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Random things

On Friday evening after we got back from canoeing, the most enormous storm came up.  It had been the clearest, hottest blue-sky day, and then suddenly, rain was beating down, thunder grumbling all around and lightning everywhere: really everywhere, all around.   Very spectacular. Poor Brythen was most upset, but Rosie wasn't, nor Henning or Yama.  Odd, the things that do and don't spook them.

Pp has bought an airbrush and is excitedly trying out new miniature-painting techniques with it.  His paint attitude is diametrically opposed to mine: I seem to be slowly reducing the number of colours I paint with, to Paynes's Grey, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Titanium White, and Naples Yellow.  It's surprising how far you can get with just those...  Whereas he has LEGIONS of tiny paintpots in every possible shade and texture.

I'm supposed to be helping judge a dog show later today.  The weather forecast looked hot and sunny.  The actual weather looks grey and opaque: I can't even see Devon at the moment for the fog.  Hope it cheers up or I shall be judging dogs by feel : "This one seems to have... a tail. And fur! Well done!"

I've been having some difficulty sleeping, recently, which I know is par for the course for some of my friends but normally I can sleep almost any time so for me it's weird and upsetting!  Oddly, it was sleeping at night that was the problem, I'd sleep till maybe 4 or 5am then wake and not be able to go to sleep again.  I can resort to naps in the day, but those eat so much time!  I should probably cut back a bit on coffee.  *but I love coffee*  *laments*. And probably go to bed earlier...    It seemed to be related to writing, too: I kept waking up with ideas and thinking 'Oh, OK, I'll just note that down' and then two hours later...  Which would be fine if writing were a paid job, but since it's a hobby it's really silly.  Bah.

I have a bad feeling that the lack of sleep may also relate to the fact that I've taken a nose-dive this year into just not looking at the news, for the first time ever.   This is a bit cowardly and I should stop doing it.  Maybe next week.

More writing of the Tolkien Things

I unintentionally went on writing.  I don't know why.  I intended to finish writing Dead Feanor and the War of Wrath, then finish my old Arthurian story that has been sitting around for ages.   But Dead Feanor got to rather a gloomy bit that I seem to find difficult to finish, so instead I wrote some cheerier things:

Love, Politics and Pastries 6327 words of Elrond, newly arrived in the West, and Celebrían in Tol Eressëa, discussing the House of Fëanor as pastries, and the Breaking of the World.

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima 5525 words in which Frodo Baggins and Maglor, son of Fëanor have a chance-encounter with Elrond's father on the shores of Tol Eressëa,  take him back to meet Elrond and talk about song and stories.   I suppose technically this is a post-LOTR story rather than a post-Silmarillion one, since Frodo has quite a large role, but I feel obscurely awkward about tagging it as LOTR.   And I think it would not make much sense to someone who has not read the Silmarillion, whereas surely everyone who has read the Silmarillion has also read LOTR.

There seems to be a lot of chat and drinking in this series and not much actually happening!

Halton Quay to Calstock

We meant to go out on the river on Friday evening, but misread the tide times.
We meant to go out on the river on Saturday, but the skies were black, the rain fell, the wind blew and the storm warnings warned dolefully.
We meant to go out on the river today, and made it!
Halton Quay is a very convenient quay in some ways: it's easy to get to, has plenty of parking and is used almost entirely by fishermen and canoeists, so it's not too busy.  Unfortunately the other thing is has in generous quantities is MUD.

Not too bad on the way out, because we arrived not long before high tide.   The tide and the wind together helpfully wafted us up the river, listening to the sound of the wind in the reeds.  I love that noise.  It reminds me of childhood holidays in the Norfolk Broads.

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Two Tolkien things I wrote

In Avallónë by the Sea
5923 words of Maglor and Finrod rambling on about poetry, harp manufacture, first age Beleriand, Mandos, the current political situation in Tirion, hobbits, and whether kinslayers can be trusted.   Not sure why I wrote it tbh.  There must be some reason.  Perhaps it will lead to something less rambling later?

