Week-end: the last month of Before

A fluffy black and white cat sits on a flag striped blue, purple and pink. Various clutter in the background.

The good

Well, here we are in June. This may be baby month. Or it may not. In theory it’s going to be a lot quieter than May, but I’ve made plans for four work social things in my last two weeks, so…

Anyway, things are shifting; progress in sorting the house out is happening (gradually); I can’t say that I feel in any way ready, but it seems plausible that I will be able to cope. A long Zoom call with a friend yesterday. And we’ve just (well, several hours ago; I have had a nap since) had a very nice lunch out with family.

The photo, by the way, is more evidence of attempted tidying up (it gets worse before it gets better) than a deliberate celebration of Pride Month (our local Pride is, I have just discovered, on 29 July this year, which is some consolation for missing Ventnor Fringe) but it seemed appropriate.

The mixed

Lest I forget I am an introvert… an extremely productive and positive committee meeting on Wednesday evening left me staring at the wall for a long time afterwards. And then I was training on Thursday morning.

The difficult and perplexing

Being brought up short by my physical limitations. On Thursday evening I did what used to be my regular morning walk – twenty-five minutes up the hill, twenty-five minutes back. I had to sit down on almost every bench on the way back, and my lower back was complaining all night.

Experimenting with

A return to old-school internetting: a solid block of time on the computer, and when it’s off, it’s off. If I so chose, I could avoid looking at Twitter for a whole year. I might very well so choose.

What’s working



The Chronicles of Count Antonio (Anthony Hope). This is Hope in overwritten historical pastiche mode (as opposed to satirical contemporary mode) and it’s a little wearing; also, Count Antonio is even more ridiculously honourable than Rudolf Rassendyll and wouldn’t last five minutes in actual medieval Italy; still, it’s fun.


Starts Monday.


The remaining three Brosnan!Bond films, along with Licence to Queer and friends. Excellent fun, even if I wasn’t partaking in the cocktails (hey, a mint and lemon balm tea is vaguely similar to a mojito…)


Risotto with peppers and smoked trout. Chakchouka. Omelettes.


Everything. I’ve been so hungry this week.


Walking. Too much, apparently.


I think we had a goldfinch in the copper beech. We definitely had a pair of wood pigeons getting it on in a most conspicuous location, on top of our neighbour’s garage. I saw many excellent dogs when I was out on my walk.

In the garden

Planted the honeysuckle. Many, many things need cutting back. The arum lilies are blooming.


The weather. It’s sunny, but not too hot. I am grateful for this. (It has also been grey, but that hasn’t been too hot either.)


Various packages have been arriving, but I don’t bear prime responsibility for any of them.

Line of the week

From this blog post:

We have to write a 2000 word essay about this treaty and its implications for ecosystem based management, and I’m only struggling a little because I just don’t think I have 2000 words worth of thoughts; all I have so far is: woof. also Yikes. And that’s just not essay length.

Saturday snippet

A little bit from Starcrossers:

I made a point of smiling very pleasantly at the newser who’d exposed my most recent peccadillo, and posed for a picture.

This coming week

Two office days, during which I really must do something about my desk, two pre-maternity meet-ups with colleagues, more training, a long appointment with the midwife, and the Cursillo Welcome Back. Which was for quite a long time the very last thing in my diary for Before.

Anything you’d like to share from this week? Any hopes for next week? Share them here!

Week-end: Pride and preliminaries

Bouquet of flowers in shades of pink, blue, mauve, and pale green, against a red wall

I’ve been wanting to post more on this blog, and also wanting to record more of what I’ve been up to and what I’ve enjoyed. So this is the first of what I hope will be an ongoing series of weekly… check-ins? reports? I like neither of those terms. But I know what I want to do, even if I can’t describe it. So I’m just going to start doing it. Expect varying length, disparate headings (stolen from various people across the internet), and weeks where nothing happens at all.

The good

Ely Pride. This started last night with a talk at the cathedral from Rev Dr Charlie Bell. I am not sure that I can convey how very good it is to have one’s church say in so many words that LGBT+ people are welcome, so you’ll just have to take it on trust. The main event was today, and it was joyous.

Gorgeous flowers from my in-laws, extending my birthday a little further.

The mixed

Sad to see a great colleague go, but her leaving do was brilliant. A couple of ex-colleagues turned up, too: good to see them again.

The difficult and perplexing

A load of internalised biphobia (this has been going on for a while, and nearly stopped me going to Pride today; I’m glad it didn’t succeed). And a stubbed toe. And an hour of (unfounded) family panic.


Dragonflies whizzing around the green spaces. Sunflowers in the allotments (you can see the Royston ones from the train). Starlings.


Wanderlust: a history of walking, Rebecca Solnit. This was one of the two books I got from the Book Bus. (I am, this year, a model of restraint.) I’m enjoying this: Solnit talks about walking as a political act as much as anything else, and she talks about all sorts of walking. Some things I did know already and a lot that I didn’t.

Rough Music, Patrick Gale. My mother’s been recommending this author to me for ages, largely on account of the Isle of Wight connection, but I finally got around to reading him in this book from the sale at Ely library, and it’s mostly set in Cornwall. Very readable; one of those dual timeline narratives. A potential entry for The Reader’s Gazetteer – B for Barrowcester. Reading the notes at the end, it’s based on Winchester. I didn’t pick that up at all despite having been born in Winchester, but then I’m usually there to look at buses.

Husband Material, Alexis Hall. Well, this was where my Tuesday evening went. I lounged on the sofa, chuckling away. Delightful. It felt a little strange, because it felt very, very familiar. Hardly surprising: when I was writing The Real World I spent quite a lot of time wondering if after all Richard Curtis hadn’t said it all better in Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Husband Material is very much riffing on that seminal romcom. Anyway, it is refreshing to see something else that really digs into the question of marriage. Even if it did get me thinking that it is as well that Issues in Human Sexuality has nothing to say about lemon sorbet. (There’s one other person in the world who’ll find that funny. Oh well.)


Patchwork. Secret project.


Pickled plums. And an improvised sort of pie made of plums and very old filo pastry from the freezer. The rest of the plums got frozen, though I should probably go and see what else I can harvest before the wasps get it.


A post for the Ely Cursillo site.

Looking at

Summer Open Exhibition at Babylon Arts. This was fascinating for the sheer range of artists and styles on show, and my reactions to them. I like bright textiles but not bright acrylics. I like moody pastels of Fenland skies. I dislike the self-consciously quirky except where it was made of steel. I am fascinated by the intricate. I am predisposed to like linocuts. It takes a lot to impress me with a photograph. I did know that @smolrobots is based somewhere in the vicinity, but I’d forgotten. And so on. Eavesdropping on other people’s reactions was also fun.

Listening to

I’ve been to Evensong three times this week (another of those things that I could do far more often than in fact I ever do). There’s been a visiting choir, and they really got into their stride today. Jackson in G (used to sing it at Guildford, but haven’t done it for years) and then something called Song to bring us home by Tamsin Jones.


Sidecars. Or, as they somehow ended up getting called, Sidehorses. Don’t ask, or, at least, don’t ask me. I also had a strawberry slushie today, the first in a very, very long time.

Line of the week

This is from the Rebecca Solnit:

Imagine it doing seventy on the interstate, passing mesas and crumbling adobes and cattle and maybe some billboards for fake Indian trading posts, Dairy Queens and cheap motels, an eight-cylinder Sistine Chapel turned inside out and speeding toward a stark horizon under changing skies.

This coming week

More patchwork more patchwork more patchwork.