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.
First, a recommendation. Dive over to The Jonathan Day Fiction Site and try some of the stories. I love this author's writing - it's funny, bitingly witty, dryly incisive, chilling, and deliciously subversive by turns. Absolutely well worth a look!
Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
He could sleep stretched out over on my settee.
Or up on our bed.
Or behind my settee on the piled up cushions (his most recent favoured sleeping place when he comes in from the garden).
Or on Kai's bed. Or in the den under it. Or on one of his chosen patches upstairs. Or on top of Ken's tall cabinet, where he can keep an eye on the garden.
But no. When mum has settled in for some serious TV watching he curls up here level with the top of my head, where it's easy to stroke him, and purrs contentedly as he falls asleep.
[g] He's his mum's kit.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Up early, so watched another couple of eps of season 7 while Kai slept in. Then finished the jelly fish lightshade
I'm pleased with it. It's delightfully quirky. And the long tendrils brush your hair as you walk underneath it...
Then it was time for Iron Man 2. Yers. Enjoyable nonsense (or possibly nonscience). Very silly. I did feel my eyes closing around the middle of the film, but then I realised what he was making and everything picked up a little. One to get when the price comes right down.
(Caught the A Team film trailer - looks like enormous fun! I used to watch the original series' dedicatedly waaaay back. One to see, I think, though not necessarily at the cinema.)
Hopefully another couple of season 7 eps later, then I'll be half way through...
Friday, May 28, 2010
...whooooosh... I blinked and the day was gone...
Mind you, some of it was taken up in watching quite a few eps of 24 season 7, which arrived yesterday along with 24: Redemption (which I watched yesterday). I may still be able to catch up before the season 8 finale.
Picked up Avatar from Tesco - Kai's been asking if we could get it as he wanted to see it again, and of course Ken never had. I have to admit it was a lot easier to get to grips with and enjoy the story when not oohing and aahing at the 3D sfx. And of course the core plot is something very dear to my heart anyway.
Kai says his Physics exam was OK, and now he's all set to enjoy his week's holiday. We're off to see Iron Man 2 tomorrow (I shall grit my teeth and try to ignore Sam Rockwell) to start the break off with a... bang? whizz? Something like that anyway.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
A brief update...
The first paeony flower and a branch of the acer at Roeg's Pool side. Such glorious colour. I wish my camera could capture it a little better...
We've moved the bird table out from under the medlar tree (where it kept filling with leaves, petals and bird droppings!), planted the lamiums, and pruned the developing apples on the apple tree. Keeping fingers crossed for better results than last year!
And last night's rain has filled the water butts, so we're OK now for another few weeks.
Tyjer likes to lie close to me when I'm indulging in some Jack Bauer. (I think he was watching with me...)
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Kai's Biology (last week) and Chemistry (today) exams went well, he says, and he brought home his current report today. It's much as expected: he still has a little way to go in his German and Physics classes, but for everything else he's on target to hit or exceed his predicted final grades (A and A* mostly). Very pleased, we are.
This year's Weston-super-Mare sand sculpture festival features famous British figures and institutions such as Shakespeare, Churchill, and the Beatles. However, it also has some rather less... um... obvious? famous things. Such as the Teletubbies. And those people from Little Britain. Hm. Not sure about that...
We've just had a visit from the local plumber to size up the job in the garden loo (fixing the pipes and installing the washbasin). He says it's a small job: he'll price it up and get back to us asap. Fingers crossed it's not too expensive...
Time for dinner.
Ooh. It's raining.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Random observations ('cause it's late and I'm very tired...)
Chelsea: Trailblazers (the Aussie team) won gold! I am so chuffed. For anyone that doesn't know - which I suspect may be most of my readers - their entire livelihood was destroyed by the fires that swept through Melbourne (Lutra's hometown) last year. In order to even make it to Chelsea this year a team of volunteers gathered together and willingly and for free gave their blood sweat and tears (excuse the cliché but it's very apt here) to make this year's entry so truly fantastic. Scott was almost in tears as he thanked everyone - I got a lump in my throat too...
On a much more modest note, I spent a couple of hours this morning planting my sweetcorn seedlings. Oh joy, oh what fun. Bent double, digging holes eight to twelve inches deep for each of thirty plus seedlings (and having to flood the holes with water as the soil was so dry it just caved in as I dug) in brilliant sunshine. I ache in places I didn't know I had, and the incipient blisters on my trowel hand are distinctly owish... Annoyingly, I'm probably going to lose a few of the seedlings too, as I broke through into our resident mole's tunnels (you can tell as when you pour water in it simply disappears) and said pest usually retaliates by grumpily excavating more tunnels and uprooting what I've planted. I've spoken sternly to it, but it tends to ignore me.
