dorsetgirl: (sunset)
2017-06-23 08:52 am

Welcome to my Journal

Hi there!

Although this is mainly a fic journal, I do use the [ profile] dorsetgirl identity to post comments in a variety of places, so if you've arrived here from a non-fandom location, welcome!

This journal contains the occasional rant or rambling about life in general, but most of it is fic, some of which is of an explicit nature. Please do not read on unless you're comfortable with that.

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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
2017-06-22 08:34 pm

My Fic Masterlist - Last Updated April 2011


This list is a work in progress; it's not completely up-to-date with everything posted between January2010 and April 2011. I plan to go through the drabble challenges etc when I have time, to pick up the bits I've missed.

Most of my fic is set in the Life on Mars universe; nearly all of it is slash - that's a male/male relationship. If that bothers you, don't read any further.

Items marked *** are new since the last update. At present, most of the links go to comms rather than my journal, because that's where the comments are and because not everything is here in my journal yet. (If you'd like to add to the comments, I would be delighted!)

Life on Mars fic )

Other Fic )
dorsetgirl: (DG1)
2013-01-02 02:33 am

My 2013 Book List

Someone on my LJ friendslist posted a list of all the books she'd read during 2012, and it occurred to me that I can't remember most of the books I've read this year. I know they include the Millennium trilogy, a couple of Alex Riders, several of Robert Muchamore's Cherub and Henderson's Boys series, all seven Harry Potters, Pratchett's Wintersmith and Maskerade, half a dozen random supermarket novels, Stranded by Emily Barr, Room by Emma O'Donoghue, a couple of Sophie Hannah's books, the Hunger Games trilogy and the four "Boy Soldier" books by Andy McNab. Most of these weren't the first reading.

So anyway, I thought I'd start a list for 2013, beginning with the books I finished and started today. Titles with an asterisk are ones I haven't read before. These are going to be in a minority, as I don't get round to going to the library very often and it's difficult to justify spending loads of money on new books. I'm also trying to get rid of stuff rather than adding to it, so I'm reluctant to go to the charity shop because I'll end up coming out with a bagful and there's simply no room for another pile.

We're now in April, and I keep forgetting to update this list. I've got a feeling there's at least half a dozen books I've read over the past month or two that I've completely forgotten to add to the list.

(1) *Half of the Human Race - Anthony Quinn

(2) The Crystal Singer - Anne McCaffrey

(3) The Lost Continent - Bill Bryson

(4) Daughters-in-Law - Joanna Trollope

(5) The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kit - Bill Bryson

(6) Waterproof - Chris Crowther

(7) The Latchkey Kid - Helen Forrester

(8) Started Early, Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson

(9) Water Under the Bridge - Chris Crowther

(10) *The Beach Café - Lucy Diamond

(11) Once in a Lifetime - Cathy Kelly

(12) Dialogues of the Dead - Reginald Hills

(13) *Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

(14) The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

(15) Girl on Fire - Suzanne Collins

(16) Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

(17) Woman to Woman - Cathy Kelly

(18) ~A Deniable Death - Gerald Seymour

(19) Still Waters - Chris Crowther

(20) Snakehead (Alex Rider) - Anthony Horowitz

(21) *Any Way You Want Me - Lucy Diamond

(22) *The Soldier's Wife - Joanna Trollope

(23) *An Inspector Calls - J.B.Priestley

(24) Timescape - Gregory Benford

(25) The Recruit (Cherub) - Robert Muchamore

(26) The House Husband - Owen Whittaker

(27) Fever - A Story From a Devon Churchyard - Liz Shakespeare

(28) *Scorched Earth (Henderson’s Boys) - Robert Muchamore

(29) The Making of the English Landscape - W.G.Hoskins

(30) *The Unlikely Pilgimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce

(31) *The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson

(32) The Turning of the Tide - Liz Shakespeare

(33) Mad Dogs - Robert Muchamore

(34) *Remember Me? - Sophie Kinsella

(35) Divine Madness - Robert Muchamore

(36) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K.Rowling

(37) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K.Rowling

(38) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K.Rowling

(39) *Good Husband Material - Trisha Ashley

(40) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K.Rowling

(41) The Beach Café - Lucy Diamond

(42) Sushi for Beginners - Marian Keyes

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Boy Soldier - Andy McNab and Robert Rigby

