And then I couldn't stop thinking about it, and started writing a follow-up, and now I'm 17.800 words into the story and on chapter 12. I do know where it's heading, but it's a bit harder to get time to write now I'm back at work, with a new client, and also well enough to go riding again. But the train rides to and from work are prime writing time.
So that's the kind of fun I'm having right now - thinking up jokes for Nanny Ogg to tell Our Heroes. It's a lot of fun, actually.
The only thing that I didn't quite like was that he wanted to run off in canter: he came back ok when I asked him too, but he had a stronger bit than I'd like which makes me worry what he'd be like with a gentler one. (He wasn't very keen on standing still, either, but then I realised that he was only being fidgety when he was by some plastic in a partly-built drainage ditch next to the school, and later found out that it was only put there yesterday so actually he was doing amazingly well with it!)
Unfortunately, it turns out that he doesn't like men much: dad had mentioned that he wasn't too keen, and when Mike got on him he started getting nervous, which made Mike nervous, which made the horse more nervous, which.... He didn't actually do anything dangerous, but he also wouldn't do what he was being asked to.
Ah well. We will find something eventually, right?
Jo's doing much better now that she's got a t-shirt on and can't scratch. Back to the vet tomorrow to have the stitches out, and then soon she'll be able to have proper walks (we hope: she's getting a bit bouncy)!
I called the landlord yesterday, left a message about it. There's construction going on on the floor below me, but I asked one of the guys if they're working on the plumbing and he said no.
It's still doing it.
How worried should I be? What scenarios could be causing this?
I don't entirely have words - there's a lot of things and stuff (mostly art and churches and then more ART!) it's amazing and beautiful and overwhelming and confusing and beautiful. You can start confidently following direction signs and they will suddenly evaporate part way to where you thought you were going. But there's prolly something else to see anyway...
There aren't enough places to sit down and the whole city is a mobility-impairment nightmare. But the public transport (boat-buses) is pretty good (within the understandably limits of fog and tides) and because there aren't cars (expect on Lido - which is a separate island NOT an outdoor swimming pool with a greasy caff and a teacup ride!) everything is pretty much people-shaped. There is coffee and ice cream.
There is textily goodness (LACE!) and glass and gold but most of the buildings are falling to bits. There are mozzies and mists and some of the prettiest Art is (deliberately) made from mould - and comes with an actual health warning...
It sounds like this.
lovingboth is an excellent travel companion who will excitedly point out the next exciting, shiny thing and explain the kinds of stuff that doesn't stick in ludy-brains. But is also helpful and understanding when visual stress or just an over-full brain makes you start to wobble and bump into things...
So what have I missed here?
A breath for Wednesday.
I got my scholarship report form done, and some composing, and wound down the thing I was going to wind down, and poked at the Cecilia's List database and website some more, and did a bunch of planning.
There is not enough sleep in the entire world. I could say this is partly due to a nutrtional change, or the weather, or the diminishing daylight, and that would all be true, but it's mostly due to the really obvious: staying up way too late, even though I know I don't sleep well in the mornings. Some of this was warranted, some of it was... not wrong timing, exactly, but after a run of late nights it feels odd and tricky to get back onto earlier ones again. Things feel really hard when I don't give the perishing meatsack enough sleep. A breath for snoring.
There is a Social Situation that is so concerning, I'm considering writing to Captain Awkward about it. I'm not going to go into the details here, but it involves in-person interactions and keepng myself and a friend safe. A breath for trusting my instincts. A breath for asking for help.
I am getting different messages from different places about my PhD requirements, and it is freaking me out. I suspect either I've been automagically added to the wrong mailing list, or there are some new requirements for PhD students as a result of a faculty merger thing which are not really on the radar yet for my supervisors; in any case, it's basically a case of Schrödinger's Research Paper, ie I don't know whether I have to write and present one. A breath for it's just one paper, not an entire PhD. A breath for calm down and find out which information is correct.
Frustrating paypal-related admin is frustrating, and blocking my access to (already paid-out) income from Patreon. The timing of this -- while my spouse is changing jobs and we have a gap in our income -- is... unfortunate. A breath for slow bureaucracy taking as long as it takes.
I didn't meet any of the composing competition deadlines this past weekend.
I caught the staying up too late and have made some progress toward shifting it, though the test wll be this evening when I have a rehearsal until 21.30 and don't get home until at least 22.30. A breath for feeling a bit better already.
