Loud knock on the door. I opened the door to see a man in a mask under his chin proffering his elbow?! I stood back. Er can I help you? I’m your neighbours landlord. ( OK, so I know my neighbour owns his own house which is not in good condition). I didn’t believe him.

The man said I’m just doing work on your neighbours house and damp is getting in from your chimney. Is it? I asked. (We have problems with damp from next door). He said I’ve got a man on the roof now and I will go halves, I’ll charge £600 and you will pay £300. I said I can’t afford that, he wandered off and offered £200. I said I’m not sure, will have to talk to my husband. So then he said he was working on a house three doors up? So I said how does damp from my roof get three doors up (we are in a terraced house). He then said the water tracks under the roofing felt (this would be uphill and up brick walls)….. So I said which house do you own and he said the one up the hill with the purple bricks sign.

So then hubby arrived. He was not impressed. We walked across the road and yes we could see one missing tile. We could also see no one on the other roof, no ladder, no scaffolding. Do these people realise we use our eyes? Hubby told the man he wanted to see proof of who he was and proof he owned the house up the hill. By this time the man looked panicked. Hubby can be forceful when he wants and said no we would get our own builder in. The man was now upset, seeing £200 melt before his eyes and clearly worried by my hubbies attitude. I calmed things down. We bumped elbows and said goodbye. I don’t think he will be back!


One thing about living in Stoke is that you get to see beautiful pottery. For instance these tiles may be simple for or wall decorations, but they signify the creativity of the City.

You visit the Potteries Museum and art gallery, in the city centre (Hanley), you will see amazing beauty and talent in the history of the city of Stoke-on-Trent.

A whole history and creativity that has gradually dwindled as austerity has crippled the country. Manufacturing has reduced, has been driven offshore by costs, and although some had started to return, the current situation has made things worse again. Life continues…..

Designing tiles

I decided to make a drawing of a tree shape then played with it in various apps to change its colour and shape.

I love old fashioned Art Nouveau and Rennie Mackintosh designs from the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century. Also the Arts and Crafts movement. We have become so interested in glossy and sleek, modern, monochrome that we don’t seem to recognise that patterns can be exciting and interesting. You can do anything you want really.


Phil Hardakers’ Piano.

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I hope I’ve got his name correct. He’s a really unique artist who uses found pottery and hand made pieces together in large mosaics on various objects. In this case a grand piano. I wonder how much more it weighs with all the tiles and broken pots. It’s on display at the hotel on Spode site.

Hopefully I will be going round the BCB (British Ceramic Biannual event). There is lots going on there. Will see what’s on display.

Where was I?

An attempt at a Minton tile and my own design in minton colours, both for the mystery play. The one based on the minton design was hard to get right. It’s a bit wobbly. The second one has a bit of a Tudor rose feel to it. I started with the outside on the Minton copy and the inside with my own design. Im not sure it works, but when you put them together it makes a nice pattern. Hopefully they will like it for the play.

Most of the rest of the day was spent rehearsing and recovering from last nights show. These days I get tired more quickly. It’s annoying. Tomorrow is another rehearsal day. Only a week to go till the play.

Tiles in the church

Today I got some photos of Minton tiles in St Thomas’s Church penkhull. I’ve got to paint some for the Mystery play so I needed to see the genuine article. I’m hoping I can get a realistic look to them. They are in a scene where they have to be sold to raise money.

What I like are the simple colours, browns, pale ochres, blues and white. The interesting geometric patterns and curves. I may struggle to replicate them. But you have to try!



Minton tiles


One thing I have got to do is paint some images of minton tiles. These were made in their millions over many years and can often be found in the hallways of town houses especially in Stoke-on-Trent. People are enthusiastic about them even now and get excited about them when they find them in old houses.

There were apparently 12 original designs which are documented in a little book called touching history by Hans van Lemmen and Bret Shah. This is available through #StokeYourGratitude