Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.
August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
Friday, April 20, 2018
Just a quick one.
With the warmer weather the garden and greenhouse have exploded. My seedlings seem to have doubled in size every time I check them (the first climbing beans - only planted in peat pots last week - need planting out today and I haven't finished the framework for them yet!) Radishes, spring onions, and even the first carrots have sprouted in the higher raised bed, and the bamboo seems to be recovering well, although it's a bit early to be completely sure. We have a pair of long tailed tits now regularly visiting the patio feeder: they are so cute. They take a fruit suet nugget in their beak, flit to the physocarpus, hang upside down from one of the thicker branches, then take the nugget into a claw and delicately eat it in little nips.
Beautiful little tree. (Your valentine apple tree is coming on well too, but the leaves start out red and don't photograph well against the wall backdrop. Will try later.)
Watched THX 1138. I saw it first at uni Film Club, but rather to my surprise remembered practically none of it. It's pretty good, though will never be a favourite. Kai enjoyed it though. He also really enjoyed Split, which I found extra cheap at Tesco and bought because of McAvoy, who is a very fine actor. And he was excellent in this too - but I hadn't noticed it's a Shyamalan directed film. I don't like his films. They all start off really well, but have horribly anti-climactic and/or stupidly unbelievable ends. This was, alas, no exception.
But that's just my opinion. Hundreds of thousands of people disagree.
Time to get started on the garden!
Monday, April 16, 2018
Ooops I did it again...
Easter weekend with Bank Holiday Mon was relaxed. I actually bought us chocolate eggs this year (well, Tesco had a salted caramel one and I couldn't have that for myself without K&K having their own, could I?!) Watched films, continues with House, got a little gardening done (everything is coming along splendidly in the greenhouse) - that sort of thing.
On Mon evening we had the fun of dragging the old sofa out for collection the next day. I'm keeping the cushions, one armrest and one back in case the other sofa ones get damaged.
Tues - I think this was the day Kim and I went to Almondsbury. I'd planned to pick up the conifer I saw last time we went (to go in the front garden to add to the screen so next door can't peer into my house) but they didn't have any. Damn. Oh well, next time...
Wednesday caught the morning over 50's swim (the first bus gets there a bit early, so shopped at Broadwalk first), but I was aching so only managed ten pool lengths. But that's not too bad really. Walking back wasn't fun though. Have made a dr's appt for beginning of next month.
Spent the rest of the week doing the usual, I believe, as I can't remember anything specific. Kai and I still ploughing on with House (seasons 7 and 8 have now arrived).
Mon was chasing around to find out info about replacing the downpipe, as our patchy repairs are now failing and the whole thing needs replacing. But it's most likely asbestos. The local tip will take smallish amounts of asbestos, and apparently if you play water over it while breaking it up it kills the dust and minimises the danger, but it's a lot of work. However, Wecare believe they can help: am waiting to hear back from them. Also arranged for Andrew of Crystal Clear to come round tomorrow as we're now in a position to get the rest of the windows (and the kitchen door) replaced.
Windows sorted: after dinner watched Star Wars: the Last Jedi... Kai loved it, I was less impressed, although at least in this ep there was no deathstar (although as Kai pointed out, the cannon took its place). Great acting, and it's wonderful to finally have powerful female characters, but the story was disappointing (for me, at any rate. Then again, as I've said before, I've seen so much it's not that easy to impress me any more!)
Had to miss swimming Tues and Wed as my stomach was upset. Took it easy for a couple of days (well, as easy as I ever do...)
Sat - planting, and tidying up for window surveyor's visit. The garden is looking pretty good at the moment, the delayed spring is now in full flower...
My plum tree! Hoping for a good harvest this year...
Yesterday the weather was gorgeous, and K&K decided to go to Wells to check out the charity and antique shops. They arrived back ten minutes later with their arms full of bamboo plants that the house on the corner at the end of the road had dug up and were getting rid of, and were happy for them to be taken away... Not sure if I mentioned, but I've been looking for sensibly priced bamboo to grow in pots outside the patio doors to hide that ugly monstrosity of a fence, but up to now they've been too expensive and too small. Now -
[grin] Rather pleased about that! When they've recovered and thickened up a little they'll completely hide the fence.
