Left-Over Posts? Snippets Not Quite Meaty Enough On Their Own To Make A Satisfying Post?
This Is The Place To Come To Use Them Up.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Since I Couldn’t Go to Tenby…


Our Fran just got back from a fab week (<click) in Tenby and made me jealous, so today, I thought I’d take the afternoon off and do a little sightseeing in the SOUTH OF FRANCE.  Oops, my caps lock is sticking again.   

I wanted to put up a little snap of the beach as viewed from our table, (where we were getting our money’s worth out of our very expensive cappucinos) just so’s Fran could compare notes.  But this person, who happened to be ENGLISH, walked in front of my lens and I couldn’t figure out how to photoshop him out. 

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Losing it

There was a lone woman on the stairs speaking urgently: “I don’t care how effing long it takes… just do it...No, I don’t care.”

I had to push past her, worried about disturbing her phone conversation. Then I realised: she didn’t have a phone

In 1492

and again off Madeira, in pouring rain. Just as my sister was there the other day, with camera at the ready, along came the Santa Maria..... Well, a replica thereof. Well, a good stab at what a replica might look like if anyone really knew. 

Astonishingly small, dwarfed by a cruise ship. Columbus, intrepid sailor and slave trader (click on the words for the link, as it doesn't show up highlighted) would have been impressed.

Tulip in the woods?

Just in case you ever come across a tulip in the woods, the painting in the background show a good example of acceptable celebratory comportment. Don't forget the sun-screen.

Monday, 26 April 2010

It's enough to....never mind!

130 UK Homes to Get 100% of Gas from Human Feces this Summer : TreeHugger
Funny I always thought faeces was spelled faeces, what's with all the dropping the 'a's that belong with the 'e's'?
The photo here is interesting and looks like a plumbers' convention.
Have a fun day!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Vignettes of French Life (No. 5 in a series)


All right, everybody.  Friko threw down the gauntlet a few weeks ago with her puzzling piano picture, so now it’s my turn.  This picture (with apologies for the poor quality – Nokia isn’t the best…) was snapped near Cannes, on the Isle de St-Honorat, which has been occupied continuously by an order of monks for FIFTEEN centuries. 

What is it??

Friday, 23 April 2010

Now you're talking!!!

Animal Print Cupcakes
Bagsy the cow print! Which one do you like?

Thanks crazycakes!! We'll have  a dozen.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Speaking of Shoes . . .

The Shoe On The Other Foot ?

In agreement with Smitonius and Sonata, with thanks for broaching the sensitive subject of footwear!

Shoes are a topic fraught with despair
if your toes are as curly as your hair,
and won't lie down, no matter what,
but turn their little noses up
at all the shoes that catch your eye,
though common sense won't let you buy!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Definitely Not Imelda

Does anyone else hate buying shoes ? Or is it just me ?

I set off with high hopes ..... a pair that fit , in a colour I like , that feel comfortable , don't look like herring boxes , and I can stand , walk and be nippy in . Not much to ask , really .

I always seem to come back with the same brown trainer-things .

Careers Advice for Geese

Geese would like to dance -

ballerinas in their hearts.

Always tip toeing


on the park lake – a mirror: 

Am I beautiful? Am I?


Graceful necks aloft,

proud white breasts rise, fluttering,

eager in the wings.


Your voices raw, unlovely,

are not for singing. You birds


have other stages.

Cool wind’s curtains call you north.

Don’t cry for dancing -


fly in perfect symmetry.

You are beautiful. You are.

© Clare Kirwan

p.s. I accidentally posted a blog about scum here yesterday, instead on my BrokenBiro blog, so I moved it there - sorry for any inconvenience *blushes*

Patient's testicle lost.

Doctor accidentally cuts off patient's testicle in British hospital Adelaide Now
At risk of being accused of all sorts of things, this tragedy for the patient didn't appear to induce a sacking, but the theft of drugs did.I wonder how the patient feels about that balance on the scale of things? Maybe they should stop making those scalpels so sharp!

Monday, 19 April 2010

One question, so many different answers

I am not a person with any organised religious faith, in fact I suspect I am an example of the true agnostic.  I just don't know.  I respond powerfully to the natural world, music, literature and art which I suppose are all forms of the spiritual.  Quite a few of the people who follow me and comment are clearly people with a strong religious faith.  I am not sure why that is.  I sometimes feel that I should make it clear that I am just here in the moment, now, trying to do my best with no rational hope of the afterlife.  I wonder if I am somehow conning people if my personal absence of conviction is not spelt out.  And then I think I might be just disappearing up my own backside.
So here we go: I recognise their faith.  In my own way I admire it.  I don't share it.  This does not mean that the beauty of this world does not shake my soul, and who would own to having a soul who was a pure rationalist!

confused of Cymru

Iceland’s Fiery Photos

Photographing Iceland’s Fiery Volcano - Lens Blog - NYTimes.com
Just in case you haven't seen enough of these dramatic photos of the volcano doing it's thing.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Chance Encounter

Is Marriage Good for Your Health? - NYTimes.com
Say no more!!


Just had to share these Autumn treasures with you -aren't they gorgeous?These are just a few of  the many, made of papier mache and carefully preserved in glass cases in the Museum of Economic Botany in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, they've been on show for well over 100 years, admired and loved by children of all ages.
Happy Sunday!  Happy Simple Sunday for you?

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Dangerous time for teens.

One of our grandbabies is not a baby anymore.
She is going to her first prom.
Oh lands the temptations of dressing up looking glamorous and sexy.
Our son's beautiful daughter 
 Abby is stepping into the wild world.
Hope this post is not too sappy for this soup. 

Two years ago at graduation from elementary school already a blooming beauty.
Love you dear Abby.

Please join me in prayer that all young people will be safe tonight and every night as they find their place in this world.
Prom night is notorious for sad endings.
Do you find that to be the case where you live?

The Ash Cloud.

(To the tune of the folk song “The Ash Grove” . .  all together now . . . )

The Ash Cloud how slowly, how widely ‘tis spreading,
The gunge that it carries has grounded all planes.
The poor folk at Heathrow and Paris and Stockholm
All earthbound and stranded, must head for the trains.

And blooms from Botswana, and boiled hams from Parma
Aren’t reaching the airports, and nor are the mails.
So when Morrisons closes, no more Cadbury’s Roses . .
We can watch it on telly while we chew on our nails.

We're not self-sufficient; one must see the import
of no local airport to unload the freight . . .
There'll be shortage of commodities, of all of the oddities
that people are accustomed to find on their plates.
No bananas or mangos, no frills or fandangos,
just plain bread and water might soon be our fate.

When the Ash Scare is over, we'll be back in clover.
With three loud "Hurrahs!" we will regain the skies.
We should try being humble, for our Earth will still rumble.
And someday, somewhere, we'll get one last surprise(*)

(Thanks to Jinksy for the third verse!)
(*) Could be one or other of the known supervolcanoes going off pop.
Some regions of Yellowstone are allegedly rising 6 FEET per year.

Good Morning!

Hello! I'm new here. Friko invited me to toss a bit into the soup.
I live on a farm in the mountains of western North Carolina, in the United States.
I write crime fiction -- mysteries, psychological suspense -- and hope that I won't poison the soup.
And I look forward to getting to know my fellow cooks!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, 16 April 2010

An Odd Choice

Recently I attended a two-day conference on the mainland. It was a conference concerning victims - people who've been hurt by crime. The conference was held in a hotel-casino. Casinos - the flagships of organized crime. Am I the only one who finds this an odd choice?

Was it a decision rooted in economy? Let's have it at the casino - it's a bargain.

Was it rooted in addiction? Hey, let's have it at the casino - we can play the slots at the breaks.

In laziness? The casino is big and they'll do all the work for us, they're desperate for legit business

Was it some perverted sense of the appropriate? Let's have it at the casino and get both sides of the victim/crime on site.

I can't figure some things out. This is one of them.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Twitter as History

Twitter as History - Library of Congress Signs Up - NYTimes.com
Hmm!? The historic and the banal, now there's a combination.


When Beloved told my German Friend that in England
everybody is entitled to have and display at least one piece of
Kitsch she took him at his word, and gave us this expensive
pottery gnome.

We've called him Herman the German.

What's the most embarrassing present you've ever had?

Fantasy Stories

Top 10 Underrated Fantasy Stories Before 1937 - Listverse
Just in case anyone is interested to know what they reckon didn't make it!!
Funny world some book sellers live in!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Things never change

Jude said she went to the camp, sat under peaceful trees near the pond where women and children had waited for their turn.  She told me the usual things – about the size of the camps, the piles of shoes and spectacles, a truth too massive to grapple with.

She told me that, wandering around those horrific hallowed grounds, Polish skin heads laughed and pointed at her and her friends and shouted: “Jews!”

She looked at me and said: “Things never change.”

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Sonata :
Reading in Rattling On's blog this morning about a scrap iron man visiting her street , made me think about the Rag and Bone man , now definitely vanished , and the paper windmill or balloon he gave you if you ran down with something for him when he called .

But there were plenty of callers in the '50s . Once a year there was the French Onion man with his bike and strings of onions . The cart that sold coal briquettes . The coal cart and the coalmen ,their heads and necks protected by split sacks , humping hundredweights of the stuff up and down stairs and down alleyways . The dogs that ran under their horsedrawn carts .

And before the war , so still in living memory ( no , not mine ! ) , there was always a man in Dutch towns who would have had a couple of pigs in his backyard or allotment and fed them with the potato peelings he collected door to door . My informant says that the herring seller pictured with him was even then a rare sight .

Which made me think . Familiar sights disappear relatively fast .

What do you remember from childhood that your children have never seen ?

And before I start greeting visitors with a bellowed "I'm 62 , you know ! " , I think it's time I started Living A Little ..... line dancing in the Community Center? Or cocktails and a Salsa class or two ?

Monday, 12 April 2010

Crazy Bus Stops

Crazy Bus Stops From Around the World : TreeHugger
Favourite has to to be the Strawberry or the swing but heck who's choosing?
Which one do you like best?


Ask Pablo: Does Sunscreen Cause More Skin Cancer Than It Prevents? : TreeHugger
As you there in the Northern Hemisphere progress through Spring and into Summer it seems that you'll need plenty of "Slip and slap" and less of the "slop".Personally I've never been a fan of chemical muck.How about you?

Arrest Pope

Richard Dawkins promises to arrest Pope Benedict XVI Adelaide Now
An interesting an imaginative move.Never take politics or religion to a dinner party but as this is just soup maybe......?

Sunday, 11 April 2010

A Perfect Waste of Time



(The following brought to mind our resident poets, Friko and Doctor FTSE) 

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Griffin Poetry Prize, Scott Griffin, its founder, announced this week that he was doubling the prize money. Seven finalists earn $10,000 each; the two winners haul in $65,000 more each.

Mr. Griffin said he did it to reflect “the importance” of poetry. You don't hear capitalists say such things very often.

Recently, I was trying to find Thom Gunn's poem Hampstead: The Horse Chestnut Trees. I'd come across it months earlier, looking for a poem suitable for a eulogy. The Gunn poem wasn't appropriate, but it has a nice line I wanted to memorize, about a pair of chestnut trees between which Gunn remembered riding his bike with his brother:

they spread outward
and upward
without regret

Now I wanted to put those lines into a letter to a friend. But I couldn't remember where I had seen them or who had written them. Nor could I remember what I thought I had memorized. I would like to be someone who can pluck strands of poetry from memory when he needs them, the way a skilled fisherman can coax a fat trout from a pool. Instead, I use poetry like a weed-whacker, like a cheap app on the iPhone of my brain: I use what I can find.

Which seems undignified. We're taught in school that poems are sombre things, not to be used as therapeutic shorthand. One is supposed to study poetry and appreciate its formal niceties, its pantoums and epistrophes. Poets such as Karen Solie, P.K. Page or Kate Hall (all nominated for this year's Griffin) need years to produce slim volumes of dazzling work.

On the other hand, in Solar, Ian McEwan's new novel, the central character, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and Oxford graduate, seduces his first wife by flash-memorizing some Milton. He's astonished how easy literature is compared with advanced math.

Looking for the Gunn poem, I turned to the same four books I consult whenever I'm looking for a poem to lift me over an inspirational declivity: two volumes edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes called The School Bag and The Rattle Bag; Francis Turner Palgrave's Golden Treasuryin coral leather, won in 1968 as a prize at school; and my wife's thick, spine-broken Norton Anthology of English Literature, bespawled with pencil notations from her college days.

Roughly 4,200 pages of poetry. I brought them into work here at the abattoir, where my comrades labour so keenly. I was embarrassed to be reading poetry at work.

I laid the books out in the grotto of my desk, with its secret organizational nooks, its gentle eddy of dividers. I began to leaf quickly through the mass of pages, looking for the poem. I knew I was looking for a final stanza. I knew it had been published in the 20th century. Of course the search would have been easier on Google with more information (trees, chestnut and bicycle yielded nothing), provided I wanted to use Google instead of books packed with poems.

I did not – because, looking for a poem in a book of poems, you find lots of others. You get inefficient, and waylaid. Each new find – it goes without saying! – is a slap in the face of productivity, an admission of waywardness and temporary incapacity. Books – of poetry! – on one's desk! Out in the open! Like – gravestones! There are few things you can do at work that make you feel more extraneous than surreptitiously reading poems. I don't think I'm exaggerating.

The first lines that caught my eye were an epigram by J.V. Cunningham:I married in my youth a wife/ She was my own, my very first/ She gave the best years of her life/ I hope nobody gets the worst. I later discovered (online) that Cunningham was one of Gunn's favourite poets. He thought we'd still be reading Cunningham in 50 years. It turns out some of us are.

At this point, it was still before 10 a.m. on a Wednesday.

I zoomed through Stanley Kunitz's Route Six, in which the poet sets out for Cape Cod in the middle of a hateful argument with a woman, possibly his wife, only to arrive again in love, thanks (in part) to her eager driving and the oncoming salt air. I inhaled Ben Jonson on the death of his son. The obsessions of poets flew past the way the countryside does in a fast train. Shelley read like an 18th-century Tony Robbins, full of motivational advice. Frank O'Hara's A Step Away From Them, a walk through the polyraucous streets of Manhattan (Everything suddenly honks: it is 12:40 of/ a Thursday), made me want to live there.

The Gunn poem didn't turn up until the end of the last anthology. To my surprise, The Horse Chestnut Trees wasn't at all about having no regrets, but the opposite – it was a rhyming complaint about growing old, and how our human passion for detail fades with age: Forms remain, not the life/ of detail or hue/ then the forms are lost and/ only a few dates stay with you.

Gunn (1929-2004) read literature at Oxford, then moved to San Francisco, where he was gay and did a lot of drugs – he preferred amphetamines. (Which in turn reminded me of Cocaine Lil and Morphine Sue: On her headstone you'll find this refrain:/ She died as she lived, sniffing cocaine.)

At some point soon after that, I looked up from my books of poems. It was well after noon. I thought I had better get some work done. I shut the anthologies and opened the drawer of my desk.

There, staring up at me, was a Xerox of a poem, The Summer Day, by Mary Oliver. It had been a gift from a friend years earlier. Mary Oliver was an American poet who won the Pulitzer Prize. In the poem, she has dropped to her knees to examine a grasshopper closely:

I don't know exactly what
a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention,
how to fall down
Into the grass, how to kneel
down in the grass,
How to be idle and blessed, how
to stroll through the fields.
Which is what I have been
doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I
have done?
Doesn't everything die at last,
and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan
to do
With your one wild and
precious life?

I thought it was a good question.


-Ian Brown

(staff writer, Globe and Mail Toronto)

Saturday, 10 April 2010


Had a nasty virus? I did. Still got a hacking cough? I do. Want to know what's better than gloopy, sugary, expensive cough mixture? I know!

Read on:


A respectable 50 grams per dose; very encouraging.

How often? I'd say Take As Required, wouldn't you? 

Thursday, 8 April 2010

How very useful. I will sleep outside to make the most of your information.

Why would a weather forecaster (on UK Radio 3 station today) give a detailed forecast for the night-time, but fail to mention tomorrow?

Fine for night-shift workers, owls and insomniacs, perhaps, but I happen to want to know what it will be like when I get up.

Or am I being far too demanding?

The Man You Wish Your Man Was


Wednesday, 7 April 2010

This May Help ?


Can you still buy Bourn-vita ? Or has it gone the way of ticket machines and conductresses who , in my childhood , had their hair pinned carefully in curls on a Saturday afternoon , all ready to be combed out in the evening to go "to the dancing".

Liquid waste

The new ethical dilemmas - Women's Health Magazine - Yahoo!7 Lifestyle
A few questions here for you..don't think out loud though we don't all want to know!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Picture Puzzle for a Sleepless Night

and if you could sleep, then trying to solve the puzzle is
 guaranteed to stop you.
What is it?

Life Choices

Sonata :
Dutch schools don't do two weeks at Easter , being closed for a week to ten days at the end of April for a series of public holidays .
So get to work this morning after Easter weekend , to discover that the boiler (ancient and temperamental ) was cold and the electricity was also out .
It was about 50 Farenheit inside . Wimpy me doesn't take coat off , hardy Dutch colleagues waver and then put scarves back on ..... then coats . None of the parents can be contacted .... no phone , of course . Wait for parent/child combos . Parents appear , desperate to be free of hyper , chocolate-filled pre-schoolers for a while , and wrestle with consciences before deciding that little Whatsisname's contracting pneumonia might be a bit more wearing than a morning of his staging the Decathlon in the sittingroom might be .
Finally get the green card to close . Last parent trails in and is sent home .
All staff cycle off to cafe in town to have coffee and ginger cake and thaw out .
Think , again , how nice retirement sounds . Think that if I'd become Civil Servant as Mother advised , would now be retired .
Cycle home for lunch past an enormous bronze cow , buy olives from Turkish shop , trip over double bass and visiting banjo in hall . Wonder how good I'd have been at "Yes , Minister".
Buy Lottery ticket and go back for the afternoon session .
Boiler dies again .

Long Poem By Comparison With Words

Short sleep;
long night.

don't fight.

Four walls,
just you.

Blog calls...

What's new?

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Sleep Architecture

The quality and quantity of a person’s sleep changes over time. Just as our skin loses its suppleness and our joints begin to creak, our “sleep architecture,” which refers to the overall pattern of a person’s sleep, becomes increasingly more fragile. It develops wrinkles in a way. If we could hold a mirror to it, we’d probably say, “How did my sleep come to look like this?”
               New York Times March 5th
How's your sleep architecture looking?
Mine could do with some serious work, but heck who needs it, think of the extra hours to do things; write, read, blog, look at the dawn, listen to Jeff Beck's Nessun Dorma!

Bach cantata from the beaks of birds

For the last several evenings, as the sun approaches the horizon, the maple trees along the hedgerow have been filled with robins.  I swear to you that they are chirping out Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.  I can almost see a multicolor Slinky-like coil of song forming across the sky at about treetop level.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Rabbit Reduced

my arse hurts

Vindicated by The Doctor

Sonata :
Re: June's last post "Not Your Morning Bowl Of Porridge , Is It ? ".
See ! Even the just hatched Matt Smith version of the Doctor ( Doctor Who , of course .... where have you been ? ) knew it .
Desperate for something to eat , he barks at little Amelia Pond , "You're Scottish . Fry something ! ".
If a stereotype fits ....

Happy Easter !

The Painted Egg....or is it the Egg being Painted?

Wondering about the origins of egg painting I went to our 'faithful' friend Mr Wiki  and found an interesting array of facts and this rather interesting picture -

Whether you are painting eggs or eating them - Happy Easter !


Years ago the SO was interviewed for a job in the Civil Service.The twin-set and pearls and grey suited interviewing trio were using smart new American techniques.
They threw in a question "What do you think about spies?"
Being a smart-ass he immediately and without pause replied "Mincespies or meatspies?"
It was a case of, 'we'll let you know'.....or not!
What a fortunate escape!
Having a fun Easter?
Hope you haven't OD'd on buns and will show restraint tomorrow once the Easter Bunny has called.

Friday, 2 April 2010

For the good Doctor.

Gavin Ewart  1916 - 1995

The D..d.

The D..d. is a big heavy cumbersome sort of bird,
Supposed extinct for many years but its voice is often heard
Booming and blasting over the marshes and moors
With the harsh note of L.sb.s and the great outdoors.
The D..d. wears tweed skirts and Twenties elastic-thighed knickers
And smokes black cheroots and still calls films the 'flickers'.
It wears pork-pie hats and is really one of the boys,
it has initiated many pretty girls into forbidden joys.

It has an eye-glass in one eye, and its bad-taste jokes are myriad,
Such as the one about Emily Bronte's Last period,
And a good many others that are best left unsaid,
Buried in the old laughter, as the dead bury the dead.

The D..d. is quite frankly worshipped by some members of the community,
Who consider that even its name cannot be taken in vain with impunity
As it hops heavily about on its one wooden leg -
But most real Nature-lovers think it should be taken down a peg.

Bizarre speculation

Bizarre speculation circles weather bureau Adelaide Now
Check these out what do you think?

Thursday, 1 April 2010


Fritillaria... on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
There are three or four flowers I've been fascinated with all my life and have at various times tried to grow.
I had success with this one just before I moved to the other Hemisphere! Enjoy!

Friends, Romans, Countrymen...

Before Blogger has the entire Soup Fraternity poured down the drain as unfit for human consumption- or should that be Sorority/Fraternity to be politically correct? -may I suggest we turn our thoughts to a more innocent pastime, and create ourselves CV's in order to be able to justify our continuing membership of this elite club.
I have been asked to give you mine, as an example:-

  • Many years travelling the world on an exercise bike got her precisely nowhere, but developed muscle tone in very unexpected places. Diagram available upon request.
  • Had aspirations of becoming a painter, until all supplies of red pigment dried up following town refurbishment embarked upon in her youth.
  • Cooking establishments welcomed her but cut backs on the chopping block made her redundant, following shortage of extra phalanges.
  • In the manufacturing industry, her mechanical skills were invaluable, for she ran a well oiled machine that worked like clockwork. Sadly, once she lost the wind up key, production output fell to an all time low,and the factory could no longer afford to supply her with WD40.
  • Can be guaranteed to infect any gathering with rampant giggling virus, as yet unclassified by the scientific world. May have originated off planet, but not sure which one.