Autumn 2013

Autumn 2013

Saturday, March 22, 2014


So, I’ve been away from here for quite a while. Sorry about that – life has been getting in the way, and I keep meaning to do a catch-up post, and that job keeps growing, because there is more every week to catch up on, and ...

So, yes. I’m still here, I’m fine, I’m busy.

Work has picked up the pace somewhat in this second semester: the beginners’ book has run out – finally – which means I need to provide texts and notes and glossaries. And that’s fine, but a glossary for, say, a handful of smutty Catullus poems *ahem* took me a whole day to make. 
And thus the blog writing suffers.

Anyway, I’m checking in to let you know I’m still here, and I do intend to get into posting regularly again. No, I am not going to promise anything, no timeframe, because then I’m only going to feel guilty if I don’t make it. I have a couple of things I want to share, and I will.

Enough waffling: I have something for you today.

As mentioned before, I write microstories for two monthly contests in writing groups on LinkedIn. In February, the required elements for the sci-fi story were:
a crime,
a reference to a favourite author (or several),
and a first person narrative.
As usual, the whole story has to fit into one comment, so the limit is 4000 characters, around 620 words.

This is what I came up with to fit inside those parameters:

by D C Mills

‘Cause of death is obvious,’ I concluded, pulling off my gloves. For the record, I added, ‘Severe head trauma as well as a broken neck. Skull fractured, brain dispersed, spinal cord severed.’

The man’s body had been found lying crumpled at the bottom of one of the steep ladders going between decks. The cause of the fall was another matter.

It wasn’t my job to investigate this: I was the ship’s medic, and with the autopsy, my duty was done.
But I was curious. Besides, didn’t I have some obligation towards the general wellbeing of the crew? If the ladders were dangerous, I was the right person to point it out to the Captain.
And if Alvarez had been pushed – well, in that case we had a murderer onboard. Another potential health risk.

I went to my office next to the surgical theatre to address the database of the onboard computer system. The mainframe was a model 2.21-B, which had led to the inevitable nickname.
People, particularly people placed on a ship in the cold, dark void several light years from their home planet, have a need to give familiar names to their surroundings. And this one was apt.

‘Sherlock,’ I said, ‘show me your surveillance images from levels 4 and 5, by the cargo hold. Start with the time between 2100 and 0100 hours.’
‘You have calculated time of death to around 2300 hours,’ the computer said in its almost-human voice. ‘Why concern yourself with actions taking place several hours before the fall?’
‘Alvarez was on duty in that period. I want to see who he was talking to,’ I explained, as if to another person. ‘If he quarrelled with anybody.’
‘You are looking for a possible murderer,’ Sherlock said, ‘as well as a possible motive. I see.’

I knew he was filing away this information along with the vast amounts of data he already stored: Sherlock was built to be a learning machine, forever expanding his knowledge and understanding of humans. His proficiency at interacting had become quite remarkable and often made one forget that he wasn’t, after all, human.

Several images appeared on the screen, in separate windows. Not many people were moving about, and I quickly spotted Alvarez.
I observed the man during the last hours of his life. He chatted with one, then another, of his mates. Everything seemed calm.

‘I changed the lighting in your bathroom,’ Sherlock broke in, ‘deducing that the uneven state of your shaving was a result of poor light rather than a conscious choice.’
I felt my cheeks and jaw line; the left side was significantly more stubbly than the right. ‘Thank you,’ I said.

On screen, the end of Alvarez’ life drew near. The person who shoved him was indistinct in the dim light above the ladder; only height and body structure were discernible.

I gave the Captain a short list of suspects matching this information, who could have been nearby at the time. Only three: Singh, Adams, and Percy, all midshipmen like the deceased.
They were called in for questioning and subjected to further scrutiny: Sherlock was able to monitor them closely, as he had done with me, to detect changes in pulse rate, breathing, skin temperature.

Singh seemed only remotely concerned.
Adams wept throughout and was barely coherent.
Percy was aggressive and rude.

