Oops! I inadvertantly typed an L in there. I am not black. I am varying shades of pink, with a light spotting of paint-chart-mocha.

Waddyamean, you didn’t even miss me?

Oh well, let’s not quibble.Here’s little mystery pic for you.IMG_1540

You know how it works – leave your answer in the comments. Sorry, no prizes.It’s been a taxing time Chez Dinahmow!

I have been and, indeed, am still a trifle busy.Busy lugging hoses around gardens. Up here, we are still waiting for the wet season.Yesterday, Brisbane was hit with the worst storm in (“they” say) a decade.Rather a lot of zeros and commas in the damages bill.

And I’m , a-hem, helping my friend’s class to make a puppet for their carols night. A rather large carried-on-sticks puppet.Of a brolga. Oh dear! I seem to have done my usual thing and jumped in without actually considering the depth. So if I dash off leaving you with a short post you will understand that I need to get another layer on the armature…

IMG_1549The grocer had some marked-down Phalaenopsis on a stand.Couldn’t resist, could I!  They’re indoors for the moment, as a welcome-home for The Man, due back tonight.Tomorrow, the orchids will be moved to the ferny corner, with their kin.

That’s not the picture I intended, but the sharper focused one shows too much clutter and I wouldn’t want you to think I was an untidy slob!

On a sad note…most of you know that I have been to New York twice to be a cat sitter to a most remarkable cat, Don Estorbo de la Bodega Dominicana. A cat of great charm and huge personality, he left all of us who loved him with some wonderful memories. And a vastly enriched vocabulary of bastard Spanish. Bless you, Storbie.on patrol




Rather like my life, really. Well, certainly like my front room! I did start to clear away the detritus of framing, wrapping and stacking work for the little exhibition. Then realised that quite a lot of the bits and pieces might as well stay where they were since I’ll be using most of them when I start assembling the books (three sets of -eek!).

I took some time out on Sunday to head to the Marina. Why? Well, The Man had his Mustang down there as part of a small fund-raiser.* Not exactly a classic car show, but there was a fair bit of interest in the shiny toys…

My first thought when I saw this? “I hope the hand brake holds!”

A ’65 fastback.Considerably beefed-up. Quite a “bird-puller.” 


And this, for all the little kids! (And some big ones.)

And it wouldn’t be the seaside with ice cream, would it?


Somehow, not as romantic as Antonio’s ice cream cart…

I wandered over to that net-wide emporium of vulgarity (Youtube) and this was about the best on offer. That’s a bloke singing! I noted that, beneath the clip, it read: best suited to old folks’ homes.

And for readers too young to recall…here’s a quick sketch of the old-fashioned kind of ice cream cart.


There is something in this that “speaks” to me. I love work like Brian Dettmer’s fabulous carved books and Cecelia Levey’s delicate paper sculptures. But this, on so many levels, is very “me.” Perhaps because I recognise some of these old Victorian streets, perhaps because it’s quirky. But mainly, I think, because the books remain readable books. …Hooray for Daniel Speight!   http://fuckyeahbookarts.tumblr.com/post/33226420495

I think it’s time I teased you again…what is this?


As usual, post your guess in comments.


* One of the Marina shop owners was taking donations to assist a breast cancer patient.


I usually bounce back pretty quickly from a long flight, but the trip home was Hell-with-wings! Unable to sleep on the ‘plane, I have been crashing out for cat-naps several times a day since I came home.

So it may be a day or three before I have much to say. Got some pitchas, though…

I’ve always had a penchant for a Morgan

This one is offered as a “prize” for spending rather a lot of money at the swanky shops at St.Pancras station.

National Theatre, South Bank.

And, just because I can, a Mystery Picture!

You know the drill…tell me, in the comments, what  (or perhaps “who”)  you think this is.

And perhaps, by the next post, I’ll feel sufficiently recovered to tell you about my terrifying experience with a duck…


All of you, I expect, especially those of you who think there may be potential for a new flavoured gin! 🙂  Well, I’ll put you out of your misery in a minute. But first… a little story…


A few days ago, Guyana Gyal’s post about Mr.Wrong.Car made me think of someone I knew, a long time ago, in New Zealand.

