Saturday, April 11, 2015

the marathon des sables again

71 year old Sir Ranulph Fiennes finished the Marathon des Sables...

He described that penultimate day's walk as "more hellish than Hell". I suppose this means I can't complain about the one night we spent sleeping out on the trip... 

It was great though, the whole thing, including sleeping out (the teepees were quite nice really, and the barbecue was delicious), despite the blisters, which everyone got but only Sherlock complained of. Note to Mycroft and Greg: there is such a thing as being too stoic. Then again, Sherlock probably complained enough for everyone - well, perhaps complained isn't the right word, so much as discussed. There was more interest than whinging, and he wanted to show everyone the huge one on his heel. And why don't dogs get blisters? Well, he probably wouldn't either if he walked everywhere barefoot. He wanted to try. It didn't last long. 

The wall was...really something. It looks fairly ordinary, but the more you walk along it and think about how long it's been there, what's happened since it was built, the more it has a sense of presence, almost like a living thing. Or at least a collection of human experience contained in stone.  

We're home now. I always feel a bit strange coming home from a trip, like part of me's stayed behind. It's always a transition. Trying to catch up to my normal life again. Doing the laundry usually sorts it out, but I still feel a bit absent today, and it wasn't for lack of laundry (believe me, there was a lot). I'd like to go back there at some point. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

holidays

We'll have Mycroft and Anthea and the slobber twins (that's unfair, they don't actually slobber that much) home this Saturday for a good long while. We're thinking of going up to walk along some of Hadrian's Wall, although perhaps with more B&Bs than camping. Sherlock says it's not that cold, and he's right, it's not that cold, but he's young and has bones made of rubber (medical fact, trust me, I'm a doctor) that won't set up immovably from sleeping in the cold on the ground. Also he doesn't care about the availability of beer and warm food, whereas L and I care a great deal.

So there's that. L's head is much better, thanks everyone for your concern. I did my best to keep him in one place for five minutes and get him to rest a bit. Or, as he puts it, chained him to the sofa and weighed him down with a cat. She does get amazingly heavy when she doesn't want you to move, but the dogs would've been more effective. Next time...

Mycroft sent us a photo the other day of Anthea dressed all in black with the hounds on either side of her in an early morning mist. It's no wonder she makes all the boys there a bit nervous. It's probably good for them (and I feel fairly certain she enjoys it). I'm trying to save her some of L's dragon biscuits, but it's hard going. By which I mean I really want to eat them. He could probably make more, right?

Things have been mostly quiet, but at work a few days ago I did end up treating bite wounds in someone's house who had a massive salt water fish tank and an octopus named Dog who supposedly once ate a severed finger. I never got the full story, but I can only assume that the people who live in that house lead far more exciting lives than we do - I knew there had to be someone out there who did. And you see, Sherlock? This is why (among so many other reasons) we can't have an enormous aquarium the size of a small room. I don't want an octopus eating my severed finger. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

ever green

We've been back for a while, but things have been, as usual, slightly intense around here so I'm just getting pictures from the trip up now. Think I'm getting a cold as well. Unusually good timing for it, since Mycroft will go back to school tomorrow evening and Sherlock will be back to school on Monday. I'll try not to give them a virus to take back with them. 

At any rate, here is the very green bathroom: 



The place we were staying:



Our future residence, I mean, a houseboat: 



Distant seals, easier to see than to photograph:



Sitting room with jigsaw puzzle: 



Not pictured: madly squeaking bed or L in fits of laughter due to squeaking bed. I almost wish I'd recorded the sound, but at the same time am very glad I didn't because I know L would find...opportunities...to play it. When I'm least expecting it. 

And now I need to go and listen to Sherlock tell me about Alnwick Poison Garden and why we should go there immediately. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

glitter and chickens

Here's a completely insane and dangerous race that we wouldn't have to actually run... It's 5600 miles through South America. You can do it on motorcycles if you want to. What do you think, Greg? (I already know what you think, Sherlock.) (Mycroft is a mystery to me on this score. Sometimes he thinks we're all mad and then I'll find him and Sherlock planning a rafting trip on the Amazon together with maps and flight schedules.)

Greg was talking in the comments of the other post about moving out somewhere we could have goats and alpacas (why alpacas?) eventually, and I said what about chickens, and I was thinking of the ones that lay blue eggs, but when I went looking for a picture of them, I found this...


...which is a Silkie and does not lay blue eggs, but just look at it. I'm not entirely sure it's not an internet hoax, to be honest, but I want one. Several. 

Unrelatedly, I feel like many of you may have heard of this, but... shipyourenemiesglitter.com

Does just what it says, and the FAQ is amazing. 

Q. Is this for real?
A. Yes, you fucking idiot. We spent too much time, money & resources putting this shit hole of a website up to not get paid for it.

Thanks to Sherlock, I have an unfortunately intimate knowledge of glitter, and I'm not sure I hate anyone this much, but if I did... 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

and a happy new year

Well...the holidays have gone by for another year. We have a fresh start, insomuch as anyone ever does with the weight of our lives trailing out behind us. Sherlock and Mycroft are still with their mum, L has gone to work, and the dogs are looking pitifully up at me as if they haven't been walked for weeks when in fact I took them out just an hour ago. But they're booooooored, can't I see they're boooooored? And when will Mycroft be home? And why doesn't Maf want to play?

Maf doesn't want to play so much that she has installed herself on the mantle and is looking down on everyone with her tail twitching back and forth like a pendulum. Occasionally one of the dogs comes to stare sadly up at her and she fluffs up her tail and takes a half hearted swipe at his nose.

Although it's no longer the season for Christmas jumpers, I am wearing the one that my husband lovingly/mockingly purchased for me. I think it's very nice, and if he didn't want me to wear it all winter (although possibly not out of the house), he probably shouldn't have bought it for me, right? 



Also, one of Sherlock's presents arrived late, yesterday before the boys left, and he said I should put up a picture of it, so here it is. An antique human tooth from a collection being sold off. He was very pleased with it. 




I hope you are all equally pleased with your holidays, and a happy new year to you all!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

gingerbread army

The flat has been taken over by gingerbread people, which I keep mistyping as fingerbread people. There are no fingers in them. Probably. It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas, though I'm not quite sure if Sherlock's commercial zeal is in line with the spirit of the season... Then again, going by the shops and the ads on television and everyone at work grumbling about how this toy their child absolutely has to have costs, I suppose it is.

Do you remember Furbies (Furbys)? Are they still around? I knew someone who claimed he'd had one confiscated because he took it to a meeting and it started repeating classified information. No explanation of why he took it to the meeting, or in fact of why he had it at all. Shockingly, this wasn't Murray.

Murray has broken up with his tennis-mad girlfriend, by the way, and would like you all to know that he's gloriously single again, although if the way he was moping around here eating Mrs H's biscuits is any indication, gloriously is not the right word. I only met her twice, but she seemed nice.

At any rate, he's coming for Christmas dinner, and so is Harry, and so is Clara, and so is Harry's new girlfriend, whom I haven't met yet. I imagine that will be interesting.

Lastly, have this link to dead bee art, which Sherlock showed me earlier. It's meant to draw attention to the number of bees being killed by pesticides. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

to stache or not to stache

Carla and Paul sent me this... 


Amazing, isn't it? Greg insists it's a fake (the picture as well as the moustache, which is clearly fake). I've put it up on the fridge to point at every time he comments on my moustache, which is not nearly that bad. And it's nearly over! I'll shave at the end of the month. The way he goes on about it, you'd think I intended to keep it forever.

Sherlock, incidentally, wants to keep it forever - or at least long enough to do some sort of experiment on. With trepidation, I've said he can and said no to having him use tape or wax to rip it off all at once and maintain the shape. So I'll be shaving into a box...or something. And then keeping a very close eye on him.

People at work have been very good about donating, but I do get a lot of comments like "Can I pay to get it removed sooner?" and honestly, you'd think it was some sort of massive wobbly caterpillar eternally crawling across my upper lip. I told L that last night and he looked at me with such horror it made the whole month worthwhile. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

close enough for horseshoes


That is a picture of horseshoe crabs being drained of 30% of their blood (which the article says is 'not usually fatal'). Sherlock read this to me and then asked me a number of questions I couldn't answer, including 'Why does our blood use iron and theirs uses copper and how can I make mine use copper so that it's blue?' If you would also like to turn your blood blue, I'm sorry, I can't help you.

