K Spencer Jones – Filmaker

K Spencer Jones – Filmaker

K Spencer Jones – Film Maker

K Spencer Jones

Son Spencer has been making films since he was 12-13 years old.  He has been doing this now in Hollywood for several years now.  Working on real stuff.  I am a proud daddy.  Please have a look and share if you can. (More below the image/link.)

- Martin

Click on the image to go to his website:

K Spencer Jones


When Spencer was 12, almost 13 he came to me and said that he didn't want to go to school any more.  I immediately said, 'OK, don't go."  I was quite happy about this.  He was not particularly happy at school and his mum and I both agreed that homeschooling where the child could make more of his or her own decisions about education and life was much more useful than cramming information down their throat.

We enrolled Spencer in a local theatre group, which he loved.  I also gave him an old video camera that we had.  The one with the VHS cassette. He did well in several plays over the next couple of years.  Many of his weekends consisted of filming.  He spent the days of the week calling his friend's moms to arrange dropping off his buddies. Saturday or Sunday would be assigning lighting and actors.  He would shoot each scene from 2-4 different angles and edit till 3-4 AM. Or 5 or 6 AM.  I would happily pay for editing software when needed.

I could go on about how much I have formal schooling, particularly public schools but I think much of the proof is in the pudding.  I know that not everything works for everyone but in this case Spencer thrived with this kind of education.

There are numerous books and websites on the subject.  Here is one that we used often as a base for education:

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The Art of Writing Letters

The Art of Writing Letters

What do you want for Christmas?


The Lost Art of Letter Writing…

Recently a close relative phoned me and asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  At first I thought it was going to be tough to answer.  I told them that my wife and I didn’t really need any ‘stuff’.  We don’t - really.  Finally, I told them that whatever she got it couldn’t be more than $20.00.  They laughed and agreed. 

My wife and I agree that just buying something for Christmas because it is Christmas is kind weird.  I know, I was bad enough when the kids were growing up.  And I still buy stuff for my granddaughter, she is just turning 8.  

I do like the sentiment.  This particular relative said that she loves us and wants to acknowledge that.  I get that. 

I read an article recently about Christmas presents and what children remember.  It got me thinking.  What do I remember most about Christmas as child?  Not much actually, because it is a really, really long time ago.  But things that I do remember have a lot more to do with what I was doing and who I was with, than what I received as gift.  

From that I thought, what would I really like from anyone?  Some of my children live a long way away and are not much on Facebook and are generally very busy living and making a living.  They live in a very expensive city.  So, I don’t get a lot of regular news.  What I would really like is news about the more mundane aspects of their lives.  “We went out for coffee and had this and that and the waiter was really nice, complimented me on my child’s manners…”  

And what would be better than a phone call.  A phone call is fleeting.  Once it is over, it is gone.  A letter or a chatty email, I can reread.  It takes a few moments of time and thought.  But it is a physical thing.  Even in the form of an email, I can reread and/or print.  

What I want for Christmas is a newsy letter.  This is for all of my kids, granddkids and friends.  I want to know stupid details.  Tell me how the date bombed.  Tell me how the new recipe that you tried was a disaster.  Good stuff is OK as well.

Tell me how your wife, husband, children, brother, sister did so well at something.  

My mother was a master letter writer.  When my siblings and I were quite young, after we were in bed, she would write letters.  Every evening, that is how she would end her day.   Raised four children, worked two jobs, did volunteer work and wrote letters.  Her letters were newsy.  You knew, after reading one of her letters, how her life was going.  They were a peek, a window, into her life.  

Here is some background on my mother’s letter writing skills.  When she was a teenager in High School in Holland, one of the things that all of the students did was get a Pen Pal somewhere in Europe.  My mother got a young man in Denmark.  They wrote each other all through the second world war and continued to do so for 40 years.  

My mother was divorced and discovered that her Pen Pal was now a widower.  Her mother had passed away so she went to Holland for the funeral. While there, she decided to make the short trip to Denmark to visit this grown man that she had been writing for 40 years or so.  They had never met.  Long story short, within two years they were married and she was on her way to live with him in Denmark.  

He told me an interesting storey a few years into the marriage when they were visiting Canada.  She continued to write letters as she made many friends in her years in Canada.  He told me that she would receive as many as 3-4 letter each day in the mail.  That is personal letters. Each DAY.  

My mother’s letters were so, I don’t know, important?  They compelled you to reply just because they were interesting.  She gave so much of herself you just had to give back.

Here is an excerpt from a letter that she wrote to my family in 1989:

“Thanks for the letter […], it was good to hear from you.  I am shitting outside in the garden writing  to you.  We have had beautiful weather all week, and we hope it will continue, as we are expecting Tina & Geoff […] her on Sunday.  They phoned last Monday to ask, if it was convenient, if the came and of course it is.  So the were going to book it.  Please read […]’s letter.

It is a good thing to have guests sometimes, we have painted and cleaned and washed windows and all the work in the garden!

And tonight we are having 12 people here for a meeting and I had to bake for this.  So, no dull moments here for sure! Is the baby’s name going to be […] for sure?  I will make him one of those embroideries like I did for the others.

We had 300 people here from all kinds of European countries, they all cam to [City].  It had something to do with environment and the future, with hopefully, will have less pollution.  They had a large display in the Town Hall and we talked to some teachers, who came with them, one from Northern Ireland.  

The schools do a lot here too for anti-pollution and you name it.

I hope my new grandchild is doing well and I also help you are fine, [name].

[name], it was the very best news I heard about you getting [name] ready for High School. Give them an education.

[name] got her Bachelor of Science and she is now taking a summer course together with [name] in business administration. 

Please send some baby announcements, also one to [name] though she is in Holland till July 16.  She phoned last night.  And [name] and [Mrs. name].  They are also in Holland. 

I think of you all so often.  See you in 6 weeks. 

The baby will be smiling then!!

lots of love, 



The first time you write a letter it might take some effort.  The second time, hopefully, somewhat less effort.  But like anything, you will improve and learn how to do it better.  

A few pointers:  

Everyone has bumps in life.  But don’t fill your letters with bad news that the person on the other end cannot do anything about.  As a parent, I know not everything is not always rosy and have no problem hearing about difficulties but use balance.  

Just tell about your life and I promise I’ll be interested.  That is what you know. I want a window into that.

Don’t make it point form. Write sentences. This is not Facebook or Instagram.  As you get better, it is OK to wax poetic.

You can email your letter.  BUT, if you have a printer, then print it and sign and put in an envelope.  Go to the post office once a year and buy 12 letter stamps so that you can write me once a month.  Don’t forget the envelopes.  

Some say handwritten letters are better.  If you see my handwriting, you would change your mind.  For some, this is a great idea.  The aesthetic flow of good Penmanship, if you are capable, is a long sight more desirable.  If you want to do that, spend the money on a good pen and some nice paper.  

This, I believe, will show care about a person much more than a new shirt.  

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‘Winnie The Pooh’ Quote

‘Winnie The Pooh’ Quote

'Winnie the Pooh' Quote

There is a quote going around FaceBook that is slightly less than accurate.  Attributed to A.A. Milne and Winne The Pooh and Christopher Robin but actually written by a Disney writer. Here is the actual quote

“I’m not going to do Nothing any more.”

“Never again?”

“Well, not so much. They don’t let you.”

Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again.

“Yes, Christopher Robin,” said Pooh helpfully.

“Pooh, when I’m – you know – when I’m not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?”

“Just Me?”

“Yes, Pooh.”

“Will you be here too?”

“Yes Pooh, I will be, really. I promise I will be, Pooh.”

“That’s good,” said Pooh.

“Pooh, promise me you won’t forget about me, ever. Not even when I’m a hundred.”

Pooh thought for a little.

“How old shall I be then?”


Pooh nodded.

“I promise,” he said.

Still with his eyes on the world Christopher Robin put out a hand and felt for Pooh’s paw.

“Pooh,” said Christopher Robin earnestly, “if I – if I’m not quite –“ he stopped and tried again – “Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won’t you?”

“Understand what?”

“Oh, nothing.” He laughed and jumped to his feet. “Come on!”

“Where?” said Pooh.

“Anywhere,” said Christopher Robin.”

From: The House at Pooh Corner by A A Milne

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Mango or Peach Chutney Recipe

Mango or Peach Chutney Recipe

Mango or Peach Chutney Recipe

My recipe is pretty much the same for both Mango or Peach Chutney.  The last few years I’ve had a hard time getting a decent volume of good mangoes.  Thus my batches have been smaller.  Now that I’m living in Niagara region with an abundance of mouthwatering, delectable peaches, I can make as much of the peach variety as my heart desires.  Or as it were, my stomach. 

peach chutney ingredientsLast time I made peach chutney, the peaches were pretty ripe so the other day when we were out and about, I picked a couple of baskets of peaches that were still somewhat firm.  I figured that(hopefully) they would soften up a bit in the cooking.  

I’ve made chutneys with Indian spices, curry and the like, in the past but I use some of that and a lot of mediterranean and African spices in my cooking.  So… I prefer to have something to offset that, cool things down as needed, and prefer to keep my chutney sweet.  

The ingredients that I use are as follows:

3 cups distilled white vinegar - you can use Apple Cider Vinegar - I tend to use half and half leaning to the Apple Cider more

5 Cups Brown Sugar - the two recipes that I used and most others call for huge amounts of sugar, way too much, I think.  One called for 6 cups of white sugar and six cups of brown sugar.  I have cut this in a little less than half and I much prefer the brown sugar for taste.  There is plenty of sweetness in the mangoes and peaches.

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon(I’m usually cut this recipe in half but I stick to the full teaspoon even with the half recipe)

1/2 cup ground ginger(a couple of recipes call for this.  Use it if you have it - I just use the fresh ginger as noted below)

1 teaspoon of ground cloves(again, even with a half recipe, I use this volume)

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg.  (“ “ “)

1 teaspoon of salt

2 large onions(I use two smaller ones for a half recipe)

3 garlic cloves

2 cups dried cranberries

1/2 cup fresh ginger root chopped.  

2 medium sized sweet red peppers, seeded and diced.

16 cups sliced mangos or peaches.  Semi ripe.  (I get about 5-6 medium sized jars with this amount - see the photo)

If you want ‘hot’, you can add some chile peppers.

Or to taste add curry, turmeric or …  You can also add mustard seed.  Or as a friend of mine suggested, add an orange.  Peel and everything.  I have to check with her before my next batch but apparently one has to cut it very thinly.

And now for the cooking part:  

I tend to do all my slicing and dicing beforehand.  If I have all of that done, I’m not in such a hurry and don’t make as many mistakes.  (As many!)

1. In a large pot combine vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt.  Bring to a boil and keep it there for about 1/2 an hour.  I’m never exact on these times and haven’t messed up yet.

2. I have the onions and garlic chopped and I sauté them before adding.  This definitely makes a difference in the final chapter.  I started doing this late in life(sautéing the onions) and boy what a difference in cooking in general. 

3 Into the vinegar/sugar concoction stir in onions, garlic, cloves, nutmeg, salt, cranberries and red pepper(and whatever else).  Bring back up to a boil and keep it going for half an hour.

4. Stir in mangos or peaches and boil for a while again.  peach chutney

5. Have your jars all ready and scoop it hot into your jars one at a time leaving a little space at the top and seal them up as you go.  And let them cool.  You should hear the top pop as they cool. That’s when you know they are sealed.

At this point there are a bunch of websites that tell you to put the jars in hot water and let them cool more slowly.  I have no idea if this is better.  Do your own research on that one.

If you have enough, you can give some away.  I used to.  After a while, though, I realized most of the people that I gave it to, really don’t appreciate it as much as I do.  Some do. And they are allowed.  It is kinda like giving a kitten away to a good home.  

I do like my food.

Have fun!

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Bisque Recipe

Bisque Recipe

Tomato Bisque Recipe

We have a ton of tomatoes in the garden this year.  We moved to Ontario - the Niagara region and wow!!! All sorts.  The flavours are just crazy wonderful.  Yvonne made Tomato Brisque yesterday and as I have several people requesting the recipe, here it is:

Saute one small onion and three cloves of garlic in olive oil.
Add one cup of chicken broth.
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
5 chopped basil leaves(fresh) (You know how we like basil!)
LOTS of chopped tomatoes(LOTS)

Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes
Add juice of one lime

At this point Yvonne took half the soup and put in a blender then poured it back with the original half.  You can blend all if you want smooth or as we did, leave do it half and half.
Depending on how much you make, you could freeze some at this point.
Add some cream before serving.  To taste.
We put the cream in and then blended it. But if you plan on freezing some don't add the cream.
Garnish as you like.

We ate it all over two days so there wasn't any left to freeze! 🙂


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Marty’s Home Page

Marty’s Home Page

My 'Home' page...

A bit of stuff about me and mine.

You are welcome to contact me at my contact page.

And I occasionally post here below.

Some rules to live by on my Marty's Rules of Life page.

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Gareth’s Portrait Website in Los Angeles

Gareth’s Portrait Website in Los Angeles

Son Gareth has been making a bit of a name for himself taking portraits.  Headshots.  With a real eye for a look that really catches the essence of the man or woman that he is shooting.  His clients look as a rule, very comfortable and relaxed in the photos.  I’ll post a few here but check out his website:



Above is a photo of the man himself.



Some samples of his work:

gareth glyn jones photographygareth glyn jones photo gareth glyn jones photography Gareth Glyn Jones photography



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Gwen Van Kleef Riding lessons

Gwen Van Kleef Riding lessons

Went to watch my sister at her riding lesson last evening and to check out some of the animals they have there. The sun was perfect for a great backlit shot. Gwen was there with two other students. Teacher was great, though I couldn’t believe how hard she worked them.


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A Comment on me Mum – Mrs Jeannette A Jones

A Comment on me Mum – Mrs Jeannette A Jones

This is kind of a short tribute to my mother, Mrs Jeannette Amarens Jones.  (Nee: Van Rantwyck)

Mom had a couple of things that she said when we, as kids were young that really stuck with me and I think made me a better person.

The first was when we were smaller and something bad happened: we got hurt, fell or something or other, she would say ‘Blame Jim’ (some friend or other) or someone or something that was no where near and a bit ridiculous.  The result of this was making us take responsibility for what happened.  It was a bit weird but blaming others for one’s situation is never a solution so this was a kind of gentle way of creating that perspective.

My mother remarried and moved from Canada to Denmark around 1978/79.  She had been a pen-pal with a fellow in Denmark since grade school.   She grew up in Holland.  I think they had been writing each other for almost 40 years.  His wife had passed away and she was long since separated and divorced.   Several years later, her husband Niels, told me that she would receive three to five personal letters PER DAY in the mail.  From friends.  She wrote letters every evening when we were growing up.

Her communication lines were amazing.  Here view on this was:

Never wait for someone to communicate to you.  

She thought that if you wait for other people you will be waiting forever. This is a great philosophy.  Many people would be a lot less lonely and upset following this.

Above is a picture of me and my mother around Christmas 1951.


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