Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

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

Other sites:

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

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

August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]

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.











I'm a Member of 

UK Veg Gardeners!


My IMDb ep summaries

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

For later:

Earthian
Dragonball Z (season 2, part)
(Someone else beat me to it!)
Robotech (s2 ep14 Triumvirate)
BBC Lion, witch and wardrobe
BBC Caspian and Dawn Treader
BBC Silver Chair
Beauty and the Beast (part)
(Missing Excel Saga eps)
(Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)


Silver birch at Eastwood 

Farm

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

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

Autumn...

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

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

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

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

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

(Joules, Autumn 2004)


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


In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme


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

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.



Currently working on:
Heart, The Poppy Tales

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

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

Currently maintaining:
BCHS
BCP


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




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

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

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

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

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

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

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

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

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

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

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

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

Murfs - noun, moths.

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

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

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

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

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

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

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

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


The Updates Blog

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




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

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

Butch by the talented 

Sylverthorne

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

Joules' 

Haddock

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



A'lestrel by 

Valkyrie.

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



Kood, my new mp3 

player.

Soundwave! (Kood's still moving in...)


Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 

2004

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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 

by 

Onna

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



I now have an Amazon wish list - find it here. But please be warned most of the things on it are yaoi. If you don't like yaoi, or don't know what it is, you probably won't want to take a look.




The Zone Plant from
The Zone 

blog 

plant

OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Pruned [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
:: Fundies say the darnedest things [>]
(Warning. This site is likely to have you screaming with laughter, shaking your head in sheer disbelief, or weeping for the future of your species. Often all three at the same time. I disclaim any responsiblity for any harm suffered by anyone who visits...)
[::..Fun Places..::]
::HubbleSite
Stunning...
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
::The Hacker Dictionary
Hackers with Humour!
:: Carol's Place
My GoodTwin's Homepage!
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: MailWasher
Excellent anti-spam software
:: About Bristol
The essential guide - and beautifully user-friendly too!
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: ZSPC Colour Chart
Check how your text and background colours look together before releasing them on the world!
:: 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...
:: Union of Concerned Scientists
Exactly what it says. Fascinating - and worrying...

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

I'll leave that to others to decide.

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


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

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

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

[::..Anime/Manga..::]
Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

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

Owned:
   DVD
   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

Owned:
   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

Owned:
   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

Owned:
   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

Owned:
   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust

Owned:
   DVD

   Vampire Hunter D Book 1



New Vampire Miyu

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


Yami no Matsuei

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


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


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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

[::..archive..::]
07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
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06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
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06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
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10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
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01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
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07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
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11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
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01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
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01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
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01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
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01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
01/02/2012 - 28/02/2012
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01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
01/02/2013 - 28/02/2013
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01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
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01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
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01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
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01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
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01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
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01/08/2015 - 31/08/2015
01/09/2015 - 30/09/2015
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
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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 - 30/03/2017
01/05/2017 - 31/04/2017
01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lovecats
Lovecats... ->

Brussel's sprouts and a few Romanescu broccoli seedlings now planted out (yes, I was up ridiculously early this morning after a very disturbed night, so it seemed like a good idea to get some gardening done before the forecast rain set in. Although it hasn't started yet, so what's become of it I really don't know. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Where was I? Oh yes...), along with the sprouting garlic around the edges (the 'pods don't seem to like onion/garlic scented plants, so I'm hoping it might help to deter them).
Now working on a story - a comic sci-fi short I started ages ago and wasn't happy with the direction it took. About time I finished it. Will give it a couple of hours then take another look at H03.

