Saturday, December 07, 2013

Peter Leigh - Grenadier Guard

Still in our thoughts though he's been gone to that big sentry box in the sky for a few years now.  Just found this other image of him online whilst looking for photos of the Coronation of King George VI   which he attended as honour guard. I think that's what you called it anyway?   We a have alarge version of this on our wall that my Dad hand tinted - a lovely red uniform and stripes on the standard.  This is a Tuck postcard I never knew existed!    Annoyed that its been sold - would be nice to have.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Found this after a search on the interweb - an old photo of Vale Road in Tonbridge, Kent, where we lived briefly in the late 40's after I was born with my Dad's "Uncle Bill"   ( William Leigh )  . I have vague memories of the road but remember it being much narrower and steam train smoke puffing up from behind that enormous wall that seemed to run it's length.  Uncle Bill suffered from spina bifeda as a lad and so was left with a "humpty back". He was quite a character and lived alone with his cat in a tiny terraced house that backed onto the River Medway which was at the bottom of his long abundant garden. We still have photos of him standing there by the runner beans and the river just over a rickety fence - another of him fishing. Apparently I used to throw toys into the river when nobody was looking - a rather naughty infact with an inventive line in abuse for neighbours who I took a dislike to so my Mother said. "Bum bum face" was one and "Nannygoat Face" another!  I'm sure she was making it all up!  The other thing i remember about the dark and dingy house was the rope used as a bannister that you heave-ho'd yourself upstairs with.  That cat was a terror too-  scratched me once and I avoided it like the plague afterwards. Lucky it didn't end up in the river with all the other stuff!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Artisan Market

Nice wander round the latest Artisan Market in the streets of Northwich today which happens the second Saturday of every month.  We missed the last couple being in Brighton or Yorkshire or somewhere so glad we could make it to todays which was heaving with people. Good to see it being so popular!  The lady we bought some oat cakes from said she had to bring twice as many this time as before they had sold out in no time - literally like "hot cakes"  ( made late last night in Stoke ).  Lots of interesting stalls full of cheeses, wine, jams, preserves, chutney, olives, antiques ( some lovely but expensive French wine and milk crates, suitcases and distressed biscuit tins etc. )

We bought some onion bread ( which we had for lunch - yummo!)  and then off through the throng to M&S to get some pudding for our lunch with Will, Adela & Morrey tomorrow.
Collage today is for the latest theme of "On a precipice of an abyss" at The Kollage Kit.

Black Scat Books

My good friend Norman Conquest has asked me to mention his latest book and so I have managed to secure a sneak preview of one of the pages NOT in any of his latest books!   Hoping that's caught your attention. And now for the shameless plug for Captain Cap.  Hope it sells better than mine did!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Scary Doorbell

Hazel found this in Quality Save.  We had a similar one years ago but it broke.  He also says " Hello little goblins- are you scared?" and  " Dont be afraid - come in!"   Horrible cackling laugh included.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Above & Below

 Nice day yesterday starting out at indoor boot sale over at Frodsham. Hazel got loads of stuff for her blog and a few presents for Archie, who is 21 on Thursday. I found him a couple of presents too. Afterwards we went to Lady Hayes antique emporium nearby to have a rummage. The weather was very mild too so a perfect day for being out and about. Hazel bought a few bits.
 Afterwards we drove to a farm nearby to see an art trail in the barn and the woods that Chester University had something to do with. It was called Above & Below probably because it was so hilly and involved a steep climb up roughly hewn steps in the earth held up with chunks of log cut from nearby trees.  Anybody infirm or out of shape would find it a difficult climb to the very top. We managed it somehow. Pff pant puff!
First though we gathered our strength by having lunch in the small farmhouse cafe that seemed very disorganised but run by friendly arty bunch who served up delicious home made macaroni cheese and salad and elderflower cordial.  Hazel bought a bottle on our way out.
Most of the sculptures and al fresco installations were nothing special but nice to see something different going on in Cheshire which is a bit of a cultural desert most of the time it has to be said!
Hazel met one of her old students going round the trail which was strange - but we do tend to bump into them in odd places - once in Venice!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Liver Pule

Nice day out in Liverpool yesterday with my old chum Tony Eve.  We went by train. Hazel gave me a lift to the station. I somehow missed Tony who was down the front end and I got on in the middle, looked through two coaches and decided he wasn't on that particular train and must have got the fast train from Crewe.  Anyway, we met up at Lime Street and walked through the shopping streets to the Tate and the docks.  The Chagall retrospective was excellent with all our favourites there. Surprising how big some of them are - in reproductions they look quite petite.  Also lots that I've never seen before.  Tony got us in with his Tate card which was handy.  It was quite busy which was annoying at times - a group of school children always seemed to be sitting in front of a painting you wanted to look at!  The exhibition down stairs of sculpture and installation art was also interesting especially as Ryan Gander was in it - an ex-student of Tony's (and Hazel's)  Interactive Arts course at MMU.  The boy done good.

