stoking the furnace


Furneaux Jordan was a surgeon, architect and writer who  claimed that a certain type of woman was almost guaranteed to become a casualty of domestic violence.


I came slowly to see that the skin of the assaulted women was often clear, delicate, perhaps rosy. Their hair-growth was never heavy or long, and the eyebrows were spare and refined. Their upper spinal curves were so formed as to give a somewhat convex appearance to the back and shoulders and a more or less forward pose to the head. This bodily conformation is a favourite one with artists, one of whom states that, in a well-formed woman, a plumb-line dropped from the tip of the nose should fall in front of the toes. The friends and neighbours usually let it be known that these unfortunate women had sharp tongues in their heads and a supply of irritating topics on which to exercise them.


He certainly seemed obsessed with eyebrows – delicate brows indicated a forceful manner while a stronger growth showed a preference for tennis matches with medical personel

singing nurses

“singing nurses”

"It is a significant circumstance that by far the
greater number of head mistresses, matrons, and lady
superintendents generally, are women of curved upper
spine, forward head-poise, and limited hair-growth.

The hospital matron of forward head-poise
and delicate eyebrow keeps everyone up to the mark
every moment of the day

 the matron with strongly
marked eyebrows spares an hour to play at lawn tennis
with the resident doctors".
matron by jonathon

click here to see the world's longest eyebrow
Published in: on August 18, 2009 at 8:07 am  Comments (31)  

Robin Hood in white robes

Tangier at the turn of the 20th century was an exciting place to be.

“In 1904, 64-year-old Ion Perdicaris and his stepson found themselves taken hostage from their villa in Tangier, Morocco by a scruffy band of rifle-toting Berber tribesmen on horseback. The bandits’ chieftain was flamboyant, black-bearded Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli, and he wanted to extort a heavy ransom from the Sultan of Morocco.

sultan morocco

Morocco was then the only independent country try in North Africa. But the sultan, Mulia Abdul-Aziz, was a weak puppet who played with his collection of grand pianos while rival bands of warlords tore his country apart.


image found here

“Morocco, at that time,” wrote Mathilde Bedford, “had no roads, not even a carriage or wheel of any kind, so we went everywhere, even at night to dinners and dances, on horses and donkeys, and if it rained, I was carried in a sedan chair on the shoulders of four Jews.


image found here

Raisuli was widely known for his chivalry and respectful attitude towards his hostages.

“He pledged Ion Perdicaris that he would defend him from any harm, and was known to have befriended many of his other hostages. However, towards those who were not worthy of ransom, or the emissaries of the Pasha and the Sultan, he was known for cruelty, once burning out a Moroccan emissary’s eyes with heated copper coins, and returning the head of another to the Pasha in a basket of melons.


image found here

Another of Raisuli’s captives was the British correspondent for The Times, Walter Harris

Harris’s exploits as a traveller in the primitive fanatical Morocco of those days aroused highest admiration. In the art of disguise he excelled. Nature had favoured him as to eyes, complexion, and features and still more, in a gait which was not that of a person habitually wearing heeled shoes. To these he added talk, gestures, deportment, and, above all, dress to the life. His favourite disguise, that of a Riff, “Shilha” speaking people, diverted attention from anything strange in his Arabic. In that disguise he was the complete fanatical looking type, with shaven head but for a foot long lock hanging from the crown, red guncase for turban, short brown jehab, bare reddish tanned neck and legs, carrying a long native musket, and glancing furtively as he went, just as men from home do

yuri gagarin and friend

image of Yuri Gagarin found here

Besides his literary gifts and his wit and perennial gaiety, Harris had other qualities which account for his success. There was no subject which he could not adorn, an unwanted umbrella which kept on returning to him; handshaking, pyjamas on board liners, a Berber chieftain’s innocent request for a machine to translate all wireless into Arabic, and currency and credit among the simple Yap islanders of the Pacific.


image found here

Published in: on August 17, 2009 at 8:12 am  Comments (31)  

ponderous coxcombry

Andrew Ducrow was a 19th century circus stunt rider who performed in hippodramas.