It is a fixed law of the universe that heat rises and cold descends. So can anyone tell me why, in summer, the ground floor of my house is like an oven while the first storey is delightfully cool, and in the winter it's the opposite (exchanging 'comfortably warm' for 'delightfully cool' and 'bloody freezing' for 'like an oven')?
I had to rescue the blackbird fledgling again yesterday. Sort of. Tyjer had found it and was standing guard - with the parents frantically trying to distract him - at the edge of the meadow. Under the snarl of dead wild rose bushes. [sigh] Have you ever had to retrieve a cat from under a drift of wild roses? Along with the old and new scars from decades of manic cats my arms now look like I wrestle barbed wire for a living...
On a rather more sombre note, we've now lost the fledgling: Tyjer brought the corpse to me this morning, purring proudly the whole time. He didn't kill it - rigor mortis had already set in - but it's heart-clenching all the same. I don't know if his previous treatment shocked it so badly it simply couldn't survive or if he injured it internally yesterday: it was certainly OK externally when I checked it over. So very very sad.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
So, the finale of 24 season 5... wow...
Immensely satisfying (though not the very end of ep 24, obviously), and I love the twin smirks as Logan walks away. Crackin' stuff.
On to season 6.
In other news... We're in from the garden until 2 pm - it's pushing 30° out there and the UV's far too high to be comfortable. But after the noon max K&K are planning to start remortaring the last stretch of wall, and I need to plant out the sweetcorn, lawn chamomile and lamium. Then it'll be an hour's watering again. We're having to use mains water for the veg bed - the water butt is now barely a quarter full and the orchids and greenhouse have to take priority. Problem is the pipe still isn't fixed in the garden loo, so I can't use the outside tap (and hence the hose), so we (meaning Ken) have to fill the watering can from the kitchen tap and carry it up to the top of the garden. All very inconvenient. We're going to need a professional plumber to fix the pipes: they weren't done properly in the first place and a whole section has pulled free...
Later edit: Ken suggested looking on ebay for 24 season 7 (Pink Planet don't have it and amazon and play.com are both a bit pricey), and they had it at a good 'buy now' price, and coincidentally just today I got a 10% off ebay voucher on the email, so I've bought it.
Even later edit: and then I find that season 7 is the follow-up to the one-off film, 24: Redemption - so I've had to buy that as well. ([grump] Almost wish I hadn't started this...)
Kai has decided that additional revision for his Physics and Chemistry exams is more important than mortaring, so that's been put on hold for a bit. It's really too hot to do anything too physical out there, anyway, and Ken burns easily (fair Icelandic skin inherited from his mum). There's no frantic rush, we have the sand and cement now.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Out with Kim, sallying forth to explore strange new garden centres, check out new plants and new forms of veg, boldly going where millions have gone before...
Banwell was first, a lovely little place in the middle of nowhere, just past the quaint village where the second hand cars on the forecourt were BMWs and Mercedes, and even the charity shops were filled with designer clothes... OK, I'm exaggerating. A bit. But it is a gorgeous place with some great plants, if a little on the pricey side. I picked up a couple of lamium beacon silver, for the edge of Roeg's Pool. Then we headed off to the Whitehall's garden centre at Whitchurch - where I found pots of lawn chamomile!! Dead chuffed: I've been looking for this for over a year. Stocked up on general and ericaceous composts (the blueberries need repotting) as well. All in all a terrific day: great to catch up on all the news.
Tonight's Doctor Who... I fell asleep. I can cope with arrogance and petulance as long as it's accompanied by charisma, but Eleven has none. The whole thing feels silly, I really do not like the new T.A.R.D.I.S, and I'm tired of recycled villains. Eh well. I suppose we've been thoroughly spoilt by Eccleston and Tennant, the two best Doctors ever...
Friday, May 21, 2010
I hate summer colds...
Still, it could be worse (and would be without the First Defence). And the Benylin max strength cold and flu capsules are helping (first time I've tried them - bought them for Kai but he hasn't needed them). And at least I'm not racing to hit a deadline.