I am trying a much-simplified morning routine: 7am wake/wash/dress, 8am breakfast, 9am walk/cycle/movement, 10am work until lunch (with wifi off, no less). That's... a long time for each of those things. But it also recognises that realistically, after I shower I hate getting dressed immediately and prefer to sit around in a towel and dressing gown until I'm quite a bit more dry and it isn't always appropriate for me to do that while eating breakfast. It recognises that on a bad jointcrap day, everything takes longer and I may need to either walk slowly, or abort the walk and do physio instead. It recognises that having exactly 17 minutes to eat my breakfast doesn't play well with my anxiety about getting things done. It recognises that afternoons are wiggly and appointment-ful. So far, this feels kinder than some of my previous routine attempts. We'll see. A breath for experimentation. A breath for noticing what I need and what I don't need.
I have e-mailed one of my supervisors to ask for clarification re: Schrödinger's Research Paper. A breath for seeking clarity. At the moment I'm not yet in trouble over this: a gold star for not letting it get that bad. Worst-case scenario looks like: I have to Do the Thing and Nobody Knew. So, I submit a topic by 1st November, make an extra trip to Aberdeen mid-December to present. This is not actually terrible in terms of how it interacts with my other deadlines and financial stuffs. A breath for perspective.
Someone made a donation to help get Cecilia's List up and running, which means that once the frustrating paypal-related admin stops being frustrating, there is money to spend on a proper domain name, and some adverts in things like Choir and Organ magazine. A breath for encouragement.
My maybe-bricked smartphone isn't. Another customer on the support forums gave me useful information about the magic button presses to get to recovery mode, wipe the data, and start over. Would that the actual tech support people had done so a week and a half ago; but a breath for all timing is right timing. I spent some time yesterday getting it set up again with my various preferred apps and aids, and will in due course give the borrowed Nokia 3310 back to the friend I borrowed it from. A breath for technology. A breath for easier connectivity on my own terms. A breath for not exacerbating jointcrap by pressing buttons to type.
I have realised it may be possible for me to get cheap-ish "spare" spectacles from one of the online places, and that extended-wear contact lenses are a thing, and a rather better one than they were last time I tried contact lenses around fifteen years ago. Given my current specs are held together with superglue and it's been over three years since my last eye test, it's time to do somethng about this, but I had been putting it off because of the expense, and then worrying my glasses might break. But now I can visit the optician, get my prescription, and order glasses online -- relatively cheaply -- and if my glasses break I will not be as badly off as I had feared. And if it looks like contacts are a thing, then I may only ever need the "spare" glasses. All this depends on my prescription (which may be too strong for the online glasses ordering, let alone the fancy shmancy contact lenses), but it no longer feels overwhelming and terrible. A breath for relief.
Composing! Phd-related: St Lawrence's Tears. Chapel choir commission. Some competitions for end of October: three I'd really like to enter, a further two I could enter. Of the first three, one is a Canadians-only one that I've done some of the groundwork for (for another competition, not entered); one is a set-text hymn tune (I can crank these out fairly reliably); one is Canadians-only and fairly prestgious, but also postal entry which can pose some practical challenges. Of the "could enter", one is a set-text carol which could be done hymn-style, and one is a carol which would be ideal for "Like Silver Lamps". There are things already-written I coudl put on Patreon, and I might opt for that this time, simply because I have so much other composing to do. None of these have to be done this week, but this week will be important in laying groundwork to get them done.
Cecilia's List: keep working on the database. E-mail some more composers to ask for catalogues of their sacred works (yes, eventually I'll just get them to fill out a form and it will be automagical, but for now it's all hand-picked). Write a press release, or pay someone to write one for me. Keep poking at the website.
Maintenance: book an appointment with the optician, and another with the dentist. Attempt some kind of catch up on filing and tidying.
Basically? Keep going with the daly routine I have now. Tomorrow I'm meeting someone mid-day-ish, so my walk gets replaced by a commute, but then there is somewhere quiet I can work. From Saturday to Wednesday, I'm away in Salisbury with ULCC. We're singing the services Monday-Wednesday. I'm intending to use the time as a sort of composing retreat, hiding away in my room (or a quiet corner of the cathedral) as much as possible in the morning and early afternoon, and doing more social stuff in the evenings. This will take a bit of negotiation with people who may have assumed I'll be treating it as more of a holiday, but I have a PLN on how to handle that.
I need to make sure I get enough laundry done to get me through, before I pack.
How are you?
What have you done? What are your quests? What is your favourite food? What is hard in your life? What is good? What is your PLN (or plan)?
What little there had been to frighten or pain him was left behind in the forgotten days of childhood: as a man he saw no reason to be afraid. Now some great hand had peeled back the kind surface of that fairy-tale world and shown him the chasm beneath his feet
Young William Bellman, aged ten, aims his slingshot at a distant rook and -- improbably -- kills it. He's full of regret: he didn't mean to ... but then a fever strikes, and he begins the process of forgetting.
