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Oh, wonderful!  I thought, around about mid-morning Saturday.  The people (who are very pleasant people, I haste to say; it's just that I'm a lazy beast) who were invited for lunch on Sunday can't come!  And thus the weekend suddenly opened to reveal ... what is it?  somethings of vast eternity.  Or a day and a half of free time, anyway.  :) I was cockahoop.

So...  I plucked those cumquats which were ready to fall from the New Year's cumquat tree, and made spiced cumquat chutney - and I made muesli bars, too, to use up some over-ripe bananas.  Went marketing, of course, and accidentally brought home a mountain of lettuce, and much green herbage (because it was past ten, and the market-seller wanted to pack up and go home).  Also triumphantly tracked down cinnamon bark, for the chutney, down a market side-street, and generally had a good time.  :)

And then on Sunday I went to visit an aged friend - that was absolutely great!  She is recovering from a stroke, and it was wonderful to see her so much better, so much stronger.  We just sat together for three-quarters of an hour, and drank water, and talked of nothing much - of planting trees recently, and looking at photos . Not a long visit, because I didn't want to wear her out, but a very, very happy one - it was so good to see her, and to see her so strong.  :)

And I took in various media throughout the weekend:

- watched the 27th episode of Nirvana in Fire, which means I'm exactly half-way through;

- read some of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, which is about very exciting things, but so far is not very well or engagingly written;

- and read some newspapers online, of course, which yielded this lovely story (with picture) of a desert turtle.
  What an amazing creature!  And how beautiful it seems in the picture - to me, at least - gold and emerald.  :) 
  Also, I chortled at a word attributed (wrongly, I'm sure - possibly autotranscription from a recording?) to the herpetologist, which suggested that the turtles are excavating underground - making  a second pleasing picture, of a different, totally imaginary, sort! (But now I've been back and they've fixed it up - good to see journalistic diligence at the ABC.  Unless it was the mortified herpetologist who set them straight.)

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Sorry to anyone perplexed by my putting up the wrong link about politics yesterday; I've gone back and fixed it now.  :)

Also about yesterday's post:  the move I mentioned to sell off public land in the US, which stank to high heaven, has apparently seemed too bad even for the current climate there - or was it that hunters and shooters threw their voice into the protests?  I don't care - it's been stopped, as reported by [personal profile] twistedchick  here.  and I'm glad. 

As for today:  it's World Wetlands Day, and people are celebrating the glorious world of places which aren't safe, steady land, and aren't clear open water - fens and swamps and marshes and bogs and quagmires.  (What a gorgeous word, by the way! - quag-mire.  Is it that the ground quakes, do you think, or does quag refer to its sticky, sucking character?).  
But leaving the words, lovely as they are, and just thinking about the wetlands themselves - places betwixt and between, and so which feel mysterious and not quite in our ken - and thus in turn have given us so much, much wonderful literature: desperate freedom fighters holding out against the Normans, and the Swamp Creature, and a gigantic hound with dripping phosphorescent jaws, lolloping towards to an island in the fog, and the Black Lagoon, and bells ringing out from a huge church rising from the flood, and mangroves which are a story in themselves, and strange girl butterfly hunters, and Puddleglum and all Marshwiggles, ever.  

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Lovely to read of so much exhilaration and hope on the many marches.  I'd been anxious - about communications systems, amongst other things - and it was so good to find that it wasn't necessary at all, in the event!  :)    (But it was interesting to see it confirmed by some people involved, that mobile phone/cell phone coverage does indeed falter in large crowds - something to be aware of, going forward.)

In more local news:

The Tet goldfish have all been released into waterways, to become celestial dragons for the three kitchen gods to ride back to heaven.  I mentioned last year that student groups and other young volunteers were asking people not to toss their fish-carrying plastic bags in when they released their fish - this year that's become a campaign, with posters and more volunteers and council workers, stationed at the likely places (where there are steps down into the water, mostly).  

The poster says: Let loose the fish, hold onto the plastic bag!  

I have new glasses, and the world is crystal-clear.  (Or as close to it as my eyes allow, anyway.)   I am being amazingly conscientious about putting them back in their case, but I expect it won't be terribly long before they're being slung around casually, and ending up as battered as all previous pairs of glasses have been.

