Saturday, 30 October 2010

What on earth is THAT....?!

I've bought a wig off Ebay for our Halloween party tonight. 

Don't know what I was thinking...... it was a triumph of hope over expectation.

In the listing photo it looked fantastic.  Described as Morticia Black Widow Witch Sorceress Wig Halloween the photo showed a fantastic creation with glossy black and red tendrils reminiscent of Medusa.

I was convinced it would instantly transform me into a sultry ravishing creature...


The Ebay listing WOULD have been bang on, had it described the wig as "Flat Matted Rat's Nest Dragged Through A Hedge Backwards".

I spent an hour last night trying to get it to even vaguely resemble the photo on the pack, with the aid of half a can of hairspray.  If it wasn't flammable before (which it was) it will go up like a rocket if I even get within a foot of a candle flame tonight.

I've even had a go it with a pair of nail scissors, which, if I'm honest, hasn't improved it any.


Anyway, here's what it should look like.  

Needless to say the wig looks nothing like that, and I look nothing like the model.  Even if I was photoshopped to within an inch of my life I wouldn't look anything like her.  If I'm lucky I might just carry off a moderately successful resemblance to Danny La Rue.

Don't even get me started on the false eyelashes.  I had a trial run with them earlier and Small Dog nearly had a conniption fit when she saw me.

I don't expect to survive the evening with even a modicum of dignity intact, but hopefully at least everyone else will look equally hilarious.

Photos may (or may not) be forthcoming in the fullness of time.....

Friday, 29 October 2010

First in the queue..........

Not quite sure what Small Dog is hoping to sing......
How Much Is That Doggy In The Window....... You Ain't Nothing But A Hound Dog........ Old Shep........
Nonetheless she is resolutely first in the queue for the karaoke black hole tomorrow.
God help us all.......

You're fired...........

I've totally had it with new technology which promises the earth and delivers bugger all.

When we had our new kitchen fitted a few years back (conscientious followers will remember the sturm and drang) we bought an 'all singing, all dancing' new oven.

Amongst its myriad features was the fact that it claimed to be self-cleaning.

Pshaw,pish, tush etc.........

It SO ISN'T self cleaning.

Even Small Dog, who has no pretensions to be self cleaning keeps herself cleaner.

Seeing as how we have a multitude of friends descending tomorrow for our Halloween Party, and as our kitchen is right in the middle of the house, rather than off on a spur where we can hide away while we get all the food ready, there will inevitably be people IN the kitchen while we are cooking and serving.

This is not a problem, in and of itself, except I happened to take a close look at the inside the oven today, to see if it would bear close inspection, secure in the knowledge that a self-cleaning oven should be pristine and gleaming.


An hour later, after scrubbing and scouring our 'self cleaning' oven, I'd had enough.  

So I've sacked it.  Sir Alan Sugar had nothing on me as I gave it its marching orders.

Self cleaning oven my  a*s**........ *mutter, expletive deleted, mutter*

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Oh, what a tangled web...........

Have spent the last nth hours trying to decorate the house for our Halloween party.

We bought synthetic spider webs, complete with spiders... 


I haven't dusted for aeons so we had no end of REAL spider's webs.  So hoovering up all of those, only to replace them with fake webs seemed a bit redundant.

Anyway, we now have loads of webs, complete with spiders, which, if you remember my encounter with a HUGE bitey spider while we were camping in the summer, are giving me the heebie-jeebies.

Small Dog thinks we have taken complete leave of our senses and she might not be too far wrong.  


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Come on......own up!

Some fool has decided to throw a big party the weekend before a fair which means that the whole house has to be cleaned and tidied from top to bottom and two whole days will have to be given over to preparations..... decorating, cooking, making our costumes etc

Not only that, the same fool decided that NOW would be the perfect time to sell off 15 years worth of costume pattern packs.

Obviously only a complete and utter fool would deliberately conspire to cause the maximum amount of stress and anxiety at an already stressful time and if I ever find out whose idea it all was.........


Wait a minute.

That would be me.......

If you are one of the many who have contacted me in the past 24 hours to request information on, or order any of, the aforementioned pattern packs and I STILL haven't got back to you, please bear with me while I try to hang on to the last vestiges of my sanity.
I WILL be in contact soon.

