Small Streams

Inspiring Spaces
May 8, 2021, 12:36 am
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I’m not feeling it this morning, not that I should have to feel it to get work done. In any case, I’m thinking of inspiring spaces. I’m very grateful for the space I have but I also like to think of other people’s spaces, all the while knowing how little affect it might have on getting work done. This is from a Home Designing article called “Funky Spaces with Artistic Flair.”

I have no idea what all is in this photo, but I am intrigued by the steaming coffee cup.

The Sound of England
May 2, 2015, 3:11 am
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Great 1960s video of a Cornish fishing village. 

British Expressions
May 1, 2015, 4:28 am
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Definitions under development. Please leave suggested words in comments or send to mstroup at

airs and graces

Alight – official, used in tfl


Arse – common. Ass

Aubergine – food

Bacon – Back bacon

Bang on

Bang to rights

Banger, food, sausage

Banter – chat, used more extensively than in the states

Bap – food. sandwich. 

Beadle – clerical term, like vicar, verger, warden, etc. Not necessary to learn unless you get into Anglican Church governance or are a reader of murder mysteries. 

Beetroot – Food. Beet. 

Bespoke – custom, tailor made.  

Bin – more polite than trash

Bit of a – diminutive used for purposes of meter

Bits and Bobs – odds and ends


Bloody – common, profanity 

Bloomer – Food. loaf of bread

Bobby – Common. Policeman or woman

Boffin – egghead 

Book – reserve a ticket

Bollocks – Priests, testicles


Boot Sale

Brew – tea, not beer


Builder’s – Short for a builder’s tea, teabag, milk, and two sugars

Butchers – Rhyming slang.  to look/butcher’s hook. “The Apple watch is out. Let’s go to Regent Street store and have a butcher’s

Butties- bacon and butter sandwich (cf. sarnies, toasters, and roasties)

Car Park – garage

Chav – vulgar. White trash

Cheek(y) – common term. to have a lot of nerve. As in Mike Meyers’ “cheeky monkey.”



Chuffed – wodehousian

Coach – Bus

Copse – Not a spinney 


Crack – conversation 



Cuppa – common, cup of tea

Daft – crazy

Do – party

Donkey’s – a long time. “I haven’t seen you in a donkey’s” might be vulgar

Diversion – official. Detour. “This bus is on Diversion.” You’r about to get off two stops away from where you thought it would. 

Earth – electrical. Ground. 

Fag – Common. Cigarette. 

Fancy. (V.)

Fanny – Vagina

Flat – common term. Apartment. 

Flyover – official. Elevated Highway. Descriptive. 

For shite – vulgarity, not good for anything

Fringe – using the American expression gets the English all a Twitter because why would you use a word that means sexual congress for something else(cf. bang on, bang to rights, banger)
Fuck all – Vulgar. Nothing. He didn’t do ~.

Full English – one egg, bacon, sausage, baked beans, tomato, mushroom, toast 

Full stop

Fully cooked


Green man


Haitch – ‘aitch

Have a go – try it, sometimes “it” means “sex”

Hen Party – also Hen do

Hob – stovetop


Home Counties – South east England


How’s your father


Inverted commas 

Jab – injection. Get your flu ~. 

Jacket potato

Joggers – sweat suit

Jolly – Useful adverb for emphasis


Kitchen Roll

Knees up

Knackered- Tired. Rhyming slang: creamed and crackered. 




Lie-in – sleep in


Loo Roll


Mains – electricity 

Mains – Food. Main course

Mangé tout 


Mash – Food. Mashed potatoes. 



Meal deal



Mod cons 




No Worries

Nosy Parker

Odds and sods – usually less useful than bits and bobs 

Page three – Archaic. Of or relating to female frontal nudity. 






Posh – port outbound starboard home 






Quite – not really


Reckon – used equally by mountaineers in the U.S. And by RP announcers on BBC 4. 

Return – round trip ticket



RP – Received Pronunciation. The way people talk on the BBC. Accent in the Home Counties. 


Seeing to




Spinney – Not a spinney (see also copse)

Stag do








Spiv – invented as if there weren’t enough words to put down people. 

States, the – the U.S.  

Streaky bacon – bacon

Stitched up

Stuck in

Ta – Irish. Ta ta. Occasionally overheard in London outside of Kilburn. 

Take the piss



Tied House



Tommy – it’s Tommy this and Tommy that. Most of us can’t remember why. 



Track suit – sweat suit


Top upTrousers 

Tosser – no good. Connotations of drinking. A toss pot. 

Twat – Vulgar. Vagina. Used as a put down. Pronounced with flat “a”. 



Valve – Electrical. Tube. 


Way out

Well – like jolly, used for emphasis. He was ~ up for it. Can even be used in tandem with jolly. “He jolly-well better be.”


