Nov. 5th, 2015 05:40 pm
ladyofastolat: (Night gathers)
Our boiler broke on Tuesday. Again. It's only two months since it last failed, and it failed several times last winter, too. In the past, we've always managed to get it fixed the following morning, although for a while now, the nice (and prompt) British Gas men who have saved us have shaken their heads and sucked in a disapproving breath, saying that the boiler is out-dated, and, to be frank, a bit rubbish, and we really should replace it (at great expense, naturally.) We've got quotes, but haven't yet taken any decisions, so still have the old (is a 14 year old boiler really as antique as they're making out?) rubbish one. Hence the latest failure.

This time, although the nice British Gas man turned up with his usual promptness the day after we reported the problem, he needed a part, so had to return again this morning. He fixed the issue, then realised that he needed yet another part, and will have to return yet again tomorrow morning.

So this is the third evening without heating and hot water. We're having to remember those long-neglected arts of washing hair in the sink using a kettle, of bathing in half an inch of kettle-warmed water, and so on. The strange thing is, though, that I keep acting if other utilities have failed, too. I keep finding myself wandering around in the dark, and repeatedly have surprised moments of revelation when I remember that the lights do indeed work. I keep suddenly realising, with surprise, that we DO have a working kettle. I've several times found myself thinking that our dinner plans will have to be changed because the gas hob isn't working. It seems that my subconscious is a bit confused about utilities and where they come from, and assumes that if one of them isn't working, the whole lot has failed.


Jun. 23rd, 2015 08:53 am
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
I have no voice. For the most part, I sound like one of Peter Jackson's elves, talking in whispers all the time, except that every now and then, something happens and I suddenly sound like Gollum or an orc for a few words, before I return to being an elf again.

The above situation makes phoning in sick to work slightly challenging. Although we have a new, shiny phone system at work, we do not yet have one that allows for miming "my throat hurts so much that I've had no sleep for two days, except for snatched moments on the couch when I was trying to watch dodgy movies on the SyFy channel, but kept opening my eyes blearily to find that I'd missed the end, so still don't know if all the giant mutant megatyrannoctosharkypusosaurs ATE THE WORLD! or not."


Oct. 26th, 2014 09:25 am
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
Still very tired. I thought I was mostly better, so walked into Newport yesterday, but it left me so near-paralysed by tiredness that I had to fight hard not to burst into tears in the M&S menswear department. But tea and a spot of people-watching from the Sainsbury's cafe - positioned above the shop's entrance so you can watch all the comings and goings - perked me up enough to get me home, although I continued to be rather useless for the rest of the day.

Finding myself without the brain power to do anything useful, I have been musing on the following things:

- When did Yore get dirty? Historical movies made in the 1950s and 1960s show a past that is all shiny and clean, and, in the case of movies made in colour, full of bright, crisp colours, even in hovels. Modern films are usually full of dirt, dark lighting, dingy colours. So when did film-makers decide that the past was dirty? (Pellinor blames Monty Python.)

- It occurs to me that the same punctuation mark is used for the absent-minded or angst-ridden pause, as is used for the sort of sinister pause so beloved of plotting villains. "He shall be... dealt with." "We will seek an... alternative solution." It's quite a different thing from the pause used by someone trying to remember the next thing on their shopping list, or so overcome with angst that they can't finish their sentence. I feel that the world needs a new form of punctuation to convey this Evil Ellipsis. (I also wonder if aspiring evil overlords can buy self-help books that teach them how to employ such a pause. It wouldn't do to use it in all the wrong places. "Today we will have... [pause to stub out cigarette in menacing fashion]... baked beans. On toast."

- I dragged myself to work on Friday, but found myself lacking in brain power to do anything other than sort through boxes of old books returned from various sources. One box was labelled "Highbrow produce" from "Highbrow Farm." I could almost be tempted to draw a picture of these highbrow parsnips and carrots, earnestly discussing opera while being boxed up on a farm full of sheep who sneer at reality TV and cows who sit round reading Nietzsche all day. Except that I'm tired, so I won't.
ladyofastolat: (Jayne hat)
We spent last week adventuring in the far reaches of space (or the not-so-far reaches of space, since Space is Big.) This was the continuation of the campaign we started two years ago, which culminated in a super-powerful Ancienty chap telling us that All The Things were at risk unless we joined him in his fight against The Destroyer. We decided that said super-powerful Ancienty chap was a capricious, arrogant twit. We suspect strongly that other characters in other campaigns have tangled with said Destroyer, who is also a capricious, arrogant twit, but our current characters don't know this. "Can we have a year to think about your job offer?" we asked, and, faced with the news that All The Things were potentially under threat... we decided to ignore it, and continued to visit wacky tourist attractions, search for elephant tusks, buy quirky robots and go to concerts.

Duct tape was the prevailing weapon in our arsenal, most notably when we spent about two hours trying to work out how to detain 4 prisoners in the toilet of our passenger shuttle. Few guns were fired, and these often ineptly. One of the few fights we engaged in involved using pasties as a weapon. (It made a strange sort of sense at the time, honest. We were on a mining planet, you see?) The most passionate debates - apart from the duct tape/toilet thing - revolved around PR and marketing strategies, HR and recruitment issues, childcare, contract law and the financial management of ailing steel farming companies. Can we conclude from this that we are getting old?

We found the elephant tusks, and all finished happily for every past owner who had become fond of them during their chequered career! We rescued an 8 year old telepathic girl from a life of brain probes and hideous tesssts! We saved a planet from being crashed into by a comet! We launched the career of a rubbish film star! We discovered a boy band! We captured a pirate! (This was the long-term nemesis of Pellinor's character. I thought that he would feel a little sense of sadness at finally being rid of his nemesis, but he is made of less sentimental stuff, and captured him without a qualm.) We even got a medal ceremony! I have always argued that all games should end with a medal ceremony, ever since I took 2 days destroying the Death Star, only for the game to cut instantly to credits without letting me bask in my hard-won victory.

As well as fighting fictional pirates, most of us ventured into Plymouth - most of us in appropriate costume - for a pirate-themed metal gig, which was fun, but very very hot. Two days later, the dreaded lurgi began to sweep through the party, clearly the fault of those pesky pirates. It reached me on the journey home. I thought I was past the worse today, and ventured into work, but was sent home after a few hours, on the grounds that I was "as white as a sheet," and was sitting inside shivering in two coats, while everyone else was in short sleeves and saying how hot it was. Illness is giving me interesting dreams, though. Last night, I dreamt a long and very vivid adventure prompted by the government making possession of 20-sided dice a capital offence...

No walking

Sep. 14th, 2014 10:24 am
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
Grump! It's been weeks and weeks since I did any sort of walk at all, and I miss it! I had a series of busy weekends in August, and then was couch-bound for a couple of weeks due to damaging my feet by standing on them too much at Summerfest. They're almost better now - my big toes are mostly just numb now, although they occasionally panic and tell me that they're being stabbed with invisible needles - so I was hoping to do a nice long walk this weekend. However, a nasty bitey thing has decided otherwise. I've now got a bite on my shin that has caused my entire lower leg to swell up, and it hurts to put any weight on it. So once again, I'm couch-bound, and very grumpy at missing yet another nice weekend of Outside. Grump!


Jun. 1st, 2014 02:39 pm
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
Is anyone wise in the ways of insect bites? I know I could Google this, but reputable health sites tend to say "if in doubt, see your doctor," and other sort of sites tend to say, "OMG! You're DYING!" so I prefer to start with the wisdom of the real, sensible people who live in my LJ.

Not particularly graphic or icky, but behind a cut anyway, just in case. )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
I am telling this tale of misadventure in its all its wordy fullness, because people at work seem to find it very amusing. I do point out that it has not yet been proved that I am not dying a hideous death due to poisoned Weetabix, but they don't seem to think this is much of a risk, and just laugh.

Mysterious noises, Weetabix and threatening doom, with tangential oily cakes and long-ago tea disasters )


Dec. 7th, 2013 04:00 pm
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
It's very boring to be too ill to actually do anything, but not so ill that you don't want to do things. I am also fed up with being reduced to languishing on the couch just before Christmas, when there are dinners with stuffing and sausages wrapped in bacon (aka two of my Best Things Ever) to be had. That's two years in a row that I've missed a Morris dancing boozy Christmas feast. Grump!

Oh, and is anyone else not getting LJ comment notifications? I've had none since, um... Tuesday, I think?

At least I can just about cope with rereading well-loved favourite books, as long as they don't get too challenging. Sadly, I've reread (or, rather, re-re-re-reread) most of my well-loved favourite non-demanding books in the 6 months or so (my favourite Georgette Heyers, Diana Wynne Joneses, Sherwood Smiths, Elizabeth Marie Popes, Hilary McKays, Jaclyn Moriartys and so on) so am doing quite a lot of standing swayingly while staring at shelves failing to find much inspiration.
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
We were actually only away for half a weekend: a day trip with added Friday night. The ferries are very messed up at the moment, since someone crashed one of the boats into a buoy ("with a U," I belatedly added, when I was telling someone about this and could see by their face that they were wondering) at the same time as another was off on annual service. So the avoid a very crack of dawny start on Saturday, we stayed over on the mainland on Friday night, and had a second attempt to scale the enormous mountain that is the meze feast in a local Greek restaurant.

Last time we went, I was almost in tears at the end. ("They just won't stop bringing us food! Make them stop!") But the food was good, so I wanted to try again, but on a day when we didn't have a ferry to catch so could take things slowly and linger. It was still an unfeasibly large amount of food, but I am glad to report that I didn't end up in tears. I did have to opt out of two complete dishes, though, but fortunately Pellinor was able to do the honours.

Yesterday we headed to Lewes to dance at the folk festival. ("What? Lewis in Scotland?" said someone at work. "For the day?") It was all very enjoyable - especially when Pellinor volunteered to do another side's joiny-in dance, and found himself tied up on the floor with his legs spread, while men (dressed as women) wearing hob-nailed boots stomped over him. But then I had an allergic reaction to the most over-priced sandwich in the history of sandwiches.

I've always avoided all nuts, to be on the safe side, although the only one I've had a definite reaction to is walnuts. (Oh, and I had a mild reaction to coconut milk at Easter, too, but admittedly that was in one of Philmophelgm's Unwise Cocktails, which can bring down the strongest of men.) I love pesto, but have always been careful only to have nut-free varieties. However, I was fairly sure that I'd accidentally eaten pesto with pine nuts a while ago and been okay, so I blithely ordered a sandwich with pesto in, without checking. Within minutes, my lips looked as if I'd had a disastrous bout of cosmetic surgery. After an hour, my palms started itching unbearably. (Why my palms, I wonder?) On the journey home, I gradually turned red all over, with yellow weals wherever my clothes touched my skin. I felt quite ill and dopey when we were walking up to the ferry, but a lot better by the time we got home, and demanded comfort in the form of ice cream.


Dec. 15th, 2012 08:38 am
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I've been ill since Monday night, struck down by a nasty stomach bug. I don't know if it's one with a posh name, or just a common or garden stomach bug, but either way, it felled me completely. I'm a lot better than I was, but still far from recovered. My ambition for the weekend is now just to be able to eat a normal meal, and walk as far as the end of the drive without swaying and falling over.

I've been too headachey to read and too swimmy to get up and change DVDs, so I've spent pretty much the entire time under a duvet on the couch, watching whatever I could find on the TV. For someone with absolutely no appetite, I've watched a surprising number of cookery shows. How do Masterchef contestants manage to prepare the 194 elements they need for their meals and have them all coming together at the same time? How many jolly Christmas shows about Christmas merriment were actually filmed in August, featuring warm people decked in tinsel, trying to look cold? While channel hopping, I saw about ten seconds of Britain's Next Top Model, in which a stick-thin girl was being told she was too fat. I also watched various American crime shows, usually managing to fall asleep just before the baddie was revealed. Well, that was on day two. On day three, I specialised in falling asleep for most of the episode, waking up in time to find out whodunnit, but having no idea whatitwastheydid.

Dreams were strange. On day one, I dreamt that academics across the world were being renamed pachydemics, and were allowed to study nothing but elephants. They were still allowed to keep with their respective disciplines, but it all had to be elephant-related: the astrophysics of elephants, the mathematics of elephants, the economics of elephants, and so on. Very odd.

I chuckled darkly to see on the BBC website that people suffering from norovirus were being advised not to visit people in hospital. If norovirus is anything like this, getting as far as the front door is a feat a bit like climbing Mount Everest, let alone getting as far as a hospital.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Yay! I felt enormously better this morning. I was actually able to turn over in bed last night all by myself - like, all the way over, without having to ask for help, or get out of bed, stand up, and reattack the bed from a different angle. I'm very relieved by this. I spent Sunday feeling as if I was back at square one, and was beginning to feel serious concern about my ability to get through Summerfest next week. But now I feel hopeful about being back to normal by the weekend. I've just got to be careful to take things slowly for a few more days. I keep getting lulled into a false sense of security and starting to run upstairs, or flump down rashly on the couch. But in general, I feel much sense of yayness. Yay!


Aug. 6th, 2012 09:50 am
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I decided to find out if I was capable of driving today. It turns out that the answer is yes... as long as I don't go above 20 mph, don't brake or accelerate, don't reverse, and don't turn. I'm struggling to come up with destinations I can safely reach.

Having made this discovery by driving (in tears) to work, I came straight home again. I can't sit at a computer chair for more than a few minutes, let alone do any of the other things I needed to do, so I knew I wouldn't make it through a day at work. I went in because I'd hoped to delegate tomorrow's storytime, but this wasn't possible. However, I have a chauffeur, pack animal and all-purpose minion lined up to do all the bits that I can't cope with.

So I guess it'll be another day spent watching the Olympics, while pacing periodically around the room.


Aug. 1st, 2012 09:49 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
We went to the Brockhampton Estate today, which seemed like a nice sedate National Trusty thing to do. After pottering around the nice medieval/Tudor manor house, we set off on the nature trail around the estate, which included some woody adventure playgroundy things. Towards the end of this, we came to a zip wire thing. "Ooh! I've never been on one of these!" I said. "I want to have a go!" Just before I took off, I had a moment of doubt. "Um... How do I stop?" I asked. "Don't worry!" said Pellinor. "They're always set up so you slow enormously just before the end." I duly set off... only to get faster and faster and faster, until I came to a jarring halt, flew off the seat, impacted HARD against a tree, and got hurled to the ground.

Long story short... OW! I'm covered with bruises and scrapes, almost all my muscles hurt, and I can't properly walk, and I suspect it will be much worse tomorrow once I stiffen up. I've already been stranded like an ailing beetle on the lawn, on my back with my legs in the air, and no possiblity whatsover of getting up.

But in better news, Rome hasn't fallen today, after falling twice yesterday...

Oh dear

Jul. 3rd, 2012 06:30 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Hair + scissors + a mirror + a whim = regret
ladyofastolat: (Default)
LOADS of bitey things around at the moment! I presume it's because the country has spent the last three months gradually turning itself into a swamp. Bitey things, midge mythology, bad things and naughty books )
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I managed to do pretty much nothing whatsoever during the four day weekend. I'd woken up with a sore throat the day before going to Malta, and contended with a cough and sore throat for most of the holiday. It wasn't enough to ruin things, but was enough to make me very unresilient during the holiday, liable to burst into tears is bus drivers were mean or waiters looked too confusingly foreign or I couldn't decide what pastry to have for breakfast. It all got a lot worse after I got home, and I managed an hour at work on Wednesday before the combined forces of my boss and the Big Boss took one look at me and ordered me home. And I've pretty much stayed on the couch from then until yesterday, apart from one ill-advised trip to Sainsbury's on Saturday, when just wheeling the trolley down an aisle left me breathless and wiped out.

I did watch the entire river pageant on... whatever day it was. (Bank Holidays are very confusing, especially those that overrun.) I spent the entire time being annoyed at the BBC, but sadly my ailing brain didn't manage to come to the conclusion that changing the channel might result in less grr and more content. I didn't bother with the concert, but watched the procession yesterday. I like processions when they involve prancy horses and soldiery people in pretty clothes and heralds in tabards, (though not when they involve blaring pop music and floats and bored-looking carnival princesses.) I briefly considered staggering down Cowes to see all the Cunard Queens assembled, before finding out that this would have required getting up at 3.30 a.m. I would have liked to have tracked down a beacon, but the local news sites really didn't want to tell us about them, and the national beacon site was down, and, well, perhaps it wouldn't have been the best idea, given the whole "lungs feeling as if I've inhaled half a dozen moulting cats" thing.

Apart from slumping on the couch watching the BBC be annoying, I spent four days doing very little. I did manage some writing, the first writing I've done for well over a year, although it was hard hard hard. I did quite a lot of cross-stitch while watching TV, having spent the last few months periodically picking it up, realising that all the next bits involve metallic blending filament, and going, "On second thoughts, maybe not." (I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE metallic blending filament!) We killed some zombie hordes, some enemy flag carriers and an eternal GM. And, um, that's about it. Where did the four days go? Can I have another Jubilee weekend, plz, though with better weather and fewer coughs?
ladyofastolat: (Default)
My big toes have been numb ever since Summerfest. I mentioned this to Pellinor on Friday, and he said that his big toes had been numb ever since Summerfest, too. Now, as Knight Commander, Pellinor was off bustling throughout Summerfest, doing important Knight Commanderly things and killing important monsters, so there were plenty of opportunities for him to be exposed to sinister numbtoe-causing spells. I, on the other hand, was just serving in the bar, and most of the important monsters never came within sight of me. However, at one point a white and scary lich was rampaging around the stone circle, which wasn't that far from the bar, so I'm guessing that he's the guilty party.

Last night, just before bedtime, I commented, amid much ow!ing, that one of my formerly numb toes had suddenly started to hurt, as if a needle was being driven repeatedly into it. Pellinor said that he had been on the point of complaining about sudden, recent pain in one of his formerly numb toes, too, although his was more like someone scouring the toe with a rough brush. It guess it's possible that this was a just time-influenced effect of the lich's spell, but I'm also looking for new causes. What did Pellinor and I both do yesterday evening, before the pain started? We played the Dreamcatcher module of Neverwinter Nights, and we intervened to pluck a deadiemouse from the cats' paws.

In the case of Pellinor, I suspect feline vengeance. After all, one cat has already been caught on camera attempting to eat Pellinor's effigy:

Photographic evidence )

Today my left big toe is tingling as if with pins and needles, but Pellinor's still asleep, so I can't compare these latest spell effects.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Our local Sainsburys is embiggening at the moment, and is full of posters telling us how wonderfully incredibly EXCITING the new shop is going to be once they've finished drilling and banging and wandering about the car park with troglodytes.* I'm trying desperately to work out what on earth they can be planning to do to turn a supermarket into a thing of such wonder and glory. I'm hoping for fairies at the till, and a whole aisle devoted to hover boards. Or maybe you can level up once you've found three rare items, and get given GOLD STARS at the checkout.

* Or theodolites, if you want to be boring. And correct.

I do, however, find one part of shopping rather exciting, and that's checking my receipt afterwards to see how much money I saved through careful use of multibuys. Under 10% is a cause for dismay; over 20% is cause for smugness and jubilitation. I got 40% in the M&S Food Hall today, thanks to their "Eat in for £10" offer. I also got two more ceramic pots for holding board game counters. Even better, they came with free creme brulee.

In other news, the end of my right index finger is all split and bleedy, thanks to a periodic skin complaint that I have, involving teeny blisters on my fingers, which clashed with some nettle stings and didn't react at all well to the competition. It's amazing how many things involve use of the right index fingertip. Like typing. Ow.


Aug. 8th, 2011 05:49 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I am still feeling like a sleep-deprived zombie after the holiday. I do wish my brain wasn't so stupid when it comes to sleep. Admittedly, most of my lack of sleep was caused by being far too hot during the night, which was partly caused by the weather and lack of openable windows, but mostly was my own fault, since I know full well that I can't sleep if I eat late, but still eagerly stuffed myself with seconds and thirds hours after my normal dinner time. However, it wasn't helped by my inability to lie-in in the morning. I always wake up between 6.30 and 7, but if I can stumble to the toilet and back again without properly opening my eyes, I'm usually able to fall asleep again and doze until at least 8. Unfortunately, this only works when I'm in a dark room with no background noise, which means that it hardly ever works when I'm on holiday or away for the weekend - which is precisely when I most need to be able to lie in, since I tend to go to bed later than normal.

