Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.
August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tyjer pretending to be a small cat...
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tired. Busy day. Lot done. Early night. 'bye.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
[bemused] My Beltain article is in the May edition of Soul & Spirit - and it gets its own little highlight on the cover (in a bubble. Without my name, but still...) The editor has commissioned someone else to write the Midsummer article, but I'll be back with the Lughnasadh article in August.
Kai's locomotive arrived this morning, in a large crate that weighed almost as much as the vehicle inside it.
I was bemused by the tiny sticker on the top of the crate:
WARNING This product CONTAINS CHEMICALS that are known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.But only in California, it seems. Why? It was sold and shipped in the UK. (I'm going to assume it means the little packets of silica gel that were in the crate to keep the contents dry, as the rest is just metal and paint. And probably not lead paint, as I don't think that's legal here any more...)
Back to the loom.
Monday, April 27, 2009
The grass was too wet to lie down to take an orchid photo today - will try again tomorrow.
The last time I was up at Broadwalk I picked up the first X-Files DVD from the Age Concern charity shop for 99p (it has the pilot and first three eps on it). I played it at the weekend - to check it worked - and Kai was hooked. Found out today that the programme is being re-shown on the Virgin cable channel at 7pm every day (and 8 on Virgin +1) so sprog is now happily settling down to watch it before bed. Until he gets tired of it, anyway. (It never really grabbed me, was a case of 'been there, done that, the T-shirts were naff so didn't bother'...)
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The badger visited again last night. When this rush of work is finished, I'm thinking of spending a night out in the greenhouse to see what I can see...
But not tonight. Tonight I'm knackered and having an early night.
[sigh] Aaaaaaand Supanames goes down, taking all this blog's photos, pics and illustrations with it... Hopefully it'll be back up before too long, they're very good generally... Nope - back up, in less than half an hour. Not bad for a Saturday night!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Today's orchid photo. Quite pleased with this one. Used my camera, as Ken's batteries were dead. Had to lie on the grass, increase the telescopic function to max and use the sports setting, as it was windy, but it's come out rather well I think. (Sorry it's a bit big but I thought it was worth it.)Apparently it was a badger causing all the fuss last night, not mating hedgehogs: Suzanne next door saw him again. Although actually it could have been both, as I'm sure the noise was hedgehogs. Badger pushed the hole back under the fence, now in two places, and dug up the earth under my potting table. Think I'll ring the Council's wildlife peeps on Monday for advice. While it's nice having wildlife, they can be very destructive, and the fact that we've been here nearly twenty years and this is the first we've known about them rather suggests a mini-invasion...
K&K have dug half the trench for the railway track now. It's supposed to be nice again for most of tomorrow, so as long as they aren't aching too much, I think they'll continue. We're treating Kai to an extra, person-carrying carriage to pull behind his locomotive, so (GoodTwin, Sue and Wendy) when we have the summer barbecue you should be able to have a ride!
Eighth story now finished.
Ah, the sweet (??) sound of mating hedgehogs. So nice to close down to.
At least Tyjer didn't hear them... erk - spoke too soon, he's just come down.
If I'm not here tomorrow, it'll be because I was shredded by a furious cat... I need a new pendrive. When you're playing with massive multi-meg tiffs and pdfs, 128 megs is just pitiful. (Says the woman who started out with a 164K Amstrad word processor and thought that was the kit's bellyrub!)
Friday, April 24, 2009
Today's orchids... Going to see if Ken can take one with his camera tomorrow: he'll be able to get a better photo than me.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
It's going to be so pretty!Sue sent me this today. It might explain why there's a supermassive black hole at the galaxy's centre - it's stuffing itself with raspberries and rum...
I can barely move, even though I haven't been stuffing myself with raspberries and rum. Well, not rum, anyway. Apparently even just a couple of hours' worth of fairly light gardening is too much after being chained to my desk for four months. Mind you, the shopping I did this morning, before I really stiffened up, didn't help...
