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[personal profile] watervole
 Watched a programme on Japan today and googled Hokusai afterwards.

Remember all those tentacle sex fan porn stories?  (Harry Potter fandom in particular has it's share)

Nothing new!

Hokusai's print "Dream of the Fisherman's Wife' is below the cut....  (If I've worked out correctly how to do a cut.  It's been a long time since I used one)

Read more... )

Mating hedgehogs

Jun. 20th, 2017 09:40 am
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[personal profile] watervole
 So many things I was going to post about: the folk festival I've been working on for the last year, the norovirus that meant I missed half of it, the children I've been teaching longsword to who did brilliantly at the festival, the sheer joy of watching Dame's Rocket morris and Northgate Rapper at close quarters, the fact that we have a bidding war on my mother in law's house after a year of trying to get any decent offer at all, but the thing that has actually got  me to keyboard is hedgehogs.

Up late last night due to the heat and sitting on the back doorstep to cool down.

Strange snuffling noise in garden and the mint swaying back and forth.

Sat down with Richard and sure enough, a hedgehog eventually emerged, then another and eventually there were three adult hedgehogs.

One was doing his/her own thing, but the other two were spending ages going round in circles under the mint and one of them was snuffling all the time.  I guessed (correctly) that this must have something to do with sex.   There's a nice little summery of hedgehog life here.

I put out a bowl of water while we were watching them and it wasn't long before one came over for a good drink.  S/he had no hesitation about coming within a few feet of us.  I put out a bit of cat food as well, but that was sniffed at and ignored.  (It was gone in the morning, but that could easily have been a cat)

We work with out neighbours on two sides to maintain holes in the fence where hedgehogs can come and go.

We have a lot of low growing plants which provide good cover.

We have a pond with soil sloping into the water on one side (so that even if an animal falls in, they can still get out).

We never use slug pellets (and have very little slug damage).

We add a lot of garden compost to the soil (which means lots of soil organisms for hedgehogs to eat.)

We have a compost heap which they'll hopefully use to hibernate.

Last year we had baby hedgehogs in the garden.  I wonder if the ones we saw today are those babies coming back?
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/55: Lord of All Things -- Andreas Eschbach (translated from the German by Samuel Willcocks)
the digested version of a story already squeezed to bursting, a story of Arctic islands, Russian subs, and a steel fortress that fell to dust.


A book of two (unequal) halves: a promising beginning, but the rest is weakly plotted, gruesomely sexist and poorly characterised.

It starts well. Hiroshi is the half-Japanese, half-American son of a cleaning woman. He likes fixing things, and befriends Charlotte -- daughter of the French ambassador -- after fixing a broken doll. spoilers and irritation )

meep

Jun. 18th, 2017 08:21 pm
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[personal profile] vampwillow
It's too easy for me to get upset with myself. Take today - there were two things happening that I'd have liked to go along to, one a few roads away, the other immediately outside my window, yet instead I've stayed in my room trying to hold it together.

Somehow I find self-confidence easy to come by when I'm in a 'work' situation - whether actual employment or voluntary and committee stuff - but put me into a social event where I don't know everyone and I go to pieces, just scared of saying or doing the wrong thing, being the target of "fun", finding myself hurting when I can't run away. So I don't go there in the first place, instead (like this afternoon) looking out the window at everyone else enjoying themselves in the sun.

Too hot....

Jun. 18th, 2017 08:15 pm
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[personal profile] flick
I spent much of the day in the hammock. Jo is also too hot, poor thing.

The last couple of years, we've had a paddling pool on the patio for Jo to go in after her walks. It's not entirely satisfactory, as it's bigger and shallower than she'd like it to be, and takes so much water that I don't like to change it often, so it gets very icky. I did some noodling around online last week, and discovered the existence of something called a plasterer[']s['] bath, which is used to mix stuff up in and sounded like a very good size: 4'x2'x1' deep.

Jo does seem to like it, but it doesn't like being left full of water....



(It looks even worse now, the other side's also bowed out. I suspect it's going to die a death next time she climbs in!)

