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I went looking at houses with ruthi, and today was a really good day for it. One house we went to see was at Ascham End. In that cul-de-sac, and the streets leading up to it, none of the gardens had flowering shrubs or any sort of ornament, and very few even had their garden walls - the most common boundary was an inches-high smear of broken rubble. The house front had been vandalised, as had the 'for sale' sign, and when we looked though the ivy-buckled window, there was damp inside. We cancelled that viewing.

The next house viewing cancelled on us, but by then we'd been spending the between-time picnicking in Tottenham Marshes. Behind us was a gas storage tower, some warehouses and a broken factory. In front, a horse-shoe shape of trees, hawthorn bushes covered in May blossom and flat ground with waving flowering grass punctuated by bees and other insects. It was really very lovely.

We walked around to a quite nice bridge and played pooh-sticks.
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I've been awake since 4am and actually up since 5:30am. I'd have liked a lot more sleep (and less migraine), but it is nice to shower and dress, have breakfast, sit around catching up on DW/LJ and then still have it be only just past 7am.

The weather is cold and grey. I'm fine with this, since I am going shopping with my Mum and we don't need nice weather for that. Also, I can get home and have hot chocolate.
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I'm getting better again. From the depression and, surprisingly, from the M.E. relapse too. I *think* the stomach bug may have stopped me absorbing my drugs. I do know already that not taking my drugs for three days causes an entirely predictable M.E. crash. I hope I'm right, because if so I'll keep on improving back to where I was, pretty quickly.

I can't concentrate on anything at all though. I don't understand the rules for the Empire LARP, I can't keep my accounts going, I've stopped doing Latin and the other stuff. I can't even put a decent letter together. So, I've been playing Secret of the Magic Crystals which is a banal game in which you look after, train and breed magical ponies.

Meanwhile, I have been massively fortunate to have phone chats and texts and things from some of the loveliest people on this planet. You know who you are, and I am so very lucky to know you.
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Taking two weeks off of, well, pretty much everything seems to have actually done me some good, despite the depression (which is now lifting again). I'm having a very middle class Sunday, listening to the Archers omnibus. Tomorrow I try going back to the voluntary work.

Pol's sent me a graphics tablet, which should arrive this week, *and* I've found my camera charging cable, so I can get creative again. I do actually like creating art, however dreadful, but depression made me not want to. I've also had some lovely phone conversations, which is something I really enjoy. Time was, I couldn't cope with phone calls because of the migraines, but my pain management is just so good these days that I can cope, even if sometimes I'm a bit scatty. Anyway, everyone I talked to has been delightful and I loved hearing about what people have been doing.

I have garlic sprouting well, but no sign of peas or potatoes. It's been quite dry and I have no watering can. I've got an Amazon voucher for kitchenware (again from Pol)... perhaps if I kept it in the kitchen?

I might have energy this afternoon for calligraphy. I hope I do - I have a half-finished letter for Pol that has been sitting there literally for weeks. I have no idea why letter-writing seems so very hard to me right now, but it does.
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Possibly as a result of the stomach bug, or just because it happens, I had an M.E. relapse ten days or so ago. I've been feeling fluey in general, and it has been much worse if I exert myself to any extent, usually hitting me the next day. My cognitive abilities have declined, my memory has become spotty, and I have been just generally all round ill. As soon as it hit, I immediately went into full sloth mode, and I am already starting to get better but I am obviously not fit and well. I'm taking this week off volunteering, and took last week off too, but I fully intend to go back to it next week, on reduced hours and taking care of myself.

On top of this, I've been hit by depression. Not badly (I don't want to kill myself, and I am not even thinking about it.) Just enough to drain me of all motivation and make it really, really difficult to make a decision, then act on that decision. I sat up until midnight last night because I couldn't summon the will to go to bed at my usual bedtime, which is 10pm. I spent this morning making a schedule I can keep to, as evidently without one I just drift.

I'm pretty sure the depression is the result of a combination of not doing my usual activities, and because I have had to stop looking for a paying job.

I'm watching a lot of West Wing. Damn, that's a good series.
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Oh ye gods! Being at work is so much better than not being at work! I'd been in a complete slump, and was hoping that being at work would kick me out of it. I'm now knackered, but my mood has shot up.

I spent the entire day, more or less, standing up steaming clothes, but I was asking about how items are priced, and expressed a desire to take on bric-a-brac as my 'department'. Upshot it, I showed myself not to be an utter numpty, and now I am learning how to price things. So one day I should end up coming in, sorting out the bric-a-brac and clearing the old stuff, under my own initiative. Having something to aim for is a mood boost. Also, I actually like steaming; it's warm, repetitive and takes no thought at all. When my head is full of post-illness cotton wool, it's really nice.

Job hunting is scaring me at the moment, I think because I've just had a week off ill, and the current job market is such that people can't take a week off to be ill. Also, changing my CV to fit individual jobs seems overwhelming atm. I am hoping that's another mental health thing and that I can do it now I am back into work mode and not in sit-around-putting-things-off mode.

Plan for this evening is to finish the amaretto and milk I am currently enjoying (I put this off for two months! Why?) and go to the supermarket and get some real actual food. Easy food, because right now it doesn't interest me very much. The fact that it's been a week and I still have no appetite to speak of, says that I was doing the right thing not risking spreading this bug to people. Anyone who knows me knows that lack of interest in food is not one of my personality traits.
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Spring is still not really here in any meaningful sense. I'm over the stomach bug I caught from my mum, more or less. I'm wiped out by it, still, and my too-tight trousers are now loose. The reports from Empire are very short and scattered, so I don't know much about what I missed, except it was awesome. And cold.

I did manage to get a little bit of weeding done, but mostly I've been sitting around playing Minecraft, building a giant castle on Funcraft server. (My Minecraft username is SMTRodent.) I could do with seeing actual people again, soon, but I think I'm about ready to go back to the voluntary work tomorrow, and hopefully that'll kick my brain back into gear.

The Daily Creative Challenge page on Facebook is awesome.


Mar. 21st, 2013 07:12 pm
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I've put in a single primula and three narcissi for instant colour (even if only a dot), and planted out ageing garlic, sad new potatoes and the stubs from a bunch of spring onions and a celery (both grow back again given soil and time). I also planted some pound shop 'colour collection' bulbs. I have actual seeds to put out, but they're all March sowings when the weather is acting like it's January. I'll probably put them in just before Easter, in the hopes that April at least is warm enough not to perish things.
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I have nothing scheduled for tomorrow, at all, other than my normal morning routine and evening routine (which includes studying a few things for half an hour each and job hunting.) This is very unusual for me this year.

The fact it is so unusual says an awful lot about how much better my health is these days. I go out almost every day, I do physical stuff almost every day (most often forty minutes or so of walking), and I study almost every day, generally for about two hours in total.

It may not last. M.E. is a relapse-and-remission disease, so I may not be this well long at all (last time was about three years), but while it does, it's *wonderful*. And people do spend a couple of decades ill and then suddenly, for no apparent reason, get better, so it is actually possible that I'll be well and stay well.

Oh yes. I applied to Brook Street and got rejected. The job climate just now is *terrible*, so it's not surprising, but it would have been nice since I really enjoyed working for them last time. It has got me through the process of getting everything in order ready to apply though, so from now on it's just a case of tailoring my existing CV (Pol gave me a very, very useful template for this), keeping my interview clothes ironed and getting on with it. I may allow myself a small, short whinge every 100 rejections or so though.
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I'm awake at silly-o'-clock, no idea why, and it doesn't seem I'll be back to sleep any time soon. I hope I can get a nap before work, is all. Today is the Evening Post's job day, so it's not a case of sleeping late before work, I'll be busy seeing what I can apply for. Slavoljub Eduard Penkala is doing his best to comfort me.

Netflix' House of Cards is rather good. The Underwoods are both ruthless and hateful, it's delightful.

