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
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05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
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07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
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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
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08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
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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
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07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
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10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
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12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
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02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
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07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
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11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
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01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
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01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
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01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
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01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
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01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
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01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
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01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016
01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

watermelon today



The first baby watermelon today - growing fast! I've pinched out the shoot so the plant can feed the fruit rather than making more flowers.



[grin] Growing quite a lot in a small space... From left to right, starting at the back, moving forward row by row.

beg patch

Brassicas under netting (very satisfying to watch the cabbage whites trying to get in to lay their eggs and failing dismally!) - cauliflowers, Romanescu broccoli, Brussels sprouts: sweetcorn, partially obscured by the asparagus left to do its own thing.

To the right of the asparagus, partially obscured by the mange tout: two Swiss chard plants and two marrow plants.

Bird-sown strawberries: mange tout (the latter is very prolific this year, already have half a bag in the freezer from just the five plants that flowered first).

Marrow: courgette: butternut squash: dwarf French beans.

The twiggy thing on the makeshift frame on the slope is a goji-berry: the bamboo stick you might just be able to see to the back and right of the pic marks the site one of the honeyberry plants.

Leeks, carrots, spring onions, lettuces and radishes are off to the left, out of frame. (The bed is L shaped, 17 and a half feet along the long edge, 10 feet along the edge closest to you. [g] Ever tried to measure a veg bed with a tape measure and a cat who thinks you're playing with him?)

You can see how dry it's been by the fact that the grass is now basically straw! Rain is forecast for all day tomorrow, though, so hopefully everything will be green again in a few days (and then will need mowing...)
baby carrots

And yes, I know everything is a little closer together than it really should be, but given the size of the patch, and knowing how much I can get away with, as long as I keep it all weeded and watered it should all be fine.



And speaking of carrots...

<- Mine needed thinning out before carrot-fly season starts again (usually July, I think. I hope...) I shall steam the smallest of these to have with our lamb leg steaks for dinner this evening!


(This particular carrot is Thomson and Morgan's Nantes Frubund (fast crop), a good all-rounder that grows well here, and can be planted at practically any time of year, though they suggest Feb - Oct. It overwinters extremely well, making it possible to have young carrots in the spring. Photo © Ken Taylor)

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Monday shopping. Yes, I know it's Tuesday, I had to do yesterday's shopping today. And when I got back fully-laden from Tesco I found I'd forgotten the mushrooms for tonight's dinner, so ended up doing butcher, PO and Sainsbug as well... legs are still killing me.

BUT! I now have four baby watermelons, and three baby Galia melons, eight sweet peppers (on one of the four plants I have on the go) and (finally, I thought they were going to fail) two cucumbers, all developing nicely in the greenhouse. And at least one aubergine. Or have I already said that?

Decided that if the courgettes insist on rotting at four inches, I shall pick them at three and use them as micro-courgettes in cooking. And maybe not bother trying to grow them next year...

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Monday, June 28, 2010

watermelon!Green pepper


I haz a baby watermelon! ->

Dead chuffed.

<- Baby green pepper!





But can anyone tell me why I can grow melons, peppers and tricky orchids but not courgettes, supposedly the easiest and most prolific of all kitchen garden plants? Mine reach four inches in length and then die. [sigh] This is now the fourth year they've been a dismal failure. I think I'm going to give up trying.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

... hot...

And busy. Ken mortaring, Kai watching Mississippi Burning, me gardening and coding/uploading the recent ficlet (details on the Updates Blog).

Tired now.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Standard busy day: up early, wash put through, greenhouse, garden, trying to stay cool enough to write - you know the sort of thing. K&K went out to Stockwood (Kai on bike): I cleared the ground around the plants on the slope (acer, goji-berry and honeyberries) and mulched them plentifully with rich compost. Being me I did this at the hottest part of the day and actually have paler stripes now where my vest-top straps were! Yay! A bit of a tan on arms and shoulders. Now if I could only do the same with my legs...

