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Via Oursin, Legionseagle, and Nhw, one of they "things what I have read" posts. Curious one, in that it's the 106 books currently most tagged as unread on Librarything. I'm a bit sceptical about this, as it reflects the reading experience only of "librarything users who tag things as unread and (presumably) read, to the extent of that part of their libraries they have both entered and tagged". I suspect that adds up to a fairly small sample, possibly of people with similar reading habits, but that's just a guess. (My occasional fits of enthusiasm (plus a Cuecat) have resulted in about 1/8 of my books, chosen fairly randomly as they came off the unorganised bookshelves, being entered (same name as this account if anyone cares) and about ten books in total being tagged at all...)For what it's worth )

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Odd bit of spam today. Well, I thought it was spam and so did Gmail, but the curious thing was that it was well tailored: for a sort of Librarything/"books you might like" predictor coupled with amazon, sent to my livejournal email and not obfuscated in any way: the English was a little broken but not of the incoherent stream of drivel model. I dithered a bit before hitting delete (rather than unmarking as spam and then hitting delete - does that actually make a difference? I assume gmail's spamfilter learns, and if so that seemed almost... unfair. The really odd thing is that their "taster" book prediction was for something of which I actually am rather fond: Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain. Outfit called, if anyone's interested, which whois tells me is, um, owned by an outfit which itself has an .ru domain. Hmm.

I have been arsing around with setting up a local mail server recently, for no particularly good reason other than that I was bored and felt I wanted to understand this stuff a bit more. (a Getmail/Dovecot IMAP /Postfix setup if anyone cares). In the course of doing that and also trying to set up a vpn client to log into work's machines I somehow managed to completely screw up everything that had anything to do with the internet at all: this came as no surprise as I have no real clue what I am doing (it doesn't really matter as I want to do a complete reinstall soon and everything is backed up to the nines). Rather more surprisingly I managed to figure out how I had managed to completely cock it all up and undo it fairly quickly. This pleases me.

In other news, or rather, other rhetorical questions, why does chaos break out in Lebanon every time I am on the brink of buying a flight there?

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Fascinated this weekend by reading Lucy, Lady Duff Cooper's Discretions and Indiscretions, (now a present to Frankie): her memoirs, written in 1932, of being a socialite, dress designer (in which capacity she managed to break into Paris and New York as well as London and dressed pretty much anyone who was anyone) and, most notoriously, survivor -the middle chapter of the book concerns the results of her decision, in 1912, to take "the first available boat" to New York on business and her and her husband's trial by the media and cross examination by Rufus Isaacs in the Inquiry.

Also made my way through a number of books by people who have headed off to France, or elsewhere, to build houses, grow vines, &c and met with disaster or triumph. This is my new Fantasy Fallback Plan (though not France). The most remarkable of them was Patricia Atkinson, who, speaking no French and knowing nothing about wine moved with her husband (who did) to France to run a small vineyward, more as a hobby than anything. Then the recession came, her husband became ill, returned to England and gradually drifted away, and she was left to run the show. The results have been pretty stupendous: from a hobby the vineyard has grown to be a highly regarded, and much larger, successful business: via some quite incredibly hard work on her part. Hmm, maybe there is a slight snag with the Fantasy Fallback Plan...

I tried reading the introduction to the accounting course I am required to take over the next three days, but when (bearing in mind this is accountancy for barristers) I'd spent several pages wading through a noddy guide to the distinction between a company, a partnership and a sole trader (which actually included a couple of errors, though minor ones) I threw it to the floor in disgust and went and opened a bottle of Patricia Atkinson's wine instead.