We had a sandwich in the Tate resturant which was expensive but handy. Then off to the Bluecoat to see some Spanish art and video which was pretty dull. Then more walking to the Walker Art Gallery and some new aquisitions including a Yoko Ono piece ( step ladders)  and others who I forget. O yes, Anish Kapoor, Paula Rego and Louise Borgeois?  ( Just found the leaflet)

Walking round the bustling noisy city made us realise how much we appreciate living out in the sticks!
Got the train back after a coffee in the Lime Street  buffet. Hazel picked me up from the station.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Last Sunny & Warm Weekend of Autumn

Went to Carey Park yesterday with old chum Tony Eve.  Walked along the River Weaver to the wonderful Anderton Boat Lift.  Saw this Hawkshead Moth caterpillar on the way trundling along the path - it was massive, about 4 inches long!  Had a nice pub lunch in the beer garden of the Stanley Arms. Fish and chips for me and omelette and chips for Tony  (specially made ).  Hazel was in Birmingham having a girls day out with her old college chums. Felt very full afterwards and so needed the walk back to the car to feel a bit lighter!
Lovely day of sunshine and boot sales. Got a few bargains too including Aliens ( the extended edition ) on DVD. Two nice CD's from the 60's I have fond memories of  The Youngbloods "Live" and Big Brother & The Holding Co. with the Robert Crumb cover. Hazel got a few odds and sods including a complete super 8 cine set, with three films for £1;50. Also several wooden rulers, staples, Basildon Bond writing paper, ink cartridge, and plants.  She's made some delicious custard tarts this afternoon. We took some over to Granma and Audrey and they were much impressed.  Planted some wall flowers in their back garden.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Marsden and Bradford

 Had a nice weekend in Yorkshire visiting our old friend Dave Smith in Marsden. We stayed at the Cobblers again- a small holiday cottage that used to be a cobblers shop. We stayed there a couple of years ago and it's ideal, just two doors away from Dave and next to a bubbling brook with ducks.  Dave treated us to a slap up meal at the Olive Branch nearby where we used to stay until we discovered the Cobblers.
The next day Dave drove us to Bradford to see the Media Museum which I've always wanted to see. Hazel had been before with students I think and Archie did once with a school trip.  It looks rather shabby on the outside but the 7 floors are packed with interesting stuff from old cameras and photographic equipment to 8 bit games machines to a fully equipped TV studio where you can make your own news snippet. Hazel had a go and result is on my Flickr stream.  Also loads of things for kids to do - like these giant sets for the Borrowers etc.
We had a nice lunch in the cafe and continued discovering new rooms of wonder through the afternoon. Like the flashy hall of mirrors, the stereo views ( including one of Southend's Pier Hill ).
We managed to negotiate the nightmarish road system of Bradford ( not unlike Leeds)  and found our way back to the tranquility of Marsden.  We got some fish and chips from the busy village chippy ( full of rowdy drunks) and had a nice meal back at the Cobblers with Dave, who bought round his home made stereo viewer and some slides of New York.
We rushed back the next day to avoid the "storm" that was big in the news , coming from the West. Luckily we missed it but the sat -nav took us through the centre of Manchester where we certainly didn't want to be - poor Hazel was having kittens! Thankfully not as busy as a week day. Got back at 9:30am with just a bit of drizzle to contend with. Phew!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Knutsford Boot

 We went to the giant boot sale at Knutsford this morning.  Got a few old postcards including these two of Blackpool Tower. Also a folder for collages. Hazel got a few odd bits for her odd bits collection - a measurer for eyes, picture hangers, fold away magnifying glass and some ceramics etc.  This after noon walked through Carey park to the Anderton Lift along the River Weaver and had lunch in the beer garden of the pub nearby.  Only asked for a sandwich but it arrived with a pile of chips and salad - so much for a light lunch!  Waddled back into town to get some jelly for Hazel's Mom who is having teeth trouble  (had one out and two fillings) so finding it hard to eat solids.  No jelly in Marks & Sparks so got her some custardy trifles etc. to try.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


