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.

... I'd write my autobiography, but no-one would believe it....

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

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 since 2007 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...

DO - Dendrobium Orchid. Smells of wisteria, so beautiful...

RO2 - Rescued orchid no 2. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I rescued from the wall along the road middle of 2021.

PO. Pink orchid. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I bought at Cabury Garden Centre on special, late 2021. It's much happier here!

TWO. Teeny weeny orchid, Phalaenopsis. Rescued from Tesco end 2021 (I think).

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:

Missing Earthian ep
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:

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 Valkyrie.

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 [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
[::..Fun Places..::]
::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...)

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
01/05/2008 - 31/05/2008
01/06/2008 - 30/06/2008
01/07/2008 - 31/07/2008
01/08/2008 - 31/08/2008
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01/10/2008 - 31/10/2008
01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
01/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
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01/11/2009 - 30/11/2009
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01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
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01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
01/09/2010 - 30/09/2010
01/10/2010 - 31/10/2010
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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01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
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01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
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01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
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01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
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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
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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
01/04/2017 - 30/04/2017
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
01/10/2019 - 31/10/2019
01/11/2019 - 30/11/2019
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
01/07/2020 - 31/07/2020
01/08/2020 - 31/08/2020
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
01/04/2021 - 30/04/2021
01/05/2021 - 31/05/2021
01/06/2021 - 30/06/2021
01/07/2021 - 31/07/2021
01/08/2021 - 31/08/2021
01/09/2021 - 30/09/2021
01/10/2021 - 31/10/2021
01/11/2021 - 30/11/2021
01/12/2021 - 31/12/2021
01/01/2022 - 31/01/2022
01/02/2022 - 28/02/2022
01/03/2022 - 31/03/2022
01/04/2022 - 30/04/2022
01/05/2022 - 30/05/2022
01/06/2022 - 31/06/2022
01/07/2022 - 31/07/2022
01/08/2022 - 31/08/2022
01/09/2022 - 30/09/2022
01/10/2022 - 31/10/2022
01/11/2021 - 31/11/2021
01/12/2022 - 31/12/2022
01/01/2023 - 31/01/2023
01/02/2023 - 28/02/2023
01/03/2023 - 31/03/2023
01/04/2023 - 30/04/2023
01/08/2023 - 31/08/2023
01/11/2023 - 31/11/2023

Friday, December 31, 2004

Just wonderful. Staples have refunded the cash for my chair - straight into the bank, no notification of any kind, nor apologies. I'm now stuck without my chair - and I can't even ring to shout at them 'til Tuesday. Pissed off? You bet.
Carol and Adrian arrived safely, and Carol won our Scrabble game. With squid, atlas, afar, dangled and quoted. What that says about her I don't intend to speculate!
We have sporadic fireworks, but honestly don't expect to see as many as usual - I think things are lower key than normal, with the public consciousness focussed on the tsunami victims. According to current figures, the UK public equalled the £15 million pledged by the government: our contribution so far is £52 million - including a substantial contribution by our Queen.
Party! - the joint multiple-crossover end-of-2004-and-the-AC fic - now posted in The Zone. Anyone with access can find the link on the main index page.


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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tracy, 2004 Rosa, 2004
Tracy and Rosa, 2004. Rosa's quite a bit bigger now.

We watched Midsomer Murders tonight. Not something we've ever really done before, but the episode last Saturday was quite fun so we thought we'd try it again...
I'm still laughing. I can't swear that I heard all of it correctly, but I'm sure part of the dialogue went:
(Barnaby) "He's been choked with a meat pie, flattened with a roller and beaten about the head. Not necessarily in that order." (Troy) "Not accidental, then, sir."
Been a quiet couple of days. Kai's had fun 'pawing through his treasures', as Lutra puts it; I managed to pick up our crackers for next year from Sainbug's today (pretty ones, holly pattern, half price); and we're nine pages into Party! Hoping to have that finished by Old Year's Night.
Kai asked to try on my handcuffs earlier (ordinary ones, not pink fluffy ones. Yes, I have a pair of handcuffs. Doesn't everyone?). I had to stop him cuffing himself until I could find the keys, but then he was most intrigued. Didn't like the feeling much though!
Carol, Sue, when's going to be the best time for you to come over for a Ringfest? If you can arrange to travel over Friday and go back Monday, that would be ideal from my point of view... (Kai says he'll take his dad out for the duration!)
To my delight the webmaster has recently redesigned the SF Crowsnest site. It's far easier to navigate now, while still being a most excellent resource.

