Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.
August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
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!
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
So... I'm booked in for a gastroscopy (oh joy) beginning of March. I've opted for an anaesthetic throat spray instead of an injected sedative. Should be OK, fingers crossed.
I meant to post this pic back in December but forgot it was on my phone. Beautiful deer in Broadmead, not on the main thoroughfare: it was tucked away in a little square behind the shops towards Cabot Circus.
Ken and I went to Hurrans on Sunday for a last visit. This was near the bus stop: not sure if it's an affirmation or a condemnation...
Hurrans - the end of an era. Terribly sad to see it empty...
We're on to The Expanse season 3 now, and Ken is watching too. Crackin' stuff!
Ken emptied the large compost bin (onto my higher raised bed) on Saturday - all wonderful rich dark soil to grow my plants in. Going to be rearranging that part of the garden over the next couple months: the big conifer that hid the bins from the house died in last year's brutal summer and will need to be cut down. Once we know where Kai wants his railway tracks to go we can make a start.
Off swimming in an hour - by myself today as Kim has a job interview this afternoon. She's been with the main Post Office in Broadmead for 20-odd years: as it's closing down next month she's now looking for a caring post.
Friday, February 15, 2019
Whoa! Two posts in one week? Whatever next?
It's been a productive week. Some more tidying up bits in the house, and I've weeded/hoed/prepped the two raised beds (put the two cloches on the higher bed and covered all the open soil with weed-suppressing fabric) in preparation for this season's food plants. Not growing sweetcorn again - it's a lot of work and last year's crop was nondescript at best. Easier (and cheaper in the long run) to buy frozen organic sweetcorn from Waitrose. Won't bother with peas either (ditto). Lower bed will have runner beans, a courgette plant or two, a pumpkin and several marrows - things that we like to eat, that are expensive to buy organic, and which I know will succeed in the space. Higher bed is asparagus (may be enough to use this year, looking forward to Sunday brunches of home made buckwheat pancakes, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and a spear or two of asparagus!), garlic (which I planted on Wed, two varieties), heritage carrots, a few special large onions, spring onions, radishes, snap peas, mange tout and dwarf French beans - all of them successful in the past.
Greenhouse is still tidy from last autumn, and my French tarragon is coming along very nicely. Planning a lot of large tomatoes this year, to use in cooking, the usual minimunch cucumber, a variety of cherry tomatoes, and mixed peppers. Our bench has been stored in there all winter - Tyjer loves lying on it in the sunny warmth - so will start organising the growing space once that's back in its usual place at the top of the garden. And I've been out to Almondsbury to pick up some compost (next time Kim has a day off. She's happy to drive there and knows the way better than me!) Just need to sort out the small water butt: moving it to the front of the greenhouse so it's less work.
Kai fancied re-watching The Expanse in advance of Season 3, which is due out on amazon Nov 4th - which is an awfully long time to wait. I was reading the (mostly rather angry about the wait, as it's been available in the US since last April, apparently) comments on the amazon page - and a couple of people said they'd bought it on ebay instead, so I checked, and yes, it's available now, £12.62, free p&p. So I bought it. It arrived this morning. We've nearly finished Season 1, so will be able to start on 3 in a week or so after we've rewatched Season 2.
On the health front... Kai's Mon venesection went well. I had my yearly health check on Tues: appt was for 11 but I didn't get into the room until 1/4 to 12 - NOT happy (and neither was my back). BP is a bit high - I pointed out that wasn't surprising after sitting for 50 mins on their uncomfy waiting room chairs - so she's asked me to take my own readings (I bought a monitor some time ago, just need to put batteries in in) a few time over the next couple of weeks and she'll ring me for a phone consultation early March. Because I had to wait so long and didn't make a fuss about it, she got me in to have blood taken for tests right away instead of having to make a further appt. Just rang for the results: liver and thyroid functions normal, diabetes normal, kidney function satisfactory, vitamin D a bit low but not unusual for the time of year. Apparently they didn't test for my cholesterol count, which was one I was interested in: may need to make a further appt for that.
I also asked about another concern that I haven't mentioned here (yet). Remember a couple of years ago I had that awful chest pain and got checked out at the Bristol Heart Institute? Well, it's happened again three times since, and over the last 18 months I've found that if I take too big a bite of food, or don't chew the mouthful thoroughly, it feels as though it gets stuck in my oesophagus around the level of my diaphragm, and is immensely painful. It usually takes two or three minutes to ease and for the food to go down, and drinking doesn't help (makes it worse in fact). Dr thinks it may simply be acute spasms, as apart from that I'm mostly fine, but has referred me to the BRI just to be safe. So I may be having an endoscopy in the near future. Oh joy...