Bizarrely, GB seems to have bonded with one of the mares: when we brought them down the hill, he stood in the corner of the stableyard watching them, and when we put the boys to bed he was calling to her. Most unlike him, he's much too old to suddenly develop a taste for the ladies!

Bitey

Jun. 18th, 2017 10:02 am
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[personal profile] flick
I am completely unsurprised to have woken up this morning with the evidence of yesterday's work in the field on my legs: four horsefly bites, the first of the season.

(And I've realised belatedly that my sister's wedding is in the middle of horse fly season, which may well scupper the plan to make my mother happy by wearing a dress!)

Agnes is, if not actually fine, back to her normal level of limpiness today, so I guess that the pick-her-up cure did the trick again.

Hot hot hot...

Jun. 17th, 2017 08:17 pm
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[personal profile] flick
This morning, we went up to the summer pasture and set up the electric fence (to keep the boys away from the (rickety and barbed-wire-topped) real fence), and then took them up there. It was quite warm. As ever, they spurned the water trough up there and so drank all the water in the stableyard when they came back down. Sigh. (It always takes them a few weeks to deign to drink from the trough up there, presumably because it tastes different: it's a stone trough when they're used to plastic, and/or the water doesn't go through the softener that treats our water.)

I'm a little concerned by Agnes, aka Limpy McDinosaur Duck. She's being even limpier than usual, and holding her wings very strangely as she hobbles around the place, and when she's lying down she's been wibbling her beak and twitching her wings. I was half thinking I'd pick her up for a quick check when we put them to bed, even though she hates being handled, but she made it easy by getting most of the way to their house and then just collapsing with a splat on the ground. Couldn't find anything obviously wrong, and I'm not going to be calling a weekend evening vet for her, but I am quite worried that she's suddenly got much worse. Fingers crossed that the magic 'pick her up to see what's wrong' cure will work and she'll be better tomorrow.

The garden, on the other hand, is going along well. The polytunnel's looking very green, and there's at least one actual tomato set on the early russian variety:



(10th May, to compare: they have grown!)

We've also got actual you-could-eat-those baby courgettes, very teeny squash, lots of tomatillo cases with baby fruit inside, and runner bean flowers. This afternoon, we shared the first mange tout of the season. The wild strawberries by the riding school are also doing well, and the jar of strawberries in vodka is filling up nicely.

I have been appreciating my hammock, which is on the grass in the shade, and so lovely and cool. I *almost* came inside to get a light blanket when I was in it a couple of days ago!

Huh

Jun. 16th, 2017 10:08 am
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[personal profile] flick
While I was mucking out this morning, I saw the wren, mouth stuffed with insects, hop through the drain and into the empty stable. I was only a step or two away, so I poked my head around the door to see where he went next.

After perching on a stack of pallets for long enough to give me a suspicious look, he flew up and delivered his insects to the row of open mouths waiting in the swallows' nest.

I guess that the wrens decided that a disused swallow nest was a nice place to raise their brood, but now I'm wondering where the swallows are living this year!
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/52:
The Moon in the Cloud -- Rosemary Harris

2017/53: The Shadow on the Sun -- Rosemary Harris
2017/54: The Bright and Morning Star -- Rosemary Harris
The pyramids were almost as white by night as by day. They burned with a malignant whiteness barely distinguishable from a white sky. They had a fierce beauty, fed by what lay around them: hundreds of thousands of men had toiled all day in the burning eye of the sun to raise them, and been worn and thirsty; and many had died. Their bones lay beneath the desert. Great kings had laid them there: the bones of the labourers, white, and buried in a gold casing of sand, near the bones of the kings encased in gold, buried in a white casing of stone. And in the night the bones of the buried men and the bones of the kings help speech together. [The Moon in the Cloud, page 147]


Reread, because the Amelia Peabody books made me yearn for some quality fiction set in Ancient Egypt. I adored these books as a child and am pleased to report that they are just as enjoyable some decades later. And I was happy to see Barbara Mertz' Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs mentioned in the Acknowledgements!
minor spoilers )

2017/51: Chalk -- Paul Cornell

Jun. 14th, 2017 10:25 pm
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/51: Chalk -- Paul Cornell
I stuck to what was true, except that I didn’t include anything impossible. I wrote about what it was like on the playing field. How there were no teachers. How anything could happen. How anything had been happening for a long time now. I mentioned the lightning because there would be the patch of black glass on the ground ...


