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... [19/08/16 - Now reached 01/10/2004]
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.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Another quickie while I have time. K&K are out today, off to Wotton-under-Edge again to explore the escarpment. Should be good views, if a little hazy.
I've sorted the kitchen cupboards (few more bits to go to charity: I think I'm now down to only the stuff I actually use), put a wash through, organised dinner, written up some notes for the Dystopia project and edited three more chapters. Oh, and next!Poppy is started too. Not too bad.
It's not easy at the moment though. Don't know if it's the new meds, or I'm doing too much, or whatever is wrong with my back is getting worse (won't know about that until I see the dr on the 12th Sept, earliest appt I could get, so I assume it's nothing too serious...) My Skype convo with Lutra last night pretty much expresses it nicely though.
Can one sue evolution for incompetence?
It's not quite so bad today, but the pain is still constant, and painkillers don't seem to do much...
Eh well. Have a pretty to end on!
Definitely a flower spike! More photos as it flowers.
My little lithops has flowered this year too, twice!
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Wut? That's over a week zooomed past again! My haddock are escaping!!
Better do the quickest of all catchups before I completely forget what's happened...
The meeting with Marie went fine, she settled on a domain name and is going to play around with WordPress to see how she gets on with it. I have to reluctantly admit it's improved since I last checked it out.
31 photo albums to go (that's including the 6 Ken brought down from his study which weren't included in the original count). The first 4.7 gig DVD has been burned and archived.
It's been too hot (or too wet) for Kai to go out much during the day this last week, so he's had several evening walks with both myself and Ken. I've got quite a lot done in the garden, and the plans are coming into focus. This is good!
And that's basically it. We finished watching The Omega Factor (and I'm honestly not sure quite how I feel about it. Several of the eps were brilliant - Child's Play in particular - but some were disappointing. It generated a fair bit of discussion here though, which is always a good thing). We're now rewatching Trigun, probably my favourite anime of all time. It just gets better and better with each watching!
Off to chop veg for stir fry...
Monday, August 15, 2016
On Saturday Kai and I went back to Radstock to explore the Colliers Way walk...
This would have been less alarming if we'd been able to see the bridge before stepping onto it...
... this is the bridge...
The (cycle)path runs along the old railway track.
Yes, you can ride tandems along here too!
It's number 24 of the national cycle network. Number 3 goes past our house, which is mostly very nice, except when inconsiderate groups cycle past at 6 a.m.on a Sunday morning shouting to each other ...
These were most puzzling...
... until we found out what they are!
Heh. An instructional cycle path! Whatever next!
There are quite a few bridges, both above and beneath,
And inside each of the ones above were strange signs with hands...
This is a bench, for children and adults, we think. There are seats and benches all along the route.
This is the sidings, as far as we got. Kai worked out later that we walked 6.8 miles in total. Legs were burning by the time we collapsed onto the bus back in Radstock, but to my surprise I was fine on Sunday. Very happy about that!
It's an absolutely beautiful walk. Going to go back in the autumn and enjoy the colours!
On Sunday Kai had another venesection session. His ferritin was up a little last time, which does happen, we're told, but the overall trend is still downwards. It was all terribly dramatic though: the centre of Bristol was closed off by the police - on what is probably the busiest weekend of the year, the Balloon Fiesta. Getting a bus back was a nightmare, as the traffic was in complete chaos: ended up getting a no 2 to Broadwalk and walking down the hill.
Later on we found out it was a bomb scare outside Bridewell police station (which is where Ken works). Somewhat alarming...
Ending on a prettier note, there were haloes on both sides of the sun on Saturday evening.
I've stitched these together in photoshop as my little camera couldn't manage to capture both with the sun that bright. Pretty sun dogs. We quite often see one, but I've never seen two!
Today is a rest day. Ken has a couple of days off so has gone exploring something historical the other side of Bath, while Kai recovers from blood-letting. I have to go instruct a workmate of his in how to set up her own website tomorrow afternoon, so have Prowl recharging in preparation. It's too hot and sunny to do much today in any event.
Friday, August 12, 2016
Well, six albums done - 40 to go...
Have some pics!
Twin Towers from the top of the Empire State Building.
Central Park lake.
Shy smiley plant...
Remember when I said I didn't think my original orchid would flower any time soon after flowering continuously for a year? I may have been wrong...
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Contents of both dog-chewed albums scanned by lunchtime on Monday (450 photographs) and today I've scanned all the 1984 America trip. There are 80 pics in each of the other albums (haven't counted how many we have: will do that tomorrow) and I'm hoping to finish the last double handful of the first one tonight.
