Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my
... I'd write my autobiography, but no-one would believe it....
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.
Adventures in Orchids
Apparently I am now collecting them...
EO - Everlasting orchid. Phalaenopsis. I've had this orchid for at least 15 years and it just keeps flowering...
AO - Alien face orchid. Phalaenopsis . Bought 2018 - lovely little flowers, all different patterns!
RO - Rescued orchid
TO - Tiny orchid. Phalaenopsis. Bought at Tesco 21.8.20. It just begged to come home with me. How could I say no?
CO - Crimson orchid. Cambria. Another Tesco find. This one may be going to live in Ken's room once we've redecorated and put up the new shelving; it prefers a cooler, less sunny windowsill. If so, I'll need to find another cambrian to keep it company.
GO - Golden orchid. Phalaenopsis. Saw this one when I bought CO and left it behind - then immediately regretted it as soon as I got home. Never seen one like it before. Ken, bless him, went back over to Tesco in the rain and bought it for me...
DO - Dendrobium Orchid. Smells of wisteria, so beautiful...
RO2 - Rescued orchid no 2. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I rescued from the wall along the road middle of 2021.
PO. Pink orchid. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I bought at Cabury Garden Centre on special, late 2021. It's much happier here!
TWO. Teeny weeny orchid, Phalaenopsis. Rescued from Tesco end 2021 (I think).
Friday, July 29, 2022
It was this blog's 20th birthday on the 27th, and I forgot to update. Brain like a colander and I can't even blame the heat this time...
So I started it 27.7.2002. We've come an awfully long way since then. To celebrate, these are photos of the new postbox 'hat'...
And yes, that's a surprisingly accurate representation of Arno's Park, from the Bath Rd!
Hope all's going well for everyone!
Labels: Happy Birthday
Sunday, July 17, 2022
This month's update!!
As ever, it's been busy....
Beginning of July we had Tom the Gas and his team come and finally rip out the old back boiler in the lounge chimney-breast (which was at the end of its life and in danger of leaking), the immersion heater in the airing cupboard in Kai's room, and the two water tanks in the roof, and fit a new, smaller combi-boiler. Hot water on tap without having to heat up gallons of the stuff first, hence we should see considerable savings on both gas and water usage. £3K from the savings, but well worth it, should pay for itself in a year and a half.
That's the last of the big house projects for now. Will start looking into heat pumps and solar batteries come the autumn.
Been playing with Deadpool...
Keeping that last pose for a bit!
17th July we had a Sahara Sanded Sunset...
And our writers' copies of the last books arrived - hard-backed, which we weren't expecting, but only two of each, alas. Though we should get another four of each, as in the contract. Very very happy with all of them!
(Ken took the Tarot book upstairs to the library, hence it missing here. Will try to get proper details on the site in the near future.)
Discovered we have a pigeon nesting in the medlar when I looked up and saw the nest after finding a bit of eggshell on my potting table. Not the best place for a nest, but it's kind of cute that she felt safe enough - even with Ella out seeing off other pigeons and foxes - to make a home there.
The garden has been feeding us this last few months. Strawbs and summer rasps now finished, but the tayberry is the most prolific thing I've ever grown. The peppers are not far off starting to be useable, I'm already cooking with the courgettes, my second crop of potatoes won't be long, and there will be a few tomatoes later. For some reason I'm not very successful with tomatoes - but since I'm the only one who really likes them I guess that's OK. Kim and I are heading out to a garden centre on Thurs, so will pick up some onions and carrot seed. May as well use the veg bed in the winter!
Given the current heatwave, I'll drench the whole garden with the hose tonight, and hope that will do until the end of the week.
Out and About.
21.6.22 Kai and I bussed out to Midsomer Norton and Wells to get a bit of shopping and check the charity shops. All very successful - but on the way home Kai suddenly gasped and said, "There's a face in the window!" I looked where he was pointing -
and suddenly saw it...
Then, of course, it was impossible to unsee...
The following Sunday Kai and I went to the Weston-super-Mare Air Festival...
It was fabulous, but very hot and crowded, and we ended up getting the train back as the buses were so full.
We started watching Another Life (Netflix) but found it dire so gave up after one ep (ten minutes in for me...). Then we tried the Netflix Nightflyers series, which was... OK, I guess. It's based on the 1987 film Nightflyers so we watched that afterwards. Preferred the film...