In more cheerful news... the garden is looking really good, at last (well, the rockery needs weeding and the grass mowing, but those are ongoing jobs anyway). The meadow is now mature, and Kai is keeping it under control; the medlar has grown into a beautiful little tree; and all the shrubs are thriving - including my new foodplants at the top of the garden (honeyberries and the goji bush - still small but coming on a treat). I've learned an awful lot about greenhouse management over the last couple of summers, and everything is doing well. The veg bed always has a few problems - pests, mainly - but is nevertheless starting to be productive. And over the weekend I'm hoping to get my new acer (small tree this one, grows to about six feet according to the label) planted. Current thinking is to take up the curry plant beside the bay tree and place it there, but that might be too close to the fence. May have to reconsider.
I must take some photos...
The only thing we're lacking at the moment is rain. The main water butt is half empty again, and with the glorious weather everything needs watering more fully. Eh well - this hot spell is due to end next week, so we may get rain then. Fingers crossed.
[groan] 24 season 8 ends in the US next Monday - but not here for another two weeks. I'm going to have to be very careful what I read over the next sixteen days as I absolutely do NOT want spoilers. (I'm at hour 17 of season 5 at the moment, and hoping to at least catch all of season 6 before the end of season 8 on TV - would like to watch 7 too but I don't have it yet. I'm really enjoying season 5! Oh, and each ep is actually only 45 minutes long, to allow for the ad breaks, so it's not quite such a long haul as it sounds.)
Kai had his Biology exam this morning - hope it went well. He was feeling quite confident: they had a couple of revision classes yesterday, and he opted to do a little more revision at home last night, to double check a few things he wasn't absolutely certain about. Next week he has Physics and Chemistry, and then a week off for half term: I'm planning for us to go and see Iron Man 2 as a wee treat on the Saturday.
Off to get some more lettuce and dwarf beans on the go in a while. There will be a Haadri blog update first though.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
... fighting off Kai's cold...
Other than that it was a usefully productive day. We've cut back the bay tree to half its previous height. I rescued a young blackbird from Tyjer's clutches (the parents alerted me as usual, and I got there seconds after he'd pinned it to the ground: I forced his mouth open and it flew off, only losing a feather. Lucky escape!) Kai's cold has almost gone (so lucky, his only ever last a couple of days!) And I'm loving 24 season 5 - wonderfully complex and twisted...
I occasionally check out Poorly Dressed (part of the Cheeseburger stable). It's... interesting in a gob-smacking wtF oh-ye-gods-how-can-ANYone-go-out-looking-like-that? sort of way. But the one we found tonight had Kai and I stitches - though whether from disbelief or hysteria I wouldn't like to hazard a guess. So here you go. Don't say I'm not good to you...
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
The second of the Butterfly Wings Orchids. Photograph taken by Ken with his camera, lens almost touching the flower...
This is absolutely exquisite - it looks a little like an exotic bird coming in to land - and even smaller than the first one. Bonsai orchids! (Appropriate, since they're Japanese. I found an interesting and useful page about them here. Don't worry, it's in English!)
The third one isn't too far from opening now. It looks as though it may be the same as the first one, unfortunately - it would be wonderful to have three different hybrids! - but all the same, I'm dead chuffed I've managed to grow them. And I may be wrong, it may be different...
Orchids holding hands.
[bemused] I'm always very aware of the sounds from the garden, especially when I have the patio doors open (and except when I have headphones on, obviously), and even without thinking now register the fast, high-pitched distress calls of the resident blackbirds. So when one of them started sounding the alarm I dived out to see what was going on.
Mrs Blackbird was perched on the middle upright of the rotary drier, tail cocked, staring down at Tyjer not three feet away: cat had his back to me in that pose best described as 'puss with a purpose' - said purpose usually some hapless creature trapped under his front paws. Tanked up the garden to find he'd caught another slowworm and was playing with it. I grabbed it from him - it was unharmed - and as I did so Mrs BB stopped sounding the alarm. As I eased the slowworm into the bramble tangle behind the meadow (no way Ty will go in there!) she gave a sort of satisfied chirrup and flew happily away.
... I have birds who will let me know not only if one of their own is in danger, but even if another member of the garden wildlife is threatened. Talk about being close to nature! (Just call me Doolittle... </irony>)
I've been fancying sushi recently. I'll rephrase that. I've had an irresistible urge to stuff my face with sushi - so today I made a whole load and did just that.