Other than that I've almost completed a little fanfic (sort of a request from Lutra) which will be posted in The (other) Zone when finished: details will be on the Updates Blog later.

And Swamp Thing Vol 3 is now ordered - many thanks, Onna!

Back to the loom...

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Briefly...

IT Crowd series 4 ep 1 tonight. Fun, but will reserve judgement for a few more eps.

Tried to order Swamp Thing Vol 3, only to find they don't ship to the UK... aarrgghh! (Help, Onna?)

Lost an ebay auction for The Right Temptation - annoying but not a huge deal as it's not rare and there are other options. although they're more expensive than the £1.50 (free p&p) it would have cost if I'd won. But while I was logged in I meandered over to the anime side and typed in Zarbon, purely on spec...

AARRGGHH!! There are dozens of figures available these days, from a key ring to action figures 13 - 20 cms high - now, when I can't bloody afford them! [spitspit].

Going to sulk now...

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On Skype:

Joules: Oh - got Australia from Lovefilm at your recommendation and Ken and I watched it last night - highly enjoyable.
Lutra: [nods] I did like it. It was panned over here but I think the critics forgot it was a Baz Luhrman...
Which means sod all to me...
It was predictable, but I expected that. Nice performances.
... [frown] why is writhing not recognised by Word's thesaurus?

Coz it's stupid?
... probably...
Baz did Romeo and Juliet, and Moulin Rouge. You kind of expect a sort of grandeur fairytaleness from him. Well, I do.
Haven't seen either of those.
Ah [g] loved his R&J. The one with Di Caprio. *fabulous* vision of the worldframe.
... will take your word for it. Not fond of DiCaprio. I think Kai saw it at school though, and liked it. (He's just watched the Polanski Macbeth - they're studying the play - and really enjoyed it. I should get a copy.)
Miriam Margolies and Pete... tch, can't remember his name! were in it as the nurse, and the priest. Great performances. And faggy Mercutio is faggy [g]
... riiiight.....
Postlethwaite!
[nods] On tip of my tongue too - any Pete actor has to be Postlethwaite, if only cos it's a wonderful old British name.
[bg] Indeed.
Northern - prob dates from the Vikings.
[Checks IMDb] Black Mercutio?
Yup!
Oh - Link in the Matrix! He's cute.
Very pretty
Mmmmmm
In a silver mini skirt...
[g] I'd be tempted to watch it just for him... silver miniskirt?! ROCLMAO!!!
Ooooh, yeah... : )
(The C stands for ceiling in case you wondered)
Ah, of course. I was thinking 'couch' but ...
[smirk] We're having an anti-gravity day here today
[smirk] well, anywhere else that'd be weird...
Fairly normal here.
... there should be a floating balloon Skype smiley...
Anyway - where was I?

Defying gravity.
Again.

[bg] Actually, I meant where was I with the fic.
Oh. Right! Hee : )

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The honeysuckle around the frewtnog pool on the patio has finally flowered this year. The fragrance hits you when you step out - glorious. There's nothing quite like standing on the patio at sunset, sky aflame, with the perfume of honeysuckle enveloping you and Ferdinand (at least, I think it's Ferdinand: it's a much bigger bat than last year, but I suppose he could have grown) flitting around a foot above your head. It makes it all worth while.
cherries

<- First cherries of the summer...

baby peppers

Baby peppers! ->

Early start. I've mulched around the plants in the square with our own compost, and hand-weeded the sweet corn patch (oh joy, oh what fun, bent double in 25° heat again...), and Ken has refilled the greenhouse water butt and water bin from the main butt (which is now less than a quarter full) and pruned the tallest upright from the elder tree. (Speaking of which, I missed the elderflower harvest this year but for once that's OK: I'm really short of demi-jons and don't want to fork out £6.99 each for new. Still hoping the folks can find some second hand...)

the first tomato

<- ... and the first reddening tomato of the year!

