Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Year of the Cormorant Coven Awards


Don't go expecting any actual awards - see the following post for details


January : The year began by looking out from the Lighthouse; and due to a complete lack of preparation, we subjected you to some Old Art, then drank Black Shuck Gin to get over it; it was Cold in Cromer; we celebrated LX's birthday; and had a Wednesday Walk to Overstrand.

February : A Weekend of Walks in Trimingham, Northrepps and Frogshall started the month, which was followed by the Be All but not the End All; we showed you the creepy Witch Wringers of Small Hopes Hill; Chrysaor came for tea along with an unwelcome guest; we took a stroll on Overstrand beach; and dreamed of 13 Little Dolls.

March : We shared some books exclusive to the Cusp in Not The 2016 Infomaniac Book Challenge; celebrated Ms Scarlet's birthday; took a trio of Weekend Walkies; and helped to celebrate The Very Mistress MJ's 10th anniversary of blogging with The House of Infomaniac 10th anniversary Tour.

April : Various maps were brought out to illustrate our walks; our musical leanings were brought forth in a meme from Mistress Maddie; a new camera unveiled weekend wildlife; we were almost poked on Smallhopes Hill; and that vile little stinker Beaky returned.

May : Green Men abounded in Norwich cathedral; Beaky almost had my eye out; warmer weather brought forth wild flowers; MirrorMe made a nuisance of himself; there was an incidence of cockchafing; and we ended up on the other side of the hedge.

June : June saw the first of our take on Ms Scarlet's Books on Chairs post; cupcakes vs cockatrice; some garden photos; Apocalypse Oven's more evil twin featured in a short film; and we celebrated Princess's birthday by kissing a frog.

July : Due to busyness and interlopers from France, we only managed one post in July, and that was just a recap of what we'd been up to at the end of June!

August : After seeing off the pesky French, the blog almost became a photo album with five consecutive posts that served as dumping grounds for photos taken in July; we avoided being sucked into the jet intakes of the Red Arrows; plus, there was very almost nudity!

September : September saw weeing cormorants and rubbish Creepycous-cous; Sunday Music; Frogbot-related angst; my 900th post and more photos of the North Norfolk countryside.

October : Amongst yet more photos along the coast were the third Infomaniac Book Challenge (headed up by a wet-trunks clad Jeffrey Hunter); forty things about me; a Star Trek horror novel art challenge; some real books that weren't on chairs; and a ropey-looking Hallowe'en marrow and pumpkin.

November : The fourth Infomaniac Book Challenge started off the month, followed by a desperate recap of televisual viewing not aided by Evil Edna; that little git Beaky made a showing; a stroll along the seafront; and we answered four questions.

December : After a book update, we unleashed a barrage of photos from a beach walk to Sheringham and back; a Vulcan Winter Solstice greetings card was revealed; and the fifth and final Infomaniac Book Challenge revealed more about The Very Mistress than she would probably like us to know!

::

 Yes, this is unfinished, but I've done my bit. If the Host and the SubCs are too bloody lazy to do their bits, then bugger them!
 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Yowe skinnie owlde Snatch-pastry*


  Hello! We hope you all had a lovely Yuletide, Christmas, Winterval, whatever?

  I'm just squeezing in a final "books read this year" post - one without a chair in sight, although, as you can see by the photo, it does have a Christmas theme even though none of the books are Christmas-related.
 I'm a little off the target of 60 books this year (to beat last year's 59), but it's quality not quantity that counts, right?

::

51. Strata, by Terry Pratchett (1981)

 The excavation showed the fossilized plesiosaur had been holding a placard which read. 'End Nuclear Testing Now'.
 That was nothing unusual.
 But then came a discovery which did intrigue Kin Arad.
 A flat earth was something new...


 Last read back in 2010, here

Friday, December 23, 2016

Not The 2016 Infomaniac Book Challenge V


  Good news, everybody! I was a runner-up in the "Guess The Mistress's Menstrual Cycle" competition during the 10th anniversary celebrations of the House of Infomaniac and - finally! - my runner-up prize has arrived, just in time for the final entry in the Not The 2016 Infomaniac Book Challenge.

