Monday, December 31, 2018

Pitsea Market

A bit of nostalgia . Photos from the Pitsea group on FB. Fond memories of this old market when we first moved to Basildon back in the early 50's when the villages such as Pitsea and Vange were still quaint with old houses, shops and some rustic architecture. All since bulldozed to make way for hideous flyovers, housing estates and shopping malls. My favourite stalls on the market were the record stall that sold ex-juke box 45's ( with the centre missing ) all piled in a heap. Three for a shilling or some ridiculous price. Discovered such gems as Gary U.S. Bonds "Quarter To Three" and Lonnie Donegan singles I'd faintly heard on Radio Luxembourg - the only pop station in those days - the BBC was a mostly MOR and classical only station comprising the Home Service and the Light programme. The other stall was dedicated to old comics which were also cheap and plentiful. Alf the Market Man sold bundles of household goods at knock down prices - he had the patter and gathered a big crowd who waved 10 bob notes in the air for his minions to collect and hand out bags of "treasure" which turned out to be brillo pads and bleach etc. Exciting stuff back in the 50s and early 60's ! The market was eventually bulldoezed to make way for a vile road system and the market temporarily housed in some sci-fi like domes seen HERE in this lovely old film.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Festive Season

The usual Xmas dinner traumas, silly hats, silly games and piles of washing up! We took our own nut roast with chestnuts and vege gravy - twice as much as Granma has a tendency to boil it until it evaporates! Plates piled high with food and then pudding and nibbles! We are collapsed with extreme bloatiness! Fell asleep during the Queen's speech - catching flies. Raced plastic elfs ( and one Santa ) from crackers across the dining table. Deja vu definately the order of the day! Home by 8pm. and further collapse in front of the telly.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Picking A Tree

The annual choosing of the Xmas tree this morning over at Marbury where they were reduced to half price - hooray! Our boy , who is home for a few days, helped out with the heavy work. Tough choice - they all looked a bit wonky but cheaper than last time we looked! You'll never notice once they are covered in tinsel and other gaudy trimmings!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Marbury Country Park

Nice wander round Marbury woods and the lake (mere) today before lunch. Not as cold as yesterday ut still pretty nippy. Amazed to see so much wildlife including a Jay, Nuthatch and various Tits. Also mad dogs and daft ducks. Gooses and squirrels. Swarms of midges? Surely not! Nothing surprises me about our weather anymore. Then to the garden centre for plants and looks at the expensive Xmas trees. The one we planted last year died sadly so that won't be any use this year. Then off to Granma's and Audreys for coffee and a half scone.

Saturday, December 15, 2018


Nice drive over to frosty Frodsham to look round the charity shops and junk shops etc. Found a few bargains. Hazel got a lead cowboy drawing his guns to go with the other three lead cowboys on the picture rail above the mantlepiece. Also a blue bowl. We have hundreds of bowls so don't know why we needed another! She can't help herself. I found a copy of "Flyposter Frenzy" that was published back in the 90's - full of mail art folk we used to correspond with. Then to Roy's little shop of treasures. He's very chatty and shows us some prize possesions he didn't want to sell - had to move the poor slumbering dog to get at them - a fancy architects measure thingy and beautiful old glass Xmas tree ornaments ( £4 each ) We were tempted but a bit pricey and fragile - the chances are they'd be in bits time we got home. Tried the bakery for some lunch but they wanted to charge us 50p to heat up a pasty so we decided to go to a cheaper shop down the road. We were going to buy a loaf too so they missed out on several pounds worth of sales. After a cheese and onion pasty in the car we walked round the antique emporiums at Lady Heyes. Found a few more bits and bobs. Freezing cold wind blowing off the Mersey - Brrrrr! Glad to eventually get home in the warm.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Marbury Walk

Pleasant walk around Marbury this morning in the sunshine. Squelch squelch went the leaves. Honk honk went the geese. Tramp tramp went the walking boots! Afterwards dropped off some stuff at Granma and Audrey's . Didn't go in as Granma was feeling a bit poorly. Home for fakey bacon and egg sarnie. Yum!

Early Birthday and Crimble Celebration

Nice afternoon with the Eves. They were off soon to Oz so we had an early surprise birthday lunch and combined Crimble treats. I made a frittata with two salads- sour dough bread. Trifle that Hazel made with lashings of sherry! Went for a drizzly walk down the lane - rain got faster so we ran home for tea and ecclefechens ( sort of mini mincemeat tarts wiuth nuts ) Yum! I almost nidded off in the front room - not very good for a host! Tony and Pene didn't seem to mind - they were looking at books and chatting to Hazel.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Boot Sale Time

Indoor boot sale this morning at memorial court. Got a few nice old DIY mags from the 50's for 50p each . Hazel got a big roll of gum strip for 50p , a enamel mug and measuring glass. Then to Iceland for some "bits". Afterwards to Granma and Audrey's for coffee and chin wag. Filled in a competition in Take A Break for them to identify celebrities hidden behind silly Xmas costumes and beards etc. What fun! Home for a mozzarella burger on a bun.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday Diversions

Just back from a rummage over at Middlewich at the antique/furniture place that we'd not been to before. Photo is of cross section of an ocean liner made of card and balsa wood etc.Hazel bought a small metal and glass sided cabinet. Quick look in the farm shop nearby where they sell such delicacies as Wild Beaver Pie, Old Ferret Sausages etc. Home again via Shackerley Mere for a short walk in the sunshine and Autumn leaf kicking.

Monday, November 05, 2018

35th Anniversary

It's November 5th again so must be anniversity time! Blimey, the years just fly past! Pictured is the lovley embroidered Ferdie The Fly and Love Token from Hazel and my collaged card. Not one of my best efforts I must admit. Hazel is poorly with a nasty cold so we didn't go out to any fireworks - luckily the local display could be seen from our back garden so just popped outside ( as it wasn't too cold ) to see the few rockets and whizz bangs. Hazel was off work today as she still felt awful. Hopefully I won't catch it! Flu jab on Thursday - just in the nick of time! Maybe last years jab is still working - hope so! So it's warmed up potato and cheese pie I made the other day and some salad. Perhaps a home made mince pie for dessert.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Boot Sale Blakmere

Slim pickings this morning at the boot sale in Blakemere. Very cold so difficult to take hands out of warm pockets to rummage in boxes of junk, CD's and DVD's etc. I did find some films to watch again - Ghostbusters 1 & 2 which were fun on VHS watching with Archie in the 90's but probably have aged quite badly. Seemed good Halloween fodder at only 3 for a quid! Hazel got a lot of knick-knackery including a candle holder with "Good Night" pressed into the glass, a weird meixan looking ceramic and small plastic guardsman for our collection. Glad to get home into the warm. Hazel is busy washing the windows and making a xmas cake ( not at the same time! ).

Monday, October 22, 2018

Carving Out Tokens

Back in 1972 it would have been "toe cans" I expect or something equally excruiating! These ATC's were a quick response for Hazel's call for "tokens" for her pop up exhibition at MMU - part of the Interactive Arts project which stemmed from her recent enamelling course in Sussex ( or was it Hampshire? )anyway, she's been making metal tokens and enamelling them at home and decided to share her recently aquired knowledge with a few students who seemed interested. She had a few cabinets booked in a corridor somewhere to put on a small show. She has rather more cabinets than she expected hence the invite. I also made some collaged ATC's which are elsewhere.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Rubber Stamp Carving

Doing a bit of rubber stamp carving from erasers found cheaply at Pound Stretcher. I haven't done any for a few years and the old peepers ain't wot they used to be! Still, happy with the results so far. There's a nice project on Instagram initiated by Angelica Paez - a new theme every two weeks - this week it's "Bones" , hence the skulls and skeletons. #stampingroomonly

