"au revoir” Phil Thompson

Yesterday was the funeral of a dear friend of ours. I was asked to say a few words...these are the words.

I first encountered Phil with Hilary one day in the record department of WH Smith & Son in 1974. I was doing Christmas relief work in my gap year before going to university. Hilary was my efficient, pristine manageress; nothing flummoxed her that is until Phil would pay her a surprise visit. It was obvious they were made for each other.

Fast forward the clocks 12 years, November 1986. Ironically, similar age to Sherry today, I had returned home from teaching in Nottingham when my own Dad died, to look after mum. Cleveland Centre lifts – I recognised the voice – low and behold Hilary and Phil, man and wife. We had a quick exchange of news updates – they had two daughters, Sherri and Gemma, and lived in Guisborough. Fast forward 10 months – I was starting a new teaching job in Guisborough – walking out on my first day who should greet me but Hilary – both Sherri and Gemma were pupils in the same school! A few brief words again. A couple of months later Jon and I moved to Guisborough from Redcar – and guess who lived over the road? Yes Thompson clan. There followed 3 happy years of good neighbours and friendship – the laughs, the gin and tonic, the laughs, the meals, the laughs, the new year’s eves the laughs – yes it was a good 3 years.

We moved but kept in touch briefly just catching up on news now and again, but the friendships forged would always be there.

I was honoured to know Phil as a doting boyfriend – to Hilary that is, a loyal husband, a proud father and a good friend.

It is my firm belief, from personal experience and which I hope is the same for Hilary, Sherri and Gemma that when somebody we truly love dies, they do not simply “go away” they do not leave us, they stay with us – in the very marrow of our bones. The joys we shared we will remember, and smile. The words they shared will be written in our hearts. That is how it is for me. My Dad’s words and aspirations stay with me to this day and are now part of my character, I am proud of this, and Hilary, Sherri and Gemma can be proud too.

In life we come across people who leave a mark on us and whose words come back time and again. Phil has been one of those people to me – let me tell you some of the things I always remember –

From Jon Hancock, one of my first head teachers – he taught me how to stand on a chair correctly – to this day I do this – with the back of the chair in front not behind. I don’t remember anything about him telling me advice about teaching, but I do remember the correct way to stand on a chair.

From my mother – I learned that mules are dangerous slippers and you could easily break your neck when wearing them. I have never bought or owned a pair of mules in my life.

From Christine Duck, a school clerk who I worked with for some years I learned that you should always use matching coloured clothes pegs when hanging out the washing – “What would the neighbours think if I did otherwise!” I must admit I don’t use matching pegs, but I think of Christine every time I peg out the washing.

From Phil Jon learned that it was bad luck to re-name a ship – he pointed out this to me a couplke of weeks ago just about we were to board the ferry which incidentally had been renamed!

From Phil I learned that the essence of a good Bolognese sauce was a few dollops of tomato ketchup! Even to this day I think of Phil every time I make a Bolognese sauce and yes I always add tomato ketchup! Next time you make a sauce – think of Phil, you will be surprised how often he will pop up in your thoughts – which are what we want – for us to constantly think of him and the impact he had on each of our lives.

Now we must say "au revoir” – yes French but expecting and knowing to see Phil again.

One of the greatest Naval leaders was Churchill and it is one his quotations I leave you with

"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."

Yes Phil – let’s see.

Kitchen Update!

Jon is very busy with his business right now, but he did take the time on Sunday afternoon to fit the new lights. He had to do a lot of work under the floorboards of the bedroom but it was all worth it.

The photographs are not accurate but will give a good idea of what it is looking like. The ceiling is white, not pink. The walls are Pale Hound, same as the snug.
The sink unit is being delivered on Thursday together with some doors and a corner unit, so we are very much nearly there.
We still have no taps - that will happen later this week but every day, in every way things get better and better.
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Veenendaal 2011

okay, it has been some time ago, and there have been events since then, but this is what happened at Veenendaal this year.

Picture thanx to Lea langezaal
As can be seen, I have a groundclearance issue.

And then this is what happens:

Emergency repairs so I could start the next heat.

more can be read at Ralph's blog, he came to see what I was doing with the engine he donated to my project.
Also a nice video of me just before the start.

By the way, I plan to build different, higher, footpegs for next season, a little less original, but I need the groundclearance. I'll make it look like honda made them by using the right parts.

