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.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Autumn arrives with a THUD, Storm Aileen (blew down my beans. At least they'd finished...) and colds for Kai and me. Oh joy.
Just a quick catch up. Won't bother saying it's been busy as that goes without saying. How many semantic whatsits can you see in that sentence? We finished watching Legends, which was dull and annoying in the middle but picked up wonderfully in the last few eps. Then The Crazies, which didn't give me nightmares this time around but is still a very depressing film, and Requiem for a Dream, which is amazing but also extremely depressing. Then The Lathe of Heaven which, while good, could have done with less 2001 and more Matrix. It's one of the very few films I'd dearly like to see remade. We're now looking for the novel.
And tonight we watched The Manchurian Candidate... Wow. It's bloody good! And now I understand all the references to present day politics. Frighteningly apt.
Tyjer's been sleeping on Ken's desk just recently. I guess old age is making him even more eccentric.
Now have dull gold fabric for this room's curtains: am all ready to start the redeco. Once I feel a little better. I always forget how much I hate colds during the summer...
Sunday, September 10, 2017
And the new lamps arrived this morning!
Old (with cat, who is insisting on getting into shot recently) -
Close up of old. Yes, those are orchid lights. I sewed the green satin tape around them to look pretty. As you've probably gathered, I'm rather partial to orchids, and after four grim, horrendously worrying years I feel it's time for a little cautious brightness and lightness and frivolity.
And the new ones.
Yes, we now have mini Martian deathrays lighting up our nights!
They're awfully cute.
And before anyone asks (Lutra), the thing hanging on my side is actually a necklace I picked up at the Salvation Army charity shop along from Wild Oats at Clifton.
Not something I'll ever wear, and Kai thinks it's hideous, but it tickles me. Like a Cybertronian attempt at making earth-style jewellery with transparent energon crystals...
Friday, September 08, 2017
Well that was manic...
Let's just note the highlights. The bedroom sewing is finished -
The ceiling still needs to be painted - Kai has volunteered to help with that. I've ordered new lamps to clip onto the pole that holds the cushions that we use as our headboard. Rather elegant and USB-charged so no more cables! I also need new cushions and a better way of attaching them - will give that more thought. Pics later...
I've now managed to find all the paint I want for this room. Lutra wants before and after pics, so here are the before ones...
Sorry about the lack of tidiness. Also, no pic of the other corner as it's currently piled with pots of paint, painting equipment, the new display case and anything else that doesn't have anywhere to live until I get things sorted. No, I don't like living/working in a mess, so yes, I shall be tackling the painting soon!
Oh, and the curtains will be a plain light gold colour, like the walls, so as not to detract from the displays. Peacock feathers are very nice, but would be too fussy. So rather glad Fabricland didn't have the right one when I was there for the bedroom curtain material.
We're ploughing through Legends still. It's not as much fun as the first season - the lack of Snart doesn't help - and when the third season becomes available I'll probably wait until I can get it cheap.
I like Bollywood films. I adore the musical interludes. We watched Baahubali 2, which is wonderful, and has the most beautiful musical interlude I have ever seen anywhere.
I loved the first one in the first film -
but this one... So pretty it hurts.
(Sorry about the ads, I took out as much extraneous material as I could but Yt will only allow so much. That's the son in the first clip, and the father in the second clip, in case you're wondering. The DVDs actually have all the songs as separate files: going to see if I can mp4 them and put on my phone. The two above in particular are favourites.)
And Ken's home - time to make dinner. Later!
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
I've lost track of time this last week...
Let's see. On Wed we went down to Babbacombe to visit mum Taylor - lovely train trip down, nice lunch in a cafe that allows dogs (mum has two Pomeranians, Poppy and her son Misty) then a saunter along all the Marychurch charity shops. (Kai did quite well: I didn't find anything except another flamingo for Lutra.) She's looking well, and seems to be fine. It was great to see her again.
Looking back at Torquay from Corbyn Head.
We had coffee and cake at the Grand Hotel as we were a little early for the train - very nice place! - and then the train was half an hour late... Still, glorious sunset on the way back.
Tyjer decided he wanted to sleep in the corner of my desk when we got back...
I forgot to say... Kai has had bad seborrhoeic dermatitis of his scalp since the transplant, and over the last three weeks has made a determined attempt to get rid of it - by shaving his head and using the prescribed wash every day. Took a bit of getting used to but he's lucky: it doesn't matter what he does with his hair it always suits him. He prefers it long though, so is now letting it grow back out.
He's also been working on scraping all the old layers of paint off the handrail of the stairs (we've decided to go for a more natural look throughout the house, since the windowsill tiles are so nice). I'd hoped it might be pine, but the house is 1950's, before pine became usual: it's a dark oak, which will look good when cleaned and polished.
Thursday we rested a bit. Ken had Wed/Thurs/Fri annual leave, and with the bank holiday that was almost a week off.
