Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.
August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
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]
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.
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...)
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...
Monday, January 24, 2011
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...
Labels: Being Human
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!):
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.
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.
I got an answer yesterday.
I am sorry to learn that you were dissatisfied with my colleague's previous response.
They really are fucking unbelievable, aren't they?
Of course we shall be taking this further, and will be making an official complaint in due course. In the meantime, please advise:
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!
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.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
News in brief:
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
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...
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.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
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)
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.
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?
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.
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).
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I just have to mention that I simply adore the new Sky Movies adverts...
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
... 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.
Labels: Royal Mail
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]
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.
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.
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...
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Monday, January 03, 2011
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!
Lunchtime buffet - food porn for Lutra.
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...
Labels: Happy New Year