shop news: sneak peek … riddles & twine

Sneak peek of useful things new for spring, from that green and pleasant land across the pond:

Riddle: traditional handcrafted English beechwood garden sieve/soil sifter, made by the last riddle maker in Britain

Tin of Twine: Nutscene’s ‘Greentwist’ for the garden & Natural too, manufactured in Scotland since 1922, a supply of twine is indispensable …

Coming soon …!

diversions: enigmatic chessmen, twitter & tumblr …

‘Queen’, chess piece of the enigmatic Lewis Chessmen, c.12th C., carved from walrus ivory, likely Norse in origin & found in the dunes of Uig beach, Isle of Lewis, Scotland c.1800s … photo & superb review too, via diggingthedirt

That said, take note North American folks! A substantial hoard of these chessmen will be visiting the Met NY from this fall ’til next spring 2012, ‘the first time such a large ensemble of the chessmen has traveled outside the United Kingdom’, so take advantage if you can!

… A few other diversionary notes … about time we mention Tinder’s Tweets via TinderShop & Tumblr, aka Whiskey Robber {after ‘The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber’} … a bit of this, that & the other, feel free to visit …

scottish whisky weather & bus shelter advertising


‘Bus Shelter’, Ness, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, circa midcentury {which oddly appears more Soviet than Scottish, with its heavy block building and functionally Spartan design} … from the past exhibition ‘Ness Remains’, at An Lanntair in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis {more excerpts here} ; photograph by Angus Mackintosh … aka Tinder’s resident *photographer … & we’re thrilled to bits to reveal that his work {not pictured} has been chosen by the ‘best whisky in the world’ {3 yrs in a row!}, Ardbeg, for a wee spot of advertising {not yet sure if bus shelters will be involved} …slainte!

… & we particularly like this excerpt describing the whys & wherefores of whisky, from here:

To stand in the droves of rain for only a few seconds would mean a complete soaking, there was little or no mercy to be had when you were out in the thick of it. As I watched it all for a brief moment from the shelter of a bus stop I could see so clearly where the desire for a whisky can come from. There was no other thing I wanted to drink upon arrival at shelter … These are the days that put vitality in whisky, one hour of a brooding storm is worth a thousand tons of office concocted marketing bollocks. The same weather that makes whiskies’ existence possible is the same weather that compels its consumption.

*always happy to welcome inquiries at

the spirit of alchemy: moonshine & ‘uisge beatha’

‘The second Booke of Distillations, containing Sundrie excellent Secret remedies of Distilled Waters’ …

… Anonymous woodcut illustration of alchemist in his laboratory in: ‘The Practise of the New and Old Phisicke’ by Conrad Gesner, 1599, via the British Museum; found at the fascinating BibliOdyssey

‘Moonshine Still’, from Earl Palmer’s superb Appalachian Photograph Collection, 20thC, via Virginia Tech; found at Home Distiller

‘Legendary Appalachian distiller Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton evades the law one last time’, from the sad tale, ‘Death of a Moonshiner’, read the story here

‘Moonshine’, Kings County Distillery c.’10, ‘New York City’s oldest operating whiskey distillery, the first since before prohibition’ … aka, ‘white whiskey’, also, hooch, firewater, white lightning, mountain dew, etc … more here

‘Elements of Islay’ c.’08, single malt whiskies … complete with Periodic Table labels & laboratory bottles … for ‘medicinal’ purposes, particularly during the depths of winter to warm the body from the inside out … the sublime restorative & so-called ‘uisge beatha’ {water of life in Gaelic} … pick your poison …

… 2011 is the International Year of Chemistry‘exciting electrons’ and so much more …!