Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my
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.
Adventures in Orchids
Apparently I am now collecting them...
EO - Everlasting orchid. Phalaenopsis. I've had this orchid for at least 15 years and it just keeps flowering...
AO - Alien face orchid. Phalaenopsis . Bought 2018 - lovely little flowers, all different patterns!
RO - Rescued orchid
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...
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Keeping the mini-bog clear is bearing fruit - the bog irises have quadrupled in quantity and have begun flowering. Pretty, ne?
We did manage to find Kai some white PE trainers at the market, and some 100% no-elastic-top socks for Ken. And Ken and I sorted out Roeg's Pool when I got back - looks better, but I won't know whether the fish have survived until/unless the pool-cleaning stuff we put in works. Keeping fingers crossed.
Horrendously busy day tomorrow and probably Tuesday too. Can I go home yet?
Saturday, August 30, 2008
First decent day, weatherwise, in ages it seemed, so much of the day was spent in the garden. Shed is now tidied again: had to make room for the old drop-leaf dining table with the collapsible chairs that store inside it, that Ken has been using as a computer desk for the last umpteen years. (Dave next door was clearing out his garage a couple of months ago and asked if we wanted a (brand new!) desk - sort of like this but not so snazzy and without the cabinets - otherwise he was going to dump it. Of course we said yes, and a week or so ago assembled it in Ken's study (it's great - wouldn't have minded it myself!) and the dining table has been sitting behind me ever since.) It's much easier to reach everything now, and the garden hose is coiled up on its new hanging thing, and Kai's bike is now safely padlocked with nothing rubbing against the tyres. Much better out there!
And Kai has made great inroads into his den while Ken hoed for me and I lifted the plants from Roeg's Pool. Hoping to tackle that tomorrow afternoon, if the rain isn't too bad.
The photo is of the sunflower that mysteriously appeared on the edge of the meadow (we think a bird probably dropped it...) There was a bee settling down for the night in it earlier, but the photos I tried didn't come out - it was too dark.
I've started tidying the greenhouse in preparation for the autumn and winter - need to transplant the peppers I plan to try to keep into much bigger pots when they've finished fruiting, and start organising for next year. I'm going to try melons again: I picked the first one today and Ken and I shared it - absolutely delicious! But very small - a little bit smaller than a tennis ball. I think I need to grow the melon plants in bigger pots too! But the main thing is they've worked, and there are two more coming. I'll try to remember to photograph the next one.
And Prime Contact is now a quarter revised. Altogether quite a successful day.
Tomorrow we have to get down to the Sunday market. Kai's grown out of his white PE trainers, and I object to paying the £35 that the shoe-shops are charging, for something he wears for a couple of hours once a week. Keeping fingers crossed...
Friday, August 29, 2008
Kai's day wasn't so bad, today, but it's been a tough week in a new school year, so I took him to see Hellboy 2 tonight (in part to take advantage of the money-off vouchers we got when we went to see M3. Except they weren't where I thought I'd put them, which led to a hunt through the house to find the damned things. Eventually spotted them hiding in plain sight on top of the low bookcase... [sigh]).
So, the film... It was very silly. Enjoyable silly, but silly nonetheless, approaching slapstick in some places. It flirted with seriousness in several places, but then withdrew coyly and cracked a joke instead. No denying the cg is magnificent, the tooth fairies are kind of cute in a grisly way, and the elves are... interesting, closer to the traditional depiction of the fey folk than I think I've seen anywhere else. But you might remember that interminable fight sequences bore me, and as for the 'romance' bits - oh dear.
But we'll pick it up eventually, no doubt. Kai thoroughly enjoyed it. I found the inconsistencies between the first and second films irritating, but can probably ignore them.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Right, where were we? Oh yes...
Kai did not enjoy his first day back at school. They've sorted the sprogs into 'vertical tutor groups' in Communities (Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune: Kai's in Jupiter) instead of the Houses they used to have, for such classes as art, drama and the performing arts. On the face of it not such as bad idea, as it encourages interactivity between the years and could help all levels of ability develop - but Kai's not happy about it. Whether that's just him being resistant to change or whether it's genuinely going to cause problems we'll have to wait and see. They've also completely changed the structure of the school day, removing the afternoon break and combining many classes into triple periods (which I think is quite a good idea, personally, though it will take the sprogs some getting used to). There are a series of open meetings for the parents all next week: I shall make sure I get to the appropriate one and see if I can find out more.
In other news... BCP want a complete site revision (which is timely, as the site has grown, and is now rather unwieldy. Not to mention it's looking a little tired): will start getting that organised after Monday's meeting.
I've started revising Prime Contact for the second edition, making a few changes, expanding the glossary and tidying up a few errors. The second edition won't be illustrated.
And autumn appears to have arrived early, the leaves are changing colour on the sumac and goat willow. Which reminds me, the latter has to be felled this winter - it's not looking at all well. Luckily two (possibly three) of the baby hazel saplings Wendy brought up with her have survived and are thriving, so we can replace the troublesome tree with a useful native or two. Nearly time to get the serious pond maintenance done and prune the bay and blueberries.
[bemused] I dreamed last night that someone dyed my hair auburn while I was sleeping...
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
My marrow, let me show you it...
We also tried one of the apples. They're larger than I thought they were going to be, and the flesh is all veined through with pink from the amazing red skin (must try to take a photo of the tree tomorrow). They need to be a little riper, as the one we had was still a bit sharp, but they do have a hint of strawberries. Lovely...
Saturday, August 23, 2008
It was beautifully bright and sunny this morning, so K&K decided to go out to Almondsbury and explore the little wood on the hill while I got some work done. And it stayed sunny too - until I hung out the washing. [sigh] I do so hate having to dry wet towels indoors...
But they had a great time, going on to Weston-super-Mare, where Kai rode the miniature railway and had a cheeseburger, and they got the times of the buses wrong and didn't arrive home until half eight. Eh well - Kai's back to school on Tuesday, it's nice for him to have a little spontaneity at the end of his holiday.
And I found time for some much-needed orchid care, too - the scale insect has come back. No flower spikes at the moment.
Very tired. Need sheeeeep...
Friday, August 22, 2008
Client site work.
Fraser fest - Blast from the Past was on TV this evening. Such a sweet film! Highly enjoyable, and one to pick up at some point.
The same cannot be said of The Spiderwick Chronicles, my latest from Lovefilm. Pretty, predictable and hugely pointless about covers it. Not to mention horribly anti-climactic.
Our hedgepig is rootling around outside the patio doors...
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Still can't get used to the new blogger dashboard...
Rather a good day today. After hunting in vain in Briz for greenhouse fixings (little plastic thingies that twist into the aluminium frame and support twine/bamboo sticks for plants: a handful came with the greenhouse but nowhere near enough) I rang Almondsbury Garden Centre, who said yes, they had loads. Cue Kai and I heading for Firstday SouthWest bus tickets.
Kai doesn't mind coming shopping with me for unusual things (i.e. not food shopping), and we had a nice couple of hours. He had great fun admiring the water features, I picked up two bags of the fixings (not as strong as the ones I already have, but I have sixty (well, fifty nine) which should do me as I can double them up), and we had lunch in the café. Kai loved the area - there's a wood with all sorts of enticing paths on the way down the hill, and I think he wants to go back with Ken - and on the way back into Briz we drew up a plan for his miniature railway track in the garden, which would actually work rather well. Now we just need the cash...
Leapt off the bus at the top of the Gloucester Road and zigzagged all the charity shops down to the arches - with unusual success. I found a vaguely smart, subdued top that will serve me well, an old but serviceable walkman (the cassette tape kind) for Ken, and two DVDs, Crocodile Dundee 2, which Kai hadn't seen and which he enjoyed, and Crash (the Paul Haggis film, not the Cronenberg one. I read about it last night while checking what other films Brendan Fraser was in, and thought it sounded intriguing).
It's just extraordinary, one of the best films I've ever seen.
Not sure what else to say. It's not an easy film - and probably not even a likeable film - but ye gods it's powerful, intense, and very very good.
'alf-inched from Dark Roast Blend. Love this one! ->
There are some truly wonderful signs over there. This one had me in stitches. In fact, the ones I seem to find funniest tend to be mathematical in nature - like this one. Kai found it first. For a moment we wondered what the answer was - then I found the square root button on my calculator (which led to some hilarity in itself). Then of course I had to mention dividing by zero. And Kai just had to try it.
(<- I wish I could remember where I found that pic, it's wonderful...)
"I get E." he said, which led to guesses as to what the E could stand for. Eternity? Ecstasy? Elimination? (Because it couldn't possibly be something as boring and mundane as 'error' now, could it?)
Tired now - and busy day tomorrow, trying to sort out a Paypal problem on one the client sites. Oh joy.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
And another busy day whizzes past. But the play.com order arrived, so we watched Airheads tonight. K&K loved it - in fact, Ken actually chuckled aloud!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Despite Ken getting the time wrong and waking me at 10.17 instead of 9.45 as I'd requested, we managed to make the 11.05 showing of Mummy 3...
Hmm. Well, it's not quite as bad as some of the reviews would have you believe, but it's certainly not a contender for film of the year. On the minus side, while Maria Bello hasn't tried to make Evelyn a completely different character (as Michael Gambon did when he took over from the perfect-in-the-role Richard Harris as Dumbledore), and has even tried to imitate the voice, her accent meandered a little, and she has, alas, none of the fabulous, sparkling onscreen chemistry that marked the Brendan Fraser/Rachel Weisz relationship in the previous two films. I don't think I've ever really seen anything like that in any other film I've watched, and it was magical, so it's not really Bello's fault that she can't replicate it. John Hannah (one of my favourite actors) is simply wasted here. And Luke Ford, as Alex, looks too old and has all of Rick's cock-sureness but none of his charm. I didn't particularly like Alex as an eight-year-old: I definitely don't like him as a young man.
But that said, on the plus side there's plenty of the action we've come to expect from the series, some laughs, a little angst, considerable excitement (if not logic) and even though Fraser isn't entirely convincing in some scenes (and even those can be mostly explained away by him being unhappy with his life as an 'English gentleman'), he still turns in a creditable performance. (And he's wearing rather well, which is, unfortunately, not something I can say of John Hannah. There's only six years between them: it looks like more.)
And the yetis are great! I'd like one for Yule, please.
We enjoyed it. It's not as good as the previous two, but if you suspend disbelief (and if you don't, why are you going to see this sort of fantasy in the first place?) it is fun, an ideal film for a wet Tuesday morning (which it was, and I found out when I got to the cinema that my kagoule is no longer the least bit waterproof. [rolls eyes] Need to find something that works). We'll be buying it, but probably when it's come down in price. And I'm actually quite looking forward to the fourth in the series - Rise of the Aztec, due 2010 and introed at the end of Mummy 3...
Tanked home in time to grab breakfast (brunch, anyway, it was 2.30 pm), then we took Argent to the vet. He confirmed what I'd been told over the phone: wee beast has hyperthyroidism and a degree of kidney failure, along with high blood pressure and a slightly enlarged heart. There are treatments for the hyperthyroidism: the thyroid can be surgically removed - which we don't want as at sixteen a general anaesthetic could be lethal - or going through the horrible stress all 'round of giving him tablets twice a day, oh joy...
BUT, he said, it's the hyperthyroidism that's stopping the kidney failure getting worse - something to do with the excess chemicals he's producing, he did try to explain but I didn't catch it all - but the upshot is if we treat the hyperthyroidism the kidney failure is going to get much worse very quickly. And that, of course, will kill him.
We've opted for 'benign neglect'. Wee beast is happy, certainly not suffering, eating well (he's put on weight since last week, in fact - we may have to watch that!) and enjoying life. While things are in balance and he's fine, we're not going to do anything. If the situation changes we'll take him back, of course, but for now... He may have several years ahead of him if things stay as they are.
Right - dinner. Then I have a load of client stuff to get done.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Lovely day - Wendy came up to visit! Wonderful to see you and catch up on all the news [HUGS].
GoodTwin sent me this link. It's hysterical - especially this one, which had Kai and I in stitches, crying with laughter. We didn't even dare try to guess what the occasion was!
Looks like I'm taking sprog to see Mummy 3 tomorrow. The reviews are almost uniformly bad, but we always prefer to make up our own minds. See how we go.
... so bloody tired...
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I am very tired of being tired...
So, today... well, I thoroughly enjoyed Airheads last night, and I think K&K will too, so we ordered it (along with Bedazzled and GotJ and two others for Yule pressies) very cheap from play.com.
More client site work.
Shopping (before it rained).
Watched Armageddon (Kai couldn't remember if he'd seen it or not) this evening. Dreadful film, but it kept us amused for a couple of hours.
It's annoying having to take a lit torch out when visiting the loo at night when it's raining, but it's necessary unless one wishes to tread on a frog (which I did, just once. Never again...)