ξ : The Very Mistress MJ Diaries ("A Friend" Publishing)

  No sooner had the (poorly) gift-wrapped book dropped through my letterbox, than I tore it open and plumped myself down in the recliner to read it (peeling brussels sprouts be damned! - I don't like them anyway). I ploughed through The Very Mistress MJ Diaries in no time, devouring every little tidbit that the author had scraped together from ten years of grubbing around in The Mistress's trash can. These candid images offer revelations into the life of The Mistress!

  As I don't have time to go through it all with you, nevermind scan the choicest pictures, I shall leave you with the excerpts from amuze-bouke.cusp (the Cusp's answer to Amazon):


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter Solstice


  It's the Winter Solstice today. At 10:44 UTC, to be precice.
  
This scene from Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
will become clear later in the post
[image via]
  As I'm sure you all know, the solstice occurs when the North Pole is tilted the furthest away from the sun (23.5 degrees). This means the Northern Hemisphere experiences its shortest day, while the Southern Hemisphere basks in its longest day.
 However, don't go thinking that the solstice is always on the 21st December. Due to the wobbly old Earth and our not solar-accurate clocks, the solstice can occur as early as the 20th and as late as the 23rd December (although occurrences on those dates are rare - it's more usual on the 21st and 22nd). 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

These are some of our...


(created via)


Just trying something out for our end of year review.


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Landscapes in the black mirror are closer than they appear...


  I took 150odd photos during my beach walk on Saturday, and even after whittling them down, I still had 59 that I wanted to display. I managed to use three of them in Beach Borg, 39 in the last post, and omit a further nine, so here are the remaining eight - all of which have something in common.

::



Sunday, December 04, 2016

Just a couple of cormorants


  So, here it is: photographic evidence of yesterday's six mile foray along the beach from Cromer to Sheringham, taking in East and West Runton along the way (oh, and the six miles back again).
  As I walked west along the prom(enade) after taking some photos on the pier, I realised that I'd never (as far as I can remember, anyway) been on the west beach!

::

As always: Click to embiggen! 

The Hotel de Paris on top of the cliff above the pier (with Cromer Church tower behind it)

The Pavilion Theatre at the end of the pier
(not right at the end, though, as that's where the lifeboat station is)

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Beach Borg


  Amongst the sand, sea, chalk, and seaweed of West Runton beach, lurks an infiltrator from that race of unfeeling, uncaring, cybernetic perfectionists: The Borg.

  This one appears to be only a probe, which probably crashed here in Victorian times - just look how steampunk it is! But don't let appearances fool you. Borg can lay dormant for decades, if not centuries, just waiting for someone to get close enough to warrant a good poke with their assimilation tubules!


  This sign from West Runton beach is clearly missing a yellow warning triangle instructing beachgoers to Beware of old-timey Borg!


  Who knew North-Norfolk's beaches could be so dangerous?!

  Well, you can judge for yourself how dangerous they are in my next post which will be crammed full of photos from today's walk along the beach from Cromer to Sheringham and back.

 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

I carry the seed of Chatogaster*


 Well. Here we are again with another books-read-in-the-last-few-weeks post.
 I'll warn you now: you might find something a little... odd with this post. I hope it doesn't leave you feeling uncomfortable and wrong...

 Who left this whip here? And what's that laying on the rug?!

::pokes prone horse::

 It's not dead, is it?

 ::

46. Mindbenders, by Nicholas Fisk (1987)

  'Heads down, eyes glare, Mindbenders! Glass Move!' she commanded. She kept her eyes on the ants.

  Mindbending starts off as just a game for Vinny and Toby... until the ants arrive, that is. At first the formicarium - a gift from bossy Aunt Craven - seems just a typically useless present. What kind of fun could you have with a portable ants' nest? But as time passes, the children find themselves uncontrollably drawn to stare and stare into the glass case and to concentrate on its manic occupants - it is like plugging your mind into a huge power socket. Suddenly Vinny and Toby are doing wonderful, magical things that should have been impossible: mindbending is incredible!
  But then the ants decide to grow...

 Along with Trillions and Grinny, this book rounds out my Nicholas Fisk collection. I really must read more of his books.

