Mixed menu


On Monday, time to cement the wol.  Beginner mistake:  I thought the board was square.  It isn’t.  On the butter side down principle, I put it onto the tiles the wrong way.  Of course you can’t lift it up again once it is on, and I had to do some hasty tessellating before the adhesive went off. (The offs and ons in those sentences are a bit confusing.)  This is the largest prototype we have done yet – about 18 inches wide. I don’t know why I should be surprised by the sheer weightiness of the result but I wasn’t prepared for it to be such a solid lump of a thing.

1 cemented wol

Tuesday I fetched out the solar filter and 5″ scope and took the sun’s portrait.  I am still sulking at Sol and the universe in general, and strove for an I-can-take-you-or-leave-you manner. I doubt this cut any ice with the cosmos.  This whole disc image has been treated to some false colour (if scientists are allowed to do it, why can’t I).

2 14 Apr 2015 false colour

I tried for detail with a shorter eyepiece, but didn’t happen to get anything special.  This was the best of them, showing huge sunspot complex 2321.

3 14 Apr 2015 white light

Yesterday I sat by the pond and watched a newt laying eggs.  Gratifying!  It seemed rude to photograph her in the act.

In the evening, out came the 10″ scope, which hasn’t had an airing for some time.  I seemed to spend more time collimating than observing, and the air was thick and turbulent, but the GRS was transiting and I had a few glimpses as it crossed the meridian, suddenly appearing pink and distinct, and then almost instantly vanishing into a vaguely distorted stripeyness on a fuzzy disc.

And this afternoon it was time for some textile crafts – in fact, to secure the ends of this handle tightly together so that the handle wouldn’t fall off seventeen times while mowing. I should stuff this mower up somebody’s nose, but can’t raise the energy. At least it worked and the grass is cut for the next five minutes.

4 textile work

First again this year and always, the (anon) climber by the front door is doing its thing.

first again

It made a good tribute to the day.

Here we go again


I don’t know why I put myself through it.  The last two or three years in the vegetable plot have been uniformly awful, for various reasons.  Today was a busy one,  but there I was this evening, mixing up compost and pushing it through the sieve.


I’ve been pretty mean with it though; most of the seeds in the box are on the elderly side, and I am not sure they will germinate, though I am poking them in. Having poked, I don’t seem to have anywhere to put them and they are cluttering up the kitchen.

now what

In view of the recent past, for twopence I’d turf the lot.  So why do I feel hope creeping up on me?  Obstinacy?  Keeping the faith?  Energised by newt-watching?  Or just because the primroses and violets are so ridiculously pretty?


All good reasons, really.

An anguish of extremities … a distress of dactyls … an excruciation of appendages


There was sparkliness to a superlative degree;

1 scintilla

a reminder of the past lent luxury to the present;

2 past

the beaches were only large enough to admit a few very good friends.

3 friendly

Which to choose?  Sunny or sandy? Stony or shady?

4 glass half full

We side-stepped along the narrow umbrageous cavern of the sea wall, where the First Unofficial Paddle of the year took place.

5 cavernous

Emerging on a tiny beach, the damp shoes reposed

6 ouch

while the First Official Paddle was instigated.

7 knees

I crept in up to my knees to listen more closely as the seaweed on the groyne chimed and tinkled secretively.

8 chiming

Some significant textiles lost their integrity in an unscheduled and sudden manner.  Mem: it wasn’t me.  Some of the photos belong to the guilty party.  We directed our rigid digits homeward.

Sheep qua brassica


Someone local had a bumper crop of cauliflowers.  I know this because it has taken us three days to eat the one in my fridge.

Shoppers being what they are these days, the farmer doesn’t bother to pick anything substandard for colour or leaf, but uses them up as a fodder crop.  Which is why, driving home past his field today, I was unable to tell modest-sized ovids from monstrous brassicas. Their colour and hunch were identical.

Nail your hat to your head


if you want it to stay on today.  I tried three different hats and even the most head-hugging had too much windage.  No-one was taking a boat out

1 not taking a boat out

and there was a good deal of sucking

2 sucking

and swooshing

3 swooshing

and the waves made angry lace.

4 lace

We stood at the foot of the cliff and watched breakers surging round the corner

5 corner

depositing spume.

All this was to distract me as I had experimental pots cooling in the kiln.  There was an experiment in sprigging6 sprig

and I’ve only half a jamjar full of this experiment on the gash pot, not even enough to glaze the rim.  What you can’t see is the velvet softness of the glaze as you stroke it.

7 half a jamjar

Then there was some fooling about with the new rutile combined with other glazes.  Never had one like this before

8 greenand only look at the speckles close to:

9 speckles detail

Then there is a first experiment in porcelain.  I rather liked the ghost leaves, though they need some working on

10 ghost leaves

but with all their beginner faults upon their head, the ghost flowers are my favourite.

11 ghost flowers

Leave it to the Georgians … probably


Double glazing with completely purposeless glazing bars, than which there are few things more bogus or unnecessary.  Yet what is one to do?  Vast unbroken sheets of Pilkington make the house’s face look dead; small windows make the house dark; and bogus diamond panes are even phonier than glazing bars.  Compounding the problem, nobody now makes a window as the Georgians could, and the clumsy rectangles don’t divide into Georgian-proportioned panes either.


What’s more, they arouse conflicting yet not mutually exclusive sensations:  imprisonment, protection, and an unexpected but ineluctable homesickness for real glazing bars, still vivid in memory, blobby with the paint of years, holding glittering, rippling, dimpled, irregular, old, old, old glass up to the world outside.

Never mind; the new ones open and close like anything.  

Walking a beach that isn’t there


I’ve been crossed in love


Fearful pangs of unrequited love.  The beloved is alluring, fascinating, pours out a wealth of beauty on other more favoured mortals, sometimes drops a nod or a smile in your direction.  Once or twice you happen to be together quietly in the dark, the other relaxed, open, eye to eye with you. But then you plan a party with their name at the head of the guest list; they say they will come if they have time, and never show.


Being in love with the cosmos is not a good idea.  At 8.15 this morning the eastern sky looked like this, and not even a bright patch betrayed the place of the sun.

It was so dark that the birds didn’t bother to stop singing for the eclipse as only about three had bothered to start, and those three didn’t notice the difference. At maximum the sky looked like this:


By 10.40 it was all over.  At 11.00 the cloud began to thin and a watery and perfectly circular sun appeared.  By lunchtime …


In the face of so comprehensive, painful and pointed a snub, what can a lover do?


1     Eat chocolate

retail 1

2     Go shopping

retail 2

3     More retail therapy (unwise level of spending)


4     Return to the comfortable arms of an old flame


5     Flirt with a new charmer

No, being in love with the cosmos is not a good idea.  It doesn’t care for you and it never, never, will.  But of course I know:  one smile, one nod, one look from the beloved, and there I will be again.  Abject.  Adoring.