Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.
August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
And a few more.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
My Sultan's Palace iris has started flowering!
They are magnificent! Will try to take more pics tomorrow.
Friday, May 19, 2017
Kai's now had 3 (of 4) exams, and hasn't enjoyed any of them, even Galaxies and the Universe, which we thought would be OK. Will have to see what the results are.
On the medical front: my root canal filling now done and fine. Kai's meds are being changed after the exams, so fingers crossed the new ones will be more effective. Ken's last set of Hep C meds (the ones that are an almost 100 percent perfect cure: headaches and insomnia the only side effects and the course only 12 weeks long as opposed to the first one that was 9 months and left him feeling like he had permanent bad 'flu) seem to have done the trick: his last test, the one the consultants insist has never been known to fail, showed absolutely no trace of the virus. He has a final check in December - if that is also clear we can say he's cured.
You can imagine the relief. It's been 28 years. We first found out he had it when he came with me to give blood back when we were both working for BT...
Films... Moana, which is wonderful.
Unlike Boxing Helena. Quite why I wanted to watch it I'm not exactly sure. Except it stars Julian Sands, who I quite like. It's not very good. Boring soft-core porn with a nasty twist.
Kai mentioned he'd heard good things about The Expanse. I found it reasonably priced on amazon, and as it sounded good ordered it. We watched it over the last week and a bit and ye gods it's fabulous! Absolutely deserves its IMDb rating, if not more. The best - intelligent, subtle, complex, entirely believable - sf series I think I've ever seen. Alas, the second season isn't out on DVD until July, so we now have to possess ourselves in patience for a couple of months. Seriously, if the SyFy channel can produce work like this - why don't they more often?!
And finally, it rained! And rained and rained. Ground now nicely saturated, pools refilled, and waterbutts completely full again.
And of course, the obligatory garden photos. Kai helped me plant the sweetcorn this afternoon..
First strawberry of the year...
Off to make supper while listening to J-pop on radio garden. Later!
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
New potting bench! (It wasn't originally that colour: I've painted on 'golden brown' wood preservative to give it that extra bit of protection). Nice, innit?
Forgot to say - the sky was clear on Sunday night for the Moon-Jupiter conjunction: took the 'scope out and saw the planet and its four main moons (three on one side, the fourth one on the other), and the lens is powerful enough that we could see Jupiter's bands and the red spot! Wonderful, wonderful sight.
It's probably time for me to start the major scanning operation - all Kai's baby/child photos...
Monday, May 08, 2017
Well that was busy!
Let's see, what have we been up to...
Chilling, actually. I'm following Dr Ng's orders and exercising three times a day (admittedly, the third time is a bit more relaxed in the shower. I massage my shoulders with my octopus then too), and (mostly) managing a rest early afternoon, although that went completely out the window this weekend. We've done a little gardening - I've planted more beans, and K&K assembled my potting bench yesterday in time for me to paint wood preservative on the underside (did the topside today). Tomorrow Ken has annual leave, and is going to prepare the location - a good patch of gravel at the far end of the greenhouse. Just in time as my sweetcorn need hardening off!
The bench... well, it's a good height, and seems quite sturdy, but one of the legs is a quarter of an inch shorter than the others, which ain't great. We can level it with the gravel, but given what it cost I'm not impressed. It's also been designed so that it's impossible to use an electric drill to pre-drill the screwholes, so Kai had to struggle with the hand-drill. Anyway, it should be in place tomorrow, and I'll post a photo or two next blog.
I've been watching Masterchef over the last few weeks, (I usually do every year, sometimes it's good for new recipe ideas, ones I can actually make, I mean, rather than the restaurant quality dishes they end up making!) so we haven't watched a lot of films. But Kai was fancying watching National Treasure (I thought we had it but found we didn't, so bought it cheap on amazon with the sequel), which we watched last night. I honestly remembered less than about 10% of it, so it was like watching a new film. Quite fun, though I could have done without the smug chauvinism. Hoping to watch the sequel tomorrow night, the one night this week that Masterchef isn't on (it's finals week)!
We have Crystal Clear coming to measure up for the windows in a little over an hour. Off to make lunch first!
Monday, May 01, 2017
Finished. And it's not bad, even though I didn't have a brief to work to, or find out the title until last Wed...
