I bought nine roses last week.* AND I PLANTED THE LAST TWO OF THEM TODAY. It’s only been a WEEK.** And I’ve already got ALL OF THEM them in the ground.*** Are you impressed? Trust me, you should be impressed.
So I thought I’d give myself a Slightly Short Blog Day to celebrate.† And maybe I’ll do a little work. Or go to bed early.†† Or something.
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* Hey. I need more roses.
** I can’t remember if I told you this story or not^. I’d ordered from a rose nursery that isn’t impossibly far from here and said I would pick them up. When they rang me that my roses were ready I suggested to Peter that he come too and we’d go on afterward to the big public garden nearby and have a wander. So that’s what we did. Except that by the time we got to the big public garden . . . we were too tired.^^ So we didn’t walk around it. Ho hum. Life in the Slow Lane. But I did get my roses.
^ And the Footnote Labyrinth makes trying to look back and check somewhat challenging.
^^ In my case all that frelling driving was aggravated by a long conversation I had with one of the rose-nursery proprietors about, how surprising, roses. She was full of embarrassing information I should have known.+ I have, for example, never had any luck with the symbiotic fungus stuff that you put in the hole when you plant your rose, and it colonises the roots which then develop like crazy in all directions and your rose is very, very happy. Except it didn’t and it wasn’t. I thought it was another fashionable scam. Nobody told me that root fungi don’t like blood-fish-and-bone which is the traditional rose and general perennial shrub food. You ALWAYS put BFB in the hole you’re planting a rose in. Not when you’re using mycorrhizal fungi. Oh. –So I bought some more of the frelling stuff and have used it. Except I’ve only used about half the packet and it only keeps for about a year and it’s stupidly expensive, you wouldn’t want to waste it nooooooooooo. . . . .
+ Although we did a little mutual howling about people who don’t get it that roses are, you know, living things. I told her a story I know I’ve told you, from when we were still at the old house and opened our garden on the National Gardens Scheme. I had someone at least once every open day saying, your roses are amazing, how do you get your roses to be so amazing? My roses are barely struggling along. And I would say, well, what do you feed them? And they would look at me blankly and say, Feed them? FOR PITY’S SAKE, GUYS. HOW DO YOU THINK ROSES PRODUCE ALL THOSE FLOWERS? MAGIC? How can anyone look at a modern, repeat-flowering rose, frelling bowed down by the weight of its flowers, not least because it’s been overbred for flower production at the expense of everything else like leaves and stems and good health, and not realise it’s going to need a little more help than scratching a hole in the ground and plonking it in?? That’s like buying a racehorse and feeding it straw. GOOD GRIEF.
*** Well. Mostly not in the ground. Not in the All the Plumbing in Hampshire cottage garden. Most of them are in pots. I suspect I have rather good drainage, between the builder’s rubble and all the plumbing in Hampshire, but most roses that aren’t major thugs, in this garden, do better in pots, possibly just because they don’t have to fight off the thugs. But I lost a few this wet winter that I don’t think I should have lost so . . . more pots. A few of the new intake are in pots smaller than they’ll stay in forever . . . but they’ll do for a year or two. Or three. Just keep feeding them.
† Also because I took Peter to the ex-library again today and we battered our way through all the other media and went and hung out in the small dark corner where the books now live. I found a little trove of knitting books . . . and then read one of Peter’s thrillers over tea. During which I absent-mindedly ate a Very Nasty gluten-free pistachio cookie. I think I object to a book so absorbing that you can eat nasty food without noticing till it’s too late. That’s the problem with thrillers: they make you forsake all rationality and keep turning pages.
And then I went bell ringing at Crabbiton for the second week in a row. I haven’t been ringing, I’m too tired, and the idea of facing eighty-six bells and a ringing chamber the size of a ballroom at Forza is too much for me. Crabbiton has six bells, and a pretty laid-back and low-level band, and I found out by accident that Wild Robert has started teaching there pretty regularly again. So I went along last week and made bob minor possible—they generally only have four inside ringers, and bob minor requires five—and so this week they were really glad to see me. It’s a hoot being one of the big kids. Although Felicity had to go and wreck my feeble glow of self-satisfaction by inquiring if I wouldn’t like to make up the number at Madhatterington on Mothering Sunday. Nooooooooooooo.
So . . . after all this febrile self indulgence . . . work would be good.
†† No! No! Not that!
It turns out that I have fewer truly lascivious yarn photos than I hoped; it’s the fault of the frelling light. Outdoor light is fine. Frelling frelling frelling fluorescent light is never fine and while my brain- and finger-numbingly over-specified camera probably has a fluorescent light setting it takes about twenty seconds every time you want to reset anything due to the profligate nature of both the available menus and the items on the menus, and the menus of each individual item, all of them shrouded in impenetrable and unguessable icons which you need to be at home reading the CD on your computer to decipher because of course the paper instructions that you might keep in your knapsack are a feeble pamphlet with a lot of white space that tells you how to insert the battery and turn the thing on and then suggests you read the CD.* So there you are at a fabulous yarn show scowling at the lighting, which is a diabolical, and unpredictable, mixture of fluorescent and outdoor and even if I could find the Nasty Glaring Indoor Light button on my camera it wouldn’t be the right answer either. So, for example, although I took photos of all of these, I can’t show you the amazing knitted layer cake complete with (knitted) candles—knitted lit knitted candles—that a local knitting society had made for their own 35th anniversary. Nor can I show you the astonishing crochet blankets the Natural Dye Studio** had hanging on their walls, or Tilly Flop Designs’*** silly greeting cards or Injabulo’s† gorgeous buttons. Or a number more knitted shawls††, speaking of shawls.
But we’ll do what we can.
This is not a good photo, and the original photo probably wasn’t all that great before they blew it up, framed it and put glass over it. But it’s totally worthwhile because the look on this dog’s face is priceless.†††
I had promised Fiona to fondle every skein of pink, purple or pink-purple yarn I saw. I was quite a while at this booth.
They’re one of the many little indie producers out there. But not only is their yarn seriously smoosh-worthy but they’re nice.
I actually looked at the pattern—being GOH at Boskone might do as a laird-substitute—and fell on the floor laughing. Um. No.
There. You don’t feel cheated or short-changed do you?
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* You might think that there might be a short cut menu for the stuff that ORDINARY people use and adjust the most often, but clearly this camera was not made for ordinary people.
** http://www.thenaturaldyestudio.com/ Hint: they sell the patterns. I already knew I have to learn to crochet some time because there are a lot of crochet roses out there. But I may have to crochet a blanket.
*** http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/tillyflopdesigns Keep Calm and Finish It for Next Christmas. There was also one at the show I don’t see on her Etsy page, which goes, more or less: I told you I’d have it done for your birthday, but I didn’t tell you which birthday
†† http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/stars-in-the-sky for example. None of these photos BEGINS to do it justice. And I have about as much chance of knitting it as I do the Unnamed Item with Roses from the first Yarn Porn instalment. A girl can drool.
††† I am reminded of Sarahallegra’s Calantha in her bunny ears. Oh, this is http://www.redhoundfordogs.com/ Clearly they are a good place by the high percentage of sighthounds.
. . . I’m leaving you to look up any more web sites. I think the labels on the rest of the photos are legible. Anything you’re dying for that doesn’t have a visible label, post to the forum, I can probably figure it out.
SUNLIGHT!* WE HAD SUNLIGHT TODAY!!** I admit there have been random sightings lately, including this weekend, but today it was SUNNY when I crawled out of bed, it was SUNNY when I let Pav out in the little back courtyard to relieve any overnight build-up of pressure***, it was SUNNY when I ran outdoors with my camera because of course it would rain later, it was SUNNY when I hurtled first one and then the other shift and it was SUNNY when I went out yea verily a third time to buy a newspaper. I admit it did start raining just as I’d got my gardening kit on and had my hand on the kitchen door to go outside . . . but I went anyway. I just spent longer in the greenhouse (muttering) than I’d planned.
Have I mentioned how much WordPress hates me? Even with Blogmom’s templates to take the risk out I STILL can’t hang photos. Okay, late breaking caption: This particular clump of double whites are trying to take over the universe. Go for it. –And I have no idea where the italic came from.
And WHY did THIS caption become DETACHED from its photo?? No, no, don’t tell me, I’m not strong enough, it’s been a long winter.
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* Crocuses will only open in sunlight. So if you think you’re hallucinating . . . check your crocuses.
