Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

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

Other sites:

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

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

August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004][20/03/2019 - giving up. I don't have enough time to update the blog atm, let alone edit old entries!]

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.

First, a recommendation. Dive over to The Jonathan Day Fiction Site and try some of the stories. I love this author's writing - it's funny, bitingly witty, dryly incisive, chilling, and deliciously subversive by turns. Absolutely well worth a look!

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.

My IMDb ep summaries

Arthur of the Britons
Star Maidens
The Starlost
Space Rangers
The Sentinel (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Swamp Thing (part: season 3)
Gravedale High
Transformers: Armada
Transformers: Energon
Transformers: Cybertron (part)
Misfits of Science (four eps)
Zoo Gang
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)
The Café

For later:

BBC Lion, witch and wardrobe
BBC Caspian and Dawn Treader
BBC Silver Chair
(Missing Excel Saga eps)
(Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)

Silver birch at Eastwood 


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

(Joules, Autumn 2004)

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

In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme

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

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.

Currently working on:
Heart, The Poppy Tales

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

Currently miffed at:
Nestlé, Nonpres Tinyhands Fart, Toadface Farage

Currently maintaining:

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

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

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

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

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

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

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

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

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

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

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

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

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

Murfs - noun, moths.

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

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

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

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

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

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

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

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

The Updates Blog

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

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

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

Butch by the talented 


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



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

A'lestrel by 


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

Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 


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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 



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

The Zone Plant from
The Zone 



OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Pruned [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
[::..Fun Places..::]
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
::The Hacker Dictionary
Hackers with Humour!
:: Carol's Place
My GoodTwin's Homepage!
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: About Bristol
The essential guide - and beautifully user-friendly too!
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: Symbols
Exactly what it says
:: World Timeserver
For checking the current time around this world
:: Universal Currency Converter
Actually it's just a terran-global currency converter, not universal, but it's still useful...

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

I'll leave that to others to decide.

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

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

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

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

Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

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

   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust


   Vampire Hunter D Book 1

New Vampire Miyu

   (Studio Ironcat) Manga Vols 1 -5 (complete)

Yami no Matsuei

   Viz Manga: English translation, Vols 1 - 11 (complete: I believe vol 12 is only available online)
   Japanese 3-DVD set
   Central Park Media: Descendants of Darkness Vol. 1, English/Japanese subbed.

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

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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004
10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004
11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005
12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006
02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006
03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006
04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006
05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006
06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/30/2007
05/01/2007 - 05/31/2007
06/01/2007 - 06/30/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
08/01/2007 - 08/31/2007
09/01/2007 - 09/30/2007
10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
03/01/2008 - 31/03/2008
01/04/2008 - 04/30/2008
01/05/2008 - 31/05/2008
01/06/2008 - 30/06/2008
01/07/2008 - 31/07/2008
01/08/2008 - 31/08/2008
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01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
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01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
01/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
01/04/2009 - 30/04/2009
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01/06/2009 - 30/06/2009
01/07/2009 - 31/07/2009
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01/11/2009 - 30/11/2009
01/12/2009 - 31/12/2009
01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
01/04/2010 - 30/04/2010
01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
01/09/2010 - 30/09/2010
01/10/2010 - 31/10/2010
01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
01/04/2011 - 30/04/2011
01/05/2011 - 31/05/2011
01/06/2011 - 30/06/2011
01/07/2011 - 31/07/2011
01/08/2011 - 31/08/2011
01/09/2011 - 30/09/2011
01/10/2011 - 31/10/2011
01/11/2011 - 30/11/2011
01/12/2011 - 31/12/2011
01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
01/02/2012 - 28/02/2012
01/03/2012 - 31/03/2012
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01/11/2012 - 30/11/2012
01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
01/02/2013 - 28/02/2013
01/03/2013 - 31/03/2013
01/04/2013 - 30/04/2013
01/05/2013 - 31/05/2013
01/06/2013 - 31/06/2013
01/07/2013 - 31/07/2013
01/08/2013 - 31/08/2013
01/09/2013 - 30/09/2013
01/10/2013 - 31/10/2013
01/11/2013 - 30/11/2013
01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
01/04/2014 - 30/04/2014
01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
01/06/2014 - 31/06/2014
01/07/2014 - 31/07/2014
01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
01/09/2014 - 31/09/2014
01/10/2014 - 31/10/2014
01/11/2014 - 30/11/2014
01/12/2014 - 31/12/2014
01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
01/03/2015 - 31/03/2015
01/04/2015 - 30/04/2015
01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
01/07/2015 - 31/07/2015
01/08/2015 - 31/08/2015
01/09/2015 - 30/09/2015
01/10/2015 - 31/10/2015
01/11/2015 - 31/11/2015
01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
01/04/2016 - 31/04/2016
01/05/2016 - 31/05/2016
01/06/2016 - 30/06/2016
01/07/2016 - 31/07/2016
01/08/2016 - 31/08/2016
01/09/2016 - 31/09/2016
01/10/2016 - 31/10/2016
01/11/2016 - 31/11/2016
01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016
01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017
01/03/2017 - 31/03/2017
01/04/2017 - 30/04/2017
01/05/2017 - 31/05/2017
01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017
01/07/2017 - 31/07/2017
01/08/2017 - 31/08/2017
01/09/2017 - 30/09/2017
01/10/2017 - 31/10/2017
01/11/2017 - 30/11/2017
01/12/2017 - 31/12/2017
01/01/2018 - 31/01/2018
01/02/2018 - 28/02/2018
01/03/2018 - 31/03/2018
01/04/2018 - 30/04/2018
01/05/2018 - 31/05/2018
01/06/2018 - 30/06/2018
01/07/2018 - 31/07/2018
01/08/2018 - 31/08/2018
01/09/2018 - 30/09/2018
01/10/2018 - 31/10/2018
01/11/2018 - 30/11/2018
01/12/2018 - 31/12/2018
01/01/2019 - 31/01/2019
01/02/2019 - 28/02/2019
01/03/2019 - 31/03/2019
01/04/2019 - 30/04/2019
01/05/2019 - 31/05/2019
01/06/2019 - 30/06/2019

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Wild(life) Summer 2, 3 4 and 5... 

... 'cause it's been too hot and I've been too busy to update...

Wild(life) Summer 2 - the night after the hedgehogs, this murf -

- flew into the bathroom then out onto the landing (Ken took the photo). It's a Common Emerald (take a look at the caterpillar!!) which, despite its name, I have never seen before.

Wild(life) Summer 3 - A couple of days after that I found a dead, just-hatched baby bird outside the greenhouse - an odd place for it, but the following day, as I was returning to the house after watering, I heard a frantic rustling and distressed cheeping coming from the medlar, and seconds later our sparrowhawk zoomed off about three feet from my nose, with a tiny bird in its beak. We may have a sparrow's nest in the medlar? I believe this is the second (or maybe third) batch of eggs this year, the weather, and the fact we feed them all the time, has made it a good year for our birds...

Wild Summer 4 - oh, the thunderstorms! The most immense rumbling roll of thunder right over the house woke me just as I was falling asleep around midnight on Monday, the sort that would have shaken the windows to bits if we hadn't had them replaced, and I spent the next half an hour or so transfixed, watching out the window the most extraordinary light show of constant, continuous sheet lightning over to the south of us, accompanied by non-stop thunder. I love thunderstorms, always have, but in sixty years I've never seen ANYTHING like that. Wonderful! Taranis having a disco!

Wild(life) Summer 5 - Looks like after digging exploratory holes all over the garden, the foxes have decided where to build their lair...

In other news...

Tyjer has been having a bit of trouble jumping up recently - we think he might have a touch of arthritis in his hips. So I registered him with the vet service at Pets@Home, and got him an appt for yesterday...

Was horrified to find, when I dug out his records, that he hasn't had his inoculations since 2012. Though in my defence we've been a bit fraught over the last few years. And if I was worried about his health I'd have had him looked at before... Anyway, I bought a cheap pillow from Tesco, customised it to fit the carrier, popped him in and drove him (and Kai) up to the vet yesterday.

Bless 'im, he was more curious about the room than worried about the treatment. Vet gave him the first course of his injections (second and last in four weeks), a worming tablet (didn't much like that), syringed and cleared his ears (Kai had said they seemed to be bothering him, he was rubbing and scratching and shaking his head more than normal - and they were rather gungy) and gave him a dose of a different (not over the counter) flea killer, as the Front Line Spot On (the strongest you can buy here) didn't seem to be working any more. Apparently fleas do develop immunity to such things, a bit like bugs and antibiotics... She weighed him - 5.4 kg - checked his heart and lungs - all absolutely fine - and gave me a bottle of Metacam pain killer and a syringe to ease the pain in his hips. I mixed it with a little tinned salmon the last two evenings and he wolfed it down no problem. She did say, though, that prolonged or over use can cause kidney problems, so I'll do four days then stop for a bit and see how we go. There's nothing permanent can be done, it's just age. (Heh, know a song about that...)

I forgot to buy orchid supports when we were at Cheddar, but I've had a go at turning my original orchid a little bit every day to see if I could make the flower spike grow more upright - it seems to have worked, I have a graceful curve now with buds slowly appearing...

I also have a third plant: hobbling back from Tesco on Monday I saw one of those sad dyed orchids in the bin from the shop up the road. You know the ones, they're dyed with blue for display purposes (there is no true blue orchid) and then discarded when the flowers die. I rescued it, cut off the empty blue flower spikes and let it soak in rain water and liquid compost feed for a couple of hours, and it's perked up nicely. These are often originally white, as white takes the blue dye better, so I'm hoping for a white orchid to join the other two. Photos as things happen!

The kitchen is a little tidier: K&K fitted the new panel to hide where the hot water pipe was mended...


While waiting for the next crop of blockbusters to be available to buy we've been picking up 'classics', and the other evening Ken and I watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (or, Bruce Cassington and the Sunday Centre Kids, as my phone's auto-correct auto-corrected...) Apparently it got 4 Oscars, though gawds know why, I found it stupidly tedious and boring. But then, I'm not overly fond of Westerns. And maybe it's a generational thing...

Ken and I also watched The Shawshank Redemption, which is superb. Vicious in a lot of places, sometimes hard to watch, but what a film! (Snitch is also surprisingly good.)