Again on Netflix was Love and Monsters, quite a fun little film. Nothing terribly new about it, but it was well acted, and the cinematography was good.
Finally got around to watching Much Ado About Nothing, which I've had for years. Rollicking good fun!
Next up was the whole of Stranger Things to date, and whoa it's superb! Can't wait for season 5...
Now the weather's got hot, we tend to watch more on the TV, as it's cooler and more relaxing than doing stuff outside. Kai wanted to watch Enola Holmes on Netflix: I wasn't too keen to start with (not that fond of Henry Cavill as an actor) but got sucked in and really enjoyed it! Another fun film with a surprising number of good actors.
I bought Ip Man on DVD a little while back, and watched it while K&K went for a walk. It's an interesting film, with a quite different slant to anything I've seen before, but its appeal is quite limited, I think.
And that's the main news for now. Poor Ella hasn't been for a walk today, and we won't take her out until Wed, when the weather is supposed to be cooler. With temp today at 29°, and forecast for 36° tomorrow and 33° on Tuesday, if we take her out now her paws will burn. I could feel the heat through my sandals when I went over to Tesco this morning. She's not keen on missing her daily walk, but even she is feeling hot, tired, and happy just to lie in the shade - and she's from the Caribbean, so she should know! I picked her up a dog cooling mat from Pets@Home but she's not used to it yet.
Have now lost a tad over three and a half stone, and a couple more pounds should evaporate with this weather. All I fancy to eat at the moment is fruit...
Ken's got annual leave 'til Thurs, so we're just going to chill, drink a lot of water, eat ice cream and do sodall 'til it's cooler!
Thursday, June 02, 2022
The last two months have been strange and interesting (in the Oriental sense)...
We finally found someone to do the kitchen tiling for us, using the NextDoor neighbourhood website. He's done a very nice job.
Dog Banksy's original artwork is now up...
And apparently I forgot to post the Yule tree photo I took back in December...
After a bit of research, we're signing up with Scottish Power for their Smart Energy export. They pay better than any other company.
Not really house, but this is on the top of the Post Box at the end of the road! (It's chained in place so no-one can walk off with it!)
Found this when out walking Ella at Arno's Cemetery.
This plant is growing in a garden up the hill I walked up to get to Jubilee Pool. Don't know what it is but it's bloody impressive, nearly as tall as the house!
Anyone recognise it?
And on the subject of the pool, I finally got really pissed off with the fat ugly moron who insists on swimming in the medium lane (I've seen faster snails) and gossiping with his friend in the slow lane, getting in everyone's way. Last time I was there I shouted at him, and complained to the life-guard, but I know they won't do anything, so Kai and I went through to Keynsham to investigate their pool. It's lovely and modern, and you book in advance for a lane of your own (or maybe two people, the assistant I spoke to was new and not quite sure. Better than struggling with any number of people, at any rate!) Of course, I'll need to get the bus there - but then I found out, quite accidentally, that I'm eligible for a free disabled person's bus pass (travel pretty much anywhere in the UK for free during off-peak). So I applied, and it arrived on Monday!
Now I just need a new swimming costume...
Ella has fitted in very well with the family, and is now truly one of us. She's very vocal, with a wide range of strange noises - we think she speaks a different language from dogs here! Her favourite walk is Arno's Vale Cemetery: lots of places to explore and all dogs must be on leads, so we don't have to worry too much (she still doesn't get on well with other dogs, or children, or cats, or old, short men (!!), or flies (she snaps at them and eats them), or pigeons (they don't bother her anywhere else, but she chases them in the garden), or... a lot of things, actually. It makes walks interesting...)
Have been having some very strange dreams recently. One (25/3/22) was set in a university, where I volunteered to do Radditsu's (my favourite character from DBZ) washing for him! Only I couldn't find the laundry...
Lastly - in this section - I've now lost three stone (42 lbs/19 kilos) since January. Still have a way to go, but that's not too shabby!
The heuchera bed is splendid this year! The lily of the valley we moved last year has all survived and flowered, and everything is interspersed with enchanter's nightshade...
The asparagus is doing fairly well this year - we've been able to have smoked salmon, asparagus and scrambled eggs in a wrap several times so far, and there's more coming - as is the new strawberry bed (nothing quite like having fully ripe, homegrown strawberries and cream/ice cream for dessert once a week!) My tayberry bush is absolutely full of developing berries too, so planning on making Eton Mess with them later.
