Saturday, December 31, 2016


The Girl Cat has no birth certificate, so there's no way to be certain, but she could be almost a year old. And like all maturing entities she's developed a patina of routines and habits that are important to her sense of place. Good chance she'll avoid the pitfalls of Aimless Wandering, no quest to conquer central time, invade Canada or land on Mars, and as the new year dawns it's worth considering an idea of place that in many respects is alien to me, less so to her. The good argument for moving on is hunger. It eats into that part of being that cannot rest. In us people there's a suggestion that governed as we are by will the Aimless Wanderer is driven by the search for opportunity, which as everyone knows is another understanding of hunger that can include outright greed, or, depending upon the perspective "Doing Well for Themselves." Achievement, you could call it if you wish to, and you could go on through language to find nuances that justify just about anything.

The idea that one year as a cat is equivalent to seven years as a person, would kind of mean that people would be capable of reproduction at around the age of three or four. So short of some horrible scientific exploration we can do away with that ridiculous relationship. But worth wondering what the Girl Cat would do had she been blessed or cursed by the kind of convolutions of thinking that language allows. I certainly know what my first series of question for her would be, and I suspect her answers would be most unsatisfactory. Very certain she'd make little effort to excuse any of her behaviors. There'd be no waxing lyrical around the whole eating the head of the smaller rodent and leaving the rest for someone else to clear up, rather she'd probably insists it was bad luck to break with a Feline Tradition that went back to before the Sphinx. But I do feel confident that on the subject of the Ocean White Fish Pate Dinner she would definitely raise the Question Why?

Friday, December 30, 2016

A Winter's Shovel

There has been Winter work with the shovel. Some might think this odd, assume it has something to do with corpse disposal, but rest assured all is well, no one's missing, or gone to the great beyond. Far from it, the Girl Cat is sound asleep on her Sun bed. Nor is it snow related. Rather it's the kind of work that is sometimes referred to as sod-busting. And yes, it's a few degrees above freezing, a breeze the Inuit would be nervous of and the ground is a little this side of a summer soup that can only be understood at high noon in somewhere like the August Sahara.

But sometimes these things just have to be done, techniques employed garnered from years of close contact with earth, many of them a long way from being remotely elegant and the thing about it is, the 50 by 4 foot patch has to be ready by the end of February.  Have to agree it's an odd moment to begin such a project especially so soon after a long, lazy Autumn that included many, many days of fine digging weather. All the same it's a splendid opportunity to relive a Day in the Life of Ivan Ivanovitch.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Pink Flamingo-hood. progress report

Begin to realize your correspondent is a long way from achieving the goal of Pink Flamingo-hood. There might be some who wonder at the set of flowing emotions that came to such a confluence. Has it something to do with Afon-Bedd, where our hero is still struggling with lunch. Is it Sainthood related? All good questions, and I guess the answer has more to do with strands of thinking that first emerged in written form in the hymns of Zoroaster that can wander the veins during a moment or two of the Morning Dance, or physical exercise as some might prefer to call it. A time of day when there's always a possibility someone is watching. Morning Dances can be different, very different, even a little sinister and can always be misinterpreted by those of us who define ourselves by what we believe. It's tribal.

A more recent understanding of the mind suggests that of the parts of the brain, the "who we are" part is pretty much set, aside from the rare anomaly we're all very much alike. What varies between people is "what we believe." "What we believe" is an edifice, primarily devoted to the social, the importance of cohesion when faced by something like a Saber Toothed Tiger, or who cocks for who, and all the way down to getting out of bed in the morning. And the thing about "what we believe" is that what they call "facts" have less effect upon "what we believe." At the same time "what we believe" is not "who we are." This means that to define yourself by what you believe, while it may have its uses around things like which way to hang the toilet paper, it can also make you kind of stupid when it comes to taking a peep at the real. Easier to cuddle with the edifice, belong to the tribe, make stuff up, put a value on tiaras. Yes indeed, sadly I'm a long way from Pink Flamingo-hood.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Nash, Frankfurt School and Hope

Around sixty five years ago it was a mathematician exploring Game Theory that came up with an idea of an Equilibrium that gave a mathematical basis for interactions between competing players, or participants, or people. Here, knowing the strategies of other players, the game is in Equilibrium if by changing my own strategy I fail completely to change the strategy of other players. In another way, when the game or competition is in Equilibrium I'm stuck in a set, a rut if you prefer. Some time in the 1970's Economists adopted the mathematics, and finally they were able feel less like flamboyant seers around a Supply and Demand curve in a Free Market and more like serious type scientists with something useful to offer. And there's all sorts of ho ha around the mathematics and the mathematicians engaged in the theoretical work of the Nash Equilibrium, they were awarded Nobel Prizes. And naturally enough the radical wing of Business Studies found solace in the possibilities of a rut that included the words New and Improved, or a number that followed a decimal point. 2.00, 2.5, 3.00 and so on.

You can look at it any way you wish to, but at least 90 percent of a population may have no idea what the Nash Equilibrium is, how it works, or what it attempts to describe. Yet a devotion to the Nash Equilibrium's interpretation, supported by the purity of mathematics and by the equal signs that can be proved through numbers, dominate a great many decisions that emerge from social, political, military and economic sectors of our society. "It's mathematics and it works" they'll say. Around Eighty years ago a group of thinkers in Germany chose to believe that Germany was ripe for the same sort of Socialist Revolution that had overtaken the Czar's Russia. They were terribly, terribly wrong and most of them found sanctuary in the USA where they developed what some call Critical Theory. If you're wrong, don't claim to be right by blaming each other, instead try valiantly to actually find out why you were wrong. Sometime in the 1950's Critical Theorists had become incredibly unfashionable and they'd pretty much concluded the ruts in a society are so deep that so long as the soap powder works there's not much to be done. Depressing? Depends how reasonable your hopes are.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


It's all about "Last Chance to..." and the permutations are endless which is a sure sign that any day now wagon loads of Gardening Catalogues will be cluttering National Arteries with cheerful theories around ergonomic clippers and the importance of looking correctly equipped when wearing a sun hat. Me, I love the temptation of a Compost Thermometer, a Mason Bee Hut and looking forward to the act of imagination that will be 2017, a year which incidentally I never expected, nor ever really wanted to be a witness to.

The other part of this time of year is "What's New.." and again the permutations are increasingly desperate, especially when "What's New..." are placed within the context of a List. Again it's a temptation to embrace the predicament, get all excited about the possibilities, but I'll remind you, what feels like a couple of months ago Windows Seven was new. Big question of course, will I be making any effort at all in 2017? Surprisingly the answer is "Yes!" I fully intend to become more like Pink Flamingo.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Day

Always interesting it was a Star in the Eastern Sky. My own preference for the Magi is they were three representatives from an order of psychologists to Persian Royalty, think of them as the poets of wisdom or the Pre-Muslim Sufis objective around the possibilities of the deterministic philosophies of astrology as opposed to the magic found in words and geometry, such as the gentleness that Jesus grew up to preach about and which has been interpreted through the suggestion that we might indeed be responsible for our fate. Very likely you'll dispute my understanding of the Magi, and pay no heed to the nature of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Assume they were gifts to a king, a gentle and almost pointless reminder of those granted power upon earth, of god and Myrrh is an embalming fluid.

It's also possible a young aimless spirit might have questioned reports of the presence of the Magi at their moment of birth. My own claim to fame in this area is that I was polite enough to arrive between meals, and this has stuck in my memory in a more than symbolic manner. If anyone had told me that very well dressed men on camels suddenly appeared out of nowhere during my first couple of hours upon earth with extraordinarily expensive grownup-type presents, I would be very curious. While a part of me might wonder what became of the presents, assume they were mislaid during a Saint Patrick's Day Festival, the better part of me would see mystery of the kind that warranted pursuing. But trust me, no one knows what happened, and yet in N scale the vacuum works, the rails are polished and all is well for a little while.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Festive Question, third attempt

Even though it's my name I've never been that fond of the name Tim, or Timothy. There's something hockey sticks and tennis about it, which means during this festive season I feel able to mention that I'm not that fond of the name Jesus' grandmother was given or has since been given. The current Queen of England named one of her children Anne, then there's Annie from things like "Annie get your gun." A whole picture of Google doodle hyperactivity around horsey culture, general bossing around and shiny shoes with white socks. And if you're wondering some of us are deeply flawed, we struggle daily and as the end times draw closer our flaws become increasingly apparent, something to do with the Angelic Host jiggling the tightrope between heaven and hell to better see through the facade, judge our souls worthy of Eternity or of the in many ways far more interesting other place..

However, a Rose by another Name is still Jesus' grandmother, so to briefly review we were discussing a whole bunch of stuff including the Diet of Augsburg, a Carmelite Monk, a monastery called Saint Anne's, the radical Martin Luther and I was attempting to pose the relevant Festive Question which was "If I was a Carmelite Monk around 1550 would I have agreed to feed and house the outlawed Martin Luther." The tentative answer was yes, and the reason the answer was yes is because the monastery I belonged to was named after Jesus' grandmother in conjunction with an understanding of a Carmelite precept well expressed by Bob Marley's song about three little Birds, who "don't worry about no ting" rather than going out and beating up on something or someone. But more likely as a Carmelite Monk in 1550's I would have responded to the same confidence ravage social undercurrent familiar today by sharing the emotions that had inspired the prayer Teresa of Avila had written in her breviary, which is book containing daily religious services. The prayer begins, "Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, everything passes...." It then goes into what I would suspect is a more Ostrich-like solution.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Festive Question Re-framed

To better frame the question for this Festive Season with a little more precision than I managed to do yesterday, I ask you to put yourself into the shoes of a 16th Century Carmelite Monk. It's something like 1550, there's been years and years of war between European Princes, many of whom were related and there's a major threat from a well organized Muselmann Empire who militarily were the equal of any army Western Europe could produce and whose leader had things like harems and who owned Jerusalem. One morning while doing the Lord's work you discover that your monastery will play host to Martin Luther, a man who's ideas were such he'd been outlawed by the Pope himself. Small comfort that this man wasn't an outlaw in the forgivable hanging, drawing a quartering sense, he was an outlaw in the "Thou shalt no speak to him or listen to any sedition he might utter, if you do you'll face the consequences in heaven upon your immortal soul" sense.

