March 4, 2014

Shadows is here!

Varieties of piffle

 

Peter and I went out to dinner tonight.  Just because.  To the Bard and Orpharion which tends to be our default.  And they were out of half bottles of champagne and weren’t offering it by the glass.*  We didn’t quite get up and stamp out the door but we thought about it.  Peter, in best loyal-husband mode, suggested this drastic course of action.  We could go back to the Bulgy Loaf, which was our great find a fortnight ago when the electricity went phut at Peter’s end of town:  they had teeny-weeny individual bottles of Freixenet** available, thank you very much, and they’re probably not heaving on a Monday evening in early March.  But one doesn’t really want to burn one’s bridges too spectacularly in a small town***.  So we stayed.  There may have been muttering.

And then I thought, well, okay, I have a minor thing for killer dessert wines—the kind you might mistake for treacle if you weren’t paying close attention, till the alcohol aftershock makes your hair stand on end and your socks pop off†—I’ll have a glass of dessert wine with my brownie.  THEY DON’T DO DESSERT WINE BY THE GLASS EITHER.

But at least the brownie was serious.

 

It's not a totally weird saddo thing to take a photo of a magnificent brownie is it?  No, no I'm sure it isn't.

It’s not a totally weird saddo thing to take a photo of a magnificent brownie is it? No, no I’m sure it isn’t.

. . . And yes, we’d been playing bridge, where Peter fiddles the cards first so we have (a) more fun (b) a better Teaching Experience and I actually sort of almost understood what was happening some of the time.  I can’t decide if this is a good thing or not.

So we came home and Peter got one of our emergency quarter bottles of champagne out of the cupboard and put it in the freezer for twenty minutes AND I’M DRINKING IT NOW.

 * * *

*Their pathetically feeble excuse is that they’d had a wedding which had drunk it all.  A wedding that drank all the HALF BOTTLES?  What kind of a cheap cheezy wedding is that?  With only three people at the reception and two of them are teetotallers?^  We’ll have more in on Wednesday, said the lightly sweating waiter.  WEDNESDAY?  WHAT GOOD IS WEDNESDAY?  IT’S MONDAY AND I WANT CHAMPAGNE.^^

. . . and maybe the Bulgy Loaf had a wedding last week too where teetotalism was rampant and they’re all out of little bottles too.

^ I mean, not cheap.  Half bottles are ridiculously expensive per glass—you only do it because You.  Must.  Have.  Champagne and there’s only one of you, or maybe two, you’re both nearly teetotallers and one of you doesn’t like champagne much.+

+ There’s no accounting.  Maybe it’s that Y chromosome.

^^ Peter, who can sometimes be noble beyond all measure+, offered to buy a REAL bottle of champagne.  Even I quailed at the magnificence of this sacrifice.++

+ Which helps to balance out the times THAT HE’S SPILT MARMALADE IN THE SILVERWARE DRAWER AGAIN AND I WANT TO KILL HIM.

++ I’ll try to remember this moment the next time he spills marmalade in the silverware drawer.  Or unloads the dishwasher and puts everything tidily away having not run it first.  AAAAAAUUUUUGH.

** I’ve said this before, haven’t I?  That Freixenet has come a long way in the last thirty years or so?  There was a time when I wouldn’t drink it because it was nasty.  It’s still not the Widow, but it doesn’t cost like the Widow either.

. . . I was just looking it up on line so I could spell it correctly and . . . you have to be of legal drinking age in the country you’re in to look at their site?  What?  Why?  Is looking at virtual bottles of B-list fizz really going to tip you over the edge into picking the lock on your parents’ liquor cabinet and getting pootered on Harvey’s?^  I did not, in fact, penetrate past the are you of legal drinking age click here pop up because the site background is all dark and creepy and there is ominous icky music like one of those computer games where stuff starts jumping out at you before I’ve got my finger off the ‘start’ button and I never live long enough to get out of the first level.

^ I feel that a hangover from Harvey’s Bristol Cream would probably cure you of drinking alcohol for life, but maybe that’s just me.