Bean, mange tout, sugar snap peas, courgettes, and pak choi are all doing well, as are the fruit trees. Kai's almost finished organising the platform for the new seats, enough that we go out for Ella's last garden around midnight most nights and sit and watch the sky for a few minutes. Seen the ISS go over a dozen or so time, once when the Starliner was leaving! We've seen several other satellites and a number of meteors too, one of which left a long streak behind it.
Of course, it's not perfect for viewing now BND has a bright light above the cameras on the wall (he's paranoid, but since he goes out of his way to make other people hate him, I'm not surprised.) I'm exploring the legalities of putting up something on our wall to block it.
We re-watched Legends of Tomorrow seasons 1 - 5 (season 4 is superb, the best and most bonkers of them so far) and finally got to see season 6. Only one more to go and it ends, alas.
(Afterwards I had a weird dream of Rory from Legends in a Bake Off episode completely mucking up a cake...)
Picked up 10 Cloverfield Lane at a charity shop - rather good, but it goes nuts at the end.
Love Death and Robots Season 3 was on Netflix. Oh, these are so good!
Altered Carbon was also on Netflix - finished watching it yesterday. Season 1 is amazing: season 2 not so much. Most intriguing, stimulating and thought-provoking.
That's the more memorable things from the last two months. No doubt I've forgotten a few things, but they won't be vital!
Oh, one last thing... BND made a complaint to the council about our 'hedge' damaging his fence if it grew any bigger. Firstly, it's not a hedge, it's a shrubbery specifically planted to provide food for bees and shelter for birds year round. And normally we prune everything back in the autumn, but the end of last year was so busy it slid down the list. We've done it now - everything's pruned back so you can walk up between the shrubs and the fence - but I refuse to cut our taller plants, as they are the only thing stopping him from spying on us/invading our privacy. I sent a message to the council explaining this - mentioned I'd been in contact with VOCAS, and gave them the log reference for our police complaints against him.
What's actually amusing, though, is that Sean from BCC came to talk to Ken about the complaint while Kai and I were out walking Ella - and it turns out that he and Ken were work colleagues back when Ken was with the First Response team! They're effectively old friends. So now the police, Citizen's Advice, Victim Support, the College of Policing, VOCAS and Bristol City Council have BND noted as an abusive, harassing neighbour!
Karma can be such a bitch... [grin]
Friday, March 25, 2022
I forgot to say, but along with Ella I picked up my Dog Banksy Original painting, which I won in the auction, from BARC! Fell in love with it when I first saw it on the BARC site, and was determined to have it. And such a good cause too. Now waiting for Kai to hammer a hook into the wall beside my monitor so I can have it on display.
I had a good birthday....
Finally found a tetrajet Starscream on ebay!
Hasbropulse are releasing Shattered Glass transformer figures, so I treated myself to a Starscream (of course). (Not the best pic but it's difficult manoeuvring the figures in the case - they tend to fall over if you so much as breathe on them!)
Official Shattered Glass Starscream
The figure came with the SS-centred Shattered Glass comic (no 3 in the series). Now, the
Shattered Glass iteration was created for the 2008 con, and while there were a series of comics released, they haven't been generally available - until later this year, when the complete comic will be released on amazon. I have, of course, pre-ordered it...
Then of course there was Deadpool...
And also the Revoltech Deadpool...
... which comes with four different heads, six different pairs of hands to mix and match, more weapons than he can actually hold, and a couple of other cute things, like his phone and a lit stick of dynamite...
Really looking forward to Deadpool 3 - if it ever gets made...
I took Kai to Weston-super-Mare for a meal at Revo (and to visit that wonderful Just Stuff - now under new ownership - antique shop Wendy and I found when we were there: Kai bought a skeletonised Chinese watch and a tiny German automaton clock) for his birthday. He had a Classic Revo Burger, I had a pulled pork toastie, both amazing, but huge, so we shared a Revo Whippy Sundae for dessert (which was divine). Really good day out.
Rewatched and thoroughly enjoyed Childhood's End. Fabulous mini-series.
Midnight Sky. Hm. Well, it was OK, but not great. Rather depressing.
Cloverfield Paradox. Interesting, gory, fun in its own way with a great ending!
