Vets, veterans, Victoria or Virginia?

There is no clue to tell me anything about this next picture except that it is signed VA (hence the title of this post – work it out).
It is a charming pastel drawing of somewhere in England, I suspect. I thought it might be this famous street in Shaftesbury, Dorset:

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But no, I don’t think it is. I can’t find any similar looking timber framed buildings, on a hill, with a view and so this one will just have to remain a mystery. As will the artist VA whoever you are.

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It only cost £2.99 and for that price you can’t have everything!

No wocca!

According to the Urban Dictionary this is the slang for ‘No worries’ or ‘No problem’. However, according to same dictionary, ‘wocca, wocca, wocca’ means the same as ‘yada, yada, yada’ which means ‘Not interested’.
Wocca was also the name of the Saxon chieftain who owned much of the land in and around Wokingham and Wokefield in Berkshire and Woking in Surrey.
So now we have wocca’d all that out let’s go on to the next picture. This is a numbered and signed print by William Thomas of Wokingham Town Hall. Here is a photo of the town hall:

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Here is the painting:


A pretty good likeness. The artist is, I think, the same William Thomas that produced this illustrated map of the River Thames:

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A copy of this hangs in my own hallway!
His website seems to be down at the moment but you can see this map and read a bit about him by going to: http://www.riverthamespath.co.uk/the_artist/

A Pig in a Poke

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Back in the Middle Ages meat was scarce and piglets were sold in a bag (a poke from the French word poche). Thus, it was easy to be tricked and to buy something else, like a cat for example. The French phrase ‘acheter un chat en poche’ is the equivalent to buying ‘a pig in a poke’ or being tricked in to buying something without knowing its true value.

This next picture is a rather nice little print of two sleeping pigs and entitled “Snoozing”. It is not numbered and is signed by Laura Phillips. I have no idea of its true value, or indeed what was paid for it, but what you see is what you get so it is no pig (or should I say pigs) in a poke!

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Anyone who had a heart

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Dusty Springfield (above for those of you NOT of a certain age) ended her days in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire where they still celebrate Dusty Day every year. Some of her ashes were buried in the main churchyard of that town and some were taken by her brother, Tom, to the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland. The cliffs are situated on the south western edge of County Clare. Here is a photo.

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This next watercolour is entitled Summer Haze, Cliffs of Moher, County Clare. It is dated 1st July 1991 and the artist is Philip Gray. Philip Gray has a website www.philipgray.com
He is an interesting man as well as a fine artist and I suspect his paintings sell for a lot more than we paid for this:

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I’m a Wishin’ and Hopin’ we find it an appreciative new home.

Civilisation and Elephants

Jean de Brunhoff was the creator of the Barber books back in 1931 and lived for a while in a small town on the French Riviera called Saint Maxine.

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In his book he sent Barber to the big city to learn the “benefits” of civilisation which the elephant then took back with him to the jungle. Nowadays we might find that idea quite amusing, to say the least. We might also find it quite offensive as some said it could be interpreted as a justification for colonialism. Why does Barber wear clothes for example? I hope we have moved on since 1931.

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Saint Maxime (above) is situated between St Tropez and Frejus and looks a very attractive town by the Mediterranean. This next watercolour is signed Eykyn and dated 1988. The title is Sainte Maxime and it is beautifully drawn and painted. It conjures up the sight and sounds of a busy French town – very atmospheric.

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Moth before the Storm

is the title of this next oil painting by B A Redpath and dated 3rd June 1988.

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I got in touch with The Tiger Club to see if they could tell me anything about the above Tiger Moth aeroplane because in the painting the Tiger Club’s logo appears on the tail fin. Apparently this particular plane was never a Tiger Club plane but I was told to Google GINFO in order to identify it and here it is:

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The last Certificate of Airworthiness was dated 2007 but as I don’t know how long one lasts I have no idea whether this plane is still flying or not. I hope someone is looking after it and has given it a good home just as I hope this painting will find a good home too.

From the Mountains to the Moon

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Who would have thought that the humble Burdock Burr (above) would have inspired something invaluable to astronauts and school boys alike? Well it did and here is how.

In 1941, Georges de Mestral (1907-1990) lived in a town in Switzerland called Aubonne and one day he went in to the Alps, with his dog, to go hunting. On his return he noticed that his clothes, and the dog’s fur, were covered in burrs. He took a burr and looked at it under the microscope and that is when he had his eureka moment. After much derision Georges developed his idea and won a patent for it in 1955. What was his idea? Velcro! The last Space Shuttle flew with over 10,000 inches of it on board!

This is a view of Aubonne. You can see Lake Geneva in the background.

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This is the same view done in pastels by someone whose name I can’t read but I could read Aubonne which was lucky because it gave me something to go on. I paid £2.95 for this lovely picture and it was worth every penny for all that research.

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P.S. Is there a school boy out there that still knows how to tie a shoe lace?