vilakins: (autumn)
I just discovered how easy it is to use DW's image hosting instead of mucking about with Flickr to extract URLs, so I'll be making more pic posts.

It's late autumn here and at the weekly farmers' market they had carved pumpkins - the first I've ever seen in RL.


Farmers' Market on a lovely crisp day

Pumpkins, pasta, and a castle )
vilakins: (nikau (NZ!))
I don't usually do political posts, but I did like this word cloud created from an online poll of NZers asking for a word to sum up the orange waste of skin I call Shitler (I refuse to dignify it with its name).

(Results are again from a UMR online SAYit poll of n=1000 nationally representative New Zealanders conducted between the 28th March and 11th April 2017. The margin of error for a 50% with 95% confidence is +/- 3.1%.)

OK, it's a small sample, but yay for NZers not following the global trend towards fascism. OK, there are a few supporters there like my appallingly right-wing sister, but the majority are pretty damned clear-sighted. Let's hope it's reflected in our September elections.
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
Due to all the unusual rain, there's a plague of mice here, and we're not the only ones* as I found out at the hardware store when I went today to buy a humane mouse trap. I brought it home and I've already got a mouse inside it, but I've had to hide it as the cats are far too interested. I plan to release the mouse in the country, well away from houses. Maybe I'll go there tonight so it's empty for the next one.

Ugh. I'm so over trying to chase mice around the house and trap them before Ashley kills them, having been a feral kitten once; Jasmin just plays with them, and Sebastian is totally uncertain what to do with them, just looking at them a but nervously.

Right, I'm off with this one.

* I know sallymn in Australia is suffering too, even getting mice running across her office desk. Bloody wet weather.
vilakins: (data)
I've been on DW for a few years now, cross-posting, but I don't have all of you on my subscription filters there as in many cases you did most of your posting and commenting on LJ.

However, if you're moving and I'm not already reading and commenting on DW, please let me know and I'll subscribe and grant access, or change my filters so I do.

I'm vilakins there too. If you have a different name on DW, please let me know what it is. I don't want to lose touch.

In the meantime I'll be staying in both places until I no longer know anyone here. :-) (I'll also be doing an extra-icon purge so I don't pay LJ any more money.)
vilakins: (me with cat and wine)
Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] quarryquest!



Have a good one!
vilakins: (loose cannon)
The floods after Cyclone Debbie are appalling, a 1-in-500-years event leaving the entire town of Edgecumbe under water and a lot of the work done on the Kaikoura roads munted by landslides. The weather in this country NEEDS TO GO HOME.

But this made me laugh: a guy caught trying to drive his motorised picnic table up a hill in Dunedin (about an hour south of here). His lawyer said that "he has ceased associating with the type of people involved in operating motorised picnic tables while under the influence of alcohol", but the last line is a killer.
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
I suppose I should, you know, actually post instead of just reading and commenting. I've felt very blah lately for several reasons and though I have some cool photos, some of them taken on the 14 separate days of summer, the effort of posting just seems too much. I've been taking refuge in reading, knitting, and painting what I can. Re the last, the downstairs sunroom looks amazing.

The weather

We never got a summer this year, and many places have had over a month's rain in a day for several days running causing terrible floods. I'm taking vitamin D3 and K2 pills because the lack of sunshine really gets me down. It's normally dry and sunny here. OK, we get isolated nice days but that's it. I'm hoping the weather comes right in winter; the last one was lovely. At least the frequent rain is light, not like the cary subtropical stuff in Auckland.

And now the central country is about to get battered and flooded by Cyclone Debbie. A friend just posted that she had a scary drive through landslides, worrying that one would hit her as she dodged rocks, so it must have arrived up there.

The house

My friend [personal profile] zoefruitcake said about her house that "I'm starting to hate living here as I just can't stand this constant living in limbo, waiting for one thing to happen before the next and then the next. I want it all done now and I'm losing patience," and that expresses how I feel so well.

We can't paint the bedrooms and upstairs sunroom till the holes in the walls are fixed (and one huge one made by Greg's brother trying to get at the wiring requires a carpenter), we can't fix the downstairs bathroom and loo till we have a shower upstairs, and we can't have that put in till we pull up the toxic old lino. Greg's too busy to do that and I won't. Also the so-called study is full of boxes we can't unpack till we load the stuff in the storage room into the high cupboards that need ladders to get to and I hate ladders.

We've only managed to do up one room in the 9 months we've been here, and that was a filled-in porch (downstairs sunroom) made of limestone so it was easy to patch damage and repaint. It looks amazing now. I want the rest of the place done up in those light colours, but first a lot of the walls downstairs need replastering, and that can't be done till the rewiring is completed, and Greg's brother hasn't been here for weeks so we'll have to get someone local in. It feels neverending. Right now we're fixing holes in the guest room so I can seal and paint. That will be something, especially with more guests coming.

