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13 October 2019 @ 11:16 am
OK, I admit, I can see how, if you got it absolutely right, then shortening lined curtains from the top by moving the header tape would be an efficient way to go about it. And if I were shortening these curtains to hang e.g. 5 inches below a window sill, but if it were 4 or 6 inches it wouldn't really matter, then I would do it.

But I am shortening them to hang* about 1cm above the carpet: there is no room for forgiveness. So I shall do it the safe albeit annoying way that lets me stop half-way, measure to ensure that it is absolutely right, and correct if necessary.

I shall not be doing the hemming by hand, though. The window plus door the track goes over is 3.5m wide...

*The internet also tells me that these days ones over-long curtains should drape upon on the carpet. Rubbish, that is just interior designers who can't be bothered to fit things properly.

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12 October 2019 @ 10:19 am
Eliud Kipchoge has run a marathon distance in under two hours. It isn't an official world record because it doesn't meet the formal conditions*, but that isn't the important part. As with records of this type, the crucial thing is showing it can be done. Kipchoge is himself the world record holder, it will be interesting to see what this means for his own world record condition races in future.

To run 26 miles 385 yards in 1 hour, 59 minutes, 40 seconds. Bloody hell.

I haven't yet found a clip of the finishing strait with English commentary, so here's the last minute or so courtesy of NRK.

*The world record must be set in open competition. Also, official races don't include, among other things, a car projecting a laser beam at the road so you know what pace you need.

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17 September 2019 @ 08:15 pm
I've been there. You've been there. Maybe not in every case, but we know what it's like. You tell your Dad that you've nearly finished tidying your room. You tell your Mum that you cleaned your teeth. You tell your teacher that you did your homework, you just forgot it. You tell your University lecturer that your draft essay is nearly ready. You tell your boss that you've really got a grip on this project and all you need to do now is write it up.

And then you manage it or you don't. But you don't bloody do it with the future of the country. And you don't keep it up when you've been caught, at least when you're over five.

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I was not in fact procrastinating when I went out at 9:45am to clean the car windscreen. I was in fact forcing myself not to procrastinate by doing an essential job I had vowed to do today, and which seemed nicer to my neighbours than hoovering at that time on a Sunday. I would hoover next.

It wasn't my fault that the amazing netted sponge thing* worked so well that it actually made me want to wash the rest of the car (also much needed, I usually rely on the rain) and that reminded me that there were some paint chips I needed to deal with, and so I did that, and lets just say that I didn't get round to the hoovering until much later. But I did eventually do some writing mid-afternoon, so that's worth something.

What I rather wish I had got round to sooner though I didn't procrastinate on it at all is a course of antibiotics for the sinus infection that it turns out I have had since at least mid-August. 12 hours was all it took from the first tablet in the evening for me to wake without a headache for the first time in three weeks, and that despite the fact I had picked up a new cold. Aargh! Must remember next time...

*£1 from Halfolds. Seriously the best £1 I've spent in a while. I am feeling very middle-aged just now.

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So now Jo Johnson's resigned, though somewhat vaguely and not actually from the Whip. Managed to dig out a grain of conscience somewhere in the back of his skull, perhaps.

I suppose it makes a change from being constantly interrupted by email or phone calls.

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03 September 2019 @ 07:12 pm
To think that I should live to see the day that I should be grateful for that repulsive human being Nicholas Soames - NICHOLAS SOAMES!!!!! - choosing to do the decent thing.

British politics at the moment is beyond surreal. Not least that we are pausing Brexit for 10 minutes to listen to a speech about trees.

I would like to make a detailed analysis of what is going on at the moment, but honestly I cannot. I am beyond furious. Brexit is no longer the primary matter confronting parliament - the antidemocratic Prime Minister's willingness to abuse the constitution is. Sturgeon called him "no better than a tin-pot dictator" and she's right. He is fundamentally mendacious, arrogant, boorish, a man who has lied and lied throughout his career, with no plans but self-interest and self-aggrandisement. He uses language of incitement, talking about MPs as "collaborators", about "surrendering" to the EU, in a context in which an MP was murdered by a political extremist. He calls Jeremy Corbyn and parties and MPs opposed to no deal a "junta" when he has himself outraged the constitution.

One hope is that it turns out that Johnson's also not very good at PMQs. He debates as if he were in an Eton common room egged on by his palls, needing adulation as an audience for his bluster and bullshit. No wonder he avoided the leadership TV debate. He resorts to threats that only further alienate those he depends upon for his now vanished majority, he flounders in the face of people not going along with his script. He is, as I have said, fundamentally dishonest, but even in his fantasy scenario of the EU wavering on the backstop he can't guarantee that even his hardline Brexiteer colleagues would vote for it. Though since he has brought forward zero ideas to the EU whilst lying that he is getting closer to a deal it seems he is unlikely to achieve one. His assurance that he wouldn't change a general election date isn't worth the unicorn shit it's written on.

Boris Johnson's career is an indictment of the fundamental institutions of the British establishment. I think I'll leave it at that.

ETA: If Jacob Rees Mogg was attempting to persuade the Tory rebels that they should vote with the government, that was a masterclass in how not to do it. And Corbyn, Blackford and Swinson are resisting the election lure. Let Johnson stew publicly in his own fuck up for a while yet.

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07 August 2019 @ 08:01 pm
In the past two days I have by coincidence watched and read two contrasting pieces on ethics and the refusal of medical treatment. One moving, the other horrifying.

The first, was the documentary The Conjoined Twins: An Impossible Decision, a programme considerably more nuanced than its title, although the second part of the title was also proved very much true. This followed a father, medical team, and hospital ethics committee as they considered the right course of action in the case of conjoined twins Marieme and Ndeye. It was clear that everyone involved really cared, and ultimately, that there was no simple decision available, but that there was more than one right one. The girls' father, Ibrahima Ndiaye, was, no doubt like many parents if they were in that position, opposed to separation given that it would doom one of the children before she would otherwise 'naturally' die; the medical team felt that if he wanted it, it would have been ethically acceptable to operate, but that not to operate was also an ethical choice given the medical evidence, and that the case for separation* couldn’t be considered strong enough that there would be any justification for the courts to override parental wish. One of the things that I felt the programme did well was show that with the benefits of the fact that parents are now much more involved and consulted in children’s medical care than they once were, this comes with its own pressures and downsides, of needing to feel you have made the right decision not only ‘now’, but in the future. It was a good example of a lot of people working together to try to find a place that was inevitably going to be sad, but in which it was understood that everything had been considered, everyone had been heard, and people's interests honestly considered.

In contrast, if you wanted a demonstration of why the courts should be able to require medical treatment of a child against a parent’s will, you couldn’t find a more powerful example than this Long Read in the Guardian, although this details the decision of an adult rather than a decision on behalf of a child.

Cut for the rant, and some brief mentions of unpleasant medical detail. Read more...Collapse )

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06 August 2019 @ 06:57 am
A reliable sign that I am having sinus issues is that instead of sleeping on my back I wake up pressing my face into the mattress.

Dreaming that you're being repeatedly hit in the face with a shovel is also a clue.

(It's not that bad and I'm off to work as usual, though I may leave early.)

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01 August 2019 @ 07:57 am
You know that sort of money-saving tip that can only come from someone who is both very rich and very stupid? Well, the Guardian has given me a new one:

She suggests making sure the seam allowance on a pair of trousers or a skirt is enough to allow you to let them out and the hem is such that you could make the garment longer if you need to. She also advises checking that shirts have a spare button sewn in so if one falls off, you have a replacement.

In reverse order...

- Spare button - yes. Though most important is to know where you put it.
- Altering hem length - can be useful. Though realistically this is something one does upon purchase or never, because the occasions on which you randomly need to make a garment 1 - 2" longer on a whim are limited, but a lot of skirts and trousers do have sufficient hem to allow for lengthening.(Radically shorter, I will concede, can be a fashion choice at any point.)
- Seam allowance on a skirt or trousers that is enough for you to let it out - no. No, no, absolutely no. Has this woman bought a mainstream commercially-produced garment in the past thirty years? The clothes she is telling people to buy simply don't exist. Seam allowances are narrow and serged. The only inch for a tailor to find is the inch that the tailor put there when they made your suit for you personally.

I am all for not treating clothes as single-use disposable items, for the benefits of keeping things in good condition so that they last longer. I can sew, I mend, I wash things carefully, I don't buy stuff I can tell is going to fall apart rapidly. But if you want the general population to look after its clothes, then probably your first piece of advice should not be to buy garments made-to-measure.

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The experience of preparing to get things done at work in order to be ready to go holiday rendering one in desperate need of a holiday. OK, I admit it would have helped if I had done the thing I spent all morning on a month or so a go, but there are reasons I didn't, namely that there were other extremely urgent things to do and I didn't have a spare day for this. Which is now both urgent and overdue.

Meanwhile I continue to fail to buy new walking shoes, which means I shall have to do even the easy walking in my leather boots, which are comfortable, but a bit over the top on some occasionas, and also the weather is looking a bit mixed. Of my travails with the Swiss railway ticket booking website, I shall not speak.

And finally, Good Omens fandom, I beseech you, can we call a halt to the every more tortuous attempts to come up with a cutesy name for Armageddon not having happened? It was funny the first couple of times, it has long since joined the sort of things that belong in an office party in Hell.

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