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... [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.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Tuesday already? Heh...
So what happened? Um... Sat was shopping and gardening - finishing up treating the bench and getting it into place (on bricks this time to keep the legs in better repair).
On Sunday am Ken and I went back to Wyevale (10% off everything that weekend) for another 2 for 1 breakfast, new grass shears and grease bands for the fruit trees (I ended up buying a tin of grease instead, much easier to apply!), and bought a very pretty double primrose and a blue vinca (periwinkle). In the afternoon Kai and I went along the Whitchurch Way, which is looking very pretty right now...
but I was absolutely knackered when we got back.
Monday I started tackling the meadow: cut down the old teasels, dug up brambles, took the dead wood off the rose of Sharon and cleared around the Juneberry. Also shifted all the dried wooden cuttings into the greenhouse to keep them dry until we can incinerate them.
Today Kai and I started clearing the ivy from his railway track, but had to stop when it started hailing...
That was followed by a couple of peals of thunder, which fortunately didn't come to anything else, as I'd arranged to meet Ken after work at Sains so he could carry back the heavy shopping (I just can't manage it any more, it makes my shoulders, back and legs hurt. Sometimes I miss the car...)
So busy, but generally productive and satisfying. I should start getting photos soon, so you can see what we're doing to the garden.
Friday, March 20, 2015
Light cloud made getting pics possible! These are Ken's (his camera is better than mine).
The clouds mostly cleared for totality, which meant most of the photos were useless as the glare was too intense - except for a few of mine, where a strange optical effect gave us an inverted, reverse purple 'ghost' of the real thing!
The light stayed quite bright, but the drop in temperature was very noticeable. All in all a quietly dramatic event.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Major catchup before I'm too tired to get it written up. It's been busy...
Kai's been fighting off cold bugs for a couple of months quite successfully, but it was, of course, too good to last! Just after my last post he took his temperature - 38.3°. So it was off to the BHOC. By the time we got there it was up to 38.5°: the nurses took full bloods and throat and nose swabs to be analysed urgently while we waited to hear what we should do. Happily, the initial results came back negative, so we came home again (with a course of anti-biotics to tackle a minor unrelated possible-infection) but were advised, as ever, to contact them if we were worried. At this stage there's the possibility that other worse infections can creep in under cover of a cold or flu bug, so any time his temperature gets above 38° we're to ring for advice.
The bug is now on the way out - it was a cold, but quite a nasty one, and it looks like it may be a little while before he feels completely better. Hopefully his new immunity to that one will stop him getting another for a few weeks (for my sake too, his coughing keeps me awake). Other than that, all continues well. The next hurdle is in a few months, when they'll be testing for chimerism. It's vital that my stem cells have taken over, and there are none of Kai's left, for the transplant to be considered a success (as I understand it the tacrolimus is the drug that's keeping his down/killing them off, which is why they won't reduce the dose yet. That's the med that makes him feel fuzzy-headed, unfortunately...)
We've let the university know that, if all continues as it is, he'll be starting his course in October.
We haven't been for a walk in over a week, as he hasn't felt well enough. Looking forward to restarting them, as although I have time this fortnight to catch up with all my own stuff, I find I rather miss them!
Sunday was Mothering Sunday: Ken and I went out to Wyevale for me to use up some of my vouchers (2 for 1 on breakfasts, £2 off a purchase, £1 off the latest copy of the BBC Gardener's World, plus double points. It was really nice, and we came back with the veg seeds I need for this year and two camellias (on special at a third off!) - an Adolphe Audusson, planted out the front, and a Nagasaki (I've wanted one of the latter for a while now). That will be planted at the back, but we're not quite sure where yet. It'll probably be between the spiraeas in the unicorn bed to the side of the greenhouse.
After dinner we watched Starship Rising... Yes, we knew it was going to be pretty bad from the IMDb review, but I was fancying 'park your brain atthe door' entertainment to end the day.
... it was awful. I think it qualifies as the worst film I've ever seen. It tried hard, with some excellent, strong female characters (who would have been more believable had they not been plastered in inch thick makeup and wearing ridiculously high heels), with the look of the live action Casshern and a vague feel of Lexx, but apart from that... Ken described it as the visual equivalent of Vogon poetry. Kai said it was like a bad fanfic. To me it played like a 26 ep bad s-f series condensed into an hour and half. It was incoherent, the acting was dreadful and the dialogue incomprehensible.
And there's a sequel!!
