dead brains don't dance

beyond the last visible dog

May. 22nd, 2011

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04:48 pm - Does this thing still work?

I'm aching in bits I didn't realise I had.

I blame the flies.

We've been infested with fruitflies for days now, and part of one causal chain is that our compost bin (modo redux) was in the back yard just a couple of metres away from the French windows. Didn't matter much last year, as the French windows weren't, and the back door that isn't any more didn't get left open, but now the little fuckers swarmed outside and straight inside whenever the doors were opened.

Something had to be done, and logistically that could only be modo relocation to the back of the yard by the bike tent.

This position is right in front of the (ancient, disintegrating) back fence, and our back neighbour, who put up a nice new fence behind ours last year, is happy to share theirs with us; seemed sensible, then, to tear down that part at least of our old fence before shifting the compost. However, between the yard proper and the line of our old fence was a remnant of the old stepped border: whoever slabbed the yard, decades ago, didn't want to split slabs and filled in the gap round one side and the back with slabs embedded deep in the ground but standing maybe 15cm proud, with their outside gap filled with hardcore topped with concrete. Most of that's gone, opened up and filled with soil at the side, and opened right up by a slab width (the bordering slabs moved out) for ¾ of the back. That last job was done, poorly, by my tenant while we were down Brissle way, with the side border slabs extending into the new back bed, and the slabs closing the bed on the other side being too short.

So, my plan was to take up the redundant back slabs, concrete cap, and hardcore; reassign vertical slabbing so everything actually fits; use the remaining bits of vertical slab horizontally to fill in the gap opened between our yard and our neighbour's fence; and (finally) move the compost bin and its throbbing contents to their new location on the newly laid slabbing.

It's all done now, and I've used muscles in the process that haven't been fired up, probably, since I dug the pnod in our old back garden 6 or 7 years ago. Extracting concrete slabs embedded 20cm in the ground armed only with a crowbar and a trowel, and with no real possibility to dig down beside, took a deal of doing. A fair deal. Particularly the one with a BFO rose bush growing right over it.

Tearing down the remainder of the old fence can await another day.

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Current Music yks kaks yks yks yks kaks
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Mar. 9th, 2011

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09:00 am - There's a lot of it about

In March 2011 I live and work in this house on Belvoir Street in Hull with [personal profile] ramtops and five cats.

In March 2001 I lived in Long Ashton, just outside Bristol, coming up to two years after [personal profile] ramtops and I got married, with IIRC fournine¹ cats, two of whom (Iggy and Mustrum) are here with us now. Complaining. The other two are living with Mac's daughter in Norwich now.

In March 1991 I lived in a house on Duesbery Street in Hull with my then partner Julia and our daughter Rhiannon.

In March 1981 I was living in a friend's flat in Ash Grove, Hull. We, along with our friend Chris, were filling in census forms under the influence of Albert Hoffman and on behalf of one Eric Pode of Croydon.

In March 1971 I was living with my parents in Worthing. The less said about that the better.

¹ Mac corrected me on this one - I lose track of time too easily! Sadly, the five I thought arrived after the 2001 census are all gone now: of the Yorkshire Three, Molly is (I hope) still alive and in total control of her current home, but Zool and Aliss are dead. As is Pepper and, we can only assume, PoD who vanished one day, never to return.

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Feb. 14th, 2011

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03:33 pm - Reorbiting Venus into a near Earth-like orbit

I'm not at all sure what happened to 2010. Or, indeed January 2011.

So, very belatedly, here's what I read last year 35 booksCollapse ) and, likewise, watched 54 films or suchlikeCollapse )
There, that was exciting wasn't it?

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Feb. 12th, 2011

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09:05 pm - Just posting on the off chance I'm still alive

StaithesA good day. We mooched up to Northallerton through the drizzle to pick up our new old ex-eBay Neff single oven, combi oven and cooker hood, stopping at a Little Thief for a grease infusion, then across the moors as the sky cleared and winter sun shone to Staithes. A lovely place, particularly if one chooses not to notice more than in passing its suffering from the sadly inevitable cancer of holiday homes. I might even have some photos worth uploading; will look later [ETA link to photos!]. Cup of tea and CAKE! (of a rather nice coconut, lime and ginger varietal) at the caff at the top the hill, before driving across to Malton for some veg and flowers, and bacon, pasties and a pair of late-Saturday-bogof pies from Overton's.

Home now, with a car still full of kitchen gear waiting for us to have a kitchen for it to live in. With the French windows in, all we need is the kitchen door bricking, the doorway into the house opening up, plastering, new ring and sockets, gas moving, fridge (finally) being plumbed in, oh and deciding who we're actually going to get the kitchen from, and having no kitchen at all while it's rebuilt. How hard can it be?

Still, after a fine quick dinner tonight (tub of coriander chicken from the freezer, cooked potatoes from the fridge fried in turmeric+ginger+paprika+allspice+crushed chili+asafœtida+pepper+salt, and basmati rice) and a packet of Bahlsen's choccie! bikkits that seems to have evaporated between us, with tea in front of the fire: my aspirations in life may be modest, but the upside is that I can and do achieve them. My life here in Hull with [personal profile] ramtops and the cats is actually pretty damned good.

