Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Category Archives: Technology

Far from the madding crowd…


This book is made with a rather pretty paper with very dramatic colours – and lots of sparkle (not so keen on that!) It looks quite ‘retro’ and I’m sure the added ‘bling’ is going to appeal to someone…

I went for a walk with a group of friends yesterday. There were about 10 of us and we walked about 4-5 miles, I guess through Thorncombe Woods and on the way we passed Thomas Hardy’s cottage at Bockhampton. I have lived in Dorset for about 15 years and I am constantly surprised how many of our local landmarks I have yet to see – this being one of them! Unfortunately it was closed and I only managed to take this shot of it by climbing into a bush and leaning over a fence


This a photograph of it taken in the summer.



Thomas Hardy was born in Higher Bockhampton and became one of England’s most famous authors. His most celebrated books such as ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’, ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ and the ‘Mayor of Casterbridge’ are all set in an imagined Wessex which is based around Dorset and all the towns he mentioned in his books are real places that he renamed. Dorchester became Casterbridge, Weymouth became Budmouth and Bridport became Port Bredy, for instance. The Thomas Hardy Society has a conference in Dorchester every year and fans of Thomas Hardy’s work all flock to the town to see where Thomas Hardy lived and worked and to visit the museum which has a recreation of his study and a large archive of his works and belongings. There are lectures, seminars, poetry readings and excursions including visits to Hardy’s Cottage and to Max Gate, the house he designed and built for himself, just outside Dorchester. They can also visit his grave at Stinsford where his heart is buried with his first wife, Emma – his ashes are in Westminster Abbey in London. You can read more about Thomas Hardy here.

‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ was made into a film in 1967 starring gorgeous Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Alan Bates and Peter Finch. I always loved this film. I studied the novel for my GCE ‘O’ level and thought it was one time when a film had lived up to the original book. I had a serious crush on Terence Stamp at the time too although I did rather like Alan Bates as Gabriel Oak too. Dashing, handsome and mercurial versus strong, steady and reliable.

It was interesting watching the film again after I moved to Dorset and trying to spot where the film locations were – it was all filmed in Dorset. Here is the trailer for the film (please turn down the awful American voice over – they could at least have used an English accent – although perhaps not a broad Dorset one!)

And finally…..

If Thomas Hardy had used a computer to write his novels and poetry, I expect it would have looked like this one :-)

Vodpod videos no longer available. from posted with vodpod

I’m so excited!!


I am so excited by this book as it has set my imagination whirling…. Let me explain. This book is covered with a linen bookcloth which can be used in an inkjet printer. It comes in sheets which are roughly A4 size or roughly A3 size. The print on this book is a photograph I took in the summer of marguerites in my garden. It took me a while to get the printer set up to take these sheets. They are paper backed and as they are not quite a standard A3 size (they measure 11″ x 17″) they have to be treated as a custom size but once it’s set up, it’s easy. Half the problems came from the fact I was having to get used to my new Canon PIXMA Pro 9500 A3+ printer. This was my test print. I was quite prepared to bin this as I thought I would have to make some adjustments but it came out beautifully. It actually looks sort of faded – like an antique fabric which I really like. I am now trawling through my photographs for ones which will make good book covers and my mind is racing with thoughts of future photographic projects…..landscapes, flowers – people! The ultimate personalization!


Well, here it is finally. The new hairdo! I have had about 6″ cut off my hair and it is now a bob rather than droopy spaniel ears :) To distract you from me, I am sitting in front of my fish clock, a ceramic Gothic-surreal-call it what you will masterpiece which is so fragile, that after three or four house moves, half the pointy bits are held on with superglue but I still like it! And it tells the time perfectly. News Flash! I just went downstairs to see who made this clock and picked it up – and one of the spirals on the top fell off and broke in half. Marvellous. Anyway, it is made by J. Callaghan in 1997 and that’s as much as I can tell you about it.

To continue my makeover I bought new glasses (or spectacles as my optician calls them) It’s really difficult to buy glasses. I still have this hang up about ‘Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses’ and I grew up watching those films where the hero, after unsuccessfully wooing the beautiful unattainable one, finally notices his secretary, the plain bespectacled heroine (usually played by a gorgeous actress wearing glasses with a frump hairdo) You’ve all seen the scene where he removes her glasses, lets her hair down and says wonderingly ‘Why, Miss Smith! You are beautiful!’ This is a trend I’ve also seen in present day teen flicks and soaps. Take one gorgeous actress, tie her hair up and make her wear horrid glasses. Ugly duckling becomes swan by styling her hair and wearing contacts. ‘Now, Voyager’, ‘She’s All That’, Ugly Betty anyone?


So I eventually chose some groovy Prada specs which I hope send out the right message when I’m wearing them. I don’t have a photograph of me in specs so you will just have to imagine those. I do rather like them them though, they are dark green and very smart but I don’t want to have any ‘Miss Smith’ moments, I want to look fab all the time :-)

Wii love tennis….


I suppose this a token gesture to that dreadful day which is looming. You know the one, when greeting card companies and florists all over the world start rubbing their hands together with glee and doubling or even trebling their prices (I know, I used to have a florist business at Heathrow Airport). So in honour of the day which shall remain nameless here is my Heart book.

