Hallows

Nov. 5th, 2014 11:22 am
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
So, just coming out of my busiest season I managed to fall back into my old mistake of making quite excessive social plans for this weekend just past. There were a couple of events in London, and I thought I'd add on some others to take the opportunity to see friends "while I'm there", and I ended up just a tad over-scheduled.

By Thursday night I'd got to the point where I was just overwhelmed, I was supposed to be in all these different places in different bits of the weekend (note to self: London is NOT ALL ONE PLACE, pleas stop forgetting this fact) and I had been a bit busier than I expected and hadn't had time to plan the travel. And realistically, these days I have the internet in my pocket, I can just show up in central London and figure out the rest on the fly, texting people if need be. But I got antsy about not having mentally run through the plan and ended up being snappish at [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel (I apologized directly, but I am still really sorry).

Anyway, Friday I had six solid hours of seminars, and then a half-hour break at home in which I threw some overnight things together, and then went off to a Hebrew lesson and to run my usual Friday night service, and dashed from synagogue to the station, thanks to GS giving me a lift. In fact the train was half an hour late, and then I made a bad decision about how to get across London and ended up waiting another half an hour at an Overground station. Really I should have retraced my steps and walked or got a bus instead when I saw the next train wasn't due for so long, but because I was tired and had only planned haphazardly I wasn't really in a mindset to have a conditional plan to deal with issues like that. But travelling across London the night of Halloween was really fun, I saw loads of awesome costumes!

With all that, I got to [personal profile] doseybat's flatwarming even later than I'd intended, and I'd already intended to show up unreasonably late Friday evening. I managed to see and admire the flat briefly, and to speak to the last smattering of guests just as they were leaving, [livejournal.com profile] blue_mai and [personal profile] ewt and [personal profile] pfy. And we returned to the batparents' (since the new flat is not at all ready to sleep in), thanks to [livejournal.com profile] pplfichi demonstrating their new-minted driving skills, and couldn't resist chatting over 'just one' cup of tea even though it was late and we were all pretty exhausted.

So I skipped the 8:30 am part of [personal profile] khalinche's Halloween-related cemetery crawl weekend, which was about the only sensible decision I made this weekend. And joined the group at Highgate late morning, via a cooked breakfast in a delightful if slightly hipsterish café in Archway. We only made it to the public East half of the cemetery since there was a long waiting list for tours of the West half. But there are lots of good dead celebrities there including Karl Marx of course, and some excellent graves including one which just has the letters DEAD carved right through the stone in funky modern lettering.

Saturday was just a ridiculously nice day, bright, sunny, shirtsleeves-warm. We were all a bit scared about the climate implications of a day like that in November, but it was impossible not to enjoy. And the great thing about cemetery crawling is that it leaves plenty of space for conversations, with old friends and more of [personal profile] khalinche's excellent people I hadn't previously met. From Highgate we ventured south of the river *spooky music* to Norwood, which is much quieter and less touristy than Highgate but rather beautiful. And we went hunting for dead lesbians and read the epitaphs and talked about names that have fallen out of fashion and tried to imagine people's lives from their epitaphs, and just tramped about until we ran out of daylight. Particularly good to see [personal profile] alextiefling with the babies, but damnit I am angry about how inaccessible London is if you're not fully ambulatory.

Then we headed back to [personal profile] khalinche's for soup and more conversation, diverting slightly via the amazingly romantic Curve Garden and then the Pembury in Hackney. It was a really perfect evening, with a group of people all of whom are lovely but who aren't often in the same place as a group. [livejournal.com profile] timeplease put an amazing app on my phone, Orux, which uses Open Street Map data with a really sophisticated interface, and can store the complete map of Britain down to the individual building level detail on your actual phone, so you can navigate without needing a data signal. I tried it out by using it to navigate back to [personal profile] doseybat's and it is so much better than the Google maps app, I am a complete convert. And although [personal profile] doseybat hadn't been all that well, we did manage to get time for a proper conversation before bed, catching up on work and personal life gossip and it was generally wonderful.

In the morning only the batmother was up by the time I left but I'm fond of her so that made for a nice breakfast. Then I headed to west London and had a second breakfast in a fancy Chelsea café, waiting for the torrential rain to ease off before we headed to Brompton cemetery. I think that was my favourite of the three I managed to see. It's not over-managed, it has brambles and crumbling stones and properly atmospheric, but it's well enough maintained that you can actually get to the graves and it's not just a ruin. And it has some really beautiful colonnades, plus an immensely cool tombstone of a WW1 (srsly!) fighter pilot depicting the Zepellin he shot down just a week before he died when his own plane malfunctioned.

Then I peeled off from the cemetery crawl to go to [personal profile] kaberett's wonderful All Souls commemoration event. It was a party in some ways, but a quiet, cosy, friendly party. [personal profile] kaberett made the most amazing giant pots of stew and red cabbage and home-made rye bread and later on doughnuts, and their foodways overlap enough with mine that them feeding me just makes me feel intensely connected. There were a lot of people from the internet there; early on I was getting introduced as Rachel but when [personal profile] rmc28 showed up people started calling me Liv to disambiguate and all of sudden people were excited to meet the famous [personal profile] liv. Especially nice to meet [personal profile] davidgillon, and Hel who turned out to be aware that I had written a response to some poetry of theirs and was very excited. But especially, being in [personal profile] kaberett's presence always makes me feel more myself.

I ended up travelling home with [personal profile] rmc28 and her older kid, which was excellently companionable even though we didn't get a seat on the train. Lots of the conversation was quite fannish, and at one point we were talking about the 80s version of Transformers and I mentioned getting into fights at school over whether girls are allowed to like robots. And C told me very solemnly that people are allowed to like whatever they like and anyone who tells me girls can't do things is silly and I shouldn't listen to them. Which was really heartwarming, in fact.

Various important conversations with different people Sunday evening and Monday evening, and yesterday we went to [livejournal.com profile] ghoti and [personal profile] cjwatson's for Liberian Thanksgiving, which involved delicious food and excellent conversation and noisily affectionate children. You can tell it's a good evening when your hosts' teenage offspring comes downstairs to admonish you that you're being too noisy in your after-dinner conversation!

Also, talking of reasons why [personal profile] kaberett is wonderful, they made a new iteration of the love meme. As usual they've realized exactly what the DW community needs at just this moment, and they're moderating and curating the meme with amazing sensitivity. I'm sometimes weird about love memes, but this one is giving me a great deal of happiness. Partly because in my thread people are saying nice things about my brain and my writing and presence on DW and my ethical standards, which are all really nice things to be complimented on!
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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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