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Because I never seem to post these days, I'm just going to blather about something, regardless of whether or not I have anything to post about. It's rained fairly heavily for most of the last week. Friday was glorious though. My mother, having discovered a bottle of gin in the cupboard that nobody can identify (we assume it's a relic of my grandfather's day), has decided that she wants to make some sloe gin. So on Friday I set off in search of sloes. For those of you who grew up in towns/aren't fruity at all in nature, sloes look a bit like giant blueberries, but are in actual fact evil disguised as fruit. That shouldn't be a surprise, since they grow on blackthorns, which are themselves pure evil. People don't so much want sloes, as are forced to use them because they live in the middle ages, and there's little alternative. So when an (otherwise apparently) perfectly reasonable human being decides that they want to make sloe gin, it's best to smile gently and accommodate them. Then back away slowly.

So anyway, I spent four hours on Friday climbing hills and crawling through thorn bushes, on a hunt for sloes. Everything was early this year (the blackberries and elderberries have already all gone), so it wasn't easy, but my mother now has a copious supply of sloes, and some gin (or probably gin), and goodness only knows what will happen next. She told me that she wanted "about a pound" of sloes. I asked how much that was, since I had no intention of going equipped with a set of scales. She very helpfully suggested that it was about half a kilogram. Yes, thanks for that, Mother. For the record, in case you should ever need to know, "about a pound of sloes" is roughly equal to "rather less than I picked". So she's going to make even more sloe gin than intended, despite a: not knowing how to make it, or b: whether or not anybody is going to be fool enough to drink it.

Elsewhere, I have now finished watching The Rockford Files - or season one of it, anyway, which is all that I have. I heartily recommend it, if you're in the mood for seventies detective shows. Rockford is a terrific character, ageing, beginning to slow down a little, finding fisticuffs both harder to partake in, and harder to recover from, and increasingly suffering from a life with a very irregular income, and an increasingly dodgy future. If that sounds grim, then it's not really. It's often very funny. James Garner is a terrific lead, in the quite brave position of a heartthrob who is showing that he is no longer in his prime. But blimey, the décor. I shared a picture a few weeks ago of a brown, stripy apartment:

The show also appears to have a real fondness for appalling yellow floral wallpaper. In one episode there's this:

Which comes with matching curtains, as you can probably see by the wiggles off to one side. Who the hell looks at a pattern like that, and even finds it good for a wall, let alone for matching curtains?! Oh 1970s. What were you smoking? And then in another episode there's this:

I think the woman here feels that the wallpaper is Jim's fault, but in his defence, they had to find somewhere to hide in rather a hurry. There must be something in the air in that episode actually, as the bloke who hires Jim has these curtains:

And twinned with this settee:

And he's not even a bad guy. So yes, anyway. That was The Rockford Files in soft furnishings. I've moved on to Due South, which does rather well in curtains for the most part. Ray wears horrendous shirts, mind. Still, at least they're not brown. Why the seventies loved brown so much is a question that will likely never be answered. And I think that I will shut up now.


( 23 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Nov. 16th, 2014 12:34 pm (UTC)
For those of you who grew up in towns/aren't fruity at all in nature, sloes look a bit like giant blueberries, but are in actual fact evil disguised as fruit. That shouldn't be a surprise, since they grow on blackthorns, which are themselves pure evil

Hee! I am in love with this description, which will forever be the explanation of what, precisely, sloes are :)
Nov. 16th, 2014 08:59 pm (UTC)

Have you ever tried one? Yeuch.
Nov. 16th, 2014 12:43 pm (UTC)
So it was you I saw in a hedge picking berries this week?;p Yes, it's far too late to be picking berries this time of year. Just buy tonic I say \o/.

Nice to see Jim's curtain friend matching his tie to his curtains:D I guess the yellow and brown didn't show up the nicotine stains.
Nov. 16th, 2014 09:01 pm (UTC)
Yep, that was me in the hedge!

Curtain Man had two ties, presumably to indicate two different days. They were both swirly brown. I fear his wardrobe.
Nov. 16th, 2014 12:48 pm (UTC)
Wine made of sloes is rather yummy, though!
Nov. 16th, 2014 09:01 pm (UTC)
Is it? Excellent, that bodes well for my mother's gin!
Nov. 16th, 2014 01:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reminding me about seventies soft furnishings!! We had larey swirly wallpaper in the kitchen and blue and pink cats in us kids' bedrooms!

Sloe, sloe, quick quick sloe...

Edited at 2014-11-16 04:20 pm (UTC)
Nov. 16th, 2014 09:02 pm (UTC)
Fortunately we never had wallpaper! Mind you, some of my mother's paint choices were a bit iffy...
Nov. 16th, 2014 02:06 pm (UTC)
I've never understood the wanting curtains exactly like the wallpaper thing myself, even when the wallpaper/curtains are relatively tasteful.

Anyway, this lot reminds me that there is actually a lot to be said for TV in black and white...

Nov. 16th, 2014 09:03 pm (UTC)
Ha. Yes. I should definitely be watching more black and white. It might provide a nice refuge from some of the shirts in "Due South".
Nov. 16th, 2014 03:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, Rockford. I think he was the one who effectively invented the move of punching a bad guy and then wincing and shaking his fist, because ow, it hurts! Some years later, RDA adopted it for MacGyver.
Nov. 16th, 2014 09:04 pm (UTC)
He does do that a lot, yes! In the last episode of the season he does it, and then says "I always do that..."

Poor Jim!
Nov. 16th, 2014 04:41 pm (UTC)
Sugar! Sugar is the key in sloe gin. You really want to make a sloe gin syrup that will basically cure all ills.

Also the brown stripy apartment is one thing but OH GOD THE CURTAINS MATCHING THE WALLPAPER KILLED ME A BIT.
Nov. 16th, 2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
She is using lots of sugar. I don't know if there's enough to be sloe syrup, but there does seem to be quite a bit. She's very proud because she looked up a recipe online all by herself!

Just be thankful you don't have to act alongside that wallpaper. The poor cast deserve a medal.
Nov. 16th, 2014 07:21 pm (UTC)
Oh yes , seventies furnishings was really quite naff. Although Ercol furniture was quite cool. I use to watch the Rockford Files may years ago, and really enjoyed it.

Edited at 2014-11-16 10:22 pm (UTC)
Nov. 16th, 2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
It's a very good series. So many of those old ones are (wallpaper notwithstanding!).
Nov. 16th, 2014 08:08 pm (UTC)
I watched The Great Escape with my children this summer (So refreshing to watch a movie with no motivational drama, just, "Right, we're all committed to busting out and all you can do is slow us down.") In the documentary Garner admitted he'd been the "procurer" in the Army in Korea, and most of his screen roles were just building on what he'd do if he weren't acting anyway. It was great.

Trying to outdo Laura Ashley, were they? In their defense, those all look like hotel rooms. I think the wretched decor was an attempt to get guests to vacate earlier. Mind you, it does explain where the impetus for the cottage movement came from, because anything on those walls would be an improvement.
Nov. 16th, 2014 09:10 pm (UTC)
That is a great film. I really must watch it again some time soon. Such a good cast, and such a good mixture of comedy and drama. Have you read the book by Paul Brickhill? The film used a lot of dramatic license (as you'd expect of Hollywood!), so the book is quite different. A fine read. Those POW escape stories are amazing.
Nov. 17th, 2014 01:50 pm (UTC)
My mother, having discovered a bottle of gin in the cupboard that nobody can identify (we assume it's a relic of my grandfather's day), has decided that she wants to make some sloe gin.
I dunno, my first course of action would be to announce a national day of celebration. Even though gin is evil and the work of the devil. Two kinds of people: people who 'find' forgotten bottles of spirits, and people for whom that is never ever going to happen.

they grow on blackthorns, which are themselves pure evil.
Well, didn't AtS name the final season Big Bad 'the Brotherhood of the Black Thorn'? (Rather ridiculously.) LIke, hint ahoy!

Hem, have you checked that the unidentifiable booze isn't surgical spirit or de-purpled meths or something else not intended for consumption? I mean just in case...

I do like the realism of Rockford's aftermath reactions after violence. I get so annoyed by movies where someone, oh, gets shot or a limb severed or something, and they just wince a bit and carry on with brave fortitude, battling on and felling foes left and right, Instead of screaming their heads off like any sensible, and realistically depicted, person.

Wallpaper-blaming lady looks rather like Jenny Calendar from Buffy, so I can now indulge in a fantasy world where she got away safely from Angel by stowing away in a Tardis, then found herself stranded in the 70s and helping Rockford with his inquiries. Somebody write that!

Oh, Due South! *pines* Must have a re-watch myself.

Nov. 17th, 2014 05:53 pm (UTC)
I have no idea if the wincing and hand-shaking originated with Rockford, but he does seem particularly associated with it. And it really caught on, too. Face and Murdock used to do it a lot. Another Stephen J Cannell show there though of course. And then Colt Severs used to do a big one each week in the opening titles to "The Fall Guy". *sorrowful Glen A Larson moment*

It's definitely gin. Or at least, it says gin on the bottle. Nobody is likely to have replaced it with anything except my grandfather, who might conceivably have filled the bottle with homemade elderflower wine instead, but we'd be able to tell that by the smell. Probably. It could be pretty lethal stuff.

They also found three bottles of whisky!
Nov. 18th, 2014 05:29 am (UTC)
sloes look a bit like giant blueberries, but are in actual fact evil disguised as fruit.

I laughed way harder at that than I probably should have, probably because I've come across several foods like that here (although we don't have sloes, I don't think - which seems to be a good thing).

Also, we found some booze in our house that we'd forgotten about a little while ago, too - funny how that is. Well, I'd forgotten about it, anyway. :P
Nov. 19th, 2014 05:11 am (UTC)
Wiki says that sloes grow in eastern North America, but that might well be as far north as they go. I'd imagine that there are similar things about though, certainly. They're famously sour - quite extraordinarily so! People did used to eat them, in times gone by, but I should think you'd have to be pretty desperate.
Nov. 19th, 2014 02:27 pm (UTC)
Ah, then we definitely wouldn't have them where I live - I'm about as far west in NA as you can go. :P

And those sound terrible. I can understand mixing them in with other things (much like strawberries and rhubarb), but people must have been desperate if they ate them on their own. :S
( 23 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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