Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

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

Other sites:

:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::

I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.

August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [30/12/15 - Now reached 01/08/2004]

If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.

I'm a Member of 

UK Veg Gardeners!

Silver birch at Eastwood 


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

(Joules, Autumn 2004)

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

In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme

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

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.

Currently working on:
Heart, The Poppy Tales

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

Currently miffed at:

Currently maintaining:
Jenni Roditi

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

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

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

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

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

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

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

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

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

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

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

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

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

Murfs - noun, moths.

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

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

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

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

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

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

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

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

The Updates Blog

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

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

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

Butch by the talented 


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



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

A'lestrel by 


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

Kood, my new mp3 


Soundwave! (Kood's still moving in...)

Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 


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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 



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

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

The Zone Plant from
The Zone 



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

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

I'll leave that to others to decide.

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

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

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

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

Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

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

   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust


   Vampire Hunter D Book 1

New Vampire Miyu

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

Yami no Matsuei

   Viz Manga: English translation, Vols 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11
   Japanese 3-DVD set
   Central Park Media: Descendants of Darkness Vol. 1, English/Japanese subbed.

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

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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004
10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004
11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005
12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006
02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006
03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006
04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006
05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006
06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/30/2007
05/01/2007 - 05/31/2007
06/01/2007 - 06/30/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
08/01/2007 - 08/31/2007
09/01/2007 - 09/30/2007
10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
03/01/2008 - 31/03/2008
01/04/2008 - 04/30/2008
01/05/2008 - 31/05/2008
01/06/2008 - 30/06/2008
01/07/2008 - 31/07/2008
01/08/2008 - 31/08/2008
01/09/2008 - 30/09/2008
01/10/2008 - 31/10/2008
01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
01/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
01/04/2009 - 30/04/2009
01/05/2009 - 31/05/2009
01/06/2009 - 30/06/2009
01/07/2009 - 31/07/2009
01/08/2009 - 31/08/2009
01/09/2009 - 30/09/2009
01/10/2009 - 31/10/2009
01/11/2009 - 30/11/2009
01/12/2009 - 31/12/2009
01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
01/04/2010 - 30/04/2010
01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
01/09/2010 - 30/09/2010
01/10/2010 - 31/10/2010
01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
01/04/2011 - 30/04/2011
01/05/2011 - 31/05/2011
01/06/2011 - 30/06/2011
01/07/2011 - 31/07/2011
01/08/2011 - 31/08/2011
01/09/2011 - 30/09/2011
01/10/2011 - 31/10/2011
01/11/2011 - 30/11/2011
01/12/2011 - 31/12/2011
01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
01/02/2012 - 28/02/2012
01/03/2012 - 31/03/2012
01/04/2012 - 30/04/2012
01/05/2012 - 31/05/2012
01/06/2012 - 30/06/2012
01/07/2012 - 31/07/2012
01/08/2012 - 31/08/2012
01/09/2012 - 30/09/2012
01/10/2012 - 31/10/2012
01/11/2012 - 30/11/2012
01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
01/02/2013 - 28/02/2013
01/03/2013 - 31/03/2013
01/04/2013 - 30/04/2013
01/05/2013 - 31/05/2013
01/06/2013 - 31/06/2013
01/07/2013 - 31/07/2013
01/08/2013 - 31/08/2013
01/09/2013 - 30/09/2013
01/10/2013 - 31/10/2013
01/11/2013 - 30/11/2013
01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
01/04/2014 - 30/04/2014
01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
01/06/2014 - 31/06/2014
01/07/2014 - 31/07/2014
01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
01/09/2014 - 31/09/2014
01/10/2014 - 31/10/2014
01/11/2014 - 30/11/2014
01/12/2014 - 31/12/2014
01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
01/03/2015 - 31/03/2015
01/04/2015 - 30/04/2015
01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
01/07/2015 - 31/07/2015
01/08/2015 - 31/08/2015
01/09/2015 - 30/09/2015
01/10/2015 - 31/10/2015
01/11/2015 - 31/11/2015
01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
01/04/2016 - 31/04/2016
01/05/2016 - 31/05/2016
01/06/2016 - 30/06/2016
01/07/2016 - 31/07/2016
01/08/2016 - 31/08/2016
01/09/2016 - 31/09/2016
01/10/2016 - 31/10/2016
01/11/2016 - 31/11/2016
01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016

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.

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Blogger Ellel Bee said...

Congrats on the gold star!

Temps+humidity here are creeping up toward feeling like it's 45 out. I'd write more, but the processor cooling is seriously overworked at the moment.

4:41 pm  
Blogger GoodTwin said...

Well done to Kai - and you!

Fingers crossed for tomorrow...

4:30 pm  

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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.

Pack-horse bridge.

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...)

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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!

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

It was 39.7 in the rabbit shelter today... 2 buns and gpigs out in runs by 9.30, Gandalf still in his hutch with two fans playing over him to keep him cool. It's still 25 out there now.
I seriously hope it's cooler tomorrow!

9:01 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...


Well, BBC weather forecast is for max 28 degrees for Winchester tomorrow, 23 Thurs. It's supposed to be cooler here the rest of the week, max 23, which is (just) doable.

Symps for the pets...

9:05 pm  

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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.

The holiday...

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

© Kai. Duddingston Loch

© Kai

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!

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Monday, July 11, 2016


Sorry it's taken so long: there was an awful lot to do when we got back...

