which looked interesting. Sounds like a nice project. I remember a similar mail art one where a disposable camera or two were sent round to different mail artists and they had to take one photo and pass it on. Some blurry black and white images turned up some years later I think. One of those cases where the idea is a lot stronger than the end result!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Great Indoors

We went to the fabulous "The Great Indoors" free festival in Manchester today which was full of delights. John Hegley told us about it a few weeks back so we had to go to see a rare glimpse of him and the full Popticians line-up. Also crammed into the G-Mex Conference Centre was a host of other weird and wacky family friendly acts and workshops like the wonderful Insect Circus Museum ( see photos ) with extraordinairy displays housed in an old mahogany lined Bedford TK beetlebox lorry painted like an old circus caravan. Inside were delightful automata, models and victorian style posters and 60's Beatle / Blake inspired pastiches of the Sgt. Pepper sleeve and other mop top related ephemera- curious collages- wunderkammer and cabinets of strange things all with insects doing circusy things. It was worth going to see this alone. We bought a stack of postcards and wanted more. We spoke to the two lovely people who made all this stuff and it turned out they used to be model makers for advertising but sadly the days of real models are numbered due to CGI and computerised animation etc. so they decided to go on the road with this fantastic display and they travel all over the country visiting fairs and festivals etc.

Next came the Ockham's Razor troupe of young acrobats and trapeze artistes who did some great aerial ballet with the aid of just four cubes and a long rope suspended from two pulleys. Next in the theatre were Cirque Bijou who did stunts with angle grinders and fireworks mixed with traditional circus skills. This was also very clever and very noisy!

The place was packed with parents and young children so it was extremely noisy but good fun. Lots to do and see and plenty of workshops where you could paint a mural and play on giant xylophones, bongos etc. There was also the Whalley Range Allstars with a great Living Room where you could stick your head into holes and see yourself inside a room looking out of paintings and furniture etc. They also did a show outside with a giant compost heap that came alive and ate the gardener!

We had a drink with John and the Popticians after their lively and amusing set and John was kind enough to give us one of his CD's and sign it for us. It was great to chat with Keith Moore again too who used to be a neighbour of ours in Lambeth. Keith was playing the saxaphone this time with the Popticians. He urged us to get tickets for the next event which was a remarkable puppet show in a tent joined to an ancient ambulance. Bistouri by TOF Theatre are from Belgium and "one of Europe's best theatre companies". We could see why after seeing the show which was quite magical and very funny all about a weird doctor performing an operation on the big bad wolf in what looked like Steptoes yard! So glad we stayed on to see this. Afterwards rushed off to the station to get our train home in time for tea.

The festival is FREE and running all weekend so catch it if you can and live in the Manchester area. Its a rare treat!

The amazing Insect Circus Museum!

Wilfred's Big Movie Debut

Here's Wilf in his first starring role. Its a subtle film noirish documentary about the day in the life of a typical pink eyed hamster and the trials and tribulations he must endure to get some food. Archie shot the film on his Hassleblad and did the background music.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Something Fishy About This?

Hazel bought me this old knitting pattern from a charity shop yesterday for the sole purpose of collaging. It was funny just as it was but decided to add some fish as I seem to have a lot of them about. Floundering about amongst my cuttings I found some suitable specimens. My cod! I hake these stupid puns!

Just watching a fascinating programme about the Midland Hotel in Manchester whilst having our after lunch tea and dark chocolate ( good for high blood pressure !) and the electric went off. Doh! But, after a few moments came back on again. I guess someone had put his pick-axe through a cable up the road. Apparently the story goes that Hitler saw the Midland Hotel when he was an art student travelling around the North West in the 20's and liked it so much he ordered the Luftwaffe to spare it in the blitz as he had plans to make it his Northern Nazi Party Headquarters after we had been invaded.

The Summer We Had In Spring!

So lucky to have a Summer at Easter time. Now it feels like Autumn! Some nice memories here captured by Archie on his cheap digital camera - I added the soundtrack - sorry!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Crewe Market

Here's Wilf again as rain has stopped any photographing of anything else. Its been dry most of the day so we were able to drive to Crewe with Audrey and look around the market. We took brollies but didnt need them thankfully. Not many bargains to be found - just a silly game for the PS for 50p. Hazel got some trousers. Not sure what Audrey got. The market was quite busy but seeemd to have all the stuff they had last time I looked.

This evening we were suppoed to go and see and hear Archie play in the school musical shindig but the rain came down in torrents and flooded the car park so it was cancelled at the last minute much to Archie's annoaynce as he's been practicing his boogie woogie for the last month or so. Hopefully it will be re-scheduled for next week.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

More Flippin' Rain!

More rain! It can't go on for much longer surely?
So no boot sales today - no walks to feed ducks - no drives out into the country. We stayed in to read the Sunday times and depressing news of floods and bombs and burning cars. Some of it sounds like a rejected script from Hot Fuzz. It would be laughable if it wasn't so awful.

Hazel and Archie have been tidying some drawers ( so it's come to this! ) and found some junk ( quel surprise! ) and old stuff we'd forgotten about , like this old drawing that Archie did way back when he was two or three. It was on a packet he'd made with jigsaw pieces inside that he'd drawn and cut up - similar to the drawing here but larger.
After lunch watched some of "That's Entertainment", a compilation of old film clips introduced by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Donlad O'Connor etc. which was very err... entertaining- the old MGM musicals- Busby Berkley, Fred and Ginger, etc. terrific stuff. Real Sunday afternoon fare- reminded me of my youth when we had roast beef and two veg. and listened to Billy Cotton Band Show on the wireless and then settled down to some creaky old film - usually an MGM musical or Alan Ladd or Robert Mitchum noirish thriller in black and white on a tiny 12 inch screen. Needless to say it would be raining. Later would come the torture of Sing Something Simple or the Black & White Minstrels!