Friday, August 15, 2008
[blink] Ohhhh kaaaay... Blogger have changed the dashboard look, that threw me slightly...
Argent - the blood test shows he has hyperthyroidism (which might account for why, at sixteen, he still acts like a kitten ) and a degree of kidney failure. This was sort of anticipated, and certainly the kidney problems are slow-developing, so there's nothing critical at the moment. I have to take him back next Tuesday to discuss how we want to proceed - which I suspect means medication. Which will be a nightmare with Argent. More as we find more out.
I have the first sweet pepper coming in the greenhouse.
We definitely have a hedgepig! (Which is probably where Argent's flea problem came from. But the Stronghold is vicious stuff and has stopped that dead.)
Today... I took Kai to the SS Great Britain.
The last time I took him he must have been under four, because he got in for nothing, and I remember the ship being little more than a shell with temporary walkways and dim lighting. Well, what a difference a few years (and a shedload of Lottery cash) has made!
Visitors go through an excellent museum first, to get to the ship. The old dry dock has been fitted out with glass plates with water over them, so from above it looks like the ship is floating. From below, however, you can look up from the temperature and humidity controlled dock and through the water, which is a strange feeling, but very effective.
It's now possible to explore two decks, which have been set up as they would have been when the ship was working.
The galley has been all set up as it would have been, along with some of the storage space (the thought of trying to prepare about six hundred meals twice a day in that galley - which was about the size of our lounge... no, a little bigger, but not by a whole lot! - is horrendous) and the cargo area at the stern, which was used for animals as well.
There's a life-size working model of the engine too.
We were there for hours - it's a terrific afternoon out. What's particularly good, too, is that though the entry is a bit pricey - £10.95 for adults and £5.65 for kids - that ticket allows you free return visits in the following twelve months, which is amazing value for money. I'm certainly taking Kai back before Yule: it would be nice to experience the place without the tourists!
The Harbourside train isn't running at the moment - there's building work going on along the track - so we took the ferry there and back, which was great fun.
Arrived back knackered and, since I'm on a Brendan Fraser kick at the moment, watched George of the Jungle (a hugely silly and slapstick film, but worth it for the BF droolage) on FilmFlex. And in a few minutes another of his films - Airheads - is on TV, so I just have time to get this posted before settling down to watch...
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Yet more client site stuff.
And this evening we watched Cloverfield, which to my surprise is really rather good. Ten minutes in I was ready to call it crap and come back to the computer, but gave it another ten (we were paying for it on FilmFlex, after all) and it grew on me, and by half way through I was positively gripped. Excellent viewing.
Back to the rockface.
Later edit: [chuckles] that was quite amusing. There was a 'paranormal' programme on ITV tonight, set in Arno's Court Hotel just down the road, and Ken wanted to tape it. Cue me crawling around behind the TV/DVD/VCR trying out every possible permutation of scart socket/cabling, but to no avail. Nothing worked. (It's probably a programming thing on the VCR. but we just didn't have the time or energy to try to sort it out.)
So we recorded the prog using the video function on my camera instead.
It's worked rather well - small, but nice crisp audio and clear video. It's now burned to CD and deleted from my smart card, but it's a useful facility in an emergency. Lateral thinking, I lubs it.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Argent's appointment went well. Only took us half an hour, and the vet said he was the best-behaved cat she'd handled in a long time.
... we're not sure she had the right cat...
He wolfed down a bowl of Oh So Meaty senior catfood when we got back and has spent most of the day asleep, bless 'im. Then again, a blood sample taken from the neck must have been a bit traumatic. I can ring tomorrow afternoon for the results.
On the plus side, the Stronghold and Indorex house spray seem to be working already, which is a relief.
I have three grapefruit seedlings coming up in the greenhouse. I know I won't be able to get them to fruit in this country, certainly not without a very big heated greenhouse, but I've read that even just one flower will scent a large area, so I'm hoping I might be able to persuade one of the plants to develop that far. We'll see. If it works, I'll bring the plant indoors to perfume the house.
I think I've finally finished the client site stuff for now. Trying for an early night (again).
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Yes, it's been hectic...
Yesterday, in between a sudden rush and flurry of a load of client site revisions (taken a lot of two days and I still have quite a bit to do tomorrow - most unusual) we had to get Argent 'round to the vets. Nothing critical - or so we hope - just that the FrontLine flea and tick treatment no longer works. Got some capsules of the latest thing - Stronghold - plus a spray for the house which is supposed to provide protection for a full twelve months.
