40 Years Ago Today

Aug. 20th, 2017 04:56 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The United States of America, then an independent nation, launched Voyager 2

I wonder if any of the people involved realized it would still be going two generations later?

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Culinary

Aug. 20th, 2017 08:44 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

Bread: on Monday, Greenstein's 100% Wholewheat Loaf, made up of ordinary strong wholemeal/wholemeal spelt/einkorn flours. Tasty but a bit crumbly for some reason.

Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft roll recipe, 4:1 strong white/buckwheat flour, dried blueberries, maple sugar.

Today's lunch: quails, which I cooked yesterday as they were well pushing their use-by date, according to a recipe from Clarissa Dickson Wright. The Game Cookbook, only that used fruit chutney, which I did not have, so used damson jelly instead, roasted in foil at Mark 3 for 30 minutes: not bad. Served with sticky rice in coconut milk with lime leaves, buttered spinach, and asparagus healthy-grilled in olive oil and splashed with aged organic balsamic vinegar.

Have started the overnight rising version of the bread recipe in Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking, which I haven't made for ages.

Tourism through swimming pools

Aug. 20th, 2017 07:46 pm
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
Both children love swimming. Charles is a competent casual swimmer, Nicholas is still in beginner swim lessons and needs the full-time attention of an adult whenever out of his depth. So I like to take them swimming whenever possible, and made sure to pack swimming things for this holiday.

So far we have managed 2 pools in Helsinki, 1 on the ferry, and 2 in Stockholm.
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Today we arrived in Copenhagen and our current airbnb in Fredericksberg is a very short walk from another local pool, plus there are a number of others I am investigating in case we have time for a second one ...

If I were a rich man

Aug. 20th, 2017 07:41 pm
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[personal profile] nineveh_uk
I would have paid a chauffeur to drive me the hundred miles to Chichester to see Fiddler on the Roof yesterday*. As I'm not, I had to do it myself. Fortunately the strong reviews of the production didn't let me down and it was excellent. Omid Djalili was terrific as Tevye, Tracy-Ann Oberman moved Golde beyond cliché, and the younger generation could all sing, act, and dance, the first of which is regrettably not always guaranteed in musicals. The production/direction did an excellent job of conveying not only entertaining song and dance, but a story of some weight, and I ended up finding it very moving. I have seen it before, but about 25 years ago so I couldn't say which I thought was better. But I remember scenes from that West Yorkshire Playhouse that struck me then, and I'm sure I'll continue to remember this. I'm tempted to read the original stories it's based on for a comparison.

Have the trailer:



*I am aware that there are countries, indeed parts of the UK, where I'd be lucky to drive only 100 miles to the theatre, but this involved the M3 on a summer school holiday Saturday.
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[personal profile] maeve_the_red
We refer to Wickham Festival as our 'local' festival – although even our village has a festival these days - and we've been to pretty much Wickham festival one since it started just after the millennium. It's easy to access so we commute rather than camp, and as the combination of folk and retro acts with the occasional interesting oddity fits with the tastes of a number of friends, we have a full house – and garden, as we now have enough people staying that a couple sleep in my medieval tent, for the full authentic festival experience.

Thursday night would, in theory, have seen almost all of us going but what with one of our guests forgetting his ticket and having to drive home, and two others being late, in the end it was just myself and S in S's 4-wheel drive, which turned out to be wise as the field was a quagmire. Mind you, Wickham is the only festival I know that lays on tractors to tow out cars who get stuck in the mud. Much queueing ensued before we got in, but we still saw Martin Allcock's fine new band, Mancunia and 10cc, who always deliver a good show.

The full party ventured in the next day, although as usual a subset of us walked into Wickham village itself along the old Meon Valley railway track, bought chocolates from the excellent patisserie, and ate lunch in the garden of the wine bar near the river, with a dessert of early blackberries picked from their hedge. Much of the afternoon's music washed over me, though I woke up in time to see my friend L who we'd discovered was at the festival via the miracle of Facebook and who I'd not seen for years. The evening bought a fine sunset at the other (non-main) stage, plus a fine selection of bands: new to us - and much enjoyed - was the chilled psychedelic vibe of Maia followed by two festival favourites: cowpunk maestros Pronghorn and Traditional English Reggae courtesy of Edward II.

Saturday was heavy on the sea shanties, and I watched a few to collect the set of musical types, though was more enthused by local R 'n' B band Honeyshake, who delivered some shit-kicking blues on the other-other stage. Then, after a refreshing break in the Tiny Tea Tent (best cake on site) on the main stage we had The Selecter followed by The Dhol Foundation, both of which saw much dancing in the Morris Pit (folk festival version of a Mosh Pit). Having concluded there wasn't much else anyone wanted to watch we stayed for dinner and sunset, then went home early for much needed rest.

Sunday D and I took another walk into the village, to catch the Morris sides in their natural environment (i.e. dancing outside a pub) and buy even more chocolates. On our return we accidentally caught a truly awful act, possibly someone who'd failed the audition for reality TV talent show but had enough contacts/blackmail material to get a slot. On the other hand the community band put together over the weekend was surprisingly good. Another minor disappointment as Electric Swing Circus were a no-show. However, the utterly insane Tankus the Henge delivered the goods again with their hi-octane, half-naked, piano-based antics. A swift run to the other tent for the second half of Three Daft Monkeys' set then, carrying on the insane performers theme, John Otway, still crazy though sadly lacking a theremin these days. Over to the main stage for the Peatbog Faeries, another perennial favourite, initially enjoyed outside, swaying under the stars, until I ventured in and was sucked into the the trance-folk vortex of the Morris Pit.

weather, fashion and culinary notes

Again, the rain radar app was our friend. We didn't get wet, and though the site was at least as muddy as WOMAD, the liberal application of bales of straw to the mud worked wonders.

There was no Halloumi anywhere on site. I have no idea what that is about. Also no creperie, which was a disappointment to those of us in the party with a sweet tooth; we consoled ourselves with chocolates. The bar had a stunning range of beers and ciders, including the ever-popular Rum Cider.

No glitter beards and no men were spotted wearing what I now know are 'disco leggings', though the leggings themselves were for sale. Also for sale was a marvellous selection of hats, of which I bought one, and so did D, in his case because it will suit his Boomtown persona.

Having bought a job lot of a hundred mini glowstix, the party were festooned in glowing tat as soon as the sun went down, making it much easier to find each other in the dark.

(no subject)

Aug. 20th, 2017 12:28 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] gmh and [personal profile] ravurian!

The Blood is the Life for 20-08-2017

Aug. 20th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b
oursin: My photograph of Praire Buoy sculpture, Meadowbrook Park, Urbana, overwritten with Urgent, Phallic Look (urgent phallic)
[personal profile] oursin

- just on reading the the cover of the Guardian Saturday Review, which promised its readers a letter from Karl Ove Knausgaard to his unborn baby.

And when Tonstant Weader had finished fwowing up, she wondered how much nappy-changing KOK (fnarr, fnaar: am 13 at the back of the class) signs up for, rather than providing Deep Existential Insights?

Will concede that I am somewhat cynical about the entire genre of 'Bloke becomes father and has EPIPHANY' - in particular we may note that KOK already has two children. Also KOK has admitted that 'he has achieved huge success by sacrificing his relationships with friends and members of his family'.

And in other bloke news, maybe it's just me, but why is Rosa Bonheur 'less well-known' than other French C19th horse painters whose names ring no bell with me, Vernet and Fromentin? If someone has a massive great canvas in the NY Metropolitan Museum... I think this is a deplorable case of the reviewer not having heard of her.

And also in Dept of Unexamined Assumptions, What Internet Searches Reveal: as I am sure I have heretofore remarked, what interests people in porn, what their sexual fantasies are, doesn't necessarily map to what they like to do. So not entirely sure that Big Data on the topic is quite as revelatory as claimed here.

miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Marks and Spencer and the National Autistic Society have launched a school uniform range aimed at the parents of autistic children. Note that I say aimed at the parents of autistic children, rather than aimed at autistic children. All the blurb is to do with how easy it is to put on, and how hardwearing it is. The subtext is that it's designed for kids who can't dress themselves. This is clearly aimed at parents.

The other way you can tell that actually autistic people were not involved in this is that if you ask any autistic person what is most important for them in clothing they will tell you it's the fabric it's made of. Many autistic people have comorbid eczema, and a lot of those that don't have sensory issues, which mean that fabric and texture are hugely important in clothing. Something that is in contact with your skin all day needs to be made of something non-irritating; that almost always means 100% natural fibres. Cotton, or bamboo, or silk, or modal. Sometimes wool, but sometimes not. NEVER SODDING POLYESTER. And some of the clothes in that M&S range are 65% polyester. And of course it's very wearying that the only clothing specifically designed to be worn by autistic people is school uniform, because nobody of above school age is autistic, and no autistic child ever wears non-uniform clothing. AND they've "removed pockets for comfort". I have never known an autistic person who didn't want MORE pockets, as long as they are made from 100% natural fibre too.

So what would clothing for autistic people actually look like? Well, from the conversation on twitter today:
  1. Clear, obvious fabric labelling on the rack/shelf. While most of us just want everything 100% cotton, some of us prefer other natural fabrics like linen, and some actively prefer viscose or modal. Some of us can cope with silk or wool, some can't. Every single one of us, though, would like to see fabrics clearly, obviously labelled on the rack, without having to go hunting through the clothes for a tiny illegible care label.

  2. No polyester. Not even a little bit. Not ever. No, not even in linings.

  3. Linings are important! Linings are the bit that is actually in contact with your skin, so they need to be all natural fibres too. Note, though, that this does not mean you can take a garment made out of something horrible and line it with cotton and it will be OK - outer fabrics need to be touchable too.

  4. Care labels to be made of the same fabric as the clothing, not scratchy plastic.

  5. Elastic to be covered with the fabric the clothes are made of, not left to be in contact with your skin.

  6. Flat seams! Or even NO seams!

  7. For Cthulhu's sake, SOMEBODY make some bras we can wear! It is really, really, incredibly difficult to get hold of cotton bras, to the extent that I have considered making my own. And even if/when you DO find them, they are covered in non-cotton frills and lace and fripperies. And have stupid care labels made of plastic right in the middle of your back.

  8. Comfort and fit are much much more important than being on trend. I saw an article the other day that low slung waist trousers are coming back into fashion and actually cried.

  9. Moar pockets, on everything, especially women's clothes - but again, made of the same fabric as the actual clothing

  10. Stop saying things are "cotton touch" or "cotton feel" or "cotton rich". All this does is bugger up searching for cotton things. And actually, make your website searchable by fabric. That would be amazing.
And a clothing store for autistic people?
  1. Would be lit sensibly, not with migraine-inducing lighting.

  2. Would have the afore-mentioned obvious, clear clothing labels on the shelf/rack.

  3. Would sort by size and colour as well as style.

  4. Would have assistants that wait to be approached rather than badgering you the second you enter the shop.

  5. Would not have music at all (many many autistic people love music, but find music that they don't like intensely irritating; whatever music you play some of us will like and some won't) and would ideally have sound baffling so that other people's conversations are not intrusive.

  6. Would open from (say) 12 till 8, rather than 9 to 5. Autistic people are more likely than others to have odd sleep patterns and/or working hours.
Now, if some kind banker or venture capitalist would like to give me a wad of cash to make this a reality... And to M&S and the NAS... I do appreciate that you're trying, and I don't wish to appear ungrateful, but if you consulted any actually autistic people in fomulating that clothing range it's not immediately obvious. Please, please, bear in mind the priorities of actually autistic people, not the parents of autistic children, when making clothing that the autistic people are actually meant to wear. Remember the phrase: nothing about us without us. Thank you.

In chirpier news

Aug. 19th, 2017 10:19 am
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[personal profile] flick
The day after we got back from Helsinki, I was mucking out Bugsy's stable when I heard a lot of chirping and noticed that there were swallows flying around.

Having raised their first clutch, they've built a second nest. This one is in the rafters above the tack room (and, thankfully, above an open area of floor rather than anything that will take harm from having bird poo all over it!), which they're accessing by flying into Bugsy's stable and through the roof space.

I'm glad they're doing so much better this year!

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Simon Bradshaw

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