September 27, 2014

KES, 141

ONE FORTY ONE

 

I blinked. And there was Murac with water dripping off the end of his nose.  I’d imagined all that, hadn’t I?  The castle and the banner and the . . . Lady?  Wearing Glosinda and greeting me by name?  My hand wanted to touch Glosinda on my arm, but both hands were occupied:  one holding my blanket closed and the other forcing my bad leg straight.

Just as I’d imagined all that about a black tower and a company of riders and a hovering kestrel.  Right?  Maybe the Spirits of the Black Lagoon had some hallucinatory qualities—aside from the non-specific impression that your brain has just exploded if you drink any.  Maybe there were magic mushrooms growing in my leg after it having been topically applied there.  And that had been the same Lady I’d seen when I’d been imagining all those other things?  Hadn’t it?  I’d been too dazzled by her dress—her gown—to remember much past the dazzle—deep jewel colors, lace, long sweeping skirts, blue?, red?, something that went well with a golden sighthound—and never mind the Lady’s clean combed shining hair and bright clear eyes not red and puffy from exhaustion and weeping.  And total lack of visible bruises.

If a psychiatrist were assessing me for entry into the locked ward of the local laughing academy would my consistency of hallucination be in my favor or against me? Although how was I defining ‘against’ here?  If they could guarantee that I’d find life genuinely humorous from inside the rubber room I’d go quietly.

I felt even smaller and shabbier and more beat up, trying to remember anything specific about the Lady. Maybe it was just sensory overload.  After you’ve been fighting off the enemy with your enchanted sword while wearing a dirty pink cotton nightgown and you are suddenly presented with a graceful vision in radiant velvet your neurons rebel.  I couldn’t remember her face—I couldn’t remember what color her eyes were—blue?  Hazel?—or all that flawless hair—blonde?  Grey? —Green?  Purple?  No, I’d probably remember green or purple.

Funny though. I could remember her pen.  The feather was reddish-brown, russet or chestnut, and barred with dark brown or black.  I couldn’t remember ever having seen a quill pen that wasn’t white or dyed, not that quill pens were a much of an item in twenty-first-century America, but I went to fantasy cons where they sometimes were.  This particular feather looked like it had come straight off the bird.  My knowledge of birds big enough to produce quills for pens was limited.  Domestic geese came in spots and stripes as well as white, didn’t they?  I couldn’t remember any tawny-red ones though.  What else was there?  Great Auburn Vulture?  I wasn’t in a good position to borrow my mother’s Raptors of the World book to check the colored plates.

“ . . . We knew,” Murac said, “New Defender coming.”

I tried to focus on what Murac was saying. They had known they had a new Defender coming.  How did they know?  And did they know in advance that their new Defender was a useless mare?  If I had to characterise those first minutes in Murac’s world I would have said they were not expecting, um, me.  They’d have decided the terrified non-babe in the big metal box with wheels was part of Borcaithna’s hand slipping and nothing to do with the Defender they had wanted a look at.  In that case how did they know I was who they were expecting?

I was not going to ask.  Asking questions was always a mistake here.   Furthermore with Tulamaro behind me rumbling like a surly volcano I wanted to keep the provocation level low.

I didn’t want to think I already knew that answer. That it might have been where I had come from.  From not being killed by the black thing.  Supposing there was a ‘where’ about the black thing.  When a scuzzy old bounty hunter rides in from the north, it’s good news.  When a handsome young lieutenant rides in from the south, it’s bad news.  Unfortunately the good news comes with the team member you don’t want.

When—when—I saw Watermelon Shoulders again he so had explaining to do. He was responsible for Silverheart and Glosinda.  Okay, they had saved my life with the black thing—but if I’d just been recently-divorced middle-aged genre-writer Kes Macfarquhar I bet the black thing wouldn’t have noticed me.  I wouldn’t have been dropped into that STAR TREK reject plot in the first place.  Never mind all the introductory flimflam at Rose Manor. . . .

Watermelon Shoulders was responsible for parting me from my dog.  He’d better be taking excellent care of her.  No, I wasn’t going to start leaking tears again, just because I was wet and hungry and cold and the only warm part of me was my throbbing leg.  And possibly my overheating brain.  I wondered if the black thing and the black tower had anything to do with each other.

