Friday, August 31, 2007

South Bank Snaps

Here's Adele and her first born, Hector, who was very good and slept most of the time whilst we had a good chat in the Festering Hall coffee shop. In fact the whole place seems to have been transforemd into one huge coffee shop with just a corner for some sad photos of atrocities from around the world. A warning would have been nice, especially for the kiddies.

Archie enjoyed a splash in the fountain outside the Queen Elizabeth hall and lots of screaming kids did likewise. The jest of water turend on and off in sequence so you could run from one watery quarter of square to the other. Ideal to cool you down on a hot day.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Basildon and London

We went to stay with my sister Barb and husband Des in basildon last week as we were invited to the wedding of my neice Alison who was marrying Ian. Here we are outside the golf club near Purleigh in deepest Essex. That's my lttle brother John and my sister Barb and me enjoying the late afternoon sunshine and the Pimm's taking effect. It was nice to see a few relatives ( my other sister Dee couldn't make it for some reason ) at a jolly function for a change and not a funeral as in previous meetings.
On Bank Holiday Monday Barb and Des took us to a huge boot sale in Basildon but we didnt find any bargains but had good fun looking in the bright sunshine. On the Saturday before the wedding we got the train to Southend to see how much it had changed and have a nostalgic ride on the pier train which goes to the end of the mile and bit pile of charred and mangled wood that is left after several fires and accidents. We were encouraged to "Adopt A Plank" but decided they had enough. Great to see some beuatiful thames barges in full sail at the end who were stragglers in a race. The wind had dropped and they were be-calmed but went round slowly for our pleasure between the sand banks and the Kent coast beyond.

We stayed then with our old friends Jane and Graham who run a second hand bookshop behind Waterloo Station for a couple of days. We walked along the south bank of the Thames from Fenchurch Street to Waterloo and took in the sights along the way including the replica of the Golden Hinde ( Francis Drake's ship ) which is in a dry dock not far from London Bridge and the Globe Theatre experiance. Also the London "Eye" and the Festival Hall etc. Nice to see again the BFI archive housed in what was the MOMI and through the NFT. We looked for more Percy Stow but couldnt find any but enjoyed "Daisy Doodad's Dial" we had discovered on the internet BFI site.
Had a nice turkish meal down by the Old Vic later that evening though suffered terrible wind the next day - all that houmous and flagelot beans! Never again!

The next day went to the Tate Britain which was virtually empty as everyone goes the Tate Modern now which is a shame because there is a lot to see. Here is a gallery with a diving suit and some logs. The headphones do not really add to the experiance being just words of no signifcance or humour as far as I could make out. I should have made a note of who made this but alas I failed to do so.

Also popped into the Garden History Museum by Lambeth Bridge for tea and cake in the lovely but noisy garden. Later we met up with Hazel's ex-student Adele and her handsome new baby Hector in the Festival Hall again and took her to see the glowing bowls of Lynette Wallworth in the small gallery by the BFI archive - an interactive installation with glass bowls and film projected down from the ceiling . Very atmostpheric and soothing with ethereal music playing in the background whilst your bowl fills with plankton and other squirming sea life. Well worth a visit as nobody seems to know it exists!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Even More Holiday Snaps

Above is the edge of Anglesy at Black Rock with Puffin Island in the distance. It was a bit like Craggy Island and we expected Father Ted to appear around the beach any moment! It was jolly windy and cold and we didnt stay long especially as the only cafe was run by an idiot who insisted we buy something before she would hand over the key to the only toilet in 10 miles ( except the one on the lighthouse ). She shot herself in the foot there as we instead of buying lunch there as intended we just bought a bottle of water and left for the nearest town to eat. I wonder how many other folk she frightens off in this manner? WE couldn't see any puffins etiher. They had obviously been frightened off by the cafe owner and gone somewhere more friendly.

Below is the town fortifications at Conway . From the top of Conway castle you could see the wall going all the way around the town. In the castle they had some sword fighting demonstrations by some amusing chaps who would have been at home on the set of Monty Python's Holy Grail. They also showed us how to put on armour ( very useful ) and made a young child cry by making him hit one of the knights with a big bendy sword.

"YOu don't frighten us, English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, son of a
silly person! Ah blow my nose at you, so-called "Arthur Keeeng"! You and
all your silly English Knnnnnnnn-ighuts!!!"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More Holiday Snaps

Here's another shot of Llandudno pier and the Little Orme in the distance. Hazel and Archie are looking for crabs and money in the rock pools. Archie was in the habit of dropping coins from the pier into the sea below and making a wish.
The rocks were covered in limpets and slimy stuff. Tiny crabs but no big ones. A family of oriental looking chaps were collecting the mussels that were plentiful and filling big plastic bags. They either had a resturant or were very hungry!

We went to Portmeirion on the Sunday which was about 50 miles away on the western coast of Wales on the mouth of a big and very beautiful estuary. Mind you, the sands were quite trecherous as there were notices warning of "Quick Sand" and sudden tides and devious currents.
The italianate village is very pretty despite all the tourists (like us!) and the dreaded "Gift Shop" in abundance. The Prisoner was made there in the 60's. There was even a shop dedicated to Prisoner related gifts. Patrick McGoohan tea towls and "I AM NOt A NUmber!" T-shirts and badges etc. But we didn't buy anything- just a few postcards. Archie bought some Patrick McGoohan fudge.

Portmerion was built by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1926 and was added to throughout his life until 1976. All the buildings are listed and some are holiday homes for the wealthy (rooms are over 200 quid a night!) .To discover more about Portmerion go HERE.

Below Hazel and Archie are resting before walking down through the village to the shore and river walk. We had sandwiches and crisps and sat by a weird boat made of concrete that looked out over the hills and valleys beyond the estuary. There are also some cliff top gardens to explore but we never got round to those - too many steps!

Monday, August 20, 2007


Just back from a lovely week of rest and relaxation in glorious North Wales. Packed quite a lot into a few days including a terrific drive through Snowdonia National Park ( wonderful scenery ) to Portmerion and Ffestiniog steam railway, Conway castle, Bangor, Anglesey and Puffin Island and all places in between. I wrote a holiday diary with some collaged pages of the ticket stubs and receipts etc. we collected so might upload extracts in the next bloggage. Lucky you!

The weather was kind to us for the first few days and we got quite pink on the beach. Occasional showers and then this weekend we had mostly drizzle but we had to stay for Ken Dodd at the local theatre- a treat not to be missed!
The show didnt finish until 1a.m. in the morning so very tired today. Hazel insisted on waiting outside the stage door for his autograph but Doddy didnt appear but the manager or who-ever she was took all the books and photos inside for him to sign. We even bought "tickling sticks" and a Diddy Men comic ( he signed that also ) A very funny man and well worth staying up late for.

Home to nearly 900 e-mails most of which are spam and phish. How tickled I am not at getting these!

Archie being happy in Happy Valley- the pier in the background.(top)

Hazel and Archie on Llandudno pier looking out for seagulls. (bottom)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

No Brains

Hazel found a bunch of these old cards at Crewe flea market yesterday and has been collaging some silly speak bubbles on them for the holidays. We picked up Audrey from town where she had delivered her precious Nissan Micra for it's yearly MOT and drove to Crewe for the morning. I didn't find much, not even any postcards. It was sunny though and I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the market. Hazel found some nice old gramaphone needles in a pretty tin she gave me. I expect they will turn up on her blog soon.

Today Archie has gone to the beach with his chum James and his Mum. We are jealous! Hazel is sulking in the workshop- making those collages and pondering her work. I have been to town and back. I found some more bargains in the library sale. Status Quo's Greatest Hits and anothert which name escapes me for the moment. Der! Also a book for Archie by one of his favourite authors Morris Gleitzman about a worm.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Shot Edited Uploaded Burnt

Archie and Hazel made this film today with my help . I play a mad professor ( typecaste or what?) who finds something alarming in his lunch. They had the idea after watching an amusing silent short at the BFI archive/ viewing room thingy at MOMI on the South Bank in London when we were last there. Archie also plays the uke soundtrack and Hazel did all the costumes. It only took a couple of hours to do from scratch and now it's on YouTube- ah, the miracles of the digital cameras, editing software and the interweb!

This morning I walked into town to have a look at the monthly library sale. I bought two DVD's for a couple of quid - the recent "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" and a Jim Henson Prods. film I'd not heard of before. It's called "Mirrormask" with one of the R's turned round the other way like "Toys "R" Us"! Mostly CGI and not puppets by the look of it.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunshine Superbags

Green bags of plants. Bags of of greenery from Marbury Nursery they am. Archie bought another insectiverous plant called Audrey 3 to go on his bedroon windowsill with Audrey 2. Hazel bought a carnation or a pink? It was too hot to walk far and anyway I'd walked miles this morning before anyone had got up to find the boot sale we'd seen advertised but it wasn't . So my legs and back ached a bit. Trying to keep away from the computer but here I am - green bags and spam.
Marbury was packed. Archie has decided to call his new plant Neville for some reason.
It's nice to come back to a cool house though Hazel was alarmed to find some damp behind the TV in the back room. The damp collecting doodad was full up. The skirting board was discoloured with water coming from somewhere. Hazel moved all the ivy and weeds from the wall outside to see if theat would make a difference. I painted the wall after it had been cleared of cobwebs and grot.