Yesterday I (reluctantly, as the new position is much more exposed and less secure) moved the planting table out from it's usual position by the fence (to stop next door killing off my seedlings, he cost me hundreds in lost produce last year), cleaned it and got the first of my seeds on the go - spinach, radishes and the first batch of peas. Ken picked me up a couple of packs of peat/cardboard pots at Broadwalk: I need more compost, but I think I can buy a small bag at Sains to keep me going until I can get out to a garden centre.
When Sue visited last she brought over the Zodiac DVD set (I'd had it on my amazon wishlist) and we watched the first ep. I was hooked, ordered it, and we've been watching it after dinner for the last few days (and I've been writing the ep guides on the IMDb). It's wonderful! Very much of its time, but such fun! It has the ambience of The Avengers (the John Steed/Mrs Peel version, not the superheroes) with a tiny hint of Sapphire and Steel. I really wish it had gone to a full twelve eps instead of stopping at six.
Still ploughing through Transformers: Armada, writing up an ep at a time on the IMDb (ep 38 today...). Then - oh joy - I'm determined to do Energon and Cybertron too, at 52 eps each... Glutton for punishment indeed. But I don't like leaving things unfinished.
Which naturally leads to the consideration of Poppy. It's been nagging, but I've also been undecided how to proceed. The Tales are based on the Bayverse films, and now, of course, there's Age of Extinction to take into account. I could ignore it - but I actually really like the film... I think I have the plot organised in my head, will try to get it on rust asap.
Finally, Ken's latest book - The holy well and the Chapel of St Anne in the Wood.
Ken's been writing this for some years, slowly accumulating information, and when the Discover Brislington Brook project organisers suggested it would be a good complement to their work, he happily agreed. The book was to be paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund - but instead of putting it out to tender, the organisers insisted it be published by Fiducia, a small, independent local publisher. Ken wasn't completely happy with this, but after so much work - and under pressure from the organisers - agreed.
Well, Fiducia might have been good in the past, but it's under new management, and said management is aggressive, combative and, quite honestly, incompetent. They wanted the book to go to press riddled with typos and inaccuracies: when Ken refused they asked to go to mediation. Ken had to take a day's unpaid leave to do so (and remember this was all happening at the time when Kai was facing his transplant and the future was uncertain and terrifying).
The results were not good. (How much so? The following day the mediator rang Ken to apologise: he said in all his career he'd never had to deal with anyone so unreasonable.) The upshot is that the time ran out for the Lottery Fund cash, we had to use Archyve as the publisher and pay for everything ourselves, at not-for-profit prices...
A (somewhat dubious) bright spot was that the printer printed the first batch at the wrong quality. The second batch was at the right quality, and it meant we were able to provide two versions of the book, standard and deluxe. The only difference is in the quality of the pictures, and even the standard ones aren't bad, just not quite as crisp and clear as the better version.
And the book itself? It's been very favourably received, and despite all the obstacles Ken is happy with it. I think it's gorgeous.
Later edit: [headdesk] sorry - it's Thursday tomorrow. I've been living the wrong day all day...
So - Friday tomorrow. Super moon, partial solar eclipse, and Spring Equinox all on the same day. Should be good!
Heh. Been typing this up for over an hour now - time to get out and get some shopping. Later!
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Farewell, Sir Terry - you will be deeply missed.
Labels: Terry Pratchett
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
We've been watching a lot of films just lately. I picked up the triptych of Lewis Collins mercenary movies - Code Name: Wild Geese, Commando Leopard and The Commander, terrible films but a lot of fun! - which Ken watched with me: found time to watch Speaking Parts (birthday present - surprisingly good, has gone on the special section of the shelf along with Snowpiercer, The Fountain, Cloud Atlas and Only Lovers Left Alive): Lucy (bizarre, shades of The Matrix) and yesterday I'll Follow You Down - a.k.a. Continuum - which is rather good in an understated way.
Kai, unfortunately has the most horrendous cold at the moment. He's managed to fight off most of the cold bugs so far, but this one... eurgh. It's never affected him so badly, and knowing this is only the start of his immune system rebuilding itself is a little depressing. He's staying chipper though, as best he can. But his birthday yesterday wasn't much fun for him... (GoodTwin, I did ask him to email you thanks but I haven't checked he did it and his memory is fuzzy atm. He really appreciates the present, though he doesn't know what he's going to get with it yet.)
