Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my
... I'd write my autobiography, but no-one would believe it....
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
Adventures in Orchids
Apparently I am now collecting them...
EO - Everlasting orchid. Phalaenopsis. I've had this orchid for at least 15 years and it just keeps flowering...
AO - Alien face orchid. Phalaenopsis . Bought 2018 - lovely little flowers, all different patterns!
RO - Rescued orchid
TO - Tiny orchid. Phalaenopsis. Bought at Tesco 21.8.20. It just begged to come home with me. How could I say no?
CO - Crimson orchid. Cambria. Another Tesco find. This one may be going to live in Ken's room once we've redecorated and put up the new shelving; it prefers a cooler, less sunny windowsill. If so, I'll need to find another cambrian to keep it company.
GO - Golden orchid. Phalaenopsis. Saw this one when I bought CO and left it behind - then immediately regretted it as soon as I got home. Never seen one like it before. Ken, bless him, went back over to Tesco in the rain and bought it for me...
Friday, March 25, 2022
I forgot to say, but along with Ella I picked up my Dog Banksy Original painting, which I won in the auction, from BARC! Fell in love with it when I first saw it on the BARC site, and was determined to have it. And such a good cause too. Now waiting for Kai to hammer a hook into the wall beside my monitor so I can have it on display.
I had a good birthday....
Finally found a tetrajet Starscream on ebay!
Hasbropulse are releasing Shattered Glass transformer figures, so I treated myself to a Starscream (of course). (Not the best pic but it's difficult manoeuvring the figures in the case - they tend to fall over if you so much as breathe on them!)
Official Shattered Glass Starscream
The figure came with the SS-centred Shattered Glass comic (no 3 in the series). Now, the
Shattered Glass iteration was created for the 2008 con, and while there were a series of comics released, they haven't been generally available - until later this year, when the complete comic will be released on amazon. I have, of course, pre-ordered it...
Then of course there was Deadpool...
And also the Revoltech Deadpool...
... which comes with four different heads, six different pairs of hands to mix and match, more weapons than he can actually hold, and a couple of other cute things, like his phone and a lit stick of dynamite...
Really looking forward to Deadpool 3 - if it ever gets made...
I took Kai to Weston-super-Mare for a meal at Revo (and to visit that wonderful Just Stuff - now under new ownership - antique shop Wendy and I found when we were there: Kai bought a skeletonised Chinese watch and a tiny German automaton clock) for his birthday. He had a Classic Revo Burger, I had a pulled pork toastie, both amazing, but huge, so we shared a Revo Whippy Sundae for dessert (which was divine). Really good day out.
Rewatched and thoroughly enjoyed Childhood's End. Fabulous mini-series.
Midnight Sky. Hm. Well, it was OK, but not great. Rather depressing.
Cloverfield Paradox. Interesting, gory, fun in its own way with a great ending!
Jubilee. Oh, it's aged badly. Distinctly of its time - which isn't now.
Primeval: New World. Finally got around to watching it. Quite good - not as good as the original - with the most cliff-hangerly of all cliff-hanger endings. Not sure to be sorry there was never a second series, or happy that the finale leaves the future open to however you want it to be.
I suddenly got a hankering to watch The Prisoner: haven't seen it for 50 odd years. Was a bit pricey to buy - but then it appeared on Freeview's Sci-Fi segment of their Horror Channel, starting with ep 1 yesterday! So at 18.00 for the next couple of weeks we're watching it after dinner. The acting is a little stilted, but I'm enjoying it and Kai is loving it! (Heh, and in yet another example of synchronicity it was one of the answers on Pointless tonight...) (2 weeks later... it gets more and more random and incomprehensible the further along we go. Not enjoying it so much now - though Kai still is - and not too surprised it only ever had 17 eps.)
After watching (and not particularly enjoying) Under the Skin the film, I read the book... grump. The book's not bad - not great, but intriguing. The only relation it has to the film is the main character being female and her picking up hitchhikers. The book is far better than the film.
Finished reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane and ended up quite enjoying it. It'll never be a favourite, but it's very good.
Now struggling through Higgs...
The BT switchover went without a hitch and we still have our old phone no.
The move to British Gas hasn't been quite so smooth. Our (photographed) electricity meter reading is lower (by all of 11 units) than the one they were using for our first meter reading with them - so we're not getting charged for that. Although I can't set up a direct debit for monthly payments until they match, so will have to keep taking readings... The last bill from Bristol Energy has us slightly over £500 in credit, which will be a great help with the forthcoming increased energy prices.
A week and a half later - now sorted, and our new monthly direct debit will be £190. Ouch. Was £75 before... Of course, once we've got the solar panels registering, that should go down a little, and it doesn't take into account the credit Bristol Energy owe us.
We bought the new cooker, which was installed on Monday 14th. Great delivery guys - closed off the gas and removed the extraneous pipe, took away the old gas cooker for recycling, and put the new one in, all in less than an hour. Really good job (although now I have to fill holes in and repaint the wall: we have someone coming to look at what's needed for retiling the kitchen sink splashback - will ask if we could have the wall above the cooker tiled as well...) And it's so incredibly efficient and easy to use! Really chuffed with it.
And they gave me a little free green AO teddy bear as well...
We have decided Ella is part greyhound, part pointer, part gazelle! The first time we let her off the lead in the garden she zoomed around it three times in less than 10 seconds. Never seen a dog move so fast! She looked like she was flying. Though she was pretty knackered afterwards - she is a senior dog after all. We're getting on really well - much less barking now, happy walks, and she's learning commands surprisingly quickly.
(Yes, those are my new galaxy curtains behind her.)
Kai has finished building and installing the new dog-proof garden gate, and done a fantastic job. We now have a latch and strong padlock for security.
22.3.22 - On her 'last garden' with Kai before bedtime, Ella encountered our hedgehog - and picked it up, in her mouth. [sigh] Not likely to try that again! Well, I suppose she doesn't know hedgehogs. Not sure they have them in the Caribbean...
Annoyingly, my camera packed up three weeks ago, and while my phone takes perfectly adequate pix, I rather miss it. Now on the lookout for a replacement that doesn't cost too much.
Wednesday 23rd Ken and I trained down to Babbacombe to visit mum-in-law: it's her birthday on the 24th but Ken had to work that day. She's doing OK, but getting frailer. She had considered selling the flat and using the money for us to build an extension to the side of the house for her, but can't find out how much she'd get for the flat. I had a couple of builders come to give us an estimate, and a single story extension would be about £50K, a double £90K (just for the build, doesn't include furnishings) and take about 20 weeks, which is a significant amount. Everything's on hold for the moment, but she really needs help down there. Her cleaner only comes once every two weeks (and it doesn't look as though she does a very good job), and mum really can't groom the Pomeranians very well any more...
After discovering Phil Lober's If (see last entry) I looked a little further into techno-trance music and found the Bristol Tranceation Station on radio garden. It's now on most of the time... Lovely music.
And now Ella wants out for garden zoomies. Will try to update sooner next time!
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Oh bloody hell, this is getting ridiculous. Please can someone send me some haddock? 189,669 tons would be useful...
So here we are in 2022... It's started off quite well. Busy as ever, but productive. Let's see...
Red Notice on Netflix. Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot together in a film? What could go wrong? Nothing, actually - it was great fun! Nothing too extraordinary, but a thorough romp. Highly enjoyable.
Wish I could say the same for 6 Underground. Ryan Reynolds again, and good as ever, but Michael bloody Bay was the director. Continuity? What's that? If you ever watch it (and I can't recommend anyone does), note the wingmirrors on that hideous green car in the first 10 mins of the film. They're there, then they're not. Then they're there again. Then gone again. There, gone. There, gone. And the film just goes downhill from there. A real pity, as the idea and plot were actually quite interesting, and in the hands of a competent director it could have been a good film.
I bought the complete Penny Dreadful a while back, and we finally got around to watching it. It's rather good - although the appearance of Shazad Latif as Dr Jekyll threw us to start with. We know him best from Toast of London (his catchphrase there, "Hello Stephen. This is Clem Fandago - can you hear me?" instantly repeats in the mind when he appears...) At the same time I was reading Infernal Devices - it's good, well-written (if a little verbose for my tastes) quirky and interesting. (Alas, I didn't enjoy it enough to want to read the rest of the series, but since it doesn't end on a cliff-hanger, that's fine.)
After that we rewatched Toast of London before moving on to Toast of Tinseltown on Netflix, which is something of a rehash of its progenitor though not as funny.
Don't Look Up (on Netflix) is amazing. Incredibly depressing while being very funny, and unfortunately all too plausible. Hugely satisfying ending. The whole thing reminded me of Ben Elton's Stark, which I then had to rebuy and reread. Terrific book, even more depressing ending. Thought I'd see if I can buy the mini-series but the cheapest I can find is £42 + £21 p&p, so sod that for a game of soldiers. Will see if I can pick it up somewhere else...
After that it was Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde, which I remember from watching as a child. It's aged extremely well, and touches on a number of themes which are now current (transgenderism, for example) but would have been shocking at the time (1971). Well worth watching!
Next was Sweet Tooth, again on Netflix. Hm. It's... interesting, but I'm not entirely sure what the creators were aiming for. May have to watch the second season...
While we're on Netflix offerings, the live action Cowboy Bebop is terrific! The anime was always a family favourite, and this version does the story proud. Really hope it does go to a second season.
