Monday, October 10, 2016

Archie In India

A few snaps of our boy's adventures in India for those not on FB that can access these snaps. It's his 24th birthday today and he's celebrating in Mumbai at the moment and flying to the west coast for the 5 week craft village residency tomorrow. He and his girlfriend Meriel have already been to Goa and Kerala? for 3 weeks and traveling by train, plane and nik - nak ( what are those three wheeled put put jobs called? ) Tic tac? Anyway, they seem to be having a great time despite the heat and the mosquitoes etc. No Delhi belly as yet - fingers crossed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Southend Art School 1965

I've probably put this photo on here before but no harm in seeing it again. It reminds me of a great time back in the 60's ( from 1963-67) when things were a lot different to what they are now. It may not look much ( this is the back entrance ) but it was a place of great creativity, freedom and friendship. That half finished block in the distance is a portent of things to come - when Southendd would become a dull grey town trying to throw off the trappings of the lively East End holiday destination and become a second rate business centre. Much of it has gone now but still have fond memories of the Garon's arcade, Garon's cinema (so many cinemas!) Keddies department store, Peter Pan's Playground, The Golden Hind, the waxworks with rats on wires, Woolworths and British Home Stores etc. etc. Not to mention all the junk shops and arcades. In 1967 the old art school was bulldozed to make way for a roundabout and road system and new block was built nearby which soon became redundant.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Blakemere Boot

Surprised to see so many at the boot sale at Blakemere this morning despite the rain showers. The sun shone whilst we were there and the heavens opened as we left - good timing! Got a few bargains including games for 50p and great Leon Redbone CD for a quid. Hazel got a few weird gadgets, coronation mugs, a crystal ball and some lead figures and objects. Went in the antique emporium afterwards and had a look round but not bargains to be found. hazel was intrigued by a strange implement for counting something or other and drew a quick sketch of it in her notebook as she didn't think it was worth £14. Also popped into the garden centre for a tons of violas. No poets to be seen anywhere.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Liverpool Biennale

Always a treat to go into Liverpool by train ( just 30 mins. from Hartford station ) and see the Biennale. Previous years have been more exciting but still some interesting work on show in various venues spread widely around the city. First we trekked over to the huge Cain's brewery complex, an old red brick Victorian edifice to the South- through some of the bleakest industrial streets and grim housing estates. Amongst all this decay are pockets of trendiness like the eatery we popped into to find a snack. All on offer were plastic containers of expensive salads with two prawns or a soup made of bacon and black pudding - yuk! It was packed out with hip young things - gawd nose where they came from as the grey dismal streets outside were empty! Anyway, I digress, the Cain's brewery was a shambles and the art on show was 6th form and foundation level at best. Some interesting videos by Ramin Haerizadeh and Co. raised the standard a little. Hazel borrowed a tablet to follow a virtual dog guide around the exhibition that vanished after metamorphing into a bunch of daffs ( or was it onions?) . Then to the nearby Blade factory and a terrible racket by Mark Leckey based on his youth around Liverpool and the music scene back in the 80's - we stuck 5 mins of the video and sound system and left to find some lunch. Which we found in the Bluecoat, and very nice it was too. We sat outside in the gardens and listened to a busker warbling plaintively in the next street, singing a song of unrequited art. Then around the Bluecoat and the patchy Young Contemporaries. Some amusing video works but most of the painting s and sculptures left me cold. Lastly the FACT gallery and some intriguing work by the American Krzysztof Wodiczko - work about homelessness, machines and gadgets to aid homeless people in their survival and communication.

Friday, September 02, 2016


Pleasant walk in Marbury this morning with Hazel and Archie. Quiet - just a few people with dogs, some twitchers looking for the illusive flying wig wobbler. Here they are frozen in their tracks as they spot a ooslum bird in a nearby tree. The ducks were particularly manic - hoovering up some crumbs some toddlers had dropped on the lakeside. We sat on the moss green bench to marvel at the one legged display of snoring. One flappy duck was contorting itself into strange shapes, its bill penetrating deep layers of feathers and fluff. Hazel said she was scared of feathers when she was little and had to be persuaded that they weren't alive. Also the story aboutthe digger monsters at the bottom of the garden. Her Dad had to take her down to the bottom of the garden to show her the diggers were just mechanical objects driven by workmen who came over to re-assure her. What a sensitive child eh?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Archie's Teds

These tow photos are twenty years apart. Archie collected many teddies and soft toys during his early years and now some of them need to go to a good home. He needs the space in his room so reluctantly having a clear out. So many memories attached to these little balls of fluff and fabric. Some like Dotty bear who was hugged and loved into a strange mishapen form like no other ted before or since - the mangey fur covered by a knitted Granma jumper - will be kept. The others are off to the hospice shop.

Stockport - Plaza and Hat Museum

Nice afternoon in Stockport yesterday at the wonderful Hat museum and the equally wonderful Plaza art deco cinema and cafe. We met up with Alex Woodall and had a good wander round the museum taking lots of snaps and trying on lots of hats. Fascinating videos of the ancient hat making process - those workers in Victorian times really had a hard life and health and safety was non existent! Had lunch in the excellent Plaza cafe - Cheshire cheese rarebit was rather tasty with a side salad. Hazel has a baked spud with at least a tin of tuna poured over it! All run my volunteers. Lovely senior citizen in snazzy suit and tie showed us the cinema which was terrific. Must go back and see a film and hear the organist play ( at start and during interval ) . Shame it is so far from us else we would be in there every week!

Saturday, August 06, 2016


Nice few days in Angelsey via Llandudno. Stayed in very nice B&B in Treaddur Bay near Holyhead. Amazing views from our bay window of the rugged rocks and crashing waves. Stopped off at Llandudno first for a late breakfast in our favourite cafe. A quick walk round the shops and down the pier to play the slot machines. Walk along the prom to the car and then an hour's drive to our B&B. Treaddur Bay has excellent sand - Archie would have enjoyed the rock pools for catching crabs etc. when he was a nipper. I don't know why we haven't been to Angelsey before really - a beautiful part of the country and reminds us of Cornwall but without the crowds of holidaymakers. Went to new restaurant called the Sea Shanty which was like a small museum full of nautical stuff - boats hanging from the rafters, pulleys, old slot machines, buoys, fishing nets, jars of starfish etc. Delicious pizza for me and Hazel had the mussels. The next day we headed for Holyhead to scour the shops and walk down to the docks to see the ferries being loaded and arriving from Dublin. Next to Amlwch , a small fishing boat filled harbour with some nice cliff walks. The Copper Museum was a bit dull but we went in it anyway. The sun came out and we sat by the jetty watching people fish and looking very precarious on the edge. We had to leave as they looked like they would fall in any minute, especially the kids running round like maniacs! Then further along the coast to Bull Bay and then a small turn off lead to Cameas Bay which was a quaint little village with some interesting shops. Hazel bought a tin turtle clockwork toy in one. Tempted by the clockwork mouse on a track but it was a bit pricey. Hada ice cream and sat watching some daft dogs bounding about on the beach. In the evening we had fish and chips in another pub restaurant a bit further on round the bay. Walked back over the sand to sit on rocks and tickle limpets as the sun set. The next day we drove to Aberffraw which was supposed to have a Heritage Centre but it was closed. "open 1-5 most days" It was a tiny village with just one shop and few pastel painted cottages, a chapel and a stoney bridge which they obviously had high regard for as it featured on the postcard you could buy in the village shop ( the only shop) for 40p. Then on to the Model Village which had closed "due to retirement" and so further towards the Menai Straights - stopped briefly at Llanfairgwlletcetc. the longest place name in the UK - took photos in the station and avoided all the tourists who arrived by the coachload to by Welsh Cakes and jumpers in the Pringle shop in the station car park. Then to the Big National Trust house Plas Newydd where you could spot red squirrels if you were lucky ( none to be seen ) and walk around the beautiful and tourist clogged gardens for £8 each. Amazing views of the two bridges and other delights like the wooden leg of Earl Trumpington (just the postcard ) and roll down the hill if you are a frantic five year old looking for excitement.