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][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!
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
So the bug turned into a very nasty cold, which I am now right in the middle of. Great way to start a new year...
Forgot to mention the Babbacombe trip. I'm wondering if the weather wants me to a) not go down to the sea or b) not want me to return if I do go. The beast from the East narrowly missed marooning me in Cornwall in 2018, when Kai and I visited Babbacombe in September this year our train was cancelled due to 'severe weather', and on this trip I caught the tail end of Storm Atiyah (freezing lashing rain and winds that destroyed two umbrellas). I ended up taking the taxi to Newton Abbot on the way back to be sure of getting a train back to Bristol...
But it went OK. There was a couple of hours break in the rain on Thurs morning, when I was able to get into Torquay to find the shopping arcade I'd seen from the bus (it was a lot less interesting than I'd hoped). The town itself was quiet and grim - surprising for a Tory-voting place - with very little xmas cheer. However, I did find a kitchen shop (right on the quay) which had two excellent small and very sharp knives (I need them for boning chicken thighs). So the trip was worth it for that. The old and really fantastic kitchen shop in Briz has now become a Go Cook shop, only selling hugely expensive saucepans and cutlery. I miss the wonderful old place already - it was the perfect shop to find otherwise almost impossible to find kitchen ware...
Mum-in-law with two adoring yapmeisters (she said it was OK to post it here.) I sorted out her orchids as best I could: hopefully the spray's got rid of the mealeybugs.
Got back safely and Tyjer was pleased to see me (immediately started trying to overwrite the dog smell with his own, bless 'im)
Also forgot to say we borrowed Department S from GoodTwin. I had it on my amazon wish list and she suggested we watch a bit first to make sure I really wanted to own it. I'm glad she did as it's... hm. Ever found yourself watching a less-than-enthralling film and dozing off for a few seconds every now and then, and when you wake up again the dialogue and action has moved on and it doesn't make any sense? It's a bit like that - but without the dozing off bit. Kai's intrigued by the clothes, cars and acting, Ken's bemused, and I'm watching it wondering how much worse it can get. Needless to say it's no longer on my wish list!
So, it's the end of a decade, and nearly the new year. Kai is taking a break from uni (and I'm now arguing uni fees with Student Finance), and Fixit now have a CCJ against them, and I'm exploring what options are available next. Australia's on fire, the US is controlled by a malignant, lying excuse for a human being and - possibly even worse - that walking pile of excrement McConnell, and we have as our PM a thing that makes a pustulent boil on the arse seem attractive. The planet is going to hell, and those who could do something about it are too busy counting their wealth and patting themselves on the back to care. For the first time in a very long time I can find absolutely nothing to look forward to.
Saturday, December 28, 2019
... 'cause the season isn't over until Jan 3rd.
It's been mostly fun so far. Mostly as in, none of us were ill for the 25th, but on 26th I somehow managed to go down with a most unpleasant bug which has left me coughing and my throat raw. But that's all. I suppose it's some sort of cold bug, prevented from getting any worse by the 'flu jab I had a couple months back. Eh, whatever, it could be a lot worse. We've had to postpone our Tudor Day though, as I'm not up to a lot of cooking right now. We'll reorg for a week or so into the New Year.
Our (30th) wedding anniversary was lovely: beautifully relaxed and the meal at the Black Castle was very tasty and very filling. Afterwards we watched The Odd Life of Timothy Green, a quite delightful film, sweet without being mushy. Nice film for a rainy afternoon.
Yuletide's been mostly relaxing. We've watched a lot of films, the ones I'd been saving up. 24th Ken and I started watching the BBC production of A Christmas Carol - an interesting take on the story. It was grim but good. Our presents were terrific - Grave of the Fireflies and In This Corner of the World, along with a beautiful glass coaster, from Sue, and Utopia seasons 1 and 2 - along with biscuits and chocolates, ale for Ken and a limited edition fox print for Kai - from Goodtwin. I had three new Starscreams and a Skyfire, and a gorgeous genuine Bristol blue glass paperweight from Kai -
He bought it from a charity shop - but when I turned it over, it's a limited edition - 463 of 1,000! Dead chuffed.
We watched Moana - which I really must buy, it's wonderful - after xmas dinner (steak, roast spuds, Brussel's sprouts with chestnuts and honey-glazed peas and carrots, diddy pigs in a blanket and delicious pork, stuffing and cranberry star shapes, with xmas pud (Ken), salted caramel pud (me) and thick brandy cream, and double choc pud with ice-cream for Kai. An altogether lovely day.
