Thursday, 28 April 2011

Florence


The sketch above is one I did in Florence while Alex was shopping. It is the statue of the Rape of the Sabine Women. The Rape of the Sabine Women is an episode in the legendary history of Rome in which the first generation of Roman men acquired wives for themselves from the neighboring Sabine families.


The statue is in the Loggia dei Lanzi and is by Giambologna, born as Jean Boulogne in Flanders 1529.

We visited Florence in the late Autumn and had a wondrful time. Where Rome is large, dirty and busy Florence was compact, classy and clean. The Uffizi gallery was magnificent and we devoted whole day to it. I could have stayed a week but there are limits to what you can put your wife through.

This was a trip where everything went right, unusual for us. Today I did a couple of sketches and Alex was working in the kitchen.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Dinefwr Long Horn Cattle


I do sell postcards to the National Trust and one outlet is at Newton House, Dynefwr.


I have previously been there with Prince Charles in an official capacity. Forgive the name-dropping. I have met a lot of not very nice people in my time and a far greater number of good people and for me Prince Charles is definitely in the latter category. Anyway the studies above are of the rare breed Long Horn Cattle that are the Cattle in Residence at Newton House. There is also a fine deer park.

I don’t do animal studies or portraits as a rule but like anything if they are there and you have time on your hands it passes a few minutes pleasantly. I am by nature quite taciturn. If I have something to say I will say it but I am not in the habit of talking for the sake of it. Alex is a great communicator  I am often left with time on my hands while she enters into some sort of discourse. Thus I generally take a sketchbook with me and if I am with Alex my time can be usefully spent if she should happen upon another victim. On the occasion above she was delivering cards and I stopped outside to doodle.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Quarterized



The watercolour above is of Snowdon and although fine in itself representing what was present as a picture it is lacking somewhere in subject and tone. Classical composition would say that there should be dark tone, mid-tone and light or high light. These should also balance against each other. There is an insufficiency of both to my mind.
You learn in life that you should never take things at face value. It is easy to make assumptions without knowing the facts. I will give you a brief funny personal example. When Alex and I were engaged I used to box. I also played rugby, badly I admit but I think it is a wonderful game. Anyway as a result of my boxing I used to suffer from nose bleeds.

On occasions a pint of beer would be sufficient to start a torrent of blood streaming from my nose.

One evening we were sitting down enjoying a quiet pint in a Pub when my nose erupted. I went outside and stood over a drain with Alex next to me. As I was bent over with a stream of blood running into the gutter two Ladies walked by, one of whom remarked loudly, “How disgusting!”

If I had been in a position to laugh I would have done but clearly they saw something totally different to that which was actually going on.

I had my nose quarterized twice before I was cured of this affliction. That in itself was an interesting sensation. Having a soldering iron pushed up your nasal passage does make you wince a bit.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Hay Cutter

The sketch above is of a Hay Cutter from the smallholding where my mother and father used to live in Knighton. It was a lovely spot overlooking the Valley between Knighton and Knucklas. We moved my mother down to us to look after her some six or seven years ago.


Whilst I kind of like the idea of a small holding I don’t think it would suit me. I would be too tied and there would be no time for painting. I am also not really that keen on gardening although I do like our vegetable plot.

Going back to the sketch, drawing is the basic requirement of being a painter. I know many artists don’t bother and there are gadgets around like projectors that will do the drawing for you. I do have a very old digital projector, which I use with my laptop for talks, but I have never used it for painting. It seems a bit pointless as the most enjoyable forms of art for me are sketching or painting outside, en plein air.
They are actually more challenging because it is actually far easier to do the same painting in the studio. An easel is not particularly steady and is affected by the breeze. There are all sorts of distractions outside cold, a rain shower half way through a painting, animals coming into a field all these things have cut short the progress of work. The funniest looking at it now would be when I tied my dog to a long lead nearby. A crow landed 20 yards away the dog took off through the middle of the easel legs the long lead trailing behind him, the crow took off, the dog swerved, the lead took away the legs, and easel painting, paints, were all thrown in the air. The painting was abandoned at that point. It is funny now thinking about it but for 20 seconds at the time it was less than hilarious.


The point is you do (well I do)  get more satisfaction from the end result (when it goes well).

