Tuesday, December 11, 2007

'Tis done!

It's the usual imaginary Cornish scene, a figment of my tortured imagination. In this my fantasy, we are living in the larger house with the surfboard propped up and the fairy-lit palm tree. I have a lovely big studio down on the quay and there's a pub nearby. Fans of the Cornish Pirates rugby team will be pleased to note a couple of scarves in team colours.

Down by the tree are hubby, son, me and the dog. The old couple walking up towards the church are Martin's parents...this will be our first Christmas without them.

Have a peaceful Christmas, all.

The glowing!

Here's the illustration painted, but not finished.

So here's a detail of the church area:

And here I've started to put the glow on:

Nice? More when I've done.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The finishing line's in sight!

Here's the latest state of my Christmas card. I've worked my way down the hill, though there are still bits to do uphill...the tree in the graveyard and the surfboard for instance...and the glowy bits. of course, which will come at the very end.

I was hoping to get it finished today, but circumstances dictated otherwise and so I hope it'll be done tomorrow. Then I have to start praying the card and envelopes I ordered, arrive in time for me to print and post them!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas is coming...and I'm not ready!

The card is coming along bit by bit...but it's now December. Argh! I've ordered the card and envelopes so I should be able to print them as soon as the design's finished. Anyway...here's the latest state:

As you can see, There's some more snow on the roofs and the old couple are done. More tomorrow!
When it's finished I'll blow up one or two details in the illustration for you to look at.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I've done a bit more, as you see. Because of time I'm constrained to working in 'fits and starts' so progress is little and often.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ready for colour.

Firstly, I must congratulate our 17-year-old lad who yesterday passed his driving test at his first attempt! Well done! Now you can drive me around for a change! :-)

Back to the Christmas card:

I've done a loose black keyline for all the main elements now. It's ready to start 'painting'.

First I drop a dark colour into the background. This helps give a little body to the colours.

Next I start smudging a bit of colour into the sky....

More later!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Personalising the rough a bit...

A bit more work done...it probably looks a bit confuddling, but I know what's what. It'll look fine when I put 'paint' on it, trust me.
I've widened the quay so I can have some people admiring the tree, and I've given myself a smart studio. The pub has a name and the boat will be named the 'SS First' after the galleon (coach) that the Press Gang (away supporters) of the Cornish Pirates Rugby team travel in for away pillaging (rugby fixtures). You might notice a rugby post peeping out beyond the church. Our family's fantasy house in this picture is the largish one set back a bit. The one with the surfboard propped up.
I won't be able to do any more to this tonight, but watch out over the weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Christmas card 2007

The 'festive season' is hoving into view with relentless mercilessness and while we're so skint we haven't even started to think about buying presents, I've started to have thoughts concerning the design of our family greetings card. It's something that has evolved slowly over the years and always seems well-received by it's recipients, some of whom are kind enough to frame the card and bear with it all year.
My Christmas cards generally have an underlying theme, probably stemming from fond childhood memories of fifties Christmas Eves. It's always snowy, twilight (so that I can make the most of fairy lights and lit windows and the scene usually looks somewhat Cornish. (I don't need to go into that now, most of you know about the ambition to move there)

With that in mind, I decided to show you how I go about creating such a card, in easy steps.

Above, you see a little scribble, the germ of an idea, done in my teeny sketchbook when I had some time to myself in the rugby club bar. (I've just designed and delivered their Christmas card, too)

At the moment, it's pretty generic, no personal details...it hasn't yet been 'Woollattised'. I've just imported it into my Mac and in my paint programme (Corel Painter) I shall personalise it this evening. You'll have to wait till tomorrow to see, probably.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The big Yacht

This is an Edwardian Pond Yacht that 'lived' behind Dad-in-law's armchair. It's 71.5 inches tall (almost 6 foot!), without the stand and was made by my hubby's great grandad, Edmund Louis Saunders (born 1853), who was a carpenter. The family lived in Sunninghill, Berkshire.

