dorsetgirl: (sunset)
So, November.
 
National Novel Writing Month.
 
But not for me.
 
Sorry, I’ll stop channelling Ian Wylie now. Anyway, I worked out several years ago that if I typed at my normal speed for fifty percent of the minutes I had available during the month, I might just make the 50K. That’s assuming I can think at the same rate I type. Not normally a problem, but I guess fifty thousand words need some kind of joining thread if they’re not going to become totally random, and that involves Plot.
 
I don’t do plot - I can never think of anything for the characters to actually do, and besides, I get bored. I get them in a situation and then start to think, “Oh for fuck’s sake, sort it out for yourself.” I’m not the kind of writer who wants to “convey a message” in my fic; I’ve only ever done that once, and it worked, but I just don’t have it in me to want to tell other people how to live their lives or what they should be thinking about. All I ask is that no-one tells me what to do or what to think. (This could be why I totally refuse to do Hallowe’en: all those supermarket shelves full of pumpkins and ghouly cakes and stupid costumes simply make me think “Don’t tell me what to do just because it's the end of October.")
 
Getting to the point of this ramble: No NaNo for me, so I've signed up for WriSoMiFu - Write Something you Miserable Fuck - which I'm hoping is more my style. )
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
So, November.
 
National Novel Writing Month.
 
But not for me.
 
Sorry, I’ll stop channelling Ian Wylie now. Anyway, I worked out several years ago that if I typed at my normal speed for fifty percent of the minutes I had available during the month, I might just make the 50K. That’s assuming I can think at the same rate I type. Not normally a problem, but I guess fifty thousand words need some kind of joining thread if they’re not going to become totally random, and that involves Plot.
 
I don’t do plot - I can never think of anything for the characters to actually do, and besides, I get bored. I get them in a situation and then start to think, “Oh for fuck’s sake, sort it out for yourself.” I’m not the kind of writer who wants to “convey a message” in my fic; I’ve only ever done that once, and it worked, but I just don’t have it in me to want to tell other people how to live their lives or what they should be thinking about. All I ask is that no-one tells me what to do or what to think. (This could be why I totally refuse to do Hallowe’en: all those supermarket shelves full of pumpkins and ghouly cakes and stupid costumes simply make me think “Don’t tell me what to do just because it's the end of October.")
 
Getting to the point of this ramble: No NaNo for me, so I've signed up for WriSoMiFu - Write Something you Miserable Fuck - which I'm hoping is more my style. )
dorsetgirl: (Census2011)
Just got the new census form, and as a keen family historian I could hardly wait to check out the questions. The first thing that strikes me about it is this:

The list of qualifications has to be filled in by anyone aged sixteen or over. The problem with that is that on census night, roughly fifty percent of all sixteen year olds in England & Wales will still be in Year 11. They will not be allowed to leave school for another three months, and only a very few will as yet have any qualifications at all (normally one or two GCSEs at most, taken last Autumn), because most of the public exams are taken in May/June with the results announced in August.

So be prepared for scare stories about how poorly-qualified sixteen-year-olds are, written by newspapers - you know which ones they are - of very little brain.





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dorsetgirl: (Census2011)
Just got the new census form, and as a keen family historian I could hardly wait to check out the questions. The first thing that strikes me about it is this:

The list of qualifications has to be filled in by anyone aged sixteen or over. The problem with that is that on census night, roughly fifty percent of all sixteen year olds in England & Wales will still be in Year 11. They will not be allowed to leave school for another three months, and only a very few will as yet have any qualifications at all (normally one or two GCSEs at most, taken last Autumn), because most of the public exams are taken in May/June with the results announced in August.

So be prepared for scare stories about how poorly-qualified sixteen-year-olds are, written by newspapers - you know which ones they are - of very little brain.





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dorsetgirl: (Default)
I don't get much time to post during school holidays, so just a few things I want to record as diary entries, sort of...

