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16 January 2015 @ 09:17 am
If you want to find my fic, the best place to look is at my user page at AO3, where all my fic is archived. There is also a chronological index of the Vorkosigan fic, which is most of it. Or you can look through the tags here.

I am no longer updating this list, but I will keep it in case it's useful to anyone.
Fic hereCollapse )
04 March 2017 @ 11:08 am
I seem to be reading almost all non-fiction lately, though I am going to read the next couple of Penric & Desdemona novellas at some point soon. There's just so many fascinating non-fiction books out there. I tend to swing back and forth between history and biology/earth-related sciences as the two subjects I'll always pick up a book about, and this lot is all about ecosystems, more or less.

The Earth Care Manual by Patrick Whitefield
I thought this was a gardening book, picked it up in the library to get some tips for this year's garden, and started reading the chapter on soil because I want to know more about soil improvement. Utterly fascinated, I borrowed it on the strength of about one and a half pages about how to tell what's wrong with your soil from looking at the weeds that grow there. I have finally found something that describes my basic attitude towards gardening and generally the care of the very small patch of land that I own. I'd heard of permaculture before but it always sounded really gimmicky, zones and forest gardens and stuff, but this has all the details and all the theory, and it made me want to double down on my efforts to restore natural systems in my own little garden. Especially in combination with...

The Third Plate by Dan Barber
This is the book on food and ecology that I've been looking for. Very restaurant-centric, which I struggled with at first because I don't really care about restaurants, but then we got to the growers and farmers and it completely hooked me in on how flavour and quality relate to environmental sustainability and soil health. I'm not sure the word permaculture is ever used, but the various farming systems he described are all definitely permaculture systems of one kind or another. I particularly loved the description of the fully sustainable fish farm, and the stuff about soil health and how soil management skills can lead you to a situation where the insect pests attack the weeds and leave your crops alone. It sounded a lot like rediscovering the milpa field system of the pre-colonisation Americas which Brand describes in the next book.

Whole Earth Discipline by Stewart Brand
The environmentalist pro arguments for nuclear power and genetic engineering and urbanisation. The nuclear and urbanisation arguments I've heard before, the genetic engineering one was new to me but well put. Written before Fukashima, though I'm not sure it changes the facts except in terms of the total number of nuclear accidents; I remember at the time reading about how rooftop solar power was hugely, hugely more dangerous than nuclear power owing to people falling off roofs a lot when installing the panels. I thought his argument about comparative harm is pretty good: even in a bad scenario where nuclear power does wind up with a half dozen more Chernobyls as well as a thousand-square-mile area where the waste is kept where humans can't go for a thousand years, that's still an awful lot less ecological damage and far, far fewer human deaths han even the most mild (and most unlikely, on current data) climate change impacts. And he had some good analysis of the rhetorical approaches used by both pro and anti disputants on these questions, and I always appreciate a good discussion of rhetorical techniques. He also, unusually in my experience for a male writer, had a strong understanding of how urbanisation benefits women. A good read.

The Virtues of the Table, Julian Baggini
I was a bit hesitant to start this, because I thought it was going to be insufferable. It was not, but I suspect it helps that I've read a lot of philosophy, know what virtue ethics is, and am generally familiar with and inured to the approach a philosopher takes to problems. There were some useful insights into how to think about food, but also a lot of fairly bland stuff. He was generally on stronger ground when talking about the ethics of food production, killing animals and types of agriculture; his economics was uninspired and his discussions of pleasure and hedonism trite, though I did like the section on eating alone and why we feel awkward about it. The recipes were a little gimmicky but did make me like him better. A lot of the time, as is common in philosophy, it looks much easier than it is, because once you've come out and asked the question 'why do we feel like it's wrong to take pleasure in eating alone' then it almost answers itself, and you don't recognise that the work of the philosopher is in formulating and asking the question.

Adventures in the Anthropocene by Gaia Vince
This one I had to read in small bites because some parts of it were deeply depressing. But others were fascinating and hopeful, like the fellow making artificial glaciers for water storage. Lots of stories about how people are shaping the world and reacting to a changing climate, or suffering from it, or both.

A Farewell to Ice by Peter Wadhams
This one was a bit more formal and scientific than the others, you can see that Wadhams is used to writing journal articles and other academic materials, but it's interesting enough that I didn't care. Loads of details about ice, and the weather in the arctic, and about how it's changing. The author has a bit of the cantankerous old man going on, but I'll forgive him that because I think he's right to be alarmed and upset about how climate change is affecting the arctic. If you want to know more about permafrost methane release or how the melting arctic sea ice could affect weather in Europe and North America, this is the book for you. Also, when else are you going to get a chance to read the words 'the frazile pancake cycle'?

I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong
Fascinating, fascinating book about our internal ecosystems and how they work. Like the 'Gut' book, this one is a great source of fun facts to annoy the people around you, such as that frequent cleaning of your toilet seat increases the population of poo bacteria on it (your toilet seat has to be colonised with some kind of bacteria because everything is colonised with bacteria, when you sit on it it gets colonised with harmless human skin bacteria, when you clean with antibacterial cleaners you wash all them off and the colonies of poo bacteria deeper inside your toilet move out and make their home there instead). Basically all these human-bacteria books are a great triumph for relaxed cleaning, since they all essentially vindicate what our grandmothers said, that a bit of dirt is good for you. But this book has a lot more than that: tons and tons of incredible stuff about how life evolved, how bacteria evolve, how bacteria naturally genetic-engineer themselves (this connects up with the 'Whole Earth Discipline' book that also points out that it's perfectly natural for life forms as different as rice and frogs to swap genes with each other and that scientists doing this in the lab to breed better rice aren't doing anything new) and an awful lot about how microbiology works in general.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/144634.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
01 January 2017 @ 08:17 am
My lovely Lord Peter Wimsey Fic, one another's all, was by harborshore. Thank you very much!

And I don't suppose anyone is going to be even a little bit surprised at which Yuletide fics I wrote. My assignment was The Huntsman's Reel for ExtraPenguin, Alys/Simon and competence kink and assassins and UST.

I also wrote two treats, Intelligent Disobedience for Quasar about a fraught moment for Aral and Simon, and they're changing guard at Buckingham Palace (Christopher Robin went down with Alice) for karanguni, a little ficlet about Aral/Cordelia/Simon and Aral/Cordelia/Jole. I wanted to write extra Vorkosigan fic this year because under the current rules I can't see Vorkosigan being in Yuletide next year, and being matched to it was just good luck on top of that.

I confess, I did laugh a lot at my request, which was for more of 'The Simon and Alys Show'. It would have been pretty hard for the matching machine to give me a more perfectly suitable request than that one. Though it was surprisingly tricky to get my head into the right place for it, and while some of that was general 2016 nightmarishness (it's been a pretty rubbish year domestically for me as well as the political shitstorm, and being a dual US/UK citizen meant I got both halves of that), part of it was that I was afraid this fic would be disappointing compared to other Alys/Simon fics I've written, given how much trouble I've had with writing over the past few years. Anyway, I came up with a different idea and wrote it and uploaded it for my assignment, but I wasn't happy with it, it didn't sparkle and it didn't amuse me, it creaked. A week before the default deadline - and I spent a lot of this Yuletide with my finger hovering over the default button - I had the idea for Alys and Simon dancing together while spotting assassins, and that finally caught my writing attention properly. But I was finishing it right up to the wire. I uploaded the other one as my assignment, and swapped it out with The Huntsman's Reel at 11.30 on Christmas Eve. Then I was on a roll, so I managed to come up with an ending for Intelligent Disobedience, which I'd started when I saw Quasar's prompts but had to forget about when I got stuck with the Alys/Simon fic. Karanguni's ficlet I wrote long before, I think even before assignments came out, after I read their Aral-Jole-Simon prompts and felt so sad for Simon that I had to write something that made me feel a bit better about his part in their lives, and that AA Milne poem got stuck in my head. Anyway, considering it all, I'm very pleased I managed to get so much done for Yuletide.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/144192.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
25 December 2016 @ 04:23 pm
Happy Christmas to all who are celebrating today! Also happy Yuletide :-). I have a wonderful Peter/Bunter/Harriet fic which is precisely what I was hoping for, so I am a happy Philomytha today. And I got my Yuletide fic finished and polished off, somewhat at the eleventh hour (well, actually I posted the final edits at the eleventh hour and the fifty-fifth minute because apparently this was the year that I take it down to the wire). Also my Christmas dinner was successful despite a variety of misadventures along the way including inexplicably pink gravy and a Christmas pudding that looked like an elephant had sat on it, and while Cub is still spotty, he is full of energy and racing about shouting Christmas carols at the top of his lungs, so it's all going well here.

