Tag Archives: Lego

Greenleaf Beacon Hill Dollhouse Is Painfully Slowly Being Assembled.

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.


This is what Teischan, after much deliberation and consideration, wanted as the main present for her 11th birthday on March 22nd.

We kind of knew what we were getting into BUT this is something else.

She can’t do it by herself so I have to work with her — all the time.

I have over the years, with Teischan being #4, built hundreds of Lego, AirFix and similar models — with some of these being v. ambitious, big and complex. BUT nothing compares to this.

Plus the thin plywood is brutal in terms of splinters.

It is hard work. 



The pictures shows what the FINISHED house should look like!


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by Anura Guruge

The Advent Of The 2016 Advent Is Here — The First Chocolates Have Been Eaten, First Lego ‘Ornament’ Retrieved.

by Anura Guruge


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Yes, Christmas is on the way.


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by Anura Guruge

A Lego Set (Taj Mahal) For $11,500 — Good Thing It Comes With Free Shipping.

by Anura Guruge


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This morning I was looking at Lego sets “for 14 and over“, since I need one as a present, when Amazon recommended this! Good job I was lying in bed and had just put aside my cup of coffee.

Wow. I know I still have, unmade, a Lego kit that is now selling for over $500. But when Deanna got it for me, 3 years or so ago, it was close to half that. I know that Legos are getting expensive. But this is crazy even if it has 5,922 pieces. Yes, it is available for less, ~$4,200. At that price it might be worth it THOUGH that is still way too ‘rich’ for my taste and budget. Just thought you might be interested.


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by Anura Guruge

LEGO Sopwith Camel x2 (#3451)

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by Anura Guruge


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LEGO Advent Calendar.
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LEGO movie.

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Attribution of images a MUST.




As I mentioned in this post I am a HUGE fan of LEGO and have been for nearly 25 years — i.e., since Danielle was about 2 years old. I would buy BIG fancy LEGO kits and build them for her — and I remember this really great (and large) Miami Police Boat — while she watched. All 4 kids went onto become LEGO aficionados — with I ever happy to aid their interest. Devanee and Teischan are still into LEGO — Teischan right now making her daily advent calendar (for 2015). I like LEGO too — though in my old age I don’t indulge that often and only do BIG kits.

Well, as I describe in detail in this post, I was very FORTUNATE to get an UNOPENED LEGO Sopwith Camel (#3451) kit at the 2009 ‘Alton Town Wide Yard Sale‘ for $3! As I pointed out I did intimate to the lady that it was a collectible BUT she was HAPPY to get rid of it for $3. Well unopened kits were selling on eBay, at the time, for ~$250 and Deanna wanted me to list it. That never happened. I built it and it had pride of place in our semi-formal sitting room.

About 6 weeks ago Teischan who was trying to measure the length of the wall (in that room) knocked it off its perch and it broke into about 400 pieces. Pieces were all over and given ALL the heavy furniture in that room we knew that we would not be able to find them all!

I was devastated. I was not happy. Checked eBay. Unopened boxes were now going for $450. I was NOT going to pay that much. Found two ‘kits in pieces‘ — both around $90 each. I only needed one to get me the pieces I was missing. But being who I am I could NOT resist getting BOTH — so that I could have two MODELS. Remember what I have said about myself before. I have a great will power, I can resist ANYTHING but TEMPTATION.

So we ended up with three kits in pieces, and I still had the instruction book (and box — with the $3 sticker) from my original. Given that she broke it and she is quite a proficient LEGOist I coerced Teischan into trying to build one of them for me. She, to her credit, persevered for days. But this puppy is very finicky to say the least — and it does say 12+, and Teischan is still 9.

In the end I built them. One of the kits, from e-bay, was 70 assembled. So that was pretty easy.

So now I have two Sopwith Camels and a box full of spare parts. I haven’t checked to see how much I can build with the leftover parts. Maybe I could build a CRASHED Camel!

Well, one Camel is back in the sitting room and I have the other on ONE of my TOY SHELVES. Yes, MY TOY shelves. I have about 6 of those with genuine toys. Unlike other adults I can’t afford ADULT toys. All I can are old kids toys and that amuses I.


Back On Display.



Spare pieces for the ‘Crashed Camel’.


Lego Watch Is Far From Cool, But Sandalwood Watch Is Way COOL.

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by Anura Guruge


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It was an e-mail from Hammacher Schlemmer (and I get near daily e-mails from them though I haven’t bought anything from them for years) Friday morning that tipped me off about these watches. Here is a fragment from that e-mail.

