I woke up this morning to hear the news of Saddam Hussein's execution on Radio 4. I was going to write about how I felt; and then I read Christine's post, which is pretty much exactly what I wanted to say.
I just feel sad, for us all.
Saturday, 30 December 2006
Friday, 29 December 2006
Today, I choose to leave the turbid* angst of the 'Festive' season behind and post about chickens.
Well, Chicken houses, to be precise.
Do you remember that ages ago we bought one of those packing cases off eBay for twenty quid, with a view to turning it in to a chicken house?
This is what it looks like, once we have lugged it up to the top of the garden (in two bits, it's VERY heavy) and I've sawed holes in it, put a drawbridge in and stuck it on legs (posts that sit in metapost spikes that you bang in to the ground). It's so heavy that it just sits on the top of them quite happily, and we have constructed a pen around the underneath, with a lifty-up lid at the end to put feed underneath and keep it dry**; and tacked some plastic sheeting over the top to keep the rain off; although I don't think it really needs it, as it's thick cedar (I think) and has been varnished.
The Pekin Family (similar to the Partridge Family, but with heavier-weight socks) are living in it very comfortably; there are two cockerels and four hens and there's loads of space for them. We've paved the bottom with flagstones to keep their feet out of the wet and they seem very happy.
Some days Cruella DeVil Chicken*** goes in with them and one day last week the Ex Cockerel was in there too, although there wasn't a great deal of head-room for him. So I would say that the box is big enough for six or eight bantams or three or four medium sized hens and their cockerel, but doesn't really have the headroom for heavy breeds.
All in all, we are very pleased with it.
The five laying hens and George their husband (named after B's uncle who bought them for us) are living in a converted 5ft by 7ft shed on the other side of the garden. They have a perch and a droppings board underneath it, and lots of space to scratch around inside if the weather isn't great for them to go out.
Yesterday we put a proper chicken-sized door in for them, rather than propping open the main door; and we started to bring up the enormous slabs from the front of the house to pave a small pen for them. And we put in a nest box. Mary and Sandra (named after the adoption social workers), the two Barnvelder hens, are starting to make 'we want to lay an egg' noises. They're eighteen weeks old now, so it shouldn't be long.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is all for today.
Oh, except in other news - we understand that the new neighbours are going to be moving in up the hill next week. We are hoping they're going to be friendly and I want to ask them if they'll sell us some field. But it's a difficult subject to bring up; I don't want to get off with them on the wrong foot.
* Is this a word? If not, it should be.
** Note the use of the Houseladder 'For Sale' board as part of the pen. I think we've decided we're not going to move after all. Although no final final final decision being made until we've spoken with the new neighbours.
*** She's an Exchequer Leghorn - black and white, and is barking mad - we debated calling her Eva after one of B's Great Aunts, who could allegedly cause a fight in an empty house and ended her days in a nursing home telling everyone who would listen that Prince Charles was about to come and take tea; but that seemed rather unfair. However, I am seriously considering seeing if I can swap her for a more placid hen; she runs round madly all the time, doesn't settle to anything and fidgets constantly. She has also got it in for Exploding Chicken's Sister, who is very placid and a bit of a wimp.
Wednesday, 27 December 2006
Blast *. That SO didn't work.
I love my parents - I really do. They are, when on form, loving, supportive, wonderful. But when they're not ... sometimes the idea of visiting my Ma gives me the blue yips and I just can't do it.
So instead of driving to Somerset today, I had a panic attack. Blasty blasty blast blast. And then I read all of Neverwhere. And now I am on my third glass of FABULOUS apricot wine.
However, in the interim, I have rung Ma and had a chat with her; and she was very sane - pretty mackerel, really.
This is so hard. (Apart from this being a quite drunken ramble which I may delete when I've thought about it tomorrow). Most of the issues I have about not coping with stress come from Ma. She hates Christmas. So I hate Christmas. It's genetic.
When we were growing up, we lived on the farm, next door to my Grandmother - Ma's mother. She hated Pa, with a vengeance. She used to come in to the house when Ma and Pa were out and go through their correspondence. She used to ask us all about their relationship. How Pa was treating us. I used to hide upstairs when I heard her coming across in front of the house - she used to wear an old-lady net scarf and my grandfather's wellington boots; and they were three sizes too big for her, so they shlusshed-shlussed-shlussed across the gravel.
