Sunday, September 30, 2018

Rose Croft, Brentwood - Mundane 24th April 1972

Dear Old Goatherders, Now isn't this a suprise! A red letter day from once ailing Celia and the usual note concerning B.R. from David. Thankyou. You've had your fun, now it's my turn to be ill ! I have a nasty cold from standing up to my ankles in Thames slime - on Sunday we went treasure hunting at West Tilbury, and jolly good it was too, but Dinah and Lynne wanted to go because it was cold and they didn't like the way the wind was blowing their hair about, so we didn't stay long. I would have been quite happy to "beach comb" all day! Nobody found anything fantastic, no chests of pirate gold dubloons or such but some interesting finds you'll agree. Sniff! Bleugh! Bill got some old pre-war beer bottles ( I think he wanted them for the dregs still in the bottom!) and lots of broken pots and junk to leave on the doorstep. Ed got similar stuff. Ed's friend John didn't get anything nor did L & D. This is when a permenant stoop comes in useful! I got loads ( a jam jar full ) of lovely swirly coloured glass marbles. Two stone ones! Wow - heavy man! Also found lots of china dolls heads imbedded in the mud as the tide went out. Obviously they had bodies at one time, but I could not find any trace of them. One tiny dolly is complete however and it is the best thing I found there, a real piece of treasure! Besides these, I got the usual collection of bottles ( little coloured medicine sort ) and eartheware pot. There was also some nice metal cigarette signs that said "20 for 4d" and things like that but too heavy to carry back over the two miles of council dump and bumpy fields to the van. Cough! Splutter! Sniffle! Still on the subject of latest aquisitions - at some jumble sales on Saturday I got some nice books - "The Water Gypsies" by A. P. Herbet, " A Cornish Childhood" by A. L. Rowse, "Chinese Cheesecake" by Peking Tom, "Orlando" by Virginia Woolf, "The Lurking Fear" by H. P. Lovecraft and and and a 1927 "Rainbow" annual. When are you coming over to the Hatch to visit me again eh? No time long see! We went to Weald Park last night to hear the ducks in the moonlight. Real spooky it was, what with Edwin hiding in the undergrowths and screechin' like a castrated pig and all ! The dark wood was full of shadowy shapes. When is your magnificent partridge to be? O great white wonder? In between? Twixt? Sniff! Sniffy-sniff! Drip! The Onion Shop Is still open, but not for long........Dinah hitches to Southend every day now, cos she can't afford the fare. One night last week she gave us a nasty shock when she didn't get back at her usual 7pm. and we thought she'd been dragged off by a maniacal lorry driver to suffer a fate worse than death! Anyway at 10pm as we were about to go to the police, who strolls cheerily up the garden path? Yes, old smilin' D. saying "I didn't realise it was so late, caught the slow bus to China". Of course enraged by this feeble excuse we beat her to a pulp! ( not really ) Do you watch the Marx Bros. of Fridays? Good eh? Lynne plans to go "mail order" advertising in trendy mags and trendy papers, amking dresses and stuff personal to requirements!? Ed's selling badges to Harrods and Miss Selfridge - so am I. ( Cut out on old wobbly fret work machine ) get you yacts straight! NEXT DAY. We dug a bit of garden up today to plant vegetables, seeds and "live off the land" and all that commune jazz. After about an hour and 6 square feet and 4 blisters later I collapse exhausted. Hey Dave, why don't you take a holiday whilst theose idiots are messin' about (B.R. strikes ) You'll start getting ulcers if you haven't got 'em all ready!

Boot Sales

Boot sales this morning with Hazel and Beth. The first at Blakemere was a bit cold and rainy but quite a few brave punters and a few soggy bargains including a tin box of old stamps and packets, rusty biscuit tin, wooden coat hangers, mini cocktail shaker, etc. Then to the indoor one at Memorial court for a warmer rummage. A pile of blank CD-R's and envelopes, xmas tree punch, cigar box etc.

Rose Croft, Brentwood - Wit Sunday, 28th May 1972

Dear C. Gosh! What's happenin' ? Me writings growing hairs! Must be this nasty smelly damp paper ripped from a silly ol' book I rescued down the rainy pit today! I'll get the "black plague" if I go there too often I'm sure! I should burn it after you've handled it if I were you! ( you probably burn 'em anyway!) Wash your hands thoroughly using a fresh newt. More junk from the front step, to join the dolls head, old bottles, stones, marbles and books is a lovely big attache case full of picture frames, ping pong bats, ping pong net holder, pin pong wall plaque and ping pong table lamp. Your writing is getting worse! Is it in code? What horrible weather! The following wit day. Sacre plonk! Ken the greasy shop keeper has diddled me again! I'll think I'll feather me nest with a couple of heggs! A song for Celia to sing ( pointy arrow ) O I do like to be beside the P side, O I do like to be beside the P........etc. etc.... Ugh! That's too much like the original to be any good, perhaps you can suggest better words? Go on! I bet you can't! I had a horrible dream last night. These ruffians were after me with big knives!! Argh! TUESDAY. Sun, rain, rain sun, rain! I wish it would make up it's mind! Walking from Brentwood this morning I got wringing wet and dried again in 15 minutes! Now all my clothes have shrunk! There's a Hoxfam shop opened in town again, but nothing much in it. There's a copy of that funny record that Clare played at her party " Dandy Company Children's Party Fun" . Was that it? I might get it if it's still there on Friday. My nasturtiams are growing really tall, like palm trees! But they lean drunkenly forwards in the sun, so I have to turn them bowing inwards. The cats have dug most of my radishes up! I don't care, I'm not particularly fond of them anyway. I don't think my fingers are green enough for a Percy Sowerbutts! Ed has hidden his razor so I am forced to grow my beard again! LATER THAT EVENING.... Down in the dump again! To find a portable Remmington tripe writer, needs cleaning and oiling but should work OK. Lucky Ed found an old Muffin-the-Mule puppet there which I had carelessly overlooked, I could have kicked myself but I kicked ED instead. Bill got loads of useless junk as usual, 6 horrible roundabout washing line monsters and 3 car washers, a tele ( they are trying to make it go at this moment - fat chance!) NEXT DAY. Tired of looking heavenward for miraculous falling manna, meat pies and pennies on the eyes ( romantic death urge) I searched every crook and nanny for lemonade bottles that were returnable for deposit. I found 4 ! Oh joy! At last we could eat! Cycling madly chinking all bottled up to Ken's Ducky Stores to mess his counter with dirty 'ol glass containers all cobwebby and full of turps, meths and what looked like treacle! "Anything else sir?" he feebly enquired. Snatching the 10p from my grubby paw I grunted that I didn't and leaped thru' the door, over and old lady, and onto my trusty Raleigh Speedette! "Hi ho Saliva!" Last night Bynne , Lill and I went to Gordon Bleau's to drink his home made double strength ale and listen to his funny musac after we'd finished laughing at "Star Tek" ! Did you see that one? With Spock's Mum and Dad?! What a joke ho ho! Old Gord does go on a bit about the technicalities of life , and likes to explain to a dumbfounded audience the ins and outs of Spocks ears, Soofyism, Harry Corbetism and Stravinsky etc. But like old Bobby Brainbatter he's a good egg really! When he'd got us blotto on two pints of his deadly brew ( Bill thought it tasted like vindegar at first, but after while he grew to like it. Glub! glug! ) he persuded us to come along and join his jazz group at some pub somewhere and play free form bop til the cows come home ( and they usually do!) Bill's gonna play his alto saxophone and I'm gonna tinkle the old autoharp ( Blink1 blonk!) ? I don't eben know what an autoharp is? P.S. The chap over de rode is doing one of his famous smoke screen again in the vain hope to hide the vile bodies of Lynne's kid brother and partners in grime who have just swaggered down the road to beat up some old lady. They are camping it up down the end of the garden! Great Fiord only knows what they get up to down there! ( "down there" get it?) I still feel a bit queer after last night, woops! Now me suspenders broken! Have you seen that big Marx Bros. book that's just come out? It's got all their best bists in it with frame by frame shots and humourous dialogue! Chuckle! See you soon, ever yours Horace B. Bicycleclip.


