Monday, 30 March 2009

Type Talks

A neat movie currently doing the rounds on YouTube and Facebook, showing (for me) the power of written words and the ability of type and letters to convey powerful messages and imagery.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Whitleybunions #4 Leah's off to India....

Last night we were attending a fund-raising quiz night. The event was to raise money for our friend Leah's impending trip to India with Tearfund. She's off in less than a fortnight so hopefully last night's efforts will have helped to swell her funds for the trip. A great night was had by all, the only slight annoyance being that my team (that is, the team I was part of) did not win. However, it's the taking part that matters isn't it? Here we have our hostess and the quiz master, fixing, sorry, checking the scores.

Among the glitterati present were the North Shields Jarvis's, who brought along their new baby Keona. She was definitely the youngest attendee, and her parents obviously wanted to give her an early introduction to the nightlife of Whitley Bay. Mind you, the Berkley Tavern would certainly not have been the place to introduce small people in my day. I remember it being the kind of place you were warned about by your parents, where bad people would no doubt acost you with a motor bike chain for no reason and plunder your innocence. How times have changed.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

I know your Type #5 Baskerville

Monotype Baskerville was the first true recutting of type shown by John Baskerville of Birmingham, England circa 1754. Baskerville is an important typeface historically because it represents a deliberate move away from the Old Face of preceding centuries, and was to influence the development of the Modern face undertaken by Bodoni and Firman Didot. Baskerville has become one of the most widely used book faces available. It imparts an elegant and distinctive look to text without distracting the reader. The Monotype Baskerville font family can be used with success in display and advertising work where an air of refinement is required. (Hat Tip -

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Sweet William

The other day we had a visit from William and his owners. Here he is being entertained by Leon, and having a great fuss made of him. The other aspect of his visit was the various 'affectionate' attentions given by him to Gracie. Gracie is not in this picture... she was resting.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Men at Work

Last week... Tuesday and Wednesday to be precise, I was helping my mate Terry with his shutter business. I'm not usually one for hard manual work, as I like to keep my delicate, lilly-white hands callous free for other, more artistic tasks. However, I had a really great couple of days as we set about fitting some plantation shutters to a house in downtown Forest Hall.

To me was entrusted the crucial role which involved 'handing Terry the tools'. I soon got into the swing of things and in no time had mastered the rotation of drill, countersink, screw, screwdriver. I repeated this mantra under my breath as Terry set about fitting the shutters in very short order... upstairs first day, downstairs second day. Apart from one small error on my part, which I will describe as 'drilling through the end frame of one of the shutters', everything went very well. Terry himself had one small accident, although it would be wrong of me to mention it in detail in these lines.

The photograph above is slightly misleading, as I was not to be entrusted with 'caulking'. I did get to hold the caulking gun though, which gave me strong macho feelings of being a working bloke, if only for a short period.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Creative Muscle...

These two men have it in spades. On your left may I present Colin Woodcock, a true artist and entrepreneur... someone who walks the talk when it comes to producing original art, whether it be makin' pots 'n that, or painting beautiful pictures of the Isle of Tiree, where he and his wife, Susan, live. On your right I give you a man who is not a stranger to these pages... Mr Jason Thompson, web designer, drummer, musician (yes, both those!), entrepreneur, community mover and shaker. Jason has mentored me in the area of web design for the past ten years and he is someone I am very grateful to for his input, teaching and support. He is also someone who is about to become 40 years old! Today I was with these two men as they discussed important matters, and as Colin presented Jason with a beautiful picture from his gallery on Tiree.

Blyth Beach

On Sunday we took Matt, Leon and Gracie down to Blyth beach. After lovely Fish and Chips we took a wander along the shore, Leon looking for nice stones and Gracie looking for other four-legged friends to play with.

I notice Blyth Valley Council are dipping their toe in the murky pool that is the outside chance that more people will be taking their summer holidays in Blyth this year, by erecting some smart beach huts. Deauville it is not, but respect to the council for being enterprising and making Blyth look a bit more enjoyable and respectable.

Friday, 13 March 2009

A Special Day

13th March 2009

Yes, I know its Red Nose Day... do something funny for money. But to me, and other members of my family, and also a very good friend of mine, it will always be remembered as the anniversary of the day our mum passed away. Happy memories today of a wonderful mother.

