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... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
Sunday, March 11, 2018
And life got back to what passes for normal - manic - in no time flat...
Actually, it was a good and very productive week. After the amazing sleep I had on holiday, last Sun I did a little research and Ken and I agreed we'd try a Casper mattress. Pricey at £550, but they were advertising a 10% off for Mothers' Day, so we took advantage of course. Bit of a hiccup with delivery (bloody UPS...) but it arrived on Thurs. Kai helped me unpack and get the old mattress downstairs, and Thursday night was a dream. Sleeping through the night and waking up free of pain is fantastic. It's actually proving a bit difficult to get up these mornings, it's so comfortable! Ken's not completely convinced yet, but he seems to be sleeping well and said his back isn't so stiff, so I think he's getting used to it. It is completely different to the old-style pocket sprung mattresses, and does take a few nights to accustom oneself to the way it moves (or rather, doesn't!) It's also silent - no creaking of springs... I'm very happy with the investment.
Mon: Into town to try to organise National Express refund (no joy at the ticket office: they said to contact customer service, which I did online when I got back): buy a Crazy Fox t-shirt for Kai's birthday: then to dr for blood test. Tesco shop on the way back.
Tues: generally domestic stuff - two washes, organising deliveries, tidying up stuff. In the evening we watched Geostorm: rather disappointing, if pretty to look at. Miscast, in my opinion.
Wed: deliveries. First seeds planted in greenhouse. The tomatoes on the kitchen windowshelf have now nearly all sprouted - should be able to plant out at the beginning of next month (or earlier if the cold weather has finished).
Thurs: back into town to throw money at the bank: Specsavers for eye test. I need new working glasses and also close work ones, finally. It will be nice to be able to thread needles again, and read instructions... After that it was down to Sains to get refund for the crappy HP speakers.
Fri - Kai's 23rd birthday: woke up pain free... Had a lie in! Took the day easy as legs and back aching from doing so much the day before. Kai and I carried on watching House (up to Season 3 now). The day was generally low key: Kai had to go in to uni for a couple of meetings (it's been pretty much closed this last week as lecturers are on strike), but he seems to have enjoyed the day. In the evening we watched stuff...
And yet again I forgot to ring for blood test results (cholesterol, liver function and levothyroxine levels). Have made a note to myself to do it tomorrow.
Sat: early shopping, as Dawn was coming over for the afternoon for a fest of Children of the Stones and stayed for dinner. I found salted caramel peanuts at Ssins, so picked some up to try. Addictive! I suggested K&K try them, thinking they wouldn't like them, but Ken said they're divine and should be this year's pub nibbles of choice, so I'll have to hide them! Afterwards we watched Lucky Number Slevin, which I picked up for 49p at Broadwalk. It's absolutely brilliant! Loved it! Wish I could write like that.
And today... Mushrooms and scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast, frewtnog pool treated with blanket-weed killer, and a few more seeds on the go in the greenhouse. My second planting of garlic has now sprouted, and there are buds on all the fruit trees... Paninis with red onion marmalade, bacon and brie shortly, then Native on Filmflex for a treat. Roast duck and salted caramel torte (not together) for dinner!
Saturday, March 03, 2018
Just a quick catch up!
Photos of the spray. Storm Emma was still way out at this point, but the Channel was getting decidedly choppy. You can see the snow on the hills in the distance - that was the first fall, a light dusting. The real stuff happened as I was leaving.
The garden Thurs afternoon. It's melting - visibly - now. Tyjer isn't keen: I only let him out via the patio doors yesterday, as snow had just about covered the cat flap. He has full access today, but keeps coming in and settling down by the radiator in this room to warm up. It's very cute.
And this is Talbot Hill (Ken and I went to Tesco to grab provisions yesterday, ahead of the second wave of snow).
We watched Thor: Ragnarok... It's big and bold and pretty and very funny - and utterly pointless! Actually rather nice when a well-established and rather sombre franchise is confident enough to make something so completely daft!
I opened my birthday cards - many thanks, everyone! Loved them! - and a little parcel from Kai. In it was this glorious wooden wol...
And this is the face. Offended, affronted, incensed, pissed off - it's perfectly me! Kai thought it was perfect too. (Should I be worried he knows me so well? [g]) Thinking of using it as my new icon...
I have now ordered that fabulous Megatron and pre-ordered Dinobot from the Big Bad Toy Store: that's my family birthday and Yule pressies for the next couple of years! Photos when they arrive.
Probably time to wake K&K up now, for brunch. I'm hungry...
Friday, March 02, 2018
How Joules can turn a simple holiday into a Lord of the Rings style adventure...
After I posted yesterday's blog I caught the weather forecasts, and began to wonder if perhaps I ought to leave early after all. Unfortunately I couldn't get a signal on my phone anywhere on the property, so had to get Ken to ring the Millbrook taxi service from Bristol. They said the roads were hazardous and there was no way they'd go out, so that put paid to that for Wed. Jane (the apartment's owner) said she thought everything would be OK, and there shouldn't be a problem with me staying a night longer if need be. So I left it and watched a DVD after dinner...
When I got back to Prowl at 11 pm K&K were waiting on a call back from 111, as Kai had fallen ill and his temperature was over 39°, which is dangerously high. I gave what advice I could, and the dr who called back said to take painkillers and keep an eye on it, but it sounded like another of the viruses that are doing the rounds: he gave Kai his telephone number in case he wanted to check back or the symptoms changed.
With nothing I could do, I had to leave it at that for the night. But I slept really badly, woke at 4.30 and couldn't get back to sleep, and with the forecast getting worse and worse (and given that my food - and more importantly BP meds - would run out on Sat) I emailed Jane again...
She advised me to go see if there were any maintenance staff around, and ask them if the road down to the fort was accessible then let her know. I did so, and when I got back to the apartment her friend and Fort resident Sue was at the door. I explained my predicament, and she kindly rang a couple of the other local taxis for me, booking one for 10.30.
Which gave me 20 mins to get ready and tidy the apartment. Which I just managed - then couldn't find the key!
Cue 5 mins panic, which ended when I found I'd put it in my bag. [headdesk] With that sorted out, we headed off for the taxi, Sue showing me a handy short cut that meant we only had to climb a hundred yards up the hill to the turning circle rather than three hundred from the bottom.
Told the taxi driver I needed to get to the Plymouth coach station (there was a 12.35 Bristol coach that would get me back ahead of the storm) and thought getting the ferry from Torpoint then a bus would be the way to go. He did that thing with his face that tells you he wasn't at all sure about that - the road up from the Fort was icy in places and it was worse on the rest of the peninsula - and suggested getting the Cremyll ferry instead. Much shorter and faster trip, and he rang one of the other cars to meet me at the other side and drive me to the station.
So we did that - only the taxi wasn't there when I got off the ferry. And it was cold. I don't normally feel the cold that badly, but I had on two jumpers, my heavy bodywarmer, warm scarf and gloves and I was freezing. And I waited and waited, and didn't know the number to ring to see what the hold up was, and it got colder and colder. Then after 20 mins, when I was 2 mins from actually putting on the llama hat, a young lad asked me if things were OK. I explained I was waiting for a booked cab but it looked like it wasn't coming - whereupon he rang another company for me and booked a taxi (although they did say it would be a half an hour wait). At that point I decided anything would do. But the taxi arrived a couple of minutes later: the lad grinned and wished me well. So sweet! (Perhaps I reminded him of his grandma?)
The taxi driver was another grizzled older man whose daughter is a midwife at Southmead Hospital in Bristol! So we chatted as he drove me - to the railway station. Which, luckily, is only a few hundreds yards from the coach station. (He switched off his meter for the last bit of the drive, since he'd gone to the wrong place...)
The coach station is a bit bleak, with no obvious ticket office. I managed to find a National Express employee, who told me that all their services were cancelled until the weather cleared, but I could claim a refund on my return ticket. Which wasn't exactly a matter for concern right then.
There was a Falcon coach next to the empty and dark NatEx one, which said Bristol on it. I'd not heard of Falcon, but at this point I just wanted to get home. So I boarded, checked that yes it did go to Briz (stops in Bond St near the Megabus stop) and asked how much it was. The extremely grizzled older driver (is it a feature of South West drivers?) grinned widely...