one another’s all (1331 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Lord Peter Wimsey - Dorothy L. Sayers
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Harriet Vane/Peter Wimsey, Mervyn Bunter/Peter Wimsey, Mervyn Bunter/Harriet Vane/Peter Wimsey
Characters: Harriet Vane, Mervyn Bunter, Peter Wimsey

“But we will have a way more liberal than changing hearts to join them; so we shall be one, and one another’s all.” - John Donne, from “Lovers’ infiniteness”.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/144008.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
Tags: ,
08 October 2016 @ 02:42 pm
I have signed up for Yuletide! Despite not completing a single fic since last year's Yuletide - but hey, I managed that, so I daresay I will manage it again. It feels like a promise to myself: at some point I will be writing more frequently again, and in the meantime at least I can do Yuletide. Anyhow, here is my letter, which seems to be all police/detective stories this year.

fandoms are Cuffs, Happy Valley, Lord Peter Wimsey, Scott & BaileyCollapse )

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/143339.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
01 April 2016 @ 10:44 am
If you haven't watched Happy Valley yet, do yourself a favour and go watch it now. It is amazing. I adored the first season, but the second season tops it. Utterly gripping, utterly brilliant, intelligent, funny, grounded, fantastic. I've never seen anything better on living your life when it's a fucked-up mess and you've still got to do the right thing and keep on going. You can keep your superheroes and your geniuses, if my life really went to shit I'd want Sgt Catherine Cawood to have my back. I think I might admire her more than Cordelia, to give you something to calibrate her awesomeness against. Throughout the series, all kinds of hideous shit comes at her, and you can see how much it hurts her, but she just keeps on dealing with it and picking herself up and doing the right thing no matter how much it costs her. And sometimes she screws up, and then she finds her way back from that, she has the vices of her virtues in a wonderfully believable way.

And I love the story on every level: as a meditation on how an innocent person's life can be destroyed by crimes and how this reverberates through the generations, about being a mother and a parent and raising a child under difficult circumstances, about friendship and support between women, on everything. I love Catherine and Clare and how they raise Ryan together and look after each other, I love Catherine with Ann and how Ann so clearly wants to be Catherine when she grows up, I love Catherine casually getting the morning-after pill for Ann when she needs it, I adored Alison and everything about her storyline, and I loved how Catherine went from hating Frances to still hating her but also trying to protect and rescue her.

Plus, it's a fantastic crime drama, the police work is solid, the plot's gripping, it's dark and funny - the sheep! - and all the characters are so vivid and loveable and fascinating to watch. I've said before that Sally Wainwright is one of my storytelling idols right now, and she's getting better and better.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/142172.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
21 February 2016 @ 11:03 pm
So after all that posting about food books, I feel like I should post something about the food I make. And of all the food I make, the one I have the strongest feelings about is bread. I like bread a lot, and we eat a lot of it. But I don't rate shop bread, with a few exceptions, I find it unpleasant pappy soggy stuff that goes stale as soon as you look at it. And so for the past decade or so, I've baked pretty much all my own bread. I bake a lot of other bready things too, like flatbreads and hot cross buns and Danish pastries and all sorts, but what is most important to me is my regular daily loaf. There's one in the oven right now as I write this.

my daily loaf, recipe and ramblingsCollapse )

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/141831.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
11 February 2016 @ 08:54 am
Reviews of various things I've watched and read lately.

it's either WW2 or food, mostlyCollapse )

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/141745.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
02 January 2016 @ 08:04 am
My wonderful Heyeresque pinch-hit was by [personal profile] astolat, which explains why I had a feeling I'd read something by the author before! And my lovely Oxford Time Travel treat was by [archiveofourown.org profile] drayton, and now I need to go and look up what else they've written in this fandom.

And I managed, with a certain amount of sweating blood, to produce a Yuletide fic myself, for [personal profile] trobadora's prompt about Admiral Simpson in an obscure alt-history/SF series, the 1632 series by Eric Flint. On Leaders. It's interesting writing what's practically the first fic in the fandom on AO3 (other than my fic, there's one crossover), when the 1632 series has this whole universe of published fanfic that's predominately about tech and social-political issues rather than the kind of character issues that I was writing about. I had to decide to ignore most of that in the end because I'd only read the main novels and there was way more material in the 'Grantville Gazettes' than I had a chance of assimilating. On the other hand, it's the first time I've written in a fandom that has a huge website dedicated to providing information for prospective fic authors, which was very handy in the matters of figuring out timelines and suchlike.

And it was such a good feeling, coming up with a story and getting to the end of it and polishing it up. 2015 was not a great year for me in many ways and that includes writing, but it's a new year now and perhaps things will be better.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/141104.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
25 December 2015 @ 04:22 pm
Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you're all having a good day today, whether or not you're celebrating. I had a lie-in till 5.30am today; my parents reminded me that when I was a child I was the worst of all my siblings for getting up at ridiculous hours on Christmas morning and getting into mischief, so I guess it's cosmic justice now :-D.

And it's Yuletide! After going on the last-minute pinch hit list, I was a bit concerned, but I needn't have worried: I received not one but two fics, both of them absolute jewels of stories. I am so grateful to the pinch-hitters who picked up my prompts and came up with such wonderful stories at such short notice - thank you so much!

Inconvenience (2799 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Convenient Marriage - Georgette Heyer
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Marcus Drelincourt/Robert Lethbridge, Marcus Drelincourt/Horatia Winwood
Characters: Marcus Drelincourt Earl of Rule, Robert Baron Lethbridge, Horatia Winwood, Pelham Viscount Winwood

“I need not wonder long,” he said, viciously low, “what sin has barred me from your sister’s hand; but ’pon my soul, Marcus, I had never imagined you to be quite so extraordinary a hypocrite.”

The Earl’s face did not change even now. He answered gently, “No, dear Robert; you only seem to have imagined me a fool.”

Recalled to Life (1641 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Oxford Time Travel Universe - Connie Willis
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: James Dunworthy, Polly Churchill
Additional Tags: Yuletide Treat

Spring, 1941. Dunworthy's time is running out.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/140816.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
Tags: ,
23 October 2015 @ 10:49 pm
My Yuletide letter, mostly cribbed from previous years because my fictional tastes haven't changed that much. I'm signing up slightly against my better judgement since I've scarcely written a word all year, but Yuletide has kickstarted my writing before and I have hopes it will do it again. Anyhow, that's not your problem, dear writer, so here goes.

