Archives for posts with tag: Art

Although we are officially in winter and coming to the end of February, we have had some lovely warm springlike days.

I have finally seen some new leaves on the twin miniature orchid which I didn’t give up on.

In  time I’m sure it will be flowering as well as its twin. All the others are flowering again now and are looking quite healthy. My regime has not changed in any way and still takes about 30 minutes a week for the whole group of plants.

  1. spray all the outside aerial roots with rainwater.
  2. flush each pot with rainwater.
  3. add eight drops of orchid food ( baby bio) to one pint of rainwater, mix thoroughly.
  4. give each plant a liberal watering with the mixture.
  5. spray every leaf with Orchid Myst nutrient solution which is a growth enhancer, pest repellant, plant tonic and leaf conditioner, all in one.

Enjoy growing your orchids (mine are all phalaenopsis).


IMG_3205 - Copy

The orchids are losing flowers at this stage of their life. The plants are still healthy,  however, though some are coming up to a re-potting.
The one ‘twin’ miniature phalaenopsis has still not flowered and seems to be on a ‘go slow’ although there are signs of a new leaf developing.

I still have all 8 plants!

I have not changed their regime and still give them a ‘wash out’ once a week with rain water followed by spraying aerial roots again with rain water.

I then give them a few mls of rain water to which I have added orchid food, and spray the leaves with a good leaf food.

(Actual amounts are in an earlier blog).

Hope all your orchids are blooming well. Have a good summer!


It is very heartening to see all but one of the phalaenopsis orchids blooming.
There are signs that the one miniature that has not bloomed for some time may be starting to grow.
This time I have included another orchid blooming in its natural state, attached to a tree in the Tropical Biome in the Eden Project at Bodelva in Cornwall.
It is important that we try to get as close to these conditions as we possibly can when attempting to grow these beautiful plants.
My growth conditions are outlined in full in many of my blogs. I have kept these conditions throughout the time that I have grown orchids and the only changes that I have made has been re-potting when really needed. They do benefit for a time from being slightly pot bound.
I hope that you continue to grow and derive pleasure from these beautiful plants.

Painting in all its forms is a somewhat toxic pastime or job and it pays to have some extra knowledge when using paint or disposing of it. I have built up some methodology over a number of years which I apply to the various media I use on a regular basis. In the main I paint in oils and as the paint I use is oil based ( although there are now water based oil paints) it is a question of finding less toxic paint thinners and brush cleaners, and not using domestic drains as a disposal point.

As a thinner I use Winsor and Newton Liquin Fine Detail, this is less toxic than using turpentine, but still needs some care as it contains some suspect compounds. It needs to be used relatively quickly as it soon darkens in colour, eventually turning into a solid block.

The brush cleaner I use is Weber turpenoid natural which is a fabulous non – toxic brush cleaner and conditioner, which makes the paint miscible with water. If you follow the instructions carefully you can keep all the brush cleanings from producing a 70 X 50 cm canvas in a standard sized jam jar.

When you finish your painting take a cat litter tray and fill it with the granule type of litter – pour the diluted paint evenly over the litter and leave to dry, preferably outside. When perfectly dry the litter can be scraped into a black bin bag and disposed of by sending to landfill where it will degrade. This is by far a superior alternative to allowing toxic paint and brush cleaner to enter our sewers.

Dave '71 copy


It was back in the late fifties when I started to get interested in the bass. I then thought that the relatively new electric bass guitars were the answer for those musicians reluctant to cart around a full size double bass.
Little did I know how much other stuff was needed in order to create an acceptable bass sound. Electronics was my fathers profession in the RAF and he was very keen to try to build me a suitable amplifier. Unfortunately he was not so keen on the explosion of new music which had taken over the airwaves and had no idea about the kind of kit that I would need.
Eventually he came up with a small blue amplifier with a built in speaker, this was fine for the amplified acoustic which used an ‘overhead’ pick-up made from telephone magnets, but would have been blown to pieces with the bass guitar.
I used this tiny amplifier using a six string guitar for bass, also playing some rhythm guitar. In those days we had all the amplifiers in front of us in a line across the stage and the drummer in the middle of a line of musicians. As bigger equipment started to take the stage the more conventional system of drummer at the back, next the amplifiers, with the musicians out front.

