(And now I have only about a thousand questions, some of which are from earlier but are more pressing now that someone has tried to KILL Kes & Sid in their own (brand new) home. For starters, why on earth is Kes a target?
Some of us have a gift for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And what she does for a living has perhaps a slight focusing-the-sun’s-rays-through-a-magnifying-glass effect. Since I don’t think I’d react well to dead guys in the front hall either, I’m happy to say that the influence my career has had on my life has been a trifle more subtle.*
And why NOW, when she’s moved to a new place?
She was married to a Tech Master. Tech has a dampening effect on guys with swords from other dimensions. Now she’s OUT THERE ALL BY HERSELF.**
If she’d stayed in NYC, would mysterious armed men have broken into the penthouse?
Probably not. All that tech would have confused them. They would have burst through their dimensional gateway and found themselves chasing reindeer in Lapland.
If any of you have a sudden influx of guys with swords you might want to ask Blogmom what she’d charge you to camp in her back garden for a few weeks till they’re all safely misdirected to Lapland. Those reindeer can really take care of themselves.
And who’s Bossy Voice and how did he manage to show up in the nick of time?)
Well you’ve now read the next instalment so you know who Bossy Voice is . . . sort of. Hee hee hee hee hee.
—I can’t wait to find out who the owner of the “strangely familiar voice” is! I suspect that the person has already appeared to Kes in Normal Townsperson incarnation and I’m very curious.
—OK, I had just assumed it was Mr. Watermelon Shoulders from parts 49-50?
—Watermelon Shoulders was my guess as well, but I’d like proof. Plus, him being WS doesn’t rule out him also being Caedmon or something/someone else as well, right?
Nope. It doesn’t. Hee hee hee hee, con’t.
[Forgive me, copying from the forum and pasting into Word is fraught with translation difficulties. Those descending box things for people to carry on a conversation don’t transfer AT ALL and trying to attach who said what to whom is a freller. You can always go look it up, right? I’m just giving you the context for me to hang an unhelpful, hellgoddessy comment on.]
Well, Ron Driscoll’s got to enter back into this story one way or the other… although I can’t necessarily picture him switching into ‘ye olde speake’ just because we’ve morphed realities…
::grovels and throws dust over her head:: Speaking of other dimensions, I’m afraid poor Ron has got lost in one. When I started KES I was planning on taking it less seriously than it has decided to take me*** and asked Black Bear before I ever got properly going with it if she’d play with me and do her gamesmaster thing to spur me on. And then KES ran away with me.†
I’m still hoping Ron might have a look-in during the post-immediate-climactic mop-up, so to speak, in a you-don’t-think-this-is-over-do-you louring and suggestive manner. Black Bear and I have discussed the possibility of parallel KES stories for the future which makes the best sense to me—like Peter and me finally getting at least two of our joint elemental spirits books out by the simple expedient of writing separate stories.†† But it’ll mostly depend on Black Bear’s patience. I’m not . . . a wonderful person to work with. Sigh.
BUT I WANT TO MEET RON’S DOG.
Pre-emptive “create your own” comment in preparation for tomorrow’s forum outage. †††
Dramatic consequence of reading post:________
A. I can’t breathe!!!
B. How am I supposed to sleep tonight???
C. My heart nearly stopped!!! I’m going to need a pacemaker!!!
A. You evil woman, you!!!
B. Why do you TORTURE us like this!!!!!
C. Evil, horrible hellgoddess!!!
Delighted response to ________’s action, or sympathy for the same character’s predicament.
C. The hob
D. Mr. Watermelon Shoulders
A. Can’t you PRETTY PLEASE post another episode tomorrow?
B. Where’s my time machine???
C. How are we supposed to wait a WHOLE WEEK after that cliffhanger???
This had me so falling down laughing you’ll have to forgive me (again) for hanging it in its scintillating entirety out here on the blog. I do have an excuse, because I know that some of my friends who only read the blog to keep an eye on me never penetrate into the depths of the forum and it would be a pity if they—and any of the rest of you—missed it.
I’ll also just add here that while forum members don’t rank in the millions or anything, if I posted a birthday KES for every forum member who had a birthday . . . I WOULD BE VERY BUSY WRITING KES.‡
|Pre-emptive “create your own” comment in preparation for tomorrow’s forum outage.