Tyjer disappeared for a good half an hour this afternoon, over the wall to the lane I think. But he came back when called (several times) so I'm not so worried now. He was happy to come in and flake out, so I assume he had quite a good adventure. Well, there were no sounds of fighting cats, anyway!
The correct gravel arrived while I was out. K&K have started digging the trench: were hoping to get it all finished this weekend but the forecast is for rain. Keeping fingers crossed it's wrong. There will be photos...
Right - back to the loom...
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Today's orchid pic. The flowers are tiny: I'll have to try to find a way to show the size...Well that was eventful. Peas now planted in veg bed and the first four slug-pubs in place, potted the clump of last-year's sunflower seedlings that had sprung up in the middle of the bed - I guess the squiggle must have dropped a seedhead on its scarpering out of the garden - the mange tout seedlings potted on (though really they need into the ground, don't think I've ever seen such long or sturdy roots on small seedlings!), and the Black Russian tomato sprouts are now in their permanent pots. Sounds like soddall but it took me two hours...
As Ken was watering the asparagus for me (they've started sprouting now, and taste very nice) and I was watering sunflowers, we heard the most awful yowling and hissing from over the fence - and yes, Tyjer was nowhere around. Found him backed into the corner of the evergreen hedge in Dave-next-door's garden, with Chester snarling at him. Our stupid cat, after showing Chester who's boss on this side of the fence, thought he could trespass. I grabbed him (the old scruff-of-the-neck mama cat routine) and marched him back to ours: he's been distinctly hang-dog - if you can say that of a cat - all evening. Still, hopefully that's taught him THAT boundary: I'd rather not have to do it again. (Though I have to admit Dave's comments were amusing. He stared in horror at my bleeding forearms and hand and asked how on earth I could do that - he'd be indoors moaning in pain (a bit of an exaggeration, I think...) I laughed. After all, it goes with the job - and Dave won't go near Chester when he's in aggressive mode, much less pick him up (for which I don't blame him, I hasten to add), so it's up to me to rescue mine when they stray. They don't call me the Mother of All Kits for nowt...)
Lexx season 4 has arrived. [spitspit] There are twenty-four episodes! (Some of which I haven't seen, I think.) We're halfway through season 3 at the moment, so no doubt will be watching 4 next week.
After Kai went to bed Ken and I watched my latest LoveFilm rental (which has been sitting awaiting viewing for about three weeks...) Henry and June, with REG as Hugo.
[sigh] How can a film that's all about (graphic) sex be so dull? It's two and a half hours long, but felt more like five; I nearly fell asleep more than once. The words 'pretentious twaddle' come most readily to mind... Eh well. We never have to see it again.
I need to get a little writing done before I go fall over. Later!
Edit: just to point out I don't carry Tyjer by the scruff of the neck - he's far too big and heavy for that - but just grabbing the scruff when carrying him in my arms is enough to keep the struggling to a minimum. Mostly.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Coming on... [sigh] Got to bed at 3 am, Kai's alarm woke me up at 6.25 - and I couldn't get back to sleep. But I did get a lot done today, next fic is nearly finished, I've prepared the bits and pieces I need (modified cabbage collars that I can coat with slug repellent, slug pubs, stakes, and the net to keep off the pigeons) to plant out my peas tomorrow, and I took delivery of the Kellaways order, 20 bags of sand, five large bags of cement mix, and a ton of gravel for ballast. Only it wasn't gravel: they sent chippings instead...
They rang to confirm that everything had arrived OK, though (excellent customer service, that) so Ken was able to explain what had happened (I wasn't with them when they chose the gravel, so it's not my fault - I didn't know it was wrong) and they're going to drop off a ton of the right stuff and pick up the wrong on Thursday.
Tyjer had a wonderful day in and out of the garden, and came in absolutely knackered when called.
Back to the loom...
