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, 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?
Sunday, April 26, 2015
I have had a hankering to do something a bit different recently - something along the lines of improving my range of knowledge. I've always had an interest in cosmology, but don't have the physics knowledge to go any distance with it. Physics requires algebra, which is a completely closed book to me. So I've ordered The Dummies Guide to Algebra, 2nd Ed and The Dummies Guide to Physics 1, 2nd Ed. I 'looked inside' on amazon and had Kai vet them first, and they both look relatively straightforward (and Kai volunteered to explain anything I'm not clear on). And I am (or possibly we are, K&K haven't decided yet) going to be joining the Bristol Astronomical Society (they have telescopes!!) If all goes well, I shall later see about investing in my own telescope (right now I have no idea what I need, so will get plenty of advice when the time is right).
Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any free courses, although the Open University does do a sort of 'taster' mini-courses for free, which I shall investigate (signed up for an account yesterday). At the moment, paying for a course is out of the question, though you never know, later on it might be feasible...
I picked up The Signal yesterday, and we watched it after dinner. ... wow... It's very good - we think - but certainly not for everyone. Fascinating stuff.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
[grump] So I had my first musculo-skeletal appointment this afternoon...
I have arthritis in my lower back. Oh joy. And it may be that the unfused bone is tearing the thigh muscle. We won't know until after the MRI. "Are you claustrophobic?" he asks.
"Unfortunately it's nothing simple," he says, "otherwise we could just give you a hip replacement and be done with it."
Well, of course it wouldn't be anything simple, it's us after all...
At least that explains the constant pain. More as I find out more.
On a more positive note, as far as my trip to the Con goes, at the end of May I can get two single tickets to and from Birmingham International at an advance cost of £17.40 each, a much better deal.
And in the garden, the first asparagus has appeared, in the greenhouse half the sweetcorn and all the 'Speedy' dwarf French beans have sprouted, and I have my first iris flower...
Lots more coming if the slugs and caterpillars just leave them alone. I've dusted with Py, put a slug pub in the middle, and scattered crushed eggshells. Fingers crossed...
Oh yeah, forgot to say - hayfever season has started for Kai and I. And he's suddenly developed a sensitivity to cucumbers (my father has that too), which is a pain, as he likes them.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Ken and Kai decided I needed a day out on Saturday, so Ken and I went to Bradford-on-Avon, and had lunch in the Dandy Lion pub!
Beer-battered tiger prawns with sweet chilli sauce, with a side salad of radicchio and rocket in honey-mustard dressing. Ken had a ham and cheese sesame seed panini and let me try a taste as I've never had it - very nice! The meal was delicious, the service excellent, and the pub itself one of those built on all different levels without a right-angle in the place!
<- A Bradford on Avon street. There are a lot of these!
We thought it might be nice to go to Frome as well, but to get that bus we had to go to Trowbridge first, and the bus was very late, so we went back to Bath instead and then home. We'll do Frome another day.
Sunday was the usual - two lots of shopping, washing, more gardening...
Monday's appt was nice and quick, although his tacrolimus level is still too low and they rang at 9.15 this morning to increase it again. Afterwards we picked up his glasses from Specsaver and walked back down the hill through the woods, which was lovely. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies was out, so dived down to Sains to pick it up, and we watched it after dinner...
Hm. Well, it was action-packed and pretty to look at, but otherwise oddly pointless. The first two films were one long chase, this was one long fight. A bit disappointing, to be honest. Eh well, we have the lot now, will see if it improves on a second viewing...
Energon ep 10 watched and written up this morning - I'm a fifth of the way through and it isn't getting any easier or more enjoyable. Easily the worse Transformers continuity to date, with an appalling dub, incomprehensible jumps in plot, and a human character you just want to bludgeon to death. Then again, it was really made as an anime, and Japanese cultural norms are a bit different to ours. But even so...
I shall be Ronsealing the new bench after lunch, and getting some more seeds on the go (more peas, lettuce and pak choi). It's a brilliantly sunny, near cloudless day, and the water butts are nearly empty, but there's rain forecast for the weekend, so fingers crossed. We need it!
Friday, April 17, 2015
Later edit... We had time for two games before Masterchef, the first a quick one to show Kai the moves and explain 'castling' and remind ourselves how to play, since it's been so long (I lost, but wasn't expecting anything else), and the second one a much more serious, defensive game. I lost again, but it was hard fought - and by half way through Kai was analysing the best moves and where we went wrong! [bg] I'm looking forward to playing with him!
The usual catchup...
Tuesday - um... can't remember. Probably shopping and gardening, much of my time is taken up by these things right now. Edit - Kai reminded me: we went over to the Showcase to see Avengers: Age of Ultron, only to find it's not out until the 23rd. I could swear I saw it in their listings all over ostara, but I must have been imagining it. So we still have that to look forward to.
I do remember on Wed Kim and I went to the garden centre at Whitchurch, where I picked up compost, a growbag for my greenhouse tomatoes, new secateurs, the remaining seeds I needed (sweetcorn, galia melons, chives, indoor cucumbers), and an adorable solar-powered wol... (that sounds really wrong!)
So cute! The light is inside, so when on at night it makes the prettiest scrollwork pattern.
