Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Walk In Anderton

The joys of Autumn - kicking up the leaves - a walk round Anderton woods for a change as Marbury was full of hundreds of dogs - no parking spaces! Then to Granma and Audrey's for batenburg and coffee. Nov. 2019

Friday, November 08, 2019


Nice wander around sunny Chester today with Hazel. She went off to buy material for her quilting and I did the usual charity shop run. No bargains this time - just a slim wall calender to write birthdays and dentist apps. on etc. Also 6 postcard for a quid in the Oxfam shop. Some will no doubt be collaged in amusing and delightful ways. Then to our old chums Beth and Simon who have moved nearby. We took along some vege sausage rolls, cheese, bread and cake for lunch. Beth had made some delicious carrot and coriander soup so plenty to sustain us for the walk back to town and the bus ride to the car park at Broughton. Chester was packed with graduating students pouring out of the cathedral in droves for photo opportunities ouside in the sunshine. You can just about see some in my photo of the hideous sculpture and cathedral. The Blue Coat Hospital is on the way out of town beyond the city walls. Not noticed it before so took a snap of the figure in blue above the door.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Bonfire and Fireworks

These photos don't really do the fireworks justice that we saw last night in Gadbrook Park just round the corner. £1 to get in - a bargain! Hundreds thronged amid the swings and roundabouts - the explosions echoing round the houses on the parks perimeter. BANG! WHOOOSH! etc. Ooohs and Aaaah's a plenty. The smell of cordite and fried onions from the hot dog stall. Hazel and I had our first real date at bonfire and firework party back in 1983 so the evening tinged with nostalgia and togetherness.

Saturday, November 02, 2019


Lots of soggy crows, starlings and sheep on the way to drippy Dagfields antique emporiums this morning. Prices seemed to have gone up again so we didnt get much. Nice ride out though despite the torrential drizzle. Hazel was not tempted by the red wooden engine ( shed work ) or the antique Marvel and Cocoa tins! Nor the fake number 6. £8 seemed a bit steep for a repro. sign. She bagged a biscuit tin for a fiver ( normally £3 on any boot sale ) seduced by the squirrel on the lid. The victorian scrap screen was nice but not as nice as the one we already have. The little snowmen made of sawn up logs were a bit too early - come back next month! Stopped off at the hospice place on the way home for a rummage. Hazel found a glass dish engraved ( or moulded?) with King George 6th Coronation wordage.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


It's that time of year again when you spend lots of money of nasty looking sweets to give to trick or treaters who knock on your door on 31st October. Hazel found this plastic skull in one shopping trip recently. Alas poor Yorick? Not sure how you spell it. I expect it will be in the window with all the other pumpkins, spooky lights, flappy bats etc. Hazel is more into it than me I must admit. I always let her go to the door with the treat bowl. The bowl is usually empty by 7pm and we can turn off all the lights and hide.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Memorial Court Indoor Boot

Clocks went back so confused about what time to get up and what day it was ! This happens every year about this time. managed to get to indoor boot just after it opened so plenty of bargains to be had. Hazel got loads including a button box, tins of tools and gadgets, sewing paraphenalia, bottles from a old bathroom, toffee tin, pin box, old wooden rulers, rugg making stuff, etc etc. the list goes on! I was given a free digital camera as it has no leads or charger to go with it. It's a Kodak EasyShare C763 in case anyone has spare leads they don't want.
Here's Hazel sorting through one of the button boxes that also contained many sewing threads and cards of poppers and suchlike.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Curious Things

Some fuzzy views of the new "interactive area" in the foyer of the Curious Things exhibition in Special Collections, MMU, Manchester. There's a rubber stamping table to add to your free stamp card/ exhibition guide etc. A bowler hat post box in memory of W. Reginald Bray and a section to stick your artworks. Here some students from fine art history department are having fun with the stamps. Thanks to Sophie for the photos.#mmucuriousthings

Monday, October 21, 2019


New mattress delivered and old one disposed of. Two burly blokes with tattoos on their tattoos humped it up the stairs only knocking a few things off the walls ( nothing broke thankfully )> they took a photo of the mattress in it's final resting place to prove it had been delivered and not eaten ( or whatever else one does with them? ). Phew. I need a lie down after all that!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Birthday Boy

So it was quite an exciting day - 27 years ago in St. Thomas's Hospital where our boy was pushed out into the world. Hazel went into labour around 10-30 in the morning so not far to toddle ( or did we go in taxi? ) My diary doesn't mention any modes of transport. Two days earlier "Hazel feeling miserable. Crying and tired, poor thing." She cheered up later . Visit from Michael Lumb who took away three carrier bags full of our mail art archive for his PHD studies. Carol came round for lasagne. Friday was "A blur!" is all my diary says. For the 10th - "Gosh, so elated and tired and confused- my head spinning and aching and the days events rushing through my poor addled brain. Dear Archie arrived at 9.43pm. weighing 7 pounds and 2 oz. and howling like a banshee! Poor Hazel had to have stitches which was worse than the contractions she said. She sucked on the gas line like it was going out of fashion. Went in hospital at 1.30pm so quite quick. Arrived home from hospital about 8 mins. past midnight (Saturday). Walked but no hassle thankfully.Tired. Hope to sleep and Hazel and Archie too. Weird being a father - can't quite believe it! Slept fitfully - woke at 7. Phoned people on Hazel's list. They didn't mind being woken up." and so it rambles on...... and here he is 27 years later in his flat in Fulham with his birthday crown and inflatable crabs! He's off to see Graham Norton tonight with Bruce Springsteen and James Blunt and some other stars courtesy of BBC ticket unit.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Anderton Boat Lift

As Archie and Meriel were here for a couple of days we decided to go over to the Anderton Boat Lift as Meriel had never seen this wonder of the industrial age. It's free to get in and see the mini-museum now containing some old penny slot machines. So we had fun spending old pennies on the "Haunted Graveyard" "The Haunted Library" and the "Laughing Clown" etc. I think these were originally over at the Candle Factory near Beeston.


Nice but somewhat stressful evening at PV at Special Collections in Manchester. Went on train and met up with Rick Cox and Allison, Tony and Pene Eve, Mark Pawson in the Benzie cafe for a chat and quick look round the dissapointing MA show. Then over to library and SC for a mingle with gathered throng. Staff there had pulled out all the stops and provided lots of drink and hospitality. I had to read Roger Stevens poem out as it was National Poetry Day which was slightly embarrassing but managed it and even got a round of applause. Hazel read her speech as did the head of Special Collections - Anneka? Mark P. gave us a potted history of the mail art movement from Fluxus to the 90's. Great to see Russ Columbo turn up from Fife in Scotland who I hadnt seen for over 50 years! Also amazed to see Jennifer Williams from London on a day excursion just to see the exhibition! Also there were Charlie Holt, some assorted staff and ex-staff of MMU nd even a few students. Chatted to several poeple who I didn't know but seemed intrigued by it all which was nice. A friend of Keith Bates. A man from the Victorian Envelope Club? One man who said his friend makes painted postcards and would be sure to tell him so he could send me one. Quite an evening and very tiring - trudged back through wet Manchester streets to the train station and home

Friday, September 27, 2019

Congleton Antique Mill

Greeted by a lost partridge or a pheasant maybe at the car park in Congleton this morning. Pouring with rain. Went to meet up with old chums Tony and Pene and look round the antique emporium. Prices seem to have gone up since last time so didn't get anything. Hazel found a bit of 30's stained glass to prop up in her workshop or summerhouse.Nice coffee and toasted tea cake for elevenses. More antiquing. Lunch in cafe on top floor. Soup was a bit salty Hazel said. I had mushroom and cheese toastie and salad which was very tasty.Braved the weather to look in the most boring museum in England . Home through massive puddles. Splish-splosh!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Online Interview

Online interview with Mark Watkins HERE.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Archie - Open Studio - Galleria ACME - Peckham

Strange isn't it that nearly 40 years later Archie is renting his studio from ACME as I did back in the 70's except then mine was a pre-fab in Stepney for £3 a week or something stupid and I could live there as well! Good to see ACME still a going concern - helping out artists in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Stepney was pretty basic but very cheap to live back in the 70's and 80's. I got to exhibit at the Whitechapel gallery a few times and made enough work to get my foot in the door of a couple of galleries in the west end. All run by crooks sadly so didn't last long. Mail art came along and rest, as they say, is history. Our 40+ year archive "Curious Things" opens in Manchester on Monday and on for 6 months. #mmucuriousthings

Monday, September 09, 2019

More Tweaking at Curious Things

Nice day depsite the drizzle in Manchester again to sort out the vitrines and print some labels etc. Also made sketch of where everything was in the mailed objects cabinet and did a diagram and key to find everything which will be added to wall. Hazel printed more labels with her Victorian rubber stamp set. The invites are printed and look very nice. Posters look amazing! More soon! #mmucuriousthings

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Vagrants and Stella and Brian Visit.

Busy day today so just got round to putting our boot sale bargains on here. Our old chums Stella and Brian came with us to the boot sale at Vagrants near Nantwich. They are on a road trip to see friends and family in their massive campervan. They stayed for lunch and we went for a nice walk to Marbury Woods this afternoon and then to Hazel's Mom's for a cup of tea and slice of lemon drizzle cake. Stella was a neighbour of Granma and Audrey's and hasn't seen them for 19 years so they had a lot to talk about. They came back to ours for cheese and crackers and now on the road to Bolton.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Curious Things install

2nd day of install at Special Collections, MMU in Manchester. Hazel and myself sorting out lots of cabinets ( we need more!) and directing framing of posters, artistamps, postcards etc. One of the biggest, if not the biggest overview of the mail art scene in the UK. To be opened on 25th September ( PV 3rd October ) through to April 2002. #mmucuriousthings

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Oswestry Antique Fair

Nice time at Oswestry antique fair today at the rugby club grounds - three big barns full of stuff and tons of stalls outside. Shame about the rain . We got soaked! Had to dive indoors. Didnt get much really - all a bit pricey - not boot sale prices like we are used to. Got a few postcards of Southend, Westcliff etc. Hazel got a lovely safety pin holder from the C0-OP. A pipe clamp thing, a 3-D View-Master viewer and "Stingray" reel (plus two others - Norway and Wales) , and pot mender . Had a cheese toastie for lunch in ramshackle cafe. "Bargain Hunt " team were there too - with Kate Bliss and two Asian guys with big black beards. Should hopefully see us lurking furtively in the background of a few shots when it eventually gets aired.