A tricky situation, I'd agree. Modern equivalent would be having someone like Margaret Thatcher, a Professional Wrestler or anyone from Hollywood, the Queen of England or one of the Trump offspring as a house guest. Martin Luther was a radical troublemaker, he was a man who wrote pamphlets before breakfast, he defaced church property by hammering nails into wooden doors, he stayed up late into the night translating swathes of the bible into German, not the High German, which was for people who knew what Frankincense was, but the every day German speaking German, the "Jesus didn't much like Pharisees and so instead of being gentle about it he went Medieval on the Financial Sector" kind of German. Trust me, the prospect of such a visit would have driven me to my cell with a terrible headache, until I attempt to recall that I'm a Carmelite Monk. I'm not a Franciscan, or a Dominican. I'm an incredibly long way from being something like Templar, and I belong to a monastery that was named after Jesus' grandmother.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Edicts, Diets and Carmelites

I believe it was the Edict of Worms that condemned Luther and the ism that followed his assertions. Europe was at the time in difficulty with the Ottomans, whose incredibly well United Empire had almost taken Vienna which is basically how an army gets from the flatter lands of  Balkan Croatia into Western Europe, where in the 16th Century Princes were less troubled by the Ottoman than they were by each other. It was the Pope who said something like "If we don't pull ourselves together and unite, we'll be paying taxes to the Turks." One of the Protestant answers was something like "Until you recognize our ism we're not going to take much notice of anything you say, and the Ottomans might treat us better, they're far more understanding of religious differences than you lot appear to be!"

 I forget which Pope it was, but good council prevailed. Charles V, a Spanish Holy Roman Emperor who didn't much like the whole Protestant Idea or Germans for that matter, called for a "Come to Jesus Moment" or a "Diet" in the Bavarian City of Augsburg. Representatives of both sides gathered, they dressed up and the more northern Europeans agreed to stop doing things like calling the Pope an antichrist, and the more southern Europeans agreed to at least vaguely admit that Luther had a couple of good ideas. There are some who will argue that what emerged from the discussion was the Protestant Church. There are two points. First, nothing much changes. Second,  Luther who at the time was an outlaw, wasn't invited to the Diet of Augsburg, but during the Diet he was in Augsburg writing pamphlets and being very well looked after by Carmelite Monks at Saint Anne's Monastery. For those interested Saint Anne was Jesus' grandmother.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice this year is at 5.44 AM US Eastern Standard Time, and for those interested Eastern Standard Time is 12.44 AM Greenwich Mean Time, and in Beijing Winter Solstice will happen at the eminently sensible time of 6.44 PM Chinese Standard Time. In the Southern parts of the Globe, somewhere like Brisbane, Australia, that also has an Eastern Standard Time, their Summer Solstice will  occur at 8.44 in the evening. Apparently it will be Summer Solstice on Easter Island at 5.44 AM, Easter Island Time. And you're absolutely right, it's amazing what you can find on the technical device without ever doubting its veracity, a huge temptation for those inclined toward indolence or suffer from what could well be a neurological disorder.

More important perhaps, there are certain customs associated with celebrating Solstice and in particular the celebration of Winter Solstice, a totally miserable time of year. One of these customs includes the idea that unless large quantities of alcohol are involved and if the solstice occurs at an ungodly hour in subzero temperatures a celebrant is permitted to simply set the alarm clock, hear its call, turn it off and then go back to sleep again. Yes indeed, I well recall how gainful employment once required me to be up and about in the ungodly hours, and once upon a time during a winter solstice that occurred at around 3.AM Greenwich Mean Time I was given a traffic ticket for driving a Milk Truck through a deserted red traffic Light. It was one of those Young Coppers, and still a spotty nosed Goose-Stepping uniformed twit in my mind, and I could go on but won't, because saying unpleasant things about Brexit or Trump supporters is a big NO-NO around Solstice. Rather it's a time for Gentleness and Peace. Vive La France, by the way.

Monday, December 19, 2016


Almost the Shortest Day. And there's a reasonable chance that your correspondent having survived his visit to the Dentist, will see another Spring. His teeth might not, but his Being will be around for the sprout of Tomato seeds, the budding of Multiflora and he'll have an opportunity to curse late frost on Potatoes.

Alternatively, and this is the more depressing scenario, he'll find himself driven to distraction by Festive Refrains and Elf Hats in the Grocery Aisles and will opt for something like Double Fudge Chocolate Chunk and Caramel Full Milk Ice Cream instead of Vanilla.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Naraka and Nirvana

Without any obvious contribution from me, the outdoors has willfully gone far beyond Chattering and has achieved the status of Shivering Naraka.

And tomorrow, very early, some of us will be travelling through at least four counties so as to engage briefly with tooth professionals.  A Nightmare, you bet.

Saturday, December 17, 2016


It's windy, there will be rain into the early morning and one argument suggests that this rain will turn to Freezing Rain sometime around dawn. If so, odds are the Electric will fail, could be out for days, and this means the 0-6-0 will be unable to endlessly test and fine tune Turnouts or Points or Frogs, or whatever you want to call them.

But according to Sister Elegance someone  needs to calm down. Getting all worked up about preparing track for the arrival of a Karoo Class 4-6-2 is apparently in the grand scheme not only an error of truly vast proportions, it suggests a mental and emotional decline into a Puerile Condition, and demonstrates a complete lack of any kind Moral Fiber.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Chicken and Egg

Causation is I believe the legal term for the question why? Which means it includes the ideas of guilt, innocence and redress. In the remains of the  English contribution to Western Law there are a number of questions, whether you meant to do it, whether you did actually do it, occasionally there's the question why did you do it and sometimes if it can be reasonably demonstrated that you did it, then that's all that's required to move on the important business of punishment.

Causality is the term used to build a structure of ideas around cause and effect. Not so much to do with legal proceedings, rather the idea is that things don't happen in isolation. Something happens, then something else happens, and if the first thing hadn't happened, the second thing might not have happened. It sounds easier than it actually is, because generally speaking many things happened yesterday, which one resulted in the events of today isn't easy to determine with any thing like precision. It was Hume, the Empiricist, who reckoned that sweating causality was more often than not a bit of a waste of time, especially in politics. And I can't believe I'm saying this but the DNC might consider struggling through one or two of Hume's essays.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


The 12th Century was after the Norman Conquest of the British Islands, and what with the Normans well occupied it was a time of a very brief Reformation on the European Mainland, evils like science and new ideas reared like horrible dreams. Also in the 12th Century a group of what where essentially Western European Christian Hermits began living on Mount Carmel which is a plateau of higher land on the Eastern Shores of the Mediterranean. These Hermits were mostly men, many were former Crusaders, they had a thing for the miracle worker and prophet Elijah, who was all about the Yahweh, and as Hermits they preferred contemplation, because through silence a person could get closer to God and to hell with the rest, and yet after several attempts by less than friendly groups to remove the Hermits from Mount Carmel it became clear to the Carmelites that contemplation alone wasn't really part of God's plan, and they went to the Pope's representative in Jerusalem in search of closer ties with the Holy Roman Church which was an economic and political power with a big yearning for a Monopoly in the business of Faith.

Rest assured not much is known about the first Hermit Carmelites, it was only when they wanted recognition and through recognition a degree of protection, did they have to consider the responsibilities of joining a club. No one was sure who the Founded the Carmelites, a prerequisite of provenance in the Roman Church, I mean you just couldn't set up shop as Christian Order without having some degree of organization and a Founder who was preferably a Saint with a set of rules to follow and a Spiritual Focus, or a Charism as the less random prefer to call it. Soon enough the Carmelites had a Motto, they had a representative in Rome and they'd kind of given up on silent contemplation, done away with vows of poverty, given up on serious begging or Mendicancy, as some prefer to call it. Carmelites became wealthy in stuff and property, and by the 16th Century, when Teresa was young, Western Europe, having survived the Hundred Years War  and plague, was again struggling with a Reformation in science and thinking, or Dramatic Change. What with the new ideas spinning around her Teresa of Avila chose to believe that in the course of four hundred years her order had taken a wrong turn and it was time to go back to the more mysterious roots of the Carmelites.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Discalced basically means barefoot or wearing sandals. The word comes from Latin for Heel and the Latin word for Heel migrated into the Latin word for Shoe with consequent Shoe Heel and so on. In other words, under no circumstance do Discalced Carmelites cover their heels, though I'm not certain whether wearing socks is a Discalced Carmelite error of the dress code. And I think the whole point for the order has to do with shunning the comforts of modernity, returning to an understanding of stuff that doesn't include owning any of it by determinedly chasing the dream of simplicity in pursuit of developing a favorable relationship with The Lead Bull..

In terms of Papal Bulls, the word Bull has little to do with the four legged creature. The Bull associated with The Pope, came from a very ancient Persian word that migrated down through history. It was piece of clay upon which marks were inscribed, a seal if you prefer, and it served as a way of keeping records about who owed what in a fashion that did not rely upon memory. A Papal Bull is the name given to list of instructions from On High and attached to a Papal Bull is a metal seal that defines authenticity. What has any of this got to do with N Scale, I hear the gnashing of teeth. Well, I'll tell you. Sister Elegance's Discalced Carmelite Community is in the process of constructing their new home, and frankly there's nothing discalced about it. Interestingly, there's never been a Carmelite Pope.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Committee Decision

N Scale's Brown Paper Bag Committee has aggravated Sister Elegance of the Barefoot Carmelites. The Committee waned a little in the early hours and in the morning the name of the small railway station at the entrance to Saint Teresa's Carmelites was announced. The sandal wearing Signal and Turn Operators were delighted with the choice, they have a fondness for titles that can easily be reduced to a few letters so long as those few letters meet the criteria of a comprehensibility that sounds like the location referenced.

As Committee Chairperson I explained to Sister Elegance that the Brown Paper Bag Committee were charged with nothing more than naming signals and turnouts, they were a parts naming committee. I went on to explain that Saint Barbara's Halt, a most venerable railway station, was titled St B's. Short and easily inscribed on the miniscule switches signal operators and especially turnout operators had to contend with. Then I told Sister Elegance that I personally saw nothing wrong with the shorthand of St T's for the Carmelite railway station of Saint Teresa's Halt. The good sister muttered something about the President Elect, the end of the world, before removing herself  from Glavni Kolodvor, or Chst as the signal and turnout operators refer to it.

Monday, December 12, 2016


A little close on the bridges. It might well have been worth an engineer's time to add a sixteenth or two to the bridge widths.

The Yellow Bridge will be fine, but the Red Bridge might not be wide enough for a Karoo Class, so it's all very exciting..

Sunday, December 11, 2016


I guess "old in spirit" requires some definition, but one of the symptoms of getting old in spirit is the dawn of an understanding that the mind is no longer emotionally capable of reading the newspaper without degenerating into a polemic addressed to something like a household pet, or a coffee pot.

 Another symptom could well be a retreat into a set of ideas that confidently asserts that our species is actively engaged in attempting to set the necessary conditions for a brand new and exciting Dark Age. A third symptom is deciding to go into town without first enduring the ordeal of shaving. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Very Cold Outside

There's quite a lot of pottering around upstairs, noises off, things like vacuum cleaners, a drill that can whine and someone keeps burning themselves with a soldering iron.

This means it's best to keep the upstairs door firmly closed otherwise the the only unction for the downstairs is Turkey and Giblets fresh from the can.

Friday, December 9, 2016


 May well be a Boy Mockingbird. Alatus Berries on the concrete walk, a certain nervousness amongst the Boy Cardinals, confidence around the tall Ornamental Cherry and there's a loudness in the call of this Mockingbird, much louder than the utterances the politer Girl Mockingbirds.

I'll know more in the Spring. And if it is a Boy Mockingbird, I find myself hoping the Girl Cat will ride rough-shod over Thrashers who, like all sneaky creatures, tend to nest close to the ground and have this vile, almost Trumpian habit, of giving Girl Mockingbirds the creeps.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Naming of Parts

Alright Chaps, one of the problems in N Scale is an increasing complexity in the relationship between the idea and the reality, and I have to admit that it's political as much as it is a problem of both short and long term memory, and language. I'll give you an example. A simple straightforward question of giving names to main lines, to branch lines, to turnouts, to halts and to railway stations, so that there can be no possible confusion in wiring and direction. And before anyone says anything, Lists, even Typed Lists, just don't work because the names of parts and places change from day to day, sometimes from hour to hour and the whole list has to be re-written.

Why? One answer could be degenerating mental processes, but more likely it's the absence of a Parts Naming Committee. With such a body in place the name of something like the turnout at Saint Teresa's Nunnery, should it sound incredibly stupid, will be no one's fault. It's also true that much of what goes on in N Scale is a figment of someone's imagination, so an actual Parts Naming Committee would be just the one person. Which wouldn't solve the problem at two o'clock in the morning. The answer is probably pulling names out of a paper bag and calling the paper bag The Parts Naming Committee and every afterwards I can curse the paper bag at around three of four o'clock in the morning then go back to sleep rather than reaching for a noteboook.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Big Fan of Roosevelt, Franklin D. Then there was the 33rd President and after that there was Eisenhower, Dwight D. I believe Eisenhower chose to run for President primarily because the other Republican candidate, a Senator called Taft, was a non-interventionist who couldn't stop talking about Communism, Labor Unions under every bed and Corruption all of which had to be rooted out of the United States for the benefit of those who knew best. For Taft, what the rest of the world did was up to them and stuff like The Marshal Plan was basically socialism. At the Same time Eisenhower had had something to do with the Marshal Plan and understood well enough that when world became that simple, horrible things happened.

There are some who might say that coming as he did from the Military, Eisenhower had no clue what was in store for him when embarked upon his presidential campaign, but who knows with people like Churchill, Paton and Montgomery to deal with. When Eisenhower had come to the end of his two terms as President it was stuff like the 60's and 70's and people started saying that he was a lazy President, he had no glamour, he was bald, spent far too much time playing golf, and he did nothing to oppose Senator McCarthy who had George Marshal, of the Marshal Plan, on his list. Around the time of Reagan and Thatcher Democrats started trying to be nice about Eisenhower. He was honest they'd say and he was the power behind a public works project called the Inter-State Highway System. Up until maybe last month Republicans reckoned he was a closet liberal, someone called him "A Dime store New Dealer." Wonder what the next D will be known for sometime after I'm dead.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Wet Rain

With a bit of luck it might be dry tomorrow, get some fresh air, a little exercise. And I say this, not for my own wellbeing, rather it's the Girl Cat.

Frigid is OK, inches of frost is fine, but cold Kentucky rain is for the Girl Cat right down there with ocean whitefish. Nor is she very good at being bored.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Old School

Alright Guys, old school isn't easy. Blocks, selector switches, toggle switches, two cabs, yards and yards of gathered 14 AWG and 18 AWG wire, telephone wire for the frogs so it's no wonder the phone doesn't work, bus lines, terminal ports, horseshoe connectors, I'm going to use suitcase connectors.

Then there's the control panel which begins to look like a Stone Age temple, there's soldering, turn out switches, hours and hours on degenerating spine under a table that seems to be designed around the idea of brain damage.  Fun! Of course it's fun. Old School is always fun, it's way up there with Super Fantastic and Chiropodists.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Recent Sightings

Major Bernice, of the Ladies Wing of Saint Barbara's Militia, spotted the Slipper Wearing Spider. It was wandering along the dry river bed, minding its own business and it might have had a Beagle in its mandibles.

According to the Major the spider wasn't wearing slippers, it was one of the larger Wolf Spiders, it had two big eyes, it had four smaller ones, it looked sad and it reminded her of her third husband.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Big Spider

There's what The Artist calls a Slipper Wearing Spider hiding in a deep Cave, a very deep cave, possible all the way to Australia. Saint Barbara's Militia have been instructed to just go ahead and do the right thing, pretend they're Saint George, slay the Dragon, and make sure the more tender hearted don't have to spend the remainder of their time upon earth under the care of psychiatrists or wandering around Glavni Kolodvor mumbling.

In terms of scale, Slipper Wearing Spiders are up there. Apparently they're called Slipper Wearing Spiders because on a dark night you can hear them scampering across a clean floor. In N Scale they'd probably be about the size a Bull Elephant, but unlike Elephants, Slipper Wearing Spiders can leap over tall buildings. Good luck to the fine men and women of the Saint Barbara Militia, always a chance some will pay the Ultimate Sacrifice, there could be a couple of MIA's....

Friday, December 2, 2016

Tank Engines

Tank Steam Locomotives, sometimes called Saddle Tank Steam Locomotives, were engines that had no need of a Tender to carry stuff like water and coal. The reserve of water was in tanks on either side of the boiler and a limited supply of coal was stored at the back of the engine. These Steam Locomotives were used for short haul and the wonderful work of shunting, and in my view they are the cream of Steam Locomotive crop, especially when you pause briefly to consider that an electric model train doesn't like water and there's really no need for coal.

There was a big thing for running steam trains on oil. The Tenders for such locomotives were ugly in the extreme, they just look unnatural and totally destroy the glamour of the entire Steam Locomotive experience. Of course in the good old days, stray sparks from the engine's chimney would do things like cause fires in someone's Wheat field. Modern equivalent would probably be something like a Jumbo Jet engine landing on the Vegetable Plot. The point is the French Google-bot must have had a well deserved day off, it's now returned with a vengeance and I'm doing my very best to entertain it with the kind of bromide that hopefully substitutes for watching paint dry in the Google-bot community.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

List Making

The word Watch, basically means to "observe closely." To peer at in an unnerving and possible maniacal manner. It's not just casually glancing at for example a person's toupee, it's more like standing in the ice cream aisle at the Grocery Store, staring at the man with a toupee, getting out a note book so as to record for posterity what kind of ice cream people with toupees decide to go for, and hoping it's not Vanilla or Heath Bar Crunch. Oddly there's a wrist Watch, but sounds strange to call a Wall Clock a Watch. There's Bird Watching, where the intensity is such that a person may risk sun stroke, Wasp Attack and a visit to the Emergency Ward in exchange for the sight of a Lesser Green Egret.

The word List means a series of names, ideas, items which are written or printed or imagined one after the other. Top ten lists for example, a toy for the emotionally vacuous, spotty faced and basically stupid. A shopping list, a careful analysis of what might be required from the Grocery Store and which for one reason or another gets mislaid on the way to the Grocery Store. Then there's the Watch List. And here if I was a Professor tasked with challenging the minds of the youth on the basic assumption the youth actually have minds, I'd like to think I'd take my cue from someone like Socrates, maybe Zoroaster, or perhaps even Jesus, all of whom came to a sticky and very heroic end. And for those interested, Bon Chance Mon Frères, the French Google-bot has finally declared me harmless and has taken me off its list. Either that or an Exocet will shortly be knocking on the Front Door

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Prescience, N scale and Guillotines

There's an expression which before the recent Politico Geologic Era of "telling it like it is," some might have considered crude. To my mind it remains a rather disgusting but wonderfully expressive way of describing those who seek solace from saviors. And here, the savior might be a religious personage, might be temporal, such as a political figure or someone with gold to trade favors for, never been quite certain what the difference is. As well, this savior might even be an "it" such as my own adoration of a "slope in a random place," you can think of it as geometry and see it sometimes in the dazed eye of a mathematician when he or she answers the question why in the hope of getting something like tenure, or a second home with a terrific view of a sea wall. Either way, the expression is two words, first word sounds like car, second word sounds like sucker and the earth has no shortage of them at the moment.

