Sunday, September 30, 2007

Caption Competition

Originally inspired by Carmi over at Written Inc, I throw these caption competitions in on the weekends - if I can find a suitable picture.

I think this is eminently suitable :-)Pandora (18) is on the right and Charlie (2) is on the left. This is the only time I have ever seen them quietly eating side by side. Normally Charlie is fed around the corner!

Pandora is a delicate little old lady (18 is 85+ in cat years), a very clever cat but with an evil personality. Charlie is huge, but it's all frame and fur, there's not a spare bit of flesh on him. He has a slightly deformed jaw so he only eats what he needs. We got him as a spiky kitten who was so big we (my vet and I) actually misjudged his age. Unlike Pandy, Charlie is a complete nit - but they are both totally devoted.
Add your captions to the comments.

If you are following my old nanowrimo, the story is gaining momentum over at the storystore - I'm addicted.....and I wrote it!!
So far Dawn and Naomi are shrieking for more chapters....they ain't seen nuthin' yet!
But it's an unfinished manuscript - I guess I should really finish it!
I wonder what I can write for this year's nanowrimo.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thank You

[smiles sheepishly]

Wow, my old nanowrimo has got you all pleasantly surprised.

In response to mah Blogsistah's desperate plea, I have published Chapter Five - but I don't think that's going to relieve her frustration, quite the opposite probably.

Update: As I'm off to bed now, I have published Chapter Six to keep you going. More tomorrow! :-)
And Chapter Seven is there now.
Eight will be up later today.

So go on, click here and enjoy.

if you don't like the nanowrimo story - check out the archives and you'll find some of my old short stories.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Short and Sweet

Go here.......

Check it out



Let me know what you think :-)

Update - Chapter Four is published.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Easy Sunday

Well, I wasn't woken at 2.30am this morning, but 5.30am on a Sunday is still an anti-social hour. Pandora gets bored waiting for us to get up, so she walks from one bedside cabinet to the other, across any occupants in the bed, regardless of whether they are asleep or not. It's understandable, given her age, but annoying as Charlie (at 2 1/2) has just learnt that dark time is sleep time for humans.

Apparently, I am a nice blogger.......yup, I am - see......?

I have been awarded the Nice Matters Award from my sweet Bobkat over at Bobkats house. Now, Bobkat is the definition of nice. She's one of my closest friends, blog or otherwise. In fact, I wouldn't be where I am now without Bobkat.

This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world.

The award should be passed on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award. So I now have the honour of passing on the award to others. This is very difficult as there are so many of you who deserve it - so many nice people in this big bad world.

All my blogpals are nice people, but I have managed to pick out some that brighten everyone's day and help me through dark times as well as bright.

Dawn at Retarded Rugrat is a genuinely nice girl. She's mah blogsistah and we met through a fellow blogger called Eric Mutta. She is from Yorkshire in England, but now lives in British Columbia with her fiance Jeff. She's kind, thoughtful and generous of spirit.

Yellow Rose of Texas (formerly of Georgia!) is another nice blogging person. She and Big D have just moved to their new house in Texas and she has still managed to find time to blog and keep us all up to date with everything going on in her beautiful garden, boxes and all.

david at Sugarloaf Mountain is a wonderful man. We 'met' through Michele and have kept in blogtouch since. What with defending Michele's honour and being there supporting Minerva through her trials, he is a real champion. His blog is a great place to get to know david.

Missee Bug, at Ladybug Crossing, is a very welcome visitor. She regales us with the trials and tribulations of life at the Bug Mansion. Not only is there her, Mr Bug, #1 and LLB (Li'l LadyBug), but they have added an annex and moved the GrandBugs in too.

Life in the raw can be found at Redneck Mommy's blog. She is mother of two, Fric and Frac, and has a hubby, Boo. T is a kind and thoughtful soul, and her blog is her deepest thoughts and desires. Motherhood uncensored is the theme of this wonderful blog.

Another mommyblog I enjoy visiting is Mamahog and her wonderful lovelets, Loveday and Yashi. Keda is from sunny Cornwall in England, but now resides in sunny Istanbul (no pleasing some people!) and her blog is almost a devotion to her daughters, the most important things in her life.

Can there be a Nice Award without nominating Michele? Her of the magical Meet and Greet where most of us have met and swapped links. Michele is an icon of blogging consideration and entertainment. During the week there are loads of quizzes and games to play - and sometimes she even talks about herself!

btw: if you're looking for a new blogging toy, Blogger Play is up and running. Blogger Play will show you a never-ending stream of images that were just uploaded to public Blogger blogs. You can click the image to be taken directly to the blog post it was uploaded to, or click “show info” to see an overlay with the post title, a snippet of the body, and some profile information about the blogger who uploaded it. It's kinda cool and wonderful to see the variety of pictures being uploaded around the world.


Saturday, September 22, 2007


It's 4am here in the UK and my darling felines woke me at 2.30 this morning [gives cats filthy look].

So - what to talk about at 4am? [listens to silent house]

I have just spent my third week without my mobile phone. It's a grand phone, with camera and video and all sorts but I worked out that, on my contract, I was paying through the nose for a mobile I was hardly ever using - other than texting friends. I'm not a big fan of phones and had been struggling with spam calls from my provider. And, oddly enough, despite one or two moments mostly while on the road, I have not missed it at all. I managed life fine without it before they were invented and I'm sure I'll live without it again. Not having one will sure save me money!
So I'm in no rush to get another account.

Has anyone seen Men in Trees? Is that a cool TV series or what? A 'relationship coach' ends up in, and adapts to life in, Elmo Alaska where the ratio of men to women is ten to one and she realizes she can truly learn about the subject she thought she knew so well -- how to find, and keep, a good man. The real attraction of this series for me is Abe Benrubi. I adore this man! He's big, cute and talented. I can see people going for Anne Heche or James Tupper, but for me it's Abraham all the way! So many series are started and then cancelled, let's hope this is one that runs and runs!

Update: I picked up a book while dawn shopping at the store. The new PJ Tracy book, Snow Blind. I love PJ Tracy, they are fabulous writers! I managed to not read the book for about an hour, then I gave in, turned the TV off and I munched through it in four hours! Excellent book, ladies! (ladies - PJ and Traci, mother and daughter author team), number four and another fantastic investigation!

It's Saturday evening, MB is getting ready to go out with his friend and I am enjoying 'Cocoon'. I have adored Brian Dennehy all my life - anyone got his number?? I think it's something to do with the big manly chest, the gentle voice, the sweet, sweet smile and those sparkling blue eyes....hubba hubba....!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thank You [bows] Thank You

I have an award!!

Mah Sweet Blogsistah over at Retarded Rugrat gave me a Blogging Star Award!!! This award originated over at Skittle’s Place.

Dawn honey, you'll always be mah girlie. I love you to bits and people should go over and say hello. They should also congratulate you, cos you have reached a magnificent milestone and I'm so proud of you!!

Now down to business, who will I pass on this honoured award to?

Naomi - of course. Naomi is the much loved Old Old Lady (not so old at heart, really!!) who lives in Beverley Hills and is a constant source of inspiration and strength to all of us with her wise words and her beautiful photographs of her precious home in the The Hills. I adore Naomi, she is so patient with me when I am not feeling so sociable. Now, because Naomi is such a kind caring person, she is excused from singling out one or two people from her blogroll fanclub :-))

Carmi and Morahmommy. Carmi over at Written Inc always stirs deep thought and opinion from us using his keen and original eye to see ordinary life in an extraordinary way. In addition, he is very much a family man and he and his wife MorahMommy share their delightful family life and are so welcoming to visitors to their blogs.

Minerva. Minerva at Womanly Parts is an amazing woman. I am always standing on the sidelines of her ongoing battle with cancer, cheering her on. I cannot imagine what my life would be like with such a Sword of Damocles hanging over my head, but Minerva explains everything so clearly with that personal touch that brings her battle into your head and heart. You can't help but love her, admire her honesty and fight her corner.

Of course, the Blogging Star Award has rules, everything has rules....
The Rules:
* Display the award on your blog along with a link to who gave it to you.

* Mention that it originated at Skittles’ Place so Barb can follow it’s journey.
* Pass it on to any blogger(s) you think should have it.

On another note, just to warm the cockles ready for nanowrimo 2007, I have started serialising my 2005 attempt on the storystore.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

More Decisions

Blimey, I am on a roll with these decision thingies......
I have decided to have another go at this:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

And I have the perfect subject! No more fantasy for me (although I did enjoy my foray into demons the other year!), this year I am going for biographical - there's a challenge......

I realised that I never set a caption competition this week. Well, I am going to design my own nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) icon for my blog - and I need a slogan (a short, memorable advertising phrase: Examples include "Coke Is It," "Just Do It," and "Don’t Leave Home Without It.") for it.

So come on, you bright clever people, let me have your suggestions!

The last Palace caption competition was incredibly difficult to judge, so everyone is a winner - check it out here.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Decision Time

You can see my thoughts here, here and here. It's decision time at the Palace. I've just finished my first year in re-enacting medieval English life.
I gave myself a year to see if I liked it or not........

From this (Sept 06).........

to this (Nov 06)........
to this (Jul 07).........

to this (Sept 07)......

Yeah, you were all right - I'm going to do another year.

I'm still learning a lot about re-enactment and the period, but the moneying seems to come naturally to me.

What helped me to make my decision?

My vet went to a recent event and she said her daughter loved me! That's gold-dust - and totally unexpected!

The first morning I woke up in a re-enactment tent and stepped outside into a ruined castle - how else do I get to sleep in castles?

I have made lots of friends, and have been making plans to share a tent with one of them next year.

I have a skill! Not only that, but I have a skill that benefits events initially and the Company in the long run.

So, just call me Mistress cq; woman peasant and moneyer to My Lord Thomas Hungerford :-)


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The End - or is it? Part 3

[The end of a re-enactor's first season]

Part 1 here
Part 2 here

So, what does the Company of Chivalry do at these living history events?

One half of the company provide living history market stalls with everything displayed from grinding wheat to making leather goods, spinning wool to hammering coins. The other half (mostly men) provide the military insight into 1370. We have a small set of soldiers who display drill, fighting techniques and weaponry. We also include a small tournament usually pitting one Knight against another with the support of their troops.

Some photos of our company:

On the right is Lord Berkeley, and on their knees are his supporting soldiers.
This is my Lord Thomas Hungerford, with his trusty soldier Master Caunsfield.

Ah, the Young Lord Hungerford (son of Hungerford, above) engages with Lord Courtney.

This is the melee, with the soldiers from both sides engaging. This was an illegal act and the master of ceremonies would have withdrawn and washed his hands of the whole affair.

One of our neighbour's tents with their weaponry stacked up.

And finally, the soldiers supporting My Lord Hungerford, and a familiar looking woman peasant (ooh, that would be good ol' cq!) on hand to hand out water to ensure the soldiers are properly hydrated in the heat with their thick padded jacks and mail/plate shirts.

Of course, it being a medieval fair and joust, it would be unfair not to include a photo of the jousters in combat.The Knights of Royal England were very popular over the weekend. A couple of the Knights even joined our Company for drill practice - a bit of a show of 14C military drill with the opportunity for kids to join in and have some fun. The punters told me they thoroughly enjoyed the jousts, but I didn't get to see any, as I was either helping arm My Lord, preparing water supplies or hammering coins.

So, the successful weekend drew to a close, and my time limit had arrived - I gave myself a year to see how I felt about re-enactment, perhaps find a skill and see if I liked it.
As I prepared to leave on Sunday evening, I nipped into My Lord Hungerford's tent to say farewell and I let him know my decision.

But what was it? Will I be returning next season, or am I preparing to sell my kit?

(Thank you to Graham of Berties World on Flickr for giving me permission to replicate his photos here. I understand they had a wonderful day out, and it was amazing to be a part of that.)

Monday, September 10, 2007

The End - or is it? Part 2

Part 1 here

OK, so it wasn't such a hot first night, but Saturday started really well. It didn't rain, in fact it was blazing hot - which made wearing wool a challenge......
By eleven am we were authentic and ready to roll. I was in my usual place at my moneyer's stump.
I have shown a proficiency at not only hammering coins, but also at selling the coins to the public. The kids love me and their parents think I'm funny too.....

You can see a picture of me at Pembroke Castle with my moneyer stump here.

