hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Following on from yesterday's theme of doing things normal people do, James called me this evening. He has a cold, and he said he understood that it's also a normal person thing to talk to people you love when you're ill.

Then he said, "But I don't know what to talk about! What do the normal people say? I suppose it wouldn't be normal for your boyfriend to ask how your husband is."

I answered him anyway. (The answer is that Andrew's busy with what has become his traditional Sunday; getting this week's podcast episode edited.)
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Today James and I went to a Turkish restaurant where all the starters were the sort of thing you'd expect -- hummus, stuffed vine leaves, etc. -- but the mains were pizzas. The vegetarian pizza I got had halloumi and feta on it. And red peppers and tons of fresh basil. It was really tasty. I had a glass of merlot too. We marveled that it was like a proper date thing, "like normal people do." It was nice.

I know this is a bit "short declarative sentences" like ten-year-olds are told not to write in their essays any more, but it's late and I just got home and I didn't sleep last night so this is all there is.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
My timetable for spring semester isn't nearly as bad as the fall one. I'm back to a decent "one or two things a day" schedule that works best for me -- with one problem that I knew I could fix. I even had a day off! It made me smile to see it was Thursday.

When James and I started talking and first arranged to meet up, it was I think a Monday. It was the beginning of one of the three-day conferences my work ran at the time, which makes for a pretty intense week for someone who was only employed for three days a week (some weeks I worked a lot less, which made up for these weeks where it was more because I had to hang around in the evenings). The upshot of this was that the first day I'd be free to see this person I suddenly wanted to see what Thursday. And he didn't work Thursdays.

This, especially combined with him visiting me during a hellscape of things going wrong at home which happened to occur on the next Thursday, seemed to establish a pattern of one of us visiting the other on Thursday. We traded off but it often worked out better for me to travel, and I got into a nice routine: leave the house by the time In Our Time is done, maybe get recognized at the train station for always asking for tickets to this weird place, buy snacks for the train journey, go for lunch when I got to Brighouse, then nap/go to the pub/listen to cricket/go to the cinema or whatever, and I'd usually get the 8:32 train home, which would get me back in time to go to bed.

It worked great for a few years but now James on Thursdays. This job seems better for him in every way except that, and even that isn't bad because he has weekends off like normal (when he had Thursdays off it was because he worked Saturdays, and he missed out on stuff his friends were doing because of that). But it does mean I have to wedge my visits into weekends, which means no routine, less reliable trains, and more stuff for me to juggle in my schedule (like, since June I have worked on Sunday mornings).

But even though it doesn't mean anything any more -- we both work on Thursdays now! -- I still thought of this and smiled when I saw that Thursday was my day off at uni.

Well. Provisionally. I knew I had to change that one thing. And I figured The Law of Sod would mean it'd end up changing to a Thursday. I finally sent the email to sort it out today, and when the reply came back...yep, I can choose one of two other times but they're both on Thursday. Ah well. No full days off, but this is still better than the alternative.

New year

Jan. 1st, 2018 07:11 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I didn't think I had any New Year's resolutions, but it turns out I'd really like to write every day (in hope of getting my book done, but writing here also counts), and read every day (especially paper books, because I have such a backlog of ones I want to read, going back at least to last Christmas).

So there might be more potentially-boring diary-ish entries here, for days that I can't face working on the book. You can't say you haven't been warned.

The best thing that happened today was getting to hear [personal profile] magister's voice a little; he called [personal profile] miss_s_b when she was brushing her teeth so she put him on speakerphone, and then came down the stairs to where Andrew and I were, so I got a little bit of an update on how he's doing, which was so nice after not having had more than the odd text message for the last fortnight.

It had been a strange New Year's Eve, being at his house as we have done for many years now (at least one where he and I weren't a couple yet so that must make this the sixth?), and watching the Doctor Who Christmas special which of course I very much associate with James, and him not being there. So it was really grounding to hear from him today.

At the end of the phone call, Jennie said "Love you" and then I said "Love you!" too, and it was one of those moments where I just marvel that this is my life, that we do both love him and we get to be some support for each other in trying to support him through the aftermath of losing his dad. It's another of the benefits of poly that doesn't occur to the people who think it's just about orgies; this level of closeness and of being able to share elements of the experience of being someone's partner is way more valuable and relevant to my polyamorous life.

RIP Jim

Dec. 25th, 2017 10:02 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Today the world lost a good man. I knew him a little but I know and love his son James very much, and I know how much of an influence he had in making that son into the person I love.

