Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.
August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
Saturday, January 06, 2018
Kai and I bussed out to Westbury-on-Trym this afternoon, to scour the charity shops. Always fun!
And fairly successful: I found a moai-effect carved wooden nose in Oxfam to put my glasses on when not being used (now maybe I'll stop knocking them off the desk or losing them!)
Not the prettiest of objets but I rather like it! Fair trade handmade too, rather nice.
And I was kidnapped (owlnapped?) by another wol, a necklace this time...
I wore it right away and it felt as though I'd always had it - my way of telling that a piece of jewellery is right for me.
I suppose I should be on the lookout for a wol hat and gloves now.
Found One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (saw this at the uni film club - I joined almost as soon as I got there - when it first came out, and had only mentioned to Ken the other day that it's a classic and we should have it...), THX 1138 (another classic I saw at the film club), and as a complete contrast, Kong: Skull Island. Lutra enjoyed this one, and it stars Tom Hiddleston, so it'll be pretty to look at at least! All from St Pete's Hospice charity shop at the top of Whiteladies Rd. Kong tomorrow!
After dinner we caught the first ep of Hard Sun... Well. Incredibly violent, but most intriguing. Pretty good acting, and a very interesting premise. Looking forward to the next ep with considerable anticipation.
Tired now and thinking of trying for an early night...
Friday, January 05, 2018
It's been a nice, if sporadically busy, start to 2018. Buck's Fizz and the televised London Fireworks to see the year in: on New Year's Day K&K went for a walk down to Nightingale Valley as the weather was good. We've taken down the tree and some of the lights, I've caught up on some sleep, and taken a look at the vampire fridge poetry Sue gave me for xmas...
To my surprise and bemusement, the two words I wanted - silent and alone - aren't included! But Kai likes it anyway. Wondering if I can make haikus...
There's a lot of words. I took a few mins to organise them alphabetically (roughly!) onto the side of the fridge.
Makes everything easier!
Wed this week Kai had his latest BMT clinic at the BHOC. Since I don't go in with him anymore I did a little shopping in town, and discovered the new (to me, it's probably been there months!) the Grape Tree shop in The Galleries. Popped in to see if they had any kefir drinks (they didn't, no fridge) and found wasabi coated peanuts! On BOGOF!!
I love these things. Haven't had any for years, so bought two packs right away. Also picked up milled linseed...
Found that the beta blockers I was taking last year really upset my digestive system, and it's still not back to normal, so I did a little research and found that chia seeds and crushed flax seeds are very good for digestion, so I bought some from Tesco to sprinkle on my fruit and yoghurt breakfasts. Only problem is their flax seeds are whole, and, as I found when trying, I don't have the strength to grind them in the mortar and pestle. So I asked while I was at the shop, and the extremely knowledgable assistant explained that flax seed and linseed are actually the same (well, with tiny differences that don't actually make any difference when you're eating them.) And the shop's milled linseed was the same price as Tesco for three times as much, so I know where I'll be buying mine in future...
The only thing I forgot was to check for dried goji berries. I am very fond of these - they're crunchy and have a really nice taste (there's a suggestion that they may be good for easing arthritis too, but I don't think that's been medically proven) but they're expensive from Tesco. Going back next week to see if they have them: there's a Weds farmer's market on at St Nick's with a stand from a local organic farm which I want to check out.
Kai's clinic was fine - bloods are as normal as they're going to get, and his kidney function test came back OK too (aciclovir can cause major kidney problems) so that's all good.
We've watched some more Eureka (it's awfully good!), and I've got the family organiser started. This afternoon I plan to start making our bedroom door curtain.
Sunday, December 31, 2017
Just a quick post to end the year.
Quietish weekend. I treated us to Eureka (complete, boxed set) for Yule as Kai mentioned he'd like to see it all again. Watched and enjoyed the pilot and first ep. Today we put up the kitchen sticky backed plastic - very much a bodge job but it'll do until we have the time and materials to do it properly!
And this is Rodimus. The Autobot co-captain who somersaults onto the bridge and pretends to be dead if you ask him a difficult question...
Annoying as hell but cute with it!
Wishing you all the very best for 2018. We'd be happy for the year just to be healthy...
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
It snowed quite heavily last night - huge soft flakes sleeting down completely covering the ground - and the silence was extraordinary. Alas, it was melting by sunrise, and the usual dull city noise was back...
I told Kai, who watched out of the landing window as a fox trotted through the garden, silhouetted against the white. I missed it, was in the bathroom, but reminds me we should put food out tonight. The weather's turned colder for a spell.
Xmas eve we watched Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets... Luc Besson has been involved with some very good films. This, unfortunately, isn't one of them. Fabulous cinematography, great sfx, the overall plot was sound, but the acting... Valerian was a Marty Stu and completely unbelievable, with soddall chemistry with Laureline (it should probably be mentioned that Cara Delevingne's acting was very much better than Dane DeHaan's). And what the hell was that abomination of a scene with Bubble? It served no purpose other than titillation, apparently... Very disappointing.
The day itself was very nice (well, except that Ken has gone down with a nasty stomach bug, but I honestly can't remember a time when one of us wasn't ill at Yule. He's had to take Wed and Thurs as sick leave..) The presents were all wonderful - thanks GoodTwin and Sue! - and we enjoyed Masters of the Universe after dinner (duck with all trimmings. Sorry Lutra, I completely forgot to take any photos of food at all this Yuletide...) Wonderfully awful film! Much hilarity resounded. Kai will never watch the latest Money Supermarket advert the same way again...
