Well it makes me laugh Sun, 25 Jul 2021 @ 4:44 pm

My latest acrylic painting makes me laugh. It’s not what I intended painting but this is what it became. My wife says she couldn’t see what it was, but she eventually got the idea. I thinks it’s my best yet!

You can see my artistic development / non-development at https://thingschange.blog/not-an-artist/

Hampton Court with the kids Sat, 24 Jul 2021 @ 3:22 pm

On a cool day, a picnic with the little ones in the beautiful gardens of Hampton Court followed by a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. What stunning flowers! Then back home to admire their garden decorations – little girls are so imaginative.

Sponsoring a horse race Thu, 15 Jul 2021 @ 3:11 pm

On this morning’s Today programme the daily horse racing tips alerted me to there being a race meeting at Epsom today. As I had a dentist appointment this morning in Epsom I thought I’d check out the race timings to see if I was likely to come up against traffic problems. I needn’t have worried as the race meeting was in the evening.

However what caught my eye amongst the list of races was the 7:20pm race, which had the name “Janet & Terry’s 50th Anniversary Handicap”. What a strange name for a race! Looking at other courses I came across this motley collection of race names:

  • Wessex Garages All New Nissan Qashqai Apprentice Handicap
  • Zest Recycle Supporting Chepstow Racecourse Fillies’ Handicap
  • Racing TV HD On Sky 426 Novice Median Auction Stakes
  • Leicester Racecourse Ideal Civil Ceremony Venue Selling Stakes
  • Get Hugh Taylor’s Tips On attheraces.com Novices’ Hurdle

On the Thirsk Racecourse website I found this to explain a bit about sponsorship and the naming of races:

Race sponsorship is widely recognised as a unique, innovative and highly effective method of brand promotion and advertising and is also becoming more and more popular with families and friends, as an exciting and memorable way to mark a special occasion, such as a birthday, anniversary, reunion or team day out.

Sponsors are encouraged to join us in the Parade Ring to judge the ‘Best Turned Out Horse’ before the race and present the cash prize to the groom responsible for looking after the chosen horse. Then after the race you will be invited to present a trophy to the winning owner in the Winners Enclosure, making for a great photo opportunity, followed by celebrations with the winning connections. This all makes for a fun and memorable day for everyone involved.

At the Thirsk Racecourse a private sponsorship package costs £500 (+VAT), and if you’re interested in what you get for your money, all is explained here.

I’ve learnt something new today, and potentially found a way to make the next key date in my life one to be remembered!

Squirrels Tue, 13 Jul 2021 @ 9:10 pm
Early evening in Nonsuch Park and the squirrels were very friendly.

River Wey at Ripley Wed, 23 Jun 2021 @ 11:30 pm

On a lovely, sunny day, and not for the first time, a 7 mile walk along the River Wey starting at Ripley.

Father’s Day Mon, 21 Jun 2021 @ 6:01 pm

Father’s Day this year passed off without seeing my daughter and with seeing my son off at the airport on his way back to Berlin. My daughter usually gives me a card like this year’s card and always manages to write warm words about how wonderful a dad I am. Thank you, kid. On the way to the airport I reminded my son that it was Father’s Day. “Happy Father’s Day, Dad”, he said! Ever since he’s been living in Berlin he hasn’t been doing cards – birthdays, Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day. That’s OK, son…..

Several decades ago I made a decision that Mother/Father’s Day cards were a marketing thing by the card industry and that I would stop sending a card to my mother. I seem to recall this didn’t go down well with my mum and I reverted to going with the flow in subsequent years.

Good to see you, son Mon, 21 Jun 2021 @ 3:06 pm

My son lives and works in Berlin but he’s been working here at home in the UK for the past 3 weeks. It was over 15 months ago that we last saw him (other than video calls). On arriving into the UK he had to quarantine for 10 days and to have Covid tests on days 2 and 8. He chose to take an additional test (test-to-release) on day 5 which enabled him to end the quarantine on day 7 once the results of the day-5 test had arrived.

Other than a mid-week, day trip to Brighton, he did a normal working week whilst here. I couldn’t believe how much of his working day is taken up with Zoom meetings. When I was working I had one monthly meeting – that was it.

Having decided to return to Berlin he had to arrange for the flight and the necessary travel Covid tests. His flight was actually two flights, via Amsterdam, and it wasn’t clear which tests were required to satisfy the UK, Dutch and German Covid regulations. In the end he did the full works – tests at 72 hours and 24 hours – though I think it turns out one of these wasn’t really necessary.

Now, back in Berlin, he is required to self isolate for 14 days. No leaving of the flat, no visitors to the flat. He hasn’t been looking forward to this – I hope the time passes quickly for him. It was wonderful to see him again, and little Chloe and Iris gave him oodles of attention. Hopefully the UK and German restrictions will ease over the coming months so that we can all see each other again. Thanks for coming, son!

Not David Hockney Fri, 18 Jun 2021 @ 8:10 pm

I have a copy of a David Hockney painting, “Red pots in the garden”. My latest project as not an artist was to paint it – see below for Hockney’s original. I’m OK with my effort and I enjoyed doing it. You can see my development / non-development at https://thingschange.blog/not-an-artist/

In the style of David Hockney
Red pots in the garden, by David Hockney

Shot on the patio! Wed, 2 Jun 2021 @ 1:54 pm

Summer has come Sun, 30 May 2021 @ 10:00 pm

OK, it’s not brilliant Wed, 26 May 2021 @ 3:46 pm

OK, it’s not brilliant. I think it’s time to look up some techniques. You can see my development / non-development at https://thingschange.blog/not-an-artist/

Painted whilst turning the corner on a streaming cold. Can I use that as an excuse?

