Friday, 31 January 2014

Sea Birds

Here is scene I did of sea birds in Jack Sound off Pembrokeshire. It sold many years ago. At the time we were doing a lot of sailing and the coast was pretty inspirational. I kept watercolours on board and spent many a happy hour at anchor sketching the coastline. With the weather we are getting now I am glad we did the sailing when we did. A good sailing "Breeze" and blue skies seem a very distant memory.


As I drove back from the gym this morning the rain had arrived in buckets. I spied an old man carrying bags on his way shopping obviously undettered. Either that or he had no choice.
I have tried to capture the general picture above in a little watercolour sketch. I noted when I finished it the brush I had grabbed to do it was my Windsor and Newton Series 7 number 6. This brush has a recommended price of just under £50. I never use it, I don't like it as I don't think it holds sufficient water/paint. I use a cheaper sable brush series. Anyway after buying it I let Windsor and Newton have my view. They must have been impressed as they never replied. Anyway to be fair it actually seemed okay for the sketch.

The sight of the gent reminded me of an incident that involved our son. He is a very sociable and personable lad. He has in the past stopped his car to help people change a tyre... Anyway last year he saw an old lady struggling with her shopping and walking out of town. He stopped and asked her if she was okay. She said she had missed the bus (there aren't many around here). He asked her if she needed a lift assuming she lived in Carmarthen. She thanked him and got in his car. He asked her where she lived and it turned out to be a village 25 miles away. It took him over an hour to get there and back, but he was happy enough. A week later he saw the same lady struggling with her bags walking passed the bus stop. He then twigged she often did this and paid no mind to the times of the buses. He didn't stop this time.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Helen Elliott

For a change I thought I would feature the niave art of  Helen Elliott. Helen is a very well established, and talented artist well known internationally who lives and works in West Wales. I love her work which is very different to my own.

She brings a real sense of fun into her work and has the ablility to get a lot into a picture without it appearing over done.

Anyway enough of my thoughts I have pinched the above image off the web ( I hope you don't mind Helen). I would encourage anyone to visit her studio if they get the opportunity.

Links to her work below.

Helen's Website  

Helen Elliott Art of Wales  Facebook 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Wales 30 England 3 - Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

The 16th March 2013 Alex and I were at the millenium Stadium to watch Wales v. England an  epic game. With the approach of the start of the Six Nations I thought it would be nice to do something a bit different today so here is one of Alex Cuthbert's two tries, signed, sealed delivered! I like the way Jonathan Davies celebrates as Alex Cuthbert goes over. It needs a bit of finishing but there we are.

Alex (my wife )commented,"Its quite green." Yes I suppose so thats the trouble with local colour and there's a lot of grass but at least its the complimentary colour to red.

One of our daughters came to pick up the grand children yesterday and said,
"I was looking online and David Cowdry's Paintings are really, really good."
Alex said,"Yes I told you that."
Our daughter replied, "Yes but I dont listen to what you say."
Something springs to mind ? Like Mother like daughter?

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Bedd Arthur

So this is what the weather was really like when I went up in the Preseli's. David Cowdry was in Whitesands Bay near St Davids at the time and he had glorious weather! They say the sun shines on the righteous. I did see the sun but it was always somewhere else, as you can see in the distance. Anyway I didn't really mind to be honest.

The painting is Bedd Arthur or Carn Arthur an outcrop of rocks on the skyline. 

Monday, 27 January 2014

Countryfile - Preseli's

Alex and I sat down to watch the television last night and put on Countryfile. We both like that sort of program. I thought it was  huge coincidence they were covering the Preseli's. I caught a view of Carn Menyn not a dissimilar view to the finished painting above. I wish the weather had been like that when I went up there last week!

The photograph is slightly out. It is hard to capture a large painting without a proper photographic studio which is why we pay a lot for our prints to be done professionally. You cant compete with a fine art printer who has tens of thousands of pounds worth of equipment and software. If you are buying prints the worst prints are easy to spot they can be grey or look slightly smudged with poor resolution. Anyway the photo of the finished painting isnt too bad and it gives you the idea.

Slept like a log last night and didnt wake up until 6 am (late for me) catching up on the weekend.