(If this loads the Divaram video from Baahubali, as it keeps doing for me, refresh the page a time or two, that should fix it. Otherwise, watch it on Youtube here.)
Then after the Doctor Who Special (I can't comment. I kept nodding off) we settled in with The Dark Tower which, by contrast, is much better than the preceding two films. Still nothing very new (but then, what am I expecting these days, given the number and variety of films I've seen?) but good acting, an intriguing premise, and very nice cg.
On Boxing Day friend Dawn came over for the usual running buffet and a Bollywood fest - both Baahubali films back to back... Absolutely brilliant. Love those films - and Dawn enjoyed them too. Butter chicken curry for dinner then a couple of Black Books eps before K&K walked her home. Very nice day!
Today's been quieter. Both deliveries, some tidying and making sure as much as possible went out for recycling (all bins tomorrow). And the bird feeders are full and the fox food is out in the garden: forecast is for freezing weather for the next couple of days, oh joy. I need to shop tomorrow...
GoodTwin - to explain my comment in my thank you email... My main present was the gorgeous (and IDW accurate) Rodimus figure (from the Big Bad Toy Store. I've now found an equally wonderful Megatron, who is half as much again (and comes with both miner and tyrant forms!) and the damn near perfect Dinobot, which I am going to pre-order and put all my Yule and birthday money for the next two years towards!)
I think Ken is bemused. If you believe the ads you'd think that most women want expensive clothes, shoes, jewellery and perfume as presents. Me, I want custom Transformers!
Quite where I'm going to put them I'm not sure. I think I need to reorganise my display cabinets...
Anyway - Rodimus came with two heads, one with a grim and serious expression, and one with his usual trademark smirk. It took us half an hour and a Youtube video to figure out how to change the heads as there were no instructions for that bit. This is him in his temporary home. I'll take him out and get some more pics later - you can't see his bow here.
Sunday, December 24, 2017
The Solstice sunrise.
A pleasant 28th anniversary, relatively quiet. Ken was at work, and I spent most of the morning working out how best to hang the chains. The links are soldered shut so unless I wanted Ken or Kai to cut them for me (I don't have the strength any more) it was a matter of using them as they are.
I think it worked OK...
Can't decide if it's more post punk or Addams Family, but Ken likes it too so they're staying for a while!
The new bedding is gorgeous. Tyjer thinks so too, and has taken to sleeping on the bed again...
GoodTwin and Sue visited Friday, and I had the traditional fantastic day, with howls of laughter, too many bikkies, and a fun film, Cruise of the Gods, which was a giggle! [GLOMPS both - I had a wonderful time.]
Yesterday was just manic. Ken helped me in the garden, getting done all the things I had scheduled which got back-boilered when Kai was in hospital: hoeing both veg beds and covering them with tough weed-suppressant fabric, planting the first garlic and covering them with fleece, pruning the Red Devil apple tree and the weeping peach, oiking as much duck weed as I could out of all the pools and bunging in duck weed killer, and planting the new apple tree Sue gave me on Friday! (I've forgotten the variety. Sweetheart? Valentine? Help?)
And then I made lunch, put a wash through, and then Kai came with me (to haul Wheelie) over to Wilko (for birb foods) and Sains (for the last bits and pieces - onions, Brussel's sprouts, a pizza for dinner...) Then after dinner we watched the original Planet of the Apes. Kai was fascinated and wants to watch the 2001 version now. Maybe this afternoon...
Today - well, blog update, finish a couple of pieces of work I've been putting off, lunch then a saunter over to Tesco for a breath of fresh(ish) air, gentle exercise, and to see what's in the sale. Going to try to get the plastic up behind the sink too, but if we don't have time it can wait, it's not urgent.
Bit annoyed though. Just found out that Thor: Ragnarok, which I was looking forward to seeing at the cinema, was here back in October and I never noticed. That's how bloody busy this year has been... Eh well, it's out to buy on my birthday, so we'll treat ourselves then.
Right. Let's get these two jobs finished. Then the rest of the day is mine.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
[sigh] So I woke up at 2.30 and couldn't get back to sleep. Have already amended tomorrow's Yule deliveries and made the first draft of the ones for next week, got everything out of the freezer that I need for today - may as well see if I can get the blog updated while I wait for the recycling crew (if I don't catch them today to give them their card and tub of Heros chocs I won't be able to get it to them before xmas.)
Kai's now home, finished the aciclovir and hopefully will start feeling a bit better from today. Thanks for all the good wishes (and 'fluences, Lin!) everyone. I need to feed him some prebiotics and good gut bacteria: Ken was given a free bottle of kefir at work to try, and brought it home for Kai, but it was past its use by as of yesterday so I ditched it. We didn't want to risk "a lethal dose of beneficial bacteria!" as Kai put it. I'll pick him up some more from Holland and Barratt, one's opened up at Broadwalk.
Friday 8th Kim drove us both to Congresbury. Wonderful trip out - found everything I wanted and Kim was her usual wickedly funny self (this time we had the sales assistant in stitches too!)
Sat I started clearing the kitchen ready for Mon: on Sun Ken assembled the new unit while I went to visit Kai.
Monday 11th Tom the Plumber arrived to fit the new unit. That was fun... It all went quite smoothly until he got to the kitchen sink.
The new one was far too small. Well, 'far too' is only a centimetre or two, but it makes all the difference to how it fits in the unit. So we had to have the old one put in instead. Heh. It must be at least thirty years old... But it works.
Ken put on the doors, Kai did the handles (which involved some careful measuring and drilling through the wood with a tiny drill bit. He's done a great job though!)
