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 ::

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


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.


The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.


Adventures in Orchids

Apparently I am now collecting them...

There's room for one - or maybe two, at a pinch - more on that bedroom windowsill (the only one in the house that's ideal for them). Let's see what I find. Well, that didn't last long...


EO - Everlasting orchid. Phalaenopsis. I've had this orchid for at least 15 years and it just keeps flowering...





AO - Alien face orchid. Phalaenopsis . Bought 2018 - lovely little flowers, all different patterns!





RO - Rescued orchid photo to come when it flowers. Phalaenopsis. Rescued from a bin up the road in 2019. Classic!






TO - Tiny orchid. Phalaenopsis. Bought at Tesco 21.8.20. It just begged to come home with me. How could I say no?





CO - Crimson orchid. Cambria. Another Tesco find. This one may be going to live in Ken's room once we've redecorated and put up the new shelving; it prefers a cooler, less sunny windowsill. If so, I'll need to find another cambrian to keep it company.






GO - Golden orchid. Phalaenopsis. Saw this one when I bought CO and left it behind - then immediately regretted it as soon as I got home. Never seen one like it before. Ken, bless him, went back over to Tesco in the rain and bought it for me...


















My IMDb ep summaries

(completed)
Arthur of the Britons
Sky
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
Zodiac
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Starhyke
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
Nightwalker
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Rayearth
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)
The Café

For later:

Missing Earthian ep
Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)


Silver birch at Eastwood 

Farm

"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)

Autumn...

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:
Muse
Transformers - IDW, Prime, Animated, Rescue Bots.

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.



Currently working on:
Haadri

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

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

Currently maintaining:
BCHS
BCW


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 

Sylverthorne

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

Joules' 

Haddock

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 Valkyrie.

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



Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 

2004

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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 

by 

Onna

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



The Zone Plant from
The Zone 

blog 

plant

OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
[::..Fun Places..::]
::HubbleSite
Stunning...
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: 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...)

[::..Anime/Manga..::]
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

Owned:
   DVD
   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

Owned:
   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

Owned:
   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

Owned:
   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

Owned:
   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust

Owned:
   DVD

   Vampire Hunter D Book 1



New Vampire Miyu

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


Yami no Matsuei

Owned:
   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.
   Sketchbook


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


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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

[::..archive..::]
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
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01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
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01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
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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
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01/12/2019 - 31/12/2019
01/01/2020 - 31/01/2020
01/02/2020 - 29/02/2020
01/03/2020 - 31/03/2020
01/04/2020 - 31/04/2020
01/05/2020 - 31/05/2020
01/06/2020 - 31/06/2020
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01/09/2020 - 30/09/2020
01/10/2020 - 31/10/2020
01/11/2020 - 30/11/2020
01/12/2020 - 31/12/2020
01/01/2021 - 31/01/2021
01/02/2021 - 28/02/2021
01/03/2021 - 31/03/2021

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Just a quick update.

Kai's birthday today - quiet, but he says he's enjoyed it. Favourite lunch and a curry-out for dinner, and a surprise card from Kim with a bar of chocolate! We gave him cash: his interests are now so specific it's almost impossible to find anything he's bound to like (and the white plushie Among Us figure I preordered has been cancelled as the peeps making them hadn't got the Among Us creators' approval. Ooops.)

His first Covid jab is booked for this Saturday at Stockwood, same place as mine, and Ken got his this evening at Supadrug in Broadmead (he got the AstraZeneca vaccine, so only a 5 minute wait before he was allowed to go. I had to wait 15 mins with the Pfizer one.)

We finished watching The Orville season 2 and it just gets better and better. Can't wait for season 3 (though the pandemic has delayed production so no idea when it'll be ready to view). We've also now finished Black Mirror season 4, which is very good. Next up is probably The Sentinel, which has FINALLY been completely released on DVD and which I got for my birthday. Looking forward to it!

About it for now. Hope everyone's safe and well and getting vaccinated as soon as possible.

