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.
Thursday, December 01, 2016
Meteorologically speaking anyway, although it's certainly cold enough. The ice hasn't melted in 48 hours and I believe it's still -2° out there...
Very brief catch up before lunch. Monday I had the latest blood test to check my levothyroxine levels (need to ring surgery for results tomorrow pm). Tuesday was the Carers' Steering Group meeting in town from 11 - 1 (useful, although it does look like everyone has assumed I am going to volunteer as a Carers Rep, even though I've said I don't have the time to commit right now...), then I got a little shopping done in the Galleries before physio at 3, where I got read the riot act for doing too much. (Heh, someone get me a robotic servant and I'll stop!)
Yesterday was relatively relaxed. Today I've got all the Yule decorations in from the shed and this evening, if we've time, we'll start putting them up. Main tree is already up - though not yet decorated - in the lounge, and I'll do my black tree out here after lunch. I've bought some outdoor lights for the wisteria, too, this year!
The next couple of weeks will be busy as usual. We need to get to Babbacombe at some point, to visit mum and dad Taylor. It will probably be the last time we see them: dad T has cancer (melanoma on his face: it was removed, but has come back and gone inwards and there's nothing they can do now), and mum T has macular degeneration which wasn't caught early enough: she's all but blind. Added to that they're in their 90s... Andrew from Crystal Clear is visiting to measure up and give us a quote to replace the windows, Kai has venesection, BMT Clinic, dr's appt, and another counselling appt, and we're going to the Above and Beyond Carol Service at Bristol cathedral. I know, it's a bit 'traditional' for us, but I like singing carols and Kai fancied something traditional. Plus the money all goes to a very personally important charity.
Then GoodTwin and Sue are coming to visit!
I'm cautiously hopeful this Yule will be good. Kai is much stronger and fitter than the last four years (two years three months post transplant now) and fighting off bugs that much more easily. It's going to be quiet, as usual (though if the weather is nice it might be possible to go for a walk or even a bike ride), but we like that.
Right, lunch, the tree and then next!Poppy started...
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Finally. Next!Poppy - book 7, chapter 25, Advances - now posted in The Poppy Tales (link above). Enjoy!
Another quick catch up...
Picked up Ghostbusters and Star Trek Beyond at Tesco on Mon, and we watched the former after dinner (thought it would be a light-hearted way to end a bit of a grim, wet Monday). It's great fun! Follows the format of the original enough to be familiar, but with enough differences to be interesting. And Chris Hemsworth is hysterical in it! We all thoroughly enjoyed it, and I really hope it has at least one sequel. Star Trek, however...
I'd heard the aim was to have it feel more like an original episode this time around. It succeeded - but I want more than that these days. The tired old format left me yawning. The best thing about it is the Yorktown space station (why the hell didn't I think of that?!) which is glorious. The rest - meh.
Tuesday's Kabuki/Ukiyo-e ('pictures of the floating world') lecture was great, intriguing and informative. Ken and I both enjoyed it. I rather hope the lecturer will produce a book based on the new hand scroll (and that it's a bit cheaper than her others!) as I'd love to take a closer look.
Kai's haematology clinic appt on Wed went well. His bloods are normal, his health good (well, there's the endless winter bugs but these days that goes without saying. They're damned persistent this year, mine hasn't gone yet) and all in all they're very pleased. As are we all, needless to say.
Yesterday was my carers' meeting at the Vassall Centre - this time on Carers' Rights (10 - 3: a long day with free lunch included). Useful and interesting, and I'm still strongly tempted to volunteer as a Carers Rep. Will rethink come next year and see if I have any more time to commit to it (it looks like Ken's new meds are working, and Kai is slowly becoming more independent, so signs are good). I booked myself in for a 10 minute reflexology free taster session (Sensory Heaven - "Sensory Heaven specialises in holistic treatments including Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Reiki, Indian head massage, Baby massage, facials, manicures and pedicures, and waxing. Its therapists are expert in providing group work within day centres and residential homes, as well as private referrals. Sensory Heaven will be in Spur 8, where special dark and light ‘mood’ rooms are being created, along with a massage room and reception area") which was completely wonderful. I have a money-off voucher for a half hour carers' session (every third Monday of the month) which I might very well treat myself to in the New Year...
