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Happy you-know-what

I saw this warty pumpkin and had to have it. It’s a variety known as knucklehead.

Mistake. The outer skin is like iron. I almost gave up on it.

If it looks like it was chewed into shape by a band of chipmunks on meth, that’s why. I basically chiselled holes in it. Stupid pumpkin.

Our clocks went back yesterday. This is my first day of work when it was dark by five. I’ve just checked the weather forecast and it’s rain every single day for the foreseeable.

Now, that’s some scary shit.

October 31, 2022 — 5:39 pm
Comments: 11

Wait for it…

I’ve been F5’ing it every few minutes. It’s going to happen.

Mood on Twitter is jubilant. People are shouting “learn to code!” and “transwomen are men!” It’s like the fall of the Berlin wall, except pointless and stupid.

I just passed Katie Hopkins in my timeline. Elon Musk has replied directly to Catturd. Oh, it’s pandemonium!

Exit question: what in the heck is a Castro nudist protestor?

Have a good weekend!

October 28, 2022 — 7:35 pm
Comments: 17

The high price of being goth

Behold, the Benu Skull & Roses Fountain Pen. I got a promotional email from my favorite pen dealer today. It comes in all black, all red or red and black (excuse me: crow, red rose and smolder).

I’ll be honest. I thought about it for a second. But at £140, I didn’t think long.

That’s not much to a pen collector, but I ain’t one of them.

An article from this same dealer once said, a pen over £20 and you aren’t paying for a better nib any more, you’re paying for decoration. I don’t have any >£20 pens on my desk.

October 27, 2022 — 5:45 pm
Comments: 12

Yes, that Ragnarok

This is one of the doors to All Saints Church, Staplehurst, Kent. The ironwork depicts Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse.

The South door of Staplehurst church illustrates the Scandinavian myth of Doomsday, when the serpent which holds the world together will loosen its grip on its own tail, the world will fall apart, and chaos will ensue. The fish will jump on land. The gods will fight. Only one man and one woman will be spared to start the world again. Surt the sunwheel is top centre. Above flies Nithoggr, who eats the dead, and above him is the small cross which turns the pagan myth into Christian art.

The only door in England resembling this one is at Stillingfleet, ten miles south of York, in the middle of what was Danish-held territory in 1000 AD. Taken from Canon Walker’s 1938 edition of the Church Guide.

From A Brief History of Staplehurst from Acorn to Oak (pdf). (The Stillingfleet door is pretty special, too).

The door has been reliably dated to around 1050; the church was built in 1100. Perhaps the door came from somewhere else, or perhaps there’s enough wiggle in the dating that it really was made for the church.

The big-C Church – in Britain, anyway – was remarkably chill about mixing in ancient pagan-y bits. Remember this Mithraic altarstone in the little village church? Elizabeth I had a court astrologer (though Mary had him imprisoned once for the crime of doing math, the blackest of arts).

Not my photo, alas. But Staplehurst is close enough — just — for a day trip. Maybe when the days get longer again.

October 26, 2022 — 6:17 pm
Comments: 11

My lunch had a good life

Oh, Waitrose. I feel like there’s something you’re not telling me. Did he have a winsome smile? A mellifluous squeal? Did he have a crush on the sow in the airy barn next door? At night, did he look up at the stars and…

Nah, screw it. There’s only so much I need to know about my lunch.

October 25, 2022 — 7:37 pm
Comments: 5

Our new stamps

Before January, we have to turn in all our old stamps and trade them for these >>

Yes, that’s a QR code. Well, no – apparently “QR Code” is trademarked, but it’s the same idea. According to the Royal Mail, each stamp will be unique and the idea is you scan it with the Post Office app and you can connect your letter to an audio or video file online or what have you.

Naturally, it’s making everyone’s spidey sense tingle like mad. I can’t work out any way they can use it for nefarious purposes, though.

Well, not really. These are two stamps from a single book. I overlaid them and they are close but not exact. See here.

The green is one stamp, the purple is the other and the dark gray is where they both agree. Presumably a totally different book of stamps would have more differences.

So in theory, if you sent a poison pen letter and they raided your house and found a similar stamp…eh, it’s a reach.

Honestly, it’s probably just some boomer civil servant’s notion of STAMPS OF THE FU-TURE!

The QR reader in my phone tells me it’s a long string of numbers and letters, but I couldn’t find a way to copy and paste them into anything to compare. If I get curious enough, I might do proper scans of some books of stamps and overlay them to see if I can find a pattern.

Can anyone intuit the formula for how many unique combinations there are in a matrix of 16 x 48 binary dots?

October 24, 2022 — 5:08 pm
Comments: 15

So it’s going to be that kind of winter, is it?

Sometimes, it’s like someone flips a switch and it’s winter. I need to do one last mow, but the rain stretches before me unendingly. It won’t be dry enough again until spring.

One thing I’ve learned here: if a country looks lush and green, that’s a place where it rains. A lot.

The forecasts are hopeless – a little island stuck in a turbulent sea, who’s surprised? – so I rely on the satellites.

It’s weird. Living on the Eastern side of the States, I’m used to seeing the weather come at me, left to right, for days (except occasionally in hurricane season).

It’s not like that here. Weather usually comes up diagonally, from southwest to northeast, following the line of the Channel – but by no means always. Those little blobs can come from anywhere – and when they come straight down from the north, it’s eeevil.

Anyway, rain. For the weekend and beyond. You have a good one!

October 21, 2022 — 6:52 pm
Comments: 5

Poor Henry, lol

I know the feeling. I have three futile cockerels and two nervous hens.

Yes, it’s a real ad. No, I’m not cockerel shopping. Heaven forfend!

I was cancelling the paid membership to this site I forgot I had, and “cockerel” was the last search term in my history. This is when I still hoped to offload a few boys.

October 20, 2022 — 7:07 pm
Comments: 7

Marie, peas and leeks

My cabbage friend below put me in mind of Marie Lloyd and her music hall number “She Sits among the Cabbages and Peas.”

Oh, she sits among the cabbages and peas
With a pretty little peapot ‘tween her knees
She’s a whiz at shelling peas
So she sits and shells with ease
Till the pretty little peapot’s full of peas.

Oh, she sits among the cabbages and peas
And she talks to all the little bugs and bees.
They climb up her legs and arms
And all round her other charms.
They see lots of things nobody ever sees.

Oh, she sits among the cabbages and peas
With her little dress away above her knees.
All the boys that pass her way
Stand and stare and wish that they
Were that pretty little peapot ‘tween her knees.

Oh, she sits among the cabbages and peas
And the little birds are singing in the trees
Waiting till she falls asleep,
Then fly down and take a peek
At her pretty little peapot full of peas.

Oh, among the cabbages and peas she sits,
And her pretty little dress so tightly fits
When she stoops to take a pea
That’s the time that you can see
That she’s got a pair of very lovely hips.

Oh, she sits among the cabbages and peas,
But one day she felt so very ill at ease.
She was sitting on a hole.
In that hole there was a mole.
It’s no wonder that she felt so ill at ease.

Quote: The lyrics of “I sits among the cabbages and peas” raised some objections so on one occasion she changed them to “I sits among the cabbages and leeks” much to the delight of the audience.

You can hear it here, if you’ve a mind to.

October 19, 2022 — 6:44 pm
Comments: 3

Oops! We’re back

Looks like my database took a nap this evening. Sorry, caught off guard. Please enjoy this large, handsome cabbage Uncle B growed me.

October 18, 2022 — 7:39 pm
Comments: 5