shewhomust: (Default)
Yesterday afternoon, on my fortnightly binge of "gardening" - which means, hacking back brambles and uprooting rampant buttercups and other weeds, ready for the garden waste collection the following morning, I found and ate a ripe blackberry. Just the one, in a sheltered, sunny position (under the kitchen window), but even so, this is very early, isn't it? I think of blackberries as an autumn fruit, and July 25th as the beginning of the summer holiday season (because it was Grandma's birthday, and often coincided with the start of the school holidays).

It's going to be a good year for blackberries: the brambles in the garden are heavy with fruit, and although I am cutting back yards and yards of new growth, that's not where the fruit is.
shewhomust: (Default)
[personal profile] durham_rambler and I have postal votes, so we have already voted - oh, weeks ago. We had a choice of seven candidates, but it wasn't a hard choice: I voted Labour, for Roberta Blackman-Woods, the retiring MP. She has done good work on behalf of the constituency , and there is much in the party manifesto that I really like. (I could wish that these two things were more connected, and hope that this vote helps to bring that about.) The Lib Dem candidate is a local councillor, but I voted Lib Dem once, and they went into coalition with the Tories, so I'm not making that mistake again; I might have been tempted to vote Green, but the local candidate - well, let's just say I'm not impressed; the Tory is a Tory, and works for the University; UKIP apparently couldn't find a local candidate (hooray!) and had to bus someone in from Hampshire. This we knew when we cast our votes. Since then we have also received leaflets from the Young People's Party candidate, who stood as an Independent last time round, but has now found a party he likes, making him one of the country's three YPP candidates: they have some interesting ideas, which his election flyer undermined with a page of pointless snark; and an Independent who appears to be saying, if I have disentangled this correctly, that all politicians break their election promises, and he will avoid this by not making any promises.

So that's that. Now we wait and see. We will sit up for as much of the result as we can bear, which will probably be more in [personal profile] durham_rambler's case than in mine! It's going to be a long day. I shall do my best to fill it with useful tasks, and have already started a loaf of bread, and set the fridge to defrost (long overdue). [personal profile] durham_rambler has unblocked the sink in the bathroom. Time to strip the bed and wash some sheets, perhaps?

But first, we have a date to take our friend F. out for a birthday lunch; and [personal profile] durham_rambler has just told me that we need to set off in half an hour. Time to knock back the bread and find something more festive to wear!
shewhomust: (Default)
The builders have gone, and the downstairs bathroom is ours, all ours. The final stage was completed on Friday morning, when the boss came to photograph the finished job, and the cleaner came to clean up. I don't know what the point of this was, as she only cleaned the bathroom, and given the amount of dust the builders had generated, and their commendable ability to clear as they went, the bathroom was probably the cleanest room in the house. The boss took his pictures before she cleaned, so that wasn't the purpose... But there's no point arguing with builders, so we left her to it, and once she'd finished we went out for the day.

It looks very smart - too smart, in fact, to belong to us, it feels like stepping through a spacewarp into a hotel bathroom somewhere. We have both tried out the shower, and [personal profile] durham_rambler pronounces himself satisfied, which is the important thing, as he is the primary showerer. I'm a little disappointed: I think I'm still hankering after that overhead power shower, which we couldn't have without rewiring and replumbing the entire house. It's fine, and it's certainly better than it was before, and if it doesn't make me prefer a shower to a bath, that was never really on the cards.

And while grey tiles would still not be my first choice, it is nowhere near as dreary as I feared.
shewhomust: (Default)
- or at least, I'm hoping it is. [personal profile] durham_rambler and I, looking at the piles of materials the builders are stacking all over the house (and I mean materials - cladding, tiles, bags of plaster - not including their collection of buckets, toolboxes and other paraphernalia) estimate that if you stacked it all in the bathroom, it would cover the entire floor to a depth of more than a metre.
shewhomust: (guitars)
It was the Folk Degree students' concert at the Sage last night. There are always worthwhile, even if some years are more to my taste than others, and I sometimes feel we're the only people in the audience who aren't the parents of one of the performers. Last night was a good one - some promising performers, some good material, and we were sharing a table (they call it 'cabaret style' seating, and it disguises the comparative emptiness of the hall) with a couple who spotted [personal profile] durham_rambler's Fair Isle Bird Observatory sweatshirt, and told us they were from Shetland: their daughter was one of the students, and they lived across the road from Steven Robertson - and no, they hadn't been to Fair Isle...