Today was actually hot in the sun so I took advantage and started clearing out the greenhouse; Kai came out for some sun and fresh air, and felt a little batter afterwards. Still a bit to do, but it's a little more organised now, and for the time being we've moved the bench inside: it needs some serious weatherproofing, but it needs to be completely dry before I can treat it (we picked up some decent Ronseal stuff in a sale). Should be OK to do it in a week (I'm planning at least three coats) and then I need to burn the sulphur candle in the greenhouse to sterilise it before I start growing. All jolly good, if very smelly, fun.
The frogs have now discovered, and have been bonking in, Kai's woodland pool, which now also has frogspawn. GoodTwin was right when she said biblical proportions. Plagues of frogs in a month or so. We're going to be so popular...
I've left them some food out tonight, in the hope they'll stop burying empty dog food tins in my big plant pots...
Saturday, March 07, 2015
Quicky before I go fall over...
The results of frog bonking season, Roeg's Pool. There's more, but the reflections hide it.
Tuesday, March 03, 2015
[g] Snazzy stealth bomber Megatron now ordered and on his way, to be wrapped and put away for me for Yule...
Monday, March 02, 2015
So... Saturday was great fun. I now have the first two volumes of Robots in Disguise, the companion series to MTMTE, to enjoy, and the wonderful Revenge of the Decepticons: pt 3, which I needed for the fabulous version of Megatron... (His alt mode is a stealth bomber, and that on his right arm is a fragging rail gun!!! I really really need this figure...)
And it actually exists!! [wince] Bit pricey though....
ANYway... a trip to Cadbury Garden Centre was fun, if not overly successful, and was followed up by a general knowledge quiz over dinner at the Black Castle and then Barry Norman's Interactive Film Quiz DVD back at home - most enjoyable! We're going to try to organise a summer visit this year - easier now Kai's improving.
Sunday was the usual manic, and today also very busy: into town to bank etc, then a late afternoon walk along the Whitchurch Way with Kai, as the weather was so beautiful (cold, but sunny).
Clouds over Dundry.
And it's frog bonking season again! Roeg's pool is already half full of frogspawn (nine clumps today: Tyjer keeps poking at them). Probably be more tomorrow -
Heh. We probably need more females.
Sunday, March 01, 2015
... and Sunday just went, again... Proper post tomorrow, I promise. Must just say that GoodTwin and Sue visited yesterday and I had a truly wonderful day!
Friday, February 27, 2015
Yesterday was very nice - quiet and relaxed, with lots of Transformers, both films and figures.
Mix 'n' match Starscream - he comes apart and you can swap his various limbs with other tfs in the same series. Which I won't be doing, as I don't like any of them, but it's an interesting idea.
And I now have Masterpiece Starscream, the Emperor of Destruction, from the 1984 film. (Alas, in that, thirty seconds after being crowned he was terminated. But only his frame. Starscream, as we know, has an immortal, indestructible spark...)
I call him Mothscream.
The design is beautiful - even his fingers are articulated! Mind you, at that price it should be. He's the most expensive one so far, even on e-bay.
The only problem now is that I have all the Starscreams. Unless new ones are created, or someone actually produces the TransTech version, I now have no more to collect.
That's... rather sad...
Today was fun. Kim drove us, first, to the B&Q at Cribbs Causeway (I need a large pot to transplant one of my large plants), then to Almondsbury Garden Centre, who - horror of horrors - no longer keep crickets and frozen rats in stock: you have to order in advance and collect. So we went to the Reptile Emporium at Westbury-on-Trym and bought them there (Feather is now on small rats: large rat weaners aren't enough for her).
Tomorrow GoodTwin and Sue come to visit... [g]
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Into BHOC for Kai to have a tacrolimus level review (the Prof increased the dose last time we were in) - and then walked up to Clifton, across the suspension bridge, and around the first part of the Downs. Of course I forgot my camera... Wonderful though, fabulous views, beautiful sunny day, and now I'm completely shattered and just want an early night.
Hoping to do it again - with camera this time - the next appt next month!
Monday, February 23, 2015
Woke up to brilliant sunshine. Half an hour later it absolutely pissed down - then we had heavy hail. Then sun with gusty wind, then it snowed for half an hour, big soft fluffy flakes that failed to settle. Then it rained again, then it was sunny again, then it hailed so hard I thought it was going to chip the greenhouse glass. And we just had a peal of thunder that rattled the windows (but no rain). We had all the weather in a single day.
This is why we talk about it so much.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
There was a heron on the roof when we went shopping...
Then the seagulls spotted it and drove it away...
The usual manic Sunday...
Saturday, February 21, 2015
It's been a busy few days. Yesterday we went for the longest walk yet, to and around Whitchurch and back. The village is small and not particularly pretty, but it has a couple of streams running through it, which is nice.
