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And suddenly the living room is full of junk again. I can see a pile of first day covers, boxes and books of photographs, some 8mm films that I would get converted to DVD if it wouldn't cost me £250+, some CDs that aren't even mine, a torch, some cans of paint, and a large NEXT plastic bag that contains other stuff as well. Somewhere also there are notebooks.
This is because I am getting rid of some of the furniture prior to the move - one bookcase (IKEA 'Billy' brand, the type that fetches up everywhere), one chest of drawers - all the clothes and towels that were in that are  now in the cabin trunk and a lot of the kipple from that is what is now in here, one footstool, boxy and unclassic. The people from the MIND shop are coming to pick it up tomorrow.
This morning I didn't go swimming as the pool was not available due to private lessons. So I went on by bike around the area of the new flat, looked into two or three corner shops and was unable to find any real ale in any of them apart from the occasional bottle of Old Speckled Hen to humour people with; went into the carpet shop and talked carpet and delivery times; and finally headed back and on a whim, on the merest whim stopped at yet another offlicence / shop thinking this one might be better for beer.
And it was. Only possibly overshadowed by Stirchley Wines to the south it is a veritable cavern of beer and whisky. The proprietor, an Asian man as is that of Stirchley Wines, is more of a whisky buff himself and frequently nips off (or drams off, possibly) to Scotland on whisky buying trips. I stand looking at these shelves of beers for some time before saying,  "So this is where the choice of real ale is around here!" I cannot leave without buying three bottles thereof (Bathams Best Bitter, Kelham Island Pale Rider, Isle of Arran Ale). I had gone into Bournville and then back out again thinking to identify the Country Girl pub just on the Selly Park side as 'first and last beer for some time', Bournville being "dry". There is even a sign as you enter Bournville saying "Alcohol restriction area" or sthg similar.
After that I head for the MAC and have coffee there, hoping that this is enough exercise to make up for lack of swimming which after all I haven't done for a while; what with the cold weather and going away we have let it lapse. Though today I have also done two job applications and identified the reclining chair I bought in Kingston c. 2006 as a Gimson and Slater Rock n Rest from c. 1960, sadly now without the footstool which was originally an integral part of the set.

Today would have been David Foster Wallace's 50th birthday. It is also Chuck Palahniuk's 50th birthday. Someone like Malcolm Gladwell would no doubt come up with reasons why that isn't quite that massive a coincidence (undergraduate creative writing programmes being funded around 1980? Arts students tending to be born in one part of the year for some reason?)
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Until now the strongest beer I'd ever had was De Struisel Black Albert (13%). I now have a bottle of BrewDog / Mikkeller Devine Rebel (13.8%). This is the beer that had the shopkeeper go to the shelves to make sure a 33cl bottle of beer really was that price. Although Stirchley Wines is a very, very good source of ales both UK and other. I went there on the way back from picking up a fresh loaf of bread from Tom the Baker (whose name is actually Tom Baker.)

I am listening to "My Lord what a Morning" a.k.a. "When the Stars begin to Fall" which despite supposedly being a Christian song sounds to me very much like the Day when the Stars are Right. I suppose it's all a transcription of "Dies Irae" - but,

I mean,
"You’ll hear a sinner mourn,
To wake the nations underground,
Looking to my God’s right hand,
When the stars begin to fall..."

What else could it mean? The Tentacled Dreaming One arising from deep Rl'yeh....

Apart from that, two weeks at the New Job and it's still good. Today, spent some time talking to a local radio DJ w/r/t the varieties of West Indies / Caribbean (many of the people I work with are Eastern Caribbean as opposed to Western which includes Jamaica). Of course being a Media Tart I asked him for an interview for the Community Newsletter which I also seem to be in charge of.

Went swimming at the University Pool on the way home today, the Uni (which must evoke thoughts of David Lodge who set three novels there) is ok for motorscooter access although I'm used to going there by pushbike.

Tomorrow is Moseley Farmers Market and I have just had an email from Alex Chambers of Slow Food (I have met two Alexes since living here, one M and one F, this is the M).

Writing: have had to research the Egyptian afterlife again, as you do. And did seem to be channelling "Infinite Jest" a while back w/r/t a character's past use of a 12-step programme.

St Reatham

Aug. 15th, 2009 09:10 am
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Well, by not going to the Hog in the Pound I avoided one more dreary rendition of 'Angels' and people who really can't sing doing so (not saying I can but there are levels and levels of it). Instead went to Streatham, or as it is occasionally dubbed St Reatham, and to the Earl Ferrers. There was beer (Sambrook's Wandle), and Pool, and Cake, because it was a birthday. In four months time she'll be a record (33-1/3). Nearly everyone was South London there, I could at least claim to have been born in Merton ('where's that?' - 'Wimbledon. The borough should be called the borough of Wimbledon then people would know where it is'). Even the beer was local, it's from Wandsworth.

And I knew it was possible to get back from there to here by direct bus. Not that the TfL site would tell you that. It was a bit of a pain finding the stop for the 57 but it is there, round the back somewhere although probably in a straight line if you knew.

The lodger got back while I was still in bed - I just saw her briefly when I descended for a cup of tea and she was getting ready to leave, so now I have the house to myself again for the weekend.
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So I have just spent a four-day weekend with Susan and her parents at the Great Dorset Steam Fair. Fun, it was. Traction engines and old cars and market stalls and music and karaoke and the unique sense of living in a fairground the size of a small town (25,000 people were living on site) for several days.
And oh, how nice it is to be able to have a shower when you get home because there is very little hygiene indeed at the fair. I'd say it is medieval but I suspect people in the 14th century washed more than that.
Sod's law says it rained hard on the Monday morning when we were packing up the tents to go home. You cannot easily pack a wet tent, and mine being about seven years old (not sure how much, I bought it for one of the Bikefix Norfolk weekends which ran 1997-2003 or thereabouts) has lost its waterproofing. It may be a two person tent but one person and luggage was about all it would take. The family tent however was a huge thing with three separate sleeping compartments.

Music: I recommend Lady Winwood's Maggot and some of the others were good enough to dance to. Susan's mum and dad are into country music but we managed to avoid that. I meanwhile got on fine with her parents (first time I've met them).

Buying things: I now have a gel fire for the living room, and a spinning coppery disc for the garden. Susan has a lot of things which often border on the phlosque, but then she does. Then there was the stall that was selling Christmas things (me: "You're going to have to come out, I'm not coming in there"). And golliwogs in the craft fair (they're still around. Who knew?). Music on CD: the wretched Wurzels and a range of folk music from everywhere except England, it seems. What, I cry, no Bellowhead, no Kate Rusby, no Show of Hands, no Waterson Carthy - to say nothing of Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, or the Albion Band? Still less were any of these represented on the live stages.

Funfair: we got very wet on the waterslide but didn't go on much else.

Drink: Ringwood Fortyniner was there and there was also Courage Best, Directors, etc.. There was cider but I didn't have any. In previous years the fair has been sponsored by Hall and Woodhouse (or Gall and Woodlouse as I call them), and given my opinion of their business practices I'm quite pleased it wasn't this time.

Home: 5pm yesterday thanks to a lift home via Southampton. Back to work, job interview tomorrow.

Photographs: will go on my Flickr set some time this week, possibly tomorrow night.
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The CAMRA / Slow Food interface isn't as obvious as you may think. There were ~12 people on the trip to the Shepherd Neame brewery today and I am not sure there were more than 2 of us who are members of both organisations, and some of the CAMRA people (seemed all to be from East London and City branch too) had never heard of Slow Food. Once you have seen one brewery you have to a large extent seen them all, but there were still good samples to be had (and less pleasing: Shepherd Neame make Asahi beer. Who knew?). Came away without any souvenirs or bottles. Managed to get to three pubs as well, the most interesting possibly the Bear with its multiple rooms so it is a lot larger than it looks from the street - it goes back a long way (in space and in time!). Also the Anchor while being only moderately interesting is very near Faversham Creek with its sailing barge.

Still, the day was fun apart from being Too Darn Hot and I revolted against traipsing round still more pubs, making a break for it mid-afternoon and still not getting back until some time after 6. Just wanted to sleep on the train on the way back and did so for a while. Tomorrow will be a Quiet Day. I promise myself.

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