amusements

The Ancestors’ Commandments

I came across these a few days ago in a family history society magazine. I’ve tidied them up a bit.

The Ancestors’ Commandments

  1. Thou shalt use the same forenames for at least one person for every generation, preferably at least once in every family, just to cause confusion.
  2. Thou shalt wait the maximum amount of time before registering births and deaths, or better still somehow forget to get them registered at all.
  3. Thou shalt have two forenames, and use them both separately on official documents, but never together.
  4. Thou shalt change your forename at least once during your lifetime.
  5. Thou shalt use every conceivable spelling for your surname, and make up a few others as well.
  6. Thou shalt never use the same year of birth or birth date and always vary it adding a couple of years here and taking away a couple of years there.
  7. Thou shalt use the house name and country as your place of birth and not the village or town.
  8. Thou shalt completely disappear without trace for at least 15 years of your life and suddenly turn up again.
  9. Thou shalt use at least two different versions of your father’s name.
  10. Thou shalt not use family members as witnesses at your wedding(s).
  11. Thou shalt get married somewhere where neither of you live.
  12. Thou shalt not have all of your children baptised and shalt not always use the same church.
  13. Thou shalt move between counties at least once every ten years.
  14. Thou shalt move hundreds of miles from your home at least once.

Brilliant, aren’t they. And so, so true. I think Noreen and I each have a full house in our family trees.

Career Criminals Twain

The kittens (huh, some kittens, they’re a year in 2 weeks time and both over 4kg!) caught this morning trying to convince us that butter wouldn’t melt in their hot little paws.

Rosie (behind) and Wiz for once not practising for their Assassin’s Guild exams:

But then, “You ain’t seen me, right. It was him.”

And well might Rosie try to shift the blame, because the last two nights she has brought mouse (fortunately already dead) into the bedroom at about 4AM and proceeded to play with it, noisily. Monday night’s was confiscated after she’d kept us awake for half an hour; last night’s she took away and lost somewhere. (It was later found hidden in the dining room.)

[As always you can click the images for a larger view]

Auction Amusements

Here are a few of the amusements from our local auction house’s recent sales. Some are from last December and some are recent, although I don’t seem to have kept any from the February sale (I was probably too drugged up following my knee op to notice!). Anyway enjoy the different ways in which the toot people sell can amuse.

A large red Russian flag, two small Russian pendants, four Russian medals, a silver and red enamel army cap badge, Russian lead toy soldiers, a large ship medallion 1917-1987, etc.

An old sailing boat in a bottle, Tri-Ang [sic] model ships including HMS Vanguard, RMS Caronia, HMS Centaur, also a Tri-Ang M885 floating dock, and a breakwater straight M827, and two miniature boats HMS Virago and HMS Tenby, also a brass wirework photograph frame and a miniature antique ivory sewing table with implements.

A collection of first-day covers with accompanying commemorative coins of various denominations, featuring royalty, sport … including 1948 and 2012 London Olympics, mint presentation commemorative coins, football and other medals, 3 books on coin collecting and a pair of gloves; also a pair of musket shot recovered from the ‘Invincible’ (1744-1758), with certificate of authenticity

A John Lewis nativity set, a decorative Christmas tree made from pipe cleaners and an advent light

A pair of mounted oryx horns

A large quantity of carved wooden figurines mainly from Africa, taxidermy deer head, vintage telephone, cat figurines, pipes, brass car horn in the form of a serpent etc.

A stuffed and mounted antelope head with twisted horns

Two large vintage commercial projectors by Ross of London … a commercial-use Hitachi SK91 camera, a stirrup pump, and an Elf transformer
What do the elves get transformed into, one has to wonder?

A shelf of interesting decanters including musical and 1950’s poodle plus a musical bird cage automation and another modelled as a light

Two cartons of tools, wires, etc.
And that was a pretty good description too.

An unusual early 20th century mahogany chair cum trouser press by VG Bond of London …

An amazing bangle, spray brooch and matching necklet by Sonia Rykiel of flower buds and stalks [above]

Two teeth filled with dental gold, and a 9 ct gold cufflink
For use as spares, presumably [below]


A suitcase containing a small quantity of postcards and a large quantity of empty plastic sleeves

Two tribal skin shields and an ornate wooden knife rack, a doll with crying action and pink cloths

A fascinating collection of American Civil War lead bullets displayed in two wooden cases, with documentation

A stuffed and mounted pike in glazed wooden case [below]


A black Dunn & Co bowler hat and four Venetian masks, two with bells and two for wall-hanging
As so often I’m struggling to see what these have to do with each other.

A pine trunk containing vintage Christmas decorations plus another mental [sic] bound storage box

A WW2 USN portable bomb hoist MkVII marked Manley MFG Div York PA … serviced in 1965 and 1985
An essential garden ornament [below]


A Hoover Nextra Reverse Action 6kg dryer, an old cabinet radio by Blaupunkt, an old-fashioned style radio, a Sony mini hi-fi, two gentlemen’s grooming kits and a large filled fabric dog

XKCD Phone

I’ve been amused over the years by the curious, and ever more imaginative, evolution of the XKCD Phone – all the way from a “clear screen” via a screen that “goes all the way through” to a “stained-glass display”! There are just so many brilliant innovations I think we should view the whole range. Enjoy!

XKCD Phone 1 (May 2014)
Features I especially like: side-facing camera

XKCD Phone 2 (December 2014)
Features I especially like: dog noticer; coin slot; bug drawer

XKCD Phone 3 (July 2015)
Features I especially like: magnetic stripe; fingerprint randomiser; licensed to perform wedding ceremonies and does so at random

XKCD Phone 4 (July 2016)
Features I especially like: voice intergration Siri, Cortana, Google Now and Alexa respond simultataneously; new BrightGlo™ display incorporates genetically spliced jellyfish protein; Gregorian/Julian calendar switch; exposed ductwork

XKCD Phone 5 (March 2017)
Features I especially like: Supercuts partnership: trims hair fed into charging port; stained-glass display; background task automatically catches and eats Pokémon

I reckon we should expect the XKCD Phone 6 somewhere around the end of this year, maybe even in time for Christmas, and with innovations we can’t even begin to guess!

The XKCD webcomic is the creation, and copyright, of Randall Munroe.

Ten Things

A slightly eccentric mix for this month’s Ten Things

Ten Desert Island Discs

[Yes, I know the radio programme Desert Island Discs asks only for eight records, but this is Ten Things, OK?]

  1. Monteverdi, 1610 Vespers
  2. Bach, Christmas Oratorio
  3. Yes, Close to the Edge
  4. Pink Floyd, Wish You were Here
  5. Beatles, Let It Be
  6. Handel, Messiah
  7. Granados, Piano Works
  8. William Byrd, The Battle
  9. Caravan, In the Land of Grey and Pink
  10. Moody Blues, Octave