The coin die comes in four pieces; a strong large tree stump, the 'pile' which is fixed firmly into the stump by a spike, the 'collar' which slips over the pile and holds the die together and the 'trussel' which slots into the collar and sits on top of the pile. One side of the coin is etched into the pile, the other side of the coin is etched on the trussel. You put a 'blank' (coin shaped piece of metal) onto the pile (lining the blank up with the design), you put the collar on, slot in the trussel and then hit the whole shebang with a very heavy hammer. Pulling the die apart, you then get a coin which is instantly struck on both sides. This year I have been hammering Edward III silver pennies, period 1370.

A sample of questions I have been asked:

'Where do you all sleep?' - to which I just waved over at the ranks of pretty medieval tents behind me and said 'er - here?' That usually gets an impressed chuckle :-)

'Where do you all go for a bath?' - of course, being a proper medieval peasant woman the only correct answer is 'what's a bath?'. That had the little girls taking about 2 hours out of their day to attempt to describe a bath to us.

'What do you do in your real life?' - which I answered with my hammer in mid-swing 'Why, I'm a health and safety officer'. That one always guaranteed a laugh.

And on this event one woman plucked up courage and said 'Can I ask about your underwear?'. Aginoth and I looked at each other and replied 'You could, if we wore any.........'. [chuckle]
[whisper] we actually do - but our medieval counterparts wouldn't have.

These were good humorous questions, so I worked them into my spiel.
Hmm - my spiel.....the design of the coin die, the etched images, the way it fits together, some background to the silver penny, medieval coins and moneyers in general, some cutesy stuff for the children and some historical fact for the mums and dads. Moneying is good fun with a crowd, because people ask lots of questions, the same jokes come out and the crowd always swells.

Saturday was a slow day for the Company of Chivalry. Not only did we not get a lot of advertising during the day, but our arena shows were drowned out by the site PA system. But we resolutely soldiered on, and there will be more about the show tomorrow.

A very nice gentleman who was at the show and 'Flickred' his photos has given me permission to use them - so they will be on here tomorrow.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

The End - or is it? Part 1

This weekend was the final event of the re-enactment calendar, a local Medieval Fair in Somerset, complete with joust and medieval living history (us!). I was in two minds about going as I was quite depressed and tired on Friday. I got lost twice on the way and nearly succumbed to the desire to turn around and drive home, but I headed on, the car blue with curses, until I found the site and pulled up in the absolute dark (getting lost made me an hour late) to a cluster of medieval tents and people huddled around the fire.
I asked if the people who had the tent I was intending to purchase had arrived and they had apparently gone back home - with the tent still in the back of their van. Thinking maybe this was a bad sign, I thought maybe I should have gone with my gut feeling on the road.
I scrounged a bit of floor in the tent of one of our 'smelly soldiers' Master C (thank you, Matt!!) and put down my bed. Pulling out a large bottle of cider I joined my fellow re-enactors around the fire.
The news that the portaloos were closed overnight was a bit of a downer, as there were about 40 people on site, drinking and eating. One elsan each for male and female didn't really make the math.
But we made the best of it, with a roaring fire, lots of alcohol and singing we all had a wonderful evening and wound our way to our beds at various times through the night - I understand my esteemed landlord got back to the tent at 2am.....

The next day we arose to the sounds and smells of Vintner preparing one of his classic re-enactor breakfasts (bacon, sausage, black pudding, egg, bread - enough for all). Life seemed a little better after breakfast, the toilets were opened (you've never seen anyone so happy to see a flushing toilet as us!), the sun came out, and the site began coming to life. We donned our kit, dusted off our weapons and market stalls and prepared to meet our public for the last weekend of the year.

Honesty Rain asked what black pudding is: read here for detail. Being a vegetarian I have no idea what it tastes like......

Tired now, more tomorrow.....


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Surprise, Surprise

While at the cinema to see Hairspray, this movie was advertised.....obviously a chickflick, it immediately caught my attention - me and Bobkat like a chickflick now and then......they go well with pizza and gossip.....and I definitely noticed the lead man.....

mm....I muttered to Bobkat in the dark.......isn't he lush?
Who is he? asked Bobkat, bemused.
Aaron Eckhart, I replied - isn't he gorgeous?
Who's Aaron Eckhart? asked Bobkat - understandably, really..........
Um - remember Erin's hairy neighbour and love interest in Erin Brockovich? I replied.....
There was a short silence while Bobkat rationalised the pretty boy above with the rough hirsuite chap pictured below.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Caption Time

This is the 14th century 'me' sitting at my moneyer stump (I'll tell you more about that another day) discussing something in depth with a priest and two other women - but what are we saying?

