Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Art or plumbing

Here's a nice little arrangement I present to you as an Art Installation.

In this case it is a permanently fixed plumbing installation* It represents life and death, and the security of home versus the unknown possibilities of the world outside.

If you wish to buy this piece you will have to buy the house as well, which will provide an excellent context and display space.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Art at any price

Now this is art, I think.

It shows artifice, and the craftsman's hand. It is satisfying to look at and touch. Oh, and it's shiny as well.

Art is supposed to make you feel something, and in that task it generally succeeds. 

Particularly when you see the price.

Monday, 29 July 2013

But is it Art?

Sometimes I can spot art immediately. There is something pleasing about a particular shape or a juxtaposition of colours.

There is something that says "yes, I could live with that item on a daily basis" because it shows artifice (in it's original meaning).

Here is a particularly pleasing piece. by Theo Gayer Anderson

I rather like the precision in the intersecting forms. 

Perhaps it appeals to the Artist in the Engineer in me.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

What is Art?

I was going to name this short series of blogs "A+E: The Artist and the Engineer". 

So, why is Art so different to Engineering? 

Well, Art is always good art. There's no such thing as bad art, because it all lies in the eye of the beholder. There is, however, bad engineering. A badly engineered thing just won't work, and everyone would see that. 

Therefore I maintain it is more difficult to be an Engineer than a Artist.

To prove this I shall create some art of my own. All I have to do is make an arrangement of items and (in this case) light and photograph it carefully, then declare it to be Art.

Here is one I did recently: 

BTW. I would sell you this piece of art, but trust me, you couldn't afford it.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Old Cotswolds

We find ourselves in Burford, in 1987.

Another shot for the record that had little significance then, but is a small historical document these days. The garage must have been one of the last with pumps on the high street dispensing petrol without all the safety measures we have these days.

As you can see, in those days petrol cost 38 pence per litre (or £1.75 per gallon if you didn't understand this new fangled stuff). Fill up your Alfasud if there's a space.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Fishing in the Bath

Two blokes perched precariously in the weir under Pultney Street bridge in Bath. 

This was actually thirty five years ago. Not much has changed in terms of architecture, which is a comfort.

I wonder if they still stand in the river these days?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


It's 1973, and you can walk right up to the stones at Stonehenge if you want to.

Go there in December and you find the place deserted. 


Monday, 22 July 2013


Here are a pair of flower pictures. Nothing special really, but the first one was taken with a 30 year old lens which can still produce the goods on a modern digital camera. It is plenty sharp where it needs to be and the out of focus areas are beautifully smooth. Well done Tamron.

And the second picture shows the power of context in an image. It's a rose, but it's a tiny rose (either that or I have giant hands...)

Friday, 19 July 2013


Ah, the serried ranks of the departed wait patiently in the Victorian churchyard. It must be a bit like waiting for the next bus. 

Will there be queues in Heaven I wonder?

Click for larger image.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Every Picture

Maria died in Bengal while her husband was governor there. At twenty three she was too young to have witnessed the terrible massacre that took place some thirty years earlier (look up Cawnpore on Wikipedia).

Joseph went on to design the gas alarm used in the Trenches. His father was the vicar at this rural Victorian church. That's why she has a window here.

Isn't the Internet great for discovering stuff like this.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Mist it

Here is the sort of weather we haven't been having recently. Just to keep a balance really...

By the way. An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman went into a bar, and I followed them in. Nothing witty or amusing happened. 

I am starting suspect that comedians just make things up.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Round Frog

Every red blooded male should do a little bricklaying now and then. Churchill became so good at it he joined the Guild of Bricklayers.

I have been fixing bits of the garden again with mortar and bricks. The thing that worries me is these round frogs. Why do some bricks have the rectangular prism form on one side? Why do some have three holes that go all the way through?

Is it not a big waste of mortar filling these holes? Perhaps you are not supposed to fill the holes. Is it so you don't have to waste time placing the brick the right way up?

Answers on a hod please.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Chill out

Twenty nine of your Celsius degrees is forecast. Is that too hot for you? 

Perhaps this will help you chill out:

The day I took this picture it was probably an uncomfortable minus three degrees with a twenty mph wind.

We are not very well adapted to the universe, temperature wise, are we? For us, too cold is 270K and too hot is 300K. When you consider the Sun's corona temperature exceeds a million degrees K, perhaps we should get out more.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Young People


Young people these days: So tall, so self assured, so talented, some of them...

Where's the crippling self doubt we grew up with? Where's the fear of failure and parental judgement? Where's the threat of a failed eleven plus, two poor 'O' levels, and an apprenticeship up t'mill as a grime fettler?

But then again where are spelling, arithmetic, pronunciation and grammar for that matter?

Sunday, 7 July 2013



For the third time in two weeks a shop tried to overcharge me yesterday. The lad at Homebase entered ten bags of mortar not two. These are just the occasions I have noticed, who knows how many times it happens when I don't notice.

In the past the shop assistant would know the price of each object, or look at the sticker and press the buttons on the till. Hopefully they would realise that £67 is rather a lot for a bag of mortar.

These days everything gets scanned with the ubiquitous bar code reader. Your credit card gets scanned by the inevitable card reader. You press the buttons while they wrap the purchases and you leave.

No-one looks at the prices any more.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Context again

Make your pictures tell a story. Try to place the subject in some sort of context and give the viewer a hint of what is going on. It doesn't matter how slight the hint is.

In fact when it comes to hints, sometimes less is more. Make your audience work.

Click on the Context label to the right to see moron this subject.

Thursday, 4 July 2013


As poor as Church Mice....

Well just to prove that Church Mice are alive and well, here are two busy studying the roof.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013



Do not light candle near paper or flammable decorations. Keep at least twelve inches between lit candles. Do not leave candles unattended near children. Candle may burn for several hours. Do not light candle upside down. Do not eat candle. Candles produce and use hot wax. Flame may be hot. Do not float candle on pool of petrol. Do not place candle inside bag over your head. Do not inhale or attempt to eat flame. Do not extinguish with water cannon or Hydrogen gas. For external use only. 

Warning: This candle gives off light.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


A Russian rocket carrying satellites failed to make orbit today, apparently. Lauching things into space has become so mundane these days the the occasional failure grabs the headlines. 

Before GPS and all this satellite foolishness we found our directions by much more basic means. Here we see the Compass, Marching, Army, Mk1

Back in the Sixties you could but this sort of stuff in WD surpus shops. they were all over the place. You don't see them these days, which is a pity. As a kid I recall them being full of loads of fantastic if useless stuff, still covered in greaseproof paper.

BTW. How does GPS work anyway? It is impossible isn't it. Answers on a postcard please.