siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
So there I was, about half-past midnight, when I get a text from an unknown phone number. It's a double length message from my next door neighbor (I guess he changed his number, but saved mine) asking to borrow a cup of wifi, explaining that he (and his gf) was moving out at the end of the month, and Comcast had prematurely cut off his internet, and he was trying to get things done for school.

I asked him to stick his head out the door, so I could confirm it was indeed him. We had a bit of a chat. He hadn't known (no reason to) that I was moving too. So this was all very serendipitous.

I am now going to be gnawing my finger nails to the elbow practicing radical acceptance of what comes reminding myself I can tether my computer to my cell phone and have an unlimited data plan, if it comes to that.

-_-

2019-02-20 22:41
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
My brother just lost his job, so now we're all even more stressed than before. Fluffy animal pics appreciated.
umadoshi: (kittens - Jinksy - looking up)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Book news! Sarah Kurchak's book deal got announced today. I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder is due out next spring. ^_^

Sarah's a friend, a fantastic writer, and an #OwnVoices autism advocate; I've included lots of her essays in my linkspam posts. (She's on Twitter as [twitter.com profile] fodderfigure.)

What did you recently finish reading?

A small heap of Leigh Bardugo! I went back and reread Shadow and Bone and read Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising all in preparation for reading King of Scars, which I have now also read.

I enjoyed them well enough, and I think King of Scars is noticeably stronger than the original trilogy, but none of them come close to how much I enjoyed Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, which are simply very, very different books.

I've made no progress in my non-fiction books. ^^;

What are you currently reading?

I'm most of the way through E.K. Johnston's new book, The Afterward, and it's wonderful.

What do you think you'll read next?

I'm down to fourth in line for the library ebook of Holly Black's The Lost Sisters novella, and should that ever arrive, I will finally read it and The Wicked King. ([personal profile] wildpear was over tonight and said that she's currently on her second read of The Wicked King, and she's thoroughly in love with it.) But at this rate it may still be another week or two (or a few) before the novella turns up (or before I cave and spend the whopping $4 on it), so I don't know what I'll actually read once I finish The Afterward.

That said, the things I currently have out of the library are vol. 1 of Rainbow Rowell's Runaways series, vol. 1 of The Unstoppable Wasp, and Think Like a Cat: How to raise a well-adjusted cat--not a sour puss. (That last despite the fact that one of the non-fiction books I'm in the middle of is Adventure Cats.)

Bells and friends

2019-02-20 23:30
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
[personal profile] sorcyress
Today I skieved off from Highland in order to go to Wednesday bells! Yayyyy for Wednesday bells!

(Wednesday bells are not particularly different from Saturday bells in terms of culture, since it's largely the same batch of people, but they are technically in a different church. Of course, since we ring at both places on Sunday for services, it's not like I'm not getting rope time at Advent, but it is nice to get more general practice time there)

Specifically, I skieved off since my friend Leah was in town and coming ringing, and I wanted to get to see her. This is an acceptable (to me) reason to miss Highland --friends being at bells-- as is "being legitimately sick or injured". Still though, I try not to miss Highland *too* often since it is both physically and mentally good for me.

A couple weeks ago, I had a really bad bells weekend, and I had to sit my brain down and make some decisions about how I was going to be moving forward (helped along by both therapist and Austin and talking about "do you actually like this? it seems to stress you out like a lot".) I still find the hobby to be incurably stressful at some of the times, but I think I've also been able to be more mellow recently. One of the specific good things I've done for myself is not allow myself to write self-hating notes in my bells diary.

Yes, it does seem like a way lower level of self-care than I should be on to explicitly say "you're not allowed to call yourself a useless piece of shit in your diary", but that's how self-care works sometimes, I guess. Can't always be at the good levels all the time.

So I've been forcing not-negativity, and I've had a really good couple of weekends, and that's been nice. Tonight started out _really_ rough, but the nice thing about Leah is that she's crazy in damn near the same ways I am, and the two of us decided within like...an hour of having known each other that we are Definitely Friends and I was able to pull my brain back together in order to interact with her. Then once I had a social anchor, I was able to get things unbad and rang reasonably well for the rest of the evening.

Leah was not ringing (for her own "bells are complicated" reasons) so I was alternating trying to ring things sanely and well and hanging out and chatting with her. This included a Very Sneaky Adventure down to the kitchen to steal cookies1, where we spent a bunch of time discussing books and boys, and also her accidentally finding a quiet out-of-the-way spot to be alone which happened to be exactly my usual out-of-the-way spot to be alone at Advent.