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Marking time...
Shorter shop, client site stuff, battling rain and colder temperatures (strawberry and aubergine planters in greenhouse tonight). Off to loom.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Remember I don't like Mondays? Remember I like Mondays even less when I have to perform major shopping expeditions? Well, the one thing I like even less than that is sallying forth on a major shopping expedition - in t-shirt and sandals, no less, since it was bright and sunny when I left home - only to find myself struggling back with rucksack and three heavy carrier bags in a bloody hail-shower...
I am truly grateful for hot running water and warm towels.
Still, I now have nasturtiums and leeks sprouting, and so far (crossing fingers) the 'pods have left my melon-flavoured turnips alone. Oh, and my tomatoes are three times the size of the ones I saw for sale in Sandy Park Rd this morning, and have lots of little flower buds coming. As long as I can keep them warm and watered we're on the way to having a nice crop of home grown toms in a month or so.
Early night.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Frog! Shorts and t-shirt weather today, and me hoeing the old veg bed, planting out the melon-flavoured turnips, and potting on the first lot of peppers and galia melon into troughs and plantpots, while K&K did a little more new meadow preparation. Ken managed to get about half of it dug over before the rain started, and I have hopes of getting the native meadow wild-flower seed sown before the middle of next month.
Kai found two rather large frogs lurking in the meadow, and had great fun trying to persuade them over to the pool -> There were a couple of large slowworms too, which I've nabbed for my veg beds in the hope they might help keep down the 'pods. I went hunting when the rain stopped (luckily while it was still light) and slaughtered at least a couple of dozen snails (probably more, if what was crunching underfoot as I stamped through the thicker stuff up by the fence were hiding snails) and a handful of smallish slugs. I will rid my garden of the damned things!
Legs and back are killing me now though, and I'm knackered. Heh, they do say the green gym is good for you...
Idly considering an early night, since I can hardly keep my eyes open. Bit of a nuisance as I was hoping to work on Heart ch 3. Maybe tomorrow, after shopping and client site b'n'b stuff.

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[growl] Bloody 'pods have eaten my sprouting carrots. And nibbled the spinach. It's snails this time, rather than slugs: I fairly devastated the slug population over the last two years. I'm going to have to get out there at night with torch and scissors...
But Kai had a fantastic time! The place used huge inner tyres instead of sledges, which was much more fun as the kids were able to use them as dodgem cars as well as careening down the dry-ski slope. He had at least twenty goes, he tells me. But he arrived back a little earlier than I was expecting, which threw the day out a bit.
Dr Who. Hm. 'It's that potato-headed thing again' said Kai, only to laugh when Ross (we like Ross, he's nice) said he looked like a baked potato... Not quite as daft as flying pepperpots, but I can;t take the Sontarans seriously.
Tesco are selling tubs of Golden Syrup pudding ice cream on special at the moment. We bought some to taste and I'm addicted - it tastes exactly like the canary pudding with oodles of golden syrup that my grandmother used to make when I was a child - except frozen. Phenomenal stuff! Even Kai likes it!
Off to the loom...

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Interesting... Snaffled this from Onna's blog, and it's quite true, I find Mirage of Blaze fascinating... Must get the rest of it sometime soon...

Which Yaoi Series Are You?



Your series is Mirage of Blaze, the story of Tagetsuya, a young man who discovers he is the reincarnation of an ancient lord, and Naoe, the reincarnation of one of his retainers who has been obsessively in love with his master for the past four hundred years, Every time they're reincarnated is another tale of angst and horror - this is the angstiest anime I have ever seen and that says something. The plot is wonderfully complicated and the exorcism scenes are not to be missed. Mirage of Blaze is one of the most well-written and better animated yaoi series out there. Ideal for those who love pain-filled angst.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla | Join | Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code


