Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The fruit of my sanding on the chair backs. I am still contemplating how to handle the ends of the backs and the bases of the spars, but so far I am happy with the decisions, and the twist on the staves should go nicely with the twisty motif of the table from long ago. Back on the chiseling for the seats next and also shaping the legs a little more before joining them together. All the parts seem to have done a little warping while I was away, but that was expected. For now we have some company staying over the holiday period here in the wooded lands, so photos continue to be the pictorial element of choice.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Another rather random selection from the shots of blighty.
This looked like something rather ancient, but actually commemorates two chaps who did their "duty" in the First World war. It is surprising how much war memorabilia there is in the UK compared to here. These days my mind does seem to drift along lines that view the current world situation in a dim light.
Having so recently been among the queues for the drudgery of baggage searches, document checks and even a fingerprint scan at the airports I think we are being steered into accepting a rather bitter pill in the loss of liberty. I suppose the loss of the vote has made me ponder a little on what exactly those blokes were killed for and what I want from the remainder of my life as a disenfranchised individual.
Fortunately my body has been less ponderous and engaged in more productive pursuits wielding the belt sander in the workshop.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Translation work took a chunk out of the day. After some firewood gathering to fend off the evening chill I had a go at tuning the piano. It had got so bad that we were having to avoid certain notes. For the most part it was an even semitone flat. Sammy had an electronic meter to indicate the tone and while perusing the shelves at the tool store yesterday I noticed that the square hole in 1/4 inch socket wrench parts was very similar in size to the square tuning pegs. I stuck a 6mm socket onto a 6mm Allen wrench that fits into my little ratchet driver so that the square hole in the spanner socket would face out and set to with tuning a couple of octaves. You have to pluck each string individually with your thumb nail or some such to make sure they are each on the right note. I suppose real tuners do some special stuff, but I have just done all the 2 or 3 string sets to the correct note by the meter. It is a lot more fun to play now. I must get on and do the remaining notes soon so that I can put the cover back on.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stripy blue tailed skink

I had a bit of a day out paying a short visit to a friend and then bought some very thin black plastic sheet to cover the ground around a few cucumber and bean plants. I was just down in the field covering the edges of the sheets with a little scoop when this little chap popped out of the earth as I stuck my scoop in. I was going to let him scuttle off, but he found his way on to the wrapping that had covered the roll of sheet and that made him a bit too much of an easy target so I scooped him up in that and popped him in a big plastic box. He is only about 8cm long and probably a bit shell shocked after being photographed with the flash. He is back out among the other natural wonders now looking for a safe spot to sleep. Supposedly this is a five-lined skink, but for me the wonderful blue in the tail deserved at least a bit of a mention in the name. They are very common and adults are a bit bigger, I guess this is one of last year's puppies.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I am sticking with the little sketch book for a while despite the obvious disadvantages. The weather is not very decisive at present, luckily my daughter has her space up under the roof where it is warmest, but even so she was all hunched up in a ball working at her laptop while hugging her knees. I have put a few sticks of charcoal in the stove just to keep the edge off of the chill.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Sammy at the piano in one of those stripy Abercrombie and Fitch shirts. Not much visible from the back, but the reflection in the upright frontage was interesting to me in its contrast with the living animal at the ivories. The new mohair hat covering the priestly hair do.
More of the same kind of stuff as yesterday in the workshop, moving on to another chair back to instill it with the same kind of lines as I had devised yesterday. I am beginning to feel the benefit of the fish bowl powered respirator helmet as I feel no nasty effects from dust and whatnot as I work and it keeps things very calm.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


A varied day of computer work, weeding and sweeping followed by a dusty session with the chairs. I had a little go yesterday and that paid off today as I finally feel like I know where I am going with the back rest parts. I suspect it is the gradual accumulation of decent slumber sessions paying dividends. An old acquaintance popped around just as I was thinking of shutting up shop. The reason for the visit was to discuss more work in the form of an entry door for his home, so I was glad to have left work today feeling that my toes were beginning to get a proper grip on the carpet again.
Just a reminder that clicking on the images will open them in a larger view.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Finding Forrester