*** Besides, one possibly has a habit of doing it inadvertently and had better mind one’s ps and qs when one notices before it’s too late that they’re milling around in a dangerous manner^ and really need minding.^^

^ like bull terrier puppies.  All smiles and little evil eyes . . . and remarkably fast on those little short legs.

^^ Sit!  Sit!  That’s not sitting!+

+  I’m not sure what it is, but it’s not sitting.

† In my early drinking days I’ve even been known to enjoy a glass of Harvey’s.  But I wouldn’t want to make a habit of it.

 

I said I was going to hang some baubles on Peter

 

 

Father Christmas

Father Christmas

 

I was laughing so hard* I could barely take the shot.**  But one must commit to one’s inspiration.***

It has been sheeting with rain much of the day, in evil sneaky sudden outbursts, but barring mad dimming and  flickering of the lights, the occasional irritated bleep out of some tech item or other and Radio Three taking a nosedive off the air for several hours Monday night we’ve escaped the worst of the weather as well as the worst of the results of the weather.  I had a few top heavy camellias in their pots go over but no walls fell down.  It was sleeting last night so I didn’t make it to midnight mass, sigh–and I’ve managed to wedge so much of the indoor jungle onto windowsills that it only takes about ten minutes to get everything remaining in/out again.  When you have brandy butter to make you don’t want to be spending a lot of time on botanical airlift rescue.

There was turkey and champagne and Brussels sprouts with chestnuts . . . and mince pies with brandy butter.  I seem to have eaten four of these.†  Well, they were small.   And Peter went to bed at nearly midnight and promises to sleep in tomorrow so I don’t have to get down here EARLY.  I don’t think early is an option.

Oh yes and . . . Jesus is born.  For those of us that way inclined, yaaay. ††

* * *

* Which is a great improvement on this time last week.

** Actually I took several.  Once he got up again it was going to be all over.  He’d said originally did I want him standing up or sitting down?  Sitting down, I said, this may take a while.  In case anyone is interested, I’ve tied the star on by looping garden twine through the tag inside the collar of his shirt.  Great stuff, garden twine.  It’s stringing the baubles too.  And yes, I’ve been wondering about the length of those canines for twenty-two years.  Alternative and Little Discussed Origins of ME/CFS.

*** . . . for an easy blog post.

†  The hellterror says, hey, boss, I could help you with that.

††  Also probably the only day of the year I don’t feel silly singing in public.  People who object to the plangent tones of The First Nowell, The Cherry Tree Carol, etc, can just leave town for the day.

 

 

Good and bad. But the good wins.

 

Hellhounds ate lunch.  This hasn’t happened in WEEKS.*  And they followed this up by eating dinner**.

Almost everything else has gone awry but my priorities are clear.  Hellhounds who eat are crucial to my mental and emotional health.  Which you can therefore imagine have been a little thin on the ground lately.***

I was supposed to sing today, and I got a laconic text from Oisin at about noon, saying that he’d forgotten about another (better paid) accompanist gig later in the afternoon and could I make it early?  —Erm.  No.  I had a bad night even by my standards† and was still in the mainlining caffeine, how does this strange grey†† clamshell box with a keyboard on one side work exactly?, stage.  Singing was hours away.

About two hours later I got a text from Niall asking if I wanted a lift to handbells at Gemma’s.  HANDBELLS?  NOBODY TOLD ME THERE WERE HANDBELLS SCHEDULED TODAY.

I didn’t make that either.  However, I have hauled Kes through some further (metaphorical) hedgerows today.  And the hellhounds have eaten TWO MEALS IN A ROW.  YAAAAAAAAAY.

Nat

Why do they never ask ‘How do you winnow down all the thousands of ideas you have into ones that ring true for you?’

