I am currently reading Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande. Originally published in the thirties it contiains many quaint anachronisms. One that appeared today I thought worthy of comment. She writes about the benefits to a writer of doing nothing. Of not filling every available moments with words, either your own or other people's. She lists a number of ways of spending time without thinking too much and one of them was whittling. Whittling@! Who does whittling any more? Has the ubiquity of smartphones, with their interruptive delights, dealt whittling a death blow?

I am also currently reading Story Of A Secret State in which the narrator Jan Karski has just spent time in Nazi control being tortured by The Gestapo. Spookily the two books come together in the image above which is of a bird, whittled out of a single block of wood by my Serbian uncle who refined the skill while being held in Nazi prison camps during the second world war. 

Now, where can I buy a pen knife!