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... [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.
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!
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.
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!
Friday, July 01, 2016
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...
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
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.
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...
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.
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...
Monday, June 20, 2016
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...
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!
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...
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...
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.
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!
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.
Thursday, June 09, 2016
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.
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.
Saturday, June 04, 2016
Finally. Next!Poppy - book 7, chapter 23, Prehistoric - now posted in The Poppy Tales (link above). Enjoy!
And at quarter to nine the noise starts. The vibrations are making the glasses on the draining rack clink together.
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?
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!
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.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
[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.
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!
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
Early night tonight.
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.
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!
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...)
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...
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...
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.