Monday, May 31, 2010

Long day

Following the day back around the planet on the trip to "home". This is Sado island the last bit of Japan we flew over. |It was a beautiful day to fly clear almost all the way over siberia. The cloud took hold of the homeland. This was held in a protective swaddle of lambs wool full of delicate silky ripples. The day came to an end as I landed but as we crossed the country the cloud cleared with heat mist below the breaking surface making the clouds appear to be the melting snowy surface of a glacier holding the country frozen below. Through the ice the patterns of fields and little swirls of cityscape fresh from the planners computer aided pencil. It is a subtle culture shock when home is a foreign country.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


This is the season when the tree frogs come into the garden. Only one frothy blob of eggs in the tree so far. I quite like trying to spot the little chaps when they are all quiet in the afternoon. Even when they are giving hints by chirping it is sometimes difficult to see them. That moment when the peripheral vision detects something and steers the eye to it then the brain clicks it into being as a frog is most enjoyable. Not quite as much fun in a picture or photograph, but for the record here is todays problem scene. Guaranteed to contain one crunchy frog for your perusal. Click to zoom in and then click again to zoom in more, or whatever your browser allows. This frog was captured in a particularly zen mode with his limbs nicely ordered in contemplation, for my part I am afraid I was just strolling about wearing the usual overalls.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Take a number

I am due to travel back to England next week and in order to get back into Japan without hindrance upon my return like all the other aliens I must have a re-entry permit in my passport. Acquiring this means traveling into the city and visiting one of those hives of bureaucracy with stained floors and ranks of forms and completion examples. The recent webby innovations meant that I was able to download and print out my form the day before, so with the completed paperwork in hand I headed straight for the number dispenser and grabbed one. Observing the general flow I then went and stood in line for advice at one of the manned stations along the border between us and the system.
On these occasions I aim to retain my sense of civil humanity despite the bland decor and overcooked lack of oxygenation. Outward appearances aside I hope I am exemplary in internal gentlemanliness. This seemed to be the attitude of the chaps behind the counter also, businesslike and polite despite an incredibly tedious job issuing paperwork to us lot. No doubt the well tended pension gleams like a prize marrow in the greenhouse of the mind.
Post advice, having handed over all my proofs of identity for perusal I joined the ranks of sea anemones awaiting results and settled in for a session of people watching. The level of the seats put me down among the bored preschoolers in attendance.
There was one little motif where a couple of young mothers possibly of Philippine origin were spending ages filling out a batch of forms standing at one of the utilitarian desks prepared for the purpose. Their youngest was bawling while the elder kid amused himself in a prone position examining the quality of stitching on the shoes of a fellow form filler. The youngest got picked up and the other went to hug his mothers leg. Then a complete stranger of a young kid came up behind him in a kind of comforting way as the shoe expert had begun to whine. The new chap divided his efforts, hugging the kid and patting his head to comfort and soothe while at the same time occasionally giving him a stiff little kick in the ankles. An odd metaphor for the postmodern world, something of the catholic persuasion perhaps. The mother put her hand down absentmindedly to comfort her little chap and did a swift double take when she found this little excrescence attached to her offspring. I suspect her subconscious "mother radar" had alerted her and she shooed the kid away despite the lack of evidential proof of his malfeasance. My number chitty turned out to be completely irrelevant as it was marked 64 and the machine was on 39 when I got the call to grace. Come to think of it the issuing machine was on 42, so I don't know how I ended up with 64. Perhaps some other little fellow had been amusing himself by neatly inserting discarded numbers from the day before. A very inventive way of confusing the clientèle.

Friday, May 21, 2010


After another full three days on the finishing work the door was just about done yesterday evening, but a last minute incident broke one of the small panes at the foot. Just a result of compound fatigue and thankfully not a big problem. I went back again this afternoon to do some final finishing and replace that. I also took away the old door and all the other associated gubbins in the vicinity. I borrowed Sammy's old camera for its extra pixels, but I couldn't get a wide enough angle to give a better idea of the interior ambiance. I think I must invest in a better camera at some point.
These kind of doors need to go through the annual cycle before they can be left to their own devices. There will probably be some adjusting to do in the coming year. For now all the locks and latches work OK, so I am done. In the past I have used iron hinges, but the stainless steel ones I used this time made it possible to bend the hinges in a vice to give some level of adjustment while not having to worry about cracking off the finish and exposing the metal to the elements.

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Doors

A very long day ripping out the old door and inserting my own effort in its place. All went fairly easily thanks to the help from the client with general odds and ends. We managed to get this far as it got round to nine pm. Flash is horrible, but even so it gives an idea of progress. The first time for me to see the thing all up together. More finish work tomorrow attaching fascia and laying tiles as a sill in under the doors. The clients seemed really happy, and looking forward to a more finished exterior tomorrow. Another full day I think with lots of fiddly edges to handle.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


A busy day fiddling with various door parts in the morning as well as applying some clear finish to the sign. I loaded up all the wooden door parts and delivered them to the site on the way to fit the nameplate. It looked OK.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Back on the ceiling

Today applying finish to the pieces scorched yesterday and carving into the centers of those corner blocks. The window with the blue glass is standing up looking like a ladder at bottom right. My toes visible again in the artisan sandals. The seven square spaces at the top of the frame now have stainless steel insect mesh fitted in them and I have devised a methodology for applying the fascia on the inside face where it would be necessary to remove it to allow access to the screws in the window hinges if that needed to be removed. One sticky area that was causing me vexation.
Meanwhile the numbers of disenfranchised has extended beyond myself to those who got shut out of the polling booths. I have no vote, but I do have an opinion. The conservative candidate has no sense of self. I think he has modeled himself on Mr Blair and is also trying to please any person standing within six feet of him. Having been in that mode for so many months I think he may be stuck there. It is a shame as it seems that we will be seeing a lot more of him being tortured in this way. I suppose it seemed like a good idea at the time becoming prime minister. An interesting election that has done more than the American rating agencies to devalue the country and looks like it will continue to do so for a while longer.
I am disappointed that the swing to something different never happened, even a few minutes on YouTube was sufficient to convince me that if I had a vote it would have been orange given the alternatives. Too late now, but a clip entitled Cameron exposed, was particularly poignant.
The election of at least one Green party member and the lack of any sizeable BNP incursion were pleasing. Also interesting to see all the clips of 1974, and the last precariously balanced parliament. I look forward to seeing how these events will have changed the country when I visit in June.

Tiny steps

The catchup on the end of last week will have to wait. I am hitting a wall of many little jobs that need to be done before I can fill this space of 2300mm by 1700mm. The progress continues and this is the view from the ceiling yesterday. Needing to make a decision about the little corner blocks and hoping this view will help. Actually, scorching all the timber that is lighter in color today and then wire brushing. Also engaged in some serious skype activity trying to get Sammy renewed access to his credit card, which had been shut down by visa. All kinds of stages involved, but one of the most useful features of skype was getting Sammy to log on as me so that he could use Skype credits to call Tokyo and get the details of what he needed to do. We then did all that and mailed him to get him to call them again and ask for them to kindly allow him the privilege of using his own money. We also had a little session of talking on the video phone style communication.