Oct. 24th, 2015 07:47 pm
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
What's the difference between commuting to work and merely travelling to work? Idly browsing books earlier, I came across something that explained the origin of the word "commute," and then said that nowadays, anyone who regularly travels to work is a commuter. "Surely not!" I thought. I mean, I used to walk three quarters of a mile every day to work, but I'd hardly count that as a being the action of a commuter. I have some thoughts on the matter - some of them vague and contradictory - but I'd be interested in hearing the thoughts of others.


Sep. 9th, 2015 05:49 pm
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
I've never worked out quite what I'm supposed to do when a farmer puts a "Bull in field" notice on a stile on a public right of way. Turn back? That's not usually an option - not without a big detour, anyway - and, besides, it's a public right of way, and if the sign is meant to be read as "go back!" then that's wrong. So assuming that we're supposed to proceed but be aware, what are we supposed to do? It's not as if ramblers normally leap around in red cloaks, wildly flapping and roaring in a way likely to seem threatening to volatile farm animals. We don't set out on our walks clad as attractive lady cows, a costume we can remove when we see the warning of a bull. No, we walk in a fairly orderly manner, wearing mud-splattered Sensible Clothes, and we stick to the path and head soberly for the opposite end of the field. When our public right of way goes through a field with a putative bull in it, what else can we do but walk in exactly the same way as we normally do, albeit with some fluttering nervousness in our hearts?

Am I wrong? Instead, should we tiptoe theatrically through the Bull Field? Should we whip out swords and shields and prepare to defend our flanks? Is there some way I should be modifying my behaviour when I see this warning?

I can see how poeple with dogs might take action when they see the warning, to try to prevent the bull seeing the dog as a threat. (Can dogs worry cows, by the way, or is "worrying," as opposed to provoking, disturbing, freaking out of enraging, something that only happens with sheep?) But walkers alone...?

Today, by the way, the warning came at the entrance to a field which appeared to be entirely devoid of bull. I walked warily, wondering if it had mastered camouflage, or was hiding in a pit in the ground, ready to leap out at me, cackling. But bull there was none.

I think.

Dressing up

Feb. 9th, 2015 02:50 pm
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
I've got to dress up as a sweet on Saturday. (For Reasons. Honest.) I don't want to have to spend hours and hours making a 4-foot aniseed ball or a giant tube that I can encase myself in and waddle around as a sherbert fountain. In fact, I don't want to spend very much time at all on this. Ideally, I'd like to use and creatively adapt costumes that already exist in the house.

These costumes are:
- Morris dance kit
- Generic medieval-style bar wench costume
- A Tudor dress
- Lots and lots of armour



May. 3rd, 2012 10:28 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I'm slightly flirting with the idea of trying running. I've barely run a step since the misery of school cross-country lessons, plodding pathetically through Pittville Park and weaving through drunken racegoers attendees (who obviously couldn't have been there for every cross-country lesson, and perhaps weren't there for any of them, yet have a prominent role in my mental image of the classic cross-country lesson, even so.)

I did a lot of walking in the first few months of this year, and I mostly enjoyed it. I enjoyed the sense of achievement, anyway, and even now I like being able to dance 4 Morris dances in a row and end them feeling as if I've done little more than a stroll in the park, while everyone around me is collapsing in exhaustion. However, walking takes a lot of time - hence the "mostly", above; it was a huge time commitment, and that was sometimes oppressive. Unfortunately, anything less than about 15 miles feels rather useless now - very pleasant when in company, but not a Real Walk - but walks of 20 miles plus take time. What with dancing commitments and various other things, I've only got that sort of time between November and March. Additionally, I'm really not good in hot weather, so prefer not to do long walks in the summer.

Which leaves running. I came across a mention of the "Couch to 5K" programme somewhere on LJ, and looked it up. It promises to take someone from total couch potato to being able to run 5 kilometres over the course of 9 weeks, and all the user reviews report huge success. It only involves half an hour of exercise 3 days a week, and it looks as if it might allow me to maintain my current level of walking fitness without having to give up half my weekends to long walks. It starts very manageably - 5 minutes of walking to 1 minute of running - and I could do it nice and early in the morning, before the weather gets warm - and before neighbours are up to watch my ungaingly flailing.

So now I'm dilemmaing about shoes. I have a tendency to walk on the insides of my feet. As a result, a few years ago merely walking half of Walk the Wight left me so broken with joint pain that I couldn't dance for months. Getting good walking boots with solid ankle support fixed that, and nowadays I won't embark on any walk of more than a mile or two without wearing them. Therefore I don't want to try any running without proper shoes... but I don't want to splash out on shoes if this whole thing turns out to be a silly passing whim that I don't stick with for more than a few days.

Dither dither dither...


May. 12th, 2011 08:19 am
ladyofastolat: (Vectis)
Current (unimportant) dilemma: what food do I take with me on Sunday, when walking 27 miles across the island? I want something compact, easily portable and eatable on the move, but which provides lots of quick energy. I'm allergic to nuts, and don't really want chocolate, in case it's hot on the day and it melts. I don't like super-sweet stuff; I have finally managed to remember that buying tempting-looking slabs of fudge from handmade fudge shops is not a good idea, since the sweetness overwhelms me and makes me desperate for some crisps to take the taste away. (And don't even get me started on tablet...!) Kendal Mint Cake would be perfect, since the mint taste masks the sugar, but I'm fairly sure it's not available in normal shops, and it seems a bit extreme (and possibly too late) to mail order a single slab.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
My boots have given me hundreds of miles of trouble-free walking. However, two weeks ago, in the latter half of the longest walk I've ever done (22 miles), my boots started pressing painfully on my right ankle bone and, to a lesser extent, my left Achilles tendon. I didn't walk for two weeks after that, but this weekend, these places hurt right from the start - not enough to stop me walking, but enough to make decreasingly enjoyable as the day went on. It's not a skin irritation thing; it feels more like a bruise, if anything.

Walk the Wight is in 4 weeks, so now my dilemma is: do I stop walking for these four weeks to let the sore bits heal, or do I carry on regardless, since stopping would undo all the benefits of practising, and would cause worse problems on the day, due to over straining unprepared muscles? I'm tending towards the latter, because a tender ankle bone merely hurts, but isn't likely to cause real damage, whereas walking 26.5 miles without preparation could do lasting damage.

It's too close to the event to walk in new boots, although new boots might be the longterm answer. Also, I can't do long walks not in boots, since I need the ankle support which stops me walking on the insides of my feet, which has bad results for knees and hips. This I have learnt.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Should the garlic go in my herb cupboard or my spice cupboard? It's tried both, but I always seem to expect it to be in the one it isn't currently lurking in.
ladyofastolat: (Misty Glastonbury)
Still dithering on cameras. At the weekend, my front-runner was the Panasonic FZ45, so I headed into town to try to handle one, only to find that no-one stocked one. (I did, though, palm loads of stuff off on Oxfam, and eat the Biggest Chicken and Bacon Pasty Ever, so the trip wasn't wasted.) However, one place had the FZ100, which is similar but better (and therefore more expensive.) Extra features include HD video, which I doubt I'll use, but also include an angleable screen, which is a feature use quite a lot in my current camera. It also allows you to take loads of pictures per second, which might be useful when photographing Morris dancers, who invariably manage to look entirely lumpen and static when you take a single picture of them. But now I'm wondering if I really need a 24x zoom, anyway, and whether I ought to go something smaller. The physical size isn't an issue, though, since I've always carried my camera around my neck, and don't expect it to be pocket-sized.

But, as Pellinor says, perhaps my part in this decision is over, and it's down to the people who are buying this thing for me...

Apparently lots of people don't bother with a camera at all nowadays, and just use their phone. I had a little play with my phone's camera today, while walking back to work after dropping the car at home mid-morning. I'm not impressed by the results. However, it wasn't helped by the fact that all the controls are on the touch screen, which went completely illegible in the sunlight. I managed to shade the screen enough to spot a +/- key, which I assumed was zoom, but it turned out that it was brightness. (The picture of the lance was zoom, of course.) As a result, I now have loads of very over exposed images of very distant misty cobwebs. Plus, getting the pictures off my phone and onto my computer has involved nearly an hour of frustrating wrestling with a very unhelpful website and some even more unhelpful software. But after all that work, I'm jolly well going to post something, to make it feel at least remotely worthwhile.

The fruits of my labours )
ladyofastolat: (Default)
When I was young, I was taught by my mum that eating in the street is something that you absolutely do not do. I'm not sure quite what the definition of "street" was, since you were allowed to eat on picnic tables in beauty spots, or have a picnic beside a country path, or eat at a table outside a tea shop, but the general principle was there. She did make a reluctant exception for ice creams bought in tourist resorts, but even then she felt such guilt and shame at breaking the rule that she ate the ice-cream very furtively - usually making herself far more conspicuous and ice-cream-stained than she would have if she had eaten it openly.