However, an hour or so before the appointment, he had a sudden odd seizure, where he keeled over onto his side and looked like he was choking (Ken saw it: I only arrived in time to see him on his back with his legs twitching). He was disorientated and thoroughly bewildered for a minute or two, then seemed fine again. Told the vet, and he's booked in for a blood test tomorrow at noon. Which means I had to take away his food bowls at eight tonight, and he's most aggrieved.
More as it happens.
We had to move Rosa out to the greenhouse while we sprayed indoors, and I think she rather enjoyed the trip - at any rate, she tried to climb out of her tank. It's time to repot her, so I've set some substrate going.
Took Kai to see the new Journey to the Centre of the Earth. We knew it wasn't going to be exactly an intelligent or thought-provoking film, but given the weather at the moment... And actually, it's a thoroughly enjoyable romp. It requires some pretty ferocious suspension of disbelief (a phosphorescent blue sparrow that should have died out 150 million years ago? WTF? Pretty though...) but it's rollicking fun, terrific cg, exciting action, sympathetic characters and a wonderful feel-good ending, a perfect film for a rainy afternoon. And it has Brendan Fraser, of course, always a plus.
Trying for an early night, once The Fog has finished (Kai's watching it).
Sunday, August 10, 2008
My sunflowers. Big, aren't they?
Been a bit of a dreary day. Forecast was for cloudy all day, and like a trusting idiot I put through a wash and hung it out...
Well, it did dry, eventually, after getting re-wetted three times in the showers, enough to finish off indoors without putting on any heating, anyway.
Spent quite a bit of time catching up with client site business. Mid-afternoon I heard a suspiciously familiar sound from outside, so dived up the garden - to watch a Red Arrows flypast over the hill! Low too, so they could be seen under the very low cloud we had here today. Fantastic sight, and of course, I didn't grab my bloody camera in time. All I managed to get was this distinctly unspectacular streak of red smoke (that blurry shape is a magpie, unfortunately, not a plane...)
But I'm puzzled as to where they came from... ah, mystery solved, they were at the Balloon Fiesta this year. Damn, I wish we'd gone now. Though we would have got awfully wet...
Early night, I think.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
I need a holiday...
The view from the entrance to Pecorama. That's Beer at the bottom of the hill (I think: it and Seaton are very close together), with the sea in the distance...
It was a relatively pleasant trip down (except for the Glaswegian sitting behind us who insisted on recounting their life history, a little too loudly to tune out, to the unfortunate who was forced, due to lack of any other free seats, to sit with them...) Coach was on time, weather was cloudy but not too wet, and it was dry when we reached Exeter.
After lunch dad drove us to Pecorama - and that was an experience in itself. For added interest we went over the common and along the coast - in fog so thick we couldn't see anything else on the road until we were right on top of it. (First time Kai's been driven in fog. He was fascinated.)
Pecorama itself is on the top of the hill, and fortunately the sea-wind kept the fog at bay. We checked out the model railway exhibition first, fourteen layouts to fit almost any available space, whether loft, garden shed or a complete circuit right up above the doorjamb in a small bedroom (that one appealed to Kai, of course, and actually it would be - just - feasible in his room, given the cabin bed). It was the incredible detailing that impressed me: each layout had a list of things for children to find stuck on the wall beside it, and in the factory layout there was a tiny figure reading a newspaper - and the head actually moved slowly from side to side. In another layout the track went by a country cottage, with a girl on a (working) swing in the garden. Wonderful stuff!
One ride on the miniature railway - the Beer Heights Light Railway - was included in the price, and is without a doubt the longest such ride I've ever experienced. If you take a look at the map, the train travels almost all of the track shown, except for Beer Mine and Wildway Down, and the round trip takes about fifteen minutes. It's a terrific ride!
The gardens were beautiful - especially the Sun Garden. That's a huge copper water feature in the middle. The Moon Garden had about six echium pininana growing around it, and I have to say I'd love to try growing one here! Dramatic or what? I'll have to see if I can find a seed supplier...
Kai and I had a second ride, close to closing time, but it had started to drizzle by then. Afterwards we joined mum and dad in the Orion Pullman car café (very Orient Express and posh) for a hot chocolate for Kai and a coffee for me, quite welcome given how cool it had become outside. But Pecorama really is a gorgeous place, and incredibly good value for money.
