Monday 30 September 2019

September Has Spiralled Away

I know!  I'm just as shocked as you are,
Time is certainly flying by...

 I popped down to the beach for a swim on the 22nd, but the sea was too choppy, so I mooched about on the shoreline, picking up pretty stones and the like, instead.  As the sundials I'd previously created* had been washed away (or swiped aside by seagulls/children/Chronosfear/League Against Time-telling Equipment et al), I thought about making more, but stopped in my tracks when I realised that in sorting the stones, I'd created a rather pleasing spiral.
 So I carried on until the groyne post was packed with stones!

Saturday 28 September 2019

Not the DeVice Mansion Gardens

 I visited Urban Jungle near Norwich on Thursday (last seen two years ago, here), and the Old Vicarage gardens at East Ruston yesterday.  Four plants came home with me on Thursday, and just one yesterday.  However, I also acquired a pocket full of various seeds!  Unlike Thursday at Urban Jungle where I took photos of the plants that I liked (and that were suitable for the DeVice Mansion gardens) along with their labels (so I wouldn't have to try and remember/guess what they were later), only by chance did a couple of photos from East Ruston match up to some of the seeds I appropriated.
 The seeds were all stuffed into a pocket of my bag, and when I got home, I spent an age racking my brain to remember which plants they came from, and then another eternity scouring the internet trying to find out the plants' names.  I've done quite well, I think.  Only one seed pod is completely unknown, and another (the one that looks like a bottom) I have a general idea of.

 I began by separating and sorting the seeds, then writing a brief description of the plant they came from (if I remembered). Then, after much some research, I wrote the actual plant name with seed propagation info (if found).  Spiralling inwards (clockwise) from top left:
  1. The completely unreal looking fruits of Dianella caerulea
    No description because the bright blue fruit was very memorable - discovered to be Dianella caerulea, aka flax lily. 
  2. Again, no description because of its uniqueness.  This is the one I only have a general idea of - I think its from some sort of Crinum, or other similar lily-like bulb.  
  3. "Peanutbutter plant" is the description, but I can't remember the proper name.  I used to have one in the gardens of Castle DeVice which, when the leaves were lightly crushed/bruised, would smell of peanut butter, hence my description.
  4. "Popping seed plant.  About 1m tall, leggy, in shade, white and purple 'bonnet'-like flowers." - This, I discovered, is an invasive species, Impatiens glandulifera 'Himalayan balsam'. I've written "Don't grow!"
  5. "Unknown" - Except, I remembered what plant these seeds came from soon after writing that: The dried flower head of an Allium.
  6. "Grass - wispy seed heads about 50cm tall" - I'm not buggering about trying to find out what sort of grass as its grass.  It'll grow.
  7. No description as I knew what plant these were from: Echium!
  8. Camera has done its usual sterling job of focusing
    everywhere but at the ruddy great thing in the foreground
    that was the obvious subject of the bloody, buggery photo!
    "Column of blackberries"  These attractive, edible-looking black berries (so therefore they must be highly poisonous) yielded small, bean-shaped, shiny black seeds.  It took some research, but I eventually found out that these are from Phytolacca acinosa, aka Indian pokeweed.  And, yes, it's poisonous.
  9. "Unknown plant - about 1m tall, leggy, in shade." - Yep, this is the completely unknown one.  It came from near the entrance to the gardens, but I can't for the life of me remember anything about the plant.  The seed pod does look a little like an Aquilegia seed pod, but with only three lobes.

Monday 23 September 2019

Ye Olde TV

 I am somewhat exhausted after chronicling our recent escapades over the Cusp (see previous six posts), as well as dealing with various family issues (medical emergencies, transportation, and taking on the 'School Run Mum' role, amongst other things - and all seem to have occurred on the hot, sunny days, leaving me with the overcast, windy and rainy days) so I have been watching TV in between the fetching and carrying.
 Mostly, I have been rewatching old things, or old things made new.  It's been a bit like comfort eating.  Which I have also been doing a lot of...

 Anyway, on with the shows!

Smack the Pony - a comedy sketch show from 1999 to 2003 performed by Fiona Allen, Doon Mackichan, and Sally Phillips.  It also featured Sarah Alexander, Darren Boyd, and Cavan Clerkin.

