Snow day

Jan. 18th, 2013 03:11 pm
glittertigger: (Glitter tigger)
There was lots of snow in Banbury this morning, so my employer closed up the site at midday and sent us all home. I had a couple of unnerving skids on the way, but am unharmed and the garage up the road just checked over the car which is fine too. So now I can relax and enjoy a long snowy weekend :-)
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I've been trying to keep our garden wildlife friendly and am pleased with how it's going. We had a hibernating hedgehog, which has now wandered off somewhere. We have lots of bees. There are birds (coal tits I think) in the nestbox. The pond is full of frogs and their spawn, and I also found frogspawn in a puddle, which I have relocated to the pond. I haven't seen any field mice yet this year, but I doubt they've vanished. And the red kites hover hungrily overhead...

In a brief non-raining moment last weekend [ profile] zandev took some photos of the garden, which are at
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I've just had lunch with some of the nice people from mySociety and they asked me to publicise that they are currently recruiting for several IT roles. Most of these are mainly home-based with occasional days in a London office.
glittertigger: (Writing tigger by monstericons)
I've had a bad cold all of this year so far (it almost goes away, leaving me just tired and sniffly for a couple of days, then slowly builds back to the feverish/achy/can't-sleep phase, then back round the cycle) so not having much physical energy, I've been spending lots of time reading. Inspired by [ profile] triskellian posting a list of everything she read last year, here's what I've read so far this one. Non-fiction first (not much of it, as I haven't had the brainpower to tackle any science books) followed by fiction in alphabetical order, with a high trash quotient owing to the aforementioned feverish cold.

Book list with brief reviews )
glittertigger: (Goth tigger)
I've just seen this awesome parody poster. I wish this muppet film really existed.
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I spent Friday evening testing two new games from the Cambridge Games Factory. The first was Montana which uses poker hands to bid for control of areas on a map. We played with 3 and 4 players and the maps for different numbers of players seemed well-designed, and the scoring mechanism fairly simple and well-balanced. I didn't see the point of the custom five-suit pack of cards, although the pretty graphics were fine. I would have preferred a traditional pack, so that you didn't need to recalculate all the probabilities, which didn't add significantly to the game. I enjoyed it but I'm not sure I'd play it enough to justify the $23 dollar price tag.

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.
glittertigger: (Writing tigger by monstericons)
I had good intentions for this morning, but it was raining and I felt lazy, so I spent it reading a Ben Elton book recently passed on to me by a friend. She did warn me it wasn't his best work - I must learn to listen to these warnings...

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.

Book abuse

Jul. 21st, 2011 01:57 pm
glittertigger: (Writing tigger by monstericons)
I just left a book out in the rain and am feeling guilty, not least because it belongs to [ profile] zandev (sorry!). Is there a special region of hell for people who drown books? Thankfully it's a hardback with a water-resistant cover and is still readable. It's a copy of Wireless, a collection of short stories by Charles Stross, which I started reading when [ profile] mr_snips told me it contained a Wodehouse spoof involving sex robots in space. Which is true. However, he also warned me that the story was terrible, which is true too. Don't blame me if you read it anyway.

A good day

Jun. 30th, 2011 09:59 pm
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Today has gone well so I thought it was worth recording. I supervised getting electrical issues fixed in two staircases at the flats (two more to go tomorrow), watered both my garden and that of our downhill neighbours (they are lovely and do the same for us when we are away), got some housework done, recycled a big pile of old paperwork, found a fabulous purple hat in a charity shop, had a successful shift at the Oxfam bookshop (the fools left me and [ profile] a_llusive to run it, and we did just fine) with the highest end-of-day total I've seen yet, and arrived home to the smell of sausages cooking and a gorgeous view of the sunset out of our back window. I'm now off to curl up with a glass of wine and a Pratchett book.


Jun. 11th, 2011 02:15 pm
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While drinking a cup of tea, I've just been watching a field mouse, just like the one in this picture, foraging through a pile of pine cones at the bottom of the garden. I thought they were meant to be nocturnal? I give this one a very short life expectancy unless it learns a bit more caution. (I don't have a problem with them living at the bottom of the garden; they have a nest down the side of the shed and normally seem to head off into the graveyard to forage, and show no interest in heading towards the house).
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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 [ profile] zandev today. We seem to have lots of pink flowers at the moment.

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I'm still expanding my herb collection and bought a chocolate peppermint plant today, at Silvester's (on Magdalen Road). It really does smell of After Eight mints. Why haven't I come across this before?

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I spent much of yesterday at the seminar organised to coincide with the release of the results of the London Earth survey, which was all very interesting (if you like geochemistry). I was there for personal interest and it was refreshing to listen to presentations without trying to record every last bit of rambling. The reason for choosing the date amused me; they were trying to avoid the Wedding but had to book somewhere before the date had been announced, so they picked Friday 13th as the one date the wedding couldn't possibly be on.

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.
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People who have been tagged should write the answers on their blog and replace any question they dislike with a new, original question. If you read this and have the time and interest to do it yourself, consider yourself tagged...

Questions under here )
glittertigger: (Writing tigger by monstericons)
The book I am reading: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. I recently enjoyed The Diamond Age but am not getting on quite so well with this.
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.
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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.
glittertigger: (Folk tigger)

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.

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Our office challenge this afternoon is to find ten band names relating to forestry. So far we've got three. Anyone got any ideas?
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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... )

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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 :)

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