The barber (this was while we were both getting our hair cut) wanted to know what would make Spock's blood green. I couldn't help him either. Maybe that's why I've ended up with a haircut that makes me look like a deranged squirrel. Sherlock speculated nickle, or a different sort of iron. (His hair looks fine.)

Greg laughed when he came home and then kissed me and then laughed some more and asked if I wanted curry, so it must be bad. Still, curry.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

tomorrow tomorrow

Tomorrow is race day. If you never hear from us again, assume we are still plodding along the track, hours or even days after everyone else has finished. If nothing else, I expect this to cure me entirely of ever wanting to do the Marathon des Sables. But maybe a full marathon next year if this works out without major agony or injury. One that doesn't take place in a desert with sandstorms and no roads and dehydration.

On a completely different subject, classical music. Sherlock's school has been showing them this thing. If you don't live here, I'm not sure that will play for you, so here's a youtube thing about it:




It's aimed at making classical music more accessible to children, which is nice, but I'm not completely convinced that the way they're going about it is...useful? Or possibly I'm just too old to appreciate it. Sherlock likes the music and hates the rest of it, as you might expect. He says they don't need to make it exciting, it's already exciting, people just need to listen properly (for accuracy, imagine those last two words in all caps).

Sometimes I wonder if the weight we put on classical music, classic literature, etc is really a good thing. Isn't art meant to speak to us as we are now? Not that there's anything wrong with the classics, but the assumption seems to be that they're better than what people are making now, and I'm not sure that's true.

Anyway, wish us luck tomorrow! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

under the artificial sea

There is almost too much to cover about Sherlock's birthday trip, but the aquarium was a bit hit. Have some pictures. Here is a queen angelfish to start with...


And Sherlock's favourite, the sawfish...



Some very nice jellyfish...


And some...things. You'll have to ask Sherlock about these as I can't remember what they are. 


Since we got back, Sherlock has drawn a design for a ceiling aquarium that would contain sawfish, so they could swim above him while he sleeps. He dragged someone up here from security who used to work in demolitions and consulted her about load bearing walls and weight tolerances. She says she thinks it might work.

Obviously, he's not getting a ceiling aquarium, but I am slightly nostalgic for the days when I could tell him the ceiling would probably collapse and he'd just believe me instead of calling in an expert. He's baking her biscuits as a thank you. Ten years from now I imagine he'll rule half of London and live in a house made of glass and fish and glitter.

Oh, and one more thing...


I know just how he feels. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

happy birthday sherlock!

Well...we've had cake, we've had sushi, we've had experimental cake sushi made by Sherlock (cake bits flattened out and rolled around icing). And I had a shock this morning when Sherlock walked into our room, announced that was NINE and that in JUST FOUR YEARS he would be a teenager. Then he said he was old enough to make his own breakfast and walked out again.

L and I stared at each other for a little while, three quarters asleep, and then got up to go after him in case he decided he was old enough to cook bacon and burn the kitchen down. When we got to the kitchen, he told us with great scorn that he was just making toast, god, and said it so exactly the way Carla does that neither of us could help laughing.

Sorry, Sherlock. You are old enough to make toast, certainly, and for many other things, and you seem to be getting more grown up every day. It's a joy to have you in our lives. Happy birthday! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

tall ships

You've heard a bit about the trip on L's blog, but here are some pictures...






There was also a bit where kids could put on a climbing harness and climb rigging...which Sherlock loved, as you might imagine. Although he did argue about the climbing harness for about five minutes before he agreed to put it on, on the grounds that he wouldn't have had to if he'd gone to sea a few centuries ago and he'd have been in battles and everything and he bet there were pirates somewhere in the world right now that would let him climb things without a harness, which he didn't need, at all.

I told him that poem-- All I need is a tall ship and a star to steer her by -- and he decided John Masefield was obviously a pirate. Nothing I said could convince him otherwise. Are you sensing a theme?

L and Mycroft and I have heard the word pirate so many times since that day that I think it's lost all meaning for us. Piratepiratepirate. He was so quiet in his room after school yesterday that I went up to check and was shocked to find him doing his homework and not, as I had suspected, making pirate hats for the degus. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

the wedding

I seem to have ended up mostly with pictures of the food, which I'm sure won't surprise any of you. The amount of cheese was... Well, this is only a fraction of it. 


The dessert, a sort of Eton mess type thing:


Post-ceremony ice cream...


Sherlock was very excited about the swords, about getting to hold one, about them cutting the cake with one...pretty sure the swords were his favourite bit. Or the number of people around who were prepared to have mock pirate battles with him using sticks or forks or in one case pieces of cheese. 

There was also a bouncy castle, which we did not get kicked out of. I really thought we might, but honestly there were more adults than kids in it. If you define 'adult' purely in terms of age. It was Spence's idea. I'm not at all surprised. Even Mycroft went in with us for a bit. 

I think both he and Sherlock danced more than we did. There were a number of girls around Mycroft's age who asked him, and Sherlock asked...nearly everyone I think? And danced by himself when no partner was forthcoming. 

And now...it's our anniversary. Seems like quite a nice way to spend it, and I admit I'm very glad L got home in time. No anniversary is ideal when spent apart, but particularly the first one - that didn't seem quite fair. Life isn't, of course, but as Sherlock says: well it should be!

Monday, August 18, 2014

depressing poetry and the garden

Believe It
Joshua Mehigan

Hard to believe that, after all of it,
in bed for good now, knowing you haven’t done
one thing of any lasting benefit
or grasped how to be happy, or had fun,
you must surrender everything and pass
into a new condition that is not
night, or a country, or sleep, or peace,
but nothing, ever, anymore, for you.

... I almost feel like I should apologize for posting that one. Not the most cheerful thing in the world. But it really struck me.

Anyhow. Allotment pictures. The squash is growing. Slowly. The blossoms this year  keep being eaten by something. This is the first one that's made it past the blooming stage, and I feel like I ought to surround it with a small barbwire fence.


And these, finally, are the red Thai beans that Sherlock is so excited about. They're not as long as they're supposed to get, but they're already longer than my hand. And a lovely color, don't you think?



Finally, mulberries. Found while we were out walking. L, is there anything you want to cook with them when you get back, or shall we just piggishly eat them out of hand?


I'm missing my husband already, quite a bit. Sherlock managed to give me the silent treatment this morning for all of an hour for not letting him go with Greg to Ascension Island. Then he gave up in favor of explaining the elaborate cake we were going to bake for his return. He wants it to be shaped like a topographic map of the island...with glitter. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

paris, mainly in the rain

Paris! I actually only have pictures of the Eiffel Tower right now...and to be honest most of the photos we've taken have been of ourselves making ridiculous faces in front of various monuments to send to the boys. Got one back from Mycroft standing solemnly in front of the shop where he works holding an ice cream just out of Sherlock's reach. 

We climbed all of the Eiffel Tower that you can climb... 


I'm quite glad you can't climb all of it. This is from the second tier:

And from the third...


I think we did better than we would have before we started the half marathon training though. Today...rain. Hiding in a church from the raining. Getting briefly naked together as we changed clothes in a church in the rain... And Giverny, very briefly, in between the rain. We'll be home in time for dinner! Probably. Unless we get washed away.

Yesterday, among other things, we did this...


You can see ours a bit to the left of the pink ones. Hopefully it'll be there for many years to come, but part of the Ponte des Artes collapsed earlier this year under the weight, so who knows... 

The other things we did yesterday included a lot of walking and talking and eating, all of which we do at home, but it's different. I've been to Paris before and honestly not liked it all that much - not that I disliked it, but compared to other places it seemed a bit grey. Being here with L makes it seem like an entirely different city. I really can't describe how lovely this trip has been. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

short

Greg's birthday is this week. Wednesday, in fact. I'm reminding him of this because he might want to take some time off. In case he gets a surprise trip somewhere. I'm just saying, it's not out of the realm of possibility. I thought about making it more surprising than this, but I think the destination will be enough.

The boys are going to stay with their mum, or, at least Sherlock is. Mycroft is insisting that he's old enough to stay here on his own. Which I think is fair enough, but that's ultimately his mum's decision, so I'll let them fight it out. It'd certainly be easier for him to get to work from here than from her place.

That's about it from me, except to say that I still have blackberry stains under my fingernails from picking them with Sherlock the other day. They may be permanent.

And I'm adding this in because L just showed it to me... A memorial for the people who died in World War I. Article here.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

quantum

So apparently last year, this biologist did a poetry offshoot of Nanowrimo wherein you write a poem every day for a month. Hers are science oriented and illustrated, and I like them a lot. Link to the article here, and if you look at the end of it, there's also a link to where she's selling the book if you want it. There's also a few more of the poems. Sherlock likes the one about the bees, unsurprisingly. 


In other news, something besides us is eating our lettuce. Rabbits, I assume. Squirrels? Do they eat lettuce? The chard isn't doing at all well either, but I do have five fairly massive cucumbers sitting in the fridge, and there are more growing. Quite quickly. L may run out of things to do with them before the summer's over. (Not like that, I know what you're all thinking.)


The summer holidays are officially here. Sherlock tells me it's BOILING and we need to go swimming immediately and repeatedly and preferably in the fjords of Norway. He also wants to go to Iceland and eat puffins and also bring one home as a pet... L and I have been talking about a trip, but I'm not sure it's going to include puffins.

We went to visit Jo and Lisa and Tadhg, who is amazingly tiny and looks even smaller when L is holding him. He was very quiet and sleepy while we were there, but Jo and Lisa assure us that he cries non-stop when they're trying to sleep, which I suppose is the way of all babies. Sherlock held him for about 20 seconds and then asked when he'd be old enough to eat biscuits or talk. I suppose whichever came first?

And finally here is a thing about Richard III's grave.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

naked with a belt



Tollund Man, for instance, was found with a belt but no clothes. "It doesn't make sense to be naked and have a belt," Frei pointed out.

True... The rest of the article is here and talks about the possibility that they were tossing foreigners into the bog, not in some sort of religious ritual, but as an alternative to burying them with everyone else. But basically no one actually knows. 

And this is an overview of the allotment... 



We have lots of little green tomatoes. Something keeps taking one bite out of each one and then leaving the rest, but there are so many that surely some will ripen...eventually. We have beans and lettuce and a surprisingly small amount of chard, which got a late start. The enormous Thai purple beans show no sign of flowering yet, let alone doing anything else, but fingers crossed. Sherlock is very excited about them (so am I). 

A woman named Mary has a plot a little way down from ours. She has a silverbell tree (currently about four feet tall, but she says they're meant to grow up to thirty feet and that she'll keep it trimmed and good luck to her with that...), a border of cockle shells, and marigolds all in a row. This led to a discussion of nursery rhymes with Sherlock and the implication from L that Little Boy Blue blowing his horn was about...well, you can guess. And also, bizarrely, to Sherlock wanting to read The Secret Garden, once he was assured it didn't have any talking animals or other such nonsense. Not sure how that one's going to go, since it's also distinctly lacking in pirates, booty, and mysterious corpses. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

cucumbers and cats


Cucumber: the first of many. There are a million flowers and quite a few tiny cucumbers as well. This is the first moderately full sized one. Sherlock picked it and did not heed any warnings from me or Mycroft about the prickles all over it. He took them personally. I've seldom seen anyone that annoyed with a plant.

Also, L sent me this...



It's a book...of newspaper articles...about cats that hate cops. I think he's trying to say something about Maf. It's a weak case, considering how often she sleeps on his shoulder while he sits on the sofa. She's cleaning the top of his ear right now, and he's poking her every few seconds before it tickles, but she's determined.

She's doing all right with the dogs - holding her own. Using them as transport and things to jump off of in order to get onto the kitchen counter or the top of the table. I'm waiting for she and the dogs to start working in concert. With her brains and their brawn, I think they could get the fridge open. Then we'll really be in trouble. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

on a boat

Well...we're a on a ship. Sherlock and I and Mrs N and another teacher and roughly one million small children. The sound really bounces around in here when they shriek. As they do when Sherlock insists on telling gruesome pirate stories just before bedtime and acting them out by trying to jump on people like an animated skeleton would. After I put a stop to that for the third time, Mrs N came by to tell me she was so glad I'd decided to come along...ha.

In theory, they're sleeping now. In reality, they're talking in what they think are quiet whispers that adults can't hear, and they're mistaken. Which makes me wonder with some amount of paranoia just how much my parents and teachers chose to ignore when I was younger.

Glad I'm here though. It is fairly warm and slightly dank with a vaguely peculiar smell, but still - we're sleeping in a ship. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

the tennis

Well...Federer's in the final. I wasn't expecting that, to be honest, even though I put him down to win the whole thing in our tennis pool. I thought he'd go out to Rafa in the semis. Now that there's a chance he might actually win the whole thing, I'm bizarrely nervous. I've also done something to my back and may end up watching the final from a prone position on the sofa while avoiding any sudden movements.

I've been at the allotment a lot (that and the back may be related), and things are coming along surprisingly well. Sherlock wants us to plant watermelons, but I think it's too late (?) and also given the planting instructions, they might well take up the entire allotment. Space 6-8 feet apart! Still, maybe next year. Fruit seems to be our downfall (blueberry bush shows no sign that it might ever consider producing anything except leaves).

Mycroft is doing well in his new job, to no one's surprise. We went for a visit and Sherlock did not consume their entire supply of ice cream, although he is now convinced that, having got it once for free, he will get free ice cream there forever. Presumably even when he's grown. I tried to pay for it this time, but the woman who runs the shop thinks he's 'precious and a very polite young man' and since he actually is very polite with her, I didn't want to press the issue.

In other news, Murray's seeing someone, and she's apparently tennis mad. They went and camped in the queue for tickets. Murray said it was a lot like the Army but with less nudity and more swearing. Not sure if he was serious or not. He sent me pictures, one of court 18 and part of his finger and one of someone who had a Federthemed umbrella:



Sunday, June 29, 2014

hawkeye




I feel like L posted this already in the comments somewhere, but in case he didn't, here is Rufus the pigeon chasing hawk of Wimbledon. And if anyone knows who's doing the voiceover, I would really like to know. He sounds so familiar.

One of the first times Sherlock watched tennis with me, one of the commentators talked about Federer's dislike of Hawkeye, and Sherlock was convinced for days that Hawkeye must be an actual person, because who would dislike a computer system, that just wouldn't make any sense, right? I have a picture he drew somewhere of Hawkeye scowling. He had an eyepatch I believe.

We have Mycroft home again with all his things, all over the living room, and all his dogs, also all over the living room (and Anthea, not all over the living room). He said there was no point taking it all up to his room as he'd have to bring it down to wash most of it tomorrow, which I think means he's turning into an actual teenager. Also his shoes have formed a nest with L's by the door to trip unwary newcomers.

And now I should probably get to bed. L and I have been up talking about the op he has coming up, which I mention only as an excuse for being up so late because I know you lot will worry otherwise. It's...not ideal, but nothing too bad. And of course if it goes well, the result will be a very good one, so fingers crossed. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

in the street

First, this:



I was hoping to get this up in time for L to see it at work and hurt himself trying not to laugh, but obviously I didn't make it.

Sports day was good. No serious injuries, no incidents of vomiting due to excess cake ingestion. At least not any that I had to clean up. The way some of the children were bouncing around, there might've been problems in the car on the way home.

As reported in the comments, L lost in the sack. Race. I did all right in mine. I'm fairly sure Sherlock won at consuming the most cake and also at thrusting slices upon people while informing them that he helped make it, which was only slightly true. He did help with the icing the night before. The lemon one with potatoes in did not taste at all like potatoes. It was delicious.

The Army instilled a certain wariness of obstacle courses in me, but one of you said that it would probably be designed for small children and not very fit parents, and you were quite right, which was a relief. The last time I did one, there was mud and icy rain and definitely no cake afterward. This was an improvement.

In tennis news, Wimbledon is coming up, and L suggested doing a thing for that like we're doing for the football, and Becca has kindly volunteered to set us up with something. Don't worry if you don't know anything about it. No one really knows what's going to happen. You can make assumptions, but all it takes is one bad day and the favorite is out in the second round. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

put up a plaque

A couple of pictures from yesterday. The Red Arrows, against a dramatically cloudy sky. They picked a good day for it, didn't they? Couldn't look better against pure blue. 



And then there's this... Floor plaque in a crypt we wandered into. That sounds...not quite right. It was open to the public. There was no breaking and entering involved.


Although Sherlock did say he wanted the plaque for his bedroom. I imagine by the time he's fourteen, he'll want the walls painted black with glow in the dark skulls and posters of Mozart and Nicola Tesla taped to his ceiling. Something like that.

Not pictured: a lot of naked (and occasionally clothed) people on bicycles. If you want to know why, you can check the comments in L's blog, but I prefer it without context. Just loads of people riding bikes in the nude.