Jubilee. Oh, it's aged badly. Distinctly of its time - which isn't now.
Primeval: New World. Finally got around to watching it. Quite good - not as good as the original - with the most cliff-hangerly of all cliff-hanger endings. Not sure to be sorry there was never a second series, or happy that the finale leaves the future open to however you want it to be.
I suddenly got a hankering to watch The Prisoner: haven't seen it for 50 odd years. Was a bit pricey to buy - but then it appeared on Freeview's Sci-Fi segment of their Horror Channel, starting with ep 1 yesterday! So at 18.00 for the next couple of weeks we're watching it after dinner. The acting is a little stilted, but I'm enjoying it and Kai is loving it! (Heh, and in yet another example of synchronicity it was one of the answers on Pointless tonight...) (2 weeks later... it gets more and more random and incomprehensible the further along we go. Not enjoying it so much now - though Kai still is - and not too surprised it only ever had 17 eps.)
After watching (and not particularly enjoying) Under the Skin the film, I read the book... grump. The book's not bad - not great, but intriguing. The only relation it has to the film is the main character being female and her picking up hitchhikers. The book is far better than the film.
Finished reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane and ended up quite enjoying it. It'll never be a favourite, but it's very good.
Now struggling through Higgs...
The BT switchover went without a hitch and we still have our old phone no.
The move to British Gas hasn't been quite so smooth. Our (photographed) electricity meter reading is lower (by all of 11 units) than the one they were using for our first meter reading with them - so we're not getting charged for that. Although I can't set up a direct debit for monthly payments until they match, so will have to keep taking readings... The last bill from Bristol Energy has us slightly over £500 in credit, which will be a great help with the forthcoming increased energy prices.
A week and a half later - now sorted, and our new monthly direct debit will be £190. Ouch. Was £75 before... Of course, once we've got the solar panels registering, that should go down a little, and it doesn't take into account the credit Bristol Energy owe us.
We bought the new cooker, which was installed on Monday 14th. Great delivery guys - closed off the gas and removed the extraneous pipe, took away the old gas cooker for recycling, and put the new one in, all in less than an hour. Really good job (although now I have to fill holes in and repaint the wall: we have someone coming to look at what's needed for retiling the kitchen sink splashback - will ask if we could have the wall above the cooker tiled as well...) And it's so incredibly efficient and easy to use! Really chuffed with it.
And they gave me a little free green AO teddy bear as well...
We have decided Ella is part greyhound, part pointer, part gazelle! The first time we let her off the lead in the garden she zoomed around it three times in less than 10 seconds. Never seen a dog move so fast! She looked like she was flying. Though she was pretty knackered afterwards - she is a senior dog after all. We're getting on really well - much less barking now, happy walks, and she's learning commands surprisingly quickly.
(Yes, those are my new galaxy curtains behind her.)
Kai has finished building and installing the new dog-proof garden gate, and done a fantastic job. We now have a latch and strong padlock for security.
22.3.22 - On her 'last garden' with Kai before bedtime, Ella encountered our hedgehog - and picked it up, in her mouth. [sigh] Not likely to try that again! Well, I suppose she doesn't know hedgehogs. Not sure they have them in the Caribbean...
Annoyingly, my camera packed up three weeks ago, and while my phone takes perfectly adequate pix, I rather miss it. Now on the lookout for a replacement that doesn't cost too much.
Wednesday 23rd Ken and I trained down to Babbacombe to visit mum-in-law: it's her birthday on the 24th but Ken had to work that day. She's doing OK, but getting frailer. She had considered selling the flat and using the money for us to build an extension to the side of the house for her, but can't find out how much she'd get for the flat. I had a couple of builders come to give us an estimate, and a single story extension would be about £50K, a double £90K (just for the build, doesn't include furnishings) and take about 20 weeks, which is a significant amount. Everything's on hold for the moment, but she really needs help down there. Her cleaner only comes once every two weeks (and it doesn't look as though she does a very good job), and mum really can't groom the Pomeranians very well any more...
After discovering Phil Lober's If (see last entry) I looked a little further into techno-trance music and found the Bristol Tranceation Station on radio garden. It's now on most of the time... Lovely music.
And now Ella wants out for garden zoomies. Will try to update sooner next time!