12 Kingdoms now finished. Before we move on to the next project, we're watching The Omega Factor, which I borrowed from Sue. (I think it was Sue? If it was GoodTwin, my apologies. Brain not firing on all cylinders atm.) Saw the first ep tonight and it's terrific! Low-key, understated, excellent acting and a most intriguing premise. Just hope the rest lives up to this fine start!
Tuesday, August 09, 2016
Levothyroxine was ready for me at Tesco pharmacy on Saturday, so started taking right away. K&K went out for the day, to Radstock, and took the other path and found all manner of interesting things, including a quarry full of fossils... Kai and I are planning to go back for a repeat performance soon.
Meanwhile I got a lot done at home, including starting clearing the middle bed ready for the greenhouse.
And on that subject... Almondsbury strongly recommend their own freelance greenhouse construction "professional", so I emailed him with the details of what we'd like done (a concrete base larger than the greenhouse so I have a solid platform for the waterbutt, pots and a small potting table). Two and a half weeks later, despite receiving his confirmation that he'd got my email, I'd heard nothing (not the most professional of business practises, in my opinion) so emailed again. He came back saying he only builds concrete bases "locally" (what the hell does that mean? Almondsbury is only just outside the Bristol city limits!) but will happily come and check the base is OK for him to erect the greenhouse once we'd had it built. He charges £50 for the privilege, mind you, which I believe is non-refundable.
He also charges nearly double the going rate for the construction, as I discovered when I did a little research.
I am not impressed. Luckily, being webmaster of the BCP site (and webmaster and sec. of APAG, even though it's now on hiatus) I have made a lot of contacts in various trades, so organising someone else to do the work for us shouldn't be too much of a problem. I shall, however, be taking this up with the garden centre, as they really should not be recommending someone who isn't prepared to do the work.
BRI Neurophys appt this morning. Most uncomfortable having repeated electric shocks in both hands and arms. It appears I have carpal tunnel syndrome in my
Friday, August 05, 2016
Later later edit: Dr rang, and apparently I have hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). This explains a lot, and strange as it sounds is a real relief. It's common (15 in every 1K people have it), easily treatable with hormone tablets, and it's one of those conditions that allows me to get free prescriptions from now until... whenever. Might have to take it the rest of my life. Main thing is it's copable, and now I know what it is I can deal with it.
Heh. Hopefully pick up the first lot of tabs (low dosage to start with, then another blood test in two months to check that they're doing what they're supposed to and the dosage doesn't need to be changed) tomorrow and start making a difference.
Later edit: letter has arrived from BRI: Tues appt is for the nerve induction tests to my right arm and hand, not about my back, so that's reassuring. Shall stop worrying now. A bit.
It's absolutely beautiful there, a flat path along the gorge with the river flowing beside us. Ducks, fish, and Kai saw a kingfisher...
We think this is a Calopteryx virgo damsel fly. There were two of them dancing: Kai was lucky to catch this one at rest!
Weir at the mill.
It's positively Middle-Earthish in places!
Weir on the Oldbury Court Estate
We ended up with 175 photos (most of which Kai took. He has got to get his own camera!!) We plan to go back at some point: there are paths everywhere just begging to be explored.
Yesterday was quieter: the forecast rain never arrived, so I did washing and Kai came to Tesco with me - via Victory Park,to keep the exercise theme going. Altogether very pleasant.
The phone engineer arrived at 8.15 this morning. Said the problem was with the cabling outside: he thought water had got into it, and replaced the damaged bit. Well, it's been in place for nearly 25 years, so I'm not surprised. It sounds OK now, but I won't know for certain until the dr rings this afternoon.
My appointment with the Neurophys team is 9 a.m. next Tues. Little worried as to why it's so soon. Hopefully they just aren't too busy right now.
In the meantime I'm continuing scanning photos. Got to the start of my second year at uni now (1978. I feel old...)
Tuesday, August 02, 2016
Another quick catchup...
It's been busy. Continuing the overall 2016 downsizing and clearing out, I bought a new scanner (Canon neglected to make a driver that worked with the old scanner and Windows 7...) so I can scan and archive all our old photos. And I do mean old. I have some black and white ones going back to the late 1960's, when my grandmother gave me my first camera (I was 8, I believe), and a whole load of Uni ones taken with inferior film which are degrading horribly. Only it's a huge job. Ken estimated he has about 2,000 upstairs in storage, we have roughly 1,200 in albums in the lounge, and there's more in the old albums that Quyn chewed. The scanner is only a little cheapie and while it works really well - top resolution 4800 dpi!! - it overheats if I try to do too much. So it's going to be, scan 10 photos, let it rest for half an hour, rinse and repeat. Endlessly.
Going to take a while...