Yesterday it was me spending most of the day coughing, and we watched
Race to Witch Mountain, which I have seen bits of for the last umpteen Yules but never watched completely. Thoroughly enjoyed it!
And that's about it. It's been a strange year - got a lot done, to the house certainly, maybe not so much personally. Aiming to get started on the next project in the new year.
In the meantime, I hope everyone has had a good and peaceful Yuletide.
Monday, December 16, 2019
I'm heading down to St Marychurch on Wed to see Mum T, repot - and try to get rid of the mealybugs on - her orchids, and take a bus to Torquay and Babbacombe to actually have a look around the shops, which after umpteen years of visits I still haven't managed. I'll be back on Fri pm, in plenty of time for the chaos that is xmas (not so much here as I'm very organised). So, a quick update before I head off.
It's been a flurry of shopping (all gifts now bought and cards posted), tidying, and a good look through my old 700 Years of English Cooking recipe book, as we've invited Dawn over for Tudor day on the 28th (last year was Japanese, year before was Indian, so we thought we'd go native this year.) I bought Doctor Faustus (Globe Production with the wonderful Arthur Darvill as Mephistopheles) a year or so ago but we haven't managed to watch it yet, so that will be the main feature. Later is either Warlock, or some Blackadder II (Ken and I picked up the complete Blackadder in Wells, of which more in a moment), depending on what we fancy at the time. I'm planning on making braised chicken thighs, and gingerbread, for lunch, and a pork casserole, with split green peas, and lemon and orange basted cauliflower, as veg, an apple and orange pie for dessert, and marchpane (mine will NOT be highly decorated! My recipe uses rosewater icing...) Going to try the recipes on K&K before the actual day, and there will be photos! (And the recipes if I can find the time to type them up/anyone is interested...)
GoodTwin and Sue came to visit last Thursday, and a rollicking good time was had by all! As usual my stomach ached from laughing, and it's never long enough!
I was at a bit of a loss as to what to make for lunch for Tudor day - we wanted something relatively easy that doesn't involve too much work, as the main recipes do. Ken suggested pies - and of course the Sat market at Wells has one of the best pie stalls we've ever found, chunky traditional ones with venison, duck, pork, or beef which while not strictly historically accurate, would be close enough. So off we went to Wells on Saturday...
We were later than planned leaving, and by the time we got there all the pies were gone (hence the chicken thigh recipe, which I found online, though if I can find similar pies somewhere else I'll happily buy them, as the thought of boning 8 chicken thighs is not appealing...) BUT! There was a jewellery stall there, Eyres Jewellery, and a ring caught my eye. I've said here that a good few years ago I developed an allergy to the platinum of my original wedding ring: bought a couple of cheapie silver (I thought at the time) and opal rings as a temp fix. Heh. Remind me to never buy cheap Chinese jewellery again. The edges have gone ragged, not quite enough to cut, but most uncomfortable, and it's not like I wore it all the time, only when going out. It's obviously not silver as it's gone a dull shade of greyish-brown. Anyway, I've been looking for something else suitable for a little while - and I found this on the stall. (The review there is mine.) It's absolutely beautiful, and so comfortable, and I just love the description on the site. I do take it off for washing up or using chemicals, as the colours are enamel rather than stones, but that's OK, I did that with my original ring too, so it's an easy habit to get back into. Delighted with it!
We took a wander into the charity shops, where I found a fantastic jacket at a ridiculously low price, along with a knitted cap that almost matches my new gloves (don't know if it's a side effect of getting older or just me, but I'm feeling the cold now a lot more than I used to, so having to dress accordingly. Bloody annoying but no use ignoring it!) So overall it was a great success, and a really enjoyable day out for the two of us! Ken suggested doing it more often next year, which I would very much like to do. We haven't managed to much over the last few years, with Kai being ill, but he's a lot better now, so we'll see how we go.
We were going to get the Bristol bus back - but the Bath bus arrived first, and Ken suggested getting it (buses from Bath to Bristol/Bristol to Bath are very frequent) as it goes all around the villages and is a really nice ride. It was getting dark, too, so we saw all the lights. Not as many as there might have been, perhaps: Ken thinks that the disaster that was the election (not going to talk about that as it won't do my blood pressure any good) meant that a lot of people felt they had very little to celebrate this year and were too depressed to put up decorations. But those that did went completely to town (maybe to make up for it?) and the houses and gardens looked amazing.
It was a lovely, lovely day.
Kai and I took Derpy for a quick spin around the block this morning, to check she was still running OK as it's been two months since we drove her last. Everything's fine, so I parked up (a little more tidily than last time) and we put her little xmas tree and tinsel in the front. Not as decorated as at Hallowe'en, but enough for her to join in the season.