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Oh bloody hell, this is getting ridiculous. Please can someone send me some haddock? 189,669 tons would be useful...
So here we are in 2022... It's started off quite well. Busy as ever, but productive. Let's see...
Red Notice on Netflix. Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot together in a film? What could go wrong? Nothing, actually - it was great fun! Nothing too extraordinary, but a thorough romp. Highly enjoyable.
Wish I could say the same for 6 Underground. Ryan Reynolds again, and good as ever, but Michael bloody Bay was the director. Continuity? What's that? If you ever watch it (and I can't recommend anyone does), note the wingmirrors on that hideous green car in the first 10 mins of the film. They're there, then they're not. Then they're there again. Then gone again. There, gone. There, gone. And the film just goes downhill from there. A real pity, as the idea and plot were actually quite interesting, and in the hands of a competent director it could have been a good film.
I bought the complete Penny Dreadful a while back, and we finally got around to watching it. It's rather good - although the appearance of Shazad Latif as Dr Jekyll threw us to start with. We know him best from Toast of London (his catchphrase there, "Hello Stephen. This is Clem Fandago - can you hear me?" instantly repeats in the mind when he appears...) At the same time I was reading Infernal Devices - it's good, well-written (if a little verbose for my tastes) quirky and interesting. (Alas, I didn't enjoy it enough to want to read the rest of the series, but since it doesn't end on a cliff-hanger, that's fine.)
After that we rewatched Toast of London before moving on to Toast of Tinseltown on Netflix, which is something of a rehash of its progenitor though not as funny.
Don't Look Up (on Netflix) is amazing. Incredibly depressing while being very funny, and unfortunately all too plausible. Hugely satisfying ending. The whole thing reminded me of Ben Elton's Stark, which I then had to rebuy and reread. Terrific book, even more depressing ending. Thought I'd see if I can buy the mini-series but the cheapest I can find is £42 + £21 p&p, so sod that for a game of soldiers. Will see if I can pick it up somewhere else...
After that it was Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde, which I remember from watching as a child. It's aged extremely well, and touches on a number of themes which are now current (transgenderism, for example) but would have been shocking at the time (1971). Well worth watching!
Next was Sweet Tooth, again on Netflix. Hm. It's... interesting, but I'm not entirely sure what the creators were aiming for. May have to watch the second season...
While we're on Netflix offerings, the live action Cowboy Bebop is terrific! The anime was always a family favourite, and this version does the story proud. Really hope it does go to a second season.
The House, on the other hand, is nightmare fuel, although the ending has a downbeat positive turn, I suppose.
OatStudios, however, was just tedious. Wouldn't watch any of these even if they were made into films/TV series'.
Another film I remember from when I was a child is X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes . At the time it scared me, especially the ending. Rewatching it's not so scary, and has aged quite well. I think Kai enjoyed it!
Ken and I are currently rewatching Torchwood and thoroughly enjoying it.
Books... So I read - struggled through - Jetta and Daxx... The three page disclaimer, nearly every paragraph in a different font, should have warned me. But I persevered.
It's dire. It makes Twilight and 50 Shades look like Shakespeare. The porn careers randomly from clinical to crude, is nowt but a collection of clichés, but worst of all it's BORING. I'm not even going to give it away. Kai thinks he might like to read a bit, just to see what his mum finds so awful that she nearly threw the book at the wall more than once, but after that I'm tearing it up and throwing it in the compost bin. Let the tigerworms eat it. It may as well serve some purpose.
Next was A Street Cat Named Bob, the book of which I picked up at Tesco and the DVD of which I found cheap in a charity shop. The book is very much an eye-opener (let's just say it's convinced me to donate to street buskers and Big Issue sellers from now on). Will watch the dvd soon.
Now reading Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane (WARNING - wiki has spoilers), which is... nightmarish in places. I mean, it's good, but I can't say I'm enjoying it.
Domestic stuff... After having the solar panels installed (and they're already producing electricity, even in this weather!) we find that Bristol Energy - our supplier - went bust and we were sold... sorry, transferred... to British Gas. Oh joy. [headdeskheaddeskheaddesk] Now, I fully appreciate that this means that BG has 175,000 extra accounts just from Bristol Energy, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of new accounts from other suppliers who've gone bust, but did it really have to be so hard to 1) actually speak to a human and 2) actually make sense of what I was told? It's going to be VERY interesting when we get our first bill... Luckily, being thorough (not obsessive, of course) I keep copies everything official. As it is, we ended Bristol Energy over £400 in credit. Will report back later.