Sunday, 26 January 2014


I haven't done any painting today as we have had two grandchildren over the weekend and sleep deprivation has finally caught up with Alex and I. 
I can pretty well paint whatever I feel like ( I don't have to feel creative or inspired that happens as soon as I pick up the brush). However today may be an exception as painting with your eyes closed may not be a good idea. 

So anyway back to the painting above:

We visited Egypt a couple of years ago and even then there had been trouble with tourists being targeted by terrorists. It was interesting how the Egyptian Police looked after us.
We were among a party of tourists going by Coach to the Cairo Museum of Egyptology. We climbed into our coaches and set off with a Police pick-up in between every coach. The Police were armed and sat in the back of the pick-ups with machine guns. As we approached any pinch point like road junctions or roundabouts the police had officers ready to stop the traffic and let us pass. All very impressive, a high level of security which put us completely at ease. We arrived at the Museum shortly before midday and went in.

The objects in the museum were fascinating and I was stunned by the quantity of exhibits. It would have been nice if the curators had updated the exhibit labels which must have been written by Howard Carter in 1920 as they were hand written in ink and had faded to nothing. The Museum was packed with representatives from all nations including the party of Japanese complete with dust masks on their faces (inside the museum?). The takings for the day must have been in the tens of thousands in sterling. 

Eventually I decided I needed to visit the gentleman’s room! Having got to the front of the queue I was faced with two attendants with hands outstretched. I was impressed they wanted to shake my hand but I declined in the interests of hygiene. I went in to the lavatory and was pleased I hadn’t tipped them the toilets seats were on the floor and the drains were overflowing as I paddled around. It would have taken a man (or woman) with a toolset 20 minutes to put the lavatories right but it had clearly been in this condition for days. Obviously not a high priority. Alex stated that the Ladies facilities were no better if not worse.

Anyway we came out loaded on to the coaches and drove off. Not a Police Officer in sight no escort, and stuck in every bit of traffic. It hit me like a shot obviously we were only a target for terrorists in the morning. I should have realised.

I am glad we went to Egypt when we did as I would be reluctant to go at the present time unless it meant getting a decent nights sleep. 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Stage 3 Carn Menyn

This is the 3rd stage of my painting of Carn Menyn. You can see I have now started on the middle distance including Carn Menyn itself (the outcrop of stones on the right).
It should all be fairly straight forward from here and I am hoping to have finished covering the board by tomorrow it will then be a matter of leaving it a couple of days for any finishing touches.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Carn Menyn Stage 2.

This is stage 2 of my oil painting of Carn Menyn. I had a good days painting other than treading in some cadmium yellow and leaving the odd foot print around the house!
 I have mentally painted the picture before I start so as to know how I will proceed, what areas to do first and which tones are going to be where. For example I decided to paint the sky diagonally (more correctly the clouds) with the blue sky matching light areas to be painted on the ground.
The day I went up to view the scene I can assure you was nothing like the painting being done.
I have to go now as one of the grandchildren has arrived!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Stage 1 Carn Menyn

Here is the first stage of the painting I am doing of Carn Menyn in the Preseli's.
I have prepared a large board with three coats of gesso rubbed down between each coat. 
I have then roughed out the outlines and proportions of the main landmarks and skyline using burnt sienna and turps. 

I hope to get the sky done and a bit more tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The simple life

The painting above is one I did of my Great Aunt Louisa. She appears as a tough old bird in the painting. Apparently although she had a stern countenance she was very pleasant. She was married to Uncle Alfred. He was an herbalist and they had a large double fronted shop on Bridge Street, in Worcester. My mother used to go and stay there in the 1920’s. He was apparently quite renown in the world of herbalism. He used to go to Switzerland and give talks and advise on herbal medicine.

Now I’m not really one for alternative therapies. I am however happy to be convinced and if it works for someone else that’s great. Chiropractors I am fine with, a very high level of training all based on science and very effective. Hypnotherapy no problem there. When it comes to most other types of alternative medicines I remain to be convinced.
Give me the NHS anytime. Alex is the opposite and swears by anything alternative. We just agree to differ; well actually we agree that I keep my views to myself. It makes for a simple life.

Alex went to see one of our daughter's today. While she was there she did a bit of ironing. She was howver so appalled by the state of the flex she bought a new one. She told my daughter that the iron was dangerous and should never be used. My daughter who like Alex is quite sharp thanked her for the new iron
and then said, "Now I didn't know the iron was dangerous but used it but you knew it was dangerous and used it. So how does that work out?"