The drive back was along the fog-bound main road (we passed an accident: car had had an argument with a telegraph pole and lost. No-one was hurt - in fact, the driver was out standing on the downed cable to keep it out of the way and trying to direct the traffic until the police arrived), and after dinner we watched one of Kai's favourite films, Rat Race, which we took with us and which the folks hadn't seen and thoroughly enjoyed. And the evening and the morning was the first day (or something along those lines).
Hound Tor, Dartmoor
Kai and I both love Dartmoor and the folks were happy to drive us up there today, to Hound Tor, my favourite. Not as high or awkward to climb as Hay Tor, more spread out, and offering a variety of climbs to suit all abilities. The weather was cloudy again, and distinctly windy on the moor, but not too cold. Kai had a fantastic time rock scrambling (did a little light climbing myself). We must have been up there for well over an hour and a half (the folks sat in the car in the car park and admired the view!) and only came back down when the rain started to threaten. The left-hand photo here is Hay Tor from Hound Tor: they're quite close.
Typically, the sun came out as we reached the top of the stomach-lurchingly vertiginous road down into Widecombe in the Moor, where we stopped for Devon toffee ice-cream topped with clotted cream and were eyed up warily by several heavily-pregnant Dartmoor ponies. We then headed off to try to find Grimspound, using the Road Atlas and the little map in the booklet we bought about the place, but couldn't find it. (Kai said he saw a big stone circle and was sure that was it, but it wasn't where the map said it should be, so we drove on. Should have listened to him, I think, and stopped to investigate...) We were both knackered when we got back: that was a fairly strenuous expedition!
Oddicombe Bay, Babbacome
Down to Babbacombe today to visit the other set of grandparents. Ken couldn't arrive any earlier than 2 pm, so before lunch his folks and Kai and I went down the 'finicky vernacular'. Sprog and I walked along the breakwater path - it's very pretty, with a couple of waterfalls splashing down from the woody area above, but the path has disappeared in one place, necessitating a steep climb up a flight of woodland steps to bypass the missing section (either that or a wait of three hours while the tide went out followed by a rock scramble!) - along to the Cary Arms pub and around the corner to a little bay, where people with rods were pulling mackerel from the sea with astonishing rapidity!
Ken could only stay for a couple of hours or he would have missed the coach back, but it was good to see him. Not long after he'd left Dad headed back along the coast road and over Shaldon Bridge, and we flumped for the evening with a film...
Charity shop hunting! There's the most fantastic charity shop in Heavitree (Force) with about five or six different rooms overflowing with the most amazing stuff. I now have the perfect stool for the greenhouse (small wooden seat and metal legs: it folds flat to take up hardly any room and is exactly the right height), three demi-johns (may have a go at elderberry wine when the berries are ripe, and I'm determined to make dandelion wine next spring!), a very neat, minimalistic little wooden wine rack that holds eight bottles, a shallow plate for turning out cakes, a set of six snazzy wooden handled dessert forks, two 'bone'-handled butter knives, and a rather attractive and interesting bowl -
- that Kai suggested we upend, as in second photo, and put a bulb behind to use as a light. Will have to see how that would work...
Total cost? £8.40. Bargain at twice the price, and I was even able to get the stool home with me tied to my bag in the coach luggage store.
In the afternoon, in the handful of hours before the return coach, we walked up to Rougement Castle and Northernhay Gardens. We stopped on the path alongside Exeter Central station to watch the 14.14 Paddington train leave, and the 14.17 Barnstaple train come in. I think it was where mum used to stop when I asked to go and watch the trains when I was tiny. (Steam trains, mum tells me, as diesel trains hadn't quite made their appearance then. Gods I feel old...)
Unfortunately, this meant I missed the Olympic Games opening ceremony - the only bit I like. And it wasn't on Teleport. I'm hoping someone's put it up on Youtube so I can at least catch the highlights. (And talking about Youtube, Kai found this - brilliant, if a little creepy).
The coach back was late, so we were also quite late getting home. Argent was very pleased to see us (as was Ken).
Today it's raining, which is a right sod as I have a huge amount of washing to do. Also, of course, it's the Balloon Fiesta this weekend, and it looks as though it might be a washout again. Keeping fingers crossed for tomorrow.
Other observations: I found it amusing that the local radio station dad has on in the car is a wonderful golden 'oldies' (which Kai really liked: he doesn't have much time for the current music scene) on 666 medium wave...
