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]

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.











I'm a Member of 

UK Veg Gardeners!


My IMDb ep summaries

(completed)
Arthur of the Britons
Sky
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
Zodiac
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Starhyke
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
Nightwalker
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Rayearth
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)
The Café

For later:

Earthian
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 

Farm

"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)

Autumn...

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:
Muse
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:
BCHS
BCW


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 

Sylverthorne

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

Joules' 

Haddock

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 

Valkyrie.

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



Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 

2004

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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 

by 

Onna

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



The Zone Plant from
The Zone 

blog 

plant

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..::]
::HubbleSite
Stunning...
::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.
:: ZSPC Colour Chart
Check how your text and background colours look together before releasing them on the world!
:: Symbols
Exactly what it says
:: World Timeserver
For checking the current time around this world
:: Universal Currency Converter
Actually it's just a terran-global currency converter, not universal, but it's still useful...
:: Union of Concerned Scientists
Exactly what it says. Fascinating - and worrying...

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

I'll leave that to others to decide.

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


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

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

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

[::..Anime/Manga..::]
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

Owned:
   DVD
   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

Owned:
   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

Owned:
   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

Owned:
   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

Owned:
   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust

Owned:
   DVD

   Vampire Hunter D Book 1



New Vampire Miyu

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


Yami no Matsuei

Owned:
   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.
   Sketchbook


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


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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

[::..archive..::]
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
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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
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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
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02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
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01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
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01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
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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
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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
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01/09/2017 - 30/09/2017
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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

Monday, May 21, 2018

Major catchup - long post is long... 

Right. [rubs hands together and cracks knuckles] Let's try to get this written before Kai wakes up...

First, while I remember, Kai fixed my computer speaker for me (GoodTwin and Sue may remember the plug thingie on the master speaker broke off when they were here last). The pair of speakers are ancient - decades before USB speakers appeared on the scene - but really really good. The volume on them is window-rattlingly loud at just half-mast... Anyway, Kai handed it to me with a grin and said I shouldn't nag him about his boxes full of old computer bits any more, as he found the replacement plug amongst them. (I promised I wouldn't - not that I did much, anyway - but asked him to try to keep them tidy...)

It's wonderful to have music again!

Last post Lutra commented - "First the tetra of immortality, now the everlasting orchid... I'm detecting a theme!" Well, it gets odder. Every time we've had workmen come in the last year and a half, their partners have either just had babies, or are about to. Tom the plumber, Steve and boss's son the Crystal Clear window installers, even the guy who came to fix the fridge freezer!

Gravity goes a bit strange in this house too, occasionally, especially in the greenhouse. I usually start the salad leaves off there, and bring them into the house when they're big enough to use...

Didn't quite work last time!


Greenhouse, last sowing.

What they should look like (although this is only half the usual amount as the rest has been used in sandwiches etc.)

(The recipe for the Japanese pickles is at the end of this post, btw.)

We seem to have a (semi)resident fox... Back in March, after the snow had melted, I saw something moving in the garden. At first I thought it was another cat - but Tyjer was sitting watching it rather than attacking, so I looked a little closer. It was a very poorly fox, all the fur gone from its tail and left shoulder and limping badly...

I rang the RSPCA, who asked if it was mobile (which it was, if only just: they can't do anything if it's still walking around) and said could we try feeding it for a few days to see if it improved. We keep dog food in anyway, to put out for the foxes when the weather is really bad, so we gave it a go. Fox visited every lunchtime for five days, obviously improving, ears perking up and the limp getting better, then stopped coming. We thought that either it was self-sufficient now, or had died (we didn't know what had caused all the fur loss: it could have been from an accident, maybe with a car?, or mange, which we know can be deadly.)

Then last week Ken said he'd seen a fox wander down through the garden. That's not unusual, but this wasn't the usual fox, who we recognise because he is a magnificent specimen, big, strong and with a bushy full tail. Then on Friday last Kai went out to fill the bird feeders at the top of the garden, only to see a fox lying in a sunny spot up behind the privet he has planted at the edge of the new meadow. It saw him and slunk away through the damaged fence panel - but it was there the next day too, and he got a better look. If it is our poorly fox, it's made a full recovery, although its tail fur still hasn't quite regrown completely. And the hole in the ground in the new meadow is a lot bigger than it used to be... We put some food out for it, which vanished fairly quickly.

Kind of tickled that it feels safe enough to use the garden in daylight!

So, quick run-down of last week.

