Monday, April 28, 2014


I checked the statistics on my website counter this morning and noticed there were two separate visits from two separate computers in Nigeria earlier today. Each of them had followed a link from two other different wood engraver's websites. That might be a coincidence, but I'm interested to see if there will be an e-mail arriving soon, requesting a large purchase. This suspicion is raised after the experience I had in 2010 through 1012 (see my blog entries of March 2010, to November 2012).

If I've guessed correctly I'm hoping to receive a message from "Juan Gomez From Madrid", or "Hans Weiss From Hannover". Whomever it will be from will be wanting a large order and I will be instructed to not send the prints or drawings, but for me to wait for Juan's or Hans's courier (they are very well-to-do and have their own private couriers!) to pick up the work. The money will arrive but the courier will not. The payment will be far too much and I'll be instructed to send a bank draft to Mr. Madrid or Mr. Hannover (their last names are always a city and one of their middle names are always From) for the overage.

My goal during these exchanges was to receive that hefty payment and frame it, to hang on my studio wall. But I was having so much fun stringing "Stan", "Jon" and "Debbie" along, I think they recognized I was on to them and they stopped corresponding. This time, if this is another of those Nigerian scams, it's either members of the Nigerian gang who are new, or they don't have very good memories.

Here's hoping I don't scare them off this time.

Friday, April 11, 2014


For me, this has been the Winter From Hell. It began with the usual plummeting temperature and heavy snow sometime in October, and has not let up until this past week (it's April 11 today). The forecast on the local radio is calling for two or three centimetres of snow tomorrow, but then it's supposed to stop and the temperature will rise back above zero (32 degrees, for those in the States). At the beginning of the Winter From Hell (October), the snow was beautiful and created interesting formations. We have a round glass-top table near the entry to my studio where, during the few weeks of warm weather, we sit and have breakfast in the morning or enjoy a gin and tonic in the afternoon. We always leave this table out all year and I enjoy watching the snow grow higher and higher. I call it a snow-cake.  I took a picture of it back in January (1).

Shortly after taking that photo the snow-cake began to shift (2). But the odd thing was, even though the grade of the concrete sloped downward slightly, to the left, the snow-cake was shifting to the right. Then a few days later, as I was going from the house to the studio I noticed the snow-cake had shattered the glass and had fallen through the table. Those little blue shards beneath the table (3) are what's left of the glass table top. Looks like the snow-cake exploded the table top.




This snow-cake disaster illustrates the nature of this 2013-14 winter we've just survived. In mid January, about the time the snow-cake was shifting to the right, Carol was admitted to hospital and has been there, recovering, since. There are encouraging signs that Carol will soon be coming home and that Spring just might be arriving (hopefully after tomorrow's predicted snow). 

I've learned many new things during this Winter From Hell, such as: how to set the washing machine to wash dirty clothes and which frozen single meals I like from the supermarket and which ones to avoid. Between January and today I've tried to get work done in the studio but it's been hard to concentrate and my mind wanders. 

I owe a great debt to my family and many friends for their support and encouragement and for the wonderful home-cooked meals I've been invited to share with them. I admire their incredible patience and ability to avoid falling asleep as I go on and on, repeating stories I've forgotten I've already told them numerous times before.