Category Archives: Bottled

When Worlds Collide and a Pair of Striped Tights

Iwoke up again. Not only was I still a failure, but now I was a failure surrounded by unfamiliar voices. Maybe I hadn’t woken up at all, I really wasn’t sure. My garret appeared to be filled with a haze of sparkling Champagne bubbles that were emanating from a jolly Australian lady who seemed to be using them as a means of communication with an assistant called Muriel. I shrugged – I mean why not? At some point in the future Champagne’s bUbbles would rival Apple’s iPhone – I knew that.

A nice hazy picture to break up a huge swathe of text.

Moving on [as swiftly as possible], I realised that the other unfamiliar voice belonged to Mr Devine; a dead giveaway was his broad Norfolk accent. He was very tall, and took up too much room. He looked a bit cross, and this crossness seemed to be directed at me. He was ranting about the RHS, and a cease and desist notice, or some such; he was going a bit pink and puffy in the face, but thankfully my faithful hound, Sid, calmed him down with some gentle sniffing and a few adoring looks, which Mr Devine fell for because he crouched down to Sid’s level and stopped taking up so much space.

Finally I could talk eye to eye with Dinah, the jolly Australian lady with the twinkly blue eyes; she informed me that she had all the empty bottles I could possibly need to carry on with my bottled art project. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that I flung my arms around her, which was somewhat uncharacteristic of me. My happiness was swiftly dampened when I noticed her kindly face clouded by a frown.
“What?” I asked.
“The cost of delivering the bottles from Ausland to the UK may be prohibitive.”
Dinah stood in the middle of the garret with one hand on her hip clutching an extended wand, whilst the other held her chin as if deep in thought.
“I’ve got it!”, she exclaimed, “Jon would be the cheaper option!”

“Aaaaaaiiiiiiieeeeeeee!” Howled Mr Devine from his crouched position. He appeared to be grappling with my drapes and pulled one down into a heap on the floor.
“Oi, watch the drapes!” I shouted.
“Oh don’t mind him,” said Dinah, “he’s got a problem with the cute blackbird that’s perched on your crate, none of us can remember why so we humour him.”
Much to my surprise Dinah pulled down my other drape and used it to cover Mr Devine’s shaking limbs.
“It’s okay, Mr D,” soothed Dinah, gently patting Mr Devine’s back, “you stay under here and Sid will stand guard and protect you should Beaky try to attack.” Dinah rolled her eyes and then winked at me as Beaky the Blackbird flew out the window and back to Norfolk.

Sid, taking his job of guarding Mr Devine very seriously.

“Doesn’t he scream like a girl?” a new voice observed, a little later than expected.
“Your timing is a bit off,” I shouted into the bUbble Haze™, “he screamed about 5 minutes ago.”
Ms Mistress?” Said a drape muffled voice.
A pair of red and black striped tights appeared from the bUbble Haze™ and dangled above us, jigging lightly from foot to foot.

“Who’s this?” I mouthed to Dinah.
Mistress MJ, from Canada.” Replied Dinah, mouthing back.
“I can see you,” said the tights in a slow, cool, Canadian accent, “I would join you, but Ms Scarlet’s keyboard is too grubby, and too riddled with germs for me to be typed into this blog post so I have sent a representation of myself. Ms Scarlet, if you could please sanitise your immediate environment then I will be able to appear in all my glory.”

I winced. Cleaning my keyboard, and garret, to Mistress MJ’s exacting standards would take over 23 years to achieve, and I did not have 23 years to spare. I needed the empty bottles for my art, so, at my peril, I ignored Mistress MJ’s request.

“Dinah, where can I find this Cheap Jon fellow?” I whispered.
“*Sarf London,” Dinah whispered back, “you can’t miss him, he has an award winning back passage. God’s speed Ms Scarlet, good luck, and don’t worry about the cleaning, I’ll get Mr Devine to do it.”

Dinah and I clasped our little fingers together, tapped our right heels 5 times, and then I was away on my adventure, with my trusty hound, Sid, at my heels, and with no worries about domestic chores – I trusted Dinah to make everything spic’n’span.

“STOP HER!!!” Shrieked Mr Devine…..

*Incorrect location due to data privacy laws, and also artistic licence.

To be continued over the cusp.