Mon: major shop at Wilko for me - paint, wall hooks to hang up the mower, pair of telescopic grass shears that I can use without bending over - and Kai said the exam wasn't too bad.

Tues: Kai's second exam, also not too bad, he thinks/hopes. I couldn't go swimming as the end of Hampstead road was closed for roadworks (like half the bloody city at the moment) Tues and Wed (and in fact was still closed to traffic on Thurs...) Spent much of the day getting ready for the window installers, shifting stuff away from the windows as best we could. Watched Kingsman: the Golden Circle in the evening, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Wed: Crystal Clear arrived at 9... There followed an extraordinary amount of noise, drilling, sawing, and kicking down the kitchen door as I couldn't find the old key!

They actually got the windows completely in on Wed, and just had to finish off tidying up on the Thurs.

It all looks fantastic - and it's so quiet. And warm - the temperature is the same right the way through the house now, so much better than having to go out of a warm room into a cold one (no more ill-fitting Critalls windows that we couldn't even close properly). Not to mention the security aspect! We've waited 25 years to get it done, but it's been worth it.

Fri: young Will came to install the stair rail - it's lovely pine, so is wonderfully in keeping with the natural unpainted look we're aiming for for the wooden fittings in the house. And it makes getting up and down the stairs so much easier.

Sat: I started painting in the kitchen while Ken bought and sawed the wood for the shelves I wanted across the new panel that's replaced the old kitchen door. Great big non-opening window for my indoor food plants!

Sun: shopping and chilling. And finishing watching Stan Lee's Lucky Man season 2 - great stuff. Waiting now for season 3...

Other bits of news... Driving lesson on Thurs went OK, though I was very tired and had to cut it short after just over an hour as I was losing focus and (obviously) didn't want to cause an accident. Next lesson is tomorrow, 4 - 6 (rush hour, oh joy... Still, I have to do it sometime so why not now...)

Dr has given me new meds to see if they help with the pain in my back, hips and legs - amitriptyline, which confused me as it's primarily an anti-depressant, but also used in neuropathic conditions, which is what I have. Felt positively dopey when waking the first week: that's now eased off, but the pain is worse. Though apparently it takes 4 - 6 weeks for it to start working, so hopefully the effects will kick in in a week or so. Fingers crossed.

We have a Wecare technician coming at 1, with a contractor, to give us a price for replacing our downpipe with a new one. The old is asbestos and came with the house: about 12 years ago it developed a hole - which we patched up with butyl rubber and superglue (Blue Peter fans, anyone?) - then a leak, which we treated the same. It's done well since then, but now it's got rather beyond us and is a health risk: we really need it replaced. I'm dreading the cost, but it needs to be done. More later.

Go read Jonathan Day's Enlightenment. It had me LOLing loud enough to wake the neighbours!

Lastly, I've treated myself to four films going really cheaply (like, 1p and 50p) on amazon and ebay - Buried (because I like Ryan Reynolds, although I know I'm going to find the film claustrophobic), and - because Keanu Reeves is my guilty pleasure - Little Buddha, A Walk in the Clouds, and Dangerous Liaisons, an early film in which he only has a smallish role (I think?), but having recently watched the Korean version of this classic, I thought I'd get an English one as well...

And that's the most of the news! Later, all...

Japanese pickles (From the Curry recipe collection by Sainsbury's (p. 42, no ISBN number that I can find) - a great find in a charity shop!)

50mls rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 a cucumber, halved, deseeded and sliced thinly
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into thin ribbons
75g radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced

Bring vinegar, sugar and 1 tbsp water to the boil and simmer gently until the sugar has dissolved. Put the veg in a bowl and pour over the liquid, stir well and leave to cool, then cover and chill in the fridge.
Delicious, but it doesn't keep for very long without the veg going limp. Not that it stays around for long here, I love it!

Tyjer on the back of my recliner...

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1 Comments:

Blogger Sue said...

Wow, the windows look great and how nice to have those shelves now. Fingers crossed for the next driving lesson. I don't know how you pack it all in!

9:27 pm  

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Monday, May 14, 2018

How did I ever have time to update every day?...

I declare this the Year of the Radish (in this house, anyway...)

First pick, to thin them out rather than anything else. I did say everything is hurrying to catch up after the snowy start to the spring...

Shall be making some Japanese pickles later (radish, carrot and cucumber in a mirin and white wine vinegar and sugar syrup).

So, what's been happening?