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Friday, April 25, 2008

[growl] Our landline has been out of action since around midday - not sure exactly when, as I didn't find out until I went to ring Frodo's mum about tomorrow (more on that in a mo) this evening, but apparently Ken's friend Tony tried ringing at lunchtime and just got a permanent engaged tone. I had to use my mobile to ring faults, who tell me it's a service problem (you don't say!) and they're dealing with it. But he couldn't tell me when it would be sorted - at most it'll be 48 hours. Bugger. At 35p a minute on my mobile I really don't want to have to keep using that, bad enough having to to ring faults, my mum to warn her, and Frodo's mum...
Anyway - tomorrow. Kai's going dry-slope tobogganing for the N sprog's (belated) birthday, and Frodo's mum is driving Frodo, Kai, and two other sprogs to the place (which is apparently an hour's drive away up in Gloucestershire) where they'll meet the rest. I think he's looking forward to it.
Tonight we watched my latest LoveFilm offering, Stardust. What a gorgeous film! We all loved it: even Kai came and sat down to follow it instead of staying at the laptop. Great stuff.
And now the second series of Heroes has started. Ken's watching, I'm half-watching, but the end of the first season was a bit of an anti-climax, so I'm not exactly riveted to the screen. But it's OK in the background.
Back to the loom...

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Sooo, today...
Slept in (stayed up to watch Last Night last night. Fabulous film. Canadian. We're fond of Canadian productions. Must have), got a little client work done, a little fic, a little gardening. Nothing like as much as I planned...
Kai had a great day though - trip to Y Pwll Mawr, the Big Pit mine and museum, in South Wales. Geography field trip. He thoroughly enjoyed it!
Wendy, great to speak to you this evening! Thanks for ringing.

Right - loom...

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another lovely day, weatherwise - most of which I spent shopping: it was time to get all the Ecover refills from Fresh and Wild again. [sigh]

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Such gorgeous weather today. I've planted out most of the courgettes and two aubergines, potted on the tarragon, and organised the paved square where the blueberries sit. Ken mowed when he got home, and we ate in the garden - bliss...
Other than that it's been a mix of client site stuff (small bits and pieces, mostly, though Jenni wants some more RealPlayer files for her site, music and .mpgs, which I've never done before. Will be interesting) and household type things, two machine loads of washing which dried out of doors, and some general tidying. If I don't get a move on and spring clean it'll be too late and into summer...
Busy day tomorrow.

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Lee's order of service



The service was thoughtful and very well attended - xian, of course, comforting to everyone there. Lee's favourite group was Abba, and we entered to Knowing Me, Knowing You. The first hymn was Lord of the Dance, and after the reading Barbara, the lovely woman who runs the Tuesday Club (Lee's weekly evening out) read a beautiful and very personal address. After the committal, the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful and the blessing, we played out with Abba's Super Trouper.
As Kai said, Lee would have loved it. I hadn't known my brother was a karaoke champion, though given how much he loved his music I'm not surprised!

Mum had organised platters of snacks and booked the main dining room of the residence for a few hours. A lot of people came back: about a dozen of Lee's friends from the Tuesday Club, more from Nichol's Centre, a variety of carers from the various places Lee went to, many family members (including Ken's folks), and a lot of the residents, all of whom loved him. It was good to catch up with everyone.
Afterwards we went back to mum and dad's flat with Ken's folks to talk until it was time for us to get the coach back - and that was good. My folks feel... better's the wrong word, but it was a good and comforting farewell, and mum says she feels much more tranquil now, less miserable.

Wendy, thanks for being there, and I'll speak to you in the week.
And thanks also to Dave next door for keeping an eye on the house for us today.
It was the first funeral Kai has been to, and he handled himself very well, especially since he didn't know most of the people he was talking to. It was an immensely long day though, and the four hours worth of travelling has played havoc with my back (why are bus/coach seats so uncomfortable?) I anticipate Kai having trouble getting up in the morning...

We saw the first real sunset of the year as we got off the X39...

Lee's order of service


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Sunday, April 20, 2008

A day of much tidying up, and K&K stumbling across a bog while out for a country walk. [rolls eyes] But they didn't get too muddy, so that was OK.
And had a Heart brainwave, so am working on that tonight.