Then it was back into town to suffer the Black Friday crowds to find a couple of Yule presents, then Sain to pick up dinner (in-store made pizza last night, followed up by the 1978 version of Dr Strange, which I found cheap on amazon while trying to check when the new one will be available to buy. Adrian had transferred my ancient VCR tape of the film to disc for me, but the tape had been so old and overused the quality was poor. The official film was only released this Oct - presumably to take advantage of the interest the new film has garnered, I guess - and is still fun).
And so to today. Ken has gone to Westbury-on-Trym to photograph the tomb of an ancestor (I think!): Kai is getting some homework done (I hope!), and I'm about to get stuck into next!Poppy. I'd really like to post it this weekend...
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Brief catchup while I continue searching for my will to live, which went AWOL after recent events (I am disgusted by and seriously ashamed of certain swathes of my adopted species...)
In no particular order: Gods of Egypt came up on Filmflex. Kai had I had seen the trailer and thought it looked like fun, so we hired it on Friday evening. It's not a great film, but it is loads of fun, very pretty, nice CGI, fun characters, reasonable story. Most enjoyable - we ended up watching it three times in the 48 hours we had it available and will pick up the DVD when it's cheap. Then Independence Day: Resurgence showed up unannounced at Sains. I suggested we catch it first on Filmflex then buy it when it came down in price (they all do, eventually), but Ken said since we would buy it anyway, and the cost would be about the same, let's buy it now...
It's dreadful. Really horrible. Hugely disappointing. I can't think of a single redeeming feature (well, maybe the CGI...)
Kai and I also watched Exposed (found it, unopened, in a charity shop for £1.50 and since I like Keanu Reeves...) Hm. Kai liked it a lot more than I did. Strange film.
Last venesection was quick and easy, though left him feeling more tired than usual (they took 500 mls instead of 450 - might have had something to do with it). His ferritin level is now down to 2013 - we're getting there!
I have a nasty cold and have lost my voice...
There's also been more gardening, more tidying up of cupboards, more shopping (Sains closed last Tues for its final bit of the refit, so Ive had to shop at Tesco. Sains should be open again this Tues, fingers crossed. Both supermarkets are about the same distance from us, but I much prefer Sains for quality and choice). Yesterday Ken and I went out: crickets for Rosa, Crystal Clear to arrange a visit to have the windows measured and quoted for, so we can see which we can have replaced first, Hurrans for new secateurs, then Toys R Us, where I found the figure of IDW Ultra Magnus (Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord) that I've been lusting after at nearly half price (£29.99 instead of the original £55) so he's now put away for my birthday. Or maybe Yule next year...
That's about it. I am still trying to get next!Poppy finished, but as I say, will to live diminished right now. I shall be ending The Poppy Tales in the current 'book' though. Gone off writing about humans.
(I've now set the blog to the recommended https settings, so if anyone has any problems viewing it, please let me know.)
Tuesday, November 08, 2016
Well, needless to say it's been busy. The weekend 29
Yesterday was a lot of shopping, and I picked up X-Men: Apocalypse, just out on DVD. Kai and I saw it at the cinema, but Ken hadn't , so we watched it after dinner. Fun stuff. Looking forward to the next now.
(Should probably also mention that over the last week we've watched season 2 of Dead Like Me and loved it! Ken found it and the later film, Dead Like Me: Life after Death which is loads of fun, dirt cheap in a charity shop. It's nice having complete sets of things.)
And today Kai and I went to see Doctor Strange. Lutra knows I've been havering about this, as the original comic book chara is one of my all-time favourite superheroes, but I find BC's face to be perhaps the creepiest I've ever seen. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch him in anything except the second Star Trek movie, which was hugely disappointing. I know I must be the only person in the world to feel this way, but I can't help it.
So it was with some trepidation I bought the tickets, sat down, and shoved on the 3D glasses...
Heh. I needn't have worried. While his face is still creepy (I think it's the eyes?) the film itself is a damn-near perfect retelling of the Doctor Strange story. And he plays the character perfectly. After a while I forgot about his face and just enjoyed it. Fabulous sfx of course, and wonderful characters. It's a fantastic ride and I can't wait for the sequel! (If anyone reading this is planning to go see it, make sure you sit through all the credits. There's a scene just after the main credits, as usual, to set things up for the sequel (probably!), but at the very end of the film there's another one that sets up a second story arc. Most intriguing!
Will try not to take so long updating next time. Main problem is when I have time to do it, I'm usually too tired...
Friday, October 28, 2016
I haz a bike!
