There! That’s done it! Fuss-pot grammarian has headed a post with text-speak!

Years ago, a certain Mr Burton ( not this one ;   the other one )  referred to the growing tendency of some journalists and other writers to “…slide into ‘telegramese’…”, his term for what he saw as a sloppiness of expression. I agreed with him, but I wish now I could have given him greater argument just to keep listening to that voice!

I’ve bemoaned the loss of  language in general and some words in particular, while  recognising that we must accept some change. Let’s call it “growth” since that’s what it really is. I just wish it was not so rapid. Words on steroids, maybe?

Here’s a nice link

I just noticed that something has broken the web of the spider the cats  mentioned yesterday. I wonder if it will be replaced and, if so, how long that will take. I’d like to sit and watch, but I’m due to meet a friend in  half an hour. We’re going to have an up close and personal look at a travelling exhibition of  the CD Print Exchange, in which we both have work. It will be great to see every print “live” even though we have a CD of the images.






Well, it can be.

Many people in this sometimes crazy world of blogs meet each other, form lasting friendships, share more than cyber-words.

One of my first blog readers was the irrepressible Ziggi, who blogs from far-off (from me) England.

Ziggi and I may never meet (but we are leaning on our significant others to orchestrate this!), but last week I did meet her elder daughter who is kicking up her post-grad heels with two friends before settling to working for a living.

On their way to the tropical playground that is (sort of!) my backyard, the girls stopped here for a night.

Long of fang that I am, I felt so envious of their trip, highly-flavoured with tsunami alerts (Fiji), missed flights (New Zealand), deliciously dangerous sky dives and rapid-rafting (yes, NZ again), all laced with, possibly, more alcohol than I could cope with. Maybe not!

It’s not that I didn’t get up to some pretty daft shenanigans when I was younger (c’mon! we all think we’re bomb-proof at 20!). But these days, there seem so many more opportunities.

The actual travelling bit, for instance. Back in “ye olden days” we bussed, sailed 6 bunk, lower deck on liners, bummed lifts with kids who had cars or hitch-hiked.

But Kirsty,Jess and Lucie have hired  a ratty old VW campervan.

Preparing to head north.

We had a couple of hours on Friday morning so I took them to my local beach…


And up to the “pub with the million-dollar-view”

Note to  Ziggi: I did tell them it was quite a long drop onto some nasty rocks…


After a light lunch, I waved them goodbye as they headed for Airlie Beach, that Whitsunday youth magnet. I hope I meet them again some day.

Oh, yes! They were tickled pink to be asked for ID at my local liquor outlet. Why was I not asked to prove I am over 18?

There may be another “break in transmission” as I get back into the print studio. But I’ll be around to read what all you others are up to!



Must be something in the air, but I’ve had occasion to reflect on old times, old friends, dead friends.

Oh, don’t worry…I’m not going all maudlin.

I read in a press release from a London hospital that a woman named Lucy Vodden had died recently. If you’re very young the name may mean nothing to you. But oh boy! her death has re-ignited the old debate on a Beatles song. I really didn’t care, back then, if it was “code” for the most popular drug of the day and I certainly don’t give a damn now. image

Then, quite by chance, I heard the song yesterday. Made me smile.

Perhaps there was something crackling in the ether…I had an email from an old friend who’d dropped off my radar. Lovely to be back in touch.

I used to keep a diary. Well, more of a things-I-did and things-to-do scribble, really. Phone numbers, addresses, that sort of thing. And, this being a time when I and most of my friends were “on the road” a lot, the diary had a lot of crossings out. I didn’t see any need to hang on to that sort of rubbish and usually didn’t keep it much more than a year.

So I was surprised to find a notebook tucked away inside a box. Ye gods! People I’d not thought of in decades! Some, of course, whose memories stay close to the surface. Like Vincent Price.  vincent

We swapped recipes and truly horrible puns. He was a very  enthusiastic (and good) cook.

So was someone else, whose real name I never did know.

