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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cramming in a quick update before I record a film for Ken...

In the manic stakes, today probably takes first prize, though most of that was due to me getting up at 7.30 to Roundup(TM) bindweed before Tyjer went out at nine. Followed by a(nother) major greenhouse tidy, washing, freezing toms and sweetcorn, hacking back the blackberry patch (ouch for punctured fingers, even with the tough gloves), racking dandelion wine and starting the strawberry, and actually managing to clear some emails. And start watching Lexx season four with Kai (we did try last year but never managed to get past ep one. Made it to the end of ep two tonight!) Haven't done everything I needed to do, but it's put a significant dent in the list, and I should be able to finish it tomorrow.

Assuming I wake up, of course...

Off to set up for the film.

Later edit: [slaps self] And then I forgot the most important thing today - Kai picked up the first of his GCSE exam results. These are his grades for the second units. It seems that some of them - Maths and Core Science, at any rate - are taken and graded in three separate exams, so he still has a third part to go. However...

Remember I posted that he'd said he thought he'd done OK, despite the snow and ice and the stress of struggling into school under such Arctic conditions back in Jan/Feb?


Maths: a

Core Science: a

Biology: a

Chemistry: a

Physics: a*

BTEC Performing Arts [that's his music]: Merit

(Particularly pleased and relieved about this last, as the chat I had with his music tutor at the parents evening had me a little worried, but it seems that between us all he picked things up in the last term, and even though his ensemble work was only a pass, the rest was good enough to overall merit a ... well, Merit.)

We're now just waiting for him to devise the first working time machine or translight drive, either would do... [bg]

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Warning - big pic.


Clevedon! This is a goodly way along the coast path, looking back towards the fort - that green hump to right of centre.

Gorgeous weather, wonderful (if looong) walk - and a white egret!

white egret white egret white egret

Not bad given how dodgy my camera is and how far away the bird was... (Ken says this must be the year of the egret.)

three master?

Not sure what this is, but it's very pretty. ->

Back to what loosely passes for normal around here tomorrow...

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

And another busy day...

Still, Kai's trousers are now the right length, and between the three of us we shifted a metal-reinforced solid concrete post (the ancient method of using wooden rollers works, by the way, as we proved this afternoon): shoulders hurt again now, of course, as does my foot, as I managed to roll over my toes, but the thing had to be moved. And I've started getting the greenhouse prepared for the winter too - mentally, anyway, the tomatoes are still merrily producing in there.

Aiming for an early night...



Saturday, August 28, 2010

Still knackered. Got an early wash going, then bought Kai's school shoes over at Avon Meads this morning, with a Sainsbug shop on the way back. Did two more washes then made lunch, then picked marrow - a knack for growing laaaarge marrows, I haz it - marrow. and sweetcorn for the second batch for the freezer: cut down the deceased plants while I was at it, to make harvesting easier and let more light in. (A good few of the plants only managed to produce one decent cob, the other(s) being sad wimps that aren't going to do anything except provide a very nutritional meal for the bugs in the compost bin.) Oh, and I've discovered that it is possible to plant peas in November and get an early crop in March, although the failure rate is quite high. But I'm going to try it anyway - pea roots will fix nitrogen in the soil; I have some peas leftover from last year that should still be fine; and it would be good to get some winter use out of the veg bed. Though what will happen if we have another Jan/Feb like last year I really don't know. Will have to find out!

Sieved the strawberry must, and added tannin, lemon juice and pectolase: can get that into a demi-john and fermenting in a couple of days. Made ice lollies of the rapidly over-ripening Galia melon (my pineapple ones were delicious!) We had planned to have a barbecue, but I was too tired to organise it, so we had an indoor one instead - a true meat fest with pork steaks in Chinese marinade, chicken drumsticks in BBQ sauce, minted lamb kebabs and quarter-pounder burgers. Wicked but oh so nice.

So, Kai's shoes are ready to wear, waterproofed and with new unwaxed laces, his hair is trimmed, and tomorrow I need to take up one pair of trousers. So he's all ready for school on Tuesday (Monday is a bank holiday: we may try to go out somewhere if the buses aren't too bad). And then I can have a rest.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

We got up at eight am, and didn't get back until nearly nine pm, but we had a fantastic day, starting out with the train ride to Weymouth, which went all around the villages and made 18 stops in its two and a half hour duration! Am absolutely shattered now, though, so here's a few pics and tomorrow (or the next day. Or maybe the next. I still have to get several machine loads of washing done/sew labels/take up Kai's new school trousers/get him over to Avon Meads for new school shoes/harvest and freeze sweetcorn...) I'll assemble everything into a proper table.

