Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crimble Mess

I bit behind in my blogging. Very cold here still and even a bit of snow as you can see. We have been let off lightly though as some parts are up to their armpits in the stuff!

Not much to tell really - the usual shopping trips and collaging. The sniffles have abated and left with a tickly cough that refuses to go away.
Will and Adela came for lunch yesterday which was nice. Had some crackers to pull. Inside were the usual tat- plastic shoe horn ( Will made into a dogs tongue ), small playing cards, metal puzzle, pink heart thing to hang on your phone? Adela put it on her camera. Just a simple lunch of home made vegetable soup and crusty bread followed by shop bought mince pies and cream.

Sent off all out cards and packets so at the mercy of the postal service and the weather.

A bit more shopping to do. Glad we are not travelling this Xmas - sounds like hell!

Friday, December 03, 2010


Still laid low with colds, viruses, sneezles, snuffles and bugs of all shapes and sizes. No lobster men from outer space yet though, but still time. This old collage (above) was picked for a booklet that Artists Newsletter did a few years back when the Millenium Bug was all the rage. I did a few buggy collages back then for a travelling show that did the rounds in the North West. I rarely get invited to them anymore or maybe I cant be bothered to take part - too much of a faff.

Still freezing but no snow like they've had down South and East. Amazing really that we have escaped so lightly. better not speak too soon though - I expect we shall be up to our armpits in it next week!

Managed to trudge into town a few times for a bit of shopping - posting parcels etc.
Ordered a new washing machine and fridge/freezer as the old ones ( bought when we first moved to Cheshire ) are clapped out. The washing machine pump has stopped pumping so a big pile of dirty washing is piling up. Hopefully the new one will arrive Sunday and we can get some clean clothes for next week.

Time for a hot crumpet.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Secret Life Of The Collagist

The virus or whatever it is still refuses to relinquish it's grasp of my being. Man Flu permeates my vitals. Sneezoids, choughing , snuffling are the order of the day - not to mention the fneedling.
Appetite isn't affected though thankfully so was able to make a dirty great binful of broccoli bake on Monday and a trough of Macaroni Cheese on Tuesday. I cant remember much about Wednesdays meals but Thursday I made a nut roast with fresh chestnuts that Hazel's Mom and Sister gave us. Jolly nice it was too.
Broke the key on Hazel's workshop so Northwich Glass came round to fix it. The guarentee had run out but they didn't charge as we are such good customers. That's what we thought anyway. Only took a few ticks of wonky clock.
Archie has taken it over just lately - making stuff for his art A level - tin things, influenced by Andy Hazell. They look pretty good too for a beginner. he even has the sticky plastered fingers to prove it!

Hazel came down with the same virus and had to have two days off college on Thurs and Friday.
My flu or cold or whatever it is hasnt gone away. Just when you think has it pops up again as bad as before. First thing in the morning is worst.
Went to the college to talk to Archie's teachers. He seems to be doing OK although the art tutor has no idea how hard Archie works at home. He's rather baffled by the control panels I think.
More prostate checks at docs which wasn't much fun. Blood test OK so he put me on some tablets but they make me feel dizzy so stopped taking them after one day. I have decided not to drink tea anymore after 7 o'clock at night and stick to cocoa or a milky drink of some kind. This seems to help quite alot and I only woke up once last night so was able to get some kip for a change.

And now a poem -

What is that smells like glue?
Is it the macaroni cheese or you?
I cant seem to stick to the things I do
So going back to the old UHU.

The collages here are quite old I made for Hazel's birthday and our anniversary.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One Hour Photo

Archie has made a remake of One Hour Photo that originally starred Robin Williams for a college project.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Weakly Snet

Did I mention it was our 27th Bear Feeding anniversary? No flies with rucksacks but some chocs and the usual enigmatic cards. I gave Hazel a Blurb book of collages which seemed like a good idea to try. I somehow managed to duplicate tow of the pages- whether through miopia or dyslexia or just excitement I don't know!

Sneezing and sniggling all day long. Sniffing too. A nasty cold which lasted for days - still have it in fact as I write this. Archie has it too and had a day off college.
managed to drag ourselves out to celebrate anyway - a nice meal at the Crafts Centre posh restuarant. Looked round the antiques afterwards. Hazel bought some postcards.
Up all night with coughing and calls of nature. Not sure if its the cold or the prostate. I was due another check up anyway so went to the docs the next day and he sent me to the Infirmary for the usual blood test etc.
Not heard anything yet.
Archie went to London on a college trip. Had to get up and the crack of dawn with Hazel and get a train to Stockport and another to Crewe to join party. Hazel had to drive to Crewe later to fetch him. Luckily she had no college the next day so was able to get some sleep.

Not sure why these photos of Southend's old bandstand are here. I could not find anything else.
Missed the annual charity market due to feeling awful and full of cold. It could even me Man flu - never quite sure of the difference.
Catching up with DVD's Ive bought recently as felt too lethargic to do anything else. Watched a good Orson Welles film "The Stranger" which I'd not seen before - a film noirish thriller about a nazi hunter played by Edward G. Robinson. Also an amusing animation called "Planet 51" and another "Rain With A Chance Of Meatballs".

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Burning Car

Quite exciting here this morning as we drove up to the car park in town just behind marks and Sparks - a big plume of black smoke was rising up. A 3 wheeled Reliant had just burst into flames! We watched as the tyres exploded and the whole thing was soon engulfed - in the distance the sound of sirens. By the time the firemen got to the car park the car was a fire ball and then a steam cloud as they trained their hoses onto it from all angles . Hazel took a very bad photo with her crappy phone. I will try and upload it later to my Flickr account. When we returned to the car park after some shopping the car, or the mangle charred remains were being winched up a ramp onto a breakdown truck. What a mess. This is two days after our local dentist round the corner blew up - a faulty gas boiler!

The local paper will have a field day with this - they only have dog poop to write headlines about usually!

Do It Yourself Cartoon Kit - Bob Godfrey 1959

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Sandstone Trail

Nice walk along the Sandstone Trail from Delamere to a small farmyard cafe over towards Willington? Will and Adela showed us where it was and led the way. We definately needed our walking boots as the ground was very tricky with roots of gnarled trees and boulders strewn along the way - not to mention the muddy puddles. Passed the riding course and stables up some steep hills and down again into a bit called the Urchins Kitchen which was an gulley carved out during the ice age with big impressive rocks either side. You can see it in this short film. The film is longer but Flickr doesn't allow any films longer than 90 seconds for some reason.
Will led us a merry dance through the undergrowth and brambles until we came out almost where we started! Thankfully a rest and a nice lunch at the cafe which was packed with ramblers and cyclists with Lycra shorts on - what a din. We wore our Halloween masks that W &A brought along for a photo opportunity . Delicious cheese and tuna toasties and we shared a slab of cake. The pressed apple juice was nice too.
Will and Adela showed us the various edible and non-edible fungi en route which they cleverly spotted in the undergrowth. The Stinkhorn and the Fly Alegaric? Followed by very mad bouncy dogs.

Our local dentist blew up yesterday apparently - a gas explosion! Luckily it happened after the clocks were put back an hour at 7:30am- an hour later and the dentist would be full of teeth!
I have an appointment for next week so expect it will be postponed now. Not sure how badly damaged the inside was.