Rose Croft, Brentwood - 22nd November 1972

Dear C. Your'e too quick for me! Keeping me on my toes eh? Very good ! Here we go! One, two, three, jump! No, I didn't see the silly picture of Charlie Chester marrying an 81 year old chinaman. No you haven't told me about heem, did he pong when he should have pinged? Ed seems to have called off his dragnet of the area in search of his disc, but better safe than sorry, that's what I always say! I don't want him to saw my ears off and poke a dead hedgehog down my throat now do I? Have you heard anything from Museli Brittania yet? Fancy going for a drink with Bob to cheer your friend up! Now that is silly! I've written a letter to Dave ( though against my better judgement ) and included the sentnce as requested. Please send my cut from eventual sale to the usual address. I like the drawing of the families! Ho Ho! here's one of the Crofters.
I've just got the new Captain Bee Fart LP, it's ever so good. He even does an impression of Percy Sludge on it! Did I tell you I also have an old LP of Elvis the Pelvis called "Golden Hits Vol. 2" from a charity shop in Romford for only 15p! It's got a great photo of him on the front in a gold lame zoot suit, gold shoes and a pink silk bow tie! Bill found some kippers in a dustbin whilst on a "swill hunt" with the evanjellicle pig man and so we are having kippers for tea everyday now! No kiddin' ! I'd better send this quick before you reply again! Yawn incredible, Flossie, Bossy and Bros ( Moth removers and pea circus owners )

Friday, October 19, 2018

Rose Croft, Brentwood - 24th Oct. 1972

Hellow Sailor, Seems as if we are crossing our moorings matey, ahaaargh! Lyne and Dinah's job doesn't involve typing at all or any kind of paper work as far as I can make out. All they do is look for books in a huge library, but they must be blind folded and with a ball and chain, so it does make it a bit tricky! It's pretty boring they tell me, and most of the people only work there a few weeks then vanish! (made into mummy's most likely !) Mind you, the job does have it's perks, like postcards are only 2p instead of 3p! ( They sent me one of a nice Japanese landscape today )and you occasionally get a glimpse of some nice old books. Yes, I saw that new hardback edition of the Monty P's B.R.B. today in the crummy little book shop in Brentwood.I didn't have any money to buy it though as I'd just spent my last pennies on food and the "Roxy Music" LP and new needle for my wind up gramaphone. There's a book of Goon Show Scipts out soon I think. No I haven't sold my Singing Dogs. It's the best record of singing dogs I have so it's quite precious to me. I'm trying to get hold of a record of tap dancing pygmy shrews - don't know anybody who's got one do you? A record I mean , not a pygmy shrew! Your little excursion up the Limpopo does sound rather fun, it reminds me of the Eric Sykes Show a couple of weeks ago, or Carry On Up The Grand Union! I hate supermarket, I always try and shop at the little back street grocers - you know "Sainsburys" and "Woolworths". At least they don't have somebody impersonating the New Seekers or Middle Of The Road concealed behind the frozen peas! Our milk lady is revoltin' too! There's about 20 empty bottles on the doorstep and she refuses to take them away! Perhaps she doesn't like the smell of stale beer? I like velly much de fish an chip an de vunny improbable monkey. Yours. Looie Canvas


Nice sunny morning in Chester with Hazel. Shopping and wandering the quaint old cobbled streets. Hazel went off to clothes shops etc. and found some wool for a new jumper that Granma and Audrey have promised to knit. I did the charity shops and the market. Didn't find anything. Enjoyed being out in the sunshine and listening to buskers. They were a bit thin on the ground today - a dreary trio of old geezers playing Dylan type dirges and a lady bag piper! You have to admire their fortitude when it's still quite nippy and in these tough pre-brexshit times people are reluctant to put their hands in their pockets for small change. Had a cheap vege sausage roll from the Pound Bakery for lunch and sat by the buskers trying filter out the worst of the bum notes and crumbs. The to the coffee shop nearby for a de-caff capacino and sneaky sweet. Home via the Park and Ride. Back by 2 pm.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Rose Croft, Brentwood - Jan. 26th 1972