Monday, April 20, 2009
Today's orchid pic! Now as long as the thrice-damnèd 'pods don't ravage them, I should have some native wild orchid flowers in a couple of days. Well I'm excited! Haven't managed much today: couldn't find Tyjer's collar this morning so I was in and out of the garden every ten minutes checking he was still there. Kai found it this evening: the little bugger (Tyjer, not Kai) had carried it upstairs and hidden it in Ken's office (Kai knew because the cat had woken him up playing with it at some ungodly hour this morning...) It's now living in the top drawer of my pedestal - along with his treats - where he can't get at it. Until/unless he learns to open the drawer. Wouldn't put that past him either.
Crank is on shortly - it looks irresistibly daft, so we'll give it a try...
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Flower spike developing apace...
General gardening tidying, and K&K marked out the railway's path ready to lift turf and lay track once the ballast is down. On Skype:
(Joules)[sigh] Have cat who likes knocking things off the table and chasing them. Has my handcream tube now. And he's hidden his collar somewhere - have to find that later. Honestly, not entirely sure whether he thinks he's a cat or a dog. Or maybe part human too. (Lutra) [g] perfect! Fits in just fine here. He is absolutely gorgeous, and he's decided he's mine - follows me around like a puppy, and always sleeps beside me (when Ken isn't there anyway). No, you're his, actually. : ) ... true... I can happily live with that. Oh yes. (currently have kk [KittenKong - nickname of Lutra's cat] sitting at my feet, cos I won't let her cuddle.) Can't see! can't type! when she cuddles. Ty is too big for that. And not that keen on actual cuddles yet, I'll train him to like them, but atm he prefers to lie on his back for pettins. Dead cute. [g] But powerful with it - a real terror of a cat. Never had one like him before. Tharg was big, but more of a hippie cat. Ty's more SAS. ROFL! Bodie cat! [blinkblink] actually - YES! that's escatly right! [laughs at oddly appropriate typo]
Saturday, April 18, 2009
After my very late night I actually had a bit of a lie-in, while K&K went out to Lockleaze to visit a builder's merchants (the place you recommended doesn't deliver in Briz, GoodTwin) to choose gravel for ballast for his railway track. Then it was up and chained to desk again. Though I have now finished the 6th fic, so that's good.
Tyjer's been fun. He saw off Chester yesterday, tail puffed out and hackles raised, marching down the path growling as Chester slunk off in retreat. It was great! And today they had a pissing - sorry, hissing contest at the fence, Tyjer on our side, Chester on the other, with much hissing and snarling and lashing of tails, and poking paws at each other in the tiny hole at the bottom. I can't be too worried: Chester spent the last few years terrorising my beastlies when I wasn't there to chase him off, so seeing him get some comeuppance is, shame upon me, a wee bit satisfying...
We finished watching Lexx season 2 yesterday (the Brigadoom episode still makes me tearful) and started on the most excellent season 3 tonight. (Yes, we've seen it before, but now I've ordered season 4 we want to re-watch before it arrives.)
Back to the loom...
Friday, April 17, 2009
<- There are an incredible number of flowers on the apple tree. Pity we can't let them all develop: we'd have enough apples to last us all year! They smell glorious. Appleblossom is one of my very favourite natural fragrances (along with jasmine, honeysuckle and lily-of-the-valley).
Wendy's mum's orchid -> That's a flower spike in the middle.
Spent the rest of the day chained to the desk...
Thursday, April 16, 2009
This is absolutely brilliant. Collective nouns. A romp of otters. A blessing of unicorns. A wisdom of wombats. A fluther of jellyfish. A superfluity of nuns! A flamboyance of flamingoes! An implausibility of gnus! [pissing self laughing] A quicksand of credit cards!!
Labels: funnies. language
I hate hayfever, I really do. Bunged up snuffling sinuses, sore, teary swollen eyes, and now I seem to have eaten something that's making me itch all over. Bugger... Have had to take a couple of piriton or I won't get anything done.
