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So after fucking up the first delivery attempt, John Lewis managed to send a couple of competent washing-machine installers round today and I have a new washing machine, and a new appreciation for not having been burnt to death by the large lump of polystyrene that had been left under the old one for n years; luckily the machine didn't have any programmes above 60C. The previous owner of this house really made someā€¦ interesting choices.
I'm reading Steles of the Sky finally, which is good but a bit high stakes, so I reread How To Be A Victorian at the same time (it's so practical, and understatedly funny, and truthful about the bad bits, and oh I love Ruth Goodman), and I'm also reading Dracula and a Dave Barry and some 30s mysteries by people I'd never heard of for light relief.
Tomorrow I need to wrap another batch of Christmas presents and bottle up the blackberry gin. I think it may need a bit more sugar, but I have sugar.


Aug. 22nd, 2012 10:09 pm
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I've just spent the best part of three days cleaning the house because family are coming to visit, including my stepmother, who is a lovely woman but has STANDARDS. Two binbags full and the recycling bin up to the brim with paper (GOD WHY DO PEOPLE POST ME THINGS, FUCK OFFFFFF WITH YOUR BROCHURES AND BANK STATEMENTS AND BIRTHDAY CARDS, ALL IN FRIGGING ENVELOPES THAT NEED THE FUCKING ADDRESS TEARING OUT BEFORE YOU CAN CHUCK THEM, AND THEN WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE FUCKING BITS WITH THE ADDRESS ON???) and a hoover gone pfft (good excuse to get a bagless one, emptying them is nasty but at least you don't have to have an eidetic memory for which of the 50000000 practically identical but actually incompatible bags you have to buy).
Apparently one is supposed to feel all cathartic and calm and lord of infinite space with a clean house, but I just feel knackered and resentful. (And I know that the house is still cluttered by the standards of a neat freak with a cleaner, [let alone all the decorating that still needs doing] but FUCK IT, I'M NOT DOING ANY MORE BASTARD TIDYING, I still have to clean the bathroom and make three beds.) What a waste of life! And then I'm supposed to cook for the buggers as well, and like, go out and spend time with them, when I just want to SLEEP.

And I've just finished the last of the chocolate vodka.
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YES IT'S RAINING maybe this unnatural heat will be over before Tuesday after all? Also, I can't paint my front door if it's raining, can I? Hooray!
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OMG. I'm online at home. That's spooky. (I haven't tried going upstairs yet; as this is a stone house I suspect there will be attenuation something shocking.)
Gosh, a whole new world of laziness opens before me. Anybody got anything NSFW they can rec?

Oh yes, I was going to cut sweet peas before it gets dark.
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I went out and tidied up all last year's dead wood from the garden, and gave the Fatsia an iron tonic, and pulled up a lot of michaelmas daisy seedlings (they went a bit mad last year), and planted out sweet peas, and put down many different forms of cat-deterrent and organic slugdeath, and generally gave myself backache. It does look nice.
In flower- last of the crocuses, four sorts of daff, species tulips, wallflowers, cuckoo-flower, primroses, some sort of nasty creeping weed.

(Thin yarrow. Sow wildflowers and nasturtiums, plant out beans, chard, alyssum, mauve lobelia, perennial sweet peas aka triffid. Transplant crocuses and buddleia from pots and adventitious foxgloves from corner. Manure for raspberries. Repeat anti-cat measures.
Wish list: aubretia, small-flowered campanula, snow-in-summer, blue lobelias, crysanth (if I can find some that don't bloody rot off the instant there's rain), garlic chives, more variegated thyme? Waterlily? Longer term: Standard rose- choose when they're in flower- lilac, blackthorn, crabapple, possibly winter-flowering jasmine? Agapanthus (if they're hardy here). Small white alliums. Get spring clematis from relatives.
Large planter for front: rose, rosemary, lavender, scented narcissus? Blue crocus?)

I sort of wish it stayed warm enough here for a scented-leaf geranium to survive the winter- my landlady in London had a geranium bush in the garden. It smelt amazing.

Plot holes aside, Who was triffic, wan't it? I like that Moffatt managed to make spoiler ) even nastier and then get a happy ending from it! That Amy did! With her brain! (And "very old and very kind" beats the hell out of [REDACTED:grumpy description of character flaws in Tennant's Doctor].)
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Autumn crocuses and Michaelmas daisies, nasturtiums, sweet peas, chives, lobelias, cyclamens and geraniums flowering like mad, and a dozen raspberries for breakfast.
I like my garden.
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Hello folks.
A. and I went for a pub lunch in a village called Goose Eye, and had a walk up a stream which used to be channeled for a wool mill; it was cool. I saw a frog.

Saw The Travelling Improv Troupe Who Aren't Allowed To Call Themselves The Comedy Store Players, But That's Pretty Much Who They Are, last night; despite having to do the first half mikeless, they were very good. (They come to the area as part of an outdoor Shakespeare festival, so they improvise a Shakespeare play; Romeo and Bob had a sad lack of actual Romeo/Bob content, but was very funny. Plus, it had cross-class tensions, in that Bob was a sturdy man of the people- "Bob, a builder thou art, cans't fix my roof?" "Aye, marry can I.") Also, during a Theatre Styles, getting the suggestion ballet ("fuck you"); a sketch about the Antarctic getting derailed into a load of one-liners ("they're a right bunch of comedians, this lot"); and Richard Vranch impersonating a kebab.

Interview in two days.

Blackberries have started; must finish off the ones in the freezer from last year!

Finally got round to getting the gutter fixed (now just need to get the plumber in, and a carpenter, oh and replace a window), and also pried some plywood off the banisters on the hall, so the stairs get much more light. So I need to do a spot of painting... at least the place is only Victorian, so I don't get quite the, um, interesting layers left by 300 years' worth of of botched-up jobs that the parental unit's house has.
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Have eaten Chinese lunch with A., have seen Peter Pan (with Sophie Aldred in it, which was nice; Pan v. irritating, as he should be, Tinkerbell well done, pirates nicely evil, want to read the book now), have had four huuuuuuge heavy rolls of insulating wallpaper stuff delivered, which are now squatting in the living room like, well, like huge rolls of something. So now I have to actually do something about this before anyone comes round- I have visions of conversations where the parties can't see each other, voices carrying feebly over the impassible wall of insulation, the occasional hand gesture visible in moments of extreme emotion... at least it would protect guests from my tea-spilling habits.
Since doing something about the elephant in the room involves taking down four bookcases' worth of books, moving the bookcases, stripping wallpaper, putting this stuff up, painting, putting bookcases back (some of them in different places), putting the books back; then getting some of the insulation upstairs by some means that may involve hiring a house-broken Shire horse or something, stripping the loft ceiling, putting this stuff up, painting... anyway, since efforts that are making me tired just to type are involved, I think maybe my living-room may have an interesting statuary grouping in it for a while (called "The Cost Of Saving Money", perhaps.)


Jul. 3rd, 2008 01:46 pm
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Did y'all know that We Are Klang's radio show, series 3 of Charm Offensive, and Milton Jones's Hello are out on CD? I didn't. I do now.

Went to a newly opened Indian restaurant with the Curry Club from work yesterday. Had an odd but delicious dessert, called "fruit salad in custard-flavoured milk". Which it was. Cold; custard about the consistency of single cream- thicker than milk, certainly- and flavoured with cardamom; fruit salad with apples, grapes, peaches, and a couple of other things. Yum. Apparently it was also nice with a bit of their carrot halva mixed in to it.

Nice plumber has mended my bathroom taps, taken away the old header tank (the space where it was is suddenly very useful), and put in an outside tap. Riches! No more carrying water down the stairs from the kitchen. Also, there's an easy-to-reach isolator and spigot indoors so I can drain the pipe to the tap in winter so it won't freeze. [*]
(I don't plan on using lots of water on the garden- I'm agin containers, because they need watering- but newly planted things do need it, and it was a right faff this year.)

Finally got round to freecycling the too-large compost bin, so that'll give me a bit more space to turn round in the garden.

[*]Further jobs: Lag pipes in cellar. Plaster and paint space-where-tank-used-to-be. Get waterbutt, fix to downpipe.
Of course none of the other jobs that needed doing before have gone away...
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No time to post, w*rking... went to a comedy gig at the West Yorkshire Playhouse last night- came out grinning like mad and feeling it'd been far too long. (Tony Law comes down on the correct side of the shark-bear question.)

If James May is a ninja, Richard Hammond is a pirate, Y/N? (Clarkson is the Evil Emperor.) Also: I can haz zeppelin.

The more I look at my kitchen, the longer I think painting it's going to take. Garden is Not Ded Yet though which is good.

Listened to the commentary on the first HIGNFY DVD again. Oh Paul.

Going to get to San Francisco for a few days this summer yay! "Walk round, eat Asian food" seems like a good plan so far, but I'm looking at guidebooks. Zoo?
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April books )
My kitchen cabinets have gone up! They're all tall and white. I still have to finish painting the doors so's I can actually cook without getting spatters under the paint, and then do the shelves and insides... but we're getting there. Also, I am assured that the other shelves being put up can be finished today. Yay.
Bank holiday w'end consisted mostly of painting with interludes of putting up wardrobes and things, and quite a bit of gardening; B. did most of the work in the garden, and now it looks, well, like a garden. I've got a prostrate rosemary, and water irises, and a holly, and raspberries, and violets, and all sorts of good things. Yay. (We did manage to slope off for a bit of shopping and a Chinese lunch.)
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What sort of person gets a new boiler and doesn't get one with a timer? For serious. "No, I hate the idea of waking up in the morning and being warm! I want to go down to the cellar every time I need to put the heating on! That is what I like!"
Luckily, the plumber has found a timer for this model and can install it when he's there tomorrow putting a radiator back on (it had to come off for the damp-proofing to go on, of course!) and replacing a bit of lead piping with copper.

(And this is what I'm thinking about ALL THE TIME at the moment. I wake up at about 6 o'clock especially so my brain can devote more time to worrying about this sort of shit. Or, when it fancies a change, all the money that I'm forking out to pay for this sort of shit. It is both dull and stressful. I try to distract myself by thinking of GIANT SQUIDS [1] and the men that love them, or doing some garden planning. It sometimes works. I have not so far designed a squid-shaped garden.)

[1]When is the turning point for gigantitude in a squid? Are there, as Mason (2008) maintains, squid that are merely jolly tall?
Why are there no GIANT OCTOPUSES, anyway?

Mason, A. 2008. Where are all the lanky squid?. Personal communication, 2008-03-09. Surrey, Mason Gibberish Ltd.
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February books
Read more... )

I was sweeping up leaves in my new garden (yay) when a large Alsatian wandered through the gap in the fence from next door and sniffed at me. There was a small girl in the yard, who informed me "That's our dog." I muttered something about what a nice doggie.
"Sometimes he likes to bite people."
Note to self: mend gap.

Saw Dara O'Briain at the Grand last night. (It always seems a bit unnatural venturing out through empty streets to go into town at six o'clock on a Sunday. At least it wasn't quite dark yet.) He was very good.  )
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I'm exchanging contracts on a house today.

It's a small stone Victorian terrace in a suburb. It needs rewiring, damp-proofing, the chimney venting, the garden wall mending and the kitchen redoing. (Spare money to go to Edinburgh this summer, buy books, eat meat, etc? Hahahaha.) Oh, and the garden's entirely paved over. [1]

I shall try not to babble of nothing else on here.


[1] I have a genuine need for a pickaxe now! Tremble, world.
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The trip to Ikea (many thanks, Tim) was not as epic as expected, although the last time I was in a car that full it was a van, and I got everything on my list and nothing besides. Boring things like folding chairs, and, most importantly, nine bookcases. Nine. That is how many bookcases I now have to assemble. (Well actually two are done, with only the average number of amusing shelves-wrong-way-round incidents. I did for a while yesterday come to the conclusion that it was physically impossible to put an IVAR together and people who seemed to have managed it lived in houses where there were strange localised optical illusions, probably brought on by hallucinogens found only in book dust. But I'm better now.) When they are set up they must be populated, oh happy fun. Then the house will look very odd as it will have floor space instead of pile-of-boxes space. So in fact, yay.

Comedy yay- Dan Clark in Leeds )

Maya is owning my brain even more and reviewing YAs. Spoilers for Elidor and The Queen of Attolia, originally hidden by lj-cuts but I can't work out how to link it like that.
Eragon: "I mean, if we wrote when we were fifteen (and I did) we wrote like this (and I did). A book is going to come out stilted if you're that young, unless you are a Super Genius In Style of Mozart. And a book is often going to come out - uncannily reminiscent of other books this young writer has read. (See: Tolkien's and David Eddings' Secret Lovechild In the Attic.)"

The enormous vat of courgette and squash soup I made yesterday (while listening to Bill Hicks, now that was cognitive dissonance) will last even longer than I thought as I'm going out several evenings this week. It's nice, but has anybody got any thoughts on what might be interesting things to chuck into a small potful of reheating soup to make it taste a bit different from last night? (Current notions: bacon, cheese, peas, heap of herbs. Not currants. That might be interesting, or it might be ickyuckpleh and that would be a waste of soup.)


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