Dear Silly you's, fancy thinkin' that drawing was of you and Sealegs when really it was a pigment of my imagination, a slight resemblence I grant yoVen ish yourn ( yawn ) boppin' day o huge one? Ven wilt thou hast baty don le jollie maison due Cleverclogs Claire? Yes, the film was quite goot. It was James ( legend in his own time ) Dean and Lizzie taylor and Hud Rockson in GIANT. James Dean's little methods acting bits were good and the rest was real turdy. Good cartoon on wiv it, with Speedy Gonzales, the fastest mouse in all Mehico! Yaribaa! Yareeba!u but above (*) is a real artist's impression! Thank you for yo' letter o most prolific one. I cannot tell you how it duth delighteth me! My beamish face a lighteth with just one sleepy glipse of suth a lether, thorly ith it a vork ov ein enthantresh? A spock smock? I do nut undershdand?! I like the enclosures velly mush. Shpeshly de strangsh animalsh on de ballanshin head! Is dish de sausage cow? Riding in Bill's van is quite an experience as it's all empty and freezin' cold in the back. You have to sit on the bits that the wheels go in, and there's a metal grill between you and the driver so it's like a "Paddy Wagon" also. Corse i won't have to teach silly! Who'd give a scruffy 'erbert like me a job?! Get the kiddies into bad habits! I'm applying for this part time job at Ingatestone Secondary School at the moment. It keeps the Social Security people happy that's all. What horrid Beverly Sisters song could it be I wonder? Not "Sisters" ? or "Got to have money in the bank Frank"? "Mary's Boy Child"? Your dad has better luck than me gutter sniping. I wish I could find half peas. (1) I had no exclaimation to give. Confused, without pluss (2) A light with high vocabulary. Arking light. Light acting? It's poetry appreciation time - Yesterday I did my washing..... And hung it on the line... The sun was shining brightly....But will it dry in time? I had no money for a filled the bath with water.....And soaked my bigs and smalls,,, Just Like a good boy oughta. ( marked one out of ten ) I like the envelope with primitive type, trees floating as if suspended by sellotape in the air! It was nice to see you all on Sunday - you should get Dave to come over more often and stay longer! I put up another shelf to accomodate my increasing library. It took 2 hours! I'm not very good at carpenting, especially things as awkward as shelves. But now it's given me much more space , things were beginning to pile up around me, choking me to death! Aaarrrrgh! I come over all funny! I re-hung some of the pictures too. Taking down some old ones and putting new ones up. Makes a change. Lynne is making a pair of jeans but she thinks they are going to be flared like looners, she wants drainpipes! She's a bit set in her ways , poor girl. Ed beat up another kitchen porter who threw a cup of tea over him, he leaves Fords at the end of the month. Bill is once again working in his stew dew next door to popsters. He said he p---ed in Steve Marriot's head as he passed his window. he also said that the bloke who is buried outside ( his church hall) comes to haunt him in the shape of a dulux Emulsion can! Bill says all kinds of things. Bill is my friend. Lynne has just sewn her legs togther! I made a cheese flan last night. Unfortunately I baked the pastry "blind" as suggested. But put it out the window instead of in the oven! Enclosed are some examples of my great skill as a photographer. Don't keep them in the daylight for too long! Blessings and peace. Johnny Maestro and His Shuffling Hungarians.

Rose Croft, Brentwood - 25th may 1971

D &C, Dears, It's raining here - split splat! and the weathers not too good either. I'm listening to a nature programme now on the radio with noises supplied by kestrels, falcon and owls. They all sound like chickens to me! Talking of kestrels , we went to se "Kes" at Basildon Arts Centre last night - a really nice film. Went for a FREE Itaiano Comoncheroa Spaghettio Expensivo last night under the wing of Lynne's rich playboy brother in Brentwood ( no not Naples!) Very boring is all this pasta and stuff and filling! Lynne's brother's girlfriend was being rather rude to waiter, shouting out orders in French and Spanish. Luckily he was bio-logical and understood and gave us grins that could kill. This is how I write a letter R.S.V.P. I got a letter from Philip today who I thought had wasted away and living in West Indies or summat. But he is apparently living in a disused tin mine in Bingle-Bangle. Wingle wangled a day off today so I can study the rain and make lightening thumbnail sketches as they come down. Anyhoo I must be toodling off now and do some work, mein kanf! vot is dat? Bonus knockers mon enfants, Michael


