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Water flowing underground
same as it ever was
18th-Oct-2020 11:56 pm - Friends Only
stepping across the line
This Journal is Friends' Locked.

Cruising Logs are public, as are the 365 Quote for the Day posts of 2009

If you're looking for the fanfic, it's over on hesadevilspike. Icons are on gen_icons

Daily Blog has moved to Blogger

For all other comments, please email me on hesadevil@gmail.com or comment on the relevant entry. Thank you.
8th-Apr-2016 09:39 am - Ten Years of Fandom
knitting sketch
Originally posted by slow_lane at Ten Years of Fandom

This year is the tenth anniversary of WriterConUK. It's time to celebrate!

from Kazzy CEE The 10th anniversary event has been confirmed as the 16th-18th September!! Ten years of getting together at this bijou event (as in, it's not huge and therefore much more fun than a large con) in Coventry at a hotel which knows us (and still lets us come back each year) and whose staff are fabulous!

C'mon - you know you want to! :)

Sign up now for a place at The Event (and party) of the year.
There will be cocktails - oh yes. (Popcorn and sweeties on film nghts only.)

I wonder what special cocktails the hotel will come up with this year?

5th-Apr-2016 11:36 am - Calling All Artists!
writercon magic
Originally posted by ningloreth at Calling All Artists!
As part of our 10th Anniversary celebrations, hesadevil has issued a '10 Years of Fandom' banner challenge. The winning banner will feature on the WriterConUK website (and all the runners up will be displayed at the meeting).

Here are the rules:
Size: 800 x 258 pixels (or the same ratio)
Text: All banners must include the text Writercon UK and 10 Years of Fandom
File format: .gif, .jpg or .png
Deadline: 31st May
Submission: Please submit your banner(s) in comment(s) to this post.

You can enter as many banners as you like. hesadevil will choose the winner.
16th-Sep-2014 06:56 pm - An absence of three years
writercon magic
made me a little nervous about attending this year's WriterConUK event.

I needn't have worried.

There were lots of friendly faces, some old and some new.

There were goody bags and  a build and fly-yer-own dinosaur icebreaker activity  before the quiz (my group won, thanks to the presence of super-geek Hils)

which was followed by cocktails.

There was a newly refurbished (to me) break-out area

and cocktails.

On Saturday, There was a full day's programme.

Fanfic as Conversation between writers

10.00 Fanfic as Conversation between writers

11.00 Refreshments

11.30 Bearable fanfics from Mills and Boon summaries (very silly but such fun)

12.30 Lunch

14.00 Pimp your Fandom

15.00 Writing dialogue

16.00 Refreshments

16.30 Decorating your goody-bag pencil case

Two Hugos and a Tequila Sunrise

17.30 Cocktails - I finally took the plunge and ordered a Hugo

18.00 BadFic

1900 Dressing for dinner

19.30 Banquet

22.00 Cocktails

I was grateful that I had booked a suite as there were times when I felt rough or was too tired to participate fully. I was able to retire to my rooms and have some tea and knit.

Cowl on blocking wires

No one minded when I opted out, and I wasn't the only one to do so because the day was so packed

I even managed to finish a lacy cowl I was working on.

I had a great, if somewhat tiring time. Best of all, in my opinion, people came foward at the AGM to fill the vacancies left by the outgoing Chairperson and Treasurer - guaranteeing the continuation of The Event into its eighth year, and beyond.

The Event ended with the raffle. This year, people were so generous and brought more than one item each. Everyone managed to snaffle more than one raffle prize. Mine was a bottle of Cremant de Limoux and a box of Guiness Fudge.

My personal thanks go to gillo and curiouswombat for their four years' service as Chairperson and Treasurer - and for making this year's Event a pleasurable one for me.
25th-Mar-2014 11:31 am - Fitness Training
Spring Fling Moley

My last session with my Personal Trainer revealed a total lack of muscle tone in my left  tricep. I had no problem raising a 3kg dumbell to position 1, but after I'd put it into position 2, over my left shoulder, I couldn't raise it up again - at all. The right arm had no such problems and could have coped with a heavier weight.

