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Virgers! How are we doing with those explosives?

Unspeakable Joys

Fic (of sorts): Something Nasty in the Cellar
I have been doing a bit of fic writing again, but it has mostly issued in some odd disjointed bits of crack fic that don't really go anywhere (actually, the main problem with my 'Panemvision' idea is that I don't know enough about Eurovision to pull off a good parody...)

This isn't really a complete fic; it's a vignette from my lunch break, but I'm not sure where else there is for it to go.

Something Nasty in the Cellar
Fandom: Wimsey
640 words

There"s something nasty in the cellar of Talboys. Again.Collapse )

Fic post: Tolmachevo (Cabin Pressure)
For Trope Bingo, Round 3, though I have a suspicion it is not in the spirit of the trope... However, it is a ficlet, the first I have written in ages, so I am happy. I particularly hope it amuses [profile] ninveh_uk, as she is under the weather...

Title: Tolmachevo
Fandom: Cabin Pressure
Words: 804
Summary: Forbidden fruit tastes sweetest, even in a Siberian airport. Gen.

Arthur is not allowed strawberries. Not real ones, anyway.Collapse )

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/683418.html.

(no subject)
Rev. is back!

I watched last week's episode in my old theological college, whence I had gone for a few days on the 'Deacons' Retreat'. It wasn't much of a retreat, but there was a lot of reflection and listening to each other, and I found the whole thing exhausting but unexpectedly healing. Bits of theological college were good, but bits of it made me profoundly unhappy, and I think that's a (worryingly?) common experience.

Anyway, yesterday I caught up with Monday's episode, which I think was the best they've done in ages (though I do wonder what any non-church people in the audience make of it).

Anyone who cares has probably seen it but - spoilers anywayCollapse )

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/682069.html.

(no subject)
Happy Burns Night!

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that.
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/679068.html.

(no subject)
Would you describe the world of Swallows and Amazons as beautiful and rather silly? Because I wouldn't, even in the service of working in background information about the author, Neil Hannon (who has described cricket thus).

And if Nancy is suggesting a future Scout leader, something has gone terribly wrong...

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/677504.html.

(no subject)
Also, has LJ abolished the function where you can filter your friends page, or is something wrong today?

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/677175.html.

(no subject)
I Am A: Neutral Good Elf Cleric (4th Level)

Ability Scores:







Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.

Clerics act as intermediaries between the earthly and the divine (or infernal) worlds. A good cleric helps those in need, while an evil cleric seeks to spread his patron's vision of evil across the world. All clerics can heal wounds and bring people back from the brink of death, and powerful clerics can even raise the dead. Likewise, all clerics have authority over undead creatures, and they can turn away or even destroy these creatures. Clerics are trained in the use of simple weapons, and can use all forms of armor and shields without penalty, since armor does not interfere with the casting of divine spells. In addition to his normal complement of spells, every cleric chooses to focus on two of his deity's domains. These domains grants the cleric special powers, and give him access to spells that he might otherwise never learn. A cleric's Wisdom score should be high, since this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Well, yes...

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/667383.html.

Notes from a cooking process
I am attempting to refine a really good slow-cooker chile recipe. I quite like Jamie Oliver's, but I have had trouble getting the right chillis (hurrah for forthcoming trip to the States; I will definitely bring some stuff back). I have cooked Heston Blumenthal's chilli twice, and concluded that it made a wonderful spicy goulash, but was not really chilli, but that some of his ideas were worth stealing. So I'm going to keep a note of what I do this time...

Make some fairly strong coffee. Take 200ml of it, and put three dried chillies in it to soak. Drink the rest of the coffee. You could just make 150ml of coffee, but that's no fun.

Take two 400g cans of tinned tomatoes. Lidl's are the best I've come across. Put them into a saucepan, and reduce them down gently, stirring occasionally. You're aiming to reduce by about a third.

Meanwhile, chop a medium onion to a medium thickness. Fry in a little oil until the onion begins to soften.

Add to the pan:
2 pieces star anise (this is a Heston trick: he says it makes meat taste 'meatier', and he seems to be right)
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin (I'd have used 2, but we turned out to be nearly out)
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 small fresh chopped chilli
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
the dried chillies, sliced

Leave for about a minute, then put in the slow cooker, with a splash of the chilli infused coffee (I'd chuck the rest, it's not as nice - on its own - as chilli chocolate). Check your tomatoes - they might be sufficiently reduced by now.