The House, on the other hand, is nightmare fuel, although the ending has a downbeat positive turn, I suppose.
OatStudios, however, was just tedious. Wouldn't watch any of these even if they were made into films/TV series'.
Another film I remember from when I was a child is X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes . At the time it scared me, especially the ending. Rewatching it's not so scary, and has aged quite well. I think Kai enjoyed it!
Ken and I are currently rewatching Torchwood and thoroughly enjoying it.
Books... So I read - struggled through - Jetta and Daxx... The three page disclaimer, nearly every paragraph in a different font, should have warned me. But I persevered.
It's dire. It makes Twilight and 50 Shades look like Shakespeare. The porn careers randomly from clinical to crude, is nowt but a collection of clichés, but worst of all it's BORING. I'm not even going to give it away. Kai thinks he might like to read a bit, just to see what his mum finds so awful that she nearly threw the book at the wall more than once, but after that I'm tearing it up and throwing it in the compost bin. Let the tigerworms eat it. It may as well serve some purpose.
Next was A Street Cat Named Bob, the book of which I picked up at Tesco and the DVD of which I found cheap in a charity shop. The book is very much an eye-opener (let's just say it's convinced me to donate to street buskers and Big Issue sellers from now on). Will watch the dvd soon.
Now reading Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane (WARNING - wiki has spoilers), which is... nightmarish in places. I mean, it's good, but I can't say I'm enjoying it.
Domestic stuff... After having the solar panels installed (and they're already producing electricity, even in this weather!) we find that Bristol Energy - our supplier - went bust and we were sold... sorry, transferred... to British Gas. Oh joy. [headdeskheaddeskheaddesk] Now, I fully appreciate that this means that BG has 175,000 extra accounts just from Bristol Energy, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of new accounts from other suppliers who've gone bust, but did it really have to be so hard to 1) actually speak to a human and 2) actually make sense of what I was told? It's going to be VERY interesting when we get our first bill... Luckily, being thorough (not obsessive, of course) I keep copies everything official. As it is, we ended Bristol Energy over £400 in credit. Will report back later.
And then Virgin Media put our account up by another £5 a month to a minimum £60 a month, not including telephone calls, and we'd finally had enough. Got a new aerial installed by a lovely local guy (who was able to programme our TV too! Of course, BND went out and harrassed him, but I'd already warned him so he just ignored the miserable old sod) and are now on Freeview (still getting channels we'll never watch but at least we aren't now paying for them). As of next Monday we'll be getting landline and broadband from BT. Yes, I know I swore I'd never have anything to do with them again when I stopped working for them nearly 40 years ago, but needs must. (We'd have rather gone with the Co-op but they are, apparently, hopelessly incompetent: will maybe check again when the BT 24 month contract ends. At least everyone I've spoken to has been friendly and helpful, which goes a long way!) It's Fast Fibre broadband, and 700 free minutes of talk time (at any time of day, not just weekends) per month on the landline, which suits us perfectly. And all for £35 a month. I think. A lot cheaper than Virgin, anyway.
Of course, Virgin tried to woo us back with the offer of matching BT's costs for the next 18 months, but honestly, I've had enough hassle. Now just crossing fingers tightly that everything gets transferred - including our current telephone no. - nice and smoothly. We'll still have Virgin for over a week after BT goes live, in case of any hiccoughs.
And now to the highlight of the month - our new furbaby Ella!
She's a Caribbean Potcake dog, 9 years old (so a little set in her ways, but we're adapting to each other very well), brought to the UK when her previous humans emigrated but then couldn't find any accommodation that would take pets, so they handed her into the RSPCA. She eventually found her way to BARC, and hence to us. The staff at BARC called her Princess Sassypants, and she can be a bit of a drama queen, but she's adorable. LOVES her butt scratches and belly rubs...
The last one was taken at the top of Arno's Vale Cemetery, a wonderful, dog-welcome (but only on leads) place of hundreds of windy exciting paths. Her jacket's a very sensible double layer, a detachable warm padded interior and a waterproof outer. She's not used to British weather yet.
K&K have constructed a reinforced chicken wire fence between the shed and the side wall (it'll be covered with ivy and honeysuckle in a few years), and Kai is half way through making us a new gate for the path between house and shed (BARC instruct adopters to make sure any obstacles are 5 foot or more to make sure the dogs can't jump over them). Then we need to fill in the fox holes and pile up the stray rocks in one place (grass has grown over them and hidden them, and they're trip hazards) to dogproof the whole garden, and then she can go out there by herself with no lead.
For any readers in other parts of the globe, we escaped Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin without damage (although the wind was terrifyingly loud and blusterous) - unfortunately other parts of the region weren't so lucky...
Rather looking forward to the summer...
We've made a few changes to daily life. Used to have the TV on all the time: I've now switched to booting up Radio Garden every morning and absolutely adoring discovering new stations to enjoy. Current favourites are Tokyo's Wave Anime station and the local Keynsham one, which has the most amazing Ambient Hour on Sundays from 22.00 - 23.00. Two weeks ago I managed to catch a track that simply blew me away, and went in search of it. It was Alive from Phil Lober's If album. Which of course I immediately bought...
Some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard - complex, alien, intriguing and inspiring. It's fabulous.
TV is now on only when we want to watch somehting.
OK - time to serve lunch. Will try to update sooner in future!
Friday, December 31, 2021
Bloody flying haddock again.
As GoodTwin said - "WHEEEEEE!"
Speedy update to end the year. Will try to update more regularly in 2022 but making no promises...
22.11.21 we had the solar panels installed...
Rather chuffed about that! Will see what difference they make to the fuel bills when I can finally get some info from our supplier.
After getting the new carpets, I decided I wanted a roomba. I hate vacuuming, and can't keep asking Kai to do it. So - meet Bumble...
(First video I've ever tried to take so sorry for quality. Might be better using the 'watch on youtube' link...) Not only adorable, bumbling around burbling to himself, but also very efficient. Also somehow managed to get him for £89 less than originally advertised on amazon - no idea what happened there, don't think it was Cyber Monday...
The stairlift (or indoor finicky vernacular, as it immediately got designated) is called Lurch, because it tends to lurch over the hinge at the bottom, and because it reminds me of Lurch from the Addams Family. Not using it much at the moment as walking up the stairs currently counts as exercise!
Now onto 3001: the Final Odyssey. Only a chapter to go, but it's a bit wearying. The previous volumes were largely considerations of time, space, sentience and power. This one is more ordinary 'attacking aliens', which is both anticlimactic and vaguely annoying...
Trip to Babbacombe 6.12.21 went well: took the Poms for a walk and chatted for most of the day - weather wasn't great.
Oddicombe beach from the Downs
Mum T is doing OK, although her sight has now almost gone (which didn't stop her making the most delicious ham sandwiches!)
I recently had a hankering to re-read some Kemlo books: I remember enjoying them as a child. Found Martian Ghosts, Space Lanes and Star Men very cheap on ebay, so treated myself... Hm. Well, as kid's fantasy/sf they still work, mostly, but some of the science (or maybe just the terminology?) is somewhat cringeworthy. Won't bother with any more...
Media... Black Swan - brutal exploration of obsession and the drive for perfection. Good, but very depressing.
We watched Superman and Lois (the full season 1 - quite fun!) on Iplayer, and it reminded me of the Superman films. We didn't have any, so I bought them... Superman I is fun, and has aged quite well.
Superman II, daft and not as good. Haven't watched Superman III yet, treat for the New Year perhaps.
Black Widow is very good. Be interesting to see if there's a sequel.
Attack the Block... heh. Bought it as it came highly recommended. Loathed it. It did, finally, get interesting in the last 20 minutes, but even Jodie Whitaker couldn't save it.
Jungle Cruise, however, is great fun! Silly, but very enjoyable.
We watched Home Alone... never again.
Ken and I watched On the Beach, which I've had for a while. I saw it when I was very little (it came out the year I was born) - too young really for it to have the full impact. Watching it again, it was so desperately sad, but such a wonderful film.
We had a good, if quiet holiday. Our 32nd anniversary went well, and the 25th presents were well received (very much looking forward to the DVDs from GoodTwin and Sue!) and the meal was fine too. Boxing day was the usual buffet with help-yourself-salad for a nod towards healthiness!
Tyjer is still haunting me, so I popped into BARC last month, and signed adoption papers for both cats and dogs. Waiting now for the right fur babies to appear...
Astonishing sunset the other day! Everything was bright pink!
A last bit of cuteness to see out 2021 - robin taking a bath in the bird feeder's water bowl...
More photos next time - I should have my new curtains up then, and with a bit of luck the splashback for the kitchen sink will be done (we bought the tiles but the job's a bit too awkward for us to successfully do ourselves). Also, the orchid I rescued in August has a flower spike coming, so hopefully I can soon find out what colour it is.
Wishing everyone a wonderful - safe, healthy and happy - start to 2022. Let's hope it's a bit better than the last two years have been.
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
OK, who stole October...?
Ah, of course, it was the haddock reversing direction.
ANYway... Woken up at 8 am by horrendous drilling and hammering - BND having new windows installed next door, going to be awkward for Ken's weekly zoom meeting - so decided to take advantage and finally update.
