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][20/03/2019 - giving up. I don't have enough time to update the blog atm, let alone edit old entries!]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
First, a recommendation. Dive over to The Jonathan Day Fiction Site and try some of the stories. I love this author's writing - it's funny, bitingly witty, dryly incisive, chilling, and deliciously subversive by turns. Absolutely well worth a look!
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
From ICQ earlier
Ken: "Gads, it's after two. Where does day go?" Me: "... fleeing haddock..." Ken: "Yes, but why is the haddock gone?"Hm.
We played another game of Constellation tonight (Ken won) and at the end I suggested Kai invite a couple of schoolfriends around to play. At which he rolled his eyes and said something along the lines of "Heh, board games..."
Now, this is not his reaction - he enjoys board games. We all do. But it turns out, of course, that at school they all talk about what games they play, and, of course, a lot of them have Xboxes or Playstations, which, of course, we don't have and have no intention of buying - waste of money as far as I'm concerned, and while I know there are some non-violent games available everyone seems to go for the shoot-em-ups... But the other kids seem to think that board games are boring and old hat, and I don't want Kai to feel completely left out. So tonight I took a look at what MMORPGs are available (for anyone who doesn't know, that stands for massively multiplayer online role-playing game) and found (a free!) one I think he'd really enjoy - The Universal. We'll take a look at it over the weekend, see if he'd like to get involved.
Apparently I'm a Phœnix...
You're a phoenix. You can take anything from life and emerge none the worse for wear. Others admire you and are always chasing after you; whether or not you pay attention depends on your mood. Spontaneity is both a virtue and a vice in you. Your alignment is neutral, leaning slightly towards *good*. Take this quiz!
It's nearly that time of year again, and I'm already feeling the urge to start planting things. Raided the shed this afternoon and assembled all the planters and my seeds, and I can actually start getting things onto the windowsill in about a week - and even into the ground in the case of the carrots! - the first courgettes and aubergines, and I'm going to try a few tomatoes in the mini-greenhouse (hereinafter known as the GH 'cause I'm tired of typing it out all the time) towards the end of Feb, to see how they do. I need to sort out my strawberry planters too. It's all quite exciting!
Remember I mentioned the Mutant Pot Holders that Onna sent me, and wondered if they'd breed if I left them alone together? Well, look what's happened!
We know the conditions under which the offspring was produced, but I know nothing about the Witzendian Moons. However, we can draw some interesting hypotheses from this...
Firstly, the offspring is much larger, softer and looser in structure than the 'parents'. This suggests that the home-moon has a much higher gravity than Terra, and is possibly much colder and drier. The fact that the parents (did it take both of them to reproduce?) are small and sturdy further suggests that food might be in short supply: their physical makeup seems ideal for conserving both food and heat. The colours are suggestive too - if the offspring is green for camouflage in Terra's vegetation, then should we assume that the colours of the home-moon's surface are reflected in the parents' coloration? Is the moon's surface these intriguing greens/purples/white/blues/reds? If so, is it covered with vegetation as we would recognise it, or something else? Or do the parents come from different areas of the moon - or possibly even from different moons? If so, how did they meet? What sort of culture do they have, if any? Mating rituals? I'm not even sure what they eat, yet: I haven't noticed any of our food missing, but the cats have been complaining that their bowls are emptying faster than usual...
We know so little!
So far I have been unable to communicate with the creatures, but I'll keep trying and report back if I find anything useful!
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
[fuge grin] I'm going to see The Rocky Horror Show!
Heh... first film I saw at Uni: I joined the film club first semester and The Rocky Horror Picture Show was the first film they screened. Bit of a gob-smacking eye-opener, it was! Loved it ever since...
"Don't dream it - be it..." I reckon I'm about half way there.
Monday, January 29, 2007
So off I trot to the Post Office to send off Lutra's latest parcel, a wee parcel of speciality teas for Thorne, to welcome her new teapot, and the first part of the current project (Special Delivery + consequential loss insurance, which has now become standard) feeling quite pleased, as I'm two days ahead of deadline (though my hands are bloody sore...) I then dive speedily into Sainsbug to grab a few odds 'n' sods, then over to The Range to see if I can find a big, cheap corkboard (need one to pin up all the Haadri reference material that won't fit anywhere else.) I've just added a new silver washing up drainer to my basket when I get an urgent phone call from Ken. Who is ringing me on his mobile, as he has our bank on the landline...
