Dark Ages

So, March ends. Now, what horrors await in April?

Took the hounds out for a longer solo walk yesterday.  Theo was pulling on the lead quite a bit to start with, but my iffy knee felt FINE and so I proceeded to walk all the way  up onto the top of Hingston Down and along as far as Drakewalls before turning for home.  It was pretty quiet, though I did see a few walkers at a distance here and there.

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House of Fëanor

In which there is baking of bread

The Milkman seems to have given up on delivering me the nice malty seedy bread I like, though he still brought dull white sliced for Pp.  Perhaps nice malty wholemeal is not considered essential.  I responded by making my own bread, which is white, but much nicer than the white sliced.  It was delicious.  I must get my act together and make some more.

Pp has painted a rather excellent unwinged dragon miniature, and I entertained myself photographing it in various possible dragon-habitats:

This is actually a picture from yesterday, but depicts the status quo for the week: Rosie wrapped in her blanket enjoying the sunshine. Today, alas, it is colder and once our officially-sanctioned one walk a day was done, Rosie decided to enjoy the sunbeams from the sofa. 

dog knotwork

Spring still sproinging

We've had days and days of deep blue skies: the primroses, celandines and late daffodils are blooming their socks off, and down by the river there's a real carpet of wood anemones.  I feel very fortunate that I can walk from the house to get my officially-allowed exercise with the hounds and wander through the woods.  Rather busier than usual, since generally people don't like walking the steep hill down to the river and tend to drive to other places, whereas now we are all staying close to home. But not busy by any normal definition of the word.

Theo still struggles with walking on-lead *to* a walk.  His impulse control is terrible, so he keeps being over-come by the urge to SMELL THE THING NOW!!! and yanking me along, which is how he managed to give me a slightly knackered knee in the first place.  It's much easier if I can drive somewhere where he can zoom around like a lunatic for half an hour before a lead is required.   Still, I managed a fairly long walk today and the knee feels still suitably bendy.

I managed to write both my official Worldbuilding Exchange story, and also an emergency pinch-hit.  The pinch-hit was very much last minute and I feel I could probably have done better, but still, that's about two and a half thousand words this week.  Admittedly the week does feel like it was about 100 years long at this point.

I went to the local butcher on Friday: they were well stocked up and I bought a chicken to roast over the weekend.  The only difference was the tape on the floor and upside down crates preventing people from coming close enough to the counters to lean on them.  (It has never occurred to me to lean on a counter at the butcher!  That seems a really odd thing to do!)   But the roads were quiet and empty, even the main road at Gunnislake Newbridge, which is usually busy since bridges across the Tamar are not very numerous.  My Mum is being kept well supplied by her village shop: the shop itself has closed, since it's too small to let people inside safely, but they are doing a delivery system instead, apparently.  The downside to it is that they aren't set up to take remote payments, so she has to keep passing them cheques at a distance.

May do some painting in a bit but now I am tired and feel like a nap.  I do have a faint lurking sore throat, but none of the other symptoms, so probably this is some other bug going: hey, remember us?  You used to think we were quite a nuisance!   

Isolated on a clifftop

Or, isolated from humanity, anyway.

This isolation thing isn't as easy as it looks!  I thought by picking an out of the way spot to walk it would be OK to drive a little further from home, but had forgotten that to drive, one must buy petrol - and OK, pay at pump, but I had not thought about bringing soap for hands that had handled a petrol pump. Used an antibacterial wipe thing.  Better than nothing.  And although I had considered that cafes and pubs would be closed, and brought snacks, I had also not thought that being out for the whole day would require a loo.  Fortunately, Hartland had not closed its public loos, and there was at least lots of soap.
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Rosie Down Hole

In the Year of the Rat.

So, our government has just closed all the cafes and pubs officially, and are setting up universal basic income (!!!). nope apparently they stepped back from that, and are just going for 80% paying wages. Still, that's quite a major departure.