David Cowdry called around today. Always good to see him a real gentleman and I am not saying that because he brought lovely tea and cake with him. Thanks David.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Girl in the mirror

The painting above is of Alex and is not for sale. It has obvious references to A bar at the Folies-Bergère paintied by Manet during 1881/1882. The figures are reversed and naturally my wife is better looking. I enjoy the work of the impressionists by and large, particularly Manet. On the whole my least favourite is probably Monet. His lilly pond paintings do nothing for me truthfully. There again my work probably wouldn't appeal to him so that's probably honours even.

I probably like Manet because he was fairly unique in that he bridged the two styles of Impressionism and Realism. In many ways my work flits between the two. I also have in the past undertaken an homage to Dejeuner sur L'Herbe by Manet and also Olympia.

Anyway not so long back we had someone in doing work for us and he asked, "Who were the two women in the painting?". Okay well I thought it was pretty obvious but maybe it isn't especially if you have little knowledge of art.
Its still one of my favourite paintings!

(Actually the title above, Girl in the mirror is the title of one of Picasso's works which I once did a large version of and hung in our kitchen for several years).

Monday, 20 January 2014

Carn Menyn - Preseli Mountains

I have a commission which involves doing a large painting of Carn Menyn from Carn Bica. These are Neolithic sites in the Preseli Mountains. Carn Menyn has been identified as the origin of the Blue Stones in Stonehenge.

Anyway I have been keeping an eye on the weather and today seemed to be okay. The Forecast was virtually no wind, mild (comparative term), and good visibility with the occasional shower, some mist above 500ft in the morning.
Okay well be prepared I have walked in the mountains and have been liaison officer with mountain rescue in years gone by.

I took good walking gear and rucksack with flask, sandwiches, camera, sketch pad, map and compass. I included my pochade box in the car but in the event decided not to take it when I arrived in Mynachlog Ddu. The skies were overcast but the tops of the Carns were visible and not covered in cloud but it was drizzling! I was not going to have the opportunity to do an oil painting.

To cut a long story short I had a good walk up there found the spot I needed and started to do a quick watercolour sketch. The rain came in before I had got far (shown above) and then the mist came down. I stayed where I was, had my sandwiches and tea. The mist lifted after 20 minutes and I took several reference photos. I then made my way back down in the rain.

Anyway I got what I needed. I have the land marks and should be able to do several paintings should I wish.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Mary Poppins - Feed the Birds

Alex feeds the birds every morning putting bird food out on the bird table outside our kitchen and we can sit and watch them whilst taking our breakfast. She is quite a Mary Poppins and as soon as she appears the birds arrive. One of them will come to the bird table and virtually take food from her hand. Alex says it is a young thrush I think its a female blackbird!
Anyway I know the amount we spend on them comes to more than "tuppence a bird"! (not that I begrudge it).
Busy day today including watching Scarlets play Harlequins at Parc y Scarlets with grandchildren.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Pembrokeshire Coast

The painting above is a larger version of a painting of the Pembrokeshire Coast I showed earlier this week. I was taken with it and it had been a while since I had done a watercolour I decided to set about the same scene in a larger format.

Last night Alex and I went to Swansea. Not a place I would ordinarily choose to go on a  Friday night. However one of our daughter's had kindly given me tickets for the Pink Floyd Experience.
So off we went not knowing what to expect. I have seen many great bands, The Doors, The Who, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Moody Blues...., Individual artists, Bob Dylan, Chris Rea....., and tribute bands.
Well I can say the evening was way above any reasonable expectation and I had been looking forward to it. The sound could possibly have been tweaked but they were excellent musicians/artists and I could have sat there all night. Dark Side of the Moon has probably never been played better (except by the Floyd, just). A wonderful wall of sound.
I didn't mention before the band -- we got there early to make sure we could park opposite  in the small car park and wandered about the theatre. We came across a Pepper Pig cut out for kids.
I persuaded Alex to get on the floor and stick her head in it, I know childish but I was in hysterics.

This morning Alex was still in Floyd mode and persuaded Mal Pope to play "Us and Them" on Radio Wales. As it is 7 minutes long he played it as the back drop to the sports news which I thought was funny Alex was less amused but did laugh.

