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18 September 2017 @ 04:09 pm
After going home sick at lunchtime*, my day has been greatly improved by the first photo of David Tennant and Michael Sheen as Crowley and Aziraphale in the forthcoming TV adaptation of Good Omens.

I definitely approve. Crowley's a bit different from the book, but the faint miasma of desperation exuding from the aging would-be rocker works for me. As for Aziraphale, for the people complaining that it looks exaggerated, that's mild compared to some of the horrors you get round Oxford**. The appalling cut of the trousers is a particularly fine touch, and I like the 'cherub gone to seed' of the fluffy blond hair.

*To the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody: Is this the real flu? Is it just virus-y? Crap immune system, no escape from things disease-y.

**The pale mustard broad wale corduroy suit remains a low point.

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02 September 2017 @ 09:16 am
First day of the holiday, no milk, run out of bread. I could throw some clothes on and dash to the supermarket. Or, I could have cake for breakfast. Cake it is!

I am going on holiday on Monday, and as packing inevitably expands to take up all the time available, I am not packing until tomorrow. I am also hoping that the weather will get better, because I am supposed to be going hiking in western Austria and today it is pouring with rain and 9C. Apparently my run of summer holidays with guaranteed good weather is at an end... Naturally last week it was mid-20s temperatures and sunny. But at least I have some new walking trousers as well as a new hat and there will be fresh air and mountains, even if the fresh air might be a bit damp. I shall read books and eat food cooked by other people, and inevitably not do any writing.

But now I had better get up and re-apply the waterproofing to my jacket.

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I have a new time-sink, and its name is Geoguessr. This ' web-based geographic discovery game' (Wikipedia) involves being plonked down anywhere in the world that Google Street View has been* and having to guess where you are and mark you location on a map of the world. You can (usually) navigate along the streets**, you can read (most) road signs, but not things that Google has blurred (occasionally road signs), and most of all you can look about you and wonder where you might be.

It's a lot of fun, and depending on how much you care about finding where exactly you are in any given round of five places, potentially a major waste of time. Playing alone, I am inclined to set a max of 5 minutes per location, sometimes less when I think "This is the middle of a desert/forest with nothing for several hundred miles, I feel strangely confident that I know which continent we're on, so I'm just going to click somewhere plausible in Australia/Russia", a technique that can get you surprisingly close at times for not just random reasons. It's fascinating to see the places that you go, but I also find the process of guessing is itself interesting. The combination of personal experience of a place, general knowledge, random osmosis, and the kind of hunch that has you going 'That looks like Hungary' despite having a decidedly limited acquaintance with Hungary. Place names on road signs are great - well, major place names, the ones for tiny villages in Siberia are less useful - but nothing beats the screen opening and just somehow knowing that you're in Norway.*** And if you don't know where you are, there are vast numbers of clues, natural and artificial. Skies, clouds, vegetation, season, the local people, crops, domestic architecture, economic situation, anything being advertised, things not being advertised. Sometimes you can just tell, thanks to that one school geography lesson that taught you about Brasilia, sometimes you haven't got a clue. It is often infuriating, and still a lot of fun.

*South America would have a lot more competition in the 'Where on earth is this beyond South America?' stakes if they had done more of Africa or any of China yet.

**Except when you find yourself plonked down in a random field, and Indian temple, or a German kitchen shop.

*** Except for being on a street you used to walk down between the pub and the Cambridge railway station.

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20 August 2017 @ 07:41 pm
I would have paid a chauffeur to drive me the hundred miles to Chichester to see Fiddler on the Roof yesterday*. As I'm not, I had to do it myself. Fortunately the strong reviews of the production didn't let me down and it was excellent. Omid Djalili was terrific as Tevye, Tracy-Ann Oberman moved Golde beyond cliché, and the younger generation could all sing, act, and dance, the first of which is regrettably not always guaranteed in musicals. The production/direction did an excellent job of conveying not only entertaining song and dance, but a story of some weight, and I ended up finding it very moving. I have seen it before, but about 25 years ago so I couldn't say which I thought was better. But I remember scenes from that West Yorkshire Playhouse that struck me then, and I'm sure I'll continue to remember this. I'm tempted to read the original stories it's based on for a comparison.