I nearly missed the bus again this evening, but was saved by Sammy coming home at a reasonable hour having already eaten. The movie "Finding Forrester" was in its last 45 minutes, so I had time to eat and then do a quick sketch of the lad laid out watching that. Water soluble felt pen and a little brush.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Well slept

I am not quite back in training with the blog routine and have let the time for picture making slip by. This morning I was happy to find that I had slept right through the night. I think that marks the longest spell of travel induced sleep interruption I have experienced. Up until yesterday the slightest disturbance had me fidgeting about fretfully all night. I am hoping for a repeat performance in a moment.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Male Member 3

Just to complete the set of immediate blood relatives of the male member here is young Sammy at the piano again.
He had one of those unfortunate mental lapses yesterday while using the clippers. He forgot he had taken the depth gage off and set to it on the brow line before he realized. He came in with a big square patch missing from the organic toupee, so there was nothing for it but to take the lot off to the same level and he was consequently an early caller at the hat shop. He selected a grey mohair woolly hat to keep some of the body heat in. It does look like he has taken up religious orders of a Buddhist nature, but he has a very shapely pate and it looks well on him.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Dipping into the sketchbook again thanks to even more work distraction today. This time a sketch of my brother done as I was trying out one of his pens while we were waiting for the Ryan air queue to form at Girona airport in Spain.
Hoping for a few hours of solid sleep tonight, but so far I have been disappointed in my ability to abandon consciousness since my return to the orient.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Recorded history

I forgot I would be sidetracked with Skype chatting and a community meeting today, so I have dipped into the sketchbook to pull out one of the very few sketches I did while in Blighty. Topical to a tee it is my Pappy, the regular Skype correspondent, conversing on some topic that for the moment eludes me. Perhaps it was the effect of the poor winter weather on the Chinese economy. As you might imagine, the minutes of these meetings are even more scanty than the sketched record, and when it comes to sketching I am rather less prolific than even the neolithic gentlemen in their sooty cave work. I bet they would have got a kick out of the reclining chairs and comfy fleece wear we were enjoying here.

Friday, April 18, 2008


I got started down in the shop again today. Fiddling with the shuttering for the concrete floor and then moving on to some work with a chisel on one of the chairs. Perhaps I might try and get more out of each subject with this new start to things. I will see how I feel tomorrow. For today I just wanted to get some kind of drawing up. It was rather enjoyable working with the chisel to make fairly precise marks over the seat area. Each round dimple having three or four slivers taken out to leave it deep enough to be visible after the scorching treatment.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


A fairly wobbly restart to entries as I find my feet with work. On my recent visit to the UK I spent a couple of days in London and walked just about everywhere. This is the famous wobbly bridge that has stopped wobbling. It takes you right to the door of the Tate modern gallery just behind us here. Ahead is St Pauls, which I also visited for a short while to escape the drizzle. The bridge is an interesting structure, the two points that struck me most were these strangely truncated ends to the graceful cable arcs and the fine ridged steel walkway surface, which makes some fairly whacky stridulatory noises as you scuff across it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Chops with everything

Back home away from home. Dinner in our usual mode where chopsticks come with everything. The longer stay of about three weeks was a lot more beneficial to the system than my previous go of 10 days, there still seem to have been a lot of things that I failed to get organized. Thank you to all those who showed my daughter and I hospitality during our trip.
I was interested to read on the plane home that the UK has now changed the voting laws so that any citizen living outside the country for more than 15 years loses the right to vote. I am therefore thoroughly disenfranchised in both my adopted territories. This does not thrill me in to contemplating a protest involving chains and fences. However, rather than considering myself an ambassador to either country (as I often have in the past) I must now consider my role to be one of ambassador to myself.