Originally posted on First Night Design:

School stories have always been popular and continue so to be. When I was a child, my contemporaries and I were suckers for Elinor M Brent-Dyer‘s Chalet School series. Some of us went for Enid Blyton; although I read the likes of Malory Towers, I was not enamoured. It was Summer Term at the Chalet School or Mary-Lou of the Chalet School that consumed me.

You're a Brick, Angela!You’re a Brick, Angela! by Mary Cadogan

‘You’re a brick, Angela!’ became a well-known expression symbolising such stories, which were published by Angela (pronounced ‘brazzle’) Brazil and many others. Brazil was one of the first to breach the overwhelming prominence in the marketplace of ‘improving’ books for children. While now we consider her tales quaint, out-dated and clichéd, their influence on other writers was profound. They were devoured at the time although there were some who felt the books were immoral…

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I’ve been playing at Grand Central Station. Using a photograph of the concourse and one of a red sky scene, both from Unsplash, I added a texture from Kim Klassen to create a painted effect which reminds me a little of L S Lowry. I should be so talented!

“The long days seduce all thought away, and we lie like the lizards in the sun, postponing our lives indefinitely.”
― Elizabeth SmartBy Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept

Available at the following galleries:
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Take care and keep laughing!


“When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.”
― John WyndhamThe Day of the Triffids

If my father had appeared in the film version of John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids (1963), I could probably recount some interesting story about filming that has never before been published. But he didn’t. He did, however, have a part in the adaptation of Village of the Damned (1960). But I know nothing of his experience in that film!

Birth of a Triffid is my idea of how these monsters start life and bears no resemblance to any triffid living or dead. Just so’s you know.

Available at the following galleries:
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Take care and keep laughing!


A Thousand Thanks 3 Ring Binder
A Thousand Thanks 3 Ring Binder

Take care and keep laughing!


First Night Design:

Christopher John Ball hits the nail on the head about bullying of the disabled. As I have commented on the original post, my disability is not as obvious so that while I have not experienced some of the extreme circumstances he details, I do get that low-level, unwanted, attention which wears me down. Makes you ashamed to be a human being when there are fellow humans behaving like this! My condition is only part of who I am but it nevertheless informs most things I do and many of my ideas about life, justice and equality. The Coalition has done irreparable damage to our lives with their wholesale demonisation, not to mention their benefit sanctions. and I’m sick of an unelected government that not only lacks compassion but is hell-bent on enriching ‘them’ at the expense of ‘us’. It is criminal. It has to stop.

Originally posted on Christopher John Ball:

boots_2015_MINI_3“Asylums with doors open wide,
Where people had paid to see inside,
For entertainment they watch his body twist,
Behind his eyes he says, ‘I still exist.’” – Atrocity Exhibition – Joy Division

It is sad to say that many of us who have a disability or impairment will be able to recall experiences of having been bullied, picked on, singled out and abused, both verbally and physically, as we go about our lives. Would it be fair to say that we often take this abuse as being a ‘normal’ part of our daily routine, experiences that we have perhaps come to expect and, in the eyes of many as I will explain, something we should ‘put up’ with?

The ‘incident’ that inspired this article occurred on Saturday 14th March 2015. My partner and I were waiting to catch a train to Euston from Watford High Street Overground Station…

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First Night Design:

A quote by Padgett Powell (I’ve now got to look up who he is from Adam!) from The Muscleheaded Blog that made me hoot with laughter and recognition.

Take care and keep laughing!


Originally posted on The Muscleheaded Blog:


“Try to recall the person you thought you were,
and the moment you began to realize you are not that person, and then try to grasp and appreciate the high quality of lunacy required for you to have ever thought you were that person.”

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‘The confluence of perhaps the most exotic cultures in the world exist right here in this pink city. Arabian, African, and European influences are found in the streets, its inhabitants, and its monuments.’ Sensational Colour

Marrakesh Arches Greeting Cards

I went to Morocco in 1986. A week in Agadir was not the delight my then boyfriend and I had hoped. The sky was grey, the beach was grey, and the sights were grey. We hadn’t realised that the earthquake of 1960 had destroyed so much. According to BBC News, it was the deadliest in Moroccan history.