Yesterday I made crumpets from scratch!   I used this recipe, which weirdly doesn't reveal that the crumpet so made should be toasted later - i.e. that it's not intended to be eaten in its flabby original first-cooked state.  The dough/batter was really strange - very gloopy and gluey - but the result on cooking was instantly recognisable as crumpets, though not exactly round due to my not having the poaching rings to make them in.  They toasted up well this morning, but were regrettably doughy inside.  :(  If I do it again, I'll cook them longer at lower heat, in the first cooking.

Thanks to a tip from puddleshark, I've been looking at and enjoying Nirvana in Fire, a 54-part series (I'm up to part 9) set in eighth-century China.  Read more, if you like... )

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Literature!  Theatre!  Music!  and a swimming pool!!  It was a brilliant, brilliant weekend.  Oh, and on Friday night, a spectacular and silent lightning storm.  amazing!

The theatre wasn't really on the weekend - it was on Thursday night, but near enough, near enough - and it was terrific.  Sombre in places, and theatre-of-ideas in places (difficult, because I don't have enough language to follow the debates) and romance in places (pah, humbug!) and obligatory funny bits in places (ummm) but still - exciting production, and I loved the sets and the acting, and the ideas, very much.

The lightning storm - how far away does lightning have to be, to be completely silent?  It was amazing and beautiful, a huge storm around a whole quarter of the sky.

I started, and read most of, The Just City - which I'm enjoying, though not without niggles; it feels a bit two-bob-each-way between a novel and a fable, as if in all fairness (because it's a fable,a thought experiment) one shouldn't fret too much about characters or history or finicky pedantic points. (Not every number, Apollo!  You mean every number up to twelve!)  But it's fun watching the experiment work out (doomed to fail! - at least, it seems to me that it has been, but I see there's sequels, which suggests the experiment doesn't end in this volume, anyway) - and in general it's very enjoyable, and a huge step up from Hild. (I bought them both in the same bookshop swoop, last March.)  It reminds me of how Martin Gardner used to wrap up his mathematical/logic problems in very appealing and amusing mini-stories. 

The music was - still is - the Sydney Piano Competition, available via internet for a limited number of days - I think it's four weeks from when they were broadcast.  Here's the first set of three finalists, in the 19th/20th Century concerto section, playing Saint-Saens (an odd choice for competition playing), Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev.   So there were swathes of music throughout the weekend.

and swimming for hours!  This is a rare treat, and the opportunity was not wasted, not for a minute, in this hot weather!  I say, swimming, but a good bit of the time - nearly all the time - was also just splashing about, or standing chatting in the watery shade.  ahhhhh...  :)

So, all up, a great weekend.  :)

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It's been a long week, for one reason and another, including personally.

In Australia, the election is still not quite settled. Read more... )

Thursday night a couple of us sat up, following with fear and horror #whereisLavishReynolds. Read more... )

Oh, heavens. Something by way of relief. It's NAIDOC week in australia - i.e. celebrating indigenous people, culture, heritage. Here's an article from the abc about the billabongs of the Top End, and the people who know them and love them and keep them best. (Comes with a lovely picture of Cherry Daniels with waterlilies. :) Recommended for the picture alone, let alone the rest. and there's lots of other articles linkable from there.)

Well. Saturday morning, and I'd better start the day.
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So... stopping to think of some mildly cheerful things happening.

For one thing, some old (fifteenth century) wooden panels which had been stolen from a church in Devon, have been recovered and restored and returned to their home church.
I hold no brief for Margaret of antioch, or Victor of Marseilles, (I know nothing at all about either of them) but I hate it when something which is out in the world, publicly visible, being part of our general human heritage, is ripped away from all of us, whether from theft or destructiveness - so I was glad to see this one loss undone.

and it's good news that in the US there's been an overhaul and extension of the regulation of toxic substances. US readers will understand the political implication of this better than I would, but it's meant co-operation between Democrats and Republicans and commercial interests and the Environmental Protection agency, which all sounds good - and the safer environment at ordinary-citizen level is definitely good. :)

I think it's even good news that a man in australia can have fun making silly hats. I would actually wear the pancakes one, in the unlikely circumstance of the artist giving it to me. :)

Three mildly cheerful things closer to home:

The commitment to honouring the Year of the Pulse with a weekly meal continues: this week, a simple carrot and lentil dhal, with cumin and plum accents. :)

I managed another Sunday evening Old Who catch-up, this time going back to the beginning of the season I last week saw the end of, with "The Leisure Hive". Read more... )

The white bougainvillea in the front yard is in flower. :)
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There's so much stinking, stinking sad news out there. :(

Well... to some better news, or cheerful things, if not exactly news:

Scotland has achieved its emissions reduction target six years early! :) Go, Scotland!