GOing to eat out in the garden this evening - beef sweet chilli stir fry with homegrown beansprouts and mange tout, shiitake mushrooms and sweet peppers on basmati rice (all organic, of course. Hungry yet, Lutra? [g]). But for now - back to the loom...

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

I really hate waking up with a headache (headache, not hangover, they're self-inflicted and serve you right...) one of those that feels like there's a metal band around the top part of your brain and someone is tightening it. Took two 'prufen and two parrots to shift it.

Nevertheless today I managed to complete my list of things to do this week, repotting the dragonfruit in a biiig terra-cotta planter with the mosspole in the centre, and getting some more lettuce, leek, bean and salad seeds on the go. This is very good!

Ken was home early again, so I leapt on a bus to Keynsham. Not a huge haul, but I did manage to find Koyaanisqatsi, which I love (especially the music - Philip Glass, what a composer...) but K&K have never seen; the classic rock opera Tommy; and The Song Remains the Same. I saw this last at the cinema as a teenager and loved it. It has a shiveringly haunting version of my favourite Zeppelin song, No Quarter, and the wonderfully smoky, eerie Dazed and Confused: at two and a half hours long we couldn't watch all of the DVD tonight, and in any case Kai had music coursework to do, so I just played those two and the live version of Stairway to Heaven. I think Kai was impressed with the guitar virtuosity: I can see Zeppelin fitting in quite well with his developing musical tastes (Muse, Dream Theater and Slipknot, accompanied by a healthy disrespect for modern commercial pop tunes.)

Heh, I discovered Zeppelin when I was about Kai's age, too...

From the CLIC charity shop I also bought an Ozymandias action figure. Why? No idea. Because it was there? Alas, so was the security sticker, still attached to the bottom of the unopened box. There can't be that many other people who set off Tesco's alarms going in to the shop...

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

[sigh] Well, it finally caught up with me - two and a half hours sleep night before last and a frantically busy yesterday and come 11 last night I kept falling asleep at the keyboard, just catching myself before my face impacted with it. Pointless trying to do anything so I stumbled off to bed.

And slept through till gone 10 this morning (bloody hell, getting on for twelve hours! Must be a record...) So today has actually been rather nice: wonderful not to be knackered!

Ken arrived home early, so after a little intensive orchid care I took advantage and bused up to Broadwalk. No joy with DVDs today, but I did pick up another fuge planter for the blueberries. Now just need another bag (or two) of ericaceous compost and I'm set for autumn (as far as the blueberries are concerned). And on the subject of blueberries, enough of mine are now ripe for me to have some in my vanilla yoghurt tomorrow...

My copy of To End All Wars arrived yesterday: we watched it tonight. Extraordinary, fascinating film. Last night we rented Pandorum to celebrate the end of Kai's exams for this year: it's good (good enough to keep me awake, which last night was really saying something!)

Now trying to get a little writing done, to take advantage of being so awake!

Though I suppose I ought to check Facebook too - haven't fed my hatchlings in over a day...

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A brief break before I make lunch and rack the dandelion wine a second time...

Busy morning. Up at 6.30, out to spray Round Up on the bindweed out the front and up in the square, then to butcher to restock freezer, Sainsbug's for fruit (organic kiwis and pears on special at the moment - feel guilty as they were flown in, but won't let that stop me enjoying the taste just this once) and back before Ken left for court at 8.45.

Wash hung out, first batch of mange tout blanched and frozen, hard-boiled eggs done, usual blogs checked and emails dealt with. Still have to repot dragonfruit with mosspole - after lunch.

Need to water this evening - with hosepipe, as there's talk of a ban. Despite the dreadful winter and wettish spring, we're headed for a drought period again. [sigh] Climate change? What's that then?

On the plus side, Kai had his Maths exam yesterday afternoon, and says it was fine. He likes his maths, does our son!

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy MidSummer!


baby apples n baby blackberries Pi!


