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Today Kira went with me, but I could as easily have gone on my own. It's been bright and not too cold all day so far. We've somehow missed the patches of rain, seeing only damp pavements where rain has been.

This was the second lesson on Secretary Hand, which is ane bastarde to reade. 'e' is backwards. There's a sort of t which is actually 'c'. There's a 3-shaped capital E, except it's not an E, it's a lower case 'h'. There's a w which is actually an 'r'. There's a flourished O which is a 'G' and some weird scrolled thing which is a 'J', except when it is 'I'. There's a b which is a 'v'. And there are |||| marks, loosely joined together, which can be 'm', 'i', 'u', 'v', 'n' or any combination thereof.

And then, to save time writing, they have contractions. So #tE with a line above is actually 'Wch' with a line above, which is actually 'Which', the line indicating the missing 'hi'.

Oh, and this was before dictionaries, so spelling is more or less arbitrary. That said, the words read surprisingly modern. There's 'wee' for 'we', and 'soe' for 'so', and 'discrecon' for 'discretion', but most words are as you'd expect.

So yes, by the end of that, we were all quite thoroughly brainstretched and I was backsore too. I managed lunch, which had home-grown things in - baby pak choi (thinnings basically), baby spinach, rocket salad, baby celery stalks (thinnings again) and swiss chard, chives and nasturtiums. Some plants were salad, some went in with the beef meatballs and the carrots and the (dried, soaked) wild mushrooms in beef gravy. There were cubed boiled potatoes and butter with, and a little pancake (leftover batter from breakfast) to soak up the gravy afterwards. People are Fed.

Having shown willing as a host, I've now retired and left Kira and Small to entertain themselves while I sit hugging coffee Kira made and probably playing Minecraft all afternoon. It is 1.4.2, the Very Scary Update with carrots, potatoes, witches (and their huts), corner stairs, cobblestone walls, picture frames (you can put items in), flower pots and goodness knows what else in. Lots to do.
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I'm tired. I'm tired because I've been out all day. First to a doctor's appointment, then shopping, then home again. Then out again, to the Museum of Wigan Life for a history chat-and-coffee. Then a while reading a history of Wigan in the archives. Then home again, having been out pretty much from 9am to 4:20pm. I did all my travelling alone by bus, and have taken six different buses today.

This is actually pretty major. I've been more or less housebound, other than for short walks, since the migraines set in hard several years ago. After I came back from Spain, I tried to go without painkillers at all for four months, to kill forever the idea that they were 'rebound headaches', and made everything very much worse. Bolton Pain Management team worked wonders with me, and I've been following their advice ever since. Now I can think straight enough, and see well enough to travel around Wigan, even if I have a great deal of trouble remembering which bus number goes near my house. I had to keep pulling my day ticket out and checking the number. I was still able to cross roads, and to remember where I was *and* where I was going *at the same time*, abilities that migraines had previously taken away from me.

It's possible that I'll have repercussions and end up quite ill again as a result of all this excitement, but frankly I don't care. Worth it.

I still haven't done my double-entry bookkeeping homework. Also, it's British Black History Month and already the 18th, and I haven't so much as read an article about, well, anything. The history I've been reading has been Wigan history (Saxons and Danes and Britons) and Chinese history. I'm probably not going to start tonight either: I've asked Pol (who has just come home) if he wants to go out to eat. He said yes. My phone's been dead all day and he woke up to find me gone and the back door unlocked, so he wasn't *entirely* sure I wasn't dead too. Oops.
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I went out to Wigan with Random, on, I think, the last shopping Saturday before Christmas. The weather was terrible. I had a really good time shopping. Random was willing to explore everywhere until we got tired, and also willing to wait while I had a good look at what was on offer. It was all really good-tempered and pleasant, and having time to stop and get my bearings meant I didn't get overwhelmed or end up triggering a migraine. There was only one screaming child.

At one point, we were following a real life Calvin, although (mercifully) Hobbes was not in sight. During all of this retail wandering, I saw not one thing that I thought would make a nice present for someone I know. I'm wondering if part of that is that I've barely seen anyone - the last time I was in Nottingham was for the Novacon before last.

At the stop where we get off, there's a really nice café close by. It does fancy coffees and teas, basic grub, booze if you really must have booze with your sandwiches and Wigan Tapas: a selection of small pies served with I forget what. There's also Fizz and Chips; different sorts of fish goujons, chips, mushy peas, tartare sauce and two glasses of bubbly. I'd love to take my mum there.

The last place we went to was a booze shop with a wide range of single malts, including the one I really want - yet again, I didn't have *quite* enough money to buy a bottle of the 21 yo. But it's £125 and one day, I will. I got liqueur de espices (*not* liqueur de pain de espices, gingerbread liqueur, but a spice liqueur with anise and mace among other things), ginger liqueur and 'Old English Bush Liqueur Cordial' which, even after reading the label, could be *anything*.

Random set us off the bus a full mile down the road for the convenience of the bus driver(!) but I don't think it's done me too much harm. I got back, and I've put the dishwasher on, plus I've got lamb stew cooking right now, full of leftover spiced roast vegetables and unwanted lamb chops, plus some fresh veg and meat and a lamb stock cube.

On the whole, a really, really good day. Probably my most fun day in the last two months. Thank you, Random.
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I am swanning around the new house like a lady of leisure. Well, right now I'm sat down after breakfast (New York cheesecake), watching a robin check out the offerings on the bird table. Somewhere around here is an entire flock of around a dozen long-tailed tits. As the weather hardens, I will no doubt learn what else lives close by.

Spice carved up my face yesterday morning - she knocked over a heavy picture frame, which I think fell on her, then she catapulted across the bed to hide, and unfortunately my face was part of the 'floor' for that route. So now I have a 2cm vertical cut in the middle of my forehead, like a bindi that's been placed too high. Being a head wound, I had a dramatically bloody face to present to Kira and Random over breakfast. Kira, with her face quite scratched from the motorcycle accident, out-did me. Her scratches go over her cheek and around one eye, which is black and purple. She won't let any of us augment this new decoration with Ziggy Stardust style face make-up.

Random is out, running between Bolton Royal Hospital and Sale - this is beginning to become something of a daily commute. Pol is out with his new, very Executive job in London. The new house is of a style to match with his new job, even though it's actually cheaper than the cramped, new-build terraced house we were in before. This house was built in the early 1980s and reminds me of the various detached suburban houses from episodes of The Professionals television series. The sweetest part of the house, at least as far as Random is concerned, is the working chiminea - I have sausages so that we can barbecue. There are also a lot of overgrown and sadly dead bushes in the garden, so we won't be short of fuel.


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May 2014

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