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I'm starting to get items that don't quite fit into any of my categories and I'm finding that 'whatsnew' is getting a bit messy. So I've decided to have a try at this. Don't expect frequent write-ups but I'll try to put something in at least once a month with links to longer pieces.


  3 March 2012

Lucian Freud

I went to the Lucian Freud       exhibition   at the National Portrait Gallery   yesterday. It was fantastic, that man was a genius.

I've managed to surf up some of the paintings that I liked but they don't do the originals justice.

This was my favourite. I liked this because although most of the paintings were of nudes, they could hardly be called sensuous but I think this one is. It's the artist's naked foot pressing on the tube of paint that I like.


Painter and model, 1986-7

The several studies of his mother were really good too. I like this one as it combines youth and old age, and has a beautiful rendition of the hands and a skewed perspective.


Large interior, W9, 1973

Also in the exhibition, were two photographs of Freud at work, one painting The Queen and the other painting David Hockney


Painting David Hockney


The finished article, David Hockney

David Hockney calculated that his portrait took 130 hours to complete. When Hockney did Freud, his portrait took two and a half hours.

What I liked about the second photograph, of Freud painting the Queen was that Freud had put on a suit to paint the Queen. But then the Queen had put on a tiara.


Painting the Queen, in a suit

I also enjoyed his last paintings, done when he was in his 80s. Especially the way his representation of the flesh mirrored the background of the sitter.


Freud and wallpaper become one

  1 March 2012


It's very nice to find the weather warming and a feeling of spring in the air. The grass also seems to be getting the same feeling as it has started to grow again. This is all very well but neither of the mowers I use at the allotment is operational. The bodywork on the Mountfield is OK but the engine doesn't work. Well the engine works but it is the pathetic recoil starter that has failed which amounts to the same thing. Frank's has a remarkable engine, its a Briggs and Statton, and starts first pull every time even though it lives under a leaky sheet on the allotment. Unfortunately, every time we use it, a bit more of the body falls off, to the point that it is getting to be dangerous.

My spring job has been to take the engine and grass catcher off Frank's mower and put them on our body. After all this, true to form, the Briggs and Stratten roared into life on the first pull. I'm hoping it will also enjoy having oil in its sump as well.


The disappearing body


Engine transfered and grass catcher installed


New brackets and block to hold the grass catcher

  26 February 2012

The 'doing' weekend

Last time Honda and Vikki stayed with us they said that sometime, they would like to have a proper go at spinning and turning, then we thought of some other things that they would like to do as well. The idea of a 'doing' weekend was born. Finally, we managed to find a weekend when we were all free and spent some time to-ing and fro-ing emails to choose our activities.

-----Original Message-----
From: vsmart86
To: Dr Tom Leadbeater ; Chris Leadbeater ; Honda Moose
Sent: Tue, 10 Jan 2012 9:12
Subject: Re: Doing weekend...

And what are we doing?? Suggestions include:

walking the dog... ?
baking bread
woodpecker song and other hearty (drunken) rhymes
driiinnnnkkkkiiinnggg as well then
some sort of garden related 'bowls' game - botcha

We convened Friday evening and settled into a Greek meal with a metze of:
Hummous, guacamole, Kalamata olives, Greek salad and home made Bread . This was followed by a Mousakka and accompanied by Retsina for those who like it, and red wine. Retsina may be an acquired taste but there are those who like it a lot despite the difficulty of enumerating its bottles.

Saturday was a workshop day with an evening meal of asparagus starter followed by roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. allotment cabbage, frozen beans and roast potatoes.

Sunday the dog got its walk, or more properly, Honda got his! Josie set off at a great rate with Honda hanging on for dear life to her lead, his black coat last seen disappearing into the far distance of Worminghall Road with his little leggies trailing behind.


Thomas shows Honda the correct angle for the roughing gouge


Off he goes, chips a-flying


Vikki takes on the great wheel


Followed by the bobbin and flyer wheel


Then a quick outing to the allotment to give my gnome a view of the work he has to do


Evening meal

Our summer parties usually end with the 'late night crew' sitting round the fire and entertaining themselves in a good old fashioned way, without a television. This always includes a round or two of 'Prince of Wales' We are pretty pathetic at this but it's always good noisy fun with lots of elbow pointing , accusation and outright confusion. The links are to two websites with the rules of this game which used to be a regular feature of fraternity parties in the 60s when I was at Cortland.