Watching... Kai had said he'd heard good things about Stan Lee's Lucky Man: found a copy cheap on amazon so bought it. It's actually rather good - we found ourselves watching at least two eps a night, and liked it enough to order the second season (it's a speedy watch, only 10 x 45 minute eps per season so easily done). I also found The Café on the Ioffer site (specialises in TV films/series' that never got officially released - I've bought from them before and found them pretty good). This one isn't perfect - the season 2 second disc stalls in a couple of places - but most of it is fine, and most enjoyable. I picked up Kingsman: the Golden Circle cheaply, but we had to watch Kingsman: Secret Service first, as Kai hadn't seen it. Did that last night and loved it!

In the house... I now have an over-the-bath seat, and this morning young Will from the council fitted the bath grab rail and the curved rail on the newel post at the top of the stairs (he's coming back to fit the stair rail asap). I've started redecorating the stairwell and hall (we're going for cream and gold - or possibly moss green - this time): most of it will be done once the last of the windows have been replaced (Wed and Thurs this week). Ken has started stripping the six or so layers of paint off the banisters - the wood underneath seems to be a mix of pine and possibly oak - rather nice and beautifully grained. Kai has said he'll carry on stripping the paint off the main rail this summer: once it's all finished it will look pretty good.

My everlasting orchid is doing its thing again...

Yes, that's another flower spike coming off the current flower spike...

Kai's had his two vivas and sits his first (of four) exams this afternoon. Not looking forward to it, but he's studied hard and just has to pass it, so fingers crossed. This is the one he's most worried about, so we'll be glad when it's over. He has another tricky one tomorrow but again, has done a lot of work towards it. His last two are next Thurs and Fri - then he's on summer break. Until October. We have a lot of things planned for the summer...

In the garden... Everything is going well. Most of my seeds have sprouted now, and some sweetcorn is ready to be planted out (sprouting's been uneven this year). The tomatoes and peppers have started flowering in the greenhouse, and - a small miracle - the spindle tree seeds that I planted two years ago have now sprouted. I've repotted them in compost mixed with chalk dust (from GoodTwin's Salisbury Plain chunks of chalk from a very long time ago - I still have a fair number left!) Mum T wants one, Kai another, the third will probably go into the front garden. They can grow very big though...

Kai had a go at using the lawn mower - and it packed up, blowing the fuses in the shed as it did so. Not his fault, it's a mechanical fault somewhere. We've bought a Flymo instead - lighter and easier to use!

There's more - there always is - but that's the most memorable (for me). Later!





1 Comments:

Blogger AmandaHuffleduck said...

First the tetra of immortality, now the everlasting orchid... I'm detecting a theme!

[nods] Japanese pickles, right [makes a note]

1:09 pm  

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Thursday, May 03, 2018

I'd write my autobiography, but no-one would believe it... 

First refresher driving lesson 11 - 1 today. Instructor is young (late 20s, I'd guess) even-tempered and patient - pretty much perfect. Drove us to Knowle then swapped seats and went through all the car controls - quite a few of which I'd never seen before (well, the Petal was old in 1986: things have come on a bit since then. Love the customisation!) Once I knew what everything did, he let me take over...

Knowle is lots of small quiet residential streets, cars parked half on pavements on both sides of the road, several mini-roundabouts and lots of turnings - pretty good place for a first refresher...

Quite surprised myself. My clutch control is not at all bad given the 25 years since I last drove (used to be excellent so I expect to get back to that level quickly): observation also pretty good (though needs some work as I'm not used to using both wing mirrors), and general handling of the car is surprisingly good too.

And then I turned sharp left into a small side road, just over a speed bump, with someone driving a bit too close behind me for comfort, and a cyclist (teen, no helmet) in the middle of the road I was turning into. Veered too close to the kerb...

And punctured the sidewall of the front nearside tyre.

[HeadddeskheaddeskHEADDESK]

Ooops.

[sigh]. Obviously this is why the lessons are so expensive, to cover insurance for damage. He was OK though - said I'd actually done very well, all things considered, and was happy to book another lesson for the week after next (and will make up the half an hour we had to call short, as the car wasn't safely driveable after I broke it). He also rang for a taxi for me to get home, which was very good of him.

So, not an unqualified success, but much better than I anticipated, and more importantly, I enjoyed it. Going to take it slowly, see how I do next lesson then book another, as I need to try driving in town (which I always hated) even though we'll mostly be using the car for countryside trips and occasional shopping (and I know all the routes around Bristol to avoid the centre. But just in case of emergencies I need to be able to navigate around the city centre, oh joy). Kai has exams this month, so we're going to start car-hunting early June in the hopes we'll have the car by the middle of the month. Once we have it I can apply for my Blue Badge, and ask how I go about organising a disabled parking bay to be painted outside the house (because we can't afford the hard standing until end of this year/beginning of next at the moment.) And we can start having fun days out!

