About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

E is for Ends; Loose, of Christmas and the Year

Really it's 'L is for Loose Ends' but I know we've had that title before!

The last bits from Brian Berke's recent eMails, my last seasonal shelfie, last words on nutcrackers, baubles and chocolate advent calendars, presents, stationary, catering supplies and a glass animal . . .

. . . .my last present to you this Christmas is to drop all the crumbs left in Picasa or on my desktop into your RSS feed! If you get the Blog via such a thing - I've never really worked out what feeds are, how they work or where RSS's differ from other feeds!

Kicking off with Brian's last present to me . . . a shelfie he took in Connecticut recently of a Crimbo pullover, he suggested I might be able to say something nice about it . . . but I'm not sure I can!

It's got a nutcracker on it so it has its place in the pantheon of nutcracker related stuff we've looked at as a seasonal 'thing', and to be kind to it, it's . . . . err . . . distinctive; if people are found wearing one once I've become Supreme Overlord of Earth (and Emperor of France); it will make it easier to have them rounded-up and turned into pet food (it's for the good of the gene-pool not the pets), but I'm not sure it has any other redeeming features, it's lost its sleeves for a start!

And having seen the weather they've been having in Connecticut in the last week or two, the fact that this is still on its hanger says plenty! Thanks Brian!

Which brings us neatly to another tabloid head-fit over nothing (see yesterday-moning's post), the rink is plenty big enough and there were little two-handled penguins about 3-foot high for kids to ride/lean on if they weren't used to ice, the restrictions on numbers may have been a 'elf'und'safty' thing, but with the best of intentions behind it, (people in authority don't want to be sued because stupid people have hurt themselves doing things which have hurt stupid people since time immemorial!), nevertheless; the tabloids had a field-day of unnecessary outrage.

I have fond memories of both Lichfield and its neighbour Tamworth, being stationed between the two at Whittington for my basic-training back in 1984.

I just saw two more life-size nutcrackers! And the biggest yet at about 9 feet, but they don't beat . . .

. . . attack of the 10-foot-plus woman! I found this young lady looking lost in Woking's main shopping-precinct while delivering a Bah Humbug card in the week before Christmas (nothing to report in/from the Toysaurus), I don't recognise her, maybe advertising a forthcoming cinematographical or theatrical event of some sort?

Or did Woking Borough Council just leave a 10-foot, barely-dressed (hardly festive and definitely not 'for the weather'!) woman in the way to surprise unwary shoppers weighed down with Christmas gifts and/or flu? Does anyone recognise her? At about twice life-size it's a new one (2:1) for the tag list!

I shot these on Friday last (29th) in a charity shop window and I would have had them on Tuesday - just for fun - but they went over the weekend, the almost certainly Russian (or Eastern, ask TJF) equivalent of Erzgebirge, little wooden, lathe-turned, onion-towered orthodox churches, ringed for tree-hanging, aren't they charming? They'd make excellent village-markers in/for micro- or map- war-gaming!

Glass trees and the 'big bear' on the mantelpiece this Christmas, I can't remember if I've posted them before, but if I have; here they are again . . . It's still Christmas! The speckles on the mirror aren't dust, that's what age does to mirror-glass!

Most of the cracker presents this year went to the youngsters, but I managed to end-up with a mini pack of cards and a polymer paper-clip! We had wacky little hats this year, which were quite retro and looked more like something you'd see Laurel & Hardy wearing with stiff collars and kipper-ties!

While on boxing-day I lost the hat competition round my brother's as I wanted to go outside and suck on the vape, which entailed facing a raging squall which would have traduced my traditional tissue-paper crown to a piece of damp pulp, so I had to concede early!

My sister-in-law had lovely places set at table with 'merry festive napkins' (as Giles would have put it!) printed and folded in the shape of Christmas trees and Christmas jumpers, which while only ephemeral tissue were quite clever, I thought.

This year's seasonal kitchen roll was bears taking a stroll through the Crimbo-tree woods! A few sheets are saved each year for wrapping the new baubles and tree decorations when they go away with the others for another year.

My only figural present (other than the Peruvian chess set we looked at a while ago) was this little blown and rod-glass, Murano-style rhinoceros - it's OK; googly-eyed, cartoon rhinos don't attack Flying Fortress pilots! Although - that horn is not to be messed-with!

Collectable books didn't include much to interest figure-purists, and I think I have the Mechanical Toys in storage, but all three will prove useful. I also got the Richard Holmes/IWM D-Day book, which is a bit simplistic ('concise' is kinder), but makes a nice, easy-read, day-by-day account.

The Beswick is a bit like the Ramsey's railway and die-cast yearbooks, only not updated so often, but the old ones do turn-up cheap and I have three for four now including the Wade Whimsies one which is very useful, Lladro &etc.

The third Christmas tome is a treatise on Fossil watch tins . . .

. . . something that had completely escaped me, but about which I now know more than I will ever need to call upon . . . as I don't collect, and have no intention of ever collecting, watches, let alone their packaging! From the dates I guess Fossil took a leaf out of Swatch's book, where are Swatch now?

But it's a lovely thing with different years/model's tins arranged on pages with very nostalgic graphics or - as above - in equally nostalgic settings; a REAL 'Coffee Table' book. Come to Colorado 'The railway tree State'!

Brian B also sent these, a couple of weeks ago, the post had published and they might have waited 'till next year, but then this post started to accumulate in a spare folder! They look like the one's I couldn't find when I was whinging about them the other day; Confiserie Heidel chocolate advent calendars . . . proper ones!

I've since learnt that the local Bible-shop does proper ones with seasonal artwork (two designs), 24 windows and 24 different designs of chocolate so I've promised to buy them there next year!

In the meantime these two were in the 'News Views...' to-be-sorted pile, a bit late now, but I will try to work-up something next (this coming!) November, that's a bit timelier for finding them to enjoy over the important 24-days! From the Metro, on the right; the 'i' on the left.

This was the disappointing 25th and untraditional window's treat in my calendar. It's not that I don't 'get it'; everyone appreciates an extra chocolate; but it's a Christian 'event' and their rules say 24 windows, it's not like we are short of chocolates the next day! And nuts and cake and pudding and marzipan fruits, dates, figs, Turkish-delight, mints . . .

 . . . equally; I'm no Christian, but I try to at least pay lip-service to, or go along with the spirit of the thing, as I would at the Hajj or the Kumbh Mela, and it's a measure of how we are losing our souls as a species (to marketing) that we just accept a slide to godless consumption and the worship of the true God - Mammon - over retaining our cultural links with the past, even if we don't agree with the pan-dimensional mega-being element of the thing!

Or even - perish the thought - using education and intelligence to build a better, fairer, secular world for everyone, based on the rule of law and democratic principles.

On those cheerful thoughts (!) I'll wish you all a Happy New Year and hope to all the Gods - real or imagined - that it's better than the fractious, divisive one we've just escaped, but I fear that for many of us 2018 will be worse . . . the lunatics are [none-too-] firmly in charge of the asylum!

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