Jack’s Walk

Elvis the monitor lizard ©voyager, all rights reserved

Surprise! I’m in Michigan. My girlfriend wanted to do a bit of cross-border shopping and she tempted me to join her by suggesting we could revisit the reptile zoo where I held my first snake. That was back in the spring and I really enjoyed the experience so I was easy to tempt. A 2 day break from reality to play with reptiles and go shopping – yes, please, sign me up. The staff at mom’s nursing home will take good care of her and they know how to reach me by phone at any time. It’s only a 3 hour drive to get home and we’ll be back by tomorrow afternoon. See you then.

My first Commission – Part 11 – Finished

I am done. It could be better and hopefully, in the future, I will be able to do better. And also be able to make better pictures.

The knife is balanced at the forefinger groove, blade length approx 110 mm, handle length approx 120 mm. N690 steel.

The knife in its simple leather sheath… © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

…and outside of it. © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Blade detail. Etched are my initials and number 1 in Glagolitic script. The false edge is sharp, but not cutting sharp. © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Handle from my late cherry tree, coated with hard, waterproof and scratch-resistant boat lacquer. Contrast washers jatoba, fittings stainless steel. © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Today I finished taking pain medication for my hands. I will try and abstain from any strenuous work for one more week and we’ll see what happens next. The pain went almost, but never entirely, away. I am OK when I do nothing, but on Friday I wrote a short post on my Czech blog and my hands hurt afterward. The same goes for finishing the leather sheath – I had to swing a hammer a few times to mount the press studs and that caused some mild pain too, despite me being very careful and not needing to hit too hard. It worries me.

The Art of Book Design: The Dog’s Grand Dinner Party

Jack found out that last week was Cat Week and he’s pissed. He reminded me that we don’t even have a cat anymore and tersely noted that I should have made it dog week. He also said that I got this gig because of him and that I should be more grateful.

Ahem… Sorry Bubba. Allow me to present to you DOG WEEK. Let’s start with a party to celebrate.

John Karst. The Dog’s Grand Dinner Party. New York, McLoughlin Bros., Inc., 1869.


via: Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature where you can read the whole delightful book.

September Light

I can’t think of a better way to end the month than with Nightjar’s portraits of the light.

Here I am to share the last chapter in the Light series. I started it October last year, so the only month missing was September. And what better way to end the series than with birds! For me September is the month of birds, especially because of the arrival of willow warblers and flycatchers and because it always seems like there are birds everywhere. All of these photos were taken on the same day, September 10. The light was lovely and I was very lucky with the waxbills, flycatchers, willow warblers, greenfinches and goldfinches. Thank you all and I hope you enjoyed the series. :)

©Nightjar,all rights reserved

[Read more…]

The Art of Book Design: Me and my Pussies

Honor C. Appleton. Me and my Pussies. Illustrations by the author. Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., 1927.

And so ends Cat Week here at The Art of Book Design.

I couldn’t find a copy of this one for you to read, but the David and Joyce Milne Public Library will let you look at several of the illustrations. They’re completely charming.


Cover Photo via: Stella and Rose’s Books

The Art of Book Design: The Cat and The Mouse: A Book of Persian Fairy Tales

Hartwell James. The Cat and The Mouse: A Book of Persian Fairy Tales. Illustrated by John R. Neill. Philadelphia, Henry Altemus Company, 1906.

I was a cat person long before I was a dog person and it’s still cat week (which I didn’t announce) so this seems like a good fairy tale choice. The book is interesting because it contains artwork from 2 different sources. The frontispiece and title story The Cat and The Mouse are illustrated by an unnamed traditional Persian artist and the remainder of the book is illustrated by John R. Neill, who is famously known for illustrating the stories of Oz.

[Read more…]

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

September’s been quite mild this year and we’ve had lots of sunny days so I won’t complain about the bit of rain we’ve had today, especially since Bubba and I managed to stay dry. For once, our timing was right. Jack likes to walk around 11:00 because that’s when the school up the street lets out for lunch and the teenagers flock to the sidewalk in gaggles to do their visiting and vaping and they all love Jack. They call out his name as we approach and Jack just wades into the crowd where about 20 kids call him to come all at once. Some of them bend down or crouch and Jack will bestow kisses on them. The others he’ll rub against or give them his bum to scratch and most of them happily comply. He weaves his way through the crowd positively vibrating with happiness and spreading joy. It’s a wonderful thing to witness and it makes me a happy voyager.

Jack’s Walk

Help me, I’m melting! ©voyager, all rights reserved

The air was full of mizzle this morning and I didn’t want to go for a walk. Jack, however, did want to go for a walk and as I went about my chores he kept paddling along behind me making soft, little noises and sighing. When I finally gave in and looked at him he gave me his very best Elvis smile, the one where his left lip curls up and 3 side teeth shine out. Then he slowly raised one eyebrow and gave me the full-of-mischief-liquid-amber-Elvis-eye and for full measure he finished with the flirty Elvis huff. Ah shit, the triple Elvis – I’m helpless to resist. I’m not even into Elvis, but when Jack does the face it instantly makes me want to fill his happiness bar.

So we went for a walk in the misting rain. Without an umbrella because carrying one would leave me with no hands free for pick-ups or pending doom. And it wasn’t that bad. We got damp and one of us smells a bit funky, but so what. Then, 10 minutes after we arrived home the sky brightened, the rain stopped and the sun appeared. Well, Good Morning Sunshine….your timing sucks, but Welcome.

The Art of Book Design: I am a Cat


Natsume Soseki. I am a Cat. (1906) First English translation published in 1909. Translated by K. Ando and revised by K. Natsume. Tokyo, Hatori Shorten, 1906-1909.

This classic book, written by one of Japan’s most celebrated novelists, is a satire of Japanese society during the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) when western customs were first being incorporated into the country. It’s written from the perspective of a supercilious and eloquent housecat who humorously comments on the people and events that fill his life.

I couldn’t find a copy of the book for you to read, but it’s been reissued many times (and in many languages) and is available at most major booksellers. If you’d like to read a few quotes before deciding to buy, the site Cocosse-Journal is the place to go. I’ll share just this one quote from the book:

“Thus, as I review the list of my friends and acquaintances, most of them emerge as stained with
 maniac stigmata of one sort or another. I begin to feel considerably reassured. The truth may
simply be that human society is no more than a massing of lunatics.”
                                                                    – from I am a Cat via Cocosse-Journal

Cover photo via: Old Timey Cats

Teacher’s Corner: In case you’ve been wondering…

In plain text, for when Twitter fucks up.

A teacher’s day:
We write a class test. A student goes to the toilet. he returns 5 min later, sweaty and out of breath. There’s dog shit on his shoes. He smears it all over the floor, 2 chairs and a table.

The first kids finish the test. I tell a student to stay in his seat and not talk to another student (I told them to bring something to occupy themselves with) because others are still writing. He yells at me and runs out of the room. Everything smells of dog shit

I spend my break supervising the dog shit student. He has no explanation for how this happened. I need to call his mum.

I’m supporting a trainee teacher. After he tells some students to stay after the bell has rung, one of them kicks my rucksack. I spend my next break coaching the young colleague on classroom management.

School’s over, but I still have a parent teacher talk scheduled. After the parent doesn’t arrive, my colleague phones him. He thought it was in an hour! He’s on his way. I use the opportunity to go to another parent teacher talk. I should really be in two places at once.

Talks went well, parents have gone home. I phone the mum of the temper tantrum kid. She more or less throws her own tantrum. Her poor boy is always picked on! Teachers never do anything about the things the kid doesn’t tell us because teachers never do anything. Makes sense

It’s three o’clock now. My breakfast is still in front of me. I really need to write a report but thankfully my principal postpones the meeting until Monday. And it’s not even the worst day of the week. Except for the dog shit.