Poopy’s curse

Long term readers will recall the deceased canine: Sir Poopy, the Swedish Lapphund. Whenever a rat, rabbit or fox cub needed dealing too, Sir Poopy was there doing the hard yards. His services on the farm were performed with minimal fuss. He was a quiet achiever.

But like all super heroes, he had his kryptonite: The bean bag. You may scoff, but it was the bean bag that became his bane. He loved that bean bag, and if he could have, he would have spent every minute of his waking hours sitting watching the world go by. He did the work required of him around the farm, but then he retired to the comfort of the bean bag. Another and perhaps less polite way of describing his behaviour is: Lazy.

Sir Poopy reclines at his ease on the blue bean bag

I’d never encountered a lazy dog before, or since. At times I’d perform the ungentle act of ‘fluff-tipping’. This entailed grabbing one end of the bean bag and unceremoniously tipping the hapless Sir Poopy from his place of ease. In his stunned state at this sudden unexpected turn of affairs he became suddenly vulnerable. And I’d use my foot which was enclosed in a sturdy work boot, to push him outside so that he could perform his duties. After all, performing his duties was what earned him a regular daily feed.

He faced such indignities with equanimity. Unfortunately his laziness brought his life to an early end, and he died at a young ten years of age.

After his death, Scritchy the boss dog took over ownership of the blue bean bag. As can be seen in the above photo, you can see that Scritchy had ambitions, which were eventually realised. Scritchy commanded the bean bag.

However, the bean bag came with a curse. It was just too comfortable, and whenever a dog reclined on the bean bag, it was as if they’d taken on the lead role of a chief slacker in a stoner film. A haze of torpor would settle over them. The world could have its cares, foxes could parade past on the other side of the window, and the chilled out dog wouldn’t care. Scritchy took on some of those attributes and has become far less active in recent years.

Of course, unlike Sir Poopy, Scritchy the boss dog is in her winter years. At nineteen years of age as they’d say in the game of cricket, she’s had a good innings. The editor and I have been torn about whether the cursed bean bag should be disposed of. Surely the elder Scritchy dog would die soon? Well, we’ve been expecting that to happen for the past two years, whilst Scritchy has other plans.

Her general demeanor is not as pleasant as you’d imagine for an old dog. There are times that Scritchy is delightful, and then there are other times, she’ll turn her head and give you proper stink eye. And during such times you can see her thoughts, which more or less suggest that it is somehow all our fault, and then she’ll urinate on the floorboards. Oh she’s one bad egg that dog.

Scritchy is of course a very old dog. But there are times you just know that she has a very malicious Machiavellian mind if only because she is clearly protesting some previous affront.

The dog and I have a long history and so I can forgive her occasional indiscretions. However the other day she urinated on her beloved bean bag. It is such a shame that the bean bag was really difficult to wash, and so we disposed of it. Scritchy is now enjoying a collection of towels and sheets and has made quite the nest of them. At least the new bedding arrangements have the benefit of being easily washed. And the change over was done just in a nick of time.

Ruby the young sheep dog makes a play for the position of boss dog

Ruby the young sheep dog has recently made a solid strategic move, and is angling for the job of boss dog. And the strategic move involves acquiring Scritchy the elders bedding.

Fortunately the bean bag was disposed of in a nick of time, and hopefully the young and impressionable Ruby avoids the worst aspects of the curse.

The trio of working dogs (A.K.A. The Fluffy Collective) spend most of the day running around the farm conducting important dog business.

The Fluffy Collective on important canine business

Whenever the editor and I are working around the farm, the dogs keep watch and alert us to any mischief going on in the area whilst keeping foxes and rabbits at bay. Unlike Sir Poopy and the elder Scritchy the current trio of dogs are very high energy.

Ruby chases Plum past two eight foot tall Claret Ash trees that we moved this week

At night the dogs sleep soundly on the Green Couch.

This is what exhausted looks like

We’ve been unable to do much work around the farm this week. From time to time that happens. However this week was notable because instead of having some relaxing quiet time, we spent most of the week assisting businesses navigate through the sheer uncertainty that are these crazy times. It’s been like that for the past month and half, but for all sorts of reasons which I won’t go into, last week was particularly intense.

Larger world events appear to be moving quite rapidly now, change is in the very air. However, I also sense that a certain lethargy has settled over the population, and I had a strange realisation during the middle of the week, that now is no time to act like the hapless Sir Poopy reclining at ease on his bean bag.

On Thursday morning I had to take the two young sheep dog pups (Ruby and Plum) to the local veterinarian for them to enjoy their next round of vaccinations. They didn’t really enjoy the trip to the veterinarian and both dogs decided that they’d show us their breakfast again (squeamish folks should skip over the next photo).

What a fine mess! Ruby and Plum love going to the local veterinarian

Spare a thought for the editor and I who had to clean the mess up. At least I was better prepared for the possibility this trip!

Easter is now done and dusted for another year. The best thing about Easter celebrations are the hot cross buns. However, hot cross buns now can’t be had for either love or money. So we decided to reverse engineer the recipe:

Hot cross buns after Easter. Yum!

Just to stop the professionally offended, or the pedants of this world from sending me reams of hate mail, we left off the cross on the buns. That’s what I’d technically call a fruit bun. Winning!

Blame the delightful commenters on this blog, but a few weeks back we had a lovely discussion about old school soap shakers. These are stainless steel wire cages where you place a bar of soap (used to be plastic back in the day). Then the cage is placed in hot water and shaken vigorously. The act produces soap bubbles (the fancy name for the soap bubbles is: Suds). I used to use one of these as a kid, as from about the age of twelve I was expected to contribute to the cooking activities and the general cleaning of the house.

We make our own olive oil soap, which is really gentle on skin. Making soap is not hard as long as you are careful and methodical. It is not a job for the careless or inattentive because early on the mixture is very caustic (i.e. it will cause serious chemical burns eg: Fight Club). But the small amount of effort required to make your own soap is really worth the outcome.

As an adult, I’ve never used a dish washing machine, and have always washed up by hand. Recently the commercial detergents were beginning to irritate the skin on my hands, so we ditched them and now use our own soap. It is really nice stuff! And people dare not whine at me about their electricity bill, because I might suggest ditching the dish washing machine. After all, it is an easy win.

We use a soap shaker to produce nice suds

The last of the summer fruit in the orchard was picked this week. It was persimmons, and we grow the tasty Fuyu variety.

Fuyu Persimmons were picked this week

It was a reasonably warm and sunny week, which has caused the winter vegetable seeds to germinate and begin to grow:

Radishes grow in between some Broad Beans
Brown and White Onions have sprouted
Carrots have sprouted
So far about 40 Wheat seedlings have germinated. I’m over sowing the rows with extra seed
Peas are growing, although I am unsure that they will survive the winter weather
Potatoes enjoyed the recent heavy feeding of compost

The autumn leaf change festival is here, naturally minus all of the tourists!

Leaf change is real and here!

Onto the flowers:

A lovely Daisy enjoying some dappled late afternoon sun
A yellow Evening Primrose
This succulent is not technically a flower, but it looks cool after the rain
Some of the earlier Broad Beans have produced flowers
Plum sniffs the flowers of the Alpine Heath
The Geraniums here are very showy and have enjoyed the conditions this year

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 5’C (41’F). So far this year there has been 428.2mm (16.9 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 406.2mm (16.0 inches).

75 thoughts on “Poopy’s curse”

  1. Yo, Chris – Lord Bean Bag’s Bane? “Lead roll of a chief slacker in a stoner film” has got to be one of your better lines. I know just the kind of guy you’re talking about.

    Hmmm. That high energy fluffy collective. Sure The Editor and you can keep up? I mean, after all, it is three against two 🙂 . HRH and I had a bit of a go around, this afternoon. If I go to bed, or take a nap, I put her on the bed. She can’t (or, doesn’t think she can) jump off, or jump on. Usually, there’s a bit of futzing about, but she settles pretty quickly. Until this afternoon … The futzing about went on, and on, and on. Finally, I put her on the floor. Boy, she didn’t like that! Lots of whining, begging and even a bark or two (and, she’s not a barker). Finally I got up and put her on her chair (used to be mine), in the living room. She made one more sortie into the bedroom, found no joy, and retired back to her chair. I finally got my nap. She didn’t seem to miffed when I got up, but I figure she’s quietly plotting her revenge. When I least expect it…

    It’s a fine thing you’re assisting businesses navigate, as best they can, current difficulties. Some of it will come back to you. Bread on the waters (where does that term come from?) and all that. At least someone should put you both up for an OBE or MBE.

    I saw an interesting new article on supply chains and lines. When I went back to search for it, “supply chains, bloomberg, (a financial reporting outfit) has several articles. This is the most recent …


    Interesting that the companies that are doing the best, are the one’s who, even if international, process or manufacture whatever they’re flogging, in the country where it’s being sold. Other companies are noticing. It could also apply to us.

    It looks like the back of your vehicle was the site of a mass murder.

    So, how did the hot cross buns compare to the commercial (though, made on site) version? Probably some secret ingredient that gives them that extra … something. Maybe, lard. Anyone who flipped out over a cross on the bun, doesn’t belong here. LOL. You can always say, “In the interest of authenticity. They were invented in different times …” That usually provides some cover. It’s kind of like the Hip Shot Jesus statue we used to have in our community room. That was removed by the new administration. Now I keep my religious convictions to myself (which throws some of The Ladies). The only reason it was even on my radar is that it was very, very bad “art.” But after a few days, I didn’t even see the thing, anymore.

    The Persimmons look lovely. And tasty. I envy that your place is just a bit warmer, than here, and you can get (usually) some veg and greens, through the winter. I noticed I had something scratched on my calendar. Last year, we had a frost on this date. This year, we had our last frost (maybe), just over two weeks ago.

    I worked in the garden for a few hours, tonight. Scraping together soil for indoor starts. Now everyone jump in and tell me how you started your starts, indoors, weeks ago. 🙂 . I said scrapped together, as I didn’t want to a.) go out to the hardware store, or b.) spend the money on seed starter soil. There was a bag of top soil that I uncovered, so, I used some of that. The Master Gardeners have a garbage can full of soil in their storage room. I think it comes out of exhausted hanging baskets. But, it has a bit of vermiculite or Perlite, in it. And, I added some soil from two plots in my garden. Just so when I plant them, they don’t come up against strange microbes. That’s something you suggested, I think.

    I also prepared a place for peas. I had a couple of bags of alpaca poo, in the back of my truck, that were sprouting grass. I’d been a bit slow to get them out, as, “Dick” parks right next to me, and I’m sure the sight was driving him crazy. 🙂 . Anything to run his blood pressure up, at little higher … So, I knocked off as much of the grass as I could (I’m sure it will make a reappearance) and discovered the poo was full of worms. Always, a welcome sight.

    The flowers, are, as always, lovely. Calendar worthy. The succulent with the rain on it, is quit striking. We have those here (or, a very near relative.) Most people call them “hen and chicks” due to their throwing off little ones. Most of them here are grown in rockeries. Perhaps they survive because the rocks absorb heat in the day, and radiate it back, at night? Lew

  2. Hi, Chris!

    Poor Scritchy on the beanbag ledge. And talk about Machiavellian – that Ruby is showing her true colors. I could tell long ago that you had your eye on disposing of that bean bag; it has been a lot of trouble. I know what Scritchy (and everyone else) would like: A Memory Foam mattress.

    It’s funny that none of your present Fluffy Collective are fluffy.

    I wonder if Ollie realizes how much closer in size to him the girls are getting? Neat action photo.


    Those are beautiful Not Cross Buns.

    Wow! What gorgeous soap suds.

    I am eating radishes every day now. They are good for the digestion – I think that’s just the fiber – and have Vitamin C. But boy – some of them are hot as!

    It can’t hurt to sow extra wheat seed as they are already old seeds.

    Sadly for my husband, this has been the season of no Footy.


  3. Hi Lewis,

    Hehe! Thanks for the kind words, I’m having fun writing here, and the slacker reference was inspired by the many stoner films I’ve watched over the years. Always amusing and slightly silly. My absolute favourite was Harold and Kumar. Just so wrong – every single scene. Cheech and Chong were a hoot too way back in the day. 🙂 But yeah, it is a bit of an amusing and ever so irreverent genre. And hey, haven’t we all met memorable types like that over the years, they make for amusing boon companions on this journey that is life.

    If HRH is anything at all like Scritchy the Malevolent, then (and you can quote me on this): ‘Revenge is a dish best served … wet’ 🙂 Dogs love their patterns, and perhaps you have inadvertently upset HRH’s patterns – which of course would never be her fault. No siree. And like social mores in rural areas, memories with dogs can be long.

    Went into the big smoke today and it is quiet in there, although most businesses appear to be operating. It is interesting that we returned back by taking a walk through the inner tourist restaurant area, and the place is dead, although some businesses are doing a brisk take away trade. We stopped at one business we’ve long frequented and picked up lamb souvlaki, so good, except we had to eat them whilst walking around. It wasn’t that much of a struggle. What interests me about all the goings on and restrictions is that our enjoyments must have been reasonably basic in the first place, because we’re still able to enjoy them albeit in a modified format. Another interesting thing we noticed was that there were many, many empty retail shops. And also some cheeky wag had plastered many walls and windows with protest posters which more or less told landlords to pull their heads in and cut lessee’s some slack. Trouble is brewing in paradise.

    Thank you, a letter from the Queen would be warmly received as thanks for services rendered. In Commonwealth countries a person achieving a century does in fact receive a congratulatory letter from the Queen. A nice touch from our leader. We really are going all out to ensure that the businesses we interact with have some hope of surviving the carnage. It is time well spent and at this stage we can absorb some of it, and if I’m not mistaken there has been a subtle shift in our culture, and relationships now have some value again. They always did have value, but when lots of mad cash was splashed around the place, the waters got a bit muddied. The concept of bread upon the waters is a wise philosophy for leaders.

    Thanks for the article on the supply chains. Very interesting, as was the article below it about airlines. Your point is exactly what the message I was also getting from the article – and also what I suspect underpins one of the major goals of this current episode.

    Can you imagine what the back of the Dirt Rat Suzuki would look like with one of those black lights? Plum had to be lifted out of the vehicle and I ended up with vomit all over me. Once on the ground though she instantly reclaimed her composure – and was hungry.