Now I have been looking into finding a chap for a V day date and have come up with a very cunning plan.

Unless George is getting wise to this ploy and won’t fall for it a second time….

Anyway, I’m a bit premature with this V Day talk, so I’ll change the subject. Have you got a Nintendo Wii? (OK so that was a bit of a left turn at the lights but I did say I’d change the subject…) We have just got one. I had heard that they were incredibly difficult to find over the Christmas period, so I waited until just afterwards and found one quite easily.


It was bought as a surprise for my sons but I love it so much it is ridiculous. I love Wii Sports, we play tennis, golf and bowling (haven’t tried boxing or baseball yet!) and it is almost like playing a real game. Well, without the running which was never my favourite bit anyway. It can be incredibly energetic though and far removed from sitting in front of an old style games console just exercising your thumbs! Last night, my son who is away at uni, rang to say his house mate had just brought his Wii back to the their house, so we connected them up to the internet and we were able to send messages to each other. I’m not sure if we can play games against each other as well but it would be cool if we could, I must find out. I think it’s brilliant fun for all the family. And if you were wondering why Wii consoles are so scarce…click on the thumbnail to find out.


Chicken Tuesday


I have my new (astonishingly expensive but VERY groovy) Prada glasses. They are varifocals and luckily, they don’t make me woozy like my old ones did. I now look like a very studious secretary. Not quite the look I was going for – I was aiming for very funky and trendy intellectual….. I was going to use Photo Booth on my Mac to take a photo of me wearing my glasses but I look too scary. You will just have to imagine them. Maybe when I get my Katie Holmes hairdo next week, I might look better….

Eric over at Speedcat Hollydale is running a Wordless Chicken Tuesday. Lots of chicken photographs. here’s mine.


This poor little creature is a featherless chicken which has been bred in the genetics faculty at the Rehovot Agronomy Institute near Tel Aviv, Israel.

“The idea behind the development of this naked bird is that it will create a more ‘convenient’ and energy efficient chicken which can live in warm countries where feathered chickens don’t do well and cooling systems are too expensive to be commonly affordable. Not growing feathers saves energy that can be used to grow meat.”

from Next Nature.

It also obviously doesn’t need plucking so it will save money in processing plants. I object to this on so many levels I don’t know where to begin. Read more about it here.

On a lighter note and to continue the theme here is a chicken joke…

A couple go for a meal at a Chinese restaurant and order the “Chicken Surprise”.
The waiter brings the meal, served in a lidded cast iron pot. Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid of the pot rises slightly and she briefly sees two beady little eyes looking around before the lid slams back down.

“Good grief, did you see that?” she asks her husband. He hasn’t, so she asks him to look in the pot. As he reaches for it, again the lid rises, and he sees two little eyes looking around before it slams down. Rather perturbed, he calls the waiter over, explains what is happening, and demands an explanation.
“Please sir,” says the waiter, “what did you order?”

The husband replies, “Chicken Surprise.”

“Ah… so sorry,” says the waiter, “I bring you Peeking Duck!”

Well, I didn’t say it was a good joke….. :-)

Unlike this which is a very good joke from the Savage Chickens web site


All you chaps, can switch off now, this next bit is for us ladies. Just had a laundry disaster of epic proportions. I had put a pair of new black jeans into the washing machine but did not wash them as I was waiting for more dark stuff to make a full load. Next day, forgot jeans were in there and put a load of whites – my undies and a load of white t-shirts in and washed the lot together. Needless to say they came out that particularly dingy shade of grey that looks revolting. Whole lot will have to be replaced. Oh well good excuse for a shopping expedition… and just as well nobody but me gets to see my undies these days ;-)

A very girlie book…


I had quite a day yesterday, so no new book. And I had run out of PVA glue so after a quick trip to the art shop this morning, this is today’s offering.

My Number One son, has moved back in with me as he had a temporary job here in Dorset, (he lives in Bristol) which was supposed to last a few weeks. I offered to drive him to work every day (and pick him up again) as it was only going to be for a few weeks, right? Well several months down the road, I am still driving him to and from work – which results in me, in the car for two hours every day, which is now a pain! So yesterday, we bought him a car, we are both really thrilled – me particularly.

The other thing that happened yesterday was the arrival of my new laptop – a MacBook Pro. I am well pleased and I spent the other part of yesterday, setting it up and transferring data from my old laptop. I then had to prepare my old laptop so that I could pass it on to Number One son who has claimed it. This mostly involved deleting personal stuff as I don’t know who would be more embarrassed if he found some of my personal e-mails. I don’t suppose boys like to think of their mothers having a love life! I thought that was quicker than clearing the hard drive completely and reloading all the apps. Easier said than done though as it turns out! I managed to delete all the current e-mails in my Inbox (about 30) so I hope there was nothing vital in there.

I was watching an old movie while I was working this morning, ‘Now Voyager’ – Bette Davis, Paul Henreid and Claude Rains – marvellous stuff but so un-PC – all that smoking – and then there’s  “Don’t let’s ask for the moon, we have the stars…” – where are the tissues?