We also have new phones - finally! Our old ones were Freecycled waaaay back. These are great (and come with 15 different ringtones. I have a very popular snippet of classical music which I cannot for the life of me remember the title of as mine). And being able to walk around with it is terrific!
I treated myself to the new IDW Thundercracker figure with an unexpected refund -
He's splendid! But I now need to find a tiny Buster for him. Shall check out toyshops next time I'm in town...
Had a call from the surgery (coincidentally just as a knock came at the door: Royal Mail delivering TC - nice to be able to take the phone with me!) and my doctor wants to discuss my blood test results. Which is a little worrying, although there's no rush, she's going to ring me on Friday for a phone consultation. Also had a letter from the BRI asking me to ring to book an appointment with the Tech Neurophysiology team, Not sure if that's about the MRI results or my hand... I continue to fall to bits.
In other news: Kai's latest cold is slowly going, Ken's is still in full swing. So far I've been able to escape it, rather to my surprise. Hayfever is bad this year though!
No doubt there's lots more (K&K went to Wotton-under-Edge last Sat while I did some major shopping/wheeling stuff to charity shops; Kai and I took an evening walk to the nature reserve last Thursday; I still haven't managed to go for a swim, absolutely must try to make time for it asap; next!Poppy has been started...) but that's the essentials. In a moment I shall update my template to add all the IMDb ep summaries I've done to the sidebar, as I've yet to find a way on the IMDb to look up specific contributors' work!
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Well, the MRI machine at the Chesterfield is great. Much wider 'bore', much shorter body, pale sky-blue and a cool breeze blows through it all the time you're in it. More like lying under a bridge than being shoved into a pipe. I still wouldn't opt to go in it if I had a choice, but it was far less awful than the BRI's machine. (Not sure if the diazepam helped. I wasn't aware of any difference myself, but perhaps that's part of the drug's effect...)
Anyway, all went well.
Kai and I watched Rurouni Kenshin and enjoyed it so much I ordered the two sequels! Now have to make time for Ken to watch the fist one so we can all watch the second and third...
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Well, today has been good. Kai checked his exam results, and found he's passed everything! (Mostly with points to spare, although the one he was most worried about - Intro to Philosophy of Science - he just scraped through with one point more than needed. Never mind. It was enough to get him through. And he made up for it with a good result for Computer Architecture, which he's always enjoyed.) Given what a fight against exhaustion and endless bugs his first year was, we're very proud and happy. And he's relieved - no resits.
And I got a gold star from IMDb!
I have done an awful lot of ep guides for them...
12 Kingdoms is proving to be really good, once we got properly into it. Wonderful characters, and gorgeous design. Most enjoyable. Still complex though - I can only give the barest summary for the IMDb.
MRI Tuesday. Ken's coming with me. Not looking forward at all.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Nightingale Valley walk today. (Mainly pics as I am very, very tired...)
The decorative posts at the entrance.
Where we ate lunch.
View towards Dundry from the top of the hill.
And the first mutant tomato of the year! (Big enough to do one full family spagbol's tomato sauce...)
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Soooo, where were we?
Saturday was enormous fun, with a variety of music quizzes and almost non-stop laughter. Absolutely brilliant - thanks to you both!
Sunday was the usual busy, then Monday arrived with the heatwave. Gah! It's 32° and I'm melting! Had to do a Tesco shop this morning too - oh joy.
We can't go out - UV is at 8 (the highest) so not safe for Kai, but as it's actually cooler indoors right now that's OK. At least the washing has dried in a hurry. Tomorrow's supposed to be ten degrees cooler (fingers crossed) but our forecast thunderstorms look as though they're going to by-pass us. That's annoying, I was hoping they'd cool and refresh everything.
But my plum tree has produced!
They're really tasty too - sweet and juicy. I am very happy about this. Only problem is it and the new apple tree have to be moved this winter, so Kai can take over the top of the garden. Ken's promised he'll dig very deeply to get as much root out as possible, and I'll sweet talk them both. They've only been in for a year so fingers crossed they'll survive and thrive. They're going to be placed just the other side of the greenhouse area, with nothing much near them so I can keep them pruned and pest free more easily.
We've finally started watching 12 Kingdoms (I'm writing the ep guides for the IMDb) and it's very complicated, with a host of characters and action taking place all over the shop. Lovely animation though.
Right, need to get dinner organised. Tinned pink salmon, special smoked salmon I've had in the freezer for just such a day, and tabbuleh salad with homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers tonight. The healthyons attack!
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Later edit: Why the hell does blogger keep double-posting my entries? It's extremely annoying! My apologies, and please do let me know if you spot any double posts!