Murac wiped his hand across his face and dripping hair and dropped what looked like a good handful of water onto the ground. It went splat anyway.

“Hey,” I said suddenly, before I could stop myself—my question-asking compulsion, foiled of asking anything important, was at least going to ask something stupid or break itself trying—“who—or what—threw all that water? And why?

Astur laughed.

An attic full of books

THERE’S TOO MUCH GOING ON* including various bits of news** both good and bad that I haven’t entirely got my head around yet*** although when I do some of them will make it onto the blog.

Meanwhile I thought I might at least post some photos of an attic full of book boxes as requested by some strange person on the forum.

AAAAAAUGH

AAAAAAUGH

This is what greets you at the top of the stairs.   That’s the corner of my old double bed from Maine on the left, hard up against the end wall, pretending to be a Guest Room.  When I get it made up again it will be a very good place for Lying with the Hellmob.  The hellhounds and I had begun to explore this interesting possibility back when Third House was still Third House.  And a double bed is enough bigger than a sofa I may be able to trap the hellterror in place more effectively.

But this is what I mean about lack of impressiveness–although you may be dazzled by my colour sense–you’re looking at nineteen or twenty boxes wedged into that corner, but since you can only see the outside rows it’s a big meh.

YEEEEEEEEP

YEEEEEEEEP

You’re now standing with the bed behind you and the yellow filing cabinet to your left, looking down the length of the attic.  This is the long kitchen table, worth £1.79, built out of bits Peter had found in rubbish tips, that when we moved out of the old house I REFUSED TO GIVE UP.  And I was right.  It is perfect as a long skinny attic table.  That’s the notorious dormer window that has produced those interesting ceiling angles, some of which you can see.  And those are avocadoes on the window sill, in case you’re wondering, ripening in the sunlight that blasts in during the day.  If you peer into the murk to the far end of the attic you may just about be able to make out EMPTY SHELVES.  Yes.  I keep putting stuff on them and then taking it off again because how am I supposed to choose?  Although Peter’s 1,000,000,000 bound annuals of PUNCH take up a good deal of the space you can’t see, and my encyclopaedia will go on those shelves too when I find the rest of it.

And that architectural feature in the upper right-hand corner is the boxed-in, so to speak, chimney.  Why it has a sort of hoop skirt built out from it halfway down (or up) I have no idea, but all shelves to pile books and book boxes on are good shelves.

UUUUUNNNNNNNGH

UUUUUNNNNNNNGH

This is the left-hand far corner, so what is beyond the table on the same side of the attic.  And again . . . not so impressive.  But you’re looking at nearly thirty boxes you just can’t see most of them.  What you are seeing at the bottom of the picture in the open box is the limited edition illustrated ROSE DAUGHTER.

BLAAAAAAAAAARGGGGH

BLAAAAAAAAAARGGGGH

 

This is now behind the chimney.  Peter’s gazillion PUNCHES are immediately to your left;  the corner with the unimpressive thirty boxes is now behind you . . . more or less.  You’re a bit crowded back here.

I am particularly pleased with the table.  It’s one of the few pieces of furniture that came over with me from Maine, with the bed and the blue velvet sofa, and it was for the chop this move;  there was nowhere to put it.  I’m a little nostalgic about the stuff I brought over with me because barring the 1,000,000,000 books there isn’t a lot of it–and I did have to get rid of my baby grand piano.   This table has been sitting at the mews waiting for the axe to fall since like the kitchen table it isn’t worth anything BUT IT’S A PERFECTLY GOOD TABLE.  And then I thought, wait a minute, I can use it a Mediating Structure to make the wrangling of book boxes marginally less appalling.  So it’s shoved up against the back of the chimney and there are and/or will be stacks of two boxes below it and stacks of two boxes on top of it . . . instead of stacks of four boxes of books.  Hurrah.  Yessssss.

MOOOOOOOAAAAAAN

MOOOOOOOAAAAAAN

The view from above.  Just by the way, don’t get too excited by any labels you may see.  Most of them are wrong.  Well, most of the ones on Peter’s backlist are wrong.  My backlist, on the other hand, is 99% gorgeously and specifically accurate because I have a secret weapon named Fiona.

WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE

WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE

And, when appropriate, I get books out of their boxes and pile them interestingly in available gaps, available being another of those mutable concepts.  I’ve got a lot of Peter’s piled up on the chimney shelf just out of frame in the long shot of the ex-kitchen table.  And just by another way, I have no idea where SHADOWS is.  I haven’t seen it at all.  I hope it’s hiding somewhere at the cottage.

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

And because I am hopelessly neurotic, I’ve saved a few empty boxes . . . just in case I need them later.  Yes, that’s a sink on your right.  I have them piled in the loo because there isn’t anywhere else.

* * *

* Well how unusual

** No, no, not the kind you want

*** Although I HAD MY FIRST VOICE LESSON IN FOREVER on Monday YAAAAAAAY.  It wasn’t even as bad as feared^ but I still have a good deal of lost ground to make up.  AND BOTH MY PIANO AND I SOUND DIFFERENT IN THIRD HOUSE’S SITTING ROOM.

^ Although if it had been as bad as feared it would have involved alien abduction and earthquakes and a recount in Scotland that demonstrated that they’d left the UK after all, which leaves quite a lot of room for a voice lesson still to be pretty bad in.

 

 

KES, 140

 

ONE FORTY

“WHAT?” I said again. I tried to lower my voice.  “What hasn’t happened in a long time?”  I wanted to know, but I wanted to get away from the armful of naked woman remark as fast as possible too.  I was shivering harder, in spite of the blanket (or cape), shivering hard enough that my wounded leg was threatening to give way again.  You are not going to cave on me, I said to it—telepathy ought to be possible with your own body parts—and tried surreptitiously to press one hand against the thigh of that leg to stop the knee buckling.  I didn’t want Murac diving for me.  I didn’t want Murac anywhere near me ever again.

“That Defender can understand us,” said Murac, and I thought he sounded wary. I doubted that the tenets of modern feminism were well-known in Murac’s world but if there were women soldiers inclined toward the, um, filleting of insolent men there might be a practical similarity.  Gender politics.  They are everywhere there are genders.  I had spent a good deal of my professional career performing a kind of metaphorical filleting.  But that was in my own world where I occasionally had a clue what was going on.  I felt tears pricking at the corners of my eyes again.  I was so tired.  And confused.  And cold.  And my teeth were missing Murac’s shoulder.

And the pain in my leg seemed to be occupying most of my brain. There must be something I could usefully be thinking about.  If I had a brain available.

Murac wasn’t exactly standing with his hands over his groin but it seemed to me he was standing the way an old soldier might who was expecting to have to protect himself from sudden assault. I wondered how much force someone was allowed to use against his Defender.  Even if she was threatening to fillet him.

“I’ve been understanding you right along,” I said. Barring the occasional azogging and giztimi.

Murac shook his head. “Na so much,” he said.  “When the stones choose you, eh . . .”

You saw the stones roll. . . .   You saw Lorag put them through fire and water and earth.  “Lorag,” I said.  “Who is Lorag?”

Now Murac definitely looked wary. There was a rumble behind me that was probably Tulamaro.  It was a negative sort of rumble.

But Murac straightened out of his slight warding crouch and his face dropped wary and became determined. “Should na have mentioned her,” he said.  “She . . .” he hesitated.

Louder negative rumble from Tulamaro.

But Murac shook his head. “Na.  Here is Defender.   And the stones chose me.” He grinned unexpectedly.  The grin was still creepy but there was an edge to it I hadn’t noticed before.   “Giztimi, eh? Arnehgh.Arnehgh ended with a glottal stop like a body blow.  And my new insta-translate function told me that giztimi was more runs with scissors than strictly moron—which had been my first guess an eon or two agoand arnehgh was more loose cannon with the fuse burning than weasel which would probably have been my first guess if Murac was about to say something that would piss off Tulamaro.