Went for a walk to town and back this morning before the rain. Quite mild still for November. Got a few bits from Quality Save including some balsamic vinegar to make some more onion pickle - the last lot is almost gone. Also some cheap films from the Age Concern shop - Spiders and some old Mighty Mouse cartoons.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Liverpool Biennial

We went to Liverpool on the train today. Hazel had been before but keen to show us round and some of the things she'd discovered.
The car park was full at the station so it was touch and go whether she came along with Archie and me. Luckily she found a parking space nearby down a side road and joined us on the platform before the train arrived. It was pretty packed but we managed to get seats and enjoyed the 25 minute journey.
Most of the Biennale work was spread out over town in various old buildings and galleries around the old cathedral and down towards Chinatown and the more seedier parts of town.
A great deal of video work and installations to view and not so many paintings and 2 dimensional work. In one old tower a huge sword hanging from the ceiling. In FACT and great swathe of old clothes rigged like a mighty sail. In an old foundry an oriental lady like a modern Repunzel sat on a high platfom and cut white paper continously until it flowed down the walls and up into a huge hanging festoon.
Further on was the Young Contempories and art from Asia and the Netherlands. Art from all over the world infact.
Had a nice cheeseless toastie ( cheese lorry stuck up the M6 apparently ) and sald for lunch in CAC. More video and installation.
Popped in a nice antiquey junk shop on the way and found three old scratchy records so I was well pleased. Expect them on my Flickr stream and audio blog any day now.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fado Fourday

A bit of an accident prone day culminating in a nosebleed but otherwise not too bad for a four day.
Walked briskly into town via the docs to drop off my prescription form. Still long tailback of traffic due to new gas pipes by the station. I was walking faster than the bus which always pleases me. Not many bargains but did find a nice Portuguese fado cassette in the Sally Army shop for 10p. The other cassette by some native Americans dancing round a cactus wasn't nearly so exciting!
I expect both will appear shortly on my audio blog if I can be bothered to get the ION turntable down from upstairs.

Post from Ennio Pauluzzi and Ron Bookless. Ron sent a nice 'zine that I contributed a couple of pages to. Also a CD of a podcast to conjured up by Bob Hampshire who sounds like a Hamster sucking on a helium balloon.
We be thankful for small Murphy's.

I made a delicious spinach bake. Yum!

More snaps here sent by Hazel's Uncle John and Auntie Audrey in OZ of our visit which seems ages ago now. Thats us posing with Bryan Ferry , an old convict who built a ferry over the Roxy River. The other is us on some lookout point - Sydney is far off on the horizon but you cant really see it from here. Actually I'm wrong having looked at it again- that's the tea and scones we had in the Norman Lindsay Gallery cafe. very nice they were too.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pretty Typical

Valves and more valves! Archie continued his valve obsession with more this weekend from the Antique Fair- the same stall we bought his birthday valves from . He was able to see for himself the strange hirsute man behind the stall and try and haggle with him. He did finally get a small discount for being persistent. Hazel though was annoyed that his penny banks had gone up in price by a third! It seemed a big jump in just a week. Obviously the credit crunch is beginning to bite. Can we blame the government? Yes I think we can. Absolutely outrageous that antiques have shot up in price.

I am joking ofcourse.
I didn't find any bargains though toyed with the idea of buying a 78 for two quid but seemed a bit steep really. Audrey bought a small blue saucer and some postcards for Granma. We were subjected to Tescos afterwards for our sins.
I don't remember much about the last week. I scribbled a few words down in my diary but none of it is legible.
Something about a hippo wrestling in Aldi and gnat filing a snood?
We had a nice walk around Shackerly Mere and ignored the ducks. I took some photos of mushrooms that looked very poisonous and managed to tread in some dog poo.

A pretty typical weekend really.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Birthday Boy

Valves ! Valves! Yes, it's not many 18 year old get ancient crusty valves for their birthday from their mad parents. We know what he likes. He got some other nice stuff including driving lessons and DVD's and chocs. I was hoping to take him down the pub for a pint but he's got lots of homework to do- making dials - and a cranky art teacher breathing down his neck so maybe next week. We can still have some champers with out lasagne tonight though. Hic!
The boot sale this morning was a small affair round the back of the pub in town. Betty was there and I bought a DVD from her. Hazel bought four candles. Not much else.
Archie had a driving lesson and then Hazel quickly blew up a pile of balloons to hang in the window for his return. Also a banner saying "Happy Birthday" over the front door. Bruce told us about his horrible tenants who had to be evicted for not paying the rent, gas or electric. What a long and painful story that was. He just had to change all the locks on the doors.
We went over to Granma's to eat cake and Archie blew out the candles etc. We took a cake and Granma made a cake so we had cake coming out of our ears.
jack came over too this morning to give him a card and money. We looked through some old videos to try and find ones of Jack and Archie when they were 7 or 8 and used to play togther. Couldnt find them but found others that made us laugh of Archie with his Worm Hotel and paper mache puppets that were very funny. I'd forgotten just how chatty he was back then. Yack yack yack!
They are outside now doing some jig sawing and making dials from wood for the vacuum former in the art room at college.
I'm making a lasagne as that is what birthday boy has asked for.

Monday, October 04, 2010


I think I have uploaded this photo before but its one of the few on the desktop at the moment due to some Friends ReUnited tinkering over the weekend. I joined again only to find out I hadn't really left. It kept telling me that someone was using my email address and code and then it dawned on me that it was me! Another senior moment. I seem to be getting more and more - just made a cheese and asparagus flan without eggs for some reason and in a very floppy plastic tray. It is oven proof but not ideal really. Shall have fun juggling it out of the oven and spilling contents down my leg.
Otherwise a fun packed weekend despite the torrential rain. Saturday was filled with shopping, collaging and some TV- watched Planet Of The Apes again- mainly for Archie's benefit who hadn't seen the original. He wasn't all that impressed. It still has it's moments of monkey fun.
Sunday was very wet but we foolishly drove ( or rather Hazel did with me cowering in the passenger seat) to a boot sale in Tarporley through rivers of rain making huge sploshing noises that made me jump and grab the gear stick. Hazel didn't appreciate this much as you can imagine! We got there eventually and amazed to see the community hall quite full. Got some silly games including Dastardly & Muttley. Also DVD of Dreamcatcher from a story by Stephen King.

In the afternoon as we dozed after lunch, watching the opening ceremony from the Commonwealth Games from Delhi, there came a knock at the front door and instead of the Mormons or double soffit salesman it was hazel's old college chum Stella and her other half who popped by on their way oop North. We had a nice chat and caught up with their kids education, degree ceremony photos, our photos of Australia etc. over some tea and biscuits. They showed us their caravanette whatsit parked outside complete with all mod cons. They were off to see Stella's Mom who lives up near Blackpool and then maybe the Lake District.

Today was a typical 4 day with wrong coat, walk to town, missed bus, no bargains, Q in post office, gas bills and magpies in the apple tree.
The faulty flan tasted OK thankfully so not all bad!