    Your gut feeling (please excuse the stomach pun) was correct, and the hot cross buns we made tasted closer to scones with fruit. I have this vague belief that commercial breads use chemicals in order to make them rise and be very fluffy. I read about the process a long while ago, but can’t quite recall the details. Did I just read: Hip Shot Jesus statue we used to have in our community room? Funny stuff. Must be how my mind works, but I’m thinking Western gunslinger.

    The winter vegetable thing is only just on the right side of tolerance for those plants, and I suspect that a century ago it would not have been possible to be growing the diversity of plants grown here today. The weather looks set to turn to the colder and wetter side of things on Wednesday night. Frosts can be variable from year to year regardless, and honestly I have no idea and just hope for the best. I can’t net or move the fruit trees and so some years it’s brutal. Late last year most of the apricot, plum and apple blossoms which were knocked off by frost. What do you do, anyway things were far worse elsewhere so I was dealt a comparatively decent hand. You may be in for an epic growing season if frosts are already two weeks in the past. Fingers crossed!

    I don’t think that things are too late at all for starts in your part of the world. Last year I set out tomato seeds in about the equivalent of your early May, you’ll be fine (and I approve of your canny soil resourcemanship)! Most of the growing here happens in the equivalent of your June to August.

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that neighbours can occasionally covet ones fertiliser stash. One can only but hope that Dick keeps out of your business (that sounds a bit odd now that I have typed it out, but in context it makes perfect sense). Busybodies… Pah!

    Hehe! The day is important to us down here and there was a lot of quiet grumbling about the current circumstances. At the very highest edge of the more fashionable end of the mountain range there is a huge memorial cross dedicated to fallen soldiers in WWI. I can see it from the highest vegetable terrace and visited it a few months back. Anyway the road to the cross is cut off due to it being in a state park and all, but every Anzac Day there is a dawn service up there which is quite stirring. I had wondered whether some hardy souls climbed through the forest (an epic challenge in the dark as the climb is reasonably steep) and celebrated the arrival of the dawn up there. It would have been quite a pleasant experience after the pre-dawn walk through the forest and more enjoyable sans crowds.

    Dogs have highly unique and individual personalities. HRH would be no different in that regard, and no amount of clipping can hide the personality underneath the fur. 🙂 I was surprised the dog groomers systems were so bad that they could hand over the wrong dog – and that someone else must have taken the wrong dog. What’s with that?

    Yes, I’m noticing that too, although earlier today I spotted a stay at home dad with a baby strapped out front, two medium sized dogs on leads and he was crossing the road with his hand held out front as he stared into a screen. It was an impressive feat and I would have to give any one of those activities my full attention!

    No!! Count away, how else can the slug action be quantified?



  4. Hi Inge,

    It ain’t just you, from time to time I likewise struggle keeping up with the comments! 🙂

    Nice to hear that the communication line is temporarily fixed, but I suspect that the engineers response may become more common in future – especially for folks like us living at the end of the line.

    Great to hear about the nice weather you are having, and warm summers are great as long as a grower has access to water. How is the pond going is it still full of water? A local landowner recently lined their pond with bentonite clay to seal up the leaks. It appears to be holding water now.

    We appear to be rapidly descending into a cashless economy. Down here some phone application was released which tracks all of your movements and interactions – for contract tracing purposes of course. I maybe viewed as paranoid, but I’m really uncomfortable about such data being handed over.



  5. Hi Pam,

    At a wild guess, Scritchy is perhaps more comfortable right now than the poor and sadly missed Sir Poopy. When he put his mind to it, that dog could brighten up a room. He just couldn’t be bothered putting in the effort though, it just wasn’t in his nature.

    Ruby is good, and she is one complicated personality. I’d originally picked Plum to be the next boss dog, and that would have been a good thing for the household, but it is looking less likely as time goes on. There are times where Ruby looks at me, and then cocks her head ever so slightly to the side whilst maintaining eye contact. It was as if the burdens of thought going on in her head were so full and rich that she could no longer keep her head in the vertical position. There are a serious lot of thoughts going on in that head.

    Pam, you so busted me – yes I was absolutely 100% waiting for an opportunity to get rid of the bean bag. From time to time I’d even caught Ollie reclining at his ease on the thing. It had to go.

    All true. Dogs usually arrive here with thin coats, and then because it is a good paddock, they develop far thicker coats as they age. The two sheep dog pups have double coats. Ollie and Scritchy actually have thinner coats than those two. Ollie is built for hot weather – not this cold climate, but he does fine. Hey, I once suggested to the editor that we should have five Pomeranian’s. Imagine that!

    Ollie knows that the two sheep dog pups are catching up on him. They totally love him to bits, but then for some strange reason they bite his face and hang off it. He takes it pretty well all things considered, although sometimes they push the friendship way too far and he retaliates. But then it all goes back to love again. I really don’t understand their interactions, but ours is only to wonder.

    🙂 Yup, ended up on me. Yuk is the word that you heard!

    I really do hope that the soap shaker works out fine. So far so good, and the stage is set for more soap making this weekend.

    Yummo! Radishes are the best, and my mouth is watering at your description. I have very fond memories of them as a kid eating them directly from my grandfathers garden – and yup the heat was all part of it.

    I’ve read a few books on growing wheat, but there is nothing like getting the seeds into the ground and observing what happens. The Portuguese millipedes have chomped down more than their fair share of wheat seeds, thus why I’m over sowing. I really don’t know how any of it will work out. No idea at all. There is a bit of fun in that possibility, although I feel this way knowing that I can always buy flour.

    Oh yeah, the footy is dead in the water… The recent women’s league has garnered enormous community support, but it too has been stopped. I do wonder how the game will translate if the players play the game in enormous and empty grandstands.



  6. Chris,

    There’s definitely a time to use what works, rather than trying to get every last bit of efficiency and perfection into a system. Having to constantly measure to the nth decimal strikes me, also, as way too far overboard. Something about “seeking a perfect plan is the enemy of a good plan” comes to mind.

    Ollie’s still youngish too, and didn’t get enough training before being the old man on the farm, perhaps? He’ll clue in, especially when the younger set takes charge. Their hanging from his face is still a sign, I think, that they still view him as higher up the pecking order. At least that face chewing and whatnot is a sign of that with wolves.

    Yes, we were asked to tone it down. Ordered to,actually. (Coworker wouldn’t, as she had only 6 months before retirement and there was no way they could fire her before then. She gave me a picture of a furious little girl with the caption “I use f$*@ as a comma after 10 minutes at work.”) Some of the young people have no resilience and are fragile and easily hurt. Some need awards when they’ve done basic parts off their jobs correctly. It’s weird to me. And, in the culture restructuring we were doing before covid-19, the “training director”, who is older than I am and whom I refer to as the “Grand High Inquisitor” (GHI), literally wanders around and eavesdrops on conversations and then gets people in trouble for “tone” or “improper language”, etc. It’s just plain weird to me. I was getting to the point where I was ignoring it all when this working from home thing started, and the GHI is NOT anywhere near my home. 🙂

    Two of the weegies from the online group called me on the telephone a few times. I told them either to slow down so I could understand them, or else tame the accent or else geraff ra bleepin phone an leave me aloon. Blunt approach worked, and they slowed down.

    Quantum level of interaction is the super small subatomic things from whence most physicists’ nightmares originate.

    No, you’re not defeated. I had that creative Foo Foo moment only because of the teamwork and camaraderie of extending the jokes. Without your input, I never would’ve gone there. Team victory and entertainment.

    The Princess wanted a local Sunday newspaper. I ventured out and bought one. It made me remember why we cancelled the subscription a year ago: as per your conversations last week, the paper is smaller and thinner, and most of the “news” in it, I’ve already seen online. And the local coverage is shoddy. But I enjoyed the comics and the puzzles.

    As to the Saturday Shopping Adventure… Even Safeway had some toilet paper and Kleenex available. Cold medications in good supply there and at Walmart. Brita water filters nonexistent at Walmart (replacements not needed now), but everything I wanted at Safeway was available. A mate from work was at Safeway, and my friend from the bus and his mother were there also. Bus guy and I actually met, seriously, at the exact same place in the store where we had seen each other 2 weeks earlier. (Friend is 33 and lives with his mother. In a twist, HE owns the house and SHE lives in his basement.) I was the 15th person in Walmart when it opened. And I went the WRONG WAY down a WIDE aisle at Safeway (there are arrows pointing the way) and was yelled at by 2 women who were going the other way even though we never had less than 8 feet of separation. So I turned the cart around and walked backward asking if that was more to their liking. Let’s say that they were not amused. There were less than 20 people in the store.

    Like Lew, I really liked “Lead roll of a chief slacker in a stoner film”. Well said. And “fluffy tipping” is a keeper also, an activity I’ve also had to resort to.

    The dog pictures were nice to see. It really looks as if Ruby is gearing up to take over. Every dog knows what are the locations that the boss dog claims, and Ruby is definitely claiming.

    No comment on the mess that looks as if somebody had been transporting bodies or zombies. When dad’s dog was dying back in Ancient Times, my work schedule demanded that I awake about 4:30 a.m. There were many days in which I had to clean up similar messes. “Yuk” is NOT the word that issued forth from my mouth!

    The flower pictures were spectacular, as always. I’ve got similar succulents and enjoy looking at them after a rain. That was a nice photo.

    The Not Cross Buns look delicious.


  7. Yo, Chris – Before I forget, a quick trip down a rabbit hole. “Richard of Cornwall, King Arthur and Tintagel Castle.” There’s a bit of an interactive graphic, so you can tell the parts of the castle. Then I discovered, that if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on the square “Explore Medieval Tintagel”, there’s another interactive for a different time period. And, if you scroll down to the bottom of THAT, there’s another square with “Dark Age Tintagel Reconstructed.” Circa 600-700 CE. Not a long trip, but an interesting one. I wonder who the artist is. Top work on the reconstructions. It’s what I used to like about National Geographic Magazine. The artists reconstructions of past events.


    100 year olds, here, used to get a letter from which ever current president occupied the White House. I think it may have been discontinued, as, living to 100 isn’t such a big deal, anymore. Which reminds me of a virus joke. “Need a free coronavirus test? Send a stool sample to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C..” (Just so you’re in on the joke, that’s the address of the White House. 🙂 .

    Hip Shot Jesus was anything but a gunslinger. It was one of those of him in his night gown, with the impossibly long flowing locks. Way before my time, a dearly beloved and dearly departed member of the community has donated it, too the community. The darn thing was half life sized. When the new regime came in, it had to go. Not that anyone objected to the thing, but someone MIGHT object. It’s an odd situation. The place was started by, and is still owned by, The Sisters of Providence nuns. But they have left the building. I suppose in the fine print, the contract probably says that the government housing authority be given a free hand. Or, something.

    Oh, I doubt “Dick” (gotta give his name the right inflection) would be interested in my fertilizer stash. I think he’s more a “throw lots of chemicals around” type of guy. Everything I do is wrong, but he just can’t quit explain why my plot looks so lush and produces, so much. 🙂 .

    When I worked out at the Yelm library, we had a “teen” zone. Which couldn’t be seen from the front desk. The crazy woman I worked for decided a bean bag chair was just the thing for that isolated corner. Staff was constantly breaking up teens, deep in the throws of PDAs … Public Displays of Affection. I think there were children, conceived on that bag. And, occasionally an angsty teen would slash the thing open. It was filled with those plastic packing peanuts. A few times, she directed me to clean it up. I’d look her right in the eye and say, “No.” It lasted slightly less than a year. Lew

  8. @ Lew,

    Oh, man, you ruined my imaginative image of Hip Shot Jesus. I was visualizing Jesus in robe, cowboy boots, vest, six shooters on a gunbelt around his waist, Clint Eastwood cowboy hat with a halo above it, stalking around the concert hall while the Danish National Orchestra plays spaghetti western songs and their singer sings “waaa waaaa waaaa” while wearing six shooter earrings.

    But no, ya had ta go and give an accurate description. Humpf! 😉


  9. Hello Chris
    I have never heard of a soap shaker.
    We have had the sunniest April since records began and it was very dry. Rain started last night and is supposed to continue through the week. Pond didn’t quite dry out.
    Thank goodness my phone is working as the friend and neighbour who I used to visit each week has died after 8 days in hospital. not from covid 19 but from heart and lung failure. She was 86. Her husband is able to phone me and talk. I had not visited them since the lockdown.


  10. Hi Inge,

    They’re very useful items those soap shakers and they were being used when I was a kid. Whatever did you use to add soap to your dishwashing water back in the day?

    Nice to hear that the pond didn’t dry out, and to be honest the conditions you describe make for ideal growing conditions. The rains look set to return here tomorrow with almost an inch forecast to fall over the farm.

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend and neighbour, and can only hope that the end was comfortable for her.

    With sympathy,


  11. Hi Lewis,

    It was good fun virtual touring through the castle at Tintagel, and it was amazing that at one point in the text the author chucked out the opinion that: “Tintagel was the largest settlement in Britain at this time.” The outside land must have become seriously under populated after the fall of the Roman Empire and the retreat of the Legions. I hadn’t quite grasped the full extent of the de-population. However, it fascinates me that even so, such a small community could maintain trading relations with far distant countries. It is an impressive feat, and I can also see how the comparatively empty country attracted new settlers from the even more ecologically fragile parts of north western Europe. Such history to be seen in one small enclave.

    It would be a brave person indeed to send a stool sample to that particular address. But yeah, very amusing. History has however shown that mailing unpleasant packages, leads to err, unpleasant outcomes. e.g. Ted…

    Apparently the authoritas down here have made plans to ramp up testing, although I really don’t know what that actually means. A software application was released by the authoritas yesterday which traces a person’s movements and contacts so as to provide more rapid tracing of infections. Now interestingly it was released with the stated goal that if 40% of the population take up the application then restrictions would be eased. That sounds as if it is a form of squeeze on the population – a bit carrot and stick really. My mind keeps drifting back to the works of George Orwell and it is genuinely surprising that the books were taken literally as a ‘how-to’ manual. It is a very impressive achievement.

    What? No western cowboy gear. It would work you know… Go on, did you try long hair in the sixties? I tried the pony tail when younger, but with the goatee it either was reminiscent of Gordon Gecko, a person working in IT at the time, or one of the very early Klingons who were distinguished by their goatees. By the age of 25, I had to cut the hair short. Did better than my granddad who his hair in his early 20’s – but WWII could do that to a person. Anyway, I can’t for the life of me imagine why anyone would get upset about a Jesus statute. If the icon has no power over you, it has no power over you. By removing the statue, they actually gave it power. Dunno, it all seems very weird.

    Oh, sorry I was not clear, my interpretation of Dick’s offense was from the fact that the back of the Ranger was full of alpaca poo and it was parked next to his vehicle. Yeah, I hear you about that, some folks just love throwing chemicals around the garden. They’re OK in small and infrequent quantities, but anything more than that is a bit of a worry as what goes around, comes around. However, I like circles, they’re revolutionary! 😉

    Quite enjoying the book ‘Earth Abides’, and the decade for the characters at the point at which I’m reading has slipped into a sped up story. The author has a notable sense of ecological principles. The quaint use of pretty unpleasant chemicals in the story is quite alarming.

    Given cafes are now take away only my time for reading has become more constrained. It’s not civilised you know.

    Haha! The poor kids just looking for some quiet space to get up to mischief. I’ve got no problem with that, as long as I don’t have stumble in upon such things in a public place, and I applaud your common sense response to an unreasonable and out there request to clean up after them. A public library is not the place for such things despite some folks natural inclinations.

    The rain is set to arrive late tomorrow afternoon. Apparently this year is something of a record breaking year for rain. Go figure that one, but no wonder it is green here: Victoria braces for rain, wind, snow and hail as Melbourne gets ready for a new rainfall record. Should be interesting. How is your spring travelling so far?



  12. Hi DJ,

    Oh yeah, such fine measurements to several decimal places is a recipe for disaster. It is like inviting trouble into your home, in that you don’t want it. The old Nickel Iron batteries can still be bought new nowadays, but I do wonder how the inverter would work with such a machine due to voltage drop issues – you’d probably have to get a custom built inverter (which can be had down here, but it’ll cost ya!) Incidentally, with the switch from 24V to 48V for the batteries (and everything else) I have noticed that the entire system uses 3x the electricity that it used to when at rest. The outcome is within specifications, so nothing to worry about – it was just a ‘lights-on’ moment for me. I’d been wondering for a while why the system was using more electricity now every day, and then Duh! The light went on. I’d imagine that as these systems scale to ever increasing sizes, the system itself probably has to use more and more electricity just to run it.

    The old inverter used to use 0.6A at 24V at rest, whilst the new inverter uses 1.0A at 48V. Converted to watts and then multiplied by 24 hours, well let’s just say that small differences add up.

    Thanks for mentioning the wolves and pecking order, but it makes sense. For your interest when the trio are running around the farm, the much larger Ollie often trains the two littlies on how to fight and not be snuck up upon. A lot of their interactions may seem like playing but they’re useful lessons. It is amazing to observe the education in process.

    Oh really, well yeah that’s what you can get when you work for a business with perhaps too much funding and resources: A grand inquisitor. All sounds very kangaroo court to me, although for the record I have nothing against marsupials and we should not besmirch their good, if somewhat grumpy characters. Mate if it seems weird, it might actually be weird.

    The weegie to English translator interpreted your friends comments as: Something about peanuts. It truly is a mystery! 🙂

    How much fun did we have with the Foo Foo story! 🙂 And there is a heck of a lot of philosophical meat in that rabbit and fairy interaction – you actually caused me to look at the story from outside of the narrative – and that is no bad thing. Any rabbits are usually bony critters with very little philosophical meat, but if cooked right – they’re pretty tasty and yields good results. The gourmet pie place does a tasty rabbit pie. Yum!

    Journalism as a profession is a tough way to make a buck, and at one point a few years back there were apparently more University students studying Journalism degrees than there even were jobs. Strange days, and a tough way to make a living. A lot of them would be unemployed now.

    Whatever is a Brita water filter (please understand that I drink unfiltered rain water)? Ah, you have been touched with a mild case of synchronicity. Hmm. Watch for fairies holding grudges and threatening punishment. 🙂 Haha! We haven’t yet descended into such supermarket antics, but I hear from our friends over in New Zealand that they too share your fate. You were very cheeky, but pedants will be pedants and there is a time and place to deal with them… 🙂

    🙂 Hadn’t realised that Ruby is muscling in on the elderly Scritchy, but she’ll probably be a fine boss dog. Hey, the mess they left ended up on my clothes because they had to be hauled out of the back of the car. Into the wash with them… Did the word you use rhyme with the word ‘Yuk’?

    The rain drop on the succulent really turned out well, even we were looking at the photo and going: yeah, nailed that image. It is fun picking which photos to include.

    I passed on your name for the buns, and the editor is rather pleased!



  13. @ Inge – I’m sorry to hear about your friend. In our age group, the losses pile up.

    When I lived “out in the boonies”, I lost my land line, but not my internet. I say boonies, but I was only 25 minutes from downtown Chehalis. I could not get anyone to come out and take a look at it. What happened is, at one point the government was subsidizing rural land lines. Then that stopped. They’d rather all the rural land lines just go away. When I moved and stopped service, of course they ask why. Boy, did I give them an ear full. Not that it does any good. I think I read that 40% of rural America has little or no internet service. Gentleman farmers who move to the country are often horrified to discover they have no internet, or internet as slow as molasses. A problem if you’re trying to run a small, online business.

    I see Brading Roman Villa has fallen on hard times. It costs £700+ a day, just in maintenance to keep going. Save the chicken-headed man! Vindolanda is also having financial problems. I wonder how many museums and historic sites will bite the dust, through all this. Lew

  14. @ DJ – Smashing people’s illusions. Seems to be my mission in life. Dare I say, it’s my cross to bear? 🙂 . But I do like the image of Jesus as a gunslinger. More in keeping with his driving the money changers out of the temple, gig. The graphic is probably out there, somewhere. Of course, my all time favorite is Jesus on a dinosaur. Lew

  15. Yo, Chris – I see the soap shakers, old wire one’s, in boxes of kitchen equipment, every once in awhile. I don’t have one, but ought to keep my eye out. Way back when, they were often home made. Something to make on long winter evenings. They were also used for doing laundry.

    I think Tintagel had mines, near by, that they managed to keep going. Tin, I think.

    Yes, that tracking via devices doesn’t make me comfortable, either. One of the first applications was when they tracked how the spring break “party-harders” scattered from Florida. It was interesting, but caused a certain amount of discomfort among the chattering classes. Does come in handy if you happen to roll your car into a ravine, and can’t get out. But for general use, no.

    Carrot and stick, or rock and hard place? It becomes necessary to function, or, is made so. I keep bumping up against things that can only be done with a device, and, occasionally feel a bit cornered. But so far, in my situation, the pressure is not to great.

    We had an interesting community meeting, last year. The She Beasts boss came down to do a song and dance and try and whip us naughty little children into line. They kept running down the previous building manager, We kept getting a lot of memos along the lines of, “If we could only tell you, were at liberty to tell you, what horrible bad things the previous building manager did!” So, when he came down, he went into this long song and dance about how the previous manager had, on one occasion, known he was coming and had HIDDEN the Jesus statue from him! He was practically weeping at the duplicity. It occurred to me later, that he’d really shot himself in the foot. Besides the transparent histrionics, I don’t think there was a person in the room that thought she hadn’t taken the right course of action 🙂 .

    Circles ARE revolutionary. Look at the wheel. Well, maybe not.

    Your comment about take out at the cafe, cutting into your reading time leads me to an article I read yesterday, about the future of retail, and, the cities. Parts of it may apply to your neck of the woods.


    Spring traveling? What spring traveling. I got an e-mail from my auto insurance company, this morning. They’re sending me a $10 check, probably every month for the duration, due to the overall fall off in mileage. Several auto insurance companies are doing it, over here. Oh, well. I’m sure they’ll make it up, somewhere else. Am I a cynic?

    I saw an article, “Pompeii Ruins Show That The Romans Invented Recycling.” Well, I wouldn’t go quit that far, but the study was interesting.

    When I took HRH out, last night, she was pretty distracted by something in the woods. Deer? Coyotes? Is the big cat back, making his rounds? Lew

  16. Hello again
    I have no idea as to what we put in washing up water, isn’t that weird! I have e-mailed my sister to see whether she remembers.


  17. @Lew

    Great link on the Earl’s old castle. Sounds like it was a vanity project, but worse things to spend your gold on 🙂


  18. @Inge

    The water in the river just in front of us ranges from 14-15 degrees C in winter to as high as 24 C in Summer. Personally, I am OK swimming in water as low as 18 C without a wetsuit – but only if the air temp is hot.

    Sorry to hear about your friend. It is very upsetting that many people can’t say goodbye to loved ones in their last days right now.


  19. @Chris

    Ahh, Cape Sorell. Very close to my old stomping grounds a few years ago. Mrs Damo and I used to go fishing just a few km from that marker – although to be clear – in a protected bay at the mouth of Macquarie Harbour, and not exposed along the very rough beach. Good fishing if you like Cocky Salmon (some don’t, we thought they were fine). Admittedly, not the brightest fish, Mrs Damo landed 4 from one cast, alas I was only able to get 3.

    Good work on the soap shaker – I used to have one growing up, but didn’t like it as I never was able to generate many suds. Your photo is an inspiration though – no lack of suds there!


  20. Chris,

    Say it ain’t so!?! “Not Cross Buns” isn’t mine. I repeated a Previous Post from Pam that so titled the baked goods. Credit to Pam.

    You got it. With complexity comes more energy usage just to keep the system running, rather than deliver the final product to the end user. It’s similar to the resilience versus efficiency dilemma: you can totally maximize either one and have little of the other, or find a comfortable balance somewhere between the extremes. Hmmmm, it may be somewhat related to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle also: we cannot know precisely both the position and momentum (basically momentum = speed multiplied by mass) of an object simultaneously. The more we know about one, the less we know about the other. I’m sure there is some universal law somewhere that encapsulates these and other similar ideas.

    I figured Ollie was still teaching the younger ones how to be dogs. Good on him. The whole canine family uses play as a means of learning and is fun to watch.

    Kangaroo court is a phrase that is demeaning to all marsupials.

    Well, “ger aff ra phone” might look a little bit like giraffe and that implies circus which implies something about peanuts? Nobody can understand a weegie and I’ve been told that nobody in Scotland can understand a word said by someone from Aberdeen. The Aberdeen version of “Where are you from?” is “Furry boots ye frae?” which I think comes from “Where about are you from?”.

    My mouth is watering at the idea of rabbit pie. Our back and forth on Foo Foo was educational for me as well. Tearing a story apart like that is a good tool for learning, so I’ve heard. And it’s something I’m learning to do in this lockdown era whenever some government official or some alleged expert is talking. I need to get better at this…

    A once upon a year coworker got a planning degree from University of Idaho, a backwater school in a Podunk town about 150 km south of here. That’s the same place where John McCain’s running mate for the 2008 Presidential election had gotten her journalism degree. Well, it was about the politician’s 5th university, but U of Idaho gave her the piece of paper. Coworker was highly agitated when I said something disparaging about a journalism degree from Podunk University from Podunk Hollow. But, hey, a lot of people are STILL getting degrees in journalism without a chance that they’ll ever get a job with it UNLESS they start their own publication.

    Brita water filter. Brita is a brand of water filters. The water at the office is full of copper leached from the pipes and smells like chlorine. The Princess bought me a big water pitcher that has a hole for a Brita brand filter. It takes the chlorine and the copper out of the water. She later bought me one for the house, as she likes the taste of the filtered water. Then, when she noticed floaters in her water after ice cubes melted, we got a different version that screws onto the kitchen water spigot. Our municipal water I find to have nice flavor and is VERY clean, but the Princess wants to use the filters, so we use the filters at home. Necessary thing at work, though.

    I think maybe the next time a Supermarket Pedant says something to me, I’ll call them “Paul Blart, Mall Cop”, which was a series of two movies from 2009 and 2015. I’ve never seen them. Or I can speak Weegie at them. 😉

    Oh, the words I used at 4:30 a.m. The poor dog needed to be put down and dad was incapable of doing so and nobody could push him on it. So the poor dog made messes and DJSpo used words that rhymed with “yuk” and “wit” and “gun of a witch” and some extremely long words and phrases that are best not alluded to.

    We did not swear in our house. Very strict, religious upbringing. Dad could swear, but not us. My sister had a parakeet. The parakeet learned to talk. It learned to sing Scott Joplin’s “Entertainer”, theme song from the movie “The Sting” because I played it (endlessly) on the piano. Bird had a large vocabulary and was smart: we were feeding worms to a baby robin we raised one summer, and we were near the parakeet’s cage, so the parakeet said clearly, “WHAT are you doing?” It had never said that before. Anyhow, one evening at dinner, the parakeet quite loudly and clearly let out with a bunch of swearing. We then knew precisely what mom was saying when alone in the house when we were all at work or school. 🙂


  21. Hi Cris
    The bean bag chair ,being stuffed with pellets that are good insulators probably absorb and hold and radiate back the dogs body heat, along with the soft body conforming covering. To The dog. The effect may be like cuddling with another dog that doesn’t object , kick, snap , whine , nor bite . Soon the trance overtakes zzzzzzzz. Dog Tip Time.
    Probably the effect is closely related to wood heater brain bake syndrome . We don’t have our own dog these days, there are however several Grand Dogs which visit occasionally though 😊
    Expanding the Dog Pack patrol area, hook up Ollie to extendable lead the lead them into unfamiliar territory in the deep dark spooky woods spend some time with dead fall clearing, or stick chasing giving them some wandering and most important territory marking. It’s possible that after they mark the area and maybe nab or confront some game in the area they will branch out and expand their safe boundries.
    the marking with the dog 8000:1 smell advantage should help the process. The cold and wet coming on may cause some delay. Burr. Oh yea Ollie may not need the lead he’s a big boy now!

  22. Hi Inge,

    I hope that you are OK. Funerals are a weird business in these days of lock down, and I can’t imagine that there would even be a wake.

