Saturday, 21 February 2009

Trachelus Aplombus

What a nexcitingly busy week it has been! Dear bloggy friends, I have hardly had the time to visit you all - we have been so up-to-the-neck in our entrepreneurial Tours preparations. But now at last I have blissful moments to write another blog post ...

Before we continue with our little kitchen story, I thought I would introduce you to our wonderful plumber and AFF Gas engineer, Rich, aka Trachelus Aplombus. As Barbara Martin so observantly commented on my last post, Rich wears a helmet and what looks like a neck brace.

Allow me to explain. For his 'day job' Rich is chief engineer at the AFF Gas Station. (AFF stands for Anatomically Friendly Flatulence, our ecologically sound renewable energy source). And what a nexcellent engineer he is - always ready to help his friends with their plumbing and appliances.

However, Rich's talents and interests extend far further, right back into our ancient history! Under the pen-name Trachelus Aplombus, Rich has written several most neckworthy history books, including 'Myths & Legends of Giraffe World' and 'The Historie of Knollshire'.

We are very lucky indeed to have him act as Guide on our Giraffe World Tours. At the end of a day working on the pipes at the AFF Gas Station, Rich removes his boilersuit with a flambuoyant flourish, and lo! There he stands resplendent in full centurion's uniform - helmet, neckpieces - all lovingly restored and polished.

Two of my favourite historical paintings are in his Knollshire book. (I do have his permission to reproduce them on my blog!)

The first shows a centurion gazing over the parapet of our historic Wall, The Long Neck. The Long Neck was built along the northern edge of Knollshire many centuries ago. Not, of course, for purposes of war! The story of the Wall is best told by Trachelus Aplombus himself, and I shall hopefully not keep you waiting too long for this pleasure ...

The Sentries of the Neck were highly trained. Our game Giraffe World Hopscotch was first devised for them as a fitness nexercise.

Sentries of the Neck were not allowed to marry until their time of service was over. However, many of them had an 'unofficial' wife living at one of the villages along The Long Neck, with whom they raised a family ready to move in with when they were discharged. The picture above shows such a sentry throwing a rose down to his beloved, while his companions pretend not to notice!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Hearts of the Home

I hope you have all had a splendid Valentine's Day, dear bloggy friends!

We spent the evening in rumbustious revelry at the Gleeful & Greedy Restaurant. There was singing, dancing, giraffe charades and of course, mountains of glorious food. Sometimes Maureen and I opt for a romantic candle-lit dinner a deux. This year we decided to warm our chilly environs with a whooping great hearty hullaballoo!

On the subject of hearts, the two images above are the cards Maureen and I exchanged. My heart always races when I open mine each year!

Dear friends, I would also like to share with you the heart of our home - our kitchen! My friend Poetikat recently let us wander round her kitchen and study, so I thought it was about time you all saw something of the interior of Necky Knoll House.

This picture was taken when we moved into our lovely home last spring. I apologize for the mess, but I suppose moving house is a reasonable excuse! Our utensils were unpacked, but we hadn't found places for them, and there was still the washing machine to plumb in, the cooker to test and all those never-ending new home jobs.

You'll notice some folk you haven't met before. I won't confuse you by introducing them all today. Neither will I burden you with a too-lengthy post.

But I will tease you with the beginning of a humorous little story from our first meal at Necky Knoll House ...

Parsneck Soup

A large sweaty face peers round the kitchen door ...

After nearly deafening us with his hollering, Girth bangs loudly on the dinner gong.

A peek round the door reveals chaos. Rolling pins and cutlery poke out of boxes and crates ... A large dining table is partially set with long handled knives and forks.

As we enter, my glamorous sister Nektareeni greets us with a glass of special wine.

"Necks up everybody! "

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

'G' is for Gleeful!

Several days ago, Willow gave me the letter 'G' to post about! We have been busy planning some of our Giraffe World Tours outings for the spring, which has been great fun, but time consuming. At last I am able to wax lyrical about my favourite letter of the alphabet! (How did Willow guess?)

Well, first of all 'G' stands for Gleeful. What a wonderful word in sound and in meaning ... For giraffes it perfectly describes our preferred state of mind, and can be acted out by jumping up and down shouting 'Wheeeeee!'

Next on my list is 'Greedy'. I know this can have negative connotations, but we use it in the same way as humans would say 'eager', or 'appreciative'. In Neckelchester village, 'Gleeful + Greedy = Restaurant!' Which brings me to word number three: Girth. Proud proprietor of the afore-mentioned eating establishment. Broad in build and broad in grin. Of course! Grin - another lovely g-word!
Here we have one of Girth's creations. A gorgeous gateau, which could also be a girthday cake! Feeling greedy anyone?

Talking of gorgeous ...

My glamorous sister Nektareeni! Adored by her partner Girth, she jointly runs the Gleeful & Greedy Restaurant with him, as well as her own fashion boutique.

More beauty below,

Giraffodils! Their gracefully nodding blooms always gladden our hearts in the spring. (There are so many happy g-words, aren't there?)

Exploring the coutryside while planning our Tours today, we noticed shy little shoots of pale spring green popping out here and there. One of my very favourite colours! Green seems to mean the same to you Earthlings as it does to Camelopardalians - a concern for our environment. All things are inter-conneckted: I remember Barbara Martin commenting somewhere about the constellations being metaphysically linked in a grid.
Have you noticed how onomatopoeic so many g-words are? Writing the word 'grid' made me think of gurgle and glug! And that fabulous word gargle!
Giraffe Gargle - Raph's Ramblings by Ingrid Sylvestre UK artist & writer
We giraffes just love to gargle! At Neckelchester Dental Practice we have clean-your-tongue-to-music sessions, and we always like to end with our Giraffe Gargling Song. I must put it in the side bar for you all to listen to, one day!

