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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Chris' LiveJournal:

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Monday, July 9th, 2007
7:10 pm
Back now
The only thing wrong with our holiday was that we had to get up at 3.30 in the morning to get our flight home. Still it gave us the chance to observe that Montenegro is a 24/ 7 culture as there were still people out on the streets coming back from clubbing (or maybe all night parties chez the Beckhams at the Hotel Splendid), and even the cross-Fjord ferry was running.
Thursday, July 5th, 2007
2:31 pm
Lonely fan's guide to Montenegro
Just contemplating how to write up Montenegro for fandom at large when it's a place that most fans would find too hot, too non-vegetarian and rather hilly. I guess the cats are really tiny and cute, so that might help. Didn't there use to be Yugoslavian fandom once back in the mists of time? Where did Bruno Ogorolec come from?

But taking my fannish beanie off for a second (without getting sunstroke!), the place is really gorgeous, especially if you're in to mountains, blue seas and under-developed tourism! We've got a lovely cool appartment with balcony and swimming pool. The local wine is cheap and drinkable. And - thank god, it's not raining!!
Thursday, May 10th, 2007
12:48 pm
Celebrate 25 Years of TWP in Cambridge 2nd-3rd June
There's going to be a party to celebrate 25 years of TWP (The Women's Periodical, an apa for women in UK fandom that began in the early 80s), and we're trying to get the word out to all members past and present. Unfortunately because I've been crap at keeping up with people I don't have email addresses for many former members. So if anyone out there knows any former TWP members (or if you are one!) - please pass on the message.

The party will take place in Cambridge on the weekend of June 2nd-3rd 2007

Outline Programme
Saturday Afternoon
Wander round Cambridge’s annual Strawberry Fair on Midsummer Common. Meet up with other members of TWP and their partners.

Saturday Evening
Party from 7 pm at Anne's (WINOLJ). Bring food and drink. Women only till 10 pm. Separate beer and board gaming event for men.

Sunday Lunch
Punt picnic. Bring more food, sparkling wine, strawberries or men to help punt.

If anyone wants further information, refer them back to me!
Friday, January 12th, 2007
12:53 pm
Northampton book appeal
I've been sorting through lots of donated second hand books at work this week, picking out the ones we want to keep for the English collection. Apart from making my room smell and look like a second-hand bookshop, it's been quite fun. Today I found one with a stamp in it from the Northampton Book Appeal 1st-15th May 1943. It reads: This book which was given during Northampton's book appeal fornight comes to you with the best wishes of the people of Northampton.

I've never had a book which gives me the best wishes of the people of Northampton before. Maybe I should treasure it? (It's a pocket edition of Alton Locke by Charles Kingsley).
Thursday, December 28th, 2006
6:44 pm
Most abstemious Christmas ever!
We were ill over Christmas so all I had to eat and drink on Christmas Day was a bagel and a lot of water!

Somebody accidentally bought me Season 2 of Veronica Mars for my Christmas present. Anyone able to lend me Season 1?
Thursday, April 13th, 2006
4:11 pm
Conjure
Just spent an excellent week travelling round Queensland - full details to be provided by Doug in his variously titled not the GUFF trip report. Maybe. We're currently in Stanthorpe, having spent the afternoon sampling wines from the up and coming Granite Belt Region, but will be heading to Brisbane tomorrow for Conjure, the Australian version of what's about to happen in Glasgow (except it starts earlier here due to superior time zone woofie or something else that only Cory Doctorow could explain.)
Saturday, January 21st, 2006
8:46 am
Solaris
My work reading group read Solaris - mainly, it turned out, because Ben who recommended the book, once met Lem in a cafe in Poland! In the run-up to the meeting many of them were expressing their doubts about the book, while one of them was dedicated enough to fall asleep during both film versions (borrowed from our video library). But at the meeting, a different mood prevailed. It did get slagged off for dated science and dated attitudes to women, not to mention whole chapters where nothing happened, but even those who professedly "don't like sci-fi" found some interest in descriptions of the ocean and the concept of what might come out of their sub-conscious in similar circumstances. Ben went further to defend the form of the novel as being more like other elements of Polish literature, part satire on the scientific process of the day and part novel of ideas. The wholesale slaughter I had feared was somehow headed off at the pass! Not that I think Solaris the greatest SF novel I have ever read, but I didn't want to see it trashed just because it was SF! We even ended the meeting by recommending a few SF books, which was interesting as Ben thought Dune was great, especially the appendices, and the Professional Writing tutor managed to dredge a plot description of Diamond Age out of his memory.

Next meeting: book swap - bring 3 books and take 3 away! It could be worse than the BSFA tombola!
Saturday, November 26th, 2005
6:39 pm
And now it's all gone
Having done its worst all that remains of the snow today are a few headless snowmen! I discovered that my epic trek home took less time than those driving to Redruth who sat in stationary traffic for a couple of hours. As for Doug, his train didn't reach Bristol till nearly midnight. At least he was spared the endless tributes to George Best, which kept, irritatingly, getting in the way of what I really wanted to see, that is to say footage of motorists stuck in a huge traffic jam on Bodmin Moor. I don't get this whole George Best deathwatch thing anyway. Okay, he was a great football, but how does that make him a national hero?
Friday, November 25th, 2005
6:12 pm
Snow comes to Cornwall
At 2.45 we were sent an email telling us the College was closing at 3 because of the weather. That's good news except when you have to clear out a busy library where half the students belong to a different institution which has announced no plans to close. We always have trouble closing on Fridays anyway because it's the only evening the library closes at 5, so there was a lot of grumbling and complaints. I thought it was a bit excessive too until we went out to the bus-stop and discovered that the buses were no longer being routed up to the campus because the steep driveway up from the road was too dangerous. So three of us walked down the footpath to Penryn, marvelling at the snow, which looked very pretty in the College grounds - fresh and white, and coating the trees like a picture from a Christmas card. The situation in Penryn was less pretty. It was slushy and wet, and began to soak through my shoes. The pavements and roads were slippery, traffic sparse and no sign of any buses. So we decided to walk back to Falmouth. It's probably a 50 minute walk on a normal day - it took more like an hour and a half in the snow. By the time we reached the edge of Falmouth we were glad we'd closed up early. Doing the same walk in the dark would have been much grimmer. Mind you it stopped snowing soon after 5, so maybe the buses would have been out running again. But given that it's First Bus, not very likely. Doug meanwhile is waiting at Truro station to get a train to Bristol...
Saturday, November 19th, 2005
7:28 am
Secret santa or goat?
The debate at work this week is should we do Secret Santa or put the money to some useful cause like buying a goat for a third world family. I'm not against goats (well, actually I am. Goats cheese, can't stand it! Now if we were talking cow, or donkey...), but I don't see any way in which Santa and goat buying serve a similar purpose. Like it or hate it (and I know you're all going to say you hate it), Secret Santa is about having a bit of pre-Christmas fun in the office, buying a present that might make someone laugh, or if you're taking it too seriously, please or embarass them. The goat we will never see, it won't be sitting in a box for people to shake, there won't be any speculation on who bought what for whom and we won't be able to play with it or eat it on Christmas Eve.
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005
1:27 pm
Hasta la vista Espanol!
They've just moved my Spanish class to Woodlane Campus without telling me, so I now have a free lunch hour in which to amuse myself. It's kind of a pity, but since the other 8 students were based at Woodlane, and are moreover the main constituency for the class, I can't complain. But I shall miss the conversations with Liliane, the lively Columbian teacher, who's life seems to be a soap opera of accidents, semi-disasters and chaos. But it does mean that I'll be able to get to "bike club" once a month. Yes-sirree, life here on an out of town wanna-be university campus is too exciting for words!
Sunday, September 4th, 2005
3:46 pm
Weather report
No thunderstorms as yet! Yesterday was gorgeous (my officially overused word of the day), so we went to Praa Sands where the waves were just the wrong size for both me and Doug (i.e. too big for swimming, too short for body-boarding) and lying on the beach was like lying in a sandstorm thanks to the wind. But on the plus side the local bar served great chicken wings and crab cakes, and had a nice sun-trap balcony overlooking the sea. We took a walk down the coastal path and found some secret beaches without sandstorms and wrong waves, but I'd left my swimming costume in the car, so just had to make do with lying in the grass and watching the seagulls hovering over the rocks just about on a level with my eyes. God, I love the coastal path in the sunshine!

I'm still watching the news from New Orleans with horror and fascination. It was a weird week to finally see War of the Worlds too, as there was so much in it that was resonant of what was going on in the real world disaster zone. (No doubt because Spielberg was drawing heavily on every kind of disaster scene for his material). I guess no-one's going to make the Louisiana floods into a feelgood movie about heroic rescues any time soon! It was still strange to see society breaking down in a place I've known without requiring a nuclear bomb, war or aliens from outer space.
Wednesday, August 24th, 2005
12:47 pm
Come to Falmouth and be a fantasy writer!
Apparently University College Falmouth will be teaching young students how to write formulaic fantasy. According to the blurb from our new English with Creative Writing course: "Writing Fantasy demonstrates how to build worlds and populate them with heroes and villains who operate within the politics of magic." I look forward to seeing the full module description, and who's teaching it.

Still it's a good excuse to buy some decent books on fantasy/ fantasy writing for the library. Any recommendations?

By the way, they're also doing a module on writing lyrics for hymns. As Doug would say "I'm not making this up!"
Friday, August 12th, 2005
1:34 pm
STILL tired!
...but starting to feel better. Let's hope that a visit from evil cocktail meister Hewison will not cause a relapse!

The outcome of the car problems was that on Wednesday I bought a new car. The salesman kept saying: "You could drive it all the way to Scotland." Thanks, mate, but I've only just been there.
Tuesday, August 9th, 2005
1:03 pm
Tired, tired, tired
Back from Worldcon to discover that we had missed a sweltering weekend in Falmouth. All the plants needed emergency watering! Also, plane delayed (after getting up for it early, dammit!), car very poorly (needs new oil pump, allegedly), so had to drive back very very slowly. Also, someone had turned off the gas supply to our house! Otherwise, all is well. Falmouth is looking fab - full of yachts for Falmouth week, and we just made it down the beach in time to swim off some of the accumulated convention fatigue. But what I really need is an early night and no seagulls/ bin-men/ sunlight waking me up before I've restocked on sleep. Wonder if it'll happen?
Sunday, July 31st, 2005
4:57 pm
Minack in the rain
The Minack theatre is one of the holy trinity of Cornish experiences alongside the Eden Centre and the Lost Gardens of Heligan. It’s an outdoor arena on a clifftop near Lands End. We’d never been, but when Debbi from Leeds said she’d be at the Minack to work backstage on the Ilkley Players performance of Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters I decided to book tickets for myself and Doug.

Read more...Collapse )
Wednesday, July 20th, 2005
1:34 pm
First sick day of the year
Last night I was running round the house emptying waste paper bins in preparation for an imminent visit by my parents, and managed to trip over and twist my right foot. This morning it was really painful to walk on, so after crawling around a bit, and complaining to Doug, I decided to phone in sick to work. I've since covered it in tubigrip and can hobble around a bit, so now the guilt is kicking in. Damn this work ethic! Shouldn't a Catholic upbringing at least confer some kind of immunity? Maybe it's just that there are already three people off sick - Sarah has a mystery illness contracted after the Dragon Boat races on Sunday, Rebecca hasn't been seen since she fainted on Monday and Susan Venus was at the doctor's being fitted for a wheelchair after an accident, possibly incurred whilst kite-surfing (mind you, maybe we could share the wheelchair?) What is going on?

I'm going to need to be better by tomorrow as my parents are due, and the Met Office is already promising to mess up their weekend by supplying rain. Not to mention there'll be even fewer people around to run the library due to the Test Match and other pathetic excuses for taking annual leave. And Doug's really going to love it if he has to do all the hoovering, shopping, cooking etc.
Thursday, July 14th, 2005
12:02 pm
My great big water park
Finally! This is the kind of week I moved down to Falmouth for! I've been swimming on the beach every day since Saturday. I'm sure we never had the weather for it last year. I've been going down to the beach around low tide every day (did I mention I had several days of leave booked for this week? I was going to do some writing, but who really needs another Cornish novel?) Low tide is perfect for getting one's space on the beach not too near annoying families, old people who insist on changing in front of you(in case they get a chill from going in the sea), Italian school parties and gossiping women who really do want you to hear all about their love life! It also means that the sea turns into a great big water park as it's relatively shallow and everyone can go out well into the bay and bob around on inflatable boats, launch canoes, float on bodyboards, play frisbee in ankle deep water and still not get in the way of me having a good swim. And the sea's not cold. Honest! Okay, it was on Saturday, but really it isn't now.

Current Mood: happy
Saturday, June 25th, 2005
8:03 am
No sun
No-one needs to hear about the manifest unfairness of a week of perfect weather that breaks as soon as the weekend hoves into view. That's just the way of life. But it has been a particularly lovely week - the most consistently clear and beautiful day being spent on the train to Exeter and back, but never mind. If you have to spend a sunny day on the train, I can't think of a better stretch of line to do it on. By the time I made it to the beach myself on Thursday evening, it was beginning to haze over, but the sea was surprisingly pleasant. My memories of swimming at Falmouth last year are mainly of it being too cold to really enjoy. Maybe I attempted to go swimming far too early in the season? All I can remember is numb feet and incipient hypothermia on the walk home.

Now the question is, will the gloom lift? We've just had two lovely weekends where we couldn't go camping, and if we don't get the tent out soon, we'll be into the school holidays and competing with the hordes of families that descend on Cornwall. I'm optimistic. The thing about Cornwall is if there's no sun where you are, you just need to drive off to another part and maybe there will be. Shame about the surf forecast though!

Current Mood: chipper
Tuesday, June 7th, 2005
7:47 pm
Magic (and not so magic) bands
It's so long since I lasted posted that the seagulls have finished nesting and the patter of tiny winged vermin is audible on the rooftop opposite (not on ours, since we seem to have the world's most inefficient seagulls. We keep finding bits and pieces of failed nest scattered around the garden.)

Highlight of the last week was undoubtedly the Magic Band in Penzance. I'm not a big connoisseur of the work of Captain Beefheart, but his band certainly delivered the goods, and all within a few feet of Doug and I in possibly the smallest venue I've ever been to. Can't wait to see Half Man Half Biscuit there!

The St.Ives beer festival the next day was a bit of an anticlimax. Why do festival organisers insist that we need bad Irish folk music and morris dancers in order to sample a few beers? What local byelaw restricts the supply of chairs to the bare minimum necessary to seat three parties of drinker and their imaginary friends (and could it possibly be related to the one that prevents beer being served by the pint in the bar where we ate in Penzance?)? And why oh why can't the St. Ives beer festival be swapped with the Falmouth beer festival, so that the sunny June festival is held in the Falmouth venue with its extensive gardens and grounds, while the wild, windy October fest.gets the poky little hall in St.Ives? I suspect the answer to all the above is buried somewhere deep within the CAMRA handbook, and goes along the lines of "if you're asking these questions why are you at at beer festival?" Still, St. Ives was lovely to emerge into after several pints, and the souvenir glass was a good addition to the collection.
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