I love you more than mixtapes

Some of you might know Folksy already as the lovely chaps behind it have been appearing here and there for a while. It's now up and at 'em online, selling wonderful hand-made goods, like a Great British Etsy. There's some lovely stuff in there and it's in beta so they're looking for new buyers/sellers to test everything out. Might I recommend these fab 'I love you more than mix tapes' greetings cards from Lucy Player, Lupin's tea and cake-related felt wondrousness and Miso Funky's Emobroidery.

Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare

I was very sad to see Weston-super-Mare's Grand Pier going up in flames this morning. We were there in April and it was lovely. Just goes to show you how fragile these things are, they disappear so easily and never seem to get the protection they deserve.

On our seaside jaunts I've come to love the first glimpse of a new pier. Long, short, sparkly, tatty, classy, tacky. They all serve the same function but are so different. Southport and Great Yarmouth are bold and brassy.

Funland, Southport

Llandudno and Cromer are more genteel.

Cromer Pier

Southwold, with Tim Hunkin's Under The Pier Show is good enough for the Prime Minister, but too middle class for me. Cleethorpes' is stubby and Burnham-on-Sea's, the shortest in the UK, is barely there at all.

The shortest pier in the UK at Burnham-on-Sea

Fans of the nation's pierage can join like-minded souls in the National Piers Society, founded in 1979 by John Betjeman and the Piers of Britain Flickr group.

mr-therm.jpg

After our visit to Gladstone Court we went to the Gasworks Museum in Biggar. To cut a short story even shorter it isn't one of the world's most fascinating museums, even by my standards, and it smells a bit. However, it more than made up for this by having a superb line of Mr Therm merchandise. That's him in the photo on the door of a gas fridge.

I've had a thing for Mr Therm since seeing him 15 years ago in an exhibition about Eric Fraser in Aberdeen. Fraser was a superb illustrator who did a lot of advertising work particularly for the Radio Times, Shell and Guinness. He created Mr Therm for the Gas, Light and Coke company to symbolise the friendly face of gas in the home. He was a familiar face until the 1960s appearing on hoardings, adverts and even in the GLCC's resident Therm Band, "where "the musicians wore ridiculous bulky cardboard costumes with cut-out holes for their faces, impersonating the ubiquitous mascot" 1. He's one of my all-time favourite advertising mascots along with the Bic Boy (created by Raymond Savignac), L'Omino, the Bialetti coffee man and our dear friend Potato Pete.

Gladstone Court Museum, Biggar

After the great fish and chips we sampled more of Biggar's delights. For a small place there's an awful lot going on. There are six museums, so we tried Gladstone Court first. It's a lovely little place - a recreation of a Victorian shopping street made from bits and pieces reclaimed from Biggar's actual high street. It's educational (great for schools) and full of local interest but also lovely to wander round no matter how old you are or where you're from. There's an old photographic studio, a bank, library, print shop, school, a bootmakers and lots more - see pictures. The nice thing about it is Biggar's modern-day high street is very well-preserved. It pretty much has one of every sort of shop you need and they're all family businesses handed down from generation to generation, so it feels like the right place to have a little treasure like this.

Biggar fish and chips

After all that debate a while ago on where to find the best chippies here's a short field report on the UK's best fish and chips of 2007. It's official. They're at the Townhead Cafe in Biggar in South Lanarkshire and were very good indeed. You get a huge portion, the fish was light as a feather and there was something almost architectural about that batter.

Thanks for all the London tips. There are some brilliant things in there including the location of Sunshine Desserts from Reggie Perrin. Not sure if this is one of those things that everyone knew except me, but 1960s curio The London Nobody Knows is on YouTube. Part one is above and here are parts two and three. I only found this after I'd bought the DVD although all is not lost as it's (a) better quality and (b) paired with charming piece of 1960s whimsy Les Bicyclettes de Belsize (opening credits).

Urgent messages

It's a funny thing, but every Thursday I go into some sort of blogging meltdown and think I'll never post again. Every Thursday. Then by Friday it's fine. Saturday I'm full of vim and vigour. Sunday is the most productive day of the week. Then Monday the decline starts again until it reaches its nadir on Thursdays. The readerships runs opposite to this, peaking towards the end of the week. Down at weekends. Oh, the pressure. So I just thought I'd mention it for once, instead of sitting at home fretting and also to squeeze some kind of post out on Thursdays. Just so you know, it's hard work sometimes. Not just dripping off the tongue. Blood, sweat and tears, it is.

London

We're off to that London in a few weeks for a big family holiday. Considering we'll have two kids (aged 2 and 7) and a car (not that we're planning to use it much) what should we do? Where should we go? What should we eat? There are a few things on the list already - The Horniman Museum, The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef and possibly Psycho Buildings if that's good for kids. I've got a couple of things to check out for Nothing To See Here but would really love to know about anything fantastic/good value/weird and/or wonderful. All wisdom gratefully received as always.

Voltaire & Rousseau

There's a wee piece on Voltaire & Rousseau, my favourite bookshop on Nothing To See Here. I spent a lot of time in there as an English student, sometimes buying great works of literature, sometimes buying dusty old books because I liked the cover. It also gets the credit for introducing me to M. Sasek after finding This is London there for 50p.

kings-park-topiary.jpg

Spotted on Kings Park Avenue today, some urban topiary. Not a common sight in Glasgow. Up to that point I'd been looking at all the gardens in the street that are paved over. Always a sad sight. But then this little fella appeared. Excellent.

Moseley baths

Not that I have a thing about public baths or anything but these photos of disused swimming pools at Polar Inertia are swell. More info at Gigi Cifali.

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