Did I know someone was trying to buy over £600's worth of computer stuff online using MY VISA DEBIT CARD DETAILS?
'king WHAT!!!Can we say ready to kill? I'm as strict with personal security as I am with computer security. I don't even leave my details with any of the online ordering services I use! But we know from that Watchdog horror story (banks stuffing thousands of customer records into black bags - not even bloody shredding them! - and leaving them out for rubbish collection) that other people aren't as intelligent...
[takes deep breath] Anyway... Our bank - that's the Co-operative Bank, by the way, who are absolutely wonderful, not to mention the most ethical bank there is - explained that the bastard followed the usual identity theft/fraud procedure, first opening a Carphone Warehouse account with 1p (to prove the card was still live), then making a £10 donation to Christian Aid - and it was that that alerted the bank. They then refused to process the attempted online sale and cancelled my card immediately (just as well I'd got a cashback at Sainsbugs!), then rang Ken. Who of course got their details and rang them back to find out what it was all about: we don't give out any details to cold-callers.
Upshot is they'll refund the money that did get through, and send me a new card and PIN, but that will take about 5 working days. A bit of a nuisance being without the card 'til then, but rather that than the alternative.
Then there was tonight... Went to log on to blogger to post this update, only to be faced with a screen saying 'We're moving your blogs to the new blogger' (and if you don't want to, which I don't, too bloody bad). Growling loudly I went through the procedure, got a Google account and sat back and twiddled my thumbs while the software tried to migrate all my blogs. Tried being the operative word - after 5 minutes I'm presented with a screen that says:
Thanks for your interest in the new version of Blogger. An error has occurred that has prevented us from switching your account at this time. Our engineers have been notified of the issue, and your blogs and Blogger account should not be affected. Please try switching again later via the promo in your dashboard, and please remember your Google Account information as you will need it to switch to the new version of Blogger. For now, you can still log in to old Blogger using your original Blogger account. Thanks for your patience, The Blogger teamHeh. I broke blogger...
But I did manage to find a large, cheap corkboard for the Haadri stuff, so the afternoon wasn't a complete disaster.
Going to go work on a voodoo doll now for that thieving bastard. A month's worth of stinking, burning diarrhoea will do for a start. I'll think up some more refinements later.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Heh, finished part one ahead of deadline. This is good. Taking the rest of the night off. Tomorrow I need to upload Jenni's opera to her site.
Kai's cold isn't too bad, and so far I seem to be fighting it off. Keeping fingers crossed.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Argent, of course, likes sitting/lying/playing with anything he's not supposed to touch and anywhere he's not supposed to be...
<- This is what he's lying on, stupid cat! That can't be comfortable...
Ken bought the bolt to fix the gate (no, the longer screw didn't work, has probably made things worse as the wood is beginning to split) - then found it was too big to go through the hole of the latchy bit. [sigh] Was the only bolt available without haring off across half of Briz to find another hardware shop... he's managed to drill out a slightly larger hole, so the bolt now goes through and the gate closes properly, but it was a right bloody perfomance. Even with my bright and useful suggestions.
But we had a bit of good news today. I emailed a colleague about the house alarm problem last Friday, and he's just got back to us. Apparently there are two tiny but very sensitive fuses in the alarm control panel, and if you cut through the cable one of them blows - and since the system was quite correctly wired into the lighting circuit, any tampering with the fuses will set off the alarm. But it seems it's pretty easy to fix - and colleague has an electrician friend whose son is an alarm system fitter! So he's going to see how soon the son can come and repair it for us.
Only problem is, the electrician's code to disable the alarm is different from our house alarm code. And we don't have it. And the guy who fitted the alarm back in 1993 who would know it has since died, and his son has moved to France. If we can't get hold of the code (which is quite likely, though there are a couple of things I can try) it's going to be very very noisy here for a few minutes while the control panel fuse is replaced...
On the plus side, hopefully it won't cost too much, and I can still have my holiday!
First part of the current project now under 600 words away from being finished...
Thursday, January 25, 2007
[sigh] Poor sprog's come home with another cold... Luckily it'll be at its worst over the weekend, so he can snuggle up with a hot chocolate and the DVDs he wants. Hopefully he'll recover as quickly as he normally does. Also hopefully I'll escape going down with it - I absolutely do not have time for another bout like the one over Yule...