From Skype a couple of days ago:
(Lutra, just back from a trip) Oh, I have a small present for you. Absolute tourist tat but it made me giggle. (Joules) What's the tat then? Think of the most kitschy Aus thing someone could get their hands on, that isn't a soft toy koala. A kangaroo oven glove? LOL! No, but that's an excellent idea! No, think quintessential (original inhabitants) Australian. A boomerang bottle opener? Ew, tacky! No, a boomerang! Apparently will return 'if thrown correctly' 8) Just a little one. LOL! But the decorations made me snerk. Oh noes! Tacky decorations! ...kangaroos? [smirksmirk] Want to know what it is? Or shall I leave it as a surprise? There was a kangaroo on the other ones there... No, leave it as a surprise...I shall have to take a photo when it arrives.
Oh - and to clarify: when I said last Sunday K&K have got most of the track done now, I meant that Kai had used the rail bender to gently bend the track into the right curves to make his circle.
The rail bender. -> A nifty piece of kit, and the only way to bend miniature railway track. £90 on top of all the rest of the components, and can only be used for that specific purposes.When I said on Monday K&K got the track mostly constructed, I meant that they actually assembled it, clipping the sleepers onto the two steel tracks for each section. Two separate operations, though it sounded like I was repeating myself.
[sigh] Snuffling, and with the theme from Exodus blasting through the headphones, I return to the loom...
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Labels: orchids and more orchids
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Ploughing on. Things are not proceeding as quickly as they should be though, which is worrisome.
Still loving Lexx second series. Close to the end now, and things are getting very sombre.
... Suppose I'll have to get season four, just for completeness' sake...
Monday, April 13, 2009
Knackered. But it was, all in all, a very successful day. K&K got the track mostly constructed, although it's not laid yet (it's in pieces in the hall, making it tricky to negotiate, but we've had worse). I got some writing done in between weeding the rockery with Kai and general greenhouse care.
I nipped out at twilight too, to check the hedgehog house, and heard a lot of rustling as he woke up and exited, but didn't stop to watch, as I don't want to put him off.
And Ferdinand (our regular bat) was out hunting - first time we've seen him this year.
And as for Tyjer -
Sunday, April 12, 2009
And a pretty good day was had by all...
K&K have got most of the track done now, I did some more potting on and greenhouse tidying, Tyjer had a wonderful day chasing butterflies and bees, the dandelion wine is now blipping happily behind me, and we had roast lamb for dinner (with Cornish ice-cream and strawberry and raspberry stuffed pancakes for pudden.) Waz gud.
I'm very tired though. And run down I think - root canal tooth has been playing up, and the low-key hayfever's still making me feel like I'm permanently going down with a cold. Need to net some healthyons...
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Heh, this is much better. Being bereft of net access is like having your life support unplugged.
So, so far today I've potted on the tomatoes in the greenhouse, and we've watched two eps of Lexx season 2 (um, did I say I'd bought it? Same ridiculously cheap deal as for season 1, except that season 2 is 20 eps long. Which works out at 75p per ep...) and are thoroughly enjoying it. Season 2 was somewhat variable, though, with a couple of eps I'm not sure Kai should see. Still pondering that...
Speaking of Kai, the rest of his railway track and the rail bender have arrived. It's supposed to be nice weather tomorrow: I think he and Ken are going to spend some time in the garden getting organised.
Me, I'm still writing short stories...
Thursday, April 09, 2009
YAY! We are all connected again.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Not a great photo, unfortunately, as Ken grabbed the nearest camera (mine) and disabled the flash so as not to disturb the beastlie - but that is a hedgehog (and quite a large one, Ken says) heading for the hedgehog home under our fake currant bush first thing this morning! Ken tells me he watched for a few minutes but it didn't reappear, so I have hopes we now have a resident hodgepig!
We certainly have a lot of sparrows. The flock of four has now grown to about a dozen who are driving Tyjer nuts (when he notices them, which isn't always).
Trip to post office, then to Sainsbug. Bought lamb for Ostara. Back and back to work. Next story not far off finished!
And we should have the router tomorrow. The DVD player arrived yesterday: planning to install it on Friday. The old one is still limping along, but it's not happy.