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Just out of curiosity I checked Amazon since I was pretty sure that the Lego watch was unlikely to me exclusive to Hammacher Schlemmer. I was right. Amazon had both the Lego and the Rosewood Watch (or one pretty damn close to it).

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I am a HUGE fan of Lego. I have been buying Lego for 25 years — no-stop — since Danielle (now 26) was about 2 years old. In a given year I easily spend a few hundred dollars on Lego — and invariably think it is money well spent. BUT I hated the Lego movie and this watch, at $165 ($14 cheaper at Amazon than at H-M), leaves me cold. As with the movie I think Lego could have done much better.

The Sandalwood watch is a whole other proposition. It looks cool. The Amazon description says that the wood will ‘wear’ and acquire an even cooler patina with wear. Wow. Am I tempted. Yes. BUT I do NOT need another watch. Like cameras I can get carried away with watches. I have at least 6 right now and at best only wear 3. My main watch is 26 years old. I am OK with it. SMILE. So no I am not getting this wooden watch. Just wanted to draw YOUR attention to it.


Advent 2015 Is Upon Us. Rejoice!

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by Anura Guruge


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As a Reformed, Born-Again, Heathen I LOVE Christmas and always have. I love everything about Christmas — and I have even been known to go to church on Christmas eve because I love the music and pageantry.

My surrogate father [who I called ‘Ta’ (the first two letters of ‘Tatta’, the Sinhalese (and Yiddish) word for father), and after who I take after the most in terms of personality] was a mainly-white, Burgher Baptist. I used to spend all my weekends and holidays with them — he and his wife (my adoptive mother’s older sister). They had no children and he was a lawyer (the solicitor for the Ceylon Ministry of Food) and she the Deputy Principal of Ceylon’s largest and most prestigious school. I MADE OUT LIKE A BANDIT. I was to learn that Ta shopped right through the year to make sure he got enough presents for me at Christmas! Very early on WE dispensed with Christmas stockings. They were too small. He instituted the notion of Christmas PILLOWCASES — and soon we had to have two. He also did an elaborate Christmas dinner, with all the works, for the entire family — most of whom were Buddhists — on Christmas Day. So I was inculcated into the joys of Christmas since a baby.

Anywho …

kreuter29

Similar to what I had. Mine had more blue.

I am also very partial to Advent calendars — ever since I encountered them. For whatever reason we did not have them in Ceylon. To be honest I only encountered Advent calendars quite ‘late’ in my life. In my early 20s. Over the years I used to collect fancy Advent calendars. I used to have a really nice, royal blue and gold, 3D Cathedral one. You opened a portal each day. I think we have bits of it still. But since it was made of stiff paper it eventually started to fall apart.

Of late I don’t bother with a calendar for myself. More fun to let the kids enjoy. Yes, I get them — and Deanna — chocolate ones. I buy a LOT of them each year because I LOVE to give them to people. That reminds me. I will have to go to Hannaford and buy 20 – 25 today! Well, the kids end up getting two each. And one for Deanna. So that is 5 straight off the bat. And at Christmas I love to play the tanned St. Nicholas …

A couple of years ago I discovered the LEGO Advent Calendars. Now I get one each year for Teischan. See above.

Given my interest in religion (in particular early Christianity) I do appreciate that what WE mainly celebrate as Advent is the COMMERCIAL Advent as opposed to the Liturgical Advent. And ironically Advent isn’t a countdown to Christmas BUT to the Second Coming of Christ — and there is  BIG difference. Liturgically the Advent does not start on Dec. 1 (unless it happens to fall on a Sunday). Never mind. This year we are close.

Rejoice. Enjoy. Be Merry. The Advent is upon us. 


My “Tower Of London” Paul Cummins’ Ceramic Red Poppy — Final Resting Place.

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by Anura Guruge


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Tower of London Poppy ARRIVED.        **/ Poppies Sold Out!

1/ Buying Tower of London poppy.        >> Boris Johnson selling poppies.
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I wanted it somewhere where it was both safe and where I could see it, everyday.

The obvious solution was that it had to be close to my PC monitors. And that is where it ended up. It is just to the right of my main (right-side) monitor. It is always there to my right. More or less at eye level. I ‘mounted’ it in a heavily weighted glass vase. The ceramic poppy is not only heavy but it is top heavy. I put Devanee’s Lego ‘Big Ben’ behind it to add some ambiance. Matthews old pewter ‘knights’ were already there and they kind of give it some pizazz.

