Nasty Bug

Arrived home today to find all three of my family members vomiting and miserable on the lounge room floor. Whatever vile virus has struck them down has skipped me so far, fingers crossed it stays that way.

Anyway, all my best intentions of a productive evening painting were dashed. We ate jelly and watched a ‘Secret Life of Pets‘ (silly and predictable but amusing) . I was inspired to go looking for a jelly mold but the only one I really took a shine to is a bit out of my price range…

Last night was Westworld E06 and E03 of Black mirror. Late to bed. A full episode by episode review of Black Mirror in the works.

Doing a spot of painting now.

To share

The exquisite and bizarre sculptural works of Yoshitoshi Kanemaki  (Also here & here)


There and Back Again



In the past two weeks I have been to The Netherlands, Wales and a whole variety of places in England.

Amsterdam is a complicated, confusing, beautiful city. The division between the tourist trap, “coffee” and smart shop fueled, stoner city and the arty, bohemian cool of the Jordaan suburb feels remarkably well delineated. I’d really like to spend more time there.

I do like the positive, more relaxed and accepting attitude the Dutch have to drugs and sex but the experience of Amsterdam is marred by that being the main tourist attraction. I would really like to see a city where those attitudes are normal without an accompanying industry being made from tourists reveling in their freedoms for the first time.


#amsterdam knows how to throw an #edm #festival. #awakenings #awakeningsfestival

A photo posted by @liatach on

Among the many things we saw and did there, the Saturday we spent at the Awakenings festival and the visit to the bodyworks exhibition were my highlights. The level of organisation and the scale of the music festival was extraordinary. Oddly it finished at a 11PM but a grand day and night out was had by all.


Yes this is a flayed cadaver playing saxophone.

I missed the Gunther Von HagensBodyworlds exhibition when it came to Australia years ago. So I was very eager to see it at its permanent home. I was not disappointed. It is amazing and bizarre. The whole experience is made more peculiar by the twee, “Happiness is good for your health” messages displayed and inserted throughout the exhibition. These are in contrast to the remarkable preserved cadavers, unpleasant medical conditions and genuinely creepy character of Gunther Von Hagens himself. A man who meets too many criteria on the mad scientist supervillan list to be taken seriously when he encourages you to ‘Don’t worry be happy’.

Post bucks weekend we turned over the guest house and headed south for the wedding of Steven and Jill in a wee town outside Swindon.


Massive chunks of stone and bored children.


If only that cow had better aim it’d have an eye.

The wedding was lovely, the hotel grand and even my speech went down well. Two nights in Swindon flew by and we headed west via some standing stones, a chalk horse and a roman ruin to visit maternal relatives in Wales. Cardiff was a hoot and included a tour of a significant portion of the local playgrounds, much to the delight of L and F.




Perspective art on the barrage in #cardiff.

A photo posted by @liatach on

Post Wales we headed back east for dinner with friends in London and two nights in a grand old dive of a hotel in Slough. From where we went to…


Which was, as expected a grand day out. We had hoped to stay at the Lego hotel for the complete experience but we left it too late and prices became outrageous. Some of the outdoor Lego pieces have seen better days, green slime in the water features, cracked and faded plastic on the builds, awful expensive food, and labyrinthine park layout. All did not matter, the rides were great and everyone left beaming.

The submarine ride through a giant fish tank with sharks and Lego Atlantis was my favourite. Unfortunately F was too small for many rides but had a great time regardless, L was only just tall enough for some of the big rides.

Lego city firemen, Viking splash and Star Wars Miniland featured among L’s highlights.

The whole day was improved by the accompaniment of my wonderful cousin Jenny.

Post Lego we drove in one mad and seemingly endless day from London back to Glen Orchy Scotland and collapsed into our own beds again. Four days later and normality is returning. Bedtimes are being pushed back to more reasonable hours and the washing is finally done.

Through all this I have of course been watching the slow motion train wrecks of Brexit and the Federal DD election in Australia. Thoughts on them another night.



Snapped in passing at a Moto on the way north. I like it because of Hitchhiker’s of course.

There is art to be done and further adventures to contemplate.

Big week

I started this post on Sunday, was interrupted by tiredness and a call for cuddles. Monday evening we had a black out that lasted well into Tuesday morning. Tuesday we had a dilema with Boris the dog which preoccupied us until late that evening. Yesterday was my birthday and we didn’t get home until quite late in the evening. Which brings me to today which was lovely but thanks to inconsistent routine bedtimes have been prolonged battles of attrition and I am sitting down to write now at 10:30PM having gone for an evening walk up the mountain side to check the Hydro inlet and give wee Boris a ‘poopurtunity’. It is still light though fading now and the midges as ever, are awful out.