 Back from a very nice few days in sunny Brighton to see our boy and enjoy a change of scene by the briney. Hazel was meeting up with her old RCA "Pudding Club" chums on two of the days.  For the first me and Archie had a "boys day out" to Chichester to see the lovely Eduardo Paolozzi exhibition of collages, prints and sculptures at the Pallant House Gallery which was a trifle expensive but well worth it.
 On another day we went to the Marina on the Volk's Electric railway - built in 1910 I think? and still going strong. There was a festival/exhibition of sand sculpture nearby we popped in to see. The marina complex was hideous - just like a huge multi story car park with a MacDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken etc. in the middle.
 Here we are enjoying a nice sit down - one of many - on the pier. We also spent some time in the very noisy slot machine arcades on those tumbling 2p machines that drive you a bit bonkers after a while - hence the photo booth portrait below!
 The peace and tranquility of the Pavilion Gardens was a welcome distraction after the noise and crowds of the sea front.  There was a few buskers about including a good sitar player who blended well with the Indian setting.  We treated ourselves to a tour of the Pavilion - seemed silly not too see inside whilst Archie was living in the town.  It certainly was a wonderful view of a decadent way of life.  Some of the rooms were quite overpowering , especially the one with a candlebra weighing a ton!
 Another silly photo on the pier.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Shackerley Mere/ Leek

 Just back from a ride out to Shackerley Mere which isnt far from us. A nice walk round the lake and back again - watching the geese, gooses and ducks do their thing. Quiet today - just  a few people with dogs and children. Saw a heron. Heard the motorway.  Then to Riverside Organics for decaff coffee and shared a larrge chunk of chocolate cake outside overlooking the wonderful view over rolling Cheshire countryside.  Such a shame if the proposed rail track route goes through here - it would be criminal!

 Previously , we had a nice ride out to meet up with Barry Wenden who had been looking after my collages after the Southend Art School exhibition in June/July.  He kindly brought them back to Leek where he was visiting his cousin. We had a nice pub lunch and chat about old times - and new times!  Had a good wander round the many charity and junk shops.  Barry gave us a great old tin railway signal box and a signal - a late birthday present. I bought a record by Chris Barber and his band ( see my audio blog ).  Drove out to the hills and a rocky outcrop and another pub for another drink in the sunshine.  Lots of butterflies around this year - the budlia was full of them in the pub garden.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Frantic looking for tent pegs to hold down runner beans at Tatton.  Hazel got home and found them after Archie and I had looked in the coal shed and garden shed for 15 minutes amongst the cobwebs and detritus - fearing an avalanche of mail art and garden equipment!   She's driven back now to do some more before the heavens open.

This is the second week of putting up the "Art Allotment" that MMU staff and family are doing.  Archie has been along for one day to erect the shed and fence posts etc.  I went along last week with Hazel to help out in the scorching heat. Sat in the shade when I could - sticking bent wire seedlings into strips of plasticine!
Today Hazel has gone on her own to help set everything out as the Press Day is tomorrow which she will miss as she has to go to the dentist for a filling thats fallen out and rubbing her tongue. (There's always something - a favourite phrase in our family!)

These photos give you a idea of the space that has to be filled.  Lots more stuff turning up yesterday and today Hazel said so should be plenty to see.  Audrey's knitted runner beans and cauliflowers- Archie's recycled tin daffodils nodding in the breeze. Hazel's dibbers and seed spacers and my collage and postcards.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ruthin etc.

Another collage hot off the assembly line.  Check out more at">Laughing Shed.  Have been neglecting this blog for a while , for which many apollygoggies to all my readers (all 16 of them!)  .  Too many  blogs and never enough time also the weather has been very warm just lately and not  good for tip tapping on the old keyboard.  besides which my memory isn't as good as it used to was.

A nice day out in Ruthin though ( photos on Flickr and ipernity )  to see Sharon Blakey and her ceramic chum ( his name escapes me for the moment ) do a talk about drawing and sketchbooks and the importance of keeping a record of ideas and visual notes of thoughts about work etc.  Not really meant to be seen by others but essential for most makers whether they be ceramicists, painters, sculptors etc.  Also had a nice sandwich and beer in the local pub for lunch with a view of the Welsh hills  ( just behind that pile of crates ).

