February 28, 2011

The Harass Oisin into Producing What He Promised Guest Blog Riot Thread

 

Months ago Oisin, my piano and composing teacher, piano accompanist and organ maestro, musical director-arranger for The Octopus and the Chandelier, and source of cups of strong tea on Friday afternoons . . . promised me a guest blog.  I can’t now remember how the subject first came up, but I always have my tongue hanging out for guest blogs, so once the subject had been raised I wasn’t going to let it slip away.  And then he promised—promised—that he’d write me a guest blog if I’d sing for him.  Not, you realise, that this was going to be a big event in his life, but once a music teacher always a music teacher, and I kept whining at him that it would be great to take advantage of his accompanist skills and he kept saying, yes, fine, so bring your frelling music.*

            Finally the guest post carrot was dangled in front of the recalcitrant donkey . . . and the donkey brayed.

            That was months ago.  Oisin still owes me a guest post.**

            And a few nights ago on the forum someone began a rhubarb on the subject of the Oisin Guest Post, and I said, wait, let the man get through the final performance of Octopus and Chandelier . . . and then we’ll get him.

            Octopus finished last night.  So you’re on.

            Mods are standing by to start a thread specifically created to harry Oisin into cooperation.  What we want here are a lot of comments saying WRITE THE GUEST POST, OISIN.  Variations on a theme are good.  Extra points for creative wheedling.  And when I say extra points. . . .

            Everybody who posts a WRITE THE GUEST POST, OISIN comment to this forum thread will go into a brand new drawing for a signed PEGASUS poster.***  And if you make me laugh † I’ll put your name in twice.†† 

            And in a day or two I will print this thread off and put it through the mail slot in his door.  Just in case he is trying to escape the inevitable by not reading this blog.  So the thread needs to be really long and full of threatening and persuasive adjectives.  Okay?

 * * *

*Although unless he’s been reading the blog more regularly than he admits to, I don’t think he’s picked up the use of ‘frelling’. 

** He owes me two, but I can’t remember what the second one was for.  If anyone else does remember, please remind me.

*** If you don’t want a poster, I won’t force you.  Please nag Oisin anyway.  I really want that guest post(s).

† Write a guest post or my forty-six friends and I will come to New Arcadia and sing Take That and Britney Spears’ standards under your window!  And Captain and Tenille!  And Richard Marx!  And Celine Dion!  And Paula Abdul!  Billy Joel!  Hall & Oates!  Pat Benatar!  Bryan Adams!  (Stop!  Stop!  AAAAUGH!)

†† More than one posted comment is also allowed but you have to say different things.  Repetitions of the basic ‘write the guest post, Oisin’ will only net you one chance in the drawing.^

 ^ Unless I’m in an expansive mood.  I might be in an expansive mood.  After all, we want to wear him down.  Repetition might be just the ticket.  On the dripping tap/squeaky wheel principle.

More knitting. Less opera.

 

Oh ye of abysmally little faith. 

NINE squares! Count 'em! NINE!

Yes, frell it, I’m knitting.  I don’t say I’m knitting well, but I’m knitting.*  And remember there’s a tenth one in the needle case waiting for Fiona to teach me how to unknit a row or two without unravelling the whole thing.**  I acknowledge (especially since it won’t do me any good not to acknowledge) that the quality of my unsquares is what might politely be called variable . . . and the grey ones tend to be worse because it’s the grey yarn that travels around in the Mobile Knitting Unit and suffers distractions.  The grey one on the lower left, for example, was the one knitted at Iphigenie last night.  Now I don’t dare stop in the middle of a row so when the lights went down I kept knitting.  And thus found that I could . . . sort of.  The problem comes when my stitches proliferate, as they are inclined to do—at one point I had sixteen of the little frellers instead of the desired fourteen, and since I was doing it IN THE DARK I couldn’t identify which were the flimsiest, and most suitable for knitting together again, and I didn’t choose too well.***

            And I seemed to be the only person in the entire theatre knitting . . . and I had at least six people say to me, oh, what a good idea, I should have brought my knitting.  So I will be interested to see if anybody else shows up with yarn at Lucia di Lammermoor next month.  The woman next to me said oh, what are you making?  And I said, a hel—a dog blanket.  In squares.  I’ve only just started (struggling with one of my suddenly too-tight stitches, which seem to spring from nowhere, like vampires and ground elder), and I figure the dogs won’t mind.†  Oh, she said, staring in fascination.  —Yo, lady, you too were a beginner once.

