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.