The 50,000 hectares of Yarralin Cattle Station (which had been held under leasehold from the Crown, most recently by the Hooker Corporation) has been formally handed back to its traditional Aboriginal owners.

Is a comedy sketch art? If it is, then here's art protecting nature, in an ad made by two well-known comedians for an NGO in Vietnam, to campaign for tiger protection (youtube, one minute)

Where nature starts to look like art:
I really liked these eggs, all from the same species of bird - the tawny-flanked prinia, in Africa. So beautiful, like marbled silk!

The photo is by evolutionary ecologist Martin Stevens, and I found it and the info in this Guardian article.

Beautiful, and sneaky, too! The origin of these lovely patterns lies in the habit of the Zambian cuckoo finch, doing what cuckoo finches do, i.e. laying eggs which mimicked typical prinia eggs in prinia nests - but the tawny-flanked prinia has been - and still is - fighting back, by each individual hen now laying her own special signature style of egg! The egg-forging finches can't keep up! Go, wonderful tawny-flanked prinias!

Writing news: What with one thing and another, I haven't written a thing all year, apart from some three-sentence fiction, so I've been trying to kickstart my writing by launching back into a Narnia project I started last year. Read more... )
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I'm envious of those Australians who will be at home this week to see the first episodes of the new show Cleverman. It does look like it could be a bit tough, i.e. with depictions of violence - I usually steer away from such. (Here's the youtube trailer - it's a bit over two minutes long.)
Still, I'd like to see it; it'll be the first big Aboriginal-led futureish dystopian fantasy action show (and heavy on the social commentary) on television. Though it's not true, as is asserted in this Guardian article, that this'll be the first Aboriginal superhero; I remember the AIDS-inspired Condoman - don't be shame, be game! - even if no-one else does.
If anyone sees it, I'd love to hear what you think.

Two cheerful pieces of environmental news - from the giant karri forests of Pemberton, WA, and
from the tiny wastewater treatment plant in Jamestown, SA.

One pleasant indicator of social change, perhaps: a clue in the Friday crossword this week was She classifies Chinese religion, not film.
(The answer was taxonomist; the X was part of a larger pan-crossword clue.)
True, as a clue it's not especially exciting, but what I thought was pleasant was to see "she" used to mean "ordinary human", and not meaning something different from the default male.

War & Peace is back - I'm pushing determinedly for the end now, since the friend I was reading it with most unfairly gallopped ahead while I was away doing other things. I've just finished about the battle of Borodino, Read more... )
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My life is at sixes and sevens again, but to at least be posting something here are three idle thoughts, and a question.

1. Trollope is hideously unfair to the Marchioness of Hartletop. Read more... )

2. I read a short piece in the Guardian about what is and isn't proper grammar - it was very scathing about the use of 'amongst', saying:
"How longeth wilt thou persist with “amongst” and “whilst”? Yea though thine prose doth ring fanciful, long hath the “st” lain banish’d ’pon the pebbl’d shore. (These days, it’s always “among” and “while”.)"

Bah, humbug! 'amongst' is a perfectly good word, and I will jolly well continue to use it any time I feel like it. (also, "How longeth" is simply silly.)

3. I think the science here is open to doubt, because the CSIRO say so, but it's interesting in itself, and also for a glimpse of a very country Greens Party pollie in australia: the Condamine river, famed in song and story, set on fire. (videolink, one minute.)

and the question:
Four years ago, just about, I posted my first ever fanfic to fanfiction.net. Is it worth overhauling it, smoothing off some of the rough edges, and reposting it on ao3 - or is that boring? (This is partly inspired by seeing someone asking for fics starring older characters, which this does.)
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Life is getting busier and busier in the streets around me - everyone's gearing up for Tet, with frantic cleaning and gift-buying and planning to get back home (wherever home is).  Last weekend, though, Read more... )

For those interested in the diplomatic side of environmental matters: Read more... )

Fandom is bustling,too, with many challenges and fests happening - including halfamoon: 14 days of celebrating women.  I'm thinking hard about what I can contribute.  Recs? Meta? Maybe I'll seize a prompt.  Can't let the chance go by to join the celebration, anyway!

