'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 August 2018

Copenhagen University Horticultural Gardens

Next day I walked a few blocks and found one of the gates to the Copenhagen University Horticultural Gardens.
I spent a happy four hours ambling along the paths and walks looking for insects and spiders and beautiful plants, and taking photos.  It was quite dry but I saw lots of Apis melifera (honey bees) as there were hives in one corner.*
Once or twice I looked up and extended my focal distance to greater than half a metre and noticed there were children, young couples, older people, and birds.  Many of them were looking at me curiously, and they were usually smiling.  I suppose I was so intent that I was an object of interest.
Then I went back to my accommodation and slept and slept and slept again.

I was so excited to see my first non-buff-bottomed bumblebee.

Spent poppy seed-case.

Flower beetles of some sort

 anyone know?

Euphorbia sp.


A. Melifera, the honey bee.



Aquilegia var.

Aphids and a male Chironomidae fly.
(You can tell it's male because it has feathery antennae.)

There were large numbers of harlequin beetles.
(You can tell it's a harlequin and not the ladybird
because they are bigger and also have a 'W" or 'M' just behind the head.)


One of the Opiliones.  Also known as harvestman or Daddy Long-legs.

Pica pica, the Eurasian magpie.  Quite unlike our downunder one.
(Oh, did you know this is considered to be the most intelligent non-human animal?)

The 'Malkepigen' Statue (The Milkmaid)

helebore var


The Science department ... no, I didn't go in.

* I saw very few A. Melifera in the rest of Europe and the UK.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Wonderful, Wonderful, Copenhagen

When I reached my accommodation - the 'Cabinn Scandinavia' - I was just in time for breakfast.  An amazing feast laid out in the European style with cereals, breads, toast, rolls, bacon eggs, meats, pickles, fresh sweet peppers, spreads, cheeses, fruit juices, milk, tea, coffee and more.  It was just what I needed after 25 hours journey from the other side of the world. Unfortunately I really needed sleep too, but all they could offer at 10am was a luggage room for me to stow my small bag, and a lounge.  I felt too conspicuous snoozing there, even if it had been quiet enough.  Besides, I had had enough of sleeping upright for a while.  What I really needed was somewhere soft and horizontal, but that wasn't to be had until 3pm I was told.  Or maybe 2.30.
I charged up my iPad and let nearest and dearest know I had arrived safely, and went for a walk to the end of the road where there were some interesting statues of people (silently chatting on the empty corner) and then along the road a little where I discovered a lovely peaceful little park, and at the end, a wonderful church, beautifully framed by the tall hedges.  I walked down to get a closer look, then completed the block in the quiet with blackbirds singing in the huge urban trees.  Magic.
When I got back, the receptionist told me a room was available already - oh bliss! - and I think I was asleep before my proverbial head hit the proverbial pillow. The sound of rain outside the window simply sent me even deeper.

Sculpture group on Rosenørns Allé

Julius Thomsens Plads

Sankt Markus Kirke

Frederiksberg C district, Copenhagen

My small but perfectly formed room with ensuite.

Monday, 27 August 2018

I Need a Homing Laptop

I am so good at losing my stuff recently!
The problem is I went away on my Big Trip and because I was worried about robbers coming and stealing any one of my five precious things that I hid them. Really well. And now I can't find one of them.

It's not my yummy new laptop.  I am typing away on this right now.  But it was for a while, and took me about a week to find on my return.  So what I should have is a wee beeper or homing pigeon or something, that stays in the box (I am a box-keeper), never runs out of battery or energy, and when required, will call the missing object when it goes missing somewhere in the house.  And that missing object would call or beep or coo back, and give away its location.

I even went to an extraordinarily large amount of trouble to photoshop this cool illustration for you, when I should have been doing something else.

Like looking for the Thing.  

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Off and Upwards

       It was a little scary heading off to Auckland knowing I might not even get on the plane.  My daughter had helped me through the process of 'booking' (and paying) for my 'staff travel' Qatar Airlines flights Auckland to Doha and then Doha to Copenhagen, but of course, being the Mum of a flight attendant doesn't get you necessarily on.  It's still a matter of whether there is a seat available for you.
But, the good news was, I did get on both flights.  I staggered off the plane at Copenhagen almost exactly 25 hours after I had sat down in the seat of the first one. It was about 7am on a quiet Saturday day morning and there seemed to be no-one around except my flight-mates.  Even the customs officers were absent, which was uncanny.
A rather gorgeous Scandinavian university professor, a couple of giggling Asian women and I found ourselves sharing the metro carriage into the city.  He inquired had we noticed the absence of the usual customs personnel, suggesting with a twinkling smile it was because they were all tired out from watching the buildup to the FIFA World Cup soccer game between Denmark and Peru that was on today.
 He then asked us what we were planning to do and see while in Denmark.  The women giggled together again and said they were going to the nearest information centre and would learn there what to visit.  When he turned his beautiful blue eyes on me I said 'Sleep. And then visit the University Horticultural Gardens when I am rested'.  'Oh, but that is where my Science Faculty is located!' he exclaimed. 'Right in the middle of the gardens'. And so it was.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Three Handy Travelling Tools.

I have a friend who, like many people, is nervous of flying.  She is off to Iceland in a couple of days, a much-anticipated trip, and I hope you have a lovely time Thea!

I introduced Thea to the free app Flight Radar, so she could not only identify the planes that were flying over her house in Hadleigh, Suffolk, but also so it might slowly dawn on her how many hundreds of them there were every day, and how they never actually suddenly fall from the sky.*

It looks like the London Airport to Amsterdam flight left a little late but will
probably make up the time.

Some years ago Alden the yachtee blogger sent me a link to a really great resource.  It shows you the pattern of winds that exist at the time you are looking, anywhere on the Earth.  And if you click, not only will you zoom in to a spot on the Earth, you can also get your coordinates and the wind speed. An Earth Wind Map, for right now. Amazing.
Very useful if you are sailing in anything from a single-person vessel to gliding in comfort on a cruise ship.  Or if you just want to know the weather somewhere.

Another handy free app for travelling is

MapsMe will locate you anywhere on the Earth (download the area first when you are somewhere where you have wifi) even if you are not connected to the net.  My son James made me get it so I wouldn't get lost in the Swedish forest.  Or maybe so that he wouldn't be worried about me getting lost in the Swedish forest.  One of the two.
Of course it is also brilliant for getting around an unknown town.  I used it in London walking from Victoria Station to my accommodation in Pimlico. You can even 'see yourself' on the bus or in a taxi zooming along a road.  You cannot see yourself in tunnels and on the Underground however.

I dropped a pin where I went in the forest the first time, and so it was very easy to go there again,
and also easy to get back to the pin I dropped when I left the road

All free.  Click on the words below to get more information:

Flight Radar

Earth Wind Map


* well, not very often, anyway.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

It began with a Stone.

I wonder if some of my new visitors might enjoy reading this post from some time back.  In it I document the process of creating a commissioned painting.

Here is an image from it, part of a knight in armour. Or, if you prefer, armor.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Rose Chafer Painting

In my never-ending search for a way to depict iridescence, I bought some of those alluring metallic pens.  I used them on this clockwork chafer beetle, with some success.

There is still the problem that the shine doesn't really show up unless the viewer is moving and looking at the same time, which people don't tend to do.  And the necessary glass over the paper-based painting also prevents a real engagement.  
Hmmm, maybe I could use the pens on a canvas, along with acrylic or oils.  That's something to think about another time. Although I would probably want to avoid the canvas texture.  Perhaps lots of gesso would do it, sanding between layers.

It's gone now.  It sold the first time it was shown to the public, and now infests the house of an eminent entomologist.