vanessarama: (om nom cheekbones)
I've been having some interesting feelings about all the fan reactions I've seen to this photo of Colin Morgan for the filming of Vera Brittain's 'Testament of Youth'. There have been lots of "OMG war injury! how can I bear it! I'm going to cry" etc etc comments. I find it tremendously funny. I've never had problems looking at Colin (or any other actor) in injury makeup or getting faux-hurt on screen (it's acting! acting!) and I suppose I find a lot of the reactions very melodramatic. Then again, most of them are probably teenagers, and so everything is infinitely more intense and dramatic. I hope they're teenagers. Otherwise, how do these people bear living in the real world?

One of the most pleasing things about this is that a whole lot of those fans say they're going to read 'Testament of Youth'; those who don't know much about the war's effect on Western society will learn some context. I was a bit shocked the other day when I saw someone asking on Reddit why everybody is obsessed with WW2 but nobody ever speaks about the First World War and got a shock. What do you mean nobody ever talks about the First World War? And then I realised they were probably American, and I don't think the US has such an emotional connection to WW1 as it does to WW2 where they had much greater involvement. Here, of course, WW1 is more in the national conscience because of Gallipoli and the ANZAC thing.

Speaking of the lovely Colin, I am still waiting to see Quirke properly; the downloads were fairly crap quality and while I have the DVD on order it hasn't shipped yet. I've read the Quirke books. I enjoyed them although they also irritated me, mainly because there seems to be utterly no reason why Quirke has so many women falling all over him. He doesn't say much, he's not charming or affectionate, we're given no indication that he's particularly attractive, so why does he get so much casual sex? In the 50s, no less? Hmph.
vanessarama: (bearded colin)
We have a long weekend, meaning today is a holiday for Australia Day (although the day itself was actually on Saturday). Yay holiday!

Alas, most of this weekend has been spent waging the War On Ants. The dry weather is bringing them up. They appeared in the bathroom on Thursday, the toilet on Friday, the kitchen on Friday and Saturday, and the laundry on Sunday. I have persuaded Rohan that his usual method of "nuke them all with Mortein" clearly isn't working, and so we have resorted to the Ant-Rid. Hopefully that will get rid of them for good.

And meanwhile, as we whinge about the dry weather, Queensland is flooding. Ahh, Australia.

Here is one of the most haunting things I've read in a long time: The Hunt for the Death Valley Germans.

This guy is a search-and-rescue volunteer who, on his own time and dollar, goes looking for long-lost missing people in various types of wilderness. He became interested in the case of a German family who had gone missing in Death Valley in 1996; their car was found but no searches turned them up. Based on what he knew about the family, and on how he thought a European might react in those circumstances (for instance, they might make for a nearby military installation, believing its borders would be patrolled as they are in Europe), he went out looking in 2009; and he found them. Or he found the parents, at least. It's a long read, and it's not easy; but he doesn't post any pictures of anything upsetting. And he remains a very sympathetic guy, even in the face of unsympathetic authorities and what certainly seems like foolhardy behaviour from the people he was looking for.

On to more pleasant things. We've done very little this long weekend. But I baked! Here is my first attempt: a cheese pull-apart!

Unfortunately its structural integrity wasn't the best and it rapidly became a cheese fall-apart. But Rohan says it tastes like a real pull-apart like Baker's Delight used to make. Yay! Now I'm hoping the cinnamon and sugar scrolls I have proving at the moment will be just as successful. They haven't swelled up as much as the bread dough did, and we don't have that amazing yeasty smell throughout the house, but they're definitely getting plumper.

I've also got around to posting some of the photos we took when we visited Maldon a few weeks ago. Maldon is an old gold-mining town that's notable for having the most untouched streetscape in Australia... allegedly. Rohan's Irish ancestors spent the 1860s/70s in Creswick, a town quite close to Maldon and also a goldmining town, and I like to think of them walking these scenes. Even though I don't know what any of them looked like :)

Maldon under the cut )

Oh, and one last thing:



(both images stolen from tumblr, omg how does anyone ever work out who was the first person to create anything on that thing? it's impossible! tubmlr is frightening)
vanessarama: (merlin: i drink poison)
I have lately been reading Up and Down Stairs by Jeremy Musson, which is a history of servants. This is because I have a number of ancestors who were in service and some who had servants, and I was interested in knowing more. It's been fascinating not just from the personal point of view but from a Merlin fan perspective, because it's clear that in pre-Tudor times the manner of living ensured a higher degree of intimacy and virtually no privacy between family members and indeed master and servant; shame and embarrassment had far less hold on the medieval psyche than on ours. A friendship between an Arthur and a Merlin was actually far more likely than at many later times in history.

Musson's book has led me to the charming Book of Nurture, a late medieval text written by one John Russell in the 1460s, which consists of instructions written to a young manservant about how to carry out all sorts of duties in the service of his lord. If you wanted evidence for your canon fic in which Merlin dresses, undresses and bathes Arthur, it's here in spades. Here's how to dress your lord in the morning:

"First hold out to him his tunic, then his doublet while he puts in his arms... then draw on his socks and hose by the fire, lace or buckle his shoes, draw his hosen on well and truss them up to the height that suits him, lace his doublet in every hole, and put round his neck and on his shoulders a kerchief; and then gently brush his head with an ivory comb, and give him water wherewith to wash his hands and face. Then kneel down on your knee and say thus: "Sir, what robe or gown doth it please you to wear today?" Then get him such as he asks for, and hold it out for him to put on, and do his girdle, if he wear one, tight or loose, arrange his robe in the proper fashion..."

And here's bathing:

"If your lord wishes to bathe and wash his body clean... have a basin full of hot fresh herbs and wash his body with a soft sponge, rinse him with warm fair rose-water and throw it over him; then let him go to bed; but see that the bed be sweet and nice; and first put on his socks and slippers that he may go near the fire and stand on his foot-sheet, wipe him dry with a clean cloth, and take him to bed to cure his troubles."

No, I am not making this up, this is what it says :)

You can read the Book of Nurture on Gutenberg here, or the version I used which is "translated" into modern English as part of the Babees' Book, Medieval Manners for the Young here.
vanessarama: (geoffrey)
This is one of the more glorious reminders that We Humans Never Change And Sometimes That's Awesome: Graffiti from Pompeii.

A random sampling:

"Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!"

"Apelles Mus and his brother Dexter each pleasurably had sex with two girls twice."

"Chie, I hope your hemorrhoids rub together so much that they hurt worse than when they every have before!"

"We have wet the bed, host. I confess we have done wrong. If you want to know why, there was no chamber pot"

And my very favourite:

"We two dear men, friends forever, were here. If you want to know our names, they are Gaius and Aulus."


vanessarama: (Default)

November 2014

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