It's beautifully made, a real work of art and really sails; dad-i-l saw it in the water and said it handled very well. The sails aren't original, and it's been re-rigged by dad-i-l when mum-i-l fell over onto it once! The hull is hollow and inside is kept the stick with a hook used to retrieve the yacht when sailing was done for the day.

Now sadly mum and dad i-l are no longer here and the yacht has come to live with us as nobody else in the family has room for it. We know nothing of sailing, even less about conserving such an item, but we'll do our best. If anybody happens on this blog who knows about these things, or even a family member who knows more about it, do let us know.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Goodbye Mum

Wednesday 3rd October started off as a pretty ordinary day; work in the morning then a bite of lunch and then off to Grantham to visit mother-in-law, Jessie. She had been moved from the Care Home to hospital some three weeks ago, due to concerns about her refusal to eat and drink. Nothing much had changed, except for her deterioration, despite all efforts to coax her to at least keep a drip in her arm. We had been advised by the medical staff to be prepared for the worst.

So Wednesday dawned. All was normal till noon. There was a terrific crash from outside and when we ran out we saw that a lorry had lost control, collected a painter's van parked opposite (next to a bus stop), folded it up and pushed it 200 yards down the road and uprooted a telegraph pole, damaging roof tiles and gutters of two adjacent houses! It was incredible nobody was hurt.

We hadn't realised straightaway, but the telegraph pole served at least 6 homes, ours included...we had no telecommunications at all. No phone, no internet. I'm writing this 7 days later and Telecom have only just got it fixed.

In the meantime, we had no idea that the hospital was trying to get in touch; Mum's condition had significantly worsened. (For some reason they didn't have our mobile numbers) so it was with profound relief that we were received, when we turned up at visiting time, 2pm. One look at her told us we were here for the duration, however long that turned out to be.

Mart phoned his brother, who had also been uncontactable, due to his being asleep at the time as he works a night shift. He and sis-in-law came straight over, and we all sat there sadly, holding Mum's hand and watching her life slip away. The staff brought in hot drinks on a tray and later a trayful of sandwiches, which were gratefully received. Mum was unable to speak, her eyes glazed and fixed (this due to her condition, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy), and only moved feebly.

We decided to try and get Mum's local vicar over to say a few words for her; Mum being a lifelong church-goer, we knew it would be what she wanted. In due course the vicar arrived. It was about 6.15 by now and the day was fading. She administered to Mum a last blessing, a very moving experience, and upsetting to us all, but it proved to be a great comfort to Mum. We knew we'd got something right.

From that point on, her breath, which had been harsh, became shallower and lighter. Within a half-hour it stopped so gently that we weren't sure that it had. But Mart, holding her hand at the time, knew. In a few minutes we asked the staff to check her and it was confirmed finally. It was 6.50.

Mum slipped away with the last of the daylight. Sorely missed, at a time when we were still grieving for Dad in law, who passed 4 months earlier. I can only hope they're together again, inseparable as they were in life.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

At last.....

Yup, the bathroom is finished, bar painting. (Which I intend to paint in a neutral shade called 'toasted almond' according to the Crown Paints colour guide (a sort of sandy beige in reality), with white woodwork.
Plus I have to get storage, mirror, blinds etc but at least the place is functional.
Trouble is...it's much too posh for us! LOL!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Today's progress

And thank goodness the loo is flushable again! The chaps made good use of it as soon as Neil had gone home, but I'm afraid I'm gridlocked. Time for a good curry, methinks!

On a pleasanter note, the new flooring is down. It's a laminate textured like slate, and non-slip too, very useful in a bathroom.

The shower cabinet is being put in tomorrow and the bath put in place too. We have to go out, but Neil and his helper will just soldier on.

Bathroom in progress!

