It’s throwing it down out there, like a bully throwing rocks, but there’s already so much standing water it’s not surprising that more rain bounces. We’re having the occasional spasm of thunder and lightning for interest. I’m a little worried about tonight’s commute to Mauncester, even though I know every sub-micron of that road, including where the invisible black water collects and does a before-the-Gates-of-Moria thing if you’re in the wrong, you should forgive the term, stream.* But I’m also half expecting a last-minute email from our team leader saying that SPing has been cancelled by police order because the current frothing down the main pedestrian precinct is strong enough to pull anyone even slightly the worse for wear over** and anyone at all wearing stacked-sole stilettos. Or, speaking of current, that the entire city has shorted out, including the pumps at the pubs and the shot dispensers at the club(s).
But I do want to make a start at responding to what you all said about last night’s post.
My agent also tells me that the internet has moved on and writers aren’t blogging any more
Have you suggested she should go tell John Scalzi? (And many, many others, FWIW).
Yep. Graphic example of what happens when you’re careless about using someone else on your public blog. I’d already had a whap up longside the head for misquoting her from Merrilee herself. I don’t remember what she originally said, only that I came away with the impression that I was now an Old Fogey for continuing to blog—and half a dozen helpful people have sent me links to ‘why I don’t blog/don’t blog any more’ posts in the last month or thereabouts, so I was probably feeling kind of . . . oppressed. But all that said I still knew I was making a silly generalisation and on a public blog you can only do this to yourself.
What Merrilee did say last night, and this time I am quoting, from her email: I did not say writers aren’t blogging anymore — I said YOU DON’T NEED TO DO IT EVERY DAY AND THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA.
Okay? —By the way I think John Scalzi is sui generis. I just write a blog.
The self centred is largely because I don’t have to worry about hurting my own feelings if I go over the top,
. . . I find I have to do the same thing in my sermons. Especially because sermons are so often about our frailty and failings as humans and what we should or can or should want to do about it (and, even though I’m Jewish — and thus, hardly ever discuss God in public, even at temple, because Judaism is primarily about people — occasionally even where God might play a part in all this), I often need examples of people who are misunderstanding some basic precept of existence. And I’m not going to use someone I know. Likewise, I’m not going to use some internet/urban legend story about someone I don’t know. So my only choice is…me. I come out as a total, self-centered dweeb in my sermons. I can only hope that the rest of the sermon convinces my congregation that I’ve overcome this week’s version of dweebishness enough to be brilliant about it. (Or at least funny. In sermons, if you can’t be brilliant, be funny. If you can’t be funny, be brief. The perfect sermon is all three.)
YES. EXACTLY. THIS. THANK YOU. Not that I write sermons***, but if I want to get a point across? If I want to say something . . . unflattering? If I want to dandle a buffoon before you in the hopes of making you laugh? Yes. I can only use me.
. . . I’m glad that I was wrong in taking you too seriously because I do think your anecdotes are funny,
. . . and I do relate them to my friends, all the while laughing that a writer I have loved my whole life is a “cranky”, “old” lady as you often make yourself out to be in the blog.
Well, it’s like being self-absorbed, volatile and having a talent for seeing the dire in things. I am cranky, and sixty-one ain’t young. It’s what you do with the bits and pieces you decide to use in public. But if you’re laughing I am succeeding.
It wouldn’t surprise me… if the blog hasn’t further confused the issue of Who I Am As A Real Human Being
Yep, guess I was confused . . . due to my not catching on to the hyperbolic nature of your stories and rants . . . but I am glad, too . . . a little glad? Still sorry I upset you . . .
‘Appal’ is the word you’re looking for here. THEY THINK I’M TELLING THE TRUTH? EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.
. . . because now I can be in on the jokes along with everyone else.
I do like your blog! Can we be friends again, Hellgoddess? . . .
Snork. Yes, of course. And apologies for ironing out your footnotes; I couldn’t figure out how not to confuse everyone hopelessly, including myself.
And thank you, all of you forum commenters. I’m telling the real, true, unyanked-around truth that I could not keep my energy up for blogging if some of you didn’t talk back sometimes. THANK YOU.
* * *
* That may be a Britishism, stream for car lane.
