strange_complex: (Janus)
The Year of Augustus is officially over at last, and it's time to wish you all a happy and healthy 2015! May it be full of goodness and satisfaction for you all.

I spent my New Year's Eve this year seeing Some Like It Hot (1959) and The Apartment (1960) at the Hyde Park cinema with [livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan (both of which I shall write up separately), before returning to my place where we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] planet_andy and Mr. & Mrs. [twitter.com profile] ZeitgeistZero for champagne, canapés, a cosy fire and lots of wicked laughter. It was a lovely evening, and has only left me feeling moderately delicate today, so all in all just right.

Under strict instructions from [livejournal.com profile] glitzfrau, we made sure to compile the annual Death List and Scandal List, which we do most years and which I have occasionally published here (example), but which I don't think we got round to last year. The rules are that if anyone on the list dies or becomes embroiled in a scandal in 2015, we all get 10p, though I'm not sure from whom - ourselves, probably. Also, it's fine for people to be on both lists. Re the Death List, some people are on there in hope, others as a protective charm (since people on the list very rarely actually die), and some out of pure pragmatism, but I will leave it to you to guess which. And re the Scandal List, we have suggested specifics in some cases, in which case we get double points if those come to pass, but we still all get our statutory 10p if those people are involved in any kind of scandal, even if it's not the one we predicted.

So, without further ado, and in the utterly random order we wrote them down last night while drunk, here goes:

2015 Death List
Prince Philip (who has now taken Mrs. Thatcher's traditional place at the head of the list)
John Craven
Ex-Pope Benedict XIV (oops!) XVI (natural causes)
Current Pope Francis (suspicious circumstances)
Elizabeth Butler Sloss
Beryl Bainbridge (ah - actually, just looked her up on Wikipedia now, and it turns out she died in 2010. So nul points for us there I think.)
Katie Hopkins
Michael Heseltine
Kirk Douglas
Terry Pratchett
Alan Bennett
David Hockney
Mark E. Smith
Paul McCartney
Ken Dodd
Rolf Harris (in prison)
Stephen Hawking
Clint Eastwood
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran
President Muhammad Fuad Masum of Iraq
President Assad of Syria
George Bush Snr
Bruce Forsyth
Jimmy Tarbuck
Mickey Rooney
Maggie Smith
Paul Daniels
Any current Blue Peter pets
Mike Lee

2015 Scandal List
Justin Bieber (glue sniffing)
Nigel Farage (auto-erotic asphyxiation and / or found with an orange up his arse)
Boris Johnson
Katie Hopkins
Bono
Gary Barlow
Ed Miliband (turns out to be a LARPer)
Richard Dawkins (converts to Islam)
Jeb Bush
Jedward (it's possible that at this stage we were drifting into playing word association)
Any male BBC news reader
Lorraine Kelly
Neil & Christine Hamilton
Noel Edmonds
George Lucas
Damien Hirst
Paul Daniels
The McCanns
Noddy Holder

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strange_complex: (Janus)
Mine has certainly started out well. I decided, rather late in the day, to host a New Year's gathering at my house - nothing epic, as I knew most people would already have plans by the time I announced it, but just a convivial little get-together with canapés and champagne. And so it transpired. My neighbours and their friends popped round to kick off the evening with a glass of wine, and then [livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan and [livejournal.com profile] planet_andy arrived, shortly followed by [livejournal.com profile] glitzfrau and [livejournal.com profile] biascut . My pictures are a bit rubbish, because my proper digital camera has died, so I could only use my mobile phone which has no flash. But I hope they give some inkling of how glamorous and lovely everyone looked:


We discussed topics as diverse as false nails, plushies and how people respond to civil partnerships, punctuated by a lot of uproarious (and increasingly filthy) laughter, and then saw the New Year in with Heidsieck champagne to the accompaniment of Big Ben's chimes and seemingly infinite quantities of fireworks on BBC 1. And we'd hardly started at that point, either. More champagne and the fun of compiling this year's Death and Scandal lists kept us going until nearly 3am.