We all watched Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve, both of them rollicking good fun, then found Ocean's Eight in AgeUK, but Kai wants to see Ocean's Thirteen, which we don't yet have, first.

Kai and I are now onto 24: Season 4, which I like much more than Season 3.

I'm sure there was something else... will edit later if I remember!

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wild(life) Summer 1 

Tiny little update... last night was magical. I heard faint scramblings against the gravel of the drive, and when I looked out, a hedgehog, legs twinkling, scuttled over the road from our garden and continued on up the road. While I stood there, a second hedgehog also meandered over the gravel and headed up the road (on the pavement on this side). And THEN, a minute later, a third hedgehog scuttled over the gravel and headed down the road in the direction of the park... THREE hedgehogs. never seen more than one at a time in the garden (and that was about a decade ago) so not sure if they were youngsters leaving to search out their own territory or all inhabitants of our garden (which is, after all, big enough and rich enough in insect life it can support more than one! We have two blackbird families, after all) just out for a midnight stroll, but it was fantastic to see them. I did watch a little longer but there were no more 'hogs, just a fox leaping over the wall and heading off on its own business...

I do love living here.

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

We have a hedgehog wandering about the garden occasionally. Birds are far more prolific - a male blackbird feeding babies, several families of sparrows doing the same, my old blackbird who still comes for a few worms, a new young female blackbird who has decided that I'm a wonderful source of food, an older robin, and now a new young fledgling robin who seems to have no fear and zips and out of the rabbit shelter like it was born there :)

10:07 am  

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Later edit: And then I forgot to say I had an email from CICO books, who are bringing out a second edition of The Book of Celtic Symbols! (email arrived last Tues, when everything else was happening...) Heh. You know you must be doing something right when publishers start reprinting your books!

Well, what a weekannahalf it's been...!

Swimming went well last Tues: seeing if we can gradually increase the number of lengths now we can do 20 in half an hour.

Back in May I had a letter from Wyevale with my last loyalty vouchers - £5. Only problem is, the nearest Wyvale garden centre is at Cheddar, which is a bit of a way to go, although there is a bus that goes to the centre of the village. Mentioned this to Kim, who said she'd be happy to drive us there - so last Thurs, it being a lovely day, she picked me up at 10.30. Great drive, out along the new road below Dundry, over to airport road, then down the narrow (and somewhat hair-raising) country lanes past Stanton Drew (useful, that, as there's a stone circle there that K&K will probably want to revisit at some point, and it's near impossible to get to except by car. Unless you don't mind walking through fields of grumpy bullocks, which I do. Or using the once-a-week bus! Now I know the route...) The garden centre is a fair way outside the village, although by the looks of it there is a local bus, but we found it and parked up. And discovered it had become the Hillier Garden Centre the week before... [sigh] BUT they accepted the vouchers, so that was OK. And the centre itself is lovely, really big, and had LOADS of specials. Picked up a heritage raspberry and a thornless blackberry (because the mystery fruit bush I bought from Hurrans turned out to be a loganberry, which is great!), both at £3 reduced from £9.50: a skimmia (my old one died, alas) and a beautiful convolvulus cneorum (photo later if I remember, the flowers only open in the sun) - both at £2, and a gorgeous petunia, 'Lightening Sky' -

Never grown petunias before - you're supposed to lift them and keep them in the greenhouse over winter - but at £1 and with those colours I couldn't resist...

Bought a beautiful little handpainted glass table (blossom and humming bird: now in bedroom with jar of lights on it) and some useful kitchen stuff at half price, too. Fun and very successful day out!

Fri was supposed to be a writing day, but ended up shopping instead, and planting the front garden flowers. Then on Sat Ken and I took our long promised trip to Keynsham. Very successful for me: found an interesting light coat/top thing, and a pure cashmere pashmina in peacock colours for £2.50 (think that may have been wrongly labelled!) Also some peacock feathers in the flower shop (I ended up buying a second lot of butterflies-on-bleached-twigs lights at Dunelm in the sale: ten in the jar were too many, so Kai and I rejigged the collection so there are now seven, three with extra lights and butterflies. Looks gorgeous!) which I planned to add to the jar, but it was too cluttered, so they're now in another jar on my bedside table.

Heh, that was a bit rambling - sorry!

Sun was a driving lesson - Kai is doing very well - and we dropped in to Benson's for Beds on the way back for me to buy a new Igel pillow (mine was guaranteed for two years, it did three, which is very good, but recently it's stopped being comfy and wouldn't return to shape, so time for a new one.) They're Igel Side-Sleeper pillows now, instead of Igel Bliss, but it works just the same. Peaceful, incredibly comfortable sleep...

Monday was the usual, business-busy day. Tues is delivery day: Sains (booked for 10 - 11) arrived at 10.01: had just finished putting that away when the Tesco deliverer rang to ask if we minded an early delivery as he was just a few minutes away - absolutely fine by me. So he arrived and unloaded by 10.30 (was booked for 11 - 12). Turned out that was just as well, as around 10.40 the Council workmen arrived in a van to put my 'disabled' line across the drive! Only took them 20 mins - it's not paint, it a sort of plastic with ground glass mixed in, which they melt to the road using a very powerful sort of blowtorch. I though it would be neat, small lettering, but nooo, you can see mine from orbit! Still, hopefully it'll stop people from trying to park there. It has very little legal power: it's more the moral shame of making a disabled person's life more difficult that should work.

Kim had to miss swimming this week: her work had scheduled meetings, much to her annoyance. I nipped down to Sains to have a look at their new clothing - Ken needs new shorts - but didn't find anything that interesting. Nor shorts. Went swimming (by myself) Wed am instead, via Wilko to pick up birdseed, then back via Tesco for tonics the delivery had missed off. Absolutely knackered by the time I got back, so had lunch, watched another ep of 24 (we're on season 3 now, my least favourite. I just can't bring myself to like or care about any of the characters in this one) then took the rest of the day off.

Yesterday Kai helped me plant up the fruit bushes and move things around. I've repotted the acacia, and all the soft fruit is now in pots in a 'hedge' along the line of the dip Kai dug out when he was going to build a wall there (we don't think there'll be enough rocks left over once he's finished the patio to complete the job). It looks fine, and is very convenient for cropping. And my blueberry bushes now have more room between the two raised beds.

Had to spend half an hour putting stakes in the lower bed and tying twine around them, as the foxes (we have a vixen with three cubs that visit) had dug up my pumpkin plant. (They don't like running into the twine so tend to leave the bed alone.) The pumpkin plant has recovered, and today I planted the two marrow seedlings - that bed is now complete.

We have a LARGE bag of mange tout in the freezer ready for winter, and I'm thinking I'll lift all the plants - they're mostly finished now - and see if I can get a second crop to grow. It's fantastic having fresh homegrown mange tout and sugarsnaps. The cucumbers have finished too, so will try for a second crop of those.

This on the left is the clock Kai's been working on. The mechanism came from ebay and is over 100 years old, and he's built the wooden stand and pendulum covering himself - he's getting quite into carpentry. It still needs work, then he's going to make space for it in his room. Somehow.

Media... Bounty Killer, which is an absolute riot! Completely bonkers and huge fun. We all loved it! Stranger Things (seasons 1 and 2) which is fabulous. I wasn't sure I was going to like it - it's taken bits from every horror/scifi/thriller genre and mashed them together - but the more I watched the more addictive it became. It's bloody good!! We liked it so much we ordered the soundtrack CDs (Season 2 has arrived and is simply gloriously beautiful... and the first soundtrack arrived today - not quite as polished but still amazing.) Really looking forward to season 3 now. Finally watched The Owl Service... it's not aged well, and the acting isn't great, but it's still very unnerving. And there's an amazing interview with Alan Garner in the bonus features, which explains a lot! Then yesterday Ken and I watched Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (bought because I'm collecting Matthew Marsden films). It's a pretty standard creature feature, but fun, and silly, and a perfectly fine way to relax after another busy, and very hot, day.

And that's us up to date. There's a SpringFest event in Sandy Park Rd tomorrow that I want to go to, then we plan a driving lesson Sun with a possible diversion to Whitehall Garden Centre - I need some plant supports for the fruit bushes. Ken has a week off next week, so we may be doing things - will see what we all fancy!

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

?! ...fields of grumpy - oh, bullocks... ;)

Glad to hear the driving lessons are going well.

9:59 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

[pissing self laughing] Yers, BULLocks. Though the other would be... interesting...
Slow but steady, and he's gaining confidence. Can change gears without looking now, very smoothly. He's happy, I'm happy, it's all good.

10:10 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

I'm exhausted just from reading all that you've been doing! Glad all is going well.

5:36 pm  

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Tuesday, July 02, 2019

In brief...

After the monsoon, it's now become hot again, so Kai and I have put up the shading I bought last year for the greenhouse. And ye gods, does it make a difference! Suddenly everything is fruiting instead of curling up and dying in the heat! Home grown cucumbers and tomatoes, and I currently have mizuna and rocket, mixed spicy salad leaves, and watercress (a hybrid variety that grows beautifully in soil in a pot as long as you keep it very wet - deliciously tasty) sprouting ready to come in on the kitchen windowshelves. And fruit! Ken filled the raspberry pots with wonderful rich compost from the large bin, and they suddenly exploded. Three times the size they were, and we've had raspberries for dessert (warmed waffles, crème fraïche and fruit, topped with Tesco's own raspberry coulis, which is the tastiest I've found) three times so far. My blueberries are already producing too - having to pick them as they ripen or our blackbirds will nick them!

Next year I'll get my strawberry pots sorted out...

We're nearly in a position to get the horrible asbestos soilpipe, that's as old as the house, replaced. It leaks - Ken's patched it up over the years but it's now well past saving and a health risk (not to mention smelly!) I should be able to get that booked at the end of the week (it's already priced up and provisionally booked). Then we're also having the soffits, fascias and guttering replaced - Anglian confirmed this a.m. that the soffit's aren't asbestos, so we don't have to pay extra to have them removed. There's black mould growing on the ones outside the bathroom and our room, which is making its way inside, and that's a definite health risk, especially for Kai. It'll be good to have everything done!