Friday Kai had the dentist: I went with him and picked up the curtain poles I was looking for at Wilko... The photos haven't come out that well - it's not easy taking them in that room, the light is very bright even on a dull day and wrecks the auto-thingie. However - the first two are the old wooden window poles and dull golden curtains.
The next three are the new ones - along with the curtains I found at the Age UK charity shop. Lovely colour, lovely design, great quality - and too small. [headdesk] Going to have to make them, which means a trip into town to Fabricland. Which is fine: have to get there anyway for the peacock fabric for the curtains in this room (second display case is now ordered, and table disassembled and stored in shed). I've decided on the colours too, so will pick paint up at Wilko in the same trip. Next few weeks are going to be even busier than usual.
Outside: more beans. Lots more beans. And my sweetcorn have now actually finished! One large bag and a bit more in the freezer - not too bad. We have pears and apples galore, which is great!
Media: we finished Crusade ([sigh] Oh, if only it had gone to a proper series...) and have moved on to Legends of Tomorrow season 2, which is looking to be as much fun (and as confusing) as season 1. We relaxed with 4 Weddings and a Funeral, which Kai had never seen and which I've had in the pile for years. And we watched Baahubali.
WOW. It's fabulous! A kind of psuedo-historical mythological Bollywood extravaganza of the finest kind. Absolutely glorious - and music is terrific too! We loved it so much I leapt onto amazon as soon as it finished and ordered the sequel. Which is now on its way. Hopefully be here for Friday!
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Sunday July 10th 1983. Marchmont, Edinburgh. Worst mistake I ever made. Groom's face scrubbed to protect the guilty.
Yes, that is me. Do they make jokey photos like this any more? It's designed to show off the dress.
Hennaed hair, styled by Agnes, a friend at the time. Looks quite nice I think.
So there you go!
Labels: first wedding
Monday, August 21, 2017
Quick catch up this time. Busy week ahead...
Media... We're watching Crusade in the JMS-stated chronological order, which differs substantially from the order on the DVD boxed set, but which makes more sense overall. Still enjoying it (though the eps with Galen are my favourites).
Bhoot was a surprise: nothing actually new in the film, but it's gripping and very good indeed - had me jumping all the way through and there's precious little that can do that these days!
Icarus XB-1 is also extremely good. Quite how an old black and white, subtitled Czech film can be simultaneously cosy, low-key, exciting and hope-inspiring is beyond me, but this film manages it. Planning to watch it again (by myself) at some point as I think I missed a few things...
Sat evening Ken and I watched The Beastmaster, which I picked up dirt cheap just for fun. Saw it back when I was a younger dinosaur and enjoyed it then: it was just as much fun now!
Stacked up still to watch: Warlords of Atlantis. One of the few 70's fantasy films I haven't managed to catch. It was on the horror channel last week but I didn't have time to sit and watch, so picked it up (cheap, of course). Michael Gothard is an added bonus.
Transporter 3 - just to complete the series. We've already seen it, ages ago, but I have no objection to watching Jason Statham again!
Cube. Another classic I've never managed to see. Kai's intrigued.
The Crazies. I saw this late one night as a teen, and it gave me nightmares, so will be interesting to watch it again...
The Manchurian Candidate (the remake). I keep hearing the term used in relation to the current political climate and it's annoying not getting the reference, so when I saw it going (really) cheap I grabbed it. Will make time to watch it soon.
Found the newly-released Legends of Tomorrow season 2 at Sains last week. We've been eagerly awaiting this, so will probably start it as soon as we've finished Crusade.
In other news... I've had a letter from the BRI and am now waiting for my appt for another steroid injection. Apparently there is currently an 18 week waiting list, but as a registered carer I may be bumped up the queue. That would be a relief as it's now seriously impacting my ability to do anything that involves standing or walking (or even sitting for prolonged periods). Oh, and I must remember to ring the surgery for my X-ray results. I forgot last Friday.
Decorating... Oh what fun that's been! I found what I thought was the correct teal paint for our bedroom, and carefully painted around the window - only to find it was the teal paint in this room, which is silk instead of matt and darker. [headdesk] Luckily, I did still have the correct paint in the shed, so was able to put that right. Then I started on the pale blue walls... I thought the paint was the correct one for the side wall, which needed much more doing to it: decided to risk it on the front wall as much less was needed and I could put up with the difference in colour until we repaint the whole room. But no! It was the other way around and I ended up having to repaint the entire side wall. [headdeskHEADDESK] Two coats and a bit of touch up to end, over two days. There was enough paint, fortunately, with a little left over to cover where the old window poles will come down when we replace them, but ye gods my legs and back were killing me when I finished.
But it looks really nice, and we can happily live with it for a bit longer, so the bedroom redecorate is being put back until next year at the earliest.
