Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Frost

Another video from the Flip camera taken at Granma's house and in Marbury Park. Have tried messing about with the software included which mixes the images in certain ways- like the sepia look here plus jaunty background music.
Brrr! Its cold today- thick frost outside. Yesterday we took some junk to the local tip and had to queue up with all the others who had the same idea. Time to make room for all that new junk we have aquired! We had several defunct electrical gadgets piling up in the shed - electric kettle, hair dryer and radio that are all burnt out or malfunction in some way. Amazing heap of similar objects at the tip. Hopefully they are recycled in some way and not just go to land fill.
A brief walk around town to see what sales there were. Not much it seems. Woolworths looked very sad and empty with just a few items left - like some third world supermarket. Hopefully it wont remain empty and boarded up for long.
One wonders what shop will follow it down the rocky road to ruin.
Hazel bought some A4 printing paper but it wasnt any cheaper than usual. I looked for a USB cable for the Flip camera but couldn't find any.
Will have to try Chester next week as they have a better selection of shops.
After dinner ( the last of the nut roast ) we watched Billy Bailey DVD "Tinselworm" that Archie gave me for Crimbo. It was quite funny but not as good as expected. Playing to large arenas really looses some of that intimate atmosphere of the earlier gigs.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Racing Pudden's

Here's one of my first uploads from my new Flip video camera. Racing xmas puddings that came out of some crackers from Morrisons. Much better than those usual tedious plastic novelties like key rings and shoe horns etc. We played with these for ages over at Granma's yesterday after dinner. We were so full it was about all we could do!
We also played a long game of Monopoly which was won by Audrey i think though I'd lost the will to live by the end of it! Thank goodness we didnt play Scrabble else I'm sure it would have ended in tears!
The new polish neighbours had a party last night but warned us by bringing round some polish food and a bottle of wine which was nice of them - what english people would do that? They weren't that loud but at midnight we could hear polish songs being sung and glasses clinking. We managed to drop off and sleep like proverbial yule logs.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Granma's Birthday

It was Hazel'sMom's 75th birthday the other day so we had a nice lunch with them and took along some presents and cake etc. Archie took his uke to play "Happy Birthday" and generally entertain us. We helped put up the plastic folding tree and the decorations and threw our chips into the garden for the robins and starlings etc.

This was the card I made for her. It also doubled for a theme at Scrapiteria.
Very mild here with temps. in double figures. No white Xmas this year methinks.
Did some more shopping this morning early before the mad rush. Just waiting for Bruce the piano teacher to turn up for dinner but he is late. Maybe his train is having trouble with the mild temperatures or leaves on the line?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sanity Clause

Just back from shopping at Morrisons for mince pies, custard, poppadums, parsnips, etc. etc. and other xmassy groceries. I'll expect we'll be out to get more before the 25th though. It wasn't as hellish as i thought it would be but the drive there was full of incident- mad drivers over taking on bends and tail gating and we caught them up at the lights so what did they gain? Stupid iriots - as Benny Hill once said. Audrey came along too and was telling us abou the scrape she got from a big lorry with sickly driver who shouldnt have been driving by the sound of it. The insurance people said the car would have to be scrapped which made Audrey very upset. We went along to see the damage and it was a very faint scratch down one side and the hub-cap popped off and rolled somewhere ( who knows where? ) and a slight dent- hardly visible by the naked eye, so to suggest she have it scrapped seems ludicrous! It shook them up- her and Granma- though and will be wary of big lorries in future, especially those driven by pale sickly looking men.
We have lightsup inthe back room now - around the window which brightens it up a bit.
Hazel was just outsie washing the car and a Water Co van drove up and parked right across her white line. She wasnt pleased needlesss to say and told him to move it as the whole street was empty mostly and so plenty of other places to park. Another sickly looking bloke with hardly any brain cells to rub togther. How come they all get work with the council, water, electric services? Duh!
Another van drove up shortly afterwards and they grunted at each other as they went looking for a leak. "Dont park there- she's already told me off!"

Archie is back from bowling. He said he now smells of chips, grease and bowling alleys.
Off to get the tree now. The one from last year in a pot at the bottom of the garden is still alive but looks a bit tatty and probably full of slugs, bugs and weevils.
Also an interesting selection of cards from people we dont know or can't recognise! Who, for example, are Freya, Pippi and Inga? They sent an intriguing packet of "pills" with a home made label" Christmas Survival Pills" which are really Tic-tacs. "May Not Work On Teenagers". If anyone has any idea who these jokers are do let us know- both Hazel and I have no idea who they are, but scarily they seem to know us!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rainy Weekend

Just back from a drive through the deluge to Weaverham to drop Archie off at jack's ( he's going bowling as part of Jacks Birthday treat ). We went on down the wiggly wet lanes to Frodsham and Lady Hayes Antique Centre and did some browsing amongst the old tat and books etc. In the candle shop ownded by Bob Carolgees ( he of Spit The Dog fame - see above) Hazel bought some Xmas candles and matches. Bob was behind the counter serving but no sign of Spit. Hazel didnt realise who it was until I pointed out the posters outside stuck to the window.
Hazel bought a few presents for herself that I can wrap up for her for crimble including a nice old biscuit tin, a multi-pen,pencil stamper gadget and some needles etc. Also some other stuff for her blog.
Other good news is that Archie passed his Grade 1 piano exam .

Monday, December 08, 2008

Do You Feel Christmassy Yet?

Not in this drizzle I dont! Just back from a shopping trip to town. My duffle coat soaks up the rain like a sponge. We have our lights up and flashing - so do the neighbours. We have new noisy ones from Poland or somewhere foreign. They seem friendly enough but shout very loudly in Polish or whatever it is. Hard to work out who actually lives there as I've seen at least 5 different people coming and going. They have at least two flashy cars- a BMW and a Passat. They'll find parking a nightmare down our street - one of the reasons the last couple moved out apparently.
O well , it's early days yet. Watch this space for further neighbour news.
I did the collaged xmas card again this years and got 100 printed at Boots for 8p each. We spent most of the weekend sticking them down onto card and folding and enveloping , rubber stamping etc. I posted a heap of them this morning and spent this afternoon doing more. One wonders if it's worth all the time and effort!
No time to feed the ducks this weekend. More shopping and sliding on the trecherously slippy pavements!
Woolies was heaving due to a 50% off lots of things Sale, but not much I wanted sadly. I did queue up to buy a calender on Sunday when it was relatively quiet.
Fascinating stuff eh?
Hazel made a christmas cake with the help of his nibs. It looks good enough to eat. I was thinking about making some mince pies but probably easier to buy them. Mine tend to erupt like mini volcanoes and spill sticky goo all down the pie dishes like so much treacley lava! It hell to wash off afterwards.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Where Did That Week Go?