The show opened with the whole of years one and two singing Leon Rosselson's song for William Morris, Bringing the News from Nowhere, which I am disappointed not to find on the internet. A trio already performing together as Hareshaw Linn (it's the name of a waterfall) did three songs: one of their own composing, Terry Conway's Fareweel Regality. and Hares on the Mountain - a bit pretty, perhaps, but very promising. I would not have expected to enjoy Katie McCleod's two songs - dramatic delivery, jazzy cool, not my style at all, but against the odds, it worked. There should be more videos in this post, and I've been looking for them, and not finding them - worse than that, in fact, I've discovered that embedded videos don't seem to have transferred from LiveJournal, leaving holes in a number of posts.

Meanwhile, our bathroom fitters were texting us to say that they now knew how they planned to fix the underfloor damp problem, and could they come at eight o' clock this morning? That's the good news, but it's also the bad news. We settled for nine o' clock, they arrived, opened doors and windows, and turned off the water; I gave up any idea of baking bread, and we went out to lunch. It's all progress...

ETA: Even in an edited highlights post, I should have mentioned The Big Band With No Name, because although this may sound like an ad hoc arrangement to emsure that every student, however unconfident, does something of their own, it actually included at least two individuals who played with great personality, despite not appearing elsewhere. Also the young woman in the checked shirt who sang Willie o' Winsbury (performing in a trio which also, if I am remembering this right, included the ubiquitous Bertie Armstrong) - good voice, interesting if slightly over-arranged accompaniment, brilliantly confident introduction. "She'll go far," says [personal profile] durham_rambler.
shewhomust: (mamoulian)
  • As agreed, the bathroom fitters arrived on Tuesday morning to start work on the downstairs bathroom. They ripped out all the fittings, and took up the floor. They discovered, what we had already told them, that there was damp underneath the floor (this, indeed, more than a desire for a shiny modern wet room, is the reason why the downstairs bathroom heads the list of home improvements). "I thought there would be joists under the flooring," said the boss, and we made sympathetic noises, and refrained from saying that we had told him the floor was solid (and he had confirmed explicitly that he felt competent to take on a job which was likely to involve remedial building work). The work will take longer and cost more than the original estimate, but this hasn't come as a total surprise. The most unnerving thing is hearing the excited Polish conversations and not knowing what they are about.

  • To the cinema, to see Their Finest. It is based on a novel called Their Finest Hour and a Half, which strikes me as a clever and witty title: I wonder why they changed it for one which people are forever getting wrong? But the film was enjoyable, if you didn't think about it too hard. Apparently it is still inevitable, if a man and a woman are on friendly terms, that romance will ensue (and I don't think that can be regarded as a spoiler since it is, as I say, inevitable). It also has to balance - or perhaps juggle - a humorous depiction of the making of a film which will boost morale during the Blitz, with the depiction of the Blitz itself, which isn't in the least funny. This dissonance was amplified by the fact that the film within a film is a sentimental account of Dunkirk, and one of the trailers preceding the main feature was for a particularly bloodthirsty account of the same event.

  • We walked home over Milburngate Bridge, which we haven't done for some time, as parts of the route (not always the bridge itself) have been closed for various reasons. We had a fine view of the pile of rubble where the Passport Office used to be - literally, in that the plan is to use the debris of the old building as a platform on which to build the new, so raising it above the main flood risk. The heron was strolling along the weir, admiring his reflection in the still water above it.

  • Yes, election day. We, like many other parts of the country, have county council elections. You are forgiven for not noticing. The news media have occasionally mentioned the elections for the new powerhouse mayors (thankfully, we have escaped this one so far), but county councils are beneath their notice: London doesn't have one, so it can't be anything important. Finally, today they had to notice. The Today programme this morning kept announcing that 'we aren't reporting on politics today' in what I thought was a very passive-aggressive manner.

  • For what it's worth, I'm not convinced that reporting on the issues - such as they are - of the General Election would have had much influence in this ward. We have been showered with leaflets by both Greens and Lib Dems, who have good grounds for claiming that neither Labour nor Tories have a hope. I'm quite insulted that the Labour Party haven't felt it worth making an effort: they control the County Council, and seem to resent that the City is an enclave of dissent, but they haven't tried to win us over. The other contender was an independent - a semi-detached Green, and I wonder what the story is behind that? Anyway, the polls have just closed - the count is tomorrow.
shewhomust: (ayesha)
A State of the SheWhoMust update - which, dammit, is not what I wanted to be posting about. Then again, if my posts are to reflect the things that occupy my thoughts and take up my time, we are due several more on this subject. There are practical reasons, too, for a PSA along the lines of I am still here, I am trying to make this work, I am learning slowly, please bear with me...

I have not burned my boats with LJ. It may come to that, but for the time being I am still cross-posting, and I am still checking my friends page there. With diminishing results, admittedly: it's a bit of a tumbleweed town over there. Some people, I know, have moved to Dreamwidth, though I haven't found them all yet - and I was slow to work out how to do the 'subscribe / grant access' thing, so I hope I haven't seemed to snub anyone (and if I have, I didn't mean to honest!).

So I have a to-do list, and item one is: find friends. If you are reading this and I haven't made the link, please wave, and I'll remedy that.

Item two: find feeds. Unless DW doesn't do that, in which case, find out what DW does do to fill the gap (something. surely?).

Item three: in any case, find out more about how DW works. And whether there's an equivalent to the LJ-Archive software I've been using - still am, although it isn't ideal to be backing up a cross-posted account, even if LJ continues to support both sides of that equation (and I'd rather not be counting on that, either...).

Three items is enough for now. In other news, we have signed up with a bathroom company to convert the downstairs bathroom / shower room into a wet room, agreed a start date (beginning of May) and told the builder who did so much work for us last year that we have not accepted his bid. I'm sure we've made the right choice, though I'm frustrated that we can't have exactly what we want. Some of that is for technical reasons: I liked the idea of an overhead shower, but it would have meant replumbing the entire house, and rewiring the basement (I don't really understand the need, but that's why we employ professionals...). Some of it is just fashion: if you want two separate taps on your sink, it seems, you have to have an Edwardian style retro pedestal basin. Two taps is not modern. (In which case, I'll settle for a single mixer tap, but not without grumbling). These compromises make the whole project less exciting, but since it has to be done (and it does) I'm glad that we are that much closer to having it done. Now we can go on holiday and not think about it -

Oh, wait! Going on holiday: add item one-and-a-half to that list! Make sure I have DW logged in on my notebook...
shewhomust: (dandelion)
The daffodils on the bank below the station are now in full bloom: I've been watching them open over the last couple of weeks, but this morning there were no more buds, just golden trumpets.

A pair of geese are nesting on the riverbank, where the heron used to stand; the heron has moved closer to the weir, near the Archimedes screw. This morning one of the geese had adopted the heron's pose, standing very upright on its short orange legs, neck erect.

I don't know whether to blame the urge to spring clean, but we have been trying to restart the programme of work on the house. Something untoward is going on under the floor of the downstairs bathroom (shower room, I suppose, since it doesn't contain a bath), and I'd like to take the opportunity to turn it into a wet room (because I find the shower cramped - I'm forever banging my elbows, or pushing to door open without meaning to). I thought this would be - well, not easy, because I don't find this kinf of thing easy, but I thought this was a reasonable sort of home improvement aspiration, that we were going with the flow. Apparently not. The builder we used before was very discouraging about the whole wet room concept, and has given us a quote for the job with very little derail and several things missing. We have been talking to a firm that specialises in bathrooms, and they are more interested (though they too keep trying to insert screens in spaces where there isn't really room: they don't like the idea of a wet room in which things might get wet). It has taken two visits to the house - I don't think the boss could quite believe the measurements he was given, and he certainly didn't believe what we were telling him about our hot water system. But we do now have a quote from them, too. We can't have our first choice of shower, and the choice of colour is pretty much a choice of shades of grey (monochrome is not only fashionable, it's compulsory) and nowhere near fifty shades, either... But it's progress of a kind.

And we have started making bookings for a holiday.
shewhomust: (dandelion)
A very small report of a very small Con: that title is justified whichever way you unpick its ambiguity. I spent yesterday at the Con organised by Durham University Science Fiction and Fantasy Socirty. I've completely messed up the timing of this evening, so I only have time for the briefest account of it, but that ought to work out just fine, because it really was a very small Con - and that too worked just fine for me.

So. Two speakers: Farah Mendlesohn, who talked about her research, and how research works, and why it doesn't always work as you'd like it to do, and the YA SF she's been reading for a planned paper, and what's wrong with it - a rambling and entertaining tour d'horizon; and Charlie Stross, who outlined some of his books, and why he isn't going to be writing any near-future SF until the near-future (or even the present) settles down a bit, and read a chunk from a recent - or possibly an imminent - book (this is SF, and it isn't always easy to tell). Brutal humour and very funny. The Con was small enough that it was possible to hang out with the guests over lunch, which is always a pleasure, and I enjoyed meeting Charlie, and was sorry to see that he has completely removed himself from LJ. I stayed for the first session of the afternoon, a panel discussion (same speakers) talking about diversity in SF, but wandering on and off topic, talking about books. What could be nicer than listening to people who love books talking about them? (Well, maybe a bookstall...)

I didn't stay for the panel games and the pub quiz, but came home, where eventually Farah joined us, so we had a morning's worth of catch-up, and A. joined us for lunch and that's always good. We made a big effort and cleared the dining table, so that we could lunch there, which is progress towards reinstaing the house, though the excitement was too much for the table, which is having a lie-down and may need some gentle therapy before it's ready to resume its duties. But it was worth it.
shewhomust: (dandelion)
[ profile] durham_rambler has just fielded a cold call from someone whose name he did not catch. "This doesn't require you to do anything," they said. He said "OK," and hung up.
shewhomust: (dandelion)
It fools me every year. I picture myself doing leisurely things, reading and sorting stuff and maybe even a bit of tidying up. Never seems to happen. Since we got home from London (in the small hours of Tuesday morning), I have written the last of the Christmas cards (some to be posted and some for [ profile] durham_rambler to deliver); I've been to a postcard exhibition, to the reading group and to the pub quiz; I've been swimming twice (and seen the heron twice); I've done a massive supermarket shop, blitzed M&S's wine department to take advantage of a special offer, and dashed out to find one last present for someone we'll see on Christmas Day (I'll panic later about gifts for our New Year visitors); I've met friends for coffee in town, and visited another friend for a long overdue catch-up and exchanging gifts; I have cleared a pile of ironing anf set a load of washing going; I have even done a couple of small jobs for work...

And yes, I have also noodled about the internet and watched some silly television. It's all good. But those expanses of time to be savoured as leisure? They haven't happened.

Time to go and cook dinner (and maybe a little advance prep. for tomorrow's lunch guest).

ETA: Also took delivery and fitting of the railings for our back steps (finally!). This is the last element of all the building and decorating we had done this year. Next year, the next project...

What else have I overlooked?
shewhomust: (mamoulian)
This week is slipping away without trace: maybe if I focus hard I'll find out where it's gone...

Monday didn't feel like Monday because we had an overnight guest, D. stopping by on his way south from Orkney. But we went swimming (my, the pool was busy) and did a little housework to make ready, and I cooked - and then we all had a pleasant evening together. So not a day on which nothing happened, not at all.

The presence of a guest may explain why Tuesday morning felt so leisured: though it wasn't, really - by ten o'clock D. had set off for home and [ profile] durham_rambler had gone out to his meeting.

It's a meeting that runs all morning and a bit more, so lunch was late; and we were going out late afternoon, so there was barely time between to watch Countdown and do some ironing.

The evening started early, because we wanted to stop on our way to the Sage to see an exhibition at Gateshead Library celebrating 21 Years of Northern Print: Northern Print I know, because it's one of the places we often visit during Ouseburn Open Studios, but I didn't know what to expect of the exhibition, other than that I liked the picture used in the advertising. This was Julian Meredith's 'Blue Whale', a set of life-sized prints of a blue whale. I sppreciate that they couldn't exhibit the thing itself, and that including photographs in an exhibition of prints would have felt anomalous, but everything we saw - and we saw some entirely desirable prints - was dwarfed by it, even in its absence. (I can't find the actual photo anywhere to link).

We were going to the Sage to hear the Furrow Collective. It wouldn't be fair to call this the Emily Portman traditional songbook, because (onstage, at least) it's a very egalitarian grouping, but that's the way I came to it. The Emily Portman Trio (Emily Portman, Lucy Farrell and Rachel Newton are joined by Alasdair Roberts for mostly English and Scottish ballads, mostly as gloomy as that repertoire suggests (Emily Portman has a lovely version of Barbara Allen, for example, Rachel Newton a ferocious Lord Heathen). It didn't have the impact for me of Emily Portman's songwriting, but an entirely enjoyable evening. The song they are treating as the 'single' from the new album is pretty atypical, but here it is anyway:

And if anything happened today, the time to write about it has slipped away from me: time to go out to the pub quiz!
shewhomust: (dandelion)
My mother liked supermarket shopping. If she could organise her shopping list so that she needed to visit two supermarkets rather than one, she was happy. I'm the opposite. If I can organise my shopping so that once a month I buy all the staples and heavy goods in one big supermarket shop, so much the better - and even then, if I can put off doing it, I will. This motning, though, we couldn't put it off any longer.

There are compensations, though. The shopping itself is one: the smug feeling that we will not run out of toothpaste or baking powder or onions any time soon; not to mention the opportunity to succumb to temptation and buy small treats which we will enjoy over the next few days (another reason to maximise the interval between Big Shops).

Better still, that side of town has the best of the autumn colours. No doubt there's a reason - the choice of trees to plant along the main roads around the commercial centre, perhaps? Mostly we see a beacon of flame here and there among the green that darkens and then falls as it rusts, this morning's trip was brightened by whole stretches of gold, red and orange.
shewhomust: (dandelion)
For the first time in over two months, we slept in our own bed last night.

We have been using the spare bedroom while our room was being redecorated, and yes, one way and another it really has taken that long: waiting for carpet to be delivered, then waiting for new mattress and for curtains, and finally buying some more curtain hooks... Even now, there are drawers full of clothes and bedding in the weong room, not to mention the books (don't mention the books!). But the room is ready to be slept in:

The newly decorated bedroom

and we were ready to sleep in it. I wish I could say I had a wonderful night's sleep, but I didn't (sometimes I don't). It took us a while to get used to the spare bed - it's narrower than our own bed, and the mattress is very bouncy - and now it's going to take a while to get unused to it again. And I miss having a bedside cabinet (there isn't really room for anything on my side of the bed). Nonetheless, it's good to be back.

There was saffron bread for breakfast. It's taken a while, after the disaster of my last attempt, for me to gather the nerve, but I've been thinking how nice saffron bread would be, so I tried again. And since I was disappointed not to find a better record of what I did last time, here are the numbers )

Considering how much higher it was risen after baking, I was surprised at how dense the crumb is - more like cake than bread. But it toasts well enough. Because we have been to IKEA (see lightshade in the picture) I have lingonberry jam. It would be better if it was less sweet, but it's not at all bad.
shewhomust: (dandelion)
The bedroom carpet was delivered and fitted this morning. I was very relieved to see that it was indeed the colour I had chosen - chosen in the sense of going round John Lewis's carpet department saying "Yes, but do you have a darker purple?" to the assistant until at last he conceded that they could, for a price, provide something suitable. I'd have liked at least to consider a shade darker yet, but this wasn't an oprion: carpets are mostly beige this year. So the delivery note which described it as "hyacinth" was making me nervous. It's more a share of plum, I think. Anyway, it looks fine.

We had scheduled delivery of our new mattress to be sure it would not arrive until the carpet was safely laid. Now we have the carpet, [ profile] durham_rambler telephoned John Lewis to see whether delivery could be brought forward. He explained that he didn't have any documentation for the order. "It's [ profile] durham_rambler, is it?" said the person he was speaking to.
"Yes - how did you know?"
"I'm psychic."
We agreed that he had presumably identified the caller phone number, but that this was a good answer.

He couldn't, however, expedite our mattress. But it will probably arrive before the curtains, anyway. And now we have to replace the glass shade from the wall light - and find a lampshade for the center light. We appear to have become people who buy home furnishing.
shewhomust: (dandelion)
I haven't reported on the progress of the great redecoration project, because progress is very slow. After all the rushing to move books and furniture, we seem to have entered a phase in which each advance involves placing an order and waiting for something to happen. It isn't very exciting. But, for the record:

  • The decoration, which a month ago, when I last wrote about it, was about to start, has been completed, and the wardrobes have been fitted.

  • The carpet has been ordered, and paid for. Now we are waiting three to four weeks fot it to be delivered. No doubt it is being woven, especially for us, in an oasis between Bokhara and Samarkand. Except that it isn't that kind of carpet.

  • Oh, well, this gives us time to get some remedial work done on the worst - i.e. most uneven - of the floorboards on which it will lie.

  • How much mess can this make? Surely I could hang some clothes in the new wardrobes, as long as the doors are kept closed: what could possibly go wrong? Anyway, I decided I'd risk it. There are now clothes hanging in wardrobes, which can be slid along the rail for easy access: no more wrestling with a thicket of shirts to find the one I want. Of course, I'm not yet sleeping in the room with my clothes in it, but it's a start.

  • I had been assuming that the existing wardrobe (or rather, the new wardrobe which replaced the existing one) would belong to [ profile] durham_rambler, and the one nearer the window would be mine. There was no reason for this - except that when we moved in, we'd agreed that the present arrangement was purely temporary, and we would convert the other cupboard into a wardrobe for me. It wasn't until the work was complete that I realised this would put [ profile] durham_rambler's wardrobe opposite my side of the bed, and vice versa. When I pointed this out, [ profile] durham_rambler said he had known it all along, but said nothing, because he assumed I had my reasons. Fortunately, the only difference is that there is a full-length mirror inside the door of the wardrobe which was to have belonged to [ profile] durham_rambler but is now mine. He'll just have to open my wardrobe to use it.

  • Yes, things really are exciting around here.

  • I think I have found a source of curtains in the same design as the wallpaper. I'm a little hesitant about ordering sight unseen from a company I found online, but disproportionately reassured by the fact that they are based in Saltaire. Anyway, we are in correspondence.
shewhomust: (dandelion)
Durham cathedral has reached the end of its three-year fundraising campaign, in which contributions were marked by the addition of a brick to a Lego model of the cathedral. The model represents a service in progress, and the service chosen is the blessing of the banners at the Miners' Gala: so there are tiny Lego figures carrying (not Lego) banners, and a tiny Lego brass band. (pictures here).

A family of pine martens have taken up residence at Cruachan, near the underground power station in the "hollow mountain". You might expect these very rare creatures to choose a less industrial place to live, but these are Scottish pine martens: they sometimes try to sneak onto the tour bus taking visitors into the power station, and have to be lured off with cake.

[ profile] durham_rambler has bought doorstep paint - I didn't even know such a thing existed, or certainly that it still existed. He has painted the doorstep red (which the traces of paint still clinging to it indicated was its original colour). We have to take care to step over it when we go out to dinner this evening.
shewhomust: (dandelion)
  • Contestant on Only Connect, deliberating with team-mates: I alway get 'Flaubert's Parrot' mixed up with 'Foucault's Pendulum'.

  • The decorators, having finished a previous job earlier than expected, arrived on Tuesday afternoon. The builder, to whom I had given the sample of my chosen wallpaper and the brochure with my chosen paint colours marked on it before we went on holiday, has not passed them on and has in fact lost them. We have, as of today, reinstated that order, and the decorator is confident that this won't hold things up. That may be because the condition of the plaster under the wallpaper is worse than they had expected, and what with patching the plaster and lining the walls, they will have plenty to keep them occupied. The room, our bedroom, had not been decorated since we moved in in 1975; yes, I am quite excited at getting rid of the Lincrusta wallpaper - but what I am really excited about is the prospect of adequate wardrobe space.

  • The man in front of me at the till in Marks & Spencers had his money ready, a five pound note on top of his two-for-a-fiver ready meals. He completely confused the till assistant by asking "Is there tax on top of that?", but I thought of all the times I've been caught unawares in the States, when there was tax on top of that, and I sympathised.

  • I made pizza with today's batch of bread - actually, with about half of it, and the rest has made a round of buns. It rose spectacularly: a combination of hot weather and sloppier than usual dough, presumably. For the first time ever, the final rise before shaping had the dough nudging the dishcloth I'd laid over the top of it. I'll try the rolls for breakfast tomorrow - it doesn't seem right to breakfast on pizza, even if it's disguised as rolls and has no toppings on it. Well, if I don't like it, I'll thing of something else...