So it was a good night, and good social. Getting to ring Plain Bob Minor on two new stages2 was really keen too, and yes, I did it with Danielle standing behind me to help keep me in the right place, but she wasn't constantly talking or anything, so like...I dunno. Maybe I am gradually learning a thing?

(There is a really significant point in bellringing where one can consistently handle well enough that they can stop focusing on the handling as the big difficulty and start seriously learning methods and compositions. Think of it like the point in Scottish dancing where you know the footwork well enough that you can trust it to just carry you through unfamiliar figures. Anyways, I think I'm close, and I think I might be a *lot* closer than I would've thought I was a month ago.)

~Sor
MOOP!

1: Talking about how she had been exploring the church and I made a dumb joke about had she found "the forbidden kitchen" and we were sorta riffing on that when [personal profile] choco_frosh was all "so did you find the cookies?" and then indicated that we could, in fact, go steal cookies from the church and that would not be tragic.

2: This is a piece of jargon I *constantly* forget and relearn, and someone used it tonight so I'm trying to get it into my brain. The stage is how many bells you're ringing for the method (which is a specific pattern or order you change the bells around). Some methods can only be rung on even stages, some only on odd, some (like Plain Bob, which is probably the easiest actual method) on both. So, I'd rung Plain Bob Doubles a bunch this past weekend (Doubles is five) but the was my first time ringing Plain Bob Minor (6) and Triples (7).

((Singles, Minimus, Doubles, Minor, Triples, Major, Caters, Royal, Cinques, Maximus, 15, 16, 17, 18...))

(no subject)

2019-02-20 20:47
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
• What are you reading?

The Summer Birds, by Penelope Farmer, because of [personal profile] rachelmanija's recommendation.

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard. I think this is the right length de Bodard for me. The other one I've tried was The House of Shattered Wings, which had a similar flavor: melancholy, lots that is unspoken and maybe unspeakable, communication that is clearly conveying much more to the characters than I will ever understand. Maybe it is just too grown-up a flavor for me.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I want to read all the good books for eleven-year-olds. Here's my list so far:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/7530468-boxofdelights?shelf=eleven
Suggestions and comments are welcome. No need to read through my list to make sure your suggestion is not on it; more mentions of a book make me more likely to read it.

• What are you watching?

Russian Doll, whenever I get some wifi.

Bad Times at the El Royale. Violent but worth it.

Tully. Really good.

A Wrinkle in Time.
1. This movie is so beautiful.
2. I am okay with it being its own thing, even though it has more love and less math than I would have chosen.
3. I have a surprising sore spot that this movie hit when the Happy Medium, urging Meg to find her balance, yelled, "You can do this, you’re choosing not to."

I don't have a sense of balance, not like most people do. I don't have a thing in my head that is constantly telling me what direction 'down' is. I have a substitute that I have manufactured for myself, from seeing horizontals and feeling pressure against the soles of my feet.

Most likely I was born this way. The nerve endings in my left ear never got finished. My parents noticed that I was deaf in one ear when I was five, but I didn't figure out the balance problem until I was an adult. Fortunately I don't have vertigo because my baby brain was still plastic enough to realize that the signal from my inner ear is not worth listening to.

The balance mechanism in my right ear still works, but the brain interprets any signal from right ear + no signal from left ear = 'down' is whatever direction the right ear is pointing. When I was a kid I used to sit in a swing, raise my feet and close my eyes, to get the illusion that I was spinning, very slowly, clockwise. I was always surprised to open my eyes and see that the swing's chains were not twisted together.

So the yoga exercise that has you stand on one foot, find your balance, and then close your eyes fells me like a tree. It was an immense relief to learn that no, I'm not choosing not to, I just can't.

The Umbrella Academy

2019-02-20 21:09
sasha_feather: Person in old-time SCUBA gear on a suburban lawn (Tales from Outer Suburbia)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
The Umbrella Academy - Netflix. 10 episodes

I loved this, but I also have some complaints and reservations. So, spoilers, pros and cons, below the cut.