The unit is a good two inches deeper than the old one, which has left a gap at the back. In the New Year we plan to make a small shelf to fill it, and fit new tiles (over the old ones and to hide the new pipes) but for now I've picked up some wood effect sticky-backed plastic kitchen stuff, which will hide the gaps and stop water getting down behind the unit. It'll do until we can finish the job properly. In the meantime - I have a functional sink with hidden pipework and proper taps! Only waited 26 years for it...
Thinking I might replace the old cupboard doors with matching ones, it would make the kitchen look a little less dated. The units themselves are fine, they just look ancient. £15 per door + hinges though: will have to wait until next year.
is what was holding up the old unit. Can we say bodge-job?
Kai got himself home in a taxi on Monday afternoon (it took them hours to sort out his meds) and settled down right away to relax and start recovering. Very happy to have him back again.
On Thurs I took the new sink back to Screwfix, who refunded the cost immediately. Great fun - the box was light but huge, and kept pulling Wheelie off-balance. The bus-driver was bemused...
We've spent the last week's evenings relaxing with films - good excuse for me to put feet up and Kai and Ken to rest. Started with The Mummy on FilmFlex. I fell asleep for a bit of it, and came away with the impression that it feels like the pilot for a series. Not very good, but Kai quite enjoyed it. Maybe I've seen too much and am getting jaded in me old age...
Sains had one of their 'buy 2 for £16' offer on DVDs, so grabbed The Dark Tower for Yule and War for the Planet of the Apes, more to complete the series that anything. So we had an evening watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to remind ourselves of the story (I'd forgotten most of it!), then the next evening the new one. And about a third of the way in it suddenly hit me that the modern trilogy is a prequel!
[headdesk] So of course we've had to order the original Planet of the Apes - all five films in a boxed set from amazon. Lots to watch in the New Year...
Then I found The Hitman's Bodyguard, which is absolutely brilliant, although the expletives every couple of m*****f***ing words took a bit of getting used to. (Possibly worse than Logan, but a lot more fun.) I do like Ryan Reynolds!
Then there's Black Mirror... I heard about this by accident, and it sounded intriguing, so got the first two seasons (only three eps long each) and the xmas special in a boxed set, and we started watching on Sat.
... It's jaw-droppingly gob-smackingly good. As in WOW! Very very dark and wonderfully intelligent. So far anyway. Starting season 2 tonight.
While at Proper Job on Sun (for silicon filler primarily, though I had a browse while I was there) I found the chains I wanted to hang the new cushion backrests from the pole for our bedroom. Brushed steel and they make the most amazing sound when handled, a sort of whispery tuneful clinking. They're going to look great. Going to sort that project out on Thursday, when I put the new orchid bedding on the bed. Photo when complete.
The lounge is now finished. Painting done and new curtain pole in place. Very happy with it - looks larger and lighter.
Ken's final blood test came back clear. We can now say the Hep C is cured. Wonderful news, and one thing less to worry about.
Lastly, for now, I found this in a charity shop and just had to bring it home. It's utterly perfect for this family.
Heh. I'd write my autobiography but no-one would believe it...
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Very very brief update. Kai now back from hospital with a week's worth of aciclovir: his discharge summary says the diagnosis was VCV - chicken pox, but a particularly nasty dose, and more dangerous than normal because of his still-reduced immune system. (So in our case, at least, my immunity to the virus didn't pass over to Kai.)
Many thanks to everyone who sent him good wishes.
New kitchen unit is in and plumbing done. Of course there were problems: more later with photos when the job is completely finished.
Thursday, December 07, 2017
So, we didn't manage to get to Wells as sort-of planned last Sat: Kai wasn't feeling too well so we did home stuff (and shopping and washing) instead. On Sun Ken and I went out for an hour or so to Go Outdoors (he needed new trainers), Hurrans (for seeds) and Dunelm (because I knew they have a pretty extensive range of bedding and wanted to check it out, because...)
... it's our 28th wedding anniversary on the Solstice, and while there's no traditional thing for the 28th, the modern one is orchids. Which is fine for me but not so easy for Ken. I found in my searches that there's a beautiful gemstone called orchid tourmaline, but finding a sample of it, much less an earstud, is proving very difficult. But I was firmly convinced that there must be some pure cotton orchid bedding somewhere (other than this American site, which has lovely designs but they're all polyester), and Dunelm was a good place to look.
And indeed they had an absolutely gorgeous set - Lipsy Mirrored Orchid 180 thread count pure cotton. At £90!
Needless to say that's far too much for bedding, even as a joint present. So I took a look around and found the same set at Argos for £66.50 instead, still very expensive but which we ordered (and collected today). Picked up a gorgeous deep petrel, pure cotton sheet to go with it at Tesco. That's the anniversary sorted: we're not going out for a meal this year, it's a Thurs and Ken has to work the next day.
However, when we got back Kai was feeling much worse, in a great deal of pain from his stomach, so I rang 111, who organised an appt (at 10 pm) at the Knowle West Health Park (BrisDoc, out-of-ours surgery for emergencies). Kai's temp reached 99.7 while we were waiting, but had dropped a little by the time the taxi got us there. The registrar examined him and took blood samples, said she couldn't find anything seriously wrong but would ring me with the blood results later (actually at quarter to four on Monday morning) and if we didn't want to get to the BRI that night (we didn't, the thought of a 4 - 6 hour wait in A&E was too much) advised us strongly to see his own dr in the morning.
I tried ringing from 8.30 onwards on Mon am but couldn't get through (the surgery was unusually busy), but as luck would have it Ken had an appt for his own blood test, so was able to speak to reception and get Kai an appt at 10. And the dr sent us straight to the BRI...
