So this term's classes are slowly winding up, although I have summer term planned and am in discussion about autumn and - rather frighteningly - even 2015 too. Now all I need is to do the prep and how I get a few students. Fingers crossed on that last one.
I spent the weekend doing a certain amount of archiving at Bardic Web; quiet days do at least have one advantage and that is that I don't get distracted *lol* I have also been tidying up Drysi's blog. She had one new diary entry go up and a few other bits and pieces sorted out too. I did Caolan's earlier this year, so both of them are reasonably up to date, which I like. I have a few ideas for Caolan that I hope will come to fruition soon. I'd like to dust him off and see where he is now as for the most part he's been in cameo or party only mode for some time.
I also got some mythos done for Elemmiire. I've been adding to the details about dark elves, particularly the magic side of things. That is now more fleshed out than it was. Hopefully that will prove useful at some point.
So far, so good on the work front. I have all three courses running next week. I do, I admit, need to see how many people turn up at this first lessons before I receive absolute confirmation that I can continue on beyond week one, but its better than them being cancelled outright before they even get off the ground. Fingers crossed, all three will run, although it will mean I have a busy few months if they do.
If all of them run, I will have classes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Monday will then become my prep day to make sure I have everything I need for the following days. Friday will be my doing anything else that needs doing day. This means that whilst I will be around at writing-wise, it will probably be popping in of a morning, adding anywhere that needs adding to, and then going away again, especially on my three teaching days. I would expect to be around more on my non-teaching days and also at weekends, as per usual.
I also have a new venue to find, which could be interesting. I'm told that its only five minutes walk from the train station, so that's not too bad. I've never been to this particular town in my life before though so that's always a bit of an adventure.
It's awhile since I wrote here, which wasn't actually intentional, but was probably a reflection of there being little to write about. Since last time, I taught the classes I mentioned before, had a nicely quiet Christmas holiday, and am now back to finishing off my preparation for next term. I'm hopefully doing three courses, subject to a reasonable degree of enrolment. One I've taught before: Fabulous Treasures and Great Discoveries. The other two are brand new. One on Vikings, the other on Mediterranean Europe between 800 and 500 BC. The latter introduces cultures like the Etruscans, Archaic Greeks, Phoenicians and the early part of the Carthaginians and Roman Republic. Fingers crossed, they will all run, but I'm still awaiting confirmation of that.
Otherwise, things are much as normal. We started band again on Friday and had some new music. I quite liked the Holyrood march. Not so sure about Sweet Home, Chicago; the arrangement for flutes and piccolos was awful. Probably, if I'm honest, because it's not supposed to be played on flutes and piccolos. It's a jazz type piece. However, the band has five of us in total so it would be nice to have something to do in the tune. Either that or we go with one of my fellow flautists suggestions and let us play the triangle instead *lol*
It's that time of year again. Yes, christmas pudding making season is upon us. I spent this morning mixing up the ingredients and putting them into pudding bowls. The first batch is in the steamer now. Christmas cake is pencilled in for tomorrow after I soak the fruit overnight in the booze. We're not making mincemeat this year since, after checking our cupboards, we discovered we had a couple of large jars left over from last year. Fortunately that type of stuff doesn't really go over. It just sort of matures *lol*
Things have been a bit hectic the last few weeks. Last weekend, the scout and guide band I'm an instructor with played with other local scout and guide bands at the main concert hall venue in the area. A big, important show for all involved and a very long day. We got there at about 8.45am. I finally fell into bed about gone 11.30pm. If you take into account our youngest members are about 7 or 8 years old... yeah, long day. But they all did brilliantly.
Teaching has started again as well. I'm doing one class on Pompeii - which involved a trip to an exhibition at the British Museum last Tuesday - and another on the Black Death. Both promise to be enjoyable.
Organised chaos continues to reign, although it's slowly coming back under control. One bedroom now has fitted wardrobes and cupboards. The second, mine, should be done today. Tomorrow the carpet fitters are coming. After which, we can hopefully start to empty things out of their boxes and back into their rightful places. It will be nice to be able to sleep somewhere that doesn't look like a bomb site. Not to mention the fact that I'm starting to go stir crazy on the reading front since most of my books are completely inaccessible at present.
Yesterday, to add to the chaos, two men came to rip out the old berberis hedge at the bottom of our garden. It was almost dead and really needed to be gone. So not only did I have hammering and drilling upstairs, I had chainsaws going outside. I always seem to get stuck with this sort of fun. The perils of working from home. The others have disappeared off to work and left me to deal with it. Fun!
Ah, well. We are getting there. Progress is being made and I shall cling to that.
The decorating is coming along well. Both bedrooms are wallpapered and painted. Since we're apparently suckers for punishment, we did the hall and stairs too. Now we're just waiting for the workmen to arrive on Monday morning to do the furniture. The carpet fitters are coming later in the week. Hopefully by Friday we'll be able to start taking stuff out of boxes and putting it back in cupboards.
It's been a tiring couple of weeks. We've spent most of it working with very little break. It's also hugely inconvenient to be living out of boxes the way we currently are. It's daft things like only having a limited selection of clothes to wear (because the rest is packed away) or having little or nothing to read (because most of the books are also boxed). We just keep telling ourselves that it will be worth it when it's finished. But right now we're in the organised chaos stage still.
The temperature today is not quite as hot as it has been, which is good because we spent this morning tracking around stores in search of wallpaper, paint and carpets. The bedroom furniture has been finalised; we picked door styles, woods and handles first thing. Mum has picked ivory-painted wood for her furniture, mine is more of a honey-coloured pine or beech colour.
Then we picked wallpaper: Mum has gone with a delicate botanical kind of print. It reminds me a bit of watercolour wild flowers. Mostly ivory background with these washes of green for the leaves and lilac petals. She's going with ivory paint on the ceiling and a pale lilac colour gloss on the windowsill and the door. Mine is more oriental looking. It has a cream background with what I can only describe as Japanese cherry blossom in a dark cranberry red. My paintwork will be plain cream.
Carpets haven't been bought yet, but we went to get some idea of colour and price. I'm looking at a honey colour one. The idea is that the furniture, the background of the wallpaper, the paint and the carpet will all be in these warm, creamy or honey shades with just the sprinkling of the red cherry blossom on the paper (which covers all the walls). I'm also going to see if I can find curtains in the same red and also pick out the red on the bed linen. That way it should be interesting without being too dark since it's not a huge room. But since Mum's furniture is paler than mine, she's looking at a dark lilac or heather coloured carpet to pick out that accent colour in the wallpaper.
The idea of emptying both bedrooms completely is still frankly terrifying. I don't think any of us is looking forward to the experience. I've now gone through all my drawers and cupboards. Bags of stuff has gone off to the charity shop. Yet more bags went off with the bin men. Mum's in the middle of doing the same. It still leaves a whole heap of stuff to move out and put somewhere else for the duration though. This is intended as one-off deal though. Next time we decorate, we won't be completely refurnishing the rooms at the same time. We probably wouldn't decorate both rooms at the same time either. Its only the fact that it's cheaper to get the furniture fitters that way that means we're doing it that way this time.
I always feel a little bad complaining when it's warm because a) we don't get a lot of it sometimes and b) other places do get hotter, but yeesh... we've had getting on for a week or so now of high twenties or even thirty plus degrees C weather. For the UK that is hot; in fact, according to a news report I've just read, we're having what is categorised as a category 3 heatwave. We've never had a category 4 to my knowledge, that's an automatic cabinet meeting, national emergency kind of variety. Category 3 means they start warning schools and hospitals to take appropriate precautions.
Heat notwithstanding, I've been being productive over the last few days. We're proposing to completely gut and redo both bedrooms, so yesterday I cleared out my wardrobe and chest of drawers; anything I don't wear or doesn't fit is now in a charity bag. Today I did the same with my shoes and bookshelves. I need to go through my dressing table drawers and some boxes still. The idea being that as and when we empty the room to decorate, the only things I'm worried about finding space for is stuff that is actually being kept. Anything else has already gone, either to a charity shop or into a bin.
Last weekend we all went to Stratford-on-Avon. Relatives from Ireland are on holiday over here at present and we agreed to meet there as it was roughly halfway between us and where they are staying. It was great to see them again. We hadn't spoken in person for a few years now - since Mum's graduation in Belfast, think.
Otherwise, I've been getting on with organising classes and writing at Bardic Web.
The weather is improved this weekend, we actually have sunshine, although goodness knows how long it will last. The weather this year has been really unpredictable so far. However, as it was nice, I decided to take advantage of it to go and do some weeding in the garden. The fruit and veg are coming along well. We have carrots, beetroot, cabbages, beans, peas, onions, garlic, potatoes, strawberries, gooseberries and raspberries all on the go.
I've also been working on some character homes: I got Rafe, Medraut and Eamon tidied up and I keep looking at Griffith and pondering doing a revamp on his too, but inspiration hasn't completely struck yet on that front.
And I did a character blog for Keesha. I had been pondering for awhile sorting out how she came to be a vampire and so on and last night it all came together in my head, so I sat down and wrote it down today. That accounts for her and Menhit. I'm also seeing if, having done them, I can do ones for Charon and Kaine at some stage. It might be useful for story purposes.
Some interesting choices in this year's Classic FM Hall of Fame. Not so much for number 1 - Rachmaninov Piano 2 again! - but for the addition of two computer game series' music. I find this fascinating because film scores have gradually been creeping in and up in popularity - if you think about scores for things like Lord of the Rings you'll see why they're deemed 'classical' - but games is a new one. I think it's good though, generally speaking. Many of the scores are very orchestral and deserve to be there. Plus they're new. Classical music doesn't all have to be old and dusty.
1. Rachmaninov, Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor 2. Vaughn Williams, Lark Ascending 3. Final Fantasy Series 4. Vaughn Williams, Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis 5. Elder Scrolls Series 6. Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 5 7. Elgar, Enigma Variations 8. Mozart, Clarinet Concerto in A Major 9. Beethoven, Symphony No. 6 10. Allegri, Miserere