We played another game of Constellation yesterday evening, using more of the rules: it was really quite exciting, but we finally declared a draw, as the last ep of The Triangle was on and Kai's been allowed to stay up to watch it (he's enjoyed it - didn't do anything for me). Sprog really gets into the spirit of the game, coming up with all sorts of little asides to explain why his starship can travel faster than anyone else's (it's the aliens he meets who lend him their technology!) I could live without the sound effects though.
On target to meet the first deadline relatively easily - and I've had a sort of reply about the contract. Need to sort that out tomorrow.
Oh, and apparently Crowsnest is now getting anime for review! There's myself and another reviewer interested, and our tastes are quite different, so we should both be able to get what we fancy (from what's available, I mean). Will have to wait and see.
Back to the rockface...
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
... yes, it's pink. Violent pink. With purplish dots. And yellow eyes. And it's not a squid - or even an octopus; it only has six legs...
But I couldn't resist, not with a face like this...
So, please meet Hoskar, the hexapus. 99p from the 99p Shop at Broadwalk. He's a beanbag pet, one of a series that includes a turtle, a dolphin, a pufferfish and a shark called Bubbles. Kai wants one. I suppose I'd better go back and pick up another. (Apparently they do come in blue...)
Dentist... Another new one, but she's young and very nice, and Spanish. Says my teeth are fine, all fillings sound, no need to clean, nothing needs doing. The sensitivity to hot and cold is a pain, literally, but the gum's receded and the roots perilously close to the surface. Without having a whole load capped (which would cost £250 per tooth, minimum) there's not a lot can be done. I can live with it.
While I was up there I made my doctor's appointment (finally) - Feb 13th (at my request I hasten to add. I didn't have to wait that long...)
We played Constellation after dinner: it got quite heated, with Kai and I ganging up to stop Ken winning, then Ken advising Kai to make my starship travel half way across the galaxy to stop me winning, then Ken and I joining forces to try to stop Kai winning! Rollicking good fun, quite strategic in a relatively simple way. I can see us playing it fairly often: it's long enough to be interesting but not so long as to become boring. (Oh, and Kai won!)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is on at the moment. Daft film, but fun. I should be working though...
[sigh] Can't get my brain in gear...
The day started out so well, too. I walked Kai to the corner then continued on to Tesco - for the last time, if they don't reply to my complaint by the end of the day - to see if their duck legs were still on offer (they weren't). But the walk wasn't wasted: on the way back I was brought up short by a songthrush in a naked tree alongside the path, the 'fine careless rapture' of his song absolutely stunning in the still, freezing dawn air, his speckled throat pale against the lightening turquoise sky. It may be that he was singing a symphony, because in the five cold minutes that I stood entranced and listening, he didn't repeat his song...
Roeg's Pool is frozen over: my poor fish are puzzled - we can see each other through the ice, but there's no food forthcoming...
The garden is full of little birds at the moment. You may remember I invested in a bag of RSPB wild bird seed and a squirrel proof holder (which has proved to be rodent proof, too!) and the flitty things love it! (I've just had to buy another bag - they've finished the first.) And the pigeons seem to like the elder, the maggles eat insects from the ground (at least I think that's what they're doing), and the finches and sparrows are haunting the goat willow and the ivy as well. We'll have blackbirds eating the mahonia berries later, as well. And we still have mice under the compost bins.
It's just hit me - I have a wildlife garden, something I've wanted since I was a child!
We'll be switching to wholewheat spaghetti once we've finished what's in the jar: I cooked some to go with last night's spagbol, and although I prefer the other, I can live with wholemeal. The taste and texture has certainly improved since I first tried (and loathed) it!
Aaaaand we've just had a parcel arrive from an old friend in Exeter - a Constellation board game! I'm an absolute pushover for sci-fi board games. I still have my Those Awful Green Things From Outer Space game - mine's the original TSR version, bought while I was at Uni when it first came out. A veritable antique now! - and Cosmic Encounter - mine's the 'oracle box' version - with a couple of expansion kits. (I was particularly good at winning when I played the Philanthropist alien... [beg]) Anyway, I'm thinking we'll have a game when Kai gets home tonight. Sarah, if you read this, many thanks! [GLOMPS]
Right - enough procrastinating. I have time to get an hour's work done before my dentist appointment...