The surgical assessment unit got Kai a bed very quickly (by this time he was vomiting and the pain in his abdomen was almost unbearable) and started heavy painkillers while they organised tests. Two X-rays and a CT scan, plus yet more blood tests, at least proved there was nothing really nasty going on, so I rang Ken (who had Mon and Tues off this week) to bring in Kai's (always prepared) bag to the unit to relieve me, and he stayed until they threw him out when visiting hours ended at 9 pm.
When I arrived the next morning Kai was covered from head to waist in a thoroughly nasty rash, and they weren't sure whether it was drug related (they'd given him IV penicillin the night before) or something else.
More tests. We stayed in touch on skype as best we could, but Kai'd had practically no sleep for several nights, and was in too much pain to chat. I found out when I booted up on Wed morning they'd moved him out of the general ward into his own room in a different part of the hospital at one in the morning, though, and I had great fun finding it when I arrived a couple of hours later. He was still suffering and still dozing off much of the time, but I was able to speak with one of the drs, who thought the rash might be a form of chicken pox or shingles...
Seems Kai didn't acquire my immunity when he got my stem cells. However, knowing (more or less) what it was is always helpful, and when I arrived today he was much better, most of the pain gone, and the rash looking better too. But he's on IV aciclovir at the moment, and can't come home until he's finished the course, which we think will be Sat.
We did wonder if that might be why he was moved, as of course it's very infectious (either that or, as I joked to Kai, he's the BHOC's star patient and if they didn't look after him Prof Marks would descend upon the unit with the power of a thousand wombats...) But so far so good. Fingers crossed it all just gets better. We do NOT need relapses at this stage.
I've been too tired to do much this week (two hours travelling - hour each way - to and from hospital plus the time spent with Kai hasn't left me much time for anything else) so Ken and I have caught up with some film watching in the evenings to help clear the pile and let me put my feet up. Notting Hill last Sat - great stuff! - Warlords of Atlantis (oh dear... dire), The Slipper and the Rose (very sweet), Cube (good, but anything but sweet), and tonight Nobel Son, which is weird and rather unpleasant.
And that's about it for now, my eyes are stinging and I need to sleep. More news later.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
The busyness continues...
On Friday evening Ken and I met at Screwfix up the Bath Rd to pick up the kitchen sink, then on Sat bussed out to Cribbs Causeway to the vast B&Q to order the unit itself (and the drawer, and the cupboard doors and drawer front, and the hinges and the handles, because B&Q can screw you for more money if you have to buy every single item individually...) That's all due to arrive today, along with Kai's third and final shelf and a 125litre bag of potting compost for the greenhouse. While we were out there we checked out Dreams: our current mattress is a good one, Silentnight ortho, firm support, and only three years old, but with the various joint and back problems it's not as comfortable as it used to be. I've been wondering about the new Tempur mattresses, and Dreams had several different sorts (pure gel in different support grades, and hybrids): I spent a good few minutes trying them all out. And WOW. Their adverts say it's like lying on clouds, and for once they ain't lyin'. I felt completely weightless...
However, they cost around £2,000 for the double, which is wince-worthy (we could finish having the rest of the windows and the back door replaced for that!) So I did a little research... There have been a few reported problems with the mattresses, although generally people are very happy with them. Then I found the Emma mattress, which looks very good (and gets a Which? best buy validation, always a huge plus) and is a lot more reasonable at around £600 (I'm not penny-pinching: Ken says given we spend a third of our lives in bed it's vital we sleep well, so comfort is essential). It's a German company but the mattresses are made in the UK. I like the look of the construction, though I'm not so keen on it coming rolled (though that's probably me being old fashioned. It's a mattress. Mattresses are supposed to be flat...) Anyway - can't afford it until the New Year at the earliest, but it's a definite contender.
Sun Ken helped me make a start on sorting out the shed... Heh. It's a major job and the rest will have to wait a bit, but at least we can get in there now, and were able to pull out the Yule decorations.
Mon was my dentist appt. Everything fine: don't have to go again for nine months (next Sept).
Tues I had my hair cut. 'OORAY!! I can see again!
Yesterday Kai and I strung the new lights in the windows and put up the new tree... Did I mention this before? We were in Wilko last year (or maybe early this year?) and found a slimline, snow-covered six foot artificial tree (exacly what we'd been looking for) on special for £5. We thought at the time that couldn't possibly be the right price, but they let it go through and we hauled it home... ye gods. It's gorgeous, really fantastic quality. We're sure they dropped a zero there, as it's more like £50 quality-wise. Here, have a look!
Blue and green lights...
Red and gold lights
The lights don't show properly here, of course (they're set to gently fade from red and gold to blue and green), and I need to find some sort of tiny spotlight to show up the tree topper, but it gives some idea. Kai chose the decorations. When the lights are on (and the lounge main light off) it looks magical. Dead chuffed.
And it's plenty. Not putting up ceiling decorations this year.
B&Q just rang - they're on their way. This week's Tesco delivery is late though, should have been here by now.
And lastly - I found this in the garden this morning...
I love my garden.
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Later edit: knew I'd forgotten something important! Got a phone call on Tues saying the BRI had a cancellation and would I like to go in for my second steroid injection at 6.30 that evening? Would I hell! Not as painful as the first one, and it's fantastic to be out of pain. Walking much better (although the back plays up after a while, nowt I can do about that) and I can finally sleep properly after months of snatching a couple of hours at a time before the pain woke me up.
Well, this week has been interesting too, but in a much more positive way...
