I don’t leave the house when it’s over 35C unless I can hide somewhere (like an office building), so when I found myself faced with a few days off work and 40C I decided to do a bit of weaving in the lounge room. But if I’m going to weave for two days, I need to do something else as well and so there was some radio documentaries, some music and a whole lot of spec-fic!
I started watching the Firefly movie. Then some eps of the series. After which I jumped over to watching some Angel and I finished up on some Supernatural!
Well, actually I finished by watching Warm Bodies. A romance between a zombie and a girl is just so much fun, but not greatly spec-fic because nothing about the virus that causes the undead is explained.
I also did a solid amount of weaving.
Of course I could have been writing. I chose to extend my writing holiday a bit because I’m planning a return to the PAR later in my week off.
I have done no writing for about 3 weeks and it’s been lovely! For some reason – mostly fatigue – daemon and I decided that we could put down the PAR and just go on holiday, despite being a scant 7 chapters from the end.
No guilt ensued.
Then again, I wrote the draft between Nov ’16 and April ’17 and worked on the edit from June ’17 to Dec ’17 so it was a pretty full year of work. Probably time for a break.
Of course, being me, there has been a story running around in my head for most of the 3 weeks anyway… just not one I’d bother committing to paper. I think. You never know.
And to recharge the narrative well, I’ve been watching Clint Eastwood westerns and Marilyn Munro comedies. Quite enjoying myself too! Particularly continuing my love affair with the old style tap dancers.
On that theme… this is a fantastic video mashup:
Today on the train home from work, I did everything I could to avoid engaging with a young guy who was telling everyone who’d listen a long string of improbable anecdotes. If it weren’t for the desperate, almost involuntary, urge he had to share his fantasy life, I might have thought he was having a laugh. Instead it was clear he was somewhere along the path of a serious mental health problem and it got me thinking, again, about that line between imagination and ‘crazy thinking’.
As I walk down the streets and ride the trains of my day-to-day life I am constantly in a fantasy world, imagining things and places that don’t exist. In my mind’s eye I’m conducting thought experiments that put me or other people into extreme situations and make them heroes and villains. While I journey with my characters I live hundreds of fantastical lives and if I sat down and told complete strangers (or even people I know) all about them like that guy was, they’d worry for my mental health too.
It’s always struck me as a great blessing to have a big, uncontrollable imagination, but there is something a little scary about it too, and when I see someone who’s on the way to losing sight of the line between fantasy and reality, I marvel at how fluid that line is.
I love cocktails. I also love miniature things. Possibly unsurprising then that an opportunity to bring these things together was a very exciting event!
The spur for a mini-cocktail event was the question “how can I make a nice range of yummy cocktails and not get everyone sloshed?” and the answer was, of course, “go tiny”.
In total I served 14 different cocktails covering a good range of flavours, though largely sticking to a gin base. The success of the Bacon Me Angry was satisfying (bacon infused vodka with cider and bitters) considering is possibly the weirdest cocktail any of us had ever drunk and the Salty Dog (grapefruit juice with gin in a salt rimmed glass) was delicious enough that it got served twice! Actually so did the Bacon Me Angry.
Of course the small scale did make things tricky at times… creating appropriate size cinnamon sticks for the Northern Expedition (black rum, sherry, cinnamon smoke and bitters) was fun and the umbrellas were a little bit big for the glasses…
Most of the recipes came from a copy of the Savoy Cocktail Book that I’ve been carrying around for a long time, with only four from other sources. Love that book!
Started with more savoury flavours to go with the nibbles we had and did a mix of long and short drinks to further stave off the getting drunk, before moving into classic sweet cocktails like Brandy Alexander (brandy, creme de cacao and cream) and Fifth Avenue (apricot brandy creme de cacao and creme).
It’s hard to express just how much fun I had doing this. Including the mandatory testing of cocktails in the preceding weeks! Aside from it being a lovely get together of writers (including a Skype appearance by one friend), it was a fantastic way to spend a Sunday arvo. Thanks to everyone who came!
Maybe this is the downside of working through the trip backwards, but I forgot a castle! Poor Dunnottar Castle got left out. It should have sat between Manchester and our Aberdeen arrival. Oops.
It was our last day in Scotland and we hopped on a bus from Aberdeen heading for the lovely sea-side village of Stonehaven (great name, huh?), which is famous for being the original home of the deep-fried-Mars-Bar. No that’s not why we went. In fact we only passed through on our way to the castle.
Yet another bright, sunny day gave us off-shore mist almost the whole way, which cleared about the time we got off the bus at an edge of the highway stop and trekked along a turn-off road. Can you see the ghost ship? Hint: it’s toward the right of the image…
The funny thing about visiting Dunnottar was that the scenery was more impressive than the actual castle! Though full marks for hard to attack location.
But this is what I mean about the scenery. How gorgeous is that?
There were beaches and cliffs either side and such lush greenery – also because it was spring there wildflowers everywhere. And there was haggis, yes haggis. In honour of it being the last day in Scotland, I got the only haggis I could find, which happened to be deep-fried. With chips.
Despite appearances, it was delicious.
My favourite things about the castle itself were that you can still see the cistern (7m deep) where everyone got their washing water (they made beer, so didn’t drink it directly) and the huge chimney at the smithy. I love those little bits of life writ in stone.