Tag Archives: coxons

Beyond the Brotherhood

So far 2020 has been chock full of culture for us, we’ve fitted in two museum visits and a movie trip and the month is not over yet.

First Saturday of January we took the train into the New Forest to see an exhibit at the St. Barbe Museum and Gallery in Lymington. The idea behind the exhibition was what would Romantic art look like today, and while it was a mixed bag there were artists and pieces I liked a great deal. Primarily we were there to see a big intricate piece by local Southampton artist Greg Gilbert, who we first found at the local museum here. We also had breakfast at Hoxton, visited every single charity shop (I found a Hario Jumping Leaf teapot), and had a lovely lunch at Lemana.

The next weekend John’s parents visited and was beer, Costco, and boardgames mostly. They kindly brought the things we hadn’t wanted to lug home after Xmas, so I now have a light box and a paper trimmer, amongst other things. Oh, and a hammer drill!

Finally las weekend we went to our local Southampton City Gallery for an exhibition called Beyond the Brotherhood: The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy, which is basically what it says on the tin. It had a wonderful range; the first section includes a wide range of pieces and types of art, from big familiar pieces to illustrations, sketches, and ceramics. I was delighted to see ‘Vanity’ by Frank Cadogan Cowper, which is just beautiful up close. The exhibitions then goes on to show the legacy in later art and illustration, up to and including recent and contemporary fantasy art, including Brian Froud and Alan Lee. It wraps up at the end of the month here but then moves on to the Russell-Cotes Gallery in Bournemouth, whose collection is the source of a lot of the major pieces in the exhibit.

All that, and we even made it to the movies for once, to see Jojo Rabbit, which I really loved. I expected the humour, but not the emotional depth necessarily, or not on that level. I basically cried nonstop the last ten minutes. Waititi is doing his own things, but there was a lot of Vonnegut in there, and not a little Dr. Strangelove… it also made me want to watch the original version of To Be or Not to Be. I’m going to be thinking about this one for a while.

Turkey and burritos

On the weekend of the 23rd, we had an early Thanksgiving with John’s parents, George and Kathryn. I had made two practice pumpkin pies with the Halloween jack-o-lantern and although the third attempt was with canned pumpkin I was pretty pleased with the results. John’s turkey was very good indeed, and John got to open some early birthday presents, so a good time was hopefully had by all.

On Thanksgiving itself we were on a flight to San Francisco. We lucked out and had a row to ourselves, we watched the first ten minutes of Hustle, which was disappointing, How to Train Your Dragon 3, which was okay, and The Lego Movie 2 with I enjoyed more than expected. I then watched the first half or so of Ma, which felt like a lost opportunity.

9pm on Thanksgiving is not the best time to find dinner, but luckily Taraval had several options. We had a truly reviving hot and sour soup, plus a substantial set menu at 8 Immortals, and then walked to Palle’s for good company, cat cuddles, and sleep.

Over the next week we did a bit of shopping to take advantage of the sales, some minimal touristing, but mainly tried to fit in as many visits with friends as possible; we started Friday in Berkeley and then headed down to San Jose for a few days with Bryan and Mette and their adorable new kittens Heyes and Curry. The weather was truly terrible but we did manage a trip into town for Christmas in the Park.

Monday was back up to the city for lunch with Garcia at Super Duper burger followed by beer and pizza in the evening with Jade, Erik, and Joe Price at Cellarmaker in the Mission. Tuesday was John’s actual birthday so we got chicken and waffles at Lois the Pie Queen in Oakland, with key lime pie for dessert. We walked over to Emeryville for a bit of shopping and to see Knives Out, which was really great. And for dinner we met up with Anthony for more pizza and beer at Drake’s in Oakland. We ended with ice cream at the Humphrey Slocum stand outside, and barring Deb’s absence due to work it was pretty much the perfect evening.

Wednesday was our quiet day, so we stayed in the Sunset. Still, that involved breakfast at the Tennessee Grill, a long walk to collect my Xmas present from John, followed by coffee at The Beanery on 9th and Irving, a long walk back to Parkside with a stop at The Sunset Reservoir Brewery which had a lovely cucumber Gose, and we tasted a really nice chilli liqueur. The quiet day ended with burritos from EBX and a rewatching of Hot Fuzz.

Thursday we spent the morning running separate errands, I stopped by Borderlands, which is still looking great, then headed to the Haight to see Steve. We had beers, comfort food at Orphan Andy’s, more beer at Noc Noc’s, and watched the Harry Styles episode of SNL. Then Joe Price picked us up a traditional nightime drive through the Bay’s beauty spots.

On the drive back along Park Presidio we had noticed a big stately white building. I looked it up and it turns out it’s the home of the Internet Archive, at they do tours on the first Friday of each month. So on Friday that was our first bit of proper touristing, it was pretty neat and inspiring. For the evening we went south for excellent Spanish food with Leigh Anne and Leo at Iberia in Belmont, followed by cat play time with their lovely, fluffy new kitten.

And then it was my last day, we had a big breakfast at the grill, quality cat time with Harold, then suffered a replacement bus due to flooding in the West Portal tunnel in order to hit Ghirardelli for a decadent ice cream lunch. Santacon stragglers, holiday lights, and shopping crowds made me feel nostalgic and it was a nice way to end my trip.

Inktober

The second half of September had two Coxon family visits in a row.; first George and Kathryn came down for a brief visit which involved pizza and beer and Into the Spider-Verse. The following weekend John’s parents came to visit, met the cats, and were kind enough to take us to IKEA not once but twice.

As a result I have a corner desk and a kallax unit and my habitat is a bit more unfucked than it was. It’s almost, dare I say it… nice? I thought the storage would be the best part but honestly I didn’t even know how much I really needed a new desk.

Now John is off on his annual trip to the wilds of someplace or other (Herefordshire? Surely not, that sounds made up) and I am trying to hunker down and focus on getting fans done for World Fantasy. On the plus side I am getting extra cat time, which is nice.

And then there’s inktober, which I’m participating in for the first time at least partly as an effort to not spend my weekday lunches at my desk. It’s only sort of working so far, but it’s early days so we’ll see. I am enjoying how the prompts are deceptive, the easy looking ones turn out to be the absolute worst.

A wedding

The weekend after we got back from Dublin it was time to head up to Peterborough for Kathryn and George’s wedding!

We got a ride with John’s Aunt Jennifer, and arrived in Peterborough in time to get a few hours in at the Beer Festival with John’s brother David and his partner Becky. I had a few nice beers and one or two not-great ones, and we ran into Andrew Ellis which was nice. We chatted and drank for a few hours, won a couple of bar mats in the tombola, and then it was time for dinner at the Blue Bell with the bride and groom and their families. It was a good meal, and we were seated near Kathryn’s brother and his partner, who actually live close to us and gave us a ride back on the Monday.

It was held at the The William Cecil, a lovely building in the beautiful stone town of Stamford. The ceremony was outdoors, with the wedding breakfast in a tent directly after, followed by a couple hours for people to relax and change if they wanted to before the evening’s disco and hog roast. It was a lovely ceremony, followed by a reception in a tent. The food was good, though it was far too hot that day for me to want any wine, by the evening things were much more pleasant and everyone seemed to be having a lovely time.  

Monday was a bank holiday, so we had a lie in before the long ride back south.

Kittens! (And some less fun stuff)

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, starting with the fact that Cats Protection finally contacted after three months waiting and we now have an adorable pair of black kittens who we’ve named Quentin and Alice. They’re very well socialized thanks to the nice lady who was fostering them, and despite her claim that they are “naughty kittens” they’ve adjusted very quickly, seem very comfortable with people, and only climbed up the curtains that one time.

Around the same time of the above we got some much sadder news, that John’s grandfather had died. He was ninety-nine, just a couple of months ago the family had started to plan for his hundredth celebration, so it wasn’t entirely a shock.

In more mundane matters, I managed to have my wallet stolen, which wouldn’t be a big deal what with online banking and card freezes nowadays, but did cost me a couple hundred pounds because my BRP was in my wallet – on my list for next month is getting some other form of photo ID to carry for basic purposes. The replacement process is more opaque than it should be, and very stressful, but luckily it’s also reasonably fast and I should have a new card by next week.

So yeah, that’s July so far and it still has a solid week to go.

2019

Once again John and I headed up to Casa Coxon in Peterborough to spend the holidays with his parents. It was a smaller affair this year, his grandfather wasn’t able to come down from Halifax and of his brothers only George was about – but it was still nice, with good food and good company.

Things kicked off for me with my office Xmas dinner on the Friday before Xmas, which was four of us eating a heroic amount of Mexican food at La Baronia, and no one telling me they didn’t like tequila until after the pitcher of margaritas I ordered arrived. Saturday we just relaxed, did a couple of chores, and packed for the trip. We took the train up on Sunday. Monday night Xmas Eve, which meant carols on the green, a lovely tradition that was very well attended this year and ended with a mini “snow” storm provided by the Blue Bell pub, which adjoins the green. We each opened a small present in deference to my family traditions and then got to sleep early to be ready for crack-o-dawn stockings! Sanity prevailed this year and it was a much more civilized 7:30am wake up call… positively decadent. Everyone got too much chocolate and just enough toys, I snagged some really great socks to boot.

John’s grandmother came over a little later in the day and we had smoked salmon and champagne to tide us over to teatime, which was the traditional Xmas dinner, excellent as always. George and Kathryn were there in the morning but headed out to do presents and dinner with her parents this year. John and I had received our big present, a Dyson vaccuum, early – but there was still an abundance of great gifts. John got me a pendant to replace a previous one I was crushed at having lost, it’s even nicer than the original. Plus a Virgil Finlay wall calendar, something I did not know existed. George and Catehrine got me The Strange Case of the Alchemists’ Daughter, by Theodora Goss – which is good stuff so far.

The panto this year was Peter Pan, which had good sets and costuming, and generally a very good cast, but a middling dame unfortunately. Also I wonder if Pan is a good fit for a pantomime really. Still, it was a nice outing and all the yelling is always fun.

On the Friday we went up to Nottingham to visit Dave at the pub he manages there. It didn’t really make sent to bring two cars so John and I headed up on the train earlier and made a day of it, John by meeting a friend and a boardgame cafe and myself by visiting literally every charity shop in the city. It was great. The pub was very nice and located by a lovely old church, and we ended the night with dinner at Belgo – conveniently near the train station.

Then on the Saturday it was up to Halifax for lunch with John’s grandfather, at – you guessed it – a pub! This was more of your standard family friendly, food-serving sort of pub and the food was very nice, I had a extremely tasty bit of crispy pork belly.

Sunday was pretty relaxed, with the highlight a trip into town to have lunch with Laura and Julie, plus a quick jaunt to TK Maxx for me where I finally found the missing component to my NYE costume.

And then, just like that, it was the 31st. In the morning met G&K at the cinema to see Ralph Breaks the Internet, which I liked even better than the first one. In the afternoon we had coffee with Andrew and Katie, and little baby Sophie. And then it was basically time to get ready for the evening, which was a NYE shindig at the pub on the village green – basically right around the corner from the house. There was a very gently suggested costume theme of ‘rock n roll’, so I did a basic greaser outfit, made my hair as close to a pompadour as I could manage, and practiced my Fonz thumbs. There was a small smattering of people in the theme, and one awesome family decked out in full KISS makeup and outfits, with inflatable guitars. I felt a bit abashed as one of three entries we all received a prize (drink tickets!) when they had done such a great job, but it was very fun.

And then it was today, and time to take the train home. We made good time, even with a detour to Forbidden Planet on our way to Waterloo Station, and now all the presents are unpacked and put away. Still, the decorations will stay up until Friday, and the stocking chocolate will no down last well into next month.

Jan 6th

December flew by, as it does. We went to the midnight screening of The Last Jedi, which I actually enjoyed more than John! Although he has since watched it twice more and surpassed me, as is right and proper.

And then it was off to Peterborough for Christmas at the Coxon’s. Mince pies, roast dinners, boardgames, and of course the pantomime. This year Dave and James couldn’t make it and George was only there for part of it so everything was a bit less crowded and busy, but it’s always lovely and a nice break, get some reading done, and eat Ruth-cooked food. Among other gifts I got a sewing machine, which I am very much looking forward to using even though there will be a bit of a learning curve.

For NYE we went to Leicester, we got in a day before the rest and enjoyed the Holiday Inn pool and sauna facilities and then Ruth, Charles, George, and Kahtryn joined us on the 31st, we got a little more splashing around time in and rang in the new year at 33 Cank Street drinking cocktails and listening to The Verzions.

And now it is 2018, unbelievably.

(Old post recovered from Dreamwidth)