    It will be interesting to hear the account of what occurred in your country back in the day. We have correspondended for a long time I can’t imagine that you would be such a person to shirk washing up duties when you were young? 😉 My mother nabbed me one day and volunteered me for that particular job and on a regular roster. Ah, to learn the benefits of being volunteered for a task at such a young age teaches a person to be elsewhere, keep a low profile, or accommodate themselves to their new situation. 🙂



  23. Hi Damo,

    Hey, have you seen the data from the wave buoy at Cape Sorrell? Cape Sorell Waverider Buoy Observations

    ‘Very rough beach’ is a classic bit of understatement on your part – the observations from the buoy are feral! It such a beautiful part of the world, and you were both really lucky to have lived there for a while. Do you miss the area there much? It is one of those places you could just go and disappear and live a quiet life and let the world go by. The last time we were in that area it was pretty quiet. Did you ever get the chance to do the tour of Sarah Island out in the harbour? It was an amazing place and the tour was taken by an historian, and the stories… Far out.

    I’d never heard of the fish before and it is an impressive catch, despite their purported mental failings.

    Ah, there is a trick to using the soap shakers. You have to run the water over the soap cage whilst doing the shaking action. Easy.



  24. Hi Lewis,

    The soap shakers are one of those old school things that just work. For the life of me I cannot recall the reason why as a kid the household switched to a liquid soap concentrate, but it happened all the same. As I was mentioning to Damo, the trick is to pour the water over the soap cage, whilst the cage is shook. Easy enough. Anyway, we make our own olive oil soap, so it is not like I have to be careful about using too much soap. Oh! And a little light went on the other day when I was watching Chuck’s notorious chemical burn scene in the film: Fight Club (for research purposes for the blog of course). Well, let’s just say that that particular film (and book) doesn’t waste scenes… Now I get why they did all that soap making (and a genius fat source too). Well Duh! So subversive a film that it would never get made nowadays.

    Really, people used them for laundry. I can see that but had never considered it before.

    The tin mines were mentioned in the Camulod series of books – and it was one of their trade items. I guess as tin was rather had to find elsewhere in the Roman Empire.

    I’ll resist that particular Orwellian function right up to the last moment. What happens when these databases get things wrong? None of the promoters of the software are infallible. And what happens if based on the software you are accused of being somewhere that you weren’t? And I’ve lived long enough to see the medical profession stuff things up to the point where someone close to me died. So I hear their casual claims, and dismiss them. In my mind the thing raises more questions than it purports to answer, and it is just too much power for some to resist the temptation to abuse.

    Mate, the device got me last year and I was being blocked from earning a living unless I took up their kind offer. Rather than a rock and hard place, I kind of feel that it was a rock fight that I lost – like taking a lemon to a gunfight. Resist and stay strong for all of us, and if possible claim age as an excuse before resorting to the big guns of claim of technical incompetency. It’s not like you can be tested for that or anything… 🙂

    Ooo! Dunno about you, but I’m always uncomfortable when folks in authorita begin making disparaging remarks about their former peers. Basic marketing suggests that you don’t talk about the opposition, but nowadays that rule of thumb appears to have been chucked out. You unfortunately may be in the clutches of a pedant of the darkest stripe or even worse a very earnest clerk. Either would be a bad thing. 🙂 Was there any indication that complaints had been made about the statue? It all seems a bit over the top to me. Anyway, I’ve never met Jesus, but I’m sure that he is no more harmful than plenty of other entities.

    All this talk of circles make my head spin. Excuse the unintentional pun, it is spinning because I’m reaching a lot of deadlines over the next few days, before the long quiet of relocalisation kicks in. There is always something that occurs at this time of year and at least this year we were far better prepared to deal with the unexpected than in any previous year. To sum it all up, things could be worse.

    Anyway, we still have our little enjoyments despite all the craziness going on around us. Our basic entertainments have not altered that greatly, but other peoples boats have been rocked – and that’s where a lot of stress for me comes from (other people). It will all quieten down shortly, and then it will be really quiet. I am wondering about what will happen once all the various assistance programs end at the end of September. To everything, turn, turn, turn….

    Hey, we stopped off tonight and ate a gourmet hamburger and chips, all take away of course. We ate them standing in the dark on an empty main street under a veranda. The rain was belting down. It was quite nice watching the play of rain drops in the overhead street lights. Had almost an inch and half of rain today. It is very wet outside here…

    I began reading the article this morning over breakfast, but ran out of time because I had to put in about half an hours work, and then had to head off to a client. Not much quiet time today. On the way in this morning I stopped off for a coffee and muffin and the ladies there were very cheery. They’re doing OK.

    Autumn travelling is a bit of a fizzer too! 🙂 I tell you what, we’re not using much fuel these days… And petrol was $0.89/litre (3.8 litres to the gallon) which is bonkers cheap.

    Enjoy the check. How come they don’t send a single check for the year? It must cost them a fortune in administration to continue sending checks each month.

    Hehe! Good call. Hey, I don’t believe it was the Romans that invented recycling – it was us that forgot it. 😉

    Good luck and Ollie might be able to at least scare a mountain lion before going down in a pile of claws and teeth, but dunno about how HRH would go on that front. I’d listen to her. Dogs know things. Have you had any thoughts as to what it might be?



  25. Hi DJ,

    You have yet again proven that you are a true gentleman crediting Pam for her fine word-smithing. Respect to both of you.

    I’ve never before seen that process in action, and it was a surprise finding. It is bizarre to think that the larger system uses more electricity just doing nothing other than waiting to be used. A lot of rain fell today and that meant that the system generated only 0.57 of an hours peak sunlight or 4.32kWh for the entire day. The system itself used 1.73kWh just doing its thing… People really don’t understand just how marginal this stuff can be when conditions are sub-fluffy-optimal. There are 7.98kW of panels installed too. It is not a good story, but if your needs are modest it works just fine.

    Comfortable balance is a lovely way to describe the process. Of course you have noted that this does not indicate exactitude.

    Of course, the two littlies learn a lot from Ollie, and they really push his boundaries. I had to laugh, I used to run a graduate program and I always kept the assistant accountants laughing along and trying to enjoy themselves – whilst keeping them working hard and challenging them. Teaching is part entertainment. There are a lot of clients who I have a lot of laughs with too, but some I’m really serious with. Don’t mix the two up! 😉

    Furry boots!!! That’s the funniest thing I’ve read today! 🙂 Thanks for the laughs and I really do hope that if needed I can lean on you for translation services. I can see it now: I don’t speak weegie, but that man over there, he speaks weegie! 🙂

    The rabbit pie is worth the salivating effort. The meat is slowed cooked and must be shredded to remove the bones (which are tiny – you should try guinea pig which is smaller again). Hey, don’t we all? Like anything it is a skill – and that needs training and honing. Are you getting any carving done at this time or do you have any projects on the go?

    Speaking of which, a mate of mine is an aspiring author and a far better writer of fiction than my own less than average efforts. He’s quite amusing really. He’s begun doing just as you wrote, but writing a fictional news from a country town (a real place name too, with a very naughty name that is obviously the butt of many fine jokes). Anyway, take a look if you get the chance (probably not workplace friendly, but very amusing all the same):

    The Tittybong Times.

    Shoot! That’s not good at all. Copper Sulphate crystals are a bit of a problem and um, yeah. It is a sign of the pipes. A lot of pipes nowadays are a reasonably stable plastic which is good stuff.

    It is hard to get a canine mate put down. However as you also rightly note, once the course of action is obvious, there is no point delaying the inevitable. It is hard on the dog too when they’ve had enough.

    Haha! Your mum was so busted – by a parakeet. 🙂 Thanks for the story. Good stuff.



  26. Hi Al,

    I’d never thought of the bean bag like that, but yeah. Very insightful. It was such a strange dog perch, and it held an allure that was far beyond its stature. All of the dogs wanted to sleep on it, clearly for the reasons you stated, but the vinyl was slowly breaking down too and from the cracks issued tiny balls of some sort of polystyrene. And those things get a static charge which means they stick to all sorts of strange places. I can still find the tiny balls from the bean bag which are lodged in cracks between the timber floor boards.

    Hehe! Yup, you know your dogs, and they sure do love a good head cooking. The now sadly departed Toothy used to love sitting out in the sun on seriously hot days, doing that brain cooking thing. And I’d have to haul him out of the sun for fear of permanent brain damage. When it’s 40’C in the shade, in the direct sun you can probably fry an egg.

    The trio are expanding their range, but I must add that they are very cautious to not over extend things. Some dogs catch a scent and off they go – and Toothy was like that. He’d disappear for an hour or two, and then romp home. One afternoon he failed to come back home, and only arrived in the middle of the night. We suspect that he was cornered in a wombat burrow and couldn’t leave until the wombat decided to leave. He was lucky he wasn’t killed by the wombat as they can crush foxes (and dogs) against the walls of their deep burrows.



  27. Hi Lewis (cont),

    Forgot to mention before, but DJ reminded me. A mate of mine is an aspiring author and a far better writer of fiction than I. Obviously with things the way they are, the publishing biz is not so healthy. Anyway, he decided to get some self publishing done and wrote a series of spoof news articles from a town with a very naughty name. The town name is real too.

    The Tittybong Times.

    It is a very irreverent read, and just the thing for these times. 🙂



  28. Hello again
    I believe that only 5 people are permitted at funerals currently, though this may have changed. My friend had more than enough family to fill that number.
    Shirk washing up! Not a chance with my mother. It is odd that having done so much of it, I can’t remember the details. It remains my most hated occupation. My husband used to do a lot of it because he knew how I hated it.
    I think that being made to work by ones mother is a good thing. It meant that I was enchanted by the fact that one actually got paid when I got my first job and I was a very good employee having been well trained.


  29. @ Damo – Vanity project and PR effort. People were pretty antsy after the Norman Conquest, and anything to link to a British “earlier time” was cultivated.

    The Normans also were aware of: “If you move to a place, marrying into an old family, gives you a leg up.” They rounded up every Anglo-Saxon princess they could find. Not that all those marriages were forced. The Anglo-Saxon nobility, figured out which way the wind was blowing … Lew

  30. Yo, Chris – Well, you needed tin to make bronze. The tin trade with Cornwall even predated the Romans. Cornish tin for bronze is found all over the eastern Med. Talk about supply lines …

    And, today’s link is … the Roman camp, later city of Deva. It was in northern Wales. Present day Chester. Often called, “The City of Legions.” I’m sure it played a roll in the Camulod series, but, I can’t remember what it was.


    Something you don’t hear much, anymore, from the early days of computing. “Garbage in, garbage out.” People often don’t think how everything they see on the Net has to be input by someone. Humans, subject to error. Accidental or intentional.

    The latest in the “Where’s my check,” saga. I checked the I R S site, last night, and, instead of the usual “Status Not Available” I got a message that the check is to be MAILED to me 5/1. Which this month just happens to be the day my Social Security will be direct deposited. So, why … Silly me, to even ask such a question. But I think I’ll keep an eye on my bank account, just in case.

    If there were complaints about the statue, I didn’t hear them. I think it was all about POTENTIAL complaints, and, throwing their weight around to underline the fact that “things are going to be different.” Even if you asked if there were complaints, they’d probably say yes. “Who?” “Oh, can’t tell you that, because of privacy.” Isn’t there (or wasn’t there) something in the law about “facing your accusers?” Well, anyway, the whole thing hit the media (a bit). “War on Christianity” and all that. My, they don’t like outside notice. But, it all seems to have died down, now.

    “Things could be worse?” Do I hear Hubris and Nemisis stirring about? But I’m glad for your sake, that calmer waters are in sight.

    So, what’s in the woods? Take your pick. Deer, coyotes, or a big cat. maybe even a bear. Possums or raccoons? Maybe some of the homeless that live up there? I saw a tall, blond guy with stringy hair stumble out of the woods, the other day. He was having a lively conversation with … someone. Who was not in evidence.

    Your writer friend is quit talented. Reminds me of the stuff that I see at the Daily Onion. I especially liked the “leads the nation in social distancing.” 🙂 . But it also put me in mind of an old BBC series (1999) called “League of Gentlemen”. Not to be confused with an older movie, by the same title, or, the film “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” It was about a mad, small English village in the north of England. Royston Vasey. There are short clips on YouTube, to give you the flavor. I’d like to see it again. Lew

  31. Hi Chris,
    My those pups are getting so big. Loved the pic of the three dogs on the green couch. Does Ollie mind sharing? Long suffering Leo tolerates Salve when she drapes herself over him.

    My daughter, fiance and the pandemic puppy, Ruth came out on Sunday. We thought Salve would be thrilled as she’s always liked visiting dogs but no she was just jealous. Maybe when Ruth is bigger she’ll be more tolerant. Ruth is only 11 lbs. now. Anyway it was nice to have company and with beautiful weather we spent all afternoon outside.

    Lots of planting coming up as soon as the rain stops late tomorrow. My family isolated in condos are jealous of those of us who have yards or properties.

  32. Chris,

    Giving credit where credit is due is the only way to do things. You can guess how many times credit for my work and ideas has been “appropriated”. I think in the work world it stems from insecurity, especially by a manager or senior staff. I’ve never had a problem giving the credit. Early this ear, there was a meeting with MC and the Four Techs. The youngest tech talked to me a few hours in advance of the meeting, bringing up an idea but scared of what the boss would say. She’d been a tech for like 8 weeks. So I said that I’d bring it up, and give her the credit if the boss liked it. If he thought it was a bad idea, I told her that I’d take the blame for not thinking it through properly, as thinking things through is part of my job as senior tech. The youngster was astounded that I’d do things that way. The boss liked the idea and I told him to give the credit to the youngster. It’s the only way to do things as far as I’m concerned.

    But what about life IS exact? One of the maxims I try to live by is “change happens”. Being a fussbudget and trying to get things exactly perfect just won’t work, because change happens.

    Another way of looking at it…equilibrium. In physics there’s stable equilibrium and unstable equilibrium. The stable type is placing a round ball at the bottom of a bowl. The ball can’t go anywhere. Unstable is like if you balance the ball on a horse’s saddle. Yes, there’s a low spot, but any instability causes the ball to move and fall off the saddle. Resilience, if not stable equilibrium, at least is at a much better place than the “perfect” unstable equilibrium. Your electric system, being somewhat comfortable and working with some inefficiencies, at least it has some maneuverability room, room for error, some stability. “Just in time” supply chains to the stores, maximum efficiency, ahem, we’re seeing that that is unstable, works in only perfect conditions, similarly to the chasing 3 decimals of readout.