(Well, I will have when I pick it up on Monday...)
OK, an explanation is in order, obviously.
Kai enjoys cycling, but has no one to go with. I used to enjoy riding, though I haven't actually ridden a bike for 42 years. I've idly fancied getting one for a while, but never enough to pay much for it.
Last Wed I had a Carer's Assessment visit from Carla at Carers Support services. These assessments are fairly new, and designed to help carers themselves: if accepted, the carer is eligible to a one-off payment of £300 to treat themselves to something. Themselves: you have to specify what you plan to spend it on (and keep the receipt) so they can see you spent it on yourself rather than on other people/general shopping. I am eligible - so I suggested a bike. Originally I thought electric bike, but the cheapest reasonable one is nearly two grand, far too expensive. So I thought about an ordinary bike instead, and on Wed I met Kai from uni, treated us to paninis at The Refectoire again, then we went over to Cycle Republic in Union Street to get some advice...
Getting the right bike isn't so easy for me any more. With the problems with my hips and back I can't actually raise either leg very high, so I can't cope with a high cross bar. I tried a Pendleton Women's step-through, but even that was a bit high (I find balancing on one leg very difficult since that bout of vertigo I had a couple of years back). So today I went up to Halfords, and there it was...
Easy to step through, comfortable seat, only 6 gears (I've never ridden a bike with gears so that'll be fun!) and high enough handlebars that using it won't put too much pressure on my hands (the carpal tunnel syndrome is getting worse, and my dr has now referred me for a steroid injection into my right hand - oh joy... She did, however, confirm that cycling is an excellent exercise for back pain, as, like swimming, it's weightless exercise. So that's good!) I was amused that the young assistant who served me called it a 'sit up and beg' bike - I thought that term went out of use back when I stopped riding!
That is a truly horrendous 'clown' type horn. Too many people ignore bike bells these days - they won't be able to ignore that! And yes, that is a teal-coloured car freshener ('Ocean Paradise' fragrance). The thought of hanging a freshener on a bike came near to making me giggle - I couldn't resist it! And the Bumblebee is a little wind up torch.
Brief bit of clarification: there is a role player on tumblr who plays a Shattered Glass universe Prime Knock Out. Prime Knock Out is a Decepticon, of course - but in the Shattered Glass universe the roles are completely reversed, with the Decepticons being the good guys and the Autobots the bad. The good Knock Out is teal coloured instead of red - so the new bike is going to be called Knock Out (because most of my 'toys' end up with Tf names). And Bumblebee is of course one of the favourite 'Bots (not to me, but most fans like him).
A bit convoluted that, but now you know!
Will report back on how I get on later. First ride we plan is along the river cyclepath - quiet, not too long, and completely flat. Kai will need to service his bike first though.
In other news, Wendy came to visit yesterday. It was fantastic - we just sat and talked and watched the pilot ep of Dead Like Me, which Wendy had never seen, and then, continuing the Mandy Patinkin theme, Alien Nation (the original film). It was wonderfully relaxing! Many thanks, Wendy!
We've now finished watching Charlie Jade. It's slow-paced and tricky to follow, so close attention needs to be paid, and some of it is difficult to understand, but overall it's pretty amazing. The tension develops relentlessly, and there are some extremely unpleasant interludes... I've never seen anything like it and I really wish there'd been another season. Alas, much like other thought-provoking works, it was cancelled...
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was reduced at Sains, so I bought it to watch tonight!
To end - this is my prunus. Its autumn colours are glorious!
Monday, October 24, 2016
Erk - been a week again...
Let's see. Monday and Tuesday were much as normal - shopping, domestic stuff, a bit of gardening. Wed afternoon Kai wanted to go for a walk, so we got the no 1 bus to Eastwood Farm and walked the circuit of the plateau there.
Dull day, but a nice walk.
On Sat Ken and I went Yule shopping at Wells and Street, which was fun! And quite successful.
Yesterday Kai had venesection - which was astonishingly fast this time, 450 mls in less than 10 mins!
So - not a lot of any great interest, but it was still manically busy.
Monday, October 17, 2016
Just occasionally I find myself struck by - enamoured of - something extremely unlikely. It happened recently -
It's from Tesco, part of their new bedding range, and I think it's lovely.
Not pretty of course - everyone knows I never do pretty - just... whimsical. Charming. Light-hearted, Ken called it.