I've become rather fond of scarves over the last few years, moreso just recently. In fact, it's got to the stage where I told K&K not to let me buy any more...
There are eleven here, and one more in the wardrobe that goes with a specific outfit.
... unless they're absolutely irresistible. I've been - idly - looking for one that matches the wol bag (photo Sat Aug 12th this year), not really expecting to find one. Then on Wed we were in town for Kai to have his second meningitis B inoculation and checked out the charity shops first. I'd found and paid for Monsoon Wedding (watched tonight: bit disappointed as we were looking forward to light and bright and happy Bollywood and it's more slice of Real Life: nevertheless a good film) when my eye was caught by the scarf display behind the assistant...
Not sure I've ever actually gone OOOOOH!! in a shop before. Quite amused Kai! But there it was...
Thirteen scarves. My lucky number. Won't be buying any more unless I let one of the current ones go.
We've had Christmas 24 on most of the time for the last week - terribly predictable but a nice fuzzy antidote to what passes for news at the moment, and Kai's felt very flu-ey after venesection on Sun and jab on Wed, so flopped and half-watching light and breezy is good for him. Some of the films are fun: it was quite startling to see SHIELDS Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) as a relatively disorganised artist in The Road To Christmas.
I've painted the window-wall chimney-breast alcove in the lounge - looks good - and am hoping to paint a little more next week. Dentist and haircut (yay! I'll be able to see again!) will take up a little time but otherwise I should have plenty.
No doubt there was more but I'm very tired and the brain has gone AWOL for now. Will edit if I remember.
Friday, November 17, 2017
... I have a few minutes to spare on this gloriously sunny but bitterly cold and frosty morning before making a start on the day...
It's been interesting, in the Chinese sense. Finished the lounge window wall - looks great! - and will be making a start on the opposite wall next week, I hope. The letter from the BRI arrived yesterday while I was at the BHI (more on that shortly) with my second steroid injection appointment - 11th Dec, so not long to wait. The first one has taken effect now and it's wonderful to be able to walk (mostly) without pain again!
So, the BHI... On Wed Kai and I were tidying up in the greenhouse when I suddenly got the weirdest pain under and along my jaw on both sides - accompanied by feeling somewhat wobbly and light-headed. Came indoors to sit down, and got a stabbing pain in my chest which went through to my back. Somewhat alarming, and took an hour to fade. Rang the surgery to see if I could speak to a dr for advice: on giving the receptionist the symptoms she said someone would ring me right back. Which he did, and on my repeating the symptoms asked me to get up to the surgery asap. Which meant ringing for a taxi, which arrived before I'd finished changing! Was whisked through for an ECG on arrival, then spoke to the dr (a new one at the surgery, very pleasant and sympathetic). ECG was normal, BP was a bit raised (nothing new there!) and he though it was more likely to be angina than a heart attack! (Oh joy.) Prescribed me low dosage aspirin, bisoprolol fumarate (what a wonderful name!) beta blocker, to be taken immediately, and a glyceryl trinitrate spray, to be sprayed under my tongue if it happens again, (love this stuff. The printed instructions on the box say, and I quote: 'Caution: flammable. Keep your body away from fire or flames after you have put on the medicine'. Well, hell. There's my ambition to become a circus flame thrower out the window!) and was referred to the BHI for their walk in clinic as soon as possible. Which meant yesterday...
Took the whole day: the clinic was very busy. Another ECG - which was normal - then a two hour wait to see the clinician. (Took advantage of the wait to go shopping in Broadmead. I don't get into town that often these days.) Clinician thought everything was probably OK but was ordering blood tests to be sure. Brief wait for blood to be taken, then an hour's wait while they were express tested. Then back into the clinician, who said bloods are normal, cholesterol is normal, heart rate and condition is normal, and in her opinion the 'attack' was probably muscular or gastric rather than a heart problem. Which is good news! So I can stop taking the aspirin, but should continue with the beta blocker, as it will help with the raised BP, and if it happens again and the pain doesn't go within 20 mins, to dial 999. (If it happens again and the pain does go but I'm still concerned, to ring 111. Did that when I first got vertigo and it took them 4 hours to respond, so not sure if I shall bother...)
Soooo... I should probably just add it to the long list of aches and pains I already have. I have an appt to see the same dr in a couple of weeks, so will ask about the beta blocker then.
In other news...
I have temporarily lost my lion throw. Tyjer has decided it's the perfect place to sleep - for sixteen hours or so - after a hectic couple of hours patrolling the garden.
Forgot to say - I picked up PotC: Salazar's Revenge a week or so ago: It follows the same familiar format as the others, which may be getting a bit tired and predictable by now, but is a fun watch with excellent sfx. Alien Agent, however, is pretty poor, and plays like the pilot ep to a series that as far as I know never happened.
But I also found the second season of The Expanse (on ebay, it's not on amazon uk yet) and it's brilliant. Absolutely addictive: we watched the last (double ep) of season 1 first, to remind ourselves of what happened, then dived straight into season 2. And watched the first four eps back to back as we HAD to find out what happened next! Finished the whole 13 eps in just 5 days and now can't wait for season 3...
I think that's about it - the major stuff anyway. Will edit if I think of anything more.
Oh yes. If anyone ever finds a nagging doubt plushie to buy, please let me know. I think he's absolutely adorable and I want one.
Tuesday, November 07, 2017
(Edit. And of course I posted the wrong version of the poem. [sigh] Corrected now!)
First, the good news.