This alone would be enough reason for me to be fond of him, but I have other reasons too. I remember him being smart and thoughtful and kind, I remember the touching speech he gave at his daughter's wedding, and how obvious his love for his wife and hers for him was every time I saw them together.

I am very glad I got to know him a little, and so terribly sad for all the people who knew him better.

Four years

Apr. 22nd, 2017 08:23 am
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Just realized as I was walking the dog yesterday morning that it would've been James's and my fourth anniversary earlier this week.

Even though I lost track of the date, I do still think about how lucky I am. As I wrote when it'd only been one year:

I had a long day -- week -- of work ahead of me. I saw that I had an e-mail just as I was leaving the house that morning, so absentmindedly opened it on my phone in case it was work-related. It wasn't, it was a reply to a rather vague comment I'd left: I'd found a quote from a Terry Pratchett book that seemed to describe my melancholy rather well, and in the first comment James added another good metaphor from Hitch-Hikers about flying being a matter of aiming at the ground and missing because you got distracted, and about failing to get distracted.

When I said that I too felt like I'd been hitting the ground from a great height, I got this reply that actually stopped me in my tracks as I was just about to unlock the front door and go to work.

"If you give me a shout, I'll try to catch you," he said.

I didn't stop theatrically, I had no audience. But I had to stop because something in this sentence made me have to rearrange my worldview.

James and I had been chatting in e-mail for a week or two by this point, mostly just about how our days were going or whatever. It was nice and had helped me through some tedious times, but I hadn't thought too much about it. But now...what was this? What kind of way is this to talk? Should I be making anything of it at all? Maybe he's just being nice. But, looking back on it now I can realize that it didn't feel like that. And that I didn't want him to be just being nice.

The world looked different already by the time I finally opened the door to go to work.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
"I've served you before," the woman at the ticket counter in Piccadilly said when I said yes thanks I was fine changing at Huddersfield, I'm used to it. "Because not many people want to go to Brighouse, she explained, as if to offer a reason (maybe one that wasn't "oh yeah, you're the blind one"). "Yeah, boyfriend, Brighouse, you're an old hand at this aren't you," she said and we both smiled.

She handed me my tickets and said "poor thing, can't you get him to move closer?" My smile changed to that of someone who'd just remembered she is presumed monogamous.

But even without that, why say I should make I'm move here, why couldn't I move there? I'd love Brighouse as a place to live if it didn't mean being so far away from the rest of my friends.

Even if it weren't for the fact that we've both got established households where we are, I don't really mind traveling to visit. Yes it'd be nice sometimes to just be able to see somebody for an hour or whatever or without having to plan it, but I like the train journey (in the daytime at least) and I think the change of scenery does me a lot of good.So much that at first I was wary of how much I liked James, recognizing the possibility that part of what I liked was an afternoon's vacation from my normal life every week.

Turns out I do like that but James is even better than I thought he was at first.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
For my birthday present this year, [personal profile] magister bought my ticket to Haunted Studies: The Ghost Stories of M.R. James. We'd been along to the tail end of this last year, when [personal profile] sir_guinglain was interviewing Lawrence Gordon Clark before the showing of one of the things he directed, A Warning to the Curious. We had free wine and it was the first time I'd seen any of those "ghost stories for Christmas" kinds of things (heretical foreigner that I am; I got the box set last Christmas/birthday, though, so I shall catch up eventually and be ever-closer to a proper person, don't worry British friends), so I had a great night.

The venue added a lot to it, too: the conference was held at The Leeds Library...not a public library, a subscription library. It's small and picturesque, a great atmosphere for the kinds of people who go to M.R. James conferences -- be they academics like [personal profile] sir_guinglain and [livejournal.com profile] strange_complex or not, like [personal profile] magister and me. The four of us went along this year, and had a great time.

The four of us all went along to the whole day conference this time, and really enjoyed it. First we heard from the chief exec of the Leeds Library, an unassuming guy who told us about the history of the place -- longest-surviving subscription library in the country, able to be so because it built itself above a couple of shops that it also built, from which it gets some income. As wonderful a thing as it was, I'm glad he didn't seem at all precious about it. "You won't find a white glove in the place," he said, and the books were clearly there to be used. I hate it when you see books on shelves behind glass or otherwise reduced to a decoration, a status symbol, or a way for some kinds of rooms to tell you what they are; it makes me sad to see the books denied their useful purpose. That was certainly not the case here; we even had drinks and lunch (sandwiches and fruit were catered for everyone) in admist all the books. And readers! The library was open its usual hours (just with signs saying the New Room was being used by the conference); people were reading newspapers and chatting and taking books out as we meandered about on our breaks and lunch. By the morning break, I think, [personal profile] magister was already talking about wanting to present a paper next year, and he had a couple of great ideas for one. Conversations about which, and the kind of company and environment I was in, woke up long-dormant English-major parts of my brain and made me probably over-enthusiastically offer to help.

