Thursday, 29 March 2012


I once asked the astonishingly precocious Jon Tennant of Green Tea and Velociraptors what dinosaur he was. His answer, to my considerable surprise, was Tenontosaurus. For whatever reason, he had often struck me more as a deinonychosaur of some sort. Perhaps it was that very precocity and pointed wit that did it... I soon learned that Tenontosaurus was in fact the first dinosaur he formally studied; what's more, it had even once been called 'Tenantosaurus'.

So when I recently sent him a tin of loose leaf green tea (some very fine sencha) to supplement his already limitless stock, I had to include this sketch of his saurian portrait in the accompanying note.

I snapped a quick photograph of it before it was sent, but here is Jon's scan of it, too.

I had originally meant to use 'Tenantosaurus' as this entry's title, but Jon went one further with 'Teanantosaurus' when he sent his thanks. I appropriated it at once, as you see.

Friday, 2 March 2012


There are too many abbreviations in that title.

Last June, a small gathering of a few members of the Dinosaur Toy Forum (which readers may recall my mentioning in a previous entry) took place at the Natural History Museum in London.  Prior to the event, I asked those who would be attending what their favourite dinosaur (or prehistoric animal) was, with an aim to surprising each of them with a small gift.  As it happened, I ended up staying awake the whole of the night before the meet-up, feverishly finishing off these ACEOs.

Protoceratops for Lea.

Brachiosaurus for Andrew.

Attenborosaurus for Adam.

Allosaurus for Rob.

T. rex for Marc (this piece was featured once before on its own).

Each of these measures 2.5 x 3.5 inches.

As it turned out, I was more than rewarded for my work (and loss of sleep) by the company of all those present. I had of course been gradually becoming acquainted with them all in a virtual manner via the forum, and any hopes I had formed of their being brilliant people were happily answered when I at last met them in person.  Reporting back to the forum afterwards, my exact words were 'I had a really wonderful time.  Everyone was so lovely and kind.  I don't recall when I last felt so at ease among a [large] group of people as I did here.  In the words of the awesome Po: "I love you guys".'  As a socially inept and painfully shy creature, you may be sure of what a gift that was to me, and that I meant every word.

From left: Marc (who surely needs no introduction), Andrew (from New Jersey, USA), me (kill it with fire!), Lea with her boyfriend, Jasper (from the Netherlands), Dr. Adam Stuart Smith (palaeontologist and marine reptile specialist extraordinaire and founder of the DTF and blog -- I can scarcely thank him enough) and Rob (who most helpfully distinguished himself with a carnation 'buttonhole' and a copy of Prehistoric Times).  An extra special thanks to Marlies, Adam's girlfriend, who was also present and who took this picture of us (looking, in Stefan's words, 'like a bunch of random scientists about to enter a time machine'. Though 'a bunch of scientists and one clueless wannabe artist' would be more accurate...).  She is next to Adam in this picture below!

(I took this one, which accounts for everyone's wan expression and poor picture quality).