ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
We were away last week, in a strange and bitty week with lots of travelling, much of which was spent with various relatives. Despite frequent reminders to myself ("must charge my camera before I go," followed by, "oh dear. Oh well... Must remember to pack the charger so I can charge it when I'm there") I managed to go away with a camera that claimed to be Very Ill Indeed, and sighed long-sufferingly whenever I asked it to take a picture. I retired it after the first day, and subsisted for the rest of the week (mostly spend in places we may well visit again one day) on a diet of no photos, photos on my phone (rather rubbish, and not helped by the fact that I kept forgetting to charge that, as well), phones on Pellinor's phone (even more rubbish than mine, I think) and Pellinor's Mum's phone, wielded by Pellinor's mum. I pulled it out for one last hurrah when we reached Lincoln, and got a few more pictures out of it before it keeled over limply, and lay there blaming me for my cruelty in driving it to this dire state of affairs.

I'll get around to wrangling all the phone photos one day, but here are some pictures that I managed to persuade my grumpy camera to take for me in Snowshill Manor on the Monday.

This was the day when people first started turning to each other and saying, "Wow, it finally feels almost like spring!" (By Wednesday of this week, we were full in Summer territory, and today we seem to be already hurrying into autumn, judging from the wrapped-up nature of the people walking past the window at work.) My Mum spent most of the day marvelling at their audacity in daring to Go Somewhere on a Bank Holiday Monday, rather than cowering inside in fear of the rampant swarm of humanity expected to descend on the Cotswolds. "It was actually quite nice!" she said, in amazement. "We sat outside! On a Bank Holiday! In a National Trust place! But I did wear a coat," she added, lest she be thought too daring.

Snowshill Manor, plus tadpoles )
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
I posted a few months ago about the concealed Brie that Pellinor's Mum securely hid for us into a soup-making gift set that she sent to us. Last night, I decided to make the soup. The instructions told me to tip the entire 500g sachet into a pan, add 2 pints of boiling water and a stock cube, and simmer until done, adding additional water if needed.

Well, to cut a long story short, the end result, even with 2 pints of additional water, was not soup. I reckon you could slice it, bake it in a kiln, and make houses out of it, that not even the most determined wolf could huff-and-puff down.

It also looked, to my taste, supremely unappetising. The "soup mix" consisted of nothing but lentils, barley and peas, with nothing at all to add thickness or flavour. So basically I ended up with an absolutely enormous solid mass of boiled pulses and grains, and that's it. Sadly, it tasted overwhelmingly of overcooked peas, a taste I find very unpleasant. Even with extra water, I knew I wouldn't want to eat it as soup, so I didn't persist.

I hate wasting food, so we debated for while on possible uses. Add a scoop to each stew made? However, last weekend was a Cooking Weekend, and the freezer is therefore full of 12 dinners' worth of various stews, with no new ones to be made for several weeks. I was very tempted to make a Soup Monster out of it - like a snowman, but more fierce, with raisin eyes and orange peel teeth, but the barley didn't stick together quite well enough to allow ears and claws to be formed. Therefore I have tipped it in a big heap in the lawn, to let the local blackbirds, gulls, cats and foxes feast on it. Or not. I will monitor their reactions to this feast with interest.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I abseiled off a tree yesterday. I didn't mean to do it, but wine had been flowing freely on the Friday night, when the sign-up list was being passed round. Pellinor signed up for it, and he's afraid of heights, which he claims are the haunts of that notorious trickster, Gravity, who lurks there, desperately trying to entice people to fall to their doom, so I reasoned - as much as one can reason - that if he could do it, so could I. When morning dawned, I saw the height of the tree, and spent the next few hours whimpering and eeking and repeatedly resolving to back out. Nevertheless, I somehow ended up finding myself halfway up a tree. The climbing was definitely the worst part, since the metal staples that were the foot and hand-holds were too far apart for me. Once at the top, leaning backwards over the edge wasn't quite as bad as I feared it would be, since the support given by the rope felt so very strong and stable that it felt almost like sitting on a nice solid chair. Still, I was very relieved to get down again, and have no intention of doing it again. The climbing part, anyway; I suppose it's conceivable that I might consider doing the abseiling part again, if I could have some nice normal stairs to get to the top.

Then, in the evening, flush with sense of achievement and daring firsts, I ate some blue cheese for the first time; the smell and the general ickiness of the concept has always deterred me in the past. In fact, I daringly tried every cheese on the cheeseboard, although I did admit at the end that I was just "meh" about all the others, but actively loved the ordinary "boring" Cheddar. Also the cranberry and caramelised onion chutney. Yum.