Also mixed in with this are renditions of old rugby songs, which I learned learned during a misspent youth playing rugby [badly] at Winnington Park Rugby club when I was 16. The woodpecker song being a particular favourite. This linkincludes an MP3 so you can sample it for yourself, [mercifully]


I shoved my finger in a woodpecker's hole,
And the woodpecker said, "God bless my soul,
Take it out, take it out, take it out,

I removed my finger from the woodpecker's hole,
And the woodpecker said, "God bless my soul,
Put it back, put it back, put it back,

Other verses:
Replaced/turn it round/REVOLVE IT!
Revolved/turn it back/REVERSE IT!
Reversed/in and out/RECIPROCATE IT!
Reciprocated/speed it up/ACCELERATE IT!
Accelerated /slow it down/RETARD IT!
Retarded/once again/REPEAT IT!
Repeated/twist it round/RE-ARTICULATE IT!
Re-articulated /let it go/RELEASE IT!
Released/pull it out/RETRACT IT!
Retracted/the other hole/RE-ALIGN IT!
Re-aligned/pull it out/REMOVE IT!
Removed/take a whiff/REVOLTING!

Also, not related but requested, were the words for the 'unobservant birds' poem. Whenever tw or sj passed by something that I thought they should have noticed I would remark, 'What these unobservant birds have never noticed is that.....' As I re-call, this was quoted as recently as last summer on Cribbit's summer cruise.

The full version is:

The Common Cormorant -- Christopher Isherwood

The common cormorant (or shag)
Lays its eggs in a paper bag,
The reason you will see, no doubt?
It is to keep the lightning out.

But what these unobservant birds
Have never noticed, is that herds
Of wandering bears with buns
Come steal the bags to hold the crumbs.

  10 February 2012


I have been working on tw's clock these last few days. It was made by our ancester Thomas Leadbeater, though he spells his name 'Ledbeater'. Spelling has never been a strong thing with us Leadbeaters, well this one anyway.

My parents bought the clock for me when I was in the States and it was in a very sorry state when they got it. Like many longcase clocks, it had been 'adapted' to fit in a damp, low ceilinged cottage. This had been done by roughly sawing off the bottom of the case and then nailing ordinary softwood skirting board to the bottom to cover the wet rot and woodworm damage. It was missing winder, pendulum, weights and one weight pulley. Luckily, my father had 'modernised' his old longcase clock by replacing the mechanical movement with a nice plastic electric quartz one. This meant that pendulum, weights and winder were surplus so were soon commandeered for my clock.

At the time, we were living at Rookery Cottage and that had the same problem of low ceilings. As I had to replace the whole of the bottom of the clock, I made it so that the clock would just fit between the floor joists at the cottage. In truth I also spaced the joists with the clock in mind.

Once tw bought his own house the clock went with him but as his ceilings are quite high it always looked out of proportion. We kept saying that 'one day we will do something about the bottom of that clock'. Well that time has come! Last week I made a base to extend the bottom section and it now looks better proportioned.

This was also a good opportunity to repair and replace several other bits of unsatisfactory casework. Like door hinges, door lock and bits of moulding.

The movement had also suffered over the years and cleaning and re-assembling it has occupied me these past two days. I'm now waiting for some replacement parts to complete the job. Expect another post when it has all been done.

The movement was reduced to a pile of cogs and spindles and then scrubbed in household ammonia followed by a chromic acid bath.


A pile of bits


Putting it back together


Plate back in place


The whole movement re-assembled

  4 February 2012


The re-modelling of the bathroom and lobby with several new doors has necessitated the turning of new knobs to fit them. This has triggered Rosemary to express her disapprobation of all the 'phallic' shaped ones that grace other locations in the house. Now, I would be the first to admit to her much greater cognisance of knobs and their diverse shapes than ever I could aspire to myself. So I must bow to her greater knowledge and merely wonder at the many sacrifices she must have made to gain such comprehensive knowledge.


This one does for our door knocker


Hard won knowledge


Hat and coat pegs


Bedroom hangers


Shaker hangers


New bathroom cabinet knob

Bearing in mind her strictures about the shape of new knobs I crafted this one pudentically.


Pudentic knob


  7 January 2012

Introducing LEXA LEA!

Our family gatherings are always enlivened when Alex is with us. Her good humour and zany gifts providing much amusement. My mother, despairing that she hadn't got a REAL job, variously remarked: 'That girl should go on the stage' and 'It's a shame that she can't find a job where dressing-up is a requirement.'
I don't think my mother had heard of Disney World.

Well it has finally happened! Alex has been doing Sally Holloway's Comedy Course which finished with her end of course stand-up act in Hastings on 22nd November.

And now you can see her for yourselves on youtube .

And she is still here on her own page at cribbit.net.

Alex sings the mop

Alex sings the mop

 Home Alex & Peter Allotment Boating Catslide Computing Cooking on Cribbit Little Old Man Weekly Ben and Becky Mouldy Oldies Natural Philosophy Parties Recipe list Sj visits theBloG Walking Wedding What's new