           I love this knitting shtick.  It’s the best fidget ever.††  On Twitter yesterday I was bleeping, I mean tweeting, about knitting, and someone answered:  it sounds like fun.  I responded:  All Things Are Fun with Knitting, whereupon Jodi, for some reason, and I can’t think why, tweeted:   All things are fun with knitting?? VICTORY. VICTORY VICTORY VICTORY!!!!!!!  Funny Jodi.

* * *

* I’m so ready to learn to purl.  Fiona comes on TUESDAY.  YAAAAY.  Although Bronwen tried to show me how to purl on Friday—or rather, she did show me how to purl, it’s just it had been a long day and I said, no, no! I can’t cope!^

^ I don’t care that you’re the one who drove down from Skye and was menaced by sea monsters!  I’m a poor sad elderly thing and my brain is melting!

** Too horrible to contemplate.  Waste a square?  No, no,  no, a fate worse than orange shag carpeting or algebra tests.^

^ And at this point I went off on a very, very long tangent about the mathematics (or not) of bell ringing . . . which I have cut and put aside for another post.  Your reprieve is temporary. 

*** Yes, at this point, at the end of a row, I should have stopped.  But I was now interested in the problem.

† Have I told you that my ringing friend Tilda is coming back for another visit?^  And she wants me to show her how to knit.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

^ And she’s agreed to let us torture her with handbells this time.  Mwa hahahahahahaha.

 †† A knitting friend who—er—really knits, and is also musical, asks if I can knit while I’m listening attentively to music?  Doesn’t the rhythm of the one interfere with the rhythm of the other?  Rhythm?  Are you kidding?  I don’t have a knitting rhythm.  Although last night I kept slowing down during the exciting bits.  Oreste is lying there on the slab and Iphigenie is standing over him with the knife, and . . .

Iphigenie and Knitting

 

You don’t even want to hear about the opera, right?   You don’t want to hear how fabulous it was?*

            Too bad.

            And now I’ve spent so much time on what started out as a single footnote** about the opera that . . . you’re just going to have to wait till tomorrow for the next knitting update.  Hint:  I finished another square.  And it did involve some knitting in the dark.  Which may not have been such a good thing. . . . 

* * *

* Pretty damn fabulous.  http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/season/production.aspx?id=10997

I love Gluck;  he wrote the Orfeo ed Eurydice that my pet singing-lesson mangle, Che Faro [Senza Eurydice], comes from.^  But Orfeo is the only Gluck opera I know really well, although I’ve got two or three others on CD.  Iphigenie en Tauride is one of them.  And I was so blown away by it tonight at Live at the Met in your friendly neighbourhood cinema that I’m going to ask Oisin^^ if, wearing his sheet-music mail-order-shop hat, he can find any of Iphigenie’s music.^^^  She has a couple of arias that have the same kind of meltingly, gloriously flowing line and despair that make Che Faro such a show-stopper. 

            You know your basic ancient Greek myths, right?  So you know that Agamemnon, hot to get to Troy and kill him some Trojans+, asked the gods for a favourable wind, only they were sulking, and he didn’t get one.  Gotta kill me some Trojans! said Agamemnon.  Whimper!  Okay, said the gods.  Sacrifice your daughter.  Then we’ll give you a nice wind.  Oh, okay, said Agamemnon, and laid her on the altar and slit her throat.  Gee, dad.  So he got his wind, and you know about Troy, and then he came home, and his wife, who was the tiniest bit cross about Iphigenia, killed him.++  Whereupon Orestes, who seems to have inherited the male-honour fetish, killed her.+++   At which point the Furies felt that things had gone too far, and proceeded to drive him bonkers, but with a family history like his I think he was for the pink elephants anyway.~

            This opera supposes that Artemis (who is generally the one who wouldn’t give Agamemnon his wind in the first place) snatches Iphigenie out from under her father’s tender care at the last minute . . . and then rather ambiguously plonks her down to be the high priestess with the knife for a king and country who feel that the way to keep their border safe is to murder any foreigners who attempt to pass it.  She must be one busy priestess.  Anyway, she’s not having a good time, and then a couple of Greeks get washed up on their shore, who prove to be Orestes and his one remaining friend, Pylades.~~  You the audience know who everybody is before they do, so they get to stomp and anguish (and sing) while you are more or less on tenterhooks as to how it’s all going to work out.  Iphigenie has been ordered to kill strangers, of course, and Oreste positively wants to be killed, and their family luck is fairly dire, so . . .

            It works.  I think it works a treat.  The whole House of Atreus thing generally has always been way too yucky for me to engage with:  killing children, with or without feeding them to their parents, always loses me.  But what the story does do is set you up for some characters who are really, really really trapped by fate . . . which is a fabulous opportunity for a really great storyteller (with or without music) to render his or her audience into a wet spot on the floor.~~~

            I have some reservations about the staging—I always have reservations about opera staging> —but Susan Graham as Iphigenie is magnificent.  Paul Groves is maybe a little over the top but he looks like he was directed to be that way, and he sings gloriously.  The only slight disappointment was Placido Domingo—yes!  Placido Domingo! who generally speaking I think walks on water—but both he and Graham had (we were told) heavy head colds.  She was bearing with hers better.

            Anyway.  I’m playing the CD now.  Graham, I’m afraid, does it better:  this mezzo is a little too light.  Never mind.  Great opera.  Not nearly well enough known. Maybe I’ll see what other recordings there are out there.

^ Gluck’s Orfeo is one of my [mumble] favourite operas:  off the top of my head [. . . EXTENDED BLERG].  I’d better leave it as [mumble].  I started to tell you my top three operas and then thought, no, wait, what about —?  So I raised it to five, and then thought, no, that won’t do, I can’t possibly omit — .  Um.

            So let’s leave it that if I ever figured out what my favourite operas list was, Gluck’s Orfeo would be on it.

^^ You’re all ready for the Oisin guest blog post riot tomorrow, right? 

^^^ By golly I’ll force Wild Robert into those Monday afternoon peals yet. 

+ I mean, cheez, his bro’s honour was at stake. 

++ One of the things I loooove so much about the standard tellings of familiar myths is the way, in this case, Clytemnestra is demonised:  she not only killed her husband—her HUSBAND!—but she had a lover.  You know, if my husband killed our daughter for a breeze and then sailed away to a war caused by my sister-in-law running off with a pretty boy, I’d be cross too, and taking a lover would probably be only the beginning.  And, uh—Cassandra?  Lush little number in Agamemnon’s party?  Among his spoils of war, you know.  Pity about the gloomy prophecies, but you can’t have everything.  She was young and looked good in her chiton.  But you know, kings are like that.   Clytemnestra—shock horror!—took a lover.   

+++ While his remaining sister, Electra, ran around going ‘woe woe woe woe’.

~ Although I prefer the reading—and don’t ask me where it comes from, I haven’t reread my ancient Greeks in a long time—that suggests that Orestes killed his mum partly to take the burden of the family curse—the House of Atreus, don’t marry in—off her and onto himself.  In most versions he does then blunder around being insane with everything a lot, which seems to me pretty reasonable, even without the Furies’ input. 

