smallhobbit: (penguin)
My last day!  I can hardly believe that I actually managed to write something vaguely about me for thirty days.  Even more unbelievable is the fact that people read and commented.  I've never blogged before, so it was a completely new challenge and one which, surprisingly, I enjoyed.  It's been good to put into words thoughts that have been vaguely floating round in the soup that passes for a brain in my head.

And before you all give a concerted sigh of relief - I'm going to carry on.  Not every day, because finding something to write about would soon prove very difficult, but I'm aiming for five times a fortnight.

I've enjoyed reading other people's entries over the last month and am very grateful to Drayce and Snail for getting me into this blogging lark.  I'm not sure it will affect how much I write - my blog entry gets written when I get home (after checking emails etc etc) and fic writing tends to get done later at night, when it's quiet.  But the discipline of writing something every day is one I do hope to continue with.

So, thank you for reading, and if there's still something you would like to know, ask and I'll answer it one day.
smallhobbit: (penguin)
I was born in London; my birth certificate states my place of birth as being the City of Westminster.  I was born in Charing Cross Hospital, before it moved to Fulham.  The hospital is famous in Sherlock Holmes terms both as being the hospital that Dr Mortimer, of Hound of the Baskervilles fame, had worked at and as the hospital Holmes was taken to after he was attacked in The Illustrious Client.

My maternal grandfather was a Cockney, born within the sound of the Bow bells, but you would never have known it from his accent, for he was a respectable headmaster.  At the time of my birth my parents lived in a flat in Soho; at one point my grandfather, on his way to their flat to meet the plumber, my mother being at work, was accosted by one of the 'ladies' from the area.  He was quite affronted.  My mother used to wheel me in my pram around the area, where the nice ladies would make admiring noises.  I however ignored them, preferring to smile instead at the American GIs who helped my mother get the pram onto the pavement.

A year later we moved to north London, to a flat with a garden and then a further six years along, we moved to Basingstoke when my father's company moved out there, as what was known as London overspill.

I returned to London after university, living first in a basement flat on Walpole Street, which runs off the Kings Road and then once we were married on a flat on the fifth floor of a house in Cheyne Place, with views of the Thames.  It was a great time for getting to plays, concerts and such like, but like many people we had to make the decision as to whether to move to the outskirts and spend hours travelling each day or move outside London altogether and we moved out.

I have a love/hate relationship with the city now.  I enjoy the concerts, plays and museums, walking along the Embankment in the evening.  At times I envy those who live there and have the facilities easily available.  I don't like the crowds and the tourists, and I hate arriving at Paddington Station, descending to the tube station and having to battle my way through the hordes in the concourse.  Would I want to live there?  No, not any more.
smallhobbit: (penguin)
We went to listen to OH's singing teacher doing a recital this morning.  It's not the sort of thing that I'd instantly decide I had to go to (see yesterday's post), nor is it high on my 'I'm glad you suggested going to that' list, but OH was going so I was happy to go too.  It was an enjoyable recital - he's a good singer, a counter-tenor.  Not as good as Andreas Scholl, who is on my list to hear live one day, but the tickets were definitely cheaper.  Having said that I've just discovered that Scholl is performing in Birmingham next January; possible Christmas present for OH?

I've heard a couple of tenors sing live - Joseph Callejo in the Royal Festival Hall in January and Andrea Boccelli at the NEC last November.  Boccelli was amazing - tickets were massively expensive, but for a one-off it was an experience I was so glad to have.

But this wasn't going to be a post about singers, but about songs.  OH is a tenor and has been singing in choirs that perform traditional choral music.  We have an agreement - unless I really enjoy the particular piece(s) of music I don't go to their concerts.  I like Verdi's Requiem - because, yes, it's loud.  He likes a lot of early music, which really isn't my sort of thing.  At this morning's recital I enjoyed the two Italian songs, the Schubert was alright (very German) and there was a lot of Britten.  It's the centenary of his birth - and I don't like Britten.  The more I hear, the less I like (apart from The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra).

Anyway the Gloucester Choral Society are performing the Britten War Requiem in November.  And OH isn't, because he's singing with the Cotswold Savoyards who are doing a musical called "Jekyll and Hyde".  I think I shall enjoy that much more.
smallhobbit: (penguin)
Laurence Fox is going to be in Strangers on a Train; Jude Law is in Henry V.  I want to see both, despite the hugely expensive tickets.  I have one day's annual leave yet to book, so a Wednesday in early December would be possible for a matinée - both plays are on in London.  I'm also coming up to London in November to see a play on a Saturday evening and have booked a train for the morning, therefore leaving the afternoon free, so another possibility.  But Henry V doesn't start until right at the end of November and I'm not really sure that I want to see two plays in one day anyway.

So that leaves Saturday matinées in December - there are only so many train trips to London in a short space of time that I can do and remain even vaguely sane.  Or January/February.

And I still haven't decided what to do on my birthday.  I have the day off work and I was thinking of going up to London (again) to see a play, but I might just save the train fare and ticket price until I can go to something I really want to see.  I could probably get a cheap theatre ticket for something, but there'd still be the train price and the aggro that comes nearly every time I travel by FGW.  Plus needing to get home in time to get on my broomstick.
smallhobbit: (penguin)
It was Games Night tonight. 14 Brownies and 2 leaders.  But, despite still having smaller numbers, the girls really enjoyed themselves.  Of course, if you're playing a game which reduces the number who can take part, the last one being 'out' each time, then fewer players means less time sitting out.

So we played Pink Knickers, Port and Starboard and Fishes (this week there were no pilchards, we had herring, prawns and kippers) and then in between active games there was a paper and pencil game.  In their sixes they had to find a word relevant to brownies for each letter of the alphabet.  It meant thinking outside the box and that was obviously hard.  Some sixes did better than others.  One of the girls from the winning six thought there should be a prize for them - no, we major on the taking part bit of the game.

They were all stumped by a number of letters, although Q was easy, as there were quizzes and queen's diamond jubilee.  We ourselves were stumped with X, but in the past year we had done Yoga and Zumba so there were lots of possibilities.

And since I'd had a day that included showing a decorator round so he could quote for some work, booking a service for an Aga, speaking to a removals firm, providing details of the comparative running costs of our vehicles, and trying to speak to a debt collection agency (8 minutes of "your call is important to us" leading to a snotty email) it was good to do something totally different.  And seeing girls who, when they started wouldn't even join in with games, grinning broadly as they take part has to be a plus.
smallhobbit: (Richard II)
I went to one of the Gloucester History Week talks this evening, on Richard III.  I've read quite a lot about Richard over the year, so I thought it would be interesting to hear a talk which spoke about Richard's visit to Gloucester the year he took the throne.  It wasn't.

I've been to talks in the past where I've not known much about the subject, but the speaker's enthusiasm has carried me along and left me wanting to know more (at least until the next shiny thing turns up).  This was a talk on a subject I was very interested in, but at one point I was trying to work out how I could make a dignified (or otherwise) exit.  The speaker read his speech.  There was no humour, apart from two small jokelets, which received polite laughter from the middle class over 60s who were present.  It was an academic talk, citing sources and charters, but not appropriate to the local audience.

The highlight was the unveiling of the sword Richard might have presented to the city.  Except the blade dated from the 1600s, so only the pommel could have been authentic.

There was one question, perhaps predictably on whether Richard could be reburied in Gloucester.  No-one else was inclined to ask anything.

On the plus side, having watched "The White Queen", when mention of Thomas Stanley and Margaret Beaufort was made, I instantly visualised Rupert Graves and Amanda Hale.  And most of the time I thought of Richard of Gloucester as looking like Aneurin Barnard, so at least I had pretties in my head.

And yes, my icon is Richard II, it's the closest thing I've got.  Maybe I'll hunt for another to improve the day.
smallhobbit: (penguin)
How many hippos can you get in a mini?
Two in the front, two in the back.
How many giraffes can you get in a mini?
None, it's full of hippos.
How do you get two whales in a mini?
Straight down the M4 and across the Severn Bridge.

This, of course, works better as a verbal joke.  [ profile] scfrankles asked yesterday about the comedy I like.  So today's brief ramble will be on that subject.  If you've read yesterday's entry, you'll know I like Morecambe & Wise.  Some of their lines still make me smile; Eric, hearing a police car racing past the house, "He won't sell many ice creams at that speed."  I saw the musical Top Hat this summer and one of the routines reminded me very clearly of Morecambe & Wise and Glenda Jackson.

I like classic comedies, like Dad's Army.  I don't like comedies where the laughs come because one character consistently makes fun and puts down another.  Which could be said about Dad's Army, but whatever happens in this way within the platoon, as soon as an outsider dares to say or do something everyone rallies round.  The characters aren't one dimensional - they all have their foibles, but they all have their strengths.

I like humour within serious plays.  Shakespeare, when well done, has masses of it.  It provides relief and contrast and it reflects life.  I have a quirky sense of humour and I will often use humour to break the tension in a situation.

I like verbal sparring, when it doesn't take itself over seriously.  I don't think swearing is funny, and if that's what a programme/comedian relies on then they quickly lose me.

If you want to see what else amuses me, then the following post began with the ACD Holmes story of The Red Circle.  It's currently heading through the Suez Canal en route for the Indian Ocean.  There was a rat ...

And I did once stick Inspector Greg Lestrade in a giraffe onesie, but I blame [ profile] eloquy for that.  Surprisingly effective
smallhobbit: (penguin)
It's not as wet as yesterday, but otherwise I can't say things have improved greatly.  Work was frustrating - boss in a bad mood and I spent the afternoon looking for internet providers and locksmiths and there's only so many times I can listen to Moon River before I go mad.  And wouldn't it be nice if people who say they will phone you back actually did so.

So back to Drayce's list of suitable topics.  I can eliminate comics as I haven't read any for years - last one was the Beano.  And equally books: I'm not reading that many at the moment anyway, but I can never recall having favourite books in the past in the sense of ones I would read again and again.  Probably because I read as much non-fiction as fiction, so it tends to be the subject rather than the book itself that appeals.  English Civil War anyone?

So, music.  I like my music loud, on the whole.  I sit at the front in classical concerts so I can be deafened by the percussion and the brass.  Inevitably music favourites vary over time and mood, but currently riding high in my top ten are Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto (The Emperor).  Add to that Prokofiev's ballet music for Romeo & Juliet, Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Beethoven's 5th, 6th and 9th Symphonies and his Moonlight Sonata.

I also like singing along to Queen, Billy Joel and Simon & Garfunkel.  Except my singing is on a par with Eric Morecambe's piano playing - all the right notes, not necessarily in the right order.
smallhobbit: (penguin)
It's been raining and grey nearly all of today.  Not just the odd shower, but constant rain - sometimes just drizzle, sometimes heavy but never really stopping.  Summer has ended and it feels as if the grey clouds above are sitting on my shoulders.

I'm normally a fairly bouyant person, but today is getting to me.  I could be all British and blame it on the weather, and whilst I'm sure it has a part I don't think it's the whole reason.  It's ironic to be mourning the end of summer when autumn is my favourite season, but to me autumn is a time of new possibilities - activities that have been in abeyance start up again; we go on holiday in less than a month.

I could blame it on having to go clothes shopping today because I needed new work clothes.  But still, two pairs of black trousers from M&S Outlet shop can't be bad.  There's no point going all posh when I have to reach into cupboards to investigate leaking taps.

I think part of it is because there are things I'm supposed to be doing and which rely on other people doing their bit.  And they haven't.  Which means that I've got to sort it out.  Which makes me wonder if I want to do these things sufficiently to do the sorting out - one of them I'm not sure about - if I don't I'm the only one who misses out, which is okay.  The other one is the one that's got to me and I need to take a step back, because at the moment I can't do anything.  And if, in the next week or so, I make a point of how dissatisfied I am with the situation then I need to be prepared to say how committed I can be.

Right, rambling to you lot has helped clear my brain, so I'm off to eat chocolate cake and drink wine.  Until tomorrow.
smallhobbit: (penguin)
Our third trip to Stratford-upon-Avon in four weeks.  Despite its reputation I enjoyed seeing Titus Andronicus.  Yes, there was plenty of blood and gore, but it didn't really bother me.  I suppose because it's obvious that the actor hasn't just been killed horribly.  At least they were there alive for the curtain call.  Which can't really be called a curtain call since it's a thrust stage and therefore there are no curtains.  That was one of the things I enjoyed - the performance made good use of the opportunity to use different levels, so that the action wasn't just on the stage, but in the gallery above, very effective.

And just for something different, while we were at the theatre I booked our tickets to see Wendy & Peter Pan on December 23rd.  This is our Christmas present to ourselves.  Last year we went to the pantomime at the Bristol Hippodrome, but I think I shall enjoy this more.

But before that I shall be back in Stratford at the beginning of November, when I'm seeing Richard II with a group of friends.  David Tennant is taking the role of Richard and I shall be interested to see how he approaches it.  I saw John Heffernan in the role a few years ago; he was really good and I wonder how David Tennant will compare - I think my fear is that his performance will be similar to other times I've seen him and it becomes DT playing Richard II.

Incidentally, Ben Whishaw played Richard II in the BBC Hollow Crown series.  And I'm seeing him, with different friends in Mojo, also in November.
smallhobbit: (Lewis Hathaway)
So I signed up to the [ profile] smallfandomfest Big Bang.  Which means I have to write 10,000 words of Lewis fic.  To some of those reading this would be a piece of cake.  To me this is still going to be a major achievement, as it will be the second longest fic I've written, and although I'm writing 7,000 words at times now that's still almost half as much again.

And I haven't a clue what to write.  Okay, yes, I shall go for casefic.  There will be Lewis and Hathaway buddy cop action.  There will probably be some Lewis and Hobson happy to be together, but not necessarily specific.  Innocent will glare, Hathaway will snark, Lewis will triumph over the baddies.  But I have no plot.  I have no interesting little side scenes.  I have nothing.  I have a vague idea that either Lewis or Hathaway will be away for a few days at the start and there will be a telephone conversation, but where he, whichever he is is, will be and what they talk about remains a mystery.

So if anyone has any suggestions, please leave them in the comments.  I do not promise to use all of them, I do not promise to use any of them, but you never know.  And I'm happy to consider bizarre suggestions; in the past I have included both the Synod of Whitby and Przelwaski's Horse in a fic, although not at the same time.
smallhobbit: (screech owl)
Thursday afternoons during term-time I leave work promptly at 4pm  Every knows I have to leave, because Thursday evenings is Brownies.

We started back this week - a week after the schools go back, to give everyone time to get organised.  At the end of last term we had 26 girls, this week we had 13, which felt slightly strange.  We always lose a number at the end of the year, and with a three year age range it's only to be expected that there were 8 who were too old, some will go onto Guides, others will need more time to devote to their other, frequently sporting, activities.  One, from a forces family, has moved.  And a few more will probably be back next week.  We're not particularly bothered, our numbers have dropped before and bounced back.

There are advantages in having a smaller number.  Tonight we did some work on Stranger Danger and because there were less girls, not only did everyone have a chance to say things, but also the shyer ones didn't feel quite as nervous about speaking out - it's not always easy when you are a small 7 year old to talk in front of a very confident almost 10.

And then we had time for some games.  Games are very popular and its nice to see the reluctant ones steadily gain in confidence and join in with the others.  We played the "colour game" - in which I tell a story and the Brownie from each six representing whichever colour I mention has to run to the front and back.  There's no score and no-one ever cares about it.  Then it was "pink knickers" - the most shouted for game every week - and finally "fish" where each girl was either cod, haddock or pilchard.  And where, as I said to Brown Owl, I said something I'd never ever expected to say "No, you're a pilchard".

Next week is Games Night and I'm in charge!
smallhobbit: (penguin)
First things first: [ profile] flawedamythyst has written a John/Sherlock plumber AU based in a coffee shop, which is hilarious and proves that I was quite right when I said that you can get away with almost anything if you make me laugh.  Read it here.

I had thought of writing about work, but despite my best attempts there's nothing really interesting to say.  I'm back battling the beastly budgets, relieved only by the necessity of collecting an over heating vacuum cleaner and finding an egg for biscuit making.

So, favourite films.  I much prefer theatre to films, but I'll try for three.  My all time favourite film is "Casablanca".  The plot, the suspense, the relationships, it all comes together so well.  I tear up every time the "Marseillaise" is sung.  Despite the number of times I've seen it I always sit there at the end wondering how it will work out.  So many classic lines.

Secondly, I shall go for "Dumbo".  After all, who can resist "Pink Elephants on Parade".  And singing along to "When I see an elephant fly".

Lastly, I shall choose "Gosford Park".  Lots of great actors, an interesting plot, not a great film maybe, but one that appeals to me.  Charles Dance and Maggie Smith for starters.
smallhobbit: (penguin)
Amidst the excellent topics that Drayce suggested for me to occupy this month was the tropes you like/tropes you hate.  I was thinking a bit about that this morning and haven't got a definitive answer, but since it's enough for me to ramble a bit, here goes.

