Carpenter’s pencil

Flat, so they do not roll away.  I get that is handy for carpenters, but what about the rest of us?  I think we could all benefit from applying this design principle in our every day lives.  I shall begin with peas.

Carpenter's pencil



A shocking truth about fire helmets

I have commented before about the difficulty of painting copper.  Brass, it turns out, is no easier.  This is an old brass New South Wales Fire Brigade helmet.  It is modelled on the UK Merryweather helmet, which was in turn based on the helmets of the French Sapeurs-pompier, which were in turn based on (of all things) cavalry helmets.  Of course, nothing says ‘fire’ like a cavalry charge.  The cavalry helmets were in turn based loosely on ancient Greek and Roman helmets.  What examples, I wonder, did the Greeks and Romans have to base their words, helmets and ideas on?  Did they just make it all up from scratch?

Metal helmets are not good at protecting the wearer from electric shocks, in fact very not good at it.  In fact, they conduct electricity, so with the increased use of electricity in buildings these metal helmets passed into disuse.  Shocking but true.

Fire helmet


Edmund Waller says it with flowers

Most of us, maybe all of us, have suffered the unique unpleasantness that is unrequited love.  Edmund Waller, however, was not one to wallow in it; he took to the 17th century equivalent of social media and fired this off to the object of his affections.  It is a poem not without thorns.  I wonder if it worked.

Go, lovely rose!
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that’s young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts, where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired;
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

Then die! that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!


Fallen soldier

For some reason Trooping the Colour reliably presents the spectacle of two or three, and on one memorable day five,  Guardsmen fainting at attention.  Perhaps it has something to do with standing in the sun whilst wearing a bright red, heavy woollen jacket, dark trousers, boots, and wrapping your head in the better part of an entire black bear pelt.

Apparently the jackets used to be dyed using crushed insects, which – along with the bear that got skinned for the hat – makes for quite a death toll in the animal kingdom to produce a colourful party outfit.

Fallen soldier

The five sisters of Burke Road North

Unlike the Queen I have never planted a tree, but I do admire people who do.  They make a gift to the future and place a vote of confidence in continuity.  I lack their patience.

All roads lead to Rome except Burke Road North, which leads to bedlam.  Well, actually, it leads to Kew, but is is very busy.  No doubt maddened by the constant swish of car tyres and potato-potato-potato of passing Harley Davidsons, one resident built a large white wall to block the Road from sight and mind.  But this anonymous hero also had the foresight to plant five cedars along the wall.  And here they are, many years later, capturing the endless gloaming of a Melbourne spring evening.


Burke Rd