The sweat of ages storing wisdom in their handles…

You can polish a piece of timber by rubbing it with a piece of leather. It takes a long time and is a pretty pointless exercise given the world of polishes and other finishes out there, but it can be done. A little oil in the leather will help to seal it too. So rubbing with something soft and a bit fatty will bring up a sheen.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately — as I have been doing the gardening. There is a lot of gardening going on here at the moment. The last time I…


An earthquake hit London!

A golden skull shining against a dark background — read to the end of the piece and it will all become clear!
A golden skull shining against a dark background — read to the end of the piece and it will all become clear!
(Photo by Luke Southern on Unsplash)

It seems the done thing for anyone with a website and an audience of one to write up their experience of the earthquake.

Unfortunately I didn’t notice — although I do remember not sleeping well. I shall resort to the coverage of others.

Johnny’s experience was particularly profound — you can read about it here.

And The Guardian’s coverage was particularly insightful. I reproduce one of the comments from that page here, for your benefit:

Some jiffy bags were dislodged from some high shelving in our office. …


An enormous, fire-breathing dragon glows against the night sky.
An enormous, fire-breathing dragon glows against the night sky.
I’m this big and I breathe fire! (Photo by Thomas Despeyroux on Unsplash)

I looked down at the street and saw…


50 WORD MICROFICTION

Thrifty Words Challenge #15: Transformation

A delicious dessert of meringue topped with whipped cream and fruit. (This one has chocolate too —a step too far!)
A delicious dessert of meringue topped with whipped cream and fruit. (This one has chocolate too —a step too far!)
Pavlova (Photo by Sergio Arze on Unsplash)

The egg whites glistened in the bowl.

The whisk thrashed air and sugar through the mix, turning the clear liquid into a silky white foam.

Heat made it hard on the outside and soft in the middle.

Whipped cream, passion fruit, and banana made it Pavlova.

The transformation was complete.

Why contentious? Get an Australian and a New Zealander in a room and ask them — both will claim the Pavlova was invented in their country.

Food writer, TV personality, and all-round food celebrity Matt Preston wrote,

Sure, Australian chef Bert Sachse, from Perth’s Esplanade Hotel, might have made this…


A figure drawn on a wall hangs beneath a heart, like a desperate man hanging from a balloon.
A figure drawn on a wall hangs beneath a heart, like a desperate man hanging from a balloon.
Hanging on for dear life, knowing it’s just hot air holding me up (Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash)

Thrifty Words Challenge #14: Fever


An old-fashioned engraving of ornately uniformed and mustached Baden soldiers with pointy helmets. Some also have plumes!
An old-fashioned engraving of ornately uniformed and mustached Baden soldiers with pointy helmets. Some also have plumes!
Members of the Political Unrest Suppression Specialist Yeomanry (Photo by British Library on Unsplash)

Thrifty Words Challenge #12: Pussy


50 WORD MICROFICTION

Thrifty Words Challenge #10: Special

A harnessed, blindfolded man kneels. A a woman pushes her high-heeled shoe into his back and holds his blindfold like reins.
A harnessed, blindfolded man kneels. A a woman pushes her high-heeled shoe into his back and holds his blindfold like reins.
Don’t order the ‘special’ — it’s not what you want… Or is it? (photo by coloringcuties on Pixabay)

I wasn’t sure she liked me until she leaned across the table and smirked,

Don’t order the ‘special’ here!

I looked at her, then the waiter,

I’ll have the special.

She swallowed nervously. He returned to the kitchen.

I heard a muffled voice through the door,

“Cookie, prepare the harness?”

Copyright © Damian Clarke 2020.

On Medium, Damian Clarke writes for The Bad Influence and An Idea, 97 Things I Learned as a Stay-at-Home Dad and Our Albion. In the outside world, he writes for The Fifth Estate, The Green List, various other publications from time-to-time, and a range of corporate clients.

Did you miss last week’s Thrifty Words challenge?

What about the week before?


Having consummated, all that was left was to consume. (Photo by Designecologist from Pexels)

Thrifty Words Challenge #9: Greed

Damian Clarke

I’m a writer and publisher working in Sydney, Australia and London, UK. I specialise in finance, technology, insurance, property, medicine and sustainability.

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