Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Carving

For the 3rd year in a row - which now makes it tradition - my son, Rogan, has joined me in carving a pumpkin for Halloween.

He's pretty damn good at it too

With the lights on

With the lights off

And what you can't see here, is his pumpkin cast the most wonderful shadows on the wall and ceiling in the dark with just a wee candle inside.

Meanwhile I've been feeling the pressure after character concept artist, Allen Capoferri (visit Allen's Zoo to see some of his stunning sketches), left a comment a few weeks ago that he was looking forward to seeing what I was going to create this year.

I thought I'd have a go at trying to create a more 3D type of carving after seeing some amazing stuff on the web. However, I quickly realised that my imagination and enthusiasm far outstripped my technical ability. And, of course, those who are carving the really mindblowing sculptures, are not only using proper carving tools (rather than just a small kitchen knife and a spoon), but practice an awful lot - not just once a year.

It might not win any awards, but at least the challenge was fun.

With the lights on

With the lights off

Happy Samhain to my pagan friends and Happy Halloween to my Christian friends and anyone else who just likes the excuse to carve vegetables.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

46... a fairly nondescript number. It’s not the halfway point between 40 and 50; it’s not the answer to life, the universe and everything; it’s not even a prime number.

However, there’s one way of looking at 46 that makes it rather special – it means I’ve survived yet another year.

Not that being 45 was particularly tough – as 12-month periods go, it’s actually been a lot less hassle that most.

The point I’m making is, statistically, once we get past the age of about 10 or so, with each passing year, the chances of us dying increases.

It appears I’ve outlived Freddie Mercury, Vlad the Impaler and Henry IV of England, all of whom kicked the bucket aged 45.

I’ve also passed the average life expectancy for a man in Mozambique (38.3), Swaziland (39.8), Sierra Leone (41), Zambia (42.1), Lesotho (42.9), Central African Republic (43.3), Zimbabwe (43.8), Afghanistan (43.9), Rwanda (44.6), Liberia (44.8), Guinea-Bissau (44.9), and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (45.2).

Where mortality is concerned, within the UK there are regional variations. The average man born in England will live to 78.6, while the average man born in Scotland will only live to 75.9. I haven’t managed to find out what effect living in Scotland will have on a man originally born in England – other than personal experience leads me to believe that entering certain pubs in Scotland with an English accent might lead to a significant shortening of life expectancy.

One thing’s for certain, though – being this age makes me slightly more obsessed with mortality statistics...

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Clothes are strewn about the house with little thought as to whether they have been worn or not.

Yells and screams puncture all too brief moments of calm, and continue until the brain begins to filter them out.

Small faces besmirched with chocolate, crisps and snot

The bathroom towel has large smears all over it where hands and mouths have been wiped with scant regard to the idea of being washed first.

Mealtimes stretched into 2 or sometimes 3 sittings, with a variety of food combinations in an attempt to deal with an even wider variety of dislikes.

Laughter from another room that instantly raises suspicions, followed by shrieks of indignation and loud tears.

Small plastic objects designed to seek out and apply the maximum amount of pain to the most sensitive parts of the feet are carefully laid out to fool the unwary.

Calls of "GRANDAD!!!" followed by unconditional hugs somehow seem to make everything OK again.