Sunday, September 30, 2007

More Boot Sale Peeps

Several boots on today at Weaverham, Hartford , Lostock and Verdin Park but I think the Verdin Park one got cancelled as we overheard someone saying the gates were locked and so they came to Weaverham instead- indeed a big backlog of cars and vans outside when we arrived. We were a bit earlier than usual. Archie had stayed in bed.
Weaverham was the biggest and best with stalls spilling onto the playing field and in the playgrounds and car parks. I got a great little Sony mini-disc player with some discs for a few quid which works perfectly - so made up for the rubbishy one I bought a few weeks ago. Hoping to get a microphone for it so I can make some "field recordings".
Also got a couple of game and a Tin Tin book in french for Archie, hoping it would help his french study.
Hazel bought a few odds and ends including garden tape and flower arranging spikes, and odd metal things we can only guess the use of! Also some plants and bananas.
At the next one at Hartford which was only a third as big- I didnt find that much but Hazel bought a few more metal doo-dads and an old Super 8 projector ( Bell & Howell ) which weighs a ton for such a small thing!

More Book Fair Picks

This is the "pop-up" workshop we attended. Archie admiring the house he built. We all made one very similar. The chap who's name I forget has written many books and does workshops in the U.S.A. and all over. He made it seem very easy with instructions even a child could follow- though a mother and her three kids had to leave as the baby was screeching so much it was becoming a bit irksome- I could see the poor pop-up man getting very annoyed but managing to keep his cool .

Archie in his element- strumming on a banjo in Johnny Roadhouse's music emporium.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

2nd Manchester Artist's Book Fair

Hazel managed to set the alarm to go off for 6a.m. instead of 7-30 so up pretty early to get to Manchester for the Artists Book Fair at the Holden Gallery in MMU. We went by train and got there about 9-45 in time to have some breakfast at the health food cafe place in All Saints. It took ages to arrive though despite us being the only customers. So we missed the lecture by Maria Fusco which was very good apparently. She is about to start running a book course at Goldsmiths.

Treena was kind enough to let me put some of my tawdry books on her table of wonders which she was running with her friend, seen here trying to escape the camera's impertinent gaze. It was quite slow at first but later got quite busy and bustling. Not much room to move in fact and quite hot! It was good to see a few people we know including Tony, Penny and Nick who was looking after the MMU table. Hazel was glad to see that some of her new 1st years had taken the trouble to come along.

Nice to meet also Francis Van Mael (Red Fox Press) who had come over from Ireland for the fair and had a load of nice books he had bound himself and some names I recognised from the old mail art days. Later we swapped a few books which was nice and I promised to send him something for his latest project on the theme of "Salt & Pepper".

For lunch we opted for a sandwich in the office and then to library to see more artists books and a wonderful Rowland Emmett cardbourd model of the train he made for the Festival of Britain in 1952. The Far Tottering and Oyster Creek Railway.
Hazel took a photo of it having filled in the necessery forms in triplicate and submitted finger prints and DNA etc.
Archie insisted on going to the music shop "Johnny Roadhouse" and looked at the guitars and tried a couple of banjos. A helpful assistant showed him how to tune and told him the differences between the various sorts - open back and solid etc
He might have one for Christmas. More of that tomorrow..I must mention the great pop-up workshop too which was held in a nearby room. We all made a little house with a porch and conservtory and trees and a fence and the whole thing could be flattened and then springs up when you open the pages! Gosh! Photo tomorrow.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Caged Birds Cannot Fly

Amusing animation Hazel found whilst browsing a particular website that has asked Achie to submit some work.
Found a peice of gravel in my muesli this morning. Will be looking for more tomorrow and maybe make a nice gravel path in the garden with my finds.

