Monday, 23 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thur 23rd January 1947

"Snow this morning.

Saw Ken Gardner at night."

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Saturday, 21 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 21st January 1947

"Finished off all requisitions from Brechan / Cares (?).

No coals arrived."


I assume the first is to do with work and I'm afraid I can't even be sure of the word after the oblique.

I can imagine the non-delivery of coal was worrying.

Friday, 20 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 20th January 1947

"Demobbed one year today.

Coals from CWS due.

Library."

Thursday, 19 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 19th January 1947

"Usual Sunday - had short run on bike in morning.

Mother's and Conservative Club at night."

Mam and Dad had been enthusiastic members of a cycling club (they even had a tandem) and Dad used to cycle for a long time after this.

I'd like to pretend that the better facilities at the Conservative Club were the attraction, but Dad and I never saw eye to eye on politics. I'm sure he'd have hated the current breed of self-serving Tories though.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 18th January 1947

"Didn't go anywhere this Saturday. Helped Doris with washing.

Gateshead beaten 2-1 by Southport.

Transport strikers back to work today."


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 17th January 1947

"Nothing to enter."

Honesty, if nothing else.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Sketchbook Circle End Times

There's a sadness about coming to the end of a Sketchbook Circle exchange, coupled with the excitement of looking forward to this year's Circle exchange.

To bring you up to date on how my Partner Becca's book finally looked looked, here are the last few pages:
















My Dad's Diary : Thur 16th January 1947

"Saw Bob Hope in 'Monsieur Beaucaire' at Gateshead Odeon."

I vaguely recall seeing this film some years ago. It got a pretty good reception, apparently.

Plot: "A bumbling barber in the court of King Louis XV becomes engaged in political intrigue when he masquerades as a dashing nobleman engaged to the princess of Spain."


Sunday, 15 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 15th January 1947

"Emergency Committee meeting re - Canteen Committee.

Doris got sack of coke.

Filled football pool in."

I think by then Dad was working for the Ministry of National Insirance as a Paper Keeper, having come back from India to find that his job at a furniture shop hadn't been kept for him as was promised.

Oddly, this is the first mention in the diary of my Mam, Doris.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 14th January 1947

"No fire this morning.

Wrote to Ken Gardiner and Ginger Milburn.


Went to C.W.S. re coke."


Dad was writing to army friends, I believe. I know Ginger Milburn was a good friend of his in the army. You can see the winter fuel shortage starting to take hold. 


The C.W.S. was, of course, the  Co-operative Wholesale Society. 

Friday, 13 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 13th January 1947

"Transport strike - troops brought in.

1 bag of coke from Mother."

Thursday, 12 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 12th January 1947

"Usual Sunday.

Coal shortage - 1 bucket from Mother."

The beginning of problems keeping warm.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 11th January 1947

"Watched Manchester City beat Gateshead 3-0.

Stayed in tonight."

Not a great Saturday, I guess.

Monday, 9 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thurs 9th January 1947

"Went to Gateshead Odeon.

'Without Reservation' (sic) and 'The Hammond Mystery'."


Neither of these movies are known to me. Claudette Colbert and John Wayne star in the first, Without Reservations (1946):

"Kit Madden is traveling to Hollywood, where her best-selling novel is to be filmed. Aboard the train, she encounters Marines Rusty and Dink, who don't know she is the author of the famous book, and who don't think much of the ideas it proposes. She and Rusty are greatly attracted, but she doesn't know how to deal with his disdain for the book's author."

The Hammond Mystery (1942) (AKA The Undying Monster) might be more to my taste, even though there are no stars to speak of:


"A werewolf prowls around at night but only kills certain members of one family. It seems like just a coincidence but the investigating Inspector soon finds out that this tradition has gone on for generations and tries to find a link between the werewolf and the family, leading to a frightening conclusion."



Sunday, 8 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 8th January 1947

"LAND BILL PASSED.

Mother called at night."

Again, I'm unsure of the reference here, but it may have been the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 which the Labour Government introduced to establish that planning permission was required for land development; ownership alone no longer conferred the right to develop the land. 

You'll begin to realise that my Dad and his Mother were very close.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 7th January 1947

"Large contingent arrived from Blackpool for V.P.I.

Wrote to Bill Prior."

I can't be certain, but I suspect "V.P.I." stands for "Victory Parade India" to commemorate the end of the War in India and Burma.

Bill Prior was a family friend who lived in Epsom, Surrey, but eventually moved to New Zealand.

Friday, 6 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 6th January 1947

" First snow tonight, very light.

Library."

A hint of weather to come.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Sketchbook Circle Again



I so enjoyed my participation in last year's Sketchbook Circle that I've signed up to do it again this year. I found it quite liberating using collage, watercolour, coloured pencils and markers to respond to the additions that my partners made to the pages of two sketchbooks. 

But there's more to be gained from another year in the project, I feel, so I'm already thinking about new ways of making these small pages work for me.

My Dad's Diary : Sun 5th January 1947

"Quiet day.

Mother came to tea."

Is this the calm before the storm?

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 4th January 1947

"Saw Gateshead beat Lincoln 3-0.

Couldn't get into pictures at night so had short walk."


Simple pleasures. At the bottom of the page is a little printed motto:

"A little 'ginger' is good for all of us."

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 3rd January 1947

"Went to the library."

My love of books and reading came from my Dad.

Monday, 2 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thurs 2nd January 1947

"Paid.

Gateshead Odeon to see 'The Bride Wore Boots' and 'The Overlanders'."

The Cash Account pages at the back of the diary show that his pay on January 2nd, including overtime, was £6.5.8.

Going to the pictures was always a weekly treat. The Bride Wore Boots is a romantic comedy starring Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Cummings. I don't recall ever having seen it or The Overlanders subsequently. 