It is kind of funny. 9-year old Teischan likes the poppy. When she is up here she will come over and look at it. She sometimes touches it. I am glad. That is good. 


We Went To The Meredith, NH, Community Yard Sale Today, Saturday, May 18, 2013. It Was Pretty Good.

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 ..by Anura Guruge


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Meredith, NH Community Yard Sale … — May 16, 2013.


As planned we made it to Meredith for this town-wide yard sale around 9:20 this morning. It was picture perfect weather for yard saling, not too hot, not too chilly — the Sun beating down.

Since we were coming in from the Weirs we started on Rt3 (Daniel Webster Highway) – I having stopped at a sale in Weirs even prior to that.

We started at the communal sale at the Meredith Chamber of Commerce Office, since we also wanted to get a map. The map was the only ‘downer’ as far as I could tell. It was atrocious and a number of folks who were doing yard sales commented on the negative remarks they had heard about it. It was atrocious. It appeared to have been created using computer technology from the mid-1980s! That the locations of the sales were handwritten on the map epitomized the woeful inadequacy of the thinking that had gone into creating this. I now remember that inadequate exploitation of technology was also the only ‘negative’ in what was overall an outstanding ‘Trick or Eat (Got Lunch)‘ event in Meredith in October 2012. C’est la vie.Having lived in Meredith (in what was the original, just 5 houses, ‘Mile Point’) for a few years, 1997 to 1999, I kind of know my way around and had a fairly intuitive idea as to where the sales would be — plus most, enterprisingly, had realized that they better have signs of their own to attract traffic.

We probably stopped at about 20 sales — in some cases being able to walk from one to another without having to get back in the van. We shopped until close to 1:30 pm. We did the top part of Rte 104, Annalee Place, Waukewan St., Hillrise Lane, Pleasant Street, Meredith Neck Road, Whittier Highway etc. By about 1:30 pm we were done and we had run out of money. For a change we stayed within ‘budget’ and we didn’t take any checkbooks with us (not that there was any money we could have drawn upon). Altogether we spent about $90. That was enough. We didn’t get anything outstanding. Lots of knick-knacks. Some oriental stuff, including an authentic Chinese coolie’s hat for me. The only thing that I needed, that I managed to get was a set square. I seemed to have lost the pretty nice wooden one I have had for 40 years. The one I got, for 50 cents, is plastic and rusted but the right-angle is still good.

So that was it. It was good to be back in Meredith. Nice folks, as ever. Didn’t meet anybody I knew, which is unusual. I guess they all left town to avoid the yokels.

I happened to see this neat braided tree just off Main Street in our travels in Meredith today. I can’t recall ever seeing a tree like that before. I am sure somebody will educate me on what it is or how it was created. Click to ENLARGE.

Meredith, NH, Community Yard Sale This Saturday, May 18, 2013.

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 ..by Anura Guruge


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We plan to go this year. We have not been to this event in Meredith in a long time. We are all avid pickers. It is difficult for us to drive by a yard or garage sale without stopping. The Alton Town Wide Yard Sale (on June 1 this year) goes on our calendar months ahead of time and we try to never miss it — even going out in the rain a couple of years ago and picking up some ‘good’ stuff. Our biggest problem is lack of space! I am an eclectic, impulsive collector with no rhyme or reason. If it catches my fancy and the price is right I buy it. Then we have to find a place to put it, and that is the problem. Of late I am into toys not that I ever lost my interest in toys. About a month ago we stopped, by habit, a Saturday yard sale not far from home. There was only one thing that caught my eye. It was this 3′ model:

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They were asking an extremely fair price — though I actually didn’t have that amount of cash on me. There was a little boy around. I asked him whether he wanted to keep it. The Mum and Dad were both adamant that they didn’t have the time to build it. I told them about all the models of ships and planes I build for my son — and how he took over. They still were not convinced. We told them to hold it till we rushed home and came back with a checkbook  When we came back, I again tried to convince them to keep it. No, they didn’t want. So, I wrote them a check. I am in the process of building it. It is a bit tricky. Helps that I have built 20 or so model ships, including the Titanic. Not sure where I am going to put it when it is finished. It really is 3′ long. No, I am not going to tell you how much I paid for it.

This model, though it was a ‘pick’, was by no means my best pick. Four years ago at the Alton Town Wide I saw this Lego kit, unopened, at a house not far from Alton Central School.