A Realm Beyond Comprehension and a Shortish List

Iawoke realising that I had failed. Not only had I failed in my mission to become an internationally acclaimed artist with medals and an OBE, but I had also failed in my attempt to achieve world peace.

‘There is still time.’ Whispered a distant voice from a realm beyond comprehension.
‘You’re optimistic,’ I replied, strangely unperturbed by this new aural phenomenon, ‘my deadline is 21st November 2045, I only have 23 years and a bit and then the crowds will descend on Mogwash village hall expecting some kind of spectacle/experience/miracle/wonderment/world peace/artistic extravaganza [delete as applicable].’

The distant voice offered no further advice so I heaved myself out of bed and decided that today would be the day that I would start to get things done. I had to be positive, I had been dribbling stupor for long enough, and maybe the distant voice had a point – there was time – so I washed, dressed, ate a bowl of gruel, and hauled myself up to my garret at the bottom of the garden.

My garret was much as I left it, though a bit more dusty. On my desk was a list [please see exhibit A]

After removing a pile of books from my chair, I sat, and tried to gaze out the window – I couldn’t, it was far too grubby so I added ‘clean window’ to the list.
It appeared that I had my work cut out, or at least written down. But there was something I’d forgotten – something very important, and I swear I could hear the words: Did I win yet? being typed on a keyboard. My reverie was interrupted when I felt a cool presence brush against my left elbow, and from the sound of glass bottles rattling in a cardboard crate. This was all rather startling, but even more so because of the Blackbird  standing on the bottles with its wings outstretched in a cormorant pose, as if perched on a groyne. There was only one thing I could do in the face of such terrorism, I passed out, hitting my head on my desk as I slowly slumped to the floor.

To be continued over the cusp.

What happened in May?

After several weeks on the fainting chaise I began to feel better. My recovery had been slow, arduous, and beset with challenges, for example I felt as though an ominous cloud had been stalking me daily, I couldn’t shake it, so instead I decided to take a photograph to illustrate the darkness of my unwanted companion.

To illustrate a post featuring a sky.

To escape the cloud I hid indoors and pretended it wasn’t there, although I could still hear it leaking into my conservatory. I tried to make a note to get my roof fixed, but couldn’t decide whether to use copperplate, italic, or a modern calligraphy style. I concluded that my indecision was because it was all getting a little bit too much. I decided to stick my thoughts together with a drawing of a crow, as this was obviously the best way to make a note.

Though in the midst of muddlement, I knew there was a course of therapeutic action available to me, which was to lay quietly on the fainting chaise and read a pile of books [one at a time, NOT consecutively].

And lo, after several weeks I did begin feel better though less than robust, after all, I did still have a Temporomandibular joint disorder; Tinnitus; and a misdiagnosed knee condition, but, I also had a theory: my chronic ailments were somehow related to that damn wax effigy I’d sealed in a bottle back in 2006. I had unwisely used my own hair, and material from my clothes to make this glorious work of art…. blah, blah, blah… I think we have been here before….

wax-effigy-in-bottle-on-mantelpiece

Please note that the pin located on the right of the doll’s head [my left] and the pin stabbed into the left knee [my right], correspond anatomically [within accepted parameters] to my current jaw and knee issues.

I concluded that the only way to be completely well again would be to break the bottle and remove the pins from the effigy – plus, if my theory was correct, then did I really want to find out what the remaining pins would do?

It is now June 2021, and I am still a bit nuts.

Mapped!!!

After being inundated with requests, from places far and wide, and even from Uranus, I have finally made the definitive map of Mogwash. I have spent the past week studying cartography so that I can bring you a map that rivals the Tabula Rogeriana; a map so map like that it can’t possibly be called anything other than a map. Using the finest materials available to me, and working on it for at least 5 minutes a day [Tuesday AND Wednesday] I am now delighted, nay overjoyed, happy beyond ecstatic, to bring you Mogwash the Map. It is rendered in white ink, with the occasional dash of coloured pencil, on the back of a manila envelope. I know, the craftsmanship is exquisite!

map-on-back-of-envelope-in-cursive-calligraphy

My rationale for rendering it on the back of an envelope is so that you can take it anywhere and it’ll never look out of place. For example it looks cute propped up on the mantelpiece; it looks appropriate casually placed on a chair; and it is ideally suitable for resting in a wicker waste paper basket.

Here is Mogwash on my mantelpiece:-

map-on-the-back-of-envelope-on-mantelpiece

And here is a close-up:-

calligraphy-title-on-map-uk

Anyhow, I am sure that you are bored with my pontificatings and are desperate to re-read about all the places listed on the map so I have thoughtfully provided links so that you don’t have to go scrambling up my annuls trying to find the relevant posts. It’s okay, you can thank me later!!

  1. The bizarre woodland adventure.
  2. Mogs Mill
  3. Mogwash Manor
  4. The Mogwash Arms
  5. No.3, Mogwash Mansions
  6. Scout hut and carpark
  7. The bus shelter
  8. The Grade II listed telephone box
  9. Village Green
  10. Viridian Venus
  11. Rose Cottage
  12. The Onion Gallery
  13. Sebastian’s House
  14. Scarlet’s Attic

Now isn’t it good to know where everything happened? I’m sure you are thrilled.

Meanwhile, I have more news from the mantelpiece [my goodness, it has been an action packed week].

empty-macallan-bottle

I finished my bottle of whisky! I opened it at Christmas, it had been languishing in my drinks cupboard for some time and I was too skint to buy a big bottle of Bells, so I opened the Macallan instead. I put a dash of it in my milk at bedtime, or use it to liven up a glass of coca-cola. It tastes really, really nice! Anyhow, yesterday I thought I might replace it so hunted it down on the internet HERE. Oops.

Mapping Mogwash!!!

For the month of July a few of us have challenged ourselves to make a map. Dinah has already started, so I thought it only polite that I join in. Of course I am going to make a map of my fictional village, Mogwash, how could I not? But where to start?

Because Mogwash was created by my own fair hand I decided to take a photograph of my palm. After cropping the picture, and adding a few filters to make the lines darker [yay, that worked well, why did I bother?] I had this image:-

palm-of-my-hand
In the palm of my hand

So I simply printed it off and traced over the lines…. and yay, I have something that could be mistaken for a map!

sketching-a-map
First sketch of Mogwash!!!

Yep, I went a bit wrong in places, my eyesight is wonky, like this blog, but it is the first preliminary sketch and it will change an awful lot through a process of decisions. The next thing I do have to decide is how big I want it to be, and what type of surface to use.

I wonder where the scout hut is where Mago the archaeologist dug up the carpark? Where is the Onion Gallery? WHERE IS THE PUB??? Where does Moonchild Etherington-Smythe live? Where is Mrs Fitzpatrick’s hand built alpine rockery? All should be revealed over the coming weeks! I kind of think I’ve got a lot of reading to do, and a hunch that I’ll still be tinkering with this map cum December…

Shards of Glass….

….flew across the room when I flicked on the light switch in my studio. The lightbulb had exploded. I sighed and went to the kitchen for a dustpan and brush. Thankfully no glass had become precariously lodged in the ceiling. Those days were long gone. Or were they? Were these frequent near death experiences related to a bygone era? A long-lost plot? An unfinished paragraph that I had begun in 2006? I gazed into the middle distance and looked thoughtful.

Some hours later, after I had finished thinking and looking pretty at the same time, I ascended the stairs to my purpose-built garret at the bottom of the garden. They were still there where I had left them some years previously – a large cardboard box, and an old thick notebook stuffed with diagrams, maps, menus and all manner of paper ephemera. There was nothing more in the garret other than these items. I lifted the flaps on the box, faded, dry, and dusty, and counted the bottles within, there were two missing, which was no surprise. I pulled out the smallest, the first one I’d made. It contained a wax effigy pierced with pins. I rolled my eyes, how stupid of me to make the effigy using my own hair and clothes.

wax-effigy-in-bottle-on-mantelpiece

On my mantelpiece today….

“I had misguidedly seen fit to use my own hair and clothing to produce the wax effigy, all silly superstitious fears had been pushed aside as I dispassionately pierced the effigy of myself with pins.”

wax-effigy-in-bottle-uk

No wonder I have tinnitus….

It seems I had unwittingly cursed myself with misfortune. Thankfully during my long spell of thinking I had had a couple of interesting thoughts. Perhaps all was not lost. Perhaps I was taking these explosive mishaps a little too literally? Perhaps the mishaps were merely signs? Signs to tell me that I was on the wrong track; signs telling me to return to where it all began.

To be continued. Maybe.