So, apart from that? Things are going OK. Still no dropped kerb, but that's understandable given I'm asking him to fit us in around his other commitments. It's in hand. The last couple of days have been wonderfully sunny with temps well above normal for the time of year: not sure it that bodes well or ill for the summer. But when I opened the greenhouse an hour or so ago, there were a big fat bumblebee and a red admiral butterfly (!) drinking from the flowering daphne, which was marvellous to see.
'Bye for now!
Monday, February 11, 2019
Brief catch up...
The snow had completely gone by Sunday morning, but it was pretty while it lasted.
The shower curtain rail has now been fixed and the job completed!
Highways have confirmed the excavation licence has now been reissued to A&G Surfacing free of charge. The company has confirmed they will be in touch soon to arrange a mutually convenient time to finish the work. I'll cheer once it's done.
Decided I'll take Derpy to be serviced before we start using her, once the drive is finished. Renatec are just down the road (literally).
WeCare person arrived today with the paperwork for the replacement downpipe - it'll be around £1,200 [wince] but it really needs to be done, as it's a health risk as much as anything, so aiming to have that completed by the end of August.
Have read and thoroughly enjoyed The Left Hand of Darkness. Astonishingly it was just one line of dialogue from the book that I remembered, the rest was as if new to me - which was fun!
We've finished watching Primeval and really enjoyed it. I just wish it had run to another couple of seasons...
Hurrans Garden Centre is closing on March 10th (so sad. We've spent a small fortune there over the years, it's been there (under different names) since before we bought the house and it's so quick and easy to get to and such a fun place to visit - nice café too, although that closed down for good before Yule.) They're having an 'at least 50% off sale', so Kai and I bussed there yesterday. Came back with another trug for my patio herbs (half price), a selection of seeds, weed supressing fabric and a couple of low terracotta pots for my cactus orchid succulent. Should have been £107: came to £49. I like savings like that! Now have to clear the patio area and get some compost so I can get started...
Kai has venesection at 5 today. He's going in by himself this time, and Ken will meet him at the hospital Costco after work to make sure he gets home safely. (He'd probably be perfectly fine but he has felt a little wobbly and light-headed on a couple of occasions so one of us always goes with him. Usually me, but given the timing and Ken already being in town, he's volunteered this time.)
That's about it for now. Gradually clearing the projects to give myself time for writing. Not quite there yet but it's getting closer. I hope...
Friday, February 01, 2019
It's magical waking up to silence...
There's a garden under there somewhere...
He didn't stay out very long!
But the kids loved it! (The park, on our way down to Sains to get a bit of shopping. I can heartily recommend Yaktrax!)
Alas, it had stopped snowing and started melting as we were on our way back - though it's still well covered out there, and temps are due to get below freezing tonight. So ice tomorrow then. Oh joy... We don't have to go out luckily. Should all be cleared by next week. Less a Beast from the East and more a Pest from the West, as one of our TV forecasters said a day or two ago.
Not much fun for travellers though - traffic disruption. Many busses were cancelled or on limited routes as well. Still, this is proper British winter weather, and our walk was a lot of fun!
Thursday, January 31, 2019
This is getting silly. I can't seem to get enough sleep (even 11 hours on Sunday night left me feeling tired). Will have to ask dr at my yearly checkup if I need a higher dose of levothyroxine or if perhaps it's something else...
Anyway, apart from that things are... OK, I guess. Kerb still not dropped, though given the freezing weather at the moment I'm not too worried about that. Will get Derpy serviced once the drive is ready, then we'll be set once the weather improves.
Ken actually had to take sick leave with a rather nasty bug he went down with - not quite flu, but a lot worse than a cold. Kai now has a cold, but so far I'm fending it off (it's the flu jabs, I'm convinced!) Childe's immune system seems to be repairing itself quite well - it hasn't hit him anything like as hard as the last one.
He's at uni this morning. He had exams over the last two weeks and didn't want to talk about them when he got home, so keeping fingers tightly crossed he did enough to get through. He can take resits in the summer, but of course we'd rather he didn't need to!
Yes. Well. I loathed both of them. It seems that classic American "humour" just leaves me cold. Thoroughly obnoxious characters, hugely irritating plots, and in the latter it seemed that almost every other word was 'fuck'.
At least Kai has now seen them and knows what his friends are talking about.
