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I like Present and Correct's new hidden faces print, featuring faces in places you wouldn't quite expect. Made me think of the ever delightful Hello little fella Flickr pool.

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Also right up my street is the library card birthday card. This is perfect for those cards that go round and round your office for a workmate, or for a discerning single librarian. If it's for the latter, I'd write on the back - it's far too good to tarnish with mere words. Well, maybe lightly with a pencil if you really have to.

Adventures on the High Teas b y Stuart Maconie

I'm currently reading Adventures on the High Teas: In Search of Middle England by Stuart Maconie, which covers his wanders round er, the middle of England. It's a follow-up to Pies and Prejudice: in Search of the North which I enjoyed very much. This is more of the same really, but a bit further south and with more music anecdotes (it's Nick Drake and Pink Floyd territory). It takes a wee while to tune into his writing style (it's very like listening to him, so as long as you're okay with that, it's fine) but it's good - like a more garrulous Bill Bryson.

Strangely enough it starts in Meriden - the Centre of England - which is where we're going in a couple of weeks on the way to Camber Sands. Any recommendations for the south coast? We've been there before, almost 10 years to the day for the Bowlie Weekender and loved it. I can't wait to go to Dungeness again and am greatly looking forward to exploring the area a bit more. I'm hoping we can get right along the coast, from Bognor to Margate. Anything we shouldn't miss?

Czech matchbox

Morphy Richards wallpaper

Maraid, of the superb Eastern European matchbox collection, has made some lovely desktop wallpaper featuring designs from old adverts, vintage matchboxes and classic Penguin books. Now you can customise your hi-tech whatnots with beautiful retro designs. Available in different sizes, including iphones.

I've been listening to this a lot, Messages by OMD. For younger readers, OMD (full name Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark) were an 80s synthpop band from The Wirral. I can't decide if they were cool or not (I mean, at the time). They were and they weren't from what I remember. A bit nerdy, but it's easier to get away with that kind of thing these days. Some of their songs still sound amazing. Their biography is a good read. And wasn't their pompous band name the inspiration for The Smiths getting their name?

Where are they now? According to wikipedia, Andy McCluskey was reponsible for Atomic Kitten and the other one is making music with her out of Propaganda.

Adopt a building on the Panorama of the City of New York

Now's your chance to buy a little piece of New York real estate. The Panorama of the City of New York at Queen's Museum of Art is looking for people to adopt a building. Built by Robert Moses for the 1964 World’s Fair, the Panorama is a huge model of the city - 9,335 square foot in all, with 895,000 individual structures. I saw it a couple of years ago and it was one of the highlights of a truly great trip to New York. It's so meticulous - so detailed and so big. The effort that went into building it is mind-boggling.

So, starting at $50 you can buy a building, or pay more and you can name a school, library or 'firehouse'. More details on the sale from Queen's Museum, more photos in the Panorama's Flickr stream. Money raised helps to pay for its upkeep.

The very hungry Google logo

Best Google logo ever. To celebrate the first day of spring, 80 years of Eric Carle and 40 years of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. There was also a good interview with Eric Carle in the Guardian at the weekend. He looks exactly like a children's author should look.

Get excited and make things

I stopped posting all the Keep Calm and Carry On variants because it was getting done to death, but I like this one by Matt Jones. Says it all really and the spanners in the crown really make it. Now available as a t-shirt from Howies.

Tunnocks Teacakes drawing

Thanks to Will for pointing out hwayoungjung's drawings of iconic British products. There are only two Scottish things so far - Tunnock's Teacakes and Tunnock's Caramel Wafers. This set could be enhanced by some Irn Bru, Walker's shortbread, Abernethy biscuits, Highland Toffee, Edinburgh Rock, Lee's Macaroon and a Scotch pie.

Gold nuggets

There are many English products though. The notes are fabulous. See assorted biscuits for example - "my English Expert assures me for the English, these swim in everyones collective consciousness". Indeed.

Mr PS mugs

Mr PS (aka Megan Price from Manchester) takes her inspiration from "vintage signage, eating and drinking, and the great British seaside" - excellent work. She has a lovely line of products like mugs for tea lovers and delightful tea towels.

Cafe culture tea towel

I like this one in particular, with its reference to classic cafes of yore. Available from various stockists and the Mr PS shop.

Crazy food tubs

I couldn't help but buy these Funny Food tubs from Paperchase. They had me with the mushroom but there are 3 more bonus containers. Look - a happy apple! I only expected 3 and then out popped the cherries. It's part of a range, aimed at kids presumably, but why should they have all the fun?

I only went in for a notebook...


London Press Bureau fonts

Found in Gair Dunlop's Flickr stream, these photos of old fonts were scanned from hallfplate glass negatives found in an abandoned Post Ofice warehouse, from envelopes marked "London Press Bureau".

Velvet Letter

They're fantastically wiggy and ornate. Worth plundering.

A Ton of Bricks by Hans Unger

diamond geezer has a magnificent Flickr set showing the beautiful artwork along London Underground's Victoria Line. It's 40 years old today and still looks fresh as a daisy. The designs by Hans Unger, Tom Eckersley, Edward Bawden, Alan Fletcher and others (quite a line-up) are pretty eclectic, but still look like a coherent set.

Ferry crossing the River Lea by Edward Bawden

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As dg points out it takes dedication to spot them all. Nice work!

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I meant to report back on the non-Midland bits of Morecambe, because they were good. Of all the seaside towns, in all the world (that we've visited) Morecambe feels like it has fallen the furthest. We've been a few times over the years and the good bits have been outweighed by the general sense of gloom and decay. But this time it felt different. Just a bit brighter, more bustling. There were still lots of boarded up shops (true everywhere at the moment) but there were lots of good things too. Such as:

  • The Tern Project and associated seaside sculptures including Eric Morecambe. A photo here is obligatory.
  • Brucciani's Cafe - going strong since the 1930s.
  • The Old Pier Bookshop - amazing Black Books-style bookshop. More on this at Nothing To See Here.
  • Breeze - a modern cafe in the West end near The Battery - their cakes looked amazing and the smoothies were really good. There's a decent playpark near here too. It's a nice walk from the Midland and on the way back you can go to...
  • The antiques market in the Alhambra - a good tip from Kate. This is a huge shed of a place full of antiques. The quality is good enough to be worth searching through, and cheap enough to feel like you might get a bargain.
  • The Polo Tower - it's not working (no sign of the Polo) but at least it's still standing. The state of it spawned a few "Far from mint condition" jibes and a call from the local councillor to boycott Polos.. It's had a clean since then.

And some bits we missed:

  • The Winter Gardens - Kate and Sonja (of the Snapshot Museum which is inside) assured me that these are beautiful. They're open sometimes at weekends, raising funds for a full restoration. The future looked very shaky for them a while ago so it's great that work is ongoing.
  • And last but not least, Sunset Ices - Kate's fantastic 1950s ice cream van which is stationed outside the Midland when the weather gets a wee bit brighter. Stop her and buy one!

I like postcards: set 1

I found a wee pile of the first set of I like postcards in a box the other night. I've had some requests about them lately, so if you're interested grab a pack now. Also, if you want spares of any individual postcard let me know. Some of them are going to reappear as cards but some of them won't.

Thanking you.

Nardini's Cafe - vignette

We went to the newly reopened Nardini's today. It's looking fine. For anyone that wasn't treated to a trip there in their childhood (you poor mites), Nardini's is an amazing Italian cafe in Largs on the west coast of Scotland. Due to some family feud or other, it's been closed for years (there are warring factions of Nardinis and yes, Daniela is a relation).

Nardini's, Largs

It's in a really public spot on the Esplanade and was a bit of an eyesore. We peeked through the hoardings a few times - it was completely gutted inside which was heartbreaking as it's a big place and was full of art deco grandeur. So, finally it's back, looking very well, dispensing ice cream sundaes to locals and daytrippers. Like a little bit of the world has been put to rights.

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