Father update

Aug. 29th, 2015 07:47 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

So, today my Aged Parent was moved from the hospital to a care centre where he will get 3 weeks of rehab, followed by 3 weeks home care visits. All free on the NHS.

We were anyway coming down to the family place this weekend (Aug Bank Hol) and in spite of minicab taking ages to turn up, train we were aiming at being cancelled, did achieve this aim, and drove over with other family members to see him there.

Doing okay though, if still a bit post-operative.

(no subject)

Aug. 29th, 2015 10:34 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] lilysea!

It is almost midwinter

Aug. 29th, 2015 09:36 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

It is with great sadness that Mrs F- and I part once more after far too short a visit. I tell her that I now know why our dear Grand Turk refers to her as his wild girl, giving her many kisses on her own behalf as well as many to convey to him.

I am very careful to give no signs that I may be in a fuss as I watch the carriage containing her and Docket drive away.

I then go into my boudoir and weep until my head quite aches.

Seraphine has already begun the preparations for the Christmas season by making the plum-puddings (she even summons me into the kitchen in order to stir, which is suppos'd lucky), putting up the filling for mince-pies, &C. Hector goes into the park with Roberts to discover whether they can find a good log: though I fear Roberts may consider this heathenish superstition he says nothing to the matter.

It is very pleasing to have a visit from Sandy, with some commissions I had desir'd of him.

As it is a mild day, and even sunny, I put on my tippet and take my muff so that we may walk in the garden together. The fountain still plays.

He despatches a certain amount of gossip about how matters go in our circle. Miss A- has quietened down most remarkable to the relief of all, though there is still a coldness betwixt her and Miss D-. Sir B- W- made a most excellent speech in Parliament of late, and while all suppose that Lady W- wrote it, his manner of delivery was found impressive. Also he has commission'd a portrait of Lady W- and his son from Sir Z- R-.

Will the wombatt appear in it, I ask.

This makes Sandy laugh - the Madonna of the Wombatt! - and to wonder whether that is why the Duke of M- is having Her Grace painted by Mr de C- instead. (I think not, for sure Biffle and his lady must have very fond feelings about the wombatt.)

I suppose you will be going to A- with His Lordship for the Christmas season?

He sighs and says no, he stays in Town. He went to A- last year and they found it not to answer at all, the place is full of aged retainers or, at least, those who remember G-'s father, and have very particular ways, also there are usually guests that are various family connections or else county neighbours. They hardly saw one another and his own position was an uncomfortable one, somewhere between a poor relation and an upper servant. If he remains at R- House it will probably annoy the servants, who have their own festivities over the period, but there are matters he can get on with, also the S-s have kindly invited him to their Twelfth Night party so he will not be an entire hermit -

My dear Sandy, say I, why do you not come here? We shall be very quiet, of course, but you know you are ever welcome, and it would sure be more pleasant than rattling around in R- House among a pack of servants that resent you. I should, I add, with an affecting slight sob in my voice, be most exceeding glad of your company, for there is no society for me in this place. Apart, I say, from Mr G-, who is an unfortunate necessity rather than any society I should chuse.

Will it not cause scandal?

I am sure that there is already scandal, because this is a sad dull neighbourhood and gossip must be one of their few delights, but I have dropped enough hints for it to be suppos'd you spy on me for my absent husband I daresay. You might go visit Mr G- perhaps, tho' he is a dreadfull tedious fellow, to aid the story.

Sandy strikes a dramatick attitude and declares that he is not afraid to brave the monster parson as recompense for my hospitality.

O, let us have no more masquerade, say I. Though, yes, perhaps you could vaguely imply that were my husband's ship to sink, you might endeavour to engage my interest.

No, says Sandy, I think I should imply that I think G- has such thoughts in mind and that I go about by visiting you alone to determine whether he is essaying to influence you in his favour and perchance even plans an elopement. For nothing has been heard of your husband's voyage for a while, which causes concern.

Sure, my dear, you should set about writing a Gothick novel, or perhaps some drama for the stage.

quinara: Spike smoking on a crate. (Spike crate)
[personal profile] quinara
/Young Ones

The Fag Ends Anniversary Party is still going, people. I have a few things I will try and edit up (/embellish???) to bring over at some point, but I was occupied rather a lot this week by the saga of my desire to make a video, specifically for the Depeche Mode B-Side Fools, because [livejournal.com profile] bogwitch prompted it (obviously), and I have been annoyed about not having made a video for ages. Long story short, when I replaced my laptop with a PC a few years ago, the ancient version of Windows Movie Maker stopped working with any file types apart from .wmv, and it was basically impossible to get any footage into it (and so far my attempts to try and find other software to make videos has been a complete disaster; for some reason I love WMM). However! After Windows 10 made me lose everything, and I had to find the CyberLink DVD player through a random menu, I discovered there was some CyberLink movie-making software on my computer, which was useless for everything APART FROM turning ripped .mkv DVD files into high quality .wmv files. And so I was saved!!

Of course, I then decided I wanted to make a Angel S5 Spuffy reunion vid, because I have wanted to make an AU vid for ages. So there was this whole business with downloading some dodgy version of The Grudge dubbed into Hindi and playing about with that and then deciding to invest a whole £1.27 in a DVD to make everything look nice, so then I had to wait for that to turn up. But now it's here!!! It is rather necessary to just go with the idea that LA and Tokyo basically look the same.

Do be careful if you have photosensitive epilepsy, as I would always say with any of my vids. As Hyperdub used to say about Burial tracks before you bought them, also, the glitches are part of the effect. ;)

A few more shots of courage and...

[BtVS/AtS + Depeche Mode, with some guest footage]
[HD on Vimeo // my other vids]

Is this the whole story?

Aug. 28th, 2015 02:26 pm
oursin: Photograph of the statue of Justice on top of the Old Bailey, London (Justice)
[personal profile] oursin

Spotted yesterday, on FB or Twitter, and didn't save the link - but doing a quick google for what it might have been turns up a number of stories, none of them precisely up to the minute - Students demand law profs. eliminate traumatic, 'triggering' rape law lessons (all the top hits are from around Dec last year, not sure why it was showing up now, ? linked story)

This appears to be part of the 'present generation are fragile flowers' narrative, but I am wondering how, historically, and indeed even at the present day, the law on sexual violence has been/is dealt with in classroom situations.

Because I can quite imagine to myself the way in which Dead White Male Professors might teach the subject, i.e., at best with a somewhat blokey take on it (this just somehow reminds me of the passage in Richard Gordon's Doctor in the House in which the only lecture in the medical jurisprudence course that packs the theatre to the doors is the one on rape) and at worst... well.

Also, having seen this week a classic example of story-distortion in which Jeremy Corbyn's remarks about engaging with the problem of sexual harassment on public transport, and discussing the proposals for doing something about, which had included the suggestion of bringing back the ladies' only carriage, became that Jezza himself wanted to bring in purdah, pretty much, wonder how much these reports were slanted. (Also, on this particular issue, I did note that some of the most vociferous voices attacking The Very Idea came from persons whom I presume to be fellas and with whom I would not necessarily want to share a railway carriage...)

Treasure Island Revisited

Aug. 28th, 2015 11:07 am
selenak: (John Silver by Violateraindrop)
[personal profile] selenak
I hadn’t reread this book since my childhood, and due to my Black Sails fannishness, I thought it was time. It held up pretty well: you can see why it became an instant classic. Incidentally, given Stevenson originally thought it up to amuse his stepson, and given the tragic fate of other child muses of children's classics, I checked what became of the stepson, and lo, he seems to have had a good life, and also later collaborated with his stepfather on three different books.

In the decades since I've read Treasure Island first, I had forgotten some parts: I hadn't recalled that Jim's father is still alive (if sick and then dying) at the start of the book. Probably because his mother in her one big scene (returning to the inn despite the pirates because damm it, her property is there) makes a far more vivid impression. Incidentally, current day children and YA books tend to kill off mothers if they don't kill off both parents, so Stevenson killing off Hawkins Senior (and not making a big deal of him later in the book in Jim's memories) is unusual. Not that Jim & father figures isn't a big issue: Doctor Livesey and Captain Smollett are the good, if remote ones, while John Silver is the very present, seductive and bad one.

The first part is great with setting up atmosphere, mystery and suspense, and it's fast paced, while the narration then slows down a bit until Jim discovers the mutiny plans, but the story never feels slow. Incidentally, Billy Bones drinking himself to death (and the information that so did Flint in the past) feels sad now to me in a way it didn't for child![personal profile] selenak due to Black Sails. Actually Silver is the only pirate in the book who doesn't have an alcohol problem, but while I remembered Billy Bones dying of rum and fear at the start of the novel clearly, I had forgotten the part much later where Jim is alone on the Hispaniola with the dying Israel Hands, which in terms of creepy intense set pieces is as effective as the first chapter and Jim in the apple barrel overhearing the mutineers.

