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Friday, September 29, 2017

Comic Cuts - 29 September 2017

I've spent another week writing about Victorian demi-mondes and the publishers who produced books about them. I'm still managing to keep up an output of around 1,000 words a day – the latest essay clocks in at around 10,000 words so far – but every sentence seems to involve a ton of brain-mangling research. Trying to find info. on one of the publishers took most of a day, although half of that was spent following a similarly-named bookseller.

But the results are (I hope) fascinating. I swear that you could turn this essay into a drinking game: a half-pint for every bankruptcy and a short for selling obscene libels. You will be half-cut before you're halfway through the article.

One of the reasons it is taking so long is that the ending involves someone that I'm also going to be writing about, so I'm doing bits of research into the latter at the same time. These will be the two essays that lead off the volume, so I need to make sure they're spot on.

Meanwhile, my boring-ass life has mostly involved gardening for the last couple of weeks. Our landlady hired a handyman to do a couple of jobs, including fixing the shower and some other bits 'n' bobs. The shower is weird... it's actually the bath, but has a hinged window that swings open when not in use and usually it would swing open when you were using it, so you'd briefly be showering the bathroom floor while you tried to drag the window back into place. Anyway, about four years ago the lower hing broke, so we've been asking to have it fixed ever since. The window still works (thanks to the hinge at the top and the fact that the bottom edge of the window sits on the rim of the bath) but it's still a pain in the rump. The bath itself is uncomfortably small.

So this handyman guy came round for a couple of days and, while he made a nice job of re-felting the roofs of the garden sheds (yes, I am Steve "two sheds" Holland!) and giving them a lick of varnish, and chopping back one of the trees at the back, he still hasn't done the job that we thought was to be the priority. Also, "I'll be back on Tuesday with a van to pick up all the garden waste," doesn't mean what I thought it meant. We've had two Tuesdays since then and still no sign of the garden waste being removed from where he dragged it down the side of the house.

This led to a slight problem as we needed the garden waste bags in order to sort out the front garden ahead of the Sale Trail on Saturday. We have a steep drive and a lawn with quite an angle to it, so the idea is to put a table in at the top of the drive where there is a level recess for parking. Since we had the trees cut back, the ivy has run rampant and we've had quite a wet summer, which hasn't inspired much desire to get out in the garden. And, of course, there's my natural laziness.

So Mel and I attacked some of the ivy around the recess and along the driveway on Sunday, and I cut back the overgrowth along the fence we have along one side of the garden. I'm planning to put up a sign on the fence later today.

Over the next few days I mowed the lawn, and shaved the hedge along the other side of the garden until it looked roughly even – not an easy task as it's made up of a rusty old wire fence plus whatever wild weeds and creepers have grown along and through the fence in the past fifty or so years. Not so much a hedge as a tangle with an attitude. (This is, of course, the hedge with the hidden fence that our old hedge-trimmer burnt out on.)

I'm very pleased with the results. We even took out some of the spikes on Spiny Norman, a diabolical South African plant with thick, sword-shaped leaves whose real name I can't remember. The leaves are vicious and will stab you through whatever clothing you're wearing.

And just to put the final nail in the coffin of my life, I'm very disappointed by the new garden waste bags. They're pretty poor compared to the old ones, which I needed to replace because they were tearing and generally falling apart. The new ones are smaller and don't look like they'll last more than five minutes. Even the lady in the council office who handed them to me looked embarrassed. "At least they're free," she said, which I guess is less than a thin plastic carrier bag from the Co-op, but it looks as if it will be almost as useless at holding anything but grass cuttings.

So... no totaliser this week because I haven't actually finished any more essays, but we do have some random scans. And this week's theme is... grass!


1 comment:

Mike said...

I remember Spiny Norman. He was an associate of the Piranha Brothers.

You need to buy your own gaff, Steve. With your job, you could work anywhere in the country. So choose a region that's cheap.