Category Archives: Learn New Skills

#110 Relearn a Language

We’re constantly being exhorted to exercise our minds as well as our bodies, so when a friend told me a few months ago about Duolingo, “The World’s Best Way to Learn a Language” (according to Duolingo’s website), it sounded like an idea that was perfect for the times. Certainly a much better idea than exercising my body which wasn’t ready for anything as dangerous as say, walking.

So I promptly enrolled in their French course, a language I had once haltingly stammered over 50 years ago, and found myself ensnared in a juggernaut of relentless encouragement.

#110 Relearn a Language

The Duo part of Duolingo, as well as meaning two, is also the website’s green owl, a mascot who keeps urging you on in that intermittent re-inforcement fashion that psychologists have shown to be most effective at keeping people trapped in their addictions.

When you least expect it, he pops up to your right

… to give you that little frisson of satisfaction and convince you to keep going

or to your left,

… just to keep you guessing

It’s much more interactive and engaging than the classes I remember at school in the ’60s taught by the rather quiet nun who’d never been within cooee of France, and the rewards (points to amass, promotion to a higher grade, or just flattering encouragement) are frequent enough to satisfy, but inconsistent enough to keep you returning.

Peer pressure works well, too. Other students will often follow you in the hope of being followed back, so you can send and receive congratulations when you both achieve your goals.

But after six months, and having successfully graduated from beginner’s to intermediate classes, it suddenly dawned on me that I wasn’t enjoying it so much any more.

Each day became filled with too many messages urging me to do even better, work even harder, amass more points, and maintain my position. And if I slipped behind, or was about to be overtaken, the messages arrived as relentlessly as those in the opening scenes of Harry Potter, impossible to ignore.

But still they kept coming, reminding me what I’d achieved that week and what I could do the next:


Finally the shaming began. I was going backwards:

Oh no! 93 minutes less than last week. A pathway to disgrace

Things had to change.

I realised that something I was doing for pleasure, purely to keep my mind active—and to prove that I could almost recognise every fifth word spoken during an SBS French film—was turning into a nightmare. I had no time to sleep, no time to eat, no other enjoyments in life. And as I was never going to stroll along the Seine again on a warm Parisian afternoon, would I ever need to ask directions or enquire as to the cost of croissants?

Enough, I decided!

So I’m back to an enjoyable ten to fifteen minutes revision every day.

Yes, every day. I’m on a roll, you see, and what would Duo think if I suddenly stopped?.

Who cares about points and promotions?

Anyway, I have a new love now. A friend introduced me to Quordle, and I think I’m hooked.

#108 Make Soap (yes, really!)

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

With the Omicron peak waning, most of us happily vaccinated and lockdowns and restrictions a thing of the past, adventures far from home beckoned. So this month’s blog should have been about fresh fields, exotic travel, excitement, restaurants and glamour.

And yet here I am, explaining how to

#108 Make Soap (yes, really!)

Constructing new cakes of soap out of neglected, leftover shards of old soaps is reminiscent of the sad, lonely, lockdown-type activities of 2020 or 2021, but due to a recent spontaneous fracture in my leg (insultingly called an ‘insufficiency fracture’ as though I neglected to care for my bones sufficiently) I’m on ‘minimal-weight-bearing-until-it-heals’ orders from the orthopaedic surgeon.

And so it’s back to finding new activities that can be done without venturing from home. Or walking really.


So I scoured the internet to find instructions on how to convert all the bits and pieces of old soaps I’d found in the bathroom cabinet into brand new hearty bars of soap.

Gather together about a cup of old leftovers. It speeds up the process to shave or grate them into smallish pieces, as I discovered too late.

Place them in a saucepan, cover with cold water and leave overnight till the mixture becomes a slushy mess.

Add a tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil and a few drops of a fragrant essence or lemon zest and stir over medium heat until all the soap has melted. It can take a while —up to 30 minutes.

It helps to have a jazzy stirrer like this, but a wooden spoon works too

It ends up looking like the smooth custard you’d prepare for a Portuguese tart, but sadly cannot taste.

So appealing as it bubbles away!

Add a few drops of food colouring and pour into silicon moulds to set:

(I overdid the pink a bit)

Leave for 24 hours, then remove from the moulds and dry on a wire rack for a few more days before using.

The websites I found speak of packaging these small soaps in pretty shapes adorned with ribbons and giving them away as gifts,

but although they’ve been sterilised by boiling for ages, I’m a bit uncomfortable about forcing them onto unsuspecting friends. And they’d not win any beauty contests.

However, to my surprise, the fully dried cakes of soap work extremely well and I’m excited to see if I can collect all the shards from this lot to create even more batches in the future.

It will, of course, follow the laws of diminishing returns, but I’m hopeful it may be some time before I ever have to buy soap again.

#106 Try Calligraphy

It was during one of our lockdowns, while looking for an entertaining gift to send to a friend in Sydney, that I came across a couple of Calligraphy practice kits on the shelves of the local post office.

They looked intriguing. Why not purchase one for my artistic friend who seemed at risk of going stir-crazy during her enforced imprisonment?

The chap behind the counter gave a suppressed snort as he scanned the box.

‘They still selling these?’ he said. (Bearing in mind he was literally selling the item to me at that moment, it was an interesting use of the word ‘they’, but no matter). ‘Twenty-odd years ago my dad ran the Post Office in [Tinyville] and I’d help him out sometimes. They stocked them back in those days.’

This suggested that the kits are either wildly popular and timeless, or the type of horribly out-dated stock a post office would hold. But it was his next words that clinched the deal.

‘You’re in luck.’ He sounded surprised. ‘They’re on sale. Half price.’

‘Wait a sec.’ I held up my hand. ‘Let me go and get the other one as well!’

And that’s how I came to:

#106 Try Calligraphy


After a friend mentioned that she and her sons had experimented with calligraphy many years earlier and the ink stains still hadn’t come out of their fingers, it took me a few weeks to even open the kit, and I wisely began to practice with pencil.

Like being back in grade one

As the word calligraphy means ‘beautiful writing’ I went looking for a non finger-staining writing tool that might achieve this, reasoning that if I jumped into using the pen and ink provided in the kit, beautiful writing might never happen.

Enter pens created especially for the occasion. Brilliant!

The salesman in the small, old-fashioned stationery store seemed as surprised as I was that they stocked something called a “Calligraphy pen”, let alone with a choice of colours.

Time to test its ability to write in calligraphy style.

After practising for a while,

the ink in my brand new calligraphy pen began to fade, which I put down to its age, imagining it had probably been sitting in the stationer’s fusty store for years.

But on re-reading the instructions in the kit booklet, I came across this admonition:

Oops. Too late

So it was time to give the real pen and ink a whirl:


Then it hit me. While doing calligraphy is a relaxing, meditative hobby, I wasn’t going to live long enough to become adept at it, and anyway, wasn’t that what fonts were for?

Medieval monks had to spend their lives writing laborious decorative epistles because they didn’t have access to Word programmes on their computers, but we do.

So I went looking for fonts that matched the concept of ‘Beautiful Writing’ and came up with a fabulous assortment.

So…oo much better than anything I’ll ever do

I can see where this is heading. I might just become a contestant on Mastermind whose special subject is—Calligraphy Fonts.

#104 Turn a Guilty Pleasure into a Treasure Hunt

The blame must be placed squarely onto lockdown. When you’ve exhausted all the decent shows on every streaming service you have, and when your brain can no longer hold the intricate, weaving plots needed to enjoy another Scandi thriller, you find yourself reaching for some trite, mind-numbing Guilty Pleasure.

Like Bargain Hunt.

#104 Turn a Guilty Pleasure into a Treasure Hunt

In case you haven’t sunk quite as low as I have, Bargain Hunt is an inexpensively-made UK show where two competing pairs of Very Ordinary English People with teeth Untouched by Dentisty are given £300 to spend. Under the guidance of an antique ‘expert’ each team must buy three items at a flea market before on-selling these ‘treasures’ through a reputable auction house.

The team that makes the most profit wins the money they make, and in true British style, this averages out at about £2 per pair. If they’re lucky.

Sadly, I’m hooked on the show. I love shaking my head at their purchases and muttering ‘You’ll never make a profit on that piece of junk’, or yelling, ‘Yes, it’s a lovely vesta case, but £150? Really? ARE YOU MAD?’ Six months ago, I’d never heard of vesta cases, but now, I’m a self-appointed expert on English antiques.

So when a team purchased a Chinese painted blue umbrella-stand recently, I sat up and gasped, ‘I’ve got one of those. Somewhere!’

And so began a treasure hunt to find it and to re-examine all the pieces accumulated throughout a lifetime, from grandparents, parents, or purchased myself on trips overseas. How exciting to think that some of them might be hidden treasures.

Cue Google searches to learn more:

I’m now convinced my stand is a long lost Chinese Antique worth a small fortune!

The search became more and more involving as I discovered Grandad’s green hand painted vase might be a Bohemian antique:

Then there were his old fashioned lustre vases:


Every time one of the experts on Bargain Hunt comes across an item with silver detail, they whip out their magnifying glass to decipher the silver hallmark. So I tried to do the same with a small cut glass bath salts jar I’d bought many years ago on a trip to the UK.

Things got more interesting when the small bronze statue I’d fallen in love with at an outdoor art market in London back in the early 70s —

had a legible stamp of the maker:

So I went searching for G Schoeman and what should I find but this:

Oh, my! I’d been at the right place at the right time to purchase a small work of art from an emerging artist!!

By this stage, I was becoming quite invested in Giovanni, so was sad to see he’d died at the relatively young age of 41. What had happened? A tragic illness? A ghastly motor accident?

Then I came across this small snippet:

On no! My lovely sculptor had moved to the US and clearly been innocently caught in the crossfire of the US culture of arms and hitmen. That such talent should be lost so early. Poor Giovanni!

The police found the hitman, a Walter Mitty type “from the dark side”. He was sentenced to death, but this was commuted to life in prison where he remains to this day.

However, there’s an even stranger coda to this story after I found additional news items:

So my new sculptor friend was a diamond smuggler AND a purveyor of lead-shot-filled fakes?

Now I have to wonder if my little bronze statue is quite what I think it is.

#102 Learn to Arrange Flowers — in an Ikebana Style

Almost everyone has a special skill, although sadly, many of us don’t acknowledge it.

Praise someone who can sing in tune, and they’ll shrug and say ‘anyone can do that,’ but for those of us who are pitch imperfect, that’s just not true.

In a similar vein, people who can arrange flowers to look effortlessly gorgeous don’t understand how some of us struggle to coax a single rose to stand up in a narrow specimen vase.

So a recent opportunity to

#102 Learn to Arrange Flowers — in an Ikebana style

with a group of friends was too good to pass up.

Freshly gathered, awaiting expertise

Ikebana is the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging and is governed by 7 Principles: silence, minimalism, shape & line, form, humanity, aesthetics and structure.

As we were good friends teaching ourselves how to cut and measure and determine correct angles using videos and Youtube demonstrations, you’ll understand that the first Principle of Ikebana went out the window in no time.

But we embraced the concepts of minimalism, of using simple shapes and lines (based on a triangular pattern) and eschewed busy-looking, heavy, symmetrical Western designs with gusto.

Just as pleasing was discovering that the small metal, spiked flower base many of us found at the back of our vase cupboards—

aka spiky frog

is a specific device used in Ikebana called a kenzan.

While I know the designs we created are not true examples of Ikebana (hence I’m calling this blog post in an Ikebana style) we were thrilled with the results, marvelling how creating an elegant flower design doesn’t have to be a daunting task after all—even in the middle of winter with sparse pickings.


Another bonus of this activity was discovering a hidden flower growing among my narcissus in the back garden at home.

Called an Erlicheer jonquil (not an obscure Latin term, but named because it’s an early-flowering specimen guaranteed to cheer you up in winter!) it’s a new favourite.

I’m imagining a mass planting of this fragrant beauty in my front garden next year!

#101 Finish a Blog

Whoever claimed ‘It’s not about the destination, it’s all about the journey’ clearly never suffered from motion sickness. I have vivid memories of every childhood holiday (and fortunately they weren’t too frequent) spent in the back seat of a hot car with my head over a bucket wondering if I’d die before we made it to our destination.

And don’t remind me of the horrendous boat trip out to the Great Barrier Reef in the ’80s where I became that pariah below deck, throwing up her insides; nor that New Year’s Eve yachting party on Sydney Harbour in the ’90s where a water-taxi had to be called to ferry such an embarrassing guest away. Oh no, journeys have rarely held much pleasure for me.

So imagine my surprise to discover, on finally reaching my destination of completing 101 Fun and Frivolous Activities in Retirement—after almost 9 years—that I’ve actually loved this particular journey. Not a hint of travel sickness.

But where to from here?

#101 Finish a Blog

So for something a little different to celebrate this 101st and final blog post, I’ve created an interactive one for a change.

If you like quizzes, this one’s for you; if you love crosswords, it will fill in a few minutes of your day; and if you’re of a literary bent, you’ll enjoy recalling past reads because this one’s a literary-themed crossword.

And in a final twist, there’s a mystery message to be deciphered at the end.

My apologies that it’s not a crossword where you can type in the answers, but that skill’s way above my pay grade.

Clues:

Once you’ve found the answers, you can go on to solve the mystery message:

And if you think I have too much time on my hands, you may be right, but it sure beats travel sickness!

#100 Appreciate Small Discoveries

This pandemic has challenged us on so many levels over the past—how many?—months, but there’ve been unexpected rewards along the way to compensate.

For example, the realisation that owning a dog means escaping lockdown whenever an excuse is needed to leave the house was a lightbulb moment for many. Similarly, it’s been a real eyeopener for many businesses to discover that all workers don’t have to battle peak-hour traffic twice a day when they can work effectively from home.

As the world contracts and international travel fades into memory, one way to extract the best out of life is to:

#100 Appreciate Small Discoveries


Parking in a side street a couple of weeks before Easter, I came across this cute rabbit painted on an inconspicuous wall.

It brightened my day no end:

Easter Bunny by talented local street artist Kade Sarte.
The eyes even follow you

Another unexpected offering appeared alongside the entry to a car park. This sunny butterfly frieze greets passers-by like a welcoming smile, so thanks, Kristina and Albury City:

by Kristina Greenwood for Upstream 2021

Its personal significance was enhanced exponentially when a matching beauty landed in my garden a couple of days later:

Australian Painted Lady Butterfly on chive flowers.
“Hey, you’re famous!”

The pandemic threw up another joy recently when Warburtons, a UK company that bakes much loved crumpets, released their secret recipe to comfort suffering compatriots during the depths of winter.

With a rallying cry of

who could resist giving it a go?

My first batch, cooked in a pan on the stove top, resulted in terribly mismatched crumpets, until the idea of repurposing my pie maker into a crumpet maker seemed a worthy experiment.

Woohoo! Yessir!

Have a look at them cooking:

Perfect shape, perfect bubbles, perfect browning when turned! What’s not to love about a pie maker?

Here’s the adapted recipe if you want to give it a try:

Delicious 😋

An innocuous visit to my GP this week threw up another new and exciting discovery when the doc asked me if I’d like eScripts sent to my phone instead of handing me the usual paper ones. (She’d noticed I was using earpods in the waiting room, she said, so assumed I was tech savvy. 🤣)

Heart thumping, I agreed to the eScripts, not wanting her to know the truth about my dread of technology and its propensity to go bad. Of course, the minute I walked out of the surgery, I checked my messages, convinced it wouldn’t have worked, but to my surprise …

So now all I have to do is show the pharmacist the super trendy eScripts on my mobile to get them dispensed.

Edited, but you get the idea!

There are so many wonderful small discoveries to be found at our new Harris Farm Market that I don’t know where to start, but the little lime-green kale/silverbeet/herb stripper has to be up there with the best. It rips out the pesky central stalk in milliseconds.

Insert the stalk into the hole of best fit, pull through and voila! the leaves are freed.

Harris Farm sells assorted native finger limes, too …

Little bubbles of citrus caviar

And what this means is that I can now amass any and all ingredients needed for my latest craze: the home made poke bowl with added crispy kale and finger lime bubbles topped with sriracha mayo.


And a final discovery has been the talented Marsh family from Faversham in the UK, who’ve been coping during lockdown by repurposing songs and posting them on YouTube.

Here’s their performance at the BBC Comic Relief concert. They re-worded Total Eclipse of the Heart to reflect what everyone can relate to on some level during the pandemic.

They’re more often found performing (in pyjamas of course) in their bedrooms, kitchen or living room.

Who’d have thought small discoveries could give so much pleasure?

#95 Learn more about our First Nations People

There was barely a whisper about the history of our First Nations people while growing up in Australia in the 50s and 60s.

Occasionally a momentary regret at my ignorance would surface—like the year a young Irish girl, who spoke Gaelic*, attended our school for a while. As we crowded around this transparently-skinned lass with nary a freckle on her pale face, listening to the glorious lilting description of the lush green hills of her homeland, we assured her that we, too, knew and spoke an indigenous language.

We managed to string a few words together— ‘yoothamurra’ (the name of the property where one of us lived) , ‘burrumbeet’ (a tiny town nearby, where we occasionally picnicked) and ‘bet-bet’ (we were reading The Little Black Princess that year)—but even our new Irish friend Noírín, saw through the pretence.

Later, any historical education I may have gained—white or indigenous—was waylaid by taking predominantly scientific and mathematical subjects. But on the basis that it’s never too late to be educated, the time has come to:

#95 Learn more about our First Nations People

It’s clear why Australia Day is thought of by so many as Invasion Day, because that’s exactly what it was. Changing the date to a more inclusive one seems a no brainer. Back in my childhood, in the land of the long weekend, it was always celebrated on the Monday closest to January 26th, so it would fall on any day between the 23rd and the 31st of January.

By way of proof, my 1968 diary entry:

(Early to the realisation that James Bond films were not for me)

Note that entry for January 29: ‘… It’s a public holiday for Australia Day.’

So—hardly a date set in stone.

Then there’s our national anthem. We stood for God Save the Queen until about 1984. Then we switched to Advance Australia Fair which exhorted Australia’s sons to rejoice. Australia’s daughters made a fuss, so that became Australian’s all rejoice. But if the daughters were cross, imagine how the oldest known civilisation on earth must feel having to claim to be ‘young and free’. So that needs to change.

I’ve just finished reading Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe’s breathtaking book,

outlining the evidence that land cultivation, sustainable farming practices, housing, water and fire management were all practised for aeons before the arrival of the white settlers. The victors always get to rewrite or whitewash history, I guess, but reading it gave me one of those rare moments when the worrying way we’ve managed this continent hit home. By introducing cloven-hoofed animals to clomp around the place, destroying the soil and eating what little arable grasses exist right down to stubble, we’ve done a great disservice to the land.

As the judges of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards said: Dark Emu is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what Australia once was, or what it might yet be if we heed the lessons of long and sophisticated human occupation.’

So then I turned to the Uluru Statement from the Heart to better understand how we can become a more inclusive nation. It’s a beautifully worded rallying cry for us all to come together.

Surely a voice in Parliament must be the first step?

Meanwhile, my journey continues …

—————————————————————————————————

*I have it on good authority that ‘Gaelic’ is a term no longer used. The language is known as ‘Irish’ now.

#94 Practise ‘The Science of Wellbeing’

The image above, of the dog contemplating his happiness in the moment while his master dreams of unattainable goals, is a well-known meme for mindfulness and savouring life as it happens.

Having immersed myself over the past 5 weeks in an on-line course run by Yale University through Coursera, it neatly sums up the essence of what I’m learning:

#94 Practise ‘The Science of Wellbeing’

Contrary to what I’ve always thought, studying at Yale isn’t stressful at all. The course is free, I’m doing it from home, and as the professor taking it is a young woman who looks a little like the daughter of a friend, she’s nowhere near as scary as the professors who taught me aeons ago.

Dr Laurie Santos, Yale Professor of Psychology

She sits in a comfy chair with the students around her, peppers her tutorials with phrases like ‘this is so cool’ or ‘you’re gonna love this’, and sets multiple choice exams at the end of each week that mirror her tutorials word for word.

As the course had the word ‘Science’ in its title, I believed in it immediately, and although there’s an element of rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens, if the science says it works, who am I to roll my eyes and wonder if it may be a bit too Pollyanna-esque?

Anyway, what’s wrong with roses and kittens?

So what does the science tell us?

Let me summarise to save you the trouble of going to Yale.

The things we think we want are not the things that make us happy. In fact, just about everything our brain tells us that we need to be happier is wrong. This is known as mis-wanting. Analysis of studies (demonstrated by impressive graphs), has shown time and again that beyond a certain income, more money and possessions do not make us any happier.

Hedonic adaptation then means we get blasé about the good things we have in life and stop appreciating them. This puts us on the treadmill of striving for something more, even though that, too, will be subject to hedonic adaptation in time.

So how do we overcome the fault in our brains?

It takes practice, and that seems to be the overarching message of this course.

  • Determine your top signature strengths (as assessed by a questionnaire, or you could ask your friends) and focus on them, as they will lead to the most satisfaction in your life:
I so wanted bravery and zest but got stuck with self-regulation and humour
  • Have experiences, rather than buying ‘stuff’. Experiences have been shown to create greater satisfaction in life.
  • Take a moment each day to savour something special, no matter how small. (Spotted a blue tongue lizard in your garden? That will do it, so make a note of it or take a photo.)
Aren’t you gorgeous?
  • Keep a gratitude journal by the bed to write down at least 3 things you’re grateful for. Every. Single. Day. Because even a bad day will have some little kernel of goodness;
  • Make and maintain social connections. While this may not work so well face-to-face during a pandemic, at least we have any number of electronic ways to help us (which is something to be grateful for…)
  • Find a good mindfulness tape and practise regularly, even if only for ten minutes a day. (More clever graphs show that this works wonders!)
  • Prioritise sleep (now you’re talking … )
  • Exercise regularly (or perhaps not … )
  • Smile or chat—even briefly—to a stranger, because it makes both you and them feel better;
  • Express gratitude to other people;
  • Make the time to do the things you enjoy. In other words, work at becoming ‘time affluent’;
  • Repeat all of the above.

It makes sense that practising positive, life affirming habits will improve wellbeing. I have a neighbour whose raison d’être is to assail me with tales of what’s gone wrong in his life, through no fault of his own, interspersed with stories of who in the vicinity of our street has died, who’s had a fall, and who’s been moved into a nursing home. It’s exhausting spending time with him but thanks to this course, I now realise why he does it. He’s trained himself so well, practised being like this for so long, that he’s become an absolute expert in misery and discontent. So practise does make perfect.

The course has reminded me of something else, too. To find answers, I could’ve just re-watched the closing credits of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.

As Michael Palin said, ‘well, it’s nothing very special’.


If you follow these guidelines, and also remember—when you’re feeling very small and insecure—how amazing and unlikely is your birth, you’ve got it covered.

#93 Try your Hand at Amateur Cinematography

It was an offer too good to refuse.

BB, my Bunnings buddy, asked me if I knew how to film and edit a video to post on YouTube.

Now I’d read about actors who, when quizzed as to whether they could ride a horse bareback, had brazenly told the director ‘of course I can’. Even though they’d never quite mastered their childhood rocking horse. So I immediately said to BB, ‘Of course I can!’.

It didn’t hurt that he’d also hinted it might make an interesting topic for a blog post.

And so … here we are:

#93 Try your Hand at Amateur Cinematography

Another reason the idea appealed was because BB had built a clever rotating soil sifter based on Costa Georgiadis’ instructions in a Gardening Australia episode,

a neat little contraption that sieves soil as it’s shovelled into a turning mesh barrel, before spitting weeds or big bits out the other end.

How long must I turn this? Seriously?

But BB had taken it a step further and come up with an ingenious method of automatically rotating the sieve without the need of an expensive motor (or an expensive helper for that matter).

This deserved a wider audience.

This had Oscar nominee written all over it.

After a morning’s filming using my trusty iPad, and a few hours editing the rushes (as we cinematographers call the unedited footage), I finalised the grand opus, ready for BB to post on YouTube.

There are a few important lessons I’ve been able to take away from the experience:

  1. It’s probably not a bad idea to rehearse a script before shooting. Maybe even several times.
  2. Keep each scene nice and short … so you can
  3. Reshoot when you’re not happy with it (without driving everyone nuts).
  4. When the Talent says “I’m not sure if you can see this,” make sure you move in for a close-up.
  5. When the Talent proudly points to another part of his design, swing the camera in that direction as soon as you’re aware that’s what he wants. (So it’s important to PAY ATTENTION while filming)
  6. Always make sure there’s a cute dog somewhere in the shoot.

So here it is: the DIY cordless rotating sieve or trommel

I predict a glowing future for BB, now known as the Talent.

Not so sure about the cinematographer …

[Masterful cameo of fed-up trammel turner played by Mrs BB]
[Cute dog played by Captain Oats (without-an-e)]