I haven't commented on the tsunami. I can't. There aren't any words.


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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Parents away, house tidied and back to what passes for normal. I'm knackered...

This was a present from Kai. It's a small pendant, just three centimetres long - a little haddock! (Or a dead fish, depending on how I'm feeling...) Hoping that wearing it will attract said haddock...


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Monday, December 27, 2004


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Saturday, December 25, 2004

[flump...] Despite us not getting snow, and me feeling like shit and completely losing my voice earlier, today went quite well. And everyone was very pleased with their presents...
Highlights: I did end up getting my mother a 'Fur Real' kitten, white with blue eyes and a pretty little face. It's actually really cute, kneads and purrs if you stroke its back, and mews for attention. She's been named Mischief ('cause I couldn't get her out of the damned box she was wired in so tightly, then we had a devil of a time getting the batteries in. I'm sure she comes complete with her own gremlin...) My mother thinks she's gorgeous. [grin] Not quite the same as the real thing, but no problems with the house wardens, or food costs or vet's bills, and she'll stay a kitten forever. Was a good choice: thanks, Lutra!
Kai's done incredibly well. Along with his various DVDs and books and bits, we got him an assortment of Lego pieces - gears, wheels and other things whose names escape me right now - from my folks with their Yule money and he's spent all day making clock escapements with them. And he did tidy everything into his new toolbox, Carol - that was an excellent buy! (He loves the puzzles as well.) He likes his camera too. But the big surprise was from Ken's folks - who gave him a genuine clockwork pocketwatch with matching watch chain! He's over the moon with it - it's gone up to bed with him. There's a small shield on the case we think can be engraved, so later on we'll take it to a jeweller and see if we can have his name put on it.
And me? I'm dead chuffed with everything! I now have The Art of The Two Towers (going to see about getting the other two in the series for my birthday), which is just beautiful, from Ken, and from Carol, amongst other things, Demon Diary vol. 6, a wonderfully daft jellycat unicorn (called Eunice according to the label!) - and what is quite probably my favourite thing from today, a little sparkly snowglobe keyring with a picture of Haldir in the centre on one side and Éomer on the other! (Hm. That doesn't describe it very well... anyway, it's gorgeous and joining Nappa in going everywhere with me!) [GLOMPS Carol!]
And to round the day off nicely I've borrowed one of Lee's CDs and now have mp3s of Talk Talk's Life's What You Make It, and - to my delight - Bonnie Tyler's Holding out for a Hero!! (YAY! Finally got a copy!! I love that song...)
Trying to catch my breath now ready for tomorrow, which will be even busier for me on the cooking front than today has been. Whose idea was it to have a running buffet on Boxing Day anyway? Heh, mine, probably... [sigh]
Wine! Now there's a nice idea...


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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Hospital rang to say they don't have Ken's results. [sigh] But he has to go in anyway, to pick up next month's meds.
Thorne, your card arrived - it's absolutely beautiful!
Heh, can't breathe, can't swallow, can't concentrate. This is going to be fun...


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[growlsnuffle] Woke up with a raging sore throat, clogged sinus and a head stuffed with cotton wool. Yup, a cold. <insert sarcasm> Just wonderful, exactly what I need with a houseful over Xmas...
Still, we've finished Little Birds. At something over a hundred pages it's novella length, and only took a month to write, which is pretty good I think. I'm also really pleased with it; it was fun to write and isn't at all bad!
Heh, and to think the whole thing - Hidden Hero, Waiting and Little Birds - came into being because Lutra irritated me by saying she sniggered when Haldir died in TTT... (that'll teach you! [grin] Or maybe me. Or something...)
Parents and brother arrive tomorrow pm. Ken has his hospital appointment tomorrow pm too. Hearing that the medication is working would be the best present ever.
Fingers crossed.


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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

[big-eyed and breathless] ... if you haven't bought your copy of Return of the King yet, may I urge you to fork out for the special edition? Those extra 48 minutes make all the difference, explaining a lot of things that were left up in the air in the cinema release. Had me in tears in several places, especially the flowering of the white tree...
And the drinking contest between Gimli and Legolas is a hoot!
[happy sigh] A thoroughly enjoyable four hours. Kai's only just gone to bed (watched it with us) at 11.15, and he didn't fall asleep once (he tends to do that after about 10 pm unless it's something absolutely compelling). A wonderful way to spend the Solstice - and our 15th (Crystal) Anniversary. [snaffled from Lutra's Pond]
(Joules was trying to work out how long it had been. You know what she's like with numbers, it was kind of fun watching her brain tangle...)
[blows raspberry, then smirks] Heh. I checked the date on our marriage certificate then used a calculator... Terrible aren't I? But it seems like yesterday, how'm I supposed to remember. I mean, I can't even remember how old I am!
And no, that wasn't an invitation to anyone to remind me! If I need to know I'll ask Ken. Or use a calculator.
In other news... They're forecasting a white Xmas! It's likely to snow in the South West on Xmas Eve, and continue until Monday! Fingers crossed...
Kai is now home until the 6th of January: luckily he's getting enough variety of presents they should keep him occupied until then, at least. He has a dentist appointment that day: mine was yesterday, and I'm delighted - my next checkup is in nine months time, not six! It seems that buying that electric toothbrush back in September (Tesco were selling them half price as they were due to be repackaged - and yes, I did check they weren't actually discontinuing them before I paid!) has really helped...
Right! Back to Little Birds 5! It's very close to being finished now - be wonderful if we could do that tonight. I'm certainly in the right mood!
(And wondering how Ken would react to me redecorating our bedroom to resemble a talan [smirk]...)


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Sunday, December 19, 2004

What a fun day! It's so lovely to sit and chat.
We had a funny moment, though, when Ken came through to ask if the half baguette (from yesterday) was being saved for anything or if he could eat it. "There's nothing about it on your blog..." he says...
Cheeky sod! [grin]
Kai and the laundry basket...

This 'Ali Baba' laundry basket was twenty-one years old, and definitely past its prime. What with constant use, and cats sleeping on it and in it, it finally began to unravel, and we bought a new one. Kai wanted to play with/in it before it went to the compost bin...

[shudder] I don't know how he can do it - I feel claustrophobic just looking at this...


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[blink] It's snowing. Quite heavily too - the garden's all white.
Kai came out with a very interesting comment/question earlier. At the moment he's collecting evidence to prove to himself whether Santa Claus exists or not. We've never said one way or the other; though he knows full well that we buy presents and wrap them, and we've told him the tale of St Nicholas, he still wants to believe, I think, and I refuse to spoil that for him.
Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas is being played a lot, of course, both the original and the 20th anniversary version, and last week Kai asked me - with some irritation since he kept hearing it and I kept singing along to it - what was the big deal with it all. Cue a brief history lesson, at the end of which he nodded and decided it was a very good idea. Tonight it was on VH1 again, and he listened to it then turned to us and said (I'm paraphrasing here, I was so choked up I didn't think to write down his exact words) that if Santa spent all this time and effort delivering presents to children, why didn't he deliver food and water and medical supplies to all those people who needed them? After all, the people who get all the presents (ourselves included, though we're hardly rich) already have all they need to live comfortably - it's the people in the 'developing countries' that need and deserve the gifts...
Social conscience at nine years old. I'm not sure whether to be proud, or worried that I've somehow shortened his childhood...


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Saturday, December 18, 2004

... more bits...
Kai's first custom clock
The clock Kai made for me.
LB5 coming along nicely - it should be done and posted before Yule.
The latest craze at Kai's school is scented gel pens. Kai now has chocolate, peach, melon, pineapple and cola (he also had popcorn but he didn't like that one so swapped it for banana...) Ken managed to pick up a pack at Wilkinson's yesterday, so his trip into town wasn't completely wasted. (Me, I'm chuffed. I checked there last week and they were all sold out, so for once the timing was great!)
Managed to find what I was looking for for Ken for his under-the-tree present for Boxing Day morning - chuffed about that too. That's all the presents bought... I think... Um, better check tomorrow just to be sure!
It's three am. I'm wondering about leaving it another hour and a half then walking over to Tesco to get another load of shopping (so pleased about 24hr opening...); I still have all the frozen veg etc. to buy and it's no fun waiting to pay in a long queue with stuff slowly defrosting, which is standard for this time of year during the day... Will see how I feel in another hour or so. (This is where having a car would come in handy.)
Carol and Adrian are coming over on Sunday to drop things off - looking forward to that! [GLOMPS Carol]
[grins at Marie] I disagree re: looks but I'm not going to argue. Glad you and Onna like the photos of Kai though - he's a splendid sprog!


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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Initial feedback for the new book is positive - we can continue in the same vein.
Got back some of this year's photos this morning: will be posting some over the next few days.
Kai agreed to have this (and the ones to come) posted - this is 'oor lad' in the summer when he went out with his dad. Mischief or what? (I really like this photo, even if it's not the most flattering one of him!)
I went to his carol service this morning: it was really Ken's turn but he had a hospital appointment (of which more in a minute...). It was pretty much as any school carol service (I can survive them if I just keep reminding myself it's a Christmas thing, not a Yule thing...), although the sprogs did sing a rather fun song, It isn't very Comfy on a Camel, which has the classic line, "In following the compass, we really caused a rumpus, It's a pity Jesus isn't on the telephone." Needless to say the kids loved singing it. The talk was, mercifully, brief and fairly innocuous...

And <- this is the huge fridge-freezer. You see that little dolphin fridge-magnet on the left (ARRGGHH! Right! I mean RIGHT! My other left....) near the top? The top of Ken's head reaches its nose - and Ken is just under 6 foot tall. (I said it was big!)

On the less good side, I still don't have my chair, and I'm still getting nowhere with the bloody company. Ken rang them again today while I was out and actually managed to get to talk to someone, who said there's still no delivery date, but they would now try to speed things up, as the delay is unacceptable. Damn right it is! It's going to be another week at least - which of course won't happen because it'll be Xmas.
But what really pisses me off is the complete lack of response from them: emails get an automatic reply - and nothing more. Front office staff take the details and say they'll forward to customer service, who will ring back - but they never do. (Admittedly I'm not the only one having problems: apparently they've now had to rope in reception staff to take customer service calls - and they've stopped taking orders - because they can't cope with the volume of complaints they're getting. F*****g wonderful. In the meantime I'm overdosing on 'prufen, which is only just keeping the pain down to a bearable level. Maybe it's time to contact Watchdog.)
And just to make the day complete... Ken went to his hospital appointment at 2pm - and rang me at eight minutes past. The nurse had rung the lab to find out his results this morning, been told they weren't ready - and then forgotten to ring Ken to tell him not to go in...
So we still don't know whether the medication is working.
We might find out on the 23rd - which is when my folks are arriving for Yule - or we might not, depending on whether they've managed to test the last lot of blood and not lose the results...
<rant>I've just finished the latest book for review, another L.E. Modesitt Jr. novel. I quite enjoyed it. I'd have enjoyed it even more if the author had avoided what has recently become my pet literary hate, something that's really getting right up my nose - the pandemic overuse of the word 'totally'. It's bloody everywhere, half the time used incorrectly. What's wrong, pray tell, with wholly, or completely, or entirely, absolutely, fully, thoroughly? Or, for more specific usage, substantially, uniquely, exclusively or solely? Come on, people - writing is about enriching the language, not impoverishing it!</rant>


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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Hm... The Casserole of Pork is a gorgeously warming winter meal, but it's very rich, and definitely an unfamiliar flavour (needless to say Kai didn't like it!). I'll make it with a little less mace and a little more ginger (substituted for the cinnamon, which Adrian doesn't like, and the original recipe used ginger in any case) - and the juniper berries crushed and held in a muslin bag to cook, I think, because biting into one, as I found out accidentally, anaesthetises the tongue!
I was going to serve it on rice, until Ken wondered aloud if we'd have had rice in mediaeval times and added that it would most likely have been served on trenchers. [rolls eyes] Authenticitie Ruleth... So I served it with slices of bread instead (no, not home-made, didn't have time. Or yeast, come to that.)
We liked it, and I'm adding it to the family fare list, but given the unusual taste, I'll just make a small amount for New Year and do something else too: perhaps Pork Stroganoff, that always goes down well. Or, if I can find the recipe, Chicken in Hazelnut Sauce...
Going to try a 16th century recipe from the same book some time soonish (not New Year), the delightfully named A Phrase of Apples - a bit fiddly but the ingredients sound delicious...
[happy grin] Sainsbug's have a special ('buy one get one free') on Cadbury's ice cream bars at the moment, Crunchie, Mint Crisp - and Turkish Delight!! There are two boxes of Turkish Delight ice creams currently sitting in the freezer, and I've resisted opening them. For (glances at clock) two hours twenty minutes, so far...

Re the Rogues' Gallery idea...
This is me at about 8, I think. It was before the family moved to Stoke Hill when I was 8 and a half, I know that much, as this is a Ladysmith School uniform, not Stoke Hill Juniors. I was an amazingly gormless looking sprog. [grin] There are those who would say I still am... My long hair is yanked back into the very tight and painful ponytail I used to have to wear all the time. My mother insists she used to take me to a really good hairdresser who always cut my hair beautifully, though looking at this - and other childhood photos - that's not what I'd call it...

No, no good, couldn't resist the Turkish Delight ice cream... They're absolutely, deliciously wonderful and I shall go and buy some more tomorrow.


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Sunday, December 12, 2004

Decorations finished - Kai tidied his room so his fibre-optic tree is now up and sparkling merrily - cards ready to go in the post tomorrow, food shopping list done ready for Tesco, and I only have one last small present to get for Ken for under the tree. As Carol said, "Xmas? Bring it on!" [grin].
Kim drove us out to Cadbury Garden Centre this afternoon, the same place we went in the summer with Carol. And I drooled over the Yule decorations for sale - fabulous things, wooden, art deco, crystal, 'frosted ice', feathers... Some very nice artificial trees too, saw the sort we want, but at £39.99 I'll definitely wait and see if they're reduced in Jan! They have the most gorgeous feature there, now, a raised mound in the outdoor part, with a set of broad rough rock steps leading up to a decking platform, perched on the edge of a pool and surrounded by waterfalls. It's actually to advertise their range of waterfalls and water features - there's a large deep pool with koi down at the lowest part - but standing on the platform it's a bit like being in a mini-Imladris. I'd love something like it, but you'd need a huge garden for it to work. Nice to dream, though.
Arrived back too late to make the Casserole of Pork, so will try that tomorrow.
Kai has said he doesn't want his photo on the blog, but doesn't mind if I email it to friends, so if you'd like a jpg let me know!
My Matrix boxed set has arrived, as has the Return of the King special edition. (We were hoping to watch the latter over the weekend but there just hasn't been time. Will see about next weekend.) There's now just a couple of books to arrive from and all the orders will have been delivered.
Except for my bloody chair.


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Saturday, December 11, 2004

OK... I think we've just about recovered from the high of finishing the AC...
We were wondering idly what else we might be able to finish before 2005. Lutra suggested Dancing, I threw my part of Dystopia into the mix, and Little Birds of course, that's finite - and then Lutra mentioned an unfinished Pros AU story, Captive, that she let me read a while back and which I rather like...
[groan] You know what I'm going to say, don't you? [PING] went the lighbulb...
... I've started an LotR AU taking as its premise Frodo failing and Sauron regaining the One Ring...
On a more prosaic note, I've been hunting through my Seven Hundred Years of English Cooking for something new to make for Carol and Adrian coming over for New Year, and have found a 15th century recipe for a Casserole of Pork that sounds lovely, cooked in red wine with ground mace, nutmeg, cinnamon and juniper berries. Going to give it a trial run tomorrow to gauge the spices and see how it tastes!
Back to the new book on Monday...


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Friday, December 10, 2004

From Lutra's Pond:
The Alliance Chronicles are finished and I'm bawling my eyes out... <waves hand airily UK-ward> It's your turn, Joules, you say something profound to mark the occasion...
... The Alliance Chronicles are finished...
The last three chapters - Coda, ReBirth, and Completion - are now posted in the (other) Zone. There's a small page - Credits Rolling - of notes and thanks just before the last chapter...
'Say something profound'? Um... like what? I can hardly believe it. Not sure whether to cheer, laugh or cry. It's been an amazing four years. I've loved writing with Lutra; it's been wonderful, and long may it continue! I've fallen in love with the characters - even the nasty ones. I've learned so much...
I'll miss them all....


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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Made it into town (shouldn't have, really, I'm running a temperature, but the face isn't too swollen, so I assume it's not mumps after all, and someone had to go...), got my mother's present [grin] and found the decoration I was looking for in Wilkinson's: will get the mirror done and take a pic of it at Yule.
Ken and Kai decorated the lounge last Sunday - looks great, but I really need to buy us a new tree, the old one is looking a little... jaded. And wobbly. It'll do for this Yule, though, and I'll see what I can find later (may be reductions in the Jan sales if I'm lucky). No, we don't have a real tree, much as I love them. I'm not fond of dying plants (though dried are OK): I'd only have a real tree if it was pot-grown and I could plant it out afterwards - and the garden isn't big enough.
The photographer was at Kai's school last week: bratling brought the photos home to see if we wanted to buy them. He didn't want us to, he doesn't like them, but they're actually rather nice this time so for once we've forked out for a set. I've scanned one, but Kai hasn't given me permission to post it yet... I'll ask him when he gets back from school.
I need a sleep. Maybe after dinner...


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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

[blinks at Lutra]... I... [gasp shock horror...] I... went to the doctor.
Mind you, given how I felt when I woke up I didn't have a lot of choice. The pain in my right ear and up the back of my head had spread to the right side of my throat, and the glands under my ears - and that lump in my neck - had swollen even more. The first conclusion you tend to jump to is either mumps or glandular fever, neither of which I've had, but we thought both were pretty unlikely since I don't feel really ill, just under the weather and in pain (though I'm used to that). However, since if I do get anything at all viral or contagious it affects Ken taking his medication, we thought I'd better get it all checked out...
The earliest appointment was Thursday (which is amazing! It used to be at least a week!) but when I explained about Ken I was able to get a special 'medically advised' appointment at 4pm. The doctor was great - one I've not seen before - and says throat and ear are fine, so no infection there. It's not mumps, and very unlikely to be glandular fever, I'm just not ill enough. [grins] Nice to know, that! She thinks it's me just fighting off another bug. Though she's a bit concerned about the gland in my neck - apparently it's rather larger than it should be, even swollen, and if it gets any larger I'm to go straight back to see her. Ditto if it hasn't gone down in two weeks.
So good news, then. Though the thought of putting up with this for another two weeks isn't the happiest I've ever had. Hopefully the 'prufen will help.
Timing, ne?
Where can I get a body transplant?


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Monday, December 06, 2004

... knackered...
But the first two chapters of the new book are away. If they're approved, we can use them as a template for the rest.
Little Birds 3 is close to completion, and Lutra is right, there'll have to be a part four (at least) to finish the story. But I'd like to get Coda, the next AC chapter done soon, along with the next part of the Matrix Twins story. (The delay with that one is finding a way to integrate my version with the results of the war...)
The party is going to be a New Year one now - I don't have time to get it written before Yule unless I push it, and I'd rather not do that. But a New Year Party's OK, I think.
I have a BCP meeting in 45 minutes: don't really feel like going, but I can't really miss it, the website is one of the topics.
Maybe I can lie in tomorrow.


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Saturday, December 04, 2004

Took Kai shopping on the walk home from school yesterday; I'm looking for a particular decoration to go around the lounge mirror - a strand of fake pine or holly with berries and pine cones. Tesco don't have any, so I thought we'd try Focus (big DIY place off the Bath Road that has decorations). They had the sort of thing I'm after, but it was far too big (it was also £15.40 - reduced from £20 - which is far more than I'm prepared to pay). I'll have to check out Sainsbug's later, otherwise it'll be Wilkinson's in town next week (and hope they still have some and they don't cost too much).
Kai bought a pair of combination-type padlocks with some of his Yule present money - then wanted to open them when he got home (told him no - Yule money=Yule present=open at Yule). However, for some obscure reason that reminded me that I had my grandfather's old clockwork (as opposed to quartz) Ingersoll 5 jewel watch in my jewellery box. (I haven't worn it since I was at college - it stopped working and I've never had it fixed.) Kai's been wanting a clockwork watch to take apart for ages, so I dug it out for him: Ken managed to get the back off and Kai spent hours peering inside... Did I mention Kai wants an old-fashioned clockwork pocket watch for Yule? Only seen them in antique shops with a price to match. I think I need to check how much watchmaker tool kits cost as well, no doubt will have a fit if I can actually find any...
Where was I? Oh yes...
Walking back to the house was a scream. Moving on from the watch, I told Kai about my Grandad, and that he'd died when I was about 8 (I think) but that I never really knew him, he'd suffered two strokes and was partially paralysed, which made him frustrated and irritable - he'd been in the merchant navy in his youth and used to be a very active man. I do remember my Nana, though - she died in '88, I think it was. Kai asked a few questions about her - then cheerfully asked me how long I'd lived... [blink] "In this life, or in a previous one?" says I. He stopped walking, realised what he'd said, burst into giggles and replied, "Oh, I forgot you were still alive!" [blinkblink] I do wonder sometimes how my child thinks of me! [grin, shakes head] Anyway, by the time we got home he had a stitch from laughing and I was thoroughly cheered up...
Strange family? No, we're normal, it's the rest of the world that's weird...


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Friday, December 03, 2004

... so, after sitting waiting on the phone for 35 minutes (which is quite good at the moment, last time I tried to ring the phone cut off with a 'there is no answer' message after 15 minutes. At least it's an 0800 number...) I finally managed to get through to Staples. Spoke to the very helpful and sympathetic Michelle (no, I'm not being sarcastic, she really was), who told me that they are having problems: they have a new warehouse (since they amalgamated with Office World, I believe) in a new location, and all orders are delayed (though apparently it's worse for the chairs).
It's going to be another 1-2 weeks before they can deliver.
[head in hands] Why me? And why now, when I really need the thing?
She asked if wanted to go ahead with the order, or if there was somewhere else I could get the chair from (there isn't, at least not easily): I've said continue with the order, mainly because if I cancel I'll have to go through the whole process a second time and it'll take as long again.
Have diaried to ring them next Thursday to check progress...


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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Had a phone call - yesterday? day before? - from a nurse at the BRI. All a bit confused and complicated, but we understand the gist of it is they've found Ken's tests, and will have the results next Thursday - maybe. Unfortunately the person Ken needed to speak to wasn't there, so he has to ring tomorrow to make an appointment for the 9th. We think. But they're going to go ahead with the tests for the blood they took last week anyway (those are the results due back on the 23rd) just in case. [blink] Something to do with statistical probabilites of the results differing for some reason. I think. From what Ken said.
Oh well - fingers crossed anyway...
Chair still not delivered: tried to ring to ask when I could expect it, got palmed off by someone taking name and number and saying Customer Service will get back to me. I certainly hope so, because I shall keep ringing them until they get thoroughly pissed off with me if someone doesn't. Back's now ridiculously painful and the 'prufen isn't working.
Ken caught a news item this morning about premium rate dialup from the computer. On my saying it doesn't affect broadband, he pointed out that while that's true, we keep our phone plugged into my machine for the occasional fax we receive (and I've also resorted to dialup on those increasingly rare occasions when broadband's down for maintenance etc). But not anymore: we've disconnected it from the modem. Not that we've ever had a problem but there's no sense in taking risks. Another chink in the armour plugged (unplugged, rather!).
Kai still snuffly but not too bad: he went to school today. I'm sneezing and coughing but don't have a sore throat, so it's probably not going to come to anything. Ken is feeling miserable though (well, more than usual) - he doesn't normally get bugs but the medication suppresses his immune system...
Today's been really busy, I know it has, but I don't seem to have accomplished much. Annoying, that... Oh, no, I know what I did - installed the software for the little digital click-click we've bought Kai for Yule (Special Reserve refunded the payment for the other mp3 player). And what fun that was! Took two hours just to get the computer end of it going: when it came to installing the hardware interface - well, it wouldn't. Took three tries and a reversion to a restore point three back before I could get the bloody thing functioning (Butch's idea of a joke, I suspect...) But it works now, so he can snap away at Yule and plug it in right away, which is ideal. It's not a bad little thing either: we tried it to check it works OK and it's certainly good enough for website and blogs...
And he doesn't know he's getting it, so nobody say anything to him please! [grin]


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