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
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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
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01/07/2009 - 31/07/2009
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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
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01/11/2012 - 30/11/2012
01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
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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
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01/10/2015 - 31/10/2015
01/11/2015 - 31/11/2015
01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
01/04/2016 - 31/04/2016
01/05/2016 - 31/05/2016
01/06/2016 - 30/06/2016
01/07/2016 - 31/07/2016
01/08/2016 - 31/08/2016
01/09/2016 - 31/09/2016
01/10/2016 - 31/10/2016
01/11/2016 - 31/11/2016
01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016
01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017
01/03/2017 - 31/03/2017
01/04/2017 - 30/04/2017
01/05/2017 - 31/05/2017
01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017
01/07/2017 - 31/07/2017
01/08/2017 - 31/08/2017
01/09/2017 - 30/09/2017
01/10/2017 - 31/10/2017
01/11/2017 - 30/11/2017
01/12/2017 - 31/12/2017
01/01/2018 - 31/01/2018
01/02/2018 - 28/02/2018
01/03/2018 - 31/03/2018
01/04/2018 - 30/04/2018
01/05/2018 - 31/05/2018
01/06/2018 - 30/06/2018
01/07/2018 - 31/07/2018
01/08/2018 - 31/08/2018
01/09/2018 - 30/09/2018
01/10/2018 - 31/10/2018
01/11/2018 - 30/11/2018
01/12/2018 - 31/12/2018
01/01/2019 - 31/01/2019
01/02/2019 - 28/02/2019
01/03/2019 - 31/03/2019
01/04/2019 - 30/04/2019
01/05/2019 - 31/05/2019
01/06/2019 - 30/06/2019
01/07/2019 - 31/07/2019
01/08/2019 - 31/08/2019
01/09/2019 - 30/09/2019
01/10/2019 - 31/10/2019
01/11/2019 - 30/11/2019
01/12/2019 - 31/12/2019
01/01/2020 - 31/01/2020
01/02/2020 - 29/02/2020
01/03/2020 - 31/03/2020
01/04/2020 - 31/04/2020
01/05/2020 - 31/05/2020
01/06/2020 - 31/06/2020
01/07/2020 - 31/07/2020
01/08/2020 - 31/08/2020
01/09/2020 - 30/09/2020
01/10/2020 - 31/10/2020
01/11/2020 - 30/11/2020
01/12/2020 - 31/12/2020
01/01/2021 - 31/01/2021
01/02/2021 - 28/02/2021
01/03/2021 - 31/03/2021
01/04/2021 - 30/04/2021
01/05/2021 - 31/05/2021
01/06/2021 - 30/06/2021
01/07/2021 - 31/07/2021
01/08/2021 - 31/08/2021
01/09/2021 - 30/09/2021
01/10/2021 - 31/10/2021
01/11/2021 - 30/11/2021
01/12/2021 - 31/12/2021
01/01/2022 - 31/01/2022
01/02/2022 - 28/02/2022
01/03/2022 - 31/03/2022
01/04/2022 - 30/04/2022
01/05/2022 - 30/05/2022
01/06/2022 - 31/06/2022
01/07/2022 - 31/07/2022
01/08/2022 - 31/08/2022
01/09/2022 - 30/09/2022
01/10/2022 - 31/10/2022
01/11/2021 - 31/11/2021
01/12/2022 - 31/12/2022
01/01/2023 - 31/01/2023
01/02/2023 - 28/02/2023
01/03/2023 - 31/03/2023
01/04/2023 - 30/04/2023
01/08/2023 - 31/08/2023
01/11/2023 - 31/11/2023

Monday, January 31, 2011

A goodly few years ago, now, I picked up a copy of The Deeper Meaning of Liff. There are several I particularly like... [typed from memory]

Fiunary: The safe place you put something that you can't remember where it is.

Ozark: A person who offers to help after all the work is done.

Woking: Standing in the kitchen wondering what it was you went in there for.




Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gorgeous gorgeous day, brilliant sun and not even all that cold. Took half an hour to start clearing the new ivy from the meadowsweet patch (left it too late last year and the plants struggled) and dead-heading the sedum. When Kai finally surfaces, going to see if he'll cut down the greengage sucker (now over six foot high: I've been asking to have it removed for three years to no avail. I'd do it myself but sawing and digging up roots really buggers my hands...) while I deadhead the lavender bush. It's only a little garden work but it'll make a visible difference and give me a start on the year. And as you know, Ai wubs my gardin...