Treated ourselves to the cinema yesterday to see "First Man" which is excellent despite all the shakey camera work. Archie saw it recently and and gave it the thumbs up. Had to go all the way to Knutsford though as Hazel had a dental app. and we missed the matinee in Northwich. The Curson is being re-furbished with two smaller screens being added so the smell of paint and plaster added to the weird multi-media experience. Found this free badge in the foyer for Mike Leigh's new film which Hazel thinks is called "Portaloo" . Now that's a different film altogether!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Rose Croft, Brentwood - 29th Jan. 1973

Dear Keeper of manuscripts and fellow bookbinders anonymous, I shall be up the metrollops on Thursday to the R.A. exhibition of Rossetti Bolognese the famous pasta impersonator and anything' else interestin'. Barry will probably let Dave know about our lunch time rendezvous. I don't think I'll have time to visit the B.M. though, drat! I've just lent Ed a quid - fooled again! Lynne and Dinah are playing truant from work . Tired of London, Ed has stayed here a couple of days amongst the squalor of his past. He, Bill and I collected huge rotted logs from a nice wood near Doddinghurst. An old woman told us off for trespassing on Forestry Commission land , but after Bill and Ed did their "ever so 'umble" act she went away with obvious astonishment at the ruffians courteous apollyloggies. Last night we played a strenuous football game ( like you see in pubs, or slot machine places ) at Lynne's brothers. I lost every match. Not surprising really , with their puppy Pooch doing rude things to my leg! Ah sure am hungry. My tummy's beating out a navel tattoo! Think I'll got to Ken's now and get me some black eyed peas an' chittlins! Bill's had a crew cut again and left most of his wig spread out on my exotic eastern carpet. Ed did the honours. I meant to bring dose racks de Clogs last weekend but one came unstuck. I'll give dem next time, perhaps if you come here? See you Dave, I mean Michael.

Rose Croft, Brentwood - 14th Feb. 1972

dear C. What a lovely day it is, likes the first day of Springe - Boinnng! Did you see "Up Sunday" last night? It was quite funny with some Woman's Institute choir singing Wordsworth's "Daffodils"! and zany Kenny Everett being zany as usual. I came back to Pilgrim's Hatch today and found some wood in my room! I think somebody wants me to make something maybe? Enclosed is a carte le malade pour le Clare de looner. I hope she is back to edam squatting and hand jiving like the best of 'em soon. Your double act would have livened up that dull pardy no end I think. Ed had gone off on his motorbike never to return, we couldn't be that lucky! He'll probably be back for tea with his head all dented in. A method of bringing a disobedient spirit into subjection. Make a fire of drye cowturds and such like stinking stuffe, and write the spirits name in virgine parchment - then burne it, saying the curse following ( After a conjuration ) Izzy wizzy - let's get busy! I had some of Bill's "Butterbean Surprise" for dinner.Wow! was I! I've got a sore froat from sleeping in dave's air conditioned sittin' room. No wonder I keep missing my last bus. The last bus is at 9.20 ! Ridicklemus! I remember now, I haven't read the "Tin Drum" at all, just the first few pages. I found it hard to get into, because it's so small I suppose - they really should make these paperbacks bigger! Then I could use it as a tent when I go hiking and reading tour of South Benfleet. I shall try and read it again. "Look George!" I said, "I really can't help it if your blessed fire goes out, after all you are burning wire and nails on it!" Must dash to catch the postman and wallop his glateus maximus. Ooooh! Yourn, Littel Anthony and the Mint Imperials.