Read more... )
astolat: lady of shalott weaving in black and white (Default)
[personal profile] astolat
Here is the teenager story, because the other TFP one decided it was NOT finished after all. :P

ao3 story blurb

The Parent Trap (17924 words) by astolat
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Transformers: Prime
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Megatron/Optimus Prime
Characters: Megatron, Optimus Prime, Arcee, Ratchet, Original Cybertronian Character(s)
Additional Tags: Teenagers, Cybertronian Parenting, Sparklings
Series: Part 16 of Transformers works
Summary:

“Oh my God, are you saying that Megatron had Optimus’s baby?” Miko shrieked piercingly.

Reading Wednesday

2019-02-20 21:54
chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)
[personal profile] chomiji

Another drive-by. I worked from home today (snow/sleet closed things), then got into a computer graphics project, made dinner, cleaned up from dinner, and now it's nearly bedtime. (The Mr. cleaned up from breakfast/lunch, served me lunch, and made banana bread.)

I finished Circe: yeah, there was a slight twist to the ending. I saw half of it from about 50 pages out. I'm not 100% sure I believe in the other half. Not likely to be on my Hugo short list.

Then I digressed from my Hugo reading and re-read Andre Norton's Catseye, which I had bought some little while ago as a Kindle deal. I remembered some bits of it from my teen years but not others, and I'm definitely much more aware of her writing flaws now. (Um, you can call him "Troy" more than once, really you can; you don't have to keep alternating it with his surname and various epithets. Also, it's from his POV, so some of the editorializing about him comes off oddly.) But it was fun.

I'm now reading Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. She has finally written a book that I think I really like, although we'll see how the ending goes. Sadly, I was never better than lukewarm on her Napoleonic dragons series, and Uprooted was somehow not really my thing. I felt like Uprooted was dutiful. somehow? But this one is really drawing me in so that I can immerse myself in the story.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Hornet Stories looks at the queer history of the Wild West.

  • Gwen Benaway writes movingly at Daily Xtra about the great harm transphobia continues to cause her, about how it continues to worsen her life and the lives of other trans people.

  • This study suggesting that gay men, in political party systems like those of Europe where homophobia is not a polarizing force, often vote for bigoted right-wingers of one strand or another is not a surprise. Sadly.

  • This Elizabeth Dias article at the New York Times examining the struggles and joys of gay priests of the Catholic Church, some few being out in this article, is moving.

  • Joseph Osmundson writes movingly at Guernica Magazine about how, for him as a queer man growing into adulthood, the world of literature provided a much-needed knowledge of the past and his future. This resonates for me.

yhlee: Animated icon of sporkiness. (sporks (rilina))
[personal profile] yhlee
As some of you already know, I was a Guest of Honor at ConDFW in Fort Worth, Texas from Feb. 15 to Feb. 18; I then stayed with my friends [personal profile] telophase and [personal profile] myrialux until today, Feb. 20.

I flew from BTR (Baton Rouge) to DFW (Dallas-Ft. Worth) on AA 3180 on Feb. 15 in the morning. The original departure gate was B2. They switched it to B7. This is significant because that morning at B7, the computers were down. The gate agent did not have any way of scanning boarding passes and for all I know she didn't take any record of passengers at all, who knows.

Today I showed up at DFW for my return flight home, which was to have been AA 3185 departing DFW at 4:55 p.m. for BTR.

The kiosk couldn't find my flight.

I went to the desk agent.

Two desk agents and one American customer service person on the phone ALL told me that because I was a no-show on the flight from BTR to DFW (they are telling me this as I am standing in the airport at DFW), American automatically dropped my return flight, without telling me. The only way I could get home was now to REBUY a ticket either for that flight or a later one.

Dear reader, I did not fucking teleport from Baton Rouge to Dallas-Ft. Worth. I was on AA 3180 on Feb. 15. It was not my fault that American's fucking incompetent recordkeeping listed me as a no-show. The desk agent asked if I'd kept my boarding pass. I had not, but hell, I remember some people on that plane boarded with electronic boarding passes on their smartphones, so what does that even prove?

As a result, I had to spend $341.30 of my own money to get back onto a flight that American had kicked me off of BECAUSE THEY ARE INCOMPETENT and listed me as a no-show for a flight I WAS ON.

I Tweeted about this in an attempt to get American's attention [1], basically reiterating what I have told you here.

@AmericanAir's response:


There were only two flights in the itinerary, BTR to DFW then return flight DFW to BTR. I was ON flight #1. I should not have been dropped from flight #2. The issue was that they had INCORRECTLY recorded me as a no-show on AA 3180 from BTR to DFW. I should not be penalized for their failure! At the LEAST I want a refund of the ticket I shouldn't have had to buy thanks to American's incompetence.

I have a smartphone that I leave on until I'm physically on the plane, and turn back on once the plane lands. Google's creepy tracking will show that I was in BTR and DFW at the appropriate times. Moreover, my friends [personal profile] telophase and [personal profile] myrialux physically picked me up from DFW when AA 3180 landed and I got off. I have a hotel receipt showing I was in DFW.

I DID NOT TELEPORT TO DFW.

Yes, I have emailed American Airlines with a complaint, since whoever runs their Twitter is incapable of basic reading comprehension. However, I expect that I am never flying American again unless the alternative is getting drawn and quartered by locomotives.

[tech] Comcast: huh

2019-02-20 20:29
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
I just got the email confirming my move from Comcast, and it says my new bill will be substantially more than my old one.

I pull out the old bill to compare, and the difference is that "limited basic TV" was $8, but will be $21. :[

The only reason I have limited basic TV is because the discount on my internet is more than its price. I will have to have speaks with them. Not amused.

3 minutes in

2019-02-20 19:27
rinue: (plunge)
[personal profile] rinue
Have rough cut approximately the first three minutes of "Tic Tock Toe" (working title, the title will almost certainly change), a 15-ish minute long short film we shot in Pescara in June 2017. Neither Ciro nor I thinks it's likely it will come together as planned, because it was an ambitious, effects-heavy shoot with a two-person crew, a kid actor, a bilingual environment, and extremely limited time. Without having reached the point yet of finding out exactly what the problem will be, it's almost certain there will be at least one major continuity error we can't cut around, plus even from the script stage I knew I was asking a lot of the audience. (It's urban fantasy with almost no dialogue.)

Hence I've prepared myself for the idea that I'll need voiceover and/or stock footage to fill gaps. I'm sure I'll have something watchable and interesting by the end (photography and performances are compelling), but it's not a straightforward edit. It's the kind of edit that requires me to be an artist with images rather than the kind of edit that lets me play with the delicacies of different acting takes. So far, everything has cut together fairly dynamically and the magical moments have felt magical, but of course as the writer I understand what is happening before I even see it. I don't know yet whether it's legible to a test audience. At a later point when I have more of it pieced together, I may ask for volunteers to watch it and then tell me what they think the plot was, so I can tell where I am and am not on the right track.

Otherwise, my day was mostly taken up with cleaning the kitchen again, making a steak and apple pie/galette, receiving more tax forms in the mail, ignoring many scam phone calls, and checking in with the editor of On Spec (I think a poem of mine is coming out in March but I may have the month wrong).
muccamukk: Dick watches while Nix lights a cigarette. (BoB: Ciggie)
[personal profile] muccamukk
Title: Where the Mountains Meet the Sky
Fandom: Band of Brothers
Rating: Explicit
Word Count: 2,200
Notes: Written for Body Talk comment fest, prompts: sunshine, naked.
Summary: Alone on the boat back to the US, Dick dreams of Austria.

Managing Twitter

2019-02-20 18:28
jesse_the_k: Cartoon of white male drowning in storm, right hand reaching out desperately, with text "Someone tweeted" (someone tweeted)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k

I love being on Twitter. Constant stimulation. Jokes zinging right and left. Art and photos from around the world. Checking in with people who I only see once a year at WisCon if I’m lucky.

I hate being on Twitter. Constant stimulation. Terrible things happening world wide, curated for my attention by people I like. As of November 2016, I've been on a total newsfast to maintain my sanity, and there's a LOTS of content that's toxic.

Therefore: three tools that help me interact with Twitter manageably.

Thread Reader App

read and save threads off site )

TCHAT.io

real-time at your own pace )

Tweetlogix

superlative iOS client )

siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Paging Anonymous Commentor K! You have email (two actually) from me. If you
don't see them, check your spam filter - Gmail hates me/my domain.
brigdh: (Default)
[personal profile] brigdh
Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages by Gaston Dorren. A breezy but knowledgeable nonfiction tour through the world's twenty most popular languages, as measured by their number of speakers, including both those who know the language as a first and as a second language. Dorren starts with a chapter on the smallest of the top languages (Vietnamese, at 85 million speakers), and progresses up the numbers through Korean, Tamil, Turkish, Javanese, Persian, Punjabi, Japanese, Swahili, German, French, Malay, Russian, Portuguese, Bengali, Arabic, Hindi/Urdu, Spanish, Mandarin, and finally, at 1.5 billion speakers, English.

