Take a letter…or seven…

I have lovely childhood winter memories of sitting around a roaring open fire playing Scrabble with my mother, father and siblings when I was a little boy.  I am sure my selection of words was very limited, but it was such a good game to learn about new words and how to spell them.  It wasn’t until I was older that I played with the Triple Letter/Word Score and learned how to use the letters Q and Z (the letters with the highest score points) to my advantage.  From once being very reluctant to get these letters, I do love to get them now as they are a great challenge and can often help win the game ‘hands down’.

Scrabble box26forblog by Michael Quinlyn-NixonSorting out some of my clutter last year, in my never ending quest to get a tidy study, I noticed that my old Scrabble boxes were looking very careworn, fragile and shabby, but luckily my Dad came to my rescue (being a carpenter and joiner) and created two new wooden boxes to store my cherished games.

Of course, I needed to add my own input to these fine wooden boxes, and rather like the storage boxes last year, I decided to decorate the two boxes with my own designs.  So, after thinking long and hard, I did a different design for each box, with a little theme for each.  I chose some of my favourite things to decorate the boxes and decided to paint one with maroon figures and letters and the other brown (one of my Scrabble games has maroon letter tiles and the other has wooden).  As I play the game with younger relatives I kept the words on the box shorter, knowing things like ‘kaleidoscope’ and ‘telecommunications’ would take a frightful lot of space!

Included images on the box are things that I love, such as a quill, pocket-watch, stamp, giraffe, squirrel, owls, swan, and a deer… (oh, and my trademark ladybird!).

I am sure the eagle-eyed readers amongst you will be able to see some kind of pattern or theme to the maroon box, but if you can’t, I suggest you ‘start at the very beginning, a very good place to start’…  Have you worked it out yet?

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It’s all about the Bard…

There’s much ado…this April, about one of England’s most famous writers – William Shakespeare. I have heard that there are new stamps being issued by the Royal Mail, which feature famous lines from his plays and the Royal Mint are also issuing three £2 coins, which feature the three main themes of his plays: comedies, histories and tragedies. Being an avid stamp collector I must look out for those…and perhaps those new shiny coins too…

Until a few days ago, I had been unaware that 2016 is the 400th anniversary of this well-known man, who is the most published author and the most performed dramatist of all time…

The Shakespeare Pub, Durham (watercolour painting - 12 August 2015forblog

It cannot have been my subconscious, but for some reason whilst walking around Durham, quite recently, I felt most inclined to do a quick watercolour sketch of the Shakespeare public house. I don’t normally have a free hour or so to sit down and paint (particularly in a busy city, as I don’t like crowds or an audience), but that’s just what I did. I didn’t have that much time to paint anything more than the fascia, but I did enjoy just doing something because I wanted to do it and not for a specific reason or for a commission. It seems appropriate to put this watercolour painting, of this popular public house, on my blog, in recognition of Mr Shakespeare…

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” The Tempest
William Shakespeare, English poet, playwright and actor
Baptised: 26 April 1564 – Died: 23 April 1616