I ended up committed to 8K words by last Fri and the remainder today. Tight, but proved very doable. Not sure when it'll be published - has to be edited first, but I've been told I will at least get to see the final book before it goes to print. Hopefully they won't need to do too much to it.
And everything fitted in around appts. Tues Dentist refilled the problem tooth with more of the medical stuff and I go back in a couple of weeks for the final filling, though since a chunk of the enamel has now broken off, it may be more work than originally planned. It is dead now though, no more pain. I researched for the book during Kai's counselling appt on Wed, then went with him to his drs appt on Thurs a.m. Andrew from Crystal Clear came in the evening and we're now waiting for the surveying bloke to come take the measurements for the first round of replacement windows: lounge, Kai's room and our room. Friday was my MATS appt with Dr Ng: he told me I need a holiday. Three months in Hawaii would do. Yes, he actually said that. In the absence of that, I have a routine of twists and stretches to do three times a day, with hand exercises every hour. And I have to lie down for at least 15 mins every day and do nothing. (Actually, I play my old New Age ambient music through the CD player I found at Weston, which now goes by the name of Cosmos since he's round like the little UFO. It's fun re-finding tracks I particularly like!) And he gave me the carpal tunnel injection into my wrist, oh joy. So that's me told. And now I have both Ken and Kai nagging me to stop bombing around and rest. Which will be fine if they carry on helping around the house...
Have had fun with amazon too. My old potting table managed to break (I think a fox may have jumped onto it) and while we've propped it up, it's a bit precarious. So I found a nice pressure treated wooden one on amazon and ordered it. Details said delivery in 3 - 5 days: was it hell! Two weeks - and then I got the email saying it had been despatched, went to track details only to find it was showing as undeliverable and on its way back to supplier! WTF??
Contacted amazon, who apologised and arranged to send a replacement.
Same thing happened again.
Contacted amazon again, who apologised, refunded the money, and said they'd investigate.
Just before I left for my MATS appt, potting bench was delivered.
SO contacted amazon again, and asked how to pay. Luckily that just involved me giving them written permission to call for the payment again.
It's a nice little bench. Will photo once it's assembled and in place.
The obligatory garden photos...
Hazels and ramsons.
My life has been a long sequence of synchronicities, the latest one on Sat when Ken came with me to Tesco to pick up the heavy stuff in Wheelie. There are now a series of tiny Transformer turbo chargers blind bags and Ken said I should grab one. So I did.
It was Starscream...
But does this mean he'll be reappearing in the Transformers: The Last Knight film, out in June? Fingers crossed!
We watched Inferno on Filmflex last night. Interesting and thought-provoking.
Not sure if I mentioned radio garden anywhere: it was mentioned on tumblr. I'm currently listening to J-Pop live from Tokyo. Such fun! (The local ads are annoying, but I guess they must have to pay for the service somehow, it's free to use...)
Time to get dinner served. Roast chicken tonight as it's a Bank Holiday. Later!!
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Quickest of all posts while I take a short break. Now 6K words into the unicorns book (heh, that came out as Unicron to start with!) and four 'chapters' completely written (of 8, possibly 9, see how we go). Pretty relentless but working OK so far. Just hope they like it!
The view of the wisteria from our window. It smells glorious...
... and then it suddenly occurred to me. Transformers: Prime Starscream is a unicorn...
... back to it...
Friday, April 21, 2017
Been a busy week. A lot of gardening - lots of flowers this year - and planting out of peas, mangetout and sugarsnaps. Hopefully the forecast chilly nights won't do any serious damage...
Kai's ferritin level is now down to 1,986. YAY! Heading in the right direction and under 2,000 at last. Needs to get down to under 1,000 before they'll revise the schedule, so still some more vensections to come.
Ken has been down in Devon, staying with friends and researching for another book, since Wed (back tomorrow). Kai is taking a long time to recover from the bug. I'm still coughing, but mostly better. Which is just as well, as I have committed to a book...
Another of Chelsey's authors was supposed to write it, but found herself without enough time, so I was asked to step in. It's a little book (10K words) on unicorns. Stupidly short time to write it - next Friday, in fact - due to reasons. Don't ask. But it's unicorns. It's also apparently for a much younger demographic than I've ever written for before, and has to be breezy and snappy (rather than my usual 'staid and calm' style), which will be... interesting, and subject to heavy editing if they feel it needs it. But it's unicorns! How could I refuse?
