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
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
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08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
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10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
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08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
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12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005
12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006
02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006
03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006
04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006
05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006
06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
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10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/30/2007
05/01/2007 - 05/31/2007
06/01/2007 - 06/30/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
08/01/2007 - 08/31/2007
09/01/2007 - 09/30/2007
10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
03/01/2008 - 31/03/2008
01/04/2008 - 04/30/2008
01/05/2008 - 31/05/2008
01/06/2008 - 30/06/2008
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01/08/2008 - 31/08/2008
01/09/2008 - 30/09/2008
01/10/2008 - 31/10/2008
01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
01/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
01/04/2009 - 30/04/2009
01/05/2009 - 31/05/2009
01/06/2009 - 30/06/2009
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01/08/2009 - 31/08/2009
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01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
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01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
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01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
01/02/2013 - 28/02/2013
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01/11/2013 - 30/11/2013
01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
01/04/2014 - 30/04/2014
01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
01/06/2014 - 31/06/2014
01/07/2014 - 31/07/2014
01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
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01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
01/03/2015 - 31/03/2015
01/04/2015 - 30/04/2015
01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
01/07/2015 - 31/07/2015
01/08/2015 - 31/08/2015
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
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
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01/07/2016 - 31/07/2016
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01/10/2016 - 31/10/2016
01/11/2016 - 31/11/2016
01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016
01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

cuke [grins] The u-bend cucumber. It's quite impressive really! -> mutant tom
<- but of course, it wouldn't be us without the occasional mutant tomato...

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[bemused] Thompson and Morgan grade their chilli pepper seeds mildly hot, hot, very hot - and atomic...
Standard day. Having trouble keeping eyes open - too hot to sleep properly last night. Need a nap...

Heh:
Atheism = The arrogant and selfish belief that the entire billion-galaxy universe was not created just for us. [sig found on the Richard Dawkins Forum]

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Aaaaaand now we're back to rain tomorrow, with a bit of sun around lunch time. Just as well I did a big wash at the weekend...
Still, it'll fill up the butts again.

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Oh look, the forecast has changed again. Now it's supposed to be sunny with cloudy spells tomorrow...

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new water butt New water butt installed! [GLOMPS GoodTwin!] Unfortunately not in time for the torrential 45 minute monsoon which woke me up at 7.25 this morning, but it's ready for the rain forecast for tonight.
And for the rest of the week? [growl] When I checked the BBC forecast at 2.30 this morning it was showing rain today then cloudlessly sunny all week. Now it says rain all week.
[sigh] I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world, but sometimes I do wish our weather was a little more settled and predictable...
u-bend cuke <- U-bend cucumber. Yes, it just grew like that. [grin] I'll be able to cut two slices with one knife-stroke!
We definitely have a cockerel somewhere up the road, and while I was outside yesterday I'm sure I heard the quiet cluck-grumble of hens as well. Perhaps we should get a goat... Actually, no, not much point, we don't like goat's milk. Though it might put off potential intruders.
Home grown peas and mange tout with dinner tonight!

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pavlova Kai has dubbed this pavlova 'strawberry henge'... -> Well that was great! Wonderful to see Sue and GoodTwin again, and fantastic to sit and chat. Thank you both for coming over (and many thanks for the water butt. That's going to make life so much easier - as you can probably imagine having seen the greenhouse!
It's just never long enough. We need an extension to the house so we can have a guest room. Or I need to come over there more often.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Shopping, gardening (Kai has done a fantastic job of weeding the veg bed) then after dinner we watched the first four eps of the Sentinel, which arrived this morning. It's wonderful to see them again, and Kai thoroughly enjoyed it too.
GoodTwin and Sue are over for a visit tomorrow!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