This Graeco-Egyptian mausoleum, designed ostensibly for his wife, but mainly (as the epitaph says) “by genius for the reception of its own remains” was condemned in The Builder in 1856 as a piece of “ponderous coxcombry.

andrew's grave

image of Ducrow’s grave by Jacqueline Bannerjee

Hippodramas were not seedy soap operas about the sex lives of hippos, instead they were dramatic plays written specifically for the genre; trained horses were considered actors along with humans and were even awarded leading roles. Anthony Hippisley-Coxe described the hippodrama as “a bastard entertainment born of a misalliance between the circus and the theatre .

Special theatres were built which combined proscenium stages with dirt-floored riding arenas separated by the orchestra pit.


Acting and dialogue were often minimal. After watching a rehearsal for Hamlet, Andrew Ducrow is reported to have said “Cut the dialogue and come to the ‘orses”.

galloping horse hippodrama

treadmill used in hippodramas found here

Jules Leotard was also a famous circus performer who worked in this area.

Léotard was in: He had become the circus’s first international acrobatic star—and, thanks to his tight costume (to which his name would remain associated) revealing his athletic figure, he became also one of the first sex symbols in show business.


is this sexy or what?

Published in: on August 15, 2009 at 11:53 am  Comments (29)  

corset friday 14/7/2009

frilly singapore frilly singapore 2 frilly singapore 3

frilly singapore 4 frilly singapore 5 frilly singapore 6

… and check out surftwin’s new yoga pose too

Published in: on August 14, 2009 at 8:50 am  Comments (35)  

where nursemyra is eaten by fish and tortured by a sadist

My sojourn in Singapore is now over but yesterday there was one more thing to do before flying home. Ever since reading about Fish Reflexology I wanted to see what it felt like to be nibbled on by dozens of little fish.


The Beauty Salon at Underwater World is staffed by attractive young women in white uniforms, one of whom showed me two pools saying I could only choose one and there was no possibility of changing my mind. So I chose the one with the biggest fish – no little suckers for me. She waited until I put my feet in before saying “The big ones are VERY ticklish.”

I was the only person using that pool and about  sixty fish had latched on to me within seconds. They were each about three inches long and I could see and feel their mouths sucking like crazy, absolutely the weirdest sensation imaginable. I had to keep shaking them off every minute or so until I got used to the constant nibbling and the horror of wearing fish stockings.

IMG_4068 IMG_4072

After twenty minutes of being fish food, Miss Singapore led me to a reclining chair and covered me with a blanket. I lay back and closed my eyes in anticipation of blissful foot stroking but what I got instead was purgatory. Miss S. had disappeared, handing me over to an stern silent man who thought my feet were in need of crushing. I winced and moaned but it only seemed to enrage him.


So I shut up and closed my eyes praying for it to be over. After several long minutes, the onslaught lessened and a familiar sliding sensation was felt between my big toes and those next to them. Something rigid and insistent was inserting itself into that tight little space. I could hear the Master’s laboured breathing and felt a warm oily fluid dribble down my insteps, my toes parted and his large veined and horny thumbs broke through. With a few gentle strokes followed by a parting slap on the bottom of each sole, my torturer turned and walked away.

steve mcqueen Life Magazine

(photo of Steve McQueen found at Life Magazine)

“Who was that man who massaged my feet?” I asked Miss Singapore on the way out. “That is Mr Unpronouncable Singaporean Name” she said. “But everyone just calls him Steve…..”

Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 10:25 am  Comments (36)  

where nursemyra embarrasses herself

There are two things about nursemyra that not all readers know:

1. Often when I travel I encounter air disasters. I have been in a plane that dropped 30,000 feet out of the sky and had to make an emergency landing. I was in Novia Scotia when Swissair Flight 111 went down killing all 229 people on board. And I was standing on the corner of Canal and Greene Streets looking up as a plane crashed into the first Tower on the morning of 11 September 2001.

2. It only takes 2.2 drinks to get me rip roaring drunk. Most people have never seen me drink more than 1.1


photo taken by nursemyra

So here I am in sunny Singapore taking in all the sights and relaxing with a cocktail every evening. Yesterday was National Singapore Day and to avoid the crowds I visited the very charming Museum of Toys and had a relaxing meal of sliced chicken feet salad. Delicious – you should try it! The MoT has a cocktail bar above it on the top floor so after dinner I wandered back there for a margarita. You now that story, probably apocryphal, about the old fashioned champagne glass being modelled on Marie Antoinette’s perfect breast? The barman at Mr Punch serves margaritas in one modelled after Jayne Mansfield


After 30 minutes of solid sipping I’m only halfway through it and feeling totally plastered. It was at this point that an F16 flew straight over the top of Mr Punch’s bar and nursemyra took a dive under the table. Look, it wasn’t beyond the realm of possibilities that terrorists should decide to attack a Toy Museum, especially one with an air disaster-prone drunk nursemyra in it. But if it’s any consolation to the rest of Australia, I told the barman who helped me up that I was from New Zealand…..

Published in: on August 10, 2009 at 8:56 am  Comments (55)  

a crush on terrible Tom

As most of you know the gimcrack is closed while nursemyra soaks up passionfruit martinis in steamy singapore. I’ve not been doing any medical stuff and my search for new corsetry  has been fruitless though I have managed to track down a stuffed pussy at the Asian Civilisations Museum exhibition “Hunters and Collectors“. One of the six collectors, soldier, explorer, writer and film-maker Tom Harrisson (1911-1976) caught my eye…..

tom in middle upper row stuffed pussies

“Harrisson, the most colourful of the collectors, is described as an ‘enigmatic man, a romantic polymath and a drunken bully’. He assimilated with ease into the Kelabit community in Borneo and was given a wife by the chieftain.

However, when he realised his bride was not of a high social rank, he rejected her and insisted on getting a new wife. He had his way.

The curators have used photographs of the handsome Tom as well as letters he wrote and examples of clothing he owned which was woven by the Sarawak people. What they haven’t included are more details of his career that are less than complimentary

“The war months were Harrisson’s finest moment. He was now virtual king over the highlands of Sarawak, and acted like it. He revelled in the power and the violence. Directing a jungle guerrilla war waged by headhunters suited Harrisson’s self-image. Harrisson was an effective skirmisher.

Women were sex to him, and money. Heimann calls him a “cuckoo,” laying his eggs in others’ nests. He stole his wives and lovers from other men–often right in front of them–and left them when he lost interest. His first wife killed herself. His son was diagnosed schizophrenic, and Harrisson abandoned him to mental institutions.

His ethnography, especially in the book World Within, is marred by his fantasy of what Borneo should be, one drunken orgy of sex and headhunting with TH at the center.


Harrisson roamed through a series of semi-serious academic jobs, and finally, after divorcing his second wife, Barbara, married Christine Fornari, a Belgian noblewoman, second World War heroine parachutist and widow of an Italian baron, mainly for her money and to have a sparring-partner. In 1976, while on a visit to Thailand, the bus they had hired rammed into a timber lorry on a dark road, and Harrisson and his wife were impaled.


The image above is not one of Tom’s impaled testicles, I searched long and hard and trust me if such a photo existed I would have found it for you. Instead it’s a picture of Japanese octopus balls which I have been eating on an almost daily basis while in Singapore. They are second only in deliciousness to the stuffed and fried baby pea sized crunchy squid I ate for dinner last night……. 

Published in: on August 8, 2009 at 1:09 pm  Comments (27)  

singapore sling


nursemyra is on holiday in sunny Singapore, blogging will be non existent or sporadic at best for the next two weeks while I hook myself up to an IV drip at The Clinic

gold wheelchairs

Published in: on August 1, 2009 at 10:30 am  Comments (38)