To sheep other sheep no doubt appear different
A trader out of Wilderland travels down Anduin to Osgiliath, and makes a stop at Lorien.  Also everyone is called Beorn.
500 word thing inspired by this line from Lord of the Rings, where Aragorn says “... light boats used to journey out of Wilderland down to Osgiliath, and still did so until a few years ago...”  and then Boromir gives him a weird look because his definition of 'a few years ago' is a lot shorter.   

I think we have achieved Peak Bluebell

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I happened to get up early a couple of days ago because Brythen had an upset tum, and this was the view outside the door, so I snapped it before I went back to bed.

Across so wide a sea

Across so Wide a Sea : Words: 6272

Elrond, having arrived in Valinor at the end of the Third Age, goes to meet his mother, Elwing. Taking Maglor with him.
“Hmph. I suppose we can’t have him being beaten bloody on my doorstep.” Elwing said, unenthusiastically “Or killing someone.” Apparently Maglor was considered a random killer, like a biting dog. “Come in then, if you must.”

I suppose in date this is really post-Lord of the Rings,  but it's Silmarillion again in focus and personalities.

Alqualonde by moonlight

Card I painted for my mum's 80th birthday below.  She is having something of a Vicar of Dibley 80th, since EVERYONE wants to take her out to lunch but she seems to be being very effective at managing them all and preventing them from all supplying simultaneous lunches on the same day.
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I will fight for you in Truro!

Promises the Libdem election leaflet of one Matthew W.

No you won't.  There is no scenario where you will descend out of our Eastern hills into the West, falling upon the unsuspecting inhabitants of Truro with Fire and the Sword. Nor do I want you to.   For that matter, how do you know they are even wrong?  They might be right!  I might be wrong!   Also, if you are fighting for me, then very likely you will have to fight, not against the wild raiders of Penzance or the solemn townsfolk of Truro, but against the annoying man up the road that thinks it's appropriate to control growth of a cornish hedge by spraying it with weedkiller.

... I don't think election leaflets are aimed at me.

Must look up what eldrich horrors Mebyon Kernow (Sons of Cornwall) are promising.  Possibly they really are promising Fire and the Sword.

The Pigeon Tunnel: John Le Carré

I haven't finished reading this yet, but I already know it's going to be the kind of book where I just want to read out random passages to strangers, so here is a bit I liked:

"To the lawyer, truth is facts unadorned. Whether such facts are ever findable is another matter.  To the creative writer, fact is raw material, not his taskmaster but his instrument, and his job is to make it sing... Was there ever such a thing as pure memory?  I doubt it.  Even when we convince ourselves that we're being dispassionate, sticking to the bare facts with no self-serving decorations or omissions, pure memory remains as elusive as a bar of wet soap."

This is so true.  I don't remember actual stuff that happened.  I only remember the story I told myself about it afterwards.  It's a way better story, anyway. Internally consistent, people have motivations that make sense, it's just so much better than the primary world.

The first chapter is titled "Don't Be Beastly To Your Secret Service"  and is mostly about people working for MI5 and MI6 ranting at spy-thriller writers.  It amused me enormously, and here is a randomly selected line, about his experience at MI5:

"Spying on a decaying British Communist party twenty-five thousand strong that had to be held together by MI5 informants did not meet my aspirations."

Or, on British Intelligence in general "I would guess there is not a spy agency anywhere in the Western world that has enjoyed more mollycoddling from its domestic media than ours. Embedded scarcely covers it. Our systems of censorship, whether voluntary or imposed by vague and draconian legislation, our skills in artful befriending, and the British public's collective submission to wholesale surveillance of dubious legality are the envy of every spook in the free and unfree world."

He contradicts himself a bit, but I find him too hilarious to care.

Oh drat, some LJ change has disabled my 'all power corrupts but we need electricity' tag for being too long.  ALAS.

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