The telephone was a party line - and when we were speaking on the phone, she would pick it up and listen in. You could hear her breathing, breathy, flem-filled, as you were talking.
At Christmas, she and my Great Uncle would have their dinner plated up, in their own side of the house; and we would have ours in our side, a Chinese Wall between the two.
It was horrible. Horrible.
I hated it.
I hate going back. It's like the nursery (it's a seven acre horticultural nursery/smallholding) is preserved in aspic. All the bad feeling, all the stress, all the emotions; they're still there. Pa is 89 next week. When he officially retired , nearly twenty five years ago, he wanted to sell up and go somewhere smaller. Ma won't leave. She's 71 next year. She's constantly tired, because not only is she Pa's primary carer (with attendance allowance), she's also running a business. She's constantly angry at life, for not dealing her a hand of eternal youth.
And yet I love going back. The way the hills look in the morning. The smell of the fields. The view down the valley as you clean your teeth in front of the open window in the morning. The greenhouses full of chrysanthemums (which was my first word, apparently) and tomatoes and the places where the old greenhouses have been taken down and are now planted with pick your own raspberries.
I am torn. If I go back, they suck me in to their world of irrationality - the hiding from the real world, the not doing anything sensibly, the tying things up with binder-twine - metaphorically, emotionally, physically - rather than dealing with them properly.
I miss Pa. He doesn't speak much on the phone. Ma is too impatient with him most of the time to help him. He's sane. He's normal.
He's old. I am going to lose him soon. And in a way, I've already lost him; because I can't BEAR to go down and see him, for the fear of being sucked back in to the madness that is my mother's and my sister's life.And today - Ma was so nice. So understanding. So supportive when I said I'd had a panic attack about going away from home. I can't tell her why I can't come down. It would hurt her so badly. And when she's there for me, she's there. She once drove for five hours, at ten minutes notice, to bail me out of an abusive relationship and then stayed with me for three days in my new digs while I cried.
But when she's not there and I am expecting her to be - it's like a blow to the solar plexus. Like the time I told her I'd been date raped and she said "I expect he couldn't help it". I can't rely on her. She has her own things to deal with and she doesn't always have time to help me with my things.
As an adult, I understand that.
As a child, it hurts so much. Are we ever, really, wholly, an adult?
Am I selfish? Or am I just doing what I need to do to retain my own sanity? How much do you have to give before it's enough?
*NOTE: No 'bollocks'! :).
Tuesday, 26 December 2006
We've had a nice time.
But I am ready to have my house back now. I like to get up, potter along and not have to engage with anything/anyone seriously until I have drunk my tea and surfaced.
My darling MIL goes straight from a standing start to full-on chatty. She and B are currently in the kitchen next to me, sorting out a fry-up (grill-up, actually) and she is busy mentally designing a concrete retaining wall for us and organising when they are going to come and visit to put it up.
I don't want a concrete retaining wall. I want to do it with wood - sleepers I think. I want to design it myself. I don't want someone else taking over my garden.
Oh dear. I love her dearly. But first thing in the morning it's all a bit too much :).
Apart from that, we've had a really, really nice Christmas. My top present is Caesar 4. Yay! And I have some smashing rubber clogs to garden in. And some fleecy welly liners.
The goose turned out beautifully - along with The Boy's fantastic stuffing - and Ma posted us a pudding, which was fab.
Kate and Vic are leaving later on today - to get home in time to listen to the Liverpool match at 3pm.
I am looking forward to having a quiet evening with B, doing our own thing and chilling out. Tomorrow we are going down to visit Ma and Pa for a couple of days. Apparently the dogs aren't really in season any more, and Aunt Edith will be arriving on the evening of the 28th. I don't think that she will be bringing her accordion, as it's difficult to manage on the coach.
Sunday, 24 December 2006
It is Christmas Eve.
Our Central Heating appears to have become lodged in the ON position.
I will probably be blogging over the next few days (wearing nothing but a bikini) because I need to sit in front of the light box for forty five minutes each morning and it is positioned in front of the computer. But if I don't:
Saturday, 23 December 2006
I've done it.
Since the young cockerels have started to find their voices and crow in the mornings, I've been lying awake worrying about whether or not I could manage to actually kill one myself *.
And I can.
I got up this morning and caught the surplus Barnvelder as he was coming out of his house. And I brought him down outside the back door and did the broomhandle thing.
I think I did quite well - it took three goes, in the space of about a minute, to make sure that he was dead - to start with I didn't put all of weight on the broom, but once I did that and pulled his legs sharply, there was a definite 'crunch' and the flapping started.
Unfortunately, because I was panicking a bit by this point about not wanting to cause him trauma, I pulled a bit hard and there was some blood - click here for a photo of him on the washing line, dripping in to a bowl. I don't think it's that gruesome a photo, but B reckons that that's because I'm inured to it - so don't click if you think it might upset you.
B is plucking him in a bin-bag in the kitchen at the moment, as per our 'Ally kills them, B prepares them' agreement.
B was slightly taken aback when he wandered downstairs in nothing but a t-shirt and I presented him with a nearly headless chicken, but he's risen well to the occasion. He did comment that if I die before him he is going to put the words 'Ally - she didn't really think it through' on my gravestone. But he was smiling as he said it.
More pics later as we go along. We are hoping that if he's big enough, we can roast him tonight and then use the stock for gravy on Monday. He weighs in at six pounds dead weight - I think they are supposed to come it at about half the dead weight dressed.
Okay, we're done. I won't post the picture of B not quite taking the insides out correctly - he says he didn't loosen them quite enough before pulling and therefore Bad Things happened. And anyway, the smell wouldn't quite come across in a picture. He used the instructions from John Seymour, which has line-drawn illustrations and says that they were easy to follow.
Here's the finished product. He weighs in at three and three quarter pounds, just over half his original weight. It would have been better if we could have left him another few weeks and fattened him up a bit more; but not bad, for a first go.
Now, I am going out to collect our goose.
* And whether the neighbours would be round with a noise abatement order.
Friday, 22 December 2006
Plea for help here - does anyone within driving distance of Powys have a DVD copy of the black and white version of 'Scrooge', starring Alistair Sim that I can borrow?
Apparently Christmas is not Christmas for B's Dad unless he can watch it.
And as they are coming to spend Christmas here and we have no video player, Kate has tried to copy their video copy on to DVD ... and recorded over the original.
Please please please can anyone help? It's quite odd - both Kate and Vic are obviously quite disturbed at spending a couple of days over Christmas without a television. They are coming laden with things to watch and they are only going to be here for forty-eight hours.
We have got everything that we need now, apart from the goose, which we are picking up tomorrow, and sprouts. I LIKE sprouts. Down To Earth in Llanfyllin was sold out when we got there, but they are having some more delivered tomorrow. They did have some fantastic chestnuts though, so I am all set for The Boy's stuffing recipe.
I am drinking a nice soothing sloe gin and listening to the WH Smith carol CD and feeling quite mellow. Admittedly I am only achieving this by allowing B to answer the phone to his mother, but that's fine.
Gin anyone? *waves bottle around in a friendly fashion*
My light box has arrived!
I've just sat in front of it for 45mins - it is very, VERY bright. And it's got a leaflet in with it with a copy of the Depression Score Questionnaire I did for the Clinical Psychologist when I initially went for CBT. The light box people recommend doing it now, and then weekly for four weeks whilst using the light box, and seeing if there are any significant changes.
I've got a relatively high score at the moment, which is not great - it'll be interesting to see how/if it alters.
Yesterday evening's leaving do in Manchester was really nice - great to see people, although we only stayed for a few hours and came home because I felt that I really needed to be my own bed. I hope that we can stay in touch with them now they've left our client company; it's nice when relationships with work people that you get on with grow in to friendships.
Right. I'm going to get dressed and go out in search of chestnuts. More later maybe - I'm on a roll now, most of the work stuff is done. Yay!
Thursday, 21 December 2006
Well, that was officially Brief But Dire. A friend of mine sent me some reiki yesterday afternoon and I feel quite a bit better today. I have also drawn a mental line in the sand and have stopped worrying about things other people want me to do. I am thinking of having the word 'Bollocks to it' tattooed on my arse, to reveal at appropriate moments.
I know that after more than two years blogging I should have got over my surprise at quite how NICE most of the internet community is - at least, the bits of it I have anything to do with; thank you all for the wise words, advice, dodgy jokes and various cyber-comestibles. Much appreciated. I know that some people are dealing with some really tough things at the moment and I am really touched that you should take the time to think about me.
So, triumphantly, I have achieved quite a lot of things, including filing. I drew the line at changing the sheets, but I have bought three new laptops on lease and some fantastic software that will make the whole lighting design thing much easier to present to end clients as visualisations. Also, by an amazing co-incidence, the one that I have lined up for myself has a graphics card that will run Second Life. Yay!
Filing! And laptops! What more could a person want?
Oh, and B went out yesterday and bought marzipan and ready-rolled icing. Don't tell my mother about the icing - she's posted me a cake and a pudding ("How do I heat this up, Ma?" ... "Simmer it for a couple of hours in the bottom oven of the Aga dear. Oh. You haven't got one. Well. Not sure then.") and ready-rolled is on a par with instant custard. Which will be accompanying our pudding.
I am making a big effort and we are both going out to tonight's party/leaving do for one of the clients we get on really well with. I think we'll only stay a couple of hours; although we do have the hotel booked if we need it - but I want to be in my own bed. It has been so beautiful here the last couple of mornings - frost and winter sun - that I don't want to miss a single minute of it.
Tomorrow - adoption rants.
Wednesday, 20 December 2006
So as Steg said, Famous Last Words.
Damn you, SAD syndrome! Or Christmas Stress. Or whatever you are.
I did have it all planned out in my head - I still do. But I feel really battered and pushed around by other people's expectations of me.
Depression sucks, doesn't it? It creeps up on you and before you know it, there you are, sat in yesterday's knickers, too stymied to even clean your teeth; and panicking about how big a goose's body cavity is and whether you're going to manage to put your socks on in time to go to a Supplier Christmas Shindig in Manchester this evening.
The answer to that would be a resounding 'No', I think.
B has gone to swap a desk out at an installation we have running that seems to be behaving strangely. I was going to go with him and then we were going on to Manchester for this party and to stay the night, in order to go to yet another party tomorrow night. I even booked a hotel online last night, in a fit of enthusiasm.
And then I had a massive, huge out-of-control panic attack based around too many things to do and too many people wanting me to do them.
And now, I have the knickers-socks-goose's-body-cavity problem and we have paid upfront for the hotel and it's too late to cancel it.
Bollocks, if you'll excuse me saying so.
Because of the success of my Bodyclock alarm-clock thingy, that wakes you up naturally by mimicking the sunrise, B has ordered me a 'light box'. The theory being that you sit in front of it for a bit each day and it encourages you to produce seratonin. Lack of seratonin in the brain is a measure (if not a direct cause, but no-one seems to be sure about this) of depression. So that's what the SSRI-type anti-depressants do - they stop seratonin being reabsorbed by the brain.
Anyway. It should be arriving within the next day or so and it should start working within a week or so. So we'll see.
In the meantime, I must go and let the poor chickens out, socks or no socks. And then I might make myself a cup of tea.
Tuesday, 19 December 2006
I know that this is a cliche, but my mother in law is mad.
Mad as a fish.
In fact, on the Fishy Scale Of Madness I would say that today, she is actively approaching Herring.
We have just spent twenty minutes on the phone obsessing about carol services on the the radio over Christmas. The particular one she wants to listen to is in the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool and there was no trace of it on the BBC Radio website.
Crisis on Infinite Earths.
She is also worrying about the weight of our goose. I have no idea how much is it going to weigh. I asked the people at the smallholding to pick me out a relatively small one and I am going to go and collect it on Saturday, along with a few vegetables and go from there. But apparently there is a stuffing-to-goose ratio that needs to be accurately calculated before our Christmas dinner can proceed smoothly forward.
I ordered my presents from Amazon and one or two other websites last night. We have a few decorations we are going to put up at the weekend, including a tree this year - inherited from Kate and Vic.
I have a shopping list that includes things like mincemeat and chestnuts and whisky that we'll pop out and get on Friday and/or Saturday. The sloe gin is ready.
Let the Season of Goodwill commence in all it's clanging glory. I am ready for it.
Monday, 18 December 2006
Allegedly, I should be sorting out invoices.