Dear Yuletide Writer,

The Convenient Marriage, Oxford Time Travel, Scott & BaileyCollapse )

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/140448.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
22 October 2015 @ 07:50 pm
I'm still here, though still very head-down in RL. Trying to decide whether or not to attempt Yuletide. But I did make the time to read the e-ARC of Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, and I have thoughts.

spoilers for GJRQCollapse )

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/140242.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
26 August 2015 @ 09:52 am
School holidays status: surviving. Like getting old, it's much better than the alternative. Into the final stretch now.

In fannish news, I loved the new issue of the Rivers of London comic: Nightingale backstory and POV! Lots of fun analysis of it all on tumblr.

And have the latest batch of Cubisms from our house :-)

- 'My trousers are tripping!' he exclaims, rushing up to me. He means they're tripping him and can I roll the bottoms up. My parents send clothes all the time, and they're always several sizes too big with growing room.

- Cub throws a toy at me. I tell him not to, that throwing toys hurts people, and ask him to say sorry. Obligingly, he sits up and makes the Makaton sign for 'sorry' without speaking. A bit of further conversation reveals that as far as he's concerned, that is the word for 'sorry' and no vocalisation is required. I don't think he grasps that you can say the word 'sorry' and it has the same meaning, with the bonus that people who don't use Makaton will understand it. This has come about, as far as I can tell, because we mostly have 'sorry' when he's interacting with Philomythulus, who only uses the sign. He knows plenty of other signs, but that's the only one he uses without speech.

- 'I want you to find my bike where it went.' I'm fairly sure this is correct grammar in some languages, but not English. He often does correct grammar for other languages - he'll make his adjectives agree in number with nouns sometimes, so 'two greens lights' or something like that. For a while he had Latin word order with verbs at the end, but now we often have a hybrid with the verb twice, especially in long sentences. 'I want to ride my bike', but 'I want to ride my bike to playgroup want' - which often progresses to 'I said I want to ride my bike to playgroup said.' No idea what that's about.

- a lovely one he came out with today: it's started to wind. As opposed to rain. He really hates the wind blowing at him, and instructed me to make it stop.

- He calls all insects 'spiders' without discrimination. Since I'm mildly arachnaphobic, this means my life is continuously enlivened by him shouting 'look, a spider!' and me whirling around with a jolt of adrenalin and discovering it's an ant or a fruitfly or some other untroublesome creature. Though I am getting better about spiders, except for the really big ones, because I want to set him a good example.

- He likes rules and instructions, and when we're in the car I get a steady stream of backseat driving: don't bump into the tree, mummy! Don't bump into the other cars mummy! Red light mummy stop! Green light go! Going the wrong way mummy! Slow down mummy! Times like these, I think that maybe parents whose toddlers suck on dummies in the car have found a cunning solution to this problem.

- But it's not just the car, Cub does running commentary on everything. I mean it, this child starts talking the moment he wakes up and continues to talk without pause until he falls asleep. Sometimes he carries on after he falls asleep; he'll wake up briefly, repeat whatever was on his mind before going to sleep, then drop off again. We think there's a good chance he will be a TV presenter or sports commentator or somesuch person whose job is to waffle on and on without a break all day long. I really do have one child who doesn't talk and one child who doesn't shut up.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/139940.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
03 August 2015 @ 09:36 am
We've just got back from a week's holiday with the in-laws. No injuries, no trips to A&E, no significant breakages, so that's a success. There was some fun stuff too: a random trip to the Tank Museum to escape rain falling sideways turned into a bit of an adventure when it happened that there were Daleks and UNIT troops holding a running battle inside the building as part of their summer holiday programming. Since Cub had never seen either a Dalek or a tank before, I have now made him believe that they are the same kind of thing, and he calls them all tanks interchangeably and possibly believes that Sherman tanks would wander around talking to small boys with an excellent voice synthesiser. The other fun thing for me was that they had a Tiger tank in the museum - in fact they had several - so I took a very bad picture of it. It was a pretty formidable beast, though inside a massive barn of a museum with a lot of other tanks they're less impressive than they are outside where you have a better sense of scale. Other than the surprise fannish stuff, we did a lot of walking, ate a lot of pub lunches, discovered the only pub in Dorset where it takes 45 minutes for them to bring you a cup of tea (they advertised cream teas outside, so we went in and ordered some: the scones and cream and jam arrived in the usual time, and then after 45 minutes and several escalating trips back to the bar to complain, the tea finally showed up), and saw some lovely churches. Philomythulus enjoys going into churches, they're dimly lit and cool and quiet and have pews he can sit down in and chill out on. We saw buzzards, deer, foxes, lizards, peacocks and their families, and a tiny frog that delighted Cub. 'Frog came on holiday to see Cub and Mummy,' he kept announcing for the rest of the day. And we rode on a steam train and on two ferries, which made both boys extremely happy. So it was a pretty good holiday apart from the fact that when he's away from home, Philomythulus doesn't really sleep. Which meant that I had a lot of time to read while I sat up with him.

Susannah Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
This blew me away. Absolutely blew me away. It's been on my 'oh yes, I must get round to that someday' list, but for some reason I had formed the opinion that it would be a bit meh, so I hadn't really bothered, but Mr P recorded the TV series and wanted me to watch it with him, and I wanted to read the book first, so I did. And wow. If anyone else hasn't read it, go read it now. Such incredibly confident, masterful writing, the perfect slow-build plot, the worldbuilding done with such ease and grace, the prose and style absolutely flawless, the characters all so human and perfect... it's a masterpiece. That makes it sound like it might not be interesting, but it is - I was desperate to know what would happen next, and while it took me a while to warm to Strange and Norrell, by the end I adored them both. Anyway, this was amazing and if you haven't read it you are missing out on something special.

Charles Stross, The Annihilation Score
The latest Laundry Files offering, the one where magic comes out of the closet and onto the front page in the form of superheroes. It was fairly entertaining, but I was never wholly convinced by the way Stross wrote Mo as the first-person narrator: it felt like a woman written by a committee of male Guardian readers. I've loved Mo in her appearances in the other books, and I loved her here too but I kept being annoyed with the author. But the plot was exciting, the bureaucracy was believably annoying and the whole superhero thing was nicely pulled off.

Lois Bujold, 'Penric's Demon'
A new Five Gods novella. This was fun and light and entertaining. I liked Penric's adventures, I liked his approach to the demon and I liked the ending. Also I might be interested in some fic that explores having sex while having a demon ;-).

Cath Staincliffe, Dead to Me
A Scott & Bailey tie-in novel. I've rarely been impressed with tie-in novels - good fanfic is usually better - but this one was good, a pre-series murder mystery where Janet and Rachel work together for the first time. It edged into melodrama a few times, and if you'd rather not read too much about babies dying you might want to avoid it, but it's a good murder mystery with good characterisation and writing and good canon voice. I've bought her other Scott & Bailey novels on the strength of it.

cut for holiday pictures of Tiger tank and dawn mistCollapse )

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/139611.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
24 July 2015 @ 09:05 am
The scene: after dinner with a very overtired Cub who has fallen over and bumped his head and is crying while I cuddle him

Me: Do you want to go to bed now?
Cub, in between sobs: No thanks mummy I want to keep screaming and shouting

This is 100% exactly what he said. My imagination is not functioning well enough to make stuff like this up right now, so it's just as well I don't need to. He always says 'no thanks mummy' when he's saying no to something he doesn't want. I'm not sure where he gets it from because I don't think I'm all that polite as a rule. And I really don't understand why he's internalised that rule, whereas when I told him to leave the unripe apples on the tree until they were ready, he went out into the garden and shook the tree until about three quarters of them fell off. It was looking like being a really good year for them, too, but at this rate if I get a single apple from that tree this year it's going to be a miracle.