We also did archery, where I came about 4th or 5th. I should have done better, but I kept aiming high, since the only other times I've used a bow in the last 20 years have been using LARP-safe arrows, with enormous foam heads which want to go nowhere other than straight down.
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
Just got back from a short trip away - two days staying with my parents in the north of the Cotswolds, then hopping a mere 11 miles or so into Worcestershire for the Evesham Morris weekend. Although it was so close to where I was brought up, Evesham didn't feel at all like home. Home means rolling hills and Cotswold stone, not flat plains full of asparagus, and red brick houses.

Still, it was all very enjoyable. With my parents, the theme of the trip was apparently historic houses that remain largely as they were in the 16th century, due to having impoverished Catholic owners. We did Chastleton House on Thursday, and Coughton Court on Friday, both of which were pretty and interesting. However, Coughton Court lied to us, since it promised us free strawberries and cream, and then merely gave us a free strawberry mousse.

My parents had been going to give me the old VIC-20, complete with the dazzling array of intricate games that its massive 3K of memory allow it to run, but there wasn't room for it in the car, because of all the camping stuff. We did play a few games while there, though, and will get it one day.

Friday night involved more drink than it ought to have done, so I spent most of yesterday feeling very weary - not ill, just tired. We had a boat trip on the Avon, then a coach tour around various pubs. I perked up a bit in the evening, and enjoyed a ceilidh that was enlivened by some very enthusiastic 10 year old boys, who danced together with more energy than accuracy, and caused havoc wherever they went. Today started with a duck race, but sadly my duck failed to do my proud, even though I was up all night tenderly feeding it oats and grooming its feather. Then there were various processions, dance performances and the like, then home.

Things that amused me:
- The advertising banners for "supernatural ice cream."
- The house that every tour group of Morris dancers had to walk past. Its name? Mock Morris. If it did, though, it was not in a language I could understand.
- The field of sheep with a notice proclaiming "BAA access to river."

A few pics )


Jul. 7th, 2009 04:42 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
I'm somewhat incommunicado at the moment, as a result of having a matched pair of three year olds living in my computer room, so the various LJ posts I've been writing in my head will have to wait. (Not that I've been writing that many in my head, since my new car can play Bellowhead CDs, but I have at least some, about books and things, and, oh, did I ever get round to mentioning the Spinal Tap concert, or... or....) But, anyway, in lieu of any sort of proper content, here are two typos that amused me today:

On some fancy-looking shower gel: "Rub smoothly onto your kin"

On some official-looking thingy: "Children who skip school are more likely to commit ant-social behaviour."
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Conversation with my mother:

Me: Pellinor's off bar-running
Mum (entirely serious, but puzzled): Is that jousting on foot?

I think this says more about Pellinor - about the things I normally tell her he's busy doing - than about my mother. He's got a date with a neighbour to put up new fence panels (once the neighbour recovers from cracked ribs.) I'm looking forward to telling her "Pellinor's out fencing," just to see if she thinks fences, swords, or stolen goods.

And, totally unrelated: There's Thomas the Tank Engine fanfic on! What next? Angst-ridden Very Hungry Caterpillar fanfic in which he deals with self-loathing and his eating problem? A torrid slashy cross-species romance between the bear in "We're going on a bear hunt" and the dad of the family hunting him?
ladyofastolat: (fathom the bowl)
And, because Christmas is not just about breaking cars... We had a good few days with my parents, in W'combe (ancient capital of Merica, best small town in the whole world etc. etc. - I am consitutionally bound to say these things at all times, on pain of disinheritance.) An aunt always spends Christmas there, too, along with her invisible cat.

Christmas )
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Our dead car is still in our drive. I suspect it will remain there for a while, before any work can be done, while the insurance people thrash things out. We might be able to get a courtesy car to take us to the mainland this weekend, but might not.

Insurance troubles )

Wangled tebs )
ladyofastolat: (Bagpuss yawning)
Firstly, thanks to everyone who wished me happy birthday on Thursday. I wasn't being rude and ignoring you; I just wasn't here.

