lizwilliams: (Default)
Thanks so much for all your kind words on the movie option. We celebrated on Wednesday by having lunch in Axminster in a nice old pub with lots of hanging baskets outside, and then went to Brean Down. This is a high peninsula jutting out into the Bristol Channel, almost an island (another few years and it will be an island, very close to shore). Weather was gorgeous and the whole channel was silvery and swimming with light, with Exmoor and Wales clear in the distance. You can see the Black Mountains from Brean and in the other direction, the Tor.

The headland appears in Dion Fortune's THE SEA PRIESTESS and she used to do work up there - I can see why, as it's such a liminal place. There are the remains of a Romano-Celtic temple up there (don't know who it was dedicated to), and an Iron Age fort.

At the end of the headland, before it descends onto a more modern military fort, we met a herd of large white cattle with, er, large white horns. But they were very peaceful and it gave an oddly Grecian cast to the day, or as though we'd crossed over into the otherworld.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brean_Down

Otherwise, we've just been working. I'm getting on with the novel. The shop was featured in Prediction magazine this month and it's led to a lot of orders, which is great.
lizwilliams: (Default)
..has been varied but productive. I took my lodger to the airport this morning, as she is off to a birthday party in Hamburg. Apart from this, I've been writing - finished a short story and did a lot of work on a new project, which is in development hell, as they say. I've been taking a necessary break from Winterstrike, after Hebden Bridge, but have now returned to it and need to get its plot back on track.

Otherwise mowing, cooking (I went into the fishmonger in Wedmore this morning and got some sea trout and some samphire, which always makes me think of the 'dreadful trade' mentioned in KING LEAR), and other bits and pieces. Sid's ear is healing nicely but there have been many determined incursions onto my lap: Sid needs company today.

And the big deal of the day: we are going to Wells tonight to pick up a nucleus. Of bees. T has been spending the day making up frames and now the whole house smells of honeycomb. So in about an hour, my car will be full of bees. Ulp. Hope they stay put.

Domestics

Jun. 3rd, 2007 09:32 am
lizwilliams: (Default)
I haven't posted much over the last few days - we've been very busy, but it's been mainly gardening and writing and work and the usual stuff...Also lots of house guests, which means lots of cooking. We have lovely visitors over from New Zealand this week: the woman who makes our Medieval lace dresses is in town, and much of my time has been spent trying to spring said dresses from customs. I loathe bureaucracy but one has no option.

Also [livejournal.com profile] cleopand and Mr Cleopand have been down, so there has been a lot of socialising. The Druids are coming tonight and tomorrow the NZ contingent leave and the American contingent arrives. This week should see me in Tintagel and Bath.
lizwilliams: (Default)
Thanks to a friend, who had free tickets, we spent yesterday at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Read more... )

Weekending

May. 19th, 2007 03:21 pm
lizwilliams: (Default)
The end of a hectic but productive week...tidying the reading room at the shop had a predictable (geddit?) effect in that we have had a sudden rush of tarot readings. I've done 5 in the last 24 hours. Apart from that it's been a round of writing, gardening in between showers, and catching up with a few people. I have also finished my weaving class for the year and am now the possessor of an indigo-blue scarf.

Glastonbury has been crowded out with the audience for Megalithomania, a conference about ancient stones etc. Lots more stuff going on and I will report on it in due course.
lizwilliams: (Default)
1. It's pouring with rain. This is good if you have a garden which cracked in last month's unseasonally sunny weather.

Besides which, it's far more British and gives us something to grumble about.

2. Last Tuesday, my friend M came to dinner and we went for a walk in the orchard. Passing around the central tree - the oldest and hollowest - we observed that an agitated wheepling was coming from within. M and I are not tall enough to look down the hollow, but T is, just about, and says: he thinks it's owls. Probably tawny owls and I hope he's right.

3. Bloodroot, in Bridgeport CT, have sent me their 'Best of Bloodroot' cookbooks. I ordered these last week and they sent them at once. These are great cookbooks - vegetarian recipes, combined with essays - and not for the non-feminist-hearted, I might add. They're also very well produced.

T and I are not vegetarians (and thankfully free from most of the major food allergies and intolerances although brazil nuts will do their best to kill me), but we like vegetarian cooking. We seem to eat vegan about 3 nights a week these days and I like cooking it - we have a lot of friends with various food preferences and although dinner parties can get tricky, I actually enjoy the challenge.
lizwilliams: (Default)
We've been up on the Welsh Borders for a couple of days, staying with [livejournal.com profile] elen_sentier, P and cats. Drove up on Wednesday through the Wye Valley, which is beautiful at this (or indeed any) time of year: the green rushy Wye winding through its deep gorges until one comes out at Monmouth. This is a town which has a ton of history and folklore behind it, so I don't know why I felt impelled to inform T simply that 'it has a Waitrose.' Living in Glastonbury is presumably demystifying me.

ES lives in an old farm house out on the marshes near Hereford and is the only person I know who has an earth station in her back yard. "Wow," said T as we approached half a dozen huge swivelling satellite. "She must have good reception."

We had a long and leisurely dinner on Wednesday, then on Thursday admired ES' stunning biodynamic garden and went out, first to Peterchurch and lunch at a very nice restaurant (couscous and tagine for me). Peterchuch has a yew in its churchyard that is so old, one can stand inside it. We did. An old grandmother tree. ES told us stories of well guardians and early saints and then we went up to Arthur's Stone, which is a neolithic - and certainly not Arthurian - burial chamber, high on the hills overlooking Hay Bluff and the Black Mountains. Rather bizarrely, this incredibly ancient place is also home (down the road) to the Neal's Yard creamery, so we went there as well and met a curly red-blond dog, after which they name their cheese, apparently (if you order NY 'ragstone' cheese in a chichi restaurant, think of a large hairy dog. Or best not, maybe). And we bought some creme fraiche.

After this, we cut through (IIRC) Bredwardine, where in the late 19th century the Revd Kilvert wrote much of his famous diary. I was taken around all these places as a child, because my mother was a member of the Kilvert Society. When I was old enough, I read and loved his diaries and still re-read them. After this, we went to Moccas Park, which is on the way back to ES', and a lovely oak and chestnut filled deer park. Lots of geese, too. And we saw roe deer and two owls in a tree.

We got back last night, via London and T's cousin's funeral, a sad note to a lovely couple of days.
lizwilliams: (Default)
I got home last night to find our maypole celebration in full swing and about 40 people occupying the back field. Had the novel sensation of entering your own house to find a large party that you haven't actually had to organise or contribute to. I can live with this.

(The people who did organise it are here, BTW: http://www.wesociety.com/WEbSite2006/html/index.shtml)

I arrived too late for the maypole, but in time to jump over bonfires etc (a custom which originally seems to have nothing to do with fertility whatsoever - however, our cattle are now protected). There's nothing like watching several dozen assorted strangers leaping over a fire pit on your property to make you suddenly wonder about the exact status of your public liability insurance. Nothing went amiss, however. Whew.

On chatting to people, this turned out to be an international gathering: several people from Brazil, several Americans, and the Lama Kenpo Rinpoche, who did indeed show up and proved to be a pretty cool dude, relatively young, and wearing shades and a gaucho hat as well as his dark crimson Buddhist robes.

"You have horse!" said the lama.
Yes!
"Very big horse!"
Er, yes, he is.
"HUGE! I have two horses in Himalayas," said the lama, looking thoughtfully at our shire. "Very small horses! But I could ride that one, no problem," he added, with the absolute confidence of one who knows that another life awaits if the current one is abruptly curtailed in, say, an English riding accident.

Started wondering about the liability insurance again, also the possibility of being sued by the Tibetan government in exile. Explained to the lama that I had ridden Jasper, but been thrown off, with painful consequences.

"When you fall off in Himalaya," the lama said, rather dryly, "You fall VERY LONG WAY!"

He apparently enjoyed himself at this quaint old English rite, anyway, and left me with a string of prayer flags. All of which feature, I now realise, a very large horse. I suspect the Tibetans and Nepalese are like the Kazakhs with regard to horses: the whole of Central Asia is equine-obsessed.

After everyone had left, which they did like lambs at 8 p.m., T and I went to the Ashcott Inn for a late dinner and on coming back saw two little fox cubs scurrying along the verge.

Friday

May. 4th, 2007 06:49 pm
lizwilliams: (Default)
Thank you all for your kind duck thoughts. Mother Duck is nowhere to be seen today but there was a tiny pathetic pile of yellow feathers on the kitchen floor this morning. My state of mind over the last 24 hours has largely consisted of this single repeated thought: OH NO. I find it hard to blame Sid unless he can actually bilocate - he was asleep on the bed from the time we went to bed to the time we got up. However, I think the pile was only one duckling so hopefully they have gone elsewhere (if they walk far enough over the back field, they reach a river, so....)

Other than this, I have been to my weaving class and have now started weaving the indigo dyed wool that appears in one of the photo galleries. The set up is complex but not ridiculously so, and I am weaving quite quickly.

More work has gone on with the novel and generally it has been a productive day.

A footnote: the downside of having an orchard is looking after it - mowing, picking apples, transporting apples to the cider farm, etc. We keep it fairly well under control but it's difficult along with everything else. However, this is one of those things that you shouldn't really be allowed to complain about - at the moment, it is lovely, a mass of may and apple blossom. I'll try and take some pics over the weekend.

Ducks

May. 3rd, 2007 06:09 pm
lizwilliams: (Default)
This afternoon, I was writing in the orchard (the upside of having one) and saw a little procession wend its way across the grass: mother duck and about 8 babies. Aw, I thought. They went into the ditch, which normally has water in it. But then, about 20 minutes later, I caught sight of something flapping and flopping across the grass: mother duck, with our Rottweiler in close attendance. I thought dog had gone for duck, but in fact, mother duck was doing the 'I'm terribly injured, concentrate on me!' act while the babies escaped. Tara was just looking, but Duck was not to know this. I removed Tara quickly, and Duck staged a remarkable recovery, but by this time the ducklings had made their way through the hedge and onto the main road.

I ran out of the front door and found two ducklings running up the side of the road, desperate and squeaking. Lots of traffic was coming, and we are on a straight stretch before a bend. People routinely drive at 60 and 70 mph. By some miracle, the ducklings were not hit and I shooed them into the hedge, then turned to see the other 6 running about in the middle of the road. Somewhat suicidally, I halted the oncoming traffic and chased them into the hedge - the benefit of wearing long skirts, I might add. By this time, most of the drivers had realised that the demented woman in the slippers had an actual purpose and they all filed past with great care. Mother Duck raced through the front garden, into the vegetable patch, jumped onto the wall like Superheroine Duck and had the sense to fly, not run, across the road to round up her brood in the hedge. I think - I hope - they are now in the field and safe. The intensity of traffic is slowing down now that the 5 pm rush is over. None of them were hit, although I did tread on one slightly.

Vibes that they make it, eh?
lizwilliams: (Default)
Tout Glastonbury was a bit fragile this morning, after last night's gig. We had to get up early and have a meeting with the bank manager (our instigation, I might add, and positive), and since then it's been a varied day: someone has sold us a batch of Medieval dresses at a discount price and just as the dresses arrived, so did the BBC, who are filming a documentary in Glastonbury and wanted to borrow a robe. They have duly filmed T doing his 'suits you, sir' bit on their presenter and departed until tomorrow.

The presenter claimed to be nauseous (unrelated to setting foot in the shop, happily). Not what you want to hear from a man standing amid a lot of expensive frocks.

Fame at last, then. A national newspaper has also been in touch, looking for someone who has become pregnant through magical means (DON'T get started - I know what you lot are like). I am framing a suitable reply.

Meanwhile, WINTERSTRIKE has reached this point:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
22,000 / 120,000
(18.3%)

Wednesday

Apr. 25th, 2007 09:11 pm
lizwilliams: (Default)
T had a hospital check up this morning very early, but when we got there, we found that it was actually last week. Oh dear. They've re-scheduled him, and in the meantime we ran away into the woods up on the Quantock Hills, then had coffee in a pub where a particularly gruesome 18th century murder was committed by a charcoal burner, and thence to Watchet.

Watchet has a small harbour and a large statue of the Ancient Mariner, with his albatross. Coleridge apparently got the idea for his epic poem at Watchet (one shudders to think how). We were inspired only to make a possibly ill-advised (but rather cheap) purchase of an enormous, ornate Victorian sideboard in a junkshop. It will be delivered at some point over the next few days.

We also visited the musuem, which was interesting but which featured a ship's figurehead carved in a manner best described as 'rustic', with one eye much higher than the other, like an early Picasso. She originally had a long pointing arm, but this got knocked off in a collision with another vessel. Reading this, combined with the mutant eyeball, made me disgrace myself rather and I had to go outside.

Then we came home, via the farm shop to buy chainsaw oil, and have planted lots of onions. A varied day. I am about to do some writing, better late than never etc.

Burnham

Apr. 21st, 2007 10:00 pm
lizwilliams: (Default)
Came back from Gloucester this morning and spent the afternoon mowing and mucking out the stable, rather like the labours of Hercules, only with slightly less at stake. Then we decided that frivolity was in order and went to the beach, at Burnham - for those interested in such things, it's where Joseph of Arimathea was supposed to have landed, with the boy Christ. It now sports a stout 9-legged Victorian lighthouse, several miles of sandy mudflat, a very extreme tide and a rather nice Chinese buffet. Miles of silvery water, too, and the beach was deserted.

http://www.burnham-on-sea.com/

Thus was our evening spent. We came back via the local-ish pub. We have hitherto been a bit wary of professing any pagan affiliations in here, it being deepest, darkest Somerset, and this evening what should I find but flyers advertising their Beltane supper. What to do when your alternative religion goes mainstream, eh? We'll probably go to it.
lizwilliams: (Default)
I had to pay for something in the salon at the top of the High St this morning with my debit card. By the time I'd reached the bottom of the High Street, where the bank is, a small but crucial neuron had fallen out of my ear and rolled down a drain. This was the neuron that contained my debit card pin number.

The bank have blocked it, did not smirk too much, and are issuing me with another one. Meanwhile, in the butcher's, the neuron grew back, too late to re-use my card.

Sigh. It's called age.

Back on board the good ship Home, I discovered that Capt Jones had failed to batten the hatches with sufficient efficiency and the crew had broken into the galley, dismantling crucial rations (some beans and an eggplant - but inexplicably ignoring the pancetta).

Floggings have been issued with a rolled-up copy of Vogue, and the crew confined to their quarters, apart from Cabin Boy Sidney, who as he is a cat, can't remember what happened 5 minutes ago, and does not respond to punishment.

Sunday

Apr. 16th, 2007 09:42 am
lizwilliams: (Default)
For those who visited on Saturday, the 'sitting under a tree with book' thing did, in fact, happen. I had a very chilled-out day making banana bread and writing up our various oils and incenses recipes, aided by Sid, who kept shoving all the reference books off the garden seat and then bit me, quite hard, in the arm. So, that would be insufficient attention paid to his Royal Darkness, then?

In the evening, I went up to a druidic gathering and discovered on the way back that something has gone amiss with the lights on the Jeep: they now illuminate the lower branches of trees, which would be great if the Jeep had a cruising altitude of about 30 feet up.

Saturday

Apr. 15th, 2007 09:42 am
lizwilliams: (Default)
A lovely day - the hottest weather we've had this year. I met [livejournal.com profile] maeve_the_red and [livejournal.com profile] la_marquise_de and their respective other halves in town, went in search of scrumpy and a cream tea, with partial success, and then walked round the Chalice Well. It's looking beautiful at this time of year, full of fiery tulips.

After this, we came back to the ranch, cooked, admired Sid up a tree (photos may follow), ate dinner outside and then watched DR WHO. Spoilers ahoy.

Read more... )

Big thank you to [livejournal.com profile] maeve_the_red for last week's ep. I shall probably watch this today.
lizwilliams: (Default)
It's like hearing the first cuckoo - the first tourist who walks in through the door of the shop and remarks, "Do you sell the Nimbus 2000?" Well, we've never heard THAT one before!

A sure sign of spring.

We don't go much for jokey plaques, etc, but we do have one that reads "A lovely lady and a grumpy old git live here.' I'd have put it outside our own front door, but Trevor objected to being described as a lady.

*Every woman* who comes into the shop comments favourably on it. I don't even have to raise my head to see what they're looking at any more.

In more serious news, I have finished the line edit on PRECIOUS DRAGON - happily, as an express train deadline rushes towards us. I'm about half way through the short story that will accompany the limited edition. Also, sitting in the dealers' room yesterday and idling about with stories, I suddenly had an idea for the ending of a stalled story and set about finishing it. So, in between accounts and Milford and shop and waiting for proposals, I'm going to try and get some short fiction done this week.
lizwilliams: (Default)
Insanely busy. We have Eastercon coming up, both in the writer and the dealer capacity, and I am trying to organise Milford, the shop, the accounts and a whole lot else, all at once. It's getting done, though.

At the moment I am in the shop. Someone has just delivered some new Books of Shadows - leather bound, embossed, with marbled end papers and rough-edged parchment pages. They'll retail for over £100 but they're worth it.

The radio show last night was not a glitch-free zone due to the new streamers and the old PC, but it wasn't too bad. Sid contributed by wailing loudly in the middle, something he does not normally do. Clearly, the cat likes an audience! There's a shock.
lizwilliams: (Default)
Woke up. Took laundry downstairs. Scraped knuckles open on picture frame. Grilled hot cross bun. Cut finger open on bread knife. Burned bun. Discovered, too late, that dog has removed half a dozen chocolate-dipped strawberries from box and sucked all the chocolate from them, leaving 6 wan little damp strawberries strewn about the hall.

Consider suicide. Decide it is too much effort.

Consider that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. Consider whether I really care.

(But also, find crucial receipt for university pay claim on first pass, open shop on time, have mint tea. Life not bad).
lizwilliams: (Default)
We did the talk on Ostara, which was well received - I'll summarise some main points later and post them under a cut.

After this, we grabbed some dinner with friends and then went to the launch, and the concert by Gordon Giltrap. This was excellent. I'm not a huge fan of acoustic guitar (and nothing else) but Giltrap played a very varied set, including something inspired by John Dowland (though I'm not sure about the alleged quote that Dowland had spent 60 years playing the lute, 40 of which consisted of tuning it).

GG was also very funny ('Right, the interval lasts for 20 minutes. I'll be in the dressing room taking drugs. [pause] Some Vick's expectorant, and a Fisherman's Friend.')

In the interval, T said to Gordon 'I'm never going to pick up the guitar again.'

'Yeah, they all say that,' Gordon replied. 'But they never mean it.'

I am not a guitar geek, as stated, but there were an awful lot of 50+ men after the concert muttering 'Bastard! How does he do it?'

If anyone is interested, the concert was recorded, and you can hear it here: (NOT work safe as it will play music when you click on the site!)

http://glastonburyradio.co.uk/modules/news2/

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