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Little M in his Santa Suit, Eowyn's new wardrobe, and why you should never take out your purse...

February 1st, 2019 (02:45 pm)

I should have posted these nearer Christmas: little M wearing his Santa Suit on Christmas Day and wondering a) why his hood's so big and b) why everybody's laughing at him.

I'm doubly biased, but I think he looks adorable :-)


I've been hiding in my Brexit-shelter since Christmas -- things are so bad that work, which I hate, has almost been a relief.

I think the saddest thing is that it's the people who voted Leave because they were conned into thinking it would improve their lot who're going to suffer the most. I'm still going to Vancouver this year because, bugger it, I may not get the chance again, but I'll be there when the shit hits the fan -- or doesn't -- and it occurs to me that, if sterling goes into free fall, the room rate that currently looks so good might then max out my credit card!

Anyway, safe in my Brexit-shelter, I've been returning to childhood, and making little clothes for Eowyn.

Here are two Christmas dresses made from 'fat quarters' using commercial paper patterns, though I've altered the necklines and the sleeves to make them look a bit more LOTR. The golden lace and belt are made from Christmas ribbon.

Here's a pink dress inspired by the blue one Eowyn wears at the celebrations after Helm's Deep. I used the pattern I made with cling film and sticky tape to make the corslet, and it's decorated with more Christmas ribbon and some beads. (I'm quite pleased with this, though it could really do with ironing!)

Here are some knitted dresses, based on free patterns from this wonderful (if you want to knit doll's clothes) website though, again, I've altered the length, the necklines, and added sleeves to make them look more LOTR.

This shiny red yarn was murder to knit!

This one turned out more Spanish Infante than LOTR, but I'm pleased with the cuffs.

This is meant to be a green version of the coat Eowyn wears on the walk to Helm's Deep, but it's turned out too big -- and it needs a narrower skirt beneath it.

The jewellery was bought from China, via Amazon Marketplace. It was all either silver or pink (?!), so I sprayed some of it gold, and now have a nice, gold-topped wheelie bin.


I know you're not supposed to give money to beggars, but sometimes it's impossible not to. (And there's a man who sits outside the UCL Hospital, in London, and puts his hands together and bows his head when you give him a pound, which always cheers me up, and makes up for the rest of my shitty day).

But I've had some very upsetting encounters, both here and in Vancouver, with people following me down the street, insisting that what I've given them isn't enough. In Vancouver, I try to make sure I always have several 'Toonies' in my pocket, so I can just hand one over, but in London I often forget, because I tend to have the exact money for the loo in my right-hand pocket and the exact money for the Big Issue (which I always buy from the same vendor) in my left, and there's no room for anything else!

On Tuesday, I was approached by a young woman. She was very polite, but the moment I opened my purse she told me she needed £14 for the shelter, and that she had nothing. She didn't get aggressive, but the encounter had shifted gear, and I felt pressured. This was partly because, given my home and work situations, I can literally go for days -- sometimes weeks -- without anyone speaking to me who isn't asking for money, and sometimes that really pisses me off. So the young woman got (some of) her money, but she also got some churlishness.

And, afterwards, I felt really guilty.

But, later, I realised that it was when I'd taken out my purse that she'd decided to try for more. And, also, that, generally speaking, it's the people you give the more substantial sums to who get the most aggressive, because, if you can give them a fiver or a tenner, why can't you give them as much as they need? You can see their logic, and, when you look at the bigger picture, it's hard to argue with it.

So, sadly, my advice would be: never take your purse out. If you've not got it in your pocket, just say you're sorry.


There are some strange things in the next batch of the 100 Questions!

71. Science fiction or romance?

I like a romance with something else. I'm sure that everybody on my F-list has already heard me say this, but... My very first fic, My Bow Shall Sing With Your Sword, started off as a straightforward Legolas/Eowyn romance but, about halfway through writing it, I thought, "This is so boring; it needs a murder," and I went back and added one.

(Now I'm wondering if I've ever written a story that doesn't have an element of crime or mystery about it -- maybe some of my early Dramione stories?)