Stranded one night when a blizzard closed the rail line, I found myself, with half a dozen others, in a really grotty little cafe. Well, a sandwich bar, really. The man who slapped butter and ham onto bread for  daily commuters was about to close, but grudgingly let us in. Shivering and looking like snowmen, we huddled around the counter, sniffing. And …something wonderful was teasing our frozen noses. Sniff, sniff…

Sandwich Man disappeared through one of those plastic strip curtains and we could hear voices. Sniff, sniff… A woman of “ample proportions” appeared through the curtain, nodded at us, evidently counting heads, disappeared  again and we could hear pans and crockery rattling. Sniff, sniff…

And then these two wonderful people reappeared, bearing a big pot of Paprikash and enough bowls  and spoons for us all. God! That was a meal to remember. The man spoke little English, but his wife (?) managed to convey that they’d left a thriving cafe in a small town in Hungary in ’56. Lost all their possessions, some of their family and almost died before stumbling across the Austrian border.

I think of them often when I hear people who have never known such hardship say “we can’t take any more refugees.”

Oh, you’re salivating for  a taste, yes? You could probably find any number of receipts  on the web, but I’ll give you a link to a blogger who, only hours ago, posted her recipe.

Now, I must go and put on my thinking cap and decide how best to celebrate 3 years of blogging. Hmmm…it’s a tricky one. Got any ideas?


Like some food, some days are best taken slowly. Of course, in my case, “slow” is often interspersed with bursts of  “frantic.” But, for the majority of my summer, days are generally much slower. Who wants to dash about in relentless heat? (All you cricket nutters are excused from answering that question!)

UPDATE: It was, indeed, a slow day at the coalface…The Man came home tonight with this:

Dakar Rally

The Dutchman duffed his DAF and the Mitsi’s in the ditch,

The Hummer’s just a bummer – some days life can be a bitch!

The Beamer’s having trouble ‘cos his gearbox just wont shift

And the Dakar’s come to Chile – now that’s Continental Drift!

While sat.nav. and computers and the back-up crews prevail

Hope becomes a vital strategy whenall else seems to fail.

Some lap the nectar of success; others choke on tears of pain

Each stage presents its challenge

And they do it all again.

Some suffer compound fractures and dislocated knees

From bashing prehistoric rocks and slamming into trees.

While glory comes with victory, dpression with defeat

To hell with all that sissy stuff – they’ve come here to compete.


Slow time has allowed me to get around the blogosphere at a healthier pace, too. And I see that almost all of you are either very brave or a tad silly.Why? Well, you’re listing resolutions! Now that, my friends, could very well  come back to bite you later. When you’ve let your “good intentions” slip a little. Not for this chicken, the Nemesis of New Year beating me about the head, months from now, when I’ve forgotten the promises I made. Oh, no!

I have (more than a few!) unfinished symphonies which I intend to work on. And I’ll probably start more new ones, too. But I’m not daft enough to swear to complete them all by December 31!


One of the bloggers I caught up with is Denise and I found that she had awarded me this Kreativ Blogger badge.

It’s the usual drill:  I’m to pass it on to five other bloggers I deem worthy.

And, as usual, I find that less than easy, since most blogs I read are written by people with more than average creative ability.

So, cowardly, I’m opting for the self-serve method. If you’d like to have this icon to display on your blog(s), please feel free to copy-and-paste. And also tell your readers how you came by it and link to “Idle Thoughts” so that readers (if they want to) can trace it back to its origins. Blimey! It’s like anthropology, isn’t it! Or that biblical begetting.


I see the drought has broken up  North. I also see that firefighters are on high alert down South. Must be January in Australia!

Locally, we’ve had some heavy rain and a few branches tossed from on high, but no cyclonic disturbances. Yet.


I finally got around to sorting through some of the old photos that have been mouldering in a cupboard since cameras were invented. There are places and people I can barely remember! I suppose I kept these crumbling pieces of card for a reason…

And some, of course, bring that firey rush of passion, as strong and urgent as the day the shutter was clicked. And a huge neon sign in the brain says: DETOUR and you’re off, down that old trail.

92-hall-street1I used to live in the big house, hidden behind trees. The modern bungalow on the right is built on what was once the front garden!

martha-gold-mine1995The pump house at the Martha Gold Mine, Waihi, New Zealand. Some of the old mines were re-opened about 30 years ago, when gold prices were astronomical and new techniques and equipment made mining viable.

stratford-69And because there is a great tradition in the circus and  the theatre to “leave ’em, laughing” you can have a chuckle at this. No prizes for guessing who and where.