BTW the old photo above incase I didnt mention before was taken in 1966 outside the dining hut at the old Southend Art School in Victoria Circus. Soon after pulled down to make way for a roundabout of all things. The line up from left to right is, Ned Newitt, Richard Woods, Vic Mills (who collected the dinner vouchers ) Rick Cox, and skulking round the back is Russell Columbo. I took the photo with my trusty Box Brownie.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Had a nice day out yesterday which started on the 10:33 train from Northwich. Listened to my MP3 player - old radio shows from the 40's - ITMA and Arthur Askey etc. Train smelled of old flannel. Walked from Piccadilly to All Saints. Hazel warned me I'd be too hot in my duffle coat but wore it anyway and felt fine for a while but soon realised she was right as the sweat pored down my face and dripped onto my shoes - at least I think it was sweat.
Met up with old chum Roger Stevens, the poet, ouside the Art School and we had a tour of the Interactive Arts studios trying to find Hazel who was in the office all the time. Sound of men bricking up corridor. Crash clunk. Popped to see Ian who is doing the book about the objects and he explained to Roger what needed to be done as simply as he could - Roger stroked his chin looking thoughtful. Hmmmm?
Then to the Noodle Bar for refreshments and lunch of Monks Soup and prawny dip things. Yum! Clatter bang woops thud. A noisy place.
Hazel went off to college again and we walked down the Cornerhouse to have a coffee and chat and how my blog is full of stuff just like this and how best to get my collages out there to a wider world. Is there a world wider than the internet? The thought of which filled me with inner dread and horror.
Anyway, then off to the Manchester Art Gallery and an interesting inter-active (that word again ) show by a Mexican Canadian artist Raphael Lorenzo- Something or other. His Pulse Room can be seen in short video above which doesn.t really do it justice. Some nice and playful exhibits. Also went round the impressive Pre-Raphaelite room to see The Scapegoat, Light Of The World, The Hireling Shepherd etc.
More coffee . Then after a rest we walked to the station via the Pound Emporium and the Banardos charity shop.
Roger went off to meet Jilly who had been at the Labour Party Conference and I met Hazel and Will on the platform just before the train to Northwich left. Had a nice chat to Will about his holiday in Wales and mushrooms etc.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Down Under

Just back from a trip of a lifetime to Australia. I really didn't want to go at first as I hate flying but Hazel convinced me that it would be nice to see places we had only seen in books and on film- also it would be a chance to meet her relatives some of which she'd never met herself.
For the first 10 days we were in Sydney. Our hotel was very close to the harbour so only a short walk to the ferry terminal, Sydney Opera House, The Botantical Gardens and the famous "coathanger" bridge.
In the above photo we are at the Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour which we managed to walk to. Most places are easily reached on foot but sometimes we got the ferry to the Zoo and Manly for example which were too far. We found everything very expensive- twice as much as in the UK , maybe because the pound has rather slumped against most overseas currencies.

Above we are at the Featherdale animal park near Blacktown- halfway between Sydney and Kurrajong were Hazel's Auntie Audrey and Uncle John lived. We din't go there until 11 days later so jumping ahead of ourselves rather.
Most of the animals seemed very sleepy or very sad looking being in small cages and pens. It was a petting zoo for indigenous species so plenty of wallabies, kangaroos, wombats and koalas etc. The big zoo at Sydney was much better and one felt the animals were happier in larger paddocks and enclosures.

One day we walked over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Luna Park on the North sides - an old fun fair built back in the 40's and still containing some old rides like The Rotor and Gallopers etc. Still plenty of opportunity for photos in the crazy mirrors and these "stick your head through the hole" novelties. Got the ferry back from a nearby jetty. They were very regular and stopped off at many places all over the Sydney and beyond.

Here we are climbing up the many steps to the pedestrian walkway that runs next to the main road and rail bridge. Archie was keen to do the Bridge Climb right over the arch but it was 160 dollars ( about 95 quid! ) which seemed a little pricey.

Lost track now of all the places we visited but needless to say we went to many museums and art galleries including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Powerhouse (Science and Technology), Contemporary Art Gallery, Museum of Sydney, Museum of Australia and Maritime Museum to name but a few. No wonder our legs ached in the vevenings when we staggered back to the hotel. Also went to the Opera House twice to see some George Melies films with live jazz accompniament and The Pirates Of Penzance which was fun.
Met up with Adriana from Flickr- also known as Crafty Dogma- who showed us round Newtown and treated us to a nice Thai lunch and a couple of days later the junk market at Rozelle.
Above is the statue of Solomon Wiseman, a convict who built a small community on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. The ferry is a popular day trip for Sydney siders who who can drive along the old roads by the river and see where the convicts cut their way through the limestone to open up the country back in the 1800's. We went over the river on the "punt" with Uncle John who drove us to many places in the Blue Mountains. Also doing the guided tours were Cousins Mark and Cousin Rohan who drove us to the Jenolan Caves and the Zig Zag Railway respectively. Another high point (quite literally) was the day out to The Three Sisters by way of the Norman Lindasy Gallery ( Magic Pudding fame) in the Blue Mountains. I have posted many photos on Flickr if you want to see more.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Birthday Treats

A busy weekend - birthday treats for Hazel - to the Halle Orchestra and Fireworks at Tatton Park on Saturday evening. Took a picnic and trudged through cornfields for 15 minutes to the lake where the stage was set up. Over 6,000 people attended apparently and it felt like it. We decided we could never go to Glastonbury or similar big gatherings- just one evening amid a big crowd was bad enough. We had to move shortly after the music started as the party next to us just got louder and more drunken! We moved our folding chairs closer to the stage and lake and got a better view as a result. The fireworks and floating Viking ship on the lake etc. were quite stunning as was the music- Nessen Dorma and a few other classical chestnuts which we have been humming since we got home. The Ride Of The Valkyrie with rockets was something else!
Luckily got a quick exit and out of the park by 11. We imagine some people nearer the stage didn't get out of the park by midnight.
The next day we drove to Llandudno and stayed in our usual B&B on the front overlooking the sea. It poured at first but soon brightened up. In the evening went to see Ken Dodd and his Happiness Show again at the Venue Cymru.
Another great show that went on until midnight - 5 hours! Mind you there were two other acts - a ventriloquist and a lady pianist/singer. No Diddy Men this time round.
The next day we got the tramway up the Orme again and walked down to Happy Valley (see video) where a herd of sheep pole vaulted over the fence and ran amok through the park. The new gallery Mostyn has been re-furbished and now a wonderful exhibition space for local and other contemporary art. Nice opening show of varied sculpture painting video and junk pile by African artist to walk through. Hazel bumped into one of her old students in the shop there who was working behind the counter. Small world eh?
Nice meals of fish and chips and pizza/pasta and walks along the pier - the penny slots- air hockey - shopping for tat etc. All the things you do at the seaside.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Another quiet week looking out at the drizzle.
Have been scanning some of the cigarette cards that I bought last week. Examples here
here and here.
The library sale yielded up a few bargains including some obscure foreign films and less obscure like Dr. Who, Body of Lies and Rescue Dawn ( whoever she is?).
Hazel went to Manchester for her birthday for lunch with the MAG lot. Archie made her a great control panel card with flashing lights and beeps etc.
Masses of starlings on the tree as I write- going crazy - feeding frenzy!
My brother is a little better - slowly does it.
Time to chop up some onions to fry with the vege burgers.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Control Panel Heaven

A busy few days with lots happening like my little brother having a stroke and ending up in hospital ( get well soon John ) but thankfully he seems to be responding to treatment and getting some movement back. Archie passed his Grade 2 piano and dumped his keyboard in the back room. Mind you- since he's rejected it he's been playing it more now than he ever did when it was in his bedroom. So this was the secret?
Went to Chester the other day and got drenched with torrential rain that came down in buckets. My umbrella developed a leak actually got wetter holding above my head like some surreal Daliesque soggy mannequin.
Hada pleasant enoughtime before the heavens opened around the usual charity shops and the market etc. Didnt find much. Had a vege sausage roll under a tree by the cathedral. A one legged pigeon hopped by and said "You'd better get back to the car as this drizzle will turn into a flood soon!" and he was right.
Yesterday we went to the Secret Nuclear Bunker at Hack Green near Nantwich. A great couple of hours of cold war paranoia and old gas masks etc. The deep bunker isnt very secret anymore and seems to be run by a couple of ladies in the NAAFI cafe upstairs- who take the money and make the tea!