So, on the 12th of Oct Kai and I headed off to meet Dawn for a walk along the river, and in one of those synchronicities that just keep happening we met the deliverer who BND abused in my last update, and I was able to tell him that he would need to make a complaint himself and how to do it online, so hopefully he then did so (he was with his family, who he'd told about the incident - and no doubt they'd told all their friends, so that's another couple dozen people who hate him...)
The walk was nice. We found some astonishing street art at the lane at the bottom of Edward Road: -
Gorgeous, if somewhat depressing.
Also gorgeous, and a lot less depressing, the acer at the top of the garden...
Hallowe'en was incredibly busy this year, and Derpy got some laughs!
Domestic bits and pieces...
Lounge and hall carpet was laid last week of September and looks lovely - and is so warm! Nice thick underlay at last. Wonderfully warm and comfortable. End of the same week the Acorn stairlift was installed: we've had a hinge put in at the bottom just in case we can ever manage to get the side extension to the house built, as that's the only place we could have a door between the two buildings. As mum Taylor has decided she's probably going to stay down in Babbacombe, now, the need to organise more living space has receded somewhat (although I'd still like Kai to have more room. Might be possible to have a dormer put in the loft - basic cost is £20K - but given the arrangement in the loft I don't know if it would be doable...) But the stairlift is useful for me - my back is getting worse, as expected - and will be fine if she ever comes to visit.
We now, finally, have a new sink unit (and sink)! And the kitchen vinyl was laid week before last, and is lovely. We still need to get the sink splashback tiled - haven't managed to make time to get out to Cribb's Causeway B&Q yet - and a plank to cover the water pipes above the sink, and as of last Friday evening we need a new light fitment in the kitchen too, as the fluorescent tube fizzled and flickered and died the death. Have found a nice one on amazon that should arrive today, then hopefully Martin the Electric can fit it for us asap as it's not really safe in the kitchen with just a desk lamp! He's put the new sockets in the lounge - 12 of them, should be enough! - and will be back to do Ken's office and our bedroom hopefully next week, after SolarSense have installed the solar panels on the roof...
Did I mention that? They came and surveyed the house a week or so ago, and have authorised the installation of 10 solar panels on the south-eastern facing slope of the roof under the Green Homes grant from BCC. They won't feed directly into our supply - you need a solar battery for that and the recommended one is £10K+ - but we should get the amount produced taken off our electricity bill. And we'll also be saving nearly 2 metric tonnes of CO2 a year, which is certainly worth it! They're due to do the work next Monday: scaffolding should be going up this Friday, they'll ring (maybe!) to let us know when they'll be arriving.
My room has also now been carpeted, and I love it. It almost sparkles: Ken says it looks like stars. So I have the universe at my feet! (Yes, we're watching Universe, of course.) I now want to find some starry material to make new curtains for out here: I have my Covid booster Mon 6th Dec (at Redcliffe pharmacy at 8.25 in the am!! Erk...) so as I'll be in town I'll pick up mum Taylor's Yule present from Hotel Chocolat, check out Fabricland, and get the bus back to Pets@Home to look for small dog presents for the pooches. We're planning to go down to visit at the beginning of December and take the presents with us.
RO has finally lost all the last crop of flowers - but has two new flower spikes coming! Going to be absolutely beautiful when they mature, next year.
And TO also has two new flower spikes coming, although the current spike is still going strong - has grown in a very graceful curve which is so far resisting my efforts to take a good photo! Will keep trying...
And I have now potted up the baby dendrobium (apparently baby orchids are called keiki, Hawaiian for 'little one'! How cute can you get?)
I managed to finish the Foundation trilogy, though it was a struggle. It has NOT aged well. Followed that up with Clarke's The City and the Stars, which I enjoyed, although it was slightly overshadowed by the connotations of the main character's name - Alvin. My first encounter with the name was Alvin and the Chipmunks... Now reading The Songs of Distant Earth (I love the Oldfield album of the name and as it was evidently inspired by the book though I'd probably better read it.) So far I'm not impressed...
We thoroughly enjoyed Angry birds 2: Tenet is extraordinary (and requires more than one viewing): Squid Game is... whoa... most intriguing, if exceptionally violent: and Free Guy is absolutely brilliant! Gloriously funny (and more than a little thought provoking...) Ken and I are currently watching Special Unit 2, which I bought cheap on a reasonably good home-produced version - not great, but watchable - and loving it. I've also just ordered Legends of Tomorrow season 6 (will need to rewatch at least season 5 first. Might see if Kai wants to watch it this time around and start with season 1!)
New favourite song (anyone who watches TV with ads may have heard the first snippet of this as the advert for holidays in Turkey: I did the usual, looked up the lyrics and found and bought the full song...)
And finally, just for fun - I bought a packet of our favourite off-brand Viennese biscuits from Tesco -
Well, it's kind of pretty...
