Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)



Yes, I  have been AFBWOL. Lots of things happening, many things NOT happening…shan’t bore you with minutiae.

A hell of a time for many people in recent floods. And today, I hear a similar weather system has parked its nether end above northern NSW. (Hope you’re stocked-up on chocolate and diesel, Sara!)

So, what with being up to my own nether end in snapping saurians, trying to finish stalled projects, fielding calls for help from various people, getting grumpy at not being able to walk far…I could do with a laugh.

I’ve been following Dan for some time now and I want to share this happy video with you all. Not only very clever, but funny as a sackful of monkeys. No, wait! That would be “dragons” wouldn’t it? (I love that his cat got in on the act. Oscar for best supporting actor, perhaps?)

OK…must dash. People to see, things to do, places to be…

Get yer dancin’ clogs on!




Hmmm, that sounds like a שיקסע New Year greeting. I guess, technically, it is! I am a Shiksa.

Whichever calendar or faith you follow, I do wish you all a year of good health, happiness and artistic creativity. A little profit wouldn’t go amiss!

Things have been  a little quiet around here, workwise. But tomorrow, The Man will be back in harness, I’ll be  “home alone” and stalled work will be finished and new work begun.

So have a look now at my relatively tidy writing corner.* It wont last!

my working corner

Jackie Morris is inviting (daring?) people to share the messiness or otherwise of their desks. Apparently, her two new kittens had the idea for “International Desk Day.” You can see the progress here And while you’re there, go back a few posts and share Jackie’s delight in her new loves. Yes, you’ll also see Elmo, of the Ginger Darlings and Max, long-time artist’s model.

We did manage to get quite a lot of yard work done. It was exhausting and we frequently ended our days in great need of “fizzyotherapy.” That’s my newly-coined term for Prosecco.** After a few hours of pruning, chopping, digging and planting, it was sheer bliss to sit, showered and slightly-less-stiff, with a glass of bubbles. Therapy indeed.

And that’s it for now! I might have some garden pictures or other work-in-progress in a day or so. I might not!

But I’ll be wandering around  the blogs, trying to keep up with all you scallywags…



* I really ought to mend that poor old Oxford!

** It works for any beverage that has those nose-tickling bubbles.





Which,obviously, is not like being hanged.

Our small show is up on the wall at the City Library. Nothing flash, like an official opening by some local big wig. No free booze and little cheesy things on sticks. Just pictures on a wall.

But because some of you have asked…here are a few pictures.


 “In Transit”    “La Vinuela Goats”


“Close of Play”


One of Alison’s lino cuts.



Alison’s “Nest”


I expect Alison will post more about these, and other, pieces on her blog.

As for moi…well, I’m so excited that I may have an inheritance  due. Yes! Something in the order of almost  ten million dollars. Left by my Uncle Frank, who came to an untimely end in a car crash. And it must be genuine, unlike those Nigerian scams, because the letter came from a proper lawyer. In Spain.

I know Spain is in the deepest of doo-doo right now, but I don’t think this will pull them out of the fiscal fire. And La Policia might frown on such nonsense, too.

As for me…I smelled a rat right off the bat cos there was never anyone called Frank in my family. Pity. I could certainly use the money!




Some of you may have thought I’d given up blogging entirely.Understandable!

I did think about it, I must admit. “Self,” I said to myself, “If you start something you should be committed to whatever it is. Or at least tell people that you have changed your mind!”

So, for a while, Self and I discussed this business of feeling overwhelmed by so many things  (like 3 sets of artists’ books, a small exhibition, a couple of writing projects…) and between us, we ironed-out a few wrinkles (bugger! I’ve just remembered I need to iron a shirt for tonight!) and I have decided, with self-help, that I will stick with this blogging lark. I just may have to keep my posts sparse til the dust settles on other projects.

So…I’ll be back soon. In the meantime, this is a taste of what I’ll be up to tomorrow. Some young Japanese students are visiting from our sister city, Matsuura, and I’ll be at school, making paper kites.

Oh! And here’s a scrappy little sketch of the “Young Endeavour” which was “parked” in front of My Man’s office one freezing morning.

And a slightly better photo of her, 8 hours later.Still freezing!

Thank you to those of you who are still with me.

Update…Helen’s comment(see below) has prompted me to share the link to the birds.



