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Touristing Helsinki

♥Aug. 8th, 2017 // 02:46 pm
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We've spent the last couple of days doing the tourist thing in Helsinki: we bought a 48-hour travel and museum pass and everything!

Yesterday, the weather was very changeable. We went for a walk around the harbour, visited two cathedrals and the city museum, then decided that a boat trip around the islands sounded nicely out of the rain. While we were waiting to board, it threw down and I got soggy feet, but it cleared up (and my feet dried) while we're were motoring around looking at the view.

It was raining a bit when we got off, but we decided on another boat out to the old island fortress. As we got off that boat, it threw down again, and my feet got wet, again.... We looked at a couple of the museums on the island then headed back to the hotel, where my feet gradually de-wrinkled.

Today is much nicer: warm and sunny. We went to the zoo (also on an island) this morning (generally very nice, although I wasn't keen on the size of the tiger enclosure), then came back into town for lunch followed by the national museum (really excellent new exhibit on pre-history, and nicely balanced post-independence annotated photograph display, the older stuff in the middle was fairly uninteresting and old-fashioned) and the Design Museum (good excerpts from the collection, nice temporary display, wasn't entirely clear on the point of the vaguely future-of-design section, at least half of which I'd personally call either food science or modern art but I guess it's subjective!).

We're rather knackered now, so we're having a rest before dinner. Seen a few familiar faces here and there, and I'm sure there will be more tomorrow.

Slightly put out by the combination of wooden floors, thin towels and no hotel gym, as my back's a bit unhappy and I'd have liked to do some exercises. Can't see any programme items that look like they'll involve potentially-borrowable yoga mats, either. Bah.

I appear to look sufficiently Viking that people keep speaking to me in Finnish (including the girl who cadged a cigarette then asked me why I was here then wanted to know if I accepted Jesus). Mike gets English every time.
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♥Aug. 6th, 2017 // 03:57 pm
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We're now in Helsinki, at the Original Sokos Vaakuna (the one by the main city railway station), after a very painless flight over.

Next stop, walking around in the rain and getting some dinner!
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Getting ready to go....

♥Aug. 4th, 2017 // 11:21 am
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We're off to Helsinki tomorrow, via a night at Heathrow. I'm not really looking forward to it, and would much rather stay at home with my pooch, but Mike assures me I'll have fun when I'm there.

Yesterday, the power went off and on again with no problems, and the boys were surprisingly good going up there, with the digger going, and back again in the evening when it all looked different, which was a relief.

The day before, after going through the power cable, they also went through (just that house's) water pipe. As Mike said to Mr Up The Hill, at least they didn't take the phone line down as well....

Bloody rabbits have eaten (entirely) two of the French bean plants and chewed through the stem of one of the borlotti beans, which does at least explain the wilted leaves I saw yesterday. One of the tomatoes is very nearly red, though!
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♥Aug. 20th, 2014 // 11:38 am
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1031169.html]

Here's a time-lapse of the set up of the Fan Village: YouTube.

At Loncon, I did the newsletter, with help from my wonderful minions. I also ran around a lot on the first few days, answering random queries. In retrospect, I should have had a radio, at least at first, because as I passed people they kept saying "I don't know, but Flick might" to the person they were speaking to, which usually resulted in another errand to run or person to pass a message to: thanks to the Ops team for all the radio calls they put out for me.

On the plus side, at least I waited until I got home to have my voice vanish.

I had a lovely time, though, and towards the end of the con things even calmed down enough that I had time to stop and have actual conversations with people. And no terribly major crises! Thank you to everyone who helped out.

We got home to find a very happy Jodie, and even the boys came over for snuggles. The ducks seem to be much more socialised than they were: I suspect that the sitter spent a lot of time in the front garden playing with Jo, because they're now much more likely to follow us around. The sitter was even kind enough to drive half-way to London to meet me when I realised I'd left all of my evening clothes at home.

The only down side was the boys' beds. I was a little unhappy with them the last time, but this time I am really annoyed. They had both gone from a nice thick bed covering most of the stable to a thin metre-wide strip at the back, and even that (in Baby's case) was full of poo and (in GB's case) had a wet patch in it. GB's stable *stank*, and had an actual puddle of wee on the floor. After I'd cleaned up what was there, we put two new bags of bedding into the Baby's stable and three into GB's, and it looked like the sitter had put at least one into each while we were away as well: they normally get through a bag a week, so he has both left them sleeping on what is little better than bare, wet concrete *and* been incredibly wasteful with the bedding.

We only had the one sitter this time, as his wife was on another job, and I think she must have been in charge of the mucking out previously. I've just sent an email off to the agency to complain.

(New LJ iPhone app is apparently unusable even by the standards of LJ apps. So you're spared the photos of GB's stable, at least.)
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Busy busy

♥Jul. 16th, 2014 // 06:41 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1025824.html]

I've had a horribly hectic few days of Worldcon stuff. Seems to be over now, though!