Media... I found The Brand new Testament pretty much by accident, and was intrigued enough to buy a copy. And WOW! It's gloriously heretical while staying absolutely true to the old testament god, deliciously subversive and very very funny. Loved it, absolutely loved it. I'd recommend it for everyone but it's likely to give even moderate Jews and xtians apoplexy, so perhaps not. Pity...
Picked up American Gods season 2, and started watching it, but then had to go back and rewatch season 1 as it has been such a long time between them. Season 1 is great, but season 2? I can't say too much as Sue hasn't watched it yet, but (as I told her) I kept dozing off, and finding I hadn't missed anything much when I woke up again...
That's about it for now. Will report back when I get back from Devon. There may be photos...
Saturday, November 30, 2019
Finally. The Poppy Tales is finished. I know, four days later than I originally planned but hey, that's not too bad considering I'd almost despaired of ever feeling like finishing it...
You can find it here - An Ending - and a Beginning...
I am very sorry it's taken so long - and that I've now ended it. I had planned to make it longer, but no longer have the time, energy, or desire to continue. I just hope everyone who's read it has enjoyed the journey. (I have!)
Ken says he's now going to read it from start to finish.
In other news... Kai and I have cleared the two raised veg beds and covered them with tough weed-suppressing material - good strong stuff pegged down hard with large metal U-shaped pins this time, to stop cats and foxes tearing through it. Instead, the foxes pulled up the edge of it... Still, they obviously thought it wasn't worth carrying on, as no real harm was done. If it happens again we can always put bricks or rocks down, but they usually give up after one go, so fingers crossed.
Additional flower spike on OO (original orchid) -
and on AO (alien face orchid) -
Recently watched... Broadchurch season two and three were great - maybe not quite as good as season one, but that's most likely because we had more of an idea what to expect by then. As a follow up we saw The Escape Artist which is very good, if very chilling. The Quiet Place does NOT deserve it's high rating: it's full of the most ridiculous plot holes you can imagine. At the end I saw Michael bloody Bay had a hand in it, so that's not really surprising...
Neat monsters though.
Venom is rollicking good fun - predictable, yes, but a great rainy Saturday movie. I'd bought The Shanghai Job because it stars Orlando Bloom, and while not a great actor he's always fun to watch - and it turned out to be a lot better than we were expecting. Beautiful cinematography too, always a bonus.
And that's about it for now. Have a pic of the cauliflower bake! (The red things are sweet organic cherry tomatoes...)
Friday, November 15, 2019
Oh, this is getting silly. Can someone please donate me some spare time?
Let's try to catch up.
I had a rather nasty cold for part of the last month - had to miss swimming two weeks in a row. However, Wendy came up to visit, which was great fun and left me feeling much better. [GLOMPS] Wendy...
The best news of the past month has been the results of Kai's last BMT clinic: his ferritin is now down to 220.5, and he doesn't need any more venesections! Apparently the normal range is between 30 and 400, so he's firmly in the middle. Of course we're all delighted with that. He can also reduce his clinic appts from every six months to once a year.
My case against Fixit has now been served and they have a CCJ against them. I've been sent a whole load of stuff I have to read and respond to for the next step - will get that organised next Monday. Then decide if I'm going to post their photograph and details all over the cowboy builders and community groups Facebook pages I've joined...
Samhain fell during the half term holidays this year, so I decided to do a proper Trick or Treaters thing for the neighbourhood kids.
So... hung purple spider and eyeball light chains and a dancing ghost in the lounge window (I tried taking photos but they didn't come out very well: maybe next year...) - and decorated Derpy..
The skeleton (Wilson) is just a cardboard one from Tesco, but it looked great in the dimmer evening and with the streetlight opposite lighting him up! The kids loved him, their adult carers were in hysterics (I got asked if he had his licence: I pointed out that's what the L plates are for!) And the screams when they spotted the skull in the back must have annoyed BND no end! We must have had at least 75 kids visit (I had bought 13 bags of mini-bars and sweets and very nearly ran out!), and all in all it was a great success.
Going to do the same next year, but will try to get another skeleton to sit in the passenger seat as Wilson's partner. Have already picked up a giant spider with 10 ft long legs to hang up in the porch...
Generally speaking we're all carnivores here, but Ken asked to start having egg mayonnaise, and cheese - preferably vegan cheese if possible - in his lunch time sammijs. This, along with Saturday Morning Kitchen now focussing on vegetarian meals part of the time, and the recent push for reducing plastic, started me exploring options. After all, we've eaten organically wherever possible for nearly 40 years, and we recycle everything we can - even more now our local Tesco is collecting additional stuff:
It's always full with bags piled up around and behind it. I take ours over once or twice a week.
Found a vegetarian cookbook in Babbacombe while we were there, and the Teco magazine had a recipe for Carl's All Change Casserole, which looked eminently doable. Tweaked a little - Sains sweet potato and butternut squash pack adds more flavour (and saves chopping the veg, because I'm lazy)
- and using Cauldron Foods absolutely delicious Lincolnshire vegan sossijs, it's become a family favourite and I make it once a week. Wonderfully tasty and filling for winter dinners. The book had a nice recipe for a baked cauliflower and potato dish - layered cooked cauliflower, cherry tomatoes and cooked cubed potatoes with a rich cheese sauce (half and half organic Leicester and Cheddar is tastiest) baked in the oven for 30 mins or so: I've found it's even better with a layer of Vivera bacon bits under the tomatoes. Vivera's pulled pork, by the way, is tastier than the real thing, as are their chicken goujons, and their mince, though not as good as meat for cottage pie, works very well in chilli sans carne. Yes, OK, it's substituting rather than a radical dietary change, but it's a most excellent start.
Trying the book's vegetable hotpot tomorrow. Saturdays tend to be my cooking experiment days...
My orchids are doing splendidly. Original now has another little flower spike coming off the larger spike, -
and the alien-face orchid is fine (and may have it's own secondary spike coming off the main one - not quite big enough to be sure yet)
Rescued orchid very healthy but not producing flowers yet. Will give it time...
The saga of the SSLs...
Eventually decided to cut through the crap and just move everything to Fasthost - including joulestaylor.com, which is now jatarchive in wavewrights, so until I find a way around the original URL links for all the old photographs, they won't be showing on the blog pages. You may notice that the broken padlock symbol has vanished from the bar at the top of the screen. I've manually changed the link for all the entries on this page, but trying to see if there's a quicker and less labour intensive way of doing it for the rest of the 6K posts on this blog...
Not sure if I've mentioned it before, but the (xtian) Brislington Oasis Academy - opened 2015 - has persistently and continually given out [name]@brislington.org as their email address, and of course all emails to this address (which is the Brislington Virtual Museum and has been mine since 2001) come to me. I've been complaining about this to them for the last nearly five years, to absolutely no avail: my inbox is still being spammed by emails for staff and students at the Academy. So I emailed the Academy last week, saying if I got one more erroneous email I would complain to the DoE. Which I did (about 6 staff members applying for learning application courses, which I promptly unsubscribed) so I made out an online complaint at the gov.uk portal.
Yesterday I got a reply from DoE - addressed to a complete stranger, with their complaint, but sent to my email address. Ironic or what? I forwarded the email on to the correct person and sent a complaint to DoE. Last night I got a reply from DoE, addressed to me with the correct details. And then this morning I got three more emails from DoE, with my details and my email address but addressed to another complete stranger... When I say nothing's ever easy 'round 'ere I'm not joking.
The upshot was I haven't followed all the steps outlined in DoE's complaint procedure guide so they've closed the case and won't take it any further - so I've started from scratch, and sent a detailed complaint to the Academy Principal, advising him that if I haven't had a reply by next Thurs I will take the complaint to the Governors - and if they can't help I will get back to DoE. Not only does this show the incompetence of the Academy staff and admin, and amount to cyber harassment (I'd had hundreds of these bloody emails with everything from highly confidential info about students - no I didn't read it - to Pinterest applications), but they're also serious data breaches. Will let you all know what happens.
Bloody hell, I'm becoming the neighbourhood expert in legal hassles!
So - media...
We finally watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It's a good film, if a little dated now. I bought Men in Black: International, which is great fun. Perfect for a rainy Saturday afternoon! Daft and very funny.
And we bought Good Omens... Actually rang up Tesco to check they had it on the 21st Oct and then Kai went over to pick it up.
It's WONDERFUL. Wow. Just wow. Sticks beautifully to the book while bringing it subtly up to date. Loved it, all of us. Going to rewatch it soon to pick up all the bits we missed first time around (there are plenty as the whole thing is absolutely saturated with little details and Easter Eggs). Sheen and Tennant are simply perfect in the roles. I can't praise it enough. It's superb.