Saturday, January 29, 2011

[sigh] *bleurgh* Too late for the First Defence, cold is established... eh well. It'll be gone in a few days. Fingers crossed.

Found a great 'cold-buster' soup recipe on the kitchen garden blog, and gave it a try a week or so ago. Ken and I really liked it (Kai doesn't like soups. No idea why) so I thought I'd make some more up today. The only problem is my skin is allergic to chilli peppers (just my skin and, of course, eyes, the rest of me loves 'em), and chopping them leaves me with red, burning skin on my hands and an absolute necessity to under no circumstances touch my eyes or face until it gets back to normal (which normally takes about seven hours). Which is a bit tricky with a cold. Then I remembered I bought some disposable latex gloves last year (stop sniggering at the back, they're for putting insect trapping tape around the apple tree. That stuff sticks to everything and you have to scrape it off with a knife - assuming the knife doesn't stick to your fingers first!) so I tried wearing a pair to prepare the green chillis. And it worked! Not exactly the most eco-friendly way of going about it though (the latex tore while I was washing them for reuse and I had to ditch them), so next time I shall chop loads and freeze them.

Oh, and we had the first chaffinch in the medlar today. Gorgeous little birds! The female blackcap is back too, a fairly regular visitor at the birdtable. I think the sparrows set sentries: about 30 seconds after I've finished filling the feeders and birdtable they all descend like... well, a flock of hungry birds. The bluetits don't even wait for me to get back indoors before they arrive...

Tired. Early night I think.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Another zoom. But it was very nice to wake up without an aching neck. Or an aching back or legs, come to that. Guess what they say about decent pillow is true...



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Treat of the day - new pillows. Hopefully I can wake up without an aching neck now!

Non-treat of the day - Kai has brought another cold home from school, poor sprog. (First Defence for me...)

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Time. Needz moar TIEM...

In brief: APAG website now revamped.

Tried to watch new season CSI: New York but still can't stand that Jo chara so changed channels. Eh well, not like I have time to watch much at the moment anyway. CSI (the original Vegas one) has also gone a little strange...

Started transferring the IAVMT site to someone else. Very happy about that. And it was rather telling that as soon as I told them I didn't want to maintain it any more my blood pressure went down...

Found this mug in St Pete's Hospice charity shop on my way between the Post Office and Sainsbug's this morning. Perfect!

Had an astonishingly open and transparent reply to my last Royal Mail query. Very apologetic too. Not that it's done any good, we're still putting in a complaint. (I forgot to take everything with me to get photocopies (not scans, too heavy on the printer ink) today - will need to do that at the weekend.)

Right - back to the research...

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Monday, January 24, 2011

... zoooom. Again.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

So, Season 3 of Being Human. Looking very promising. And they've moved to Wales (Barry Island to be precise). Interesting...



Saturday, January 22, 2011

[grump] OK, the new design is rendering correctly on larger screens, but not on smaller ones it seems, even though I use percentages so it should look the same on all of 'em. Not sure if that's because of the large photos or something in the coding. If anyone is seeing this with the text columns filling (or overfilling so you need to scroll sideways) the screen, perhaps you could let me know in comments? (If you could say your screen resolution as well that could help.) This is how it's supposed to look (except full size, of course!):

correct spacing



It's great to have my earring back where it belongs. I've really missed the weight and the feel of it swinging against my neck.
Vincent's caveVincent's cave

Remember I said last week I made the mistake of going down to Vincent's cave with Kai? That's it, partway down the gorge. That orange railing comes up to my chin.

The building on the top is the Camera Obscura.

We didn't stay for long today - the wind ripping up the river must have made a -5° wind-chill and it was absolutely perishing.

We had lunch in the Coffee Lounge, small, pastel blue, and on several levels, where I had an extremely tasty broccoli and Stilton soup while Kai ploughed his way through a very large chicken and salad sandwich. Nice place and very reasonable - we must go back.

So, my last email to Royal Mail read:

... in the last month we've paid for delivery, wasted well over half an hour on the phone to you, been repeatedly misled by your colleagues who failed to understand the situation, and finally you no longer have the item.

Two questions.
How are we to contact the sender if we don't know who sent the item?
While we appreciate the gesture, do you really think a book of stamps is adequate recompense for this farce?

I got an answer yesterday.

I am sorry to learn that you were dissatisfied with my colleague's previous response.
Having reviewed the details of your case, I believe that my colleague has dealt with your complaint appropriately. Therefore, I regret that I cannot change their decision or add anything further to the response you have already received.
If you should remain unhappy with this decision and wish to escalate your complaint, please reply to this email within the next 14 days quoting...

They really are fucking unbelievable, aren't they?

My response:

Of course we shall be taking this further, and will be making an official complaint in due course. In the meantime, please advise:

1. What happens to items with no return address?
2. What happens to items with no return address that contain money, cheques or gifts?

I'll let you know what response I get...

So far my bulbs have survived very well, and I'm keeping fingers crossed for flowers in a week or so!

Newly planted bulbs

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Bought myself one of these! (To be put away for my birthday.)

Cold yet again. Wish I hadn't taken the fleece from the citruses in the greenhouse. If the temperature gets above freezing tomorrow I'll try to sneak back in and put it back.

Clifton tomorrow to pick up my jade fang. It will be very good to put it back on.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

News in brief:

YAY! Someone has posted the second Sky Movies Advert clip on YouTube! It's so incredibly cute! (And who is that rugged action man/spy? He's gorgeous...)

Kai had maths revision (and non-uniform day) all day yesterday in preparation for his Maths GCSE this morning. He says it went OK.

I had the APAG AGM this evening. And volunteered to take on the post of Secretary. Should be interesting. Not to mention insane, as I don't have enough time now for everything I need to do, let alone something I've never done in my life! Still, I can always ask the previous Secs for advice...

Have a driving need to revamp the APAG site (which is why I went to the meeting in the first place) and try redesigning their logo (at their request). Going to spend an hour on that before closing down, I think.

Also think it's time this blog was redecorated...

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

.... zooom....

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Poggled. Up early, racked the last of last year's strawberry wine (should be ready to bottle at the weekend, hopefully. Not as good as the previous batch but t'will do 'til I can get this year's on the go. Might try mixing it with vodka, see what that tastes like), got the generic red cooking wine started, stored the spare demi-jons in the shed until it's time to start on this year's (when the dandelions start flowering, probably), planted the snowdrops and crocus up between the cherry tree and the acer, took the downie and shower curtain from the main waterbutt and dried them over the rotary drier (lovely sunny day today!), and cleared the lounge table (filing. Don't you just love filing?) Then got down to some work.

CSI on shortly. Pool Shark. After Justin Whatsisface in last week's ep I'm a little wary about looking forward to it...

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Morning off for good behaviour and a trip to Whitehall Garden Centre with Kim!

Practically deserted - not really surprising for a Monday morning at this time of year - so it was very relaxed and peaceful. Came home with another bag of compost (for my forthcoming planting session end of next month), a biiiiig (400g) tub of dried mealworms, and three pots each of snowdrops and crocuses for up at the square (I reckon if I scatter the barest trace of powdered pyrethrum around them they may stand a chance of flowering before anything tries to eat them, and then I may have a hope of them reappearing next spring. That's the plan anyway...)

All great fun, and a fine trip out. The place has a little flock of four chickens - three hens and a cockerel - of that sort with the fluffy feet, Cochins, I think they are. They were out of their house and wandering around the stands - tame as anything and completely unbothered by customers. Very cute!

We nipped into Broadwalk on the way back (needed another can of generic red juice to make my cooking wine - down to one bottle again, oh noes!), and picked up a few odds and sods I needed, then back here for coffee. All in all a great day!

Course, I'm now behind on the day, but I'm also knackered so will aim for an early night and try to catch up tomorrow.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Eight goldfinches

We now have a charm of goldfinches - eight of them visit regularly! And they can empty the sunflower feeders almost as fast as I can fill them. May have to beg another sack next time you come over, GoodTwin - and try to sort out an alternative supply here!


Aren't they adorable?

(Photos © Ken)

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Later edit: Forgot to say - we treated ourselves to a curry out from the restaurant just along the road - Allspice. They've been there for years, but it's the first time we've tried them, and they are VERY good. The best onion bhajis I've ever tasted, and the main meals were terrific, wonderfully subtly flavoured. The place is pricier than the ones we usually go for, but soddit. It's not like we go out much, so having the occasional treat is fair...

As for CSI: New York - I hatehateHATE that Jo Danville character. She's pure Mary Sue and I want to slap her senseless. [growl] Won't be able to watch it if they keep her in it, and I rather liked CSI: NY.


Off to Clifton to see about getting my jade fang repaired at the Dragon Workshop. Kai came with me - getting away from house and homework for a day is going to be an essential for him these next two terms, just for a wee break once a week.