We have plans for the patio area: aiming to make a small potted-plant-screened little 'courtyard' (which will hopefully stop Tyjer going bonkers every time anything moves out there). Photos whenif it happens.
Window surveyor will be here at lunchtime to measure up, and we've decided what patterns we want on the glass for the door panel, bathroom and hall. Suppose I'd better clear the bathroom windowsill!
Oh, last thing... Remember my adorable little colletes hederae stingless bees from September 2015? Remember next door attacked the ones on his side, first with a sulphur gun then with a flamethrower? And then covered the bare earth with sheets of black rubber? He took them up a couple of weeks ago, and now he has this...
Foxes. Heh. Should probably have stuck with the bees!
Saturday, March 31, 2018
... and has photos...
Catchup time again!
Wed.... what happened last Wed...? Usual shopping etc I think.
Thurs. Uh... um... gah! Really must write up blog more often!
Fri - usual shopping and house stuff in the morning, Maplins in the afternoon. This wonderful chain is closing down, and having an up to 70% sale. Came back with a whole heap of treasures! (Well, Kai did! Though I found a lightweight telescopic window cleaner perfect for the greenhouse, and magnetic L plates and a tyre pressure gauge and tread depth set from Halfords next door, and later in the week found a sturdy footpump and spray de-icer at Wilko. That's my car kit started! Still need a lockable petrol cap and a steering wheel lock (visible deterrent more than anything) and spare bulbs, though won't get those 'til we know which car we're getting.) Halfords also sell a 3-bike rack which fits most hatchbacks, for a very reasonable £59: Kai and I were wondering if we can persuade Ken to get a bike... Then after dinner it was Sucker Punch, which I found for 49p at Broadwalk. Extraordinary film, surreal in places, gorgeous cinematography. Need to watch it again, I think...
Sat - took a day off for a mammoth film fest. Robot and Frank - an unusual, subtle and complex little film, well deserving its IMDb rating - then The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, which Kai had never seen (and Ken and I hadn't watched since before he was born), which was most enjoyable! Later it was more House for Kai and I.
Sun - planted out my tomato seedlings in the greenhouse (just in time for the cold snap forecast for next week. Glad I bought cloches end of last year!) Glorious sunshine: K&K went for a walk. I hung the washing out for the first time this year (and it mostly dried!)
Monday - K&K were off to Torquay for mum T's birthday (it was on Sat but train tickets on Saturdays are three times the price they are during the week). I've begged off: at the moment sitting down for any length of time is very painful for the legs. We're hoping to all go down again later in the year - possibly by car.
I read my birthday present Lady Killer in bed (that's a treat these days!) It's good, but I didn't enjoy it enough to want to collect them. Well worth a look though. Shopped in the morning, and found the perfect recliner at the Furniture Shop down the road, on the way to Sains. (Been pricing these up as sitting with legs up on the sofa makes the sciatica worse: sofa is a tiny bit too short for it to be comfortable. Problem is most of them have the back lower as the leg part rises, and that's not what I want.) Furniture Shop one is a Kinman, £250 (originally £600ish, according to the guy in the shop), and felt wonderful. Needed to check the finances and get Ken's opinion, so said I'd be back.
In the afternoon treated myself to Wild Zero (link full of spoilers so if you ever plan to watch the film, don't click!)...
It's hysterically bad. Plan 9 and Santa Clause conquers the Martians bad. But hysterically daft with it. I mean, the baddie wears very tight, very short shorts that lace up the side, ankle boots and dreadful wigs. (... nice legs though, and he's actually quite convincing when he isn't talking...) Guitar Wolf rides a bike with flames shooting out of the exhaust (and out of his microphone when he... sings may not be quite the right word...) Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf spend most of their time combing their greased back quiffs. And one of the zombies seems to think she's supposed to be a baglady and roots through bins instead of attacking the living...
It's insane, completely bonkers, and is absolutely screaming out for fanfic (there isn't any, of course). I couldn't recommend it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it once I got over the initial '... wut??...'.
