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I'm sure it's an excellent dictionary, partly because it's Oxford (who despite being the Other Place, know how to write a dictionary), and partly because of "Editor in Chief: Tressy Arts", who I know through other routes, and generally does things to very high standards or not at all.

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A "humble bundle" of them - pay what you want, money goes to charity.
Four books mininum, six if you pay more than the average offered price. Apparently the RRP would be about $70, and the current average is $9.53. One of the four is the first in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga, and if you've never read them, believe me, you want to. I don't know the other authors myself, but since LMB recommends them, I'm about to go and put that average price up.

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Among the other things I was doing, as a Victorian housemaid at Holkham Hall, was explaining the various cake samples on offer to the visitors who were about to eat them. One of these cakes was Seed Cake. This is a recipe from Mrs Beeton's cookery book: a fairly plain, heavy sponge, with a lot of caraway seeds in it. Part of my explanation was that if they'd read any Swallows and Amazons, Enid Blyton, or other books of that era, Seed Cake was what always went with the Lashings of Ginger Beer. As I rather expected, I got instant recognition from people my age or older, blank looks from teenagers, and partial response from the 20s and 30s. I was surprised by the response from junior-school age and younger. Quite a few were apparently reading "The Far-away Tree" at the moment (that's one I've never read myself). Perhaps half recognised "Famous Five".
What absolutely delighted me, though, was a very small girl whose face lit up at the mention of the Famous Five. Yes, she'd listened to them! She knew about seed cake, and was thrilled to try some. "Listened"? Yes - her big sister (currently holding her hand protectively) was reading the Famous Five to her every night, and they were about to start a really big story.  Reading a story to your little sister - isn't that so much nicer than squabbling over the remote control for the TV?

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 OED's word of the day. I'm snipping the huge entry quite a lot, but...

aumbry, n.
1. [‘A container for storing books, a bookcase; (occas.) a room where books or other documents are stored, a library, an archive. Formerly also: †a repository or compendium of knowledge, such as a chronicle or commentary (obs.). Now hist. (chiefly in the form  almery) and rare.’]
Etymology: < (i) Anglo-Norman almarie, almari, almerie, aumerie, aumere, aumer, Anglo-Norman and Old French almarie, Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French armarie (also Old French, Middle French armaire, Middle French, French armoire) niche, cabinet, cupboard, closet, bookcase, library, chest (12th cent.),....
 2.  More generally.
 a.  A place for storing things, as a cupboard, locker, safe, press, etc.; a repository; (in later use) esp. a niche or recess in a wall used for storage. Formerly also (occas.): †a storeroom or storehouse (obs.). Now somewhat rare in general sense.
†b.  fig. A repository or plentiful source of something. Obs.
3.  spec.
 a.  A place for storing food. Now rare (chiefly Sc. and Eng. regional (north.) in later use).
 b.  Christian Church. A cupboard, locker, or recess in the wall of a church or church building, to hold books, communion vessels, vestments, etc.
†4.  An internal compartment or section of a cupboard. Obs.
So for most of us, it's a place where you keep books, but Oop North it's where they keep food :)
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Not that there's a lot to say. There should have been, but my "this cannot be a cold, I do not have time for a cold" has turned into, surprise, surprise, a cold. So I've been doping out, eating leftovers of turkey and gammon and so on, doing fairly mindless things and trying to sleep - usual problem of lying down making breathing difficult, but our lovely new reclining armchairs provide a a nice half-way option for dozing.

Read one of the pile of new books - "The Hobbit". I'd been amazed and horrified to discover just before Xmas that I didn't have a copy, so slapped it on the Amazon wishlist, and it duly appeared.

Haven't played with the new card-making toys as yet, but I have sorted things out a bit, so all the Xmas-related bits are in one box ready for next year and I can find the table.

Tried to carry on with the knitting I'd been doing, but while the four DPNs the piece was on are right there in the bag, the fifth one I need to knit on to isn't :(. Just been on Ebay, and after looking at prices, ordered a circular in the same size. I'd been playing with thick yarn and huge needles, after seeing something made from three DK yarns knitted together at a craft show, and the result knits up fast enough that I get a result before I get bored.

TV - seen a bit of Marple, and some Judge John Deed that Dave had recorded for some reason. Added a belt-loop to some trousers that were starting to fall down while watching (had planned on doing knitting..)

Diet is being ignored. Weight is being measured so I know how far up it's gone - I added another 2kg in Brussels, and about the same over Xmas so far. Oddly enough, size is staying about the same.

