About town

As I drive around town I often see the standard sort of thing common in any town (yes I’m talking about you Starbucks.  And your ilk).   But then again, in my wanderings I often come across things that are unique to here.

This particular piece of civic pride stirred up a major shit storm controversy as soon as it was installed.  A committee decided this would be a great idea, and without notifying anyone, stuck it in at this city park which gets thousands of visitors.   They were forced to take it down within the week, but I did snap this photo before that happened (I did not think this would last, but you never know).

Even the cat eyeballing this skeleton though it was a little weird (I mean, what does a skeleton even need with toilet paper?).

This tiny bit of street art was back in it’s cubbyhole after being stolen.   (Actually this is a replacement Kissing Camels, they never recovered the original.)

These hilarious leftist signs are located on the private, expensive college in town.   I’m not sure how effective these are, as the students need to have large signs telling them: to use a crosswalk, push the button to stop traffic in a crosswalk and to look before they cross the street.   All they need is the poster that says ‘Obey’ and they will be set to face life.

And then there are the deer, thick as fleas in some fancy neighborhoods in the foothills (there is just a small herd in my neighborhood).   There is a proposal being floated about to shoot them dead in the streets.   Which would be both unsporting (they are quite tame) and cruel and unusual.   So I hope this never happens, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


New Year

And a Happy New Year to everyone from Godzilla, Pteri and Topsy.

Also Rosa sends her best wishes to all for a splendid 2018.   She is looking forward to another year of destroying people’s expensive landscaping and she hopes the same for you.  (She also hopes that they don’t allow hunting in town of these tame herds of deer).

A lump of coal

In the Harry Potter books, a hat sorts persons based on their personality into one of four houses.   But at Christmas time, one is sorted (presumably by Santa Claus or some other authority) into one of two categories:  Naughty or Nice.   The Nice are promised that they will receive lots of lovely presents as a reward for being nice, and the Naughty are threatened with only getting a lump of coal in lieu of a present.   But is a lump of coal really such a bad thing?

Here is some coal near my house, free for the taking (sort of).   In fact at one time there were working coal mines right in the city limits.   As the sources for heat were either wood or coal, this was probably a good thing.

Many of the old houses here in town have a little window to the basement and coal was tipped into the cellar to be shoveled into the furnace by the householder.   But in London, there are these splendid covers out on the pavement that were the access point for coal deliveries.

Rather than being drab, utilitarian things, these covers are little works of art.

I suppose that someone had to deal with the business of actually carrying the coal to the fireplaces, etc.

This cover which features mugs of beer was by the Truman’s brewery.

A radiant sun is nice, especially when one has gone a day without seeing it.

And some are just pretty.

As I am possibly on the Naughty list, I expect I shall have rather a lot of coal to burn.   😉

Art Day

I always enjoyed going to the art museum when I was a child:  it was mysterious, beautiful and scary, always an adventure and free.   The local museum is tiny and expensive, except on free days, so you can guess when I am likely to visit (I have forked over money on occasion).  So I was there for the most recent free day, just having time enough for a quick look see.

I took scads of pictures of this display the  last time I was there.   What’s not to like about floating invisible people spiraling down an empty corridor?  This is also I technique that I would like to explore someday (but not today).

The upper gallery displays change from time to time, and today featured a video installation with four screens of waving trees that changed color in a darkened gallery.   Interesting, but what does it mean?   The other gallery featured everyday objects, like a shovel or typewriter, made of glass.   Another gallery had bare speakers hanging from the ceiling playing random noise sounds.   It’s all very artistic I’m sure.

A different sort of glass art is by this guy.   I have seen his stuff in many different places, in the V & A, Missouri Botanical Gardens, Tacoma, WA and here, so his work gets around.   I like the color and form in this piece, it reminds me of the worm in tequila (I’m not saying how I recognize them).

This would be the interactive part of the exhibit, one could write a postcard to one’s mentors and the museum would mail them out.   It’s rather interesting that they chose this old-fashioned format (snail mail, really!).

Then it was on to the next thing I had to do, although I lost all my lovely photos due to user error (so no other pics).  🙁


I think that my love of dinosaurs must have started before I could even read.   My big brother discovered the topic first, and I always tried to do everything that he did.  He made little books about his favorites (or perhaps it was just the ones that he read about.  I’m sure he liked them all).   I suspect that all children are fascinated by dinosaurs (at least before Barney came along and ruined it for the others), because they were gigantic and now they are all gone, disappeared off the face of the earth. 🙁

Leaping lizards!  I even signed the petition to keep Dippy the diplodocus in place at the Natural History Museum, but it did no good (he’s gone on tour for now and was replaced by a whale,  a mammal of all things).  The age of dinosaurs is over, I guess.  However, they still have a bit of things to entertain dinosaur lovers like myself.

Of course artists renditions of dino life are de rigeur, because we can only infer what they looked like and what they were up to.

And the newest thing to make dinos come to life are animatronic dinosaurs, like T-Rex here.   He was quite popular and scads of people took selfies with him (including me!).

These animatronic Deinonochus, a species made popular in the Jurassic Park movies, are simultaneously adorable and quite scary.

All of this makes a skeleton seem rather ordinary.   It’s hard to appreciate the time and love required to find the bones in the first place, pry the bones from solid rock in the lab, replace the missing bones with what was probably there, and assemble it together again.

Then there is this newspaper, which was delivered to my house courtesy of a local church.

While I can’t agree with a single one of their conclusions (being largely fact free), it did have some rather nice pictures of my favorite creatures. 😉



You know that I have tried to limit the number of books that come into my house, and if you know this, then you also know how very bad I am at this.  So here are a few of my newest books.

These lovely books were a gift from my friend GA (not George Ashley), whom I met through the internet.  East End Vernacular is the most recent publication by GA, a collection of paintings of London’s East End.  All of the paintings are previously unpublished works, which just goes to show that talent is not enough to make it in the art world.   The next book,  Traveller’s Children in London Fields, was the very first book that GA published and it is a collection of photographs taken by the late Colin O’Brien.   And then there is A Hoxton Childhood,  a  reprint of a memoir of a working man reflecting back on a long life (and a really wonderful book).   Thanks for the good reads GA.

These books are also from people that I know through the internet.   The Daily Coyote started out as a blog, and Shreve published this wonderful record of Charlie’s life.   Too bad if you see this and want a copy, it was available by subscription only.  Dogs of Avalon is a much more challenging book, and it covers the evils of greyhound racing, and the sanctuary that helps these dogs recover their spirit.   I “met” Laura some years ago after she published her second book “The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken, New Jersey”,  which was a memoir with recipes.

I’m including these calendars in this post just because they come from the internet as well.   I have previously bought a book from The Mincing Mockingbird, but he didn’t have anything new this year, so I just bought his calendars.  And I do love Charlie from The Daily Coyote, he’s actually the only coyote that I like (and he is super adorable).   But, I swear that these are the last books I’m buying (at least for this year, maybe).


Shop Windows

I love walking along the street and looking at the goods on display in shop windows.   What are they using to make one say “I must stop in and buy something”.

Hardware stores are the best places to browse.   Full of enigmatic and useful things, a shop like this that is crammed to the gills with stuff can never fail to inspire one.   Whatever one might need, perhaps a fresh coat of paint, repairing that thing that one has been ignoring, or just handling the various specialised tools; it leads to thoughts of what might be. (So get on with it!)

This window had these lovely antique, hand cranked sewing machines as a backdrop to the standard sort of trendy clothing that the shop sells.  I have been sewing for years (lots and lots of years) and yet I have no idea how to sew a straight line using just one hand while furiously cranking with the other.  So bravo to those who originally used these machines.  This display was the most interesting part of this shop.

Then there are the Christmas displays meant to fill one with the Christmas spirit (or at least the urge to spend money on one’s family and friends, if that is the same thing?).  When I was a child, I remember making special trips to the shopping district just to see the windows.  This store chose to use cartoon figures of Italian designers rather than the more traditional elves to flog their wares.  If it wasn’t for the tinsel and party dresses I might not have known this was a Christmas display.

And of course what says Christmas more than rockets and little green men ( a very traditional look for aliens).

Sunday in the Park

We have had a string of rather fine days for this time of year lately.  First there was the day for the eating holiday, then there was the day for the shopping holiday, and then today was perfect for just being out strolling around and enjoying the sunshine.  There is a spectacular city park, so my friends and I, and several hundred other souls went out to pay the rocks a visit.

And it was a great day for taking photos of the rocks.  It was cloudy and overcast when we first arrived, but the sun broke through and lit up these beautiful rock formations.

The rocks are so photogenic, I would not be surprised to learn that thousands of pictures were taken this very day.   But wait, what is that tiny blob up there on the ridge.

Why it’s some girl, waiting to get to the top.

Here’s the gang at the top, no doubt contemplating getting down without killing themselves.  That part is apparently much easier (like falling off a log) than getting up, which requires grabbing on to the tiny handholds in the rock and pulling oneself up.   The ropes are just there in case you fall off the log rock.

Then it was goodbye to the rocks til next time (I do have jillions of pictures that I have taken here over the years), and onward to lunch and still more shopping.

street art

It’s quite a lovely thing to be strolling down the street and to come across an interesting bit of street art (not tagging graffiti, which I find dull for the most part).

My attention was drawn to this piece by the person who was photographing it seconds before I took this shot.   Peace to you, too giant skeleton person.

I have this thing about herons;  I hate them.   I hate them because they refuse to stand still and be photographed (although I still try every time I see one).   But this heron is not going anywhere, so I was able to capture it.

I was actually taking the photo of the piece with the alien, balloon and bag of money (the bag of money being a necessity in any big city).  Later I noticed the piece of pixel art above it.   Could this be from the noted French artist Space Invader?   Quite the enigma as the artist does create anonymously.  But it certainly is in the Space Invader style (who knew this was a thing?).

And then I came across this piece in front of a Truman’s pub.   I do know who created this, thanks to a blog post in Spitalfields Life.  The artist and model is Robson Cesar, in his preferred medium of beer bottle caps (bottletops to you Brits).   I have heard the saying “the purpose of art is to communicate”.   Or maybe the purpose of art is to just add a bit of color and interest to life.   Whether it’s the former or the latter, I think that the artist involved achieved his goals.


A list of my favorite things would surely include stop motion animation.  Animators must have incredible patience and skill to create the illusion of being a living thing out of a tiny puppet.  So of course I am familiar with the work of the great Ray Harryhausen.   I love his films, and have seen each one multiple times.   Having the opportunity to see an exhibit on his creative process was part of the very excuse of my visit.

This shot is of a scene in Jason and the Argonauts where they come across these giant metallic statues.  The guy with the sword comes creaking to life and fights the hero before smashing into pieces.  Great stuff!

This is the evil and deadly medusa from Clash of the Titans, the final film from this great director.  She is much shorter than one would suspect and her gaze has lost quite a bit of it’s power (no one there had been turned to stone, much to my disappointment).

The magnificent Pegasus (as I mentioned in a previous post, I love Pegasus), it’s hard to believe that he could carry a full grown man on his back.  But I would definitely ride one given the opportunity.

One of the most famous scenes created by this artist was the fighting skeletons in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.  I thought this scene was tremendously thrilling when I first saw this at a Saturday matinee as a child.  Those skeletons were so ferocious looking that they seemed extra scary to me.  (I decided it would be a good idea to run away if I ever encountered them).

Here is one that they captured to put on display.  And he is still ready to fight (perhaps I had better back away slowly and make my escape).    😉