Had my first steroid injection yesterday afternoon! The bursa was very inflamed, apparently, which explains both the pain and the difficulty she had getting the needle into the right place. Managed to twang a nerve too: felt like electric shocks all the way down my left leg which lasted the whole of the injection (about 10 mins). Ow. Not comfortable. But wore off very quickly and had gone by the time I left the hospital. Today leg and hip are aching, but that was expected. Fingers crossed that wears off nice and quickly.
Oh, and she said that steroid injections are no more than three a year, not no more than three a lifetime as my dr said. Will have to check that.
Ken is on annual leave this week: the timing worked out really well as I have to take it a bit easier until the steroids kick in. We plan to go through another load of old photos this afternoon - seven boxes of pics that weren't considered good enough to go in albums. We suspect most of them can be ditched!
Kai's classes seem to be both better organised and more useful so far this year, which is reassuring.
We finished Sapphire and Steel. Still astonishingly eerie and creepy, but the DVD quality wasn't great (American box set, all I could get at the time) so I've ordered a replacement (made in the UK). It means watching it again, but there are far worse things we could be doing!
Also watched: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which is an absolute delight! And I knew we'd seen Shazad Latif in something else: he was Clem Fandago in Toast of London ("So he specialises in irritating characters then" commented Ken!) Hirokin is dreadful. Pretty to look at but takes so much from other films and it's impossible to feel anything for any of the characters. I think it was overpriced at 49p!
In contrast, American Gods is absolutely extraordinary. We were hooked from the first ep and now itching to see the second series (of course, ending on such a major cliffhanger doesn't help). Incredibly violent and thoroughly nasty in places, it's a stunning piece of work. We all decided that the very first ep must have been designed to put off anyone without a strong stomach, as subsequent eps were (slightly) milder and the comic aspects came through. I'm just annoyed it took me so long to work out who Mr Wednesday was. I mean, it's right there in the name...
For a laugh, this was my first (and so far only) car, second or third hand Talbot Solara, all I could afford at the time.
It picked up the nickname of The Petal Flower, Petal for short. Not my choice but somehow it stuck... Heh, had I been into Transformers at the time I could have called it Bee... I sold it when we bought the house, as with a mortgage interest (at the time) of 14% we couldn't afford both.
... and the bad news...
... um... There isn't any!
Cheeky little bugger!
Later edit: Forgot to say I picked up Transformers: The Last Knight. Alas, it's even worse on a second watching: there are the tiniest little glimmers of promise that went completely to waste. Bay shouldn't be allowed within a light year of the franchise.
And finally - did I ever mention there was a competition in the Cloud Appreciation Society? To write a poem about clouds, the winner to be included in a book of clouds. It's not often I feel inspired to write poetry these days, but this did. Hence Wavefront. It didn't place, of course (I hadn't expected it would, it's not exactly the sort of thing I believe they were looking for), but it's not bad, I think...
(With thanks to Lutra, and to Lin for the most excellent feedback!)
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Yes, still here...
It's been an interesting couple of weeks. Most significantly, perhaps, have been the meningitis B cases in Bristol. Three students at St Brendan's College, a mile or so up the road from us, have been hospitalised (tragically two of them subsequently died) with the disease, and it's been diagnosed at Bristol Uni too. Kai's spleen was damaged by his pre-transplant TBI and can't be relied on to fend off meningococcal infections anymore, so it's been a frantic search for him to be inoculated asap. It's not currently available on the NHS for anyone over about 3 (I think), and ordinary health clinics and drs surgeries can't do it (in our area at any rate), which left only Boots the Chemist pharmacy - and only the ones in Broadmead and Cribbs Causeway. I was very lucky to get an urgent appointment with the Broadmead shop - explaining the circumstances made all the difference - and he had the first jab last Tuesday. The second and last one is the middle of next month. Winced a bit at the price though - £110 per injection - but it's essential, even Kai's consultant agreed. So, with that and last Sunday's venesection he's feeling a bit run-down at the moment - which didn't stop him going for a small walk at Radstock with family friend Dawn yesterday!
Going back a bit, I taxied it up to my own dr Wed before last: like me, she thinks the pain in the right hip and leg is the same as in the left, and has requested another steroid injection into the right hip. Got the unfortunate news that three steroid injections into the same place is as much as anyone can have in one lifetime, as they carry their own risk of damaging tissue. (I asked what I was going to do when I've had three if the situation hasn't improved: she said we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Oh joy.) I did finally find out what the problem is with my back though (she printed out the report from my last MRI, the one I've been asking for for months.) It's a thing called degenerative disc disease, which is a bit of a misnomer, as it's a condition rather than a disease, and doesn't necessarily imply that it will get worse. It is, however, painful and not likely to get any better. [sigh] I asked Lutra, rhetorically, if the stress was ever going to end: her reply made me smile...
Stress? hah! We laugh in the face of stress and, and tweak the nose of the dreadful killer spindly fish. Or something.
While I was up at Broadwalk I checked out the charity shops, and came back with Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time (which we've seen before and which isn't very good, but it's very pretty and adds to our live action game collection) and Alien Agent (Marc Dacascos and Billy Zane in the same film!? This I must see!) for 99p for the two, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (with The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), which we watched last Sunday. It's absolutely gorgeous and we're looking forward to the second one this weekend.
Sun 15th K&K and Dawn went to Avebury for the day - train to Swindon then local bus. Avebury is one of my favourite places in this part of the country: been there twice, once with friends and once when I drove Ken and I there. They had a fantastic time, and Kai fell in love with the place. Arriving back, he asked if we could watch Children of the Stones, which we did over the next few days and thoroughly enjoyed.
