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Got ‘im

Found the walking stick with the head of Dante that I saw twice last year. Mitchell reckoned if I saw it again, he wouldn’t mind having it.

Same dodgy dude as last year, but maybe not the same stick. He said he had a number of stick heads and he would occasionally jam one on an available stick. He showed me four un-sticked brass dog heads with birds in their mouths. This is his last Dante.

Might be the same, though. I recognized some of his stock from before.

Anyway, it cost me £30 – a fair enough price for a stick ’round these parts – but I’m totally happy to add it to my stick collection if you decide against. Let me know.

Wednesday is my off day and I spent it in the garden watching YouTubes on my phone. My current favs are bodycam footage of really, really drunk people being arrested. The looks on their faces when the cop they’ve been screaming “fucking asshole” at for ten minutes snaps the first cuff on.

Many such channels.

Unfortunately, a goodly proportion of them don’t show drunks – or not merely drunk – but people who are having clear psychotic breaks, or frequent flyers who are permanently ill and in trouble. Sad to watch.

I don’t know what we do with those people, but letting them wander around throwing punches and getting arrested isn’t it.

September 6, 2023 — 7:36 pm
Comments: 7

It was hi-tech once

Ploughing match. Two steam engines, one at either end of the field. The plough is a boomerang shape. Each arm has a set of plough blades and a steering wheel. The plough is hauled between the two engines by a (rope? wire? chain?). When it reaches the end of the furrow, that engine lets out a whistle, the other side of the plough is dropped to earth and it gets hauled back again by the other engine.

Here, I’ve put a video of it on my YouTube channel. (It’ll be another couple of hours before it’s fully uploaded and processed, at which the quality should take a big jump up). Thanks for the vid, Uncle B.

I know, I know – I forgot I had a YouTube Channel, too.

Well! Looks like Mitch has legit won the DeadPool with Steve Harwell of the band Smash Mouth. Since it’s a thirty year old band, I don’t think I will admit that I don’t know them.

Mitch, are you AKA Mitchell? Because if you are, I have summat to tell you.

September 5, 2023 — 7:15 pm
Comments: 2

He was a very little giant

It was a weekend of flower festivals. There were four at least within our usual travel range. We went to two.

One was at Brede, where I got to visit my old friend the Brede Giant. He was a real man, but not a real giant. If he was ever in this tomb, I make him 5’6″ tops. They did call him the Giant of Brede within his lifetime, though, so who knows why.

I wrote more about his legend here (13 years ago? Have I really been cruising the flower festivals that long?).

Well, good old Bob Barker has kicked the bucket. Barker was 1/8 Sioux and grew up on an Indian reservation. Congratulations to RushBabe (you better be right about that, Uncle Al – I haven’t double checked). You know the drill!

August 28, 2023 — 7:08 pm
Comments: 2

More moo

We went back to visit the moo cows today. You know, the farm shop with the milk vending machine.

Milk vending machines since have become something of a thing locally. Hippies!

Changing the subject – by a real lot – did you know they think they’ve found Sodom? An archeologist working on a site called Tall el-Hammam came upon a layer of weirdly burned roofs and melted stuff and said to himself say, this looks a whole lot like the wrath of God.

“The proposed airburst was larger than the 1908 explosion over Tunguska, Russia, where a 50-m-wide bolide” — a meteor that explodes in midair — “detonated with 1000× more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.”


What was unlike destruction caused by earthquakes or warfare were pottery shards with their outer surfaces melted into glass, some bubbled as if boiled, “bubbled” and melted building brick and plaster, suggesting some unknown high-temperature event. Objects of daily life, carbonized pieces of wooden beams, charred grain, bones and limestone cobbles were burned to a chalklike consistency.

Other scientists have rubbished it, of course. They think he just dug up an ordinary smelter and flipped. The archeologist is from a Bible college, apparently.

When I went hiking in Exeter, Rhode Island, I often passed a residential road called Sodom Trail. I never dared go up it.

July 12, 2023 — 5:39 pm
Comments: 8

Victorian munificence

This is the Maidstone Museum. Sadly, it doesn’t look like this any more. Somebody’s stuck a modern glass facade on it. Imagine vandalizing these fine Dutch gables.

It’s a really great museum, though. I hit town very early for my appointment (they often cancel trains and I’m a nervous traveller) so I got to spend more than an hour here.

The core of it is this Elizabethan house, Chillington Manor, and you enter through a collection that is probably some of the original period furnishings. Elaborate sideboards and chip carved boxes and chairs. Brown furniture. The main dining hall has a motion sensor that disconcertingly plays a pavane when you go in. I walked through that room a bunch of times and I was mighty sick of crumhorn by the end.

It was one of these ancient houses that has been added to over and over again, so there are unexpected rooms and half-height floors and cubbyholes everywhere. I got lost multiple ties and still didn’t see it all.

It was an odd, muddled collection like an old-fashioned town museum, but with world class objects. Wikipedia says it better:

The Museum is recognised as having the largest mixed collections in the county and one of the most important in the south-east of England, outside London. Whilst its origins are typical of a regional museum created through Victorian munificence, the work of collectors, staff and benefactors over almost 150 years has created a comprehensive collection of worldwide significance.