When I was a student, I remember talking about the issue to an old school friend, who revealed that she had also been brought up with this rule. However, both of us had sometimes found ourselves in town at lunch time and in need of a snack, so we had both devised our own exception to the rule. I allowed myself to eat something in the street if I found myself an out of the way doorway or tucked myself against the wall in a side street. "I'm sorry," I was silently shouting to everyone who saw me, "I know I shouldn't be doing this, but, look, I'm trying really hard to keep out of your way." In contrast, she allowed herself to eat in the street only if she walked as fast as possible. "I wouldn't normally do this," she was silently shouting to everyone who saw her, "but can't you see that I'm in an enormous rush, desperate to get to those starving orphan kittens before time runs out."

Both of us, however, were in agreement that we would never dream of wandering into a library while eating an ice-cream, or wander round a shop touching products while eating from a packet of crisps with the other hand. A new librarian, young and naive, I was utterly amazed at how many people thought nothing of walking into the library while eating lunch. And it still surprises me. But with most of them, it's clearly beyond their comprehension that anyone might think this isn't perfectly acceptable behaviour. It can be very hard when you've got people who have very different opinions on what is acceptable.

But it can hard to shift those lessons you've taught early in life. I'm still really quite bothered by people chewing gum, since I was so strongly taught not to eat in public, even though I tell myself rationally that most people think there's nothing wrong with it.


Jun. 6th, 2010 09:49 am
ladyofastolat: (Default)
We have ants. We don't have a huge amount of ants as yet, but we have some. They haven't yet done their regimented line thing, in which they march inexorably across the floor with colours and drums, but are still in the stage that involves scouts and skirmishers, milling around madly trying to see if there's anything worth shouting, "Hey, you lot! Over here!" about.

We discovered them just before bed on Friday night, so just scattered a bit sugar outside, in the hope that they would get distracted and realise that Outside had far richer pickings than the kitchen floor. Most of them have indeed got distracted, to the extent of wallowing in sugar, gorging themselves, sluggishly waving ecstatic feelers every now and then. Occasionally, an ant will waddle off with a sugar crystal, but not often. I expect the increasingly irate queen is getting very occasional visits from unexpectedly podgy ants, who throw her a tiny bit of sugar, swearing blind that there are but poor pickings out there today, before rushing off "back to work, searching for more food for you, ma'am."

I did a brief search on humane ways to get rid of ants. I have no desire to murder them, merely want to politely suggest to them that they should move along, since there's nothing to see here. Many people answering the question "How do I humanely get ants out of my house?" seem to have misunderstood the whole "humanely" thing, since most of the answers involve mass slaughter. Interesting points were made about cinnamon and cloves, so I suppose I could splash the threshold with clove flavoured mouthwash, but I suspect this will keep my cats out, too. (I'm not sure how it will affect vampires.) I also worry that it will strand the poor ants who are still inside, and they'll get all unhappy and stressed to be prevented from returning home by a terrifying Wall of Clove. Perhaps I will have to so some ant wrangling and escort them all outside before scattering any scary spices.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
What's the going rate for a Christmas tip for the milkman? Does anyone here tip postmen? Binmen?

(This post is brought to you from a skeletal computer with innards hanging out, which refused point blank to boot up earlier until Pellinor attacked it with a screwdriver. I don't know if it's back for good, or if this is its last heroic gasp, but I am doing some serious and long overdue backing up.)
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Oh dear. Some bright-eyed chap knocked on the door, and proceeded to ask me searching and persistent questions about my gas and electricity bills, claiming that the only thing he wanted in life was to save me money. When all attempts to politely get rid of him failed, I'm afraid that I resorted to looking bewildered and confused and overwhelmed, and said, "My husband looks after that sort of stuff*," and when he continued to persist and wanted to see a recent utilities bill, I said, "Oh, no, I couldn't possibly make any decisions without asking my husband first." Oh dear. Women of the world, I am so very sorry.

It worked, though.

* Actually, I am even more ashamed to admit that this is true, and that I haven't got a clue who we get our gas and electricity from. The last thing I noticed, I believe we were getting gas from the electricity people, and electricity from the gas people, or something silly like that.


Jun. 13th, 2008 03:08 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Yay! I'm now on leave for nearly two weeks. I had a meeting in Southampton this morning, and took the rest of the day off as lieu time for when I worked on a day off last week. Tomorrow we're off to Skye, and then, some days later, to Orkney. Yes, we islanders feel scared and little and overwhelmed on The Mainland, so have to holiday on little islands. Quite how I'll cope with a little island that calls itself "Mainland", I'm not sure. I think it might cause one of those "error! error! ERROR!" sort of situations.

This morning's ferry was amazingly quiet for that time of day. Presumably all the commuters were either having the day off to go to the Festival, or were having the day off to avoid Festival crowds on the journey home. Last year, I had a meeting in Portsmouth on the first day of the Festival, and there were sniffer dogs and police and coastguards and all sorts of glarey people at the ferry terminal (presumably to search people for grey squirrels), but there was nothing of the sort at Southampton today.

Anyway... The start of a holiday means Dilemmas and Resolutions:

Holiday dilemmas )

Holiday resolutions )


Apr. 10th, 2008 05:46 pm
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
We're off to the Oxford folk festival tomorrow, and will definitely be going to the Saturday evening concert in the Town Hall (with Bellowhead!) and the Sunday afternoon concert with Brass Monkey, and will be leaving at Sunday teatime, missing the Sunday evening events. Beyond that, who knows? I just say so in case anyone else hereabouts is planning to go to any festival events.

Also, where in central Oxford does nice food? We're not after posh dinners, just something of the pub grub variety - ideally in a pub that has real ales, nice ciders and/or fruit wine. We wouldn't want a "booking essential" type of place, either. I was thinking The Turf, for old times' sake. How's that nowadays?

EDIT: Oh! Oh! Oh! Unless people tell me that the Turf is actually an underground haunt of man-eating lobsters, and that it's death to go there, the Turf it is, for one night, at least. I've just looked at the menu online, and it has my favourite dish on it - "Chargrilled chicken breast smothered in BBQ sauce, topped with slices of grilled back bacon and cheddar cheese. Served with seasoned chips and dressed salad leaves." Well, I can do without salad leaves, whether dressed or shockingly naked, but the rest will do me just fine. I'm open to recommendations for the other night, though.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
This morning, I put a slice of bread and butter into a plastic sandwich bag, and sealed it securely. I put it in my bag, on one side of the A4 pad and several magazines that were already in it. On the other side of that pad and magazine barrier, I put a banana, also sealed in a bag.

Five hours later, when I went to dip the bread into my Mulligatawny soup, it tasted quite distinctly of banana.

How does the banana smell do it? How can it defy physical laws like this? Does this suggest that the banana king has discovered the secret of instanteously transportation through solid barriers? Does it reveal that bananas are actually the hitherto-unknown key to the Grand Ultimate Theory of Everything? I suspect so. I think that further study (which will be funded at great cost) is required.


Feb. 11th, 2008 05:32 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I clearly fail as a woman. Pellinor was immensely heroic on Saturday, greeting me, as I shuffled wearily in from work, with a lovely tidy house, a lovely dinner, gifts, a sword fight in the garden, flowers, wine etc. I've just got around to studying said gifts, which were from Lush. I suspect I am supposed to know what to do with them. I suspect that Proper Women are supposed to just know.

I don't.

One is very fascinatingly tactile, and clearly a slice of fairly solid strawberry blancmange, with patches of strawberry jelly in it. The box proclaims that it's ecologically sound, not tested on animals, vegetarian, non-sexist, non-racist, non-ageist etc... but doesn't say a word about what's actually in it. The second item is wrapped in muslin and is clearly one of those seed cakes you make with lard and feed to starving birds in the winter. The third is yellow and sticky, wants to pretend it's raw honey, and the unwary would jump to the conclusion that it's soap, but I suspect that it's trying to fool me into thinking this.

I notice that there are three of them, and that they arrived in a Mysterious Fashion. Clearly more is at work here. I suspect a grey-robed stranger accosted Pellinor and asked him to give them to me. The very worthy box the organic blancmange thing comes in looks a bit like a casket in shape, so is clearly an important quest item. One day, when the time is right, I will feel an urge to open it in slow motion, as music swells in the background. A strange light will emerge, like unto the sun. Tentacles will entwine in my hair and a strange voice will speak in my head, uttering a message of great import. The seed cake is probably a magical talisman stolen from a dark wizard who wants it back. The possible-almost-soap has probably been hewn from the still-living flank and a honey dragon.

I mean, what other explanation can there be...?
ladyofastolat: (Default)
In the pub last night, the men's toilets were out of order, and a paper sign had been tacked to the ladies' door, reading "unisex." It was interesting watching how people reacted. A lot of men looked really uncomfortable to have to go through a door marked "ladies." A lot of women were quite unhappy about the idea that a man might have used their toilet. There were three cubicles within, but these were effectively reduced to one, since no-one seemed willing to follow someone of the opposite sex through the outer door. People waited outside in the corridor, and went in only when the previous person had emerged. The whole experience became quite a talking point in the pub.

Back at my old work place, we had two identical toilet cubicles adjacent to each other, and one had arbitrarily been labelled "ladies" and the other "gentlemen." We only had one man working there, but whenever we had meetings of the (all female) school librarians, they would patiently queue up for the "ladies'", and some would refuse point blank to use to men's, even if there were no men in the building.