Neil the plumber (and builder and electrician) started Tuesday on the bathroom refurbishment. I think we're about through the messiest part, bath ripped out, tiles off and loo and basin disconnected (we're keeping them, they're in good order) and the walls and ceiling have been replastered. Today the flooring goes down. It's a bathroom laminate tile in a textured dark slate.....really tactile!
I'm looking forward to a working loo again; we can use it but it's a bucket job to flush it. No hot water either so we boil a kettle for our needs. I hope Neil puts the new shower in next...it's ok for the chaps as they shower at the rugby club!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More holiday bits and a Birthday Boy

Firstly, I'm late by two days, but I must say Happy 17th birthday to Ben. And on his very birthday, he booked his first driving lesson! Here he is, waiting for the instructor to take him off to the old airfield to get used to the car before he tackles the surrounding villages! We tried to get a photo of him as he returned and parked up, (only scuffing the kerb slightly!) but it came out too blurry. I think hubby was laughing too much!
Ben loves driving and I don't think he'll have any trouble passing his test. He's raced karts successfully and driven both the Fiesta and Boris at the old airfield. The next lesson will be taken in the streets of the local town; I'm sure he'll take it on with aplomb.

Next, here's a pic of the two Cornish Blue mugs we fell in love with in Cornwall and bought. I love the simplicity of this pattern and as mugs they hold just enough, and are nice and chunky to hold.

And lastly, here's a quick shot of hubby's new Longboard. For those in the know, it's a Surftech 9' 1" noserider made to a template by Bo Young. Lovely thing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back from Kernow!

As always, Cornwall was a great hit...and we were so lucky with the weather. Two solid weeks of summer sun; we all got brown! Boris the camper ran impeccably too, if slower than everyone else on the motorways.
I got plenty of water time in, on my bodyboard. Charlie the Jack Russell had lots of fun in the rockpools and got very wet and sandy. Good job we're not precious about the camper interior!
The boys got plenty of surf time, Ben seemed to out-surf his dad throughout the holiday. There was a major disaster half-way through the hols when Mart was caught in a heavy rogue wave, which spat him out and snapped his longboard in two!

It's repairable apparently, but it couldn't be done till Autumn so Zuma Jay's surf shop lent him some test boards for the rest of the week, till Saturday, when he bought a new one from them. (Argh, the expense!)


I managed to do some sketching, though due to holiday ennui, not as much as I'd hoped. See here for those, and the latest on my wood engraving.
More soon!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Some like it hot....

especially in July, but we're certainly not getting it here at Scribbly Cottage. The weather has been utterly vile. The flooding caused by the torrential rains hasn't affected us , as we live in an area well-served by drain ditches and dykes and also we live on a small hill. However, the rain has lashed so long and hard it's decidedly dank and chilly of an evening and the last two nights have seen us firing up the stove in the sitting room! In mid-July this is unheard of for us! So take a long look at the photo...it's a rare beast!

And here's another rare beast ......along with his dog. The dog sleeps downstairs, but every morning, as soon as someone goes down to make a coffee, he slips upstairs and snuggles down with whoever is still in bed. He's not everso particular about where he puts his paws and a rude awakening can ensue.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Pirate cup sold!

It went at the last minute for £89.96! Not bad at all. I must make sure it's well packaged for posting. I'd hate for something to happen to it. My proofing press is a little bit closer now.

Friday, June 29, 2007


I've started to ease myself back into printmaking, specifically wood engraving, more details on my other blog http://studio-window.blogspot.com/
and the mission now is to buy a printing press, as printing with a spoon is slow and very hard work. Also harder to get consistent results. As money is very tight I decided to part with one or two old possessions in a bid to boost the fund and ensure I actually get something usable.
To this end, I've offered up to ebay a Carltonware walking peg-leg pirate cup, complete with parrot, see the pic below. I've had this since 1975, bought it new and it's sat on display ever since. I'm very fond of it and hate to lose it, but we must be practical. I now discover these items are popular and sought-after by collectors, especially if they still have the paper stickers under their feet...as mine does. So I put it on ebay with a starting price of a fiver, and waited to see if any interest was shown. Before I knew it, I have one bid and 20...yes, 20 'watchers'! Watchers are people who have bookmarked your item and are keeping an eye on bidding , usually with a view to jumping in at the last minute with a winning bid. The thing is....they don't know how many are watching the cup, the only person who is given that information is the seller...i.e. me. Well, in 5 days we shall see if all these watchers create a feeding frenzy or if they were just interested onlookers. I know at least I shall get a fiver for it!

