Sunday, 28 November 2010

Cheeky grey squirrel on the bird feeder

Getting video and music to work together is an art that I've not tried before.
Hat tip to film editors and soundtrack composers.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Old Cricket Pitch, Le Marchant: Scots Pines (1989)

Historical document.

When we first moved to our newly-built house in Devizes back in the late 80s, this was the view we had across the old cricket pitch at Le Marchant barracks.

No Crest development (Kingfisher Drive). No marina. No adventure playground. No Great Mills (Focus) DIY store and definitely no Lidl.

Just an overgrown abandoned cricket pitch complete with derelict pavilion and these magnificent Scots Pines. My intention was to photograph them forever, in all sorts of light and all sorts of weather.

Sadly they were snapped in half by the gales of January 1990. The same gales also flattened the double pair of conifers in the middle distance.

Montage of photos from same position.

Friday, 19 November 2010

The old cricket pitch

The old cricket pitch, originally uploaded by mike(toons).

Late yesterday afternoon I had a meeting with a young woman from Wiltshire Council's Countryside Team to discuss the future of our POS - Public Open Space - on the eastern side of Devizes.

Many years ago this space was the regimental cricket pitch for the army based at Le Marchant Barracks. When we first came to live in our new home, in the late 1980s, the derelict cricket pavilion was still standing - approximately where the hazel bushes are on the left of the photo.

The Crown/MoD owned most of the land around which was being sold to developers but the cricket pitch was protected under the local long term plan as POS. That didn't stop the developers from attempting a greedy land grab by submitting plans for 90 houses on the cricket pitch and it took a huge campaign to make sure the plans were overturned by a council planning meeting.

Once the dust had settled after that, the council - Kennet District Council - came up with an excellent solution of halving the area into a close-mown area for play and a wild, nature area which would, with the right management, become a glorious wildflower meadow. Between the two they sited an adventure playground.

So, in 1996, the Le Marchant Conservation Area was born and nearly 1000 trees and shrubs were planted around the edges.

The recent local government changes in Wiltshire means Kennet DC are no more and so it was with great relief I finally met someone from Wiltshire Council who understands how good the conservation area could be, what needs doing and who could help.

And I'm still proud of the fact that those 90 houses were never built.

PS The 'castle' on the right hand side of the photo is The Keep. A Victorian folly tower which guarded the entrance to Le Marchant barracks.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Roger Frames buys Budjit Games

Roger Frames - masthead, originally uploaded by mike(toons).

I've been scanning in old art commissioned by Commodore Format magazine in the early 1990s. At the time, Future Publishing was probably my best client and I was producing artwork for many of its magazines.

The regular project that I enjoyed the most was illustrating the pages where the low-cost (Budjit) computer games were reviewed by the fictitious young, accident-prone kid - Roger Frames.

Issue #1 of the magazine saw Roger in basic black and white line but very soon - by issue #4 - a couple of full colour illustrations of Roger's antics appeared every month. This increased to as much as four illustrations in some issues.

I've chosen a few of my favourites: some are scans from the printed magazine because the artwork was either not returned or been lost.

Roger Frames: All at sea
Roger Frames: All at sea, originally uploaded by mike(toons).
Roger Frames: Hospital Visit
Roger Frames: Hospital Visit, originally uploaded by mike(toons).
Roger Frames: Bad Sunburn
Roger Frames: Bad Sunburn, originally uploaded by mike(toons).
Roger Frames: Hanging On
Roger Frames: Hanging On, originally uploaded by mike(toons).
Roger Frames: Bath Tub Sub
Roger Frames: Bath Tub Sub, originally uploaded by mike(toons).
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