Which is how I ended up travelling 122 miles for just £5.
Nice run too - very very good and careful drivers. Even coming over Haldon, which can be hair-raising even in good weather, was a doddle. There were llamas in a snow-covered field outside of Collumpton. I found there's a Butlins on Exmoor. And we successfully zoomed through the Danger of Death red alert zone that stretched right across our path. Ken was waiting for me when we arrived at the Bearpit, and we got a taxi home.
So that was a right performance! But I got here, and there's severe disruption and transport service cancellations everywhere in the UK tonight and for the next few days, so I'm very glad I persevered.
Kai is a bit better today, though sneezing and coughing badly. Tyjer didn't want to speak to me until I'd unpacked and given him a pouch of food. I do have some more pics - including one of the garden, which is covered with several inches of snow - but they'll have to wait til tomorrow. I kind of got used to having 7 - 8 hours sleep while I was away, so the bare 4 hours I managed last night, coupled with the stress of today and outracing the storm, means I'm knackered and heading to bed soon.
Despite the last 48 hours it was a fantastic break, and I feel very much better for it. My back and legs haven't hurt at all the whole time (GOT to get one of those mattresses...) And the amount of writing I got done?
One page of Poppy.
But hey, that's better than nowt!
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Snow clouds yesterday evening.
And at 9 this morning.
10. The snow is horizontal and the wind chill making it feel about -8°.
More snow forecast for tomorrow, but Friday is supposed to be much warmer and rainy. The bus may be cancelled - I emailed to ask and was told if there's too much snow they will, reluctantly, have to cancel it for safety reasons - but it's only about 3 miles from Millbrook to Torpoint, and the interior of the peninsula is a valley, so hopefully the snowfall won't be too bad. I should be able to get a taxi. Fingers crossed. (I did debate going home early, but I really don't want to lose any of the holiday. Not going to get another for quite a while.)
Occurred to me my mention of a llamahat may not make too much sense. This is it...
Will get to try it out in a couple of hours. There's supposed to be a break in the snow, and I need to venture out to ditch the rubbish and recyclables.
England. Where you can sunbathe one day and get snowed in the next...
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Woke to glorious sunshine, and a chilly but not strong wind. The tide was the lowest I've yet seen...
...so I went for a walk...
That's Kingsand in the distance. Apparently you can walk there along the coast at low tide, although I'd call it more of a rock-scramble than a walk.
The back - landward - side of the fort, with the main entrances to the apartments. Given that the lift is still out of order, it's easier to use these and walk around to the front than go down the longer staircase to the underground car park.
Steps up to the gardens. Too steep and no handholds, so I haven't risked it.
The plaque on the front door!
It's still gloriously sunny - just had a coffee out on the balcony, without a jacket on as it's quite warm. There's been a few flakes of snow back in Bristol, but not even a flurry here yet. Though there are clouds now rolling in from the south and the wind's picked up, so we'll see...
Monday, February 26, 2018
So it was off to Millbrook this morning, in glorious sunshine but an absolutely freezing wind, for supplies and to check out the charity shop, because while I came packed for winter, I did not expect Siberian weather...
The shop is great! Picked up three warm tops (cotton too!), a very cosy woollen llama hat, and a large colour-changing mug (because the ones that came with the apartment are dainty little things no good for packet soup or frothing salted caramel hot chocolate (with or without the salted caramel liqueur!) The whole lot came to only £6.35! Either the shop is very cheap or Bristol charity shops are overpriced... On the way back the taxi driver (there's only one, a grizzled man in a brightly coloured knitted hat and silver hoop earrings: we're old friends now!) said that occasionally you can see dolphins in the Sound. Will keep fingers crossed but I doubt I'll be that lucky.
Millbrook is tiny, but still has everything you might need. This is the shopping centre...
The reddish building on the distant right is the Indian restaurant and takeaway (yes, they get everywhere!): the Co-op is tucked in just beyond it. Extremely well-equipped with everything you might want (except salted caramel ice-cream, dammit. I was hoping for some for my dessert tonight. Got a double pack of individual strawberry cheesecakes instead).
This is the pedestrian access to the shopping centre!
Now I don't need to go out until Friday morning, unless I want to, which is just as well as it's clouded over, the wind's picked up more and the ice green sea is decidedly choppy - heralding the Plymouth version of the Arctic blasts. Though if it's clear tonight I might step onto the balcony: woke up at 4.30 this morning (as I usually do) and the sky was bright with stars, but I was too tired to get dressed and go out and look. Now I have warmer clothes will see if we get a clear spell tonight.
Wildlife watching: three different types of seagulls, and a large cormorant flew past an hour ago. Also a helicopter in the distance, if we're counting such things...
The bookcase. There are also a selection of games on the alcove above the wardrobes, including Monopoly, the Cornwall version.
TinyScream, Smallwave and diddy Ratchet enjoying their first view of the sea.
And last night's sunset...
It's probably time for a lie down now. Later!
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Later edit: A submarine has just sailed past!
Lutra says I should start a 'wildlife spotted' list - seagull, fish, submarine...
I went for a walk around the immediate area yesterday afternoon, to enjoy the sun (though not so much the bitter wind!) before, as Ken put it, the icy blasts set in.
Have some pics...
The small harbour. There are boats here in the summer.
The private beach. A bit tricky to get down to, but very nice all the same.
Not doing much today!
Saturday, February 24, 2018
...with quite a few photos (having found I'm missing the .ini file from my .ftp program I've used the integral blogger photo upload for the first time. Fingers crossed the pics don't disappear!)
Yesterday was ridiculously long. Up at 7, last minute prep for K&K, and making sure I had everything: easily got the 9.30 coach to Plymouth. More than half empty, so had a double seat to myself.
Pleasant trip down, sunny most of the way, and pretty peaceful. I found myself checking lorry drivers for illegal phone users (obviously been watching too many cop programmes...) No phone users, but there were a cheeto-eater, someone getting himself a cigarette, and one driver pouring a coffee from the biggest thermos I've ever seen...
Reached Plymouth at 12.45, then had a 20 minute wait for the local no 70 bus. At one of the coldest bus stops ever, in a bitter wind, because of course the UK is on track for a spell of absolutely freezing weather. Of course it is. I'm on holiday after all...
But the bus ride was fun! Went across to Torpoint on the ferry (never been on a bus on a ferry before), then all around the tiny villages of the Rame Peninsula along the tiny country roads. Hairraising in places. A Millbrook inhabitant got on the bus at Kingsand and sat behind me, so I asked her to tell me where to get off (we got talking and I found out a lot about the area, including the best places to visit if I had time. Which I don't. Maybe next time.)
Millbrook is very pretty. Picked up loads of shopping at the local supermarket (ready meals I can just nuke. No cooking or washing up!), then got the taxi down to the Fort.
... aaaand the lift was out of order. Well, something had to go wrong, didn't it? But one of the lads working on the doorway of the little library in the lift lobby offered to help me carry everything up to the first floor, so that was OK. Actually getting in was a bit of a performance, as the keysafe is very stiff to open, but I managed.
The apartment is exactly as in the online pics, so I'm not going to duplicate them here. It's wonderfully comfortable: the mattress is memory foam and I had the best night's sleep I've had in months (even the lighthouse light wasn't disturbing - more like a slow heartbeat). Going to put new mattress at the top of our 'to buy' list! I did miss my pillow, but the soft ones provided were OK. Neck wasn't aching when I woke.
I have found, however, when the sun isn't shining, it feels quite cool, even with the four heaters. Not overly surprising - it's a granite fort, after all! I brought warm clothes with me and there are plenty of blankets!
The kitchen has an induction hob (I think: haven't used it yet), and there's a bookcase full of a wonderful variety of books and DVDs (including the Lord of the Rings trilogy). Setting up the WiFi for Prowl wasn't too hard, but I can't get phone reception here - don't know how to connect to the network. May sort it out later, but I have skype, and that's what matters.
The beauty of the apartment is the view. This was first thing this morning...
The rock pool immediately outside the balcony.
View from the bed! Sorry about the quality: camera doesn't cope with high contrasts very well.
Oh this is great. Brand new speakers, played fine last night, today the left hand one has packed up. This is why I loathe Hewlett Packard products.
I think it's time for lunch. More later!