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... [29/09/15 - Now reached 01/06/2004]
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, November 27, 2015
Gordon Bennett, this is getting ridiculous!
Yes, I am still here (though both Kai and I have truly awful colds at the moment, the sort that actually had me incapable of doing anything for a couple of days, and that has kept Kai home all week). I haven't managed a swim in two weeks (I miss it...!) but I do at least now have a working knowledge of html5, css5, and the WaveWrights site is now on the server at 123-reg. There are a few broken links, I know: will see about running a sitelevel search for all of them later, but if anyone finds any, please let me know. The password protected subdirectory isn't accessible yet, as apparently WW is on one of 123's new hosting plans and the instructions for that are slightly different from their support pages (well, of course they would be. When is anything ever simple and straightforward for us?) I'm waiting on tech support and hopefully will have everything up and running by the weekend. End of the weekend at any rate.
Kai and I did make it to Weston Sunday before last. It was cold and windy, but quite exhilarating for all that.
We're going to put up the Yule decorations on Sunday. Kai wants everything sparkly and joyful and playful and pretty this year. With tinsel. Lots and lots of tinsel. He's going to enjoy this Yule! And I've had great fun planning the theme for his advent calender this year - more once he's started opening things...
In other news... I'm arranging to rehome Feather. Much as I don't want to lose her, I have to admit that I simply can't give her the sort of life she deserves. She's now got too big for me to handle easily, and it's simply not fair to keep her here when I can't give her the attention she deserves. The Reptile Emporium have agreed to take her: I'm waiting on them letting me know when they have space.
I shall miss her.
Friday, November 13, 2015
Well, at least it's only a week this time...
Been a bit of a fraught week though. Very high winds blew down one of the fence panels overnight on Friday: on Saturday we all went out to haul it back up and wire it in place temporarily until we can sort out a more permanent solution. Of course, next door came out to stick his oar in (while I was in the greenhouse), telling Ken he'd acquired a cross piece (at great expense) and would come onto our land to repair it, and also give us paint to repaint the thing. This led to an exchange of letters, the final result being him claiming entire ownership of the fence - despite it being on our property and despite his first words to Ken when we bought the house being that the concrete uprights were on our land and therefore it was our responsibility.
Fine. I've put up with twenty four and a half years of constant whining and nagging and bitching and bullying. He wants it, he can have it. That absolves us of any and all responsibility for helping with its upkeep. Our original plan, once we had the cash, was to remove it and replace it with a good, solid wall. The mortgage is cleared next March and we will finally have cash available to make the improvements we want, so I have spent a couple of days organising quotes. We will still have it built, but next to the fence. It'll mean losing the rubus shrub that came with the house (although I rescued two rooted branches that are now happily flourishing up on the slope), hard pruning, sleeving and lifting the pyracantha in the hope I can persuade it to recover when replanted, and possibly disassembling the greenhouse temporarily, but we'd have had to do that anyway.
I have someone coming (today or Monday) to take a look, measure up and give me two quotes, one for a wall to match the one on the other side of the garden (which will almost certainly be too expensive) and another much cheaper option. Fingers crossed!
Oh, and I must remember to update my complaint with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary over the weekend.
Monday's sunrise on the way to the pool...
(Camera phone again so not a great pic. The reality was jaw-dropping.)
Physio on Tues was early (8.30 am) but good - he's so pleased with progress I don't have to see him again, and if by a month's time everything is still fine and I haven't needed to make an appointment to see him he'll sign me off. I have really been working on the exercises and can feel the difference. It's nice to be (mostly) out of pain!
So far I am delighted with the new fridge freezer.
Kai and I are both fighting off a bug at the moment. He took Tues and Thurs off to rest and recover - days with lectures he can easily make up and labs that he usually spends helping other people rather than being left in peace to get his own work done. He and I both spent much of yesterday watching DVDs and dozing, and I (at least, Kai isn't up yet) feel a lot better for it. He does need to go in today though, and a little early, as someone has asked him for help. Pity he's not getting paid for it!
Other than that I've spent much of the week in an intensive study of html5, which is gloriously flexible and a lot easier than xhtml. It won't take much getting used to: going to take a look at upgrading WaveWrights today.
Friday, November 06, 2015
Been a bit of an odd week. On Sat Ken and I went to Wells for a couple of hours while Kai got homework done. Lovely to get out of Bristol together! Enjoyed the trip, as ever - Glastonbury Tor was rising out of a sea of mist as we descended the hill, very mysterious and Arthurian (but we were moving too fast for a photo, alas). Did a little shopping, but didn't find what I was looking for, unfortunately. Nice trip all the same.
Then on Sunday, after shopping and lunch, Kai and I walked the Whitchurch Way, as I'd promised him. Sunny to start with, then the mists rolled in and it got a little cold, which was actually rather pleasant.