Tues - deliveries, swimming in the afternoon (20 lengths. While I was there the delivery note for Megatron arrived - more below), then I went back to buy the recliner, which was delivered at 6.10 that evening. Absolute bliss!
On Wed Wendy visited for the day. I met her from the train station after picking up a few things from the Wed Market. Lovely relaxed day, with The Hobbit trilogy on in the background, as she hadn't seen it. Great day!
Thursday was supposed to be a quiet day, but I had to go and ransom Megatron (£24.16 for import duty) from the delivery office.
He was not very happy with me making him wait...
This is the end of the fusion cannon you don't want to be at...
Gorgeous gorgeous quality. I am very happy.
Caught the no 2 bus up the Wells Rd on the way back to pick up my glasses from SpecSavers at Broadwalk (they're absolutely fine now) and found this in St Pete's Hospice...
It's a rather stylish shark (I think) bottle opener. But it's the other side that made me have to have it.
That's either the happiest - if manic - shark ever, or the creepiest!
Yesterday I took off. Well, emailed a complaint to Staples about the printer cartridge they sent us, did a little work on the Fox and Howard website, and made caramelised red onion marmalade (which failed badly as the caramel part burnt without me realising it and it tasted awful. [grump] Lot of work for nothing...) before we sat down for Power Rangers (cheap at Tesco). It's OK, fun, nice sfx, OK acting, but basically brain candy for a rainy afternoon. Which this was.
Today? Well, the rain is stopping, and Ken has offered to hoe my higher bed so I can finally get the peas, beans, carrots and radishes on the go (should have been done at the beginning of March but the weather was so awful everything's been delayed). He may be going out this afternoon: I'm going to watch an hour of Masterchef before getting anything else done. The recliner is working marvellously: only had it three days and the sciatica is already drastically improved (didn't need to take any painkillers at all yesterday - first time in years). Kai has work to get done - team project for one of his uni courses - which he wants to clear as quickly as possible as he has venesection tomorrow and BMT Clinic on Wed. So another relaxed day. We're getting there!
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Wash put through and hung up, delivery put away - I have an hour before I need to leave for swimming. Let's catch up.
Mon - trip to dentist. She's dug out some more of the root, put in something that should kill off anything that's still living there, and put in another temporary filling. I go back for the final replacement filling in three weeks. While I was up at Broadwalk picked up some bird food from Wilko (and just missed the bus back down the hill, but luckily the rain held off until I reached home walking).
Tues - both deliveries (large ones), then I went swimming in the afternoon. There's a 514 hourly bus that gets me up the hill for the 2.30 over 50s swim, which is perfect. I don't mind walking back down Talbot Hill, but walking up it is a nightmare these days. Surprised myself too - managed 20 lengths!
Wed - a bit achy after all yesterday's exercise, but bussed into town to renew my driving licence at the main Post Office, then picked up onions, peppers and mushrooms at the Wednesday market at St Nick's. On the bus back I suddenly remembered that GoodTwin and Sue were visiting on Fri and I hadn't organised food, so dived into Sains before going home.
Thurs - quick shopping trip over to Tesco, then rang National Express to organise the refund of my return journey from Plymouth. (The email was very apologetic: I guess they had a lot of people asking for money back for cancelled buses!)
Specsavers rang - my glasses were ready for collection. More importantly, GoodTwin and Sue visit! As always it was huge fun. We played Nostalgia and IQuest - and I opened birthday presents! Touch (which is very good), Wild Zero (which looks absolutely bonkers and I'm really looking forward to watching!) the first Lady Killer graphic novel, and the Complete Zombie Survival Guide! All brilliant!
Many thanks, both of you. I had a fantastic day!
Sat - snow. Again. [grump]
So not much was done. Although my new driving licence arrived, which was extremely fast!
Sun - the snow was bad enough to stop us going in for Kai's venesection - will need to rebook. So it was just the usual getting ready for the new week.