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Texaco Refinery - Milford Haven

Okay, well it is Easter Sunday so I have taken a day off. The watercolour from my sketchbook above is of The Texaco Refinery as it was called in Milford Haven. I was on our yacht when I painted this moored in Angle Bay. Texaco no longer own the refinery and we no longer own a yacht. Things change and move on, it is the nature of he world.
Today has been spent relaxing with a book and walking the dog with Alex. I am currently reading the Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. It is nicely written and although not gripping it is quite readable. It is slightly overlong in conversation but that is her style.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Paxton's Tower in moonlight

I did the painting above last week. It is of Paxton’s Tower in moonlight. It is an unusual painting for me in that it is heavily worked. I wanted to do an atmospheric painting of the Tower and use watercolour to the point of being body colour.


Working watercolour to this level requires a very good paper. I usually use 300gms

Saunders Waterford paper, which is an excellent paper slightly creamier than other papers such as Bockingford, which I do occasionally use.

Saunders Waterford Paper allows you to add several layers of watercolour and washout the paint without ruining the surface. It isn’t cheap but you get what you pay for.

Today I went on a good walk with Jac and did a couple of sketches. Alex was busy in the kitchen.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Gellilydan Farm North Wales


The watercolour above is on a cartridge paper and is a page in my sketchbook. You can see the ring binding at the top. It shows a farm in North Wales near Trawsfynydd. Watercolours on cartridge paper can be very nice paintings in themselves. The water sits on the surface of the paper a lot longer than on watercolour paper and pools. This can produce a very pleasing effect. That is if it is of good quality.


I recently bought a sketchbook from a well-known manufacturer and found that the surface broke up when you added water. I was not pleased least of all because I was away at the time I first used it and didn’t have the chance to replace it for several days. I am quite particular when buying materials for this very reason. But as you can see it can still go wrong.

I did a watercolour today and Alex framed a couple of pictures. I am not sure about tomorrow yet.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Rome


A few years ago we booked a long weekend to Rome. It was booked on the Internet and was cheaper than a package deal. We flew from Stanstead, which was a bit of a swine to get to from West Wales, and meant leaving before midnight and driving overnight. All went well. We had lashed out and booked a car to meet us at the airport, as we were unsure about trains and buses etc. So it was expensive but worthwhile. We stood around in arrivals and eventually found a man holding an old cereal box with Cox written on it. We followed him into the car park looking for the promised luxury Mercedes only to find he was driving a white van! He didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Italian so we piled in the van and set off to the City founded by Romulus and Remus.


The road into Rome is to be honest pretty off putting. We had previously done a day trip to Rome and seen the main sights but hadn’t travelled through the suburbs. It was pretty much like any other city. Graffiti and rubbish welcomed you to the Ancient City.

We were finally deposited at our hotel shaken, hot and a bit dishevelled.

The City was a bit of a disappointment. We had already seen the main sites, which were great, and although there were many other lovely areas, away from those it was dirty and uncared for.

Of course like any other tourist destination you were well and truly ripped off in the cafes. They always brought bread and water and even tried to charge even if you didn’t touch it. The waiters had dirty clothes and fingernails.

Anyway we had any interesting time and saw some sites including some wonderful paintings. My favourites were the Carravagio’s. The sketch above is of Castel St Angelo which has a rich history.

Being picked up by the same luxury hire company was another test of stamina. The luxury car was due to pick us up at our hotel at 3pm. At 3.15pm we got the receptionist to phone the car company who said it was on its way. At 3.30pm we were getting very agitated and got the receptionist to phone again. No answer this time. Ten minutes later the driver arrived in an air-conditioned Mercedes.

However the drive to the airport was the worst thriller ride you could find anywhere in the world. The whole time the driver drove one handed speaking into his mobile phone. He drove at top speed even when approaching red lights and crossing lanes. My hand was being crushed by Alex and she even let out a scream at one point. We were very relieved to reach the airport and find our flight home.

We always tip good service. In Rome we spent very little on tips.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Secret Garden stage 2


Here is the second stage of the painting I started yesterday. I have run on a couple of different glazes over the under painting. This traditional method of painting has the advantage of producing rich deep areas particularly useful for painting clothing. It is a method little used or taught these days but one that I like. The painting is actually pretty well finished now so I will post the complete painting another day. I named it the secret garden after a TV program years ago (40yrs+), which, was based on a children’s book. I used to read avidly as a child and walked to the library about 2 miles away to change my books on a weekly basis. Now I go through fits and starts and may read three books in a row and then nothing for a month. I can read quite quickly and am used to scanning documents very fast.