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... tired and tiring day...
Seem to have spent a lot of it shopping. On a Saturday. ick. Was necessary though - and I've finally got the photos printed out for the folks (them and Lee with Kai and Quyn, from back before Yule). Also picked up Back to the Future part 3 (cheap at Sainsbug's), so Kai now has the complete series.
This week's Doctor Who didn't really work for me. Intriguing idea, but there was something lacking. And as for the preview of next week's, we all watched, jaws dropping, that 'Look upon the face of death' bit at the end - then Kai and I simultaneously burst out laughing. That is supposed to be frightening? Somehow I don't think the next ep is going to be that brilliant either...
Kai was fancying another 'scary' film this evening, so we watched Sixth Sense on pay-per-view (only £2). He loved it - there was a sort of stunned silence as the end credits rolled, then a hushed and somewhat reverent '... wow...'. It must be fun having eclectic filmophile parents!
Then we ended by switching over to Dave (sorry, no idea why the channel is called Dave...) for old back to back Mock the Week repeats, some of which were a little to topical for Kai to know what was going on, but he got a fair bit of the humour (and I think on the quiet he rather likes joining in with the more adult programmes we like). Satire, don't you just love it?
Back to the rockface...

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Friday, April 18, 2008

... tired...
But I've started the transfer of the BCP account back to Supanames, sorted out a few more bits of client business, emailed a review (Alice on Deadlines, completely manic ecchi manga), and re-read a little original AC. This evening we all sat down to watch the first five eps of The Twelve Kingdoms, one of the DVDs Windlily sent over. It's wonderful, really good, and is going on the list - but at 45 eps it's a biiig wantee-wantee. LoveFilm don't have it, unfortunately: amazon have it in two boxed sets for about £35 (+ p&p from the states - ouch): and ebay have the complete set very cheap but we can't afford it at the moment, and it runs out in just over an hour anyway. I'll just have to keep checking.
Kai made chicken and mushroom soup at school today, and brought it home for us all to try. It was delicious!
What to do tonight...

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Where were we...?
It's a touch hectic this week - lots and lots of client stuff, playing with Xara (have CalCol basic numbers now), and household and garden bits and pieces. My sunflowers are now planted by the fence, a sunny spot and protected from much of the wind: as long as I can fend off the slugs, they'll do nicely there. And my tarragon is ready to plant out, but since the first lot I planted in the ground were ravaged by the mini-beasts, I think I'll put most of them in a pot to go with the bronze fennel and mint, on the paved square with the blueberry bushes. I can protect them more easily there.
Mum has asked that everyone attending the funeral wear something blue, if they can - it was Lee's favourite colour. Only problem is I don't wear blue - only green or black. (Or occasionally gold or silver.) The only blue items of clothing I own are the tatty old winter fleecy top I wear to work in on cold nights, a grubby, too small, paint-spattered t-shirt I wear for painting or mucky summer garden work, or the top of an ankle-length skirt and sleeveless top set mum gave me donkey's years ago in case I ever got to go to an event where something 'evening-y' was required - but it's such a dark blue it may as well be black... Wondering if I can get away with a silver v-neck sweater and blue jewellery: I don't have time to get into town to buy something new (not that we can really afford it anyway).
Oh, and mum hasn't contacted Ian. It was his decision not to be part of the family, and after the way he's behaved over the last 20+ years no-one wants him there anyway. (He might twig when Lee doesn't sign the Yule cards mum always sends to Michael and Georgina - assuming he lets the kids open them, that is. Though they aren't really kids any more: Michael must be at least eighteen, Georgina a year or two younger. I've never met them. Did the horoscopes when they were born, and had a tree planted for each of them through the Woodland Trust, but that's all.) So hopefully everything will go off peacefully.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Client site stuff. And greenhouse tending. And uploading latest fanfic to AFF. And taking a stab at CalCol numbers...