Seven days have just flown by! I can't remember much of it - it's all a blurr. We did go for a walk to feed the ducks though on Sunday as I have this photo of Hazel being follwed by a few mad geese to remind me! Half way round Shakcrley mere we found a notice baodr which had new posters pinned to it - Do Not Feed The Wild Fowl!
First time weve seen it! Now we feel guilty after dumping half a stale loaf in the lake - but the ducks and geese went bonkers and chased us up the path - they obviously love the stuff. I suppose its like us with naughty stuff like cakes and chips! Apparently they get full of bread and cant eat the healthy stuff and get sick. Try telling that to the little kids who feed the ducks every weekend!
I must consult my very tedoius and dull diary which says-
Wednesday- Went to town and got two videos "The FLY" and "RE-Animator 2" for 20p .each. Hazel working every day this week - coming home exhausted and going straight to bed. Pipes still leak free. Hooray!
Thursday - Archie's Grade One ivory tickling at some old farmhouse in the wilds of Anderton. Full of ladies with buns in tweeds. Grand piano that he wasnt used to and cold fingers. Doesn't sound very promising.
Friday - Winter heating allowance- yippee! Walked to town and back. Drizzle. Did some Xmas shopping.
Saturday - Took bags of old vids and books into Oxfam. More shopping.
Sunday - Went shopping AGAIN with hazel. to argos and B&Q for floor paint for bathroom.
Monday - Snow! It didnt last long though. maybe we will have a white Xmas this year? Painted floor of bathroom with weird smelling pale green paint. I managed to tip the can up and so half the floor is cream now and really shiny! I will paint the rest tomorrow. luckily half a tin left. Drips have stopped which is good.
Downlaoded Toon Boom software to try. Our PC isnt fast enough to handle it. Seemed very complicated too. Similar to Flash.
O well, thats it in a nut shell. Off to paint the floor again now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Here I am waiting for the plumber. I wonder if this one will turn up? We haven't had much luck with plumbers in the past. Our leaky pipes don't excite them much for some reason - they want whole bathroom suites to enstall and central heating boilers to tinker with - big money jobs.
We went to cinema in Knutsford on Saturday to see the latest Coen Brothers film " Burn After Reading" which was good though not as good as Fargo or Raising Arizona. It took a while to get moving and introduce all the people in it but once it got started it rolled along to a hilarious conclusion with a few Coen Bros. surprises on the way. It was certainly funnier than "No Country For Old Men"!
The next day we went to a boot sale in a nearby village despite the rain. Luckily they had a big community hall to shelter in. Quite a few stalls and got some games and DVD's - two Hitchcock films among them. Hazel got a "magic candle" that changes colour and a zip for her blog. She later took her sister and bought tons of tarnished silver spoons for some reason.
Yesterday I walked into town and got the bus back ( I'm getting lazy ) and did some shopping. Some stocking fillers and milk etc. Found a rusty nail for Hazel's new blog.
Still waiting for plumber. I bet he doesn't come.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Any excuse to hear the brilliant and funny Ukulele Orchestra of GB again.
A bit of a quiet week despite the return to Crewe flea market and the scavanging in piles of boxes. I got a couple of games. One works and the other kind of does, sort of, does. Also a few stocking fillers I can't mention just incase. Winks- taps side of nose.
Lots of shops closing in crewe , even the pound shop. Shows you how bad things are gettings. Where am I supposed to buy my sets of multi-function glue now?
Even the charity shops seemed full of dregs and barrel scrapings.
I have phoned several plumbers today and left messages on their answerphones but not one has phoned back. Maybe my plummy southern telephone voice puts them off? Hazel felt sure they would jump at the chance of repairing our bathroom leaks. They are becoming more drippy than ever now - and we have to empty the baking trays twice a day. Will phone some more tomorrow and pretend to be Albert Tatlock ( before your time obviously! ).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lazy Sunday

Neglected to take the camera out this weekend so no pics- so here is Big Al Davies doing a fine version of an old song . Not sure who wrote it but Peter Sellers does a good version on one of his Greatest Hits CD's ( also sings it on YouTube on Parkinson I think ).
Anyway, didn't do much yesterday but had a lovely take away curry in the evening to celebrate our anniversary. We were going to go out but decided against it.
Today we went to Aldi and I made a delicious onion,carrot and potato soup for lunch ( even if I say so myself ). This afternoon went to the Antique fair at nearby Craft Centre ( on the way to Chester ). Hazel bought a nice silver match holder with interesting dents in it. She's going to keep her "memories" in it- whatever they might be. I didnt find anything though looked at a few thimbles for the Chad Valley Skiffle Washboard I bought last week. They were far too expensive. Will try the charity shops tomorrow. Archie wanted some enamel badges for his collection but the stall wasnt there this time much to his annoyance.
So no duck feeding today you'll be glad to hear!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Crewe Flea Market

Heres the Howard Morrison Quartet to listen to whilst you read about my exciting morning at the flea market in Crewe.
It was sunshine all the way as I rode the old donkey along the winding lanes of Cheshire. That humpty back bridge just passed the Trifle Works is always a problem but the steed circumnavigated it without any hiccups or scraping of hooves. The sparks flying from a big pony and trap last time was something to behold and I am always fearful of a jugganaut or camel coming fastly in the other direction. Thankfully the by-ways were clear save for a few tawny leaves of the old bilge tree fluttering down. The Autumnals were even more astonishing this year and regreted not packing my Hasselblad.
The market was pretty busy despite being chilly and a few bargains were to be had. Some I can't begin to mention but certainly the EP by Edmundo Ros and the curios slovakian SL-UK extended play 45 with titles such as Be Gay, Girl and Song From Detva. Both turned out to be quite dreary I am sad to say.
Then the traipse round the charity shops which turned up a few more curiosities including some Pac Man badges and CD case.
Home for lunch of fried egg and mushrooms on toast. The internet was down for a couple of hours and we feared it was our fualt but a quick frustrating phone call to India soon alloyed our fears - it was a them and the trouble was being poked with a pointy stick down at the depot.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Rainy Weekend

Actually it wasn't too bad yesterday - the rain eventually turned up in the evening and spoilt a lot of people's firework parties. Though, around here it still sounded like the Somme! Some bangs were so loud I thought someone had put a firework in our wheelie bin but it turned out to be a neighbour five doors down, so goodness knows what it sounded like in HIS garden!?
This morning it was sunny for a while until we got to the boot sale in Lostock and then the heavens opened so we had a brief window of bargain grabbing opportunity before the plastic sheets where dragged out of car boots and over the stalls and tables of junk. I managed to buy two DVD's = Early Doors -series 2 and Little Miss Sunshine that Ive always wanted to see. Hazel bought some glass candlesticks.
We popped into Granma's for brief chat and dropped some wool off for a Xmas project Hazel wants Audrey to knit for her. Audrey gave us some sweets she's not allowed to have and some mail art to peruse. Granma was still asleep - clever granma!
We drove over to Hartford to another boot sale Betty said was on but saw no sign of it - just as well as the rain was torrential by this time and the windscreen wipers were going full tilt.
So back to the Co-op for a soaking and some breakfast danish pastries and bread.
Now we are back home ofcourse the sky has brightened up and the rain has stopped - typical!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Remember Remember The 5th Of November

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These were at Verdin park at the weekend but similar sights now outside as the sky is lit up with rockets and fireworks. We set some off too at the bottom of the garden decorated with candles and a small bonfire under a bentwood chair that has seen better days.
From the charity shop today I got some videos for 50p each- an early Renior and Charles Laughton in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Also a Cd of Arthur Askey songs and skits from the 40's. Some great titles amongst them - The Worm, Why Do Pigs Have Curly Tails? and The Banana.
It's a triple celebration today as its a new president, bonfire night and our 25th anniversary of our first date at a firework party in Alsager, where Hazel was a student. Hard to believe the time has flown by and we are still together.
I couldnt find anything silver but made a collage with some silver paper integrated into it.
It's almost time for Paul Merton in India so better go and wrap this up now.
I made a lentil bake for dinner and the champagne that Hazel's Mom bought round remains unopened . Maybe we will broach it this weekend.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Slava's Snow Show