I painted in the Waverley this morning in Carmarthen. It was very quiet, a couple of the local writing group met there. I did a couple of hours then went and saw Alex in Origin Dyfed. She hadn’t seen a customer all morning.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Secret Garden


We had the grandchildren today well a couple of them. Alex took one shopping and I kept an eye on the other. I did manage to sketch out and do the under painting for a new painting, the secret garden pictured above. It may look a bit scruffy at this stage but it should be fine. I have used a wash of turps and crimson alizarin on the board initially. I have then outlined the figure from a sketch. Then I have modelled the figure to some extent with a darker thin wash.


It should be dry enough tomorrow to start adding a thicker layer with turps and linseed oil medium. I don't always paint using this method it just depends on the subject and the effect I am after.

I would really like to have been outside with my easel but you can’t have everything.

I was going to take our grandson for a walk up through the woods with the dog but at present he is glued to the TV and I can see its just going to be too much effort to drag him away. He may get fed up and I can try then.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Chapel Beach Bay


Yesterday’s painting reminded me of a large painting I did about 10 years ago of the Cliff Top in Chapel     Beach Bay, in Milford Haven. The painting, which I no longer have, is shown above. We have spent many nights anchored in Chapel Beach Bay. It is the first significant shelter inside the Haven and offers good protection from The North and West together with good holding for an anchor. It also has a good landing place very important to us as we always took our dog with us. The only problems we ever experienced were the wake of a passing oil tanker disturbing our wine bottle.

Mill Bay slightly to the West of Chapel Beach Bay is the Bay that King Henry VII landed from France on his way to seize the throne of England in 1485 defeating King Richard at the Battle of Bosworth Field.

Today I walked to the library to change my books. I then had to tend the garden and a few other domestic chores. I also varnished a couple of paintings.





Sunday, 17 April 2011

Cattle Penlanffos - Carmarthen


I walked over the top of Penlanffos this morning. There are often cattle in the top fields (and on the odd occasion a bull). Jac is not too keen on cattle but is well behaved and I always keep him on a lead where there are farm animals. Anyway there was a cow on the skyline, which stood out, and it looked a nice composition so there it is in watercolour.


I went to the Sunday Market and had a walk around. I found “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens for 50p. I was a bit ashamed of myself when I saw it. I have never read a book by Dickens. One of Britain’s greatest writers and yet I have read so much junk. So that is my next easy time reading. Alex found lots of plants so she is busy in the garden.
Later we are off to a party and then a quiet evening in, I hope.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Alex



The painting above is of Alex. Today I spent the morning putting together my mother-in-law’s garden swing, computer and other assorted items. The garden swing was a bit of a problem as I hadn’t seen it before and it was just a collection of steel tubes and bolts.


I had a good walk through Bluebell Woods with the dog and, the blue bells are starting to come out. The May is in blossom and the yellow of dandelions make it all very heart warming. Alex has been framing a print for a friend’s birthday present and has now gone off shopping. I am slightly concerned, as I need the car in four hours to go to the rugby with my son. Four hours for Alex to go shopping is not very long in my experience.

My elder daughter and family are coming tonight so it’s all go. Had a text from my brother-in-law today it said,

He was doing the London Marathon again this year. Last year he managed 3 hours 12 minutes but then he got bored and turned the television off!

I am hoping to get a watercolour done later but realistically it may not happen.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Criccieth


Today has been spent sorting out my mother-in –laws house. Unpacking, setting up TV etc. so  no chance of any painting. So I have posted a watercolour from my sketchbook of Criccieth. The castle stands on a headland surrounded on three sides by the sea.


The sketch was done on the beach. It is a favourite spot for us when we travel in North Wales. Jac loves the beach and you can often see dolphins in the sea a couple of hundred yards out. You can also see Snowdonia to the left across the sea.

My son has told me he has got tickets for the Scarlets v. Munster rugby match tomorrow so that will be something to look forward to.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Finished


I found time to finish the painting of Abergwili in the studio the other day. So there it is above. One of our granddaughter’s goes to school in Abergwili but I guess the village will recover from it eventually. She is a spitfire, a real live wire, funny, but on the go all the time.


We have all been busy today with removal men and everything so all a bit chaotic. Alex and I have moved house on eight occasions so we are pretty used to it, although we have lived in this house over twenty years. Still Alex’s mother now has a home and is happy. My dentist God Bless her did the right thing by my tooth and there is now a vacant place where the scoundrel used to be.

I started to read a James Joyce book, I got nowhere with it. I persevered for 90 pages and then asked the question,  "Do I want to waste x hours of the remaining y hours of my life reading this?" The answer was a resounding “NO”.

I know at the time it was supposedly modern and groundbreaking  but I just found it boring, full of bleak conversation and going nowhere. Maybe I just couldn’t get to grips with the poor grammar. Who knows? Anyway its going back to the library in nearly the same state as it arrived part virgin. As more of the front pages than the back pages are well thumbed I may not be the only person to have only read the first few chapters.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Ebeneezer Chapel


Here is the half complete watercolour I did in Abergwili. It shows the Ebeneezer Chapel with Merlin’s Hill behind. It was quite sunny when I started but there was afresh breeze and I was cold. I didn’t have much time and although I didn’t manage to finish it I was happy with what I had done. I like painting directly outside, en plein air, but it isn't always possible.


Today I dropped Alex off in Origin Dyfed and bought some Cotman Paper in Emrys Art Shop in Carmarthen. I would have bought a pad of Saunders Waterford but they only had Hot Pressed. I have got visitors coming later so no chance to do much in the way of painting. This afternoon I have a visit to the dentist, who I would add is excellent the best dentist we have had in all our years. One of my teeth has been playing up and causing problems. It has cost me a lot of money to date but is still not behaving so I am hoping we can resolve the issue by taking the pliers to it.


Tomorrow my mother-in-law is moving into her new house a couple of streets away so Alex and I will be busy helping her.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Alex


Alex pictured above sleeping has been pretty busy the last few weeks. She has been helping and arranging for the purchase of her mother’s new house, looking after grandchildren, helping with my mother, framing, making
  cards and doing prints. I think we will be ready for a break.


Anyway this morning she has been framing some of the still life series. The moulding she originally ordered comes from Italy and was not in stock. It came the other day and she is in full swing. I must admit she made a good choice they look pretty good.

I walked the dog had breakfast then grabbed the car to go off and do a painting in Abergwili. I reckoned I had about an hour and a quarter to spare before the car was needed to pickup one of the grandchildren. I made a bit of a mistake in that it was sunny and I only had a short-sleeved shirt and jacket on. It was freezing. Still I made a good start on the painting and had a word with a couple of passers bye before I had to come home.

My mother was on the phone to my sister today and apparently asked,

“ Can we have a holiday in the Falklands?”

Bless her she is 90+ and can only just remember who I am. But to be fair when she was in her 70’s she flew out to the Falklands in a Hercules via Ascension Island and has pretty much travelled the world, including USSR and Siberia during the cold war and Red China when Mao was still in charge.





Monday, 11 April 2011

Lanchester


I have previously mentioned our old car a Lanchester of about 1934 vintage. I found a picture of it today. It shows the car with my father brother and sister. It would actually make a nice painting. It was taken in the Cotswolds where we frequently went when we were young. Note the matching headlights, Little and Large. The car eventually ground to a halt and was sold for £5. My father bought a series of vans when we were a bit older. They were cheaper than an equivalent car and he used to put an old bus seat in the back for us to sit on. It probably wouldn’t pass the European Safety requirements today, do you think? We used to have fun bouncing around in the back even though it wasn’t the height of comfort.


Yesterday I found time to do a watercolour in between visiting and shopping. Today I delivered a painting, started the drawing for another, and collected my mother from hospital.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Paxton's Tower

The drawing above is of Paxton’s Tower, which dominates the skyline of the Towy Valley. I have done several watercolours in varying styles from this drawing.


Yesterday started quite well but unfortunately my mother was taken into hospital again in the afternoon so it was a bit of a long night. Got up early for a walk through the woods and over the top of Penlanfos.

When I got back Alex was already in the garden. This morning will be back to hospital and hopefully mom will be back out if she is improved.

Yesterday I said I worked for a while cleaning coaches. Well to finish the story I carried on walking to work and back the five miles after I ditched my bike. The boss was not a very personable man and to my mind treated me pretty poorly for little reward. I worked from 6pm to 6am with about a half hour break and to be fair I was very conscientious.

