Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Goodbye Mr Davies

I was saddened to learn today that our neighbour Mr Davies had died. He lived in the smallholding behind us.
He apparently collapsed and died on the same day. Up until then he had been a constant part of our local landscape. He was always out pottering Woodbine in his mouth, cap pulled down, scythe in hand and up to his knees in nettles. I enjoyed stopping for a chat with him. He always gave us apples from his orchard and we gave him young tomato plants. We occasionally saw him in one of the local pus and always bought him a drink.
I would be grateful for a quick exit like his, ~  but hopefully I will have to wait a good while longer. Today I did a bit of work in the upstairs gallery in Origin before its opening tomorrow and then started a new painting. Alex has found time to do some framing.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


I have been busy today with a few domestic chores and taking cards etc to stores. I did get a chance to do the above pencil portrait of my brother in law. I quite often practice drawing by sitting in front of the television and giving myself a maximum of 7 minutes to get a drawing done. I m not sure why I chose 7 minutes but it seems a challenge for a reasonable portrait. The one above is more finished and no he is not red. I do however like using red pencil sometimes with chalk. The portrait's not perfect but for a fairly quick freehand is ok (of course you only have my word for that unless you know him).
Alex had a new phone today and is to quote an overused phrase like "Bambi on ice". Not a clue but I know her and she is determined and will eventually work out how to turn it on!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Red Kite over Storey Arms

The painting above is of a Red Kite over Storey Arms, Brecon. I went to collect my remaining paintings from a gallery today and found that due to an administrative mix up the above painting had been sold last year but I hadn't been paid for it.

Unfortunately as I have said before this has not been unusual. I am rationalising my outlets at the moment to make life easier. Anyway moving rapidly on. The upstairs gallery is opening in Origin on Thursday so that will be interesting, more new work.

I have been doing some drawing since I got back and will now put  a third coat of primer on prepared boards. I have a couple of pictures in mind which I will probably start tomorrow.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Scott Williams ~ Great Scott

Well there wasn't a better picture for today was there? A great day yesterday and surprisingly I woke this morning without a hangover. We went to watch the game with family and friends at a house party. A good day with pig roast beer and good atmosphere I felt England were getting away with quite a lot in the breakdown but hey what do I know. It was a good game with some outstanding game saving tackles. To see Scott Williams rip the ball of Courtney Lawes and then go on to score was fantastic. Triple Crown in Twickenham!
So the little watercolour sketch above sums it all up for me.

Saturday, 25 February 2012


We are lucky where we live in that we back onto the countryside and have a great deal of cover for birds and wildlife. I can sit at the breakfast table and watch young fox cubs playing or the birds feeding on the bird table.
Black birds are very territorial and have quite a nasty temper. One alpha blackbird will command the bird table and prevent any other blackbird eating even if the alpha is quite full himself. Strangely though he is quite happy for sparrows and other birds to share the table with him. We occasionally get a treat with a woodpecker, nuthatch or tree creeper feeding too.
Jac is fascinated by the birds and will sit at the window watching them and strangely it is only the blackbird that sets him off. Being a working cocker he is genetically programmed to flush birds out although we don't work him as such.
Now the other visitors we get are the John Candy look alike. I call him Walter well for those of you not old enough to remember there was  a Canadian actor called Walter Pidgeon with the extra "d". Now Walter will hop onto the bird table and eat until he can hardly take off. Mind you eating can be a dangerous game. One of Walter's Uncles was feeding there a couple of years ago when a Sparrow Hawk descended and took him out for breakfast in a flurry of feathers.
This morning Walter crashed onto the bird table for his feed and I grabbed the back of an old letter to capture him. So the sketch is there above. I bet he never dreamed he 'd make it onto TheWorld Wide Web.

Friday, 24 February 2012


The picture above is an old abstract painting. It was about 4ft x 2ft but is gone now. It was influenced by the works of Picabia. I rarely do abstract paintings but that's not to say I don't like them. Picabia was an interesting artist who amongst other things was heavily influenced by machinery in his art.

Talking of machinery. I have commented on some of our children's exploits with their cars before. Well our eldest daughter lived for a while in Clifton Bristol. They had a garden flat with no parking. This meant they had to take a chance and park on the street wherever they could. This might be streets away as there was a shortage of parking. Anyway one day she came to use her car and couldn't remember where she had parked it. It didn't help that she knew it was a red car but had no idea of make or what it looked like. She recognised it when it was parked outside her house but amongst  a host of other vehicles it could be any red vehicle. It took her a week to find it in the end! It was a Seat by the way.