Kate and I did a mammoth job on Friday - we sorted out all of the miscellaneous paperwork for both home and business, confined it all in files and put the small amount that needs actioning in a tray optimistically labelled 'IN'.
B has toddled off to Manchester for some client meetings and I am at home, surrounded by tidyness and cats staring at me resentfully and trying to will me to turn the heating up a bit more.
We had a low-key fun time on Saturday - it was good to catch up with everyone and just chill out without having to worry about getting up and going to work next morning.
However, I have some sad news. Exploding Chicken is dead.
She had some sort of fit - a stroke I think, chickens are apparently prone to high blood pressure - on Friday afternoon and didn't make it. In a way I am relieved, because at least now I am not constantly worrying about whether she's suffering. We had become quite fond of her, in the way that you do when you keep poultry in the kitchen (as I am sure that many people know); but we are taking comfort from the fact that she has gone to The Great Free Range In The Sky. None of the others seem to be sick or sickening for anything; so I think that it was some kind of congenital problem she was suffering from rather than anything infectious.
Tomorrow the man is coming to quote rayburn and multi-fuel heater installation for us, so I will be able to stop swigging sloe gin to keep warm.
And now, I go to put on my filing hat (and fingerless gloves) and get on with the paperwork. It's suddenly gone very cold and foggy. Marginally better than rain, but it would be nice to see the sun for a few hours.
Thursday, 14 December 2006
Well, the show went okay.
I didn't actually attend, it being a more productive use of time for me to stay at Kate and Vic's and send out Christmas cards; but B is happy with it, the financial shennanigins not withstanding.
Tomorrow, he goes to Newcastle for an afternoon show and evening de-rig. I stay at home with Kate and file things, to try to confine some of the business chaos to remote corners of the house so that we can have a chilled Christmas. I have done no filing since we moved in on July 7th and Kate is driving down tomorrow morning, purely to spend the day bailing me out. I love her. She is a fab, if slightly eccentric mother-in-law.
Then Saturday, we are meeting some friends in Wallasey for our Annual Christmas Dinner. We were supposed to be going to the Welsh Downsizer Meet in Aberystwyth first for lunch - but B just isn't going to be able to make it and actually get any sleep, so we have had to scratch.
Last year, as some of you will remember, we were responsible for bringing The Largest Turkey In The World to the Annual Christmas Dinner. This year, we have cravenly volunteered for cheese and crackers.
I have actually been a bit of a sweat about the whole thing - we have both gone through phases of feeling quite isolated since we've moved. All our Wallasey friends have busy lives, as we do; and of course it takes more of an effort to keep in touch if you are an hours drive away from friends.
I am not the sort of person who keeps in touch with people on a 'cards and no communication' basis - I just don't see the point; to me, that's not a friendship, it's a formality. And I have felt, with maxium paranoia, that a few of our friends were happily doing their hobbit-thing in The Shire and we were isolated out in Mordor and they'd written us off.
B has been more sanguine about the whole thing; but he's been upset, which is is unlike his normally pragmatic self.
Today though, we dropped in to see R on the way home; and I feel better about everything. R and Dani haven't really seen anyone either; so I am no longer making up conspiracy theories where everyone is getting together every night and having fantastic fun without us, and I am very much looking forward to catching up with everyone - we are both missing them.
(And I know some of you read this - you'll either have to completely pretend you haven't done, or come out and say so, so I can apologise for being grumpy and paranoid in person rather than via a public forum).
And now, I am going to bed.
Monday, 11 December 2006
Well, all things considered, being home is good.
B arrived home from lighting a wedding in Manchester at about 2.30 this morning.
At 7, we got up and staggered in to Liverpool for a crew meeting with Young Keith - because we now have a virtual office we have No Fixed Abode to meet and chat; so every couple of weeks we rendevous at the very wonderful Egg Cafe and eat smashing vegetarian food pretty constantly, whilst catching up with each other. This was today's Most Bestest Thing and was very productive. Young Keith is settling in well and he's fun to work with. Also, he lets me try his cake.
Then B went for a meeting with Tinfoil Hat Man.
We are project managing a gig for Tinfoil Hat Man later this week. At this late stage, he has finally revealed that his budgetary expectations are roughly two thirds of the minimum necessary to achieve even a rough approximation of his needs.
This is a problem.
We are going to make no money on the gig. Zero. Zilch. Zip. And many other words indicating nothing, some of them potentially not even beginning with a 'Z'. Neither is he though; which is a small compensation.
We could tell him to take his poorly organised, badly planned, chaotic, drug induced hallucination of a gig elsewhere.
However, we have decided that we are too professional to do that; partly because we should have been firmer with him to start with and beaten more information out of him earlier in the process. And partly because it's a gig that involves a large number of children - Christmas spirit prevails etc. etc.. And also, if we allow him to fuck us royally over at this point (and he is not doing it deliberately, which again, makes a difference), we'll at least walk away with our moral high ground intact and some good photos that we can use for marketing in the new year.
Oh, and did I mention that he was supposed to be paying us 50% up front, because last year we had to wait eight months (EIGHT MONTHS) for him to pay and he disappeared off the face of the earth and his ex-girlfriend kept phoning me to ask if I knew where he was?
But now that has evolved in to a cheque for 50% handed over on the day. To quote the always eloquent Great Kitchen Witch - "Gah".
Please do not leave me comments including sensible business advice. You will not be telling me anything that I don't know already. Double gah.
And then we came home and had to let the chicken out for a walk in the kitchen, because the cat box is a bit too small for her to stand up in.
Exploding Chicken has now cut her foot - her name may get changed from Exploding Chicken to Unlucky Exploding Chicken. She has a big lumpy bloody wodge on her foot that first appeared about ten days ago and healed up. And then a couple of days ago it started bleeding copiously again and wasn't healing in the wet and the mud and the inch of water that is covering the garden. So I've brought her inside and keep applying the iodine solution we got from the pharmacy in France when B got the tick wedged in his belly button, and it's drying up quite well.
She's asleep on the top of a stepladder in the kitchen at the moment and the cats are rather disturbed. Don't tell the adoption agency, they'll think we'll be giving potential children bird flu.
B's comment: "Oh god. Our clients are all nobbers and we have a chicken in our kitchen".
Obviously if you are one of our clients, he is NOT talking about you.
I have had four large glasses of homebrew that is really too rough to drink and I am not self-editing as I usually do. Bothered? Am I? Face? Bothered? Which reminds me that Kate and Vic gave us a Catherine Tate DVD for Christmas last year and we haven't even unwrapped it, let alone watched it. Gah again.
Ugh. Send cake.
Sunday, 10 December 2006
I have just spent half an hour writing a post about ooooh, lots of things. And Performancing appears to have eaten it.
I am going to go and make flapjacks instead.
In the meantime though, I have come across Anthony's new blog at Voluntary Simplicity. If you are interested in a simple, sustainable lifestyle, go visit; he has things to say.
For today, that is all.
Saturday, 9 December 2006
So. Here's the thing.
We are going on a two week theatre tour at the beginning of February. Driving The Black Maze across Europe to Budapest, looking after it at various locations around the city during the festival and then driving it home. We're both really looking forward to it, the need for thermal underwear in Budapest in February not withstanding.
However. We need a house sitter. Or serial sitters.
So if you (and partner/children) would like a few days (a long weekend, a week, a whole two weeks) holiday in return for looking after three cats and about a dozen chickens, in a very cosy (but not very tidy) four bedroom house in a pretty, friendly Mid-Wales village, drop me an email.
I've had a look at various house-swap/house-sitting websites and they advise that the best thing to do is to exchange emails and speak to interested people on the phone (Skype?) a few times to suss each other out. This seems like a good plan.
If you don't have a car but have a driver's license, it is possible that we could negotiate use of our car, provided the insurance could be sorted out.
Everyone considered, but obviously I'll be more comfortable if I already know a bit about you :).
Is this very odd and stupidly trusting? Or just a demonstration of my faith in people / the world / life in general working out mostly okay?
In other news: Today, I feel better. And we missed the school carol service because we were trapped in Everton Sports Centre doing a reccy for a job next week.
That is all.
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Wednesday, 6 December 2006
First, the bad news. No photograph of B's bottom I'm afraid. ; The one I had, with the huge label saying 'Best Value' still stuck to his jeans after twenty four hours because he hadn't noticed, isn't good enough resolution; and it seems a shame not to show him (it) at his (it's) best. And then he wouldn't stand still for me to take another one. I wanted to light it moodily and everything, but he refused. Spoilsport.
