'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.

Friday, 31 July 2015

If It Were My Home Instead of the One I Have

Have you ever wondered what your life would have been like if you had been born elsewhere?

Leaving aside for the moment, discussions of nurture/ nature and, indeed, even individual, personal realities, this website does go a small step towards comparing gross statistical figures of your country and others of your choosing.
These are facts that would, of course, influence your individual, personal, everyday reality.
You are unlikely to be the same person.
What would your life expectancy be if you had been born in South Sudan?  Spain?  Or the Solomon Islands, f'rinstance?  What average income?  Chance of having died before adulthood?  Amount of oil you use? Chance of being in prison?

I found it very interesting, right from the map at the start that superimposes the two countries on top of each other.
Notice there is an arrow at the end of the main headings to lead you to 'more information'.
And at the bottom is a list of books you can read to extend your knowledge and dig a little deeper into another way of life.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Sunrise Over Tauranga Estuary

I got up at about 6.30 this morning and trotted along the road a bit to where a path takes you down to the edge of the estuary.
I stood with my gloves and coat and wooly hat and my camera poised, taking a few desultory shots of a kingfisher having its breakfast, waiting for the moment when the golden orb would show its face.
Which it did at about 7.15, just when it was supposed to.  Funny that.

Sadly the stop-bank that I stood on, designed to take the fat sewer pipe (now removed so that walkers can now actually see the estuary from the path), has the effect of cutting off the normal tidal water movements in and out, and the unhealthy sludgy water that is backed up behind, escaping in only a few places, supports a fraction of the species it should… and most of those were mangroves, which have been cut and are lying there rotting in the water.

Sometimes I wonder how many years it would take for the Earth to find some kind of normality again, if all the humans were instantly transported elsewhere tomorrow.
Maybe, to Kepler-452b. Perhaps the 5x gravity there will stop us being so successful.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

From the Past

Back in 2010 when I was just a shy little artist and not the rumbustious, in-yer-face, confident creator I am today, My friend Wendy and I, newly graduated with our Polytechnic diplomas, were offered a huge vacant shop space in downtown Tauranga, for the summer.  It was is a prime spot: next to 'Creative Tauranga', and across the roads from the iSite and the then three-year old Toi Tauranga Art Gallery.  We imagined we would be contributing to the 'Quartier de L'Arte' of Tauranga.

We had a number of PR articles written about us, here's one.
 (Like all media releases I have ever known of, they got something wrong of course:  We were there for a whole summer, not just the week.  Oh Well.)

We didn't really have enough work of our own to show so we invited friends to put a piece or two in (sadly, very few did, perhaps they were too pleased to do nothing over the summer after two year's study) and rather nervously decided that we would create a "Working Art Studio" and hope people might enjoy wandering in and seeing us work, rather than have the main intention being to have art for sale.
This was clearly a new concept, and at the beginning many visitors would linger at the doorway, unwilling to enter.  So we stuck up every piece of art we had ever done and put a price on each. That was much better, as people knew what to expect from an 'art shop', and we usually had between 10 - 30 visitors a day. We had a sandwich board outside, and strict opening hours.

It was such a fun summer, and although I rarely got any consistent work done, we met a great many people. Some came off the cruise ships that come into port, and lots of locals, people who just wanted to talk about art in general, or their own or spouse's or friend's art-making. It was rare that there wasn't someone in our "WAS",  sitting on the settee drinking tea and chewing the arti-fat.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Potato Antidote

In case you need an antidote to something serious that is happening in your life, like tax returns, or a sore back (I have both, probably related) here is the Potato Song.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Tommy Emannuel

It's been such a long time since I listened to this fellow, let alone posted any of his music.
Here's Struttin'.
His standard is high.  And I read it took him 25 days solid work to get this particular piece up there.
That's about my average for an art work too.
Not that there's any comparison.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Dictionary Words

From an article in the Times `2008, but worth posting here just for the sheer fun of it, I think.

"Dictionary compilers at Collins have decided that the word list for the forthcoming edition of its largest volume is embrangled with words so obscure that they are linguistic recrement. Such words, they say, must be exuviated abstergently to make room for modern additions that will act as a roborant for the book.
Readers who vilipend the compilers’ decision and vaticinate that society will be poorer without little-used words have been offered a chance to save them from the endangered list Collins, which is owned by News Corporation, parent company of The Times, has agreed that words will be granted a reprieve if evidence of their popularity emerges before February, when the word list is finalised."

Exuviation: Before full metamorphosis to the imago, this newly-hatched mantis will need to undergo several skin exuviations and after each will be vulnerable to predation until the new skin has hardened.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Mr Phil Warren and His Matches.

For quite a few years now Phil has been making ships and aircraft from matches and their boxes.

I think such steady application should be rewarded, so I dedicate this post to him.
I have also written a poem in his honour.

I make my ships from matches
I've constructed flotillas and fleets
Some people think I'm crazy
But it's kept me off the streets.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Good Day For It

My day: Raining. Tax return. Exercycle. Tax return. Drying washing. Ironing. Paperwork. Exercycle.
The blue stuff in the satellite image is, needless to say, rain. 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015



When I was just two, Michael Bond published the first of his delightful 'Paddington' books, so it wasn't surprising that they were part of my growing up years.
Sweet-natured and polite, but rather clumsy and with a marmalade habit (which I approved of, much preferring it to honey - the addiction of another of my childhood bears Pooh), Paddington Bear was, to me anyway, the stereotype of restrained British sensitivity, understated humour, and kindness, which I also met in Paul Gallico, Millie-Mollie-Mandy, The Famous Five, and Rupert (who of course, although looking like a bear, was really far more boy-like).

I think they've done a really rather topping job of the Paddington movie that came out last year 2014, but that I've only just seen.

I especially loved the cameo appearance of Michael Bond himself, tipping his glass to Paddington through a restaurant window.  If you see the movie (and I recommend you do, no matter how old you are), see if you can spot him.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015


It's a bit chilly today here in the usually sunny Bay of Plenty. I woke with a bit of a sniffle so I boiled the kettle, put half in a hot water bottle which I have stuck down the front of my second pair of trousers, and poured the other half over the peel and juice of a lemon and a tablespoon of bush honey. 
It's so handy that the mandarins and lemons all bear fruit in winter, just when we need the vitamin C!

I've also chopped a few for marmalade. Mmmm, love the smell of citrus wafting through the house!