I also want my computer with all its files and apps instead of this work laptop, and a proper desk instead of a tiny sewing table. :-(
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (stars)
I should make it clear that I'm not leaving LJ (I think my last post was a bit ambiguous). I just didn't want to lose track of anyone I follow if they left and went to DW and I didn't know about it.

I don't see why people are worried about the servers being in Russia other than the problems LJ has been having lately. But if you move to DW, let me know to make sure I can subscribe to you there.
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (stars)
Is anyone else failing to see comments even though there's a > 0 count showing? I haven't had problems with LJ till now, though I know others have. And damn, I now find I can't even select an icon.

While I'm here, is there anyone I follow who would rather I subscribed to them on DW? I've added a lot of people to my circle over there, but have only added them to my default filter if they said they prefer DW. I daresay that's changing as several people have said they're moving.

Let me know if you are, plus your DW ID if it's different.
vilakins: (fireworks)
Our neighbour Michael the Bookbinder invited us to a new year's party. He's the one who dresses in Victorian clothes every day...

... even when clearing the gutters on his house.


He invited us to a new year's party. Photos including Noisel the cat )

I discovered from all Michael's books on the Napoleonic wars that he's a wargamer with thousands of tiny hand-painted soldiers and equipment from the period; we spent some time looking at those and he was impressed with how much I knew. I used to wargame but my period was the WW2 North African campaign and I used boards and counters. I wish I still had them now.
vilakins: (me with cat and wine)
... to [livejournal.com profile] aralias and [livejournal.com profile] jaxomsride!



I hope you get all the separate birthday and Christmas presents you really should!

I'm back

25 Nov 2016 04:16 pm
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (vila b&w)
Thanks for your support and best wishes, all who commented - the operation went well and I'm back home after two nights in hospital in Dunedin. I slept and read most of yesterday (yay for my Kindle) but I'm feeling much more lively today and haven't even had a lie down which is a huge improvement.

And while I was away, the solar installation was completed and is up and running. :-)
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
I'm off to hospital in Dunedin this morning for my operation. I won't be taking my laptop so I'll be offline for 2-3 days. I'll post when I get back.
vilakins: (attolian me)
This Roman me icon has given me ideas for next year which will include that wig and necklace and should be cooler. The striped jacket I wore was far too hot in the sun.

Sunday was the fete held in the Victorian Precinct which was closed off to cars. I only spent three hours there in the afternoon so I missed a lot of the street entertainment - check out these excellent photos on Facebook to see more than I did (plus more parade photos).

I can offer Morris dancers for [personal profile] watervole, acrobats, and Queen Victoria with a difference.

My photos )
vilakins: (cricket)
The sun came out for the noon parade though it was raining in the morning. Oamaru weather, you finally came through!

Parade photos )

In the evening I went to the murder mystery dinner which was great fun. Most of the diners/audience were in costume and the people at my table were very friendly. The teenager beside me thought I looked like the 5th Doctor, hence the icon. :-) I took a photo of fellow diners but it didn't come out; that's been happening lately. The phone gets a new SD card tomorrow.
vilakins: (attolian me)
It's been sad and grey and wet here for weeks, and though it fined up today, the garden party in the garden below us was moved to a hall and the have-a-go-at-croquet event was cancelled because there were floods on Wednesday and the ground is too soggy and wet. There's another garden party tomorrow in a different location and that still looks to be going ahead.

As the theme is "Medicine in the Victorian Era" I dressed as one of the Three Men in a Boat, the hypochondriac one, armed with two of Greg's Victorian bottles he dug out of the Avon River mud as a kid, one labelled "Doctor Brooke's Solar Elixir" and the other "Bonnington's Irish Moss for Coughs and Colds".

The icon BTW is as close as I can get to Victorian though it's actually me dressed as a Roman woman.

Elevenses with Mrs Beeton in the Early Settlers Hall


This wonderful gentleman was there. That was an excellent event: $5 for a selection of savouries and cakes including Madeira cake, a cup of tea, and a glass of Madeira - I can imagine this charmer as the singer of Flanders and Swann's "Have some Madeira m'dear". Plus you could try your hand at Victorian parlour games.

More photos )

Apothecary Tea Party at the Sanatorium AKA the Opera House


A woman and her son in the Opera House. I just noticed that there's a nurse carrying a severed foot behind her. :-P Also in the background is the entrance to the Hysteria Room.

More photos including a couple possibly NSFW )

TV recs?

15 Nov 2016 11:25 am
vilakins: (screen)
I refuse to give the shithead and its supporters and other right-wing and religious extremists the power to depress me. The best revenge - resistance in this case - is living well.

Entertainment and laughter are good for mental and physical health. I have recently discovered the very funny Mike and Molly (real-looking people!!!) and am going through season 1. Victoria is wonderful; even Greg is enjoying it to his mild surprise. I'm catching up with Person of Interest and still watching Once Upon a Time, Modern Family, Big Bang (of course!) and the Aussie comedy-drama House Husbands. An icon reminded me that I need to finish Psych and also Chuck at some point. And probably some others that I let slip.

I've probably missed some out there, but I'm looking for recs for series I should have known about. The three comedies above were all recced by friends and I'm very grateful.

So, please let me know about clever comedies and entertaining series of other kinds; no graphic violence, vicious crime or torture, or terrorists please. They don 't have to be current or even recent.
vilakins: (eep)
There was a large 7.5 earthquake felt over much of the country here overnight with damage and two dead, but we didn't feel it at all where we are; I slept right through it. There were tsunami warnings, but no tsunamis as far as I know, just some large waves.
vilakins: (hug)
Sorry, [livejournal.com profile] kerravonsen, that I forgot to post yesterday. I hope you were able to enjoy celebrating with family and friends despite everything.



Here is something for you )
vilakins: (poppy)
Our garden continues to surprise me with new flowers (more photos another time) but yesterday I discovered we have several herbs (lemon balm, mint, fennel, rosemary, and possibly more) - and poppies that are just coming out. Very appropriate for armistice day, so I took a photo today in the rain.

It looks a bit sad and wilty in the wet but I suppose that's also appropriate for the day.

We had solar panels put on our roof today, the penultimate stage in the setup. This is all a good thing but I've been so stressed with the shouty (but nice) guys clumping around on the roof and inside for three days that I've had to escape to cafes with my Kindle for some peace and quiet. An official meter guy does the final connection next week and we'll have power, but only in real time till we get a battery. Solar power gets sold back to the grid here at a ridiculously low rate so we plan to keep all of ours for our own use eventually.

The panels had stickers saying "Warning: generates electricity when exposed to light". Well, I should hope so!
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
About two months ago I got a hernia at the incision site of the operation I had in March (the one it turned out I didn't need). It's a big one and after a CT scan yesterday, they're operating to repair it on the 23rd of this month.

I have three chronic conditions, one from when I was a baby, and the others developed more recently, and they make operations and anaesthesia more dangerous. I had to stay overnight on the high care unit last time due to really low blood pressure. I never mention these things as I refuse to be defined by medical nouns (I'm not a XXX or a YYY; I'm a person that happens to have those conditions). I usually feel fine but I'm only kept alive by drugs which I prefer to forget.

So much for the person who didn't think my comments had any validity because I'm "able-bodied".

I really hope this will sort things out and I'll get through the operation well and recover quickly with no more complications. I'm fed up with all this, and nervous.

At least I have the week-long Victorian fete next week to take my mind off it all. I have my outfit ready: tan trousers, white shirt, striped blazer, and a straw boater - I'm going to be cross-dressing a la Three Men in a Boat as I'm not one for dresses and bonnets. Garden parties, parades, steam trains, lots of cool things happening!

There will be photos though I've been slack about posting ones I've already taken. I'll try to clear the recent backlog this week.
vilakins: (spring (kowhai))
... well and truly. (For those northerners who are puzzled that it's spring here, check out the effect of axial tilt on a planet's seasons.) Most of the blossom has gone from our garden by now because I am slack at doing the photo thing (and Flickr has changed how to embed photos, thanks very much, Flickr), but the garden still smells amazing. All photos taken 2-3 weeks ago, but there you go. Oh, and we do have kowhai in our garden, as shown in the icon. :-)

Blossom downhill )

Uphill garden and cats )
vilakins: (data)
2. Any of your stories inspired by personal experience?

Just one: Work Experience, in which Vila is sentenced to work in an office and makes the acquaintance of a certain computer tech called Avon. The work part is based on my experience as a programmer, and the stupid, petty, bullying manager Jon Heton is a direct portrait of the utter bastard with a very similar name who was the reason I left that particular job. Various incidents either happened to me or to others, and some of the pranks perpetrated were ones I or others played on colleagues in various jobs.

I also turned two other bastard colleagues from a different job into the two torturers in Lynx - Rescues, but that's it. I prefer writing about what I don't know. :-)

6. Care to share a favourite hurt/comfort fic?


I'm hopeless at picking favourites of anything! Surprisingly I h=only have 5 stories tagged as such. OK, The Hand of Friendship.