12 lengths swim on Monday morning, then after Kai headed off got some client work done. I've been asked to take over the BCHS site, and Fox and Howard want a revamp of theirs before the London Bookfair in April, not to mention I'm transferring WaveWrights to 123-reg at the end of the month and Ken thinks a revamp is a good idea, so it's now urgent I learn html5 asap. In the evening I met Ken at Curry's in Avonmeads and we decided on one of these. It's a little smaller than the current one, but it has five fridge shelves and four door compartments (which we really need), and now that I can't carry anything like as much as I used to, I have to shop more often, which means I can pick up everything we need fresh, so more fridge space and less freezer space is much better. It still has plenty of capacity for our needs.
Tuesday evening I met Kai from Uni, treated him to a meal at the Crazy Fox, then we were off to see Michael Berry's Optica Fantastica lecture at the Institute of Physics (one of of Bristol's annual Festival of Ideas events: we try to go to at least one every year, many of them are free). It was wonderful, and I learned a lot, but some of the concepts were unfamiliar so not only did the brain get a bit of a workout but Kai was very happy to explain the things I didn't know on the way home. Though I'm still uncertain about the concept of 'knottiness'...
Wed was supposed to be quieter, but after two lots of shopping and a small baking session (I had several ripe bananas to use up so made a banana loaf -
- a John Barrowman recipe I found online, extremely tasty but it gave me an upset stomach and Kai a touch of stomach ache. No idea why, it was properly cooked and the ingredients were all fine. Ken was OK...) I didn't have much time left to do anything.
Yesterday morning was my appt at the BRI. I thought it was about my arm, but it was actually a review of my hip. All OK, but the manipulating and prodding has of course left it aching today. Still, the exercising is making a difference. Next review in six months.
Afterwards I did a major hunt through Broadmead and Cabot Circus for a Yule present for mum in law. She's recently bought herself an 'autumn coloured' coat and wants an autumn coloured headsquare to go with it. Problem is, they're now definitely out of fashion and very hard to find (unless you can afford £69 for pure silk at House of Fraser). So that was a bit of a washout. Caught the bus to Broadwalk to make Kai's second MMR appt and go to the PO, then walked home. After dinner Ken and I cleaned behind and under the old fridge in preparation for the new one...
... which is being delivered between 3.10 and 7.10 this afternoon, according to the text I got at 6.58 this morning. Yay!
Tomorrow is set aside for major shopping expeditions to both Sains and Tesco. I've saved up £30's worth of Sains rewards, which is enough to stock up the freezer, and I have a 'spend £50 save £7' Tesco voucher which will come in handy in stocking up for Yule stuff. So we're all organised!
Tesco had The Book Thief cheap, so I picked that up. Hoping to watch it over the weekend.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
[bemused...] Woke up this morning to find Bumblebee parked outside my house...
My life is surreal.
Friday, October 30, 2015
Kai's MMR was last Friday, and it left him feeling a bit rough from Sunday onwards, although it's easing off today. We did manage to see The Martian in the evening (only showings were 19.10 and 22.10 so we walked there and back in the dark, which is a rare treat). Really enjoyed it, very well made and to Kai's delight all the science was accurate. For me, it isn't as good as Interstellar - I love the breadth of vision of the latter - but it's still a terrific film. And the Martian landscapes are glorious (and a great inspiration for Poppy...)
Went swimming on Monday - only managed 12 lengths before the shoulder started complaining so left it at that. Walked up in the sunrise (too bright for a photo!) and came back in full sun, wonderfully uplifting. Physio on Tues was a bit meh as I've only been managing at most two repetitions of the exercises per day, instead of the recommended three, and usually only one, but young Adam said that was fine, not to do more than I can without it hurting. He didn't give me any new ones, as I want to try to get into the routine of two a day to start with, and reassess next appt, but my hip is moving further without pain now, so they are working and he's pleased with progress. So YAY!
What else has happened? Um... busyness? As usual. A lot of shopping. And Wendy came to visit for the day yesterday, which was great fun! [GLOMPS!]
The garden looks fantastic at this time of year!
Thursday, October 22, 2015
[sigh] Over a week this time. I really must make time to update more often - I keep forgetting what's happened!
Can't say I'm enjoying the physio: I'm sure it is working, but it's leaving my leg and hip aching. At my appt on Mon the dr said the swollen elbow and pain is bursitis, as I'd thought ('tennis elbow' as it's commonly called). I'm booked in to see a consultant again, when they have an appt, but to be honest I think I think it'll be OK. It's not a load-bearing limb, I've stopped carrying anything with my left arm, and adjusted the level of my keyboard, and it's a little better already. Although the swelling is quite bad (dr said it was a severe case), the literature does say with care and a little physio it will usually go away by itself. It's going to make gardening difficult though. With Ken at work all week and so tired when he gets home I don't like asking him for help at weekends when all he wants to do is get out of Bristol for some peace and fresh air... At least it's now nearly winter and everything is tailing off in the garden.