OK, anything else..? I'm off to get my hair trimmed this afternoon. And I'll be scanning and archiving the photos from my first wedding later - may post a couple here for a laugh! (The album itself fell to pieces as I was taking the photos out. Says a lot, that!)
Saturday, August 12, 2017
And this Saturday K&K have headed out to Shepton Mallet. It's a lovely little place, and I'm sure they'll find some charity and antique shops!
I'm going to be pottering. When Ken stripped the paint off the lounge and bedroom windowsills it took some of the wall paint off as well: while it's only a little, it looks a mess and is irritating me, so the walls need repainting. (Actually the whole house does but I'll be tackling it piecemeal. Don't have the energy to do it all at once any more. Lounge and our room first - Kai's is already done.) Kai took the ancient Amstrad speakers down from our walls yesterday: I plan to fill the holes ready for painting later today.
I also need to do a little gardening. There'll be more beans to freeze, and I swear some of my sweetcorn - and some of the Red Devil apples! - are already ready for harvesting (the weather has been most peculiar this year).
I rather like Ryan Reynolds. He's cute, funny, and doesn't take himself too seriously. On checking the IMDb I found he's in Blade: Trinity, which we have, so while K&K were out last Sat I watched it. It's nothing special, but he's good in it, and it meant I sat down for a couple of hours.
Sun was the usual shopping. Ken mowed, I weeded.
Monday I had my drs appt. He had no answer for why the pain is constant and worsening, so referred me to the BRI for a walk-in X-ray (which I had yesterday). Results should be with the surgery next Fri. Hopefully they won't show anything out of the ordinary - in that case I think I can request another steroid injection (or maybe two, my right hip is nearly as bad as the left now). While up at Broadwalk I did the usual check of the charity shops and found this!
(The owl umbrella came from Sainsbury's. The little dangly owl was a birthday present, from Sue I think?) It's adorable and capacious with 7 separate compartments, exactly what I was looking for!
On Tuesday the weather was pleasant: Kai and I bussed through to Wells to check the antique shops he found when he was there with Ken. There were a couple of clocks he'd taken a fancy to and was hoping they were still there. They were, and he bought them: one's a tiny thing in a well-made old box that will fit most of the tools he'd collected, the other a good anniversary clock (the chatty female store owner actually reduced it from £75 to £45 for him, as she thought her brother had overpriced it and then found there was no key! Although Kai already had one so that was OK).
Wed was wet an' 'orrible: both deliveries arrived OK then we took the rest of the day off with old and familiar DVDs.
Thurs Kai helped me take stuff around to the charity shops in Sandy Park Rd - he found a couple of the things he was looking for - then down to Sains for a quick shop. When we got back he decided he wanted to go for a ride, so took off for the Whitchurch Way (by himself). Got as far as Dundry View, then headed back, getting here just before the rain started.
Friday a.m. was my X-ray: in the afternoon it was general tidying and getting walls ready for painting.
Media... finished watching the Babylon 5 films, The Lost Tales which actually chronologically comes some time during the Crusade series, which was annoying, River of Souls, Thirdspace, and A Call to Arms, which were all OK but not as good as the series, and started Crusade. We also watched Life... It's good, beautifully made and realistic (for the most part). For me, it was nothing very new though, and I saw the end coming a good half an hour before it arrived. It's enjoyable though, in a grim sort of way...
Kai found this
It's not that clear in the photo, but it's where a fox has been digging down to make a den! (The earth that's been dug out has filled the hole where Kai was going to have his pond...) While I love the idea of foxes living in the garden, this isn't exactly the ideal location. Going to have to think about it...
And that's about it for now. Tonight's the best night for viewing the Perseid meteor shower here, so as long as it stays relatively clear we shall be out watching it.
Saturday, August 05, 2017
K&K are off exploring the hillfort at Congresbury with a friend today, so I have the house to myself for a few hours (quite a luxury these days!) They're planning on walking part of the Strawberry Line while they're out, too.
So, what have we been up to? Well, I appreciated the Tesco delivery service so much I'm now doing the same with Sainsbury's: it's fantastic not having to go shopping every day (and sometimes twice), frees up so much of my time. Should have done it years ago... Planning to get back into regular writing again asap.
Outside... The veg garden continues apace. The first onions are now ready: variety Ailsa Craig and they are rather large -
I need to find a red variety for next year's planting: I like having the choice.
I need to reorganise the low bed a little - and remember to only plant at most four runner bean plants. They're incredibly vigorous and will take over if permitted, which is OK as long as I have room in the freezer for them. Ditto pumpkins: only ONE plant and keep it under control. In the greenhouse, this year's peppers are doing really well and are only a little smaller than the bought ones. The sweet peppers are quite a bit smaller, but it's the first time I've had any success with them, and they're perfectly usable (they're going in tonight's stir-fry, in fact). Will plant them in larger pots next year!
Inside... I've finished sewing. It's all worked rather well.