The folks aren't long back from Tiverton, where they've been for the last six weeks looking after our Aunt Grace while her daughter was in America sorting out a move back to the UK for daughter's husband and dog (it wouldn't have been their first choice, but they were the only people able to do it and they do both really get on well with Grace. Only problem was she chain-smokes...) But they're missing Lee deeply.
I took Richard Dawkins The God Delusion with me to read - and have very nearly finished it. Ye gods... Amazing book, truly an eye-opener, even for me (and I do know a little about the whole subject - that RE A Level comes in useful for something!) I now have a list of 'further reading' books I need to chase up...
Right - that's me up to date. I now have a whole load of client site revisions to get done before I can start my own work. Probably just as well it's raining and there's nothing worth watching on TV...
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
Well that was hectic! But all the shopping's bought for Ken's meals for the next few days, and we're all packed (didn't take long, it's only four days). Kai's quite excited - folks are taking us to Pecorama, a place he's wanted to visit for... over a year, I think. Only problem is the forecast is for rain, and more rain, and yet more rain, for the next five days... Traditional British summer, ne?
So when I close down tonight, I won't be back until Friday evening, at which point I shall no doubt have several hundred emails to plough through, most of which will be spam. Oh joys.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Saturday, August 02, 2008
This is Argent's latest choice of bed. Well, rather there than on my tablet.
Tired, and coughing. The First Defence definitely makes the cold less evil than it would otherwise be, but it's still a right sod...
Later edit: forgot to say, but we watched the partial solar eclipse yesterday morning. Was cute, like the moon had nibbled a little bite out of a biscuit...
GoodTwin emailed me this morning, asking if Lutra and I use sitemeter on our blogs - because the peeps at sitemeter, in their infinite wisdom, have just rolled out a new, 'improved' platform. Only problem is, it crashes Internet Explorer... (not Firefox though. Everyone should have Firefox - it's a much better browser!)
[sigh] This is the second piece of kit causing problems in the last month. First was ICQ, and their new version - which you HAVE to download and install in order to have ICQ working. No option to use a previous version (although since I still have the .exe file I'm tempted to try...) And it's absolute crap: they're removed the history options button, so I can no longer save our conversations to my C drive (in fact, the history simply isn't saving at all, despite my setting it to save in Lutra's ICQ folder) nor clear the history at the end of a session. There's a new, ludicrously small limit on the size of messages too - about 500 characters - so bang goes any possibility of swapping snippets of whatever we happen to be working on while we're chatting. And files - not even .txt files - can be sent or received.
All in all I'm thoroughly pissed off with the whole thing. And it's not just me, the complaints on the forums were running into hundreds of pages just a week after the rollout: I dread to think how many there are now. I've been using ICQ since 1998, happily for most of the time, but this new version is simply abysmal.
Anyway, with regards to the sitemeter problem, I've removed the code from all my blogs (and Lutra's - hope you don't mind but it seemed more sensible to do it now, rather than wait til you got online and then ask you) and the BCP website, and saved them in case sitemeter get the problem resolved and I can put it back on. Kudos to GoodTwin for the alert.
Friday, August 01, 2008
This week has been a bit of a grind, somehow. Not taking Kai anywhere has been part of it, of course, and feeling groggy with the cold hasn't helped either. Then again, we've got a lot done, especially today. Forecast was for rain (what a surprise...) this afternoon: managed to get a wash put through and dried (mostly - have been using the washing machine's minimum spin cycle to save energy, which is fine if it's really hot, but tends to leave collars and pockets slightly damp if not) before it started. Kai helped me prune the brambles, and pick blackberries to have with ice-cream for tonight's dessert. He tidied his room, then we went right through his wardrobe (have a nice pile of outgrown stuff to go to charity). His new keyboard will now fit in his room! (And I cleared my table, so I can have the old one out here. Thought I'd have a go on it myself...)
Chilli con carne for dinner, with big toms - as in photo: the skins are incredibly thin, not thick and tough like supermarket toms - and green peppers from the greenhouse. And the first of the chilli pepper seeds has sprouted! My cumbles also appear to have exploded - I now have ten cucumbers developing. Though I doubt they'll all reach maturity: I've lost about three so far (they go sort of yellow and withered and I have to discard them). But that's not too bad, I think, given I'm not really growing them properly (too small pots and not enough upward space - I'll know better next year).
Client site work this afternoon, and now Missions...