On the less good front, dr also insisted on taking my BP, which is high again, and has put me back on the meds. Oh joy. Fingers crossed I can get it down a bit before I see her again in 5 weeks. Half the problem is white coat syndrome and the horrible new BP machine, which hurts like hell and makes my arm go completely numb.
Not sure if I said, but my old book Perfume Power is now out, slightly revised, in e-book and PoD format as The Power of Perfume. I was always very happy with this little work, and am pleased they went with the cover I chose. Anyway, it's now much more easily available to anyone that would like it!
Made the Bristol Astronomy Society lecture on the History of Astroparticle Physics (the first one is free to non-members to give them a taste). I was rather surprised to find I actually knew everything that was covered (apart from the timeline, history not being my forté!) and everyone was very friendly. However, as of next month they're moving the venue from Bristol Grammar School (very easy to get to as it's on the no 1 bus route) to the Photographic Society's home at Montpelier which is far more difficult for me to get to (two buses and a walk over James Barton roundabout then under the buildings at the bottom of Gloucester Rd. That's anxiety-making in daylight - in the dark I really don't want to do it). I'll check out the possibility of a train from Temple Meads - there's a local station at Montpelier - but I'd be far more restricted for times. All very annoying. Ken said he'd be happy to come with me for one meeting, just to see how difficult it is, so we may go to the lecture on Globular Clusters next month...
So far things are going quite well for Kai. So far. He's tired all the time, and feeling meeply (the bugs are having the time of their nasty little lives), but he's finding all the walking easier and the aches are slowly going, so his stamina is increasing and looks like the vit D tablets are helping. His first two lots of grades are first class degree level, which is fantastic, but we're not sure if that's because he's ahead of his peers (he's had two years to read the coursebooks and teach himself C) or if it's natural brilliance. He still thinks he may have a touch of chemo brain. No doubt time will tell...
Lugging his 8 kilo + Lenovo laptop around with him was getting to be a real chore, so last week we went over to Staples and he treated himself to a Micro$oft Surface (just over 1 kilo in weight, I believe). They didn't have the Pro version he really wanted, which has double the memory for only another £80 more, but we were assured that if he took it back within two weeks he could change it for the more powerful machine. In the meantime he's absolutely fallen in love with it, but really does need the extra memory, so I rang to make sure they would have one for us, arranged to meet him after his lecture yesterday, treat him to lunch, and go over and exchange them.
Of course, we went to The Crazy Fox...
We had wraps with chicken, roasted peppers, aioli, tomatoes and something else I forget and wasn't familiar with but which tasted wonderful! Kai loved his latte with the heart in it (I was boring and just had diet Coke). It was all extremely civilised, the food great (I was sooo tempted by the little lemon loaf cakes but the wrap was filling and I couldn't manage anything else) and upstairs was very quiet and pleasant. We are definitely going back!
That's the window where our table was.
The café is at the end of the old Arcade in Broadmead.
The walk over to Staples took us through Cabot Circus, the now not-so-new mall. I really like the design: for all that it's not that big, you can still get lost in it!
Surface successfully swapped (and they didn't charge us anything extra as the Pro had been taken out of its box and the assistant had started setting it up when the customer who bought it suddenly realised it wasn't the Ipad they wanted and changed their mind. Heh. 'Surreal Я Us' indeed...) He spent yesterday evening getting it all set up as he wanted it while we played Back to the Future 2.
This morning he had a maths test - self-assessed, I gather so they can all see how they're doing and their strengths and weaknesses so they know what to focus on. Tomorrow am he has his first MMR inoculation: nurse Lindsay assured us that he will then be protected, which will be a significant worry off our minds. He can have the second one in six weeks, so they'll all be done before Yule!
Hoping to finally go and see The Martian at the weekend - it's nearly at the end of its run and we want to see the 3D version. Kai is wholly immersed in the exploration of space at the moment.
Alas, I don't have time to go for a swim this week - plus dr said it wouldn't be helping the bursitis - but still determined to keep going. Will adjust the strokes I use to put less stress on my arms when I go next week.
Right! I think that's all the major news. I'll try to update more regularly but at the moment everything is still manically busy. It should ease off at the beginning of November - but I've said that before!
And post has just arrived with my hospital appt - first week of Nov with the same consultant I saw before, so that's OK.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
OK... What have we been up to?
It's been busy as ever - even more fiddly as we (I) adapt to Kai's timetable. He's in til 5 three days a week (strictly speaking 4 days but the last Fri session is optional and he knows it all so far so is skipping it), and only has two early (9 or 10) starts. On Wed he's in for just one hour for a tutorial, 10 - 11. And it's all going OK - enjoying the actual computing part, less so the maths, but he's keeping up OK so far. I had a call from the BHOC so say he is vitamin D deficient, which is most likely what's causing the aches and pains and fatigue, so I picked up one a day tablets from Tesco last Wed, and I think they may be beginning to work...