'Nuff said - captions, please :-)
Lots of brilliant suggestions last week, for another historical (hysterical) caption competition.......impossible to decide between these three........
Joint winners were Bilbo (a new face here at the Palace, here's hoping he returns):
"Darn Omar the Tentmaker and his too-long hems!"
"One more stitch and I'll be finished reattaching my legs to the rest of me."
and Dara:
"Best way to have a quick nap in full view of everyone - notice the needle never moves?"
Special mention to Bobkat, as I did indeed sew the dress to my trousers whilst distracted......
"Dang it! I've sewn my undies to my skirt again!"


At the Cinema

Having been up since early o'clock with a stuffed up nose, I realised I never posted my review about Hairspray 2007.
I went with my darling Bobkat on one of our pizza and movie nights.
Now, I posted on this blog here how nervous I was of going to see a remake of one of my favourite timeless cult movies.

It wasn't an absolute copy, it was an updated version of a 60's dance movie - kinda. With all new song and dance routines, new stars (although some old familiar faces turned up) and headed up by the much vaunted Mr Travolta as Edna Turnblad, it was clear they anticipated this film being as popular as the original.
John Waters turned up in the first five minutes as a flasher, stamping his approval on the new version. Of course, if you didn't know Waters, you wouldn't have caught the signature appearance. In the original movie he was the psychiatrist brought in to 'de-programme' Penny Pingleton - not a lot of people know that!
Nikki Blonski, who played Tracy Turnblad, made a reasonable fist of recreating a legendary teen character. But I felt the new script lacked a lot of the punch of the original version. The way Tracy was admitted to the Council, the reason for her straightening her hair (she ironed it while in prison, after meeting Beatnik Chick, Pia Zadora), even the ending was rather pathetic and, I felt, was an expression of this new politically correct world.
I was desperately waiting for that immortal line 'Penny Pingleton, you are positively, permanently punished!' - and I had a long, long wait......

There were a few plus points -
Queen Latifah made a wonderful Motormouth Maybelle, but then can Queen Latifah do any wrong??
Elijah Kelley was a strong Seaweed character, although he lacked the spark of the original Clayton Prince.
The 2007 Penny Pingleton relied strongly on the original, complete with funky bunches and permanent chewing gum.
Christopher Walken made a loveable Wilbur Turnblad, and we even saw the Hardy Har Joke Shop! Finally, a proper opportunity for Christopher to show off his song and dance talents - and boy, can he dance, and has such a sweet singing voice!

Minus points -
It wasn't the original.
The original film opened with the excellent song 'Hairspray' ('Can't you see, I'm spraying my hair!') and had rocketing number after number (Madison Time, Mama Didn't Lie, Town Without Pity, Roach). The new film opened with 'Good Morning Baltimore' (which I hated) and the new songs weren't half as good as those in the original.
Michelle Pfeiffer as Velma Tussle was terrible. I was aching for Debbie Harry to step back into those marvellously vindictive shoes. And they screwed around with her character and somehow put her in charge of the Corny Collins show, which was very odd - because everyone knew Arvin Hodgepile was the owner of the TV station and therefore had the final say on programming. The new Velma did not work!
Sadly, after all the hype, John Travolta did not work as Edna Turnblad. Divine (the late Glen Milstead - who was also Arvin Hodgepile!) was a hard act to follow, and his Edna was the first, and the best. Travolta in a fat suit just didn't pull it off - not only that, but what with the fat face plates and John's own emphasised accent his words were muffled and often not heard at all - whereas Divine had a superb screech that meant every word was etched on your eardrums.
The only bit of the film where Travolta 'worked' was the achingly sweet dance routine with Christopher Walken - only really because we saw a whole new side to Walken that all the women just sighed over in the cinema. He managed to convey the depth of love Wilbur had for the overweight Edna with the duet 'You're Timeless to Me'.

So, whereas I would give 1988 Hairspray a 9/10, the 2007 version falls sadly short at only 6/10.

Not only all that, but they changed the ending, and got rid of the Auto Show - terrible [shakes head] - but then John Waters has always been unpredictable.

Lastly - a message for Mr Waters........PLEASE DON'T REMAKE CRYBABY!!