Payback - (Boy Soldier 2) - Andy McNab and Robert Rigby

Avenger (Boy Soldier 3) - Andy McNab and Robert Rigby

Meltdown (Boy Soldier 4) - Andy McNab and Robert Rigby
dorsetgirl: (DG1)
2013-01-01 06:42 pm

So it's all happening again

Just a quick drive-by posting, but with all the LJ downtime we've been having the past few days, and the realisation that Russia gave itself internet censoring powers a few months back (surely just a coincidence, I don't think), I decided it was time to update my Dreamwidth.

I've never got round to actually moving over there, or cross-posting or anything, but I decided to go for another import. It took about two minutes to copy over a year's worth of entries and comments, which is quicker than LJ can actually open up one entry most of the time. (I should mention that I haven't had time to check every single entry, but it's all looking fine on the surface.)

Anyway, I thought I'd just post this as a reminder to anyone who isn't confident they have their LJ totally backed up somewhere. DO IT NOW! I'm also planning to write a couple of polite little PMs to mods of one or two comms asking if they have a contingency plan for when it all finally goes to hell.

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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
2013-01-01 12:48 am

And a Happy New Year!

Wishing everybody a wonderful 2013!

Overall I have pretty good memories of 2012, what with the Olympics and all, and the Jubilee, and I very much hope that 2013 will be as enjoyable and will bring to you and yours everything you want it to.

I've got my new year offerings outside as usual; I have no idea where this custom came from, or who actually knows about it or follows it, but I was taught by my grandmother always to put a coin, a piece of bread and a piece of coal outside on New Year's Eve so that throughout the coming year you will always have enough money, food and fuel.

When I was little I was given a shiny sixpence to put out, along with a piece of sliced white and a lump of coal from the scuttle. Nowadays I put out a pound or two pound coin, a chunk of the newest, freshest bread we have in the house, and a piece of coal I picked up on Winterton beach in Norfolk about ten years ago for precisely this purpose. Prior to that I used to put out a piece of wood along with the money and bread.

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dorsetgirl: (sunset)
2012-12-20 12:52 am

I'm not quite sure that would work here...

Briefly, I posted on an ASD forum asking for ideas on how to get my oldest to get up and actually go to school. People have been very kind and helpful, but a line in one of the replies stopped me in my tracks.

I'm far too tired to reply to people properly over there at the moment, so I'm just posting this extract here for some input from people whose university experience or knowledge is more recent than my own.

...things are completely different at university with regards to how you can manage your time and sleep schedules. Especially after freshman year, you can set up things so that you can sleep during the hours you prefer, and take classes during the times that are best for you.

Really? Does anyone know if it's actually possible in the UK? I can't even begin to see how that would work.

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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
2012-12-19 11:52 am

What is wrong with these people's brains?

When my oldest first went there, my sons' secondary school was very aware of the fact that their students' families didn't automatically have lots of money just because it was a Grammar School. In fact, as they take anyone who passes, rather than only the top-ranked candidates, they're very much the plate-glass end of the grammar-school spectrum rather than redbrick or Oxbridge, if I can borrow University labels for a moment. Until five years ago it was only necessary to buy two things direct from the school - the tie and the blazer badge. Everything else could be sourced wherever parents could find the right-looking stuff. I used to buy blazers in BHS for about £16 and they lasted reasonably well for the 2-3 years it took to grow out of them.

Then the school started supplying blazers with the badge ready-embroidered onto the pocket and that was fine because they were still only about £16. It was only three years later that I realised that an outgrown school blazer could no longer be passed down as a pleasingly cool black jacket to wear with jeans and a t-shirt, unless you actually cut the pocket off.