Add a little more oil to the frying pan, and briefly brown
400g shin. The key word is 'briefly', so the heat should be high. Shin needs stewing to be good, so you don't want to cook it. Actually you could probably skip this step, but I don't see the point of cooking meat without at least some Maillard reactions.

Add to slow cooker. Deglaze the pan with 100ml red wine. Add that to the slow cooker. Add 200ml chicken stock. (Which was the home-made stock I had handy). Stir.

Cook on low for at least five hours.

At some stage during this time, roast and skin two peppers. (If you're going to be out all day, you CAN skip the roasting and skinning stage, but it really does make the finished result a lot nicer).

... I will come back to this entry later, and finish it off.

ETA: stage two, about one hour before you want to eat is ideal.

Chop your roasted peppers. Drain two 300g cans of beans - I like to use one of canillini, and one black-eyed beans. You could use kidney beans instead of the black eyed beans, or two tins of kidney, if you prefer, but I'm not mad on kidney beans on their own. Taste, and adjust the seasoning to taste. If your chillis turned out to be unexpectedly wimpy, then chop up another and throw it in. Hot sauce, e.g. Tabasco (I like the chipotle variety, which you can sometimes find in UK supermarkets) is also useful and gives you more precise control.

Eat, with rice, corn bread, or - and I know this is probably wrong - cheese grits.

Reflections: I think 1 tsp cumin is too little. The coffee is a good addition to the sauce, but it needs to be properly strong.

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/667017.html.

(no subject)
I enjoyed the new Ben Aaronovitch, but I am not at all pleased about massive spoilerCollapse )

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/666726.html.

(no subject)
That might have been too much chilli.


Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/666600.html.

(no subject)
I was going to post the mock-trailer mashing up "The Thick of It" and Doctor Who, but on rewatching it, I noticed that they cut from Malcolm saying "You need to shut your fucking mouth" to a picture of River, so, no. I do not wish to give airtime to gratuitous character bashing, especially when it has such obvious misogynist overtones (note that it wasn't actually one of Malcolm's better lines).

Which is a pity,* because mostly the vid is well-done and funny, particularly the use of the line "finally life is interesting again, I was so fucking bored", and of course the final use of a vaguely sinister final line suggesting that someone is being used as an unwitting pawn in some sinister scheme is a very Moffat-era-trailerish thing to do, even though I suspect the original context was just Malcolm being rude to someone.

On a more positive note: I for one welcome our new Scottish overlord. Please can he keep his accent this time, BBC?

* You could have used Davros! That's the kind of joke he's made for! It would be like the "unlimited rice pudding speech", but with more Tucker-esque swearing!

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/666196.html.

Seeking opinions from people who have cats
So we are thinking about getting a cat (we've not thought much further than this, but then we wouldn't be able to do anything about it until mid September, when we get back from the States).

I would like a cat, but I am hesitating, largely because I quite like our local wildlife population (we have a lot of small birds, including a regular visit from a willow warbler, lots of frogs, and a lot of voles/ fieldmice). And, obviously, cats will do what cats do.

Someone suggested keeping the cat inside, and I know that some people do do this, but I am not entirely sure that's kind to the cat. We have a big house (four bedrooms and a study), but of course that's not remotely the same as having freedom to wander about outside, and I worry the cat would get bored/ frustrated.

What do you, oh cat-owning/ loving flisties think? I may end up concluding that I can't cope with the prospect of the cat cutting a swathe through the local wildlife, but I would rather just not have one than keep it inside all the time, if that would be bad for the cat...

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/665404.html.

(no subject)
This 1894 general knowledge paper, from Trinity College Glenalmond, is rather fun. It's not the King Williams Quiz - though you can see how the KWQ grew out of that sort of thing - but I found it quite diverting (and very tough, in places!) Feel free to have a crack at it!

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/664747.html.

(no subject)

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Tree_and_leaf!

  1. In the Spanish edition of Cluedo, tree_and_leaf is the victim.
  2. Tree_and_leaf once lost a Dolly Parton lookalike contest!
  3. Abraham Lincoln, who invented tree_and_leaf, was the only US president ever granted a patent!
  4. It is impossible to fold tree_and_leaf more than seven times.
  5. It is bad luck to light three cigarettes with the same tree_and_leaf!
  6. Tree_and_leaf has four noses.
  7. A chimpanzee can learn to recognize itself in a mirror, but tree_and_leaf can not.
  8. The pigment Indian Yellow was manufactured from the urine of cows fed only on tree_and_leaf.
  9. A bride should wear something old, something new, something borrowed, and tree_and_leaf!
  10. According to the story, Pinocchio was made of tree_and_leaf.
I am interested in - do tell me about

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/663798.html.