Also picked up a two-seater bench from Sainsbury's (£50 - really cheap!) which I need to treat before we assemble it. Shall give that a go tomorrow. Kai wants to clear the area behind the hazels to make a shady nook for sitting (out of the sun, which he will need to be careful of for the rest of his life) and this bench will certainly do for now.
My black tulips are flowering!
Thursday was all garden and greenhouse - now I have the potting compost I've been able to get the sweetcorn and 'Speedy' dwarf French beans on the go (should get the first crop of beans in June from the April sowing, hence the name!), and moved strawberry plants into the old terracotta strawberry planters (they aren't doing anything in the bed, and are prone to being dug up by foxes). Also cleared out my pots: have a couple of hundred more than I need, now trying to find somewhere that will reuse them. Almondsbury used to, not sure if they still do...
Ken and Kai went out for the afternoon - Ken had the day off after having to be a witness for a friend who's soon-to-be-ex-husband was stalking and victimising her (he was found guilty and will be sentenced next month) and took a day's annual leave to recover. They went to Goblin Combe (on the bus route to Weston-super-Mare) and had a fantastic time - so much so that Kai says he has to take me there! Apparently there is nothing ordinary about the combe at all... Cue day out in the next fortnight!
After that busy day we watched Night at the Museum 3 after dinner - it's OK. Not great, but OK as brain candy.
Today I've continued in the garden - wigwams now prepared for the outdoor cucumbers and a couple of melons (may as well give them a go as well as the ones in the greenhouse) and general pottering; slowly trying to clear the veg beds of the small stones that keep coming to the surface. And hoed: it's sunny enough to kill the roots.
The funnest thing of the week, though, is my Transformers chess set, picked up from ebay for £9.99 plus postage. It's brilliant
I mean, what self-respecting Transformers addict could resist a chess set in which Starscream is the black queen?! ("The most powerful piece on the board." Bet Megatron isn't too happy about that...)
The pieces are all based on the Bayverse films, which is a bit of a pity as the designs aren't the most attractive, but the detail is fabulous!
(Optimus made me chuckle. The base is slightly distorted, so he wobbles. Easier to knock him over, I suppose...)
Jazz as bishop made me chuckle too...
Even the board is pretty!
So it's all set up now for Ken and I to at least start a game before Masterchef (semi-finals) tonight. Kai has never played, so thinks he might watch for a bit. Not that I'm any good - haven't played in years and even when I was playing my party trick was accidental stalemates. (Used to drive my opponents mad...)
SO - I now have Transformers Risk, and Transformers Chess, the last one to get is Transformers Monopoly. There are several different versions of this available though, so I shall have to be very careful which one I go for - ideally the 2007 one, not the 2009 or later. Heh. Will have to see what I can find...
Monday, April 13, 2015
This is the little tree Kim gave me as she didn't have enough room for it in her garden. I thought it was a hazel of some kind, but it's looking more and more like a Juneberry (amelanchier, like the one in the middle of the meadow out the back). Absolutely beautiful - but I now have a problem. Apparently there are umpteen different varieties of Juneberry: some are small trees, some are clump-forming shrubs, and others form low-growing shrubby patches. I have absolutely no idea which I have! Do I plant this one in the meadow with the other, in the hope that this one is a tree and the other a shrub, or in the front garden, or risk leaving it in the tub?
I suppose for the moment I'd better leave them both where they are and see what happens over the next year...
Kai had his appt with SpecSavers yesterday (our local branch is open on Sundays): everything is fine, so we think the problems with his vision are due to the tacrolimus, and should ease off once he's off the meds. The optician did say he has the very slightest 'prescription' in his left eye, and glasses may just possibly help, so as they're free Kai chose a pair of frames and is having them made up for him to use when we're out and his distance vision is blurry. Happens just occasionally... Overall though it's a relief to know there's no physical problem.
Everything continues well in the garden and greenhouse. I now have peas and peppers - bell and sweet - sprouting, and have got the first of the mange tout on the go. Nearly time to plant out the first peas!
Friday, April 10, 2015
Another busy week. Have some photos!
We've been getting a lot of garden work done - including incinerating the cuttings from the trees and sterilising the greenhouse with a sulphur candle, which was surprisingly undramatic -
Did the job though. I have the first of my tomatoes and cucumbers now in there, taking advantage of the early sun.
Tulips and cerinthe at the top of the garden.
And Ken took an arty photo of the 'floofy prunus', as Lutra calls it -
On Wed Kai and I bussed to Bath and walked along the canal a little way - his first trip out of Bristol in over a year (we don't count the London trip as that was medical)
Beautiful day but a bit too hot for him, and very tiring. We'd thought about going to Weston-super-Mare after his Thursday appt, but he was too tired after the previous day, so hoping to do that some time next week.
Contented cat is contended...
We also watched Predestination, another truly excellent film. Kai said it was the best and most accurate time travel film he's ever seen (and since we make a point of buying/watching them, that's saying something!)
And today I'm trying for a day off - pottering in the garden, and since I've now finished Transformers: Armada I suppose I should make a start on Transformers: Energon - probably my very least favourite continuity of all. Oh joy.
Oh yes, and hoping to get nextPoppy finally written. Fingers crossed...