** Which means they won’t get far away from home, since ‘pre-loading’ is the order of the standard night out. Note: ugh.
*** Or that I know how to be brief
I need a disclaimer: I sometimes roll my eyes at the way we readers mollycoddle you with our flattery and commiseration. Furthermore, after becoming more familiar with your blog over this past year, I also thought that things might be improved in your case if you didn’t look at things in such a dire light. But then I read some post where you write how you worry that your readers must perceive you as inordinately over-dramatic and that your response to this would be that your blog is the outlet for all of these spewing emotions and that you are not as self-focused during the rest of your day. Then I realized that my equivalent of your blog is my daily journal, and I certainly am self-centered and overly dramatic there.
Boldface mine. No. Wrong. Good grief. On a public blog? Are you frelling kidding? Smoke and mirrors, remember? I am self-centred and overly dramatic, but what you read on the blog is a shtick. It’s a persona built on the fact that I can get good mileage out of dire and overly dramatic—although I admit it’s supposed to be funny. I’m trying for funny*. The self centred is (as I have also said on the blog, although you seem to have missed it) largely because I don’t have to worry about hurting my own feelings if I go over the top, and I don’t want to hurt anyone else’s by taking the mickey wrong. I tweak other people only as far as I think I would let them tweak me, if they had a public blog that a lot of strangers read. I may get this wrong but I’m trying to be responsible—and I as a subject am always safe. Also—and this relates both to the smoke and mirrors and to how far I will go using other real people on my blog—I have a privacy fetish. I’m very well aware that it would only take some basic Google fu and a little time to find out all the ordinary realworld ™ details about my life, but all the aliases are there partly because it’s fun for me, partly because I’m doing unto others as I would have them do unto me and partly because it’s an indication that an essential aspect of my blog shtick is misdirection.
I don’t keep a daily journal. It’s not because the blog takes up equivalent time and it’s certainly not because the blog provides genuine catharsis. It’s because I don’t find the naked truth about myself all that interesting. I’m a storyteller. I take facts and yank them around. This includes the blog. Something else I’ve said, I thought often but perhaps not often enough, is that I rarely lie by commission on the blog. I lie by omission every day. It’s not just leaving stuff out.
I’ve said for years—since I first started receiving embarrassingly personal fan mail, which means shortly after BEAUTY was published in 1978—that it’s true that readers know a lot about me (cf embarrassing fan mail declaring that the letter-writer totally understands me) but they don’t know what they know. Because of the storyteller. Because of the yanking around. I think all writers write from their guts—what else is there to write from?**—but I may do it a bit more transparently and—er—enthusiastically than some.***
It wouldn’t surprise me, although as a poll this is a nonstarter, if the blog hasn’t further confused the issue of Who I Am As A Real Human Being rather than reading only all those made-up stories. Because I’m starting with my life. Not with dragons and pegasi and vampires.
I began the blog because my agent told me to. It was no burning desire of mine. I’ve turned it into something I can do, and even mostly enjoy†, although regular readers know that one of my regular moans is about the limitations of that can. I’m bad at writing short; if I stopped doing it every day I’d start trying to make the more occasional posts better which would take even more time. Which is also the reason I rarely write about big important real-world stuff however much it concerns me privately, because I’m not going to be able to do it justice without tapping into my professional story-writing energy which I (mostly) manage to keep separate.†† And I have a huge mental block about writing book reviews††† because I know how much even the wrong praise can hurt or discourage, and acknowledgement of subjectivity may not cover all a reviewer’s errors.
My agent also tells me that the internet has moved on and writers aren’t blogging any more. Sigh. This blog having become something I can do, something that gives me some, however off centre, public profile, I am unwilling to give it up and try to learn to do something else—since we’re all now supposed to have some kind of visibility as ourselves, not just as the things we do, the stories we write, the song cycles we compose, the forty-foot rusty steel sculptures that terrify the children in the city parks.
But this blog is what it is. I know that. It’s not meant to be awesome and deathless. It’s only supposed to be amusing.‡ And no writer gets it right every time, either in a multi-draft novel or a once-through-with-safety-pins-to-hold-its-hems-up blog. I suggest that the next time I . . . roll my eyes at the way we readers mollycoddle you with our flattery and commiseration you give my blog a miss. There is an infinity of ways to waste your time pleasurably on the internet. It’s not worth sticking around somewhere if you’re not having fun.
* * *
* Mostly. Peter’s stroke, for example, is not funny.
** Which may be a revelatory remark. But as a reader I find books that feel to me too much written from their authors’ heads uninvolving.