There was a section on dinosaurs, an Egyptian wing (with mummy!), a large natural history collection (read: stuffed animals), one of the most important Japanese collections in the country that I somehow managed to miss completely, glass, ceramics, art, a Hall of Frocks and The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment Museum.

I could entertain you for weeks with what I saw but, you’ll be relieved to hear, conditions were dark and most of my pictures suffered from camera shake. I can only hope to bore you for a few days.

June 8, 2023 — 5:52 pm
Comments: 6

And then there was the steam train

On Sunday, we rode aboard the Kent and East Sussex light railway. The KESR website tells me “light railways are equipped with full size trains, but have steep gradients and operate at low speed.”

Steam trains. That’s all you need to know.

The current active track is 10½ miles long, between Tenterden Town and Bodiam Station.

And a little bit beyond. The end of the line is just past the last station, as they work to connect the heritage line with the proper rail network – and then it’s a functioning commuter service again.

We rode from one end to the other and then back again. The whole ride is unspoiled fields and woods and grazing sheep. I’ve never seen such a year for mayflowers.

This is my new thing to think about while I’m trying to fall asleep.

Pictured: the Man of Kent steaming into Rolvenden Station. That’s where they have their works, and we came off the train here to tour the locomotive shed. Sweet.

June 6, 2023 — 7:13 pm
Comments: 3

It begins!

Tomorrow is the best country show of the year.

Okay, last year the poultry was under quarantine so the poultry tent just had pictures of chickens. That was pretty lame. Saw some lurvly sheep and cows, though.

It’s a long drive but it’s mostly country lanes. I have honestly never seen the mayflowers so abundant. And cow parsley and elderflowers, also white. It’s going to be a sunny day and a fantastic journey, like driving through tunnels in snow.

We’ll pack sammiches, because the food there is expensive and sometimes disappointing.

Have a good weekend, everyone! I better see me some fancy chooks tomorrow.

May 26, 2023 — 7:57 pm
Comments: 5


It’s Monday, so have an amputated gangrenous foot! mmMMMmmm! Hey, at least I didn’t give it to you in color. In color, it’s really choice.

We went to a military show this Saturday. The standouts were the The London Branch of American Civil War Veterans, which was really a thing (but these weren’t really them).

One exhibitor proudly told me 100,000 Brits fought in the American Civil War. He didn’t specify, so I assume both sides, which is kind of a messy thing to be proud of. Being from Tennessee, I had family on both sides, too, but not sure I’m proud of it. It was the ugliest of wars.

I reckon 80% of the people who dressed up at this thing were dressed as American soldiers of one kind or another. I wonder if that’s because there’s so much more US milsurp.

June 13, 2022 — 7:37 pm
Comments: 3


We went to MacDonald’s! I know that doesn’t sound much, but I haven’t had a Big Mac in, like, four years. There isn’t any fast food at all except in some of the bigger towns, and we’re not near a bigger town.

I had to have my eyes checked (they’re fine – my right eye has gotten better!) near to Mickey D’s, so I axed if we could go.

Gosh, it’s changed. It was all touch screens. I tried to order at the desk because Uncle B wants his Quarter Pounder just so, but the girl said the touch screens allowed all kinds of customization.

They did!

There seemed to be as many employees as ever, though. Maybe they were turning over a whole lot more food. While we were there, at least four men came in from food delivery outfits and picked up orders.

They all knew each other and they all were speaking Polish or Russian or some other gargly language (not a linguist, me). I reckon there’s some kind of Big Mac mafia.

One guy came in, ordered a Coke and drank it before leaving with his order. I reckon that was one frosty cold burger when it got where it was going.

June 7, 2022 — 5:26 pm
Comments: 8

The exact moment I got bit…

Well, the exact moment after the exact moment I got bit. The next photo is me with a bloody thumb and puss looking radiantly innocent. To be fair, he wasn’t going for me (that time). I was feeding him off my fingers and he got confused.

Yes. We have a new cat. Maybe. Let me tell the story.

We were sitting in the livingroom last night, front door open, trying to catch a breeze and this…kitten walked in. Took one look at me, squeaked and ran off.

We called around, but none of the neighbors had a new cat. This is the country; sub-humans sometimes dump kittens or pregnant mothers. We set a squirrel trap baited with kitty glop and caught him about noon today.

He’s pretty feral. I let him out of the trap in the bathroom and he flipped out. Eventually I caught him and got bit and scratched and hissed at for my trouble. But he calmed right down when presented with food. Amazing how that works.

We took him to a local cat rescue this afternoon, where they pronounced him healthy and probably tameable. They loaned us a big cage and a tiny litter box and we’ll see.

A few may remember the Story of Charlotte, a tiny black and white feral kitten I trapped in a squirrel trap during a heat wave sixteen years ago. History really needn’t repeat itself so exactly.

She’s met him. She sniffed the box he was in, hissed at it twice and sauntered off. It’s all down to Jack. There’s something wrong with that boy and he flips his shit if another cat comes in the yard. I mean scary loses it. If he loses it over this kitten, there’s no option. We’ll have to find another option.

July 27, 2018 — 9:10 pm
Comments: 21