Wednesday, 20 June 2018

A Chirpy Post


As we come to terms with our recent loss I’m going to try and lighten things up a little around here by posting a cheerier post...
Five years ago Mrs. Jones gave me a Wired Bird Box Camera System for Christmas comprising of a pine nesting box with inbuilt colour night vision camera that one hooked up to the TV allowing us to watch nesting birds in the comfort of our own living room! As we approached the nesting season I decided to not bother with the battery system and so acquired great length of cable and attached it to a power supply and attached the box to the side of our home following all of the RSPB’s guidelinestwo to four metres up a tree or a wall” “face the box between north and east, avoiding strong sunlight and the wettest winds” clear flight paths and not too close to feeding spots.... nothing, each time we tuned into our nest cam channel we would just see the occasional spider (if we were lucky!) and this was how it was for two years. 
On the third year I decided to have the bird box face north directly... nothing. We had effectively given up on it, occasionally toying with the idea of unhooking it and relocating it to another part of the house. We have an abundance of bird life here, House Sparrows, Chaffinches, Green Finches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Gold Finches, Robins and Siskins. They clearly appreciated the food we provided but didn’t seem to want to live here! 

Last December I attached a RSPB Window Bird Feeder to the studio window and before long I had pair of Blue Tits visit daily. An all too familiar “foomp” and I would look up from painting to see one (or both) in the window eating the peanuts or meal-worms provided, and their visits were always a welcome sight.
Then in May they seem to be visiting more often and on the 22nd of May I noticed that they seemed to be ‘hanging around’ a lot and so following a hunch I tuned in our bird-cam and to our absolute surprise and delight there was a nest with seven chicks in it! And for two joyful weeks Mrs Jones and I watched our family of Blue Tits thrive, we would sit in the living room cup of tea in hand and watch these small birds whoosh past the window before appearing like eagles on a large 28” screen feeding their chicks the live mealworms we provided them, both parents did us proud in the number of feeds and the way they maintained the nest. We learned a lot about this species as we watched them get bigger and fluffier and their eyes open and then on the 5th of June we thought they were going to fledge!
False alarm! We left them to it, but when we got up the next day they were gone! We must have missed them by an hour or so! We went outside to look out for them, nothing BUT on the 12th of this month I heard several chirps coming from the tree and there they were! Still being fed by the parents (who still made full use of our bird tables!) and I can report that as I write this I can still hear them out there! They really have been a joy to us and we hope they will stick around for years to come!         

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

RIP Wil 'Wil-Em' Roberts 1934 -2018


Another sad post I am afraid, as if losing my grandmother back in March wasn’t enough I lost my grandfather this weekend and as you can imagine losing two such important people to me in the same year (what would have been their 60th year of marriage) within a few months of each other to the same horrible condition has been heartbreaking. Although I mentioned how it was my grandmother that inspired me to become an artist, my grandfather played an equal part because my grandparents were very much a team, a veritable “dynamic duo” if you will, we would joke about how my grandmother was the captain and my grandfather was the helmsman and so I devote this post to taid* 


My grandfather driving the service bus circa. 1989
Role models are important for children and I always looked up to my grandfather. I admired both his sense of style, wit and humor. He loved a laugh and I owe my penchant for risqué jokes to him. Having driven haulage trucks and public transport buses for most of his life and toured the country in a caravan on days off it seemed like he had the entire A-Z Great Britain Road Atlas committed to memory and seemed to know every turning, point of interest and back road and was mildly disapproving of our use of sat navs when we embarked on our own travels. He was also a walking Good Pub Guide always keen to recommend a good chip shop, cafe or restaurant he had come across on his travels (no one could exaggerate the size of a steak like him!) what was particularly inspiring about him was the enjoyment he took from simple pleasures in life such as stopping at a chip shop and eating them in the car (my grandparents always kept salt and vinegar and cutlery in the glove box for just such an occasion.) Through the 80’s and 90’s he was a bus driver, a title he took seriously wearing the company tie with pride and  drove the public bus route and the school bus run and so he had my back at least 3 out of 5 days of the week. 
He would also be the driver on various private trips and outings and this is where he became the coolest grandfather ever, he would sometimes take us to these places! 

Because the bus drivers were responsible for bringing large groups of people to the theme parks and tourist attractions they were often treated like VIP’s being offered free lunches and free access to attractions (something he relished) and back in 1991 I was granted a day off school and was allowed to accompany him to Alton Towers where I learned that my granddad didn’t take himself seriously and was game for anything, riding on his first ever roller coaster The Alton Mouse he was terrified and he turned the air blue with profanity but he went on every single one with me (photo on the left was taken on the Black Hole) and I have never laughed so much in my life. 
When he retired he continued to enjoy life touring all over the country in their trusty caravan (sometimes pitching a caravan a mere 40 miles away) or pottering around in his tool shed trying out the latest power tool he had or growing tomatoes in his makeshift greenhouse. He had his own room in their house that we would joke was where he ‘hid’ from my grandmother, a ‘man cave’ before its time, equipped with a reclining easy chair and flat screen TV with full access to all the Sky Sports Channels. Living next door to my grandparents I would see him every day and I was always popping in for a chat, help him with the latest gadget that he couldn’t figure out or just put the world to rights. Although he didn’t always understand my work he was still supportive of it and when I became self employed he helped me set up my studio, constructed worktops and shelving and wired up all the sockets in a way that I seriously doubt UK Electrical Industry British Standards would approve! Although his final years were spent in a care home and it broke my heart not having him next door to us anymore I will always be grateful that although he wasn’t sure what was going on anymore he seemed, in his own way to be happy and laughing. To say I will miss him is an absolute understatement, he will always be in my heart and the next trip we take I will take the most secluded back road I can find, stop at the first restaurant and order the largest steak in him memory. I will miss you taid x

* Welsh word for grandfather

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Monster Memories: The Hebden Crypt Myth Legends & Horror


Here is a clipping from Look-In Magazine dates 4th of August 1990 encouraging readers to visit The Hebden Crypt Myth Legends & Horror an attraction which I must confess I have never heard of before! “If you’re one of those people who like having the pants scared off you, then you’ll love The Hebden Crypt, because its jam-packed with some of the creepiest things you’re ever likely to see” This museum of myths, legends and horror purported to have the sights sounds (and smells) of Victorian London as it tells the story of Jack the Ripper! It had a recreation of Vlad the Impaler’s Castle and offered the chance to “travel to the ancient Valley of the Kings in Egypt”  all that and a snack bar that offered the opportunity to “tuck in while you’re scared stiff!” and all for £1.80! I did a quick Google search and found some photos but very little information and so contacted the very helpful Hebden Tourist information who said it closed down 30 years ago, apparently someone had the best of intentions but it was, by all accounts “awful” a great shame, as I love stuff like this but it would seem that I was 30 years too late! Did you go? Were you involved? Can you shed some more light on this defunct tourist attraction?

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Arfon's 24 hour Shark A-thon makes the radio!


Like a Great White heading for the beaches of Amity Island my 24 hour Shark A-thon gathers momentum! This time I was on Aled Hughes's BBCRadio Cymru (Radio Wales) show to discuss shark movies and the challenge itself! I’ve been on the show a few times now and it’s always nice to chat with Aled and I thank all involved for allowing me the opportunity to tell everyone about my charity shark movie challenge. As ever our conversation has been posted on the BBC website (our conversation starts at 12:27) and as always I have transcribed/translated it for the benefit of all you non-welsh speakers!

Aled: “Now there are films about sharks... (Jaws theme plays) That’s the most famous one without a doubt, its great film, quite possibly one of the greatest movies ever but there are also some terrible ones and I am now going to say good morning to Arfon Jones. Arfon welcome”
Arfon: Good morning Aled how are you?”
Aled: “Very well thank you, why are you going to watch 17 of the worst shark movies in 24hours? Are you not going to bed?
Arfon: “No! I’m going to stay in my chair!
Aled: “Are you sure this is a good idea?!”
Arfon: “Errr, I’m beginning to wonder....But no! I’m going to try and break my own record by having 24hours-an entire day devoted to these films in the hope of raising as much money as possible for the Alzheimer’s Society”.
Aled: “hmmmmmm...yeah, Ok. It’s a good cause but how are you going to prove that you’ve done this?
Arfon: “Well, I will be on Facebook and I will keep a log if you will, adding  updates as the films start and there will be a clock next to the TV so everyone check the times, so they can be certain that the movie is running.”
Aled: “It’s for a good cause, have you done this before?”
Arfon: “I did one for Children in Need about two years back, where I watched all 12 Friday the 13th movies in one sitting and that took around twenty and a half hours to complete.”
Aled: “I’ve only read some of the titles and I don’t know how you’re going to stay awake! Mega Shark vs. Crockasaurus.
Arfon: “That one doesn’t sound so bad; I think that might be one of the better ones...”
Aled: “Raider of the Lost Shark"
Arfon: “There you go!”
Aled:House Shark
Arfon: “yup”
Aled: “Snow Shark....Where do you get these?!”
Arfon: “well, for some reason there seems to be a lot of them being released at the moment...But the list you have there now has been scaled down somewhat...”
Aled: (surprised) You have 17 movies on your list how many did you have originally?”
Arfon: “Originally I had over 20”
Aled: “So are these fairly new movies?”
Arfon:“Oh yes, I’d say that the oldest was released round fifteen years ago?  They have been slow, but I would say that that there has been a lot more of them in the last five years or so...”
Aled:” These must be awful Arfon?!”
Arfon: (chuckle) seems like it doesn’t it?!”
Aled: “Have you seen any of them?”
Arfon: “No not all of them, I’ve seen Shark Exorcist and er... Sharknado... Have you seen that that one?
Aled: “No, I haven’t if I’m honest.”
Arfon:” Imagine if you will eight or so tornadoes going on, hitting a city and they are all filled with sharks... So you’re not only dealing with the tornadoes your also dealing with sharks falling from the sky!
Aled:” I’ve never heard of such a thing!...”
Arfon: “There are four of them... “
Aled:” Four?”
Arfon:“Four movies in that series”.
Aled:” Is there?! What with the same premise?!”
Arfon: “Yes. Oh, my apologies there are five of them! Another was recently released!”
Aled: “I can’t believe it! I wish you all the very best with it, if you can stay awake it will be a challenge! And people can sponsor you? Can they do that through Facebook?
Arfon: “If they find me on facebook they will find the relevant links there. I’m doing this through Justgiving but they will find the link on Facebook and if everyone can give something that would be great!”
Aled: “Wouldn’t be easier to watch Jaws back to back for 24hours? You know... a good film?”
Arfon: “Well yes, I was going to include Jaws in the line-up but then I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to watch a film featuring a three headed shark...”
Aled:” Now I’m glad you didn’t include Jaws in the line-up! Arfon, thanks for the chat”
Arfon:” Thank you Aled. Take care!”

