Saturday, 31 January 2009

February special offer.................

During a lull in nursing duties this morning I have updated the website to feature my new kit of the month for February, at a very special offer price!

The kit includes the tiny, hand-painted, jointed porcelain doll, all materials and trimmings for the costume and bonnet, prepared viscose for the wig, fully illustrated step by step instructions plus a link to a video tutorial.

She is designed to be a Sunday Best toy doll for the discerning doll's house child and measures just under 2 inches tall, from her leather-soled shoes to the top of her bonnet.

When completed, she will look like this..............

We also offer full email support for any questions you may have while dressing her.

Perfect displacement activity for those dull, dark, dreary February days ahead........


PP's recovery is (literally) painfully slow, and it will probably be another few weeks before moving around is accomplished without forward planning and the aid of a walking stick.

Many thanks to everyone who has sent 'Get Well Soon' wishes to PP. They have been much appreciated. A big thanks too for the gorgeous flowers which are scenting the whole house. Not to mention the many cards.

Just had to give a special showcase to this inspired choice though.............


Friday, 30 January 2009

It begins..........

In retrospect, I'm beginning to wonder if my last post was such a good idea.

OK, so for Rosanna, in answer to your question,this is what your personal power animal, the Sphinx cat looks like............


And Debbie, most definitely wins the prize for the most obscure personal power animal to date, the cuddly Giant Weta.............

Blimey O'Reilly!

Now if you lot don't mind, some people have things to do!

What's in a name.............?

Am in full on displacement activity mode this morning. Having completed all drugs rounds, done two loads of washing, cleaned and tidied kitchen, plumped pillows etc etc, I now have a small window of opportunity for messing about.

Prompted by a tiny snippet in a recent post on one of the blogs I read regularly, I've discovered yet another great displacement activity tool.

Basically, you put your name in here and it comes up with useless 'facts'.

Unsurprisingly, Sandra Morris is a common guttersnipe name, shared with approximately 2,430 Americans. Also, apparently my personal power animal is the Black Widow Spider, which is, quite frankly, rubbish.

Especially for a card-carrying arachnophobe.

Rather more interestingly, small dog's personal power animal is the Sumatran Orangutan.

I defy you not to try it with your own name, that of your significant other, your friends pets etc.

Ok, I'm off now to vote in the Most Unfortunate Name poll on the site, or more accurately, to check whether the nominated names are actually real.

I mean, Dwayne Pipe............. come on.

DISCLAIMER - the author of this blog accepts no responsibility for loss of earnings due to time spent mucking about with the name tool thingy. What you do in your own/work time is your lookout.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Not too keen on Wednesdays either............

I've assumed role of full time nurse as PP is still in a lot of pain and unable to move around without help. So aside from normal caring duties I'm also administering drugs, topping up fluids, overseeing recommended intake of daytime TV, making sure small dog is comfortably settled by the patient, serving soup, plumping pillows and generally doing useful stuff.

The transformation from normal, healthy person to complete physical wreck has been sudden and shocking. I've always been of the belief that you went into hospital sick and came out well, but in this case has been the complete opposite. It's all very confusing.

Given that PP will be 'off work' for the foreseeable future, I tentatively checked out sickness benefits for the self employed this morning.

Ha! *that's sardonic laughter, verging on the bitter*

I think that embedded in the reams of FAQs, downloadable information on how to claim etc, is a subtle subtext to the effect:

"Don't even think it about it"

It seems that the self employed are treated as second class citizens when it comes to being unable to work through illness and needing to claim.

No matter that we already pay through the nose in NI contributions.
No matter that we do all our own tax assessment forms etc
No matter that we do not represent a burden on the benefits system ordinarily

The employed don't know they're born. Tax automatically deducted at source. Sickness benefit paid automatically. The only thing we self employed 'automatically' get is a bucketload of problems. Not to mention all the related stress and worry.


Monday, 26 January 2009

I don't like Mondays.............

Day 5 of PP's hospital internment
More tests today to see if they can identify the cause of yet another complication...........
Aside from fielding concerned phone calls and emails I haven't been able to muster the energy or enthusiasm to tackle any of the multitude of work-related tasks which are slowly piling up.

At least I got round to emptying the kiln this morning, although now I'm faced with boxes of bodies and limbs to sort out. However the relatively mindless task of pairing up arms and legs may be the extent of my creative endeavour today.