Well, Ken and Kai helped. It was extremely tasty. And we've just discovered sweet chilli dipping sauce - wonderful stuff.
Flashforward on shortly, though I'm getting tired of it already...
Sunday, May 16, 2010
[sigh] Sprog has a cold. Well, of course he does - he has his Biology unit B exam on Friday.
Hopefully the worst will be over by then. (I am, as always, taking First Defence in the hope of staving it off.)
In other news: much of today was taken up by intensive client site stuff, while Kai revised and Ken had an afternoon meeting. And apart from the standard greenhouse tending and feeding and watering everyone (two-, four-, six- and eight-legged) that was about it...
Oh, forgot to say... while I was at Tesco yesterday I spotted a DVD pack, Superstar Thriller, six films on 3 discs for £4. Not normally my thing, but one of the films is I Fought the Law (a.k.a. Dead Heat), so I picked it up for my Sutherland collection.
It's a terrific little film - a little predictable but very funny and with a feel-good (sort of) ending, and Sutherland and LaPaglia make a wonderful comic double act. Most enjoyable. Kai and I were both laughing aloud in places, and even Ken smiled. (And you never know, I might get around to watching the other five films at some point. Maybe when I retire. If I ever do.)
Saturday, May 15, 2010
I really don't like Saturday shopping. Tesco is always full of the sort of mutoids that you hope to TPTB do not own cars, the ones guaranteed to induce trolley rage. Unfortunately it was necessary, but for once there was an upside - a skreeing in the sky announcing the return of the flamewings. It's now officially summer!
Someone tell the weather...
Still, Tesco did have strawberries and raspberries on special, so I picked up some double cream and meringue nests and will make Eton Mess (Co-op version) for dessert after tonight's lasagne...
One of these days I'll manage to get a photo of him with his eyes open... ->
<- Sweetcorn seedlings. I'm currently keeping an anxious eye on the weather, hoping it warms up sufficiently to plant them out before the roots start showing out of the bottom of the tubes.
We had a delivery of sand, cement and chippings a couple of days ago, enough to finish re-mortaring the last stretch of the wall, and for Kai to level out his railway track. At the moment there's a pronounced incline at the house curve which makes the engine labour when carrying passengers. He's made a start this afternoon. We're going to need to raise the paving slabs a bit, to make everything even: the soil for that is coming from the currently unused bit of garden behind the meadow. Kai has decided he wants a small wildlife pond there. So, another busy summer then...
Friday, May 14, 2010
A little client site stuff, a little shopping, my latest Lovefilm rental (The Men Who Stare At Goats - strange and oddly pointless, although the end was great...), and then more 24. Halfway through season 4 now. (Yay - Tony's back!) This is so far my favourite...
Thursday, May 13, 2010
And in other news...
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Taken with Ken's camera. The lower petals are frilly! ->
<- This is the size - so tiny. My forefinger and thumb holding a five-pence piece right beside the flower (that leaf is resting on my nail).
Dentist was fine, and I've made an appointment for the doctor (early June was the earliest double I could get). And I picked up 24 season two boxed DVD set. Now just need seven and eight to complete the collection.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
It's only half-open, but here's the first of my Butterfly Wings Orchids. It's absolutely minute, at most the size of my little finger nail, but so pretty. It should be fully open tomorrow - I'll take another photo.
The third of the White Egret Orchid tubers has now germinated - all three of them have made it! Chuffed? Oh yes.
I've added lemon juice, tannin and pectolase to the strawberry wine must - it smells wonderful... I have a sachet of high strength wine yeast to add to it tomorrow, after I've strained it into the demi-jon. This particular wine is a long-term affair, needing plenty of fermentation time and several rackings a couple of months apart, but it should be worth it.
In other news... other than dealing with the above, half an hour's client site update, and doing a substantial Tesco shop that has left my left hand and arm extremely painful and practically useless - again. Will I ever learn? - I've spent time mentally chucking around ideas and have now more or less decided how to tackle the first few chapters of Heart. There'll be more on that at the Haadri blog later (maybe tomorrow. Or the following day. Depends on when I get the use of my hand back. [sigh] I have a dentist appointment tomorrow. Will make a doctor's appointment while I'm up there...)
Monday, May 10, 2010
An even more relaxed day today - very pleasant. A (very) little client site stuff, a little greenhouse work, and the weather was lovely. All very nice.
[g] The Chelsea Flower Show looks like it's going to be great this year...