Yesterday - picked up my glasses. The close work ones are fine, the computer work ones aren't: I have to hunch over the keyboard to bring the screen into focus. Taking them back before I go swimming today. In the afternoon, doctor called with results of my blood test. It's all good: liver function is fine, BP is stable at normal for me, cholesterol is down from 7.1 to 6.1, BMI down from 45 to 40, I'm two stone lighter than they had on file, and my stroke/heart attack risk is 7.08% (if it's over 10% they give you statins). So internally I'm in pretty good shape. Just wish I could say the same for the rest of me!
We've started looking at cars (online) and I've booked my first refresher driving lesson with Red driving school (highly recommended by a number of people I've spoken to) for first week of May. Two hours, £62 - so they'd better be good! Fingers crossed I won't need much: I can quite vividly remember how I used to drive, and fortunately I don't need to take the new tests, so... we'll see.
Back from swim: only did 16 lengths as shoulders and back sore. Sciatica is really playing up today too - been prescribed Naproxen, which works, but only for a couple of hours. Will see about getting another appt and asking for advice.
But for now Kai and I are going to watch the first ep of House season 4 (hair's too wet for a lie down: this will have to do instead.)
Sunday, March 11, 2018
And life got back to what passes for normal - manic - in no time flat...
Actually, it was a good and very productive week. After the amazing sleep I had on holiday, last Sun I did a little research and Ken and I agreed we'd try a Casper mattress. Pricey at £550, but they were advertising a 10% off for Mothers' Day, so we took advantage of course. Bit of a hiccup with delivery (bloody UPS...) but it arrived on Thurs. Kai helped me unpack and get the old mattress downstairs, and Thursday night was a dream. Sleeping through the night and waking up free of pain is fantastic. It's actually proving a bit difficult to get up these mornings, it's so comfortable! Ken's not completely convinced yet, but he seems to be sleeping well and said his back isn't so stiff, so I think he's getting used to it. It is completely different to the old-style pocket sprung mattresses, and does take a few nights to accustom oneself to the way it moves (or rather, doesn't!) It's also silent - no creaking of springs... I'm very happy with the investment.
Mon: Into town to try to organise National Express refund (no joy at the ticket office: they said to contact customer service, which I did online when I got back): buy a Crazy Fox t-shirt for Kai's birthday: then to dr for blood test. Tesco shop on the way back.
Tues: generally domestic stuff - two washes, organising deliveries, tidying up stuff. In the evening we watched Geostorm: rather disappointing, if pretty to look at. Miscast, in my opinion.
Wed: deliveries. First seeds planted in greenhouse. The tomatoes on the kitchen windowshelf have now nearly all sprouted - should be able to plant out at the beginning of next month (or earlier if the cold weather has finished).
Thurs: back into town to throw money at the bank: Specsavers for eye test. I need new working glasses and also close work ones, finally. It will be nice to be able to thread needles again, and read instructions... After that it was down to Sains to get refund for the crappy HP speakers.
Fri - Kai's 23rd birthday: woke up pain free... Had a lie in! Took the day easy as legs and back aching from doing so much the day before. Kai and I carried on watching House (up to Season 3 now). The day was generally low key: Kai had to go in to uni for a couple of meetings (it's been pretty much closed this last week as lecturers are on strike), but he seems to have enjoyed the day. In the evening we watched stuff...
And yet again I forgot to ring for blood test results (cholesterol, liver function and levothyroxine levels). Have made a note to myself to do it tomorrow.
Sat: early shopping, as Dawn was coming over for the afternoon for a fest of Children of the Stones and stayed for dinner. I found salted caramel peanuts at Ssins, so picked some up to try. Addictive! I suggested K&K try them, thinking they wouldn't like them, but Ken said they're divine and should be this year's pub nibbles of choice, so I'll have to hide them! Afterwards we watched Lucky Number Slevin, which I picked up for 49p at Broadwalk. It's absolutely brilliant! Loved it! Wish I could write like that.
And today... Mushrooms and scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast, frewtnog pool treated with blanket-weed killer, and a few more seeds on the go in the greenhouse. My second planting of garlic has now sprouted, and there are buds on all the fruit trees... Paninis with red onion marmalade, bacon and brie shortly, then Native on Filmflex for a treat. Roast duck and salted caramel torte (not together) for dinner!