After the interviews, Sherlock and I conferred: my impressions versus his objective measurements compared against a database of symptoms.
We agreed on the conclusion.

It turned out that Percy had attacked Alvarez out of jealousy; this also explained Adams’ tears, as she was the object of the quarrel, though preferring neither of the two men.

No matter how advanced human technology is, it seems that humans remain human, with the same fears and loves and weaknesses as we have always had.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket!

I have been quiet here for a while; at first because of frantic pre-Christmas knitting, and later due to pondering how to proceed with this blog.

I started blogging about a year and a half ago, mainly to get my brain into gear again after a stress-induced depression. Thinking about and writing essays kept me going and gave me an outlet for, well, scholarly urges.

Since then, though, I have started working again, giving me plenty of opportunity to be scholarly, and I have joined several writing groups on LinkedIn, including two monthly microstory competitions. All this gave me the courage to enter NaNoWriMo – and write 50,000 words on the sci-fi novel I had been planning for years.

During November, then, I ignored the blog – guiltily at first – in favour of novel writing. Over time I realised I have come to prefer writing fiction to rambling on about my life. Fiction is much more interesting, anyway.
So, all in all, the premises for the blog have changed, and so the blog itself has to change. I may continue posting once a week, skipping weeks when too much else is going on, and perhaps mainly writing about knitting. And writing. I am even considering splitting the blog, keeping this page for knitting-related chat, and making a new one for writing-related chat.
If I do, there will be a post and a link.

And as you can see in the sidebar, I now have a Twitter account: a new way to practice formulating concise statements.

But let's get on to the important matters: 

The Knitting
First, the Christmas presents:

For my mum: Armada by MMario

Laura in Primrose

For my dad: Foot Hugger Socks

For Emil: Mini Me (a smaller version of V for Victor)

For Emil: Sea Star by Hansi Singh in orange (favourite colour)

My sister's Hands of Blue; I also made myself a pair, so we can be Two by two

Laura and her doll wearing Comfort shawls by Laura Ricketts

On 24th December, a knit-along began in the aplayfulday group on Ravelry, making projects designed by Carol Feller. I cast on for an Iced cardigan in Aran weight cotton.

Inspired by the hexipuffs I made in November for the Great Ormond Street beekeeper project, I decided to challenge myself to making a hexiflat (non-stuffed) a day in 2014. So far, I’m doing fine – I have made 5 and am not bored yet.

It’s a way, of course, to use up scraps and leftovers of sock yarn, all those little bits that could be made into stripy socks, if it didn’t mean having to weave in a million ends. With the hexiflats, the ends are just pulled inside and left there.

And next month, in February, the Winter Ravellenic Games 2014 take place, concurrently with some sports event or other somewhere in Russia.

I joined Team Sherlocked as well as Team TARDIS, intending to knit a blue cardigan for the other and something for the one.
This ‘something’ is going to be rainbow-coloured due to the well-known controversy over Russia’s attitude towards gay rights.
Just as a f*** you to Putin and his gang.

In the whole context of gender queerness, I am fairly boring: a female in a woman’s body, formerly married to a man – won’t be doing that again, though – and personally not very interested.
In principle, though, I believe everybody is entitled to their preferences and to do whatever they want with whomever they want, as long as everybody involved wants to be involved and nobody gets hurt. And it’s nobody else’s business.

And I am perfectly aware that knitting something rainbow-coloured, and even wearing it in public, is not particularly brave, as it involves no risk to me.
But I can knit rainbows in February and make it a statement of support for everybody’s right to be themselves.

And with this, I wish you all a happy and fruitful 2014.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

December Fun

Hello everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket!
I feel like I have nothing to write about this week: all my knitting is Christmas knitting and thus secret; I haven’t done anything exciting or thought any profound thoughts; and I am reading a bunch of books all in a jumble, trying to catch up with my Goodreads challenge.

