Friday, 19 February 2010

Dental Angst and Diagram Delight

Well, God knows I need cheering up. Had root canal treatment on Tuesday. On Wednesday, tooth ached. Never mind, I thought, it's just a bit narky after the treatment: it'll settle. It didn't. Phoned dentist yesterday, saw him today and had an uber-fun session. He extracted the root seals, cleaned everything out. Ow. And Ow. I'm now on antibiotics because there's an infection there and my face hurts lots and lots. Can't even comfort eat - how unfair is that?

So what can lift my mood? Well, first of all, bookings are coming in for the new fictionfire courses in the spring, so I'm delighted about that.

Secondly, it's that time of year again, when the Bookseller runs its annual competition for the Diagram Prize for the weirdest title published during the year. This year's shortlist has just been announced and you can vote  at until 26th March. To be honest, I don't think this year's list is as good as in some previous years (check out my Diagram blog posts under the Quirks and Funnies label) - but that may be the toothache talking.

Here's the shortlist:

Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter
Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich
Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes
Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots
The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
What Kind of Bean is This Chihuahua?

What kind of sense does that final one make? I like the Collectible Spoons - but spoon-boxes featured strongly in a title a couple of years ago, and there was a title 'How Green were the Nazis?' back then, so I think things cutlerian (have I just invented a word?) and Teutonic may well be played out. Currently my frontrunner is The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Sounds like it would make a good Tim Burton movie.

Now, my people, I'm off to take more paracetamol and groan, while clutching my lower jaw. Poor me. Poor poor me.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Fashion statements in man-made fibre

The wonderful Sally Zigmond, who blogs at (see my blogroll to the right), now has a new blog devoted to her novel Hope against Hope, which will be published in April. It's at In it she reveals fascinating facts about the Victorian background to the novel and the Harrogate setting. I popped over to it today and discovered that the man-made fabric Crimplene (remember that girls?) was named after the River Crimple! When I was a little girl, my mother spent a vast amount of her time sewing clothes for herself and us at her Singer sewing machine (which had a beautiful domed wooden case to it and weighed a bleedin' ton) - ah yes, the seersucker nighties, the Crimplene dresses to be worn with white Acrilan cardigans or hand-knitted boleros, the two-piece 'costumes', the delicate tissue-paper patterns folded with fiendish cleverness into the Butterick envelopes, with spiky looking Sixties misses with pointy shoes, standing, hip forward and neat handbag over the crook of the elbow, on the covers. The way the garments never quite turned out to have the glamour of the illustration. My grandmother clicking away at knitted jumpers, scarves and hats, all from patterns in Woman's Weekly. My sister and I, meanwhile, were making pencil-holders that always fell over and model Dougals from The Magic Roundabout and Advent crowns, courtesy of Val and Peter and John at Blue Peter (Get down, Shep!) Heady days, my dears. You have to ask yourself if life is as fulfilling now. At least it's not so itchy (Bri-Nylon sheets, aarggh ...!).