Labels: , , , ,





2 Comments:

Blogger GoodTwin said...

I am determined to comment! (I have no idea where the haddock vanish to...)

Glad Kai had a good birthday and that the vaccinations have arrived for you all. I've got my first one booked for a couple of weeks, so everyone is getting there. It will be no time at all before we can come over!

5:29 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Can't wait!!!

11:58 pm  

Post a comment



Saturday, February 27, 2021

I started writing this on 25.2.21, but then things got hectic. Lots of photos below. 

Welcome to frog bonking season!

Yes, Roeg's Pool is seething with frogs. I anticipate a lot of frogspawn later...

Well, pretty much as usual it's been manic here. But good manic...

Back before Yule I decided that my Isogel pillow had finally become too uncomfy for my neck, so took the plunge and ordered a Tempur classic pillow. Was unimpressed when it arrived - heavy, and a bit like pressing down onto thick mud (except not wet), so wasn't expecting much - but wow. Can't remember the last time I slept so well. It's amazing, unbelievably comfortable! Never going back to anything different now!

We've had the coffee table in the middle of the lounge for years, and I was getting a bit fed up with it being always cluttered. Plus I needed more surface area for my plants, especially the citruses while they're growing up (which they are doing very well). So I googled side tables, and found this beauty -

- at Dunelm. It's perfect, and looks a lot more expensive than it actually was. VERY pleased with it! (And the coffee table is now empty except for Kai's computer tools and a box of tissues. I'd be happy to see it go but I suppose it is still useful.)

A few weeks ago I was tidying up, and noticed a folded piece of newspaper tucked away on a bookcase. So I opened it out...

It's the double page Daily Mirror newspaper moon map, released back on Friday 18th July 1969 just before the first lunar landing, that I'd cut out and kept.

Ye gods. It's survived, and I bought some acid-free backing paper and conservation grade sticky stuff, and Kai and I finagled it into a glass frame.

And that takes me back. I was 10, and vividly remember (watching or hearing, can't remember now whether we had it on TV or the radio) that "small step", then going out into the garden and waving at the moon...

I feel old!

Anyway, after putting that up, we thought we'd populate the stairwell, so the next one to go up was the Open University poster I ordered a year or so ago - Earth from Space. It's double sided, so it's in an acid-free plastic envelope so we can turn it periodically.

Together they look quite nice!

Next month I plan to dig out the Simon Drake poster I got when Ken and I went to see him at the Bristol Hippodrome - must be about 26 years ago now? - and get that put up too! Photo when done.

I had cause to physically go down to Sainsbury's a couple of weeks ago, and found a clock lying on a wall. Don't know about anywhere else, but around here, if you put something out on your wall it's an invitation for anyone who wants it to just take it, whether there's a note or not (I did it with a whole pile of very large plant pots I no longer needed and they were snapped up in about 6 hours!) Anyway, it was rather nice, so I went and did the shopping - took about 45 mins, I wanted to browse their clothing - and decided that if it was still there on the way back I'd bring it home with me.

It was.

It wasn't working, but with Kai that's not even a thing, so he fitted a silent mechanism for me, and there it is! It catches the light beautifully, and is so pretty! (All the round things are 'crystals', so it sparkles in the light.)

Then I was looking at pretty bedding on amazon, and found this...

Couldn't resist - and it's gorgeous. Jewel coloured and wonderful thick soft pure cotton, feels fantastic against the skin. Debating getting another...

The orchids are doing well. GO has a new flower spike (I had planned to repot it when it had finished flowering but that will have to wait now)

EO's current flowers are a lot smaller than they should be, so when it's finished I shall cut the whole spike off and let it sleep for a few months - it's been in flower now for about a year and a half and the rest will do it good.

RO is now down to one (perfect) flower, so perhaps not as long lasting as the others, but still an absolute beauty.

Tyjer is being his usual self...



Media!

We recently bought a decent DVD/Bluray multi region player - we now have one device instead of three! Much better - and have been buying the odd Bluray now we have a player that actually plays them. Ken and I watched The Purge (which I found up at Cash Converter in Broadwalk, along with Prison Break season 3: the two of them for £2.60. I like the two main actors in this - they were great together in Legends of Tomorrow so wanted to see them together in something else, and at that price it doesn't matter if I hate it!) The Purge is interesting - thought-provoking, which I hadn't expected. Won't buy any more, but it was good to see the first one.

Zodiac has great reviews, and with that cast I thought we'd give it a go. It's rather good!

We all watched Watchmen (the film) in preparation for Watchmen (the series). The series takes its cue from the graphic novel ending though, so I had to explain to K&K what that was. We still prefer the film ending, but the series is very good indeed.

And then there's The Orville. Bloody hell. I'd say Orville and Expanse are THE best sci-fi available today. Orville is superb. It's touted as Star Trek as it should have been, and yes, in part it is, but it's so much more... Half way through season 1 I HAD to order season 2, which arrived yesterday, so we'll probably start it tonight. Fabulous series.

(Also bought The Expanse season 4 on Bluray (was cheaper than DVD, no idea why), but we'll have to watch season 3 first as it's been a couple of years...)

And then it was my birthday, and I got a fantastic present - my first Covid-19 innoculation at Stockwood Medical Centre! Surprisingly easy and quick, completely painless, and apart from feeling a bit more tired and achey than usual I feel fine now. Hoping K&K can get theirs soon too.

The other presents were fantastic too - Alpahville and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead, and a moon lamp and organic chocolates and The Lathe of Heaven, a gorgeous little Chokin pot from Kai, and robot soap (yes, you did read that right, thanks Sue!), and a bottle of Prosecco from Kim, who I discovered had her first jab in January, as she's a key worker with the Brandon Trust, so fingers crossed we can start going swimming again when Jubilee Pool reopens end of March!

And today Kai and I planted garlic and Dutch irises in the garden and saw the biggest bumblebees ever in the heathers: I have a good dozen tomato shoots on kitchen window/in the greenhouse during the day, while Ken went for a walk with Dawn and to pick up some oxygenating plants for the pools, to encourage the frogs and any newts that are still here. The daphne up at the greenhouse has only just started flowering and the perfume is filling the back garden already - absolutely beautiful. Happy garden. Happy owners!

Will try for a rest tomorrow!

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sue said...

So many things to comment on. The side table is lovely and the duvet gorgeous! What luck with the clock! When we finally get to visit next I can see the trip upstairs will now be a slow one while I stop and read!
Glad you had a good birthday.

5:37 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

I am so looking forward to when you can next visit!

11:05 pm  

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Monday, January 25, 2021

It's been a very strange start to 2021! Update starting from today and working backwards... 

Yesterday morning... (OK, starting from yesterday and working backwards!)


Last night I thought to myself - it's about time you reported Luke Jones (of Fixit) to the gov dept responsible for tax (after all, we paid the costs of the work to build our drive into his personal bank account, which I believe is somewhat illegal if, as we assumed, he planned to not declare it), so logged into google to check on the status of the so-called company...

I found this...

Rogue traders imprisoned for fraudulent home improvement work.

I read it - jaw dropping further and further open and eyes widening as I did so. I had to read it twice. And then - imagine me pogoing around the house fist-pumping the air and singing Justified and Ancient as loud as I could - all virtually, of course, it was 2 a.m. and although Ken's on two days annual leave he's not sleeping all that well atm, didn't want to wake him.

These are the relevant bits. (The site is public and I've provided the link so I don't think this is illegal).

David (69) and Luke Jones (30), both of Bank Road, Pilning, appeared at Bristol Crown Court on 25 June after pleading guilty in February to a single charge of participating in a fraudulent business. The pair were imprisoned and made subject to a largely indefinite Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) banning them from cold calling at properties and delivering leaflets and fliers to them.

The court heard that the case involved a total of 18 victims of the pair's tactics from which they generated in excess of £70,000, but attempted to gain much more. However, where costs of rectification works were known, the losses to victims were put at £90,000.

The case was taken by South Gloucestershire Council's Trading Standards team who first started investigating the pair four years ago when they looked into a business called Fix It Roofing which had targeted two elderly residents in Warmley by cold calling them.

It was established that the pair had approached a recently bereaved 81-year-old resident and initially made a verbal agreement with her to clean her UPVC porch for just £70. However, once she had given her agreement David Jones, who used the false name of 'Johnny', and his son Luke became intimidating towards her and demanded more payment, as well as doing additional work not agreed to. They drove her to the bank for payment twice and took a total of £4,618 from her which basically wiped out her life savings.

Further investigations revealed that the pair used other business names such as Fix It Building & Landscaping, B&C Building and Landscaping and Fix It Landscaping and Driveway Contractors, and not only cold called victims, but also approached people advertising for building work to be done on various online platforms [[that includes us]]. Several other victims were also discovered, including a number traced through banking records in the name of Luke Jones who accepted payments for jobs by bank transfer.

Trading Standards officers worked closely with the Council's Anti-Social Behaviour team during the investigation, particularly regarding the CBOs. The CBO is indefinite in the case of David Jones and, in addition to banning him from cold calling and leaflet dropping, he is indefinitely banned from working on behalf of himself or another regarding building maintenance work without first having specific written approval from Trading Standards.

Luke Jones is subject to the same CBO regarding cold calling and leafleting, but in his case Trading Standards' approval of his involvement in building maintenance work is only required for 10 years from date of sentence.


We probably didn't start the ball rolling, but my complaints to Citizen's Advice, their referrral to Trading Standards, and my CCJ against them must all have helped. We may never see the money we're due, but the sacks of shit won't be able to scam anyone else - for at least 10 years in the case of Luke, and never for that vile little bully his father!

I've been grinning fit to burst all day.

And I used the first saffron (all six threads) I picked from my crocuses - back in the summer, even though they shouldn't really start producing until next autumn - in the rice for tonight's teriyaki chicken, and it worked beautifully! Lovely yellow colour and a subtle but very pleasant taste. A good investment, it appears. Chuffed about that!

Muse had a new album out (back in 2018. Why we only find out about these two years after I will never know...) So I bought it... Simulation Theory (which I keep calling Simulation Therapy...) You know how much I love Muse, and this is the best yet. When it arrived I played it three times straight through (seriously, usually once is enough!) and had to resist playing it a fourth time. I've played it again, pretty much every day, usually more than once. I'm addicted. It's fabulous! I think Thought Contagion is my favourite...

Although... Algorithm is bloody good too...

Ah, of course! I keep thinking it's Simulation Therapy because that's what it is for me - therapy. The whole album makes me me feel GREAT!

So, having got that sorted out... It's been a month of making mental connections. Not sure I've ever mentioned how much I absolutely loathe those hideous more than life-sized nutcracker soldiers that seem to be in every xmas decoration and tableau in the US for the last few years. I can't stand the things! But I couldn't work out why. Well, they're pretty ugly, but my reaction was a lot more than simple dislike.

Then I remembered.

Waaaaaaay back, when dinosaurs ruled the earth and I was just a wee kiddie, we watched a Doctor Who episode that scared me rigid. All I could remember was toy soldiers chasing the Dr and his companions through a wood made of letters. A couple of years ago I found a Dr Who twitter channel, and described it, asking if it really existed or if I'd had a nightmare. The owner said no, it's a real episode, part of The Mind Robber. It was good to know I hadn't dreamed it, but then I left it - until, with a Christmas24 channel film on the background, I realised that OF COURSE those hideous nutcrackers reminded me of the toy soldiers in the episode! Why it hadn't clicked before I don't know - but anyway, I found the DVD on ebay and bought it, and we watched it a couple of weeks ago. It's actually not bad, as ancient Doctor Who series' go. And the toy soldiers are still really creepy!

This is fantastic news!. Swimming is the thing I've missed most of all with the lockdowns. My health has suffered too - normal exercise just doesn't do the same... I shall be back three weeks after I've had my first Covid-19 jab.

We've been catching up with the watching stuff, of course...

Johnny Mnemonic was released in 1995 - Kai's birthyear - and the film starts on Jan 17th (or 15th? I though the screen said 15 but everyone else says 17...) January 2021. Kai had never seen it, so we watched it on the 17th. Rollicking good fun, if very violent, and it's aged quite well.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse... wow... just wow. I was expecting something fun, but this is extraordinary. Really good.

Unfortunately the same can't be said for Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie - which is absolutely dire. Such an embarrassment (for everyone who was in it too...)

We watched Avengers: Endgame in preparation for Spider-Man: Far from Home. Which is... OK. Not brilliant, though quite a bit of fun.

The Planets is an amazing watch. It strikes a really nice balance between the science and comprehensibility for the masses. (Muse's The Void, which is on Simulation Theory, is the intro music too. Nice choice!) I could have done with a tiny bit more science, to be honest, but it's still beautiful and compelling.

We followed that up with Planetary Traveler, which I picked up years ago but which we'd never quite managed to watch. The whole thing is here: Planetary Traveller

And it's gorgeous!

I picked up Pokémon Detective Pikachu because Ryan Reynolds is in it, not expecting much - but it's another surprise, really good and gorgeously made (although you do need to be familiar with Pokemon for it to make sense - we are because Kai went through the craze when he was little).

Voyage of Time: Life's Journey was a xmas present from (ach! Sue? GoodTwin? really sorry, I can't remember!) It's a fascinating film, nothing actually new in it, but beautifully made and quite haunting. Prospect - xmas presesent from (again, Sue or GoodTwin) is very good, obviously low budget but extremely effective regardless. I'd recommend both!

Another one I picked up ages ago is Kick-Ass 2, but I've been put off watching it because it stars Jim Carrey, and I can't stand him. Ken and I decided to watch it, just to get it over with, and... it's... exceptionally violent, and the gutter humour is off-putting, although fitting in-film... and... OK, I didn't even recognise Jim Carrey, and he was rather good, so looks like he's aged well... Can't really say I enjoyed it, but I'll probably watch it again at some point - it's kind of compelling...

I bought Mune: Guardian of the Moon for Kai for Yule and it's utterly sublime. Stunning. Went straight onto the Best of the Best shelf. It's like nothing I've ever seen, completely original (as far as I can tell), and gob-smackingly beautiful. LOVE it.

Kai decided to get himself Netflix back before Yule. I mentioned that I'd read about Love, Death and Robots and that it sounded good...

GOOD?? Wow, I sometimes amaze myself with understatement. It is absolutely brilliant. And clever. And uproariously funny - in places - and viciously satirical - in places - and tear-jerkingly distressing - in places - and overall... wow. Worth getting Netflix just for this. Really hope a second season materialises.

Way back just after the dinosaurs extinction, I watched a thing called Search. Well, I watched a couple of eps of it, anyway. I remembered liking Doug McClure. So I hunted through the IMDb and then amazon and found both the original pilot, Probe, and the SEARCH series, and in a fit of nostalgia bought both from mum T for me for Yule.

Ken and I are currently hauling through it, but it's aged horribly. The rampant sexism is teeth-gritting cringeworthy - which does at least make it a somewhat interesting social document. But I can't recommend it to anyone.

I'm about half way through Guns, Germs and Steel (another pressie from Sue/GoodTwin... it's no good, you're going to have to sign your names on presents!). It's very good, if very depressing, but excellent for world-building background info. Also inspires questions, always a good thing!

And I think that's probably it for the moment. I've been busy, of course - we have a new book proposal to go to Chelsea tomorrow (details if it gets taken up) - Ken (who was eligible for a free flu jab so finally got one on the 9th) is still working from home, but trying to go out for walks for exercise with Kai as often as time and weather allow. Kai is currently fending off a cold, so not at his best, but is still busy with online friends and his own projects. Can't do much in the garden until the weather improves, but then we have all the planting planned out. I should have a bit more time to devote to the veg this year, we have no major house-thingie things planned!

And finally - this is my Ryuk mask. Ai lubs it!!


Later, everyone. Please stay safe and well.

... off to listen to Simulation Theory again...

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sue said...

What excellent news about those bastards! I get so angry when hear about elderly people being ripped off by these evil gits!
That mask is rather alarming :-)

5:04 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

ROFL! It's good, innit? Thinking I might wear it next Hallowe'en...
As for Fixit - oh yes. Hugely satisfying good news. Feel so sorry for their victims though (not us so much, as I fight back). Hopefully they can get some retribution.

7:20 pm  

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Saturday, January 02, 2021

It's 2.1.21, and it snowed!

Not enough to really settle, but it was pretty while it lasted.

More later. Just wanted to say that.

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy 2021.

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Sunday, December 20, 2020

Later edit...

It was raining when I wrote the earlier bit. Then it stopped, and I looked out the bedroom window, and there they were - the sky had cleared. So Kai lugged the telescope out, and we had a good look, and he took a load of photos just using my little point and click camera, so not the best quality. But there they are...


Saturn above, Jupiter below. If you squint, you can make out two moons - one of the three we saw at 1 o'clock, and one, very close to the planet, directly opposite.

Magical!!

Hoping it's clear tomorrow so we can see the closest approach, but if not, at least we've seen this. Best anniversary present ever.


Quick update, as I forgot to say earlier...

It's our 31st wedding anniversary tomorrow (for some reason I keep thinking it's the 32nd...) and it's also the occasion of the closest conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter for 800 years. We checked last night and we can see them above the houses on the other side of the road from outside the greenhouse - as long as there are no clouds. So whether or not we'll be able to actually see the moment is open to question. I've been pestering the weather gods with appeals for a couple of hours of clear sky just after dusk... please keep fingers crossed.

EO's new sprig is coming along nicely.

AO's flower spike is also doing well (it refused to allow me to get it to spiral around the support, but that's how it goes when your orchid has a mind of its own...)

One contented, warm and well-fed cat!

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1 Comments:

Blogger Sue said...

Happy anniversary! I'm going to try to remember to look out for the planets tonight. Like you, fingers crossed it stops raining!

11:41 am  

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Thursday, December 17, 2020

Well I never!

I do enjoy being pleasantly surprised/proved wrong. Two young engineers arrived at the PDSA around lunchtime today: first I knew was when one phoned as we were finishing lunch (vegan 'pulled pork' - made from a tin of jackfruit and a completely delicious home made sauce - in a toasted bun, lovely!) and introduced himself. I went out to the top of the garden and had a nice discussion with him: he said he'd see if the wiring would make it possible to move the light to the side of the big building there - thus pointing parallel to our house, not straight at us - and angle it so it made life easier. I said that would be absolutely ideal, crossed my fingers, and left him to it.

And he did! We now have a little star instead of a floodlight and a mellow glow hitting the PDSA courtyard there as the light is angled down. Obviously we can still see it, but the difference is amazing. Our wildlife have their nature reserve back, and we have our privacy.

I am very happy! Going to drop round there tomorrow (or Sat if it's raining too hard tomorrow) with a card, a thank you note to the manager, a donation and a box of chocs for the staff. They certainly deserve it.

And Kai took his bike in to the new bike place on Sandy Park Rd - he qualified for the new council/govmt £50 voucher to get one's bike serviced: a one-off thing to encourage people to bike instead of drive that has been taken up widely across the city - and a couple of hours later was able to collect it! Apparently they did a great job and he was able to ride it home.

So for once it's been a very successful day, and a major source of stress is gone.

Would be nice if everything went as smoothly, but I'm not complaining!

Later, all!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

So, update.

The noise...

Kai and I went outside a couple of times to check it wasn't coming from anywhere else, and I gestured angrily towards BND's house - which I guess he saw on his security camera, because after that the TV (or more likely speaker? I don't know or care how he's arranged his living room as long as it doesn't bother me) volume dropped right back down to normal. Well, the TV is still a little loud, but not enough to cause stress, so we're ignoring it. I suspect it's because Suzanne's hearing isn't so good, I vaguely remember him barking something like that back when we were still letting him speak at us...

Now we have a new problem. Back in 2010 the PDSA at the back of us had a security light installed. It wasn't blinding, but it shone directly into the garden, so I contacted them and asked if they could do something about it. At the time they changed the angle a little, and while it was far from perfect, it did alleviate the glare by enough to allow us to skywatch without too much hassle. Well, on the 24th November they had a new one installed - higher up the wall and absolutely blindingly glaring into the back of the house and all of the garden. It casts shadows through the bathroom and landing windows, floods the garden with an appallingly brilliant white light, and leaves us feeling like we're living under a prison floodlight.

I rang them omn the 25th, explained the problem, and asked if they could do something about it. At some point the engineers turned it - very slightly, nowhere near enough to make any material difference. So I wrote to the manager, dropped it off this Mon, and on Tues had an apologetic email saying they'd referred it to the engineers for them to deal directly with us. Yeah, sure. I'll believe that when I see it.

Well, if they haven't got back to us by next Mon, I'll get their contact details from the PDSA - and probably contact their HQ as well, as this is just ridiculous. We have no privacy and no chance of skywatching (tried to watch for Geminids on the 13th, couldn't see a bloody thing), our wildlife have no security, our quality of life has gone down and my stress levels way up. After all we've done for them, too!!

Very unhappy. Will let you know what happens.

Media... we had a splurge on films. I found The Loft cheap on amazon (bought it for Wentworth Miller, one of my favourite characters in Legends of Tomorrow - we already have Equilibrium, which stars my other favourite LoT actor Dominic Purcell). It was... interesting. Very unpleasant characters but the story was intriguing.

Revolver is fun but has a strange ending. I think it could be taken in several different ways - a method of harmonising character traits, perhaps, or psychological control over 'enemies'... An interesting, open-ended watch. Thanks Wendy - we rather enjoyed it!

Also have to thank Wendy for sending me Her. Kai wanted to see this as well, and... wow. It's one of the most complex, emotionally brutal and oddly uplifting films I've ever seen. We absolutely loved it, and for me it's now a yardstick by which to measure future films. Superb. Not an easy watch, but an I-can-run-out-of-superlatives-SO-easily triumph of cinema.

(Made the mistake of seeing what else the director had done... Jackass?? WHY!!???...)

Kai took out a subscription to Netflix (it has stuff he really wanted to see) so we all settled down to watch Over the Moon, which is beautiful (I caught the main song on tumblr and was intrigued...) Adorable, whimsical, gorgeously animated - yes, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

What I didn't enjoy was going down with a week's dose of gastroenteritis a couple of weeks ago. No fun whatsoever. Would very much like to NOT get that again, plskthnx.

We're currently working our way through Jonathan Creek (got to the end of Season 3 of Deep Space 9 and decided to take a break until after Yule, as we have quite a pile of new films to watch over the season). Such fun!

Then this happened - I cried.

There's more, of course, but nothing too important. We're pretty much ready for the celebrations, and Ken has our anniversary and the next day off, so a short week next week. Our tree and lights went up last week of November - house is very pretty - and all cards have been sent off. Now just planning to take it easy. We're lucky, we don't have visitors over Yule anyway and don't usually go out much, so the tiers/lockdown don't really affect us much.

I did treat myself to something though - My Little Prime (or Optimus Pony, if you prefer...)


The tail moves through 360°.

Big Bad Toy Store, of course. So cute!

All for now. Please stay safe and well, everyone, and we hope you have a relatively stress free Yuletide.

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

I spoke too soon. The noise is back, louder than ever. Will explore the options open for dealing with noisy neighbours...

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Blogger Sue said...

Oh no. You have my sympathies. I absolutely loathe noise intrusion (no, really? says Carol), it really stresses me out to the point where I want to lash out. It's so selfish! Although on this occasion as you say, it is just possible he doesn't realise. But from all you've said, once he is made aware, he may not care anyway.
Fingers tightly crossed you can get something sorted very soon!

8:44 am  

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Friday, November 20, 2020

Later edit: Well, the volume from next door is back to its normal, only-discernible-by-me-if-I-listen-VERY-hard level, so I guess the TV has been moved back to where it was originally. Goodgood.

Here we go again.

Well, it hasn't quite been a month, and it has been busy, plus I spent the last week suffering from a rather unpleasant dose of gastroenteritis and felt too ill to do very much, but that's now cleared up and I have a little time to spare.

Photos, of course.

I treated myself to a new miniature rose...

... and found that the original one was sprouting buds. (It's not supposed to do that until next year, even if it IS in the greenhouse.)

I think I mentioned I bought 30 or so saffron crocus bulbs earlier in the year (to see if I can grow my own saffron: Ken loves it and it's bloody expensive to buy). Well, the 30 have turned into 65, and I have the first flowers appeared (they aren't supposed to do that until next year...)

Then again, I seem to have this knack with plants. They seem to like growing for me. This is in Derpy's windowframe (yes, alright, I know she needs cleaning!):

Even the teazels are doing unusual things...

(At least, I've never known them do this before. Perhaps it's a natural thing for teazels?)

AO's new flower spike is coming along well...

And EO's latest flowers have finished - and the next flower spike appeared...

In other news, Ken's room is just about finished and looking pretty good - just needs a quick touch up of the doorframe paint, the new door, and a lampshade. Found one we like, but it's a bit small. May buy it anyway, for the time being.

I treated myself to an indoor fountain, which is absolutely beautiful, and I'm sure is doing my BP a lot of good.

Which is just as well, as BND has got himself satellite TV, and mounted the TV itself on the (hollow) chimney breast. Which means it echoes right through our house, overwhelms our TV volume, and disturbs Ken while he's working. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he didn't realise what he was doing and write to him advising him. Will let you know what happens.

(Oh yes, and he got someone in to fix the leaking guttering - not a cowboy for once, Apex Building Sevices summin, though which one I'm not sure, there are several of similar names around here. It seems to have done the job, and meant I was able to cancel the Anglian appt I'd made for the 25th Nov.)

Kai and I risked a trip to Keynsham before the lockdown - I had to buy some wholefood stuff for a couple of new recipes, and Conscience Foods is currently the easiest shop to get to - so we had a look through the charity shops. Picked up a few DVDs (saving three of them for Yule), but not much else and the weather was less than wonderful, so weren't there for long.

Kai's now completed the paving right around the greenhouse, and it's wonderful! Soooo good to have a safe, non-trip, solid surface to walk and work on. It could do with a little expansion, but that can wait, the basics are done. Photos when it's not raining!

That's the most important news. We're still working through DS9 (middle of season 3 now) and alternating with Jonathan Creek (just finishing season 2). I have a hankering to rewatch Swamp Thing (probably by myself, next year) and we still have the first couple of seasons of Continuum to dip into. I've bought and frozen the Gressingham duck for dinner on the 25th Dec: the rest I'll pick up on weekly visits over to Tesco. Yule tree going up this weekend!

Will catch everyone later - hope you're all safe and well and coping OK with the current situation, wherever you may be.

(While I remember - ongoing apologies for any typos in these posts. I haven't yet found a way to spell check in this new format.)

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2 Comments:

Blogger GoodTwin said...

The teazels and Derpy's appendage are looking slightly alien... :) I think lots of plants are confused by the weather - I know I am...

Glad to hear things are still going smoothly, apart from BND.

3:59 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Alien... yers, that figures...

Heh, I'm still in T-shirts (though I have moved from shorts to sweatpants now)!

Hope you're all well and the two new furbabies have settled in just fine.

5:31 pm  

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