I have been looking for a new hobby for a little while now. I dabbled in languages - French, Czech, Italian, Russian, Arabic - and creative arts - writing, watercolours, sketching, sewing, embroidery - and have come out the other side the very model of a semi-polished Victorian lady. As it turns out, I have very little interest in being a Victorian lady, polished or otherwise. Instead, I want to get mucky in the garden. This started with several ill-fated gardening projects in the old house, to several ill-fated DIY projects in the new house, and is now culminating in what will doubtless be an equally ill-fated engine project in the new garden. I fully exppect to blow up myself and the neighbours at some point reasonably soon.
Rebuilding an engine - because I will be, if not this very second - will accomplish several New Year's Resolutions, chief of which is, it will get me out of the house. It also has the added bonus that despite having an engineer and mechanic for a father I have no knowledge whatsoever about cars or engines, so will have to start from scratch. This is pleasing and challenging in equal measures.
Finally, I will have something to do with my hands, rather than sitting around in libraries or cafes sipping espresso and contemplating the nature of existance, the economy, or just how annoying women's magazines are these days.
Having mentioned something along these lines to a coleague at work, I was astonished to find that she had come to the precise conclusion, and had been despondently flicking through car maintenance courses on the interwebz. Of course, she found zilch. Mechanics courses come in two types: the kind that will make you a mechanic, and the kind that will let you change the oil in your car. There is no middle way, sadly. So we decided to make our own middle way by buying a cheap engine off ebay, stripping it down and putting it back together again. The advantages of this are numerous, and centre around manual labour and learning new stuff. The disadvantages are that it will likely rain on our heads the entire time. We will therefore probably need to wait until it is a little less frozen, and will also need to buy tarp.
In the meantime, we purchased and assembled a model engine. It is SO cute. Look:
Yes, it is aimed at kids. No, I wouldn't advise leaving your children to have a go unsupervised, unless they have surplus fingers.
I do have photos of the finished version, but I'm taking the opportunity to write all of this up for BadRep, so will just link through there when the posts start going up. In the meantime, you should buy your own and buy it when drunk, it's hilarious. Especially when you realise that a couple of the instructions are just wrong, and would have you attaching things that have no business being attached. Even when the beer was all gone we still managed to figure out what to do, though, so I'm calling it a triumph.
Finally - and most importantly, perhaps - I am learning to drive. Again, my father (who has begged me for 12 years to learn) will not hear a word of this until it is all done, however long it takes. I can't wait for it to be done, actually, because I've found that I LOVE driving. My first experience at 17 was hideous, hideous, hideous. I can still taste the bile in my mouth from that horrible hour of being in rush-hour London traffic on my first time behind the wheel. These last few weeks of practise have been completely different. I'm in a little nippy car that I have been flinging around even worse traffic quite merrily, and getting quite, quite lost. I hope that navigation comes with practise, because otherwise I will be heading to Heathrow and ending up in Lothian.
The original plan was to learn to drive, pick up some basic mechanics knowledge and go around France one summer, which sounded quite nice and fun. My colleague - who is apparently even crazier than I am - has upped this to "learn lots about mechanics and then drive around Africa." OK, then. To be fair, it sounds fantastic and I am definitely up for it, but I suspect that it will take a few years. That's ok, though, I can drive around England in the meantime. And once I qualify I'll be able to learn fun kinds of driving, too, like racing and rallying and defensive driving (we teach this to our drivers, and that's actually the useful bit when you're rattling around Africa...). But mostly, going really really fast.
Oh, and I did some fic. With all my issues surrounding RPS, I was quite surprised to end up in an RPF fandom, writing happily if a little clumsily. Anyway, have some fic. These are all at AO3, and locked so that only registered users can see them. Because I am clinically incapable of writing naughty scenes, the teen rating is for swearing.
And Another Thing...
Fandom:Top Gear RPF
Summary: Jeremy's column has been AWOL for a couple of weeks. How is he going to explain this to the Sunday Times readership? James/Jeremy.
Fandom: Top Gear RPF
Summary: James is upset, and Jeremy can't figure out why. James/Jeremy.
Fandom: Top Gear RPF
Summary: Richard's used to being in front of the cameras. James/Jeremy, OT3.
To round things off, since going to see 10 O'Clock live, I have been working on a Top Gear RPF / 10 O'Clock Live crossover. THINGS ARE GETTING DESPERATE, SEND HELP.