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 ::

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

... I'd write my autobiography, but no-one would believe it....

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.

Adventures in Orchids

Apparently I am now collecting them...

There's room for one - or maybe two, at a pinch - more on that bedroom windowsill (the only one in the house that's ideal for them). Let's see what I find. Well, that didn't last long...

EO - Everlasting orchid. Phalaenopsis. I've had this orchid since 2007 and it just keeps flowering...

AO - Alien face orchid. Phalaenopsis . Bought 2018 - lovely little flowers, all different patterns!

RO - Rescued orchid photo to come when it flowers. Phalaenopsis. Rescued from a bin up the road in 2019. Classic!

TO - Tiny orchid. Phalaenopsis. Bought at Tesco 21.8.20. It just begged to come home with me. How could I say no?

CO - Crimson orchid. Cambria. Another Tesco find. This one may be going to live in Ken's room once we've redecorated and put up the new shelving; it prefers a cooler, less sunny windowsill. If so, I'll need to find another cambrian to keep it company.

GO - Golden orchid. Phalaenopsis. Saw this one when I bought CO and left it behind - then immediately regretted it as soon as I got home. Never seen one like it before. Ken, bless him, went back over to Tesco in the rain and bought it for me...

DO - Dendrobium Orchid. Smells of wisteria, so beautiful...

RO2 - Rescued orchid no 2. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I rescued from the wall along the road middle of 2021.

PO. Pink orchid. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I bought at Cabury Garden Centre on special, late 2021. It's much happier here!

TWO. Teeny weeny orchid, Phalaenopsis. Rescued from Tesco end 2021 (I think).

My IMDb ep summaries

Arthur of the Britons
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
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)
The Café

For later:

Missing Earthian ep
Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)

Silver birch at Eastwood 


"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)


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:
Transformers - IDW, Prime, Animated, Rescue Bots.

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.

Currently working on:

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

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

Currently maintaining:

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 


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



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...

Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 


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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 



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

The Zone Plant from
The Zone 



OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
[::..Fun Places..::]
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: 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...

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...)

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

   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust


   Vampire Hunter D Book 1

New Vampire Miyu

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

Yami no Matsuei

   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.

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

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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

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
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
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
07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004
10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004
11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
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
08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006
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
01/07/2008 - 31/07/2008
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
01/07/2009 - 31/07/2009
01/08/2009 - 31/08/2009
01/09/2009 - 30/09/2009
01/10/2009 - 31/10/2009
01/11/2009 - 30/11/2009
01/12/2009 - 31/12/2009
01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
01/04/2010 - 30/04/2010
01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
01/09/2010 - 30/09/2010
01/10/2010 - 31/10/2010
01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
01/04/2011 - 30/04/2011
01/05/2011 - 31/05/2011
01/06/2011 - 30/06/2011
01/07/2011 - 31/07/2011
01/08/2011 - 31/08/2011
01/09/2011 - 30/09/2011
01/10/2011 - 31/10/2011
01/11/2011 - 30/11/2011
01/12/2011 - 31/12/2011
01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
01/02/2012 - 28/02/2012
01/03/2012 - 31/03/2012
01/04/2012 - 30/04/2012
01/05/2012 - 31/05/2012
01/06/2012 - 30/06/2012
01/07/2012 - 31/07/2012
01/08/2012 - 31/08/2012
01/09/2012 - 30/09/2012
01/10/2012 - 31/10/2012
01/11/2012 - 30/11/2012
01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
01/02/2013 - 28/02/2013
01/03/2013 - 31/03/2013
01/04/2013 - 30/04/2013
01/05/2013 - 31/05/2013
01/06/2013 - 31/06/2013
01/07/2013 - 31/07/2013
01/08/2013 - 31/08/2013
01/09/2013 - 30/09/2013
01/10/2013 - 31/10/2013
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
01/09/2014 - 31/09/2014
01/10/2014 - 31/10/2014
01/11/2014 - 30/11/2014
01/12/2014 - 31/12/2014
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
01/04/2016 - 31/04/2016
01/05/2016 - 31/05/2016
01/06/2016 - 30/06/2016
01/07/2016 - 31/07/2016
01/08/2016 - 31/08/2016
01/09/2016 - 31/09/2016
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
01/03/2017 - 31/03/2017
01/04/2017 - 30/04/2017
01/05/2017 - 31/05/2017
01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017
01/07/2017 - 31/07/2017
01/08/2017 - 31/08/2017
01/09/2017 - 30/09/2017
01/10/2017 - 31/10/2017
01/11/2017 - 30/11/2017
01/12/2017 - 31/12/2017
01/01/2018 - 31/01/2018
01/02/2018 - 28/02/2018
01/03/2018 - 31/03/2018
01/04/2018 - 30/04/2018
01/05/2018 - 31/05/2018
01/06/2018 - 30/06/2018
01/07/2018 - 31/07/2018
01/08/2018 - 31/08/2018
01/09/2018 - 30/09/2018
01/10/2018 - 31/10/2018
01/11/2018 - 30/11/2018
01/12/2018 - 31/12/2018
01/01/2019 - 31/01/2019
01/02/2019 - 28/02/2019
01/03/2019 - 31/03/2019
01/04/2019 - 30/04/2019
01/05/2019 - 31/05/2019
01/06/2019 - 30/06/2019
01/07/2019 - 31/07/2019
01/08/2019 - 31/08/2019
01/09/2019 - 30/09/2019
01/10/2019 - 31/10/2019
01/11/2019 - 30/11/2019
01/12/2019 - 31/12/2019
01/01/2020 - 31/01/2020
01/02/2020 - 29/02/2020
01/03/2020 - 31/03/2020
01/04/2020 - 31/04/2020
01/05/2020 - 31/05/2020
01/06/2020 - 31/06/2020
01/07/2020 - 31/07/2020
01/08/2020 - 31/08/2020
01/09/2020 - 30/09/2020
01/10/2020 - 31/10/2020
01/11/2020 - 30/11/2020
01/12/2020 - 31/12/2020
01/01/2021 - 31/01/2021
01/02/2021 - 28/02/2021
01/03/2021 - 31/03/2021
01/04/2021 - 30/04/2021
01/05/2021 - 31/05/2021
01/06/2021 - 30/06/2021
01/07/2021 - 31/07/2021
01/08/2021 - 31/08/2021
01/09/2021 - 30/09/2021
01/10/2021 - 31/10/2021
01/11/2021 - 30/11/2021
01/12/2021 - 31/12/2021
01/01/2022 - 31/01/2022
01/02/2022 - 28/02/2022
01/03/2022 - 31/03/2022
01/04/2022 - 30/04/2022
01/05/2022 - 30/05/2022
01/06/2022 - 31/06/2022
01/07/2022 - 31/07/2022
01/08/2022 - 31/08/2022
01/09/2022 - 30/09/2022
01/10/2022 - 31/10/2022
01/11/2021 - 31/11/2021
01/12/2022 - 31/12/2022
01/01/2023 - 31/01/2023
01/02/2023 - 28/02/2023
01/03/2023 - 31/03/2023
01/04/2023 - 30/04/2023
01/08/2023 - 31/08/2023
01/11/2023 - 31/11/2023