So will be just a wee bit busy for the next week...
My everlasting orchid is doing its thing again...
(Anyone remember the Tetra of Immortality? Got it around 1999 and it didn't disappear - not die, we never found a corpse - until overnight on Sat Nov 5th 2005. Post from Sun 6th: It's a mystery... The Tetra of Immortality has vanished. Disappeared. Gone without a trace. Not there any more. Possibly disapparated. Lutra suggested it's returned to the Mothership... My orchid seems to be trying to outdo it. It's now flowered continuously since March 2014.)
Saturday, April 15, 2017
Let's see if I can remember what's happened...
Still coughing and spluttering with the cold/flu bug. It's a really nasty one and hangs on for weeks - and now Ken has it too. Oh joy. But we're coping.
This week has been much as usual. Shopping, much gardening, scanning/burning/filing the first batch of photo albums (next batch are all of Kai from birth to about 4 - 12 albums worth...) and general tidying up. Kim and I went to Almondsbury garden centre on Thursday: only bought a couple of bags of potting compost and a few small bits and pieces, but have now found the perfect conifer for out the front to prevent peeping toms from peering into my lounge. Wrong time of year to plant it though - need to move a couple of other plants first, so will get it in the autumn. It was a fun day, with loads of catching up and laughter (Kim has an evil sense of humour... I planted half my sweetcorn seeds (all of them would fill my lower raised bed, and I need half of it for peas, courgettes, marrows and pumpkins: will save the other half for next year) in the greenhouse on Wed, and they're already showing above the compost! Have also hardened off the first lot of pea plants and built the supports for them - will plant them out later this afternoon. Both beds now have copper tape around them, and I bought and applied some slug pellets from T&M which are guaranteed kid-, pet- and wildlife-safe, so fingers crossed everything will be OK. I'm currently re-reading Doris Lessing's Shikasta series. Got it when it first came out (1979: I was at uni) and obviously liked it enough to collect the rest of the books, and mark my favourite bits by turning down the pages (Yes, Sue, I know that's a sin...), but re-reading it now... it has not aged well. That could be because much of it reads like history, depressingly, but despite the cleverness of the writing (for the time) and the prescience displayed I did not enjoy it. Currently half way through book 2, The Marriages Between Zone Three, Four and Five and basically pretty bored. Kai said he wanted to try Shikasta, despite my warnings, so I think he's aiming to try to tackle it soon. Be very interesting to hear his take on it! You might remember I use an Oral B electric toothbrush. It operates for two minutes of brushing before juddering to indicate time's up, and one recharge lasts about 9 - 10 days. It takes 16 hours to fully recharge. That's 16 hours for at most 20 minutes worth of cleaning. We can remotely explore Mars and the outer reaches of the solar system, but can't make an energy efficient electric toothbrush. Something wrong somewhere... New Doctor Who starts tonight. I'm havering. Peter Capaldi is my favourite Doctor (he's certainly the most alien) but I cannot ABIDE Matt Lucas. He makes me cringe. Sooooo... we'll see.
I planted half my sweetcorn seeds (all of them would fill my lower raised bed, and I need half of it for peas, courgettes, marrows and pumpkins: will save the other half for next year) in the greenhouse on Wed, and they're already showing above the compost! Have also hardened off the first lot of pea plants and built the supports for them - will plant them out later this afternoon. Both beds now have copper tape around them, and I bought and applied some slug pellets from T&M which are guaranteed kid-, pet- and wildlife-safe, so fingers crossed everything will be OK.
I'm currently re-reading Doris Lessing's Shikasta series. Got it when it first came out (1979: I was at uni) and obviously liked it enough to collect the rest of the books, and mark my favourite bits by turning down the pages (Yes, Sue, I know that's a sin...), but re-reading it now... it has not aged well. That could be because much of it reads like history, depressingly, but despite the cleverness of the writing (for the time) and the prescience displayed I did not enjoy it. Currently half way through book 2, The Marriages Between Zone Three, Four and Five and basically pretty bored. Kai said he wanted to try Shikasta, despite my warnings, so I think he's aiming to try to tackle it soon. Be very interesting to hear his take on it!