    Knowing who you’re working with is important. I’ve been on the failing end of trying to be funny with humorless clients. Ouch!

    When I first read up a bit on the Aberdonian dialect of Scots, “Furry boots” is the first description of it I ever read. Funny, yes, but apparently it is true. Translations available on request, sure. Each translation is charged the same rate as the annual subscription to your blog.

    Carving? Yup. I purchased several “blanks” from some expert carvers at the club who were shuttering their business. A “blank” is wood that has been cut down usually with a saber saw. So the very rough shape is there and all I’ve got to do is make it look good. My pyrography is at “Advanced” level, but my carving skills are mostly still at “Novice”, but improving rapidly. The blanks I’m using are for American Bald Eagle faces, and there are 2 others that are bison skulls. The parts to turn them into bolo ties, aka string ties, were included. I’ve got the eagles done, but need to paint them and attach the tie stuff. These will all be donated as gifts to be handed out at the traditional one year anniversary service of the relative we lost at Christmas.

    Someone also gave me 2 smallish pieces of cottonwood bark. I’m trying to decide what to do with one of them. I’ve never carved this material before. A google search “cottonwood bark carving” yielded a lot of pictures that are beyond my capability to do. The web address is like gargantuan…

    I’ve also got a walking stick I’m slowly carving. First get it fairly round, that start adding faces and things. So yes, I’ve got some carving projects going.

    I laughed and laughed and laughed. Tittybong Times is on a par with The Onion. Your mate is doing a fine job. I saved the link so I can visit periodically.

    What’s sad is that the building I work in was brand new when we moved into it in early 1993. And the copper was already leaching out of the new pipes. One of my mates worked in a water resources group and sampled and tested the water from spigots on each floor and found all of them to have copper problems. I much prefer the PVC type pipes.

    Nice day out. Mostly cloudy, but the warmest yet this year by far +25C. Spring has sprung, the grass has rose, I wonder where the snowy goes.


  33. Chris,

    The Princess just read your mate’s articles. I’ve sent the link to his site to Princess’s sister. She will send it to all of her extended family, and they will send it…Your mate is gonna go viral if he’s not careful.


  34. @Lew

    I loved League of Gentlemen back in the day. The later seasons got even weirder (if that is possible), but the first few are gold.

    Thanks for the link on Deva, the artists impression at the top of the page makes it look like a resort, outside the walls at least 🙂

  35. Hi Chris
    Get em hot or cold! NOW! year round No Cross Buns from C & E Mountain High Country Bakery.😁
    Recently been we’ve been doing well with baked goodies .
    Chocolate Cupcakes heavily laced with chocolate chips,
    Box mix Meyer Lemon Bars,, then Fresh Baked Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies choice of nuts or not, Also fresh
    baked frozen cinnamon rolls iced with gooey butter cream frosting. Hey! some stuff was coming up on the use by date . We did share with others 🐷oink!

    The soap Shaker would work well for a single cook. Cage up a couple of nice shrimp or scallops. cook over Hot coals or gas flame a little seasoning yum !
    repeat 😃
    Enjoyed the links and your friends funny work.
    I grew up on Mad Magazine. Nat Lampoon , Pat O’ Roark Charles Addams cartoons from the New Yorker and so on. Some have cruelly called me “ a shi*t stirrer” ☹️

  36. Hi Inge,

    My NZ friends suggest that Australia is in a less serious lock-down than their lock-down, and it is worthwhile noting for comparative purposes that we are allowed 5 people at a wedding, but 10 people at a funeral (you mentioned 5 people in the UK). I feel that that is a nice balance all things considered.

    Haven’t been to a wedding for a long time, but in recent years they have blurred into a semblance of sameness. At least with all the restrictions in place – and a serious impending economic correction – I have a gut feeling that weddings may again become far more interesting events. The editor and I were married in the recession in the 90’s and we had to do the event on the cheap, but had a nice time and it was all very low stress.

    Hehe! Thought so, that’s why I used the ‘shirk’ word! 🙂 Like you, I also believe that being made to work in the household is a good thing as it supplies excellent skills (there is no pride to be gained from a poorly run household), plus one gains an appreciation for what goes into all the multitude of small and large activities that entails running a household.

    Long ago, a lady once confided in me that she gained a certain feeling of heightened status from her inability to cook and maintain a household. As someone who commands those skills, whilst also being able to rest upon some social standing, I was rather shocked by the observation. But after considering her point of view for a while, I could sort of see how such a complicated state of affairs had come into being.



  37. Hello again
    Have now received a reply from my sister. She says that washing up liquid arrived in 1946. This would explain why nothing novel (soap shakers) is within my memory.


  38. Hi Lewis,

    Education is a sad thing these days as I do not know the difference between bronze and copper. In my first and second year of high school there was a metal working class which I took. You may laugh but one of the projects was making an amphora out of sheet metal, and it may have been bronze. I recall all of the hammering of the sheet into an amphora shape, and then neat cutting and soldering of the seams. All of which was done with hand tools. I quite enjoyed the process, but making things is a hobby for me.

    After a brief intermission I see that copper has been added to many other metals and the resulting alloys are bronze. Ingenious and it is a bit awe inspiring to consider just how much the ancients knew of the ways of metallurgy.

    The Camulod series largely ignored Wales. Some other Arthurian tales have concerned themselves with Wales. The images and story of Deva Victrix gives a person an appreciation of deep time. The Roman’s knew how to build things that would at least leave an impression that they were once there a millennia and a lot later. Bizarrely enough, I also had this flash of insight that the concerns of the Roman’s in that part of the world, eventually became far less than the more immediate and pressing concerns of that Empire just before it faded into histories rear view mirror. Time has a way of doing that.

    It is a useful phrase in relation to computing that gets neglected in these days of beliefs in the omniscience that tend to hang around that particular technology. It’s all a bit like a really putrid dog fart. 😉

    Mate, it ain’t just you wondering about when cheques will arrive. I’m fielding such questions, and in the absence of definite public announcements I’m left with vague words that are appear to have the significance of and equivalence of rumour. I’m sure the cheques will arrive, but when is an important question for many. What a fine act of money printing our society has dived into, however, if that is the game to be played then let the dice roll and the chips fall where they will.

    That happens and often at the changing of the guard do the chiefs crack the sads about previous conditions. It happens. It is not a good look and I have to fess up to doing such an act once, but rather than complaining about the situation, the instigator of trouble was walked. The work team I encountered was feral and an example had to be made in order to set the tone and someone took it upon themselves to lead that zoo, but by and large I would always prefer to work with what I find. Honestly it is like dogs in that I’m very unfussy about breeds on the basis that you never really know what may eventuate – until it does, and the experience may be something that you’d never previously considered. Old Fluffy the former boss dog taught me that possibility and at one point she was such a terror that I wanted to get rid of her. However, the error was with myself, who had failed to set boundaries with Old Fluffy.

    But you know, if nobody has complained about the statue and such a big fuss was made about it, it is probably a value signalling exercise for the new captain. It’s a bit sad really.

    Sometimes some people who are put into leadership roles can just pick a random thing and fixate upon it as a distraction technique. I used to do that with singing in the workplace. It is a fairly harmless thing, and some people are prone to it. So as a stress relief thing for the contrarians who liked to vocalise their stress in a song format, I’d just randomly tell them off for singing in the workplace. The singers enjoyed the attention, everyone else got a good snicker, tensions were defused, and life went on. It works…

    Calmer waters would be nice to see, and I spy land-ahoy me mateys! In the next week, several deadlines will be crossed and then it is too late for the slow pokes, game players, and the generally indecisive. The times are such now that people have to act and hope they got it all right, knowing that it might not be necessarily so. And what happens after September when the funds are cut is going to be interesting. I genuinely suspect that the borders will be closed for a while to come.

    Mobile phones have been something of a boon to those who talk to themselves. People with that condition can hold a phone to their ear and bang on all they like, and people will treat that as being a normal thing. What used to annoy me was when reading a book at a cafe, some prat would take a phone call and begin speaking at volume about their boring business. I’d be sure that the impression that they wanted to give was that they were all so important and stuff. Did such technology and poor social skills work its way into your library system?

    Hehe! He’s pretty funny, and I just got an email from him saying how much the traffic has picked up on his website in the past day. Like me, he is rather enjoying himself with the writing experience! It is so naughty, and I have to ask you as a long term reader: Should I create a link on this here website so that you get notified of updates there (I do that for Mr Greer’s and Mr Kunstler’s fine essay updates)?

    Thanks for the link. Truly bonkers, but somehow so appealing… 🙂 Are you local? Hehe!



  39. Hi Margaret,

    The important question here is does Leo mind it when Salve drapes herself all over him? Ollie has little choice in the matter. 🙂 That is technically known as being large and not in charge! Hehe! Actually the obstreperous and poor-attituded Scritchy has thrown herself into the mix and there are now four dogs on the green couch tonight. Ollie looks oppressed, which honestly does him no harm.

    Really? Poor Salve, and you may console Salve by having a quiet word along the lines of: it happens to all of us. 😉 Apologies but I forget what type of new pandemic pup was brought to Salve’s attention (i.e. what type of pup is Ruth)? How was Leo with the pandemic pup?

    Out of curiosity have they both adapted to the new regime of more home time together? It might be the making of them. And are they still going to put the nuptial plans off? Personally I have a preference for low key weddings.

    It isn’t just you that is hearing that particular observation about having some property! 😉

    Something has pulled about half the wheat seedlings from the soil. It might be a very hard crop to grow here. The seedlings were actually ripped out of the ground, roots and all. Such destruction is hard to get used to. Still I can get the crop growing in spring, it just won’t be as good as winter seasoned wheat.

    Are you intending to set up any more garden beds this season? And have you started your seedlings indoors?



  40. Hi DJ,

    It is a professional hazard. Hey, the opposite side of the story can also come home to roost on your very doorstep. The gentle art of being blamed for something that you have had no part in. I’ve heard that one a few times, and unless it is going to cause me current or future hassles I usually let it slide.

    Exactly too, if people were secure they’d act differently and the facts in that case speak for themselves. Nice one! Sometimes you have to provide shelter and give other people a leg up. It is a bit of a gamble though and it is hard to know in advance how the whole scenario will play out. But you’ve set an example by doing that, and that is how cultures are changed.

    Lewis mentioned the dreaded curse of hubris, and that curse alone is enough to scare any right thinking person into maintaining a more flexible approach to change.

    Stable equilibrium and unstable equilibrium are states of being that I hadn’t previously understood as a possibility, or even considered them at all for that matter. But in hindsight, so obvious. Many of the system here are based on the principle which you describe which is akin to the ball at the bottom of the bowl. The ball gets tossed around by the conditions, but hopefully doesn’t fall out of the bowl. Fascinating. Never quite thought of it that way before. 🙂 Such outcomes are hard to produce in systems whilst keeping costs down.

    For the record, I have never been comfortable with the concept of ‘just in time’ which usually applies to inventory. Anyway, such a strategy is only possible with cheap energy. Anything other than that doesn’t work, unless of course you are like the ancients who wisely left their tools in various locations dotted around the landscape just so they had them ready to hand when needed. The effort in that reminds me of the effort required to clear a field of rocks, in that it is an investment in the future. Of course it is also not lost on me that rocks eventually become soil minerals.

    Kudos for your translation subscription services. We have an excellent barter thing going on here!

    It is interesting that you mention the shuttering of businesses, as small business by-and-large are not shutting their doors unless it is some of the proscribed types of businesses. It is generally the big businesses that can afford to send their workers home and then have them perform their duties. You, I note are in that happy circumstance, but I (as an essential service – always knew I’d be properly recognised one day for services rendered to the community! Maybe not, it just happened to be my lot got singled out) are having to travel into businesses.

    Wasn’t exactly sure what a saber saw was, but all is now clear. A chainsaw would produce some nice cuts along the same lines, and in larger wood too. Out of curiosity, does the wood itself suggest the possibilities to you and/or do you have to wait for inspiration to strike?

    Incidentally that is a really lovely gift idea.

    Holy Moly!!! The cottonwood bark carving is epic stuff. Good luck and such art requires a lot of practice.

    Yeah, my mate is pretty funny. Just taking a quick poll here: Do you think I should add a link on the side of this blog so that you lovely folks can see updates when he posts them? He’s loving the writing process too, and I suspect has a lot more in store.

    As our resident physicist, do you have any idea as to the process causing the copper pipes to be producing water containing copper sulphate crystals?

    Nice weather! It is my turn to be jealous as right now it is 5’C outside and over an inch and half of rain has fallen over the past day and a half! Ook! It is very wet outside



  41. Hi Lewis (cont),

    Thanks for the link, and I’d heard about those particular solar plants being throttled to 50% of their rated output. The problem with arid lands is that they are often located very far from major cities and major infrastructure.

    But did you notice how small the mix of renewable energy sources were? People just don’t get it.



  42. Hi Al,

    Very funny! Roll up! Roll up! And today’s special is ‘not cross buns’, get ’em while they’re fresh!!! Thanks for the laughs.

    How’s your local flour supplies going? The supermarket here this morning had supplies of flour (although I buy bulk supplies from elsewhere) and apparently people were pouring over the supplies. Things are more or less back to normal at the supermarket, except that I had a flat tyre to repair in the car park.

    Who’d have thought that people would get into baking in a big way? You and I are ahead of the curve here. Chocolate cupcakes sound pretty tasty.

    Hey, can you grow Meyer Lemon trees in your part of the world? They’re super cold hardy lemon trees. Speaking about oink (! Funny stuff), the tree produces so much fruit that I’m cutting them into small pieces and feeding them to the chickens. They love the fruit.

    I like how you think. 😉 Shrimp is good (although we call them prawns) and fresh scallops are tasty as. There is a fish and chip shop along the coast far to the south west of here, and the shop looks over a protected harbour and bay, and then up towards the hills and forest behind the beach. They make really tasty deep fried scallops in beer batter. Yum!

    Really glad to hear that you are enjoying my mates writing. He’s funny.

    Mad Magazine and National Lampoon were faves of mine too (it explains a thing or three about much of the humour you get here), and as a kid whenever the newspaper deliveries were late I got to sit in the newsagent in the dark hours before the dawn and read the latest Mad Magazine. Are the newspapers late? What, me worry?



  43. @ Lew:

    I finally got around to looking at the Tintagel site; it’s a neat place – the website itself, I mean. So was ancient Tintagel.


  44. Hi Pam,

    I discovered Scritchy tonight on the green couch underneath a pile of fluffs comprising Ruby and Plum (with a side serving of Ollie). In the now colder autumnal weather they have all made accommodations towards the greater warmth.

    Took a photo.



  45. @ Damo – Re: League of Gentlemen. Who can forget the toad in the space heater? Some images just stick with you.

    Yes, in movies or artists’s recreations, I always think the lack of daily grunge, is a bit misleading. Roman baths. All well and good, but no one mentions they didn’t change the water, very often.

    Somewhere, recently, I read a good description of what physical life was really like in Rome. Might have been one of the Great Courses lectures. No wonder life expectancy was so short. Lew

  46. @ Pam – Tintagel was a happenin’ place, even in the “Dark Ages.” Lew

  47. Yo, Chris – I’ve been following a bit of the conversation about cooper pipes between DJ and you. Just as an odd thought. One of Ruth Goodman’s series, “Edwardian Farm” had an odd bit from the industrial archaeologists. As a money making sideline, from the time. They’d find a played out copper mine, with water running out of it. Sink odd pieces of scrap iron in the stream. Check back in a few months, and viola! small copper nuggets clinging to the iron. Didn’t bring in a lot of money, but, a few quid for not much work.

    I remember the shop class, we had. Two afternoons a week for two school years. We had to go to the larger grade school, nearby, as our little school didn’t have a shop. The ladies were across the hall doing Home-Ec, stuff. I can remember making a very sad little table (bench?) and there was a bit of plastic laminating (I think I made a heart for a pendant). Some copper etching? Other than that, nothing sticks in my mind.

    How did the ancients figure out all that metallurgy stuff? They find pre-Roman shipwrecks with ingots of raw glass as part of the cargo. Probably made in the Middle East. On their way to (probably) Egypt, where there was quit a bit of early glass making. Alexandria was renowned for it’s glass shops. The ancients were nothing else if not innovative. Maybe it’s that if your State happened to be conquered and you had a craft, you were more likely to be spared and put to work for your new overlords. So there was some continuity of knowledge. Maybe?

    They didn’t think there was much Roman going on in Wales. Or, north of Hadrian’s Wall … or north of the Antonine Wall. But with the new Lidar radar, they’re uncovering more and more evidence of Romans. In Wales, recently, they uncovered a Roman meat packing facility. It was close to an arterial of a major road, and they figure meat was shipped from there, all over Britain.

    Besides trouble in other parts of the Empire, Britain was cut loose as being more trouble than it was worth. It had a bad reputation for raising rival emperors. Many times. Some military genius would rally the troops, they’d proclaim him emperor, and away they’d go. If they had been smarter, they would have just stuck to Britain. But, no. They always invaded the continent with the idea of seizing the golden prize, Rome. It always ended badly. Only one of them pulled it off, and he was already the heir apparent.

    The first time I saw someone talking to themselves, it was at the library. Then I realized he had something stuck in his ear. My first sighting of a Blue Tooth device. Brought the Borg, to mind. The library has signs around, about noise, but, unless someone complains, the librarians don’t tell them to cool it. What’s worst is when someone is on a computer, and trying to negotiate something between their screen, and their cell phone. That we were like the Japanese, who think it’s a grave social error to bang away on your cell phone, in public.

    As far as the checks go, “vague words and rumors, are right. Back in 2008 there was a round of stimulus checks, and it was very clear. If your social security number ends in these to digits, you’ll get your check mailed on this date. A difference in management style? 🙂 .

    The Ladies are sensitive to lies and liars. So none of that stuff makes the current management look good. I think they’re depending on new people coming in, who don’t know what happened in the past. As if us “old hands” don’t fill them in. As an example, if we get a good HUD inspection, HUD leaves us alone for three years. So, the current administration claims the last inspection was the “best ever”. Well, it was good enough that we won’t see those folks, for three years. But not better than in the past. And, in passing, HUD has outsourced the inspection process to … someone. They’re rather loose about the whole process. Not very thorough.

    Sure, put up the link. We can all use a laugh, now and again.

    HRH met the new night manager’s dog, yesterday. Things did not go well. But, maybe familiarity will smooth things out. I don’t see them often, but I saw a raccoon high stepping it down the side walk, last night. HRH did not deign to notice the interloper. The rhodies and azalea are beginning to bloom. Rain, today. Lew

  48. Hi Margaret,

    Just in case I forget. We were discussing the book: Earth Abides. I’m really enjoying the story.

    The author is displaying a lot of his own values in the story, and clearly he has his own biases. One of the story lines that stands out to me is the central character’s disparaging thoughts in relation to the other characters. And there I feel is where the author stakes his own grounds for belief (although interpreting motivations is a very difficult process and I’m not really certain and would be curious to learn your perspective in the matter?)

    The central character (and indeed I believe the author) has sort of split the community up into himself, who he posits as something of a thinker, and then there is everyone else, whom he tends to look down upon. And he verbally berates them from that position of assumed authority and superiority.

    From my perspective it is a big call, because if brains cannot translate into action, well they’re nice and all and may make Ish feel good, but does it put food on the table and a roof over one’s head? I tend to feel that this is not the case in reality.

    There is a middle ground to be reached there, and the character Ish has entirely missed that notice. And he disparages others for their lack of action, whilst also lacking the ability to convert his own thoughts into action.

    It is a common habit with some people in our culture for them to use words as a tool with which to manipulate an outcome in their favour. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t work, and then there are other times where there are unintended consequences.

    My personal bias is that this is not a particularly smart way to view and act in the world that the characters find themselves in – one of declining real wealth and resources. As a strategy, it just doesn’t work in the scenario the characters are faced with and I look forward to discovering what mess they find themselves in.

    It’s a great read and I’m really enjoying the story!



  49. Chris,

    “The gentle art of being blamed for something that you have had no part in.” I’ve been there. It wasn’t fun. The ending of it was neither artistic nor gentle, but I made my points and it stopped. It was a trying 10 years on the job, it was.

    Many of the interactions I have on the job get rather easy to do. I just keep in mind how I’d want to be treated if I were the other person, and act accordingly. As you said, cultures are changed by individuals acting as good examples.

    Lewis is onto something with his observation about hubris. “Look! I measure my solar output to 3 decimal places. It’s perfect! What could possibly go wrong?” At which point Hogan’s Heroes enter, stage left, and the flaws in the plan are exploited, the plan exploding and exiting, stage right.

    Thanks. That’s the best way I’ve ever come up with to explain stable and unstable equilibrium. The goal is always to be in the state you’re achieving – be the ball in the bowl and hope you don’t get tossed out.

    Rocks in fields can cause mischief before turning into soil minerals. I was on the high school baseball team, playing outfield. My senior year, we were having practice. The track team shared the outer limits of the outfield. The star distance runner on the girls’ track team, very cute and I wanted to impress her, was jogging by me when the ball was hit to me. A fast rolling ball on the grass. I crouched down to grab the ball, at which time it hit a rock, bounced over my head and hit the star runner in the head. One small rock thoroughly embarrassed me that day.

    Barter is good!

    Our state’s small businesses are getting slaughtered by the shut down. They’re nearly all closed. The governor will give an update of his future plans Friday. Our local gummint officials are hoping that some types of business under certain conditions can open here, even if they can’t open in the crowded Puget Sound area. I’ll let you know more when I know more.

    If I haven’t bought a roughed out blank, then I’ve just got a hunk of wood. Sometimes the wood nearly screams with possibility. Normally I stare at the wood, carry it around for a few days to a few weeks, then get some inspiration. And I can use the luck with the cottonwood bark. Still waiting for inspiration.

    Yes, please add a link to your mate’s blog. I saved a link, but might forget where it is. It will be good to have a link to something that is funny.

    My limited understanding is that water sitting in copper pipes will absorb some copper. I also know that the architect in charge of our work building cut corners to keep costs down, so we probably got really cheap pipes. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are junctions of copper pipe and galvanized, which causes many issues, copper in the water being one.

    Send some rain this way, please. The last rain we got was much less than forecast, and the two storms after that turned into 4-40s: 4 drops of rain and 40 mile per hour winds. We *might* get some rain Saturday.


  50. Hi Inge,

    Thanks for asking the question about soap shakers. Can you believe we were using them into the early 1980’s? I hadn’t realised that liquid soap had been a product for quite that long. When I was a kid the the liquid soap products were heavily marketed. From memory there were two ladies having a conversation and one had tricked the other into putting her hands into the liquid soap – the inference being that the liquid soap was not damaging to skin. It irritates my skin, but it is possible that formula’s have changed since those days in order to keep costs down.



  51. Hi Lewis,

    As usual Ruth Goodman has a lot to offer. The series has been added to the ‘to-see’ list. Now you may think that the ‘to-see’ list goes nowhere here, but I can assure you that this is indeed not the case. The last six weeks have been among the craziest of times that I can recall. To be candid with you it reminds me of the recession of the early 90’s, but on steroids. So, the upshot of all that drama has been that it has taken my very all to keep up with the blog and comments, and you and I have not had a more in-depth chat as was commonplace before this time. Over the past few days milestones have been reached and deadlines achieved with room to spare. So a week or so ago we watched the most excellent film which you recommended: My Dinner with Hervé. What a film, and Peter Dinklage is a fine actor who clearly knew Hervé well, and could also channel him and the emotional journey that he took his hapless interviewer on. I can well understand your interest in the film and the characters. Interestingly the journey clearly produced profound changes in the interviewer who was struggling with his own Demons as you alluded to. F%^& Gore Vidal anyway, he appeared to be a person that I would take an instant dislike to. Hervé was by far the more interesting person as he had something to say about the current state of affairs and how individuals could rise and fall and be dumped.

    If I’m not mistaken, Peter Dinklage may be friends with the talented musician who lived down under briefly: Ben Folds Five – One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces. I might be wrong though, but it sure is some angry piano playing. I’ve always enjoyed Ben Folds work too.

    It is nice to hear that your education was also sadly lacking. I hear you bro! 🙂 Your reading has made up for any lack. At an impressionable age I was sent to a hippy-dippy school Ardoch Village for two years of early high school. It was a very strange experience and did nothing for my grades, but they had a really good workshop which was very well equipped. I used to enjoy those lessons. You might enjoy the history of the site as the buildings rolled with the times.

    A fine explanation, and when one encounters an overlord, the question becomes thus: Is one overlord different from the next overlord? Possibly so, but to be useful is to live a charmed life through the stormy waves of turmoil. It is not for no reason that I have quipped in the past that it is: the competent that are kept busy. Tis a blessing as well as a curse. And the competent ensure continuity, unless of course they are wiped out unexpectedly.

    Roman meat packing facilities in Wales… So that lead me to the character Caratacus and his awesome speech to the Roman Senate. What a speech, and he delivered unto them their own diet of themselves. On consideration, it was a very neat strategy and I applaud the bloke.

    Well yeah, I agree, the local prize would have in hindsight exceeded the wasteful acts spent upon the main state of Rome. It is also worth pointing out that Rome itself would have been very well equipped to handle such threats. It was all of the unexpected threats that brought them low, and the military geniuses in Britain at the time would have been better to divest their energy in stemming the tide of subsequent invaders from the north east. I guess that lot eventually learned their lessons, or the invaders lost their might or had honed the invaded enough for long enough to adequately repel them.

    It wasn’t just you who thought of the Borg when they spotted people wearing those little ear devices. It is a bit of a creepy look really. It wasn’t that long ago when such behaviours were considered to be major social faux pas down here either. The wind has changed since those days, but the changes sure do bring a bad stink with the winds now.

    It will be interesting to see when the cheques arrive down here too. People are asking, but I have no answers for them, and in the meantime employers are providing benefits to employees that the gubament would normally provide. If the cheques don’t arrive, things may get ugly. I don’t worry one way or another as that lot have a monopoly on the printing machine and they can abuse it at their leisure.

    My sympathies are with the ladies, and I agree with their sentiment. One of the awful things about liars is that they live in this awful space which suggests: They lie, so everyone lies. It really is an awful dilemma for them, and also the seeds of their undoing.

    Hey, contractors can be a bit loose about inspections – until it becomes a problem, and then society has trouble affording the proper inspections. You may recall the Grenfell Tower fire, and so many buildings down here unfortunately have that particular potentially flammable cladding. The authoritas refuse to release the list of buildings due to arson fears and that’s a good enough reason, but still. A mate of mine owns an apartment in a building with that stuff.

    HRH is closer to wild stock than most, and she may be reacting to a lesser canine. Familiarity will smooth those ruffled feathers over, and the other dog may also have to bow to her superiority. 🙂

    I get that, who wants to confront a raccoon?



  52. Chris:

    That Scritchy is no slouch, even at her advanced age. She knows where a warm spot is. I guess she has to scrounge a bit with “her” beanbag gone. I hope they don’t squish her, though.


  53. Hi DJ,

    Mate, it is a tough road that one and a decade speaks to a bit of pain. Still, we learn the lessons that we do at the time we do because we sort of have to. What worries me is what other painful lessons have we not yet encountered… To be certain there will be some of those in the future. I read somewhere long ago that a classic education taught the ‘tragedy’ aspect of life, but that may be a thing of the past.

    Ended up replacing three tyres on the Dirt Mouse Suzuki today. I really don’t know whether it is just my perspective, but tyres seem less hardy than they used to be.

    Haha! The Golden rule of do unto others is always present with us. There is no escaping it… (insert evil genius chuckle!!!)

    Ah, I have just resurfaced into the cold night (and it is cold down here tonight) after diving into a Hogan’s Heroes rabbit hole. 🙂 Thanks for that journey!