We thought there might be a few control panels there for Archie's art project but delighted to find there were hundreds - whole rooms full! So that cheered him up. He went round snapping away happily for ages. The austere bleak doom laden ambience only made us laugh louder at the dummies wearing all manner of strange garb and expressions on their faces etc. Luckliy not many people around to overhear our chortling.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


You didn't see me - right?
Forget everything you have read here - it didn't happen.
Another weak has gun by. Beautiful sunny weather for the mostly part. A little bit of rain is most welkum. Kool soft flowing drippy wet rain. Just the job for the garden. You should hear the moaning- oh no- what awful wevver! People have short memories.
I cant be bothered to look in my diary t see what happened last week. It wasn't all that exciting. On Sunday we went to the boot sale at Weaverham. I got a few daft films including a Russian sword and scullery epic called Wolfhound that was a bit like a cross between LOTR and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. very funny in parts but I'm sure it wasn't suppozed to bee.
Taking grate joy in seeing the words being underloined in red.
Hazel got a few bits for her blog including a tin of pen nibs and lots of plants for the hanging baskets. Archie bought a big jigsaw of a planes cockpit and dials for Audrey and Granma to do. He just wanted the picture on the front for his art project about control panels. He's making some out of card but hopes to make a larger one.

Wednesday again and a walk into town. Borrowed a Sweded film about vampires from the libary. Had a chat with Betty in the Age Concern shop. No boots this week she said- maybe one at the pub in Weaverham. Looks like rain anyway. Luvvly rain to make the grass grow. To make it all grin again.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

World Still In Pieces

Busy week making second batch of caramelized onion pickle - just three jars which made the house stink of vinegar for a couple of days. Archie complained bitterly - anyone would think it was a mustard gas attack!
Very warm and high pollen count which made us all sneeze- Archie especially who suffers from hay fever. He's taking pills which help but make him feel sleepy and lethargic.
Hazel still has the tickly cough she had a fortnight ago.
Went to two boot sales on Sunday. At Verdin Park we bumped into Will and Adela who had some big bags of plastic animals they found. I didnt find much but Hazel bought some nice old fob watched for a quid each and gave me one. Just noticed it has a quartz crystal inside so cant be all that old but better than a wrist watch - I can keep it in my pocket or on a chain.
The boot sale at Hartford High School was better for bargains - got a few films including Crash and Identity. Also an old EP by the Stringalongs ( see audio blog ).
Hazel got a few things too including plants and leather wallet full of gold leaf.
Archie made a rare boot sale appearance and got some plastic electronic toys for the innerds. He's taking them apart to make a mad scientists control panel for his art project - flashing lights and ossilators etc.
It was his final piano lesson and grade 2 test on Monday so he was happy and the news that 6 Music had been reprieved really made his day!
A walk into town yesterday and more films that I'll probably never get round to watching including the original King Kong, Under Seige and Hairspray by John Waters.
The image above is the cover of a mail art project I did back in 1984. Quite a nice publication that Dick Turpin's uncle printed for me. The mail was stuck up on a bulletin board my me every day at the Whitechapel gallery as part of the annual Open exhibition. It was quite a job but fun to do at the the time.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Hazel is still full of cold a week later. She had last Monday off and stayed in bed but struggled in Tuesday.
This photobooth photo is on Archie's wall now- hence the reflections. Taken by one of Hazel's students -Olivia Glasser - at the Interactive Arts degree show. We thought it was just one photo but the camera flashed agin when we were piling out (knocking the curtain down ) and Hazel jumped back in for the last one.
Busy day on Tuesday. Went to the Sorting Office and took down the feet shaped postcards that have been there over a year now. No chance of adding anything new to the cabinet so left it empty. Bought a cheap MP3 player with my birthday money and spent a a while adding lots of stuff to it. I've never really seen the point of getting one before as I would hardly use it but going to Manchester on the train last week with the clunky MD player made me realise it would be quite handy. This Archos is tiny and holds up to 16mbs with added memory slot thingy.
Wednesday watched the football - England v Slovakia which we scraped a win - a portent of things to come.
Archie went into college for final exam - General Studies.
Weather has been very warm and no rain for ages - most unusual for June!
Archie sat outside too long and got heat sickness and headache so he had Thursday off college.
Friday I walked to town and back despite the heat. Made a Waldorf salad for lunch with pecans.Yum! The onion pickle I made a month ago is ready to eat and is delicious even if I say so myself. I shall definitely be making some more!
More futball.

Went to town with Hazel on Saturday. No bargains. Glastonbury started. Watched some I recorded the previous night. Highlight was Bombay Bicycle Club.
More futball. In the evening went to see Bernard Wrigley ( The Bolton Bullfrog) at the local theatre. Phew- it was a bit hot and muggy inside what is basically a corrogated tin hut! Bernard was great though despite bits of the show being , as Hazel described it - like a Saga Holiday sing-along!
Boot sales the next day at Walnut Tree fram and Whitegate football club. Very hot- so hot I wore a silly big hat I bought in New York.
Got a couple of games and Hazel found a few bits and bobs including a fruit bowl, a gyroscope and a packet of old fuses - just what every girl needs!

Watched to England v Germany horror show in the afternoon and cried into our beer.
O well , we'll have to wait for the European championships to try and make up for it.
Had a nice bar-b-q outside later despite the noisy neighbours who seemed to be strangling a pig and sawing up some scaffolding poles with a bread knife.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Belly Funny

New animation by Archie.