Little Things (IF 12.12.07)

This week’s Illustration Friday topic is “Little Things” which suggested all sorts of possibilities.

As I ducked my head under the sunbirds’ nest, I thought of baby birds.

I cursed the little white flies on the acalypha that make the bush seem dusted with icing sugar.

Then something made me think of “Alice” and I went down the rabbit hole of my memory, back to my childhood copy illustrated by Tenniel. I started on a lino cut, but realised I would not have time to print, dry and photograph it so that’s set aside for the moment.

So, not in the same class, here is my giant Alice and the bottle labelled “drink me.”
(I’m not sure Alice wore stripey stockings…pen and water colour.)

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It is something like a quarter of a century since I had much to do with very small kittens. Come to that, it’s been a day or several since I had much to do with small animals of any kind. I think the most recent “baby” was Spike, a possum, back in the mid ‘nineties.

But by th ‘eck! Some things come back to one quickly! Things like:

not wearing dangly ear rings

not wearing long, swing-able necklaces

not wearing long skirts

not going bare-legged

not wearing your best silk or cashmere

not forgetting to bring the Calamine with you when you shut the bathroom door

And with the temperature nudging 30deg.C it’s a tad warm for the wearing of heavyweight jeans!

It’s not all on the debit side of the ledger, though: little paws and tails can reach under furniture and into crevices too big for the Hoover!

I bought one of those purpose-built scratch posts in an effort (so far, futile!) to dissuade them from scratching upholstery. Yes, I could have made a similar item, but by the time I’d bought a piece of carpet, something to nail it to…And, anyway, it all seems pointless…while I was assembling the scratcher (they come as a flat-pack as does everything shipped from the Far East) the little darlings decided the packing carton was the bestest toy in the whole wide world.
A bit like that Mastercard advert!

Ziggi quoted Elliot (yesterday’s comments) on the subject of cat names. And I find myself leaning to another of his lovely poems as these tearaways hoon through any room not closed-off.

Of course, we may have to be somewhat cavalier in the matter of gender; Rumpelteazer is probably a bloke. For the moment, anyway!

Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer were a very notorious couple of cats. As knockabout clown, quick-change comedians, tight-rope walkers and acrobats They had extensive reputation. They made their home in Victoria Grove-- That was merely their centre of operation, for they were incurably given to rove. They were very well know in Cornwall Gardens, in Launceston Place and in Kensington Square. They had really a little more reputation than a couple of cats can very well bear. If the area window was found ajar And the basement looked like a field of war, If a tile or two came loose on the roof, Which presently ceased to be waterproof, If the drawers were pulled out from the bedroom chests, And you couldn't find one of your winter vests, Or after supper one of the girls Suddenly missed her Woolworth pearls: Then the family would say:"It's that horrible cat! It was Mungojerrie--or Rumpelteazer!" And most of the time they left it at that. Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer had a very unusual gift of the gab. They were highly efficient cat-burglars as well, and remarkably smart at smash-and-grab. They made their home in Victoria Grove. They had no regular occupation. They were plausible fellows, and liked to engage a friendly policeman in conversation. When the family assembled for Sunday dinner, With their minds made up that they wouldn't get thinner On Argentine joint, potatoes and greens, And the cook would appear from behind the scenes And say in a voice that was broken with sorrow: "I'm afraid you must wait and have dinner tomorrow! For the joint has gone from the oven-like that!" Then the family would say:"It's that horrible cat! It was Mungojerrie--or Rumpelteazer!" And most of the time they left it at that. Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer had a wonderful way of working together. And some of the time you would say it was luck, and some of the time you would say it was weather. They would go through the house like a hurricane, and no sober person could take his oath Was it Mungojerrie--or Rumpelteazer? or could you have sworn that it mightn't be both? And when you heard a dining-room smash Or up from the pantry there came a loud crash Or down from the library came a loud ping From a vase which was commonly said to be Ming-- Then the family would say:"Now which was which cat? It was Mungojerrie! AND Rumpelteazer!" And there's nothing at all to be done about that! From :"Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats." T.S.Elliot.
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
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