Radiator cover in this room. Hides the flaking black paint!
Kai's wardrobe curtain. Looks rather nice, I think.
Films... Hunk. Better than Galaxina. A bit. Not much more to be said...
Lutra mentioned in passing that she'd seen Pompeii, commenting that the film was only so-so but Keifer Sutherland was quite good in it. Being a Keifer fan I looked it up, and found a copy for 52p on amazon, from my go-to seller musicMagpie (seriously, this seller is amazing, fantastic prices and the fastest delivery ever, not to mention the quality of the DVDs). Ordered it - and Moonlight for £3: I caught some of this on TV many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it - and we watched Pompeii together. Hm. Lutra's right, it's OK but nothing special, and consists of just about every cinematic trope ever devised. But Keifer's fun in it, so that's OK.
Kai and I finished Babylon 5 on Wed. Wow. So good... We've started on the films, kicking off with Legend of the Rangers - To Live and Die in Starlight (a subtitle that always makes me shiver). An awful lot of people don't like this one, but I've always enjoyed it, and was very disappointed it never went to a series. I loved the characters and the chemistry between them: there was a lot of potential there. Ah well...
Next up was Babylon 5: In the Beginning - always fun, although the picture quality made me hope for a digitally remastered DVD at some point.
Kai mentioned some time ago he wanted to watch Ground Control, which is a most enjoyable Keifer Sutherland redemption film, so he sprawled and watched while I pottered. Then he thought an action film might be fun, and ended up with xXx. (Not my favourite Vin Diesel film but I was busy during most of it). A workmate of Ken's mentioned that he'd enjoyed Bhoot, so I found a cheap copy which we'll probably watch tonight or tomorrow, as the case was damaged and the disc loose. Need to check it plays.
And Life was released to buy, so picked that up as well. Kai and I were planning to see this at the cinema, but didn't manage to make it in time. This may be one for tonight...
Right. Time for lunch. Then I should lie down for half an hour (I've been amazed at how much better I feel when I do this) then it's an hour or so of repotting the cacti. Bit by bit I'm trying to repot all the houseplants into much nicer containers - terra cotta mostly: looks far more attractive than plastic. Later!
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Well, it's been even more manic than usual...
Brief run down. Fill in the gaps with shopping, gardening, cooking etc.
On the gardening side... Everything is doing well, the greenhouse is now providing us with all our tomatoes, cucumbers, and most recently peppers. They don't grow as big as the bought ones, but they are really nice. We now have a nice load of runner beans in the freezer ready for winter too.
Kai has started constructing the dry stone wall he wants between the slope and the 'dewpond' up in his slowly evolving mini-meadow at the top of the garden. A little while ago we caught an item in a news programme with an artist who balances stones, and Kai fancied having a go. It was astonishingly successful...
Photos © Kai Taylor.
(He disassembled it by blowing on it! The top stone just tumbled down.)
Thursday 20th we went for our first bike ride - not far, just down along the river. Rode down to the end of our road, walked through the park and down to the start of the pathway, rode across Sparke Evans bridge and along to the railway bridge, then back again.
Dotted line was walking, solid line was cycling. By no means a long ride - possibly a mile in total? Less? - but I managed it (wobbling all the way but hey, you try riding with vertigo!), and to my amazement not only did it not make my legs or back hurt, but the painlessness lasted for several hours after we got home.
I was going to get rid of the exercise bike, but Tom (Kai's physioterrorist) recommended him using it as a source of gentle exercise - don't have the time to go riding every day, we'll be lucky if we can manage once a week at the moment - and given it does me so much good too, I now have to make space for it.
Oh, and the new train service from Bristol Temple Meads to Severn Beach has, I believe, space for bikes, so with a little luck (and some decent weather) by the end of the summer we'll be able to take the bikes to Severn Beach and ride up (or down) the estuary. Nice wide paths and flat terrain - should be great!
On that Saturday Ken and I went to Wells/Glastonbury/Street for a day out and to scour the charity shops. I found a pair of pullup 'jeans' which will do nicely for shopping in the winter, and a double DVD of B movies, Galaxina (of which, more later) and Hunk. Looked bad, but we like bad sometimes, and at only £1 we decided to risk it.
It was a lovely day out, and a good break from Bristol for us both.
Media... Films watched: Logan. Hm. Well, as a portrayal of life for aging mutants trying to survive in a hostile world it was feasible and very good. I didn't like it, personally. It was grimy, unnecessarily foul-mouthed, extremely violent (then again, when was anything Wolverine not?), and really rather unpleasant. Parsecs away from the usual Marvel fare, which I knew going in, but... not for me. Kai enjoyed it. Ken didn't offer an opinion.
Galaxina. Oh dear... We knew it was going to be bad, but hadn't quite expected approaching Plan 9 bad. Overall idea OK, full of jokes and sight gags that in any other film would have been hysterically funny, here delivered so badly they were just cringe-worthy. And yet as the film ended Kai and I both burst out laughing. Not sure if it was relief, or disbelief that a film could be so bad, or hysteria, but something tickled us both.
And just for the hell of it, I've ordered both Plan 9, as Kai has never seen it, and First Spaceship on Venus, which is the film being watched by the crew in Galaxina. Never heard of it but it sounds interesting...
The Time Travellers. This was the last of the B movies on Ken's birthday DVD. After reading the blurb I was sure I'd seen it, but I didn't recognise the opening, so we carried on watching. Fifteen minutes in I realised that I had seen it before - on my parent's black and white TV when I was a child. It's a strange film, the acting and sfx standard for the time (1964), but the story is amazing, and introduces a time paradox not usually explored in films. The middle section is pretty naff, but the rest - yeah! It prefigures some much better known titles, and is a little gem, in my opinion. Well worth checking out. And if you hate it, all you've lost is an hour and a half of your time.
Virtual Nightmare. Well, it had obviously been recorded from the TV, but the quality was pretty good, the sound excellent, and overall it's something of an unknown gem. Australian, no actors I recognised (great performances), and obviously with a fairly low budget, it nevertheless kept us gripped. And the ending came as a surprise, which doesn't happen often these days!
Kai and I are now half way through B5 season5. When we've finished, either the five related films are next, or Crusade, which Kai has never seen and which I remember enjoying immensely. Ken will probably watch these with us.
Last Friday GoodTwin and Sue came to visit! The usual fun day was had, with quizzes and Zoolander 2 (I like that film more and more. Why is there no fanfic!?) and the pilot ep of The Expanse, which Sue had heard of but not yet seen. I think she may now buy it! (Can't wait for season 2 on DVD...)
GoodTwin brought over a hamper -
With the most adorable fox mug we've ever seen. I might just reserve that one for me...
Thank you, both. I had a fantastic day!
Kai's last venesection (last Sunday) went well and quickly, and his last ferritin reading was 1,553: at present it seems to be coming down by 200 points every time. This is excellent news, and with a bit of luck the end is in sight.
Yesterday evening Kai came with me to the Showcase De Lux at Cabot Circus to finally see Transformers: The Last Knight in 3D (the 19.00 hour screening: it ends its run tomorrow so we were just in time).
... oh dear...
It was worse than I was expecting, and deserves less than its IMDb rating, although it did at least more or less follow on more or less from AoE. Oh yes, the sfx and production were as stellar as usual, beautifully designed and portrayed Cybertronians, but the acting was dreadful, the action rushed beyond all hope of making sense of it, and the story even more incoherent and inconsistent than usual. I'll get the DVD when it becomes available, of course, but it's not likely to be watched all that often (and even then I'll probably skip the 'human' parts, which were absolutely abysmal). Very, very disappointing.
I think I'll just ignore it and continue Poppy as though it never existed.
However, the trailers before it looked very interesting. The Dark Tower (Idris Elba is always a great watch), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets - a must-see at the cinema in 3D for the sheer awesomeness of the visuals - and Thor: Ragnarok, which looks to be fun and daft. Geostorm also looks interesting, but might be one to simply buy rather than go see in 3D. Lots to look forward to.
I've finally had to give in and accept I no longer have the strength to drag heavy loads of shopping back, and have got a Tesco account for home delivery. (£36 per year for mid-week delivery and no extra charge if the shop is over £40, which it always is). Most of the heavy stuff comes from Tesco these days - Tyjer's gone off Sains cat food in favour of Tesco's own, and Sains no longer produce their organic orange juice: Tesco does and Ken gets through about four litres a week. Add to that bottles of tonic, coke, cooking wine, vodka, tetrapaks of organic beans and tomatoes... well, having someone else bring it home is wonderful. First delivery arrived this morning. Great!
And that's about up to date for now. No doubt I've missed something, I always do, so if I remember I'll add later. Time to make lunch, then make a start on Kai's wardrobe curtain...
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
I love living in a mini nature reserve. This morning, as I was coming back to the house with my hands full of three different varieties of cherry tomatoes from the greenhouse, our native sparrowhawk swooped down from one of the trees a few doors up, flew at eye level right past me, caught a sparrow in our medlar, then flew off to its nest in (I believe) the huge tree at the back of the PDSA... Yes, a tiny tragedy for the sparrow, but even sparrowhawks have to eat (or, I suspect, feed their chicks).
I still think we're feeding half the birds in Brislington. We have dozens of sparrows and starlings eating and drinking at the feeders, two families of blackbirds sharing the garden (I found that hard to believe given how territorial they are, but I've watched them, and there's definitely two. I suppose there's always such good feedins' here they've tacitly agreed to ignore each other...), and yesterday I counted seven (maybe eight) magpies. I'm very fond of them, despite the raucous cries that frequently wake me around dawn. They're usually warning cries about strange cats in the garden. We even have at least one owl in the vicinity - we hear it hooting quite often.