A horror novel about growing up in the 1980s: cod in butter sauce, Feast lollies, Bananarama, school discos. somewhat spoilery )

Oh, hello....

Jun. 14th, 2017 09:52 pm
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[personal profile] flick
Today, we found some horse flies in the polytunnel. Bets now being taken on time until my first bite of the season....

I wanted a Thing that was an Amazon add-on item, and Mike could only think of another add-on item that he wanted, so I had a look at my Wish List and bought the annotated Pioneer Girl (Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiography). Naturally, the book arrived yesterday, Mike's Thing came today, and the Thing that I was actually after still isn't here.

I'd been putting off buying the book (and, indeed, putting off people from buying it for me) because I was hoping for an ebook. Now that it's arrived, I've realised why there isn't one: it's very annotated, and the footnotes are at least twice the length of the text, so it's very much easier to read on paper. I've been reading a section of the bio and then skipping back to read the notes. It's very interesting, although I'm somewhat disappointed to have found an error already (the fictional Wilder family didn't name their cow 'Wreath of Roses'. That was the name she came with and Ma sniffed and said something like "Bah, foreigners, we'll call her 'Spot'"). Still, very interesting and likely to be available to borrow in the not-too-distant future if anyone else was feeling the same way I was about buying it.

Also, *still* nothing about how Pa makes the loo seat nice and smooth. V disappointing.
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/50: City of Miracles -- Robert Jackson Bennett
The conclusion I draw is not, as you suggested, that miracles fade as their existence goes on, causing fluctuations in their function. Rather, I believe that miracles changed and mutated just as any organism might: the Divine Empire was a teeming ecosystem of miracles and Divine entities, all with varying levels of agency and purpose, all shifting and altering as the years went by.


Conclusion of the Divine Cities trilogy (previous volumes were City of Stairs and City of Blades). I wondered, reviewing the latter, if the third book would focus on Sigrud the mysterious Viking Dreyling berserker: and it does, in that he is the primary viewpoint character. However, it's not primarily his story.not much more spoilery than the blurb )

Thoughts on an issue

Jun. 13th, 2017 02:30 pm
vampwillow: a man made from bales of straw (strawman)
[personal profile] vampwillow
I've just written and posted this elsewhere, here is an archive/security copy so I don't mislay it. As background, I've been on the receiving end of some annoying things happening over the last month to do with a voluntary organisation I've been happy to donate my time to in the past. Except that it has become increasingly clear that I'm being held to a different standard to the others.

One could say fair enough, but then bear in mind that (a) all the others involved are str8, and (b) all the driving members other than myself are male. So is this about homophobia or misogyny? Both? Neither? I don't particularly want to stop my activities - I enjoy them even though they cost me in fuel and lack of sleep - but I have zero costs to walking away. Or maybe I'm being a snowflake. Time will tell....

Read more... )

And swallows!

Jun. 12th, 2017 05:38 pm
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[personal profile] flick
The swallows are very busy, swooping around the stableyard. When you poke your head around the door at the right time, you can see a row of little mouths lined up waiting in the nest. There are at least three, possibly one or two more. Fingers crossed that they don't have a problem and have to start a second clutch this year.

We've also see a wren going in and out of that stable (although usually by the drain at ground level rather than flying through the door). It might be that the one who nested in GB's stable last year has decided that he prefers the neighbours down there, and at least it makes it less likely that I'll find drowned fledglings in the water buckets this year!
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[personal profile] flick
Last Tuesday, it rained. It rained lots and lots and lots. Because he is a special snowflake, GB decided that it was nice weather for a walk and so Mike and I spent an hour or so walking around the stableyard in circles until the vet arrived and gave him some drugs.... I'm increasingly convinced that he gets gassy when the air pressure changes rapidly, because this is by no means the first time that he's had a colic in the pouring rain after a sunny spell. And then there was the time he did it in the snow.

Anyway, he was fine fairly soon after the vet did her thing, so no harm done! (It was also Little Quilt Club that day, so I missed going to that for the morning: bah. On the other hand, if I had gone then Mike wouldn't have had the car to go and collect people, so....)

While we were enjoying our lovely walk, our incoming visitors, who were cycling to see us, phoned to ask if we could possibly go and get them from where they'd spent the night. Once the vet had been, Mike did so, and shortly afterwards the rain (inevitably) stopped.

Still, we had a nice visit, including a trip to The Sportsman, which we'd never previously been to as we'd not got around to booking a table sufficiently far ahead. It was quite nice, but I'm not sure we'll be rushing back, and we weren't terribly impressed by the veggie-friendly-ness of the menu (which didn't have any veggie mains, although when we asked they were able to make two of the starters into mains).

We went to see a possibly horse (not Git Face; someone who managed to co-ordinate better with the owner's schedule got in before us and he's sold), who was terribly nervous of Jo. We put Jo back in the car, but he was still terribly nervous: not actually doing anything, but very tense. While the woman was riding him for us to watch, Mike said "I'm not sure I want to get on him," and I said "I'm not very sure that I do, either," so we said thank you and went home instead.

We've sent off some soil samples from our field for testing, in preparation for getting Mr Farmer to fertilise it when we've moved the boys up the hill to their summer quarters.

My hands seem to have got over their over-use, and I've been able to do some weeding and some sewing, which is a relief. I'm slightly concerned that the tomatoes in the polytunnel aren't setting fruit. We have been leaving one of the doors open, so there are insects in there, but it's possible that we need to open the other one for a few hours each day to get a bit more pollination going.

Today, we've had more visitors, but just for the afternoon. It turns out that iPads make small children much more easy to entertain than I had feared, and that running down our field is terribly fun but walking back up it in order to do so again is less interesting. Horses are a bit big and scary up close, though, which GB would probably be happy about if he realised: he was very grumpy this morning when I put his saddle on and rode him twice around the stableyard to check he would be up to a pony ride, but it turned out not to be necessary in the end.

I realise now that that's probably the last time he'll ever be ridden.
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/49: Death by Silver -- Melissa Scott, Amy Griswold
He threw a satisfied glance at Ned, looking momentarily very much like one of the heroes of an adventure novel. Ned felt rather like one himself, and wished there were any chance of Julian putting his arms around him in an admiring way on the spot. [loc. 5335]


Death by Silver is set in an alternate London, probably in the local equivalent of the Victorian period: carriages not cars, telegrams rather than 'phones, cricket at Lords. Ned Mathey is a newly-qualified metaphysician, still trying to establish himself as a practitioner and curse-breaker. slightly spoilery )

Monthly culture: May 2017

Jun. 11th, 2017 12:31 pm
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
06MAY17: Their Finest, Greenwich Picturehouse
WW2 comedy/drama/romance set in propaganda film industry.
Read more... )

18MAY17: Tchaikovsky, excerpts from Swan Lake; Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto #2; Shosyakovich, Symphony #6, Cadogan Hall. Moscow Philharmonic cond. Yuri Simonov; Freddy Klempf, piano
Read more... )

19MAY17: Here She Comes, By Jove, Gallery on the Corner
A feminist take on Bacchae in the form of an epic poemRead more... )

20MAY17: Snatched, Greenwich Picturehouse
"Putting the 'fun' back into 'non-refundable'." Oh, if only ... Read more... )

23MAY17: Full Circle, Theatre N16
Clytemnestra, Queen of the Damned, is in hell: so are Phaedra, Medea and Helen. Read more... )

28MAY17: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge, Odeon, Greenwich
Read more... )JUMPING. ZOMBIE. SHARKS.

28MAY17: Iron Maiden / Shinedown, O2, Greenwich
Read more... )

31MAY17: KISS, O2, Greenwich
Read more... )

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