    Oh no! Imagine how your life would have gone had the ball not encountered the rock and dropped the star runner like a sack of spuds? From her perspective it doesn’t look good. Anyway, running is not a cool sport no matter how one tries to talk it up. The lonely hours on the track or road. The pain and exhaustion. The constant threat of injury. The awesome knowledge that no matter how good you are, someone else will always be better. The intense focus required to be any good at the sport. Come to think of it, you dodged a bullet. Imagine having to deal with intense focus on running in a girlfriend… Would there be space in there for you? Maybehaps not! Yup, count your lucky stars my friend, that rock did you a favour. 🙂

    You don’t have to tell me about the plight of small business. It has been nothing short of a bloodbath. But hopefully some gubamint assistance is on its way for them soon – of course it is not lost on anyone working in small biz that assistance is coming from the very same people who allowed this mess to escalate to such a bizarre state of affairs on all sorts of fronts. Strange days indeed.

    Talk on the street down here is that if not enough people take up the tracking software, then the pubs won’t re-open. Well, I have another point of view and it is that the Prime Muppet is a Pentecostal who likes attending large masses. He can ask for the software to be taken up, but I don’t see how large church masses can be held without the pubs also re-opening. I can out-wait his lot.

    Ah, that makes perfect sense in that the wood speaks to you. Inspiration is a complicated matter and it takes the gentle art of ‘letting go’ to a high note. And everybody would see different projects in the raw wood. Do you folks in the club discuss such matters, or better to discuss projects that are already half way. I rarely speak about the subjects I write about before they are written.

    Ouch! Talk of galvanised iron and copper pipes makes me very uncomfortable about the hot water system here. Copper pipes sit in a galvanised iron hot water tank and act as a heat transfer device. I don’t generally observe the blue copper sulphate crystals though in the hot water.

    We’ve had more than our fair share of rain this year. No doubt the epic bushfires only a few months back have a lot to do with that story. The last time huge bushfires happened (2009), the next two years were among the wettest that I have ever experienced anywhere. It was bonkers at 1437mm for the year and a little bit less the other year. Let’s just say that the conditions were very challenging. Fingers crossed for some rain for you.



  54. Hi Pam,

    Cordial tail wags to you and yours from Scritchy the Elder.

    I tell ya Pam, it’s tough being an old gal with these two young whipper snappers always nipping at my heels and trying to take my food. They fight and fight, but I know a thing or two and fix them with the horrendous martial arts move of toothing number three. A gal can do that when she’s a bit stiff in the joints. The two youngsters retreat in awe when confronted by the tough toothing.

    Of late, the bean bag just up and disappeared. Where it went I don’t rightly know, but a lot of things are like that nowadays. I still do know where the best bones to chew on are. And my comfortable and warm bean bag was replaced with a bunch of towels and sheets, like I’m some old codger that wets her bed – well maybe just a little bit. It ain’t my fault that vinyl retained the smell.

    Anyway, now I smell good and proper, the two youngsters let me up on the green couch with them and the really big dog, whatse’sname… It’s right comfy up there, and warm too. Although the youngsters are always squirming and making a nuisance of themselves.

    Nice to speak with you anyways.

    Woof! Woof!


  55. @ DJ – If you haven’t discovered it, Safeway has a new ice cream flavor. Salted Carmel Pretzel. It’s to die for. Eat enough of it, and it’s sure to kill you. Vanilla ice cream with chocolate flakes. And a swirl of carmel and pulverized pretzels. Your welcome. 🙂 Lew

  56. Hi Chris,
    We have two beds in the living room – one bigger the other and that’s the sought after one. If Salve squeezes herself into that bed when Leo there first he is not thrilled. However the spoiled dogs have two large memory foam beds in the bedroom that two can fit into quite well and he’s happy to have her particularly if it’s a cold night.
    I don’t know what breed(s) Ruth is. They said lab but hopefully not too much as that’s much too large and active of a breed for their situation. Her paws aren’t that big though so hopefully she won’t get too big.
    I did increase the size of my two original garden beds and prepped one more smaller one mostly for the sprawling winter squash. There’s not much sun here so it’s a bit tricky. I also had to remind myself that I’m 68 and while in good shape just don’t have the energy I used to. I’m getting ready to harden off all my seedlings.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the book. I’ve actually been doing a quick skim through again. Yes, Ish does think of himself as the thinker and that observation lends itself to what I wanted to ask you when you’re done the book. Some parallels to what’s going on now with some enjoying the changes and others probably wanted to hurry right back to “normal”.

    With all the outside work I’m having a difficult time keeping up with the few blogs/sites I read. As my daughter is a home school stay at home mom JMG’s blog this week is of particular interest. I did forward it to her and hope she’ll get around to reading it and the comments as well.

    We have 3 great days coming up and I have many new plants and shrubs to plant so it’s time to move on.


  57. Yo, Chris – Not to fret about the blog. We still hit the high points. 🙂 .

    I could watch Peter Dinklage feed goldfish. I don’t think he’s ever hit a wrong note, in the films he’s been in. Gore Vidal was a handful. He was a genius, and knew it. Did not suffer fools, gladly. But, as he got older, he thought everyone else was a fool. Every once in awhile, I see footage of him on some old talk show. He always entertained, and held his own. I’ve read a few biographies, about him. A very complex fellow.

    How how have I missed Ben Folds Five? I especially liked their “Song for the Dumped.” 🙂 . They even played Sesame Street! The Kermit Stamp of Approval. But, seriously, if you saw an odd hole in the ground, would you stick your head in?

    I read the bit about Ardoch Flats. From beginning to end, all about good intentions. So, tell me, which kind of a student were you? Disadvantaged or homeless? 🙂 . I’ll have to search up some pictures. The physical plant sounds really nice.

    Sometimes, compentance should be kept under wraps. People expect so much of you.

    The story of Cacatacus is really interesting. So, they march him and his family in a Triumph, and instead of slaughtering them all (as was the custom), he and his were set up in a nice villa in Rome. I often wondered what became of them all.

    But the fellow I was thinking of, was Carausius. I think he was mentioned in some of the early Camulod books.


    His rise and fall was pretty much the pattern. He was done in by his accountant 🙂 . Who didn’t last very long, after he took over.

    I think all these inspections and reams of paperwork are just to shift liability. And shift it again. Until responsibility vanishes into the ether.

    HRH trundles on. Eleanor’s daughter showed up yesterday, with a new coat, for HRH. Because Eleanor thought the tartan might be too heavy. Actually, it’s the same weight. But the darned thing is PINK, with a faux fur white collar! I am horrified. Not going to happen, on my watch. I think I mentioned that if she comes under my sway, she’s getting a black leather collar, with spikes! And, maybe a black leather motorcycle jacket. With chains! And next time she goes to the groomer, I’m going to say, “Give her a DA!” She’ll be one tough cookie. (Biscuit?) Release her inner wolf. It’s in there. I can see it when we play keep away, with her squeaky toy that looks like a dead raccoon. None of this Disney princess carp.

    I froze up some bananas, yesterday. They’re all safely packed in plastic freezer bags. The color didn’t change much. But, I’m afraid the parchment paper was only good for one go around. But that may be because they were headed south. Pretty sticky. Might be able to get more mileage out of the parchment paper, if I freeze not so ripe, bananas. I’ll also try drying some. Made a trip to Safeway this morning, at 6:30 am. By the way, there was frost on my truck! Light, but there. They had bananas on sale for $.59 a pound. Plus, I had a dollar off coupon on any produce. I bought two big bunches, to preserve.

    Well, I had something interesting to eat, last night. One of the Ladies has a relative that brings her these Vietnamese sandwiches, from somewhere up north. If you buy four, you get a fifth one free. So, she gave me the extra. It was really good, but I can think of no taste comparison, anywhere in my experience.

    It was on a baguette. Chopped up roast chicken marinated in some kind of Vietnamese sauce. Daikon radish, shredded carrots and cilantro. Probably some other stuff, in there. I’ve discovered that cilantro isn’t such a bad thing, as long as it’s not overdone. And, it wasn’t. Quit tasty!

    People are quit upset and startled, in some suburb, in England. Someone is wandering around, dressed as a 17th century plague doctor. You know. Long black coat, hood with birds beak stuffed full of herbs. The police would like to have a chat with them. I think it’s a hoot. Just in one of those coincidences, my veternarian friend, Amanda, dressed as that, last Halloween! Lew

  58. Chris,

    Yes the decade was painful. Being blamed for nothing or others’ transgressions has been a lifetime thing, though. Ya get used to it, but that doesn’t mean it’s enjoyable. The benefit is in recognizing in some others that they have been on the receiving end of this type of thing, and thus stepping back and thinking and gently asking questions rather than casting blame. Another one of those Golden Rule thingies that leads some of us to give evil genius cackles.

    With overlords mentioned in the Camulod discussion, and evil genius cackles appearing, I give you this… http://www.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html

    Tires are weird. One thing I noticed when needing new tires a few years back is that they do NOT store well in the warehouse. I no longer have the links to the websites, but the tire sizing and information on the sidewall has, at least in the USA, a code that gives the date of manufacture. You don’t want something that’s been sitting around in a potentially overly hot warehouse for very long.

    Hogan Heroes is always good for a laugh. Not a bad rabbit hole to enter.

    Oh, I was in no danger of Star Runner ever entering my life. She compartmentalized her life: Set lots of records as a distance runner in high school. Graduate high school. Get engineering degree from prestigious university. Get engineering job. Find a mate and start a family. Broke the hearts of many a potential suitor in high school. And the baseball to the head had no lasting impact on her. She did just fine at the next track meet and set more records in every race at the State Tournament both that year and the following year.

    But no, DJ did NOT learn his lesson quickly. Nope. I graduated and got a job and started dating a coworker who is a year younger than I am. And she was a distance runner in high school. Argghhh!

    I hear you about your Pentecostal Prime Muppet. I agree with a statement that Lew made a few weeks ago: let them have their normal services and make sure the seats and pews are packed tight and see how many of them get sick.

    Our governor extended the stay at home order until at least May 31, although he did give his map of easing the restrictions, the next round of easing to occur “by at least the middle of May”. And some areas might be able to get things opened earlier, as they are sparsely populated with little or no covid-19 in their county borders.

    I learned a lesson about carving projects a few years ago: don’t talk about it until it’s well under way. I talked about one I wanted to do and it never got to the drawing board. Mr. Greer has talked about similar things with his writing and other activities.

    Yes, carving and pyrography is interesting. To get the inspiration entails a LOT of letting go and listening to the wood or something. Then it’s a matter of enjoying the process and concentrating on the process while working on the project. There are times in which it can be quite meditative and refreshing.

    New neighbors next door. The young couple sold their house and moved. New young people moved in last weekend. A prior owner had landscaped the back yard, removing sod and placing black plastic where the sod had been, then covering the plastic with rocks. The giant Norwegian maple tree in that yard, well, it’s roots had grown to the point that the ends were now covered by black plastic and couldn’t gather enough water. It began dying and had gotten into bad condition. There were also volunteer maples growing near that house, as well as several pine trees that he had planted next to the foundation. New owners had a tree trimming service come in today and remove all of those “foundation” trees and the dying huge old tree. They left 2 younger Norwegian maples on the fence line that separates our yards, which I view as a mistake: they both are growing crooked and have a definite “Leaning Tower of Pisa” look about them, the lean in the direction of their house.


  59. Hi Margaret,

    Isn’t it amazing how rapidly dogs can put away their concerns and jealousies when the weather turns cold? I never encountered memory foam before but have heard about it. Dogs would love such a mattress. Did Leo and Salve ever chew their bedding? The two pups are going through the ‘lets destroy our bedding’ phase. I have made things very difficult for them though and their bedding is screwed down into the timber dog kennel. The coffee ground provider, provides me with a huge supply of hessian sacks, and the dogs love them and can make warm nests out of them – even on the coldest days.

    Lab, hmm. A week or so back we watched the film Marley and Me (and the editor also read the book). They’re a funny breed of dog and people tend to keep them as only dogs so they aren’t quite socialised with other dogs, but are mostly good with people. The mulch complaining neighbour has a single-dog-household lab, and Ollie and that lab don’t get along at all which is so weird as Ollie loves most other dogs. They’ll be fine, maybe. 🙂 It is what it is, dunno about you but I’ve noticed that dogs are less uptight when they have other dog friends to play and hang out with. But that is a bias of mine.

    What a great idea with the sprawling squash plants. They need room to sprawl! We did that too last season and the results were excellent. The squashes and pumpkins will be harvested tomorrow. Despite the crazy weather this growing season, those plants have outperformed all others. Hey, my lot only get morning to mid afternoon sunlight, and they’ve done well, so I don’t reckon sunlight is too much of a drama.

    But yes, I hear you about that concern, and I too share it. I’m racing to get in infrastructure whilst I can. Each year I find I have a little bit less energy, but so far have been able to compensate for that with better systems and experience. Such are the upsides to ageing.

    Oooo! It is a great read, and we shall discuss your observation / question at the end point. My reading time has been curtailed by the new normal as I can no longer read books in cafes. New patterns will no doubt emerge from the primordial murk. 🙂 And speaking of which, it is my opinion that we will eventually reach a different new normal, but I have a hunch that it might not be the same as the old normal – if you take my meaning. Dunno. As they say in Asia, same-same but different.

    I appreciate hearing from you and look forward to our ongoing dialogue.

    Well, for the record I was a bit dubious of home-schooling. However many years ago I met a local kid who was home-schooled and during that time he’d just decided to begin operating a commercial egg farm based on ethical principles and supply to local (and not local) supermarkets. As you do. I met him many years ago and to be frank he was probably a bit sick of adults as the local council was giving him a hard time. But that proved to be no drama for the kid and he just went from strength to strength and when my chickens go off the lay as they have right now, I exclusively purchase eggs from the guys farm. Of course he’s the halo model, but still the experience taught me that there is something seriously wrong with the educational system in that it seeks an outcome rather than benefits for those wrapped up in it.



  60. Hi Lewis,

    Thanks for that. Of late I have been a touch emotionally drained by others as it takes a lot of deftness and counselling skills to navigate through the crazy world that we now all find ourselves in. Recently I’ve been having minor flash backs from an old Australian story of a guy who suffered from polio before the Great Depression and went on to become an accountant for a manufacturer during that period of time. I watched his story put to film many long years ago when I was a kid, but the memory of the scene of him keeping folks employed for longer than they otherwise should have been during that turmoil hit something of a nerve at the time. And I watched the story as a kid. Alan Marshall. It’s a bit like that nowadays for me, but without the polio.

