Sunday, 25 July 2010

Excerpts from my old sketchbooks - part 1

I keep finding bits of art I've done over the years, so I thought it might be good to start uploading some of this stuff, as well as the latest scribblings...

My family and friends know of my passion for the Doctor Who TV series and here's some stuff I probably did around 20 years ago. Of course Doctor Who was very uncool then, not like today where everyone likes it and these sketches are very much inspired from the classic series - hope you enjoy!

'Exterminate the Anorak' was inspired by a 1991 BBC2 documentary on Doctor Who which was hosted by a Brummie anorak. Anorak was one of the terms coined for Doctor Who obsessives and not a phrase I'm particularly fond of, hence the cartoon which I later put on a tee-shirt - there's a colour version somewhere!

The Sea Devils is inspired by the 1972 serial starring Jon Pertwee and featured Roger Delgado as The Master. Funnily enough The Sea Devils reptilian cousins, The Silurians featured in the latest series.

The Abominable Snowmen was inspired by the now largely missing 1967 serial starring Patrick Troughton. I did this for someones birthday as a tee-shirt at the time, so again, there's a colour version somewhere...

Monday, 19 July 2010

Birthday Blog

I awoke at 5am - not the first night this has happened recently.

The sun is gradually peeping through the curtains, Rachel's sleeping deeply and Jonathan has made his way into the bed between us again. But then I feel another presence, a hand on the other side of me, someone by the bed!

Sitting up startled, I see no-one, then I look down towards the floor, Tom, our youngest, has obviously made his way into the room again, seen there's no room on the bed and snuggled up on a cushion on the floor.

These night time invasions are not unusual at the moment. Lifting Tom up and placing him on my space in the bed, I resign myself for the next few hours to Jon's empty bed, I then realise it's my birthday, then automatically dismiss it.

Next thing I know its gone 8am, Seren is prodding me in the back.

"Dad! It's Your birthday, you're 42 and you're getting old!" she says rather innocently.

"Thank you Seren" I reply burying my head in the pillow even further.

This is followed by silence for 10 minutes , then all 3 of my children are stood by my bed with a birthday breakfast consisting of one Weetabix and a glass of orange juice. A rare treat!

My presents from the children consist of home-made Doctor Who birthday cards and a selection of Doctor Who models and pens, all in all, pretty cool choices!

Today also coincides with Seren's dance presentation at her dance school. It has to be said these affairs are not the best organised despite seeing my daughter perform.

Seren was performing two dances today , around two hours after the event began, and then had to wait a further 90 minutes before claiming her award.

Both herself and the boys were troopers all the way, as was Rachel who kept sacrificing her food to feed Tom or Jon as we all waited for the thing to end.

The organiser who kept changing the running order schedule at a seconds notice "to break it up, because the younger ones get bored" has a serious lack of organisation skills and probably dragged the event on for two hours longer than necessary.

My heart went out to the dance school's unsuspecting new patron, a famous Welsh playwright who was referred to as an actor, wasn't given a chance to give a scheduled speech and was generally just ignored, that's when our host could be bothered to remember his name!

Seren did make me proud though, she is brilliant at ballet and modern dance, so it was a wonderful present to see such a talented daughter receive so many awards and medals for her hard work!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Back to work

Back to work today - paper deadline beckons on the Cardy Courier as did a return to work form and interview.

"Are you fit to return to work? Is there anything we can do for you?, my dutiful line manager reads out from a manuscript of carefully photocopied red-tape. "Be nice to me" I reply.

A flurry of blank pages were released for the weekly paper I had to design, obviously the advertisement rep for the paper hasn't been selling, she's probably on another training course!
The editor does inform me though that one advert has probably been pulled due to the fact that the old curmudgeon who writes a monthly column for the paper had his article pulled last week due to him making libelous comments. No doubt he instructed his son who was due to advertise not to bother.

Got the paper out eventually but have more extended pain tomorrow when I'll be finishing off West Wales not so finest paper, The Monty Mercury, but not in the sense I'd like too!

When I got home to take Jon to a classmate's birthday party, I was surprised to find him asleep on the sofa!

He soon jumped up however, when realising I was home so off to the birthday party we went.
When we got there, the boy's father and I ended up been in the back of a Fire Engine type limousine with around 15 kids yelling with excitement as we toured the happy heights of Newport, Gwent.

All the kids had a great time! Though I was quite happy to get back with all our kids asleep by 9 O'clock, I hope the other parents were just as lucky!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Flu Blues

We got back home to Newport in Gwent on Monday, and learnt that before we left, Rachel had been so methodical at switching off the electrics, she had also switched off the freezer.

Disposing of a freezer full of uneatable food gave me plenty to do on Monday afternoon, but gave our food recycling bin plenty to fill. This and fighting off still what seemed like an oncoming cold was not a great feeling. Yuck!

Going back to work on Tuesday was a big mistake. I should have realised I wasn't feeling well on Tuesday morning when I buttered the same slice of bread on both sides while making my lunch!

Tuesday is generally an impossible day, requiring me to design a certain publication I work on that requires a 100 impossible things to do before its lunchtime deadline.

Here I had several picture spreads which required 11 pictures on a page and stories which due to legality and taste really shouldn't sit next to each other on a page. While all this was going on my patience became non existent most of it was likely due to a build up of what many term as "Man-flu".

Flu in July, who'd have thought it?

I didn't get wise to this straight away, it was only recuperating in bed on Wednesday and Thursday that wakened me to the fact that I can't keep pushing myself when feeling ill. But I've never been one for giving in too easily, even to illness.

But you start to become away of how fallible you are when the kids start telling you "Please get well soon Dadi, we want to play out!"

Between bouts of sleep, been ill did give me chance to watch a bit more TV than usual.


Daytime TV is not like when I was growing up in the 70s. back then, a day off school meant a day of watching entertaining programmes for Schools and Colleges, and frequently learning something you may not even get taught in your own school!

Today's dosage of daytime TV consists of Jeremy Kyle: 'we are going to find out if the baby you're girlfriend has had is yours and if you really did snog your mother in law last christmas' or some antique expert who encourages some poor unsuspecting individual to part with great Auntie Maud's family heirloom for a pittance at auction.

Frankly, BBC News 24's coverage of the Raol Moat man-hunt seemed uncomfortably more compelling. These are strange times we are living in.

It was with greater relief though that I found myself watching Fireman Sam on Cartoonito with my youngest son, Tom. Today's instalment involved fireman Elvis Cridlington slipping over in the station and becoming wheelchair bound.
However, our hero was still able to perform a rescue when Station Officer Steele and troublesome youth Norman Price got their heads jammed in the park railings!

Elvis was ready and able which is more than I could say for me, but still, I hadn't laughed so hard all week, as did Tom!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Devon Cliffs - Sunday

Last day of the holidays - I'm continuing to feel the strains of what feels like a cold attacking me but am determined to fight on and enjoy whats left of our time in Devon Cliffs.

Took the kids to several events including Bradley and Rory's Fun Factor in which we watched the latest Zoo Troop DVD, followed by some drawing and crafting. Seren made a plea to play Golf despite the windy weather , so Rachel obliged. The clear sea-view had even disappeared today but shouldn't complain too much - we have had lots of nice weather this week.

I took Jon and Tom swimming, in which Jon proudly demonstrated to me he could use the water slide no less than 25 times, it's so good to see he's building lots of confidence in the water!

The final evenings entertainment included the Zoo troop drama in which I took Tom to see and music from Fun-Star Natalie giving faithful renditions of Lulu's Shout and Maria McKee's Show Me Heaven.

Natalie had also made appearances earlier in the day with fellow Fun-Stars performing songs from High School Musical and Grease which appealed greatly to the children. Just goes to show how talented these guys really are!

I'd say that anything that can keep a family entertained for 45 minutes can't be a bad thing and certainly puts a smile on the children's faces!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Devon Cliffs - Saturday

We all had a pretty good sleep-in this morning.

With early morning activities and late night shows - even this holiday is starting to take its toll!

Tom seems to be a bit worse for wear today and I seem to be getting a bit of a sore throat! Typically I'm expecting to be ill when I return to work next Tuesday!

Today was a good opportunity for the kids to play around the Fun Works area, particularly as the weather doesn't seem to be as fresh as earlier in the week...

Friday, 2 July 2010

Devon Cliffs - Friday

This morning we did the Character Breakfast!

The tried and tested holiday pastime which involves having a full breakfast delivered to your table by one or two characters. Seren always remembers the time her mothers breakfast was nearly eaten by Rory The Tiger at Kiln Park, Tenby, several years ago.

Though I have to say times have changed a bit, the characters actually no longer deliver the food to the table, the parents do that now, the characters instead walk through for yet another photo opportunity.

Both Bradley Bear and Rory The Tiger came to visit during the breakfast and despite what Seren says, she still enjoys seeing the characters at the age of 7!

Breakfast at The Mash and Barrel consisted of Banger, bacon, egg, mushrooms and tomatoes and finishing off what Seren and Tom had left - my privilege - I began to feel the effects after 4 cups of coffee - free refills!

There are lots of opportunities for the children to eat and drink over the break - another opportunity is the character picnic which generally involves fun and games with Fun Stars with Bradley and Rory and the children getting a picnic lunch in delightful little picnic baskets (pictured).

Devon Cliffs - Thursday

Today was Jungle Olympics!

Anyone familiar with the goings on of Bradley Bear and Rory the Tiger (as we have been for several years already) are also familiar with Jungle Olympics.

An afternoon of games which involve children and parents alike participating in various sporting events in order to win certificates.

Seren and I won the race in which we had to cross the floor with Seren stood on my feet.

"How did you do that Dadi?"asked Seren.

"Well we've had plenty of practice at home," I reply, "though I never thought any such activity would ever win us a race!".

Don't you love those Burger King toys?

Their latest promotion features squeeze toy models of WWF stars John Cena and The Undertaker.

John joined us earlier in the holiday. Hungry for food, we all piled into Burger King on our arrival at Devon Cliffs on Monday.

Within minutes there were cries of "You can't see me!", from Jon and Tom's toys of John Cena. Cena's dolls have continued to provide constant amusement throughout the break! However; I fear he has become too much for some parents!

On a late night trip to the rubbish bin, I threw a hefty bag of holiday waste into the bin close to our caravan. Rather than the usual clunk of rubbish hitting the bottom , I heard a muffled cry of "You can't see me!" from within the bin.

"No!", I thought, "but I can still hear you!".

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