Edit, 8.39 pm: just seen hoglet trundle across the garden heading for the meadow. YAY!
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Up lateish, out in the sun to open greenhouse and feed birds - accompanied by Tyjer, who had a nice but safe run, being very good and not going too far away from me - then in (still with cat: not letting him out without one of us for another week) to plough through the crystal book pdf proofs (very little needed doing, three typos, two changes of word, and one punctuation error) then a little client site updating. Nice, quiet, low-key day, made a change...
Starting next story now...
Monday, April 06, 2009
Well, that was fun.
Met Wendy at Temple Meads, and we walked into Broadmead along Temple Way: dropped into Pret a Manger in Cabot Circus (veg sushi and a can of grape and elderflower fizzy stuff for me, almond croissant and a vitamin volcano for Wendy. Yes, I had sushi for breakfast. Nice, but not the best I've ever had). The Circus has a Yo! sushi restaurant: will have to give that a try sometime.
As you probably know, I'm not fond of retail therapy but there are some rather nice shops there, including Dwell, @Moss (which had the most adorable Notre Dame fairy, a little ceramic goth fey with bat wings which I will put on the Yule wish list), and another shop where I found a perfect birthday present for GoodTwin. [beg]
... um, I haven't missed it, have I?
Then got a little more practical and picked up a couple of 100% cotton T-shirts from Primark at £2 each.
Watched Sundown: the Vampire in Retreat - still a great laugh after all this time.
Had a lovely day with much chatting. It's never long enough though!
Rang the folks before having a nap, and dad answered. Apparently the hospital think it might be that the CPAP he uses to control his sleep apnoea may have dried out his sinus membranes, making them prone to cracking and bleeding. They've prescribed a gel that he has to squeeze into each nostril then pinch/massage the outside of his nose to spread it around. It's working OK so far, so keeping fingers crossed.
Now I have a day's worth of emails to deal with, including client site updates, checking the crystal book's pdf proofs, and finishing a short story (with which I'm rather pleased). I really do need a 60 hour day...
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Odd day. I took cat out into the garden while Ken and Kai used the connection to order the locomotive and additional track (and apparently a rail bender, since we have no other way of curving the track so he can make his initial circle): after they'd finished I checked email while Kai kept an eye on Tyjer - only he came in for a drink and by the time he went back out cat had vanished.
Cue frantic calling and rattling of treats...
Twenty minutes later still no cat, so Kai and I went searching - starting with the lane at the side of the house, since that's more easily accessible (to a cat anyway!), and I know other cats come over the wall at the top of the garden. Fortunately, as we were hunting, the pest turned up, slinking homewards along the other garden walls looking very nervous and twitchy...
I think he may have been hunting a bird - there are a small flock of sparrows that sit in the elder at the top of the garden and tease him. However I think the experience scared him, his heart was racing when I picked him up and carried him home, and he was happy to stay inside the rest of the day...
Ken needed the connection all day, so Kai and I gardened and took advantage of the sun. Planted some carrots in the veg bed, and had the last of the old ones with dinner (lovely and sweet).
And then mum rang: dad's in hospital. Apparently he's been having bad nose-bleeds all week, gradually getting worse: today it wouldn't stop and she rang for an ambulance. They've kept him in and will see what they can do to sort out the problem: she'll get back to me tomorrow. Of course, it was exactly a year ago today that Lee was rushed into intensive care. That's really upset mum.
Writing now. Wendy's coming to visit for the day tomorrow - looking forward to that.
[growl] Was forced to update to Firefox 3 in order to access a couple of my regular sites and now I've lost my bloody spell-checker. NOT happy...
[blink] Ohhhh Kaaaaay... So, we were sitting watching TV, when there came this horrendous hissing and spitting and yowling from my room. Please bear in mind I've had cats own me since I was about nine (Jason, then Mink, then Tharg, then Roeg, Ryme, Raptor and then Argent), and have seen them in almost all states of mind, emotion and pain - but I have never heard anything quite like this. Kai and I leapt up and raced out to see what the hell was going on, and even Ken (whose hearing is most definitely not the most acute in the world) charged downstairs to see what was happening...
