Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...

Other sites:

:: 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... [01/10/14 - Now reached 06/03/2004]

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.

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.

I'm a Member of 

UK Veg Gardeners!

Silver birch at Eastwood 


"Autumnal - nothing to do with leaves. It is to do with a certain brownness at the edges of the day... Brown is creeping up on us, take my word for it... Russets and tangerine shades of old gold flushing the very outside edge of the senses... deep shining ochres, burnt umber and parchments of baked earth - reflecting on itself and through itself, filtering the light. At such times, perhaps, coincidentally, the leaves might fall, somewhere..."

(Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Act 2: Tom Stoppard)


I love this time of year. I love the colours, the sharp slant of sunlight on the trees, mosaics of acid-yellow and harts- blood, velvet and darkness and a haze of mist-grey over the hills. I love its immanence, its mellowness, the tang of frost just around the corner of the year...

Watching the little birds in the goat-willow in my garden, I realised something more.

I love this land with a fierce, possessive love, deep-rooted in two thousand years of history. From the frosted beaches and cloud-brushing peaks of the north to the wind-haunted meanderings of the rivers of the east, from the sensuous rolling patchworked hills of the south to the demanding dark moors of the west, this land seeps into bone and blood and synapse, mother of motley nobility, culture, individual freedoms. It can be known. It can be understood. It can be felt deep inside.

I love its effortless eccentricities, its vigour and vibrancy, its flawed perfections, its silent strength and tenacious resilience, its hard-won tolerances and intense and variable beauty, the profound energy in its sacred mythical landscape.

Home and more-than-home, the forces that shape and protect and bind, in me, as I am in the land. Love returning love in the stillness for those who'll only take the time to listen...

(Joules, Autumn 2004)

All photographs taken by Joules unless otherwise specified. All photographs © Joules A Taylor or other specified individual.

In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme

Currently enjoying:
Transformers - IDW, Prime, Animated, Rescue Bots.

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.

Currently working on:
Heart, The Poppy Tales

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

Currently miffed at:

Currently maintaining:
Jenni Roditi
Music Inter Alia

Blog Pics
I've gathered some of my pages of photos together: the page of links is here. I'll be adding more as time goes by!

Evil Squid
A Little Glossary of Taylorspeke
(in no particular order)

plit popints - n. Typo for 'plot points' typed on a keyboard with more than half the characters worn off...

[PING] (alt [ping]) - n. A brainwave. The text equivalent of a lightbulb going on blindingly over someone's head. Usually mine. And usually at the most inconvenient of times. [sigh]

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

wulmet - n. A person of little or no talent who somehow inveigles himself into a position where he is in power over other, far more talented people and uses his position to downplay them in order to try to make himself feel superior.

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

Flatterfed - vb. 27.02.08: my typo for flattered, but since it's so cutely apt I thought it would fit nicely here. Lutra defined it as "the lovely warm feeling of satisfaction resulting from enthusiastic reviews..." (which I've been getting for my MB fics).

Composted - vb, 'compos mentis', mentally capable of working. Contrast with uncomposted or non- composted, not 'compos mentis', not capable of working, hungover...

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

Kewp - how Ken says 'thank you'. We rather like Lutra's 'nanx', too...

Musekick - noun, music, without which I cannot work.

'feinne - noun, caffeine, essential for correct mental functioning, especially first thing in the morning. I prefer mine in the form of SodaStream Diet Coke. And on that subject...

Skoosh - verb, noun. To skoosh - to add CO2 to a sodastream bottle filled with water to make it fizzy, prior to adding Diet Coke syrup (or just drinking as sparkling water). A skoosh - a bottle of water that has been skooshed. Skooshy - something that has been skooshed, water, or that whipped cream that comes in tins you have to shake then upend and press the nozzle...

Shoogle - verb. To shake gently, for example, of roast potatoes in a roasting tin to ensure they're covered with oil. I have vague memories of this being a real Scottish colloquialism...

Stegasaurus - n, spider of the genus tegenaria. Why? No idea. I just find it easier, that's all...
Edit 08.09.07: Lutra thinks that Brian is a good name for a mini-stegasaurus. From now on, any 'Brian's in the posts may be assumed to be a tegenaria. Except where otherwise specified.

Viterals - noun, vitamins + minerals. Also a pun on victuals.

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

Parrots - noun, paracetemol (from the old joke "Why are there no aspirin tablets in the jungle? Because the parrots eat 'em all...")

Maggles - noun, magpies. As opposed to non-magical people.

Flamewings - noun. Swifts. So called because the first time we became aware of them was an early summer evening when they were flying high, the light from the setting sun seemingly turning their wings to flames. Lovely little birds. We always know summer's arrived when we hear their high-pitched squeeing.

Murfs - noun, moths.

Peasant cut - noun, roughly cut up into big chunks, e.g. vegetables chopped in a hurry for a hearty stew or soup. By extension, anything prepared in a hurry - haircut, material, even a first draft of a story...

Giraffe - noun, a carafe (of wine, coffee or water, for example).

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

Splings - noun, Kai's spelling homework: by extension, any spelling.

Tyops - noun, typos. var toyps, typso, psyto, psoyt, etc. Usual result of a dose of the fingerials (see next entry).

Fingerials - (pr. fin GEEE ree yalls) noun, fingers that will not type what you want them to.

Haddock - noun, time, of which I never have enough. (Origin of this term here.)

Sleep - noun? vb? a.k.a. sheeeeeeeeep.... I used to know what this word meant...

The Updates Blog

The place to stay notified of WaveWrights' Fiction updates: Zone, Darkside, DarkRealm, Matrix, Vault, Safehouse 13...

my computer gremlin Butch. click the pic to see the larger image

Butch, my computer gremlin. Click the pic for larger version, and read his adventures here...

Butch by the talented 


A gift for me! Butch by the very talented Sylverthorne. Click pic for larger image.



This is MY haddock. It was caught exclusively for me by Talon. No, you can't have any. I need all the haddock I can get!!

A'lestrel by 


A'lestrel - a gift for me from Valkyrie...

Kood, my new mp3 


Kood. Constant companion.

Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 


Another gorgeous Valkyrie gift for me - Benten the Albino Alsatian! Click thumbnail for larger image.

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 



Oekai by Bakayaro Onna - Radittsu at his sexiest...

I now have an Amazon wish list - find it here. But please be warned most of the things on it are yaoi. If you don't like yaoi, or don't know what it is, you probably won't want to take a look.

The Zone Plant from
The Zone 



OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
::SciFan [>]
- THE place for your S-F reading needs
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Pruned [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
:: Fundies say the darnedest things [>]
(Warning. This site is likely to have you screaming with laughter, shaking your head in sheer disbelief, or weeping for the future of your species. Often all three at the same time. I disclaim any responsiblity for any harm suffered by anyone who visits...)
[::..Fun Places..::]
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
::The Hacker Dictionary
Hackers with Humour!
:: Carol's Place
My GoodTwin's Homepage!
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: MailWasher
Excellent anti-spam software
:: About Bristol
The essential guide - and beautifully user-friendly too!
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: ZSPC Colour Chart
Check how your text and background colours look together before releasing them on the world!
:: Symbols
Exactly what it says
:: World Timeserver
For checking the current time around this world
:: Universal Currency Converter
Actually it's just a terran-global currency converter, not universal, but it's still useful...
:: Union of Concerned Scientists
Exactly what it says. Fascinating - and worrying...

So what is it with the haddock? Am I some kind of fish freak?

I'll leave that to others to decide.

The tale (or tail if you prefer) harks back to October 2000, when my GoodTwin and I, ably assisted by Sue, ran the first UK Professionals convention...
It's common knowledge that I never have enough time, and I was determined not to bewail the fact that weekend: hence I promised not to use the 'T' word...
Of course, that didn't really work (if nothing else I had to let the trainees know what times things were supposed to be happening!) so we decided a substitute word would be employed instead. There were several suggestions. Banana came very close to being chosen. However, I eventually decided that 'haddock' fitted the bill nicely. Ever since, haddock=time. Hence the title of my forthcoming autobiography,
My Half-Life in the Haddock Space Continuum....

Normally I wouldn't, but these were just irresistible...

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

These Too-Kawaii Kitties
were adopted from
Ghost's Anime Page (which appears to have disappeared, alas...)

Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

Anime still needed to complete series' I'm collecting... Many thanks to everyone who has helped me acquire the collection!
Ai no Kusabi

   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

   All 3 eps on Video, dubbed
   Dj: Cyberage 1-3
   Illustrated Book 2 (Benten's) in Japanese

From Eroica with Love

   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

   English Manga: Vol 1
   Japanese Manga: Vol 1-7 complete
   Tarot Pack
   R.G.Veda video

Twelve Kingdoms

   Anime Vol 1-3 (incl)
Rest needed!

Under the Glass Moon

   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust


   Vampire Hunter D Book 1

New Vampire Miyu

   (Studio Ironcat) Manga Vols 1, 3, 4 and 5
Vol 2 needed

Yami no Matsuei

   Viz Manga: English translation, Vols 1 and 2
   Japanese 3-DVD set
   Central Park Media: Descendants of Darkness Vol. 1, English/Japanese subbed.

[::..Joules SPfied..::]

... this is Terra? How the hell'd I end up here...?

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004
10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004
11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005
12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006
02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006
03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006
04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006
05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006
06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/30/2007
05/01/2007 - 05/31/2007
06/01/2007 - 06/30/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
08/01/2007 - 08/31/2007
09/01/2007 - 09/30/2007
10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
03/01/2008 - 31/03/2008
01/04/2008 - 04/30/2008
01/05/2008 - 31/05/2008
01/06/2008 - 30/06/2008
01/07/2008 - 31/07/2008
01/08/2008 - 31/08/2008
01/09/2008 - 30/09/2008
01/10/2008 - 31/10/2008
01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
01/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
01/04/2009 - 30/04/2009
01/05/2009 - 31/05/2009
01/06/2009 - 30/06/2009
01/07/2009 - 31/07/2009
01/08/2009 - 31/08/2009
01/09/2009 - 30/09/2009
01/10/2009 - 31/10/2009
01/11/2009 - 30/11/2009
01/12/2009 - 31/12/2009
01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
01/04/2010 - 30/04/2010
01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
01/09/2010 - 30/09/2010
01/10/2010 - 31/10/2010
01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
01/04/2011 - 30/04/2011
01/05/2011 - 31/05/2011
01/06/2011 - 30/06/2011
01/07/2011 - 31/07/2011
01/08/2011 - 31/08/2011
01/09/2011 - 30/09/2011
01/10/2011 - 31/10/2011
01/11/2011 - 30/11/2011
01/12/2011 - 31/12/2011
01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
01/02/2012 - 28/02/2012
01/03/2012 - 31/03/2012
01/04/2012 - 30/04/2012
01/05/2012 - 31/05/2012
01/06/2012 - 30/06/2012
01/07/2012 - 31/07/2012
01/08/2012 - 31/08/2012
01/09/2012 - 30/09/2012
01/10/2012 - 31/10/2012
01/11/2012 - 30/11/2012
01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
01/02/2013 - 28/02/2013
01/03/2013 - 31/03/2013
01/04/2013 - 30/04/2013
01/05/2013 - 31/05/2013
01/06/2013 - 31/06/2013
01/07/2013 - 31/07/2013
01/08/2013 - 31/08/2013
01/09/2013 - 30/09/2013
01/10/2013 - 31/10/2013
01/11/2013 - 30/11/2013
01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
01/04/2014 - 30/04/2014
01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
01/06/2014 - 31/06/2014
01/07/2014 - 31/07/2014
01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
01/09/2014 - 31/09/2014
01/10/2014 - 31/10/2014
01/11/2014 - 30/11/2014
01/12/2014 - 31/12/2014
01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
01/03/2015 - 31/03/2015
01/04/2015 - 30/04/2015
01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Friday night there were storms...

