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Ha ha. Very funny.

I wanted a new ballpoint pen, an especially fine-tipped one, so I went to my purveyor of writing instruments — a penmonger, as it were — and sought the one they described as the thinnest they had.

This is it.

Ahem. That is not what I meant.

Axually, it’s a very nice pen. It’s just…a little hard to get a grip on.

Have a wonderful weekend, y’all!

August 2, 2019 — 8:55 pm
Comments: 11

Aw, no tongues sticking out

School picture day, 3rd Century AD.

Actually, no, it’s a choir. I found it thumbing through a gallery of ancient art (it’s #14) and it made me go ho-ho. Go look at the original and see if it makes you go ho-ho also.

August 1, 2019 — 8:38 pm
Comments: 7

A rare and wonderful thing

This is my old girl, who turned 17 this year. Seventeen very hard years, including a feral babyhood, a trans-Atlantic move and getting chewed on by a fox.

And this is my lap. Charlotte hasn’t gotten in my lap in…I don’t know. Maybe since we moved here? She’ll get in Uncle B’s lap occasionally, but never mine. She’s a world champion grudge holder and hands down the stubbornest creature I have ever known.

So. That’s where I’ve been tonight. Under the cat. Who can tell why? I had nothing better to do than take cellphone pictures of her.

July 31, 2019 — 8:20 pm
Comments: 10

Balm to my soul

I have discovered the most soothing genre of YouTube videos ever. Forget your nature sounds and your guided meditations, let me turn you on to rusty machinery restoration.

Well, actually, the genre doesn’t have a name. There’s no specific person or channel doing them (though the Russians seem fond of them). It’s just, once I watched one, YT kept recommending new ones to me.

They all start with a rusty tool or piece of machinery. Then silently, without a word, a gloved pair of hands disassembles the machine bolt by screw. Quiet little scraping and clanking tool noises, that’s all.

In comes a bewildering variety of chemical, electrical and mechanical de-rusting procedures. De-greasing, painting, re-greasing, replacing bits. Then it all goes back together again, screw by bolt and the whateveritis is fired up.

Honestly, the before and after is indescribably satisfying. I recommend watching with the fast playback turned on.

Deep breath, here we go. Old Soviet chainsaw (pictured above). Hand drill. Electric grinder. Circular saw. Roto tiller. Hand crank grinder.

Once you start watching these, you’re bound to be offered more.

I just wanted to find a way to de-rust something from the storeroom. I wasn’t looking for porn, honest!

July 30, 2019 — 9:24 pm
Comments: 11

The Vasa was a Swedish warship launched in 1628. On its maiden voyage, it sailed not quite a mile from port and sank like a rock. It was rediscovered in the 1950s, almost entirely intact (the cannons had been salvaged in the 1700s).

You’ve probably heard of it, but a neat Twitter thread about it floated across my feed tonight, which led me to the museum’s official website. Well worth an hour’s happy browse, I say.

Hello! We survived Monday!

July 29, 2019 — 9:31 pm
Comments: 6

Ending the week on another chicken

Rooster in a flower pot. He’s making the angry face because that’s the only face a chicken can make; he’s actually blissing out paddling around in the soil. Uncle B kindly left this pot full of loose compost for them and they take turns at it, having a dirt bath.

He’s a beautiful boy, but very definitely Number Two Roo.

We just got back from a party of the ‘one glass of wine and some cheese on a stick’ kind. And very enjoyable it was, too.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

July 26, 2019 — 9:12 pm
Comments: 7

It’s sad, really

From the same show, a small section of a Wall o’ Guns. As you might imagine, these are mostly replicas and functionally destroyed guns.

But not all. There are some tiny loopholes for muzzle-loading firearms and guns of no longer manufactured calibers, and he had a few. No longer manufactured here. Ahem.

This man does the leatherwork and was principally showing off that, and very nice it was, too. But you could tell he loved his pistoles.

And yes, if you’ve read about the MASSIVE KILLER HEAT WAVE, it’s been warm. Today was the hottest, in the mid-nineties hereabouts. That is indeed very hot for here. But now we’re having a violent thunderstorm to blow it all away and it will be back in the low seventies tomorrow.

We may very well lose our internets. Fair warning.

July 25, 2019 — 7:44 pm
Comments: 6

They got to Mr Punch

We went to a surprisingly subdued Punch and Judy show this weekend. It was missing several key elements. Punch didn’t have his distinctive squeaky voice (made by one of those mouth-whistle things like they used to sell in the comic books for ventriloquism) and his slap stick, which is just what it sounds like.

Even worse, there wasn’t a single murder. Punch didn’t clobber Judy, or the policeman. The baby didn’t fall into the sausage machine. The policeman didn’t brain Punch. And nobody at all got hanged.

To be fair, no Punch and Judy show includes all those elements, and almost none of them do the hanging these days. I’m willing to put most of that down to a less than polished performer (‘the Professor’ as a Punch and Judy showman is always called), but I have a feeling the shocking lack of violence was deliberate.

What is the world coming to?

p.s. sorry about the terse post last night. I was pissed. That was a lot of work to go through to end up with a saucepan full of FAIL.

July 24, 2019 — 8:13 pm
Comments: 8

Well and truly cheezed off

I make that seven kilos — 15 pounds — of redcurrants that I picked yesterday. We tried to make jelly from two K of that.

When I googled it, I got a gazillion recipes, and absolutely no two were alike. I picked one, and I can say with confidence that…you absolutely cannot add the sugar BEFORE you strain the fruit through the muslin.

That was a lot of effort for nothing.

Does anybody want a five pound sweet gushy pink mucilage booger?

July 23, 2019 — 10:24 pm
Comments: 7

What do I do with a bucket of redcurrants?

Behold! I have picked redcurrants! I haven’t weighed them yet, but I reckon I have ten pounds of the little buggars.

Did you know (because I didn’t) that growing currants was illegal in many places in the States until recently? Article says black currants, but I’m not sure if it’s just black currants. It was believed to harbor a fungus dangerous to trees (also gooseberries, for a similar reason).

That explains why blackcurrant is such a common flavor here for juice drinks and candies and so on and not a common flavor back home.

Red currant is most commonly used here to make a jelly that is served with lamb. We don’t eat lamb.

I’m going to have a thunk. They’re nice. A bit sharp, but still edible raw. I found one recipe that said to poach them for four minutes, then sprinkle them with sugar and serve them with cream.

Ideas?

Don’t even mention the freezer. Our freezers are full of last year’s red currants.

July 22, 2019 — 9:32 pm
Comments: 10