No doubt there's more I've forgotten - it has been exceptionally manic this last few weeks - but for now I'll sign off. We're having burgers for lunch, and I need to get them under the grill before Ken's meeting finishes and he takes his half-hour lunchbreak. Tomorrow I have an appt for a blood test at the surgery: while I'm up at Broadwalk I'll dive into the dentist and see about getting an appt to have the left bottom back molar removed: it's nothing but filling anyway and just recently three chunks of said filling have fallen out (one while I was eating a soft cake and the other two when I was cleaning my teeth. Not a lot of point in keeping on paying for fillings that are just going to come out again..)
Please stay safe and well. Later!
Thursday, October 07, 2021
7.9.21 - sky was gloriously clear. We took the telescope out and found Andromeda Galaxy, and ooohed over Jupiter's bands....
And now it's October. OK, let's try to get an update done before my haddock mutiny completely and leave for Andromeda...
I've completely lost track of the days and dates things happened, so I'll just write things in rough order.
Domestic stuff first, perhaps.
Painting in the bathroom is now done (except for touching up the pencil line Kai made accidentally when measuring up for a new loo roll holder, a sturdy old-fashioned one that Ken and I found in the Wells ironmongers that matches well with the retro-look new radiator and won't work its way out of the wall like the modern ones do - silly little screws too close together make for a very unstable device...), and the new kitchen sink and surround is now installed: looks really good, matches the other worktops, and is very strong. Makes it a bit of a squeeze to get to the larder, but that's a good reason to lose weight!
We need to put up new tiles on the wall above the sink now, so a trip to B&Q for me and Kai is on the cards, most likely next Fri.
Kemp Carpets came to measure up for new carpets right through the ground floor, and give us a price (actually cheaper than I'd allowed for which is good), then Kai and I walked up there to choose the carpets we want. Relatively soft but hardwearing for the hall and lounge, harder wearing for my room, and this -
for the kitchen (Kai said he'd like something that looked like slate tiles, and this was the most natural and rustic vinyl Kemp had. I really like it!)
This time I've insisted on a good thick underlay for the carpets, as I'm fed up with cold floors!
The bedroom orchids are still doing really well and looking beautiful.
I'm thinking the teeny one will be WO (for weeny orchid). This is the inner pot it was in when I bought it - no wonder it was unhappy!
The dendrobium has a new plant sprout - though as yet I don't know how to remove it to grow it. It's right at the bottom of the original shoot, and I'm hoping that more sprouts may appear higher up. Will wait and see...
CO is also looking beautiful.
Kai has upgraded my PC a little: it now boots up, and turns off, silently and in about 10 seconds instead of the 5 mins it used to take. I also have double the memory that I had before, and he's talking about putting a new graphics card in for me as well. Sometimes it's very handy having a son who can build a computer!
We visited mum-in-law in Babbacombe middle of September, and finally managed to give her the bronze pot with heucheras that she was supposed to get for her birthday two years ago. Nice bright colours so she can just about see it.
While we were there we walked up to the precinct and found a load of things we'd been looking for, so it was a very useful shopping trip as well.
Just for the hell of it, a back street in Wells, just up from the antique store Kai likes. (I found the Vulcan patch there.)
Kai and I managed our planned trip to the plateau at Eastwood Farm last week. The clouds were quite spectacular, especially seen from Arno's Park at the end of the road on the way to the bus stop...
I think the distinctive trees on the Farm's plateau are grey poplars. We thought they were silver birch to start with, but the leaves are wrong. They look fabulous when it's breezy, the silver underside of the leaves sparkling in sunlight.
Lovely walk. Aiming to try to do it regularly and record the leaves' changing colours.
There was an interesting moth at the bus stop at the bottom of Sandy Park Rd -
Very pretty, but it's the Asian invader box tree moth whose caterpillars kill off box trees, so not entirely welcome here.
The trip to Weston-super-Mare was great fun! Wendy and I both took (separate) trains - they're making big changes to the centre of town/the front, and FirstBus doesn't go to the front any more - and walked to the centre (about 10 mins away from the station, so very handy).
Pier on the left, Knightstone Island on the right, Steepholm in the middle...
Explored the shopping mall, and the pier, then went on the big wheel, then walked along to what used to be the seaquarium (which had gorgeous volitans) but is now the Revo restaurant. (Website not up to much but the location is beautiful, on stilts built out over the beach and with wonderful views out to the estuary. And their salted caramel gateau is to die for...)
There was a Luke Jerram installation on the beach just a short distance from the restaurant -
That makes three I've seen this year!
Fantastic day - thanks Wendy!
Today we've had Acorn Stairlifts visit to measure up (mine and Ken's knees are going, and if we have mum T to live here we'll need one, she can't manage steps at all.) It's doable, and sounds excellent, but I'd like to get another company's prices before deciding...
