Christmas 2019

I haven't finished my customary Christmas wood-carving, but it looks like it's going to be a weird Star Wars alien sort of thing, partly because that's what was hiding in this year's Christmas tree wood, and partly because we went to see Rise of Skywalker last week, and enjoyed it.  We went to the 11pm showing, since that meant we could put Theo to bed in his crate and not feel guilty.

Christmas: we cooked a duck, and my mother and Pp's father came over and helped us eat it. A fabulous sunny day for a change, so the dogs got two walks: one with me and one later with me and my mum, whose ability to walk seems to be improving again after several years of hip and foot problems.

Mum bought the cats new catnip toys, and Gothmog and Nenya proceeded to indulge in them with great delight: they were drunk last night, and still drunk this morning! I think they've had enough now though, Gothmog is now fast asleep.

Boxing Day: the sun came out and the day looked promising, so we decided to take the dogs to the beach.  This was optimistic of us.  Shortly afterwards VERY wet.  It was raining a little as we made our way down the long steep winding path to the open sands, raining more as we wandered past the cliffs, and at the point where we were coming down to the waves, it POURED so enthusiastically that the hounds were crying to go home.

Still, we made the effort and had a walk.  Theo met piles of dogs (including a saluki who wanted to play with him, but she was too full-on and made him squeal for mercy.  This is ironic, since I often have to stop him nipping Rosie's legs to encourage her to run.)

And! I am now dry again and warm with a glass of wine, mince-pies with clotted cream, and a new snuggly dressing-gown, and I think I shall do some writing.

Lots of Shop on the Borderlands orders are waiting to go out, (including several where people got gift vouchers for Christmas and couldn't wait to spend them!) but they can wait until tomorrow to be packed. 

Merry Christmas

It's time to admit that I've pretty much failed on the Christmas card front this year. So, Merry virtual Christmas, a jolly Yule,  Happy Hanukkah, a blessed solstice, or bottoms up, depending on what sort of winter celebration you prefer.

This has been a tough year for a lot of people I know, so I hope it doesn't seem too annoying when I say that for me personally, it's been a good one. I've managed to *mostly* escape gloom, let go of excessive stressing about things I can't change, accept that it's OK to focus energy rather than trying to do everything, and focus more on positives.

I hope it will be a better year next year for those who haven't been so lucky.


A cat and a Christmas painting.

This time last year, I bought Pp an infra red camera so he could see the elusive, terrified, growling cat he had adopted.

This year, I have to be careful not to trip over the cat because now, Fankil greets us with joyful cries and insists on weaving closely around my legs and demanding cuddles, particularly first thing in the morning when I'm not very awake!

In other news, I did a re-paint of this old Christmas painting, using my New Skills:

Arguably it is a little cheesy, but I don't care, I like it.


I keep forgetting to take a camera on sunny days when walking the hounds.  I really want to try to capture the eyeroll that Rosie gives when Theo bounces at her hopefully once they are both off-lead.  If he's lucky, she then takes off at, maybe warp factor six - not TOO fast, and he follows excitedly at warp factor 1.5.  He could probably manage warp factor 2 if he wasn't putting so much energy into yapping.

A Merry Christmas from the Orcs

(Logo & text added digitally: I am not much good at hand-lettering!)

I'm still struggling with photographing stuff like this. The camera seems to be having difficulty with the difference between the pinky-orange background and the green of the orcs. I upped the contrast and reduced brightness, and that helped, but now the background books look more distinct and foregroundy than they should do, and the detail on the orc's arms look clumsy and less subtle than they should.... at least the miniatures and the big dice on the table looks about right.  And I do like the orcs expressions.

Rexque Futurus

For an astonishingly long time I have been writing this post-BBC Merlin modern day Arthurian story, inspired bysally_maria 's disappointment at the final episode of Merlin ending with Arthur dying before he ever really got to be satisfyingly a proper king and have adventures with Merlin. This spring I got thesmallhobbit to kindly beta-read as far as I had got, and then I stalled again!

But I've written 50,000osh words and put far too much overthinking into this to just abandon it, (not to mention all the people who have had their ears half-talked-off about it over the years)  so I am determined to finish it. 

I would love to be the kind of writer who can actually completely finish a long thing entirely self-fuelled with my own enthusiasm, without encouragement, but I'm not.  Or not yet, anyway. So, I'm going to post a chapter a week.  I've posted the first two already, I'm doing Monday Evening posts, and with luck that will put me under just enough pressure to get my act together and get the ending written.  I have lots of diffuse ideas about it, they just haven't gelled into A Good Ending yet.  So far the pressure has been enough toget me to sort out the Messy Bit in chapter 2 that had random notes scattered all over it, so that's a start.

It's here:
Rexque Futurus

The Once and Future King sleeps in the hills, waiting to return in Britain’s hour of greatest need. This much we know. Arthur’s name echoes down to us out of the Dark Ages. But why? When that terrible hour finally comes, what will happen?

My theory involves an ancient Volvo, a lot of bees, Arthur in pyjamas from Marks and Spencer, a random dog, some very old Anglo-Saxon magic, doom, death and the serpent-spawn of a dark god.


strange but excellent dream

I used to have a lot of these, but I haven't had one for a while.  But last night's was brilliant!  I shall write it down in the hope of remembering at least some of the visuals for art purposes. 

For some reason, I was sharing a house with a couple who had recently moved in.  The house was not my actual house, or any house that I recall ever seeing, but I can see it clearly. It was a grey-painted house with large sash windows, at the bottom of a gravel-surfaced lane surrounded by tall trees beside a river.  The couple seemed pleasant enough. 

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Arty Things

I don't seem to have posted many arty things here for a week or so, so here are the latest ones I've made.  Here's a bonfire, made for painting-fire practice, with a glass of beer.  I took some photos of beer & bonfire a few years back that didn't entirely capture the light in the glass or the reflection of the light on background leaves, so this was an attempt to show what it really looked like: 

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Theo Goes to Dog School

He found it very exciting, and also exhausting.  There were two other puppies in his class, a Labrador and a Springer spaniel, plus one older dog who was attending because he pulled on the lead.  We met more puppies coming for the second hourly class as we left, too, so that was very exciting for him too.   

The Springer, a month younger than Theo, was very obviously fearful, and barked defensively at all the other dogs and the trainer's small child who was with her (due to lack of babysitter. Just over 1 year old, and very dog-friendly!).  But he warmed up over the course of the class and by the end he and Theo were playbowing at one another.

Theo did very well.   I had forgotten just how often you need to reward when you are starting out training — I've got out of the habit with Rosie, who will rarely take any food rewards.  Theo does not have that problem.  But I rather fear that any food rewards will be considered less of a draw than hunting, when he is a little older.  He already finds squirrels quite unbearably exciting, and has caught no less than three mice in the garden!   

He's got the hang of asking to go out when he needs to, and sleeping through the night in his crate now, so I am no longer sleeping on the sofa and popping out with him for hourly pee breaks, which is a relief.


War in the East of Middle-earth

It's taken me a while to complete this: arrival of puppy proved timeconsuming.

After part 1...

Pan out from the quest for the Numenorean Prince Irimon to a wider scale:the great unknown lands in the East of Middle-earth, for there are many forces moving as Sauron's plans begin to fruit and grow, in Raku, across the great grassy Plains of Alcar, in the great Harad desert and as far south as Ibavi.  We moved to a Huge Map, where we could see the many forces moving.

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