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[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/79: More Than This --Patrick Ness
Isn’t dying once enough? he thinks. Am I going to have to keep doing it? But then he thinks, No. Because you can die before you’re dead, too.[loc. 1132]


The book opens with a detailed description of Seth's death, drowning in an ice-cold sea. Then he wakes up, and is, as far as he can tell, in Hell.

It looks a lot like England, where he grew up.slightly spoilery )
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[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/78: The Age of Miracles -- Karen Thompson Walker
After the slowing, every action required a little more force than it used to. The physics had changed. Take, for example, the slightly increased drag of a hand on a knife or a finger on a trigger. From then on, we all had a little more time to decide what not to do. And who knows how fast a second-guess can travel? Who has ever measured the exact speed of regret?[loc. 525]


The Earth's rotation slows, making days longer: ecological and sociological disaster ensue, as crops fail, the magnetosphere thins, and the US Government decrees that America will run on 'clock time' -- meaning that noon might be the middle of the dark hours.

This is not the plot, though: this is the background. non-spoilery )
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/77: Company of Liars -- Karen Maitland
Once, half-submerged in a sodden field, we saw the statue of St Florian, his millstone tied around his neck. Since their saint was unable to protect them from the rains, the parishioners had stripped his statue of his scarlet cloak and golden halo, beaten him and cast him out to face the elements. Many of the cottagers were no longer begging God for mercy, they were angry with him. They felt betrayed...[loc. 2898]


Set in 1348, just after the Black Death has reached England: 'Camelot', a hawker of relics, decides to head north to avoid the plague. Camelot is joined by Cygnus, a swan-winged story-teller; Zophiel, a travelling magician with a wagonful of heavy boxes; Venetian musician Rodrigo and his pupil Jofre; painter Osmond and his wife Adela, who is expecting their first child; Pleasance, a midwife; and a strange white-haired child, Narigorm, who reads runes and is given to doom-laden pronouncements.

As Doctor House says, 'everybody lies'. All of these travellers are lying, concealing their individual, desperately important, secretsvery mildly spoilery )

The Blood is the Life for 21-02-2017

Feb. 21st, 2017 10:00 am
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Yorkshire Pudding

Feb. 21st, 2017 08:49 am
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[personal profile] watervole
 Good longsword session last night in spite of my voice being crap.

My possible new dancer did show up and she enjoyed herself.

Even better, her daughter did too.  Not dancing, but sitting down reading the library books. Her daughter has Down's Syndrome, but she was in her element sitting in the children's corner with all the picture books.

In spite of the usual problems of being a small group (the odds of being below critical numbers are high, as it only needs a few people to fall ill...) we managed to work on the new four man dance I'm writing - now called 'Yorkshire Pudding' -and progress further  on Lingdale - a traditional 6 man dance.

It's starting to come together, but once people master the basic moves it becomes important to work on the timing and that's where we still need to improve.

Not sure if any of you will be at Redemption this weekend, but if you are, come and join in the longsword workshop!
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I've just been looking at the bird 'flu guidance for when the current control order runs out (at the end of the month). Given that free-range birds can only be kept in for twelve weeks before they become barn-raised, which happens at the start of March, I was expecting some changes and had my fingers crossed that I'd be able to start feeding the ducks properly again. Actually, though, they're just officially permitting what I was already doing on animal welfare grounds....

So, it looks like they'll not be getting ad-lib food until at least May. They don't like this at all, and my first duck egg of the year is getting further and further away. I'm very jealous of Mrs Farmer, who moved her hens into an unused polytunnel and is getting far better egg production than usual for the time of year.

In more pleasing spring-time news, yesterday we noticed that one of the dwarf irises on the drive was about to flower and a few more had green flower spikes. We went out at lunchtime today to see that half a dozen of them had suddenly burst into bloom. Oddly, the flowers last year came out the day we went to Eastercon and were pretty much over when we got back. It's been a cold winter this year, and was warm last, so I can only think that it's because they're better established this year: last year was their first.

