Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

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

Other sites:

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

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

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

If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.

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

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.

My IMDb ep summaries

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

For later:

Missing Earthian ep
Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)

Silver birch at Eastwood 


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

(Joules, Autumn 2004)

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

In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme

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

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.

Currently working on:
Heart, The Poppy Tales

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

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

Currently maintaining:

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

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

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

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

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

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

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

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

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

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

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

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

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

Murfs - noun, moths.

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

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

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

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

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

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

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

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

The Updates Blog

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

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

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

Butch by the talented 


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



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

A'lestrel by Valkyrie.

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

Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 


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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 



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

The Zone Plant from
The Zone 



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

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

I'll leave that to others to decide.

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

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

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

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

Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

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

   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust


   Vampire Hunter D Book 1

New Vampire Miyu

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

Yami no Matsuei

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

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

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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
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06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
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03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
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01/01/2019 - 31/01/2019
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01/11/2019 - 30/11/2019
01/12/2019 - 31/12/2019
01/01/2020 - 31/01/2020
01/02/2020 - 29/02/2020
01/03/2020 - 31/03/2020
01/04/2020 - 31/04/2020

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Later edit...

Kai filmed the cubs.

Still here...

And the fun continues. Leg and ankle are almost back to normal - but there's something wrong with my foot. The middle three toes are swollen (and there's a gap between the first and second) and it feels as though there's a pebble inside my foot whenever I lower it to the floor. Bloody painful to walk. I described it to Ken, who said it sounds very much like the metatarsalgia he suffers from.

Oh joy. I assume it was caused by the swelling caused by the cellulitis. Now going to have to get that checked and sorted... Not sure how I can use the supports that are usually prescribed in my sandals. I have to get up to the surgery for yet another blood test on Mon (had one last Thursday but they didn't get everything they needed. I did wonder at the time when the nurse only took one vial but assumed she knew what she was doing...) Will write a letter to Dr to try to speed up referral to the clinic and hand it in when I get there.

Other than that... greenhouse is doing well, raised beds less so. I wasn't here for the essential week when the mangetout/sugar snap peas were developing so the Py powder wasn't sprayed on them, and they've been mostly eaten by bugs. Nothing I can do as it's a bit late now to plant a second lot. Will just have to get it right next year.

Not sure if I mentioned, but we've had a fox den at the top of the garden, and two cubs were born earlier. Cute, but I don't want it happening again next year as they keep digging holes in my veg beds (have started putting down the home made fox repellent which seems to work OK) so after they've left we'll need to fill in the holes and plant something large over them. Going to be interesting. (Kai filmed the cubs playing in the garden but hasn't uploaded it to Youtube yet. Will add when he's done.)

Watching... Bought the UK version of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. It's completely different to the US one, and much closer to the books. Fun, but I think I'm glad they stopped at one season... (Um, I did mention that we'd watched the US version, didn't I?)

We've been re-watching the excellent Stranger Things in preparation for Season 3 - which I found and bought from ebay, and which we watched over the weekend. Hmm. Good, but I'm wondering if they've reached the peak and should now leave it be. Will probably find out when we see Season 4 (which won't be for a year or so...)

Also caught Freaks of Nature - which was surprisingly good, and definitely chuckleworthy - and The Voices, which wasn't exactly what I'd call a comedy, but which is not bad. Interesting take on the subject. And Ryan Reynolds is very convincing.

The rest? Ken's still working from home, Kai is working on his own projects, and I'm back on the St John's Wort. It had started working when I had to stop taking it (didn't want to risk it with the anti-bios). Looking forward to it taking effect again.


Blogger GoodTwin said...

hee, you can just see those cubs wondering what mischief they can get into!

Glad to hear things are steadily improving.

10:01 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

Cute video and nice to see part of your garden.
Fingers crossed things continue to improve.

5:42 pm  

Post a comment

Monday, June 08, 2020

Right, where were we?

Over a month now and leg is still swollen, though nowhere near as bad as it was. I had to request another week's worth of anti-bios as I wasn't happy with the progress, but they seem to have worked. I guess now it's just a matter of taking things easy until it gets back to normal.

Taxied up to the surgery for a blood test last Thursday, just to check everything was OK - will find results when I speak to Dr this week. I am slightly worried about the small lump that's appeared under the skin on my calf, though. Might need to get that looked into.

I have lost two stone in weight, though, so that's a positive.