The flight up was uninspiring - clouds all the way, and it was raining when we disembarked. We found the Halls of Residence easily enough, and signed in with a very friendly admin: our rooms were in Baird House, on the first floor. We dumped everything and - in a break in the weather - got the train to North Berwick. The clearer weather didn't last, alas, and the rain was extremely cold, so we came back pretty soon and tried for an early night... (not really possible in a strange place with strange noises, even though the bed was fine and they'd given me the extra pillows I'd requested).

The first full day we planned to explore the castle, but first was breakfast...

Ye gods. As much as you wanted of - sausages, bacon, hash browns, potato pancakes, black pudding, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, Scotch pancakes with golden syrup, vegetarian sausages, vegetarian haggis, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, toast, croissant, at least six different cereals, two different yoghurts, fruit salad, tea, coffee, cranberry or apple or orange or pink grapefruit or tropical juices, milk, water... and for the continental visitors, salamis, crusty rolls, two or three different cheeses, hard boiled eggs, quartered tomatoes, and strange little muffins. And after you'd stuffed yourself with the first course you could go back for more (we didn't), all included in the price. Set everyone up very nicely for the day!

We wandered up the Royal Mile from North Bridge, but when we got to the Castle we discovered that the queue just for tickets to get in was 50 minutes long, so we took some photos and decided to go back to North Berwick for a proper look around.

It's gorgeous there! And the weather was lovely. (And I've laid claim to North Berwick Law, the little volcano on the seashore - see photos, link coming up shortly.)

On Wednesday we took the train to Aviemore. It rained most of the time, but the journey took us through the Pass of Drumochter: the mountains, even in the rain, were dramatic. Unfortunately the train was delayed three times, for over an hour in total, so we didn't have much time in Aviemore itself. But it was a great day out, really enjoyable!

It was sunny back in Edinburgh, so we took an initial peek at Holyrood Park. Oh, the views! We went back on Thursday, after a very quick trip to Carlops (which was a little anticlimactic). We managed to get all the way to Dunsapie Loch before heading back, absolutely knackered...

On Friday morning, before heading home, I finally got to climb up Calton Hill. Well, it's not really much of a climb, we took the spiral path, but the views from the top are magnificent. We got the tram to the airport, and the flight back was gorgeous - still cloudy, but sunny as well. Altogether a fantastic break, and Kai loved it too, I think!

Small assortment of photos here - 52 of the over 500 we took. Well, Kai took most of them. He needs his own camera!

Arrived back to find my raised bed and display cabinet had both arrived. No photos yet - the cabinet is built but I've had to order extra shelves. Kai caught a cold while we were away, but is not feeling too terribly bad, and managed yesterday's venesection OK. Today I've been trying to catch up with everything I missed: still have some client stuff to do, which may have to wait until tomorrow.

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Blogger Sue said...

What lovely pictures! My favouties are North Berwick shore and Dunsapie Loch and Crag but they are all great. The Seabird Sanctuary seal is adorable. So glad you both had a good time.

10:19 pm  
Blogger GoodTwin said...

Amazing! It was a shame you didn't have better weather throughout but I'm glad you enjoyed it all.

10:44 am  

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Sunday, July 03, 2016

Checking in briefly: we leave early tomorrow, back on Friday, hopefully with lots of photos.

Watched Faintheart after dinner. Took a while to get going, then turned into a charming little film, most enjoyable. Thanks Wendy!

Hope everyone has a good week. Later!

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Friday, July 01, 2016

The Poppy Tales 

Twenty-fourth part of New World 2 - Settling In - now posted in The Poppy Tales - link above.


In other news, Kai has a bone marrow biopsy on the 29th of August (two years less four days from the stem cell transplant). Not looking forward to it, but fingers crossed it should be the last one, for several years at least.

There's something else I keep meaning to mention but forgetting every time I sit down here... If I remember, I'll edit later. It wasn't anything important, I'm pretty certain...

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Day +666 (or so we are told!) 

BMT clinic for Kai today, at which the haplo trial co-ordinator told us he was at day 666 post transplant and all is well. Everything is as normal, if not better, than expected, and even the fatigue and aching isn't unusual. The registrar suggested more exercise to tire him out might help him sleep better, as disturbed and uneasy sleep isn't helping the exhaustion, so we're going to try that.

Of course, that would be easier if it wasn't raining all the bloody time... When was the last time we had a summer this wet?

And that's about it. The porch light arrived this morning, and the display cabinet should be delivered next week: they'll let me know day and time in the next few days. Ken is taking the week off for his own holiday while Kai and I are in Edinburgh, hoping to finally get some of his own writing done, and will be here to take any deliveries that arrive.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Another busy day...

New keyboard arrived yesterday, new monitor arrived at 8.58 this morning, and the new greenhouse was delivered and stored at midday. In between I put a wash through, dealt with emails and client stuff, Kai installed my new peripherals (it involved crawling around under my desk plugging things in and my back is very painful at the moment, bending hurts) and I finished off the patio planters...

They'll look better when the plants have grown a little (and fingers crossed I can persuade that daphne to recover. It's not very happy, but has produced a couple of tiny leafbuds since I potted it).

Now have my MRI appointment - 26th July. It's at the private hospital up at Clifton. Ken thinks maybe they're better (more patient, less abrupt) at dealing with claustrophobes than the BRI. Personally I'm hoping they have one of the open machines. Still won't like it but I could cope with one of them...

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Blogger Sue said...