Whitleybunions #3 On the other hand....

Here is a shop in Whitley Bay (Park View) that is not only staying open but is doing very nicely thank you. Trendy Art is owned by a friend of mine and is a great little business with smashing people managing it. Why not nip in tomorrow and have a FREE photoshoot... yes, that's right... free!.. or just buy something.... like a lovely picture, a personalised Piggy Bank, a printed named T-shirt, a piece of gorgeous jewelry, or a hand and foot impression - an ideal baby gift.

Whitleybunions #02 T & G Allan

Tomorrow, Saturday 14th March 2009, this shop, T & G Allan in Whitley Bay will be closing its doors for the very last time. It will be gone, deceased, finito. It will be no more. What a sad day. Far from the days when as a boy I used to wander into the shop after a Saturday morning at 'The Coliseum - ABC Minors' picture show and spend a little of my pocket money on all manner of fairly useless tat. So today I went in and bought the very last thing I will ever buy at T & G Allan, and here it is...Four pounds and ninety nine pence discounted to three pounds and fifty pence in the closing down sale. Bargain. Marks and Spencer, Woolworth's, T & G Allan.... I wonder who'll be next in the retail vortex that is Whitley Bay? Like I pleaded recently to Sid, please try and save a few shops for when we get moved there.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Designing signs

Apparently the nation of India is embarking on a quest to come up with a symbol to match the status of its burgeoning economy on the world stage. An invitation has gone out to designers everywhere to come up with a symbol to represent the Rupee, just as we have our £ sign, the US have their $ sign and Europe has its € sign. The Indian government's search for the perfectly formed sign is via an open competition, which stipulates that entries "should represent the historical and cultural ethos of India."

You'd think that this could be the dream job for a type designer, but the process is riddled with difficulties, as the BBC article indicates...

"Getting a symbol onto the international scene can be a complicated and lengthy process, says Mr Siebert.

There are the questions about where the new character should be placed in the character table and where it should be placed on the keyboard. (Outside the country in question, it is most likely to be rendered through special coding with keyboard short-cuts.)

Then the operating systems of millions of computers would need to be upgraded, as would dozens and dozens of font sets."

Still, I wouldn't mind a crack at the project...

Sunday, 8 March 2009

A visit from the Jarvis family

A visit today from our friends the lovely Jarvis family. Always good company and impeccable behaviour from all four of them. Alissa made short shrift of the gorgeous lasagne made by Bren, and I made equally short shrift of the tasty cake and ice cream supplied by Nathan.

After a few tears due to, well... mainly plumbing problems, Keona settled down for a nap with her dad. Amazingly he stayed awake throughout the proceedings.

Alissa and Gracie got on quite well, with the former erring on caution, and the latter erring on enthusiasm. Wonder what they saw from the window that was so riveting?

Far too soon it was time to go. Please come again you Jarvis's, we love you!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Lennon & McCartney reunite at Stadium of Light Shock!

No... not the two former Beatles. It was AARON Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur) and GEORGE McCartney (Sunderland) who were on opposing teams this afternoon at the Stadium of Light.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Darkness on the edge of Toon

A 2-1 defeat by Man Utd on Wednesday night leaves The Magpies even more deeply in the clarty stuff. A win on Saturday week is now a must if we're to drag ourselves away from the drop zone. Dark days for all Toon fans.

Monday, 2 March 2009

On Lindisfarne

On Wednesday evening I travelled up to Lindisfarne to spend a few days with some lovely people from the 24-7 Prayer movement. Here they are prior to taking breakfast at the wonderful 'Bean Goose Cafe'.

It's always good to get away for a few days to unwind, pray and generally chill out from the daily grind.... and what better place to do it than on Holy Island. The tide comes in and you're surrounded by water, with time, space and solitude if you so wish, to slow down and reflect about... well, you know.... stuff.

Being with others who are similarly occupied on a journey of faith can also be a valuable experience, with opportunities for discussion, prayer and input. We enjoyed the facilities and hospitality at Cambridge House, as well as excursions around the island to check out the local coffee shops and pub. More photos here.