I'M WINNING in the smallest possible way. I finally finished Plupp och Björnungarna, an emotional tale regarding a character of indeterminate species and gender visiting some bears and learning about hibernation and that. I'd started reading it a month ago and got to about the third page in THREE DAYS, which wasn't great going, so I had a break, attacked my Memrise course with a terrifying passion, and came back to the book last night. It went a lot better. Normally I don't like reading books aimed at children in other languages just because books for children tend to be simpler. Partly because actually, I don't think they are that much simpler; they're shorter, granted, but they still have difficult vocab that a beginner might not know such as 'mountain spruce', and partly because I wouldn't read a book aimed at young children in English, so why not put a bit of extra effort in and read a more age-appropriate book that I'm more likely to enjoy? HOWEVER, in this case, I quite enjoyed Plupp. I may have overdone the course a bit, because when I ventured outside today I couldn't tell the difference between Geordie and Swedish, and also when I do the Irish course, I now end up saying things Swedishly (surely siopa should be awarded Swedish pronunciation?), but I'm sane again now.
LIES. I also came up with a fantastic idea. One of the bulbs in my house came without a lampshade. I'd been meaning to get one for ages but couldn't find one I liked (I take decisions of this nature very seriously), so I simply bought a generic cheap lampshade from Wilko's, and PUT MAPS ALL OVER IT.

Observe, I'm trying to create a peaceful windowsill area, upon which I can perch. I've got a bird feeder hanging right outside the window, so will hopefully see them, and am even considering investing in a nesting box, although I'm not sure if there's sufficient foliage where I am. Also all my herbs are on the balcony just outside the window, so I can keep an eye on them.
The lampshade-sticking didn't go quite as well as I'd hoped, as it was trickier than anticipated to cut the map to the shape of the lampshade, but it looks OK. I chose a map of the Severn Valley, aka where I'm from (kind of). I wanted to pick a place that meant something to me and was pleased to discover that even if we limited it to the UK, there's a range of places I could've chosen: Sheffield, the area round Ormskirk, pretty much anywhere in Wales, and, increasingly, Northumberland. But I went for my bit of the West Midlands in the end. Sometimes I miss it and stalk it on Google Street View. I'm debating whether to go home to said Midlands on the next Bank Holiday, or whether I should stay here and celebrate the Viking festival on Lindisfarne. It feels like I've never had to contend with such an important dilemma.
I will, at least, be reunited with my sizable family soon, though. They are currently travelling up to Scotland for the first bit of their holiday, and next week they'll be in NORTHUMBERLAND. Near Rothbury, to be precise. I'm wondering whether I should madly clean my house, but it's a bit late in the day for that. Tomorrow I'm off to the Big City, aka Newcastle, to see Alpha Papa and eat delicious vegetarian food in BEST CAFE EVER.
(also the new Nexus 7 is being released at the end of this month and I had a dream about it, and in the dream, it was really good, so I think I'll get it at the beginning of next month when I've been paid and can add to the 'Get Katie a Nexus 7' fund)