Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Rope String Band

Really fun evening out at the Great Budworth Village Hall to see the New Rope String Band. I already had the Old Rope String Band CD that Jim in Basingstoke sent me and he told me they were very good live. After one of their number died in a hit and run accident a few years back I never thought I'd get to see them but thanks to the Cheshire Rural Touring Network they played a couple of village halls near us and I managed to book tickets. We have been to a few RTN functions and they are always terrific. You see top class acts, theatre groups etc. in the intimate surroundings of the village hall with lots of nice village folk who always seem glad to welcome strangers and pull out all the stops to make the visiting artistes feel appreciated.
Great Budworth is no exception - great care was taken in the decoratiosn of the hall - being a "string and rope" theme they managed to borrow the tug of war rope from the young farmers and wind it round the rafters like a big snake! On the tables were vermicelli and sweet pink stringy shoelaces. Also nibbles and hot mince pies in the interval. Some tasty bottled beers in the bar too.
The band itself were excellent musicians and very funny and inventive as this YouTube video shows. Hazel bought me the DVD of their Old Rope String Band days to wrap up for Crimble.
Everyone we spoke to were very friendly and on our table were some very chatty people who new someone that travels on the train with Hazel - a small world eh?
A kind lady let us park on her drive when we found ourselves stuck down a narrow private road when the car park for the village hall was full.
Instead of the usual raffle they had a themed competition to guess the name of the knots on a tray handed around. We got one out of five needless to say as our knot recognition wasnt up to scratch.

The New Rope String Band Promo from Tom Dalling on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Karma Komedian

Another week has nearly flown. The rain has been pretty relentless as is the the wind that whistles down the chimneys. At least we dont live near a river ( the nearest is the Dane and over a mile away ) like those poor folk in Cumbria who have had to leave their homes and worldly goods and stay with neighbours and family until the worst is over. Today wasn.t so bad here - the sun shone and the wind died away to a light breeze. I walked into town on Monday and got soaked to the skin.
Today was quite balmy by comparison. I even found a few stocking fillers on my usual rounds. Also some boots which are a size too large but will suffice with thick socks during the winter months. A fiver from the Oxfam shop and hardly worn. They seem very heavy so I suspect steel toecaps! Great for charity shop stampedes and careless dropped tins of tomatoes in Aldi.
Archie made the collage above some time ago at his last school. he has collected most of his artwork and flung the most of it into the recycling bag. He's put the lovely boxed assemblages he made on his bedroom wall. I will try and get a photo as they are really quite exceptional. A chip off the old blocks.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


An eventful day starting with Hazel feeling ill and then to compound her stress a stupid woman parked her car on out white line so that we couldnt get out. Our train was due at 9:12am and it was now 8:35 and Hazel was seething and wandering the street wringing her hands. Eventually the dozy woman emerged and got an earful from Hazel who by this time was at boiling point. I've never seen her so angry. What made it worse is the fact the woman was totally un-repentent and laughed it off, which made Hazel even more angry. Archie and I hid indoors at this point.
Anyway, eventually we got to the station and got our train. Archie had to walk to college as no time to give him a lift.
The journey was pretty uneventful and didn't take too long. Seemed quite fast infact - the new train probably helped. Hazel was very envious of the comfortable carriages and accoutrements , so unlike the cattle wagons she has to travel in on the Manchester to Chester line.
Thankfully she had calmed down by this time. We had a late breakfast ( slice of toast and tea ) in the Bluecoat cafe. The gallery has been re-furbished but seemed strangley empty and lifeless - the once comfortable and human sized spaces replaced by large,cold and austere spaces that made you want to leave straight away! The nicest rooms were given up to the shop and studios at the back beyond the peaceful courtyard. The latest exhibition didn't help either- some rather depressing paintings and prints by local artists like Adrian Henri etc. based on the novel "Under The Volcano" by the troubled writer Malcolm Lowry.
Time to be cheered up by some Jean Tinguely sculpture at the Tate!

