Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

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

Other sites:

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

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

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

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

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

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.

My IMDb ep summaries

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

For later:

BBC Lion, witch and wardrobe
BBC Caspian and Dawn Treader
BBC Silver Chair
(Missing Excel Saga eps)
(Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)

Silver birch at Eastwood 


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

(Joules, Autumn 2004)

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

In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme

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

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.

Currently working on:
Heart, The Poppy Tales

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

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

Currently maintaining:

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

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

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

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

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

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

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

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

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

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

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

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

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

Murfs - noun, moths.

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

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

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

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

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

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

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

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

The Updates Blog

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

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

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

Butch by the talented 


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



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

A'lestrel by 


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

Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 


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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 



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

The Zone Plant from
The Zone 



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

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

I'll leave that to others to decide.

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

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

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

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

Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

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

   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust


   Vampire Hunter D Book 1

New Vampire Miyu

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

Yami no Matsuei

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

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

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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004
10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004
11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005
12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006
02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006
03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006
04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006
05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006
06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/30/2007
05/01/2007 - 05/31/2007
06/01/2007 - 06/30/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
08/01/2007 - 08/31/2007
09/01/2007 - 09/30/2007
10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
03/01/2008 - 31/03/2008
01/04/2008 - 04/30/2008
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01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
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01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
01/04/2010 - 30/04/2010
01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
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01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
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01/06/2011 - 30/06/2011
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01/11/2011 - 30/11/2011
01/12/2011 - 31/12/2011
01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
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01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
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01/07/2013 - 31/07/2013
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01/11/2013 - 30/11/2013
01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
01/04/2014 - 30/04/2014
01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
01/06/2014 - 31/06/2014
01/07/2014 - 31/07/2014
01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
01/09/2014 - 31/09/2014
01/10/2014 - 31/10/2014
01/11/2014 - 30/11/2014
01/12/2014 - 31/12/2014
01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
01/03/2015 - 31/03/2015
01/04/2015 - 30/04/2015
01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
01/07/2015 - 31/07/2015
01/08/2015 - 31/08/2015
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01/10/2015 - 31/10/2015
01/11/2015 - 31/11/2015
01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
01/04/2016 - 31/04/2016
01/05/2016 - 31/05/2016
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01/07/2016 - 31/07/2016
01/08/2016 - 31/08/2016
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01/10/2016 - 31/10/2016
01/11/2016 - 31/11/2016
01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016
01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017
01/03/2017 - 31/03/2017
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01/05/2017 - 31/05/2017
01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017
01/07/2017 - 31/07/2017
01/08/2017 - 31/08/2017
01/09/2017 - 30/09/2017
01/10/2017 - 31/10/2017
01/11/2017 - 30/11/2017
01/12/2017 - 31/12/2017
01/01/2018 - 31/01/2018
01/02/2018 - 28/02/2018
01/03/2018 - 31/03/2018
01/04/2018 - 30/04/2018
01/05/2018 - 31/05/2018
01/06/2018 - 30/06/2018
01/07/2018 - 31/07/2018
01/08/2018 - 31/08/2018
01/09/2018 - 30/09/2018
01/10/2018 - 31/10/2018
01/11/2018 - 30/11/2018
01/12/2018 - 31/12/2018
01/01/2019 - 31/01/2019
01/02/2019 - 28/02/2019
01/03/2019 - 31/03/2019
01/04/2019 - 30/04/2019
01/05/2019 - 31/05/2019
01/06/2019 - 30/06/2019
01/07/2019 - 31/07/2019
01/08/2019 - 31/08/2019
01/09/2019 - 30/09/2019

Saturday, October 05, 2019

BIG PICS! (sorry...) 

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!

Hollicombe headland looking towards Paignton

Paignton seafront looking back to Torquay.

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...

So, watching...

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...

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Blogger Sue said...

Glad you had a good time and that your MiL's op went OK. Pictures are great and I do like those lights!

11:17 am  

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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!

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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!

Found and watched Ocean's Thirteen - good fun as usual - and then Ocean's Eight, which I at least enjoyed more. Waiting to see if it has a sequel.

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.


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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Wild(life) Summer 2, 3 4 and 5... 

... 'cause it's been too hot and I've been too busy to update...

Wild(life) Summer 2 - the night after the hedgehogs, this murf -

- flew into the bathroom then out onto the landing (Ken took the photo). It's a Common Emerald (take a look at the caterpillar!!) which, despite its name, I have never seen before.

Wild(life) Summer 3 - A couple of days after that I found a dead, just-hatched baby bird outside the greenhouse - an odd place for it, but the following day, as I was returning to the house after watering, I heard a frantic rustling and distressed cheeping coming from the medlar, and seconds later our sparrowhawk zoomed off about three feet from my nose, with a tiny bird in its beak. We may have a sparrow's nest in the medlar? I believe this is the second (or maybe third) batch of eggs this year, the weather, and the fact we feed them all the time, has made it a good year for our birds...

Wild Summer 4 - oh, the thunderstorms! The most immense rumbling roll of thunder right over the house woke me just as I was falling asleep around midnight on Monday, the sort that would have shaken the windows to bits if we hadn't had them replaced, and I spent the next half an hour or so transfixed, watching out the window the most extraordinary light show of constant, continuous sheet lightning over to the south of us, accompanied by non-stop thunder. I love thunderstorms, always have, but in sixty years I've never seen ANYTHING like that. Wonderful! Taranis having a disco!

Wild(life) Summer 5 - Looks like after digging exploratory holes all over the garden, the foxes have decided where to build their lair...

In other news...

Tyjer has been having a bit of trouble jumping up recently - we think he might have a touch of arthritis in his hips. So I registered him with the vet service at Pets@Home, and got him an appt for yesterday...

Was horrified to find, when I dug out his records, that he hasn't had his inoculations since 2012. Though in my defence we've been a bit fraught over the last few years. And if I was worried about his health I'd have had him looked at before... Anyway, I bought a cheap pillow from Tesco, customised it to fit the carrier, popped him in and drove him (and Kai) up to the vet yesterday.

Bless 'im, he was more curious about the room than worried about the treatment. Vet gave him the first course of his injections (second and last in four weeks), a worming tablet (didn't much like that), syringed and cleared his ears (Kai had said they seemed to be bothering him, he was rubbing and scratching and shaking his head more than normal - and they were rather gungy) and gave him a dose of a different (not over the counter) flea killer, as the Front Line Spot On (the strongest you can buy here) didn't seem to be working any more. Apparently fleas do develop immunity to such things, a bit like bugs and antibiotics... She weighed him - 5.4 kg - checked his heart and lungs - all absolutely fine - and gave me a bottle of Metacam pain killer and a syringe to ease the pain in his hips. I mixed it with a little tinned salmon the last two evenings and he wolfed it down no problem. She did say, though, that prolonged or over use can cause kidney problems, so I'll do four days then stop for a bit and see how we go. There's nothing permanent can be done, it's just age. (Heh, know a song about that...)

I forgot to buy orchid supports when we were at Cheddar, but I've had a go at turning my original orchid a little bit every day to see if I could make the flower spike grow more upright - it seems to have worked, I have a graceful curve now with buds slowly appearing...

I also have a third plant: hobbling back from Tesco on Monday I saw one of those sad dyed orchids in the bin from the shop up the road. You know the ones, they're dyed with blue for display purposes (there is no true blue orchid) and then discarded when the flowers die. I rescued it, cut off the empty blue flower spikes and let it soak in rain water and liquid compost feed for a couple of hours, and it's perked up nicely. These are often originally white, as white takes the blue dye better, so I'm hoping for a white orchid to join the other two. Photos as things happen!

The kitchen is a little tidier: K&K fitted the new panel to hide where the hot water pipe was mended...


While waiting for the next crop of blockbusters to be available to buy we've been picking up 'classics', and the other evening Ken and I watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (or, Bruce Cassington and the Sunday Centre Kids, as my phone's auto-correct auto-corrected...) Apparently it got 4 Oscars, though gawds know why, I found it stupidly tedious and boring. But then, I'm not overly fond of Westerns. And maybe it's a generational thing...

Ken and I also watched The Shawshank Redemption, which is superb. Vicious in a lot of places, sometimes hard to watch, but what a film! (Snitch is also surprisingly good.)

We all watched Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve, both of them rollicking good fun, then found Ocean's Eight in AgeUK, but Kai wants to see Ocean's Thirteen, which we don't yet have, first.

Kai and I are now onto 24: Season 4, which I like much more than Season 3.

I'm sure there was something else... will edit later if I remember!

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wild(life) Summer 1 

Tiny little update... last night was magical. I heard faint scramblings against the gravel of the drive, and when I looked out, a hedgehog, legs twinkling, scuttled over the road from our garden and continued on up the road. While I stood there, a second hedgehog also meandered over the gravel and headed up the road (on the pavement on this side). And THEN, a minute later, a third hedgehog scuttled over the gravel and headed down the road in the direction of the park... THREE hedgehogs. never seen more than one at a time in the garden (and that was about a decade ago) so not sure if they were youngsters leaving to search out their own territory or all inhabitants of our garden (which is, after all, big enough and rich enough in insect life it can support more than one! We have two blackbird families, after all) just out for a midnight stroll, but it was fantastic to see them. I did watch a little longer but there were no more 'hogs, just a fox leaping over the wall and heading off on its own business...

I do love living here.

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

We have a hedgehog wandering about the garden occasionally. Birds are far more prolific - a male blackbird feeding babies, several families of sparrows doing the same, my old blackbird who still comes for a few worms, a new young female blackbird who has decided that I'm a wonderful source of food, an older robin, and now a new young fledgling robin who seems to have no fear and zips and out of the rabbit shelter like it was born there :)

10:07 am  

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Later edit: And then I forgot to say I had an email from CICO books, who are bringing out a second edition of The Book of Celtic Symbols! (email arrived last Tues, when everything else was happening...) Heh. You know you must be doing something right when publishers start reprinting your books!

Well, what a weekannahalf it's been...!

Swimming went well last Tues: seeing if we can gradually increase the number of lengths now we can do 20 in half an hour.

Back in May I had a letter from Wyevale with my last loyalty vouchers - £5. Only problem is, the nearest Wyvale garden centre is at Cheddar, which is a bit of a way to go, although there is a bus that goes to the centre of the village. Mentioned this to Kim, who said she'd be happy to drive us there - so last Thurs, it being a lovely day, she picked me up at 10.30. Great drive, out along the new road below Dundry, over to airport road, then down the narrow (and somewhat hair-raising) country lanes past Stanton Drew (useful, that, as there's a stone circle there that K&K will probably want to revisit at some point, and it's near impossible to get to except by car. Unless you don't mind walking through fields of grumpy bullocks, which I do. Or using the once-a-week bus! Now I know the route...) The garden centre is a fair way outside the village, although by the looks of it there is a local bus, but we found it and parked up. And discovered it had become the Hillier Garden Centre the week before... [sigh] BUT they accepted the vouchers, so that was OK. And the centre itself is lovely, really big, and had LOADS of specials. Picked up a heritage raspberry and a thornless blackberry (because the mystery fruit bush I bought from Hurrans turned out to be a loganberry, which is great!), both at £3 reduced from £9.50: a skimmia (my old one died, alas) and a beautiful convolvulus cneorum (photo later if I remember, the flowers only open in the sun) - both at £2, and a gorgeous petunia, 'Lightening Sky' -

Never grown petunias before - you're supposed to lift them and keep them in the greenhouse over winter - but at £1 and with those colours I couldn't resist...

Bought a beautiful little handpainted glass table (blossom and humming bird: now in bedroom with jar of lights on it) and some useful kitchen stuff at half price, too. Fun and very successful day out!

Fri was supposed to be a writing day, but ended up shopping instead, and planting the front garden flowers. Then on Sat Ken and I took our long promised trip to Keynsham. Very successful for me: found an interesting light coat/top thing, and a pure cashmere pashmina in peacock colours for £2.50 (think that may have been wrongly labelled!) Also some peacock feathers in the flower shop (I ended up buying a second lot of butterflies-on-bleached-twigs lights at Dunelm in the sale: ten in the jar were too many, so Kai and I rejigged the collection so there are now seven, three with extra lights and butterflies. Looks gorgeous!) which I planned to add to the jar, but it was too cluttered, so they're now in another jar on my bedside table.

Heh, that was a bit rambling - sorry!

Sun was a driving lesson - Kai is doing very well - and we dropped in to Benson's for Beds on the way back for me to buy a new Igel pillow (mine was guaranteed for two years, it did three, which is very good, but recently it's stopped being comfy and wouldn't return to shape, so time for a new one.) They're Igel Side-Sleeper pillows now, instead of Igel Bliss, but it works just the same. Peaceful, incredibly comfortable sleep...

Monday was the usual, business-busy day. Tues is delivery day: Sains (booked for 10 - 11) arrived at 10.01: had just finished putting that away when the Tesco deliverer rang to ask if we minded an early delivery as he was just a few minutes away - absolutely fine by me. So he arrived and unloaded by 10.30 (was booked for 11 - 12). Turned out that was just as well, as around 10.40 the Council workmen arrived in a van to put my 'disabled' line across the drive! Only took them 20 mins - it's not paint, it a sort of plastic with ground glass mixed in, which they melt to the road using a very powerful sort of blowtorch. I though it would be neat, small lettering, but nooo, you can see mine from orbit! Still, hopefully it'll stop people from trying to park there. It has very little legal power: it's more the moral shame of making a disabled person's life more difficult that should work.

Kim had to miss swimming this week: her work had scheduled meetings, much to her annoyance. I nipped down to Sains to have a look at their new clothing - Ken needs new shorts - but didn't find anything that interesting. Nor shorts. Went swimming (by myself) Wed am instead, via Wilko to pick up birdseed, then back via Tesco for tonics the delivery had missed off. Absolutely knackered by the time I got back, so had lunch, watched another ep of 24 (we're on season 3 now, my least favourite. I just can't bring myself to like or care about any of the characters in this one) then took the rest of the day off.

Yesterday Kai helped me plant up the fruit bushes and move things around. I've repotted the acacia, and all the soft fruit is now in pots in a 'hedge' along the line of the dip Kai dug out when he was going to build a wall there (we don't think there'll be enough rocks left over once he's finished the patio to complete the job). It looks fine, and is very convenient for cropping. And my blueberry bushes now have more room between the two raised beds.

Had to spend half an hour putting stakes in the lower bed and tying twine around them, as the foxes (we have a vixen with three cubs that visit) had dug up my pumpkin plant. (They don't like running into the twine so tend to leave the bed alone.) The pumpkin plant has recovered, and today I planted the two marrow seedlings - that bed is now complete.

We have a LARGE bag of mange tout in the freezer ready for winter, and I'm thinking I'll lift all the plants - they're mostly finished now - and see if I can get a second crop to grow. It's fantastic having fresh homegrown mange tout and sugarsnaps. The cucumbers have finished too, so will try for a second crop of those.

This on the left is the clock Kai's been working on. The mechanism came from ebay and is over 100 years old, and he's built the wooden stand and pendulum covering himself - he's getting quite into carpentry. It still needs work, then he's going to make space for it in his room. Somehow.

Media... Bounty Killer, which is an absolute riot! Completely bonkers and huge fun. We all loved it! Stranger Things (seasons 1 and 2) which is fabulous. I wasn't sure I was going to like it - it's taken bits from every horror/scifi/thriller genre and mashed them together - but the more I watched the more addictive it became. It's bloody good!! We liked it so much we ordered the soundtrack CDs (Season 2 has arrived and is simply gloriously beautiful... and the first soundtrack arrived today - not quite as polished but still amazing.) Really looking forward to season 3 now. Finally watched The Owl Service... it's not aged well, and the acting isn't great, but it's still very unnerving. And there's an amazing interview with Alan Garner in the bonus features, which explains a lot! Then yesterday Ken and I watched Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (bought because I'm collecting Matthew Marsden films). It's a pretty standard creature feature, but fun, and silly, and a perfectly fine way to relax after another busy, and very hot, day.

And that's us up to date. There's a SpringFest event in Sandy Park Rd tomorrow that I want to go to, then we plan a driving lesson Sun with a possible diversion to Whitehall Garden Centre - I need some plant supports for the fruit bushes. Ken has a week off next week, so we may be doing things - will see what we all fancy!

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

?! ...fields of grumpy - oh, bullocks... ;)

Glad to hear the driving lessons are going well.

9:59 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

[pissing self laughing] Yers, BULLocks. Though the other would be... interesting...
Slow but steady, and he's gaining confidence. Can change gears without looking now, very smoothly. He's happy, I'm happy, it's all good.

10:10 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

I'm exhausted just from reading all that you've been doing! Glad all is going well.

5:36 pm  

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Tuesday, July 02, 2019

In brief...

After the monsoon, it's now become hot again, so Kai and I have put up the shading I bought last year for the greenhouse. And ye gods, does it make a difference! Suddenly everything is fruiting instead of curling up and dying in the heat! Home grown cucumbers and tomatoes, and I currently have mizuna and rocket, mixed spicy salad leaves, and watercress (a hybrid variety that grows beautifully in soil in a pot as long as you keep it very wet - deliciously tasty) sprouting ready to come in on the kitchen windowshelves. And fruit! Ken filled the raspberry pots with wonderful rich compost from the large bin, and they suddenly exploded. Three times the size they were, and we've had raspberries for dessert (warmed waffles, crème fraïche and fruit, topped with Tesco's own raspberry coulis, which is the tastiest I've found) three times so far. My blueberries are already producing too - having to pick them as they ripen or our blackbirds will nick them!

Next year I'll get my strawberry pots sorted out...

We're nearly in a position to get the horrible asbestos soilpipe, that's as old as the house, replaced. It leaks - Ken's patched it up over the years but it's now well past saving and a health risk (not to mention smelly!) I should be able to get that booked at the end of the week (it's already priced up and provisionally booked). Then we're also having the soffits, fascias and guttering replaced - Anglian confirmed this a.m. that the soffit's aren't asbestos, so we don't have to pay extra to have them removed. There's black mould growing on the ones outside the bathroom and our room, which is making its way inside, and that's a definite health risk, especially for Kai. It'll be good to have everything done!

Third gastroscopy... Well, the ulcers have all gone, but have left scars, and my stomach lining is still inflamed - so it looks like I'm on omeprazole for life. Oh joy...

Off to get ready for swimming!

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Friday, June 21, 2019

Summer Solstice Cheers! 

And Happy Birthday Wendy (and Peter for Monday).

Quick update bespangled with photos...

Ken enjoyed his birthday. He and Kai bussed to Trowbridge: enjoyed the jaunt. We ordered Chinese takeaway for dinner (Ken's choice!) which was very nice - even if the Shanghai Garden's computer system wouldn't let me register and I had to order over the phone instead (nothing's ever easy 'round 'ere...) Many thanks for his cards, folks!

The finale to Years and Years was just outstanding. I was thinking I'd not buy the boxed set as it was truly depressing (FAR too close to reality to be the least bit comfortable, especially Viv Rook as a UK Trumpesque figure was very nicely done. Viciously intelligent though, unlike the orange abomination. Then again, only a vegetative coma victim could be less intelligent than that loser...)

My next (and hopefully final) gastroscopy is Fri 28th June. Can't say I'm looking forward to it but fingers crossed the ulcers have completely gone and I can stop the omeprazole. Life is slowly growing less stressful (though no less busy) for me so that should help.

Kai constructed an arch frame for the wisteria sprouts we have coming up, out of an old branch we had in the garden. It works beautifully and the plant is happily growing up it.

I made the stupid mistake of weeding the front garden yesterday. All of it. Without a break. Hurt at the time and today I can barely bend over - can't move without everything hurting. But it looks SO much better! Even the side with too much grass is pretty good.

Must remember to do this sort of thing in little stages with a rest between them in future.

Meanwhile, indoors, I found some pretties for our room - hummingbirds at half price at Dunelm...

They fit beautifully in that corner, and the invisible fishing line holding them up is invisible under daylight.

My original orchid definitely has a flower spike!

More photos when it blooms.

Oh, and I got a letter today advising me my request to have 'disabled' lines on the road across our drive has been approved, so that should be done sometime within the next 8 weeks.

As usual lots more happened - it's been busy again - but most of it is either the usual stuff or I can't remember it... In the meantime...

I don't like garden gnomes - but this one was almost irresistible and Ken said to get it - so I did...

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Blogger AmandaHuffleduck said...

also late to comment. way late but...
that looks delicious!
were the doriyaki hard to make? (been ages since I've had some!)

congrats on the review,Ken!

12:45 am  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Home made doriyaki was a great success - so much that Kai prefers it to bought and I'm now committed to making it for dessert once a week. (Need to get back to Wah Yan Hong, my favourite oriental supermarket near Ken's work, to pick up more azuki bean paste. Yes, bit of a cheat, but I really don't want to spend hours and gas making it). So that was good!

10:59 am  

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Sunday, June 09, 2019

Forgot to post this...

How to sleep on the desk without stopping your human from working...(Ken, of course, not me!)

He's a GOOD boi!



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