Well, and that ring loudly enough and to a melody you have some chance of learning—to stretch an analogy till it whines and wriggles and begs for mercy †††.  It’s not just the ideas, as you say:  it’s finding the one(s) that you can do something with.  SHADOWS, for example, would be likelier to be provided with a sequel if I knew more quantum physics and were fluent in Japanese.  It’s not usually that straightforward—and I daresay I could find people to tutor me—but the fit between writer and idea, however good the idea is in an absolute sense, is also frelling CRITICAL.  Think of Rudyard Kipling writing one of Jane Austen’s stories.  Or JRR Tolkien one of Diana Wynne Jones’.  Or Peter one of mine or me one of Peter’s.

Surely there’s only so many times you can write variants of ‘I stare blankly into space and try to remember not to drool’ to the dreaded ‘Where do your ideas come from?’.

Yes.  And I passed it years ago.  . . . Furthermore I don’t even bother trying to remember not to drool any more.  I have dogs;  everything I own is washable.

Jmeadows

That list. . . .

*shovels chocolate into face*

Most of these have happened to me and I’ve only been published for a couple of years. I’m trying to imagine what it must be like after *mumble* years and all I want to do is eat more chocolate.

Yes.  Well.  I stay home a lot.  I might also recommend weaning yourself onto carrots.  Excellent things, carrots.  I eat a lot of them.  Arrrrgh.

PamAdams

Sigh. I think I’d boycott the bookstore as well–perhaps we could sic the hellterror on it.

WHAT A GOOD IDEA.  SHE’D HAVE A GREAT TIME.  Pity it’s kind of far away.  But I am much attracted to a vision of the hellterror whacking the ankles of Clerk of Infamy with the long hard plastic wand that is her present favourite toy and—ow—being invited to play hurts.  Also, everything in range is destroyed.  Who bought this blasted toy anyway?  —Oh.  I did.

Blondviolinist

Reading that list? Chucking stones at wild cats sounds safer. A tiger isn’t going to spend time thinking up a thousand horrible ways for you to die.

It’s not the thinking you need to worry about.  It’s other aspects of applied creativity you might want to consider.

Gwyn_sully

springlight wrote on Fri, 13 December 2013 09:51
  some books just deserve bookshelf space.

This is true… of course it implies that I have any bookshelf space to give it. I am forbidden from buying more books unless I first buy more bookshelves. And since I currently have no space for more bookshelves, this is an issue.

‘Forbidden’?  By whom?  Tell them that the hellgoddess is looking at them in a hard and meaningful manner and that, furthermore, you’re a member of her personal forum and it is RUDE not to own all her books in hard copy.

3rdragon

Okay, now I’m REALLY curious to know who Author X is. Just to know.

I suppose it could be just about anyone, really, depending on which of Robin’s books one starts with. Or the pool of anyones who write well enough that *someone* thinks their writing is awesome. Which, given the range of people in the world, doesn’t limit the field very much.

Yes.  Or no.  Apologies.  I shouldn’t tease you like this but I obviously can’t tell you who.  It’s just SUCH a SPECTACULAR story of what morons people can be.  And as for which book of mine . . . other people who have read both X and Y scratch their heads and say they don’t see any particular similarity, beyond fantasy and girls who do things.

Ajlr

No, no, no, no. Not to worry. This is a McKinley story, right? Can you   possibly imagine that I would let anything dreadful happen to Sid?

There are some things in life that one has total confidence in.

Oh good.  It’s not that I won’t kill off major characters if the story totally MAKES me.‡  Just . . . for someone with as PROFOUND A CASE OF CRANKY as I have, I write awfully warm and fuzzy stories.  It’s a curse.

* * *

* There is a God.  Er.^

^Have I told you Peter’s heresy?  (Peter who is not a Christian, and doesn’t mind Nicky Gumbel as much as I do because he wasn’t expecting much.+)  Peter suggests that God is both omnipotent and omniscient . . . but not at the same time.  You have to admit it would explain a lot.

+ Now that it’s too late, DOZENS of people are coming out of the woodwork, including a few on the forum, and saying, Oh, I never got on with Nicky Gumbel either!  —Oh.  Well.  The most useful thing anyone has said to me is to remember that it’s not merely that his lowest-common-denominator delivery is getting on my nerves, what he is presenting is only one take on Christianity.  I’m allowed to think ‘um, er, no,’ not merely ‘stop talking about your frelling squash game, okay?’

