Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Hazel took these photos of Archie's match display for the countdown to 2015. He makes one every year. I will film it being lit later if i am still awake!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Boxing Day

This was yesterday. Typical Xmas din dins at Granma's. We took our own nut roast and gravy, balanced on my knee in the car. Some fun games afterwards including Santa and sleigh races from plastic toys in crackers from Aldi - Granma won the cup seen being presented here by Audrey. The Balderdash which is a fun game about words a bit like Call My Bluff that used to be on the telly years ago with Robert Robinson and Clement Freud? Had us in hysterics - or was it the booze? Helps to be slightly tiddly on these occasions. Today we went for a walk in Marbury Park along with hundreds of others who had the same idea. Lazy day watching all manner of tosh on the telly. That's it then- over for another year. Hope you all had a good one!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Curios Thing 21

Just in time for Crimble. It's only taken me tewo years to finish!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday 13th Dec. 2014

Busy day with a trip to town first to check out the Artisan Market. Hazel bought a pickle fork and nut crackers from the amusing cutlery stall. the chap running it had the gift of the gab and said the fork and nut crackers were reduced from a million pounds to only three pounds. In the end she got both for a fiver despite having plenty of pickle forks and nut crackers at home! Bought a few nice things to eat for lunch. Tony and Pene were coming round so had to make an effort. I cooked a nice mixed vegetable soup for starters. Two quiches for the main course - goats cheese and molly-coddled onion. Also a plain mushroom and cheddar. Salad and later some delicious apricot tart and cream from M&S. We had coffee and tea in the summer house despite the freezing temperatures and watched the windows steam up! Felt a bit exposed now all the leaves have fallen! later went round to the new cul-de-sac to see the new houses and sneer at their tiny rooms and lack of cupboard space. It was supposed to be an open day but not sign of anybody - no drinks or nibbles as promised. Interesting perspective on our house. We need some new trellis to keep the garden more secure.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014


Nice day out on the train to Stafford yesterday. Only 35 mins. away from Hartford Station with stops at Winsford and Crewe. Lovely sunny but cold day. Nice park greets you as you leave the station at Stafford, full of interesting shelters and buildings. Some with thatched roofs. An aviary full of exotic birds. A river and little white bridge across to the main shopping area which is mostly pedestrianised. Lugged my 3 collages to the Shire Hall Gallery in the market square where I am showing them in a themed exhibition in January "Landscapes". Interesting building which contains an old court room complete with papier mache jurors and judge etc. My work was taken from me and put in another smaller court for safe keeping. Felt lighter then and able to walk around the town. Went in most of the charity shops. Hazel bought a few things including a tin for pins, thermometer for the summer house, etc. I didn't find anything except some cheap glue in the Pound Shop. Useful for cleaning records. Its amazing how much dirt and crackle is lifted out of the grooves using PVA glue - quite remarkable! Had lunch in a noisy cafe by the market. Egg on toast ( twice) and a cuppa for £7.50. Bargain. Then to the museum to see the rooms of dummies and cavaliers etc. Some old toys too in cabinets. Then home on the 14.35 train.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Mother Of Invention

Hazel during her brief flirt with fame after leaving the RCA in the late 80's. Photographer - Mike Caldwell . In our Lambeth Walk flat surrounded by collections of plastic tat and mail art!

A Lesson In Numerology

I have been neglecting this blog for a while despite good intentions at the start of the year. I will try and catch up if I can remember what we've been doing lately. New books just arrived out of the blue are huge thick tome from Hungary courtesy of ARTPOOL. I get a few name checks and one of my old rubber stamped ( hand carved ) FLUXUS BUCKS gets a third of a page. I would prefer it to be a collage but , hey ho! happy for any mention at all really and surprising since I haven't sent ARTPOOL anything for a decade or more. Also did the cover art and some pages in the latest magazine from BLACK SCAT BOOKS in the U.S.A. Places - erm, Liverpool to see the Warhol ( did I mention that?) and Frodsham last week to look round the charity shops ( all 5 of them.) and Lady Hayes antique emporium. Hazel bought a few things - mostly sewing sets/ mending kits that she likes to collect. I didn't find anything. Also the antique barns of THINGY near Nantwich. The name will come back to me I'm sure before I've written all this. Hazel has washed the curtains of the front room so now we are exposed to the world - amazing how much light comes in those bay windows when you don't want it too! Like being in a gold fish bowl. Keeping out of there until they dry and go back up again. Noise and mud still churning on nearby building site. Houses all built now and road, fences and garden being added . They don't seem to be in any hurry doing it - bobble hatted men standing around chewing the cud and looking at mobile phones. Have been framing work for a small exhibition of "Landscapes" I managed to wangle myself into in Stafford's Shire Art Gallery. I'll have to take them on the train sometime. Starts in January 2015. Postcard exhibition still at Southport but travelling - not sure where yet. Otherwise a bit quiet on the exhibition front. Making a new CURIOS THING , first for a few years - hopefully ready by Crimble. Above is new collage for the latest theme at The Kollage Kit.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Lovely weekend in Brighton to celebrate our Archie's 22nd birthday and meet his delightful girlfriend Meriel. We stayed with Roger and Jilly in Hove. Archie took us round the North Lanes where he spent some of his birthday money on old mags, decoy pigeon and tin suitcase in Snoopers Paradise. He showed us round his new shared house and made us tea - we had some Colin cake from Marks and Sparks. Take away that evening with Roger and Jilly before Roger rushed off to do a gig in a Brighton pub. We kept Jill and nervous dog Jasper company in a very noisy thunder storm! The next day we met up with Archie and Meriel again for a slap up fish and chip lunch at the Regency on the sea front. Roger and Jilly came too. Then off to the Sea Life Centre to enjoy the Victorian interior and the aquariums. Hazel took some photos ( see above) . Then to a cafe for coffee and more chats. Also saw the felt things shop in the Lanes by artist Lucy Sparrow . In evening we ate the rest of the curry that was left over from the night before. O dear, feeling very full now! Collapsed on settee to chat to Jilly and watch TV. Roger had yet another gig in London at Hope and Anchor with Robb Johnson and the Irregulars. Home on the 10-15am train from Hove the next day which took ages due to workings on the line. Stopped off at the wonderful Art Workers Guild in Bloomsbury to see peter Quinnell and Mark Pawson who were part of the excellent "Table top museums" show that was just on for the afternoon. Nice to catch up. Took lots of photos ( see FB and Flickr stream ). Got 4pm train from Euston. Another slow train so didnt get home until 7pm. Knackered!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Last Weekend in September