I'll rephrase that. Friday night there were storms everywhere but here.

Barely enough rain to wet the ground, nowhere near enough to refill the main waterbutt or give my garden the thorough drenching it needs.

I am miffed. I shall be having words with Taranis when I can catch him...

Yesterday was productive. Ken and I went to Hurrans, where I picked up a couple of the new(ish) style stacking planters from elho - a bit pricey at £10.49 each but the terracotta planters I currently have the strawberries in are useless. Pretty to look at, but the water runs straight through and there's no room for the roots. The aquatic centre had Duckweed Buster (new to me but I guess it was only a matter of time! Roeg's pool is OK - the birds have been bathing in and drinking from it, and I think they may be eating the weed too - but Kai's pool is thick with the stuff, so that's the next major job), and there were two different colours of nemesia - pink and purple - on sale for £2 instead of £7, so bought those as well.

After dinner Ken and I watched Hummingbird - picked up very cheaply at Tesco because I like Jason Statham - and it's very good. I was expecting the usual actioner, but it's far more complex and morally ambivalent than something like Homefront. Most enjoyable.

Today Kai is meeting with friends in town! First time out (without me) in 22 months. He's nervous, but one of his friends is picking him up so he won't have to walk into the place alone. Keeping fingers crossed it all goes well...

Next!Poppy is now two pages done. Still hoping to be able to post it today, if all goes well, but I still have the usual Sunday stuff to do...

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Blogger Sue said...

When you say no rain here, you mean here and here because we didn't have any either and like you, my garden could really do with it!

3:50 p.m.  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Fingers crossed for this week. We're supposed to have rain here tomorrow...

8:30 p.m.  
Blogger GoodTwin said...

We're 10 miles north but didn't get any either.
Perhaps you need to do more rain-dances with haddock... :)

10:38 p.m.  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

[growl] Well buggerit!! I'm obviously going to have to do more than rain-dances and nagging Taranis!!

I can only think he thought he was doing us all a favour by steering the 19.5K lightning strikes away from us. But we could still have done with the H2O!

[sigh] Eh well. Carrying watering cans up and down the garden is supposed to be good exercise...

11:05 p.m.  

Post a Comment

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Saturday was a bit of a washout: I ended up with a most unpleasant stomach upset. Felt better come the evening, but managed to accomplish nothing much all day. So of course, Sunday was twice as manic as usual as I scrambled to catch up.

Most of Monday was taken up reworking Perfume Power. Sent it off before my deadline though, so it was worth it.

Yesterday Kai and I went to see Jurassic Park. It's OK, fairly predictable, but nicely done. And the raptors are gorgeous. I want one (or three) as guard dinos for the house.

On the way back we did a Sains shop and picked up Jupiter Ascending...

What can I say? A most intriguing concept handled with all the sensitivity of sledgehammer-wielding T.Rex. Cinderella in space. Gorgeous cg and cinematography, very pretty shinies and sparklies, and a Sean Bean who didn't die and got his wings back (well, he was supposed to though we didn't see it but Caine's were returned so we can assume Stinger's were too). But the rest? Ye gods. How can people who made The Matrix and the fabulous Cloud Atlas get it so wrong?

Eh well. It'll do as background pretties while I work.

Yesterday I found another offering from the foxes - in the manhole cover right outside the kitchen this time. Empty Pedigree Chum (chicken flavour) tin.

So last night I left them a bowl of dog food. Chicken flavour, as requested!

The rockery, although it was too bright yesterday to get a good pic. It's coming along nicely though.

And now onto Poppy! One page already written: with a little luck I can get this next chapter finished before Friday.

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Blogger Writer Chick said...

"Look! She of the Strange Box understood our request for a boon!"

"Yes, but She took our stored food!"

"Never mind! She left us much more than She took! Can't you do maths?"

"I can count all the up to All Toes, so you shut up!"

"Well I can count all the way up to All Toes on Front Feet, so you shut up!"

[Foxy bickering diminuendo as vulpes vamoose.)

4:48 p.m.  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Thanks, that made my day. I'm still chuckling...

9:46 p.m.  

Post a Comment

Friday, June 26, 2015

Catchup again...

It's been pretty much as usual, busy, shopping, gardening etc. Kai's appt with Lisa Lowry (consultant haematologist) went well, she's happy with progress and doesn't think the odd little niggles (aches and pains and a new maybe-mole but she doesn't think so and there's no pain or itching or lump so we'll just monitor it) are anything to worry about, but we should mention them again if they don't clear up by next appt (BMT in July). He's feeling rough, but that's probably tacrolimus withdrawal (reduced the dose by another half microgramme on Wed) and should even itself out in a few days (until the next drop in two weeks).

We're getting there...

The cowboy camera installers were back for fifth time on Tuesday. This is what's above the fence now - much more suitable for a domestic premises and we feel less under siege.

And I'm reworking Perfume Power! Fox and Howard will bring it out both as a kindle e-book and as a print on demand. I want to change the title to The Power of Perfume - fingers crossed! - and am taking out most of the extraneous personal info (it's unnecessary and irritating). The chapter on the science of smell needs rewriting, but most of the rest of it is fine. I surprised myself when rereading with how much work I put into it originally. No idea when it'll be out, will say here though.

I've asked for a decent cover too!

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

Yay! On all counts... :)

10:38 p.m.  

Post a Comment

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Joyous Solstice! 

Hope it's been a good one. Mine's been about as busy as ever.

Feather! Such a pretty girl...

And our forest pansy! Coming along beautifully, Wendy.

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Post a Comment

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hm. Subsequent to the MRI, I have a follow-up appt with the Trauma and Ortho Surgery team at the BRI second week of July.

That's very fast. I guess there is cause for concern.



Blogger GoodTwin said...

Fingers crossed that it's just exceptionally efficient service for once.

8:17 a.m.  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

We can hope. I'm a registered carer, perhaps that has some pull too?

10:54 a.m.  

Post a Comment

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Poppy Tales 

Twenty-first part of New World 2 - Journeys - now posted over at The Poppy Tales.


Picked up and watched Ex Machina... wow. Extraordinary! I loved it, multi-layered and intense, quite amazing. Though not, I suspect, for everyone...

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Yesterday turned out to be great, after the unpleasantness of the MRI. Kai got a lot done, and we went over to the Callington Rd Nature Reserve for a short walk, which was enjoyable. I got my résumé finished, and sitting idly flicking through TV channels, trying to find something worth watching, I skipped over Transformers. Ken pointed it out, and suggested we watch, given the dearth of anything remotely interesting otherwise. Expecting it to be a repeat of Prime, we switched to Cartoon Network as it started - only to find it was the very first ep of the new series, the follow up to Prime, Transformers: Robots in Disguise! I honestly thought I was going to have to wait for it to be released on DVD, but it looks like it's scheduled in for 6.30 Sat and Sun. It's not repeated, and it's an ongoing series by the looks of it, so that's two half hour slots I get to sit down at the weekend.

It's a much lighter show than Prime was, and geared to younger viewers, I think, but it has a lot of charm, the designs are lovely, clean and crisp, and the characters very appealing. Sooo happy Ken spotted it!

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

So that was an MRI.

I never want to do that again, thank you. Half an hour lying flat and motionless up to my eyes in a tiny narrow tube, and the noise so loud that I could barely hear the CD I took in. It had better have been worth it...

Forgot to mention: Kai's now off the 'clean diet' and safe to drink tap water again ('OORAY! No more endless kettles of boiling water cooling then into sterilised jugs then into fridge...) although I'm still being careful for the moment. But our butcher in Sandy Park Rd handed over to another butcher when he retired, so I shall start using him soon.

Right. Off to work on résumé...

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Blogger Writer Chick said...

Sorry it was such a bad experience, but yes, it was worth it: when it comes to health, information is always, always better than lack of same.

I'm with you, though: WHY don't they put a muffler on that danged thing.

5:16 p.m.  

Post a Comment

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I was woken at 5.45 by the sound of squabbling crows. The last time that happened they were chastising a fox in the garden, so I looked out of the landing window and sure enough, there were a pair of ears poking up above the higher herbage in the meadow. I watched the most beautiful, sleek, healthy young fox jump around in the vetch and lunaria, until it paused, looking up at me. I tell you, gazing into bright, alert, old-gold fox eyes for half a minute is a wonderful way to start the day!

It carried on in much the same vein too. Kai's blood results are still stable and almost normal, and Prof Marks told us the regime for reducing both the tacrolimus and the aciclovir. Aciclovir will only take four weeks, but 'weaning off' the tacro is a twelve week job, half a microgramme at a time. Starting right now, however, so with luck, in a few days, he'll start feeling a little less awful all the time.

Once that's over, he'll have a schedule of re-vaccinations, the most important one being the MMR, because there are apparently some morons ('ratbags', as the Prof called them) who don't believe in vaccinating their kids, and there have been instances of measles in Bristol. (Fucking anti-vaxxers! They should be banned from being in public.) He'll also need a course of venesection (blood-letting) to reduce the level of iron in his blood: a result of the transfusions he had to have, his last count was at 3,000 (if I recall correctly, between 10 and 300 is normal). This isn't so high that it's urgent, but it won't go away by itself, and the team would prefer him to get back to normal functioning fairly quickly. Venesection can start from twelve months post transplant, which will be September.