Come September, anyway...

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

pretty clouds

Pretty clouds this afternoon.

On Friday I said, in a moment of madness, that we could have a barbecue on Sunday if we fancied...

Heh. We fancied, as I was told at lunchtime today.

Cue a trip to Tesco to get various makings. Barbecues tend to be a lot of work, but they are rather nice. Did beef quarterpounders, Chinese spare ribs, and organic minted lamb kebabs (all bought not made, for speed's sake) and mushroom kebabs for Ken and I. Followed by ice cream (with flakes, sprinkles, toffee sauce, chocolate sauce and skooshy cream). All went down rather well...



veg bed








The veg bed (before watering - looks a little less arid now). Everything is still small, but all coming along nicely.









sigh








[sigh] Not content with taking up half my settee, Tyjer the camouflage cat now takes up MY half...

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Regular readers may remember that I planted a load of dragonfruit seeds last year. They're coming on rather well, and I did a little googling to see how to care for them...

Joules: Hm. Dragonfruit are climbing cacti.
Lutra: Well, there you go.
I think I have a mosspole somewhere - I did have three lengths and only used two in the bathroom. Where the hell did I put it?
Somewhere safe? : )
Yes. So safe I can't remember where.
[g] Ask the brownies to give it back?
Might be in the shed. I could look in greenhouse first though. brb.
Five minutes later:
Tch. can't see it in greenhouse nor shed. Could buy another but it means a trip to Hurrans and they aren't exactly cheap...
Is it behind the sofaaaaa?
[bemused] No, not behind the sofa.
(chuckle)
... this is some joke I'm not familiar with?
A weird interlude in Meaning of Life. Elephant in a suit, and Graham Chapman in fetish drag looking for a fish, in a lounge room.
Ah yes, that one! OK. But I'm not looking for a fish. What I'm looking for is pretty much the complete opposite of a fish, in fact.
Maybe if you fooled the moss pole that it was a fish you were looking for, it would come out of hiding.
Hm. So, I go out to the shed, open the door, call 'heeer fishy fishy fishy' and see what happens?
Why not? [g]
OK. brb.
:)
Five minutes later:
[grump] Well, all that did was reassure the neighbours we haven't suddenly been smitten with an attack of sanity.
ROFL!

Still can't find the blasted thing...

Edit half an hour later: Found it! It was hiding under Kai's keyboard, behind me...


Even later edit: I should point out that Lutra's the one with brownies, pixies and carpet dragons. All we have here are black holes and time, space and gravity anomalies.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Shopping. Washing. Gardening. It rained, so slug-hunting was necessary. Then after dinner we all watched The Meaning of Life (which Kai gave Ken for his birthday). You know, the only thing I remembered of it was Every Sperm is Sacred and the glorious Galaxy Song: I believe I've never actually seen the film itself! Wonderful fun.

For anyone who doesn't know the song - if such a creature exists - here are the lyrics (I have a vague feeling I've posted this somewhere else on the blog, but what the hell. Still think those last two lines are brilliant)...

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.

Kai and I are going to learn the words, so we can sing it when we're out on buses. (Yes, we sing. Up to now it's usually been the Four Way Crimp - that raised some eyebrows - but the Galaxy Song is perhaps more fun.)

Back to the loom!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

orchid

The third of the Butterfly Wings orchids. Very similar to the first one, which is a bit disappointing, but it's very pretty all the same.

No sign of flower spikes on the White Egrets yet. Wondering if they get a bit too hot in the greenhouse. Will have to research a little.

Ken's interview went OK, he says. I haven't heard it yet: will try to have a listen online later. He's had a nicely relaxed birthday, and I'm doing roast duck for dinner (be ready soon), with Eton Mess as dessert - all very tasty...