‘It can be seen that with this prose the forum member ‘Blondviolinist’ has made a significant and insightful contribution to the forum reading experience, adding to the dynamic expressivity created by forum members engaged with the weekly posting of KES’
‘And causing the top of the hellgoddess’ head to disengage with the rest of her skull just long enough for her to recall in VIVID DETAIL why she bailed on the academic life the moment she escaped her undergrad college with her BA in her teeth and plunged into a sordid life of genre fiction.’
“Lady Kestrel.” Sounds suitably heroic, doesn’t it?
Yes. Poor Kes.
But will all that blood just disappear at dawn the way things just appeared after dark?
No. Next question.
. . . is anyone else tempted to pour five quarts of viscous fluid onto the floor to see how much it is?
I thought about it, then thought about how much I don’t want to clean that. Should have been a visual aid in middle school science class though. Imagine the angry notes parents could have sent!
All of this. I was just thinking about it again yesterday when I bled about a pint all over the landscape from a glancing blow with a tiny pointy wire end near the cuticle of my left forefinger. BLOOD. Really a very little lot of it is a lot lot. Also, in quantity, it pongs.‡‡ And if you’ve ever cleaned up after critter birth, I know it’s not the same stuff‡‡‡, and it’s full of smelly hormones, but it contains blood, and it’s thick and icky and slithery and . . . and that’s even in a good cause, you know? Birth.
I’m feeling really anxious about Kes’s books, too. I want to help her move them out of the way.
YES. THIS. Although this is also an example of the occasional weirdness of doing a serial in tiny chunks like this.§ This ep originally did not have Kes worrying about her books—worrying about her books originally came in the next ep. But I realised that all you book fetishists out there would be freaked out—I would be freaked out in your position: it would be the first thing I thought of—so I figured I’d better register the question immediately. As to what happens, well . . .
Well, if you’ve ever accidentally dropped an entire gallon of milk on the floor…. (Not that I would ever have done such a thing, and a gallon is one quart too few.)
I thought about that, but milk doesn’t coagulate, and I’m enough of a nerd that I would want the fluid to have that feature.
Yes. Viscous. Your word for it the first time. The meniscus, if that’s still what you call it on blood, is a lot more, um, turgid. And the thought of it—this thick wave of the stuff much taller than thin milk can achieve—spreading out and spreading out till it starts getting all crusty at the edges. . . . ewwwwwww. . . . .
Loved Watermelon Shoulders wiping his sword on the dead guy (he would, of course)
Oh good. That’s what I thought. And an awful lot of successful fiction writing (say I, dangerously giving away trade secrets) is declaring, okay, you’re an ordinary person in this situation, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING AND FEELING? And doing. And if you’re a swordsperson with a bloody sword, especially if you’re a polite swordsperson in someone’s house, you need to (a) wipe your sword (b) wipe it on something the householder won’t mind you wiping it on. But I yield to your greater knowledge of hand to hand combat. So I’m glad you think so too.
and knowing the name of Kes’s sword…though if he knows her, why wouldn’t he?
Well, you’re never sure about these cross-dimensional bozos. They often have surprising lapses in their info.
Am thinking “Would I be worrying about the blood getting on my books…or my air mattress and blankets? Because bloodstained books are one thing, but sleeping under bloodstained blankets–not that Kes is going to sleep anytime soon, I can tell (I think I can tell. Maybe)–is not going to be pleasant for her at all.
Unless the floor lists in the wrong direction—and I will put in a special petition that it doesn’t—the bedding is okay. The dead guy is in the front hall, not the kitchen, and Caedmon’s niche is off the kitchen.
But you’re right that sleep isn’t coming up in Kes’ schedule any time soon. . . .
* * *
* Mostly. So far. There’s still time for everything to go dimensionally skew-whiff. And most of my friends thought Peter had kidnapped me.
** Except for Sid.
*** There’s going to be a dead guy and a large yucky pool of blood, okay? And Kes has a sword with a name. Are you taking notes carefully? Are we making ourselves clear?
† I have a very long history of failing to collaborate. Peter could tell you about the last twenty-two years. But I can remember starting to illustrate [sic] the story a friend wrote about a mare and her foal when we were both nine, and my deciding that the story would go better like this and my friend taking exception.
I just didn’t think, to begin with, that KES was quite, um, real and therefore at such high risk of my Anti-Collaboration Gremlin.
†† Even if some of them have had the distressing habit of morphing into novels, trilogies, etc.