Oh, the pots look very nice indeed. Fingers crossed for the daphne - and that the MRI isn't too bad.

9:08 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Thanks - I'm tempted to buy some more!
The daphne is looking a little better today, I think.
And thanks, me too. Will try to find out about the machine when I can make a little time...

8:12 pm  

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Well, that was insanely busy but very productive...

My snazzy new pots are now planted up, but not yet in position, as I need to clear the woodruff, lay down weed suppressing fabric, then put gravel on the top before I can do that. But it's going to look pretty good, and hide that ugly monstrosity of a fence on the patio area. Ken put shelving up in the shed, and I shunted stuff around: there's a little more storage space out there now. Rob arrived with the electrics bill (less than I'd allowed for so that was great) which is now paid. After dinner we thought perhaps a film on FilmFlex, but we've either got or seen anything of interest, and there's nothing but bloody sport (or endless analyses of the bloody referendum) on TV now SHIELD and Night Manager have finished, so Kai said, 'Let's have a game of Monopoly!'

So out came the Transformers Monopoly, and four hours later Ken won. I was bankrupt by then, muchly due to a serious run of bad luck. There's a space five spaces after GO! which demands you pay 200 (shanix/£s/$s) for repairs if you land on it, thus negating the 200 you get from passing GO!, and I landed on it. SEVEN TIMES IN A ROW. [grump]

But it was great fun! For a while it looked like Kai was going to win, but Ken played strategically and wiped the board with us both.

Today was bitty but very useful. I read TF7, the first of my new graphic novels (got five more to enjoy now I've caught up!), then did a small shop, paid the plumbers (much less than I was expecting! And they really did a fantastic job), cleared one shelf of the bookcase that will be going when the display case arrives (that was ordered yesterday, along with a new keyboard and monitor and our classy new porch light), and K&K did a whole load more sorting out too. Then after dinner we watched the last two eps of Time Trumpet (I've been writing the plot guides for the IMDb, but haven't enjoyed it much. It has miniscule flashes of brilliance, and ep 3 was very funny, but on the whole it's disappointing. Tries to be edgy but only succeeds in being thoroughly distasteful... Looks like I'm the only person who thinks that though, given its 8.3 rating).

So possible early night, although I've finally managed to catch up a bit on my sleep and am feeling a lot better for it. Tomorrow should be a little quieter, but I'm expecting the start of the deliveries.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

We're out. Oh joy...

Here's something more fun. Kai and I went to Radstock on Wed, to walk the railway path. This is Five Arches, where the old railway ran, one under the other. Lovely walk from the town centre all the way to Midsomer Norton (we turned and walked back) and then a fine long bus ride home along the crest of the hill in the rain!

Gas boiler has been serviced this morning, the old bathroom radiator replaced with a lovely new one (that we can adjust the temperature or even turn off!) and we're now having the leaking pipe in the chimney breast fixed (just age luckily, no worse damage, though I will need to clean and replaster the corner where the damp has eaten away the old, and Ken will have to cut the plank of chipboard I picked up on my way back from swimming to size to make a new removable panel, as the old one was rotted through and mouldy). It's going to be a bit of a DIY weekend. Probably good that the forecast is for rain, then...

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Blogger Sue said...

That looks a lovely walk.

9:32 am  

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Summer Solstice 

So, I now have a double socket in this room, we have a brand new, bang up to spec fuse board (or box, whichever is the correct term these days), and glorious strip-lighting in the kitchen. It's like having a slice of sun in there! All in all a good day.

Well, except for the letter from the orthos who think I may have this. Which would at least explain the constant nagging pain that feels like my lower spine is being squeezed. Oh joy. MRI will confirm...

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

So off we headed for Weston-super-Mare, expecting it to be relatively quiet, as it was a bit of a cool dull day...

We haven't been watching the local news this last week, otherwise I'd have known that it was Weston's Air Festival and Armed Forces Weekend. We've been to this once before, when Kai was little and GoodTwin drove us. That was the first time he sat in a helicopter...

The first thing that greeted us was the Red Arrows!

It was fantastic, but of course everywhere was absolutely packed, and the cars stretched for a very long way along the dunes that Kai had hoped to explore, so we meandered back and came home. But all in all it was a wonderful day, and it brightened up later too, so the bus ride back - although extremely good-naturedly noisy - was fun.

Today Kai came with me to Tesco and Sains to help with the shopping (Ken had Father's Day off!), and when we got back I turned out my figures tub, dusted everything, and decided it's no good, I need a floor to ceiling, mirrored back, glass-fronted, light up display case for them all.

This extensive a collection really needs to be properly displayed. So I'm now on the lookout for a case to replace the bookcase to the right of the patio doors (everything in that can go onto the shelves currently devoted to my Starscream collection).

All jolly good fun!

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

Lovely to see the Red Arrows were able to do a proper performance :)
And that will need to be quite a large display cabinet...

10:57 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Yup. Think I found it though...

11:07 pm  
Blogger Ellel Bee said...

Awesome photos of the Red Arrows, thanks!

The display cabinet fills me with envy. Lovely piece of furniture.

11:31 pm  
Blogger Ellel Bee said... requires me to prove I'm not a robot. Way to rub it in,

11:32 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

If you'd like bigger ones, let me know and I'll email. These are cropped and quite small.
As for the case - yes indeed! A little pricey, but given how much some of my Starscream collection has cost me it would be great to have them all protected.
And I fully agree re: prove you're not a robot. It's bugged me for ages. Talk about speciesist!!