The much more important question for those of us who are rapidly retreating from the planet is how to translate current trends from the world of men into N-Scale without endeavoring to show a positive commitment to our interesting future by erecting something like a 1:148 guillotine for the public execution of flag burners on the top of Glavni Kolodvor, Vivre La France by the way. And too, if we are hell bent on re-living the ripping yarn that was the 18th Century and discover ourselves recreating a brand new and exciting Medieval Period it's well worth a Creator's while to recall that the Venerable Bead was a pillar of the religious establishment but he was also a blatant propagandist for the Nationalist Cause. Yes indeed, on the hills west of Saint Barbara's Tunnel there's going to be some major worshipping of the Good Saint Teresa and her barefoot Carmelites. And somewhere much further West, I've a damned good mind to suggest a Cathedral dedicated to Saint Winifred.  Fortunately for ten books of The Rabbit of Usk, your narrators prescience has been such that no changes will be necessary.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

La Bell France

The vigorous Apple Tree, the one that will not die, still has leaves. Beginning to think it an invasive species. If I remember its root stock is supposed to be dwarfing, and generously I'd call that an error of description, probably a mistake in the labeling at the time of the graft. The other tree that has sociopathic tendencies is supposed to be a dainty Ornamental Cherry. Very confident this tree had already shot its graft when it arrived, small blessing it does produce a very frail Spring Bloom that lasts about twenty four hours but not what I'd call Dainty or Ornamental.

And if you're wondering whether I too have shot my graft, I'll explain why I mention these two disreputable characters. It has to do with France. Some months ago, I must have said something in these pages that attracted the attention of some kind of a robot of the Google-bot kind. Not sure what it was that I said, but I noticed the robot that calculates or observes or records the statistics for these pages tells me that since around the end of October I have had over forty thousand visits from somewhere in France. Bon apres midi mon frere, Je pas parle Francais tres bien. Nor is my spelling or grammar very good. Long live De Gaul, the metric system and the thirty five hour week

Monday, November 28, 2016

Feet and Stuff

Beginning to think the moaning and groaning from my left foot has something to do with the ancient cardinal sin of vainglory. It is true the right foot does get more gentle treatment, some years ago it struggled a little following an incident that involved a somersault, a plaster wall and a staircase, and it's been pretty much living like a princess ever since. The more manly burdens have therefore fallen to the left foot, and in a way I can understand the resentment, it's an unexpected and rather sudden responsibility for the left foot with little reward, less recognition. And here it could well be my fault, I should make more effort to put the left sock on before the right sock. Tie the left shoelace first. It's the little things I suppose.

But at the same time the left side of my body has always been prone to what I suppose is some kind of sibling rivalry that can verge upon open revolt, a sense that somehow the left side got a raw deal because there are things it has never been able to do as well as the right side.  It's also the case that my left side is an uneasy collective, it tends to feed upon itself. If it's not the foot, it's the knee, the arm, the ear or the wing. Kind of like what I believe is called the Alt-Right in our current political spectrum, where the trendy thing to do is constantly compete for attention by doing the functional equivalent of running around naked in the public square performing unnatural or lewd acts for Likes on Face book.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Feeder Wires

Alright Guys, the issue has to do with Feeder Wires. Fret not, it was all Dutch to me this time last year, and very quickly I gained a D plus in the subject. Easy to do because it really isn't that complicated once you've gained an understanding of the word Bus Line, or Bus, as it's often referred to by the electrical community. The Bus is something like a wire that travels to where electric power might be needed. The Feeder Wire takes power from the bus to the point where power is actually needed. Rail track isn't a very good conductor of electric, so good practice is to solder Feeder Wires to the track from the Bus at set intervals which results in the track having an even distribution of power, and this means something like a 4-6-2 doesn't shatter the confidence of the populace by suddenly being taken by an ennui when negotiating a distant or unromantic curve.

The thing is you don't get an electric circuit unless the over active and excited electrons have somewhere to go home to, where they can calm down and talk about their day, or whatever. This means the electrical engineer needs two bus lines, one to distribute power to the track, and one to give the power its chance to go home. With track, there are two rails. One rail receives agitated electrons, the other sends them home. And here, when attaching Feeder Wires from bus lines it's kind of critical to make certain there's no confusion about which rail receives the electrons and which one sends them home again. An error can result in horrible things happening, and by horrible I'm talking worse than out of control children swallowing vitally important but small parts. Naturally to reduce the possibility of throwing 24 volts instead of 12 volts at the 4-6-2 and watching it explode I've prepared diagrams that quickly become incomprehensible, the stressed out squiggles totally illegible, so I'm going to either have to go for some kind of color coding system or I could just leave the 4-6-2 in its original packaging and hang it on the wall somewhere.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Hugh Crabtree is in the process of being sent to what some call the Punishment Block, he's talking in the queue for lunch, a big no-no in Afon-Bedd, no one really knows why it's a big no-no, but one argument suggests that statistically speaking talking in meal queues is like a gateway drug to the sort of cocaine like activities that can get out of hand when groups, unstable or otherwise, gather to feed. Another argument dismisses this radical view in favor of the idea that a moment of enforced silence prior to feeding produces a calm that concentrates the mind and aids the digestive process. A third argument proposes that if by some odd chance a resident of Afon-Bedd wishes to get away for a bit from the hurly-burly of institutional life they can talk in the meal queue, kind of like don't ask, don't tell.

 But it's Crabtree's first meal at Afon-Bedd and with Crabtree being told not to do something is more like a challenge than a suggestion. Our hero who'd already spent a great many years in the embrace of a series of cruel and unusual institutions, can't actually recall when his own transition into a new institution went so smoothly. This realization of a break in tradition caused our hero's keen instincts to become just a little bit suspicious. It was yet one more circumstance that didn't seem right. And for those interested your writer of pulp is endeavoring to break with a few of his own traditions by crafting a plot that is so blatantly transparent The Vestry of Monnow could easily leave the freewheeling prolix of the Sabean Genre which would be a sad day for future of civilization but probably very much in keeping with the current trending of Nationalistic Alphas intent upon littering our world, with words let's hope.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The 4-6-2 in Green Livery

A most dramatic turn of events in N scale. A little technical, but as everyone should now know a 4-6-2 requires good wide radius curves otherwise there'll be gnashing of teeth, there'll be no pulling of more than three wagons and the world might come to end for some of us. The trouble is, nice wide curves eat up space and those of us who are land hungry are very reluctant to engage in them. The other more important area, a 4-6-2 Karoo Class is a locomotive so beautiful to behold it can stop the heart. And this is especially the case when a Karoo Class is permitted to display its agility, its magnificence and LED headlight in front of something like 0-6-0 Shunter. It's a well known fact that such an opportunity just has to be given to a 4-6-2 in railway green livery as often as possible, and not just on the off chance of a casual meeting with maybe 2-6-2 Prairie Class, otherwise what's the point of it all.

Until recently the Lord High Executioner in his role as chief engineer has been dogged by the problem of electric currents that will refuse to do as they are told, they just do as they will. Lopping off the odd head and declaring "well it could work" isn't the answer when the result of failure could result in a violent electric shock to the inner workings of a truly splendid locomotive which would then have to be followed by the expense of a State Funeral and burying even a more common or garden 4-6-2 does require a pretty big hole. Fortunately some Bolshevik, an over-educated minion, in the Signal Box did go to the effort of exploring the electric currents in diagram form. The solution apparently was really quite obvious. It requires cutting into a couple of small hills, a #6 Right Hand Point, a bridge and should result in the omnipresence of the Karoo Class hauling long passenger trains around and around to distant and fantastic places. Promotion, I don't think so, those Signal Box people wear sandals without socks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Outdoor Project

The outdoor project has reached Phase Five and is ready to have its posts trimmed, and because if the Gods are willing not much more will happen to it until something like March of next year the untreated timbers will get a coat of water seal in the next day or so. This done the outdoor project will be well prepared for an extended dream state, a form of hibernation, during which time fantastic schemes may be hatched that include things like a second floor, with a balcony for cocktails, basket making and star gazing.

Mind you star gazing has to really happen in the colder weather otherwise it becomes a battle with small flying creatures that bite. This means the outdoor structure will probably require some kind of heating system, which would require a chimney  for something like a pot-belly stove. Nor would it really be possible to gaze comfortably at stars on a cold winter's night without access to the odd amenity such as a plentiful supply of fuel for the wood stove. Electric would be nice to heat cocoa and running water would be nice.....  Either way odds are by this time next year there'll be no room to actually park a vehicle inside the outdoor project.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


The Girl Cat, bless her, now has four of what they call Cat Flaps and two of those Cat Flaps are on either end of a private foyer attached to the domicile that's large enough to accommodate one medium sized snoozing cat, The foyer has two very small windows that catch the morning sun and it can get quite sleep making in there. The more sane may not have a clue what a Cat Flap might be. And I'd agree the name Cat Flap does suggest some sort of feline mental breakdown followed by rushing around looking for a paper bag to hide in. So let me attempt an explanation of the nature and function of a Cat Flap to the less obscurely preoccupied and much more sensible members of my own species.

