Another bit of Knights Out

More from the WIP novella:

Two weeks earlier, Gwynn had paid a visit to his tailor. If a cavalier of Ashamoil suffered from occupational hazards, his wardrobe suffered with him, so that even more than the civilian beau of fashion he required new outfits on a frequent schedule, and the appointment was for the fitting of several works in progress.

The tailor’s name was Aubrin Sill. His shop was in a small street above Fountains Bridge, in that old, trim, sedate quarter, cupped between two rugged hills, whose dominant species was the bespoke clothier. Most of the ateliers in the wooden shophouses affected an ouward simplicity, from which it might be gathered that they offered no more than the most basic correction of nakedness, and Sill’s establishment was no exception. Inside, however, one trod on plush fir-green carpets and sat on velvet seats within a grove of carved teak shelving, under a panelled ceiling with bronze gasoliers and water-powered fans: genius might be modest, but it charged an appropriate price for its works. At the side of the shop was a stall with a young groom in livery of the same green as the carpet, into whose care Gwynn delivered his horse before going inside, looking forward both to the indulgence of vanity and the pleasure of the tailor’s company.

He thought highly of Sill, which of course was nothing out of the ordinary. A tailor is the only infallible being that most people will ever encounter. A man without religion may still be moved to a worshipful state by many things, among them the sight of himself in a looking glass, kitted out in splendour, and view the one who kits him as something of an angel. But even in the sartorial heavenly orders Aubrin Sill ranked among the great ones of many wings and eyes. He was made for his work and was a master of it. He knew everything about flattering a figure and displayed the mind of a philosopher of art when he spoke of cut and fabric; and if on the one hand he found inspiration in a mandate to go a mile beyond the mode, the adventurous and conservative impulses were balanced in his character and he forbade a rabble of infelicities in dress, and thus had the dignity of a lawgiver, and to the man who had run off to join a circus he could give assurance that he would never appear as a clown.

But he was even more than this. If some gracious personalities are obviously false, his seemed obviously true; one would expect to find at the core of him the same refinement that characterised the surface. He possessed a quality above the usual benign dignity of tailors, a soulful radiance that nourished the spirits of all who came in contact with him, as though he were, if not an angel, then at least the human incarnation of some uncommonly effective tonic. Gwynn regarded him as one of the city’s very best features.

On that day, however, Aubrin Sill’s aura was scarcely in evidence.



These two bigger hares are rather more trouble than the three small ones. For casting’s sake I’m trying to kind of tidy up the wax while still keeping a spontaneous look, and it’s surprisingly fiddly. They’re generally unwieldy, and with the dark wax I have to wear glasses to see what I’m doing. Also, their long skinny torsos are worryingly bendy. The armature wire I used was too soft. I’ve tried replacing the wax with hard Castilene, which wasn’t hard enough, and now harder wax, which still doesn’t seem sufficiently rigid. Next stop, epoxy. I’ve only ever used it for repairing a garden statue, not for modelling, so I’ll have to give it a trial run. Or try and stiffen that part of the armature with steel wire — since I’ll have to remove the wax I might as well try that.


WIP: Sun Hare

Well, I’ve tidied up the model. It doesn’t show at all in the picture, but basically I went over every inch of it filling in sundry holes and deep cracks and taking off lumpy bits I didn’t like while improving the lumpy bits I did like. So while it’s going to look like I just slapped the wax on, I didn’t. Now I’m wondering if the figure is just a bit too skinny. I’ll make the other one and then see, but it might want a bit more wax on the very thin bits. If I leave it like this, and even if I don’t, I think I’ll have to replace the midsection with harder wax, as the armature is bending. I can hold it in place with barbecue skewers, but the more solid the better.



I was making banana fritters for breakfast this morning and burned my hand. Specifically, I was carrying the used, still very hot oil back to the kitchen in a glass cup, which fell apart and shattered on the bench, splashing the oil over my hand, mainly the palm and side, and a bit on the back.

Cue scream and much immersion in iced water.

Note to self: do not pour hot oil into glass containers.

For while it hurt like hell, now it just hurts enough to be a pest. I think I’ve avoided blisters. Might be getting one on my palm. I went and bought some aloe vera burn gel, which has helped. This isn’t good timing, as I’m trying to get a wriggle on with those waxes and a couple of new pieces — though it hurts whether I use it or not, so I might as well use it.

Some may say it only goes to show that deep fried food ain’t good for you…

Anyway, I guess it could have been worse. I was wearing safety glasses, at least. I’m new to deep frying — it all started when Stu told me there was tempura batter at a local store. Best successes so far have been banana fritters and cauliflower pakoras. It’s also quite a good way to eat cabbage. And crab sticks. And yes, I deep-fried a Mars Bar. It was quite nice, but probably not nice enough to justify the calories. M&Ms weren’t so successful.

It’s kind of addictive watching things turn golden-brown and crispy before your eyes. Then eating them.

I’ve just reapplied the gel. It’s pretty good stuff. Think I’ll let myself sook for the rest of the morning, then see about wriggling this afternoon.

ETA: the gel is really good. The pain has almost gone.

ETA2: looks like a couple of blisters coming up, including a biggish but shallow one on the side of my hand. Hardly hurts, though. The big one trails off into a sort of bat-eared red mark. If I end up with a scar it might be Batman-shaped! Or it’s an owl, or a bird with an open beak, or maybe a slug…


How the garden grows

I think things are looking pretty good now. The frangipani has grown to the point where it provides a decent amount of shade. Most plants seem happy where they are. The ferns in the easter lily pot grew there by themselves, and as they don’t seem to be cramping the vine’s style I’ve left them there. After a hard prune the mussaendas grew back nice and bushy. The hydrangeas are both still alive and doing ok, but have never flowered again — either I’m doing something wrong or they don’t like the climate, or being in pots, or something. The palms are golden cane palms, which I think are a great plant — nice elegant leaves, good for filling spaces, and easy to care for.


Wax, wax everywhere

Or everyhare. I decided to complete the editions of the three hares (First Dance), so I’ve got 24 of the fragile little blighters to tidy up. The foundry’s done most of it, including all those supporting skewers, but I like to go a little further to keep work on the metal to a minimum. I brought them home in foam boxes so that I can work on them at my own pace and with aircon — better for me and them!

Also making some bigger friends for them — sun and moon hares. Not very good pics but you get the idea.  The sun and moon will intersect when they’re placed close together.