Saw this wonderful show today at the Lowry.A troupe of Russian clowns I saw some 25 years ago at the Old Vic in London . The show has changed a bit since then but still retains some magical moments. Stupidly I picked up my reading glasses by mistake so couldn't see very well but auditorium was filled with swirling flakes of fake snow most of the time so it didnt really matter!
We got the tram to Salford from Altringham. Luckily the Manchester United supporters had already gone into the Old Trafford ground so no trouble getting there.
We had a quick look round the gallery and the shops and had lunch in the expensive cafe. The ticket machine at Altringham gave us back our money and tickets so we had extra to spend!
More delights this evening as we discovered the annual Rotary Club Firework Display was on in Verdin Park so had a quick egg and chip dinner and went through all the squelchy leaves to the top of the hill and watched another fantastic display.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

We have been carving some pumpkins this afternoon in readiness for tonights Trick Or Treat fest. Archie did the big one and I did two little 'uns. Have a big bowl of seeds and gunk and another of pumpkin flesh for soup tomorrow. Yum!
The big bowl of sweets, candy and gooey eye-balls is made ready and waiting. Its getting dark - ooer - something is clawing at the front door - better go and open it. Have a fun time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Liverpool Biennale

We went to Liverpool by train yesterday to meet up with some of Hazel's 1st years and take the Biennale art trail around the city. The train was late ofcourse but we did get there first and had time to take in the Walker Art Gallery exhibition of 25 years of the Whatnots painting in coils competition- past winners being David Hockney, Lucien Freud, Bridet Riley etc. mostly incredibly tedious abstracts or splodgy figaritve works which have not stood the test of time. The most enjoyable thing we found was this silly "Loophonium" by Fritz Spiegl who was Austrian but lived in Liverpool for many years. There was a button to press so you could hear what it sounded like. Buttons to press are always a winner with me!
After the coach party arrived we went our seperate ways. First stop was the old ABC cinma which had been converted into a library and visitor centre for the MADE UP partof the Biennale. In the old auditorium was a gloomy installation by Annette Messenger of half the cinema seats covered by a big billowing tent affiar with air being pumped into it every so often. This gave the illusion of a wave rolling down to the stalls. On the stage was a very tawdry sculpture of a half skeleton and big dangly hands and feet manipulatedby strings like some weird puppet. What it was all about beats me!
The catalogue throws around various clues and pretentious mumbo jumbo but cant quite put its finger on it. "Messenger delights in multiplicity and plurality,incorporating numerous games for the viewer in her works, material and verbal."

A bit further on down the road was a an old paint shop with installations by Richard Woods and Jesper Just. More baffling painted boards to look like old signs and a video of three screens depicting the antics of a depressed hermaphrodite being dragged around Bucharest.
It was flippin' cold and wet so glad of my duffle coat and scarf. Brrrr!

Next stop was several holes in a wall to peer through at a gloomy room by Manfredi Beninati. Not sure what this was about either. Its all about Memory we are seriously informed.
Next is the wooden steps of some demented architect. This mini stage is merely a temporary resting place and would be a nice place to sit if it wasn't so wet and dreary. The only view is the church opposite which is our next port of call. Here Yoko Ono has invited people to donate stepladders and there are a dozen or so standing forlornly in the rain in the middle of the ruined burnt out church. There are several musical instruments to play on including a load of drain pipes and a dangling set of bells. You can ring these if you wear the hard hat provided, incase of falling masonry.

Then the long walk to the spinning trees and the Bloomberg New Contempories in an old factory just past the cathedral. Tons of weird stuff here- some amusing like the chinese video of a quiet wooded glade - suddenly it is invaded by men in orange boiler-suits who drag off all the trees and roll up the turf for the next picture - a street scene. Most though is typical art student graduate stuff and one can see the influence of Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, et al. The chinese work seemed the most exciting and original especially in the area of video and performance. I came away feeling rather confused by the whole thing- not unusual these days. Maybe I'm just getting cynical in my old age!

Then back to the station via the shops and a quick look in a great antique place. Hazel bought some old cards with buttons on for a pound. Also some old "Sparky" comics for Archie. 50p each.
I looked through some old LP's but they were quite expensive. Quite an Aladdins Cave though and well worth a visit just to see so many cabinets of curiosities.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Beyond Our Kennel

Rather annoyed to be missing John Hegley's annual "lecture" at the Interactive Arts course at MMU in Manchester today. Archie has a mock exam and so can't have the day off either which means I have to stay at home too.
Nevermind, here is a couple of songs from his excellent 12" single on the Glass Fish label from 1986. Nice memories of the "Nuclear Family" gigs at Lauderdale House in North London. We once became roadies for the Popticians ( John's backing band ) and helped our neighbour Keith Moore who was in the band take some instruments and other props to the event in a lovely old house, gallery, cafe and extensive gardens where all the kids ( including Archie ) used to run around.

Its been a quiet week and not much has happened. Hazel has had a nasty cold and had to have Monday off college. As luck would have it that was the day Stella Brian and Joel decided to pop round to see us on their way to Blackpool or whatever place it was? We haven't seen them in years as they live on Guernsey now , so a nice suprise.
Like Archie, Joel has been stretched and now a tall gangly teenager looking to go to university for goodness sake - how time flies!

Went to town on Tuesday to get photos from Boots and buy a few things including some cheap zombie films given away at one time in some newspaper- "Night Of The Living Dead" (colourised and B&W versions ) and "Day Of The Dead" the sequel.
yesterday it was just a trip to Aldi to get some groceries and fireworks. Hazel has forgotten we still had some left over from last year! O well we'll have twice as many for November 5th which incidentally is our 26th anniversary of our first date at a firework party in Alsager. It don't seem a day too much, as the old song goes.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Short Walk Sorted

Its quite mild today so goodness knows why the heating is up so high- no wonder we were all dozing off in front of How The War Was Won or whatever it was called. Some old ex-RAF chap with huge moustache going on about the capture of enemy radar which turned the course of the second world war etc. Nobody had the strength to push the Ooffah-doofah ( what we call the remote in our house ) It has various nick names around the country it seems. Flipper, blipper, fat controller?
So with great effort and willpower the TV was turned off and we drove over to Shackerley to feed the ducks and geese with the few bits of crusts we had left over.
It wasa lot cooler outside and so the walk woke us up as it always does. Not many others taking the air but Hazel met her old yoga class chum who had dragged her hubby out for an afternoon amble. So they had a little chat about how things were shaping up down at the yoga class which Hazel stopped going to some months back because the new teacher was too erratic. Was it erratic or energetic? I know it begins with an "E". Erational? Anyway it seems the class has settled down now and the new teacher is not so bad after all. So Hazel is considering going back.

Home again and much refreshed by the smell of damp leaves and beaks. I rustled up some leftover lasagne and cheesy broccoli. Roast parsnips and mini yorkshire puddings. Phew! Time to slump back down in front of the TV again!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Not A Place To Dangle David Attenborough

Another week wizzed by. Nothing much really to report. Have been having fun with Crazy Talk software again to add stuff to YouTube. I can't seem to get onto my old YouTube page so have started another which is annoying. The computer can be so frustrating at times!
It's been pretty awful weather all week so havent been out much. Went to town the other day and got some old Humphrey Bogart films on video- 25p each! Those old Warner Brothers film noirs are really great. "The Big Sleep" and "The Maltese Falcon".
I made the mistake of getting some smoked haddock which still has the skin on and made a fish and egg kedgeree with it. The skin was tougher than i thought! I will stick to skinned cod next time. It was very sticky too - I think they must use fish skin to make glue?
We had a look round the Mid Cheshire College open evening the other night. Archie wasn't keen to go but it was interesting to look round the new art block. The tutors seemed very enthusiatsic about the courses they provide and the work looked good. Amazing facililties for ceramics and printing etc. Tons of Macs everywhere. Archie still has a while to make his mind up what he wants to do.
Still looking back fondly at last weekends beautiful summery weather and how lucky we were to go to the beach for a picnic.
Hazel had a cake made for Tony by the lady over the road. She lugged it into college for a party at some wine bar. She said it was nice and lots of ex-students turned up to wish Tony well on his retirement. The cake had a little model of a campervan on the top as Tony has a new one now to travel around to visit his grand children etc.
Nice and sunny today. Hopefully can get out for a walk this afternoon if Archie gets up!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Talacre Beach

Nice day out to Talacre Beach in Wales today where we met up with lots of Hazel's colleagues celebrating the retirement of Tony from the Interactive Arts course at MMU.
Beautiful weather - can't quite believe how lucky we were - it was even better than the so-called Summer! Lovely realxing time with huge picnic that we all chipped in with and wine and cake etc. Yum!

Also silly games on the beach and sand dunes like - kite flying, quoits and boules. Some beautiful shaped kites of all descriptions and even one from the first world war that had diagrams on the cloth of how to assemble.

Quite lot of people had the same ide and the beach was pretty busy with families walking dogs and horse riders - lots of kite flyers too besides us.
The only downside was the toilets were locked up so we had to sneak into a pub nearby to use their wash rooms. Nobody said anything.
Tony gave Archie a nice card for his birthday ( Friday ) witha photo of the lighthouse on. So a nice double take here. Archie's friend Jack came along for the ride and kept Archie company- playing cricket on the sand with the tiniest wickets ever made.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Regal Memories

Just found this old clip again from local news channel about the Regal- our local cinema before it closed two years or so ago. Very sad to see it still empty and falling to bits now as we drive past it. No sign of the proposed arts centre and multiplex and hardly likely now in currant financial situation- credit squeeze etc.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

More Badges

Next door have left there bin out again which is annoying and it's right in Hazel's way - not room to park the car. I moved it and cut my finger for my trouble which annoyed me even more. Trust me to cut my finger ona perfectly smooth plastic wheelie bin!
The badges are from our collection of many hundreds- found at boot sales and flea markets over the years. They attract quite a lot of comments on Flickr which is another annoying thing ( o dear I'm starting to sound more like Victor Meldrew everyday! ) as the exciting photos of us feeding the ducks and wearing tea cosies get hardly a sideways look.
With collections like this you can pretend we were very politically minded and right on in the 80's - going on CND marches and camping out at US bases but the this could not be further from the truth. Large gatherings of this nature make us both feel queasy. I've never protested about anything in my whole life , not even as a student. I suppose I did protest about the art school regime of compulsory life drawing and colour wheel experiments by not going in and staying at home to paint what I wanted.

I was awoken from a vivid dream this morning at 6 when Hazel's radio timer came on and plunged me bleary eyed into the reality of bankers and money troubles. I was at a doctor's waiting room or maybe a flea market - they looked very similar - and I was looking closely at some mail art I'd found among the sandwiches and cakes on one of the stalls by the receptionist. It seemed to be a tiny packet of hand carved wooden blocks - for printing pictures of boats and sunshiney seaside views. As I peered through the useful periscope I always carry for such occasions I could see that it once belonged to Joe Decie. The stamps on the envelope suggest it originated in Australia. The receptionist went into a long diatribe about the sender who was travelling around England as a scaffolders mate and had fallen from a high building into some trees. It's then I woke up so don't know what happened to the stamps. Did I buy them? Was it my turn to go in to see the doctor? Did he hurt himself in the trees? I shall never know I expect. How would you make a poem about all this for national Poetry Day?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


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My pathetic efforts at trying the play the ukulele in the back garden. Not sure why this film is so grainy.
A quiet weekend. Weather awful. The rain put pay to the boot sale on Sunday but brightened up for a walk round Shackerley in the afternoon. The Sunday Times had a free CD of the Doors "Strange Days" in which was nice to hear again - reminded me of art school days in the 60's - one of the first west coast bands I'd ever heard. On Monday they gave away Love's "Forever Changes" - amazing! I still have a scratchy vinyl version of this somewhere so nice to get a pristine CD copy. Still sounds great today. Strange days indeed , when banks and economy is crumbling they can give away classic albums for nothing. Some more next week including New Order and Joy Division.
Archie had a day off school yesterday because of staff "Inset Day" - never figured out what they are actually for? Archie was happy though and slept most of the day to celebrate.
I walked to town and bought some lentils and curry powder. Also a paperback copy of Norman Wisdom's autobiography. I've read the first chapter about his deprived childhood - reads like a Dickensian novel!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Auntie Olwen

It will take me ages to find the very small photo I have of my Auntie Olwen so here's one of WRENS scrubbing the sides of a boat during the war. Not sure if Auntie "O" used to do such things but she did get rowed round Grimsby harbour by a sailor boyfriend she said- the nearest she got to any ships whilst she was in the navy during the war. She was just on the phone to me and it's hard to get a word in when she gets going - all about her childhood and the war etc. I expect I'll be like that when I'm 85 or whatever age she is.
She also told me about when my mother carried her into the Broadway cinema in Pitsea as "babes in arms" got in free. She was 7 at the time! My mother who must have been about 9 or 10 had some cheek! She spent the three pence entry money she saved on sweets. Olwen confessed it was very embarressing when the usherette came round and shone her torch on her and she had to pretend to be very tiny.
She also told me about Pitsea at length- a bigger place than it is now - having been swallowed up by Basildon New Town which did not exist in the '30's. They used to live in a bungalow down by the Station Hotel, opposite the market. I explained that the market has been gone many years. She seemed incredulous - "What, Pitsea market gone?!" Yes, and the cinema is now a Bingo Hall and has been for 25 years or more. "Never!"
Pitsea school is still standing and was "new" in the 30's she said- she remembers the teachers quite well- the four masters and the one lady teacher Mrs. Peace. I said I remembered only one teacher as her name was Mrs. Ramsbottom which always stuck in my mind and the howls of laughter from my mother whenever I told her what Mrs. Ramsbottom had been up to that day. I only went to Piteas school for a year back in the mid 50's , before the new Greenstead School was built in Basildon, just down the road. You had to walk miles down a concrete path , through fields and old bungalows to get to Pitsea school. As a five or six year old it was common to send children on their own to school in those days. With my satchel heavy with Shipham's bloater paste sandwiches ( if we were lucky!) or jam if things were a bit tight that week.

Auntie "O" also told me that she left school at 13 and worked in a shop in Southend for a while and then in Grays at the State cinema as an usherette. then she joined the WRENS ( Woman's Royal Navy Service ) . Or did she go to Grimsby to work in a rope making factory? Yes, that's it. She was told she could avoid being called up to fight if she worked in a factory doing essential "war work". But then joined the WRENS as she fancied the uniform and the sailors!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Like the lady said in the post office - "It's a funny old day". Sunshine and then heavy showers and then sunshine and then drizzle and then more sunshine. Quite nippy too, except when the sun come out. The man behind the counter was having trouble with his machines that printed the labels and stamps - piles of screwed up labels lay about the counter as he once again fed my details into the machine - "It's a funny afternoon" he said, "Nothing seems to be going right". I had to agree , "It' one of those days". Yes, it has. Anyway, after a small hiatus the machine started working again and the label came out and he stuck it on my small packet to the U.S.A. " That will be one pound and eighty pence please."
Tuesday was a funny old day too.
I made a vegetable stew with dumplings and afterwards went with Archie to his postpond piano lesson. He had practised a bit so surprised when he kept missing all the notes - he sounded like he was playing with boxing gloves on! Even the piano teacher noticed the decline and said "It's been a funny old day - it all sounds a bit off doesn't it?" We all get days like that- when nothing goes right - fingers turn into sausages and machines go on the rampage - you trip over your words and kerbs.
The dumplings tasted like bits of rubber.
The following day was hardly better. I bought some reading glasses in town and some fish for a fish pie. Hazel didnt fancy the pie but would prefer a kedgeree. Only two eggs left and one had a crack in it. I did the old test and floated it in some cold water - it rose to the surface and so I knew it was off. Only one egg but better than no eggs atall.
The new glasses worked fine despite being cheap ones from the Poundstretcher shop. Hazel got some new glasses too but expensive ones from Dollard & Acheythumb.
Archie had a glue stick thrown at him today he said. His friend threw it in a fit of pique and Archie happened to get in the way. He has a big bruise under his left eye. The second in command at the school just phoned to explain how she would deal with the matter and to assure us wheels were in motion. "It's been a funny old day." What with one thing and another.

Monday, September 29, 2008


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Archiethrows a dialbolo into the air- where it falls - we know not where.

Watery Fowls

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A nice weekend of various doings including going to the Harlequin on Saturday night to see Spike Theatre's production of "Gin and Tonic and Passing Trains" ( printed Gig & Tonic on the ticket by dyslexic arts bod ) which tured out to be a one man ( Ramesh Meyyappan )show based on Dickens ghost story of a man alone in railway signal box haunted by spectres. Really atmostpheric and entertaining. Shame only a handful of culture vultures in the audience.
The next day we went to boot sales at Weaverham High School and Verdin Park. Both were well attended as the weather was sunny. I didn't find much butHazel bought tons of stuff including a small cloth book with fishing hooks in, a bag of golf balls ( for her 1st year crazy golf project ) a cake stand, plants and a mysterious key.
Archie stayed in bed .
In the afternoon an old chum Dave came over from Yorkshire to lunch and exchange Xmas gifts ( last years ones ) which included a book about "Innovations", a DVD about train journeys in Norway and Finland and a folding bucket amongst other things. I made an onion tart and some mixed vegetable soup. We had apple pie and ice cream outside later on as it was so nice - though starting to get a bit nippy as the sun went down. Archie enteratined us with his ukulele and the diabolo and we watched the apples thud to the ground from next door's tree.

Friday, September 26, 2008


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I took this film by mistake, hence the very dullness and shortness of it! It seemed churlish to delete though and so added some sound effects and credits.
This morning I walked into town and back to do some shopping. I had to pop into D&A the opticians to find out if Hazel's new optical assessories were the right sort- the intergalactic gargle vision lenses that she ordered or thought she did. She needn't have worried as they certainly were.
Then to the library, post office and market and all the charity shops. Not a thing! Nevermind it was a nice sunny morning and good exercise.
Last night we went over to a local 6th form college to have a look round as Archie will be leaving his High School next year and we are wondering what he might like to do. He doesnt seem to want to do anything at the moment. He was unimpressed by all the fascilities they had to offer. It all seemed ten times more lively than his currant school. The art department was just a temporary building but the work looked pretty good and the tutors very enthusiastic. The music rooms also seemed well equipped and the courses , although very academic and geared to "A" levels , seemed like fun to me. All the students we met seemed happy and gave the college a big thumbs up. O well, I expect he'll get round to deciding after weve been to the other college thats a bit further away.
Hazel has taken her 1st years to Salford today to see the War Museum etc. She has made them all labels so they dont get lost. She is workig ona mail art project which I will tell you about in the days to come.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rowland Emmett

Some of Emmet's amazing machines filmed by someone at the Ontario Science Centre. Just how they get to see them over there and they hardly get a look-in over here, it's really annoying! Mind you we did see one at the Cartoon Museum in London recently - one that was featured in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Also there is one Pussy Willow machine ( sadly not working ) in the shopping mall in Basildon of all places we visit from time to time when down in Essex to see my sister.
I've often wondered what happened to the small railway he built for the Festival of Britain back in 1952 - the Far Tottering and Oyster Creek Railway. I hate to think it got broken up for scrap!?
Went down the town today with Hazel for a quick shufty round the charity shops. Not much to be found. Just got the papers and Radio Times. Then to Aldi for the weekly shop. Discovered that the matchbox label collectors were at the Memorial Hall last week and we didn't know! Blast! Usually a great place to pick up cheap and colourful ephemera.

More about Rowland Emmett HERE.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


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I tried to make a thrilling film on my digital camera yesterday but the sound vanished for some reason so had to make the soundtrack up from odd bits lying around. Sorry if it looses something in transfer.
It was a nice walk and this gives you a flavour of the park and the sights.
Earlier in the day we went into town for some shopping. Didnt find much. I borrowed a silly Disney film fromthe library that Hazel wanted to see. It was "Enchanted" which was part animation and part real action - set mainly in Manhatten so we had fun spotting the places we'd been to in the Summer- mostly Central Park. It had it's moments though glad we didn't fork out good money on cinma tickets!
Archie's had a mole removed from his neck which was worrying him and it's healing fine. He was very brave and got spoiled rotten when he got home by Hazel, Audrey and Granma. I have a mole too that needs removing. Seeing how easy and quick it was has changed my mind about having it cut off. I saw the doctor a week or so ago and he said it looked benign. It does worry me a bit though so may as well get it removed and checked out for melanoma.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ukulele Lady

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Here's Hazel having a strum on the old uke with Archie on geetar. I tried but i am all fingers and thumbs.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chews Day

Hoots mom! Hooty hoot - ah the smell of boiling porridge and haggis toosed in the heather. Nothing like that today - just the usual toasted bagel and some muesli.
I walked to town afterwards with a spring in my step ( goodness know how it got wedged there? ). After prizing off the spring I was able to walk a lot easier.
A few bargains to be had today. The Salvation Army was having one of it's frequent "fill a bag for two pounds * days and so I looked very hard for a bag to fill but ended up just getting two DVD's for the astonishing low price of 10p each. One was a dodgy copy though and only worth about 15p. Good to find The Darjeeling Limited though which seemed hardly played. I think its by the same director as The Life Aquatic, though could be wrong. Its about a train journey through India. A road movie of sorts.
Also bought a loaf of bread and a video of Eraserhead for two twenty. The bread would not play in the VCR but the David Lynch film did.
Archie is ukulele mad at the moment and playing it at every opportunity.
Time to go and make a fish pie.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pete & The Pirates - Mr. Understanding

Another catchy song found on YouTube. There are so many!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Walkies

Just back from walk round Shackerley to feed the ducks and geese. Not many around it seems. Have been hearing them fly overhead recently , honking away, flying South for the Winter maybe or whatever ducks and geese do at this time of year.Some can be seen flying in the opposite direction so don't know whether they are lost are just trying to confuse me?
No boot sales today - sadly not many now at this end of the year. Soon we shall see Xmas cards and decorations in the shops which is horrible - the Summer is hardly over!
Yesterday we popped into town to get the photos we had printed from our American trip and do some shopping at Aldi. It's hard to get in the Aldi car park now as everyone has realised how cheap it is ( relatively ) and going there instead of Tescos or Sainsburys.