Pol's been busy mending motorbikes. The stable now has in it Serenity, Liberator (being fixed) and Galactica. I can't wait for Tardis to show up. I love the idea of Pol taking a defunct machine and turning it into someone's pride and joy. I *think* Liberator is for Kira but I'm not sure.

The charity shop I volunteer at is without a manager still. It didn't have a manager at Yule, and, after many, many interviews the job is being advertised again. Apparently nobody really amazing has wanted a '37.5 hour a week' management job at £14k, for a shop that is open from 8:30am to 5pm six days a week and which needs managing before and after the shop is open (you do the maths). They've had applicants but have turned down all the ones that didn't simply walk out.

I'm getting ready for the LARP. Pol is being wonderful, thinking of things I might need, then getting them. If I am uncomfortable camping, it won't be his fault. I'm really looking forward to seeing him this Saturday.
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Moving into a room which got jemmied open less than a month ago might not have been the most sensible, but I've done it now. I like it better than my old room. It has a garden, and a little not-really-a-kitchen as a separate room. I'm fitting better bolts as soon as possible, as well as other security fixtures (like, for example, an alarm). Meanwhile, I'll be keeping my one valuable item, my laptop, with me as much as possible, or stored elsewhere entirely. Supposedly, this house and street don't see much crime. Except this year. So far both break-ins have been during the day.

Pol is helping me with my CV. I'm now at that stage of job-hunting. With ten years of bugger all, it's quite daunting. But if anyone can help me polish the turd of my work experience, Pol can.

The first thing I did after getting all my stuff into the room was to clean the kitchen. Then I went to the pub. Then I cleaned the kitchen some more.
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I've got a dress muslin (rough version in scrap fabric to check the fit) which I have been spectacularly failing to post this week. Tomorrow looks good for it.

I could, if I'd brought it, have posted it on my way to meet cwol. We went to Brown Betty's - it's a place which began, twenty-eight years ago, selling bagels with many fillings. The fillings have changed and the bagels are now chiabatta, but the place is otherwise exactly the same.

Cwol and I chatted about the horse meat scandal. A person on the same bench was eavesdropping subtly enough until some chance remark made them snort egg through their nose. They then showed us two adverts in the Sun today: one double-page spread from Tescos saying 'we're really sorry, we'll change', more or less. And straight over the next page, one from Asda saying 'We've always only sold British beef.' It didn't quite say 'so there'. I had smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, cwol had bologneighs.

I want to keep doing this meeting up. It's really nice and usually very funny. Funnier still if we can make other people choke on their breakfast.

I found something Pol might like: it's a quarter-pounder making kit with recipes. I have no idea what's even in the box.

Skyrim is ace. Except the bit where I had to kill the bandits in Varnheim Keep, and then got another quest from the Companions to kill the bandit chief in Varnheim Keep, only I'd already killed him. So, I got stuck with that quest permanently on and couldn't select other quests, or ever finish this one. At least I know to look out for that one now.

There's no moral dimension to the game - no Karma effect. So far. That I know of. So Character Two steals anything and everything that isn't nailed down. Hot diggity, people keep lockpicks in their pockets!

Also, when the starting NPC says 'we should split up', ignore them and follow them as long as you can. Otherwise you miss out on some nifty things.

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I'm back home. The wedding was excellent - having it beneath the spread arms of a T-Rex skeleton was genius. Mary and Tim both brushed up very well, as did many other people. After the ceremony, but before the dinner, we all had free rein of the museum which was also pretty cool - so, if you're getting married, it turns out Manchester Museum isn't actually a bad place to do it.

I went straight home from the wedding so I could rest all of Sunday. I'm glad I did, as I was utterly wrecked all of Sunday but better yesterday.

The shop had a burglary - there was a gang who came in and wrecked the place looking for the safe, which was glued to the floor, then used all the tools they could find and a few they brought themselves to break it from the floor. They ignored pretty much everything else. This is very probably the exact same gang that got the safe the last time. There's no CCTV and apparently there isn't ever going to be any CCTV. So it's just a matter of time until the next burglary. You can imagine the effect on staff morale.

Skyrim is excellent. The graphics really need a better computer than I'm using (but I love this laptop and have no desire to swap to a dedicated gaming rig), but the story-telling is fun. I haven't yet encountered the slut-shaming quest where you have to tell a woman to stop sleeping around. I have encountered a request for ten bear pelts, which is going to be fulfilled only by sheer coincidence.

There are not enough lockpicks. There are never enough lockpicks. Also, I miss having a radio station while exploring digital scenery, though I'd be confused if it was there. Still, I suspect this is going to get as much play time as Fallout: New Vegas did, and for the same reasons.
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Actually to be honest I only started playing because I was already having a crap day and wasn't going to get anything done. I like it, but find the controls rather stiff and unreactive. And then, as the chill set in, so were my hands.

Right now I am sitting waiting for the Chinese food that Random is about to order and pay for, so we can have a meal. I can answer the door while she has a bath. Synergy! Ccooke has outlined to me an entire new world, and I've told him about the Reddit worldbuilding forum. There are sciency news stories, but my fingers are too stiff to cut and paste easily. Nipping downstairs to sit in the sauna I accidentally created by putting the gas fire on and forgetting has helped.

Pol's off to his friend's wedding, as planned. I'm hoping he has a good weekend.

That's it, really. Slow day.
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Pol came back at about elevenish and went straight to bed without saying goodnight. Random lent me her phone charger. I asked if she had a nice dinner. She said in the end she hadn't eaten anything because she'd had toast while she was waiting for Pol to bring me back.

I made Pol a coffee in the morning, but he was having a fasting blood sugar, so it was wasted. Still, he sat and chatted with me a while, mostly about the Steam games he bought me. I am trying to download them while I am here, but the emails went missing and without the emails Steam isn't forthcoming on past gifts.

Spice and Hatter were bouncing on me all night long, so I didn't sleep very well. I have fed them and emptied the cat tray. I am also cleaning up the conservatory, which is full of rubbish from where the rats all used to be, and gathering my art stuff so I can do art. I've just stopped for a meal break. It's Tescos Value Cottage Pie - I feel quite brave for eating it.

Pol said he wouldn't be back tonight as he's out to a prearranged social event. I wish I was going - it would be nice to see people while I am here and I've switched to a later sleeping pattern to fit in with Pol and Random, so being up late isn't a problem. Still, there's Mary and Tim's wedding on Saturday! After which I am going straight home, which apparently spoils Random's trip to Coventry, as I was expected to look after the cats. They thought I was leaving on Sunday, but I decided to go straight home rather than get a train on Sunday for a journey I already don't like very much. Random has really had a lot of inconvenience from me this trip up, though she's being nice about it. Pol won't be able to look after the cats, because he's off to a different wedding with Kira. He leaves Friday evening, so I think from what he's said that tomorrow morning is the only time I will see him, before he goes to work and then to pick up Kira, and then to the wedding.

It's bright and sunny out today. The fruit trees look good where Pol planted them.

Anyway, I'd better go and eat, and then actually do something instead of moping around online.


Feb. 20th, 2013 10:23 pm
supermouse: Simple blue linedrawing of a stylised superhero mouse facing left (Default) the cuddliest, glompiest cat in the world. Hatter is adorable. I was worried Spice had forgotten me, but she crawled up for her usual night time cuddle and stopped me doing anything else for a while. :0) Hatter's been making me play with him.

Pol and Random and Kira have gone out to dinner without me. I arranged a Tescos delivery for 9-10pm, thinking that would be plenty of time for me to get to Wigan, but it wasn't, so they had to wait in for my food. Then Pol persuaded me to let him pick me up instead of getting a taxi, and so they had to wait for that too. But they've all gone out to dinner now, an hour later than planned. I was asked not to go along, and that in fact the plan had been for me to arrive to an empty house, except I ruined that with bad planning. I'm a bit confused about why this plan, but hopefully everybody is happy now and being fed. I've got a glass of milk and am curled up with the cats.
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The air patterns in this bedsit are very odd. If I turn the gas fire on, the room gets colder, though if the gas fire is full on then the room does eventually warm up. And this morning I've discovered that if the gas fire is on and I open both the windows wide, the room gets warmer, though the area immediately by the window is cold.

I do half an hour of reading Latin every day, and the Latin I am learning is starting to get more complicated. I still refuse to learn grammar, because then when translating in my head, I get so stuck on the grammar, I forget what it is I am trying to translate. I'm hoping to learn it as I did English and Spanish grammar: through sheer usage. I really like this method of learning: starting off with very simple Latin phrases, which gradually add in new vocabulary which you eventually figure out from context and illustration.

The new daily self-improvement habit is press-ups, which I've never yet been able to do even when fit and strong and well. Oxfordgirl showed me a method of getting there gradually, so I'm doing, at the moment, a few reps of wall-pressups before breakfast. Nothing challenging, but even so my arms already do not love me. This means progress, right?

The other thing I am doing is reading old magazines. At the moment, it's Britannia and Eve from October 1936. There's enough dense reading matter in this one magazine to keep me reading for a couple of weeks. They literally don't make them like that any more. Articles are all novella length in very tiny print. The later magazines, which were published during rationing, are much slimmer. It's amusing to be reading the exact sort of adverts detailed in Dorothy L Sayer's 'Murder Must Advertise'. Also, the stories are surprising: single women could be alone in their bedroom with a man, even several men, of an evening and nobody batting an eyelid. One always gets the impression that pre-War society was incredibly strait-laced. Also, there was a nice article on travels around Leninist Russia, before Stalin took over and led to the privations and hardship we associate with the USSR. I want more old magazines now.

The magazine from 1945, which I've glanced through but not properly read, is really saddening. The articles are about making do and mending, but the adverts are particularly heartbreaking. 'There is no Ovaltine, but there will be soon!' 'Our lamps are helping our boys abroad, but one day you can enjoy their superior light!' sort of thing. And the one from the Ministry saying please don't steal rations from your children, in the nicest possible way.


Jan. 31st, 2013 09:48 am
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Yesterday was pretty good. I got to the sandwich shop just in time for the roast pork being put out. I did tell everyone at the shop, but no one wanted one that day. (The roast pork is only available for about half an hour before it's all gone, so it's useful to know when it's happening.)

Yesterday's manager taught me more about sorting (there are so many Things, and categories of Things, and protocols about Things, that there's a lot to learn, even if none of it is academically interesting.) She also shared banana chips with me. I'd been worried she didn't like me, I suppose I must be at least tolerable.

Pol is being affectionate in his text messages and on irc. It's a nice part of my evening, the exchange of well-wishes. I've asked Kira to pass on hugs, seeing as I can't give them in person.

I'm leaving Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays free from 7pm-8pm for phone chats. If you have my number, you're welcome to give me a call then. If you want me to call you, drop me a line. Comments are screened.
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I had a lovely family visit today. Once again, we all ended up going to a supermarket. I promise, I do not come from a family that regards it the height of entertainment to visit a supermarket. Except, apparently, I do. And I'm one of them.

We spent most of the time sitting eating and drinking tea, while Nibling watched Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom. It is about Ben, an elf, and Holly, a fairy princess. I know, I know. However...
One of the plot points in this particular episode involved explaining what an 'astrophysicist' does and hunting for a book on astrophysics.

The 'text' on the storybooks, I was amused to see, wasn't garblescribble, but Lorem Ipsum.

My Nibling has an adorable habit, when bought a present, to make sure, on the giver's next visit, to show that she is using and enjoys said present. She doesn't actually say a word about it, just uses it or wears it close to the giver.

I've had my new patient check. I am healthy, half an inch shorter than I used to be and seven pounds less than at my last check. I've also learned that during a breast exam, as well as all the fondling, there's a hokey-cokey element to check no parts of the breast are stuck to the chest wall. I'm a little sad that Pol isn't around to double-check this for me. I am sure he'd be glad to help.


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