Ken and I watched The Handmaid's Tale, which I found as depressing as the first time I saw it. We all watched and thoroughly enjoyed The Night Manager - still a crackin' good watch - and Ant-man and the Wasp, which is fun. Though I didn't see the point of the tardigrades. Unless their purpose will be revealed at some future time. Or maybe they were used as a size comparison... We're currently watching our way through Primeval (haven't seen a lot of seasons 4 and 5), which is also fun. Picked up A Wrinkle in Time for the weekend (terrible reviews but none of us have read the book - at least, I don't think I have. If I did I obviously didn't find it at all memorable - but the trailers look beautiful, so we'll watch it for the sfx. Won't be the first time!)
We're thinking about going to the Nomu Japanese restaurant for a birthday treat this year. Don't normally bother going out, but they offer a really fun 'three for £14' deal, so we'd all be able to try a variety of different things. Plus there's a free cocktail for your birthday. I quite fancy trying the Tokyo Ice Tea!
... think I may go have a nap before Kai gets back for lunch...
Thursday, January 03, 2019
Kai transformed him for me yesterday...
The quality is extraordinary. The lower jaw on all the four supplied faces opens and closes, so he can show his fangs, and the eyes of the velociraptor (alt. mode) can be switched from wide open to squinting. (The face I chose has his trademark smirk, which makes me chuckle.) And yes, he has two thumbs on each hand.
SO chuffed! He has pride of place in the right hand display case - will get a photo when the light is better - so I only have to turn my head a little to see him.
Took Kai over an hour to do. You can see the process in the Youtube video if you're interested, but the person doing it there is a lot faster and has obviously done this before!
Tuesday, January 01, 2019
All in all 2018 was an interesting year...
I had my first solo break in forever at a Napoleonic fort in a part of Cornwall I'd never visited, which, even though cut short by two days by the Beast from the East, was wonderfully relaxing and fun. And of course it introduced me to the sheer joy of sleeping on a memory foam bed. (Our Casper mattress is still going strong and still allowing me the best sleep I've ever had.)
We had the window installation completed. So warm now!
The appallingly hot summer was not kind to my greenhouse plants: have now bought shading to put up if/when it happens again.
Took refresher driving lessons, bought a car, and had a drive (half)built.
Had a real shower installed and the bathroom tiled and decorated (though they still haven't fixed the shower curtain rail. Beyond a joke now...)
Had a snazzy new house alarm system installed. Motion detectors instead of door and window catches - much more efficient.
Finished redecorating the hall/stairwell/landing, and Ken has stripped all the layers of paint from the top banister. The wood underneath is actually gorgeous, quite dark but with a lighter grain that looks like feathers - very pretty. All that's left now is Ken's room (repainting and putting up a wall-full of shelves, then getting rid of the mismatched cheap bookcases), and the kitchen, which will be the last to be done as my old gas cooker is now playing up and will need replacing before next Yuletide. Seen what I want - AEG induction cooker (German of course, any of these will do nicely!) - and I want a cooker hood too, to cut down on the smells of cooking. Will need to be properly installed by someone qualified to disconnect the gas supply to the old one: the whole thing is going to be a little pricey but worth it.
And ended up with a great new washing machine (will be using for the first time tomorrow).
Actually not too bad for a year's improvements.
So, to do this year - get the kerb dropped (and Fixit sorted), get the shower curtain rail fixed, the old asbestos downpipe replaced, new flooring/carpeting laid, new cooker installed and kitchen redecorated, Ken's room sorted, and the garden a little more organised. All a lot less urgent than last year's goals (not to mention less expensive!) so I anticipate actually being able to make time to write.
Fingers crossed, anyway...
The London fireworks last night were as usual glorious. Yakuza Apocalypse is completely bonkers. Doctor Who this evening was... good I suppose, although it was the f%$*&g Daleks (again) and I really really hate them. I never found them frightening, not in the 60's and not now. You'd have thought they'd have taken the opportunity to redesign the damn things into something a lot more sleek and effective, but nooooo, we're stuck with that clunky, stupid, inefficient pepperpot look... GAH!
[grump] Anyway. Hope everyone's Yuletide went very well and you all start 2019 with optimism and hope.
Sunday, December 30, 2018
Later edit: washing machine delivered and installed - Kai currently adjusting the feet so it's level. It's very nice, and A+++ rating. Chuffed we are!
New Year's resolution - try to update more than once a month...
Currently waiting for the new washing machine to be delivered. The old one started making the most horrendous noise and vibrations to shake the kitchen apart on the spin cycle, but then again, we've had it for a good ten years and it gets used at least twice a week, so it's done us proud. Bosch make. I do like German engineering. The replacement's a Bosch too. Hope the quality's the same as it used to be!
So, happenings since I last posted. I finally had to fire the cowboys from Fixit, twelve weeks after they started the job: now waiting for A & G Surfacing to get back to me with a date for the kerb to be dropped. Will update on action against Fixit as and when I can: first priority is to get Derpy safely on to the drive.
Kim and I went out to Congresbury Garden Centre. They were setting up their Yuletide decorations - including these...
... life-sized reindeer heads that sang carols a cappella. The heads moved from side to side and the mouths and eyes opened and closed as they sang. Impressive - and creepy.
GoodTwin and Sue visited before Yule to exchange gifts (many thanks!) and we had much fun with several new quizzes and catching up on all the news.
The 25th was pretty low-key, with presents, chocolates, films and food. Dawn came over on Boxing Day for a Japanese-themed day, with My Neighbour Tortoro and Space Battleship Yamato (the former went down well, the latter less so), and sushi and yakitori chicken for lunch, chicken with chestnuts for dinner (became an instant family favourite, but next time I'll skip the chestnuts). All very enjoyable. And the Oriental supermarket just down from City Hall (where Ken works) is really excellent. Even had instant dashi, and bonito flakes! Going to experiment with a few Japanese recipes in the coming year - getting fed up with making the usual all the time.
Minimal decorations this year, just the tree in the lounge -
And the one on the shelf over the stairwell.
Kai and I finished watching MilleniuM... bit of an odd ending, vaguely dissatisfying. Glad we persevered though. Next up is The Night Manager (reduced price at Sains), which I watched by myself when it was first shown and enjoyed immensely. We've caught up with all the DVDs I found at Westbury back in October except for Yakuza Apocalypse: Kai really enjoyed Aqua Teen Hunger Force (I found it less fun than when I first saw it, unfortunately). Cried my way through A Dog's Purpose (beautiful, beautiful film). And remembered that I collected the complete Primeval (missed half of season three, all of season four, so didn't bother with season five on TV), so that's on the list to watch in the next few months.
Finished redecorating the hall/stairwell/landing. Last job is to strip the paint from the upstairs banister back to the wood, which Ken is doing. It all looks rather nice. Now just Ken's office and the kitchen to do.
No delivery yet. I was up at 6.45: delivery is free if you opt for any time between 7 am and 7 pm. Want to bet they arrive just before 7 this evening?
Friday, November 30, 2018
Taking a break while the first coat of paint dries...
Hectic as ever. Quick run down: -
Health: still coughing and spluttering, but not badly enough to stop me swimming (skipped two weeks because of the bug and really missed it). Kai had venection on the 18th, but his veins refused to co-operate (for the second time ever) so I had to make another appointment for the 25th, which went a little better.
Watching: on the third and last season of MillenniuM now. Still enjoying it, though it's got darker and darker. As usual watching Strictly Come Dancing, which as usual is fun.
Pets: Rosa successfully off to her new home on 12th of this month. She'll be going to a couple who have a good few other tarantulas and are pretty much experts in their care, so I feel happier now. Tyjer is still going strong, though beginning to show his age now, bless 'im - not so fast, and it's not so easy for him to jump up any more. Though he is growing more cuddly in his old age (fell asleep on my lap yesterday evening), which is rather nice.
Car: [sigh] I left her so long when I tried to start her on Monday the battery was completely dead (my own fault, I'd been advised to turn the engine over at least once a week. Blame my feeling lousy for two weeks). Luckily, we'd bought a new, automatic battery charger a few years back, to charge up the battery in Kai's train engine, so (with Kai doing a bit of research online as apparently Renault batteries don't lift out of the car like the old ones used to do, and there are rather more varieties than there used to was...) To my amazement and delight, it only took two and a half hours to charge the battery from completely dead with errors and alarms flashing all over the dashboard to starting with a growly purr and all the indicators back to normal. Beats the overnight charge the Petal took! I did a little gardening while she was recharging (as it had to be done in situ) so we're about ready for a nice small evergreen tree to be planted in the house-ward corner (BND has had work done on his cameras recently and there's now one that looks down on to our drive. Bloody Peeping Tom). As for the drive... Highways confirm the excavation licence was issues on the 22nd of this month. I emailed Fixit yesterday evening and am now waiting for them to get back to me to say when they're coming to finish the work. They're now seven weeks overdue...
House: the hall/stairwell/landing is a little more than half way done now. Planning to finish that lot, at least, by the time GoodTwin and Sue come to visit in a couple of weeks. I think the kitchen will have to wait until after Yule though.
Off to put a second coat on the woodwork. Fingers crossed for a good weekend, all!