Slightly nippy starts to the day, especially yesterday. We had a nice wander round Matalan ( not my idea!) but I did get some new desert boot type shoes for the Winter. They are rubbing a bit so need thicker socks methinks. Afterwards we crossed the road to venture into Carey Park and a pleasant walk to Anderton Boat Lift. We've been many times but always a lot to see. Spotted some late summer/autumn blooms. Had a nice de-caff coffee overlooking the boat lift and watched the boats riding up from the River Weaver to the Trent and Mersey canal above ( and visa versa ). Amazed to see several bright shiny old Morgan sports cars parked outside when we left - must be an awayday treat for the local Morgan Clubbers I reckon. Today was warmer and eventually very warm and summery. Went over to a boot sale near Crewe - at cricket club ground. Quite a big gathering now that Vagrants has closed for the year ( the nearest boot sale to it ) . Hazel got a load of stuff ( see photo ) and tons of plants including an impressive fern. I just got another cheap copy of Wes Anderson's "The Royal Tenenbaums" with extra disc. I didnt think I had the extra disc but it turns out I do. Doh!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Vagrants and Rode Heath

Pleasant sunday wander around the last boot sale of the year at Vagrants near Crewe. Hazel got loads of rusty junk for her collection, plants and weird collectables including tin funnel, tin racing car, wooden pepper grinder and badges. I found a few DVD's including Picasso double ( recent C4 series ) and Waltz in Bashir. Then off to Alsager and meet up with Tony and Pene before they go off to Oz for their yearly visit. Nice lunch in local pub beer garden on the Trent & Mersey canal side. We had a walk along the canal tow path afterwards and Tony pointed out the cottage they almost bought on the edge of huge sunken salt mine. Then back to Alsager for home made cake and tea in the sunny garden.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


Rainy start to the day so we didn't go to the boot sale at Vagrants as planned. Luckily it cleared up by the afternoon so we drove over to Blakemere to root around the antiques and junk. Hazel bought some bits of old stained glass and lead that was once a window - now a kit she will attempt to put together again - just £2 for the lot! Also some chemical jars to put pulses in for a quid. Looked round the garden centre and bought some pansies - £2 a pop. Then to Audrey's and Granma's to plant some pansies and have coffee and home made cakes. Now we are home again and Hazel and Archie are out in the back garden planting pansies and doing other garden chores. I'm making a nut roast with all the trimmings ( not from the garden!).

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Birmingham (Gas Hall and Ikon Gallery)

Nice day out in Brum despite the trains playing up on the way home. Went to see the Rowland Emmett mini retrospective at the Gas Hall in the Art Gallery and Museum. Delightful to see so much of his working machines and cartoons etc. Also lots of video of him talking and demonstrating his gadgets. Some can be found on YouTube. Seek out especially the Pathe newsreels of the 50's. Spent a good hour in here and then went for lunch to EAT as we couldn't find the "pie shop" hazel went to previously. It was right by the Ikon Gallery so that was handy. Excellent overview of the last 50 years at Ikon including work by Dennis Oppenheim ( candy floss making machine) and Charles Garrard ( Monsoon and lovely thunder machine ) and Cornelia Parker's mini danging silver things run over by a steam roller. Some hideous slodgy paintings but we ignored them. Bought two Cornelia Parker badges in the shop and drooled over some of the books we couldn't afford. Then round the shops until our legs ached and back home again.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


More antique and junk rummaging around at Dagfields near Nantwich this afternoon. Far too much to see really - 5 or 6 barns of the stuff!. Hazel got a nice folding fisherman's stool/seat with rotted canvas top. Audrey got yet more ceramics and some postcards for her Mom. I didn't find anything though seemed to be looking through piles of records, dvd's and postcards for hours!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Denbigh, Ruthin, Mold, Colwyn Bay etc.