The other item I'm thinking of selling is one of my beloved Graham Clarke etchings. I have two, one called Turnip Court, and the other one of a set , of which I just have this one, called 'Summer'. Both are old prints, circa late 70's early 80's. The one I can't bear to part with is the Turnip Court so 'Summer' will probably be the one. Looking at general prices I should get a reasonable sum for it, all grist to the printing press mill. But I think I'll just wait a tad longer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sad news

Ron Woollatt 1921-2007

I have to report sadly that my father-in-law Ron Woollatt passed away on Wednesday 13th June, in hospital. He was 86 and he'd been ok , if frail till about 3 weeks ago, when he was rushed to hospital with breathing problems. Vulnerable to infection, he was isolated and his breathing improved somewhat. However he suffered periods of confusion and refused to eat or drink, pulling out his drips and not keen to move from his bed. For the final days he was moved to a ward in the hopes that company would pick him up. But on the Wednesday night, the nurse turned her back for 5 minutes and in that time he slipped away from us.
He will be sadly missed by all.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Life goes on and the garden blooms

It's been a beautiful weekend and the garden is awash with the perfume of old fashioned roses. They're my favourite flowers, even the names set me off sighing........Buff beauty, Rosa mundi, Shropshire lass..........I have several in my garden and I'd love more but I'll wait now until we've moved ans see how many I can cram into my new space. They're all coming out now. My favourite, Rosa Mundi, with carmine and pink stripes petals and a scent to die for, has just opened it's first bloom. I'll take photos of it when it's at it's best. Here it is as it was last year.
In the meantime here are some others.

Then we had peacocks/hens in the garden! They appeared on the roof of the bungalow over the road, then flew down to Walter's front garden. They seem to lack the long tails, maybe they're youngsters? Any peacock fanciers out there?

After picking about in his flowerbed they strolled over the road, onto our wall and into our driveway. We watched them from over the back gate; poor Charlie was beside himself, trying to ooze himself under the two inch gap under the gate!

They apparently belong to some people who have just moved in up the road. Makes a change from sparrows anyway! I'd like to see them tackle the bird table!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The new bath came!

Yes, our new bath has arrived, finally! It's sitting in the dining room presently, full of packaging, taps (faucets) and other plumbing essentials. It's a sweet little slipper bath, shorter than normal so we can fit it in. I'm so excited, which is unlike me...I don't get excited about renovation. But for the first time we'll have a posh bath and a separate shower cubicle (one of those curved quarter-circle shaped ones). We've been able to get most of the stuff in sales. Now we await builder Neil's estimate for the job.

In the meantime we have an ongoing situation with two of the elderly family members, to deal with. One fell (a result of her condition, a rare brain disease called Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy, similar to Alzheimer's) and was taken to hospital for observation. She returned home a week later and a few days after that Father-in-law was taken ill and whisked into hospital too, where he is, still. Because Mum I-L can't live alone any more and we can't take her in a temporary care home had to be organised, which is where she is now...and seemingly enjoying the attention!
Father-I-L was put into an isolation room as he developed an infection that made him disorientated and confused, pulling out his drips and refusing food. He thought he was in a prisoner of war camp and at one point barricaded the door and tried to climb out of the window! Thankfully they managed to sedate him and treat the infection while he was quiet. We await the results of blood tests.
Busy times!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Moving on to the bathroom.....

The latest stage of the House Renovations (which will enable us to sell up and move to Cornwall in a year or so) is upon us. The bathroom is getting manky and is ripe for a makeover. I've got to make the decision of whether to put in a standalone shower as well as the bath, or to have one of those P-shaped shower baths? We have just enough space for a bath and a shower, as long as the bath is small- a slipper bath would suit. And the shower would have to be a corner-entry one so we don't come out of the shower and fall into the toilet. Bearing in mind they keep grinding on about good bathrooms sell houses, should I go for the full 'country living' look or a more modern shower bath approach? The difference in prices is only about £150.