There was ANOTHER CAT in the garden, just outside the patio doors.
Bloody hell. We have a very territorial cat in Tyjer. I think he'd have slaughtered the other if we'd let him out (which we most certainly did not do!) I really wish I'd been able to record it - he can manage at least two and a half octaves and came out with some feline expletives I'd never heard before!
What a cat.
Oh, and the trespasser scarpered on hearing the noise.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
A busy day, but a very pleasant one. Kai and I took Tyjer out sans lead, and he loved it. I don't think he's ever had space to run properly before: at any rate, he raced from inside the front gate up to the end of the garden and back again several times (after he'd done a couple of circuits to check everything was where he remembered it). And he doesn't like bees – tries to catch them (that might be problematic later). Tried to catch a butterfly too – very balletic it was!
So while Kai was keeping an eye on/playing with the cat and Ken was monopolising the broadband connection (have now ordered a new router), I planted last weekend's strawberry plants and top-dressed the planters, got the mange tout, cherry toms, chives, radishes and two different sorts of sunflowers into seed-trays, and took this pic of the wobbly volitans on sticks! (Those are the baby cucumbers.)
After we got Tyjer in (several hours later) Kai trimmed the grass around the shrubs at the top of the garden (off his own bat too!), then we sat on the slope and surveyed our domain with a drink of coke and a chocolate orange bar while Kai plotted out his train track in his mind and started giving names to everything (the slope is to be called Sunset View, the veg bed The Farm, the greenhouse The Glasshouse, etc). There's something so gorgeous about your 14 year old turning to you after an afternoon in which he's helped with the garden and saying what lovely day he's had. Makes a mum go all gooey.
This evening Kai and I watched An Inconvenient Truth. It's very good. But now Ken's closed down and I can have the connection I need to get some work done. I tell you, this being without a router is no fun at all...
[snarl] and the router packs up...
We're stuck with only one of us having inet access until we can find another - and as Ken is working on his revisions at the moment he needs it more than Kai and I.
But Tyjer loves the garden.
[sigh] Looks like the DVD player is failing too...
Friday, April 03, 2009
We have a cat who likes watching TV... (Yes, it's dark - it's Van Helsing.)
He's beginning to get frustrated with not being able to go out, so I'm thinking I'll have Kai take him out on the lead this evening for as long as sprog is happy to do it (and he loves it, so that will be a least half an hour) then tomorrow we'll let him loose, with us in the garden. I have a whole load of transplanting: my pea plants need to be potted on, they aren't quite big enough to go in the ground yet; I need to get some sunflowers and salad leaves on the go; and I think it's time to move my citrus and kiwi plants into bigger pots. Also have general greenhouse preparation to do so there's space on the staging for my Galia melons. Kai's already volunteered to dig up the grass around the lupins in the top bed (I think he's adopted that bed as his personal project). The forecast is for the odd shower, but I think that's just in the morning.
It'll be so nice to get away from my desk, if only for an hour...
Did I say I now have dandelion wine on the go?
There's a brand new three-part Red Dwarf special on over next weekend!
Evolve me some thumbs, dammit!
Thursday, April 02, 2009
More ploughing on.
Transplanted my cucumber seedlings into their final position (they'd got too big for the seed trays and propagator lids) and prepared the tomato pots.
Two major shops (Sainsbug and Tesco).
Took Tyjer out in the front garden, so he could learn the boundaries. Planning to let him loose on Sunday.
Now have client site material to get posted before an early night. Am knackered. Though it's awfully nice and very encouraging to get an email from an editor saying your work is 'really well written and has been a joy to edit!' (Eddison-Sadd, the Crystal Power book)...
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
We had a pair of goldfinches at the new feeder in the medlar this afternoon! Beautiful little birds. (Sorry the photo isn't up to much, it was the best I could do with my poor knackered camera's telephoto function. Really needed Ken's...)
The ploughing on continues.