 Picture something like a domicile, doors, windows roofs, insulation and whole set of arrangements designed primarily to keep out the unwanted, especially things like straight line winds containing snow and ice, as well as things like Marmots, Groundhogs, Raccoons, Squirrels, little boys and the list is a very long one. Then cut a nice rectangular hole in this secure and well considered structure and install a flap large enough for a small, elegant Cat, or any number of alternatives, to push open whenever the mood takes her or them. For those still mystified, flaps are designed to flap, they don't have door handles or latches because Cat's don't have opposable thumbs. A more interesting question is perhaps whether being Cat Flap Rich defines a person's tribal allegiances?  I say Yes to this question.

Monday, November 21, 2016

U-Boat Decision

As the High Lord of N Scale your correspondent does sometimes look for comfort in the speeches of Benito Mussolini. He doesn't have Benito's chin, nor an astonishing capacity to gesticulate, and is very reluctant to end his days hanging from a lamp post in somewhere like Saint Barbara's Halt. Nonetheless the call to greatness courses through the veins, and so what if he does occasionally cut himself with an xacto knife and spends hours pulling up and re-laying track and gets very confused around the difference between AC and DC, and will probably never understand how to wire a Toggle Switch and it might be a good idea to invest in a fire extinguisher.

For those of us who hear the call of fate and interpret it as our personal destiny one sad rule to keep in mind is never read more than one History Book, stick to the Hollywood Bodice Ripping Talking Picture versions, they're far less effort and much more fun.  Otherwise you might find out that pretty much always the Populist Leader of Men first gathers his admirers, fires them into a condition of plasticity and then to maintain such an unnatural state chooses to invade somewhere like Abyssinia which inevitably leads to a very sticky end for a great many of us. Even a little bit of wisdom is a huge burden and at today's committee meeting I will be informing Saint Barbara's Militia they can have a Rowing Boat but they can't have a U-Boat. So wish me luck.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Celebration

Yesterday was beautiful. Apart from the occasionally Now Cast, to make certain it was well below forty five Fahrenheit, quite a few Now Casts actually, Saint Barbara's Yahweh didn't have to go into the outdoors. He, or it, remained ensconced in the Dream World, and for those interested whether King Offa had a fondness for the deformed or not, is now totally irrelevant. The King of Kings has spoken and King Offa's beloved Chief Assistant in Afon-Bedd does suffer from several deformities, he is short-armed, he is ruddy of face, and he has the Squeaking Sickness, a pox of the voice box that results in random and often wholly unnecessary utterances.

I'd argue that this year Winter has begun with a fanfare, too cold for Dancing Girls but definitely fireworks, romper wear and singing. Nor is this Psalm-like singing, it's more like the feeling an Inuit un-waxed by the tribulations of modernity, such things as the gas stove and facts, might experience when he or she stares at the blubber store and doesn't have to go anywhere until the Far North begins to experience ambient temperatures of around minus ten Centigrade with bright sunshine, or the Great Northern Spring Time as some might prefer to call it. And I for one am very grateful that as a species the great majority of you and I have the capacity to just make things up when it suits us to.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Yellow and White

As regular visitors to Saint Barbara know there's an association between a Sheik of Araby and a collapsed railway tunnel. The extraordinarily well fed man had a fondness for fossils, he and his entourage had swarmed the county when it was rumored that while dynamiting the tunnel, the remains of what might have been a brand new species of Dinosaur was discovered. Sadly the Sheik and two of his very young and well shrouded female associates, his body guards, his food taster, his personal violinist and his stenographer were all tragically lost to a second tunnel collapse and to this day the remains of a little bit of Arabia are entombed beneath a future Carmelite Monastery.

Back then of course citizens of Saint Barbara were an open minded, free wheeling bunch, fun to be around, they were self confident, wise in their own abilities, independent minded, they didn't spend a lot of time fussing about the shape or size of someone's feet, whether a person wore funny hats or not, and generally speaking welcomed the wider world without entering a xenophobic, foot stamping tantrum which, despite rumors to the contrary, does thoroughly betray a person's dependence upon the more reactionary organs of the state. The I am what I am, the Yahweh, humble and often short sighted designer of Saint Barbara, has listened to his people, they do watch far too much television, spend far too much time on The Face Book and The Twitter, and I have told them that whether they like or not the Main Railway Station in Saint Barbara is going to be Yellow and White, and I don't care whether Yellow and White does hint at Papal influence, it's also the colors of the Crusader States, so that should keep the Militia happy.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Simplifying Thanksgiving

The Artist suggested that next week sometime could be Thanksgiving. This news came as a bit of a shock, but I agreed we're both far too busy and inwardly motivated for anything like Thanksgiving, which means Thanksgiving might have to be delayed until sometime in the New Year, probably around Easter, might even wait until July so that ice cream and bread pudding makes more sense.

This year however, hell or high water, Christmas will be on December the twenty fifth, which could be a Sunday. And without wishing to revert to the Pre-Cambrian, I will be ordering The Artist's gift to me sometime this afternoon, or maybe tomorrow. Yes indeed, the nightmare season is upon us not helped by the unnatural weather, and the least we can all do is make it as straightforward as possible for the nearest and dearest.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Cruelly forced into the outdoors by the warm weather. All very well doing the hard work of engaging in mental preparation for the colder weather so as remain positive, but today is in the second half of November which for those of us who attempt to have their being in the Northern Hemisphere should classify as winter, a time to atrophy around such things as whether or not King Offa of Mercia had a fondness for the deformed and certainly not a time to be prancing around outside with hammer, measuring tapes and nails.

I have spent years recovering from my exile into the Northern Hemisphere, of all memories my first winter still exists in a dream state, it was snowy, it was cold, it was miserable, most of the time it was dark  and everyone was horribly pink and jolly. Then when I reckon I've finally achieved some sort of relationship with winter, not ridiculous things like skiing, but more sensible things like gentle indoor projects, it's November the 17th and it's Eighty Degrees of Fahrenheit, there's Chard in the garden and Lettuce up the wazoo, and all of this in circumstances of drought. Frankly I blame the US Electorate.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Color Scheme

Glavni Kolodvor is a magnificent Austro-Hungarian, Neo Grecian Temple to the Steam Locomotive. It has statuary all over the place, including a delighted looking maiden who's not dressed in a toga and who's obviously very attached to a well behaved small Sheep. What the Austro Hungarian Railway Station builders thought they were up to, I have no idea beyond some grand empire type statement designed to impress the visitor that Empires were designed to last for at least a thousand years. My own Glavni Kolodvor has failed miserably to reach this standard of architectural expression, it's squat, it sits funny, it has nothing like statuary anywhere near it and for reasons that defeat any standard of reason, I've painted it yellow and white.

In N-scale not one single sixteenth of an inch should be a product of random and scattered thinking. The final product might appear random and scattered to the point of senseless, but that doesn't mean a mental gymnast can't come up with all sorts of wonderful reasons why his Glavni Kolodvor is painted yellow and white. And here this whole painted yellow and white thing contains the same sets of argument that apply to something like putting the words "Manned Mission to Mars" into a Presidential Address to the Nation. Incidentally this massive expenditure has been suggested by Presidents of the United States as an immediate possibility and of vital importance to the species, not to mention national security, since something like 1969.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


The smoke from the fires in Tennessee, a very odd Sate of the Union a little south of here, has tinged the air with something that might not be a fragrance but is definitely a particulate that irritates the upper respiratory mechanisms. Last night I woke myself snoring, which was quite a pleasant experience because recently I have come to doubt my ability to actually spend any part of the nighttime hours sleeping.

The big question of course might well be, what on earth was your delicate correspondent doing in the outdoors in the middle part of November? The answer, he was engaged in manly work, the sort of thing boys do to impress girls, and generally remind all things bright and beautiful that we boys are not just winter ornamentals who turn up for supper. There is just the one giant post hole left to dig, and just the one giant post to plant.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Saints, Tonsures and Our Hero

The meeting between Crabtree and Saint Chad at the Lunch at Afon-Bedd wasn't pretty. As a proud Mercian, and despite the intervening thirteen hundred odd years since Saint Chad had spread The Word to Mercian Leadership, Hugh Crabtree had few qualms around expressing his opinions on the subject of the Roman tonsure which Saint Chad wore. When our hero recovered from the experience of witnessing a variety of tonsured mental patients having their lunch and who wasn't even a little bit familiar with the tonsure debate, reckoned the funny hair cut worn by some of the inmates were lobotomy related, finally and with great relief he recognized a schism when he saw heard all about it.

Unfortunately, following a misunderstanding in the lunch queue, our hero had somehow managed to give his fellow inmates the impression that he was of the Mussulman Faith. An error during the Medieval Period of gigantic proportions on his part, and one which both shocked and outraged his sainthood seeking grandfather. But on the more positive side, and in our own difficult times attempting to remain positive is a reach for glory rather than anything constructive, news had spread through the catering staff grapevine that Byr Gwningen was in residence. It's the case also that the great majority of Afon-Bedd orderlies were thick skinned folk from England.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Bare Foot and Opinionated

The Girl Cat is either tough as nails or very opinionated. She finds herself mortally offended by the noises the domicile's gas stove occasionally makes, and such is her sense of outrage at the disturbance she finds it necessary to demand access to the frost bitten outdoors whenever the gas stove chooses to remind the rest of us of its often unappreciated genius. And I have examined the bottom of the Girl Cat's feet, she has nothing remotely resembling a sock on any one of them, so for her it's kind of like walking around outside in bare feet. A late realization for me, but I should have had some inkling from her behavior around wet grass, she didn't like it when she first experienced it, and she still finds it a source of irritation.