You might remember I use an Oral B electric toothbrush. It operates for two minutes of brushing before juddering to indicate time's up, and one recharge lasts about 9 - 10 days.
It takes 16 hours to fully recharge.
That's 16 hours for at most 20 minutes worth of cleaning.
We can remotely explore Mars and the outer reaches of the solar system, but can't make an energy efficient electric toothbrush. Something wrong somewhere...
New Doctor Who starts tonight. I'm havering. Peter Capaldi is my favourite Doctor (he's certainly the most alien) but I cannot ABIDE Matt Lucas. He makes me cringe. Sooooo... we'll see.
Saturday, April 08, 2017
This is getting ridiculous...
What have we done? Well, tooth was aching over last weekend, then by Mon I was back in pain again. I was able to get a dentist appt on Tues: she tells me the pain is the root dying and drilled the outer rim of the tooth down a little so it doesn't hurt when I bite or chew, which is a great help. (Although I lost half a stone in weight last week when all I could eat was soup. Not the best way to lose weight but silver linings and all that...) It's a back molar, four roots, a big job, but hopefully it'll have settled down by the actual appt for the root canal at the end of the month.
Have spent more time watching DVDs: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, which is a delight: Renaissance, which is a bit of a disappointment, beautifully made, but lacking substance: The Man Who Fell To Earth, which I found better and more nuanced the second time around: all four Pirates of the Caribbean films in preparation for the new one, release date end of May: and tonight, in relation to the new YOPA adverts we keep seeing, Can't Stop The Music - funny and campy and shiny and frivolous, a cute end to the busy week. (Edit: apparently it's the real Village People in the advert!)
We've done a fair bit in the garden...
Pear tree in bloom.
and put up the new sliding door across the pantry (finally! Only taken us 25 years to tidy that corner up. The difference in temperature is quite significant).
And then there was this morning...
I slept very badly last night, kept waking up (last dregs of this blasted bug, I think. The cough is proving very resistant). Had just dropped off again at 8 when a quietish commotion from downstairs woke me up again. Could hear two voices, Ken and a stranger - turned out to be a young man (couple of years younger than Kai) asking to use the phone to ring for an ambulance and his father. He said he'd been at a nightclub and some people had ganged up on him and injected him with something. Given he was in tears, staggering and clutching his stomach we took him seriously and rang for the ambulance ourselves...
It took them half an hour to arrive, and two police cars arrived first, which didn't do much for his paranoia and trust issues. However, the ambulance took him off to the BRI. In the meantime his dad had rung Ken's phone, and they swapped details - the lad wasn't on any medication, was usually no trouble, and didn't take recreational drugs, though when I passed that on to the police officer I got a raised eyebrow and a wry smile.
Not the most salubrious of ways to start the weekend, but we did what we could and his dad thanked us. We're just wondering, why us? Does the house exude homeliness and comfort or something? I know I sometimes feel like mum to the world but I wasn't even the first person he saw.
Eh well. Guess my life is a soap opera.
This has appeared over the house opposite...
What is it? Ken suggested chimney extension: I pondered missile silo, or stage for an audience of giants. Though it's probably just to hold a waterproof cover while they do things to the roof. No doubt we'll find out soon. Just hope they aren't too noisy.
K&K were supposed to be heading out for the day but Kai is feeling pretty rough (he's reached the worst part of the bug now) so stayed home, pottered in the garden, and helped me get the wash hung out: Ken went off Bath-wards with Dawn to get a break from Bristol for a few hours. I had planned to devote the day to Poppy, but as usual when I try to make plans for me something happens to scupper them.
Friday, March 31, 2017
Another quick catch up...
Fri 24th Wendy came to visit - great fun, loads of catching up and laughs. Thanks for a great day!
Rang dentist on Mon, to be told that the earliest they could get me an appt was Friday (today). Oh joy. So had a miserable week, unable to bite or chew and in a lot of pain. This morning she drilled out the tooth and packed it with medicinal stuff to clean and heal it, and I go back in three weeks for the actual filling. So nice to be out of pain! Could actually eat a proper lunch today - it's been soup the rest of the week.
