Jon Crispin's Notebook

Back in England


My friend John Wilson picked me up at Heathrow on Monday morning.  After a jammed up drive to Stratford upon Avon on the M40, we made it in time for the dog’s evening walk.  Here he is with Violet, and Sid and Lilly.  Sid is a pup and Lilly wears a muzzle because twice now she has eaten small plastic balls that had to be removed surgically.


The next morning we all went for a nice long walk on the Welcombe Hills.


The obelisk off in the distance is very cool.


These sheep were very interested in the dogs, but the dogs couldn’t be bothered.


Here are Flora and Violet heading back to the car.


And Sid taking a bit of a break while he kept an eye out for squirrels.


Today was another warmish day so we drove to Broadway in the Cotswolds for another chance to walk the dogs.


I first met John when I was living in Berlin in the 1980s and we have been fast friends ever since.   I have actually had this Barbour jacket (which he originally bought in Berlin) for the last 20 or so years.  He needed it back for his dog walks so it is now his again.  I hope to have it back someday.


Here is Sid patiently waiting for a treat.


I have always had a soft spot for Morgan cars.  This one is sitting in front of one of the Broadway hotels, and it took my breath away when I saw it.


After our walk we ended up here for a lovely lunch.  We have come to the Snowshill Arms many times, and it always makes me so happy.


While John was sorting out the dogs and Flora was getting Violet organized, I went in to see about a table.  John said “Four people and two dogs”.  Sid and Lilly were under the table the whole meal.  Here is Siddy giving me a nuzzle.  What a sweet boy.

Lamb and Flag / Covent Garden

Posted in Art, Travel by joncrispin on 07/10/2014

Really nice pub in Covent Garden.  Off tomorrow to see Mr. Turner and Mr. Constable.

Willard Suitcases / 2 October

Posted in Travel, Uncategorized, Willard Asylum, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 03/10/2014

Peg and I had a very productive day yesterday.  We made it through an entire storage box of suitcases; we must have shot at least 14.  Most were close to being empty.  This safety pin was (barely) holding one of the ribbons that secures items on the bottom of the case.  It is a lovely shade of green.  This case belonged to Mary E. B.

I am sitting in terminal 3 at Heathrow waiting to be picked up by John Wilson.  Nice to be back in England.

Another Walk and a Baby

Posted in Animals, Dogs, Family, Flowers, Friends, Jon Crispin, Nature, Travel by joncrispin on 30/09/2014

Cris and I took the Olive up into the woods late this afternoon.  Thanks to Sarah, Leonard, and SCJ (all readers of this blog) I think I can safely say that this is a ghost plant (aka Indian Pipe, monotropa uniflora, or monotropa hypopithys).

And there is no doubt this is a dirty yellow labrador retriever .  It hasn’t rained much lately so the woods (is?) are full of lots of mud holes and very little running water.  What is most amazing to me is that within an hour she is completely clean again.

And my lovely niece Heather just had another girl. On Sunday, we got to meet her while she was chillin’ with her big sister.

I am off to the UK on Thursday for some work and some fun.  My great friend John Wilson just sent me this link to a wonderful article on lists.  It is a great story.  He’ll pick me up at Heathrow Friday morning and I can’t wait to see him.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Posted in Animals, Food, Friends, Nature by joncrispin on 17/11/2012

A bit of a melange here.

I have always liked fountain pens (something I share with my dear friend John Wilson).  And ink bottles are a big part of why I like them.  I think I bought this bottle in Berlin when I lived there.

Cris and I went to the Amherst Farmer’s Market this morning.  Lots of root veg.  And something I had never seen before except in a bottle.


We then went up to Blue Dog Leather in Orange where Keith is making a one handed belt for Peter.  Got to hang out with his donkeys and his two American Bashkir horses.  They grow this coat in the winter and shed most of it in springtime.  They are such beautiful animals.

Thanks again Alex.  I love the camera.

Vegetable Stock

Posted in Food, Friends by joncrispin on 23/06/2012

My dear friend John Wilson makes stock out of any vegetable materials left over from his cooking preparations.  When Peter and I were with him in March he told me how he does it.  So for the past several months I have been collecting bits of carrot, onion, garlic, brussels sprouts, celery, tomato; well, you get the idea.  I have put them in a bag in the freezer while waiting for a good time to start the process. I have no idea how it will turn out, but I’ll know more in about 3 hours.  It is smelling pretty good so far.

John Wilson Painting

Posted in Art, Buildings, Friends, Travel by joncrispin on 10/05/2012

I love this painting.  John had given it to me in December, but since it needed to be taken off the stretchers for transport back to the States I wasn’t able to get it until Peter and I were back in the UK in March.  We rolled it into a big cardboard tube and I was able to carry it onto the plane.  Michelle at Hope and Feathers did a fantastic job restretching it and built a great frame.  I was so happy to pick it up yesterday.  It looks great in the living room.


Posted in Art, Friends, History, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 30/04/2012

I am pretty close to mailing the first of the Kickstarter rewards.  So for those of you who backed the project at the $10.00 level, watch your mailbox.  These are the first prints I have made of this work, and I am thrilled to finally see them on paper.  Each print is signed and so the process is a bit slow; tonight I will start addressing the envelopes.  You might notice the beautiful Yard-O-Led pencil in the bottom of the photo.  It was a gift from my great friend John Wilson and it is the perfect writing instrument for signing the prints.  It makes me so happy to be using it.

John Wilson

Posted in Friends, Landscape by joncrispin on 19/03/2012

Peter and I drove from Stratford upon Avon down to High Wycombe today for another of his interviews with football clubs (Wycombe Wanderers).  John had a free day so he rode along with us and helped a ton with directions.  The weather has cleared out and the rest of the week looks to be lovely. / I took this shot at the far end of the car park at the Oxford Services on the M40, which is a regular stop anytime we head in this direction.  It reminds me of a shot I took of John on the Isle of Sheppey some 20 years ago.  We’ve both aged since then, although to look at us you would hardly notice.

John Wilson

Posted in Friends, History, People, Travel by joncrispin on 09/12/2011

I’m in the UK for a few days helping my friend John Wilson do some work on his house in Chiswick.  We don’t get to see each other often enough, but when we do it is always a treat.  We met when we were both living in Berlin in the 1980’s and became close immediately.  I have always been fascinated by his personal history.  He was born in Trinidad, went to boarding school in Barbados, moved to the UK when he was 16, and has lived and worked all over the world.  His family had been in the Caribbean for generations, and his father’s father was the Postmaster General of Grenada.  (Charles Livingstone Wilson)  Today we were in his studio and he wanted to show me a suitcase that contained some family items.  (Suitcases seem to be a theme for me lately.)  The name tag above is sewn on to the tennis shorts that he wore while at the Lodge School in Barbados.

The Pan American tag was on the inside of the case.  It was full of family items and lots of folders, including reports to his mother and father about his progress at school.

I really like looking at old documents.  There is something about the typefaces and writing in ink from a fountain pen that appeals to me.

  Above is his housemaster’s comment (turquoise ink).  And he still is quite the gentleman.

The comment above from the headmaster is a true reflection of the times.  This is from his last term at school. / I am constantly reminded of how amazing all of my close friends are, and am so lucky to be a part of their lives.

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