Category: The Family

Dino-Roar (by )

Mary building a dinosaur sanctuary

Warning contains some spoilery things for Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom.

Saturday as a treat for trying so hard with the allotment and housework, Mary got to pick the film we went to watch - we were expecting Star Wars but instead Dinosaurs won. Main decider was finding out that there would be no BB8 who apparently I have been misgendering and who according to Mary is obviously a girl.

She even put on her dino claw shoes, and was... noisome all the way there, Al asked her why she didn't have a little rest before the cinema - her reply?

"But I have to sit quiet and still for the WHOLE film" and so she continued to hurtle about with her very loud voice. First off she couldn't see the screen properly so a booster seat was arranged and then she noticed it was a 12 A and had to be reassured that she was allowed in the film.

Once the film started - like the first scene! She climbed onto a lap and spent most of the film on either mine or Alaric lap with some Jean hand holding. She loved LOVED loved the film so much, she identified with the child who was obviously not going to go to bed and the dinosaur Blue. Hence she is now called Blue-Maisy and has asked to see the next film. Actually she keeps asking when the next film is out!

We all preferred this film to the last one, it is going more in the direction I thought the story would have to go to still work - a few things irked - and it is not quiet how I would have done it though the result in world building is basically the same.

On the way home there were conversations about dinosaurs hunting as in the fossils, genetics and subspecies, stem cell research and medical/vetinery care and even computing and building design.

Fiction has always been a gateway to science and science has always inspired new fiction. Something which I think can get lost somewhat in the higher echelons of science and/or education who sweat the small stuff - because you know it doesn't actually matter that Jurassic Park (back in the day) wasn't accurate it drew you in as a story, it showed you a world or science being the tool for the good and the bad, it showed that everyone could be part of that world and... DINOSAURS!

I belong to a generation who's love of space and dinosaurs was sparked by such programmes and you know those inaccuracies where actually really useful - it was awesome finding out about the real creatures and the time periods over which they lived and laughing at the scariest things turning out to be, you know the size of chickens!

It was certainly one of he more enjoyable trips we've made and it mirrored so perfectly when my family went to see the original film right down to the youngest sibling sitting curled up on a lap!

However, there was one disappointment for Mary to find out that she can't go to the US and find lots of dinosaurs rampaging around the place - she was already planning her trip!

She has since been building a dinosaur sanctuary to keep them away from those awful human beings! (pictured above)

Aethelflaed Down Time (by )

I've had an amazing couple of days in London, Aethelflaed the puppet went on several explores and we did the Bishopsgate Women's History History ShowOff with Science ShowOff where we were sharing the stage with Christmas Lecture peeps and British Museum peeps etc... It was a fab event but the weather was not kind to us on the journey home nor was the traffic and so a 3 hr journey took over 7.

Strom a brewing

So for now we are relaxing with the Lady of Mercia gaming and making some thrones - or she will be once she has mined some iron.

Aethelflaed the Puppet relaxing after a long couple of days in London

Health, Weight and Emotions (by )

At the weekend I went to put on my pirate outfit - I was going to be a purple steam punk pirate because lets face what other sort of pirate am I likely to be?

But the skirt didn't fit - the skirt DID NOT fit and not by a little bit. I am aware that I am putting on weight again, I am very aware of it. I'm also not really sure what to do about it. It has been constant since the miscarriage which was in November - I am still spotty, and my hair is going grey - as if it switched something in me. To be fair I had grey hair before when I was struggling to get pregnant with Mary - when I had the suspected ectopic. That grey hair went away - but this lot I'm not sure will - I am creeping towards the big 40 for a start and I am growing a beard - again this is something that has been happening since I had Mary when they put me on the hormone stuff to try and stop the bleeding but now it's got a little ridiculous.

And I have crow lines - again these have come and gone in the past but I am feeling shit - my hair is broken - not only is there grey but it is not curly - not properly curly - it isn't bouncing back like it always does. People keep saying it's still curly but it is more what I'd call wavey. And on top of all that I am having to use the stupid damn walking stick far too much - I just can't seem to ditch it due to the slice and ache of pelvic pain.

But though it feels rubbish I've also been here before - I am pretty sure I can pull myself back together more than I am and hey! My periods are really light now! And the head injury stuff is being managed well. I need to do something about the diet again I think but the lady that dealt with all that had her position axed from the nhs so is not there for me to check in with. I haven't even dared get on the scales. (Do not suggest Slimming World or Weight Watchers to me -- they work for some people but for me they are hell in a handcart and I spend all my time brimming with intense hatred for the entire human race when in such groups).

I kind of have a plan.... I am about to break the 3000 km barrier on my exercise bike - it took me two years to breach the first 1000 km, 1 year for the second 1000 km and this will have been about 6 months for the third lot of 1000 km - I reckon that even though I am over weight that means my general fitness has still been improving. When I started I was doing 20 mins max and it hurt - now I easily do two hours without noticing. So I will actively aim to halve that time again and the gamification of walking worked really well for me last time but now the pedometer is broken and my phone is old and knackered - so I need a new phone and I plan to finally be able to play Pokemon Go which has never worked on any of our tech.

Also the thing about the walking stick... it is there so that I can walk and that is what I do and I want to do more of that and I am a little bored with walking into town but I've worked out a route to Robinswood Hill which is a similar distance and I am doing lot of poetry walks which I tweet - I used to do this straight from my phone before the head injury but again old phone is a broken phone :/

I am still experiencing horrendous muscle cramps which I think is the anaemia - I probably need to go back to the doctor but find that a really depressing thought. But I basically can't do my pull ups or weights whilst the muscles are being like this and have had to stop my bike stuff in order to deal with my foot testing up. I have seriously had nothing like this except during Jean's pregnancy when I had to drink bloody tonic water.

Of course it would probably just be easier to go on the 1000 cal a day thing again but we've only just got our kitchen back (yay no more take aways) and Alaric is enthusiastically cooking EVERYTHING so though I will do that if things don't improve I don't think that is going to be doable in the next few weeks - of course having lived six weeks off of take aways and restaurant meals probably hasn't helped the weight situation even if I was trying to be good about no desserts event when they come with the meal etc...

If anyone else has any good ideas of where to walk and of games to get you walking then please share 🙂

Loki My Hammer (by )

Loki my new hammer

This is Loki my hammer - it is a Thor number 2 copper and raw hide mallet and is one of the hammers I always paw over when we go to the welding gas shop. I kind of wanted a hammer for the workshops I am preparing for the Aethelflaed Festival in June so it seemed like the right time to actually take the plunge and buy the thing.

This will be used for leather, metal and wood projects - the guy in the shop asked what I wanted it for and I started to explain about the impression work I have been doing - he suggested that I call the made things Loki Impressed which is kind of fun 🙂

Expect to see it a lot on the Salaric blogs 🙂

These hammers are awesome and have been used for all sorts of things including the Royal Engineers during the second world war as it meant they could assemble last minute bridges at night in enemy territory without making loud hammering sounds. They are the mainstay of engineers who need to be gentle whilst hammering their machines or miners who need to avoid sparks (well did graduate from the Royal School of Mines!) and of course jewellery makers love these things!

I wish I had the old one shown on the Wikipedia page - just look at it! Look at the mushroom wear on those hammer heads - this in an instrument that has made many things!

It is a bit of a faff but you can replace the heads when they get too worn so I am hoping that Loki is with me for life! I may well have hugged it all the way home whilst grinning - I think it disturbed Alaric slightly 🙂

You can even watch how they are made 🙂

This one has audio commentary 🙂

You can read up on the manufacturing history and techniques on their website too 🙂 Since our visit to Makers Central I have been interested in where my tools actually come from - so am very pleased I can trace my hammer like this.

Hats For Headway (by )

So this is a thing, I didn't know it was a thing - I probably did but then forgot :/ But get your fancy head gear out!

knitted brain hat

Today is #HatsforHeadway to raise awareness and cash for an absolutely brilliant charity who have helped so much with people like me who have sustained head injuries. This is the hat I knitted for the Science Showoff on Neurology and brainy things special that they did. It was a wonderful evening with Dr Carina Fearnley a fellow head injury sufferer and friend from my Geology undergraduate days. She has made a fantastic video about her experience:

The event was at the Star of Kings in London but I believe was raising money for the Bristol Headway and I made a paper mache brain and got gummy brain sweets. The hat has since appeared at various British Science Week Events, Cheltenham Science Festival and BBC Country File Live show/festival. It was an amazing night were I learnt about all sorts of things including the medical skeletons etc... lurking beneath London and what their skulls can tell us!

What I didn't say at the time was that I was struggling with knitting due to the damage to my left hand side so this whole thing was create out of loom knitting (French knitting or knitting nancy/spool knitting are all mini looms). Also for me to actually make it to the gig my dad had to come and meet me at the station - which in your 30's is pretty embarrassing, but I have only recently been able to attempt travel on my own on that sort of scale and I was still unable to cook anything other than a microwave meal safely on my own (I've set fire to pans and tried to pick up boiling pots with my bare hands...).

There is currently an Art Exhibit and series of talks etc... at Kings College about head injury including a pice on Identity after the fact. I myself had to basically learn to draw again - I always drew with both hands but now... the pictures come out distorted - I have a blind spot in my left eye, and hand coordination was hard. Add in the crisis of everyone else knowing more about me than I myself did and I ended up producing Love: A Stranger Dream. It started as distinct pictures which people asked for as colouring sheets so I put them up for free download here. Then I realised there was a kind of non-linear narrative or themes running through the works and it became a book of visual poetry. I took refuge in art - something that is quiet important in developing coping mechanisms and reducing the amount of depression that head injury victims feel - it is like having everything that is you stripped away.

I even made audio.

And video of it.

Art that started as a way to just express myself when speech and writing where hard graft ended up as something that has helped friends, it explores lots of different aspects of identity and so has ended up at GLBT+ events, dis/different-ability events, music and art installations, two different events for International Women's Day, comic book conventions, poetry events, story telling and maze festivals. I've even made a dress from the art work 0.o - ok yeah I got carried away!

(can't find the photo - if I came across it I'll add it later! but it got compared to the stuff worn by the Welsh Eisteddfod singer/bardic peeps)

As I've probably bored everyone with - I have not long been discharged from the head injury unit including physio at Gloucester Royal - still under neurology but the main chunk of it is done. Charities like Headway - the brain injury association are an absolute life line and they have local branches but head injury sufferers often struggle to get the help that's needed especially as most of the time they still look "normal". I was being mistaken for being drunk and struggling with lots of things. So yeah - hats for headway 🙂

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