Tags: photographs

Dublin

Smaller on the inside

Continuing my attempts to make myself look prehistoric by wallowing in Doctor Who nostalgia from the 1970s, here's a fantastic little tin that my Mum brought over recently (in her continued attempts to rid the house of all our old tat...)



Click for bigger versions and just admire the time and care that's gone into crafting this jewel in the crown of merchandising. I'm thinking the illustration alone must have demanded at least half an hour and a tube of Pritt Stick.

Here's the bit they would look at on Antiques Roadshow to confirm its provenance:


Apparently BBC Enterprises took the bold decision not to disown it. I do have a nostalgic fondness for the old girl, though.

Dublin

Newts: The Next Generation

It had been a while since we'd seen any newts in our pond, having at one stage counted nine newts swimming around simultaneously. We'd more or less decided that the newts had left the pond, as newts are (so they tell me) wont to do.

Then, on the very day my wife declared that if we didn't see a newt she'd give up, we found the tiniest of tiny baby newts (okay, larvae). And then two more. These really are small: only just over a centimetre long, about the size of a 1p coin. They have little gills and four tiny legs. Awww.



I've no idea how many others there may be lurking in the depths of our small pond, or what the chances of them surviving are, but this is a very cool discovery.

Dublin

Making books

My wife just made some books. Actual books. To me, this is a little bit as if she built a new television set. It's sort of like magic.



Essentially the magicprocess goes as follows. The paper is folded, then hand-stitched into groups of pages called signatures.



These separately stitched signatures are bound into essentially the inside of a book.



Then there's a cardboard cover, in three parts so as to give it a flexible spine.



This is rounded to make a proper book shape. Here are three raw books.



Then the whole assemblage is glued together. Extra sheets link the cover to the inner pages, the cover is coated in book cloth/paper, and a cover design paper is glued over the top. Et voila! Three finished books



The end result is a little blank notebook that, frankly, I'd have a hard time telling apart from one bought in a shop. And all this from nothing but paper, cardboard, fabric and glue. How cool is that?



EDIT: And here's an open book, so to speak.

Dublin

Pond Life

Last year we built a pond. The construction process was fairly arduous for a soft northern shite like my good self. (There are various other pictures from the construction process here.)

One year on, I'm really pleased with the way it's naturalised in, something that owes a great deal to my wife planting lots of things, and very little to me watching her plant lots of things.

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Best of all it's full of wildlife, something we only faintly dreamed of one year ago. I'm genuinely amazed at how quickly the local fauna have moved in. They include various frogs and newts, about a million snails, some strange wormy things, and enough insect larvae to stage a 1950s B Movie. Today we encountered this lovely frog which poked its head above water between torrential showers, and obligingly posed for me:



There's another picture of it here.

We also went out for our regular Newt Watch the other night and discovered a hedgehog quietly snaffling all the dried meal worms we'd put out for the birds. Awwww. Being very soft, we're now putting out meal worms every night for the hedgehog. EDIT: And it was there tonight.

EDIT2: Huh. The pictures weren't working with 'new' Facebook links, but it's all fixed now.

Dublin

Further adventures in crafting

My wife's been busy making crafty things again. As you know she's a tireless explorer of different craft projects and gets through more in one weekend than I get done in your average month. This time around she's turning her hand to wire bracelet making, and as usual she's invested in a range of books, equipment and tools. She's only made a few so far, but this is the one she's most pleased with:



This one is copper wire shaped around a wooden mandrel, bound at intervals, with beads threaded on to make the pattern. As usual I'm very impressed. The other fruits of her labours can be seen here. She's already taken an order from someone at work to do some more! I think Janet pretty much has a good time with everything she tries, but she's particularly enjoying the bracelet making at the moment.

For those of you not interested in craftwork, here is a cute snoring three-legged cat:


Dublin

Mwah ha ha ha ha ha

Inspired by ajr and my need to impose order on our sprawling Heap o' Books, as previously detailed here, we went out this week and bought the tallest bookshelves IKEA had to offer, then bought the extra bits that made them taller, then bought extra shelves for them.

This weekend we de-stacked all the books, dismantled the old bookcases, assembled the new ones and (a first for me) attached them to the wall so they can't fall over and crush us.

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Behold the power of our fully operational bookcase:

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And we still have books left over. I've deliberately left some gaps to accommodate my wife's book habit, but the other Heap o' Books in the bedroom already needs thinning out so I don't think this pristine tidiness will last long before the horizontal stacking returns to haunt us.

Oh, and don't worry, although we have indeed walled-in half the cupboard, we can still just about get to the light switch...

Dublin

Garden Safari

Lots of wildlife in our garden still. Here are a few pictures (which also link to bigger versions on my Facebook.)

Swift


Our Swift is nesting again in the eaves of our house, or at least has been making exploratory visits. The entrance to the nest is the tiny black square just to the right of the red lintel over the window. I snapped this picture quickly so it's a little blurry but I'm quite pleased with it. Its black belly marks it out as a Swift rather than a House Martin.

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Dublin

Even Craftier

My wife has been crafting again. This time it's one of her long-running projects that she's finally finished in a sudden turn of speed, plus some glass jewellery.

She's been making a few sets of wooden drawers for a while now, and this is the original practice piece made from pine which after many, many hours of sanding now opens and closes without sticking. At one stage I did wonder whether Janet's hand would fall off before the box was completed. With a little Danish Oil it looks lovely. She wasn't going to bother finishing this because it was just a test piece and she's not overly fond of pine as a material, but I think it's turned out really well.



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Dublin

The Birds

Our garden has been invaded by Starlings. More precisely, several local Starlings seem to have done very well this year and had large broods, so the Dawn Chorus has been transformed into the Dawn Squawk, and our garden is full of fledgling Starlings eagerly fluttering their wings and being busily attended to by their parents. It's very sweet, but also makes it difficult to sleep once the sun comes up. We have three coconuts full of bird fat-feeder: every day Janet fills them to the brim, and every day we get home to find them pecked bare.

Sadly today we found the half-eaten remains of one fledgling in the middle of the lawn. Since we lock our cats in during the day, and our two felines have yet to work out that if you successfully kill a bird it turns out to be full of cat-food, this can only have been the work of one of the local Toms. Sad, but the Starlings are doing fantastically well and I'm sure their gains are far exceeding their losses.

We also have a Blackbird nesting on the side of our garage, underneath a big trailing clematis. It's managed to have at least two chicks despite being right next to our garden gate, and frequently spotted by the cats who sit nearby staring at it greedily. At one point Pixie even clambered up the wire mesh frame that the clematis has been trained up, and wound up sitting in the nest. Thankfully the chicks hadn't hatched at this point, but with Pixie incubating them it's a wonder they hatched at all.