Nice day out in Congleton yesterday with old chums Tony and Pene. Had a good rummage in Victoria Mills - the antique emporium that used to be an old mill - four floors of interesting old tat. We bought a few bargains including some excellent 50's Practical Householder mags, metal drawers, trivet slidey thing for warming your kettle, "Bee Meter" early light gauge thingy, tin toy and other bits and bobs. Had some oatcakes, toastie sarnies and tea in the cafe for lunch. Catching up with all the news etc. Afterwards a walk to the park to look for conkers and chase squirrels. Tree branch had fallen in recent storm and crushed some railings. Then a walk to Aldi to get bread ( T&P got a basket of shopping ) Saw a paddle steamer on the banks of the Dane. Then a shared crumbly scone and drippy jam in the cafe again. More junk rummage and then home.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Wonderbot, Brentwood - 12th Nov. 1972

Dear Madge Badge Cadge, When cats sick up balls of fur it's called catpelt. When dogs roll their bones in a ring it's called Marylebone. When it rains cats and dogs there's a growling wind. When I fly my coat I burn a goat. When all that was lost is won , Arsenal 2. Thank you my eager beavers and readers for letting me into your homes once more.This is my life! ( Eamonn Android Easy Listener ) Thank you for the wobbly banjo. Tales of British Rail No 1. To get to Brentwood today I had to get a train that looked remarkably like a bus and travel a strange route in the rain to Hockley station. There to get out of this train that looked like a bus and travelled on roads and get in a train that was a train . Very confusin'! Bill and Edd ARE convicts! Thank you again for the vouchers. I will except them as payment for piggish badgers. Bill has become ever so kind lately. Today on my return from sunny Southend I found a pile of books on my bed that he'd found down the dump - the lovely 1937 Film Star book and a 50's Pop Star annual, also a chimp book. Yours, Helga Chimile

Camdenhurst Street, Stepney - 4th May 1976

Dear C, R and A, What a nice suprise. I certainly did not expect a reply and certainly not an invitation after such a long silence and my intimidating Easter card! I was looking through some old letters ( they are in suitcases, various sizes of wooden and carboard boxes and take up most of the room here ) and came across some from you in Africa, and wondered how I'd lost contact with such friendly and delightful people ( I really mean that, honest!) My memory is petty terrible at the best of times ( and seems to be getting worse!) and I was suddenly plagued with the notion that I had written at some time a poor and ill formed letter that had brought about this sudden break in communications from you while in France as you were all over Africa and then returning to England, and so there was a big gap at that time for everybody, not just me. Hope you can make sense of this, I can't! Anyway, I'll just fill in the gaps and tell you what' been happening in my thin little life since then. When I came back from France I "crashed" on Dick and Cheryl's workshop floor (lumpy mattress) in Lambeth for about a year ( it seemed like an eternity at the time, feels, in retrospect like about 3 weeks! ) I was looking around for a studio (or anything ) during the letter part of my stay, and eventually found out about ACME Housing Association, and after an interview I went on their waiting list ( meantime I'd outstayed my welcome in Lambeth and went to live with my parents in Basildon - still on the dole ) and lo and behold 7 months later I was offered a pre-fab in the most unattractive part of London, which I jumped at immediately ( I was quite prepared to live in a hollow log at that time!) So here I am, snug as a hamster in a shoe box! Plenty of room for a solitairy artist to paint, sleep, eat, wash etc. and even a little garden to dig in if I feel so inclined ( and had money for a spade!) My neighbours are a rum lot, except for Colin and Patty next door, who like a lot of things that I do, and only last night were in here listening to Tony Hancock and old BBC comedy shows and chuckling to ourselves. There are 24 or so pre-fabs in this block- 14 of which are occupied by artists of one kind or another ( so they tell me!) 7 are squatted in ( mostly hells angels and thick hippies ) and the rest ordinairy East Enders just dying to move out into a nice council flat or maisonette. The gas men were here yesterday and put in new pipes etc. for natural gas conversion. My heating has gone "up the creek" consequently! I'll have to collar one of the gas men and make him look at it. Brick Lane market is quite close and I usually go there every Sunday morning to hunt for bargains and just enjoy the atmostphere of a "real" street market, not like the awful tourist trap "petticoat lane" just around the corner. Last Sunday I bought some quite decent classical LP's for 20p each, only they didn't have the outer sleeve, and some were a bit crackly but otherwise excellent. Also a large enamel saucepan that weighs a ton, just right for cooking curries and thick soups without spoiling them. That was only 50p ( it has a lid too ) I have a couple of collages in the East London Open at the Whitechapel Gallery but apart from that no offers of gallery space are forthcoming. ||However, after mu slides are returned from the Greater London Arts association ( I've applied for a grant and certainly won't get it ) I shall hawk my wares around sympathetic galleries if I can find any! There's a possibility I may do some murals for a local arts association, but people often say things they don't really mean ( nothing came of it ). Meanwhile I'm slowly turning out some watercolirs and hope to start a large canvas soon ( my first attempt was a terrible failure, I feel reluctant to start again!) The sun is out and my washing is flapping and dancing on the line and I must go and browse through situations vacant ( just in case!) I haven't heard from Bill and Lynne in a while.Their last letter said they'd be in Red Deer until the end of May, but didn't say where they were going after that. I certainly hope they come back to England, It'll be lovely to see them again. It'll be even nicer if they are staying with you and I can come and visit. Whatever happens, I certainly hope to hear form you soon and about life in Berkshire and little hand clapping Alice. Love Michael.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Camdenhurst Street Stepney - Tuesday 3rd Jan. 1978