Merz Day

As Creative Thing ( long time mail art chum ) keeps telling me- my birthday is also Kurt Schwitter's. Celebrated with a boot sale at Moss Farm. We had to park miles from it though as the car park was "full up" but when we got there it seemed half empty! Didnt find much- a DVD of Silence Of The Lambs with extras disc for a quid. Hazel was full of cold but bravely trudged round for my sake and bought a few weird things- a wooden ruler with an inch missing, an intricately peirced watch part, a watch chain fob? Then in the afternoon we went over to Granma's for fish 'n chips and a big sticky cake they had bought at the church fete.
It was Father's Day too so got a nice double card from Archie he had collaged with two flaps - one for birthday and the other for fathers. Box of chocs, set of collaging scalpels and plastic box box from Granma and Audrey and some money. Hazel found me a nice old toffee tin at the boot that I'm sure I had as a child.
Home to watch the football - exciting game between Brazil and the Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast left it a bit late for a fight back and lost 3 - 1. It all got a bit silly at the end with lots of diving and play acting.
Hazel was feeling terrible so went to bed early.
This photo was taken a few weeks ago but sums up how happy I felt yesterday being with my family.
Previously in the week we'd been to Manchester and the degree shows. Had lunch with John Hegley and his girlfriend in the Cornerhouse. He opened the Interactive Arts show later with a song and cut the purple ribbon. He then rushed off to the University theatre to do a gig which we managed to catch luckliy. We shared a taxi back to the centre of town. We we all feeling very tired so declined the offer of a drink in the hotel bar. The next day Hazel had to look after the gallery and keep an eye on the students but cold was kicking in. Archie and I wandered round all the rest of them - fine art, graphics, illustration etc.
So a pretty busy fun packed weekend. All that culture gave me a headache!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Found this old collaborative mail art "pass along" piece in a folder today. The late and much missed Michael Scott added most of the words with a glue that looks a bit like treacle? Maybe it was treacle?
Another week and bit flashed by. The weekend was marred by the rain but did get to the indoor boot sale at the memorial Hall. Got there too early and passed the time by wandering around the town and looking at bits of buildings we hadnt really noticed before - wooden gargoyles, brightly painted imps, grotesque statuary - and that was just in the newsagents! No, I'm kiddin' ofcourse- some lovely corners and crooked nannies around the back streets of Northwich. Looking above the tarted up shop fronts you see some lovely old brickwork and ornate guttering , wonky chimneys and pointy roofs.
Back at the memorial Hall the Q's had formed and it was a bit packed inside with everyone shuffling around trying to get in each others way. So we didnt stay long. Hazel found a strange biomechanical bracelet with knobs on- for transforming a nervous wreck into a chilled out yoghurt. I found some cheap DVD's ofcourse- 50p each with no sleeves or boxes - he just put them in a paper bag like toffees.
The Comic Strip from the early days of Channel 4 when they showed some good stuff. Also some 10 hours of old cartoons on 4 discs with lots of Betty Boop and Popeye and other Fleischer Bros gems amongst the dross.
Later we went over to Granma's to plant some flowery plugs and weed her overgrown beds- not in that order ofcourse.

Today I ordered my new glasses- both long and short sighted specs. Boots are much better than Specsavers and I don't care who knows it. A little more expensive maybe but at least they treat you properly and you don't feel you're being rushed through because you are over 60.
Archie has been revising for his A levels and had two exams this week- Chemistry and Biology which went OK he said . Its General Studies next week. He's hoping to form a band but has only one conscript so far.
Looking forward to the football fest soon but I don't think Hazel is! I think we will refrain from draping a 6 foot union jack from the upstairs window though.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

June Already!!!

A weekly feast of whelks? Why did i write that in my diary? Gawd nose.
The last couple of whelks have whizzed by at an alarming rate. Can't belive it's the 1st of June today- feels more like February! I have the heating on and wearing my thickest shirt and jumper!
So back to the diary to see what I was up to - if anything - for the last few days.
Had to lock up Rob's chickens again. No sign of them in the gloom so presume they were snuggled up inside the coop. They all trooped out the next morning. I could see an egg far back inside but I couldn't reach it. Rob said we could have the eggs if we found any but these chickens are a wiley bunch and super glue them to the back wall.
I finished ICO , well except for the boring final boss and borrowed the sequal , Shadow Of The Colossus from the library. I'm glad I didnt buy it as its not as good as ICO and mostly fighting which gets very tedious. Amazing landscapes to explore though. We watched Avatar on DVD which I heartily recommend for 2 and half hours of escapist nonsense. I can see why its done so well. Shame it means that everything will be in 3D from now on though!

Went to boot sale in Nantwich at the Vagrants Club and got a couple of films by John Carpenter. Hazel found a few things for her cabinet of curiosities. Propelling pencils ( that I found) and other stuff that I forget now. See her blog for details. It was incredibly hot and so unlike the weather today. Too hot to stay there long. After an hour I found Hazel and Archie who had hidden in the shade of a large tree.
O yes, Hazel found me a nice old tin post box with a mangled slit - attacked by some mad child with a cleaver, trying to get his pennies out.
First bar-b-q of the year in the garden.
Hazel trimmed the lawn with the new strimmer which sounds like a Boing 707 taking off.

Went to see excellent Charity Shop Cabaret at Plumly village hall - part of the Cheshire Rural Touring Network. We sat right at the back so didnt get roped into the daft audience participations - like the After Eight mint stuck to your forehead and slid down your face towards your mouth!
Bought some wine vinegar and jam jars and made a batch of caramel-ized onion pickle.Which i can eat on my birthday in two weeks ( hint hint ).
I boiled up a whole saucepanful and it reduced right down and filled two small jars. Hopefully should be tasty though.
No boots this Sunday so went for a nice walk around Shackerly mere to see the gooslings and feed the ducks etc. Dropped Archie off over in Wettenhall to camp out in a field with some college chums. We ha d a drive around the lanes and ended up back at the Broken Cross by the canal for a drink. We shivered outside waiting for boats to chug passed but saw just one solitary duck that seemed attached to some underwater rail- it kept going up and down, mainly for our benefit.
Terrible pub- beer was off- had to have bottled and their sandwiches are rubbish. We had nuts instead.
Yesterday it was Bank Holiday so a boot at Frodsham. Nice and sunny. Got a couple of scratchy records- Burl Ives and Attila The Stockbroker. See Boot Sale Sounds for details.
Also Village of The Damned (another John Carpenter film )Dragon Quest on PS2 and some spillikins for Hazels collection from Betty. Surprised to see her there. She explained her daughter drove her - else she wouldn't have bothered.
Got Archie from the camping field. He hadnt slept much and is making up for it now. 4 o'clock in the afternoon and still no sign of him!
O well, thats my news pretty much updated. The collage above is for the Mary Greg project that Hazel is involved in at Manchester Art Gallery. Mary Greg collected all kinds of weird stuff, some mundane and some fanciful. The toy ark I saw and the broken animals gave me the idea of the hospital ark and the animals with bandaged legs and paws etc.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nature Calls

Just found this old video in the dusty recesses of the Archie Archive - from about 6 or 7 years ago when he was knee high to a grass hopper.
Back from a walk to town and back as it was so nice out - bright sunshine after a nippy start. Got a couple of DVD's to watch including Avatar from the library, to see what all the fuss is about. I really hate the idea of every film being a 3D blockbuster. Also - 3D telly - what's that all about? Hope it goes the same way as Cinemascope and Smellivision!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Leslie,Carl, Bethan Visit

Hazel's old college chum Leslie drove up to see us for the afternoon from Walsall yesterday. We had planned on a picnic but the weather was a bit iffy so we erred on the side of caution an had a buffet lunch indoors. I made an asparagus quiche and salad and also there was sausage rolls and warm crusty olive bread. Hazel made a rather disastrous meringue which hadn't cooked properly and was a bit gooey in the middle despite being in the oven over an hour. It was Delia Smith's recipe so we blame her! I got some small meringues from the co-op and we had strawberries with them and double cream. By this time we needed a walk to get rid of all the pounds we had added so went to Marbury to see the bluebells and enjoy the smells and sounds of the woods and meadows. Short edited Flip film above gives you an idea.
Then to Granma's for tea and cake and put on the pounds we had just walked off!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tiny House

New animation that Archie had to make for A level course at college.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Tatton Biennale

Two boot sales today at Hartford and Antrobus. Not many bargains but plenty to rummage through in the bright Spring sunshine. Star buys were DVD's of Burn After Reading , a recent Coen Brothers comedy with John Malkovich and George Clooney etc. which is worth seeing again. Saw it at the cinema when it first came out. Hazel got a few things including a bag of needles, buttons and poppers from the 50's or 60's. Also a lovely gadget for measuring the distance between bowls - the crown green kind, to see who is nearest the jack. I expect all these things will appear on her blog in due course.