Monday, May 31, 2010

The bathroom is now finished - pics here



Sunday, May 30, 2010

sleeping Tyalso sleeping Ty


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.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Moon jelly

Up early, so watched another couple of eps of season 7 while Kai slept in. Then finished the jelly fish lightshade
Perhaps not as accurate a representation as it could be, but have you ever tried sewing thin paper? It does look better with the light off: will get a photo in daylight for the bathroom makeover pics. (Still have to hang the volitans and get a silver pole to replace the gold one - hopefully in the next couple of days as the folks are coming to visit this week and I'd like it finished first.)

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...

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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.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

White Egrets

A brief update...

The White Egret Orchids - coming along nicely. I've worked out that if I repot them in one of the mesh pots our pool plants came in I'll be able to meet their monsoon requirements much more easily next year. Still need a pretty outer pot for them though.


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.

Happy cat

Tyjer likes to lie close to me when I'm indulging in some Jack Bauer. (I think he was watching with me...)

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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.

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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.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Wheeee! Chelsea!! That's my evenings booked for the rest of the week...



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 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.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

... hot...

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...

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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.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

... bleurgh...

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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...

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I haz a hotdog



Monday, May 17, 2010

second butterfly wings orchid second butterfly wings orchid spray

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...

orchid group
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>)


<- Food porn for Lutra...

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...

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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.)

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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... Ty sleeping in sunlight

One of these days I'll manage to get a photo of him with his eyes open... -> sweetcorn

- 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...

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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...

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

WHEEEEEEEEE!! Swamp Thing!!

And in other news...

strawberry wine must

A wine the colour of sunrise, and the whole house smells of strawberries...

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Taken with Ken's camera. The lower petals are frilly! ->

Orchid size

<- 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.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Butterfly Wings

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...)

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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...

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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...

Tired now.

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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.

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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...)butterfly wings

And here ->
are the Butterfly Wing Orchid buds. Minute and delicate - they're going to be so pretty when they open. I'm on the lookout now for two really nice pots, one for the Butterflies and one for the Egrets, for when I repot them in the autumn.

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.

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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.

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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...

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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...

Egret orchids developing

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...

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Monday, May 03, 2010

greenhouse guardian
Greenhouse guardians...

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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...



Saturday, May 01, 2010

Joyous Beltaine!



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