*** Peter doesn’t get nearly as much embarrassing fan mail as I do. His readers rarely declare that they have known him in previous lives and that their souls are intertwined with his for eternity.
† Including the forum. If people didn’t comment I’d lose the will to blog.
†† And maybe not at all. True nonfiction and I are a trifle wary with each other. Possibly because I don’t believe true nonfiction exists, and I get hung up negotiating the shape of my subjectivity.
††† Frelling ratbags anyway. I would like to figure out a way over/around this.
‡ Which, you know, is hard graft enough.
Yes, I read KES, often. Please do not even think of NOT posting them. It would be tragic.
Thank you !
I like the direct approach.
Fine. I’ll stop thinking about it. Listen, everyone, and especially everyone who was kind enough to post a comment last night, while I love reading comments* I really wasn’t trying to make anyone feel guilty. You don’t have to post comments!** It’s not required! I’m not sending out large muscular persons with whips and chains to remonstrate with those of you who don’t! I just need to know occasionally that I’m not talking to myself here.*** And KES, being a New Thing and fiction† is a special case. Especially, as I say, because I want to go on writing her, and am intrigued, and sometimes whapped up longside the head, by the different sort of freedoms and restrictions of doing it here.
Yes, yes, yes, I’m DEFINITELY still reading Kes. . . .I tend to save the Saturday night blog for a moment that I need a treat.
Always before the next one comes out, but sometimes on Monday or some other, less-generally-good-than-Saturday day. When I found this blog five or six years ago (I have read every single entry since then),
I remember thinking, “It’s a little bit like a short story from my favorite author every day.” And Kes actually is.
::Is now feeling her face cracking from all the beaming::
I don’t say much very often . . . but I’m always reading and [KES is] my favorite.
I *love* Kes!!! I don’t always comment, because “Oh, yay! I’m so happy she’s remembering to buy the milk for the hob!” and “Sigh… I adore Sid so much… I can’t wait to see more of her!” don’t make very interesting forum posts. But I get excited every Saturday night!
Well I find comments like that interesting. Just sayin’.
Oh please do not stop writing/posting Kes’ story! My dog & I would be devastated not to know how their story goes on!
Not to worry. At worst I’ll make you pay.
But I’m lazy,
You are not lazy! YOU ARE NOT LAZY! None of you people apologising for not posting comments is lazy! I just need to know you’re READING!
But whatever the reason, please, from one sighthound fan to another–please don’t take away a story where the sighthound is shaping up to be actually heroic. . . .
Yup. Definite heroism in future. Heh heh heh. ::evil author laughter::
(She wants to be Sid almost as much as I want to be Kes.)
Queue forms to the right. AND I’M FIRST.
Yes, still reading Kes. I would happily pay for installments, whether on an on-going basis, or gathered up tidily every now and then and put between covers.
I’m told by wiser internet junkies than myself that making people pay for stuff on line mostly doesn’t work very well because so many users expect on line content to be free. I don’t know. I would have thought that you get six free eps, say, and then sign up or not. But the current semi-plan is to sweep Part One together with a little Additional Material, and produce some kind of hard copy version for some kind of money. And—thank you.
Yes, we’re reading, we’re reading! Please don’t stop!
Not stopping! Not stopping!
I’m also hoping that you’ll find a way to moneytize this,
Thank you! Me too!
through print-on-demand once it’s done or some such. I’d like to support this, and you don’t have a tip jar.
A virtual tip jar. Snork. I like it.
Ack. No, no, don’t stop KES! I anxiously await each week’s KES installment with bated breath. Truly. Any lack of commentary on my part is simply because I loathe waiting and getting any story in teeny dribbles that I have no control over makes me want to gnash my teeth and go buy expensive yarn (along the lines of the whole “I knit so I don’t kill people” thing).
Hee hee hee hee. Yes, I’ve noticed I kill far fewer people now I’m knitting. And what’s a little light puncturing among friends?
I don’t blame you for this, oh, no.
Of course not. You’re obviously a calm, fair-minded person.
I admire your calculating writer tactics that keep me panting for more. But I don’t have to be happy about it.
No. Just keep reading.
I will endeavor to comment more (but please don’t ban me if said commentary – in the heat of the moment directly following the reading of the week’s episode – happens to contain somewhat snarky remarks about conniving parsimonious authors who refuse to satisfy my desire for instant gratification ARGH).
Well if it’s any comfort, remember I’m only a few eps ahead of you, and worrying about what happens next. Fortunately something always does. So far. But from where I’m sitting the story unrolls into the hazy distance very satisfactorily energetically. Pity about the ‘hazy’ however. I would like to get more sleep.
Stop Kes? Get rid of Kes? NO, NO, NO, NO, PLEASE NO!
I don’t comment because it’s boring to read the same comment every week: “Loved it. Can’t wait for the next installment.”
That’s an excellent comment. That’s the best possible comment.
My only complaint? They’re too short. **grumpily** Congratulations on success in writing short.
SNORK. And on that happy note, I will end tonight, since it is getting late and I need to have a run at getting up early because I will have to get up early Saturday to go bell ringing. Also something very exciting is happening in KES right now and I might write a sentence or two more of it before I go to bed. . . . Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha.
* * *
* Except of course when they make me scream with inarticulate fury. Fortunately this doesn’t happen too often. Most of you are very well behaved. Thank you. My email inbox holds far more horrors. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND how people can briskly negotiate all the obstacles set up to STOP THEM from BLINDLY attacking me with questions answered in my FAQ. DO YOUR HOMEWORK, PEOPLE. Every drogflamming week I get requests for ‘tips about writing’. ARRRRRGH. Part of the surrealism of this is that the tips-for-writing requests are often in letters that looked—up till that moment—polite and low-profile. I know you’re busy, they say. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your books. OH AND CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME TIPS ABOUT WRITING FICTION. It’s been a long time since I was first learning to tell stories on paper—you never finish learning—but I keep feeling that there’s a major disconnect going on in these tip-requesting people’s minds. Aside from an inability to read sentences like PLEASE LOOK AT THE FAQ BEFORE YOU EMAIL ME YOUR QUESTIONS. No, the disconnect I’m thinking of is: they’ve acknowledged that I’m busy. Writing stories, presumably. And hurtling, ringing, singing, gardening, knitting, doodling, reading, eating chocolate and being driven mad by technology^ if they read the blog. They also wouldn’t be asking for tips if they hadn’t already discovered that writing is hard. Are they really expecting a rabbit^^ out of a hat? What on earth or orbiting Betelgeuse are they expecting me to be able to say in the twenty words or less I might have time for?
^ So Raphael came back today. After he left, the laptop refused to close down, the iPad turned its volume off and wiped the saved-sites bar on the opening page of Safari, and Dove, the book of bell towers, froze and refused to open on Pooka.^^^ And because the letters have worn off the keys of my desktop and because frelling frelling FRELLING iTunes doesn’t flash the letters at you briefly I managed to put my password in wrong and had to change it which means THAT EVERY APP I OPEN NOW WANTS ME TO PUT MY PASSWORD IN AGAIN. And again. And again. One of my current word-game addictions has to have GAME CENTRAL!!!! disabled every time I open the wretched thing. EVERY. TIME. ARRRRRRRRRGH.
^^ Or a £1,000,000 advance
^^^ Theoretically I’m going on a tower outing Saturday. Theoretically. And the iPhone is the only one of my instruments of destruction that has travelling internet connection. Also with me in Wolfgang will be a fifty-year-old Ordinance Survey map+ on the really quite reasonable grounds that bell towers tend to be on older churches and village back lanes haven’t changed that much, a five-year-old road atlas, and a print-out of Albert’s directions. No, I haven’t chosen my SatNav yet which means Peter hasn’t bought it yet.
+ I can hear Peter protesting tomorrow that it isn’t more than . . . thirty years old. Well, I’m pretty sure it was one of the ones looking a little worn when I moved over here twenty-two years ago. I was fascinated by the OS and pored over a lot of the relatively local maps—or anywhere we were going all over the UK—in the early days, before I had 500 rose-bushes and subscriptions to 4712 magazines.
** Anne_d, if you want to be grumpy and lumpy and uncommunicative, you go girl! I spend most of my life grumpy and lumpy and uncommunicative—ask most of the people who know me in real time—it’s just that I am A WRITER and have a particular set of writerly smoke and mirrors available for blogging. Including KES.
*** I talk to myself everywhere else. Why not online?
† Officially fiction, as opposed to my life, which often feels like fiction. I mean, I wish.
†† I’m going to try not to get distracted and answer a few more of last night’s comments, since there are one or two further points I want to make. . . .
I have, as regular readers know, been making another of my ATTEMPTS to cut down on the ridiculous amount of stuff I keep trying to jam into my life and the twenty-four crummy little hours in an entire day.* Well I’m declaring Wednesday to be an Official Short Blog Day, because it’s the only regular double-drama weekday: the matinee is the silent prayer service at St Margaret’s with Aloysius** and the evening performance is tower practise at Forza.*** This week however we also have a major invasion of family arriving on Friday so I may exercise my new short-blog skills again soon.†
But for tonight I will leave you with a pretty amazing advance review of SHADOWS from a blogger who tweeted the link:
And yes, I think Hix is pretty cute too. . . . ††
* * *
* I’m not even counting cruising on-line yarn sales and cross-referencing with Ravelry about both the yarn and what I might be able to do with it. I needed another time-waster. I don’t fritter away enough time reading book reviews and sample chapters and making lists. The latest variation on that theme is sheet music.
** Although he and I are the only ones sitting on the floor on zafus. It fascinates me who with advancing age and ME has an increasing number and amount of stupid aches and pains that I can sit cross-legged and more or less motionless for more than forty-seven seconds. I can’t sit on a chair without fidgeting, but plop me down on my meditation or, in this case, prayer cushion and I subside into a surprisingly convincing facsimile of calm. Unfortunately this goes away again as soon as I stand up, and I suspect trying to introduce a laptop to the situation would not go well.
Those old Zen masters were clearly onto something about human anatomy however. If any of you want to try it, I bought mine—on Aloysius’ recommendation—from http://bluebanyan.co.uk/meditation-cushions.html Mine is the bog-standard buckwheat zafu.
*** Not too bad, thank you. But I went to the twice-a-month additional practise for the slow and dim at Fustian last night and was told to go home and learn the calls for Cambridge minor. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I can’t ring a plain course reliably. They seem to think learning what happens in a touch is going to help. Good ringers have no clue what it’s like being a not good ringer.
† I’m also really enjoying Guest Post Sundays. I have two left in the queue and then. . . . Any of you who have either promised guest posts and then run away apparently forever, or who are contemplating all those fabulous photos you took of the Inca trail and dawn over Machu Picchu and wondering what you want to do with them . . . ahem. Allow me to make you feel welcome and desirable.
†† And yes—sigh—I’m aware that my ‘slow to get going’ is one of the reasons I’m not a fabulous best seller and not worrying about money all the time. But I don’t seem to be able to help it. It’s the way my stories go. Aggravated, I’m sure, by the fact that I tend to like this approach in other people’s books. The story is the story, but it is inevitably shaped and coloured by you the teller. Which is one of the things that keeps us tellers awake at night.
. . . Or nearly all juggle around a little.
I’ve been saying for most of the last five and a quarter years that I must cut back on the amount of time I spend on the blog but . . . this time I mean it. I have to mean it.
I have needed to cut back because I live over the time-line of 24-hour-day plausibility because I’m like that* and ‘time’ is a ridiculous human construct anyway. I’m not going to let some frelling mechanical instrument that goes tick tock** tell me what I can and can’t do. But . . .
The avalanche began when PEG II crashed and burned nearly a year and a half ago. And SHADOWS, bless its pointed little head, rolled in to give me something to DO and also something to tell my agent, my editor, and get PAID FOR when I also told them the bad news about having to put off PEG II till I could face the fact that frelling PEGASUS is a trilogy and PEG II is not the end. Originally SHADOWS was going to be short and . . . er . . . well, I get interested in the story I’m telling, you know? And I start thinking, oh, hey, well, if that, then that, and pretty soon . . . this is nothing on George R R Martin or Robin Hobbs, but SHADOWS weighs in at about 105,000 words which to a slow writer like me is plenty.
And then, last winter, there was that tiny fracas at my bell tower, which resulted in my quitting the tower that is a minute’s pedestrian sprint down the street from the cottage and joining one that is a half-hour-plus commute in Wolfgang . . . and half-hour-plus does not include lurid adventures in quest of parking, or pelting across town (and back) from wherever I finally manage to leave Wolfgang. And around the same time that I switched towers my one evening a week handbell group underwent meiosis and became two groups and two evenings. I said at the time I wasn’t going to be able to do two evenings a week regularly. But week by week I’m not very good at saying no.