11:39 pm  

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Just quickly because knackered. Climbed Talbot Hill twice today...

Rob couldn't make yesterday - surprise meeting - so came this morning at 8.30 (giving me time to swim 18 lengths first and grab a small Tesco shop on the way back home). He fixed my lights in here first (very ancient wiring meant one bulb kept shorting out), then took a look at the shed.

Oh boy. The abomination of wiring Denis had left in the fuse box out there had even me gaping - and apparently a self-sacrificing slug had crawled inside and laid itself across the live and earth contacts, blowing the circuit (and causing the entire house to lose power until we took the shed fuse out), I assume in retribution for my dedicated mission to smash, slash and dismember every gastropod I find. Except for leopard slugs, because they are cannibals. It took Rob over an hour longer than anticipated to sort out the really quite dangerous mess and get everything working properly again, but he succeeded, and now all the lights (including the one outside the shed that lights up the path) are working. YAY!

It did mean he didn't have time to do the kitchen light - coming back Mon or Tues to do that, along with adding a couple of sockets in my room, installing a new fuse box, and hopefully getting the wiring ready for the porch light we will also soon have - but he did just have time to put in my new kitchen sockets. Instead of three dodgy ancient ones, I now have eight fully functioning sockets. I don't know myself!

Then Kai and I climbed the hill to Broadwalk. He had a drs appt (his dermatitis is back: needed prescriptions for cream and the special shampoo) and I had to collect my new glasses (my own lightweight frame, new lenses). We had several lucky finds at the charity shops too, then walked back and I made fajitas for dinner. Did offer to take Ken out for his birthday, but he says he's too old now to want the fuss. To be honest, I know how he feels!

So, since Lutra's computer has packed up and we can't enjoy our usual Friday confab for a little while until she gets a new one, tonight I'm going to read some fanfic until I can't focus any more then go fall over. Won't take long. Tomorrow Kai and I might be heading out, possibly to Weston-super-Mare. I rather like the sound of this year's sand sculpture festival...

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Blogger Ellel Bee said...

We've had a repairman in too - ours is a plumber by trade but he does all kinds of work if he likes you. Apparently he likes my housemate.

He looks enough like the Mario Brothers to make one grin, though, and Plumber's Crack? You betcha.

11:36 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...


11:47 pm  

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Well, Deadpool had me (and K&K mostly, though I got more of the in-jokes than them simply due to being more familiar with the Marvel universe) snickering, chuckling, and outright laughing all the way through. Loved it. Rude, crude, violent and extremely gory, and funny as hell. There HAS to be a sequel!

On Monday things looked like this...

Yes, the safety barriers had been left leaning against OUR wall.

They were still there this morning when I headed off to the PO, but as it happens the company are currently making a mess of the pavement at the bottom of Sandy Park Rd, so I stopped them and asked when they were going to shift the damned things. They apologised, took the address and said they'd get back to HQ about it. I thought that meant they'd probably still be there next month, but a few minutes after I got back from Sains a truck was outside and they were all being loaded. It's all clear now. Which just goes to show if you want something done properly, you have to do it yourself...

On Tuesday Kim drove us both to the Tickenham Garden Centre, where I spent rather a lot of money on some very sturdy and snazzy pots to hide the fence on the patio. My bay tree is going in one, and I have a lilac for one of the others, but not sure yet what to put in the third. It was a fun day, great to catch up on the news: Kim is about to become a grandmother!

This afternoon Kai and I went to see X-Men: Apocalypse. Predictable, of course, but very enjoyable, nicely character driven, and the new Nightcrawler is fantastic!

Tomorrow we have our friendly local electrician coming back to do a bit of essential work: the power went out completely on Monday evening: worked out it was the fuse to the shed that kept going, but we've no idea why. He'll put that right for us, fit me some new sockets in the kitchen, a new kitchen light, see if he can fix the light in my room, and take another look at the fuse box (it badly needs bringing up to spec, so that's the next thing on the agenda - asap!) In the meantime I desperately need an early night...

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

A productive weekend, if I do say so. General busyness, Easyjet check-in (we now have our boarding passes - and the Cairngorm trip tickets came in the post last week), and next!Poppy is now started.

Last night we watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine in preparation for Deadpool, which I'm hoping to pick up tomorrow. Been looking forward to it!

And tonight we watched Rio 2, which I picked up cheap quite a while back after we watched and enjoyed the first Rio. I thought 2 was better than 1, very pretty and colourful and a terrific soundtrack, with a (perhaps too fast paced but nevertheless) decent story.

Interesting factlet: Will.I.Am is in both Wolverine Origins and Rio 2...

Debating an early night. Probably won't happen though!

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

It has been carer's week this week. I have used the network several times in the past couple of years, since I became Kai's registered carer, but have never gone to any of the meetings - they're every three months, but the locations are a bit of a hike for me to get to. However, yesterday I went to the meeting at the Vassall Centre to get an idea of what they're like.

It was all very friendly and welcoming, once I got used to the "Hello, I'm [name]. Who do you care for?" as the standard greeting. The presentations were clear, the presenters themselves lovely (and the buffet lunch was very tasty too!) but overall it wasn't a great deal of help to me personally. The focus tended to be on carers for the elderly and those with dementia, so before I left I introduced myself to the organisers, told them about Kai, and asked for more information about becoming a Carer Representative, specifically for young people like Kai. The organisers were delighted (I got the impression they don't have such a rep yet), have taken my details, and will get back to me.