I do like science fiction, especially when it involves living in a closed space, like DS9, or a ship in transit, or a colony built from containers and protected from hostile fauna by an electric fence... I've no idea why, except that I've always liked the idea of living on a ship or in a shipping container -- and I did live on a narrowboat for 15 years!

I also like post-Apocalypse stories.

But I like a bit of romance, too, especially when the couple have each other's back, and work together to solve a problem, and the writer doesn't insist on driving a wedge between them because 'you have to have conflict' -- no! Conflict them with someone else!

'Us against the world' is what I like to read and write.

72. Do you take naps?

Occasionally, when I'm driving late at night, or at the end of a holiday, and I'm tired or jet-lagged, I'll stop at the services, set an alarm, and have a rest but, other than that, no. I sometimes fall asleep on the couch, but I don't think that's quite the same thing!

73. How many classes do you/did you take in high-school?

Is that the equivalent of A Levels?

I took History, English, Art and General Studies. I also took an S Level in History and an O Level in Economics. And I took a rather weird exam, called Test in English, because Cambridge wanted two Es and Test in English. I'm not sure what language they thought I'd written the answers to their entrance exams in.

74. When did it last snow where you live?

On Tuesday. I was in London, so I didn't see it fall, I just had to drive back from the tram station on snowy roads.

75. Does it ever snow where you live?

Yes, obviously!

Here's a picture from my front door, taken on Wednesday morning.

And here are a couple from my back door, showing my new Christmas tree!

76. How many months until your birthday?

Eleven :-(

77. How much charge does your computer have right now?

It's plugged into the mains and fully charged. I don't often run my big laptop on battery.

78. What is your favourite Disney channel movie?

That sentence makes no sense to me! I don't have a Disney channel.

One of the first films I remember seeing at the cinema -- along with South Pacific and, bizarrely, The Chalk Garden (in which Deborah Kerr plays an ex-con) -- is Disney's Pinocchio, and I remember my six-year-old-ish self being absolutely gob-smacked when the whale surged across the screen. No wonder I like films with lots of special effects!

My favourite Disney films, though, must be the Pirates of the Caribbean series, because Orlando Bloom was at his most beautiful as Will Turner. I've never watched the fourth film because Will isn't in it.

79. The city or the sea side?

Well, I can live without the sea but I can't live without a city. A city with sea side would be perfect -- sounds like Vancouver!

80. What is your least favourite colour?


I used to think that blue was my mother's favourite colour, because she never dressed me in anything else, but she asked for yellow flowers at her funeral, so now I'm not so sure. If she'd dressed me in yellow, I think I would have been a much sunnier person. One of the first things I did when I went away to university was buy a bright red dress.

81. Do you have homework/household paperwork to do?

No. I do all of my household paperwork on Monday nights, when I also buy my train ticket for London.

I do have a chapter of The Subsequent Life and Opinions of Thomas Haxby to finish, though, and, at the moment, writing it is like pulling teeth -- or like doing homework.

And I start a FutureLearn course about the history and science of psychology on Monday.

82. Are you still friends with your first best friend?

My first best friend was called Glenda, and when I last saw her we were about 20 years old, but I imagine we would still be friends if we met again.

83. Do you have/are you the gay cousin?

I've never been asked whether I'm gay before. Perhaps it's obvious that I'm not -- or perhaps it's (wrongly) obvious that I am, though I suspect it's actually that nobody cares. But I have given some thought to how I could say "No" without giving offence, and I've decided that the best way would simply be to say, "No, I like men," which is surely fair enough?

As far as I know, I have no gay relations.

84. Do you own dungarees?

No, but I once borrowed a pair to wear when I was working on my car.


Posted by: Karen (kazzy_cee)
Posted at: February 1st, 2019 03:18 pm (UTC)

You must have done that knitting on very fine needles. They look great.

Did you get my email about the date for writercon this year? I have the sister of a friend who is interested in joining us but can’t find the date we agreed.

