All of you, I expect, especially those of you who think there may be potential for a new flavoured gin! ūüôā ¬†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. ūüôā



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.



…somewhat late!

Those of you who have been idling here for long enough might recall that yesterday, October 23, 2006, saw my blog launched, with great fanfare and popping of champagne corks    somewhat tentatively, 5 years ago.

Yes, I have been boring the pants off readers for 5 years! And I did plan to have a small blogiversary give-away for a lucky reader (drawn from names of commenters by a person above any suspicion of cheating. Of course.)

Friends, one or two other things got in the way of that. First, I had some paperwork to tidy-up. And then I was out to lunch, in the nicest possible meaning of the phrase, and my good intentions went pear-shaped.

So…here’s what I’ll do…I’ll let this “lucky draw” run til next Sunday. That will be October 30 on my side of the IDL. But I’ll hold the draw until ¬†the Monday so that all the lovely readers who are a bit behind also have a chance to win.

What’s that? Oh, the thing to be won? Hmmm…let’s see…

“Beyond the Palisades” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†


Of course, the prints would be shipped unframed, for obvious reasons.

In the 5 years I’ve been blogging I have come to regard many of my readers as friends. I’ve even met some of you! There is, I find, a genuine warmth among bloggers. Well, on the sites I visit, anyway. ūüôā

I really did have to think carefully about the “prize.” Not all of my scribblings would have wide appeal so I tried to go “middle of the road.” Which, of course, is a pretty stupid place to put oneself, especially with some of the bloody hoons on our roads! If neither of these pieces is your cup of tea, that’s fine. I shan’t be offended.

But if you fancy hanging one of these on your wall, just leave a comment before ¬†October 30 ¬†and I’ll draw 2 names. First name has first pick.

And now, it’s time to don my chef’s hat…


Contrib: Rusty

Dinah tells us about these many ginger cats she sees at the place where she swims. So we tell her to make contact and bring us proof, not that we think she is making free with the truth, but people do not always have the same perception as we cats; indeed, people are given to exaggerations on many occasions, such as the stories they tell about sporting victories and the reasons for not returning from the Emporium with what we consider to be sufficient supplies of Crunchies and Jellimeat.

It seems there are, indeed, “many” ginger cats.

ginger cats at pool 1Breakfast (Just waiting in case she leaves any…)

playing with a plastic forkA discarded plastic fork provided kitten fun.

after breakfast washA good wash after breakfast is important and if you can find a sunny spot, all the better.

after breakfast snooze…all the better for snoozing, too!

2009_0220snake0004This is as close as you’re getting, Two Legs Person!

Dinah says she has counted 7 ginger cats and I say this is a Ginger Fellowship and the Lady  Boss says there more than 7 and she says it is a Conspiracy! She also says that she would like to catch these Fellows (Ginger Order) and take them to the Person-Whose-Name-We-Do-Not-Speak, thus ensuring that the Fellowship will be limited to present members.



And at this point, I reclaim my blog…

It’s been a run of break-downs and blow-ups and various failures Chez Dinahmow…the microwave (marvellously handy place to hide food from Feline Thieves as they can’t open the door!) ping-ed and arc-ed so I’m guessing its magnetron is kaput. My sewing machine went pffft! and belched smoke yesterday in what could be a blown motor or, more likely, since it’s engineered by Swiss genius, burnt circuit board and the bonnet hinges on the Mustang need replacing.

I felt I could use a little cheeriness…and look what was on my doorstep when I came home from the pool……a parcel of sketchbooks! The exchange we began a year ago. This is my book, all finished except for the cover.

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0001My opening page

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0002…and the facing page.

My book then travelled to Melanie in The Bronx2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0003who added this embroidered piece, picking up my black and red colours and swirls and sent it on to…

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0004Katie Jane, in Cincinatti, who does lovely stained glass work and has made this page a look-alike.

From Kate ¬†it went international again to Ellen in Mission, B.C. ¬†Knowing my fondness for corvids…

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0005…Ellen has added this!

From Canada, the book came back to Australia…

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0006…and ¬†Brigitte, again picking up my swirly lines, gave me this and sent the book to Alison…

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0007…who added this linoprint, plus…


an embossed version of the same plate.(difficult to see here)

Alison passed the book to Heather…

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0009…for her collaged linoprint.

From Heather to Frankie…

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0010…the first half of Frankie’s spread…

…and the second half…2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0011

What a lovely collection of friends and memories! I am so glad we did this and I hope everyone else has had the same frisson whenever the postman knocked.

Sure, some of us feel our artwork ¬†leaves much to be desired, but the whole point of starting this exchange was for fun. I’ve had fun and perhaps, just maybe, my sketching is improving.

Thankyou to all of you who added your colourful, whimsical pages to a book I’ll treasure.

I’ll post pictures of the covers once they are added.


What else is happening in my world? Printmaking. Of course. I am, once again, up to my ears in ink. (see what I mean about the human tendancy to exaggerate? – Rusty.)

Perhaps the cat is right. Perhaps the ink is not quite that deep. But I do have a lot on my plate(s) so the blog may be neglected for a while…

But I’ll be paying a few cyber visits. Oh, thankyou so much for asking! Yes, I’d love a coffee. Straight-up, no sugar. A glass of wine? Don’t mind if I do. Shiraz would be fine, thankyou.




And now, for your delectation, a test of your cognitive abilities. Keep in mind (as I try to now that the birthday cake is going into candle-overload!) that the brain will last longer and wear better with constatnt use and stimulation. So, Auntie Ethel, turn off that stupid  TV show and give your neurons reason to fire. Synap out of it, as a friend of mine says!

1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator? 


Stop and think about it and decide on your answer before you scroll down.



The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.



2 How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator? 





Did you say, Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the refrigerator?

Wrong Answer.

Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door. This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions.




3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. 

All the animals attend …. Except one. Which animal does not attend?



Correct Answer : The Elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put him in there.? This tests your memory. Okay, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your true abilities.




4. There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and 


You do not have a boat. How do you manage it?




Correct Answer:? You jump into the river and swim across. Have you not been listening? All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

According to Anderson Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the 
Professionals they tested got all questions wrong, but many preschoolers got several correct answers. Anderson Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most professionals have the brains of a four-year-old.












Well, I didn’t think I’d manage to do sky sketches for Vivien’s challenge this week, but – ta-daaa! 2009_0209sky0001 This, people, is why you should NOT waste money on cheapies. These water soluble pencils were $2 at the Dollar $aver $tore. You get what you pay for. ūüė¶

2009_0209sky0002 Looking a bit washed-out here. Basically, just blue sky.


A very quick quickie – I was driving and had to stop for road works so did a fast pencil study and washed it later with a damp brush.Ed: oops! this is the water colour version. I scanned the pencil one, but it looked weird.

2009_0209sky0004This is the sort of sky that makes you glad you closed the screen door. Or wish you had!


And another while stopped in traffic. Sometimes, I see several vapour trails, criss-crossing. On clear days, they’ll streak the sky for several minutes. But when it’s windy they are frayed within seconds.Then gone.

And here endeth my sky contribution.


If you’ve been following or participating in the travelling sketchbooks, you’ll be aware of my warning not to include organic materials in books coming back to Australia.¬†

The other day, I caught up with some blogs I haven’t read for a while and this was reinforced when I read Jan’s story.¬†Because the link is not coming up (why?) scroll back to May 8, 2009.

I can see the point and I’m all for keeping nasties out of the country, but I would like them to be more consistent with inspections. They never look at shoes and only random arrivals are asked to empty their pockets. I suppose that would cost more money!¬†

I am currently fiddling about with a book which, if I finish it, will have bits of leather, wood and grass in its construction. It will be staying here. And by “here” I suppose that will have to be “Queensland” as southern states usually have an embargo on inter-state organic material. Yes, really! That’s why we park ¬†before crossing the border and scoff all the fruit we have ūüôā


I had a lovely “arty day out” with a Alison the other day. We began our day with a 2kms swim. Very arty! Then drove south to look at the Sarina exhibition where we both have work on show. No gold medals for us, but it was great to see more prints in this year’s show and to see the high standard of some work in this genre.

We took the “scenic route” back to Town….2009_0207sarina0007


…and spent some time drooling over the current Artspace exhibition of northern artists’ work, mainly in prints.

Here’s a review from a gallery further north when the touring exhibition was there:


And here’s a link for Denis Nona, one of my favourites, who is featured.http://www.aboriginalartprints.com.au/ab_dennisnona.cfm

And a link to our local gallery:http://www.artspacemackay.com.au/whats_on/news/on_the_edge_visions_of_a_tropical_coastline

We came away fired with enthusiasm and ideas for our own work. And isn’t that what it’s really all about?


Who likes quinces? I do. But they are a tad pricey here. So I restrained myself and bought only one. I shall paint it, then stew it, then savour it. Likewise, the pomegranate. Might even blog it!



In a few hours, I shall be groping my way downstairs in the dark and heading for the airport. There I will board a plane for Brisbane to make the connection for my flight to….VANUATU.

Go here to see some of the things I’m looking forward to.

Behave yourselves while I’m away! Alternatively,kick up your heels and have fun.I shall!

(waves goodbye to the screen…)

Update… a friend sent me an email with some brilliant pictures of pencil art.’Way too big for Blogger, but I went a-googling and tracked down the artist,Jennifer Maestre. Try this:


Remember what I said about windows and reflections? Well, I finally took these off the wall to get a halfway reasonable shot! And still not the best!

This is a watercolour by Harvey Stone, a local artist. A kite, I think.


A New Zealand stitchbird, Notiomystis cincta, called ‘hihi’ in Maori. For more information, go to : www.nzbirds.com/

This is my first attempt at etching! It’s a proof which I floated on red paper as a birthday card for P. I wrecked the plate while trying to “add a little background interest” so this is pretty much the Alpha and Omega.
However, a couple of weeks ago I came across my original cartoon for this so perhaps I’ll do a photopolymer print…

And that is all I have to show you today, folks. We do have more pictures, but you’ll just have to wait!

One more clue to my holiday destination?
Oh, alright… go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanesia