nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)
First day of the holiday, no milk, run out of bread. I could throw some clothes on and dash to the supermarket. Or, I could have cake for breakfast. Cake it is!

I am going on holiday on Monday, and as packing inevitably expands to take up all the time available, I am not packing until tomorrow. I am also hoping that the weather will get better, because I am supposed to be going hiking in western Austria and today it is pouring with rain and 9C. Apparently my run of summer holidays with guaranteed good weather is at an end... Naturally last week it was mid-20s temperatures and sunny. But at least I have some new walking trousers as well as a new hat and there will be fresh air and mountains, even if the fresh air might be a bit damp. I shall read books and eat food cooked by other people, and inevitably not do any writing.

But now I had better get up and re-apply the waterproofing to my jacket.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
As is my wont I am looking obsessively at the weather forecast for where I shall be going on holiday in a month's time, in this case St Anton am Arlberg and St Gallen., the Norwegian weather service which appears to have weather forecasts for everywhere in the world, accurately (at least when I've been there) and in English*, is forecasting 4C max next Thursday and Friday. I think that on this occasion I'm going to assume they're very, very wrong**.

Anyway, it won't be my problem because for once I have booked myself a week off in Oxford and on Wednesday I am going to be in London for the athletics.

*Also Bokmål (Norwegian), Nynorsk (Norwegian with even more terrifying spelling), Kvääni (Kven), and Davvisámegiella (Northern Sami).

**That said, Bergfex has 12/11C listed, so not as wrong as I'd hope if it were my holiday next week.
nineveh_uk: Photo of Rondvassbu in winter (rondvassbu)
Apparently it is 8 January 2016 today. I’m not sure how it can be so, but reputable sources say that it is, so I suppose I must believe them. A whole week into the new year! A whole week gone at work. Work has actually been quite good; that is, it has been much the same as usual, but I have had vastly more energy and inclination for it than I did in the last couple of weeks of term before Christmas.

Anyway, I had a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas holiday, including:

• Many delightful presents. I am particularly hoping that the digital radio will get me into radio listening more regularly (not just the cricket). I’ve dropped the habit in recent years, which is silly because I really enjoy it.
• An excellent train journey up, a very trying journey down.
• Much food, including the successful cooking of the hare. You get an enormous quantity of meat for £8.50 on a hare.
• Visible snow twice! A miracle given the weather. We had one actually cold day, on New Year’s Day, which happily involved a walk, although the pace that three year olds walk means that I had to go and run up a nearby hill and then catch up half-way through in order not to freeze.
• Some splendid entertainment, of which reviews to come, and also the karaoke, which was a great success. Middle Sister’s rendition of Dire Straights’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is fortunately greatly improved since I last heard it and is now quite impressive.
• No work for a fortnight, and most other people being off for all of that, meaning few emails to return to.
• Surprisingly little reading, including only a tiny bit of Yuletide. I am looking on that as some fanfic treats to look forward to in the rest of winter.
• Some successful sales shopping: after saying I was not getting winter work skirts any more, I bought a new one, also drinking glasses, a warm cardigan, and if I get to the shops this lunchtime, possibly a work jacket. [ETA: I didn't get a jacket, it turns out that the reason it was marked down was that it looked like a sack when worn.]

The train problems were caused by a damaged viaduct on the west coast line and a tree on the east coast one, both caused by the absolutely appalling weather in northern England and southern Scotland. Seeing some of the areas of Leeds and York that flooded was staggering; there were areas that haven’t flooded in many decades looking like rivers. Meanwhile Cameron is claiming that he’s investing new money in a Leeds flood scheme, when it's the same money already announced, much of which the council came up with. I would like to think that this ‘winter’ is a wake-up call to the whole country and its politicians on climate change, but I fear it won’t be.

And speaking of the weather, according to the Independent “the coldest winter in 58 years is expected to hit the country.” I think we can all say “yeah, right” to that one. Still, there was actually frost this morning for only the second time this season, and a bit of moderate chill will be no bad thing. Meanwhile it has been -40C in northern Norway, with some interesting pictures. Though I can’t link to the best ones, because this is the week of the Tour de Ski, so I can’t look at any websites that might have skiing news on until I have got home and caught up with the videos. There is nothing like watching winter sports each night to ease the return to the office routine.
nineveh_uk: Photograph of a bluebell wood (bluebells)
A great gold fire burns in the sky! Surely our doom is upon us as the flaming meteor plunges towards earth.

News just in, apparently it's the sun, deciding to turn up after several months absence. I have also learned this weekend that sky is not always white or grey-coloured and wet, but can also do blue and dry. It is all very cheering.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
*Little more than a week of January to go! Cue the now routine call of “how did that happen?” I am, as ever, deeply disappointed that of the warm/cold masses doing their usual stuff about the British Isles, the warm is winning so that it is going to rain all tomorrow and much of the weekend. It could have been snow! I even get to be socially responsible in wishing that, because snow would have reached the rivers more slowly.