The decorators have been hard at work on the living room today, and there's one coat of fresh paint on everything. We're camping out in the study: it's not a very small room, and would probably be fine with just the two sofas and coffee/side tables in it. Those plus the usual two desks and masses of books, though, are making things very cosy. Jo is bemused but coping.

Tomorrow, I'm going to pot on the first of this year's veg seedlings. Fingers crossed for a better spring / early summer than last year, and resultant shelves full of passata and other bottled stuff.

Voice and longsword

Feb. 20th, 2017 05:48 pm
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[personal profile] watervole
 Two asthma attacks in a couple of weeks and the medication is sending my voice into the pits. Which is unfortunate as I'm teaching longsword tonight and doing  a couple of dance workshops at Redemption this weekend.

Still, dance teaching is one of the few things I'm willing to do even when my voice is shot to pieces.  Though it would be easier if I could persuade someone else to call the count when people are learning figures.

It's all about getting the feet to fit the music.  There's 16 beats in a lot of the tunes and each person's moves have to fit in with that pattern.

Left, right, left, right, hop on right, left foot over sword, hop on left, right.  

That's one person going over the sword in their left hand, starting outside the circle and stepping into it (lifting their own sword over their head and turning clockwise as they go).

That's 6 steps in total, so 6 dancers will do it exactly in 3 passes through the music. (three verses of Bobby Shafto in this case)

It's also a lot of calling, as they have problems getting the steps right on new moves unless I call them.

But, there's an outside chance we might have a new dancer tonight, so no way am I going to cancel!
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[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/76: Rebel of the Sands -- Alwyn Hamilton
"How long had it been since you’d seen a First Being before the Buraqi came into town? Magic and metal don’t mix well. We’re killing it. But it’s fighting back." [loc. 993]


Amani Al’Hiza is sixteen, good with a gun, and being lined up as her uncle's next bride. She is unenthusiastic about the idea, and disguises herself as a boy to enter a sharpshooting contest. The prize money will be enough to help her escape Deadshot (a backwater, deadend desert town which has accreted around a munitions factory) and make for the city, where she believes a better life can be had. slightly spoilery )

Ah, spring....

Feb. 19th, 2017 10:08 am
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[personal profile] flick
It's amazing what riding GB on a warm, sunny spring morning will do for my mood, especially when he's going really well (for a geriatric!) and we get to have a nice session!
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[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/75: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet -- David Mitchell

"Doctor, do you believe in the Soul’s existence?"
Marinus prepares, the clerk expects, an erudite and arcane reply.
"Yes."
"Then where . . ." Jacob indicates the pious, profane skeleton ". . . is it?"
"The soul is a verb," he impales a lit candle on a spike, "not a noun."[loc. 3042]

not significantly spoilery )

2016/74: Medicus -- Ruth Downie

Feb. 18th, 2017 08:11 pm
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/74: Medicus -- Ruth Downie
Ruso closed his eyes briefly and dreamed of a world where women stayed quietly at home and sewed things and understood the value of Modesty and Obedience–not to mention Not Turning Up Dead Under Suspicious Circumstances. When he opened them again, he was still in Britannia.[loc. 2317]


Gaius Petreius Ruso has family obligations, debts, an ex-wife about whom he's still bitter, and a new posting as an army doctor at the fort of Deva, in north-west Britannia.

He's hoping that his move to Britain will signal a change in his fortune: and so it does, though perhaps not quite in the way he hopes. not very spoilery )

The fridge man cometh back again....

Feb. 17th, 2017 07:24 pm
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[personal profile] flick
This morning, Mike woke me with the worrying news that the fridge and cupboard doors were not longer properly attached.

This afternoon, the fridge man came back and moved the attachment points to ones that are, in retrospect, far more sensible (we were both a bit "yeah, should have thought of that").

Fingers crossed....

Also this afternoon cameth the second guy to measure up and quote for the hall and living room floor. The first guy said "The floor's a bit uneven, we'll need to put something down first to level it off". The second guy, who was actually a floor fitter not a salesman, was really worried about the unevenness of the floor, and thinks we should get fake (vinyl) wood instead because it's cheaper and will work on an uneven floor.