Today I did some final touches on the painting of Dylan Thomas and primed some new boards.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Dylan Thomas in the Boathouse

I have done the painting of Dylan Thomas in the Boathouse living room shown above. It was nice to incorporate some of the items on show in the living room. Although I had done the drawing of the picture I only used that to iron out the composition and values. I painted straight off using a brush with turps and oil as a stain to mark out rough areas and painted from there.The brush marks are clearly shown and are part and parcel of th painting. I changed the position of Dylan's head slightly to have him sitting back in a more reflective mode. I may tinker with the painting yet but it is substantially finished. I am not aware of any photographs or paintings of Dylan in the Boathouse so in that respect it is fairly unique.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


When Alex and I visited the Boathouse yesterday to see about hanging paintings there I had a good look around as well as asking all the relevant questions. When I went into the living room was I imagining it or could I see Dylan sitting at his desk. I am not one given to sensing ghostly apparitions but I did get an image of him sat there. Of course I often get an image stuck in my head of all sorts of things, no behave.  Anyway the image above is the one I am talking about. I will probably turn it into a painting just for a change. I have worked up the figure and left all the peripherals. If you are not careful you can spend as long on a drawing as the painting itself. Basically he is formed contre-jour aganst the light from the window although there are other lesser light sources from the left and right. Maybe he is writing a Winters Tale or maybe he is contemplating going down to Browns Hotel for a drink:

 It is a winter's tale
That the snow blind twilight ferries over the lakes
And floating fields from the farm in the cup of the vales,
Gliding windless through the hand folded flakes,
The pale breath of cattle at the stealthy sail,

And the stars falling cold,
And the smell of hay in the snow, and the far owl
Warning among the folds, and the frozen hold
Flocked with the sheep white smoke of the farm house cowl
In the river wended vales where the tale was told.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Drops of Jupiter

We went to Laugharne today to look at the Boathouse. It was a pleasant change although the weather was a little unkind. We took Jac for a walk after along the foreshore and through the woods. I spent the rest of the day making patterns for rising blocks for our furniture.
Alex had a good train journey yesterday to Cardiff and back. Well shall we say interesting. One way she had a very large Hells Angel sat next to her who was visiting a friend in Prison. He seemed to want to make conversation so  she didn't fain sleep. At least she could talk about motorbikes and engines with some authority. The other way she had a young boy sat next to her who turned out to be a really nice kid.

The link below is for Drops of Jupiter from Train

Monday, 20 February 2012

Laugharne Castle and Boathouse

I painted the above oil of Laugharne Castle and Boathouse today. It is a smaller version of view I have previously painted. I have changed the sky and indicated a weather front coming in.
Last night the sky was clear and I spent a while looking at the stars. Venus and Jupiter were prominent and I could see four of Jupiter's moons. Although it was cold Alex was watching Dancing on Mice so I was happy outside suffering frostbite. As a child I would get up early and look at the stars. I have never been one to sleep in. Anything after 7am is unusual as I feel I am wasting time if I stay in bed after that. Time is precious don't waste it.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Dylan Thomas Boathouse

I finished the above painting of Laugharne Boathouse today. I have been asked if I would like to put work in the Boat House so I thought I had better get some originals done. My last painting of Laugharne sold a few days ago.
We have had family over this weekend which was very nice. Also our son in law sorted out my right arm and shoulder which have been playing up for a while. He is a chiropractor and a genius. The problem was a combination of hours of standing painting and a bad hip. So hopefully that will get easier now.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Y Priordy

Here is the finished watercolour of  "Y Priordy". I have painted a lot of churches and buildings and don't mind in the least. They are all different and are a challenge in their own right.
Today we are expecting our eldest daughter and family to stay so I got my work done early. It's a pity the weather isn't better but I am sure it will be a good weekend. we were talking to a friend the other day and her son has just got back from India with an infection which has reduced him to a mere shadow of his former self. Fortunately he will get better. I am afraid I am not particularly adventurous. I don't want to visit the third world. I have been to most European Countries and over the pond a few times. We have even been to Egypt and Jordan but that is probably it for me. I don't like flying, mainly being sat cramped up for hours.
I also like to know who is cooking my food.
I have been in the back of some pretty bad restaurants in this country which puts me off eating out  unless I know the kitchen is clean. I fail to understand why dirty food preparation areas are not inspected and just closed down if they fail to make the standard. I have seen green meat being stored in old dustbins and then cut up and cooked and various other sights which could put you off eating out for life. Mind you I have seen some pretty bad homes as well. I recall going in to one house and having to tread over the brown patterned carpet. The patterns were dog feces. In the corner  was a bird cage with a green mouldy thing in the corner which had once been a budgie. The result of all this is that I like a clean kitchen and like to know where my food is coming from. At the end of the day I am I guess just a home bird.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Y Priordy