The really annoying thing is that I'm completely capable of falling asleep in front of the TV - and did so several times last week - and have even managed to fall asleep on a beanbag during roleplaying sessions in broad daylight. Why, then, am I incapable of falling back to sleep in the morning if there's any light or noise, when neither light nor noise keep me from falling asleep when I don't actually want to? Grr!
ladyofastolat: (Ronon doh!)
It is definitely the summer for things breaking, and not being easily fixed. So far, we've had the boiler, which required three visits by baffled boiler men before it was fixed; the oven, which required three appointments with Oven Man before it got repaired in the very nick of time; the Sky box, which stopped working, only for the first replacement to stop working in exactly the same way mere minutes after being installed (this one particularly annoys me, since I lost all my saved Game of Thrones episodes); a tyre which got replaced, then popped again only weeks later; the windscreen wiper washer repair that ended up taking out the windscreen wiper completely... and now the washing machine. It finally gave up the ghost last weekend, having been obviously on the way out for a while, so we ordered a new one. I worked last night in order to get some lieu time to use up in waiting for the delivery today (some time between 7.09 and 11.09, the website said, in a rather baffling combination of vagueness and accuracy)... and it's arrived damaged. Fortunately, they've been very nice about it, and since the damage won't affect its funtionality, they've installed the machine anyway, so we can tackle the mountain of washing that's built up, but now we've got to arrange another delivery to get the undamaged replacement.

It's just as well I'm not superstitious, or I'd be anxiously awaiting the next one... (Though if people believe that things go in threes, and you're already over three, what's the next superstitious landmark, I wonder. The next multiple of 3? The next power of 3?)
ladyofastolat: (Default)
About a month ago, the boiler started emitting an almighty whine, very audible even outside the house. Boiler Man 1 came just before Easter, and decreed that it was a problem with the fan. Boiler Man 2 came a week ago and fitted a new fan, Pellinor having taken the day off work to let him and various other handymen in. As I approached the house after work, the whining was happening just as loudly as ever. "It's still whining!" I said as I got in. "Um... Oh! Oh yes, so it is!" said Pellinor in surprise, despite the fact that he'd spent the last few hours next to it. Today Boiler Man 3 came, spent two hours scratching his head, reading the manual and phoning experts, but he seems to have fixed it. Apparently the problem was technobabble technobabble technobabble.

Over a year ago, the shower over the bath became very stiff, so I could only turn it off by using one of those round plastic things they sell to help open jars, and sometimes couldn't turn it off at all. I've been using the shower cubicle in the en suite instead, but clearly the other one needed to be fixed. Shower Man came on the Day of the Handymen last week, and has now made it beautifully easy to turn off. However, when I tried to use it, I found that instead of producing a nicely warm shower at 5 on the dial, it produced a boily hot one at about 1.4 and upwards, and a freezy cold one at about 1.2 and under. Pellinor claims to be able to fix this, but no results yet.

A few months ago, the squirty water thing on the rear wiper of my car stopped working. When we took the car in for its MOT about a month ago, we asked them to fix this. They fixed it perfectly... but unfortunately in doing so they managed to disable to rear wiper, so any attempt to turn it one resulted in lovely jets of cleaning fluid, but nothing else. This finally got fixed on Saturday.

Today, about an hour after the boiler was finally fixed, I turned the over on. A few minutes later, it stopped working, taking computer, radio etc etc. with it. I prodded likely-looking switches on the box on the wall and got the power back, then prodded random buttons on the oven until it started working again. However, when I came to serve the dinner, I found that while it had spent the time roaring encouragingly, it hadn't actually been producing any heat. Which is kind of unhelpful in an oven, really.

Finally, the washing machine refused to start this morning, and merely sat there rotating its dial endlessly. I switched it off and on again, prodded it a bit, bribed it with a new washing powder tablet and finally got it to work, but I suspect it will die dramatically about an hour after we get the oven fixed. It seems to be the time for things to fail. The house clearly knows that we've got a dozen visitors coming at the Bank Holiday weekend, and is determined to make things hard for us.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I had my phone in my hand as I headed to the bathroom at bedtime last night, so I put it down on the cistern. "Hmm, perhaps I should move it somewhere more sensible," I thought, then dismissed this idea, telling myself, "It's not as if I'll be stupid enough to drop it down the toilet, or anything ridiculous like that."

I don't think I need tell you what I ended up doing this morning.

Now, my phone has always been prone to sending me very annoying cell broadcast messages, in which it informs me what dialing code area it is currently in. A few weeks ago, I finally managed to find a way to disable these. However, this morning, in the very second that it sank below the surface of its watery resting place, it chirped with an urgent message, telling me that it was in an area with a dialling code that I didn't recognise. When I plucked it out, it chirped again, telling me with great relief that it was back in the Isle of Wight.

There is only one explanation of this. These is a thriving civilisation of sewer creatures living down there, who have mastered modern technology sufficient to have their own dialling code. But what is their purpose? What other weapons do they use? Have they suborned my phone during that brief contact? When will they attack us, the dwellers of the surface? And in this epic battle, who will win?

Near miss

Jan. 9th, 2011 06:58 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I could have hit a child with my car today. I was driving home in twilight, doing 30 in a 30 limit, when I saw a boy on a scooter going very fast along a side road that went slightly downhill and joined my road at right angles. I put my foot on the brake, just in case he was going to do something stupid, which was just as well, because he just came straight out in front of me, heading across the road. I did an emergency stop, and stopped barely two feet away from him. He carried on across the road, apparently totally oblivious to my existence, leaving me shaking. If I hadn't braked in anticipation of him being an idiot, I would have hit him for sure.

Back when I first started learning how to drive, I remember my Dad telling me, "Always assume everyone else on the road is an idiot." This assumption has helped me avoid several crashes, but today's was perhaps the closest I've come to hitting someone. It was all rather scary.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I was walking past a hairdressers' the other day, and saw their prices prominently displayed in the window. The cheapest women's haircut was three times the price of the cheapest men's cut. Even the most expensive men's cut was more cheaper than the cheapest women's cut. I realise, of course, that most women have hairstyles that are more complicated and time consuming to produce than most men's hairstyles. However, some men have very fancy hairstyles, and some women have very simple ones. When I was a child, the hairdresser used to cut my hair dry. Then I became a teenager, and suddenly the hairdressers swore blind that it was impossible to cut hair without washing it first, then blowdrying it afterwards. My hair was the same, and the style was the same, but suddenly the hairdressers insisted on all these extra expensive stages. It all seems like a bit of a con.

It was especially annoying since the whole washing thing was riddled with awfulness. I hated the feel of all the extra horrid things they insisted on putting in my hair so much that I had to wash my hair as soon as I got home, to get rid of them. They always used shampoo that I was allergic to - despite me warning them - and then sneered in a disapproving fashion when they noticed that my scalp was all red and irritated. ("Do you use a cheap shampoo?" they'd say, dripping with disdain.) I was paying extra money to get a dose of superior sneering, a dash of allergic reaction, and a whole lot of annoyance.

Which is why I did something rather rash and drastic with scissors.

In other news, I've often chuckled at those lists that reveal how many people each year were hospitalised because of clothing-related accidents, and the like - injured by killer socks etc. Today I was almost one of them. I forgot to pack any skirts or trousers when going to a folk festival last year, so borrowed a skirt from someone else, and rushed out and bought the first trousers I found, which were three-quarter length, with a decorative cord around the hem of each leg, held there by being threaded through a series of little loops. It's always looked a bit traily and messy, but today it almost killed me. I was going downstairs, when the big toe of one foot got caught in the cord of the other leg. I would definitely have fallen headfirst downstairs were it not for the fact that I've got cats. I never used to grip the bannister when going downstairs at home, but too many near-misses involving thundering cats have taught me always to grip onto it for dear life.

The cords have now been removed. The cats have ritually killed them.

Apart from that, I've spent most of the weekend playing Assassin's Creed 2. I killed the pope today, but he was evil, so that's okay.


Jan. 17th, 2010 08:06 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I've been doing a cross-stitch on and off since the end of August. It's a big design, likely to take a couple of years to finish, but I've been proceeding nicely. Since it's a big design, the pattern is spread over four sheets (or, rather, two sheets printed on both sides, which makes it even harder to see the overall look of the thing), and when sewing, I'm focused only on the small part of the design visible within my embroidery ring. I've never really spread it out to see what it looks like overall.

Until today.

As soon as I looked at it, I could see that the design was badly off-centre. It's normal to start a cross-stitch in the centre, so most patterns I've used helpfully mark the centre with two bold lines. My latest pattern had two such lines, so I assumed that where they crossed was the centre, and started there.

What I realise now is that the lines merely marked the overlap - the part of the pattern that was repeated on another sheet. I was stupid, stupid, stupid to take it as marking the centre. But I did, and for five months I've been working from there, and the result is that my pattern won't fit on the fabric. (Well, actually, I think it probably will fit, but with such a tiny margin that I don't think it will be possible to frame it.) Nearly five months' of work wasted. Waaah!
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Oh dear... The house has been suffering lately from the lack of free weekends, the fact that Pellinor came back from Summerfest with an entire lorry full of stuff, all of which exploded about the house, and, well... from general laziness. I'm now trying to tackle it by doing about 15 minutes a day, in the hope that I will turn around suddenly one day and realise that I live in a shining model of perfection. I felt bad enough when I realised quite how many palimpsests of candlewax there were on the ridiculous number of candlesticks (note to self: candlesticks in the form of dragons complete with textured scales might look nice in the shop, but they need to resisted. Removing wax from said scales is an impossibility.) However, it was when I moved the curled-in end of the dining room curtain that I was confronted with the most stark evidence of how long had passed since I last did such a thing:


I expect I have failed somehow.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
For the first time in years, I remembered to ask the nice lady in Sainsbury's if I could use my Nectar points to take money off my shopping. This meant that I bought a week's shopping without handing over a penny. *smug* I thought, as I returned to the car. *Smug. Triumph. Smug. Smug. Smug*

Then I got home and unpacked said shop, and found that I'd managed to buy totally the wrong food for tonight's curry, and have ended up with something full of peppers, which I don't like, and nuts, which I'm allergic to.

Oh well. It was nice basking in smugness and triumph for the space of the journey home.


Sep. 19th, 2009 07:43 am
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Oops. I seem to have been absent for over a week, so here's a quick summing up. Last weekend, I worked on the Saturday, struggled to dance at the Bestival on Sunday, and then pretty much collapsed onto the couch and didn't move much from it for two days. It was a cold that hit me hard, but seems to have passed on fast, since a week on, I'm still coughing a bit, but that's all. While off sick, I watched lots of costume dramas and Jane Austen adaptations, ate Magnums and chocolate buttons (those well-known medicinal things) and read a lot of books.

Books read )

I also finally remembered to watch Being Human, and liked it a lot. However, coming in on the penultimate episode of the repeat run of a series is spectactularly bad planning, even for me. (Most of the TV shows I've ended up obsessing over were ones I initially stumbled across by accident on what turned out to be the last episode before a six month gap.) And Peep Show returned last night, but I've not watched it yet; Pellinor finds it too embarrassing and has to hide under a cushion if I watch it when he's around, so I'll have to wait until he's safely away somewhere.

Last night I was listening to a double CD of skiffle, and noticed that many of the songs are about trains. My challenge for the day is to fit "The South-West Trains 11.30 from Southampton Airport Parkway to London Waterloo" into a catchy song.

And finally, last night I won the "zombie genocidiest" achievement in Left 4 Dead, for killing 53595 zombies. This clearly means that I play the game far too often. It's just a fun game to play together, and the authoring tools are out there, which means that there's a constant supply of new maps to play in. A few of these are excellent. One of them was a series of film-inspired nightmares, one of which was closely modelled on movie-version Moria. It was quite strange to be battling zombie hordes across the mines of Moria, but pretty cool, even though the bots kept falling to their doom from the bridge of Khazad Dum.


Aug. 6th, 2009 08:11 pm
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking tired)
Gah. Don't feel well. I'm fairly sure it's a cold, and nothing more sinister, but I'm supposed to be going off tomorrow evening to the Dartmoor folk festival, and a weekend in a tent is really not at all inviting even with "just" a cold. Oh well... I'll just have to see how I feel tomorrow...
ladyofastolat: (Default)
My Mum loves gardening. My Mum is never happier than when gardening. Presumebly she always hoped that I would inherit her interest. However, when I was a baby, my Mum also tried to get me interested in dogs, only to find that I was apparently incapable of even noticing the existence of dogs, but could spot even the tiniest cat at five hundred paces in the dark with my eyes shut, which probably didn't tend to augur well for my willingness to be swept up in parental enthusiasms.

Gardening woes )


Apr. 22nd, 2009 12:28 pm
ladyofastolat: (Boo)
Waah! I have pulped, browning banana all over the inside of my bag. Do not like! Am also hungry. A book has been marred by banana mush. My books do not get marred, ever. *glowers*
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Note to self: When packing for holiday, do not forget door key for getting home. This is somewhat important.

Failure to pack a key leads one to make an unscheduled time-killing trip into town to do some shopping, while waiting for the cat-feeding neighbour to return home (desperately hoping that he wasn't planning on staying out until midnight.) This leads to unexpected and accidental purchases in PC World and Game. Fortunately, the cat-feeding neighbour was home by the time we got back (narrowed saved from accidentally buying an XBox 360 by the fact that the shops closed at 4) and we are now home. "I nearly put the key through your letterbox this morning," he said.

It's all the tiling man's fault. He had Pellinor's key, and he also arrived just as we were leaving last Friday, which is why we managed to go off with the only key we had left to us sitting nicely in the lock on inside of the door.

Tiles look nice, though.


May. 22nd, 2008 03:33 pm
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking tired)
I had strange pulsating multi-coloured zigzags shooting around the top left of my vision for half an hour, and now I have a bad headache and feel sick. Is this a migraine? I've never had one, so wouldn't recognise one if it leapt out at me and went Boo!, and my head hurts too much to look it up. (Am typing with eyes mostly shut.)

Off to bed.
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking squashed)
Ow! I had a slightly stiff neck yesterday. In the evening, I turned sharply to the right, and suddenly my neck became a very stiff neck (although the pain is now centred more on my shoulder blade and the top of my back than the neck.) I feel as if I had about one hour of sleep last night, though it was probably more in reality. I couldn't get comfortable, and moving hurt enough to wake me up. Ow! Ow! Ow!
ladyofastolat: (Ronon doh!)
Note to self: When one wakes up with a bad stiff neck, it is not a good idea to immediately hie oneself to the nearest pre-school and read From Head to Toe by Eric Carle to a bunch of eager 2 and 3 year olds.

"I am a penguin and I can turn my head. Can you do it? I can d...ow! I am a giraffe and I can bend my neck. Can you do it? I can... 't do it."

Thanks to those pesky penguins and giraffes, I now can't move my head at all along the forward/backward axis (which is unusual. I normally get stiff necks that affect the looking-from-side-to-side axis.) If I walk with my head held in a way that would delight deportment teachers, I'm okay. If I move in any other way, pain stabs through me and makes me feel quite sick.

I'd hoped to write tonight, but sitting at the computer hurts my neck, so instead I think it's a very vertical night on the couch. Sky is currently showing the top ten Atlantis episodes, as voted for by viewers, as a lead-up to season 4 starting next Tuesday. (Yay!) I'm enjoying trying to predict which episodes are going to be shown. Last night was 10 and 9, both of which were episodes I'd predicted would feature somewhere in the top ten. Tonight is 8 and 7. I also enjoy seeing how many seconds it takes me to identify an episode. (I also enjoy playing this game with re-runs of the X-Files. Despite sometimes not having seen an episode for ten years, it's surprising how quickly I can often identify it from a random ten second clip from half way through.)


Jul. 27th, 2007 02:29 am
ladyofastolat: (Default)
The phone keeps ringing. The caller is with-holding their number, and there's only static on the line when I answer, and then it hangs up. It's happened 4 times now, in 5 minutes. At 2.30 in the morning.

The worst thing is that Pellinor is away. He was dancing in Portsmouth tonight, so rather than come home late, and then go out again tomorrow morning, he's staying there, so I can pick him up tomorrow morning en route to our festival.

The only other time I've ever been woken in the middle of the night by an inexplicable phonecall, Pellinor was also away. That time it was an unknown mobile number, and I got half an hour of vague background noise left on my BT Answer service.

Phone calls in the night are scary, especially when you're all alone, and have an over-active imagination that can clearly envisage awful disasters out of any scenario.

EDIT: 9 a.m. I've finally spoken to Pellinor, so my mind is set at rest. I know that repeated calls from a with-held number doesn't really support the scenario of a Pellinor left for dead in the gutter by a rampaging mob, enraged by the sight of a lone Morris dancer walking to his hotel in the middle of Portsmouth at midnight, but at 2.30 in the morning my brain is perfectly capable of making such a thing plausible.


Jun. 26th, 2007 05:30 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
We were supposed to be dancing at a festival this weekend, but the River Severn has decided to take up residence on the festival site, so the whole thing is cancelled. I'm rather relieved, actually. For future reference, I do not recommend coming home from holiday at 10 on the Sunday, and going to work the next day - especially when you're starting off with a meeting on the mainland. I got home from my meeting yesterday at 3.30, and took the rest of the day as leave, but I really needed the whole day off.

Now I'm trying to decide whether to cancel the Friday and Monday I'd booked as leave for the festival, or take them anyway. A 4 day weekend is tempting, and I've got 4 and half days of leave still unbooked, so if I cancel these two days, I'll probably just end up having to take odd days in December just to get through it. But the cautious part of me is wondering what unexpected things might come up in the autumn, and whether I would come to bitterly regret having taken two unnecessary days in June. Ah, decisions, decisions...

EDIT: Unrelated question, and slightly icky: If you take two ibuprofen at 5.10, because of a killer headache, and are then sick at 5.40, because of the same killer headache, are you likely to have lost the tablets? In other words, do you need to take more tablets to replace the ones you took earlier, or do you have to wait the requisite number of hours before you can take another dose?
ladyofastolat: (unbowed)
Happy summer!

The plan was to post a happy May Day song at 4 a.m. ("We were up long before the day-o!"), then post pictures of the sun a-rising when I got back at 7. However, since I'm ill, I tossed and turned sleeplessly until 2, got up and pottered on the computer for a bit, then went back to bed. I'd just begun to feel dozy, when a suspicious noise led me to an Adventure with a Mouse (that had an as-yet-unresolved cliffhanger ending.) Still awake at 4, when Pellinor went out. Still awake at 5. Still awake at 5.45. But 6.45 came quickly, and I clearly remember being at Kentwell and then at a folk festival on a canal, so I must have finally slept. Can't skive off work; got to give a lecture to a group of childcare students. Wish I could. Skive, that is.

It's particularly vexing because the sun really did rise today, after years of rain, mist, fog or haze. And there was more singing than normal. Pellinor skipped the group breakfast since he has to get to work early, so at least he couldn't do bacon-related gloating. The sun-related gloating would be bad enough, except that he's also adding in moon-related gloating, too.

I'm too tired to do a proper folklore post. Suffice it to say that there's a lot of it around. Folklore, that is.

Pellinor's scant two pictures taken on the last dying breath of the camera battery )

Happy summer, all! (Although, this year, we feel that some imposters have been plying their wares round these here parts. As everyone knows, the summer only happens because the noble Morris men get up at dawn and heroically dance to bring in the sunshine. If they didn't dance, then where would be be? However, since it's been summer for around six weeks, we can only conclude that some pretend Morris dancers came along and conned the sunshine into thinking that March 21st was the traditional start of summer, did a dance, and fled.)

Oh, grr!

Feb. 13th, 2007 02:52 am
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking squashed)
Definitely ill. Not able to sleep yet due to shivery coldness, very sore throat and ear ache. I've got up in an attempt to distract myself while soluable aspirin takes effect. The cats have taken this to mean that breakfast is imminent. It isn't.

Amused earlier today (yesterday) when a teacher requested a box of books on "television through the ages." Still trying to come up with witty ideas for programmes Stone Age man, Iron Age man, Dark Age man etc. would watch. No-one else at work found it funny, though. Wondering how old an age is.

Feet hurt worse than ever. Did dance practice in bare feet, which was okay, but tripped over one of Pellinor's feet of exteme exuberance, and now have bruises to add to blisters.

Supposed to be murdering people all week, but might have to delegate unless feel better soon.

Tired. Sleep in the last 72 hours probably not yet in double figures.


Feb. 11th, 2007 07:18 pm
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking squashed)
My socks are stuck to my feet with the dried blood of burst blisters. I know I've got to take them off eventually, but I don't want to! I'm cringing in anticipation of the pain.

A three hour journey by car and boat is not good the day after drinking far too much mead. :-(


ladyofastolat: (Default)

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