It's been a lovely weekend. Back to usual tomorrow, and I have work as well. I'm glad I'm doing this job, and I wouldn't want to stop, but there are times that I dread getting called out, not knowing if it'll  be someone who's had enough vodka to kill a cow or a kid who's done nothing but exist in the same flat as his father when his father's had not quite enough vodka to kill a cow.

I fell asleep briefly last night watching L watch the football with Sherlock, both of them intent, in much the same posture, hunched forward, hands gripping knees. I woke up at their collective  shriek of...I'm not even sure whether it was victory or defeat, I didn't see the goal. Just flailed a bit and fell off the couch. I just feel incredibly lucky sometimes, and that was one of those times, despite being prostrate on the floor with a small cat helpfully licking my hair while Sherlock laughed and Greg asked me if I'd hurt myself...and then laughed. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

desert flowers

Keith Douglas was wounded by a mine in north Africa in World War II. You can read more about him here if you want to. This poem, says the article, was most likely written while he was recovering in El Ballah General Hospital, Palestine, in 1943.

Desert Flowers
Keith Douglas
 
Living in a wide landscape are the flowers –
Rosenberg I only repeat what you were saying –
the shell and the hawk every hour
are slaying men and jerboas, slaying

the mind: but the body can fill
the hungry flowers and the dogs who cry words
at nights, the most hostile things of all.
But that is not news. Each time the night discards

draperies on the eyes and leaves the mind awake
I look each side of the door of sleep
for the little coin it will take
to buy the secret I shall not keep.

I see men as trees suffering
or confound the detail and the horizon.
Lay the coin on my tongue and I will sing
of what the others never set eyes on.

I haven't been out to Red's grave yet this year. Things got complicated with half term and trips and chickenpox and sad little cone cats. I'd like to go soon though. I had meant to tell you a story about him, but it's late and I'm somehow still awake, but only in body. My brain isn't up to much right now. You know those nights when there is no logical reason you should still be awake, but you are? Yeah.

Instead, here is the picture of our blueberry bush that I couldn't find before. No flowers, as you see. It's probably too late to flower now, isn't it? Next year.


We've got kale planted as well and coming up with tiny, oddly shaped leaves. That's a first for us this year and for me specifically. My mum never grew it.

Maf keeps headbutting me with the edge of her cone. Trust her to come up with a way to weaponise it. I think she wants me back in bed with my head in the appropriate spot for her to curl up around it. I'll go and give it another try. Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

cone of shame

Maf has been in for her operation. We now have a small cone cat.


She is not happy with me, but she still prefers to be bodily attached to me at all times. I assume so she can stick her claws in whenever she wants to. The worst was fishing her out from behind the refrigerator today. Claw marks nearly all the way from my wrist to my elbow. She doesn't seem to have done herself any harm in her short time without the cone though, so that's good.  

The allotment is doing well. Here is some chard that the squirrels haven't eaten yet. We're going to have to replant the rest.


Chives... Looking happy and delicious.


Those red beans that are meant to grow as long as someone's arm. Tiny right now, of course, but we have high hopes.


And cucumbers with a frame for them to climb up. We've got some lettuce planted under the frame so that the cucumbers can shade it if it gets too hot.


I thought I had a picture of the supposedly pink blueberry bush from last year, But I can't find it. It's not doing anything yet anyway, and I think it should have flowered by now if it were going to. Looks healthy though. We might have to wait another year for berries.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

puzzlewood

We went to Puzzlewood. Here are some photos which are definitely not ours - they're much too good.








It's really...I feel like the word magical gets overused a lot, but it seems apt in this case. Even shared with a load of other people with children to entertain over half term, it was pretty amazing. Makes you wonder what it would be like to come upon it unexpectedly, alone, like walking into A Midsummer Night's Dream.

That's my opinion, anyway. Sherlock had his own ideas: i.e. it was a very large, green pirate ship, particularly the bridges. Well, obviously, right? There was a lot of stick fencing, primarily between Sherlock and the air, but at one point he called Mycroft's dogs (not present to defend themselves) blackguards, and there was a duel. Invisible flintlock pistols at (nowhere near) dawn, fairly tame piratey insults exchanged...

S: Your mum's...a hopeless landlubber!
M: She gets a bit seasick, that's all. I think that's uncalled for.

I sent the video to Mrs H. She firmly denies getting seasick at all, ever.