Books · Food

November Plans *autumn leaf emoji*

Hello! What are you looking forward to this November? I am pleasantly surprised that I’m actually quite enthusiastic. A few years ago I couldn’t get excited about October or November, because they mean ~ winter is coming ~ but I have recovered from this misconception. Partly because climate change means winter arrives in March, and partly because October and November are brilliant. This month I am planning: to read The Scorpio Races actually in November for the first time ever; make November cakes for the first time ever; start a certain other Maggie Stiefvater book that concludes two other Maggie Stiefvater series I may or may not be procrastinating my reread because I don’t want to say goodbye; go for some walks.

Pretty heavy on the reading, but November is the best time to read because there is nothing else to do except listen to fireworks too far away to see, work on your winter deadlines and talk about how it should probably be colder this time of year.

I am also thinking about shopping for a certain midwinter festival, but that is because my budget is a bit stretched and I need to plan early. WE ARE NOT GOING TO MENTION THE FESTIVAL.

I am going to think about eggnog though. I learnt to make it last year, and it’s top notch. Speaking of food, if you aren’t a Scorpio Races fan (and I shouldn’t be; on paper it has little I enjoy reading but in reality it is a perfect hug of a novel) these are November cakes. I am tentatively planning to have a go at baking some – I haven’t baked anything for months and months, not least anything that requires that many steps. I also don’t own a food processor. Or a rolling pin. Or any ingredients.

I’ll let you know how they go if I do make them, not least because I suspect it will be funny for you guys immediately, and funny for me once I’ve washed flour out of my hair.

Must dash, I told myself today was a day for reading once I’ve worked on those deadlines. Let me know your autumnal plans! Especially if they involve food. We can compare notes…

Look after yourselves,

Francesca


Want to support this blog and/or enjoy exclusive access to stories and chatter from me? Join the No. 1 Reader’s Club on Patreon! Alternatively, use the button below for one-off support of as much or as little as you’d like (if you’d prefer, you can use PayPal or Ko-fi). If you’re into fairy tales and/or want a brief respite from reality, you can also buy my bookThe Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes, from most ebook retailers and as a paperback from Amazon. (That link’s an affiliate. Gotta scrape every penny from Bezos, you know?)

Health · weather

Thoughts on other people’s cold remedies. Also it has been raining

Good morning, if it is still the morning when I post this. The odds of it being this morning when you read it are slim, but maybe you are catching up on your internet based light entertainment on your Monday commute.

If you drive to work, please stop reading.

How are we? Autumn in Uni City has once again proven itself to be, in equal parts: colourful, misty and extremely, noisily, rainy. The sort where your bag won’t dry and then you realise that it was never truly up to the job of keeping your stuff dry in anything one could call weather and now you have to search for another. I usually try to get my clothes and accessories second hand or in a swap these days, but I think I’m going to have to buy a new-new backpack. It’s got to last two more years of my degree at the very least, and it’ll leave the house with me six days a week minimum for, what, forty weeks of the year? And most of those weeks it will be raining.

I kind of feel bad for typing that because this morning’s rain has given way to clear-ish skies and I can hear birds singing, which is almost too bucolic to feel real. I can also hear sirens, though. Cheers England.

Other than getting drenched on my way to work and/or classes, I have been busy trying and failing to shake fresher’s flu. I think I’m on my second or third bout now, unless it’s just one long virus-driven party in my nose. My house is coughing like we’re Marge’s sisters in The Simpsons. It’s not Covid, we’ve checked. Other viruses are available. The one upside is that I can’t rush about too much, so I’m taking things slowly and trying to enjoy the little things in life, like going more than half an hour without sneezing. My favourite cold remedy, sticking your head over a bowl of hot water, is a lot less practical when the only big bowl you own is your crockpot, so I’m mostly taking a lot of too-hot showers and hoping it has the same impact. It does not. I’ve just remembered my nan telling me a story about someone she used to know who had a Lemsip every evening. This wasn’t if they were ill, it was every evening like you might have a herbal tea or a cocoa.

I have so many questions.

Are you permanently buzzed on paracetamol and whatever they put in Lemsip, or does it wear off really quickly and just mean that if you were really ill you’d have to go straight to morphine? Does it have any impact on the health of your gut? I’m remembering that some of you are not from the UK. This is what I am talking about:

Why does the logo include a sword? Is it a metaphor for destroying your cold? The questions pile on…

I ought to go and get my day properly started – I need to go bag shopping! And the rain might hold off for a bit, so I should probably go and enjoy that blue sky while I can see it. Also, I got an email notification that a survey I put online for my stationery business in 2018 has had a new response. I mean, sure, I’ll take a look…

Let me know your cold remedies. I am curious as to whether any of them include knocking back mild painkillers every day whether you need them or not.

Look after yourselves,
Francesca


Want to support this blog and/or enjoy exclusive access to stories and chatter from me? Join the No. 1 Reader’s Club on Patreon! Alternatively, use the button below for one-off support of as much or as little as you’d like (if you’d prefer, you can use PayPal or Ko-fi). If you’re into fairy tales and/or want a brief respite from reality, you can also buy my bookThe Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes, from most ebook retailers and as a paperback from Amazon. (That link’s an affiliate. Gotta scrape every penny from Bezos, you know?)

COFFEE · History & Old Stuff · Holidays · Travel · weather · Zakynthos

In which I am a bit nerdy in museums, talk a lot about coffee and have two autumn equinoxes because one isn’t enough

Hello and happy September! And happy autumn! I adore this time of year, except for a) when it rains literal buckets while you are at the bus stop and b) when you get the dates of the equinox confused. This year I had two equinoxes. Not mad about it.

How has your September been? Mine has been really good actually. On holiday I learnt what a Zombie cocktail is, did actually learn what a paddle board is and how to use one, met some excellent cats and far too many people were nice to me on my birthday. Back in Ye Olde Rain Bucket Country I have mostly been working or waiting for a bus. Or both! I haven’t gotten used to saying ‘King Charles’ yet without immediately following it up with the word ‘spaniel.’ I have also spent approximately 284749 minutes on hold to the doctor, trying to figure out how to finish my degree without two or five organs falling out. Speaking of my degree, can someone please add a few hours onto the day? I’m already doing my uni reading and requiring half an hour to understand one paragraph. I nearly did a creative writing degree. Have I ever told you about that? When I was just thinking, ‘let’s go to uni so adult life goes away for a few years. We’ve done, like, a lot of creative writing already. It won’t be a cake walk but we’ll manage.’ Then I thought, ‘if we’re going to end up in massive debt the degree might as well be extremely hard.’

AND IT IS.

I do have a cafetiere now though. That helps. My flatmates are getting cafetieres too, presumably inspired by how much of a nicer person I am when I’m awake. If I’d been really clever, I’d have taken a photograph of it full of excellent coffee, next to a witchy mug that changes colour when you put hot liquid in it, to show you how fancy I now am. I drank the coffee in order to write this post though, so have instead a photo of a grave marking I saw in a museum in Zante Town:

skull and crossbones grave marker from 1666, in Byzantine Museum of Zakynthos.

Cool huh. I sort of love grave markers and death ritual things. I got to see some Minoan larnakes, which are essentially small coffins, in the Heraklion archaeological museum in Crete when I was there. They’re so intricately decorated and so well made that they are still viewable three thousand-plus years later. We don’t know that much about the Minoan people, but we do know how they looked after their dead. Which I think is quite an important thing to know about a civilisation, because death rituals and practices reflect people’s attitude to life.

Three painted larnakes in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete.

Getting deep, huh. It’s all the coffee. I’ve got to get ready for Freshers events and also for work, so I will see you in October. I’m going to be a mess, just so you know, when the final Dreamer Trilogy book comes out in a few weeks’ time. I might write about it but more likely I will stare at my ceiling and neglect all other areas of my life for approximately two weeks.

I can’t wait bahaha.

Look after yourselves!

Francesca


Want to support this blog and/or enjoy exclusive access to stories and chatter from me? Join the No. 1 Reader’s Club on Patreon! Alternatively, use the button below for one-off support of as much or as little as you’d like (if you’d prefer, you can use PayPal or Ko-fi). If you’re into fairy tales and/or want a brief respite from reality, you can also buy my bookThe Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes, from most ebook retailers and as a paperback from Amazon. (That link’s an affiliate. Gotta scrape every penny from Bezos, you know?)