[livejournal.com profile] strange_complex seemed to know most of the people there, through the Dracula Society she belongs to, or I guess just living in Leeds and being the kind of person who'd like a conference about M.R. James...either way there were always friendly people to be introduced to and chat to during the breaks as well. There was also Art to look at, in the form of a work-in-progress Haunted Dollhouse (from the James story of the same name, natch) that lit up and everything, and a M.R. James-themed top-trumps card game called Monsters & Miscreants, which is even more beautiful in real life than the (somewhat-unfortunately-rendered, for me at least) website makes it look. I ended up buying a copy for [personal profile] magister (having to leave my cup of tea in a rush at the afternoon break, having heard that the guy'd almost sold out all that he'd brought with him), and the four of us ended up playing it in the pub (where I couldn't resist a pint of the Ghost ale due to the force of nominative rectitude, and very tasty it was too!)that evening before we had to catch a train back home.

It was a fun game, and it's really beautiful as well. We ended up missing our first train so had time for another pint and a lot more laughing and me shouting things like "Guardian of the Treasure!" which I'm sure made everyone in Foleys think we're even weirder than we are.

My favorite speaker of the day was Jacqueline Simpson, who talked about folklore. She started out by saying that people always expect folklore to be some grand dame telling stories to a collection of children sitting on the floor in her little cottage -- that the best stories are always thought to be two generations in the past, to have happened to our grandparents -- and ended up making me and at least one other person I chatted to think that she should be that grand dame and we wanted to hear her stories. She's also the person who co-wrote The Folklore of Discworld, which I'd read part of a few years ago, the person about whom the story that'd stuck in my mind, from the book's prologue about how Terry met her when he was going through a time of asking everybody in book-signing queues how many rhymes about magpies they knew, got a pause from her and an answer I can't remember but somewhere in the high teens. She was very interesting on the subject of how James's stories fit or differed from Danish folklore, particularly -- the padlocks in "Count Magnus" and the post in "The Rose Garden" are the ones I particularly remember (I meant to write this up much sooner, before I'd forgotten quite so much, but life has not been friendly to me lately).

My favorite part of the day was watching [personal profile] magister wander around the books in the library during all the breaks, eventually inquiring how much membership cost and how it worked. It ended up being one of those things where you can pay an instalment each month....except for the first year, which they want all of up front. I well recognized the kind of problem this left him with -- basically another kind of Vimes's Economic Law of Boots: he could pay the monthly fee easily, but couldn't pay enough to get to the monthly payments in the first place. After I checked the logistics with Andrew, though, I was glad to be able to tell him we could help him out, and that he could pay us back one month at a time. So by the wine reception at the end of this year's conference (there was no director to interview or film to watch this time; there was some kind of video art installation but basically the evening finished a lot earlier this year than it had last), he was disappearing among the books with a much more note-taking air about him, clearly piling things up in his memory to be taken out, and with many hugs and thank-yous to me for helping make this possible.

It was more than worth it to see the look on his face -- plus he's brought me along as a guest twice already now. That I live an impractical distance from Leeds is the only reason I didn't keep the membership for myself; I am in love with that place almost as much as he is I swear. Both times I've been with him to look around, I've eventually had to stop and sit and wait for him because I feel buried under the sheer weight of books I really really want to read there!

Of course I know there are other libraries available -- one at the end of my road now, for which I've even managed to get a library card (not having had one of those since I frequented Withington Library, according to the details on the computer system), but that library's not as big, not as well-loved, and not even as staffed: as with so many things, there's starting to be a big difference when you go private! Which might be there's something of a resurgance in subscription libraries (there is a lovely picture of the room we had the conference in from Leeds Library in that article).

The whole thing had got me thinking there must be a subscription library closer than Leeds...and I should've known having seen the sign for it often enough when I'm in one of my very favorite pubs in the city centre, but it's The Portico Library, which also has public areas like a gallery and a café. I've often thought I should check it out but I haven't yet.

Anyway, [personal profile] magister was showing everyone his M.R. James Top Trumps the next day, he's taken at least his own weight in books out of the library in his many trips there so far, I've not only sped through The Folklore of Discworld (liking it all the more now that I'm able to imagine bits in both authors' voices) but I'm reading other stuff thanks to [twitter.com profile] FolkloreThurs and everything it links to... I think it's fair to say this day left a pretty big impression on us. I'm really glad we got to go.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
So it turns out 70s TV The Incredible Hulk is a thing.

James and I are watching it and he says "I love how he turns into the Hulk when he gets 'angry or outraged.' "

"Good thing they didn't have Twitter then," I said.

"I was gonna say: 'Damn, someone's been misgendered!...oh shit. I really liked that shirt...' "

I then imagined a comic or something about Hulk spending his evenings mending shirts, thinking to himself "this is the one where [twitter.com profile] DHLinton got called 'a fucking feminatzi' and they thought there was a t in the middle of the word 'nazi'...this was the one I was wearing when I learned that Chibnall got the Doctor Who job, this one is where England lost three wickets in the time it took me to eat breakfast..."

The possibilities are endless.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
It's been a busy, sometimes weird, but I think mostly-good week.

Saturday I spent six hours in the car, keeping Stuart company on a road trip to pick up something drum-related. I love riding shotgun for things like this. We listened to a CD of Squeeze's greatest hits and shouted at the satnav and generally had a fun, if tiring time. When we got back I bought us takeaway and we watched a splendidly horrible 50s-style B-movie, one of those about radioactive monsters.

Sunday Andrew and I went to the cinema, I already told you about The Good Dinosaur.

Monday I seemed to spend all on buses. Andrew needed a replacement bit of his CPAP mask, which had broken on Friday night so we'd had a few nights of terrible sleep before the Sleep Service at Wythenshawe hospital was open again. The hospital's a pain to get to by public transport from here, though: you can avoid the frustration of getting unfamiliar buses and it taking two or three to get there by getting a bus that's pretty direct but only goes once an hour. I didn't mind the length of the journey there -- it winds through the part of West Didsbury we first lived in after we got married, and since I never have reason to go back there now it's strange to see things that remind me of a not-terribly-happy time in my life, when I was broke and lonely and really mental most of the time. But by the way back, after a 40-minute wait for the return bus, I was lulled by the tedium and the nights of poor sleep into dozing off and waking up at the end of the route -- which luckily is close to my friend JT's house, so I stopped in for a cup of tea and helping his six-year-old with his homework before coming back home.

Tuesday morning I was on the radio! I also had a nasty panic attack, though, and ended up being on the phone with my friend K most of the time that I was on the radio, so while I heard snippets of it (enough to be weirded out by what my accent apparently sounds like now!), I wouldn't properly listen for a couple days (I have an edited-down recording of just the bisexuality bits of the show, if anybody wants it let me know). I went to Brighouse that afternoon, where [personal profile] magister was happy to help me feel better with cuddles and food and beer. We watched documentaries about David Bowie that James had recorded the evening before. I told James thinking about Bowie had been making me want to watch Life on Mars again, because that show really helped me learn to like some of his music, and just when I was thinking this was a weird reaction James said probably a lot of people could say the same, which was nice because I felt a little less weird.

Wednesday James and I mooched around Bradford for a bit, got lunch from lovely Czerwiks with [personal profile] miss_s_b, and just as I was thinking about falling asleep for the evening, Jennie asked if anyone wanted to go to the pub quiz with her and her parents, so James and I did. It was a lovely pub, cozy and full of dogs, or at least it seemed so in the corner where we were, with Jennie's parents two lovely dogs who I'm glad I finally got to meet. We did really well at the quiz (including knowing Phil Collins was the answer to the question about two seconds after Jennie and James had mentioned him in conversation; their predictive powers didn't work so well after that, which is okay because we didn't nee them) and won some free beer, which was handy as I hadn't brought the cash I thought I had.

Thursday I came back to Manchester with James, who was on his way to see his parents. Since I got into town at just about [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours's lunchtime, we went to Koffee Pot together, and had breakfast and coffee to warm up on the bright but freezing day.

And today I've woken up to tiny patches of snow, where the sun hasn't burned them away yet, for the weather is similar. I'm waiting for a bus to take me to a friend's house: he's cooking lunch and we're going to play games, possibly even including the ones I'm bringing for [twitter.com profile] SurvivorKatie because I haven't seen her since I got her Christmas present (and even then the dog tried to chew the cellophane off so they look a bit...well-loved already, but I'm sure she'll understand!).
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
[personal profile] magister and I managed to have five or ten minutes of reasonable conversation about Jeremy Corbyn (probably not either the messiah or the death of the Labour Party, we reckon) and the future of his party (dunno yet) before something made me say "And I wish people* would stop comparing him to Bernie Sanders. He's nothing like Bernie Sanders!"

"Yeah." I was relieved to hear James agree with this. But then he added, "His brother doesn't make fried chicken."

We carried on talking about how anyone called Sanders could be Colonel Sanders because we don't know whaat Colonel Sanders' first name is, until James said he really wanted some fried chicken. This is about the level and amount of political commentary I'm happy with, right now.

* Mostly Britsplainers, but I read it in at least one American article too. Parliamentary politics is different enough from presidential politics that I find a good comparison really difficult; the best I've got this afternoon is "Nancy Pelosi but with the hype of 2008-Obama."
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
 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: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
"Very nearly" because it won't technically be two years until Saturday, but on Saturday he'll be working and I'll be painting [livejournal.com profile] haggis's kitchen, so I consider today, with pizza and Doctor Who and beer, to be a much better celebration.

This afternoon we sat in the same pub in the same place (only me sitting where he had been and vice versa) where he first said he'd like to kiss me and my life changed for the better.

Brighouse

Nov. 6th, 2014 01:38 pm
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)

For a variety of reasons, I haven't gotten the train from Levenshulme very often lately, but I'm glad I did today. The ticket seller was the old man I'm most familiar with, the one who commented I was dressed up one day and congratulated me when I said I was going out to celebrate getting a job.

Today when I said tiredly, automatically, "Return to Brighouse, please," rather than just asking if I was coming back today (often I remember to say this, but today I didn't), he said, "What's it like, this Brighouse? Is it lovely?"

"It is!" I said, excited both because that is true and because this guy was the first worker at Levenshulme train station who I taught to recognize the word "Brighouse." (All those months ago! Aww.) I think all the ones who work in the mornings are pretty used to it now, but there used to have to be lots of spelling. 

I've seen [personal profile] magister have trouble getting train conductors to understand "Levenshulme" as well, so we're even there (oonce I just showed the conductor my train ticket so she could copy off that). 

One thing I do like about getting the train from Levy, as opposed to getting the bus in and having a ticket that says Manchester, and then getting a train from Piccadilly to Huddersfield. These trains go from Manchester or Liverpool all the way to Hull or Middlesbrough or Scarborough or Newcastle, and I can tell sometimes the conductor checking my ticket has no idea of where either Levenshulme or Brighouse is, of whether I belong on this train, but they always just scribble on the ticket and hand it back to me without saying anything. But I like to think that James and I are slowly educating the Trans Pennine Express train conductors by increasing their exposure to these strange words in this combination. ‎

"Is there a house with a brig there?" this Levenshulme ticket seller asked me, back in the present. I laughed and confessed I didn't know how the place got its name. "It's a nautical term, isn't it? Brig?" he said. I agreed, but I'd been about to say that I expected it was more likely to have something to do with "bridge" (indeed for the longest time I could never remember if "Brighouse" was pronounced with a hard or soft g, and I don't feel completely stupid about this because there are places like Brigend where it does still sound like you're saying "bridge" at the beginning). 

On the train now I've looked it up, and sure enough:
The placename is recorded in the Yorkshire Feet of Fines of 1240 as "Brighuses", and means "the houses by the bridge", from the Old Norse "bryg(gia)", bridge, with the Olde English pre 7th Century "hus", house.
I don't think I can credit my exposure to first-millennium languages in the north of England (which is never as good as I'd like it to be) as much as the fact that I walk across a bridge over the River Calder every time I'm in Brighouse. 
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
So yesterday people are turning up for the wedding feast/party and milling about with drinks and such (I have now tried Pimms! it just tasted like cucumbers...) and I find myself close enough to where [personal profile] magister is standing that I hear my name so wander a bit closer and find him laughing at something someone-I-can't-remember-who-it-was said. She explains to me that she was just telling him "we'll have to get you married off", so I hide my startled open mouth behind my hand, but can't keep from giggling, and the more I think about it the funnier it gets and it takes a while for me to stop laughing.

We hadn't really thought about how this poly thing might complicate things. I only got told once that I'm probably called Janice (close enough...) and that I live in Brighouse, but people seemed to have the rough idea that we lived together and have been together possibly longer than we have. James rightly didn't want to scandalize or confuse his relatives on a day that was supposed to be about his sister, and it wasn't really a problem, but that 'we'll have to get you married off" line is still making me giggle for so many reasons.