Last summer I found myself agreeing to a bull terrier puppy.
This autumn I took possession of said bull terrier puppy***. I also started voice lessons again when Nadia came back from maternity leave.† And because this was not enough I rejoined the Muddlehamptons. Well, my goal always has been to sing in a choir, and I’d been putting off figuring out what to do instead of the Muddles, and here I am, Muddling again, and rather mysteriously coping with the twelve-hour practises, the freezing cold church and the No Loo. One more thing I think I haven’t told you is that while the first shock of hearing myself recorded was just how DIABOLICALLY AWFUL I was . . . the second shock was that there is actually more voice there to do something with than I had any awareness of. I knew I had become louder, but . . . well. That noise I’m now making almost is a singing voice, if I could get it under some kind of control.
And, this autumn, I found God, or he/she/it/they found me. God takes a lot of time. There’s all that praying business, and (ugh) facing yourself, and, since I’ve popped out in the Christian spectrum, there’s the Bible to read, and the 1,000,000,000,000 commentaries on the Bible, and the gazillion and twenty-six books about trying to live as a Christian, and there’s the note-taking you’ll inevitably do, and the conversations (both live and by email) with friends who have been doing this longer than you have, and the lists of more books to read and (not least) the sitting staring into infinite space and thinking ‘eep’ and . . .
And there’s going to church. St Radegund is right around the corner of course, and I do go there occasionally, but it’s not a church I’m much drawn to. Nooooo, I have to be drawn to monks, who are another half-hour-plus commute†††, and Aloysius’ church is only a minute or two nearer, and then there’s the abbey–I mean Forza, not the monks–which is miles in the opposite direction. I bought a bit of flex that is supposed to make Pooka read aloud to me when plugged into Wolfgang’s speakers for all this car time, supposing I figure out how to use it . . . but it’s still time.
And neither last nor least . . . there are hundreds of uncompleted auction orders waiting my attention. AAAAAAAAAUGH.‡ Those nights I can’t sleep? One of the things that keeps me awake is the knowledge of all those piles of books and order slips next door in my office. I really did get started on them when I sent the more-or-less finished SHADOWS in—bleh, whenever it was, whenever I announced it here—but I almost immediately had to go back to work on the things both Merrilee and my editor brought up. None of this has been major, but it all . . . takes time. And I’ve got to have these LAST editorial/authorial twiddles in by the tenth of this month, and then there will be copyediting, and . . .
And my poor neglected garden. . . .
I’m not closing the blog down. And I will still write long rambling days-in-the-life posts. But not as many of them, not as often.
And I’ll tell you more about my ideas for the Future of the Blog . . . tomorrow.
* * *
* I sometimes feel, especially when it’s being inconvenient, like a PUPPY WHO FEELS NEGLECTED BECAUSE IT’S BEEN AT LEAST FIFTEEN MINUTES SINCE ANYONE EITHER FED HER OR PLAYED WITH HER, that the ME is Just One More Thing on the frelling list. Except those times when I think it’s probably saving my life. No, you can’t do that too, it says. Sit down. Have a little rest. Do it now.
** Well, I still have frelling mechanical instruments that go tick tock.
*** To the continuing consternation of hellhounds. We’ve had her THREE MONTHS, you guys! Get used to it! Said hellterror puppy, just by the way, is up to needing almost half an hour of hurtling a day . . . and there is as yet no indication of a likelihood of survival of any attempt at triune hurtling.
†† I’ve now knitted two, count ’em, two, baby bibs and furthermore have given them to people with babies. As opposed to burying them in the bottom of some stash bag or other, as happened to all those Secret Projects last year. I don’t guarantee that either recipient has used them, or anyway has used them more than once when they unravelled instantly on contact with an actual baby, but Raphael did send me an awfully cute photo of his baby wearing hers and it does seem to be functioning. Nadia received the second one, right before our Christmas break, not because I meant to give it to her then but because I kept forgetting to give it to her at all.
††† Although I have yet to have a parking problem, if this wet weather continues I will need a ferry.
‡ Both Blogmom and I get queries about what’s happened to the money. The money is still sitting there in its account. It will eventually go to one of the bell funds run by the national bell-ringers’ council, but I am NOT DOING ANYTHING WITH IT till I’ve actually fulfilled my obligations.