Then the PE kit started sprouting school emblems on every item, and had to be obtained from the school. No more Asda shorts.

And today I've had an email from them. Apparently from January they have a new uniform supplier. It's a specialist school outfitters' and as such, one of the most expensive shops in the area.

The school is still plate-glass. The parents are still very ordinary people who just want their children to have an academic education and think a grammar school would suit them best. We don't have pearls and BMWs and ambitions for our children to be world-beaters. For my part, I just want my children to survive their schooling without being crushed and broken too badly; to come out still full of interest and intelligence while having hopefully ticked enough boxes to get the right bits of paper. I would rather use my limited resources to buy them books and computers and thought-provoking Christmas presents than spent lots of money pandering to the headteacher's wish to run a school for "the right kind of people".

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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
2012-12-08 11:20 pm

Praising and bitching

Went to see Skyfall this afternoon, for middle son's birthday treat (he's 16 today). I really enjoyed it; I didn't bother when the rest of the family went to see it about a month ago, because I saw (I think) Quantum of Solace, and never understood a single minute of what was going on. But Skyfall was much more straightforward, and Daniel Craig is quite the sexy beast in it imo. Although I did prefer him with slightly longer hair. It was the first time I'd seen Javier Bardem in anything and I thought he was excellent, if you allow for scenery-chewing being a standard part of Bond villainy.

Anyway, afterwards we went to Frankie & Benny's for a meal, and I ordered a glass of wine for the birthday boy. When it arrived I directed it to him and they asked if he had any ID. (They didn't ask how old he was). I said no, and said I thought teenagers aged 14+ were allowed to drink wine with a meal providing they were with an adult who actually bought it. The waiter then wheeled a manager over who started off by calling me "love", patronising bitch (she was about 25). Anyway, I explained my understanding of the law and she said "No, that's just a loophole. The law says no alcohol at all for under-18s; there is a loophole for 17-year-olds but Frankie & Benny's choose not to go along with it."

When I said in that case they should make it clear on the wine list - because if I'd known I wouldn't have ordered it - she said "It's the law, it doesn't need to be on the wine list."

Anyway, I've now done some googling and as far as I can see, the law states "if you’re 16 or 17 and accompanied by an adult, you can drink (but not buy) beer, wine or cider with a meal." So I was wrong on it being 14, but as he's 16 today it would have been perfectly legal for us to buy him a glass of wine to go with his meal.

So my question to Trading Standards on Monday is going to be "Are they allowed to refuse to sell us wine that we were attempting to buy perfectly legally? And if so, shouldn't they display a notice to that effect?" It was all very polite, but I was a bit upset and shaken after the conversation - I really can't handle conflict face to face - and my son felt very awkward. The manager really tried to make me feel I was doing something dirty and underhand and flat-out illegal.

Anyone got any experience or solid knowledge on this area of the law? When we were on holiday in October we bought a glass of wine each for the (then) 17- and 15-year-olds and no-one asked any questions at all. Of course, as the boys pointed out tonight, that was Norfolk.

ETA:This morning I spoke to some consumer-advice lot listed on the Trading Standards website and asked for clarification on the law. They said "It's a grey area; it's down to the individual business".

To which I replied that I didn't believe for one second that Frankie & Benny's had the right to decide the law in this country. He went back and talked to Trading Standards again and the bottom line is that (a) the law says that 16/17-year-olds may have ONE drink with a meal, if bought by an accompanying responsible adult

and (b) businesses can choose to refuse to serve people under 21 if they want to, and they are not required to have a sign up about this anywhere.

I finally found a FAQ on FB's website which seems to take an unpleasantly moralistic stance. It says, and I quote exactly:

"Frankie & Benny’s Responsible Drinking Policy

Why can’t a 16 or 17 year old be served alcohol in your restaurants when this is perfectly legal?