All quite exciting!

In other news...

Ken and I bussed to Hurrans last Sunday, to pick up a trough and some more seeds. I've started clearing the grass away from the patio area (we want to get rid of as much as possible: Ken hates mowing, and although Kai has offered to take over, it would be easiest if he just mowed the bits he wants to keep - which is NOT the patio or my growing area up by the raised beds and greenhouse...) and set up the trough and newly cleared manhole cover -


In the trough are oregano (transplanted - and much happier for it - from a tub up by the greenhouse), thyme and sage from Hurrans, with garden mint (nearer) and chocolate mint (further - tastes like After 8s) in the manhole cover (there's chives and rocket seeds there too, as yet unsprouted). My potted bay tree and rosemary - far right - aren't in the right places yet: once the grass is dead we plan to put down artificial grass (or stone slabs if we can afford it this year) and add another trough or tubs with other herbs (I've started using them more in cooking so it makes sense to have them all close to the house). It's coming along nicely. Oh, and the bamboo? FULL of happily sprouting new leaves! Now looking for larger, prettier tubs for it, with room for a base support so I can get it growing a little more upwards rather than out.

And because she loves my garden, here's a current panorama from the patio for Lutra.

As you can see, there's now netting on the higher bed, as my mange tout and dwarf beans are sprouting. (Actually, so is everything else: two different sorts of onions, three of carrots, three radish varieties and a row of spring onions). Everything's trying to make up for lost time...

Watching: we finally finished House. All 176 eps of it. Never again.

Next up is Starhunter, then Touch, but we probably won't be starting until next week: tonight the next ep of Marvel's Runaways is on, followed by the first two eps of Siren (what can I say, I love mermaids...) And with the weather suddenly improving, I think we plan to spend as much time outside as we can, although on Sat, while K&K are out exploring woods at Portbury, I will be starting the hall/stairwell/landing repaint, as we're having a secondary banister put in opposite the one that came with the house to make it easier for me to get up and down the stairs, and I need to paint the wall before it goes in. Had the over the bath seat delivered now and it's brilliant!.

Hm. Anything else? I think that's it for now. Off for a lie-down I think - the driving was quite tiring!

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4 Comments:

Blogger Sue said...

Ooops,but otherwise well done on the first lesson. At least you enjoyed it, remembered a lot and haven't been put off by the incident. Roads are just so crowded these days and it's increasingly difficult to predict what cyclists will do!
Garden looks great and I do like the latest trough.

9:12 am  
Blogger AmandaHuffleduck said...

I LUB YOUR GARDEN!!
(hee, thanks for the pic :D )

12:20 am  
Blogger GoodTwin said...

Cyclists can be the worst - whether on the road or pavement! It's a pain that you nerffed the kerb, but it could have been worse. What car did you have? No doubt it's larger than you were used to, even if it's what now classes as a small car.
We're happy to come over and take you round a few dealers when you're ready. It will probably help to do that early on in order to rule out any makes/models which might not suit you.

9:23 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Glad you like the garden!
GoodTwin: I have no idea what make the car is (I'll look next time), but it's a hatchback about the same size as the Petal was - pretty much the size we want to buy, actually. My preference is for a VW - a Golf, perhaps - but Kai will have to input too. And many thanks, that will make life a lot easier!

9:57 am  

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

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 and deliciously subversive by turns. And free fiction? What's not to love?

Go check them out, but bear in mind they may be addictive, as I suddenly found at 3 am when I had to get up early the next day and had to make myself stop reading.

Onto the garden...


Sue's little Valentine apple tree! Not sure if it will fruit this year, but it's looking very happy and has settled in nicely.

Tulips...


Watched: Tiny Robots, which is 45 minutes of my life I want back. It's dire. The Opera Australia version of The Mikado, which was a blast (although some of the politicised verses were a bit beyond us...). Pathfinder, which is so-so. And Kai and I are now on season 8 (the last one) of House. It's now a matter of gritting teeth and finishing the course, as I absolutely loathe the character.

May is going to be extra busy: Kai has exams, I have drs appts (hoping to try to persuade her to book me for another steroid injection in my right hip - fingers crossed) and people coming to fit grab rails around the house (and a slatted seat over the bath so I can get in and out safely to shower), and Ken has a week off now and is hoping to get out and about a little. And of course there's the garden every day too. Well, it's all good exercise! (Which reminds me, swam 24 lengths at the pool last week and didn't suffer too much the following day, which is good news!)

Off to make lunch - sossij and Puy lentil soup as it's ridiculously cold today.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sue said...

I'm relieved the tree has taken OK and didn't suffer too much damage from being moved. Well done on the lengths!

9:22 pm  
Blogger AmandaHuffleduck said...

House, yeah, didn't watch past S3 cos I just wanted to hit him.

Ahhh, I love your garden!

10:33 am  

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Just a quick one.

With the warmer weather the garden and greenhouse have exploded. My seedlings seem to have doubled in size every time I check them (the first climbing beans - only planted in peat pots last week - need planting out today and I haven't finished the framework for them yet!) Radishes, spring onions, and even the first carrots have sprouted in the higher raised bed, and the bamboo seems to be recovering well, although it's a bit early to be completely sure. We have a pair of long tailed tits now regularly visiting the patio feeder: they are so cute. They take a fruit suet nugget in their beak, flit to the physocarpus, hang upside down from one of the thicker branches, then take the nugget into a claw and delicately eat it in little nips.

Sue's amelanchier!

Beautiful little tree. (Your valentine apple tree is coming on well too, but the leaves start out red and don't photograph well against the wall backdrop. Will try later.)

Watched THX 1138. I saw it first at uni Film Club, but rather to my surprise remembered practically none of it. It's pretty good, though will never be a favourite. Kai enjoyed it though. He also really enjoyed Split, which I found extra cheap at Tesco and bought because of McAvoy, who is a very fine actor. And he was excellent in this too - but I hadn't noticed it's a Shyamalan directed film. I don't like his films. They all start off really well, but have horribly anti-climactic and/or stupidly unbelievable ends. This was, alas, no exception.

But that's just my opinion. Hundreds of thousands of people disagree.

Time to get started on the garden!

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sue said...

Had to dig back in my emails to find out about the amelanchier because I couldn't remember it. Well, I've discovered it was 2012 so I don't feel quite so bad now. It's come on really well from the little twig I gave you!

8:20 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

It's a gorgeous little tree! And the bees love it. I'm hoping for berries later (they're edible, but we'll leave them for the birds) and the leaves go the most beautiful colours in autumn. It's an all-round treasure!

11:30 am  

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Ooops I did it again...

[sigh] Catch-up...

Easter weekend with Bank Holiday Mon was relaxed. I actually bought us chocolate eggs this year (well, Tesco had a salted caramel one and I couldn't have that for myself without K&K having their own, could I?!) Watched films, continues with House, got a little gardening done (everything is coming along splendidly in the greenhouse) - that sort of thing.

On Mon evening we had the fun of dragging the old sofa out for collection the next day. I'm keeping the cushions, one armrest and one back in case the other sofa ones get damaged.

Tues - I think this was the day Kim and I went to Almondsbury. I'd planned to pick up the conifer I saw last time we went (to go in the front garden to add to the screen so next door can't peer into my house) but they didn't have any. Damn. Oh well, next time...

Wednesday caught the morning over 50's swim (the first bus gets there a bit early, so shopped at Broadwalk first), but I was aching so only managed ten pool lengths. But that's not too bad really. Walking back wasn't fun though. Have made a dr's appt for beginning of next month.

Spent the rest of the week doing the usual, I believe, as I can't remember anything specific. Kai and I still ploughing on with House (seasons 7 and 8 have now arrived).

Mon was chasing around to find out info about replacing the downpipe, as our patchy repairs are now failing and the whole thing needs replacing. But it's most likely asbestos. The local tip will take smallish amounts of asbestos, and apparently if you play water over it while breaking it up it kills the dust and minimises the danger, but it's a lot of work. However, Wecare believe they can help: am waiting to hear back from them. Also arranged for Andrew of Crystal Clear to come round tomorrow as we're now in a position to get the rest of the windows (and the kitchen door) replaced.

Windows sorted: after dinner watched Star Wars: the Last Jedi... Kai loved it, I was less impressed, although at least in this ep there was no deathstar (although as Kai pointed out, the cannon took its place). Great acting, and it's wonderful to finally have powerful female characters, but the story was disappointing (for me, at any rate. Then again, as I've said before, I've seen so much it's not that easy to impress me any more!)

