What is it about masons?

 


A trip to the Mason’s yard at Gloucester Cathedral. I have a friend at the Cathedral who said she would help me out getting a small sculpture repaired for me. I wanted to match the stone and make the repair myself and asked if I could have a little stone dust to match the colour when I make the repair. She was happy to oblige and off I went with the wingtip in my bag. The sculpture was of a bird and it’s wing the victim of the gust of wind.

I’ve been to this place before and it fascinates me. There’s something very calm about the place and the masons themselves exude this calm too. Perhaps it’s a result of working to reasonable deadlines, after all you can’t re-craft the pinnacle of a Cathedral in a weekend. Ollie, the guy giving me the advice there on how to repair my modest piece went through everything in details about the glue and the hardener, then paused, looked me straight in the eye and detected that I would not be approaching this repair with the calm and expertise that he has, and offered to do it for me. Brilliant chap. They also let me take a few photographs in the place, and here I came across these bits and bobs.

Everything, but everything is covered in stone dust, mason’s included.If you ever get the chance , they do have ‘Open Days” every now and again, don’t miss it. I’m in awe of the skills that these guys possess in bucket loads.

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This chap is a clay model of a gargoyle at Gloucester Cathedral which is now in situ on the edge of the roof. Go and take a look at it, but take a pair of binoculars as it is up very high.

Don’t look up in the rain as you’ll get an eyeful from his mouth


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In the background it looks like a photo of previous masons and their apprentices,
they seem to be working in a tin shed! They don’t now.


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Another quite small plaster model which was attached to the wall,
I think these guys have a bit of a sense of humour.

For more information take a look here:
Gloucester Cathedral

The importance of washing up.

Dishwashers have been around for years now but there are good reasons for dispensing with them. First of all they use some pretty toxic chemicals to get the burnt on cinders off your beautifully crafted dishes. They can’t really be used to clean anything delicate or fine, and certainly shouldn’t be used to clean the silver cutlery. Did you hear that Jeeves? But the most important reason they should be considered superfluous is that they are desperately unsociable.

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Fascinating little memorial just up the road from me here in Cheltenham at Cheltenham College, a very expensive public school with the most beautiful cricket ground. I never know that Jeeves was a cricketer and that he was the inspiration for Woodhouse’s character. The school was also the location for some of the filming of Linsday Anderson’s cult film “If”, but they don’t talk about that much. It did feature schoolboys machine gunning people from their chapel roof, so perhaps no surprise there.


 

In the day when washing up was the order of the day, it was, or at least should have been, a team effort. Two people minimum in any team. One to wash, one or maybe two to dry and one to pontificate and put stuff away until the next time. It should not be undertaken alone if at all possible, but of course these days it is usually people who live on their own who do wash up, instead of loading dishwashers.

What happens when two or more people gather together to wash up. They talk, they are in close proximity, they interact, in short they are sociable. Whereas it usually falls to one person to load a dishwasher. The end result of washing up is cemented friendship, the end result of a dishwasher is cemented cookware.

Where’s the joke?

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I got into this by accident. I always wanted to be an advertising art director as it sounded glamorous and there might be lots of travel. Photo shoots in glamorous places with glamorous people go with. I had a brief period in the business before I got the order of the golden boot, not fired, just not wanted.I never went anywhere glamorous, but met some lovely people.

The agency that I then worked for: S.H. Bensons was one of those grand old men of advertising where famous novelists started as copywriters and Mr Benson himself was famous for being the original ‘marketing man’ when they had not existed before. He was responsible for marketing Bovril ( that’s a meat extract drink for those not familiar, yes they drank meat extract, had to be better than coca cola ) and made a great success of it in the First World War. He’d long departed this life by the time I was there in the early seventies.