My mum would have been 100 today Fri, 21 May 2021 @ 1:01 am

1921 – 2018

My mum would have been 100 today. This is her on her 93rd birthday. She didn’t look her age, and it’s how I remember her.

In her later years, but before going into care, she liked sitting down with her feet up; watching TV and Holby City; reading the Mirror and the Daily Echo; chewing toffees; visits from her family; visits from the carers; tea but not coffee. She dozed a lot.

She loved driving and the independence it gave her. At the age of 89 she stopped driving – and her swollen knee suddenly got better.

She was a strong old lady. She had a lovely smile and looked a bit like our Queen. We all miss her.

Little pics for little ones Mon, 17 May 2021 @ 4:35 pm

Each week I try to send the little ones a notelet, with a bit of writing, a picture and a couple of silver coins stuck to the back of each notelet. Here are today’s painting, done using acrylics. I began by painting a black background – a first for me. #NotAnArtist

Cable guy Sun, 16 May 2021 @ 2:04 pm

Three months before I was due to leave home and embark on college life in Middlesbrough, I took a temporary job in a cable factory at Eastleigh, near Southampton. The job was a clerical one and my office was to be a small, blue shed inside the factory. My task was to deal with a huge backlog of paperwork relating to goods received and issued. I had to enter the details of each movement into an appropriate page in an appropriate ledger. What a nightmare! A vast number of screws, nails, nuts and bolts, in a multitude of sizes and type. More often than not the description in the paperwork was insufficient to correctly identify the appropriate item in the ledgers. Having exhausted the patience of my supervisor with my numerous requests for help, I ended up making educated guesses. I’m sure the resulting records were hopelessly inaccurate. The records for the cables themselves were easier to match up and thus probably more reliable, though I do vaguely recall doing a stocktake of the large reels of cables and discovering mismatches between the records and the reality.

While working at the factory I met my first girlfriend (if I exclude SW at infants/junior school!). M used the perfume Memoir Cherie – I sometimes think I can still sense the smell, decades later. We would catch the train (steam?) into Southampton and in those days carriages had corridors, and compartments with blinds. Taking M home there wasn’t much light in the compartment as the train passed through a long tunnel leaving Southampton station, and it was there that the delights of innocent snogging began. M was to cause me much heartache as we attempted, and failed, to continue a relationship when I went off to college. The Beatles’ song Hello, Goodbye always triggers memory of the break-up meeting, just before Christmas. <sobbing>

I had my first pint in a pub. I think it was probably the day I had an interview for the job. Fish and chips and peas, and a pint at the Railway Inn (?). Happy days.

WOW, just WOW! Fri, 14 May 2021 @ 12:29 pm

Watch this, preferably full-screen on a big screen. I’m so envious! (The sound quality isn’t great, but the visuals….)

blog redesign Wed, 12 May 2021 @ 11:04 pm

I’ve done another redesign of thingschange.blog! It’s not the first redesign I’ve done – probably the fourth or fifth change since I started with WordPress almost 10 years ago. Before then I used Google’s Blogger and I probably changed the design a few times using that blogging platform. The current change is more fundamental as I’ve gone from having a blog to having a web site with a link to the blogging pages. There’s no real reason for this change – I just like tinkering.

When I used to write software programs I was always tinkering, improving the code, adding new features. It’s a fun thing to do, if you’ve got the time.

The web address thingschange.blog now points to the main web page, whilst the blog pages can now be accessed through links on this page and from the top menu.

Make & bake Fimo Sun, 9 May 2021 @ 5:32 pm

Cheam – A London village Wed, 5 May 2021 @ 4:41 pm

Despite being in a London Borough there’s still very much the air of a village about Cheam Village. It’s too small to attract the shopping chains, although the café and restaurant chains have got a foothold.

On a day that threatened some nasty weather, the morning was sunny and warm enough to allow the taking of some bright pictures with the phone.

The croquet lawn has stimulated me to look into the game’s rules and to find out a bit about the village club. The walk in the grounds of the church provided some nice images, and I liked the new bench in the grounds of the library.

Kitchen window view (approx) Tue, 4 May 2021 @ 7:59 pm

Another dead afternoon so why not have another go at not being an artist? Here is my preparation – note the image on the laptop as it’s my kitchen window and is my intended subject. I’m not happy with my effort, but that’s no big deal. It’s the taking part that’s important, eh? My non-progress can be seen on the page NotAnArtist.

A visit to the library Tue, 4 May 2021 @ 2:40 pm

The libraries are open again and there are the necessary Covid precautions – masks, a one-way system and an ID registration. I must have been there three-quarters of an hour yet I was the only visitor. After several circuits of the shelves I was almost resigned to coming away with nothing but then a flurry of possibly interesting reads appeared. In addition, the library was disposing of copies of Matt Haig’s Midnight Library, leftovers from World Book Day. Well thank you very much, I’ll have one!