 Just a minute... Those books aren't on chairs! What gives? Where are they?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Cold Car


Car's going in for it's M.O.T. tomorrow morning. Wish us luck!

It was a bit nippy this morning (and has been all day, actually), so the sunless sides of Car were covered in frost

In fact, most of Car stayed frosty all day as the sun just isn't getting high enough to clear the trees and houses surrounding us. Roll on the winter solstice
Frost atop Car

EDIT 19:57 30th November - Waaaaaaaaah! The what-I-thought-were minor holes in the floorplan turned out to be major structural problems which will warrant taking half of Car apart to fix. And it won't be cheap or be able to be done anytime soon, so I'll be getting the train to work for the next week or two... :(

Sunday, November 27, 2016


 As seen at such illustrious blogs as 63 Mago, and Savannah Marsh Mama, we bring you our take on the “Game of Fours”. Four questions, with four answers each.

1. Favourite food?
Cake (not CAKE!), preferably of the moist and rich chocolate variety. Especially Black Forest Gateaux - Yes, gateaux plural!
Pudding/dessert/afters etc. also goes down a treat (as long as it's not a slimy, wobbly creme caramel or blancmange-type affair). Basically, something dark and rich with a good dollop or two of extra thick cream.
A nice big crispy-skinned baked potato filled with butter, tuna, and lashings of mayonnaise. Oh, and maybe a sprinkle of herbs!
A toss-up between homemade cheese & onion tart and fish pie (as long as it doesn't have squid or octopus in it).

Thursday, November 24, 2016

300 Screaming Kids...

... or On This Day...

 I was just trawling through my dusty old archives, and wondered what we were up to on this day in the years gone by.
 It turns out that in 2007 we celebrated the 300th post of Inexplicable DeVice.
 In 2008 we screamed:



 And in 2010 we became an unwilling babysitter.

 That's it. Oh, some stuff happened in 2005, but it really needs an overhaul before I link to it, and I really can't be bothered right now - mainly because I'm tired and want to go to bed!

 See you all at the weekend! 

 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Seaside Stroll


 Except it wasn't really a stroll, more like a fast walk to keep warm!

 I thought I'd better make the most of the clear skies on Saturday, as the weather forecast for Sunday (today) was miserable. Although, as I sit here and type this, the sun's out (there are dark clouds looming in the distance, however)...

Cromer town from the strip of woods between Kings Chalet Park and Cromer Country Club

The offshore supply ship Putford Ajax, and the offshore construction jack up Neptune

Here they are in a bit more detail (although still fuzzy - they were a long way off).
I used MarineTraffic.com to identify them

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Git By Any Other Name...


 Yes. He's returned from fathering another monstrous brood: Beaky!


 No sooner does the temperature drop, than Beaky appears.

 Can't be arsed to forage for food in the woods? Well, why not terrorise the neighbourhood with shrill, piercing screams, and eye-removing aerial stunts until someone (i.e. me) relents and chops up a load of sugary sultanas to fill your fat little belly. Or leaves apple halves laying around in handy-to-get-to places. Or flings handfulls of meal worms about the place for whenever you'd like a snack.

 Bah!


  

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Procrastinating with Evil Edna


Evil Edna (from Willo the Wisp)
 Evil Edna, a witch from the depths of my childhood, has cast her wicked influence on me!  She consistently thwarts me with her flickering images when I have something important or time-sensitive to do.
 A result of Evil Edna's meddling is this list of TV shows I've watched or I'm still watching, which has been languishing in my blog drafts for months.  I keep adding to it every time I ought to be doing something more constructive or useful but find something new to watch instead.
 I'm not really sure what the point of this post is supposed to be, though?  Originally, I think I'd intended it to play some part in the end-of-year Coven Awards (which -Yikes! - I'd better make a start on. I haven't even thought of a theme, yet), but it now seems to be a grim reminder of how I'm wasting my life...
 Oh, well!


Saturday, November 05, 2016

Not The 2016 Infomaniac Book Challenge IV


 This latest batch of books from over The Cusp is brought to you in the vaguest of associations with The 2016 Infomaniac Book Challenge. There're only three books rather than the usual five this time due to busyness interfering with reading time.
 