Weymouth clock

<- Weymouth clock tower. Colourful...


The lighthouse at Portland Bill. ->

chesil beach thumbnail

Small pic ->
is clickable to a 1500 pixel wide version of the photo - Chesil Beach from our open-top bus at the top of Portland. To my surprise the photo turned out rather well. The area of water to the right is Portland Harbour: there's a lot of new building going on around here in preparation for the Olympics.

More tomorrow. I have to go fall over before I fall asleep at keyboard...



Thursday, August 26, 2010

plate of sweetcorn.

Suffice it to say this is the first chance I've really had to sit down today - so here is a (dinner) plate of freshly stripped maize kernels. All from just three cobs. I'm going to have a freezer full of sweetcorn by the time I've harvested it all.

Is anyone else having problems with the software tonight? Yesterday it was Facebook, today Blogger...



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

OK, let's try to catch up before I flake out again.

The last week of Kai's holiday is always manic - especially when we try on his school clothes and find they're all too small. Knew it would happen, so deliberately didn't order new from the school, as I wanted to make sure we got the right size. Unfortunately, this means he'll have to wear the too small stuff for a few days until CR Clothing can fulfil the order. Not trousers though. Sainsbug are having a perfectly timed '25% off all clothing until next Monday' sale, so I picked him up two pairs of school trousers for £11 (before the reduction. Picked myself up a handful of stuff too - cotton T-shirts, vest tops, trousers and leggings. All jolly good fun).

In the garden: I've frozen the first batch of sweetcorn kernels, and there should be some more tomorrow (assuming everything hasn't drowned in the horrible cold rain we've had today). Freezer is wonderfully full, always a good thing. Also made and froze a whole load of soups ready for lunches in the winter - red pepper, tomato and cannelloni bean; mushroom and lentil; and butter bean and mixed veg. All good, tasty, filling and healthy things. Pity you can't freeze marrow or cucumber though...

Ken is working on blads for a possible book, to be taken to the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, so is up to his ears in research at the moment (more on that if it happens). I still haven't managed to write the proposal for my next potential non-fic book: really must get a move on with it or our agent will start chasing me.

The weather forecast is for sunny spells on Friday, so we're going to try to get to Weymouth then. If that changes, we'll try to go at a weekend during the term.

Tyjer is grumpy about the weather. I swear he's grown bigger, too. Mind you, all the treats he gets I'm not surprised.

There's lots more been happening, of course, but that's the main news. We had a fine day with the folks on Monday: took mum up to Broadwalk to look around the shops and drop into the café for a latte (for her) and diet coke (for me) before we all went down to the Black Castle for lunch - all most enjoyable. I don't seem to be able to get enough sleep at the moment, though. No idea why, but it's very annoying.

Supposed to rain again tomorrow, so will try to get all my emails done (JJ, if you're reading this, sorry. Will get back to you asap)...

Later edit: forgot to say, but I have a few goji berries on the bush! This is pretty good: apparently they don't normally berry until their fourth year. Shall have a taste in a few days.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

[poggled] Can I have a holiday yet?

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Great day with parents. Knackered. Going to go fall over now.



Sunday, August 22, 2010


So, given that today was the last decent day for a bit, I was up early, poisoning the weeds up in the square, getting four washing machine loads put through, clearing the mange tout (they've pretty much finished now) but leaving the roots in the ground, tidying up the greenhouse, and finally watching River Queen (very strange film...)

Folks visiting tomorrow, as long as the roads aren't too flooded.

[grump] And for the second time this summer something has stung me just above my ring, and my finger is swelling up quite alarmingly. Fortunately, by dint of washing up liquid and brute force, I managed to get the ring off before it got too bad. Time for another piriton I guess...

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Saturday, August 21, 2010


The first cob of the year. Was wonderfully sweet, but could have done with being just a couple of days more developed, I think. At any rate, I can start picking them soon, to blanch and freeze or to steam for mixed veg, as I did with this one.

We had a quite magnificent thunderstorm, with brief but torrential rain. Fortunately I managed to get back from Tesco - and persuade Tyjer in, he hides under the asparagus when it rains - before it started in earnest. It's cleared the horrible mugginess very nicely.

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Friday, August 20, 2010


The Blue Reef Aquarium is fantastic! See here for just a few of the 133 photos I took... (No flash photography, of course, so a lot of them were naff.)

We also had our first Imax experience, Sharks, included in the entry price. Wow! (The best bit was all the moon jellies though. Very hard not to try to brush them away as they seemed to slide over the 3D glasses...)skyscraper disguised as sky Unfortunately, although they had three different types of ray plushies, they were £11.99 each and didn't have the name of the aquarium - sorry Lutra. I did buy myself a tiny ray plushie though: they only had one in the gift shop. It's cute.

This tower block fascinates me ->
it blends into the sky, almost as though it were trying to disguise itself...

Finished watching Crusade. Next, going to rewatch it, in the correct order, which is not the order it is on the DVDs. [grump] Only realised half way through...

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Right - let's do a little catching up...

Yesterday - what happened yesterday? I know I dived over to Tesco for shopping (I seem to be spending a lot of time shopping at the moment), picked peppers, tomatoes and dwarf beans in garden and greenhouse, worked on a client site, and in the evening watched and thoroughly enjoyed some more Crusade.

Then today I had to get into town: we'd run out of skoosh (ERK! No sparkling water or tonic! Disaster!!) and unless I wanted to lug two replacement cylinders around the aquarium tomorrow we couldn't get them until next Tuesday (ye gods what horrible grammar. Hope you can understand joulesish!) Actually carrying anything at the moment is a trial as both rotator cuffs are buggered (and - possibly part of the same problem - my collarbones hurt like hell too): Ken is having to get the heavy stuff. (Well, except for the cylinders - I just managed them.)

Then it was home to more client site revamp and a little light gardening, some more Crusade and hopefully an early night shortly, as we want to leave fairly sharpish for the aquarium in the morning.

My life is not overly exciting at the moment. And the horrible weather isn't helping, it's making the bone I broke in my foot ache. Tch' - falling apart in me old age...

Oh, and this is gobsmackingly good! Make sure you hear the soundtrack.

Later edit: forgot to say - Tesco had biig punnets of strawberries on special for 49p (at the very end of their use by date and going decidedly mushy), so I bought three and now have another batch of strawberry wine on the go.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Well, I was going to give a brief rundown of my day, but I've spent the last two hours hunting for a file on my machine that Kai urgently needs and which Butch has refiled somewhere so obscure I can't find it. (And before you ask, the 'search' facility on this computer doesn't work. No, I've no idea why. Probably to serve Butch's nefarious purposes.) Have had to email tech support. But I'm now too tired to post (it's 5 to 2 am). Maybe tomorrow. Just assume today was as manically busy as usual.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

single rainbow

Oh my god... single rainbow... it's sooooo beautiful... WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Ahem. Shutting up now.

Well that was a day, that was. Decided at 1.40 that if we left right then, we'd have time to get up to the top of Whiteladies Rd to Wild Oats before Kai's orthodontist appointment, so off we tanked at a fair old rate and bought FirstDay tickets. Did in fact manage to get up there, pick up a handful of requirements, buy some organic ginger at Sheepdrove (the organic butcher next-door-but-two), and find a decent wine-bottle stopper in Kitchens around the corner before heading back down for the 2.45 appointment...

Poor sprog. Everything is settling into place nicely, but now he has to have a band attached to the top and bottom braces to pull the left sides into alignment. It hurts. He has to take it off to eat and clean his teeth, but luckily he's finding it quite easy to put back in (we came home with two packs of replacements bands!) Hopefully he won't have to wear it for too long.

elephant hawkmoth caterpillar

Afterwards we bussed out to Wyevale: picked up the butyl rubber for the pool Kai wants between his railway track and the wall, and as usual at this time of year there were a lot of plants on half price sale - now have five new ground cover plants in the new bed around the bird bath, and an edible sage to start off the little herb patch I'm planning to organise in the autumn. And I found this elephant hawkmoth caterpillar outside the patio doors! Rescued it to the rosebay willow herb by the wall before Tyjer could spot it. (Unfortunately the rest of the photos I took of it were out of focus, which is s shame, because it's huge, as long as my palm...)

Caught another Crusade ep tonight - The Well of Forever, my favourite...

Need to catch up with client site stuff tomorrow.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

... where do the days go...?

Much of today was spent tidying up stuff. Repacking the hard wheeled suitcase and manoeuvring it back into the airing cupboard; pruning dead stalks in the greenhouse; turning one fuge Hessian potato sack into two smaller and much more useful ones, for example. And we watched the first two eps of Crusade, which was supposed to be for me for Yule but which Ken suggested we watch as something different. Although we still have loads of DVDs we haven't dipped into yet... But it was most enjoyable. I do like the series.

Tomorrow Kai has ortho at 2.45; Thursday we're hoping for the trip to the Blue Reef; while next Monday my folks are coming to visit and next Wednesday we're hoping to get to Weymouth on the train - it's a nice two and a half hour run and we'd have a good five hours there before we needed to come back. And the train is still cheaper than the coach (though since there's only one coach service a day, leaving Weymouth at 9.50 am and Bristol at 3.40 pm, unless we reverse time that wouldn't be possible without an overnight stay...)

And then he'll be back to school. As usual it's gone far too quickly and we really don't seem to have done much at all...



Sunday, August 15, 2010

Busy. Shopping, cooking (found a recipe for a mushroom and lentil soup that looked interesting, and I had lentils to use up, so tried it. Very nice! Though I'd better go and freeze it before I forget), lots of gardening. And we watched Scorpion King 2 - well, K&K did, I fell asleep...

Going to try for an early night.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Oh, I'd love this as a necklace...

orchid octopus

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Friday, August 13, 2010

... so Kai and I nipped out to see if we could see any Perseids...

We didn't expect much. As you know, we're in a valley, only a few miles away from a major city centre which chucks out an obscene amount of nightlight - not to mention the forecast was for partly cloudy all tonight.. But we were lucky. Kai saw four beautiful blazing 'falling stars', while I caught two and another two much fainter ones, all in the space of fifteen minutes. You really can't get much better, here!

Will be late online today.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Up ridiculously early after a very late night, packed stack into a hard wheeled suitcase, and loaded it into the LETs lift. Arrived at PC Repairs at a little after 10 am: Ian took delivery, and said he would ring to let me know what needed doing and when it would be ready. He didn't think it would take too long, so I tanked over to Gloucester Rd to scour the charity shops while I

It was a good haul too - Subway (a very old favourite), Fright Night, It (because clowns are scary and this film proves it!) and the far less worthy Queen of the Damned from the Glos Rd Pink Planet, and The Island and Cirque du Soleil: Quidam (about the closest I'm ever going to get to seeing them live...) from Cancer Research and PDSA shops.

And I found this place ->

Edit: The Reclaimers - Reclamation Ltd.

347a Gloucester Rd, BS7 8TG: Tel: (0117) 924 8000.

It's amazing inside, full of gorgeous reclaimed furniture and artefacts, definitely somewhere to go back to. And as of next week you won't be able to miss it - the owner tells me they will have two eight foot high 'toy' soldiers standing at either side of the entrance!

Then by 2pm I was home again! (My LETs lift was able to come back and pick me and Butch up.) And yes, my power unit had been damaged by overheating, so I have a new one, and a can of compressed air to clear out the dust that makes the fan fail which causes the problem, so with a bit of luck I can stop it happening again, at least for a while! Such a relief.

Knackered now though. Might try for a nap...

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So off we went to see The Last Airbender...

Now, we've only watched a couple of eps of the anime, and didn't know much about the story, so some of the objections raised at the IMDb were lost on us. But I can say that it was all 'tell, don't show', absolutely full of incoherence and inconsistencies, and the dialogue was dreadful.

But it was very pretty.

Other than that, I did some weeding, some client site work, and a little shopping. And tomorrow my stack goes in for service: I have a lift there, but since I don't know how long it'll take I can't organise one home. All highly inconvenient...

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

home grown melons

<- Galia and watermelon from the greenhouse. Small, but the leaves were dying off, which suggested it was time to pick them...


Cut watermelon. Perfect texture - and very few seeds! ->

galia melon

- Halved Galia melon. I'm drying both lots of melon seed to reserve to grow next year.


Lunch! ->

Well, they may be small, but they were perfectly ripe, and wonderfully sweet. I really must get a cold frame for next year, perhaps with Yule money. I'm sure I could grow a lot of melons with the right frame!

Today's been a business type of day, client site stuff and drafting letters (remember them?) to SodaStream (with whom I am having a lot of hassle at the moment: more on that when/if it's resolved) and the WDCS. Decades ago, not long after we married I think I made some sort of covenant with them, for a portion of our estate after our deaths: both Ken and I whole-heartedly support them. Then we bought the house, had Kai, the writing careers took off, and with everything else that was happening I forgot about it. Sort of. I knew in the back of mind that I had done it, but hadn't kept up to date.