Frank Randle and Chums

I found this great bit of old film whilst researching Frank Randle for my Boot Sale Sounds blog. Have just uploaded some old radio shows, profiles of great british comedians.
The newspaper article about Archie was a bit mixed up. Archie thought they were asking about the Underexposed film fest. but they had a press release from the Co-op Young Film makers fest. so the description of "Gotto Wee" being about a hamster with a viking helmet makes no sense atall! Newspapers eh? Never believe anything you read in them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


It's that time of year again when Archie gets his animations into various Film Fests. This time it's the Co-Op Young persons film festival in Bradford where one of his animations is showing in October and in December it'll be the forth year for the Underexposed Student Film Festival at the Cornerhouse in Manchester.
The local paper phoned him up yesterday and did an interview and a photographer arrived a couple of hours later to take as photo for todays "going to press".

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Boot Sales Galore!

Well, two actually, which was fun though we didn't find many bargains. The First was at the Black Greyhound pub car park next to the Bengal Dynasty curry house. I found a few Steptoe and Son videos for 25p each but when I got them home realised I had most of them anyway! Hazel bought a small light bulb on it's original card. Archie didn't get anything and moaned all the time about how cold it was and how he wished he'd stayed in bed - we wish he had too!
The other boot sale was in Anderton and was larger and had a community hut to go in where tea was served and more stalls were set up. I found a video of Ricky Gervais's second live show "Politics" which should be amusing. Hazel found two metal "stitch holders" which look like large elongated safety pins. Archie stayed in the car reading the Sunday Times.
After lunch we watched abit of "This Is Elvis" that recorded from BBC2 last night and then went out for a walk before we turned into potatoes! Went to Marbury with our stale bread to feed the ducks and geese. It was quite crowded with lots of families for the sponsered walk for the forgetful old people society ( I can't spell outzymers ? ) . It sated to drizzle so we didnt stay long. Bumped into our old neighbours who were walking for charity.
Here we are in the bird hide but no birds to be seen - birdfeeders and tables empty still with no seeds or nuts. Its best in the winter when they flock to the birdfeeders and you can see all kinds of birds there.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Just made this collage for mail art project in Bexleyheath of all places. This morning we had to wait in for the PC chap to come again and fix the PC which he mended (new motherboard and processor ) but we had trouble loading games and there was no sound. So luckily after an hour and half of muttering and tweaking he got it right again ( touch wood ) and so Archie will be glued to Roller Coaster Tycoon for the next few days i expect. Sadly we have lost a bundle of stuff that was on the hard drive which was like "mashed potato " apparently so will have to aquire them as and when we need them.
Afterwards we went to town with Audrey and narrowly missed being hit by a lunatic who bounced of the kerb and lurched towards us giving us a fright! The library sale was still on so got two more CD's - Sophie Tucker and Al Jolson. The "Help The Aged" had a sale on- fill a bag for a pound! The shop was packed full of people stuffing clothes and books into bags. We managed to fill three between us. Got Archie some guitar tutor CD's and a Beano mini-comic amongst other things.
Its the school open evening tonight and Archie has been asked to go and play his guitar in the music block. He was only too happy to oblige.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

School Musical Evening

Here's a clip that Hazel took on her digital camera of Archie ( on the right ) playing his guitar in the school musical evening last night which was fun though the plastic seats were very uncomfortable and I was beginning to wriggle about after an hour or so. It was all very well organised and you didnt have to wait long for the next performer to do their bit. This was the concert that was cancelled in July due to flooding. Quite a wide variey of music from solo instruments like flute and guitar to west end show tunes and rock numbers. Archie seemed to enjoy playing and he hopes to do more in the coming months now he has extra music lessons.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Doctor Syrup

I mustn't sit here typing this for long as I'm convinced it's bad posture, crouched over the computer is giving rise to my back and leg problems. I went to the doc's this morning and he said it was probably this and I should put warm compresses on and continue with the ibruprofun. If it hasnt gone in two weeks I should go back again and maybe have some articulation or whatever it's called. X rays are a last resort he said as the rays are not very good for you.