It's going to be another l-o-n-g day..........

Sunday, 25 January 2009


Welcome to two new followers, Kat who I've known 'virtually' for many years and who makes the most fantastic miniature hats, and Kewpie from way down under in New Zealand.

Posts might be a bit thin on the ground for the forseeable future, as PP is still in hospital so I'm spending half my waking hours visiting. No prospect of her being discharged today so we're keeping our fingers crossed for tomorrow. There have been complications following the angiogram on Thursday and some difficultly in pinpointing the cause of some of the problems, so it's another round of tests and more time in hospital.

So, I've been rather preoccupied to say the least. Hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.............

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Best laid plans...............

Unfortunately, our camping trip had to be cancelled as PP has been in hospital.

Hopefully she'll be allowed home later today. I really hope so as small dog has been beside herself, endlessly searching the house for any sign of PP. This has also meant that she is way down on her nap quota, as are we all.

It's been a very worrying and exhausting few days and I'm keeping everything crossed that we can begin to return to a tentative normality after a few days rest and recuperation.

Off to the hospital now to see what's happening..........

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Burns Night shenganigans............

Despite warnings of storms and gale force winds towards the end of the week, we're off camping on Thursday.

Flying in the face of reason, we're meeting up with camping friends for three days of celebrations and debauchery based around my national bard's day. Two of us are Scottish, and the other four are sympathisers, so it should be fun, if a tad blowy. Kilts are probably inadvisable.

PP and I are responsible for the Burns Supper, and I aim to locate a fresh haggis tomorrow.
Of course, if I were in Scotland, I would be out on the moors in the hours before dawn, in the hope of catching a wild one, but instead I am forced to rely on Tesco for a farmed version. Not my first choice, but farmed haggis are less tough and stringy, and they come ready skinned, removing the need for a blowtorch, which in a small campervan might be risky.

Also on the menu will be something creative with Scottish Smoked Salmon, and my favourite Scottish pudding..... Cranachan.

As I write, I am printing out copies of my special Burns Night quiz, which will sort out the Scots from the Sassenachs. Appropriate prizes, will, of course, be up for grabs.

Apparently, one of our party will be taking special 'haggis catching knickers'. I won't mention any names.........yet.
Personally, I will be taking thermal pyjamas, fluffy bed socks and an extra duvet. The jury is still out on whether a 'bed hat' is advisable.

Small dog's packing is also underway........she has to take her blanky, jumper, coat and fleecy pyjamas, plus all the usual paraphernalia, plus the new squeaky toy she got for Christmas, which I'm really hoping she'll puncture quite soon so that it no longer squeaks.

Wish the weather forecast was a little less tumultuous though....................

Monday, 19 January 2009

Now is the winter of our discontent..............

So, today has officially been designated Blue Monday.

The worst day of the year.......apparently.

The ghost of Christmas just past is materialising in the form of credit card bills landing on doormats. The weather is pants, and all those New Year resolutions, optimistically made in the bright new dawn of the year, are falling by the wayside, left, right and centre.

I have nary a resolution which I haven't already broken. Not so much 'New Year, New Me', as 'Same Old, Same Old'.

The latest of my resolutions to have bitten the dust is the one which read:

I shall ensure that at the end of each working day, my area of the work desk is tidy and neat.



Not much good stuff in my news feeds this morning. The usual sprinkling of doom and gloom about the economy, our prospects, the weather etc.

Plus this

What worries me is that nowhere in that news article does anyone question how a poisonous spider came to be lurking with menace in a bedroom in Cumbria.

I'll definitely be checking behind the bedroom door later, just in case. Oh, and for fellow arachnophobes, this is what the little bugger looks like.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Windy city..................

Was just dropping off to sleep last night when I was jolted back to wakefulness by an almighty crash from the garden. Donned slippers and dressing gown and joined PP outside on the patio in the driving wind and rain to see what had happened.

I imagined that the glass windows in the shed had blown out but instead we discovered that the top section of the cast iron chimenea had blown off and clattered down onto the shingle. We spent a few windblown minutes trying to lash down dustbin lids and assorted plant pots then beat a hasty retreat indoors and upstairs, to where small dog was keeping a watching brief from the bottom of the bed.

Today, despite the high winds, it looked lovely and sunny outside so we set off down to the seafront to blow away the cobwebs with our usual walk from West St Leonards towards the pier.

Walking west to east the wind was on our backs, and small dog trotted out in front, stopping occasionally to pick up her 'wee-mails' or regard the waves breaking onto the groynes and shingle.

Walking back east to west was a whole different kettle of fish and even small dog with her aerodynamic shape was struggling to make headway against the wind. Talking was impossible, and even breathing was difficult, so it was with relief that we finally made it back to the car. Sheltered from the elements we sat and watched the seagulls playing 'chicken' with the waves, and marvelled at the tenacity of a dog whose owner was (rather foolhardily we thought) throwing stones into the surf for the dog to chase. One huge wave caught it unawares and completely submerged it just a few feet from the beach........thankfully it escaped the undertow and staggered shakily up onto the shingle where it exacted its revenge by shaking itself all over its owner.

Serves him right.

Small dog, who was watching avidly from her vantage point on my lap, couldn't suppress a shudder of distaste. She is not a water-lover and had walked on the shingle under duress, escaping up onto the promenade at the first available opportunity.

So I don't think she'll be doing this any time soon.............

Saturday, 17 January 2009

5 weeks.............

With just five weeks to go till the Thame fair, and after such an inauspicious start to the New Year, I am belatedly trying to move up a gear and get on with all the many and various projects which I'd hoped to have ready in time for the fair.

High up my list of 'things to do' was redesign the chassis for my new Victorian perambulator and the exotic pullalong toys I'm currently working on. The new materials for that arrived in the post this morning and are just absolutely perfect so I'm quite excited.

As well as being more pleasing to the eye, the new chassis will be quicker to make and is an all-round better design solution. The downside is that the new materials are more expensive, so that will mean a modest price rise but then, 'quality costs'.

When checking my 'followers' today I noticed that another has snuck into the fold while I was otherwise occupied.

So welcome to Grace Griffin, another highly talented miniature artisan from the US whose blog TreeFeathers was one of the first I discovered in the blogosphere. Grace makes a wonderfully eclectic range of books and miniature accessories, and her blog is always entertaining and informative.

Off now to batten down the hatches as we're promised gale force winds tonight. In an ironic twist of fate we just might wake up in Kansas in the morning...........

Thursday, 15 January 2009

End of days..........

Yesterday was most definitely not a good day.

Aside from my run-in with the taxman in the morning, the day continued downhill and reached a low point early in the evening when I had to call 999 to request an ambulance for PP, who was near to collapse with what we feared was a heart attack.

People say that in emergency situations, time seems to slow down, but I experienced the exact opposite, and everything sped by in a blur..... from the point at which I decided that I couldn't get her to hospital and that the most sensible path of action would be to call for help, until we arrived at Accident & Emergency, a period of at most 45 minutes, including time spent in the ambulance connecting her up to heart monitor, blood pressure/pulse, oxygen etc.

Thankfully, arriving at hospital by ambulance, does confer certain queue-jumping advantages, neatly bypassing triage, and we were fast-tracked to a cubicle where we spent the next 5 hours, while doctors, nurses and technicians efficiently connected PP to various monitoring equipment, inserted an IV line, administered much needed pain relief, syphoned off what looked like rather a lot of blood, poked, prodded, X-rayed, investigated family history and generally bustled about in a reassuringly calm and measured manner.

Eventually, when they, and we, were satisfied that everything was under control, we were released into the night, to return home by taxi in the early hours of the morning, shaken but relieved.

Small dog, who had been confined to barracks while the paramedics were wheeling PP out to the ambulance, was beside herself with joy when we finally reappeared, and has hardly left PP's side since.

The day today has been fairly low key, fielding phone calls from concerned relatives, and a visit from our neighbour to check all is OK. Having an ambulance parked outside your house does tend to cause a fair amount of interest.

Thankfully PP has had no bad after-effects today, aside from feeling worn out from lack of sleep. Small dog however has valiantly kept up her nap-quota, mostly on PP's lap, so she doesn't do another scary disappearing act.

So now we wait for an appointment with the cardiologist for further tests and hope that there are no more nocturnal alarms and excursions...........

Sobering to think we're only 2 weeks into 2009 and things are going tits up already.
Things can only get better...........?

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Simmering rage and resentment.....

Some mornings it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.

I feel that the following post should come with a disclaimer, so if you are not in the mood for a full-on RANT then move along, there is nothing to see............

And the cause of my rant?

Inland Revenue. Or rather my phone call to their so called 'helpdesk' and the subsequent meltdown it's caused.

I've been watching all those 'tax needn't be taxing' ads which have been running recently on TV in advance of the deadline for self assessment tax returns, safe in the knowledge that my tax return was all done and dusted ages ago.

I use the HM Revenue & Customs online service, since, as they point out on their website "there are many benefits to using HMRC's online services"
The most salient of the many helpfully bullet-pointed 'benefits' include the following
  • You know immediately if information has been received or not.
  • It is more reliable and efficient than using paper, and can cut down on storage space, post and administration.
  • As information usually passes between computers without manual intervention, there is less chance of it being misinterpreted, or of mistakes being made.
  • You do not need to rely on paper communication coming or going through the post which builds in delay.

That's all very fine and dandy. Except don't believe a word of it! THEY LIE!!!!!!

Apparently, even if you submit your self assessment tax return online (which I dutifully did on 30 May 2008) AND add the newly available online element of the partnership self assessment form (which I also did on 30 May 2008) you still have to send a paper form with exactly the same information for the partnership.
I'm now in line for a £300 fine for not knowing this, despite the fact they admitted they do have the relevant partnership information from my online submission. When I politely enquired why, if they already have the information, I have to submit it again on paper, the answer was, 'You just do that's all'.
What really galls me is I had a reminder through the post last September, rang them up and had it confirmed that they had received the return(s). I did ask specifically if there was anything else I had to do, and was told no.

"WHAT IS THE BLOODY POINT OF DOING IT ONLINE IF I ONLY HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN ON PAPER" is what I wanted to scream down the phone but I kept my temper, despite being talked to as if I was a retarded child, and only burst into tears when I got off the phone. How come you always think of the witty riposte when it's too late?
Anyhoo, after trying (and failing abysmally) to get my concerns across, I finally asked if I could give them a bit of customer feedback, to the effect that why don't they put a big red box, (if it flashes and goes AWOOGA AWOOGA at the same time, so much the better) which absolutely nobody could miss, slap-bang in the middle of the online form, saying that even if you complete the partnership section, you must still send in a sodding 7 page form with exactly the same sodding information.

The 'helpful adviser' said she would pass on my feedback but I could definitely hear the sound of paper being screwed up and thrown into an overflowing 'customer suggestions' dustbin.

Sorry folks...........had to get it off my chest.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Zombie computer..............

Much of yesterday was taken up with cryogenically storing our business computer, which has now been rushed into intensive care somewhere 'oop north' for extensive tests to identify the source of a life-threatening motherboard problem.

This has necessitated us having to disinter and reanimate our old pc. which is now doing a fair impression of a zombie computer in terms of speed (or lack of) and the 'Rraaarrrggghhh' sounds which we make while it trundles along.

It wouldn't surprise me if we took the case off and discovered it is operated by a squad of highly intelligent voles armed with an abacus and set of Scrabble letters.

As regular readers of this blog will no doubt be aware, my dedication to research is second to none *ahem* so to assuage my sense of unease about using an undead pc, I spent some time checking my theory and came up with this..... zombie computers

Be very afraid.

I haz followers...........

Having added a new widget last week to garner blog followers, I am both amazed and delighted to have gained a grand total of six!

Most recent is Vicky Guile, whose miniature food is just fantastic! Before Vicky came Erika from Sweden who has a passion for roomboxes. Then San from Singapore, whose current project is a wonderful Indian palace!
Debbie from Tiny Treasures is also a follower.........her blog is an absolute delight and Happy Birthday Debbie!
Rosanna from Italy's blog is a mixture of miniatures and inspirational photography.

Last but not least, my very first followers are an enigmatic couple who go under the pseudonym of PP-SD. I have no information other than they follow my blog, are both female, and live in the UK.

Saturday, 10 January 2009


Today has been utterly dreich (pronounced: dreech, with the 'ch' soft as in loch)

Dreich is a wonderfully descriptive word of old Scots origin meaning a combination of dull, overcast, drizzly, cold, misty and miserable weather.

The sun hasn't shown itself all day, and at just 4.30pm it's now almost dark.

Small dog has been shivering till her teeth chatter, and despite her warm, fleecy jumper, has retired to the warmth of her duvet, snuggled right up close against the radiator. I think she's a bit put out that we didn't take the hint when she's been sitting on the hearth gazing mournfully into the unlit gas fire. However small dog doesn't pay the bills, and now that Russia is cutting Europe's gas supplies off perhaps it's time she toughened up a bit.