Apparently, The Overlanders came about because the Australian government were concerned that Australia's contribution to the war effort was not being sufficiently recognised. They contacted Britain's Ministry of Information, who in turn spoke with Michael Balcon at Ealing Studios, who was enthusiastic about the idea of making a film in Australia.

Given that Dad had recently returned from fighting the Japanese and his older brother was living in Australia, I can see why the plot would appeal: 

"In 1942 the Japanese army is thrusting southwards and Australia fears invasion. Bill Parsons becomes concerned, and leaves his homestead in northern Australia along with his wife and two daughters, Mary and Helen. They join up with a cattle drive heading south led by Dan McAlpine. Others on the drive include the shonky Corky; British former sailor, Sinbad; Aboriginal stockmen, Nipper and Jackie."

I have no idea what "shonky" means.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 1st January 1947

Dad used to go to Redheugh Park to see Gateshead AFC play. They were still in the Football League then.

"Saw Gateshead v. Hull. Won 1-0.

Spent night at Mother's.

NATIONALISATION OF MINES."

Happy New Year!


Saturday, 31 December 2016

My Dad's Diary: Tues 31st December 1946

Not so long ago, I found my Dad's diary for 1947. It was the first year following his return from the War in Burma. The diary is full of the (mostly inconsequential) entries that we all make if we keep a diary, but for me it paints a fascinating picture of life in a country trying to recover from a devastating conflict and cope with rationing. The winter that year was particularly severe and coal was in very short supply.

Here's the first entry, squeezed in before the diary proper begins:

"Met up with Ken Gardiner - first time since Calcutta.

First Foot at Mother's."

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Sketch Crawl : The Hancock Museum (again)

























Attic Vessels c.450 BC, Hancock Museum
(Broad and fine point markers, with grey brush pen in A4 sketchbook)

And so we get to it: our most recent Sketch Crawl. As I missed the one before that (at Arch Sixteen Cafe ), I've decided to stop numbering these Sketch Crawl posts.

On 10th December, there was a good turnout of North East Sketch Crawlers, although one or two had to cry off because of Xmas-related activities. The weather was OK, although the wind, as is often the case it seems, was icy cold.

This drawing is all I got done, but I'm really pleased with it. Someone online suggested that the wavy lines in the background ruin it and I'm not about to dismiss that. There was a blankness about the top third of the page that seemed to need something, so I added these lines from the mural that formed the back of the display case. Were I to make this into a painting (and I'm thinking seriously about it), I know I wouldn't include the wavy lines. Still, you make these decisions in the moment and have to live with them.

I've been looking at a lot of still life paintings recently, especially of the 20th Century Modernist sort and I think it shows in this drawing. Another person online pointed out what a good subject it was for practising drawing ellipses. She was right, of course, but in this case it served as an opportunity for me to wilfully make the ellipses irregular. I seem to remember reading many years ago that Japanese master potters, probably including Hamada, would turn a perfect pot on the wheel and then at the last moment, slightly tip it sideways. They recognised that perfection is boring and that the eye is intrigued by its perception of something that is not quite right. For that reason I made sure that, while I really do assure you I can draw a pretty good ellipse, these ones would not be perfect. I even drew them out in pencil first (something I normally don't do with these Sketch Crawl drawings), just to make sure they were wrong, before inking them.

While we were drawing in the Museum we were entertained by a brass band, a choir, the Newcastle University Wind Band, and finally by Heaton Voices. As my wife Pat sings in this community choir, it seemed only right that I hang on for their performance though I didn't try to sketch them, unlike some of the other Sketch Crawlers.

Our plan had been to move on to the Laing Art Gallery but by the time we'd listened to the music, shown appreciative choir members sketches of themselves and shuffled though the Xmas crowds in Northumberland Street, it was a bit late to think about doing that. Instead we investigated a building that contained almost nothing but a staircase, ending up on the top floor of The Botanist which was packed. Who could have predicted a bar and restaurant would be full of people on a Saturday afternoon two weeks before Xmas?

In desperate need of coffee and cake we crossed the road to the new food quarter of Eldon Square and settled on stools round a table in TGI Friday's. In deference to Anita's sensitivities, I'll gloss over details of the lukewarm coffee, my American style muffin decorated with cold fried onions (just wrong!), Anita's half-eaten cowpat brownie, her several pots of stewed tea and her eventual face-off with the manager of TGI Friday's. It was all very ... interesting and festive.

Next time: 21st January 2017, possibly at the Lit & Phil. 



Monday, 19 December 2016

The Man Who Sold the Tyne Bridge




















Buildings with Tyne Bridge 
(oil on canvas, 9x12 in)

I know, I know, I'm supposed to be telling you about the most recent Sketch Crawl, but things keep happening. On Friday I discovered that this painting in the current Gateshead Art Society Xmas Exhibition, has sold. 

I'm really pleased, of course. I painted it about six years ago and have been mildly surprised that, despite it being exhibited several times in different galleries, it didn't sell earlier. I always considered it one of my better pieces and it has the Tyne Bridge in it, usually a magnet to local buyers. For whatever reason, it failed to walk off the wall. I guess it was just waiting for the right owner to come along. I hope it looks good in its new home and that its new owners like it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Intercontinental

























Fallen Log (Oil on canvas, 16 x 16 in)

I'm delighted to say that this painting recently sold and has made the journey from the UK to its new home in the USA. It still astonishes me that a parcel can leave Gateshead on Monday and, passing through East Midlands Airport, Philadelphia, Louisville, Nashville and Doraville, be in Roswell, Georgia by Wednesday.

I hope the painting's new owners like it as much as I enjoyed making it.