Tuesday, May 31, 2005

We will rock you

Cairn Cornwall May 2005 by Pupski Posted by Hello

I made this mini Cairn on the rocky beach at Mousehole in Cornwall last week.

I am still finding out more about Cairns and it seems that they are to be found all over the world in some form or another.

Clicking on today's title will take you to a site about cairns in Pensylvania, the cairns there are many and varied but noone really knows why they were built.

For myself I find cairn building a slightly compulsive and therapeautic pasttime. It puts me in touch with the earth and the elements and is extremely satisfying, it gives me a sense of being connected to the past, knowing that people have created similar structures for thousands of years. There is also great pleasure in building them on the beach where you know that ultimately they will be washed away by the high tide, the rocks reclaimed by swirling salty water so that but for phot or memory you would never know that they were there.

Sunday, May 22, 2005


Lokking at Dr Joolz blog about Flat Stanley got me thinking about children's books. I was an avid reader as a child. I started off with books like Cat in the Hat from the young learners series (others were One Fish, two Fish Red fish Blue Fish, A Fly Went By, Green Eggs and Ham, The King, the Mice and the Cheese, The Three Bears Picnic and my favourite The Diggingest Dog (click on titles for fun pages!).

Later on I graduated to Enid Blyton, which I was into in a big way, I used to get second hand Secret Sevens and Famous Fives from a little eccentric second hand book shop called the Scientific Anglian in St Benedicts Street in Norwich, which was like a maze of little rickety staircases and floor to ceiling dark wooden shelving heaving with books of every sort imaginable. I loved that shop as a child and was sad to see it closed. Sadly shops like that aren't possible any more in this age of safety paranoia!


Went to the cinema the other night to see Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, which I have to confess I was a little disappointed in. I can't quite put my finger on exactly what it is that is wrong with the film. It could be that I just know the story too well and so there was no surprises, it could be that it just works better on the radio or as a book, it could be because they have changed the story (left bits out and made a love story where there was none), or it could be that the actors were just not up to it. The special effects were excellent but and the actors were certainly trying hard but somehow it just didn't work.

Talking of cinema I have myself getting excited about seeing the new Star Wars film Revenge of the Sith . It's funny how I have found myself buying into the build up and excitement even though I was disappointed by the last star wars film. It's as though on some level I can't quite believe that George Lucas could make two bad films in a row.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Art and agriculture

I have been watching a programme on BBC2 called How Art Changed the World . This week they revealed that agriculture was first developed to feed the people who were building some kind of big temple. The fact that hundreds of people had come togethjer in one place to create the temple led to the problem of how they would feed them all so they planted wheat and other crops.

It's amazing when you think about it, if we hadn't developed agricuture then the world and society would be very different. For a start the physical landscape would be different, there would be more natural forest, we wouldn't have had the need to irrigate and drain big tracts of land. cities and large towns probably wouldn't exist. You need agriculture to be able to sustain so may people in one place. Maybe the population would not have grown at the pace it has done.

makes you think...

Toys are us

Holmes wrecker corgi breakdown truck Posted by Hello

N was watching a tv show where they were asking people what their favourite toys were as children. N would probably say something to do with Star Wars or Lego but it got me thinking about the toys I had as a child - here is my top five:

1. Corgi Holmes Wrecker Breakdown truck (pictured above) - this was my absolute fave, the cab lifted up to reveal a detailed engine and it had metal legs that came out at the sides to steady it when it was first lifting. Never did understand why it had those 2 goofy men with it - they are out of proportion to the truck.

2. Toy farm - lots of plastic animals, a big plastic barn and wooden houses and trees - great!

3. Better builder - like an early version of lego that didn't stick together so well, came in a round plastic tub.

4. Mako magnorama - a big magnetic board with two big pictures (landscape and townscape) that you attached to it and lots of disney figures that you could attach to it to make a scene.

5. Etch a sketch - the old ones were made of glass, amazingly enough I didn't break mine - think I was careful because I loved it so much. It was very hard to choose a top five of toys and I feel slightly guilty for not including any of my cuddly animals (especially Easter Bunny), other faves worth a mention are a service station, all the toy cars ( and I had loads), daisy doll and a Simon Snorkel fire engine that actually shot water.

I loved toy cars as a child and always remember the feeling of excitement and trepidation when I finally got into the toyshop with some money. The Matchbox cars were in a big glass case and it was always really hard to choose just one. Then the shop assistant would go to the back and slide the box out of the unit. There was something very special about the fact that those cars came in little cardboard boxes. I looked at toy cars in several of the toy stores in Norwich and they just aren't the same these days.

I don't think they are a big seller like they were in the 1970s they have been eclipsed and overtaken by themed toys from movies and lego and playmobil. But I do wonder if they would be a bigger seller if they went back to the old way of displaying them, a few bubble packed cars hanging up high on a shelf is much less likely to grab the attention of a 6-year-old than a big glass case at childs eye level full of shiny metal cars. The other thing with bubble packs is that unless you carry scissors around with you you often can't open them until you get home. N had lots of tears over unopenable packaging when he was younger. Kids like the immediacy of easily openable packaging, they want to be able to touch, hold and sniff their purchase as soon as they buy it. Bring back matchbox cars in cardboard boxes - it could be the next craze!

Friday, May 20, 2005

What do we put down our toilets?

A friend who read my blog got me thinking about what we put down our toilets. She knows someone who puts all manner of stuff down her loo - teabags, paper, food, plastic bags... It is a subject that I sometimes ponder whilst on foreign trips. In the UK we flush loads of stuff down the loo yet in other parts of Europe they don't even flush away toilet paper (presumably this is to conserve water and to quicken the biodegrading of waste).

When you start reading about and talking to people it is amazing the kinds of things that they do put down their toilets. Here are some examples:
dead goldfish
nappy liners
tea leaves and coffee grounds
cotton wool
cat litter
hamster (accidently)
dead mice
and more

I found this site that tells you that only paper, and bodily waste should go into the sewage system.

This seemed like a pertinent subject considering the furore about the alleged Qu'ran in the toilet incident I can think of several books that should be flushed down the toilet...

On a lighter note I found a great little survey on toilet habits.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Hats off to Roy Harper...

Flat, Baroque and Beserk Posted by Hello

Spent some time yesterday putting some music on the mp3 player as I am going on a trip next week. Space is limited so I needed to be selective about the tracks. I have been drawn more and more to old tracks that I used to listen to in my teens and twenties and found myself experiencing a huge urge to hear Flat, Baroque and Beserk by Roy Harper (1970) pictured above.

Nostalgia is a funny thing sometimes I find myself feeling warm towards music I didn't even like at the time it was out - like Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet, and sometimes music I did like I find I really don't like any more like Spirit and Santana. But there are some albums that I liked when I was younger that still sound great when I listen to them now and Flat Baroque and Beserk definitely falls into that category.

You can listen to Don't you Grieve after me at http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/harper_roy/288457/album.jhtml
that is the only track from Flat baroque but there are excerpts from other Roy Harper albums as well.

So far I have in my nostalgic list:
Roy Harper
David Bowie
Judie Tzuke
New Model Army
Depeche Mode
Michelle Shocked
Moody Blues
Pink Floyd
Simple Minds
Boomtown rats

Monday, May 16, 2005

A bit of sunshine

sun spirit by pupski Posted by Hello

Thought that I would include this painting to add a bit of sunshine to an otherwise dull, grey wet day.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sandwich Synchronicity

In an absolute touch of synchronicity there was a small piece about Elvis Presley's favourite sandwich in an article in todays Independent newspaper.

"the sandwich in question involved a pound of bacon and entire jars of jam and peanut butter crammed into a deep-fried loaf"

Elvis was able to eat up to twenty of these in one go!

This would have to be number 11 in the top 10!

A Nice Sandwich...

A nice sandwich Posted by Hello

Well I got to thinking about sandwiches (as you do!). Not my favourite subject in the world but one that is definitely worthy of a mention.

Personally I am not a great fan of the sandwich. I like the occasional fake bacon butty, especially if the bread is white and soft and I like a good sandwich if the filling is excellent and the bread tasty. I recently discovered a yummy organic sandwich in Boots the chemist of all places (watercress, grated carrot and humous on some sort of grainy bread - yum).

I think I went off sandwiches after years of enduring the packed lunch at high school. My mum was going through a homemade bread phase and although homemade wholemeal bread is delicious with melty butter straight from the oven or yummy toasted, it is not so great two days old, slightly dry and served as a doorstop sandwich with piccalilli in the middle!

My other pet sandwich hate is the jam sandwich. I don't know what it is about the jam sandwich. Jam is fine on bread on it's own but put a lid on it and it's yucksville! Especially bad made with white sliced (dead) bread that has been open a couple of days!

Top Ten "bad" lunchbox sandwiches:

1. Jam (any kind) especially on white bread
2. Honey - sinks into the bread during the morning so when you come to eat it it's all dry - yuck!
3. Piccalilli on homemade wholemeal.
4. Dripping - could never stomach this even when I did eat meat.
5. Just cheese - cheddar cheese is so dry it always needs an accompaniment to give it a lift otherwise it just sticks to the roof of your mouth.
6. Sandwich spread - who invented this??? we liked it for a while in the seventies but now - you gotta be kidding.
7. Luncheon meat or spam - YUCK - need I say more?
8. Paste - remember those little jars, smells like cat food and tastes just as bad.
9. pilchard or sardine - I don't eat fish now but could never handle those little bones - also makes the bread soggy and horrible!
10. Sugar - wasn't sure whether to include this one, the sandwich that our grannies used to give us and definitely not politically correct these days!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Rotten to the core?

rotten to the core Posted by Hello
picture by Pupski

Everything looks beautiful today - the wind is blowing, there is blossom on the trees, the grass is lush and green, the birds are singing...Spring has well and truly sprung.

The only thing that spoils it is us! Us grumpy, sweary, angry humans. Is society rotten to the core? why is everyone so stressed and angry? Is the world just too fast for us to cope with? Are mobile phones destroying our brains? Is the world just too damn noisy these days with all the traffic, aircraft, mobile phones, sirens, lawn mowers, power tools, construction noise, tv, hi-fi etc? All that background noise can't be good for you.

I sometimes long to be somewhere you can't hear any human generated noise at all... just the wind in the leaves, the swish of waves over shingle or the gentle patter of rain, birds singing...if only I had a time machine....

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


I came across an interesting list today in an old notebook:

Velvet horn
Thong weed
Maidens hair
Toothed Wrack
Spiral Wrack
Land Ladys Wig
Gooseberry sea-squirt etc...

In fact there were several lists in the notebook but this was by far the most interesting (it was longer!) and in case you didn't know it is a list of sea plants. The funny thing is I have no recolletion of when or why I wrote it - and it is definitely in my handwriting.

List making is a weirdly compulsive habit, I make quite a few but I have friends who make lists for absolutely everything. Mine tend to be shopping, things I need to do or lists in exercises from self help books like the Artists Way http://www.theartistsway.com/.

List making seems to be intrinsic to our society and I often wonder did people in more primitive cultures make lists somehow. Were those paintings of animals and hunting on cave walls just a shopping or to do list? Nick Hornby has immortalised the fine art of list making in his book High Fidelity (also a great film!), part of the joy of his main character's compulsion to document his life through lists is the fact that we can all relate to it. How many of us haven't made those lists, top five singles, top five albums etc etc.

If you are interested in lists a great web site is http://www.5ives.com/ a site devoted to top fives!

Other lists in my old notebook were: women I most admire, CDs I want, cards in a tarot reading, eclectic albums....

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Edible toilet tissue??

Minty green Posted by Hello

What is this obsession the British have about naming toilet tissue colours after food - so far this week I have spotted minty green, soft peach, fresh peach (?), orange (well I'll excuse that one!), lemon yellow and honey and I'm sure there are more.

Why not just wipe your bum on a piece of fruit or a nice sandwich. Or maybe you could eat after you wipe - like Star Trek where they recycle bodily waste into food in the replicators. If Captain Picard described his tea as nats pee there would be a chance that that is what it really is!

Star Trek is supposed to be the Utopian vision of how great things will be in the future - well eating your own s*** doesn't sound all that great to me!

And another thing you'd think that if things had moved on so much that the women might have given up those eye bogglingly tight figure accentuating outfits so obviously designed for men to look at (Or at least make men wear them too!). Fat women just wouldn't look good in those uniforms would they? Well luckily there's not a single roll of fat to be seen anywhere on the Enterprise, either they have cured obesity in the future, wiped out fat people in a bout of ethnic cleansing or more likely there are no calories in recycled sewage! Bring on the replicated choccy cake!!

More loo related trivia to be found at:http://www.worldtoilet.org/advertorials/On_a_roll.htm

Monday, May 09, 2005

A soft centre too far....

revels Posted by Hello

Had a very traumatic experience on Friday. I had a huge craving for chocolate and bought a packet of Revels from the corner shop. Now I don't buy chocolate all that often (well not every day) and when I do I expect it to be a truly amazing and delicious experience or else at least a nostalgic one.

Well imagine my horror when I discovered that they had removed the peanut Revels from the Revels packets. Not only that (as if that wasn't bad enough!) but they have replaced them with (wait for it...) raisin. Raisin!!!! Yes you heard me right not that I have got anything against chocolate raisins, in fact I quite like them, they were in fact in part responsible for me gaining weight when I was pregnant ... but they have no place in a packet of Revels.

A packet of Revels is nothing without the peanuts, when the peanut is there you can put up with the too many toffees and the coffee ones and the crunchy combination of the minstrels, maltesers and chocolate peanuts is just right. To take away the peanut and replace it with a raisin is just one soft centre too far!!!!

It was bad enough when they stopped making Peanut Treats, Skittles are just horrible in comparison and who needs all that chemical colouring - I say bring back peanut Revels and do it soon!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Music and memory...

I woke up this morning with the words to two different Smiths songs whizzing around my fuddled brain. The first was Sweet and Tender Hooligan and the second I had to look up because although I could remember the words I couldn't remember the title was 'Half a Person' (lyrics can be found at: http://www.pattygriffin.net/Lyrics/HalfAPerson.html).

It's amazing how song words embed themselves in your brain. Yesterday in the car we were listening to some songs on the ipod and I realised that I know all the words to Londons Calling by the Clash http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/theclash/londoncalling.html and the other week I found that I could sing 'The spirit of Radio' by Rush all the way through despite the fact that I haven't heard it since I was 18 (http://www.lyricsfreak.com/r/rush/120011.html). This seems all the more remarkable when you consider the fact that I often can't remember important dates and things that happened a few days ago.

Is this a symptom of getting older? Does the short term memory deteriorate and the long term memory improve? Is that why old people spend all their time reminiscing about the past? Or is it that things learnt musically are more likely to stay in your memory. Maybe I should have learnt my anatomy and physiology for reflexology in the form of a song.

I often wonder where all that forgotton informatrion goes to. Is it stored in your brain and just inaccessible or does the new information push the old unused information out? For example as a young child I knew everthing there was to know about dinosaurs and I was also a good chess player - now I can't remember how to play chess and can remember little about dinosaurs. So where did that inforamtion go?? and if the old information does get pushed out why can I rember all those song lyrics, some of which are to songs that I never even liked.


Found this link that links verbal memory to music training....will have to investigate further.