Had to miss swimming Tues and Wed as my stomach was upset. Took it easy for a couple of days (well, as easy as I ever do...)

Sat - planting, and tidying up for window surveyor's visit. The garden is looking pretty good at the moment, the delayed spring is now in full flower...


My plum tree! Hoping for a good harvest this year...

Yesterday the weather was gorgeous, and K&K decided to go to Wells to check out the charity and antique shops. They arrived back ten minutes later with their arms full of bamboo plants that the house on the corner at the end of the road had dug up and were getting rid of, and were happy for them to be taken away... Not sure if I mentioned, but I've been looking for sensibly priced bamboo to grow in pots outside the patio doors to hide that ugly monstrosity of a fence, but up to now they've been too expensive and too small. Now -

[grin] Rather pleased about that! When they've recovered and thickened up a little they'll completely hide the fence.

We have plans for the patio area: aiming to make a small potted-plant-screened little 'courtyard' (which will hopefully stop Tyjer going bonkers every time anything moves out there). Photos whenif it happens.

Window surveyor will be here at lunchtime to measure up, and we've decided what patterns we want on the glass for the door panel, bathroom and hall. Suppose I'd better clear the bathroom windowsill!

Oh, last thing... Remember my adorable little colletes hederae stingless bees from September 2015? Remember next door attacked the ones on his side, first with a sulphur gun then with a flamethrower? And then covered the bare earth with sheets of black rubber? He took them up a couple of weeks ago, and now he has this...

Foxes. Heh. Should probably have stuck with the bees!





1 Comments:

Blogger Sue said...

What luck with the bamboo! As you say, it should look lovely when it settles in. Garden is looking good!

8:33 pm  

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Long post is long. 

... and has photos...

Catchup time again!

Wed.... what happened last Wed...? Usual shopping etc I think.

Thurs. Uh... um... gah! Really must write up blog more often!

Fri - usual shopping and house stuff in the morning, Maplins in the afternoon. This wonderful chain is closing down, and having an up to 70% sale. Came back with a whole heap of treasures! (Well, Kai did! Though I found a lightweight telescopic window cleaner perfect for the greenhouse, and magnetic L plates and a tyre pressure gauge and tread depth set from Halfords next door, and later in the week found a sturdy footpump and spray de-icer at Wilko. That's my car kit started! Still need a lockable petrol cap and a steering wheel lock (visible deterrent more than anything) and spare bulbs, though won't get those 'til we know which car we're getting.) Halfords also sell a 3-bike rack which fits most hatchbacks, for a very reasonable £59: Kai and I were wondering if we can persuade Ken to get a bike... Then after dinner it was Sucker Punch, which I found for 49p at Broadwalk. Extraordinary film, surreal in places, gorgeous cinematography. Need to watch it again, I think...

Sat - took a day off for a mammoth film fest. Robot and Frank - an unusual, subtle and complex little film, well deserving its IMDb rating - then The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, which Kai had never seen (and Ken and I hadn't watched since before he was born), which was most enjoyable! Later it was more House for Kai and I.

Sun - planted out my tomato seedlings in the greenhouse (just in time for the cold snap forecast for next week. Glad I bought cloches end of last year!) Glorious sunshine: K&K went for a walk. I hung the washing out for the first time this year (and it mostly dried!)

Monday - K&K were off to Torquay for mum T's birthday (it was on Sat but train tickets on Saturdays are three times the price they are during the week). I've begged off: at the moment sitting down for any length of time is very painful for the legs. We're hoping to all go down again later in the year - possibly by car.

I read my birthday present Lady Killer in bed (that's a treat these days!) It's good, but I didn't enjoy it enough to want to collect them. Well worth a look though. Shopped in the morning, and found the perfect recliner at the Furniture Shop down the road, on the way to Sains. (Been pricing these up as sitting with legs up on the sofa makes the sciatica worse: sofa is a tiny bit too short for it to be comfortable. Problem is most of them have the back lower as the leg part rises, and that's not what I want.) Furniture Shop one is a Kinman, £250 (originally £600ish, according to the guy in the shop), and felt wonderful. Needed to check the finances and get Ken's opinion, so said I'd be back.

In the afternoon treated myself to Wild Zero (link full of spoilers so if you ever plan to watch the film, don't click!)...

It's hysterically bad. Plan 9 and Santa Clause conquers the Martians bad. But hysterically daft with it. I mean, the baddie wears very tight, very short shorts that lace up the side, ankle boots and dreadful wigs. (... nice legs though, and he's actually quite convincing when he isn't talking...) Guitar Wolf rides a bike with flames shooting out of the exhaust (and out of his microphone when he... sings may not be quite the right word...) Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf spend most of their time combing their greased back quiffs. And one of the zombies seems to think she's supposed to be a baglady and roots through bins instead of attacking the living...

