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Well why would it work? And some birds.

September 29th, 2018 (02:20 pm)

Sod's law: having decided to make the effort to post here more, I discovered that I -- and at least some of my f-list -- couldn't see the pictures I was posting, or only see them intermittently. In recent posts, I solved the problem by using LJ Scrapbook to host the pictures, but that didn't fix my earlier posts...

Cue lots of support requests to LJ, to my service provider and, since I've done something I've always said I wouldn't do -- imported my journal into Dreamwidth -- to Dreamwidth, too, because although there's no problem with the pictures there, crossposting isn't working for me. Honestly, why would it?

It turns out that LiveJournal handles images hosted anywhere that doesn't uses the https protocol via a proxy, causing all sorts of firewall and timing problems. My service provider has now whitelisted the IP addresses LJ provided, so the pictures are back -- fingers crossed! -- and they've also told me that 'you can call your images over https'. So, belt and braces! I'm going to experiment with https under the cut.

One thing I have been doing regularly is making icons for food_stillness. These were for last week's challenge:


1 2 3 4 5
veggie1_1.png veggie1_2.png veggie1_3.png veggie1_4.png veggie1_5.png

1 2 3 4 5
veggie2_1.png veggie2_2.png veggie2_3.png veggie2_4.png veggie2_5.png

They didn't win, but I was quite pleased with Set 2. And number 2.3 won Best Cropping.


More answers to the 100 Questions!

21. Do you kill spiders?

Oh, yes, absolutely! The moment I've calmed down and stopped screaming.

22. Have you ever made an ice pop?

I've bought ice pops and frozen them, if that's what you mean. At the moment, I have a box of Jubblies -- remember those? -- sitting in the kitchen, waiting to go in the freezer as soon as there's a bit of space.

23. Are you wearing shoes right now?

No. I'm wearing these:


I buy them from one of the tourist shops in Krakow. They are made from felt so they do get a bit smelly, but they have a good, thick sole so I can go outside in them if I'm careful.

I am probably on my seventh or eighth pair.

24. Tell me about you favourite primary school/elementary school teacher

Her name was Mrs Hamilton and she was lovely. She encouraged kids, she didn't stifle them. She taught me to write -- or, at least, she recognised that I could already write quite fluently. I was about six years old, and we had a work book for reading and writing lessons, and she told us to tell a story about a snowman, drawing pictures in the squares on the left, and writing the story in the squares on the right. When she asked to see my story, she looked at the top square on the right-hand page and saw 'man so' and, a bit annoyed, so I think it must have been a long day, she said -- I can still hear her voice! -- "'Man so'? What does that mean? 'Man so'?" And I remember showing her the previous square, where I'd written 'snow' but run out of space for 'man' so I'd put it in the next box, and then I'd connected that sentence to the next with 'so'. (We hadn't yet learned about commas). And she apologised and said it was very good!

My favourite secondary school teacher was Miss Haggas, who taught History, and encouraged me to apply to Cambridge.

25. Who was the last person you hugged?

curiouswombat, when I was leaving writerconuk!

26. Do you wear glasses?

Yes and no. Until recently, I wore contact lenses, with one eye corrected for distance and the other for close up -- the contact lens equivalent of bifocals. But my eyes aren't tolerating lenses at the moment, so I wear glasses for watching TV and driving, but I have to take them off to see well enough to do anything else!

27. Do you have a cat?

No, but my (new) next door neighbour's two cats think differently.

When I get back from work or from shopping, they watch me get out of the car and then lead me to my front door and sit on my doorstep, meowing in anticipation. I have to distract them, quickly open the door, squeeze through a tiny gap, and then close it again, quickly.

Then they sit on my back wall with obvious designs on my shed.

And one of them, despite my brother's having sealed up every gap we could find, still has a way of getting inside to mark it.

28. Do you have a favourite pair of underwear?

LOL, no! Underwear with decent elastic and no holes is enough for me. I do like things to match, so I do prefer the colour of the knickers to match the colour of the bra, and I try to wear black with black, or white with white, but if that's not possible, I just grit my teeth and get on with life.

29. What was your last tweet?

I do not tweet!

30. Do you still use facebook?

I have never used Facebook. Or Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram... Just LJ. And now, it seems, Dreamwidth.

Oh, and FutureLearn, which is a great place to make friends, and discuss what you're learning, and never get flamed or trolled (unless you get into a tussle with one of the 'Shakespeare was really the Earl of Oxford' idiots people). I'm starting Introduction to Forensic Science on Monday :-)

31. Do you like birds?

My first pet was a budgie. (I'd really wanted a dog, but a budgie was better than nothing). Her name was Snowy, because she was white -- though not albino -- and I loved her to bits. She looked like these:

Picture from Google.