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Being as I am in a mild fit of depression I decided to take my usual remedy of spanking the Blackwell's Account Card this morning: picked up various things, including the new Diana Wynne Jones, but also Byron Rogers On the trail of the last human cannonball a curious and fascinating book I heartily recommend. I don't know if Rogers still has his Sunday Telegraph column but in the days when I read it (Dad always insisted we take both the ST and the Observer "in the interests of balance", though as time went on his criticisms of both became more scathing; Murdoch papers never crossed the threshold, as anyone who ever met my father would pretty much assume as a matter of course) he was the best thing in the entire newspaper. It's just a collection of interviews with odd people, some of them notorious, some not, and pieces about places. To quote Rogers from the foreword:

[...] to walk through the mud of Agincourt with the weapons provided, [...] peer into the locked cabinets of the British Museum [... every sculpted erection of the ancient world...] attend one of Miss Cynthia Payne's remarkable orgies [...] walk the most familiar streets of all, those of a Western film town, in Spain, as well as the most unfamiliar, those of Tombstone, the real Western town, where nothing was as it should have been [...]

And more and more. I have yet to read about the one recording the revelation to "two OAPs that their mother, cranky old mum whom they thought had never been out of the town, had been Ethel le Neve and Dr Crippen's mistress." (A brief internet search tells me that Le Neve actually lived until 1967, which is remarkable, she must have been pushing 90.)

It's just a fabulous little collection of odd anecdota, brilliantly recorded by Rogers: reading them now I remember why on those Sunday afternoon's after lunch his was the one column I would invariably read.

Incidentally, a story not recorded by Byron Rogers but which I suspect he would like, from John Edwards in the current edition of the Soho Clarion (magazine of the Soho Society), in an article mainly about the retirement of Norman Balon from the Coach and Horses but remembering all the great Soho landlords of whom he was perhaps the last: "The Ship with Sydney (Jerry) Pratt, The Intrepid Fox with Gerry Mahon, The French with Gaston Berlemont and the Coach and Horses with Norman Balon".

[talking about being in The Ship, Jerry Pratt's pub, one lunchtime] At the other end of the bar sat Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole [...] getting argumentative about a newish actor's playing of a Shakespearian role and much heated and blinding was going on. Jerry could not tolerate bad language and asked the two great thesps to tone it down "for a lady could be present." Then through the door strode Elizabeth Taylor, be-minked and looking stunning, albeit somewhat flushed. She cornered Burton and screamed, "I've been waiting for you in that car for forty minutes." Jerry turned puce.

I can imagine Taylor swearing, but I find it difficult to envisage her in a pub. There's a good story about Gaston Berlemont and Francis Bacon in The French in the article too. All these stories, and things I hear from older people in my profession as well (usually involving El Vinos, or John Mortimer, or both), just make me think I was born too late.

That story reminds me of another recent story I read about Burton and Taylor meeting a party between marriages and flirting, Taylor's then husband desparately saying something on the lines of 'she's my wife now' and eventually asking Taylor to make a decision, whereupon she walked out with Burton. Irritatingly I can't remember where I read it: I suspect it was in the TLS or LRB but the much vaunted TLS Archive turns out to have an absysmal search engine on which I can't find anything, and it doesn't appear to be in the LRB either.

Apropos of something mildly different, Liberal England has an interesting post about the differences between the 1964 and 1970 editions of Ladybird's Peter and Jane (for those who don't know, very popular learning-to-read books in England at the time and, for all I know, still).

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I've put a (fairly lengthy) review of Craig Murray's Murder in Samarkand up over at The Sharpener.


Jul. 31st, 2006 12:02 pm
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Good post from Moorish Girl on Qana. ItinerantSphinx on the whole situation as viewed from the perspective of one of the evacuated expatriates well worth reading as well.

On a vaguely related point, while I was at parents' I retrieved my copy of Craig Murray's Murder in Samarkand (the order was sent there for reasons it would be too tedious to explain) and read it over the weekend. Fascinating: I've always been slightly sceptical about Murray, though I think he's clearly in the right more than in the wrong: though I still have a few quibbles I'm less doubtful about him than I was. The book is absorbing simply as an illustration of how the Foreign Office works these days (little different from how it has for the past 100 years so far as I can see, and not all of the change there has been is for the good) and utterly depressing in it's conclusions. I'll write more about it when I've digested it a little more.

I ought to be utterly shocked to learn that even with the example of Saddam Hussein (and others before him) staring them in the face, British and US foreign policy continues to be so moronic and short-sighted that it is considered an acceptable tradeoff to prop up a brutal totalitarian megalomaniac, with substantial amounts of taxpayers money as well as encouraging noises, for fear of Islamic fundamentalism. But I'm not.

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Probably just weather, tiredness, possibly not eating entirely properly due to a surfeit of Proms, and deciding that today was a good day to reorganise my bookshelves...

That part of my library that had made it to London before I went off last year was put into storage in my office for the duration, and since my house is fairly small and lacking in shelves whereas this office has acres of shelves for the law reports I can't see the point of shelling out for (since I have on-line access to Justis etc), they have stayed there, to the vague bemusement of clerks and colleagues who wander in. They came out of the boxes and went onto the shelves fairly randomly, and there was still only enough shelf space for a selection of them: today I decided to sort them into sets, and also, to be honest, to make sure the creditable ones were on the shelves and the trashy ones piled up in the corner. A more knackering job than I anticipated, and far from finished. I blame CoughingBear for inspiring me to delve into the pile to try and find an Antonia Forest the other day in the course of an IM conversation...

Off to Hants to see me mum for the weekend. Have a good one all. Despite the general shite feeling I'm in a rather good mood as I have, just in time for the taxman on Monday, been paid a rather large and very overdue fee.


Apr. 25th, 2006 06:49 pm
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Just saw that Studio Ghibli have an Earthsea film (fairly clearly an adaptation of The Farthest Shore) coming out this July. After the mini-series fiasco (which I admit I never felt the urge to see, but everyone I know who did was appalled) my immediate instinct is scepticism, but Studio Ghibli have a deservedly high reputation.

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I left the house twice this weekend, on specific short errands. The rest of my time I spent in bed, listening to the wind howl... no snow, though there was plenty of that Friday, just wind and drizzle. Since Saturday morning consisted largely of an intake of neurofen and a re-iteration of the mantra that past 30 one should not mix wine and whisky this was possibly a wise move. (Highlights of Friday evening included my gun-toting secretary picking me up and carrying me round the boardroom in an effort to persuade me to stay, but we'll draw a veil over that.)

My resolve not to buy more stuff before my imminent return crumbled on Friday afternoon and I ended up walking out of Ottakars some 25 quid the poorer. All now read.

First up was the second Captain Alatriste, Purity of Blood. These are essentially Arturo Perez-Reverte's Spanish version of Dumas (you can't help trying to work out whether, and if so at what point in his career, Captain Alatriste will actually run into the Three Musketeers). They've apparently been a massive craze in Spain for years, but its only very recently, presumably on the back of Perez-Reverte's success with his other novels, from The Dumas Club (filmed, by all accounts unsuccessfully, as The Ninth Gate (not seen) and the novel featuring a cameo appearance by one of its obvious inspirers, an unnamed great Dumas fan, described only as the Professor of Semiotics at Bologna) to Queen of the South, that they've been translated. I think they're fantastic fun.

Second was Naomi Novik's Temeraire (how does she get livejournal to do that?) - Napoleonic fantasy with dragons. The blurb cites Stephen King referencing Susannah Clarke. I don't think this is anywhere near up to the strength of Jonathan Strange, but then I think few things are. I do think that early-modern to Victorian fantasy (as opposed to science) influenced alternate history is a sub-genre that's going to be quite popular for a while, and why not? Lots of mileage. As Joff semi-argued elsewhere it has the advantage over steampunk in that the bounds of the latter if construed strictly, are pretty narrow -and lets face it, few conform. It's not new as such -Clarke's partner, Colin Greenland produced what I think remains his most imaginative and best-written work yet, Harm's Way some years ago now, even before one goes delving into prototypes in older stuff. So the real question, as with all genres, is what to call it. Steam and Sorcery?

To be honest, the other blurb, from McCaffrey, was more indicative of where the novel was going, as was the reference to Patrick O'Brien (who, I'm afraid, completely fails to grab me, give me Hornblower and Ramage any day, though I'm aware the vast majority of my reading list disagree) though she's a better writer than MacCaffrey ever was. Her characters are far less complex than Clarke's, and it feels far more a straight historical novel with added dragons (though to be fair this is but the first of a series). One thing Clarke did that Novik is less strong on is try and give some historical context: it's difficult without a bit more background to believe that notwithstanding a serious aerial bombardment capability used, we're told, by Francis Drake to beat the armada, we've nonetheless ended up in much the same historical situation at the time of Trafalgar (which takes place, offstage, during the book) as we do in our universe -though one notable outcome of Trafalgar seems to be different. Certainly worth keeping an eye on though.

Last up was part of my on-going effort to re-read a significant chunk of The Canon: on this occasion Trollope's Barchester novels, specifically Barchester Towers. It must be more than 15 years since I touched these, and I'd utterly forgotten how they read. I'd still take Austen, George Eliot, and Thackeray above him but he's a close follower (and streets ahead of Dickens in my personal ranking). Where he falls down most is on the romantic element -I don't find those relationships particularly convincing, though he does have a few brilliant one-liners even there. But the social and ecclesiastical politics, and the humour -even when he wanders away on one of his digressions- is marvellous. Incidentally I'm half convinced Tolkien had Barsetshire in mind when he created the Shire, though a Barsetshire shorn of the city pf Barchester and the ecclesiastical elements that for Trollope were the foundations of the place. (In particular I think the "Long-Expected Party" owes a conscious debt to the Thorne's great do at Ellathorne - I imagine someone has pointed this out before but it was a new realisation for me.)

Incidentally, I forgot to write about Gothic Nightmares at The Tate at which I spent much of last Saturday courtesy and in the always good company of Frankie. Well worth a visit anyway, particularly for room 6 ("Fairies and Fatal Women", including Blake and Fuseli's Midsummer Night's Dream inspired-work and associated pieces, plus some of Fuseli's porn (as in explicit, rather than as in "almost everything he ever painted")), though definitely better to try and find an off-peak time to go.

Spent Sunday evening with Midsomer Murders, in which Bergerac's DCI Barnaby's sidekick is these days played by that chap what played Warren in This Life. Which makes his claim that he used to visit Midsomer Whatever's annual show regularly as a child feel a bit spurious, as it's difficult enough to believe that he stepped outside the Valleys once before the age of 18, let alone that he was an annual visitor to a small village in pastiche-Glos/Oxon. I mean, there's suspension of disbelief, and there's flying trapezi of disbelief. Also if I knew Barnaby was investigating a murder in my small village I'd be on the road away from there as fast as possible, the man is more Death on a Pale Horse than Morse ever was. Absolute nonsense, guest-starring a hamming-it-up Simon Callow (does he ever do anything else, but I love him to pieces, plus he once gave me a cigar) can't do better on a Sunday evening.

Madeira-aged Glenmorangie is a marvellous thing, and tolerably affordable when regularly passing through duty-free. So, by and large, is Chilean Merlot followed by Dubonnet. Yes, I did spend a large part of the weekend mildly sloshed. I just have to remember not to mix the two... Still, at least I discovered the Sekrit, or rather, misplaced, stash of cds: Mozart Requiem and Beethoven Late Quartets both of which, particularly the latter, bear repeated re-listening.

Some bits and pieces of writing done as well, none of it particularly good.

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I awoke on Sunday morning just as I was about to fight a duel with Edward VIII (while still prince of wales) or just possibly his father. I consider this a shame, and have no idea whatsoever what he was doing on my mind. I almost never remember my dreams, so obviously something important was going on. (The duel was taking place, rather atypically, at sunset, in a place that seemed a cross between Hyde Park and the Embankment to which I had a pass for access. What? Anyway, would anyone ever have called out or been called out by the heir to the throne? Sayers has Wimsey claim he had been called out once or twice, so relying on her accuracy I'm assuming it isn't entirely anachronistic, but still...)

I was then convinced I needed to ring Frankie and arrange to meet for coffee later that day, fortunately I was no further than groping for my phone and bringing her number up on the address book when I realied that (a) I was actually on Jersey whereas she was in London, or possibly Edinburgh, and (b) it was 5.30 in the morning. She and K. would, I suspect, have been unamused.

Eventually my discombobulation passed and I spent most of the rest of the day, as the wind blew and the sun shone on the snow outside, sitting in bed being nostalgic about old photographs, trying to work on four works in progress, none of which achieved much progress during the day, but such is life. And reading Frances Stonor Saunders' Hawkwood, fascinating but I never felt I had much of a sense of the man. Best read of the weekend, however, goes without doubt to George MacDonald Fraser's hysterically funny The Pyrates, which I recommend to each and every one of you.

And then Lewis, the long-awaited Morse spin-off. Delighted to see that before the first advert break they had already cut down from Broad Street along the Radcliffe Square side of All Souls to somewhere, in a car. Which might be possible were they in Hot Pursuit (TM), as I think you could physically pass through to the High (?if you take down some bollards?) but not otherwise. All in all fun, but I don't know if it has the steam to go it alone: eventually they'd have to drop the sighs, glimpses of red Mark II Jaguars, visits to the pub, music prizes called Endeavour and cryptic crossword clues left in one of Morse's old files.

The sun is shining and though there's no cotton on Jersey, the wind is howling, and the temperature freezing, I'm in a remarkably good mood. Enjoy it while ye may.

Via Martin the "John Hopkins Test" for whether you are an alcoholic. Oh dear. There doesn't appear to be an option for "have you ever attempted to cure a crucifying hangover with a Bloody Mary? Did it work?" (Yes).

John Fowles

Nov. 7th, 2005 04:27 pm
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is dead.

The Magus remains one of my favourite books, though not everything he wrote was of anything approaching that standard.

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Lack of internet availability at home (which continues but may be sorted fairly soon) was the main cause of my hiatus, but I'm also going through a phase of feeling I don't have anything to write about. These six months stuck out in the Channel are something of a hiatus in my life generally, and that seems to be carrying over to here.

I don't mind it here most of the time, and there are some real benefits (I think I may hop over to St Malo this weekend), though most of them involve being outside and the weather stinks at the moment. I know now that I did choose the right side of the English legal profession for me though: being a solicitor is really not my forte.

And I've run out of books again, having finished A Feast for Crows in one sitting and also run out of Frankie's care package. Well, almost: I've returned to a re-read of The Once and Future King that I put to one side in August.

I seem to be watching almost no television at all: for the last three weeks it's only been Midsomer Murders and now Jericho (which I find tolerable but not that gripping) on a Sunday evening.

Spent Saturday wandering around Elizabeth Castle in light drizzle (accessible only by boat or, more usually, ex-army Duck at high tide: Jersey has one of the most ridiculously huge tidal flows in the world and imbeciles who don't know what they are doing often find themselves caught, on one notorious relatively recent occasion with horses, which they managed to persuade up a Martello tower). The castle is huge, mostly commissioned when Raleigh was governor (though it incorporates St Helier's alleged early medieval hermitage) but pretty much continuing in use and development up to and during the occupation. The Germans built it into their own ring of massive island fortifications, so you have the vaguely incongruous sight of a seventeenth century gateway next to a searchlight bunker, with sheep grazing on top. Actually this happened all over the island: the Napoleonic-era Martello towers and the medieval castle at Gorey were all re-fortified I think.

Ho hum. Not dead yet, just resting.

ETA: Anne Rice finds God. We will all now pause for boggling. (Link via Katy.)

And while I'm doing links: new Robin Hood. One hopes the last line is a joke. I'm not entirely clear whether "The series will follow ITV's hit 1980s series Robin of Sherwood" (all pause to hum "The Hooded Man") means it will specifically refer back to that (I have a feeling the rights are tied up in an insolvency somehow) or something more general.

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See, I figured that at 99p in an Ottakar's promotional giveaway, I didn't really have anything to lose in picking up Simon Scarrow's Something or Other About The Eagle I Forget The Actual Title (number 1 in an ongoing series I assume from the similar titles), set in Legio II Augusta about to participate in Claudius' invasion of Britain and with a blurb from Bernard Cornwell along the lines of "I don't need this kind of competition", which should indicate fairly well the sub-genre.

That's almost an entire cup of coffee that I'll never be able to buy now. I feel resentful. Dull, dull, and a risible plot. I'd always assumed Cornwell was good, though I hadn't tried any of his stuff. Now I'm doubtful I'll bother, if this is what he considers worrying competition. Hah: see, oh authors so willing to puff others' works: there can be a downside for you.

Not Dead

Sep. 14th, 2005 09:23 am
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But I am interweb impoverished until I manage to make either dialup (and indeed my home land line) or my wireless card work properly. Proper posting will therefore remain on hiatus.

So far I'm actually, somewhat to my surprise, managing to keep to my plan to become vaguely fit: cycling into work every day (and, um, into a wall this morning while trying to work out why my bike was so reluctant to be in fifth gear, but these things happen) and going for a swim most mornings before that (there's an outdoor heated pool at the place I'm staying) once the first plane of the morning has woken me up (downside to the place I'm living: the end of the airport runway is approximately ten feet away from my window). Riding in takes me about 20 minutes, half of it downhill and half along the coast path (Jersey seems pretty good for cycle paths separated from the roads). Going home is a different matter: It's a big hill... I've also, in a fit of enthusiasm, booked myself fencing lessons and riding lessons. We shall see...

On the other hand, I have nothing to read except for the things I already took to Greece and read there. I've already re-read The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana and River of Gods. Still, I'm back in London this weekend and early next week for a trial, so I forsee myself bringing back a large and heavy bag.

Bit too late to comment on the cricket save to say hurrah, obviously.

I had lots to say about the first episodes of the new series of Spooks but I've forgotten. Amused to notice a reference to Corpus Christi being noted for classics. Interesting to see the political nuances, particularly re attitudes to current US policy, the fictional version thereof clearly being not too different from the real one.

Well, that was dull, wasn't it?

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covering face with hands, running fingers through thinning hair, and repeatedly saying "Oh God" in despairing tones is not actually going to get this packing finished. Nor is having small cigarette breaks. As for actually buying more books today: are you a moron or something?

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The First Night of the Proms I mean. Yes, I believe some book or other was launched last night. No, I haven't bought a copy, and probably won't for a week or two. In any case I won't be reading anything else until I've finished Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind, lent to me by the inimitable Eurotrash*. Like her I'd had a certain amount of scepticism, but so far it's brilliant.

Yes, I have deliberately read properly spoiler-warned posts. Heigh ho.

But I digress. Gorgeous evening at the Albert Hall but sadly not a staggeringly good concert, either in programme or performance terms. I probably wouldn't have gone had it not been the First Night. BBC SO under Sir Roger "at least I'm not Slatkin" Norrington: Berlioz overture The Corsair: yeah, whatever; Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (Janice Jansen): started off ok, went via "quite good" and "mediocre" to "actually quite bad" -not entirely her fault, the balance was badly off for one thing; rambling sentimental speech by Norrington about last Thursday -speeches, other than on the Last Night, are very rare at the Proms; Elgar overture Cockaigne ("about London and Londonders of course", says Norrington, "no, that's Cockaigne with a 'g' ha ha"): a solid performance; Tippett, A Child of Our Time (BBC Symphony Chorus, Indra Thomas, Christine Rice, Ian Bostridge, Sir Willard White): mixed, this one. I love the piece and haven't heard it performed often: thought the chorus did their usual sterling work, and Sir Willard on top form as ever, but the female soloists were a bit dodgy and Bostridge was, for reasons I can't quite put my finger on, "not quite right", and also has silly hair. And all in all it seemed an odd programme to put together, particularly for the First Night, which ought to be an Event.

Still, early days yet, so far as the season is concerned. Failed to crash the BBC party this year though, which was the main disappointment.

*who's a brilliant cook and can still drink me under the table, incidentally.

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Actually, it's my legs that sting. My face is fine.

When I say sting, what I actually mean is "I can barely walk." No, I'm not exaggerating. I just struggled across the room to turn off the television after Today at Wimbledon and the real reason I sat down by the computer was that I couldn't face going anywhere else just yet.

All this the result of a weekend spent with my mother. Very pleasant, but she's obviously feeling the lack of someone to whom she can natter, sad in itself, and also making weekends spent with her slightly more of an effort than I should feel them to be.

Anyway, I spent much of the weekend sitting on the terrace by the pond reading. (This week's trawl through the attics for something old to read brought up a crop of Mary Stewarts, which were rather better than I remembered: I knew the Merlin trilogy was exceptional but I'd forgotten the other things.)

That, however, brought its own problems. What whim of fate was it that I was born with (a) very sensitive skin; (b) a love of lying in the sun; (c) a bone-idleness that extends to not bothering to put any suncream on? I've known people -well, two people- who are notable for on occasion having used olive oil where ordinary mortals would use sunscreen. Hah. Ah well, if I live through the next day or so that should be the worst of it for the whole summer, on past experience. And yes, I know, skin cancer.

Incidentally, if the weather next weekend in Somerset isn't at least almost as good as this weekend in Hampshire, I shall be very cross. Please take note.

Apropos of which, last Thursday evening I received an email from Wayahead, telling me they had that day despatched my ticket. Which I find fascinating, because it actually arrived two weeks before that. Evidently someone's been buggering about with temporal continuity again.

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I have a general policy of not doing these things, still, rules are meant to be broken and Hypatia asked. And since, having given up trying to work at home because of the moronic vandal with the chain saw outside, I find myself banished to the desk-less greenhouse on the roof of our building because my office is being painted, I might as well:-

1) Total number of books owned: Somewhere in the region of 5000 I believe.

and so forth )
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A Feast for Crows is done

[...] our approach will produce two novels taking place simultaneously, but set hundreds or even thousands of miles apart, and involving different casts of characters (with some overlap).

The division has been done, and it think it works quite well. The upshot is, A FEAST FOR CROWS is now moving into production. It is still a long book, but not too long; about the same size as A GAME OF THRONES. The focus in FEAST will be on Westeros, King's Landing, the riverlands, Dorne, and the Iron Islands. More than that I won't say.

Meanwhile, all the characters and stories removed from FEAST are moving right into A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, which will focus on events in the east and north. All the chapters I have not yet finished and/or begun are moving into DANCE.


Unfortunately A Game of Thrones is at the bottom of a very large pile of books.

(Ergates spotted it first.)

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.. and then he drinks another gin drink. And then another gin drink. And then another gin drink. And then starts feeling miserable about Everything.

Has anyone ever investigated precisely how it is that Gin does this?

But doesn't have a hangover and spends the next evening on 12 star Metaxa, a wonderful intoxicant that should be more widely appreciated.

In other news, via John and Belle the depressing proof that Bono is still kind of a cock. Depressing because I'd kind of rediscovered (old) U2 recently. Now I'm reminded how exactly he managed to reach quite so far up my nose.

Ah well.

Ian McDonald has a livejournal. And pretty much all of you who might be interested in this already knew this, and had subscribed. Can you explain why, precisely, no one saw fit to tell me?

And there's a new Lindsey Davis. I managed to stick to my moratorium, but my suspicion, that Greece was pretty much the only bit of Vespasian's empire she hadn't touched yet and was therefore the likely new Abroad setting, has proved correct.


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