In other garden-disaster news: after planting out about 30 bean plants in a couple of different varieties, I have precisely one grown to maturity and starting to flower. All the others were eaten by slugs. This despite barriers around each seedling, beer traps, and spreading prickly holly leaves around the place. I think I will have to resort to chemical warfare again. And I've given up even trying to grow lettuce, but I can do really good endive since the slugs don't care for it. Sadly, nor does anyone in the house except me. When it runs to seed it produces some lovely blue flowers. On the bright side, the raspberries are doing amazingly, and the strawberries aren't half bad, and the tomatoes are looking promising. Though I don't understand why some of the tomato plants have run rampant and are looking likely to take over the garden, and others are sad and pathetic and barely a foot high. Gardens are weird. And I will have peaches! Despite terrible leaf curl, there's about half a dozen peaches ripening on my tree. I had one single solitary peach from it last year, and it was so good that I didn't bother even trying to eat peaches again for the rest of the year since they would all have been a tragic disappointment. This year I get more than one! But my plum tree is struggling. It had one bumper year and after that it's all been downhill. I think it has a disease since about 10% of the branches have withered. Need to do something about that and see if I can bring it back to health. And the courgette plants in giant pots are growing like crazy too (the ones I planted in the ground were, surprise surprise, eaten by slugs). And I got a nice bagful of new potatoes from my binbag potatoes, and we had some for supper and they were very good. So I guess my attempts to grow stuff to eat in my little garden aren't doing too badly. If only I could teach the cat to hunt slugs. Or teach the children.

Speaking of hunting cats, the birds are hunting the cats right now, in a tipsy-topsy manner. There are a lot of seagulls nesting on people's chimneys in our street, and this week the baby seagulls have left the nest but can't yet quite fly. So they're hopping around the road in and out of everyone's gardens, and the parent seagulls are on guard. They mostly don't mind people, but any animal up to and including my neighbour's enormous Labrador is getting attacked by the gulls as soon as they stir. Our cat tried to go out the door, got one paw out and a seagull swooped down at it. The cat didn't go near the door for the next three days. And even the neighbour's cats, who are terrible hunters and kill more birds than any other cats I've ever heard of, are cowed by the gulls and don't leave their house. Nature has some funny ways, but after watching all the local cats including my own torment the birds, I can't say I have a great deal of sympathy for their plight. And the fledglings will start to fly soon and the parent gulls will stop caring about cats and dogs.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/139317.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
11 July 2015 @ 10:34 am
Cub's speaking really fluently now, with an ever-increasing vocabulary (a 'giant normous' vocabulary, he would put it - his rendition of 'ginormous'). But there's still plenty of Cub-isms to keep us all entertained.

- he loves counting so much he sees numbers where no numbers actually exist. Take the word 'tomato'. Do you want a tomato, I ask him. No, he says, I want THREE MATOS!

- he uses 'that' instead of 'thing' when he doesn't know a word. With bonus referring to himself in the third person, he produced the following sentence: 'Cub's cleaning up Cub's juice with Cub's that.' ('That' was a sponge. He was assiduously cleaning with it, very impressively, after knocking his cup of juice over.)

- he's got absolutely no clue about gender yet. Are you a big boy, I ask him. No, he says, he's a LITTLE boy. Then he goes on with 'and Biffy's a big boy and Daddy's a big boy and Mummy's a big boy.'

- another one of my phrases that he repeats back to me: 'let's try that again'. It's incredibly adorable coming from a little boy who's just fallen off his bike or spilt all his juice on the floor.

- very embarrassing moment: 'Mummy blow cock!' - loudly in a park full of teenagers, naturally. He meant he wanted me to blow all the seeds away from a dandelion clock. Trying to get him to say 'dandelion clock' resulted in 'Mummy blow daddy cock'. At that point I gave up because God knows how much worse it could have got.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/138811.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
25 June 2015 @ 10:33 am
I have no idea where my writing ability has gone. Down the toilet, evidently. Every few days, after everyone's in bed I look at my WIP files and think about them a bit, and utterly fail to write anything down. It's been like this pretty much since Christmas, and I'm fairly sure it's down to the absolutely exhausting nature of looking after a toddler. A talking toddler, at that. I'm increasingly convinced that this is the hardest bit of child-rearing, from about 18 months to 3 years. Nothing else drains me like this, not endless sleepless nights, not crying babies, not even coping with Philomythulus is draining the way this is. Don't get me wrong, Cub's absolutely amazing and he's growing like crazy and watching it is incredible, but it's taking all of my energy to keep up with him. And at the end of a day with him, my brain's turned to porridge, and rereading old favourite books and watching TV dramas is about all I'm good for. To which end, a review:

Happy Valley
This was amazing, absolutely riveting watching with characters I adored. It's a crime drama set in rural Yorkshire starring Sgt Catherine Cawood, who introduces herself as follows:

I’m Catherine, by the way. I’m 47, I’m divorced, I live with my sister, who’s a recovering heroin addict. I have two grown-up children. One dead and one who doesn’t speak to me. And I have a grandson.

It's written by Sally Wainwright, one of my current writing idols (also the creator of Scott & Bailey). The story is about the abduction of a young woman, and shows how the criminals' plans spiral out of control and the policework to catch them trails behind. And it's about the relationships between the women in the story: Catherine and her sister Clare, Clare and her friends, Catherine and her young trainee Kirsten, and Catherine and the kidnapped girl Ann. It's not easy watching, there's a lot of violence shown, mostly against women and including sexual violence, but somehow it never left me with a bad taste in my mouth the way I do after, say, one of those episodes of The West Wing where all the women are subtly mocked and patronised and not allowed to do anything except have emotions. The way the story was told kept the focus entirely on the women who were the centre of the story, and let them shape the plot and also the viewer's reactions. I'm not sure I'm explaining this very well, but I kept noticing scenes where, in your average TV show, you'd be shown some kind of shot that was meant to be a man passing judgement on the women's behaviour and the viewer would be expected to sympathise with the man. In this show, the focus stays on the women. Other things the show did really well were the depiction of motherhood, which was bulls-eye accurate rather than sentimental or impossibly backgrounded, and also the way it showed the villains crashing from one bad decision to another and showed their self-justifications and beliefs just enough that you could understand how they got there.

But that's all sort of meta stuff. At core, the story is incredibly edge-of-your-seat gripping, the drama is intense and the characters are fascinating and complex and loveable. So, highly recommended. And they're making a second season, which makes me very happy.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/138653.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
06 May 2015 @ 10:31 pm
- two vomiting bugs and a heavy cold in three weeks is TOO MANY VIRUSES. Especially when I both catch them and also get vomited on by everyone else. I feel like the butt of some particularly messy cosmic joke.

- in recent watching, we happened across the seventies BBC drama Colditz. It was unexpectedly brilliant, subtle and complex. It's a drama about everday life in the escape-proof POW camp for Allied officers who were escapers or otherwise troublemakers, and it chronicles the difficulties of their lives, their regular attempts at escape, mostly unsuccessful, and their relationships with the German officers and with each other. I especially loved the Senior British Officer, Colonel Preston, and how he wins the loyalty of the other officers, and of course the stern, fair, honourable Kommandant and his fraught relationship with his own superiors and their orders. It felt very real, and I understand that they had a POW from Colditz advising on the show, and the situations and characters are broadly drawn from reality. If you like thoughtful war drama that can be dark but isn't all violence and gore, this is highly recommended. Oh, and young Simon Illyan David McCallum plays a leading role and has a wonderful adversarial relationship with the clever and vicious German Major Mohn. Alternatively for Sherlock fans, Edward Hardwicke plays a fantastic escape officer.