Mystery Jets - Young Love

Another catchy song just discovered on You Tube.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Book What We Wrote

Roger reminded me of this book we collaborated on some years ago which is still looking for a publisher. I fear it is ahead of it's time! Or maybe just not very good but we had fun writing it - lots of daft spoof nursery rhymes. I think the cover is one of my best efforts. The owl has a cat's tail sticking out of his beak - it's NOT a beard!
Quite sunny here at the moment which makes a nice change.
Have been doing some chores today - washing and hoovering.Also trying to get Archie's animations onto a new site. I told him to do it but he doesn't seem that bothered. Teenagers eh? Everything is too much trouble for them. How do you get YouTube videos transferred to Quicktime? I've tried iSquint but it says "drag files"- what flippin' files? YouTube doesnt have any files! It has an address but that's not the same thing. It's totally baffling. We have the films on DVD and as Flash files but they seem incapable of transfer too.
O well. Maybe I should make my own animations. I tried uploading a Crazy Talk file to the aforementioned site but got a message back saying that it contravened copyright sadly and they couldn't use it. I had some old music hall lyrics on it which must be over a hundred years old now! Surely they must be out of copyright by now? The law is so fuzzy and they change the goal posts every week it seems so you never know where you are.
Anyway, better go and try something else.
Went to town yesterday and got a couple of videos including "Manhatten" by Woody Allen which was great after just being there. I didnt see it in black and white though and with Rhapsody In Blue as background music - for me it was full colour and Talking Heads.
Got a free Hitchcock DVD in the Times again - this time it was the little seen "Secret Agent" with Peter Lorre and Ralph Richardson looking very young and suave.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Another Rainy Weekend

I walked to town and back yesterday before the heavens opened. We seem to have got off lightly in Cheshire as parts of Wales and Yorkshire etc. have been badly flooded.
I bought some cheap DVD's at the library sale including "Factotum" with Matt Dillon about the life of drunken poet Buckowski.
Also 2 other films I'd never heard of. Everything reduced to a pound now to get rid of them. I looked through the books but nothing worth having. Some odd titles like "Guinea Pigs For Dummies" and "Succulents for Fun and Profit" etc.
No boot sales today alas. I don't suppose there will be many more now that Autumn is here.
Hazel and Archie made an "upside down cake" which was a bit soggy in the middle so they put it make in the oven for a further 15 minutes. That seems to have done the trick. It has pineapple and cherries in it.
Rare sighting of a kestrel in in garden pulling apart some poor bird. A pile of feathers left where he'd had his dinner. Unusual to see it up close through the window by the car's front wheels. No time to get the camera- he was off.
Have been making some collages - one can be found at Scrapiteria.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Noah & The Whale

This is quite an old song I think but have only just discovered it. Very catchy. Can't understand why it wasn't more of a hit.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What's This Ear?

A few of the crowd down at the local clinic this afternoon when I went down to have my ears syringed by a friendly nurse.
I was ten minutes late due to my involvement on the moon of the planet Beyond Good & Evil - rescueing a pig from the evil clutches of the Domz. Nobody seemed to notice. The nurse was trying out a new vibrating water cannon- part of her arsenal to combat all manner of minor ailments too trivial for the doctor to deal with. She peered in first with a periscope thingy and said she couldnt see through to the other side. I could have told her that! It's been like having a galvanised bucket on my head for the past fifteen days!
Anyway, she is a sure fire shot- Annie Oakley of the Middlewich Road. The nasty waxy alien was soon lying recumbent in a tuppaware jug she had me hold under my lug hole. Pretty horrible is was too - I had to close my eyes to look at it!
Yuk! A rotten job but somebody has to do it and I'm glad it's not me!
Lovely to hear in stereo again- the clothes rustling as I strode re-invigorated from ther surgery! Every ant and bug could be heard gnawing through the undergrowth and the cars and lorries sounded like jumbo jets taking off.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Home Sweet Home

It's so nice to go travelling but oh so nice to get back home. To one's own bed and own tea bags and TV that doesn't seem to bad after all!
Still deaf in one ear though and went to the doc's today to have him peer into it ( and the other one ) with his periscope attachment gizmo. No light at the end of the tunnel apparently. He's booked me in to see the nurse armed with a stirrup pump on Wednesday afternoon- meantime I must glub-glub some more drops in which make me smell like sheep dip.
Slowly getting our sleeping pattern back to normal.
Had a terible sore bottom for a couple of days due to aircraft seating or lack of it. Had to apply a hot compress which did the trick.
Walked to town the other day but discovered my legs had turned to jelly and my feet were blancmange. Got the bus home and felt like a geriatric.
Hazel and Archie went to get Wilf who seems to be losing his hair. Lots of bald patches probably due to being stuck at Granma's for nearly two weeks and being stuffed full of seeds like a little round bean bag!
Borrowed "Cloverfield" from the libray on DVD which we watched the other night. It was O.K. but that hand held camera made you feel a bit sea sick after a while. Interesting to see the places we had just visited being torn apart by a huge rubbery monster.

Carried the Argos Book of Wonders home on the following day and nearly gave myself a hernia.
There was boot sale at the local Co-Op on Sunday. I bought a DVD and CD from our neighbour over the road who had a stall for 20p. He wouldn't accept any more.
Hazel went later and bought some cup cakes from the Co-Op. Audrey and Granma went even later as they were packing up as it was drizzling and bought a nick-nack from our neighbour for 5p. Apparently he'd "done really well" and was spending the proceeds on a slap up meal later that evening.
Granma and Hazel's sister came round for tea and biscuits afterwards and tapped our brains for crossword clues.
We tried to phone Bruce the piano teacher to see if there was a lesson tonight but got no answer so maybe he is still on holiday? We made Archie practice anyway as he hasn't done much these last few weeks.

NYC- Day Nine

Our last day in America but our flight doesn't leave JFK until 10 at night so we put our bags in storage, order a taxi to take us to airport and walk to the Museum Of Folk which is open this time.
Its a great place, though small- and has an exhibition of Darger ( weird recluse who painted young girls and boys ) and one about a wood carver chap. Some beuatiful paintings and objects on the four floors. We seem to be the only ones in there!

We got round very slowly looking at everything closely. Have a drink in the small cafe at the top. Buy a few things from the shop at the bottom. Blinky eye bookmarks a favourite.
Then to the MOMA shop to look at the books.
Picnic lunch in the Central Park. My favourite place of all I think. What would New Yorkers do without this lovely green space?
Than back to hotel to get bag and wait for taxi which turns out to be a small stretch limo! We think it must be a mistake - 60 dollars for this? Wow- we feel like celebrities being driven to a red carpet event and not tired tourists off to crappy JFK airport. Grim ride though Brooklyn on a huge 6 lane highway all the way to the airport.

It takes about 45 minutes. the driver sounds Russian or Polish. He drops us off and waves a cheery farewell. Massive Q's again but not quite so bad as the first time.
A small cockroach on the baggage counter waves us off! Must be a chum of the one in the hotel.
It's only 6 o'clock. The plane is delayed an hour so another five hours to wait in the departure lounge broken up by trips to shops, toilets and the food court ( horrible bagels ). The flight is hellish- very bumpy - like going over a rutted track for two hours! I hold Hazel 's hand but she doesn't want to because it's clammy with fear!
Land at manchester at 11 a.m. the next day ( or is it the day before? ) toyally deaf and confused. Thankfully our kindly taxi driver Roy is there to greet us and drive us home.
Lovely grey drizzly England. A nice cuppa tea and collapse into a heap.

NYC - Day Eight

Breakfast in the hotel again. Stuck to the fried egg sarnies. Hazel had "eggs over easy" with toasted English Muffin and side dish of fruit salad. Realised you have to leave the tip on the table and not in the cup on the cashiers desk. Very confusing!
The fruit basket is going down fast - the grapefruit are delicious.
Walkded to Museum Of American Folk Art next to MOMA but it is closed on Mondays.

Got a taxi to the Museum Of Natural History that's half way up one side of Central park. Its full of dinasaur bones and rocks and interesting ethnic stuff. Huge place. We paid two dollars to get in as you can pay what you like and we were worried our money was going fast!

The museum has four floors and seems to go on forever! We don't go in the paying exhibitions of Horses and Planets and give the big 3-D cinema film of Dinasuars a miss.
Go for lunch in the congested food hall- really badly designed with tills each side that converge on one another- most confusing! Very grumpy cashier who keeps shouting "Cash Only- no cards!" Luckily we still have some cash and buy some tasteless mush for lunch.
Walked to Guggenheim acorss the park. Hazel gets stung by an angry bee on the neck. Archie manages to grab the sting and pull it out using a twig and fingernail before poison goes in. Looks very red though. A kindly nearby ice cream seller gives us some ice cubes to put on it which makes the swelling go down and soothes the pain.

It's better by the next day.
Went in Guggenheim shop but couldnt face any more "art". Contented ourselves with being cool and looking at the architecture.
Got taxi back to hotel for rest and drinks.
Walked down road to Moonrock Diner for evening meal of tuna melts and huge fries. Nice greek waiter telling us about the Olympics and how he's going to London to visit his cousin in 2012 and see it.
Walked down to see the lights on Broadway and popped into a convenience store to get bee sting soother. They didn't have any despite having 200 kinds of toothpaste!
Much squealing and cavorting as Hazel spots a giant cockroach on the wall by Archies bed! Arrrgh! What a monster. We try to lure it into a bread stick box with a handy bread stick but it evades capture by sprinting Bolt like under the bed. Goodness knows what the neighbours thought was going on! We did'nt see it again and had weird dreams of insects, bread sticks and bees running around the Guggenheim race track.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

NYC - Day Seven

Got Metro tickets again for all day rides. Got the bus to 27th street and a flea on a small parking lot that Roz on Flickr told us about. Got a few small things including badges and buttons. One made of tin says "Monroe" and another for "March Of The Dimes". Hazel bought a few things including a set of metal keys. Also a frying pan shaped rattle thing with a clowns face on it.
On the ground i found a lucky chinese cracker with some lottery numbers on so better buy a ticket just incase! Also some unfranked 33cent stamps.
Traipsed around the Greenwhich Village and SOHO areas in the heat and popped in a few shops to cool down. Bought some things in the MOMA Desing shop. Hazel got a small round metal mirror and Archie bought a book with just pictures for pointing at in foreign countries to aid translation.

Couldn't find Printed Matter. We asked in a bookshop but they didnt know. Rivals I expect and wanted it kept a secret!
Fed up and tired from aimless wandering we got the bus backCentral Park and got pizzas from our favourite deli near Columbus Circle.

Archie fed the squirrels and had fun throwing them acorns and bits of pizza crust.
Terroible buskers nearby with ballerina puppet. They didn't draw much of a crowd and left as dusk fell.
Wrote 15 postcards. Nice to get back to the air conditioned room in the hotel and have milk and cookies before more Flapjack on Cartoon Network and bed.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

NYC - Day Six

So HOT! Still Deaf! Feet Ache!
Still we are off again on the tourist trail to get METRO all day bus passes - a bargain at 7 dollars, so we can jump on and off buses and tubes as much as we like all day.
Had to get them from hellish hot muggy underground station at Columbus Circle from a machine.
Had a nice relaxed breakfast in the hotel - fried egg sandwiches and real english tea. Real cups and saucers not these plastic pint pots they give you everywhere else.
Got bus to Grand Central station to see the huge space inside.

Another bus to Lower Manhatten . Some helpful locals showed us what bus to catch. We explained we were going to Battery park. "Where?" To Battery Park we said in our plummy english accents. We pointed to the map. "Oh, The BAYYTERREEEEE!"
Eventually the bus seems to stop so we get a tube the rest of the way which isn't as bad as we imagined. The stations are hot but the trains are relatively cool and not that crowded. Got out at one stop before the park just incase we vanished down some branch line and ended up in some weird suburb.

Battery park is packed full of tourists all queuing up for tickets or for the ferry. The line must have been a mile long! Our hearts sank but we joined the Q anyway as we were determined to see Liberty and Ellis Island.
Thankfully the Q's were moving along at a steady pace as people fainted and were dragged away by relatives- more room was made. Also we were enteratined by some amusing buskers, mostly playing steel drums or ukulele's. One actually made up a song about me as I licked my ice-cream. The very colourful jamaican explained he would be in England soon and the Queen needed some black poeple in the Royal family.
Have to endure the metal detectors and the searching of hats and bags etc. Crazy!
Liberty island seems a bit ironic after all this. It's packed and you can't go up into the statue anyway- not even into the base and museum unless you book online three days in advance! I ask you!
Still, we take the obligatory silly photo with silly hat and have a drink under a shadey tree and look out at the panorama before us.

Get ferry back to Ellis Island but too hot and knackered to go ashore so stay onboard with all the teeming huddled masses.
Walk to Ground Zero which is nearby - a sobering hole in the ground that they are still filling with scaffolding and concrete. Ready by 2012 it says. Even the postcards of Manhatten have ghosts of the twin towers on them. I don't suppose they will go until something is built in their place.
Get bus all the way back to Central Park for picnic with pizza and quiche bought at friendly deli. nearby. Yum! Sat by rocks watching joggers drinking our iced de-caff coffee and iced tea. Chocolate cake for pudding.
Amazing buskers again. Two black guys doing break dancing and acrobatics with a fine line in patter. "The more you give - the more we get!"