We are thinking of having a bar-b-q later and eat outside.
We went to book sale earlier at an old Methodist chapel over at Antrobus. It was quite hard to find but luckily found it eventually after spotting a flapping hand drawn poster tacked to a telephone pole. The booksellers were a friendly bunch and were selling plants, tea and cakes too but the place wiffed a bit of urine or drains or something unpleasant! We grabbed a few likely tomes and left. Archie got a book of Dilbert cartoons and Hazel found a book by Tim Holt. I found an old childrens illustrated dictionary to collage. I've got it already and used quite few snippings including a dog for the cover of John Hegley's "Beyond Our Kennel" about 10 years ago.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Memories Are Made Of This

This is a few clips from various cameras from various trips and days out. Archie is playing the musical backing on his Maholo uke.
This morning I walked to town for exercise more than anything. I went round the charity shops but didnt find much. A DVD for 99p of a Japanese ? film described as a cross bewteen The Sound Of Music and Dawn OF The Dead which intrigued me! All for 99p. Also posted a pile of mail at the post office. The sunn was out and it was quite warm but now has clouded over again. Hazel is still recovering from yesterday's driving. She's gone back to bed for a nap. Archie has just got up and is feeding Wilf. Nice mail from PLG (three items ) and the Temporary Museum in Germany.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hamster TV

Archie has just put this on YouTube. Wilf entertains us again with his wild and wacky antics. Oh how we laughed!

Norbury Junction

We had a nice ride over to Staffordshire today to see my old chum Trevor whi lives near Norbury Junction on the canal - an idyllic spot with a Steptoes yard and several old vehicles including this lovely old Daimler that we had a ride in.
Trevor took us on a long walk round the badger sets and through the woods to the nature reserve nearby. The reed beds were full of rare insects he said- I think some were trying to eat me most of the time! The mosquitos and gnats were out in abundance due to all the rain we've been having. We had a good game of throwing the sticky velcro-like buds of some bush at each other whilst walking along. Didn't see any badgers but heard lots of young kites and pigeons squawking in the woods.

Later after a picnic on his boat we had taken along we went for a drive ion his Daimler round the narrow lanes. Creak bump! Clunk creak! I think that spring needs oiling said Trevor.
Stopped off for a pint at the canalside pub. Trevor waved and said hello to nearly everyone we met - he must be in demand round there for his boat painting skills. He was putting the finishing touches to one when we arrived - a long maroon narrowboat with the odd name of "Rubytoo" which made us think of that old Rolling Stones song "Ruby Tuesday".

It seemed quicker getting home- about an hour and a half via Whitchurch and Tarporley. Thankfully the pitter of rain that started in the morning was replaced by bright warm sunshine. This Hazel and Archie having a cuppa ( we took the tea bags and milk ) outside on the poop deck. The furry russian hat curled up on the roof of the boat turned out to be his 16 year old cat "Percy"? or was it "Parsley"?

Watched a great DVD called Science Of Sleep the other evening which I must mention. Its by Michel Gondry who directed the Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind which I didnt like all that much but this is a very charming and inventive film which mixes animation with live action but in a childlike way- full of hand knitted puppets, cardboard cities and cotton wool clouds etc. Hard to describe really - you just have to see it for yourself. Some nice extras on the DVD too about the making of the models and animations etc.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

W.Reginald Bray

It's always nice to find someone who is interested , indeed, passionate about the same things you are and here is one such man, John Tingey, who contacted me recently after seeing a mention of W.Reginald Bray on Flobberlob. His excellent website is full of great images of the postcards and "return to sender" mailings that Bray collected. Also a lovely photo of some of the objects he sent through the post including a collar of a shirt and scrubbing brush. He also sent me this photo of the old victorian postbox in Forest Hill that Mr. Bray used.

Today has been a quiet day in with some blogging and collaging. I also made a CD compilation and the collaged sleeve and sent them out to the lucky recipients. We popped to the station to book our holiday train tickets. Annoyed rather that Virgin won't allow you to book seats despite the chances of the train being packed. We are rather sick of riding in the luggage rack!