greenhouse full
I need a bigger greenhouse... ->


The promised thunderstorms haven't materialised, despite the rumblings we heard last night, but it did rain thoroughly overnight, so the garden is greening up, the water butt is full again, and the veg bed positively singing.
We are now eating mange tout with every other meal (lots going in the stir fry tonight), and I've just picked a pea pod to check how well developed the peas are...
Wonderful. It's been donkey's since I've had peas fresh from the pod, and these are rather nice - Hurst Green Shaft. They're certainly prolific! Though whether we'll have enough to freeze I don't know, they're so tasty I can see them all being eaten as I pick them...
greenhouse fullI'll plant the same again next year.
Rather than catching frogs, Tyjer has now taken to finding the largest and poking them to make them jump and squeal. He watches them with a very intent expression, as though trying to work out why they squeak. It's rather cute. He doesn't hurt them, and once they've hidden in a clump of vegetation he leaves them be.
Also cute was finding one of this year's brood of young blackbirds in the birdtable, investigating the sultanas while dad perched watchfully on the fruit cage. It then checked out the birdbath, and had a good long drink before flitting into the fake blackcurrant bush. I was able to get quite close - but then, the blackbirds seem to have learned that I'm the one who provides the food, and will let me approach almost to arms' length before moving a little away.
We now have the three old Terminator DVDs (Sainsbugs was selling them for £2.99 each, Kai likes them (well, we all do really), and since they are sort of time-travel I picked them up). And today Diva arrived (amazon.uk are having a massive sale). I fell in love with this film when I saw it at Uni, actually got a friend to tape it for me years before I could afford a VCR, so that when I finally did get a player I could watch it, and now I'm looking forward to watching it again. Soon.
Ploughing on with the PC revisions...

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

blueberries

The first blueberries of the year - sweet and juicy. Both bushes are covered with slowly ripening berries...

I have been juggling timelines and histories, which would be more fun if I had a better handle on numbers. It's fun though. I really should post the Heart info to the Haadri site...

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

'ooo- bloody-ray. A morning when I didn't wake up in the middle of an unpleasant dream...
Hothothot. (Still 20° now.) Too hot to get out and do the veg bed weeding I had planned - though I did do three machine loads of washing so I suppose that was something useful (bedding and towels, always a relief to have done). Checked the new (play.com) DVD of The Name of the Rose, which we bought to replace our ancient and decrepit video, while updating the APAG site: the burning of the library always makes me want to cry (it's the bibliophile in me). Got a little more PC done. Considered how to make the Haadri gazetteer more useful/professional. So, normal sort of day then.
And tomorrow won't be a great deal different. But it's nice to be able to take things at a slightly slower pace than the last few months. I'm sure my blood pressure is thanking me.
Later...

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And this morning I woke up dreaming an enraged bear was chasing me out of my garden after I'd arrived back from an abortive attempt to meet some friends (no-one I recognised) at the tiniest pub I've ever seen where they'd saved me a seat in the smallest, darkest corner and claustrophobia hit and I just couldn't stay in there...
What the hell is wrong with my mind at the moment?

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Monday, June 22, 2009

I'd planned a lie-in, but I kept waking up in the middle of dreams of being in The Langoliers, a film that I find incredibly scary (the isolation, powerlessness and shudder-worthy fear it engenders, I believe), and gave up on trying to sleep. (The dreams themselves were no surprise: I have the DVD on order and am really looking forward to watching it again, but play.com advise there'll be a delay). So I'm now tired again, of course.
But it was a relatively successful day. A little more client site work, some weeding, some greenhouse tending - even managed a little PC.
Have to be up early tomorrow, again, so yet again trying for an early night. The need for sleep is such a bloody inconvenience!

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Solstice!

We stayed up all night, but not all of it in the garden. Around midnight we came in - it was getting decidedly nippy out there, and not a great deal was happening. No bats, badgers or owls, but we did meet our resident hedgehog, who is just adorable.
Instead we watched DVDs: ep 4 of Ultraviolet, then the three best eps of Dr Who this last series, the breathtaking Silence in the Library, Forest of the Dead, and Midnight (DVD was one of my cheap play.com buys). Wow. I am truly impressed all over again. (And depressed all over again that the end of the season was such a dismal mess.)
Then we went back out just before 4 am and sat and soaked it all in. There was a black bird (it was probably a blackbird, but I've never heard a song like it) on the roof making the most extraordinary music. It had us laughing! I swear, it sounded as though the bird was telling jokes! Absolutely bizarre and worth staying up all night just for that...
A bit tired now. Off for a couple of cycles' sleep. More later.
solstice sky
A bit of a dull Solstice Sky, so here's a Solstice Kit instead.
Tyjer (Grumpy 'cause he couldn't join us in the garden. He's actually lying on and squashing flat my plush frilly...)

