Sunday, March 30, 2008

Walk To River Weaver

This morning would have been ideal for a boot sale or two but none around here as far as we knew so we stayed in and read the dreadful Sunday Mail which I only bought as it had a free DVD of "Time Bandits" by Terry Gilliam inside.
This afternoon we drove over to Carey Park for a walk to the River Weaver and wander through the silver birch woods. The factory on the other side of the river was particularly smelly today - an awful oxide sort of smell. It could have been poisonous for all we knew. We didn't stay long and walked back past the archery range and the delightful plastic bottle trail. Hazel had emptied all her crusts into the bushes ( for the mice and voles ) and collected up the discarded crisp packets, milk cartons and fag packets on the way back like a good citizen. I think she used to be a Girl Guide.
Archie managed to loose his expensive sun glasses during one particular dexterous plastic bottle grabbing manoeuvre. Maybe just after this tree hugging incident (above ).
So we spent ages re-tracing our steps and stoops to find them. Luckily no dogs ( of which there were many ) fouled them with a nasty surprise and Archie found them safe and well in the undergrowth, blinking in the sunlight.
This detour was most unexpected and quite fun as we were able to look at the photos I had taken on the way round to discover the exact point where the glasses vanished from Archies neck. Mind you, we only realised this after about 15 minutes of looking!

Friday, March 28, 2008


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Another animation using the Crazy Talk software. The collage was made from an old Tunnocks biscuit box and a pop corn bag from the cinema.
Very wet today. We braved the showers to go into town and do some shopping. Archie had gone off to his friend Jacks. They went swimming. Nice to see him get out of the house at last.
Nice clip on TV just now of news reader on radio having a giggling fit when telling of story of French inventor who made sooty paper images of sounds over hundred years ago - ten years before Edison's historic recording of "Mary Had A Little Lamb". Some clever boffins had managed to extract the sound of a lady reading "Clair de Lune" using computers. It sounded just like a bee trapped in a bottle!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Candle Workshops

I was sorting through some cupboards yesterday, trying to find a box of old reel-to-reel tapes but instead I found this old book of collage - a diary I made from scraps I found on each days travels. That was the idea anyway but soon I began to use other finds from charity shops and flea markets to fit the theme of the day.
Today we drove over to the Candle Workshops near Beeston Castle to play on the slot machines and old automata. We've been before but Hazel's sister hadn't been so we took her for a treat. Had a nice fish and chip lunch out and tried to avoid the hoards of screaming kids doing workshops. The whole place has an overpowering smell of wax and perfumed candles. There are people dipping candles in big buckets of molten wax. Also people showing you how to carve candles into intriguing shapes. There are also workshops for card making and rubber stamps and all manner of crafty things.
We got lost a bit on the way there but managed to find it eventually down all those twisty narrow Cheshire lanes and we didn't loose any wing mirrors this time!

It wasa nice sunny day after the morning's rain showers so the countryside looked very clean and washed. Still lots of daffodils by the roadside and one big bunch with a sign that read DAFFODILS in scrawled pen incase we didn't know what they were!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Norton Priory

A trip out yesterday to Runcorn and Norton Priory which is a little oasis amongst all the industrial sites around the River Mersey. There's a little gallery too where Treena was showing some work situated at the far end of the walled garden. Above you can see Treena showing Hazel her coloured ice cubes which are melting slowly to stain the white canvas below. Treena was also showing some tiny hand made books made in a similar fashion- stained by ice cubes. We had a nice chat to Treena and then went around the priory to see the relics and the archeological site etc. There was also a large park and garden to explore which was dotted with sculpture and things dangling in trees. Not sure if they were sculpture or plastic bags blown there by the wind.

Managed to find out way home with the Tom Tom. We managed to drag Archie out but he was in a grumpy mood all day for some reason. Oh the embarrassment of ones parents! I suspect I felt the same way at his age.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter!