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Monday. Nuff said.
But at least the big compost bin is now out of Kai's den and over with the small one, and most of the containers I shall be using (once the threat of frost is finally over) are filled with lovely rich homemade compost.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

It was ghost hunting at Dartmouth Castle, I discovered when Ken arrived home at a little past 4 am. But none turned up to be hunted, so it was all a bit of a letdown really.
We had a slightly less hectic day today. Ken spent most of it dozing on the sofa, while Kai came out and helped me in the garden - trimming around the old veg bed while I planted out my spinach and spread slug-blocker right around the edging (hopefully that and the slug-pub will help the plants survive), then together we put the new netting over the bed. There are carrots and onions coming up there now. Kai next attacked the grass and ivy mess in the meadow, which needs to be demolished before we can dig the new bed: he did a fantastic job too! (Yes, he gets extra pocket money for that.) Meanwhile I planted some leek seeds. Never tried growing them before, but we like them, so I thought I'd give it a try.
We enjoyed Dr Who this week. Tate is growing on me - she's a better actor than I thought.
Argent guarding the goat willow
Argent guarding the goat willow bonsai.


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Ken's off in Dartmouth, some haunted pub or castle event (I know that sounds vague: it was supposed to be a whole weekend originally, I think, but has gradually shrunk!) He won't be back until very late/early.
Kai and I put in some gardening time, pruning around the ivy tree (to free up my poor battered jasmine and start getting organised for the new meadow), and planted some more seeds - now have watercress, two different Brussel's sprouts, nasturtium, more galia melons and a whole tray of those melon-flavoured turnips I tried growing last year, on the go. I've repotted the mint, the catmint is now sprouting, and the tarragon and sunflowers are almost ready to be planted out. It's all go.
Have a load of client stuff to get done tonight...
Happy Birthday GoodTwin!

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Mum's made all the arrangements. She's bearing up - keeping busy, the standard coping response in the women of the family. It sounds as though there'll be a few people there: some of Lee's friends from his training centre, the immediate family (heh, most of whom Kai has never met!), and Ken's folks have expressed a wish to attend as well. No, no idea whether Ian will go or not: I doubt it, the little bastard hasn't even bothered with a birthday or Yule card in the last 18 or so years, though I understand that he still sends Yule cards to mum's brother and cousin - no doubt hoping to be kept abreast of what's happening with the folks. My contempt and loathing for him reaches new depths with every little snippet mum lets slip...
But back to the point. Mum was shocked to find out how much the funeral is going to cost (around £2,000) and I was horrified. Talk about raking it in when people are at their lowest ebb! When I go, I want everything as eco as possible - cardboard coffin, cheapest available woodland burial, and a tree planted on top. And no service, just a big boozy party for friends. Celebrate my life, not my death!
Anyway, she's requested 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' as one of the hymns, and asked me to suggest others - the only one I could think of that's appropriate was 'Lord of the Dance' (bearing in mind a number of the attendees will be Down's Syndrome, and that song is very well known and easy to sing). She's having trouble finding somewhere reasonable for the... I hesitate to call it a wake, it's more a small gathering with tea and sandwiches... afterwards though, and I can't help with that, no longer being familiar with what's available in the area.
Wendy and Sue, many thanks for the cards. Thanks also to GoodTwin, for the lift offer, and to everyone who has offered condolences. (I've passed them on to mum, who also appreciated them.)
More later.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Lee died this morning. The funeral will be next week - mum will let me know when they've made arrangements. I've rung the school, and time off for funerals is an authorised absence, so will see what Kai wants to do when he gets home this evening. I'm not going to force him to go, but it would be better if we all went.