Only my roast potatoes aren't working right - again. I'm a better cook than my mum (she freely admits it!) possibly because I had to teach myself, so didn't acquire any bad habits and felt completely free to experiment, but there are three thing she makes extremely well that I just don't seem to be able to get the hang of - pastry (mine either falls to bits or breaks your teeth), gravy (mine's either too watery or too thick) and roast spuds. Eh well, I'll get it right one day.

Ken bought a FirstDay ticket, so I used it this afternoon to get up the Gloucester Rd, for V-tam and xylytol, primarily, although I also scoured the charity shops. No haul today, although I did find The Vanishing and River Queen at Tony's Hot Wax. Two more to cross off the list!
failbook page

'alf-inched from Failbook. This tickled me...

Right - dinner!

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[sigh] So I made myself stay up until the sky was Zaabon-coloured, then fought off Tyjer and tanked up the garden with torch, binoculars and camera just on the offchance that I could see the comet...

[grump] Not a whisker. Though I really wasn't that hopeful, really - after all, we're in a valley, in the suburbs (which means the city floods the sky to the north with orange light) and the PDSA's (unnecessarily bright, in my opinion) security lights do tend to obscure anything interesting in the sky. I have a dream of one day living at the top of a hill waaaay out in the country where we can all observe to our hearts' content.

But in the meantime I am now beyond shattered, and really must go fall over. (Sorry Lutra, I'll be a bit late online...)

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"I was born an Orphan in 1952. I have no Father or Mother, and i have no Relatives."

Yes, the latest in scam emails. I wonder how one can be born an orphan...

Ken has an interview on BBC Radio Bristol tomorrow am, about his ghosts book. The Arno's Manor ghosts book, I think. Bit of a shame it has to be tomorrow as it's his birthday, but there you go.

On the Beach was showing on the TCM channel this afternoon. I remember seeing it as a young child, and feeling terrified, miserable, helpless and vulnerable at the end: obviously I had to watch it (record it, in fact) to see how I felt about it now. It remains an incredible film, deeply depressing and probably more disturbing now than when I first saw it. Ken had never seen it: sat down to catch the first few minutes and ended up watching it through to the end. Dated now, of course, but still amazing.

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Torbay palm

The palm tree, as promised. Torbay palm





Greenhouse
And the greenhouse. Not quite such a jungle as last year - I've been trying to keep everything a little more under control...

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

[rolls eyes] For a week or so I've been wandering around the garden with a mildly annoyed/puzzled frown on my face, trying to trace the source of The Smell, an odd fragrance almost entirely but not quite unlike a very very overripe banana and bleach sundae. I thought something had died somewhere and was quietly rotting away - although the fact that Tyjer completely ignored it should have alerted me...

This evening I was tending the greenhouse (my cherry tomato plants are now too tall for their original position so I've had to rearrange things a bit) while Kai pottered around over by the bramble patch. As I slid the door shut he called across, 'The palm is full of bees.' Yes, I know it sounds like some obscure spy code: he meant the Torbay palm that Dave-next-door gave us some years ago and that I decided, last year, had to go, as it grows far too big for the garden. I went over to have a look - and it hit me. The sweet/rotten/chemical smell I couldn't trace is the perfume of its flowers.

And Kai was right, it was full of bees. And rosechafers and all sorts of flying insects. But mostly bees. Umpteen different varieties of them. [sigh] It'll have to stay - we'll just have to keep it pruned as best we can, not easy with palms. I'll try to get a photo of it tomorrow - the flower sprays are quite impressive.

As for the smell - well, I'll just have to put up with it.

As the months and years go by, more and more genealogical info becomes available, and just recently Ken has been tracing my father's side of the family. We thought we'd never be able to get very far, as all we knew about my dad's dad was his surname - MacKenzie - and that he worked as or for a milliner in Streatham, London (he and dad's mum weren't married). Well, it's taken a fair bit of digging (and some expense, getting copies of birth/death/marriage certificates), but it turns out that dad's paternal side are all Scottish: Ken's been able to trace it back as far as 1795, to a Catherine King of Dysart, Fife. There are also Stewarts, Kidds, Jamiesons, Grants, MacIntoshs and Forsythes, from Nairn, Inverness, Edinburgh and Linlithgow in the family tree. [grin] It seems I am genuinely one quarter Scottish! (There are those who'll say that explains a lot...)

Had almost the last of this year's asparagus (time to leave it be to do its own thing until next spring now) and the first mange tout of the season with dinner. I really love growing our own food...

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Monday, June 14, 2010

We have a working toilet, washbasin and external tap in the garden loo!

This is excellent. No more traipsing garden mud through the house to get to the bathroom or wash hands after handling compost or mortar, no more lugging full watering cans from the kitchen sink all the way up to the veg bed, no more worrying about leaks. The entire bodge-job system's been professionally replaced with strong commercial plastic piping and decent, solid joints, and lagged with good, frost-proof lagging, and the washbasin is firmly fixed in place. The wastepipe doubles back into the loo downpipe - no drilling through walls or cutting holes in doorframes to get it to the outside drain, all beautifully tidy and self-contained within the room. Dead chuffed!

We didn't go with the first plumbers (Premier Decor up Sandy Park Rd) as they took ages to get back to us. Instead, we contacted a plumber recommended to us by a friend, and he was excellent. It took him more time and a lot more work than he originally thought, as the plumbing that was there was in such a terrible state under all the lagging and - of course - none of the fittings were standard sizes (nothing is in this house. I don't believe we have a right angle anywhere in the structure!) And it didn't help that Gardiner Haskins sell the handbasins without the plughole fitting: you have to buy that separately, they informed us when we rang. (Couldn't believe that, it's like buying a cooker and having to buy the grill pan separately! Put me right off Gardiner Haskins...) But it's all sorted now, and we even have an isolator on the pipe from the water supply to the basin, in case we need to turn it off for any reason. I'm delighted!

The plumber's name is James Sheridan-Clarke, and his contact no. is 0784 659 1497. He says he covers all of Bristol, he did a terrific, thorough, professional job, and he's very, very reasonable, so if any of my Briz readers need a plumber, try giving him a call!

In other news: Young Guns 2 arrived in the post - planning to watch that tonight...

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Scarlet Garden Tiger


<- Scarlet Tiger moth on one of the blueberry planters. These are so pretty!

Horticultural day today. Repotted spider plants, dragonfruit and aloe indoors, tended seedling outdoors and in the greenhouse: watermelon flowers now appearing, and I gave the White Egrets a tiny sprinkling of potash. 'And did a lot of cooking', Ken adds, but that usually happens at weekends.

This evening we watched Weird Al's UHF - bought it along with Mississippi Burning on play.com's 'buy one for £4.99 or two for £8' special. I'd almost completely forgotten it - last time I saw it was before Kai was born - and we all thoroughly enjoyed it! Hugely daft and very silly, but great fun.

Early start again tomorrow...

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Up early, client site stuff, three machine loads of washing, large Tesco shop, planting of marrows, beans, mange tout and catmint, and dinner made while K&K watched Dr Who all equals complete knackeredness and much aching of muscle. Ken and I watched Mirrors (ebay sent me a 10% off evoucher so I bought the DVD) after Kai had gone to bed - enjoyed it, and when I said it was a remake of a Korean film (Into the Mirror) Ken said to order it from amazon, which I've now done.

I had planned to stay up til dawn to see if I could see Comet McNaught, and had orders to wake K&K up if I spot it, but I'm so tired I keep dozing off. Will have to try later in the week.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

I want an iPad.

Well actually, I want a PC version of an iPad (there really should be such a thing). All the people I know with Apple Macs of any description seem to have continual and pretty horrendous problems with them. Then again, most of the people I know with Macs aren't too computer savvy, so it may simply be their machines are virus, malware and rootkit-ridden.

I also want a special stylus to go with it, so I can use it like my tablet. So, don't want much, do I?