(no subject)
I have not written anything lately, which is sad. However, this meme I've seen on a lot of people's journals sounds like fun:

I currently have 51 works archived at AO3.

Pick a number from 1 (the most recent) to 51 (the first thing I posted there), and I'll tell you three things I currently like about it.

Perhaps it might even encourage me into writing again....

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/661048.html.
Tags: ,

Books on, er, Thursday
Recently Read

The Cambridge Companion to St Paul, which is a useful introduction to the subject.

Currently Reading

Peter Ackroyd on Venice.

Also trying to teach myself some phrases of Spanish from Say it In Spanish, although I cannot concieve of ever needing to say "Can you recommend a good cook?", and I sincerely hope I won't need "I have typhoid fever"...

Reading Next
Heffers had a sale of fiction in translation, so I shall probably read Bulgakov, Diary of a Young Doctor next.

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/658644.html.

Definitely not Wednesday...
Books read recently
Finished the Civil War book, also The Line of Beauty, which I enjoyed, but found curiously unsatisfying. Maybe it was just that I didn't like most of the characters.

Currently reading

Peter Ackroyd, Venice.

The Cambridge Companion to St Paul.

Anything on the Camino, or Northern Spain, I can scare up.

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/658352.html.

(no subject)
The first gay TV drama, rediscovered?

It's an ITV television play, set in the South of the US, immediately before the Civil War. It's said to hold up well to a modern audience, though there is no word on whether the accents would cause American viewers to wince...

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/657693.html.

Read recently

Fred Secombe, How Green Was My Curate

Slender but amusing fictionalised memoir of life as a curate in the Valleys by the older brother of ex-Goon Harry Secombe. Ended rather abruptly on the incumbent's death - which of course meant all kinds of professional and emotional complications for the protagonist, so that was rather frustrating. Though apparently there is at least one sequel, so I suppose it's more of an unexpected cliff-hanger...

Have stalled a bit on The Line of Beauty.
Am enjoying Diane Purkiss' The English Civil War: A people's history, though it is rather grim reading.

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/657003.html.

Weekend Meals
Taking a leaf out of Oursin's book, I thought it would be interesting (for me, if not for you), to start keeping a log of this. At the moment, weekends are the only time I'm not eating institutional food anyway....

Friday dinner: cheated, as we were both feeling fairly grotty, and went to Yippee!, the sort-of-Pan-Asian (i.e. mostly Chinese, apart from the samosas) noodle bar round the corner. Less good for vegetarian/ pescetarian purposes than we had anticipated - all the noodle soups had chicken stock in them, which was a shame, but while the vegetable rolls were disappointing (mostly chunks of carrot in the filling), the prawn toast was enjoyable, and the fried noodles with prawns, beansprouts, pak choi and chilli slices was exactly what I wanted.

Saturday: For lunch, knocked together a spinach, tomato and feta fritatta, with a little bit of garlic added in. Probably used more spinach than was really good for the balance of flavours, but it was still very tasty. Baked fritattas are my new favourite vegetarian thing - so much easier than omlettes, but extremely satisfying! Stone Soup has a recipe for a chickpea, parmesan and rosemary one that I am keen to try soon.

For dinner, we had a change of plan. We had some fillets of wild Pacific salmon, and had been planning to do them with pak choi, but I had chopped up a pepper at lunch, thinking it might go in the fritatta, and then realised it wouldn't fit. So we spiced the salmon with chipotle, oregano, and coriander, blackened it, and served it with fried red pepper and onions, and a can of refried beans we had in the cupboard (slightly slackened with a little water, and supplemented with a chopped red chilli. I wouldn't normally use a whole chilli for these purposes, but the ones Sainsburys has at the moment are extremely mild).

Sunday: For lunch, bacon rolls with Frank's Hot Sauce, supplemented with the pak choi, so that it didn't go to waste.

For dinner, top rump of beef, which I had covered in mixed herbs and a little salt before browning it all over, and putting it in the slow cooker with a little water and cooking it on low for... a couple of hours. Ended up nearer medium than rare, but very tender and well-flavoured. On the side, roast potatoes, and stewed cherry tomatoes. This was a last minute improvisation. We had bought savoy cabbage, but when we cut it up, it was covered in little black spots, and while I suspect they were only a cosmetic problem, I wasn't sure, so we used up the tomatoes left over from the fritatta that were originally being kept for snacking. And very well they went with the roast too (probably better than the cabbage, actually).

Crossposted from http://tree-and-leaf.dreamwidth.org/654240.html.