[DWJ] another introduction

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Jan 1 16:25:43 EST 2009


Melissa Proffitt wrote:
> And for those of you who've stuck it out for this whole email, how about we
> start a new round of introductions to welcome the new year?  I think it's
> past time to get to know each other again.
>   
OK, I'll play.

I'm female, born in September 1954, and living in Bristol, England at 
present.  I'm married with three children, the youngest of whom, Rowan, 
is DWJ's god-daughter and a source of delight to DWJ and especially to 
her husband John, who likes having someone with whom he can be sure of a 
good argument about philosophy whenever Rowan's around.  (She's in her 
second year at Trinity, Oxford, reading Philosophy and Theology, and 
likes bouncing ideas off him.)  They make shameless use of her to do 
odd-jobs about the house, like clearing out the gutters five floors from 
the ground so that they don't suffer bedroom inundations when it rains 
-- none of us really likes heights that tall, but she is limber enough 
and determined enough to do the job.

I'm a trained silversmith with a hallmark but haven't practised for a 
while.  I took a degree in English at Bristol in 2000-2003, and then an 
MA in Medieval Studies at the same university, and at present have a 
doctoral thesis to do on the subject of the meaning and significance of 
plants in the Middle Ages -- not what their names were and meant, but 
what people would understand if say holly was mentioned, what 'baggage' 
a given plant would carry in the audience's perception.

There is a rumour (mostly among DWJ at the moment) that I am going to 
write a book of completely unstructured reminiscence, working title 
"Bodge Me A Toggle", to cover the high spots of the past fifty years in 
my life.  Last time she decided I was going to write a book and gave me 
a pad and a pencil and told me to get on with it, I did as I was told, 
so it will probably happen, but I am only about six thousand words in at 
the moment and it's very much a sometimes-job.


I can't remember what the first DWJ book I read was.  It wasn't when she 
started to write: I was (foolishly) 'too old' for children's books at 
the point, and then a bit preoccupied with the young-married bit, and 
then with having children too young for DWJ books for a while.  It is 
possible that *Drowned Ammet* was my first because it was out-of-print 
and I found a hardback copy for a friend who collected -- she never did 
get that copy, because I liked it enough for it to be a 'keeper' in a 
house that has books the way some people have mice.

Mostly my favourite DWJ varies according to which one I read most 
recently, though *The Tough Guide to Fantasyland* is always very high on 
my list of 'get it down and read it' books.

Other recreational reading includes Nesbit, Lois McMaster Bujold, 
Kipling, Trollope, Trollope, Heyer, Chesterton, Sayers, Saki, Gilman, 
Wrede, Dick Francis, Lehmann (Rosamund not John), O'Donnell, Tey, 
Thirkell, Renault, and generally anything that has been recommended by 
someone whose taste I trust, or that happens to be where I am and has a 
plot and a character or two whom I find interesting.  I like Victorian 
travel-books called things like 'Three on a Fiord by Two Of Them', but 
those tend to be one-offs so a list of authors would be fairly 
meaningless.  I also enjoy autobiographical accounts of ordinary life 
round the eighteen-seventies on up to the nineteen-forties, such as 
Flora Thompson's *Lark Rise to Candleford*; again, too many different 
authors to list.

Shameless plug: books written by one David Devereux, so far *Hunter's 
Moon* and *Eagle Rising*, with *Turnabout* to come; they are blurbed as 
being about a man called Jack, 'magician by profession, bastard by 
disposition', who works without the option for the magical branch of the 
British secret service in a universe not entirely unlike ours.  I've 
just finished the second and while they're not everyone's cup of cha, 
they are just nasty enough to be interesting as far as I am concerned, 
without keeping me awake at night.


At present I am in a knitting phase, because someone I know who is a bit 
of an outsize in body-length and arms wanted a sweater that would fit 
him, and I embarked on a large green garment in an Aran pattern.  Now 
that is finished, I'm about to start another Aran (of the traditional 
colour) for someone else.


I also build bookshelves.  :-)



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