And then Virgin Media put our account up by another £5 a month to a minimum £60 a month, not including telephone calls, and we'd finally had enough. Got a new aerial installed by a lovely local guy (who was able to programme our TV too! Of course, BND went out and harrassed him, but I'd already warned him so he just ignored the miserable old sod) and are now on Freeview (still getting channels we'll never watch but at least we aren't now paying for them). As of next Monday we'll be getting landline and broadband from BT. Yes, I know I swore I'd never have anything to do with them again when I stopped working for them nearly 40 years ago, but needs must. (We'd have rather gone with the Co-op but they are, apparently, hopelessly incompetent: will maybe check again when the BT 24 month contract ends. At least everyone I've spoken to has been friendly and helpful, which goes a long way!) It's Fast Fibre broadband, and 700 free minutes of talk time (at any time of day, not just weekends) per month on the landline, which suits us perfectly. And all for £35 a month. I think. A lot cheaper than Virgin, anyway.
Of course, Virgin tried to woo us back with the offer of matching BT's costs for the next 18 months, but honestly, I've had enough hassle. Now just crossing fingers tightly that everything gets transferred - including our current telephone no. - nice and smoothly. We'll still have Virgin for over a week after BT goes live, in case of any hiccoughs.
And now to the highlight of the month - our new furbaby Ella!
She's a Caribbean Potcake dog, 9 years old (so a little set in her ways, but we're adapting to each other very well), brought to the UK when her previous humans emigrated but then couldn't find any accommodation that would take pets, so they handed her into the RSPCA. She eventually found her way to BARC, and hence to us. The staff at BARC called her Princess Sassypants, and she can be a bit of a drama queen, but she's adorable. LOVES her butt scratches and belly rubs...
The last one was taken at the top of Arno's Vale Cemetery, a wonderful, dog-welcome (but only on leads) place of hundreds of windy exciting paths. Her jacket's a very sensible double layer, a detachable warm padded interior and a waterproof outer. She's not used to British weather yet.
K&K have constructed a reinforced chicken wire fence between the shed and the side wall (it'll be covered with ivy and honeysuckle in a few years), and Kai is half way through making us a new gate for the path between house and shed (BARC instruct adopters to make sure any obstacles are 5 foot or more to make sure the dogs can't jump over them). Then we need to fill in the fox holes and pile up the stray rocks in one place (grass has grown over them and hidden them, and they're trip hazards) to dogproof the whole garden, and then she can go out there by herself with no lead.
For any readers in other parts of the globe, we escaped Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin without damage (although the wind was terrifyingly loud and blusterous) - unfortunately other parts of the region weren't so lucky...
Rather looking forward to the summer...
We've made a few changes to daily life. Used to have the TV on all the time: I've now switched to booting up Radio Garden every morning and absolutely adoring discovering new stations to enjoy. Current favourites are Tokyo's Wave Anime station and the local Keynsham one, which has the most amazing Ambient Hour on Sundays from 22.00 - 23.00. Two weeks ago I managed to catch a track that simply blew me away, and went in search of it. It was Alive from Phil Lober's If album. Which of course I immediately bought...
Some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard - complex, alien, intriguing and inspiring. It's fabulous.
TV is now on only when we want to watch somehting.
OK - time to serve lunch. Will try to update sooner in future!
Friday, December 31, 2021
Bloody flying haddock again.
As GoodTwin said - "WHEEEEEE!"
Speedy update to end the year. Will try to update more regularly in 2022 but making no promises...
22.11.21 we had the solar panels installed...
Rather chuffed about that! Will see what difference they make to the fuel bills when I can finally get some info from our supplier.
After getting the new carpets, I decided I wanted a roomba. I hate vacuuming, and can't keep asking Kai to do it. So - meet Bumble...
(First video I've ever tried to take so sorry for quality. Might be better using the 'watch on youtube' link...) Not only adorable, bumbling around burbling to himself, but also very efficient. Also somehow managed to get him for £89 less than originally advertised on amazon - no idea what happened there, don't think it was Cyber Monday...