And being on a Tennant kick (pretty much permanently in my case) I picked up Broadchurch series 1 in a charity shop. For 49p. We watched it in thee evenings and I immediately ordered season 2 and 3 (started season 2 yesterday). Another fabulous drama, real breathless edge of seat stuff. Although it had a curious effect on us. We have Doctor Who (Tennant and Foster), Torchwood (Eve Myles - Gwen), Hot Fuzz (Olivia Colman), Legends of Tomorrow (Rik Hunter - Arthur Darvill, also Rory in Dr Who), Agent Carter/Iron Man/Avengers (James D'Arcy - Jarvis/Vision), Birds of a Feather (Pauline Quirke), The Cafe/Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), and Casualty (Adjoa Andoh) all thrown in together - and that's just the ones I immediately recognised. It's like a who's who of great UK dramatic talent!
Very well worth watching - certainly series 1. Not far enough into series 2 yet to say if it's as good.
On a less amusing note, I don't know how many others watch Strictly Come Dancing, but I was annoyed the week before last when Mike Bushell won the dance off over Emma Weymouth. It was blindingly obvious she was the better dancer, but the judges ruled for Mike. That was bad enough - but the following evening Craig bloody Revel Horwood was on the One show. He sat on the sofa, smug, self-satisfied and arrogant, and dismissed the entire UK viewing public as stupid and ignorant. I was so angry I emailed the BBC to complain (heh, seems all I'm doing at the moment is making complaints!) and simply couldn't bear to watch the following week, as the sight of him just raises my BP. This Saturday it's the Blackpool episode. We may continue watching Broadchurch instead.
OK, apart from the usual busyness that's about it. I'm getting ready for Yule, and it's all coming together very nicely!
Hopefully I can post the next update before
Friday, October 18, 2019
Later edit... I've just chatted on tumblr to a small Seeker who has a copy of The Wisdom of Unicorns... it feels quite odd, but absolutely delightful, chatting with a person on another continent who has read (and liked, I think) one of my books. Chuffed I am!
Well, looks like there's no getting away from the SSL problem. There are some people who will provide free SSLs, but I'd need root access to our site servers in order to make that work, which I know I don't have. So still investigating.
Kai and I have made a start on tidying up the garden a little, ready for the winter. Be easier if the rain would stop for a bit...
Kai and I had our flu jabs last Thurs and I felt a little iffy for a few days after - better now - so took it easy.
I know I've been busy, but I can't remember what I've been doing, so assume the usual household things. Oh, and getting ready for Samhain. I've bought a jointed cardboard skeleton I plan to sit in Derpy's driving seat - propped up on a box as it's child sized - and some flickering tealights to sit on the dash. Will hang some cobwebs and spiders inside too! I'd really like to put a hand or other limb hanging out of the boot, but haven't been able to find anything (cheap, at any rate) so may think about that for next year. We'll dress up the doorway too with the usual bats and cobwebs - I will put out treats this year, but only a small amount at a time to stop a repeat of two years back (the first lot of trick or treaters was a bunch of boys who emptied the whole (BIG) pot of sweets, little buggers...)
Kai's last driving lesson went really well - six or seven circuits of the roads we're using, smooth gear changes and pretty good road sense. We'd have carried on a bit longer but a pair of boy racers were tearing around in what I assume was a stolen car, so we stopped at that. But it was great. He's not quite ready to try driving us back home yet, but it's getting closer.
Felt horribly guilty when I checked the date on the last Poppy chapter - 26th November 2016 - so am now determined to finish the saga on the 26th Nov this year. It's not quite the longest gap I've done, but it's close...
Ken and I watched Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back earlier this week - more to get it out of the way than anything. I think, if it had been made without the Jay character (who I absolutely loathe: Kai says he thinks we're meant to...) it would be rather fun and funny. But he spoiled it for me. However, it did remind me that we have Dogma and not watched it for years, so tonight we settled in. It's really a fantastic movie (mind you, Alan Rickman's in it so I really wouldn't expect anything else) - thoroughly enjoyable (even with Jay).
I should mention that I've had so many problems with Skype over the last few months I'm no longer using it. I've switched to Discord, which, while mainly a gamers server, is faster, lighter on the memory and altogether easier to use.
That's about it for now. Wendy's coming up to visit later in the month, which will be fun, and GoodTwin and Sue will be over closer to Yule... guess I'd better start looking for presents!
Saturday, October 05, 2019
Alas, the summer is over, the heating is on, and I'm back in trousers and long sleeved tops. And it was only Wednesday I was out in shorts and a teeshirt (much to the shock and bemusement from the people bundled up in coats in town...)
Well, you can probably guess not much writing got done down in Devon. Prowl didn't actually get taken out of his bag. I had no idea Pomeranians were so demanding! Very cute though. Lots and lots of grooming...
That's Misty on the left, and his mum Poppy on the right. (And yes, her being named Poppy was a mental nag all through the week!)
Mum T went off on Monday at 8.30 in a car provided for her by the hospital. I tried to reassure the dogs that she'd be back in a couple of days, and cleaned the fridge (mum T has macular degeneration that wasn't caught in time, and is mostly blind: her central vision is gone, but she can see around the edges and has a pair of 'binoculars' which correct her sight when absolutely necessary - they're big and bulky and not easy to use. She has a cleaner but I doubt they'd be as picky as me, given Kai's immune system is still compromised), then Kai arrived about 12 midday, and we took the dogs up to St Mary Church village for shopping (there's a Co-op and a Sainsbury's Local there that were more than sufficient).
Pups were a bit fidgety that night, but after a walk along Oddicombe beach on Tuesday they'd calmed down and accepted us as family.
Wednesday was the main walk - bus to Hollicombe Beach then a walk along the front to Paignton and bus back. There are no busses from Paignton seafront, so we had to trek up to the bus station in the middle of town. Yapmeisters slept all afternoon and evening when we finally got back!
Thursday was another jaunt down the cliff railway to Oddicombe beach and another seafront walk, and Friday we walked them along the Downs at the top of the cliff. Happy dogs!
Mum was supposed to arrive back around middday on Friday, but didn't actually get back until 7.30 in the evening: I was just about to send Kai off in a taxi to the train station (he just couldn't sleep properly on the recliners) when the car pulled up. And she's absolutely fine - back to her tough old self! The op went splendidly. I offered to stay another night or two, but she was very firm and said no need, to get home and see how Ken and Tyjer were! So after a hurried exchange of news, Kai and I both boarded the taxi. Ken had looked up the trains for us - phone texting is one of the best things ever, I found that week! - and there was one to Birmingham (via Bristol) without changes at 8.26.
So we got onto the platform with 5 mins to spare - only to find it had been cancelled. (Of course it had. Nothing's ever easy 'round 'ere.)
Due to 'forecast extreme weather'.
What bloody extreme weather? That didn't happen until last week!
Anyway, there was another train at 8.40, with one change at Exeter St David's onto a Bristol Temple Meads service, so we got that. Got home in time to order a Domino's pizza...
The weather had been absolutely glorious - I even got a bit of extra tan! - and it continued over the weekend so I was able to get the washing done.
Then it rained, and has carried on doing so since. Except for Wed, when I nipped into town for a bit of shopping and met Ken for lunch.
It's been busy as usual, but not too bad.The greenhouse has been quite productive the last few weeks, but it's a bit cold now for the last of the tomatoes to ripen, so I'll start settling everything down for the winter over the next few weeks. Need to wash everything down with Jeyes fluid in preparation for next year...
Kai and I finished 24, then we all watched 24: Live Another Day... probably best described as a hurried melange of all the others with an ending that I found unsatisfying, though Kai's idea works quite well - that Jack escaped and became the Designated Survivor instead...
There's a ballet mentioned in Killers of the Flower Moon that presents the Osage history in dance. I found it available to buy and ordered a copy - it's beautiful. Wahzhazhe (an Osage Ballet).
And we all watched The Decoy Bride, which is an absolute delight! Very very funny and touching at the same time. A really lovely film.
Here's my original orchid, looking particularly beautiful right now...
And I finally have a snazzy new light in here. Yay! Spotlit Starscreams at last! And it was fitted by an electrician Kim recommended - who turned out to be a Transformers fan! I mean, seriously... this is why Surreal R Us is the subtitle of this blog...
Of course, I now need to paint over the circle of old blue paint where the old circular light fitting was...
I was planning to write tonight, but I've been caught up in arguing with 123-reg all day. Apparently to have my photos show on the blog I now need an SSL certificate for JAT - at £60 a year (on top of the hosting fee) - which is why some of them are now not showing. Given that FirstHosts charge £25 a year that's a rip off - especially since I do not and never will sell anything either from JAT or this blog. Currently exploring options. The photos for this update are loaded to blogspot's own server, so should be safe...
Saturday, September 14, 2019
Quick update as I'll be offline for a week - I'm off to Babbacombe to babysit mum T's Pomeranians while she goes up to London for her operation (Ken has the week off to get some of his own writing done, and Kai is joining me on Monday for however long he wants to explore South Devon...)
On the household side, the soilpipe is now replaced, the new rooftrim done, and the old ugly unused cables at the side of the house removed. It all looks really good!
The bud I hoped was a flower spike on the rescued orchid is a root, alas - but I do have a second flower spike coming on the alien face orchid. That and my original orchid are looking lovely - photos later.
Wild(life) Summer 6 and 7: Wed night I was kept awake for a while by a fox whinging in the back garden, then at the side, and when I looked out, I realised it was complaining about a badger that came out along the path at the side of the house and bumbled over the gravel to head off down parkwards! I have never seen a live badger before, so that was fun. And as soon as it had gone the fox (which had kept its distance, nagging at badger from atop the wall rather than the ground) went quiet again. I guess badger had been an unwelcome visitor in what they see as their territory....
Sometimes it's really useful having a very bright streetlight directly opposite the house! It certainly makes it easier to see all the goings on...
To my joy our burrowing bees (colletes hederae) are back living at the top of the garden. They're currently swarming, making a moving carpet of sweetly humming goodness. Very happy about that.
Media: watched The Woman in Black in preparation for the sequel. It was better than I remembered. However, the sequel - The Woman in Black: Angel of Death - was disappointing. Only one really scary bit it in.
Finally watched Dr Strangelove... Hm... Quite a frightening little film, I thought.
But The Space Between Us is a joy. Very nicely done indeed.
Dancer in the Dark? Um... It's a very strange and intense film, that made me feel as though I should watch it at least two more times with a notebook and pen and then write a 20 page dissertation on it. Highly unsettling but really very good. Definitely not for everyone and definitely not one to watch for fun.
Bumblebee, on the other hand... I really enjoyed it. A return to G1 iteration but with enough hints to others to make it intriguing. Thoroughly enjoyable, cute and funny and with just the right amount of fight time. More to the point, I watched it in the hope it might kick start my interest in getting Poppy finished. Will see what I can do this coming week. (With no internet connection at mum T's and not much more to do than feed dogs, fish and birds (occasionally) and take the dogs out for one (or two if I feel like it) walks a day, I should have plenty of time. Fingers crossed...)
All for now. I have to leave early tomorrow - my train isn't until 11.55, but it's Sunday, and the Bristol marathon (half-marathon? I forget) is going to disrupt the traffic.
More, with photos, when I get back. Wish me luck!
Saturday, August 24, 2019
Wow, an update!
[growl] I was woken at two minutes to nine this morning by the noise of a very rattly noisy truck reversing outside, then a prolonged clattering of something (scaffolding? It sounded like metal) being unloaded. Took half an hour.
Then everything went quiet again...
I swear, this summer has been like living on a building site. From the people across the road (in that house that had scaffolding around it for a year, and at one point what sounded like Niagara Falls somewhere inside it) who had sash-style double glazed windows installed - took two and a half WEEKS and the installers had an extraordinarily loud angle grinder set up under a tiny marquee in the tiny front garden - to the one on our side further up which now has a small tarmacked drive - said tarmac delivered by a full sized lorry which couldn't turn around in our narrow road so had to upend the stuff into noisy wheelbarrows to have it moved across the road - to the house-next-door-but-one to that one which had scaffolding built around it a week before they also had their sash-style double glazing installed (on my way back from Tesco yesterday I passed the young mother from the house between the two crossing the road with a baby in a stroller and an expression threatening murder to the next person who made any noise in her vicinity). Yes, we could mute it all almost completely by just closing our windows - but in this heat?? Sod that...
ANYway. Apart from that, it's been busy and productive.
The Sat after Tyjer's vet visit I drove Kai and I out to the Whitchurch Whitehall Garden Centre. Haven't been there in years so it was wonderful to have a good look around. Came back with a very pretty gaura Walburton's Gold Fountain and a festuca Intense Blue for the front garden, and an oak leaf garden spinner for the back. Had coffee (and cake for Kai) before driving back. Lovely relaxed trip, and I now feel I'm perfectly happy driving Derpy around (she handles hills really well!)
Sunday's driving lesson went really well too, with Kai driving two and a half times around the estate, nice and smoothly. He enjoyed it too! However, on the way back the exclamation mark symbol on the dash flashed and an alarm sounded - only for a few seconds - which was the handbrake mechanism alert, according to the Clio instruction book. I mentioned it when I took her down to Renatec for her MOT on the 13th Aug: they checked it, found a couple of faults, and refitted everything for me, so now it's all safe. (MOT was surprisingly cheap too, including the work done to the handbrake, only £102.) They couldn't do anything about the very tiny chip in the windscreen (driver's side, about a foot up from the edge): advised me to contact my insurer and ask about a resin fill. Which I did, and yesterday had Autoglass here to fix it for me (only a tenner through Aviva!) It may have been small, but was beginning to develop a hairline crack to one side, so it was important to get it done. (I think it may have been caused by driving over the very loosely gravelled 'additional parking' area at Whitehall, alas, as it was very recent. Will try not to do that again!)