Before that, I started making a Plokta Pigeon (under orders). I emailed [livejournal.com profile] asphodeline and asked her how much stuffing I'd need, as it's sold by weight online. "Maybe a kilo?" she said, not having thought about it by weight before.

I may need to make a bigger pigeon....

(I'm a bit scared to open the bag, in case it goes fwoof and takes over the house!)

I've also been having Amazon stress: I ordered [livejournal.com profile] pixiejuice's birthday present from her Amazon wishlist, as I often do, and thought nothing more of it. I had a couple of emails telling me that Amazon's new in-house delivery people tried to deliver, but thought they were just being polite. It didn't even occur to me that they might not be actually telling *her* that, but apparently so: no cards left, and no emails to her (even though they were wishlist items, so they knew which account they were going to). Magic. When I twigged (on her birthday), I sent Amazon a very stroppy email that ended up with a free month of Prime for us and the parcel being redelivered to me. So, on the one hand her present will be a week late but, on the other, it won't be in boring Amazon wrapping paper, as I re-did it.

Other than that, I'm not entirely sure that I've done anything that didn't involve faffing with email, last-minute editing, and beyond-last-minute proof reading for days. It certainly feels like that.
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Busy weekend

♥Jun. 23rd, 2014 // 01:06 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1020301.html]

We've had a busy weekend, being inundated with the Cabal and Jan.

Actually, we didn't get as much done as I thought that we would, but we've helped Jan out with some Worldcon stuff, so all is good.

We had lots of healthy walks, which often involved looking at orchids:

And were often too hot for Jodie:

(We came back early from one of the walks, which was a Good Thing: there was a certain amount of dragging her the last hundred yards to the fish pond.)

And this morning we had riding lessons, which we had completely forgotten about (I think that we said "we can do M/T/W that week" and she said "Ok, I'll let you know" then didn't, in fact), but it worked out ok because we just left people to fend for themselves and Giulia even did the laundry for me: win!

And, in fact, yesterday we also left them to fend for themselves while we went to Baby Next Door's christening, which was small and thankfully short: it was a touch embarrassing, as there were so few people there that the audience participation bits were barely audible. Good job that there was no singing involved!

We're obviously terrible hosts, and no one should ever come to stay with us again!

Oh, we are now fairly confident that Magrat lays the white eggs, Gytha the blue eggs and Esme the ones where she forgot to include the shells. There was scrambled duck eggs with breakfast one day: nom!
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Ah, email....

♥Jun. 17th, 2014 // 06:43 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/1019898.html]

I've just got a shiny new Worldcon-related email address, and today I was trying it out.

It turns out that I can email X's loncon3.org address, and Division A, but I can't email Y, or Division B. I can email Division C, but only on two out of three occasions.

When the emails don't go through, they don't bounce. They go to the catch-all address that receives emails to non-existent addresses at the domain. That's annoying but, on the plus side, that address is the next laptop over on the coffee table, so I did at least find out (when Mike had finished mowing the lawn).

The best solution that we could think of was for Mike to change that address to be me, and then I could also forward any occasional mis-addressed emails as well.

Then we sent a test email to a wrong address, and it didn't come through.

I went and looked at the web interface for my L3 account: there it was, it just wasn't auto-forwarding. Hmm. That's probably the bloody stupid can't-see-emails-that-you-sent-in-gmail thing, we decided. So, I now have an extra forward on my L3 account, which sends the emails to an internet-fairy.org account, which then autoforwards to my main gmail account.

I think it should work.

Now, if I could just figure out some way to filter them to a different folder. Hmm. Seems silly that you can't put a [thingie] in the subject line automatically when you autoforward an email.

Edit: Inevitably, I spoke too soon: Mike is still getting at least some of the mis-addressed emails, and I'm not getting some others of them. Sigh. This May Not Work.

Edit: And, I've just realised, my getting the mis-addressed emails doesn't actually help, because it just means that I get them if they worked, because I get All The Email, and I get them if they didn't, because they didn't. Except when I don't, in the latter case, but that's not helpful, really. Have to try a different approach.
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Lovely, lovely, lovely, brrr!

♥Jan. 11th, 2014 // 09:24 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/946255.html]

It was another lovely day today. We took the boys out for a hack: the only bad things were the fact that my toes went numb and the fact that the shadows were this long at about 10:30....

Bizarrely, we didn't see a single person in the woods, even though it was a lovely Saturday morning.

After lunch, we took the pooch to the beach, along with lots of other people who's had the same idea. I guess that that was why they weren't in the woods!

We went to The Warren, and I think that this was the first time we'd been when the tide was so low. Certainly, I don't remember there being so many battered breakwaters. Still, good jumping practice for the pooch!

This evening, I have (most uncharacteristically) been being Serious Fan History Person; my hands ache from transcribing, now. It's ok, though, I just used it all to be frivolous, to be revealed in August.... While I was doing that, it got very cold, very quickly. I *think* that the boys will be ok in the rugs that they have on. I hope so, anyway.
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♥Oct. 16th, 2013 // 02:57 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/912778.html]

I don't know, the internet stops working for a week and I get out of the habit....

It's raining today. And chilly; I think I might have a fire in a bit.

Mostly, recently, I have been shovelling horse shit. The old muck heap is nearly all now in the new skip, which is in turn getting quite full. The fact that it keeps raining isn't really helping with the process.

Jodie has added to her tally (formerly at a grand total of One Sick Bunny) with the successful capture of One Fledgling Pigeon. If I'd realised it was a fledgling (in mid-October!), I probably wouldn't have pointed it out to her, but I didn't, so I did. She sort of sat on it for a bit and mouthed it ineffectually until I put it both out of its misery and into the wheely bin. The ineffectualness of the mouthing makes me even more sure that One Sick Bunny was indeed sick, because I can't see how she would have bitten into one and not the other.

My sweat peas are sprouting nicely in the conservatory. The salad leaves that I planted at the same time are doing less well, though: they got off to a good, and quick, start but don't seem to be actually doing very much now. I suspect it's either not enough water or too much; I suppose that the thing to do is divide the pots into two groups and experiment.

Yesterday, I picked a bit over a kilo of sloes from the hedge around our paddock; they're currently in the freezer (bugger pricking each one with a pin!) and Mike's bringing cheap gin on his way home from That There London this evening. The books say to wait until after the first frosts, but they're ripe and I was getting a bit worried about the birds getting in before me; I dare say that I'll find some wild ones after the frosts and make a second batch, purely in the spirit of scientific experimentation.

Other than 'they're red', how can I tell when the rose hips are ripe? Must get out to the Common and pick apples tomorrow. Other than the fact that it's raining, today would have been an ideal day to do it: I could have spent ages out there without Mike being bored. Unfortunately, he's taken the car with him as well.... (Also, Post Office and Dry Cleaning. I wonder where the nearest dry cleaner is?)

It turned out that the tenuous-next-door-neighbour may have had an ulterior motive for coming to warn us about the Hunt: we saw her in the woods when we were walking the pooch, and "Oh, I don't suppose we could use your sand school, could we? We don't have one and our field will be starting to get too muddy soon...." OTOH, she's also asked if she can bring her jumps down, and I was thinking of getting some so that Mike could do some pole work with the baby, so not all bad. Useful to have people owing you favours!

I will, btw, be at the L3 Staff Weekend for (some of) Saturday, and the pooch will be with me / in the car (in the indoor car park) if people who're there would like to meet her. If the weather's even moderately fit for it, I fully expect to drag anyone who needs to have a meeting with me outside, you have been warned.
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I'd Read About It In Books....

♥Sep. 15th, 2013 // 08:08 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/910972.html]

Today, I got to do something I'd never done before. I'd read about it, lots of times, in books. I'd even confidently told bewildered Americans that it really did happen, All The Time.

Yes, I went to an English pub and ended up having conversations with complete random strangers purely on the basis that I had a dog with me.

Now, on the other hand, it is blowing a storm (I was outside a little while ago and heard a creaking, cracking noise. I turned around in time to see one of the budlias topple gently onto the lawn. It is relatively sheltered in the back garden, for which I fear that we may have to thank the house-high-even-though-it-was-topped-a-few-years-ago laylandii tree that we had been planning to yank out) and my beloved husband is celebrating our anniversary with a Worldcon Skype. Ah, wedded bliss. [g]
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♥Feb. 10th, 2013 // 05:24 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/893933.html]

Does anyone want to buy my LSC3 membership? Probably should have done this before the nomination eligibility deadline, huh? $150.
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Worst. Flights. Ever.

♥Sep. 4th, 2012 // 09:49 pm
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[xpost |http://flickgc.livejournal.com/881399.html]

Going to Chicago: got to the west coast of Ireland, turned around, came back, hotel, 4am start, 19 hours late.

(Faulty altimeter. Same flight two days previously lost an engine at a similar point, so it could have been worse. Same plane, next day, got as far as the runway and gave up.)

Coming home from Chicago: got to the airport, flight cancelled, queued for bloody ages, opened by insisting on same-day flights, started with via Amsterdam and about an eight hour delay, got down to via Zurich and a five hour one. Still have a nagging suspicion that the guy didn't check any airlines not in his alliance.

Never flying United again, that's for sure.

Can't really comment on the con. London parties seemed to go well. AC too ferocious for me to spend time on the bid/con desk, so I spent an awful lot of time thinking "Hmmm... if I were at home, I would be reading my book on a much more comfortable sofa, and I wouldn't have to wait until four for the bar to open. Plus, ponies."
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