Dear C, R, A & W, Thankyou for the jolly card. I do hope you had a lovely Christmas. I had an awfully dull time at my parents - watching huge chunks of cake and eating the television ( also in huge chunks ) consequently I am covered in spots and have dark rings around my eyes - most unbecoming! Anyway, thank goodness it's all over for another year and I can get back to my usual routine. There were a couple of pleasant evenings spent in the company of old friends that I suppose made up for the horrible dull boring bits. I must admit I did receive some lovely pressies this year ( mostly from me!) New records by Ian Dury ( who I'm sure you must have heard about ) and Ry Cooder. A bunch of sable brushes from my brother and his fiance. An egg box cage thing from my friend Tony and a book of Chinese childrens propaganda paintings. Bill & Lynne gave me a twel full of rainbows and packet of delicious china tea. Lucky old me! Did you stay home for Xmas or did you stay with friends or family atall? Heard from Dinah lately? Lynne phoned her up last week and we all had a few pence of words with her. It wasn't very successful though, those sort of phone calls ever are. A squeaky voice said "I'm on a little cloud" or something like that Lynne thought she would be spurred to write after that but nothing yet as far as I know. Ho hum. Gosh it's ever so windy and cold outside. I'm glad I don't have to go out and get paparfin tonight. Egg chip sna beans for tea - yum yum! Yes, I would love to come and visit you again soon, and when I do, or WE do I must bring the colour slides of Alice to show you that I took when I was there last. Mind you i think they are still in the camera so better not count my transparencies before they hatch! I must shoot the rest of the film off soon, if only we had some sunshine- just a weensy bit. Anyway I must go and look at my loaf now. Hope you are all well. Love, Michael.

Camdenhurst St. Stepney - Tuesday 9th August 1977

Dear C , R & A, Hope you are all well. Just thought I'd send you one of my posters for your perusal, or your coal shed. At the bottom it should read "Supported By The Greater London Arts Association", but as it does not acknowledge them in this fashion I'm afraid I won't be getting the £50 grant they offered me. Very annoying. I was out in my bountiful garden this afternoon, weeding , hoeing and generally messing about. I planted some leeks but I think it's rather too late for such a move. Have to wait and see I suppose. I pulled the broad beans out and lifted my onions to dry off. The runner beans have lots of blossom and bees so I'm hoping for a bumper crop there. The sunflowers are rather stunted but beautiful all the same silent sentinels around the edge of my little allotment , nodding at each other in the breeze. Have you heard from Bill and Lynne yet? Bill scratched his phone number on my front door but that's as near as they've got to actually communicating with me. I sent them a letter as the public phone box near here is little better than a public urinal! I have a great gas cooker now courtesy of Dick's Auntie Joan. Dick came round to fix it up for me. What a kind fellow. They have also invited me to Paris for a couple of weeks to stay with Richard Bollard. I hope to scrape enough money togther to go, as I feel I've earned a short holiday after my traumatic scrapyard and beetroot experiences! "Take It From Here" is on later tonight which I am looking forward to, and I believe the Goons are being repeated next week. Hooray! I am reading Norman Lindsay's autobiography at the moment which is quite amusing ( for an Australian ). He wrote "The Magic Pudding", a lovely book, also a Tom Sawyerish trilogy that includes "Saturdee" "Redheap" and "Halfway To Anywhere", which I urge you to read if you haven't already. It's really nice not having to use that nasty camping gaz stove of my brother-in-laws anymore. Now I can cook pies, flans and baked potatoes and not end of interesting things. Cooking has become a pleasure again. I have a couple of things in the Whitechapel Open, which I've told you about I'm sure. The show itself is rather more interesting than previous years as they've tended to show work by young practicing artists from the area and not so much "sunday painters" stuff. Nothing sold yet unfortunately , not that I expect it really. I have a good organic gardening book that Dick and Cheryl gave me. I've been reading how to make effective sprays with garlic and household refuse, also what herbs and flowers keep pests away. Very useful. I do hope you are well and will write soon. Love Michael.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Rose Croft, Brentwood, Essex - 12th May 1972

