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#Muslimban protest today.

I had a chance to make a sign, modeled on a piece of art my friend Maria shared from [twitter.com profile] MoonStoneClare:

Here's my version:

Here's me standing with a lot of my friends who were there (including a new friend I made because the aforementioned Maria who's in Swansea mentioned both of us as having been at the Manchester demo. She's an immigrant and she knows someone in Edinburgh who is from Wisconsin who's found out ways to help out there from over here so I look forward to picking her brains about that!).

And since I was holding my sign almost all the time ("You must have strong arms like a rower's!" Birgitta said at one point; I don't really but I do feel totally vindicated in not being able to be at yoga tonight!), I didn't take many pictures but I couldn't resist this sign. Birgitta told me people were taking selfies with him in a "now here's more than one..." kind of way but I thought a picture of just him was easier.

I'm really glad there were Lib Dems there, marching as Lib Dems. We did have someone yell something about tuition fees and call us pricks, but honestly at this point that seems so fucking quaint. When a Nazi's writing Trump's executive orders, I wish I had nothing better to care about than one mismanaged decision the Lib Dems had five years ago. Meanwhile we have 82,000 members, 3786 ("as of an hour or so ago..." says Andrew who found that figure for me, clearly expecting it to have nudged up another one or two since then!) in the last three months, and we're trying to save the country from Brexit which is more than you can say for the rest of the parties with more than 9 MPs (in England anyway).

Hywel made the point at Winter Strategy Conference that we should be out there doing these things as Lib Dems (at least some of the time; almost every Lib Dem I know has a lot of hats to wear: some of us were draped in bi flags today) and I find myself definitely agreeing. It feels so good to be part of a party that's got my back here as I'm watching my country fall apart from a distance and mostly feeling pretty helpless about it.

Garydog

Oct. 22nd, 2016 06:02 pm
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I dreamed last night that Gary the Wonder Dog died. I was away somewhere and Andrew told me. I cried and cried. I looked at pictures of him on my phone and cried. But then somehow when I got back home Andrew had been wrong and he was fine and I thought my heart would burst from happiness. (Gary has shown up in my dreams before to cheer me up and I don't think my subconscious was willing to keep him away for too long.)

Then Andrew woke me up to tell me it was late and gary'd probably want to be let outside, so I went downstairs and he didn't need a wee but he curled up on my lap under a blanket and was so warm and furry and sweet and I was so happy he's there.

And then facebook told me it'd been a year since he came to live with us. We didn't know then he'd be here for good; it might just have been for a couple of months. And I posted these pictures that day.


Happy year-with-us, Gary the Wonder Dog.

Bi election

Oct. 2nd, 2016 10:24 am
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So the UK's erstwhile Prime Minister David Cameron couldn't stay PM -- as the Indepedent wonderfully said, "He had stepped down as Prime Minister the morning of the 24 June European Union referendum result after it became clear he had accidentally taken Britain out of the bloc" -- but he didn't want to go back to just being an ordinary MP.

"It isn’t really possible to be a proper backbench MP as a former prime minister," he said, even though other people have done it. "I think everything you do would become a big distraction and a big diversion," he said. "I don’t want to be that distraction. I want Witney to have a new MP..." as if a having to fight a by-election is less distracting.

So we're fighting a by-election. The Lib Dems are rallying round, to the extent of people all over the country going along to help out, donating money, or bringing/sending essentials like homemade cake, boxes of envelopes, and a sledgehammer.

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours, Sarah and I came down for the day. It was very good of [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours to do all that driving to Oxfordshire and back in a day, especially when on the way his intermittent windshield-wiper problem became unfixable and since of course you only find problems with windshield wipers when it's raining, it rendered the car undriveable. On the side of a motorway.Handily, since we had to get out of the car and behind the barrier, there was an overpass to keep the rain off us. (Mostly; it was so noisy than when [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours was talking to his insurance people and the recovery people he had to go up to the road above us to stand in the rain just so he could hear at all.)

Here's me and Sarah, when she said "I think this calls for a selfie."And while it was cold enough for us to keep telling each other "this could be a lot worse!"...it really could have been a lot worse. The rest of the car was working fine, and [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours had been able to give enough details about the problem that we hoped the recovery people could get it fixed on the roadside in a few minutes. And we were a priority because we were stuck on the motorway.

And it did end up being a five-minute job, as we'd hoped. About an hour from when the wipers practically whipped off of the windshield, we were on our way again with them working perfectly.

Soon we were in Witney, where [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours and I soon put his sledgehammer to work, pounding stakeboards into the ground in the gardens of people who'd volunteered to have them. Other people had gotten the sort of "low-hanging fruit" and were able to do about 20 of these, we got the odds and sods of widely dispersed locations in this rural constituency ([livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours reckoned we did about 50 miles of driving around yesterday afternoon), and we had some adventures getting lost, annoying neighbors who didn't like our stakeboard, fighting with hedges, standing precariously on walls or upturned plastic bins -- even [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours wasn't tall enough not to need help reaching the top of these stakeboards!)
He took a picture of me for propaganda purposes at one point, but I really like it.It was about six o'clock and we hadn't really eaten since our road-trip food that morning (banana, cereal bar, pasty, you know how it is) so we went for a lovely meal in the nearby Como Lounge nearby, and then went back to HQ to help with clerical stuff: addressing envelopes, putting double-sided tape on window posters...not glamorous stuff but it makes a difference. I think a lot of people find it dull but it's my favorite kind of Lib Dem work really; more blind-friendly than most of it, there are usually people to chat to (or in my case usually, listen to as they're telling each other horrible puns or getting into weird conversations about past, present or hypothetical legal/political situations...normal Lib Dem stuff).

Soon enough all the locals and people staying overnight were going to the pub, and sadly we had to go back to Manchester. But not before one more photo was taken!

I'd seen someone on Twitter refer to this -- a mere spelling infelicity rather than a knowing pun -- as a bi election, so I'd said it would be when we were there, etc, and tagged all my tweets about the day with #bielection. So [livejournal.com profile] differentcolours brought along a bi flag and...Neil, who took that picture, said "If I put this on Facebook are you going to make some horrible pun about it?" and I don't know if it was a request or something he dreaded.

But of course we did!

The drive back to Manchester was thankfully less eventful than the one there had been; I got dropped off at home about sixteen hours after I'd been picked up. A long day but we all loved it, were sad we couldn't stay over, and are seriously wondering if we can make it to Witney again before the election.

Oxford

Jul. 5th, 2016 12:29 am
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Went to Oxford last weekend!

James had rung me a week before, asking what I was up to. Not a lot...why? His ex Mary had asked him if he'd wanted to go to Oxford; the tutor who helped get her through her degree was retiring, there was a fancy dinner and poetry and everything. He had to work, but suggested me and now was ringing me to see if I'd like to go.

I was sad he couldn't -- he'd gone to the same college, it was how they met, and he's been talking with me about how we should go visit anyway. But since he couldn't go, hell yes I wanted to. One of the few things he, Andrew (who had a couple of weeks at a residential summer school there when he was working on a distance-learning diploma) and Stuart (who'd lived in one of the colleges when his dad worked there, or something) all agree that I'd love Oxford; I'd never been. And I'd met Mary a few times and we got along, but she lives for away so I think I've seen her at the rate of an afternoon per year for the couple of years I'd known her so far; it'd be nice to increase that ratio a bit!

This was the view I was met with as soon as we got our keys and directions to our room and everything -- we were staying at the college, St Edmunds Hall, which is awesome and also pretty cheap if you used to be a student there (I'm already planning to take advantage of James for this purpose in the future!).

We got there on Friday evening, from our opposite directions (Mary lives in Norwich). She offered to meet me at the train station and told me exactly where she was when she got there before I did, so A++ on how to be nice to your blind friends, there. We got a taxi, got lost finding our room, unpacked and of course went straight for the student bar.

We got the one cask ale they had in plastic cups so we could sit out in the evening sun. We went to the library, which is in what used to be a church, and sat on a bench looking into the churchyard.

After nearly-sleepless nights and the terrible referendum news, and Mary in particular having a stressful journey because she had to get across London and the slings and arrows of floods, getting lost and Brexiters being horrible to her all conspired to justify the drink.

After lovely Mediterranean food at the Queens Lane Coffee House nearby (we shared a platter, and I'd forgotten how nice it was to be eating with another vegetarian so we could say "those chiles are perfectly spicy, aren't they?" and "do you think the hummus is homemade?" and just share the experience like that), and a bimble that ended in the White Horse where we swapped pints halfway through to find out which was better (answer: the Wayland Smithy (which actually looks like a pretty interesting thing itself!, from the White Horse brewery itself), it'd been a long day after an even longer night so we were in bed before too long.

We got breakfast with our room, but only between eight and nine. Which seemed barbaric but we managed to drag ourselves down to the dining hall at a quarter to nine, for mushrooms that tasted like they'd been marinated in butter and glamorgan sausages. Mary was amazed to see veggie sausages, this not being something she could've expected twenty years ago. She told me a story about the chef they had at the time, an Italian who hated vegetarians for some reason and gave one student who asked for a meat-free meal a plate of dry pasta with a fried egg on top.

It's just as well we had breakfast early, because the event we were there for started at lunchtime. We had sparkling wine as everyone turned up, Mary got to speak to her tutor and did a better job of not crying than she worried she would. This woman clearly meant a lot to many of the people there, spanning a few decades in age. It was nice to see.

People, including the tutor when Mary had a chance to say hello, seemed to think we were a couple. I saw some Looks when one of us referred to the other as "my friend" -- even though that's 100% true, of course! The nice lady sitting the other side of me at dinner asked how we knew each other, Mary said I was the current partner of her ex, and this woman said "I find that very strange, ladies" with the sort of directness that I'm so unaccustomed to that I laughed in surprise. I think we'd have been better off just letting people think we were a couple.

Then, poetry!

This was the view I had of the front of the room where all this took place. I particularly like the seventies wallpaper and deep shadows of the guy on the right; he looks like he's in a detective story. It was all terribly atmospheric. And which a nice view out on the quad.

When an English tutor retires, her students come back and read poetry, the first half mostly texts she'd taught (lots of romantics), but my favorite thing was an unexpected but lovely version of "Matty Groves" -- Mary said she was sad to learn this was one of the versions that did not end happily. She also put her head next to mine and whispered a recitation of "When You Are Old" as it was being read, which makes her a BAMF in my books. And, having decided she couldn't read the poem she wanted to without crying, and having been reassured by the tutor that she'd cry too so Mary should read it anyway, I hurriedly copied out "Surprised by Joy" on the back of the running order and she snuck into it.

That night we were thinking of going to see a Bach Mass in the Sheldonian Theatre but instead stumbled upon a "ghost walk" tour and since I loved that one in York I've been looking out for them since as a fun way to learn about some history and architecture and whatnot. Mary and I joked this one was more like a "shag tour" than a ghost tour, with a supposed lover of Good Queen Bess killing his wife to run off with her, and a teenager who killed herself after her French soldier sweetheart disappeared from down the street one day. We also didn't ingratiate ourselves too much to the tour guide, getting excited and saying stuff like "Hamlet's father?" to each other which turned out to be the dramatic reveal he was working up to. My favorite was when he was talking about this strange frieze

and told us about the imagery supposed to depict the Christian apocalypse. The star, he said, was Wormwood, which fell to earth and poisoned the poisoned the waters. "And in 1986..." he started.

"Chernobyl means 'wormwood'!" Mary said, at about the same time as I was saying "Halley's comet appeared in 1986!"

I think he wanted to add us both to the list of untimely deaths he was talking about, by that point.

The walk finished at a very narrow alley (St Helens Passage, it said on the sign, but we were told this was a polite version of Hell Passage) with a lamppost at the end of it...which of course is associated with the entrance to Narnia. But we were told there was a good pub at the end of it, called Turf Tavern because it had been built in what was the ditch just outside the city walls. We found it very nice indeed, stayed longer than we meant, and got lost trying to leave so maybe it's more like Narnia than we thought.

On Sunday morning, we went punting.