I had the last classes of the semester this week, and the exams are done and sent. So I have no more work until I get the exams back on the 20th or thereabouts. Apart, of course, from figuring out what to read next semester ...

We had a storm on Thursday, raising water levels along the West coast and in the internal straits. Living as far inland as you can get around here, we only had the winds, no flooding.
Thomas got home early, though, when his school was closed.

Victor was going out in the evening to a school board Christmas dinner meeting at a restaurant downtown; I didn’t like the thought of him walking to the bus stop and waiting there with tree branches being tossed about, so I drove him. As we approached the restaurant, an ambulance was pulling away. It turned out that one of the ornaments hanging between buildings in the pedestrian street area had been blown down and hit someone on the head. Good thing Victor wasn’t out walking there!

So, I went back home, made dinner and then read (and knitted) until Victor sent me a text just after 10 o’clock: ‘Want to go driving in the snow?’
Snow? Yep, the storm was now a snowstorm. Careful driving ... when I got to the restaurant again, the wind had dropped temporarily, and the street ornaments were innocently lighting up the pristine snow. Victor was outside tossing snowballs. It was a winter wonderland idyll.

Anyway, it stopped snowing, and the wind picked up again, gradually subsiding during Friday. The remains of the snowfall were washed away by the rain today. Not so pretty winter weather.

The Knitting
As mentioned, it’s all Christmas knitting, and rather frantic at that. I had decided, sometime around December last year, to NOT knit for Christmas – or not for everybody, at least, maybe a few items. Then I got the teaching gig and scaled down my plans even more; and entering NaNoWriMo, I practically dropped all but four gift knits.
Well, I emerged from under the NaNoWriMo rock, December arrived, and the Christmas knitting plans blossomed ... Ideas keep cropping up, completely ignoring the rapidly dwindling number of days until the big evening. So, I am busily knitting secret stuff.

No, wait, I did knit something for public viewing: a bunch of hand-dyed Hexipuffs for the Great Ormond Street Hospital blanket. Quite pretty, if I may say so myself.

The Books
Most of this year, I have been ahead of schedule on the Goodreads challenge, preparing for November. Still, I managed to fall behind; as of now by two books. So, I am doing what I do when Christmas knitting: I am reading a whole bunch of books at once. Because more books at once means you’ll finish them faster, right? Just like having five active wips lying around means you’ll knit faster.
So, here’s the list:

I am dusting off my Greek, which has been sitting neglected in a corner for about a decade, by reading through a grammar and a book for beginners. These are called BASIS and PROLOGOS (yes, in capital letters); I’m reading them in conjunction and surprising myself at how easy Greek is.

The last so far of the Gaunt’s Ghosts novels by Dan Abnett is Salvation’s Reach, living up to, if not surpassing, the standard of the series as a whole.

On the audio side, I’m listening to Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton. I know what you’re thinking: why choose an 18-hour book when you need to catch up? It gets better, though: the 18 hours is only the first half of the book. It’s an 1100-page book on paper. Facepalm.
Luckily, it’s a good book. Beginning in Newcastle in the winter of 2143 CE, it opens with a regular cop crime story, a murder whodunit. The call about the body dumped in the River Tyne comes in, of course, twenty minutes before the end of Sid Hurst’s and his partner’s shift. And so it goes, the story being told with a high level of everyday detail about life in the 22nd century. Not surprisingly, knowing Hamilton’s work, the murder has trans-stellar connections, and thus an expedition is mounted to the planet St. Libra near Sirius, travelling through the gateway just outside Newcastle. I can’t say much more without spoiling anything for those who may want to read it, so I won’t.

Great North Road is on my phone for on-the-move listening; on my laptop for lace-knitting listening I started Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson, her memoir of mainly her adoptive mother, referred to as Mrs Winterson, who was Pentecostal and manic-depressive. The title, apparently, is quoted from Mrs Winterson’s reaction to Jeanette wanting to be with a girlfriend.
I’m not sure how well I like this book; Jeanette’s upbringing was surely horrific, no doubt about that, and you have to feel for a child who was oppressed, not allowed books, threatened with Hell, and beaten on a regular basis.
But the narrative is rather heavy on theory of religion and comparative phenomenology; it does seem unnecessary to bring in the structuralistic jargon at every turn to explain or reflect on religious practices and her own reactions to her childhood.

There are more books on my Goodreads ‘currently-reading’ list: The Age of Innocence is currently on Craftlit, and Mrs. Appleyard’s Year on Forgotten Classics, so the pace of those two is chiefly outside my influence; I just listen to an episode or two when I get around to it.

So, that’s it for this time – have a great week, have fun, don’t get blown away or buried in snow, and most important of all: when confronted with the glitzy Christmas catalogues urging you to spend, buy, shop, and purchase –


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Still Here!

Hello everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket!
Yes, I’m still here, though I have been away from this space for a while. I apologise.

Undertaking a challenge like NaNoWriMo, of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, teaches you a lot. I learned – well, that I could do it, and that it was both more and less difficult than I would have imagined. I also learned that other activities, particularly writing, are pushed aside for the time being; I couldn’t face spending writing time on something that didn’t add to my word count.

Writing a 1,000 or 600 word microstory will take me at least a whole day: I have to come up with the world, the characters, the plot; and the language needs to be polished in order to get as much information as possible into a limited number of words.
So, on that background, writing 1,667 words on average EVERY DAY seemed a tall order. But then, writing a novel is completely different. I know, I was surprised, too. Who would have thought it?
For one thing, the word count is not limited – on the contrary, the task is to put many words down; and the NaNoWriMo fora (I will not write forums) have, of course, a thread for exchanging dirty tricks to swell your word count. I only read it last night AFTER validating my text, I promise.
Writing 1,667 words in a context you know already, describing the background, developing characters through action and/or dialogue, giving a bit of back story or moving the plot forward is very much easier than creating a whole new world. And you can ‘laugh in the face of linearity’, as one of the pep talks put it: write a later scene, an earlier scene, put in some dialogue, describe a place where your characters will be next month or next year.

On the other hand, it has to be done every day. Before November, I had for a few months written one and then two microstories for ‘my’ LinkedIn writing groups, and really felt that my writing time was quite taken up with those. How, then, could I write all those words in a month? But that feeling of my time being filled with writing only came about because I could ignore the story for days, not writing, but maybe thinking about it, and then return to it when the deadline loomed. In November, the two microstories were back stories to the projected novel and so belong to the same universe, and they were written rather quickly compared to earlier months.

I have, of course, been thinking about this particular story for months, if not years. It is a sci-fi adaptation of the Argonautika, the ancient Greek legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece aboard the ship Argo. I have worked with the Argonautika for many years: my MA thesis, written back in 1998, described the types of heroism found in Apollonius Rhodius’ Hellenistic version of the legend, and it has stayed with me, in the background, ever since. The sci-fi idea emerged only last year, though.

So, the central story line is there, but of course the ship is a space ship, the islands and lands visited by the crew are planets, gods and magic are replaced by advanced technology. The crew does not consist entirely of young men; some of them are women. Obviously.
I have changed the first names of the characters, keeping the initials: Jason becomes Jack, his cousin Akastos becomes Aiken, Atalante is allowed on board in my version and is called Alasen. The ‘bad guy’, king Pelias who grabbed the power from Jason’s father and sends Jason off on this suicide mission, was renamed sir Percival after the bad guy in Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White.

The frenzy is over, I made it. So what now?
Well, this coming week is all about work: I have the last few Latin lessons of the semester, and the exams need to be sent in by Friday. The exam date is the 19th December, and the administration of course wants them well before that. And I need to proofread the Greek exams.
And I have accepted the invitation to write a couple of microstories for upcoming anthologies, among those a pirate story. Not space pirates for this one, though.

