Thursday, 15 April 2021

Speaking of gardening...

 ... here's how mine is coming along:

 Above, the oft neglected front of Hexenhäusli Device looking quite colourful, for a change.  I put the daff bulbs in back in the autumn, and the skimmias that went in last spring are just starting to flower.  On the left is the most recent addition - a flowering cherry, which I planted last month (out of shot to the right is a hawthorn, yet to burst into leaf/flower).

 And below, preparations for a circular paysho and adjoining pond are not hindered by the snow (I mean, it's April, for Christ's sake!  We're not supposed to get snow in April!).



Friday, 9 April 2021

Infomaniac Garden Photos Event 2021

 I note from the comments in the previous post that a few of you have been watching Gardener's World, which reminded me: We need to organise who's going to host the 

2021   I N F O M A N I A C   Garden Photos Event!

 Now, as The Very Mistress has graciously retired from organising and overseeing the event, it falls to one of us Infomaniac Bitches to be the HOstess with the MOstess.  As you may recall, I was the fortunate HOMO last year - for the 10th anniversary (and a jolly good time I had doing it, too!) - but, does someone else want to have a go this year? 
 How and when it takes place is up to you (although it must be some time this year - preferably later in the year so we all have time to tend to our unruly bushes and the like), and you must remember the cardinal rule: The Garden Photos Event is NOT a competition!  


 If there are no takers, then I will be happy to take up the hoe again.  And when the hoe looks like the Head Gardener there on the right (on loan from the Extensive Gardens of Delores Delargo Towers), who can blame me?!

 Right.  Let the squabbling commence!


🌻

Monday, 5 April 2021

Wonderful Electric

 Right.  That's the first quarter of the year done.  To aid in the preparation of the end-of-year review/Coven Awards, I thought I'd continue on from January's book post and Happy with a round up of what I've read, watched and listened to so far in 2021.

Read

Lords and Ladies, by Terry Pratchett - A Discworld novel starring the Ramtops witches (Granny Weatherwax, Gytha Ogg, and Magrat Garlick - who is now a queen rather than a witch), in which they thwart an invasion of Elves.

The Sea and Little Fishes, by Terry Pratchett - A short story I read online also featuring the Ramtops witches.

Star Trek: The Lost Era: Well of Souls, by Ilsa J Bick - This is a rather grim, but engrossing story set during the time of the Ambassador-class USS Enterprise NCC-1701-C (2336).  It largely concerns Captain Rachel Garrett's strained relationship with her archeologist ex-husband and son, and her new first officer who has found himself embroiled with a notorious crime syndicate.

Star Trek: The Lost Era: The Art of the Impossible, by Keith R A DeCandido - Another Lost Era story, this one concerning the Betreka Nebula Incident - a dispute between the Klingons and Cardassians, mediated by Federation Ambassador Curzon Dax, spanning the years 2328 to 2346.

Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock, by Christopher L Bennett - A fascinating tale set mainly in The Next Generation era (2360s-80s) that weaves together various of the televised Star Trek universe's instances of time-travel, along with several original temporal trips.  As always, Christopher L Bennett serves up a precise and characterful story that's difficult to put down.

The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red, by Martha Wells - The first novella of The Murderbot Diaries series which I only read because of this wonderful animatic set to Tegan & Sara's "I'm Not Your Hero" that I discovered at Tor.com (and last featured here).  I enjoyed it enough to want to read the next in the series.


The Galaxy and the Ground Within (Wayfarers 4), by Becky Chambers - Another delightful story from the Wayfarer's series (and possibly the last).  This one is about how five very different aliens form a friendship during a disaster, and is just a lovely, warm, character-driven piece with one or two stomach-lurching emotional moments near the end.  Just wonderful!

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Gulls & Groynes Against Golden Glamour

The sunlight bouncing off the window frames of this building on the High Street looked far more dramatic and golden in real life.  Bah!

 Now that the Calamities are over with (for now, anyway), and the post I was going to publish has yet to be finished, I thought I'd fall back on that old staple of millions thousands nearly dozens of photos of pretty much the same thing over and over and over again (because I know you love like almost tolerate them).  Yes, it's sunrise time!

 And to accompany your incessant scrolling through this post, how about a little music.  This is "Rescue" by Röyksopp which, to my mind anyway, goes rather nicely with a long, drawn-out sunrise over the sea.  And it's only just over 10 minutes long - you might even get to the end of this post before it finishes!

 The photo above and the first nine below are from yesterday morning:


Saturday, 27 March 2021

CCQ: An Enterprising Ending (at last)


 "You silly sods!"  Hound was quite cross.  "Now look what you've done."
 "What happened?  How did we get here?" a bewildered Mago asked.
 "Someone - or possibly sometwo - were thinking of Star Trek when they crashed through my hedge, weren't they?"
 Ms Scarlet guiltily put a hand to her basket-weave bouffant while the grin dissolved from IDV's face.
 "Yes, but really?" The disbelief in Maddie's tone was palpable.
 "Yes, really" said Hound.  "I'm a hedgewitch.  For me the hedge is both the witch's setting and a gateway to other places.  Mitzi's hedge was still charged up from when I transported us to the Cornish coast for the Poldark thing, so blundering through it while thinking of Trek brought us here."
 "My hedge did this?" Mitzi didn't look happy.  "Right.  It's coming down once we get back."
 "Oh, I'm no good with this Star Trek stuff" Dinah cut in.  "Let's just go back through so we can all go home.  I'm tired - I'm several time zones from where I normally am and it's all catching up with me."
 "Several time zones?"  IDV whispered, nudging Ms Scarlet for attention as he gestured at their surroundings.  "And the other 250 years!"
 "Oh, Mr Devine!"
 "Oof!" said Dinah as she found herself face down on the other side of the hedge.  
 "Well, that didn't work."  Mago helped Dinah up after her unsuccessful return trip.
 "All the magic was used up getting you all here" Hound said.  "We're not going anywhere for a while."
 "Will you lot stop trampling my plants!" a loud voice cut through the Blogorati's sniping.  "And get off my lawn!"
 As one, the Blogorati turned towards the source of their berator.  There in the corner, shovelling a big pile of something ghastly-looking, was someone familiar wearing a red miniskirt uniform like Ms Scarlet's.
 "Ms Nations?"
 "Stop your gawping, IDV" she said.  "This tribble shit isn't going to spread itself."
 Oh.  Er, no.  I suppose it won't.  Um.  Actually, our shift's about to start - we'd better go"  IDV shooed the milling Blogorati towards the turbolift.  "C'mon, let's get out of here."
 "Suit yourselves" Ms Nations muttered to their backs as they walked off.  "I'll just get my garden hoes to do it.  Boys!" she yelled.  As the turbolift doors closed on the Blogorati, two muscular non-coms dressed in not very much appeared.  Several pairs of widening eyes were treated not to bulging, hot, sweaty manual labour¹, but to the doors snapping shut. 

oOo

Monday, 22 March 2021

CCQ: Aidan Turner in the Altogether with a Towel


 "Wow!  You really know how to handle such a big machine" IDV shamelessly innuendoed at Asriel as the driver swung the limo into Mitzi's driveway and brought it to a controlled stop outside the front door.
 "Oh, dear.  That was terrible!  The poor boy" Lady Goldberg-DeWoofs admonished as a furious blush bloomed on Asriel's handsome face.
 "I don't know?" Maddie countered.  "I might have said something similar."
 "Thank you, Maddie" IDV said.  "I'm rather out of practice.  Now, we'd better go and see what's going on inside."
 Despite the blatant flirting, Asriel had managed to get out of the limo and open the rear door for his passengers to disembark.  IDV had only just got out - not missing the opportunity to give the driver a once-over - when a minibus roared up the drive and screeched to a halt mere micromips from smushing his legs to smithereens against the limo's open door.
Hmm...  That sounds familiar.
Sshhhh!  Just let him get on with it otherwise we'll be here all day!
 "Eeeeeeep!"
 "Where is she?!?" Jon barely noticed IDV sandwiched between the front of the minibus and the car door as he burst out of the vehicle.
 "Oof" said Dinah as she gracefully fell out after Jon.  A small avalanche of empty wine bottles followed in her wake, clinking and clanking around her.  A raised eyebrow from the limo driver (the resident expert) provoked a defensive mumble "They're for Ms Scarlet's Bottled Project..."
 "Sorry to startle you, IDV" Mago said as he exited the driver's side with an exasperated expression on his face.  "I was getting inundated with directions und instructions und pointing fingers..."
 As IDV sidled out of the wafer-thin gap, his mouth open to respond to Mago, a terrible scream rent the air.
 "I think it came from around the back" Maddie gasped.
 "Then let's go!" cried Jon as he leapt into action.  Well, sashayed towards the side gate, anyway...
 
oOo

Sunday, 14 March 2021

CCQ: A Hair Raising Affair

Why are we doing intertitle cards again?
I think The Host is quite pleased with how they came out and wants to make the most of them.
Very well.  Carry on.
 
 "Ah.  Mr Device."
 "Glurk!"  IDV stopped in his tracks as a figure appeared in front of him.  "Um.  I mean: Very Mistress.  How lovely to see you and whatnot.  Wherever did you spring from?"
 The Very Mistress smiled smugly (smugly smiled?  smigged smuley?) at IDV's obvious discomfort.  "I was in the bakery" she said, waving her claw in the general vicinity, "availing myself of a Danish puff when I heard all this commotion, so I came out to see what was going on.  Imagine my surprise to see that you've usurped another role from me."
 "Well.  Um.  You see...  That is...  Um..."
 "Yes?"
 "Well, I wasn't sure if your hectic schedule of publishing your old drafts would allow for a part, you see?"
 "You could have asked?"
 "Ha ha.  Yes.  Good point.  Ahem."
 "So" The Very Mistress asked, looking over IDV's purple suit, green cloak and hat, her gaze finally coming to a halt on his right hand.  "Who are you meant to be, then?"
 IDV fidgeted a little and hid his crone-finger in the folds of his cloak.  "The Haggard Claw" he said glumly.
 "Ha!" The Very Mistress barked.  "Yes, I see."
 "My finger doesn't normally look like this!  It came with the role" IDV protested, then muttered under his breath "as well you know, considering that it's your role and finger."
 "What?!"
 "Nothing.  Anyway, I really must be going" IDV said as he eyed Houndwort wriggling into the boot of Ms Scarlet's Compact Figaro across the street as she drove off.  "Ms Scarlet - I mean, the Carmine Quill - is getting away and, unbeknownst to her, Houndwort is getting away with her!"
 
oOo

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

The Calamities of the Carmine Quill


 A silent Ms Scarlet  held up the intertitle card with a self-satisfied grin.  Having flirted with the idea of becoming entirely text based and giving up speech forever, she had gone out on a few dates with it, made a deep connection, and then eloped, with the marriage ceremony held at the Grade II listed telephone box in Mogwash.

 After an interminable amount of time - at least eight or nine seconds - Ms Scarlet's grin had regressed to a scowl.  Why wasn't anyone taking any notice of her very clever, and painstakingly crafted card?!  Fortunately, she had prepared for this eventuality - as unlikely as she thought it would be - and held up another card: 

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

CCQ Teaser


EDIT 4 March: The previous version of this post had no title, tags, or words, but it upset Ms Scarlet, so I've included a minimal amount of those items now.  But what can it all mean? 

Answers on a postcard in the comments, please. 

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Misty Mysteries

WARNING: This post may contain poo!

 As the second day of the weekend also turned out sunny (but not as balmy as yesterday), I had no choice but to go outside again.  But this time down to the beach where some misty mysteries lay in wait:

While most of the beach was basking in sunshine, the wet bits and the cliffs weren't

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Navigating in Not-Wellies

I'm sure Ms Scarlet is tutting and rolling her eyes at my countryside traversing footwear....

  Despite the above - and a couple more muddy scenes further down - I managed to navigate in my Not-Wellies without getting them wet or mucky (at least, no muckier than they already are).  Fortunately - due to a few days without rain - most of the bogs and swamps that pass for tracks and footpaths around here have dried up, leaving only a few lingering patches of mud that were relatively easy to pick my way through/past.

 Yes, the sun was out so I had a wander around my neck of the woods this lunchtime.  First stop were the reservoirs next to the radar station, then it was across to Hungry Hill, down past the Shrieking Pits, alongside Fox Hills, though India Woods to Osier Carr and Little Broad.  Then, I crossed the River Mun at Gay's Plantation and made my way home via Frogshall to Northrepps, up Toll's Hill and down past the old station and Mole End, then home.

The old reservoir overlooking the North Sea

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Of Reticulata and Rotas


 If it's good enough for Dinah and Ms Scarlet, it's good enough for me!  Yes, I'm back from an unintended mini-break from the blog.  Although, I haven't got much to say for myselves so, instead, I bring you the first small splashes of colour from the gardens of Hexenhäusli Device - just enough to drive off the doldrums until we get to Spring.

 Below, from the front of Hexenhäusli Device, we have the first daffodils 'Tete a tete' and species crocus 'Barr's Purple'.  And then, below them, just inside the gate to the rear grounds, a couple of cyclamen.