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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

greengage blossom
There's nothing quite like starting the day with a giraffe of real coffee. Sainsbug's are selling packs of organic Fairtrade Peruvian ground coffee for the ridiculously low price of £1.79 right now, so I treated us to a packet...
Wonderful.
The grass was crispy with frost when I woke at 7.30, but the weather is glorious, cloudless sky and brilliant sunshine, a perfect spring day. My greengages -> are in flower and quite beautiful at the moment: the flowers smell fantastic, a gentle sweet fragrance, a little like apple blossom but not quite. It's the first year I've really been able to smell them, as previously they've been too high, but last autumn's pruning has worked, and the new growth is all easily reachable. The taste of the fruit is a little bland in this variety (whatever it is - the trees came with the house!) but they're yellow-green in colour, which means they have the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin (good for eyesight) and quercetin (studies indicate that one may have cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease combating properties - and it's an antidepressant. All good stuff), so we can't really go wrong! And the fruit is really nice with maple syrup, ice-cream, or in a fruit salad. I might try adding them to apple crumble next autumn too.

My greenhouse - let me show you it...
morning end of greenhouseafternoon end of greenhouse
These don't show the tall staging or the back wall, but you can see pretty much how well things are doing. Those are courgettes in the first photo, at the top left.
And I need to get some repotting done this morning, while the weather's good. I have some garden sunflowers on the go - this sort of colour - in a small seedtray, and the second lot of Brussel's sprouts should be potted on now (I don't think the first lot are going to survive, they got too badly battered in those high winds. But that's OK, I still have time to get the timing sorted out). And I need to get some nasturtiums on the go - great for attracting beneficial bugs and as companion plants to caulis and broccoli - plus the leaves and flowers are tasty in salads, and the seeds can be used to make fake tartare sauce in place of capers. Useful all round, and very pretty!
So - couple of hours in garden, and I'll be ready to sit and write this afternoon. Ken's at court today, and Kai on a late evening, so with a bit of luck I'll be fine to get lots done.
And that could easily be famous last words...
More later!

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Up early. Out later (10.10) than intended as I had to wrap a birthday pressie to go in the post. Post Office. Butcher. PDSA. Sainsbug's - bought too much and couldn't carry it all the way, had to ring Ken to come and give me a hand. Obviously getting old and decrepit... Home. Unload. Boot up, set Norton scan and washing machine load going. Trudge up Talbot Hill (oh gods how I hate that hill...). Remember halfway up I'd forgotten to note down the dates of Kai's next holiday. Ring Ken to get them from the calender while I loiter suspiciously by a carpark post (the only place I could rest the notebook. And even then the wind nearly blew it away). Write down dates, continue trudge up hill. Arrive at dentist to make appointments for sprog and self (half the reason for the trudge in the first place, as the practice is so busy you can never get through on the phone) to find reception closed for lunch. Swear silently and head towards Broadwalk, (vainly) checking out the second hand shops on the way. Find everything I need - eventually, after considerable hunting - in Wilkinsons and the 99p Shop (everything here including some shampoo for Kai; poor sprog is taking after me, skin and hair are both going greasy. Why is it so difficult to find shampoo for greasy hair these days? I eventually managed to find some Dove 'Cheveux avec tendance grasse' - foreign import! - for him...) Staggered back to dentist. Made appointments. Trudged back down the hill. Arrived home at 2-bloody-30...
Shopping. I hate shopping. And Mondays. You can go off Mondays even more quickly when they involve shopping.
And Ken still had to dive over to Tesco to get the last few bits and pieces.
Having an early night again. Tomorrow I can get back to something creative.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

interesting, but would you really want to wear it? This had Kai in hysterics... (originally from You Knit WHAT?, I think...) ->
So, today...
It snowed. Sort of. More like fluffy hail than actual snowflakes.
Then it was sunny - so sunny I had to open the greenhouse right up to stop the temperature getting too high.
Then it snowed again, and the temperature plummeted.
Then it went hot again.
Then it snowed.
A speeded up film of me tanking back and forth between house and greenhouse would have been quite amusing...
Everything's all bedded down for the night again now, but the forecast is for another two days like this. Oh joy.
Haven't accomplished much today. And planning an early night, as I have an early start tomorrow.
Later...