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Slightly quieter day today: a little client site updating, bottling the generic red cooking wine, a little greenhouse management, watched Cloverfield (which Kai really likes) and A Sound of Thunder (which I rather like) - Phoenix were having an irresistible ex-rental, 'buy one for £1.50 or five for £5' special yesterday - which I picked up during Trading Local, and three eps of 24 season 3 tonight. Nina Myers, what a bitch...
Saturday, May 08, 2010
Trading Local went extremely well, with at least a hundred people turning up to see the various playlets (it was probably a lot more, but with the scheduling it was difficult to get an estimate). There was a wide variety of works, many of them nostalgic, some poignant, and a good few comedic, including a talking washing machine! Ken's piece was terrific - more about that on the Haadri blog very shortly.
Was tiring though, standing up all day.
K&K are currently watching Snakes on a Train (yes, train, not plane), which has one star on DigiGuide. It's dreadful, but the IMDb suggests it's worth suffering the film for the ending... I hope so...
Much later edit. It wasn't.
Friday, May 07, 2010
[snuffling growl] Bloody hayfever. I feel like I'm coming down with a cold. I've felt like it for a week now but tonight it's particularly bad. Though not as bad as in some previous years - hibiscus tea with local honey has helped... (Prefer not to take piriton unless I absolutely have to.)
Today has been, as usual, manic. But the BMN site is now done, the cgi survey form for the St George Community Centre is up and running, the lounge orchids have each soaked for twenty minutes in their feed and I've made room for the tacca in the middle of their tray, and I've started some strawberry wine (Tesco had punnets of strawbs on special at 50p each so I picked up a couple. Going to be very nice indeed...)
And here ->
Tomorrow it's the Trading Local event, and I really need to go to all of them for photos for the BCP site, as well as attempting to video the Jadrel piece. Means getting up rather early (for a Saturday). It's also supposed to be wet all day, oh joy. So I've curtailed the 24 season 3 watching tonight (only two eps), and will try, probably vainly, for an early night...
I was disappointed and troubled to see how many votes our local BNP candidate got in the elections. Always distressing to see the evidence of racism and intolerance so close to home.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to vote we go...
Interestingly, apparently we live in both the east and the west at the same time: for the Bristol City Council Election we're Brislington West, while for the Parliamentary Election we're Bristol East. (Today's useless factoid.)
It's been an odd day. Started off by trying to get some client site work done - and the connectivity went. For getting on for an hour. In the course of which Ken arrived back and suggested I nip up to Broadwalk to see if Pink Planet had 24 season 3.
They did. They also had seasons 4, 5 and 6. Which with monstrous self-indulgence I proceeded to buy, spending this year's Yule cash in advance (kinda...) But then I rang home, to find that Spruce had sent me a cheque in payment of that illustrative photo I did for Ken's Ghosts book, which covered the lot and assuaged the guilt.
And when I got back my tacca chantrieri had been delivered! That's now potted, and really needs to live in amongst my lounge orchids, as they have the same requirements, except there's no room. Will have to find a way around that little problem...
And my sweetcorn (all thirty two kernels) have germinated and are planted up in the greenhouse. I will be very happy indeed if they all succeed.
Planning to try for photos of the Butterfly Wings Orchids in the morning: they are now covered with tiny flower buds.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
BMN site sort of done. Other than that I did the usual greenhouse jobs and watched the last four episodes of 24 season 1 - great stuff. Now want to watch season 3: Ken suggested nipping up to Broadwalk to see if they have it...
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
I've more or less finished the Rebecca Edelmann Artworks site (there are still some empty pages, but she wants to try populating them herself) - interesting works. I need to tackle the Baguette Me Not site tomorrow...
And these are my White Egret Orchids, growing slowly but steadily. I'm flooding their pot with rainwater two or three times a day, letting it drain out into the sweet peppers pots then filling it again, to try to simulate the monsoon - seems to be working. The third shoot hasn't appeared yet but I'm sure it's there, under the surface...
Monday, May 03, 2010
Sunday, May 02, 2010
After staying up to watch the sun rise yesterday, and just three hours sleep, I was pretty much useless, so decided to take the weekend off. Well, other than just a little urgent client stuff and a tiny bit of gardening and getting the brassicas planted in the veg bed. And a Sainsbury shop today. We watched my latest LoveFilm rental, The Dark Knight - very enjoyable.
Going to watch some more 24 season 1 now...
Labels: nowt really
Saturday, May 01, 2010