NaNoWriMo have, apparently, editing months in January and February; I may take up that offer and get something resembling an actual novel out of the mass of words I have. In that context, I also need to decide where to cut – not cut out parts or chapters, but where to divide one book from the next. This mini epos, a 180-page paperback in the English translation, is swelling to the length of several novels when written as a novel. So, I’m all ready for next November!

The Knitting
As might be expected, I haven’t done a lot of knitting this month: all those evening hours usually spent watching TV, or quiet hours in the mornings with an audio book, have been spent writing, writing, writing.

So, my Midnight cardigan has received scant attention; not because I’m bored with it – far from – but, well, see above. I am looking forward to finishing it, because then I shall wear Midnight (get it? Discworld? No? Go read.).

If you want to try out the hexipuff thing but not necessarily make a whole blanket, you can join the Hand-dyed Beekeeper's Quilt Challenge and donate a couple or a handful towards a blanket for the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London.
I am using half-skeins from previous plant dyeing experiments; they are too small even for socks for my little feet, but a hexipuff uses no more than 3 grams of fingering weight yarn. So, they are great for using up leftovers. And there are two added bonuses: the ends are pulled inside the hexipuff, and the hexipuffs, apparently, aren’t sewn together at the end, but tied. All this pretty much removes the reasons why I normally cringe at the thought of making a scrap blanket: sewing and weaving in ends.
As you have probably gathered, I am seriously considering this whole hexipuff craze. There are, of course, groups on Ravelry for knitting 365 hexipuffs in a year, a puff a day, and I am a sucker for silly challenges. First, though, I am trying the concept out for a week or ten days for the hospital blanket; if I can’t make it through those, or get fed up, I won’t take on a whole year of it. We’ll see.

The Christmas knitting is underway; more on that after the big evening.

Today, of course, is the 1st December, the day for beginning the whole advent calendar thing.
I literally did nothing about it until yesterday evening, when I had sent my text to the NaNoWriMo word counting robot, had my text validated and been declared a ‘winner’ – a.k.a. made it through the 50,000 words. Only then did I go out to buy the requisite candles, and Victor pulled out the Christmas boxes to find ornaments.

The Books
I haven’t been reading much, either, this month – so little, in fact, that I am falling behind on my Goodreads challenge. Never mind, though, there are four weeks left in which to catch up.
So, I am still reading Blood Pact by Dan Abnett, one of his Gaunt’s Ghosts novels, that I started reading in Nottingham (gasp) three weeks ago.

Audio books are a bit easier to get through – not that I mind reading, obviously, I’ve just been spending my time writing instead (did I mention that already?).
I found The Constant Gardener by John le Carré on CDs at the library, so that has been playing in the car. It’s a classic le Carré post-Cold War story, in which the secretive bad guys aren’t the Soviets, but the giant pharmaceutical companies using poor Africans as guinea pigs for their drugs and giving not a fig when they are maimed or die from the side effects.
The title character, a British diplomat investigating the murder of his wife, has ample cause to reflect on the appropriate behaviour of real spies while travelling the world in search of information and at the same time trying to avoid being killed himself.

After the thriller, I turned to evolutionary biology, in this case The Story of the Human Body by Daniel Lieberman, a thorough – and sometimes repetitive – account of the changes in the human body over millions of years effected by the environment, in both natural and cultural evolution.
It is somewhat scary to be reminded of how unhealthy the agriculturally based diet is compared to a hunter-gatherer diet, and how harmful a sedentary lifestyle is. Not that Lieberman is a proponent of the trendy paleo diet: there is too little evidence and too much variation in the lifestyles of actual hunter-gatherers across the globe to ascertain exactly what one ‘should’ or should not eat. The overall picture is clear, though: a farmer’s diet, rich in sugars and starches and poor in fibre, minerals and vitamins – in other words, a cereal-based diet – is bad for your teeth, digestion, weight, metabolism, &c.
I haven’t yet gotten to the chapter about how bad chairs are for you, but I’m sure it’ll be fun ...