HOWEVER! We've spent quite a lot of time watching films while I've had to keep my leg raised. I knew Meet the Spartans was going to be bad, but I hadn't expected it to be quite that bad. I can confidently say it's the worst film I've ever seen, and has absolutely nothing going for it. I can only assume Kevin Sorbo must have been desperate for cash to agree to appear in it.

The Fall, however, is the complete opposite, one of the best - and certainly most likely the most beautiful - films I've ever seen. All three of us were gripped by it, and watched without speaking from start to finish. Awesome. Superb. At base, a fairly simple story, but oh, the way it's been handled... Heartily recommended!

Guess I'm a Lee Pace fan now.

Ken and I have been slowly working our way through Jason King, which remains enjoyably daft, and Kai wanted to rewatch Stranger Things (we're half way through season 2, but I haven't managed to find season 3 anywhere to buy yet, which is very annoying), which is just as good the second time around.

That probably about it. I missed the wisteria and most of the irises flowering while I was in hospital (very annoyed about that), but the greenhouse is coming along splendidly, with the first cucumbers already forming and flowers on most of the heritage tomatoes. Looking forward to tasting them!

Labels: , ,


Blogger Sue said...

Phew, glad things seem to be going in the right direction!

4:48 pm  

Post a comment

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Hospital part 2 - the less fun bits... 

Why is it, when one of the family manages to get some very nasty ailment, it always sounds innocuous? I mean, Kai's aplastic anaemia, and now my cellulitis...

What's the big deal with cellulite? I asked myself. Then I was given more details...

So - this is the ward. Photos of my leg underneath if you want to risk it.

The jet engine above my bed!!

What my legs should look like. (Excuse the foreshortening, not easy to get a good angle.)

Right leg Sun 10th May.

Right leg after fall and admission into hospital 15.5.20. The purple line was the doctor marking the extent of the infection so they could check if it increased or decreased during treatment. You can't see the massive purple splotches around the lower part of the leg here.

Brief rundown of events - as best I can remember them. Apparently I was rather more ill than I realised and a combination of cellulitis, kidney problems and the flucloxacillin antibio (which did NOT suit me at all) had my temperature spiking a lot. So they switched me to intravenous tazocin for 48 hours, which worked better, while they took umpteen blood tests to try to establish what the hell was going on.

Stopped my BP meds immediately, as apparently they (indapamide and ramipril), along with the ibuprofen I rely on for pain control for the back and hip problems, were combining with the infection and the antibios to have me headed for kidney failure. At least, that's what I understood from what they were saying. They kept taking blood samples, anyway, and reporting back, and on Monday(? I think?) one of the microbiologist (lovely black guy with the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen) was able to tell me that the markers were heading in the right direction and the kidneys were going to be OK. But I must stop taking 'pufen for good. Oh joy. Paracetamol just doesn't have the same effect...

They took me off the i/v taz and tried me on tablets instead - my temperature went right back up. So they started yet another antibio - co-amoxiclav, first by injection via the cannula, then as tablets, which I'm still taking at home. They do seem to be working: the swelling has reduced significantly and my skin feels soft as usual on my calf and the outside of my leg (shin is still bruised and painful from the fall - and it feels as though there may be a small lump under the skin on the inner side. May have to ring surgery about that if it doesn't go. It feels softer and less obvious today, so fingers crossed...) All the skin is peeling off my leg though, and it itches like hell. Small price for healing...

I'm back on ramipril, but only half the dose I was on, and I've been told to skip the indapamide altogether, so may need to find an alternative once everything's healed. Already missing the prufen though.

But the worst was the nights. I wasn't sleeping well anyway - combination of pain and meds and dropping off during the day - but I kept waking up to nightmares. I don't usually get nightmares. Yes, the occasional unpleasant dream, but nothing too scary. But here...

It didn't help that the ward walls were pale and tended to recede into the background at night unless there were lights on (which there mostly weren't). First time - around 4 am Sun I think - I woke up believing we were all in the morgue, and wondering why we were all still breathing as we were supposed to be dead. Second time - again 4 am-ish but not sure what day - L had some kind of episode and the nurses rushed in, talking loudly and with lights everywhere: I could have sworn we were in the middle of some kind of black ops where we were all linked up telepathically and trying to contract aliens! Was sure I heard helicopters (which I might have done, BRI has a helipad for the air ambulance). I remember being thoroughly pissed off at that point, a mood that lasted until half way through the next morning. Third time - again around 4 am. What is it with 4 am?? - I woke with absolutely no idea where I was. I actually had to hobble to the ward door and ask the night nurses where I was. They told me, but I was absolutely certain the entire ward had somehow been physically moved, and if I walked out the entrance I'd find myself in Pinhoe, in Exeter...