  • Last Saturday's Travel supplement told me that Tucson had become a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. I didn't know there was such a thing, and it sounded great. looking it up, it would seem to be part of a Creative Cities network, which seems more nebulous, with overtones of marketing, and why does it have to be all about cities, anyway? Downtown Tucson looked pretty and colourful, though.
shewhomust: (mamoulian)
Since we couldn't put it off any longer, we finished clearing our bedroom ready for the decorators. The bulk of the work had already been done, not least to allow preparatory work ahead of the decorators' arrival, and the last of the furniture can be left in the middle of room, and covered with a dust sheet - as long as the walls are clear and accessible, surely, that's all they need? To my own surprise, I managed to find (or empty) a few more boxes for the books from the bookcase - not quite enough, and the last shelf has been decanted onto the bookcase in the spare bedroom (which has not yet been refilled with its own proper books, because we are still considering improving the shelving supply in that room).

But I have sorted the clothes from the drawer under the bed. Some will be discarded as rags, but most have been bagged to go to the charity shop. It seems I was once a size 16, and if I had any recollection of this I would probably be more upset that it is no longer the case, nor likely to be. As it is, I'm feeling quite pleased that I appear to have lost the weight I inevitably put on during our Scottish holiday, but I have no ambitions to wear size 16 Rohan shorts. There's a grey cord skirt I'm sorry to say goodbye to, but how often do I wear a skirt, anyway?

By mid-afternoon, we'd done about as much as we could, so we went out to the open gardens event at the local allotments. We wandered around and admired things - including the contestants for 'best scarecrow' - and talked to people, and tasted the proferred strawberries and raspberries, and learned why you mustn't plant carrots on the upper slope of the allotments (it's close to a badger track, apparently, and badgers are very fond of carrots - also sweetcorn. They don't just nibble here and there, they dig up the entire crop with their strong forearms. And once you've attracted their attention, they don't give up. This may or may not be true, because, as the gardener who told us about it said, it wasn't something he wanted to put to the test).

A rest from scaring crows

It was a warm and sticky afternoon, so we came home and had a cup of tea - and found a message on the answerphone from the decorator saying sorry, he couldn't start tomorrow after all, he'll be here on Wednesday. Oh, well, we'll be ready for him.
shewhomust: (dandelion)
We had a very good weekend. The Bears were visiting, and we did many interesting things:
  • On Friday afternoon, [ profile] durham_rambler and GirlBear and I went to Woodhorn Colliery museum, while BoyBear worked on his t'ai chi with a friend.

  • Saturday was the day of the Durham Miners' Gala. It rained. Fortunately, we had time to see much of the procession and to hear many of the bands before the rain set in for good. If the sun had been shining I'd have been happy to sit on the grass and wait to hear the speakers, but as it was we left before they even started. We walked home via Palace Green, and saw the banners waiting outside the cathedral, which I haven't done before.

  • On Sunday afternoon, there was music at Old Durham Gardens. We listened to a consort of (three) viols playing rather hesitantly, then avoided the Scratch Choir and wandered around the gardens instead. They seem to have planted lots of old roses since I was last there.

  • And in the evening, we deposited the Bears at a Sacred Harp House Sing, and went to see Gail, who showed us Dracula's Daughter, a curious 1936 movie, which starts very carefully at exactly the point where Stoker's novel ends, and then veers off into comedy cockney policemen (in Whitby), a Hungarian countess with hypnotic powers and a love interest called Janet who seemed to have strayed in from a screwball comedy being shot in an adjacent studio.

I have plenty more to say about any of these things, and I took pictures, too. But our builder has interpreted We will get our bedroom ready for you to start work in there on Monday 18th as Book the decorators to start on Monday 18th, and we will give you access far enough in advance to remove the fitted wardrobe, make good and allow the plaster to dry. So instead of having all this week to clear the room in an orderly fashion, we have been desperately trying to clear enough space around the wardrobe for the builder to start work on it first thing tomorrow.

Which means, I suppose, that we'll need to be up early, and that it's time for bed now. Have some old roses:

Old roses

September 2017

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