Later I managed to buy a second hand home-made speaker cabinet containing an 18″ speaker which I powered with a 30 watt Leak hi fi amplifier, this made quite an acceptable sound amplifying my Burns Sonic bass. The speaker cabinet had been especially designed in order to get the correct frequencies of sound out of that large Goodman’s speaker.
I used this type of amplification for quite some years, eventually replacing the Leak Varislope with a 50 watt Linear Conchord amp.
The first ‘Heavy’ group I saw was when we supported Liverpool’s Big Three who were reputed to be the Beatles favourite band. They were using colossal block board cabinets as speaker cabinets not only for Johnny Gustafson the bassist, but also for guitar and an even bigger set up for the p.a. They used as you’ve probably guessed six 50 watt Linear Conchords, I think the four massive speaker cabinets each contained eight 15″ speakers.  That night in Sheffield playing with ‘The Roadrunners’ I heard them call these massive cabinets ‘the coffins’. This was perhaps the start of bands employing weight-lifters as roadies.
For those of you that were around…. what on earth would we have done without the 30 watt and 50 watt Linear Conchord amplifier?
What would we have thought if we could have taken a glimpse of the future and seen Blue Oyster Cult, Jefferson Airplane and the countless Heavy Rock bands that were to follow.
Pete Townsend’s uncle is non other than Jim Marshall, and I presume that the band tried out prototypes of his world of music changing, Marshall amplification.
The night that I saw them at the Esquire, I didn’t recognise anybody, that was because it was a team of roadies that were putting this colossal stash of gear onto the stage.
I counted ten Marshall cabinets. I couldn’t understand what was going on, but later learned that they were using a 200 watt p.a. and Pete and John 100 watt Marshall stacks. This equipment, along with Keith’s amplified drum kit took up the entire stage. Suddenly in walked the three musicians who looked in disgust at the cluttered stage, then played their entire set on the dance-floor in front of a stage exploding with unbelievable volumes of sound.
I had a life long love affair with Marshall amps after that night starting with a 50 watt amplifier and cabinet containing 4×12 heavy duty Celestions.
Eventually I bought another 50 watt straight cabinet (my first one was angled) and a 100 watt amplifier – I now had the classic green Marshall 100 watt stack. I had fun getting the cabinet back to my London flat from a West End music shop…. You’ve guessed it …..on the tube!
Later on I bought another stack during Marshall’s time of making coloured amps in the seventies. It was bright red.
Apart from using one 50 watt and a 100 watt stack together for some time I did once borrow a Marshall stack which had a 200 watt top and two cabs each containing four heavy duty 15″ Celestions. When you played a certain note it virtually lifted you off the ground.
Of course nowadays amplifiers are even more powerful, but I just have a very light, transportable 200 watt Ashdown combo!

David 80 copy

Seems a while ago now and yes it certainly is.
You know what, I don’t feel any less cool, even as the summer starts to take on heat.
Over the years I eased myself through some amazing changes in gear. On the guitar front I started with a crap sunburst acoustic that had a bent neck and stayed in tune for about half a song, after this I had a Futurama 2 with a strange coaxial plug.
It was then time to switch to Bass, the coolest job on the planet.
To start with I had a Hofner semi-acoustic blonde bass, with mother of pearl markers on the fingerboard and silver plated machine-heads.
I later sold this magnificent instrument to John ‘Red’ Fleet, bass player with Dave Berry’s Cruisers.
Next I had a nice little short-scale in red and black, a Burns sonic bass.
By this time around 1963, I was playing with (then Sheffield’s top group Steve Allen and the Vikings) and we decided to have matching guitars.
Why not the Shadows were all the rage at the time and Steve Allen looked a lot like Cliff.
We sent away to the States, Cincinnati to be precise, for a sunburst Fender Stratocaster, a sunburst Fender Jaguar and a Sunburst Fender Jazz Bass.
I kept that one,’cos it’s undoubtedly the best bass guitar in the world, but have also had a black Fender Jazz and a black and white Rickenbacker, Mono Bass.
Some time I’ll tell you about amplifiers and how in the old days, 50’s and early 60’s that was, we often had to build our own!

David Robinson played for Champion Jack Dupree, Essential Bop and almost two dozen other bands based in London, Sheffield and Bristol.

Now, at the beginning of June, the orchids are beginning to lose flowers and gain fresh green leaves. I still stick to my tried and tested regime which has kept the phalaenopsis orchids growing well for many years.
The ‘Flare Spots’ flower was photographed on the ex – Keiki which I removed from the parent plant a year ago.

I guess it is time to give the growing conditions once again:-

  1. Grown in a south-facing bathroom with obscure glass -high humidity and temperature.
  2. Once a week I run rainwater (equilibrated to room temperature) through each pot in turn.
  3. I mist the aerial roots with similar rainwater.
  4. I add 5 drops of a good quality orchid food dissolved and well mixed with 500 mls (approx) of same rainwater.
  5. Finally I mist all the leaves with a quality orchid mist solution.

The final result -beautiful orchids for a total time of 30 minutes per week!