19. Any fandom tropes you can't resist?

Hurt/comfort of course, though I haven't written as many as I'd thought. I don't know the names of the trope, but odd-couple-type friendship, and opposites attract (Vila/Soolin).

vilakins: My cats Claudia and Tessa in the same curled-up pose (copycats)
I don't normally go for these memes, but this one, nicked from astrogirl2, looks interesting. Pick 1-3 questions and I'll answer them.
  1. How did you come up with the title to [insert fic]?
  2. Any of your stories inspired by personal experience?
  3. What character do you identify with most?
  4. Is there a song or a playlist to associate with [insert fic]?
  5. If you wrote a sequel to [insert fic], what would it be about?
  6. Care to share a favourite hurt/comfort fic?
  7. Care to share a favourite crack fic?
  8. How would you describe your style?
  9. Do you have a guilty pleasure in fic (reading or writing)?
  10. Write or describe an alternative ending to [insert fic title].
  11. What's the angstiest idea you've ever come up with?
  12. What's the weirdest AU you've ever come up with?
  13. Got any premises on the back burner that you'd care to share?
  14. Is there a fic you wish someone else would write (or finish) for you?
  15. How do you begin a story--with the plot, or the characters?
  16. Are you an "architect" or a "gardener" : how much do you plan in advance, versus letting the story unfold as you go?
  17. Do you have any discarded scenes / story lines / projects?
  18. Are there any writers (fanfic or otherwise) you consider an influence?
  19. Any fandom tropes you can't resist?
  20. Any fandom tropes you can't stand?
  21. A pairing you might like to write for, but haven't tried yet.
  22. A secondary (or underrated) character you want to see more of in fic?
  23. Do you like more general prompts, or more specific ones?
  24. A character you enjoy making suffer.
  25. A character you want to protect.
  26. Major character death--do you ever write/read it? Is there a character whose death you can't tolerate?
vilakins: (lazy)
My active reading lists have dwindled so much, I've consolidated all my LJ and DW people (non-community-or-feed) filters and even then they're pretty thin.

But then, I haven't been posting much either, partly because of that, and partly because I take ages to get round to cropping, resizing, and uploading the backlog photos I have planned to post. Maybe I'll work backwards from the most recent.

In the meantime:
  • Coolness: The weather's been dry (so not like Auckland) and the blossoms here have been stunning - we get four seasons, unlike the hot-and-wet and cold-and-wet of Auckland. ;-) And on Saturday night when we were on our way out for dinner, there was a huge orange blood moon over the sea, with wisps of cloud making black stripes, a tiger moon!
  • Victorian festival: coming up in November. My friend from way back who moved here this year too showed me all her Victorian gear, mostly made of old curtains, but I think I'll go for the Three Men in a Boat look with my striped blazer and a boater if I can find one online. I don't do dresses.
  • Writing: I haven't managed to do any writing or art, but come November I'll try to get back into the long fic of doom when picowrimo comes up. I did meet a pro writer who wants me to join an international writers' group which does a lot of e-publishing. Hmmm. I'd have to have an original novel idea that's not one of the ones I've run in my head for private entertainment as they're a bit derivative, dating from teenage years. And yeah, so not ready for that with all the problems here. Plus she's terrifyingly brilliant and confident, and a bit scary. But fascinating!
  • House: We still haven't unpacked completely, and with less storage than we had in Auckland, it's getting hard to figure out where things should go (and that includes Out). There's also a huge amount of work to do as only the two sun rooms can be painted right away; the rest of the walls need stripping and replastering at a guess, and it's hard to get people in to advise. At least now I have some recced names which might mean they'll actually show up and do  stuff. This is all up to me as Greg's away most of each week in Christchurch at a client site.
  • Klutziness: We went to Timaru to look at lighting because there aren't any lighting shops here, and that's what I was doing, looking up at the lights when I tripped over a stand. I hit the floor, bashing my knee and a finger, but the worst part was that my left show got ripped off without coming undone and at least one tow got broken. This has happened before. There's nothing to do but tape them together and put up with it but it's been almost a month now. :-( If I'm not careful and bang my foot or walk on uneven ground, it hurts.
Anyway. Various photos to come. [slopes off now to have a cup of tea and a read]
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (stars)
to [livejournal.com profile] jhall1!



I hear it's hot over there, so here's something to cool you down.
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
As some of you were interested in seeing more of our windows and views, here are some more photos taken today.

Plus added cats! )
vilakins: Vila dozing off at the teleport controls (alert)
... was probably yesterday in this time zone.

But hey, photos of all three taken since Friday here in the Oamaru midwinter.

Sebastian is unimpressed by snow
Sebastian is unimpressed by snow.

More )

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