Fourth time - yes, 4 am-ish - I thought we were on an open plain, waiting to be picked up for some sort of experimentation under some sort of government coverup.

Can you tell I don't like hospitals much?

FINALLY, on my last night there, I worked out that the way to stop this was to leave my reading light on, tucked down behind the head of my bed, so when I woke I'd be able to see I was just in the ward with the others. And what do you know, it worked. Just annoyed it took me that long to work it out, as the previous nights had been absolutely terrifying - and I don't scare easily these days.

I told Ken about it later, and his reply was interesting and instructive. He said that it sounds similar to how dementia sufferers feel (he has dealings with such matters in his work at BCC). I have a new understanding of the awfulness of it.

So to now. K&K managed really well while I was away, but I think they're quite glad I'm back. Kai is learning to cook. Tyjer spent the week sleeping on my pillow, I understand: when he came in and saw me in my recliner he froze, and his eyes went huge - then he went to be petted by Kai. I got the cold shoulder for a few hours, which I'd expected, then he came and sat on my head, so we're all back to normal now.

All for now - have to go put leg up for a few hours. Films etc next update.

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Blogger Sue said...

Wow, that all looks and sounds extremely unpleasant. Very glad you are home and heading in the right direction. The nightmares must have been very scary as I know your brain is capable of coming up with perfectly awful scenarios!

1:24 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Yerssss... they don't call me the Queen of Casual Torture for nowt!

2:26 pm  
Blogger GoodTwin said...

Going through the wars! I hope you're seeing daily improvement now. It's worrying that prescribed meds can interact so badly.

Providing a nightlight for children is commonplace, I suppose having it helps them focus on their location if they wake in the same way.

I frequently have vivid/entertaining/mildly horrific dreams and always seem to wake at the same time - although the time seems to cycle; it was 3am for a long time, then it moved to around 3.30, and now seems to be about 4.15. (This last is annoying because that only leaves me about an hour before I get up for work and if I get back to sleep, there's every chance I'll try and sleep through the alarm...)

I hope you're able to get out into the garden in all this fine weather.

11:47 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

[sigh] Not gone yet - have had to get another 5 days co-amoxiclav. But it is slowly improving.

Symps for the bad dreams. Wonderful timing - not!

Doing a bit in the garden, but I can't do much for very long - have to keep let raised or the pain and swelling gets worse. You can imaging how I'm growling at the curtailment of my usual online stuff...

10:55 am  

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Saturday, May 23, 2020

In which Joules turns a week in hospital into a Lovecraft/Ad(d)ams comedy-horror mashup... 

Well, that was... interesting.

After my trip to Downend temporary health clinic (set up in Downend Dental Clinic) and ultrasound confirmation that it was NOT a deep vein thrombosis - and after a late night nasty fall due to dizziness caused by the antibio I was initially given - I was summoned to our own surgery for blood tests... Next thing I knew I was rushing to the BRI (oh, the taxi fares this week!) as the blood tests had thrown up what the hospital discharge notes call 'acute kidney injury'. (Will go into details next post. Can't sit for long, supposed to be keeping my leg raised near-permanently for the next two weeks.)

Wheeled up to ward A522, usually for liver problems but pressed into service for other ailments during the lockdown. Poke, prod, attempts to draw blood: my veins had decided they didn't want to play and getting a needle or cannula into one proved increasingly difficult. Three holes in right elbow crook. Two in left. Five holes in back of left hand (OUCH). Eventually juuuust managed to draw enough for further tests, a cannula half inserted into back of left hand and intravenous antibios started.

Then the fun started.

Opposite me was a lovely lady - AB, early 80s - who had fallen and torn all the ligaments in her right knee and was in a LOT of pain. Next to her was 'Jean' (not her real name), a dour, grumpy, five foot nothing Scots-born early 90s who was suffering breathing problems. Next to me was Ann, who did nothing but groan in pain for 24 hours. We found out later she had shingles all down her left side and the powerful meds she was supposed to be taking hadn't reached the hospital pharmacy, so she spent the first two days in excruciating pain. She was actually in because she'd fallen in the morning and her daughter hadn't found her until 6 pm. Once they'd got her stabilised she volunteered to move to a solitary room so we could take L - early 50s, hooked up to umpteen monitors and receiving meds practically 24/7.