I couldn't make time for a swim last week, so went yesterday morning (at 7) and managed 16 lengths without difficulty. These early mornings are lovely - I usually get to see the sunrise...
Taken with my phone camera so not great. And yes, that's the hill I have to walk up to get to the pool. You can just see a car disappearing down the incline.
We've been nibbling away at the garden - Ken's had a couple of flexi day Fridays - clearing up some of the excess ivy and deciding which of the fruit branches to prune. Ken also mowed, and we're less than happy to find that the lawnmower is broken, same problem as the last one we had - both of them Flymos. Going to see if there's a fix, if other people have had the same problem. Luckily we shouldn't need to mow now until next spring.
This last weekend was mostly getting client stuff done (and missed the Vulcan flypast as I was so focused on an urgent bit of work - very miffed about that. But at least Kai saw it, and I heard that glorious roar - and I've been asked to take over the BCHS website. That wooden fence will be the first thing to go!
I've almost finished running down the freezer too - we're getting a new one, hopefully one of these, in a couple of week's time when the manic rushing around to appts is over. (I have a drs appt next week to try to sort out what the hell is wrong with my left arm: hurts from neck to fingertips and my elbow is swollen. I fall to bits...)
And I've started getting organised for Yule. Wrapped the first presents today! It'll be relatively quiet, as usual, but I want to make it really nice. Kai is looking forward to it - so am I, this time year before last we didn't even know if he'd be with us, and last year we were desperately hoping the transplant would be a success. Not exactly conducive to a pleasant Yule, either circumstance.
So that's all the most significant news. Still haven't found time to write, but that should come beginning of November at the latest. Fingers crossed anyway!
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
Lutra lobbed me loadsa loot!!
Insanely, the only place I've found that has brought out the RiD boxed set is Australia. Shout!Factory are selling individual DVDs with maybe four eps on them, which works out really expensive. And I'm not entirely sure they're in the right order: their Rescue Bots DVDs aren't.
The little square thing is apparently a facewasher. I shall soak it and see what happens in a day or so!
Sounds like sorcery to me!
[GLOMPS!!] Thank you!
You can tell the season is changing.
Rosa doing her bum in the air thing again...
Sunday, October 04, 2015
Well, Kai's first week went OK. Not perfect, but he managed, and although he was exhausted on Fri night, he slept well and went out with Ken on Sat. Really enjoyed himself, recharged the batteries, and is now tackling his maths homework (with a bunch of friends on skype: I think they're all helping each other as the subject matter is something most of them aren't familiar with). Overall I think it's going to be just fine!
I had my first physiotherapist appt on Wed: ouchouchouch. But he thinks the most recent problem (with the front and inside of my left thigh) is probably muscular, which is much easier to sort out than tendons. I have exercises to do every day, and am to use a heat pack and take baths with epsom salts! I haven't had a bath in nearly 20 years, so that's going to be... interesting... I go back in two weeks for a check up and some more exercises. Oh, and I'm not to sit at my desk for more than half an hour without taking a break. Oh joy...
Kai had his last DTP/P inoculation Fri morning (went in for a 9 am class, met me at Broadwalk at 10.30ish, we had early lunch at Subway then went back over to the surgery: afterwards we explored Redcatch Park as it was too early for Kai to head back for his pm classes. All very civilised!) One more meningitis and his MMR and he's done.
Back to writing tomorrow...
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
So, Monday went OK. Foundations and Proofs was fine, Programming and Algorithms was fine (Kai's been using C for ages), Intro to Computer Architecture was soft and easy. The only one he had a problem with was Mathematical Methods for Computer Scientists - it involved probability, which he (and a goodly number of his fellow students, I gather) have never covered. My feeling is that a lot of this week will be the teaching staff seeing how much each student knows and thereby where they may need extra help or tuition. Overall though, it was fine, and he, along with several others in the class, actually did the assignment (to write a programme to draw triangles) last night (it's not actually due until next Monday. Talk about starting as you mean to go on!)
This afternoon is the Programming and Algorithms computer lab, three hours of it...
I've been getting a lot of client stuff done for Chelsey in advance of the Frankfurt Book Fair, and as predicted this week is even busier than usual, but come next Monday I'm hoping to dive back into my own work again - which means the next!Poppy to start with!
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Well, we got to the SU Fair in the blazing sun - and yes, it was students only - to find the queue for entry about 45 minutes long and the place absolutely heaving so we were all
and went over to the bank (to get him pound coins for busfare) and then bussed out to Blaise Castle for a walk along the river in the cool. Lovely, but my legs were aching so we only went as far as the first pools. (Kai can get all the SU info online/from the handbook/at the Union building so won't miss out.)
We've taken it easy over the weekend - well, K&K have - with a bit of shopping, Interstellar on Friday after dinner and Rocky Horror Picture Show yesterday - wonderful fun, Kai hadn't seen it but enjoyed it!
Oh, and I've identified our bees! They're colletes hederae - solitary ivy bees: our ivy tree is now full of them. They're only on the wing for a couple of months though, then they disappear until next year.
Friday, September 25, 2015
Catching up again...
Well, Fresher's Week was a bit of a roller coaster. The Monday session was fun: at registration on Tuesday although Kai was on the system and his ID card was there, they hadn't printed it out so he had to traipse off to a different building to collect it, while the afternoon session was a bit too chaotic for him: at his Wednesday Linux session he couldn't login so came home to do the session from here: Thursday am he was feeling dreadful again, with no energy and aching everywhere (feeling, he said, like he did just before the aa was diagnosed) so at his BHOC appt we asked them to run a full check (means taking extra bloods for virology tests). His blood counts were fine though; the dr we saw suggested he might have a vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to limb and bone aches, headaches and general feeling awful, and of course he's been avoiding the sun because of his increased risk of melanoma. [headdesk] So they're checking for that and in the meantime I'm trying to find out vit D supplemented food.
And since most of the students are in residences they've already established friendship groups, and Kai is somewhat left out...
He headed out again after lunch while I had the boiler serviced - and found out the guy we had do it last time was a complete cowboy. There's nothing wrong with the fire at all, and he charged me double the usual amount. New guy - Tom of TK Plumbing, recommended by a fellow APAG member - is great and we'll go with him from now on.
In the afternoon it was Kai's first real session, meeting his tutor and tutor group. And suddenly things picked up. The group is a wonderfully culturally eclectic mix, three lads, two lasses, from all over Europe, and Kai got on just fine with them all, and with the tutor. He came home much much happier and more positive - which is great because he's been so down the rest of the week I was beginning to wonder if we'd made a mistake and he'd be better off doing something else.
After dinner we went over to Tesco for him to have his flu jab (the surgery couldn't give us an appt til 3rd Oct, which is too late for Kai): it was OK, and he says he doesn't feel too bad today. I managed a swim this am - 14 lengths! - and if Kai feels up to it after lunch we'll head for the Student Union Fair. It did occur to me that I may not be able to get in (Millennium Square can be cordoned off at need, and you might need a student ID to get in) but that's OK, he needs lots and lots of change for his buses, and, as I found out after my swim, the post office no longer gives change unless you have a change card [grump]. Since we'll be in town anyway, I'll get over to the bank and get stocked up there while he explores the Fair. Ken has a day off today and is hoping to mow.
Also booked his last three inoculations - TDP/P, meningitis and MMR - all on Friday ams at 9 (he starts at 11 on a Friday so that will give him enough time to get into class): not ideal if he does get immediate side effects but the best I could do. He'll have the weekend to recover each time, at least.
I am now knackered - again - and hoping I can have a relatively quiet weekend. I have a lot of planning to do, more client stuff, and a lot of emails to send. Next week is going to be busy too, but after that we can hopefully settle into some sort of routine!
Sunday, September 20, 2015
So - Fresher's Week starts tomorrow. And Kai has a wretched cold, poor Childe.
But we've got there. Still a few hurdles to overcome, but I'm hoping the worst is now behind us. Kai has his last (I think) chimerism blood review on Thurs, and he's booked to have his flu jab at Tesco's pharmacy 7.30pm the same day, so he has the weekend to get over it if he has any side-effects. I didn't, but Ken did, so it's 75/25 he may not get any. Fingers crossed. It's the Student Union Fair at the Millennium Square on Friday, so if he doesn't feel too good he won't be missing anything too important.
It's going to be a very busy week here...
He was using sulphur again today - while my washing was out.
Rosa. Or rather, Rosa's bum. I have absolutely no idea what she's doing!
Friday, September 18, 2015
Busier than ever, and likely to stay like it until the beginning of classes (28th)...
I had client stuff yesterday: in the afternoon we did another quick recce of the Uni buildings, and Kai is now happy he can find his way around. Then we met Ken at Za Za Bazaar for dinner (we had vouchers - put through the door as advertising - for meals for £9.99 instead of the usual £14.99 and thought we'd use them before they ran out on the 20th).
It's a bit of a strange place, upstairs overlooking the harbour and with a sort of industrial aesthetic, high ceiling with lots of pipes and ducts. Kai was grumpy and thought he wouldn't like it: by the end of the meal he was grinning and asking when we can go back! He and Ken had chicken korma - I did my usual and went round the Asian and Indian stations taking a little bit of everything. And it was scrumptious! Kai came with me for second helpings - I recommended the tempura prawns which were absolutely delicious and which he loves but hadn't been able to eat while he had no immune system - and really enjoyed it. And then we piled more plates with the wonderful desserts, again a little of everything. Gah, I was stuffed! But it was a fantastic meal out, and I guess you'd have to make at least 11 or 12 visits to try everything. Which is very tempting...
Though my gulab jamun are better.
Managed to finally make time for a swim this morning - twelve lengths! Hadn't planned to but after ten I felt like doing a little more, and as I got there in plenty of time it was all very relaxed. Almost went for fourteen, but my arms were beginning to ache so thought I'd not push it. Afterwards I wandered down to Bill's Fishing Tackle for some strong transparent fishing line to suspend my latest Starscream from. He asked me what I wanted it for, so I told him it was to hang large and fairly heavy model planes from the ceiling. Were they mine? he asked. So I said yes, and thus we were off into a discussion about planes. Turns out he has actually had a Vulcan fly over his head, at about 30 feet, by the sound of it. I'm jealous! This now has me hankering for the Airfix model I've seen at Hawkin's Bazaar (I built one when I was at college back when dinosaurs ruled the earth but I don't know what happened to it). And maybe a Vampire. And an F-16 (Primeverse SS). And maybe even a Sukhoi (Armadaverse SS, supposedly) if I can find one.
I bought the line he recommended and will have a go at new SS later. Photos if I can get it to work!
While I was out Ken took some photos of the nature reserve that is our garden...
Birbs at feeder.
Woodpecker on the mullein up on the slope
Squrl in the hazel tree. Little bugger stole all but one of Ken's nuts and buried them in next door's lawn. Oops...
Speaking of next door, he's spent two days with a flamethrower completely scorching the whole area at the top. We assume he'll try to get it re-turfed, even though it's obvious by now grass is never going to do well there without major work, the soil's too dry. The current result, of course, is that there are now thousands of bees burrowing into all that lovely bare soil. And crows and magpies pecking for insects (or possibly burnt bees). Looks like the foxes may have visited too...
The bee colony on our side has settled happily into the veg bed and the slope, bless them. The main problem is trying not to tread on them when filling feeders or hanging out washing!
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Yesterday Kai and I went to Clevedon, for a last trip coast-wards before his term starts. Walked up over Poet's Walk, but didn't go any further: he had his multiple meningitis (ACWY) inoculation on Monday and was feeling a bit meh. Though not as bad as the last one. And he announced, on the bus as we entered the town, that he suddenly had mental clarity after feeling fuzzy for the last two years, and today, while we sorted out his wardrobe, he found he had restored manual dexterity too. It was thirteen days ago he stopped the tacrolimus, and I believe it's now finally clearing his system!
I really cannot tell you what a relief this is...
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Quick reply to Sue's comment, below:
In fact, it ended up being a very pleasant and civilised affair! (Though not many people participated, which made it smaller and quieter: I think a lot of people were away for the weekend...) Come the evening there were kids playing football just outside, but there were three adults staying in control of it, so no problems there. It was too hot and sunny for it to be comfortable for Kai during the afternoon, but in the evening we went a dozen houses up the road to where an acquaintance (I know most of the street to say hello to but can I remember their names? Gah...) had five guys playing music in the front garden (guitars - electric and acoustic - and a squeezebox). They were very good, and we listened to some fun and extremely boppable music (Steamy Windows, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, Going Up The Country, and do you think either of us can remember the others? [sigh]) for a half an hour before it got a bit too cold to be comfortable.
The noise had quietened to a reasonable level by midnight, too, so all in all it was a good day - only spoiled by next door blithely announcing to his wife and/or daughter, 'Right, I'm going to kill some bees.'
But they have sanctuary here. And they're adorable. I found one on a sweetcorn stalk (we cleared the patch today, as they'd finished) and held it in my hand for a few minutes before I could tempt it off onto the thyme. And yes, they are the gentlest, cutest bees imaginable, and yes, they have no stings.
Friday, September 11, 2015
Gah - tired. Then again, when am I ever not...
Useful day today. Decided it'll remove one source of stress for Kai if he's a little more familiar with the University buildings and layout, so we bussed in to the Clifton Triangle and went to all the places he will need to visit during Fresher's Week: the Wills Memorial Building, where he'll take his Certificate of Registration from his online registration to be stamped, and will get his ID card; the Faculty of Engineering in the Merchant Venturer's Building (more familiar as that was where his interview was two years ago); and finally the Student Union, where he'll go on Mon 21st for the induction - or, as the SU puts it, 'how to survive at University!'
We were able to get into the Union building (the other two we could step inside, but not go any further without ID) so took a look around and found the Anson Rooms, where the induction talks and presentations will actually take place. There's a really nice, comforting atmosphere in the place, and the security guy at the desk was very friendly and helpful: Kai came out smiling, which is very good.
All in all it was a good idea. We plan to do it again: Kai's applied to do two different maths courses for two of his optional units, and the Maths Faculty is up the hill and through a pretty garden area. We'll check it out next - and I want us to find the Uni bookshop, so he'll be able to get there if he needs to.
Tonight he filled in the application for a mentor. It's optional, but I believe that having someone onsite who knows what he's been through this last couple of years and can act as a safety net if he has problems is an excellent idea, and he agreed with me. This makes me feel happier and less stressed too.