Another interesting bit of toilet etiquette I've noticed is how women are usually very reluctant to try closed cubicle doors. You can get a situation in which a dozen women are standing there patiently outside a row of closed doors. After five minutes have passed, and no-one has emerged from any of the cubicles, someone will tentatively wonder out loud if anyone's inside, and, with the approval of the queue thus gained, will very cautiously prod one of the doors with their finger. When it opens to reveal no-one inside, someone else will try, and, sure enough, it will be revealed that everyone's been queuing for totally empty toilets. However, I understand from Pellinor that it's very different in the World of Gentlemen...

Is there a chapter on public toilet etiquette in Watching the English? I can't remember. There should be, but I suppose it has certain... challenges. "You've been loitering in that toilet for hours, watching everyone who comes in. You're under arrest, sir." "But I'm an anthropologist! I'm studying English toilet etiquette." "A likely story!"


Oct. 30th, 2007 07:29 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Can someone give me good reasons why I should do this Facebook thing?

Reasons I've not done it so far include:
- LJ devours quite enough time all by itself
- I'm in touch with the people I want to be in touch with via LJ etc. anyway
- This whole real name thing might lead to people from work / old teachers / family finding me, and I like to keep my online babbling separate from real life.
- Pellinor's Facebook time seems to be mostly spent with doing silly quizzes

I'm willing to be converted, though...
ladyofastolat: (Wraith snarling)
While putting up a display on a windy field in a military installation today, as one does, I was musing on a fanfic issue that I initially thought was a small, specific point, but which I have now realised is a large, general point.

Swearing in fanfic )
ladyofastolat: (Default)
[ profile] skordh's heroic endeavours have reminded me of a recent semi-drunken debate Pellinor and I had - viz. what would we rather give up for life: books or the internet.

Please read the clarifications and qualifications before voting )

EDIT: Okay, if it makes it easier, what about limiting the question to a choice between giving up books for six months, or giving up the internet for six months. That might make it less traumatic.

[Poll #863274]

Feel free to add your reasonings in comments.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Our car alarm (which gets activated whenether we lock the door, whether we want it to or not) is malfunctioning at the moment. Sometimes it goes off for no reason, and other times it doesn't go off, but it does turn all the car lights on. We've been trying to remember to lock the doors manually, rather than using remote locking, since that doesn't switch the alarm on, but old habits die hard.

Consequently, today, when I popped to a shop at lunch time, I got in a real mess with the alarm when I returned to the car. It kept going off no matter what I did. The car got immobilised. I had to prod and poke the car repeatedly, all the while looking around me in a self-conscious and guilty fashion. The car park was full of shoppers. And did even a single one look? Did anyone show any sign of coming to investigate this potential car theft? Of course not.

So here are some questions. A little questionnaire )

Quite unrelated to alarms, I am fed up today. Amazon wrote to me on Saturday to tell me they had despatched "The Pinhoe Egg", the new Chrestomanci book by Diana Wynne Jones. So where is it????? I could have bought it from Ottakars at lunch time, but didn't, since I knew it was en route. I thought the whole point of pre-ordering was that you got it on publication date, and, if you were really lucky, before it.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
This story was given to us today during a marketing training course.

The alligator river. )

We each then had to rank the behaviour of each character from worst (1) to best (5), first individually, and then as a group. I presume it was to practice group working, or something.

It was quite interesting. Apparently past groups have sometimes broken down into tears, or huge arguments. Personally, I felt that we needed a whole lot more context and information. My thoughts )

Anyway, I won't put my answers yet. I'd be interested in seeing what others think.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I don't know what book to take with me on Friday!

I need sometime long enough to occupy two 6 hour ferry/train journeys, so I don't want to take along a book that I'm already half way through, because then I'll finish it too quickly. But I also don't want to end up with a long, brand new book... and find that I don't like it.

I don't want to start a new, long series, because in a few weeks, it will be time to start re-reading GRR Martin, ready for "A Feast for Crows" coming out in October. I can't risk starting a new obession right now. I just need a couple of weeks of filler books, before it's time to ignite my GRRM obsession all over again.

Normally I end up taking about ten books on holiday with me, to cover for all eventualities and moods. (Then we end up so busy on holiday that I never open any of them.) But this time I need to carry everything with me, so can only cope with one or two.

Ah, the dilemma...!

Oh well. I suppose I could always take the Traveller rules, and become word perfect in all the tiniest little details, like [ profile] king_pellinor is with Ars Magica rules (much to the GM's frustration.)


ladyofastolat: (Default)

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