I'm pretty certain I neglected to give them our new address, but they've recently started sending me their amazingly informative and beautifully illustrated magazine, along with the occasional letter asking for donations. Not that I have any objections to be being found! But they still have my old name, and of course, with the house and Kai, our situation has completely changed and I'm going to have to revise the covenant. Except I have no idea what it said - just hope Ken has kept copies of everything and can find it when he gets back from court...

It's wet, and miserable, and cold today. And wet. Very wet. Soup and toast and grumpy Tyjer weather. We've been watching music DVDs - started off with Jesus Christ Superstar... I saw this at the cinema back when I was a young teen (though I can't recall who I went with), and remember, second to thinking that Judas had all the best songs, that the guy with the long black hair in plaits, part of Herod's entourage, was dead cute!

Then it was The Wall. [shiver] Disturbed and disturbing with some serious issues... Kai came down about half way through and watched to the end: for a change of pace (and because he'd never seen it) we had Phantom of the Paradise (long term readers probably know that Old Souls (2.5 meg mp3) is one of my favourite songs of all time, I love the lyrics...)

Our love is an old love, baby,
It's older than all our years
I've seen in strange young eyes familiar tears

We're old souls in a new life, baby,
They gave us a new life to live and learn,
Some time to touch old friends and still return

Our paths have crossed and parted,
This love affair was started long, long ago....
This love survives the ages,
In its story lives are pages,
Fill them up, may ours turn slow...

Our love is a strong love, baby,
We give it all and still receive,
And so with empty arms we must still believe

Old souls last forever, so we need never fear goodbye,
A kiss when I must time...we kiss hello

[sigh].... Anyway, I think Kai quite enjoyed the film - he sat and watched rather than booting up, anyway.

We followed that with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which will finish in a quarter of an hour. Going to close with Muse's Absolution Tour before sticking on something more normal, like Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which I picked up ages ago and still haven't played. Although Ken hasn't seen it, so maybe I'd better wait 'til tonight...

Back to the rockface.

We opted for Muse: Their Finest Hour instead, which I taped from VH1 and Simone transferred to DVD for me. Whole load of the fantastic videos to their hits, yum...

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Monday shopping. More site revamp. More gardening (almost the last of the blueberries now picked, and the fruit cage netting in storage for next year: what berries are left the birds can have). Tired again.

Taking computer in for service on Thursday. Hoping to go with Kai to see a film/visit the new Blue Reef Aquarium or maybe both this week, depending on what we feel like...



Sunday, August 08, 2010

Busy day. Client site revamp favourably received so far, furtled the last of the spuds, dug up the butternut squash (it's not doing anything and is taking up valuable nutrients), and spent an hour and a half blanching and freezing the latest batch of tomatoes, peppers, mange tout and (bought on special) baby sweetcorn while K&K made a concrete base for my bird bath. Then we had roast duck legs for dinner - wonderful!

Ty on arch Ty on arch

Explorer cat is - somewhat nervously - exploring... the wisteria arch between house and shed...

Ty on shed roof

... and the shed roof...


White egrets from above.

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Saturday, August 07, 2010

Strange day. Spent some of it shopping at Tesco, some of it in the garden (in between the heavy showers), much of it in the kitchen, preparing marrow stuffed with diced pork in homegrown peeled chopped tomato sauce thickened with mushrooms, onions, half a teaspoon of horseradish sauce, chopped basil and a little nutmeg. Old favourite of mine and Ken's, first time Kai had tried it, but he liked it so I can safely make it more often.

See the Haadri blog for other news.

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Kai and I went to see The A-Team this afternoon. After seeing the trailers I was looking forward to it (always loved the TV series, especially the earlier seasons) and it didn't disappoint (well, except for [shudder] Face's hairy chest - ick...) BA was a weaker character than he should have been, but the rest were great, particularly Sharlto Copley as Murdoch, always my favourite character. (So no surprise there, then.) All great fun. (Note, if you go to see it, make sure you stay to the very end - there are a couple of cute scenes after the credits.)

I'm going to have to take my computer in to the repair place to get it checked. This is where I miss the car - it's up at Filton on the other side of the city, two buses away. Going to have to see if I can organise lifts - and if they can check/repair anything that needs doing on the same day, otherwise it's going to be doubly difficult to sort out. Have to get it looked at though - the problem may be intermittent, but it could seriously damage the machine. As it is, I've taken to closing down as soon as it gets the least bit warm, which is hardly ideal given how busy I always am. At least I'm not in the middle of any deadlined or urgent projects at the moment.

egrets today

[shakes head in wonderment] They're so incredibly beautiful. They really do look like egrets in flight. So chuffed! (Will see if Ken can get some better pics over the weekend: my camera just isn't good enough.)

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Working on a synopsis for a new book idea...



Wednesday, August 04, 2010


Ken's pic. They aren't actually that easy to photograph because of the way the flowers are positioned around the stem.

Client site stuff today, preparing the IAVMT's membership database (Kai wrote the php code for me, earned himself a nice little sum! He's happy to write the code for the BCP database too...)

Closing down now though - the worrying smell of roasting flux is stinging my nostrils...

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

third marrow

Third marrow of the year, with several more coming. Shall stuff this one with diced pork!


egrets today

Seven egrets in flight today! Must get Ken to take some pics... ->

Busy morning. Blacked [blacked? I meant blanched, of course...] and froze the latest batch of mange tout and dwarf beans, peeled chopped and froze tomatoes, and made the first attempt at blanching and freezing a handful of peppers. Now need to revamp a client site.


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Monday, August 02, 2010

five egrets
Early morning egrets (better photo to follow)


And early morning cat, taken from outside - Tyjer asleep on top of Ken's study's cabinet.

bus ride

So off we went to Clevedon, on one of those wonderful should-have-been-retired-decades-ago country buses, so noisy you have to shout to be heard, racing with gay abandon along narrow spine-jarring, teeth-clacking winding country roads piloted by half boy-racer, half tank-commander, speed-limits-are-for-wimps drivers...

bus ride

Ride aside, it was a lovely, calm and relaxing day, warm sun, cool sea breeze, not too many holiday-makers, and the rich deep sound of the surf. I'm sure it's louder at Clevedon than anywhere else along the North Somerset coast: maybe it's the shape of the land, hills and cliffs enclosing the bay and echoing the sound back on itself...

We got back at almost 6 pm, and I made fajitas for quickness.

Tyjer asleep

[sigh] This was my punishment for not being at home all day - and yes, he knew I was supposed to be sitting there to eat, he stretched out, gradually pushing me further and further out of the way then taking over the whole settee while I was serving...

Ty asleep 2

...I suppose I'd better log into Facebook and feed the hatchlings...

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Sunday, August 01, 2010

I hadn't planned to do much today (other than write) but the N sprog rang Kai yesterday to ask if he wanted to go to the Bristol Harbour Festival...

I went with him, and am very glad I did (though pissed off I forgot my camera. Did take a few photos with my phone but I'm too knackered to be arsed to send them to myself for upload. Maybe tomorrow. Or Wednesday). As the two headed off to the SS Great Britain I checked out Millennium Square and the Amphitheatre: stood and watched for a bit at the main stage in Dance Village (I think, if I have the time right, it was the Mundi Dance Company - they were amazing...) and then meandered off to the Amphitheatre for a wander around the market.

And ended up lugging home a laaarge carrier bag full of plants from the large Herbal Haven stall. Lovage, sweet cicely, two yarrow plants (I'm determined to succeed with these, even given my abject failure in the past. I love yarrow), another lawn chamomile, orange thyme (smells wonderful!), feverfew (apparently this can help the pain and inflammation of arthritis - I'll let you know) and a Corsican mint for ground cover in the square. All at £1.50 each! Cheap at twice the price...

When I got home Ken had just finished today's stint at the wall, so took a half hour break while I checked up growing conditions for lovage (Mediterranean - probably came over with the Romans: likes full sun and can grow to six foot tall so we're going to place it where the curry plant is currently, beside the bay tree and towards the back of the rockery) and sweet cicely (native and ancient, this one, likes partial shade and moist soil - it's going on the patio). I've potted on both of those until we can prepare the ground properly. The rest we planted, straight into the ground up in the square and in the new bed between the medlar and the rockery. It's beginning to look very pretty there.

Tired now; it was an awful lot of walking in hot weather and dodging the crowds as best I could - very busy there - followed by a lot of bending and furtling when I got home...

All very successful though - and Kai arrived back around 4, having thoroughly enjoyed himself (they got the harbour train to the SS Great Britain, bought lunch and drinks and watched the various events, then took the ferry around the floating harbour and back - all great fun).

The weather is supposed to be nice again tomorrow: hoping to bus through to Clevedon - we considered Weston but it looks as though the new pier isn't quite open yet, so will leave that for a couple of weeks.

I tend to forget how tiring holidays can be...

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