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Nov. 16th, 2010

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09:09 am - Ch ch ch changes (baaa return)

OK, it's a memepost, but natf inspired me to see if my responses have changed over time; I've run this test a couple of times before.

quality time101111
physical touch1099
words of affirmation345
acts of service643
receiving of gifts122

Leaving aside that the actual questions may well have been changed over the last six years, it's actually vaguely interesting (to me at least :) that while most parameters have stayed pretty much the same, I've had a steady increase in valuing verbal reassurance balanced by a corresponding dismissal of anything actually being done for me. Still don't need anything giving to me though :)


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Nov. 3rd, 2010

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04:05 pm - Suomi

This time last week, I was burying my mother.

five days in FinlandCollapse )

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Sep. 20th, 2010

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10:26 pm - Trans-temporal feedback

25 years on, I've finally read Walking on Glass and found it actually very good indeed; people may complain about its lack of a linear narrative, but here we get three; Interleaved, intersecting and ultimately connected in as pleasingly ambiguous and open-ended a way as anyone could wish. A narrative structure that Trish Sullivan has used in several of her books (also to very fine results), allowing me to make here a suitably arbitrary connection to mention that she is giving away a copy of her latest novel, Lightborn to a randomly chosen commenter to this post. So get yourself there and post a comment; meet her half way, you might just win the draw.

Now to make a start on Ilario; I may be some time.

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Sep. 13th, 2010

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05:34 pm - wordless

We're making much use of the library these days: lack of space for more bookshelves; lack of money; increasing unlikelihood of re-reading before croaking. Mind, having just returned from the local branch and added Anathem to the current contents of my immediate to-read shelf (Ilario and Matter), there's a fair chance I'll be gone before finishing the current lot. Particularly if they fall on me.

That's not my point, though: I've been using the heap'o'shite that is the online library system hereabouts - "Powered by SirsiDynix" as though the perps are in some way proud of it; I could fart better code, but I digress again - searching occasionally for OOP old friends I've lost to other old friends along the way, with mixed success. The system covers all of what used to be called Humberside, so Hull, the East Riding and North Lincs now, and I would've expected a reasonable chance of finding anything not completely obscure.

Why is it then, that the entire region possesses not a single copy of anything written by John Brunner? And precisely two (a paper copy of Parable of the Talents, an audiobook of Parable of the Sower) by Octavia Butler? I'm tempted to put orders in for some of those (too few) from each still in print, but I guess that in these modern days of spiritual poverty and celebrated ignorance, the library service's straitened circumstances would just mean that other worthwhile books would be disposed of instead.

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Jun. 25th, 2010

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12:26 pm - Lea Anna Liisa Jordan, née Kettunen

Born 14th September 1921
Died 25th June 2010

A rare post, for a singular event.

My sister, Helena, has just let us know that our mother died this morning. She'd been in a nursing home for years, since her Alzheimer's reached the stage where, despite her desires and intentions, she could no longer live safely in the home she'd lived in just a few months longer than I'd been alive: I was conceived in Helsinki and reached these shores in her womb the summer before I was born.

She was a fiercely independent woman who, I think, never fully reconciled herself to moving from her teaching career (and working for Yleisradio in the Helsinki Olympics) in Finland to 50's housewifeness in England, a move engineered by my father's parents, with his acquiescence, to have their "little Billy" living in a newbuild suburban bungalow next door to their newbuild suburban bungalow (and not swanning off around the world on FO business). Still, she survived the transition, survived that first dreadful English winter in an uninsulated English house, and even survived my father (both him living, which to say the least wasn't easy, and his death in 1988).

She, more than anyone else, crafted who I grew up as, and the core of me that shapes who I am today. This was by no means unambiguously good, of course, and we came into much conflict once I started creating a sense of independence from her, an identity of my own, but still, even that conflict and pain was predicated on (yes, her desire to live vicariously through me) her love for me.

Good memories: Helping her make Christmas pulla, tortut, gingerbread; her teaching me to ride a bicycle; going on long walks together; her taking me to nestle by the kitchen fire in the night when I had a cough and giving me sugar cubes soaked in brandy to suck; New Year ritual of melting tin (kept safe round the year) on the fire, pouring ladlefuls into cold water, and trying to predict the future from the shapes formed and their shadows cast; singing Hoosianna, Daavidin poika and Hei! Tonttu-ukot hyppikää on Pikku Joulu, Little Christmas, on the first day of Advent; long political and social discussions in the kitchen; many, many more.

Go well, Äitini. Given a choice, you would have gone years ago, when you lost your autonomy; given a choice you would be buried at sea, an option not easily open to us. Still, we will say goodbye, and say thank you, and will remember you until we too end.

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Current Mood slightly battered, still resolving feelings
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Apr. 16th, 2010

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02:16 pm - That debate thang

Anybody else on as the thing ran last night notice how, maybe 10 minutes after the "best on the economy" poll appeared, Labour's %age started increasing, and at such a rate that the bar moved visibly on the screen, shifting from majority LD to majority Labour? Presuming the total number of votes was non-trivial, this would mean that an awful lot of people, who hadn't bothered to vote hitherto, suddenly decided they felt strongly enough to vote, simultaneously, and all for one party/leader.

Curious, really.

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