Dear C &R, Thank you for the lovely photo of the elephant and words from the dark and mysterious continent. The big cuckoo clot on this page reminds me of two of my latest aquisitions, being a lovely carved wood cuckoo clock face that Bill found down the dump ( happy hunting ground!) - a few days later I found another more tawdry effort that had obviously been painted by a parrot who hated cuckoos! We play a lot with the bagatelle game I found there as well, it's getting to be an obsession! I'm feeling a bit sick at the moment - wev'e just come back from the park where we hoped to have a game of bowls, but the miserable old devil parkkeeper said it was too late at 7.30p.m.! So we played on the swings and slide in the children's playground. Ed spun me round so fast I haven't felt the same since! I've planted some carrots and radishes and lots of flowers in the garden and they seem to be growing nicely. Bill and Ed have their own vegetable patches. It's good to see the garden being productive raher than a jungle of grass and weed creepers! But I expect it's like the Wembley pitch compared to what you see in Africky?! Intermitent sun and showers here today, not very nice for Spring Fayres, fetes and carnivals. There's a donkey derby next week - I hope it's fine for that. I've just put up another shelf to put books that I keep on tripping over. Got some interesting one's yesterday at the jumble sale - Cobbett's "Rural Rides", "The Natural History Of Selbourne" by Rev. Gilber White M.A. and one of those Saturday Books full of unusual articles and pictures. Yes, I should like to hear the music. Do they do the "Wellington Boot Dance " there? Last night we went to see the morris men do their thing outside a pub in Moreton They weren't very good although the fiddle and drum was nice, and it's a pleasure to see such things kept alive, however amateurish. Inside the pub afterwards - everyone got drunk and sang jolly folk songs about Barley Mo's, Snails that drove nails, and other stange things! Hooray the sun is out! Best regards, Michael.

Rose Croft, Brentwood, Essex - Tuesday May 23rd 1972

Dear C&R, Thankyo' for the fine letter and photo's. I wish mine were half as interestin' - it's like getting a letter from Armand and Michaela Denis ( old TV favourites!) The funny lookin' geezer on the back of the envelope does look strangely firmiliar, and an ancester of mine could well have posed for that stained glass! Mmmm! paw paws sound delicious, I wish they grew over here, and so quickly! But you must have patience waiting for that pineapple to grow! Thom Gunn is not really my cup of tea as you rightly guess, but i understand the feelings he writes about, though not close to my heart. Billykins, Lynn and Dinah have gone to the big smelly city today to buy some cloth I think. Bill is having a tutorial at the Slade, his show is in three weeks and his whiskers bristle in expectation of it! I'm doing a 4'x4' painting of Rose Croft at the moment as I get fed up with doing little things. I'm brightening up the whole place of course, a nice red roof and lovely clear blue sky, no old bicycles and timber outside either! Lots of lovely flowers growing! LATER THAT EVENING - I've just been for a walk to the local rubbish tip, a favourite haunt of us "Rose Croftians" to see if anything interesting has been tossed away. There were lots of old wreckords, most smashed by the bulldozer, and some office equipment including a couple of typewriters. But I contented myself with a few dirty books ( No , not that sort!) One is about insects, another is W.H.Davies' "Diary Of A Supertramp" and best of all is a big thick "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland" with lovely colour plates. They don't ssmell very nice after being with the potato peelings and cabbage stalks but who cares! English birds of course are shy compared to their African cousins and most would dream of wearing two contrasting colours let alone fancy bits, frills and what-have-you's stuck on everywhere. But whta beautiful songs they sing, especially at this time of year, notes the very essence of the rainbow. There was a programme on the radio the other day about African music but I missed it! Fancy having to be 'dragged' to the "Lake of A Million Flamingos" ! I don't believe it. It's just starting to rain now and the birdies stop singing for a while to get soap and a flannel. Does it rain there at all? All at once? May your paw-paws be plentiful and your carrots in abundance! Love from Michael.

