Thursday, 12 March 2009


Nice Savannah has tagged me for a meme. The rules are to: put the link of the person who tagged you on your blog, include the rules, mention 6 things or habits of no real importance about you, tag six people adding their links directly and alert the tagged. I'm going to skip number six, but sincerely invite you to have a go anyway. And, so as to halve your boredom, I'm going to split my six into two; three today, three not.

1) John Peel (who like Darwin went to my school and didn't much enjoy it), collected bits of himself that fell off, like toenails and blisters, in a plastic container labelled 'Dad's Scrapings'. I'm not as bad as that, but I do hoard ephemera which is unlikely to have any interest or value unless my descendents go on saving them for another hundred years, which not being deranged they are unlikely to do. I'm talking train tickets and car tax disks and bad poetry and letters and instructions about how to cane chairs or discourage moles.

2) I doodle. After a phone conversation I find notes in front of me that I don't remember writing, but which weren't there before. They say things like, "Good morning ... some difficulty ... understand ... twat ... Marymarymarymary ... No", interspersed with flowers and strange, shaded shapes like erotic bricks. In my fifth and final degree year, suspecting correctly that I was 5% knowledge and 95% silver-tongued bullshit, my tutors asked to see my lecture notes. Since these all started off with a heading and a date, followed by about half a sentence that tailed off into a page of doodles, I had to pretend, suddenly not so convincing after all, that I'd left them on a bus. In fact, I came across some of my early literary efforts this week. The poems are rubbish, but the doodles must say something about the mental state of my 16 year old self. I'll paste a couple in and you can draw your own conclusions.

3) I have slight OCD leanings. For example, I find myself unnecessarily counting stairs, and it is not normal to know that there are 76 panes of glass in every window in Dunvegan Kirk (although the sermons were very dull). The Social Secretary and I are opposites, in that I like order; for example, the tools in my workshop each have their place and I could find them blindfold. In contrast, the SS hangs kitchen utensils in a different place every time, and seldom closes cupboards or drawers. It's a moot and much discussed point whether it is me that is obsessive, or she that is untidy. In looks and demeanour, however, she is Sinead O'Connor, and I am Shane MacGowan.


  1. I don't know why, but I always end up drawing pencils when I doodle. It's very odd.

  2. That first page of doodles is really beautiful. And I love your way with words. A blogger of many talents.

  3. Your doodles are magnificent. As for your habit of hoarding ephemera - not so magnificent. I only say that because my dad kept all sort of strange old things - some valuable and beautiful, others just weird - and when he died I had to go through so much stuff. At least my mum's box of memories were all classic fantastic things.

    Chuck out the weird stuff before you pass on, O Brother

  4. Karen is amused by my penchant for preserving receipts in the covers of books they belong to... and CD covers. And DVDs. I don't know whay I hang onto them or why it is important to know that I bought a vopy of Lorna Doone from Crewe Waterstones in 1988 but it is.

    Love the drawing of the toilet. I've drawn many a lavatory myself.

    Are you sure we're not related?

  5. One of the reasons that i bought a fountain pen after years was so that I wouldn't doodle so much in meetings. Somehow it didn't seem right to do so.

    Counting stairs can be useful: there was a question in an office quiz about the number of stairs leading to the canteen. Victory could have hinged upon this. In the Dunvegan pub quiz, the panes of glass in every window could be the tie-breaker.

  6. I keep all my old car tax discs too, there's something pretty about them, they remind me of beach huts.

    Love those doodles, much more interesting than lecture notes and I'm guessing you got your degree so they must have done something to help you take in what you were supposed to be learning.

  7. I find myself counting things as well, but I don't doodle half as well as you do!
    p.s. I'm the cabinet closer over here.

  8. I doodle daily, in fact I doodle so much that my pen has just run ou..

  9. Does the SS also wear bovver boots like Sinead!

    Enjoyed your answers (ugh re John Peel's habits!)

    I have slight OCD as well - particularly when it comes to obssessing about everything but what I SHOULD be doing.

    Thanks for not tagging me - I've grown to loathe memes - my own that is, rather than other people's.

  10. Oh I wish I were a doodler. I love them.

    When I doodle I find myself just drawing a couple of dots and then joining them with lines - that's all I can ever do. Sometimes it gets very intricate - a whole page of dots with lines joining them. But not interesting.

    I am like your SS - no order or method! Odd for a mathematician really. I like the excitement of not being able to find the tin opener or whatever - you should try it, it brightens up an otherwise dull cooking experience!!!

  11. I read recently that doodling is an aid to clear thinking, and is a sign of an active mind.

    As a mad doodler myself, I'm clinging to this piece of info!

  12. What degree course takes 5 years (of bullshit or otherwise)? Nice doodle - ahhh, architecture??

  13. Sorry - I need and want to catch with your posts; got side-tracked by the weather.

    Rol - Very phallic, pencils. The hex shaped ones are a nice exercise in perspective and shading.

    Hattie - Thank you. More often it's words that have their way with me.

    Fancy - You are quite right, of course. I too had to go through a mass of family papers. These things build up, generation on generation. Meanwhile, our houses get smaller. Its a problem.

    Steve - If that's rooted in the "I bought that book in Kendal when we were on our way to Kate's wedding in Kintyre, that day when it was raining and your heel broke..." sort of association, I can see the attraction.

    Madame DeFarge - It would be enormously satisfying if someone stopped me in the street one day and asked if I knew the number of panes in those windows. I generally carry a tin of brown shoe polish for the same reason.

    Eryl - Tax discs are quite attractive. I like the fact that they have always been the same shape and size; we are a very conservative nation in some ways.

    Pearl - A cabinet closer after my own heart. Will you marry me?

    Jimmy - I often have the same pro

    Laura - She's generally in leather riding boots and backless chaps... Sorry, drifted away there for a moment.
    I've enjoyed your meme responses; hope you don't give them up for good.

    RB - I can see the fun of putting some excitement in cooking (removing the labels of tins would be another idea). I tried your approach to doodling, but it wound up looking like morse code.

    Jules - That's the sort of thing I like to hear, like 'Wine is good for you'.

    Amanda - Yes! I've done that on files covers and things. Quite eco really.

    Gadjo - Close. It was a sandwich course, so I did earn my keep for a year. It still peeves me that five years gives most people a degree and an MA on top. (Nothing like an MA on top).

  14. I think your doodles should be done on expensive art paper and you could sell them!

  15. Always thought it odd if I counted numbers in my head, as a young athlete running around the field or these days in the middle of performing mundane acts or when I'm tired and want to get time going faster.

    But counting stairs? And the church panes! I remember you saying something about those. Hahah.

    Sis and I are opposites in respect of tidy versus untidy. Drives me potting sometimes.

    One...two...3...4...5...6...7...8....nine hundred.............................

  16. With a pencil (or a Bic biro) while on the phone I doodle fish. I can't remember when I started but I've always done it (as far as I know). As OCD goes, I draw on my knee with my fingernail when watching TV (this is above and beyond counting multiples of 5 in subtitles) - mostly window panes and lapels. A good TV programme will have many curvilinear shapes, no right angles, and be full of people wearing crew necks...
    God I feel like a weirdo now.

  17. I LOVE the doodles! Mine are so dull....
    Funnily enough, when I was studying for my degree, I took notes in a kind of 'map' format, starting in the moddle of the page and branching out....they ended up looking like doodles! Since I don't think I ever actually looked at them after the lectures were over, studying being something I did as little of as possible, I have never known how effective they were!

  18. I think your doodles are great! I can only draw hearts and not the anatomically correct ones...oh and smiley faces.

  19. D'you mean that EVERYONE doesn't count the tiles on waitingroom ceilings?

    Love your doodles -
    Thanks for not tagging me ;-)

    Ephemera is endlessly fascinating, isn't it! Aloha-

  20. Your doodles are very artistic and not at all like the kind of thing that Andy used to produce. The first page is very sixties looking. The second page is bizarre-especially the little egg creature. I love doodling and I knew it didn't stop me listening even before they told us that on the news! I usually draw faces or circles. They are quite soothing I find!

  21. Greetings Brother!
    I've read you on Pearl's page many times. Love your way of looking at things.

    I am a chronic doodler...and I count objects all the time...
    Now that you point it out, I feel a bit self conscious...but you seem sane, so I probably am too...

    I'd like to keep visiting if you don't mind...

  22. Junosmum - Nice of you to say so, but I wouldn't have one on my wall!

    EV - A spot of gardening is always a good relaxer.

    Lucy - All perfectly normal, I say. Although it would be an issue whether to watch the screen or the knee art.

    Justme - It sounds as if you invented mind mapping; if so, you may be a genius. I think that works quite well in helping to cement stuff in one's memory.

    DJ - Hearts and smiley faces sounds marvellously contented; how do you ever summon the unresolved angst to be creative?

    Cloudia - I do enjoy ephemera. I came across a couple of carriage passes in a market last year, which I bought for a few pence. They turned out to date from an 1842 visit to Edinburgh by Queen Victoria. If some hoarder hadn't tucked them between the pages of a book 160 years ago, they'd not have survived.

    Sarah - I imagine your doodles are collectable in their own right. Intrigued now by what Andy's were like!

    Sweet Cheeks - Greetings also, and welcome. I have also visited you via Pearl, and you are unquestionably sane. Of course please visit - as long as I can reciprocate!

  23. Sweet Cheeks - Or perhaps I am confusing you, as access to yours seems restricted?

  24. what a grand idea, sugar! divide the meme - love your doodling and you know, of course, the way your mind wanders on the page! xoxoo

    for mdeF...fountain pens are marvelous for doodling! i use mine in meetings all the time! ;)

    (thanks for the kind words, brother!)

  25. Welcome Aboard Brother...sent you an invite!