Got the bus back to town with Janet, who is a couple of years older than me and cares for her 91 year old mother who has a wide variety of physical and mental needs. We got on well, and I hope we can reconnect at the next meeting.

This is how the road was left last night.

As I was leaving the house - at 8 am - the workmen were back next door, using the angle grinder (which of course woke Kai up, but Ken tells me he managed to get back to sleep when they stopped). When I arrived back it looked like this:

What I assume has happened is he had all the old cobbles lifted and carted off for recycling - by a company who should have bloody well known better - realised or had it pointed out to him that that was not a good idea, then panicked and had the whole stretch of the cobbles up to the party wall dug out, then relaid far too widely spaced in an attempt to cover up his 'mistake'.

This what they should look like, fossils and wear and all:

This is what is there now:

Ken is livid - and so will all the other archaeologists and historians in the area be when they find out. This is the destruction of part of the Edwardian heritage and charm of the area. On Mon I'm going to contact my liaison at BCC (no point in working freelance for them if I can't use them occasionally!) for the exact email addresses of the people to complain to, then make an official complaint as webmaster and general oracle of the BCP. I'm going to suggest Ken use his work email to make his complaint: it may have more clout if it's interdepartmental. I'll also alert the good folk at Brislington Conservation and History Society and see if they want to get involved.

And in the meantime, the work remains unfinished (though I note this morning both their cars are now up on the drive) which means at some point we are going to be disturbed yet again.

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Thursday, June 09, 2016

And we now have two gas emergency vans parked outside.

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

Complain, loudly, to whoever you can find. I seriously hope your gas suppliers can sue him for the cost - perhaps he could also be sued for the inconvenience to his neighbours?

12:08 am  

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Second post of the day... Back from my Ortho appt at the BRI. Big kudos to me from consultant: hips and legs now about as strong and flexible as they're going to be, and it's all due to my keeping on with the exercises and swimming. However, the new and random pains in my legs may be due to problems with my lower back. I know I have osteoarthritis developing, but he wants to investigate further.

I have to have another MRI.

I did explain I still have nightmares about the first one and is there any other option, but apparently there isn't. He is going to recommend my dr prescribe me some sort of sedative to be taken before the procedure, which may help. Ken has offered to come with me (I might need help getting home anyway).

So, Kai and I settle down to watch Interstellar - and the drilling inside next door starts up. We stop the film, thinking it'll probably only be for a little while.

And then they start attacking the road, further up outside ours, with a pneumatic drill.

I have an email prepared to go to the BCC, but I need to get a photo of whatever it is they're doing first. After they've gone. We have drains, waterpipes, gaspipes and gods know what else underground out there. Not to mention a bloody great lorry is now blocking the entire road.

I think if there was any good will anywhere in the street left towards him, he's just destroyed it.

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Twenty two lengths this morning - though the last two were arms only, then legs only, to see if I could. (I could.)

When I got back a truck with tarmac was parked next door (and next door again, bet Bill's happy...), and the complete hack job is being fixed. Hopefully. Given just about everything he does is an automatic fail, I'll wait and see. But at least the problem of the blocked pavement may be coming to an end. Since last Saturday we've had this -

Not a problem for us, particularly, but anyone with a buggy or pushchair, shopping trolley or simply using a walking stick has had to get off the pavement and walk in the middle of the road to get around the car. And yesterday his wife's car was parked against the safety barrier, making it necessary to walk in the road for two car lengths before being able to get back to safety... I'm still tempted to report it to highways. It's hazardous.

It does, however, illustrate the depressing fact that he is entirely lacking in common sense, empathy, and consideration for other people.

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

I'd report him, regardless. Not quite sure what the rules are but I'd be surprised if he had permission to block the pavement like that. And it's not entirely clear from your photo - have they installed block paving to the roadside? I think the Highways Agency might have something to say about it.

11:23 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Still considering it.
It does look as though the cobbles (or probably replacements, as Ken says the originals went off in the skip with the rest of the rubble) are being reinstated. If they aren't, Ken will be livid and do something about it, they're a distinct archaeological feature of the area, and Highways will NOT be happy.

2:34 pm  

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Saturday, June 04, 2016

The Poppy Tales 

Finally. Next!Poppy - book 7, chapter 23, Prehistoric - now posted in The Poppy Tales (link above). Enjoy!

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And at quarter to nine the noise starts. The vibrations are making the glasses on the draining rack clink together.



Blogger GoodTwin said...

Oh joy. The only consolation is that those are expensive to hire so with any luck it won't be for long.
It's a shame the dipsticks of this world outnumber the rest of us - we all have to live next door to idiots...

10:19 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Now the angle-grinder starts up...
He simply doesn't give a flying fuck about anyone but himself. Including, apparently, his own family.
I'm playing music now, at 75% of max.

10:41 am  

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This was the scene outside at 8 o'clock this morning.

Yes, that is a large digger. You can tell what sort of a weekend we're going to have, can't you?



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Friday, June 03, 2016

Quickie before I go flake out - knackered again.

Dental appt was changed to 9.15 Wed (they had a cancellation) and Cristina filled the hole left by the broken off bit of tooth (it was either a filling at £54 or an inlay at £231, and that is a bit beyond us this month) but warned me it was a large deep filling and needed at least 24 hours to dry and harden. So not to eat anything solid at all for 24 hours. Oh joy. (Dinner was cheesy creamed potatoes with ice cream for dessert...) It seems to be holding so far, so fingers crossed.