I'm actually quite tempted: I'll be able to use a steam mop on it, for a start, which you can't do with actual wood (you have to use a very-lightly-damped cloth/mop, which sounds like a marvellous way to turn muddy paw prints into a thin even coating over the whole floor). When I asked first guy about dealing with mud, he said "you can wipe it up with damp kitchen roll", which didn't really seem like a satisfactory long-term solution when Jo's left a trail around the room: I think he thought I meant actual lumps of the stuff. Second guy, on the other hand, immediately said that he didn't think we should go with the kind of (fairly rough and grained) wood surface we'd been planning because it's a nightmare to keep mud-free when you have dogs.

Mike's slightly coming round to the idea, but wants to see it in a house. We shall see.

The Blood is the Life for 17-02-2017

Feb. 17th, 2017 10:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Note to self

Feb. 15th, 2017 07:40 pm
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[personal profile] flick
Defrost the ice box in the old fridge more frequently in future.

(no subject)

Feb. 14th, 2017 04:24 pm
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[personal profile] watervole
 So tired today. Asthma.  We had a bout of fog a week or two ago and that trapped all the polution and set off a bad attack and I'm still not fully over it.

Seems to be a lethal combination of diesel fumes and wood-burning stoves that's causing the UK to breach clean air legislation with appalling frequency.

Funny thing really - I used to think wood-burning stoves were a great idea.  That was before  I discovered how lethal the fumes are from the best-designed stoves, let alone the worst ones.  Wood fires are nasty things and bonfires that have random stuff tipped on them are worst of all.

I was out walking a couple of days ago and was reacting to a bonfire long before I actually saw it.

Let wood rot down in your garden if you can. Be nice to beetles. Only burn it if you've no other option.  Your lungs will thank you.

The fridge man cometh!

Feb. 14th, 2017 03:52 pm
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[personal profile] flick
After a saga of epic proportions, six months of varying degrees of faffing, and six weeks of putting up with the fact that the fridge wasn't in the kitchen, I finally have my shiny new fridge:



Not only is it significantly bigger than the old one (and we've kept the old one), so that fridge tetris will be less of a common game, but it's also actually attached to the cupboard door, so that you only have to open one door!

I am probably more excited than I should be by this.

One of the things we'll be replacing when we have the living room redecorated is the side tables: if anyone would like a nest of three pale wood side tables from John Lewis, please say. Also up for grabs: a hand blender/whisk and a rolling pin with a set of interchangable thickness guides. We can bring them to Eastercon. (There is also our coffee table, but it's pretty battered and would need a good sanding and re-varnishing, as well as being a bit big to conveniently bring to Eastercon. Say if you've a particular desire for it. Again, pale wood from JL.)

The Blood is the Life for 14-02-2017

Feb. 14th, 2017 10:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Oops

Feb. 13th, 2017 04:43 pm
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For a lovely change, although the wind's bitter, it's been lovely and sunny today.

I celebrated by taking GB for a little ride in the school, where he was doing really well (to the extent that I had to remind myself not to push him too hard), and then we trimmed and tidied up the willow fedge.

After lunch, Mike had to work so I took Jo out for a nice, long-ish (for convalescent pooches) walk. As we started back down the hill opposite the house, Mike appeared on the drive and frantically shouted "Hydrotherapy!" at me.

Oops. We'd forgotten that Jo had a swimming lesson in, um, fifteen minutes and, of course, I'd had no signal when Mike tried to call me to get me to come back early.

The ducks got a rather hurried lunch and then we headed off in the car and only arrived a minute or so late. At which point I looked at Jo and just about managed to see her under the layer of mud.

Lots of hosing her down with the shower did help somewhat, but the water in the tank was rather murky after she'd been in it for a few minutes. "It's a good job I like you..." said the hydro lady, before conceding that it didn't matter too much given that the next (and last for the day) dog was the one with something of a problem controlling his bowels.

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