Solicitation cover - may not be final
λ : Beautiful Robots Dancing Alone, by Marian Keyes

 I was lucky enough to be one of the beta-readers for this new novel by Strictly Come Dancing superfan Marian Keyes. 
 Actually, luck didn't come into it - I made a few small contributions for which Marian showed her extreme gratitude by letting me have a read before the official publishing next year!
 Here's the blurb:   

 It is late Spring 2016, and in a broom cupboard deep in the bowels of the BBC's Elstree Studios a Charles CVC370, sick of being relegated to vacuuming up sequins from Strictly Come Dancing, show after show after show, clatters and clanks into life! 
 Now Autumn, and during the live Strictly Halloween show the unthinkable happens: The BBC's troop of professional dancers are revealed to be robots when, provoked by Head Judge Len Goodman after he witnessed her questionable rumba with Greg Rutherford, Nataliebot deviates from her programming and carves a swathe of destruction throughout the Elstree Studios.  The computer virus quickly spreads to the other dancers and - under the direction of Antron du Borg - Aljažbot, Gorkatron, Otibot, and the Cliftoncons hold their celebrity partners and Strictly host Claudia Winkleman hostage.  Meanwhile, Pashpotbot seduces BBC Deputy Director General Anne Bulford, convincing her to overthrow Director General Tony Hall and take over the BBC for reasons not immediately apparent...

Monday, October 31, 2016

Hallowe'en


Happy Hallowe'en from Monstrous Marrow and Pungent Pumpkin!



Sunday, October 30, 2016

Books Not On Chairs or Other Seating Conveniences...


 ... because I only have the briefest of windows available, this is all I have time for. I couldn't even find the time to plop a few books on chairs and take some snaps! Not that I have any chairs you haven't already seen in previous outings...

::

41. Time Lock (Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations), by Christopher L. Bennett (2016)

 The dedicated agents of the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations have their work cut out for them protecting the course of history from the dangers of time travel. But the galaxy is littered with artifacts that, in the wrong hands, could threaten reality. One of the DTI's most crucial jobs is to track down these objects and lock them safely away in the Federation’s most secret and secure facility. As it happens, Agent Gariff Lucsly and his supervisor, DTI director Laarin Andos, are charged with handling a mysterious space-time portal device discovered by Starfleet. But this device turns out to be a Trojan horse, linking to a pocket dimension and a dangerous group of raiders determined to steal some of the most powerful temporal artifacts ever known...

 Exhilarating!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mish Mash


 Due to the quite sudden turn of the weather at the end of September, I haven't been out-and-about on many walks/drifts-
 Or partaken of many flights on Broom!
 - so I don't have many photos of the Norfolk countryside for you.
Did I hear someone breathe a sigh of relief?
Probably. Those same stretches of beach were getting a bit tiresome. And that Cormorant was getting ideas above his station what with getting an agent and appearing on other blogs!
 Yes, all right... So, anyway, this post is just going to be a mish-mash of the least boring stuff we've been up to.

::

Saturday, 1st October


 First, some news from the garden: The passion flower that I bought last year and planted with a clematis behind the bench, has finally flowered! Yes, after two summers of not doing very much at all, it finally got its act together and started producing flowers at the beginning of October.
 Better late than never, I suppose.


::


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Twisted October: Star Trek Art Challenge


 I had a fun afternoon yesterday creating some horror novel covers for a Star Trek fan art challenge being held on another social media website (no, not the dreaded FB - I don't do that any more). The challenge is below:

What if Roddenberry didn't invent Star Trek, with all its optimism, but Lovecraft instead? What if Voyager was primarily penned by Stephen King? What if Starfleet was inspired by 1984?
This flash contest will let those, who dare, explore the dark and twisted parts of the Star Trek universe. Or is this the Horrorverse alternate reality? You decide. Let us shiver, let us scream, give us something that will wake us from our dream. Give us a reason to be afraid of the infinite dark of space!

 I've used images (which I nabbed from here), titles, and quotes (from here) from the five live-action Star Trek television series: The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise, and smushed them together in Paint (because I don't have Photoshop or any other such program, and wouldn't know how to use them if I did).