Kai's last exam (Group Theory, which I keep reading as Group Therapy for some inexplicable reason...) went OK - in fact, he said he had more knowledge than time to put it down in writing, so that sounds fine. Definitely a good way to end the exam season. I watched War Horse - finally - while Kai was in the exam; nice film, a little overly sentimental towards the end, and of course it was a tear-jerker (most films with animals, especially set in wartime, are, after all) but a decent watch.

Ken and I have started a tradition of 'wine date Friday', whereby I buy a bottle of wine (usually Australian or New Zealand, as we particularly like those) on special and if the weather is fine we sit on the bench at the top of the garden after dinner and enjoy it with a little together time. It's lovely and I have every intention of continuing it. Tonight's bottle was a pinot grigio from NSW - OK, but nothing to rave about. Pleasant enough for a lovely sunny evening though.

(A little backstory for those who don't know, which is probably pretty much everyone reading: my first husband ended up as a manager for Oddbins the wine merchants and used to bring work home with him, so I got to try a fair variety of decent wines way back, before I divorced him. The interest in wine remained, however, and renewing it is fun!)

Off to bed soon, but hoping now the exams are done that's another layer of stress gone and we can relax and enjoy the summer!

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Thursday, June 02, 2016

20 lengths this morning (before painkillers) and for the last two I had the slow lane to myself (there were only two other people in it when I got in, and only three other people in the whole pool when I got out). Chuffed about that!

We finished watching The Dresden Files, and it was as good, if not better, than it promised to be from the first couple of eps. Oh, how I wish it had gone to a second season! Wonderful stuff. Why are Canadian TV productions so much better than American ones...?

Client stuff to clear then I may even be able to take a stab at next!Poppy.

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Blogger Sue said...

Well done on the swimming! I enjoyed the few episodes I saw of The Dresden Files. I liked the actor playing Harry. Another Brit picking up the lead in an American/Canadian series.

4:59 pm  

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Please note - large spider photo further down. 

[sigh] I am having nothing but trouble with my teeth this year. Now another chunk of enamel has broken off a different back tooth, leaving a whacking great hole around the filling. Luckily I was able to get an appointment for Thurs (8.30 am... Perhaps I'll swim first thing and go there straight from the pool: saves climbing the hill twice in two days...) Oh joy. Wish I could afford to have all the filled ones replaced with implants. Only problem is, that would leave me with about four of my own teeth...

On a brighter note, I'm happy to report that the new pillow worked extremely well, and this morning I woke without pain. Going to go back and get the same pillows for K&K: I'm sure they'll sleep better for it!

Did a little gardening this morning, cleared most of the grass from the salad burnet patch and layered three sprigs of rosemary (it's in the wrong place with the new plans so going to see if I can get it to root before we dig it up).

My heuchera patch is looking very colourful this year!

And here's Rosa being thoroughly splendid. I'm feeding her a couple of crickets a week at the moment and it seems to be keeping her happy.

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Another quick update before staggering off to bed...

Was distinctly ill yesterday - I suspect possibly a prawn in the mixed bhuna I ate on Sat night. Took me till early evening to feel a bit better. Gods, I hate wasting a day on summin like that! Not to mention my ribs hurt like hell when I cough from several hours of throwing up. OK again today though (I swear I have a lead-lined stomach...) so did a double shop and picked up a Slumberdown pillow at Tesco for my legs. Will try it out tonight, but initial prodding does seem to suggest it'll stay in place and stop the painful leg aches I've been getting now the double pillow I have been using is no longer soft enough to be comfortable.

But oh oh OH! We've just watched Russell Davies' A Midsummer Night's Dream and it is seriously awesome! I have absolutely got to have it when it's released on DVD. Fabulous adaptation! Not to mention superb, scenery-chewing-as-befits-the-subject acting! A sheer joy to watch. [happy sigh] With a bit of luck it'll influence my dreams tonight...

Quick edit: it'll be available from amazon on June 6th. Have pre-ordered!

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

We're debating catching MND on iplayer - we don't want it to influence us :) However, I'd really like not to dream about it - my dreams are full of Shakespeare after every rehearsal atm and it's getting tedious...

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

No, you really don't want to watch it until after the amdram... Hope that's coming along well. When is opening night?

8:13 pm  
Blogger GoodTwin said...

We watched it last night - I have to agree a fabulous presentation, even if they did play fast&loose with some of the speeches and storyline. It's given Adrian a few pointers as well.
Our rehearsals are full-on - the effects will be pretty spectacular (if not up to BBC standards) and so far it's going well. We open on the 17th for 5 performances :)

11:14 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Sounds fantastic - can anyone film it?

3:45 pm  
Blogger GoodTwin said...

Everything was somewhat flat tonight - please send encouraging vibes! :)
There's generally a video made of each production so I hope so. We usually get a copy to keep.

12:12 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

... It WILL be good. It WILL be inspiring. This is just a minor glitch.
Sending 'fluences...

12:19 am  

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Very quickly, as I'm knackered...

While Kai revised (last two exams next week) Ken and I went to Almondsbury Garden Centre, priced up plants, and bought my greenhouse. It'll be delivered in approx 4 - 5 weeks.

Ordered a curry out when we got back, then watched Castle of Otranto Crimson Peak. Hm. Well Gothic, interesting, well acted, but I don't think we'll buy it.

Early night tonight.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016


[vbg] We longer owe anyone anything.

... actually that's not quite true. I owe a letter (sorry Noirin, I have your card sitting on my desk glaring accusingly at me, will reply as soon as I can), several well-overdue emails, and of course I owe everyone the next Poppy chapter. But the mortgage is now completely paid and we no longer owe anyone any money!

And the champagne was wonderful. Crisp and clean with citrus foretaste, and floral, apple and honey finish. Very very nice indeed.



Blogger Sue said...

Congratulations - it's a nice feeling, isn't it? :-)

7:31 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

It's wonderful!!

9:44 am  
Blogger GoodTwin said...

Well done!
Like walking on air :)

11:14 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

[bg] Oh yes. It'll be a few days before it really sinks in, I think. But what a feeling!

11:18 am  

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Friday, May 20, 2016

16 lengths at the pool this morning. Without taking pain killers first! Good start to the day...

We keep catching trailers for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and quite fancy seeing it, so I've been keeping an eye out for the previous 4 films so we can catch up. And, being me, found them all (1 - 3 at 99p each in charity shops, Ghost Protocol cheap at Tesco) within a week. I may find Cruise's beliefs repugnant, but have to admit he's fun to watch as an actor. We've watched the first three and are planning to watch 4 tonight.

It was Kai's Introduction to the Philosophy of Science exam on Tuesday and it was awful. He's struggled with the subject since the beginning, and was panicking badly all last weekend and Monday. However, he has the extenuating circumstances safety net, and actually only needs 40% to pass, so please keep fingers tightly crossed. He has his Introduction to Computer Architecture viva (oral exam) this afternoon: he got to choose one of the three subjects so is going to talk about building his own computer (which of course he did, last year. Or was it the year before? Anyway, he knows that one inside and out so that should count for a lot). It's only a 15 min viva and he's a lot more confident in this subject, so hoping it all goes well.

In other news, I've now cleared the backlog, finished the clearing out, and am beginning to relax a little - just in time to get busy for the growing season! Though that being said, I'm sticking to greenhouse crops this year. The mange tout I planted out were completely eaten overnight (it's been a fantastic winter for gastropods, damn them), so I'm taking a rest this year. By next year I'll have the new greenhouse, raised bed (which I can protect with copper tape, which works pretty well), and more controllable veg bed in the centre of the garden. It means not having any sweetcorn this year, but we can live with that.

The last Poppy chapter I posted was July 6th last year. Going to try to get the next one done before the same date this year!

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Blogger Sue said...

Well done on the lengths, that's really good going!

7:29 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

And this is a follow-up cheer because I've had horrendous problems getting into blogger!!!

7:29 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Sorry to hear that. Are you still using IE?

9:36 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

Sigh, I responded to this last night but it hasn't shown up. No, I'm using Firefox but whether I let the boxes autofil or filled them in manually, it would not accept my email/password combination. However when I changed my password, it worked so hopefully I'm OK again now.
We'll see if this comment shows up - if not, it's back to the drawing board!

7:30 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Mm. Blogger has tightened up its formatting - I had to dismiss a warning in order to get the photo (above) to post. Maybe that's what's causing the problem?
I don't know why they've done it, as far as I knew the whole thing was working just fine before...

9:44 am  
Blogger GoodTwin said...

Whereas, bizarrely, while I'm still using IE on XP (which apparently should no longer work with anything) I have no issues whatsoever - my previous comment I even forgot to check the box to say I wasn't a robot and it still accepted my comment...

5:15 pm  

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

So, accommodation booked at the Pollock Halls of Residence (just underneath the volcano of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh), easyJet return flights Bristol/Edinburgh booked, now just have to book a return rail trip from Edinburgh to Aviemore through the Cairngorms National Park - because Kai wants to see mountains - and we're sorted. Kai can't wait! (Neither can I...)

Dentist tomorrow...



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Friday, May 13, 2016

... It's Friday again?! How did that happen...?

Though this last week really has been exceptionally busy. However, I believe I have now managed to do all the fiddly business stuff I had left (much of it client work), finished the IMDb ep guides for NightWalker, organised my pension drawdown, organised appts for both Kai and I, and we're a little closer to finalising the Edinburgh trip (hopefully this weekend). I've swum (12 lengths), bought myself a couple of new kitchen gadgets, ones to make my life easier now my hands are even worse than before, and... OH! I keep forgetting to say! My wonderful wonderful pillow is still wonderful and making my sleep so much better than it was. For me, it's as cool as the adverts say too, at least so far, and we've had a couple of horrible muggy, hot and sticky nights in the past week.

The knee pillow, alas, was a fail. I found it horribly uncomfortable and ended up giving it to charity. No doubt someone will be able to get on with it, but that won't be me. Ah well. You never know unless you try.

At the moment we're watching The Dresden Files and I am absolutely loving it! Been tempted for years, then I found it going cheap so nabbed it. There's a couple of minutes of glitchy disc in the first ep, alas, but so far everything else has been terrific. The characters are warm and sympathetic, the overall premise intriguing, and there are plot twists all the way through. Infinitely better than Grimm. I am hooked, I tells ya!

I am also exhausted (again) and hoping for an early night. Not sure what we're doing over the weekend: Kai has exams coming up and is doing a lot of revising, though I may drag him out for a break at some point...

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

My life is a bit "Friday again?" at the moment so I know what you mean. :)
Although I'm so busy with the drama group I don't have time to work...

Glad to hear about the pillow, makes it worth considering.

