Thursday, March 29, 2012

NEVER HEARD OF HIM ! (Sorry no pictures)

Jenny Freckles (click on her name for the link to her blog) has posted a blog about David Hockney and his art exhibition in London.  He is a somewhat controversial artist.  Many who know art much better than I call him a pop artist.   But I like a lot of his work – not all of it, but especially the scenes of Yorkshire.  I had never heard of him until about twelve years ago when I came across him almost by accident.

Even though it happened only about twelve years ago, it is amazing how far technology has come in that short space of time.  In my early computer days I built a website, with the help of my son, all about Flamborough, the little village where I had grown up and which I loved so much.  Today you can go on the web and find masses of photographs and information about that little fishing village.  It was not so when this event took place. For me at that time, it was as if I were the only person in the world who knew of the village and if I didn’t go back and visit, the whole place might vanish away as a figment of my imagination. Back then I was so hungry for news about Flamborough, I was almost obsessed.
One day I received an e-mail from someone who lived on Flamborough Head. The man’s name was Paul Hockney and he had seen my website and was just touching base with me to say that he lived only a few hundred yards away from where I had lived as a teenager.  I was so excited to be able to write to someone who actually lived there! I could hardly believe it.

The day after receiving Paul’s e mail I was skimming through the TV channels and hit upon the middle of a program about someone who had painted huge scenes of Yorkshire.  Because I also love Yorkshire (Flamborough is in Yorkshire) and I liked to paint, I stopped channel surfing and watched the program.  As the artist was speaking about his paintings I noticed that he had a Yorkshire accent.  I was all the more intrigued. 

When the program ended, the artist’s name came up on the screen as, David Hockney.  That didn’t mean a thing to me. I had no idea who he was. But as I was thinking about it, it suddenly it dawned on me:  wasn’t my e-mail friend from Flamborough called Hockney? Of course he was!  I quickly e-mailed Paul and asked if he were any relation to David.  He must have smiled to himself when he realized I had no idea who David Hockney was, because even back then he was famous most places in the world. 

You have probably guessed by now that Paul was David’s brother.
What a coincidence! If I hadn’t caught that TV program and Paul hadn’t written the day before, I would probably never have made the connection.

I have never told this story on my blog out of privacy for Jean and Paul, but they have now moved away from Flamborough so privacy is no longer a concern.

So that’s my connection to the famous artist whose paintings sell for millions of dollars !

No, I haven’t met David, but I do enjoy most of his paintings. We have been back to Flamborough  quite a few times since that first e–mail from Paul and enjoyed getting to know him and Jean over dinner in a couple of Flamborough’s finest pubs and worshiping with them at the Sewerbty Methodist Church.

It’s a small world and computers just make it smaller.  So drop over and visit Jenny.  She takes the most remarkable photographs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

K IS FOR....


This magnificent photograph is to be found in the latest issue of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine.  

I tried to find a place to contact them for permission but couldn't find anywhere so decided to post them as my photos of their magazine as if I were showing them to my neighbor. If this is not OK and National Geographic contacts me I will gladly take them down.

The photo of the kayaks was taken by Nancie Battaglia  Sports Illustrated/Getty Images and reproduced in the National Geographic.  The caption says that there were 1,902 canoes and kayaks that came together in an attempt to break a record as the "largest raft" free-floating  "for at least thirty seconds, held together only by hands."


This next photo has no strings attached.  It is of my son in a KAYAK shooting the rapids on the South Fork of the Payette River in Idaho.


K is also for Scruffy KISSES
(Sorry for the fuzzy photos.)
What a sweetheart !

This is my submission for ABC Wednesday hosted by Mrs. Nesbitt and her wonderful team.  For more submissions please CLICK HERE to see more skillful and original posts for the letter K.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


The theme this week is..... DANCE

The most obvious choice for me would have been to draw a ballet dancer or a pair of ballet shoes.  But after a lot of thought this is what I came up with:

Surely everyone remembers Gene Kelly in "Singin' in the Rain",  unless of course you are very young.  The theme song ends with the line "...singin' and dancin' in the rain".
So here he is , "...dancin' in the rain."  They don't make good movies like that one any more. 

For more renditions of Inchies and Twinchies please visit  Every Inchie Monday.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


The large red and blue arrow in the photo above represents the jet stream.  The fluffy white stuff is exactly that, fluffy white stuff -- snow.  From that picture above you might think we get snow in San Diego.  Of course we don't -- but the mountains do -- sometimes down to 2,000 feet.

This is when our friends in the Midwest should be alert, for when that jet stream has done its dirty work in San Diego, it charges across the midlands spawning wild weather and tornadoes within a day or so after visiting San Diego.
Yesterday I wrote on my blog that the Midwest would probably get tornadoes soon and sure enough they did get some today.  Fortunately they did not touch down in populated area.

The Jet Stream is what seems to influence our weather here in San Diego.  Under normal conditions it blows fairly straight across the Northern States and Canada from east to west.  But every now and then it dives down to San Diego, does a hairpin turn and charges back up towards the Great Lakes.  When that happens our weatherman tells us "the storm door is open."  Then all the 'cold' air swoops down upon us. Usually around the fifties and maybe forties at night. 

I know that's not very cold winter weather compared to what most people get, but you have to feel a little sorry for us.  Our house in particular and therefore a hundred or so others like ours around us, have no insulation in them.  And there are holes in the walls and under the sink where pipes and electricity comes in from the out side.  In fact we had to plug all the holes we could find with steel wool just to keep the mice out in the fall.  Believe me this was not an inexpensive house.  That's the way they build them down here.

There is much more to learn about the jet stream, so start with Wikkipedia  and find out more. 

This is JOHN -- JOHN COLEMAN to be exact.
John Coleman is our weatherman.  He has been delivering weather forecasts for about fifty years.  He moved down here to 'retire'. At first we did not like him.  He's a bit of a clown and a silly one at that.  But soon we discovered that his forecasts were the most accurate of all the TV weathermen - and women- in our area.  So we got used to the nonsense and learned a lot about weather.

Interestingly enough, he has first class credentials and was also the co-founder of the Weather Channel.  He's not averse to a little controversy either.  You should see what he says about global warming.  He has some very interesting information about that, and since he does come well qualified, he deserves a hearing.  

   "It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create in [sic] allusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the "research" to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.

Environmental extremists, notable politicians among them, then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild "scientific" scenario of the civilization threatening environmental consequences from Global Warming unless we adhere to their radical agenda. Now their ridiculous manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue for CNN, CBS, NBC, the Democratic Political Party, the Governor of California, school teachers and, in many cases, well informed but very gullible environmental conscientious citizens. Only one reporter at ABC has been allowed to counter the Global Warming frenzy with one 15 minutes documentary segment.
I have read dozens of scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct. There is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril. I am incensed by the incredible media glamour, the politically correct silliness and rude dismissal of counter arguments by the high priest of Global Warming.
In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious."

No comment from me on this hot topic, (no pun intended!)

This is my entry for the letter J in ABC WEDNESDAY,  an exceptionally long running meme with many participants and loads of interesting information.  Click HERE to see what I mean.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


GARDEN is the theme for this week.

I decided to go in for a bit more of a stylized art this week.  MY traditional drawing style would not make much of an impact on this topic, I thought.  It's hard to get sharp points on my pencils that stay sharp.  I know Prisma-colors have a Verithin version of their pencils but I don't think their colors are very vibrant. So I used the regular ones.

We are having terrible winds here today and last night too (along with an inch of rain).  I'm afraid that does not bode well for our friends in the Midwest.  I mentioned this last week, but last week's winds were more straight-line.  This weekend they have been very squirrelly.

Here's a bit of typically Californian culture:  A memorial service was held recently in a very nice botanical garden, but there was a dress code; tee shirts and flip flops, no ties allowed. No the memorial was not for a surfer or even a young person.


Thursday, March 15, 2012


....that is.... an update about Scruffy, my cat with a dog's name,

"I've got my eyes on you."

"Is that me?  Naaw, I'm not nearly as fat as that! I'm putting on my best grumpy look."

"Now that's more like it."

"Sometimes in the afternoon I like to go mooching.  There are so many interesting corners to explore."

In and.....out and ... round about.  

"There must be something interesting in these shelves.  Not the bird book...

 Nope, nothing there.  Got to get out of here before I get stuck."

"Aaah.  The World... and those infamous candlesticks."
"Nothing there either."

"Dad's got that flashy box going and I don't like it!"

"But I DO like this. Mmm...Baskin Robbins!  The only human food I like.   Dad won't give me any.  MEAN!"      
(But Dad knows what happens if he gets it and who has to clean it up).

"Aww Mom, gimme a break.  I'm in the middle of my nap."
"It's been a 'hard day's night' !"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I IS FOR......

I is for....the Irish

What else could it be for this week?  Probably half ABC Wednesday chose this.

Well I'm not Irish in fact I'm mostly Welsh and I missed St. David's Day on March 1st, so am I being a traitor?  No, I looked for daffodils  but they were a straggly lot in the store, and we had an especially busy week that week so my time for creativity was limited.  But my husband and I did wear our small daffodil pins all that day, so don't give up on us all you Welshmen and women out there.

But back to the IRISH

I came to this post backwards really.  I wanted a poem or a line from a poem beginning with I, so I went through my Palgrave's Golden Treasury and came across William Butler Yeats, (I'll probably be sorry I didn't save him for 'Y' day)-- an Irish poet, and that reminded me that St. Patrick's Day is this week.   In addition, the poem I found was all 'I's -- The Lake of the Isle of Innisfree. I also found a royalty free photo of what is supposed to be the Isle of Innisfree.  So there it was, handed to me on a plate.

First a drawing of the poet,
(Artist: John Sargent Singer - 1908)

Yeats lived from 1863 to 1939 and spent much of his childhood in County Sligo, Ireland. He spent many carefree hours adventuring on the beautiful Lough Gill, a lake in County Sligo where the small uninhabited Isle of Innisfree was located. The area so impressed his young mind that he thought of it almost as his spiritual home.  (I can identify with this because of the enormous impact Flamborough Head in East Yorkshire had on me in my youth... hence the name 'flamblogger' for my blog.)

It is said that later in his life while living in London, he was wandering down Fleet Street and heard the tinkling of water from a fountain in a shop close by.  The sound took him back in time to Innisfree.  Thus the poem was born.

Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

It should be mentioned that this poem of Yeats' is NOT the same as the song sung in movie "The Quiet Man" which is just called The Isle of Innisfree.

For the sake of his contribution to the world of literature and poetry, and because of his profuse writing, we should also note  that he did much to revive the art of poetry and literature among his countrymen and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. 

Having written all this, and because I rather like the sentiment of this poem, I think I will look up some more of his poetry to read, especially the one with the intriguing title of "The Winding Staircase".

For more contributions to Mrs. Nesbitt's ABC WEDNESDAY, click on this link, I know you won't be sorry.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Twinchie topic this week is STEPS.  

Not getting out too much right now to find something different, but as I was looking through a catalogue, I came across this ad to sell  steps for elderly dogs.

As my husband would say..."Only in America!"....  Out in the islands (Micronesia), the islanders laugh at us for having dog doctors and animal hospitals.  You can understand when you see their hospitals and the fact that they have to fly to Guam or Hawaii for any important medical treatment.

When I first went to the islands I used to think that they needed a bunch of vets to neuter and spay the dogs, because there are so many of them around.  But after a couple of visits I realized why. They are emergency food rations and the meat is always fresh.
Sorry about that dog lovers, of which I am definitely one, but we do not realize  just how fortunate we are.  Funny, I don't hear about people eating cats.  There must be a reason -- perhaps because they eat vermin.  I'll have to Google this.

 See you on ABC Wednesday.

Incidentally, to see more (Tw)Inchies click on the badge at the top right of my blog and also be prepared to visit Flickr for a grand assortment.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I have been presented with The Versatile Blogger Award

I don't really do awards, but Scriptor Senex has such a great blog and he always makes complimentary comments on my blogs, so I will do it this once. Besides, I've done some of this before and now I'm scraping the barrel to be original.

I have to come up with seven things about myself that might be of interest.
That really makes me nervous.  It reminds me of Sally  Fields,  who on being awarded an Oscar, declared with great enthusiasm "They LIKED me!  They really LIKED me!" I interpreted that demonstration of joy as coming from someone who is not sure she is really good enough, not self-confident.  Oh yes, this is a self-esteem issue.....from day one, it always has been with me,
#1  .You know the old book, "I'm OK -- You're OK", well I'm never OK enough for myself.  And folks, I believe this is an inherited trait and one you have to learn to live with and compensate for. But it always involves a process of double thinking for me and a great deal of anxiety.  No amount of sweet talk and strokes will ever be enough.  By the way, I DO think you're OK.  For the most part others are nearly always more OK than I am.
#2.  I love animals  -- the furry kind.  You probably knew that, but......sometimes I love them more than people.  Now there's an admission for you!

                                                                                                                                                                #3.  I'm not politically correct.  But I AM polite and gracious about it, I hope.  If you ask me to speak my mind, I will, with tact.  I'm one of those people who believes that 'if you don't stand for something you will fall for anything.'  I may not always be politically correct but I'm not closed minded.  I want to hear you and understand you even though after all is said and done I may not agree with you.