Each language gets a chapter devoted to it, which opens which a brief introduction of the language and then does a deep dive into one particular issue, which might be linguistic, historical, or political. For example, the Japanese chapter discusses gender and language (not in the sense of la chat/le chatte, but how men and women use different vocabulary and grammar styles); Persian covers the past of the language, how it's spread over time, the empires it has ruled, and how various immigrant groups have shaped the modern language; Bengali looks at different types of writing systems; Swahili examines how multilingualism works in countries with many spoken languages; Punjabi takes on tones, how they evolve and how they function; and Tamil tells the story of official language repression and the civil war that resulted.

It's not the sort of book that will make you an expert on any topic, but if you enjoy learning interesting facts, it's a fun, easy read.
I read this as an ARC via NetGalley.


The Snake, The Crocodile, and the Dog by Elizabeth Peters. The seventh Amelia Peabody book, a comedic murder mystery series starring a female Victorian archaeologist. Amelia and Emerson are now happily married, happily parenting their son and recently adopted daughter, and generally living a content and successful life. But sometimes you miss the passion of the early days, you know? Amelia confesses a wish that Emerson would look at her like he used to, which is promptly granted by a far too literal fate when Emerson is hit over the head and suffers amnesia. He doesn't remember Amelia or anything that's happened since their first meeting, and refuses to accept that she is his wife. Amelia has to slowly win him back, protect him from the latest villain, participate in their current Egyptian excavation, and hide the existence of their son from him (Ramses being far too much for anyone to take in all at once). Oh, and deal with their friend Cyrus Vandergelt (a rich American dilettante who has provided funding for their expedition), who is a little too excited by the fact that Amelia's basically a widow now, if you know what I mean. Amelia does not know, as she remains oblivious to his increasingly obvious attempts to comfort her in her grief.

The Snake, The Crocodile, and the Dog is an absolutely fantastic addition to this series. The humor is abundant and genuinely laugh out loud, the mystery is puzzling enough to keep me from guessing the solution (and there's a twist at the end that I completely did not see coming), there's several fantastic adventure setpieces (including a truly horrifying one with a rabid dog); it's basically everything you could want out of an Amelia Peabody book. Which was very reassuring to me, since I hadn't much liked the previous book (The Last Camel Died At Noon), and I was afraid the series had entered a decline. The Snake, The Crocodile, and the Dog proves that is definitely not the case, and I'm looking forward to more Amelia.

[domesticity] More Moving

2019-02-20 17:06
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Called both FedEx and UPS.

FedEx gave me a time window the driver was likely to deliver the rugs tomorrow, and is passing along my request to try to deliver between 1pm and 3pm (which is a subset of the likely time, anyway). The do not need a signature and volunteered to just leave the package, but I explained I needed them to bring the 50lb package all the way up to my apartment, for which I needed to be there to buzz them in. (Not strictly true, but I want to be there so they don't get abandoned in the mail room, leaving me to schlep them.)

UPS's agent was unable to add special delivery instructions to the order until the package was more or less here, and told me to call back tomorrow morning. I politely explained that was not possible, and was incredulous that that was how things were. She apologized that it was so. So I'll try to post a sign tonight.

In other news, I called Comcast to set up my move, and they were completely reasonable. I can change my plans with them at any time, I am eligible to self-move (so it's free), and the internet will be on in both places on the move day, so I can carry the router from one apartment to the other and everything should be fine. Fingers crossed.

Book read, July

2019-02-21 10:28
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (Default)
[personal profile] cyphomandra
I read one book in July, partly because I was writing Dragon Rising but mostly because it was an absolutely fantastic book (thanks so much to [personal profile] sovay for the rec) and nothing else really matched up. I’m still thinking about it.

Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker’s Story, by Leo Marks

Leo Marks’ father was Benjamin Marks, owner of the Marks & Co. antiquarian bookshop that features in (and at) 84, Charing Cross Road, and the first code Leo cracked was the price code his father used for the books. At 22 he was recruited into SOE and became the codes & ciphers chief. This book is a record of his time there; it’s stunningly well-written, bristling with intelligence and determination, as Marks battles to protect his agents by giving them the best and least breakable codes (the ultimate explanation of the title). He also reworks the coding department, training up FANYs to break the “Undecipherables” that accounted for so many transmissions, secretly cracking the Free French code so he can fix their undecipherables, and composing poems - sometimes scatological, sometimes heartbreaking - that the agents can use as keys that, unlike the previously used extant poems, could not simply be found by Nazis browsing through English poetry anthologies.

The average lifespan of a radio operator in Occupied France was about six weeks so many of the agents he briefed & trained were going to their deaths, and he doesn't shy away from this. Nor did he treat a known double agent any differently when he briefed him, despite knowing that the man would be executed en route to Occupied France and his body shoved out attached to a half-opened parachute, with misleading codes in his pockets. Much of the book is about his (correct) conviction that the resistance operating in the Netherlands had been taken over by the Germans, and his attempts to convince his superiors. Also in there are his friendships with the agents, his own (very briefly described) doomed romance, and a keenly ironic sense of humour (there are some particularly nice pieces relating to his fondness for swinging from ring to ring over the local swimming pool - this was obviously a thing as E.F. Benson's David Blaize does this in David at Kings, although Marks, who thrives on danger, does it fully clothed).

And fabulous writing. I think it's impossible to overstate this. It's also the first nonfiction book I've read by a Jewish person relating to WWII that doesn't spend any time with them being actively persecuted by the Nazis (Maddie in Code Name Verity is, I think, the only fictional one I've encountered). I read the library's copy but will be ordering my own.
starlady: (crew)
[personal profile] starlady
*shows up fifteen minutes late with raktajino*

I've been rewatching bits of season 1 of DSC, and keeping up with season 2, and…I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about Star Trek. It's been a while since I've had a lot of feelings about Star Trek. Rewatching the first season now, I find myself having a lot of thoughts about Lorca, and the way that it's increasingly clear that the first two seasons were designed to complement each other.

Thoughts about Lorca, Star Trek, and the mirror universe )
 
shewhomust: (Default)
[personal profile] shewhomust
The mixer tap on the kitchen sink has been growing steadily more eccentric for some time now.

It was eccentric enough to begin with: I described it as 'steampunk' - with a picture to prove it. Here's the picture again:



- and that's the first time I've worked out how to upload a picture to DW, so there's something gained (niceties like controlling display size may or may not follow).

Anyway, it was selected and fitted in our absence by our builder, and while I probably wouldn't have chosen it myself, it amused me, so that was no problem. What was a problem was that it began to wobble. This was presumably because it wasn't properly fitted, but it didn't manifest until long enough after the original work that we couldn't decide whether to call back our original builder, or find a maybe more reliable plumber...

Yes, I know. Either would be good. But this is us. And it wasn't a huge problem, you just had to steady the whole thing with one hand while turning the tap with the other.

Then the cold tap began to drip. That was more of a problem, because now you had to grip the unit quite hard to counter the extra force required to turn off the tap. And over a period of time, it got worse. And worse.

Finally, last Friday morning, I managed to turn the tap with so much force that it went right past turning off, and carried on turning, and the drip became a steady trickle. [personal profile] durham_rambler dragged himself away from his committee papers, turned off the stopcock, and took advice from the neighbours about a handyman they had employed. And after a little emergency plumbing on Friday afternoon (consisting mostly of said handyman showing me how to turn off the water supply to the cold tap and only the cold tap), we went to B & Q on Saturday and bought a tap.

I assumed that after the decorative excess of the previous tap, we would choose something severely plain. It turns out that I am hard to please in the matter of taps - not the unit as a whole, but the bit you grip to turn the water on and off. Many of these are variations on a plain barrel shape, which can be hard to grip with soapy hands even if you don't suffer from arthritis - which I don't, yet. Others were very sharply rectangular, and I didn't like those, either. So we ended up choosing something called 'Apsley'. This might refer to any of a number of things, according to Wikipedia, including a suburb of Hemel Hempstead and an Antarctic explorer (Apsley Cherry-Garrard). I don't know which, if any, of these B & Q had in mind, but I thought at once of the Duke of Wellington's London house. Which is pretty grand for a piece of kitchen plumbing.

Nonetheless, our handyman came back on Monday morning and fitted it. What luxury to be able to run hot or cold water, just by pushing a lever. One-handed, even. Plus an unexpected benefit, that the design leaves plenty of room under the water outlet: I can fill the kettle easily, even if the sink is full of water.

No doubt in due course there will be an unexpected disadvantage, too, but I haven't discovered that yet.

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