Category Archives: Looking Inward

A Touch of the Black Dog

Many of my readers will recall that I have used this phrase before on a number of occasions. It comes from another fellow Sagittarius  Sir Winston Churchill and, it was his term that he used when he was having a particularly bad day with depression.  Now I have always tried to be an open book, what you see is what you get, which on a number of occasions in the past haven’t been too helpful. Especially when I was working in a highly political corporation like CBS. I learnt a lot from my American colleagues, not least how to get ahead while others lost theirs!  And that can be quite stressful when one has always led their life like an open book. I just found it a nicer way to live, you didn’t have to tell lies, and then remember the lies that you had told and who you told them to, I just wasn’t that clever. I would always take the easy way out and call a spade a spade, those who understood the way I was, accepted that and we got on fine. (That didn’t mean that I was cruel in any way, if I thought a particular  instance of honesty would hurt the person, then obviously I would leave it). Those who didn’t like it could go and please themselves, an open-book I was, but never afraid of confrontation!  It certainly didn’t hinder my career and I was promoted to all the positions that I aimed for and always gave the best I could. If I liked what someone was doing I told them so, likewise if I didn’t like what they were doing I also told them. That usually didn’t go down that well with my fellow managers, but what the heck….if it was the truth what were they gonna do about it?

However, there were and still are days when The old Black Dog comes by. Usually for no apparent reason. One just finds one’s self much quieter and not so ready with the witticism. Thinking negative thoughts instead of being the positive person one has always tried to be. Having said that, I’m old enough now to know how to get out of that state of mind (most of there time that is!)  Subsequently by the end of my day I have managed to turn myself around and anyway, yesterday was a great day, a productive day.

My Day at The Bench

I had to take my wife for an appointment with her Consultant yesterday at a Hospital 30 miles away. I was all ready and had made all the necessary arrangements, but as it happened she was too ill to travel and at 8.30am she asked me to phone and rearrange the appointment, which I duly did.  She then went to sleep for the rest of the day, but considering she was trying to cope with chronic pain still at 5.30am I wasn’t surprised. This meant that I now had a free day and as long as I didn’t leave the house (why would I want to?) I could do whatever I wanted to do. Hence, my day at the bench.  And boy did I know it by the time I clocked off.


My day consisted of trying out the old ‘Wet Tissue Paper in the ingot mould’ trick, suggested by Jewellery Maker Teacher supreme Andrew Berry . I particularly wanted try this because I had ready only a small amount of Silver scrap to melt down, plus I had the idea that I wanted to make a piece of square wire no more than 100mm long x 1.5mm square.  To cut a long story short, it worked to perfection and after a slow natural cooling of period I proceeded to produce the wire in my Durston rolling mill.  I say slow natural cooling opposed to quenching because in the past I have had some problems with the wire/ingot cracking, and I have found that if I let the metal molecules reassemble themselves naturally, I don’t see so many cracks and fissures.

However, the reason I wanted the wire was because I wanted to make a square-wire heart. I didn’t find it particularly easy but it was very rewarding even though the ‘semi’ finished product wasn’t perfect.Silver_Heart03

But I was relatively happy with the outcome. My next task is to affix a small tube-setting with a stone/gem yet to be chosen and if I can get it up to standard, put it on my Etsy account for sale!

Another area of jewellery making that I have come to find  both challenging and rewarding is Spoon Rings. Very popular in America but I don’t think the interest is as popular in the UK. At least, I haven’t seen as many Silversmiths selling them as I have in the States. One of the problems I find is that it is difficult to find good quality sterling silver flatware in Wales, and I think that a number of my friends in the trade have confirmed this.  One Jeweller who I have mentioned before here, and who is quite the expert at making quality Jewellery from silver spoons is Ginger Meek-Allen  however, Ginger produces more lockets than rings, and you should visit her site for an example of some of the beauties she has produced. Moreover, because of Ginger’s influence I spotted this book on Amazon just this week and it is a little treasure trove of information on Spoons!

Ok chaps and chappesses, that’s me for another day. Please be kind enough to like (that’s if you did like of course) and click on the follow button at the top which will activate an email to your inbox on the publication of every new  blog post (that’s if you would like to read more ramblings of course) 🙂

Love & Peace x

Christmas?…Again already?

I find as I get older Christmas comes around much quicker! Is this just me or does everyone over the age of 30 feel the same? And, I find I am going to more funerals than I am weddings. 2010 was an absolutely dreadful year for my family having lost 3 uncles or aunts!

On a happier note, I managed to go to the last meeting of the year at my local Camera Club. I really enjoy the camaraderie there, but unfortunately, due to pressures I can’t always manage the time.  This week was different though, and it was a subject that is really close to my heart, Birds of Prey.  I simply adore them, Owls, Hawks, Eagles any of them. So you cam imagine how pleased I was when I read that a local Birds of Prey rescue centre were bringing along a few birds for us to see and photograph?  And, it was done in a really nice and respectful way, respectful to the birds that is. A number of checks were made first to see if the birds would mind any flashes going off. Once this had be checked and agreed that the birds were quite happy with the set up, they posed very comfortably, and soon made it quite clear when they had, had enough.  A mention for club member Tony Barnett who managed the whole affair (or seemed to as far as I was concerned) he made sure that only one photographer at a time could photograph the bird.  This meant of course that it wasn’t like a Paparazzi scrum! Many thanks Tony, and also to those other members who helped out so professionally on the night.

There was one special little Owl there that I just fell in love with. He was about 10″ high and was a White Faced Scopse Owl and I think he was about 10 years old.  I spent a great deal of the night laying on the floor trying to get down to his level. I have one pic here but will post more on another occasion.