We extremely careful when guests utilise the ‘table meal’ aspect of the law to allow a 16 or 17 year old drink alcohol, purchased by an adult, with their meal. Whilst, legally, they can be allowed alcohol, as a company we need to ensure that no-one under 16 could be given alcohol in this manner."

So, they choose not to trust their customers; they choose to assume that their customers will lie to them and show false ID for their children, and they choose to retaliate in advance by lying to their customers about what the law actually says. Nice people.

Oh, I also saw it implied somewhere that the law has recently been changed from 14 with a meal to 16 with a meal, so I was kind of right. And how does it teach teenagers "responsible drinking" if you make it impossible for parents to take them out for a sensible drink, in company, with a meal? My idea of "responsible drinking" for teenagers does not include drinking at home!

ETA2: I realised afterwards that part of the problem is that I grew up in a completely different era, ie before alcopops. In those days, the test for the seller was not "have I seen sufficient ID?" but "can I convincingly claim that I believed this person was 18?" (Or 16, in this particular case). It never crossed my mind that they might have "a policy" and it never crossed my mind they might ask for ID.

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dorsetgirl: (Default)
2012-12-05 10:04 am

There be weather out there...

Got a call from my kids on the train this morning, five minutes after they should have arrived at school-town station. Apparently it was snowing heavily - which was a bit surreal, as there was no sign of it here, only five miles away - and they were going to "try to roll it back into XXX intermediate-village station, and it's not going any further. They're telling us to get off there and get a lift." Luckily OH was still here, having a slightly lazy start to his day, so he headed off immediately to XXX station to pick them up, while I phoned the school. (It's a good job he was here, because my car is in for service and a new suspension spring, so they'd have been stuck on a snowy station.)

"I’ve just had a call from my boys on the train ..."

"Yes, we’ve heard there are delays."

"They’ve been told they’re going back to XXX."

"Well we’ve heard that the trains are being delayed by 45 minutes, that’s all."

This kind of thing is becoming quite a problem. My boys are the only ones who use that particular line to get to school, and not only do the school entirely fail to understand that being a branch it's a lower priority for the train company to sort out, but that the website completely fails to reflect what's actually happening. In this particular case the website just wiped that train out of existence once it arrived back at station XXX, so there's no record of what really happened. So the school check a train website, and phone the bus company, and anyone whose journey is not covered by any problems they discover is deemed to have gone AWOL - or in modern edu-speak, to be committing Unauthorised Absence.

So I reiterated what I'd been told - "They're going to try to roll the train back to XXX and they've been advised to get off and get a lift."

"So are they not coming in?" For God's sake, how do I know? I'm in a different town and it's not even snowing here yet. So I said we'd make a decision once they were safely collected from the station.

By the time they got back here the snow had stopped and the roads were fairly clear, so off they went again, by car. At which point the website suddenly "found" their train again and indicated that it was underway and would arrive at school-town in four minutes. Oh, great. So now they're going to be later than they would have been had they stayed on the train.

Finally, at 9:30 I discovered that the train had arrived at their station at 9:20, so they were still better off getting a lift. And the train website has gone down, but luckily I have a screen-grab of the actual arrival information for the school and for the delay-repay, unless the train company find another way of getting out of that one. And now OH tells me he dropped them at school at 9:30, so there we go - all safe and sound eventually, but what a palaver.

My day - as in when I get to decide what to do and in what order - is supposed to start at 07:20. It's now 10:00. Blah.

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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
2012-12-04 10:14 am

In which I am brilliant, maybe

I'm feeling quite unjustifiably proud of myself right now. A language comm I follow had a "What is this language" post - the OP had listened to a clip many times and tried to categorise the sounds, but had failed to identify the language. So - without looking at the comments, obviously - I followed the link and listened to the thirty-second clip (once). Within five seconds I was going, "That's Norwegian."

Of course, being me, within ten seconds I was saying "But how can I know that?" Given that I don't speak Norwegian, I don't know any Norwegians, etc, etc. I don't know, is the simple answer. All I can say is that it was practically instant, and then I followed it up with some possibly spurious "reasoning":

(1) "It sounds kind of dark and Northern". Impressively scientific, yeah?

(2) "It's not Swedish". I've watched the Millennium films several times, so while I couldn't do the sounds myself, I remember enough to know that it sounded quite different to me.

(3) "It's probably not Icelandic". Because I was very struck to see how like Old English Icelandic looks and so I'm guessing I would be able to pick out the occasional word, which I couldn't here.

(4) "It's probably not Danish". On no grounds at all other than I'm assuming Danish sounds a bit Germanish.

Also, I remembered my OH, who is good at doing accents, reporting to me about five years ago what a customer had just said to him. The customer, an English speaker, was himself reporting what a Norwegian had said to him that day, in English with a Norwegian accent. A bit of a long trail, but for me it was the confirming factor.

So yeah, either I'm brilliant or I'm subconsciously remembering how Norwegian sounded when I visited the place for one week over twenty years ago, during which time no-one ever addressed me in Norwegian. In which case I'm - brilliant.

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dorsetgirl: (GD_Together)
2012-11-30 08:33 pm

Fic - Seeking Treatment, Green Day

I've been immersed in other projects this month, but WriSoMiFu finally prompted me into actually writing something, so here it is. Not posted anywhere else yet, and there may be a follow-up at some point. (If there's anything painfully obviously Brit-speak rather than American, I'd appreciate knowing about it.)

Fic: Seeking Treatment
Fandom: Green Day
Warning: RPS, non-graphic
Disclaimer: Not real, not mine, no money changing hands
Word Count:415

Seeking Treatment )
dorsetgirl: (NZ_Black)
2012-11-30 11:32 am

Extradition Treaty

I was very pleased to read that Richard O'Dwyer is not being extradited after all. This is obviously very good news. But then I read that the deal is he must "travel to the US and pay compensation".

Er, don't they have internet banking in the US? Why can't he just pay from here?

It seems to me that this is just a trick to get him there under false pretences and then they're going to arrest him. Then he'll be put in jail for sixty years for upsetting some Hollywood arsehole. This is not about justice - this is about the US trying to control the rest of the world and I am fed up with it.

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dorsetgirl: (sunset)
2012-11-23 09:45 am

Excellent Guided Tour of the Space Station

Great video tour made by the departing commander, Sunita Williams. I'm not sure whether to be surprised I hadn't heard there was a female commander, ashamed that I'm surprised that there is a female commander, or pleased that no-one thought a female commander worth mentioning.

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dorsetgirl: (Default)
2012-11-22 11:15 am

(no subject)

My sons' school has recently moved over to the "three-year GCSE". However, they quickly worked out that there's a reason GCSEs are normally done in two years - that's all it takes.

So they had to cast around for something to fill in the time in between all those two-year courses dragged out over three years, and they came up with a thing called the Arts Award. This isn't a major problem for the youngest, who's the only one involved, but I am extremely grateful the oldest ("Art is rubbish, English Literature is all lies") and the middle one ("I don't see the point of music, it's just a noise") were too old to be dragged into it.

Anyway, part of this time-filler is that they have to research and write about "An Arts Hero". My little hero has chosen to focus on Notch, creator of Minecraft.

This strikes me as distinctly subversive and thus I approve whole-heartedly. (I admit it, I think "The Arts" is a load of rubbish too. I like some films, I read a lot, I like some pictures, I don't mind watching people dance, but "The Arts"? I've never really understood what that is, and if it's Damien Hirst you can keep it.)

For those who don't know, Minecraft also has the benefit of allowing players to design and build remarkably sophisticated circuits based on "redstone". My kids are all fully conversant with "AND gates" and the like from this, and the oldest explained the whole logic-gates thing to his 'A' level Computing class based on Minecraft (which they all know) after the teacher had failed to get the concept across.

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dorsetgirl: (Default)
2012-10-23 08:20 pm

Blimey, is it that time of year again?

Someone on my f-list, can't remember who, expressed an interest last year in joining WriSoMiFu this year.