This is the second wedding I've been to since my own and the first one I enjoyed. Probably not being invited to The Actual Wedding helped. But also enough time has passed now I think that my own doesn't make me so sad any more (I'm happy I'm married, but everything about my wedding was miserable and I hated it). I was a little wistful hearing the father-of-the-bride speech, but I realized this is more because I couldn't imagine my dad doing anything like that. I'm mostly content with the alternatives that choice and circumstance have led me to, but sometimes I I do get a twinge of longing for convention.

Then we raised our glasses in a toast to the bride and James jogged my elbow just as my glass touched my lips, sprinkling cider (we were using a lovely dry fizzy cider for champagne) all down me and, worse, making me laugh which caused more ripples in my drink that sloshed onto my borrowed posh clothes and up my nose. Yes it would be nice to do everything "right" but that's never gonna be me, and at least I was laughing.

The food was amazing. My hopes were not high when I found out it was a hog roast, but everything else was vegetarian, and there wasn't a thing I didn't devour --lentils and beetroot, new potatoes with chili flakes, green beans with some very light orangey dressing, butternut squash with a bunch of lovely stuff I don't remember (everything was really well labeled but I couldn't see the labels so James read stuff out for me and I basically forgot everything immediately after I was told), including some kind of actual nuts. And gorgeous moussaka! If aubergines were always like that, I wouldn't have to work so hard at trying to like them (I taught myself to like mushrooms cos they're in so much veggie food and that worked so well I'm now trying courgette and aubergine, with less success so far). I basically ended up eating two platefuls because James gave me his and went back for more moussaka.

Oh and our table won the quiz, much to my astonishment (not least because James, who set it, was told by his mother to fix it so someone (I can't remember who but I think it might have been the person who called me Janice) won because he'd put a lot of effort into it). We might have been at something of an advantage what with the bridesmaids being at our table so they could answer all the "how did the lovely couple meet?" kind of questions. I wasn't even paying attention because, never having even met them before, I knew I'd be useless. But my ears pricked up at the first line of Pride and Prejudice and then there was a question about Jane Eyre and the bridesmaids (and, I think, partner of one of the best mans) were dead impressed with me for knowing these things. They said if we won it'd be down to me, and indeed no one else wanted to take the wine and chocolates home so I've got them.

I had a nice drunken conversation with the Australian bridesmaid, who seems to live some kind of complicated bi-hemispherical lifestyle, about how hard, but also nice, it is to have two places you belong. James's sister said at breakfast this morning that I'd apparently made a good impression on her, which really surprised me because it turns out losing my inhibitions only makes me talk a lot of depressing garbage these days (well, it still makes me want to kiss girls too, so there's hope for me yet), so it's nice if baffling to hear that I wasn't too off-putting anyway.

I needed a brilliant weekend, to get me through the week now ahead of me. I'm glad I got it.
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
You get less cheese on toast.

When I got in from being at the pub with [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours and J, [personal profile] magister told me he was going to have some cereal and go to bed because he has to get up early tomorrow. "You haven't had anything to eat, have you?" he said.

I shook my head. I still wasn't that hungry, even after three pints which is usually enough to leave me drunk and ravenous. "Not yet, but it's okay," I said, and went to follow him into the kitchen. "I'll make some cheese on toast, or something."

"Ooh!" he said. He actually stopped in his tracks, so I sleepily/tipsily bumped into him as my trajectory carried me kitchenwards.

I snorted. "Do you want cheese on toast now?"

"Is it that obvious?"

"Yes."

I think this was the point where Andrew shouted from the living room "I want cheese on toast!" as if the idea had never occurred to him and his life was made complete by the existence of cheese on toast.

I sighed and fetched the grill pan. But we only had four slices of bread left, so I made them one each and had the other two myself, on account of this and a veggie wrap being the only things I'd eaten today. And it being me who could be bothered to make the cheese on toast.

Lucky

Jul. 9th, 2014 12:31 am
hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
I love that my life contains so many people I can phone up from a noisy pub just to ask them whether the Doctor landed on Androzani Major or Androzani Minor or both, a question I do not even understand myself, and they'll just answer to the best of their ability and tell me they love me and let me get back to what I was doing.

Profile

hollymath: Selfie: white person, three-quarter profile, smiling, brown hair shaved on the side we can see, chin-length on the other (Default)
Holly

February 2019

S M T W T F S
      1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20212223
2425262728  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags