Sooty and Sweep

Do you remember Sooty and Sweep? They were a sort of soft toy version of Laurel and Hardy.

I still love Sooty's body language :-)

And it seems they're still going strong, though I should imagine they're a bit less anarchic these days.

As a toddler, I had a very special relationship with Sooty because my cot mattress was decorated with little images of him (basically being naughty) so, to me, he was somehow mine, but he was on TV! I don't think my parents ever worked out why I kept pulling back the bottom bedsheet.

They never bought me a Sooty puppet, but I did have a Sweep.

And this is how my mind works, especially under Lockdown: I'm thinking about my childhood > I remember my Sweep puppet > I remember losing him walking to my grandma's house > I remember how upset I was, and start to feel sorry for my younger self > {I have a light bulb moment!} > I check out whether Amazon sells Sweep puppets...

A few moments later, a Sweep puppet and a Sooty puppet (because two don't cost much more than one) are on their way to me!

I should really have been born a millennial.

So here is my very own Sooty puppet, filmed with my right hand while my left hand is, er, encouraging him to move:

And here's the true hero of the story, Sweep:

(Not sure what he's saying; maybe he's complaining about the cold).


Still no gas, but I think I'm getting used to the lower temperature. And I've found a good way to warm the kitchen up a bit -- run the tumble dryer every so often!

If I had a camel, I think its back would be broken...

I'm sorry I haven't been posting or commenting much recently. I've been too fed up, but I do read my flist daily, and I do know how everyone's doing: we're all abiding, as manoah says.

At New Year, I started writing a 'review' of 2020, basing it on the photos I'd taken, but I gave up because it was so boring. Anyone want to see the new slippers I got on 7 July? Anyone?!

I'm still planning to post some of the more interesting bits, including the story of my epic trip to the Beardsley exhibition, in London, last August, which was like being in an episode of The Walking Dead -- actually, more like World War Z, because they moved so fast -- but in the meantime...

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If I had a camel, I think its bloody back would be broken.

(Famous last words, of course).

My Lovely Horse... er, Little Stone Tool

(I recently watched the Eurovision episode of Father Ted ;-)

I've been lurking in the shadows for the past few months, too down in the dumps (for various reasons) to shape myself and post anything, but I have been doing some FutureLearn courses -- The Art of Washi Paper in Japanese Rare Books; The Living Picture Craze: An Introduction to Victorian Film; Preserving Norweigian Stave Churches; Walter Scott: The Man Behind the Monument; Exploring Japanese Avant-garde Art Through Butoh Dance*; Pictures of Youth (children's book illustration, etc); The Tudors; Many Faces: Understanding the Complexities of Chinese Culture; Modern Sculpture; and... Homo Floresiensis Uncovered (the hobbit!) -- and, at the weekend, in an attempt to help a fellow Learner see the difference between a core tool and a flake tool, I took some pictures of my Lovely Little Stone Tool.

* Maybe the strangest stuff I've ever seen, reaching deep into the parts of Japanese culture I might never have wanted to know about. There was some interesting early 20th century Japanese painting worth exploring, though.

Then I thought some of my f-list might like to see my Lovely Little Stone Tool, too.

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Pinky and Perky have a new home!

Pinky's the lighter coloured one, Perky's the darker one with the bigger tail.

It's very different from the old one, wider and less deep, and I don't like it as much -- so far -- but the fishes seem happy. They particularly enjoy playing in the bubble streams, which seem stronger in the new tank. I was worried about having to disconnect the bubble-thingy from the pump to feed the tube through the hole in the new lid, because there's a valve in the tubing that's always been a bit dodgy, but maybe turning it off and on again has fixed it ;-)

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Guess Who?

The picture really doesn't do it justice -- the little sod was looking to left and right, with the wind ruffling its fur, as though it was being (very slowly) chauffeured past an adoring crowd.


Can you believe it? Poor Pinky and Perky are living on borrowed time.

It's the kind of minor emergency I find very hard to deal with on my own -- something to do with having no one to bounce ideas off.

The water's only seeping out at the moment, but it's obviously not going to get any better, so last night I stuffed kitchen towel into the breach and went to bed thinking, "I have two and a half options. I can
  1. Order a new tank from Amazon (£100-ish for one the same size as the tank I have now, £200-£300 for a nice big one).

  2. See if my brother has a spare tank and can lend it to me (plus the half option: try to repair my own tank once it's empty)."
I phoned P1 this morning and he said, "No problem, but it's been in the loft for about eight years and it'll be very dusty." (He wasn't kidding!) He also said that repairing my tank will involve cutting away the old silicone, which is probably best left until after Lockdown because I'm likely to cut my own hand off there'll be two of us to tackle it.

He brought his tank down from the loft and put it outside for me to pick up. However, as he pointed out from a distance of about 12 feet when I collected it, it's very small -- maybe half the volume of mine, which is already (allegedly) too small for two strapping goldfish. He suggested I could leave the plants and toys out to maximise the space, but I think that would be a very boring way for Pinky and Perky to spend the next six months, especially since they seem to graze on the algae that grows on the 'plants'.

So... feeling very guilty, I've ordered the £100 tank from Amazon, which should arrive on Good Friday, and, in the meantime, I've given P1's tank a good clean so that it's ready, should there be a sudden Tsunami, for the fish to surf out of their own tank and into temporary accommodation.

Waaaah, the Zombie Apocalypse, and the flight to Vancouver

I've been trying to post something for ages but, until the cat incident, everything I wrote seemed to turn into "Waaaaaaah, I hate being on my own!"

You have to bear in mind that I've already lived alone for 21 years, 7 months, and... 6 days and, because I work from home at least four days a week (and have done so for the past eleven years), I've often gone a week without speaking to anyone, except perhaps the postman if he's knocked on the door, so you might think that Lockdown would be plain sailing for me, but it's totally stripped me of my normal coping strategies, which are a) to go out shopping and b) to tell myself, "Never mind, on x, I'll be meeting y and we'll be doing z," which always helps, even when x is a really long way in the future.

I am so relieved that my mum and dad -- especially my mum, who had an Olympic gold medal in worrying -- aren't having to go through this. (To be honest, I think the only answer would have been to move in with them).

Thinking about it, though, I've spent my entire life preparing for a zombie apocalypse.

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Those damned cats!

A while ago, someone reported me to the RSPCA for neglecting my cats. (I may even have found the person who did it because, one night (before the Lockdown), a woman hammered on the door and said, "That cat is crying with cold and hunger!" to which I replied, "It's not my cat!" And, when I mentioned that someone had reported me to the RSPCA for neglect even though it's not my cat, she may have looked a bit sheepish... or that might just have been my imagination).

Anyway, that isn't the point of this story.

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I'm a Finger Puppet Millionaire!

Well, a £61-aire.

But that's at least £61 more than I ever expected!

About two months ago, my brother, P2, who lives in a picturesque little village in Huntingdonshire, told me that his wife, K, was organising a 'Christmas Cornucopia'. Here's the rather smart flyer he designed to promote it:

(The picture's a bit distorted because I had to screencap it from Skype).

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The power supply for my 12-year-old-plus Windows XP laptop -- the only computer that will still run my favourite graphics program -- finally failed. I ordered a replacement on Amazon Prime, and it's just arrived but I need to pluck up more courage before I dare plug it in. Just in case.

I did buy the latest version of the program, which is allegedly compatible with Windows 10, but a) it's flaky & keeps crashing, and b) they've 'improved' it so much, it no longer does what I want it to do :-(