Month: April 2015

Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion


April and May are the wettest months in Tbilisi, sheltering under the metro canopy, I was able to get some photos of folks moving quickly to minimise the soaking,,,the last girl is just trudging slowly seemingly resigned to being drenched.

Alphabetic chain … my letter “D”… yours…”E” (The Chain Game-Alphabet Soup)

I find myself caught in an alphabetical chain game started  appropriately by Adi, who is new to me. I am not a great fan of chains but I do like alphabet games…being a lifelong Scrabble player. I was nominated for the challenge by KG who had the letter “C” posting some photos of coffee, a camera, clouds and cassettes (check it out).

Just seen I have to post all the previous letters so here is B is for benefaction

The rules copied and pasted from Adi’s post are:

Objective: The goal is to complete the alphabet using a word starting with each letter. The game goes in order, post by post, starting with A as the first post and ending with Z as the last post. Once you find the word for your post, you must write a little something related to your word. You have complete freedom in how you want to creatively approach this: short story, personal relation to that word, poetry, etc. You can write whatever you want regarding your word. Finish the post by tagging 3 people for the next letter.

You do not need to know the word in advance. I looked on scrabble word finder for words starting with X  and I found xerosis, which I discovered to be a condition causing extremely dry skin. The idea I had was to tell the tale of a man suffering from xerosis who was placed in a leper colony due to his abnormal appearance. He then transforms into the leper messiah – one who preaches to the lepers. So you can be as creative as you want to be in writing about your word. Or you can strictly stick to talking about the meaning of the word ; the choice is yours.


1. First poster in the chain always starts with A (anyone can start a chain). Otherwise pick up at the next letter in the alphabet.

2. Write something in relation to your word. The word can be a focal point or merely a thematic element; creative writing pieces are welcome. Personal experiences, thoughts on the meaning of the word, and why you like a certain word are also welcome. This part is intentionally left open to the writer; do as you wish.

3. Leave links to the previous alphabet posts in alphabetical order.

4.  Tag 3 fellow bloggers for the next letter.

So I have the letter “D”, not my favourite letter because it is my brother Danny’s initial (sibling rivalry and all that jazz).

What does begin with D? Denmark, dandelions, daffodils, Dickens, Dodge, draft, ducks, dragons, doves, Dar es Salaam, dirty, diecasts, December, De Lillo, da Vinci, De Tomaso, DeAgostini, Drybridge Market, doubles, Dinky Toys, drugs, drawing, dreams…

D is for Dove

My only tattoo is of a dove, a symbol of peace…

my dove tattoo, when it was freshly inked

If my letter were “P” I might explore “peace” more…I am not especially interested in doves as birds but more their symbolism. I got the tattoo on my fortieth birthday, my gesture to “mid life crisis”, it seemed more appropriate for me than going out with a woman half my age or getting a Harley Davidson Motorbike. That was 10 years ago, when I was saddened by all the wars…ten years on living in the Middle East, there are wars all around in the North there is the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, in the south there is IS taking vast swathes of land and misery in Iraq and Syria and recently conflict in Yemen has erupted. Here in Georgia, there are two frozen conflicts with Russia concerning the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia 😦

D is for Diecast

My hobby as many of my followers will be aware is collecting diecast cars, indeed I have a separate blog to cover this interest. Die casting involves injecting a metal alloy (usually Mazak or Zamak)  into an extremely accurate mould cavity, the casting equipment and the metal dies represent large capital costs and this tends to limit the process to high volume production. In England the major diecast car manufacturers were Matchbox, Dinky and Corgi.  On my first birthday cake I had a Matchbox car and on my third birthday cake I had three… My earliest memory is being on a train with a Matchbox Car Transporter, so this hobby connects the 50 year old me with the child I was.  For thirty years from 14 to 44, I didn’t have a great passion for collecting model cars, I had other hobbies and interests (travelling, following bands, studying …),  coming to Georgia I started collecting small cars again. I get as excited now, at 50, finding a model I’m looking for as I did back when I was 9 years old. I have over 500 model cars in varying scales and brands but my favourites have always been the 3 inch sized Matchbox cars. Matchbox are still found today, but they are no longer made by Lesney in England, they are made in Thailand by Mattel (who incidentally also produce Hot Wheels, Matchbox erstwhile  rivals). D is for Dinky, I know lots of collectors love Dinky but I only have one in my collection, I always preferred Corgi (the ones with the windows) to Dinky.