Coincidentally, Companion Stairlifts also rang as I was making dinner and we have someone calling to measure up and give us a quote (and see if a walk-in shower is possible) next Thurs pm.
We all re-watched and thoroughly enjoyed the Angry Birds movie, in preparation for Angry Birds 2, which I recently ordered. Hopefully we will watch it this weekend, maybe after we've all had our flu jabs on Saturday.
Kai and I watched Centaurworld on Netflix... it's... one of the most surreal, psychedelic, insane things I've ever seen. And oddly addictive... Really hope season 2 becomes a reality...
VOCAS got back to me. It was a long phone call, but very instructive indeed.
1. Wooden fences are considered, legally, to have a lifespan of about 10 years. Any damage they suffer after that is just normal wear and tear. We kept his fence going for at least twenty years by treating it with Cuprinol (for which we got no thanks, or even acknowledgement, and for which he owes us £1,000), so it was well past its use by when the split happened. Ergo, unless he can prove we caused the damage - which he can't, as we did not cause it, and I have photographs to prove it - it is simple normal age-related damage, and all his actions and harassment towards us (I should say, specifically me) since then have been illegal.
2. He has subjected us to 'low-grade harassment' for the last eight years. While this is obviously not life-threatening or legally serious, it is still illegal and we can take action. HOWEVER, at present court cases are taking a minimum of 18 months to be heard and have to be more serious to be considered worth what I would consider decent action (if that makes sense). At present I have more important things to do with my money so will simply carry on keeping the diary (which VOCAS recommend: lucky I'm so organised!) until such time as I can comfortably start proceedings.
3. VOCAS advised that if the harassment continues, it is perfectly legal for me to film it (on my phone) and send the footage to the police. That's very good to know.
4. Any further incidents, get straight back to the police.
It's useful to know where I stand legally, because of course the moron never learns, and was out threatening and abusing (and taking photos of!!) our Tesco deliverer on Tuesday: he had to park partially on the pavement by our drive as the next car up was a bit close to the DISABLED on the road for him to pull in safely. Perfectly fine, of course, as the guy said, legally they can park like that for up to 20 mins if making deliveries. Unfortunately for BND he picked the wrong person, as the deliverer was a delightfully foul-mouthed, aggressive character who gave as good as he got and rang his boss to report the incident. (When I said to ignore him, we've had endless problems with him, deliverer offered to come back later and sort him out!! Oh, so tempting... [grin])
Anyway, I reported it to the police as well, giving BND's log reference number so they could refer back to everything he's done so far, and got a very nice email back saying unfortunately as the harassment wasn't actually aimed at me, the deliverer would have to report it himself - which I doubt he will as he sounded as though this was pretty much par for the course for him (and I can believe that!) - but if they could do anything else to assist me to let them know. I guess the Sarah Everard situation has most forces now treading very carefully...
Anyway... now I know where I stand, I'm happier about matters. Have to admit since I shouted at him (and mentioned legal proceedings) he's stopped the worst of the harassment, though I can't see that lasting as he obviously considers himself above the law.
So that's where we are right now. He's abusing and upsetting more and more people all the time. I can't understand his mindset, (not that I really want to) and it gives me a headache trying to think down to the level of his room temperature IQ. Fortunately he's a lot older than us, has smoked for most of his life and didn't follow any of the Covid rules, so how much longer he'll last is anyone's guess. He won't be missed...
Later folks! Stay safe out there...
Friday, September 03, 2021
OK, who stole August?
[sigh] Well, it's been another of those months. Let's see if I can condense it all into something that won't take hours to read.
Let's get the 'orrible stuff out the way first, neh?
Medical matters (icky photo a bit further down. Nothing too icky, just... gall stones. Lots of 'em.)
First up, my new glasses are wonderful!
And second up...
So the MRI showed "persistent stones in [my] bile duct" and the unit booked me in for an endoscopy to remove them (in prep for the op to remove the gall bladder). Appt came through for the 2nd Sept, which was fine. In the meantime I had three 'episodes' - disabling pain in my midsection which passed in a few hours, helped, oddly, by throwing up violently: dunno, perhaps it twisted things internally and persuaded the stones to shift? Anyway, it helped - which I just put up with as I knew what they were and there's not a lot the BRI can do to help with them. However, this Wed noon-ish it started again, worst yet. Couldn't move, throwing up didn't help, and then my temperature started climbing. Cue another phone call to 111, who sent an ambulance, which took five hours to arrive, which whipped me off to the BRI. And in which I waited for four hours as they had no beds or staff. Predictably, when I finally got into a cubicle the pain was mostly gone - except for a HORRENDOUS headache - and my temperature was back to normal - so they discharged me straight to the heptobiliary unit (wrist tag and peripheral venous catheter still attached) for my endoscopy.