One day he was particularly obnoxious. I have to say his sense of timing wasn’t great.

A number of coaches on a Friday had to be made ready to go off to the continent. This was always the busiest time. I was the only cleaner and he chose to be downright rude when the passengers were starting to arrive and a half dozen coaches waiting to be done.

I picked up my coat and told him to keep his job and the poor pittance outstanding to me and walked out.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Dryslwyn Castle and the Fig Tree


This morning the valley was just clearing of mist and the sun was breaking through when I reached the top of Penlanfos. It is only too easy to take the view for granted. After breakfast I stole the car and took my easel to Dryslwyn while Alex got on painting the garden furniture!


I found a good spot and stood in the sun for an hour or so doing the painting above, which shows Dryslwyn Castle and the Fig Tree restaurant in the mid-distance. Several cars stopped a couple to look at the painting and some asking directions. Brechfa seemed a popular destination for some reason. I think judging from the collection of bicycle wheels and bits on board that they were off mountain biking.

I do have a bicycle but it hasn’t seen the road for a good few years. I am not a fan.

The roads are dangerous and it all seems so much effort. I like walking, which is to my mind safer, okay slower but more enjoyable.

When I was young I made my own bike from parts on the local tip but even then I was never crazy about it. I once had a job working nights cleaning coaches. It wasn’t a very pleasant job as you had to use ammonia for some reason to clean the insides of the coaches and it wasn’t very kind to your chest or eyes. Anyway it was a five-mile journey to work and back. Initially I used the bike although it was hard work pedalling up the hills. One morning going home I got a flat tyre and I hate to admit it but I just put the bicycle over the wall of the first garden I came to and walked home. I never saw it again and wasn’t sorry.

My mother once told me that Billy White taught her to ride a bicycle in the 1920’s. He apparently ended up being a bookies runner (somewhat illegal at the time) taking bets in the neighbourhood.

I never bet and I don’t ride a bike.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Dinefwr Castle


This morning I walked the dog around Carmarthen Reservoirs at about 7am. It was a lovely misty morning and there was a smell of water and plants hanging in the air. The goosander are all gone now but there were several mallards and moorhens on the water. The noise of the birds was spectacular in Bluebell woods. Wood pigeons were cooing and a woodpecker was playing a snare drum.


I really enjoy this time in the morning it allows you to either concentrate your senses on all the noises and sights around or completely go within yourself and think about the coming day or work you have on.

On the way home a magpie flew across the path so I naturally saluted him.

Several years ago I was lucky enough to watch an otter playing in the top pool. It is a long way from the river so I am not sure how he got there. I haven’t seen one in there since.

Today I did the watercolour of Dinefwr Castle above and then went to the library. Alex has been busy making cards so quite a productive day.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

English Baptist Church ~ Carmarthen, watercolour



The English Baptist Church in Lammas Street, Carmarthen is set back from the road and is accessed through a gap in the shops. This means that you cant actually see the entire front of the Church. I have moved the buildings forward in this painting which is a commission, to show the whole façade. ( Lammas is a strange word and refers to an old festival going back to pagan times held on the 1st of August.) . Anyway I finished the painting this morning.


This afternoon I was teaching and it all went well. Having taken the dog out I am now going to read a bit more of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles .

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Mrs Deakin Castle Inn ~ Knucklas



I have had a varied experience of life and have visited many hostelries. From drinking clubs in Upper Parliament St, Toxteth, Liverpool 8 where the windows and doors were corrugated iron and you only bought beer in an unopened bottle standing with your back to the wall. To the other extreme the Castle Inn Knucklas.


It is some thirty plus years since I last went to the Castle Inn. It was run by Mrs Deakin a widow who must have been in her eighties? The bar or lounge was her front room. It had a wooden floor with a few seats around the walls. She had a barrel on a stand that she needed help tapping. It was most engaging and she was full of lovely tales. On the wall she had a train ticket purchased by her late husband during the war that was from a small station in Italy to Knucklas. She had also I recall a glass case with a fox in it. These types of Pubs are long gone and we are the poorer for it.


The Castle Inn is still going but under new ownership. Still I will remember with a smile the evenings I walked to the Castle to have a pint in Mrs Deakin’s front room.

Last night I went to a presentation by Terry Morris the new Ambassador to the Arts for Carmarthenshire. It was refreshing to hear someone with new ideas and a real positive attitude.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

David Cowdry Exhibition


Okay so yesterday was one of those days. We went to the DOT Foundry to get some prints and everything there was fine. Sian is excellent and does a superb job at colour matching, no wonder they have won awards as best fine art printers.



We then fetched my mother from hospital and then the problems started. There were two issues with regard to her care and wealth fare that had been messed up. I won’t bother with the details but it took us all night to sort out. Also we discovered a large financial matter that we had to deal with, not of our own making. So although none of it was life threatening it was all disappointing and downright frustrating.


Today was another day and that started with a power cut. I stretched some paper and then varnished a couple of paintings. Alex went to the Bank and I picked up granddaughter number 3.

Now things began to look up. We went to the David Cowdry Exhibition, fantastic, brilliant artist. We had lunch with him and caught up on the news. His opening night was hugely successful with over 200 people cramming in and a majority of the paintings being sold that night. This is no mean feat with average prices over £1000 a painting plus a few little ones to suit the smaller purse. He deserves his success he works hard and is supremely talented.


The painting above is by David Cowdry and is an example of his work.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Eagle Tower ~ Caernarfon Castle


The picture above is from one of my sketchbooks and shows Eagle Tower, part of Caernarfon Castle. I don’t tend to keep my sketchbooks for long. I like to sketch but unless it is for reference purposes that is it. It has served its purpose. I am a bit of a minimalist at heart. I like order and don’t hoard or keep things. Alex is pretty much the opposite.


I like my studio to be reasonably tidy with everything in its place. At one time I shared studio space and it was pretty difficult for me. I would see other artists leaving tops off tubes of paint and brushes left dirty, which to me is a real waste. What was worse was the chaos of clutter left to fall over.

I could spend hours on a painting to come back and find new additions in the form of spray and splatter from someone else’s “creative moment” that had extended from their Jackson Pollock over the floor or walls to my canvas and sometimes my coat, glasses or sandwiches. They were lovely people but they had a different painting regime to myself.

I am disciplined and can paint without waiting for any inspirational moment. As soon as I pick up a pencil or brush I am as they say in the zone.

Today we went to the DOT Foundry near Bridgend to pick up some more prints.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Llansaint


Friday was a bit unfortunate. My mother was quite ill and I spent 12hours with her in A&E. She is a lot better now and hopefully home soon. We had been going to the Private View of David Cowdry’s Exhibition in Aberglasney but that obviously went by the wayside. We will get along to the exhibition this week anyway. I recorded the Scarlets game and have to say that having watched it now they were very unlucky as the referee made a lot interesting decisions which happend to go against them. It was the best they have played for a long time as well.


The painting above is one that sold yesterday of Llansaint to a lovely couple from Cardiff.

I have a couple of watercolours to do next week so am keeping busy.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Cross Guns


The watercolour sketch above is of “The Cross Guns” as I remember it. This was the Pub next to the Tram and later bus garage in Washwood Heath. It was my nearest Pub as I grew up and I would go there with my best friend for a quiet pint. It was quiet as you can see. The place hadn’t changed from the time it was built and probably had the same customers. A few locals, bus drivers and clippies having finished work. It was pretty dark with yellow wall paper a tile floor and a few tables and chairs mostly unoccupied. There was nothing in the way of decoration other than an old disconnected gas lamp on the wall and a few beer mats.


A pint of bitter then was about 1 shilling and 10 pence about 7p in today’s money.

There was no décor, no music no crisps, just beer and a fire. It was a place to talk and enjoy a couple of pints I don’t even think there was a dartboard. The beer was draught came from a wooden barrel and was warm. There is no other way to drink beer, is there? There was a Saloon and a Lounge. The only difference between the two was that women were allowed in the lounge although I never saw one in there.

Of course times change and the pub was knocked down and turned into an eighties pub. I believe even that is closed now.

The “clippies”, bus conductors were real characters men and women. It is funny how these days the use of words like “love” and “darling” are viewed as sexist yet in my day the clippies all used lovely words of endearment. What is wrong with a sixty-year-old women calling a schoolboy “love”, "darling", or “sweetheart”?
I am not sure but I obviously belong to a different, more innocent era. It wasn't what you said. It was how you said it that mattered.

Friday, 1 April 2011

I'd rather be sailing!


Had a long day today unfortunately spent the whole day in A&E with my mom. So just the painting of our old yacht tonight.