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

[grin] Off to the garden...

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Cumble! It was the first of the APAG Park Events yesterday evening, Music in the Park, a concert by local school and college kids. I went down with Kai (to get photos for the APAG site, mainly) and we really enjoyed it! (Kai had a very tasty beefburger from the stall there, which he also enjoyed.) Altogether it was very successful and bodes well for the rest of the events they have planned.
This -> is the first cucumber from the greenhouse. Nifty, ne? Looks like there are a lot more coming too.
We had the RSPCA home check-up visit just after 1 pm: all fine and they won't need to come again - His Magnificence is obviously perfectly happy and healthy.
My comfrey is, finally, now soaking in water to make my fertiliser, and K&K are currently out making a start on this year's re-mortaring of the garden wall. And I've just been asked when lunch is so better go get the venison and red wine sausages grilling. (Hungry yet? [g])
Later...

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Waaaay back some years ago I caught 2002 (essentially an all-action Chinese version of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and thoroughly enjoyed it (it's still a favourite): Lutra later bought the DVD for me as a pressie. I then discovered that three of the actors in 2002 also starred in Gen X Cops, so, on finding a very cheap copy on amazon, picked that up too and enjoyed it. I knew there was a sequel, Gen X Cops 2 (sometimes called Gen Y Cops, I believe), but finding it was a little more problematic at the time.
Then last week (or the week before, whenever it was that I had my major streak of luck with second-hand DVDs) I found a cheap copy in the PDSA charity shop up at Broadwalk - so, naturally, I grabbed it...
Watched it this morning. It's dreadful, completely daft with little to recommend it except for the bishies. But kind of enjoyable for all that (even if I was cringing at some of the dialogue. Is that really how the film-makers think the 'cool kids' talk in the west? Oh dear...)
The IMDb comments made mention of a third film (Gen Z Cops?) but I can't find any details so maybe it was scrapped. I wouldn't be surprised...
Summer Solstice tomorrow night. Kai's asked to stay up all night in the garden (hoping to see the badger I think) so we may very well be doing that. Weather's supposed to be OK...

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Right - what have we been up to...?
Well, I have a whole load more peas, mange tout and dwarf beans planted and netted: a cucumber almost ready to be eaten: quite a few more tomatoes coming and two butternut squash seedlings a few days from being ready to plant out.
Kai seems to have found his forte with the Freecycled guitar: the song he's working on at the moment is really good (his own composition).
I bought a very cheap copy of Borat as part of Ken's birthday present, and tonight we watched it.
Heh. It was funny in a couple of places (and the vile racism and sexism at the rodeo (in Texas? I forget) was horrendously embarrassing). However, Borat himself got gradually more and more gross and over the top until that truly horrible bedroom/porn mag scene, at which point the entire premise fell apart and he became more mortifying than the people he was trying to show up. I never particularly liked Ali G - now I know to avoid Borat as well. We're giving the DVD to charity (though I think the dustbin is a more appropriate destination...)
Finally bottled the melon wine - which is more like a liqueur than a wine, rich and sweet and really rather nice. Only got two bottles out of the semi-demi-john though: lots of sediment and the cork bung broke up while I was trying to remove it, so some was wasted (read, saved to drink now!) I've added sugar and another spoonful of yeast to the dandelion wine to see if I can get a second fermentation going, as the first seemed to stop a little early. Now debating getting some rice wine on the go - I used to make quite a pleasant pseudo-sake...
Was checking the incredibly detailed stats that Soho hosting provides as part of their basic package and found that the wallpapers of Vela and Jangyu on the Heartsown site are on a lovely Japanese site - but the links tried to go to the original and now non-functional pages. Cue a hurried organising of the custom 404 page. All go here.
Erk. nearly two am, and I have to be up early again. Better go fall over...

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Ken was at court for his birthday, but he has today (Thurs) off so will be relaxing and hopefully enjoying the day. I have a lot to do, so yet again planning an early night. You never know, say it often enough and it might actually happen!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hm. From Wikipedia re: Casshern:
As well as being influenced by Shakespeare's Hamlet, director Kazuaki Kiriya states that he drew upon Russian Avant-Garde for visual inspiration.
Which would explain why it made me think of Stalker, which I haven't seen in donkey's years (30?) but which made such an impression on me I can still recall scenes from it.
The subtitles are almost universally criticized by fans for being enormously incomplete. On several occasions they are lacking entirely; when they do appear they often completely differ from the dialogue or oversimplify it to such a degree that key plot elements and the overall force of the story are diminished.
Although that is supposed to be referring to the US edition, I had wondered, since there seems to be some dialogue without accompanying subtitles in my version. Dammit, I wish I knew Japanese.

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I keep waking up mid-dream, which is very disorientating and leaves me feeling muzzy-headed. So decided to wake up slowly by making a start on catching up with all the DVDs I have backed up to watch.
Casshern...
Live-action anime can be very hit-and-miss, as anyone who's watched Street Fighter will know, but...
... wow...
Shades of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow in the weaponry and half-ruined retro industrialised cities with a nod to Metropolis and Dune. Slow-paced (even the - mercifully few - fights are done as brilliant flashes of motion with studied pauses in between movements) and lyrical, colour-coded (I loved the way Midori - Japanese for green - is a botanist and at her happiest in her massive glasshouse) and with some of the most extraordinary cg I've ever seen (note, extraordinary, not necessarily realistic). It wasn't until about an hour in that the film began to make sense. At first glance it's impenetrable, and not just because of the culture differences. But little by little the facets slot into place, unfolding what could have been just a decent story about war, love, good and evil - except it isn't that simple. Complex and densely layered, with a surprisingly nasty twist at the finale, it's an amazing (as in I sat entranced) film, incredibly beautiful, the soundtrack wonderful, and the end... The end is perfect.
It's even (for those who like a more superficial element with their story) full of bishonen.
Actually... its ambience has resonance with The Fountain. Heh, no wonder I liked Casshern so much! I will need to watch it again though, to pick up on all the intriguing little background elements I missed the first time.
Though when that will be I have no idea, as we've just had delivery of seven of the nine DVDs we ordered from play.com...
Edit - nifty Casshern trailer here.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

ROFLMAO!


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Monday, June 15, 2009

Article finished and away by noon. Free! FREE!!
Well, not quite. Haven't completely finished the IAVMT revamp yet, but that will slot in OK with the Prime Contact revisions. I've also made a start on all those little jobs I've been putting off - like cleaning the fridge (which developed a strange and slightly suspect smell over the last few days. Gone now) and, tomorrow, bottling the melon wine, which has been sitting in its demijohn in the kitchen for two weeks...
Wandered up the garden at sunset this evening to look for noctilucent clouds. There weren't any that I could see, but on the way back down to the house I spotted something not right out of the corner of my eye, and on stopping to look more closely realised there was a heron on the roof two doors down!
Called Ken down with his camera to see if he could get any pics ('cause there's no way my camera could cope!)
heronheron
heronheron
He was lucky to get that last one!
Grass pollen is at its worst right now. Piritese is keeping the hayfever hassles at a bearable level but I have that 'orrible heat rash thing (tiny little pimples that itch like something that itches unbearably) between my fingers and on my palms, and the anti-histamines aren't having much effect. Eh well. It's finite.
Back to world creation...

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Busy...
pavlova Food porn for Lutra. (Someone remind me to make one for the summer barbecue, please.) platform The station platform! Tyjer It's a cat's life...
Article within a hair of being finished...