That’s about it for this time; I will end on a musical note, with Victor (in the ponytail) and his friend and co-conspirator at the closing concert of a talent weekend at the Aalborg International Guitar Festival last week. They performed the same duo, ‘Rondo in G’ by Ferdinand Carulli, at a local café in Viborg only this Friday. My pictures from that are crap, though, as I forgot my camera and had to use the one in my phone.

Have a lovely week – I will be back next Sunday!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Hello everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket!

This week, the format will be slightly different: fewer words, more pictures. I am writing on my NaNoWriMo project, and although the number of words in the universe is infinite, the number of hours in a day is not.

So this week’s post is more of a picture gallery with comments.

Last weekend, Andreas and I went to Nottingham, UK, for the Black Library Weekender II.

We rented a car this time instead of taking the train between Birmingham (the airport) and Nottingham, so I got to drive on the left side.
The car rental wanted to give us a Peugeot 308 which was ... okay ... I guess, but then they couldn’t find it at the car park and gave us an Opel Astra instead. Happy times!

During the weekend, I read this:

and knitted these – watchman caps in Peruvian Highland wool for Andreas (black) and Victor (green):

and bought these, co-authored by Dan Abnett and his wife Nik Vincent:

We went to Dan’s book signing on Sunday, and Nik showed up at the right moment, so I not only had my books signed by both of them, but was able to give Nik the Bequin shawl prototype. And Nik, of course, IS Alizebeth Bequin, so that was just perfect.

We went to all the best seminars, obviously, several of them on the Horus Heresy series which I haven’t read yet (hangs head in shame).
This is from the final megapanel on Sunday afternoon, featuring seven authors and an artist – a big hit this year was the release of a 100-page Horus Heresy graphic novel, Macragge’s Honour, written by Dan Abnett (third from the right) and drawn/painted by Neil Roberts (far right).
Andreas bought this, of course, and had it signed by both of them.

What else?
I started a pair of socks, my Storm socks in the Foot Hugger pattern and Arwetta Classic in the colourway Perfect Storm.

During this week, apart from desperately trying to catch up on sleep and NaNo word count and laundry and not saying stupid things in front of the students – Latin sometimes doesn’t make sense, when you’re tired – I felt cold and cast on for a cardigan.

This is the Same Same, a top-down cardigan featuring the contiguous sleeve construction and pleats at the fronts of the saddle shoulder.
I’m using Kauni ELC, a blue-black combination, which is why my cardigan is called Night Skies:

‘Tis the season and all that, and although I am NOT knitting for everybody this year (see above re hours in the day), there will be a few knitted Christmas presents. So, until after Christmas, I have knitting that I’m not showing. I have started one project, that much I’ll reveal for now :o)

That’s it for this time, then. I am going back to my novel writing – I will be back next week, possibly in picture mode again, we’ll see – and until then:
Have a great week, take care, have fun, happy crafting, and happy writing if you’re into that sort of thing!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween? Where?

Hello everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket!

This week, I am posting early and not much. Next time will be better, I promise – this weekend, Andreas and I are going to Nottingham, UK, for the Black Library Weekender II.
Very exciting; I have been looking forward to it for a long time, much more, of course, than last year, when I didn’t really know what it was all about. Andreas didn’t either, exactly, but at least he knew a lot more about the whole world of Warhammer (and still does).

I have planned and am packing my knitting and all the inconsequential stuff (clothes, passport, all that); also getting the house in order for the ones left behind: tidying, baking, grocery shopping.

The Knitting
This week, I am concentrating on the Coalminer socks for Thomas; I’m trying to get them done by end of play today, so he can get to wear them. I’m on the leg of the second one, toe-up, as you may recall, so there is a chance.