And it matches my orchid.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
And on Wednesday Kai arrived back early, so we picked up crickets for Rosa at Pets@Home then headed off on the long-promised walk through Stockwood Open Space...
It's beautiful there.
Quite a walk though - tired by the time we got back.
Much of the rest of the week has been spent getting more done in the garden. The higher raised bed is now up:
Not full of soil yet, that's going to take a little while.
Everything should settle down a bit now.I have some client stuff to get done tomorrow, but then I plan to turn to next!Poppy.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
*sigh* So, despite the flu jab, I went down with flu. A weekend wiped out, high temperature, unable to eat, oh joy. Feeling a bit better today (going to assume that's the effect of the flu jab, as it usually lasts longer than a few days) and should be better again tomorrow. Luckily no-one else caught it (though Kai is currently fending off every bug that's going...)
However, the good news is that the problem with my back isn't spinal stenosis. There's some wear and tear, and a narrowing of one of the channels that a nerve goes through (I haven't actually seen the MRI results yet, my dr told me on the phone last night and I forget the correct medical term) that is most likely causing the pain. I've been referred to the physio clinic (again. I swear I'm going to end up with exercises taking up half my days from now on...) But basically, nothing major to worry about!
Pears in a row! (Or should that be a column?) They've been absolutely delicious this year. It's lovely having so much home-grown fruit!
Thursday, October 06, 2016
Let's try again...
Mon 26th Fiona and I took all the old greenhouse glass and the tatty old white garden table to the tip in her SUV, then came back via Hurrans and picked up the photinia. Many thanks Fiona!
Kai has Tuesdays off this term, so we did a little garden work. And I probably shopped: now I can't carry so much I need to shop more often than before. In the evening Kai and I went over to Tesco pharmacy for our flu jabs.
Wed 28th: met Kai in town, treated us to lunch at the Café Réfectoire just outside the bus station (wonderful paninis!) then checked out St Nick's Market and the Antics model shop (I still haven't assembled my Vulcan from last Yule. Now I have the paint I might find the time...) before Kai's haematology appointment at 3.30. Medically, all is absolutely fine, but Dr Lowry has suggested counselling, which I think is a good idea.
Thurs 29th I saw Kai off to Uni then bussed into town, walked from the centre to the Riverside Garden Centre along the New Cut, bought the big pittosporum Silver Sheen, a few other hedging plants - and a sad cotoneaster that was on special, sitting in a tiny pot all forlorn. I couldn't leave her behind...
She's much happier now.
Caught the ferry from the SS Great Britain back to the centre, caught a bus up to the top of Blackboy Hill to get the things I forgot last time I visited Wild Oats and Better Food, walked back down to the Clifton Mall's Sains for the wee bit of shopping I needed, then bussed home.
Fri 30th Riverside delivered everything I'd bought the day before. (It was quite fun to have two grown men drooling over my garden! One of them started planning out how we could be self-sufficient, but been there, done that, too much work these days. My raised beds - which still aren't in place yet - will be quite enough work...) And we watched City of Lost Children which is... odd. And surreal. (I was somewhat thrown by the physical similarity between Dominique Pinon and Brian Downey...)
Sat we settled the cotoneaster, griselinia and laurel after moving the last of the spiraeas over to the old meadow, and planted a bit more behind the greenhouse.
Sun was the usual Sains and Tesco shops. K&K went for a walk to Nightingale Valley.
Ken was on leave Mon - Wed, so we got the area cleared, the root barrier in and the pittosporum planted.
There's more space behind it than I really wanted, to allow room for the wall's foundations. (Yes, we will have a wall built eventually, but not until after him next door has died: I will not have him derive any benefit from anything we do. He's a lifetime smoker and more than 20 years older than we are, we can wait...) In the meantime I'll put in some temporary shrubs to fill the space. Privet perhaps...
The view from the patio doors...
The photinia isn't planted yet: we need to move the fruit trees at the top first and they aren't quite asleep yet.
Mon evening we watched Inception again. Still a real favourite, and this time it made more sense! Wonderful film.
In other news... We've started watching Charlie Jade (again. Ep 1 failed to grip and sent me to sleep the first time.) It's more interesting this time around: will stick with it and see how we go. Kai and I both have colds - I also have a raging sore throat today, oh joy.
And it's suddenly gone cold. Three days ago I was in a tee-shirt, today it's a long sleeved top with a cardigan over it, and I'm still cold. Though that might be because I don't feel well... Eh, it's autumn, it's supposed to be cold!