I heard foxes last night too.
Garden-wise, I now have the second sowing of mange tout and dwarf French beans in (and hopefully protected from pigeons by the sparkly chains of mirror circles and dangly silver xmas ornaments I found in the shed!): second sowing of peas will be in the next few days. And we're now using homegrown garlic:
I found an old-fashioned storage pot, 99p, in St Pete's Hospice when I took our latest donations 'round yesterday. Very pleased with that find! My plum tree produced precisely two plums this year - two more than expected as you may remember we moved the entire tree earlier in the year - but they were delicious, and hopefully prove that the move was successful. Keeping fingers crossed for next year's harvest!
The Red Devil apple tree is looking good: the fruit is already ripening, thanks to the weird weather we've had this year. There are a goodly number of pears on the tree, and the green apples are also coming on nicely (we moved that tree too, so the harvest won't be quite as good as last year, but that's fine, it survived and is doing OK). I caught an ep of the Beechgrove Garden earlier in the year, and apparently the best way to store surplus apples is to wrap them in magazine paper and keep them in lidded boxes in a cool place, like our shed. So I've saved last year's xmas TV Times and the boxes from our last three new pairs of shoes, and will give it a go come autumn.
And on the subject of food...
Food porn for Lutra
Joules 'mixed salad' served with Tesco's cheese and chutney cob. This one is made with tinned salmon and home grown tomatoes and cucumber: to the tinned tuna version I usually add little cheese cubes (Bavarian smoked and/or Gruyère are tastiest) with help-yourself hard boiled egg on the side. Disgustingly healthy!
(Tesco also do individual pots of dressings: we've tried and liked the smoked pepper and the pineapple and sweet chilli. I think they may also sell bottles of the smoked pepper - will check next time I go over.)
Kai fixed my sewing machine for me! It's an ancient Singer 99K, and I may have mentioned I've never been able to get the bobbin-winder to work. Well, that's now working, and he manoeuvred the little base plate (it was loose and I could never get it to stay in place) back into place as well. I've started making the new bits and pieces we need - Kai's blue radiator now has a brown cover (even radiator paint eventually flakes off, as I've found to my cost, and Kai never uses his radiator anyway, since he's in the warmest room in the house) which pretty much matches the brown paint. Next up is the curtain for his wardrobe - photo later - and a new voile curtain for the lounge (needs to be in three parts as the middle top window is the one we're using most and it's a nuisance pulling up the current curtain to reach the handle). Might make new voiles for our room, too: the old ones are looking very sad.
(Not the best lighting, it's dull today and the colours don't show at their best. Will try again when sunny.) The work space in Kai's room - not quite finished as we still have to put up his corkboard and several pictures. The curtains were a lucky find in a charity shop in Street a year ago. I think they're terrific! The display cabinet is actually a plate display thing that would normally live on top of a sideboard: we found it in a front garden down the road with a 'Please help yourself' sign and Ken carried it home. It's very nicely made, good solid wood that polished up well.
We've watched The Man from Planet X - which is pretty bad - and yesterday I picked up Logan - planning to watch it on Fri after dinner. Last week we had the horror channel on in the background, and an interesting Australian film was playing - Virtual Nightmare. (I ended up switching channels half way through as I wanted to watch the whole thing). It's not available to buy commercially, but I found a site offering it (and for a very good price) so decided to risk ordering. It's arrived, but we haven't had time to watch it yet. Fingers crossed it plays OK! (It should: our new DVD player claims to play every format there is...)
Planning to go see Transformers: The Last Knight in the next couple of weeks. Not holding out much hope - it's a Michael Bay film, it's likely to be as incoherent, confused and inconsistent as the rest of them - but of course I have to see it, and will buy it when it becomes available. Don't know yet whether Kai will come with me or if I watch it by myself. I don't mind either way!
Half-way through season 4 of Babylon 5 now. There are depressing similarities between the series and current political (geopolitical to some extent) affairs that make watching it less enjoyable than it was the first and second times around. Or perhaps I'm just more politically aware these days...
Pondering re-watching Alien Nation next. Kai's never seen it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it first time 'round.
And... I think that's about it. We haven't managed to get out much yet. Kai's physio Tom tells us that the fatigue Kai is suffering is a recognised effect from the procedures he's undergone, and has advised him how to slowly build up his stamina again, but it's going to take some time. But the relief of knowing what it is makes the whole thing a lot less stressful. Now we both need to pace ourselves. It'll come with practise!
Wednesday, July 05, 2017
Right - I have a few minutes while Kai finishes the last little bit of glossing in his room (then all the painting is done. 'Oooray!)
