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Abbenay flora and fauna

I now have a back garden which means I now have a super deluxe bird feeder installed, which means I now have a garden bird list. The closest I had to a garden bird list before was 'things that have perched on the roof opposite' which consisted of feral pigeon, two flavours of gull, a daring blackbird, a pied wagtail and swifts (which don't perch but did nest).

The Abbenay garden list currently consists of:

House sparrow
Blue tit
Great tit
Carrion crow
Starling - a trio of which just discovered the feeder and are going to eat me out of house and home at this rate
Wood pigeon (currently stationed under the feeder in case anyone drops food on its head)

I have also seen real proper bees on my lavender, which is the only plant I've actually bought and is still in a pot. As for the native flora, who knows. There's, er, grass, and other grass, and dandelions, daisies, bluebells and buttercups, and a sycamore tree, and an ash sapling I must root up, and nettles I must stamp on and a variety of bushy things which are bushy things of some kind and some yellow type poppies and some pink stuff that may or may not be campion cos I don't know I don't do flowers.

If you want to come visit and look at birds and help me identify and/or destroy plants let me know :-)

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/632574.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

Clothes for sale

I'm clearing out a bit ready to move so here are a few clothes that are a bit too good to give to charity :-) All prices include postage. I am open to offers on price especially for multiple items.
clothes size 14-30Collapse )
Phase One, or Zero and One was getting my flat ready to sell and selling it. That has involved a lot of tidying and hiding things and making nice to complete strangers until I was climbing the walls, but it is, crossing every available digit and touching wood, done. The system in Scotland isn't completely watertight, but it is pretty secure and certainly better than England so it's going to be costly for my buyers to back out. That means that I kind of have to move on 29th May. But that is OK because...

Phase Two was looking for and at flats and finding one that worked and offering on it and being accepted. Again the chance that the seller could get out of it isn't zero, but it's close to secure, and they've agreed to my moving date. They also agreed to have the damp proof work that needs doing done so that I don't have to be in a flat with plaster being removed, which is win.

My buyer is a cash buyer with no chain. My seller is moving in to a relative's spare flat for a bit while looking for somewhere else. This is great as it means the only person who has to buy and sell and move on the same day is me. This is still going to be hard but not like impossible. Phew.

And also argh, cos NOW I have to start making lists for Phase Three - moving the rabbit and all the things to the new flat and getting services connected and making sure I've told everyone I need to the address and so on. And I also need to think of what to call it which is Very Important.

There will also be a Phase Four - making new flat lovely and adding double glazing and/or gas heating to it, but I'll deal with that later.

Onward and Downward!

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/631738.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

Jewellery for sale Part 4

Once again I need to make some money for Reasons, so here are a few of the bits of jewellery I have for sale. I can also adjust these and make other things if you want something else or a change to one of these things do ask. More posts will be going up with different kinds of stuff. So far earrings are here,  pendants are here and necklaces are here.  Ask if you want anything and I can jump it up the queue :-)
Postage will be charged at cost or is free on purchases over £15.
BraceletsCollapse )
BroochesCollapse )


Jewellery for sale part 3

Once again I need to make some money for Reasons, so here are a few of the bits of jewellery I have for sale. I can also adjust these and make other things if you want something else or a change to one of these things do ask. More posts will be going up with different kinds of stuff. So far earrings are here and pendants are here.  Ask if you want anything and I can jump it up the queue :-)

NecklacesCollapse )


Jewellery for sale part 2

Once again I need to make some money for Reasons, so here are a few of the bits of jewellery I have for sale. I can also adjust these and make other things if you want something else or a change to one of these things do ask. More posts will be going up with different kinds of stuff. So far earrings are here.  Ask if you want anything and I can jump it up the queue :-)

PendantsCollapse )


Jewellery for sale

Once again I need to make some money for Reasons, so here are a few of the bits of jewellery I have for sale. I can also adjust these and make other things if you want something else or a change to one of these things do ask. More posts will be going up with different kinds of stuff. Ask if you want anything and I can jump it up the queue :-)
EarringsCollapse )


So of the list I posted on the 1st I have done...

  • Deal with the mould on the bathroom ceiling - done by painter
  • Get quotes for regrouting, painting and resealing the bath and book someone to do at least the second two (regrouting only if affordable) - done, painter has been and finished, decided against regrouting and sealing in favour of Dettol anti mildrew bleach which is evil and wonderful
  • Get two quotes for new vinyl in the bathroom and decide whether to go ahead with it  - quote a quote I'm happy with, have a vinyl chosen and fixed a time for measuring - they reckon they can finish the job next week
  • Get two quotes for window cleaning. If they differ significantly get a third. This is still argh, I have contacted two companies and neither has got back to me, suspect noone wants the job of cleaning 4th floor windows in January
  • Continue to declutter - this is a tough one cos it's hard to know when it's done. More stuff has left the building since then, including giant double sleeping bag of doom, a bin bag of bathroom crap and a couple of bags to Shelter, and the mattress topper and three boxes of books are going tomorrow
  • Keep the flat clean and mostly tidy so that I can see the benefits of decluttering and more easily imagine holding viewings etc So far so good, I have help from new cleaning person as well as Adam now, so it should be good.
  • Decide which estate agent to go with - think I've decided, but I will look at the figures again tomorrow when I have more brane
  • At the end of the month contact chose estate agent to get started (eek!) - Onward!
  This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/631473.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

Project Abbenay: Things seeking homes

As I try to fit myself into new flat I have a bunch of stuff to get rid of. It will need to be collected from Caledonian Place. A lot of it will end up donated or ebayed if I don't get takers here, but mates get first dibs...

Does anyone want: 
  1. Ikea Ivar shelving unit with cabinet and four shelves (was my drinks cabinet with the dragons on). 30cm deep, 226cm tall and 85cm wide, would cost £89 new, £30 or make me an offer
  2. Set of drawers for an Ivar unit 50cm deep by 85cm wide. Its possible Ill be getting rid of the whole unit, so let me know if youre interested in that, but I at least want rid of the drawers
  3. Hi Fi separates: Sony CD player CDP XE530 (cannot believe these things are getting listed as vintage on ebay!) £15 or offer
  4. Sherwood Amp AI2210 Amplifier £20
  5. Gale reference monitor speakers and cables £20 
  6. A 10 year old Acoustic Solutions DVD player  was still working last I checked, free
  7. Plain white cylinder lamp shade 33cm diameter 20cm tall, free
  8. Turquoise rug, 99 x 130cm, free
This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/632173.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

for sale

I didn't make this lot, but I am running out of listings allowed on ebay, and they take a big chunk of sales anyway, so thought I'd try it here first. Feel free to pass the link on...

Cut for prettyCollapse )Why don't you guess if this is all the things? Go on I dare you!
PendantsCollapse )

BroochesBroochesCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/629559.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

Handmade jewellery Part II

Comment if you want to buy something, you can then mail me your address and I'll send you payment details.

BraceletsCollapse )

EarringsCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/629431.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

Handmade jewellery for sale

Buy stuff I made and give me money to make more stuff :-) Prices may be negotiable

It's going to take a while to list everything, so if there's anything from my Flickr you're particularly interested in, let me know and I'll give you a price...

Necklaces (clasps are silver colour unless labelled otherwise)List with picturesCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/629004.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

Come buy my, er, more or less everything

I am selling a lot of things for Matt (and for myself). A LOT of things. And I would like people to buy them so that we both have more money and I have more floor, and sofa, and shelves. It's going to be hard to list even a significant portion of the stuff, so I am posting a list of some of the kind of things, and if people are interested in any category or want to know more, with pictures, I can do that. Comments will be left screened in case anyone is buying for Giftmas, but if you want them left screened please let me know, as replying unscreens them. I will also be reposting this in various places, probably without the screening option...

Things, categorised:-

Perfume: specifically Givenchy III and Fendi, in various sizes, plus Madame Rochas, Worth "Je Reviens" and small Givenchy Hot, White Satin, Eau de Cologne, Cachet, Tweed and Panache.

Two lap looms for small projects.

Many shoes in sizes 6 and 7

Dolls house furniture, and dolls house shop stuff, including many many tiny hats and shoes, kits for making little shop boxes and handbags and such, tiny artists easels and paints and teeny tiny jewellery boxes.

Many many other boxes, most without keys, most in wood, but a couple of metal cash/tea boxes.

A lot of costume jewellery, plus a few silver bracelets, some quite heavy

Loads and loads and loads of clothes, Mostly sizes 10-14, including Sandwich stuff, A Feraud suit, a red Monsoon top, moss coloured Jaeger three piece with palazzo trousers, a jade cheongsam, Worth full length fishtail dress, linen jackets, red silk ra-ra skirt, some nomads tunics, a David Barry jacket in black and mustard, a Collezioni jacket and a very very pink kaftan object that I may have to pay someone to take away.

Scarves, from a £1 gold lurex job to a £10 hand painted silk

Pigs and piggy banks, various vintages, but probably 60s-70s

Cats, one in the shape of a piggy bank, one in the shape of a teapot (but not a teapot) and one just blue and white china.

A lot of brass and brass style miniatures, most with pencil sharpeners in, one in the shape of the space shuttle, the rest mostly more Victorian/Edwardian objects

Fans, most of these haven't been catalogued yet, but if you have a special interest in fans let me know

Various fancy tablecloths and napkins

A small collection of old coins from various nations

A silver plate tureen and a shinier place shell shaped dish

Two Matroyshka dolls (a 3 and a 5)

Russian and Polish pin badges, some of which I could use some help translating/identifying

Vintage hats, mostly on the bashed side

and a bunch of scarves and hats knitted by me.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/628008.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

The L-word

I am not a lesbian, but I am more than ten things beginning with L including:
  1.  Loved - even when I feel really bad I don't doubt that some people love me, though I may think they are misguided...
  2. Liberal - I believe that people should be allowed to do things they want unless there is a bloody good reason to stop them. 
  3. Lefty - I believe in a more equal distribution of wealth and looking after people who need it
  4. Libidinous - it comes and goes. Right now it's doing more coming than going...
  5. Lucid dreamer - I often have the power to notice I am dreaming and make certain decisions in dreams
  6. Libran - in that I was born at the start of October. 
  7. Librarian - I have a library. Well I have over 1000 bookes and tehrefore I am calling it a library. Also cos it has a globe and a chess set in it. Now all it needs is a stuffed aligator on the ceiling
  8. Linguistic - I believe in the need to use language
  9. Lazy - sometimes being lazy can be AWESOME
  10. Lilly LIvered - I am generally in favour of running away from danger
This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/622686.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

Goodness Gracious Great Words of G

1.Greying: I want to find some way of allowing my grey hair to show without it looking crap. Some kind of Mallen streak would be cool...
2. Getting Things Done - I am doing it
3. Grown-up - I assume I must be, I'm certainly not going to get any taller...
4. Glasses - my glasses are part of me, since Ive been wearing them since I was nine
5. Good - I am a Good Bunny, as I keep telling myself when I do things
6. Generally knowledgeable - I know a lot of things that are true, and a lot more that are plausible and make people think I know the answers to all the things, but I don't. I am rubbish on sport and on popular music I don't like, for instance...
7. Guardian reader - they get it at work, which helps, but I am basically the 8. Guardian reading stereotype through and through
8. Green - I'm not a member of the green party, and indeed wasn't when I stood for election for them, but they are likely to get my vote unless some other candidate persuades me they aren't just shit
9. Gorgeous - or at least so Ive been told ...
10. Garrulous - I talk a lot

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/621559.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

Sorted for Es and words

Trying to catch up on my alphabet soup - here are some words beginning with E that describe me.

1. English - as a Guardian reader of Irish heritage and living in Scotland I don't LIKE to call myself English, but it is also very much where I come from

2. Economical - I am generally very sensible with money. In fact I am the second most sensible money person I know (the first being my Mum)

3. Elevated - I live on the 4th floor :-) I also think people have an overly high opinion of me sometimes

4. Endomorphic - even at my thinnest I run to fat, and that's OK because it's what I am

5. Eigne - which means first born, apparently.

6. Ex-Catholic. Ex, not 'lapsed' that you. The Catholic church was a terrible thing for me, BUT I also get cross when people say inaccurate things about it. In this country anti-Catholic rhetoric is often coded anti-Irish (or was as I was growing up) and in any case I hate ignorance

7. Egalitarian - I tend towards socialism in my politics and fairness in my cake cutting. Just don't ask me to divide things in thirds - years of being the oldest of three squabbling kids gave me a horror of that

8. Evolved - this is hardly a big deal for me personally, as I am exactly as evolved as every other living thing on the planet, but it is an important part of my scientific view of the world

9. Educating myself - I have a good education but it is not a completed process. It never is.

10. Employed - not something I had expected for a long time after University, and it will be another few years til I have finally, been employed for longer than I was unemployed, which is A Thing

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/620962.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

D is for Dinosaur

And everybody likes dinosaurs. It is a proven FACT

D is also for these 10 things that I am:

Depressive - not actually horribly depressed right now, which rocks, but definitely prone to it, on anti-depressants which rock and are made of win, and likely to be so for the rest of my life

Drummer - I haven't done much drumming for ages, actually, but I *heart* drums and should do more.

Dreamwidther (widener? I have no idea) - I like it here, and LJ has turned to suck

Deadjournalist - I post more there than here, in fact

Dominant - I'm not big on a BDSM identity for me, but when I play I am 90% domme. Well, usually...

Determined - some have said bloody minded. I use bloody mindedness where other people use gumption

Dreamer - not that I'm a wide eyed idealist but that I like to dream and remember my dreams and have interesting (to me) adventures when I'm asleep.

Discombobulated - splendid word, also true

Disabled - Along with a lot of people in similar situations, I don't actually like to think of my mental health problems as a disability, but legally they do count, and I love me some reasonable adjustments

Descriptive - well Duh!

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/620580.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

Me and the letter B

Comment on this entry and I will give you a letter. Write ten words which describe you beginning with that letter in your journal, including an explanation what the word means to you...

10 things I am that start with B...

Bolshy - according to my parents when I was young. I think they just meant argumentative. I have never been an actual Bolshevic, but I'm certainly an anarchist...

Bunny - well duh The ways in which I am a Bunny are complicated. I do not have long fluffy ears (except in my cupboard) and I do not have a little fluffy tail (even in my cupboard)

Bookworm - I read a lot, mostly of not-very-literary fiction, and I have over 1000 books in my house

Broth-making - I just made an awesome soup out of a chicken and Scotch broth mixture and stuff...

Benevolent - I have to convince people of this so that I can be in charge of all the things (I may also be Bossy)

Somewhere between Bright, Brainy and Brilliant - depending on who you ask. They may be wrong, but I usually try to accept this as a compliment

Biopsychosocial - I am a complex combination of Biological, psychological and social factors. I am fine with this.

Buxom - well I have big Breasts anyway, I assume that counts, even if they are less, um, Buoyant, than they were

Birder - I prefer to call myself a Birder to a Birdwatcher, though either is fine as long as it's not 'twitcher'

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/620159.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

Failing to achieve escape velocity

I haven't been out of my house as much as I should lately, or at least not to things that are nice. In fact I have been orbiting the gravity well that is CityVille and CastleVille, which sucks powerfully, and not in a good way, so here for my and your edification is a list of recent achieverations. Had my hair did - this was an expense and a bit of a time waster on a whim, but I am chosing to see it as a Good Thing cos my hair is now did, and doesn't suck. Made a giganormous pot of nomtastic broth, basicially by putting a smoked hough (£1.89) in a pot with onion, garlic, carrot, a floppy courgette, and a well soaked and rinsed mixture of dried split peas, flageolets and barley. It made 8 servngs and I had one for lunch today and it was AWESOME. The seasoning was a possibly weird mix of juniper berries, bay leaves, peppercorns, brown mustard and hing. Bought the key part of my BiCon Ball costume Consistently took meds and nose spray stuff at defined times of day Decided on domain names for new project(s) which are now registered (watch this space) Went backwards and forwards and backwards again in knitting and am now definitely going FORWARDS andit all makes sense Obtained and read The Long Earth. I recommend it to everyone in the whole world ever Joined LIbrary Elf and renewed my books before they went overdue. Arranged a new tivo box and wireless modem from Virgin, which have arrived and so far don't suck. Did small amounts of housework so the place is looking OK This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/618529.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

The Food Poverty Line

From 18th November to 2nd December I am going to be living on the food poverty line by spending only £1 a day on food. This figure is the UK adjusted equivalent of the poverty line, which leaves very little leeway, but it can totally be done, and possibly even healthily. Of course if I was doing it for longer and had to include fuel bills and housing I'd be screwed, but this in itself should be interesting.

I can't eat anything given to me by friends. I can gather wild food, though at this time of year that will be minimal. I am not trying to be vegetarian, but at the moment the only meat on the shopping list is a pack of Lidl cooking bacon, cos meat just costs too much for daily use.

One exception will be coffee, because it seems stupid to make a point about poverty by buying non-fair trade. What I will do instead is find the cheapest cheap coffee and take the cost of that off of my budget, then I'll weigh out that much of fair trade coffee and use that. Going without coffee is not an option.

My current shopping list is standing at £14.01 and doesn't include bread, anything sweet, eggs or any fruit. I have margerine down instead of cooking oil cos it looks like I can't afford both. No spuds, oddly, but I do have rice and pasta - I will post the list later if people are interested, but it's going to be refinded as I look in places other than Tesco value foods.

There will also be an opportunity to sponsor me by donating to Village Reach. Let me know if you're interested in that.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/610086.html. You can comment there using OpenID.
In spite of continued stress over my job and everyone else's in the department, and the fact that even if I get the post, it will be hellish dealing with the reorganisation. In spite of my stomach apparently trying to kill me and my knee clearly bearing a serious grudge...

In spite of this there are good things. Many good things - so good that the calender is starting to look full and some of my goals are in danger of achievement

Driving - I had my first driving refreshed lesson and I didn't suck! In fact I enjoyed it, and the instructor said I wasn't a bad driver. I have four more hours to go and then will join City Car Club

Fitness - I have been accepted for Healthy Active Minds (otherwise known as being prescribed gym membership) and have my induction on Friday.

Holidays - I have booked annual leave for the two holidays mum is paying for (Moselle in September/October and Douro next April/May). Also got leave booked for BiCon and a long weekend at the end of May which is my Royal Wedding TOIL

I went to tea with crafters Thursday, wandered round stalls in the Grassmarket, met Jane and Tara in the Farmer's market and generally had fun seeing people who are not Jon. I am also getting on really well with Jon.

Beltane rocked, I had a great time, followed Counterpoint round the hill and got a front seat at the stage. I now feel much more confident that I can go to stuff alone and people I met seemed pleased to see me.

I did a metric fuckton of house work yesterday - my home is no longer reminiscent of Tracey Emin's bed.

I am wearing a sexy top :-)

At the moment my schedule looks like:Today: finish job applications, email it last thing tonight, (take data projector home from work for Wednesday)
Tomorrow: Go to work, don't kill anyone or let the bastards grind me down, go for a walk on the river after work (or not, since I'd had no sleep)
Wednesday 4th: Up early to go to Glasgow for training - remember data projector. QNI
Thursday 5th: Working from home, VOTE, go to the library, pick up prescription, dinner with Sandy, Go to the count?
Friday 6th: Driving lesson 9.30, HAM induction 11.30 at Dalry pool, buy and organise stuff for Pride stall
Saturday 7th: Pride Scotia, I have a BiCon stall in the Omni centre
Sunday 8th: Nice quiet day with a walk in it
Monday 9th: Administrator interviews (which I'm not going for) try not to go mad at work
Tuesday 10 May   - Events Co-ordinator interview 1.30 - try not to go mad
Wednesday 11 May   -  Events Officer interview 1.30 - try not to go mad
Thursday 12 May - try to get cleared to work from home
Friday 13th - GP appointment, driving lesson
Saturday 14th - free
Sunday 15th - free
Mon 16 - alleged work deadline
Tue 17 - next 'consultation meeting'
Wednesday 18th - in Listening skills training all day
Friday 20th - go to Leicester
Saturday 21 - Big Bi Fun Day
Sunday 22 - back from Leicester
Mon/Tue 23/24  - work consultation results
Wednesday 25 - Alex leaving do
Monday 30 May - off work
Wednesday 1 June - Writer's Bloc
Sunday 5 June - knitting High Tea
Friday 5 August: Living Happily one day course
Friday 26 August - Migratory waders one day course

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/607180.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

5th Mar, 2011

I really do need to take my social life in hand. Now that I am a good deal cheerier, and spring is here, and the house is clean(ish) and I am on track with my eating. <I would just like a moment to be pleased that I've lost 6.2 kilos on purpose - that's like a stone! (only another , er, seven, to go, but I would definitely be pleased with much less than that) Seeing other human beings would seem like a plan though. Are there any out there who would like to see me and do things? Anyone? This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/605121.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

Some stuff I bought in 2010

People who know me know that I really really like making lists, so just to show why I want to do the compact, and for my own records, here is an almost certainly incomplete list of stuff I bought new in 2010Big listCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/3057.html. You can comment there using OpenID.

The Wraeththu Series and Other Grumbles
First Published in Bifrost # 28, October 1993

Science fiction fans often declare the merits of their genre using for example its famous tolerance and diversity. SF writers seem to have fewer problems with sexuality than lesser mortals, and so you are more likely to find bisexual characters there than anywhere outside the Gay Times book list.

This may be so, but most authors limit bisexuality to one or the other gender. Storm Constantine, Anne Rice, Robert Heinlein, Tom Robbins, Ursula leGuin and Anne McCaffery are all, I suspect, straight.[1] You can tell by the fact that no bisexual or gay characters of their own gender ever appear. I shouldn't be assuming this of course, Mary Renault was a dyke who wrote about gay men all her life[2], but there's something going on here.

All Tom Robbins' and many of Heinlein's heroines express an interest in other women[3], which at first you might put down to the simple voyeurism that straight men often seem to go for. But some of their characters are actually very good[4], and the phenomenon is not limited to men. Anne Rice's vampires are also bisexual, but she sticks with the males for love interest. Ursula leGuin says everyone is bisexual in The Dispossessed, but only one gay character appears, and he's a bit sad. [4]

Anne McCaffrey is a bit of a fag hag, and her gay characters reflect this, being mostly stereotypical queens, throwing tantrums and wanting the heroine (McCaffrey?) to sort out their love lives and in one story have their babies. She steers clear of actual sex[5]. So for instance the Pern books contain no steamy gay scenes of dragon induced passion in spite of around 90% of dragon riders being male.

Storm Constantine, on the other hand, seems to advocate sex with men as a cure for all ills. Sex magick features in all the books - dominating Hermetech - but it's only ever male-female or male-male. There are bisexual men in Hermetech and bisexual male vampires in Burying the Shadow, but most turn out to be mainly gay and all the young men in the Wraeththu series turn into perfectly formed androgynous beings with extraordinary genitals at an early stage in proceedings.

I was particularly disappointed in the Wraeththu, as I had been told they were a bisexual must. But this turned out to be the most mysogynistic book by a woman I've ever read. Wraeththu can't have sex with humans without killing them (their semen is poisonous, I guess they never heard of condoms), and women are inexplicably incapable of partaking of the mutation that turns a man into a wraeththu. So where does this leave the women? Stuck with a rapidly dying out and violent male population and yet with seemingly no desire to do it with each other whatsoever. Odd, that.

OK, so we do get a belated and different mutation in the very last part of the last book that can grant women the advantages of long life and perfect skin, but even then it's only for a tiny percentage of them, and they don't get the enviable power of reproducing as easily as dropping an egg - literally. This seems more than unfair after all the time women have been having to do it the hard way. I do like the idea of children growing up at four times normal speed, thus avoiding nappies and screaming. But they don't breast feed, which conveniently makes wraeththu like slightly nicer young men in appearance. It's a shame, because it could have been a good idea; but I'm sorry Storm, perfect skin or no, I'm just not interested in androgynes without tits. [6]

* The Wraeththu trilogy is: The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirits, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, The Fulfillments of Fate and Desire. [7]

Now for the 21st Century bit.

[1] Wow, I was arrogant - assigning sexualities to authors without even having an internet to check my facts with (not that I've found anything to say I was actually wrong).

[2] Mary Renault did in fact have some lesbian characters, but they are very much outnumbered by her predominantly gay heroes

[3] I feel I should do penance for mentioning Robbins and Heinlein in the same sentence, but I'm not going to. It could also be argued that Robbins isn't science fiction. Tough.

[4] I didn't at the time mention The Left Hand of Darkness, even though every BiCon SF workshop went on about it at length. This is because I felt it was very much about gender and not sexuality. The Gethenians are hermaphrodites who spend the majority of their time asexual, and their sexuality is not much explored in the book. When it is mentioned it seems that actual sex consisted of a set of male genitals and a set of female genitals, which is a pity. (The book does what it was trying to do with gender rather imperfectly as well, and leGuin has apologised for that, but I still love it).

Two years after this article (though it took me longer to find it) leGuin wrote Coming of Age in Karhide. A beautiful, joyous look at Gethenian sex with all its complication. It is published in The Birthday of The World and other stories, and I can't recommend it enough. Of all the authors I mention in the article leGuin has learned and listened, not least to her own daughter.

[5] I meant gay sex - there is plenty of heterosexual dragon induced passion

[6] This statement about my personal tastes may not be strictly true :-)

[7] There is now more Wraeththu. I have no idea whether it is any good or not.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplerabbits.dreamwidth.org/2143.html You can comment there using OpenID.

Election geekery

Those interested in STV and/or concerned about the BNP getting seats could do worse than to look at the actual results for the Scottish Parliament over the last three elections. I don't know what conclusions to draw from this. There is certainly a historic tendencies for parties like the Scottish Socialists to blow themselves out of the water, and smaller party's fortunes can change drastically, but I'm not alarmed by the kinds of result we get, overall, certainly not as alarmed as I am by calculations done on percentages across the whole country alone...

We've also had two coalition and one minority government - as someone who works in the voluntary sector and is somewhat dependent on budgets getting passed, I definitely prefer the former

Labour - 56
SNP - 35
Conservative - 18 (all list seats, no constituency seats)
Liberal Democrats - 17
Green - 1
Scottish Socialists - 1
Independent - 1 (ex Labour)

Labour - 50 (down 6)
SNP - 27 (down 7)
Conservative - 18
Liberal Democrats - 17
Green - 7 (up 6)
Scottish Socialists - 6 (up 5)
Independent - 3 (one ex-Labour, one ex-SNP and one on an anti NHS cuts ticket)
Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party - 1

SNP - 47
Labour - 46
Conservative - 17
Liberal Democrats - 16
Green - 2
Independent - 1 (ex SNP)
To distract me from the election and earache and deafness, here is the Algarve bird list. Do let me know if you think anything is mislabelled etc. There will be even more photos later, but I'm slightly drowning in them...

New to Me
1.Penduline tit (at Mertola, so not technically the Algarve)
2.Sardinian warbler
3.Fan tailed warbler, also known as the Zitting Cisticola, which is just an awesome name
4.Melodious warbler
7.Corn bunting (unless is was some other bunting...)
8.Yellow wagtail (in Portugal they have blue heads, but I'm pretty sure that's what it is...)
9.Crested lark
10.Woodchat shrike
11.Spotless starling
12.Blue rock thrush (also at Mertola)
13.Azure winged magpie
17.Kentish plover
18.Black winged stilt, many many stilts
19.Curlew sandpiper
21.Little stint
22.Cattle egret
23.Purple heron
24.White stork
25.Greater flamingo
26.Caspian tern
27. Muscovy duck
28.Yellow legged gull
29.Lesser kestrel
30.Great bustard
31.Pallid swift

Seen before
32.Great tit
34.Willow warbler
35.Garden warbler
37.House martin
38.Sand martin
39.House sparrow
44.Grey wagtail
50.Collared dove
51.Feral pigeon
52.Red legged partridge
53.Dunlin (Forever after known to my mum as Dunhills)
55.Ringed Plover
59.Spotted redshank
61.Bar-tailed godwit
62.Avocet - very pretty birds
64.Little egret
67.Little Grebe
70.Lesser black backed gull
71.Great black backed gull
72.Black headed gull
73.Little tern
74.Sandwich tern

Like snow in the city sun

I went out the house for the first time since new year today. So my bird list for the year so far consists of: feral pigeon, wood pigeon, coot, moorhen, mute swan, mallard, black headed gull, carrion crow, magpie, robin, fieldfare, redwing, blackbird, house sparrow, dunnock, blue tit, great tit and long tailed tit. Also someone using skis as a serious form of locomotion. I thought I was bored of snow, but I'm not.

Getting in the spirit

Your Xmas cards from me...

My Paris photos are up. I made them into a set, largely for my mum, but there are some I'm particularly pleased with including a bunch of gargoyles...

and this

Only slightly embarrassed

Until today I thought the title of Fingersmith was a reference to hot girl on girl action.

Now I feel that it should be...
Today things that I would quite like to know for my writing include:

What resources do you need to have access to to prepare a tetanus vaccine?

If you start with a population of people who've been vaccinated against common diseases, and no-one is sick, are there infectious diseases people would get anyway (like that live in soil, water, animals or latent in people)?

When civilisations start having money, how does initial distribution happen? How might this happen on a small scale?

Can modern sheep survive in the hills by themselves if no-one sheers them?

Is there anywhere online I can access a year's worth of weather records for Edinburgh?

How hard is it to make synthetic rubber?

How old does a sugar maple have to be before you can tap it?

This is certainly proving interesting...


As ever at this time of year, I am thankful that I do not live in the United States. However this year I am also thankful that I don't have to be quite so thankful about that fact as I was this time last year. In addition I am thankful to Matt for saving my bacon last night, and to Jon for being in my house while my hopefully lovely floor goes down. Oh and socialised health care - as I head off to a free appointment with my GP for treatment of a pre-existing condition, I can't recomend it enough.
Is it just me or was the poppy hysteria much worse this year? Can anyone think of why that might be? Or am I being a kneejerk leftie when I'm dismayed by stories like this, this and this?

Tell me which are my best pictures

I am going to get my mum a calendar with my pictures in it for next year, and I'm trying to choose a picture for each month and one for the cover. I'm looking for things that will work at a big print size, with something vaguely seasonal about them, and/or with outdoors/wildlife/flowers etc. So I'm asking you guys for input. If you can stand it or have the time, could you head over to my Flickr and tell me which are my best shots? And if you have a choice of month they could go with that would be cool too?

Flattery is always welcome, but I do want honest answers cos I don't want to get this thing printed and have it come out rubbish...

Good Moaning!

Your quiz for today is brought to you by me being not at work and having a headcold so am trying to write instead of going out.
  1. Do you remember those pictures that were going round a while back of an industrial place in the US that had been abandoned by people and over run by nature? Can you point me at them?
  2. If all people just vanished tomorrow, what things would go seriously wrong (hint, it would not be nuclear power, well not in the UK, probably)
  3. What things would still be good to eat/use after 28 years? I know honey would, cos they ate some after they opened a pyramid and didn't die. And some wines and spirits would be OK if not better. Anything else? WHat about medicines, does anyone know if any of them would still be good to use?
  4. What would you most miss about your life if you had to return to a pre-industrial lifestyle (excluding any medical issues which would kill you, cos then you would be not there to miss it...)
Silly answers are also welcome :-)
I wanted to talk about the 10:10 thing, but it seems a bit done to death already, to be honest. What I can say is that a) any news articles done in the form of a list is likely to be cheap ill-thought out journalism and easy to take pot shots at and b) the sight of well-meaning Guardian readers each defending their own carbon footprint while happily commenting on each others' is getting old really quickly [1].

Yes, we need more big changes, but this does not mean we need fewer little ones, it just means that the little ones will be more possible, because the infrastructure will be there to support them. So if you've just found the time to go down the list and tick off everything you 'can't' do for various unarguable reasons, either think of something you *can* do, or do some campaigning about the larger issues. Don't moan to your mates about why you can't do recycling, moan to the council. Or call a meeting at work about *their* carbon footprint. Or even write a well reasoned and public article about what big changes need to happen.  Because the planet, annoyingly enough, doesn't care whether or not you personally are in the right.

I remember that the last time I ranted about something similar I made the point of contacting the council about getting recycling facilities on my street. Which there now are (well, just round the corner, and it doesn't do glass, but still). I'm not naive enough to think it was me wot dun it by myself, but I'm pleased I did.

[1] And, yes, there are things on the list which I either can't do or which would be really expensive or which I doubt the carbon efficiency of, and I'm not saying you're all wrong about everything on your lists, either.


I made it to the yarn shop today and got some nice 50% merino in fuschia for one of the Big Girls Knits I fancy (and at about a quarter of the price of the recommended yarn it's still more that I woul pay for a ready made sweater). I also discovered that they don't do double pointed 3.25mm any more, which is an arse cos I have a body done in that and need to make the sleeves. Does anyone have any they can lend me, or shall I adapt the pattern to straight needles?

At least I have the needles for the body of the fuschia pattern so I can start on that and, er, worry about the sleeves later (that one wants 40cm circulars for the sleeves, which the shop also doesn't do.)

Once day I will have a whole garment. Probably.


new hair
Purple Rabbits

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