During an Aquacise class yesterday morning, the instructor offered some Speedo Aqua fitness gloves. I decided to give them a go and concentrated on working my upper arms throughout the session, giving my knee a rest from it's recent flareup (arch support must go back in the right shoe for a while).

It's a bit like having webbed fingers. The gloves provide more resistance as you work the arms throughout the exercises,

I'm just beginning to feel the benefit of the workout on those arm muscles this morning.

Final session with my PT is on Thursday. Then it's off to the delights of the Suffolk coastline for two weeks' relaxation and lots of walking.

20th-Mar-2014 09:54 am - Spring is sprung
Spring Fling Moley

Time to pack the bucket and spade, wellies, and walking boots, for a Spring Fling break with MWNN and Ron in Suffolk.
15th-Mar-2014 08:09 pm - The weekly knitting group meeting
continues to be well attended and a buzz of activity.

Tea served 'in a pot'

Yesterday, plans for the Festiwool (details coming soon) and Living Crafts events attracted much comment and involvement. Refreshments provided at The Sun, with courtesy and good nature (as always) by Aidan.

Casting-off the final stitch

Modelling the stole

meanwhile, some of our members worked quietly on their knitting. One member, in particular ( a young woman with learning disabilty and epilepsy), put the finishing touches to a lovely stole she's been working on.

Photos © Andy Newton
12th-Mar-2014 10:14 pm - Picnic in the Park -

- Wimpole Park.

After the fog had burned off this morning, MWNN drove me and his sister to Wimpole Hall Estate.

We arrived at lunchtime, unpacked the chairs and picnic and sat in the sun enjoying our food and tea.

After lunch, we gave Ron a short walk around the house. There were sheep in the fields and notices warning that lambing would be happening soon, so dogs were to be kept on quite a short lead.

The view from the house is lovely, and gives some idea of the size of the estate.

Soon it was time for tea. We sat on the terrace outside the old Rectory (1597) which houses the restaurant, as it was too hot to leave Ron in the car.

We were  joined by a pair of chafinches, eager to share the freshly-baked cakes. Unlike other diners, we left crumbs on the plate for our discerning feathered friends.

A short 30 minuted drive later, we were home again.

11th-Mar-2014 08:59 am - The Older I Get
the less I need distance specs for driving (apparently, I'm now legal to drive without them). and the more I need reading specs for knitting, sewing, or reading.

I collected my new pair of readers yesterday (needed a new pair because my prescription had changed again). Specsavers did me a really good deal - 25% off for being over 60 - plus a 'golden ticket' (I feel like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory) for 50% discount on another pair, if used within a month. Family/friend could use it for 25% off.
10th-Mar-2014 10:35 am - Spring

is almost sprung.

It was really warm and sunny yesterday.

The garden was full of butterflies - fritillaries of all sizes. A pair of long-tailed tits was looking for a suitable nesting site (still feeling a little guilty at the removal of the leylandii from the front garden), reminding me that if the trees are to be pruned, it should be in the next week or so.

The weather was so warm that a load of bed linen dried and aired in a couple of hours in the garden, coming in only as the sun dipped behind the neighbour's roof. It will soon be setting later in the day - clocks spring forward an hour on the 30th of this month. I've never understood what is actually 'saved' by doing this.

spike thumbs up

they go to humongous lengths to get wi-fi up and running for skype sessions at a hotel where the internet connection is down and will remain down for the foreseeable future.

WriterConUK's organising team pulled out all the stops when the members discovered that there was no internet connection at the hotel. The team persuaded the duty manager that it was essential to set up a skype connection for me as I was unable to attend. The Event in person. Duty Manager, Mike went out into Coventry and bought a dongle to set up a mifi on the team's laptop.

Connection was dicey at first as there were problems with the sound quality. Eventually that was sorted and I was able to say 'hi' to old friends in the newly refurbished Breakout Area.

Breakout area

I was able to attend some of the presentations but missed others.

Building costumes

One of the few sessions I was able to follow really well was 'Building Costumes.

I wish I had been there for the practical sessions on designing a character,

and for the When Art meets fic.