"Catspaw" (from The Original Series), written by Robert Bloch

Monday, October 10, 2016

Forty


 With thanks to Mistress Maddie, we have a new blog post! And to clarify (like Maddie did) we are not forty.
 No. Forty is something that happens to other people.
 This is a list of forty questions about us, that we will endeavour to answer as truthfully as we can. The answers will either be from me...
 ... Or from me, the Host.
 Right. Let's get on with it, shall we?

::

1- Are you named after anybody? My two middle names are the first names of my grandfathers.
2- When was the last time you cried? Saturday night watching the reaction to Ore & Joanne's American Smooth to "Singin' in the Rain" on Strictly Come Dancing.



3- Do you like your hand writing? I do, actually. Despite having enormous hands, the Host is quite dextrous with a pen or pencil.
4- What's your favourite lunch meat? Lunch meat? I don't really know what that is. Do we have lunch meat in Great Britain?
5- Do you have any kids? Not in stock at the mo. The cupboard's a little bare...
6- If you were another person, would you be friends? Probably not as I'd easily be able to pick up on the other me's insincerity.
7- Do you use sarcasm? Surprisingly little.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Not The 2016 Infomaniac Book Challenge III


 This edition of Not The 2016 Infomaniac Book Challenge comes to you a little late. Or a little early, if you're not bothered about having one every two months to match up to The Very Mistress MJ's original challenges?
 One of the reasons for this apparent scheduling fail is that I had an interminable wait before I could cross the Cusp Interface and come home. I left my friends' floating glass castle on Thursday—expecting to be back in time for The Very Mistress's Sixth Annual Infomaniac Garden Photos Event—but ended up stuck in a dizzying holding pattern in one of the Cusp departure lounges due to leaves on the line, or some other such nonsense! With little else, to do, I entertained myself with some of the least objectionable literature that had been left laying around the lounge...


ζ : Jeffrey Hunter was my Poolboy! by Ingmar Devine

 Jeffrey Hunter's sheer beauty and presence has managed to elevate this sad, cheap little rag (I mean, I know it was printed in the early 70s, but colour had been invented by then) to a must-read—
Must ogle, more like!
 Cwooaaarrghh, yeah!
*ahem* A must-read for any waiting room, holiday—
Or visit to the sperm bank!
 Right! That's quite enough from you lot!
 What was I saying? Oh, yes. Jeffrey Hunter.
 Once I'd got past all the pictures of The Most Handsome Man in Hollywood (which took some time, let me tell you), I was left with the text. And very poorly written it was, too. I found it quite difficult to follow the narrative and work out the timeline of events (and that's saying something for one who is now used to the annoyances of time-travel). But the characters, although barely fleshed out, did seem reasonably believable, and even a little familiar. In fact, the whole thing left me with a strange feeling of stretched out déjà vu.
 I think I'd better do some investigating into this Ingmar Devine. I wonder if we're related...?

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Head in the Clouds


 We're on holiday for two weeks!
 So I'm taking this opportunity to visit a couple of old friends who, coincidentally, happen to be passing by this corner of the world. The wind has now changed, so their castle should be within a short Broom flight tomorrow morning. I just need to nip into Cromer to get a pair of sunglasses, as I shall be navigating through blinding white cumulus clouds for the majority of the trip.
 You see, they live in a (mostly) glass castle that floats about two-thousand feet up!

::
 
As it's a nice day, I decided to walk into Cromer along the beach

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

901


 Here we go with part two of my September snapping. And what better way to begin than with a cormorant - I'm nothing if not consistent. Except when I'm not, of course...
 Anyway, what follows is another four days worth of photos from the beach and the woods.
 Try not to fall asleep those of you at the back...

::

Thursday, 15th September

I popped down to Overstrand beach for a swim, but it was a little...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

900


Sunday, 4th September
 Due to the Frogbot-related nincompoopery of the last few posts, you may think that you've escaped the tedium of dozens of photos from my, by now totally predictable, beach, garden, and woods related escapades. Well, think again!
 Despite the Frogbot induced wailing and gnashing of teeth, I have had time to get down to the beach and take enough photos for one or two slideshows.
 Now, this might feel like 900 photos, but I can assure you that there are certainly no more than 890-odd... No, this is my 900th post! And it's only taken eleven years to get here...