My new filling is playing up. It seems to be slightly larger than the old one and needs to be filed down a bit.
Just back from a windy walk to town and back. leaning into the bitter wind on the way there and blown all the way back, my duffle coat hood acting like a sail!
I didnt get much except cold ears and a new ink cartridge. The lady in Age Concern recognised me from the local paper. Ah, fame at last. She quizzed me about sales of which there have been none. Nobody in Northwich has any money , especially for art I said. She seemed to agree and said she had a friend in France who had a lot of trouble with copyright and now he just paints for pleasure. What other reason would you have?
Archie and Hazel have been making Easter cakes ( see photos ). The Gingerbread house is a flat-pack design from Germany I think. We got it for Xmas but it was never used. Now it has a family of chicks moved in. The other fruit cake was also from Xmas and matured nicely in it's tin. Hazel added the marzipan and Archie added the icing and chocolate eggs.

The tricky use of the icing bag.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Fun Loving Artist

Fame at last! Here's a clipping from this weeks Northwich Guardian featuring that well known fun loving artist who likes to take his work to the library. Amused that they've put me on a page with all the other miscrients! On the opposite page is another old codger leaning at a similar angle and smiling back at me. You wonder if they do it on purpose or if it just ends up like that?

I braved the drizzle to go down town to pick up my prescription and face the mobs of autograph hunters. I bumped into Treena in Scope shop for a quick chat. She says she's got a performance with ice cubes on at Norton Priory this Sunday- we might pop along. Went round all the others but didnt find any bargains. Bought some fish for a fish pie. Went in library to take DVD back and checked that no pins had fallen out. Pushed my way through hoards of art lovers that surrounded my work. Not really.

Archie has the day off as he's got a nasty cold. Hazel isnt feeling too good either so this will be a fun Easter! Going to make a nice lunch now to try and cheer them up a bit.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pat-A-Cake, Pat-A-Cake.

Just found a packet of Dennis The Menace cake mix in the pantry that has a sell by date of Feb. 2004 on it! I was going to use the cake pictures on the box for a collage but found some in the end in some old copies of The Countryman magazine.
The result is to the left - for the latest theme at Scrapiteria. I don't know where everyone has gone as I seem to be the only person posting collages at the moment? Maybe the theme of St. Patrick's Day or Pat or Patty was too difficult or maybe theyve all gone off on a St. Patrick's Day bender and havent recovered from their hangovers yet. Ours was non-eventful. I didnt even get a pint of Guinness.
Went into town the other day with Hazel. Got some more CD sleeves. Still decanting into smaller boxes. We took bagfuls to the tip. Over 500. It seems a waste but nobody seems to want them and no recycling bin for hard plastics. The tip has changed and even more confusing for drivers now who can't back up to a skip anymore but have to wait in a long line and walk miles to metal, paper, card, clothes, shoes, etc. which are never in the right place so you have to dodge in between the traffic to find them. No wonder people just fly tip.
I have to go and have two fillings re-done this morning so not looking forward to that. Going to the dentist is traumatic at the best of times! Not to mention the exorbitant cost.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Boot Day

Nice restful weekend of boot sales and walks. This morning we went to a boot sale at the local fitness centre car park. A dozen or so stalls braved the elements and biting winds. I got a couple of CD's for Archie as had stayed in bed. A note pinned to his door said "Don't wake me up. Buy me something." So we did. he got more stuff than us in the end. Hazel bought a graphic novel of The Hobbit. Later I found him a Topper annual from 1973 but he already has it.
Next we drove over the Weaverham to a sale at the High School. I got two scratchy records- one of weird childrens songs and stories called Happy Monster and the other is Sandy Nelson's Greatest Hits.
Hazel found some plate hangers on their original cards. Also a big tray of bright and colourful plants to give to Granma for Easter.

This afternoon we had a walk round Shakerley to feed the ducks with our stale bread. They didn't seem that bothered so most of it just floated off or sank to the bottom of the mere.
Hazel just called out that John Hegley is on Radio 4- a half hour of delicious poetry and song from art galleries. I expect you can hear it via the internet's "Listen Again" feature. Some new songs I hadn't heard before- a great one about Pablo & George.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


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Hazel is off to fly kites with some students today in Glossop in the Peak District. Apparently thats where Wittengenstein used to go to fly kites when he was a student? at Manchester University unless I've got it completely wrong! Anyway, this inspired the above after reading about the weird things left on his grave in Cambridge.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Four Boots