Seems like I have done a lot today with not much to show for it.  Dog walking, collect the camper, shopping etc and got a visit to the gym in, so I was quite pleased to spend a couple of hours getting the drawing done for the next painting of Y Priordy  a church on the grounds of the old Priory in Carmarthen. The drawing is reasonably accurate although there are a couple of changes I have made from the actual view from this angle.I have moved the house to the right to expose more of the Church and lengthened the railings accordingly.The right side of the roof doesn't look quite right at first glance although it actually is but I still may change it.

You will note the paper has been stretched on board and held down by the plastic retaining bars. This is a great little board. It makes stretching paper easy and more importantly it wont lift unlike tape. No cockles guaranteed! So whatever else I may do with it it wont end up looking like the North Sea.

Alex came home last night. She told me a tale which reminded me of an old Scottish Inspector of mine. Every time someone or something went wrong he would shake his head, wring his hands and say,"Dear, dear,dear oh blasted dear!"
Well she didn't see him. I suspect he has long gone to meet his maker but she did have to stop the car suddenly as Bamby, Mom and Dad shot across the road in front of her. (Deer, deer, deer!). Not an every day occurrence.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Black Five crossing the Bascule Bridge Carmarthen

I have been working on the above painting today. It shows a Stannier Black Five locomotive crossing the Bascule Bridge in mid-winter at Carmarthen. It is unusual for a railway painting in that the locomotive is shown in profile. The favourite aspect for a painting of a steam train is from the front at 45 degrees or so. I wanted to show the Bascule Bridge and River Towy so that is why the composition is as it is.  With such a large sky I felt it needed to be atmospheric so I made it a winter scene. I chose the Black Five because they were used by The Great Western Railway and afterwards British Rail in which livery it is in. Additionally I am familiar with that type of locomotive so it was an obvious choice.
Thought I 'd add this link to an old blues favourite of mine:
Train to nowhere by Savoy Brown

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


I did the above watercolour of Abergwili today. Not easy with 2 grandchildren running around. I am sure half term is purely a rest for teachers.
Alex had to take the camper to the garage again today . It has been to the garage twice for a diesel leak and she returned with it still dripping. Diagnosing faults isn't easy I admit and although we have a new fuel return line we still had a leak.
Alex had a good look and has found the problem. It looks like there is seepage coming from one of the injectors under high pressure. I recall now the recovery man had a spanner under the bonnet when he failed to start the engine, (Alex eventually found the fuel inertia switch had activated on that occasion), never let a man loose under your bonnet with a spanner!
Valentines day today and I did get Alex a card well I made her one and hopefully we will will have a nice meal tonight. I am at an Origin meeting at 7pm but will be home when I smell my sea bass cooking.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Unhappy Bear

The picture above is from a sketchbook and is of Cockshoot Wood Newton east Pembrokeshire. Today I have walked the dog twice over the top of Penlanffoss, been to Pontiets to drop off the van, popped into the Gallery to paint the windowsills and been up to the tip at Nant y Caws. We have yet to pi ck up the van and go to the gym. So it is unlikely I will get much done in the way of painting.
Yesterday the grand children were picked up about 10 ish and we got to Cardiff for the game. We found a good restaurant with one table left which was a nice change. We haven’t been out to eat for over 12 months so a good start to the day and a great second half of rugby. Tomorrow we have the grandchildren again and I might sneak a bit of painting in.
I don’t really believe in coincidences. About 4 weeks ago I had one of those phone calls “Hello I am Bill from ****, do you want more business we can get your website in to the top ranking etc etc…”
WOA there let me get a word in.
Now I believe he said he was from Google but I have heard that before and when I probed more the guy admitted they weren’t actually working for Google but were working on Google.
Anyway I let Bill down gently.
Number one I didn’t want hundreds of commissions I am an artist not a conveyor belt.
Number two I already had page one position, number one ranking for my website. Now I really am unimpressed when people call without doing their basic homework. So Bill or whatever his name was left probably none too happy.
I am no techno geek but I do write and design my own website purely because it is cheaper that paying someone else to do it and I can update it whenever I need. It took many weeks of trial and error to get my website to number one position. Where it has been for a number of years.
Imagine my surprise this week when I found that my website had somehow disappeared form the Google search facility. Now I have submitted a sitemap and there is no reason why it should suddenly disappear but it has. People can hack websites but for whatever reason I now have to re submit the site and take a few weeks to get it back where it should be. Are the phone call and the mystery disappearance connected? Who knows but I was not a happy bear!