Wendy visited on the 7th - wonderful day! Much hilarity and it was great to catch up on the news.
Oh - and I finally put in the legal claim against Fixit. They have 'til the 2nd of September to respond: after that I believe they get a CCJ. Was surprised but happy to find we could add interest to the amount - along with the cost of the claim they owe us £920. That would come in useful...
Kim and I had to swim on Fri morning for a couple of weeks, as her work (The Brandon Trust - she left the PO) had training on Tues pms. We were back to normal last week though - which was a relief, the pool is very busy on Friday with people whose swimming practices we didn't know (for anyone who doesn't have a regular swimming time, when you swim at the same time each week you get to know the people and how they swim, so you can adapt your own swimming accordingly.) For example, I swim sets of four lengths: one breaststroke, two sidecrawl (one each side) and one back crawl, which is my fastest stroke and I always leave a good length between me and the next person so I don't hit them. The Tues crowd know that now, and don't try to cut in front of me while I'm waiting for the gap to widen - not so on Friday.
My orchids are coming along splendidly...
The rescued one (in the middle) is thriving and has a tiny spike starting low down on the stem. I think it's a flower spike: won't be able to tell until it's a little larger, but fingers crossed!
On the 21st we drove Tyjer up to the vet again for his second lot of injections, more of the flea treatment, and to pick up some more Metacam, which helped enormously this last few weeks. He was very good, made no fuss at all, so I gave him a tiny bowl of skooshy cream and a Metacam dose mixed in a little tinned salmon when we got back. VERY happy cat.
On Thursday GoodTwin and Sue came over to visit! As usual, much hilarity ensued, as did board games and quizzes. I had a fantastic day [GLOMPS to both]!
And that's about up to date. There's been the usual house-stuff and much picking, cooking, or blanching and freezing of runner and dwarf French beans, which have both been plentiful this year (great big bags of everything in the bottom of the freezer, will keep us going for months over winter).
Next week it's going to be our turn to be noisy: Anglian are replacing our soffits, faschia and guttering (supposed to have it done two weeks back but the weather's been so horrible they're all behind) on Wed, then on Thurs the horrible old asbestos soilpipe is being replaced. It's all going to be lovely and clean, hygenic and smart when finished.
Then it's a matter of getting the indoor projects done, bit by bit. No hurry there, though.
SO! Onto the media...
Kai wanted to see Salyut 7: found it on ebay I think and we all watched it. Apart from the occasionally hysterically bad subtitles (it was in Russian) it's actually a very good film. Made in 2017, but set in 1985, and made to look authentic. I was quite impressed!
Mortal Engines: very disappointing. Wonderful cg but the story... Irritatingly gappy.
Some Like It hot. We're catching some classics in amongst the rest. Great fun, and much enjoyed (although Curtis's manipulative behaviour left a bad taste, even though it all worked out OK in the end.)
Ken and I watched Walking Tall, which was fine. A typical Dwayne Johnson movie. Then last Thurs he and I finally watched the complete Schindler's List, which is harrowing and heartbreaking and I think everyone should see it. But that's just me... Last night we saw Shiner... It's an interesting film, vaguely Shakespearian in flavour. Not our usual fare, but I'm glad I watched it.
Then there was Π. Very odd indeed. Quite fascinating.
Last Sat Ken and I nipped over to Keynsham to check the charity shops again. I've recently had the IMDb recommend Drunken Master as a possible good choice: after reading about it I thought it sounded fun so started searching. It's not easily available online, and as it's a 1978 film it's not that easy to find anywhere. I did find the Revenge of the Drunken Master (nothing to do with the original film, on a double disc with TC2000 - both look dreadful but that's half the fun!) in one of the charity shops so picked it up anyway, only £1. THEN, in the last of the shops, I found Drunken Master! (We watched it on Monday night, it's an absolute hoot!)
(Bugger it. There's a Drunken Master 2 that I now have to look for!!)
That's about it for now. The third lot of washing is going through (It's VERY hot out there, the towels dried in an hour): I'm going for my prescribed lie-down, then in an hour or so I fancy a walk over to Dunelm. It's just far enough to count as a walk for exercise, and I always find something very useful there - often in the cookery line, but today I'm looking for a bronze hare statuette, as ours blew off the landing windowsill in the high winds and shattered. I miss him, he was very cute.