This feels really weird : we run two small businesses from our house, and suddenly... everyone is closed apart from us, grocers and huge megabusinesses?  We only sell online and all the stuff is in the house anyway, so the only reason to close the Shop on the Borderlands would be if the postal service shut down.  The website hosting / maintenance side of things would keep on trucking through even that, though I do wonder how many of our customers there will be still standing on the other side of this. We shall see.

(Actually, the village pub is sort of still open, barely.  You can take a jug down there and they will fill it with beer to take away.  Some of the other pubs & cafes are doing takeaway food.)

Can still walk the dogs, at a safe distance from humanity, though apparently in France even that is now forbidden. Yikes. Imagine the yodelling if Rosie had to go walkless.  Well, if it comes, then no doubt they will adjust; at least we have a garden.  In the meanwhile, I may make a trip to a nice quiet spot tomorrow.

In other news, I popped these three tiny paintings onto Redbubble, here, this afternoon, and someone just bought six cards of them, which was nice.
Light from the shadows shall spring.JPG

House of Fëanor

To art class or not

I am utterly overcome with indecision. Colin the Art emails to say that art class is still happening on Friday but will then go online.

I have been out a few times this week : picking up car from garage (the window STILL isn't working properly!  Steve is now going to try to buy a replacement door on ebay for me.)  Yesterday I went to the pet shop, to pick up cat food and dog treats, and (probably unwisely) popped into B&M to buy a new in-front-of-the-fire bed for Rosie.  And on Monday, again, probably unwisely, I went to the evening art group and painted a live model.

We have to go to the post office with orders, to keep the business running, which is really essential. Will probably go to the butcher on Friday as usual, because after all one must eat.  Is it that much more risk, to the village or to me, to go to a church hall and paint in the company of a handful of people for a couple of hours?  If they show, which I suppose they might not.  I imagine the loss of business for Colin of closure of all his classes will be pretty severe; he's not well-off, nor particularly tech-savvy, and probably not well positioned to move online: I suspect he will probably want advice from me about that. I feel that he may be in for a shock if he's hoping to get the same amount of money for online classes as in-person ones...

If I wasn't mildly asthmatic, I would definitely go.  I have no hand sanitiser, and the hall has no hot water, so hand washing isn't great there, though there is a sink, I'm sure nobody will be disinfecting the place. arg.

A walrus-post in the Time of Plague.

Goodness. I haven't updated since February! I don't know why. I have been reading here, but not managing to comment or post so much. I'm probably only doing it now because I have a fic to write for a Friday deadline and I apparently have no energy for it. I should have written it when I first got the assignment. I did start it, but then I told myself I wanted to finish my Rexque Futurus chapter first, and that has not been flowing, and has apparently caused a word blockage. Bah.

Had a birthday last Saturday, and although Plague was looming, it didn't seem so close then, so we went to the beach with my Mum and Pp's Dad. And the hounds, of course. It was a bit chilly, but Theo had an excellent time, and I did too, almost as much. There's something very calming about the Sea. We ate chips and drank hot chocolate outside. Rather too cold for that really, but allowed for rather more Distancing than sitting in the warm inside the cafe.

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I've painted a few more things. Here's a dragon in a chair, ink /watercolour, painted very quickly because I felt it would be cheerful. Collapse )

In other Art News, I picked up an art commission, painting a D&D party at the pub. Because I am nothing if not ambitious, I'm basing it on Caravaggio's 'The Calling of St Matthew' with a strong directional light and the characters all talking together. So far I've drafted it in pencil, sent the draft over for approval, and blocked out the figures and light.  It's going well!

I don't know what will happen out in the Wide World about the coronavirus and all the consequent panic and turmoil - well, I suppose nobody does. We are living in interesting times.  I hope the panic buying will recede soon. I get the distinct impression that a lot of it is social media fuelled. The more people see photos of empty shelves and posts about not being able to buy bread, the more panicked they get. But of course people want to talk about inconvenience and worries, and can't blame them for that, and nor can I blame people who can see their only source of income vanishing for maxing out their credit card while they still have one. Ack.