Sunday, September 25, 2016
I was going to do a proper blog update but haddock ran away with me again, so here's a quick catch-up. (Kai is back to Uni tomorrow and his timetable is pretty full - with 4 hour gaps between a.m. and p.m. classes on two days. He may come home for lunch those days, will have to see how we go. At any rate, it'll take a few weeks for the routine to establish itself, so my hopes of getting time to myself are rather stymied...)
His blood was so sluggish last Sunday that the nurse only managed to take 100 mls (it's usually 450), so he has to go back on the 8th of Oct to try again. It happens sometimes, but it was annoying for him. She managed to hit a nerve too.
Ken has decided to come with me to the Kabuki lecture in November - should be fun!
Blood test to see how the levothyroxine is doing on Monday, then I bussed into town to drop off a letter to the Orthopaedic Clinic. It was 27th July I had the MRI and no-one has got back to me to tell me the results yet.
Tues (I think) Kai and I went up to Pets@Home for crickets for Rosa, then over to Crystal Clear for him to take a look at the windows, pick up a brochure and speak to Andrew about a visit for him to measure up our windows (he's booked for two weeks but that's fine, we aren't in any special hurry). We'll then get a quote for each individual window and decide which we want replaced first - lounge and both bedrooms windows would be my choice. On the way back we dropped into Toys Я Us, to see if they had the RiD Starscream (yes, he reappears. I'm now going to have to buy all the DVDs...) They did, but the more expensive Power Surge version (£30) rather than the simpler one I first saw. And they won't order it for me. Came home to think about it...
Wed I bussed to Hurrans (Wyevale Garden Centre at Keynsham. It was originally called Hurrans back when we first bought the house and the name has just stuck). I know I went there to pick up something specific but I can't remember what it was... Anyway, I found the perfect photinia (looks about 8' tall) at £50, and asked about delivery. Which they don't do. But the assistant I spoke to said if I rang back on Fri she'd see if she could arrange something for me... Came back via Toys Я Us and picked up the Starscream. (He's now put away for my birthday next year.)
Thurs. I found a possible alternative to Hurran's delivery, and went back to buy the tree and have it stored until I can collect it.
Friday I tried to ring the number the assistant had given me, which offered the usual 'press 1... 2... 3...' etc, only to find that pressing the correct number simply cycled back to the original greeting, so no joy there. Will have to tell them when I collect. Got a letter from the BRI asking me to ring for an appointment with another physio, so I assume that was in response to my letter to them. Still don't know the MRI results though. Ken was off that day, and he and Kai went to Paulton, to a specialist clock workshop - this one I think. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
On Sat we got the first of the shrubs planted behind the greenhouse. There'll be photos later, when it's all done: it looks a bit of a mess right now.
And today K&K walked along the Whitchurch Way while I tried to catch up on sleep. Hardly managed any last night, my right hand was stupidly painful and every time I managed to drop off the pain woke me again. It seems Ok now so fingers crossed it was a one off.
Oh, and the levothyroxine dosage is fine for now, so I have to carry on and get another blood test in 3 months.
... I think that's everything. It's been hectic.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Quickie because tired...
Friday Kai and I went to the Riverside Garden Centre and found the trees we need. Will have to go back and buy them this week!
We've now watched all three Rurouni Kenshin films and I love 'em. Must have the music (Kenshin's theme, at least).
Venesection for Kai today. We came back via Broadwalk and through the nature reserve again, most pleasant. While we were out, Ken continued with the fruit bush area beside the greenhouse...
Looking good! The lower of the two raised beds is next, will see about starting organising that after I get back from my blood test tomorrow morning.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
So we did take our stroll around the nature reserve in the sunset, and came back from Tesco in the dark under a beautiful blue/teal/green/gold sky, so that was enjoyable...
Carers' Support meeting at the Vassall Centre today. With several other people I got involved in a face to face survey of their website and how it can be improved (sort of. They seemed pleased with my feedback, anyway). Got the info of what's involved in being a Carer Rep. There's nothing there I couldn't handle, and training is provided, but I'm not at all sure I could give it the rather heavy time commitment it would require. Will do a little more research and go to the network meeting early October to get more info.