Earlier we went to the local boot sale at Whitegate which was on the way to Wales.  I didn't get anything but Hazel found a few bits and bobs including tools,  ceramics, gew gaws and whatchamacallits.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Pin Hole Photography

 Spent a nice morning in the artist run VAC Gallery in Northwich.  First to Brusceta's for a vege breakfast and de-caff coffee which was very nice. Had fun looking at all the postcards of exotic places he has in there on the walls.  Emma was at the gallery and preparing some old tins and shoe boxes etc. for pin hole camera use. She plans to do a workshop at some point.  As I promised to volunteer for a morning I stayed to line a biscuit tine with black paper and make it light tight.  I took this photo of the library next door which came out quite well considering I didn't know the right exposure. I guessed at 5 seconds and thankfully it was spot on!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Llandudno Weekend Part 2

Continuing from the previous post  ----   we climbed up the Orme to the Happy Valley the next day (Sunday)  and had a good view of the Victorian Extravaganza parade as it wended it's way along the sea front. We could see the traction engines steam whistles quite clearly and hear the Drum and Pipe bands wafting up on the breeze.  We took a picnic to eat on the cliff edge and had a wonderful panoramic view of Llandudno , Conway and the the Welsh hills beyond.  We wanted to visit Drew of Salvage Hunter fame but seems he's so popular now through his TV show that you can only peruse all his junk by prior appointment.  Walked down the hill later to have fish and chips on the prom - making sure we hid our meal from the marauding seagulls!
Went back to the gallery again to build more towers and stuff with the bricks and type on the adjusted tip-tappers.  O yes, I missed out the Voltini sideshow  which we saw a couple of years ago and were keen to see again. A real old fashioned Victorian eccentric show man and his chums who do things with electricity - mainly to his lady assistant/ accomplice  Madame Electra who has an enormous rack - of light bulbs and makes cucumbers spark in a very suggestive fashion. In fact the whole show is littered with innuendo from start to finish!   And lots of sparks and flashing lights and weird apparatus out of Frankenstein's laboratory.

Monday, May 06, 2013

May Bank Holiday Weekend.

Quite a busy weekend starting on Friday we drove to Ruthin in Wales and went the wrong way first of all and had to come back via Tarvin. Sat Nav was getting quite shirty!
Ruthin is a lovely village but rather overwhelmed by traffic which is a shame. Still we enjoyed a brief stop off for a brunch in the cafe we went to last time and then the Crafts Centre where we were delighted to find a couple of exhibitions by people we liked  - Rodney Peppe toy and automata maker and illustrator and a Gillian Lowndes retrospective.  Also bumped into a colleague of Hazel's from MMU who's name I forget at the moment.
Eventually got to Llandudno around  1pm and checked into the wonderful  Promanad  B&B which we stayed in in for our "honeymoon" last year and promised ourselves we would return as it was so nice.  A great room and sea view.  Then to town to see them setting up the fun fair and building the rides and gallopers etc for the forthcoming weekend Victorian Extravaganza!   Some rides and stalls were over 100 years old!   Hazel was fascinated by the galloper being constructed in sections- the parts being lifted from the lorry and the lorry itself being used as  scaffolding to turn the roundabout every so often to fix the awnings and guilded and beautifully carved wooden sections.
A delicious shared seafood pizza in an Italian resturant and then a walk along the prom as the sun went down.

The following day we had fun at the Oriel Mostyn gallery building towers and domino effect thingys with all the bricks the artist  (who's name escapes me )  laid out in one of the big white rooms.   A mad child ran amok at one point and knocked everything over including a lovely model of the Acropolis someone had taken ages making!  I wanted to film this destruction but Hazel forbade me!
Took in all the side shows and rides now working in the main streets of Llandudno. Lots of roads blocked off - music blaring - quite a cocophony with two or three loud rides pumping out old rock 'n roll and disco hits!

Also did some shopping. Bought some cheap DVD's in the Poundland - Rocko's Modern Life and Monsters animations from the 90's that Archie and I used to enjoy when he was a nipper. Hazel got some things for her blog in a nice antique shop down one of the back streets - also some postcards and old birthday cards.
I found one of Marine Parade in Southend from 1919.