††† WHICH DIDN’T HAPPEN BECAUSE BLOGMOM IS A STAR. HIP, HIP, HOOOORAY. HIP, HIP, HOOOORAY. HIP, HIP, HOOOOOOOOORAY!!!!!!!!
‡ Hey. Stop that. You do want me to finish PEGS II and III, don’t you? And hellcritters would pine if we never went hurtling any more.
‡‡ Aside from other bodily functions that may occur involuntarily as a result of sudden death.
‡‡‡ Does human blood smell any better or worse than other mammalian sanguineous fluid? Discuss.
§ And no I’m NOT going to make them any longer. See previous footnote †††.
I had what passes in my case for a terrific voice lesson.
AND THE REMOVAL BLOKES GOT IT ALL IN.
These two large dazzling items totally outshine the rest which is a good thing because it was very nearly a disaster of a day.
. . . Starting with not getting to bed early enough last night, partly because I really needed to sing and one song leads to another. . . . Staggered out of bed this morning making hopeless croaking noises like an installation of rusty hinges* and started lubricating with caffeine. Took the poor hellterror for the fastest sprint she was capable of** and locked her up again with an extra kong to comfort her in our absence.***
I took hellhounds-of-the-touchy-digestion for a minimal get-it-over-with scamper around the churchyard. Darkness refused to comply with the purpose of this exercise. Arrrgh.
Hellhounds and I were on the road with twenty-five minutes to spare: five minutes to bolt up to Third House and ask Atlas to clear out drawers and move ill-placed piles of [book] boxes in anticipation of removal-men arrival this afternoon and twenty minutes for hurtling at the far end before my lesson.
Atlas wasn’t there.
I could feel my throat closing.
Well, nothing I could do about it; I couldn’t even ask Peter if he knew anything, since, in the first place, he wouldn’t, because he’s been in Gloucestershire all weekend, and in the second place because he was on a train somewhere and I guarantee his phone had no signal, because that’s the way it goes.
So we thundered on to our next scheduled activity.
Frelling Mauncester was backed up from halfway up the hill into town. Stop go (but not very far) stop go stop go stop go stop go stopgostopgostop. Chiefly stop. It was like this all the way through town.
I could feel my throat closing harder.
We arrived at Nadia’s with THREE MINUTES to spare. I took hellhounds for a three minute scuttle and . . . Darkness continued to fail to comply. ARRRGH.
I was pretty nearly barking by the time I burst through Nadia’s door. . . She did make me do some breathing and loosening up exercises before I sang anything, but my throat said, Ooooh! We’re at Nadia’s! We like it here! —And promptly warmed up a dream.†
WE GOT THROUGH THREE SONGS. THREE. IT’S A RECORD. We usually bog down on the first one because I’m doing so many things wrong, not that Nadia would put it that way, but I would. We may occasionally galumph through bits of more than one—indeed even three—but only because I have a specific technical question†† or they’re folk songs I’m singing at home and want a little general input—or scraping back from the brink. But THREE REAL SONGS? It doesn’t happen. And furthermore the third—Vedrai carino from Don Giovanni—I’d only brought because I wanted to go over the frelling Italian before I started really working on it. We’d had a stab††† at it a while ago and it got set aside, but it’s been on my mind and since I now more or less suddenly have more voice it’s one of the ones I snatched back from oblivion.
Oh, go on, let’s just sing it, said Nadia. So I did. Eeeeep. And she made one or two painless comments and told me to go home and work on it.
Then Un moto de gioja and we spent some time on that one. Here’s an example of why I adore Nadia. There’s a place in the middle of Un moto where you hold a note for a very long time and then come off it again with a wordless twiddle before you start the next verse. I hadn’t even registered that you’re supposed to sing the twiddle—when I started work on this song Nadia had told me to hold the note only as long as was comfortable, but to keep time and come in correctly on the new ‘un moto’. Then I ACCIDENTALLY heard Danielle de Niese singing it and she sings the twiddle. Oh. It ties the two halves together better, the twiddle. I can’t sing it up to proper twiddle speed at the end of a long note—which is the part I can do—and as I hurl myself into the next verse. So I sing it at half speed. Nadia said gravely, if you were preparing this for public performance I think I would take issue with your singing it so slowly, but for your purposes at present it works very well. —She takes you seriously. Even when you’re screwing up Do Re Mi or tackling something like someone with a flint axe trying to produce a knock-off of the Sphinx.
