Old Nokia

I just found this under a cupboard! It’s my old phone. Goodness knows how old it is, I don’t know if the battery will have corroded it inside. I’m thinking of finding out if it can be refurbished as my hubby doesn’t like smart phones and just wants something basic to ring home if he needs to. I will try and find out if it can somehow be upgraded to work on the right sort of signal. It must be several years old? Are they worth anything? So it’s not smart, but is it fixable?

Nursery Rhymes

I think seeing the white rabbit picture this week pushed some memories forward from the back of my mind…

Some of them I haven’t recalled since my childhood, and I don’t know if anyone else remembers them. I can remember two fully…

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water,

Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got, and home did trot, as fast as he could caper.

He went to bed, to mend his head with vinegar and brown paper!


See-saw Marjorie Daw

Jenny will have a new master

She shall earn but a penny a day

Because she can’t work any faster!

These are memories from the 1960’s. Boy I feel old. I wish I could fully remember Oranges and Lemons, said the bells of St Clements. Or George Porgie, pudding and pie…

It’s funny what you have contained in that greyish pink blancmange called your brain. It can hold information that has slurped about inside it for decades. Like I think I know the triumvirate in the Russian revolution was Kaminev, Zinoviev and Trotsky (I learnt it for history and it stuck).

Memory is strange and sometimes randow. But as they say, we are our memories, and our experiences teach us how to manage life.

Brindley and Wedgewood mural

Here is another one of my murals from the Leopard Hotel in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. It shows the four creators of the Trent and Mersey canal. I remember two of them are James Brindley , standing, and Josiah Wedgwood, seated on the right. It’s a long time since I painted it, so I can’t remember the names of the other two. It was painted in 2007? I think. This popped up on my Facebook memories today. Sadly it and all the others I painted were destroyed in a fire when the Leopard burnt down early last year.

Mythical animals

Where do mythical animals come from? Do they have a connection with real animals or are they created purely from imagination? I guess some of the creatures come from word of mouth. One person describes a lion for instance with a ‘proud chest’ and it ends up through word of mouth and illustration as actually having beasts! Maybe because this is meant to be a lioness or perhaps it is seen as a mixture of lion and human.

You only have to look at egyptian hieroglyphs to see strange combinations of animals and humans. There are interesting creatures in the histories of all countries around the world. Dragons are known from West to East. They are wise and benevolent in the east, but seen as evil and sly in the West. They vary in shape and size, from snake like creatures in some Asian countries to having two legs and two wings, or four legs and two or four wings. Dragons or Great snakes are also found in Australia and the Americas.

There are too many mythological beasts to describe here but some are very strange. And looking at medieval illustrations gives you an idea of what was in people’s minds at the time. You only have to look at the tryptich ‘the garden of earthly delights’ by Hyronymous Bosch which depicts some weird and hellish creatures. The imagination is a wonderful thing.

Spode planning application

The old Spode factory site in Stoke-upon- Trent, the town the city of Stoke-on-Trent is named after, is due to be developed. However the intended development has changed since it was suggested several years ago. The place was due to be an Artisan quarter. With places to eat and buy art, and making an area in the town that would bring tourism in. I think it was even suggested that a supermarket could be built on part of the site. Then a hiatus, one half of the site nearest Stoke Station was sold off and knocked down. All the historical buildings were seen as useless and a great swathe of land was sold off to developers, then, nothing. I think they probably bought it so they would have an asset they could develop later or sell off for more money? In the meantime studios were developing on the side nearest Spode museum. The council has already disposed of a great number of ceramic moulds that had been stored at the factory. A hotel called the potbank opened up and shops were refurbished in Stoke along the frontage of the building. There is also a restaurant called the quarter. But times are hard and the development didn’t really go far. Now there is an application to convert some of the old buildings into 113 apartments a gym and a cafe among other things. I would say great, but there is already a lot of traffic in the area and no doubt this will cause more. The river Trent runs nearby also has caused flooding in the past. There was an article in private eye magazine questioning the company who intends to do the work. Anyone who wants to object needs to contact Stoke City councils planning department by 18th December 2022.

Old TV

Some people will remember these, before huge flat screen TVs, before TV remote controls, even before colour TV. I give you the cathode ray tube, where an electron gun shot rays at a flourescing front screen in lines and the picture appeared on its surface. The ‘tube’ was a conical shape with a square flat front. It was a vacuum tube so if it broke it would implode as air got in….

People employed TV repairmen to come out if it stopped working (replacing valves or solid state electronics? I’m not sure.) Gradually things changed until TVs changed shape and now use liquid crystal displays.

When ours went on the blink we found hitting it just above the on off switch with a hairbrush got it to work. Apparently the electric connection in the switch burns away slowly so the contacts were seperated, hitting it knocked them back together. Probably not safe!

Strange word?

I have been watching the news about the USA midterm elections with fascination. We have supposedly fixed term elections of five years for the Government, by elections where we choose councillors every four years but they don’t always coincide, and a few mayoral elections that are only for a few cities that have chosen to have them, like London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

But this strange word keeps appearing in the US election ‘Goubernatorial’? Is that the spelling? It’s how it sounds. I would say Governatorial, as it is about the election of State Govenors. It is a real mouthful. Is it meant to be confusing, to sound clever, is it Latin? Or Greek? Who knows.

I think there’s a saying, something like: the United Kingdom and the United States of America are two nations seperated by a common language. Spellings of Sulphur (UK) and Sulfur (US), someone told me the Americans came up with simpler spellings. Also Neighbour (UK) and Neighbor (US)… Why not Neybor if you really want to simplify. And the pronunciation of Aluminium as Aloominum? Why? Many questions!


Seen at Spode in a new friends studio. I love it, I used to have an old one which was from an office and was coloured grey. This looks antique. When keyboards and computers came out typewriters became defunct, but there is something charming and evocative about this. A bygone day. Even seeing it makes me think of flowery language. Spindley letters. Gothic script. I’m going over the top now. A great tranklement! ❤️

Town or City

Town/City full of buildings sketch. There are many historical buildings in Stoke on Trent but a lot of them are derelict and falling down. Where places like Manchester have had investment old buildings are refurbished and turned into apartments or restored to their former glory. Here in Stoke they languish, are bought up by out of town businesses that allow them to fall down, get broken into or in some cases have unexplained fires. Severs properties in the North of our city have had fires over the last few months. Is it wrong to be suspicious about that? I do wonder and worry that one of the most important areas of industrial and vernacular architecture is not being cared for. We could use the better properties even if we only keep the facades. But our local leaders seem hell bent on stripping back the past, losing a heritage that could be supported. You only have to look at Etruria Industrial Museum to see somewhere that has worked. But I despair for so much of our surroundings.

Moonlight bright

Moonlight like ice, glinting frost, I wish we had cold weather. Walking round a frosty graveyard looking at ice crystals on bushes and grasses. Little pawprints trailing across the lawn, glittering as a stray moonbeam passes through wilting leaves.

A gravestone sits sideways to all the other ones. Because it’s occupant was said to be the local witch, wise woman, healer, giving remedies that were beyond the wit of man? Perhaps that moon shone down on her once, on her cottage surrounded by herbs, witch hazel, foxgloves, woody nightshade.

Don’t move, just listen, hear the rustle of bat’s in the belfry, feel the crunch of ice under your hand. Its All Hallows Eve. Perhaps this is a dream about Molly Leigh, the Burslem witch.