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Well that was fun! Folks are fine, enjoyed themselves I think, and mum wanted to take Tyjer home with her. Dad took K&K to the Hengrove B&Q to pick up the slabs (that they failed to get on the LETs trip a week ago when the pallets of slabs were buried under other things and there were no fork-lift truck drivers available to shift them); we ordered a Chinese take away (mum's choice) for dinner, which was very tasty; watched Run Fat Boy Run and The Dish; spent some time in the garden, then I put on Iron Man which dad thoroughly enjoyed. Altogether a good day.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

WHEEEEEEEE!!
I can has short(er) hair. Finally got truly fed up with the long bit at the back - tired of having to put on three bands and shove it over my head to sleep, and it being hot and heavy, and never doing anything special with it, just pinning it on the top of my head every day - and asked Ken to cut it off for me. He's left it a bit longer - brushing the top of my shoulderblades - than I really wanted, but it feels marvellous, swingy and bouncy and much, much lighter. I need to feather it a bit at the back, but overall I'm happy. And relieved. Ye gods, I've had it in the same style for nearly twenty years, it really was time for a change!
Kai and I watched the first two eps of Ultraviolet and thoroughly enjoyed them, although sprog is feeling a bit poorly at the moment, sore throat and snuffly. Not sure whether it's hayfever (grass pollen is particularly bad at the moment, as my own nose and throat can attest), a cold, or blasted swine flu (we've had several cases scattered amongst the schools in the city). Will see how he feels in the morning. We're undecided as to whether it might be better to catch the thing and get over it, and hence have some immunity to any other such diseases, or to hope it misses us completely. Remembering the last flu we had, personally I'd rather not get it (took me twice as long to recover as I was looking after K&K). On the other hand, anything that provides a measure of defence can't be all bad. [flings hands in the air] Leave it to Fortuna.
Back to the rockface.

Edit:
new hair

Because GoodTwin asked...

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I heard about this this morning. It looks absolutely fantastic and Kai wants to go. It's on for three months, so we'll make a date for the first week of his summer holiday.
Watching the first ep of Ultraviolet after tonight's X-Files...

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[sigh] So, after saying I would have an early night, I got caught up in redesigning the Haadri site background (the old one was bothering me, far too garish on my new monitor so gods' know what it looked like on other peoples'! It's better, but still not quite right. I may have to redo it again after I've sent off the article) and correcting some inaccuracies in the text and it was gone three before I closed down. Also found I need to create eighteen worlds and detail their cultures: I'm well behind with the gazetteer updates.
Hence no shopping was accomplished this morning (will try later, when Ken gets back from Siston where he and Rosie of the Reflex Camera Club are currently taking photographs of the church, specifically of the lead font. Nowt like getting the bairns off to a brain-melting start, eh?)
mullein moth caterpillarmullein moth caterpillar damage The mulleins in the meadow have been absolutely decimated by this handsome beast.->
It is - unsurprisingly - a mullein moth caterpillar, and we have dozens of them (I lost count at thirty-two...) An oddly dull moth for such an extravagant 'pillar, I think, but there you go... It's the first time we've had them in the garden, most probably because in previous years we've only allowed one mullein at most to develop (they grow taller than me and are a bugger to dig up!): this year we have sixteen in the meadow - had rather, as there are only three that haven't been attacked so far. Seems they can be a bit of a pest. I'm not too fussed about the mulleins, but we have a rather well-grown self-planted buddleia between the shed and the boundary wall that acts as a screen and attracts the butterflies, and I wouldn't be too happy if that was eaten. Will keep a close eye on the situation.
Another worry is our apple tree. Although I've been on pest-watch and made sure it was well watered through the dry spell, the developing fruits are shrivelling and dropping off. I have no idea why: apart from a couple of browned leaves easily explained as normal garden damage the tree seems perfectly healthy. I think I'll have to ask on the forums I belong to and see if someone knowledgeable can help. Please keep fingers crossed.
On the subject of pear trees, I think our best bet is to get a self-fertile variety - which basically means Concorde or Conference - first, see how we go, then get another that will cross-pollinate with the first a year or so later. I'll need advice from the garden centre though, as I'm fussy when it comes to pears. I can't stand them thick skinned and crunchy: pears must be soft, almost mushy, with a fine texture, very sweet and dripping with juice when you cut them. (As opposed to how I like my apples - sweetish, firm, juicy and very crunchy.) It'll be fun researching - perhaps I can finally get up to the organic orchard on their open day this year and try tasting some varieties.
Back to the rockface...