Located in Holborn right across the road from the tube station, the agency boasted a large artwork studio in addition to the many offices with art directors and copywriters. There must have been at least 15 people working in that artwork studio. They also had 2 or 3 full time illustrators working there who had their own room! It was said they could work in any style you required, a Van Gogh type drawing would probably be turned around in a day or so. Full colour Vermeer would take a couple of weeks. One of the illustrators there was responsible for a large imitation of the Bayeux Tapestry for a poster campaign for Guinness, he didn’t weave it, he drew it!

So when I went freelance after they ‘let me go’ I considered myself to be a ‘commercial artist’ and would attempt, like the guys at Bensons, to do almost any style required and was happy to have a go at anything. Apart from airbrush stuff which was beyond me. All that spraying and masking gave you coloured teeth, no matter how careful you were.

When I came into my own, so to speak, doing cartoons, and developing my own cartoon work, much of the other stuff got left behind.

So recently I’ve turned back to experiment with some drawing like I used to. I’m working on a series of ‘silkscreen’ type prints taken from places I know. I’m not a printmaker in the traditional sense, and these are drawn in line first then scanned. Colour added digitally. Actually anyone can add the colour and might be able to do it better than me.

So there’s no punchline here, no joke. Nevertheless I hope it lifts your day.

The image above is one of the valleys coming out of Stroud in Gloucestershire towards Frampton Mansell from Chalford. It’s a magical place. The one below is the simple line work before ‘faffing’ of a view towards Sheffield.Shutsheffiledblog

 

 

 

 

Amberley

Amberley

The way an old gardener walks with head facing downwards looking for weeds. An orginal garden gait.glossaryamberley329


 

Amberley is in actual fact a small village between Stroud and Nailsworth and is on the side of the hill, the sunny side at that. It’s very ‘sought-after’ these days in estate agent speak, which to you and me is expensive. There may well be gardeners in the area.

Pitchcombe, what nonsense is this?

Pitchcombe, what nonsense is this?

Pitchcombe

Combe is from the latin for dung and in this instance pitchcombe is the word used for the hurling of dung. In particular cow dung that has dried enough for it to be successfully lifted as a complete circle and then thrown. It is thought that Pitchombe preceded Frisbee as a marketing name, but has since fallen out of common parlance.

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Another of my nonsensical meaning for Gloucestershire place names which I’m hoping to publish quite soon in a book entitled “Glossary”, its going to be quite a small book!

Pitchcombe is in actual fact on a hill overlooking Stroud and a very pretty place too. Worth a visit but look out for frisbees, especially the low flying ones.

Bibury, how the Japanese avoid it.

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Bibury

The walk of a tourist who does not undertsand what he/she should be doing, or seeing, or indeed why they are where they are at all. Involves walking slowly in one direction and then in another random direction, even the person doing the walking does not understand exactly why or in which direction they might be going. The presence of vehicles makes this a dangerous activity and can result in a split bibury which is where the group is bisected by traffic and can induce panic amongst the assembly.  It’s all a sorry sight. Pity them. Common in the Cotswolds.

Japanese avoid this by having someone with a flag leading them which is somewhat sinister. Anyone leading with a flag is sinister don’t you think?


Continuing my theme of true meanings of Gloucestershire place names this is one I have witnessed in many parts of the Cotswolds. Bibury is in fact one of the county’s prettiest villages and attracts many tourists, shame that the spellchecker turns it into bribery.

My book on the subject is in the final stages and I’ll let you know when completed so that you can fund my pathetic lifestyle.

Maisemore

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Maisemore

A daisy chain worn and made by small girls that they make on bright blue summer days for each other. Boys are naturally excluded from this activity. Mothers marvel at their offspring’s dexterity to make them when normally at home they can barely get food into their mouths or tie a shoelace. They forgive them everything as they exclaim: “ Oh look, she’s made a maismore”


Maisemore is actually on the edge of the City of Gloucester and is a relatively small village close to the River Severn. It’s prone to flooding, but I’m sure there are a fine supply of daisies in the area.