Which was... a weird bit of a non-event, despite the eight people in the room (they did x-rays during, I gather). The local anaesthetic to the throat was as horrible as ever, and the intravenous sedative (mixed with all sorts of other stuff including antibios) had the effect of making me think I was still awake while a group of people were felling trees inside me... (welcome to my brain. It contains galaxies. Some of which are really not safe to visit.)
Took about half an hour, then I was wheeled into a recovery room. Felt fine after about 10 mins, but they insisted on a four hour wait before discharge. Kai came to meet me and make sure I got home OK, but honestly, apparently I recover from sedatives even faster than anaesthetics.
So - the result. When they said 'gall stones', I envisaged two or three, but no. Don't know about other people but I had (and still have, I think, they couldn't get them all) dozens. Have a photo of my insides.
They even gave me some of them in a container - the biggest is a tad over half an inch/nearly a centimetre across!
Fragging evolution! I want a new body.
Anyway. Hoping they'll get me in for the op soon so I can get shot of the whole bloody thing.
Interestingly, though, today (after 10 hours sleep - didn't get any the 35 hours prior) I feel better than I have in months. Maybe the stones were what was making me so draggingly fatigued all the time.
And on to prettier things!
The picture frame now on the bedroom wall left of the orchid window...
And the teeny weeny orchid I bought at Tesco today...
Not sure yet what to call it for short. Already have TO. Any suggestions, anyone?
The dendrobium finished flowering so I repotted it - and found it had been planted in bog-standard indoor potting compost instead of the proper bark and sphagnum moss. No wonder it was unhappy! So pruned and repotted it's much happier, and may have already produced a tiny new flower shoot...
Will keep blog updated!
The cambria also has a new flower spike...
I checked back and RO started flowering Sept 2020 - and is still flowering now, albeit on a different flower spike. Over a year of flowers! I do love my orchids.
My craggy old succulent is flowering - sorta...
The seaholly has been splendid and absolutely full of bees for over a month...
Going to keep an eye out for others next time I visit a garden centre (which reminds me, must message Kim!)
We had another dragonfly in the garden the other day. They do seem to like Roeg's Pool.
Then it went and hung in the medlar...
We've had the hedgehogs canoodling again, and Whitepaw vists regularly - as, unfortunately, does the squirrel from the park, stealing Ken's hazelnuts... I do love my garden.
Kai and I went to the moon (in Bristol Cathedral...)
Nice, but not as much fun as Mars.
Been watching too much Boosh... Kai's crimp:
(I took burgers out the freezer for the next day's lunch, and after saying something he laughed, but it sounded like a horse neighing!)
Great to watch it again. It never ages!
Soylent Green... not at all sure I've ever watched it before, as I didn't remember most of it, and ye gods what a film! Depressingly prescient.
Cargo - what a fascinating little film! Also really good.
I woke up last Sunday with "A person is smart. People are dumb." in my head - so we watched the three MiB films back to back. Have to say the third film is by far the best - although you do need to watch at least the first for it to make sense. Pity about the second film, but there you go...
Finished the Cixin Liu trilogy. It's... I mean... wow... how do I even? Absolutely staggering. HUGE story. Gloriously poignant, delicate ending. Love it. But it's a hell of a commitment. Death's End alone is over 700 pages. Will need to re-read it - in about ten years time when I've forgotten some of it!
Afterwards I thought I'd dive into Asimov's Foundation trilogy, been donkey's years since I read it...
Well, I did try to bear in mind it was written before I was born, really I did, but even so it's... irritating. His attitude towards women was problematic at the time, and even worse now, while the complete lack of advancement of the human species over millennia grates horribly. And why the hell does everyone still smoke?!
Halfway through Foundation and Empire: I'll finish the trilogy and move onto 2001 et al. More later.
While I was at Tesco I stopped to chat to a lad who was outside promoting donations to the Battersea Dog Home. I didn't know that they sponsor other animal rescue charities around the world, but was delighted to hear it. Anyway, I went ahead and set up a monthly donation to sponsor a cat cabin, in memory of Tyjer.
I think that's about it, mostly. Of course I'll have missed some stuff, I always do, but that's all the most memorable things. Will update... well, whenever I can!
Oh! Just remembered... I have a new phone. Samsung Galaxy Note 9, courtesy of a friend of Ken's who couldn't use it and gave it to him (and since he only uses his phone for calling or texting he gave it to me - I use mine for an awful lot more than that these days!) It's fabulous, although getting my old SIM into it was a whole lot of not-fun. Kai now has my old J3 with his SIM in it and is fairly happy (mostly that he didn't have to pay for a new one, I suspect...) Such a treat!