Tag Archives: Arts and Crafts

A Mystery Story for Halloween – The Single Footprint

I was rather perplexed by this bizarre mystery that I came across in Malta just recently. Here is a slab of concrete measuring roughly six foot by three and right in the middle of it is a single footprint. Nothing before and nothing after and nothing to either side and almost impossible to leap into the middle and back out again without losing balance unless you are a World Champion Hopper…

Intrigued?

Read The Full Post Here…

Feed The Birds, Tuppance A Bag

Home Made Fat Ball

With so many birds stopping by the garden now on account of the Arctic weather buying food from the garden centre or the supermarket can start to get rather expensive so I have been looking for alternatives so here are some tips to prepare your own bird gourmet meal.

I have been experimenting with making my own fat balls and so far I am really quite pleased with the results.

Bottom left in the picture is a beef fat preparation that I made by rendering down the fat from some sirloin steak and then adding to it some seed, fruit and oats. Unfortunately this wasn’t a completely brilliant success first time round and it started to melt down a bit in the warm October sunshine but it works perfectly now that temperatures struggle to get above zero.  This is hugely successful mainly with the Starlings who squabbled over it until it was gone.

Fat Balls

Bottom right is a similar preparation but this time using pork fat and this seems to be much more successful.  It has an altogether thicker consistency and it seems to bind together so much better.  This time I added the seeds and the fruit but also some broken up bread crusts that seemed to soak up and hold the fat together well.  It looks good enough to eat yourself don’t you think?  A bit like a luxury Belgian Florentine!

Again this is a big favourite with the Starlings and the Great Tit showed a great deal of interest as well.

One other little tip is that you might want to keep the kitchen window open while you are preparing the fat mixture!

Top left there is some pork fat that was left over after preparing the fat ball and this is always a big favourite with the birds and top right is the ever popular bacon fat.  Don’t throw it away, just grill it slowly for a while and the blackbirds will love it.

Don’t throw gone over fruit away either, because the birds will really enjoy chopped up grapes and oranges and as for an old pear, they will go crazy!

There are a number of places to go on the web to find out more about making your own bird food and I recommend this helpful site and http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/?p=357

Be careful however when you search on ‘fat balls’ because you might not always find exactly what you were expecting!  I once worked with a woman who was restoring some old furniture and in her lunch break searched for knobs and knockers on Google and had a lot of explaining to do to the IT department the next day!

Lard Toast for Birds

Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

“The sea’s curious workmanship: bottle green glass sucked smooth and porous by the waves: wood stripped and cleaned and bark swollen with salt…gnawed and rubbed: amber: bone: the sea”    Lawrence Durrell – Propero’s Cell

So, it was an unexpectedly early start that day and so began a routine of a balcony breakfast followed by a morning at the beach where we played for a while, then walked for a while searching for driftwood and other suitable model boat building materials washed up by the sea and then rested for a while listening to the occasional drone of an outboard motor, the flapping of pedalo paddle wheels and the gentle plop or rowing boat oars spearing the limpid sea until it was time to take shelter in the taverna and order a bottle of Mythos.

Read the full story…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

Wroclaw Dwarf

The dwarfs of Wroclaw can be found posing outside buildings and along the footpaths all over the city and this afternoon we bought a dwarf map and went looking for them.

The map must be rather old and out of date because it lists only seventy-nine of these little people but the dwarfs own web site (http://krasnale.pl/) says that there at least two hundred and five and some sources claim that there are as many as two hundred and fifty so the chances of seeing them all in one afternoon seemed hopelessly ambitious.

See more minimalist people in Wroclaw…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twist


“The sea’s curious workmanship: bottle green glass sucked smooth and porous by the waves: wood stripped and cleaned and bark swollen with salt…gnawed and rubbed: amber: bone: the sea”    Lawrence Durrell – Propero’s Cell

So, it was an unexpectedly early start that day and so began a routine of a balcony breakfast followed by a morning at the beach where we played for a while, then walked for a while searching for driftwood and other suitable model boat building materials washed up by the sea and then rested for a while listening to the occasional drone of an outboard motor, the flapping of pedalo paddle wheels and the gentle plop or rowing boat oars spearing the limpid sea until it was time to take shelter in the taverna and order a bottle of Mythos.

Read the full story…

Another Driftwood Boat

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.” 
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

In the shops earlier we had seen some souvenir boats made of drift wood and this gave me an idea.  It would be impossible to take one home given the restrictions on hand luggage so I decided that I would collect the bits of knotted wood and salt bleached sticks off the beach, take them home and, in an Airfix sort of way, make my own so I set immediately about beachcombing and starting my collection.

In the afternoon we strolled to the beach and went for a swim in the sea and I continued my search for interesting bits of driftwood.  Despite her earlier lack of enthusiasm even Kim was showing some interest in the project and by now we had the pieces we needed for the hull, the mast, the rudder and a cabin, some cuttlefish for sails and miscellaneous bits of twig and sticks for the sea.  Later as I scavenged the harbour for other useful bits a helpful fisherman provided some authentic cord which was going to be just perfect for the nets.

Read the full story…

The Latest Driftwood Project

Driftwood Boat

“The sea’s curious workmanship: bottle green glass sucked smooth and porous by the waves: wood stripped and cleaned and bark swollen with salt…gnawed and rubbed: amber: bone: the sea”    Lawrence Durrell – Propero’s Cell

So, it was an unexpectedly early start that day and so began a routine of a balcony breakfast followed by a morning at the beach where we played for a while, then walked for a while searching for driftwood and other suitable model boat building materials washed up by the sea and then rested for a while listening to the occasional drone of an outboard motor, the flapping of pedalo paddle wheels and the gentle plop or rowing boat oars spearing the limpid sea until it was time to take shelter in the taverna and order a bottle of Mythos.

Read the full story…

Greece and Turkey – The Boat Souvenir

I had some difficulty getting through the body scanner at passport control in Bodrum without setting it off so this left Kim by herself to deal with the request to open my bag that had gone through the scanner and caused some excitement.  I think she suddenly remembered the film ‘Midnight Express’ when a stay in a Turkish prison was decidedly unpleasant and mindful of this she blurted out ‘It isn’t mine!’ and raising a finger and clearly identifying me as the owner said ‘It’s his, it’s his!’  

The security guard was rather perplexed by my bag of driftwood and a few rusty nails but seemed to accept my explanation about the souvenir boat building project and he let us both pass.

The Corfu Souvenir Boat

Corfu, The Boat Souvenir

“The sea’s curious workmanship: bottle green glass sucked smooth and porous by the waves: wood stripped and cleaned and bark swollen with salt…gnawed and rubbed: amber: bone: the sea”    Lawrence Durrell – Propero’s Cell

So, it was an unexpectedly early start that day and so began a routine of a balcony breakfast followed by a morning at the beach where we played for a while, then walked for a while searching for driftwood and other suitable model boat building materials washed up by the sea and then rested for a while listening to the occasional drone of an outboard motor, the flapping of pedalo paddle wheels and the gentle plop or rowing boat oars spearing the limpid sea until it was time to take shelter in the taverna and order a bottle of Mythos.

Read the full story…