Tuesday, 25 September 2012

child labour!

how young is too young?


'course not! snaps Wesley - just get rubbin' ....

and so my darling little niece princess Catriona,
age 5 and 3/4
obeys the demands of the small white furry king and proceeds to stroke and rub and caress and ....

... caress and rub and stroke and .....

Baby Squirrel Pippa hears Wesley purring ...

Pippa came in late for tea one day, all dishevelled and slightly distracted. Mama looked her over then asked her quietly how playtime was. Pippa said she had had fun, as she rubbed her little paws vigourously and pulled at her tail. Then mama asked her what the matter was and Pippa pursed her tiny lips and whispered 'nothing'.
Well, as all mamas know, when an offspring says that 'nothing; is wrong, what it really means is that something is definitely wrong!
So over the next couple of hours mama managed to gently extract the days events from her taciturn daughter, and my goodness, was she not shocked!
It turned out that Pippa decided to take a short cut home and instead of traversing the branches of the trees like she normally did, she had instead scrabbled her way up one of the forbidden branchless trees and just managed by pure determination to nimbly jiggle herself along the taught metal wire to the end.
And at the end, just as she as about to get purchase on the pole top with one of ger toes, she had been thrown off, high into the air, to land on the soft grasses below.
She had been terrified but the exhilaration of the experience made her do it again, and again and again.
Hence her slightly singed and tufty fur, her now unkempt tail, her tingling extremities and her rear paws with a few melted nails.
Mama immediately scolded her, there and then, and banned her from playtime after school for a whole full moon, and said that some things are just so dangerous that when they are forbidden, they are absolutely forbidden.
Well, Pippa was very upset. More upset about mama's anger than about the tiny electric shocks she had received, and she promised to never ever climb a branchless tree again.
Mama took her straight to the library and pulled out all the books on electricity and together they read thru the scary and shocking facts about telegraph poles and electrical conduct.
Pippa grew pale and wondered why something so incredibly fun could be so dangerous. Then she noticed one of her claws lying on the book's page, it must have just come off, and she brushed it aside before mama saw it and went on and on again.
Pippa had learned her lesson, but she was determined to try and do something about those wire bits at the tops of the pole, because that really was the problem. It sure had been fun to cling to the wire as she deftly made her way across, but the electric shock bit at the end needed fine tuning, she thought to herself.
And she resolved to find a solution so that all squirrels would be able to play on these branchless trees and have fun without being thrown off and up into the air.
Or at least not thrown off so fast and so high. Hmmm, she murmured to herself, as she avidly turned the page.
Pippa is looking forward to snuggling on your armchair by the French windows. She's love lots of very soft smooth cushions so that none of her claws get caught on them, and fall off.
She's lost a few claws since that day, though they have managed to grow back in but not as pretty or as perfect as they once were.
And she would love the window left open a little too as she will be having tea with mama and spending more time in the library doing research.
You are welcome to come along with her to the library. Oh, okay, you can come to mamas for tea too, but don't eat all the scones at once, you are rather large and the scones are tiny, so goodness knows how many of them it will take to fill you up.
Infact how about you bake a few and bring them along? Mama would appreciate that, and on the way there Pippa will show you the branchless tree and the wire.
Just remember though, no playing on it, it's very dangerous and you'd be lucky to survive with your nail intact, not to mention your hair or eyelashes. 

and the auction for the soldiers was a great success! - see the post below this one for details about the paintings I donated

and this tryptich is off to Australia! yay!  
(the painting of Max will be in next years auction)

(and next post I shall reveal what my latest products for my etsy shop are - hint, hint - backseat drivers)

oh for god's sake aunty Annette, my arm is nearly falling off!!

Hey! little cousin you just keep rubbin' I never said nuffin 'bout restin' - cripes, so young, so full of beans and just not wantin' to work! where's the good labour these days??!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Forward Scout

....so a few weeks ago I got out my watercolours and splashed out a doggie
'Forward Scout'
in memory of Max

it's a painting of my kelpie/heeler dog Max from when I was a sapper in the Army and attached to Engineers in Sydney, Australia.
Max became a bomb dog, or more specifically a MWD - Military Working Dog.
MWDs are dogs that are trained to detect explosive materials and most of the International peace keeping forces engaged in Afghanistan use their own MWDs to clear routes of IEDs and detect caches of weapons. These dogs are invaluable with their work, and save many, many lives.

I used my old photos to get Max's markings.
He was a very handsome, muscular, energetic dog.
And because Max came from Aussie working dog stock, he was not lazy in the slightest, unlike the alsatians that the Engineers were currently using. They were impressed with him and I heard that he was a very good worker.

The other month I was catching up with some news and I came across the RAE Foundation that helps soldiers, specifically Engineers, and they were having an art auction to raise funds, so I thought I would offer a couple pieces, hence my painting of Max.

It's rather like an illustration, with an inked Royal Australian Engineers Corps badge in the top left, and a very simple scene of Max detecting something under the rubble.

If you'd like to see the pic in more detail, just click on the images above.

and I've put this small pic in as well.
It's of the Scots Greys statue that stands on Princess Street, Edinburgh, and behind is the imposing breath taking Edinburgh Castle!
Every time I go to town, 10 minutes up the road from here, I see this beautiful sight.

The Royal Scots Greys was the regiment that charged at Waterloo

I thought I would put in the 2 rough sketches also, and it could perhaps be displayed as a triptych?
Sometimes evidence of the process is as interesting as the finished piece.

Max was just a tiny fat ball of a puppy when I got him, way, way back in 1990!!
He grew up side by side with my new baby house rabbit Burns. One day he was sick in the car, and I had to clean up a stomach full of chewed grass and carrot!!
Burns was smaller, but she was the leader!
As you can see in the photos above - Max is fawning over Burns as she jumps up onto the couch to see what he is doing (one could not participate in something without the other racing over to see what was going on... siblings.... :)
and outside in my 'garden' (heh heh that's a fancy term eh? I really meant to say 'backyard') you can see Burns about to chase Max across the mud! (I would have said grass, but you would have known I was lying).
Burns ruled the house and Max deferred to her all the time.

when I was visiting the RAE Foundation I came across this photo, and all I could think about was Max! and my heart melted!
and then I thought maybe they may like one of my paintings perhaps, to help the soldiers and the doggies?
It will be nice to send my paintings to Australia, so I am hoping that someone at the auction likes them.
This little kelpie/heeler cross has just come back from a tour of duty, probably Afghanistan?

good grief, dog this.... dog that... yap yap yap!!!
how 'bout getting me more greens and carrots here then? I'm nearly out...
and I ain't coming in your car nowhere so your seats are safe (some dogs eh? wasteful!)