On the way back I made the mistake of popping into Ikea. Never been there before, never going back! I got lost just in one department, even with the map they provide and me asking a member of staff for directions. And the only way to get down from the first floor is by lift. The escalators only go up. And they didn't have the glasses I was looking for anyway. Never again!
Forgot to say (of course) that my BP was as close to normal as dammit - 141/80 - and the dr was pleased (apparently it was the same as last time she took it). She still won't let me stop the meds though: going to see me again in 6 months and then reconsider. I hope.
Forgot to say no. 2: we watched The Book Thief earlier this week - wonderful film, beautifully made with very fine acting. Depressing, of course, as many films of the period are, but well worth watching.
Think that's now up to date, though I've probably forgotten something again. Eh, will add it next time!
30 second later edit: remembered! My latest Festival of Ideas newsletter had this autumn's Art Lecture schedules, and wouldn't you just know Drama on stage, desires off stage: The Kabuki theatres of 18th century Edo, Japan is one of the freebies. It uses this as its focus. And after I mentioned wanting to research Japanese drama too. Synchronicity strikes again... I already have my ticket. (Not really K&K's thing so I'm going by myself. Really looking forward to it!)
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
And another thing I forgot to say: on Wed 8th Kai and I went to the Bristol Festival of Ideas lecture Star Trek: Synthetic biology and NASA’s missions. It was very interesting, although the humour was somewhat American and didn't raise the laughter Lynn hoped for. Nevertheless, an inspiring evening. We ended up getting the bus to Broadwalk and coming home down the hill in the dark - always pretty with the lights of Kingswood spread out before us.
Dr's appt on Mon was a bit of a waste of time: she asked to see me to explain the nerve induction test results. Which I already knew as the technician who carried them out explained them at the time... However, I made the appt for my next hypothyroidism blood test (next Mon) while I was there. Then took Wheelie (yes, I've finally had to admit defeat and use one of these for shopping) to Wilko to pick up bird food. Found they do potting compost too, so picked up a pack to pot the lemongrass I've managed to root up in water. Going to try ginger next spring too!
We finished watching Trigun, and watched Trigun: Badlands Rumble on Monday evening.
Wow. Absolutely gorgeous animation with all sorts of intricate subtle touches, beautiful character development, just wonderful! I now have to watch it again without the subtitles so I can pick up on all the tiny background details and action I missed while focussing on the story. I would love to see the series remade to this standard! Or a second series, that would be even better...
Last night Ken and I watched Rurouni Kenshin in preparation for the two sequels I bought earlier. I was struck by the similarity in characters between it and Trigun: it's probably a feature of Japanese drama (most drama, most likely!), certain archetypes appear again and again. Be interesting to research it if I can ever make the time!
Hot and muggy again today. We were debating going for a walk this afternoon, but even though the UV is fairly low, walking in this heat would be no fun - not to mention my two strips of artificial grass (for behind the greenhouse) is out for delivery today. The new wheelbarrow arrived yesterday. (Heh, short story - we bought the first one brand spanking new just after we bought the house, but before we had a chance to use it next door asked if he could borrow it. He used it to lug stones around to build his retaining wall, and gave it back battered to hell and with holes punched in it. No apology or offer of restitution of course. We should have realised then what sort of 'person' he is, but we were naive and always thought the best of people. But we never loaned him anything again.) Will suggest a stroll to the nature reserve after dinner (and a Tesco shop for ice cream on the way back) when it'll be cooler. Forecast is for more comfortable weather over the weekend, so we could try for a trip out on Sat. Kai has venesection on Sunday afternoon, so won't feel like doing much for the early part of next week, and uni starts on the 26th. His holiday is nearly over...
Saturday, September 10, 2016
So, yesterday K&K built the stand for the greenhouse waterbutt and got it into place before last night's forecast rain. This morning I went out to check all was well - only to find the roof leaking (badly) and the floor exceedingly wet.
Turns out the beading hadn't been put in place along the roof ridge.
And the frame uprights are a couple of millimetres off at the top, which doesn't help.
That being said, the gap between the metal and the glass for the roof is rather wide: I'm not convinced the beading would work anyway. Fortunately there's a fairly easy and cheap fix - plug the gap with bubblewrap of the sort garden centres sell for winter protection for your greenhouse - which will only take an hour to put in place. I think. I used it on the old greenhouse and it works well, and adds winter insulation.
The gutters aren't quite true either: they don't slope quite enough to drain all the rain into the waterbutt. That's a flaw in the overall design though, nothing to do with the builders. We can fix it with small wedges under the guttering.
