Sunday, 25 September 2016

A Bit Star Struck!

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to hobnob with the stars of the tiny screen at Bristol's M Shed at an exhibition about children's TV from 1946 to the present time.  I'd have recommended that you all should be hurrying  down to take a peek.  But rats!  It's the last day today.  That's a real pity because it was fascinating.   There will be some people out there who are green with envy because I got to see the original model of Tracy Island made by Anthea Turner on Blue Peter.

And I stood in the presence of the actual Major Clanger!  Not some enthusiastic fan's knitted replica.  He was the real thing. Being a child of the sixties it will come as no surprise that 'The Clangers' has to be my favourite kiddie programme of all time, a perfect visual and auditory treat that was shown just before bedtime when I was wee.  Forty odd years on I still find it aesthetically pleasing.  The episodes are stop-motion masterpieces with timeless charm.

I reckon it's a perfect  excuse to share an episode   Here's the one that they were showing at the exhibition.  It's where an astronaut with a remarkable similarity to Action Man comes to the Clanger's planet to collect rock samples. Enjoy!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

A Boob on the Landscape

We're with Red Mel in Bristol for the weekend but getting here involved a long time sitting in  on the M5.  It wasn't so bad.   I'm at a stage in life where being forced to do nothing is rather a luxury.

Our location was near a geographical feature that I know rather well.   Being stationary afforded me the chance to photograph it.  Over twenty five years ago I was travelling  with a friend in his ancient Mini.  We were heading for London to meet up with others for a trip to Paris.  The Mini only made it to Swindon.  Something to do with torrential rain and dodgy electrics. But that's another story.  As we passed this hill my friend made a detailed comparison of it to an ex-girlfriend.  There's a woman called Joanne out  there who doesn't know that I am intimate with the anatomy of her chest.

Red Mel phoned. 'Where are you?' she asked.  'Near Tit Hill'.  I replied. I haven't a clue what it's proper name is.  But it was okay  She knew just where I meant!

Friday, 23 September 2016

It's a Bloody Miracle

Six months ago, during the depths of my long illness, Little Wren came to lunch.  The dear brought round this orchid to cheer me up.  Half a year on it's still alive.  As you can see, it's not just hanging on to life by the barest of threads but flourishing!  That's a minor miracle as far as I'm concerned.  For green fingered I am not.  I could usually cause a Japanese knotweed or a vast Leylandii hedge to wither away just by a quick glance.

So what's happened here then?  Have I constantly tended this pretty little plant, feeding it special, expensive orchid food
and watering it with smart water?  Have I talked to it fondly or played it the type of music that I think that an orchid would like.  It would have to be classical.  Perhaps a bit of Rachmaninov.

Little Wren seems to have picked on the perfect plant for a non diligent gardener.  All it's needed is a drizzle of water on the rare occasions that I remember and all that bright light in my sun room.  She hit upon a plant that seems to thrive on the neglect that I lovingly can give!

Thursday, 22 September 2016


I've started the day this morning washing the rather funky metal drying rack  in my kitchen.  Sometimes the glamourous nature of my life overwhelms me.  It's a job that always pisses me off. There are little nooks and crannies where gunk sticks and it's so difficult to get out even with a toothbrush.   Why do designers make things with parts that are so difficult to clean properly? I've had quite a few in the past.  Fridges seem particular culprits.

And another thing whilst I'm on the subject of cleaning.   I hate the expression 'It doesn't show the dirt' that's typically applied to items that are covered in disgusting swirly textiles.  If something is filthy I want to know about it and get scrubbing.  Just because the muck is hidden it hasn't gone away.

There!  I've said my piece.  I realise that I've come across as quite a grumpy mare this morning.  Don't worry.  Now I've got my little rant out of my system I'm actually quite a happy bunny!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Woolly Mermaid

It's a rather harmless addiction in the scheme of things but I'm a bit of a tinker when it comes to buying throws, blankies and the like.  They're scattered all around my house in case anyone is overtaken by the urge to snuggle.  Which is quite often.  We're  a soft lot here.

Last year I shared a post about a fab shark sleeping bag that I'd found on the Internet. That would have done for Louis if I had oodles of cash to spare.  Of course I don't.  In my fantasy shopping world I'd also be rather taken by this rather cosy mermaid tail that is made to order by an Etsy shopkeeper.  Again it's just the job for a seaside home.  On second thoughts it could be dangerous.  I'm accident prone enough without sitting in something that binds my legs together!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A Slamming Surprise

My printmaking came to a halt earlier in the year. Mainly that's because I need a way of drying my work that doesn't involve bits of paper scattered all over the house for a few days at a time.  Disorder does little for my sense of bonhomie.  But  thanks to a brainwave in IKEA I think I've come up with a nifty solution that will maintain the order and tidiness that I crave.  The only problem is that I've left some of the necessary bits and bobs in the motorhome and haven't been out there since our holiday.  I hope to retrieve them shortly so will share this shortly.

The other thing is that printing at home without a press is pretty hard work and not something that I particularly relish. It takes quite a bit of physical effort using the back of a spoon or a barren, a handheld disc for taking an impression from a wood or lino cut, to apply the necessary pressure to get a good print.  And the process always seems much more hit and miss than when there's a proper press to hand,  I lusted after big old conventional ones but really don't have anywhere to put one.

So I was pretty excited when my sister in law, Louise Maclaren. discovered the Slama Handpress.  She was so impressed that she became the UK distributor for this  device that was invented and engineered in the Czech republic. It takes up  very little space and makes the printing process easy as its design means that very little pressure has to be exerted by the user.

I'd been thinking for some time that I needed to stump up the cash for my own but money's been tight. Some to do with house moves and holidays.  That'll do it!  But at the weekend I was told I'm being given one s a gift - an early Christmas present. I'm delighted and more excited than a  big excited thing.  I couldn't even wait until it's arrived to post about it.   So as a thank you to Louise here's a bit of free advance publicity.  After all I think that she deserves a bit of nepotism under the circumstances!

Monday, 19 September 2016

Esther's Tea Towel

When my sister Esther was poorly at the end of her life she went to a hospice.  She'd had significant health problems throughout her teenage years and adult life.  Cancer eventually claimed her but she also suffered serious complex mental health problems and had a late diagnosis of autism.  She had no sooner got to the hospice and then wanted to discharge herself to a home environment where it was unsuitable to end her days.  We had to persuade her to stay put.

So for the first seventy two hours of her ten day stay my family provided round the clock care until she was able to accept the staff looking after her.  I was responsible for the night shifts where she was wakeful and mobile in spite of huge amounts of medication.  As time went on she became more muddled.  'Get me scissors now and a tea towel!' she persistently demanded one night.  She was very cross that I wasn't able to work out what she wanted.

With this memory in mind I decided to get this from a lovely little Breton gift shop near the Eckmuhl lighthouse.  It can be bought online here. Of course it isn't used for drying dishes but festoons one of the walls in my kitchen.  I think of it as Esther's tea towel and hope she likes it.