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Yesterday was the big day. Some of the Dedes went to a workshop. (Of course some of the puppets complained afterwards, as it was more work than shop. Actually there was no shopping at all. It was only work. But overall, they thoroughly enjoyed it). The photograph above shows Monkey waiting for someone to adopt him for the duration of the workshop. It looks suspiciously like he is holding his left hand open to accept a bribe.

I was really pleased with how it all panned out. Everything seemed to be just right: the length of the workshop, the activities for the participants, the size of the group and the make-up of the group. I have to fine-tune my introduction though. This was the only part I was unhappy with. Devil wasn’t in good form at all. You might remember I grounded him for a week (for trying to send Daredevil into the sky with a Guy Fawkes rocket). But then yesterday I packed him into the box to work with me at the workshop. He complained as he thought grounded means he is not supposed to work either. We had a long argument in the car and therefore the introduction didn’t go too well. Okay, it is a lame excuse, I should be able to put this aside if I want to be a professional!

The elephant was extremely lucky with her puppeteer. These two were whispering and laughing away. In the photo below, the elephant, who had taken on the name Elemate for the session, was asked by Mouse what her little pet hate was. At first she was a bit shy and asked her puppeteer how to phrase it so not to offend anybody in the room, but then she trumpeted it out in the open: She hates gossips. You should have seen Mouse, she went a paler shade of grey.

It was very hard convincing some of the puppets to hop back into the box and travel back home. For the participants I had made postcards with a photo of the puppet they had adopted, so they have something to remember their little friend by.

Mouse really should have been the first one to hear about Lou‘s confession. Unfortunately, I had sent her to a friend’s house on Wednesday to help with the new Dede dresses we have ordered for the workshop tomorrow. I rang my friend yesterday, but Mouse couldn’t come to the phone. My friend said she was sitting on the deck in the wicker basket sunbathing. So much for her help!

Now, since Bobby and Clay Head had announced they were going to interview us yesterday, I had to tell them that Lou came clean. I am not a gossip. I haven’t told anyone else yet (apart from you of course, but I trust you explicitly. I am sure you can keep a secret, can’t you?)

I cancelled the appointment with Bobby and Clay Head as their services were no longer needed and expected them to basically forget the whole incident and let Mouse come up with an appropriate punishment. Oh, am I naive or what? Bobby looked at me with his stern face and said: “That is not how it works, Missy! You called the police and you can’t just cancel on us willy nilly. We are not like a plumber and or an  electrician. We are the police! We have to write a report!” And out they got their big pens and started writing.

“But there are no lives endangered! It was just a juvenile joke”

“You should have thought about this before you engaged us…” lectured Clay Head, but was interrupted by a short sharp “Ha!” from Bobby. We both looked at him “Juvenile joke!…” he exclaimed “I have seen Lou‘s record… he is not a first time offender. He already has a strike against his name. Back in June he attacked Skeleton Edeltraut.”

Oh no, not this old story, I thought and said: “We never really solved this one. It was just a matter of two different opinions.” I remembered clearly, it went  on for ever with he-said/she-said and all the Dedes took sides. I was so happy when it finally got quieter around the story and I was so sure time would heal the wounds of all involved. I was surprised to hear now that it was on Lou‘s official record.

“Hang on,” I continued, “you can’t just put a strike against a name and not notify the person, or me in this case, as I am his guardian. He is still a puppy!”

“You have to make a submission… then we might re-open the case. You have to go through the official channels!” Bobby said coldly and continued writing on his report. It was obvious  I wouldn’t achieve anything here today….

Pleeeeeeaaaaase, give me a bottle of wine and send for Philosopher!

The voting for the head of the investigation into the cancelled email has closed now. There is a big surprise! We got another vote last night from far-away India and after counting all the votes, there is a tie…. Two of the candidates, Bobby and Clay Head have exactly the same amount….

This is unprecedented – there is no rule about this situation in the Dede Puppet Voting Handbook. So what to do? My first idea of course was that I should have the casting vote. But on second thought, this is not the best idea. The Dedes resent me already for making up all the rules. If I had the casting vote, the whole election would be rendered a mockery, wouldn’t it? I could have put forward my candidate in the first place and not gone through the whole  election process.

In the end I discussed the issue with Philosopher, who has a really good head on his shoulders. I was hoping he would go for Clay Head, after all he had put him forward.

Far from it!

“There is no doubt,” Philosopher said, “Clay Head, as an outsider will do a great job.” But he also agrees with the reader Whichwillitbe, who voted for Bobby: The young ones should be given a fair chance. How can they gain experience when the old farts always get the best jobs? So his suggestion is that both of them will head the investigation together. This will take the pressure off Bobby as it is his first job outside the Academy and he can learn a lot from Clay Head‘s expertise. Clay Head will get some recognition and a foot hold back into the Dede world (We all have the feeling, he regrets converting into a clay head.)

By the way, Bobby will get his colours this afternoon.

I am going with Witch‘s recommendation and will invite all the Dede puppets for a social get together on Sunday. It comes in handy that it is a long weekend, so I should have no problems recovering before I have to go back to work on Tuesday.

But it is short notice indeed and I am not one to get organised in a hurry. I need my time, so I enlisted Mouse to help me. Honestly, if you ever have an event to publicise, Mouse is your puppet! She knows everybody and always finds something to talk about. She still believes strongly in face-to-face contact to keep friendships going. I think she should turn her skills into a business, but she lacks the necessary self-esteem to go out there and market herself.

I am very happy and grateful that she took over the job of inviting everybody. When I got up this morning, she was already sitting in the kitchen, pounding away on the computer. This is her only weakness: Writing emails takes a long time as she is a one-thumb-typist, but you should see her speed when she is texting….

Of course it would be even faster if the Dede puppets were on Facebook. They are resisting. They are very happy in their own little secret society.

The image shows Ninepin Rock at the entrance of the Manukau Harbour and at the south end of the Waitakere Ranges. We used to take the students there on a three day excursion at the end of the summer semester. They had a landscape assignment during their stay, while I had nothing to do and  just tagged along to wind down. I always had a great time running up and down the mountains right next to the beach. It only takes around 35 minutes from our Tech to the haunted 1870s Lodge where we stayed. It is an entirely different world.  First of all no cell phone reception! Except when you hike up the nearest mountain for half an hour (or take your car back to Auckland, but that would be cheating!).

It is a rough and spectacular place and every year the landscape looked somewhat different. It was always interesting to see what had changed from the previous year. There was a beautiful lagoon one year, the next year it was entirely gone. The storm just shifts vast amounts of black sand and reshapes the profile of the land. Just like God is playing in an over sized sand pit. Six square kilometers of land, or should I say sand, have been added at this corner of the country since the 1940s.

The shifting sand make the entrance to the harbour extremely treacherous. And it was here where New Zealand’s worst maritime disaster occurred. In 1863 a British Royal Naval corvette, the HMS Orpheus came to grief: 189 men out of 270 people on board remained unaccounted for. The ship was involved in the British preparations for the Maori Land war. Two years later another war ship the HMS Eclipse with nearly 300 men on board was temporarily grounded on a sand bank in the harbour entrance.

Mmhm, I wonder who God supported in that war.

Yesterday I read a blog on how to increase traffic on your site. I came across it accidentally, I was not looking for it.  Can somebody explain to me, what is achieved, when I increase traffic on my blog? It sounds to me like how to improve the bottom line of your business. Is creating a blog a business or a matter of self-expression? Am I a better person when I have five-thousand visitors a day?

Of course I am excited when people like my images or my puppets or what I have to say, but when I read an About page where 1350 entries start with: “Thank you for visiting my blog”, doesn’t that mean that the blog owner is just good at pushing the Like button on other people’s blogs? For me personally it is a real deterrent!

Don’t get me wrong, it is a truly innocent question and I don’t want to offend anyone.  I have seen blogs with thousands of followers and they deserve every single one of them for their quirky and/or informative content – I myself follow a few of those – but then I also have seen a blog with a total of seven posts of average everyday babble and more than 2000 followers. So, what is the motivation?

This week will be  Black & White Week on my blog. I will even go one step further and make it Silent Week as in Silent Movie. Let the pictures do the talking! No twittering from me :). If anybody has a comment, I will of course reply.

I had planned to write a post about being boring, but one of the bloggers who I follow, Rose, beat me to it. She had a really nice angle and I love her refreshing style of writing (butIamBeautiful). In her last two paragraphs she pretty much covered what I wanted to say :).

The label “boring” is a third party attribute: Not many people think about themselves as being seriously boring. One might get bored from time to time, but  being boring?…. This is a totally different kettle of fish. On the other hand there is a huge discrepancy in numbers when one looks at how many people are described as being boring by others.

Isn’t it just a matter of having a little or nothing in common? Would it be possible, with a little effort to turn a bore into an inspiring fountain of knowledge?

In a lunch time conversation yesterday two of my friends revealed that they appreciate when I explain what I think about the images I put up, as I did with the image of the dam a few days ago. I am not keen on explaining as I think everybody sees something different in a visual. This image here for example, I took many years ago, when I didn’t even know how to take a decent photo. I called it: We are not alone. Why? …Many reasons.

The image was taken in one of my favourite places, the Karangahake Gorge at the south end of the Coromandel Ranges. It shows the reamains of a stone battery, another reminder of  the people who were here before us. At the same time it reminds me of antennas that might send out signals into outer space :).

One time when we were sailing around Waiheke Island (an island in the Hauraki Gulf not far from Auckland), we anchored at Hooks Bay, an isolated area at the back end of the island. When we stretched our legs we came across the remains of an old villa and next to it a tiny grave yard with two or three graves. I wondered how crowded this place would be if all the people who had ever set foot on this piece of remote land would be there at the same time. So clearly I could feel the presence of the spirits that have been. But it didn’t feel crowded… Which reminds me of a very interesting graph I once saw in the German Museum in Munich. It was a timeline showing the world pouplation since the very beginnings of human life. It was flat, flat, flat, flat, flat and then a sudden, very steep rise in the last century. It said that currently more people are alive than have ever died. I don’t know if this still holds true, but this graph really stuck in my mind.