Some old Corgi cars in my collection

Some old Corgi cars in my collection made in the sixties. Renault 16TS, Ghia L6.4 and Jaguar E Type

D is for Dodge

Dodge is one of the brands of the Chrysler group. Dodge made many American Muscle Cars including the ’69 “General Lee” Dodge Charger in the “Dukes of Hazzard“. My Dodges are a mix of Matchbox and Hot Wheels, no General Lee yet.


Dodge Diecasts

Now I should nominate three fellow bloggers for the next letter “E” or “e” not the easiest of letters for beginning words in English:

  1. Jane because I saw you just blogged about Earth Day and because I love your posts.
  2. Joel because you are a fellow diecast collector and one of my first followers
  3. Uncle Spike because you are in neighbouring Turkey and I love your take on life

Good luck!

Feel free to start your own chain or pick up with E from my post even if I didn’t tag you. And if I tagged you please don’t feel you have to continue the chain…I don’t believe in any superstitious nonsense about bad luck if you break the chain.

Learning Georgian

My New Year’s Resolution was to learn Georgian again. 4 months in, I’m not making great progress :/

I find it very difficult to remember the words which are so different from English:

შერეული this is “mixed” and sounds like /she-re-uli/ how should I remember that?

The process of visualizing a concrete image that captures the meaning or the sound of a word should help remember the next time I need the word.

The seasons in Georgian are: გაზაფხული, ზაფხული, შემოდგომა and ზამთარი

Autumn = შემოდგომა … sounds like /she-mod-go-ma/

…trying to visualise a female mod going to her mother’s…I should have added some falling leaves….

autumn is shemodgoma in Georgian

autumn is shemodgoma in Georgian

Tiger in Georgian is


/vepkhvi/…which sounds nothing like anything I can visualise…but the word in Georgian has 4 trailing limbs which I can imagine are the tiger’s legs…



Spring is გაზაფხული /gaz-ap-kh-uli/ so I combine a GAZ Volga 24 with an ape and Uli…Uli is a friend who has glasses and is slightly balding…

Georgian vocabulary and doodles to jog memory

Georgian vocabulary and doodles to jog memory

That was a lot of effort for just 6 words…anyone have any better ideas?


What makes Georgian such a difficult language for foreigners?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird

I am not usually an early riser, “the early bird catches the worm” they say but I’m not fond of worms. I did get up early to take my granddaughter, Ana, to school, one day recently. Then I went to one of my favourite haunts, Drybridge market. At that time in the morning there are very few market traders, some are setting up.

Early morning at Drybridge Market

Early morning at Drybridge Market

Here we see that just one bouquiniste has opened up along the banks of the Mtkvari.

Early Bird

Lenka “Everything at Once”

I came across this by chance, I teach a student called Lenka, I was looking for quiz questions connected to my students’ names.

This is a quirky song and video with an almost op art backdrop, I really like it.

Some interesting metaphors the “wanna” is not good English but the rest could make for a useful lesson:

As sly as a fox, as strong as an ox As fast as a hare, as brave as a bear As free as a bird, as neat as a word As quiet as a mouse, as big as a house All I wanna be, all I wanna be, oh All I wanna be is everything As mean as a wolf, as sharp as a tooth As deep as a bite, as dark as the night As sweet as a song, as right as a wrong As long as a road, as ugly as a toad As pretty as a picture hanging from a fixture Strong like a family, strong as I wanna be Bright as day, as light as play As hard as nails, as grand as a whale All I wanna be, oh, all I wanna be, oh All I wanna be is everything, everything at once Everything at once, oh, everything at once As warm as the sun, as silly as fun As cool as a tree, as scary as the sea As hot as fire, cold as ice Sweet as sugar and everything nice As old as time, as straight as a line As royal as a queen, as buzzed as a bee As stealth as a tiger, smooth as a glider Pure as a melody, pure as I wanna be All I wanna be, oh, all I wanna be, oh All I wanna be is everything, everything at once.

Music video by Lenka performing Everything At Once. (C) 2012 Sony Music Entertainment

The price of war

No ruler in the history of the world has ever been able to afford a war. They’re not affordable things. No prince ever says, ‘This is my budget, so this  is the kind of war I can have.’ You enter into one and it uses up all the money you’ve got, and then it breaks you and bankrupts you.”

– an observation made by Thomas Cromwell, in “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel