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Lawnmower news

Thanks to everyone who offered the loan of a lawnmower. The Mower People at Scotsdales were able to fix it, so no loan is needed.

There was almost a embarrassing moment when I took the mower in: the repairman took it into the back room, and a moment later I heard the mower start up just fine. I assumed this meant that I had Missed Something Obvious, which I always dread happening when I have to go near traditional bloke skills; but no, the repairman had used specialist technical skills to verify that the starting lever had broken, and started the mower to confirm that this was the only problem.

Pickup later that day, with a new lever, and now all I need is a lawn dry enough to mow. Sorted.

Cambridge help needed

Our (electric) lawnmower has stopped working over winter. Does anyone know anyone locally who might be good at fixing it?

Much, more

A miller’s son’s language was such
It would often come out in a rush
And Robin said “John,
The lad talks too long:
It’s too much much of a muchness from Much.”

Mug du jour: White china, with five Andy-Warholesque angled red prints of a Caramel bar, available from www.gilliankyle.com. A present from a distant relative last Christmas. We expressed thanks instead of bursting into tears over having to fit another mug into our mug cupboard. This is the most recent addition to the collection. It came with an actual Caramel bar inside, which I ate and enjoyed.


An important question

People of the internet! I come in peace. I have one simple question to ask you all, and even if it is not answered, I will not rain down fires of destruction upon your cities. I can't do that, and I wouldn't do it if I could.

My question is about this sentence, which just occurred to me: "It's pretty much much of a muchness." Is this is reasonable sentence? It is pleasing, or ugly? Is it actually grammatical? I seek knowledge, but not enough to try to set up an LJ poll.

Mug do jour: white, with grey writing, saying "Schlumberger Wireline and Testing" and "Quality is our way of life" - you know, as opposed to all the companies that laugh at the idea of quality. I think this mug is one of Anne's, and I don't know where she got it from. So I think she's had it since before we moved in together.



So my eclipse diary goes a little like this:
(1) February. Find the Faroes Islands are completely full already.
(2) Thursday afternoon. Go round town, establish that I cannot buy eclipse glasses for love nor money.
(3) Thursday night. Hunt all around the house for an hour, and finally find my eclipse glasses, bought in 1999, and last used to watch the transit of Venus in 2004.
(4) Friday morning. Cambridge skies are completely overcast. Feel vaguely guilty that this wouldn't have happened if I hadn't found my eclipse glasses. It gets noticeably gloomy for a while, but that's about it. At least some of the UK has clear skies. An hour after the eclipse finishes, so does Cambridge. I go outside and use my eclipse glasses to verify this, because otherwise the hunt for them was a waste.
(5) Friday evening. Start the long task of persuading Anne to go to the US in August 2017.
(6) Sunday evening, just now. We have a clear, deep blue sky, with a crescent moon, the "old moon in the new moon's arms", and a brilliantly bright Venus. I am consoled.


Exchange Rates

I walked past the John Lewis bureau de change today. It had a big sign in front, saying "Trust is the most valuable currency". Which immediately brought two questions to mind:

(1) What's the current trust to pound sterling exchange rate on the financial markets?
(2) Will you give me a lot of money to look after, please? I promise I'll be careful with it.

Mug du Jour: Blocky, tan, with dark brown rim and handle edge. Simple flower design on it in coloured glazes. On the bottom it says "Foreign". One of the mugs my parents gave to me when I went to university.

What's wrong with this picture?

I thought I was doing quite well at this on-line quiz till I got to the end of it:
He's a hard man to please, that Dara O'Briain.

Mug du Jour: "The Ages of the Dinosaurs". Cream, with many named dinosaur sihouettes on the side, sorted into Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. If I fall through a time portal into prehistory, this is the mug I want with me. Bought in Patterson's of Edinburgh, a fine one-man shop that sadly closed some years ago when the owner retired.

An SF Fannish Spoken Story

At the Worldcon, I took part in a "competitive fannish storytelling", with four of us taking it in turns to tell stories or anecdotes connected to SF fandom. It was a whole lot of fun, and under the cut is the story I told.

Given the audience it was aimed at, there are some slightly obscure references. If you want anything explained, feel free to ask in the comments, or ask Google. Also, this was written to be read aloud, and that shows up in places - not least where I put in acting instructions. We'll have to see if it works written down.

Cut for length...Collapse )

Wilfred Watkins, Miner

Last month I posted my grandfather's reminiscences about World War I: see http://doubtingmichael.livejournal.com/15079.html. Here's the rest of that interview, about his life down the mines.

Thanks again to history_monk for assistance getting this material ready, and of course to my parents (WINOLJ) for doing the original interview and transcription.

Cut for length, and because working in a mine was not much better than being in the trenchesCollapse )