- mandatory toddler language update: oh my god this child NEVER STOPS TALKING. It's all full sentences, mostly-correct pronouns and endless running commentary on everything he sees. He can count to about twenty, though he doesn't fully understand what the numbers mean yet (also he thinks that 'maids a-courting' is a number that comes after fourteen owing to being obsessed with 'one two, buckle my shoe'), and somewhat to my surprise he can recognise written numbers, as I discovered in a lift when he pointed to the display and announced 'it's number one!' And he reads books out loud to himself, not with the actual words but with detailed commentary on what's happening in the picture and sometimes bits of the story as he remembers them (people getting stuck always seems to resonate with him). The weirdest thing for me is that he echoes phrases I use. I did not realise I said 'I guess' and 'a bit' at the end of sentences so often, nor that I always start with 'perhaps it's time to--' when I'm trying to get him to do something, but when I hear it coming back to me out of his mouth I recognise it. He's a very accurate little mirror of my own language. He's discovered the joy of jokes and gibberish too, or at least I think that's what he's doing. Every so often he'll look at me and say 'no pencil just change' and then collapse laughing. I _think_ he's deliberately saying nonsense; he's certainly enjoying my baffled reaction. It could be that he was trying to say something meaningful at first but when I didn't get it, it mutated into a joke, but it is definitely a joke now.

- recent reading: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. Not bad at all. I liked Maia, I liked the whole concept of him learning to be an emperor and figuring out how to be a decent person at the same time, and the court intrigue was good. And I liked the bodyguard concept a lot, and the whole loyalty story associated with them (naturally!). The nomenclature and use of made-up words was painful, though, and as a result I couldn't keep track of any of the character's names all the way through the book.

- I also randomly picked up 'Jambusters', a surprisingly good non-fiction book about the WI during the Second World War, and then watched the first episode of the drama Home Fires based on it. There's only one episode so far, so I can't really judge except that it was good enough that I'll watch the second one, but the book was well worth reading. Fascinating stuff about how the WI worked into rural life and the upheavals of the war, and frankly hair-raising accounts of carrying on making jam while bombs land all around.

- elections tomorrow. Ugh. I wish I had better choices to vote for. And it's going to be ages, weeks maybe before it's over. Ugh.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/137616.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
20 April 2015 @ 12:11 pm
Without my laptop, I've been doing a lot of reading over the past month or so. And it's all been on a theme, and that theme is food. I don't post that much food-related stuff here, but I do a lot of cooking and I'm not a bad domestic cook. And I'm interested in food, where it comes from, what it's made of, how it works, how it exists in the world. So I've been reading a series of books on food, food processing, environmental issues, health issues, waste, animal welfare, all sorts. They're mostly rather journalistic and no doubt much simplified, but pretty much all of them have taught me something new.

brief reviews of eleven food booksCollapse )

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/137280.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
13 April 2015 @ 08:43 am
I have survived the Easter holidays, though there were gales that blew the trellis in the garden over, and Philomythulus smashed yet another window (grand total of 6 so far now). But we got to the end of the holidays with no trips to A&E, which as I've said before is my sole criterion for a successful holiday, and we even managed to do some fun stuff.

And I have a new laptop! We haven't yet sucked all the files out of the old one and put them on the new one, but it's here and it's very shiny and powerful and is named Fluffy. All my computers have been named after Harry Potter animals - we've had Hedwig and the lately deceased Norbert, and now Fluffy because it's so powerful.

Cub's language is storming on - we're getting loads of full sentences, pronouns, creative descriptions of things, all kinds of stuff. And arguments. Here is an honest-to-God transcript of a conversation we had in the car the other day:

Cub: Open legs, open legs! Knees!
Me: Open up your legs? Oh, pull your trousers up to see your knees. There are your knees. How many knees do you have?
Cub: One... two... three!
Me: Wow, three knees! Can I count them? One, two knees!
Cub: Nope nope nope nope one two THREE knees!
Me: ...okay, three knees

So there you go. Cub has three knees. And a fine sense of rhyme and metaphor too.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/137026.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
23 February 2015 @ 08:59 pm
A quick driveby post to say that my trusty laptop has finally suffered some sort of internal catastrophe that probably has nothing to do with a little bug that eats things chewing it up inside. But the result is that my computing power is reduced to a desktop that was brand new in 1998, and a tablet with a cracked screen that means I can't reliably type on it, so I'm going to be scarce here until we can get it repaired or replaced. I have to say I miss my prosthetic brain badly already.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/136712.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
09 February 2015 @ 09:00 pm
We've all been laid up with flu for the past couple of weeks. I thought it was just a fearsome cold, since I've had the flu jab, but after finding myself quite literally on my hands and knees in the kitchen trying to get Philomythulus's breakfast and get him off to school, I figured it had to be more than that, and a few days later I saw on the news that this year's flu jab doesn't protect against most of the flu that's circulating, so that explains that little mystery. Anyhow, I've had it, Cub's had it (very mildly, thankfully) and Philomythulus has got it now, so there's only Mr P left and he often gets lucky with these things. Sooner or later we're going to hit our quota for nasty bugs this winter, aren't we? And I really hope they get next year's flu jab right.

Anyhow, I can tell I'm starting to recover because last night I wrote a tiny commentfic for the Three Sentences Ficathon for the prompt Peter/Lesley, not sorry: keep calm and

So hopefully that's a good sign for more writing to come.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/136426.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
23 January 2015 @ 04:05 pm
My flist is covered with variations on this meme right now, and it's inspired me to give it a go as well. So, Share three passages from three WIPs. Obviously not randomly chosen, as nineveh_uk points out, but chosen for maximum tantalisation potential ;-). But I need something to stir up my writing mojo again, so maybe this will help.

1. "Define 'have sex'," Peter said suddenly.

Nightingale coughed and cleared his throat. "The normal way, I presume."

"No, but seriously. Is it penetration? Or getting off? Or what? We don't have to do, like, simultaneous orgasms three times, do we? Because I have to say it's not something I usually manage first try with someone."

2. "PC Peter Grant. Works with Nightingale. I'd have thought he'd have been banging your doors down, if Nightingale's been missing for a month. My door too. You'd better get looking for him." She paused. "Was there anything ... weird involved in all this?"

Gill and Rachel looked at each other. "The victim--Nightingale--he can't tell us much, he's delusional. He said that elves stole his name."

"Elves," Stephanopoulos echoed. "You have a lot of them in Manchester, do you?"

"Yeah, loads," Gill said with a scowl. "You can see why this is a bit of a tricky case."

3. Over by the command van I saw signs that they were getting ready: police heading off to the rear of the property, the officer in charge getting out for a final word with their people, and then everyone moving off to their positions. I got out of my car and took my capacious handbag from the back seat. It was in a friendly and reassuring floral oilcloth, the kind of bag carried by busy mums and other women who need to take a lot of stuff with them and don't want to look too intimidating. I ran through the contents quickly: a large folder of the necessary paperwork, three sugary energy bars because we don't fret much about healthy diet when we're trying to soothe kids whose lives we've just turned upside down, an empty carryall folded down small in case they didn't have anything to pack some possessions in, a protection charm I'd bought from Tesco that was nowhere near as good as the ones I once could have made, and a bottle of water. And right at the bottom, a soft leather drawstring bag. Out of habit, I pulled that out and dropped the clinking contents into my palm.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/136116.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
19 January 2015 @ 12:44 pm
Because I know not everyone is on Tumblr, but these posts should not be missed if you like the Rivers of London series:

Magic and Quantum Mechanics (this is a fascinating discussion about the physics of magic in general)

the (possible) science behind making a werelight (what it says on the tin).

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/135795.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
17 January 2015 @ 03:08 pm
The Helpful Baby is being poetical again. He was helping me by carrying a shopping bag. So now that shopping bag is officially named the Helpful Bag. I know there's a term of rhetoric for this construction, but I can't remember it. When he switches the light on, it's the Helpful Light too, and he opens the Helpful Door using the Helpful Key, often pressing the Helpful Button (doorbell) at the same time because it's so much fun.

He's also being bossy. 'I did a poo,' he informs me. Then 'trousies off' and then 'magic cream' (Sudocrem, which I have informed him is magic cream), and then 'clean nappy' and 'nappy on bum' and then 'trousies on'... he really has taken charge of the whole situation.

Speaking of which, I may have accidentally founded a very small religion based on Sudocrem. Like I said, I rashly told him it was magic cream that would make him feel better when he had a nappy rash. So now it's called magic cream, and he insists that I'm not allowed to change his nappy unless he's holding the little pot of it, and while he's holding it he croons little magic cream songs to it. I don't have to use it, but he has to hold it. Nobody warns you about these things when you become a parent, I swear.

Along with the being bossy, we're starting to get tantrums. Real lying on the floor kicking the ground tantrums, when he doesn't get his way, and storming off and slamming doors and refusing to look at me and everything. My main trouble with these is taking them seriously, because, well, Philomythulus's tantrums are hard to top. But Cub has these enormous Feelings he's trying to process, so I try not to giggle at his pint-sized tantrums. At least my talking-down skills are pretty damn well honed by now.

Oh, and did I mention the full sentences? And communicating valuable information I didn't know otherwise? I find the latter particularly mind-blowing because I'm so so used to having to figure out what the problem is. But today we were having lunch in a café and Cub was sitting in a highchair, and suddenly he made an upset sound. 'What's wrong?' I ask him. 'I dropped my boot,' he says and I have a look and yes, his boot has come off. So I get his boot for him and put it back on, problem solved. (Yes, a minute later he made a determined effort, kicked the boot off deliberately, and said 'I dropped my boot' again, at which point I told him he would have to wait until we'd finished lunch to get it back, because I know that game rather well by now.) But the idea that he can just tell me what the problem is and I don't have to figure it out for myself is absolutely mindboggling for me. I can be pretty near telepathic with Philomythulus after so long working out what's bothering him, but wow, we can use language instead of telepathy here and that is just amazing. Language is a whole lot easier than telepathy.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/135679.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
10 January 2015 @ 06:01 pm
The Helpful Baby is doing interesting things with grammar. We had 'bird-way' the other day, meaning 'the bird has flown away' and 'car-way' with emphatic pointing meaning 'the car went that way'. He gets a huge amount of mileage out of 'too' and tends to refer to himself in the third person. So Philomythulus takes a cracker out of the packet. Cub immediately shows up with 'cracker too, Cub too, cracker too'. He also uses 'back' in a similarly creative way: 'water-cup back' means he wants his sippy cup (it's a water-cup or a juicy-cup depending on the contents, he's very clear about that) and the 'back' doesn't mean I've just taken it away, it means it belongs to him and he wants it. When he gets dressed in the morning it's 'trousies back' and 'socks back' as well. It's fascinating watching him figure out how to connect words together to get more meaning out of them.

And he understands adjectives. 'Cheese back,' he demanded while I was cooking dinner. 'A little bit,' I tell him. 'BIG cheese!' he insists, and then grabs my legs and holds on, shouting 'BIG cheese' at ever-increasing volume. Being stealthy, I cut him a thin, very wide slice of cheese and told him it was BIG cheese and he found that acceptable and went off to play with some blocks. But he uses BIG regularly now to indicate a lot of something. BIG yotti (yoghurt), BIG nanas (bananas), BIG water-cup... and he really shouts the word for extra meaning-emphasis.

His memory is good: when I'm reading a book aloud and I stop, he can often fill in the next word if it's one he can say. And he's starting to try to sing, mostly Row The Boat which is his favourite thing - anyone who sits down near him is liable to have their hands grabbed and him to start saying 'row row row' at them until they join in. It's not very tuneful as yet, Philomythulus was much more tuneful at this age but then he does have perfect pitch and superb recall for music. I presume Cub's using that part of his brain for language. Though Mr P is getting started on his musical education and puts him on his lap to play the piano and talks earnestly to him about notes. Result: Cub points at the piano: 'notes, notes'. The other day Philomythulus was singing the anthem we sang in the church choir last week, only he was omitting every other note. I don't know why, possibly it made a better tune for skipping to. Philomythulus often uses music to communicate obliquely - today he bounced into the house singing the part of a folk song where the words are 'and the wind blew cold and lonely' - the wind was blowing pretty strongly outside. It bothers me that only I understand these things, since the music he knows best is the random stuff I sing around the house, I don't like to think of him singing that when it's windy at school, for instance, and nobody realising that he's commenting on the weather. He sings near-constantly, and while much of the time if there's a meaning I can't decode it, sometimes I can.

Took the kids to the zoo last weekend and, amazingly, we weren't the best exhibit there; usually when we go out as a family there are a LOT of stares due to Philomythulus's behaviour, and while I mostly make a joke of it and say Philomytha's Circus is in town and loudly consider passing around a hat, it is hurtful all the same, but what with the new medication and Christmas being over and the zoo being fairly quiet, he was incredibly chilled-out and strolled around looking at the animals pretty happily. I think it was the most successful family outing we've ever had. Anyhow, the result is that Cub can now say 'kangaroo', 'giraffe', 'crocodile' and 'roar' (the female lion in the zoo is coming into season and the male lion was roaring every twenty minutes or so to warn off any other lions who might be roaming the wilds of Devon). And he was thrilled to see a real tiger since The Tiger Who Came To Tea is still his very favourite book ('tiger tea bookie! tiger tea bookie!' every time I sit down).

He still can't say his brother's name, and for reasons beyond my comprehension, he has decided he is called Beepie. I do not understand this, it doesn't sound even a little bit like his name, but he ran up to him yesterday, grabbed his legs and hugged him saying 'Beepie cuddle, Beepie cuddle!'

My absolutely favourite of Cub's attempts at words right now is his word for cucumber, which is 'bumber', though today he had a go at kooka-bumber instead. We also had 'BIG COCK' very loudly in a pub today - he meant clock, and it was indeed a very big clock.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/135259.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
08 January 2015 @ 05:36 pm
[community profile] fandom_stocking is live! And my stocking was particularly fantastic this year: four fics, some art, icons, and many excellent recipes. Do go and check them all out!

I wrote four fics for the fest, Aftershocks (Galeni gen), not unlike a practitioner's hand (RoL Christmas fluff), Retrieval (Nightingale & Toby) and Captive Audience (Peter & Nightingale ficlet). So all in all, I think that was pretty successful.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/134986.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
01 January 2015 @ 04:20 pm
My gift, the lovely On Steadiness and Integrity, was by fawatson. Thank you very much! And I should mention again that if you like slashy enemies-to-friends historical novels with bags of h/c, you should go and read The Flight of the Heron by DK Broster.

My assignment was Tent Bluefield for neonhummingbird, who wanted a post-series Sharing Knife fic and suggested a visit from Mari as a prompt. It's been years since I wrote any Sharing Knife fic, so it took me a while to get going with this fic, but in the end I'm pleased with what I came up with. I did have a different idea I really wanted to write, but I wasn't sure if it was appropriate as a Yuletide gift - it was all about sharing knives and death and euthanasia, and I wasn't sure it was something anyone would want to read on Christmas morning. So I stuck with this one and it worked out pretty well.

