In a brief non-raining moment last weekend zandev took some photos of the garden, which are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/zandev/
( Book list with brief reviews )
The second game was Pala, based on bidding and trick-taking. The game has six suits based on colours - three primary and three secondary - and there is an interesting colour-mixing component. It's very simple to learn (my host confirmed that he's found it to work for children significantly younger than 11) but allows for plenty of sublety in play. It also supports up to six players (edit: up to five, my mistake) which is useful. At $13 it seems good value and I'll probably buy a copy when it's available over here.
( Contains spoilers... )
Am now heading off to the Oxfam bookshop to play with some better books and do something useful with my day. Hope you are all having an enjoyable weekend.
I've been working on making the garden smell lovely, and this morning, after some decent rain last night (8mm according to my rain gauge) it mostly does. The front garden smells of rosemary with hints of lavender and also of lemon (from the monterey cypress). The back, as you enter it from the side passageway or back door, smells mainly of honeysuckle, with aromatic undertones from the herbs. Most of these - sage, lavender, mint, oregano, thyme - are lovely.
However, one corner of the garden is dominated by the pungent scent of a curry plant. It has pretty silver foliage and small yellow flowers and is attractive visually, but the smell isn't to my taste. If anyone wants it do let me know - it's 60cm wide and 30cm tall, slightly woody but with plenty of fresh growth in the centre if you wanted to cut it back hard, and it doesn't need watering or feeding. It's currently in a pot (although I'm afraid I want to keep this) so should be easily transplanted. You can see the plant in question in the last photo of this set, taken by zandev today. We seem to have lots of pink flowers at the moment.
I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Regent's Park, and sitting in a rose-covered arbour reading the current bookgroup book. If you like roses even slightly, Queen Mary's garden looks fabulous just now.
( Questions under here )
The book I love most: I'll pick from the books I actually read over and over, rather than something worthy. I like superficially light humour with hidden spikes and the authors I re-read most are Terry Pratchett, P G Wodehouse, Nancy Mitford and Barbara Pym. If I'm picking one book, I'll make it Excellent Women by Barbara Pym.
The last book I received as a gift: a lovely six volume Folio Society edition of Proust which my mother gave me yesterday. I'm confident I will start reading it at some point, but have no idea how far through I will get.
The last book I gave as a gift: Botany for the Artist by Sarah Simblet. This is very beautiful and I predict I will buy more copies, including one for myself. I met the author and saw the original drawings last summer and they are fabulous.
The nearest book: Volcanoes by Peter Francis. My study is full of chemistry and geology books.
I was late joining LJ (relative to most of my friends at least) and when I tried signing up, about the first twenty potential usernames I tried were already taken. Eventually I tried the name on the label of the cuddly toy sitting on my desk...
It's worked well enough as a username; it's not easily linked to my real name and it's memorable, although it does make me sound like a teenager. I like the fact that there are lots of free icons which work well with this username. Sometimes I consider changing it to something more grown-up, but overall I've grown to like it.
While I have some free time, I am planning to go to a few of the Thursday lunchtime concerts at the Jacqueline du Pre building. The music is good (I've been to a few before), entry is free and there is tea/coffee afterwards. Let me know if you fancy keeping me company.
We haven't finished painting the new house yet (although we are well on the way), but we have now made all our decisions about colour. I'm not sure this is of much interest to anyone else, but I wanted to note it down for future reference, so I'll post it here just in case anyone wants to read it. We haven't spent as much on paint as you might expect, as although we have bought lots from B&Q which is conveniently a short walk away, a surprising amount has come at almost no cost from Orinoco.
( Cut for the uninterested... )
Progress on the house has continued rapidly and over the last fortnight we have got the following things done (again with aid of some builders and my father):
Loft room insulated and plasterboard fitted to walls
Remaining ceilings and loft room replastered
Cork tiles on kitchen wall stripped and wall replastered
Area round front door stripped and replastered
Walls and chimney repointed where necessary
Render on extension improved so it covers the timbers
Air vent added to bricked up chimney
Broken stones in patio steps replaced
Damp patch in hallway investigated and improved (may need further work)
Textured paper stripped from one and a half bedrooms (another half still to go)
All fresh plaster given sizing coat of diluted emulsion (after drying for a week)
Twenty litres of bright white paint applied, mainly to ceilings and kitchen walls
Dining room walls sanded and filled and two coats of almond white emulsion applied
Bright pink brickwork in loft painted over with cream emulsion
New light bought and fitted in loft room
Living room curtains dry-cleaned (others to follow)
Kitchen shelves screwed back into place
Lots of cleaning up of dust and debris
Very full skip of waste removed from site
We are now having a few days of much needed holiday over the long weekend :)