In the afternoon drove over to Tatton Hall to see the sculpture Biennale in the gardens. There was also art in the house but didn't have time to do that as well. Hazel's ex students Ryan Gander and Austin Holdsworth had made things for it. We met Autsin by chance on the way round as Hazel was rattling the doors to the small mobile cinema he was manning. Austin jumped out of a bush and said "There's always someone isn't there!" which was quite funny.
The gardens looked very beautiful at the moment with all the rhodedendrons and daffs and bluebells etc. Some of the sculpture was good too. A small selection in the short film above. I did the "magic" edit mode so the Flip camera does it automatically and splices segments together. Its a bit jumpy but gives you an idea of what we saw.
Austin made the water pumping sculpture you see briefly which has a pineapple and partridge inside those cannisters being "fossilised" over time. Ryan made the bird of paradise that loos like a mask in a glass case in the window of the house. That's Lord Egerton (who's family used to own Tatton )driving around in his jalopy. His old 8mm films were edited for the small cinema on a loop.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

May Day Weekend

Lucky with the weather yesterday as they predicted torrential rain but it didn't turn up until the evening. Went to town with Hazel early on to do the usual round of charity shops and the market. Didn't buy much. Found a DVD of "Coffee And Cigarettes" in the Hospice Shop - a Jim Jarmusch film that I hadn't seen before.
In the afternoon Hazel and I drove over to Marbury to walk through the bluebell woods - the short Flip film above does not do it justice. It was quite stunning as always and amazed it was so quiet with just one or two people walking dogs or on mountain bikes etc. You'd think the place would be packed on a Saturday to see such a sight as it doesn't last for long.
In the evening we watched the Fantastic Mr. Fox animation which was OK but the American voices didn't seem right really for a Roald Dahl story. All the baddies were played by veteran English actors though - why is that? How come we are so good at playing baddies or is this just how the rest of the world sees us?

Today it was a bit cooler to say the least but at least the rain held off for the boot sales at Verdin Park and Vic. Stadium. Verdin was best with quite a few stalls and hardy folk shivering behind their piles of tat. I bought two old battered tin toys - a duck and a car. A quid each which I thought quite reasonable. Hazel bought lots of odd bits including a 60's hair trimmer as used by Flash Gordon, a Bakelite needle case and some plants.
Good to get back into the warm after the windswept car park of the Vic. Stadium which only had about ten stalls. Nothing there.
Hazel has made some delicious choc chip cakes. Yum!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Another week and a bit has flashed by and I haven't added anything to my poor neglected blog. The first blog I started infact - back in 2004. I seem to have been on the internet forever but it's a mere six years - I can hardly believe it!
I can just about remember last week. nothing much happened. The volcano stopped spewing out noxious fumes and ash and the planes started flying again. Not noticed much of a difference really - maybe they are flying another route now?
Spring has really arrived with warmer days and chilly nights. One morning Hazel had to scrape ice off the windscreen of her car before she set off to the station.
The new lawn is looking nice and green and lush - all the joins have vanished and it looks like a proper lawn and not several chunks all slapped together.
The lovely red flowers above were a a present from my sister Barb who came to visit about six months ago. They haven't stopped blooming since then - all through the Winter!

Hazel had to lock up our neighbour Rob's chickens one evening while he was away. I let them out the next morning. What a funny looking lot they are too - one has a Beatle wig and another is short and squat. The other is small and more like a guinea fowl. Sadly the smallest was taken by a cat or a fox last week. We felt very responsible looking after them but thankfully they all seemed fine the next day as far as we know.

Yesterday I walked into town early to do some shopping. Bumped into Will and Adela outside WH Smiths. They were off to buy squid for a bar-b-q. Nice chat about Robs chickens, bluebells and fish. I showed them the cheap stir fry sauces I'd just bought from Poundstretcher - I don't think they were very impressed!
Then off to get a few things for a bar-b-q as this suddenly seemed like a good idea with the sun coming out. So I bought some vege sausages and baps . Took DVD's back to library. We watched them both earlier in the week. New Coen Brothers was OK though not many laugh out loud moments. Same with the new terry Gilliam which seemed rather blighted by the death of Heath Ledger. Nice that they should carry on in his memory and make it into a kind of homage to him but really it was all very dijointed and bitty. Some lovely CGI though - quite magical in places.

Today we we drove to two boot sales over at Walnut Tree farm and Whitegate Football Club. The farm one was very quiet with just a few stalls but the Whitegate one was quite busy with cars on three sides of the pitch. I got a few DVD's for a quid each including Poltergeist and a Tarantino shlocky film with Kurt Russell as a racing driver. Also a scratchy portugese jazz LP which looks quite interesting. Hazel got a load of plants for the garden and a nice old mixing bowl. It had rained earlier but the sun came out and was very pleasant - driving down the country lanes looking at the budding trees and greenery.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Volcanic Ash Cloud

Neglecting my blog for a while- time to catch up. Have been having fun with these illustrated lists of randon songs plucked from the record shelves for a Flickr group started by Big Al.
Hazel was supposed to fly to Glasgow yesterday for a conference about Museums ( part of her Manchester Art Gallery project ) but ofcourse thwarted by the cloud of volcanic ash floating over from Iceland! You couldn't make it up! Hazel feels like she's in some version of The Truman Show.
Over Easter we didnt do much except for recover from our trip to Wales and go to a few boot sales. The one on Frodsham was pretty dull and I only got a silly game for 60p. Hazel found a few bits and bobs. Archie came too which was unusual but he didnt find anything. The ground was like a quagmire at Sutton Fields too. Very depressing. Stopped off at Lady Hayes to look round the antique rooms and the book piles. Not much here either. Hazel bought some candles from the Spit the Dog chap.
Drove to Chester the next day for a wander round the charity shops. Hazel bought herself a dress in Morgans. I bought a CD case and some corn pads which I put on by the Cathredral walls as my toe was throbbing. Lots of Japanese and French tourists wandering by obviously thinking this must be a strange english ceremony of some sort.
Hazel and Archie laid the turf we bought at B&Q. the next day. Lawn looks pretty good now a few days later- all the lines joining up and blending in.
We rolled the turf down the back passage on a skateboard much to the amusement of the neighbours I expect.
Have not seen much of our new Polish neighbours but the little boy was out in the garden the other day kicking the ball about and it came over our garden once or twice and he was very polite in asking for it back. I told him he should get a longer pole with a net on the end and he just looked at me blankly so I guess his english isn't as good as I thought.
Hazel picked the winner of the Grand National and won 50p off me and Archie. Shame she didn't go down the bookies!
Nice pile of old Honky Tonk tapes from John Mister . Ive added a few to my audio blog. I made him some CD copies and sent them off.
The boot sale was in Tarporley this Sunday. Got a set of Ealing comedies for three quid and some old VHS tapes fro 25p each including Vampire Circus, The Adama Family and Django ( spaghetti western ). More nice sunny weather.
Hazel in garden cutting down some branches to let more light into the garden.
Dave Smith was supposed to come over Tuesday but got the day wrong so we ate the salmon we had cooked. The next day he did turn up and we had salmon leftovers in a quiche which turned out OK. Lots of salad and cake too. Yum!
So that's about it in a nutshell. Still the volcanic ash blows out way but lovely blue sky outside so hard to imagine it's up there!