Speaking of driving, we're investigating getting a car again. Kai wants to learn to drive (and in the meantime wants me to drive to places with the bikes so we can explore new areas), so the plan at the moment is to look for a little hatchback and bike-carrier compatible runabout in the new year. Kai will buy it, I'll insure and tax it, and we'll share the petrol costs. Something cheap and cheerful will do, as long as it has a long MOT and is in good running order. Not too bothered about the state of it as it's likely to get muddy and possibly a bit battered anyway. First though, I'll need to pay for a couple of refresher lessons, as it's been 23 years since I was behind the wheel. And I need to re-read the Highway Code, as a few things have changed in that time!
Then we'll need to have a hard-standing built and the kerb dropped, which was always the plan in any case. I need to start pricing up (and saving...)
This room's painting and curtains are now finished...
It's now beautifully de-cluttered and feels much bigger and brighter. Still need a new door (brown one) and maybe a new light, but those can wait. And yes, all of those figures are Transformers!
Recently watched: K&K have been watching episodes of Cadfael and enjoyed them so much that I've now bought the complete collection: aiming to watch in the run up to Yule. In the same vein was The Name of the Rose: first time Kai's seen it and he enjoyed it very much. John Wicks 2 was as violent as expected. And we're currently re-watching Sapphire and Steel. Fantastic stuff, although I think I need to buy a remastered version: ours is not performing well on the new DVD player...
My orchid's flower spike finally finished, and I thought it was going to take a rest for bit (remember it's flowered continuously for nearly four years now).
That's a new flower spike unfurling...
Wendy came up for the day yesterday - had a great time catching up with the news and watching Passengers, which just gets better and better each time I see it. Thanks Wendy - fantastic day!
... that's most of the news, I think. Will try to update a bit more regularly but no promises...
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Two weeks!? My haddock are flailing...
OK, let's try to kick the memory into gear.
It's been busy, of course. This room's painting is almost done (the last of it is the wall to the side and behind my desk and the ceiling above: I have to haul the desk out and take everything off the shelves in order to finish, and that's a fairly major job, so I need Ken or Kai to help), and the new display case assembled and in place with all my Transformer figures now properly on display. Going to start making the curtains this afternoon. K&K should be able to get the new curtain pole up next weekend (and hopefully all the pics that need to go back on the other wall): once this room is finished I can start on the lounge.
But it's taking much longer than it should. The vertigo has eased off to a copable level, but now my right hip and leg are playing up too: feels like stabbing knives every time I move. Using my cane all the time now to walk. And I can't shop by myself any more - in fact, after it taking two hours yesterday to get to Tesco and back with Kai, I think I'll just give up until after the steroid injection. Which, I found out when I rang the BRI, will be "before or on Dec 11th". Two more bloody months! Stressed that my ability to act as carer for Kai is now severely hampered, and have gone onto the 'cancellations' list. Fingers crossed.) I have an appt to see a dr later this week (will have to get a taxi as there's no way I can get myself up the hill and the appt is before the local bus starts running) to see if I can get another injection in the other hip. Oh, and the X-ray shows that the bone structure of my lower spine is damaged, uneven and deteriorating, and 'might cause pain'. [Inset eyeroll, grimace and 'no, duh!' here] I want a new body!
On a more fun note... Kai was scouring the truly excellent charity shops at Westbury-on-Trym and found this hideously adorable dragon...
It's an incense cone burner: air is pulled in through a hole in the tail and incense smoke puffed out through the nostrils! Haven't tried it yet as we need to get a safe holder for the (lavender) cones that came with it, and that means a trip to St Nick's Market in town, which is a bit beyond me at the moment. But definitely before Yule.
Last time we were in Weston-super-Mare Kai and I bought a cheap 'fidget spinner' each to see what all the fuss is about. They're quite fun -
They glitter and form pretty patterns when spun in front of a light source, make a faint warbling whisper when in use, and are mini-gyroscopes - you can feel the force if you twist it while it's spinning.
And then I found a solid metal one at Proper Job... It's beautiful. It's satisfyingly heavy, and the iridescence looks like scarab wings. The warbling is tuneful, and if you let it spin against your hair it sounds like bird wings fluttering (yes, I've been experimenting with it!)
In a pinch it could even be used as a weapon: not exactly sharp but hard and heavy enough to cause an unpleasant minor injury. Like pretty knuckledusters... Anyway, I'm hooked. It's going everywhere with me.
We've been watching an awful lot of films: it's a good way for me to rest. As well as the spinner I found Bride and Prejudice cheap at Proper Job: Ken and I saw it ages ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it (as did Kai!). Turned out we didn't have and hadn't seen Transporter 3, which was fun! Alien: Covenant was in the shops last week: picked it up at full price and wish I'd waited til it was reduced. Kai likes it, I found it dreadful. No way does it deserve its 6.5 rating. I wouldn't have hired that crew to empty my dustbin...
While at Tesco yesterday we picked up John Wick 2 and Wonder Woman (I assume the incredibly speedy release to DVD of new films is because of things like Netflix? I'm not complaining!) Watched the latter last night - it wasn't what I was expecting, but in a good way. Most enjoyable! Nice varied cast too. Great acting. Will save Keanu 'til the weekend...
So, still to watch... Notting Hill and The Shawshank Redemption, neither of which we've seen and which Ken found cheap. I also picked up Hirokin for 99p at St Pete's Hospice. We've seen it before, and it's not very good, but I kind of like Wes Bentley and sometimes it's nice to watch a bad film. Makes you enjoy the good ones more!
And Kai and I are watching Moonlight and thoroughly enjoying it. It has a similar ambience to The Dresden Files, which remains one of my favourite supernatural series of all time. They were made at the same time, might have something to do with it...