The rebuilding was typical 1960s fare and depressing beyond belief.  Marrakesh, however, proved to be a highlight and we spent two days and nights taking in the lemons, pinks and ochres of the buildings and the souks, and bought endless supplies of saffron. We also tried to sell my chap’s wilful, spoilt and selfish daughter for a couple of camels. The Arabs didn’t want to endure her temper tantrums any more than I did. Shame!

Marrakesh Arches
Marrakesh Arches Throw Pillows

Available at the following galleries:
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Take care and keep laughing!


I've no idea what Ron's soup looks like but here's an approximation from Wikimedia!

I’ve no idea what Ron’s soup looks like but here’s a rough guess from Wikimedia!

Originally posted on Ron’s Rants

The soup will be puréed so no need to be obsessive about cutting up the veg**. For a veggie version just omit the chicken cube and the bacon.

**But see Update footnote.


500g (pack weight), Leeks, trimmed, halved lengthways, washed if needed, and sliced across

3 Sweet Spear carrots, sliced

3 rashers Sainsbury’s Butcher’s Choice Sweetcure unsmoked back bacon, fried in a little oil, cooled and chopped into small pieces. Retain the oil.

2 Kallo organic veg cubes, softened among the leeks

1 Knorr chicken cube, grated

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 litre of bean stock, if you have it. If not, boiling water. Bean stock is light on flavour but will contain nutrients from the beans

½ litre boiling water…

Read original: Leek, Potato, Bacon, and Soya Bean Soup… | Ron’s Rants…

First Night Design:

My niece flew back to London and university yesterday and I miss her beautiful and savvy countenance. Needless to say, I have a lot of catching up to do! In this reblog, Serena Trowbridge casts her eye upon our (UK) political leaders’ choice of ‘favourite’ poems. Interesting!

Originally posted on Culture and Anarchy:

In yesterday’s Sunday Times, Andrew Motion, in his role as head of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, writes about party leaders’ reluctance to commit to protecting greenbelt land. He also asks them for their favourite poems about the countryside. (You can read more about Motion’s interviews with the party leaders here). Their responses were:

David Cameron: Gray’s ‘Elegy

Nigel Farage: George Meredith, ‘The Lark Ascending

Natalie Bennett: Aemilia Lanyer, ‘Ode to Cooke-ham

Ed Miliband: Blake’s ‘Jerusalem

Nick Clegg: Blake, ‘Eternity

20130722-095212-PM.jpgCameron’s choice of Gray’s poem is not remarkable; he commented that it is a ‘magical’ poem which was a leaving present from his school – not surprisingly, since both were Eton men. The poem was once voted the UK’s most popular poem, and was also Gordon Brown’s favourite poem, though he more perceptively commented that the poem…

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Originally posted on First Night Design:

I have had a relaxing Sunday morning creating new cushions for my store and enjoying every moment of it. There are certain products available at Zazzle to which I enjoy adding my art more  than others.  Cushions — or pillows, I understand, if you’re from the US — are one such. This may be because my life depends on cushions if I am to avoid serious pain and discomfort. It may also be because cushions do so much to alter a room. After all, it’s cheaper than painting or decorating if you long for a change!

Girl on a Bicycle
Girl on a Bicycle

The Smoking Concert 
The Smoking Concert

Take care and keep laughing!

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First Night Design:

One from the archive while I continue to enjoy the company of my beautiful niece.
Take care and keep laughing!

Originally posted on First Night Design:

Welcome to followers old and new and thank you for all your lovely ‘likes’!

Take the Cow by the HornsTake the Cow by the Horns © First Night Design

As soon as I saw this cow among the archives at The Library of Congress, I was smitten.  Wouldn’t you be?  Look at her eyes.  There’s an animal you wouldn’t dream of messing with but the expression is so direct that she holds you in her gaze without allowing you to look away.  I may have called the piece Take the Cow by the Horns but I would not recommend it!


I created the setting by adding a background from Asunder Ephemera and used Photoshop to adjust the colours and tones until I felt I had done her justice.

The cow has an interesting provenance, coming as she does from a scrapbook of illustrations that were collated by Hans Christian Andersen and A L Drewsen…

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First Night Design:

I’m still enjoying a high old time with my niece so here’s a reblog from Acton Books which happens to mention First Night Design!
Take care and keep laughing!

Originally posted on Actonbooks:

We are on a journey to find out why the word ‘interesting’ took on a special meaning for a short time between about 1800 and 1850 — and a meaning never yet defined in any dictionary.

The epithet ‘interesting’  was used a lot during those years. It seems, in context, to describe a characteristic of children of both sexes up to adulthood. Grown-ups may be many things, but they are not classed as ‘interesting’. When the word is used in newspaper reports it is left unexplained, though probably about personality; sometimes other words such as ‘pretty’, ‘intelligent’ and so on are also used. If anything, ‘interesting’ has a positive tone, though often a melancholy one, describing as it did remembrance of a dead child.

Take as an example the death in 1830 of Edward Turner Mercer, “an interesting boy, aged about six”. First he was thought to have been stolen…

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Originally posted on stuartshieldgardendesign:

918rexwhistlerAN12636718pgs-146147-HILL-Sitem1.rendition.slideshowVertical.rex-whistler-exhibition-2NPG x40681; Rex Whistler; Gerald Tyrwhitt-Wilson, 14th Baron Berners; Oliver Hilary Sambourne Messel; Cecil Beaton by Cecil Beatonpreview_Fitzroystudio

Reginald John “Rex” Whistler (24 June 1905 – 18 July 1944) was a British artist, designer and illustrator.


Reginald John Whistler was born in Britain on 24 June 1905, at Eltham, Kent, the son of Harry and Helen Frances Mary Whistler. In May 1919 he was sent to boarding school at Haileybury, where he showed a precocious talent for art, providing set designs for play productions and giving away sketches to prefects in lieu of “dates” (a punishment at Haileybury, similar to “lines” whereby offenders are required to write out set lists of historical dates).

After Haileybury the young Whistler was accepted at the Royal Academy, but disliked the regime there and was “sacked for incompetence”. He then proceeded to study at the Slade School of Art, where he met Stephen Tennant, soon to become one of his best friends and a model for some of the figures in his…

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First Night Design:

I’m having a sublime time with my eldest niece who is over here from England. In the meanwhile, here’s a reblog of my punctuation post. Take care and keep laughing!

Originally posted on First Night Design:

‘Shell-like’ refers to a person’s ear. It has been in use since the late 19th century when the shape of an ear was deemed to be like a sea shell.

When we are tired, under pressure or emotional, it is all too easy to make glaring mistakes in our writing. I’m as guilty as anyone and have appalled myself on occasion with errors that must have prompted my mother, an ardent member of the ‘grammar police’, to spin in her grave!

Having said that, there is little excuse on a computer when there are multifarious tools for proof-reading, whether it’s spelling or grammar. True, these tools are not infallible — I say this as WP  has just accepted ‘iff’ on another post I’m writing — but it is the least we…

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Simple Terracotta Orange Gradient Business Card Business Cards
Simple Terracotta Orange Gradient Business Cards

Who’s ‘Peggy Babcock’ when she’s at home? Peggy Babcock will be well-known to those who dabble in tongue twisters and very familiar to any actor who has had to improve their diction with its use its use. I’ve always thought that if she were a character in a play, she would be one of those hearty, middle-aged games mistress at a 1950s boarding school!

Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock…

Can you say the above in quick succession without tripping over the words? Try this one and see how you go!

Roy’s employed in Droitwich
At the choicest oyster bar.
Moira coyly loiters
As she sips her Noilly Prat.
How pointedly adroit he is
When he disjoints an oyster,
And Moira deploys lemon juice
To make his oyster moister.

Simple Apple Green Gradient Pack Of Standard Business Cards
Simple Apple Green Gradient Pack Of Standard Business Cards

Take care and keep laughing!


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Sarah Vernon

Sarah Vernon

Artist, Actress, Writer

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