Friday, 17 January 2014


The above painting of an autumn stroll on Llansteffan beach sold this week. It is quite appropriate to the weather we have been having.

They say things come in threes. Well we have three Velux windows in the roof and all three have decided to leak at the same time. To be fair they are twenty two years old and the guarantee ran out after ten. Its a bit of a pain though when the rain drips on your canvas when your working inside your studio!

Anyway we bit the bullet and have ordered three new ones. Got to the gym today and got in a good afternoons painting so a pretty good day.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Pembrokeshire Coast

 The above watercolour is going back a bit and sold a few years ago. I like the soft Victorian wet style of watercolours and used to do quite a few. Nowadays I mainly do oil paintings.

I am progressing with learning the piano. I had my second lesson today. I have worked hard at it since my first lesson and was quite optimistic. As it happened I hit all the right notes just not always in the right order!

John also tried to accompany me and said he would count to 4. I kept coming in on 4 but it should be after 4 apparently, so I should really come in on 5? Anyway I kept getting it wrong I think he thought I was "a bit of a div" at that point.

Ah well according to Mao Tse Tung, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Although I doubt I will get a thousand miles. I will be quite happy metaphorically to get to the end of the street!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Burry Port from Pembrey

Here is the painting I did on Monday of Burry Port from Pembrey. You may just be able to see the lighthouse with a red band on the edge of the Burry Inlet to the middle right of the painting.

My next commission is a large painting of a view from the Preseli Mountains. It is a good steep climb and I have to wait for a day with good visibility to get up there. Not looking good this week.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A day at the beach

So yesterday Alex and I took Jac to Pembrey Country Park. The forecast was pretty bad but we had our coats. First priority was to take Jac on the beach. It was a real chilly wind. Jac had a great time though racing through the surf and then rolling in the remnants of a dead seagull! Great!

After a bit of soup I went and chanced a painting. I tend not to notice the cold when I am painting and have spent a good deal of my life outdoors anyway so am used to it.  Of course the inevitable happened the heavens opened, rain, hail but by then I had most of the painting done so it was pack up and run for it. The view I chose was looking towards Burry Port with Llanelli in the distance.

Today I am seeing someone about a commission and then we have some of the granchildren.

Monday, 13 January 2014

River Towy at Llandeilo

Here is the painting I did at Llandeilo the other day. It was quite a winters day as you can see. Painting outside requires that you paint fairly quickly to capture the scene as the light is changing all the time. As it happens it wasn't that warm and I didn't have much time anyway. So capturing the essence of the scene is the order of the day. I think it is fair to say that all things being equal objective achieved.
Anyway hopefully I will get outside today and maybe time for a quick dabble.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Lisa Simpson

I called in at our son and daughter in law's house today. I had the chance to look at a painting I did for them of two Brixham trawlers a few years back. It was based on a painting that had been in the family for generations which they liked. The painting was by a French artist and was undertaken at the turn of the begining of the last century. Anyway thats my version above set on the entrance to St. Annes Head. There is more light in it than the original and more viridian in the sea.

Little did I suspect when I married Alex nearly 40 years ago that I would end up with Lisa Simpson! She came home this morning having had a sax lesson, (yes sax with an "a"). The amazing thing is she can actually play it. The only thing is I think the boats at St. Annes Head can hear it as it has the volume of a fog horn when she plays it.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

A Beautiful morning

The path up through the woods was very muddy and slippy this morning, but it was worth the effort. The valley was peering through the mist and the sky was a pale blue with patches of pink.

I stopped to listen and look across the valley. You could see the green of the traffic lights at the roundabout by Morrisons, the red lights of cars going up into Llangunnor Estate and the red light on the top of the police radio mast was prominent sticking out from behind Llangunnor Hill.

Another great start to the day.

I mentioned before that I made two New Years resolutions. Well the second was to undertake a new challenge. I decided to attempt to learn the piano. This would be no mean achievement as I have no musical ability whatsoever. Ican't play anyinstrument adn can't read music. I am also pretty well tone deaf, okay well actually tone deaf. Anyway I am quite disciplined and if I decide on something I will give it my best. So I have started to learn! I have borrowed an electric piano and have had my first lesson.

The other day I was practising "Imagine, by John Lennon". I was muddling my way through it trying to get my hands to do what my eyes were telling the brain to do. It seemed to be going okay-ish if not a little slow and halting. I stopped when Alex brought me in a cup of tea.

Alex said, "God that's really good, your getting on really well but isn't it a bit late for Jingle Bells now?"


Friday, 10 January 2014

Llandeilo - Down by the Riverside.

This morning Alex had to go to Llandeilo to take some cards into a gallery so Jac and I went along. We parked in the old station. Alex went into town and I took Jac over the suspension bridge down to the river and did a painting.
I was pleased with the pochade box as it worked well. It was reasonably stable and was a comfortable height to paint.
Now David Cowdry that fine artist and good friend, will have to eat his words as he said I should climb a tree and use it as a nesting box!!
I used alkyd oils today but I think in future I will stick to normal artists oil paint. I do use alkyd oils when necessary as they dry quickly, so for a rush job they suite the purpose. For me I find them a little too sticky and not as easy to blend as normal oils.

Incidentally David is now going online and I am hoping he will set up a website soon so you can see all his wonderful work. I will keep you posted.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Finished Pochade Box

Okay I have finished my pochade box and decided to mount it on a tripod. I remembered I had an old laser sight I got from Lidls years ago. I bought it to tile 2 bathrooms but gave up with it and went back to a plumb line and spirit level.

The tripod seemed ok and the sight had a good round plate attached to the tripod. I removed the sight and plate. Fitted the plate to the bottom of the box with marine grade nuts, bolts and large penny washers. The tripod now screws onto the box easily and comes to waist height on me with no problem. I put two lengths of wood either side the bottom of the box so it can still be placed on a flat surface if required. The palette that slides in and out is held in whatever position by 2 little wedges. I experimented with the stay on the left outside of the box to get to optimum position. Added the fittings and varnished it! It all cost just over £10 mind you I had all sorts to improvise from. The fittings (except the hinges) I got off the internet for a couple of pounds. If you haven't lots of odds and ends for the box then it would probably be just as cheap to buy one but then you can't tailor it to your own requirements.

Is it any good? Well it seems fine and the total weight of box and tripod is about 6 lbs. My other outdoor easel the Julien is 13lbs empty. It is a good easel mind but you dont want to lug it too far from the car. The pochade box is for taking with me on walks.

So I will try it out and let you know if it was a good project.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

And morning came to the Towy Valley

I did a small study of a winters morning in the Towy Valley today. Nothing to write home about and as Alex would say, "sweet!" It is looking East with Llangunnor Hill on the right of the picture.

I have been finishing my pochade box and it is pretty well done so weather permitting it will be field tested soon.

Putting away after breakfast this morning and for some reason I decided to put the jar of honey in the washing up bowl with the dirty dishes! Apparently soapy honey is all the rage, I personally don't recommend it though!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Raining fish

Yesterday I was out for my walk with Jac after a terrential downpour. It was just getting light. We had a good walk around the reservoirs and came back along the road to Cwmoernant Farm. I suddenly noticed half a dozen small fish on the road and in the grass, all no longer than 4 inches.
Was this thought a portent of future events? We have been having unusually extreme weather are we now going to endure the ten plagues of Egypt? Plagues of locusts, plagues of hail? Has it been raining fish?
Well I don't know they weren't gold fish so I can't blame the local cat poaching a pool. I haven't seen a heron in the reservoir for a couple of years although there has been the odd visiting cormorant. It is odd that several fish had been left. I am not sure what they were but they were similar in size to a small roach. Anyway it was a curious incident.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Top reservoir Cwmoernant Carmarthen

After a couple of days not painting it was good to get back and do something today. The above is the top reservoir Cwmoernant in Carmarthen. The light on the tops of the trees always makes me stand and admire the view when the sunlight hits it. I have painted it the reservoir was frozen over and a fresh layer of snow was on the ground.

Sunday, 5 January 2014


Okay well I haven't done any painting this weekend. Yesterday was a full day and today we visited my mom and put the Christmas decorations in the loft.

"As we are doing that," says Alex,"Wouldn't it be a good idea to top up the insulation in the loft?" Great well to be honest it was a good idea but crawling around laying fibreglass roll is not my idea of fun. I succeeded in not putting my foot through any of the ceilings and only banging my head once on the timber trusses so I guess that was a result.

