Let’s just gloss over the fact that my blog-writing has tapered off. To say the least!

But here I am again and all set to talk about rites and writing. Prompted by some discussion of pens here and by a promise (yes, it IS a promise, Ms Scarlet!) by the talented Scarlet to post about her various pens.

It seems that there still some of us who are a bit fussy about our writing implements.Me, I can scrawl a grocery list with any old pen that comes to hand. But I do like a good pen.

I grew up in the days when penmanship was still taught in schools and until we were about 10 years old all our school lessons were written in pencil. My carpenter father made me a lovely wooden pencil case .And he taught me to sharpen pencils with either a pen knife or a chisel.Since knives were verboten at school I always sharpened my pencils at home.

And our first pens? Oh, dear! Those ghastly “school nibs” that splayed quicker than a bandy-legged jockey. And the school ink – arrgh! I think it came in big drums and was watered-down by the teachers who then chose well-behaved children to be “ink monitors” to fill the porcelain ink wells at each desk.No, I was never an ink monitor.

But I’d been given some money for Christmas or birthday and I added some of my savings to buy my first fountain pen. It came with a matching propelling pencil, in a leatherette case.. Of course, I promptly took it to school. And was just as promptly told I was not to use it in class.

At about this time, Mr. Biro’s invention had caught on and ball-points were being produced in mass quantity and their price came down. Sadly, so did quality and I never had one that didn’t go all blobby.

I don’t recall what brand my father used, but my mother’s pen was an Osmiroid and woe betide anyone who borrowed it! Over the next few years I owned several different pens, but the beloved Waterman was a favourite. A pricey pen for a kid;I think an uncle gave me his old one.

Spin the time machine forward some 50 years … for drawing I generally use a Staedtler Lumocolor or a ZIG or something similar. And I bought myself a Lamy Safari a couple of years ago! A cartridge style, I wanted to use various inks so  I bought a converter to enable that. These days, I find that my old fingers don’t do very well with skinny pens and the Safari is nice and chunky.


And did you know (I didn’t!) that Lamy developed it for German school use.

I used to have some good calligraphy nibs, but gave most of them to a friend when I left London. These old fingers will not be doing any more fancy writing.Mind you, I wouldn’t mind something like this! http://walyou.com/montblanc-steampunk-pens/

The Great Disposal of Old Stuff continues. With The Man no longer working full time we’ve embarked on re-painting the house. Well, he’s done all the hard work. I poured the wine! The walls (you’re dying to know, I can tell!) are a lovely sunny yellow. A little like Dulux Dandelion, but the shade changes with the shadows.

Work about to begin in the living room… old paint was a pale primrose.

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In this, if you squint beyond  Geiger, resident ladderologist, you can see the original, pale yellow, with the new , brighter yellow.

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And this is looking along the passage.See what I mean about the shifting shade!


Gradually, things are going back in place and some of the artwork is back on the walls. These are prints by a blogging friend http://havedogswilltravel.blogspot.com.au/  although she seems to be non-blogging these days. More will follow when we’ve re-wired some frames.




This blogging lark is thirsty work! But before I address that, here’s a natty bit of promotion…it is not my birthday, but the optician sent this as a reminder that I’m due for a test…IMG_4566



Do you ever get fed up with those seemingly endless reprises (as if that word is somehow better than repeats!) of television shows? Do you want to throttle the station managers? Scream at the programmers to give us something new? Or at least something WE want to see, not what some ratings-driven minion says is market-requested? Maybe air something new and give new writers some exposure.

I know I did. Often! Especially when I was one of those writers.

It’s been a long time since I paddled in the murky waters of script-writing and Hell will probably be a frosty place before I do so again. I still write the occasional article, but, on the whole, I’m happy enough with my other interests. All the same, I would like programmers to stop foisting the same old bimbo crap twaddle on us.

I’m not saying I want classic shows for 52 weeks of the year, but a small helping of some of my old favourites would be lovely. Oh! Could this please be arranged while the sports nuts are glued to the Beijing shenanigans!

Bring back “The Likely Lads.”

And “Northern Exposure.”

And what about a re-run of the very clever “Seeing Things”?

A Canadian flash of brilliance in the dark days.

And now that I’ve primed you lovely readers (ooh, yeah! I know how to lick boots!) here’s something that has been aired before, but never blogged.*


Jessie stood on the middle rail of the fence and waved, with both arms, to the engine driver. You had to be on the fence, ready, when the train passed as the track curved then, to go through the cutting, and the driver wouldn’t see you.

She started to count the wagons, but only got to fifteen when she saw it. A wisp of smoke!

Her sandals slapped on the path as she sped back to the house. In her hurry she ran too close to the holly bush, but hardly noticed the scratches.

“Fire in the cutting!” Tea cups rattled onto saucers, chairs scraped as the grown-ups rushed outside.

By now the wisp of smoke was a thick, white plume as the flames licked across the summer grass. If the fire got across the fence line it would reach the houses.

Jessie’s grandmother dragged the heavy cover from the well and lowered the first bucket. Uncle Vin and Tom, nearly sixteen, grabbed old potato sacks from the wash house. Granny soaked the sacks with the first bucket of water and the men ran down to the fence, jumped over and headed across the paddock, beating at the sparky grass.

Granny hooked a chain onto another bucket and lowered that, too, into the well. Jessie’s mother, dragging more sacks from the shed, called to Jessie to take her little brother next door to old Lucy Marples and to stay there. Lucy, who was minding her baby grandson, took Sam inside, then led Jessie to the old rain water tank at the botom of her garden. “Not much in this, but we’ll get a hose out for the men.”

Together, they dragged enough hose to reach from the tank to the fence. Lucy showed Jessie where one paling was loose and they prised it open and pushed the hose through. Tom, running back for more sacks, saw what they were doing and yelled: “Thanks!” They could hear the fire now and could see the angry, red line. Dry bracken and seed heads cracked and spat more sparks ahead of the flames.

“Better come away, girl.” Lucy took Jessie’s hand. More people were in the paddock now, all beating at the grass. Jessie could see ever-so-posh Dulcie Harrison, her long skirt tucked into her knickers, thrashing away at a gorse bush.

They reached the house just as Tata, Lucy’s son, arrived. “Sparks from the engine…” But Tata was already racing down to the fence.

Jessie and Sam stood on Lucy’s back porch and watched, frightened, but fascinated. It seemed like hours and still the greedy flames advanced, new patches catching and flaring up.

The thwap! thwap! of sacks. The crackle of sparks and flames. And the choking sounds when someone breathed in too much smoke.

And then, just like a tap being turned off, the wind dropped. Dead calm.

And the flames, like a bully outnumbered, made one last, defiant flash and subsided in a smouldering sulk.


I’m surrounded by frames and off-cuts of foamcore and non-Sporran paper scraps. I’ll probably need to use some of the frames for the coming exhibition. But the rest need to be put away. I am also surrounded by the not-yet-put-away laundry from yesterday. (Some of which probably should be ironed!) OH! It’s hard to get good help.

I was talking to a friend who couldn’t understand why a mere head cold had laid her out for a couple of days. I said it’s probably because she thinks she’s still 20 and can just work it off.

With all the other things on my plate, I was rather proud of myself for declining when asked to take part in a haiku exchange. A sort of round robin in verse. But the sensible neurons kicked in and said:”Don’t be daft! You’re overstretched already!”

Whoever said that with age comes wisdom just might have something there. Mind you, wisdom sometimes drags its feet!

And these feet are headed towards the sleeping chamber…

I’ll leave you with a haiku that didn’t make the exchange:

bamboo bending low

looks into the melted snow

and sees the moon’s face

*The copyright remains with me so if you’d like to use it, please ask.