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shewhomust

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At last! [Feb. 15th, 2019|09:47 pm]
shewhomust
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I know a bank


Where did I read recently that snowdrops are not the first flower of spring but the last flower of winter? I don't really believe that this is the end of winter, not yet, but the snowdrops were a cheering sight...

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
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Birthdays! and cocktails! where's the party? [Feb. 15th, 2019|01:40 pm]
shewhomust
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Over breakfast [personal profile] durham_rambler read me the highlights from Today's Birthdays in the Guardian. He always checks these, but it seems that February 15th is a particularly good day for cartoonists: Art Spiegelman is 71, Matt Groening is 65 and the Guardian's very own Martin Rowson is 60.

I couldn't find the Guardian listing online to link to, but On this Day confirms the first two, and since, unlike the Guardian, it doesn't restrict itself to the birthdays of the living, adds that it is also the birthday of Galileo, Michael Praetorius, Susan B. Anthony and Ernest Shackleton. And if that's not grounds for a party, I don't know what is.

Meanwhile, I was reading in yesterday's paper about micrococktails, but this is entirely unrelated, as nothing in the article would be welcome at any of my parties. For a start, the sugar-content is immense: the sweetness has been dialled down, says the article, over the last decade, but recommended mixes include Pernod absinthe, watermelon syrup and lemon juice; hot sake with gingerbread syrup; and a cocktail of mushroom vodka, maple syrup and chipotle – "Our interpretation of port," says the manager of the establishment where a small measure of this is served with the cheese course. I read this out loud to [personal profile] durham_rambler, and his response came out in unison with my comment: if you want port with your cheese course, why not serve port with your cheese course? (white port, in my case).

But we are old fogeys, and there are people on my f-list who are more cocktail-savvy than I am. So tell me, internets, are these drinks - err - drinkable? If a bartender offers you a shot from his bottle of Ferrari (half Fernet Branca, half Campari), do you feel like an insider, or do you suspect a wind-up? (I carry a little bottle of alicumpane...)

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
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Sniffing in the dark [Feb. 14th, 2019|08:30 pm]
shewhomust
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The cold continues, and I continue not swimming. I am also tending to nod off, mostly on the soda. Other than that, it isn't interfering unduly with life.

So on Tuesday we went to a talk (in the Gala cinema - the University is doing outreach) by Richard Gameson (Professor of the History of the Book) on New Light on Durham's Illuminated Manuscripts about a research project bringing together the departments of History and Chemistry to carry out non-invasive analysis of the pigments of medieval manuscripts. It was a fascinating talk, with many beautiful pictures and many delightful scraps of information (illustrative example: an illumination showing pigments being prepared and applied, with the explanation that the reason why you get your apprentice to grind up your pigments is that most of them are very toxic...) I wish I could give a coherent account of it, but I do not absorb information well by ear, some cold-induced drowsiness may have occurred and, to be fair, the structure of the talk may have been here's an old book! but this one is even older! and here's a pretty page! ooh, shiny! I asked [personal profile] durham_rambler on the way home whether I could have unferstood correctly that the project's secret weapon is a spectroscope reduced to portable components, and he thought that yes, he had got that impression. The project web page says "a unique, custom-built, fully mobile suite of equipment optimised for the study of manuscripts" so yes, apparently.

We came home and ate pizza and watched the first episode of Shetland, which involved more severed limbs than I am entirely comfortable with (and an interesting musical choice, at one point). Too soon to say what I think about all this.

Yesterday back to the Gala, the larger cinema this time, to see All is True: Kenneth Branagh directs and plays the lead as Shakespeare, returned to Stratford after the Globe Theatre has burned down. Judi Dench quietly steals the show as Anne Hathaway, Ian McKellen makes the most of a cameo as the Earl of Southampton. It says something about what kind of film this is, and what it expects of its audience, that in this short scene sonnet 29 is recited in full twice, first by Branagh, then by McKellen. If you like that sort of thing, then this is the sort of thing you will like.

Like Upstart Crow, which I have not been watching, it is scripted by Ben Elton. I wanted to like Upstart Crow, because Shakespeare, David Mitchell, these are recommendations, but I watched the first ten minutes of the first episode and did not want any more. Now I picture Ben Elton, researching and writing his comedy anc having all sorts of thoughts about Shakespeare which didn't fit into that show - wrong length, wrong shape, wrong mood, or maybe just not enough room - and finding a home for them in All is True. It's very episodic, and in as far as the different set pieces are linked by an actual plot (people have secrets; women have thoughts) this was less than the sum of its parts.

It is gorgeous to look at. Dorney Court plays the part of New Place beautifully (though it is too small, according to The Telegraph). Shakespeare in retirement takes up gardening, which provides a useful amount of stage business. But it also justifies plenty of autumnal landscapes, and if the garden is wilder and less formal than a prosperous Jacobean house would expect, well, that's why the master has taken up gardening. I was a bit suspicious of some of the more colourful fall foliage (can those really be maples?) but it was all very pleasing to the eye.