So, moving on to 'Currently Reading' ... I've had a bit of a nose-in-book fortnight. Particularly since I've joined the local library; which I can't remember whether I've mentioned already and am too lazy to check.
The library comes once a fortnight - at 11AM on a Thursday. It's GREAT. It parks down the road and hoots it's horn and we collect our books up and go and swap them for new ones.
It's like a small coming home for me - the travelling library was a saving feature of my childhood. I read through all the Mills and Boon, all the Western's ('Edge and Steele' anyone?); the historical romances - Jean Plaidy, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles; the smallholding manuals; the science and wierd-science (we were the only family I knew that used to have discussions about the possibility of extra-terrestial life around the tea table, farm-workers included); and eventually the science fiction. The librarian used to get SF in 'specially for me in the end.
So, it's been nice, in a retro kind of of way, to have the library arrive on our doorstep.
This last couple of weeks I've been deeply engaged with five books by Gwyneth Jones, a series that starts with 'Bold as Love'.
I'm not sure, now I've got here, how to describe them, apart from them being unputdownable. They are cyberpunk, I think, with lots of futuristic technology and brain implants. But they are also post-apolcalyptic - only the apocalypse is NOW. And it's a GREEN apocalypse. There's a musical revolution - only it's a peaceful revolution. Oh, and there's magic. But not in-your-face wishy-washy cast-a-charm kind of magic. It's magic crossed with technology. It's dark and it's dangerous and it's powerful.
Er. Has anyone else read them? Because if you'd like to chip in, please do. I am half way through book number five and I will be finishing it tonight because I'm not going to be able to go to sleep until I've found out what happens. Or more truthfully, I know what happens, because I flipped to the end (I always do, in case I die before I finish); but I want to work out how and why what happens happens.
I've also swum through a couple of Lois McMaster Bujold's 'Vorkosigan' series, which I've read before and came across in a second hand book shop; they are cheery space opera romps and nice easy reading. And not science fiction, but I've read Robert Harris' Pompeii, courtesy of the library - I didn't like Fatherland but I really liked Archangel and I think that Pompeii is better, possibly because I like ancient history.
I've run out now - it's a good job that the library is coming back again tomorrow. And any suggestions for more things I'd like based on Bold as Love would be really welcome ....
Tuesday, 5 December 2006
Courtesy of Zilla, here are six things about me that some people might consider weird. Odd one really, as one person's wierdness is another person's normality. Or something. Anyway, here I go:
- I will not eat turnips. They are cow-food. It's just not right.
- I can talk to dead people, if necessary. Only if they want to too, of course.
- When B is away, I often wear a woolly hat in bed.
- I like to have the clocks in the house set at different times. Half an hour fast in the bedroom, twenty minutes fast in the bathroom, ten minutes fast in the kitchen. I am still continuously late for everything if I don't concentrate.
- One of my boobs is MILES bigger than the other - so much so that the nurse commented on it the first time I went for a breast exam. I was nineteen. I have kept my arms crossed continuously ever since.
- Until I was twenty six, I thought that the towers at fire stations were for the firemen to stand on top of to watch for fires.
My victims are: Stegbeetle, Kitchen Witch, Mitey Mite, Ms Mac, Lisa and Imperatrix. No pressure and apologies if you've already done it and I haven't realised. And if anyone else wants to join in, leave a comment so I can come and visit ...
Tomorrow: Pictures of B's bottom and some excellent Science Fiction.
Monday, 4 December 2006
We went to the cinema last night.
On a date.
See. Our social life is not over, simply because we have moved an hours drive away from any major towns.
The cinema in Welshpool is BRILLIANT. Screen One, where we watched Casino Royal (see Rhys' review, I enjoyed it, too. And can I just say "Daniel Craig! Pwworr!"), has about one hundred and fifty seats. And they sell mugs of tea for you to take in to the performance with you. Also there is an interval (presumably because they needed to change the reel on the projector) which I very much like. And it only cost four pounds. Five if you include the tea.
Did I mention that there was tea?
I am thirty six years old and my ideal date is going to a one hundred and fifty seat cinema in a small market town and drinking tea.
That is all.