Films... Picked up and watched Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them on Mon - a fine fun film! The Gods Must Be Crazy II is also fun, though not as good as the first film. Arrival is... intriguing. It feels unfinished. Then again, having read the free book (of short stories) that came with the DVD, most of the author's stories feel unfinished. Strange and unsettling, but good.
A couple of years ago I picked up Sin City II: A Dame To Kill For, but first we had to watch Sin City, as Kai hadn't seen it. Very stylish, very violent, but enjoyable all the same. Sleepers is a good film, but very grim. (We seem to watching a lot of darker films at the moment...) On Wed High Rise was on TV - I've been havering about this, not sure if I was going to like it despite Tom Hiddlestone starring. Ken and I watched it until the second commercial break, then turned it off. Didn't like it. Obnoxious unpleasant characters without an ounce of empathy. Glad I didn't buy it!
Kai is now on holiday for three weeks, so of course we've both gone down with colds. Going to take the next few days easy, then plans include seeing Life at the cinema, a little gardening, organising Kai's new meadow and getting the pool in, and the usual BHOC appts. Fingers crossed for nice weather!
Saturday, March 25, 2017
In brief - toothache is back and making it difficult to concentrate: painkillers are barely making a dent in it. Rang dentist this am: no appts possible, and I'm to ring back Mon 8 am to try then. Knowing my dentist she'll fit me in somewhere, but I have a drs appt for BP check and possible blood test for levothyroxine levels on Mon too. Good news - the two surgeries are pretty much opposite each other, but what do you bet they clash?
More later. Round up of news and films watched in due course, but other than personal health things are going pretty well at the moment.
Labels: medical matters
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Just quickly to try to keep up...
Our Friday night film was Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children on Filmflex, and it's extraordinary! Thoroughly gripping. We will be buying it (when the price comes down a little). Tonight it was The Gods Must Be Crazy, which I picked up in a charity shop, double pack with The Gods Must Be Crazy II (which we'll probably try to watch tomorrow). Old but what a film! Reminiscent of HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy (the TV series, not the abysmal film), and I still can't work out how a film can be laugh out loud funny and horribly violent at the same time. Wonderful stuff!
Tyjer rather likes his outdoor indoor bed, thank you mum...
Very cozy while Kai and I worked in the patchy drizzle...
And finally, the other ring I bought from amazon, silver and black opal this one.
Looks better in real life...
Friday, March 17, 2017
Catch up again!
First, the gum infection has gone, although the tooth is still very sensitive, especially to hot and cold things. Dentist took an X-ray yesterday, and there's nothing obviously wrong, so for the moment we're leaving it alone. I have a standard check up in May: see how we go. I'd very much rather avoid a root canal if I can!
K&K ended up not going mine-researching last Sat (Kai got up too late, which threw my whole day out too. Not chuffed about that): Ken and I did the Sunday shop early instead. On Sunday it was more garden work: the native privet is now uprooted and partially replanted - main plant at the top and I'm bringing on five plantlets in pots, so we'll have a ready-made hedge when it's grown a bit.
Ken took Monday off and we got a little more done in the garden. Things are beginning to blossom...
The prunus, currently full of honeybees!
'A riot of life', as Lutra calls it.
The rest of the week went much as normal. Client work and house and garden work for me; the courgettes, pumpkins and one sweet pepper are now sprouting in the greenhouse, and I've made a bed in there for Tyjer for later, when the door is open and he wants to snooze in the sun.
And did I mention that the ramsons I planted last year have taken really well and formed two little patches? There'll be more next year. And to my surprise, one of the plants I put in closer to the wall a couple of years ago has survived and is coming on well, so Kai's 'holloway' between the hazels and the wall will look like a real woodland path by the time we're finished.
I was supposed to go for my MATS appt (steroid injection to my hand for the carpal tunnel) at 11 on Tues, but at 9 I got a phone call saying it was cancelled as the consultant I was due to see had rung in sick, but she was actually the wrong person anyway, as she did spines, not hands. [SIGH] So I now have another appt - end of April, at a completely different location.
Am I ever actually going to get this bloody treatment??
Onto things we've watched in the past week and a bit...
Picked up Doctor Strange as soon as it came out Mon last week, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Cracking film. Last Tues Ken and I watched Philomena (had it for a while and since Kai had other things to do and wasn't bothered, it was a good time). Beautiful, funny, heart-breaking film which did nothing to improve my loathing of organised religion. Then Blood, the Last Vampire - live action anime and pretty good. Lots of fun and gore: Unfriended - meh. Stylistically similar to Cloverfield and Blair Witch Project but without that godawful dragonfly camera; a keeper as the only sample of the genre we're ever likely to watch: Little Fockers (bought for completeness sake as I have and quite like the other two films), which was OK. Fairly funny, not as bad as the reviews make out, as far as we're concerned. Last night we steeled ourselves for Lord of the Flies, another I've had for ages. Saw it donkey's years ago and picked it up at a charity shop as a classic British drama that we really ought to have, but don't think we're likely to watch it again. Dark and depressing.
Arrival hits the shops on Monday, I believe: we managed to miss that at the cinema, so I'll pick it up as soon as I can. Kai and I are planning to see Life in the near future (due at the Showcase on 24th March, I think - we'll leave it a week or two to let the crowds die down. If there are any...)
Kai has venesection on Sunday, and I finally get my hair cut on Monday (it's driving me nuts, it's all in my eyes, but I just haven't managed to find the time until now. Not to mention Jeff has changed the days he's in...)
And that's us up to date. I think. If I've missed anything I'll edit later!
Friday, March 10, 2017
So the night after my previous post I developed toothache under the recently filled tooth. Thought maybe I'd been a little too harsh when cleaning, but by Sat the pain was excruciating and painkillers - even co-codamol - weren't doing anything but numb it slightly.
Monday I reported to the dental practise and said I'd wait until I could be squeezed in between patients. I didn't have long to wait, luckily: my dentist had a good look (and chuncked on all the teeth in the area with one of her tools - that didn't hurt) and said it was most likely a gum infection (to be honest that's what I thought too, having had one before). She prescribed a five day course of amoxicillin 500mg (that's the anti-bio Kai was given after his transplant - it kills everything) and I have an appt to go back next Thurs. Problem is, I'm still in an awful lot of pain and my jaw is still swollen, so I don't think the anti-bios are working. If they don't, she told me the next step is a root canal and a crown. OUCH. Would be cheaper to have the damn thing extracted...
Please keep fingers crossed. Will report back when I know what's what.
Over the weekend we did a little gardening, got a few more seeds on the go. These are my garlic plants: the hollows behind them are where my new asparagus plants are. They won't produce anything until next year at the earliest, but they seem to be coming along well so far.
Crocuses at the top of the garden - in completely the wrong place of course. Practically all my bulbs will have to be dug up and moved as soon as they've finished flowering. They'll be going in the old meadow, which I'm slowly populating with masses of flowering plants (it's going to be civilised rather than wild, from now on).
I will get some better photos when things are a little more organised. I know I keep saying that but we only have the time and energy (and in my case, I can only do so much before my legs and back stop co-operating) to get it done little by little.
Kai and I did get the automatic openers for the greenhouse vents and louvre sorted though, and they now work beautifully. Hoping to pot on my tomato plants this weekend.
Kai's birthday was pleasant, although he's trying to fight something off again. He loved his earrings though, and tonight watched The Secret of NIHM 2, which was better than expected. He took today off and we bussed to Street to scour charity shops and the antique market with his birthday money, and he came home with a few fun things that caught his eye. Lovely day, mostly sunny but not too hot, and the ride down there is always gorgeous. Tired when we got back though.
Tomorrow K&K plan to go researching mines to the north of Bristol. Why? Not entirely sure, but Kai has discovered a recent interest in mines and caves. Ken isn't claustrophobic, so he gets seconded to go on these sorts of trips. I get the fun of housework instead, oh joy. Still, I'll have the house to myself for a while so hopefully may be able to get some writing done.
Thursday, March 02, 2017
Just a quickie...
Kai is taking GatU (Galaxies and the Universe) as one of his courses this year and it's utterly fascinating (yes, he's sharing it with me!) I think it's generally known that the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are heading for each other and in about 4.5 billion years will collide. What I didn't know was that the Milky Way is already colliding with another (small) galaxy - the dwarf Sagittarius galaxy...
It's too faint to see unless you know where to look, and even then there's not much visible, but I find the very idea engrossing.
The sky was clear for an hour or so tonight: took the telescope out and gazed at the perfect, beautiful crescent of Venus using the Barlow lens (the one with the greatest magnification). The shape echoed that of tonight's slender crescent moon, which we also took a look at. Beautiful crater detail. I've been trying to find which ones we saw but can't find a sufficiently detailed lunar map online... Quick glimpse at the Orion Nebula then I left K&K to it - it was cold and Kai was trying to find the Rosetta Nebula. (He has Stellarium loaded onto his tablet and finds it incredibly useful. Perhaps I should get it too... No joy yet. Next time!)
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
In the garden: my ramsons have survived and are sprouting merrily under the hazel trees; the garlic I planted has also now sprouted and is looking good in the high raised bed, and there are the tiniest emerald slivers of shoots showing where I planted the first lot of carrots. Planted two different sorts of radishes yesterday. All the fruit trees we replanted seem to have survived and are budding, so that's a relief.
We have, as Kai said, "a genuine apocalypse of frogs" in Roeg's pool. You can't see the bottom of the pool for them, two deep everywhere. We seem to be hosting the entire frog population of Brislington... Kai's copse pool has huge amounts of spawn already.
RiD Starscream and IDW Ultra Magnus...
The little figure is his mincon (heh, shades of Armada!) Lancelon
The tiny figure is Minimus Ambus. He's the actual Cybertronian: the rest is his armour.
Did I mention I picked up the rebooted Fantastic Four DVD a little while back? I forget. Then again, the film is utterly forgettable. Dull and boring. Its low rating is deserved.
Reply to Ellel Bee, below: racial equality protests were a little before my time, and I may be a slacktivist now, but while at uni I went on the Anti-Nazi League march and rally, and later the Anti Corrie Bill march. Interesting times...
Monday, February 27, 2017
Right, what have we been up to...?
The week went by pretty much as normal - no appts though, made a nice change! On Fri GoodTwin and Sue came over for my birthday visit: it was the usual enormous fun with much hilarity. And quizzes.
Another wonderful sign from Sue!
Card from Kai.
Card from Ken
Card from Sue. (She brought cupcakes too!)
Card from GoodTwin
Present wise - RiD Starscream, IDW Ultra Magnus (maybe photos later when I've had time to unpack them!), Swan Lake, Vampire Circus, and The Big Bus, which we watched last night: it's even funnier than I remembered after seeing it waaaaay back donkey's years ago, and I believe was the first of its kind (it was rebooted a few years later in Airplane! with pretty much the same plot, same characters, even similar jokes.) Loads of fun! Thank you both - it was a wonderful day!
Sat was shopping and garden stuff (of the three 50litre and one 75litre bags of potting compost GoodTwin drove back from Hurrans garden centre for me, the 75litre and one of the 50litre bags are now empty): greenhouse is now all ready for my tomatoes!
Yesterday Kai and I went to Hurrans, had coffee and cakes in the café - accompanied by the robin which haunts the place
And bought bamboo sticks to support the peas and beans, and a whole load of herbs and wild flowers on special for Kai's meadow.
All in all a fine weekend!
Monday, February 20, 2017
... to catch up.
Where did we get to? Ah yes...
Ken took Mon and Tues off as annual leave. Monday we did a little gardening - tidied the front a little, moved two of the small shrubs to the back to make room for the larger ones we plan to put in, so the voyeur next door can't peer into my lounge (have seen a pretty silvery conifer at Almondsbury that reaches 3 metres and is a good 1.5 metre wide, which would do nicely), dead-headed the ice plants and lifted the magnolia, as it's continually attacked by something out there. Managed to get Kai a drs appt in the evening as he was running out of the citalopram meds: the sky was beautiful when we left the surgery...
Tuesday Ken and I headed off for Almondsbury, via B&Q and Wickes at Cribbs Causeway (all-day bus tickets are wonderful!). Found the paving slabs we want at a reasonable price for around the greenhouse and raised beds, and possibly to build a small flat platform for the telescope, and while we were there checked out the feasibility of sorting out the sink unit in the kitchen. DIY corner units are reasonably priced, and there are now umpteen different sinks and taps available. I need to take some photos and email to our plumber to see how much it would be to sort out the Heath-Robinson plumbing, but otherwise it's looking doable. And ye gods it needs doing!
