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Showing posts from April, 2016

Colour, Delacroix, flochetage and why don't we all have a go at inventing words

Yes - it is a real word. Flochetage. Well, a real-ish word. One invented by the painter Delacroix, when he found the dictionary cupboard bare and required a word to describe his technique of layering different coloured paints, using lightly pulled brush strokes to create texture and pattern and thereby enhance his base-layer colours (... lost? - stick around, read on and all will become clear. Or perhaps muddier ...). Flochetage implies both stringiness and threadiness. Apparently. And it sounds good - in a filling-the-mouth-with-sound sort of a way. Try it ... flochetaaaage. Not that I speak French. So I am probably mis-pronouncing it. Nor am I an artist. So what do I know about painting techniques - except that I think this one works. What I do like is the concept - you invent a new technique in whatever it is you do, hunt around for the vocabulary to describe it, find the dictionary is lacking, so make up a word of your own and announce to the world what it means. Delacroix isn&#

Heaven clearly can't wait. Ranting and screaming inside. Growing old and lecturing ... myself, mostly.

What follows should come with a warning - it is a preachy rant. Stop now if you're not in the mood for a lecture. Or, if you're into procrasti-reading, read on and (hopefully) enjoy my latest piece of procrasti-writing. Apologies too for the reference to elderly leakages. And farts. And now, for being deeply irreverent. Sorry. Heaven  can't  wait. Meatloaf was wrong. Clearly the 'band of Angels' is impatiently putting together a gig. There's a party happening which we haven't been invited to. Yet. What a terrible year 2016 has been, so far. And we are barely dipping our winter-wrapped toes into Spring. Is it that the roll-call of those summoned to a higher place grows ever more poignant as we age? Prince was but a few years older than me. Victoria Wood, a meaningless number of years older still. Meaningless because what does age mean astride the long plateau of middle age before the eventual slide into decrepitude? A few years here, a few there - we&

Multi-tasking and tail-wagging.

One of our dogs is better at multi-tasking than the other - in response to having his back rubbed, he can wag his tail and eat at the same time. The other dog's tail, exposed to an identical stimulus (back rubbing) plus task (eating), remains motionless. The same 'other dog' cannot walk, sense that his lead is tangled and set about disentangling himself - instead, his approach is to stop and wait for his two legged friend to execute the disentangling. The dog that multi-tasks - eats and wags - on sensing that he is tangled, will endeavour to achieve disentanglement himself. Without the aid of his two legged friend. While continuing to walk. Which dog is which? And what does the ability to multi-task say about which is more intelligent? It has long been cited that women are better at multi-tasking than men. Various hypotheses attempt to answer why this is the case. Perhaps, it is an evolutionary trait - the care, protection, feeding and all round nurturing of the next gene

When tiny is mighty: of house mice, field mice and men.

Tiny can be mighty. Tiny can completely fill a room or indeed the whole upper floor of a house. Or as those with fully-functioning nostrils might say, tiny can fill an entire house. Which might suggest that my definition of tiny is somehow ironic, or tongue in cheek, or heaped with sarcasm. No - the mouse was tiny. In the dictionary compliant meaning of the word. What wasn't tiny was the smell made by the tiny dead animal. The smell was immense. So mighty that Littlest ran screaming from her room. So all pervading that Littlest had to change out of her clean pyjamas that had clothed her for the five minutes during which we hunted her room for the source of the smell. Her sister tweeted about it, Littlest cried, then sprayed the room liberally with every squirty substance she could find - mainly deodorant. I never thought I would be grateful to suffer from sinusitis but in my role as chief pest-control officer, I didn't smell a thing. The tiny mouse had found a frog stuffe