Tomorrow is Bristol Open Doors 2015, and unfortunately also our road's 2015 street party. Which I'm not happy about as we weren't asked if we wanted one and last year's was an absolute nightmare for me, with none of us able to participate due to Kai's risk of infection, and the kids across the road coming this >< close to smashing our lounge window with their football. Ken has already organised, several months ago, going out to the villa at King's Weston with a friend this year, then going on to several other sites: I'm too worried about the house to want to go anywhere, and Kai is tired after all the trips this last few days, so will most likely stay home. It's going to be a very noisy, very BBQ-smelly affair lasting from 11 am to 11 pm - though last year the music and shouting went on well into the early hours of the next morning - and I'm dreading it. I have, however, explained my concerns to the organisers (some of whom are APAG committee members, so instant rapport there) and the flyer with all the info has a firm request to everyone NOT to let their children kick balls around anywhere they might cause damage, so fingers crossed...
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Yesterday we finally got to Chepstow!
Kai made friends with a robin - shared a little of his lunch. Smol birb was very sweet!
We walked the first few hundred yards of the Wye Valley Walk, which runs up the side of the Castle, then followed the rough path to the back of the Upper Barbican.
(Photos of the 2013 trip here.)
Very windy, a lot of walking, but it was great and we both loved it. The trip was terrific too!
APAG meeting last night, all went well.
Ken has today and tomorrow off and is currently upstairs assembling Kai's desk. It's going to take all day...
Ten lengths this morning!
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
Let's catch up again, shall we?!
Not going to bother saying it's been hectic, just take that as read. Friday was completely taken up with business, both client sites and getting Kai organised: Capability for Work forms to fill in, various documents to get scanned and printed, and I had to call the DWP to ask about Kai's ESA and PIP payments, now he's starting uni. Very helpful man told me he may still be eligible for some PIP as he may be considered a 'student with disabilities' - we'll have to wait and see.
My chair and Kai's desk arrived, and the plan was to set them both up on Saturday, but it was a very pleasant day and Ken wanted to get out of Bristol, so he and Kai bussed to just outside Bath, climbed to Kelston Round hill, and then went on to the start of the Cotswold Way - a goodly walk.
They arrived back quite late, but really enjoyed it. I spent the day preparing and freezing apples and general house and garden stuff...
Native bog iris near Roeg's Pool. Hoverflies love them!
And Tyjer loves the sun...
Sunday was brilliant wall-to-wall sunshine, so I started the washing early (as in 7 am) - towels and bedding, always a lot to dry...
Now, we have these absolutely gorgeous little burrowing bees at the top of the garden:
They are the most unaggressive bees I've ever met. You can walk through clouds of them and they completely ignore you - I'm not even sure they have stings. Wonderful little pollinators: you just have to be careful when hoeing that you don't fill in their burrows.
Mid morning, and next door was out using a device to pump out sulphur to smoke out (and probably kill, sulphur being poisonous to insects) the bees on his side at the top of the garden. My washing was still hanging out just over the fence.
Ever smelt sulphur? It absolutely stinks.
This morning he was out ranting at our hard-working garbage men for some imagined slight or other...
Kai got his registration completed on Sunday, and logged into his account - to find, to our horror, that the Uni hadn't cancelled his first registration, he has over a hundred lecture notes and reports from various tutors, and some bastard hacked his account and got it banned from Youtube. [headdeskheaddeskheaddesk] I'm now trying to get that sorted out...
However, my latest Starscream arrived - cheap on ebay, Bayverse but in gorgeous grey and green deco. I may very well leave him in alt mode and see if I can find a way to suspend him from the shelf...
Lunch! My stomach is grumbling...
Thursday, September 03, 2015
Eight lengths this morning!
After the appt yesterday, Kai and I walked over to Staples: I've been needing a new office chair for some time but wanted to sit on it to check it out rather than buy blind on amazon, and Kai really needs a decent desk. We both found what we were looking for - well, the desk isn't quite perfect, but as I pointed out, that's only possible if you have it custom made, and we don't have that sort of money - and the chair is being delivered today. Hopefully the desk too, but that might take up to three days, which will give us time to try to sort out the mess up there...
I promised myself I wasn't going to buy any more salt and pepper sets after finding the clockwork robots, but I spotted these in a charity shop and just couldn't resist.
Client stuff today.
Wednesday, September 02, 2015
It's been exactly a year since Kai's stem cell transplant.
His haematology appt today went well: his counts are very good (although the neutrophil count may be due to him fighting his second DTP/P inoculation yesterday: he feels a bit 'flu-y). His next appt will be in three months: we'll make it once we have his uni timetable.
It's all good.
Tuesday, September 01, 2015
Kai's last tacrolimus today!
Labels: medical matters
Sunday, August 30, 2015
We treated ourselves to a Filmflex last night - What We Do In The Shadows - had us laughing aloud all the way through. Wickedly funny!