Walking home after the pob quiz, [personal profile] durham_rambler wondered what [personal profile] nineweaving would think about it. I hope we shall find out.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
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Snuffle, snuffle [Feb. 12th, 2019|10:27 am]
shewhomust
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When I started sneezing last night, I blamed the black pepper I had been grinding onto the salad; chicory and orange salad benefits from lots of black pepper, which makes me sneeze (I don't know why - it never used to, but now it does) but it's worth it.

But the sneezing went on all evening. And then my nose began to run. So it looks as if I have a cold.

It's the first one of the winter, so I can't complain. But I won't be swimming this afternoon.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
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A virtual excursion [Feb. 10th, 2019|08:38 pm]
shewhomust
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We aren't getting out much at the moment, because reasons, so I'm indulging myself with a post left over from last summer, in Norfolk, and some of the pictures I didn't post at the time. This one, though, may look familiar:

Blakeney town sign


because I've posted before about Blakeney's village sign. But where else could I start a stroll around the village?

Random pictures of BlakeneyCollapse )

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
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Bad news from the market [Feb. 9th, 2019|08:17 pm]
shewhomust
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Shopping this morning in town - that is, in Durham City rather than at an out-of-town supermarket. We try to keep the big supermarket visits down to one a month, but it's getting harder and harder to buy everything I want in town.

I may have been muttering about this before we left the house this morning, but what brought on this post was finding that Mother Earth - the wholefood stall at the back of the covered market - had put up a sign: closing down, February 23rd. While I bought my cannelini beans and black peppercorns, we talked to the stallholder about this: business just isn't good enough for him to keep going. The students who make up 50% of the population don't buy from him, and he struggled to find a polite way to say "the average age of my customers just keeps going up." I wasn't insulted: my average age just keeps going up.

The Market Place was particularly empty today, because the gusty winds had kept away all but the most hardcore stallholders. But even on a good day, the market isn't what it was. The couple who used to sell pies now have a shop in Sedgefield, instead of doing the markets; I still miss Marks & Spencer, and not just because we always met friends there.

And now I'm going to have to find a new source for my rice and beans and spices. There's some overlap with the Gateway (Fair Trade) shop in St Nic's, but I'm already thinking about my shopping list for next Saturday. Never mind stocking up for Brexit, this is serious!

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
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A breath of damp air [Feb. 8th, 2019|08:31 pm]
shewhomust
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I didn't absolutely have to go out this morning. It was raining, and I could have put together today's meals from what was in the house.

But I've been promising myself to get out more. And I wanted to buy some fruit and veg. And to see how the snowdrops are coming along.

So I went out.

There are snowdrops fully open in one of the front gardens down the hill, but the ones in St Margaret's churchyard are tight little spearheads still. Masses of them, and it won't be long. I was glad I'd taken the (longer, slippery) path through the churchyard, but I wasn't sorry I'd decided against bringing my camera.

I visited Sainsbury's and the greengrocer (blood oranges!) and a good half dozen charity shops in between. I bought a nice clean hardback of The Once and Future King, of which, mysteriously, I seem not to have a copy (although looking at the shelf where it might be, I see that I was right to pass on the Morte d'Arthur) and some handkerchiefs for [personal profile] durham_rambler (because I have been throwing away the tattiest of his collection as they appear in the ironing pile).

It's a small achievement, but I'm disproportionately pleased with myself.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
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Where did she go? Out. [Feb. 4th, 2019|09:47 pm]
shewhomust
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The Graphic Novels Reading Group I attend is not as other reading groups, as I explained when our theme was 'Comics of the Ancient World'.

And now we have moved on to something completely different: Space Opera! Whatever that may be...Collapse )

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
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Howl's Moving Picture Gallery [Feb. 4th, 2019|02:35 pm]
shewhomust
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[personal profile] durham_rambler sent me a link to this gallery in the Guardian. The Folio Society, in a clever piece of self-promotion, is holding a competition to choose who will illustrate its forthcoming edition of Howl's Moving Castle, and these are the finalists. I'm not at all sure that I approve of this entire enterprise, but there are some very pleasing pictures here. And how often do you get a gallery of DWJ fan-art in the Guardian?

ETA: [personal profile] fjm e-mails to point out a fuller selection, and how to vote.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
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The hunting of the alternative arrangements [Feb. 4th, 2019|09:59 am]
shewhomust
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Today's news is that the government has set up a working group to track down that elusive solution to the Irish border problem. I think I know what their methodology will be:
[They] may seek it with thimbles - and seek it with care;
[They] may hunt it with forks and hope;
[They] may threaten its life with a railway-share;
[They] may charm it with smiles and soap -

but none of this will help them if it turns out - as I fear it may - to be a Boojum.

There's more:Collapse )

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
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