Looks like the summer is officially over. Britain has once again done its usual trick of going from one extreme to the other; I've been freezing for the past two weeks but steadfastly refusing to put the heating on because it's frelling August, not that you'd believe it from the temperatures lately. (Having said that, today it seems to have brightened up a bit...)
Earlier this month I googled to find out when the Birmingham International Food Fair would be taking place this year, then misread a whole bunch of anomalous results about last year's dates and thought they were for 2014. This resulted in us (Paul, my mum, David and I) going into town on Sunday to enjoy said Food Fair, only to arrive at the usually designated area and become utterly confused.
Thankfully there was stil a load of free entertainment happening around Southside (by the Hippodrome / Arcadian) so we sat and enjoyed that instead, but TBH I was mostly pre-menstrual and felt rubbish about my failure to read properly. It seems to be the case that the International Food Fair isn't on this year at all, which is a shame as it's always really popular despite BCC's complete failure to advertise it. My inner cynic suspects it may never come back now; it's often hailed as being the "sister market" to the Frankfurt Christmas Market, but I've always got the impression that BCC grudgingly allowed it to happen and weren't that invested in it. (Whereas the stupid Christmas market will be advertised several months in advance and doubtless get EVEN BIGGER now that space at the front of the library has opened up.)
My PMT came to a head with a godawful migraine on the Sunday, which I think was partially caused by having to squint in the sunlight. We had been planning on eating at the Food Fair so instead ended up going to Big Wok (or getting a baguette, in Paul's case, as on the evening he went off to help Darren with his Two Towers beer festival). Big Wok was nice enough, but I'd been looking forward to the lovely French food. :( On the plus side, we couldn't really afford the Food Fair so we did at least save ourselves some money... but then, we couldn't afford to go last year either, and if it's never coming back I've missed my last opportunity now to get some lovely cheeses and whatnot. Best. Gruyere. Ever.
My PMT also (AGAIN) ruined my enjoyment of seeing Wicked for Lorna's birthday at the Hippodrome on 21st August. It didn't particularly help that we were at the subtitled version, as that just kept distracting me out of the action on stage. Nevertheless, here is something resembling a review.
These will be somewhat disjointed.
- The costumes were amazing, particularly the Emerald Citizens. Kind of threw me back in time to Sixth Form and my short-lived ambition of being a theatre costumier...
- I wanted to wait until having seen the show before buying the soundtrack, but I think I will definitely be doing so as the lyrics were so interesting - a lot of made-up words and complex sentence structures which would be quite satisfying to learn. :P
- The cast were all excellent - nobody especially famous except that Madame Morible was played by a former member of Fascinating Aida. Seems odd these days for a touring cast not to have at least one semi-celebrity, but they were all quite young / up-and-coming or had previously played the same or different parts in the London production. I'm guessing this show's selling point is its popularity, rather than its cast.
- Half of our group cried; I was not included in that half. For the most part, I suspect that having heard "Defying Gravity" so often out of context did not really help when it finally arrived at the end of Act One. I did almost go during "Because I Knew You" but managed to contain myself. Annoyingly, it seems that my current PMT symptoms are EITHER an intense hatred and/or fear of babies (this seems a bit counter-productive), OR being completely bereft of any emotion other than irritible. Worrying, and also annoying, as said PMT symptom also destroyed my enjoyment of the Danny Elfman concert back in October. :(
- Also, in Act Two all of the sneaky references to the original source material start to happen, and there was a point towards the end where I literally facepalmed, which I'm sure is not quite the desired reaction. :P
I did enjoy it, in the sense of appreciating that there were talented people involved, that the songs were catchy - all the reasons why I should enjoy something, I suppose - but I'm finding more and more lately that I've become emotionally detached from things. New things, in particular. This may be the reason why I have no "new" fandoms and cling so desperately to the old ones.
I'm not sure if it's a side effect of getting older, or indicative of something else, but two badly-timed bouts of PMT have really not helped matters. I can so rarely afford to see anything these days and whenever I do, I come out feeling less than overwhelmed. Which sucks.
On Monday, thanks to period pains and awful weather, I did absolutely bugger all except sit on the laptop all day.
I also finally plucked up the courage to post my Frasier story to FFN (after discovering three new Jonathan Creek stories on AO3, which buoyed my confidence a little about "old" fandoms not being forgotten). There was a delay of about 30 hours on getting any reviews, which did knock me back somewhat (and alas I did overreact about it on Twitter). I am very much NOT enjoying the lack of self-confidence in my own writing as a result of the lack-lustre response to "Whisper" all that time ago. It's taken this long to get anything to a publishable state, and whilst obviously I appreciate it's an old fandom and the nature of fandom has changed now, being mostly Tumblr-based, nevertheless the Frasier category is still active on FFN. Though by "active", read "the same three authors posting stories and reviewing each other", which made me feel rather like I'd dared to enter the sacred realm... But then two of those prolific authors actually reviewed and made me feel welcome, which was nice.
It's actually really difficult for me to put across that even though it's my first story for a particular fandom, it's not my first story in general; that in fact I am quite an experienced writer who happens to be adding extra fandomic strings to their bow. FFS, I've been doing this since I was 14! It's hard to communicate that without sounding big-headed, and I often find that the first few reviews can come across as slightly patronising because people assume that first story = first-time author.
Also, I was reading my old Buffy stories over the weekend - mostly because I started following a Spuffy tumblr during the throes of my PMT (another symptom seems to be rediscovery of old brain-mangling 'ships - totally not complaining about that one!) - and marvelling at how easy it used to be, to write something hot off the press and get it uploaded without a second thought - even when my canon knowledge was not perfect. Now I'm constantly paranoid I've missed something blindingly obvious, or conscious that my author's notes are getting longer and longer to cover any and all potential blunders. This seems to go against the inherent joy of sharing things with the fandom, and makes the process harder than it should be - and it's especially disheartening when really godawful stories consistently receive high praise, when the few decent stories are ignored. There is an element, of course, of the bad stories getting praised by bad readers, but it means the tiny minority of decent writing tends to get overlooked. This has always been a problem with fanfiction but lately it seems so much more pronounced.
I promised the mod of the Sparrabeth tumblr that I'd post "Oranges to Florida" soon (out of a comment re: a scar that Jack has in On Stranger Tides, which I incorporated into the story), just like I promised myself and a few interested followers that I'd post my JC stuff this year, so I need to buoy myself up again for that. I keep second-guessing myself, which starts to override the desire to share things. In the meantime I'm re-reading "Oranges to Florida" and constantly editing so it's ready for public consumption, and hopefully I'll post the first chapter over the next fortnight.
I'm now up to 46 stories on FFN! I kind of want to do something special for my 50th, so now I'm plotting how to manage that. I want to post the Creekmas as a sort of introduction to my Creekfics, before I start posting the tags; and I want to get some more chapters of ALTAF under my belt before I share that anywhere, otherwise it'll join the ranks of the other unfinished epics on my profile - and because I really do also want to share the post-ALTAF stories too. So basically, "Oranges..." would be story 47, and the Creekmas, 48. Then I want to take down "Whisper", edit it and republish once I've finished "A Shade of Blue", which would be number 49.
So maybe story 50 could be the Ripper story. Given the almost unreachable status I've given it in my mind now, that could be appropriate. ;)
Anyway. On Tuesday we are going to Brighton, staying for two nights and returning via London with an eight-hour stopover, as it's been far too long since we had a good old wander abaht. With any luck the weather will clear up by then...
Also: I still have this sodding UTI or whatever it is. Just finished my two-week course of antibiotics and it's still hanging around - after a brief period where I thought it had gone away - so I think I might just take myself to A&E this weekend as I suspect the GP will still not actually do anything about it. I could go after we get back from Brighton but I don't want my entire fortnight of leave to be a write-off of trying to sort out health problems.
My GP surgery are usually quite good, and with the introduction of online bookings for appointments it also means you're more likely to get an appointment within a decent time, though they do then like to spam you with phonecalls and texts to make absolutely sure you're going to turn up. So, here's what happened on my last appointment on 8th August.
I arrived in plenty of time. The touchscreen registration device in reception was not working. One of the receptionists was busy having a conversation with a man standing in the window, whom it transpired she seemed to know from somewhere; the other receptionist completely ignored me, so after about three minutes I sat down.
My appointment time came and went; another person who turned up with her child in tow was actually acknowledged by the other receptionist and thus booked in. Then the chatty receptionist (I overheard her saying she was a lawyer so I assume she's some higher-up to do with the practice) checked the system and was up in arms because I hadn't turned up OMG, and decided to ring me - obviously I didn't answer and just went straight up to the desk, whereupon she was quite apologetic and called in to the GP's room to say I had in fact arrived.
I saw the same locum I've seen the past couple of times. This appointment was made whilst I was actually off sick from work with the UTI due to it becoming ridiculously painful out of nowhere (for the most part it's been low-level lower back pain), and by Friday I was also experiencing shooting pains in my groin area in addition to the lower back / kidney pain. I explained this to the GP, along with the fact I'd had the bloody thing for two months now, but the pain then became randomly elusive so whenever he poked and prodded me it didn't actually hurt, until I got home again and the pain came out of hiding and started kicking me again. Seriously, WTF??
Anyway, I asked if it might not be prudent to refer me to hospital now given how long this had been going on, but he refused, stating there wasn't much more they would be able to do and all the urine tests I'd sent off had returned inconclusive. (I beg to differ; pretty sure they can give me an x-ray or an ultrasound if they really want to.) He asked me to send off YET ANOTHER urine sample and said he would refer me for blood tests, and gave me another two week prescription of even stronger antibiotics.
The receptionist then FAILED TO GIVE ME A SAMPLE BOTTLE, and by that point I was so hacked off by the entire process I didn't bother to go in and get one (there had already been some miscommunication around the tests resulting in my sending one off when they'd already had one; they both came back inconslusive in any event). The form that was supposed to go off with said sample also mentioned about bloods but I've heard nothing from the hospital, so clearly THAT was supposed to be the 'referral' - and in any case, City Hospital have a walk-in centre for blood testing so all I would need is a GP letter, which I suspect the locum knows nothing about.
So yes, doubtless if I go to A&E they will ask why I didn't go to my GP, but I am not willing to go back AGAIN to be given ANOTHER prescription that DOES NOTHING, send off ANOTHER sample that PROVES NOTHING, and not have my concerns taken seriously. I know my body. I know my UTI's. They clear in a week, and are not normally accompanied by pains in my groin. This has been going on for three months and I'm fed up of it.
At this juncture my main suspicion is kidney stones, which may not show up on an x-ray in any event, but I mostly just want a second opinion. It could be something serious, or it could be nothing. Either way, continually feeding it different flavours of antibiotics is clearly not the answer.
I'm struggling to remember any point this year where I've actually been healthy. :(
That was a bit of a moan again. It doesn't help that work is a massive ball of stress at the moment due to continued breakdowns in communication; last week I likened it to our team being under an umbrella in a rainstorm of information, i.e. nothing actually gets through to us. Things change literally week on week (sometimes day on day) and everything we do know is through hearsay. It's frustrating and disheartening, and every single day is a battle of not understanding, not being able to help people and not knowing where we stand. But at least everyone is similarly afflicted, and it's not just me. :P
Hopefully next time I update it will be with something more positive, i.e. a Brighton write-up.