During the week I finally found a Transformers: Monopoly game I could afford, the 30th anniversary retro reproduction version at Argos. Ordered it, and picked it up this afternoon.
The figures are tiny but very nicely done, and their supports are their faction brands! I played Starscream, of course, Ken OP and Kai Grimlock...
The game lasted several hours. It was gloriously bizarre. I managed to buy the two most expensive sites (Optimus Prime and Megaton) and build bases (and then repair centres) on them.
And poor Kai pulled the 'go directly to Optimus Prime' card, and ended up owing me all his money and having to mortgage half his properties to pay the extortionate rent. He even had to mortgage the sky!!
And then half an hour later, just as he was beginning to collect some funds again, poor Childe landed on Megatron and had to declare bankruptcy as he didn't have enough to pay the rent.
I ended up with just under 6,000 Cyberbucks in cash and property. It was embarrassing!
Great fun though. We need a rematch!
SO, upshot is I now have all three Tf games - chess, Risk and Monopoly. I am chuffed!
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Oh dear - nearly a week! It has been pretty hectic though...
Let's see. The usual shopping and gardening (lots of), swimming on Tuesday (6 lengths), Whitchurch Way walk on Wed, though we didn't get very far as Kai was feeling a little meeply, Thursday was more garden stuff (I've stripped, blanched and frozen the first of the sweetcorn) and despairing over the massive marrows now in the veg bed, far too much for us to eat, and yesterday we went to Severn Beach...
The last time we were here was Aug 19th last year, the week before Kai went into the BHOC for 'conditioning' in preparation for the transplant. This time the rain held off (actually, it was almost as though were in a little well of sunshine, with rain to the south, east and north of us and clouds over Wales) with a very pleasant cool breeze coming up the channel.
It was wonderful.
We walked out past the pipes, through the little wood to the path that runs alongside the road before turning back, and that was mostly because we didn't want to miss the train back to Bristol. They're only every two hours, so missing one is a pain. There's not an awful lot to do at Severn Beach, except walk along the shore or sit in the café.
There are murals at some of the smaller stops along the route: the one at Montpelier has this gorgeous fox!
Today is a pretty standard late-summer Saturday. I'm preparing some of the less perfect apples for freezing ready for apple crumble puddings over the winter, and I believe more of the sweetcorn is ready. We have plenty of blackberries too: I'll pick up some strawberries when I shop and we'll have fruit and ice-cream again for dessert. It became an instant favourite the first time I did it...
Rosa shed. First time in a couple of years (as opposed to Feather, who seems to shed after every other meal). She's quite a large spider, really.
And I transformed Dinobot. Youtube usually has the instructions!
Right - off to prepare apples...
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Lazerbeak and Dinobot
G1 Soundwave, Laserbeak and Ravage
Close up of the pattern.
I'll probably not wear the Starscream one, as I don't wear white, but I really like the black one! The lines are silvery grey and slightly metallic -looking, very stylish.
And I was so tired last night I spelt Sumalee's name wrong [wince]. Now corrected.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
A.k.a Joules goes to Birmingham.
And gets lost.
And is rescued by Jehovah's Witnesses.
So, just a perfectly ordinary Taylor family expedition then...
Look, it's not my fault Birmingham has no signposts! And all the people I asked for directions were strangers! It should have been easy to find the Hilton, it's supposed to be only a ten minute walk from the station, but everywhere was fenced off and I managed to walk around the back of the new Resort World they're building there instead. Stopped at the security desk and asked where on earth the Hilton was and the guy there took pity on me, ushered me into a works van, and drove me to the entrance! (Sometimes acting the slightly confused little old lady works wonders. The silver hair helps...)
Anyway... most of my photos failed, due to me not wanting to use the flash too much and the place being too dark for good non-flash photos, but here you go.
Wheeljack and Lockdown (I think) cosplayers
Four transformers, remaining in disguise...
It was enormous fun, I met up with Musa (from the States, who I rp with on tumblr), her friend Qweety, PurrV and several others whose names I managed to forget (I blame exhaustion). I picked up a Beast Wars Dinobot figure, and a Bayverse little Laserbeak figure, got autographs from James Horan (Prime Wheeljack), James Roberts (IDW writer whose skill and talent leaves me awestruck) and Sumalee Montano (Prime Arcee, who is an absolute darling!) All in all a fabulous day.
But then I had to walk back to the train station to head home. And I got even more lost. So I asked the only people I could see if they knew where I was: they said they could give me a lift right to the station as they were heading that way. And then I found out they were Jehovah's Witnesses attending a convention in an adjoining hotel.
Honestly, this sort of thing could only happen to me...
Anyway, they were quite interested in Auto Assembly, and that Ken and I write, and it was all very good natured and exceptionally kind of them, because if I'd had to try to find my own way there I'd probably still be looking.
I am now absolutely exhausted and heading to bed as soon as my hair's dried. May add more tomorrow but wanted to tell that tale tonight!