Oh yes, and the first sample draft of Heart ch 2 is over at the Haadri blog... (correctly formatted this time, for anyone still using IE).

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Garden news in brief: mange tout, Galia melons, large aubergine and courgettes are all now in flower (in fact, I have three small courgettes already developing).

I have a lot of tomatoes coming. A lot...

I also (whisper it, don't want to jinx it!) have a lot of apples developing, and so far they're all sturdy and don't show any signs of dropping, which they did last year at an earlier stage. It may be due to us making a point of watering every day in the hot dry spell, and the recent wet weather has helped. Keeping fingers crossed for a good harvest this year, as those apples taste amazing.

Not so many blueberries this year, although the bushes really need replanting into much larger pots and fresh ericaceous compost, which I can't do until the autumn. They should come on again for next year then.

Looks like we have a lot of cherries coming too. I shall try to pick them this year rather than leaving them for the pigeons: I absolutely loathe them, taste and smell, but Ken likes them and I think Kai quite enjoyed the few he had last year.

So all in all everything's coming along splendidly, and so far I've only lost one sweetcorn plant to the mole (although my leeks aren't doing quite so well. Will start some more off in a trough and see if that works).

Trying for an early night again...

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Crazy Moon - gorgeous film!

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Odd sort of day. Started off taking care of business, then had a doctor's appointment. It should have been Friday, but he rang to change it to early this afternoon. Nothing important, just a consultation about getting rid of three large skin tags (unfortunately skin tags, like arthritis, thick hair and sheer bloody-mindedness, run in the female side of my family). I was expecting to have to make a further appointment, but he produced a small wand device that removes and cauterises at the same time and asked if I wanted them treated then and there. Of course I said yes. The whole process took about three minutes and the most painful parts were the anaesthetic injections (which were no worse than a thorn prick). Bit sore now, but it'll be gone by morning. The worst part was the smell of burning skin...

It'll be great to not have them catch in things though (one was under my waistband, one below my armpit and the last actually a sort of mole that had started to come away, on the underside of my upper arm).

While I was up at Broadwalk I had a look for DVDs, and came back with quite a haul: Young Guns, and A Time to Kill, which as well as being a Sutherland film for my collection, I thought might be useful for Kai. He's studying aspects of American law in his history course, particularly racial tension and its attendant legal ramifications in the south in the 60s and 70s. (The tutor has recommended the kids watch Mississippi Burning, which I've ordered from play.com. It's an 18, but he's perfectly mature enough.) And I found Dark Myth, an old favourite that I had pretty much despaired of ever finding. Dead chuffed.

Dived into Tesco on the way back, oh joy.

It does all mean I've not done anything very creative today, but I have the next three days to focus, so I should be able to accomplish something. Like chapter 2 of Heart, that'd be good...

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Monday, June 07, 2010

Ye gods, I managed a lie-in! Must have needed the sleep...

Anyway, it proved useful, as I was able to dive straight into Heart. There's the first draft of the sample chapter 1 now over on the Haadri blog - the final version might be a bit longer, haven't decided yet...

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Sunday, June 06, 2010

... ohhh kaaaay... That was a tad... anti-climactic... I thought they were finishing for good with season 8. Eh well, leaves it open for a season 9 if there's enough interest, I suppose.

Back to Heart.

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24 season 8 finale in just under half an hour. Hours 23 and 24 back-to-back. In two and a half hours time I can stop being distracted and get down to the serious business of writing Heart...

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Saturday is the new Monday...

Well, only insofar as I got most of what would normally be the Monday shopping, as I had Kai to help carry it all (which he did without complaint, bless 'im). Then it was usual chores - washing, greenhouse, watering, getting melon must into demi-jon and starting the fermentation process. Busy, but distinctly non-exciting. Probably be the same again tomorrow.

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Friday, June 04, 2010

High RollerHigh Roller


There was a funfair on Clevedon green. We were quite impressed with this ride, the High Roller - it really did move rather fast...

It was a fine day, if extremely hot. I suppose we walked about five miles or so, up over the hill fort and along the coast path a short way before heading back to the front. Good exercise (my legs are killing me!) and lots of free D vit...

Clevedon funfair

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

[grump] Had my doctor's appointment this morning. Naturally (Sod's law) the pain and difficulty in moving aren't too bad today, as I've been deliberately not carrying anything too heavy for a week, but she was able to feel the 'orrible crunching I get when I circle my shoulder, and was able to see that my range of movement is still limited even on a good day. Apparently I have a chronic rotator cuff tear on the left side. [sigh] Just great.

Since it's not too bad as long as I take it relatively easy, and she knows how much I dislike taking medication, she's given me a physiotherapy leaflet with a whole range of (gentle) exercises to do to strengthen and slowly mobilise the joint, which should then stop the ghastly pain lower down my arm. (Can't do anything about the teno in my hand, still just have to put up with that.) And at a brief glance it looks like I might be able to adapt some of the exercises so I can use them while doing light garden work. Going to have to cut back on the amount I carry in the rucksack though (and I've already reduced that weight by a third) which is going to make shopping for cat food, fruit juice and milk a right pain.

Unfortunately I can't do anything for the occasional-to-frequent post-cramp-like pain in my left calf: that's most likely associated with the arthritis that runs in my family. Will just have to keep active and take 'prufen when necessary.

In more cheerful news, I've planted out more Brussels sprout, cauliflower and Romanescu broccoli seedlings, and got the Swiss chard in the ground, and Kai helped me set up the netting cage over the brassicas - just in time: as we finished a cabbage white butterfly floated past. Later, when/if things are a little more developed, I'll take some photos. At the moment everything's still quite small and unimpressive.

Kai also helped me repot the pot-bound dracaena, which is now in a planter twice the size of the old one. It looks happier already!

Weather is supposed to be hot and dry again tomorrow: Kai's asked to go to Clevedon...

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Busy. Client site stuff in the morning, then Kai to dentist: when we arrived back he got on with some maths homework while I racked the first batch of dandelion wine and added bentonite for fining and started off a batch of melon wine. Doesn't sound like much but it all takes time...

I have the first green tomatoes and sprouting marrow seedlings in the greenhouse, and flowers have appeared on the courgettes and peppers, while in the veg bed the mange tout are coming along well and the sweetcorn has - so far - survived, although I should probably water it tomorrow. And we're still eating organic, homegrown asparagus three times a week. Wonderful. It epitomises the taste of green...

... can anyone explain the finale of Flashforward? Rhetorical question really - I found it so enthralling I kept falling asleep, so probably missed the important bits. We'll miss Sanctuary more. What's going to happen to Will? And when will season 3 be shown?

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Knackered. But it's been a fun day. The folks arrived around 10 am: we went out to the Black Castle at midday for dinner - first time in years...

Heh. Ordered the meals, and mine arrived quite quickly (piri piri chicken. An extremely hot piri piri chicken). Expecting the others to arrive fairly speedily, I waited so we could all eat together. Five minutes later and with mine going cold I had to start eating: I'd nearly finished by the time the rest came. In the meantime my mother had been joking about the service, and commented that they must have dropped one of the meals and that was why it was taking so long. At which point the waiter served up the folks' Steak Dianes and Kai's mega chicken burger - and then managed to upend his tray, dumping Ken's steak on the floor.

We blamed mother...

Anyway, he did eventually get a replacement, and I have to say it was all very tasty and the portions were pretty huge. But we didn't get out until three, by which time it was too late for mum and I to get over to Keynsham to explore the charity shops.

There was time to watch Avatar, however, which they both loved. And I made Eton Mess for tea, which went down very well.

I have, however, only had three hours sleep in the last forty eight (damn you, insanely addictive 24!) so aiming for an early night (after catching the last two eps of season 7, of course...)

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