Student Finance England have confirmed all is fine with Kai's funding and grant application (subject to seeing copies of a couple of documents which I need to sort out tomorrow), so that's all good. And he's been taking (and aceing) online university maths exams, which is quite a confidence booster for him!

Oh, and Kingsman is great! A thoroughly rollicking romp, huge fun.

However, after such an early awakening, and even after half an hour's nap on the sofa, I'm knackered. Hoping for an early night. Busy day tomorrow, perfect example of sod's law: as always when I'm too tired to tackle it, a whole load of fiddly client stuff came in while we were at the hospital...

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Blogger Writer Chick said...

Hurrah! What a great day. May you have more like that...except that the fox schedules things for a bit later...

10:32 p.m.  

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Monday, June 08, 2015

Usual busy weekend. We are currently watching Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Very authentic feel, and gloriously complex characters. I wasn't entirely sure at the start, but last night was ep 4 and it's turned deliciously dark and eerie - I'm hooked.

According to the TV ads Kingsman is now available on DVD at Sains - that's a must buy!

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

We're watching Strange & Norrell - first ep was a bit odd but it was worth sticking with.

Sue & I saw Kingsman - definitely a buy!

11:33 a.m.  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

We might have time to watch it tonight, before Vicious... Looking forward to it anyway - what a cast!

11:40 a.m.  
Blogger Sue said...

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell was an amazing book and of course they can't capture it all on screen but it's a decent attempt.
Kingsman was loads of fun!

8:37 p.m.  

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Friday, June 05, 2015

And it just gets better and better. From what Kai heard of yesterday's conversation outside his window, it seems the cameras' live footage was being streamed on the internet...

They've just left after their fourth visit. I couldn't hear everything that was being said, but I did make out one asking the other if the view was over the fence or just along it. Unfortunately I couldn't hear the mumbled reply.

Incompetent? I'd say so.



Blogger GoodTwin said...

Perhaps you need to install a placard saying 'the person streaming this feed is a ****' (insert whatever word you feel is appropriate...)
There is no excuse for this. If the police won't act then maybe a solicitor's letter is called for. Can the CAB help provide one?

7:06 p.m.  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Oh, I agree, and it's very tempting. I'm sure the CAB will be able to help, once I can get an appointment. In the meantime his rep is getting worse and worse. And he claims to be ex-police!

9:29 p.m.  
Blogger GoodTwin said...
I found that link very interesting. His footage is covered by the DPA regardless of what he might think and it is quite likely it is breaching your Human Rights as well. Since he is covered by the DPA he should be registered, and that article enforces the point that there is no justification whatsoever for images to be uploaded online. In fact, you have every right to demand to see the data he is recording, and he has to provide it.
It might be worth pointing all this out to the police as well. It may - at the moment - be a civil matter, but they have no right to be ignorant of the appropriate legislation. However I would be surprised if they do know about it.

10:32 p.m.  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Thanks - that was the site I went to first when he first started this... obscenity, and it is something I will point out to the police. As for seeing the data - we don't speak (which is a blessed relief!) and I'd much rather a neutral third party handle the whole matter.

That being said, I am exploring other options. More on that after I've spoken to Jackie's husband, Mike the builder!

10:43 p.m.  
Blogger GoodTwin said...

I thought you might have found that info, but thought it might be useful.
When I said you could demand to see the data, I was envisioning that being via solictor's letter :) OTOH perhaps you could arrange to do it under his surveillance camera and get him to incriminate himself...

11:12 p.m.  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

... Now that is a beautiful idea.

We are, after all, talking about the 'person' who apparently poured undiluted moss killer onto his lawn and wondered why his grass died...

11:38 p.m.  
Blogger Sue said...

Have had some problems trying to post here, hence being so quiet. Huge sympathies for this latest round of bizarre activity.

6:27 p.m.  

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Thursday, June 04, 2015

So pretty! I do like my irises.



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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

And then there were two. Do you think he's trying for a reputation as a pervert or peeping Tom or something?



Blogger GoodTwin said...

He's getting a reputation as something... >8-!

9:14 a.m.  

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Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Had visit from the police today, all very reassuring. I do need to get a little further advice, but I know that Citizen's Advice - and MacMillan - are a great help in our situation.

Physocarpus flower. This little bush is gorgeous.

The little irises by Roeg's Pool ->

So I deadheaded the Sultan's Palace and suddenly, whoooooosh, more flahs!

And in the bathroom... this one has never looked so good or been so prolific.



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Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Poppy Tales 

... ye gawds... I've finally managed to post the next chapter. It's not brilliant - it's getting on for a year since I last wrote anything other than the blog or IMDb ep guides, and it's going to take me a while to get back into the mindset - but it's up.

And... heh, I actually feel quite nervous about it. That's odd. I've never felt nervous about anything I've written ever before.

Don't like this feeling. Going to have to work on that...

In other news... Watched The Theory of Everything, which moved me to tears. Beautiful film. When I was little, Sherlock Holmes and Spock of Vulcan were my heroes: now it's Stephen Hawking... is it something to do with the letter S? Sherlock, Spock, Steven, Starscream...? Hm. Interesting...

Also watched Birdman. Which is... annoying, in that I didn't like it, found it very pretentious, but... it had something. Not necessarily something I'd want to catch, but... Maybe I should watch it again and see if I can pin it down.

Bed soon, I think. I'm not sleeping at all well, combination of pain and stress does not make for a peaceful night's rest.

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Quick update before I drag myself to bed...

Next door has spent much of today having security cameras installed - as far as I can tell (and of course I may well be mistaken) 180 degree cameras, one of them fitted immediately on the other side of the fence at the back, with a direct view down onto our patio.

This was the clichéd last straw. The complaint appeal for advice went off to the Avon and Somerset Constabulary this afternoon, and this evening I've had an email back with a log number: beat officers will contact me soon to discuss the matter further.

In better news, I've had a letter confirming that my mammogram was negative. Very happy about that.

AND a very reassuring medic rang from the BRI to let me know the details of the MRI. Essentially - they have a lot of claustrophobic clients, and do the best they can to make the experience easier. I can go in feet first, and it's more than likely my head and shoulders can stay outside (that I can cope with!) and I can take in music to play through the headphones. Each scan can take up to half an hour (ouch, but I can have pillows to settle my back comfortably, which is good)... yes, I'll be OK. I can do this.



Blogger Writer Chick said...

That's the bleeding outside of enough. What an _)(O*&&.

Hurrah for negative mammograms (in fact let's add the "hip, hip" to that one) and reasonable accommodations for an MRI!

8:14 p.m.  

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Wednesday was more gardening - although my copy of More Than Meets The Eye vol 7 arrived... I read the first chapter, which nearly had me in tears. Gah. I'm hooked...

Anyway - garden. Outdoor melons are now in the ground, as are the rest of the peas. In the greenhouse everything is doing well.

Have some irises. I agree, they are very short lived, but so elegant and sophisticated I don't care. I'll enjoy their transient beauty while I can and look forward to their resurgence next year.

Thursday's appt went well: it looks like Kai's bloods are now pretty stable, which is good. We had planned to head out afterwards, but he didn't get to bed until 3.30 am (the appt was at 9.15, which meant getting up at 6.30 for me in order to get everything done) and was too tired to do anything more than come home and nap on the sofa while I went shopping. We watched the last three eps of Drawn Together season 3 when I got back: now there's just the film, which I haven't ordered yet. We're not in any hurry.

Orchid cactus in the bathroom! There are eleven buds this year.

"Feeeeeed meeeee

And my MTMTE charms have arrived from Musashi's Shapeways Store, in plenty of time for Auto Assembly!

Rung on the left, Rewind on the right. I shall be tempted to get some more at some point, they're so cute.

Last Twin peaks ep tonight, and I've nearly finished the guides for Energon - eight more eps and I never have to look at it again!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The usual brief catchup...

I'd hoped to have Friday to myself (hah!) but ended up with quite a bit of client stuff to get done - and I also cleaned the freezer ready for a major restock on Sunday. By the time I had time to sit and write I was, as usual, too tired. HOWEVER, I do seem to be getting a little more organised, so fingers crossed that improves.

On Saturday we all went to Wells! First family day out in nearly two years! K&K went for a walk to the woodland out past the Bishop's Palace while I went to pick up the four ramson plants I'd ordered from Glenholme Herbs - only to find another woman had visited earlier asking for her wild garlic, and bought the ones I'd had put back for me (they didn't ask her name, as it's not a usual sort of request. Heh, if I was the least bit paranoid I'd think someone was hacking our land-line...) The proprietor was very apologetic and let me have the two that were left for free (and I then bought another artemisia, a native yellow iris, and an angelica from them).

Irises by Roeg's Pool - the yellow one is the new one. The ramsons are small, but I'm hoping my usual luck holds and they survive and thrive. They're planted over by the wall in the shade of the Torbay palm (cordyline australis) that the bees love so much. Fingers crossed!

Sunday was two lots of shopping - Sains and Tesco - and a well-filled freezer. After lunch I did some garden tidying up (pruning, weeding, hoeing). In the afternoon Kai renewed his Student Finance application for Uni, and then I did my part, giving them my financial info so they can decide what sort of maintenance grant Kai can claim (although the site was glitched and I ended up having to ring one of their operators to gain access to my account...) In the evening we watched Trance, which we picked up absurdly cheaply from Tesco. It's a good, engrossing film which we didn't like at all. If that makes sense!

Yesterday we planted everything I bought at Wells (six alpines for the rockery as well as the ramsons, artemisia and angelica).

It'll look better once everything has settled and spread out a bit. I'm now on the lookout for another one or two (or more!) bearded irises. With the exception of my Sultan's Palace

most of the current ones are in shades of blue and purple, so I'd like something like this, this, this, and/or this. These irises are a bit pricey, however, so I shall be keeping a close eye out whenever I go to garden centres. It'll only be a few months before they start having their end of season sales. In the meantime, Kim and I will be heading off to pick up more compost soon: I'll see if she fancies going to Brackenwood Garden Centre. They had a good selection last time I was there.

Only ten more Energon eps left to go, and maybe fifteen Swamp Thing. Then on to Cybertron (some of which have already been done), then I'm considering Jupiter Moon, which is almost completely empty. That series is 150 eps long though... We'll watch an ep of Starhyke together first, see if K&K want to catch it. If not, will tackle that in advance of the longer series.

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Blogger Writer Chick said...

My sole dislike of iris is that they are over too soon...

1:31 p.m.  

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Later edit: forgot to say. We had slices from Greggs at Weston-super-Mare - pork, apple and stuffing for me and ham and cheese for Kai, the first non-clean-diet fast-food item he's had in a year and a half. I asked him how it tasted. "Like freedom!" he exclaimed...

Catchup (again... when I have time to sit and write up this blog, at night, I'm usually too tired...)

Sunday I got my sweetcorn in the ground. Then it hailed... Fingers crossed the plants will thrive.

On Monday Kai and I finally got to see Age of Ultron, which is great fun! Silly, of course, but beautifully crafted, rollicking silliness, a wonderful 'park brain at door' film (although they did get the physics right at the end, which impressed us both!)

Tuesday I had my three-yearly mammogram. Oh joy. Ouch.

Wednesday was Kai's blood review (which they're still very happy with, it now seems to be quite stable), and since the appt was fairly early we bussed to Weston-super-Mare afterwards.

Very, very windy but sunny with the occasional cloudy spell, OK for Kai to cope with without slathering on the sunscreen (which he hates even more than I do...) We went a bit further than Birnbeck Pier -

- but not quite as far as Sand Bay. The Pier is derelict now.

Grammar by Yoda...

It was a really nice day out! We didn't get back until 5 to 5, though, and today my legs are really aching. Still, it was good exercise.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Long time readers may remember, about ten or more years ago, I was stung right above my wedding ring while out in the garden. I just managed to get the ring off before my finger swelled too much, but the swelling has never really gone down, and I've been unable to wear the ring ever since. Drs have told me that there's nothing wrong, it's just going to stay like it now, which necessitated having my ring resized. Since it's custom-made platinum with a black opal singlet, we knew it would be pricey, so it's not really been an option until recently. But I've missed it very much, and when I mooted getting some quotes to Ken he said go ahead...

I took it first to A & P Jewellery in St Nick's Market (I'm a fan of independents), who were extremely helpful, and quoted me a rough price of £75, and there was a risk of the stone breaking: they could offer a replacement, although it would cost more, and they'd let me know in advance of doing any work. This was all great, and they were very helpful and pleasant. However, since we're always advised to get more than one quote, I went to Parsons in The Galleries as well.

They wouldn't consider trying to work on it because of the stone, and referred me to Kemp Brothers in Union St. This establishment is the sort of place you have to ring the doorbell to be let in, and I was greeted by a very nice assistant. I showed her the ring, explained the problem, and she asked the jeweller - who may have been the boss - his opinion. He glanced at the ring, looked at me, then, in a thoroughly offensive dismissive way, said yes, they probably could resize it but the opal would probably explode. Moments later a couple rang for access and he gave them his full attention. Then again, they were discussing having an expensive engagement ring made...

The assistant quoted me a minimum of £150, and quite possibly substantially more if they had to replace the stone.

I thanked her and left. Needless to say I shall not be using Kemp Brothers - ever - nor recommending them to anyone else, and have left them a 'poor' review on

I went back to the Market, and spent a good twenty minutes with several different gauges - even some of the rings A & P had on display, until we settled on the correct size (three up from the original!) I was told that if there was a risk of the opal breaking (apparently jewellers use a kind of heat-resistant thermal gel to protect stones when they have to work with hot metal these days, which is very effective) they'd check with me first, but would be able to offer a choice of replacements...

Had a phone call this morning: it was all done, the opal was fine, they'd inserted a piece of platinum to resize it rather than trying to stretch it, and it was ready to collect. And it was £78.

I pretty much dropped everything to get into town, and here's the result. It's perfect, and they've even managed to polish out some of the scratches on the opal! It's a little loose when on, of course, but it fits snugly over the swollen part and isn't going to fall off, which is the very best I can hope for. I am, needless to say, absolutely delighted.

So, anyone in the Avon area who needs anything tricky done with jewellery, head in their direction! The service is excellent, the quality top-notch, and the prices wonderful.

In other news...

Kai's blood tacro levels have finally reached a recordable level (above 3 in other words) - a month before he's due to be weaned off the med. We'll find out next week if he needs to increase the dose again - I really hope not...

We walked the Whitchurch Way yesterday - first time in weeks. Before we got there we saw a crow paddling in the brook... Cute!

It was a really nice walk, if tiring. Kai helped me with the Tesco shop on the way back.

Heh, I have a white iris amongst the blue!

Finished the Gravedale High ep summaries today. Now debating whether to tackle Swamp Thing season 3 or Starhyke next...

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

Glad you managed to get your ring fixed - and at a reasonable price, too. We have a small independent jewellers in town who have the same skills and reputation and I wouldn't go anywhere else.

10:02 a.m.  

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Friday, May 15, 2015

My heuchera bed. There's room for at least three more plants, and while tidying up I listed all the varieties I have and will carry it with me so I don't buy duplicates!



Blogger GoodTwin said...

How pretty!

9:58 a.m.  

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Checking in briefly...

Have some garden pics!

Paeony. We now have a whole load of these coming up from where we transplanted them last year - they left tubercules (I think the term is) in their original position and they've settled in nicely.

Pretty irises (so that's what I planted at the top!)

And solar lights. I picked up seven of these at Sains for £1 each: we have four on the rockery, one beside the greenhouse, one on the corner of the strawberry bed and the last one up on the slope by the birdbath. At night it's like a constellation on the ground - so pretty!

Finally got to watch Gods and Monsters - really rather good!

Tonight we watched the first ep of Wayward Pines. Hm. Feels like a jumble of The Prisoner and Once Upon A Time with a vague ambience of Eureka. I'm not impressed so far, but will watch another couple of eps before deciding. Kai quite liked it, I think.

Tired as usual. May even try for an early(ish) night...

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Blogger Writer Chick said...

Ooooh, little 14-point stars. They're pretty indeed, I'll bet!

11:15 p.m.  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

They're beautiful! Unfortunately you can only get the real effect from the landing window, and neither of our cameras are good enough for proper night time photography. But it's quite entrancing.

We don't know how long the lights will last - they were very cheap - but I've bought a few extras for next year...

11:42 p.m.  

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Later edit: the pretty blue flowers are phacelia!

Catching up again...

It's been as busy as usual. The getting of seeds on the go proceeds apace, my beefsteak toms are now in their final pots (well, growbag actually, thought I'd give it a try this year), my sweetcorn are now outside hardening off (must go in the ground soon, they're nearly 6 inches tall), and my special irises (the bronzy ones, Sultan's Palace I think they're called) now have four flower spikes peering out. I'm treating them regularly with Py, hoping that'll keep the caterpillars at bay. They did attack two of the blue iris flower stalks but the rest have survived rather well!

I've had to stake them because of the high winds we've had. By the same token the Juneberry that was in the pot out the front is now in the ground out the front - it kept blowing over. Photos when there's more to see!

I am so happy with my wisteria!

It smells glorious - can smell it in our bedroom with the window open.

These are the bee-friendly flowers I got from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Can't remember what they're called but they're beautiful and the bees love 'em.

On a less great note, Kai's tarolimus levels are still way too low and they've increased the dose again. Poor Childe is feeling awful (high tacro dose makes him feel like he has 'flu, and Peter - the trial specialist - says he's now on a "massive dose"): we get it checked again this week and if the level is still low we'll have to assume it's his metabolism ditching the drug. I shall ask if we can go back to a lower dose. It might be OK: Prof is planning to wean him off it in a month or so anyway...

All else continues well. I'm still knackered, but slowly catching up on sleep, am now just over half-way through the Energon IMDb ep guides (and have five left to do for Gravedale High), and this morning read the intro of Algebra for Dummies and now suddenly understand the grouping format in stylesheets - I think I'll be fine with the subject!

I really must get nextPoppy finished and posted asap. It's almost a year since the last chapter...

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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

BMT clinic appt today - all is going well: the Prof is all for Kai starting uni in Oct, has reduced his aciclovir dose (skipping the lunch time tablet now!) and will see about starting weaning him off the tacrolimus at the next appt in 6 weeks. Going to do it slowly though: we anticipate it taking about 3 months.

He's now off the clean diet (although we should not eat from fast food places or street vendors), has to keep building his energy and stamina and start exercising his brain (he's already doing A level exam papers to keep his maths up). And it's fine to eat homegrown fruit! (Well washed, obviously.)

We watched the first four eps of Drawn Together S1, which Kai described as 4-chan but animated, when we got back...

Next door's old aerial is currently hanging by a thread, banging against the upright and echoing very loudly down the chimney. Been doing it for several weeks now, it's getting worse, but there's no way he'll do anything about it unless it bothers him. I'm kind of hoping the vicious winds we have at the moment will blow the damned thing off...



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Friday, May 01, 2015

Apparently, this is what happens if you prune your wisteria, as recommended, in October!

I'll try to take another when it's sunny. In the summer, once I've turned out the shed and found the step ladder, we're putting up vine eyes so I can finally train it along the side and around the front of the house...

On the health front, Kai's tacrolimus level is still low, so he's back on the capsules, which means he's not feeling too great at the moment (but coping. We've been here more than once). They'll check again at his next main BMT appt.

Yesterday we went to Goblin Combe...

It's a strange and somewhat eerie place. The temperature drops quite dramatically as soon as you enter the valley.

We wondered if these moss-covered rocks are the goblins (when people are around)...

[sigh] Banks and banks of ramsons and me without my trowel...

It was a really nice expedition, 40 minutes each way on the Weston bus, and a fairly gentle incline along the valley. Kai climbed the steps (I gave it a miss, pretty sure my hips and knees wouldn't cope with coming back down, at the very least!) but pranged something on the way back, so we didn't go any further along the combe. Next time!

We're now watching Twin Peaks - an episode a night - and so far thoroughly enjoying it. I'd forgotten quite how anarchic and surreal it is...

My garden from the landing window.

I love my garden...

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Blogger Writer Chick said...

You have railroad tracks in your garden! Can't you just tie the slugs to them?

6:32 p.m.  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Yep. Kai's always had an interest in trains and when he was little he asked if he could have a miniature train in the garden. He gave up an entire year's pocket money to pay for it: he and Ken installed it (bought the special tool to bend the track and everything!) and he spent many a happy hour going round and round (there's an engine and two little carriages in storage).
He's now decided he wants to get it working again, and has started clearing the tracks of weeds and ivy. Should be fun come summer!
As for tying the slugs to it: great idea, bit tricky in practise - they wriggle free too easily...

6:43 p.m.  

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Have I mentioned recently how much I love my garden?



Blogger GoodTwin said...

You might have mentioned it, just once or twice :)

But you put so much effort into it, it's no wonder it looks good.

8:11 a.m.  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...


5:24 p.m.  

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