It's hard to be creatively inspired on day's like this, when the urge is to curl up on the sofa, swaddled in a fleecy blanket, accompanied by a small, furry hot water bottle, watching old films on TV.
However I have given it my best shot.........the creative inspiration bit, by attempting to work out the best way to make a chassis for my little prototype pram. Ideally I'd like it to have three wheels. The back two are easy, but the front one, which I want to be steerable, is more problematical. I know how it should be done, but finding just the right bits and pieces to make it feasible is something else.

But the natural light has completely gone now, and in the absence of any of inventive, eureka moments, I'm tempted to call it a day and surreptitiously sneak into the sitting room, very quietly turn on the gas fire, retire to the warm, cosy nest of a fleece blanket and count how many seconds it takes small dog to realise that nirvana awaits.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Fair exchange...........

After banishing the displacement goblins this morning I managed to catch up with a backlog of orders and do a post run. Out of the five going out today, only one was to a customer in the UK. The others were heading for the US, Finland, France and Spain.

The dire state of the £GBP in the money markets now means that we are seeing a complete reversal of the situation in the middle of last year, when the pound was riding high against the US$, reaching the dizzy heights of 2 dollars to the pound at one point. At that time, US orders were relatively thin on the ground. However as the pound nudges ever downwards against the dollar, and almost reaches parity with the euro, we are seeing more and more overseas customers taking advantage of the great exchange rates firmly in their favour.

This has happened before of course, as money markets have fluctuated over the years, but the visible effects haven't been so immediate or so marked.

In other news, I have been working on a prototype miniature Victorian perambulator suitable for a little 1/12th scale girl's dolls and toys. I'll post a photo when it is finally finished.

Displacement activity #1

As part of my 'New Year, New Me' campaign (ref. also see Wii Fit posts) I have forsworn Walker's crisps, which in my feverish, crisp-deprived imaginings have achieved a status far beyond their worth.

Anyhoo, while perusing my news feeds this morning, I came across this little gem which got my salivary glands working overtime.

Cajun squirrel flavour crisps? I'd pay good money to try those any day.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Homecoming Scotland.............

Having failed to make it back to the land of my birth in this, my 50th year, I am determined to make the pilgrimage during 2009.

I am emboldened by the fact that this year is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, which has spawned Homecoming Scotland, an initiative to encourage ex-pat Scots, or those of Scottish descent, to visit.

We're currently in the planning stages, alternately poring over maps, CalMac ferry timetables, campsite guides and travel books, planning a meandering route which will hopefully take in Argyll, the Southern Hebrides, and a chunk of the Highlands.

Small dog is extremely enthusiastic, especially as on the way back down south, we will be visiting her county of choice.........Yorkshire. I have pointed out to her that the original Yorkshire Terrier was known as the "Broken-Haired Scotch Terrier" whose intended purpose was the catching of rats and other vermin that lived in small spaces, so it wouldn't be stretching the point to suggest that she too is returning to the homeland of her ancestors.

In any event, in order to enter fully into the spirit of the trip, she is being allowed a brand new collar, which naturally, has to be tartan. The jury is out on which tartan would be most appropriate, but I'm leaning towards either Douglas (geddit?) or Barclay Hunting Tartan.

Apparently there is a real tartan called 'Spirit of Yorkshire' so maybe that would kill two birds with one stone. It claims to "celebrate the beauty of Yorkshire and recognise the hard work, determination and enterprise of its people." No mention of the dog but the implication is clearly there.

Not only are there an infinite number of invented tartans, it is possible to have just about anything made from them............


Alternative amusing and/or appropriate suggestions for suitable doggy tartans gratefully received.....on a virtual postcard please.

Exciting day.............

Aside from the excitement of zombie dogs, squirrels and the like, the postman delivered another frisson of excitment in the form of some new molds, which have just arrived from the US.

I just love getting new molds. These in particular, are exceptionally fine, and will make some wonderful new tiny toy dolls. The bodies are incredibly detailed so it will be almost a shame to dress them. Photos will be posted as soon as I have the first few ready. I had hoped to add the cherry to my cake by having time to do a first casting today, but instead, packaging orders took up most of my day and the light is too bad now to make a start so that's on my 'to do' list for tomorrow.

In other news, the revised date for the Kensington Christmas Festival 2009 was released today, and revealed as 21st November. Ever keen to get a head start on preparation I have installed a shiny new countdown timer on my desktop, which perkily informs me that there are just 316 days to go, so no worries there then.

What IS worrying is that the other countdown timer on my desktop (a girl can never have too many countdown timers) is showing a mere 44 days till the Thame Dollshouse & Miniatures Fair .

I still have reams of lists with ideas for new toys and games, some of which will reach fruition in time *fingers crossed*

All I need is more energy, more daylight, more hours in the day and less predisposition to dally with the displacement goblins. But we all know that isn't going to happen.

Especially not the latter.

Zombie update.........

As I got up especially early this morning, I had some free time before starting work to indulge in some further zombie research.

As small dog was riding shotgun, and showed a keen interest in the 'Rrrraaarrrgghhh" noises coming from my laptop, we jointly decided to see if zombie dogs featured.

In particular, of the Yorkie variety.

Unpleasant and unsettling on so many levels.

However small dog is of the opinion that she could show any undead canine a clean pair of heels.

Speaking of which, she's cooling hers, waiting for me to get back to work so she can Google zombie squirrels.

Bring back hanging...........

I get daily news feeds related to subjects of interest and was distressed to read this this morning

What is the world coming to?

Actually, on second thoughts, hanging is too good for them..........

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Dead Set...........

I was aimlessly channel-hopping this evening when I came across a current drama offering from Channel 4, Dead Set.

As an aficionado of horror films, albeit the rather more kitsch examples of the genre, from the Hammer Horror era, and having previously seen a trailer, I lingered for a few minutes to see just how 'realistic' the zombies are.

Now, I don't claim to be an expert on zombies.

If I was ever to appear on Mastermind, Zombie Lore would not be my specialist subject.

However, the thing I do know about zombies, their modus operandi if you will, is that they lumber along, dead slowly (sorry, couldn't resist) with their arms outstretched, going "Rrrraaarrrrrrghhh".

However, in the clip I watched, a chap was running along a road with a zombie in hot pursuit.


At full pelt.

He'd certainly have gained a place on the starting blocks in the 100 metres of the Zombie Olympics no problem.

The only concession to reality in the 5 minute segment I watched, was that a bullet straight through the head still does for them. However that is scant comfort.

You see this exactly highlights the topsy-turvy world in which we live. Gone are the old certainties, such that if push came to shove, you could always outrun a zombie in a life-or-death situation.

Now I am painfully aware that sweeping generalisations should be avoided. So in the spirit of investigative journalism I have done some research on the subject and can quote the following salient fact:

Muscular/Skeletal System and Connective Tissue
Changes here are of good news-bad news variety. Yes, zombies are stiff-limbed and slow, yes they move along at a shuffle rather than a sprint. But they are also very powerful, with a vice-like grip and jaws that can bite through metal.

So there you have it.

Proof, if it were ever needed, that most reasonably able-bodied humans could easily outmanoeuvre a zombie.

Incidentally, that quote was taken from the seminal, authoritative and highly respected website run by The Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency (1868-1975)headed by Dr. Hugo Pecos, Director Emeritus.

Quite why werewolves are excluded from the title is a mystery, as I was of the belief that vampires and werewolves worked hand in glove so to speak. However further investigation on the site revealed that "while FVZA was primarily devoted to containment of vampires and zombies, the agency did on occasion conduct werewolf investigations. In fact, werewolf incidents became such a concern that the FVZA Academy curriculum was expanded in 1937 to include werewolf training.

Don't you just LOVE the Internet?


Despite a certain amount of displacement activity today *ahem* I have also been working on an idea for a rather exotic new pullalong toy....a ceremonial elephant complete with howdah.

I am pleased to say that today I made the howdah.

Actually wove the wicker and everything. It even has a sumptuous little silk cushion fitted to the seat. No expense spared.

It was one of those rare episodes in the working miniaturist's life in which everything goes just right first time. In fact I enjoyed myself so much I began to feel guilty about having fun.

However, I now have to work out the best way to mount the howdah on the back of the elephant for best effect. I have a sinking feeling that the next stage might not go quite so smoothly.

And for those who are not versed in the sartorial accoutrements of the ceremonial elephant............

I have a new widget..........

In my perambulations through the blogosphere this afternoon, I came across a pretty nifty new widget which I just couldn't resist.

It's just there on the left.

See it?

My "followers"

This doesn't mean 'follower' in a scary, stalkey-styley, but rather an endorsement by people who have stumbled across the blog, dallied for a while to peruse it, liked it, and wish to keep tabs on it, revisiting it from time to time in pursuit of the nirvana of blogdom, ie displacement activity.

It's easy to add yourself as a 'follower' so if the fancy takes you, I'd be pleased to make your virtual acquaintance.

Blog Award.............!

I have been given my first ever blog award by the extremely talented artisan, Grace Griffin of TreeFeathers

Many thanks Grace, it's good to know that my ramblings have the potential to "entertain, inform and inspire"

In the spirit of the award, I now have to pass it on to other blogs which I particularly enjoy. Time for some displacement activity I think.............

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


Perfectionist Partner has come down with a lurgy, which has rendered her 'hors de combat' for the past few days.

Small dog has been her constant bedside companion, hoovering up any delicacies which failed to tempt PP's struggling appetite.

My multitasking skills have been tested to the limit, juggling shopping, cooking, cleaning, nursing duties and hula-hooping.

Ok so the hula-hooping is not, strictly speaking, a necessity, but along with my previously declared special skill at bareback cow-riding, I have discovered that I am an absolute diva at Wii hula-hooping.

It's gratifying to know that the many, many hours I spent as a child, honing my skill at twirling a big plastic hoop round my hips has reaped significant rewards in later life. I currently hold the record chez nous for simultaneously hula-hooping and catching in mid-air a further 4 randomly thrown hoops, then keeping all 5 hoops going at the same time for 2 minutes.
The fact that I have to lie down in a darkened room for up to an hour afterwards, hooked up to mains oxygen is a small price to pay for the chance to revisit a youthful skill.

Sadly, due to a technical hitch *ahem* I cannot supply video evidence of my prowess. Fortunately however, the internet is awash with examples of dignity-stripping Wii expertise so here for your delectation and delight is a rough idea of what it looks like from a spectator's point of view.

DISCLAIMER - readers of a delicate disposition are warned that the following video clip contains scenes of a disturbing nature.

Having just viewed the clip again I feel it necessary to illustrate just exactly what he was trying to do, with reference to the actual screen shot....................

So, there you have it. Great (if exhausting) fun to actually do, but hilarious as a spectator sport.

Perhaps I need to get out more.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Strategic planning............

Ok, so today has been a good start to the New Year.

Not only have I successfully managed to find the floor in the workroom, I have also been engaged in some important strategic forward business planning and the making of reams of lists.

I have even made some inroads into the backlog of orders which have accumulated while we've been merrymaking.

So it's all good.

Even small dog put in an appearance at an impromptu business brunch, although I suspect that her attendance owed more to the presence of bacon sandwiches, than to her positive work ethic.

Perhaps I misjudge her, but I doubt it. Straight after tea and Kit-Kats had been scoffed, and the last of the business lists shuffled together, she immediately retired to her new found hot spot up against the radiator in the hall, courtesy of us having brought in the duvet style sleeping bags from our campervan for a wash.

It took just half an hour from them being deposited on the floor to await laundry for her to discover and adopt them as her latest favourite nap-pad. They're folded several times and are quite bulky so she has to jump up on top, which fortuitously brings her level with the radiator. Perched up there on layers of fluffy duvet she looks very like the easily bruised princess from "The Princess and the Pea" fairy tale .

She has a hard life.

Hi ho, hi ho..............'s back to work we go.

Actually Monday 5 January is our official 'back to work' day, but in order for that to happen, there has to be a massive clear up in the workroom, which has functioned as Christmas spillover storage area for the past two weeks.

It is now virtually inaccessible. I'm sure there's a floor in there somewhere, it's just finding it which is going to be the problem.

However the sun is shining and the year is yet young, so nil desperandum and all that.

Small dog has wisely taken herself off for a nap so I won't expect any help from her direction unless I come across items which either rustle or sqeak, in which case she will miraculously appear like a small, hairy genie.

I'm going to tackle it in 30 minute bursts interspersed with 10 minute breaks so I don't get too disillusioned and despondent.

Sounds like a plan...............

Friday, 2 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Here's wishing all my blog readers a happy, healthy and prosperous 2009!