(1) I've been gradually buying up older material by Green Day, and I got Nimrod last week. It has a number of tracks which are very well known from their stage shows, including Good Riddance (Time of Your Life). On Saturday I finally got a chance to listen to some of it, in the car coming home from dropping the oldest at his library volunteering. I started listening to Time of Your Life and just burst into tears, which surprised me slightly. I can only think it was because that's always the last song at a concert, so when Billie strikes up those distinctive first few notes you know your time's up. The stage version is basically a celebration of a fantastic concert, but the original album version, I discover, has strings and a generally more poignant arrangement. I played it through about five times on my way home.

(2) The whole family went to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard yesterday. I was looking forward to it anyway, because I've been on the Victory before and enjoyed it, but I was interested to discover how completely comfortable I felt on board. I have a slight tendency to claustrophobia - I prefer not to go in lifts on my own, and I could never go pot-holing for example, but I had no problem whatsoever in going down into the lower decks of the ship and down to the hold. They had a tape playing down there, of the sounds you would hear - the water swooshing and rushing, the rudder creaking, etc - and I just stood there for ages, leaning on a warm wooden beam and listening. I was vaguely aware that it was quite warm down there, but I was quite happy. By contrast, the moment we got back into the car at the end of the day (car park under a building, so no sun to make it hot) I immediately felt ... something. Just an awareness of my surroundings amounting to a slight, I don't know, itchiness or something. Strange.

As a by the way, and not the reason we went, two of my ancestors had links to Portsmouth - one of my ggg-grandfathers on my father's side was a Royal Marine in the Portsmouth Division in the early 1850's, and one of my gg-grandfathers on my mother's side was a Blacksmith at the Dockyard itself on the early 1860's. I'm guessing he went there for a couple of years as part of the move towards iron working in shipbuilding. (Portsmouth Dockyard built the world's first iron-hulled warship, HMS Warrior).





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dorsetgirl: (Default)
I don't get much time to post during school holidays, so just a few things I want to record as diary entries, sort of...

(1) I've been gradually buying up older material by Green Day, and I got Nimrod last week. It has a number of tracks which are very well known from their stage shows, including Good Riddance (Time of Your Life). On Saturday I finally got a chance to listen to some of it, in the car coming home from dropping the oldest at his library volunteering. I started listening to Time of Your Life and just burst into tears, which surprised me slightly. I can only think it was because that's always the last song at a concert, so when Billie strikes up those distinctive first few notes you know your time's up. The stage version is basically a celebration of a fantastic concert, but the original album version, I discover, has strings and a generally more poignant arrangement. I played it through about five times on my way home.

(2) The whole family went to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard yesterday. I was looking forward to it anyway, because I've been on the Victory before and enjoyed it, but I was interested to discover how completely comfortable I felt on board. I have a slight tendency to claustrophobia - I prefer not to go in lifts on my own, and I could never go pot-holing for example, but I had no problem whatsoever in going down into the lower decks of the ship and down to the hold. They had a tape playing down there, of the sounds you would hear - the water swooshing and rushing, the rudder creaking, etc - and I just stood there for ages, leaning on a warm wooden beam and listening. I was vaguely aware that it was quite warm down there, but I was quite happy. By contrast, the moment we got back into the car at the end of the day (car park under a building, so no sun to make it hot) I immediately felt ... something. Just an awareness of my surroundings amounting to a slight, I don't know, itchiness or something. Strange.

As a by the way, and not the reason we went, two of my ancestors had links to Portsmouth - one of my ggg-grandfathers on my father's side was a Royal Marine in the Portsmouth Division in the early 1850's, and one of my gg-grandfathers on my mother's side was a Blacksmith at the Dockyard itself on the early 1860's. I'm guessing he went there for a couple of years as part of the move towards iron working in shipbuilding. (Portsmouth Dockyard built the world's first iron-hulled warship, HMS Warrior).





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dorsetgirl: (sunset)
.
I treated myself to a day at Canterbury Cathedral Archives the other day. (My other hobby is family history, and my great-grandfather was born and brought up in Canterbury). Towards the end of my day I requested the Vestry Minute Books for St Dunstan's, his father's parish - one for about 1824-1870 and the other covering 1780-1820. The lady at the desk said it might take a little longer than normal to bring the documents out because the usual person was away, but as it happened they were brought out to me only five minutes later.

I spent twenty minutes or so taking notes from the later one, and then carefully took the earlier book out of its protective box and opened it. As I looked at the first page I swear I stopped breathing and my heart rate doubled.

It was written in Secretary Hand. (That's the rather curly stuff you see on really old documents).

Now, I don't know when they stopped using Secretary Hand, but I do know it was rather earlier than 1780. They'd only given me the ORIGINAL PARISH REGISTER from FIFTEEN NINETY-FIVE (or thereabouts, shock does strange things to the memory).

I sat there for a few minutes just staring at it, and occasionally turning over a page very, very carefully. I was torn between: awe and wonder that I'd got to actually touch this book of parchment pages that was over four hundred years old; fear that I would inadvertently damage it or - irrational, I know - somehow lose it; and finally consternation that they would actually hand out such a document BY MISTAKE to someone who, for all they knew, would not know how to handle it. Which I don't, to be honest, but I do know enough to be careful and respectful and not put my hands on the actual writing.

See, the point is, you don't let people get their possibly grubby mitts on unique and irreplaceable old documents where there is an alternative. Like microfilm for example, the whole point of which is to make the information accessible while protecting the document itself.

OK, Canterbury Cathedral has documents dating back to like the ninth century or something, and quite possibly to them something only four hundred years old isn't so exciting. But anyone at all can visit the archives; all you have to do is show them some identification.

I'd always taken it for granted that documents like that were only for serious researchers who need to look at the originals. I shouldn't ever have got near it, and certainly never expected to.

But I'm so glad I did.





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dorsetgirl: (sunset)
.
I treated myself to a day at Canterbury Cathedral Archives the other day. (My other hobby is family history, and my great-grandfather was born and brought up in Canterbury). Towards the end of my day I requested the Vestry Minute Books for St Dunstan's, his father's parish - one for about 1824-1870 and the other covering 1780-1820. The lady at the desk said it might take a little longer than normal to bring the documents out because the usual person was away, but as it happened they were brought out to me only five minutes later.

I spent twenty minutes or so taking notes from the later one, and then carefully took the earlier book out of its protective box and opened it. As I looked at the first page I swear I stopped breathing and my heart rate doubled.

It was written in Secretary Hand. (That's the rather curly stuff you see on really old documents).

Now, I don't know when they stopped using Secretary Hand, but I do know it was rather earlier than 1780. They'd only given me the ORIGINAL PARISH REGISTER from FIFTEEN NINETY-FIVE (or thereabouts, shock does strange things to the memory).

I sat there for a few minutes just staring at it, and occasionally turning over a page very, very carefully. I was torn between: awe and wonder that I'd got to actually touch this book of parchment pages that was over four hundred years old; fear that I would inadvertently damage it or - irrational, I know - somehow lose it; and finally consternation that they would actually hand out such a document BY MISTAKE to someone who, for all they knew, would not know how to handle it. Which I don't, to be honest, but I do know enough to be careful and respectful and not put my hands on the actual writing.

See, the point is, you don't let people get their possibly grubby mitts on unique and irreplaceable old documents where there is an alternative. Like microfilm for example, the whole point of which is to make the information accessible while protecting the document itself.

OK, Canterbury Cathedral has documents dating back to like the ninth century or something, and quite possibly to them something only four hundred years old isn't so exciting. But anyone at all can visit the archives; all you have to do is show them some identification.

I'd always taken it for granted that documents like that were only for serious researchers who need to look at the originals. I shouldn't ever have got near it, and certainly never expected to.

But I'm so glad I did.





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