I wonder if I could get out my knitting?  I have a genuine reason for not wanting to look at the screen;  the backdrop is this vivid swirly orangey pink, which I would like fine in a cardigan but as your speaker’s background it starts to make me feel queasy.  That could be the presentation . . . but I think it’s the colours on a TV screen.

** There’s still supper to go wrong but we can live in hope for a few hours.

*** May I just bore you a minute by mentioning again how much I hate force feeding?  It beats their not eating by a big fat^ margin—if hellhounds miss a meal they will absolutely, guaranteed refuse the next one, and the one after that:  and by the third missed meal in a row they are lying listlessly in their bed and refusing to come out—but I HATE.  IT.  I had given up on lunch for the moment—hellhound digestion moves in enigmatic cycles;  lunch would become possible again some unknown time in the future—beyond a couple of dragooned mouthfuls so their stomachs aren’t empty and there’s some hope therefore they’ll eat dinner.  But I have to go LA LA LA LA LA LA very loudly and think about something else.  And Darkness’ latest placatory ritual to some other dark gods, since it’s certainly not me he’s trying to get on the good side of with this behaviour, is that he will ONLY eat, supposing he eats at all, if I force the first mouthful down his throat.  AAAAAAAAAAUGH.  He will actually lie there staring at me, waiting for me to do my part in ENABLING him to eat.

Moan.

^ ::Hollow laughter::

† Well, I’d had what I thought was this clever idea of getting all my tender plants outdoors the night before, since it was now mmph o’clock and the thermometer wasn’t going anywhere threatening, and I sleep, or anyway ‘sleep’, through all those early morning prime photosynthesizing hours, but during the ferrying process in the dark I had an Unfortunate Encounter with some hellterror crap . . . tiny turds that roll away from the main event look a lot like the courtyard gravel and are sometimes missed on pick-up even in daylight . . .  adrenaline is never your friend at mmph o’clock when there are faeces involved.

†† The moment I was most tempted to swap my PC for a Mac, with the unimaginable technological horror this would produce, was when they started making pink Macs.  Sigh.  Sanity prevailed, which is to say my computer angels support PCs, not Macs.

††† Not unlike hellhounds presented with food and a grim, determined hellgoddess.

‡ I still occasionally get furious mail from people who thought I’d’ve written a nice Robin Hood retelling, about the aftermath of the battle with Guy of Gisbourne in OUTLAWS.  I didn’t like it either, okay?  Just keep reminding yourself that even though I don’t get that far, I promise my Robin does not die through the treachery of a WOMAN.

Sixteen November revisited continued

 

Bratsche

The dress with the extreme skirt is my favourite dress in the universe . . . the ninety-seven yards of skirt on my dress

Oh, pictures please? Pretty please! Even if it has moth holes, I’d still love to see your favorite dress, especially if it has ninety-seven yards of skirt!

Why don't you come up and see me some time?

Why don’t you come up and see me some time?

I realise I should post photos of me in it and I’m sure there are some but the only one I can lay my hands on easily is a lot better of me than the dress.*  Peter won’t touch my current camera because it has too many buttons** and I am not going to race upstairs and put the dress back on the next time a non-camera-phobic friend drops round.  So this will have to do.  It’s a very very fine wool—you’d need like .00001 needles if you were knitting it—and the bodice fits snugly and then the skirt drapes and swirls from the seam, including that fabulous deep V in the front, which is what really makes it.  ALSO THE SLEEVES ARE LONG ENOUGH.

Because I am a silly person I’ve left it sitting on the sofa.  It’s very like having a friend visiting, even if she can’t take a photo of herself.  Although I’ll have to put her away soon because in this weather the indoor greenhouse’s need is greater.

Mrs Redboots

. . . but you were so busy talking about the champagne that you forgot to tell us what you ate!

