Monday, August 30, 2004

Mysteries revealed and do it yourself postage stamps

For some reason the final paragraph of the last post vanished.

I'd mentioned in it that I'd just discovered and had decided that I was going to make my own stamps for something -- probably a Fiddler's Green commemorative stamp, or something like that.

(On the good side, you can make your own real US postage stamps. On the bad side, it's a dollar for a 37 cent stamp...)

(Twelve years ago, Dave McKean gave me a book he made, as a Leaving England present. It's a Sandman book, and was blank inside when he gave it to me. These days it contains some gorgeous Sandman drawings and paintings by friends -- Clive Barker, and Chris Bachalo and Kelley Jones and Steve Bissette and many, many others. Dave painted the cover himself -- it's a lovely Morpheus portrait, and has never been published, or seen by anyone except the artists who did the drawings inside the book. And Dave just gave me his permission to use that painting as the cover of the Fiddler's Green Souvenir Book.)


Meanwhile, instant gratification. Er, clarification:

Hi Neil,
Had a fun time reading your blog today as I think you mentioned my wife (albeit in a roundabout way). She used to be the manager of the Barnes & Noble store in Ann Arbor and at one point had transferred to Toledo. I believe the person who emailed you had the story mixed up. In fact, Vince Locke was a frequent visitor to the Ann Arbor store, not you (a fact I'm sure you're aware of). And as anyone who has met either one of you would know, there really isn't much similarity between the two of you! :-)

Incidentally, after leaving Barnes & Noble my wife began working at Borders, and was in charge of your signing at the Las Vegas manager convention a few years ago. She is now lording it over my head that she has been mentioned on your site twice now (the first time as one of the "beautiful and radiant but troubled young ladies from Borders")


Thanks Asmat. (And Vince Locke's webpage is at


Outside the kitchen window is a rowan tree I planted about ten years ago. It's now about thirty feet tall, and is, by late August, utterly covered in glorious orange-red berries. This year they're hanging so heavily that the branches are bowed.

For the last week a family of robins have been turning up each morning and eating a few berries, which puzzled me, because in previous years it's normally been a flock of cedar waxwings. Finally this morning the cedar waxwings arrived: they look like smaller female cardinals, but with too much eye make-up, and they gorge themselves on the berries until one cannot figure out how a bird of that size can have eaten that many rowan berries...

I'm told by this website's bird lady that if the cedar waxwings turn up a little later in the season, when the berries have fermented, you get to see flocks of drunk waxwings attempting to fly upside down, falling out of trees, singing loudly and off-key, beating up smaller birds for looking at them oddly, puking in birdbaths then telling the first line of a joke they can't remember over and over, while patting your leg and telling you that you're the best friend they've ever met. Also they are unable to remember where they put down their keys.