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Our holly tree, decked, somewhat gruesomely from a certain viewpoint, with carvings made from the corpses of previous trees.
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The Signature Gift

Watching Doctor Who yesterday, I learned that Santa considers the tangerine to be his signature gift.

When I was a child, I'm pretty sure that Father Christmas (not Santa) brought a satsuma, not a tangerine.   I love satsumas.  I buy bags and bags of them when they are in season, and eat them until I start feeling really quite orange.  It's surprising, but sort of charming too,  that in an era when you can buy all sorts of fruit out of season all year round, the Season of the Satsuma is so short.

What I think of as a satsuma is Citrus Unshiu and although that Wikipedia entry doesn't mention it, I'm sure I've read an article saying that this particular fruit is disproportionately popular here in Britain, where we like the sweetness and the ease of peeling, and have less stern and demanding tastebuds than other nations who apparently are more likely to prefer more subtle and less sugary citruses. So, we give them at Christmas: hence the 'Christmas orange' name.

What I think of (and I *think* generally what greengrocers and supermarkets sell as tangerines, is Citrus Tangerina - a pleasant enough fruit, but not quite so easy to peel, and the skin has a different texture and flavour (I like the skins too!)

Poll #1993464 Citrus

Santa or Father Christmas?

Father Christmas
Someone else

The really vital question: Satsuma or Tangerine???


Incidentally, I just learned from that Wiki article that a mature satsuma tree is hardy down to -9C.  -9!  It NEVER goes to -9 here.  I wonder how much frost protection they need before they get big....? 

Rights for great apes

dog knotwork
Court in Argentina grants basic rights to orangutan

I hope this is the first judgement of many deciding that our close relatives should be recognised as individuals not objects - with a bit of luck, while there are still enough of them left to survive as a people rather than a dwindling remnant curiosity. 


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

We went to see this yesterday. I hugely enjoyed it. There will be 99999 reviews telling you how awful it is, mostly because it's the last in a series of six, and based on the last part of a thinnish book ( they don't mention the bits that are from the LOTR appendices, the bits extrapolated from the Silmarillion or History of Middle Earth, or the bits that are original worldbuilding, because obviously that doesn't fit the prescribed tired snarky narrative.)

So I shall just list the things I liked about it, in no real order.

some spoilers but nothing very startling.Collapse )


Sunrise in the woods

The woods have grown up through the old stone ruins of this coppermine. It closed for the last time in the 1920s. 


dog knotwork
We walked the dogs late tonight, due to car-related mishap. First we saw a firework display clear across the valley: it was a quiet one, so Brythen was not upset by bangs, which was excellent.

We wandered around the village looking at the houses which had their Christmas lights up (ours aren't yet, but we do now have a tree at least!)

The sky was joining in with the lights : it was a very clear night, frosty and black with no streetlights or moon to hide the sky. As well as Orion very clear and the Plough, we saw shooting stars, at least seven of them, to the North and West.

The Western Morning News thinks that the best time to see them would be 2am, but I've just been out to look and I think the river-mist has crept up to us. The lights in the village look fuzzy round the edges now, and the stars are not so clear. A huge slice of bright yellow moon has popped up over the edge of Dartmoor though, looking very much like an enormous slice of sky-lemon balanced on the edge of a monstrous invisible sky-cocktail.


Random scribblings

dog knotwork
I am reading through Ursula Le Guin's Steering the Craft* - which is a sort of coursebook about writing. I thought I would try and actually do some of the exercises, so this is for the first one 'write something gorgeous to be read aloud' using repetition and alliteration.

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* for some reason, I can't get into the habit of italicising book titles!  I always put them in single quotes, then think, no, they should be italics and have to change them. Probably because last time I quoted book titles a lot I was still writing with a pen, and you really can't do italics in handwriting.  Or not with my hand writing anyway. 


Gardening assistants

Yesterday I slew most of a giant buddleia bush, which was infested with an interesting quantity of fungus.  Henning and Bob the Robin both showed considerable interest in proceedings. 
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No whining
That infuriating moment when you realise that, once again, the reason it didn't work is not because you don't understand and are clueless and should give up and go away,  but merely because you made a really stupid syntax error, which you did not spot because you assumed the problem was you were Doing Everything Wrong.

I need to have more confidence in my general comprehension skills, and much less confidence in my punctuation and basic error-checking. 

Things Done

Cream Tea
We cleared out our Stygian porch today.Read more...Collapse )

Also, I made ginger, cinnamon and oat cookies. I substituted a lot of things in the recipe I used, and I like the results, so this is my version:
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December 2014



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