The stairlift (or indoor finicky vernacular, as it immediately got designated) is called Lurch, because it tends to lurch over the hinge at the bottom, and because it reminds me of Lurch from the Addams Family. Not using it much at the moment as walking up the stairs currently counts as exercise!
Now onto 3001: the Final Odyssey. Only a chapter to go, but it's a bit wearying. The previous volumes were largely considerations of time, space, sentience and power. This one is more ordinary 'attacking aliens', which is both anticlimactic and vaguely annoying...
Trip to Babbacombe 6.12.21 went well: took the Poms for a walk and chatted for most of the day - weather wasn't great.
Oddicombe beach from the Downs
Mum T is doing OK, although her sight has now almost gone (which didn't stop her making the most delicious ham sandwiches!)
I recently had a hankering to re-read some Kemlo books: I remember enjoying them as a child. Found Martian Ghosts, Space Lanes and Star Men very cheap on ebay, so treated myself... Hm. Well, as kid's fantasy/sf they still work, mostly, but some of the science (or maybe just the terminology?) is somewhat cringeworthy. Won't bother with any more...
Media... Black Swan - brutal exploration of obsession and the drive for perfection. Good, but very depressing.
We watched Superman and Lois (the full season 1 - quite fun!) on Iplayer, and it reminded me of the Superman films. We didn't have any, so I bought them... Superman I is fun, and has aged quite well.
Superman II, daft and not as good. Haven't watched Superman III yet, treat for the New Year perhaps.
Black Widow is very good. Be interesting to see if there's a sequel.
Attack the Block... heh. Bought it as it came highly recommended. Loathed it. It did, finally, get interesting in the last 20 minutes, but even Jodie Whitaker couldn't save it.
Jungle Cruise, however, is great fun! Silly, but very enjoyable.
We watched Home Alone... never again.
Ken and I watched On the Beach, which I've had for a while. I saw it when I was very little (it came out the year I was born) - too young really for it to have the full impact. Watching it again, it was so desperately sad, but such a wonderful film.
We had a good, if quiet holiday. Our 32nd anniversary went well, and the 25th presents were well received (very much looking forward to the DVDs from GoodTwin and Sue!) and the meal was fine too. Boxing day was the usual buffet with help-yourself-salad for a nod towards healthiness!
Tyjer is still haunting me, so I popped into BARC last month, and signed adoption papers for both cats and dogs. Waiting now for the right fur babies to appear...
Astonishing sunset the other day! Everything was bright pink!
A last bit of cuteness to see out 2021 - robin taking a bath in the bird feeder's water bowl...
More photos next time - I should have my new curtains up then, and with a bit of luck the splashback for the kitchen sink will be done (we bought the tiles but the job's a bit too awkward for us to successfully do ourselves). Also, the orchid I rescued in August has a flower spike coming, so hopefully I can soon find out what colour it is.
Wishing everyone a wonderful - safe, healthy and happy - start to 2022. Let's hope it's a bit better than the last two years have been.
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
OK, who stole October...?
Ah, of course, it was the haddock reversing direction.
ANYway... Woken up at 8 am by horrendous drilling and hammering - BND having new windows installed next door, going to be awkward for Ken's weekly zoom meeting - so decided to take advantage and finally update.
So, on the 12th of Oct Kai and I headed off to meet Dawn for a walk along the river, and in one of those synchronicities that just keep happening we met the deliverer who BND abused in my last update, and I was able to tell him that he would need to make a complaint himself and how to do it online, so hopefully he then did so (he was with his family, who he'd told about the incident - and no doubt they'd told all their friends, so that's another couple dozen people who hate him...)
The walk was nice. We found some astonishing street art at the lane at the bottom of Edward Road: -
Gorgeous, if somewhat depressing.
Also gorgeous, and a lot less depressing, the acer at the top of the garden...
Hallowe'en was incredibly busy this year, and Derpy got some laughs!
Domestic bits and pieces...
Lounge and hall carpet was laid last week of September and looks lovely - and is so warm! Nice thick underlay at last. Wonderfully warm and comfortable. End of the same week the Acorn stairlift was installed: we've had a hinge put in at the bottom just in case we can ever manage to get the side extension to the house built, as that's the only place we could have a door between the two buildings. As mum Taylor has decided she's probably going to stay down in Babbacombe, now, the need to organise more living space has receded somewhat (although I'd still like Kai to have more room. Might be possible to have a dormer put in the loft - basic cost is £20K - but given the arrangement in the loft I don't know if it would be doable...) But the stairlift is useful for me - my back is getting worse, as expected - and will be fine if she ever comes to visit.