I have no idea whether non-members can see the wake-up post, but they're taking sign-ups on 30th and 31st October ONLY, which means you should be able to see the comm and join up on those dates.

For those who don't know, WriSoMiFu (Write Something you Miserable Fuck) is kind of an anti-NaNoWriMo; the idea is you sign up to write ten minutes per day and bitch about it.

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dorsetgirl: (Mike_Longview)
2012-10-22 12:48 pm

Ooh, that'll do me!

Yay, apparently we're getting Kaiser Chiefs as support to Green Day next Summer! I am so looking forward to it, provided Billie's better by then of course *crosses everything*
dorsetgirl: (Richard_III)
2012-10-20 11:16 am

Book - The Women of the Cousins’ War

I’m not particularly interested in reading the Cousins’ War novels, but I thought I might get this, which purports to be the research behind the novels. Does anyone have any thoughts on whether it’s worth reading?

In particular, the phrase “...the extraordinary 'true' stories...” makes me wonder how much of the book is informed extrapolation and how much sheer fantasy.

I was highly amused to note the following differences between the synopses at Amazon and The Book People:

The Book People

Esteemed historians Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin and Michael Jones have combined to write The Women of the Cousins' War: The Duchess, the Queen and the King's Mother - a book that contains three biographical essays. The book covers the lives of Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beufort and Jacquetta (Lady Rivers) and gives readers the extraordinary 'true' stories of the life of these women who have now largely been forgotten by history. It considers their background and times and highlights the questions raised in fiction and in Philippa's successful Cousins' War novels about each lady. Beautifully illustrated, she writes revealingly about the differences between history and fiction and examines the gaps in the historical record.


Philippa Gregory and two historians, leading experts in their field who helped Philippa to research the novels, tell the extraordinary 'true' stories of the life of these women who until now have been largely forgotten by history, their background and times, highlighting questions which are raised in the fiction and illuminating the novels. With a foreword by Philippa Gregory - in which Philippa writes revealingly about the differences between history and fiction and examines the gaps in the historical record - and beautifully illustrated with rare portraits, The Women of the Cousins' War is an exciting new addition to the Philippa Gregory oeuvre.

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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
2012-10-16 05:26 pm

Gary McKinnon stays in the UK

Thank God.

Those saying "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime" have no compassion and no understanding whatsoever of the autistic mind.

Even as the parent of an autistic child myself, I find it difficult to imagine the hell that Gary and his mother have been through for the past ten years, but in my mind there is no doubt that he has served those ten years and that should be taken into consideration in any future trial.

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dorsetgirl: (Default)
2012-10-13 11:07 am

Fed up

Every year for the past thirty years, this has been the day I/we load up everything but the kitchen sink and set off to take part in a brilliant event. (I'm not going to name it here because I don't want the DG identity recognised by anyone who knows me in real life). This year, we're not going, because the boys' school kicked up a major fuss; threats of getting in the Education Welfare Officer, all sorts. We were told "every single day counts in education".

What really annoys me is that every time we go along to those "keep the parents informed" evenings, they say "Once the attendance drops below 95%, there is a very clear effect on the GCSE results. It is proven that poor attendance causes poor results."

So I have several major issues with that:

(1) Even after their one-week unauthorised absence "to accompany the parent with whom they reside on their main annual holiday", my children's attendance is always 97%. Which by the school's own words is not in the danger zone.

(2) There are many reasons why a person with poor attendance might have poor results. That does not automatically mean that the relationship is simple causative.

(3) Last week, and three weeks ago, all students were sent home at morning break, to allow the school to prepare for Open Evenings. Three lessons missed, both days.

(4) Only yesterday my middle son was given the afternoon off, along with about fifty others, to enable them to get home in time to get to a school-organised event last night. In other words, every day counts unless the school themselves decide it doesn't.

Anyway, today all over the country, roughly one hundred people I've known for between fifteen and thirty years are at this moment driving towards their holiday and I'm not. I am pissed off and unhappy.

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