I paint like a 4 year old?

Well that is what I would have told you yesterday! I am quite good with crafting and can confidently sew, knit and decorate. I am happy painting walls or wood but “proper art” has always scared me. My art lessons at school consisted of 2 years age 11 -13 with Mr Hodgkinson. We drew pencil sketches of a bowl of fruit for what seemed like weeks on end and if the weather was good we went out into the playing fields to draw trees. I remember we had to work in complete silence or risk the blackboard eraser being thrown at our heads and Jonathan Kirby being tied to a stool with electrical wire because he wouldn’t sit still. British education in the early 1980’s did not really fill me with enthusiasm for the subject. Fast forward 30 years and I found The Paint Republic  They started 2 years ago following the trend for “paint and sip” parties which has become very popular in the U.S. and Canada. I was lucky to be invited to their launch party in Bath and even better it was being held in a pub! Hall & Woodhouse

We were met by the team at 6.45 pm with a glass of prosecco, given an apron and the scary blank canvas. img_1306

Our tutor was miked up and took us through each stage of the picture, one colour at a time while blasting out party music and telling some bad jokes. We were just in the back of the pub so regular customers wandering past were as amazed as we were by what we were doing. If you wanted to you could stuff food from the bar or sup on a pint while you worked. I did think it too risky for me as I would have ended up washing my paint brush out in a g & t. The first hour whizzed past and we then had a quick canvas drying session (waving the painting up and down to Erasure) and a 10 min break.

The second hour we worked on the details, mainly in black and before I knew it we had finished. Our tutor was so enthusiastic, running around our work stations, telling us how brilliant we all were and encouraging us to freestyle. The evening was incredibly good fun and I still can’t quite believe I created this.img_1321img_1325

The next public event in Bath is February 15th 2017 Events and costs £25 to book a place. Factor in you don’t need to provide any materials and I think this is really good value. They also run private events for groups of 15 -80 people so if you need something new for your club or group do give them a shout.

( or t 07861 295124 / 07920 013062.)


Back to Black (& White)

Currently a television license costs £145.50 for a colour and £49.00 for a black and white. Back in 2005 we changed our TV to a small B&W portable, the type people used to keep for the bedroom or caravan. When I phoned up the TV License people to change the lady said I was the first customer she had ever had to do this for! At almost £100 a year between the two license fees by next year we will have saved almost £1000.

As at 31 March 2013, 12,076 black and white (mono) TV Licences were in force (figure from TV Licensing) and  25,338,330 licenses issued in total.

I read a book about a chap with a smallholding who commented on people asking him how he managed to get so much done. to which he simply replied “I don’t have a television” and that got me thinking about what a time-waster it can be and could we go without? The decision was made to switch to B&W. You can not buy B&W televisions new any more so we had to search the second hand market and now have a couple of spares in the loft, just in case our current one dies. We are using a lovely red Hitachi set, with a dial tuner. It is rigged up to a Goodmans digibox so the channels are changed via the digibox remote control. There are a few digiboxes with aerial connections, which is good as the TV we use has no scart connection. The television is also connected into the stereo speakers so has excellent sound.


Just turning down the colour on a colour set doesn’t count. If you have the ability to watch in colour then you still need a colour license.

We are not technophobes, we have just found the programmes we watch are just as good without colour. I would still be reluctant to go TV free……lunchtime without Bargain Hunt? no way.

If we do need a colour fix then we watch using iPlayer, 4od etc. Provided you don’t watch “live” broadcasts in colour then using the computer or laptop is fine.


People either totally get it or want to offer us old colour sets they have, missing the point completely. Could you go TV free? Could you go back to black & white? How could you use the extra time gained from not watching so much TV?