9:42 am  

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Friday, May 06, 2016

Quick catch up, before I completely forget what's happened...

The noise from next door finally ended on Thursday - but, typically, the bit where the pavement has been dropped is now a trip-hazard and will need attention at some point. More bloody noise...

Friday... pretty sure I didn't manage much as the last two weeks I've averaged four hours sleep a night and am completely glaikit...

Sat Ken was working (something to do with the local elections) but it was an absolutely beautiful morning, so Kai and I walked along the Brislington Brook (as far as we could, anyway) then up past St Luke's to the top of Victory Park, where I have never been. It's gorgeous there, and of course I forgot my camera... next time... The walk length was just right for a sunny stroll, and the hill just steep enough to provide a bit of exercise without completely wearing us out. Will go again (with camera) soon.

Usual Sunday. And we planted my ramsons in the newly dug bed between the hazels- doing well!

Bank Holiday Monday: K&K walked out towards Stockwood, again along the brook: both enjoyed it.

The rest of the week I've been:

1 - researching. The provisions of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 are most revealing...

2 - reconsidering the wall. Given it would cost between £6K and £10K, and possibly cause problems later, we've decided to go for a hedge instead (Kai's response? "All the yeses!") Wildlife hedge, a mix of mostly native, mostly evergreen plants. It'll mean more work - I'll need to spray and lay weed-suppressant fabric along the line of the fence, and put in a hefty root barrier all the way along, and leave enough room behind it for me to get in and prune - but it will be worth it. And it shouldn't cost more than £1.5K in total.

Which will leave me plenty of cash to get one of these (6'3" by 10'5") and have it professionally installed on a 3" deep concrete base. I'm planning to put a raised bed along the sunward side, and dig a larger bed for my sweetcorn beside that. Then the veg bed will be planted up with tall grasses and native flowers, and left to the butterflies and bees.

It's going to be beautiful.

Can't make a start until the autumn though, which gives me plenty of time to decide what we want and how we're going to plant. I need a trip to Almondsbury Garden Centre: they have very knowledgable advisors and an entire section devoted to wildlife-friendly trees and shrubs.

3 - checking out the possibility of taking Kai to Edinburgh for a holiday once his exams have finished. Probably flying up there and maybe getting the train back, as the journey is amazing, but it depends on costs. Maybe stay at the uni halls of residence (they rent them out over the summer), explore the city, and Kai wants to see mountains. I know there's a very scenic train route - I've travelled it myself - which winds between mountains and alongside a loch, but can't remember the details so will need to do a little more research.

More on that as it happens!

Nearly finished the IMDb ep guides for NightWalker, which I've been doing while Masterchef has been taking up the middle part of most evening. (Finals tonight then we get back to normal.)

And that's about it for now. Ken's talking about getting out and about this weekend...

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

I trust the pavement drop has been done by the Council? If not, then I think it's illegal...

Anyway, you've been busy! Far busier than I have (I'm enjoying myself far too much...)

9:39 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

The drive and dropped pavement were already there when we bought the house: the extra work that's been done has left a gap close to the wall that's a trip-hazard. It's probably illegal, and I assume he's liable for it.

[g] I've spent a couple of hours this am sorting out the Edinburgh trip. It's all do-able, as long as Kai is feeling OK. He's got a nasty bug (again) atm, but overall, even with the post-transplant fatigue, the trend is upwards. I think we'll have to go for it and try to make sure he's as healthy as possible for when we get there!

Glad you're enjoying your leisure! You deserve it.

10:24 am  

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

On Friday things were relatively quiet - well, the hammering from next door continued (sounded like a sledgehammer, not too loud but the vibrations from the thud thud thud can be felt right through the house), and the Super Mario Brothers DVD arrived and was duly watched after dinner. I'd forgotten quite how funny it is, and we all ended up chuckling. Great fun, and Kai enjoyed it too. Rather a pity a follow-up was never made, it could have been good!

On Saturday Ken and I left Kai to get homework and revision done and went to Street/Glastonbury/Wells. Got a nice haul from the charity shops, and the herb stall was back at Wells market: bought oregano and they had ramsons, so picked up three of those too. Got back to find the crew had gone, most of the work finished (just a little tidying up to do) and everything quiet.

Sunday as usual, major Sains shop then Kai's third venesection session at the BHOC in the afternoon. Nice peaceful day. Then, coming in from closing up the greenhouse in the evening, I heard disgruntled mutterings from next door - and his wife's thoroughly pissed-off sounding reply - and knew exactly what was going to happen.

Sure enough, 7.30 yesterday morning the team were back. I had to get into town to try to find a birthday present for DiL so went in with Kai at 9, then met Ken for lunch. We tried this place, which a friend had recommended: they do a lunchtime special - £4.99, we both had the spicy version, which was extremely spicy but delicious, and the best falafel I've ever tasted! - and got home around 2 p.m. to find all the bricks that had been carefully arranged into a pattern on his patio in piles on his lawn, and the flower bed at the front being dug up again...

They were still using an angle-grinder at the front at 9 (turning it off at 12 minutes past) last night.

This morning everything started at 7.45, with the impactor on at 9 - fortunately at the back, where it's less likely to disturb Kai, who's resting/working at home today. I have to say, the crew are not looking at all happy, and there's none of the friendly (Polish, I think) banter and laughter there was last week. I wish 'em luck: it took the security camera crew 9(? 10? I'd have to check back) visits before he was happy.

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