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I asked the lady how much she wanted for it. I won’t embarrass anybody by saying what she said. I was shocked. I asked her whether she realized that it was a collectible. She said that it might be but that she was not interested. She went onto say that she had bought it a ‘few’ years ago as a birthday present for one of her son’s friends but it had not worked out. She had kept it and now she wanted to sell it. I asked her twice more whether she really wanted to sell it. She was adamant. I handed over what she wanted. I did not bargain as I sometimes do. When she gave me the box I took it and ran to the car. I could not believe it. Yes, I checked it on eBay when we got home. Deanna told me to list it. I said: “Heck no. I am going to build it. Plus it would not be right.” It was great fun to build. A bit fiddly and some parts didn’t fit that well. But, what a model. So, I go to all yard sales hoping that I might find another great pick like one of these.

Amazon (U.S): I Cancel All My ‘Awaiting Shipping Orders’, In A Huff, And Decide To Take My Business Somewhere Else!

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Anura Guruge


I have regularly sung the praises of Amazon on this blog — example 1 & example 2.

Over the last decade or so I have had a very involved, intricate and intertwined relationship with Amazon. In 2011 I ditched lulu.com (with whom I had been since 2003), AuthorHouse (through whom I published my first pope book) and Lightning Source (through whom I published my second pope book) and started using Amazon’s CreateSpace as my exclusive book publisher. I have published 4 books with them. I only publish my eBooks in Amazon’s Kindle format — and as some of you know I published 3 Kindle eBook in 10 days during the papal sede vacante. I have 3 Amazon credit cards, the latest with 0% APR on all transactions for a year. I am an Amazon Associate (and have been for years) and have an Amazon author page. Over the last 7 years or so Amazon had become my automatic, Pavlovian first port of call for all online shopping. Since I do all of my Christmas and birthday shopping on Amazon, not to mention all the books I buy in a given year, I have to confess that I do over a $1,000 of shopping with Amazon a year! But, Amazon has been good to us. We have never had any issues with returns, billing or charges. Returns with them have been a joy. Publishing with them, whether via CreateSpace or Kindle, has been relatively pain free.

But of late I had noticed a little wrinkle. At first it didn’t bother me. This week, however, it came to a head and today I cancelled about $89 worth of ‘awaiting shipping’ items — yes, in a huff.

I know how Amazon works. If an item is available directly from Amazon I ALWAYS order it from Amazon as opposed to somebody selling through Amazon. (Yes, that also entitles me to the Free Super-Saver shipping). PLUS the deal is that if it is being sold and shipped by Amazon — they have it in stock and will ship pronto. And yes I also make sure that it is in stock BEFORE I order.

It is Teischan’s birthday March 22, as is the case every year. Suffice to say with the pope’s resignation my life had been crazy as of February 11. Though I had already got her her main present, a Windows 8 laptop, I hadn’t got around to ordering the ‘small’ presents, mainly Lego and craft stuff. [I buy all my laptops, refurbished from TigerDirect. I have had great luck. This one was beyond a steal. It was a giveaway. Just happened to catch it. Had just been posted. Only had one.] On Tuesday, March 12, 10 days ahead, with the conclave just about to start, I had a few minutes. Jumped on and ordered 3 Lego kits and a bunch of craft kits. As I was ordering Amazon kept on telling me that I could have them by March 20. Perfect. Had free Free Super-Saver shipping on all of it. Amazon automatically charged the order to my 0% APR credit card. Doesn’t get easier than that.

That same day I had David Nix, a Belmont computer expert, come by to take my main PC apart and tighten all the fans — it has 7 fans. David found that one of the back fans wasn’t working. Yes, I could have ordered from TigerDirect. Yes, I have a TigerDirectt Preferred Account that also gives me 0% APR credit! [What can I say.] But, I went with Amazon. I ordered 3 fans, to be on the safe side and two (spare) cables. Again I was told that they would be available by March 19 – 20. So much so that David penciled it in to come here next Wednesday to install the fan.

On Thursday, i.e., 2 days later, I checked the orders. Only 2 items had shipped — one item from each order. All the others were ‘Awaiting Shipment’ with no ship date. I checked again last night. Ditto. Nothing had changed.

Googled ‘it’ this morning. I am not the only one who had noticed this. Seems it is a scam. It is BECAUSE I had asked for ‘Free Super-Saver shipping’! Well Amazon, screw YOU. I cancelled the orders.

I will go buy the Lego kits at a brick-and-mortar. I will order the computer stuff from TigerDirect. I will buy my books from BAM!

So there. It is a shame. I like Amazon. I wish they hadn’t pulled this little stunt with me. Live and learn.