Generally I'm not a fan of AUs.  There are some writers who I will read even if they write AUs, in fact there are some writers I will read even if I know nothing about the fandom, I'm looking at you Imp.  And Drayce, whose PoI fics dragged me into watching the programmes.  But I digress.  The trouble with AUs is that I like my characters because of who they are.  And who they are in large part is a product of what they have done in the past and what they are doing in the present.  Which means that if they are in high school, or running a coffee shop, or working as plumbers, then they're unlikely to be the same people.  There's also highly likely to be distinct American strands running through the story, except possibly for the plumbers.  So generally I'm likely to swerve away from such fics.

I like some kidfic.  After all, the Unexpected Family is kidfic.  But it depends on the kids.  You know, there may be a reason why both mine moved out as soon as they could.  I suppose, as with many fics, the ones that I dislike are those where I feel the writer has thought I'd like to write this sort of story and forced their favourite characters into it.  Probably judgemental, but this is my blog, so I shall express my own thoughts.

And, as I've mentioned before, another dislike is the fics where the characters have just decided that they love each other and promptly have mad passionate sex.  Or the ones with the healing cock, where character A has been hurt (physically or emotionally) but is instantly made better by having the afore-mentioned mad passionate sex with character B.  Now, I may be alone in thinking this, but sex doesn't cure everything.  In fact there are times when sex will make things worse.

I quite like werewolves, although that may be because the only werewolf fics I've read were well written.  And I like pets, possibly most of the fics that feature them tend to be humourous and I do appreciate good humour.  Too many fics take themselves too seriously.  And I suspect that sums up something I really do like - if you can make me laugh you are well on the way to making me enjoy your plumber AU in which fitting new toilets in a coffee shop gives rise to all sorts of opportunities.
smallhobbit: (penguin)
Kestrel337 asked about my perfect day in my least favourite season.  I've thought long and hard on this and come up with a partial answer.  The easy part was identifying my least favourite season, which is winter.  (My favourite is autumn, followed probably by summer and then spring, although deciding between those two is quite hard).

But I found it difficult to think of a perfect day in winter.  I don't care for cold and wet and snow is fine for about 10 minutes, after which I will have built my snowman and become the afore-mentioned cold and wet.  So instead here are two brief scenes.

The first scene is set at Christmas, but not the Dickensian giant family party with masses of food and bonhomie.  For me it's last thing on Christmas Eve: everyone else has gone to bed and I will switch the lights out, leaving just the lights on the Christmas tree.  Underneath the tree are all the unopened presents, which in years gone by would have included stockings.  (When very small my son saw a Christmas card with the stockings hanging from the mantlepiece - he insisted that was what we should do and the tradition remained.  And strangely enough the children never got up really early, in fact there were years when I was the first one up.)  And I will stand and enjoy the peace and stillness.

The second scene could be any time from the end of December through January.  On a miserable day I've gone to a matinée performance at a theatre.  As you will have gathered I love going to the theatre at any time, but there is a special feeling during those winter days when there is a sense that they will last for ever and nothing exciting happens.  To spend an afternoon being taken out of myself, conveyed wherever the performance takes me and then to head outside afterwards to find that it's already dark, but to still be carrying a little of the magic inside me is very special.
smallhobbit: (penguin)
A couple of days ago I wrote about my son, so, in the interests of fairness (and believe me I've had quite enough "you favour him/her", although since the comments were evenly balanced I don't think I did, either way) I'm now writing about my daughter.

Entering year 11 she knew that she didn't want to do A-levels, so we looked around at more vocational courses and she settled on a National Diploma in Outdoor Education, a course that would involve theory, land based activities and water based activities, like kayaking/canoeing/sailing.  She was accepted at Hartpury College (originally an agricultural college, but which like many had broadened its courses) and therefore spent her evenings that year helping at Brownies, Guides, and Beavers and going to her Explorer Scout Unit, rather than doing much study.  She had also been selected to join one of the units that were going to the Centenary World Scout Jamboree, so several weekends were spent in preparation.

Many of her teachers were surprised that she wasn't planning on doing A-levels, but we knew that she would do better in a different atmosphere.  One of the teachers clearly knew here better though; when asked what grades she needed I told him and he said that that was exactly what she would get.  Which really summed her up: perfectly capable, but would only do what was necessary.

She spent two years living at college, coming home at weekends and enjoying the freedom.  One of the advantages for her of doing the course was that whilst most students who take the National Diploma do so because they can't manage A-levels, in my daughter the tutors had someone who was capable of getting high marks with a bit of encouragement, which they gave her.  She passed her Diploma with three Distinctions, the highest level she could achieve.

She originally wanted to become a paramedic but was unable to get a place at uni and so had a year out, struggling to find work at first, but then getting a part-time retail job and finally working for PGL the leading provider of children's activity holidays in UK and therefore using her diploma course.  By this time she had also decided to apply to university to train as a child nurse, an interest that she had had for several years.

She is now approaching the end of her third year at Coventry University, where she has done very well at her placements, less well at the theory and essays (no change there then).  She has a job to go to at Coventry Hospital when she finishes her training.  This past year, as well as her studies and placements, she has been working as a Health Care Assistant in Warwick Hospital, taking bank shifts, most of which have been in the Accident & Emergency Dept.  Like her brother, she is prepared to work hard.

And this November we go to Coventry Cathedral to see her graduate.  Yes, I am a very proud mother.
smallhobbit: (penguin)
We went up to Stratford-upon-Avon again today, this time to see Candide, a new play by the RSC writing in residence Mark Ravenhill, inspired by the book of the same name by Voltaire.  This time we were in the Swan Theatre, rather than the main RSC Theatre.  The Swan is smaller, more intimate and in a sense more like an old theatre with the design of the balconies.  It also has bench seats rather than individual seats.  Like the RST is a thrust stage and we were on the side in the second row, so close to the action.

It was an interesting play, and I think it will take a while to properly absorb all that happened.  The play begins in the time that the original book was set, but then moves up to date, back into Voltaire's time and the final act is set about 10 years in the future.  It was an interesting concept, which I'm sure would bear further thought, I'm just not sure I'm going to give it though.

The costuming helps a great deal.  The first act is set as a play written from Candide's journal and performed to Candide to bring him out of the depression he has fallen into.  All the "actors" in the "play" are dressed in costumes made from the same blue and white patterned material which pulls the action together extremely well.

My favourite part of the play: when Candide leaves El Dorada on a sheep powered by children's balloons.  I was very glad I wasn't Candide being winched all the way to the theatre ceiling; he may have had a harness on, but it was an awfully long way up.

We go to Stratford again next Saturday, when we shall see the same company.
smallhobbit: (penguin)
Although in fact he is now a Coach Driver.

One of the things I'm very proud of is my family.  So today I shall tell you about my son, J.

J dropped out of sixth form, aged 17, because he really wasn't coping with A-levels.  We talked about it and said we had no problem, but he wasn't to spend the time slobbing around, he had to get a job.  He was already working part-time at a local farm, and they took him on full-time.  He worked hard, working with the dairy herd, generally working on the land (never send two colour blind people out together to fertilise a field - they used weed-killer), driving tractors, getting up early or coming home late.  From there he got a job with a local horticultural supplier and delivered soil, gravel etc.  And then he spent the following summer working for a farm contractor, going from farm to farm harvesting etc, driving even larger tractors and other similar machinery.

This was a seasonal job, so when that finished he was unemployed.  He went back to the farm part-time, did some work labouring for a mate.  And then he saw an advert by the local bus company for people to train as bus drivers.  He was 19 and applied, partly because it was something even bigger to drive.  They trained him and he passed first time, so at the age of 19 he was driving the equivalent of the London red bus.  Equivalent because Stagecoach has different colours (Drayce, he was based in Stroud).  ).  In case anyone thinks he was too young to get his PSV licence, he was okay because he was working for a local company and the rules said that he couldn't go further than 35 miles away.  Driving a regular bus service he wasn't likely to be going to far, and if one or two of the journeys were slightly further it's difficult measuring distances in rural Gloucestershire.

He worked there for two years and then approached a local coach company to see if they would employ him.  They agreed, so at 21 he moved on.  He started driving the school runs, and then taking groups on day trips (gardening clubs to distance garden centres when on the return the tall plants that have been bought have to travel in the toilet) and school trips (Teacher "Are you old enough to drive this?").  This was followed by UK tours and then European tours.  It cost the company more for the insurance because he was under 25, but off he went.  Every year he takes groups on skiing tours to Austria and Switzerland, he has been to several other European countries and he has an extensive knowledge of the best cake shops in Europe.

He has been married for 16 months - his wife is a staff nurse and they moved into their own home last December.  He's now Operations Manager for the company and is currently studying for his coach operators qualification.
Coach and driver )
smallhobbit: (penguin)
Today I had a post-audit meeting with the accountant, a management meeting and a finance meeting to discuss what we are going to do with the issues raised by the first meeting.  Consequently my brain is fried and I have done no work.

Which meant that I looked back through the questions I was asked on Day 4 to find another topic to write about, and finally selected another one of Drayce's questions.  Incidentally, if anyone else has something they would like me to ramble on, do please ask; I still have 60% of this meme to complete (did I mention I've been in finance meetings most of the day?)

Not that my writing process is very exciting: I start at the beginning, work my way to the end and then stop.  I may go back and change wording, or, if I realise that there's a problem with the plot I'll make adjustments, but essentially my first words will be at the start of the story and I will write on through.  If I'm stuck at any point I will pause until the wording comes, or I've sorted the next bit of the action in my head.  I cannot skip forward and write a later section and then return to fill in the gap.

That's not to say that I don't have future sections in my head, but they will not be committed to word doc/paper.  I can have the next scene clearly in my mind, but if I can't work out how to get my characters to that scene then they will not be moving.

I visualise everything, not necessarily a blow by blow account, but in the same way that I watch a television programme, I can see my protagonists moving around.  Which means that if I write in a comment on someone's work that I can see something happening I mean exactly that - in my head I can see the events.  I am a very visual learner.  You can explain something to me verbally, but unless you give me the time to visualise it, you will be wasting your breathe.

I have a half hour drive to work every day, so I do a lot of plotting whilst on the journey.  We have an exercise bike and I've found that's excellent for untangling knotty plot problems whilst cycling along - and there's no risk of falling off or getting rained on.  Sometimes if I wake in the night I'll bash ideas around, but that's more for getting possibilities for what happens next, rather than specific plot points.  And of course there are occasions when the characters have their own opinions - I still remember one of mine suddenly deciding he was hungry and sticking a baked potato in the microwave.

I am assuming that this was the sort of thing Drayce was expecting.  Alternatively, I write directly onto word doc - I have RSA Stage 1 Typewriting and can touch type, an achievement which has proved so much more useful than I imagined when I went to evening classes at Hammersmith College.  When I'm on a train (and I nearly always do write when I'm on a train - either that or fall asleep) I write in pencil in a notebook.  The disadvantage is then having to type it up, when my handwriting has been rendered more illegible than usual by train bumps.
smallhobbit: (Lestrade John words)
Following yesterday's post, Drayce asked why slash?  My immediate answer would be "'cos I like it", but that didn't seem sufficient, so I've thought a bit more and had various vague and probably unconnected thoughts.  And Drayce, if you think I'm echoing your post the other day, it's not deliberate.

I like the idea of two people, who are good friends, having a sexual relationship as well.  It's not compulsory in my writing, sometimes I'm quite happy for people to remain friends without the need for anything more than a hug and quite a lot of my fics remain like that.  Often the relationship could progress, but my reason for writing that particular fic doesn't require it to.  Equally, in some of my fics the characters may be in a relationship but that's not why I'm writing; in the same way that I'm married, but if I was writing about something we were doing I wouldn't talk about sex because it's not relevant to that particular activity.

But there are times when there is a sexual relationship and yes, generally it is slash.  When I look at why this is the case, I come to the conclusion that when I choose my two main protagonists they are both male.  That's partly because of the fandoms I'm in, where the majority of characters are male.  The only fandom that's any different is Lewis, where I like Lewis/Hathaway, but I also like the canon Lewis/Hobson pairing.  And I think that is the clue to me as to why I generally choose slash.  Laura Hobson is a character in her own right, who isn't defined purely by her relationship with men.

So for me the important first thing is the relationship, which grows into something more.  If I'm writing I need my characters to have depth as individuals as well as in a partnership.  I like it when they get together, because in my writing I generally prefer them to end happily.  I'm struggling to articulate quite what it is that means I choose slash, but I think that it's just because I have two male characters who I want to put together.

It's also, I realise, because I find it much easier to write male characters.  That is a whole new kettle of worms.


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