Category Archives: General Interest

Damian Waterhouse SGFA

For many years I have chatted to Damian Waterhouse while the pair of us have propped up various bars (in our relaxation time it has to be said) around Kirkby Lonsdale.

I have always admired his artistic work, particularly the high quality cards depicting scenes around Kirkby Lonsdale.  In fact Damian presented me with a pack of Christmas Cards last Friday, for which I am extremely grateful.

I have a vague knowledge of Damian’s background but was surprised to read the article about him which I found on the website of the Society of Graphic Fine Art.  The following extracts are from the site:

“Damien Waterhouse was elected to the Society of Graphic Fine Art in 1992. Born in Lancaster in 1955, he showed early artistic talent and sold his first prize-winning painting at the age of 12. After leaving school he worked in the design studio at Standfast/Courtaulds, Lancaster, preparing artwork for engraving purposes in the production of fabrics.

Damien began to specialise in pen and ink drawings of notable buildings and views around Kirkby Lonsdale, a picturesque market town in the Lake District, and Liverpool, which was European Capital of Culture in 2008. In the early 1990s he had two solo exhibitions at the Liverpool Artists’ Club. He also produced a series of drawings, with watercolour, of the flora and fauna of Bequia in the Grenadines. His sister Rosie Waterhouse has set up a business Basilica-art to sell reproductions of the original drawings in the form of signed, mounted prints, greeting cards, postcards and notelets. These are available for sale through the website”

The Old Pilot Building, Albert Dock, Liverpool
The Monument Kirkby Lonsdale
St Lukes Church Liverpool

St Marys Church Kirkby Lonsdale

It’s quite a pleasant experience to be able to claim to have a mate who has such prodigious talent.  I can thoroughly recommend visiting Rosie’s website of Damian’s work at  I was particularly drawn to his images of Liverpool, which I have never seen before (the artwork, not the City).  It is well worth visiting the site.

John Keegan


Why I love Nigeria

In January 1984 Geoff Priestley and I were trying to catch a British Caledonian flight from Kano airport in Northern Nigeria, to Schiphol, Amsterdam, on our way back to the UK, having endured a four hour bus journey from Kaduna.

At the end of December 1983 General Buhari had overthrown President Shagari, with a pledge to eliminate corruption from Nigerian society.  In practice all that happens in Africa is that the corruption is transferred from the followers of the old leader to the followers of the new one.

However in our case Priestley and I finished up hiding behind 40 gallon oil drums at the back of the admin building at Kano Airport, being shot at by Igbo troops sent there by Buhari to close the airport.

While I pondered over how on earth we were going to get a flight out of the country, before the airport was closed down for weeks, Geoff had other concerns.

I will always remember how he turned to me asking “Keegan, do you think these oil drums will stop a 303 bullet?”  I’m not sure that he fully appreciated my response, which was “I believe that we are relying on the fact that the bu**ers can’t actually see us, and they are crap shots anyway”.

In the face of the drive against corruption I managed to find a corrupt immigration official who accepted my $1,000 US bribe and got the pair of us onto a Thai International flight, which turned out to be the last flight out of the country until February 83.

We were mildly inebriate by the time we arrived at Manchester Airport in time to be collected by our wives and transported to The Hermit Inn at Winwick for a Sunday lunchtime aperitif to celebrate our return to normality.

John Keegan

Number Nine

Maureen and I lunched at Number Nine, Kirkby Lonsdale,  today. The food was excellent, as were the staff, ambiance, Pinot Grigot, roaring log fire and décor.

Maureen had Spiced Chicken Thigh cooked in Cream, Coconut, Coriander with Nigella Mango Chutney & Peshwari Nann; whilst I enjoyed the Shredded Duck Pancakes, Sesame Duck Croquettes & Steamed Duck Dumplings.

We were joined by Duncan who spoke very kindly of his half pint of beer, its cost and particularly the old style glass in which it was served.

We will be back.

Maureen & John Keegan

Is this sad?

I’m not sure whether this is sad or not.  It probably does give some sort of clue to my personality however.

On the bookcase in my study I still have the books into which I wrote all my notes, when taking endorsements to my ONC (Mechanical) in 1958-59.

This is from 24 September 1959, the course on Strength of Materials.

It’s interesting to recall that in those days the paper size was foolscap and not the modern A4.

Standing to the side of my handwritten efforts are also, Birtwistles “Thermodynamics”, Paradise’s “Problems in Hydraulics”, Greensmith’s “Practical Dehydration” and a sadly battered copy of Fowler’s Engineers Handbook.  I also still have my Steam Tables, Log Tables and Slide Rule.

I remember to this day one of my favourite Lecturers, Johnny Torrance, saying “You do not have to remember everything I teach you.  What you need to do is know where to find it when you need it, and then be able to apply it”

As a mark of my respect for Mr. Torrance, I do know where to find anything I need but he was right to say that I would not remember it.  However I fear that I may have let him down in my recollection of how to use it. Never the less I can still recite the solution to a Quadratic Equation (by heart) and use it as well.

As an indicator of times yet to come, the book sitting next to “Problems in Hydraulics” is the 5th Edition of Michael Jackson’s outstanding publication “Malt Whisky Companion” circa 2004.  It is a matter of singular regret to me that there is not a corresponding volume celebrating “Mothers Ruin”

John Keegan