'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

ABC Messy Corner Day

On finding that Claire had taken this photo of a corner of our dining room, rather than becoming instantly depressed at its untidy state, I decided to bravely post it for all the world to view.

On closer inspection I was struck by the diverse range of stuff, and idly wondered if I could find something there for each of the letters of the alphabet, in a way similar to a couple of my blogger friends who have a 'alphabet' thing going on their blogs, e.g. Jay from 'The Depp Effect' and SisterTex from 'Spacial Peepol'.

Let's start, predictively, with 'A': Immediately I spot my new "Black & Decker" electric Alligator shears under the sideboard. I can hardly wait to use them. I fell in love with them in the hardware shop where they were accompanied by one of those little videos with an elegant lady using them to prune and cut up a little tree for firewood. I hope they make me look elegant too.

For 'B', I have chosen Beer Bottle. It's on the far right on a shelf. (You may have to click on the photo to make it bigger.) But this is no ordinary beer bottle.

It is a Beautiful Beer Bottle with gold writing; "SobeRing Thought Beer". This one is empty, but previously has contained the 1% beer that Peter Jackson had a company brew for 'The Lord of The Rings' movie, so that the actors could drink real beer while being filmed in the pub scenes, but without getting too drunk to remember their lines.

'C' is for ceiling - an old house such as this doesn't always have right angles in the corners so these fibre bricks shapes are a sensible, if ugly, choice. I've never liked them much. One day I might get contractors in to change them.

'D' is for the bevelled diamond-shaped piece of glass in the lead-light door that you can see reflected in the mirror of the sideboard, or dresser. This house has five doors like this, matching. They were the biggest deciding factor when I bought the house. I think they are delightful.

The brightly-coloured thing hanging above the table begins with 'E'. It is a woven woolen 'El Ojo Dios' - or 'Eye of God' from Mexico. It adds an exciting emphasis to the otherwise empty wall.

The white vase contains Flowers that begin with 'F'. They look real and many are fooled, but they are fabric.

'G' is for the Glass of the dud light bulb that lies on the sideboard. I am pleased that it has blown because it means I can replace it with one of the new energy-efficient ones. I am grumpy it is still lying around and hasn't been wrapped carefully in newspaper and placed in the bin.

For 'H', I draw your attention to a souvenir from our recent touristy trip to that film site near Matamata. It's the Hobbiton brochure tucked behind the handy, hand-made box (made for me by my daughter).

'I' is for the Imitation fur material that has been used to make the dog's bed. You may notice there are two - one inside the other. This is a convenient way to store the one that our cat Pippin slept in when he was alive. It provides double the insulation.

'J' is for Jersey (or pullover) that someone has dumped on the sideboard.

The dull green Kete, or flax woven basket, is my choice for the letter 'K'. You can also see lengths of flax strips waiting to be made into another kete.

'L' is for the Light coming in through the french doors that illuminates the whole scene. If we didn't have light, we wouldn't see a thing, and my post would have to have been on some other subject, possibly far more lacklustre. Thank goodness for that lovely light!

'M' is for Mirror on the sideboard. There is also one around the corner above the kitchen fireplace, and another on the door of the old wardrobe we use as a pantry, so there's no shortage of mirrors in our dining room and consequently little excuse for spinach to remain long on someone's front teeth.

'N' is for that lamp that, when the children were little, I used to leave on all night and use as a Night-light.

That special beer bottle is sitting on our 'O' for ornamental Overmantel. You can't see it very well from here, but it is very over-the-top and ornate. It was another of those deciding factors when I was about to sign the deeds to the house. In fact, the last words I uttered before signing were: "The overmantel definitely goes with the house, doesn't it?"
You can see it better here. But this was another time, because no-one had left the beer bottle yet. Obviously.

'P' is for Pratchett. Reflected in the sideboard mirror must be at least one of my Terry Pratchett Discworld series books. It has to be, because that bookcase is populated with the whole series. And that's a profuse number of them.

'Q' is for Quadruped, or four-legged creature. Shelly the dog. In her bed. Quietly watching Claire take the photo.

'R'. The odd purple rubber object in the bottom right-hand corner of the photo is Shelly's toy. It consists of two parts that screw together, and it can be filled with an appropriate sticky edible substance like peanut butter. The idea is that, in order to reduce restiveness, the toy is filled and then screwed up, and the dog spends a long time using teeth and claws to unscrew, and then tongue to lick out the aforementioned substance. A reliable, rewarding, albeit repetitious recreation.

'S' is for sideboard, of course. The original word meaning a board, or table, on the side.

'T' is for Toilet paper which has been left on top of the books in the bookcase, so that it can be transported to the nether (ha ha) regions of the house, i.e the toilet. Some people call toilet paper 'toilet tissue' but I have never shirked from called a spade a spade. Or, in this case, toilet paper, toilet paper.
My ex-husband didn't even feel comfortable writing 'toilet paper' on the grocery list. It was six months after our marriage before I realised what 'TP' was.

'U' is for Undertaking. Of which is this has been a big one. I have done my utmost to unify this unique and unusual collection of objects by using the alphabet usefully.

'V' is for Virginian Oak, the trees in the etching. It's also for vase, and visitor's book.

'W' is for weaving which you can see evident in the kete, the El Ojo Dios and also the wee wicker basket.

'X' is for Xylem, or fibrous supportive plant tissue, which is all that is left of the flower stems and bracts of the agapanthus after I dried them and put them with the fabric flowers.

'Z' is for zooming in, zooming out, zig-zagging, and zooming about the picture, as you follow me on this alphabetical journey.


  1. Oh, bravo! *Claps madly*

    Very nicely done, and most entertaining! I love how you used the reflections to include Terry Pratchett and toilet paper (yes, I call it toilet paper too), that was a master-stroke.

    I'm not sure I've ever done an ABC of a single picture so you've beaten me at my own game, there! LOL!

  2. Wow! Twenty-six Wednesday posts out of one photograph! Jay will turn green with envy....

  3. Jay, it was done as a homage to you. Consider it a sort of one woman New Year's honor's list.

    Robert, thank you. It took me almost the whole of the first afternoon I've had in months without visitors and was lots of fun and very satisfying but now I have all the washing-up to do and no dishwasher because I don't believe in them which is probably just sour grapes because I can't afford one a dishwasher that is not a grape although someone bought me some plums and I'd better check them because that was some time ago that they were brought and I expect that like apples one bad one might spoil the whole bunch but I'm talking about plums now, not grapes. Or apples.

  4. Ha! That's very clever...But getting back to "TP", it's obvious to me that what your former husband desperately wanted from the shops was not toilet paper but a teepee - such as native Americans favoured... this would have been a romantic retreat on planned camping excursions to New Brighton Beach in Kaikoura. If he had been given the teepee he repeatedly requested, he'd probably still be around.

  5. YP- Ha ha ha ha ha, very funny. But you are wrong. New Brighton Beach is a LONG way south of Kaikoura.
    (By the way, are you pouring over a NZ map, planning your next trip? Hope so.)

  6. Hello, Katherine

    Thanks for your visit to my blog and your kind comment.

    I very much enjoyed reading your ABC list of items found in the photo of the corner. Well done!

  7. Q is pretty good, X is inspired, Z -well hmmmmm, zooming is not a noun, but I guess not everyone keeps a zebra in their living room.

  8. Pat, well, thanks for visiting here! Happy New Year!

    Alden - ah, you saw the flaw in my 'Z'...Zadly I couldn't zeem to envizage a zubject beginning with 'Z'.

    But you missed that 'R' was merely an adjective. I admit I Really wanted to Reveal the identity of that purple Rubber Recreational Resource.

  9. Zooming IS a noun, folks, as in the sentence, "Zooming is not a noun" -- what else could it be in that cluster of words but a noun, the subject of the sentence? A noun that ends in "ing" is called a verbal noun and also a gerund. The rule, by the by, is that the subject of a gerund is in the possessive case. "I don't appreciate you correcting me, Rhymes" is wrong; "I don't appreciate your correcting me, Rhymes" is right.

    The daily grammar lesson is now ended. Thanks be to God.

  10. Wow. Well, that is very interesting Robert. So, when I said 'zubject', I revealed subconsciously more than I thought I knew.

    And I always was a little hazy in the gerund area.

    I DO appreciate your correcting me, Robert. (Although you notice in this case I use the 'Robert' which indicates the present tense of more intimate possessive compared with the use of 'Rhymes'.

  11. And of course that should have been '....was always...' because of the 'adjectival pre-positioning proximity rule'.

  12. Enjoyed the alphabetical links, but RWP's impromptu grammar lesson has taken the gilt off the gingerbread, and oveloaded my poor brain until I've forgotten what I was going to say!
    I see your choice of wall colour and table cloth match my kitchen walls and cabinets. Who said great minds think alike?! :)

  13. Jinksy, I call that colour lichen green, and I confess, I am very fond of it.
    And I do enjoy peeking at other blogger's interiors. So to speak. One can learn so much.
    For example, at the moment, that corner looks quite different . Still messy, but different. Now reflecting after-Christmas activities and chores: a parcel of Christmas presents for my sister and her kids that I forgot to give to Dad when he left - will have to mail it today costing $$$; a box of cheap glasses (bought for the Christmas rush) replace the alligator shears, and there's a bowl of lemons for lemonade waiting to be squeezed and frozen in cubes. 'Otocleanse' medicine for the dog's ears (hope her hearing returns).... and other stuff. Life goes on in each of our homes, in each unique way...

  14. Yet another fascinating post. That having been read (ablative absolute if I'm not mistaken and carrying on in the grammatical tone of some of the comments) I would agree that it is always interesting to get a glimpse of people's surroundings. In this case the comments have been a bonus.

  15. GB. Thank you. I'm enjoying tracking your ablations around my blog. If I wasn't still on almost minimal input here, I'd've already have come to visit yours. I hope you forgive me this etiquette breach and allow me the assured pleasure at a later date....

  16. There is no breach of etiquette in my eyes and therefore nothing to forgive. At the moment the pleasure of many more months of your past posts to peruse (unintended alliteration) is a very pleasant thought.

    Love the WV: snerf. Ha. That has to be a words I can use somewhere, sometime.

  17. Ugh. That sounds like a seriously nasty time you've had. I'm not sure how well one has to know someone to heap sympathy upon them so I'll just say that I really am very sorry that you went through all that.