Such an Oxford thing to do! And I'd never been before. Mary hadn't since she lived in Oxford. After a few quick instructions from the boat-hire place, off we were.

Soon the perils of having a dyspraxic punter with a poor sense of direction became apparent, though! I ended up trying it myself, marveling at how stupid a means of locomotion it is to just have a big heavy long stick to get your boat around with. I'm used to kayaks and canoes, smooth and efficient. I helped my cousin's five-year-old on a kayak last summer, for goodness' sake, and she could practically get us around on her own, while remaining perfectly safe and comfortable.

It wasn't the first time that Mary had said "I'm gonna fall in!" but the last time she said it was followed with a sort of resigned-to-the-inevitable expression on her face that meant I had a little warning when she, in fact, did. The water was so cold she took a while to catch her breath, so I was worried until she could tell me she was okay. But before she regained the power of speech, I saw one arm rise out of the water, and throw one of her slip-on sandals back into the boat, at which point I knew if she was worried about her shoes she was probably okay.

She started laughing, and so did I. I could hardly move, even though I was trying to get the huge useless stick out of the way so it didn't hit her or anything, and then trying to see if there was a phone number on the little map we'd been provided from the boat hire place.

Of course there happened to be people walking along the footpath next to the river just in time to see all this. Two men were laughing and taking pictures of this


One of them shouted "If you can get over to the shore, we'll punt you back," which I thought was a very generous offer. "You'll have to tell us your number and we'll text the pictures to you," one of them said.

Mary, hoisting herself onto the shore, said, "Well, this is a novel way to pick up blokes!" got them to share a look and uncomfortably say they were gay. "So are we! That's okay," Mary said.

One of them had apparently been a rower at Oxford, he said he'd only been punting once but he was a damn sight better at it than we'd been. By this point we wouldn't have been back in time to not have to pay extra for overrunning our boat hire if they hadn't been there to save us! As we got near the place and saw other groups going out in their punts, middle-class families with Dad punting and the kids in the middle and Mum looking horrified at Mary who cheerfully greeted everyone we passed with "I fell in the river!" Their expressions reminded me of that King George line in "I Know Him": "I wasn’t aware that was something a person could do."

We'd checked out of our room just before the punting adventure, but the kind man let us back in so Mary could shower and change clothes. And then it was off to the Museum of the History of Science with [personal profile] sir_guinglain. The history of science is practically my favorite thing, and the company and conversation were just as good as the surroundings. We went for lunch and, after a couple of days in a room where the wi-fi didn't work, I felt like Mary and I were slowly re-entering a crazy new world. I started to see our lack of internet as a blessing; I think we picked the best possible weekend to be offline!

It was a perfect weekend, just what I needed. I wish all my chums suffering post-referendum could've had one like it.

Walking

Apr. 18th, 2016 09:13 pm
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Weekend before last I ended up doing a lot of walking, which was really good for me after a week of brainweasels (they've been really bad lately: I lost a couple of days to just being asleep more than I was awake, I got way behind in dishes and laundry and cooking and eating and pretty much everything, and i just felt terrible all the time, while also feeling terrible about not doing anything).

This picture of all our muddy shoes is from my new WI's walking group. The weather was good, despite appearances (it'd been rainy the day before, and a few places we went still had standing water), in that very British way weather can be good: we didn't actually get rained on, it just kept seeming like we were about to!

We got the train to Wilmslow and walked along the Bollin to Styal, a village that was built for the workers at Quarry Bank Mill, and a lot of its houses are part of the estate (now owned by the National Trust).

It was a good day: packed lunches and stopping for tea in the cheap community-run cafe instead of the posh National Trust cafe, dogs running through the mud puddles, we even saw a cow that had the bad luck to be lying right near the footpath to Quarry Bank Mill so had an audience of people wondering why she was lying on her side. When one of our WI ladies suggested she might be calving, another said sympathetically "We all know what that's like!" For all Levenshulme WI is full of some not-what-you'd-expect-for-a-WI ladies, I was the only one of the half-dozen of us who wasn't the mother of grown-up children.

I contributed to the WI-ishness cliches though by having cakes with me that I shared and people said nice things about and wanted the recipe for. Everyone I've introduced to Jack Monroe's peanut butter banana muffins to seems to love them (and these didn't even have the chocolate in, because I didn't have any; I figured they'd be perfectly nice anyway and they were!). Vegan and flourless and good for anybody as long as they can have nuts and like bananas.



The day before, I'd gone to Etherow Country Park with JT & Claire & Small T,someplace they've been a lot (it's not far from them, and Claire drives; it'd be more challenging to get to by public transport), but which I hadn't been to before. It's really nice, with level paths around the water and steeper ones going up the hills and all around. We didn't have a ton of time to spend there and with a six-year-old didn't make the quickest or most direct progress, so I didn't see as much of the hills as I might have liked but I got enough of an idea of how beautiful it is.

Small had a great time feeding the ducks and geese a stale barm cake brought along specially for the purpose.



This one had followed us along the path, which runs next to the water, for quite a way... as long as Small had bread left in his plastic bag, anyway.



And I love this picture, dad pointing things out to boy. Reminds me so much of being a kid myself.

We again had lots of dogs to admire, didn't actually get rained on, ate our picnic lunch (they brought a flask of Winter Spice Ribena, which basically tastes like mulled wine but sadly has no wine in it), took Small to a nearby children's play area where he made friends with another kid who wanted to ride on the tire swing at the same time he did, and had an ice cream. A lovely day out, all in all.

I'm keen to do more of this sort of thing now that the weather's starting to improve (...sort of, I mean; we did get hail and some places had snow last Saturday). Exercise and sunshine and company; I'm looking forward to summer.

Color

Mar. 12th, 2016 08:29 pm
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I dyed my hair purple a week or two ago.



I loved that color (slightly to my surprise! purple isn't what I'd normally go for first, but I didn't choose this; I got it from a friend who had too little left to dye her own hair again but it was the perfect amount for mine), but it started fading almost immediately.

Now it's got very faint traces of purple, but is mostly kind of silvery-grey that makes me (and Andrew, who told me this without knowing I was already thinking it) think maybe this is what I'll look like when I'm old.

It's better than the "brassy" blond I was otherwise, seeing as how no matter how I bleach my hair it never goes lighter than orange!
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Gary and I have spent most of the day lying/sleeping on the couch.

I dragged one of the duvets downstairs and Andrew came over to tuck us under it (Gary has a Spike-esque love of being under blankets, especially head-first so sometimes you can see his tail sticking out and wagging gently).

"Funny, isn't it," I said as he draped the duvet over us, "as soon as you start your oh-noes-immunosuppressant-everyone-stay-away drugs, everyone else in your household gets sick." I've got Yet Another sinus infection; Gary probably ate something he shouldn't have off the ground on one of his walks the other day.

yahrzeit

Nov. 24th, 2015 01:35 pm
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Ten years ago my brother died.

It was in the early hours of the morning on Thanksgiving. He'd been out with friends for a drink, because all his old high school buddies were back in town for the holiday. It was only five miles drive home.

He wasn't drunk, the roads weren't bad, the weather wasn't bad. It was just one of those things.

It bugs me that almost no one I know now ever got the chance to meet him. My life has changed so much that it feels completely disconnected, and I'm going around mourning something no one else understands, a holiday they don't even here, something that I've never really known how to deal with.

I don't have a lot of words, but I scanned and uploaded some pictures a day or two after he died, when we were getting a collection of them together to be shown at the visitation and funeral. Here they are, with what I said about them to my LJ audience in 2005.


Read more... )
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My mom left the gold hard hat as the centerpiece of the dining room table until I got home to see it. For once it's my dad who thinks something's silly and her who's sticking up for it.

I'm so glad I got to see it; it's awesome. Not just spray-painted gold, but bedecked with stickers too.



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 photo IMG_20150424_144240.jpg

Having told [personal profile] magister I'd rather do things than have things as presents, he arranged for us to go visit his sister and brother-in-law, who live in Hove, for a long weekend.

Yes, nowhere near my birthday. I knew it'd be in the new year. March was the first time everybody's schedules coincided and trains conspired against us then, so it got pushed back a month. Which seemed devastating at the time (my ambitions for this year having led me only to frustration and the conviction that nothing was ever going to get better and I wasn't capable of any of the tasks confronting me...in other words, I really really needed a break), but probably meant we had nicer weather for it than we would've otherwise. Which is good since our interests are mostly wandering around, looking for bookshops and nice pubs and parks to sit in and suchlike.

We arrived not long before James's sister and brother-in-law finished work on the Thursday. I'd seen their house extremely briefly when we were there for their wedding last summer, but this time it really left an impression on me. I loved almost everything about it: the black-and-white paving on the front walk which I said reminded me of dazzle ships, the wooden floor, even how white all the walls were painted.

Having helped and talked with my friends a lot about decorating lately I am compulsively noticing the color of everyone's walls, but I think this would've been striking anyway: everything was white. Which my fellow DIY friends have both described as "cold" or "clinical" lately, but to me this looked simple, clean and elegant and bright, especially with the ridiculous amounts of sunshine that greeted our arrival. I spent the whole weekend admiring this and wanting to make it work in my house, though I fear we, and our house, are too scruffy to pull it off.

I do want these shutters, though.



This isn't a great picture of them (oh look, there's my finger in the corner of the shot; I am so good at this) but hopefully you get the idea. They can be folded over the windows, and the slats on each section can easily be turned to whatever angle you want, too. It'd get rid of the horrible net curtains (which Andrew insists on but I hate), would keep us from slowly pulling the horrible curtains off the horrible curtain hooks, and just make me really happy, I think.

Our white room had (in addition to more of these shutters) a lush white duvet and white towels neatly laid out on it when we arrived. I could easily have believed I was staying in a B&B. Only it was, for me, way better than a B&B: it wasn't bed and breakfast, it was bed and dinner. I got my own cornflakes and tea for breakfast, but I couldn't help with dinner beyond the extent to which hanging out in the kitchen with a glass of wine and chatting was help. Of course there are few things I love more than someone else cooking for me, but even so I luxuriated in the food and drink I got this weekend.

[personal profile] magister and I even managed to find a great Italian restaurant that gave us simple food made from amazing ingredients at a price that didn't make our poor northern wallets cry. (Poor James was horrified at the price of the beer we got while waiting in London between trains, and at everything in Brighton. I knew Brighton was as bad as London but this kept coming as a shock to him.)

That was on the Friday, when we were on our own while normal people were working. We walked from Hove to Brighton. Having been given the directions "go to the seafront and turn left," we only realized when we left the house that no one had exactly told us what direction the sea was in. James said we could stop and ask anyone and I said I was not going to go up to a stranger and say "Where is the sea?" Anyway we struck out and found we were heading in more or less the right direction.

We walked along the seafront until I started recognizing stuff from the other time I've been in Brighton, Autumn Liberal Democrat Conference in 2012. I loved Brighton then: getting up at eight to be on the LGBT+ Lib Dems stall by nine, talking to people all day who thought we already had equal marriage or wondering what the acronym stood for, wanting all of Jen's badges (especially "Vince was right" and "coalicious," though), getting Jeremy Browne's photo taken in front of our banner holding a little teddy bear, forgetting to eat, arguing with people on one subject and agreeing vehemently with them on the next, shouting Awkward-Squad things in the debates, having someone (probably [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours remind me to eat, going back to [livejournal.com profile] plumsbitch's where I was staying, where he'd have likely made something amazing to eat and we'd stay up until four in the morning drinking wine, listening to music, chatting...and then I'd wake up at eight again the next morning and start the whole process over again. I was almost dead by the end of it, especially after Glee Club that last night, but I loved it.

So anyway, I knew by the time we walked past the cinema it was time to turn left again, off the seafront, because after that it was just tat and fish-and-chips shops, so we walked down what I now know is Queens Road and found a secondhand bookshop and two chocolate shops on the same road. I bought myself a book there on the history of women in the Middle Ages, and then I bought a bunch of chocolate -- I didn't know Montezuma was based in Sussex but having learned this I now think they're keeping all the best stuff for themselves. We bought white chocolate for [personal profile] miss_s_b and mint chocolate to share because that's my favorite, and oh man it was the best mint chocolate I've ever had in my life.

