Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Garden Chairs and Bunny Repairs   2 comments

 

We worked on the garden a bit this summer… I’m fairly pleased with the way the table and chairs look in Cubbie Blue.  In the States, I’d probably look for an umbrella for the picnic table with a Cubs logo on it, but here in England I think I’ll have to settle for something plain (or, maybe I can stencil a blue W into it…).

 

Jackie wanted red for the dining chairs so I went with something I could use for the Cubs logo but I think I found Cardinal Red instead.  The seat upholstery came from a journey to Shepherd’s Bush Market.

 

 

Now, for the bunnies….

 

 

I last painted these cast iron bunnies 30 years ago when we lived on Mecaslin Street, Home Park, Atlanta. The rivet in the tail of one of these broke in-transit to Arizona in 2005 and the one through that one’s nose snapped off this past winter leaving it in two pieces: bunnies on the half shell.  It’s now high summer and I can hang out repairing them on my new Cubs themed garden furniture whilst listening to a game streamed via MLB.com.

When did WGN lose the broadcast rights and why isn’t Old Style still the sponsor?  Foreign fans want to know.

 

 

 

These guys are about 70 years old (maybe 80…they were making them then but I know these were at the house when it was a fishing camp for the well-to-do in the postwar 1940’s) and it was nice to inspect one on the inside after all this time. The layer of rust is probably protective so I left it alone then drilled and tapped some M6 holes to effect a repair.

 

 

 

The tail I did by sight, but once that was anchored I wired the two halves together to pull them together and to immobilise them while I drilled the nose hole through then tapped the hole so that I had one side threaded and the other started.  Then I cut the wires and finished the second half so that a bolt started in one would pick up in the other.  This is harder than it sounds…if the threads are even slightly off, the screw won’t mate and it will cross-thread.  Most blacksmiths will tell you to fuck off if you ask for this and even the instrument engineers I consulted said it was about a 1-in-20 chance I would manage this.  Haters gonna hate, though, and this worked a treat.

 

 

I borrowed the lab Dremel and used a cutoff wheel to finish this part of the repair (nose and tail).  Look closely at the confluence of wheel, bunny, and bolt and you can see some of the sparks:

 

 

Then, for both bunnies I needed to take off the paint we put on 30 years ago and that which we painted over from another 40-50 years back.  I used the lab heat gun for this step despite having easy access to some sublimely suitable (and horrendously unfriendly to the environment) solvents which would have made it short work.  Still, heating this to near ignition and whacking it with a wire brush exposed the textures cast into the metal — and previously obliterated by the layers of enamel.

 

 

I used an epoxy styled paste to fill the gaps in both of the little guys.  Here they are (below) just before the sanding and otherwise ready for the primer layer.

The broken ear on the one on the right happened when I was about 10 years old (so, about 45 years ago).  Me and a cousin (the one referenced in this post) used to play this game where we would fling the bunnies at each other daring the recipient to catch the projectile (these are about 15 pounds in Imperial measure or 7 kg in modern money, so kudos to our youthful good sense).  We never did grab one in flight but this one time (of which we now reminisce) it hit the tarmac driveway, driving the severed piece of ear into my relative’s face.  I think the beating I received had more to do with fucking up the bunny than sending my cousin to the hospital, for the record, but six-of-one and half-a-dozen of the other.

 

 

Next, the primer coat was applied:

 

 

and, a slow build-up of colour:

 

 

The former Chinese Sex Chair (and now BBQ table) isn’t weathering well so I also decided to fill in the notches at the top and repaint it, too.  The spackle has now been sanded but the new paint will have to wait until a warm, sunny weekend.  In the meantime, it served as the bunny finishing studio.

 

 

Bunny details took ages, with this only one of the interim attempts at completion:

 

 

But, now in November, they have a clear coat and a home back out in the garden.  The colours are more even than they look in this photo (glare and haze … Tim and Kesey still look — in person — like they did a couple of years ago, for comparison; I just couldn’t be bothered to walk back out there for a better picture), but the grass really does need a trim (even worse so than in the pic).  But for now it is wintery out and the garden is forlorn.

 

 

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Posted November 3, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in art

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Animal War Memorial Dispensery and Tin Tabernacle   Leave a comment

 

I looked up for a moment from the bus stop and spotted a massive bronze casting over the doors to a house with “Animals War Memorial Dispensary” painted across its front.  Dashing across the street for a closer look, I also noted these tablets on either side of the doors:

 

 

I could see the bus loading one stop before mine and took just a few seconds to record these wonderfully psychedelic posters displayed beside a church adjacent to the Animals Memorial:

 

 

It was only after settling into my seat that I realised two of the three were for the Sea Cadets and that the church appeared to be known as the Tin Tabernacle:

 

 

Quite interesting.  The building is like a metal barn on the outside but is, in large part, a model of a sea vessel within.  I definitely have to sail back to this one, perhaps for folk night.

 

 

 

 

Posted October 19, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in art, music, Tourism

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Edward VIII Postbox #5, and Chorleywood, Hertfordshire run   2 comments

I took a break from the A2Z Runs this week and just caught the Metropolitan Line out nearly to its limits.  There was a Red Lion to visit not too far away and in the opposite direction a splendid — and splendidly named — pub called the Land of Liberty, Peace, & Plenty.  (pub write-up links as soon as I get around to them)

The route I took (mapped, below) was hillier than I’m used to and the upper respiratory infection that grounded me for four days is lingering making the effort something more of an effort than it should be.

I had just reached a flat point ahead of a long downhill segment and off to my right I spotted a post box.  The royal cipher only clicked with me a few steps along and I had to double back.  Crikey!  This is the first one I’ve found entirely on my own…in the wild, and all.  An Edward VII postbox used to be the Grail, and now they are just dead common.

I’m up to five E8R postboxes, now, four of them this year within about 10 miles of my house!  Find this one on Haddon Road at Shire Lane, Chorleywood.  The most recent previous one was in Nunhead a couple weeks back, and the ones before that were on the P for Postboxes Run.  More to come, soon…I can just feel it.

 

Posted July 22, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in art, Tourism

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Edward VIII Postbox and other Nunhead Thingies   2 comments

 

After the visit to Nunhead Cemetery, we headed toward Peckham Rye and along the way I found yet another Edward VIII postbox (my fourth)!  More about these on the A to Z (P) Run write up.

As a bonus, there was also a really nice Victoria Regina cypher on a subsequent postbox:

 

 

Find them both in Nunhead near the dog escaping the park:

 

Posted July 8, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in art, Tourism

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Nunhead Cemetery   2 comments

 

As we approached Nunhead Cemetery, a horse drawn hearse crossed our paths and I removed my hat.  I wasn’t going to photograph the departed out of respect (the same reason I haven’t shot any disturbing images — although I have plenty of opportunity — of the crime scene that is Grenfell Tower).  But, the departed had already departed and I scrambled to prep the camera but was only able to squeeze off one sad image before it hid behind the line of parked cars.

 

 

Nunhead Cemetery is the 3rd of the Magnificent Seven Cemeteries we’ve visited after Highgate (West and East, distinctly different experiences) and Kensal Green.  It is the largest of the seven and so far the least impressively populated but no less interesting a walk and impossible to take in one go.  Here’s the photos of today’s initial fly-by.

 

 

Just inside the gate and to the right we spotted the Scottish Martyrs Memorial:

 

 

The plaque doesn’t really do justice to how harshly their pleas for reform were dealt with.  The link has a list of their fates which include hanged, burned, hanged and burned, and simply executed or assassinated.  Some were also “insulted.”

 

 

And, all for speaking sense…words relevant even today.

 

 

Also at the entrance and straight ahead, there’s the ruins of a grand chapel damaged by arson ages ago but shored up to use for musical events and, currently, an open air art exhibit.

 

 

On our walk past the Martyrs’ obelisk we looped around by the chapel,

 

 

and passed one of the few residents I’d ever heard of, Jenny Hill:

 

 

The cemetery had been allowed to fall into disrepair and was eventually sold for £1 to a fellow who set about making as much of it safe to visit as possible.  Parts were still being used to inter newcomers, but much of it was subject to subsidence of the tombs and encroachment of the forest.

 

 

 

 

This column seems to be missing a cross.

 

 

An anchor in the left hand, the right might have had a sword or could just be imploring the heavens.

 

The white marble monuments have decayed quite a bit:

 

 

While the pink ones look almost brand new:

 

 

This one was just for me and other fans of “Tater Tomater.”

“Women with har have to wear a Harnott.”

 

 

This was the first of several markers we found with this particular bathroom tile set in it:

 

 

And, this one was recently painted bright green (at the foot you can just make out an errant brushstroke colouring outside the lines):

 

And, down a path into the overgrowth (one of hundreds) strewn with dozens of these small markers someone put up a garden border to house, I suppose, an ancestors’ rock along with coins to pay the ferryman:

 

 

My favourite find of the day was this stone with a cart spring on it and the inscription, “The Spring of Life is Broken.”

 

 

Jackie’s favourite was this pre-tranny tablet describing someone “Who Lived And Died A Man.”

 

 

Some of the better, individual war memorials I’ve come across were here, as well.  It took a moment to realise that our Bobbie died back home of wounds incurred at the Somme:

 

 

And, Royal Navy colleagues added this anchor to the grave of Reg Bult.  His family’s stone, behind, becomes a bit more poignant by his comrades’ addition:

 

 

In the midst of a massive, multipanel WWII memorial, civilian casualties are also recorded:

 

 

 

Overgrown as it is, the cemetery is something of a nature preserve that includes an educational tree trail:

 

 

And, many of the graves are unapproachable (like those in this patch of nettles):

 

 

This tomb was completely devoured by a massive trunk:

 

 

And, the vines on this one form some sort of dreadlocks:

 

 

Without irony, this one has vegetation carved into it:

 

 

And, some of the monuments are as simple as they can get.

 

The wooden crosses take quite a bit more care as they are impermanent.  Still, this one has managed 55 years so far:

 

 

More grand ones are also around.  This one for the shipbuilder, John Allan, has some spectacular lion heads on it:

 

 

And, this one to the type maker (punch cutting was the 18th century equivalent of font design) Vincent Figgins is understated but grand:

 

 

I didn’t want to disturb the artist by crowding over her shoulder so I only got some pretty photos of this one:

 

 

 

This depiction of the life and death of the sculptor Frederick Schroeter (accompanied by wife, Frederica, on two sides of the plinth) was down a path where a massive tree had fallen a few minutes earlier (unstable ground).  We opted to examine this one closely and wait to see if others would drop:

 

 

 

 

And, some of the best ones are the simplest (rest well little Danny):

 

 

 

Wattenden Arms, Kenley, Surrey   2 comments

 

You’ll find the Wattenden Arms in the shaded village of Kenley (it is surrounded by urban forest and green space) on the north edge of RAF Kenley which the Luftwaffe tried its best to bomb into oblivion in 1940.  My notes on the back of the maps I printed out for this run specifically told me to look around the place for WW2 memorabilia which is supposed to be a feature of the pub; however, you have to actually consult the notes to act on them and it was only today that I spotted them.  Oh, well.

 

 

I had a bit of a wait while the barman fiddled with the lines to the Lilley’s Mango cider which, once he finally was able to fill the glass did so with a lot more sediment than I have ever seen in this usual Christmas treat.  While waiting, I admired the cornice work and the old wooden bar.  Beautiful house.

 

 

Outside, there were mostly solitary drinkers.  One old guy came out muttering to himself and the others all averted their gaze.  He stopped at a table where a fellow typed away on a laptop, pointed at one of the canvasses on the garden walls, and demanded, “do you even know who that is?”  The kid never looked up and just said, “sorry, no.”

“Beatles tribute act?” I offered, reckoning that this guy is me in a few years (if not me, now) and I owed it to my future self to respond. He looked over, shook his head, and whistled a short, sharp report. A wee terrier trotted out of the bar and they went to a table kind of remote from me.

A moment or two passed as he continued a private dialog in public. He looked my way again and pointed at me.
“No. No. That’s the Beatles, that is.”  He seemed agitated.

“I don’t think so,” I put to him. “Paul and George look like they’ve just dismembered an enemy, and John’s head is too big and rectangular.”
He got up and stood in front of the picture for a minute. “Dear lord! You’re right! Disgraceful.”

“And, don’t get me started on Nico, over there.” He looked at another canvas.
“I thought that was Joni Mitchell.” We were probably both wrong.

 

Posted June 3, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in art, Pubs

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Shakespeare’s Globe and the Groundling Experience (and onsite pub, The Swan)   Leave a comment

 

We went to see Nell Gwynn (written by Jessica Swale) at the Globe on the South Bank this past weekend and I would highly recommend the play (very funny stuff about one of my and Jackie’s favourite historical figures).  Someone else at, I think, the same performance wrote this essay on it which will do it more justice and less damage than I’m likely to.

But, you should go to any play you can at the Globe and do it in the standing room area.  For one thing, admission is just £5.  For another, your sight line is only ever obstructed by the actors — who are often standing right next to you — as opposed to the seated areas where (according to the Globe’s own publicity) some of the scenery will be blocked no matter where you are.

 

Cool things about the Globe (I’ll probably add to this as time goes on):

They still fly a flag to let the illiterate know there is a performance that day.

It has a special dispensation to allow it a thatched roof inside the City (prohibited ever since the Great Fire).

[…add more here as it comes to me…]

 

 

In the groundlings area, you are also exposed to the elements but the weather was kind on our outing.  The drinks are at ‘captive audience’ prices but not too high, considering (the onsite pub is The Swan, but we only got the drinks and headed in for the show).  And, you feel like you are part of the action down there.

Photography is strictly forbidden in the theatre but not enforced outside of the performance times.  I can’t wait to go back.