Rugged up

Where could I possibly have been going dressed like this? Cosplaying a penguin? No, ice skating! It’s been a while. Took about half an hour to get my ice legs back — more or less, anyway. Some things I actually managed to do better thanks to YouTube videos. My clockwise skating was always pretty shit, but the technique pointers helped.

It’s so much fun. Gonna see if I can make the time to go once a week and get back into it. The clothes were overkill — one furry thing would have sufficed, and even that started feeling a bit warm.



Photography day

Had a photography day today. With pieces often looking a bit different between batches, I do a fair bit of re-photographing to keep pictures current. Maybe I worry too much, but I’d rather do the photography than be worried about whether people are getting what they expect. Got some cute pics of Sir Cumnavigator, who is now back on Etsy:

I’ve also cast five more of The Sleep of Monsters, which will be back online soon. I’m going to the foundry Monday to check the waxes for the sun and moon hares. I’ve made three Garys, and that might be all for now, as I also want to finish another Beau, and I’m hitting a wall with all this fiddling with waxes. I could try being less fussy, but that’s not really in my idiom. If I call this weekend the end of this year’s casting, I’ll have a couple of months to catch up on other things and relax a bit.




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The return of Gary

Gary, my very first sculpture, will be coming back in bronze (with his arm joined to his body). Working on the waxes now.  I’ll decide on the edition size once these are cast and I see how they look.

Original Gary:








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Last night I was watching videos on how to make Greek desserts. Today I could think of little else. So I went out and got the ingredients for galaktoboureko, semolina custard in filo pastry, and came home and made it. We only have a small convection oven, so I bought a baking tin to fit it and made half the recipe, which was basically this one on Greek Recipes TV. Instead of heating the milk with orange peel I added lemon zest to the mixture a la Angelo’s Mom. However, I didn’t make the sugar syrup. I made one out of honey, lemon, water and a bit of cinnamon. I think just plain honey drizzled on top would be fine. The custard pastry is nice on its own, I didn’t think it needed a lot of extra sweetener.

Our oven tends to overcook and burn things on top so I lowered the temperature a bit for most of the cooking time and covered the tin with foil after the pastry had browned. Then wrestled with the foil as the oven kept hoovering it off. Next time I’ll wrap it under the tin.

Other than that, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this dish was to make.

The result? I submit that it looks like food. It also tastes like food. Rather nice food. My semolina custard came out a bit rugged — I had no choice about the grade of semolina, so it might have been too coarse (could try cornflour instead next time), or maybe it was something else I did — but it still tastes fine. Next item in my sights is the classic Australian vanilla slice (which is like a cross between a millefeuille and a brick).



Victorian slang

An amusing list of Victorian slang from Passing English of the Victorian era, a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase, 1909, by James Redding Ware (who, incidentally, under the pen name of Andrew Forrester, created one of the first fictional female detectives.)

I especially like Afternoonified: A society word meaning “smart”, e.g. “The goods are not ‘afternoonified’ enough for me.”

and Podsnappery: Wilful determination to ignore the objectionable or inconvenient, at the same time assuming airs of superior virtue and noble resignation.

Dipping into the Passing English dictionary:

Flapper, which I’d always thought of as a 1920s term, was in use as early as 1892 for “A very immoral young girl in her early ‘teens’.”

Flash dona: A high-class low-class lady (thieves’ word).

Gospel of Gloom: Satirical description of aestheticism which tended to doleful colours, gloomy houses, sad limp dresses, and solemn, earnest behaviour.
Were these Victorian goths?

Fit in the arm: A blow. In June 1897 one Tom Kelly was given into custody by a woman for striking her. His defence before the magistrate took the shape of the declaration that ‘a fit had seized him in the arm’, and for months afterwards back street frequenters called a blow a fit.

He worships his creator: Said of a self-made man who has a good opinion of himself.

Who took it out of you? Meaning wholly unknown to people not absolutely of lower class.

An interesting find– Deuce: Dusius–the erotic God of Nightmare, passing (15th century in England) into Robin Goodfellow.
The most familiar shape of Deuce is Robin Goodfellow, whose pictorial representation has long since been turned out of good society. If any curious reader is desirous of seeing him in his habit as he lived, he must be prepared to pay him five pounds for a copy of Mr Thomas Wright’s remarkable little book upon Phallic worship. Its study will enable him to comprehend Shakespeare’s allusions to this alarming personage–probably Robin Goodfiller.

The internet seems to have nothing on Robin Goodfiller outside of this dictionary. According to Wiktionary, dusius is “a kind of evil spirit”, from  Gaulish *dusios (incubus, monster), probably from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeus- (spirit). Compare Czech duše (soul).

Dusius exists today as an Italian folk/viking metal band.

And Whitechapel Warriors: Militia of the Aldgate district; and
White Army, The: A band of men who formed themselves together to combat social evil.
Was Victorian London adorned with roaming bands of vigilantes and do-gooders? The only other reference I can find to Whitechapel warriors is in a dialogue, Bon Gaultier and his Friends, in Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine, 1844. Bon Gaultier was a nom de plume of the writers William Edmondstoune Aytoun and Sir Theodore Martin, and their Whitechapel warriors seems to be an epithet for an invented regiment, the Ninth Poltroons, after whom we hear about “the Black Skulkers, a fine cavalry regiment, which made war principally upon its own account.” I may want to borrow them.
(I drift, but I’ll forget this if I don’t write it down — I read somewhere that the tradition of natty cavalry uniforms got started when mounted soldiers would raid the baggage trains and dress in what they seized. And now I can’t find the article again, chiz.)

As for the White Army (of London), I can’t find any other record of it.


A few more from The Art of Manliness, Manly Slang from the 19th Century:

Bully Trap: A brave man with a mild or effeminate appearance, by whom the bullies are frequently taken in.

Fart Catcher: A valet or footman, from his walking behind his master or mistress.

Gullyfluff: The waste — coagulated dust, crumbs, and hair — which accumulates imperceptibly in the pockets of schoolboys.

Half-mourning: To have a black eye from a blow. As distinguished from ” whole-mourning,” two black eyes.

Out of Print: Slang made use of by booksellers. In speaking of any person that is dead, they observe, “he is out of print.”

Tune the Old Cow Died Of: An epithet for any ill-played or discordant piece of music.


A curious bear

I found this little fellow made of some kind of cast resin, about 20cm tall, with half an Oxfam sticker on the bottom of his foot, in a flea market here in Bangkok.


His clothing seems to have been cast from real fabric, including his jumper. The knitted jumper pattern has been used for his nose, too. There are a couple of filed-down casting lines on his jumper and hat. The vendor thought he was handmade. I can’t find a manufacturer’s trademark or a signature, nor can I decipher the writing on the book — I think it’s just scribble, followed by four strokes like a paw print. I’ve looked for him online but no matches turn up.

He really looks like an old-fashioned little English boy on his own version of the Grand Tour. He must have been on quite a journey, but he looks not remotely tired of travelling. As for his name, he seems happy to be called Arthur.










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