~~ There are a lot of eye-poppingly homoerotic friendships in grand opera—one of the most famous is in Don Carlo that we just saw earlier this season—but the one between Oreste and Pylades has just become the eye-poppingest I know of.  I’ve read the libretto of course, but that ‘death is a blessing if the tomb unites us forever’ stuff just comes off as operatic silliness on the page, and generally the love-you-bro music is fairly, you know, hearty.  The amazingly sweet and lyrical aria Pylades sings to Oreste after they’re captured is a love song.  And in this production Paul Groves sings it as a love song.  My jaw totally dropped.  I was at least half expecting them to fall into each other’s arms and kiss passionately at the end.  No.  Exuberant forearm grasping only.  Good grief.  I was just looking at the intro to my Iphigenie CD set and the writer says, apparently straight-faced, that one of the strengths of Gluck’s opera is the way it presents such a range of human emotions ‘without the erotic element’.  Ahem.  Wrong. 

~~~ And I love the Big Three of the ancient Greek storytellers:  Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides—especially Euripides.  If you wanted to ask me, I’d tell you I like them better than Shakespeare. 

> And if I had one wish about operatic staging it would be to Banish Forever the Staggering to Demonstrate Emotion device. 

** Some nights I have more of a clue what’s going to happen in advance than other nights

The Quarter That Wasn’t

 

Nope.  We didn’t get it.  We didn’t get our quarter.

Sigh.

BUT IT WASN’T ME.

It was Colin.  He called it wrong. 

I did actually know this was a risk:   he doesn’t love Grandsire (the method, I mean) and he’s usually ringing and calling Fortinbras Curmudgeon Gadzooks Surprise and—Bronwen and I were just talking about this—it’s often hard for these superheroes to come back down to ground level to play in the sandbox with the likes of us.  If we’d wanted a full peal of Fortinbras Curmudgeon on fifteen, he could have done that.  A quarter of Grandsire on five . . . well.

I’m less disappointed than you might expect because it was still fabulous practise, which is what these PRACTISE QUARTER PEALS are supposed to be about.  Forty-five minutes nonstop (more or less) on the end of a rope.  And we still had that.  Although after we failed our quarter we swapped around and let Bronwen and Leo ring inside, and stopped torturing Colin with Grandsire and rang bob minor instead.  But both touches—of Grandsire and bob minor—were long, about twenty minutes each, which is way longer than you ever get on an ordinary practise night because there’s too much—too many people and too many varying levels of skill—to fit in, to allow any one touch to go on for more than five or ten minutes. 

So, modified yaay but still yaay.  My idea is a success.  And we’re going to do this again next month.* 

The day had been somewhat overshadowed by WORRYING.  I was on the treble last Sunday;  all I had to do was keep counting up to five, and back down again.  The treble is crucial** but it still only goes straight out to the back and straight down to the front again.  There are no twiddly bits and the calls don’t affect it.  I was ringing inside today, which meant I had the twiddly bits, and the calls would further jumble me up like clothes in a dryer—something with lots of sleeves, so you get a detergent-smelling rat king when you try to haul the result into your laundry basket.  I thought we had about a 60/40 chance against*** getting this quarter and was only keeping myself on the ground instead of plastered against the ceiling wailing like a banshee with the thought that it’s a practise quarter.  This is why I’m doing this frelling practise quarter gig.  So I can maybe ring quarters without the wailing like a banshee part.  I was also aware that I was not the only weak link:  in the first place, anyone can have a split second’s inattention—and I’ve told you before that you have approximately one third of a second to make your bell go ‘dong’ in the right tiny niche of the row of bells going dong;  in the second place I knew that Colin doesn’t like Grandsire and was only agreeing to call it as a favour, because he likes to prop up and encourage us strugglers as well as the Fortinbras Curmudgeon ringers.

            Meanwhile, Bronwen was coming down from Skye to ring in my quarter.   Since what was supposed to be my first practise quarter had been somehow exploded into double of what you fancy, I was already a bit short of ringers for this second one, and I’d been telling Bronwen about my trials by email and said to her jokingly, want to come down and ring the treble?  And she replied by return electron:  yes, I’d love to.  —Oh.  Okay.  So there’s my sixth ringer.†

            It’s been a rather gloomy, suspicious day when the overcast looks like it’s in a bad mood and the heavy air and superfluity of grey makes you sure that there’s someone in a trenchcoat and a pulled-down hat brim taking notes of your activities and drawing ill conclusions.††  I did have my usual cup of tea with Oisin, who is feeling a little oppressed himself, and the Octopus isn’t halfway through its run yet.†††  I told him that the Days in the Life forum was fomenting unrest and that a riot on the subject of Oisin’s undelivered guest blogs was due to break out on Sunday and he was . . . delighted.  I swore I had nothing to do with this, the forum had come up with it on its own and that I had merely freely and energetically fanned flames already kindled.  As I was leaving he said, Don’t forget to start that blog thread on Sunday.  —So.  You guys.  You have forty-eight hours to polish up your invective and hone your diatribes.  Don’t let me down here.

            Then I pelted back to the mews for the hellhounds’ evening hurtle.  Bronwen was due to arrive at the cottage at about five, and I’d left her keys because I knew I wouldn’t be back yet. 

            I got back to the cottage at 6 o’clock.  And Bronwen wasn’t there. 

            The quarter was supposed to start at 6:30.  There was a message from her:  there had been an outbreak of sea monsters‡ and the ferry to the mainland had been delayed.  AAAAAUGH.  The only mobile number I had for the other four ringers was Niall’s, and it didn’t work.  Bronwen arrived at about 6:29 and I pressed Wolfgang’s tardis button and we were at Ditherington twenty seconds later which gave us forty seconds to figure out which keys went in which doors and where the light switches were.  It was very nice to be back at Ditherington, even if the rope on the three does still run away from you, giggling madly.

            And quarter or no quarter, the adrenaline was going and most of us piled back to New Arcadia for normal practise—which had been part of the plan, so that’s something else that worked the way it was supposed to—and we rang more stuff‡‡ and at least Bronwen and I thought it went really well.  By the time we got back to the mews (where there is more food in the refrigerator than there is at the cottage) I for one felt that I had been well and thoroughly belled—and, in fact, my hands are sore.

            So, as above.  Modified yaay, but still yaay. 

* * *

* Truth is I’m wondering if we might conceivably try again sooner than a month.  After all, we didn’t get this one . . . and this is my second in a week, and it didn’t kill me.  The immediate problem is that I have a somewhat limited good-support-ringer supply and I can’t afford to alienate any of them.  Niall said tonight, hey, we could do this every week  . . . but that’s Niall.  

** I personally think the treble is particularly crucial in Grandsire.  The structure of Grandsire is bizarre, even within the bizarre reaches of method bell ringing, and while a plain course  is no big deal, I come out of any of the calls pretty much having no frelling clue where I am, and figure it out (. . . usually) by where I meet the treble.  

***I gave last Sunday’s quarter 80/20 against, and we did get that one. 

† Our line up was Bronwen, me, Niall, Colin, Leo and Flora, whom you haven’t heard about before.  Flora is a South Desuetude-East Persnickety ringer, tower captain at Lesser Gaberdine, and another of these good natured buttresses of the feeble and hysterical.  She also can ring Fortinbras Curmudgeon.  I was kind of amazed when she said ‘yes’ to my timid request to ring in a quarter of Grandsire doubles:  I repressed the urge to say, you will?  Are you sure?  Don’t you have to sieve your compost or watch some paint dry or something? 

†† ‘No normal dogs behave the way these two do, therefore they must have been specially trained to distract.  The hanging from trees by their tails while barking arias from Handel is especially impressive.  But the woman with them clearly must be in the plot—whatever the plot is.’ 

††† He says we were a better audience than the one last night. 

‡ They were all coming south for the bang-up performance of The Octopus and the Chandelier that they have heard so much about by oceanic wire service. 

‡‡ Including another touch of bob minor in which I had to negotiate the Evil Three-Four Down Bob Minor Single.  I was going to answer claning-on-the-forum’s query about bobs and singles tonight but I am too tired.  Unless some other clever person remembers or can find where I’ve described bobs and singles before I’ll do it next bell entry. . . .

One car, eight bells, and a large dark cloud of prospective dread

 

My sixteen-year-old hundred-and-fifteen-thousand-(and-five)-mile squeaky-steering dented-fender chipped-paint hellhound-haired mud-encrusted stuck-auto-windowed damaged-by-fire-lock* rattletrap beloved old car Wolfgang PASSED HIS ROAD TEST.  YAAAAAY.  In fact he passed it rather comprehensively.  All I got over the phone was that he was done and ready to be picked up so hellhounds and I hightailed it over green hill** and forested dale*** and when we arrived I cornered a Garage Man and said okay, now tell me the truth and he said, no, fine, you’ll need rear shocks† in a couple of months . . . really, the car’s fine. 

             YAAAAY.  I still have a live car.

            So we drove back to the cottage in triumph . . . thirty seconds before Niall arrived with handbells, although I’d actually passed him twice on the road as we crissed and crossed—this is the sort of thing that happens in a small town—which at least gave him warning that I was (a) around and (b) late-so-what-else-is-new.

athenapallas87 wrote:

Every time there’s a blog post about handbells, I feel like I’m reading about some sort of strange magic method from one of your novels, like kelar.# It’s all unfamiliar words to piece together into sense using context, and half the time I hover between absolute faith that it exists and wavering doubt that it’s all just made up.

#That would make you the plucky heroine learning the strange magic method, by the way.

It’s a tricky balance trying to decide how much to describe of one’s more tenebrous and arcane occupations.  I want you to have some kind of clue without boring you to death.  There are people who skip over the bell bits, and I get the occasional cranky email telling me that the writer is bored to death but . . . to some degree it again comes down to this is my blog and I have to keep myself amused first and while I do try to take into account that many of my readers are . . . er . . . more normal than I am, still, this is what I have to write about.   (I admit I doubt this is what either my agent or my publisher had in mind when they came after me with burning brands and told me I had to start a blog.)  As to the reality of handbells. . . . I suppose it’s a pity to make so mundane a remark as that there are a few method handbell videos on YouTube.  And I’m still totally planning on getting a video of Niall and me and two other victims—Colin presumably, I don’t know whether this would amuse Fernanda or not—ringing bob major.  I missed my chance:  I should have tried harder to get a video of Niall, Colin and me ringing bob minor, but I’m so ridiculously thrilled by ringing bob major nothing less will now do.  First, however, we have to get a trifle more reliable at it. 

            And the sad geeky truth is I feel like the plucky heroine, ringing bob major.  I’ve already referred to the extreme thrill of ringing the difficult inside pairs . . . but Colin, the ratbag, is agitating for us to get on and ring a few bobs and singles so we don’t start ringing by the tune.  Nooooo.  Waaaaaaah.  At the moment I’m an equal among equals—but this halcyon situation will disappear like roast chicken into a hungry hellhound†† as soon as we start ringing touches, because the others’ tower experience of bob major will instantly crush my tower nonexperience of bob major.  Sigh.  I’m not ready to let go of not being the least and last yet.

CathyR wrote:

. . . even as a total non-singer, I can appreciate that the thrill from singing must be qualitatively (and physically?) different from the (perhaps more intellectual – although I have been known to grin like a Cheshire Cat and jump around madly) satisfaction gained from ringing a method successfully.

When I start analysing it I start thinking maybe it isn’t that different.   But what someone else said—for singing you ARE the instrument.  Singing gives you a uniquely mad view of your own body—or unique in my experience.  And bell ringing is inevitably a team sport (unless you’re doing it with your iPhone).  What I’m LOOKING FORWARD to finding out is if singing in a group is more like bell ringing.

             And now . . . I was going to say something more about [whispers] knitting.†††  Geez, you guys.   But I have to go to bed early.  Because I have that second pestilential practise quarter peal to ring tomorrow.  And, please the gods, let me actually sleep the night before this one:  I have to ring inside.

* * *

* Although I’ve simply stopped locking him if it’s going to freeze.  If it may freeze.  If the hellebores are looking chilly.  If there is a fluffed-up robin [sic] on a nearby branch.  If the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars.  If it isn’t August.  

**And it has been such a gorgeous day—deepest gentlest spring which of course doesn’t say anything about tomorrow or next week, but for today it was glorious.  And the five miles to Warm Upford is shorter by daylight.  Not to mention that the worst mud-ravine did have a way around it—drat—although I had no way to know that last night in the dark.   I do carry a pocket torch as standard^ but you have to think it’s going to be worth using to go to the trouble of getting it out.^^  Also the gate at the far end of the field that detours around the real impassable abyss was open, but it’s a very long field to have to backtrack over and I would never have been able to find the way through the hedgerow in the dark.  Rural life is so complex. 

^Witness forum references to holding it in my teeth when picking up hellhound effluvia after dark in town.

^^ Ie with a large plastic rewind-handle-extending-lead in each hand. 

*** The last stretch to the garage is on the main road.  I had hellhounds snugged in on short lead and we were striding along, approaching a parking space that has been cut out of the bank, opposite one of those tiny humming barbed-wire-enclosed compounds beloved by the utilities industry.  In this case there was a BT car parked there—British Telecom, the UK’s answer to what used to be Ma Bell, but BT is not the colossus it once was either—and the BT man had already got out of the car and was crossing the road . . . when he caught sight of us, stopped dead in the middle of the road, turned, and zapped his car locks shut.  Snork.  Of course seeing us may have had nothing to do with his sudden realisation that he hadn’t locked his car^ . . . but it sure looked like it did.  We’re so dangerous

^ Maybe he was checking his weather aps for predictions of frost

† Sixteen years old is sixteen years old, and Wolfgang has earned the right to a new pair of shocks now and then.  But the fact that every time he goes in he has to have his steering rebalanced again gets a little . . . old.   I realise that VW is not BMW, but I feel it ought perhaps to have a little more of that famous German durability.  It’s not like I drive slalom courses over cobblestones at high speed:  just back country farm tracks at low speed.

†† A rare species, but there are sightings occasionally.

††† Some shockingly rude person on Twitter has suggested that I did not knit a whole half square last night at the Octopus, and demands photographic proof.  And then there’s the knitting books discussion.  And then there’s:

http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/afuse8production/2011/02/24/fusenews-the-hardy-boys-were-tense-with-a-realization-of-their-peril/

. . . keep scrolling.  With thanks to Sharyn November.

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