The Boris Dilemma

Tuesday evening while continuing to clean the guest house N noticed that Boris the lovely old Scot’s terrier mutt who is our charge and pride and joy whilst we look after ‘Arichastlich’ was missing. We begin searching for and calling him high and low all around the property inside and out of the house which we had left open as we came and went from the guest house. Our initial theory was the he must have heard some thunder which we with vacuum cleaner going had not and in true doggy fashion freaked out and gone to ground. We had witnessed this behaviour first hand the previous day when he had hidden under the boys beds at bed time due to far off and not very loud thunder – not helpful, but understandable-. So we concentrated first on hiding places within the house and around the grounds. Only once sure that he was not there did we begin to widen our search down the road in each direction, contacting neighbours, checking up the hillside, with tup and horse in the field we visit daily. Eventually we bundled everyone into the car and set off down the road stopping to call out. In this way some two awful hours later we found wee Boris hanging out in the car of a camper by the river some kilometers down the road.

The explanation for this we now think most likely is that Boris as is his way jumped into the car of some random who had stopped to look at the pigs in the neighbouring field and as he previously did not wear his collar at home assumed he was lost. The camper who was caring for him reported that he reportedly tried to get into a number of cars and nearly been taken by a driver of a white van with him to a town some distance away. But having encountered a camper staying in the region had left him there. Would he have made his own way home? There is really no telling as he was clearly making himself at home in the camp.

The relief at finding Boris cannot be overstated, he is without doubt the most precious of our charges here. I made sure to take a few beverages back to the camper in thanks.

Yesterday I wanted to do get some history in on my birthday so we visited Kilmartin to view sculpted stones, cairns and these standing stones which are part of a lunar observatory over 5000 years old now and perhaps even then, in a sheep field.

Kilmartin-stones1 Kilmartin-stones


Found a bunch of interesting wee beasties to photograph this week.





Apart from a little work in Illustrator, a little speech work and an hour’s painting on the castle card I have done shamefully little creative work this week.



Build Complete


Feels like an age since I started this project. Today after many delays the hens are doing their job admirably laying waste to the fields of cat head sprouts that have sprung up after the recent rain. There were lots of delays some quite unavoidable but three months from inception it is done. There are plenty of other projects waiting in line and I’m planning on attempting video of one or two.

For this evening here is the build process. There were a number of design alterations along the way. It all started with a rusted out old motorcycle crate piled among the bricks.

The crate is visible to the right of this panorama of the yard as we found it. PANO_20151224_092052 In speaking to our neighbors, the local motorcycle shop and family friends they offered some newer crates free of charge.

I saved this quad bike crate from the scrap heap and began with the idea of a box without a base.



Of course there was no bloody ply at the tip when I went the looking this first time. So I had to buy one sheet. Being frugal I managed to find a layout that would give me all the pieces I need from that one sheet. My only electric saw is a jigsaw so my edges leave something to be desired in perfect straightness.



The old motorcycle crate was cannibalised for many parts including the gate beginning here.


I built two the same, at the time it seemed unlikely that we would have the properties fences to a state where the hens would be allowed out during the day so I was planning on a primary tractor and an additional run section.


First sides going on.


Realising that I am never going to be able to keep it as square as I want it without a base. I for the time being abandon the idea of the extra run and attach the base section.


When working without a base side pieces were hanging from the top.


With the addition of the base I added an extra end support I had into the middle and hung the sides on it instead. The gate hinge support is also reinforced this way.


Material constraints left me with a gate hinge too short to extent the whole height. In the background the awning brackets in fabrication.



Awning brackets mounted


Side awnings on. The rear has to wait until roof hinges are done.


Main entrance and detail.


Beginnings of the roof stripped from a very heavy piece of the motorcycle crate.


Edges attached, applying insulation with ‘help’.


Locking the Styrofoam jigsaw in with aluminium tape.


Coating the underside in foil.


Ready for roofing.


Scrap roofing iron from among the debris cut with a hand angle grinder forms the cover.



Lots of sharp edges to deal with.



Sitting in place.


A tiny ten minute tease of rain stained and warped some of the ply.


Roof hinges on.


Cleaning up timber edges prior to painting.


Everyone helps paint, while the enthusiasm lasts anyway. Free paint is the best paint.


The best wheels found up until this point die under pressure. I was hoping they were solid rubber as there was no valve visible. Not to be.



It takes two more trips to the tip and a lot of trial and error to find better replacements. In the mean time wiring began. Using off cuts and old crumpled spare pieces from the farm this was frustrating and slow work. Compounded by the fact that we were having great difficulty finding someone to sell us point of lay hens.


A view into the roost. Nesting boxes from an old Ikea shelf and scrap ply.


Wiring continued an hour here and there for ages.


News that hens would be available in a week put the pressure on to finish the job. Painting the door, ramp and wall extension using a very smelly old enamel found in the shed.


Ramp in place. Thriving fresh crop of catheads visible in the soil here.


Interior shot. before floor wire.


View from the front before and after wall extension.

IMG_0555 IMG_0556

The previous wheel axle holes are no longer useful.


The new wheels require an altogether different kind of mount.


Of for a drop grinder.

IMG_0560Ready to weld.


Calling in help from my brother in law for this job. Snapped with welding goggles on of course.


I put the wire floor in so that the hens can be contained during moves and they will be safe if and when a fox gets into the enclosure at night.


Job done. Last couple of additions today not yet photographed. Gravity water container, hatch so the hens roost door can be opened without entering the enclosure and modifications to the nesting area in the roost to make it a little cosyier. I’ll edit them in at a later date.



Our hens are Isa Brown rescues from an egg farm which disposes of its hens at one year of age. Waiting to establish dominance order before assigning the names we have chosen for this batch. Georgie, Porgie, Pudding and Pie.

20160328_Easter2016_3620 sml


Bonus build…

Ancient crank shaft from the metal heap in the back yard


plus plow blade from the farm


 plus a little sugru,


equals distinctive bird bath.IMG_20160328_175848

Sugru was still drying at dark so testing will wait for the morning.

Eyeing some much needed sawhorses for my next build. Not that I think I can produce a pair like that.




A couple of extra details. As with everything but the one sheet of ply, the hinges on the roof and the boxes of screws, the latches are found, rummaged or reused from somewhere else.


My but those hens can do a number on an interior. two choose to sleep in the nesting boxes two on the bar.


Access hatch for releasing and containing hens without entering the enclosure. Needs a better latch but the local hardware in a now atypical experience have none.




The bird bath holds water and there is spoor to suggest that it has been in use today. No witnessed visitors yet though. The water stains pretty quickly though, I may need to strip it back and seal the dish. Also visible is the new path still in need of edging on this side and fresh sheet mulching on the other.









I have inherited an unfortunate allergy to dust, cat dander, some pollens and mould spores. Consequently I have spent far to much of my life with a runny nose and or itchy eyes. Life before cheap and readily available antihistamines was pretty miserable.

The dust of unpacking has at times gotten to N or I even so and when it does not even a timely dose of loratadine will stop the misery for at least 20 minutes.

Today marked the first time we have managed to get the rooms set up and floors clear enough to vacuum completely. Mopping up the fine dust that makes hands and feet feel like the very moisture of your soul is being wicked away will happen tomorrow. Today we finally have a home again. A hundred dollars’ worth of cardboard boxes is wrapped in plastic in the laundry and the rest of the cardboard is piled outside ready for soaking and weed control. Not everything has found its place yet, but rooms have taken shape and surfaces are reappearing, art is hung.

Internet is likely going to take more than three weeks. A new physical phone line needs connected to the house as the old had been dug up and coiled around the water meter by the previous tenant. This is going to take a while and involve co-operation, heaven help us, between Telstra, iiNet and a Telstra sub-contractor. It’s also not going to be cheap.

No creative output today, I’m stewing on a few things and focusing on getting the house done.

Instead here are a couple of pics of one of my first big sculpting projects. Discarded in this last move as he has sat unfinished for six plus years and is irreparably broken in a variety of ways.

My favourite little megalomaniacal alien, Invader Zim






Edit: Fixed images not loading.


I can’t spend the data to verify that this is indeed what it claims to be, but trusting that it is, the fantastic line

“In the event of, say, a full scale alien invasion, how prepared do you think this planet’s defenses would be?……… Tell Me!”

should appear in part two of this episode.



Rhino plastic

My firstborn graduated high school yesterday. Pretty bloody impressed with him really.

It was a rather nice event as things go.


He’s the younger one.

I got home quite late sat down at the comp and went,

“The only post I can write right now is one that says: No post tonight!

Back on track today, in keeping with reporting week I’m sharing a piece I finished over a year ago but have not previously shared images of.

A Northern White Rhino. I started this one sometime around the time the species was declared extinct in the wild back in 2011. I’ve dated it as 2013 on the back but I’m pretty sure it sat unfired for about a year after that.






Super Sculpey and Super Sculpey firm (bake-able polymer clay) over wire and foil on an MDF mount. It is clear that the WordPress post editor is not up tot he job of resizing and cropping of images so in future I’ll revert to Ps. I finally stocked up on Sculpey again a few months ago but the urge hasn’t struck at a convenient time since.

Still stewing on a topical political post, yet another very long day.

Watched this delightfully profane clip.