It was fun. Got FirstDay tickets on the X39, and got off at Temple Meads to catch the number 8 bus to Clifton Village. Except there was a number 9 at the stop, and after checking that it also stopped at the Village, we hopped on...

... I had wondered why it said it took 45 minutes to get there (but since we weren't in a hurry it wasn't a problem). We soon found out. It goes literally all around the houses - up to the Uni (past the NSQI building), back down St Michael's hill (past the Highbury Vaults pub - ah, memories...), turns back on itself to tank along Cotham Brow, past the railway station and up to Redland, along Clifton Downs past the Zoo, and finally stops in the centre of the village. Heh. I've lived here for 26 years and know most parts of the inner city (and a fair bit of the outskirts come to that) reasonably well, but even I was lost in a couple of places.

However, we arrived, found the place and I've left the earring there (he's going to have to make a silver cap for it - £15 [wince] but it's worth it) and can pick it up next Saturday. It's a wonderful place - a genuine old-fashioned jeweller who makes custom articles from scratch to your own design as well as doing repairs. I took my eye ring and jade bracelet with me to see if he could give me a quote (the ring needs expanding a tad and the bracelet completely reworking) but he won't do the ring - concerned about damaging the eye - and the bracelet would be prohibitively expensive, so for now I'll just go with the earring. Suspension Bridge

I had planned to get some shopping, but Kai wanted to see the suspension bridge, so we spent the afternoon there, crossing on one side and back on the other, then up to the camera obscura (where I made the mistake of volunteering to go down to Vincent's Cave - down a horrible 200 foot or so steep, claustrophobically narrow tunnel where you have to crouch down in places - with Kai. Never again). The Camera Obscura itself was closed - it was too dark by then - but to be honest the thought of climbing up another narrow, spiral staircase to the top of the tower was too much anyway, so I wasn't bothered. You can see more pics here.

The ride back was fun too. I think number 9 bus drivers are a breed apart, truculent and abrasive. And the one on the way back punched our tickets over and over again - which they aren't supposed to do with a FirstDay ticket, as it confuses the next driver who sees it...

CSI: New York new season ep 2 shortly. Wonder if I can repeat last week's performance?

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Friday, January 14, 2011

... zipping in for a very quick update...

The three goldfinches seem to be regular visitors now, and are very efficient at emptying the smaller sunflower feeder!

Have taken the fleece from the plants in the greenhouse and cut off all the dead vegetation from the Cape gooseberry and the pepino plants. Keeping fingers crossed the roots are still OK. The citruses look battered and woebegone, but are still standing, so hopefully should be OK come the spring.

Butterfly wing orchids should be watered regularly but sparingly as soon as sprouts are seen above the soil - so I've started watering carefully.

Considering homing two or three hens - more as free gardening assistants than anything, although our own free range organic eggs would be nice. Two main considerations are Tyjer and the initial cost of the hen-house and run...

Sure there was something else but I've forgotten what it is. Will add tomorrow if it comes to me.

... zooming out again. Back to research...

Later edit - I remembered what it was.

Cue CSI new season. All of us sitting down to watch Shock Waves. Now, I knew Justin Bieber (sp? Heh, can't be arsed...) was going to be in the first ep. Kai, however, didn't.

Kai stares at screen, eyes wide in horror, lips parted.
Kai - "Is... is that...?"
Me - "'fraid so."
Kai (aghast) - "WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY???"

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Well that was fun! The Bristol Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information were holding a public lecture tonight, on Lithiated Diamond Solar Energy Converters (i.e. lab-created diamonds coated in lithium as a way to increase the efficiency of solar power cells). We managed to miss the last lecture (can't remember now what the subject was but I was annoyed we couldn't go) and this sounded interesting, so Kai and I tanked off busward at 5.

I was pleasantly surprised to find I could understand the majority of it. Some of it was beyond me (not having a physics or maths background I'd expected that - the formulae were Greek to me. Literally) but the lecturer - Dr Neil Fox - was very good, and ended each section with a simplified summary, which was a great help. And I made a list of terms I wasn't familiar with (Sterling engine, work function, space charge) and Kai explained them to me on the way back to the bus-stop. He says the lecture was pitched at about the AS student level - good brain exercise!

