Touching base in my hometown Newcastle

Finally having some ‘me’ time in my hometown Newcastle and catching up with family and friends. It should have been last week when I came north but that couldn’t happen because the car needed servicing. If I had been able to come last week I would have had five days here but unfortunately I only have  two days and so I’m striving to get around to seeing folks and also just touch base with my home town. As a boy the quayside played a big part in my life and now as a man I always feel the need to spend time there when I’m home.

 
Today I met up with a man who joined the Royal Navy around the same time as me and who has been reading my memoirs. His name is John (see photo below) and although we hadn’t met before we got on really well. Over a cup of tea on the quayside we talked for a couple of hours about life, loves and of course the Royal Navy before exchanging gifts; John gave me a book called Fish and Ships, the Royal Navy, and I gave him a copy of my cartoon book JL Against All Odds (you can read it here on my website). John is a wonderfully sensitive man who has supported many vulnerable people throughout his life and it was truly a pleasure for me to meet him. Thank you John for taking the time to say hello and let’s stay in touch 🙂
  
This weekend (3 April) is my beloved granddaughters 24th birthday and so I’m thrilled to be here for her special day. Having been the primary male in her life we are extremely close; as a child I took her everywhere with me in a papoose. What was really funny and yet very sweet today was that I needed some new clothes (jeans, jacket, tee shirt) and she chose them all for me 🙂 What was also lovely for me was that she took me to the Black Garter pub where she works and without question all of the regulars absolutely love her. I’m a very proud grandad. More photos will follow.

  

Old friends

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Really nice to meet up with my old friend and reader Brian Pears in Saltwell Park, Gateshead, while I was in the North East. As always we put the world to rights, in particular the education system and social care while we had a cup of tea. Newcastle truly does have talent! And what Brian doesn’t carry in that shoulder bag of his really isn’t worth carrying!

Naturally while in the North East we also caught up with my family Tracey, Bubbles, Mia, Elisha and Eden; great to see everyone x x CU all again real soon x x

My Art is on Twitter @AlanDDixon (Spailpinfanac)

With retirement looming it’s been really nice to have quite a lot of interest in my artwork (from around the world); having been a freelance artist for about 35 years I’ve always known I would never starve as long as I can use a pencil. Although I’m hoping (at some point) to upload all of my artwork here on my website much of my new art (for now) goes directly onto my Twitter account because of the ‘Arty’ connections on there. If you’re one of my Arty-type readers and want to see  new art as it happens please feel free to join me on Twitter @AlanDDixon (or just type in Spailpinfanac into the Twitter browser). Meanwhile here’s a few pix to brighten your day xcollage1 collage2 collage3

Images of Geordieland May 2014

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These days I often return home to Geordieland a few times a year and I’ve just had my 59th birthday there. Somehow I always find time to wander up the back streets because they bring back childhood memories for me. Although the cobble streets are now all covered in Tarmac and the coalie holes are all bricked up I still get a feeling of home there.
The coastal pictures were taken at Blyth, Northumberland, on quite a windy day but just to see the beach huts made the trip worthwhile. I’m very envious of people who have a beach hut.

Trevor Morpeth, a true blessing in my life

alan & uncle trevor

I spent years searching for him and wasn't disappointed 
when I finally did.It was like finding a piece of my own 
life's jigsaw that made sense of the whole messy picture. 
Charismatic and funny he took away a lot of the 
heartache I had carried around through not knowing what 
I desperately needed to know;  strangely his need to tell 
me was as strong as my need to listen to his every word. 

Before I met him he was my father's brother - the father 
who for fifty years I had mentally castigated and crucified 
for the disgraceful way he had treated his family. When I 
left - my father became Dad, a man who I could look up to 
and be proud to be called his son: and my Dad's brother 
became my uncle. My only uncle. Uncle Trevor. Someone who 
to me was almost like an older twin brother.

I was blessed to have spent time with my Uncle Trevor and 
loved our similarities - the cheekiness of his facial 
expressions, his sense of humour, his broad accent. When I 
walked into his home he almost collapsed thinking I was my 
Dad screaming 'Bloody hell it's Charlie!'. When he realised 
I wasn't we both fell about. 

I will be at his service on Friday in Geordieland, tucked 
quietly away somewhere among the gathered. It will be a 
flying visit for me, such is life, not just to pay my 
respects. But also to say thank you (with love x).

 

A nice thought to got to sleep on….

As a working artist for the past 35 years I don’t get too excited when people ask me if they can publish my artwork; if something to the good is going to happen then Jai Ho it will and it is always nice when it does. With retirement coming ever closer I must say I’m not adversed to picking up a pencil again and honing the old skills – after all a guy has to earn a crust.

Strangely enough my last post on here was about some old artwork of mine that I had dug out and said that I was going to digitalise although my reason for that was purely personal in that I could add said work to my on-line gallery. It seems that post must have pushed someone’s button as you can see from the pasting below. Maybe the natural flow of life is that as you get older you end up back at where you started from; those who have read my biography will know what I’m talking about – the boy with the crayons?

Anyway this particular magazine based in LA USA looks like a really great opportunity for friends on the other side of the pond (and beyond) to enjoy the scribbles and splashings of an auld Geordie Boy so I’ve replied to their mail. As soon as I know anything – you will.

 

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http://www.ArtQuenchMagazine.com likes your artwork! We would like tp publish your artwork and back story in AQM. Please contact us direct atsgates@ca.rr.com

When in Geordieland a warm coat is mandatory

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The thing about the North East is that if it’s cold in the south it’s flipping freezing up here. But the great thing about Primark, aka as Primarni, is that you can get a good quality coat at a reasonable price.

This little number I bought on a whim this morning for £35 and as well as it being ‘cool’ (according to both my daughter and granddaughter) its also lovely and warm. The only regret I have is that I didn’t put it on when I met up with my friend (and reader) Brian again in Saltwell Park this afternoon because although the sun was shining it was not warm by any stretch of the imagination.

So to all of my male readers, regardless of age, if two generations of the fairer gender (family members at that) are saying this product is cool then I highly recommend you get off to Primark with your £35.