And the last Torchwood was astonishing. Can't wait for series 3.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

An insanely busy day...
Got to bed at somewhere gone five am, so slept in a little (well, 'til nearly eleven), and then it was all go, including but not limited to cooking, washing, cleaning, greenhouse tending (it's supposed to get down to 0° and lower for the next three nights, so everything's all tucked up in little white fleecy blankets out there...) and orchid care, then client work while K&K took over the kitchen to make chocolate cornflake cakes (the sort that cook in the fridge). They were very nice, if a little on the gooey side, but that was my fault for not getting the size of a tablespoon right for the golden syrup. Kai thinks he'd like to try again tomorrow.
My driving licence arrived. Call that a licence? It's more like a bloody credit card! And it's hideous. K&K say it doesn't look like me (it does, though, that's the worst thing!). But they got the name right, so I suppose it's all fine...
I used the steamer for the first time, to cook Raptor's chicken, working on the assumption if it didn't work properly she wasn't going to mind as long as it was cooked, and I could always nuke it instead. But it worked perfectly, and now I know it's fine, I shall use it for our meals too. She seems a little brighter today, and has been drinking quite a bit of water, so the anti-bios seem to be working.
I've been having fun on the Darkplace Quote Chain (go here and check the message board at the bottom of the page). It's primarily me and someone with the nick tobias140: well daft but amusing.
We're watching Th13teen Ghosts on Teleport - Kai's request, he wanted to watch something scary and gory. It's quite an effective film. Once he goes to bed Ken and I are going to finally watch yesterday's Torchwood on Catch Up TV (see yesterday's comments for that farce...)
And, of course, tonight was the first of the the new Dr Who series. And it was quite fun, and I think I can live with that Tate woman as the new companion - she seems a lot better in this than anything else I've seen.
My mother rang just after it had started, to tell me that Lee (my Down's Syndrome elder brother) is in intensive care at the hospital. He's been failing for some time now, his health getting worse over the last year or so, and has a severe lung infection (he's been on anti-bios for bronchitis for a week or so, but it's gone well beyond that). Apparently one side of his heart is enlarged, pumping blood under unnaturally high pressure through his lungs, which isn't helping, and he's being kept sedated as he pulls out all the drips and the ventilator if he's left awake. The hospital have said he's extremely ill and, in effect, to expect the worst. Mum's distraught, of course, but (at the risk of sounding like a heartless cow) I'm not overly surprised. He's had as good a life as they've been able to give him, and a longer life than they'd originally anticipated.
More as I hear it.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

So, Raptor and the vet...
He was surprised to see her looking so bright! He couldn't find anything obviously wrong [relief!] but says she is a little dehydrated, and to encourage her to drink more (so I suppose I'll have to resort to the 'trickling water into side of mouth with a syringe' gambit. She'll love that. </sarcasm>). He's given me five days' worth of anti-bios to see if we can get the diarrhoea under control, but hasn't asked for a repeat appointment - unless she declines or I'm worried about her, of course. He did say to feed her on boiled chicken and white fish with a bit of rice for a while though, just to be gentle on her digestive system, so Ken will pick some up on his way home. I think, basically, it's just her age, and there's not really much that can be done. She's amazingly spry, really, for a frail and elderly cat, alert and affectionate, even if she does spend most of her time curled up on laps, asleep.
We'll see how we go.
The DVLA have returned all my driving licence documents (the licence itself will be sent separately) - along with the uncashed cheque. Apparently I get the licence for free, since it's a replacement. Fingers crossed they haven't made a mistake!
My Thompson and Morgan seed packets have arrived, along with one of their catalogues. Now I want one of these! I reckon it would grow well in my garden, and it's hardy down to -15°, apparently (makes sense if it grows in the Himalayas!) so overwintering shouldn't be a problem. At the moment, anyway. It seems they've been known in the UK for at least 300 years ( shows how observant I am!) and are extremely good for health. Nicked and truncated from Wikipedia:
Goji berries contain; 11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals: 18 amino acids: 6 essential vitamins: 5 unsaturated fatty acids: 5 carotenoids: Calcium, Potassium, Iron (lots of iron, which I need!), Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Beta-carotene, Zeaxanthin. (That last one is good for eyesight, apparently, and is found in yellow fruit and veg like sweetcorn - which is one of my favourite vegetables and one of our usual mixed veg portions.)
Plus I'm rather partial to exotic fruits...
Last Torchwood of the season tonight, alas. When's season three start?

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Up and out for shopping at 7.30. A.m., that is. Back, unload, out for second lot, in the opposite direction. Back, unload, half an hour in greenhouse. Preparation for meeting early afternoon - which failed to happen (meetee's son fell ill at school and she had to go pick him up to rush to the doctor). So I prepared the first quarter's invoices instead...
But the weather was glorious today. When Kai arrived home we both went into the garden, me to tidy greenhouse (we have peppers and the Romanescu broccoli sprouting now!) and Kai to make a start on sorting out his den. Well, to consider sorting it out, anyway. And because it was so hot and sunny, we had dinner al fresco (Hi Al, great to see you again - and so early too!). Chicken, lemon and coriander couscous and mixed veg - very nice.
I am now very tired, and have to be up early again: vet's appointment for Raptor in the morning. She wasn't too bad last week, but over the last few days she's been failing, losing weight, off her food (never a good sign), and very much not herself. (And that's not mentioning the bowel problems, as I'm sure you don't want to know about those...) She's an old old lady now - 17? 18? I lose track. I'm just crossing fingers that this is simply old age and nothing more ominous.
More later.

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[bemused] From a bit of fake-watch spam I received today:
You know you are cool when your boss asks you about that thing on your watch that tells time.
... riiiiight... presumably that's the big hand...
Still busy. Still tired. Still not looking forward to Dr Who on Saturday...

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The TV was on the usual channel when I came down at some ridiculous hour of this morning - although I suppose if Kai had already set off for school, it can't be called that ridiculously early... where was I? Oh yes. Anyway, BBC News 24 was on, and as I was booting up the article about the newly-discovered flying penguins was on. For a few seconds I was all excited (remembering, of course, that it was once believed that by all the laws of aeronautics it was impossible that bumblies could fly...)
Then Ken pointed out the date.
[rolls eyes] Well didn't I feel a right turnip?
Though in my defence this was after a rather uncomfortable and disturbed night (I must buy us all some new pillows), and before I'd had even a sip of 'feinne.
But it was a bloody good spoof - really very convincing and fabulously well done! See it here if you haven't already caught it!
So, what's been happening? More of the same, really. Still working on client stuff (spring seems to be the time everyone fancies a redesign). Nibbling away at Haadri material. Tending the greenhouse and garden (actually need to get out there and get some weeding done, but the wind is really a bit cold for comfort at the moment). My last celementines failed, so I've tried planting a handful more seeds to see if I can get them going. Oh, and only one dragonfruit and one kiwi seedling have survived: going to pick up some more and try again. I've shunted around some of the houseplants ready for the brighter days, and spoken to Ken about making some sort of trellis for the sweetheart vine in the bathroom (it's now grown up the wall and is trying to spread out across the ceiling, but it can't get such a good grip on the artex as it can on the anaglypta). Will get Kai involved too - he's pretty good with construction projects.
We've been thoroughly enjoying The IT Crowd, and I've started taking note of the background things. One of the stickers that's all over everything looked like ELF.org to me, so I looked it up... it's the Entropy Liberation Front and it's wonderful! Have a go at the puzzle earth page - great fun. Only I then realised that it's not ELF but EFF. Which is the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Good stuff, but not as much fun as elf.org.
And I found this, which is brilliant. Try the helpdesk!
Back to the loom...

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