Have the trailer:

*I am aware that there are countries, indeed parts of the UK, where I'd be lucky to drive only 100 miles to the theatre, but this involved the M3 on a summer school holiday Saturday.

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16 August 2017 @ 12:00 am
Has anyone ever handwashed Liberty Burwood wool/silk? I am very, very tempted by some for a top - I saw the print a few years ago in a Brora dress, but had never seen it for sale as fabric and now I've found it - but it would be pointless if it had to be dry cleaned. I'm willing to wash quite a lot of allegedly 'dry clean only' wool and silk, but there are limits.

I might just buy it anyway, wash the leftovers to see what happens, and put up with dry cleaning if it's the only option. But I'd like not to have to.

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15 August 2017 @ 07:52 am
The Good Omens TV adaptation cast has been announced. It's not Youngest Sister and my fancast of David Thewlis and Paul Bettany, but we'll take it: Michael Sheen as Aziraphale and David Tennant as Crowley. Roll on 2018 (but not the Apocalypse).

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My parents arrive at some point this afternoon, exactly when dependent on whether the weather in Harrogate this morning is nice enough for them to want to hang around for a few hours before heading south. I hope so, as in three days I have done a lot of things, but little of the things I needed (housework) or wanted (writing and sewing) to do before their arrival. It's very good that I've finally started clearing out the chest of drawers and that I've purchased a shower curtain, but perhaps they might have waited until next weekend. I see a morning of shoving paper haphazardly in drawers (undoing the work of the weekend) while listening to Radio 3 ahead.

ETA: And that other question for the ages, where on earth is my Oystercard? And why is the underground so eye-wateringly expensive without one?

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05 August 2017 @ 09:19 am
As is my wont I am looking obsessively at the weather forecast for where I shall be going on holiday in a month's time, in this case St Anton am Arlberg and St Gallen. www.yr.no, the Norwegian weather service which appears to have weather forecasts for everywhere in the world, accurately (at least when I've been there) and in English*, is forecasting 4C max next Thursday and Friday. I think that on this occasion I'm going to assume they're very, very wrong**.

Anyway, it won't be my problem because for once I have booked myself a week off in Oxford and on Wednesday I am going to be in London for the athletics.

*Also Bokmål (Norwegian), Nynorsk (Norwegian with even more terrifying spelling), Kvääni (Kven), and Davvisámegiella (Northern Sami).

**That said, Bergfex has 12/11C listed, so not as wrong as I'd hope if it were my holiday next week.

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02 August 2017 @ 08:24 pm
I appear to have committed fic.

The Edinburgh MA and his Rampant Highland Warrior
Chapters: 2
Fandom: The Comfortable Courtesan
Rating: T
Warnings: CNTW
Characters: Mr MacD-, Lord G- R-
Summary: ...an expression that suggested that the serious, civilised, free-thinking Edinburgh MA had long dreamed of being forced to serve the carnal lusts of a wild Highlander.

Following the discovery of Lady Bexbury's memoirs, scholars are forced to revise their interpretation of Alexander MacDonald's "Highland fragment".


Readers of Madame C-'s memoirs may recognise the inspiration of this scene.

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28 July 2017 @ 07:54 am
A walking holiday type of hat for my forthcoming (September) walking holiday*. After years of not really adequate hats and failing to find anything in the outdoor shops of Edinburgh last week, I watched the BBC's Spingwatch-with-bears on Sunday and realised that one of the hats worn by a presenter would be perfect for me, and now I have this hat in khaki, as far as I can see the last size M in the country. It fits! It is functional! It actually suits me!

This is particular pleasing as the only other hat I'd found so far that looked as if it might suit me was ruled out on account of (a) being in Women's Mountain Fuchsia colour, and (b) having a swastika on it... I don't think it's just me. In those colours the logo really does give that impression, at least enough for me not to want to wear it.

*Switzerland and "eastern Switzerland" i.e. western Austria, because sterling is even worse against the Swiss Franc than the Euro and it's not far from Zurich airport.

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