Have you ever tried saying, 'How much oil could a gargoyle gargle, if a gargoyle could gargle oil?' Try it now!
My next word is giggle - which is probably what you are all doing now if you attempted the tongue-twister ...
And so we come to my penultimate g-word, which is simply 'G'! My middle name ... Raph G. Neckmann. And Raph G. turned around is G. Raph ...

Let me hear you all shout it: Giraffe!

Dear bloggy friends! I hope you all enjoyed our little etymological frolic ... Many thanks to Willow for my favourite letter.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Cygnus Camelopardalis

Neckelchester School and Raffsburgh College were closed again today because of the snow, so the whole family were at home. Rising very early this morning, I looked out of the window of Necky Knoll House. The light outside looked luminescent and mysterious.

"A walk in the snow," said Maureen. Her eyes shone as she turned towards me. "To the Gardens!"

We tramped across fields, through the shadowy Forest and beyond. All the while the light grew stronger and the shimmering mist dispersed.

"I want to see the Swans!" whispered Littl' Nicky, looking up at the sky.

Our swans, Cygnus camelopardalis, are unusual birds. Large and graceful, their flight across the winter sky is awe inspiring. Like mythical creatures from distant constellations, silent and majestic, their huge wings move slowly as they head for their secret nesting grounds.

However, they have a mischievous streak.

Much bigger than Littl' Nicky, strong yet friendly, the birds have a penchant for heavy metal objects, which they pilfer prodigiously. Only last week we caught one making off with Necky Becky's new sledge! As she rushed out of the house it flew off, making loud tooting noises.

But in the Gardens, Cygnus camelopardalis appear silent, serene and a little numinous.

As we came out from the trees by the lake, the rushes parted and a swan glided into view. Graceful, elegant, yet with a quizzical almost cheeky look on its face. Noiselessly it passed us and grew smaller and smaller as it made its way across the water.

We sighed and continued on our walk in a kind of rapturous silence.

Yet ... strange though it may seem, I'm sure that as it passed by, Cygnus camelopardalis winked at us!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Wolliecobblies: Comments cause a Haiku!

One of the things I so love about blogging is how it creatively and humorously brings together people from all over the world, (and beyond!).

I hadn't intended to post for a couple of days, but this 'thread' just had to be woven into the fabric of the blogosphere immediately!

In my previous post I suggested that folk have fun thinking of a caption for Littl' Nicky's speech bubble. If you go to the Comments you will see how this evolved ...

Bindu suggested for the caption, 'It's good to eat, but also good to toss into the air and catch!'

I responded by saying 'Catch the cauliflower would be a good new sport! Or using raquets, a bit like badminton, but with cauliflower florets ...'

The Weaver of Grass commented, 'As for the speech bubble, I am guessing he cannot speak all that well yet and feel he might be saying "more wolliecobblies".'

My response to Weaver's glorious word 'wolliecobblies' included noting 'I wonder if it could be incorporated into a haiku?' (If you read Weaver's recent posting you will see some of her beautiful haikus there).

The brilliant Sepiru Chris (also an accomplished Haiku writer - see his recent posts), wrote 'You ask, I deliver:' and sent the haiku which he had written!

I'll type it again here just in case the text isn't clear in the speech bubble:

Wolliecobblies haiku:

Serve wolliecobblies.

Follow with eyes; swing racket!

Thwack; microflorets.

Thank you for putting your necks together in this way, my wonderful bloggy friends! My thanks also to all of you who commented and came up with fun captions - do please read them all in the previous post's Comments ...

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Knollshire Cauliwobblies in a Secret Sauce

Reading about The Solitary Walker and The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself!'s delicious soda bread recipes has inspired me! As I mentioned in a previous post, my culinary efforts usually just extend to chutney. However, today I decided to make my Knollshire Cauliwobblies in a Secret Sauce, and to share the recipe with you, dear bloggy friends.

Fear not - I will not give away any giraffe secrets - the meaning of my 'Secret Sauce' is that it varies every time I cook it. The game is that the family have to guess what is in it each time!

The recipe for the version we have eaten today is as follows:


1 cauliflower for each adult giraffe. (I leave you to judge the amount for humans).

Sauce: (I hazard a guess that this may serve 4 humans).

1 onion finely chopped

1 red pepper finely chopped

Garlic (we put a whole garlic bulb in - crushed, of course. You may prefer a little less).

1 banana medium sliced

Lots of mushrooms!

A pinch of curry powder, (your preferred style).

A little sunflower or other cooking oil

Half a mug of milk.

For the decoration:

2 large thin slices of cheese


Separate the cauliflower florets and boil in a large pan of water.

Saute the onion in the oil and add garlic, chopped pepper and mushrooms and saute some more.

Add the curry powder and sliced banana, and saute.

Stir in the milk, and boil up into a thick sauce. (You may wish to add more milk depending on how ferociouly you boil, and how runny you like your sauce).

Drain the cauliflower and arrange on plates in a circle. Pour the sauce into the middle and decorate with the cheese. We like to cut the cheese slices so that they melt into the shapes of giraffe markings!

Delicious served with a chilled glass of medium sweet white wine, or apple juice.

Littl' Nicky has his portion all mashed up.

I've put a blank speech bubble on this picture of him especially for you, my bloggy friends ... What fun for you to think up a caption to go in the bubble!

(And if you try the recipe, don't forget to let me know how you liked it!)