Finally we assailed the nightclub proprietress. This is such a fabulous song. There are no fully satisfactory performances of it on YouTube—that I can find anyway—but here’s the poem: http://wonderingminstrels.blogspot.co.uk/2006/05/song-of-nightclub-proprietress-john.html ‡
It needs Lotte Lenya—who may have died before Dring composed it, in which case I excuse her for having failed to record it—or someone else who can put over age and despair. I don’t say you have to be old (despair optional) because in fairness I would then have to give up singing Voi che sapete, say, which is sung by a teenage boy, or Vedrai carino, which is sung by a bouncy village maiden (to her thick plank of a fiancé). But you have to put old and hagged over. I have a chance of this, with lived experience on my side. But the thing that is Very Exciting is that I can hear me beginning to sound like a mezzo: not just the range‡‡ but the resonance. And this is a very resonant song.
. . . I then took hellhounds for another hustle and FINALLY. A CERTAIN PARTY EXCRETED. We then belted back to Third House and arrived with three minutes to spare . . . and the removal blokes were already there. NEVER MIND. I WASN’T LATE. I let them in, pointed out all the Large Objects that had to go, apologised for lack of pre-clearance . . . and bolted back to the cottage to feed hellcritters‡‡‡ and take the hellterror for another mini-hurtle while hellhounds contemplated their bowls with disfavour. I was on my way out the door to flee back to Third House when the phone rang and it was Removal Men saying they were ready. . . .
I looked at their lorry before they shut the gate and my heart plummeted. There was no way they were going to get that lot in. I had the hellhounds with me again—no one had got any kind of a real hurtle thus far today—and we took off across some countryside§ behind the storage warehouse while Valiant Removal Men wrestled with the standard three dimensions of the space-time continuum and when we returned . . .
THEY HAD GOT IT ALL IN.§§
Oh, and did I mention that tonight was the first night of the Alpha course—?
* * *
* On this day that the Turner Prize is announced, this seems like a perfectly valid idea
** All right, the fastest sprint I was capable of
*** I’m sure, if asked, she would prefer the kong
† Please remember, when I say silly things like this that IT’S ALL RELATIVE. I have made a giant leap forward in the last few weeks but it’s still an 11-hand Shetland pony qualifying for prelim at the county show against the odds, not the branded warmblood insured for a gazillion pounds qualifying for the Olympics, okay?
†† Huh, whuh, um, bleaugh?
††† Way too vivid a metaphor, stab. Or maybe I’m just hallucinating KES.
‡ Baby ’pollies is not a mystery: they’re little bottles of a kind of mineral water popular at the time.
‡‡ I’m still putting in petitions to get my high C back. Lots of mezzos have high Cs.
‡‡‡ ‘Feed’ used loosely, which is to say the hellterror eats and the hellhounds do not.
§ And I managed to cut myself on some barbed wire. Frell. There was a normal gate to get in, and then at the other end one of those horrible temporary gate things that anyone who has spent any time wandering over English agricultural landscape will know to their detriment: several strands of barbed wire stretched between two light posts and held apart horizontally by being nailed to a series of short loose lathes. This contraption is usually held at either end by a loop at ground level where you stick the bottom of your post and then at the top by another loop which you have to shove it under, around the post of the real fence it’s being attached to. These things are a menace anyway, and if you lose your hold they collapse on the ground in a grisly tangle of barbed wire. But in this case . . . the frelling loops were made of barbed wire. WHY? Anyone trying either to open or close the evil thing is going to have to handle the loops. I managed to nick a finger and it bled and bled and bled and bled and bled and bled and bled and bled and bled and it was very boring and there are probably a whole series of predators out there tonight hopefully following my blood spoor. Sorry guys.
§§ Of course I still have ninety-six million books to do something with—I don’t mean Peter’s and my backlist, that’s already in its own storage unit—and a few odds and ends. Maybe a few more than a few.
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!
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.
. . . 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.
. . . 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.
++ 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:
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.
The thing that amuses me is that that flowered paper on the far right appeared three times this birthday: people seem to think they know what I like. They would be right about this.
I was going to post birthday photos yesterday and then frelling Niall and his frelling handbells intervened. To put my tiny triumph into perspective, by the way, tonight at tower practise one of Forza’s good ringers was telling me excitedly that she’d rung her first full peal on twelve bells. In the tower, this is, so she was only ringing one bell, but she was standing up for three and a half hours to do it and it was some infernal surprise method—I don’t think anyone bothers to ring anything but Infernal Surprise on higher numbers of bells—so while I don’t think she rings handbells, and I did tell her about my quarter, it was still like telling someone who’s just earned a place in the Horse of the Year show that you won your walk-trot class at the local gymkhana.
Anyway. I wanted to get my NEW WATCH back from the jewellers before I posted photos: I needed about nineteen links taken out of the massive wristband* but I wanted the blog photo of it ON MY WRIST.
This is however slightly a lesson in ordering things on line. As soon as I discovered that pink gold [plate] and rhinestones were in in wristwatches I stopped looking at anything else. And as soon as I noticed this one had a day dial—I haven’t had a watch that told me the day of the week in decades, and I love having a watch that tells me what day it is: us stay at home free lancers can be seriously pathetic that way**—I knew this was the one. Also I love Roman numerals—Roman numerals and it tells me the day of the week?? And rhinestones? Be still my heart. I’ve never had anything half so fabulous.
And it is fabulous. It also weighs four ounces—a quarter of a frelling pound—and is nearly half an inch thick. I knew the face had to be big from the on line photo of everything that’s on it. I did not know wearing it would feel like having a pendant hellterror dangling from that wrist at all times, or that I couldn’t ring [tower] bells in it because it would hook the rope.*** I feel that someone somewhere along the design line absent-mindedly added a zero on the dimensions; and the giant-sized wristband is perfectly in keeping with the watch. It was originally made perhaps for the Brobdingnag market, where pink and rhinestones did not go over.
But it is definitely fabulous. And yes, those are rhinestones in the face as well as around the border: the border ones only look pink because they’re reflecting the pink gold.
You will now see me coming any time I have my sleeves pushed up.
Oh, and my favourite silly present from a friend:
In case I never find that blank needlework pillow I’m still covered. † This is one of the other things that arrived in that rose paper in the first photo. . . .††
* * *
* This was part of my running-around day yesterday. I also did thrilling things like buy vitamins. And puppy toys. There’s a very high rate of attrition in the puppy toy category.^
^ Ignorant, naïve people say to me, she’s not a puppy any more, she’s a year old! Hollow laughter. Whippets (and perforce whippet crosses) and bull terriers are apparently notorious for being slow maturers, but are there any dogs out there who are actually ADULT at a year old? I’ve never met one. I’m not planning to panic about the lifestyle of the adult bull terrier for at least another nine months.+
+ There is a fifteen-month-old puppy having a swell time with a bit of disintegrating sofa cover right now. She has however earned it: she long downed for AN HOUR with only occasional interventions. I can even get out of my chair to pour myself another cup of peppermint tea without her immediately bouncing to her feet to follow me.# Usually. ##
# Because any excuse will do.
## And having spent 90% of that hour stiff with outrage/misery/disbelief/despair, despite the comfy nest of towels at my feet and the fact that all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, if obliged by circumstance she is quite a good sleeper . . . upon release she spent ten minutes racketing around the house like an extra-large rhinoceros in a china shop . . . and is now completely crashed out on my lap, which practically speaking is a lot less comfy than the towel nest.
** Handbells are quite a useful way of keeping track of the passage of the days however because of the texts from Niall.
*** If I wear it for ringing handbells my left arm will become twice as large and muscular as my right. I suppose I could swap wrists to a carefully balanced schedule.
† Whoever said I’d have trouble finding one . . . you’re right. WHY? There must be other people out there who’d like to choose their own Words to Live By.
†† Bratsche, I’ll post a photo of my dress TOMORROW.^
^ If I forget, nag me.
I’m a little . . . slow today. I almost never drink alcohol any more which means that when I do, um, the earth moves. So to speak. And I had three glasses of champagne last night: my LIMIT is two. Well it wasn’t my fault. Peter barely drinks any more either, so we asked for one glass of champagne and one empty glass, in which we would decant a few mouthfuls so that he could toast me*. They brought us two glasses of champagne and then made Peter’s complimentary when we explained they’d made a mistake. Well I couldn’t waste it, could I? The problem being that it was already there, and later on, when they came around and asked me if I wanted a second glass . . . the answer had to be yes, didn’t it?
This is why taxis were invented. It’s also why we only go out seriously about twice a year.
I realised the enormity of my peril tottering out to the taxi, which involves stairs down from the restaurant door.** So hellhounds got a rather brisker and more elaborate final hurtle than usual and I drank a double potful of peppermint tea. And I don’t have anything tacky and vulgar like a headache today but I am . . . a little slow. Although I nearly survived a touch of Stedman Triples on the two this afternoon. <geekspeak alert> I assumed we’d ring a plain course since I am even less safe on the two than the treble, and then frelling Frelling called a bob and I got through it and someone else went wrong. Fine, I thought, it’s Sunday service, if we try again this time it will be a plain course. NO. WRONG. And I got through two frelling affected bobs this time before . . . I came unglued making the bob and forgot to go in slow. RATBAGS. I ALMOST DID IT. But even almost, when you’re talking about a touch of Stedman Triples for service and especially the day after your birthday when you’re feeling a little slow . . . is worth celebrating.
Or that’s my version.
* * *
* Only toasts in champagne really count. Even a good red wine is not an acceptable substitute^. Anything but champagne is like ringing a false quarter [peal]^^. Even if the method was flawlessly called and struck for the entire duration it doesn’t count and you don’t get to send it in to be published in THE RINGING WORLD.
^ Peter’s thing is big fat leathery Rhone wines, and when I still drank enough ever to be willing to waste a few alcoholic tokens on anything that wasn’t champagne I liked it too.
^^ You can ring a false peal but that doesn’t bear thinking about. A quarter is only forty five minutes or thereabouts which I think is quite long enough AND I WANT IT TO COUNT. A peal is three hours, frequently plus,+ and three-plus hours of intense concentration, not to mention the standing up and yanking on a rope part, and it doesn’t COUNT? I would totally take up bungie jumping after a disaster like that.
+ I’ve said this before: I don’t plan ever to attempt to ring a full peal: I haven’t got the stamina. Fortunately I don’t even want to. It’s funny though, one woman’s manifestation of madness is another woman’s achievement and satisfaction. I imagine there are a lot of peal ringers out there who would consider Street Pastoring a completely bonkers way of ruining your circadian rhythm.#
# The perils, speaking of perils, of being a Christian. I’ve also told you that at St Margaret’s evening service, communion is passed around. The priest starts the basket and the goblet at one end of the front row, and then that person turns and offers it to the next person, and so on. But you break the bread for and offer the goblet to your neighbour, and you say a few words—these tend to vary but I think everyone says something—as you do it. I don’t actually like this system; communion is SERIOUS~ and I want a professional in charge, not us kittle cattle. But the saying of a few words as you pass the wine is somewhat dependent on the bread having NOT instantly adhered to the roof of your mouth with a superglue-like tenacity.
Tonight it barnacled on like it was going for the Olympic gold in attachment.
Fortunately you’re not expected to mumble your words very loudly and of course I have a funny accent.
~ Although at least us Anglicans don’t have to believe in transubstantiation. Brrrrrrrr.
~~ Although there may be something in the trans-something theory because I have noticed that all bread used for the Eucharist takes on an uncanny genius for cleaving valiantly to the roof of your mouth—the Wonder bread squares of my generic Protestant childhood, the standard tasteless church wafers and the somewhat variable productions of St Margaret’s. I’m sure there’s an important theological point here.
** Aggravated by the ninety-seven yards of skirt on my dress and the fact that my lady shoes did, in fact, have teeny-weeny heels, although everything has heels if you wear All Stars all the rest of your life.
The dress with the extreme skirt is my favourite dress in the universe and I haven’t worn it in two years because . . . the moths got it. I won’t use standard laboratory-made toxic chemicals for anything if I can help it, partly for green reasons, partly because of the ME, and cedar oil does work against moths but you have to keep topping it up, and there are no balls in my life that I don’t take my eye off some time, and this includes the generously reapplying cedar oil to the animal fibres in the cottage attic ball. It’s still my favourite dress, however, even with moth holes, and I finally thought FRELL it, it’s pretty dim in the restaurant and if we pay the bill who cares if the old dame’s dress had moth holes? Very Ms. Havisham. So I wore it. And I was thinking, next time, Doc Martens and then it becomes a look, especially with my getting-on-toward-disintegration black leather jacket. I’ll have a thoughtful stare at my All Stars shelves but I think for this purpose I need proper stomping boots. I have some flowered Docs that I think might do the trick. . . .