Sunday, April 04, 2010


Hazel was feeling brave so we drove to Wales for a few days - not really planned it in detail just wanted to get away and see some old friends and "have an adventure".
First stop was Knighton in Powys - just past Shrewsbury. Andy Hazell lives there in a converted school that he's filled with all kinds of interesting stuff, sculptures and staircases that seem to go up to hidden rooms and platforms filled with yet more things. It seems to be a large artist community and all around were easels and paintings in progress. In the playground are many "art cars" including a hearse and a space ship. They all light up at night. I made a pasta and vege sauce dinner and we drank some wine and had a nice chat. Andy kindly let us stay in his guest room in the west wing.
Popped over to Shropshire earlier too to a great little museum of just about everything in the village of Craven Arms- amzing room after room of junk and collectables all piled up higgledy piggeldy - like walking through a Bruce Lacey installation in the basement of Better Books in 1967.

The next day we drove through some torrential rain and sleet to Rudry near Caerphilly. Stopped off breifly in Hay-On -Wye to look round the bookshops and buy some naughty postcards. Went into a cafe for late breakfast and a cuppa tea. Rain was still falling so carried on our journey. Through the Brecon beacons where the snow was thick on the tops of the hills and the little lambs knees were knocking together. Quite alarming but we got down the other side OK- some amazing views through the drizzle. Hazel wanted to visit her welsh roots in Aberclunky but no time really and the weather put us off.
managed to find Big Al's house eventually at the end of windy potholed lane. He greeted us like old friends though we'd only met on the internet some 5 years ago!
So it was great to meet at lastand have a lovely lunch and tour of Rudry with chorus of chickens, sheep and dogs in the background.
Then off to a strange B&B nearby to stay the night that smelled a bit of old fags.
In the evening Big Al drove us over to one of his local pubs for a drink and chat.
The rain never stopped!
The next day it was off to Cardiff by mistake guided by the Tom Tom. So we decided to havd a wander round the market and arcades. Archie bought some dustcarts for his collection and we took a few photos of piles of welsh baps etc.
Then we met up with Jackie and Terry in Penarth - a small seaside resort nearby , and had a toasted teacake in the cliff cafe.
Still more rain. When would it ever stop?
Then to visit Jackie's Dad who was poorly in hospital.
Big Al and Visitors
Then the long journey home via The Forest Of Dean ( naughty TomTom !) and Ludlow for a stop off and stretch at large farmshop/deli place full of posh food.
Got home just in time to miss the first bit of the new Dr. Who. Phew ! it was great to be home though - we felt like we'd been away for a month!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Duck Impersonators

A strange week of low level excitement which included the ram raiding of the local tiny branch of Nat West bank which had a big digger imbedded in it's back wall. As I walked passed the other day the forensic team had just arrived and were dabbing it with finger prints. It was all cordoned off and a policeman was standing there by the digger incase anyone stole it. I could not see anyone inside the bank which was shut. It must have happened in the night I suppose. I looked around for tenners stuck in the nearby bushes but didnt see any alas.

In town a man was doing duck impressions but on further investigation it seemed he was trying extract some phlegm at the back of his throat.
I found a VHS vid of THe Brain Eaters - A classic B movie from the 60's- or so it says on the sleeve. Also got the Buy & Sell mag to look for local boot sales but none this week as far as I could see. A few happening over the Easter weekend in Frodsham and Sutton Fields.

A bird of prey spotted tearing apart a starling in our garden yesterday. Hazel saw it on the tree house. Through the binoculars it looked like a hawk of some kind with a mottled brown front. All that was left was a pile of feathers and a beak.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Southend Art School 1954


Looks like a younger Leo Hardy here in this hilarious old British Pathe newsreel from 1954. Thanks to George Young for the link.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

John Hegley

Went into Manchester with Hazel this morning to see and hear John Hegley the poet talk (sing - recite ) to her 1st year group. First we had some breakfast in the canteen and then I wandered over to a collectors shop near Piccadilly Station in a basement. Hazel had bough Archie an old 80's Beezer comic there last time but I couldnt find any more comics. Lots of stuff but mostly expensive. Postcards, records, CD's DVD's etc.. I should have taken a photo as it was a bit like an Alladin's cave but I was the only one in there and the owner was giving me the evil eye for some reason. Maybe he thought I was going to steal his Beezers?
Anyway, so then I tried to find some other shops but they were all closed. The Art Gallery opend at 10 so had to wander around until it opened. Went to see the cabinet that Hazel and Sharon had put togther for the Mary Gregg project. It looked great. Also the Ron Mueck? very lifelike sculptures in the big new exhibition space.

When i got back to the room where John was to do his talk he was there already shuffling through a big wedge of typed papers and drawings. Hazel had gone to get a seebackroscope from the technicians dusty cupboard. It was the dustiest seebackroscope I'd ever seen! John looked rather scornfully at the dusty relic but said it would do. He projected a drawing of tow birds looking at a picture of a dark egg ( or was it a hole?) and was that a sandwich on top of the frame?
John played three songs on his mandolin called Kevin and a few poems but mostly just talked about being creative. Hazel seemed pleased that he said all the right things anyway and the students seemed to enjoy it.
We went for a curry for lunch as thats what John fancied. The chap who is doing the "object" book project from 3-D came along too and infact gave us a lift in his car to the "curry mile" down by the university. We ordered far too much for a light lunch but it was very tasty. Hazel only ate half of hers and I left a bit of mine- a vege biryani with poppadums and dips.
John and Hazel went back to see some animations that some students had done to illustrate one of his poems and I walked to the station and home. I was feeling knackered by this time and only done hald a day - no wonder Hazel feels done in by the time she ges home at 6:30pm.
John told me about CLOD magazine which he reccomended as "your sort of thing" so I found the webiste and ordered the latest copy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Boot Sails Unfurled

The boot sale season has truly started today with two at Hartford and Weaverham- both in the car parks/playing fields of the schools. It was a lovely sunny day too and no sign of the rain of yesterday. The ground at Weaverham was a bit muddy though - squelch squelch!
I didnt find many bargains though - just a DVD of A Few Dollars More with Clint Eastwood- plus an extras disc with docs. and profiles etc. They had the first one of the trilogy too but foolishly didnt get it as I thought we had it already. Turns out it was The Good, The Bad and The Ugly we have. Doh!
Also got a few Dr.Who badges which Archie snaffled when I got home. Hazel got a few plants and some of those eye washing glasses. A bright green one, one blue and a clear oddly shaped one - obviously for oddly shaped eyes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A World Of Difference

Sad news about Charlie Gillett who died yesterday. One of my favourite DJ's ever. I've posted a small tribute to him at Boot Sale Sounds. I have been going through some of the dozens if not hundreds of tapes I have of his radio shows from the 70's until now trying to find one suitable for the blog.
Another week flown by and not much to show for it. My "collage a day" resolution seems to have fallen by the wayside.
Had a delicious meal at Adela's and Will's on Saturday. Played some silly games - Flounder and Mousie Mousie. We have some MM somewhere - some old wooden ones?
Awoke with a hangover and mouth like the bottom of a parrot's bottom.
Went to Granma's for Mother's Day lunch of fish 'n chips and cake. Hazel planted some bulbs and flowers in Granma's back garden. No boot sales or jumbles but there was one yesterday - I got some DVD's including "Shrooms" and "Casino Royale".
On Monday walked to town and back. Got some stir fry sauces at Poundstretcher for 49p each. The Thai Green Curry one is quite tasty. I made a stir fry with pretend chicken strips from Holland & Barrett and lots of vegetables and noodles. Yum!