Third gastroscopy... Well, the ulcers have all gone, but have left scars, and my stomach lining is still inflamed - so it looks like I'm on omeprazole for life. Oh joy...

Off to get ready for swimming!

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Friday, June 21, 2019

Summer Solstice Cheers! 

And Happy Birthday Wendy (and Peter for Monday).

Quick update bespangled with photos...

Ken enjoyed his birthday. He and Kai bussed to Trowbridge: enjoyed the jaunt. We ordered Chinese takeaway for dinner (Ken's choice!) which was very nice - even if the Shanghai Garden's computer system wouldn't let me register and I had to order over the phone instead (nothing's ever easy 'round 'ere...) Many thanks for his cards, folks!

The finale to Years and Years was just outstanding. I was thinking I'd not buy the boxed set as it was truly depressing (FAR too close to reality to be the least bit comfortable, especially Viv Rook as a UK Trumpesque figure was very nicely done. Viciously intelligent though, unlike the orange abomination. Then again, only a vegetative coma victim could be less intelligent than that loser...)

My next (and hopefully final) gastroscopy is Fri 28th June. Can't say I'm looking forward to it but fingers crossed the ulcers have completely gone and I can stop the omeprazole. Life is slowly growing less stressful (though no less busy) for me so that should help.

Kai constructed an arch frame for the wisteria sprouts we have coming up, out of an old branch we had in the garden. It works beautifully and the plant is happily growing up it.

I made the stupid mistake of weeding the front garden yesterday. All of it. Without a break. Hurt at the time and today I can barely bend over - can't move without everything hurting. But it looks SO much better! Even the side with too much grass is pretty good.

Must remember to do this sort of thing in little stages with a rest between them in future.

Meanwhile, indoors, I found some pretties for our room - hummingbirds at half price at Dunelm...

They fit beautifully in that corner, and the invisible fishing line holding them up is invisible under daylight.

My original orchid definitely has a flower spike!

More photos when it blooms.

Oh, and I got a letter today advising me my request to have 'disabled' lines on the road across our drive has been approved, so that should be done sometime within the next 8 weeks.

As usual lots more happened - it's been busy again - but most of it is either the usual stuff or I can't remember it... In the meantime...

I don't like garden gnomes - but this one was almost irresistible and Ken said to get it - so I did...

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Blogger AmandaHuffleduck said...

also late to comment. way late but...
that looks delicious!
were the doriyaki hard to make? (been ages since I've had some!)

congrats on the review,Ken!

12:45 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Home made doriyaki was a great success - so much that Kai prefers it to bought and I'm now committed to making it for dessert once a week. (Need to get back to Wah Yan Hong, my favourite oriental supermarket near Ken's work, to pick up more azuki bean paste. Yes, bit of a cheat, but I really don't want to spend hours and gas making it). So that was good!

10:59 am  

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Sunday, June 09, 2019

Forgot to post this...

How to sleep on the desk without stopping your human from working...(Ken, of course, not me!)

He's a GOOD boi!



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Friday, June 07, 2019

Whoa! Only a week!

Just a quick update this time. Forgot to say - Ken's paperback version of Celestial Geometry has a FIVE STAR review in the June 2019 Sky at Night magazine! (we're trying to get permission to post the scanned review on the site, but no reply just yet.) This is terrific!

Plumber arrived on Monday at 8am and replaced the pipe - there were two holes, one further up, so the front panel that was hiding the pipework is now awaiting something to replace it. Aiming to get a pine plank, but may have to get out to B&Q (Cribbs Causeway) to get one wide enough...

Decided to get the soffits and guttering replaced - mainly because the black mould growing on them outside the bathroom and our bedroom is making its way into the ceiling of those rooms and black mould is a DEFINITE no-no for Kai's compromised immune system (and not great for my mild respiratory problems either). Not particularly cheap, as we're pretty sure the soffits are asbestos: will need to have that checked first - and are probably going to be using Anglian for the job. Need the downpipe replaced first though, so my next job is to get hold of WeCare and Repair to check the status of that job.

We've now finished Designated Survivor season 2, and although it started off well it began to push the bounds of plausibility a few eps in. Didn't quite jump the shark, but came close, and ended in a major cliffhanger. We will get season 3 when it's available, but we're not in a hurry.

In the meantime, Kai and I have started watching 24. I have the complete collection (8 boxed sets of 24 eps each plus the London-based 12 hour season and the film) so even at 3 - 4 eps a day it'll take a while. Kai's quite enjoying it so far though, and it's fun to watch it again.

The WIP is coming along slowly but fairly satisfactorily. My research for it is coming along apace.

Monday night I was browsing ebay - there are a couple of Starscreams appeared that I don't have, but one of them is far too expensive so I've been keeping an eye out for a cheaper one that would break the bank with added import tax, p&p etc - and found one for sale in the UK, at £100 less than the Chinese and Australian (it's Starscream disguised as Optimus Prime from the completely bonkers G1 ep where Megatron came up with the less-than-brilliant idea of having his Decepticons disguise themselves as Autobots in order to sow discord in the ranks, and confuse the humans), so clicked add to watchlist. I expected a request that I login (I was browsing without logging in in case I didn't find anything) so when a little login box appeared on the screen I clicked it without checking first. And somehow ended up making another ebay account (with a random name, and using my alternate email addie). But no password!