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

I really must try to remember that attempting to have a nap early evening in the summer is a waste of time...
Ty asleep A standard busy day, with nothing terribly interesting happening. This year's elderflower wine is now on the go (and for the first time ever I still have bottles of last year's left!) Client site stuff done, greenhouse tending (I now have the first tomatoes developing on the Stupice plants) and a little more weeding of the veg bed. Essential work but not exactly exciting.
This is cute though ->
Tyjer's latest place to sleep, on the piled-up floor cushions behind my settee.
Early night tonight. Early shopping tomorrow before I take a serious stab at getting this article finished before the weekend.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Leisurely trip up to Broadwalk this morning (on the bus). Quite successful: picked up a bunch of stuff I needed from Wilkinson's and found a Yule present for Ken's folks in Works.
More IAVMT website revamp when I got back, then a little gardening when Kai got home.
Then it started raining, so we gave up for the day.
Tired now and about off to bed. Later... Oh, the thing I forgot was that last time Ferdinand the pipistrelle was haunting the garden, a couple of evenings ago, he had a friend with him! Two bats - so cute.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

What have we been up to...?
Watched Final Destination 2 and 3 (still playing guess the death) and enjoyed them. I thought the third one was a bit repetitive, though.
I have more seeds on the go - trying golden berry again, since the last ones didn't germinate, dill, and some more cauliflower. Also spent half an hour in some serious veg bed weeding. Oh, and I have a dozen peapods already developing...
Still working on the IAVMT revamp. Still trying to finish the Luhgnasadh article. Suffering from a small lack of motivation at the moment. It'll sort itself out.
Parents are coming up for the day on Saturday to celebrate Ken's and my mother's birthdays. It'll be the first time they'll meet Tyjer - should be fun.
I'm sure there was something else but it escapes me for the moment. If I remember I'll add to tomorrow's post.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Ty again
... the cuteness... the cuteness...!

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Monday shopping. Not the most exciting chore, but I dropped into the Hospice, and they did still have Final Destination 2 and 3, so I picked them up. Kai will be chuffed.
Then on a whim I wandered over to the Cats' charity place as well... Found Stargate: the Director's Cut, which I'm checking at the moment: it has eight minutes or so extra footage, not a huge amount but enough to add a few seconds here and there to enrich the whole film. Terrific stuff. (I never got into the series. Watched a few but got bored...) They also had Casshern, which I bought purely on spec, as although I've read good things about it I don't know it and haven't seen the anime from which it comes. And to my delight they also had Ultraviolet (the most excellent British TV series, not the brainless American film). I could really have done with this when writing the vampire book, but it's a must-have anyway - and at £3 (for all six eps) I wasn't going to say no.
So, all in all a very successful day's shopping!
Work tonight. Presumably after Final Destination 2, as no doubt sprog will want to see it. Final Destination 3 comes with an additional DVD where you can, apparently, choose for yourself which character dies by which method. I'm sure sprog will love that...

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

A watched sossij never grills...
On the subject of cucumbers (see further down), I tried this (from Lutra's blog): -

A Different Kind Of Company. A Different Kind Of Cucumber.

Enter a word for your own slogan:

Generated by the Advertising Slogan Generator. Get more Cucumber slogans.