In the photos, the tape marks on the carpet represent the worst-case sizes for the bath, etc I'm looking at.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Day at Twikkers

We went to Twickenham stadium, home of English rugby union on Sunday, to watch the Cornish Pirates play Exeter Chiefs in the EDF Energy cup final. It was really a support event to a game featuring Leicester Tigers v Ospreys, but to us the Pirates game was the one to watch!
It was an incredibly warm day and we were in seats right at the top of the east side...fortunately in the shade. The Cornish Pirates have a huge number of loyal supporters not just in Cornwall but all over the country, and most of them seemed to have made the trip down to Twikkers to see their team play in the most important game they'd ever played. We have supported the Pirates for years, we're not Cornish and don't live there (yet) but have been so impressed by the sheer heart and enthusiasm of the club. The supporters club, named the 'Press gang' fill coaches for every away game and travel hundreds of miles from their base in Camborne/ Penzance , to overwhelm other clubs with cornish flags, singing and cheering. Hubby Mart (aka Woll) is one of the volunteer reporters/photographers for the fan website, for the away games that are played 'oop north', Doncaster. Leeds, Nottingham etc so he generally gets pitchside passes, along with son (Woll Jnr) who takes notes and types the report on his laptop in the car on the way home. No pitchside pass at Twikkers, of course, but he still managed to take some good photos from various spots.
Anyway...to cut a long story short and there are match reports elsewhere on the web, the Pirates WON! The Chiefs are a tough team and no pushover and to beat them 16-19 was a huge achievement. It must have gutted the Exeter contingent, and I feel for them, but the Pirates really deserved this one.
The Pirates management had hired one of the bar areas in the stadium solely for the use of people holding Pirate tickets, and there after the game, congregated fans, management (including multi-millionaire boss Dicky) and most importantly the players. They aren't precious about the trophy...as soon as it came into the bar it was thrust at an unsuspecting supporter with the instruction to 'pass it around'! So here's family Woollatt with said trophy! Yay!!!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Drawing a (washing) line

Is it me? Am I alone in finding a line of washing worth a photo? Hubby thought I was potty! (Well pottier than normal.) I have always admired the lush colour and luminous quality of backlit washing. Once I went with an art group to a pretty Cotswold village, to paint. At the end of the session, everybody had painted the honey-stone cottages except for me...I'd painted a line of washing. I'll have to dig out the watercolour sometime. Hubby's not keen on it though...it's not art. Is it?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My new Docs

I just had to show you my new Doc Martens! Aren't they lovely? I treated myself to them when the sole started to come away from my old (well 1 year-old!) trainers. These were on Ebay brand new at under 40 quid, so I grabbed them. Soooo comfortable for walking the dog and standing watching rugby matches on draughty pitches. They've had lots of admiring comments too. Mmmmm...smug mode! :-)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Now see what you've done...

It was Gretel's blog ( http://allaroundus.blogspot.com/ ) that started me off.....the printmaking bug has bitten again!
It's been at least 20 years since I last got out my wood engraving tools. I once even owned a table-top Albion Press...but I sold it, like a fool. Anyway, reading Gretel's blog and seeing her lovely old woodblocks and printers 'sorts' made me wonder what sort of condition my stored engraving kit was in, up in it's cardboard box in the attic. So I yanked down the ladder and crawled up to have a look.
Well the ink roller had literally melted! Left a sticky deposit on everything. I should be able to replace the melty bit though, so I've kept the holder. Everything else was perfect though. I'd forgotten how nice the burins looked in their custom cigar box holder (made by an ex-boyfriend). I found some old proofs too, not very good, I was still struggling with my style in those days and was a bit tentative; and it shows.
Soooooo...time to have another go, although this time I shall be printing using an old spoon as a burnisher. Maybe if I keep at it I'll get hold of an old pinch press or adana. (I still also have all my galley furniture and quoins; see how the terminology surfaces again! hee hee!)
I'll post anything worthwhile!