Sunday, 12 February 2012


I am in the Millenium Stadium today watching the Wales v Scotland Rugby match with Alex and a few other thousand people. The painting above is on old one of Brecon Cathedral with the old gaol in front of it. (There was another larger gaol on the outskirts of the town that is now disused as well).
There is a great view from the top of the Cathedral tower but unfortunately the tower is not generally open to the public.
I am not a great believer in fate. I believe for the most part you make your own place in the world  but occasionally something or somebody crosses your path either for better or worse. Many years ago I was in digs. One of the young men with  me was murdered for no apparent reason other than trying to do his job dealing with a gang coming out of a night club. It was such a waste a real gentle happy young man cut down in his prime.  Another young man with me ended up serving her majesty  behind bars. He had fiddled his expenses. If he had been an MP he could probably just have paid them back. I have to say though I have no sympathy with him. You are either honest or not. If you fiddle/steal five pounds or five thousand  you deserve whatever you get.
Anyway  out of the three of us I guess I was the lucky one or did I just make the right choices? Maybe fate does have something to do with it. Lets hope fate is on Wales side today!

Saturday, 11 February 2012


I have finished the commission above. I was in two minds whether to paint the name "Basilicum", on the back but although I didn't really want to I felt the owner would appreciate it. Painting names can be a real pain and I am no sign writer. If it is done badly it can ruin a painting. I think I have managed to get away with it on this occasion. Odd name for a boat though as it is Latin for Basil!
Today we are in the Origin Gallery stewarding. I have to pop home to check on my mother and walk the dog so it breaks the day up for me but I do quite enjoy stewarding on the occasional basis.
I was listening to a program on the radio this morning about people having the courage to change careers. Alex is a good example of this. Although she had a good office job as office manager with the council at 40 something she decided she wanted to do marine engineering. So she packed in the job and went to college. She was awarded the prize for best student marine engineer of the year for Wales. She then got a job in a boatyard doing all the many jobs but mainly servicing and repairing engines. Her experiences there put life into context. She had a good time although the only female engineer she had nothing but support from the other guys. Being small also had advantages for example she has worked on the top of the mast of the boat shown above. Being supported on a rope halyard 50 foot off the deck and having to work with with hand tools is no picnic.
Everything is relative. Alex thought when she worked in the Council that she worked hard. She is now pretty scornful of that and relates that working outside throughout the year in all weathers doing heavy physical work is somewhat more "challenging" than sitting in a warm office, but something she actually loved doing for the years that she did it.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Morningtown Ride ~ with apologies to the Seekers

The painting above is of the boathouse in Laugharne at sunrise and it sold yesterday. Alex and I would quite often sail our boats around from Pilglas to Laugharne for an overnight or weekend anchorage. We would drop the anchor on the sandbar opposite the Boathouse.
In order to catch the outgoing tide we normally weighed anchor about 6-7 in the morning. If it was clear it was a  wonderful sight. If it was wet and blowing it was still a wonderful sight but a bit more exhilarating. The picture above is a distant memory of those times.
The first boat we had after our dinghy was  a little 2.5 ton cruiser. A big dinghy really with accommodation that for me meant kneeling or squatting down and a troublesome outboard motor!
Alex bought it for me and gave it to me as an anniversary present when we were on holiday in Sorrento. It was a lovely little cruiser that sailed beautifully. The only problems we had with it were when coming up to a mooring in a strong tidal stream you would suddenly find yourself going backwards out of control amongst other yachts as the engine had decided to pack up. Embarrassing or what?
Anyway on one trip back to Pilglas we had a very strong South Westerly wind and were flying along with as usual Alex on the helm. To coin an expression we were going like a train. We came around the corner to Scott's Bay off Llansteffan Castle only to see a fleet of dinghy's heading towards us. There was obviously a race under way. As we rapidly approached them  there was a shift in the wind and we changed course heading right for the middle of the pack of frightened sailors. The gust increased and we heeled over with Alex clinging on to the helm to either control the boat or stop herself falling overboard. We ploughed through the fleet with boats going everywhere and Alex shouting "Get out of the way!" or something like that. When the gust abated we had cleared the now scattered fleet of dinghy's and resumed our natural course. I have no idea what the sailors thought, well actually I do but they never said anything audible to me. Alex put her hair back in place and carried on like nothing had happened. Luke our old dog who had been cowering in the bottom of the cockpit  looked at me and I swear he shrugged his shoulders and rolled his eyes but maybe I just  imagined that.
That was actually our last sail in Misty as we sold her shortly after to buy a boat I could nearly stand up in, but that's another story.

Link to the Seekers which seemed kind of appropriate to me anyway.

Thursday, 9 February 2012


I did the watercolour of Llangynderyn Church today. I had visited it earlier this week. The village is in the Gwendraeth Valley some 5 - 6 miles South of Carmarthen.  It  gets its name from the wandering British saint Cyndeyrn, to whom the church is dedicated. 

The Village is famous for having successfully fought off attempts to dam and flood the valley in the 1960's, a rare achievement. There is still a circular village pound opposite the Church where stray animals were once placed.  I doubt it has seen much use in the last 100 years. A lovely village and we should be grateful for the efforts of those who managed to save it.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A leap in the dark

Some progress now on the commission above. It has at least another day to go but at least it is taking shape.
Its not a good advert for safety at sea, no life jacket and standing near the entry rail with no hands on anything still it makes for a good picture.
I had occasions in my former years to go places where it may have been advisable to not go, but on the other hand that was what I was paid for.
I recall one winters night when I was a Sergeant in Welshpool I was walking around on patrol by myself. (Two things there that are probably quite rare these days!). It was a cold frosty night. As I approached the back of the Spar I heard the noise of breaking glass. Now the only way into the small backyard of the Spar was by climbing over a pair of 6 ft gates topped with barbed wire. I grabbed hold of the gate and hauled myself up to the top of the gate grappled withthe wire and jumped /fell into the darkness on the other side. I caught the shape of someone coming at me and within seconds I was struggling with some anonymous being. We grappled and struggled rolling on the floor in the dark and eventually I gained the upper hand and "restrained" him. I called on the radio for a car to come and take my prisoner to the Police Station in Newtown. about 20 minutes later a police car arrived and took my now handcuffed and compliant burglar from me. However the two officers were in stitches.
The good natured staff at the Spar were clearly animal lovers and put out substantial amounts of cat food at night. I had been rolling through saucers of the stuff in the dark with my companion who was in a similar condition. I had cat food on my coat trousers face hair and helmet. The fact that I had sustained more than a few cuts on the wire and ripped my coat were of no concern to them whatsoever.
For days I endured the good natured digs of the shift, "Would you like a Kit Kat Sarge?" and some such until I got fed up and they got the message.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Thats Still life

I spent most of today out and about getting references for a commission. I also picked up the grand children and then did a quotation. So no painting today but all good work. This afternoon I had another commission
so plenty to do. The painting above is a still life I did in the Victorian Style. It sold a while back.
Off to take the  grand children home now.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Sea Hawk

I have finally started this commission I have had from before Christmas. There is no rush for it fortunately.
Today I have completed the under painting. Can you see what it is yet? It is actually a Westerly Sea Hawk a very nice yacht, very seaworthy with a high freeboard and centre cockpit. This painting will take longer than usual as there is quite a lot of detail. I obviously cant put it all in but if I miss a piece of rigging or put something in the wrong place it will be noticeable. You can see I changed the figure on the back. The under painting was done in Alkyd oils to speed up the process. I will do the over painting in normal oils.

