May 10th, 2009


the smell of water

Word was that the Bristol Comics Expo was totally sold out and getting in would be nigh impossible, but I've been in a state of excitement all week (new smartphone, favours bags, minicomic) so figured that the chances of tempting some people out of the (doubtless hot stuffed overpriced) hotel bar to some sort off local hostelry for a brief drink in the mid-afternoon lull were just good enough to justify a spa trip.

There are spas around the place, but my favourite is in Bristol, along with badasstronaut. So I get to catch up with her garden, drink wine, and separate threads of gossip with her into the night, and steam and soak myself the following morning. Bliss.

The trains seem more expensive and less crowded than they were, a two quid trade for getting a seat. Nice, but it adds up I suppose. It was sunny on the platform, feeding iced bun scraps to a pigeon and feeling sort of bad for doing it; stations strike me as one of those places where it's frowned up on to feed a pigeon. But instead a staff smiled at me indulgently. On the Didcot-Bristol leg of the train, the announcer had a strange delivery which mangled the beginnings and ends of words into each other creating weird word intrusions into my preoccupation -- mustelid marmalade carpentry, bigelow guardia hamnet, like a spambot on a speechreader. The one exception to this was his loving reading out of all the different drinks available in the buffet car, a languid list of brand names, carefully enunciated and spaced, each syllable stressed -- stella artois, red stripe, carlsberg, bass.

A brief trip to the conventions (there were two, one for the mainstream and one for alternative/independent/smaller presses) netted me a copy of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910 -- although alas I did not get it personalised by Kev O'Neill, I was moving too fast to queue! He was signing, lots of people were, a positive factory of artists, charging £10/sketch. I caught up with my visit list (Lynn, Andy, Matt), spotted lots of familiar faces, decided that separating out the ones I knew from the ones who looked like people I knew was too much to achieve in the hour or so I had in hand, sorry, no offense. The small press convention was also just lovely, even though I arrived as it was closing up and missed most of what was going on, but caught up with Jess Jimi Dan and others, all good. But the weekend job list was still only part-way through, back on the train.

Interlude: a party with shoes and a remarkable cake. I drank grapefruit juice, and the following morning had a terrible nightmare about getting married in an ill-fitting maroon dress. It wasn't even properly done up.

And then Sunday, and the redigging of the pond. A rigid liner this time, to see if that will flumox the foxes. We bailed the fetid water, fished out what frogs remained, yanked out the old perforated liner with its payload of black stench, and peeled back the old carpet we'd used to protect the liner from beneath. Under the old carpet, a mould had sprouted, and some of the frogs seemed to have been affected. I'll not be lining using old carpet again.