Well, there has been more dashing about the countryside. I spent an interesting few hours on Tuesday with a blogging friend.After a bit of a kerfuffle with tube trains (they have a lot of kerfuffles, it seems!) we met at London Bridge and kinked our necks looking up at The Shard 

There was hail in that black cloud! So we nipped in to London Glassblowing for warmth and shelter!

And saw some beautiful exhibits…

Then to an exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum; an interesting display of (mainly) fabrics by influential women in the post-war period. All you Mad Men fans will know what I’m talking about.

I went down to Wlitshire again last week and spent a couple of days with Ziggi,walking dogs and talking and laughing.

Back to London for some clean socks then off to Buxton ( that’s oop north, in Derbyshire) to join Andrea Joseph and some of her sketching friends.

Well, that was a blast! Initially, I’d hoped to go over Sheffield (in Yorkshire; do try to keep up!) the following day to meet another group of Urban Sketchers, but I just couldn’t manage to get a suitable train back to London. So what a surprise to find Lynne Chapman and her husband had driven over to Buxton!

I did feel a bit “minnow in a pike pond” at first, but they are all such lovely, friendly and encouraging folk I did manage to get one or two sketches done. This was from Buxton Museum (a great place!)

The sketching finished with the usual sharing of the day’s efforts at a great little cafe.The staff had reserved a corner with sofas around a table for us. And I understand the baked cheesecake was superb! I met some truly gifted people, saw some inspiring sketches (all those curly pipes on that French horn!) and finished the day at a restaurant with (another ) Lynne and Andrea.

Thank you, all you Northern Urban Sketchers. May your summer arrive soon!

And tomorrow I’m off to see Ziggi again. But first, there is a somewhat urgent matter of laundry…




Today (on my side of the IDL, that is) is Leap Day. February 29, 2012.

If you have the sort of brain that can cope with the confusing calculations of adjusting calendars, just toddle over to Wiki and type in Leap Year.

A day when a lady might, according to tradition, propose marriage to a gentleman. Now, should this proposal not be accepted, tradition dictated he pay some sort of forfeit. In some cultures he would be fined or have to buy the lady a gown or the fabric to have one made.

I grew up with the story that the man must buy the rejected lady a pair of gloves.* I happened to mention this the other night to my Main Man who suggested the best gloves , in that case, would be the boxers’ kind!


Odd that my Danish kin didn’t tell me it’s 12 pairs of gloves in Denmark. Eleven pairs probably suffered the same fate as the language at 12,000 miles remove. 🙂




In the previous post I said that the prints featured were etchings. Oops! This one, of pawpaws, is what we call a “dry-point.”


In  etching, the ink lines on the metal plate are made by drawing through an acid-resistant coating and immersing the metal plate in a mordant solution, usually nitric acid.*

But without access to acid (or other etching solutions) it is still possible to produce intaglio prints by simply scratching your desired image onto the metal with a needle of some sort.

“pawpaws” was drawn onto a zinc plate with a fine-pointed etching needle, a 3″ nail and, if I recall correctly, a little “scuffing” with a suede brush! That’s a brush made of spiky brass bristles, not soft suede leather! Some of you are probably old enough to remember  having suede shoes, (blue or otherwise!), which you brushed, to bring up the nap!

Once drawn, the dry-point plates are inked and printed in the same way as etched plates. What? You want me to tell you about that, too? OK…

For this small plate I spooned maybe a teaspoonful of printing ink onto my glass slab and spread it a little. Then, using a very expensive piece of printmaking equipment (this is not a cheap hobby!)…

Best to use an old, cancelled one!

…I scooped a line of ink and scraped it across the plate in first one direction, then another, making sure I pushed ink down into the etched lines. Satisfied I’d done that, I wiped of the excess ink (erm..not very well, in this print!) with a bit of scrim, then polished off the last of the ink  using a piece of fine newsprint, in this case, an old phone directory page, torn into pieces about the size of the plate.

It’s important at this stage to keep your “polishing” hand as flat as possible so that you don’t push the newsprint into the inked lines.

Satisfied that you’ve removed enough (all) of the surface ink, lay your printing paper, slightly dampened and blotted, on the plate and run it through the press.

What pressure? Absolutely no idea! I and many others do this by trial and error. After a while, especially if you are using the same press regularly, you get a feel for it. All presses can be adjusted and some have calibration guides, but generally the first pull is a test to see how well it prints.

This is also true for relief printing.


*There is a move away from the use of the more harmful chemicals and techniques are being perfected  which use much safer solutions and cleaning methods. If you’re interested, this is a very good link