Angela has started a new theme each Thursday - I am going to join in. Basically people interested share any ideas or thoughts on thrifty solutions.
My contribution is frregle - or freecycle as it was.
Basically find a freegle group near you and see the daily e-mails from people seeking items as well as giving away items.

Click here for details

I notice today somebody is looking for a ladies wig as well as a pigeon loft!
My mind has been boggling all morning! lol!

Click on the link in my sidebar to see other frugal thinking people.

J is for Jon

Whilst the kitchen looks pretty much the same Jon has been doing lots of intricate work behind the scenes. The plumbing is now in place for the new sink which is being delivered next week. The electrics are sorted and a lot of repairs to pipes have been done too. This has taken Jon a few days to do, round the running of his business. Jon has plumbed in our original sink as a temporary measure .

I have a sink but no taps or running water - I have to use the outside tap for water but it is just outside the kitchen door. The dishwasher too is plumbed in. This is sufficient for what we need and keeps me focussed on how much better things will be once the kitchen is finished. Every day things get better and better! Tomorrow.........the kitchen is being painted! Can't wait!
Watch this space!

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A sneak preview!

Our good friends Keith and Dorothy, who we spent 3 fantastic days with in France read my blog ("Helloooooooo Keith & Dozza!") and are coming over in a month's time - when they do, the kitchen will be finished - so this is the only preview I will show - as i want them to have a surprise.
We are both thrilled with the progress - thanks to good friends Spud and Tony who are fitting the kitchen. Jon is very busy with work so can't do a great deal - having reliable capable friends is a god send. The plasterer and builder are good friends too - again so reliable and efficient this has all helped everything so smoothly. Yes we have a delay but that was doen to Homebase - basically the sink arrives on 29th September with a corner unit.
I can live with this - I don't have a sink right now, but this is something Jon can sort out - when he isn't busy. We have an outside tap just by the kitchen door which I am using - and the dishwasher is still here.
Deciding on colours.......Farrow & ball's 'Dead Salmon' hmmmmmmmmm????

Watch this space!

I is for Incidental timings!

So - there we were on the ferry! Now I don't mind the ferry crossing because I put myself into a place of gay abandonment - after a nice meal, a bottle of wine I settled down for the night.......
Now dear Jon KNOWS I am a light sleeper and after 23 years of marriage knows it is unwise to wake me unecessarily......so when the cabin light came on I awoke immediately.
Jon, eyes like saucers was informing me the ferry was turning round - infact it had been for a while and he was convinced we were moving in a circle!
The captain made an announcement "Ladies and Gentlemen we are making a detour as a female passenger has left the ship and is in the water!"
Jon went outside to see what was going on and witnessed the rescue.

See the amazing footage from the RAF here.

Amazingly the girl survived!

The holiday was fantastic and I will share our adventure later as we only returned yesterday and the kitchen is back on.
Whilst we were in France we were aware that a hurricane was due for the |North East Coast the day we were returning on the ferry! Needless to say I managed to get myself in a state - a quiet state, just keeping my worries to myself. I must admit when Jon pointed out he had noticed the ship's name had been re-painted, this being bad luck did not really help. Then he pointed out the lower the deck the better or smoother a crossing would be - so to be on deck 1 or 2 was best....we were on deck 9!!! Prone to a bouncy crossing!!
My fears were in vain - the crossing was very smooth.
We left the ferry around 10am Monday and then came the motorbike ride home - in the wind!
I can honestly say it was one of the most frightening moments in my life! I could feel the bike being buffeted by the wind, and held on for dear life.
When we finally pulled up outside the front gates I felt a pope moment coming on - all I wanted to do was kiss the ground!
Home safe and sound!

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My day trips out: Saatchi Gallery

So i have been meaning to check out the latest collection The Shape Of Things To Come: New Sculpture, that Saatchi Gallery have brought to light.  Baring in mind it is the London's gallery for the contemporary arts so all going in with an open mind was a must. No indication of rope or wire surrounding the artworks and freely to take photos, it was a pleasant and trusting atmosphere. With many people sitting on the floor either taking photos or drawing away without any hassle by doing allowed for all ages to enjoy contemporary art in this beautiful building.

Gallery 2 located on the ground floor, in my eyes was absolutely stunning and an abundant amount of layers that  David Altmejd had brought to each sculpture, so aggressive but yet so well considered in there own way. 

The sculpture about titled 'The New North' (2007), made from wood, foam, expandable foam, paint, magic sculpt, magic smooth, expoxy, glue, mirror, horse hair, quartz crystals and wire. Almost four metres tall and its colossal dimension allows the artist to create microcosmic worlds within it, using ll sorts for example horse hair, wire, mirrored rhomboid shapes and quartz crystals. know for making large- scaled sculptures of anthropomorphic figures cast in the state of metamorphosis. David's work challenges the boundaries of traditional figuration by embedding his subject with otherworldly elements and surrenders it as a human figure in all its spiritual and psychological multiplicity. 

As they say, the bigger it is, the bigger the impact, the more questions asked, the more theories  thought. This piece brought just that, chilling there in this grand white light space as people walking in with great impact. Peoples faces all become the same, staring up as they walk round this gigantic anthropomorphic figure for a wee while for sure asking themselves similar questions. I loved how David has embraced playful elements for example the mirrored staircase spiraling in and out of ones body.

Also by David Altmejd, was The Healers (2008) on the other end of this gallery space. This conveyed a chaotic scene of overlapping figures and figurative fragments such as, intestine, hands, wings, kissing figures, wildly sexual positions in physical agony. It was for sure one to get as close as possible seeing each individual segment, wondering where this piece began or ended. Thoroughly enjoyed viewing this and the use of spot colour to unify this crazy scene of dilapidated figures and its sexual healing connotations.

In gallery 5 was this cheeky piece in the corner Beethoven's Trumpet (with ear) 
by John Baldessari.
Berlinde De Bruyckere K36 (The Black Horse) 2003.

The Milky Way by Bjorn Dahlem 2007. This room sized sculpture was pretty mental that represents abstract concepts of space and matter. Reminded me of climbing frames one used to play on as a child. The neon tubes I thought could symbolize jars of milk in response to its title.

Anselm Reyle Untitled 2006. With this instillation, i sat down and wondered what it could represent without any title to help one by. What I gained from this, was on the bigger bundle of neon lights had few tubes spelling various words such as Open Drug Store. More of an american city/ town thing to have on the street. where the wee bundle of neon lights towards the corner of the room had no signs, only the letter N gives the impression he's contrasting city and country life styles. The city life as we know it is busy, chaotic but he has used the colour green to flows from one side to another giving this carefully composed instillation clarity and structure.

A group of 18 leading contemporary Indonesian artists came together to surrender this exciting body of work titled 'Indonesian Eye: Fantasies And Realities'.

Bringing together traditional and modern cultural influence and expresses this mix in a very fresh and diverse way, using abstract and realistic languages. The image below titles Growing Fish (2008) by Ay Tjoe Christine I thought was really interesting, taking the raw expressive approach. Not really thinking about her mark making too much, just subconsciously powering layers of acrylic paint onto a lifeless piece of fabric. The chaotic texture she has created in the middle works so well with the detailed hand/ foot on either side if it fuse's the image as a whole handsomely.

Mella Jaarsma The Post Modernist (2011). 5 cloaks of embroidered emblems life size.

Aquno Manou Putra, Global Warming III: The Left And Melted Ones (2007). 3 paneled canvas painted with acrylic. The contrast of letting the white paint against black/brown run to the bottom of the canvas on either side of the mountains and the five Indonesian children painted in red with such detail is truly powerful. One of my favorite pieces from this visit.

Wedhar Riyadi brought to the table these funny but dark humored duo titled: Give Me Your Best Flavour and I Will Bite You (2008)  and New Neighbour From Outer-space (2009) .

J. Ariadhitya Pramuhendra (1984), a young and rising artist exhibited these amazing charcoal yet enormous pair of canvas's titled  A Heaven's Tale (2010) and as picture seen below Devided and Fold (2008). Having previously made a major impact on the art scene with piece Holy Mass (2008), I was excited to see what other works he was to bring out just afterwards like breath of fresh air.

Coming from a traditional fine art background these were my favorite pieces in the entire show. The use of charcoal in Devided and Fold reminded me of French illustrator Kamel Khelif, whom also distorts faces using light/ shadow as a primary influence.

If you get the chance, check out French book called 'Les Exilees,' text: Nabile Fares, illustrations by Kamel Khelif. It is presented in a A4 300 weight paper book, beautiful classic charcoal illustrations throughout but done in a comic format, works smashingly. 

The abundant amount of carefully chosen detail in Devided and Fold was so well done. Its just the contrast of heavy black and white spacing used to communicate all the figure's body language in this piece. A clear example of this can be seen with the figures debating in the direction of one in-particular figure in the far right. Photos of this astonishing piece can not do enough justice as to witnessing the real thing in all its glory. 

