"Earth’s distant orb appeared the smallest light that twinkles in the heaven; whilst round the chariot’s way innumerable systems rolled and countless spheres diffused an ever-varying glory. It was a sight of wonder: some were hornèd like the crescent moon; some shed a mild and silver beam like Hesperus o'er the western sea; some dashed athwart with trains of flame, like worlds to death and ruin driven; some shone like suns, and as the chariot passed, eclipsed all other light." From "Queen Mab" by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1813)

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Tog Love Frome

Long story short, Jonesey made me a toy dog one time and on the back she stitched “To G, love from E” or as I read it “Tog Love Frome”. So the dog’s called Tog and he loves Frome. We went to Frome yesterday and of course Tog had to come with us. He got very excited about a trip to his favourite place and insisted on having his photo taken by the sign as you enter the town.
Check out Jonesey's blog to find out more about Tog. We went to Frome largely because there was a vintage fair taking place and Jonesey wanted to check it out in case it was worth her doing it next time. I think it just might be. Here’s a splendid fellow in the entrance to the fair.
We both ended up buying a few rather marvellous items (not the fine fellow above unfortunately) and added to these when we scoured the town’s charity shops afterwards. A damn fine days thrift shopping! Here are some of the things I purchased.
Did you spot it? I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw it and it was only £2 as well. I’m pretty sure it’s an original 1969 commemorative mug but even if it’s not it’s still brilliant.
“The Eagle has landed”
Interesting that the mug refers to Aldrin as “Edwin Aldrin”, that makes me think this is a contemporary item. He got the nickname "Buzz" when one of his sisters mispronounced "brother" as "buzzer" which got shortened to Buzz. In 1988 he legally made Buzz his first name. And no, I am not watching that dancing with the stars thing even though he’s on it. Anyway, the name “Buzz” doesn’t appear on the mug.
“We came in peace for all mankind”
You have no idea just how excited I was when I saw this, I could not believe my luck. It’s so rare to find any space items at vintage fairs. Result!
It wasn't just space stuff though, I  also lived up to the name Jonesey calls me on her blog, Mr Kitsch when I came across these two fabulous items.
Happiness is a plastic pineapple and an old Mexican themed tin. I’ll be using these as part of the display when I finally get round to showing my artwork.
I also picked up a number of old black and white photos. I plan on sticking them in a book and making up stories to go with them. “Tales of Cactus County” maybe, we’ll see.

So a jolly good day out in Frome, wonderful things acquired and I dressed in vintage gear to get into the fair free. Some people will do anything to save a couple of quid. Tog Love Frome. Gary Love Frome. Everyone Love Frome. What’s not to like?

Suggested listening: “Project Infinity” by Man Or Astroman?


  1. Love it, love it, love it.

    Where do you keep all the junk, sorry, items that you are constantly picking up for a bargain ?

    Seriously though, you have such a talent for writing - why don't you do it professionally ? It could bring in a bob or two and then you could go to more fairs, buy more stuff, be inspired to write more blogs....ad infinitum. But then I would NEVER get anything done, so perhaps not.

    It appears we have more in common than just being family.....that WW1 project I mentioned was a purchase from Ebay of a photo album containing old black and white photo's! How weird is that? It contains pictures of soldiers/airmen from the Royal Flying Corps and arrived on Monday. I have spent the best part of this week researching the men in an effort to locate any of their descendants....which didn't leave a lot of time for blog-reading. Oh well.

    Looking forward to the next instalment.
    ( btw, where did the idea of Cactus County originate. Was it a love of all things Mexican, or a hatred - as in all the skulls? )

  2. Where do we keep all the stuff? Let's just say shelf space is at a premium.

    You should do a blog about the research you are doing, I’d love to read about all that. It’s really easy to set up and if you want any help just call me. The only problem I’ve found with it is that it’s very addictive.

    The whole Cactus County thing is quite a long story; you might want to get yourself a cup of tea first. You’ll be sorry you asked.

    It all started when I was getting fed up with doing the radio. Jonesey and I had been to a cafe where there were some truly dreadful paintings on the wall for sale at ludicrous prices. I said I could do paintings as bad as those and maybe earn some money doing it. Later we went to a gallery and saw some really brilliant, inspirational paintings. So I thought, why not?

    I’ve always liked skulls as an image and was drawn to the art of the Mexican Day of the Dead Festival, particularly the shrines people create in their homes. This connects with my love of folk and outsider art. At the time I was also reading about the Wild West, plus I’ve always thought it would be great to spend some time in the deserts of Arizona (the Arizona state flag is really cool looking too).

    I thought about making some Day of the Dead paintings but didn’t want to include all the religious iconography usually associated with it; it kind of goes against the grain, being an atheist. Not being able to use religious symbols in the works meant I had to come up with something else to paint alongside the skulls. So in place of crosses etc, I used western themes of cattle skulls, snakes and cactus.

    Put that lot into the mix and you get an idea for a secular community of scientists who set up residence in the desert of Arizona close to the Mexican border and who celebrate a secular Day of the Dead. The name Cactus County just seemed obvious; I didn’t really have to think about it. Don’t ask my other half about her online name, she spent ages and ages trying to come up with something and she’s still not entirely happy with it.

    Then I found out Arizona is quite a right wing, strongly religious state which didn’t sit comfortably with my utopian setting. New Mexico, however, is the ideal location; more moderate in its politics and religion, loads of desert, it shares a border with Mexico, has links to space exploration and other science based stuff (Los Alamos is in New Mexico), it has a very mixed community with a lot of Hispanic and First Nation peoples (fitting in nicely with them celebrating the Day of the Dead); and so Cactus County relocated to New Mexico, with a whole back story, characters, ideology and philosophy.

    Once I started painting I could not stop. The first thing I thought about when I woke up was painting and I stayed up till 2am doing it. I kept putting off my radio work and decided in the end something had to go. I wasn’t being paid for the radio and who knows, someone might want to buy one of my crazy paintings, so here I am. A mid life crisis I suppose. It might work out. I hope that answers your question. G x

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  4. Well thank you. I'm glad I asked.

    Here's another "btw".....did Elaine deliberately make Tog badly for effect,( I know what you two are like ) or is that actually her best work ? ( ouch....I can see myself being removed from the Christmas card list ). I'm intrigued......and definitely spending too much time on the computer.xx

  5. I left a word out and didn't spot it in the preview.....in case you were wondering.

  6. With the coat and scarf in the Frome photograph it looks like you were going to a Dr Who convention

  7. That's my fantastic retro shirt collar not a scarf. I wasn't really going for the Dr Who look but I see exactly what you mean. I thought I looked like an international jet setting playboy from the '60s. I got that wrong then didn't I.

  8. Yes Tog is meant to look like that, what are you saying? He's an exact replica of a Miniature Belgian Blue Button-Eyed Fabric Hound, correct in every detail. I think one of the breed won Crufts a few years back. I think it’s one of the best things Elaine’s ever done but you can check out her blog http://kitschandcurious.blogspot.com/ and her handmade Etsy site http://www.etsy.com/shop/nearlyteatime for some of her other work. She's a crafting art genius.

  9. Woah. Those Apollo landings mugs are the best. I’m really jealous.

    Great blog, Gary. More space on the interbox please!