January 2016

Hello pink shrimps!  
 
Now, I know what you are thinking; there’s something different about me,  a sort of Spring-like freshness,  a certain je ne sais quoi?.......

Ah-Haar! You’d be right. Allow me to welcome you to my new-look website.  A few nips and tucks have been administered and we are looking smart as a twice peeled carrot.  

Following a quiet Christmas, it was a calm and civilized start to the New Year but then January went all feral, like a drunk at a bus-stop.   The trouble started as I tackled No. 1 on my to-do list for 2016; moving into a new art studio.

I found an old place in North Shields, a stone’s throw from the banks of the River Tyne.

1

It had been a shoe shop, a gallery and then a jewellery workshop, all things I thought might lend positive vibes for a new creative space.

Shields wouldn’t be my first choice of location, the poor old place doesn’t have much surface (or hidden) appeal, but there are some lovely beaches nearby and the fish and chips are rather good.  Its main claim to fame is that the actor Stan Laurel lived here for a while and film director brothers Tony and Ridley Scott were born on either side of the river.  Neil Tennant of the pet shop boys, electro-popped his way out of the town at some point.  

A less than flattering statue of Stan in North Shields

It's most famous artist son is the magnificently named Victor Noble Rainbird (1887 - 1936)


 
The handsome Rainbird, circa 1910.

The building was entirely empty save for a few bits and pieces in the kitchen cupboards.  Among the chipped and hairy looking cups there was a tiny bag of McVities gingerbread men.  How’s that for a sign that I’d found the perfect studio?

Unfortunately drama struck just days after getting the keys; the wettest December on record was leaking in.  Rapid billowing of damp through the walls and interior puddles soon revealed that the lead was missing from the roof, apparently pinched by rascal villains.

SJ having bucket loads of fun with some pointless hazard cones

There were endless negotiations with the landlord and repeated promises of a roofer who repeatedly failed to materialise.  Eventually after some artist hoof-stamping, men with scaffolding arrived.  No roofer of course, but at least I had a fun climbing frame while waiting for one to turn up.

Just as I thought we were finally getting somewhere, an unexpected discovery was made in the neighbouring property which ended all my future plans for the place.   The discovery was a bath of acid.  It turns out the neighbour likes to strip BIG things, which is fine (unless it’s humans) but this worrying item is lurking beneath an area that our mythical roofer would be working on.  We can’t risk dissolving one of these rare beasts by mistake.  This, along with insurmountable damp problems, mean that after all the effort of moving  my entire artist empire and waiting literally months for repairs,  the Landlord and I are throwing in our soaking towels.   It’s too poorly to fix.

So, that’s all ridiculous then.

Apologies for a fruitless update, next time, I hope I can tell you something interesting, or maybe I’ll just go and review some local exhibitions and report back on the quality of the cakes in the cafe….like I used to.

Till then I wish you lots of dryness, good health and jolly larks of your own.

Love,
SJ

 

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