marjorie73: (Default)
 Normally, my printer lives upstairs in the box room, but it's getting a bit temperamental about talking to the wi-fi, so I moved it downstairs where it's easier to turn it off and back on. 


I don't use it very often, and I think this might have been the first time Loki's been in the room which I printed something.



Anyway, as he seemed so interested by the noises it made when I turned it on, I thought I'd video him when it actually printed. ....

 

 

Here he is, for your amusement!

marjorie73: (Default)
 Having spent the past two weekends with trips to London, first to see Hamlet, and then for work and to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, I was ready for a more relaxed and low-key weekend, so was glad not to be going anywhere this weekend.


Two weekends ago I did a little gardening, planting an apple tree* which I ordered a few weeks back, and which had just arrived. Loki took a keen interest in the process, and in particular in the hole I dug in the back lawn.


(*I say tree. It came as a bare-root plant, and it isn't very big, so it's basically a stick. A very expensive stick.)



I was a little concerned about whether it would be OK, particularly as the weather turned very wet as soon as I got it into the ground, and I worried it would get waterlogged and rot before it could get established.


However, having checked on it yesterday, it appears (crossed fingers) that it is settling in, as it has produced some little baby leaves. It wouldn't do that if it were planning to die on me, would it? It is a family apple tree, with 3 grafts, so if it survives and produces fruit, it will produce 3 types of apple (and be able to self-pollinate). 


I think it'll be another 2 - 3 years before it starts to produce any apples,but hopefully it will settle in and look nice, even before then.



 

With a view to other (quicker) home grown stuff I planted some tomato seeds a couple of weeks ago, and have just transplanted the seedlings into individual pots, and have them on various windowsills around the house. 


Given the uncertain weather and the rather disappointing crops I have had for the past 2 years, this year  I am planning to keep some indoors (probably on my office windowsill at work, which is spacious and well lit) as well as planting some out into the garden. It's the nearest thing I have to a greenhouse. So I shall need to find some large pots, suitable for an office environment!


On a less cheerful note, I managed through a combination of clumsiness and a gust of wind to bash my leg with the door of my car, leaving a *very* painful (but oddly unimpressive, visually) bruise. So yesterday afternoon involved a certain amount of sitting with my foot up, and a ice-pack on my leg.


Today was beautifully sunny, and I spent time [trying to] dig up docks and dandelions from my front garden, although I also resorted to some spot-on weedkiller for the more deeply rooted ones which I couldn't dig out by hand. I also planted out a Hydrangea which I have been growing from a cutting since last autumn, which may one day become part of a hedge at the front of the house.


And Loki remembered ( I assume) how warm the tile roof of the shed gets when it is sunny

 

 


And also demonstrated his walking-along-the-top-of-the-fence skills, which allow him to go all around the garden without ever setting food on the ground!



A pleasant, low-key weekend. 


Of course, I should have been energetic and done lots of housework and such, but I didn't. And I don't regret it, much. 


marjorie73: (Default)

Well, I suppose technically Winter is here, and Spring is coming, but the other makes a better headline.
It was bitterly cold last night, and I was expecting frost, but woke up this morning to find we had actually had a sprinkling of snow. 

 

After which he apparently decided that the others would have watched, and learned their lesson, and that he didn't need to catch and kill all of them, so he came back indoors to try out his new cat bed.


 


I *think* it meets with his approval.


marjorie73: (Default)
I have always had cats, and after Tybalt  died early last year, it was only ever going to be a matter of time! Once I felt ready for another cat, I did put it off a little while as I was moving house, but once I had done that, and having returned from Amsterdam, I felt the time had come.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or are friends on facebook will have noticed that there has been a net increase in the number of kittens in my life.

Meet Small Kitten and his sister, Very Small Kitten.
Very Small Kitten

Small Kitten

They came home with me on 10th September, from a small local rescue - Very Small was the runt of the litter, and although it's a little hard to tell from the pictures, she was only about 2/3 the size of Small, and weighed just 1 Kilo (2.2lbs) to his 1.5 Kilos.



Kittens find a comfy seat

And although when I went to chose which 2 of the 4 kittens would come home with me, that they were all black and white, it's clear that Very Small is actually very dark brown, with some tabby swirls if you look closely enough.

Very Small Kitten  and envelopes
Unlike Tybalt, who was always rather shy and jumpy, and who took months before he would sit on me, the kittens took about half an hour, and quickly established that my shoulder and chest made suitable perches for small cats.
As, indeed, does my lap, my laptop, the windowsills, the bookcases... you get the picture!

They were so very small when they arrived that it has taken a while to determine their names.

I had thought about Shakespearean names again, but while Very Small could, perhaps, have been an Ophelia, Small lacks the dignity and darkness needed for Hamlet, and although they have the spiky affection which would suit Benedick and Beatrice I'm not overly fond of Beatrice as a name...


So then we considered other literary inspirations, not forgetting the fact that, being cats, they are of course (at the very least) demi-gods.


The Naming of Cats, is, after all, as T.S. Eliot knew, a serious matter, and Mr Gaiman has explained that Cats don't need names, as they know who they are, so I felt we could could take a little time to get it right.

And I think, now, that we have come to an agreement.

His Lordship, Loki Calcifer Benedict Cat


Small Kitten may now be addressed by his human minions as Loki Calcifer Benedict.

Her Ladyship, Coraline Sekhmet Ophelia Cat (She Who Mauls)
Very Small Kitten will allow herself to be spoken to as Coraline Sekhmet Ophelia.

Being cats, they of course ignore their names, but I feel they ignore them in a way which makes it clear that they ignoring them specifically.

I don't speka fluent cat, but I am pretty sure they have named me "Hey You, Minion"
marjorie73: (Default)
I have finally picked up my new (to me) car, and returned the hire car, which is a relief. The hire car was very nearly new (it had less than 3,000 miles on the clock when I picked it up) and I was terrified the whole time that I would bend or break it!

My  new one is a VW Polo, 6 years old, and currently pretty shiny! (which , to be honest, is unlikely to continue for long, as I subscribe that life is too short to spend washing cars!) IMG_0332

It's quite a change from the Smart - but I think that having space for passengers may come in handy from time to time.

I picked it up on Thursday evening, and it promptly got rained on (fortunately the windscreen wipers were easy to find!).

That was Thursday, and on Friday (after what felt like a *very* long week) I headed into Bath for some fun.

I've blogged before about the wonderful Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights, one of our two lovely independent bookshops in Bath, and how good their event are, and Friday night was no exception.

They were hosting 'Norse Night' with Joanne (M) Harris talking about her new book, 'The Gospel of Loki'.

We started with music from The Bookshop Band (Who played their Loki-inspired song, 'Rooting for Loki', which is excellent!)

Then, we got to meet Joanne Harris herself. She talked to us about her childhood, and finding the Norse myths in Barnsley library, guarded by a fearsome librarian who, fortunately, viewed mythology as 'educational', and therefore suitable, (and who was, presumably, unaware of the dearth, destruction, incest and bestiality involved...)

She talked about her view that she was not changing genres by writing a fantasy novel; firstly, as she's written fantasy from day one, and secondly as her novels are all (including Loki) about outsiders in small patriarchal societies . . . starting while she wrote her first novel while working as a teacher at Leeds (Boys) Grammar school.. the only difference is the amount of magic involved.

She also told a wonderful anecdote about making a papier mache chicken out of her rejection letters and setting fire to it, as a cathartic way of dealing with the rejection (and about a certain American agent who rejected 'Chocolat' (on the basis it had too many old people, not enough young and beautiful people having sex, too many old people, and was set in a European village) and then, a couple of years later, after the success of the 'Chocolat' film, wrote to her agent offering his services to promote her work in the USA. (His offer was rejected!)



She is a highly entertaining and interesting speaker, and listening to her made me feel, too, that she was someone I would like to get to know better, and who would be fun to go out for a drink or meal with.

Harris was sccathing about publishers determination to divide books into different age groups and genres, and the patronising attitude which assumes that readers of fantasy are 'immature' readers, and very funny about her first meeting with Johnny Depp.

It was a lovely evening.(And did I mention that we were served with chocolate by way of homage to the novel?)

And I am now about a quarter of the way through 'The Gospel of Loki'. I'm enjoying it a lot. And I hope that Joanne Harris comes back to Bath next time she has a book out, because I want to hear her speak again.
marjorie73: (Default)
Way back in June, tickets went on sale for a production of 'Coriolanus' at the Donmar Warehouse in London, with Tom Hiddleston in the title role.


I was originally hoping to go with friends, but it appeared that everyone else had the same idea, and despite trying the moment that the tickets went on general sale, it was almost sold but immediately and I could only get a single ticket, and only on New Year's Eve.

So, Tuesday saw me setting off for London, on a surprisingly quiet train, travelling through water-logged country (but not as much flooding as I'd expected - most of the rivers were very full, but didn't, for the most part, seem to have burst their banks, or at least not within sight of the railway!) I'd built in lots of extra time in case of travel delays, so I arrived with plenty of time to check into my hotel (also booked back in June, which is just as well, it would have cost me more than twice as much had I left it to closer to the time to book!), eat and change before heading to Seven Dials and the Donmar Warehouse.

I haven't been there before - it's not a big space -just 4 rows of seats in the stalls, wrapped round 3 sides of the stage, and a slightly larger number of seats (I think) up in the circle. I was in the back row of the stalls, and right round almost at the end of the row, so I saw a lot of the action side on, but although this did mean missing some of the actors facial expressions at times, this wasn't a major issue. (and if I am 100% honest, there are worse fates, than to find oneself forced to stare at Tom Hiddleston's backside.. Or Hadley Fraser's, come to that.)

I haven't ever seen 'Coriolanus' before,(I saw parts of the Ralph Fiennes film version, but not all of it) and I am not familiar with the play (although I think  may read it now) and I think it has probably been cut quite a bit for this production, but it's not difficult to follow, and the lack of familiarity meant I was really focused on the dialogue, and not on waiting for familiar speeches or quotations.


For others who may be equally unfamiliar, the play focuses on Caius Martius,(later Caius Martius Coriolanus)  a noble of Rome. At the start of the play, we see the People of Rome are discontented, calling for bread, and fairly priced grain. Martius is one of the few to stand against them, sowing the seeds of their hatred of him. Mark Gatiss, as Menenius, is  more conciliatory and diplomatic (shades of his Mycroft, but much more approachable!)

In this production, there are few props or scenery, and the citizens mark their discontent with graffiti on the brick wall at the back of the stage, the Senate is represented by a row of chairs, and other than a lectern there are no other furnishings. Costumes are similarly sparse - a mixture of modern clothes with swords and leather breastplates which works surprisingly well.

Martius goes off to war, and we meet his formidable mother, Volumnia (Deborah Findlay) and his wife, Virgilia (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen). Volumnia is clearly the kind of Roman mother who expects her sons to return bearing their shields or upon them - and Findlay and Hiddleston do a fantastic job of showing the relationship between mother and son - it's obvious that Volumnia has shaped Coriolanus's character - he is desperate for her approval, and she is single minded in her pride.

We then see Martius as soldier, taking part in the war against the Volscians - at the siege of Corioli, he is the ultimate soldier - where others falter and  are willing to give up, (in the face of rains of ash, and fire) he swarms up a ladder and into the city, to reappear, bloodied from head to toe, as his companions give him up for lost, pausing only to reassure them before moving on to engage the Volscian general, Aufidius (Hadley Fraser) in single combat. he is, perhaps inevitably, victorious.  The fight was a very physical one, with the actors sword-fighting, then wrestling, throwing each other around the stage.

I admit that I lost the plot very slightly here. On account of that nice Mr Hiddleston taking his top off and having a quick shower. In a way which was, I am sure, entirely necessarily and justified. I'm sure Shakespeare would have said so, too. There is probably a footnote in a lost folio somewhere suggesting it.

Anyway, after his shower, and being given the name Coriolanus for conquering Coriolis all on his own, Coriolanus returns to Rome where he falls out with the populous due to his unwillingness to play politics. All joking aside, Hiddleston was superb - he brilliantly conveyed a mixture of contempt for the system and pride in his own achievements - as Coriolanus spectacularly, and inevitably, shoots himself in the foot.

It was at this point that I started to doubt the wisdom of the early Romans. It seems to me, that if you have a spectacularly successful soldier who has recently single-handedly invaded and defeated a rival city-state, then it is, to say the least, a little short-sighted to piss him off, throw rotting fruit at him and banish him from the city. You might make him angry, and you won't like him when he is angry..

Whatever his other failings (personal relationships, for one) Coriolanus doesn't lack chutzpah, and goes straight to Aufidius (last seen, if you recall, being comprehensively defeated both in battle and in single combat by Coriolanus) to put himself forward as a conquering-general-for-hire, in a home-erotic scene which leaves you wondering whether Aufidius is going to cut Coriolanus's throat, or take him to bed...

By this point, it's not hard to see that things are not going to end well, and they don't. Coriolanus is, ultimately, a tragic hero, and he finds himself, inevitably, at the gates of Rome at the head of an invading army, facing first his friend and mentor Menenius, and then his wife, child, and mother, as they try to persuade him not to invade and conquer his former home. The moment when he gives in to his mother's entreaty, and you can see him make that choice, to sacrifice himself, rather than his wife, son, and mother, is heartbreaking. Particularly as Volumnia seems unaware of the consequences of her action.

The play concludes with Coriolanus submitting to Aufidius's judgement for having failed to drive home his attack on Rome, and is executed (lots more blood.)

Over all? If I want to be picky, there were times when the use of the chairs on stage as props was a bit irritating, and I felt that the small child playing Coriolanus's son was mostly a distraction (He didn't speak until the final scenes, but appeared at various points to do.. nothing much)

But these are very minor points - the positives are much greater, and I loved that hiddleston gives us a Coriolanus who is very human.


The run at the Donmar is completely sold out, but the production is being broadcast to cinemas as by NTLive - on 30th January in the Uk, and other dates elsewhere - well worth seeing if you manage it (I'm going - I want to see it all again)

And did I mention? that Hiddleston is a damn fine actor.
marjorie73: (Default)
They've just built a new cinema in the town centre, which means I can now go to see films on impulse, rather than having to actually plan ahead, and on Sunday afternoon I decided to wander down there to see 'Thor: The Dark World' , because, well, why not?
Mild spoilers after the cut...Read more... )

Profile

marjorie73: (Default)
MargoMusing

September 2017

S M T W T F S
     1 2
3 456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 24th, 2017 07:00 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios