Sunday, 7 July 2013

...and it's hot...

London is baking under a brilliant blue sky; summer arrived a couple of days ago, knocking most normal humans flat.  indoors, the temperature is 29 degrees - that's just below 80 F, for those of you on old money - and compared to out in the sun, indoors feels cool.

Luckily I knew it was coming.  What a great institution the Met Office is; accurate weather forecasts have not always been with us, after all.  Gods bless them and their weather satellites!  I was able to get to bed reasonably early last night and get up fairly early this morning.  It's now ten to two, or thereabouts, and I have washed a load of clothes and hung them to dry, and been into Brentford to go to the supermarket and the street market (for the excellent fruit and veg, if you're curious, as well as a chance to practice self-denial over a lot of temptations for foodies like an olive specialist and a stall from the Old Maids of Honour tea-rooms).  I've lugged back my week's groceries and veggies and brought my washing in again; it had dried in not much more than an hour.  I've baked four spinach and feta pies and braised some baby carrots and broad beans in lemon butter sauce, and cooked a big bag of fresh gooseberries.  I've had some lunch; and now I'm free to have a quiet afternoon.

Yesterday too I stayed in and took things quietly.  I finished reading "Wolf Hall" (superb) but then I got so hot and dopey I ended up having a siesta, and I may do the same this afternoon too.  But I'd like to get some writing done.  With the help of a lot of cold drinks.

I also want to paint my toenails; since I have no intention of wearing anything but sandals on my feet in this weather I may as well have coloured toes.  No-one's looking at my feet, I know, unless perhaps it's to wonder if they are the smelly ones; but it pleases me to have nail varnish on, anyway.

I finished the writing up of "Gold Hawk"; did I say that already?  I managed it, with a final push, by the story's first birthday, middle of last month.  It does still need some further revision; my dear beta-reader the DipGeek has given me some very useful feedback, and the last chapter needs to be tweaked a bit more.  But I'm not too disappointed in it.  It was never meant to be a work of any literary merit, but an adventure story and a piece of fun.  So if anyone reading it enjoys the story and roots for the characters, my work is done.

Now I'm neck deep in several short things all chugging along at their own pace, hoping to get one or two of them finished and make a return to one of the longer stories that have been in abeyance for a while (yes, there are several of them, too).  I'm no nearer finding an agent, no nearer being published anywhere except online, but I'm writing fairly steadily and I'm happy with that.  The Muse in her capricious way has given me a lot of stories to juggle at once, and I'm not a natural juggler, but I'm doing my best.  Creativity comes and goes, and I have always found that the best thing, if you possibly can, is to run with it...

Monday, 1 July 2013

& here are a few more...

Four more from the new camera.  Well, three out of four ain't bad. 

To my surprise, the new camera does seem to be rather good at texture studies.  See above.  But it's v quick to over-expose (or whatever it technically is when there's too much light let in, but there's no film to be exposed in the first place).  And it has a bad habit of not focussing on anything much.  Which is very human of it, but of doubtful desirability in a camera. 

Those blurry eyes are mine, by the way.  My eyes, my eye-bags, my watchful and slightly "f*ck you" expression; all mine.  O-kay...

First attempts with new toy...

So: I bought myself a cheap toy camera.

I've been struggling for a while with the frustration of not being able easily to get photographs in a form that was electronic and hence uploadable.  I found I could order copies of my films on cd rom, but the cost of that mounts up, to say the least, and I realised that fairly soon I would have spent the price of a bottom-of-the-range tinny digital camera, given just how bloody cheap they are getting these days.

So I took myself to Boots - the big Boots in Westfield (Westfield shopping centre, aka The Good Ship Axiom from "Wall-E") - and waited ten minutes until the chap who knew about cameras was free, and I bought one.

Chap-who-knew-about-cameras was charming and enthusiastic and an all-round nice friendly guy.  It was rather like being served by a young Will Smith, only from west London not the USA.  He really did know about cameras, too, and he gave me lots of advice, talked me through all the features, and was perfectly happy to accept it as I worked my way round to buying one of the cheapest ones they sold.

So now I have a little toy.  I've begun trying to get used to it and to experiment with what it will and won't do well.  Initial examples of things it seemingly won't do well are above, but there are some slightly better things to come...  And it's early days yet.

After buying a camera I fled in shock to the tapas bar in one of the huge atria, and had gambas al ajillo and a glass of tinto di verano, yum, good food, yum; and then treated myself to the dvd of the director's cut of "Bladerunner", in a sale, some sensible black cotton trousers, likewise in a sale, and a packet of halva.  Yum again.  I felt like the last of the big spenders by then; new hardware and trousers and a dvd and lunch out?  Shocking.

I'll post some more of the photos in a bit.