My Blog List

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


We had some Bank Holiday Antics!
A year ago we came upon the Lincolnshire Heritage Aviation Centre and watched some blokes get a taxy-ride (doesn't leave the ground)  on a Lancaster Bomber. I signed DJ up for this year as a 75th birthday present. His birthday is November but the weather will be dreadful then and this date was the only other one available. We booked into Branston Hall Hotel. Some good friends came too and we took off for the airfield on the Monday.
People wear lots of outfits from WW2 and vintage times. No-one really needed the nurse and the other uniform looks decidedly American. Some women had beautiful clothes and seamed stockings and lovely hair-dos. There was entertainment, singing and dancing and the museums are all interesting.
I'm pretty sure this is not a real pilot. Please forgive me if you are!!!
We all had a great time wandering around the museums and reconstructions and watching the Lancaster bomber on its 11am. "taxy-ride". I bought some books, some fudge and some raffle tickets for the spare seat on the 1.30 ride.
DJ was booked for the 1.30pm. ride. He met the others at 1.00pm at the steps to the plane.
He had forgotten his camera and just after I had taken this pic he waved to me and I took it over. I lost some bits of paper on the wind but ran after them and managed to grab them. Just as well cos very soon after, they called the raffle winners. I held my breath...but no...not for me the first prize of a ride. BUT then came the second prize...It was my ticket, in fact one of the ones I had just rescued from the gust of wind and I won...a book.
Winning ticket 172!!!
OK, I was quite pleased and went to the desk to collect it and congratulate everyone else and the ride winner and such. It became obvious after a short while that the first prize winner hadn't turned up. I stood there shaking for nearly twenty minutes while they made every possible effort to find the real winner and then decided to let me on instead.

DJ was already on and had been given the honoured position of right up behind the pilot.
I ran across the rope ad up the stairs and got the seat with no windows. Real stuff.
Couldn't see DJ up the front but managed to send a message. The door near me was open and there were blokes in all the available lookout spots. I was still trembling from the excitement of it all. I sat for the whole ride and then was allowed to crawl around afterwards. I crossed paths with DJ halfway as he went to experience the rear gunner end.
Quite a lot of stuff to watch and know about in the cockpit and...
this is the bomb-aimer's position. I had to access it backwards. In fact most of us were moving slowly and with difficulty around the plane. Some needed help some just needed time. Everyone was as thrilled as could be and glad they had done it. Next year The Lancaster will be taken out for a couple of years while they try to  return it to full flying condition. That will give us time to save up for a real flight.
A really wonderful time was had by DJ , me and all the others we met and our friends who went with us.
Grand weather, grand hotel, grand activities and grand company and we got certificates for doing it.

Cheers Gillian

Friday, 24 May 2013


Thank you for the lovely comments you have made about my paintings. They do look much better on the small screen of a computer and I'm happier with them that way myself! I'm not always happy with my attempts though...
Lots of stuff languishes on and in, ever diminishing spaces upstairs. It's the stuff I never feel is really finished or it's not right in some way...
This last effort was so disappointing that it immediately got painted over in black so as to provide a new surface for something else. I shall resist making comments about it being suitable as a Turner Prize entry and stick to sensible utterings.
A gorgeous new tin of water colours to take "en pochade" in the campervan when on holidays. Also for my birthday this grand item...
An antique metamorphic library chair. It unfolds to produce a set of steps to help you reach the top shelf of books...
Of course that means that you need a high shelf with books on it ...
So you get Bobby the builder in to make you some and put books on them. He was coming round anyway to fix up the poor old ceiling at the top of the stairs and here it is all ready to paint...
Liz at Love those cupcakes wonders if my knitted bags sag. Yes they do. If I use tight stitching they aren't bad. I'm doing one at the moment with double knitting cotton and 3mm needles. These needles are very small for the yarn so the fabric is tight. The string bags will stretch much more. How much? I'm not sure. At the moment they are purely decorative.
After the sanding, re-plastering, shelf making and painting we had a day out. The Geat Gatsby in 3-D at the flicks. Just us two and another lady had the cinema to ourselves. Never much of a story it became a splendid show in 3-D with Gatsby's parties making a grand concert of their own. I don't think it would be much without the 3-D.
 Cheers for now

Friday, 17 May 2013

Knitting and Painting

The days are passing and I think of Tinkie less but we both still expect her to be in all the usual places and I still think she will be there to greet me when I come in the door. We have a few outings trips and visitors over the summer so even though my urge has been to rush out and get something to cuddle and fill the gap, it will probably be October before another cat comes to live with us.
A really spooky moment occurred a few days ago...The front door was open because a glimmer of sun had peeped through a cloud. And a movement caught my eye and I turned to see a tabby face peering in. "Hello pussy cat" I said, and she stepped in and came towards me. She let me pick her up and cuddle her and when I put her down she went on a tour of all the places Tinkie went. Checked out all the corners and the usual spots and then let me pick her up again. DJ was more reluctant to touch her so I took her outside and put her in the front yard. We went to the shops and when we came back she wasn't there any more. I haven't seen her since.
I have done lots of knitting.
Another string bag using up some more cotton from the stash and...
Another cotton bag to use up the green ( that was left over from a jumper that got frogged so there's enough for a few  more bags yet).
Some more painting in class...
This is painted on a canvas which has been painted black to start with and is then over-painted using a sponge. Very quick and quite enjoyable and not bad when you stand back from it.
This painting needed some glazing to bring out the varying colours in the scene. It had ended up very green but is looking better now.
And this is the "Joseph" painting which has now got coats of many colours, cos I hate wasting the big blobs that are left on the palette...
There was obviously some crimson left on the palette this time.
Because of the dreary weather we have also been watching some movies: good, bad and indifferent. Some get turned off some get laughed at and others are gripping to the end. If there is ever anything truly worth watching I'll let you know.
Cheers for now

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Bye Bye Tinkie

Less than a year ago DJ held little Tinkerbell on his lap.
She was an endearing kitten and an adept acrobat.
DJ built her a climbing frame so that she could see the great outdoors...
...and we had to put chains on the windows to stop her climbing out of the top floor.
She played happily with this little fluffy green ball and took it all around the house for people to find and throw for her. I shall keep it safe.

At about 8pm tonight she followed the blackbird over the road outside and got run over. She made it back to the yard and a friend came to tell us he had seen her coming home. She died in my arms. She will be awfully missed by both of us.
Gillian and Dave

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


The yard has been tidied up and some new trees planted. A Rowan has been planted in the new bed. It is already higher than the fence and should grow well here. There are always plenty of them around as we go on our walks so they are natural survivors in this area. The berries will look pretty and will also attract the birds. This is not necessarily a good idea. I don't put food out for the birds because it would be a bit like tempting them into the yard for Tinker to play with, but I think they'll have a much better chance in a tree.
The two long tubs have apple trees in them. They'll never get very big but with plenty of water and food they will produce apples. One is an "eater" and one a "cooker".
I moved the cherry tree in its big tub over to the side with the roses and gave the other climbing rose an extra prune.At last the milder weather has reached us up here and all the plants are doing well.
We have started walking with the County Council Walks group again and our first outing of the season was around Beamish. These lovely cow sculptures seemed to want to follow us along the path...
...and some hefty Dobbins would have liked to come with us too. You could feel the ground shake as they galloped around their paddock. The walk was meant to be a five-miler but ended up being well over that, probably nearer seven miles. Much of it was uphill (and lots downhill too) and some across fields.
The next day I went to a yoga session which stretched some more muscles I hadn't used for a while and I spent the rest of the week hobbling around.
Also on our walk we crossed Causey Arch...the oldest railway bridge in the world, but not steel or steam.
We walked again yesterday, around the Durham Botanic Gardens. A delightful history of the origins of the ownership of the land and plantings. I have no pics because my lovely Lumix is ill. The lens protectors won't close and although the camera works the lens is vulnerable and exposed at all times. I shall need a trip to Jessops at the Metrocentre and probably a second mortgage to get it fixed.
I consolled myself with some mucking about with inks and paints and gladwrap and made some backgrounds to paint on.
It's art day today so I'm off now to Darlington for a couple of hours of painting.
I hope the sun lasts a bit longer. I suppose putting out the garden furniture would be the worst thing to do at this stage.
Cheers for now