Tuesday we said hello to the new neighbours. Hazel took round a couple of plants which they have put on the kitchen window sill so we can see them.
John Hegley phones for a chat and to ask Hazel about what day he is coming up to MMU.
Getting rid of more old VHS vids. Copying some that will copy to DVD including some old Childrens Film Foundation classics and The Princess Bride and Les Amants des Le Pont Neuf? That's yer actual French.

Wednesday. More walks to town and back. Got some cheap CD';s of Tim Buckley, Nick Drake and Terry Reid 60's stuff from Age Concern.
Got some smoked cod which turned out to be VERY salty and yellow. Tatsed ok though. Made a kedgeree kindo of thing with it with boiled eggs and parsley sauce.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pully Over Tribe

A week has nearly whizzed by. A week of computers going gaga and brisk walks into town. More National Geographics and a tiny digital camera. This one works but only just. Interesting pixelated look to all it points at. Pully faced pixilated pigmy tribe perchance?

The computer has been mended now thank goodness. A bug of some kind. Malcolm had to take it away and put it through some kind of washer and mangle. Malcolm is a handy person to know when your PC goes AWOL. He's helped on several occasions when the hard drive burned out and when the CD ROM drive refused to work etc. I shall watch what I click on in future. Those hackers are getting more cunning it seems.

Went to a table top sale in Tarporley last Sunday. Got some more DVD's including the Boy In Striped Pajamas and a John Cleese one called How To Irritate People. Also a long frame that was just the right size for a panoramic collage I'd made. Then to antique centre where we picked up some cheap postcards - mostly 1920's saucy seaside variety. Hazel bought a few things including a tin bullet poster and a glass dangly thing that makes tiny rainbows when the sun shines through the window.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Tatton Park

Nice morning walking to town and back. Got some more National Geographics in the Help The Aged shop for 10p. I buy three every day so as not to put my back out carrying too much ancient photo journalism. I have made some collages already using some of it. I hope to make more. The photos are quite stunning and perfect for some of the themes at Scrapiteria.

This afternoon went to Tatton Park with Hazel as we spotted an ad in the local paper for FREE entry to the Antique and Fine Art Fair that is on over the weekend. Saving us a grand total of ten quids. Blimey and what a posh do it was with a doorman to open the doors for you "This way - sir and madam". The prices were way beyond anything we've seen of Bargain Hunt! 600 quid for an chipped old shop sign saying nothing much - Eggs Half Price or Tea- Shilling a Packet! A Lowry for 200 grand. A Donald McGill postcard ( original watercolour ) for nearly a thousand quid! Interesting to see some of the art though and wonder who would be daft enough to buy it for that sort of price. Lots of people obviously, gathering by the throng pouring over the Ming vases and mock Gainsboroughs.
Nice old fairground rides outside to entertain the kids - gallopers and a vintage car roundabout thing. Popped in the farm shop to get some awkward cheese and some onion jam. We know how to live!

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Went to two jumble sales yesterday which made a nice change especially as there are no boot sales this week. Jumble sales used to be a regular thing in other places I've lived but very rare in Cheshire for some reason. I suppose it's because we have so many charity shops and boots.
The first was at the Sally Army which I stumbled upon by chance. An old lady barred my way as I went through the door saying " Its not open yet!" What isn't? "The sale doesn't start until 10" I didnt know there was one! I went into the charity shop next to the hall where the jumble was being held. I could see that all the cream of junk had been skimmed off for the sale and all the dregs were left. I went away and came back at 10. It was packed by then and I managed to get three DVD's for 50p each- For Whom The Bell Tolls, Saving Private Ryan and Creature Comforts ( the Ardman Animations ).
The second jumble was over at a community hall in a small village about 5 miles away. This was also very busy - one could almost say "manic" (see Flip film above)! No chance of getting near any of the tables unless you went sideways. I managed to find a gap and purchased two old Pepys games - Bedlam ( how appropriate!) and What's That ( a game of guessing the names of objects photographed at strange angles ). Also a tiny key chain digital camera that I later discovered didnt work.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Southend Art School 60's

Partly as a response to an e-mail I got yesterday from Fred Eve, who went to the art school at the same time as me (1963/64) I am re-posting some old photos taken at the time.
Above is the old painting room. Thats Fred I think in the glasses and that's me in the silk screened jacket trying to blend in! That painting was based on the grinding surfaces of a hippos tooth or was it a rhino? I'm pretending to stick a bath sponge onto it with the power of my mind.

Ned Newitt sent me this photo - he's at the front in the duffle coat. The others are Richard Poole, Fred Eve, Vic Mills, Richard Woods and me. We all look intent on going somewhere to do something very arty but not sure what it was!? Probably just to Garons to buy some cakes.

This is taken outside the old dining hall. I think these are Ned Newitt, Richard Woods, Vic Mills and Rick Cox with Russell Colombo lurking in the background.
Vic and Russ were employed to take the dining tickets on the door for which they got a free meal. I always took a sandwich or went to Garons to buy a sausage roll or a bun being a penniless art student. This must be 1963 or '64. A couple of years later the old art school was bull dozed to make way for a roundabout and it was moved to the high rise block as part of the Technical College. Very sad. The dining hall was used some years later by Richard Turpin to make garden urns in. I helped or hindered - I cant remember . I think Bill Freeth rented it also as a studio for making his ceramics.

Far Too Early

Woken from my dream of the Pixie Cafe I stumble downstairs to put on the kettle and make Hazel a sandwich for lunch. Its 5:45 am. A bowl of muesli and a quick cuppa and duffle coated and bescarfed I lurch outside into the frosty dark to sit in the car with the engine running whilst Hazel does her ablutions and gathers up her stuff for college. I have to sit in the drivers seat because you never know when a car jacker will strike. These 6 year old Nissan Micras fetch a pretty penny on the black market! Anyway I am lulled from my revelry by the sound of a car being furiously revved up- flippin' 'eck! It woke the whole street up- even Archie woke up! Its me and my foot slipped onto the exelerator! Hazel is frantically waving at me to stop. What am I doing? How is this happening? Which button have I pressed? Such is my knowledge of cars that it took me a few seconds to dislodge my foot from the pedal. How does Hazel fit into this cramped and uncomfortable space? Beats me.
I expect we shall have a good laugh about it later.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


A collage above from latest batch at Scrapiteria where the intriguing theme this week is make a collage from just one page from a book or magazine - show the original page and then what you did with it. The results have been delightful and very ingenius. Mine have veered towards the macabre for some reason!
A quiet week mostly blogging and collaging and shopping ofcourse. It's for the walk more than anything - the two miles from home to town is just the right length and I get to treat myself with a bargain or two in the charityshops. They must be sick of the sight of me!

Yesterday I bought several CD's - mostly 60's folk rock including the Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention and various compilations on Topic and Ace labels.
So a nostalgic afternoon whilst making the above and some others.
A nice surprise the other day when an Italian mail art friend Vittore Baroni informed me that I got a mention in Italian Vogue this month in an article about mail art by a friend of his. It was just a sentence but nice to know I am regarded as a collector of many varied rubber stamps of textural and curious design , or words to that effect.