Legs and back really aching today though, so haven't done much. Little bit of shopping at Sainsbury's (<- this was in the car park)
and then Kai helped me in the garden. We want to clear the space behind Wendy's hazels and turn it into a little bowl, with lots of moss and ramsons, and later maybe a seat.
Crocuses at the top:
Irises in the rockery:
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Can you hear the shouting and cheering and bouncing up and down?
BMT clinic today. Blood results were very good, and Prof Marks says OK, time for Kai to come off the omeprazole (he'll start cutting down on the aciclovir at the next appt in two months!! but he'll need to keep taking the tacrolimus for another nine months) and start getting back into normal life. He can now associate with people again (unless they're obviously ill) and GO OUT ON BUSES!!
(Oh, the trips we have planned...)
He's very pleased indeed, says everything is going splendidly, and he has every hope for the continued success and (fingers tightly crossed) no recurrence. Kai has come through this much faster and better than anyone expected.
Tomorrow we tell the Uni to expect him in October. Today, we went down to check out the fog bridge before his pentamidine, to celebrate.
(Lots of large photos coming up...)
From the Centre...
Not easy to get photos on the bridge as too many people, and there was a bit of a breeze wafting the cloud away. It was delightfully cold and damp though.
Great fun! I hope we have more art installations throughout Bristol's Green Capital year - I'll try to get to as many as I can.
So - time to start trying to get my own work done again...
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Aiming to get into town to see this next week...
Watched The Maze Runner on Filmflex last night. Predictable, and too much indistinct dark/night action, but it was good enough that I want to see the sequel. Oddly, it reminded me of Lord of the Flies...
Going to try to pick up Dracula Untold later, to watch tonight.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Meeting this morning to decide the fate of the BCP website (the organisation doesn't actually exist anymore, but our BCC liaison wants to keep the site going under a new banner - the Greater Brislington Neighbourhood Partnership, which exists but doesn't have a website, and covers the whole ward). We met at the café in Arno's Vale Cemetery (pot of green tea and a slice of very nice lemon and poppy seed cake for me!) a very pleasant location. Should know the decision soon.
My second favourite scarf has a slightly annoying manufacturer's tag on it. I was going to cut it off - until I took a closer look and read the inscription...
Faith and Robot?! [g] Actually, I believe it translates as Faith and Work (or Drudgery or Servitude, depending on which language you choose to take it from), but Robots will do for me. Needless to say the tag is staying.
Sounds like Kai is finally awake. Better start thinking brunch...
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Apparently it's a foxy day today...
Finally sewed the foxes and finished Kai's advent calender:
The foxes aren't perfect but Kai seems happy with them.
And our outdoor foxes bought us a pair of socks.
Yes, a pair. In good nick too - I think they may have pinched them off someone's line!
Not sure what they're suggesting. 'Here's a pressie - please feed us tonight?' (I put out a bowl of dogfood when the temp is below freezing, but it hasn't been the last two nights and I really don't want them becoming dependent on us. I think they missed it...) 'Here mum, we know your feet are cold, have these on us?' (my machine really chucks out a lot of cold air...) Cute, at any rate!
We're watching the next BatB shortly.
Thursday, February 05, 2015
Catch up, again. I really need to get back into the habit of updating every day...
The weekend was busy as usual: Kai started getting a sore throat, which is not unusual, but by Tuesday it was worse, and when I took a look his throat was red and his uvula enlarged, so I rang for advice and took him in to the day unit, where they took blood for virology and throat swabs, and he was prescribed a short course of anti-bios. By yesterday, his uvula was so big it was resting on the back of his tongue and making him gag, so we're currently on lots of cold water and spoonfuls of honey (and hot honey and lemon drinks) to try to combat it. The advice is to not worry unless it affects his breathing: the condition is very common, it seems. He hates it, and I'm letting him sleep as long as he wants so he doesn't have to put up with it any more than he has to.
T&M were offering Forest Pansy at half price, so we treated ourself to one as a long-term anniversary present (thanks Wendy!) It was going to go in the front garden, as I thought it grew to around 10 ft high - but I misread and it's actually 10 metres, which is too tall for the front. It'll be planted at the back, up at the top, where the roots won't damage anything. Looking forward to seeing how it does!
In other garden news, all the bulbs I've planted (except for the fritillarias, alas) are all coming up: there are some irises already in flower in the rockery. I'll post some photos once I have more to show.
We've finished Sky and Kai and I are now watching Beauty and the Beast - from the beginning, so I won't be posting any ep summaries for a few weeks. But there are almost no ep summaries for any of the Unicron Trilogy, so I'm now rewatching Transformers: Armada (all 52 eps of it), enjoying the action and cringing at the dreadful dialogue. The IMDb haven't actually posted any yet, but they can sometimes take several days...
Better go wake childe, it's nearly time for afternoon meds. Then I have some client stuff to do...
Friday, January 30, 2015
We ended up going for the river walk anyway!
The Great Western Railway coach works and coke house ruins just outside Temple Meads railway station.
Looking back upriver, blue railway and pedestrian bridge, and behind it the houses at Totterdown.
Strange 'bird' installation along the walk. There are four of these in total, along this part of the walk, anyway (this is still part of the Whitchurch Way, which runs from the city centre to Whitchurch), but one of them has lost its head.
That's the Paintworks on the other side of the river, and the Bath Road at Arno's Vale at the top.
They're very strange. They seem to be a mix of heron, starling and blackbird, and are made of whitewashed straw and mud, as best we can tell. I can't find any info online about them, but they may be related to the Art thing that happens here every few years. The last one was about three years ago, I think.
Discovered last night that the ep summaries for Beauty and the Beast season 2 and 3 are incomplete. Will probably tackle those when I've finished Sky (two eps to go), but by myself rather than as a family thing of an evening. I can watch it of a morning, after dealing with mail and before Kai wakes up. It's not like I need an excuse to rewatch it, I love the series, and it would ensure I sit down with feet up for 45 mins or so, which seems to help my back.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Catch up again...
We did go for another walk on Saturday - all the way to Whitchurch, a bit less than a mile further on from the end point of our last walk. Glorious sunny day again, but ow my legs on the way back...
Sunday was busy as usual. After the morning shop, Ken and I went out to Hurrans to take advantage of the last days of their post Yule sale. Picked up two berberis thunbergii at half price to plant with the three we already have, out the front as a security barrier (yes, OK, it'll be a couple of years before they grow to the promised 4' and are fully effective, but still...) I also found this adorable little pot at half price:
I told Kai he could have it if he could make a persuasive case for it, but he decided it was a little too small for his use so I get to keep it! I haven't decided what to put in it yet, but it looks so sweet in the kitchen.
Monday was another good day - cloudy and windy but no rain - so we went for another walk. Much more strenuous, that one, up the opposite side of the valley from the Whitchurch Way. It leads to Stockwood open space eventually, but after climbing up the hill I didn't have the energy to go any further. Maybe next time. The views from the top are great though!
We've now watched both Dragonwyck and The Raven (so funny! "You're defending yourself, you coward!") and enjoyed them. We've started watching Sky, which, while an interesting idea, is proving to be nowhere near as good as I remember. We expected poor sfx and less than stellar acting, but the acting is worse than anticipated (the decent actors in it seem embarrassed to be there), and the story is choppy and disjointed. Luckily it's only seven eps long (heh, I typed 'wrong' there initially!), but how I'm going to write the IMDb summaries I'm not quite sure.
We were planning another walk today but given it's hailing buckets out there and generally grey and miserable that may be a no-no. Since I haven't had time to do much to revise Perfume Power yet, that may be a good thing...
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Quickie before I go fall over...
I've been been enjoying role-playing on tumblr for the past... ye gods, nearly two years! I've made some fun friends, and as a treat to myself I commissioned a picture from Clicha. Clicha is a Transformers fan, and a fine artist. Clicha instituted a phenomenon called Robots-in-suits-January, which I really like...
[g] Ohhh yes...
Clicha is currently looking for commissions to fund getting to AA 2015. Just so's you know!
Friday, January 23, 2015
Cold. It's below freezing out there today. Gloriously sunny though. It's supposed to be the same tomorrow: if it's not too slippery underfoot we'll try for another walk.
Kai did fancy a walk on Monday - along the Whitchurch Way to Whitchurch. It's an old railway track that's been made into a cycle path (the same one that goes past right outside the house) and from here is 2.2 miles each way...
(Ow my legs...) Kai can now do this walk and more without any difficulty - which is wonderful, given that pre-transplant he couldn't climb the stairs without getting breathless and weak.
And regardless of how I feel tomorrow, I'm going to have to walk anyway. Finally managed to get to see the dr about my hip last night, and she's referred me to the muscular-skeleto (I think that's the term) team at the BRI. Apparently the unfused bone might be what's causing the pain and the team will write to me to make an initial appt, but I'm to carry on losing weight (and keep exercising) in the meantime. Oh joy...