#4. I have lived a wonderfully satisfying life and am thoroughly happy with where I've been and what I've done and yes, even who I am.  I've come to terms with it all.  The only thing I wish is that I'd stayed young enough to do more of the things that I used to love to do, such as, walking trails, teaching, traveling, learning maybe a new language or new skill, playing tennis, going to concerts and the theatre, exploring the desert, visiting old friends who live far away -- and having a dog, preferably a labrador-retriever or maybe I could train a service dog . That would be such fun!

#5. If I enter a room full of men and women, I would gravitate to the men because their conversation is usually more interesting -- unless it is about sports... and unless the women are talking sensible talk about cats .  Cats trump everything, but don't dress them up please.  Let them have their dignity.

#6.  I love reading the 'funnies'  -- comics -- especially in the Sunday paper. My favorite is "LuAnne".

#7. I never go to bed before 12:30 p.m.  Please don't ask me what time I get up! Just don't call me before noon.

I can't put anyone else through this excruciating process, but if you like talking about your likes and dislikes, please be my guest. If you are desperate to know more about me, tho' I can't understand why you would be,  search my blog in the open box above the banner for KAFFEE KLATCH FRIDAY, October 5, 2011.

SCRIPTOR, I forgive you!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

H IS FOR....

Probably not a very exciting topic for many who visit my blog.  But we don't have any around here and I grew up quite near to the Yorkshire Moors.  So when my husband  brought this very beautiful plant home one day recently, I was thrilled.

There are even daffodils to contrast the color.  In fact, I placed the pot in the center of a Christmas table decoration that had held roses and other flowers two months ago.  The daffodils I bought from the store.  Sadly if we want a taste of dear old England and Wales (and Scotland too)... we have to buy it  The puzzling thing is that I don't think the heather should be blooming at this time of the year.  Yorkshire heather blooms in July and August.  But I'm not complaining.  I'll take it whenever I can and whenever it is blooming.  I'm posting two pictures of the heather  because I wanted to include the daffodils, but this next one really shows its color well.

Perhaps you're wondering why we have our flowers out on the patio table instead of indoors, 'though heather is not an indoor plant.  There are two reasons:  first, because in our mild climate they thrive longer outside. Even with our weather we have the heat on in the house during the winter months; second because I have allergies and better to enjoy the flowers outside than sneeze in the house.  Our kitchen/dining room table is right by the large patio windows and looks out onto the patio. So we enjoy the plants and flowers as long as possible.

What?....hail...?  So uninteresting.  Yes, but not for us.  We never see snow except sometimes on the nearby mountains.  Maybe once a year we get frost.  But hail?  I think I have only seen hail four or five times since we moved here 39 years ago.  It comes when a cold 'storm' blows down from the northwest and swirls into our coast line clashing with the warmth that is usually ours, dumping snow on the lower mountains nearby and bringing us squirrelly  winds, that bring down palm branches and sometimes trees with shallow root systems.  To us it is exciting but it has two drawbacks.  Other places in the States are being buried under snow and being frozen  by extreme cold temperatures.  The other problem is that, as I have observed but don't have any meteorological proof for, these storms pass over us in a day and make their way in a curve north-eastwards, picking up power as they go and spawning horrible tornadoes across the central states as they did last week.
Look at these photos:

A few handfuls of hail brings excitement to us and devastation elsewhere.  Nearly 40 people killed last week.  Now they are predicting another feisty storm for us in a day or two.  Will my amateur predictions be confirmed -- more tornadoes to follow?  We shall see.

ABC Wednesday is a project started by Mrs. Nesbitt and is now in its ninth round.  If you click on this link HERE you will be able to visit some of her more than 100 participants and read their interpretations of the letter H.

Sunday, March 4, 2012



At the risk of being accused of having a one track mind, here I present my weekly TWINCHIE the topic being FRIENDS:

Yes, a CAT and a dog.  They can be friends as I'm sure you know.  In fact, my own dog, Rip, from my teenage years was totally adopted by our cat that we had for a little while.  She would sit on his back in front of the fire and knead him, as though grooming him.

I would like to do another one on this theme this week.  However, I put my back out this week and sitting in one position for very long does not help, so we will see. (That happens a couple of times a year.  It just needs time).

In the mean time if you would like to see more (TW)inchies, small pieces of art, 1 - 2" square, made out of all kinds of media please click HERE or on the badge in my side bar.