There was a low nasty laugh from somewhere behind me. Astur, I guessed.  The naked-woman remark had sounded like his voice.  He was the weasel. I was pretty sure he’d be out to do Silverheart’s bearer what mischief he could but I wasn’t going to turn around and check his position.  Tulamaro didn’t like me but I was pretty sure he thought I was this Defender, and would probably stop the likes of Astur from accidentally killing me—‘so sorry, my hand slipped’.

We’re all going to die . . . drifted unpleasantly across my memory.  I banished it.  I went on staring at Murac, willing him to say what he was poised on the brink of saying.  I stood up as straight as my leg would let me, and tried to look as fierce and Defendery as possible.  A blanket was less embarrassing than a rosebud-embellished nightgown but I doubted it was any more authoritative.

“Lorag is our zhulmgwlda,” said Murac, and my insta-translate heaved and fumbled, like someone who has just caught a hot potato and it’s a lot hotter than they were expecting.  Random syllables bounced around inside my head, caroming off the skull and going squish splat thud through my ex-brain. Ra lah dlah cors fa mor un ta fat grue blee storn. . . .

I saw a castle on a hill and a banner divided into quarters by two swords, containing a hawk, a sighthound, a horse and a rose. I saw a woman in a high tower with a silky golden sighthound at her feet.

Lady, said the insta-translate. Try harder, I answered.

The woman had been writing. But she now laid her pen down with a sigh, and for a moment she slumped forward, elbows on the table, like any tired, written-out person.  I’d done that slump many times, with my elbows either side of my keyboard.  Then she straightened and turned toward . . . well, turned toward where my point of view was coming from.  As if she saw me.

“Kestrel Macfarquhar,” she said. As she turned, the sleeve on her left arm rucked up, and on her wrist she wore Glosinda’s twin.

Shaman, said the insta-translate.

Backlist, addendum

 

PamAdams

‘Pavlova, drag these boxes of books up the stairs for Mommy, please.’

::falls down laughing:: Now why didn’t I think of that?  She’s got both the legs sprung of extra-supreme-alloy and the jaws of death.*  We could have done it together. It could have been a bonding experience.**

However. It wasn’t.  And at least this means there are no teeth marks on the books. And yes, I finished carrying the last monster boxes upstairs yesterday although I admit I unpacked the three heaviest*** and took them up in armfuls.

ME is a weird disease. I have no idea why I was allowed to heave a hundred book boxes† around without serious repercussions.  Because—so far anyway—there have been no repercussions.††  I am inevitably reasonably fit because of all the frelling hurtling I do although on bad days it tends to be more like dawdling but the ME means that I have to assume I have No Stamina Whatsoever because I frequently don’t, often with diabolical suddenness, especially when we’re a couple of miles from where we left Wolfgang.  You live like this for fourteen years and you start thinking of yourself as rather flimsy. I feel a bit like I’ve had an unexpected body transplant†††.  No doubt the old familiar rickety one will be returned soon.  And then I’ll fall over.

This isn’t the first time the ME has let me cope with something that I REALLY NEED TO COPE WITH‡—moving day itself, for example, when I was a lot thinner on the ground generally than I appear to be at the moment—but it seems to me unlikely that I’m really going to get away with this.  Presumably one day soon, when I’m planting autumn pansies, say, or putting endless dog bedding into the washing machine or taking endless dog bedding out of the washing machine . . . I will suddenly need to sit down for thirty-six hours.  Never mind.  The backlist is in the attic. ‡‡

* * *

* Someone in the forum said, after I posted the photos of Pav on her birthday, that she found the Jaws of Death photo a little anxious-making. I HAD TO WORK REALLY HARD TO GET A JAWS OF DEATH PHOTO AT ALL.  Pav is not naturally a Jaws of Death kind of dog.  She just happens to be a bull terrier and the mythology around them is very jaws-of-death-y.  If you push the lips of any dog back you get pretty much the same view:  short front teeth framed with fangs.  Pav is mouthy—if you play with her you’ll probably find yourself with your hand in her mouth at some point^—but she hasn’t bitten me since she was an infant and hadn’t quite got it that you can’t chew on humans the way you can your littermates.  She was actually easier to get this point across to than the hellhounds had been because she’d been socialised very very very well before she came to me.  She may yet grow out of being mouthy.  Chaos, the eternal puppy, was mouthy for years.