It's insane, completely bonkers, and is absolutely screaming out for fanfic (there isn't any, of course). I couldn't recommend it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it once I got over the initial '... wut??...'.

Tues - deliveries, swimming in the afternoon (20 lengths. While I was there the delivery note for Megatron arrived - more below), then I went back to buy the recliner, which was delivered at 6.10 that evening. Absolute bliss!

On Wed Wendy visited for the day. I met her from the train station after picking up a few things from the Wed Market. Lovely relaxed day, with The Hobbit trilogy on in the background, as she hadn't seen it. Great day!

Thursday was supposed to be a quiet day, but I had to go and ransom Megatron (£24.16 for import duty) from the delivery office.

He was not very happy with me making him wait...

This is the end of the fusion cannon you don't want to be at...

Gorgeous gorgeous quality. I am very happy.

Caught the no 2 bus up the Wells Rd on the way back to pick up my glasses from SpecSavers at Broadwalk (they're absolutely fine now) and found this in St Pete's Hospice...

It's a rather stylish shark (I think) bottle opener. But it's the other side that made me have to have it.

That's either the happiest - if manic - shark ever, or the creepiest!

Yesterday I took off. Well, emailed a complaint to Staples about the printer cartridge they sent us, did a little work on the Fox and Howard website, and made caramelised red onion marmalade (which failed badly as the caramel part burnt without me realising it and it tasted awful. [grump] Lot of work for nothing...) before we sat down for Power Rangers (cheap at Tesco). It's OK, fun, nice sfx, OK acting, but basically brain candy for a rainy afternoon. Which this was.

Today? Well, the rain is stopping, and Ken has offered to hoe my higher bed so I can finally get the peas, beans, carrots and radishes on the go (should have been done at the beginning of March but the weather was so awful everything's been delayed). He may be going out this afternoon: I'm going to watch an hour of Masterchef before getting anything else done. The recliner is working marvellously: only had it three days and the sciatica is already drastically improved (didn't need to take any painkillers at all yesterday - first time in years). Kai has work to get done - team project for one of his uni courses - which he wants to clear as quickly as possible as he has venesection tomorrow and BMT Clinic on Wed. So another relaxed day. We're getting there!

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1 Comments:

Blogger Sue said...

Busy, busy! The chair sounds great and the shark is a hoot!

10:29 am  

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Wash put through and hung up, delivery put away - I have an hour before I need to leave for swimming. Let's catch up.

Last week...

Mon - trip to dentist. She's dug out some more of the root, put in something that should kill off anything that's still living there, and put in another temporary filling. I go back for the final replacement filling in three weeks. While I was up at Broadwalk picked up some bird food from Wilko (and just missed the bus back down the hill, but luckily the rain held off until I reached home walking).

Tues - both deliveries (large ones), then I went swimming in the afternoon. There's a 514 hourly bus that gets me up the hill for the 2.30 over 50s swim, which is perfect. I don't mind walking back down Talbot Hill, but walking up it is a nightmare these days. Surprised myself too - managed 20 lengths!

Wed - a bit achy after all yesterday's exercise, but bussed into town to renew my driving licence at the main Post Office, then picked up onions, peppers and mushrooms at the Wednesday market at St Nick's. On the bus back I suddenly remembered that GoodTwin and Sue were visiting on Fri and I hadn't organised food, so dived into Sains before going home.

Thurs - quick shopping trip over to Tesco, then rang National Express to organise the refund of my return journey from Plymouth. (The email was very apologetic: I guess they had a lot of people asking for money back for cancelled buses!)

Specsavers rang - my glasses were ready for collection. More importantly, GoodTwin and Sue visit! As always it was huge fun. We played Nostalgia and IQuest - and I opened birthday presents! Touch (which is very good), Wild Zero (which looks absolutely bonkers and I'm really looking forward to watching!) the first Lady Killer graphic novel, and the Complete Zombie Survival Guide! All brilliant!

Many thanks, both of you. I had a fantastic day!

Sat - snow. Again. [grump]

So not much was done. Although my new driving licence arrived, which was extremely fast!

Sun - the snow was bad enough to stop us going in for Kai's venesection - will need to rebook. So it was just the usual getting ready for the new week.