Fun, but I can think of more fun slogans. How about 'Have Cucumber, Will Travel'? Or, 'I've got a cucumber and I know how to use it'? [Kudos to anyone who recognises the reference!]
not a palm





Update on the question of what exactly the not-a-palm is...
Lutra suggested it might be a yucca, and they are similar - but not exactly the same: I planted the indoor yucca that had got too big for the house up at the top of the garden where it would get more sun, and it did grow for a while, but the snow back in Feb damaged it. It has new growth, so it's not dead, but it's not very healthy.
However, I had an email from Curiosity [waves!] in New Zealand today, saying it looks like a NZ cabbage tree. I looked it up, and I'm sure it is - a Cordyline australis. I know these grow over here - there are a lot of them down in Torbay, and geographically our climate is pretty similar to NZ. And wouldn't you know it, the tree is edible! The cooked white berries are high in carbohydrates, and apparently one part of the plant can be used to make a sugar substitute (like the birch-tree-sap one I prefer). [grins] Thanks Curiosity!
Edit: Unfortunately I've just discovered that they can grow to 20 metres and have extensive root systems. Ours is planted very close to the wall, and anything over 10 metres will block the light to my greenhouse. We'll leave it as long as possible, but eventually the tree will have to go. (Any suggestions as to what we get to replace it? Needs to be quite small and preferably native - or at least something the birds and insects will like.... Actually, having said that, I'd like a pear tree - I love pears.)






cucumber's today <- These are my cucumber plants today. Won't be long and they'll have reached the roof of the greenhouse and I'll have to start pinching the tops out... first cucumber The first cucumber! ->
Forgot to say that we turned out Kai's wardrobe yesterday: bagged up all the too-small stuff for charity. I also gave him a lesson (yet again) in how to fold clothes and put them away tidily. Hope it sticks this time.
Back to the rockface. Need to get this article finished...

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Ken had an Archaeological Society meeting here today, over lunchtime, which meant shopping for it (lunch, that is) this morning. Dived in the Hospice second hand shop after the Post Office, and found Final Destination for £2.50. Sprog is into gore at the moment, so I picked it up, and we spent an entertaining ninety minutes this evening trying to guess which complex method of death would off each character. "Death by record! Death by candle! No, death by fishhook!"...
Sooo, last ep of Primeval, eh? We're torn between "Ooooh!" and "AARRGGHH!!" But of course it ended on a cliffhanger, they always do, to leave room for the next series.
I'm very tired and it's very wet outside. After last night's rain the water butt, which had dropped to about five inches depth of water, was full, and Ken filled up the greenhouse butt as well. And everything looks refreshed and green again.
Early night and lie-in in the morning, I think.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

not a palm flowers The not-a-palm flowers are coming on apace, and there's another spike now, hanging over the wall. Still wish they were bananas.

[grump] We are now a small island of Lib-Dem gold in a veritable sea of south-west bloody Tory blue. Not that either of us voted Lib-Dem, but we wouldn't vote Tory if they were the only party in the country. I loathe 'em.
And there's a BNP bastard voted in somewhere up country. (Though actually I can see why the fascist parties may be more popular these days than they used to be, given the global situation.) Altogether a most unsatisfactory state of affairs.
On the plus side, however, the forecast rain is here, and I can hear my garden sighing in relief, especially the carrots and radishes I planted earlier.
Of course, the grass will now shoot up to waist high overnight...

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And I was engrossed working on Haadri and lost track of time and bodily requirements. So much for an early night!
However, I did find out that the Scarlet Tiger Moth I like so much eats comfrey as a caterpillar! It was those little buggers that were eating my comfrey plants - which are now recovering very nicely, thank you - not the thrice-damnèd cabbage whites (alas, the caterpillars look rather similar).
This I can easily forgive. Perhaps I should cultivate a few more clumps (though Ken is allergic to comfrey, so perhaps not...) Is good, though. They're one of those odd moths where the adult flies during the day - which is good as far as I'm concerned, as those beautiful colours would be lost at night. And having rescued a newly pupated one from the spiderweb in which it had been caught, this evening, I am in awe of the tiny creatures. Just beautiful...

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

ZZZzzzzzzzzooooooommmmmmmmmmm <- See that? That was today...