Rose Croft, Brentwood, Essex. - 22nd February 1972

Dear C & R, Thankyou for including me in your delightful letter, I certainly did not expect it as I hardly know you both. And as for not including me in your Christmas presents, well that's quite ridiculous! I think Lynne must have laid it on a bit thick! I like the photographs, where's all de lions and elephants though? The one of the artist, he seems very miserable! Hasn't he sold any of his work? Or is it because you've stolen his spirit in your magic box? The picture you paint with your pen is lovely, it seems a wonderful place to be. Here in dismal green/brown England the power cuts have plunged us back ( forgive pun ) into the dark ages! I sit now at with a hurricane lamp and a sparky fire as my only light to write this letter. The parafin stinks! Phew! The food they eat there certainly sounds fascinatin', but no more bizarre than whats sometimes served up at Rose Croft I assure you! Though I must commend myself on a superb shepheard's pie tonight, shepheards being rare and quite expensive this time of year! The only wild creatures we see are mice! One just jumped out at me as I surprised the little devil making himslf a cheese and pickle snadwich, and he disappeared down a tiny flight of stairs under the sink. I would have followed bt the hurricane lamp was too big. O yeh? I'm still managing to survived without getting a cruddy job, much to my amazement, but funds are low. However I managed to scrape some pennies together to go to a concert by the Incredible String Band next week in London Town! Yipee! This time at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, a better venue than the 'Bert Hall as it's smaller and better acoustically. Do you hear much African music? You're amongst the roots of modern music there, Wow! Too much! choogle- oogle boogle bonk! I haven't done any big paintings on canvas for ages and I'm itching to do some or maybe it's fleas or somethin' ? Scrsatch! I'm doing pegs and wooden things mostly, fret work hobby art it shall be called. Lyne and Dinah are going to try and sell some at their shop. They are just trying to humour me I think! I'm fed up with the smell of this lamp now so going to hit the sack! Bunk! Happiness to you all in Elephant Land. Love Michael.

Rose Croft, Brentwood, Essex. - 23rd August 1972

Dear Long Time No Hearers, Did you receive my little parcel? It's been some weeks now since I sent it and beginning to wonder whether the beastly cads at customs bagged it! Life at "Rose Croft" much the same. Enjoying the sun and having a good scratch. Drat these flies! A lovely hot air balloon floated over the garden today. Such an unusual sight - we just had to rush in for our trusty cameras to snap it. Lynne was upset as she didn't have any film left. The pussy-face is pregnant again, or suffering from a surfeit of mice! I've made some clock faces and cuckoo clocks and a friend brought two to give as presents. Bill and Ed are working for a decorator in London, but no work for me as yet. Can't say I'm particularly worried in that respect. I may be going up to Cheshire to stay awhile with friends who have moved to a house by a canal, which sounds so nice. I could do with a holiday , doing "nothing" is so tiring! Hope you are both well and happy. Michael

Rose Croft, Brentwood, Essex - December 21st 1972

Dear R, C, Elephants, pussycats, monkeys and anybody else with bulges in their back pockets. Thanks for the nice photos. I guess my Christmas greetings were a little premature. If not one thing, then another, as Mrs. Wibley would say. I'm afraid I've been rather thoughtless when it comes to sticking the right stamps on certain envelopes ( so Lynne tells me!) and certain that Kenya is still part of the Great British Commonwealth ( all stand up and face Buckingham Palace!) I've been getting away with cheap communications. I do hope you have not been acosted by pygmy postmen demanding reconpence! I shall abide by Her Majesties regulations in future ( Note - thin paper ). The other day, being Sunday, we all strode over to Weald Park in Bill's van and then dragged our feet around the wintry landscape, sniffing the soil and kicking up leaves, squirrels and anything else that lay in our path. It was very muddy but being resourceful chaps managed to negotiate the more hazardous stretches of quagmire by going back the way we'd come. We found lots of interesting fungus that Bill nibbled to see if it was poisonous or not ( He's not so daft as he looks!) And a lovely hollow tree with a very low door and a little round window to peek thru' etc. I'm reading gavin Maxwell's "Ring Of Bright Water" - excellent stuff! I've been wrapping up my Christmas gifts and still making things for people. I'm a little tired of it now tho'. Too much of a rush. Bill and I hitched up to Cheshire a week or so ago to stay the weekend with our old friends Trevor and Jenny, who ow live by the canal in Beeston. It's a beautiful place- the gently sloping hills around with sheeps and cows, and Beeston castle in the distance. The railway line is nearby too, so Trevor is really in his element being a chuff-chuff addict. The local brew is nice too, brought up from a cellar below in big frothy jugfuls, like in days gome by. We visited Chester too whilst we were there - another fine place with a wall that goes round the town and lovely old shops with verandahs and pedestrian walkways, years ahead of it's time! I really felt a comfortable glowing Christmas feeling there in those bustling tiny streets, nothing quite like it for a long time. Soon it will be snowing. Happiness among the animals and growing things.From Michael.