After the lovely Italian lunch, we went to the toy museum.



It was only little, and I was expecting a lot of stuff-I-didn't-recognize, but they had a bunch of trains too so that was all right.





But I got nearly as excited about the freight trains as the passenger ones; my sentimentality about trains knows no limits.





I took this picture thinking I don't know what the Great Dorset Steam Fair might be, but it sounds like I'd like it:



There were dolls and toy kitchen appliances and baby buggies there too, but we of course ignored all that stuff.

We got a bus back and spent a quiet afternoon with TMS on the internet-phone-radio. Helen came home from work, we all went to the pub and then had Lebanese takeaway, which was gorgeous. And an early night, because we're rock-and-roll that way.

Saturday morning we walked to Brighton again, going a different way so that we could look in on Sussex Country Cricket Ground, which we'd seen signs for the previous day and we'd even checked if they had cricket we could go see, but the last match had ended on Wednesday. Still we walked up to it and poked around a bit, took a peek at the grounds through a fence, found an open door and admired some action shots of cricketers and plaques with the names of all the chairmen and captains and England players for the county until someone heard us and told us in the most polite British way to go away, so we did.

On to Brighton, then.

We walked through some markets that seemed half-Camden and half-Longsight to me. There was a shop with a couple of t-shirts I liked, though; one James suggested I get for Andrew that said "Normal People Scare Me" (which would've been true but not at all in the sneering-goth way it was intended by the look of the rest of the shop) and one I wanted for me so much that I'm really sad they only had one in a tiny size.



"It's not about how you look, it's about how you see" seemed particularly apt with me using my still-novel white cane a lot and making tons of comments about how the numbers on buses were easier to see and James noting that I got a lot of double-takes when I walked down the street with my cane in one hand, looking down at my phone in the other. He said he really wanted to stage-whisper at me "You're supposed to be blind!" but didn't because he knows I don't have much of a sense of humor for these things. But we both agreed that's a shame, because it would've been really funny. I worry enough about being thought a scrounger or faker as it is anyway, though, because I use it some-but-not-all the time and because I do stuff (like stare daggers at people who sneak in front of me in queues thinking I won't notice) that "gives away" that I can see at least a little.

We did eventually walk down the pier, either because we hadn't before or because the amusement arcade in it featured toilets we could use; I can't remember which. I didn't take a picture of the almost-life-size plastic cows or the tables with legs that look like cow legs this time, because I was pretty sure I had done that last time, but I couldn't resist a photo of the tin-can-knocking-over game which was decorated with minions.



(For anyone who hasn't seen Despicable Me, this video will illustrate why I wouldn't think you'd want to remind carnival-game players of that movie:


)

Also, at the end of the pier, there was a wagon with steps leading up to it wherein, apparently, you could get a tarot reading.



Ivor. Ivor the tarot wagon.

I bought overpriced doughnuts because they smelled so good, and we ate them walking back up the pier and watching people in those bungee-jump chairs which I'm always tempted to try, but I didn't think they'd be very good on a day when I was wearing a dress.

I did enjoy Brighton, but I felt a bit out of place, too. It's very white and very middle-class, and I'm...not. I mean, I am white, of course, but I feel uneasy in such overwhelmingly white company. I know Brighton prides itself on its diversity but I also know people who find it frustrating or damaging because they're too far from the white, straight, cis, non-disabled norm: being gay is okay but being anything else seems less so, and heaven help you if you're more than one other thing. I had a nice visit and I'd happily return, especially to the generous and accommodating company of James's sister and her husband, but it did make me appreciate my scruffy, beloved Levenshulme all the more on my return.

Plus, the water doesn't taste like metal here.