Archie did this amusing collage I saw on the front of his sketch book. A chip off the old block eh?
Here's a drawing from inside-

I'm going now and not sitting down to computers for the rest of the day. I wonder if a can?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hartford Boot

Just back from the sunny Hartford boot sale which was very busy and full of interesting and cheap stuff. Archie didnt want to go so we left him a slumbering. He asked us to get some Lego base boards for him as he's got back into making things again and he gave all his lego boards away - silly boy. We didnt find any but he seemed happy with the Dinky dustcart Hazel found and the DVD of Unfortinate Events with Jim Carey with a big rubbery nose. Other DVD's included Monty Python's Holy Grail with extra disc of out-takes, making of etc. and Fargo ( Coen Brothers ). Also on a brotherly theme, a CD of the Best of Sparks.

Hazel got a good haul of metal doodads and thingamys including some curious fishing tackle and pins with leafy end bits - all on card. Alos a Katita automata jumping insect clockwork thingy for 20p. Her other stuff included a nest of padlocks, Ikea frames in their wrappers ( great for postcards in the loo ) and some coloured pencil lead re-fills in a metal case. All will eventually be displayed on A 1 Scrap Metal I should'nt wonder.

She's gone off again with her Mum and sister for another rummage.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Invited for lunch by our old friends Tony and Penny in Alsager yesterday so we drove over for eleven and sat in their lovely flower filled garden and had some tea and "sand" biscuits. I accompanied Tony to the local tip to deposit some cardboard and plastic bottles he had bought all the way from his aunties house in Essex! We pondered on the carbon footprint they had already aquired. The tip was very like all tips these days and seperated into bays for wood, metal, cloth, garden rubbish, paper etc. Sadly you don't get to rummage in other folks rubbish anymore like the good old days. It made me think of the times in Brentwod when we lived quite close to a local tip that was suurounded by woods and when all the council workers had gone home all the scavengers lurched out of the trees and began pick over the days dumpings. I used to find all kinds of treats among the fould smelling debris. Amazing that I never ever cut myself our caught anything nasty! A wooden monkey from a fairground I found there still hangs in our hall to this day. One evening I found a big sack of unopened letters complete with SAE's to the BBC for some programme or other - those stamps came in very handy being on the dole at the time and very skint. Now I am content to sort through other peoples in charity shops and boots sales!

We went for a nice meal at an old Marsdens pub at Whobblyston? nearby. It was packed full of pensioners all having hot pots and crusty rolls. We plumped for the cheesy pancakes and beans. The pint of strong bitter made me very light headed and sleepy - I should have stuck to orange juice. It made a nice change to go out for lunch which we seldom do and good to see old chums and have a chat too.
We got back just as all the kids were coming out of school and wandering shambolic in the road like a plague of zombies. Archie was showing off with his guitar so thankfully arrived a bit later. He was miffed he'd missed out on a pub lunch.
Hazel opened the late birthday present from T &P and the very heavy package turned out to be a DIY box made from planks the Swedish design gurus call a Snack!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mystery Parcel

A mystery parcel arrived yesterday with a knock at the door. A man was holing it and asked if this was the A.1.Scrap Metal Company - he'd thought he'd got the wrong address- obviously thinking he was looking for a factory premises of some kind.
Anyway he handed it over saying " Are you expecting more of these?" which I thought a rather odd question. What? parcels from Germany that rattle mysteriously? Could be. Who knows!
The mysterious rattle turned out to be some scrap metal from PLG who always finds interesting gadgets and gubbins for Hazel's blog. This time it was a few big railway nails with numbers embedded, a strange mini camping cooking stove/pot and a pencil with metal end. The small bottle or jar had broken sadly as you can see below but the metal lid was intact. Also incuded a plastic thing for hanging onto kettles? and two postcards

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


A good year for apples apparently so the chap on the news said this morning. English apples ofcourse, not these awful foreign varieties that have no taste whatsoever. But if you want apples all the year round you have to get them from Peru and New Zealand! Oh the caustic footprint!
Here's a couple in our back garden that have fallen off a neighbours tree with a thud. One seems to have been eaten already by slugs or birds?

It's a shame they are going to waste and not being used. There must be a glut as Granma gave us a bagful yesterday and so last night I made an apple crumble. Delicious with custard and cream. I forgot the desicrated coconut though.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bootless and Be-wild-ered.

