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Today we rode the steam train!

We hadn’t been to a heritage railway line in several years, the regular season is almost over, and weekdays when the kids are in school is the bestest time. Uncle B will probably murder me if I mention there was also a senior discount today.

You still get whole carriage-loads of special needs people, today as in most times we’ve visited. I don’t know if they get a discount or if it’s just a thing they particularly love to do, but you need to put a little gentle distance between yourself and the happy car.

I saw a whole field full of lady pheasants and then, two fields later, a whole field full of gentleman pheasants. I felt like leaning out of the carriage and shouting, “hey, boys…?” The were fields of moo and baa and lots more interesting birds and a bit of a castle.

You can still get on a train in the countryside and travel for an hour without seeing a giant housing project. That is unusual. They are doing a heartbreaking amount of construction in our area, on a scale and of a quality that is nothing short of vandalism. All to accommodate refugees.

And by ‘refugees’ I mean English people fleeing the cities.

But enough of that! It looks like Timothy McCorkle won the Dead Pool (Timothy. Dude. Email me at stoaty@sweasel.com – don’t put your address in a comment!). I never heard of Sid Haig, but it looks like he was in a bunch of stuff. You know what that means! Back here, tomorrow, Dead Pool Round 127.

September 26, 2019 — 5:59 pm
Comments: 4

Thank you for joining my support group

I know, I know…this poor kid. Clearly, she has Very Serious Issues. So, like, let’s shove her onto the world stage and poke her til she cries.

I get it. It’s wrong. I feel bad.

But I just couldn’t process her Trump face by myself. I’m weak. I needed help. I needed to draw it out. I needed you to be with me.



p.s. Oh. They’re going to impeach Trump, I see. Welp, he just clinched the 2020 election.

September 24, 2019 — 8:53 pm
Comments: 11

Happy equinox!

By TauʻolungaOwn work, CC0, Link

I know what you’re thinking — isn’t the equinox on the 21st? No. I guess. I guess it’s not.

The solar system. lol. How does it work?

I pay more attention to these things these days. The weather is that much more even and predictable here.

No, wait. The weather isn’t predictable. The seasons are predictable. Predictions day to day, sunny or rainy, are wrong more often than they’re right, probably because this is a little island off a big landmass, stuck out in the churning Atlantic.

But the seasons change more or less when they’re supposed to. They don’t get the wild swings and sudden weirdnesses we got in the States.

And yes…the long draught has ended and it has begun to rain. Welcome to fall (and Monday).

September 23, 2019 — 8:20 pm
Comments: 11


I belong to half a dozen chicken groups on Facebook and they’re all going nuts: FB has banned sale of animals. To include eggs for hatching, swapping chickens, roosters free to a good home, ‘pm me for more information’, the lot.

I mean hard ban. They’re disappearing groups that slip up, sometimes without warning. Moderators have to watch forums and pounce on posts. Some are giving up and shuttering their pages. This hits the hobby chicken people badly, as FB was one of their main avenues for moving birds.

It happened after PETA bought shares and the speculation is obvious. According to the PETA press release that links to, they bought shares because FB kept censoring their gross animal pictures. And I noticed the “PETA kills animals” group is still up, so make of that what you will.

I’ve delivered rants in the long-ago on PETA and its founder, nutty Ingrid Newkirk. Honestly, one of the most evil puppy-murdering organizations on the planet.

Anyway, the sale ban is fairly recent, but I thought of it today because somebody in a local group was trying to sell a kitten. I knew the ad would vanish toot-sweet, and it did.

Yeah. Got me. Been kitten shopping.

September 19, 2019 — 4:37 pm
Comments: 9

lol england

Things spotted in back gardens that border footpaths.

This is no random assembly of cement chunks and garden sculpture. Oh, no. This here is art, friends. This is a thing here.

There used to be a house near us with a roof lined by concrete garden animals of one kind or another. They’re gone now. I have a sad feeling it was a house owned by some old coot who is no longer with us.

Hello, Monday. How was your weekend?

September 16, 2019 — 8:40 pm
Comments: 12

I don’t post on 9/11

Tradition. I’ve said all I want to say about it, but I don’t want to post junk like it’s not a thing.

Feel free to discuss whatever you like in the comment thread, though.

September 11, 2019 — 6:55 pm
Comments: 5

A barn owl in a bucket. That is all.

The last country show, as always, had the inevitable display of owls. I don’t remember seeing this before, though — each owl’s perch stood in a shallow pan of water.

This little’un was happily paddling around in it, which I guess is what it was for. If it were only for drinking, I would expect a bowl.

Look at that face. LOOK AT IT. In fact, look at it up close and in color. Zoom in. You can actually see us standing around staring, and the amazing cloudy sky we had that day.

September 10, 2019 — 7:34 pm
Comments: 10

Word of the day: yaffle

Uncle B saw one of these in the garden today. It is a European Green Woodpecker. Not his picture, though — the little peckerhead moved too fast.

I had a poke around the web, which informed me that the green woodpecker’s call is a liquid laughing yaffle.

Liquid laughing yaffle. Well, I never.

Only one document added ‘liquid’ to the mix, but they pretty much all say laughing yaffle. You might be forgiven for thinking ‘yaffle’ is a general term for a kind of sound, but no. It’s specific to the green woodpecker, which is also called a ‘yaffle’.

Pity. It seemed such a promising word.

You can make up your mind whether this sounds like a laughing yaffle to you. I’m torn.

Which brings us to Woody, who was not modelled after a European green woodpecker, but a pileated woodpecker, which also has a laughing call. The deep lore of Wikipedia tells me that the inspiration was an acorn woodpecker that pecked holes in Walter Lantz’s honeymoon cabin. He wanted to shoot it, but his wife suggested he make a cartoon about it instead. It became his most famous character.

Why don’t my life ass-aches ever turn into award-winning triumphs?

Aforementioned wife, Carol Stafford, became the fifth and final voice of Woody Woodpecker, though she asked not to be credited for some years. She thought kids wouldn’t like it if Woody was voiced by a girl. (I thought she was also the voice of Talky Tina, but I was wrong. That was June Foray, who also played Rocky the Squirrel).

And that’s it. Man, I hated Woody Woodpecker.

September 9, 2019 — 8:08 pm
Comments: 13

And that’s the end of that…

The circus. It’s the last thing on our social calendar every Summer, and every year we’re not sure if they’ll come.

It’s a little circus and barely squeaks by year to year. They don’t publicize their appearance near us until just before it happens, maybe because they’re not sure they’ll make it this far. And then one day the big top blooms out of the mown field like a gaudy mushroom.

It’s pretty good. They source their acts from Eastern Europe, for the most part, where circus is still a thing. They have a Mongolian acrobat I’m particularly fond of who always does several acts for them. And all the performers have to put on a jacket and sell popcorn and programs during intermission.

There may be a few little events after this, but the circus is always the end for us. I am so not ready for Winter.

August 29, 2019 — 8:20 pm
Comments: 5

It comes to an end…

Last day of the long weekend, last of the Summer fêtes. Still, I bought a neat leather satchel at the junk stall and got to revisit one of my favorite tombstones.

It’s totally normal to have a favorite tombstone, right?

August 26, 2019 — 9:05 pm
Comments: 9