From Ethiopia - the Lion returns.  This, the dark-maned largest lion, is the kind I've preferred to write as aslan in my Narnian fanfic. 

Speaking of Narnia:  over on the NFFR site the Narnia LWW Reread has reached Chapter Twelve, with some very interesting meta, sources, questions, suggestions...

after last week's complex-character exertions ( :P to all those laughing!) it's back to the simple side for this week's character! 

and in the tiny domestic triumphs department:  the last of the missing socks has revealed itself!  My sock-bag is now only holding pairs!

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To amuse those of you who live where it really snows: the news story about snow falling in Hobart recently - even on the beach!  and some schools were closed, for a snow-day.  :) 

In delight that maybe only other Australians will follow: Bronwyn Bishop has resigned!  a blow against arrogance and corruption.  Just one blow - corruption is still around and corroding our political system, but still... this is good news.  It's also left our Prime Minister looking even more of a loose cannon - since he plainly didn't know how to handle the situation, at first making light of it, and then going to ground to avoid it. 
It wasn't giant corruption on a world scale - swanning around using taxpayers' money to bignote herself, and travel in luxury - but she's been riding for a fall with her blatant self-interest and partiality as Speaker, and I am very glad to see her go. 
There's other alarm bells in the story, too - why the Federal Police handed the matter over to the Department of Finance to investigate, and why the Department of Finance seem disposed to let her off the hook.  But for today, I'm glad she's gone as Speaker.

also in the category that this might only interest other Australians: I hope like mad that Adam Goodes returns next weekend and is met with sustained cheering.  I can't do a blinking thing about it, though, that I can think of.  Not all the opinions in the world (like this from the Age newspaper) can help unless the crowd themselves see themselves for what they are - racist and baying for blood.  Suggestions welcome.
(For non-Australians - Goode, a football player, has been booed incessantly whenever he takes the ground ever since he over-reacted badly to a young girl shouting abuse at him (she claims she didn't know it was racist, which I think is garbage, but irrelevant). The crowds have seized on this to boo him, allegedly because he was bullying to the girl, but... oh, come on!  They're not fooling anyone.)

Does this constitute a mass spoiler?  British academics come up with a formula to predict whodunnit in any Agatha Christie crime novel.

Great to see mangroves getting the attention they deserve!    They're the Puddleglums of the plant world - they don't look heroic, but they hang in there and achieve much, unsung.  (also: Sri Lanka has passed legislation preserving all of its remaining mangrove coasts.  Cheers!  \o/)

Les Miserables ground to a halt in last week's busyness, just as four young couples were spending a glorious holiday together around Paris -not just because of the busyness, but also because I could tell that this delicate happiness was not going to last - so I stopped to enjoy it before Hugo unleashes whatever mad dog/volcano/general depressing event he has planned.  The writing is amazing.  Here's one sentence about that idyllic holiday:
"That day was composed of dawn, from one end to the other."  

It's even more beautiful in French.  Not that I'm it reading in French! - just that that sentence was so stunning that I wanted to see how Hugo said it, which was:
"Cette journée-là était d'un bout à l'autre faite d'aurore."

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It was a very full-on week, followed by a surprisingly quiet weekend, which had the great benefit that I could at last find time to begin to think about the Narnia Fic Exchange.  And there was some little struggle involved,wrestling with the form, but finally I can say that
I've managed to sign up for the NFE 2015!

and am feeling tentatively hopeful about the prospect. The freeform tags alone looked like there was a lot of fun to be had.  :)
(If anyone's reading this and wondering if they'd like to play, I assure you it's a most exhilarating way to leap into the Narnia fanfic game!  Here's how!)

Does anyone remember, by the way, that in last year's NFE I wrote about Tirian remembering being taken as a child to "float in darkness where waters lapped and glow-stars spread across the cavern-roofs..." 
That was based on my remembering a visit ages ago to these caves in beautiful New Zealand - truly, almost magically beautiful.

This is the week designated to celebrate indigenous peoples and culture in Australia, called for historical reasons NAIDOC Week; this year's theme is "We all stand on sacred ground: learn, respect and celebrate".  (Yes!)
Of course there's an absolute plethora of things in Australian media I could be linking to, but this is something from the Guardian - about an Aboriginal activist I'd never even heard of, but whose story I won't be forgetting. 
(The business about the search for a photograph puzzled me - surely if you're arrested, there's going to be a photograph somewhere? and then I remembered the Blitz...)