Rose Croft , Brentwood, Essex - 25th June 1973

Dear C & R, Thankyou so much for the splendid Birthday present. I can't wait to begin making it. How ingenius you all are! It arrived a little bent and crumpled, but nothing too serious. I suppose one must expect such things when it comes all the way from the land of the elephants, tied to a giraffe, pigmy and ostrich ( G. P.O. ) ! And a letter too. It's so nice to have money to jangle in my pocketses once again now that I am a man of employed status. How good to pay my bills on time and not worry where the next penny is to come from. I'd rather earn a living at doing the things I like best of course, but it's only for a while, then a well deserved holiday. The fellows I work with are amusing characters and friendly once you get to know them. Your mud hut industries sounds jolly fine, where do you get all your materials from though, out there in the jungle? Don't you get homesick at all for the 'old country' ? You've been out there nearly two years now haven't you? I know I would be. I went to the Slade Post-Grad private view last week. It was overso boring - except for a few things. My friend , who was at Southend and then Falmouth, Tony Eve had some lovely things there. He makes amusing objects to do with animals, mostly pigeons, crows and mice. Little race tracks and games for them to play and also moving things. Outside he had a sculpture, that when it rained it tipped water into canvas bags, rather like those perpetual motion birdies. Better than I describe them. Thanks again for the roundabout, it's lovely. Best wishes from Michael Maggot-finder.

Busman Banter

A wander round the charity shops this morning. Found a couple of films that might be worth watching "Get Out" and "Wind River". On the bus on the way home there was some amusing banter between the portly bus driver and a chubby passenger- Passenger - I need to loose some weight. Bus Driver - Me too - I've got an over-active...err... Passenger - Thyroid? Buss Driver - No.. knife and fork! Chuckles all round There was more but this raised the most smiles.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Marbury Park

Lots of rain during the night so any boot sales were cancelled so we didn't go to any. It brightened up as the day wore on. Nice afternoon walk in Marbury Country Park before the weather turned a bit wetter. Autumn just around the corner. Saw lots of squirrels - some with nuts. Mad dogs and englishfolk go out and scare the ducks - the swans hissed back. Round the lake to the garden centre. Hazel bought a couple of plants. Then to Granma and Audrey's for tea and coconut cake.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

North West Phillumenists

Nice wander round the artisan market and then onto the North West Phillumenists meet up at the Memorial Court ( on until 4 I think ). Excellent displays of cigarette and matchbox related ephemera and some going for very cheap prices. Hazel even got a nice book given to her for nothing! Bought tons of labels for our collection and few boxes of matches too. Very friendly folk all willing to chat about their intriguing hobby. Could have spent longer there and bought more stuff but an hour seemed long enough and we had plenty to sort through when we got home

Friday, September 07, 2018


Nice wander round Chester yesterday morning. Got there early and witnessed and exciting police chase on the A53 - mad car driver going 90mph down middle of road closely followed by two cop cars , sirens wailing. Glad the road was wide at that point! They vanished from view and we never saw them again. Nothing on the news - must happen all the time. No bargains in Chester except for two old packs of Snap cards from the 50's or 60's. I was going to use them for collage but they seem far to nice. We have a few Snap cards already so will go in the collection. Hazel bought a new dress and some post-it notes for the archive sorting. Got some lunch in the Barrista we always frequent - tuna melt and de-caff capacino. The drizzle never stopped but just as we were going home the sun came out - typical!

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Boot Sales at Vagrants and Weston

Our boot sale bargains today from Weston and Vagrants near Crewe with Hazel and Beth. Vagrants proved more fruitful for me with a couple of DVD's and CD of "The Band"'s fist album which I probably have somewhere already but it was only 50p. Not sure if we've seen the Terry Gilliam film "Tideland" but that was 50p too. Also "The Piano" which we saw many years ago at the cinema but haven't seen since. Hazel got a few bits including a rusty file box, a small suitcase, a circle maker, skirt lifter and some plants etc. Beth gave me the A1 tobacco tin as she bought several. Rather dull weather but at least it didnt rain.