To sponsor me during my 24 hour Shark A-thon please follow this link and tell your friends!

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Outing 'N Abouting: The Heath Robinson Museum


Last week I finally had the opportunity to visit the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner. A museum dedicated to the work of one of my favourite artist/illustrators (you guessed it) Heath Robinson (1872–1944). When I first heard of plans to create this permanent exhibition of his work I was all for it! After all how many other artists can claim that their name is used to describe the appearance of something? After many years of hearing people describing something as “A bit Heath Robinson” I looked him up in the library and adored his work from then on. After following progress online about the proposed museum various events, donations from fans and residents, local businesses and the Heritage Lottery Fund helped make the museum a reality and it was opened by local author and children's writer Michael Rosen on 15 October 2016 and apparently it was the first London museum in over 40 years to be purpose-built in Greater London. I’ve mentioned the museum before, when they opened the museum a secret art sale was held offering 170 6”x 6” canvases for sale with all proceeds going towards the museum and I was artist number 58 donating a glow in the dark portrait of man himself. Sadly I wasn’t able to attend the opening ceremony so my visit last week was doubly special to me. So there you go, I’ve enclosed a small sample of photos please be sure to call in on them and see it for yourselves and show your support!



‘The one-piece chromium steel dining room suite’ (1936)  
‘Communal piano practice’ (1943)   
‘Consequences –How the thoughtfulness of a butterfly 
seriously affected the Bishop’s corn’ (1924)   

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Arfon's 24 hour Shark A-thon makes the front page!

Well, it's in the paper so it must be true! It's official, this July during Discovery Channel's Shark Week I Arfon Jones will be watching 17 shark movies in one-24 hour sitting for the Alzheimer's Society. The Cambrian news ran the story, here is the article written by Alex Jones.

MARATHON SHARK FILM CHALLENGE FOR CHARITY 
A SCI-FI fanatic cannot wait to get his teeth into a bizarre 24-hour challenge of watching 17 of the worst shark films his friends could think of back to back.
Arfon Jones, 39, an illustrator from Nefyn, has set himself the ‘sharkathon’ to raise money for a charity close to his heart.
All sponsorships and donations raised by Arfon’s challenge – which includes titles such as Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus, Raiders of the Lost Shark and Shark Exorcist – will go to the Alzheimer’s Society, an organisation which has supported his family in recent months. “On 25 July, during this year’s Shark Week, I will watch the worst shark movies ever made in one 24-hour sitting,” said Arfon, who created comic strip Vincent the Vulture for the Cambrian News 20 years ago. “So why am I doing this? Alzheimer’s is a terrible condition that affected both my grandparents and so I am doing this for my grandmother Marie Julia Roberts who died this year. “Both my grandparents had to go into homes. Had they still been together this would have been their 60th year of marriage.
“I wanted to support the charity because they are not only trying to find a cure but also work with people and family affected by the condition.”
For more information, or to donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/arfons24hoursharkmoviemarathon.

So there you go, please consider sponsoring me and supporting this worthy cause. Thanks to all that have and that have helped spread the word!

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Outing 'N Abouting: Geeks of Watford


Back from my travels, I was staying in Watford this weekend and was delighted to finally have a chance to visit Geeks on Queens Road! They have a vast array of toys both vintage and new and of course comics! 
Amongst all the back issues they had issues of Slaughterhouse Farm! 
I picked up a Tingha & Tucker TV annual and some A-Team and Knightrider stickers! Be sure to pop in and see them, its well worth a visit, tell them Arfon sent you!




© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

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