We now, finally, have a new sink unit (and sink)! And the kitchen vinyl was laid week before last, and is lovely. We still need to get the sink splashback tiled - haven't managed to make time to get out to Cribb's Causeway B&Q yet - and a plank to cover the water pipes above the sink, and as of last Friday evening we need a new light fitment in the kitchen too, as the fluorescent tube fizzled and flickered and died the death. Have found a nice one on amazon that should arrive today, then hopefully Martin the Electric can fit it for us asap as it's not really safe in the kitchen with just a desk lamp! He's put the new sockets in the lounge - 12 of them, should be enough! - and will be back to do Ken's office and our bedroom hopefully next week, after SolarSense have installed the solar panels on the roof...
Did I mention that? They came and surveyed the house a week or so ago, and have authorised the installation of 10 solar panels on the south-eastern facing slope of the roof under the Green Homes grant from BCC. They won't feed directly into our supply - you need a solar battery for that and the recommended one is £10K+ - but we should get the amount produced taken off our electricity bill. And we'll also be saving nearly 2 metric tonnes of CO2 a year, which is certainly worth it! They're due to do the work next Monday: scaffolding should be going up this Friday, they'll ring (maybe!) to let us know when they'll be arriving.
My room has also now been carpeted, and I love it. It almost sparkles: Ken says it looks like stars. So I have the universe at my feet! (Yes, we're watching Universe, of course.) I now want to find some starry material to make new curtains for out here: I have my Covid booster Mon 6th Dec (at Redcliffe pharmacy at 8.25 in the am!! Erk...) so as I'll be in town I'll pick up mum Taylor's Yule present from Hotel Chocolat, check out Fabricland, and get the bus back to Pets@Home to look for small dog presents for the pooches. We're planning to go down to visit at the beginning of December and take the presents with us.
RO has finally lost all the last crop of flowers - but has two new flower spikes coming! Going to be absolutely beautiful when they mature, next year.
And TO also has two new flower spikes coming, although the current spike is still going strong - has grown in a very graceful curve which is so far resisting my efforts to take a good photo! Will keep trying...
And I have now potted up the baby dendrobium (apparently baby orchids are called keiki, Hawaiian for 'little one'! How cute can you get?)
I managed to finish the Foundation trilogy, though it was a struggle. It has NOT aged well. Followed that up with Clarke's The City and the Stars, which I enjoyed, although it was slightly overshadowed by the connotations of the main character's name - Alvin. My first encounter with the name was Alvin and the Chipmunks... Now reading The Songs of Distant Earth (I love the Oldfield album of the name and as it was evidently inspired by the book though I'd probably better read it.) So far I'm not impressed...
We thoroughly enjoyed Angry birds 2: Tenet is extraordinary (and requires more than one viewing): Squid Game is... whoa... most intriguing, if exceptionally violent: and Free Guy is absolutely brilliant! Gloriously funny (and more than a little thought provoking...) Ken and I are currently watching Special Unit 2, which I bought cheap on a reasonably good home-produced version - not great, but watchable - and loving it. I've also just ordered Legends of Tomorrow season 6 (will need to rewatch at least season 5 first. Might see if Kai wants to watch it this time around and start with season 1!)
New favourite song (anyone who watches TV with ads may have heard the first snippet of this as the advert for holidays in Turkey: I did the usual, looked up the lyrics and found and bought the full song...)
And finally, just for fun - I bought a packet of our favourite off-brand Viennese biscuits from Tesco -
Well, it's kind of pretty...
No doubt there's more I've forgotten - it has been exceptionally manic this last few weeks - but for now I'll sign off. We're having burgers for lunch, and I need to get them under the grill before Ken's meeting finishes and he takes his half-hour lunchbreak. Tomorrow I have an appt for a blood test at the surgery: while I'm up at Broadwalk I'll dive into the dentist and see about getting an appt to have the left bottom back molar removed: it's nothing but filling anyway and just recently three chunks of said filling have fallen out (one while I was eating a soft cake and the other two when I was cleaning my teeth. Not a lot of point in keeping on paying for fillings that are just going to come out again..)
Please stay safe and well. Later!