    The editor just encountered an article about the recent Michael Moore documentary. I was amazed that the narrator (and guessing the director) appeared to have pulled out the old tired and worn trope of apocalypse at the end. Anyway, unfortunately I mentioned my views to the editor who said something or other about not wanting to spend time watching such a documentary. To be candid with you, the narrator mentioned something towards the end also about the main point of the documentary was alerting people to the issues. I was scratching my head about that story. It is not like others have not tried such a strategy and failed abysmally. What do they expect?

    Oh! Went to the specialist fern nursery today and picked up two dozen ferns to plant in the slowly establishing fern gully. Action I have noted is far better than sulks…

    Peter is a fine actor and one of the best around. Gore is a smart bloke, but entertainers and informers have to recall that they need to read the room. There was a quote I once read that was attributed to him: “Every time a friend succeeds I die a little” You know I’m really uncomfortable with such a philosophy as it puts him front and centre. As an alternative perspective, if he was meant to be front and centre, the fact would be self-evident. But that is merely my perspective on the matter. Over the years I’ve seen cars driving around with stickers proclaiming: “Bitch with attitude”. My take on that is that if people have to be told that this is the case, then it probably isn’t that true. If say, people quaked in fear when the young lady in question lobbed up anywhere, well it probably is a true indication of reality. Maybe I’m taking things too literally? Dunno.

    Hehe! Well, we’ve all been in one of those relationships that Mr Ben Folds sang about, and that is part of the great wonder that is life. Run for your life! He’s good. The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner album is one of my guilty pleasures, and from time to time I’ll play it and just enjoy along.

    Not at all. I’ve watched enough Star Trek shows to know that strange portals can suck a person into a spatial anomaly and they can indeed look like strange holes in the ground. What if only your head disappeared into the anomaly, and your body remained behind? An unpleasant circumstance.

    Accountants walk a difficult line between reporting on the facts and becoming involved in them. Allectus clearly crossed that line and was unable to run the business. It happens.

    Exactly, spread accountability so thinly that it is lost in the winds…

    Ruby has a pink collar, but no pink coat. This would clash with her devil-may-care attitude. Have you thought to ask what HRH would prefer to wear? She may have an opinion in the matter. Dogs are curious creatures in that regard. The two kelpie sheep dog pups were depressed the first day we put their collars on. HRH has a strong inner wolf, and knows how to use it!

    Hey, I’m still not entirely convinced about frozen bananas, but it seems like a good idea. You mentioned parchment paper, and I’ve been using it of late and it’s very good. Seems to last better than baking paper, and um previous talk of silicone coatings made me a bit uncomfortable.

    Brr! Light frost. It was only 37’F when we went to the local General Store this morning to pick up the newspaper (getting thinner) and coffee. Sitting outside in that weather reminds me why we are covered head to toe in dead sheep products! And incidentally the story for the next blog was handed to me on a platter. I’d intended to write about special snowflakes, but someone just supplied a better angle. Who knows when inspiration strikes!

    Oooo! You may have tasted Vietnamese mint. It has a very distinctive and individual flavour. I can grow it here – just. I’m quite the fan of Vietnamese salads and it is one food that I cannot enjoy right now due to the general weirdness.

    How cool was the guy in the 17th century doctors plague gear? I both endorse and support him and his efforts. When I think about the crazy responses from the authoritas nowadays, I tend to wonder what crime the guy has committed. I’m sure they only want to rough him up a little bit. I hope that he stays one step ahead, and I can’t but shake the feelings of V for Vendetta…



  61. Hi DJ,

    It’s not good, and it is hard to work out how you ended up in such a situation, and then extricate yourself from the awfulness that is such a situation. What else do you do? And then you have to make sure you don’t end up in the same situation again. I have this saying which you might find useful: I won’t make the same mistake again, I’ll make new and interesting ones… 🙂 Did you just drop in a FidoNet mention?

    Mate that is funny as, and so true. All aspiring evil geniuses need to read the exceptional list and cogitate upon it. When I’ve captured my adversary and he says, “Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?” I’ll say, “No.” and shoot him. No, on second thought I’ll shoot him then say “No.” So very wrong… 🙂

    Oh no! I had never considered that the tyres may have sat around in a warehouse for years. Maybehaps my expectations of tyres exceeds reality? Dunno, but the previous lot lasted for about 55,000km. Not sure how that stacks up against other peoples expectations?

    Gotta bounce as it is movie night tonight. The Big Short is one of my all time favourite movies and the editor is indulging my whims. Of course such things have to be reciprocated.

    Will speak tomorrow!



  62. Yo, Chris – I found some pictures of Ardoch Village. Quit the layout. I was trying to figure out what style the buildings were. I think I’ve discovered a new order of architecture. “Early Stately”, Middle Stately and Late Stately.” :-). Maybe a bit Queen Anne style. I see Ardoch was a place in Scotland. Maybe “Scottish Baronial”

    Well, there are people in the world that you can call “inspirational” and Alan Marshall is one of them. Funny, I don’t think the Wikipedia article mentioned his “other” career as an accountant. Garbage in, garbage out. When one feels put upon, it’s good to remember other people do it harder.

    I’m sure the gnome will appreciate the new ferns. Added cover for his nefarious deeds.

    Envy. The trap that artists and writers often fall into. What a waste of time and energy. And, like grifters, usually all that undercutting the competition and wallowing about in envy, doesn’t get them one whit further along. Envy is usually included in lists of the 7 Deadly Sins. Probably, for a reason. I’m reading a biography of John Pope-Hennessy. “Learning to Look: My Life in Art.” He was the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and, also head of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art History is a dog eat dog world, Sometimes. But he had plenty of stories of powerful people, giving other’s a leg up. Museums and collectors who helped young scholars along the way … and those who didn’t. Names are named 🙂 . Pulled it out of my pile of “books I got cheap at book sales and haven’t got around to reading.”

    I ran across one of those Special Snow Flakes at the Safeway, yesterday morning. Our first run in was back in the veg section. No gloves or mask. Blond, had obviously spent a great deal of time on her war paint (at 6:30am!) with the obviously very expensive “do” and manicure. You know the type. Back in veg, she was talking to a like creature, and due to the stocking carts, there was no way to precede, than to barrel right between them. It so happens that she was in front of me at check out. One of those who waits until her sale is completely rung, and THEN hauls out the checkbook to be meticulously (and slowly) filled out and balanced. Oh, well. With her lack of protection against the virus, with luck, when we come out the other end, there will be fewer of her sort, around.

    There’s also a fellow wandering the very crowded beaches of southern California, dressed as the grim reaper. How cool.

    Rain and wind, today. A good day to get on those bananas.

    And, from our “Things Could Be Worse,” department, we bring you The Antonine Plague!


    One of the better articles I’ve read. The bit about the impact on the military is particularly interesting. Lew

  63. Hi DJ (cont),

    The fluffy collective are exhausted tonight. For the first time in days the rain had eased off, and so I kicked all of them outside so that they could run around and do whatever it is that dogs do. And tonight they are quiet and out for the count.

    It happens. I have this theory that whilst things might work out, marrying your first girlfriend is perhaps a difficult idea. So again you dodged a bullet there. The reason for my theory is that your first girlfriend (or partner or whatever) is apt to resemble the traits that you are used too (i.e. replicating your parents relationship). Dunno about you, but I most certainly travelled that path and well, like most of these things it was a good learning experience. We all have to find out who we are and where we fit into the world.

    Never dated a co-worker, although with both the editor and I being accountants and working together, I can amusingly suggest that sexual harassment is a policy in our business. 😉 Of course we are an exception to the general rule. 😉

    I’m not really sure but he may be part of the hillsong mob and they sure like their big attendances. Such things are not cheap to put on and I do wonder how such organisations will cope as more of their congregation require assistance in these times. My beliefs are a bit more earthy and I see no reason for a mad-cashed-up priest segment of the community, but plenty of folks feel otherwise so possibly I’ve got it wrong.

    A mate of mine who grew up in a rural asked the hard question: What does it look like to close pubs in a very remote area? Last I checked there were 7 cases in the entire shire area.

    Yes, of course silence is another golden rule when it comes to creativity. Speaking of which Mr Greer rather alarmed and surprised me this week. I’m cogitating upon the insight gleaned.

    I can see that with your work on the wood. Makes sense to me, and we do a similar technique here in that the land speaks and suggests possibilities. And dunno about you, but rarely are those possibilities glimpsed in their totality. All you ever get is the next step, or the next suggestion. I’ve long since come to acceptance with that story, what else can you do?

    Ouch! Mate, I like trees but an old timer from around here once said to me that there should be no large trees within dropping distance of a house. And another old timer from around here mentioned that: “they never get smaller”, until they do I guess. Now Acer platanoides is a deciduous tree, growing to 20–30 m. Fair enough. Eucalyptus Obliqua will grow to 90m and that height carries a lot of weight and certainly enough to crush a house. Something to think about, and people rarely get these things right.



  64. Hi Lewis,

    Aesthetically, the group of buildings was really pleasing on the eye. To my eye they were a bit Arts and Crafts meets Californian Bungalow. The buildings were beautifully constructed though and there were plenty of green spaces in between the buildings. I didn’t answer your earlier question either, but I may have slipped in via the disadvantaged route having a single mum. There is a small bit of my mind that suggests that my mum was using this option as a tool to squeeze mad cash from her father for my next education (the more English than English school), but you know I’ll never really learn the truth. And does it even matter? Probably not.

    Incidentally the scenery around Loch Lomond is stirring. I’ve always preferred the mountains and cool country. That is part of this week’s story too!

    From memory the author was a manufacturing accountant prior to the Great Depression. What surprised me about the story was that he wasn’t economically harmed from the times, but that side of the story may have been glossed over. Not everyone is ill equipped for such times, like anything much depends. And that particular story is playing out right now.

    The story about other people is rarely far from my mind. But from time to time I get smashed and that has occurred over the past six weeks, but it is part of life and things will quieten down – and then they may be too quiet. Although I’m rarely short of things to do.

    Oh no! I was sort of thinking that the ferns would be an offering to the elder folks of the forest. I’m very uncomfortable that when working outside they may try to pull my ears and tweak my nose before I’d even realised what was going on. No, I’ll stick to offerings with the ferns, and hopefully it ends up all looking good. This time around there are about 20 super hardy local ferns and 3 more tree ferns and they’ll provide summer shade for the other ferns living in the fern gully. That’s the plan anyway…

    Hey, when writing about the state of coveting for the mulch blog a few weeks back, I too noticed that sad fact of the 7 deadly sins. It is not a good look with either my neighbour or that Vidal bloke, but it’s a choice and he can show his colours as he chooses. I just happen to disagree with his personal perspective. Names are named!!! Funny stuff, well that is if you’re not caught up in that web of difficulty. Dunno about you, but we’re all really part of a larger whole, and maybe distance running when young taught me the hard way in that you can only ever peak for but a short period of time. Spare a moments thoughts for child actors! The trick is to, as people are so fond of saying these days: flatten the curve, but we all descend and decline. I’m cool with that as it is all part of the journey. Some folks just forget to enjoy the ride when conditions are otherwise historically quite good.

    Hehe! The local bakery has a two customer per time rule nowadays. And so orderly lines form up outside the shop. The editor and I arrived when there was only us and this local Asian bloke who had a very broad Australian accent. We had a good chat as people are doing nowadays. Anyway, a sausage roll and lamington was purchased and we ate them whilst watching the lunch crowd turn up, and I noticed a special snowflake who was wearing flip flops (we call them thongs but that has a different meaning for you). It was 7’C / 45’F and I really did wonder what sort of choices you have to make to wear them on such a day. Oh well.

    Allegedly your Florida man grim reaper is a lawyer. Who says they don’t have a sense of humour? 🙂

    How did the bananas defrost?

    Thanks for educating me in the ways of the Romans, and smallpox would have cut quite a swathe through their society. The article was very thoughtful.

    Yup, the legionnaires would have gone from well trained, to anyone who was still left standing… Not good.



  65. @ Honorable Dame Scritchy:

    I have seen your teeth. Be afraid, be very afraid, young whippersnappers – and what’shisname.


  66. Yo, Chris – Reading over your shoulder … years ago, I used to see references to young marrieds buying a “starter home.” Then I started seeing references to “starter marriages….”

    Haven’t tried the frozen bananas, yet. Still have a couple of days of the fresh. I froze up another sheet of them, last night. Four bananas about cover a sheet. But then I thought, “that’s only four days worth.” But, at least with the frozen lot, I can use less than a banana, a day. Cutting a banana in half, well, they just don’t keep well, even over night.

    Back in the 60’s, there was this kind of urban legend going around the Tat Trade. About a New York society matron who had never been west of the Hudson River, who threw a large dinner party, just to show off her new antique “find.” What she thought was a really old soup tureen. But she couldn’t figure out why it only had one handle …. 🙂 . The punch line is, it was a chamber pot. Well, it might not have been such an urban legend, after all.

    In the last local auction, billed as an “Old West” auction, was a very nice “oversized covered soup tureen.” Probably from the 1880s. Really nice sepia brown transfer print in the Aesthetic style. Funny, it only has one handle 🙂 . Next time I see the auction people, I’ll have to ask if they got a lot of ribbing over their “soup tureen.” A sad state of affairs when the youngsters can’t even identify a thunder mug. It sold for only $2.50.

    The Rhodies and Azalea are beginning to put on quit a show. Sweet peas are blooming. Apparently, we’ve got a dangerous invasive species, on the move.


    I hope they mop them up, before they move further south. As if we don’t have enough problems …

    I started reading “A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia” by Thomas Keneally. Just to take a break from Pope-Hennessey. I see he’s a Sydney author, who also wrote “Schindler’s List” and “The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith.” Among other things. It’s about the first fleet and the first four years. Something else out of the “to read, someday”, pile.

    I wonder how the library will do, when the lock down is lifted? I’m sure the boxes from the publishers have kept flowing into the service center, and quit a log jam has developed. Processing had a hard time staying on top of it, even in the best of times. In Ye Olde Days, they would have pulled in extra help. I wonder how it will go? Lew

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