AB and I introduced ourselves. In keeping with my usual attempts to stay cheerful, I started joking around, which AB enjoyed and joined in. It got very very silly. Even the nurses were laughing. And 'Jean', once she was more settled and feeling a little better, sat up and listened in, occasionally, in a deep growly voice, coming out with her own funny that had us in stitches. Turned out she's a real treasure, lovely woman with a pretty awful background who nevertheless kept her chin up (when she wasn't sleeping curled around herself like a kitten!)

And the rollicking fun continued the whole time I was there. It helped keep our minds off our pain.

Others joined in. I swear the nurses loved handling our ward (well, all except for one, but I'll deal with her in another post) and joined in the fun (and the decidedly risqué jokes and comments!) Our lovely little cleaner - didn't get her name, but I think she was Polish and looked very young for someone 10 years married with two children - joined in the banter with delight - and later on thanked us all for being so nice, as she's usually ignored when she's doing her job (I hate humans sometimes). She kept dropping in for a few minutes throughout the day for another dose of fun...

Then there was Eva. Eva is tiny, and she sparkles. I thought she was a student when she first came in (there were a lot of students, working during the lockdown to make their qualifications), but then she started handling the meds, so I knew I was wrong. She was a delight, kind and funny. Turned out we share the same birthdate! (Our greeting after that was 'Happy Birthday!') I remember mentioning this to another nurse who was nearby when Eva was administering iv antibios, adding, "But we're several decades apart, of course."

She went quiet, then said, "Not so much."

I looked at her, and she said quietly, "I'm 44."

I swear my metaphorical jaw hit the metaphysical floor. "WHAT???"

She nodded. I said - "No way, I'd say you're 28 at the absolute maximum." Which is true, by the way. She looks that young.

She grinned and said. "It must be the mask."

"Can you move it a mo?"

She did, and she is absolutely beautiful. And looks no older than 28 at the most. I shook my head.

"Whatever it is, you should bottle it and sell it on the open market. You'd make an absolute fortune, Young Eva."

I swear she floated out of the ward to continue to the next one - after giving me a virtual hug and saying I'd made her week!

Then there were the cute young male nurses. Haseem, who looked like an Indian prince and was delightfully easy to (very gently) tease, and Muhammed, the only person to immediately, efficiently and painlessly find a vein for my daily bloods.

And too many truly awesome nurses to remember, with such pretty names - Mia and Maria and Leila and Crystal and Kira and Benedicta - and every accent under the sun. Goddesses, every one of them.

So what should have been a nightmare experience turned out to be almost a holiday, and AB and 'Jean', especially, simply wonderful people.

We will most likely never meet again, but you will always have a special place in my heart, and I wish you all the joy in the world.

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

Heavens! I await your next post and update with interest, but suffice to say I'm glad you're home and sound in good spirits, even if the body isn't playing ball.

8:32 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

Words (almost) fail me! What shocking news but I'm glad you could find the bright side on your hospital stay and even more glad that you are safely home again!

12:42 pm  

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Oh boy. What a wonderful weekend. Not.

Friday evening we watched a Dr Who ep, and then A Field In England (don't bother. We tried very hard to understand it, and enjoy it, and find anything of merit it in, but alas, it is but pretentious twaddle, an incomprehensible triumph of style without substance, and ultimately pointless. Julian Barrett was in for about 30 seconds at the very beginning before he was killed, so even that pleasure was denied me). Midnight came, and I was thinking should maybe check a couple of thing, when completely out of the blue, and in a matter of seconds, I suddenly felt dizzy and light-headed, then nauseous. Managed to close down and stumble upstairs, got into bed shivering, and an hour later took my temperature. 40.3° (104.54 in American money). K&K tried to ring 111, they were absolutely snowed under and advised to ring 999. Twenty minutes later ambulance pulled up outside: temperature confirmed, heart rate and BP high (but not dangerously so), but most importantly lungs and chest completely clear of any congestion. So not COVID-19. Advised to 'sleep' (hah!) with windows open to help lower temperature, and to try to keep down crushed and mixed with water paracetamol, and keep an eye on temperature. Nothing else to be done, it was a flu virus of some sort, hopefully short lived as came on so quickly, but to contact them again if it got worse.

Spent next 13 hours throwing up and in horrible pain (as well as whatever this was something bit the back of my right leg overnight and I got the usual allergic reaction - pain, bright red tight skin, and bruised looking veins.) Saturday evening the nausea eased off, and I was able to take solid pills again, but Sunday was also miserably spent in bed. However, temp on Saturday was 39°, then 38.1 on Sunday, so heading in the right direction.

Not so bad today, able to get out of bed and sit here for a little while. Definitely improving, but I would only wish this whatever this is on trump and BND. Slight silver lining is I lost over half a stone, but I wouldn't advise it as a slimming aid!

There was a fox and a cub in the garden earlier. Very cute but upset Tyjer horribly.

Heading back to bed for an hour. Catch you later.


Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Glad things are going well there - please stay safe. My Sultan's Palace is flowering this year, but only just, so perhaps give it time.
As for the rest - see just-posted update...

2:52 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

Good grief, you don't do things by halves, do you? Glad you seem to be recovering now but what a scare!

9:15 pm  
Blogger GoodTwin said...

That sounds awful but at least you got a quick emergency response and some reassurance! I hope things are still improving and take as much rest as you can manage.

10:08 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Oh, that's not the end of it. It got worse, surgery had to send a nurse, now I have a hospital appt for tomorrow for a scan to see if it's cellulitis or deep vein thrombosis. Nothing's ever easy 'round 'ere...

2:59 pm  

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Friday, May 08, 2020

Finally, an update!

Why am I busier now than before the lockdown? Where does the time go? (Rhetorical questions, by the way, no need to reply!)

So what have we been up to? A lot of film and series watching - see below. A lot of gardening: I found a site that sells heritage tomato seeds - Tomato Eden in Poland - and ordered some packets of the most interesting looking ones! All but one have sprouted in the greenhouse (will replace the odd one as have seeds left) and will get photos when they start fruiting. Also have climbing courgettes and mini munch cucumbers on the go in the greenhouse, runner beans, sugar snap peas, two lots of dwarf beans and our asparagus in the raised beds. Pear and apple trees are full of fruit buds (will have to pull off a whole lot to ensure the rest develop properly, a nuisance but essential), the blueberry and raspberry bushes are doing well, and I've bought some potato growbags to try. The potatoes are coming along well in one - going to try planting some heritage carrots in the other.

The front garden is looking pretty good too. My irises go from strength to strength   

The bench is now down on the patio, much to Tyjer's approval...

My indoor plants are doing their usual slightly odd thing too.

On the health front, Kai is now registered as 'extremely vulnerable' on the government's list, and we're all shielding. So, not much different than before then. Main thing is it gives Ken ammunition to continue working at home if the BCC want their homeworkers to return to the office. Which is probably not going to happen until the danger is completely over - roll on the vaccines - but it's another source of stress relieved. His BP is a little high at the moment, but not enough to worry about. Must remember to check mine later.
So - watching... The Prestige, which I didn't remember, despite seeing it ages ago. Very good, thoroughly chilling. Devs, which started off so well and then - for me, at any rate, Kai enjoyed it, and made a suggestion about the title before we were even half way through the first ep, though in hindsight it should have been obvious - went downhill fast. I think the problem for me was that there was NOTHING in it at all new. Seen and/or read it all before. The concept of the multiverse is used in Michael Moorcock's books, all of which I'd read before I got to college as a teen. I ended up playing 'spot the movie this is borrowed from', and kept dozing off in ep 6 (or was it 7?) which was soooo sloooowwwww. So, glad I suffered through it, won't be watching it again.

Which is the complete opposite of Inside No. 9 (how strange! I copied that link from the IMDb twice and neither time did it link properly. Though that, to be honest, is really quite apposite for the series! Try this one instead? Ah, no, that doesn't work either. Just type in the title into IMDb if you're interested), which is just superb. Some eps are better than others, of course, and the 5th season was decidedly grim, but they are never less than thought-provoking, and season 4 is wonderful!

In a fit of nostalgia I ordered The Assassination Bureau, which we all thoroughly enjoyed, although it reminded me quite strongly of The Tourist. Heh. Maybe I'm getting so old I've seen it all before!

Kai and I are working our way through Silent Witness, which is variable but in general superior TV. As a family we're now working through the Peter Capaldi Doctor Who season 9, which we bought because it contains what I consider the best and most chilling DW ep ever, Heaven Sent. Well deserving of its 9.6 rating. (I just adore Capaldi's Doctor.)

Last time we went out for a walk someone had put a bag of DVDs on their wall for passers-by to take if they wanted (a fairly new innovation that a lot of people, including me, have found very useful). I took Vampires Suck, purely to see what it was like (I absolutely loathed the Twilight series, which I had to read/see (the first film) when I was writing Vampires). Opened the case when we got home to find it empty, so ended up buying it second hand online (the postage cost more than the disc!) I knew it's rated very poorly and people hate it - but actually, I found it OK. Very funny in a couple of places, and the acting was pretty good! Not going to recommend it, but if you know the Twilight series, it pokes fun remorselessly.

On the strength of that, I've also picked up Meet the Spartans, despite its 2.8 rating. Yes, OK, that the synopsis mentions Autobots also helped... Aiming to watch that soon. Not expecting much, but might be surprised. Fingers crossed.

That's about it for now. We recently invested in a 4 terrabyte external hard drive to archive EVERYTHING on all our computers and put in the strongbox with the wills etc, and Ken and I picked up a little 2 terrabyte external drives for additional backup. We're now in the incredibly long, laborious process of scanning/photographing all our very early work (my notebooks etc are in a pile beside my desk which is almost as high as the desk itself. Wat fun...), all the stuff on our pc hard drives, everything on teh old external, Nigel, and I'm aiming to transfer all the old photos currently on spindles of discs inside the strongbox. Probably going to take the three of us the rest of the year...

Stay safe, everyone!


Blogger GoodTwin said...

All going green at Chez Taylor... My irises have put up a lot of leafs but no buds as yet this year. My garden is like a fast-food restaurant for all the birds :)

Glad to hear you're all staying healthy, even if that means strict isolation. Things are going well over here.

12:43 pm  
Blogger GoodTwin said...

PS: Leafs? (Good grief, call yourself a writer...? 8-! )

10:21 pm  

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Friday, April 10, 2020

Warning. We've had a harvestman (we call them airspiders) sitting at the top of the wall in the lounge - completely unmoving - for a week or two. Kai took a closer look yesterday and we found out why - it's holding an eggsac in its pedipalps! At some point we're going to have a horde of teeny harvestmen rampaging through the house. Kai took a photo - you can actually see the eggs! - and I've posted it at the bottom of this update. Please note - harvestmen are not spiders!

And in other news...

So of course, after having to buy a new fridge, we find on Thursday we had a leaking pipe over the kitchen window...

Luckily, Tom, our plumber, is still working, although wearing a mask and keeping his distance from customers, and came to see what he could do Friday am. Bless him! The leak upstairs - where the cold water pipe goes into the cistern - had soaked the floorboards without us realising, so the lino is raised in the corner to allow them to dry out and Tom replaced the leaking section of pipe. Downstairs, he had to remove the panel that runs from wall to wall along the back wall and replace the pipes there, which will mean a trip to B&Q when it's safe to buy a replacement wooden one. Still, winter's behind us, so it won't be too cold, and it'll match the replacement vertical panel we had to fit when he replaced the vertical pipes last year...

The garden is doing its usual spring thing...

Plum tree. Fingers crossed for a good harvest. I love plums!

Tried the new BP meds for two weeks, but the side effects didn't stop, so I contacted the surgery who advised me to stop taking them. Feeling better now.

I miss swimming. Kim and I had worked up to 24 lengths. And will have to postpone Bath Spa treatment til... no idea when...

Forgot to mention - Ken gave me Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars for Yule. It's brilliant! Very funny and very clever - with an oddly poignant ending. He gave me a gorgeous hand painted Japanese postcard for my birthday, and I've finally put it in its frame and hung it up in the bedroom: -

The other pic - fireflies over a lake - is at last on the wall in this room:-

(Yes, my clock is backwards. The words are 'seilf emit'.)

Media... I watched Noughts and Crosses. Found it very interesting, but anticlimactic. Ken and I are working our way through Jason King, with Kai joining us for the odd ep. It's absolutely bonkers but an awful lot of fun. We rewatched Now You See Me in order to remind ourselves of the story before watching Now You See Me 2. It's fun, but not quite as good as the first film.

This was amusing... How generous! Promise I won't spend it all at once!

I missed it last week (I was in the shower) but this week Kai clapped from his window and I went out to the front porch to add my hands. Looks like it's going to be a weekly thing so shall make sure to keep 8 pm Thursday free for a while.

Things are trundling along here. And the air is so clean at the moment, all my coughing and snuffling has cleared up now there's so much less air pollution. If only we can keep it going once the lockdown is over...

Sign of the times... Just around the corner from us (well, half a mile away really...)

Stay safe and well, everyone.

And finally, the harvestman...


Blogger Sue said...

I found Noughts and Crosses extremely well done - both in the writing and performances - and yet strangely not gripping. I'm glad I've seen it; I'm glad it's finished.

9:58 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

YES! That's it exactly.

1:02 am  

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Oh, abso-fragging-lutely typical.

Everything was going well, I had three weeks' worth of food in the freezer and pantry, came down to make brunch on Sunday to find the bloody fridge had packed up. It's not even five years old yet!

[growl] So ten minutes online with Curry's and I'd ordered a new one - Bosch, my favourite make - and paid the extra to have it delivered on Monday. We managed to make the old one limp along by leaving the superfast frost setting on, which, with not opening the freezer compartment, kept everything just cold enough I didn't have to ditch any food. New one arrived about 2.15 p.m. and by 7 I'd transferred everything over. We now have a large fridge freezer sitting in the garden with no way to get rid of it until the crisis is over and recycling centres and BCC collections are up and running again.

But the new fridge is great! Quite a bit bigger than the old one and so quiet. I keep thinking it's not working - the old one was forever creaking and groaning, this one just purrs. Delivery guys - who wouldn't carry it into the house, so Kai and I had to manouevre it in ourselves, and what fun that was - said it should be good for at least 15 years (pretty much what I'd expect from Bosch) so fingers crossed.

Apart from that, we've been fine. Now self-isolating, which is working out OK. I managed to grab a Sains delivery for tomorrow, which hopefully will set us up for the next couple of weeks, though we may have to switch to powdered milk for K&K's cereal. (Not keen on milk myself. Mild intolerance, I suspect. Never drink the stuff.) And I managed to get a phone consult for Tyjer - he's running out of Metacam for his hip joints - and Pets@Home are happy, on this occasion, to accept the prescription request over the phone. K&K will walk up there to collect it when Ken signs off work later.

We have, naturally, been watching a lot of films and series. We're onto the last two eps of the last season of Lucky Man, which we will hopefully finish tonight, and will probably watch Jason King next - before we start the major project that is Deep Space 9 complete.

Media... The Reluctant Fundamentalist which was disturbingly good. We finally sat down for Oklahoma!, which I bought years ago (primarily because of Hugh Jackman) and hadn't found the time to watch to date. Kai wasn't sure: I suggested he watch the first few minutes and then go up if he wasn't drawn in. Ended up staying for the whole film and we all thoroughly enjoyed it!

In the evening it was Mindhorn. I found this quite by accident when looking up something else on the IMDb, thought it sounded good - and I like Julian Barratt - so ordered it from amazon. And it's great! Very funny, and a fantastic cast. And the end credits song - You Can't Handcuff the Wind - is terrific, so I bought it. It's now on my phone playlist.

On Sat last Ken and I watched West Side Story, really because it's considered a classic, we knew a lot of the music, and had never watched it. Can't say I enjoyed it.

Wendy included two DVDs with my returned Good Omens (glad you enjoyed it!) - The Prestige, which I think we rented donkey's ago and really enjoyed, and The Tourist, which Ken and I watched yesterday and loved! Many thanks!

Have to finish putting all the magnets on the new fridge, hoover, then get dinner organised. Hoping to update soon with pix of the garden, as everything is coming into flower and looking beautiful. But before I go, this is the sign on Kai's door, from GoodTwin for his birthday! Very apt. I don't dare go in there...

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Blogger Sue said...

Oh what a pain about the freezer but thank goodness you didn't lose any food. Not good at any time, but especially now. Glad you are all OK as are we.
I'm working my way through Torchwood at the minute with diversions to various current programmes. Also diving into the book pile!

7:50 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Aaaand it gets better!! Came down yesterday to find we had a fast-dripping leak above the kitchen window. As in, the wallpaper was buckled, the wall soft, and water everywhere.

LUCKILY we have the BEST plumber in the world, Tom, and he's happy to visit between 9 and 10 to sort it all out for us (I emailed him a full description so hopefully he'll have all the replacement piping he needs). He will wear a mask, and K&K will stay in their rooms upstairs: I've removed everything from the area in the kitchen, will do the same upstairs (because this all started with a leak in the bathroom) tomorrow, and leave him to work his magic. Then open all the windows and let the wind clean through the house while I disinfect all the surfaces.

But honestly - nothing's ever easy 'round 'ere...

12:38 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Oh - and TORCHWOOD!! Another one to rewatch! Thanks for the remeinder!

12:39 am  

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Friday, March 20, 2020

COVID-19. Interesting times, ne?

We've been advised, by Kai's BMT trials nurse Peter, that as his immune system is still compromised, we should be very careful not to take any unnecessary risks. So Ken is now working from home (with BCC-supplied laptop and phone), and we've had to postpone Wendy's visit. I've shopped at both Sainsbury's (because I can't get a delivery slot for the next three weeks) and Tesco (which did still have delivery slots so I've booked them for the next four weeks - not next week as there were none left - which of course does not guarantee I'll get everything I've ordered!) and I've never seen anything like it. Aisles of loo roll, tissues and kitchen towels completely empty. Ditto nappies, soap, fresh packaged meat, bread, milk (almost), tinned fish, beans and veg, pasta, rice - and tea (how very British!!) We're actually quite well placed, as I always keep at least two weeks worth of groceries in larder and freezer, so we can manage until the rush of panic stockpiling has died down a little. I hope, anyway.

K&K have started going out for a walk when Ken signs off work for the day, for a change of air and some exercise. There are far fewer people around than previously, so it's fairly safe.

Apart from the lurgy, it's been quite a nice few weeks. Last Saturday Ken and I bussed to Midsomer Norton via Bath, where we stopped for half an hour for me to check out the Bath Thermae Spa and ask a few questions about my proposed visit (which I'll now have to postpone until the autumn, but that's OK). Almost as soon as we got out of the bus station I heard this amazing music... it sounded a bit like a harp, and a bit like a guitar, and a bit like a cello... The route to the Spa took us up the pedestrian shopping area, and we found the source - this guy -

He's Amadou Diagne, and the instrument he's playing is a kora: Wiki says "It doesn't fit into any one category of musical instrument, but rather several, and must be classified as a "double-bridge-harp-lute".", so my initial thinking was more or less correct. He was selling Journey CDs, so I bought one. The music is absolutely beautiful...

Now decided I need to explore other countries' music.

(This track is on the album.)

Back on the bus and off to Midsomer Norton. Nice ride through B&NES rolling countryside and down the hill to the centre of town.

I have a particular fondness for Midsomer Norton. Even on a dull day it's pretty...

There are a lot of charity shops, as well as indie shops, like Out of Asia, a gorgeous little gift shop where I spotted this adorable - metal! - little unicorn ring holder with diamond eyes...


We also picked up a set of five Transformers Prime illustrated kids books, which look quite daftly funny, and this for £2.50!! Haven't read it yet but it looks fun. The same charity shop - Sue Ryder I think - also had this little cutie:

All in all it was a great day!

Media... Ken and I watched TC 2000 last week (Kai was busy with friends online so didn't join us). It was dire. Its main feature was a fight every 1.5 to 3 mins all the way through. Dreadful film. -2 out of 10, would not recommend. So we then lightened the mood and had a Three Musketeers Sunday matinée: The Three Musketeers after lunch and The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge after dinner. I'd forgotten how funny they are! Kai chuckled all the way through and we all thoroughly enjoyed them.

I picked up Limitless at a charity shop a while back. Can't remember if we'd already seen it: I think we did, a long time ago, but didn't remember any of it and really enjoyed it. We've now all started watching Stan Lee's Lucky Man season 3. It'll be interesting to see how it pans out.

We will most likely be watching a lot more films/TV over the next few weeks/months. We still have quite a backlog of films, Jason King, and I'm now collecting Deep Space 9 boxed sets (found season 6 in St Pete's Hospice shop): it was always my favourite ST series.


TransTech Starscream has arrived!

And he's gorgeous!



He now joins Carscream, Steelscream, ShatteredGlassscream, and Dinobot on the faves shelf!

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

Glad to hear you're all fighting fit! I thought Kai would probably rate on the 'at-risk' scale so it's good Ken is able to work from home and at least remove some of that.

As I'm sure you can imagine I've been having the most incredible few weeks at work. Most of this week our shelves have been almost empty by 10am - if we'd had stock in the first place - and Thursday's 'oldie' hour was the worst shift ever, with a queue of 10+ people at my kiosk for the whole of the first two hours. (Quite a few of them with trollies, i.e. not less than 5 items, and ironically they were the ones complaining about being kept waiting!)
There seemed for the first time this morning to be a slight slowing in the manic-panic buying mode of the last couple of weeks, so perhaps the message that food IS available is finally getting through.

I love the little owl and that unicorn has a distinctly perky look on his face! And as for Starscream... 8-o

4:58 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

I shall be careful not to be a pain when I venture out to Tesco and Sains for their oldie's hours next week, in that case!

Sorry you had to put up with that - tell the old biddies to keep their distance! Hoping you and Adrian stay safe and well.

5:39 pm  
Blogger GoodTwin said...

Overall I've had very little problem with most of my shoppers although there's always a few. I rather doubt you'd ever be one of them :)

3:01 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Cheers! I do do my best to be pleasant when shopping.

11:20 pm  

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