^ I think I’ve also told you she’s a licker and a nibbler. The licking is fine, she’s not at all drooly+, but the nibbling is a little exciting since she favours places where the skin is thin, like necks and the insides of elbows.

+ Except in her water bowl. Ew.  Which I have to change about four times a day.  She has the most extraordinary drinking style.  She’ll stand there going SLURP SLURP SLURP SLURP for, like, minutes, and when she comes away the water level hasn’t gone down at all, there’s just this—ew—churned up FOAM on the top.  Good thing she gets a lot of wet food or she might die of not actually swallowing any of the water that passes through her mouth.

** The hellhounds would have opened one eye, gone, Eh?, and closed the eye again.^ The hellhounds had originally been Rather Interested in the new Alp in the garden . . . PEE ON THAT, GUYS, AND YOU WILL NOT LIVE TO PEE AGAIN.  One of the things about having a proper garden is having your hellmob in it but things can get a little out of control when you’re also in the centre of town.  When we got back from the second and FINAL book box run on Monday I let Pav out of Wolfgang because that’s what you do, you turn off the engine and let the critter(s) out but because of the size of Atlas’ trailer the gate was still open.  Which Pav shot through and disappeared . . . while I was letting the hellhounds out of the house and discouraging their interest in the Alp.  I heard Atlas calling her, thought OH GHASTLY AWFUL END OF THE UNIVERSE TYPE THINGS, ran out into the street and called her . . . and she came.  Noble Pav.

*** One of encyclopaedias, and no I haven’t found the missing box yet^, one of MERLIN DREAMS and one of the illustrated ROSE DAUGHTER. Any one of these three weighed nearly as much as rather-large-box-shaped Wolfgang.

^ It would be encyclopaedias, you know?  If it were one of my gazillion boxes of out of print editions of books I’ve forgotten writing I would never have noticed.  In fact, I may be missing a few boxes of my gazillions of out of print editions of books I’ve forgotten writing and haven’t noticed.

† And I did break a hundred. I’d forgotten about the half dozen I left in Peter’s office, two of which because they were labelled ‘files’ and ‘mss’, and the others because he still has some empty bookshelves in there.  But I didn’t carry these upstairs.

Also if you count the twenty or so boxes of his backlist from Peter’s office and bedroom at the mews that Nina and Ignatius packed and brought over THAT’S EVEN MORE BOXES OF BACKLIST TOWARD A TERRIFYING TOTAL.^

^ I notice that Peter has more copies of his recent books. This may just be the exigencies of publishing but I suspect there may be some malign influence from his second wife.  THEY’RE OFFERING YOU MORE COPIES? TAKE THEM. SOMETHING IS GOING OUT OF PRINT AND THEY’LL LET YOU HAVE 1,000,000,000 COPIES FOR 7P PER? TAKE THEM. Let it be recorded that I have suffered for my sins.

†† Although the arnica will have helped. Arnica the Wonder Drug.

††† I wish they’d given me more hair and fewer wrinkles. Ah well, if they had, it would be harder giving this body back.

‡ I wonder a bit about late-onset ME. I don’t know that many other people who have had it long-term^ but my vague unreliable impression is that the younger you are the bigger and more unpredictable a rat bastard it is.  My first eighteen months of it were entirely horrible but it mostly only knocks me over badly any more when I haven’t been behaving like a person who knows very well she has ME and had better stop with the shot-putting and the mixed martial arts.  And it will usually let me pull myself together if it’s urgent, although it may make me pay and pay and pay and pay and pay for it afterward.

^ I’m also not convinced that people who get over it really had ME, although since I also believe it’s a continuum or a syndrome and not a single disease, they may just be at the far end of the range. That or it’ll be back when they least expect it.  LIE DOWN NOW. BECAUSE I SAID SO.

‡‡ poodleydoo

Pictures? I would love to see pictures of the books. Even books in boxes. I’m just so curious to see what 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 books looks like. You know, in a house, or rather, an attic.

Hmm. I was looking the attic with this request in mind today.  I’m not sure it’s really all that obviously impressive.  I’ve done my BEST to wedge things around the edges—and there’s a chimney in the way—and it’s a long thin attic with peculiar corners, see previous blog on the subject of the ceiling.^  I’ll have a go at photographing the chief ramparts and see if I can make them look amusing.

^ I only hit my head ONCE. Of course now that the dramatic bit is over with I’ll forget to be careful again. Ow.

The backlist came home today

 

All 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 boxes of it. I should know, I shifted all of them. I am a HEROINE.  Peter says so.  I am a heroine having a nice little quarter bottle of champagne.*  I’m kind of assuming I won’t get out of bed at all tomorrow** because all my muscles will have gone paralytic*** as well as the ME saying, you did WHAT? Lie down,† but tonight I am aglow with virtue and a certain amount of astonishment.  I’m still half spazzing with adrenaline so I thought I could tell you about how amazing I am.

Everything went wrong really early when I had a tech disaster over breakfast†† so I got up to Third House, to meet Atlas and his trailer, a good half hour later than scheduled. Fortunately Atlas is used to me.

It took two trips to haul all those boxes home††† and Atlas got all lugubrious the first time and said it might take three‡ whereupon I went into Frantic Action Mode and shoved a dozen boxes into Wolfgang, who is a bit tardis-like that way.  We weren’t going to get our somewhat bedraggled loot‡‡ into the attic today so Atlas unloaded it onto a pallet of black plastic garbage bags on the paving in front of the summerhouse‡‡‡ and then we rushed back for the second load . . . well, ‘rush’ does not pertain to Atlas’ trailer, but he set out while I went back to the cottage for Pav and (a) got embroiled with a neighbour having a flap (b) WOLFGANG WAS MAKING A STRANGE NEW NOISE§ (c) got stuck behind a bicycle for about three miles.§§  By the time I finally arrived Atlas had nearly finished his plan for world peace and was just drawing up his list of world leaders to send it to.

When Atlas got the last of the second load into the back garden it was past his time to leave. So I was left looking at an Alp of book boxes.  Peter told me helpfully that it might very well rain tonight.  Not enough to do the garden(s) any good.  Just enough to wet down boxes of backlist.

Tarpaulin, said Peter. Um, I said.  And started carrying boxes upstairs.  I meant to keep count, but I kept forgetting.  Nearly a hundred.  No, I’m serious.  Over ninety but not quite a hundred.  I think.  Some of them were small.  Not very many.

It took me quite a while. Atlas had sensibly put most of the biggest boxes in the bottom layer and by the time I reached it I had blisters on the middle joints of my little fingers and the insides of my arms just below the elbows.  I was also cranky. I shifted about twenty of these last leviathans under the porch roof by the garden/sitting room door in the niches created by the bay windows. Everything else is in the attic. Oh, and yes, it is all going to fit. . . .

I think I’ll take another arnica.§§§

* * *

* It’s going to be a drunken, revelrous week: we’re taking Nina and Ignatius out to dinner on Friday as an INADEQUATE THANK YOU for everything they’ve done around the house move.  Ignatius installed the much delayed splashback just this weekend.  I hadn’t had a car^ all week so I finally rang the Hardened Glass People on Friday and my impression is that they went around looking under everybody’s desks till they found it.  However, they did find it.^^  And Ignatius installed it.  Hurrah hurrah hurrah.  Tick one more thing off the House Move list.  Only nearly as many things left on said list as there are boxes of backlist.

^ And they mended the thing they found+ but everything I took him in for is still there going zap whine roar moan.

+ Note to self: next time Wolfgang starts rattling like a nearly twenty-year-old car, ask them to check that there are no shock absorbers ready to fall off and go whirling down the road independently while Wolfgang and I blast away in a sudden, unplanned different direction.

^^ I should not have been driving on Friday—I told you it was a bad ME day—but God was looking out for me.  He/she/it/they could have just not given me an ME day in the first place but I suppose that would be too easy.

** YAAAAAAY says the hellmob. MOVE OVER.

*** See, the champagne is therapeutic.  Really.  Absolutely.

† Yes, all right, don’t be so pushy, I need a pee first.  I’ll lie down again in a minute, supposing the hellmob has left me any space. Bed sharing presently is a bit problematic because HALF the bed is still taken up with all the sheets and towels out of my airing cupboard.  And have I mentioned that Atlas, my shelf builder, is GOING ON A FORTNIGHT’S HOLIDAY?