No boots this week , at least none in the local paper. I was hoping to see Betty yestrday in the charity shop, as she knows where they all are and is usually taking her stall to one or the other. But the oracle Betty was not there.
Instead we helped Archie start his summer project which he needs for art class tomorrow which was to make a scrap book from an old book and glue down all the pages in clumps of ten for some reason. His art teacher does have some weird ideas!
Also he had to collect pictures of old buildings, churches, stained glass, windows, doors and Gaudi. Luckily I found a book already snipped from the collage pile of architecture which contained all he wanted and more. Dad's have their uses sometimes.

This afternoon we went to Shackerly with a pile of stale and mouldy bread grabbed from the bin and dusted off. It's the first time we'd been for a while and good to have a walk and admire the ducks a dabbling. Also swans a swanning and geese a goosing or whatever it is they do. Amazing V's and chevrons of honking geese overhead these last few days- all heading North or maybe West? I thought they all went South for the Winter? Maybe just a test run to try out the old feathers and flaps.

Also saw two mice and vole gambling in the undergrowth by the lake. We sat for ages on a bench and watched them running up and down the fallen branches of half submerged trees and ina moss covered stump. Ah nature! The wiff of the M6 and the sillage pit. The leaves turning a darker and autumnal green - lost all they bright green of the summer. Very mild though still.

Now waiting for the spinach bake to brown and spuds to sizzle.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Back To School

Archie started back to school this week on Wednesday so it's back to the old routine. The plaintive squawks from his pre-recorded alarm clock message which sounds like martian to me down here. I have to go upstairs several times to chivvy him along saying things like "Your corn flakes are getting cold!" and " You'll miss the Chuckle Brothers!" which are usually greeted with groans and farting noises.

Breakfast is consumed and bags packed and lunchbox made and he's gone. Its a double music lesson today so that cheered him up. The new music block is equipped with Macs and keyboards and seperate rehearsal rooms for groups and drummers etc. so hopefully he won't get bored. He's missed several pinao lessons over the holidays but was inspired by the playing of Keith & Dini's kids when we visited them in London so hopefully he'll get back into it soon.

Went to town yesterday for short shufty round the shops and library. Hazel went and tried on dozens of boots in the new "factory seconds" shoe shop and didn't buy any of them- too brown or too large or too something or other.
The weather has improved and it looks like a nice weekend. Maybe we'll get that Indian Summer after all.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Knutsford Boot

It was fine enough to go to the annual Round Table charity boot sale and fair at Knutsford this morning which is always pretty good and well attended. Didn't find that much but pleased with the triple DVD set of old BBC Quatermass series I found for ten quid. I tried to haggle but the bloke wouldn't come down. I wandered off to think about it and returned to buy it as I've never seen it before and probably never will. I remember seeing them as a kid in the 50's and they frightended the life out of me! So very nostalgic to see them again. Sadly the first Quatermass & The Experiment is missing four episodes that were wiped ( the Beeb tended to do that in the 50's and 60's before they realised they could make thousands by selling videos and DVD's. How very short sighted of them. The extras contain a documentary "The Kneale Tapes", about the writer Nigel Kneale and interviews with him and some of his collaborators.
Hazel bought a nice old Mackintosh's Rainbow Assortment choc tin which is a bit rusty but has a nice rainbow picture on the side and lid. It must be quite old and was only 20p. Archie got some old Dinky cars "to smash up". Whether he was just saying this to see what reaction he got I don't know.

There were other attractions in the middle of the field including a big plastic rock face for kids to learn rock climbing skills. Also a roundabout and Donkey Rides (though no donkeys could be seen? ). The Birdy Song was playing very loudly which together with ominous looking sky made us retreat to the car and home!

Just incase you were wondering the photo is of Hazel wearing a special home-made gadget sent from California made by Leslie Caldera aka Creative Thing. It's a see-back-oscope made from bent wire, a beer bottle top and a tiny mirror which he used to clip on his glasses when cycling to see behind him!