Saturday night we had a barbecue: lamb koftas for the others and mushrooms and halloumi and corn on the cob for me. Well, I think they all had all those things too! Then we watched a movie from a set James had picked up in CEX that day. It was called Homecominmg and it was completely amazing. Very funny, in that way that horror movies sometimes are which may or may not be intentional. It's about a thinly-veiled version of the U.S.'s recent wars in Afghanistan/Iraq, full of cynical, bald-faced lying politicians who are shown up when soldiers start coming back from the dead as zombies who want nothing more than to...vote for someone else to be president. I thought I'd seen every possible take on zombies but zombies voting absolutely charmed me. I loved it. And considering how much my horror-loving friends overlap with my politically-involved friends, I think a lot of people I know would like it too.

Then we went to bed early and woke up early and spent most of yesterday traveling back. Getting the trains to and from London via Brighouse was ace -- the Grand Central trains there are cheaper and better than the Virgin trains from Manchester in every conceivable way, except it does mean it's a long day for me if I make the whole journey back at once. But we broke it up a bit with an hour in Brighouse, with a late lunch from the chippy and a nice pint of beer in our favorite pub there, basking in sunshine the likes of which we'd not seen in the last couple of days by the seaside, no doubt an indication again that Yorkshire is God's chosen county.
hollymath: (Default)


Lady and small child carefully examining this train which has just pulled into the station.
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I'm sure it's purest coincidence that it was the train conductor I immediately thought was cute (she clearly had a sense of humor) who left me a heart on my ticket.

me

Sep. 17th, 2014 11:39 pm
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Here's a picture of me at [personal profile] magister's sister's wedding. I rather like it.

 photo wedding-1.png

(There's another one I like of the very brief period between where James asked if I wanted to dance and when he said "I don't like dancing." The photo's taken from a crazy angle that makes my looking-up-at-him-thinking-you're-too-tall expression look even more ridiculous than my expressions normally are. But I like that one, too.)
hollymath: (Default)
cake with candles spelling out "happy birthday" and a big sparkler-thing shooting out fire

[livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours got this amazing sparkler-thing for my birthday cake. People were looking nervous and leaning away from it; that's how you know it's good.


me in a jumper that says "happy holly days", standing under some "happy birthday" bunting

[livejournal.com profile] greyeyedeve coerced me into buying this jumper months ago, saying I had to wear it around my family for Christmas. I wore it for my birthday too, because what more of a Holly day could there be?
hollymath: (Default)


Here's a picture of Margaret and Cathy, the first same-sex couple to be married in the state of Minnesota, just after midnight on the first day they were allowed to, running to greet the second couple, Al and Jeff.



How long had these guys been waiting to get married? The greater-than-usual average age in pictures where new kinds of marriage have been legalized is just heartbreaking, but I'm just glad they were finally able to. Another couple's story: "They met as neighbors in an apartment complex 20 years ago." "They met at the University of Wisconsin in 1976. They both became teachers." "They had already raised twin boys and have been together for 33 years."



Some of the stories... "These guys met after one of them moved to London. He forgot his jacket in Minnesota, went back, and never left again." Imagine!

A wedding in sign language!



With the best applause:



I am so happy for them all, my heart feels like it could burst. I'm so happy this is happening in my state. Finally.

Snaps

Jul. 22nd, 2013 08:29 am
hollymath: (Default)
I come back home to a pile of dishes, laundry, bins to be taken out, floors to be swept, the Weekly Call with my parents featuring an extra-special helping of racism this week. I've got work this morning -- I've got a ton of work to do this week, actually. It's already hard to remember my long weekend away, and easy to remember how stressed and busy and tired I was before it.

But then I look at this picture, and feel better.



I took this on Saturday afternoon, when after a day and a half of wandering around Edinburgh we laid on a grassy slope in Princes Street Gardens with ice cream from that white tent you can see at the bottom of the photo. After a little while of watching the people mill around down there like brightly colored ants, I happened to lift my gaze and had to grin at the unexpected sight. I'm not in Manchester any more!

Thank goodness.


Since I'm getting pictures off my phone, here are some from Tuesday when I went to the new Sea Life Centre near the Trafford Centre with [livejournal.com profile] ejbigred.



Turtles!



Seahorse!



There were also two seahorsses wrapping their tails around each other's, twisting lazily and gracefully in the water, which was much more interesting to watch, but came out lousy in the photo.

If you're diffrentcolours, look away now. )

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Holly

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