Not to mention all the other wonderful presentations I missed because of one thing or another.

I realised, just before the start of The Event, on Friday evening, that I had Raffle prizes to add to the impressive pile on display. Mine couldn't travel alone, so were added virtually.

Raffle prizes

I was even able to take part in the AGM during which the all-important question of 'do we carry on in the face of falling numbers?' was discussed.The answer is of course we do - small is beautiful and our quirky British event is like no other convention.

The Goodie-Bag Queen, Bogwitch, delivered my personalised Goodie-Bag on her way home on Sunday afternoon. I handed over two of the three items for the raffle which she will deliver. The third, The DVD of The Hobbit, will be posted as soon as I receive the winner's (everyone's a winner at The Event) details.

My Goodie-Bag and contents.

Raffle Prizes - bottle of Prosecco, Hobbit Cinema poster, Mug.

Personalised contents - Event Programme, Discworld bottle opener, name-badge and lanyard, writerConUk pen, notebook, selection of sweets and chocolates, fun-sized maracas, bubble-wand.

The Goodie-Bag itself is re-useable this year - a canvas bag with WriterconUK graphics.

It was so wonderful to be included at this year's Event and I am really grateful for the team efforts to make it happen in such difficult circumstances.
27th-Feb-2013 08:30 pm - Missed me?
Absolutely fascinating reading Spike
You needn't.

I'm posting  daily to my new(er) Blogger Blog.

If anyone is interested in keeping in touch, add the Slow Lane to your FList.

But, before you do, hop on over to WriterConUK for the latest update on this year's Event.

Now, if I could add my FLIst to my Blogger reading list, I'd feel a lot happier.
30th-Nov-2012 11:16 am - Blogger Blog syndication
I have been neglectful of my LJ.

However, I have been posting daily to my new(er) Blogger Blog.

If anyone is interested in keeping in touch, add the Slow Lane to your FList.

Now, if I could add my FLIst to my Blogger reading list, I'd feel a lot happier.
18th-Sep-2012 10:51 am - Didn't we have a lovely time
knitting sketch

the day we went to Bangor Tenby.

Event IronmanWales was exciting (if somewhat wet and tiring on the leg).

The countdown to the Pro finishers.

The 'Voice' of Ironman, bringing the athletes home.

N0rm, captured on lap 3 of the run by MWNN.

N0rm was too fast for me, coming round the bend beneath the town gate like Stormin Norman.

Whoosh .....  missed him again on the Red Carpet.

At the finishing line.

and he's home in  excellent time.

TOTKat and N0rm at IronmanWales awards ceremony.

TOTKat acknowledging her 'honourable mention'

22nd-Jul-2012 10:59 am - Cooking with lavender

When MWNN and I visited Hitchin Lavender, I asked if the farm's lavender was suitable for cooking. The assistant said it was but to use it sparingly, especially the dried version. I said I'd like to try using the lavender from my garden and was told that it would be ideal as it was best to use just picked lavender.

I searched for recipes online and came up with a fairly simple one for lavender shortbread. I'm keen to try it out and 'test' it on MWNN when he returns from cat-sitting duties at The Daughter's (104) house.

  • 150g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp culinary dried lavender flowers
Preheat oven to 160degC. Slightly crush 1tsp lavender flowers in a pestle and mortar to release the natural oils. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl with the caster sugar, butter and crushed lavender, and rub in using fingertips to make a crumbly mixture which can then be kneaded together to make a dough. Roll out to 1cm thick and cut into individual rounds. Sprinkle with the remaining lavender flowers, pressing them down gently until they stick, then bake for 10-15 mins until the shortbread is just starting to brown. Leave for 10 mins before removing from baking tray, and sprinkle with caster sugar.

If my baking is OK, I plan to take some lavender shortbread to Wales, for a friend, when I visit following cheering on 103 and 104 in Ironman UK Wales

Ironman UK, Bolton is happening today. You can track 103 and 104 on the day using the competitor tracking.
26th-Jun-2012 10:14 am - Laon
cruising log

Laon Cathedral

Our away-day trip to Laon was overdue. Laon is the medieval capital of France. Charlemagne was born there. It boasts the oldest Cathedral in the country. The views from the ramparts (if you can find a place to park) are spectacular.

© whimsicalwonderlust

We arrived after a leisurely lunch on the way down at the Auberge de Vendeul. We climbed up to the Cathedral from the first car park which is just outside the entrance gate of the old town. After the visit to the Cathedral, we shopped in the town where MWNN discovered a shop selling tea and some wonderful freshly-ground coffee.

© whimsicalwonderlust

At tea time, we picnicked in the car park overlooking the view of the countryside far below.

It's a fascinating town (city?) with a long history.
25th-Jun-2012 08:43 am - The best kept secret in St Quentin
cruising log
is an area between the railway and canal, right beside the town centre.

Parc d'Isle

The Parc d'Isle is big (47.52 hectares). It contains lakes, marshes, orientation course, a farm, and other environmentaly-friendly areas. Entrance is free.

Despite the blustery, wet weather, we managed an hour's walk along the main footpath (through the topiary) before the rain swept in again.

This is a wonderful resource, right on our doorstep (gunwales) and something we mean to make more use of during our visits to the boat.

24th-Jun-2012 04:02 pm - Camelot
cruising log

One of the places I've wanted to visit for quite a long time, is Camelot Pierrefonds. The BBC series 'Merlin' uses the castle as one of its locations. It's not far from St Quentin, on the road between Compiegne and Soissons.

Taken with mobile phone

The town is a little like Portmeirion in Wales, in that it is totally geared up for tourists. There is a variety of places to eat, from the lakeside gardens to the Auberge aux Bles D'or in which we had a fairly disasterous meal (that's a story that makes Basil Fawlty look positively super-efficient by comparison).The castle dominates the town. It was a pity that the weather prevented us exploring the park around the castle.

Taken on the climb up to the entrance

The tour of the Castle was a long one. It's impressive, given that it was built on the ruins of a much earlier castle at the request of Napoleon III, but disappointing in that its interior is used as a display space for art and sculpture from other regions of France and other epocs.

One of the many restored staircases

There is evidence of much restoration, both inside and out. Climbing the many flights of stone steps and loking down from the drawbridge 'control room'  reminded us that such castles were fortresses, built to repel would-be invaders.

Several restored interiors give some idea of the scale of the 'state' rooms. The grand hall, with its double fireplace has all the grandeur expected of an Emperor's 'holiday estate' in the Forest of Compiegne. The circular seating is one of the few remaining pieces of furniture from Viollet-le-Duc's  restoration.

Image from http://www.skyscrapercity.com

Inside, Viollet-le-Duc produced more a work of invention than
restoration. He imagined how the castle ought to
have been, rather than basing his work on the strict history of the
building. On the other hand, with the exterior he showed an excellent
knowledge of the military architecture of the 14th century

There was one glimpse of part of the Merlin set left in place for the film crew's next visit (just a few days after we were there). These town cottages are merely 'front elevations'

Pierrefonds may be worth a second visit when the weather is good enough to picnic in the park.

21st-Jun-2012 03:58 pm - France 2012
cruising log
Although we didn't get a cruise this year, we did take time out from working on the boat to explore the area around St Quentin.

Prémontré Abbaye

Aerial view giving some idea of the scale of the site

One of our first 'away days' was spent at Prémontré as MWNN wanted to see Prémontré Abbey,  the mother house of the Premonstratensian Order. I forgot to take my camera so have raided the web for these images.

Of the old abbey as it was from the 12th to the 16th centuries hardly
anything remains, but three large buildings of the 17th and 18th
centuries are still standing, part of one of which is used as a church,
dedicated to Saint Norbert

Since 1867, the main buildings have been used as a psychiatric hospital. There are no 'inmates' any more , just staff of the Centre Hospitalier de Prémontré. We were unable to see inside any of the buildings as it was Sunday and no one (apart from one 'patient' with attached medical attendant) was there.

It was easy to get some idea of the scale of the Abbey as it was in the 12th century, as the approach is around the outer wall. The remains are the size of a village set amid the vast acres belonging to the Commune of Prémontré.


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