So, where in all of this is any writing happening, you might ask At the moment it isn't. I find this much pain a little distracting. Fingers crossed for post-injection period and memo to myself to actually book for the procedure in advance next year.
In other news - we have a new microwave and a new vacuum cleaner (the old ones were very old and failing). Both from Argos, who deliver and accept payment through PayPal. Happy about that!
Tyjer being eccentric again...
Kai will be home for lunch shortly, then sewing. There will be photos when I'm finished!
Monday, September 25, 2017
Yep, still here. Suffering with more vertigo (which came on after my flu jab last Wed) than usual which makes painting the ceiling SO much fun (I've been hanging onto the exercise bike...) and as tired as ever but otherwise managing.
So... painting has been started. Unfortunately the gold paint doesn't cover the dark teal so I had to repaint with white undercoat first. It's coming on vvveeerrryyyy slowly, but it is getting done.
Kai's had doctor's appt, venesection and BMT Clinic in the last week and a bit, and is now back at uni. We didn't manage to get out to many places this summer, nor see the films we wanted to at the cinema, but his clock and watch collection is coming on splendidly from all the ones we've found in antique and charity shops. He's obviously inherited the family collector's gene...
Media... We've watched a lot. Contact was on the TV: Kai's friends have been lauding its qualities, so we watched and enjoyed it. Now looking for the DVD so I can catch the bits I missed while making dinner. Picked up Assassin's Creed (never played the game, I just like Michael Fassbender) - it's very disappointing. Tries, and fails, to be really clever, and the acting is pretty poor. As a complete contrast, The Last Witchhunter is brilliant! Really, really enjoyable with great appealing characters.
Finally watched 1984 and followed it with Ghost in the Shell, which is quite fun. Basically a live action remake of the anime, the acting is good and the sfx superb. We'll need to watch it again to fully enjoy the intricate settings and backgrounds.
My lithops is flowering!
Probably because I've started feeding my succulents...
This made us all cheer! David Tennant as Crowley? Can't wait!
No doubt there was more but I can't remember it. If I do will add later.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Autumn arrives with a THUD, Storm Aileen (blew down my beans. At least they'd finished...) and colds for Kai and me. Oh joy.
Just a quick catch up. Won't bother saying it's been busy as that goes without saying. How many semantic whatsits can you see in that sentence? We finished watching Legends, which was dull and annoying in the middle but picked up wonderfully in the last few eps. Then The Crazies, which didn't give me nightmares this time around but is still a very depressing film, and Requiem for a Dream, which is amazing but also extremely depressing. Then The Lathe of Heaven which, while good, could have done with less 2001 and more Matrix. It's one of the very few films I'd dearly like to see remade. We're now looking for the novel.
And tonight we watched The Manchurian Candidate... Wow. It's bloody good! And now I understand all the references to present day politics. Frighteningly apt.
Tyjer's been sleeping on Ken's desk just recently. I guess old age is making him even more eccentric.
Now have dull gold fabric for this room's curtains: am all ready to start the redeco. Once I feel a little better. I always forget how much I hate colds during the summer...
Sunday, September 10, 2017
And the new lamps arrived this morning!
Old (with cat, who is insisting on getting into shot recently) -
Close up of old. Yes, those are orchid lights. I sewed the green satin tape around them to look pretty. As you've probably gathered, I'm rather partial to orchids, and after four grim, horrendously worrying years I feel it's time for a little cautious brightness and lightness and frivolity.
And the new ones.
Yes, we now have mini Martian deathrays lighting up our nights!
They're awfully cute.
And before anyone asks (Lutra), the thing hanging on my side is actually a necklace I picked up at the Salvation Army charity shop along from Wild Oats at Clifton.
Not something I'll ever wear, and Kai thinks it's hideous, but it tickles me. Like a Cybertronian attempt at making earth-style jewellery with transparent energon crystals...
Friday, September 08, 2017
Well that was manic...
Let's just note the highlights. The bedroom sewing is finished -
The ceiling still needs to be painted - Kai has volunteered to help with that. I've ordered new lamps to clip onto the pole that holds the cushions that we use as our headboard. Rather elegant and USB-charged so no more cables! I also need new cushions and a better way of attaching them - will give that more thought. Pics later...
I've now managed to find all the paint I want for this room. Lutra wants before and after pics, so here are the before ones...
Sorry about the lack of tidiness. Also, no pic of the other corner as it's currently piled with pots of paint, painting equipment, the new display case and anything else that doesn't have anywhere to live until I get things sorted. No, I don't like living/working in a mess, so yes, I shall be tackling the painting soon!
Oh, and the curtains will be a plain light gold colour, like the walls, so as not to detract from the displays. Peacock feathers are very nice, but would be too fussy. So rather glad Fabricland didn't have the right one when I was there for the bedroom curtain material.
We're ploughing through Legends still. It's not as much fun as the first season - the lack of Snart doesn't help - and when the third season becomes available I'll probably wait until I can get it cheap.
I like Bollywood films. I adore the musical interludes. We watched Baahubali 2, which is wonderful, and has the most beautiful musical interlude I have ever seen anywhere.
I loved the first one in the first film -
but this one... So pretty it hurts.
(Sorry about the ads, I took out as much extraneous material as I could but Yt will only allow so much. That's the son in the first clip, and the father in the second clip, in case you're wondering. The DVDs actually have all the songs as separate files: going to see if I can mp4 them and put on my phone. The two above in particular are favourites.)
And Ken's home - time to make dinner. Later!