Sunday, 23 April 2017

Family


As I haven’t done any painting today and I was talking about motorcycle combinations I thought it might be worth posting this charming picture. It shows my Uncle Don seated on the bike with my grandmother (whose family were from Pembroke Dock) and my father in the sidecar. I am not certain but I think it is a Norton 1926 four speed 588 OHV outfit. My Uncle Don was very keen on motorcycles and eventually opened up his own garage.

 I believe the outfit showed here belonged to my grandfather who probably took the picture. He was a bit of a lad. He had worked in a jewellers before he left for South America in 1912 on the SS Mauritania travelling on a passport under a different name! Anyway enough said.

I remember when you had to put a parking light on your combo or car at night. If you didn’t a policeman would call and tell you to get it done! Also when it was cold you put an oil lamp under the sump to keep the oil viscous. I’m not sure if it was the good old days but they were certainly different.

We had a number of motorcycles over the years, Triumph, Ariel, Royal Enfield, Honda and unfortunately we even had a combo which was horrendous to drive. My last motorcycle was a Triumph 750 but my favourite was a Daytona 500. 


Saturday, 22 April 2017

Llansteffan Castle with Lords Park Farm


This is a watercolour of Llansteffan Castle and Lords Park Farm. It is a good walk around the Castle across Scotts Bay and then past Lords Park Farm. The Castle is in the distance and beyond that the hills on the other side of the estuary.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Nightwatch


I did this painting a while ago and it sold straight away. I loosely based it on the idea of Nightwatch by Rembrandt. 


Over forty years ago I found myself for various reasons at Ryton-on-Dunsmore Police Training Centre.
I had wanted to go to Art College but had neither money nor a place to live. I didn't want an office job and had worked in a factory and on the railway so I thought I would try the police. At the time no one wanted the job so if they had a jacket to fit you were in!  Ryton-on- Dunsmore was an old army barracks but was then converted into a Police Training Centre.
Anyway I digress. I was sat in the front of a class of some one hundred officers in training. The class was believe it or not on saluting. Its funny how some things remain with you, but we had to learn what a salute was and when you did it.

I recall to today that
“A salute is an outward sign of an inward feeling of respect and humility.”



How to do you do it? “Longest way up shortest way down!”
Then we came on to the tricky part. When do you salute?

The drill sergeant stood at the front of the class.

“Hands up who would salute an army officer?”We all put our hands up.
“Yes they hold the Queens Commission” he replied.
“Hands up who would salute a funeral procession?” He asked.
We promptly all put our hands up.
“Yes a mark of respect.”This went on and it became a bit automatic for me sitting at the front until.
“Hands up who wouldn’t salute my wife?”
It suddenly became a very lonely place. I found myself alone with my hands wavering in the air and a very ugly looking drill sergeant glaring in my face.

“Why wouldn’t you salute my wife you horrible man?”Struggling for any excuse I mumbled,
“I don’t know your wife sergeant.”My life for the next 12 weeks was hell on the drill square and I became accustomed to names that even I had not previously heard.

I worked for exactly 30 years in the police and never regretted it. I would like to think I did a good job on the whole. When I left I became a full time artist and got a degree in fine art. "Its a funny old life." (Actually the original quote was from WC Fields, "Its a funny old world. A man's lucky to get out alive!").

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Heaven's Gate


 As I mentioned yesterday we went to Centre Parcs for Easter weekend. It was set in Longleat Forrest.  You rent a lodge amongst the trees and no cars are allowed in the Parc once you have unpacked. So transport is walking or bike.. There is a little land train that goes around the Parc stopping at various locations.

The stop by our lodge was called, "Heaven's Gate." I found this somewhat amusing particularly as the train commentary announced it didn't stop for the return journey (you had to find a stop nearby).

Anyway something off my bucket list I never thought I would see Heaven's Gate.

The good thing about the place is you can take your dog. So I did go swimming and other sports but spent some time walking Jac. The painting above is of Jac and I. Not a great image of the painting.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Painting of field of rapeseed.


We have just spent three days with some of our children and half of the grandchildren at Centre Parcs in Longleat  (not sure why parcs is spelt the Welsh way?). We had a great time although it can be exhausting particularly all that time stuck in a bar having persuaded a friendly barman to put S4C on the TV. Got a few strange looks. Anyway we got to see Scarlets v Dragons on a Welsh Channel in the middle of an English Sports Bar..

I was reminded of this painting when we passed several large fields of rapeseed on the way back. It can be quite stunning. The painting is sold.

Home now and catching up with domestic chores cutting grass...well to be honest Mrs Cox is doing that!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Merlin's Hill and Abergwili


This is apainting showing  the view of Merlins Hill and the village of Abergwili from the other side of the valley from where we live. Some of our grandchildren go to the school in Abergwili while we have others going to the school in town and away.

I was surprised to see that the parents had lost their case about taking their children on holiday in school time when they were unable to go in the holidays. Frankly as I may have said before my grandfather took me out of school pretty much every time there was a test match (cricket) at Edgbaston. Nowadays schools are quick enough to have INSET days and send the children home and I note it doesn't stop teachers going on strike. Parents can educate children at home or even take them travelling with them with little or no oversight but a weeks holiday is illegal. It is all a bit odd to me.

I should state my best friends were teachers, my mother was a teacher and my daughter in law is a teacher. So I have no issue with them in fact how they do the job I don't know, ( it wouldn't be for me).
I just think the system is a little too rigid, education is more than just school room.  If schools weren't graded on absenteeism then maybe the teachers could be more flexible?

Friday, 14 April 2017

Painting of Bus Union Street Birmingham


The painting above is one in my own collection. I did it to remind myself of my time as a boy and youth.
The 56 was the bus route from my home the City Centre. The garage was the old tram garage at the top of our road by the Cross Guns Public House. Anyway I spent a good deal of my time travelling on these buses including to school (when I had the bus fare) and later college. If I didn't have the fare my walk was 2 miles down Aston Church Road. This was okay as I could see all the steam trains pulling freight on the way.


The bus is shown in Union Street in Birmingham City Centre. The stop was outside Henry's Department Store. My brother worked there for a while painting and designing the sets for their window displays.

The buses were accompanied by conductors who were in the main humorous and friendly. They used terms of endearment, "Such as, "love", "darling" to opposite sexes and children alike. To me I find it sad that this practice is now forbidden by the politically correct. I was expected to give my seat for a woman or an elderly person and it was always accepted with a "Thank you love,". It was all very friendly and common courteousy was practiced by all. 

Yes times have changed and even holding a door for someone now can result in any response from being ignored, to being given a withering look. Ah well different times.

Yes I like my bus. A safe haven. A reminder, as I look back from the ridge to that golden time in the valley of my youth.