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No better than she should be

Today we took Clan Badger to Smallhythe Place, an early 16th Century half-timbered house in, of all places, Small Hythe in Kent. Small Hythe was once an important port and shipbuilding center, until the sea hiked her skirts and skittered away. It is now miles and miles from the water (making the boat launch look rather silly).

A National Trust membership for two cost us £84 and we’re by-god going to get our money’s worth this year.

The house is in much the same Tudor style as Badger House, but maybe a hundred years older. That room farthest away in the photo was held in place by iron braces, and the floors were so outrageously wobbly and wonky that walking around the room made us all feel a bit ill, like one of those state fair funhouses.

From 1899 until her death in 1928, Smallhythe was home to Ellen Terry — the leading Shakespearean actress of her day. For which read: scenery-munching hambone.

She gave the house to the National Trust on her death, and it doubles as a museum of her life and acting memorabilia. Pretty cool stuff. She was the model for this iconic Sargent painting — the dress is upstairs in the Wonky Room.

Terry had three husbands, a series of lovers and a couple of illegitimate children (the son made eight bastards of his own; the daughter set herself up in the house next door to Smallhythe in a lesbian ménage à trois). Pretty good going for a woman of the High Victorian age.

Mother Badger seemed deeply perturbed by this information, although she mostly viewed it as a schedule management problem. “How did she have time?” she kept asking, shaking her head.

The gardens were lovely. And Uncle Badger was gratified to see they were laid out and planted up very similarly to our own — obviously aiming for a lush Tudor cottage garden effect.

But this sign was his favorite part. He refused to budge until he’d seen the odd stoat.

June 30, 2010 — 10:59 pm
Comments: 25

When you’re a chicken, everyone looks like a tree

It’s been hot here lately. The chickens don’t like that much. In the middle of the day, they stay in the shade under the chicken house, on the cool paving slabs, trilling quietly.

In the evenings, though, when the air cools, I let them out and sit in the garden with them for an hour or so, letting them “free range.”

This consists of squawking, flapping short distances, pecking everything that moves, pecking everything that doesn’t move, belly-bumping and pecking each other, running for cover when anything flies overhead, teasing the cat and, increasingly, perching all over my person in the most outrageous and undignified manner.

That last bit is worth every penny they cost.

That, and so far nobody’s shat on me. Bonus!

June 29, 2010 — 10:41 pm
Comments: 32

…signal weak…

Yeah. Sorry. Mum-in-law descended on us this morning. Which is not a problem — we get on just fine, thanks — but is going to absorb much of my sitting-at-the-computer-poking-F5 time. In other words, blogging is likely to be light this week — unless we take the old dear someplace cool.

So! Two things: the button design thing at Watts has been narrowed to smiley variations. I gather they’re going to pick one and have a bunch made up. Mosey over and repost, if your design fit the brief.

And thanks for playing on my (related) design thread last week. That was fun! I might pinch some of the design ideas that don’t make the cut (with permission, of course).

And finally — YES! The black fetid heart of Grand Kleagle Exalted Cyclops Robert Carlyle Byrd beats no more, ending Dead Pool Round Nine. Here’s this senile old coot shouting the word “barbaric” over and over to an uncaring America. But you don’t understand! The dog…died…dog…died…died…dog died…dog.

And who could forget these stirring words from the man, in the clarity of his youth:

I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side… Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.

Nice. How on earth they let him ‘unsay’ ideas like that, I will never know.

Anyhow, I suppose this means steve, having been cheated of his proper dicks once, now has gathered unto himself two dicks in a row. Thank goodness I haven’t mailed them off yet. (Yeah…umm…sorry).

Remember — see you back here Friday at 6pm Weasel Blog Time for Dead Pool Round Ten. Make your pick in that thread, or it doesn’t count!

June 28, 2010 — 10:14 pm
Comments: 10

Now we’ll lick ‘em for sure!

Bill (still the .00358% of my traffic that’s from Iraq) T sent me this snapshot. It’s the personal insignia for the Mobile Transition Team based near him and somebody will be out soon with the crayons to color it in.

Thanks, Bill (blah de blah de blah) T!

That’s it. Don’t want to step on the thread below (which you’re welcome to keep adding to). Have a good weekend, everyone!