I have managed to make progress with my Pochade Box as seen above. I didn't follow any plans but I have seen a few. I wanted one that would take my own primed boards as well as canvas boards.This will take either 3 canvas boards 10ins x 8ins or one primed board and one canvas board 10 ins x 8 ins. I have yet to fit a securing stay to keep it open when required and also a securing catch to keep the box shut when required. I may make a fitting to attach it to a tripod but I will see.

I visited B&Q the stay was about £8 and a latch and plate was something similar. As I have only spent £6.99 so far and used odd hinges and bits from the workshop I am reluctant to spend that so will look at alternatives.

Looking out of the window I am not sure that a pochade box and painting outside is really a good idea currently!

Friday, 3 January 2014

The First Cut

Yesterday I spent half the day painting unfortunately it was the utility room which I had to finish.
We did get down to have a nice walk on Llansteffan Beach with Jac and then had shopping to do.
So not much done really but I did buy a lenght of wood for £6.99 to make my pochade box and I have made a start. I haven't drawn any plans but I am making it around a 10ins x 8ins board.
Admittedly its only one saw cut so far but I guess thats how Noah started the ark and look how that turned out.
I was awoken in the middle of the night by thunder and lightning which lit up the room. The velux windows on the top of the house are starting to leak in this excessive weather which is a nuisance. I am going to have to get a builder in to look at them as Alex has banned me from going on the roof. The last time I was on it I slipped and fell (fortunately it was through  an open velux). A few bruises and my pride were all that were hurt but my days of working at height are over by order of Mrs Cox. Anyway I am in the gallery today and tomorrow so I won't get any painting done.


Thursday, 2 January 2014

New Years Resolution

I don't normally make New Years resolutions but I have made two this year. One I will keep to my own counsel and see how it goes! The other is to paint more oils en plein air. I do plenty of sketching and use watercolour outside but I tend not to use oils for practical reasons. I do my oil paintings in the studio.
I will probably make a pochade box to make life simpler. This is a little paint box that will hold small canvas or primed boards and keep them safe after painting. A pochade is a French name for a little portable painting mainly done blocking in as opposed to linear. The box also holds brushes a small number of paint tubes and medium. There are a number of designs and you can buy them at a reasonable price. I will probably make my own to make sure it is light as possible and will hold my choice of materials.
Yesterday I spent stripping wallpaper and then had dinner with one third of the family 5 adults and 4 children.. Today a light meal and a good walk!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Winter Scene

The above painting was sold this week and is a winter scene near Brechfa.

This is probably not the best time of year to have work done on your central heating. However the plumber came yesterday and did some necessary work replacing fittings that were starting to go and better replaced than failing and causing major damage. One of the fittings was awkward to get at and also required a large spanner as it was 38mm he was struggling to shift it with a large adjustable spanner. Despite all his efforts it wouldn't move. I went and found a large opened ended spanner of the right size. Where is this all going I hear you yawn? Well the spanner in question was solid and well forged. It had little bend in it and when he used  all the effort went into turning the thread. None of it was dissipated into motion or movement as in an adjustable spanner. It goes without saying the solid spanner did the trick.

Okay so a good old fashioned forged spanner was the right tool and without it nothing worked. There are a lot of conclusions you can draw from this. However as far as I was concerned my mind went to a set of hand forged spanners my father had. They were made by my Uncle Jack. He made them using a furnace and anvil. You could probably have taken the propeller off the Titanic with one (okay slight exaggeration). My father used them in his workshop and later  Alex used them in the boatyard.

Anyway it brought back memories of my Uncle Jack. he was not a real uncle but a family friend. He was a confirmed bachelor and lived in a small terraced house in Small Heath, Birmingham. He was an engineer and could make anything from metal. He had been in the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War working on aircraft. I recall going to his dark little house and having a treat of sweet cream from a tube on jelly whilst looking at watercolour paintings of bi-planes in the desert.

I never asked but assumed he had done them when he was out in the middle east during that war. I don't know what happened to him or the paintings. After my father died a long time ago I went back to Small Heath to see my "Uncle" but the house was in the hands of a new family who knew nothing of him.

The spanners? I donated most of them to the Gwili Railway where I thought they would be useful.
Happy New Year! Bit jaded this morning but not bad!