In other news, Small Dog has announced that she wants to attend the Halloween party as The Hound of the Baskervilles.

I despair..........

Monday, 25 October 2010

End of an era - Part 2........

Over the 20 years I taught miniature dollmaking and costuming, I designed literally hundreds of costume patterns, designed specifically for one day workshops, classes and courses.

Many are long gone, but I still have a several lever arch files, each containing one or two copies of instructions, patterns and materials checklists for every single character I have featured as on one day workshops over the past 12 years. 

Those of you who have attended any of our classes will know that the instructions are very comprehensive and include a detailed checklist of the materials required, step by step instructions, photos, diagrams and patterns.

As I am no longer producing 1/12th scale porcelain dolls, and won't be teaching any more classes in miniature doll costuming, I have decided it's time to release them into the wild.


I am compiling a list of pattern set packs, selected from my collection, which will be available to purchase.

These will include:

  • Historical characters - Henry VIII, Ann Boleyn, Elizabeth I
  • Fantasy/fictional characters including My Fair Lady, Tudor Headless Ghost, Vintage Father Christmas, Swashbuckling Pirate
  • Pantomime characters - Cinderella, Prince Charming, Ugly Sisters
  • Tradespeople - Chimney Sweep and Sweep's Boy, Georgian and Victorian Peddler Ladies, Flower Seller
  • Domestic Servants including Tweeny, Cook, Housemaid, Parlourmaid, Governess
  • Elaborately dressed ladies from a variety of periods from Mediaeval through to Post War
  • Miscellaneous characters - Court Jester, Fortune Teller, Mystical Wizard, Suffragette
And many, many more.

I won't be listing them in the online shop as there are only a few of each set, so if you want a  full list, please contact me and I'll email it to you.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

End of an era................

Today I finished my last batch of 1/12 casting..... ever.

Of course it still all needs to be soft-fired, soft cleaned, bisque fired, china painted, fired, china painted, fired etc, but I won't ever again be doing a batch of 1/12th porcelain.

It's almost exactly 21 years since I bought my first kiln, a few moulds and took my first faltering steps on a vertiginous learning curve of trial and error.  Even now, after over 20 years, I still experience a frisson of nervous excitement when opening the kiln after a bisque firing, especially there are any castings from new moulds.

Of course, it will now take me much, much longer to complete a kiln-load of casting, as the tiny stuff I'll be doing takes up much less space than 1/12th so I'll have to factor that into my casting schedules.  However on the plus side, one full kiln load will yield many, many tiny toy dolls and toys so I won't have to fire so often.

Alternatively I could sell my kiln and get a much smaller one.

In any event, the remainder of my 1/12th moulds are now surplus to requirements and will shortly be offered for sale to interested parties, who should make themselves known to me through the usual channels.

I could get used to this 'downsizing' malarkey............


Saturday, 23 October 2010

Party animals.........


What do we do when we're up to our ears in work, with two major fairs looming on the very  near horizon, project deadlines left, right and centre, our busiest time of the year starting in 5 - 4- 3 - 2 - 1.......

Why of course.....

I know.  

Let's have a  REALLY BIG Halloween Party for all our friends.



Casting - part 2.........


Have just finished a 3 hour casting session.

There is good news and bad news.

The good news is that I will definitely have sufficient porcelain slip to complete enough arms and legs for all the remaining doll kits.

The bad news is that when the current tub of slip is finished I won't be able to get more of the coloured flesh slip tint I've used for the past 6 years as it has been discontinued.

It was touch and go whether I would have enough of it to make enough limb sets to match up with the diminishing number of doll heads/torsos already made.  However, although I'll literally be scraping the bottom of the barrel, there will definitely be enough.

Thank goodness.

Thereafter I will no longer be producing ANY 1/12th doll kits, which will be liberating and scary in equal measure.  I've been making them for over 20 years and they've been the backbone of the business, however I'm dead set on completely moving onto pastures new and it will be less stressful than trying to keep a foot in both camps, which has been the case during the changeover period.

Effectively permanently moving down a scale, dollwise is also going to be liberating and scary.  The upside is that ALL my moulds will fit in a medium sized box, rather than taking up 12 feet of storage cupboards, which was the case before I sold off most of my moulds last year.

So just one final 1/12th casting session tomorrow, which will signal the end of an era.......

In other news, regular readers will have noticed that I quite like graphs and charts.  This has come as something of a revelation to me, as at school they used to give me a fit of the vapours.

Especially fiendishly complicated Venn diagrams.

Well in the spirit of true multitasking, which is my modus operandi today, I've been revisiting some neglected projects with view to having them completed in time for our next fair, which is a mere 13 days away.

Here is a graphical representation of how I'm doing........

 And here is my mood in a picture.....



It's a horrible, grey, wet, cold Saturday morning and I've been up since stupid o'clock because I have to do a batch of casting.

So I'm going to be standing for hours handling horrible, grey, wet, cold porcelain slip and becoming increasingly despondent.

On the plus side..........

Well to be honest I'm struggling with finding any plusses but perhaps by late afternoon, having completed a load of casting, and with the prospect of a lovely home-made beef casserole, which will have filled the house with its delicious slow-cooked aromas, I might be feeling a bit more positive.

We'll see......

Friday, 22 October 2010

A 'must read' blog........

I was alerted to the existence of this blog  by Gorgeous Daughter, who has obviously inherited her mother's strange sense of humour.

You will either love it or hate it.

If you hate it, move along, there's nothing to see.

If you love it, read the 'best of' links on the right.

Or you could simply read back through pages and pages of posts......perfect displacement activity facilitated by a very talented blogger.


And if you don't think THIS is funny, I despair.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Oh. My. Dog.

Small Dog was scheduled to have her rabies vaccination this afternoon.  She has a deep pathological fear of going to the vet and sits trembling in the waiting room, looking for all the world as if she was about to be hung, drawn and quartered, rather than simply having a routine injection.

She has a brief goodwill period when she is first put on the examination table which might, if she is in a particularly good mood, last as long as 90 seconds.

With this in mind, I prefer the vaccination to be done quickly before she realises what is happening and has time to muster her resources.  Today however, the vet decided (rashly I thought) to give her the once over and check her ears, claws etc. He probably also wanted to check her teeth but in the end that proved unnecessary as we all unanimously agreed that they were probably fine.

It turned out that she needed to have her ears plucked.  Apparently dogs of her breed have very hairy ears and the ear canals can become blocked with wax and general detritus, leading to infections.  We have been assured that the process is completely painless, but Small Dog begs to differ.

Admittedly it does look a fairly brutal procedure.  A pair of locking forceps are inserted into the ear canal and locked around a clump of hair.  They are then given a sharp yank and removed to reveal a small clump of hair.  As soon as she hears the click of the forceps Small Dog undergoes a metamorphosis from cowering, trembling, tail-between-the-legs little scrap, to a twisting, snarling ball of teeth and claws.


After an initial abortive foray which left PP with minor flesh wounds, it was decided that a muzzle might be a Good Idea.

After only three attempts, we managed to muzzle her, but it was just a bit too big for her, so someone had to 'volunteer' to try to hold it in place while the ear plucking was completed.
PP had to hold Small Dog in a half nelson while the vet valiantly tried to remove the last of the offending ear hair.

That done, we all four stood panting, while the vet prepared her vaccination.  To be fair, she didn't put up too much of a fight for that, probably because she was completely exhausted after the ear plucking debacle. 

We eventually emerged from the consulting room, a sorry-looking trio.
PP was nursing a bandaged and bloody finger.
I was nursing an incipient nervous breakdown.
Small Dog looked as if she was being pursued by all the hounds of hell.

Apart from that, and the bill, we were fine. 

Small Dog is now convalescing in her basket, occasionally throwing us baleful looks from beneath her fringe.  I'd give it till dinner time before she deigns to forgive us.......

The devil is in the detail.........

Allow me to introduce my two new 'assistants'

Well perhaps 'assistant' is a bit strong as they haven't actually been any help at all yet. 

Here they are 'assisting' me with the book.........

Although as I pointedly pointed out, sitting on top of my laptop drumming their hooves against the screen can hardly be described as 'assisting'.  Not to mention their language, which can best be described as diabolical.

