Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

©voyager, all rights reserved

©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack and I have found a big patch of wild raspberries and we’ve carefully noted the spot so we can return when these lovely flowers have turned into even lovelier berries. They’re on a well-used trail, though, and I’m sure that Jack and I aren’t the only ones who’ve noticed them. Hmm…we might have to start getting up earlier in the morning.

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack and I went to the lily pad pond today to check out our new mosquito wear. It’s clothing impregnated with permethrin that’s supposed to keep the skeeters away. If the tag can be believed, the chemical coating should last through 70 washings. I have a hat and short-sleeved shirt and Jack has a jaunty scarf. The only place that Jack gets bitten is his face and ears because even in summer he has a thick coat of fur, so I thought a scarf would be all he needs.

The trail around the pond is always buggy and we normally avoid it in the warm weather, but the best place to test mosquito wear is where the mosquitoes are so off we went in the name of science. We certainly chose the right place – there were lots and lots and lots of mosquitoes and, considering the conditions, the clothing performed well. I came away with about a dozen bites on my hands, so a long-sleeved shirt would have been a better choice, but I had no bites on my face or neck and only one or two near my elbows. I always wear long pants and socks because of ticks so I had no bites on my legs. Jack fared about as well with one or two nose bites and two bites on an ear near the scarf, which surprised me. I’ll certainly use the clothing when we trail walk over the summer and we’ll even come back to the pond, but next time I’ll use a bit of something else to protect my hands and maybe a dab on the big boy’s ears. Jack really loves the pond because he can chase frogs and get muddy. You know, the good stuff in life.

Plant Portraits

Opus has a new philosophy for photographing flowers and the result is stunning. I couldn’t be more delighted to share them with all of you.

…the spring and early summer has been very good for macro plant photography.  I have started thinking of these as plant portraits, rather than just macro photography. …Hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed capturing them.  

Clover, ©Opus, all rights reserved

Wild Carrot, ©Opus, all rights reserved

The Art of Book Design: My Lady Nicotine

Barrie, James Matthew, My Lady Nicotine A Study in Smoke, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1890

A book written by the author of Peter Pan about his love affair with smoking. He had quit smoking when he wrote the book and had become contemptuous of it, but the series of 33 essays speak wistfully of his fond remembrances of the days when he enjoyed his pipe. The essay titles include, “His Wife’s Cigar,” “How Heroes Smoke.” and “The Perils of Not Smoking.”


via: Classic Literature Library

Jack’s Walk

The Lily Pond, ©voyager, all rights reserved

This is going to be a strange year for Jack and I. Usually, at about this time of year we pack up the car and head down the highway to the east coast where we spend our summers by the sea, but this year we’ve decided to stay home. My mother’s health has been deteriorating and even though she lives in a nursing home I still worry. I’m an only child so I don’t have a sibling to call on for help. I begged for a brother or sister when I was young, but to no avail. Too bad, an extra pair of eyes and hands would be nice at this stage of life.

When we’re down east in Perce we stay with Mr. V’s mum who is 93 and has been living alone. This mum is still a going concern. Well into her 90’s now she still manages everything well and on her own. She shops and cooks and still bakes cookies because who wants store-bought. She also still drives, irons, gardens and has just found herself a rather nice, very old-fashioned and sweet boyfriend who will be spending the summer with her. He’s just a kid at 78. That means just a bit less worry for us. Our east coast mum will have a wonderful summer even if we can’t be there to share it with her.

Jack hasn’t ever spent a whole summer in Ontario so I’m going to see if I can find a few new trails to keep him engaged. Me too. I like to be outside and I don’t what I’m going to do with myself without my annual hunt for seaglass.

Badger Magic

(I am currently again in Macedonia, having not even posted all the photos from my last trip, and it is extremely hot and stressful, so here is something short and full of personal pride.)

It’s been a while since the last time I shared some of my art, and this time around, I must say I am disgustingly proud of myself. Because when Inspiration came, it was inspiration for an image quite outside my comfort zone (not the usual cats and horses, is what I mean) and it really felt like a challenge to complete the project as I imagined it.

The initial sketch happened at work, and came quite easily:

© rq, all rights reserved.

And as big a fan as I am of black-and-white ink sketches, I knew this one needed more. It took another two months (I think?) to turn that drawing into the final painting (not that it took two months of painting, but it took two months to finally have enough guts and enough time to do it; some procrastination may have been involved):

© rq, all rights reserved. Acrylic, size A5.

Like I said, I am disgustingly proud of this painting, and yes, I keep using that word, because it almost feels undeserved that it should feel so properly done. I think it’s a bit of imposter syndrome at work, but I also have it on good authority that the painting has been well-received and shall be accordingly framed.

I sent it off with a small story about the official title of the painting, but I will admit that I am still extremely shy about sharing my (fiction) writing. Caine did once share a poem of mine here, and for some reason, that felt very nerve-wracking.

Most of you can probably guess the owner, incidentally – he runs a blog on this network that goes by the title of St Derr (I know, I know, don’t shoot me!), which also happens to be the name of that badger. In a striking case of coincidence, there actually exists a Temple of Derr, most possibly dedicated to the god Ptah, who also happens to be the patron deity of metalworkers.

And I do owe mail to my co-bloggers as well, just don’t expect it within the next 6 months. You all deserve something at least as nice as this.

The gendered nature of public space: this is all shit and I’m pissed.

Public toilets have long been a battle ground of women’s fight for the public sphere: from the fact that back in the 19th century there simply weren’t many public toilets for women, making them dependent on how well they could hold their pee to leave the house, to today’s fight to make sure trans women can safely use the right loo. The very private act of relieving oneself was always very public and very political. Another dimension (no pun intended) is space, and I rarely found a better example of how space is allocated to cis men than today.

I went to a meeting in a public building today, and when it was over I went to the visitor bathroom because I learned that if I don’t go the Autobahn will be closed and I’ll piss myself before I get home. So everybody who drove the same direction should thank me.

The sign at the door said “men, women and disabled”, making me wonder whether disabled people are suddenly no longer men and women, but then I went inside and came upon this:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Snug, isn’t it? With the bin being so close to the loo and not much space on the other side I had some difficulties to move my butt far enough to the back of the toilet to actually hit the bowl. How this should be managed with a disability is a mystery to me, but if you think “maybe they only had so much space available”, let me tell you, they didn’t. To the right of the toilet is another compartment, about 50% larger than this one, holding two urinals. Hey, at least it had a door so you don’t need to see somebody waving their dick around, I go to Twitter for that kind of thing. Yes, that’s correct: 100% of the facility meet the needs of able bodied cis men, with 60% being reserved exclusively for them, while women, disabled people of all genders and probably most trans men all need to share 40% of the space, which is actually not enough space and which is also available to cis men.

And you want to hear the joke? The public building was a youth office, where the overwhelming majority of visitors is female…

The Art of Book Design: The Book of Romance

Lang, Andrew. The Book of Romance. New York, Longmans, Green & co, 1902

This is one of the best-loved book of stories about the Legend of King Arthur. The cover is gorgeous, but there are some pretty sweet interior plates as well. The whole book is available at the link below if you’re interested.


via: The Internet Archive