Tuesday, 24 February 2009

I know your Type #4 Times New Roman

Times New Roman first appeared in 1932 in The Times of London newspaper, for which it was designed. It has subsequently become one of the world’s most successful type creations. The original drawings were made under Stanley Morison’s direction by Victor Lardent at The Times. It then went through an extensive iterative process involving further work in the Monotype Type Drawing Office. Based on experiments Morison had conducted using Perpetua and Plantin, Times New Roman has many old style characteristics but was adapted to give excellent legibility coupled with good economy.

The Times New Roman font family is narrow in relation to its apparent size, and is strong in color with a crisp and clean appearance. Both Times New Roman and its condensed companion combine vertical and diagonal stress, but achieve utility and even color by a logical and skilful manipulation of both weight and condensation. Widely used in books and magazines, for reports, office documents and also for display and advertising. (Hat Tip: Fonts.com)

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Northumbrian Scribes

Saturday I went to my monthly meeting of The Northumbrian Scribes at Bede's World. Chairman Mike got us off to a good start with some important announcements.

Then workshop leader Angela Dalleywater set about teaching us all about 'Pressure and Release', a dark art that is known to few but thankfully known very well to Angela. In no time at all she was demonstrating magic techniques for us to watch, learn and inwardly digest.

Tom is an expert calligrapher, and mastered this pressure and release stuff in pretty short order. Slabs, downstrokes, stems and manipulation in all manner of styles were rattled off.

Likewise Susan showed her usual wonderful flourishes and skill at this difficult task. See her letters, how finely drawn... see her hand, how well relaxed... see her fingers, how smudged with ink!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


Vartegn means 'Signs of Spring' in Norwegian. There are certainly signs of spring around this week as little snowdrops emerge from their winter rest.

Not to be outdone, the daffodils are bursting forth too.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

A walk from Craster to Low Newton

A great walk on Saturday with friends. Starting at Craster, past Dunstanburgh Castle ("It'll be nice when it's finished", someone quipped!)

Then pushing on along beautiful Embleton beach towards Low Newton by the Sea. Passed those funny 'huts', one of which I have a deisire to own some day. What a lovely bolt-hole it would make for escaping the daily grind.

Brilliant views back towards the Castle. It was around these parts that my parents did their courting. Dad played a lot of golf at Embleton and mum came to stay with her friends for weekends at Dunstan. My grandparents often rented a cottage at Craster during the summer months, and it was good to get some shots and compare them with similar views of them sitting outside the cottage circa 1935.

Arriving at Low Newton we endeavoured with some difficulty to all get a table together at The Ship Inn. This is a very popular place, (due perhaps to recent television fame) and crowded at most times of the week apparently. Bren and me opted for the brie and pear ciabatta.... very nice it was too!
Then it was back on the road, or rather the beach, for the return leg back to Craster. Gracie agreed it was one of the best days out for a long time.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The price of failure?

Surely there can't be many other professions where you work for nine months, get sacked after having performed very averagely, and then receive the sum of seven and a half million pounds for your services. The only other one I can think of is investment banking.... so perhaps that should be big Phil's next step?

From the BBC News web site... "Chelsea agreed a compensation package with Scolari and his backroom staff, the club confirmed on Tuesday evening. Although no details were given, some reports have suggested Scolari could walk away with about £7.5m".

Funny game... football.

A matter of life and death in Newcastle

Monday, 9 February 2009

Winter has me in its grip

"Winter has me in it's grip, think I'll take a summer trip, on a sunny sailing ship where the shells lie in the sand..."

If only!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

A trip to Woodhorn Museum

Today we took Leon to the 'Cars of the Stars' exhibition at Woodhorn Museum. This consisted of a selection of cars of the stars, as you can imagine... Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the De Lorean from 'Back to the Future', James Bond's Lotus, Herbie, Starsky & Hutch hot Ford... and of course... the Batmobile!

Bren doesn't seem to be SO interested in the cars does she? She'd probably rather be shopping.

Queeen Elizabeth II lake (where I used to go wind surfing many years ago) was thronging with birds, with many swans and gulls fighting for the scraps thrown by people from their car windows. It was absolutely freezing today, the lake was fairly well covered with ice, with waders and waterfowl sharing what little water was available to occupy.

Woodhorn Museum is excellent value for money, and a fantastic record of mining life in Wansbeck is available to be enjoyed there. The layout is good and the interactive bits are great. You can learn the pitman's language, see what hardships their jobs involved, and also get a good idea of how they spent their time when they weren't on their knees hundreds of feet underground with a shovel, in the pitch dark, breathing toxic fumes and waiting for the next rock fall.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Today I have been mostly... teaching

My second week teaching BTech graphics students at TyneMet college. Typography was the order of the day and they seemed surprised that they were expected to input, discuss and question instead of just sit and draw stuff and talk to each other. Yes.... we're heading for early June says I, and your Final Major Project (I discover this is referred to as FMP) looms large and you have to work at stuff in order to get anywhere with it. Last week I slipped in a quote from Henry Ford - no, not the one about any colour as long as its black - but 'Whether you think you can or you can't you're absolutely right' Not sure if they quite 'got' it but time will tell. Today I was talking to them about type designers and sent them on their way with the name of a designer to go and 'discover'. No doubt Google will bear the brunt of their research, but I suppose that's better than nothing. One element of the teaching was about Johannes Gutenberg and his invention of printing from moveable type. As I reflected afterwards it was learning about the man some forty four years ago which partly inspired me to head down the typographic route. That, and my inspirational lecturer Les Baillie, who seemed to interject every lecture with "you've got to eat, sleep and drink it laddie!" How right he was.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Some snow, in London... today

Some snow fell in London today. Apparently this was because it is winter. Traffic came to a standstill, airports were shut, everybody (yes, the whole population of that London mind) took the day off work. My grandchildren, led by their uncle, built a snowman in their back garden. Here it is. Its the one in the middle.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

A couple of fans... yesterday

Brian arrived on Saturday morning and set about fixing a couple of fans. The one in the kitchen window went in fairly easily once a couple of screws had been substituted. The other one, in the downstairs cloakroom, took a little longer due to some of the previous owners dodgy DIY skills. However, after a trip to Focus for some flexible hose, and a neatly fashioned piece of carpentry, we were back in business. We now have fresh air circulating to alleviate cooking smells in the kitchen and.... well, you know, other smells in the cloakroom.

Saturday night we were out to supper with these fine people. Rosa made us a beautiful meal, much wine was consumed and as you can see from the picture, stories were told and much laughter ensued. Terry related his account of the time I saved him from drowning on the Norfolk Broads in 1964, which was interesting as it was the first time I had heard him tell it.