You may have guessed it's been a bit busy, so this is just a quick catch up with photos. Kai's BMT clinic on the 21st went OK, I think (I don't go in with him any more). On the 25th he had his latest venesection (which reminds me, I need to book the next two...) and his ferritin level is down again (around 1,700 if I recall correctly. Heading in the right direction at any rate.)
On the 28th and 29th Crystal Clear installed the new windows and wow, they're gorgeous! (If I can say that of windows.) But it meant a lot of clearing out - of Kai's room particularly - to make space for the installers. We'd planned to redecorate Kai's room afterwards. He wanted a retro-distressed-Tudor look ([rolls eyes] of course he did...) which has been... interesting trying to accomplish. We've ended up with the walls from floor to radiator height in warm oak brown, and everything above that 'crushed almond', which is a warm, traditional cream colour (with a wisteria pinkish-mauvish feature 'wall' - i.e. the chimney breast). Actually it looks really nice, and from the door it looks like the room is full of sunlight. But it's taken five days to do, as we had to move furniture around to reach everything. And we still have to put up the new curtain pole for the new curtains (going to need a lot of drilling so that has to wait for Saturday when Ken can do it. Yes, I can drill, but the electric drill is too heavy for me to handle safely these days, and Kai hasn't used it yet. Given the state of our plaster, best leave it to someone who knows what they're doing!)
If he'll let me, I'll take a couple of photos once everything's finished and post them here.
The garden continues apace...
At the moment we're pretty much self-sufficient in veg, which was what I wanted. I'm finding it tricky to get my successional planting organised, but am fumbling through it. And making notes so I can get it more right next year. Need to get more maincrop peas on the go in the next few days. Will also plant more mange tout and less sugarsnap peas next year.
That's a misshapen purple carrot - actually very tasty!
Although almost too pretty to eat...
Bought these when Ken and I were last at Hurrans - dianthus 'Pearl'. They are very pretty, and they smell of chocolate! Yes, truly. I'm going to have to put one in a pot though: I can't bend down low enough to sniff them anymore...
We're onto Babylon 5 season 4 (watching two eps a night), and still thoroughly enjoying it. We're also working through the B-movies we got Ken for his birthday. He caught part of an old sci-fi film on TV and fancied watching the whole thing: all he could tell me was it was set in Scotland and involved an alien creature... Well, you know I like a challenge. Narrowed it down to two films, and found them on amazon, one of them on a DVD with three other films. As it happened, the film Ken caught was X the Unknown, which is actually not bad. Of the other DVD, we've caught The Angry Red Planet which is... mm, yeah, well, OK for the time it was made, I suppose, and Beyond the Time Barrier (which unfortunately saw me dozing off for a few seconds through it - mostly because I was stupidly tired rather than the film's content, although what I did catch didn't impress me. Kai liked it though).
So, busy as ever. Which has not been great for my joint problems, alas.
No doubt I've forgotten a few things I meant to say: will add them later if I remember. In the meantime, have a hot cat catching the fall of cooler air from the wide-open window just out of frame above!
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Have a couple of random photos to counteract the heat - currently 31° here, but due to drop 10 degrees overnight. Hopefully rain overnight too, main waterbutt is three quarters empty...
IDW Thundercracker and Buster! I managed to find the right sort of dog at getting on for the right size at Wilko. (She's still a little large but stands on his shoulder joint rather cutely.)
Off to write bio for the unicorn book...
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Where the hell did the week go...?
[sigh] Let's see if I can remember what's been happening...
I finally finished scanning the albums of Kai's photos last Sunday: went to burn to disc only to have the drive refuse to play. [grump] Saved to Ken's 8 gig pendrive and he used his machine instead (although his drive is also glitchy. Managed to get it done though!) That shelf is now full of music CDs. My diaries are next: Ken suggested photographing rather than scanning, which would be a lot quicker and easier, so going to give that a go in the next couple of weeks.
Ken's been removing the multiple layers of gloss paint from the windowsills with Wilko paint and varnish remover, in preparation for the new windows (28th and 29th of this month. Can't wait!) Horrible, smelly, time consuming job, but the tiles underneath are really nice, a soft sandy colour, so once everything's done we'll leave them as is.
The garden... Everything's doing well. I have an overabundance of cucumbers (next year I'll only bring on one plant!), loads of sugarsnap peas, and enough mange tout - already! - that I'll be freezing some for the winter later on today. The first blueberries and raspberries are out (have to organise netting later too) and plenty of pears and apples (on both trees) coming along nicely. I estimate that in the next two weeks the cooking toms and peas will be ready to start cropping, and I have hopes for my peppers this year - lots of fruit developing! (Now if I can just stop whatever it is that usually eats holes in them we'll be fine...) We've eaten the first radishes and red and purple carrots - interesting and pleasant taste, the purple ones - and the second lot of seeds are in, as are the marrow seedlings and the dwarf beans. All going well so far!
Kai's meadow is slowly taking shape. It's going to be lovely when it's done (not that it'll ever be finished, of course) with a small dewpond with loads of native flowering plants around it, and a low wall. He's been digging a holloway between the hazels and the wall, and is going to plant foxgloves along the wall side. (They're springing up everywhere so a major seed-gathering day is on the cards...)
As for garden wildlife - we haz damsels! (Photos © Kai Taylor)
There are two in this one, a bit difficult to see.
There were another pair this morning - one was more green though. They didn't hang around long enough for photos, alas.
Films and things... Kai and I finished B5 season 1 and are partway through season 2. It has quite a different feel to it, but is still very enjoyable. And complex!
I picked up Jack Reacher going very cheap: enjoyable as all Cruise films are. The DVD trailers were World War Z and Flight: Kai said both looked interesting, so I found them cheap on amazon (1p and 10p respectively, £2.52 p&p) and ordered them. We watched World War Z last night, and were favourably surprised. I'm not a fan of Pitt or zombies (although Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Warm Bodies were good) but this one is not at all bad. It also has Peter Capaldi as a W.H.O. doctor, which made me chuckle).
That's about it, I think. There's been the usual doctor's appts, shopping/clearing/general housework. Ken and I finished adding all the DVDs to a spreadsheet (we have 1,119 to date and that's counting multipart series' as one) and I've organised all the shelves. It's not perfect, but at least I know roughly where everything is now. Later I need to add the list to the site, so when I'm out I can check to see if we already have it (found we had two copies of Scrooged: one's now gone to charity).
Right - brunch. It's Ken's birthday (thanks for the card Wendy! Great fun!) and I'm doing a full English. He can diet tomorrow!
Wednesday, June 07, 2017
Just back from second foray out with the bike. Rode the whole of the lane, both ways, twice today. We're thinking we'll try the river ride next week: it's flat, and pretty, and not too long. I'll be easily able to get off and walk for part of it (the bike acts as a mobile walking stick, to be honest!) as recommended by Dr Ng.
All very reassuring. But I need a pair of loose knee-length shorts: my leggings are too hot for this weather.
Monday, June 05, 2017
Finally, before I forget what's happened!
The scaffolding opposite started coming down yesterday: it was a loft conversion. The workmen were surprisingly quiet!
It's been busy as always - a lot of the usual sorting/cleaning/shopping/gardening stuff. I fancied a change of wardrobe and (wonders will never cease!) rather liked some of the summer stuff in Sains, so treated myself (made a lot easier with their 25% off all clothing over the bank holiday weekend). Kai's new meadow is coming along nicely: the native plants from the old meadow have now been moved to it and the old one scythed, ready to be dug over so I can gather all my bulbs and corms and plant them in their new (and hopefully final) home.
RHS Chelsea was fun - and I discovered that irises are fragrant! Never knew that. Dived out and took a deep deep sniff of Sultan's Palace, and yes, it is indeed scented! Subtly, but it smells of peaches and cream - absolutely gorgeous. I now want it as a perfume. I know it must be available as someone was wearing it on the bus the other day. I now have the fun of a scent quest!
Last pics of them for this year, they've all died back now.
Not Sultan's Palace, but very sweet.
Everything is outgrowing its space in the greenhouse, and I have plenty of mini munch cucumbers coming: looking forward to those, they are very tasty. The hot dry spell finally broke and we're now back to a lot of rain, which at least saves me having to use the hosepipe. Have some pics: this is the view from the landing window, wonderful even on a wet, grey Monday morning...
On the film side, we've watched National Treasure 2, which was fun, and finally saw Forrest Gump, which is wonderful - as Kai said, "ALL the feels..." Then he suggested Babylon 5, which we haven't watched in a very long time. We're up to Season 1 ep 7 and thoroughly enjoying it. For a sci fi series that's older than Kai is, it's aged exceptionally well and feels like it could have been made this year.
What else... Ah yes! Last Thurs the weather was fine, and I finally took the bike out to see if I could still remember how to ride - Kai came with me on his own bike. Just down the lane between the allotments and Tesco - straight, wide, smooth and quiet. It's been 42 years, but after a couple of false starts I found my balance (more or less, the vertigo is still a nuisance: I won't risk riding on the road) and cycled both ways along it. Legs were shaking when I got off, but that will improve with practise. Planning to go again this week - if it ever stops raining - and get a little more used to it before we try an actual proper ride.
I have just four more albums to scan and that job is finished. Then I'm going to start scanning in my old diaries - started back in 1974 with my first 5-year diary. It's going to be a long and occasionally very embarrassing job, but it's all genealogical stuff and will help complete the records. (Then I can destroy the originals!)
I've not forgotten Poppy, honestly, but every time I sit down to tackle the next chapter something comes up and I have to put it on hold again. I do at least now have the chapter properly planned out, so hopefully this weekend?
And finally - Ken saw one of our foxes up on the wall at the back a couple of nights ago...
Isn't he gorgeous?