Monday, January 22, 2007
The flowers are green and almost cute. And it doesn't smell at all. Unlike Quyn, who has awful wind tonight...
Some Ken links. BBC Wiltshire, PSI, and Ken's now apparently on the support team too!
Sunday, January 21, 2007
[growl] and then when the contract does arrive, the agreed wordage and deadlines are wrong...
More maggle action. (Photos © Ken)
Sooo... Relatively peaceful weekend. Kai helped me in the garden for an hour yesterday, while the sun was shining (had to get out to stretch legs) and between us we weeded the planters and moved them back into place ready for later.
Sprog has had fun starting his trains layout, and downloaded some more Trainz software (he's delighted: it has all sorts of new landscapes and sounds).
My ginger has finally started to sprout. I planted a chunk of root last autumn in place of the coriander - which simply wouldn't grow for me, mainly because it's a warm-weather plant, I think. I'll try again in the summer...
We watched Climate Change: Britain Under Threat (David Attenborough at his understated best, Kate Humble and Matt Allwright) this evening. Fascinating, and of course alarming, stuff. Much of it I already knew, but the bits I didn't - frightening.
Finally, I note that that Goody... creature has been ousted. I don't watch Big Brother - I find it boring and offensive by turns (at least, the half hour I watched was) - but I've seen and heard her enough on TV to form the, I think not unreasonable, opinion that she's a vile, foul-mouthed, ignorant little tart who deserves a good slapping.
Tired. Frantically busy week ahead again. More later.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Pretty sky this morning.
[sigh] We don't like January. Not so much because of the weather, but because it is becoming more and more the month when all the little piddling things - the ones that raise the blood pressure - go wrong.
The screw holding the latchy bit of the front gate pulled nearly all the way out of the wood in the winds: I hooked it open yesterday but the damage had been done (scraped the paintwork off the gatepost, and I can't repair it until we have some dry warm weather). Ken's put in a longer screw as a temporary fix, but it will need a proper bolt going all the way through the wood for a permanent repair, and we don't have one just now.The maggles are nest-building...
Magpies carrying twigs! (Photographs © Ken)
Best close up I could do with the camera. The nest is that clump of sticks a little below the bird: it's not finished yet. ->
Oh - and I got it wrong. Ken went to the BRI to see about a small lump that had come up over his ribs. The nurse at our surgery said it was soft and probably nothing to worry about, but made an appointment for him to see a consultant anyway. Consultant said same thing: it's a soft lump of dead fat cells, definitely not anything to worry about, probably caused by Kai being too enthusiastic when wrestling with his dad and hitting Ken's chest. (But we'll keep an eye on it anyway, just in case.) I forgot to mention it before because Ken forgot to tell me! [rolls eyes] That's how worried we were about it...
And I renewed the Norton Security package. Not bad doing it online, and now I have full protection for another year with all the updates. This is happiness-making. Though next year I might upgrade instead, see how we go.
Right. If I can do a bit more on the current project, I can have tonight off to play! Back to it.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
I like my windowsill...
I really must get some more terracotta pots though.
Hm. A tad blustery today. Sometimes I'm glad we live in a valley - the worst of the winds blow over the top, and the brunt of what is channeled is taken by the big Edwardian terraced houses along most of the road. Still, I'm glad I didn't have the time to put up my mini-greenhouse at the weekend, as I'd planned...
<- The schefflera buds today.
Hm. Well, I've just run out of organic Sencha, which is a little annoying...
Ken's off to the BRI for his latest Hep C checkup - fingers crossed.
Right - lunch, then back to the rockface.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Things continue apace. Jenni has a blog now, although I've yet to customise it for her. I'm tired, and for some inexplicable reason aching all over, especially my legs. Been like it for a week now, although today is the worst - damn painful, and only walking seems to ease it. Problem is I don't have the time to spend doing a lot of walking right now...
Planning an early night, see if that helps.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Forgot to say - took Quyn to the vet yesterday (for a repeat Metacam prescription) and she's pleased with him: he's put on a little weight, and that troublesome back left leg is a lot better, more so than the right one now. The deafness is getting worse though - nowt we can do about that, it's his age. He's beginning to recognise hand signals a little, and can hear if we speak loudly (not something Ken does very often) so we'll manage!
Took a little time to rejig Jenni's site today, coding a new section for The Loft and adding music (viewer controlled, and what fun it was working out the correct code for that, since Firefox simply would not recognise the <embed> tag!) She's fairly happy with it, I think, although I had to go with two of only three mp3s I have of her works (the rest being in RealPlayer format): I've asked for more so I can refine the application a little.
Time for a book review for Crowsnest - BSI Starside - the Cause of Death (Roger MacBride Allen), I think. I thoroughly enjoyed it...
Monday, January 15, 2007
Well, the Ancient Britons project is finished and away, so that's good.
Kai's chosen Origami (again) and Customise Your Bike as his extra-curricular after-school clubs this term. He had the bike one today - and arrived back with his school sweater covered with grease. [rolls eyes] Just as well he has a spare, even if it is the next size up...
Back to it.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Update on the schefflera. It's not smelling yet, fortunately.
Yesterday Kai announced he wanted to go out on an adventure, so Ken took him on the train to Severn Beach. [sigh] I wanted to go, but have altogether far too much to do right now. Maybe next time. They had a good day, apparently, but only took photos of trains.
This pace is relentless... Ken says I'll need a holiday by the time this current project is finished (end of March), so I've been checking the B&B's down in Exmouth. April is off-season, but that doesn't make a lot of difference if you only want a single room. And B&B's don't seem to do single ensuite, which I'd much prefer. Eh well - plenty of time yet to carry on looking. If I can squeeze in a few minutes here and there.
Remember the fence panel that blew down? Dave next door is having it repaired today, so I have hammering from the garden, RotK on the TV, and Kai's trainz whistles, honks and wheel-noise coming from the laptop while I'm trying to get enough done to hit tomorrow's deadline. Perhaps I should put heaphones on.
... after the Lighting of the Beacons of Minas Tirith segment. Gods I love this bit.
Friday, January 12, 2007
<- The eye 15' up the wall at the end of St Stephen's St. No, no idea what it's doing there...
A mostly harmless sort of day. We actually managed to get into town at a sensible hour - before the lunchtime rush - picked up Fruits Basket 10 and 11 from Forbidden Planet at the Clifton Triangle (now have Vols 1-12, and I'm six books behind. Eh well, Kai's loving the series...) and found a pack of two Trigun badges (Vash and Wolfwood) reduced in the shop whose name I can never remember at the bottom of Whiteladies Rd.
Then we did the important stuff - went to Antics to try to pick up the train items Kai wanted. They had two pieces of track (points and a 'single slip'. Whatever that is) but not the 00 gauge ballast (that link will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the subject!) he needed for the layout.
So off we bussed to Modelmania, who had the 00 ballast, and a Hornby weathered concrete hopper (that's a hopper that carries concrete, not one made of the stuff, I was reliably informed...)
Back home Ken and I opened and turned the table (while Kai tidied his bedroom floor) then left sprog to begin to set up his layout. So far he's made one circuit with a couple of small sidings - but of course the table isn't big enough for him to try the big layout he'd really like to do. [rolls eyes] It'd be great if we could have the loft floored and a window put in: the roof isn't high enough for a proper conversion, but it would be fine for a really expansive layout. Eh well, maybe one day...
This -> caught our eye on the way to the Kingswood busstop - mannequins in the window of a clothes shop (H&M? I can't remember, never been in there) opposite the Galleries Mall in Broadmead. Snuff advertising? Certainly rather offputting, even Kai looked at it and went ick. Briz is a strange place, occasionally...
The big ferris wheel is still in Castle Park - and I still haven't managed to get a photo of the thing. It's huge, higher than the Galleries - but the weather was blustery and drizzly today, so we gave it a miss. Pity. I love ferris wheels, first fairground ride I ever went on as a sprog, and they've been a favourite ever since - a gentle ride, turning lazy circles in the sky.
The one cycle nap I'd intended after dinner turned into a two cycle instead (not too surprising after only 4 hours sleep last night and a busy day), which means I'm now all behind again. Can't catch up at the moment!
Back to the rockface.
The fountains down on the Centre, looking towards the Watershed Complex.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Where did yesterday go? Tch', so much to do, so little time...
"Moisture is the essence of wetness... And wetness is the essence of beauty."We love Zoolander.
Back to the rockface.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Ack, that was busy...
But I managed to make time to watch the first volume (eps 1-4) of Mirage of Blaze. Hm. Interesting. Bishieful, very intense and brooding, with one baddie who could be Benten's brother. Fairly complex story, and the anime isn't that easy to follow - not least because everyone has two names, the one they were given when born, and the name of the ancient personage whose spirit inhabits their body. Pretty animation (it's Madhouse, it would be) if the action is a little limited (personally I don't have a problem with that: Dark Myth is an old favourite). I need to get the other 2 DVDs (and the OVA, luckily all available through amazon).
Vol 1 of From Eroica with Love arrived today (spontaneous treat to myself bought on ebay. We're calling it an early birthday present). I was expecting lots of pretty bishies - what I didn't expect is that it's hysterically funny! Whether the comedy lasts into the later volumes I don't know, but I'm hooked, need to get the rest. (Fortunately they too are available from amazon.)
Back to the rockface. Jenni wants some major revisions made to her site...
Monday, January 08, 2007
[pinched from Lutra's Pond...]
Demand is a word that was invented for you. You are an artist and you need to be treated like the queen you know you are. You come first and so you should because you have some fantastic talents.... oh ye gods... this is just... I managed to circumvent the intro page and leap straight into the main site... I feel ill - I have to go lie down now...
[sigh] I was so tired yesterday I went up for a nap at 6.30 pm, came down at 9.30, closed down and went back up to bed.
Then I woke at 2.30 am and couldn't get back to sleep. Not even after playing my Biorecharge CD...
I don't think I've mentioned that, have I? I came across the site by accident when looking for something else last summer, and thought it sounded interesting (and of course, I can't survive without musekicks so I'm always intrigued by this sort of thing). It's not expensive, even taking the postage into account, and of course the US/British exchange rate was very favourable last year, so I ordered it. It arrived within three days - excellent service - and a month later (after I'd bought an ultra-cheap portable 'budget' CD player for £7.97) I gave it a try.
Well, I have no way of telling if it's actually done what it claims - although I would tentatively opine that my mind does seem to be a shade sharper than before, and I'm finding it easier to make connections between disparate subjects, though whether that would have happened anyway I have no way of knowing. And I always feel relaxed and revived after listening. But in any event I love the 'music' on the CD, it's deliciously multi-layered: rippling water and birdsong in the foreground, soft tinkling keys behind that, deeper wind-effect behind that, with a very deep quiet roaring in the background, then regular electronic swooping measured tones that I can't describe in any other way, except to say that Brian Eno uses them in his ambient music. The third track in particular is especially lovely, with the rippling foreground water replaced by the sound of wind-blown surf... Gorgeous stuff. I try to play it at least three times a week, usually during a nap - it's like taking a trip through Haadri.
Anyway, I'm awake now and drinking jasmine green tea, so may as well get some work done before I wake Kai. He's back to school today, and he's having scrambled eggs, a slice of grilled bacon, and a slice of toast for breakfast: he tried it over the holiday and loves it! (Not having it every day - I want him to learn to
Moron Miliband has got right up my nose. Anyone with half a brain can understand that eating foods that have been produced using poisons are going to be less healthy for you than food produced without them. Not to mention the effect on the environment, native flora and fauna, and watercourses and everything in them, of covering the land with said poisons - or the fact that there's no comparison in taste between organically produced food and mass-produced and poisoned pap that has to be smothered in salt/pepper/tomato sauce to make it at all palatable. No, this has nothing to do with health, it's all to do with money. It's a half-arsed attempt to discredit the organic movement in order to bring in fucking GM crops. I am annoyed enough to write to my MP demanding that he (Miliband, that is) be removed from his post and replaced with someone who knows what they're talking about and actually gives a damn.
It'll make me feel better, anyway.
See The Soil Association for more info about organic farming.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
OK: decorations down and stored, lounge tidied - and I've volunteered the dining table in my room for Kai to set up and run his Hornby railway. Temporarily. For a few months. Until the summer, at any rate, or until we need the table for something else. We have one delighted child!
This does mean I really need new headphones though, as he'll be behind me while I write some of the time...
He has an inset day next Friday: I've offered to take him into town to spend the last half of his Yule money on any other bits he needs (like scenery!) Then we'll open up the table and let him set up the tracks.
This <- Is the schefflera arboricola a workmate gave me while I still worked for BT (that has to be about 16 years ago). It had been damaged - the central stem had been broken and the plant had sent out four side-stems instead, which had made it very unbalanced. A bit of careful pruning and TLC had it looking a little more compact, and it's sat happily in the lounge ever since. I prune it occasionally, and have restricted its growth by not repotting in a larger container, though I'm tempted to rethink that decision, as another large plant in that room wouldn't go amiss (especially since my dizygotheca elegantissima is definitely not happy...)
Anyway, the schefflera has developed this strange structure -> on the larger of the two stems. At first I thought it was preparing for a spring growth-spurt with a whole crop of new branches - but now I think it's actually a flower spike! Apparently these are very rare in captivity, so I'm quite excited!
Unfortunately, it seems that the flowers smell of a mixture of old socks and wet dog, so I might not be quite so happy if they come to fruition...
There will be photos!
And just for the hell of it...
Muse - Soldier's Poem (From Black Holes and Revelations)
Throw it all away Let's lose ourselves 'Cause there's no one left for us to blame It's a shame we're all dying And do you think you deserve your freedom How could you send us so far away from home When you know damn well that this is wrong I will still lay down my life for you And do you think you deserve your freedom No I don't think you do There's no justice in the world There's no justice in the world And there never was
Well, I didn't get very much done except to catch up on some sleep - which was needed, so not a complete waste of a day.
K&K had a good time in town though. Ken bought some ancient coins (I hadn't realised he was collecting them, but apparently 'tis so... We should talk more.) Kai came back with a Hornby diesel shunter (similar to the one he rode on at Eastleigh in the summer) which is beautifully detailed - even has opening doors! - two pieces of ballast, which he can't do anything with at the moment as they're designed to be used with a piece of track he doesn't have (so that's next on the list to buy), and the components to make an inspection pit.
The lounge is a little... disordered right now...
Tomorrow we take down the decorations. Tonight... something fun I think.
Friday, January 05, 2007
(Please note - the following photographs might take a wee while to load!)
[Wednesday 3rd] We had a pleasant run down to Devon - although going over the Avonmouth bridge was as hair-raising as ever... (I think my problem with driving over it is because I have wide peripheral vision and I was always very aware of the very high drop to either side of me. It's not so bad when someone else is doing the driving!) Exeter bus-station is about five minutes walk from the folk's place, so getting there was easy.
After lunch dad asked if we'd like to go anywhere. Being in a generally nostalgic mood, and since Kai has never been there, I asked if we could go to Woodbury Common - specifically, the 2,500 year old hill fort on Woodbury Common. When we were sprogs we used to drive down to Exmouth almost every summer Saturday to spend the day at the seaside, and usually stopped off at 'the castle', as it was generally known, on the way back to run around inside (and sometimes have a last ice-cream from the van that used to park there - and probably still does in the summer!)
Inside the hill fort, looking west.
The road runs through the middle of the hill fort, and the bit most people visit is on the south side of the road (on the left on the map, link above.) Despite the erosion caused by a couple of thousand years of weather - and latterly walkers, horses and children playing - the two ramparts with the ditch between them are still impressive -
Kai in the ditch between the ramparts, south side.
Kai loved the place and wants to go back there.
Dad then drove us on to Exmouth... Ye gods the place has changed! Not just the town, which I always liked anyway, but the beach. Apparently there was a severe storm some years back that 'redesigned' the sand, washing away great swathes of it and building up the dunes that you can see in the first photo:
Half-way out on Maer Rocks, looking back towards the estuary and across to Dawlish Warren. The dunes are to the right; the tiny yellow thing you might be able to make out half-way up the hill left of centre is actually a kiteboarder's whacking great kite.
Maer Rocks are one of the most memorable features of my childhood. When the tide was out, they seemed to stretch out forever into the sea, full of pools with crabs and tiny shrimp, and even little fish if you were very lucky. The sun dried the seaweed and made it safe to walk on, and out at the end all you could hear was the surf and the wind.
Kai on the smaller of the old 'ramps', only about half-way out as the tide was coming in at a fair old pace. You can see the waves breaking over the submerged rocks beyond him.
The sea here has always seemed to be higher than the beach to me (and Kai said the same when I mentioned it), creating a very odd optical illusion, as though gravity is twisted here. It added to the magic of the place...
Looking east, away from the estuary: Orcombe Point in the background.
We used to swim in the still water to the west of Maer Rocks as the tide was coming in - the sun had warmed the sand by then and the water was warm and silky. There's now a new 'ramp' (actually and far less romantically the outer covering of a pipeline) running along the west side of the Rocks: what the effect has been on the swimming I don't know...
The waves hit the 'ramp' slantwise, creating a very pretty waterfall effect.
We would have loved to have stayed a little longer, but the wind was blowing a gale and sandblasting our faces, and it started spitting with rain, so - very reluctantly - we made our way back...
We had a dreadful night and got very little sleep (first was someone clattering keys in the lock to our room, not realising she was supposed to be in the other guest room, then starting a very loud conversation with someone on her mobile. After I'd sorted that out, we were far too hot and opened the windows - which made it incredibly noisy (exactly why do the buses start running in Exeter at 4.30 am? I mean, who the hell would be up to use them?!) And the bed creaked, which kept Kai awake. And my mattress made my back ache something fierce... Heh, I ended up just sitting listening to Kood until 8.30...)
[Thursday 4th] I left Kai snuggled up dozing on the folk's settee while I went up to the town centre. It was a bit of a shock: Wendy had said Princesshay wasn't there any more but I wasn't prepared for all the building work! Popped into Harlequins shopping mall, which was just being built the last time I was there, and found the excellent Cook's Shop - which had a grapefruit spoon! I've been looking for a grapefruit spoon for years, you can't find them anywhere these days (not ones I can afford, anyway!)
After lunch I took Kai to Heavitree Park - via the Heavitree Yew in St Michael and All Angels churchyard. It's listed on the Ancient Yews site, but they don't have a photo, so I took a whole load, one of which Ken thinks they may be able to use.
Kai enjoyed the park, but he was still tired, and it started to rain, so we didn't stay very long.
Arrived back in Bristol in the dark, by far the best and prettiest way to experience the Avonmouth bridge - and we both slept very well last night! All told we had a great time, thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Although I really didn't much like getting stuck in the lift at the folk's place. Fortunately the warden was still there - she was supposed to have gone off duty - and was able to come and sort out the problem without calling for the fire brigade...
My new geta arrived yesterday (I'd ordered them on ebay) and they're great!
Today Ken's taking Kai into town to look for ballast for his railway. And I'm going to try to get some work done!
GoodTwin, thanks for the squid reminder. Ken taped it - I shall watch it this afternoon.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Kai wanted to take some of his old electronic components to pieces before disposal - Ken thought he'd try something clever with my camera...
I took Kai to see Night at the Museum this afternoon. What a great film! It had us laughing aloud in places, and flinching in others - most entertaining and a must-buy as soon as the price comes down. A terrific feelgood film to start the new year.
Kai and I are off to Exeter first thing tomorrow morning, so I won't be here until Thursday evening. Hopefully with some photos, but we'll see where we go and what the weather's like!
Monday, January 01, 2007
I woke up to a gloriously sunny - if cold - day, but it didn't last, and the garden is sodden again. Not that I'm really complaining, at least this should be replenishing the aquifer, but it's going to take a wee while for our patio area to be anything but squelchy. We need to find some way to have rainwater drain away a little more efficiently - another project for this year.
So, Torchwood... Interesting. Intriguing. The second part came across as a little contrived, I thought - and while I'm not fond of demons in sci-fi the precedent had already been set in Dr Who, of course (The Pit? I have terrible trouble remembering episode titles...): I can live with it.
The first ep, though... mmmm... I really enjoyed that. Loved Tosh's bright idea of sending messages through time (though they were found a little too easily. Then again, time was limited... heh, daft thing to say about a prog dealing in time and the manipulation thereof!)
As for Captain Jack... My first thought was, 'what a fantastic rôle model he'd make for the gay/bi community'. Then my second thought was, 'hang on, he's a fictional character.' And my third thought was, 'So? Your rôle models when you were a child were Spock of the Enterprise and Sherlock Holmes, and you can't get much more fictional than that!'. So I stand by my first thought. The scenes with Captain Jack and the real Captain Jack, both strong, compassionate, vulnerable men, were beautiful, poignant and powerful, I thought.
But I'm not sure how I feel about the finale. I assume it was done to see what the viewing public response will be - there are so many possible paths from that ending. Was it a cliffhanger? It could be. Equally, it could be simply a ragged, unsatisfactory end to the story. Oh, I do hope not. I could quite happily cope with another series or two!
Wishing you Health and Happiness for 2007