Monthly Archives: January 2015

Holy Spirit Symbol

holyspiritKells sketches without dotsI’m still making gradual progress on my annunciation project.

Here on the left is what I hope will be a component of the final image.  It represents the Holy Spirit entering Mary at the time of the annunciation.

The red dots around the circle are a common decorative device used in manuscripts like the Book of Kells (see image below for an example from the Book of Durrow).  They are supposed to act like a kind of highlighter, lifting the image from the paper, or so I’ve read.   Do you think it works?

Update: I’ve added the same image on the right but without the red dots so that you can compare them.  Thanks go to Hariod for that idea.


Croeso i Conwy (Welcome to Conway)

Recently I posted some photos from my trip back home to North Wales in 2013.  They were mostly pictures of Rhyl, a town that holds many childhood memories (like my first rollercoaster ride which I forgot to mention earlier).  Now I’d like to share some pictures of a another town from my childhood that is associated with memories of quite a different flavour.  Conwy is one of my favourite towns to visit, and I hope these photos will show you why.  The first few photos are of signs that explain some of the history behind the town.  Please click on one of them to enter the slideshow, and let me know if you have any trouble.

Petrified Pomander

There is a long-running children’s TV programme in the U.K. called “Blue Peter“, maybe you’ve heard of it.  I grew up with it.  The presenters used to show us how to make lots of things, like accessories for dolls, Christmas decorations and treats for Mother’s Day.  I didn’t attempt very many of their projects but I did make their pomander as a present for my nanna.  It involved sticking a lot of cloves into an orange and decorating it with ribbon, etc.  My nanna had it hung in her hallway for a while and then it disappeared.  I assumed it had gone moldy and been thrown in the bin.  I think you know where this is going from the title, don’t you?  When we were clearing out my nanna’s house after she passed away we found the pomander in her wardrobe.  Bear in mind that I made this thing in the seventies and my nanna passed away in 2013…  The Wikipedia entry on pomanders says they last several years; they might want to revise that up a few decades!  I have to admit that it was a bit too freaky though so it did finally go in the bin.


Critter Capers: Letters to St. Nicholas

My muse is still quiet so here is a Christmas post that I enjoyed very much (sorry it’s out of season). I’d like to send you on an adventure in Cheeseland, and introduce you to the wonderful observational humour that you can find there. Enjoy!
N.B. I didn’t write this so please view the original, and attach your comments there. Thank you. 😀

Adventures in Cheeseland

Dear Santa Claws

Mom said that if we were good animals, that you would bring us presents on Christmas. I’m not sure when that is, but I think it’s soon. There’s a big tree in the front room and lots of bags upstairs.

But maybe not. Mom said you live where it’s cold this time of year and you don’t look cold in your picture.

Anyway, I have been a good cat. I don’t scratch on the furniture. Well only the love seat, and you can’t even tell. I give mouse presents and cuddle a lot. Even with the other cat. And I always use the litter box.

Would you please bring me

  1. A warming blanket that doesn’t have all those wires that push into my skin. I know I’m furry, but I can still feel them. I can’t cuddle with my human because he wears one of those all…

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Gigantic poetry

I have difficulty relating to a lot of poetry but Frédéric’s usually moves me. I think it’s because he usually includes a visual element along with the words. I need gigantic poetry to stir my myopic heart. 🙂 Thanks Frédéric.

Cranes and Flower Fanfare

My blog is a little quiet at the moment so I thought I’d reblog an old post with a bit of an update here. I took the cranes and some other origami and art to a local primary school shortly after I wrote the post. I was very surprised that it was the boys who were interested in the cranes. (They’re very pretty so I thought they would attract female admirers.) Anyway I gave the cranes away to the boys and they enjoyed zooming around the room with them!
The floral fanfare ended up in Japan as a thank-you gift for my penpal’s mother who had knitted me a fabulous two-bobbled hat.

Anglo-Saxon Celt Creates

I’ve just made a pile of cranes out of the little square pieces of washi paper that my Japanese penpal sent me.  They are so pretty I think I might die from cuteness overload.  The photo doesn’t do them justice.  If you click on the picture you’ll be able to see them better.  (The pen is there for size reference.)


I also added some 5-petalled lilies to the lily model.  I’m calling it “Spring Herald”; the colour reminds me of snowdrops.


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Alien Harvest

(For the first part of this story click here.)Aliens 2Number 1: So how is the harvest going, Number 2?

Number 2: Overall, very well.  We hit a few problems but they mostly worked in our favour in the end.  For example, it turned out that most of the males couldn’t breed in captivity.  However, the males that will breed are able to produce a more than adequate rate of pregnancy.  The males and females that fail in the breeding pens are sent to slaughter.

Number 1: What is that irritating buzzing I can feel in my tentacle tips, Number 2?

Number 2: Oh, my apologies sir, I forgot to warn you about that.  Don’t worry, you get used to it after a while.

Number 1: But what is it?

Number 2: It’s the animals, sir.  Sometimes they vibrate the air that comes out of the respiratory organ so violently that we can feel it.  It’s worse when we tip their upper appendages (we have to remove the tips because they’ve been using them to damage each other and the equipment).

Number 1: Could it be a sign of distress?

Number 2: Oh no, sir! [laughs] It’s just a reflex, they can’t feel pain like we do.

Number 1: Oh good.  So tell me about the malnutrition problem.

Number 2: As you know, most of the incoming animals are malnourished in some way or other, sir.  The ones that are undernourished have such poor quality meat that we were considering not harvesting them at all.  However, we hit upon the ingenious idea of processing them into feed for the breeders (apart from the eyes, of course). [colours up proudly]

Number 1: What a fabulous idea, Number 2, I shall consider a suitable reward for your team.  Now, I gather that there have been significant problems with the milking pens…

Number 2: Well, the quality and quantity of the milk drops off radically when the offspring are removed.  Also, the females are having to be force-fed and there are numerous cases of mastitis and so on.  [blackens with fear]  We may have to consider dropping this side of the harvest sir.  There are just too many problems and the yields are too low.

Number 1: Don’t give up just yet Number 2.  Give our experts a bit more time to work on the issues.

Number 2: Yes, sir.  Will that be all, sir?

Number 1: Yes…  [distractedly] I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to that buzzing…

Tripping Down Memory Lane

[US translations in square brackets. 😉 ]

Update: it turns out that I can’t reply to comments on the individual photos, so if you want a reply then leave your comment on the post rather than in the slideshow. Sorry about that.

Yesterday I stumbled across some photos I had taken in Wales in September 2013.  I didn’t post them at the time because to someone else they are just poor-quality holiday snaps but to me they represented an open wound.  I had taken the trip back to Wales to say my final goodbye to my nanna.  It turned out that I also needed to say goodbye to a place.  I took a walk along streets and paths that I had walked countless times before but will probably never walk again.  The weather was suitably dismal that day and the wind was too strong to take clear photographs.  However, I wasn’t taking pictures for the art of it but as mementos to look back on, like I did yesterday.

I walked from the bus stop in Kinmel Bay past houses that I had walked past as a child.  I walked past my nanna’s house; the one she had lived in for as long as I knew her, the one that still forms part of the scenery of my dreams.  I walked the few hundred yards that it takes to get from her house to the sand dunes.  The spiky Marram grass, the drifts of sand and the dog crap [?] were familiar from childhood.  I stood and looked out over the angry, dark sea for a while and then headed along back streets to the bridge that would take me into the neighbouring town – Rhyl.  Once into Rhyl, I found a Fish & Chip shop [fast food outlet] within a stone’s throw of my childhood friend‘s old house.  I walked back to the seafront and sat on the wall with my back to the wind and to the treacherous sand that lies at the rivermouth.  A schoolfriend once told me that those shifting sands had swallowed her friend’s horse.

As I sat eating my al fresco lunch the wind blew the chips [french fries] off my plastic fork. I had to choose between burning my fingers or feeding my lunch to the seagull that had turned up to collect the flying titbits [tidbits].  (I was hungry so I chose burnt fingers.)  Finally, I walked up Rhyl seafront as far as the clock tower.  When I was growing up, children wandered the landscape like feral cats.  It didn’t mean that we weren’t attracted to the same things that attract children today though.  We just had to walk further to get them.  It wasn’t the beach that used to lure me to Rhyl, it was the amusement arcades with their flashing lights and buttons to press.  I dropped many a penny into the Penny Falls machines.  Later on I enjoyed playing arcade games like Pacman and watching the boys play Tron.

If you click on one of the photos below it will take you into a slideshow where you can accompany me on my walk and read about the scenes.

Book Launch

Book Cover

A friend of mine is having a book launch on Friday night (7:30pm at the Linenhall, Castlebar, Co. Mayo to be precise).  The book is being discounted on Amazon at the moment and if you “Look Inside” you can read the Introduction and the first part of Chapter 1.  I’ve just read this, and was intrigued by his ideas.  There is a website where you can read more about the book and the author.  Georg is a wonderful and interesting man, who lives in a wonderful and interesting house in the wilds of rural Mayo.  (His wife is wonderful and interesting too: hi Bettina 😉 )  If you have the time, I would be delighted if you took a look at his book.

Alien Report

AlienssmallNumber 2:  Reporting, sir!

Number 1: Yes Number 2?

Number 2: We’ve identified a candidate species.  Removal is projected to stabilize the climate, increase biodiversity, and halt various kinds of serious environmental degradation.

Number 1: Sentience?

Number 2: No significant telepathic or chromatic communication, no faster-than-light travel, and no ability to optimize their environment.  (Sir, [vibrates with disgust] they excrete into their water sources, and dump vast quantities of other waste products into the water, soil and air.)

Number 1: Bottom line?

Number 2: Mature individuals can breed at any time with minimal preparation.  Most of the flesh consists of high quality protein and fat.  It’s a little contaminated due the animal’s dirty habits but it can be cleaned up.  The skin can be treated and used as clothing and so on.  The eyeballs are particularly tasty and may turn out to be a highly profitable luxury item.  The females lactate, and we may be able to use some of the glands for perfume.

Number 1: So Number 2…, this is going to be a very profitable harvest.  :mrgreen: