Missus Tribble Is Moving!


Due to the events of 2014 and my continued struggle with alcohol, this blog – and its name – has developed a bit of a stigma for me now, and I no longer feel comfortable with “rosewinelover” as a domain name. It’s time to move on to something new.

I shan’t be posting here any more. If you wish to continue to read my ramblings about Life, The Universe And Everything you’re welcome to join me over at Accidental Spacegirl.

Thank you, dear friends, for the last few years. For your willingness to journey with me through autism, epilepsy, baking woes and even the occasional trip into time and space. There will be all of that and more over at my new blog and – as always – there is space around the TARDIS console for everybody.

I’ll catch you on the other side. And remember: There’s no point being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes!

Goodbye

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Where Were You When The World Fell Down?


Where were you when you heard that David Bowie died?

I was curled up in bed, fast asleep. I don’t know how long Dom had been awake for, before he heard the news, but he was awake as the news spread.

I remember Dom waking me gently; he stroked my hair and face, and kissed my forehead.

“Gem; you can watch Labyrinth all you want today”.

I have Labyrinth on DVD. Dom isn’t a fan, doesn’t like it much – so I watch it and he doesn’t.

What Dom told me next will stay with me forever.

“I’m so sorry Gem. I don’t even know how to put this. David Bowie… I know you love him. I’m so sorry; he’s dead”.

I know that everyone who loved him is hurting. But I do hope that everybody remembers that he had a wife and two children, who are all so much more important than us fans. We can grieve, and that’s okay, but his family come first.

Where were you when the world fell down?

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The Day The World Fell Down


David Bowie has died peacefully after an eighteen month battle with cancer. The Man Who Fell To Earth is now back amongst the stars. Say hi to Major Tom for us on your way to write new, beautiful duets with Freddie Mercury please. Love you Ziggy, Duke, Jareth, David… each and every one of your many incarnations will be sadly and dreadfully missed.

Posted in 2016, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

RIP Kindle


Today, my third generation Keyboard Kindle (yes, one of the original ones that you hardly ever see any more) finally gave up the ghost. The unit itself is absolutely fine, but the battery has finally crystallised and will never take – much less hold – a charge again. Dom has taken it apart, but the possibility of a new battery doesn’t look terribly hopeful from where I’m sitting.

kindle-keyboard-11

Adios old friend

This Kindle has seen me through some tough times and so it has sentimental value. Yes, I get attached to inanimate objects, why do you ask? It’s made disabled travelling possible for me (try wrangling a suitcase that won’t close properly because of the books, a book and your handbag under your arm and a walking stick all at once: it cannot be done); it’s lightened up many a car journey; it’s helped me to dream the time away in hospital or GP waiting rooms, been to numerous book club meetings with me and even kept me sane on ICU in 2014:

Waiting To Be Admitted 2014

What drips and monitors? I’m reading; I don’t care!

As bulky as this old thing was, I’m really quite upset. I wanted a Paperwhite anyway, but I wanted a second Kindle rather than have to upgrade because my faithful friend for more than half a decade turned up its digital toes.

Farewell old buddy. Thank you for everything: you will be remembered fondly.

Posted in 2016, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

From Wine Stains To Tea Stains


It seems that, yet again, this blog is taking a new turn. Appropriate, I suppose, since it’s the new year and everything, but still not quite what I had planned when I began writing here three years ago. I was going to review my year (which was mostly good when you piece it all together coherently, as opposed to taking it as a jumbled mish-mash of random events) but, instead, I come here with a confession: Continue reading

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Lights In The Darkness: Why We Can’t Give Them Our Hate


dark

“I swear, Gemma: you’ll be killed by your own kindness one day”.

She always used to say that, did my Nan. Always with a shake of her head, and the benevolent smile I remember so vividly. When I was growing up I wanted us to house the homeless, fly starving people in from Ethiopia so we could give them our food (we were never short for vegetables, thanks to a large allotment rented from the local council) and I somehow just knew that it was wrong for same-sex love to be illegal (I still remember the image on the news, during the “Gay Riots”, of two women holding up a large sign with the slogan “Legalise our love”). I cried over dead bumble bees and lost dogs, and joined in my school’s Save The Children campaign with relish, when I wasn’t donating tinned goods to churches, and then knocking on doors to deliver these little food parcels to the elderly. My Nan and I would always add our own home-baked cakes as a little extra something, too.

And yet, while she shook her head in consternation at times, and struggled to teach me that I can’t fix everyone and everything, it was my heart that was one of the things she most loved about me. I don’t know if she realised that, to me, being kind was just the way it was. I learned it from her, after all. My grandmother: the kindest, sweetest woman on the planet.

Nan

The fiesty Welsh farm girl who shaped who I am today. Everybody loved her

I don’t know what my Nan would have said about the recent and horrific events in France, but she would care. She would care that innocent people died; she would care that an atrocity has been committed. She would want me to care, and – if she is somewhere that she can still see me – she would know that I do. It’s France that I want to talk about, but I want to avoid the politics. This is just me, with my feelings, opinions and thoughts. Continue reading

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Falling Off The Wagon


Red, Red Wine...

Red, Red Wine… Stay far from me

I was coasting along quite nicely, not a care in the world. I honestly didn’t notice it happening, until I finally noticed that it had happened. Because that’s how it always works.

I forgot that I’d been using stabiliser wheels to keep me on an even keel and to stop me from swerving, or careening into a hypothetical brick wall which would literally break my body again. Because I’m too good at doing that. I’m too bloody good at forgetting and falling flat on my face. Continue reading

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It’s All About M.E.


M.E., CFS, Yuppie Flu, Chronic Exhaustion. Call it what you will; you still never really expect it to happen to you. You’re fit; you’re healthy; you’re active. It’s something that happens to other people.

Except for when it does happen to you. I believe that the NHS took back every last drop of blood they gave me when I had my transfusion, and some blood tests were repeated on numerous occasions, just to make certain. I’m everybody’s favourite pincushion – because I don’t make a song and dance out of having my bloods taken. Heck, I’ll joke about Daleks with you while you’re relieving me of yet more of the red stuff (this has actually happened); it doesn’t bother me because blood tests can save lives. A blood test is what saved my own life last year when my liver began bleeding into my stomach. Plus I’m just that used to it.

All of the results were conclusive. There is nothing physically wrong with me that can be treated. Therefore, CFS. Which there isn’t really any treatment for aside from painkillers. Which I am not supposed to take because of my liver. Joy. Continue reading

Posted in Acceptance, Adapting, Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, CFS, Chronic Exhaustion, Chronic Illness, Chronic Pain, Exhaustion, Getting On With It, Health, Life, Pain, Surviving, Tarantulas, Terry Pratchett | Tagged | 8 Comments

Doctor Who Rewatch: Robots of Sherwood


Disclaimer: In 2013 I reviewed the second half of Series 7 for The Hairy Housewife and fully intended to do the same for Series 8 last year. Unfortunately, it proved impossible. Life and work and caring responsibilities called and at my lowest point, I was about five episodes behind everyone else. After speaking recently with Gemma, she thought it would be cool for me to do a re-tread of Series 8 to tide blog readers over until Series 9 airs. So that’s what’s happening. Every week I’ll re-watch and review an episode for this blog. Feel free to join me! Oh, and there will be spoilers.

Welcome back to another round of Maureen trying to swallow Mark Gatiss scripts on Doctor Who. I’ve said in multiple places that he isn’t my favorite writer for the show and truly, I am terrified of him taking over after Moffat. Robots of Sherwood was thankfully less awful then dreck like The Idiot’s Lantern and less boring then Cold War, but it still suffers from the mismatched tone and the slightness that has plagued every one of his Who scripts except The Unquiet Dead. I’m not saying that it’s not OK to have a bit of light hearted fun every now and again, but it isn’t what I prefer and particularly not in a potential show runner. In hindsight, Robots of Sherwood was one of the most comedic episodes of Series 8. Unfortunately, it is also remarkably average.

So what happened for those who need memories refreshed? Clara asks The Doctor to take her to see Robin Hood. After much snipery and ridicule, he obeys without much believing anything will come of it (nice set up for what happens in Dark Water, Moffat and Gatiss). The two find themselves in scenes lifted straight out of BBC Robin Hood (Still bitter about what you did on that one BBC) with bonus asides to Prince of Thieves etc, including having to save themselves from the evil Sheriff. It turns out he’s in cahoots with some metal robots who are after gold to power their ship to The Promised Land. Chaos ensues.

I liked that this episode started by furthering The Doctor’s personality yet again, with the re-occurring series motif of The Doctor scrawling equations across a TARDIS blackboard. This Doctor sees himself as a bit of an intellectual: the erratic and grumpy and half crazed Einsteinian Professor. This Doctor stops bad things happening because he’s ‘just passing the time’ after all. He’s also cruel, as he was last episode in Into the Dalek. This time he callously tells one of Robin’s men, ‘if you were real, you’d be dead in six months.’ The Doctor doesn’t believe in Robin and his gang’s existence and so he believes he has a free rein to do and say whatever he wants without consequence. Clara doesn’t agree:

The Doctor: When did you start believing in impossible heroes?
Clara: When did you stop believing in impossible things?

Clearly, this Doctor needs a dose of Alice in Wonderland, who believed in as many as six impossible things before breakfast! Eleven would have done so, but then, this Doctor is a reaction to the studied lightness of Eleven.

The episode also cleverly juxtaposes two legends side by side: that of The Doctor and that of Robin Hood. The two play constant games of one-up-man-ship – from Robin and his sword vs The Doctor and his spoon over a river, to the extended jibing in prison (Robin calls The Doctor ‘a dessicated man crow’ for example), to the exchange as The Doctor finds the alien ship – but the end result is the same. It doesn’t matter that both The Doctor and Robin are flawed heroes: the first sometimes callous and cold and unkind, the second full of false swagger and hubris, as long as we believe in them hard enough they transcend truth and become… legend.

Robin: History is forgotten. Stories make us fly… If we keep pretending to be [heroes] perhaps others will be in our name… may those stories never end.

As so often happens in modern Doctor Who, the quote is also a meta reference to the fans. In believing in The Doctor’s story long enough and hard enough, we have sustained it and kept the dream alive. At the same time, we are reminded of why The Doctor’s story matters… because he was moved by the plight of the oppressed and of the weak, so stole a TARDIS, just as Robin found the plight of the oppressed and the weak too much to bear so stole from the rich and gave to the poor.

Robin was told by Marian to stand up and be counted, but he was afraid. In Series 8, it is Clara who tells The Doctor to stand up and be counted, but deep down, underneath the crotchety mask, he is afraid (next week’s Listen attests to this). The Doctor is flawed and so the show turns to Clara to become a hero in The Doctor’s name, as Gretchen did last week, bringing us to a second ongoing Moffat series theme – The Doctor as enabler with companions as ordinary people made heroes through The Doctor’s friendship and extraordinary circumstance. It seems that Clara Who is truly underway. Luckily, Jenna Coleman is an excellent actress. Her scenes with The Sheriff (an odd knock-off of Richard Armitage’s Guy of Gisbourne in that black leather) are especially good as she tricks The Sheriff into revealing his story:

Sheriff: Tell me your story
Clara: But I do not have one… I was lying

She also speaks for the entire audience when she pronounces, ‘does your plan involve the words sonic and screwdriver?’ to The Doctor. To many times it does, we all say.This time it’s all down to Clara and all in a smoking hot costume and hair style too. (Aside: I enjoyed the return of name monikers with Prince of Thieves and Last of the Time Lords. It’s not Moffat Who without them. Thanks Clara.)

Where the episode becomes truly unstuck is in the final twenty minutes with the alien threat of the week taking on a bigger role within the story. Their reason for invasion isn’t particularly complex, and nor is the way Clara, The Doctor and Robin get rid of them. The ending cops out with a half hearted theme about working together and an improbably shot golden arrow, but at least the alien story does serve to get Missy’s Promised Land name checked for the week. Some of the acting was sub par (The Sheriff and the captured woman especially) even if I did get to play spot that actor with Master Quail (He played Sir Hector in Hallmark’s Merlin which is in my top 5 film list of all time) and the tone changed from thoughtful and melancholy under a veneer of frivolity to silly deux ex machina before returning briefly to more thoughtful again as The Doctor and Robin discuss the difference between history and legend. Aside from giving Clara further chance to shine and establishing Tweleve, nothing much to see here.

Robots of Sherwood: 5/10 inky stars

I know that this ranking is very low compared to how I ranked episodes in Series 7. In hindsight, I would probably re-rank the second half of Series 7 as this episode is infinitely more entertaining than Cold War or Nightmare in Silver for example. Unfortunately, it is still distinctly average, and as I am ranking out of 10, I feel that 5 is the right score for exactly average

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Sir Terry Pratchett – 1948-2015


My husband and I also had the pleasure of meeting Sir Terry, or – as our set of friends (AFPers) knew him – Sir Pterry. I met my husband right after he and a mutual friend had been to a CCDE, where another friend’s wonderfully insane Rottweiller had cuddled Sir Terry and left her usual muddy trademark: his t-shirt stopped reading “Less Dead Than Dickens” and read “Less *pawprint* than *pawprint*”. Our mortified friend got a smile of great amusement in return.

My first Discworld Convention was nervewracking. Amazing costumes everywhere, important people everywhere… then later somebody began a jam session in the bar. As I broke into my favourite “Summertime” I was joined by a rich baritone to my left, and when I looked around my voice faded in wonder; the baritone was Terry.

I’m not going to petition Death to bring Terry back to us; I only ask that he take good care of him.

Goodnight good Sir, and thank you for the Soul Music.

Sarah Cawkwell's Blog



It was my extraordinaryprivilegeto meet Sir Terry Pratchett (or just ‘Terry’ as he was then) several times during the course of my late teenage and young adult years. Each one of those meetings was extraordinary for different reasons. Each memoryof those meetingsisprecious, even more so in the wake of his death.


Not long after the publication of ‘Equal Rites’ Terry[1] was signing copies at the local bookshop in Crawley. He was not really a household name at this point and a small trickle of people came up to him and got their books signed. I had read his previous works and in a twist of annoying fate, had purchased my copy of ‘Equal Rites’ a week before, down in Chichester whilst at college. Being an impoverished student, I asked him if he wouldn’t be offended if I got him to sign something else…

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