Something else I had forgotten was that there's much hostility between the Squire and Captain Smollett at the start, and that even Jim doesn't like Smollett much in the beginning. Squire Trelawney constantly misjudging everyone is a running joke (the Squire really is basically Prince George from the third season of Blackadder in this book), but it's interesting that Stevenson doesn't go with the children's book habit of making a child's judgment of character instinctively right, and spotting villainy and virtue by heart. It makes Jim a more realistic boy. As does the fact that when he does find out the truth about Silver, the fact Silver uses the same line of praise he used for Jim to the next youngest crew member outrages him almost more than the fact Silver is planning a mutiny ("You may imagine how I felt when I heard this abominable old rogue addressing another in the very same words of flattery as he had used to myself. I think, if I had been able, that I would have killed him through the barrel ").

Something else I hadn't known was that Stevenson later wrote a hilarious meta fiction, a debate between Silver and Smollett as to which of them their author likes best. You can find the entire text here. But I can't resist quoting the entire opening, because, well, you'll see, plus it's a good example of Stevenson's style:

“Good-morning, Cap’n,” said the first, with a man-o’-war salute, and a beaming countenance.

“Ah, Silver!” grunted the other. “You’re in a bad way, Silver.”

“Now, Cap’n Smollett,” remonstrated Silver, “dooty is dooty, as I knows, and none better; but we’re off dooty now; and I can’t see no call to keep up the morality business.”

“You’re a damned rogue, my man,” said the Captain.

“Come, come, Cap’n, be just,” returned the other. “There’s no call to be angry with me in earnest. I’m on’y a chara’ter in a sea story. I don’t really exist.”

“Well, I don’t really exist either,” says the Captain, “which seems to meet that.”

“I wouldn’t set no limits to what a virtuous chara’ter might consider argument,” responded Silver. “But I’m the villain of this tale, I am; and speaking as one sea-faring man to another, what I want to know is, what’s the odds?”

“Were you never taught your catechism?” said the Captain. “Don’t you know there’s such a thing as an Author?”

“Such a thing as a Author?” returned John, derisively. “And who better’n me? And the p’int is, if the Author made you, he made Long John, and he made Hands, and Pew, and George Merry - not that George is up to much, for he’s little more’n a name; and he made Flint, what there is of him; and he made this here mutiny, you keep such a work about; and he had Tom Redruth shot; and - well, if that’s a Author, give me Pew!”

“Don’t you believe in a future state?” said Smollett. “Do you think there’s nothing but the present story-paper?”

“I don’t rightly know for that,” said Silver; “and I don’t see what it’s got to do with it, anyway. What I know is this: if there is sich a thing as a Author, I’m his favourite chara’ter. He does me fathoms better’n he does you - fathoms, he does. And he likes doing me. He keeps me on deck mostly all the time, crutch and all; and he leaves you measling in the hold, where nobody can’t see you, nor wants to, and you may lay to that! If there is a Author, by thunder, but he’s on my side, and you may lay to it!”

“I see he’s giving you a long rope,” said the Captain. “But that can’t change a man’s convictions. I know the Author respects me; I feel it in my bones; when you and I had that talk at the blockhouse door, who do you think he was for, my man?”

“And don’t he respect me?” cried Silver. “Ah, you should ’a’ heard me putting down my mutiny, George Merry and Morgan and that lot, no longer ago’n last chapter; you’d heard something then! You’d ’a’ seen what the Author thinks o’ me! But come now, do you consider yourself a virtuous chara’ter clean through?”

“God forbid!” said Captain Smollett, solemnly. “I am a man that tries to do his duty, and makes a mess of it as often as not. I’m not a very popular man at home, Silver, I’m afraid!” and the Captain sighed.

Fandom ,you couldn't do better with your meta fiction. :) Anyway, as you see here, Stevenson does the Victorian novel thing of writing out accents and dialect. All the pirates have one (though Silver's is flexible depending on whom he talks to), none of the heroes do, except for ex pirates Ben Gunn and Gray (the existence of Gray was another thing I had forgotten). The most upper class person of the book, Squire Trelawney, is also characterized as the most foolish one, though, and the one who gets to display all the -isms when he writes to Doctor Livesey, re: Silver:

I forgot to tell you that Silver is a man of substance; I know of my own knowledge that he has a banker's account, which has never been overdrawn. He leaves his wife to manage the inn; and as she is a woman of colour, a pair of old bachelors like you and I may be excused for guessing that it is the wife, quite as much as the health, that sends him back to roving.

(Something that hadn't occured to me before was to wonder what Silver's plan re: that account was if everything had happened according to scheme; after all, he couldn't have returned to Bristol either way. However, Stevenson has that covered:

"Well," said the other, "but all the other money's gone now, ain't it? You daren't show face in Bristol after this."

"Why, where might you suppose it was?" asked Silver derisively.

"At Bristol, in banks and places," answered his companion.

"It were," said the cook; "it were when we weighed anchor. But my old missis has it all by now. And the Spy-glass is sold, lease and goodwill and rigging; and the old girl's off to meet me."

There are no women in the book other than Jim's mother who at least gets one scene of action, and Mrs. Silver, who only gets mentioned, but intrigues me a lot, especially this does sound like a partnership. Says Jim at the end: Of Silver we have heard no more. That formidable seafaring man with one leg has at last gone clean out of my life; but I dare say he met his old Negress, and perhaps still lives in comfort with her and Captain Flint. It is to be hoped so, I suppose, for his chances of comfort in another world are very small.

(Your headcanon is my headcanon, Jim. And this story is my headcanon for Mrs. Silver, at least until we find out whether or not a certain character in Black Sails will become her.)

Letting Silver get away with it at the end is about the most un-cliché-Victorian thing you can imagine, and I love Stevenson did this, which is why I was disappointed to learn a recent theatre production kills him off under a pile of gold. That's just wrong. Silver is the archetype from which all later fictional pirates derive, and the fact he stays free and alive, instead of being morally punished, that's just essential.

(BTW: in Peter Pan, Barrie, who loved Treasure Island, claims that Hook bested "Barbecue" - which is a nickname Silver has in the book which never quite made it into pop culture and the movies - and was feared by him, to which I say: pull the other one, James Barrie. Hook's far too emo to be a match for Long John.)

Not that Stevenson soft sells Silver as a villain, or makes him too smart. Silver, like everyone else, underestimates Ben Gunn. And the scene on the beach where Silver in no time flat kills two crewmen is chilling, and told as extensively as his showcases of bravery and cleverness, which is why Jim is in no doubt Silver would have killed him, too, if it became more convenient. The tension of distrust, unwilling admiration and lingering affection is what makes the relationship, and the first person narration ensures the readers are in the same position of Jim - they simply don't know whether or not he's right re: Silver.

In conclusion: still a highly enjoyable yarn, that book. Thank you, Mr. Stevenson, Sir.

(no subject)

Aug. 28th, 2015 09:41 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] sollers/[livejournal.com profile] sollersuk!

Household business

Aug. 28th, 2015 09:22 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Hector comes and asks whether Mrs F- has been able to obtain any intelligence about how Titus does? Oh yes, she says, Mr G- D- was much at M- House about the business of Lady J-'s concerts and sometimes had Titus with him. The boy has become the great favourite of Mr G- D-'s household and makes himself most useful. Also, he was discover'd singing a lullaby to the twins one day that was entirely of his own composition and which Mr G- D- thinks shows considerable promise.

Hector is extreme gratify'd that the boy is showing so satisfactory and has got out of his idle ways, and puts it down to the excellent example of our household.

I only hope, say I, that he does not continue to pine for Tibby. Mrs F- says if he does, it must show a great devotion, because Mr G- D- says that there are young women in his neighbourhood that already run after the boy. Hector sighs, as one that has the same problem, and says he hopes that Titus takes this in a prudent and sober manner and is not beguil'd by female flattery.

After he goes about his business once more I disclose to Mrs F- the history of how Hector came into my household: that he was previously in a place where the mistress of the house took a fancy to him - oh, says Mrs F-, like unto the tale of Joseph Andrews - except, say I, that Hector was no such simple unsuspecting creature but could foresee that there could be no good end to the matter, and that being turned off without a character would be the best case that could happen, rather than accusations of ravishment. Sir B- W- had already noted him and thought him fit to make a prize-fighter, and would have sponsor'd him in such a course. He did not have any great notion to it, but could not see any other way forward, so came to talk over the matter with Phoebe and Seraphine, who were already of my establishment.

And that was the reason, I continue, that he was in the house on the night when the Junker made his frenzy'd attack upon me. That made me consider that it would be prudent to have a man about the place - tho' sure I have never had anything the like happen to me again - and a fine footman in smart livery ever gives credit to an establishment. But really, Hector has become a pillar of the house and sure I am concerned lest he take some notion to leave.

He does not comport himself like one that dislikes his place, says Mrs F-. He could do better for himself, I reply.

My dearest says she will go talk to Seraphine and see if she can discover how things go betwixt her and Roberts. We kiss as if about to be parted forever, and I pick up the book in which I am writing my Gothick tale. The young actress has now taken refuge in the nunnery and in her explorings of the place (for she is not subject to any kind of monastic discipline), has discovered the cell in which the gypsy belov'd of the Grand Duke is immur'd. It is reveal'd that the Prince-Bishop is very much hated by the gypsy tribe for his oppressions towards them. There is mention of a curse.

Returns Mrs F- and sits next to me on the sopha, peering over my shoulder as I write. I close the book upon my finger (so that the ink will not smudge). and kiss her. Well, my love?

Seraphine is very close about the matter of Roberts but was entirely open to me concerning her loyalty to a place where she is not demean'd on account of her sex or the colour of her skin, also mentioning the many years you have been together, the very generous wages and no trouble over perquisites, and the vails that visitors to the house have been pleas'd to give her, as well as your very kind behaviour in the matter of Julius.

However - Mrs F- takes the book from me and places it on the table, and puts her arm around me - she will go so far as to admit that there are those that might have some prejudice on account of the nature of the establishment. She adverted to Mr E- with some bitterness as one who suppos'd it a house of commerce (though he put it a good deal coarser) generally, on account of my darling's profession.

She waxed quite angry then and said that you ever closed the door to gentlemen that offered sauciness to any of the household and gave out that this was a rule of the place. They had tried to persuade Cousin Dorcas that she would be much better in Madame C-'s household than some of the respectable ones where she met with coarse behaviour. But she would have none of a house of sin founded upon fornication. The foolish chit, says Seraphine, for she may be besotted on Miss A- now, but places her trust in an improvident creature that follows a precarious way of life.

She also says she will never like anyone that thinks they may insult Madame C-, not if it was the Archbishop of Canterbury himself or even John Wesley.

I believe Mr Wesley to be deceas'd, I say in a small voice. But that is very kind in Seraphine. In a position like mine it is only sound prudent behaviour to be generous to one's people and to protect their interests.

Oh, I can hear the sound of my darling working up into one of her fusses, says Mrs F- hugging me close. Perchance I should think of some distraction.

This pleasing notion receives a setback upon Hector announcing that the parson is on his way up the drive. We immediately tidy ourselves and put on very respectable caps, and I put away my Gothick tale.

Mr G- seems quite intimidated by Mrs F-, who carefully drops into the conversation hints of wealth and mentions of the distinguished society she has late been in along with her great affection for her dear school-fellow, whose husband pursues a profession that takes him away so distant so much, leaving her solitary even at such a time as the present.

After he departs Mrs F- says that she considers that he greatly hopes that the sea-captain's ship will go down, leaving me a wealthy widow. Though she thinks he would also have a notion even were there not money in the matter, and were he not constrained by his cloth I should be having trouble with that man.

Were it not for his cloth he would not even have an entrée here, I say, but I am oblig'd to admit him. And indeed, I think I am able to tell when a gentleman has a notion towards me: I have never suppos'd Mr G- interested merely in my spiritual welfare. For if he were, he would not address so much of his conversation towards my bubbies. But tell me, my darling, are there women who could be successfully wooed by being told of their weak feminine minds and incapacity to manage their own affairs?

There is a deal of difference, says Mrs F-, between offering to help someone and take a little of their burden, which may be welcome, and declaring them incompetent.

Did our dearest tell you of the pretty desk he had fashioned for me, so that I could better manage business matters? It is the prettiest usefullest thing.

Now, that is our dear Grand Turk, she cries. And now I am no longer myself distracted by that dreadfull parson, I should obey his instruction to distract our darling from fussing.


Aug. 27th, 2015 09:11 pm
quinara: Owl from Meg and Mog driving: 'Who let the owl drive?' (Meg and Mog Owl drive)
[personal profile] quinara
Aaaaaaah, it was so good today. Possibly because Shabnam is my fave (and Stacey - and Kush, and possibly Martin after this for being so daft - and Tamwar always, and Mick), but the set pieces!!! But you should all watch this weirdly cropped YouTube upload. And Tuesday's, because it sets up the day of the stag do when this is all set.

Enjoy the camp and the running around the Square!! You will not regret it. Or maybe, but never mind.



Yes, these will probably keep disappearing...


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