My asthma is playing up slightly and giving me a tightness in the chest, but I am sure that is psychosomatic / stress related (it would not be the first time!). My lifestyle is a fairly reclusive one at the best of times, so no matter how many undiagnosed people are about, would have be particularly unlucky to pick up the virus so soon. I may just have to limit my intake of news a bit.  Which might help with the writing!

I hope everyone reading this is keeping well. 

Light from the shadows shall spring

Thanks to those who let me know about which photos you liked best! In the end I went for combining three of them : the ferns and the two stream photos. I think I'm probably going to do another with the blackthorn flowers (and a darker background for those) and maybe also the daffodils, perhaps with a hint of the path from the bluebell pic behind them. I bought a six-pack of these tiny canvases, so continuing the theme makes sense.

Because this is such a little painting, I photographed it with my painting jamjar, for scale.


A walrus-post, filled with random bits.

Um.  Things that have happened. right then.

The car window that was fixed has broken again due to internal conflicts with the door opening mechanism whatsit.  I did ask when I picked up the car from the garage and they told me the door and window had quarrelled, whether they were likely to do so again? They promised not.  They were wrong.

Hmph.  I now have a solid wooden wedge keeping the window up again while the garage scours ebay for a second set of window parts, and a new door-thingummy.  I hope they can replace both together this time, and restore harmony to the Door.

I finally got around to assembling the Fidget Board I have been making.  This was solicited by a local nursing home which cares for dementia patients: apparently a Thing now is to fix a bunch of knobs, switches, clips, hinges etc to a board, which is then left around in the lounges etc, and gives the residents something untaxing but occupying to do with their hands.  I thought this seemed like a great use for some of the many 'That Will Come In Handy Some Day!' items I have piled in the utility room.

It was harder work than I had expected putting it all together though, because it seemed like I had 999 partial... things. Objects. Artifacts. Gadgets. Hardware. Wood... bits. Very few of which fitted neatly together.  I ended up having to carve a plug-hole for my nice shiny metal plug on a chain, for example, because I assume that we either used the hole that the plug came with, or maybe there wasn't a hole?  Who knows, that would have been years ago.  YEARS I have been hoarding that plug on its shiny chain, and probably a year I have been hoarding the spare shelf that came with my Art Stuff shelves, that I used for the board bit. But now I have Done Something With It, and shortly I shall say farewell to it forever, which cannot be a bad thing.

I have photographed a lot of roleplaying games recently, which I rather enjoy. We seem to have moved now to a status where I am doing most of the shop photography and Pp is doing the data entry and stuff that requires Deep Lore about Roleplaying History. New (to us) roleplaying games are being added at a rate of knots and a goodly number of people are buying them.  This is good.

The cats are very happy at the moment, and Gothmog and Fankil spend a lot of time wrestling and boxing and doing other cute things.  Sometimes Theo joins in (Fankil really likes Theo, though I think he's wisely wary of Theo getting overexcited and hence too rough).  I would take pictures of this, only the automatic lens on my camera has failed and taking photos of wrestling cats in poor light using a manual lens seems a bit fiddly.  Maybe later in the year,

Although Theo failed his final exam at Dog School, because he absolutely would not lie down on command (he knows the command.  He just didn't feel like doing it when there were puppies around to look at), I have none the less declared him done for now on the dog training front.  We may start lessons again in September.  But he does know all the basics, and I just need to practice practice practice on defeating distractions, and that will be easier if I just take him places to practice rather than to classes, I think.  He is currently 8-9ish months, so he's really at maximum distractability at the moment.  He is getting better at bringing me his squeaky walrus to throw instead of humping my leg, but there's still work to do there.

Let's have an art dump of recent arts.  I seem to be painting quite a lot at the moment, which is partly because I'm feeling a bit tense and painting is a good release for that.

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And Finally!  I am offering art in both the Fandom Trumps Hate and Fandom For Australia charity auctions, and to my extreme delight, someone has actually bid on my Fandom for Australia offer!  Two people! Woohoo!

But I am suddenly exhausted from typing all that, so I shall simply link to this tumblr post about that rather than pasting it all in.