This weekend also is Greece's referendum on its future, and today, fittingly, the psalm-of-the-day was 123, ending: "... we have had more than enough of contempt, too much of the scorn of the indolent rich, and of the derision of the proud."  Yes, for sure - feeling for you, Greece! 
Oh, and here's Joseph Stiglitz on that situation.

and... this weekend's not quite finished, so I still have time to tackle the Great Mango Glut.  For the first time in my life: fruit leather!  Wish me luck!  :)

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Because it came up in a conversation, I thought I would read The Ragged-trousered Philanthropist -- and now I'm three chapters in, but I don't think I can keep going. (This is pretty unusual for me - I've read to the end of all sorts of rubbish, let alone to the end of books which are known, and referred to in conversations - books whose titles people know, even if they haven't read the book.)
Well, but....
I had vaguely thought it would be a sort of barefoot philosopher book, with a side-serve of one-man revolution, showing people ways forward to rebuild things nearer to the heart's desire - something with hope in it, but it's not. It's a furiously angry, unremittingly miserable, slice-of-working-class-life book. (and the hero/author-insert's going to die, I can tell -- which isn't a spoiler because in the very first chapter it says "his complexion was ominously clear, and an unnatural colour flushed the thin cheeks" and you don't need to have read many pre-penicillin books to know what that means.) I don't think I can take so much aint-it-awful being ladelled into me without pause for breath.
It's interesting as being slice-of-life, of course, in showing all sorts of incidental details of the life of house-renovators' work-gangs in the early twentieth century - I liked finding them using a pump-action blow-torch to get the old paint off, for example, and the discussion of what's the bare minimum of furniture to have in a lodger's room (bedstand and mattress, cupboard and wash-stand; chest of drawers desirable but not absolutely essential). Dunno. I might struggle on with it.

NFE... once again, I am totally flummoxed by the sign-up form, let alone writing a Dear Writer letter. I haven't signed up yet. I've got till the end of the week, I think. (Encouragement welcome.)

On the more cheerful side, I saw a most beautiful near-conjunction of Venus and Jupiter last Thursday night, with a crescent moon on the other side of the sky. Very lovely in itself, and also great that the sky was clear to see it - of smog, I mean, not of cloud. The sky is definitely clearer here than it was some years back. Surprise - regulation of industrial chimneys has effect! (Yes, I know London discovered this years ago. :) Who's next?)
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Summer! I really, really don't like the heat, but oh yes, I love the fruit! Right now, in this very kitchen (and the kitchen update comes later) there are:
  • plums - small, sweet, red plums, but not so sweet as to forget that a plum's essential mission is delivering the tartness hit.
  • lychees - fresh! still on the twig
  • watermelon - well, watermelon!
  • mangoes - which drop free from the tree next door! :)
  • and lastly... pineapple! this time, very little ones - just about fist-sized, once peeled (I bought nine!)
So there you go - summertime!

anwhile, in the kitchen... the floods have gone,and the mysterious well has been utterly transformed; instead of a well, we now have hidden under the floor a neatly tiled (around the edges) miniature Roman bath, and leading from it, an open channel cut down through the floor tiles, with two pipes in it, running away to underneath the sink. Which will be covered over like the bath, they say, with all due dispatch - but I have a gloomy feeling that the covering and retiling is going to wait until they can find tiles to match, the tiles which formerly ran along that bit of the floor having been used to tile the hidden Roman bath, of course. What chance will there be, of tiles to match for a decades-old house? I wait excitedly to find out!

Links, links.... here's two from australia, of very different life-forms:

a video of a joey koala, emerging from its mother's pouch.

and some still photos of
an ethereally blue bioluminescent bloom in Tasmania. I especially like the one where someone has walked away across the sand leaving glowing blue footsteps.

Syrena_of_the_lake has curated a second collection of stories from rthstewart's 3SF this time it's the Wings But No Feet (Dragon!Sherlock) collection - so far six stories are up, and I think about the same number still to come.

When I put up the two for Kangarooverse, by the way, I deleted them from my own 3SF post, which left me two chapters short in what was billed as a six-chapter collection.  So I added two more, offering a reason why Susan might have been thought to be no good at schoolwork. (Chapters 5 & 6)

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From Gutenberg:   an 1860s book, listing and discussing then-current and earlier slang.    Which I thought was terrifically interesting in itself, but also useful as a language resource for historical fiction.
(And I was also interested to see how many words which feel very Australian to me were in there.)