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: February 1st, 2019 04:36 pm (UTC)

Yes, I replied straightaway. Hold on...

I've re-sent it, but the gist of what I said was:

I believe we agreed on the same weekend as last year, so that would be Friday 6th September to Sunday 8th September.

(We'll have to confirm the dates with the hotel, but there's more about that in the email. Let me know if you don't get it this time, & I'll PM you).

Yes, the needles are very fine. In fact, they're so fine, I broke one by accidentally sitting on it, and broke the tip off another just by knitting with it, but I managed to file it back to a smooth point with a nail file!

Posted by: Karen (kazzy_cee)
Posted at: February 1st, 2019 05:10 pm (UTC)

That's odd, I don't have the email, but it might have gone into my spam folder!

Not to worry, she's not sure she can make the early part of September now *g*

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: February 1st, 2019 08:34 pm (UTC)

It's also possible my hosting company has lost it -- I know they're in the process of moving servers.

That's a shame. It's always nice to get some new people.

Posted by: Maz (thismaz)
Posted at: February 2nd, 2019 08:39 am (UTC)

M does indeed look very cute.
I love the knitted dresses, especially the green and the blue ones. All those dresses are lovely, but those two are especially nice because they hang so well.
I know someone in Manchester who carries Mars bars and gives them to rough sleepers. There are a lot of rough sleepers in Manchester. Apparently Mars bars are always gratefully received.

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: February 2nd, 2019 12:42 pm (UTC)

Mars bars is a brilliant idea! Thank you! It's generally on my walk back to Euston that I get approached, and I always have bits and pieces in a carrier bag, so it'll be easy to carry a few Mars bars. And, as you say, everybody loves Mars bars!

Posted by: Hobbit uk (hobbituk)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2019 01:08 am (UTC)

When I was working, I used to regularly see two rough sleepers on my way to the car park. I used to stop off in greggs and get a couple of cups of hot chocolate and a couple of sandwiches to give to them. It's sad, but in a lot of cases money just gets spent on cheap booze, which nutritionally doesn't benefit them at all...

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2019 12:00 pm (UTC)

That was a lovely thing to do.

Unfortunately, (apart from my Big Issue man) these people aren't there regularly, they just come up to me, so it's hard to be so well-prepared. (And I have to admit that {whispers} given how readily I turn to chocolate to get me through when things are bad, I do sort of think that if they need some booze...)

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2019 05:24 pm (UTC)

I've no idea how it is that I've managed to miss every single post you've made in I don't know how long. So sorry.

The baby looks completely adorable.

Posted by: Ree (reetinkerbell)
Posted at: March 18th, 2019 08:39 am (UTC)

He is adorable!! And what lovely dresses you have made! I love that you are being so creative with these smaller projects, where you can see a lot of results "quickly" and also do a lot of different patterns in a short amount of time. At least I get tired of doing the same pattern over and over again!

"The city or the sea" does sound like Vancouver! No wonder you love it there. :D

Posted by: ningloreth (ningloreth)
Posted at: March 19th, 2019 10:40 am (UTC)

He does look cute, doesn't he? Since then, every time I've seen him he's been asleep but I'm told he's grown a lot :-)

Yes, small is beautiful from that point of view! (Though I'm making a dress with a petal-shaped hem at the moment and it's taking forever).

I'm going to Vancouver tomorrow! I'm in the panicking stage at the moment.

How are you?

Posted by: Ree (reetinkerbell)
Posted at: March 21st, 2019 07:49 am (UTC)

They do grow fast when they are so small. :) How old is he now?

I bet it does, but I am sure it will turn out beautifully. Is it your first petal hem?

Woho! I hope you have a fantastic time, as you usually do. :) Did you forget to pack anything? I like to pack minimally, but I always seem to pack too much anyway, you know, those "just in case" items that if necessary, I could buy at the location. :P

I am quite well! Just nervously waiting for my thesis to get passed so that I can continue on, or else I will have to do another semester of classes. I should get my result today! Excited and worried all at the same time!

I hope you had a good flight!

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