Slightly underwhelming - the show curated by Michael Landy was very thin and contained hardly any large works and very few that were working. Indeed many looked so fragile that they would probably self destruct if plugged into the mains!
Even so it was light relief after the Bluecoat and I enjoyed very much seeing the short film of the "Homage To New York" and the documentary of Michael Landy talking to people who knew Tinguely and witnessed the "Homage To New York" event some 49 years ago.
Hazel was pleased that so many of her students had turned up despite the weather.
Hada nice lunch of soup and roll in the Tate cafe with Nick who teaches on the Interactive Arts course. Expensive but we were hungry and need to rest our weary feet.
Considered walking further to other galleries but we decided two was enough for one day and Hazel was still feeling under the weather.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Social Whirl

Quite a busy weekend for a change with a trip out to Yorkshire with Tony and Penny on Friday to meet up with Dave,Nick and Joan at a posh pub , high up on the moors near Rochdale or was it Huddersfield? Anyway, it was a very nice meal and good drop of Black Sheep bitter. We had a quick walk to take some photos waiting for everyone to turn up. Most can be found at Flickr.
Afterwards went to a garden centre to look at the Xmas lights ( see Flip video above ). I was tempted to buy some LED candles but decided I prefer the real thing.
Yesterday it was an invite to Adela and Will's lovely old house the other side of Northwich for a house warming. More lovely food and home made cider. Met all the family and got a tour of the rambling house on the side of a steep hill. The back garden looks more like a cliff. Adela and Will have plans for terraces and chickens etc. One can imagine the chickens all roped together and wearing crampons hanging on for dear life. Maybe mountain goats would be a better option?
Had to leave early to get Archie who was having dinner at a friends house.

The social whirl continues today with a trip over to Alsager and Sunday Lunch with Tony and Penny. Archie took two ukulele's so he could show Tony some chords and they played Tiptoe Through The Tulips etc.
Nice nut roast and all the trimmings, soup and ice cream. Pineapple upside down cake. Yum!
Went for a walk along the Salt Line afterwards to burn off some calories. The Salt Line is an old railway track that was closed down in the 60's and eventually changed into a path for ramblers. From it's highest point you can see Mow Cop and the Alsager Tip.

The Salt Line

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Charity Market

It was the yearly charity market today. Sadly it seems to have been taken over by charities that insist on a tombola stall. Hardly any books or records etc. There's just so many packets of bath salts and tins of prunes you are able to accomodate. I'm never lucky at such things and despite plunging my hand into the numbered cork drum many a time Ive always seem to walk away with the knitted loo roll cosy!
The charity shops proved just as fruitless. We had to make do with our bargains from Aldi. It was jam packed today and old codgers were getting their trolleys in a twist and blogging the isles. One appeared to be in the pay of Aldi and was exclaiming very loudly to all in earshot about the wonderful savings on marmalade and sliced loaves. I know - that's why we come here I felt like saying but just smiled approvingly.
Archie is off today for some reason and so bored he is actually doing some piano practice!
In the news this morning a scientific survey suggesting that teenagers do need a lie in until noon and its not because they are lazy but need 12 hours sleep.
Latest set of collages at Scrapiteria on the theme of Dinner Guests of which the collage above is just one. The new theme is Unnatural Phenomenon ( or something similar ) so that should be fun. I'm off now to find my clippings of three toed sloths.Or three humped camels-

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fireworks In The Park

Went to the annual Round Table firwork and bonfie extravaganza in Verdin Park which was well up to the usual high standard. Grand finale was impressive when sparks and bits of debris rained down on the essembled throng! A pall of smoke drifted over us and hung in the air above the infirmary. Squelched back through the soggy leaves to the car parked several miles away breathing in the toxic fumes and smell of damp duffle coats. Oh, it was me.
Short film as my Flip camera was low on batteries.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Beer Feeding and Ferdie The Fly Day

Yes, it's 26 years since Hazel and I first went out together and we've been together more or less ever since. We choose the 5th November for our Anniversary as it's quite easy to remember and the evening that sparks flew at the bonfire party in Alsager. I think we did meet up a couple of times before that with friends tagging along - at the Postal Museum in London and in an Alsager pub. I can't remember where Ferdie made an appearance but he seemed much larger then and wore a handy rucksack with a tin bottle of what flies like to drink best. He seems to have lost some weight and aquired a handy embroidered bag with his name on. On the reverse it says "For Mickle xxx"
The Bear Feeding is also an "in joke" of sorts that only very good friends can possibly understand. Come to the Beer Feeding and bring some sparklers. There will be toffee and cakes. Ferdie is welcome too as long as he doesn't sit all over the jelly!