Friday, July 3, 2020

A Peacock, Soot Sprites and a Theft

A peacock butterfly passed through the garden a few days ago, and I had time to run for the camera and get some shots. We haven't seen any since the beginning of April, and I'd wondered how they fared through the subsequent cold snap and then the warm, dry spring. Short answer -- they're still around!

I took Olga for a walk yesterday along Billy Fury Way and found dozens of bales of recent newspapers (the Evening Standard) discarded in the woods beside the railroad bridge. So annoying! There must have been a thousand newspapers or more. I suspect someone is dumping unwanted copies from the nearby Finchley Road & Frognal overground stop (where they are usually handed out to passengers, whose numbers have plummeted since Covid-19). I took pictures and wrote to the Standard's head of circulation, who wrote me back fairly promptly and said there would be an investigation. I mean, they're probably paying someone to distribute those papers, and I'm sure they don't want them dumped in the woods any more than I do.

I tried to report the mess to Camden Council as well, but there are no street addresses on Billy Fury Way, so I'm not sure my litter app understood my location correctly. But I tried.

I also found a new piece of chewing gum art by Ben Wilson along the path -- new to me, at least. Wilson often lies on the sidewalk when he paints his pieces; I find the idea of lying on filthy Billy Fury Way a little horrifying, but he's apparently managed it.

One thing about walking the dog -- it always gets me out and about, which during this pandemic is incredibly beneficial. I was chatting with some of my neighbors yesterday and they talked about how cooped up they've felt. I've felt that too, of course, but perhaps not to the same degree. Both neighbors are eager to get haircuts now that salons and barber shops are about to re-open (tomorrow). Dave hasn't made a hair appointment yet, surprisingly. I think he's getting used to having it long.

Speaking of coronavirus and reopening, my new cloth mask has arrived!

I don't know if you can really see the pattern, but it depicts the soot sprites from Hayao Miyazaki's movie "Spirited Away," which I love. The soot sprites, little round black creatures with eyes, eat star-shaped morsels of food -- also shown on the mask. (I just learned that these sprites have a name in Japanese, susuwatari. Here are some images in case you can't see what they look like.)

I'm not sure they match the lobsters on my shirt, but oh well.

Someone stole one of my dianthus plants off our front porch yesterday! I was so surprised I walked up and down the street to see if it somehow wound up outside someone else's front door. It seems like such an unlikely object for intentional theft -- it still had plenty of flowers, but it was getting a bit leggy and it was only in a plastic pot. Fortunately the thief did not take two other plants (including another dianthus) or a hanging basket that we also keep out there. Very bizarre.


  1. I wonder if this is how fashion magazines and fashion shows will be from now on...
    "John from North Wales is sporting a bulldog mask designed by Chisato Tsumori. The sleek silk design and matching elasticated ear loops have echoes of the work of Shinsuke Takizawa..."

    P.S. The box arrived at lunchtime yesterday. So kind of you. Thanks ever so much Steve.

  2. The mask looks good. Three layer or fabric? We are told any mask is helpful. You are right about the plant theft, quite bizarre.

  3. Steve I have a table by our front wall..but it does have a sign, swap or free least, unlike our locals, other plants were exchanged!!
    I have sent you an Etsy convo with our address, looking forward to seeing the seeds!

  4. Wow, that's a big mask, not much going to get through that.
    I once had a pushchair taken from my Hall, I used to leave the main front door open for the light but keep the flat door locked, this was back in the 70's. The cheek some people have.

  5. I love the mask... and the T-shirt. Rock Lobster! And thanks for the link. I didn't know what they were. Sad and very odd about the stolen plant. We had neighbors in Connecticut whose pink flamingo was stolen from their lawn (it was a posh countrified neighborhood and no one else was sorry to see it go). A week later, they started received postcards from all over Europe. Then a postcard arrived saying, "Can't wait to get home." And one morning the flamingo was back on their lawn. They never knew who did it. Maybe you'll start getting postcards from the dianthus.

  6. I love the mask too! A reminder to me to order more masks to prepare for the school year and having to wear them all of the time!

  7. Nice mask! And yes, I think that a lot of folks are making a little money doing masks as a side-hustle. A little silver lining, I suppose.
    Not sure I'd call that a plant theft. Plant exchange? How very, very bizarre.

  8. Ms Moon: No, it was a theft -- but I see how you thought it was an exchange. That was due to bad wording on my part. I reworded the paragraph to make it clearer!

  9. Nice mask! My favorite mask these days is made of Japanese silk and is black with white cranes. It has a pocket for a filter and is the most comfortable of all the different styles i tried. I believe this particular fashion statement is here to stay.

  10. and the good citizen award goes to the man in the dust gobblers mask. Sweet mask and I can tell that you are not smiling behind it. I finally got one that fits- made in China , so who knows it could be a trick.
    Well done, reporting the cast off "Standard".
    Beautiful butterfly, and weird that someone would take your plant- Maybe they had to visit someone on the street and forgot to buy flowers. Weird , especially in your neighborhood.

  11. I've never seen a butterfly like this one. It's quite beautiful. Your mask is nice. I'm thinking that masks are going to be here for quite a while. Thanks for the link. I did not know of these little critters. They are really cute. It's a shame about your plant. The nerve of some folks! Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

  12. I have yet to wear a cloth mask as I bought several packages of those blue/white ones and since I only go out every three or four or five days when I need to wear one, I reuse them several times.

    perhaps Ben Wilson laid a sheet down on the pavement to lay on.

    when I bought my city house back in the mid 70s and finally got the keys (the very old lady needed a month to pack up her stuff and get moved out after closing) and moved in, that first night someone stole a small azalea bush from the front yard. it wasn't even in a pot but planted in the ground.

  13. That peacock butterfly is gorgeous. I would love to see one. What a beauty.
    Really nice mask you have there.
    I can't imagine why someone would steal a potted plant from a porch. Interesting little mystery.

  14. Masks are now fashion statements
    Should I get a walking dead one?

  15. I like your new mask. I actually bought a set of masks from my favorite women's clothing company. They are different colored patterns and I switch them out. If we have to wear them, we might as well have some fun with them. Good for you for reporting the newspaper dump. How unusual to have a plant from your front porch stolen. It makes me think of the clay pot that someone stole from my front porch of my last house. It was a tall, Mexican style pot about 2 feet high and it sat by my front door for 8 years. The last year I was there, it disappeared one day. It was a Mexican pot not worth more than $4. Why would anyone take it? Pretty butterfly!

  16. Beautiful, unusual butterfly.

    I am sorry about your plant. I can't imagine someone doing that--maybe a practical joke that wasn't funny. I hope it is returned or the mystery solved.

    The only weird thing that happened to us was someone used to reposition the lighted deer we had in the yard at Christmas. We had them grazing together, and when we came home one evening, they were repositioned together in the mounted, mating pose! It happened the next year, too, so we quit putting them out there. Probably a dare from one of the neighborhood teens. (Nothing wrong with showing mating deer; just not the idea we had in mind.)

  17. Well what's the point of having a notch-eared dog if she won't protect the homestead from plant burglars. Perhaps you need a guard-cat.

  18. YP: I definitely think masks will become an aspect of fashion going forward!

    Andrew: It's two layers with a washable filter than inserts into a pocket in front of my mouth and nose. The only thing I don't like is, it's hard to talk through!

    GZ: Excellent! I will pass them along as soon as they've matured. The pods are still green at the moment.

    Briony: It IS amazing, isn't it? I have some motion-sensitive cameras. Maybe I'll have to set them up on the door!

    Mitchell: "Rock Lobster" was one of my favorite songs in the '80s. (I was a big fan of early B-52's.) At least the flamingo stunt was pretty funny!

    Michael: Absolutely! They'll be fashion accessories! I have another fabric one on the way and I probably need a few more.

    Ms Moon: I responded to your plant comment above. Re. the masks, yes, some people are definitely seeing an opportunity for profit, and nothing wrong with that! In fact I'm glad to support someone's sewing skills. (Although I think mine are factory made.)

    37P: That sounds similar to mine, with the filter pocket, although I don't think mine is silk. (If it were I suppose I would know!)

    Linda Sue: That's what I wondered -- they needed a last-minute gift? It's going to be really obvious that they didn't buy those flowers, though!

    Edna: I think this type of peacock is a European variety. But there is another (totally different) butterfly in the southern USA called a peacock.

    Ellen: I wonder if the lady who sold you the house decided she couldn't live without her azalea?!

    Robin: It's our prettiest butterfly, I think! Although we have some others that are close contenders.

    John: Absolutely! I'm sure they're available!

    Sharon: Isn't it weird that someone would take something like that? But you know, I remember when I was a teenager stealing silly stuff when I was out with friends. We just did it for the thrill. Didn't really stop to think how the victim would feel.

    BethB: Ha! That's pretty funny, about the deer. At least someone had a sense of humor!

    Catalyst: I know! Someone's not earning their keep!

  19. I love your mask! And that gorgeous butterfly...