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!

Monday, June 09, 2014

Whitegate/ Alsager

Pleasant Sunday jaunt out to Whitegate first to the boot sale. Got a nice tin motorbike man for two quid. Hazel bought a ton of plants for herself and various other folk. Took some over to Tony and Pene's in Alsager in the afternoon. Dave Smith came along too which was nice. Lovely food and chat in the back garden and the sun came out now and again which made it even more agreeable.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Camping With Brenda

My camping trips were always fraught with bad weather and incident. Pitching tents in torrential rain on sand dunes isn't really my idea of fun! The first tent I ever bought was with money saved up from a holiday job at Ilford films. Seemed like the first really big purchase of my life at the time although it was probably only about a fiver. Still, in 1967 that was almost a week's wages for a scruffy student winding films on to a spool in the dark for 8 hours every night! Andre Jamet? I think that was the name of the maker of tents. French eh? tres swish! But from that cheapo army and navy shop in Basildon. They are still going - selling plaid shirts and walking boots, bobble hats and thick vests. Millets - yes that was the place. Lugged the tent all the way round Southern Ireland in the Summer of 1967 with some chums in the rain. When I got home I forgot to dry it out so next time I came to use it found it had rotted badly in a few places and the holes needed patching up! Used it again a couple of times in Cornwall and France. Camped on sand dunes near St. Ives- the wind whistling round the flaps. Weird sounds of the Cornish night. Didn't sleep very well - the lumpy ground and the spooky sea hags wailing! No wonder the joys of camping were short lived. Give me a nice warm B&B any day!