No, I have no idea how I did it. But I had to 'change the password' in order to get a password to login and try to delete/close the new account. Aaaaand it wouldn't let me (apparently it had somehow linked to my original account, where I recently bought Stranger Things, as I was told that as a payment was going through I couldn't delete it for 30 days. [headdeskheaddesk]

So I rang them. Ever had to explain a surreal situation to someone who's English isn't the best? Oh boy. Wat fun!!

Anyway, did eventually manage to get him to close the erroneous account, although I had to make a new password for my original account - which I needed as Ken said to grab the cheaper Starscream OP while it was available. Photos when it arrives!

FINALLY getting my hair cut on Monday!

The little bud on my purple orchid (I should give them names) IS a flower spike, which I'm very happy about.

Had a go at making homemade doriyaki (scotch pancakes with sweet azuki bean paste, served with ice cream). It was pronounced a great success (Kai prefers them to the bought ones) so I shall be making them regularly for a dessert.

Finally - food porn for Lutra. Completely homegrown salad: watercress, mizuna, mini-munch cucumber, three different radishes and a garnish of indoor broccoli spouts, and Tesco's hoisin duck spring roll. Delicious!

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

Late to comment - where does the haddock go?
Just wanted to say that having had a failure with my Sultan's Palace last year, this year it's bloomed beautifully!

6:23 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Mine failed last year too - I think the weather was just too much. Although it does seem that they're not fond of being transplanted and can sulk for a year afterwards!
Glad it's flowered though. Have a sniff if there are still flowers - the fragrance is gorgeous and I'm still trying to find a perfume like it.

4:55 pm  

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Please accept the usual apologies!

It's been an interesting month. Friday is now dedicated to me writing (will continue with the WIP when I've posted this): TV off and music on. It would work rather better if things didn't keep happening on Fri...

Last week it was Virgin Media. I've recorded the BBC One Show ep from a month ago with an interview with Keifer Sutherland and Kai spent a couple of days trying to record it to disc for me, using the scart and usb sockets on the back of our new black box. To absolutely no avail, regardless of which connector/cables we tried (£40 worth so far). So we looked on the forums, only to find it wasn't just us - none of them worked. Because they haven't been enabled. Cue a call to Virgin Media... After half an hour talking to the guy who answered, I was transferred to tech support, who took my name, and Ken's name as he's the account holder (we were going to change it to my name but they were going to charge us 20 quid for the pleasure so sod that!) - and she put the phone down on me. 40 minutes wasted.

Rang again, got an apology, and discovered that the TV 500 black box had the scart and (probably) usb sockets enabled and would we like one sent to us? Only problem was they needed Ken's authorisation. Which was OK, we arranged a call back on the Sat at 6pm, although when we checked the details the TV 500 was older than our current one and had a number of complaints against it, so we decided to stick with the one we have. Worse comes to worst, I can record the interview using the film setting on Ken's camera - not ideal but at least I'd have it! 6pm Saturday came and went with no call. Then on Mon I got an email from Yodel saying they were delivering the new box on Tues...

[headdeskheaddeskheaddesk] So it was another phone call to Virgin Media, who were very apologetic, said to not accept the parcel or sign the receipt and it would go straight back to them. He also guaranteed that our service would remain unchanged (it's different settings at their end for the older box). After a second email from Yodel saying there was a delay and they couldn't deliver until Wed, I thought I'd ring them and explain it was sent in error and not to deliver. Found they 'do you want to speak to someone?' phone number on their site, rang it - and got a recorded message saying to ring their new number (the one I'd just rung) and then went into that horrible automated thing where a human voice asks for information. Which I gave, hoping I might then be transferred to a real person. But no. 'Goodbye' [click]. Tried again, same result, looked up how to raise a complaint, had to register with the Resolver service and make the complaint to them.

[Cue hair-tearing-out session]

HOWEVER... Resolver actually worked extremely well, and I got an emailed apology from Yodel and assurance that they would return the box to VM, first thing Tues.

And synchronicity strikes again, as when I was later checking up the process for taking someone to the small claims court, the Money Expert site recommended Resolver as an excellent service, so I may be able to use them for Fixit too.

Success - but it took hours to get there.

And then yesterday afternoon I suddenly realised I could hear dripping. After half an hour listening carefully outside and all around the kitchen, we finally found that the water pipe to the hot tap on the kitchen sink unit was leaking (the one that we had put in Dec 2017. I'm really glad I blog about these things as I then have a record to refer to!) So we have Tom the Plumber coming to see to it later this afternoon. I'm just keeping fingers crossed he can repair it without having to pull out the sink unit...

Onto more fun things.

My hearing is now back to normal ('OORAY!). Swimming continues with Kim every Tuesday (except last week when she was in Gibraltar). It's a lot of fun. We swim 20 lengths every week. Kai's ferritin level is continuing to drop and his last venesection was really quick and easy. He and I got the bus to Wells and Street last Sat to see if I could find the marble effect toothbrush and toothpaste holders like the ones I missed buying in the sale at Tesco - didn't find anything but had fun anyway!

Media... We're watching Years and Years. It's compulsive, frighteningly plausible, superbly acted, and staggeringly, terrifyingly good.

There's been a positive rush of films being released to DVD at the same time that we want - Bumblebee, Aquaman, Mortal Engines - but I'm waiting for them to drop in price. We still have a huge backlog of things to watch, and I've just ordered Stranger Things season 1 and 2 cheap from ebay, because Kai wants to see it.

Finally watched Child 44, which is... disturbing. Baywatch (picked up cheaply for Dwayne Johnson - I'm kind of collecting his films as and when I find them cheap. I love his comedies). It's actually a lot better than I was expecting - gross, but in an unusual way, reversing the usual perspective. A lot of fun with a very satisfying ending. Annihilation. Hm. Rather good, but not as enjoyable as I'd hoped.

Kai and I have started watching the second season of Designated Survivor. It's very very good - and I absolutely adore the little (and occasionally not so little) digs it keeps making about politics and media in the states. Last night Seth mentioned Pres Kirkman not being seen eating Dijon mustard - a snide reminder of the media's (especially Fox media's) appalling treatment of Pres Obama.

This had me in stitches! It's so true...

Garden (front).

The planting is coming on slowly but surely, and showing results already...

Sleepy bee...

Can anyone tell me what this is? I didn't plant it. Not sure if it's invaded from somewhere else or is a 'weed'. It's rather pretty though, so will leave it in situ. Edit - apparently it's a Phacelia tanacetifolia, not native but very attractive to bees and insects. I don't remember planting it, so maybe it's an invader? Though I don't think I've seen it in other nearby gardens either... Will leave it and see what happens!

Garden - back...

Ken built a stone wall to keep the rocks that are going to make the path tidy and out of my way (the dead conifer has now been cut down)...

The cobbled path so far...

Through the greenhouse. I have tomatoes and cucumbers ripening already...

Sultan's Palace...


I treated myself to some pretty, cheap butterfly twig lights from Dunelm for the bedroom (tch', they've reduced them...)

And my alien orchid is coming along splendidly!

And to my joy my other, original orchid has a tiny flower spike just showing (I broke off the earlier one, by accident: hoping the orchid has forgiven me...)

Treated myself to a couple of little badges I found on amazon -

Quite apt, I thought!

Right, that's about everything I can remember. There's been weeding and hoeing and general household maintenance, but no further driving lessons: planned to correct that this Sun.

Lastly... Found on tumblr:

Good vegan alternative for those who don't want to throw milkshakes at fascists.

Catch you later!

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Blogger AmandaHuffleduck said...

love the badges! [happy sigh] and your garden :)
that movie trailer? I would watch the hell out of that movie give it to me!
(clearly I've just woken up but when you said Ken had built a wall to keep the rocks out of the way... it took me too long to realise the rocks were the wall [sigh] )

11:25 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

That's pretty much the trailer for most blockbusters - certainly all the Bayverse Transformer films!

11:32 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

The garden looks fab! I'm also enjoying Years and Years but from something I read recently, I gather the viewing numbers are dropping. Which is a huge shame because I think RTD is a excellent writer and yes, it is very prophetic.

9:33 am  

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Sunday, May 05, 2019

Bloody 'ell it's been manic...

Not entirely sure where to start. It's all (mostly) good, at least.

Let's see...

I can only remember the highlights. Eostre was quite fun: Friday was restful, K&K went out on the Sat and as the weather was really hot I put through three machine washes (bedding and towels and normal clothing stuff) and made buckwheat pancakes (for us to have them for Sunday brunches stuffed with smoked salmon, scrambled egg and home grown asparagus (so tasty!) Kai skips the eggs and asparagus as he doesn't like them) for the freezer.

... can't remember what we did on Sun and Mon - possibly relaxed and watched stuff? On that subject we have now finished Lost (oh oooray...). It just got worse and finished with some enormous plot holes.

Tues was swimming with Kim - wore earplug and managed just fine. On the Thurs we went out to garden centres, two new ones - Cleeve Garden Centre, which is a great place, picked up some heucheras on special, and Garden Park, also great but on a main road so a bit tricky to get out of - and ended up at Congresbury for a late lunch. A really fun day with lots accomplished.

Then on Fri it was the second gastroscopy... Well, the good news is that the oesophagitis is mostly cleared up, one of the ulcers has gone and the other two are MUCH smaller.

The bad news - someone should have told me I had to keep taking the omeprazole until they told me to stop. I ran out a week and a half ago.


So I'm now back on the omeprazole (and will need to write a letter to my dr for more as they only prescribed me a month's worth), and I have yet another gastroscopy in another eight weeks or so...

[headdesk] I really can't complain, I know how overtaxed the NHS is. But it's a bloody nuisance - gastroscopies hurt.

I finally read The Wandering Earth... It's very good. As I got further into it I wondered if it counts as superior fanfic, as the plots of some of the stories were disturbingly familiar - but decided it didn't matter as the writing is wonderful. The first story in particular (it's been made into a film, which I shall try to get when/if it's available on DVD) is extraordinary, and raised goosebumps. Think I may get some more of this author's writing (although of course some of it is probably the translator's excellent skill.)