I also helped my dad build an aviary. I think he must have bought a wooden shed as a kit, and I remember assembling it with him. My parents had absolutely no sense that children might be fragile or anything, so it would be my job to hold things in place whilst he sawed or hammered them.

Once the shed was complete, we fitted it out as an aviary. I can't remember its layout exactly, but I know that the far end, from floor to ceiling, was sealed off with chicken wire to form a large 'flight', and I think there was another much smaller flight on the right-hand wall, because I remember there was a little opening, with a sliding door, which led to an outside flight, shaped like a bay window, which we'd built on the side of the shed. It had a tiled floor, and a piece of tree branch wedged inside for the budgies to perch on.

Inside the aviary, there were some smaller cages, on the left-hand wall, for finches, and some breeding cages for the budgies, and, sadly, a little hospital cage, which was temperature controlled, and had a carrying handle so that it could be brought indoors.

Of course, it soon became my job to clean the flights, because I was small enough to crawl into them!

But I still like birds, and here are some bird pictures from this year's trip to Vancouver. They were taken with my iPad, which doesn't seem to lend itself to careful framing, so I've cropped carrier bags and people's bottoms out of some of them ;-)

The first two were taken through my hotel bedroom window. (I was in a different hotel from usual. I'll post pictures of the amazing views, especially at night, another time).

The rest were taken in the Bloedel Conservatory.

A little brown bird -- not sure what he is:

Two macaws:

Some zebra finches and a pretty canary:

We had zebra finches in the aviary.

A Lady Amherst pheasant and his budgie friend:

A touraco:

A cockatoo with impeccable table manners:

And a little mouse:

Apparently, the mice snuck in when some of the glass was broken :-)


Posted by: curiouswombat (curiouswombat)
Posted at: September 29th, 2018 02:41 pm (UTC)

Well those pictures all seem to have worked!

I love the slippers - mine are felt, too, but by M&S and so much less interesting.

I do have a Facebook account - I gave in and joined when my niece got married four years ago. My FB has lasted longer than the marriage... But I rarely put anything of interest there, to be honest.

My grandfather used to treat me the way your dad did you - I was regarded as assistant in chief from the age of about six :)

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: September 29th, 2018 10:41 pm (UTC)

I love my slippers!

It was a different world, wasn't it -- kids were free labour! And, apparently, when my grandad was a boy, his dad had him cleaning out the drains, and let him smoke a cigar to counteract the smell!

It's very sad to think that something like a FB account can last longer than a marriage.

Posted by: Karen (kazzy_cee)
Posted at: September 29th, 2018 03:56 pm (UTC)

You mustn’t kill house spiders they will get rid of all the other nasties in the house :)

I love your shoes.

I’ve been out this morning learning about birds of prey and getting up close and personal with them.

Posted by: Hobbit uk (hobbituk)
Posted at: September 29th, 2018 08:37 pm (UTC)

Spiders are pretty much doomed in my house too... I wouldn't touch one in the garden - their territory. But the house is mine! I actually slept in the spare room one night last week as the big spider on my bedroom ceiling vanished when I went to get the vacuum cleaner to suck it up. Who could sleep in a room where it was roaming around????

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: September 29th, 2018 10:24 pm (UTC)

I sympathise -- I slept in my car! It was when I was living on the boat. I heard it moving, and saw its legs spill in slow motion over the edge of a shelf, and I grabbed my duvet and the teddies, and fled to the car.

Like you, I'm quite happy to let them have the garden!

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: September 29th, 2018 10:28 pm (UTC)

...they will get rid of all the other nasties...

People say that, but I have no evidence for it, LOL.

I noticed that you'd posted about it. My brother bought my sister-in-law a bird of prey experience for her birthday and I know they had a great time.

Posted by: bunn (bunn)
Posted at: September 29th, 2018 09:39 pm (UTC)

Those icons look DELICIOUS!!! I want to eat them all.

And those are gorgeous slippers, too.

I just bookmarked Futurelearn. I do have facebook & twitter, but this looks a lot more constructive.

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: September 29th, 2018 10:17 pm (UTC)

I love my slippers :-)

I think FutureLearn would really suit you. There's a brilliant course called 'Rome: A Virtual Tour of the Ancient City', run by Professor Matthew Nicholls, who has spent five years building a 3D model of Rome, and lets you walk around it. It is absolutely amazing! (Though I did spend a lot of time trying to climb out of foundations and wall cavities). He's very approachable, too: I commented that the library buildings either side of Trajan's column would be the ideal setting for a story and he replied that it was a good idea :-)

There's also a good course about Hadrian's Wall, with some interesting stuff, in passing, about Birdoswald Fort, which, after the Romans had formally withdrawn, seems to have become the base for a band Roman mercenaries.

And there's a course about Portus, where they encourage you to write little fictional scenes (and then, I think, they mine them for ideas to help them interpret their findings. When I was doing the course, they were particularly interested in some comments from a plumber).

Posted by: Ree (reetinkerbell)
Posted at: September 30th, 2018 07:31 pm (UTC)
Balloons Fullest

Lots of lovely and colourful birds!!

So yes, I can now see your photos, which is wonderful. I love the icons you made (and I love that there is a community for food icons!).

Also, I am going to Krakow next week! Anything I absolutely have to do/should miss out on?? I am only going to have two full days, but will arrive fairly early on Tuesday so I count it as three days (leave early on Friday).

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: September 30th, 2018 11:35 pm (UTC)

Oh, wow! Well...

At the centre of Krakow there's the big Main Square, the Rynek Glowny, with lots of shops and cafes, and the Cloth Hall in the centre, which has tourist shops and stalls on the ground floor (where I get my slippers ;-) and a museum of Mediaeval Krakow underneath, and an art gallery on the upper floors. There are also horse drawn carriages for hire, but they're very expensive. The main thing is that every hour, on the hour, a trumpeter plays the hejnal from one of the towers of the Mariacki -- so you must hear that!

Then there's the Wawel, which is a fortified complex with a castle and a cathedral. I'm not sure how much you can see without paying, but you can walk around the outside of the walls and along the river bank, where there's a big bronze sculpture of a dragon that breathes fire the moment you've given up waiting! (Mediaeval Krakow had its own dragon, apparently).

I would go to the Bunkier café, which is a good place to get a light meal and a drink and use the free WiFi; it's usually full of students and hippy types and it's particularly atmospheric when it's dark :-) The gallery itself shows contemporary art -- some exhibitions are good, some are disappointing.

Then there's the main site of National Museum, which is a wonderful communist era building, all square-cut stone, which is gradually being modernised. There's a nice coffee shop with free WiFi, and a little book shop, and there are usually interesting exhibitions, often with labels in English as well as Polish. And there's a Leonardo da Vinci, the Lady with Ermine (but you have to pay to see it).

One of my favourite places is the Forum Hotel. It was a futuristic bit of soviet architecture -- I love concrete; I don't know why people complain about it -- and now it's now mostly empty, but the reception area has been turned into a trendy bar where you can get veggie pizza and organic cola :-)

Can you tell I like food?

I hope you have a great time!

Edited at 2018-09-30 11:38 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Ree (reetinkerbell)
Posted at: October 5th, 2018 09:56 am (UTC)
Art Nouveau

Wow!! Thank you. :) I really appreciate it!

I also wanted to ask about cash vs. card. I have read some conflicting advice on this, but maybe that is because it was geared more towards Americans who might not necessarily have the chip European cards usually have, and that might cause issues when trying to use a card? But what is your advice; I am going to bring some cash regardless, because I like to use cash when I am an travelling, but should I get pretty much all of it in cash (except for my larger purchases) or should I do a mix?

I am getting really excited about the trip now! I haven't had too much time to do research about what I want to do, beyond a quick look-through to see what things might cost to help me determine a budget, so this helps a lot! <3

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: October 5th, 2018 12:21 pm (UTC)

I always use cash -- I take sterling and change it there. One of the streets near the centre has a whole row of places to change money (Kantor) and my sister-in-law always checks to see who's offering the best rate. I can't remember the name of the street, but Google seems to be saying it's called Slawkowska. I've messaged my brother to check if that's right and will let you know.

Edited to add: P's confirmed that the street name is correct & that he's never had any trouble using a card, though he tends to use cash.

The only time I remember using my card was at the airport, and I didn't have any problems, but she did ask me whether I wanted it charged in sterling or in zloty. I can't remember what I said, because I didn't understand the difference, but I looked it up afterwards and it seems that you get a much better exchange rate if you pay in the local currency.

BTW, looking at the map reminded me that in the Main Square there's a chocolate café! It's called Wedel's, and you can get all sorts of hot chocolate -- I can recommend the one with elderberry liqueur.

It's great that you're so excited! (I'm always stressed out when I'm about to go on holiday, which sort of defeats the object ;-)

Edited at 2018-10-05 01:37 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Ree (reetinkerbell)
Posted at: October 5th, 2018 02:39 pm (UTC)

Thank you! And thank you P! :P

I think I will do the exchange here in Sweden (I have a card I only use for travel, from one of those exchange places so I don't have to pay for the fee, which is great especially if/when I need to change anything back, though I rarely do!) but it is good to know if I do need it!

I think I will do mostly cash then! I think it usually is easier too, for me at least (depending on how long I am away for and thus how much money I might need to bring). It is also far easier to keep track of how much money you have been spending when doing it in cash, but perhaps that's just because I am used to it whenever I travel abroad!

I think I will get stressed, but that will mostly be from work and all the things I will need to get done for Uni before I leave, not the trip itself (though perhaps that's what stresses you out to!).

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