Haven't yet unpacked the new Wii, much less installed or used it - the cold de-incentivises these things.

Have hugged the new Bears. Wilson, the Sightsaver Bear, turns out to be a smaller brother to Harpur, the hospital bear. The stowaway who came with him is a rather quiet and shy little bear, whose name is probably "Noel".

Cooking - after the massive cook-fest on Xmas Day, not a lot has happened. The turkey carcass was stripped and turned into stock, I made an omelette this morning, and that's been about it. Preparations are starting for the Saturday bash, when I throw "tradtional" and "conventional" out of the window, and go for "I bet you can't...", "that looks like fun" and so on. It's a mead-tasting, but my nephew was quite keen on having medieval food (and possibly costume?) to go with the mead, so I'll be playing.
The goose, guineafowl and quail are defrosting, and tomorrow I'll acquire a chicken between the goose and guineafowl in size, bone the lot, and do a quadruple Bird. I'd been considering going up to five, but may just use stuffing to fill any gaps. Then there will be "something with chicken and fruit" by request from my niece, who doesn't care for multiply-stuffed things - I have ideas there, and I get to play with a toy that doesn't get used often enough, and the C13 Andalusian Cookbook - my notes for Djej Mquali look good. Just need to sort out some veg that isn't boring (maybe Buran from the same source?), and decide which of the many possible starters and desserts I fancy doing. Oh, and the chutneys and sauces - I have quinces, and am not afraid to use them.
A rather complex medieval chutney designed for roast meats
Sauce Madame, to go with the goose, though in this case I won't be cooking the ingredients inside the goose, as it'll be full of other birds. l
Since I have goose grease, I'll probably roast spuds in it - not medieval, but why not?
I quite fancy doing Crustade Lumbard for dessert, but practicality may dictate using up the pumpkin pie, Xmas cake and mince pies that didn't go at Xmas dinner. Or I could buy a lot of exotic fruit and do a fruit salad.
Days of Xmas - I did indeed get my figurative turtle doves yesterday, on the second day of Xmas. I hadn't realised, my parents had never had Xmas alone together since they'd been married, so that's what they'd done on Xmas day. Aww. My dad phoned me up and "purred" at me afterwards, not having read the LJ echo of the blog post till too late.
Today, third day of Xmas, should involve three French hens. Well, it involved chicken liver pate that had French wine in it, and defrosting some (possibly French? who knows?) chicken from the freezer.
Tomorrow is the Four Colly (or Calling) birds. I will have at least four birds present, but I doubt if they'll be "colly" (black), nor Calling.
Saturday, five gold rings... hmm.... will have to think about that. Something in the table decorations, perhaps.

Anyway, time to go and reheat some turkey, gravy, assorted veg and so on.

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 I must have been good, because there was a stocking full of chocolate and card-making toys.
There was a light but delicious breakfast.
There were more pressies, and there was Cooking.
There was feeding of in-laws, and the Overcaterers Anonymous membership remains valid.
There was silliness involving bagpipes.
There was clearing up, stripping of turkey carcass, and a clean, tidy, peaceful house.

Tomorrow, I expect to entertain figurative turtle doves - parents will be round, after deciding to spend yesterday having a quiet Christmas with just the two of them together. Apparently I am not allowed to feed them more than a cup of tea and a "nibble". We'll see.

Now, time for a gentle read before bedtime. I have two new bears to keep me company, I have Latin fairy stories, I have poetry books, I have interesting SF, I have new Pratchett. What shall it be?
Christmas is a time for tradition, and reliving of childhood. "In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit."
Good night.

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New exercise thing - tried out the "free jogging" on the Wii Fit. Lowest duration is 10min, so I nearly didn't bother, since obviously I won't be able to keep it up for that long. Oh yes, I did! Covered 2.4km, it tells me, though since that's jogging on the spot (lounge isn't that big), it isn't the same as 2.4 "real" km.

It also asked me to guess how much I weighed, in stone. Anyone following along will know that I quite deliberately don't know how much I weigh in stone, since I'm pretty sure the answer will depress me. So I guessed at what I thought was an optimistic figure, and was told I was wildly wrong. OK.... I'm feeling pretty cheerful, I can probably cope, go on, tell me? The answer was a stone lighter than I'd guessed. I may even start being able to think about it without wanting to hide under the bed soon. I still refuse to add four and see how much I weighed to start with, though.

In other news, we're clearing the lounge ready for the new three-piece suite, and the carpet that we might as well do at the same time, and the decorating that might as well happen while the place is empty. An awful lot of books that we have on e-copy, or are so out of date as to be useless, went with my dad to a charity shop last night (our little car wouldn't have coped).

Remember I entered a card-making/paper-craft competition a while back? I won! £25 bag of goodies is heading my way, and the magazine will have a picture of the pretty thing I made.
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There's an extra reason to do so this time. Diane Duane just had her online bank account emptied. To do a fast top-up, you can buy her e-books at 20% for a bit. We win, she wins. Her post on the subject (complete with discount code) here: http://dduane.tumblr.com/post/15730901392/whoopee-somebody-emptied-our-bank-account-today
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That was a first for me, reading a book and feeling strongly enough about it that I went over to Amazon to post a review. Others have done the same, and expressed similar feelings.

I saw it in Waterstones last week, and grabbed it - yes, hardback not paperback. Mistake.

Here's the review I put up on Amazon.
Read more... )
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Well, it must be. Everyone knows that if you start a book with an info-dump, the readers get bored. If you start with no action, or dialogue, just the thoughts of your PoV character, you have no hope. Do that for many pages, showing facts that anyone who's read the previous books knows anyway.... so how come two hours later I come back up out of "I shall wear midnight", stiff and aching because I haven't moved in that time except to turn pages, and crying slightly at the last word? Using magic to write a book is cheating, and I think you did that.
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My dad came round yesterday and delivered the presents from the baby sister down in Devon (having taken ours down to her - this was all meant to happen at Xmas, but snow intervened). My favourite sort of present: one bottle of home-made sloe gin, several puddings and pasties (since she's great at baking, especially savoury), a frozen rabbit from a supplier who catches them with ferrets, so no pellets to dodge, and a fun little book she'd found in a charity shop - "Buddhism for Bears".

Also, my Amazon parcel arrived, and I started on "The Tao of Pooh" over breakfast.
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Signal boosting this one! Baen are offering the complete Miles as FREE ecopy, including Cryoburn that isn't even available yet! Free. No catches, a variety of formats.
I am busily downloading... I've got them all in hard-copy of course, and I'll get Cryoburn once it's available, but ecopy as well - squee!!!

Edit to add: if you were wondering if it's really the whole of Cryoburn, right to the end: yes, it appears to be. Do NOT make my mistake of scrolling to the end to be sure, there's a mega-spoiler right there in view in the last paragraph or so.
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Much sneezing has occured, and there's been a distinct shortage of energy and enthusiasm. At this rate I probably won't go and infect Maddie and gang tomorrow.

Finished the "previous" Katherine Kerr book while sitting up at in bed at about 4am trying to get my breathing working again. Then went back to the new one, and still didn't understand it. Checked the covers. The new one is number 7 in the series. The one I just re-read is number 5. Sigh.... off to Amazon to acquire number 6, and an O'Reilly book on MySQL stored procedures I rather fancied.
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I knew I had one "Love to shop" voucher left, last remnants of providing medical samples for Unipath. We were tidying up, and discovered four more. About the only place I'm likely to spend them is Waterstones, and that's about 20 yards from where I work. Wandered in at random over lunch with a friend from the office, started comparing notes on what we like, what we'd read... and sort of accidentally spent my vouchers, and a bit extra.

So which one do I start with? Pulled out of the bag in no particular order, we have:
Katherine Kerr, "The Silver Mage"
Robert Jordan "The Gathering Storm"
Seanan McGuire "Rosemary and Rue" (bit of a surprise that, I have no idea what it was doing in Waterstones, the British price has been stuck on with a label)
Iain M Banks "Look to Windward" (having played in a game set in the Culture at Furnace, I though I'd try reading some, and the aofermentioend friend suggested this as a place to start.)

Edit: I suppose I should really finish off "A Clockwork Orange" first.
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Yesterday I spent my lunchbreak investigating Hitchin market. Looks like Friday is the books & antiques day - it can't be this good all the time, surely? I expect most of my FL heard the "SQUEE!!!" noises - well, depends on how good your telepathy is. Anyway, one of the things I picked up was "Maypole Dances" by "W. Shaw", copyright '54. It has detailed descriptions of dances, and the sheet music for all of them. Now, while I love the thing just "because", I suspect there are are people on my FL who could make actual use of it, which I can't. So, would anyone like it? It's a bit bigger than A4, but should post easily enough.
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Friday, Dave phoned me in the morning to say he'd be working later than expected, was pissed off with life, and would like to spend the evening sitting on the patio with a bottle of white wine. I looked at the weather, and what was in the fridge. He got to have a three-course dinner on the patio, complete with white wine in a chiller and the freshest possible salad: the lettuce is growing right there on the table, pick what you want.

Saturday, we hit the garden. We weeded the front border, and put more spring bulbs in the gaps between the daffs (then took some pics of flowers).
Daff borderDaff macroPansy

We managed, for the first time, to hang washing on the whirligig rather than indoors.
We went and got a growbag and a mini-greenhouse designed to sit over it, assembled it, and found it to be a perfect fit next to the existing mini-greenhouse (with shelves, more suited to the seedlings and aforementioned lettuce).
My herb bed has been tidied, and a Big Pot planted with the things that can't go in there: prostrate rosemary (because the main bed seems to have got Kill-all-rosemary-itis), two sorts of mint, and some oregano to act as "ground cover".
Herb pot
Main hedge has been trimmed, and the end tree (dead) cut out.
We saw butterflies!
Tortoisehsell on daisy
The various bird feeders have been refilled.

We then ate the lamb stew that had been simmering in the slow cooker, and pulled out some bits to go on the BBQ on Sunday.

Sunday, up early, but going "ow, bits of me hurt, we did a lot yesterday didn't we?" Went round the local car boot sale, paying next to nothing for various useful things - then realised that the weather, while still dry and sunny, was now too cold for a BBQ.

So, Spring now seems to be over, having lasted about 36 hours.

Incidentally, one of the things I picked up for "not much" was a Borrowers omnibus. I'd loved those books as a kid, found a scruffy paperback copy of one recently, and been hoping to find others, so getting the whole lot as a non-scruffy hardback was great. Yes, I did finish reading it before lunch.
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Another ting I've been meaning to rave about, only I was too busy giggling. Chris lent me these after Burns Night, and sometime I'd better let him have them back..

Toby Frost: Space Captain Smith, GodEmperor of Didcot, and Wrath of the Lemming Men.

Science fiction: the British Space Empire, in the 25th century, complete with stiff upper lips, and tea. It has plot, it has fun characters who I care about, it also takes the P out of all sorts of SF and British cliches, and plays "spot the reference" with just about every other genre in existence. Picking up the "Lemming Men", within a few pages I find Watership Down, Azimov, Thomas the Tank Engine (all right, so this is Thomas the Difference Engine), Doctor Who, and "Allo, Allo". I've probably missed quite a lot, too - apparently there's an Archers reference that I don't remember seeing in there somewhere.

Poetry meme

Mar. 2nd, 2010 10:50 pm
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Apparently the rules are 'When you see this post, post a poem'. I'd been meaning to rave about a book my kid sister gave me in any case: "How to be well-versed in poetry" is a brilliant work that explains every possible poetic form (and some previously deemed impossible) by means of examples, most hilarious. This is an extract from a sample Ballad, by Paul Griffin.

He hadna writ a line or twa,
A line but barely trey,
When he scratched his heid, and cried out loud:
'Why do I talk this way?'

'Why do I break into Scottish brogue
When Scots is what I'm not?
And if I'm going to write some more
Shouldn't I have a plot?

'The reason I break into Scottish brogue
And sail this perilous sea
Is the helpful rhymes; as anyone kens
Wha gleeks wi' half an ee.'


He's laid his pen upon his lip,
And he's looking quite perplexed;
Oh, that's because he doesna ken
What on earth comes next.
janewilliams20: (geek)
Someone, somewhere, was saying it would take far too long to read, so as usual for me, I wondered, and wanted facts. A bit of Googling suggests it contaisn about 525,000 words. At 1000 words a minute, that's 525 minutes, or 8 3/4 hours. Get home at six, start reading, you'd put it down at about 3am. Better call it two evenings if you're being sensible. Quite big, but hardly a problem, surely? The run time of the film trilogy is 681 minutes, and that misses a lot.
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(From [livejournal.com profile] winterbadger, who apparently got it from facebook. And since my LJ posts get fed to FB, back it goes!)

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.
How do your reading habits stack up?

Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read at least once. If you've read something several times, put 'xx'. If you've never read it, but you've seen version of it adapted for television or film, put a 'y'.
(I'll add one more code - if you've at least started reading it, try a Z)

Read more... )
OK, 53 got Xs, 7 got Zs.


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