June 25, 2010 — 10:24 pm
Comments: 10

Badge of honor

Over at the excellent Watts Up With That blog (which I read and would surely put on my blogroll if I weren’t such a banana about updating my blogroll), they’ve got a thread going on a recently published ‘blacklist’ of climate skeptics.

General opinion in the comment thread: it’s an honor to be on the list, rather irritating to be left off of it and, on the whole, it would be awfully gratifying to have some kind of actual badge that one could wear signifying one is a member of the skeptocracy. A blacklistophile.

That’s when my name came up.

I agreed to take some of the rough ideas and smooth them off a bit. And then we’re going to…umm…I’m not sure, actually. Take the best and put them on buttons? Take all the damn things and put them on buttons?

I don’t know. We can work that out later. For now, let’s kick around some ideas. In this thread, I’ll post pics of some of the stuff I’ve done from some of the suggestions from WUWT. Feel free to chime in and claim your idea, if you spot it — it was a long thread and I didn’t take names. If you’ve created artwork to illustrate your idea, email it to stoaty@ (I wish you could post pictures into the thread yourselves, but WordPress won’t allow it).

If you want to create artwork that’ll actually be usable, it needs to be about 900 by 900 pixels for a 3″ button and more like 2400 pixels for a t-shirt. I know what you’re thinking — it looks great on my screen and it’s only 150 pixels! — well, it won’t look great in print without all them extra pixels. I swears.

Ready? Begin.

June 24, 2010 — 10:28 pm
Comments: 79

Field trip!

Today we went to Scotney Castle (click the pic to embiggen and becolor), which is actually two houses. This one, which is mostly a ruin, is Medieval. And up the hill, the family built a new, modern manse in 1837.

The last residents were childless. He left the house to the National Trust on his death, thirty years ago. His wife decided she was going to live to 99. So the gardens have been open to visitors for years, but the house only for three. Hence there’s an eerie sense of her about the place.

The last survivor is her cat, who was provided for in the will and still skulks about the place (but makes herself scarce during visiting hours).

And I thought Charlotte was spoiled!

June 23, 2010 — 10:47 pm
Comments: 17

What it probably feels like to him…

Poor Barack. He’s not having a very good time of it these days. Sometimes, it sucks to be the most powerful man in the free world. Folks won’t let you alone to enjoy your damn waffle.

And now Drudge is leading with this.

Which is just mean.

And petty.

Hilariously, delightfully mean and petty.

June 22, 2010 — 9:47 pm
Comments: 21

Happy Summer Solstice!

I stole the pic from these people.

It’s the Solstice!

We grabbed a bottle, fired up the chimenea and spent the evening in the garden staring up at the stars. It was light, I swears, at eleven. Magic!

It’s all downhill from here.

In now. Not sober. G’night!

— 12:27 am
Comments: 11

Because there’s so gosh darned much demand for the Segway

Michael at IB posted this gem. It’s a more portable take on the Segway idea — and if you think these trim young ladies look ridiculous on it, imagine how your scraggy ass would look.

The doohickey is clever: it’s a wheel made of cylinders. The wheel takes you forward and back, the cylinders side to side, and combinations of the two move you diagonally. “Clever” being an engineering term for “unreliable pain in the ass.”

Incidentally, mobility scooters are street legal here. And man are there a lot of them about. The scooter vendors turn up at local fairs and markets and have shiny showrooms on the high street. I get the impression the NHS gives them out like candy.

And why not? Stop moving around on your own, and there goes your life expectancy. When you pass your contributing to the system years and reach your consuming resources at an alarming clip years, a socialist healthcare system can’t get you off the planet fast enough.

June 18, 2010 — 10:12 pm
Comments: 40

Not a happy bunny

Meet my alarm clock. I was all set for a lie-in, when I woke to the most horrific screaming and squealing.

The cat let go of him as I came downstairs and we played bunny ping-pong for a while. It’s always interesting to me how docile little wild animals and birds are once you get them in hand. You’d think it would be in their evolutionary interest to bite and kick and claw for that one in a zillion chance of breaking free, but they mostly don’t.

I won’t test this theory on a wolverine any time soon.

Oh, he’s okay. He scampered away in the hedge when I let him loose (to munch Uncle B’s lettuce another day). Charlotte’s had her teeth removed except the four pointy ones.

That said, I saw her dreamily chewing on a little dead mouse the other day, and the next thing I knew its tail was vanishing through her lips like a pasketti.

June 17, 2010 — 11:11 pm
Comments: 20