Reading too much )

Me, aged 9 )

No cakes! )

Old maps, and furtive smuggling of Armenian brandy )

Good food )


Nov. 22nd, 2006 09:13 am
ladyofastolat: (Gaygoyle)
Hm. I think my trip to my parents' is slightly doomed. Last week, I found out that my Mum had forgotten that we were coming. Or, rather, that she'd remembered, but thought we were just popping in for a few hours while breaking a journey, rather than staying for two days. Last night I found out that my Dad has been ill in bed since Sunday (high temperature and aching limbs... which he started suffering from a week after spurning the offer of a flu injection.) A neighbour's possessions are strewn over our bed, the new television has broken after only five days, and the local bell-ringers are coming round to practice tomorrow afternoon.

This afternoon I need to take the car over the the Mainland myself, and loiter outside Pellinor's workplace until he finishes. Given past precedent, I will be doing much loitering. We then have to track down an eating place en route to my parents. A quick web search suggests the nice-looking pubs I've noticed en route seem to require booking in advance, so it might have to be sandwiches in a layby on the A34 again, or else gambling that a Wednesday night in November is hardly likely to be full.

My Dad's internet access is guarded by passwords and a seven-headed dog, so it generally proves simpler not even to ask. So, in that case, goodbye all, until Sunday. Or goodbye all, from mid-afternoon today. And goodbye some of you, until Friday night, at which point it will be hello, and... On second thought, it was simpler not even to start this. I am going. Goodbye. *puts on Ring*.


Dec. 27th, 2005 05:49 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Back from three days on the Mainland. We were darkly promised snow and horrendous driving conditions today, but got none at all.

Christmas walk: We did not see The Llama that was Promised, but did see two kingfishers, a close-up kestrel, and a rook so huge that we tried to tell ourselves if was a raven, but deep down knew it probably wasn't.

Christmas games: Puerto Rico was very complex, addictive and grr-some, and great fun. We did a Call My Bluff sort of game, which I suspect would be more fun with people with less knowledge of Latin and Greek roots. We also had fun trying to knock down small multi-cultural dolls with a ballista. Despite 50 percent of the five people present being Scottish, the Scotsman was the most popular target. I wonder why...

Christmas quizzes: This was our worst year yet at the King William College quiz in the Guardian. I find it less addictive to hunt down answers in books when I know I could get what I wanted on the Internet, if I was at home. But it's less fun doing a quiz on the Internet, so the result is that I don't do them as much.

Christmas presents: For the second year running, it was small and silly presents all round. I got my Mum a pocket-sized zen garden, since I knew she'd hate it, and it's great fun watching her get all outraged. We got Bagpuss and Clangers videos. Shame we no longer have a video recorder to watch them on.

Christmas TV: The TV never once got put on. We're watching Doctor Who after dinner tonight.

Christmas books: We both did 1000 questions in a book called "Are you a geek?" I am a geek, but Pellinor is geekier, thanks to a geekier childhood, and to being more willing to say annoying, facetious, pedantic things out loud. We then talked for hours about bias in the questions, unfair points systems etc., before realising that by doing so we were probably earning ourselves lots more geek points.


Sep. 19th, 2005 12:10 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Quick notes while waiting to leave for a course in Warwick...

Nice few days with my parents:
- We saw a distant dot that a nice RSPB lady told us was an osprey. She found it suspiciously quickly. I suspect it was stuffed and she had planted it.
- We saw the Flying Dutchman. Honest! (Well, we saw a sailing ship, whose masts and sails looked the same colour as the mist, gliding along past a wiggly estuary in a way that made it look as if it was hovering above the water. Honestly, it looked so like a ghost ship, I realised instantly why such legends grew up.)
- We learnt that cats can catch the same mouse twice. In Honey's case, four times. No matter how well we hid the carcasse, it came back.
- I watched in amazement as my mum turned the patch of land outside out house from a wilderness to a pretty garden in three hours. What is that magic, and how can I learn it?
- We failed to find an intact skeleton of a dinosaur, despite going to the beach the the nice Fossil Man said was the best one for finding fossils. Honestly, it's just not on!
- We appeared in a "blink and you'll miss it" fashion on Blue Peter. For some reason, the editor had decided that the presenters were more worthy of screen time than Pellinor and me, dancing! Shocking!

Now I'm off to Coventry station on a nice Virgin train (i.e. a nice train with power sockets for laptops. Woo-hoo!) I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a nice modern conference facility, based at a university, will have internet access in each room. I mean, I can't go for two days with the Internet. It's a breach of my basic human rights!

EDIT: Got Internet access in my room. Got nothing to say, but am determined to say something anyway, just because I can. Train horribly late. Got horribly lost on university campus. Food lovely, though.


ladyofastolat: (Default)

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