They are the work of Jane Laverick, whose blog can be relied upon to be interesting, informative and often downright hilarious.  These two had been in her online shop and I'd been visiting them on a regular basis, just to check they were still there.  However in the run up to Miniatura, I began to fear that they would be snapped up so I raided my piggy bank and 'adopted' them.

Not quite sure what I was thinking at the time.  A strange otherwordly compulsion came over me and I was powerless to resist.

They duly arrived, (complete with assorted devilish accoutrements, pitchforks and the like, which I have since confiscated on grounds of elfin safety) and grandiloquently introduced themselves as Hellspawn the Damned and his less imaginative brother Demonspawn the Demonic.

After I'd stopped laughing, mostly at their outrageous codpieces, we had a brief but frank exchange of views and they are now answering to Vern and Malcolm. 

I'm having to keep them away from my little toy dolls, who are of an emotionally delicate disposition, as well as the drinks cabinet and the heating thermostat but other than that they are settling in reasonably well. 

In other news, I'm skirting dangerously close to the borders of a condition known in psychiatric circles as being 'daft as a brush' .......

Monday, 18 October 2010

It's like a zoo in here.............

Is it that time already?  Almost a week since my last post....doesn't time fly.

I have, of course, been incredibly busy *cough*.  With less than 3 weeks to our next fair the workroom has been a hive of activity.

Today I will be surrounded by a menagerie of exotic animals, transforming them into elaborate vintage pullalong toys.  I've been working on a new saddle design which looks much better than the original, but takes twice as long to make and has many more chances of going wrong, in which case I have to start again.  I'm also trialling several new animals, which means I have to make minute adjustments to saddles, reins, headdresses etc to ensure that they fit perfectly.

All time consuming stuff.

I'm rapidly downgrading my expectations of how many I'll be able to complete in the next few days, which is my allocated time scale before I have to move onto something else.  However, although painstakingly exacting, they are enjoyable to make and I enjoy seeing each animal's personality emerge during the transformation.  

I also have two new 'helpers' who I will introduce later, if I can get them to cooperate.  I'm having the devil of a job keeping them under control........

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Thud, thud, thud, thud........

That continuous thudding noise is my head rhythmically hitting against my desk.

I find it strangely calming and it has the knock on effect of silencing all the mayhem that's going on inside it.
My head that is.

Those of you who have been following this blog from the very beginning (you know who you are and far be it from me to suggest that you should all get out more......) will know that I am a martyr to tangential ideas.

I will merrily set off on one course of action, and often, even after a very short time, I will change direction.  Sometimes not even on the same lateral plane. 

I put it down to having a creative brain.  

Not creative as in being able to draw a cow and have it look like a cow. Or knowing what things look good together.

My creativity is more of the 'let's see what happens if I do THIS!' sort. I like to have a problem and work out how to solve it by unusual means.

Of course this type of creativity often leads me down inescapable cul-de-sacs, but I've always been one for taking the scenic route rather than the boring old A to B.

Yesterday I was dipping my toe into the new software, trying to see what it could do.  However it's unfamiliar interface was off-putting so I resigned myself to making a start with the phone-book sized manual, which runs to a mere 1000 pages or so.  I can barely hold it up let along read it.

I dutifully started at the beginning to familiarise myself with the basic functions, menus etc, but after 30 minutes I began to lose all feeling in my lower legs (I was reading in bed, with the book propped up on my knees), not to mention the will to live.


The same people who have been reading this blog for some time, will also be aware that I am an avid proponent of serendipity (an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident).
Perhaps serendipity is somehow hard-wired into my type of creative brain. In any case my whole life is peppered with examples of it, and when push comes to shove, I can usually rely on serendipity to come to my aid.
So.  Last night in bed.  Huge, heavy tome resting on my legs, increasingly despairing at the thought of having to learn EVERYTHING from scratch and feeling more and more despondent with each turn of the page, I began to idly flick through the chapters, trying to balance out the weight as well as hoping to come across something I could actually understand. 

Now, Small Dog is not keen on anyone reading in bed.  When she was a very small puppy, she used to put both her paws on top of the book being read and stare meaningfully at the reader over the top of it.  Attempts to ignore her small furry head were inevitably doomed to failure, especially as they usually led to her dropping 'sock' over the top of the book.

She is only marginally better disposed to bedtime reading these days, and will attempt to lie on my chest so that I have to balance my book in any number of uncomfortable positions so as not to 'sturb her.

Needless to say, I had no desire to hold up the massive tome last night in order to allow her space on my lap, so we hit on a compromise whereby she lay by my side with her top half on my chest, while I balanced the book against my knees.  In so doing, it fell open at a random page and I morosely glanced over it.

Complete and absolute serendipity!

It wasn't a chapter I'd even have considered reading, as I didn't think I'd need to know about that particular function of the software.  However, after a few pages, an IDEA was forming in my head which kept me awake long after I lay down to sleep.

It's tangential and different and I don't know if I'll be able to do it, but if I can, and it works......
Well then the world will be my lobster and no mistake.

Monday, 11 October 2010

One step forward, ten steps back...........

Mixed day today.

Got loads of practical stuff done - kits for the DHM Reader Offer next month, some new kits for the forthcoming fairs, orders packaged and ready to go.

But my warm glow of success was mitigated by trying to get to grips with some new computer software and the realisation that my learning curve is likely to be vertical.

I've known for some time now that the program I'm using for The Book is far from ideal.  Every professional I've spoken to, from authors, publishers and printers has advised me against it for any number of reasons.  But I'm very familiar with it and therefore it's not at all scary.

Unlike the new program, which is the industry standard and therefore practically perfect in every way.  But I feel as if I've landed on the moon when I open it.

Nothing looks even remotely familiar.

Nothing works in the same way I'm used to.

The help files seem to assume a level of competence several hundred times greater than I actually have.

I'm sure I'll get to grips with it in time, but time is in short supply so I'm torn between struggling on with 'Old Faithful' and ending up with a compromise.  Or struggling on with the New Kid on the Block and driving myself demented.

Hastings Week.........

It's Hastings Week this week.  Celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings on 14th October.  It used to be just one day of activities to mark the occasion but has grown over the years into a week-long celebration of art, music, sport, events and exhibitions.

The weather was glorious all over the weekend so we spent a leisurely afternoon in the Old Town on Saturday having lunch with friends then strolling around the shops in George Street and the High Street, and along the seafront.  

Then yesterday we walked Small Dog all along the seafront, which was thronged with people, some of whom had come a long way to see the fire-ravaged pier.  We picked up a few pieces of charred wood on the promenade and sat at various vantage points to take in the now almost unrecognisable view.

PP is a Hastings girl born and bred, and in the 70's attended many of the concerts on the pier, of bands who are now world famous so it was interesting to tune into many conversations between visitors, relating their personal pier experiences.

Coincidentally, there was also a timely online Guardian article yesterday, extolling the virtues of Hastings, which is well worth a read.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The eye of the creative storm.........

There has been a veritable whirlwind of creative activity blowing through the workroom today.

Throughout this week, P(erfectionist) P(artner) has been designing some new wicker-style prams and cribs and she has surpassed herself by creating a tiny toy pram no bigger than a thimble. 

 It is completely authentic, from its wooden base and closely woven wickerwork, to its working wheels and turned wooden handle.  It even has a soft leather lining in the bottom!

It's available for sale on the website for the frankly risibly low price of £16 and I think PP might be secretly wishing it doesn't sell as she'll then have to make another!

She has also completed a new design of toy crib, which I think looks absolutely amazing.

The middle and right hand cribs are the new design.  I love the gently curved backs and the dainty turned wooden feet.  All the new prams and cribs are now uploaded to the website and can be seen HERE, along with our range of kits just in case you want to give it a go yourself.

You will be relieved to know that all our wicker kits come with pre-drilled wooden bases (the drill bit we use is less than half a millimetre thick!) and all the upright wires are cut to size.  We've sourced the finest waxed linen thread and worked out all the details of how to use it which we've condensed into step-by-step fully illustrated instructions.

And the creative wind has been ruffling my feathers too.  This morning I decided to do something completely different and have been working on an elaborate little Eastern prince, who is currently sitting resplendent in his made-to-measure wicker cart awaiting the rest of his finery, which I'll finish tomorrow. 

I'll also be creating a frankly ridiculously ostentatious ostrich, which will pull his cart.

Some days I just LOVE my job.......

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Seeing red............

I think I might be going colour blind.

You know when you spend all day looking at a particular colour it seems to burn itself into your retinas and subsequently all other colours seem a bit weird?

Well that's what I've got.

It's on account of getting a timely reminder about the Reader's Special Offer Kit I'm doing for The Doll's House Magazine and the realisation that I have less than a month to prepare.  

Naturally when I agreed to do it, way back at the beginning of August, the publication date of 4 November felt like aeons in the future.  But time has a way of creeping up on me.

Actually, it feels more like time creeps up on me and whacks me over the back of the head with a sackful of my own good intentions.

And as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.


So, having designed my special offer, and submitting it to DHM, it's now all systems go and that's the reason I've been seeing red.

She measures just 1 3/4" tall and would make a lovely festive gift for a deserving doll's house child.  The handmade jointed porcelain doll is dressed in a gorgeous deep red silk dress with pleated skirt and silk, caped jacket, trimmed with white.

Her silk and lace bonnet is trimmed with lace and decorated with the tiniest sprigs of holly, designed specially for me by Alan & Kathryn of Templewood Miniatures.

The kit will contain everything needed to complete the toy doll, from her underwear and leather-soled silk shoes, to her glossy ringlet curls wig, plus patterns and full step-by-step instructions.

Full details will be in the December issue of Doll's House Magazine which is published on          4 November.

Hopefully by that time I will have got my colour sight back.....

Competition winner..........

And the winner of the 100th follower haiku competition is............

Drum roll........




Cate & David!!!!!

The winner was drawn at random from all the entries.

Cate, if you could email me your contact details I'll have your little doll in the post as soon as possible.

Thanks to everyone who entered....I just couldn't choose based on literary merit so a random selection seemed the fairest way to determine the winner.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Woke early this morning to the news that our much-loved Victorian pier has been all but destroyed by fire in the night.

I came over all emotional when I saw the video of it ablaze and looking at the smouldering remains this morning, it's difficult to see how a phoenix can arise from its ashes.

Buggrit, buggrit, buggrit.......

Daily Heil online coverage

Grauniad coverage

BBC Sussex coverage

Sunday, 3 October 2010



What else to do on a cold, grey, wet, miserable Sunday afternoon than buckle down to work and refining my mini-studio for the oodles of photographs I have to take.

PP is suffering from a dreadful cold, which thus far I seem to have miraculously escaped.
Small Dog has taken to her bed in protest against being given a haircut at the onset of autumn.
And I have been tearing my hair out trying to find a set-up for the photography which works each and every time.

I've been playing around with it for a week now and getting nowhere fast. Which is frustrating and dispiriting in equal measure.  Photographing miniature things is difficult at the best of times, and this is most definitely NOT the best of times.

After spending several fruitless hours today messing about with lightbox, lighting and backdrops etc, I was rapidly coming to the conclusion that the only sensible thing to do was declare defeat and take to the bottle.

However, as I was sitting, head in hands at my desk, full of frustrated self-pity, I suddenly had AN IDEA.

It was an idea, so strikingly simple and obvious in its simplicity that it seemed impossible that it could actually work. Even as I was trying to find suitable items for the various components I needed to conduct the experiment, the euphoria of my initial eureka moment was fading fast and I began to convince myself that it was almost certainly a fruitless task.

However, I soldiered on, assembling a variety of unrelated items into a Heath Robinson style contraption.  I then conducted the experiment and took the camera into the office so I could upload the results onto PP's computer.

Well I'm blowed!  We both looked at the screen, looked at each other, looked at the screen again and it was all I could do to stop myself doing a little victory dance.

After weeks and weeks of trawling the internet, looking for hints, tips and techniques on macro photography, I can say that not once did I find any suggestion of my idea.

I've may even have inadvertently invented an invention! This could be my Dyson moment and this time next year I'll be a millionaire!

In any event, I have taken this as a sign not to give up and press on regardless. And I can be fairly sure my timely inspiration wasn't due to any heavenly intervention.

More of which anon.........

It's all a matter of timing.........

I spent most of yesterday monitoring my laptop which was in virtual intensive care. 

After 6 hours (!) of a massive array of diagnostic tests and scans, the prognosis was uncertain.
What is certain is that it has something wrong with it.  Either that or it's got the computer form of Munchhausen's Syndrome with a 'healthy' dose of hypochondria thrown in for good measure.

At any time this would be annoying and frustrating, but it's timing now is no less than downright diabolical.

I need it to be on tip-top form and ready for the task in hand.  Instead of which it's lying, Camille-like, on my desk, threatening to conk out at the first sign of CPU fibrillation.

No matter.  I need to press on.  And it should either get its act together or make way for a younger, fitter, more dynamic replacement.

There is quite simply no room for sentimentality at this point in the proceedings and although I don't relish having to put it out of my misery, I think I'm probably capable.....

Friday, 1 October 2010

It's not all bad news...........


First of October today which means it's only 85 days till Christmas.

Mind you, I did start my Christmas shopping today so now I can sit back and bask in the uncertain knowledge that having started, I will be lulled into a false sense of security and be panicking as usual mid-December. 

However, that is not the point of this post.

Insofar as any of my posts have a point......


The point of this post is that this year, our Royal Mail Christmas postage stamps are BRILLIANT!

After years and years of quite 'meh' stamps, this year we can all emblazon our envelopes with fantastic stamps featuring.....

Wallace & Gromit!!!

Even Small Dog approves as she is an avid Gromit fan.

Apparently, if you use a magnifying glass, you can see that the letter Gromit is posting has a W&G stamp on it too.

Might just buy several sets of  postage stamp postcards and solve all my present problems in one fell swoop!

Can you guess what it is yet.....?

I was up bright and early this morning, champing at the bit to get on with phase one of the photography mega-marathon.  However, my laptop had decided to 'pull a sickie' and no amount of encouragement, coercion or unadulterated threats would induce it to start.

I thought it was sickening for something last night, when it took 30 minutes to close down, but hoped that an early night would do it the world of good.

Apparently not.

After a number of false starts it did eventually manage to give me a black screen with instructions on how to start in 'safe mode'.  It then spent 90 minutes doing a complete disk scan.

If I'd known at the start it was going to take 90 minutes I'd have gone and done something really useful, but as I had no idea how long the diagnostics would last I had to keep checking back every few minutes in case it needed me for something.  Exactly what I'm not quite sure. 

Perhaps to mop its screen with a cooling flannel, or hold its mouse.

Personally I think it's just malingering.  Probably in cahoots with the printer/scanner.  I expect it's been whingeing about the hammering it's keyboard has taken over the past few weeks while I've been writing the manuscript.  And bemoaning the fact that it's going to have to cope with a massive influx of photo files over the next few weeks.

Yada, yada, yada.......

So while I was hovering impatiently over the patient, I decided to go and do something moderately useful.

Can you guess what it is yet?


I have to admit I'm a bit stumped myself so here, for reference, is the mystery object before I did something moderately useful to it.

Aha.  It's all so clear to me now. 

The mystery object is, of course, my workdesk.  

I also have a terrible, guilty confession to make.  

I haven't seen it so 'naked' for almost 7 years.....

Yes.  Yes I know.  I am a clarty bitch (as my grannie would have said).   

Although I do, of course, clear and clean it more often than once every 7 years,  (in my defence, I clear it when I'm reduced to working on a clear area of less than 4 square inches)
I have to admit though, that in the normal run of things, I don't take absolutely everything off it.

However today, as I anxiously awaited the prognosis on my laptop, the worry went completely to my head and I absent-mindedly completely cleared my desk.  That last time it was so empty was the very day PP and I built it.  Since then I have cleaned 'around' a few permanent fixtures, such as my tool pots, workmat, etc.  So to see it completely unadorned is a bit of a shock.

I feel both traumatised and elated in equal measure.

In other news, the laptop, as is evidenced by the fact I'm writing this post, has deigned to return to the land of the living. I have several other diagnostic and maintenance tasks lined up for it later this afternoon.

The laptop equivalent of a good going over with a wire brush and Dettol.