Like Mr.Wrong.Car, he was also despised, avoided and perhaps feared by many people. True, he was …eccentric. And with an aversion to soap and water. But he was , in reality, a gentle man and phenomenally intelligent in the field of plants, both native and introduced. He had a better than average knowledge of marine life, too. He gave me a shell once and told me its scientific name , though I have long forgotten that!

But most people called him Spring Heel Jack and rude little kids used to tease him and run like hell when he shook his fist at them, calling them names they probably deserved. He’d an extensive vocabulary of very colourful swear words!

He lived alone in a shack alongside the Otumoetai railway line and I always thought he had no friends. But his knowledge was greatly respected by museums and some school teachers. Perhaps Mr. Wrong.Car was like him. (If you’re interested, you can read more here ) It’s easy to write off people who don’t “fit the perceived pattern.” But how much humour, wisdom and love might we miss? And it’s not difficult to stay upwind when necessary!


I was scratching around in a box, looking for a particular item when I found something I thought I’d lost. As you do. Actually, I found three somethings and that led to an interesting morning in my friend’s studio, running some old plates through the press, to see whether they really were too badly marked for pulling good prints. Hmm…not the best, but at least I have the plates and can make new ones from old images. Well, once I’ve figured where and how to etch them! Not with nitric acid (which is what I used last time, under guidance in a studio) which is rather nasty stuff, especially in a home environment. I’m ” doing the homework” on another chemical, with much friendlier properties. But these are yesterday’s prints

                                                                                       My national emblem (and national nickname!)



                                                                                       Stitch bird (hihi, in Maori)

Personally, I think the background ruined this plate , but I think I can salvage something from it. And at least I have the cartoon. 🙂



I have some sketches waiting to be turned into prints, among them our mystery picture! The seeds of a Fishtail (Caryota) palm Which one I’m not sure, but I do know that at least one, Caryota urens, is also known as the toddy palm, or wine palm. So perhaps there is a gin possibility. Someone else can do that research! Here’s the photo I cropped to tease you.

                                                                                        Caryota. Fishtail palm

One more (crappy lighting!) picture before I go out to play with hoses. A few weeks ago, The Man and I went to a small showing of prints, photographs  and paintings by a talented young  woman. The Man remarked that one, in particular, reminded him of some of Andrea’s work( we have half a dozen of her drawings and will soon have “Water’s Edge”!). So I bought it!

“Mediaeval Storm” by Catherine Hines. 

This is an etching with aquatint and coloured inks.


And thankyou to those who popped over to Ziggi’s place with cheering words.


… still in the hat! Haha! You thought I was going to tell you in the opening sentence, did you? You should know me better than that, gang!

I’m going to make you read the whole post first. (once we get these sound bytes sorted you will hear  evil  laughter here mwahaha!)

And, because I can, I’ve decided to have another little mystery pic.

No prizes, but please tell me what you think it is. As Max Boyce says: be specific.

OH, damn! I shouldn’t have mentioned Max! I mean, I’m not unhappy with the World Cup result, but I did have a lot of faith and my past resting on Wales. Ah, well, there’s always next time, isn’t it. Cymru am bydd!

The talk this week is all of cups. The Race That Stops A Nation is tomorrow. Melbourne’s going to be full of private aeroplanes and choppers! Qantas* birds? Not so much!    update, Sunday: Fair Work Australia has decreed that Qantas must get  airborne again. Now!

And cartoonists had some fun with that shamefully over-indulgent talk fest in Perth. I had a bit of cartooning fun myself. No, not putting that on the blog. Mrs Queen might sue me. 🙂 Seriously, isn’t it time the old colonies grew up and just settled for sending Mummy a card on her birthday!

Friday was a painful day Chez Dinahmow. I had some burly chaps with seriously big tools in to remove some trees. Sad to see them go, but they were far too big(and potentially dangerous after losing some limbs in storms) for a small yard.

                                                                                                                          Dangley bits.

                                                                                            One of the “offenders.” 

                                                                                                  The Muncher

The cats, of course, scarpered as soon as they heard the trucks. They did come out of hiding afterwards for a brief sniff around. But, being savvy girls, they didn’t stay long – too many green ants! I had to chuckle at the chap feeding branches into the muncher – he looked like one of those Tyrolean schuehplatterl dancers! By next day, most of the ants had gone. Re-grouped in another tree no doubt.

A friend sent me an amusing email, which I’ve shared with some of you. But damn! it’s too good not to put up here:

I don’t know WHY I didn’t figure this out before !!!!! 
I wash my hair in the shower and the shampoo runs down over my whole body. 
Printed very clearly on the label is the following warning: 

No WONDER I have been gaining weight!!! 
Well, I have gotten rid of that shampoo and I am going to start using Fairy Dish Washing Liquid instead.

Its label reads, 

Problem solved!       If I don’t answer the phone . .. . I’ll be in the shower! 

                            And now (insert drum roll sound)….the winners!

ZIGGI    first out of the hat (which was actually a waste paper basket, but it was quicker to type “hat” and, besides, hats are traditional, right?)

ELEPHANT’S CHILD  drawn second.

I’m delighted ! Ziggi was among my very first readers and we almost know each other. Her daughter and friends visited us  while on their fabulous World Tour. She’s not blogging these days (cut the girl some slack – England didn’t win the Rugby!), but she was a very funny little witch back in the day.UPDATE: Ziggi has revamped her blog here

And I’m happy to see a print go to Elephant’s Child, who has more than most of us on her plate.

Now, if you ladies would like to email me   and tell me your postal addresses I’ll take a packed lunch and join the Post Office queue. Ziggi, being first draw, has first choice.

Thankyou all for playing along. And I’m sorry you couldn’t all win.

* Ever since Warren Mitchell did those adverts, years ago, I’ve always thought of it as “quaint arse.”


Time, I think, to tease some of the people who stumble in here.

I’m not going to go all cryptic like I did on that mangrove question. But I am going to ask you for more than a one-word answer.

What is it?

I was back in the water yesterday. Brrr! Lovely sunshine, but that South Easterly was nasty. Yes, even in a heated pool. I did think about a wet-suit.  Then I thought the Michelin Tyre Company might sue for breach of copyright! 🙂

Is your town twinned with another city? Our twin is Matsuura, in Japan and the school where I do the occasional stint as “helper” has just had a visit from a group of Matsuura students.

I spent the afternoon folding origami shapes. Lots of laughter and some very creative folding from some of the children. Moi? Not so much! I have perfected one or two folds, but I have a looong way to go in this field.

My origami crane. Sub-titled: don’t give up your day job!

Actually, I haven’t had a “day job” for a long time. The last place where I was on the payroll was a vineyard.

Which reminds me…it’s almost Happy Hour chez  Dinahmow… I’ll leave you with a small amusement to make up for my lack of witty content.  Take it away, Mr. Laurie…


So consider yourselves rested!

That foggy-looking stuff in the new header is-fog. Not- many- degrees- above- freezing- fog. See? I keep telling you all it gets damn’ cold here in winter.

Actually, it looks very like the countryside where I grew up. Ah! The memories of scrunching across frosty grass to get to the dairy. Of snuggling against a cow’s flank to get warm.

And that was in the Spring, when milking began again after the winter dry-off. A lot of farmers took up ski-ing as winter was the  only time they could take a holiday!

This is not a New Zealand dairy farm, of course. Nope. It’s a couple of scruffy acres, a few minutes from the ocean in tropical Queensland, still with a few beef cows, but it wont be long before these few acres are sold to extend the new housing estate going in next to this paddock.

I had started writing about loos with views, but was called away and when I returned, this was in my reader. Besides, Ian has clearly sampled more than I have, so pop across and find out.

He also displays art in his loo. So do I. Years ago, a friend was amazed to find an original painting  on the wall of our loo. “Why” she wanted to know. “Why not?” I replied.

Currently, I have a much-admired original coloured drawing hanging just outside the loo in our utility area.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll probably recognise the style. It’s another Andrea Pratt piece. One day, I’d like to see a real loon. But until then, this makes me happy.

I went for a walk along one of the  beaches this morning. Man! It was crowded! The other day, I had an entire beach to myself, but today there were two people walking dogs , one jogger, an old man hobbling barefoot across  the driftwood and shells, PC and WPC Plod (but they stayed in their patrol car!) and one fisherman. As I left someone drove up with a surfboard.

Surfing. Pretty much  a compulsory past-time in a place like this. But not for me! I did try it, years ago, when boards were heavy, wooden things. They hurt, a lot, when they hit you. I didn’t think ribs looking like a xylophone was attractive or comfortable so that was the end of my surfing.

Like mistletoe, isn’t it?

And one more picture, to tease you. Can you guess what it is?

Today’s mystery…