*I am delighted to see strong reviews for La Fanciulla del West, which I will be seeing at Opera North in Leeds in a fortnight. It’s seldom performed in the UK, and I’ve wanted to see it for ages. Unusually for Puccini, it has a happy ending. The most well-known aria is Ch'ella mi creda, which is magnificent though far too short. Also unusually for Puccini, it’s a dramatic song of someone being stoic.

*A trifle irritated with the Guardian’s report on the National Fish and Chip award, which insists on calling it fish’n’chips. I agree with the commenter who observes that the article’s insistence on fish cooked to order is completely wrong. A good fish and chip shop will have sufficient custom that cooked fish won’t be kept standing, because someone’s there to buy it, so you won’t have to wait. Under normal circumstances, if you have to wait 15 minutes for your fish to be cooked especially for you it’s because they don’t have enough trade to be really good at it.

*Announcement of the Winter Olympic squads also brought the news that there is a Facebook page dedicated to the Norwegian curling team’s patterned trousers.

*Interesting news about the possibility of a small glacier in Scotland in the 1700s during the Little Ice Age. This isn’t a new hypothesis, but one that there’s been quite some exploration of during the last century – what’s new is the hitherto-elusive evidence.

ETA: Exciting British wildlife news! First wild beaver in 500 years in England confirmed in Devon.* There was at least one sighting in the summer, but this one has actually been filmed. That said, it is probably not the first wild beaver to have lived in England in 500 years, as there is good evidence of one living on the Thames in Oxfordshire within the last decade. Like wild boars, it looks like they’ll be managing the come back on their own (with a little help from poorly secured enclosures).

*Cabin Pressure people, near Ottery St Mary. I think this is a job for [personal profile] caulkhead.
nineveh_uk: Photo of Rondvassbu in winter (rondvassbu)
I am so tired I think that my brain may be dribbling out of my ears, but I can’t be bothered to stop it. I am also feeling somewhat annoyed at the prospect that all the northern snow may melt before I can get to it on Thursday, but I can’t change my holiday dates because I’ve got meetings either side. Grr.

From the Department of Irony, via the Guardian: the Battle of Towton has been cancelled due to the poor weather.

“This would have been a rare year when the commemoration coincided with the actual day of the battle, Palm Sunday. In 1461 the two armies fought for ten hours in a blizzard, and this year months of rain and snow have left the site completely waterlogged. The Towton Battlefield Society has sadly announced: "The weather forecast shows no sign of any improvement so we have decided that for safety’s sake we should cancel the event.”

Honestly, the weather gods have laid on a blizzard for them so they got both the day and the weather, you’d think they might be grateful!
nineveh_uk: Photo of Rondvassbu in winter (rondvassbu)
A problem with the UK is that there really isn't anywhere in it that has both reliably warm summers, and reliably cold winters. There isn't even anywhere that has just one of them. Yes, it's that time of year when I start watching webcams elsewhere and weather threads for vaguely here (i.e. 400 miles further north) and hope for not particularly likely weather scenarios.

Though if I'm hoping for cold, maybe I ought to bring the basil in.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)
It is dark outside. Proper winter dark. There is no hope of the summer clothes coming out again. At least I'm not one of the people getting flooded, or indeed my mother, who had to drive to Oxenholme yesterday to catch a train to Edinburgh. The heating has been switched on at work, which means it is ridiculously warm, but apparently it was freezing on Monday when I wasn't in due to ongoing lurghy. Anyway, the radiators are less than subtle, but it does at least suggest an end in future to previous winters' phenomenon of Wool Mondays. I am working mornings only this week, after last week's two days off (except I looked at emails) and one day leaving early and one day off-except-for-meeting, and finally Monday completely off, and maybe tomorrow I will actually make that the morning only. I got home at 2:15 this afternoon and promptly collapsed on the sofa. I feel like Beth March*. Happily I look awful, which is just what you need to justify not being in work when technically you've only got a rather elderly cold.

Yes, I am whinging, not least about the fact that I ordered two dresses from Boden and naturally it is the one that costs full price that looks nice. It also reminds me of a pinafore I loved when I was ten, which perhaps is a reason not to buy it, but I am telling myself that I had excellent taste as a ten year-old (this is not true).

Most annoying, I have not managed to do any writing when not at work due to absence of Brain. And to make matters worse, it has struck me that the untitled fic known as the "Corsican Potterverse mpreg crossover with bonus valet-rogering"** may just have to be the "Corsican Potterverse mpreg crossover" because I - and I find it hard to believe I am about to write these words in relation to this particular fic - am not sure that the valet-rogering is artisically justified.

Pause for incredulity.

But let's look on the bright side: I don't own a sports shop that was invaded by sheep.

*Substituting "can't eat breakfast" for heart failure.

**To remove the possibility of ambiguity, that is rogering by the valet.


nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)

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