As always after admiring artworks, I pick up an appetite and won ton noodle soup was defiantly on my mind for dinner before heading to life drawing for 2 hours at a wee vintage cafe just off brick lane. My new line: table for one please ... was used once again and has become a recurring thing in this new life style of mine. Still feels very weird saying it, not the sense there's anything wrong with eating alone in a restaurant but in the sense of having her to dine with and a good laugh for the past few years.

I will leave it here, as it is that time again, lunch time for me. I really need to start sketching out this image, as I'm going to be painting my latest mural on the London streets tomorrow called 'Stella Forever: Last Wish Goodbye'. 
Will update you all on my art and upcoming murals very soon.


The Essentials Of Becoming A Mexican Wrestler

As a boy, I’ve always dreamt to be someone big and make a difference in someone’s life. Being half mexican I thought I'd too grow up to be 6 ft and well built like my ancestor whom was a mexican wrestler. But being half Thai on the other hand, I guess It took me down to 5 ft 8 and slender. Not the biggest of guys around but I can run a marathon in a good time. Being inspired by my mexican roots, I often use various aztec symbols in my work to bring my message across. Here are some essentials needed to become a mexican wrestler. 

Im currently working on a few more design to go towards my tote bag/ print collection, all ready for the beginning of November. Just in time for the Christmas period, so keep your eyes peeled on my wee shop everyone.

My day trips out: Hunterian Museum

The Hunterian Museum is located in the Holborn area, literally a 5 minute walk from Holborn station but me being a bit silly, i walked straight pass it totally not realizing till i got to a dead end road. With there current show 'London's Lost Museums: Nature and medicine on show' i thought it was brilliant, having such a great collection of specimens and with so much information at hand.
when entering this very grand building The Royal College of Surgeons it is at 1st a bit daunting. Where you are given a wee museum visitors badge to put on, but as you go up the stairs with renaissance styled paintings, you find the entrance to the museum. You are welcomed at the doors with smiley faces where all that daunting feeling I once had went straight away. welcoming of staff asking, 'if its ones 1st time, if you needed any information or would like a free tour with others'. Which I thought was really nice of them to say especially when I was on my own visiting. 

Having numerous seats allocated all over the museum, it gave us visitors the option to engage with what was in front of us or just to enjoy the overwhelming atmosphere this collection surrenders. I can't even begin to say how many array of specimen in jars where here on show but there was a lot. Here are some sneaky wee photo's I took while walking round the museum fascinated by every display. 

As you've probably established, every jar is numbered and has a brief description of what it is which I found a great help, not knowing hardly anything about fetus's or even about the animal anatomy. I spent the next 2 hours reading and just admiring what these jars captivated!

For those who know me, know that i find walrus's so intriguing and if it was possible to have one  for a pet and ride its back following its adventures or sea life. In the photo above where jars numbered 3560/ 3561 are in fact walrus fetus's, amazing! 

The collection is spread across 2 floors and even had video footage on the second floor of the human body. One video I watched was of a brain tumor being removed from a woman head, the footage was really graphic and showed how it really is. I knew it was a life threatening operation to go through but just to watch it, makes you see it in a whole different way. 

By this point I was so hungry and thought it was time to leave and head out towards China Town London, to try out japanese restaurant Misato. Having heard so many things about this place, I wanted to test it out for myself and see what the fuss was about. Coming from a really cultured background (half Thai and half Mexican) and my parents owning numerous restaurants in the past, I like to see how they present themselves as a whole.

As for the past 5 months, Im still trying to find my feet again and trying to enjoy the small things in life. Having failed many times along the way and tumbled badly letting people down. Im still trying to learn to walk on my own and not feel so lost, no matter how confident I come across in person at my jobs or even when I'm out and about.

'Table for one please....'

In my conclusion, it was ok. The portion were presented on a raised massive plate to give it that extra illusion of quantity. It was great value for money for what it was, but the flavours itself I found pretty dull, the rice was a bit too dry for my personal taste. The service was ok and by doing so, they put a 10% on the bill automatically. 

my comment isn't fair to represent them as a whole with this one off occasion.
Il end it here otherwise I'll end up writing an essay and talking off matter, its lunch time for me. Im thinking mexican beans with a cheeky wee disco salad. 

Speak to you all soon,