We went on a little mini Antiques Road Trip through North Wales yesterday and stayed one night at a B&B out in the middle of nowhere, near St. Asaphe, which is near Denbigh. Here'e all our bargains. Hazel's are more antiques than mine I must admit! But mine were probably cheaper - most being less than a quid each. We wanted to travel around longer but everywhere is fully booked. Nice to see the Welsh B&B and hotels doing such good business. A bit sad for us though having to come home so early - still we enjoy being at home. Off tomorrow for some day trip antique hunting instead.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Chelford Steam Rally and Fair

I actually deleted all my photos after adding them to Flickr and FB so having to make do with this old one of chains at a previous auto-jumble. Needless to say we had a nice day out in the sun yesterday over near Chelford which is about 15 miles from us. In the grounds of Astley House or estate? (I should do more research before I write these things!) I will try and find some useful links. Straight onto the Wall of Death and the bikes rattling round a big wooden drum and the punters at the top looking fearfully over the edge as the bikers whizz ever nearer to the safety wire which doesn't look like it could hold back a roller skate let alone a powerful motor bike at full throttle! Vrrrrrrrooooooooom! Every photo was rather blurry but must be seen to be appreciated! Also some old gallopers that were at Llandudno and Hazel and Archie had a ride and chatted to the lady owner. Enjoyed also the auto-jumble with its piles of prized rusty car parts and junk of all kinds. Hazel bought another nice battered tin of drawers for her nick-nacks. ( she bought two in the morning at the artisan market in town ) seems green tin things are all the rage! Had a picnic lunch by the antique tractors. The swirling whirling sounds of the vintage pipe organs and steaming engines all added to the general cacophony. Watched the dog acrobatics and the tractors circling the display arena ( not at the same time I hasten to add ). Another rummage round the junk piles and away off home with our ears ringing and the smell of coal and hot steam in our nostrils.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Nice walk today with Barb and Des who are staying a couple of days. Walked through Carey Park from the town centre and had a look round the Anderton Boat Lift site. Took lots of photos. It was quite hot and sunny. The boat trips were all booked up so we went and had a pub lunch at the nearby Stanley Arms instead. Sat under shadey tree in the sunny beer garden. Nice publican happy to drag the table there and put up a parasol for us. Fish and chips and heaps of salad and mushy peas. Waddled back through the woods to find some shade.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Had a nice birthday driving down to Cardiff via Newtown where we stopped off to see the Oriel Peters gallery which sadly was in the middle of hanging the next show. Hada picnic in the park the gallery is in and had a look round the many charity shops. Didn't buy much though. Our legs stretched and refreshed we wended our way via the Brecon Beacons to South Wales. Some hideous traffic snark ups on the way but we got there eventually. Nice to see my old art school chum Rick Cox again after our last trip , three years ago. He'd organised a group show at the West Wharf Gallery which was the main reason for the visit. Also it was a nice way to celebrate my 67th birthday. Rick took us to one of his favourite Chinese resturants in the evening although we insisted on paying . Delicious it was too! The next day we had to wait in for a friend of Ricks to come and look at the rotten fence he was going to mend in the back garden. The weather BTW was really wonderfully hot and sunny the whole weekend. Phew! A bit TOO hot for travelling really! We eventually made it into town to see the exhibition and wandered through the park which stretches for miles it seems and wonderful lung for the city. Also looked round some junk markets and antique emporiums so quite in my element despite not buying anything. Hazel went off to visit her friend Jackie and we met up again for dinner that evening. Feet aching ( corn trouble) so glad Rick suggested driving to the docks to see the studios and galleries where he works. Also looked around the docks and the new builds in that area including the Craft Gallery and the Town Hall? A huge phallic William Pye sculpture dominates the piazza which you can just see in the distance in the panoramic shot of the Docks area. Thats Rick in the other photo mending a picture that had slipped at the West Wharf G. Lovely meal in the evening cooked by Rick's wife Alison. Watched DVD "Hi-Fidelity" again in the evening nodding off in front of the telly. Drove back the next morning after breakfast , via Knighton where we dropped in on old chum Andy Hazell and his ex-partner in crime Lucy Casson and her friend in the house they have just bought around the corner.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


I accompanied Hazel into Manchester today to see the degree shows. I had intended to go to Salford too to see Charlie Holt's collage exhibition at the Art Gallery in Peel Park but my corn was throbbing and back still had a slight twinge so didn't make it. I tired to pace myself around MMU and had regular sit downs. Hazel was off interviewing prospective students ( some good ones she said afterwards ) and so I was left to my own devices. Most of the shows were pretty dull but I did enjoy this big paper boat made of many small paper boats ( or are they hats?) which was in the foyer of the new build and not sure which department they belonged to. Also very nice to see were the giant family of ceramic insulators outside the science building near the University. In fact I think I preferred them to the art!