Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Put A Tiger In Your Tank

Aha! See! Some people are reading this!

James Burdon writes:
I can't find any photos of garage forecourt attendants, but you might like the attached scans of an old advert and an Esso petrol pump. It's a long time since they looked like this!

I worked in a petrol station aged 16 and it reminded me of it when I saw your reference to Red-Ex!
(on my Nostalgia web site - John) I found your blog and enjoyed it. People take themselves too seriously these days.

Keep up the good work.
James Burdon
I'll try, James! Thanks a bundle for the pix, I remember Esso Blobs too - heads like oil droplets, and after the Tiger In Your Tank campaign came out they started selling "tiger tails" you could hang round your petrol filler cap so it looked like it was coming out of the tank!

Class Reunion

Ah, I'm full of well-being today. We've arranged a bit of a school reunion. Only a bit as there's likely only to be three of us but we may perchance admit a bit of table space if any other old geezers of the old gang want to join in! Leave a comment here or email me if anyone does happen to see this drivel...er...blog...

Jackie, Alex and I are meeting up in Rochdale next week on Wednesday (Boss, if you're reading this I will put in a request for leave, honest...)

All the rest of the crowd are a bit far-flung. Jan's fairly close but is going hiking up and down mountains - sheesh, if you just want to prove to yourself that you're as old as the rest of us then it's easier to sit and natter and realise how much has changed since 1971!

So, anyway, Alex having agreed a time sent an email mentioning "High Noon" and it got me thinking about something or other, which came more-or-less to a focus when reading an article about chess in the movies (huh? no I don't know either - it's the way my brain works these days...)

They show chess as it's the only way to show a character is brainy apparently. What a load of cods - I used to just thrash in with a bit trying to annihilate the pieces of my opponent. Preferably by lifting mine to shoulder height and then swooping it down making an aeroplane noise...

The other strategy game we used to play (yes, I knew if I wrote for long enough there'd be a link!) was Risk, which was an army game about conquering the world. In the early 1970s the entire family would gather to play and Alex would join in if we happened to be at my house.

There were some strange rules I remember - whoever was knocked out first was labelled the punkah-waller and had to go and brew up for everyone else. Much better game than chess - at least there was writing on the board so you could tell if it was the right way up...

Workers in Uniform

Well, no one seems to have been able to find any photos of workers in uniform from the 40s-60s as yet (see Treasure Hunt Update) and I must admit I'm scarce in that department also!

However the North Pier still had attendants in uniform in the early 1980s as can be seen here, in a photo of an attendant keeping visitors happy simply by passing the time.

There has to be some photos out there - what have you got? Factory workers, lift attendants, doormen, hotel pageboys, petrol station attendants (remember when they used to put petrol in for you???)

Monday, 30 July 2007

Windows Vista


I've just had a new computer delivered at work and it's got the new Windows Vista operating system.

It feels very different from Windows XP although I haven't as yet found anything that actually improves the functionality. My Pictures and My Videos are now on the same level as My Documents instead of being sub-folders. Is that an advantage or not? This is a bit of a problem with Microsoft as they force users to upgrade and just think of new stuff that's "pretty" but doesn't actually add much of value.

Case in point is the new button for switching between open windows. It gives a 3D view of all the open windows and you can then click the desired one. Thankfully though, they have left the option to use Alt-Tab which though less visually exciting does the job far quicker...

Now if they could just restore the interface from the previous version of Media Player...

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Garden Party

Sounds like a Rick Nelson song...

No, what I really mean was that we've done a garden party this afternoon and early evening for our good friends Chris and Brian Chappell.

I call it a garden, but it's really more like a wonderland of terraces, fish pond, lawns, pathways and chicken coops. We had a bit of competition from the rooster but everyone seemed to have a good time!

There was a lone line dancer... David wondered whether that made her a "dot" dancer...???

Thanks Chris and Brian for your wonderful hospitality as always (did I mention the food?) I will now be on a diet for the forseeable future! And not before time...