Not exactly forgot.  One gets a trifle shuffly-footed about what one puts on a public blog:  menus are like holiday photos, most people groan.  I had chicken liver pate because I always have foie gras or chicken liver pate any time it’s on offer, cod with lentils, and petit pois with bacon.  And a chocolate pudding.  Peter had onion soup and swordfish—yes and red wine:  the sommelier produced something that could cope—and wilted spinach, and then he sat there drinking coffee while I ate my pudding, although he helped me with the ice cream since I shouldn’t really eat any ice cream.

EMoon

. . . And that was supposed to have a paragraph suggesting that accessorizing the Doc Martens with painted roses and rhinestones might make it perfect for the dress. DUH.

I totally understood that!  No need to explain!  And I’m sure ANY regular reader of this forum ALSO understood immediately!  We’re a highly intuitive bunch!***

Diane in MN

I think it’s perfectly okay to be slow after a birthday celebration, especially one that included several glasses of champagne, which I find quite stealthy in producing its effects: a big red wine is up front about its alcohol content, but champagne seems so innocent until it isn’t. Hurtling hellhounds in heels must have had a few interesting moments.

Yes about champagne:  it’s all jolly and effervescent and it slides down so easily,† it can’t possibly hurt you.  Um.   Oh, and heavens, I changed my shoes before I took critters out—!!!

* * *

* Yes, it is from quite a few years ago.

** He’s right about this.

*** Also we’re mostly girls.  Girls make sideways leaps of topic, logic and network-iness with grace and aplomb.  Well . . . maybe not always grace and aplomb.  But we do it, and we think it’s normal.

† Especially when it’s very cold.  That was the other problem about Peter’s free glass:  you want to drink it while it’s still cold.  I won’t say I chugged two glasses of champagne on a nearly empty stomach, but they did go down pretty briskly.^

^ It’s probably just as well I didn’t get Astarte out and try to type anything.  Did I tell you we printed out, to have another look at, the beginning of GHOST WOLVES from . . . I forget, some restaurant celebration of yore.+  It foundered because we had no idea where we were going, and while Peter has written most of his books that way++ I tend to like to have some vague idea of what’s ahead, and this ridiculous attitude was holding up progress.  And I know some people collaborate easily but Peter and I each suffer from Minds of Our Own.+++  However we’ve now got a workable plot-idea, so all we have to do is . . . go out to eat a lot++++ and the typist must not have champagne.

+ http://robinmckinleysblog.com/2012/01/04/anniversary-2/

++ I would have sworn I’d told you the story that goes with the fabulous ending of Chapter One of YELLOW ROOM CONSPIRACY but I’m not finding it from ‘search’.  Here is the fabulous ending of Chapter One of YRC:

http://robinmckinleysblog.com/2012/12/09/hot-news/

The point is that this was the first Peter Dickinson book I read from the beginning of the beginning.  I must have told you this story . . . oh, maybe it’s back on lj.  Well, I’m not going there.  But when Peter and I decided to get married, I was in the final edit of DEERSKIN and I really REALLY wanted to get it finished before I blew up my life, and my ability to concentrate, by frelling packing everything up and frelling moving to England.  This ended up meaning that Peter lived in Blue Hill with me for about two months, and after he put up shelves and redesigned my garden# he needed something to do, so he borrowed my ancient manual portable typewriter and started YRC.  After a bit he gave me the first chapter.  I read it, gasped, and said, What happens next?

He replied:  I haven’t the least idea.

# Garden cough cough garden.  I didn’t start gardening till I moved over here and married a gardener.

+++ Yes, each of us has several minds of his/her own.

++++ Way too distracting, trying to do it over dinner at the mews.  Place is full of critters.  Also there’s a piano.  And books, some of them unread.

* * *

PS:  Yes, I know the caption is a misquote.  But it’s a misquote that has entered the language, and the original doesn’t work (say I).  And this ought to be a footnote, but I was already here in the WordPress admin window when I put the caption in, and I can’t face changing all the headings with WordPress having the screaming meemies, which it would.

 

Various. Or possibly variable.

 

 

Katinseattle

. . . It’s that communication problem again. . . . I thought the comment about engineering texts was funny. But I did feel dumb about my shock over the empty dish. Of course I knew the hob was there. . . .

It must have been good writing.

YES.  DEFINITELY.  IT WAS DEFINITELY THE GOOD WRITING.  Also may I say you’re reading it in the spirit in which it was intended.  If you give a story its head and let it run away with you, you will be surprised at the things the story wants you to be surprised about.  It doesn’t have to be a big surprised.  Just a little ‘you’re the boss’ surprised.  When you close the book (or the ereader-of-choice case) you think, why was I surprised about that?  Of course the villain was going to tie the hopelessly wet heroine-facsimile to the railroad tracks.  And of course her dishy true love is going to arrive in time and untie her . . . and whap the villain up longside the head while she’s at it, and then order her hopelessly wet girlfriend to take those frelling self-defense classes.  Of course.  You’d have seen it a mile away, if you hadn’t been letting the story have its way with you.  Which is a very nice thing in a reader.  Just by the way.

As for ‘seventy is the new fifty,’ a cousin blithely emailed that to me. A much younger cousin. I growled back at him, via email. I’ve spent seventy years growing up. I’ve left a number of difficulties behind and collected more that I’ll never leave behind. I want to now say, “I’m 70, I can’t/don’t want to/won’t do that anymore.” Don’t tell me now I have to wait another twenty years.

YES.  I COULDN’T AGREE MORE.*  Granted I’m only sixty (-one) but the principle has been manifesting itself in my life for some time.  I’m not crazy about the wrinkles and the horrible squidgy sagging skin—I’m especially not crazy about the skin, but I’ve had awful skin all my life**, why should it change for the better now—and the memory that makes a snapped rubber band look like the much-desired steel trap, and the stealthily accumulating assortment of aches and pains.  But they absolutely beat being young and clueless and having all those frelling mistakes yet to make.  Granted some people make fewer mistakes than others . . . some of us make LOTS AND LOTS MORE than others . . . but everybody makes some.  And I made a few that it’s worth being thirty or forty years older to be thirty or forty years away from.  And a lot of that thirty or forty years has been pretty interesting in its own right.

Nat

When I have ‘What the?’ moments, I just think, why SHOULD I expect to understand everything?

Everything?  I don’t want to understand everything because then I’d be God and I have enough trouble being responsible for three hellcritters.  I wouldn’t like reigning over all of creation at all.  But it would be nice to understand one or two things occasionally.  And I feel the labelling and signposting system could be expanded a good deal.

. . . BTW- are there publishing rules on having the same exact title as another author?

Ah yet another query about my life’s work that I can’t answer.  Generally speaking, however, no.  I imagine that if you named your book Qzhhgorgum because it was about a race of creatures called qzhhgorgum which you invented, you’d have some kind of copyright protection against someone else calling their book Qzhhgorgum:  the Doodah, or possibly even Qzzhhgorgim:  the Semi-Original, as well as the line of merchandise including the fuzzy earmuffs (qzhhgorgum have four ears) in a range of exciting decorator colours and the frying-pans with the specially adapted handles (qzhhgorgum have four fingers and four thumbs) and . . .

. . . Ahem.  But—still generally speaking—you’re going to avoid, if at all possible, having the same title as somebody’s else book for all the obvious sales and marketing reasons.  It happened to me once:  ROSE DAUGHTER started life as ROSE COTTAGE.  And then Mary Stewart came along in the same frelling year and from the same frelling publishing house.  I grant you that ROSE DAUGHTER is a much better title for my book*** than ROSE COTTAGE would have been, but at the time I was not at all happy when my publisher told me I had to change it.

Rachel

. . . I feel I need to stand up for linoleum. It is not anything to do with vinyl, but a wonderful floor covering made from naturally occurring substances. (The lino bit of the name is from linseed oil.)