We've been watching Ghosts, which is rather good. The first ep I wasn't sure, but then in the second it picked up and had me chuckling. Will watch onwards...

Everything is going well in the garden and greenhouse. Everything is shooting up with the brighter, slightly warmer weather, and all looking good and healthy. The wisteria has been glorious this year, filling the house with its fragrance. It's past its best now but still smells wonderful.

My little alien orchid is also doing rather well!

We've finally managed to make time for Citizen Kane, which is better than I remember (although I first and last saw it while at Uni). Kai thought it was great!

Last Sun - Kai's first driving lesson! It went splendidly. He's looking forward to more, and we should have had a lesson today, but some pillock parked partially over the drive (five foot over the drive, not just a few inches) making it tricky to get in and out. I took photos and measured and rang the police (101 non-emergency no.) and explained the situation (narrow road, cars parked opposite, disabled, clear space needed for possible ambulances etc) but pointed out it wasn't an emergency (though it is an offence to park over a legally-constructed dropped kerb). Got a call back from an officer that he'd call this afternoon, and knock on a few doors first to see if he could find out who it belonged to (I didn't know). Well, half an hour after that someone in a white tee-shirt came charging down the road, leapt into the car and drove away, so I rang the police back to cancel the case number in the hope he doesn't come back and park there again. In the meantime it's a little late to have a lesson now.

And THEN!! Oh joy....

I've been posting a brutally honest review on about Fixit, as they still haven't paid, and every time it's removed I post it again. Well, the nasty little bully boss rang me earlier, asking for Mrs Joules and wanting my initials as he needs them for the solicitor's letter he's having prepared to stop me broadcasting the truth (or, as he puts it, harassing his guys and slandering him). So I told him - JA - and to put everything in writing, and put the phone down. He rang back immediately, threatening to 'come around there with my solicitor and a newspaper man and have it printed that your Councillor husband' (Ken is business admin, not a Councillor) 'has been harassing and slandering me.' I told him I had full documentation proving everything I said is true - which it is, and we've printed out full copies of everything this afternoon to hold as evidence if required - told him to put everything in writing, and put the phone down again. (He rang three more times within five mins: I picked the phone up and slammed it down without answering.)

So we may be getting a solicitor's letter addressed to Mrs JA Joules (seriously, what decent businessman can't even get a customer's name right - especially as it appears above my review!?) in which case I shall send copies of everything to the solicitor. Which will be expensive for Fixit. They'd have done better to have just paid what they owe.

As for the review -

Apparently Fixit have no qualms about bullying and ripping off a disabled 60 yr old woman, but don't like anyone else to know about it and got my last review removed. ( haven't even acknowledged my email, let alone answered it.)
So let's try again, with a little more detail this time.
They are absolutely abysmal. We hired them to construct our drive because 1) they had good reviews and 2) they promised the work would be done in 3 weeks...
Although their contract states no payment until the work is completed, we were bullied for a payment after the wall had been demolished, to 'pay for materials and pay for the excavation licence to be bought'. They didn't turn up for the next appt: when I rang to ask where they were I was told they were getting the excavation licence. A week later the tool they arrived with wasn't working, and they had to take an hour to go and rent another. Then, after the surface had been done, more money was demanded - again - 'to pay for the excavation licence'. Five times in total we were told the licence had been applied for - I checked with Highways each time and it had not. THIRTEEN WEEKS after we'd hired them, I sacked them.
A day later I was contacted and told that the builders they were using would dig up the pavement on one day, zone it off, then come back a week later to finish the job - compare this with the professionals I hired to drop the kerb properly, who had finished in 6 hours, enabling people to walk along the pavement the same day, and we were able to drive over it the following midday. Said professionals also commented that the blocks that should have been put along the front edge, to keep the gravel in place, hadn't been done (they're currently in the back garden), so now we have to regularly sweep the pavement free of the overspilling gravel. Fixit have also made the drive too high, so the bumper of the car scrapes when we drive in and out.
And now, despite guaranteeing in writing they would refund us and being given seven weeks to do so, we have still not seen any repayment. We aren't even asking for much, just the difference between what they quoted us to do it quickly, and other quotes we had to do the work at a slower pace. The case has now gone to Trading Standards but we now have the hassle of taking them to court to get the money promised.
So - overpriced, substandard work, and a boss who is unprofessional, unreliable and untrustworthy (to their credit, the younger guys work very hard and tidied up after themselves very well. Which does NOT make up for the awful job done). My recommendation - AVOID THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE.

Although strictly speaking it was only 4 days wait between the old pavement being dug out and the dropped kerb being put in, as I found when printing out his illiterate emails.

I haven't yet posted the (perfectly legal) photograph I took of them. Saving that for if I need to post on the Cowboy Builders facebook pages I've joined.

In more fun news, my hearing is almost back, at last. And I've finally started working on Lutra's and my Dystopia (WIP) novel. Well, I've gathered together lists of all the characters, places, organisations, and the basic world background. I think the time for it is now near perfect.

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Blogger Sue said...

Well done for standing firm on the builders review. And hurray for your hearing improvement!
Unbelievable (well, sadly not) for the parking across the drive. You wouldn't mind so much if they knocked the door, said where they were going and how long they'd be!

6:46 pm  

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