I also wrote some Rivers of London treats, the walls of where and Reasonable Adjustments. The latter is actually the first fic I ever wrote for this fandom, or at least, the first plotbunny I ever had, before Whispers Underground came out. I rewrote it completely for Yuletide, and for cute Peter&Nightingale fluff with h/c and trust issues, I think it does what it says on the tin.

'the walls of where' was a much more complicated fic to write. It's a bit weird, but it just showed up in my head with the schoolboy jingle that the title comes from, and the Iliad references, and demanded to be written that way. I had to do a ton of research for it, most of which didn't make it into the fic, so now I'm going to dump it all on you because if this isn't the fandom for random infodumps then what is?

cut for Foxglove Summer spoilersCollapse )

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/134445.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
31 December 2014 @ 04:14 pm
"Toklat! Toklat! Toklat TO ME!"

I think next time I want chocolate I'm going to ask like that. Full marks for clear and effective communication. Also, I think we can now be certain this is my son.

More interesting grammatical thingiwhatsits: If the cat is ours, then obviously you should say 'feed ours cat.' And from the dept of irregular nouns: 'a people' meaning one person.

We also have proto-counting, or at least 'one, two, three, four, four, four, four, nine, ten' which is a good start on the whole concept. I had an hour-long conversation last month with an educational psychologist about how to tell whether Philomythulus can count to ten. I think my life is going to get even more surreal soon.

I have been technically embarrassed by Cub in a public toilet, though in truth after the time Philomythulus dropped his trousers in a cathedral it takes a lot to embarrass me. So I was mostly charmed and delighted by the small piercing voice announcing to the world 'wee! mummy wee!' and then a whole running commentary about toilet paper and flushing. Other people in the public toilet were embarrassed by proxy, though.

The Helpful Baby has a new tendency to announce 'Helpful Baby' just before doing something decidedly unhelpful, like stealing all Philomythulus's colouring pencils and running off with them. I'm not sure whether this indicates a developing sense of humour or the view that being helpful is the same as picking something random up and carrying it around.

He's also learned to say his name, which he's very proud of, though he still can't say Philomythulus's name (which is almost as much of a mouthful as Philomythulus). His little cousin is coming tomorrow and I tried to get him to say her name. He listened to it intently, grinned at me and said, "Bin lorry." Oh dear. I hope he doesn't do that when she's here. Not that she'll mind, it's more the parents.

This has been a rough year in a lot of ways, but all this talking makes up for so much.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/134246.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
29 December 2014 @ 03:38 pm
- This Christmas has involved 300% more throwing up than I would like. Nothing like families coming together for sharing of bugs. Fortunately this one seems to have been very shortlived, and hopefully that's the traditional Christmas illness over now.

- Cub's thing of the day: coming up behind me, grabbing both my legs and headbutting my bum while shouting 'Ass cuddle!' I feel I should point out that he's trying to say 'nice cuddle', but it's so ridiculously funny I don't care. He also has a new tendency to proclaim loudly 'naughty' just before doing something naughty. I'm not sure he entirely understands the nuance here. And more new words than I can keep track of. I reckon he's adding about a dozen words a day to his expressive vocabulary, and God knows how many to his receptive vocab.

- more Yuletide recs! There are so many good stories this year, it's wonderful. In the Rivers of London section, just click on anything, really, it's all worth a look.

A brilliant, beautiful bit of Attack the Block backstory. Such perfect characterisation.

borne back ceaselessly (3859 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Attack the Block (2011)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Moses (Attack the Block), Pest (Attack the Block), Biggz (Attack the Block), Jerome (Attack the Block), Dennis (Attack the Block)
Additional Tags: Slice of Life, Pre-Canon, Backstory, Yuletide 2014, Yuletide Treat

"She says she wishes I hung out with a better crowd," Simon admits, fiddling with the tassel on his jacket.

"There is no better crowd," Pest insists.

Simon looks up through his flopping fringe and grins. "That's what I told her."

My favourite of the Vorkosigan stories is probably this one featuring Aral and Ekaterin talking about first marriages and comparing looking after babies to beheading people.

Night, Vorkosigan House (2069 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Aral Vorkosigan, Ekaterin Vorsoisson Vorkosigan
Additional Tags: Awkward Conversations, Babies, Explosions

Ekaterin and Aral have a late night conversation, with babies.

A brilliant Miss Fisher AU where Phryne is a jewel thief and Jack is trying to catch her.

fighting vainly the old ennui (13049 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Phryne Fisher/Jack Robinson, Jack Robinson & Elizabeth Macmillan
Characters: Jack Robinson, Phryne Fisher, Elizabeth MacMillan, Hugh Collins, Dorothy "Dot" Williams
Additional Tags: Identity Porn, Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence

The Bowerbird wasn't playing fair; Jack couldn't debate these pieces of paper. He couldn't tell pieces of paper and a growing pile of feathers that he, too, remembered the rare treat that was eating a single piece of tropical fruit in the heavy heat of a Christmas afternoon, stickying his best suit of clothes, which had been so clean and pressed for church that morning.

(In which Inspector Jack Robinson is having a fairly uneventful year, divorce notwithstanding, until he acquires a lady doctor for a drinking buddy and receives a series of flirtatious notes from a jewel thief.)

A cute romantic coming-out story for Tanya Huff's Blood-Smoke series, probably readable if you don't know the canon.

Didn't Have You Where I Come From (14864 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Blood-Smoke Series - Tanya Huff, Smoke Series - Tanya Huff
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Tony Foster/Lee Nicholas, background Amy/Jack Elson
Characters: Jack Elson, Amy (Smoke Series), Zev Sero, Leah Burnett, Henry Fitzroy, Mike Celluci, Lee Nicholas, Tony Foster, Original Characters
Additional Tags: Coming Out, Post-Canon, Lee's Family, Supernatural Creatures, Mild Child Endangerment

Tony really didn't want to go home or deal with the rest of the world, not when he could stay in bed with Lee all day. Unfortunately, the rest of the world had other ideas.

A gorgeous bit of femslash for The Bletchley Circle, perfect character voices.

Clerical Work (2835 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Bletchley Circle
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Susan Gray/Millie
Characters: Susan Gray, Millie (Bletchley Circle), Jean McBrien, Lucy Davis
Additional Tags: First Kiss, Romance, World War II, Misses Clause Challenge

They said, afterwards, that they’d done clerical work at Bletchley. They said that they were friends. Both were a little bit true.

There's still tons more I want to read, especially from the longer stories, and a lot more that I've enjoyed, but these were the ones that stuck with me.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/133891.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
25 December 2014 @ 04:01 pm
Merry Christmas, everyone! We've had a lovely time here, even if it did start with 5.30am banging on my bedroom door from a boy who'd been waiting and waiting and waiting for Christmas and couldn't wait any longer. He was very happy to be allowed to open his presents and eat Christmas dinner and more chocolate than is really good for him. I hope you're all having a nice day too, whether you're having a holiday or not.

And Yuletide! A wonderful anonymous person wrote me an intelligent, meticulously researched fic for Flight of the Heron:

On Steadiness and Integrity (4038 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Flight of the Heron - D. K. Broster
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Keith Windham, Ewen Cameron, Alison Grant, Hector Grant, Mr Grant, Lachlan MacMartin, Neil MacMartin, Dr Archibald Cameron, Jean Cameron, Charles Edward Stuart

An AU in which Keith Windham does not escape capture in Edinburgh.

Beyond that, I haven't had a huge amount of time for reading, but I have three recs so far. First off, a superb crossover between two fandoms I love dearly, The Bletchley Circle and Scott & Bailey:

The Shape of Things to Come (5498 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Bletchley Circle, Scott & Bailey
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Janet Scott, Rachel Bailey, Gill Murray, Jean McBrien, Millie (Bletchley Circle), Alice Merren, Lucy Davis
Additional Tags: Case Fic, Crossover

An old case is revived for MIT and Janet has to follow a trail left in the records by four mysterious women from the Fifties.

Secondly, a pitch-perfect Elijah Baley/Daneel Olivaw fic full of wonderfully written tropes, and one of the most touching declarations of love I've ever read:

Locked Room (6581 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Robot Series - Isaac Asimov
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Elijah Baley/R. Daneel Olivaw
Characters: Elijah Baley, R. Daneel Olivaw
Additional Tags: Consent Issues, Huddling For Warmth, Agoraphobia, Yuletide 2014, Yuletide Treat, Fuck or Die Scenario, Three Laws of Robotics, Trope Subversion, Fade to Black

When Elijah Baley and Daneel Olivaw are kidnapped by a mad scientist, they find themselves in an intolerable situation that forces them both to confront certain truths about their relationship. Set immediately after "Robots of Dawn."

And third, a lovely Peter/Nightingale fic set long after the series, with some well-thought-out bits of worldbuilding, a perfect Peter voice and a believable romance.

Good Grammar (6531 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Peter Grant/Thomas Nightingale
Characters: Peter Grant, Thomas Nightingale
Additional Tags: Future Fic

You can ask plenty of members of the Metropolitan Police who will assert that it’s my stupid ideas that get me in trouble (especially, to pick an example entirely at random, newly-minted DCI Stephanopoulos) but they’re wrong. Okay, they’re mostly wrong.

Or: Peter can rationalize himself into anything, given long enough. Including a crush on his senior officer.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/133749.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
09 December 2014 @ 10:56 pm
First off, [community profile] fandom_stocking is getting going for the season. My stocking is here. And sign-ups are open until the 13th, if you want a no-commitment fun fannish thing for the holidays.

Second, I've now seen the whole first season of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. It is an absolute delight. I have not enjoyed anything on TV this much for ages, for just plain pure enjoyment and fun. Phryne Fisher is so wonderful, the UST with Jack is off the charts, and I am so happy with how deftly all the characters are drawn, but especially Dr Mac, and Dot and Hugh, and Jane, and Aunt Prudence, and - oh, everyone. The recurring characters are wonderful, but the one-episode characters are equally well drawn and alive. And I love how the show handles all the social issues it picks up, kindly and generously and with a delicate touch. And I adore how it's all light and fluffy and bouncy and then all of a sudden something cracks and you see that their lives aren't just frocks and frills and flirtation and amateur detection for fun, there's real pain and real suffering and real grief under there as well. And at the end of the first season it all melds together and you see how the two halves of Phryne's psyche fit together. I love it, and I'm so looking forward to watching the second season.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/133230.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
09 December 2014 @ 07:26 am
This is the Komarr fic I've always wanted, the one that unpicks all the stuff Bujold writes about how if Komarr will only submit to Gregor and stop wanting freedom then everything will be okay, and shows an alternative. I did the world's most useless beta job on this fic, since all I could say was OMG I LOVE IT. It's the story of Komarran independence, told in a selection of historical documents, if David Galen had made a different, more daring choice.

From the Old to the New (9157 words) by avanti_90
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Duv Galeni/Laisa Toscane
Characters: Duv Galeni, Laisa Toscane Vorbarra, Aral Vorkosigan, Ser Galen, Mark Pierre Vorkosigan, Gregor Vorbarra, Simon Illyan, Fletchir Giaja, Dag Benin, Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, Delia Koudelka, Helen Vorthys, Dr. Riva, Guy Allegre, Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, OCs
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe, history, Epistolary

One man can alter the course of history. A random encounter leads Duv Galeni to change his mind and return to Komarr.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/133117.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
28 November 2014 @ 08:42 pm
A Foxglove Summer fic! The first of many, I daresay, because the book was full of things to inspire a ficcer's imagination :-D.

Title: The Librarian
Content: Foxglove Summer spoilers, dark themes
Length: 1500 words
Summary: "When I took you on as my apprentice, I thought I could protect you."

Peter and Nightingale discuss events from Foxglove Summer

The LibrarianCollapse )

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/132559.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
27 November 2014 @ 01:47 pm
Today's new word of the day: cuddle. This is pretty adorable all by itself, but to get the full picture you have to imagine him growling the word at the top of his voice while launching himself at me like a small missile. A small missile of PURE CUTE

Other new words: spoon, fork. His pronounciation of the latter may lead to mild embarrassment in public. And, apparently, 'birdseed,' which is not a word I thought he knew, but he came out with it in a shop while picking up packets of birdseed, so I guess he does. He's absorbing words at an incredible rate right now, it's amazing. He's like a little language sponge.

In non-toddler news, [community profile] fandom_stocking is open for sign-ups. I always have such fun with this, both writing little things for all the fandoms I can, and in getting some lovely little things in return.

I've been watching a bit of Luther and a bit of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. If you can only have one, definitely go for Miss Fisher, because the show is sparkling and witty and entertaining and glorious. Luther was a good compelling drama, and Idris Elba is great, but there was a real excess of middle-aged men angsting, and a parallel absence of any kind of professionalism. Rachel and Janet would have got the truth out of Alice without breaking into a sweat, and Peter would have been autopsying the dog before it was even cold. Then again, they didn't seem to have any DCs on Luther, just DCIs, so perhaps that's their problem. But Miss Fisher was wonderful. Jazz Age Melbourne murder mysteries, and Phryne herself is just such a perfect character. And Dot, and Jack, and Mr Butler, and everyone! So thank you to [personal profile] spatz and everyone else who was recommending it.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/132213.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
17 November 2014 @ 11:20 am
I feel like I should put my classical education to some good use, even if it's probably not the use my tutors envisaged when I was studying this. Commentary on the Iliad with spoilers for Foxglove SummerCollapse )

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/131881.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
16 November 2014 @ 08:09 pm
Cub knows how to swear. I guess it was inevitable, and at least all he says is 'oh damn'. You see, today he fell into a small pond. It was so covered in algae and weeds that it looked exactly like lawn, and though I shouted for him to stop, I wasn't close enough to grab him and he didn't believe me over the apparent evidence of his eyes that he could walk on it. So in he fell, and after I fished him out and the screaming was over, the swearing and storytelling began. 'Wet, oh damn, pond, wet, oh damn oh damn, wet wet water pond, oh damn.' He went on like that for some time. Well, swearing is a good creative use of language to communicate emotion, so I can't really bring myself to object very much.

As you can see, we're also getting words strung together now. Sometimes with implied grammar, like 'go car home', other times just juxtaposition of ideas like 'window dark' (= it's dark outside). And he's picking up new words all the time and parroting back what he hears around him constantly. 'Pond', for instance, was a new word today, and I think he's very clear on what ponds are now. We get some lovely connections too. I have an alphabet book called 'Apple Pie ABC' (which is a superb toddler book, if anyone has a toddler or needs a gift for one) and Cub loves it and calls it 'apple book' which makes sense. Anyhow, when I sing the alphabet song, he calls that 'apple' too now, and points at my mouth and says 'apple' when he wants me to sing it. He really works to get the maximum amount of meaning out of the words he knows how to say, it's amazing.

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/131674.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.
Tags: ,
11 November 2014 @ 03:06 pm
I have Foxglove Summer! And I've read it once very fast. And I love it and I love Peter so very much and it was fantastic and I'm going to be going back to read it again really soon.

first random thoughts full of spoilersCollapse )

Crossposted at http://philomytha.dreamwidth.org/131430.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there.