†† Most of my frelling kit at this point is ancient as tech goes, and while I hope the desktop—which is in fact the oldest of all—will soldier on for a while and possibly Pooka also, both the iPad and the laptop are frelling racing down that last long slope.  Poor Raphael would already have the new stuff at least ordered and probably installed by now if I didn’t KEEP CHANGING MY MIND.  There’s this vast horrible continuum of specs and . . . and . . . but the bottom line is that the Apple experiment has been kind of a bust.  Pooka—who is an iPhone, for anyone who has forgotten (!)—is okay and I’ll worry about what to upgrade her to when she starts failing, but I have had it with the iPad refusing to play nicely with all the Microsoft stuff I’ve been living by for the last fifteen or so years.  Fifteen or so years ago you could not get Apple over here, or at least no one would support it, so when I bought my first real computer it just was not an issue that all my American friends said Apple is better.  And I loathe Microsoft but it’s what I’m used to and I can’t be bothered trying to learn a whole new ratbagging system which, from my experience with the iPad is not so blindingly marvellous thank you very much. My next tablet will run Windows. Sue me.

††† Which is not wholly a bad thing. I took the hellhounds along the first time and hurtled them in the farmland, splendidly riddled with footpaths, beyond the storage place—loading Atlas’ trailer with book boxes is not really a two person job—and then brought the hellterror the second time and hurtled her. The hellhounds aren’t what I’d call safe to stock, but they do know I won’t let them chase anything interesting.  The hellterror got a little overexcited because she hasn’t had as many long country hurtles as the hellhounds had at her age but I’m still bigger than she is.  And she was so beside herself about the game birds that she missed a perfectly good rabbit sitting in the middle of a stubble field.

‡ We did this today^ in case it Did Not End Well because his only other free day before his fortnight away is Thursday,

^ When I could have been having my first voice lesson after a way-too-long break.  Summer holidays are overrated.

‡‡ Some of those boxes have been loaded and reloaded and written on and written over and written over the over so often they probably need new shock absorbers. And speaking of the disintegration of crucial parts I wish to remark again on the sheer bloody awfulness of British tape. I swear half the frelling boxes’ bottoms are falling out because the heavy packing tape has lost the will to live and started falling off like hair from a hellmob. Grrrrrrr.

‡‡‡ Which is full of Atlas’ tools and unfinished projects and leftover stuff from moving house. And I need to get it cleared out before the first frosts so I can get plants in there and the growlight back from the cottage’s sitting room.  ARRRRRRRRRGH.  Maybe I’ll lie down till January.  No, March.

§ Which seems to have been something he picked up bouncing over back roads, which then clattered its way back out again.  I HOPE.  But I wasted about five minutes crawling around on my hands and knees trying to find . . . whatever.

§§ I HATE BICYCLES. I am not sane on this subject.^  I have many friends who ride bicycles regularly and I have at least two who frelling race. I HATE BICYCLES.  If there isn’t room on a given road for a car to pass a bicycle it should be BANNED to bicycles.^^  They are a sodding hazard.  And for example today there were I think eight cars behind this bozo going fifteen miles an hour—which is a perfectly good speed for a bicycle—before we could get past him.  It regularly happens in the local equivalent of rush hour that #8 in the queue out of town will simply rocket on by the rest of us, white-knuckled with fury at our steering wheels ourselves, with the bicycle in the lead—and those adrenaline spikes when I’m waiting for all of us to die in a colossal pile up when a juggernaut comes over the hill and hits #8 on the wrong side of the road are very bad for me.

^ Consider yourselves warned. This is my blog.  You want to argue about it, go elsewhere.

^^ Or to cars. But these two forms of vehicular transport are incompatible on shared road space.  And I don’t want bicycles mowing down the hellmob and me on the pavement either.

§§§ You don’t have to be in pain already to take arnica.  The likely prospect will do.  If you know you’ve overdone it but you don’t know how badly . . . take some arnica.  And maybe you won’t have to find out.

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