Saturday, March 03, 2018
Just a quick catch up!
Photos of the spray. Storm Emma was still way out at this point, but the Channel was getting decidedly choppy. You can see the snow on the hills in the distance - that was the first fall, a light dusting. The real stuff happened as I was leaving.
The garden Thurs afternoon. It's melting - visibly - now. Tyjer isn't keen: I only let him out via the patio doors yesterday, as snow had just about covered the cat flap. He has full access today, but keeps coming in and settling down by the radiator in this room to warm up. It's very cute.
And this is Talbot Hill (Ken and I went to Tesco to grab provisions yesterday, ahead of the second wave of snow).
We watched Thor: Ragnarok... It's big and bold and pretty and very funny - and utterly pointless! Actually rather nice when a well-established and rather sombre franchise is confident enough to make something so completely daft!
I opened my birthday cards - many thanks, everyone! Loved them! - and a little parcel from Kai. In it was this glorious wooden wol...
And this is the face. Offended, affronted, incensed, pissed off - it's perfectly me! Kai thought it was perfect too. (Should I be worried he knows me so well? [g]) Thinking of using it as my new icon...
I have now ordered that fabulous Megatron and pre-ordered Dinobot from the Big Bad Toy Store: that's my family birthday and Yule pressies for the next couple of years! Photos when they arrive.
Probably time to wake K&K up now, for brunch. I'm hungry...
Friday, March 02, 2018
How Joules can turn a simple holiday into a Lord of the Rings style adventure...
After I posted yesterday's blog I caught the weather forecasts, and began to wonder if perhaps I ought to leave early after all. Unfortunately I couldn't get a signal on my phone anywhere on the property, so had to get Ken to ring the Millbrook taxi service from Bristol. They said the roads were hazardous and there was no way they'd go out, so that put paid to that for Wed. Jane (the apartment's owner) said she thought everything would be OK, and there shouldn't be a problem with me staying a night longer if need be. So I left it and watched a DVD after dinner...
When I got back to Prowl at 11 pm K&K were waiting on a call back from 111, as Kai had fallen ill and his temperature was over 39°, which is dangerously high. I gave what advice I could, and the dr who called back said to take painkillers and keep an eye on it, but it sounded like another of the viruses that are doing the rounds: he gave Kai his telephone number in case he wanted to check back or the symptoms changed.
With nothing I could do, I had to leave it at that for the night. But I slept really badly, woke at 4.30 and couldn't get back to sleep, and with the forecast getting worse and worse (and given that my food - and more importantly BP meds - would run out on Sat) I emailed Jane again...
She advised me to go see if there were any maintenance staff around, and ask them if the road down to the fort was accessible then let her know. I did so, and when I got back to the apartment her friend and Fort resident Sue was at the door. I explained my predicament, and she kindly rang a couple of the other local taxis for me, booking one for 10.30.
Which gave me 20 mins to get ready and tidy the apartment. Which I just managed - then couldn't find the key!
Cue 5 mins panic, which ended when I found I'd put it in my bag. [headdesk] With that sorted out, we headed off for the taxi, Sue showing me a handy short cut that meant we only had to climb a hundred yards up the hill to the turning circle rather than three hundred from the bottom.
Told the taxi driver I needed to get to the Plymouth coach station (there was a 12.35 Bristol coach that would get me back ahead of the storm) and thought getting the ferry from Torpoint then a bus would be the way to go. He did that thing with his face that tells you he wasn't at all sure about that - the road up from the Fort was icy in places and it was worse on the rest of the peninsula - and suggested getting the Cremyll ferry instead. Much shorter and faster trip, and he rang one of the other cars to meet me at the other side and drive me to the station.