The chart at the end was quite exciting. When they have the tech down, it should be possible to make solar panels (well, parabolas, probably) that will cost half the price of current systems to install, be much smaller, produce 22-26% energy instead of the current 14%, cost about £20 per panel instead of the current £480, and pay back the investment in about 7 years. Those sorts of figures I have no problem with!

Of course, that's just a domestic application: the commercial and scientific ones are even more intriguing (well, to a scientist anyway...)

All in all it was great, and I'd be very happy to make a regular thing of it (as would Kai, he really enjoyed it).

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I just have to mention that I simply adore the new Sky Movies adverts...

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

butterfly wing orchid sprout

... um... This is a butterfly wing orchid sprout. It's just appeared in my pot of butterfly wing orchids on the kitchen windowshelf.

I'm not supposed to water these until April.

Going to have to check the care instructions tomorrow to see what they say about early sprouting...



Monday, January 10, 2011

Royal Mail appear to think a book of 6 first class stamps is adequate compensation for charging us for redelivery of the item then losing/destroying/sending it back, and blatantly lying to us through the last month and a half.

Royal Mail are mistaken.



Saturday, January 08, 2011

Day off from research today. Put washes through machine, did a Sainsbug shop, Kai and I pruned the cherry tree at the front - well, mostly Kai, my hands won't cope with Ken's new loppers - and managed some general tidying up. All last year's photos and client emails are now archived, which has freed up several gigs on my C drive.

Oh, and we watched the first ep of the new season of CSI: New York. Heh. That wound on the victim? "Scissors." I said. Those strange hairs in her eye? "Urticating hairs from a tarantula." I said. And when we saw wealthy guy had a tarantula in a snazzy cage in his office in the Chrysler building - "He dunnit." I said. And I was right on all counts. So it was a bit boring for me... [self-mocking grin]

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Friday, January 07, 2011

There were three goldfinches in the medlar today. We'd better encourage the teasels this year...



Thursday, January 06, 2011

And yet another day zips past. Hopefully find some time to update properly at the weekend.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Eleven hives busy at the moment, but tonight Word of Mouth were putting on a Jacques Brel evening with Alan Clayson and singer/songwriter CPS at The Thunderbolt, a twenty minute walk along the Bath Rd, and since I love Jacques Brel's music and since I had such a miserable Yule, Ken took me along to see what it was like. I've never been to the pub before, but I will be going again - it's adorable!

It's tiny - twenty people and it would feel crowded - and all nooks and crannies and settees and wooden benches and settles, and a really lovely atmosphere. We stuck to diet Pepsis (I still can't stomach alcohol after the 'flu), although nobody seemed to be drinking very much (it's too expensive these days, I guess), and we had a terrific time. Alan Clayson

CPS played several Brel numbers and three of his own songs, which were really nifty (his style sounds so familiar but I can't think who he reminds me of, very annoying), and Clayson performed a long set of 15 or so chansons... it was... interesting. (Sorry the pic isn't very good - I only had my phone with me and its camera is very basic.) Fortunately he didn't perform If You Go Away (which always makes me cry - although I'm not sure his version would have, at least, not for the right reasons...) but he did sing an absolutely gorgeous song about a long awaited child that brought tears to my eyes (I can't find it anywhere on google, alas). A most enjoyable evening, all told.

Unfortunately the event started very late, and I was supposed to be recording the first ep of Tony Robinson's new series on Crime and Punishment for Kai (he's studying the subject in history). It started at 10 pm, but I thought us being late back would be OK as I knew it was repeated (I thought) an hour or so later. Turns out it's repeated at 2 am, so I'm now stuck at my desk until 3. Better get some work done...

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011




Monday, January 03, 2011

Drifting of small snow
Tree flinches with hungry birds
Contented cat sleeps



Saturday, January 01, 2011

Pleasantly quiet day all round - silence outside, TV and vegging inside, with Wall-E (cute but depressing) and my latest Lovefilm rental, Splice - OK I suppose, but not one to watch more than once.

But the food went down well (scuze pun). I was a little worried the rabbit wouldn't be liked - well, rabbit in a butter, spelt, sugar, spices and almond sauce is definitely not the sort of thing designed for modern tastes - but it was pretty good, an interesting flavour, unusual but not unpleasant, and we all liked it.

The venison proved popular too!

New Year buffet

Lunchtime buffet - food porn for Lutra.

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Happy 2011!

Edit: - the fireworks clip (well, half the original 8 minutes, anyway) is online - HERE.

Hopefully, at some point soon, there'll be a clip of the best fireworks I've ever seen ANYwhere to accompany the news item...



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