That said, all in all it's a good greenhouse, and I'm very happy with it, although I won't buy anything from Elite again. The aluminium discoloured while lying on the grass and their instructions are absolute gibberish.
In other news... forgot to say I went to a Carers' Steering Group meeting on Wednesday (I asked about getting involved with the Carers' Support Network at the last event in June). It was all very interesting and helpful, and I've volunteered to help out. Three meetings a year and feedback to BCH, so not onerous.
Picked up Simon Pegg's Autobiography at St Pete's Hospice charity shop (£1.49 instead of rrp of £18.99 - not bad!) while Kai was having his hair cut: sat down and started reading it while I was waiting for Jeff to finish and embarrassed myself by laughing out loud. It is extremely funny!
On Thurs Kai and I headed out. We'd planned to go to Clevedon, but Firstbus have changed (i.e. mucked up) their bus services again. The X6a doesn't go anywhere near Clevedon sea front and we didn't want to wait half an hour for the X6, so got the bus to Weston-super-Mare instead, and headed out along the dunes...
Glorious day. Long walk. I ended up hobbling slowly back two hours later.
Brean Down and Steep Holm
© Kai September 2016
Kai climbed the dunes and found a golf course and "the most dramatic church ever!" on the other side...
© Kai September 2016
All in all a wonderful day, if exhausting (and painful for me).
Out with Kim yesterday: Tickenham garden centre (potting compost, large pots, green privets, a light green laurel and the cutest little upright juniper ever - photos sometime later as Kai has borrowed my camera today) then the Riverside garden centre for my local honey, golden privet and an amazing Tricyrtis formosana (which looks a bit like an orchid and goes by the common name of toad lilly! Sacrilege!!) If this last does well in the garden I'll try and get some others: they come in an amazing variety of colours.
We got to episode 22 of Trigun - and the DVD went skewiff and turned unwatchable. (The DVD, not our machine, although the latter is getting on a bit now and is pretty much in constant use. Should think about a replacement soon, I guess...) Amazon had what looked like a remastered version - 8 discs instead of 3 - which I ordered along with Badlands Rumble, a later one-off film set during the series. Watched ep 23 last night and the quality is amazing! Now want to re-watch it all again in the remastered version...
K&K are off out today, it's Bristol Open Doors Saturday. So far Kai has climbed up to the roof at St Luke's and they're now exploring Pip'n'Jay's in town. I'm working on the planting plans for the garden (and updating the blog, obviously!)
Thursday, September 08, 2016
I haz an existential greenhouse! (Thanks Sue!)
In brief... Kai and I both had our hair cut on Tues. It's cooler and no longer flopping in my eyes, but it'll take a week or so before it's grown out enough to look nice again. Given how hot it still is, and how busy I'm going to be, this is not a problem!
The glass is now all tidied and ready to go to the tip, hopefully end of next week.
Kim and I are off tomorrow instead of today, she forgot about an appointment. Looking forward to garden shopping!
And the scrap metal has just been collected - front garden is clear again!
Monday, September 05, 2016
I haz a greenhouse!
Bill recommended Paul from over the road as a good builder, and on Monday last week he arrived to take a look, find out what I wanted, then went away and came back an hour later with a price, which was considerably less than the "professional". So we said yes please, spent the rest of the day dismantling the old greenhouse, and Paul turned up on Tuesday morning to make a start. The following photos tell the story...
He's coming back tomorrow to finish off (put sealant around the base and the water-collection pipes, which aren't a perfect fit), but otherwise it's all done! Ken and I need to construct a platform for the waterbutt, but we have plenty of bricks and slabs, won't take long. Then I need to plan out where the paths are going to go and get the raised beds started, so there's still plenty to do, but the greenhouse is good to go!
And it's so big! Well, 6' by 10', but it feels massive compared to the old one. Tomorrow afternoon I should be able to arrange everything as I want it, then on Thursday Kim and I are off out, so will return with potting compost and a couple of large pots so I can get the spiral supports ready for spring. I've even arranged for one of our free scrap metal merchants to come and take away the old greenhouse frame, the old bathroom radiator, and an unwanted metal shelving unit, so there's only the glass to get rid of.
All great stuff.
In other news, Kai is fancying a change of decor for his room - something more retro. I picked up Captain America: Civil War at Tesco earlier. We're planning to watch it after dinner. No doubt there's more, but I only got four hours sleep last night and brain isn't firing on all cylinders. More later if I remember!
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Another quickie while I have time. K&K are out today, off to Wotton-under-Edge again to explore the escarpment. Should be good views, if a little hazy.
I've sorted the kitchen cupboards (few more bits to go to charity: I think I'm now down to only the stuff I actually use), put a wash through, organised dinner, written up some notes for the Dystopia project and edited three more chapters. Oh, and next!Poppy is started too. Not too bad.
It's not easy at the moment though. Don't know if it's the new meds, or I'm doing too much, or whatever is wrong with my back is getting worse (won't know about that until I see the dr on the 12th Sept, earliest appt I could get, so I assume it's nothing too serious...) My Skype convo with Lutra last night pretty much expresses it nicely though.
Can one sue evolution for incompetence?
It's not quite so bad today, but the pain is still constant, and painkillers don't seem to do much...
Eh well. Have a pretty to end on!
Definitely a flower spike! More photos as it flowers.
My little lithops has flowered this year too, twice!
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Wut? That's over a week zooomed past again! My haddock are escaping!!
Better do the quickest of all catchups before I completely forget what's happened...
The meeting with Marie went fine, she settled on a domain name and is going to play around with WordPress to see how she gets on with it. I have to reluctantly admit it's improved since I last checked it out.
31 photo albums to go (that's including the 6 Ken brought down from his study which weren't included in the original count). The first 4.7 gig DVD has been burned and archived.
It's been too hot (or too wet) for Kai to go out much during the day this last week, so he's had several evening walks with both myself and Ken. I've got quite a lot done in the garden, and the plans are coming into focus. This is good!
And that's basically it. We finished watching The Omega Factor (and I'm honestly not sure quite how I feel about it. Several of the eps were brilliant - Child's Play in particular - but some were disappointing. It generated a fair bit of discussion here though, which is always a good thing). We're now rewatching Trigun, probably my favourite anime of all time. It just gets better and better with each watching!
Off to chop veg for stir fry...
Monday, August 15, 2016
On Saturday Kai and I went back to Radstock to explore the Colliers Way walk...
This would have been less alarming if we'd been able to see the bridge before stepping onto it...
... this is the bridge...
The (cycle)path runs along the old railway track.
Yes, you can ride tandems along here too!
It's number 24 of the national cycle network. Number 3 goes past our house, which is mostly very nice, except when inconsiderate groups cycle past at 6 a.m.on a Sunday morning shouting to each other ...
These were most puzzling...
... until we found out what they are!
Heh. An instructional cycle path! Whatever next!
There are quite a few bridges, both above and beneath,
And inside each of the ones above were strange signs with hands...
This is a bench, for children and adults, we think. There are seats and benches all along the route.
This is the sidings, as far as we got. Kai worked out later that we walked 6.8 miles in total. Legs were burning by the time we collapsed onto the bus back in Radstock, but to my surprise I was fine on Sunday. Very happy about that!
It's an absolutely beautiful walk. Going to go back in the autumn and enjoy the colours!
On Sunday Kai had another venesection session. His ferritin was up a little last time, which does happen, we're told, but the overall trend is still downwards. It was all terribly dramatic though: the centre of Bristol was closed off by the police - on what is probably the busiest weekend of the year, the Balloon Fiesta. Getting a bus back was a nightmare, as the traffic was in complete chaos: ended up getting a no 2 to Broadwalk and walking down the hill.
Later on we found out it was a bomb scare outside Bridewell police station (which is where Ken works). Somewhat alarming...
Ending on a prettier note, there were haloes on both sides of the sun on Saturday evening.
I've stitched these together in photoshop as my little camera couldn't manage to capture both with the sun that bright. Pretty sun dogs. We quite often see one, but I've never seen two!
Today is a rest day. Ken has a couple of days off so has gone exploring something historical the other side of Bath, while Kai recovers from blood-letting. I have to go instruct a workmate of his in how to set up her own website tomorrow afternoon, so have Prowl recharging in preparation. It's too hot and sunny to do much today in any event.
Friday, August 12, 2016
Well, six albums done - 40 to go...
Have some pics!
Twin Towers from the top of the Empire State Building.
Central Park lake.
Shy smiley plant...
Remember when I said I didn't think my original orchid would flower any time soon after flowering continuously for a year? I may have been wrong...