In the evening we ate a nice curry at the Bengal Dynasty which was packed but we managed to find the last two seats. The whole town was packed for the weekends festivities - hardly any parking space and all the hotels and B&B's booked up months in advance  ( we booked up before Xmas )

It was very windy and cold along the sea front despite the sun and so once we had to nip back to the B&B for our thicker clothes!   Needed them too when it rained briefly at the Vintage Car and vehicle fair and auto jumble along the prom at the edge of the town.  Brrrrrr!   Cut short our wanderings to jump on an old bus that was carrying visitors to and from the site for free ( donations to charity )  .  Good to see a number 40 to Poplar that I used to ride on quite a bit back in the 80's when I lived in Stepney!   I will add some more about our trip to Wales tomorrow...........

Thursday, April 18, 2013

VAC Gallery

A couple of views of the 23 collages of mine in the local artist run VAC gallery in Northwich.  The "hedgehogs" crowding round the bottom of the walls are nothing to do with me I hasten to add!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

VAC Gallery - Northwich

My smallish exhibition at VAC gallery in Northwich is up and running - opens Thursday until May 3rd.  One of 3 new exhibitions together with the best of the recent Open which has an extended run. sadly the last exhibition at the gallery before the lease runs out and they have to find alternative premises.  Rents for commercial property in Northwich are very hight hence so many empty shops.  Hopefully they can find somewhere thats affordable and central but it doesn't look too good so far. Fingers crossed.  It's a shame as the gallery has attracted huge praise and interest from all quarters and the people running it are all artists in their own right and passionate about a community gallery - one the town desperately needs as there is nowhere else for artists to exhibit or meet.  They also have interesting artist run workshops for lino cuts, fabric printing, poetry, knitting and all manner of other media that appeals to wider public.
A busy time in the Leigh/Jones household at the moment what with the "old students" show at Southend Art School  concurrently and Archie has his Party Popper Gatling Gun showing at the 40 gallery in Brighton until the end of the week.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Southend Art School Exhibition

Here's a virtual flyer for the Southend exhibition that Barry sent me yesterday - he's obviously been working very hard on the graphics - tweaking it so it looks just right. I like the old photo of the College Of Further Education or whatever it was called. You can just see the old "tin hut" of the sadly deceased art school in the background - that white building. Many happy years were spent there - when Southend had some character and boasted many old buildings of worth that were outrageously destroyed by council idiots and planners back in the 60's and 70's.  To find out when the gallery opens you have to ring the number on the flyer - doesn't bode well!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Party Popping Time!

I seem to have been neglecting this blog for a while and it's not as if nothing has been happening lately. Too much stuff really to remember!   Starting off with this great new sculpture from our dear son Archie who has obviously been working hard. We think it's quite stunning but then we would wouldn't we?

Other news is my old chum Barry Wenden popped in the other day on his way back from picking up his work from a gallery in Leeds to pick up some collages for upcoming exhibition at Southend School of Art ( or whatever it's called these days?) just four ex-students, Barry, Phil Spellacy, Dave Segrave and myself. Its on during April and May sometime I think.  Will confirm dates when I have them.   Also have two works in the VAC Open exhibition in Northwich and Emma who is on the committee of the gallery came round yesterday to chuckle her way through my folders of collages to choose a few for a forthcoming exhibition at Visual Arts Cheshire - the last sadly as the lease has run out and they are forced to find other premises.

So I have plenty of framing to do and the phone the plumber for this annoying drippy tape in the bathroom. I'm usually quite good at changing washers but this thing is stuck and needs a professional to sort it out.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Party Popper Gatling Gun

Another great video from Archie and his latest creation at Brighton University.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Social Whirl

Slightly whirlwind weekend where first we met up with John Hegley the poet in Northwich for opening of new VAC gallery and he came back for some soup and cake. The next day off to Brighton on the trains ( which behaved for a change!) to see Archie and quick trip to Hove Museum to see all the toys and then fish and chips with our friends Debra and Bridget who we stayed with. Then to Roger Stevens CD launch ( the one I did the sleeve art for ) at low dive below pub the Greenhouse Effect? Got quite drunk and had a good time ( terrible headache the next day!) and watched a variety of poets and performers including the defunct Killer Rabbits. Breakfast with rowdy throng in the Hove Kitchen (lovely place) and then wet drizzly walk to station and 4 hour journey back home. Phew!
Have been neglecting this blog for a while. Lots of stuff happened between 9th December and now ofcourse - Xmas for one thing and then New Year. Here we are in 2013. Weve all had horrible colds and Man-Flu . Hazel got it worst and was anti-biotics for a week and a week off college. It was awful. Still coughing a month later!