smhwpf: (Treebeard)
Went to visit [ profile] mirabehn and [ profile] evil_nick yesterday, got back yesterday. Very nice to see them as always - I think it's the first time I have seen them in a non-gathering/read-through context, so good to get the chance to talk more. [ profile] mirabehn cooked a very nice spinach and dahl curry. Theoretically I should have been at mass for Maundy Thursday, but I think a meal shared in kindness and friendship is well in the spirit of things. And we said some prayers for peace together.

We also played the Lord of the Rings boardgame, and totally kicked ass! I was Frodo, [ profile] evil_nick was Sam, and [ profile] mirabehn was Merry. Not only did we destroy the ring, but we did so without having to sacrifice anyone to Sauron, who in fact didn't move throughout the game. We were indeed the luckiest hobbitses in all Middle Earth!

The LotR is quite an unusual boardgame, first in being co-operative - all the players working together to destroy the ring - and secondly in, despite this, not being boring. Though a dyed-in-the-wool peacenik, I am quite competitive by nature I think, and have no time for the idea that competitive games are a bad thing. But the thing with the LotR game is that, while working co-operatively, you are also playing your own hand for your own particular hobbit - so there's always the instinct for self-preservation working as well as the aim of winning as a team. I suppose it's somewhat like an RPG in that sense, except in an RPG your ultimate aim is the success of your character, though this will usually require co-operation in various ways, while in the LotR game the thing you score for is the collective success.

In other developments in Newbury, I am now officially Local.


I was exposed to the entire first series, and the first episode of series 2.

I got back to Bristol just in time for the Good Friday veneration of the Lord's Passion at my regular Catholic Church. Good service, though no I have no particular deep Good Friday thoughts to share. Easter Vigil tomorrow evening, the most fabulous service of the Church's year. And I shall have to buy myself a good bottle of malt whisky for when I get back afterwards, to further celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord (and the end of Lent!) in suitable fashion.

Ah, well, Good Friday draws to an end, and with it this entry!
smhwpf: (Treebeard)
Flew up to Scotland Saturday. It was supposed to be cheaper that way. Didn't quite work out, due to my own stupidity. I got confused about the baggage allowance, I'd seen on the Easyjet site saying 'Maximum 32 kilos" and thought that was my baggage allowance, when actually that was the absolute max, and the allowance was only 20kg, so I got lumbered with a £40 excess.


Even more stupidly )

But, got to my mum's in the end. Good to see her, and my bro and sis and neice (who arrived that day and over the next couple of days), but sad not to be greeted by a dog jumping up and licking me.

We held Shane's funeral on Monday. We scattered his ashes in Templeton Woods, up in the northwest of Dundee, where oft we walked him when mum lived up there, till last year. That was where mum's first dog, Heidi's ashes were scattered four years ago. Mum, who is a Buddhist, read from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, then she scattered the ashes, then me, Sarah and Angus read a prayer by Andrew Linzey, the Christian pro-animal (for want of a better term) theologian.

On a happier note, we went to see RotK on Monday. Me, Sarah, Angus, our mum, and Sarah and Angus's father Dave's other step-children, Nadja and Dee, his wife's daughters, my step-step sisters. (Complicated family structure!)

brief review )

Today, went with Dave (stepdad), Sarah, Angus, Sarah's 4-year-old daughter Rachel, Dave's wife Keri and her daughters Nadja and Dee to meet with Dave's family for Christmas lunch in Montrose. A whole assortment of half-step-cousins once removed and the like. A pleasant afternoon.

Anyway, better go as Eastenders has finished so Dave is ready to drive me back to my mum's and then to Tesco's to do the grand Christmas food shop.

Happy Christmas to all in case I don't post before then!
smhwpf: (Treebeard)
(And anyone else for that matter)

Have you seen this? Have you seen this?

It's another LotR meets OMWF!

(For those who don't know, and probably everyone reading this journal does, [ profile] ixwin wrote a fantastic set of LotR songs to the tune and style of the songs from the Buffy Musical Episode, Once More With Feeling, at )

I think this new one is sufficiently different from [ profile] ixwin's that it must be independent (although possibly inspired thereby?), though the "I'll Never Tell" song is also Legolas-Gimli.

Well, thought this was rather noteworthy.
smhwpf: (Treebeard)
Hah, weak-willed consumer that I am!

Went out to Asda across the road for a box of matches, and bought...

The extended DVDs of Fellowship of the Ring and the Two Towers!

At least I remembered the box of matches. ;)


Seeing those words come up on the screen, hearing that music... brings a shudder to my heart and tears to my eyes, truly a sense of childlike joy.

I think it's because my dad read LotR to me when I was about 6 or 7. The Hobbit before that. Though I didn't come back to the book till the films came out, it is just so much part of me... part of what shapes my whole view of the world.

Seeing RotK with my brother and sister in Dundee on Monday (a family tradition), along with my two step-step-sisters (my brother and sister's step-sisters), and this year our mum. One reason for getting the DVDs now is that hopefully I'll get a chance to show them to mum before she sees RotK.

Well, up to Scotland tomorrow. Yay! 7.10 plane, not so nice. Unfortunately, my mum has a dial-up connection, so might not be able to LJ and stuff so easily. However my stepdad has broadband, so that might help. Yes, hopefully won't be wholly LJ-less for the next two weeks.
smhwpf: (Owl)
(Sigh). Thought I'd get this lecture done more quickly. It's stuff I know. But... diagrams are hard to draw in Word or Powerpoint. At least the way I try to draw them. It's the curves. Getting the right curvature is a bugger.


Quiet Saturday, but went to London on Sunday, to meet up with [ profile] mirabehn, [ profile] spindlemere, [ profile] fluffymark, [ profile] gnimmel and [ profile] purplepiano, to see the Lord of the Rings exhibition at the Science Museum, as has already been related by [ profile] mirabehn. Like everyone else, I found it quite fantastic.

I was particularly impressed by all the digital tricks - I knew about the Gollum thing, but also things like the "Autonomous Agents" they used in battle scenes - each digital soldier/orc etc. was programmed to act autonomously, reacting to what was going on around it, fighting opponents, etc. They even found some of the Agents ran away, even though this wasn't directly in their programming!

Also the chain mail. How they eschewed the usual knitted garments with silver paint, in favour of real rings of some material or other all hand-cut and linked together. They used 12,500,000 rings in all.

But generally - just seeing all these weapons and armour and rings and mythology and settings and pictures and characters and orcs and hobbits and Aragorns and Frodos and Gandalfs etc. etc. - it created in me a sense of childlike excitement. A veritable eeeeeness of things. And good to see it with friends. :-)

Also aimed to do Christmas shopping while I was in London. This was somewhat stymied by a) my getting up late and b) the trains. All the signals were down between Twyford and Maidenhead, so I had to change at Reading and get the slow train to Waterloo, stopping at every two-up two-down commuter semi. I got to Waterloo at 2.15, due to meet the others at 3.30 at the Museum.

But I had time to wander across the Hungerford Footbridge - something which somehow always manages to cheer me up - and up to Covent Garden, where I bought a fiddle-black sycamore wood alarm clock for my mum, and an orangutan-like cuddly marionnette for my 4.5 year old niece Rachel. Then I got some posters for my brother Angus at the exhibition shop, and some more for myself. Angus is rather keen on Arwen, but unfortunately they didn't have a big Arwen poster, though there was a smaller thing.

Arwen is very nice. But I think personally I go more for Eowyn.

So, all in all, a good day, and very good to meet up with the others.

Then, the return journey. Hah!

I thought the trains would be back to normal by then. Hah! Again I say, Hah!

It seems someone put a drill through a main cable in the morning, and shut down all the signals in the Twyford area. Still not sorted out. There was a train due to leave Paddington for Plymouth, stopping at Reading where I could change, but it had to wait on the driver and train manager arriving on the delayed incoming train. Left about 9.38pm (arrived Paddington 8.45, after grabbing some dinner.) Took 1 hour 20 to reach Reading. Then had to wait ages at Reading. Apparently the delay was not just trains having to take longer through the disturbed area, but the signallers having to agree new schedules or something.

The information on offer was utterly abysmal. They were giving no idea of when trains could be expected, or even why they had no information. They had had 12 hours or more to sort things out, but they hadn't provided alternative road travel or anything. I accept the signal thing is beyond their control. But that sort of thing is not exactly uncommon. They ought to have better crisis management systems. I've been in similarly awful delays where they treated us far, far better. (Different company). First Group are rubbish. Ome of the buses they run in Bristol are pretty dire too. Fortunately I cycle most of the time.

But - I know it's a cliche, but it really is true, adversity seems to bring out the best in the long-suffering British traveller. People shared information, helped each other out, talked to each other - and not just "Isn't it awful?". The disruption disrupted us out of our normal self-contained, materially-satisfied shells. So, passed the time at Reading and on the train (when it finally arrived) in good company. Maybe there should be horrendous train delays more often.

Actually, nah. *g*

Anyway, arrived at Bristol TM at about 1.45am. And that was supposed to be me getting back onto a sane schedule.


Ah well. Got my lecture done. Think it's a reasonably good one. Better get to bed.


smhwpf: (Default)

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