The Blue Man Group

The most wonderful show ever. You must go and see it if it plays near you. Hopefully they will tour U.K. and Europe at some point.

New York City - Day Five

Pretty traumatic breakfast in a local deli/cafe the next morning. Found it hard to be understood and everything is such a rush! My tea didn't have milk in and Hazel's iced coffee was hot!
Incredbly HOT outside and muggy. Walked to MOMA which wasn't far from hotel - luckily they were just opening at 9:30 so didnt have to Q. I got in as a senior (over 65 ) all three of us cost 45 dollars. It was worth it though - great Dali show about his involvement in films including the Disney collaboration that I'd not seen before. Alos a show about prefabricated buildings which carried on in a yard outside with full size buildings to wander round in.
The "Wunderkammer" show was a little dissapointing being mostly prints and very little of the "collections" we expected.
Nice to see a couple of Ray Johnsons in the "Art & Music" show. lso Wallace Berman and other essemblagists.
Full of ART we left for some lunch and got pizzas to take away and ate them in a little square( well more of a triangle) just off Broadwayin the middle of traffic chaos and noise of throbbing city. Aarggh! the noise! Even partially deaf it was quite overwhelming!

Walked a couple of blocks but decided to get yellow cab to Empire State Building as we begato flag.
HUge Q's for tickets and touts hussling for tours outside. I couldn't face a 2 hour wait in line after JFK so went off on my own. Hazel and Archie bravley waited and awarded prize of stunning views form top which these photos don't even come near to reproducing.

Meanwhile I had gone in search of the Morgan Museum which I'd been told was good. It took me ages to find but eventually went inside and paid my 8 dollars ( senior over 62 ) but all that was on was a small exhibition of Philip Guston's drawings and the Guttenburg Bible. Most dissappointing.
I walked miles then towrds East Village in search of a mail artists apartment on 3rd street.
Found a nice hat on the way for 15 dollars. It was so hot I was afraid of getting sun stroke! Also found a nice junk shop wich had a few records to sort through. Nothing for me though. Eventually found John Evan's place but sadly he wasnt in.

Spoke to one of his neighbours in gardens opposite . She said she didnt know him but then she didnt know many of her neighbours despite living there for years.
The walked to Laffayette Street and bought a tin robot for ten dollars in a toy shop. I asked about the Blue Man Group theatre and the lady serving said I was walking the wrong way. Eventually found it and sat outside with a Blueberry and Cocoanut Smoothie to wait for Hazel and Archie. They eventually tuned up an hour later.
The Blue Man Group show was amazing. Thank you Angelica ( who sent us the tickets )funny and an assualt on the senses. The first four rows had to wear plastic raincotas and hoods to stop them getting covered in paint!
Had photo taken with one of the Blue Men afterwards in the foyer. Archie bought a T-shirt and cap with the money that Jonathan & Syl. had given him.
Taxi home for showers and rest our weary bones.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Boston/NYC - Day Four

Jonatha drove us to the station and we managed to park nearby.Caught our train to NYC at 11:05 and waved bye bye to Jonathan and to Boston (Syl was at work ).
The 4 hour journey went by quite fast as we gazed out of the roomy carraige window at the passing scene- along the coast of Mass. and Conneticut.Passed fishing villages and holiday homes and yellow sandy beaches. We ate some interesting chunky sandwiches that Hazel bought at the station food court. The tuna and salad was nice but the goats cheese and slimey mushroom was rather disgusting!

Rhode Isalnd , Newport and New Rochelle. Names to conjure with. Jonathan said the journey would be rather dull but to us it all seemed fascinating.
Eventually we arrived at Penn. Station which was an underground hell hole and incredibly hot and sticky. Thankfully above ground it seemed much fresher and we hailed our first yellow NYC taxi to the hotel on 57th street.
The Holiday Inn turned out to be huge and we had a great room on the 15th floor though the view was just of another sky scaper opposite. We had a king size bed that about 5 people could sleep in. No bed for Archie though and we had to order a fold up one which was delivered later.

After unpacking we ventured out to Columbus Circle nearby and Central Park for an afternoon stroll. What a fantastic oasis in the middle of the city. It was packed full of people doing all kinds of running , walking, jogging, skateboading, buggy pushing, you name it- they were doing it! Playing baseball, having picnics, walking the dog (where do they keep all these big dogs?). It was good to get away from the noisy hub-bub of the streets.
Some great busker including Lenny Hoops who you can see in the YouTube stream at the side.
He was handing out hula hoops and teaching children and grown ups to hula hoop and then played the bongos, gong, shakers and trumpet. We bought a CD and DVD off him both of which are excellent.
Watched some baseball pitching and catching while a tramp nearby picked his scabs surrounded by his bags.
We moved to a safer spot when we realised he had Tourette's Syndrome. Stood on the same big boulders that the Beatles stood on for a photo shoot on their first historic visit to New York in the 60's.
Lots of people in rickshaws and horse drawn buggies. The strong smell of horse's douvres pervading the air.

We walked quite way and so it took ages to traipse back to the shops and resturants to find something to eat. Eventually found a cheap Italina Cafe that some pizza and pasta. I had a sickly tomato slop which was very oily.Hazel and Archie plumped for the Tuna Melts which came with crisps and half a gherking for some reason!
Not a great choice but it got better. back to the hotel for showers and watch some crappy TV prgrammes. 200 channels and nothing on! I shall never be rude about British TV ever again! Our favourite was the cartoon Network and Flapjack which was hilarious.

Boston - Day Three

Sadly Sylvia had to work today so it was up to Jonathan to entertain us and show us the sights of the harbour area and the historic Freedom Trail. I was still deaf in one ear so everyone had to shout at me.
Following a red line in paint and brick on the sidewalks we follwed it to various locations , including the statue of Paul Revere, his house and a church where they signalled by lighting a torch in the belfry to say the British redcoats were coming.

We walked along jetties and sat and watched the fishermen doing their daily fisherfolk deeds. A long walk over a bridge to the other side of the harbour to see the "Old Ironsides" boat in a dry dock. The usual paranoid queueing for the metal detector and frisking before were allowed to enter the site and then told to "clear the decks" by sailors as soon as we set foot on it! We saw most of "Old Ironsides" from the outside whilst a huge paying tour went onboard. Cheapskates like us were shown the door. We took refuge in the shop and took advantge of the rest rooms. Hazel bought a small metal Redcoat with smirking face and a presentation replica of a bit of lead shot made from some alloy.

Had a nice ferry ride from a pier nearby , all the way back to where we started out which saved our legs thankfully. Nice views of the boats and the city skyscrapers etc.
Jonathan found a good mexican resturant where we had lunch of fish and chips and cole slaw.
Then to the old part of town where the streets are cobbled. Saw the thinnest house in Boston and another very old cemetary where more patriots city forefathers were buried.
In a couple of trendy shops we bought some postcards and some chinese kite prayers? Useful for collages when I get home. Archie bought a small plastic hamster for Audrey for looking after Wilf while we are away.
Back through the park to see the infamous duckling statue and the swan boats.
Back to the underground car park to drive through Cambridge, Harvard Squares and MIT along the leafy banks of the River Charles.
Then to Jonathans local "The PLough & Stars" for a pint of draught Guinness I had promised him a year ago. Nice to meet some regulars and the friendly irish barman David who made us very welcome and even treated us to free drinks!