Remember last June half a lower molar snapped off (the enamel, anyway) while I was eating cheese on a thin cracker? I was able to get an emergency appt then and the dentist filled it, but warned me that it was a very big filling and if it went again I'd need the tooth capped (£200+: I winced). On Wed the filling fell out. Managed to get an emergency appt for Thurs: resigned to having to fork out for the repair.
So you can imagine how pleased I was when she refilled it - stronger, tougher and white filling material! - and because the previous one hadn't been in place for a year, didn't charge me. Apparently our dentists now guarantee their work for a year... Dead chuffed!
Fri: Actually managed to get a little writing done! Have started the intro for the joint book (nicknamed Dystopia for now) that Lutra and I wrote a good few years ago, but which in the current global situation can be made into something potentially sellable. It needs MAJOR revision and rewrite, but the first draft is finished, so it's less work than starting something completely new, and given it's been so long I need that.
In the evening I had a meeting with the BCC's Neighbourhood Partnerships Liaison Officer about the BCP site. Given the Council's current almost complete embargo on providing funds for anything the site was due to lapse at the end of the current name and hosting sub, but it's been agreed that as it's a useful community resource, funds will be made available from other community groups to keep it going until 2019 at least. Which is great! It's not like we're talking a lot of money - £50.30 for two years. It usually takes just minutes to update (I've set up notes and mini-templates for myself all over the coding) so I'm lucky if my fee comes to £5 a year.
On Sat Kai and I thoroughly enjoyed our promised trip to Harbourside. First port of call was M-Shed to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. It's fabulous! We spent an hour there, and could quite happily have been longer. There's an associated book with all the photos in it, which I may pick up as a Yule pressie - £25 isn't too bad for a book crammed with gorgeous pics and info.
The Harbour steam train was running that weekend - end of the school half-term holiday, I guess - so we leapt on and rode to the SS Great Britain (there's a longer trip that goes to the Vauxhall Bridge not far from the Riverside Garden Centre, but they aren't running that one until April. We'll just have to go back then!)
Then it was over Pero's Bridge to @Bristol - lunch in the café, reasonably tasty filled ciabattas (I had minute steak with rocket, roasted tomatoes and cheese: Kai had goats cheese with courgettes and roasted peppers - both served with chips? didn't work!) but very expensive. Probably won't eat there again. @Bristol itself was heaving with children - half term, of course - but we quite enjoyed it. Our main reasons for going were the Luke Jerram Glass Microbiology exhibition - absolutely beautiful - and the Planetarium. Which was awe-inspiring. Very basic stuff - nothing new for either Kai and I - but damn near perfect 3D. We're planning to go back for the adult evening performance, Exploring the Galaxy as soon as is convenient.
Sunday was the usual Sunday - two lots of shopping, then Kai had venesection in the afternoon (his ferritin level is now 2,300, so plateauing again a bit. He may need to start going every three weeks instead of every month, will see at his next BMT clinic).
And in other news... We've started watching Legends of Tomorrow. It's OK, basically a daft romp, but it's fun to see Doctor Who's Rory in a rather different rôle (as Rip Hunter, the leader of the group). It's fun, but we're unlikely to get any more than the first season.
I've now finished reading Cloud Atlas (Link full of spoilers, so be warned.) I picked up the film a year or so ago and loved it: 'borrowed' the book from the BHOC 'library'. I've donated over 30 books to that in the past so didn't think anyone would object! Will return it when K&K have read it, assuming they do...
At one point, one of the protagonists asks 'three simple questions':
"How did he get that power? How is he using it? And how can it be taken off the sonofabitch?" (Cloud Atlas p 420)
I've seen this before...
(IDW transformers: Chaos Theory)
Is it a recognised meme? It gives that impression..
Of the book as a whole? What can I say? This is the level of writing to which I aspire. Took a little while to really get into it but then I was absolutely gripped. Funny in places, gob-smacking in others, with light touches of the profound scattered throughout:
Need to watch the film again now.
I watched the first ep SS GB last night (just me. Ken doesn't stay up late when he's working the next day, and Kai didn't fancy it from the trailers). The acting is terrific, the settings accurate (as far as I can tell), and the overall plot plausible. But oh, it's depressing. (Mind you, so is almost everything right now...) I'll carry on watching, but I don't think K&K would like it.
Up to date now. Later...