Zebra Crossing


A Toy Store
August 16, 2014, 4:25 am
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Whirligig Store

Me with a metal whirligig in front of the Whirligig store preparing for the Lorne Michaels Look-Alike Contest.

Whirligig is the name of a toy store in Brighton, England, that gets it. They have items and kits with which kids can actually engage: paper toys, wooden toys, automata, etc. It’s run by two people who don’t just sell toys but take delight in them. The owner, Peter Allinson, I believe, creates crocheted versions of the some of the town’s landmarks including a Ferris Wheel.  

The whirligig itself is a pinwheel. I consider a Gyroscope a type of whirligig with an added dimension. Sometimes whirligigs can be windmills to drive automata. They can be used to create additional Holland or to make a gnome wave.



Volvelle Possibilities
August 14, 2014, 4:08 am
Filed under: art, awareness, maps, math, media, toys, Uncategorized


Volvelle Possibilities

Just a little doodle to set me thinking. Even limiting myself to concentric circles for the most part, I kept coming up with possibilities for using Volvelles. I started with the idea of surveying what could be done with a circle and a pivot. Information can be obscured, indicated, or illuminated with a Volvelle. The second circle below could be a changing face. I’m not sure how you illustrate or derive a function with such a thing. But, like I say, “just a little doodle.” Transparent colored circles could illustrate combinations and layered traces could illustrate circuits. The final Volvelle on the bottom right plays with the idea of a spiral around a pivot, that is a turntable. Is the needle on the top or the bottom? Is there a needle guide? Maybe musicians could use them to demonstrate a musical passage. Just run an amplifying stylus through the grooves and you have yourselves a tune. 

Copper Tape Switch
May 6, 2014, 3:57 am
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Copper Tape Switch.

May 5, 2014, 3:46 am
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Lollie M. as Matilda. She was wonderful singing “Naughty,” which reminded me of what a Billy Bragg song would sound like if it were made for the West End. The play amazed me, made me cry, and made me laugh with my belly. I’m not a fan of musicals, many times there’s too much spectacle and glitz that the book doesn’t warrant, but I’d place “Matilda” up there with “The Music Man” as reasons why we need musical theatre in our lives.

Hardware Startups
April 23, 2014, 4:57 am
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David Bellisario introduces a speaker from Here East.

Pollock’s Toy Museum
January 26, 2014, 5:45 am
Filed under: art, education, eutechnics, technology, thinking, Tourism, toys | Tags:


Pollock’s toy museum has been a destination for us since we moved to London. How things make us think has been a hobby horse of mine for the past couple of years. So I was happy that Liz and I could take a short excursion to Central London and walk amidst the toys.

The museum is housed in, well, a house, or at least an “up and down” with not too many conversions. The downstairs holds the toy shop and the lobby, and the staircases and the upper floors display the dolls, dollhouses, games, etc.

Some of my fascinations are construction toys …

20140126-105510.jpg viewing toys and …

20140126-105634.jpg mathematical instruments.



I also found the war games interesting. Never too early to build a distaste for the kaiser.

Of course, the reason for Pollock’s being is the toy theatre. There must have been a hundred of them.


They also had some interesting specimen boxes.



If you ever want to get the imaginative juices flowing or at least cop some ideas for your doll house, I highly suggest it.

The Gift of Science
December 6, 2013, 3:30 am
Filed under: business, education, math, mind, technology | Tags: , ,


I saw this lava lamp display at the V&A’s Museum of Science. Honest to Pete, I think there should be a whole room devoted to a lava lamp display. Who doesn’t love lava lamps? That and oil and glycerin on a projector, the psychedelic “wet show.” Maybe some polka dots and mirrors like the Mattress Factory‘s Yayoi Kusama installation.

The trick would be to create a room that excited the senses but didn’t make you physically ill.

If there’s any problem I have with lava lamps, it’s that science gift shops devote so much shelf space to them. Many science museums’ gift shops concentrate on the “ooh, shiny” distractions rather than objects that indulge people’s (not just children’s) love of the methods of science. I have to admit that people who run museum gift shops know more about what sells and what sells the experience.

If you’re just out for a happy trip, you don’t want to be scolded into homework at the end. No one likes to take a trip and bring home a memento that reminds them that they are not expanding their minds enough. So I really can’t advocate for a gift pack of Euclid’s Elements — though there are some great geometry puzzles that would make great gifts. The Science Museum does have a great book section and a lomography section and Technology Will Save Us shelves. When I was there last, they had someone demonstrating paper gliders.

I don’t expect science museums to check their impulse to cater to their audience any time soon. I just hope they can do more to indulge people’s desire to think about things. I will now stop ranting and leave you with the instructions for making your own lava lamp.