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.
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...
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.
Friday, June 26, 2015
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!
Sunday, June 21, 2015
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.
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.
Labels: medical matters
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
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...
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!
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...
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...
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!
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.
Labels: legal matters
Thursday, June 04, 2015
So pretty! I do like my irises.
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?
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.
Sunday, May 31, 2015
... 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.
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
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.
Labels: medical matters
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 Yell.com.
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...
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!
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...
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...
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...
Labels: medical matters
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...
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Have I mentioned recently how much I love my garden?