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DWGism [userpic]

Thieving Taxmen ;)

May 13th, 2017 (09:07 pm)
amused
Tags: ,

current location: Atop Mt Better Late Than Never
current mood: amused

(I made a bunch of notes while up in Durham last month that I'm finally recycling into posts).

That moment when the hidden joke in a book you thought you knew well leaps out and clubs you in the head. Or in this case a series. Lois McMaster Bujold has always said the Barrayaran Vor in the Miles Vorkosigan books started out as tax collectors, jumped up government thugs, before becoming nobility. One of the characters in my novel-in-progress is the boss of the Seattle Vory v Zakone, the ‘Thieves in Law’, aka the Russian mob. Mostly I call him by name, but this time I wanted to call him by what he is, and the singular of Vory is Vor. As soon as I wrote that down the connection hit home and my jaw dropped. Bujold’s Vor have turned ‘thief’ into a title of nobility – and arguably one that’s all too applicable for tax collectors! Technically I think Miles just predates the rise of the modern Vory post Perestroika and the break-up of the Soviet Union, but the old Vory were about for most of the 20thC.

(It's possible Bujold has said this explicitly somewhere, but if she has I've missed it).

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays. You can reply on the DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/126758.html using OpenID. LJ commenting is on, but may not be checked regularly.

DWGism [userpic]

Oooh, shiny!

May 13th, 2017 (08:34 pm)
amused
Tags: ,

current location: Next to the glitterball
current mood: amused
current song: Saturday Night Fever


I've been meaning to sort out the slightly undersized Quickie GPV I ended up getting for free after last year's eBay wheelchair fiasco (first they ruled the other person was right and paid them, then revised that to me being right and refunded me). It's not so small as to be unusable, just a touch narrow if you're wearing any sort of jacket. It might be useful to have a spare chair I don't mind getting bashed about. The main thing that needed taking care of is that the caster tyres were so worn they were in imminent danger of tearing across the width and peeling right off. So I looked up caster prices. How much!?! £45 a pair is the cheaper end of the spectrum! You can get a cheap transit chair for only a fiver more! That was rather more than I wanted to pay, so I've been watching eBay.

And this week one of the mobility dealers offered a very slightly used pair for £25. That's more like it, and it turns out they are very slightly used - they still have the mould mark down the centre of the tyre, so if they've been used outdoors it can't have been for long. Only one minor drawback, they're got built-in self-powered LEDs that flash as they spin. Oooh, shiny!

I've fitted them, which took a bit of delving about for every spare washer in the house as they're 1" width and my caster forks are 2.5", but it looks like I've got a functional result (I'm too cheap to buy proper spacers if I don't need to). I'll give it a try tomorrow to check they roll okay - I'm actually not worried whether they flash or not, I'd almost prefer they didn't., but for £25 I'll take what I get!

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays. You can reply on the DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/126671.html using OpenID. LJ commenting is on, but may not be checked regularly.

DWGism [userpic]

Funereal Delights

May 12th, 2017 (10:03 pm)
surprised

current location: Contemplating our mortality
current mood: surprised
current song: Dance to Win

It seems bizarre to talk about enjoying a funeral, particularly when it's for your best friend's 27yo son, but that's what happened.

Chris died a month ago, a little short of a year on from a terminal brain cancer diagnosis, but the funeral was delayed until Tuesday this week, apparently due to availability issues at the crematorium. There was a quick service at the crem which I didn't attend, then the main service in Rochester. In fact at a church at the end of the street where he grew up. I used to live on the same street, but as St Margaret's is C of E I'd never actually been inside before.

I arrived early, and ran into a friend as I did. Her face was a picture, the church bells started pealing just as we saw each other, and she squeaked she was supposed to be one of the people ringing them! So we didn't really get a chance to talk. I took advantage of being early and the good weather to head to the far side of the churchyard and look out over the Medway, and Back Fields, the open bank between the church and the river. A couple of other early arrivals joined me, and pointed out the bench on Back Fields that's going to be dedicated in Chris's memory. It's the bench the kids considered 'theirs' growing up, so particularly appropriate. Apparently his old school will also be adding a prize for inclusion in his name.

St Margaret's is a reasonably big church, but it's just as well I bring my own seat nowadays as we filled it, and could have done with half as many seats over again. Being Catholic I'm used to full requiem masses, but this was more of a frame for remembrance, by both the family and his friends. Chris was a stand-up, so are many of his friends, and the audience were crying before they had finished, but crying with laughter. One line that sticks: "If the BFG and Mother Theresa had a lovechild, that'd be Chris" (he was 6' 6"). His mum was my first creative writing tutor, and the opening line of the poem she'd written sent a shiver down my spine "Chris did not go gentle into that good night, he fought." His dad took a different line, saying he's been finding solace in quantum theory. It may be the first time Many Worlds Theory has been cited in a funeral service, but the idea that there are many, many worlds in which Chris survives, or never became ill is a fascinating one.

