Vale Babette Cole

I was very sad to hear today that Babette Cole has passed away after a short illness. She was only 67! If you haven’t had a chance to read her wonderful children’s books, run-don’t-walk to your nearest library or bookshop and rectify this immediately. She first captured my heart with her re-imaginings of fairy tales in Princess Smartypants and Prince Cinders.

There really should be more re-tellings of fairy tales in this vein.

But my absolute favourite is Mummy laid an egg.

mumm-laid-an-egg

I have yet to come across a more joyfully frank explanation of where babies come from (complete with a totally age-appropriate double page spread on some ways that mummies and daddies “fit together”.) I read it to my kids when they were tiny. It’s one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen. I love it.

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Look, if my kids have to grow up with unreasonable expectations of sex…

Thank you Ms Cole, your work is wonderful and I so wish you’d been granted more time to do much more.

 

Awesome words: fart

Canons fire from a tower down onto a group of men in 18th century military regalia below. The men are crawling on their hands and knees, buttocks bared, farting back at the canons. A ship can be seen in the distance.
British cartoon mocking the failed French & Spanish siege of Gibralter, 1782

In keeping with the theme of Wednesday’s post, here’s an extract from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue by Francis Grose, available through the Gutenberg Project.

FART. He has let a brewer’s fart, grains and all; said of
one who has bewrayed his breeches.

      Piss and fart.
Sound at heart.
Mingere cum bumbis,
Res saluberrima est lumbis.

  I dare not trust my a-se with a fart: said by a person troubled
with a looseness.

FART CATCHER. A valet or footman from his walking
behind his master or mistress.

FARTING CRACKERS. Breeches.

FARTLEBERRIES. Excrement hanging about the anus.

kinggeorgeiii-as-devil

Browser history

This week I’ve been back at work after a lovely two weeks off in which I got a huge amount of work done on the WIP (but didn’t finish it – boo.) One of the pleasures of writing is all the bits and bobs of interesting research I get to do. This can vary from a quick check on Google images to make sure I’ve got a thing right in my mind’s eye, to a two hour rabbit hole from which I emerge blinking and cursing myself. Research topics over the last week have included:

  • Interior decoration of 18th Century upmarket London brothels (see my post on floor coverings)
  • Greek myths, particularly in relation to the Trojan War
  • Medieval herbal remedies (now I know what dragon’s blood is)
  • The history of medical treatment for certain ailments (did you know incubus started out as a digestive complaint? Not a demon in sight.)
  • Baths in the Georgian/Regency era (thank you, Mr Darcy)
  • 18th Century architecture in Clerkenwell, London
  • 18th Century firearms
  • Christ’s temptation in the desert
  • The effect of varying degrees of blood loss on the human body.

And now, this :

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What a handy little chart.

Some kind of milestone

I just hit 100,000 words on the current WIP tonight. Still got a bit to go, but that’s some kind of milestone, right?

Here’s a snippet of tonight’s inspiration:

The Sick Rose

By William Blake

O Rose thou art sick.

The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
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Eriovixia Gryffindori

Here’s a new castle-in-the-air goal. Have a newly discovered species named after a character in one of my stories.

Meet Eriovixia Gryffindori, the spider named after the Hogwarts Sorting Hat.

 Eriovixia gryffindori spider has a pronounced abdomen, resembling the shape of the sorting hat from Harry Potter.

Discovered by Harry Potter geeks (and, as it happens, research scientists) in Western Ghat, a mountain range in south-west India. On a slightly more disturbing note, apparently they’re hanging out to find a species they can name after Aragog. O_o

Progress

I’ve had this song stuck in my head for the last couple of days.

I love the bluesy guitar, and the lyrics of the chorus are just perfect for channelling one of the POV characters in my current WIP at the moment.

Take me to church

I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies

I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife

Offer me that deathless death

Good God, let me give you my life

This WIP is sitting on about 94,000 words and I’m pretty much committed to getting it done by the end of the year. Wish me luck. I’m almost there.

Glimmers of sun in the pouring rain

aurealis-95In a week that has spelled disappointment, grief and gloom for many of us, I’ve had a few small, personal glimmers of sunlight. Here’s one. A lovely review of my story Breathing, out in the recent Aurealis #95, from Kat Day over at Tangent online. She’s given it a “highly recommended” (squee!) Achievement unlocked.

A lovely piece of work, very thought-provoking and actually rather moving.

And here’s some Leonard Cohen for you. Because even though he’s gone now, that’s one life that is definitely worth celebrating.