Four boots this Sunday much to our delight. The first was in Hartford and it turned out to be the largest and busiest as expected. I didn't find anything though and I don 't think Hazel found much. A bit too crowded and jostling for our liking. It was hard to get near some stalls. Afterwards we picked up Archie's chum Jack from Weaverham who was coming over for the day. Came back via the boot at Anderton which was mostly indoors. Nothing of interest here either despite the boxes of old records I sorted through. Hazel bought some pansies to put in the garden. Then to the boot sale at Witton which was a measly half dozen stalls. Picked up DVD's of "How To Get Ahead In Advertising" ( about a talking boil on the neck of Richard E. Grant ) and Clockwise with John Cleese for 20p. The last boot sale was even more pathetic with only two stalls inside the community centre at Lostock but I did find a hard back copy of "The Melancholy Death Of Oyster Boy" by Tim Burton for 50p.
So you see- size doesn't matter, even the smallest boots have big bargains.

Yesterday I had to go and have my haircut and then have my photo taken in the library by a tiny lady from the Northwich Guardian. Both were relatively painless though the hairdresser did try and engage me in a conversation about the weather. The photo should be in this weeks edition so that will be interesting to see. I did the interview over the phone so I expect a few inaccuracies.

Monday, March 10, 2008


American version of Creature Comforts by the brilliant Aardman team.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Library Photos

The historic Brunner Library and Salt Museum where my exhibition is in Northwich. The Salt Museum bit has since moved to an old workhouse two miles away by the River Weaver.

Posing with the art. Quite hard to get back for an overall view as there are things like a security gate and bannisters in the way but Hazel did a good job taking these pictures

Library Exhibition

Put up the exhibition of twenty small collages in the Northwich library foyer yesterday with Hazel's help. Some of the work in this slide show above. I will try and take a photo of the exhibition today sometime. Pleased the way it looked considering the size and peculier aspect of the space. My thumb aches now from pushing in all those pins holding the descriptions of the work.
Afterwards we did some shopping. Hazel found some interesting knitting paraphenalia in nthe nearby Age Concern shop- needle gauges, needles and patterns etc. Also a hexagonal glass candlestick that reflects the light like a prism. Her grandad used to have one similar apparently.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Spotty Vs. Snotty

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Both Archie and I are at home today with nasty colds. sniff sniff. I went out for a walk into town to get some bread and a screwdriver. All our screwdrivers are either blunt or gone missing. Cheap and nasty ones made in China usually. You can't buy decent tools anymore.
sniffle. Its cold out but sunny. I also bought some CD sleeves. I'm in the process of decanting all my CD's into thin plastic see-through sleeves- this will help with space. Coincidentally interesting programme about Stephen Hawking and black holes and beginning of the universe etc. on last night. I didn't understand a word of it!
You can probably be baffled again if you missed it - see BBC's iPlayer or maybe it was C4 , in which case the 4OD site is what you want. Lots of good stuff in the archives there including the Adam&Joe show from the 90's and complete series of Father Ted, Black Books, Comic Strip etc. etc.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Holy Grail Of Rhubarb

Quite a busy weekend what with one thing and another.
Last night we went to see a travelling theatre group as part of the Cheshire whatsits village touring thingy. It was at Plumley Village hall where we saw the amazing Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain a couple of years ago before they hit the big time. The hall was packed again and we had to sit around tables which makes the back ache a bit after two hours. The seats are'nt meant to be sat in for longer than two minutes really!
Anyway it wasa darkly comic "clown noir" about some postmen who stumble upon some murderous goings-on. Some very loud bangs from starting pistols made me jump out of my skin despite the warning notices!
Today was Mothering Sunday and so I popped down to the Co-Op to get some flowers and the papers ( free Scrabble CD-ROM) but it was closed due to its first break-in. You could see it coming a mile off really as its isolated and just a muddy track and timber yard round the back.
I got the papers and bunch of daffs further on up the road. Hazel's Mom and sister came for a fish and chip lunch and Archie entertained them with his guitar twanging and flights of remote controlled helicopter. Granma had a go and nearly drilled a hole in the ceiling. She also managed to cut some paper using my 5 bladed scissors ( for cutting up receipts and bills ) and get a sliver of white paper stuck to the inside of her spectacles.

Next Day.
Awoken with a nasty cold so had to postpone dental appointment. I am due to have two fillings re-done so quite relieved in a way but I'll have to find some courage at a later date. I hate having my teeth drilled. I expect most people do!
A quiet day of sniffing and sneezing ahead.