Yesterday - picked up my glasses. The close work ones are fine, the computer work ones aren't: I have to hunch over the keyboard to bring the screen into focus. Taking them back before I go swimming today. In the afternoon, doctor called with results of my blood test. It's all good: liver function is fine, BP is stable at normal for me, cholesterol is down from 7.1 to 6.1, BMI down from 45 to 40, I'm two stone lighter than they had on file, and my stroke/heart attack risk is 7.08% (if it's over 10% they give you statins). So internally I'm in pretty good shape. Just wish I could say the same for the rest of me!

We've started looking at cars (online) and I've booked my first refresher driving lesson with Red driving school (highly recommended by a number of people I've spoken to) for first week of May. Two hours, £62 - so they'd better be good! Fingers crossed I won't need much: I can quite vividly remember how I used to drive, and fortunately I don't need to take the new tests, so... we'll see.

Back from swim: only did 16 lengths as shoulders and back sore. Sciatica is really playing up today too - been prescribed Naproxen, which works, but only for a couple of hours. Will see about getting another appt and asking for advice.

But for now Kai and I are going to watch the first ep of House season 4 (hair's too wet for a lie down: this will have to do instead.)

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sue said...

What a good job we came over on Friday and hadn't planned for Saturday instead. Lovely day as always!

8:18 pm  
Blogger AmandaHuffleduck said...

that's... a lot going on! :)

10:24 am  

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

And life got back to what passes for normal - manic - in no time flat...

Actually, it was a good and very productive week. After the amazing sleep I had on holiday, last Sun I did a little research and Ken and I agreed we'd try a Casper mattress. Pricey at £550, but they were advertising a 10% off for Mothers' Day, so we took advantage of course. Bit of a hiccup with delivery (bloody UPS...) but it arrived on Thurs. Kai helped me unpack and get the old mattress downstairs, and Thursday night was a dream. Sleeping through the night and waking up free of pain is fantastic. It's actually proving a bit difficult to get up these mornings, it's so comfortable! Ken's not completely convinced yet, but he seems to be sleeping well and said his back isn't so stiff, so I think he's getting used to it. It is completely different to the old-style pocket sprung mattresses, and does take a few nights to accustom oneself to the way it moves (or rather, doesn't!) It's also silent - no creaking of springs... I'm very happy with the investment.

Mon: Into town to try to organise National Express refund (no joy at the ticket office: they said to contact customer service, which I did online when I got back): buy a Crazy Fox t-shirt for Kai's birthday: then to dr for blood test. Tesco shop on the way back.

Tues: generally domestic stuff - two washes, organising deliveries, tidying up stuff. In the evening we watched Geostorm: rather disappointing, if pretty to look at. Miscast, in my opinion.

Wed: deliveries. First seeds planted in greenhouse. The tomatoes on the kitchen windowshelf have now nearly all sprouted - should be able to plant out at the beginning of next month (or earlier if the cold weather has finished).

Thurs: back into town to throw money at the bank: Specsavers for eye test. I need new working glasses and also close work ones, finally. It will be nice to be able to thread needles again, and read instructions... After that it was down to Sains to get refund for the crappy HP speakers.

Fri - Kai's 23rd birthday: woke up pain free... Had a lie in! Took the day easy as legs and back aching from doing so much the day before. Kai and I carried on watching House (up to Season 3 now). The day was generally low key: Kai had to go in to uni for a couple of meetings (it's been pretty much closed this last week as lecturers are on strike), but he seems to have enjoyed the day. In the evening we watched stuff...

And yet again I forgot to ring for blood test results (cholesterol, liver function and levothyroxine levels). Have made a note to myself to do it tomorrow.

Sat: early shopping, as Dawn was coming over for the afternoon for a fest of Children of the Stones and stayed for dinner. I found salted caramel peanuts at Ssins, so picked some up to try. Addictive! I suggested K&K try them, thinking they wouldn't like them, but Ken said they're divine and should be this year's pub nibbles of choice, so I'll have to hide them! Afterwards we watched Lucky Number Slevin, which I picked up for 49p at Broadwalk. It's absolutely brilliant! Loved it! Wish I could write like that.

And today... Mushrooms and scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast, frewtnog pool treated with blanket-weed killer, and a few more seeds on the go in the greenhouse. My second planting of garlic has now sprouted, and there are buds on all the fruit trees... Paninis with red onion marmalade, bacon and brie shortly, then Native on Filmflex for a treat. Roast duck and salted caramel torte (not together) for dinner!

Later...

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