 As I understand it, she's a Mackerel Orange Patched Tabby, it makes no sense to me either, but clearly the Girl Cat like our hero and through no fault of her own, suffers from ancestors who wantonly and in a very aimless manner wandered north. Probably during some warming event and great fun to sneer at the hard shinned, woolly footed, until the cold north resumed its reach for empire. The more gentle and caring amongst us have considered knitting some kind of cat like foot wear for her, but in my view it's the opinionated part of the Girl Cat's nature that will more than likely reject the idea with the same disdain she reserves for anything like heat from the gas stove. But one thing's for sure, she'd never blame the FBI.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cold Weather Work

Temperatures soaring into the lower fifties Fahrenheit. This would be exciting if it were the end of February, but for those of us recovering from hunting down socks after the summer respite there's no great joy to be had from any temperature below around sixty five Fahrenheit. Yes indeed, a deeply emotional moment for those of us who have spent a great many years formulating a Winter Hibernation Principle for us people, it's never been well received, the prevailing theory being that without thoroughly inclement conditions for four or five months each year we'd be not much better than Grasshoppers or Tomato Plants, and with something like hibernation, shopping days would be pretty much halved, guaranteeing the end of a civilization where wallowing is up there with those heavy duty sins human management studies devote billions of pages to.....

More recently your correspondent has looked at outdoor Winter Projects as a more constructive solution to the abject misery of dealing with the colder months. Easy enough when sockless and unfettered by layers of clothing to think in terms of just being brave around something like planting posts when the Earth declares a Shivering Naraka, but what happens to those of us who might actually lack the moral fortitude necessary to potter about with outdoor hand tools in a nose dribbling, toothache breeze. Fortunately this year there's a perfect motivator to be found in the total, complete and utter failure of the Political Elites to understand the Electorate. I have found the woolly hat, the vest and the romper wear, and I'm off to plant a post. Like Oats, I might be gone for sometime.....

Friday, November 11, 2016

Straight Lines

Always tense lining up posts, getting them true and straight, and a person has to wonder when true and straight became so horribly normal. There's an interesting study on Neanderthal flint knappers that does away with the idea that Neanderthal flint knapping was a hit and miss process without great intellect, in another way primitive. The study suggests that Neanderthal flint tools were entirely adequate for the work required of them, it's just that the tools didn't look right to the eye of the modern beholder.

My own view on the subject of true and straight is of course currently badly influenced by the burden of six heavy posts. I can look into the future and I can say, "Somehow I'll just make it work." Unfortunately I've explored that avenue on many, many occasions before, and while as proud fixer of things my own sneeze is perfection until peer reviewed by such things as wind, weather and the level of politeness in others. It's ecology we have with true and straight, whether it makes sense or not depends.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Soul Saving Projects

Light frost with a high dew point and Dimensional Lumber delivery this morning. These Bits of wood are now all neatly stowed out of the weather, and delighted to say the Girl Cat has finally recovered from an unwarranted infringement upon her morning routine. She's not what you might call an admirer of internal combustion engines prowling around, or gas stoves, or any kind of noise much louder than a pitter-patter of little feet. I think someone called her a Delicate Cat. But it's a wisdom she has that goes back in time to the origins of the smaller grayish almost stripy cats that have a few mismatched orange type blotches but who do have perfect eyebrows and a very sensible distrust of large Rabbits.

In N scale, we'd be talking about a cat who from head to toe would probably be measured in halves of millimeters, and I wish I could say the same for the new outdoor project. Some of the bits of wood, or Dimensional Lumber as we who have discussed matters with professional lumber merchants have been persuaded to call them, are young healthy male weight lifter size bits of wood. For an elderly almost decrepit gardener this probably means winches, leavers and rope if he's going to managed to stay on the correct side of a heart attack. Meanwhile three post holes are almost at the three foot mark. Three more to go. Expected completion time for the project is as yet so far into the future the world might have ended before the roof goes up.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Two Years Later

A big Chest-Thumping kind of Day for the 18th Century. For others it's cruel, agonizing, and tragically disappointing.

 My own careful, well thought-out, immediate reaction is to stare at the wall until something like March 10th of next year.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Poll Day

One argument might suggest it's a little too dry to dig post holes. Indeed there's a whole philosophy about when to do what, and in that body of knowledge post hole digging is frequently mention as an Early Spring activity. This time of year it's all about making the most of leaves, climbing ladders to clear gutters and downspouts, painting wood, wondering when a first frost will bring out the sweet in Turnip Greens, tinkering with batteries, throwing away bulb catalogues and generally preparing for the Winter months.

There's also an argument that heroic heroes take absolutely no notice of collected wisdom, they see an established pattern and feel duty bound to break that pattern otherwise the world would still be flat. It's also true that there's a thin line between heroic heroes and bloody fools. Which leads inevitably to the current political impasse which some would argue has put the heebie-jeebies into established patterns, left them tenderfoot and dribbling. If you're interested I'll be voting for the shorter of the two blonds, the one that once crossed a museum picket line.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Heroic Dilemmas

Our hero and his grandfather have arrived at the Tri-County Asylum of Afon-Bedd. The place name in the language means River Grave which has a certain interest as a place name because it could mean a river called the River Grave, or it could mean a place where a river once ran. Not something uppermost in our hero's imagination, his own worries are far too numerous as he stares out from the back seat of a transit vehicle toward a gentle landscape dominated by the brooding granite and slate of a lunatic asylum in which seventy five percent of the beds are in the Secure Wing, They're a miserable unhappy population kept manageable by cheerfully dispensing miracles of the pharmaceutical industry in no particular order.

 The exiled Rabbit, who'd spent much of his winter pottering around in Afon-Bedd was delighted to be back in a place that he reckoned contained a solution to the problem of his exile. The Secure Wing at Afon-Bedd had given him the creeps, but in the Dayrooms of Afon-Bedd, where the other twenty five percent of beds where housed, he'd discovered a bounty of men and women who like him also claimed to have led at least one life upon earth that was marked by holiness, miracle working and general all round good behavior such that it warranted the title of Saint.  Our hero is firmly of the opinion that his own arrival at Afon-Bedd has followed a series of very suspicious events and circumstances that by no stretch of the imagination could be described as coincidence. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Three foot and Eleven Thirty Five

With a post hole digger, a laborer generally puts it away in the certain knowledge that it will never be used again. And here 'puts it away' might be a far too generous expression for tossing a post hole digger into the furthest corner of the barn. One of the consequences of this poor treatment of tools is that when time comes to use the post hole digger again the blades are crusted in petrified subsoil, they are about ten times heavier than they need to be and it takes a good three hours to work them into a condition fit for the dreadful task in hand.

The next phase of post hole digging includes a long and tedious debate about the possibilities around 'Three Foot of depth' and whether anyone will notice if the post hole is not Three Foot Deep, and it does go on a bit into a kind of tirade about which of the many neo-fascist characters determined that post holes need to be three foot deep. Nor is this particular weekend a good moment for the contemplation of distant dictatorial utterances. The finger of God is pointing down at us and for reasons I have never understood and even if I did understand them I wouldn't accept them as valid, this time tomorrow it won't be eleven thirty five in the morning, it'll be an hour early or later, I've no clue which.

Friday, November 4, 2016


Winter into Early Summer projects includes a life-size outdoor structure that requires 6 posts configured to precisely accommodate an 18 by 10 foot peaked metal roof.

"Why?" I hear the call. Excellent question and my answer is probably best understood in terms of Edmund Hillary's answer to the question "Why did you climb Mount Everest?"

Thursday, November 3, 2016


While travelling with The Artist, it was one of those long distance trips to a destination several counties away, something I can't really manage without assistance from a professional, and I was probably waxing a little too lyrical upon the precarious existence of the Balsa Wood Tree should a Woodpecker happen upon one when The Artist chose to gently raise the subject of the Ghost that has taken up residence in the technical device. "It's not Cortina, it's Cortana."

This news came as a shock. Old demons reared, late onset dyslexia being one of them. But seriously, Cortana! A word, or name that makes even less sense than Cortina, and can only have sprung from a committee room fueled into the late night by mind altering substances and a determination to remain gender neutral, and so far above the fray as to have to reached the level of some kind of air dwelling plankton. No wonder we're all doomed to a form of mathematical sterility, right on the Edge waiting to leap from the cliff, the name Firefox or Chrome is bad enough. I guess Poets no longer have space in The Cosmos.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Cortina as Vegetable Garden

To celebrate the new month your correspondent has come to the conclusion that rather than have a conniption fit whenever Cortina seeks attention by asking questions and then wasting the remainder of the day attempting to rid the technical device of an unwanted presence, better to compromise and develop some kind relationship. To this end, he has chosen to think in terms of Spanish Galicia's understanding of the word Cortina which according to some authorities can be translated from the Spanish of Galicia into "Vegetable Garden." This morning's question had to do with a sports team that entered the category of "loved?" and whether there was a sports team that entered the category of "loved to hate?"

Your correspondent was a little surprised but he chose to think of the Vegetable Garden as waking to a sense of monotony, yearning for rain, perhaps feeling a little bit lonely and these questions were no more than polite conversation starters. And indeed rather than ponder the diabolical nature of a Vegetable Garden that was remotely interested in sporting events, your correspondent was calm and polite as he answered both questions. Cricket as played by the Glamorgan County Cricket had once been high on his list of likes, otherwise pretty much every other sporting event could be categorized as "Loved to hate."  Glad to be able to report the Vegetable Garden responded in what I'll call a positive manner.

Monday, October 31, 2016


The word Spooky all over the place suggests a chocolate eating festival of some sort that might even exist beyond the Technical Device. My own current view on the festival has to with the Celtic traditions which for several thousand years were under the care of Druids, who I'm sure were they still around would by now have magically returned all technical devices to the simple beauty of Window 98, second edition. However, I'd have to agree that it's good time of year in the northern hemisphere to give the Dead a Festival. What happens in Australia, Cortina won't tell me, and if he or she did, I wouldn't believe a word of it, but have to think it must be Spring time in the more southern places, Daffodils maybe, Apple Blossom perhaps and rutting Koala Bears.

I believe Cortina is or was the name of a popular car. But the name Cortina also has one of its origins in the many Spanish Dialects. In Catalonia which is in the North East of Spain, on the Mediterranean, beaches, holiday makers and so on, the word Cortina means Farmyard. In Asturias, on the North West coast, rugged, steep hills and valleys, Cortina means an Unfenced Field. In Spanish Galicia, which is a little west of the Unfenced Field and which is not to be mistaken with Polish Galicia, Cortina means "Vegetable Garden."  The other other thing about the word Cortina is it can be found in Latin, where it means Curtain. It's used as an anatomical description of Mushroom parts. And there's a suggestion that Cortina might have been the daughter of Greek God.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Shovels and stuff

The shovel is good and shiny, it can produce a glint in sun light that stabs the eye. Nor has it actually rained in any respectable way for what feels like over a month. Always nice to have a shiny shovel, makes a person feel responsible and organized, as well as physically fit, hardworking and independent of engine driven machines. But a little rust on the shovel would be welcome. It's far too dry and far too hot for the tapestry of plants to manage a sensible transition into frost, possibly ice, maybe snow drifts, a polar vortex or whatever winter nightmare might be in store for us.

The other area of deep concern is something or someone called Cortina. He, she or it seems to exist inside the technical device and is constantly offering ridiculous suggestions and asking truly irritating questions like whether I've ever thought about investing in a microphone. Apparently Cortina can tell me how to install one. Who or what it is, I don't know, but it's kind of like having an overly enthusiastic house guest who's constantly getting excited in their determination to be helpful and do stuff. All I can think of is that in a moment of reverie I must have clicked on something.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Things change, I suppose. Glavni Kolodvor, a massive railway station, is emerging from a swamp of past ideas, most of which were gross errors rather then being cleverly thought out through schemata, carefully arranged upon graph paper, a whole plan laid out, right down to the sixteenth of an inch, each part wisely named according to predetermined standards. So it's probably just as well this venture into N scale is not a Mars Mission, where a few misplaced decimal points, an incorrect use of grammar, might result in a massive waste of apparently precious resources.

 A person can hardly open a newspaper before the eye is drawn to this or that expression of a determination that our species was destined not to mind its own business, and naturally enough the obvious way to continue the tradition is through some kind of colonization of Mars. It's our next Giant Leap, I have been reliably informed. The Moon has clearly lost its appeal, has a gravity that makes a person look stupid and just not big enough for boldly going where no one has gone before. But on the positive side, it's the getting there that counts, other wise as the first Martians will probably remind us, much of what we do is in fact totally nuts.

Friday, October 28, 2016

General Election Days

Ten or eleven days until the twenty four month Presidential Election comes to its long drawn out conclusion. As I understand it Canadians manage the election of their Prime Minister in something like seven weeks of public discourse, but who knows what might be happening in Canada in the twenty two months leading up to the election day.

Most countries that have a general voting of the populace chose Sunday to hold the election, which does sort of make sense.  Australians, Latvians and Maldive Islanders turn up to the voting booth on Saturdays, which also makes sense. Here in the United States we have our general election on Tuesday, but don't get snippy about it because so does Denmark.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Blue Jay Season

Nut Collecting Blue Jays are quietly getting along with their tasks before the freeze arrives. Of the Blue Jays, those who choose to collect nuts are a peaceful, hardworking, silent band and joy to be around. The Travelling Blue Jays, those who fly either North or South, sometimes East or West, sometimes round and round, are raucous, they are unruly and their call can shatter the calm of pretty much anytime of day, not just once or twice, but incessantly from around nine in the morning until well after teatime. It's one of the more irritating, nerve grating-noises heard in the tapestry. It's the Avian equivalent to barking dogs, chain saw operators, weed eaters, balling three year olds and on reflection it's quite a long list.

Fortunately Travelling Blue Jays are few and their absence does grant the Bird Enthusiast his opportunity to attempt an unbiased appraisal of what exactly it is the Nut Collectors are up to. My own view has always been that all Blue Jays are inclined toward obsessive behaviors. As the winter bares down no Blue Jay has any idea what to do, but a compulsion drives them to do something and whatever it is, it has to be done as diligently as possible. It's a statement as much as it is anything else, a form of display, it's a "look how busy I am." Over the generations a schism has developed in the Blue Jay Community and toward the end of October each Blue Jay has to chose sides. Generally the younger a Blue Jay the more likely he or she is to chose Travelling. The Old Farts collect nuts. It's as simple as that.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


A time comes when a person has to admit they're afraid of sixteenth's of inches. Almost preferable to think in terms of tenth's of inches. Eighth's of inches, despite the spelling, are manageable for me, but the thing about a sixteenth of an inch it represents about nine inches in N Scale. An eighth of in inch is about a foot and a half, I think. The Big Pyramid at Giza, two hundred foot to the top, in N Scale would be about fifteen feet to the top. Either way, the time has come to do away with the official Saint Barbara measuring system and reach into the horizons of measuring where finer detail and more accurate proportions might be achieved and this would mean a magnificent 2-6-4 with headlight wouldn't be dwarfed by a Station Master's opulent domicile.

To add to the burden, after goodness knows how long, I'm having trouble conceptualizing Saint Barbara's Tower. The mind has wondered a little from the idea of it being windowless. Thinking more in terms of a Saint Barbara's Tower après the lightning strike that so rightly reduced Saint Barbara's horrible father to ashes. Also reckon it has to be a round tower, sort of mud and wattle, though how mud and wattle would manage the fifty two inches of rain Saint Barbara's county can anticipate during the course of a twelve month period, I've no idea. In other news, the County's Militia still pine for a U-Boat, which are about ten inches from tail to bow, the boys and girls of the County's Militia are between quarter of an inch and half an inch from boot heel to eyelet.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


There was a time when a person just had a birthday, maybe ten minutes in the morning and some kind of boiled meat product in the evening. But that sort of casual  acknowledgement has become a thing of the past and birthdays are up there with a total eclipse of the Sun.

 Officially, I'm all for this sort of rampant indulgence devoted to celebrating a moment from the past which I've heard was probably a very painful and messy affair. Unofficially I'm inclined to believe it one more symptom of decline into a reliance upon consumption that will bring us all to a sticky end.

Monday, October 24, 2016

English Language and Gender

For those who may be in interested in the gender of words, both the French and German Languages have concluded that Brexit is a masculine word. An excellent decision in my view. Also worth recalling recent explorations into the origins of the English Language. For years and years it was assumed that Angles and Saxons from the German part of Europe invaded the New Jerusalem, laid waste to the gentle Celts and the round table Arthurian type Romano Britons. They ravaged, pillaged and generally behaved like Vikings in their total disregard for the ethnic values of indigenous peoples. The result of course was a Dark Age, more than likely Satanic in nature, full of grief and horribleness. Sadly for this opinion, there's no actual evidence, outside of propaganda from the likes of Bede and Victorian Gentleman scholars to support the idea. More likely, newer theories suggest, the Anglo Saxon Invasion was a slow process of assimilation.

Certainly there were disagreements, some cattle and sheep raiding, but nothing that qualified as a Barbarian Invasion, slaughtering of the innocents and enslaving the survivors. One area of evidence for these newer ideas is in the English Language. We don't devote time to the gender of words, we don't make a big point out of the gender of words, we don't know that a Tomato is Feminine, and if we do, we don't make make an issue out of it. And the thing is had the English Language of today arrived to us as a result of conquest it would have retained the more Germanic devotion to the gender of nouns. Die Tomate in German is female. Now Welsh nouns do have gender, but in Welsh the softness of the distinction between boy and girl words are basically too damn subtle for the average foreigner. In the process of assimilation, the argument is, the English Language in a matter of fact and rather boring way just gave up on the whole idea of nouns having gender.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


No Cat in his or her right mind will greet a stiff breeze with anything other than disdain, and this is especially the case if the breeze contains a suggestion of chill. They'll peer from a warm doorway, rightly cast blame at the two legged for upsetting the elements, then they'll return with what remains of their dignity to one or other of many day beds where they'll sleep in glades of blanket until supper time. But the Girl Cat doesn't do this. She's either fascinated by the change of season or she might not actually be a properly adjusted Felis Catus Domestica and could indeed still have an inner Felis Sylvestris coursing through her veins, a demon just waiting to break every last rule in the Domestica book.

But I guess in our own species there are also both anomalous and eccentric behaviors. Take for example, an English Boarding School Rugby Master, or Coach in charge of character building. They are, or were, very fond of making people get half naked, yelling something about the Fields of Waterloo, then dragging everyone into the frigid outdoors and forcing them to run around in mud chasing oval shaped leather balls. It wouldn't have been so bad had the authority in question not seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the experience of risking hypothermia. In the end a person just has to accept the fact that creatures will follow their muse and if they do get stuck up a tree, or in the belly of a wolf, or mistaken for a Rabbit by Barred Owl, or roll around in Barn Dust then Kismet can be the only solace.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Winter Ground Cover

Rain, a little under three quarters of an inch of it, did the work of raising the late ground cover to leaf. There's a cold weather Oat, a Pea of some sort and Crimson Clover. It's the Oat that raises suspicion, it looks far too happy. An early ground cover of Turnip is already well established, it's got that kind of green that looks delicious, but the plants are very close together, no tribute to the gardener's capacity to broadcast daintily.

For a long time there's been an idea of planting Daikon Radish as a ground cover. It's not much in the area of nutrition for a person, it does offer Vitamin C. It's an East Asian cold weather Radish that has a good long root, kind of Carrot like. The point being that a good long root is useful in a ground cover and Radish, like Turnip melt down quickly after being dug in. Not sure what might happen to the Oat if digging weather resumes sometime next March.

Friday, October 21, 2016


Have to think Democracy is essentially about one thing, and that one thing is an agreement between the powerful that suggests rousing the populace then raising armies and laying waste to an opponent's territories is expensive and wasteful. Much better to avoid risking confiscation of property, imprisonment, and possible lynching by accepting the possibility of defeat and agreeing to do battle for votes. Mind you when King Alfred defeated Guthrum the Dane in battle, he didn't remove Guthrum's head, instead once the dead and been mourned Alfred gave Guthrum the flatter parts of East Anglia.

No doubt for Alfred there was an element of Obama-esque compromise in his sporting generosity, better the Dane you know in East Anglia than a brand new Fire Breathing Dane from Denmark with a real low opinion of Islanders being horrible to Saxons. Whatever the means to victory, and putting aside all attempts to analyze the issues and viewing the upcoming US Presidential Election as a particularly sectarian tribal gathering designed to chose the Paramount Kahuna, an Hawaiian word for a priest, a sorceress, or any general diviner of the tea leaves, interesting to speculate which of the current Presidential Candidates would be wisest in victory. Oddly I can see Donald giving Hillary something like Long Island or New Hampshire, and I can see Hillary telling Trump to go sit in a corner for the remainder of his days.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Rakia and Zena

"Glavni Kolodvor" is "Central Railway Station" in Croatian. "Rakia" of course is Brandy in Croatian, and woman is "Zena." Oddly enough in the Greek, the name Zena means Born of Zeus, god of sky and thunder.  Which does have certain "I don't know what." How or why your correspondent remembers these things rather than something useful, like his telephone number or the whereabouts of his Phillips Head Screw Driver, is far too depressing to contemplate.

But the point is, N scale is crying out for a Grand Central Railway Station. I picture a Transport Hub possessed by all the Victorian Virtues, and to give purpose to some of the more unnecessary things lodged inside me I'm going to call this magnificent edifice, with shunting yards and possibly a turntable, Glavni Kolodvor. Might even be spelled Kolodvar, three O's in a word is one too many, and for me at least the '..var' part make's it easier to remember.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


We went to town today. Never easy for either of us. The Pick-up was fatalistic, I guess. Not really his problem should he suffer a mechanical failure, he just sits there in a most unashamed manner sneering at the younger ones, tries to appear rugged rather than unwashed when something sporty flits by. Then when that doesn't work he drops the odd hint about how important it is for a vehicle to thoroughly vet the Title Holder before embarking upon a relationship. For any one who might be curious a Title is proof of ownership in the more regimented parts of the world, it's a piece of paper basically and nowhere upon it is written The Charter of Vehicle Rights, which if there was such a thing could include "Wash my surfaces at least once every ten years."

When we reached town, we got nearly twelve gallons of gasoline for his tank and we got eight gallons for those internal combustion engines that spend much of their year sheltering from the elements inside the barn, a very wimpy lifestyle, but as I have explained, what with the Mice and stuff it's kind of scary in there and no one really wants to endure the ordeal of being forced to raise someone else's children in their manifold. On the trip home we both suddenly found ourselves possessed by some kind of demonic force. The straight road was empty of fellow road users and the next thing we both knew we were doing fifty eight miles an hour. And I can tell you this much, if I'd had a camera I'd have taken a photograph to document the moment. Fortunately Better Angels prevailed and we quickly returned to that civilized pace which so often irritates the more satanic of my fellow Title Holders.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pick-Up Truck

Not certain where the greatest joys and sadness belong in the wide tapestry, but one thing which could belong somewhere in that exalted arena of human experience is turning a key in the ignition of a vehicle. The Angel of Greed had watched my numerous and sometimes clumsy efforts at the work of repair, he's ever critical, and from the beginning he's been keenly anticipating the prospect of this reach for heroism ending in yet another puddle of ennui that precedes an episode of terminal foot stamping followed by a dramatic decline into blob-like wretchedness. It's a facet of humanity the Angel of Greed is familiar with and he's very fond of witnessing, Bless him.

Having reconnected the battery, I sat in driver's seat, allowed myself a brief glimpse of a future that might include cheerfully taking the trash to the end of the lane. The pick-up truck sighed, he mentioned something about a slightly wider horizon, ice cream from the Grocery Store and he reminded me of the pleasure he gets from the parking area of the Hardware Store, a box of nails for old times sake. Then without anything that might be described as confidence he said "Give it a go." The Angel of Greed was gleeful from the doorway, and The Artist, recognizing elevated levels of tension in her house mate, was trying to pretend that she wasn't actually there. Either way, after a bit of a lie down I feel about ten years younger.

Monday, October 17, 2016


 Solace in the change of the Moon, it's a good time to plant root vegetables. A more immediate question is the relevance of Moon Phase in the fuel line repair business. This fuel line pretty much runs across the horizon, it doesn't go up toward the stars nor down toward the Inner Core.

Mind you, I have been told there's a way to slice Turnips if you want to keep them from going pink. From crown to root. Interesting, but no much help. Maybe I'll see a shooting star in the night sky, and I'll call that a beneficial augury for tomorrow's adventure into Quick Fit Couplings and Nylon fuel line.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


The Girl Cat is Princess-Like in her generosity. Donating to the larder in an often rather cavalier manner she'll leave her contribution where it may or may not be found by her Subjects.

Then if we're very lucky a dazed and distraught meat product will be left to wander around inside the domicile in order to extend its Eat By date. It gives her subjects something to do I suppose.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Monastic Order

Alright Guys! While under a recalcitrant pick-up truck admiring the incomprehensible nature of the mechanic's task your correspondent had what might be called a moment of inspiration. Saint Barbara is the Patron Saint of Artillery Men, so it's no wonder The Saint Barbara County Militia are so stubborn around their demand for a U-Boat in exchange for their cooperation in the ongoing NSTIP project (N Scale Track Improvement Program.) What we need is a balancing force and Saint Teresa, The Patron Saint of Headaches and Chess, just leapt into my mind. It was like a bright shiny star through the fog of morning and the fumes of gasoline. The answer, A Carmelite Monastery on the hill behind the New Red Bridge. Sadly, this could present a problem of authenticity for those of us who are reaching our limits of compromise and who are almost ready to address the horrible problem of picking up a telephone to ask a question of a Wrecker's Yard.

It's well known in certain quarters that all Saints after around 1066 are pretty much in the category of Modern Saint, they're not true saints, they are wishy-washy, dogma ridden, power hungry lunatics. And unlike a genuine and true Medieval Saint such as Saint Barbara who died in 306, Saint Teresa met her savior in the October of 1582. Some purists might say rude things about the assertion that Saint Teresa isn't a genuine saint. And they may well have a point. Certainly at a tender age Teresa ran away from home to find Martyrdom amongst the Moors, which many will consider a characteristic of Modern Saints, but the key words here are "at a tender age." And, I'd argue, there's no way a Carmelite Nun can be considered as "Trending Toward the Modern." Pretty certain Saint Barbara would be draped in I Pods, but certainly not Saint Teresa. Nor can you really see the Patron Saint of Headaches and Chess getting as worked up about having a U-Boat in the Gorge as someone like a Patron Saint of Artillery Men. A win-win, I think.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


There's "Waiting On A Part" currently occurring. It's a fairly restless experience accompanied by the sort of wild "Make Do" alternatives that end up causing even more damage. The only solution is intense diversionary activity.

 Nothing serious because two of the more noticeable symptoms of "Waiting On A Part" is an inability to concentrate and a dramatic reduction of the short term memory. It's down to about two minutes at the moment.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Moral Dilemma

One of the versions of Saint George slew a Dragon, or he might even have slayed a Dragon. The Dragon in question had made a home around a fresh water spring which was the source of water for a village. Every time a villager went with his pail to fetch water the Dragon would either chase the villager away or eat the villager. An impasse Saint George was able to solve with his lance. And the thing about Dragons is that in some imaginations they were wicked and inspired by the Devil to do evil things and anyone who chose a Dragon as their emblem had to be up to no good.

Well, I'm one of those sissies who never has been able to think killing Dragons an act worthy of Sainthood. It just never seemed right, but it really does add complexity to the problem of understanding what it takes to become a Saint. The Rabbit, in his own quest to be recognized as a Medieval Saint in one of his past lives upon earth has had a word in your writer of pulp's ear. He's mentioned Saint George's Dragon slaying incident in an attempt to level the playing field, he goes on a bit about forgiveness of sins and "for the good of the whole." Nor is it that easy for a writer of pulp to move away from his own bias in the interest in narrative.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rear Wheel Removal

Some tension which required rear wheel removal. It's those compressed air impact wrenches, the kind that make men feel like men around lug nuts. Those of us who have elegant wrists and a Serbian capacity to cast down scorn upon impact wrench uses, always do find that a lug nut that's been visited by an impact wrench something of an effort to loosen.

On the darker side lie the manufacturers of fuel connectors. About them I have very little good to say. Some fuel connectors are basically little bits of perished plastic that require special tools to unloosen, so are probably easier to replace, which means cutting the fuel line. Nor do the manufacturers of motor vehicles grant any vehicle any more fuel line than is absolutely necessary at the point of manufacture. I call that uncaring.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Bed Removal

Pick-up Truck Bed Removal. Pretty technical term but we who live on the edge are not afraid of taking the Torx T55, a can of PB Blaster and beating up on a Pick-up truck.

More exciting of course is the Fuel Filler part of the Fuel Tank. It's an explosive mix in there, the home owner risks becoming embroiled in a Spontaneous Combustion. So it's all very exciting.