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The only way I can get to the butcher while he's open, when Ken's at court, is to arrive when he opens at seven a.m. and since the freezer was practically devoid of all carnivore-required comestibles that's what I did, leaving here at twenty to seven. Admittedly, I stumbled there more than half-asleep, and had difficulty focussing on what he had on display in the window, and I spent a little more than I'd intended (although that's fine, it'll all get eaten...), but it was a successful trip, and I was out of the shop again and heading for Sainsbug's by 7.10.
Sainsbug's was also wonderfully quiet and empty, so much so I was able to pick up the Kelley's Cornish ice-cream we like so much and be fairly confident I could get it home before it melted, despite this morning's heat. Arrived back at 8.05. Not bad.
Of course, I'm now knackered and hoping for an early night again: should be a little easier now the weather has cooled down and there's a wonderful cool breeze blowing. Did manage a little work though, on the IAVMT site revamp mainly.
Oh, and Tyjer has finally twigged that he can, in fact, use the outside as a toilet instead of the litter tray all the time. Of course, being Tyjer, he used a corner of my veg bed instead of the bare soil in the meadow... He was so pleased and proud of himself I didn't have the heart to complain. I'll just have to get used to clearing up after him and not plant anything edible in that spot.
We need rain. Both the frewtnog and Roeg's pools are low, as is the main water butt, and the poor grass looks like straw. (No of course I don't water the lawn - the edible plants take priority and it has to look out for itself.) The blasted forecast keeps changing: now there's not supposed to be rain until Friday night and then all through the weekend, which means watering with the hose tomorrow, dammit. Ah well.
We have a surprising number of Scarlet Tiger moths in the garden at the moment. They're incredibly pretty, more like butterflies than moths. And of course we've been inundated by Painted Lady butterflies - and I've seen more Red Admirals this year than I have in the previous five. It would be wonderful if their numbers were increasing again. We keep a sheltered nettle patch up by the elder tree in an attempt to help!
Tyjer's a little agitated, but he's not hissing or tail-lashing, so it's probably hedgehog or badger rather than trespassing cat.
And Kai's new term has started OK-ish. He seems relatively unfazed by the teasing about his brace (although as I said it is small and really quite inconspicuous). A lot of the kids at school have them though, so he's not alone.
Right. Bed. Sheeeeep. Busy day tomorrow both inside and out...

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Consideration: Do I want to "upgrade" (not what I'd call it) to blogger's 'new' template format? Pros: blog would be in line with new developments, I'd probably not need to do a div class to increase the size of the font every bloody post, and I could include gadgets (there's a NASA one I quite like the look of). Cons: I like the way it looks at present and the code for the new templates is horrible. It's supposed to be fully customisable but it would take me hours to figure it out (I've tried with another test blog and gave up...) Zone Doubt will be seven years old on the 27th of July, which I think makes it one of the longest-surviving still-updating blogs around here (certainly where personal/family blogs are concerned). It's probably a classic (if not an antique!)
Perhaps I'll ponder the matter a little longer.

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[flop] Another hot hot day. Planted some more Galia melon seeds, potted on the lettuce seedlings, generally tried to keep everything in the greenhouse watered, wrote a little more of the Lughnasadh article, did a little more of the Prime Contact revisions, tried not to fall asleep.
Fascinating stuff, ne? It was even too hot for Tyjer, who spent most of the day flumped in the shade. Still, it's supposed to rain on Saturday - unfortunate in a way, but we really need it. I've had to use the hose for the last three days to stop everything in the veg bed dying, and the water butt is less than half full (already!)
The badger's been back. He's been trying to dig holes under the fence at the top of the garden from our side - there are four almost-holes there (incomplete because there are solid flagstones there on Dave's side and he - the badger, not Dave - can't get through). Still undecided what to do about it...

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Monday, June 01, 2009

[bemused] I do believe someone down the road has a cockerel in their garden... Either that or there's one at the PDSA. But I think it's in a garden.
Wonder if they have any chickens? I was considering keeping chickens. We like eggs. And chicken. Not sure I can be bothered with all the infrastructure though: is having chickens to clear the pests out of the veg bed worth the effort of building (or, preferably, buying) a hen house? Am I actually capable of killing a chicken (I'd like to think so)? What would Tyjer make of them (other than lunch)? And there may be byelaws restricting it, of course.
Hm...

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