The framing device for the service was music. Oh my. There were a couple of good everyone-join-in hymns, 'Here I Am, Lord,' (a favourite of mine) and 'Amazing Grace', but one of Chris's cousins is a professional chorister at St George's Chapel, in Windsor Castle - ie good enough his day job is to sing for the Queen at state events, and he'd brought three friends. I'd never really appreciated how appropriate the Beach Boys' 'God Only Knows' is for a funeral, but they also sang Orlando Gibbons 'Almighty and Everlasting God'*, which was simply stunning. It looks like we probably had two thirds of 'The Queen''s Six' performing. But the service opened and closed with recordings of Chris's own music, first his Pass You By performed by friends**, and then finally one of his comedy pieces, which had all his friends grinning and saying 'Dance to Win!' as soon as they heard the opening chords. Not a bad legacy.

And then everyone went to the pub.

That's a proper funeral!

*They were better than this, including one of them singing the soprano part - extraordinary range for an adult male.

** Yes, we opened a church service with a song about spliffing up.

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays. You can reply on the DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/126269.html using OpenID. LJ commenting is on, but may not be checked regularly.

DWGism [userpic]

Oops, that long since I posted?

May 12th, 2017 (09:46 pm)
okay

current location: Home
current mood: okay
current song: Daysleeper, REM

No particular problems, in fact there are a few posts either half-written, or half-planned, but I got back from Durham only to go straight into what's usually my most energy-depleting, if fun, weekend of the year, which left me with not a lot of spoons and doing my daysleeper routine. I'm hopeful I'm getting things back under control, though it may take me a while to catch up with what's being happening with everyone.

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays. You can reply on the DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/126099.html using OpenID. LJ commenting is on, but may not be checked regularly.

DWGism [userpic]

Quick Check In

April 20th, 2017 (06:19 pm)

Still up in the North East, enjoying family, back on line in a few days. Highlight of the trip so far, not quite making it into the Cauldron's Snout - I'll explain that next week, it's already largely written up ;)

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays. You can reply on the DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/125708.html using OpenID. LJ commenting is on, but may not be checked regularly.

DWGism [userpic]

Various things make a post

April 7th, 2017 (05:43 am)
current location: Awake
current mood: Sober

It's 5:30AM and I'm eating pizza and drinking G&T, which means my schedule is really shot again.

I'm heading up to Durham on Saturday for a fortnight, so expect postings to range from occasional to non-existent. I was out running a few pre-trip errands earlier and apparently a little bit of exercise, a little bit of sun and a beer with tea on the patio added up to fast asleep on the couch from 6PM til midnight.

I did get a smile from the GP's receptionist. "Hi, I'm here to pick up my repeat prescription -- aaaand I'll need photo-ID for that, which is in the car. Hang on, I'll be back in a minute." OTOH they're still trying to figure out their new process for controlled drugs, never mind me. I had to remind her I was supposed to sign for it.

The other reason for heading into town was to pick up a birthday card for my sister, which hopefully will get to her today as I really had left it until the last moment. I'll see her on Saturday if not. Unfortunately I also had to pick up a condolences card as I found out on Wednesday night that my close friend Angela's son has died. It wasn't unexpected, Chris was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer a bit under a year ago, and I've hardly see her since as she's been caring for him almost 24/7. This is someone I've watched grow up from age three or four and he really had turned into a decent adult who was starting to build a reputation as a stand-up musical comedian (which was a completely unexpected turnaround as at 8 his mum was lamenting to me "he's so serious, I have this nightmare where he grows up to be a Conservative MP") .  I last saw him a couple of months ago when I gave him and his dad a lift home when I bumped into them in Rochester and stayed for a cup of tea. I'm glad my last memory of him will be him poking fun at the questions and answers on Pointless, but I can't imagine what this is like for Angela. Just thinking about how she must feel is making me feel sick, and givng me a new appreciation of that line that parents aren't meant to outlive their children.
 

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays. You can reply on the DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/125595.html using OpenID. LJ commenting is on, but may not be checked regularly.

DWGism [userpic]

Divejournal

April 4th, 2017 (10:29 pm)
annoyed

current location: Watching the Cyberspace Curtain being raised
current mood: annoyed

I haven't been directly active on Livejournal for a good while (I abandoned LJ for blogger/blogspot several years before starting my DW account), but as of a while ago it is set up to echo my posts here. Given the new LJ ToS, I've finally gotten around to importing my old, pre-DW, LJ postings. That seems to be in progress right now. I haven't decided yet whether I'll delete the LJ account, or stop the cross-posting, but I don't anticipate logging onto LJ directly in future. Not that I did that much, seeing as pretty much everyone I follow is on DW now.

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays. You can reply on the DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/114060.html using OpenID. LJ commenting is on, but may not be checked regularly.

DWGism [userpic]

Spring

April 2nd, 2017 (06:16 pm)
peaceful
Tags:

current location: Inside is still warmer
current mood: peaceful

Spring weather continues; there's even a tiny amount of cherry blossom on my cherry tree - it blossomed the year I planted it, but not for the last couple. Looks like it is finally getting established. Also snowdrops growing in the middle of my lawn thanks to the blasted squirrels transplanting them. I managed to eat out on the patio for the first time this year - after rescuing the patio table from over-wintering in the shed. It was just a tad too cold for what I was wearing (heavy shirt), so I had to come indoors when I started shivering, but I might have been okay in something heavier or doing something more active. Still, it's a sign winter's probably done with. OTOH I'm  heading north next weekend and 3 or 4 years ago I did that at this time and went from breakfast on the patio here, to a blizzard there. I really wasn't dressed for that.

My next door neighbour was chatting over the fence and commented he's seen so little of me over winter he thought I'd emigrated. I reminded him winter isn't my favourite season for being out of doors. Neither of us has yet spoken with the neighbour on the other side of me, who moved in in October, but they're out of the house at 6AM and not back til 8PM, so when's that going to happen? Especially as they tend to spend most of the weekends out as well. Maybe we'll catch up with them sometime this month.
 

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays. You can reply on the DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/113734.html using OpenID. LJ commenting is on, but may not be checked regularly.

DWGism [userpic]

More Minor Misadventures

April 1st, 2017 (06:09 pm)
amused

current location: No longer wheelchair bound
current mood: amused

So if you're wearing an unfastened denim jacket, turns out the bottom button is at just the right height, and just the right size, to get caught between your wheel and your pushrim, at which point you aren't going anywhere until you've managed to jiggle it loose....

And of course it happened while I was at a till. So I'd no sooner moved new toolbox onto my lap and pulled on my wheelchair gloves to move off than I had to move it back onto the counter and pull the gloves off. I thought I was going to have to slip the jacket off to get to it, but it finally came free once I could get unpadded thumbs at it.

Apart from that the classic denim jacket turns out to be exactly the right length for wheelchair wear. (Today was the first time I'd had it on, it was my brother-in-law's, but I'm not sure he's ever worn it - having someone who's a bit of a clothes horse, and the same size as you, in the family can be advantageous) .

And finally, three full months into the year, I've managed to make my regular Saturday lunch date for the first time. It's actually just me at the moment as the friend I normally would do it with is caring for a family member pretty much full time, but I was a little concerned at how difficult I was finding it to get out of the house. (Admittedly I have caught every bug going since Christmas, if not September).

I was slightly disappointed with my lunch, it was a very nice tuna nicoise salad, but when the waitress warns you the tuna will be pink, which usually means rarer than most Brits would prefer, and it turns up solidly pink, not the gorgeous semi-translucent pinky-purple I was expecting (having had it there before), then it's a bit of a let down.- 8/10 not 10/10.

I picked up the tickets for my trip up to Durham next weekend from the station, then spent an hour pootling around Homebase (big DIY/gardening store), which is where the jacket-pushrim mishap happened. I got the toolbox and roofing nails I was looking for, but I'm not paying £20 for a hammer! I'll have another look and see if I can find where mine has gotten to, it might possibly be in the shed. Nor could I find a bath plug in the appropriate size. There's a little old traditional ironmonger's in Rochester, so I'll probably be able to find what I'm looking for there.

And as if to prove it's April, I got showered on twice, though just enough to be refreshing rather than miserable.

Ah, Spring!
 

Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays. You can reply on the DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/113480.html using OpenID. LJ commenting is on, but may not be checked regularly.

DWGism [userpic]

Appropriate timing

March 31st, 2017 (01:17 pm)
current location: Currently upright
current mood: Less rattled than yesterday

The first thing I saw in one of my hypermobility newsgroups post flipping the chair was someone saying she's training as an OT and needs to create some sort of aid for one of her courses.

So I suggested an airbag for wheelchairs.

(Or I could just remember to put the anti-tips out)


Mostly on Dreamwidth nowadays. You can reply on the DW post at http://davidgillon.dreamwidth.org/113342.html using OpenID. LJ commenting is on, but may not be checked regularly.

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