Friday 21 Mar

Stained Glass Lamps

FROM THE ARCHIVES. Originally posted on my old blog, 31 May 2012, now closed.

Specially for Melinda, or anybody else who is slightly interested. . . . .

North Bay Classic Victorian lamp Tiffany style lamp Art Deco lamp Edwardian Lamp Frog lamp Table lamp

“I have been busy just lately and haven’t had time to update my pages.

As you can see from the pictures on the left (click the images to embiggen) I have been making some lampshades for our local Summer Craft Fair of which 10% of the profits from each stall go to local charities.

You can imagine that I am absolutely fed up with slaving over a hot soldering by now, and I don’t want to see another piece of coloured glass again for a while! Nevertheless I get a nice warm feeling inside that I’m helping out the local charities as well as making a nice fat profit for myself.

I apologise for the quality of the pics, they are not up to my usual high standard. I had to use my old analogue Zenit SLR camera because I dropped my digital camera out of the bedroom window onto the concrete yard below when I was photographing some weird looking bird on the lawn. Now for some reason, I know not what, it has ceased to function. It is now an ex-camera”.

NOTE: All the lamps have been sold. Went like hot cakes, they did!

1. This one is a variation of a lot of similar ones, all slightly different, I made for a chain of pubs.
2. A night light for the nursery?
3. An Edwardian lamp design.
4. My Art Deco design.
5. A Tiffany style lampshade.
?. The unnumbered one is a design from San Francisco called “North Bay Classic”.
7. Victorian style. I found the glass droppers at a car boot sale.

Wednesday 19 Mar

The Kings Head panel

Click on the pictures for larger image.

Recently I was asked by a brewery if I would come out of retirement to make a panel for one of their public houses. In the past I had done a lot of work for them in various pubs and restaurants in the south of England. I didn’t really want the job because I retired ten years ago and now have other interests. I told them that all my tools, paints, and kiln were now stacked in an outhouse gathering dust and cobwebs awaiting disposal.

The pub door has a plain leaded glass panel with a green border. The reason for this was at a time when they thought that some drunk or vandal might smash it, and if that happened it would be easy to make another one quickly and cheaply to replace it.

front_doorIt’s been twenty years since I made that door panel and it’s never been broken or even cracked, so the brewery thought it was time to jazz it up a bit. I agreed, under duress, to make a roundel and fit it into the middle of the window. I should mention that the pub is called “The Kings Head”, if you haven’t spotted the name already!

This will involve taking the door panel out, stripping it, and rebuilding it with the new roundel in place, because this work cannot be done in situ. It has taken me three weeks to design, paint and fire the individual pieces and lead them together. Not working all the time you understand, just in between my housewifery chores!

The next stage is to take out the existing panel and board up the door. I shall bring the panel back home to work on it, and then return and fit it. We agreed on a payment for this; 25 Free Sunday lunches, including a pint, at any one of their pubs on the Sundays I decide on. (Income Tax dodge!)

Old Git Wit: Be kind to your kids, they’ll be choosing your nursing home!

Monday 17 Mar


Pre-Blog Years

I found and old CD-ROM disc dating back to 2005 in my achive box. I put it into my laptop drive fully expecting it to fail, but no, it worked and revealed lots of old photos I had used in the pre-blogging days when all you got was a personal page hosted by various ISP’s like Yahoo, MSN and a few others.

I had a page with Geocities onto which I put articles of interest to myself and possibly other people. I don’t know how many people read it because there were no comment boxes or Hit Meters then. If someone wanted to comment they had to send you an email. Space on those pages was very limited, if I wanted to add something I had to clear out something else to get enough space for the new post.

GeoCities was an important outlet for personal expression on the Web for almost 15 years, but was discontinued on October 26, 2009, when it was taken over by Yahoo.

It was about 2005 when I did my first blog that was hosted by “Meonline” then I switched to “Blogger” and subsequently to “WordPress”. In 2010 I bought my own domain hosted by “OneCom” and moved my WordPress blog to it and set up some additional non-blog sites.

When I was with Geocities I was keen on photographing peoples front doors and putting them on my page. I did this secretly without asking permission of the house owners, naughty I know, but I was careful not to reveal the location of said doors. I didn’t put a copyright watermark on them, and even now I occasionally find one one somewhere on the Internet. Amazing.

Here are a few of them, and if you look closely you will see that all the pictures have one thing in common, see if you can spot what it is and tell me in the comments.


Left to right: Dublin (?), Galway, Cornwall, Cornwall.

Don’t say “They all open inwards”, or I shall be annoyed!

Tuesday 14 Mar


Where have my friends gone?

I’ll tell you. France, Germany, Spain, New Zealand, etc! The reason? No, it’s not because they want to get away from me, it’s because they all said they want a better life for themselves and their children.

This country is finished they told me. My young nephew, together with his wife and three young children are the latest of my relations to go. They bought a house by proxy in Auckland, New Zealand, three months ago and moved. Before they even got there he was offered three good jobs and now he’s working as a cabinet maker and French polisher [his trade] for a well known hand-made furniture company. Whereas he was unemployed in England, because people here now buy more flat-pack cheap furniture than good quality goods. He was finding life here was increasingly awful and difficult. He couldn’t even get a job sweeping the roads because of all the cheap labour that this Government is importing.

ExpatsEarly last year two families from our little town moved to France and bought a run-down farm in Normandy between them and are now busy renovating it. In one of their emails to me they said, “The world is not a very happy place today but here in rural France, lost in the woods and surrounded by very kind people, deer, beautiful birds and countryside, we live a happy and contented life”. He also mentioned that the children enjoy going to school over there, whereas it was a difficult job to get them to go to school here.

Already this year I have been to the farewell party of another couple from my married days, he was my best man, who are moving to Bavaria, Germany, to be with his wife’s relations. She is German by birth.

I would love to move away from this country that I once loved in my younger days. It has now become a crime ridden hell-hole. Along with other people I know I dare not go into the city after dark because of the gangs roaming the streets.

I left it too late to emigrate. Most countries wont accept old, burnt out people because we would just be a burden, not being able to contribute to their economy we would be just be a drain on it.

AFTERTHOUGHT: It seems that hundreds of Brits are moving to France now, in particular to the Dordogne valley. According to the papers some ex-pats are getting together and buying whole villages that are derelict and setting up their own communities (Ghettos?). They are all seeking the laid back life style that France is so famous for, but I think if they don’t make the effort to integrate with the indigenous population and learn their language and culture, then they are going to destroy the very thing they went to France for.

The ex-pats should realise that they are the foreigners in another country now. I spend a lot of time in France (I have family there) and I can see the resentment in the faces of the French when a crowd of Brits stand chatting in English in the bars and shops. The French accept you if you speak to them in their own language and join in with community events etc.

When I’m there and a Brit ex-pat asks in English if I’m British I just shrug my shoulders and say “Moi? Je suis français. Je ne vous comprends pas”. and walk away, sniggering.

Old Git Wit: Once you have accumulated enough knowledge to get by, you are too old to remember what it was.

Saturday 8 Mar

I haven’t written in my paper journals for several years now. I always made a point of writing about my days adventures(?) every night.

One day, just after my partner died in 2004, I picked up my pen to write about the lovely times we spent together, but something stopped me. It was just as if something or someone was holding my hand back from making the first mark on the paper.

I must have sat there for an hour with all the memories of those few short years going through my mind. I tried repeatedly to write, but I just couldn’t do it. For the first time in my life I was at at loss to find the right words to describe what I wanted to say.

I knew then that my journalling days were over. Without Pat life was so empty and lonely, so I closed the book and fastened the buckle for the last time. I put it in the large cardboard box in the box-room with all the other journals dating back to 19 hundred and frozen stiff!.

Yesterday I was searching through some other boxes full of old photos, diaries and some of my childhood books (Beatrix Potter, I could never bear to part with them!) looking for some drawings I made during a field trip to the wilds of Wales when I was a student because a friend asked me if I had anything about travelling through “Wild Wales”. Apparently his son is doing a project about the said country for school.

journalI came across an unused green leather bound blank journal, still in it’s wrapper. The strange thing is that I had never seen it before, and I don’t ever remember buying it! How it got there is a complete mystery, it wasn’t even in the right box with the others.

I completely forgot about the drawings I was looking for and took the journal downstairs for a closer look. As I unwrapped it the smell of the leather was very strong, almost as if it had been made yesterday. As I run my hands over the beautiful leather binding I suddenly had the urge to start writing again. It seemed such a shame that this book was lying empty and unloved just waiting for someone to fill it with happy thoughts, so I decided there and then I would be the one to share my life with it; not that there is much of it left!