Angelic Paranoia

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Dear Yuletide Writer
Sunday 17th October 2021 10:43 am

Dear Yuletide Writer:

This letter is just a copy of my sign up, in case it helps to have it in this format. Fandoms and characters I have requested are:
Daisy Dalrymple (Daisy, Alec)
The Persuaders (Brett, Danny)
Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (Jeff, Marty)

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Fun with hamsters
Sunday 10th October 2021 12:01 pm

This hamster looks very cute:

But last night he decided to be a naught boy and chewed my phone extension lead, in a corner of my lounge. I blocked it off, but this morning I had no internet. These two events are directly related.

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A year of Merry
Saturday 18th September 2021 3:41 pm

I've now had Merry for a year! When I got him he was a baby who liked food, running and climbing. Now he's a big hamster who likes food, running and climbing. They supposedly get a bit more chill once they're a year old, but he hasn't read that book.

Merry in travel cage

Merry when I first got him

Merry on the sofa

Merry now

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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 25th August 2021 7:24 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
Limitless by Tim Peake. I discovered, by accident, that it was 99p on Kobo, so I bought it. and I really enjoyed. I do like seeing what other people's lives are like and he was in the Army for a long time, which is totally different to my life. It was really interesting to see how he ended up applying to be an astronaut and how he lobbied for British investment in ESA which would get him into space (among other things) which I didn't know.

There was one bit that tells me I think about marriage differently to most people (I expect). He had the opportunity to go to America for three years and he could take his girlfriend, if they were married. So he proposed and then asked if she fancied going to America, making it clear that wasn't the reason he proposed. It took me a little while to work out why. But if it was me I'd want to hear about the opportunity first. Because I think of marriage as practical, not romantic. The only reasons to get married, rather than just live together are practical ones.

But then given the choice between living with a partner and a rabbit, I'd choose rabbit.

I also finally finished Little Men by Louisa M Alcott that I started a re-read of years ago at a chapter a night, stopped and after having watched the March Family Web Series, I finally felt like finishing it.

What I'm Currently Reading
Emma by Jane Austen. Because I watched the web series Emma Approved and realised I remember Clueless better than the book. It is interesting to read it and compare it to Emma Approved and Clueless.

What I'm Reading Next
Whatever I feel like reading from my box of books I need to read or get rid of. Unless I get distracted by more cheap e-books (always a hazard).

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars: Cheese on toast
Saturday 14th August 2021 10:03 am

I recently saw some melty cheese, so bought it on a whim. And then wasn't sure what to do with it. I put it on pizza and it was really nice. As I usually have toast for breakfast at weekends I thought I'd try putting some cheese on it.

The reason I've never had cheese on toast before is that I don't like cheese. In some respects becoming lactose intolerant has opened up a whole new food group to me, because soya cheese doesn't taste like cheese. It also doesn't melt - you have to have special melty cheese for that.

I'm not sure how you'd cook cheese on toast if it was real cheese, but the packet of the melty cheese says it takes longer to melt than normal cheese. Since I don't know how long normal cheese takes to melt, that doesn't really tell me much.

So I toasted my toast as usual, then when it had just turned into toast I put the cheese on and microwaved it. It turned out that 30 seconds was plenty and it had all melted.

And it wasn't great. The cheese is sticky to begin with, but melting it made it worse. After putting the knife into it, the knife pretty much stayed where it was put and required effort to move it. I only put enough cheese on to cover the toast, but once it had melted it felt like more cheese than toast. And it tasted like I was just eating melty cheese. Despite being nice on pizza, doesn't really work on toast.

So I won't be doing that again.

I'll give it a 5/10 because it wasn't disgusting, it was just not great, and the cheese melting was a novelty.

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars: cold coffee
Wednesday 7th July 2021 4:39 pm

The return of I've Never Seen Star Wars!

In December 2019 I tried some coffee - a latte (milky coffee) to be specific. The trouble I had with it was that I was expecting it to taste like a hot chocolate (because a hot chocolate is the only other hot drink I've had and it's mostly milk too) and it was just a bit weird. I intended to try cold coffee when there was more of it around in the summer and then covid happened.

But last week I found a bottle of mocha (chocolate) coffee made with vegan milk when I happened to go past the cold alternative milk shelf in the supermarket. So I thought I'd give it a try.

It smells like coffee, has a bit of an odd aftertaste to it, but basically it tastes like not very good chocolate milk. It's a bit thin and needs more chocolate. I didn't notice any difference in my energy levels at any point. I did go to the toilet a lot, but that's because I drank half a plastic tumbler of liquid in a short space of time.

So since it seems like drinking coffee is like drinking something similar only not as good, I'll stick to the something similar in future.

I'll give it a 6/10.

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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 30th June 2021 5:30 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon. I started this ages ago, struggled with it and didn't get far. I picked it up again recently and still struggled. I was on page 77, with a self-imposed page 100 deadline to decide if I liked it, when I put it back down. When I picked it back up again I went straight through that deadline and I enjoyed it. I think it took me a little while to remember the world and the characters and it took a while for the events in it to interest me. I can tell from the ending, and the way the cover says it's the first book in a series, that there are sequels. But I just don't care enough about the characters or the mystery to bother with any more.

What I'm Currently Reading
The Chalet School Returns to the Alps by Lisa Townsend. I am loving this. It's set in the first term in Switzerland, which I remember some vague bits of, but mostly none of. It's about Nancy Wilmot in her new teaching job, and Sue Meadows, a new student, and them trying to fit in. I'm intrigued by how they manage it, and totally relating to what they're going through (the feelings, not the specific situations).

What I'm Reading Next
I did pick up Little Men, which I started ages ago and should finish, but then I got distracted by the Chalet School book coming through the door.

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Famous people in The Bill
Saturday 26th June 2021 12:07 pm

Once upon a time, every British actor had been in The Bill. These days, watching old episodes, famous people pop up looking young.

For example, this is (the current) Barnaby from Midsummer Murders:
Neil Dudgeon
I knew he was in the episode and worked out who he was based on him being the only male guest character.

Jason Isaacs is more recognisable:
Jason Isaacs

And for a bonus, here is a young Alex Walkinshaw, who (much) later played Smithy.
Alex Walkinshaw

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June Something 2021
Saturday 19th June 2021 1:33 pm

I picked the questions relevant to me from the masterpost

Day 3: What's a favorite, or at least memorable fandom meeting/interaction that you've had?
Because I've been watching the Bill from the early 90s, what I've been remembering recently were the trips we had to the studios. They started off as a trip to the studio followed by the pub and gradually ended up being trips to the pub. The event I think about when Roach is on screen is Jeff Stewart showing us the initials TS inside his trainers - they re-use stuff, so he'd inherited Tony Scannell's trainers!

Day 16: Do you have a fandom that you follow - either regularly or casually - with little to no knowledge of canon?
No. I know there are people who do that, but I just can't see the point.

Day 17: Do you prefer art, fic, or vids? Why? Bonus: If someone was to give you a fandom gift, what format would it be?
I'm not big on art, generally speaking, not just fanart. If they look like the actors, then great, but otherwise I don't really have any opinions on art.
With vids I think that the action should match the words of the song. I don't see the point of (most) vids that don't and they just bore me.
I am picky about fic, but it still leaves a lot that I'll still read.

Day 18: Recall a time when two of your fandoms collided, at least in some way. For example, a song that you fell in love with from one fandom showed up in a second fandom.
There was a while in my watching of The Bill that was very surreal because Matt Kerr and Mr Sullivan from Press Gang were DCI Wray and Ron Smollett respectively. When I first saw Press Gang I was aware they were also these people in The Bill, but they were before my time. So now I'm just thinking of them as their Press Gang characters and get can't used to seeing Mr Sullivan with no moustache (apparently he had to shave it off or he'd be confused with Tosh Lines. Even though the two of them look nothing alike. And one of them is in uniform, which you'd think would be a dead giveaway).
And then Colin turned up in one episode, playing a 15 year old.

Day 19: What is something that you associate with a character in fandom, but aren't sure if it's canon or fandom?
More of a story of something I thought was fandom but is actually canon. In The Bill Bob Cryer is known as Uncle Bob in fandom. I assumed that was a fandom name. It might have been on screen in his last episode/Gilmore's first episode, but if it was I'd have assumed they got it from fandom. And then there's been a couple of episodes in 1991/1992 where he as called Uncle Bob (not to his face). So turns out, it was canon.

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The Bill
Saturday 5th June 2021 11:04 am

I've been watching a lot of The Bill from 1990/1991 recently. UKTV Play had a load of it up there, and then the series I was watching suddenly said it was going at the end of May. The next series will go at the end of June. Each 'series' has about 100 episodes, which I can't realistically watch all of in a month, so I am picking out those that sound interesting.

It used to be the case that whenever you looked up a British actor you'd find they'd been on The Bill. But I keep being surprised at how many regulars were on it, playing different characters, before they were regulars.

And it's nice and simple. Maybe because I'm comparing it to Line of Duty where everyone was bent and everything was high stakes and guns were all around the place. Nothing that awful goes on in 1990/1991, most of the time, and if you need a police officer with a gun, you send Cryer out with one. Job done.

There are some things that have changed a lot. There was an episode about someone who was HIV+ and it dealt with all the prejudices people had against them (ie assuming he was gay and you can catch it just by being in the vicinity of him). These days, in this country, it's not really a thing any more. And there are a lot of episodes where they'll arrest someone just for having drugs for personal use.

And then there's the mental health. I've just been watching the Phil Young arc, which is desperately sad (he kills himself in the end). I've missed bits of it from having skipped episodes, but he clearly needed help. But as Cryer pointed out, you can't help someone who doesn't want help - and it wasn't as if people didn't try and help him. But it was amusing how split the senior officers were on the subject of stress and even whether it existed, never mind whether any of the officers were suffering from it.

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What I am reading Wednesday and what I’ve been watching
Wednesday 19th May 2021 7:31 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
No Job for the Little Girl by Rosemary Scadden. This was a pretty short book that I picked off my to read shelf when I was trying to read the book below. It's about Welsh girls that went into domestic service, mainly in London, in the 1920s and 1930s. And when I say girls, I mean 14 year olds. It's interesting, but it didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know.

What I'm Currently Reading
Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon. I started this a while ago, picked up again to carry on and struggled both times. I'm on page 77 out of 430 ish, so I've given myself until about page 100 to decide whether to continue reading it or not. I feel like I could enjoy it once I got into it, but I'm struggling to get into it.

What I'm Reading Next
I don't know. Whatever I pull off the to read shelf.

What I've Been Watching
I've just spent about six weeks watching Line of Duty. Because I never had time to watch anything new. But now I do and the iPlayer had the whole thing. I nearly stopped a few times during the first series, at the end of the first series and at the end of second. It took me until the third episode to care about any of it at all. I enjoyed it in the end, it just took a while to get used to the idea that it was all one story and none of it was ever going to be wrapped up. And they're never going to fix the ergonomics - all their computer monitors are too low so they're always leaning over them.

I'm now watching Killing Eve, which I liked after 7 minutes. It helps that it's amusing. There's 24 episodes of that, so that'll keep me going for a few weeks.

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Crime drama again
Saturday 1st May 2021 3:17 pm

It's really all gone crime around here. After reading one Daisy Dalrymple book I somehow ended up taking another off the shelf when I put that one back. I still like the time before they get married the best. And as much as I like Sakari, I miss Lucy.

I'm still watching Line of Duty - I'm up to series 4. But I have a big problem with it: ergonomics. They all have their monitors so low down/chairs so high up that they're all leaning over to look at stuff on the screen or read documents laid out on their desk. They really need someone to go in there and sort them out.

I'm also still watching The Bill. It's alternately good and frustrating. It really is better when it's an hour long, but some of the half hours are really good and some are a bit nothing. The trouble is, even when they're good, is that they're determined to have a B story. They're better off devoting the whole time to one story, but the biggest problem with the B story is that because the episodes are so short the B stories only get about three scenes. Which isn't long enough for them to be anything interesting. They either need to be a whole story or not in there at all.

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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 21st April 2021 8:00 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
Olive, Mabel and Me by Andrew Cotter. Now I've finished it I'm still not quite sure how to describe this book. It's about his dogs and hillwalking. It's very readable and it's funny the way he ascribes human thoughts to his dogs - I suppose in the same way as his videos.

The Ravenmaster by Christopher Skaife. This is by the Yeoman Warder who is the current Ravenmaster at the Tower of London. It's mostly about the ravens, but also has some of his background. It was really interesting all the stuff he says about ravens and it's interesting to hear what they get up to. He clearly really cares about them - he spent ages researching their enclosure to give them the best life possible. But basically, if you're there, don't let go of any food or take your eye off it, or the ravens'll have it!

What I'm Currently Reading
The Bloody Tower by Carola Dunn. A re-read, rather than a to read book I should get through. But it's set in the Tower of London, so I thought that now I've been there and watched the TV series it'll be interesting to read it again. I can't remember whodunnit - but then I also can't remember who was done in yet either.

What I'm Reading Next
Theoretically, something from my to read pile.

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It’s gone all police dramas around here
Saturday 17th April 2021 9:42 am

I completely missed out on The Line of Duty thing. I'd heard of it, knew it was a police drama and I like that sort of thing, but just had too much to watch to bother with something new. But now I don't have too much to watch and the whole thing is on the iPlayer. So I gave it a go. And nearly gave up halfway through the first episode.

It seems to be a thing about that era of telly where they can't keep the camera still even for a second. It makes it hard to tell what's going on and it's very distracting. It also makes me dizzy. I tried watching an episode after I'd been to the shops one evening and could only manage five minutes at a time.

It also took me until episode 3 to care about any of it at all. And then I didn't really care about AC-12, it was the other crimes that were keeping me interested. In fact the most interesting bit was the first 5 minutes of the first episode, which barely gets mentioned again. I carried on because it was all right and I hoped the camera work would improve in series 2 (it does) and because there wasn't much else on. And I wondered why people were so obsessed with it. I still don't know the answer to that.

I've also been watching The Bill from 1990, thanks to UKTV Play having all the episodes from the beginning to 1995 (when I'd definitely started watching it because some of the thumbnails have Jaye Griffths in and I remember her starting).

I have the DVDs with all the episodes from the beginning until halfway through 1990, so I started where they stopped. I am enjoying the nostalgia of a simpler time. And it's just easy watching. For one thing, they are yet to discover all the camera trickery.

If someone forced me to pick either The Line of Duty or the 1990s The Bill, I'd choose The Bill.

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Saturday 10th April 2021 5:19 pm

I've sort of mentioned it before, but last autumn I did a Sleep CBT course.

My sleep has been a mess for years, really. I'd wake up really early, regardless of what time I'd been to bed, so I'd end up not getting enough sleep. All the advice about things you should do before bed never made any difference - but then I also had no trouble getting to sleep as soon as I went to bed because I was so tired. I realised I had a warped view of what a good night's sleep was when thinking back to a night when I'd been awake so long I was too hungry to go back to sleep. So as it was getting light (about 5am) I got up and had a bowl of cereal. And then went back to sleep when I went back to bed. The going back to sleep thing is good, but to have got hungry for breakfast I must have been awake for at least an hour before then.

The course involved some interesting maths to say it was six weeks (the week 1 session was at the beginning of week 1, the week 6 session where I was said to have graduated, was at the beginning of week 6). It involved mental techniques and ways to thinking to help you to get (back) to sleep. And set an evening routine that meant I actually watched some telly.

There's a couple of weeks in the middle that are hard because one of the ways to fix your sleep is to not get enough sleep, so you're tired enough to sleep. Once you're used to the idea of sleeping you can increase the amount of sleep you get.

The first night of that was the worst: the night before I'd finally been tired enough to get a good night's sleep. Then I had to stay up later than usual, so I'd gone through tired enough to sleep and back out, so I couldn't get to sleep. I was fine the next day until 2:30pm every part of me was so tired I couldn't move. They do warn you that people find that part of the course tough and they weren't wrong!

But, it worked. I say this having been awake for more than an hour before I'd usually get up and now I am tired. But that's not my usual sleep pattern any more. As the course points out, everyone has a bad night's sleep sometimes. And these days I can often see a reason why I've slept badly

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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 31st March 2021 5:56 pm

What I Just Finished Reading The Century Girls by Tessa Dunlop. I bought this in Kobo's Black Friday Random Week in November sale for £1. And it was a good buy. It's the story of six women all born between 1914 and 1918. They all had different lives growing up and it went through the decades. It was really interesting to read about their experiences and their perspectives on events.

What I'm Currently Reading Olive, Mabel and Me by Andrew Cotter. I saw this on the library ebook site and and borrowed it, but I have no idea what it's about. There's been some stuff about his first videos and what happened after that. And now we're on to a history of his dogs. It's very easy to read, but I don't know how I'd summarise it yet.

What I'm Reading Next
I really should read a book I already own but have not yet read. I'll see what I feel like reading when I've finished this one.

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I have a niece now
Saturday 27th March 2021 4:52 pm

I now have a niece. I can't meet her for a while, but that's not a problem because I don't find small babies that interesting. They don't do anything. (Human) just aren't cute.

Not being able to hold her is a bonus - I met my nephew when he was two weeks old and there is photographic proof of me holding him and neither of us looking comfortable. They're much more interesting when they can do something.

I'm more looking forward to being able to go over there to play with my nephew's Lego. He particularly likes directing other people to build things, and I'm all for that.

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Sunday 21st March 2021 8:39 am

Today is census day. Newscast talked about it a while ago saying why it was important and what it was used for, without mentioning what I would consider to be the most important thing: genealogy.

This year's will be interesting in 101 years time because so many things are different due to the coronavirus. This time is always compared to the war, but there wasn't a census in 1941, as we were a bit busy.

Ten years ago it wasn't obvious which questions you could give multiple answers for. I tried putting in two religions and it accepted it. This time, though, you could only select one. So future genealogists will be looking at me in the census, noting that in ten years a lot of things are still the same, but they'll think my religion has changed until they looked at what I've typed in.

I'm particularly looking forward to future genealogists looking up my sister and my parents in the census. My parents are currently at my sister's to look after my nephew when she has my niece. I wonder if they'll connect their location today with my niece's birth certificate and correctly guess what was going on?

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My routine
Saturday 13th March 2021 11:52 am

It's hard to know what to write when nothing much changes. Even on Zoom chats the answer to what I've been doing is the same as I was doing last week. But I realised I never talked about it on here.

Most of my time is taken up by work (sadly). Usually I'd leave the house at 8:30, work from 9-5:30 with an hour for lunch and get home at 6pm. Now I work from 8am to 4pm with half an hour for lunch. It's so good to finish at 4pm because it feels so early. Still - even though I've bee doing it since summer. I've got my morning routine down to 45 minutes, so I have 15 minutes for a sit down before I start work.

After I finish I eat and go for a walk. Then I do an hour of coding before dinner. After dinner is for catching up on social media/forums/RSS feeds etc.

Most evenings I have something else I need to do eg wash my hair, clean out Merry's wee, go food shopping. Two nights a week I have choir and dancing. This is all the same as before lockdown, except this time I don't go anywhere (except for food shopping).

Weekends used to be busy, although I can't remember what I was doing with them any more! But now I clean the house every other weekend, clean Merry out when it's looking like he needs it, go for longer walks if I have the energy/the weather's nice. I do end up leaving a lot of jobs for the weekends (like blogging, since I was struggling to find time on Wednesdays). And then I spend a whole load of time coding. I will need to spend some time gardening when it's not raining or blowing a gale (my garden gained a lot of weeds over the winter).

And that's what I do with my time. It always seems to go so quickly...

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Watching telly
Saturday 6th March 2021 11:51 am

I am terrible at watching telly. I tape a lot, think I'll get round to it, but somehow the evening's gone and I haven't got to the telly-watching bit. And then a few months ago I started a sleep CBT and one of the things I had to do was to relax for an hour and a half before I go to bed. And I wasn't allowed to read. So I made an effort to get through all the TV I had taped.

Technically speaking I'm not quite there. I have an episode of Cats Countdown, three-quarters of an episode of Hypothetical and a half an episode of The Last Leg on there. But now most of the telly has stopped for Easter (and, really, until September) it won't take me long to get through those (and two of them are from last week).

I want to say I don't know what to watch, but I have some stuff on catch up I'm working through, I want to re-watch Yes, (Prime) Minister because I'm not 100% certain I've seen it all. And a lot of The Bill on DVD. I won't run out.

Although at some point I need to get Disney+ because I haven't seen the last two Star Wars films yet. But that's only free for a week so I have to time that carefully for when I'm sure I have enough time in that week to watch both films. (Although if I wait long enough they'll be on TV eventually)

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