Bob's in France on holiday - you're missing out, mate!

Rachel and Dan Marshall

The Friday night before last we were at the wedding reception of Rachel and Dan Marshall. It's certainly been a year of weddings for us!

Somehow I managed to forget the camera so we had to wait until Jeannie had her films developed.

We weren't able to get to the actual wedding as it was on a weekday and I had made appointments to speak to people for work, but I've chosen a photo from the wedding itself, which was at the glorious Ashton Memorial in Lancaster.

This shows the main wedding party. Ian and Vicky (on the left) were married last year and we played a most memorable gig with the band at their reception. Will and my little flower, Gemma (on the right) were also married last year.

All our best wishes go to Rachel and Dan for a long and happy married life.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

More from Margot

Margot Carey, the lady who started off the Great Telescope Treasure Hunt, has sent me some fascinating photos and I'm going to add a couple more here.

Margot is, I think, the young lady to the left of this photo with two lion cubs and the family are remarkably relaxed and composed about posing with them! Ah, wait, the filename of the photo reveals there was a sheet of glass between the lions and the family!

The photograph was apparently taken in the Olympia building. Margot, I think we need to know more about this one!

The next one shows Margot as a young girl, sitting on Santa's knee in the RHO Hills store. It was taken around 1947.

RHO Hills, I think, was opposite the back of the Tower, where Waterstones is now and I have a feeling it burned down? I'm sure someone will tell me if I'm wrong! Margot, I've added your name in the labels below - clicking your name there will open all the entries you are mentioned in! I have a feeling we may hear from you again! I certainly hope so!

Treasure Hunt - My Entry

Seeing as I was down there... oh, alright - this is why I was down there!

If you don't know what the treasure is try reading here, then here, and make sure you read the comments so you don't miss anything!

Armed with the information from Margot about the second hut on the right and the box being to the left of it I found it quite easily. A box with the front missing. Not much to see but a bit of Blackpool's heritage none-the-less. I've added a ghostly brass telscope to show how it might have been stored.

It would be nice to have something on the side of the hut, perhaps with Margot's photo of her Dad to remind folks that some things were done much better in the past. I can't remember the last time I saw anyone looking through a coin-slot telescope from Blackpool Promenade and that's probably because apart from the Tower and lots of sea, they wouldn't know what to look for.

As can be seen from this new photo sent by Margot of her father, he used to point the telescope at points of interest. She says:

On the board my Dad would chalk which views he was showing depending on the weather. Sometimes it would even be Barrow shipyards also showing the Isle of Man steamers and he had photos of them all to identify them.

The blackboard, tripod and telescope all went in the case under the seat. On this particular picture he is showing the Lune Tower Light ship, whereby someone might be able to date the picture, as I was informed by a historian who wrote a history of the North Pier that the Lune Tower Light Ship burned out
.
A Google search has failed to provide any information about the lightship - anyone out there with any knowledge of this? Margot, I suppose I should really ask if this is indeed the box?!?

Blackpool Promenade Widening

The work on the Promenade is creeping north towards the North Pier.

I went down to have a look this morning - for once it isn't throwing it down - and was again struck by just how much more land there will be on the Promenade.

On the radio yesterday they were saying the council have applied for lottery money to build some sort of attractions on the huge expanse of concrete or tarmac they are about to create.

I hope they do something worth doing!

New Flickr Album

I've just uploaded 128 photos and 3 sketches from our 2004 holiday to Lake Garda in Italy.

I've decided now that with all the new Web2 applications (like Flickr, Blogger, MySpace etc.) that there isn't really any need for me to write full blown web pages any more.

My account at Flickr allows me to create albums of photos, put long descriptions against each photo if I need to and (use it! use it!) allows you to add your own comments either to an individual photo or to an album.

You can view the photos larger by clicking on the thumbnail in the album (and then you can look at them extra large by clicking the "all sizes" link) or you can view them as a slide show. You can choose whether or not to read the descriptions in the slideshow.

Have a look and tell me what you think!

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Southport Not Being Left Out

Remember way back in April I mentioned the work being done on Blackpool's sea defences and how the council was reclaiming land back from the sea?

Southport - where the sea is so far away it can only be seen from the end of the pier with a pair of binoculars - is not being left out.

They are reclaiming land back from the Marine Lake...

More Treasure Hunting

After all the hunting going on in Blackpool for Margot's telescope box remains - which I haven't had chance to look for yet - I had a treasure hunt of my own today.

On the way back from our visit to Liverpool, I called off to search for the Godstone.

This small carved stone can be found - ahhh, well I'll give a cryptic clue later! You wouldn't want me to take all the fun out of it would you?

Legend has it, that the locals in pre-Christian days, used to carry their dead around the stone three times following the direction of the sun. When missionaries visited Britain to convert the island to Christianity, they carved the stone with some steps, a cross and a circle in an attempt to show that the way to Heaven lies through the Cross.

The stone can still be found, standing close to the edge of a churchyard.

In a Lancashire village named not quite like the make of Fran's new grill, find the thatched cottage and then turn towards the sea. It's a long drive to the end of the road then turn right and find the church of a gospel writer.

If that is too cryptic for you, then you can find the answer much more clearly on my Curiosities web site.

If you visit, please remember it is a churchyard. Please show respect and do not walk over graves - it is an old churchyard and some are a little overgrown but it is clear how to walk between them.

Wi've Bin Up The 'Pool

We've had a day out. First one I think since we went up to Cumbria for Fran's birthday in March. It's been a busy year!

Anyway a bit of a pilgrimage; we went to Albert Dock in Liverpool and went to see the statue of Billy Fury on the waterfront just by Albert Dock.

It's a shame so many people seem to glance at it and say "Oh, look - a statue of Elvis..." without wondering why a place with such a great musical heritage would have a statue of an American singer. The place is not without it's musical greats. Billy was certainly one of those.

Then a trog around the Albert Dock itself. There's a few empty plots but that's usual in such places - sometimes I think the only people making money these days are councils from the Council Tax and landlords from extortionate rents.

Happily there are lots of cafes there. Unhappily we chose one staffed by two teenage girls who seemed to have no idea and who didn't care that they had no idea and who had a steady stream of customers bringing food back for one reason or another. Ours was ok, but I drank the coffee down in one go as soon as it came. I was thirsty - but had I left it any longer it would have been too cold!

A nice old sailing ship in the corner of the dock, flanked by several tugs and other boats.

Despite a stint as Registrar at Fleetwood's Nautical College in 1985/86, I'm no expert on types of ships I'm afraid - although, did you know that the word starboard for the right hand side of a ship as seen from the back, is so called because the Norsemen had their tiller or steorbord on their Viking ships on that side? Hey! Full of useless information, me!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Treasure Hunt Update

News on the treasure hunt that started with an email from Margot Carey on Saturday.

Les Cotton left a comment on the original post but it doesn't accept enough html to let you link photos.

Not to be outdone, he's emailed me with the photo above and says:

I was nearby to North Pier today, so had a stroll down there (first time in 30 years !! HaHa). Couldn't see the mystery box, but took (a) pic of a kiosk with a box under the seats to the right.

give us a clue...where exactly is it ??
Les
Well the box under the seats turned out to be an electrical junction box, but this other photo of Les's I suspect may be the actual thing?

I've not seen it myself - however, Margot wrote again to say:

I have another picture of my Dad with the telescope on N pier when I locate it I will forward it. I had a look at the link you sent.

The framework for the telescope box is on the right going down the pier and at the left hand side of one of the Indian looking huts. I think it is the second hut down the pier
.
Meanwhile, here's another photo from Les which I think is a bit of wishful thinking here, Les my old fruit!

I somehow rather think I'd prefer a shining brass telescope with a uniformed attendant than the modern equivalent!