Just time now to put out my moms rubbish and then off to the gym.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

St Annes Head

The sketch above is of St Annes Head the entrance to the Milford Haven waterway. The largest natural harbour in the UK. I did the sketch as we came in to the "Heads" on our yacht. It was quite calm and we were under power. If it was not calm then we would be in the wrong place as this is shallow water and becomes very "lumpy " with short sharp seas in many conditions of the tide depending on the wind strength and direction.
To confess we did make a mistake going out of the Heads when we first moved around to sail the Haven. We were going out to Skomer Island and cut across the corner of the Heads. The wind was going in one direction and the tide in the opposite direction.  The seas were short and we were getting wet and very uncomfortable. After about 20 minutes we took the plunge and turned around and went back the way we came for another 20 minutes little realising we had all but cleared the shallows. Another couple of minutes and we would have been clear,duh!.
We then took the main channel and got out to Skomer which was well worth the trip to see the puffins and seals in the anchorage of South Haven. Consulting the chart again it was embarrassing to see the shallows clearly marked. We were never in any danger as there was plenty of water to navigate in but it should have been obvious it would not be pleasant sailing in those conditions.
Still you live and learn.
Today I am doing some work in the gallery and then watching Wales v. Ireland.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

St David's Cathedral

I did this watercolour of St David's Cathedral today. I think this is the best view of the Cathedral with the Bishops Palace just in view on the left. I have a commission to start but it will probably be Monday now as Sunday is pretty well tied up with family commitments and of course watching the Welsh game.
Yesterday Alex and I were accosted by a young man selling comedy booklets in Town. I didn't want one but he was so cheeky we bought one anyway. He called me a silver fox and things went downhill from there but I couldn't help laughing and bought a book from him. In any case anyone standing around in those temperatures needs some encouragement.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Sun and the moon

The watercolour above of Llansaint is the commission I didn't get done yesterday. Well no problems today
everything went like clockwork. I suppose clockwork is something that is hard to equate with these days maybe it should be something like went like quartz or a chip, I don't know. Anyway After finishing the painting I went for a walk over the top of Penlanffos with Jac. Lovely views. In the top field  pair of kites were sunbathing on the ground with a nearby buzzard. The windfarm over towards Brechfa was producing electricity as the sails were rotating slowly. The sun was searching down the valley from the West but pretty much all the ground was frozen making it easy to walk across the muddy paths and puddles. Although only two in the afternoon in the East the moon was quite high in the sky and as it is about three quarters to full moon there's quite a lot of it. 
Alex has been busy framing prints which have gone quite well this week. Now its time to go shopping!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

A lesson

The little watercolour above is of Carmarthen Police Station which stands on the grounds of the old Friary.
I did  do a painting this morning. It was a watercolour commission. It was however a bit of a wasted morning.
I decided to use a piece of Cotman watercolour paper that was already stretched on a board. This is reasonable paper but it wont take much working i.e. generally after one wash it starts to become less translucent and more muddy the more washes you add. As this was the way I was going to paint the subject I should have got some Saunders Waterford Paper stretched up. All started well I did my sketches and set it out. I laid down a wash for the sky and then got onto the buildings which needed several washes then it all started going wrong. I persevered but in my heart I knew where it was going. In the end it came off the board and went in the bin. As I am teaching this afternoon I decided not to start again. I will start fresh tomorrow.
Anyway it will teach me a lesson not to be lazy and cut corners. I knew it was the wrong paper for the painting I should have spent 15 minutes preparing the right one and saved myself some time overall.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Ever popular Mwnt was the subject today. The little chapel is still in use for marriages and I am not sure if it has been a court in its day. Anyway I squeezed it in after the gym before walking the dog the second time. After that we went to the gallery to paint the walls.
Frank Hands was a Sergeant in the Birmingham City Police. There were many stories about him probably most  exaggerated, a large charismatic chap with a strange sense of humour. He was one of those people that senior officers could do nothing with. He was either slightly touched or just didn't care. But all in all a wonderful policeman. I knew him when I was working from Belgrave Road covering the red light district of Birmingham. One day a West Indian Lady came in to the front office of the police station to complain about the police. Complaining about the Police was generally not a good idea as there used to be a bye law covering being disorderly in a police station and anyone complaining enthusiastically could well be locked up for their trouble.
Anyway this lady walked in to find Frank standing on the public side of the counter performing his Operatics minus his trousers. These were laid out on the counter and he was proceeding to iron a sharp crease in them to the words of Puccini or some such. Now I have no idea what she thought but eventually both she and Frank ended up singing arm in arm and she finally left without making any complaint. Now me I like eccentrics and believe me there were quite a few in the Police around that time.