So we did that - only the taxi wasn't there when I got off the ferry. And it was cold. I don't normally feel the cold that badly, but I had on two jumpers, my heavy bodywarmer, warm scarf and gloves and I was freezing. And I waited and waited, and didn't know the number to ring to see what the hold up was, and it got colder and colder. Then after 20 mins, when I was 2 mins from actually putting on the llama hat, a young lad asked me if things were OK. I explained I was waiting for a booked cab but it looked like it wasn't coming - whereupon he rang another company for me and booked a taxi (although they did say it would be a half an hour wait). At that point I decided anything would do. But the taxi arrived a couple of minutes later: the lad grinned and wished me well. So sweet! (Perhaps I reminded him of his grandma?)
The taxi driver was another grizzled older man whose daughter is a midwife at Southmead Hospital in Bristol! So we chatted as he drove me - to the railway station. Which, luckily, is only a few hundreds yards from the coach station. (He switched off his meter for the last bit of the drive, since he'd gone to the wrong place...)
The coach station is a bit bleak, with no obvious ticket office. I managed to find a National Express employee, who told me that all their services were cancelled until the weather cleared, but I could claim a refund on my return ticket. Which wasn't exactly a matter for concern right then.
There was a Falcon coach next to the empty and dark NatEx one, which said Bristol on it. I'd not heard of Falcon, but at this point I just wanted to get home. So I boarded, checked that yes it did go to Briz (stops in Bond St near the Megabus stop) and asked how much it was. The extremely grizzled older driver (is it a feature of South West drivers?) grinned widely...
Which is how I ended up travelling 122 miles for just £5.
Nice run too - very very good and careful drivers. Even coming over Haldon, which can be hair-raising even in good weather, was a doddle. There were llamas in a snow-covered field outside of Collumpton. I found there's a Butlins on Exmoor. And we successfully zoomed through the Danger of Death red alert zone that stretched right across our path. Ken was waiting for me when we arrived at the Bearpit, and we got a taxi home.
So that was a right performance! But I got here, and there's severe disruption and transport service cancellations everywhere in the UK tonight and for the next few days, so I'm very glad I persevered.
Kai is a bit better today, though sneezing and coughing badly. Tyjer didn't want to speak to me until I'd unpacked and given him a pouch of food. I do have some more pics - including one of the garden, which is covered with several inches of snow - but they'll have to wait til tomorrow. I kind of got used to having 7 - 8 hours sleep while I was away, so the bare 4 hours I managed last night, coupled with the stress of today and outracing the storm, means I'm knackered and heading to bed soon.
Despite the last 48 hours it was a fantastic break, and I feel very much better for it. My back and legs haven't hurt at all the whole time (GOT to get one of those mattresses...) And the amount of writing I got done?
One page of Poppy.
But hey, that's better than nowt!
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Snow clouds yesterday evening.
And at 9 this morning.
10. The snow is horizontal and the wind chill making it feel about -8°.
More snow forecast for tomorrow, but Friday is supposed to be much warmer and rainy. The bus may be cancelled - I emailed to ask and was told if there's too much snow they will, reluctantly, have to cancel it for safety reasons - but it's only about 3 miles from Millbrook to Torpoint, and the interior of the peninsula is a valley, so hopefully the snowfall won't be too bad. I should be able to get a taxi. Fingers crossed. (I did debate going home early, but I really don't want to lose any of the holiday. Not going to get another for quite a while.)
Occurred to me my mention of a llamahat may not make too much sense. This is it...
Will get to try it out in a couple of hours. There's supposed to be a break in the snow, and I need to venture out to ditch the rubbish and recyclables.
England. Where you can sunbathe one day and get snowed in the next...
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Woke to glorious sunshine, and a chilly but not strong wind. The tide was the lowest I've yet seen...
...so I went for a walk...
That's Kingsand in the distance. Apparently you can walk there along the coast at low tide, although I'd call it more of a rock-scramble than a walk.
The back - landward - side of the fort, with the main entrances to the apartments. Given that the lift is still out of order, it's easier to use these and walk around to the front than go down the longer staircase to the underground car park.
Steps up to the gardens. Too steep and no handholds, so I haven't risked it.
The plaque on the front door!
It's still gloriously sunny - just had a coffee out on the balcony, without a jacket on as it's quite warm. There's been a few flakes of snow back in Bristol, but not even a flurry here yet. Though there are clouds now rolling in from the south and the wind's picked up, so we'll see...