So - perhaps Margot will confirm whether Les's first photo is of the correct article? And now, here's the next challenge - this one might have you rummaging through those old photos! Let's have a few photos of 1940s-1960s workers in uniform. They can be lift attendants, petrol pump attendants in overalls, shopworkers or factory workers - what have you got?

Email photos no bigger than 800x600 pixels please to john[at]bispham2.freeserve.co.uk and to help me weed out potential viruses, please give your email a subject "uniform photos". Otherwise you run the risk of me deleting the message without reading!

Sending photos will be taken as giving me permission to publish them (but not make money from them) either on this blog or on my nostalgia web site. Over to you!

A Train-ing Event

Well, I had a wonderful day on Monday as the JISC infoNet team ran a training workshop - on a train!

We hired the Tanfield Railway for the day with 4 carriages and as the train chuffed its way up and down the track, delegates got to grips with some Scenario Planning, looking at a different scenario in each carriage. I was facilitating discussions in what I'm sure was the noisiest carriage - but then my boss commented that at least we had the noisiest presenter in the carriage so it evened things up... I have no idea what she meant...

With the initial journey set aside for looking at the scenery we softened the delegates up a little - they had a very intensive time ahead of them for the rest of the day.

Feedback is still coming in, but they certainly seemed to enjoy the day!

Sunday, 22 July 2007

I Think We Might Stay In...

The Red Arrows are appearing in Blackpool again today.

I caught a glimpse of them yesterday as they did the first of two displays in Blackpool at their usual tea time slot. Not sure why they time it for then - mostly people have got fed up at watching a single aircraft flying up and down that the council seem to think constitutes a display. Not too bad if it was something interesting like a Spitfire (two of these do make an appearance apparently) but the prospect of watching a single Hawk jet scream past when you are waiting to see nine of the very same aircraft doing formation flying is just an annoyance unless you're an anorak.

Anyway today the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are at the better time of midday and I was quite fancying going down to the Prom to see them until I looked outside and saw the weather.

By gad! It's raining! Not just rain, it's more like having a row of people standing along the edge of the roof and pouring buckets of water over...

I think I'm starting to develop webbed feet...

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Nasal Hair - Bane of Men

I was reading somewhere the other day, someone bemoaning the fact that at the tender age of far-too-little he was starting to grow nasal hair.

Yes, it's the bane of men everywhere. I mean what good is it? What function does it provide? How do you get rid of it without pain?

My wife (I just have to assume she was joking) suggested pulling it out with tweezers! Ha ha! Get real!

The least little pain in the nose causes the eyes to water to the extent that could cause some homes to flood and, believe me, pulling at all - never mind that hard - blooming well hurts!

Do those little round special-shaped battery shavers work?

There was a bloke at work once - not the work where I am now, where everyone seems impeccably groomed, but a former place of less sartorial elegance - anyway there was this bloke there whose nasal hair was long enough to suck! By that, I mean long enough for him to suck - I wasn't suggesting anyone else could, or indeed should. That's sort of lost any social acceptability it may have once had - even if it once had...

It looks bloody awful, let's face it. And if it's that long then it looks even worse than moustaches and beards once food gets stuck to it. Yeowch, I hope he's seen the light now and cut it - well that was years ago, so if he hasn't by now he'd be sucking it involuntarily!!!

There's got to be some sort of implement better suited than the stuff that's available. Anything's got to be better than this... Sheesh and you women think you have it bad just having babies...!

Treasure Hunt - Open to All!

Aha!!! My regular readers will know I love Curiosities (more here).

Well, thanks to Margot, the young lady in the photo, we can now all go in search of one I'd never heard of before.

She writes:
Hello John
Here is a picture taken in about 1953 with my Dad on the North pier where he had the telescope at the time. When I visit Blackpool and the N pier there is still the framework remaining of the lock up box under a seat next to one of the huts and when I look at it I always think not many people would know that.

I like looking at your site as I was born in Blackpool and went to school there in the 40-50's .

Kindest Regards
Margot *******

Many thanks for the email Margot, well there we go folks - I'm on record for getting excited at "hills" that used to be called "defences" so how about a framework that used to be a lock-up box for a telescope? First one to find it and send me a photo gets a mention!

Friday, 20 July 2007

Prison Notice

Yesterday at work there was a poster displayed in the college library.

It was about a visit to the local prison library. Certain information was needed because of security (the notice said).

Then in a few lines after things like name, shoe size, proficiency in weapons it said...

Place of Work
Place of Birth
Places limited

Ah well - I know prisons are crowded, but they just want to visit - you don't have to put them up overnight!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Junior School Prom

Do you want to know what real fear is?

We played Croxteth one year when 12,000 came through the gates, but that was nothing!

Real fear is the build up to a Junior School Prom! Knowing that there will be a room full of hyper 11-year-olds expecting the equivalent of the Pussycat Dolls or McFly and getting two guys old enough to be their grandads!

But the truth is, those worries were all for nothing and what a brilliant night we had. And we were home for 10 o'clock!

The main thing is that both the prom-goers and the teaching staff thought it a good night! It was hot, it was lively, they were indeed hyper! It was absolutely great!

We also bumped into two friends from way back whose daughter was at the prom. We last saw her when she was knee high to a grasshopper! Tracey and Bill it was good to see you again - keep in touch!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Horse Droppings!

I'm not sure what it is with the horsey lot... The room my company rents for me to work in is on a site where facilities are rented out to the horsey brigade at weekends.

Now, it's very rare, I admit, that I have ever set foot in a stables or hacking yard or whatever they call them. I do honestly seem to remember, though, when my nephew was young and foolishly decided he wanted to sit on one of those strangely-shaped horse things, that their yards and so on were fairly clean places. At least there was sufficient space to walk in between the piles of stuff that falls out of the back end of the afore-mentioned strangely-shaped horse things.

Here, on most Monday mornings, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is because they issue an edict that "no strangely-shaped horse thing will let anything fall from its back end until ordered to do so..." Once upon our premises and out of the horse boxes, I can only surmise that the grooms and groomesses line them up and then at the opportune moment someone shouts "Now!!!"

From the state of the car park I deduce that what happens next is that hammer-wielding horsey people climb aboard and they play polo with the resulting "balls" until all balls have fallen apart or become flattened and are spread all over the extent of the car park.

I can see that it would be a job and a half trying to pick up through a carrier bag as you quite hilariously see dog owners do. The picking up should be reasonably feasible but I think it would come unstuck - if that's the right phrase - when it comes to the "folding over and tucking in pocket" bit.

I have a separate pair of shoes for "office days"...

D-I-Y - Destroy It Yourself

I've been reluctantly forced into a spot of D-I-Y.

My motto is normally D-D-I-Y and for very good reasons but in this case it was more a case of destruction than doing...

Ever since we moved in here, the hallway has been somewhat hideously cladded with wooden panelling of the cheapi-board variety. It's meant we never had to bother decorating the hall and stairs and landing apart from painting the door frames but now, with a new central heating system about to come in I needed to clear the walls so radiators could go in.

There will need to be a spot of restoration work now to fill holes in the plaster where wall plugs have held the battens for the boarding.

In the photo, boarding is still on the left and may yet stay - it covers the space under the stairs where there is too much junk to have it on show... The new uncovered wall is on the right.

It's just Tigger's sense of humour that she is looking at the boarding trying to make you think that that is the new bit...

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Rainy Gig in Croxteth

Rain did not stop play until 4:15 but it was a dryer day for us than it was for the audience.

Our 6th year at Croxteth Park Open Day was the quietest so far as the weather kept people indoors.

A hardy few came out to play - we were never without an audience and sometimes it got into double figures... Compare that with the 12,000 who turned up one year and it certainly was a quiet one!

The fairground hadn't set up due to the wet ground so we were without any real competition for the noise stakes and you could hear us quite a way away.

Look at that marquee! Croxteth were certainly making sure we were kept dry and the weather kept changing its mind about what to do but by 4:15 it seemed to have set in to rain hard for a while and the marquee was starting to drip so we called it a day.

My old school chum Jackie turned up with a few props - her school beret and the old school tie plus the now infamous french dictionary whose frontspiece we ripped out in the 6th form to make a fag from dog ends when we had all run out of fags. It was ghastly... It wasn't even in english of course!

She even brought a photo of Larry the Lamb... ahh...

What do you mean; you haven't a clue what I'm going on about? Check out my nostalgia pages - most of these reference are on the readers memories page.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

A 1950s View of Home Computing

I like this!

This is a company's mock-up in 1954 of how a home computer might look in 2004.

What on earth those huge chrome wheels were going to do I've no idea but whilst the scientists at Rand Corporation admitted that such a computer would need technology not then invented, they thought the computer, using the FORTRAN language would be easy to use - though "not economically viable for most households..."

Predicting the future is fraught with pitfalls. In 1943 the chairman of IBM famously said "I think there will be a world market for maybe 5 computers".

As recently as 1999 his successor chair of IBM said "Picture a day when a billion people will interact with a million businesses via a trillion interconnected devices!" Oh... that didn't take long then...

And even the man himself, Bill Gates, once said in a quote that has been repeated so many times I just thought it was my turn... "640K (of RAM memory) ought to be enough for anybody."

Anyone care to give their view of technology in 2057?

Thursday, 12 July 2007

A Drowning at Blackpool

We had the unfortunate news in our local paper earlier this week that a man had died after jumping into the sea to save his two dogs that had gone into the water.

People don't realise just how powerful the sea is. Water is heavy. You can easily try for yourself lifting an empty bucket and then filling it and lifting it again. Then think how many buckets are in the wave shown above.

Also people think of Blackpool as having a gently sloping beach and don't always realise that there is a strong undercurrent.

But whether or not the sea looks ferocious or not, people are understandably anxious if a dog looks like being swept out. Tonight's paper confirms that the Coastguard Service will answer an emergency call to rescue a dog.

The sad alternative is that it is so easy to get into difficulties if someone tries to jump in to save one.

There were two deaths a couple of years ago due to the same reason and I still remember the awful day in 1983 when not only did a dog owner drown, but three police officers who were trying to save him.

It's a simple message - call 999. Don't jump into the water yourself.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Caerleon, Roman Isca

I just couldn't resist it! Having had a twice weekly fix of the HBO/BBC version of Rome, I found myself within spitting distance of Caerleon in Wales on my way to Caerphilly (where I am now).

I have a Change Management workshop tomorrow in the college at the somewhat evocatively named Ystrad Mynach.

So I did a short detour and spent an hour looking around the roman baths - superbly helpful staff, thank you so much - and the remains of the amphitheatre as seen in the photograph.

It is Britain's most complete and fully excavated amphitheatre and backs onto the old roman fortress wall.

Caerleon was Roman Isca - a name half remembered in the name of the river Usk.

There was a large military fort here with a well-developed bath house which had both indoor and outdoor pools. The presence of an amphitheatre is another indicator of Caerleon's importance.

I found it totally absorbing. I am one of those people who can infuriate others by extolling the virtues of what they see as "a hill", but I'm afraid old stone circles, hillforts and henges are just one of my enthusiasms!

I had the place to myself and started by approaching as a viewing customer may have done. I went down a series of steps towards the arena, gaining a tantalising glance through a gateway and was then directed by a slave (imaginary of course) through an archway which led to another series of steps climbing up. At the top and turning to my right I found myself on the front row above the arena and with a climb up the terraces to my seat.

A smaller arena than the others I have visited - Deva (Chester) and the mighty arena at Verona in northern Italy. But hey! I'm nearer the action!

