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A year of Merry

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

Mirrored from my blog.

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What I am reading Wednesday

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).

Mirrored from my blog.

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars: Cheese on toast

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.

Mirrored from my blog.

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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars: cold coffee

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.

Mirrored from my blog.

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What I am reading Wednesday

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.

Mirrored from my blog.

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Famous people in The Bill

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

Mirrored from my blog.

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June Something 2021

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.

Mirrored from my blog.

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The Bill

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.

Mirrored from my blog.

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What I am reading Wednesday and what I’ve been watching

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.

Mirrored from my blog.

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Crime drama again

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.

Mirrored from my blog.