** I was so demented with joy and daylight that I moved a bumblebee by PICKING HER UP IN MY FINGERS. I’ve seen one or two recently and am glad they haven’t all drowned. But this one was snuggled up between the kitchen doorframe and the sill and the hellpack would get her if I didn’t tread on her and I was thinking that she was probably liking the warmth of the house so without thinking at all I picked her up and put her behind the plant pots on the kitchen window shelf. It didn’t occur to me what I was doing till she started buzzing. EEEEEP. I may have put her down somewhat hastily. But she was slow and sleepy with winter and it’s easy to be STUPID because bumblebees are, you know, fuzzy and cute.
*** She is now old enough to have the control to decide not to relieve pressure till she goes on her first hurtle later. Yaay. I don’t know if this is the tiny size of the space available or what; the hellhounds stopped using the back garden too, except when things were very bad, although it took them longer, being boys, about two years. But this is the first time I’ve had dogs with a small enclosed garden and don’t know if this is common behaviour or not. But it’s very nice not to have a patio latrine that needs disinfecting, especially with spring and summer and sitting-outdoors thoughts in prospect. Not that I’m very good at sitting outdoors but the thought counts for something.
No, no, said Nina, I’ve only just got here myself; I misread the bus schedule and. . . . TO BE CONTINUED.
A certain renowned author and GOH at 2015 Boskone is getting entirely too fond of cliffhangers!
Snork. It wasn’t meant to be a cliffhanger. It was ‘okay, that’s 1000 words, I can get at least a second post out of all the photos, YAAAAAAAY.’ No, I found my way out of the car park without happening across more than one or two bottomless ravines and/or person-eating tigers . . . and having stood at a total loss on the pavement outside the exit for about thirty seconds while the traffic swirled by* the very first passing pedestrian I applied to pointed over his shoulder and said, your Ancient Building—and your yarn show—is that way.
And it was. And Nina was waiting in the entrance.** And we spent the next three hours in a daze of colour, texture and naked desire.***
And it won’t be nearly as droolworthy as any of these. But it’ll be a shawl.
TO BE CONTINUED. Again. Hey, it worked last time. . . . †
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* And I’m sure I saw that stricken look of No! Not Sainsbury’s again! on several of the drivers’ faces
** Having had a slightly fascinating time watching all the painstakingly handmade knitwear marching through the doorway. This reminds me more than a trifle of costuming at cons. The majority of it is pretty fabulous and you think if all that love, care, creativity and skill could be more widely applied we’d have the world’s problems sorted instanter. Unfortunately there tend to be governments and special-interest groups in the way.
And then there’s a little of it that, ahem, isn’t fabulous. At least not on this planet. There were a few items in this category at the yarn show.
*** Well, I did. Nina is made of sterner stuff, although she admitted she began to feel a trifle overwhelmed. But she came for a project and she found a project, and she bought a pattern and took advice about suitable yarn and bought that AND THAT’S ALL SHE BOUGHT. Gaaaaaaah. I bought an ENTIRELY UNSUITABLE VERY LARGE BOOK OF PATTERNS for the extremely pathetic reason that I fell wildly, hopelessly in love with one of the knitted-up samples. I have about as much chance of knitting the freller^ for myself as I do of riding dressage in the next Olympics—in fact I have a better chance at the Olympics—but maybe I can turn the book into a coffee table. It’s big enough.^^
Now most of this is just my embarrassing lack of self-control. But it’s also because the stall-holders were nice. I could imagine ringing them up and saying WHAT DO I DO NOW? I can even imagine them answering.^^^ Most of the stall-holders made a point of saying that they were happy to take phone calls and offer advice, and pressed their business cards on you, and most of these are small independents producing their own yarn and/or their own patterns. Although there were a few franchises there, they were friendly too. Knitting seems to be a pretty welcoming world.
However there was one stall where I would certainly have bought one and probably two patterns, both of which were really interesting and looked more clever than complicated . . . but a little complicated. And I looked at the proprietors and thought, well, no, I can’t imagine ringing these people up and asking for advice.# So I didn’t buy the patterns. Sigh. Not like I don’t have 467,912 patterns already.
^ No I’m not telling you what it is. It’s an item of clothing and it has roses on it.
^^ Speaking of large books full of gorgeous patterns I have no hope of knitting: http://americanmuseum.org/2013/09/the-colourful-world-of-kaffe-fassett-22-march-to-2-november-2014/
I even have a Kaffe Fassett book from another, similar occasion of tragic longing. It’s an art book, okay? Never mind those pattern instructions in the back.
^^^ The likelihood of my being able to follow their instructions however. . . .
# Nina, by the way, in her calm, clear, rational manner, had the same reaction to them that I did. So it’s not just me being the raging loony faction. She also liked the patterns. Maybe I’ll buy one on line and ask Fiona to help me.
† I’ve also just spent fifteen minutes frelling arguing with this laptop, which may be moving toward retirement^, about posting that last photo, which it insisted was Fully Occupied Having Illicit Relations with Another Programme. IT FRELLING ISN’T YOU FRELLING FRELLING. I don’t want to do that any more tonight and I have no idea what it might have in mind for my next attempt at loading a photo. The yarn porn is obviously disturbing its moral and professional values.
^ I can’t AFFORD a new computer! I need to BUY MORE YARN!!
GREAT BIG FAT HAIRY DROOLING WE-INTERRUPT-OUR-REGULARLY-SCHEDULED-PROGRAMME-TO-BRING-YOU-THIS-IMPORTANT-ANNOUNCEMENT NEWS
Tra la la la la la la . . .
I’m going to be Guest of Honor at Boskone next year.
Boskone, I hear some of you saying? I think it’s one of the oldest and most regularly annual of the (American) SF&F conventions* but I’m afraid I don’t pay any more attention to the fan-run end of the book world than I do to the professional publisher end** so I could be wrong. But it was my first big SF&F con, back when BEAUTY was new, and I was living next door in Boston. I attended sporadically for some years before I got kind of burnt out about the public-author thing generally*** but I’ve retained a soft spot for Boskone.
I had an email from next year’s chairperson about a fortnight ago inviting me to be next year’s GOH and I thought BOSKONE? I WOULD LOVE TO BE GUEST OF HONOR AT BOSKONE . . . and have since been in agonies not so much of indecision but of trying to figure out what the frell I could do about the hellpack if I said yes.† Pav isn’t a problem; given the basic facts of bull terriers she’s, you know, normal. The hellhounds, now. . . .
But a friend dropped round for a cup of tea this afternoon and in the process of trying to force said hellhounds to eat their lunch I found myself moaning to her about the situation. She, having extracted the salient facts that (a) YES I WOULD LIKE TO BE GOH AT BOSKONE NEXT YEAR and (b) no I haven’t been anywhere in the last seven years because I have these bizarrely-constituted hellhounds†† . . . said, FOR PITY’S SAKE SAY YES. GO. GO. You’ve got a year: we’ll figure something out.†††
So I said yes. ::Beams::
I asked the chair to let me know when they announced it so I could time it to go up more or less simultaneously on this blog. That was about seven hours ago and she answered by return electron that they were going to be putting it up on NESFA’s web site by the end of the day and I could go ahead as soon as I liked. I don’t think it’s up yet—although as I say Google does not love me—I’ll add a link when it does.
BUT HERE’S YOUR OPPORTUNITY. SEE AND HEAR MCKINLEY LIVE IN PERSON. Although you want to remember that I’ll be sixty-two by next February, so don’t expect much: I’m old, wizened and EVEN CRANKIER THAN YOU REALIZE. But I’ll be there. Smiling in a dangerous manner.
BE THERE OR BE SQUARE.
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* Here’s Wiki’s stub about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boskone The New England Science Fiction Association has a web site but it’s kind of full of this year’s Boskone at the moment, which is only just over and also, I am stupid, and Google doesn’t love me.
** That sound you hear is Merrilee banging her head against a wall
*** That sound you hear is Merrilee banging her head against a wall harder
† I’ve spent a fair portion of the last fortnight making phone calls toward this end.
†† Remember that in my life this isn’t as appalling as it sounds. I like staying home and hurtling and ringing bells and planting rose-bushes and so on. But it would be nice to go back to America SOME TIME and not be a foreigner the minute I open my mouth^, and while day to day I don’t think about it, and year to year the idea of author touring is about as appealing as going into battle in your nightgown^^ . . . the invitation from Boskone made me fall over the edge immediately.
^ Except that I will be because while my accent hasn’t drifted east much my usage sure has
^^ Now I wonder why that image occurs to me
††† Peter said exactly the same thing, only faster. And his kids will keep an eye on him in my absence.