Back in the 21st century I left the terraces and half-circled the arena, entering through one of the two processional tunnel entrances. Horns are blowing, people standing and cheering, petals are thrown and float down. I turn to face the official in whose honour the games are being held and salute - whoops, darn, there's a bloke with a dog wondering what the hell I'm doing... Thankfully the bloke hasn't noticed...

You should never lose the child within!

Saturday, 7 July 2007

The George Formby Grill


Couldn't resist this...

Fran's been fancying one of those "healthy" grill gadgets promoted by ex boxer George Foreman.

What she actually said was, "I'd like one of those George Formby grills..."

You can just picture the Wigan Warbler pulling a steak out of the grill and saying "Eeh! Turned out nice again!"

No George... oven gloves, not boxing gloves...

5-Blade Shaving - if the first one don't get you...

Remember back in May we got a free sample Gillette Fusion razor through the post?

I've been trying it out. Fran's told me to enjoy it whilst I can because the cost of the blade cartridge is causing a national divide - those who can afford >3 blades and those who can only afford <4 blades.

I remember being perfectly happy with a single, though double-edged, blade which had to be slid from it's plastic box, removed from paper envelope and slotted onto the razor, the top protective guard then being screwed back on.

But surely shaving with 5 blades means a closer better shave - perhaps less passes with the razor? Er... that would be a "no" then... But I'll bet if you measured any remaining stubble with a microscope it would be shorter...

Check the Gillette Fusion website here, then pass me that strop please...

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Remembering Polperro

I was looking through an old album and found this - a sketch I did on holiday in Polperro, Cornwall in 1992.

I don't do a lot of sketching but every now and then when the mood takes me I can enjoy sitting - or standing - with a pad and a pencil. I didn't much like art at school because, to be blunt, our teacher was crap. He put me off trying for almost twenty years, but then in 1990 I started having a go again.

It can be quite therapeutic, setting the camera aside for a change and watching an image build up bit by bit. Fascinates other people though. It used to bother me until I got confident enough to know I wasn't going to make a complete fool of myself. Now I quite enjoy chatting to folks whilst I sketch.

I don't kid myself that I'm an expert, or that the sketches I produce will ever be worth anything. I have a few hanging in other folk's houses and that's a good feeling, because no one is forced to do that!

I only do a handful a year, mostly when I'm on holiday and even then not always.

That year in Polperro I was on crutches, having fallen downstairs and ripped all the tendons in the back of my leg. I spent a lot of time sitting on harbour walls and people watching, whilst doodling a bit. It's always an HB pencil - I've only ever done 3 or 4 watercolours and would certainly not attempt that out in the great outdoors! A pencil is fine for me! Something like this takes about half an hour on an A5 pad.

There's a few more on this page. I don't do enough of them...

Sunday, 1 July 2007

More Floods...

I was upstairs, putting all the musical instruments etc away after last night's gig when I heard a sudden anguished cry for help.

Tigger had decided she liked the smell of a vase of flowers enough to eat them. The flowers, not wanting to be eaten, stubbornly refused to rip apart and so the vase fell over, washing the kitchen worksurfaces, then the cupboard doors, and finally the floor.

So a quick reminder of what she and her brother, Jess, have got up to in the past 5 years...

Retirement 'Do' at Claughton

An excellent night last night!

The band were out at Claughton Village Hall, booked to play for a retirement party and it went particularly well.

We had a brief break whilst guests finished off their refreshments and we had a guest spot, as a singer and two guitarists, one of whom was the host of the party, came on to do "Fields of Gold", then we joined them on stage to do a rip-roaring version of "Mustang Sally".

We have a weekend off next week, which will give my finger ends a chance to pull themselves together! They've had a bit of punishment these last few weeks!

You can see us next at Croxteth Park, Liverpool on Sunday the 15th of July, from around 11 and in Garstang town centre on Thursday 23 August at their music festival.
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