I actually knew that about linseed oil.  But I didn’t google it first, and would have said if I were asked that it was probably one of those things that originally had linseed oil in it and the name was still being used, like ‘knitting wool’ may in fact be acrylic.  And I wouldn’t have been surprised if the linseed oil part was an urban myth and people who knew better fell down laughing if you said there was a floor covering with linseed oil in it.

 Its trendy new name is marmoleum.

. . . And I did not know it still existed.  I do know that my floor-installers got very huffy when I said lino, and insisted that theirs was the much superior . . . um, vinyl.

 Vinyl is a much easier material to install and is waterproof, but all the eco credentials are with lino.

Yes.  Sadly the vinyl pongs.  I want to believe that you stop smelling it not because human noses aren’t very good but because it stops off-gassing SOON after it fulfils its purpose and becomes a floor.

To find out more, can I recommend the fabulous linoleum museum at Kirkcaldy. (If you are not a lino fan, it also has an amazing collection of Scottish colourist paintings.)

Okay, now I am going to fall down laughing.  A small Scottish museum specialising in . . . lino and the Scottish Colourists.  I wonder if there’s a B&B in the area that takes hellcritters.  Several hellcritters.

Gwyn_sully

But I don’t like eating in a group and I resent being forced to do so…

Ah, my mistake. I misconstrued the problem. Preferring not to eat in groups is totally a different deal than dietary requirements. I can’t say for sure how I would deal with it, since we’ve always been upfront that dinner is part of what we do and I assume that people who don’t like to eat in groups join a group that is a better fit for them. . . .

It’s the Curse of the Talking Fingers thing again I think:  if we’d been speaking face to face we’d’ve had this sorted before we knew there was anything to sort.  I’ve never been a happy social eater but I’ve grown worse about eating in groups as I’ve got older and have less slack for making bad guesses about food—both what’s in it and if I’ll get away with eating it.  And I used to do a lot of cooking ESPECIALLY BAKING and I used to like feeding people, a select few at a time.  Any more, eh, well, putting together one of my gigantic mixing-bowl-ful lunch salads takes a surprising amount of time, even after Peter washes the lettuce.  Before I sound too pathetic, I miss communal food philosophically more than literally:  my life abhors a vacuum at least as passionately as Mother Nature ever did, and time that I might once have filled with baking brownies tends to silt up with other activities.†

There’s another thing to keep in mind:  I’m not at my best and brightest at (usually) mmph o’clock in the morning when I’m writing this thing and I hope none of you are at your best and brightest when you’re reading it and, if I’m lucky, making amusing/interesting/engaged comments on the forum.  It’s a blog.  It’s only a blog.  So we’re all going to misstate ourselves from not being awake yet/enough or because our minds are on the funny noise upstairs/the funny noise from the dog bed/whether or not to ask the cute cop for his phone number/whether or not to ask the cute cop for her phone number/etc.  It happens.  I hope we’ll all live.  Especially me, since odds are overwhelmingly that I screw up the most.

* * *

* Except about the good writing.  I agree even more about the good writing.

** Although if anyone had ever heard of dairy allergies forty-eight years ago I might have been able to miss out both the pizza-faced stage and a lot of by-the-time-I-figured-it-out, lifetime-established digestive mayhem, and focussed on the stunning variety of rogue rashes.  Yes I know I’m oversimplifying.

*** Thank you Peter

† Handbells, perhaps.  It was to laugh, tonight.  Gemma had brought her husband, who claims for some inexplicable reason to want to learn to ring handbells.  There were FIVE of us which was pretty amazing—especially wedged into my tiny cottage sitting-room—and trying to get five people properly rung in takes a while.  Niall finally had to leave in something of a hurry to go be ringing-master at the tower and didn’t have a chance to do his Diary Trick and browbeat all of us into another meeting.  The four of us remaining all sat around chatting^ instead of dutifully going along to tower practise. . . .  hee hee hee hee hee.

^ And eating brownies.  Just by the way.

Blondviolinist

Niall so has your number.

Yep.  I expect the insinuating texts to start up any minute.

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