Just about caught up with everything so here's a bit more detail...
First, Kai's ferritin level has finally shown a marked decrease - 2320 down from 2900, which is great. It was his fifth venesection, so we're hoping he won't need too many more.
It started off well - all the buses were on time, all connections made, and we arrived a little before the recommended two hours prior to the flight. Getting through security was the usual hassle: I got pulled aside and my hands and arms scanned (?? did they think I had a knife or wolverine claws under my skin or something??) and Kai had to go through the special whole body thingie (at both airports. Bristol he thought it might have been because he forgot to empty his pockets and his phone may have set things off, but no idea why at Edinburgh. Quite a lot of people had to go through it at both airports though so I guess the equipment may be more sensitive than it used to be? We both got through OK in the end but it was an unpleasant start and end to the holiday...) Arriving in the rain wasn't so good but I'd checked the forecast so was expecting it.
Though I hadn't taken into account that even though the Festival isn't until August, there would still be hordes of tourists. The centre of Edinburgh was packed, and really best avoided, so our change of plans worked really well. Not to mention that there were a horrifying number of people smoking: the place stank of cigarette smoke. I don't remember it being so bad. I was also rather sad to see so many charity shops along Clerk St/Nicholson Rd. I remember it being lined with individual shops... Sign of the times, I suppose.
Tuesday: North Berwick is a lovely place. The main street is narrow and traffic one-way, the air wonderfully clean and fresh, and surprisingly bustling for such a small place. The seashore is pretty, and the Seabird Sanctuary nice but expensive, and the informative bit was underground, so we skipped it and had coffee on the terrace instead. Lovely view of Bass Rock (and the container ships sailing in).
Got the timing right too, it was spitting with rain as we got on the train. Slept better that night, both tired from walking.
Wednesday: ancient train to Aviemore, but the views were good (I'd reserved the right seats!) and we were both charmed by the route and the mountains. It was spitting with rain on and off while we were there, but we just ignored it. Picked up a few little souvenirs from Tourist Information, then walked a little way out of the town to the Nature Trail, but thanks to the delays we didn't have enough time to explore very far. (Of the photos - that one with the waterfalls is actually at the back of the public loos... And the white on the close up of Cairn Gorm is the snow of the ski slopes, we think.) The sun came out for the train ride back, which was nice. Altogether a very pleasant and restful day after yesterday's walking!
Thursday: last full day, and glorious sun the whole time. We got the bus to Carlops - lovely run along the southern part of the Pentland Hills Regional Park, but Carlops itself was a disappointment. There's plenty to do in the area, but the village itself is just a handful of cottages and a pub (a very nice pub, it has to be said) on a fairly major B road with large trucks thundering by. We took some photos and caught the next bus back.
Holyrood Park is wonderful at any time of year, and this was my first time actually exploring it. It's... very big. And while the upper road is a fairly gentle slope, it's still a long one and punishing on the legs. But oh, the views!!
© Kai. Duddingston Loch
Friday: I booked our flight for quarter past six p.m. to give us plenty of time to do a last minute thing if we wanted and get to the airport in plenty of time, so Calton Hill it was. I lived and worked in Edinburgh for.. oh, it must have been six years?... after graduating, but had never managed to explore it, so it was a first for both of us. Again, wonderful views...
The path. It opened out at the top.
Arthur's Seat. The spiky thing at the bottom is the roof of the Dynamic Earth exhibition. It would have been nice to get there - maybe next time!
We took the tram to the airport - and what a very quiet and civilised mode of transport it is! We were very early, so found a seat at the window of what turned out to be our departure area, and ate/read/listened to music until the flight. It was nice to rest a bit.
Of course there was a lot to do on arriving back. Washing, for one thing! I'm finally on top of it today (weather's been dreadful and I can only dry so much at a time indoors). K&K have also assembled my display cabinet - the extra shelves arrived yesterday:
Of course, it doesn't hold all of the figures - I need another! But I've nowhere to put it at present, so will have to wait a while.
I also remembered the thing I kept forgetting - my little purple orchid has finally dropped its last flower. It's now flowered continuously for well over a year! I somehow doubt it'll flower again any time soon, but that was pretty good, I think. I'll keep pampering it and see what happens. The other orchid is doing well too, not flowering yet but it has plenty of strong new leaves, so I am hopeful.
Doctor's appt for me yesterday. She's prescribed diazepam for me for the MRI, is putting in a request for a nerve induction test to see if we can pin down what's causing the random pain and numbness in my right hand, and I have a blood test booked for the end of the month. I swear I'm falling to bits...
Planning to swim first thing tomorrow, and GoodTwin and Sue are visiting on Saturday. Looking forward to that!