Talking of the lists, I have ended up left with the paper copies of both, so I assume it is my responsibility this year to type them up. Last year's are both available on [livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan 's journal, though to friends only. The Scandal List doesn't seem to have scored a single hit, unless you count the low-level miasma of scandal which perpetually surrounds both Nick Griffin and Silvio Berlusconi. The Death List did a bit better - we correctly predicted the death of Michael Foot, who was first on the list. But otherwise I don't think we got anybody, despite taking a scatter-gun approach and listing a hundred-odd people. Anyway - can we do better this year?

Scandal List )

Death List )

Obviously there are quite a few names on both lists - so it's bonus points if they die in a scandalous manner.

[livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan and [livejournal.com profile] planet_andy wended their way home in the early hours, but [livejournal.com profile] glitzfrau and [livejournal.com profile] biascut stayed overnight - so we had girlish dormitory-style fun getting into our pyjamas and calling out 'goodnight!' to each other, and then having coffee and chat this morning. Once both had taken advantage of my shower (a rare luxury, as theirs has turned into a 'unique water feature' which is currently unusable for its intended purpose), we headed out to a local cafe for a hearty English breakfast over a shared copy of the Saturday Guardian. And finally I was a big brave girl and gave both of my guests a lift down to the railway station - much helped by [livejournal.com profile] biascut's navigation and a general absence of traffic. There certainly weren't any buses to contend with, anyway, because for some reason they just don't run at all for the whole of New Year's Day in Leeds - which is a pretty rum deal if you ask me.

And now ITV 1 is thoughtfully doing a re-run of Downton Abbey, which is very kind of them, as I missed it the first time round, and it is just the ticket for sitting writing an LJ entry in front of. The characters are all a bit more spiteful and back-biting than in the lovely new version of Upstairs, Downstairs, where the household itself was largely wholesome and kind-hearted and most of the drama came from external events instead. I think I like Upstairs, Downstairs better - but that's partly because what I wanted from it was a heart-warming nostalgia-fest, and that's largely what I got. I do hope it will get a longer run with more time for slow-burning story-lines now.

All in all, then, an extremely pleasant turn to the year - and I'm sure it's no coincidence that I am feeling quite optimistic about the prospects for 2011 as a result. The only downside so far is that I had thought over the past couple of days that I was probably fighting off the first signs of a cold, and by the time I went to bed last night it had indeed settled firmly in my nose, making it rather difficult to sleep. But I don't feel too ground down by it, and don't exactly have much to do today anyway. So it could be worse.

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strange_complex: (Me Art Deco)
Three years ago, I had just moved into my current house, and jointly celebrated that event and my 31st birthday with a 1920s and '30s-themed housewarming party. Lots of my friends and colleagues came along, as did some of the cheekier neighbourhood cats, and a marvellous time indeed was had.

This year, I decided it was time for a similar celebration to mark my 34th birthday (which is actually on Monday this year), but this time based around a barbecue and without the period theme. 'Cos dressing up is fun, but you can't do the same thing every time. A man turned up from Sainsbury's with eight boxes full of STUFF at 10 o'clock on Saturday morning, and I sprang into action - chopping vegetables, marinading meat, threading things onto skewers and (most importantly) mixing cocktails!

The weather looked decidedly shady for most of the day, but thankfully around 3pm rays of sunshine started to appear, and by the time my first few guests arrived the skies were blue and almost cloudless. My colleague's children ran around the garden while we got the barbecues going (two of them, because they were only diddy ones), and began grilling the first few burgers. And after that everything became a bit of a blur as people arrived, and handed me presents and cards, and I whirled around the place making sure everyone had drinks and introducing people to each other and so forth. But it was a very nice blur! I just have a kind of vague general impression of being surrounded by lovely people all being witty and sociable and exciting and beautiful all around me, and lots of hugs and laughter and (though I say it myself) delicious food and so forth.

Around 9ish it began drizzling a little, but that was OK really, as most people had finished with the barbecues by then, so we just carried on the party inside. An interesting spontaneous gender division occurred, as most of the ladies present ended up in the kitchen discussing various types of relationships, while most of the gentlemen were in the dining room discussing joke websites. But hey - both rooms seemed to be having an awesomely good time, so that is fine. Then around 11ish most of the further-flung guests decided it was about time they started their journeys home, so the scene shifted again to a more intimate gathering of myself, [livejournal.com profile] ant_girl, [livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan and [livejournal.com profile] planet_andy, chilling out in the lounge discussing serial killers for another hour or so.

And now this morning, here I am browsing through last night's photos, eating delicious Belgian chocolates which somebody gave me and generally basking in the afterglow of a most excellent evening. Many thanks to everyone who came, and especially those who helped keep an eye on the barbecue, which I could not really have managed on my own alongside meeting and greeting everyone and generally being the charming hostess. I'm slightly delicate today, and unlikely to move terribly far from the sofa, but it was definitely all worth it. Give me another three years, and I might be ready to do it again... ;-)

Photos follow under the cut )

Oh, and if anyone wants the recipe for the marsala peaches we had, and on which I got several compliments, Delia is your lady. I shall be enjoying the few which were left over with my lunch today. :-)

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strange_complex: (Snape by JKR)
I queued for The Book last night, as planned, and all was good - despite both the rain and Waterstone's bizarre attempts to turn the world's simplest and most effective system for ensuring that everyone is served in a fair order (viz., The Queue) into a confused mess by super-imposing a numbered ticketing system onto it without offering any clear explanation of how this was supposed to work. Enjoyed immensely turning to the back and skimming hastily through relevant-looking pages right there in the shop to establish the major plot points, sproingled rather randomly and over-tiredly at [livejournal.com profile] nalsa and his lady for a while, and finally got home with it about 1:30ish (yes, Waterstone's were inefficient as well - I heartily wish I'd pre-ordered at WHSmith instead). I ploughed on with The Half-Blood Prince for a while, which I'd been reading all day in an attempt to get back up to speed, but I was pretty near the end of it anyway, and after an hour or so I couldn't resist the pull of the new one any longer. So I retired to bed with it around 3ish, intending to just read a chapter or two and then go to sleep, but didn't actually put it down until 5:30 and the end of chapter 7. Well, I couldn't stop reading while they were all still... No. I promised you no spoilers, didn't I?

Since then, though, I've only got as far as chapter 12, due to sleeping until 1 and then attending a lovely party at [livejournal.com profile] miss_dark's all afternoon. So I've accepted that I'm not going to finish it with the speed of the last one - but that's OK. Like I said, I know what happens, so I can read other people's posts about it quite merrily. And anyway, why should I rush it? It's the last one, after all. I want to enjoy it at my own snail-like pace.

Besides, it would clearly be a very bad idea to stay up all night tonight trying to finish it, as I realised on Friday that I've been ill for a few days, and my parents are coming up to Leeds again tomorrow to help with house stuff, so I need to be well-rested and compos mentis before they do. I'm not quite sure what was wrong with me, but I'm guessing it was basically down to performing an incredibly intensive mental task followed by an incredibly intensive physical task, not giving myself enough time to recover, and probably also eating something a bit dodgy. I think I'm on the mend now, but tired, what with that and the reading-till-dawn thing, so I don't want to push my luck.

Happily, I was in good health and spirits this afternoon to enjoy [livejournal.com profile] miss_dark's 'Three Years With [livejournal.com profile] dedbutdrmng' party, though, which was a jolly good thing as it was ace! [livejournal.com profile] miss_dark's flat turned out to be a splendid palace, whose walls were lined with shoes, and she had done an excellent job of filling it full of splendid people for the afternoon. I didn't get to chat to everyone there, but I enjoyed the company of familiar faces, and met some fab new people - including the marvellously history-geeky [livejournal.com profile] vonheath, whom I think I shall dash off and friend once I've finished writing this. There were also small children with bubbles, three nearly-identical cats and a cracking anecdote about a bracelet which [livejournal.com profile] miss_dark had bought for [livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan. So an excellent way to spend the afternoon, and I only hope my house-warming goes as well!

Bemused

Sunday, 24 December 2006 16:21
strange_complex: (Chrestomanci slacking in style)
Hmm - OK. I just Googled "bournville + carols + green" to find the starting time for the Christmas Eve lantern-lit carol event we've been going to for the last couple of years, only to find that my own journal is Google's number three hit for that query - above the parish church's official page which actually answered the question. Doesn't anyone else who goes blog the event?

Well, for anyone who finds themselves here as the result of a Google search: it starts at 6pm.

Today's been a pretty quiet day in the Goodman household, after last night's excitement. My Mum was apparently so hyped-up by it all when she went to bed, that she couldn't get to sleep for hours, but instead kept having the giggles over things which had happened at the party: one recorder player stopping and asking what on earth was going on when she found herself playing an unexpected (but perfectly correct) solo in the 'Amen' chorus; the piano-player making a swift and judicious change of key during at least two of the carols, and all the singers heaving a sigh of relief, as it had been far too low before; banter about whether the cracker-whistles were at 414 or 440 pitch (to which one joker replied, 'Both'); and the look on a whistle-player's face when she suddenly realised she was meant to have played her note in the Can-Can about 10 seconds ago.

We've been eating up left-overs, and watching a Channel 4 documentary (on Telewest's 'Teleport' service) about the Noble Whale of London Town - which basically concluded that the whale's death had probably been encouraged, if not actually caused as such, by a combination of changing climate and confusing man-made sound-signals. :-(

And now, I shall share pictures of domestic winter greenery which I also took yesterday with my digital camera:

Winter greenery )

Deck the halls

Saturday, 23 December 2006 18:11
strange_complex: (Saturnalian Santa)
Tonight is the final night of the Saturnalia, the Solstice has been accomplished successfully, and tomorrow is Christmas Eve. What could be better?

I'm up in Brum at my parents' house, and, as in some previous years, we are holding a Christmas party tonight. We've spent the day preparing, and now we've entered that lull where it's not yet worth getting dressed up and attending to the last-minute tasks like taking things out of the fridge and putting them on the table, but we've pretty much finished all the medium-term preparation. We have ham, pâté, salmon, cheeses, salads, olives, peppers, quiches, pizza, ciabatta, mulled wine, chocolate brandy cake, fruit salad and about a dozen other delicious things I can't remember now. Seasonal music and musicians are on standby (I shall mainly be playing the recorder this year), silly crackers are waiting to be pulled, the tree sparkles beautifully in the corner, and I have a lovely new dress hanging in the wardrobe. It should be a good 'un.

Going out into the garden this morning, I found that the mild weather we've had this autumn / early winter has meant a real profusion of interesting leaves, berries and even flowers which I could incorporate into the display of winter greenery that I normally put together to go on the mantlepiece above our fireplace. And, at long last, my Dad and I together also came up with a solution to the logistical problem I usually have when putting the display together - that the mantlepiece is rather narrow, the greenery gets quite heavy once you've got a few holly branches and bits of variegated bushes in there, and a blob of blu-tack just isn't adequate to hold it all together. Instead, this year, I picked out a suitable log from the wood-pile, and he split it in two and then drilled some holes in it for me, so that it could sit on the mantlepiece and have twigs poked into it. It works very well - and is making me wish I'd brought my digital camera up here to photograph it. Oh well - I'm sure it will be appreciated by the party-guests tonight, and maybe I'll be able to borrow the parental camera for blogging purposes? Yes - I'll go and enquire about that right now, I think!

Halloween

Saturday, 29 October 2005 18:52
strange_complex: (Vampira)
Ah, it's the one weekend of the year when you can go out Gothed up to the nines and not attract the usual sneers and jeers. In particular, the old classic "Halloween was last month" is not valid this weekend. Ha-ha.

I'm off to a Halloween-themed house-warming party in Kidlington, going as A Person With A Bat On Their Head.

Hope you all have a great weekend, whatever you are doing!

Party report

Tuesday, 12 July 2005 15:19
strange_complex: (Silver Jubilee knees-up)
So, what about this party we had on Sunday, then?

Well, one thing it certainly was was BIG. Since it was jointly in honour of myself and my mother, we had first agreed on a bunch of actual family and close family friends who knew us both and could be considered 'joint' guests, and then added a further 20 people each whom we invited individually. That meant we had a total of about 60 guests, which was more than manageable space-wise, given the size of my parents' house and garden, but certainly meant a lot of chopping, cooking, setting up tables and pouring people drinks. Luckily, my sister, her partner Nicolas, my auntie Theresa and my Mum's very dear friend Daphne had all arrived one or two days in advance, so we had hordes of eager helpers to get everything set up and running smoothly.

The guests )

The day )

The setting )

The evening )

Before I finish up, I'd like to say how infinitely touched I am by the many people who travelled from far and wide to come on Sunday - especially given the security scare in Birmingham the night before, and the actual bombings in London only two days before that. I LOVED seeing you all, I've missed you lots, and I'm looking forward to the next time I get to see each and every one of you again. Seriously, parties like this would be nothing without the guests - so thank you all for making my day.

Other accounts )

Partay

Sunday, 10 July 2005 22:28
strange_complex: (Silver Jubilee knees-up)
Whew! Fabulous party. Absolutely FABULOUS! And I am so grateful to and touched by all the people who travelled from Oxford, Brighton, Reading, London, Winchester, Cambridge, Bristol and similar to be here and make it so enjoyable: thank you all!

Proper report when I'm not amazingly tired and ever so slightly drunk, I think...
strange_complex: (Fred Astaire flying)
Last night I attended the joint birthday party of [livejournal.com profile] my_mundane_life and [livejournal.com profile] byrnsey_b, held in the Errigle Inn. We had lots of dancing, to a pretty surreal set of music: everything from Rage Against the Machine to Bananarama. And I got the chance to take the dark purple shiny dress I bought recently at the Rusty Zip on its maiden outing. Thanks to both [livejournal.com profile] my_mundane_life and [livejournal.com profile] byrnsey_b for a lovely evening!

When I got home, I wasn't quite ready to go to sleep, so I watched the pilot episode of House, M.D., which I'd taped from Channel 5 while I was out. I thought it was OK, and will give it a few more episodes, but I didn't think it was as wonderful as some people on communities such as [livejournal.com profile] indeedsir had given me to expect. The characters all seem a bit two-dimensional at the moment. Still, they're only just being established at the moment, so we'll see.

Today, I have awarded myself a day off work, because of being out last night and also because I've had a cold all week and could really do with some recuperation time. I've spent it so far Making Icons, and very enjoyable it is too. You can expect large numbers of Gratuitous Icon Posts (a bit like this one!) over the next few weeks.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, 1 January 2005 02:24
strange_complex: (Janus)
Out with the old, and in with the new:
May 2005 be a fine year for you!

I have drunk half a bottle of real, trual champagne All By Myself, and I feel deeeLICious! Definitely ready for a new year...

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] damien_mocata for a fabulous party, and to both [livejournal.com profile] thebiomechanoid and [livejournal.com profile] greydragon for being deeeLICious too!

*kisses to you all*

Activity

Wednesday, 22 December 2004 20:14
strange_complex: (Penny Crayon)
Photos by [livejournal.com profile] angeoverhere have now been gratefully incorporated into the web page for our Christmas meal on Saturday.

I had to start today with an emergency trip to a nearby branch of Waterstone's to change a present I bought yesterday, which its intended recipient turned out already to have. But that's been done successfully now, and the replacement book should be appreciated.

Meanwhile, at home, we've been preparing for a party to be hosted by my parents tomorrow night. We've done this a couple of times before, previously on Christmas Eve itself, but this year it is to be the 23rd, because many of my Mum's friends can't make the 24th. I'm really looking forward to it, because I love Christmas parties anyway, and I shall also get to see two dear friends: Amy and Fleur WINOLJ. I'll also at last get to meet Amy's new baby daughter, Holly, who was born in July, but whom I've so far seen only in pictures: picture like these, in fact.

In preparation for the party, I have today:
  • decorated our tree
  • vacuumed the whole of the downstairs
  • swept the hall floor, which is wooden
  • cooked some cocktail sausages
  • stuck an orange full of cloves ready for the mulled wine (slurp!)
  • painted my toe-nails gold
  • hung up a wicker ball thing with bits of vegetation sticking out of it over the front door
  • basted pears cooked in red wine sauce by my Mum
  • worked out how many verses we will sing of various carols (for yes, it will be a musical evening also)
The cat was a significant hazard during activities 1 and 4, but we have so far managed to neutralise the danger by distracting her with alternative activities / food.

Later this evening, my sister will arrive by train from London to join the family for Xmas, so we shall be able to stay up late giggling and doing sisterly things. Hurrah!

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