January 1, 2014

Happy New Year#


. . . freller.  May it be better than this one.  I suppose a ‘13’ year was always going to have a cloud hanging over it.  It could have tried harder to buck the tradition.*

I’m going Street Pastoring tonight;  Nina is staying with Peter.**  The weather is supposed to be dire again—rain and gales and maybe hail, big ugh—but maybe that’ll make everybody stay home and get drunk indoors.


* * *

# How many ways do I hate technology.  The frelling blog was off the frelling air earlier, when I wanted to post this before I left.  After ten minutes when it was still off the air^ I emailed Blogmom to report it.  I added that I was also going to send her this post and if she was around when the blog came back up would she please hang it for me?

I came home to an email from Blogmom saying that yes, the blog really had been off the air . . . but not saying anything about the blog post . . . because, as I discovered, OUTLOOK HADN’T ******* SENT IT.

It’s six o’clock in the morning, I’ve been home about forty-five minutes, the hellhounds aren’t eating and the hellterror is asleep on my lap.  I’ll go to bed eventually.

^ And the error screen that says ‘this page cannot be displayed because you are not connected to the internet’ does not improve my mood

* Maybe it did.  That’s a scary thought.

**Some other therapist showed up yesterday afternoon as a kind of consolation prize, I think.  That they’re thin on the ground over the holidays is not surprising and that they are inclined to shove Peter to the bottom of the list because he’s doing so well is understandable if not exactly welcome.  But that they apparently blithely make appointments for each other without any kind of central organizing body is insane.  We’ve several times had some other therapist because the one we’d been told was coming was the wrong one—yesterday the woman who didn’t come wasn’t working that day and therefore had no reason to check her diary for any appointments and cancel.  COME ON GUYS.  PULL IT TOGETHER.  Everyone we’ve seen seems to know the therapy side of the job but it’s like they step into a black hole of incompetence the moment they leave their specific expertise.  Arrrgh.

And, speaking of Peter doing well . . . they’re all signing him off in droves.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I recognise that he is doing well and HUGE THUNDERING YAAAY HERE but every therapist still tweaks something or other that he’s doing, or adds an exercise, or whatever.  This is not unlike—well, voice lessons, for example, or most learning activities.  There’s stuff you can do on your own, and there’s stuff you need a teacher for, or at least someone to look at your work and give professional advice.  I would slip back big time, singing, if I stopped seeing Nadia;  granted there have been one or two disturbances in the last fortnight that might be having an effect, but though I’m not making a totally bad job of learning my new pieces, my voice is not right, or as right as it is presently capable of, and I can’t fix it.  I’m not sure that it’s not similar with Peter, even though of course he’s trying to regain something he’s lost rather than learn something new.

Meanwhile I’ve joined Medscape^ because I can, and like so many of us amateur dorks plunged instantly into their drug reference database . . . and promptly discovered an interactions listing I DID NOT LIKE AT ALL.  And rang up Peter’s clinic and spoke to the duty doctor who said, they’re talking about high doses and Peter’s is very low.  Still.  With iatrogenic illness one of the major killers of our time—and the way specialists specialise so one specialist prescribes one drug and another specialist prescribes some other drug and there may be no overseer who knows enough about both to say um, wait a minute—I’ve booked Peter and me in to have a nice chat with his GP (who is a good guy, and pays attention, and if he doesn’t know he’ll look into it) on Thursday.  And while we’re there I’m going to ask about having a few physios check progress in a fortnight or so.

Stay healthy, everyone.  It’s a lot simpler.

^ http://www.medscape.com/

Just to warn anyone interested:  When you sign up it’s all professional, professional, professional, and I was thinking eeeeep, although there are all these reviews out there by ordinary people and there’s an app available on iTunes, for pity’s sake, which is where I’ve got it, on Astarte.  And then waaaaaaay down at the bottom of all the forms they want you to fill in there’s a list ending ‘consumer/other’ and I hastily ticked that and breathed easier.

*** In which all hellhounds eat.

Street Pastors, continued


I’m out on the street again tonight—Street Pastors.  The weather has warmed up a little—which is why we could handbell at the cottage yesterday evening, because the sitting room was not full of plants—and it’s GOING TO RAIN.  Either that or turn cold again.  Depends on who/what you read/listen to.*  I have my new battery-pack-operated heated waistcoat charged up and ready to go, and ordinary batteries for the socks and gloves poised for action . . . so it will probably rain.  I haven’t ordered my waterproof trousers yet.**

And . . . I think it’s going to become official that I don’t write a proper blog on SP nights.***  Maybe I’ll use it as an excuse to post the links I never get around to posting, because they’re too wonderful and I want to celebrate them properly, like this one, which most of you author-blog-following readers will have already seen, but for anyone who hasn’t†:


. . . or because they’re too infuriatingly CONFIRMATORY of what you’ve known forever:


ARRRRRRRGH.  LOTR fails?  Am I surprised?  I am not surprised.††  But I’m not sure you can rate SHAWSHANK REBELLION down:  It’s laid in a men’s prison, for pity’s sake.  On the other hand, I’m appalled that all but one of the HARRY POTTERs fails.†††  What was Hermione doing all that time?  Not talking to girls, evidently.

Right.  Okay.  I have to go put a pair of dry jeans in a bag to take with me in case I need a change during the break.‡  Night-night.  Those of you so inclined, please pray for me.  We’re supposed to go out there radiating the Armour of God or what-have-you.  Also I can use all the help I can get chatting to strangers, even if I’m wearing the Armour of God.

* * *

* One of my favourite things about the BBC weather site, which I have bookmarked, is the way the graphic at the top often says something different than the text at the bottom.  This feels like the real experience of English weather.

** Chiefly due to a failure to find enough info on line to be sure of trousers that are long enough in the inseam AND don’t make horrible slushing noises with every step.  You know they don’t give you any help with these crucial outfitting questions during the lengthy and arduous Street Pastors training.

*** Of which I have another one only next Friday, due to the inevitable stupidities of clashing schedules and the occasional inconvenient fifth Friday in a month.

† Thank you, b_twin

†† Yo, Jackson, you gonna mess with the story, how about you messed with that?

††† I know, I know.  I didn’t see them past the first one which nearly bored me to death.  But you know I’m hopeless.  I didn’t see RETURN OF THE KING either.


^ Also, I assume if I didn’t, some of you would hunt me down and kill me.  You don’t want to do that, you know, I’m not quite finished at the far end where things are still Very Bad.

A calm, soothing* subject for short Wednesday


Another adventure.

Golly.  Whatever can it be?

Golly. Whatever can it be?

It looks like a terrifyingly expensive green [sic:  my poor camera is once again contending with bad indoor light] suede bag I bought for like a fifth of full price because it was a floor sample but that I’ve always been afraid to use as a handbag.  You know, put stuff in it that might STAIN or GOUDGE it?  Put it down casually on the FLOOR?

You're baffled, right?

You’re baffled, right?  The hellterror is too.

STOP LOOKING AHEAD.  That’s cheating.  And yes, anyone who was at Forbidden Planet one evening nearly two years ago when someone was wearing a black leather miniskirt on a dare should recognise that pink knitted bag.

Oh!  It's a SWIFT!

Oh! It’s a SWIFT!

. . .  That’s a yarn winding thingy to those of you who don’t.  It’s also a nostepinne but I bottled out on the nostepinne.  One thing at a time.  Besides, I can probably get another photo blog out of my first nostepinne attempt.

There was a really horrible moment when I thought I'd lost the pegs. . . .

There was a really horrible moment when I thought I’d lost the pegs. . . .

After I had my last nervous breakdown winding yarn by hand I got serious about looking for a swift.  But I wanted one that sat rather than clamped, and I wanted one made out of wood like a proper Lost Country Craft tool.  That’s my piano bench it’s sitting on, by the way.  And that odd little blue scrap on the floor to the left is a token of the hellterror’s affection.

Okay.  It's getting serious now.

Okay. It’s getting serious now.




The yarn is Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend wildflower.  http://www.deramores.com/manos-del-uruguay-silk-blend-50g  Wildflower is third up from the bottom in the left hand column.

We're in business.

We’re in business.

I will spare you a graphic description of the several minutes of vivid language while I untied the blasted hank.   Nice yarn makers tie their skeins off with bits of waste yarn, so you can just frelling cut them.  These bozos use the live end to wind through and around the hank at several places, twisted into secret Masonic knots that require needle-tipped fingers and a graduate degree in physics to untangle.




The final exciting moments.  Yaaaaay.

The final exciting moments. Yaaaaay.


Ta da.  Ball of yarn.  And nobody died.

Ta da. Ball of yarn. And nobody died.

We pause here a moment to contemplate the joy that is WordPress, that piece of insufficiently composted crap.  I’ve been saving-draft like anything, composing this post,  because I know it’ll frell me if it can, and if it can’t, it will anyway.  Which it has just done.  I wanted to get to bed tonight. 

. . . I was trying to say something about the fabulousness of not getting enmeshed in your half-wound skein when the invisible cat squiggles it into anarchy between one eye-blink and the next.  Also that I don’t know if this is a particularly fabulous swift or if fabulousness is the basic swiftian nature:  but this one is very nice indeed.  If you want this exact swift or one of its cousins, I bought it here:  http://www.sunflowerswifts.co.uk/  My timing is not great, the home page says they’re closed till the end of September.  But you can still poke around and admire what will be on offer again in a few weeks.  There are also some rather more descriptive photos of this swift.

And now, rather later than planned, I am going to bed.  I may knit a little to calm down. . . .

* * *

* Well that was the plan anyway.


Return of the Blog


. . . Is it still up?  Is it still up?  Rats.  I guess I have to write a post.  It’s been really epic.  Last night when it first fell off the air I thought oh pfffffbt.  When it stayed fallen off the air I assumed it was frelling gremlins my end, because it usually is, either this blasted laptop is having the vapours again or my connection has . . . vaporized.  EVENTUALLY, after a certain amount of language and banging and stamping and the hurling of old newspapers across the room* I bethought me of a link Blogmom had sent me a while ago that will tell you if your blog is working.  It ruminated briefly and then came up with YOUR BLOG IS BROKEN.

Ooh.  Exciting.**

And it stayed broken.  I don’t know what fabulous adventures were going on at the doohickey admin but it has to have been at least an alien invasion.***  It was dead air for several hours last night and then Blogmom tag-teamed me till she went to bed† and I picked up again in the morning, when it was still playing hide and seek with standard consensual reality.

Tonight was a little blurry in the three dimensions for a different category of reasons.  I had a friend preaching at St Radegund, who assured me the service would be over in plenty of time for me to pelt on to St Margaret’s in my I-think-it-probably-counts-as-habitual by now way.  No.  Wrong.  I’d managed to arrive late†† which meant I was tucked away at the back . . . which was a good thing when at five minutes after I had to leave to arrive late at St Margaret’s THEY WEREN’T ANYWHERE NEAR THE END.  My leather jacket and I tried not to creak on our hasty way out. . . .

The three-dimensional blur, however, was in the contrast between the two services.  Evening services at both churches tend to be the informal end, with audience participation from people ineligible for dog collars, and, sadly, they both indulge in the fashion for icky soggy modern Christian song rather than real music.  St Radegund, however, is polite, thoughtful, reserved and grown-up.  I walked††† into the Youth Group service at St Margaret’s where about twenty striplings were up on the stage with a bank of rotating coloured spotlights and a particularly loud drum kit.  YAAAAAAAH.‡  As Aloysius said several months ago, one of the strengths of the Anglican church is that it holds great variety. . . .

* * *

* A folded-up weekend newspaper is a very good object for the venting of extreme feelings.  As long as you aim carefully so you aren’t taking anything with it, it makes a very satisfying THUD on the opposite wall and does neither itself nor the wall any harm.  REASONS TO KEEP HARD COPY AVAILABLE.  I don’t think an iPad even in its protective shell is going to like being thrown across the room against the wall very often.

** I had assumed that my connection had some excuse for megrims last night because we’d been having spectacular weather—not only hellhound-pummelling rain^ but thunder, lighting and hail^^.  It was sheeting when Peter was due to go to his bridge club, so I drove him over there and on the way back watched the sky lighting up with a display that Frankenstein could have animated a whole regiment of monsters off.  So, I thought, am I going to make a bolt for the monks even in this?  YES.  NEXT SILLY QUESTION.   I wouldn’t have thought you could hear anything through the monks’ chapel walls except (possibly) the Last Trump, but toward the end of the service there was the most unholy racket, apparently of a small lake being dumped over the chapel roof, and I had a bow-wave most of the way home.  It did occur to me to wonder if critters would care if the lights went out . . . but if either lights went out or critters cared, it was all over by the time I got back.  But I was not really surprised to begin with that the blog wouldn’t connect.  It seemed almost more surprising that everything else would.#

^ Pav gets a little flat-eared and oppressed-looking by the time the floodwater is brushing her belly, but she’s generally willing to take the weather as it comes, and I don’t think she recognises pummelling, by rain, hellhounds, or anything else.  Hellhounds, on the other hand, in wet weather are already going into their tragic postures while I’m still locking the door and we haven’t got down the stairs to ground level yet.  And poor Pav doesn’t even have a raincoat—she has a hand-me-down waterproof fleece from a hellhound puppy but that’s only for serious penguin weather—I’m waiting for her to STOP GROWING.

^^ Among my least favourite memories of the old house is having the garden in full summer hurrah torn to shreds by a hailstorm.  This didn’t happen often, but it happened a few times in the thirteen years I lived there—once, even more anti-memorably, less than week before an open day.

*** @robinmckinley also tweeted:  AM TOTALLY W THIS SUGGESTION @Ladykuro Mayb it’s battling monsters frm another world, mayb hv guest blogs frm Other World when it gets back

# Wall?  Garden wall?  What about it?  Oh, the gigantic hole?  That’s been there forever.  We hired someone to rebuild it, but we haven’t seen him around for a while.  We think he drowned.

† Hey.  I go to bed early Saturday nights.  Because I am naturally perverse . . . no, no, because I seem to have re- or de-morphed back into a regular New Arcadia Sunday morning service ringer.  I couldn’t stand the combination of Niall’s accusatory stare over handbells and listening to four or five bells ringing on Sunday morning.  Funny how penetrating the sound is even through several pillows.  I’m still an official member of the abbey band^ —as well as officially persona non grata with the New Arcadia admin, as evidenced by the fact that they rang seven out of their eight bells for the wedding yesterday.

^ The equally accusing stares of the ladies in the portraits overseeing the abbey AGM are still vivid in my memory

†† Due to complications arising from having too many hellcritters

††† Or rather tore, nearly a quarter hour late

‡ The sermon, by the way, by one of the teenagers who comes regularly to that evening service, was brilliant.^  She will probably invent practical faster-than-light travel in a few years.

^ With the exception of the clip from CARS that was showed on screen as an alternative approach to the concept of win/lose.  You all know CARS?  You all know how it ends?  .  BLEEEAAAUGGGH.  But I am an evil-tempered cow.  We knew that.

no post – Web server outage

Web host’s server was out for several hours last night.

Looks like everything is back to normal now. 

— Blogmom



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