A notional board game to illustrate the dangerous game we're playing in real life with the monetisation of ecosystem services.  :( 

I like what I read about Jose Mujica.

And from one of Robert Louis Stevenson's earliest (1878) published works, concerning the wildly romantic adventures of Prince Florizel of Bohemia. The Prince, accompanied by his loyal underling Colonel Geraldine, often explores Low Life, heavily disguised:
One evening in March they were driven by a sharp fall of sleet into an Oyster Bar in the immediate neighbourhood of Leicester Square. Colonel Geraldine was dressed and painted to represent a person connected with the Press in reduced circumstances; while the Prince had, as usual, travestied his appearance by the addition of false whiskers and a pair of large adhesive eyebrows. These lent him a shaggy and weather-beaten air, which, for one of his urbanity, formed the most impenetrable disguise. Thus equipped, the commander and his satellite sipped their brandy and soda in security.
  - from 'The Suicide Club', later published as Chapter One,'The Adventure of the Young Man with the Cream Tarts, in New Arabian Nights

I especially like the idea of painting to represent a person connected with the Press in reduced circumstances.  Is it dark circles under the eyes, do you think?  Or a bibulous nose?
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Oh, this beautiful country!  I spent the full day of New Year's Day travelling by train from one state to the next, and it was just blissful!  The land outside the windows unrolled in its totally enrapturing minimalist beauty -- the pale, pale gold of post-harvest paddocks, and always behind a dark green smudge of trees along the horizon, and over them the big open glorious sky...and all the way I read -- totally rivetted! -- The Curse of Chalion (thank you, Ruth!  for the recommendation!  I had gone to the internet and found a secondhand bookseller who had it in stock, and sought them out, and bought it, all on the last day of 2012.  :)  )

And now back to here, where the air is so clear, and the light is so sharp -- just to be able to breathe it, to see it, feels like a joy and a privilege --- and the sea!! where I swam last night after the heat had gone from the day, and then again this morning, at six, before the heat set in.  The beaches in Adelaide (where I am now) are ... also minimalist. :)  Not "scenery" at all, not dramatic, but long horizontal lines of sea and sand, and tufty dry grasses on the low sandhills -- clear, clear waters (right now -- after rain or stormy weather it would be different)  and white sand beaches, and the huge blue, blue sky, and such gentle beaches, so families and little children playing -- honestly, honestly, it feels like innocence, Edenic -- I can hardly (right now!) imagine anything more beautiful.

And I have a new laptop -- the old one died, taking with it my draft of a story for the NFFR-party challenge, and I have been trying to recreate it from memory (which never works -- gloom, gloom) and because it is so hot a day I have come to the library, which has airconditioning!  (ahhhhh!).   And so... back to it! I hope the year is going well for everyone. :)
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Okay, I guess everyone but me already knew this story, but I have only just found out about this man, born in England, but reinventing himself when he was about twenty, creating a whole new identity as an Ojibwa man, Grey Owl (and it's all in wikipedia).  I find the whole business of people deciding they want to be, or are, someone totally other -- Princess Caraboo, Lobsang Rampa -- fascinating, and morally complex.  (Obviously not all that complex where it's just a way to to get money or fame, the lost inheritance or whatever.  I'm meaning the people who really want to be someone totally different, and just declare that they are.)

He made a living trapping animals for furs, but (quoting wikipedia) "In 1925, then 37-year-old Grey Owl met 19-year-old Gertrude Bernard (aka Anahareo, or Pony), a Mohawk Iroquois woman who was to be very influential in his life. She encouraged him to stop trapping and to publish his writing about the wilderness. They had a passionate eight-year affair, beginning with their Anishinaabe wedding ceremony. Through her influence, he began to think more deeply about conservation. Anahareo encouraged his writing and influenced him by saving and raising a pair of beaver kits."

And hence the photo (from www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com)  But apart from this being a beguiling photograph, I was taken with the idea that it was because of this man that Beavers got into Narnia.  Grey Owl ran a long and passionate campaign about the need to protect beavers against extinction through over-trapping, and toured England in the later 1930s, very successfully -- he was introduced to King George VI and family, and much feted, and his conservation message was very widely spread.  I'm guessing that it was because of that publicity that Lewis felt fond enough of beavers to put a Beaver couple so prominently in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and maybe even because of Grey Owl's urgent conservation message that he noted in Prince Caspian that they had died out.


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