And now for the Travel Knitting:
The Black Library Weekender events are mostly panel talks, Q&A sessions and the like; so for listening in dimly lit audience rows, a simple, ribbed hat in aran weight wool on 4.5 mm needles seem like the perfect project.
Andreas decided he needs a hat soon, and Victor concurred on his own behalf. They both prefer something simple, masculine, and non-fussy, so I found the simplest hat possible, a ribbed beanie that doesn’t really require a pattern, but the photos of soldiers in the snow sold the concept.
I ordered some Filcolana Peruvian Highland, 2 skeins for each hat, in black for Andreas and hunter green for Victor. So that’s that taken care of. Yarn and needles packed.

For variation, I will be knitting socks (for me, this time) on bamboo needles that won’t be taken away at the airport. I’m using my own Foot Hugger pattern and the Filcolana Arwetta in the colourway Perfect Storm that I bought a bunch of last year for my BOTI scarf and then used less than half of, because I decided to do the TARDIS section in solid blue. So, lots of lovely sock yarn – and it’s in a skein, so I get to try out my nøstepinn to make a centre-pull ball.

The Books
I’ve finished a couple of books this week, somehow:

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, book 7 of the Dresden Files. In which our hero stands up to fight against the disciples of a notorious necromancer, rescues a polka-playing mortician, and is required to consider the attentions of a fallen angel. Also, there’s a dinosaur.

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse, another story set in the Pyrenees in southern France, where in the 14th century, the Cathars hid in mountain caves in an attempt to avoid being slaughtered. I have previously read The Labyrinth and The Cave by the same author. While reading this one, I had a feeling that this author writes the same story in different variations – some authors do that, and it gets old pretty quickly. Part of the reason for this turned out to be that the novella The Cave, which I have read a few years ago, is in fact the same story as the one in Winter Ghosts.

The October group read in the Ravelry group on Goodreads has been The Yarn Whisperer by Clara Parkes – apparently a wise and witty book of a life in knitting. I say apparently, because my copy arrived from Amazon this Monday. Still in October, still, theoretically at least, with enough time to read it before the end of the month. This week, though, is one of those weeks from Hell in which everything wants to happen at once.
As I have mentioned, Andreas and I are leaving for England on Friday morning – very early. So everything that needs to be done around the house this week needs to be done by Thursday. Which is today.

And this week, Victor and a friend of his from school have been trying out university life in a 4-day training programme at Aarhus University, meaning that I on Tuesday and Wednesday was the one to drive them. No problem in the mornings – except maybe for the poor kids who had to be ready at 6:30 AM to go with me – but in the afternoons, I had to stay at uni until they finished at nearly 4. Long days for everybody. Luckily, the father of the other boy works in Aarhus, too, so he was able to drive them on Monday and Thursday.
And happily, they are having great fun with geology, physics, maths, data science and all that. So it’s all good.

Oh, and we had a storm on Monday, in the late afternoon and evening. Our area wasn’t one of those most affected, though we did have fierce winds and bits of trees lying around everywhere.
Victor and his geology group for the day were supposed to have been out digging in the University park, but that was deemed too dangerous, so they got to play with sand and clay indoors instead.
Thomas was out having a driving lesson that was cut short when the warning announcements on the radio included Viborg: the police advised against all unnecessary driving. So now, he has tried driving in a storm – quite useful, though he was glad to have an experienced driver by his side.
So, what would be a sane reaction to a very busy week inaugurating a rather busy month? Well, to sign up for NaNoWriMo, of course! If you are not familiar with it, this is National Novel Writing Month – the ‘national’ part ought maybe to be replaced by ‘global’, as this is the nature of online activities. So, we could call it GloBoWriMo instead.

The idea is to write 50,000 words on a new novel during November; on the first draft of it, anyway, as editing and rewriting will have to be done later. And probably finishing this first draft.
I have no idea whether I will be able to write an average of 1,667 words a day for a month, but I’ll give it a go, in between everything else going on.
So, wish me luck!

And that’s that for now – I have to go and get the cake out of the oven, review my shopping list, and try to write a short novel synopsis.
I will be back next week, so until then: have a great week-and-a-half!