 Right. on to the photos. And because there are so many, I'm going to split this post up into the days that the photos were taken, and only post half of them now. Part Two I'll publish in a couple of days or so. As ever, click to embigulate!

::

Wednesday, 7th September

A Little Egret fishing - possibly the same one that I saw (and misidentified as a Great White Egret) here

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Accepting the Frogbot


 OK. We've come to a decision. And, somewhat miraculously, no SubCs got hurt, no brain cells were fried (yes, "fried", not "fired"), and the dithering was kept to under a week!

 With thanks to ErosWings - who has also been blighted by the 'bot - we've decided a) not to make this blog private, b) to republish all previously infected posts just as they are, and c) to just put up with Frogbot as something like a force of nature (albeit a very annoying one) and ignore the falsely inflated stats. This will also stop Witchface from putting out a bowl of HTML every evening in the hope that Frogbot will go for that rather than our posts...
 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thwarting the Frogbot


 The dratted Frogbot and its fixation on certain posts by regularly viewing them every half hour or so, has forced us to rethink the purpose of this blog. We'd like our musings and adventures over The Cusp (sparse as they've been lately) to be out there for all to see. But other than what microscopic bit of notoriety this has brought/may bring — and the possibility of of being paid shed-loads of cash for book/film deals (also very sparse) — we're prefectly happy for just a select few as an audience.
 We've asked ourselves: Why do we care if the Frogbot artificially inflates the viewing figures of certain posts? It's not like the blog gets many views anyway. I, the Host, like reason and order, or, at the very least, something I can understand even if on first inspection it makes no sense. Plus, I also like the stats to serve a purpose and mean something. I like to see which posts are popular — not that we really do much about it. It's not like we go out of our way to publish posts with content that has been popular previously. In fact, what the stats tell us is pretty much ignored (especially by Witchface)! But that doesn't mean that I don't like to have a peruse now and again.

 I think trying to ascertain the Frogbot's reasons is futile. It's a 'bot, so trying to understand its actions and reasons in order to develop a counter to it will probably be a big fat waste of time.
 So, with this in mind, we're considering making the blog private for the forseeable future.
 While we're bickering amongst ourselves deciding, we'll republish the posts that the Frogbot has infected that have been reverted to draft, but with mirror titles and at different times to the originals. Well, I say "we", but Witchface is all thumbs when it comes to this type of thing, so I'll end up doing it.
Ha! You're not that much better, yourself!
Oh, shush, you.
 I'll also add the existing comments as images in a little gallery at the end of the post (like this). Then, if or when we do revert this to a public blog again, we may reinstate the original posts and delete the mirror copies.
 And if this post turns up with a mirror title, you'll know it's been infected, too.
 So, let us know in the comments, or by email, if you'd like an invitation.
Either the email address in our profile...
...or my private one which some of you know.
 We're not going to automatically assume that all current commenters want a piece of the action as you may have been looking for an excuse to wash your hands of us, so this could be your chance to get away from it all!
 This is also an ideal time for any lurkers to make yourselves known if you'd like to continue lurking in private. Don't say we never give you anything!
 We'll leave this up for a week — or two (you know how indecisive we are) — to let you all see what we're planning so you can (in)act accordingly. In the meantime, we'll visit your blogs as usual.

 Oh, and Frogbot? If you're watching:



 :: 
EDIT 20:50 16.09.2016
 Thank you all for your support (gosh, sounds like something much more serious than a Frogbot infestation has happened, doesn't it?).
I (the Host) have to let you know that our bickering has turned into dithering because a) I've discovered that making the blog private means that you all have to have some sort of Google account (probably Google+ - something I'm too wary of to sign up to, so why should I expect you to?), and b) Witchface's SubC has started to feel sorry for the Frogbot because it probably doesn't have a choice in what it's doing, and is probably cooped up in a battery farm somewhere near Quimper or Brest with a load of other hard-done-by and put-upon 'bots. We might just leave things as they are, and let the 'bots roam free throughout the blog (or at least the posts they appear to be trapped in), and never look at the stats again!?

Maybe...

I was going to ask if anyone else has any ideas, but that would just give us more fodder to dither over!