(Three of my favourite sketches can be found at 8:19 "Competitive singing", 10:40 "Window Cleaner", and 22:50 "Competitive make-up")

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - selected episodes from 1993 to 1994, including the first season finale In the Hands of the Prophets, and the season two opening trilogy The Homecoming, The Circle, and The Seige.  A couple of Cardassian-centric episodes Cardassians and Tribunal, and the shocking season two finale, The Jem'Hadar.

Sunday 15 September 2019

The I.T. Wizard of Oz

Continued from... Visiting the Viridian Village

 "Look!" said Maddie as she hovered just below the clouds above the Viridian Village.  "There's the old Scarecrone outside the palace."
 "Where?" Jon burst out of the cloud, wings outstretched as he scoured the ground below.
 "There.  Heading towards the gates with the others."
 "Oh, yes, I see.  Come on" Jon beckoned Maddie and a couple of her nubile, young flying monkey houseboys, "let's go get her!"


 "I'm not sure how I feel about this?" Mago pondered.
 "About what, Mr Mags?"
 "About stealing IDV's broom for the wizard.  I just don't think it's right."
 "But that was the deal" Ms Scarlet said.  "The broom in exchange for wi-fi & satnav for me, courage for Beast, and the surgery required to get that tin foil hat off your head!  I don't think Mr Devine will give it up voluntarily, so we'll just have to take it."
 "Oh, nein.  It's not the stealing that concerns me.  I mean: I'm worried that that old broom will never get the Wizard all the way to south-east Texas!"
I think we probably should have featured Broom earlier, hmm?
Oh!  We could have used it to fly off on when The Very Mistress first turned up in Loompaland!
Bugger!  A missed opportunity.
Hang on a minute.  The wizard doesn't escape Oz on a broom, he uses a hot air bal-
 "Quiet, you two!"
 "Who are you berating, Very Mistress?  No one said anything?"
 "Oh, just IVD's and the Host's meddlesome, irritating SubConsciousnesses.  I've been able to hear them since their birthday last year.  I don't know how he puts up with them?"
 Thank you!
 "Wha-?  Who said that??"
Oh, shit.
Shhhh!  You're not the narrator.
Well, who is?  The writing's all in white, so it appears to be Witchface,
but it's all over the shop, so who can tell?
Anyway!  Back to the gates...

 In a flurry of feathers fit for the most fabulous of drag queens, Maddie, Jon, and a couple of minor flying monkeys carrying some sort of wooden contraption, swooped down upon the Blogorati.
 "Aaaaaiiieeeee!!!  They're in my hair!  They're in my hair!!" Beast shrieked like a little girl and ran around waving his hands above his head ineffectually.
 "Shut up, Baldilocks" The Very Mistress said scornfully, rolling her eyes "they're not here for you."  The flying monkeys set down and beckoned her to the sedan chair.
 "Ms Mistress!" Ms Scarlet piped up.  "Where are you going?"
 "The same place as you - to IVD's castle."
 "But...?" Ms Scarlet waved her arm towards the sedan chair and the waiting monkeys.
 "The thought of being stuck in a car for another journey with Beast and his flatulent arse was too much, so while you were seeing the wizard, I called for a lift" The Very Mistress explained as she got in the chair and the flying monkeys prepared for take off.  "Fortunately, there's only enough room for one.  Byeeeee!"


Friday 13 September 2019

Visiting the Viridian Village

Continued from... Feather Brained

 "I can't believe what happened to me!!!" Ms Scarlet shrieked after her treatment at the gate.  "How.  Why?  Why would you do that to me???  I am going to have to go and shower now, and I will probably have nightmares tonight."
 "Woof!" said Sid.
 "What?" said a rather confused looking Hound.
 "I need a good dry cleaner's and a therapist after being subject to your disgusting... thing!"
 "What are you talking about, bab?  It's not disgusting.  It might be breaking the laws of nature, but it's not disgusting.  It's perfectly unnatural."  Fearing an international incident at the amount of huffing and foot-stamping going on, Hound opened the gates to the Viridian Village to let the strange party in.
 "Oh, I don't want to see" Ms Scarlet pouted.  Beast poked his head around the gate, his smirk at Ms Scarlet's earlier treatment disappeared.
 "Oh" he said.  "Well, that's unexpected."
 Mago was next to go through. "Ja" he agreed, and beckoned Ms Scarlet and The Very Mistress through.
 There, behind the gate in Hound's little alcove, was an array of complicated looking contraptions, including what looked like pieces of a Whimshurst machine or Van de Graaf generator, and a tin foil Tik-Tok man.
 "What's this?" Ms Scarlet asked as Sid raised his hackles and growled.  "What is all this stuff?"
 "If you must know" Hound began, trying to ignore the vibrating, growling Sid, "I have constructed a full-body, tin foil, tik-tok armour, but it needs electricity to power some of the components.  Electricity which can be harvested from the static shocks created by fondling those enchanted, emerald, polyester elf shorts you're wearing!"
 Ms Scarlet managed to look both confused and relieved.  "Well" she said, eventually.  "I suppose that's all right, then.  Carry on."
 "Now you've all had a good gawp at my little fetish, I shall repeat my original question: What do you want!?"

Sunday 8 September 2019

Feather Brained

 Goading each other on, and sniggering over smutty innuendos, two flying monkeys swooped down towards a fast-moving, pink car...


A little while later back at Castle DeVice...

 "What in the Christing Hells is this?!"
 Before me, my highest ranking flying monkeys, Head Gardener Nikko Jon, and Head Fancier Chistery Maddie, presented a radio-controlled, miniature FAB 1, complete with little puppet passengers inside.
 "You don't want it?"
 "Is this not what you asked for?"
 One of them sniggered amongst a ruffling of feathers.
 "Look at it!" I screeched.  "They're bloody puppets!"
 "Marionettes, actually" Jon said.
 "This is what you showed us in the crystal ball, Tootes" said Maddie.
 "Yes.  It's not our fault you hadn't put your reading glasses on."
 "You showed us a small, radio-controlled car.  How were we supposed to know you wanted the real thing?"
 Someone sniggered again, this time without bothering to mask it with a wing shake.
 "Christ!  Would you give me just a small break?  Why in all Hells would I want you to fetch me a toy car?" I hissed while pinching the bridge of my nose, which - to be fair - was bereft of reading glasses.  "You wouldn't be like this to The Very Mistress, would you?"
 The two flying monkeys gave each other smirking 'looks'.
 "I might" said Jon
 "Yeah, me too" Maddie agreed.
 "Really?" I countered, a plan forming.  I affected my best stern Very Mistress pose and pulled out my crystal ball complete with a fully formed image of The Very Mistress herself.  Without make-up!
 They both screamed like Ned Flanders and flew away in a flurry of feathers.
 "How does she do it?"  I muttered, willing my blood pressure to drop. "How does the Very Mistress put up with such nincompoopery?  I need a gin.
 "Or twelve."

Thursday 5 September 2019

The Pink Carriage of No Horse Drawn

Continued from The Emerald Elf Shorts...

 "Oof!  Sorry I'm late", I muttered after I'd reincorporated myself from a cloud of black smoke.  "I had to change the story as it was flailing around in a most unnerving manner.  Right.  We can start now.  I think I've gathered myselves together properly."
 "It's already started!" Dinahmow hissed.
 "Yes.  We couldn't wait for you" Ms Scarlet added as she smoothed down the Freakin' Green Elf Shorts that were clinging rather suggestively to her derrière.  "And your story change wave-front ruined my hair!"
 "It's started?"  I was rather taken aback.  "Without me?"
 "Oh.  Well.  Um..." I looked around trying to orientate myselves, but without much luck.  "So.  Um.  What's going on?  C3-Peenee and Norma-D2 over there in the Great Glass Elevator have thrown me, somewhat."
 "Ohhh...  The Great Glass Elevator!  That's what it is!"  The penny dropped for Ms Scarlet.  "Yes, I'm not sure what to make of them being here either, but it might explain why there's a crowd of Oompa Loompas instead of Munchkins.  Aside from them, this all smacks of The Wizard of Oz.  Especially now you've arrived dressed like that."
 I looked down at my long black dress (with puffy shoulders!) and cloak, and raised a hand to my head where Hat was perched.
 "Oh, dear.  This isn't right.  The Very Mistress should be me, I mean, the Wicked Witch of the West.  She's always the evil one."  I started to panic.  "You haven't seen her have you?  Is she here?"
 "No, not yet.  I... Oh!"  Ms Scarlet stopped as Dinah nudged her.
 "Look who it is" Dinah whispered and pointed with her wand to a trio of approaching 'people'.
 Ms Scarlet squinted at them.  "A tin foil hatted man?  Ah, Mr Mags.  A cowardly codswallop?  Good grief!  It's Mr Beastie!  And a scarecrone?"  She gasped in shock.
 "Yikes!  The Very Mistress!"  I blurted, evaporating into smoke.  "I'm out of here!"

 Just as the last vestiges of black smoke dissipated, a very pink Mazda 626 minicab pulled up at the green, with a blue satin clad something-or-other nodding its head vigorously on the parcel shelf.
 "Ooh, good!" Ms Scarlet exclaimed.  "We can get to the Viridian Village in that."
 "Not without usss, you won't!"

Sunday 1 September 2019

The Emerald Elf Shorts

* C L U M P *

 "Oof!"  I said.  Which was qute restrained really considering that a sizeable house had landed on me.
 After some wriggling and a lot of splinters, I managed to free my right arm from broken joists, floorboards and the like, and reach up under Hat's brim and into its hammerspace.  On only the seventeenth attempt, I felt the sturdy handle of a drill in my grip and - wasting no time - switched it on while driving it upwards.
 After what felt like hours - but was probably only six years - hot, sticky, covered in sawdust and grit, I burst through the bottom of a bathtub.
 Reality dawned...
 "Oh, no" I said to no one in particular as I clocked what I was wearing and realised what what was transpiring.  "No.  I'm sorry.  No.  This cannot happen.  I don't want this."
STAND BY FOR INSERTION INTO STORYLINE the disembodied voice of the enchanted mirror intoned.
What?  What mirror?
What mirror?  Where did it come from?
 "I don't kn-"
 "What?  No.  I'm sorry, no.  I'm not having it.  We can do better than this."  
 I couldn't believe the bloody mirror, or whatever it was, wasn't listening to me.  Me!  A witch!  There was only one thing for it.  I had to bamboozle it.  A spell came to mind, so I vomited it out of my mouth before it bamboozled me, too.
 "The fact is" I said, quoting Nana Rampton's Discombobulator "this is about identifying what we do most of best, and finding fewer ways of doing more of it less."
...?  The mirror managed to convey an uncomfortable silence before clicking and whirring rather disconcertingly.  REINITIALISING it finally declared.
 "At last" I muttered.
 "G'day, DeVice!  We're good to go" the mirror said in a non-bogan Aussie accent.
 "Don't say what, say pardon" the mirror said, this time attempting a middle class English accent that would take offence at being told one's gravy needed sieving, but failing to completely mask the Aussieness.  I narrowed my eyes as comprehension dawned.
 "T-Bird?  Is that you?"
 "None other" the one-time teeterer atop the Hag Pillar confirmed amidst more whirring, clicking background noise.  She'd dropped the posh Home Counties accent, thankfully.  "OK, mate.  We're pretty much good to go.  Again."
What?!  We're accepting cameos from the Days of Coven Past now?
Just go with it, or this will take even longer.  The end is already beyond our second and third sight, and the crystal ball's given up trying to extrapolate where and when this "adventure" will end up.
Yes, but, Miss SmuggershamT-Bird?!  We haven't seen her in years!
I don't see why not?  She was a major player back in the day.  Besides, Beast turns up here later.
 "Right" said T-Bird, leaving the mirror to get on with the technical stuff.  "Now to see how Tim's getting on in those Big Bang Pants!"
 "Sexily, I'll bet!" I said not even bothering to hide the lasciviousness.

Hang on.  This isn't going to involve more time travel is it?  You know I'm not thrilled abou-

* C L U M P *


And so it begins