( not spoilery )
Before leaving Melbourne, I did have the opportunity to run a session of Eclipse Phase finishing the Chain Reaction scenario, which will then be followed up with the subsequent related scenarios. In addition, Karl B., has assisted with the final editing of Papers & Paychecks although, alas, I still haven't managed to track down Tim Kask to do the foreword. On my return to Melbourne it looks like I'll finally get around to seeing Blade Runner 2049, given that I am "a bit" of a fan of the original.
Prior to departure I also managed to see Peter Hook and the Light, at their final Melbourne concert, performing Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures and Closer (after selling my previous tickets to fustian_. It was a great concert and in next couple of days I hope to have a review written for reddragdiva for Rocknerd, which I'm sure he's looking forward to. Should also mention that I'm half-way through writing an article about that strange alliance that's grown between the Democratic Socialists of America and the Juggalos.
( spoilers for An Unsuitable Heir )
Tuesday: I managed to get out to the post office and send out three things.
A small pen-knife a friend found in her pocket before a flight, which I took and promised to mail to her.
A bread-maker baking tin, which I ordered and sent onwards, as the people selling it were not shipping to Israel. My parents' bread-maker that they bought in Israel but somehow getting a replacement part for it to Israel was impossible.
A drawing of a bunny I made as part of Inktober. A friend saw it on twitter and asked if I was selling prints. I said I could do a deal on the original. By which I meant: I have too low energy to organise a print. So I have sent that out.
On Saturday I went with the beloved and with Derek to an evening of comedy and song : Midnight Apothecary Goes Down the Shaft hosted by Tricity Vogue on ukulele (with guest, Matthew Floyd Jones, at the grand piano). It was at the Brunel Museum.
It was described very glamorous on the website: - so much so , it was almost intimidating - but as it was, only the beloved and Derek were even wearing waistcoats. (🎵I was all dressed in black , we were all dressed up in black.🎵)
There was tasty food- greek-style wraps with beef or with feta. There were many and various cocktails, and even a couple of mocktails, (and also glasses and water freely available to drink, which I like)
At a roof-top garden there was a bonfire and pointy sticks and a steady supply of marshmallows to roast, And lit torches all around. I was glad it was a clear night and not raining. At one point someone came up and asked for a light for a cigarette, then used a torch to light it.
There were bars providing drinks both at the rooftop garden, and at the bottom of the shaft, where the performance was, (the stage and the grand piano and the speakers and the projector, which was useful for lyrics for the singalong.
Tricity Vogue was charming and funny and full of innuendo, I enjoyed it very much.
I like this photo because the silhouette on the wall matches levels of double-entendre that were bandied about.
Also I got to be introduced and say hello, because Derek knows Ms. Vogue. Then I got shy and ran away.
Memo to self: the Brunel Museum is quite easy to get to. (Jubilee line to Canada Water, Overground to Rotherhite)
When the beloved and I got home, Shadow, next-door's cat, was waiting on our doormat. We opened the door and he came in for a visit. He's a beautiful cat, but mostly he's inquisitive and friendly and charming and he climbed on me and tried to get up my nose, and he climbed on the beloved, and he was so affectionate and we have fallen in love with this cat.
At one point he fell asleep snuggled on the sofa between me and the beloved, and I tried to get a photo of it, but between us both wearing black and Shadow being a black cat, the charm of the moment did not come through.
When the next-door neighbours came home from their night out, Shadow ran to the door, and I let him out and knocked on their door, and he went back home.
Me: I don't want to take away dog owners' rights. But we need to do something about Rottweilers.
You: So what do you propose?
Me: I just think that there should be some sort of training or restrictions on owning an attack dog.
You: Wait. What's an "attack dog?"
Me: You know what I mean. Like military dogs.
You: Huh? Rottweilers aren't military dogs. In fact "military dogs" isn't a thing. You mean like German Shepherds?
Me: Don't be ridiculous. Nobody's trying to take away your German Shepherds. But civilians shouldn't own fighting dogs.
You: I have no idea what dogs you're talking about now.
Me: You're being both picky and obtuse. You know I mean hounds.
You: What the fuck.
Me: OK, maybe not actually ::air quotes:: hounds ::air quotes::. Maybe I have the terminology wrong. I'm not obsessed with vicious dogs like you. But we can identify kinds of dogs that civilians just don't need to own.
You: Can we?
Fourth book in McKenna's Tales of Einarinn series. It takes place simultaneous to book #3, With Ryshad as primary viewpoint character (and two or maybe three other characters as secondary POV characters). As usual, the primary POV is written in first person and the other POVs are written in third person, which works really well for me, as a reader.
Anyway, a most pleasant read. I would hesitantly recommend starting at the beginning of the series, there's a fair chunk of background, but it may be enough to sort-of catch up in this volume?
Lovely visit to the Royal Academy Library, especially beautiful historic collection and quite a fascinating history. Beautifully dark in there and for once a great mix of modern and old, loved their use of mirroirs underneath the balcony, making bookshelves endless. Learned a lot about the RA and its exhibition. Didn’t even realised the summer exhibition was the longest running event like this, and that there used to be a winter one for decease artists, also that they kind of started the big exhibition in London. Quite a fascinating history as a membership artist’s society. For our visit they selected some fascinating and pretty stunning books, I used to go to the summer exhibition a lot when I was an art student but I had not seen the catalogue cover by Blake with Ian Dury on. Loved one of the book the on perspective as it took ages to notice all the perspective were wrong on purpose as so well done and some stunning illustrated ones. Learned a lot and I always enjoy visiting all the societies in the areas. Also an excuse to pop to Fortum and Mason and lust after their teas and looked at their pretty Halloween chocolates.
( Photos )
And I showed them the script
That I held in my hand.
“I call this play Catching-The-Mouse.
I'll fish for the king
With a play for a net.
I said, "With my net
I can catch him, I bet.
I bet, with my net,
I can catch the king yet."
"My head needs a pillow!
Your lap, to be blunt,
Is soft, and to hand,
And it’s pretty vacant."
So I went to her room.
But I passed, on the way,
A room where my uncle
Was kneeling to pray.
This must be the moment
To cut off his head!
But as I crept closer
I heard what he said:
“I murdered my brother!
I freely admit!
Dear God, please forgive me.
I’m rather a git.”
And I couldn’t kill him.
My blow was prevented.
For if he should die
Now he’s prayed and repented,
He’d go up to heaven;
That’s all very well,
But doesn’t seem fair
When my father’s in hell.
So I went on my way
As he muttered amen,
I hope that he’s sinned
When I see him again.
"And here is the head
Of a person historic!"
He gave me a skull.
And alas! It was Yorick!
I looked at the bones
And I thought as I sighed,
How he kissed me, and gave me
A piggyback ride.
And now he’s a skull
And he’s silent and scary!
Now what has become
Of your dancing so airy?
The songs that you sang?
And the jokes that you said?
Now all that you have
Are the bones of your head?
The Lady Ophelia
Of whom you were fond.
She climbed up a willow
And fell in a pond.
And most of her talk
At the times she was verbal
Was straight from the pages
Of Culpeper’s Herbal!
I'm quiet, and I'm dead,
And I’m tired of my quest.
I’m glad of the silence.
I needed a rest.
It does, very much, sound as though the man is thoroughly unpleasant, and will in the fullness of time be prosecuted and convicted for the things that he's being accused of.
But he's been thrown out of BAFTA and the Academy Whose Full Name I Forget, and they're talking about stripping him of his honours, when that hasn't yet happened.
What about that innocent until proven guilty thing? Look at the whole Bramall / Brittan thing: it seems unlikely, but what if the outcome of this is the same?
The nipple is healing beautifully, but she has managed to get a bit of an infection in the wound on her side, so now she has antibiotics. We're carrying on with Pooch Corset for another day, after which it will hopefully have dried up and we can switch to a t-shirt instead to let it get more air while still being a bit protected. She's going back on Friday to have the stitches out, unless something else happens before then. Although it's not healing quite as well as the vet would like, it is knitting together ok, so it shouldn't be a problem as long as we can stop her from getting at it.
The lab results were about the best we were hoping for: the lumps did have (cancerous) mast cells, but the one on the nipple is definitely low-grade and the one on her side probably is as well (based on the type of lump it was, as it wasn't possible to test it properly. There is a test that will give more definitive results, but it's £200: we're thinking about it). On the down side, best practice is to remove 10mm of skin all around a mast cell tumour, and they didn't do that much at the time; opening her back up is an option but I don't think we're going to do it.
The vet did suggest an option of doing an ultrasound scan all over her abdomen, to look for signs that it's spread internally, but she wasn't really pushing us to do it given that the chest x-rays were clear. T'internet also tells me that lymph node biopsies are also an option, which I might mention when we're there next week.
So, she's doing ok from this time around, and we're probably just going to carry on as usual, running to the vet whenever we find any kind of lump on her.