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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day off today. Well, when I say day off, I mean Kai and I weeded the veg bed this morning, then K&K went out to Clevedon for the day while I put a wash through, cleared out and organised the greenhouse and made dinner... Not exactly most people's idea of a day off but it all needed doing and I'm happier with the state of the greenhouse now, I can find everything without trying and I've cleared out a handful of lurking gastropods. The glass really needs cleaning but I'd rather wait for a dull day.

Beltain starts at sunset!

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Well, that was a qualified success. First thing we found out the battery was completely flat, even though my battery charger was showing it as fully charged. Meant stopping everything while K&K bused up to Halfords and bought a new one (and a new battery charger [wince] as we assume that the old one is just kaput. Mind you, it is around 23 years old...) So the second session was great, and a goodly number of sprogs thoroughly enjoyed their rides - then the second (riding) carriage started derailing... Not completely sure why, but Kai thinks we can fix it. Anyway, it was then unsafe for use, so we had to close down, but I have the addresses of the kids who were disappointed (only 8) and will invite them for a private ride when we have it fixed. Which might, however, take some time.

It's been suggested I hold an 'open garden' afternoon - a lot of people were impressed with it (and I had an offer to provide a cream tea!) Not quite sure what's involved in that so have said I'll think about it.

The weather hasn't been too dreadful - distinctly cool this morning but the sun came out this afternoon. Everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves, and the party is still going on outside (the tables have been set up in the middle of the road for the children's party now), but we're frazzled and looking forward to a B5 fest after Mythbusters (it's the presidential episode which Kai hasn't seen before)...

As for the wedding itself - very nice. Oddly intimate, given the location and number of people. We wish them all the very best.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011


I was convinced that my appointment at the Dental Hospital (for the tongue thing test results and checkup) was today - until I looked at the calendar this morning and realised the 27th was yesterday... How could I possibly get that wrong, given all the hoo-haa about the wedding?

[sigh] And I was getting to be so good with dates and numbers too...

Went into town anyway for banking/skoosh/Lush soap/Dental Hospital to apologise and make another appointment (not til end next month, so I guess they didn't find anything worrying in the biopsy). At least it gave me an early start on the day. Although I have some tidying up to do ready for tomorrow before I can start the research.



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Heh, still aching from yesterday's walking. Two loads of shopping today didn't help!

Kai says the mock GCSE went OK.

This page is brilliant!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Today we went to Stanton Drew, site of the second largest stone circle complex in the UK Pensford bridge(Avebury is the largest). I've never seen the stones and I don't think Kai had, up close anyway: it seemed a fitting way to end his holiday.

Getting there is awkward without a car, though. There is a bus - just one a day, which leaves Brislington village at 1.15 and arrives in Stanton Drew village at 1.50 pm: there's no return bus (well, not until 9.30 the next morning...) But the Wells bus (two an hour each way) stops at Pensford, which is a couple of miles away from Stanton Drew over pleasant countryside (Kai said), so we opted for that instead.

Photographs here instead of on a separate page, as most of them are of individual stones and not of great general interest...

Pensford has a lot of small, ancient bridges (might have something to do with the river Chew that flows right through it!) It's a small place right down in the Chew Valley, with lovely old grey stone buildings and very friendly people.

Pensford is most famous (these days) for its astounding viaduct built in 1873, which used to carry trains for the Bristol and North Somerset Railway. I've been trying to find out how high it is but that info isn't readily accessible (no idea why). Later edit: found it. 995 ft long and 95 ft high at its highest point, with 16 arches. Quite magnificent!


See that tiny black dot left of centre?
That's an adult male with a massive rucksack thing on his back. He's not even reached the viaduct yet.
This thing is HUGE.

Looking back from the other side. Those are fairly large trees you can see to either side.

The walk to Stanton Drew took about an hour, under the viaduct and along a footpath by the river. It was a fine walk, cloudy sun and not too blisteringly hot, until the end, when we had to make our way through four fields with cows. At least, we thought they were cows from a distance - turned out they were bullocks. I'm not that fond of cows anyway, but bullocks scare me: we ended up coming back partly along the road to avoid the worst two fields...
the cove

The Cove is the remains of a megalithic tomb, standing in the beer garden of The Druid's Arms pub. (That's Kai, to give the stones some scale.) The pub is very small, and unfortunately now a little run down, but seemed friendly enough and the menu looked good (though we arrived too late to eat, so I can't vouch for the quality!)

There are three circles at the site - a whopping great main one (that stone is taller than Kai):

main circle

a smaller but impressive secondary (that stone in the middle of the shot is about as tall as Kai, maybe a little shorter):

second circle

entrance to badger sett

and a third one of mostly much smaller, toppled stones that was very overgrown with thistles and nettles (although there was a badger sett there, with an entrance right under one of the stones and a lot of pawprints around it. Gamma and contrast altered slightly to try and bring out the prints).

We spent about an hour walking around the stones (with me taking photos) then began the trek back.


An aaaarty photo of the viaduct from the footpath.

Overall it was a wonderful day out - but ye gods we're both of us knackered now! Didn't get back until well after 5...

Kai's back to school tomorrow, just for two days, then he has a four day weekend (wedding on Friday and the Monday is the Beltain bank holiday). Unfortunately he has a mock English GCSE tomorrow, but he seems OK about it.

Me, I'll be quite glad to get back to what passes for normal 'round here - I can have a rest!

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Monday, April 25, 2011

A whole load of tidying up garden work. But Kai tested his train, and it's running beautifully, so we're ready for Friday.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011


Happy Eostre!

I'm not really into chocolate eggs, but Ollie here ->
was £1.50 for two (one is winging its way to Lutra). He was tasty - and that orange beak is orange flavoured chocolate!

So - the garden... Wendy's mum's orchid

- Wendy's mum's orchid's flower spike.

The woodland pool. It looks a little bare at the moment, but by the time the grass has grown around it and we've got some native plants in the water, it'll be a wonderful resource. The far end is shallow to make access easier for frogs and newts and any mammalian life that wants a drink!

woodland poolwoodland pool and Tyjer
Wut? This wasn't here yesterday...

The reason for the haste is that our road is holding a street party next Friday (for the wedding) and Kai has offered to give train rides to the kids (donations to go the PDSA - they've sent me one of their collection tins), so we wanted to get this project finished before then.

The fruit cage. Well, the cage part isn't done yet, that's for this week. The bright green plant in the middle-front is the tayberry, a thornless cross between a raspberry and a blackberry. It has a few flower buds, but I'm not expecting very much this year. The planter beside it holds strawberries, and the pots behind that contain herbs and three different kinds of mint (I got fed up with trying to grow mint from seed and having it all eaten every time - I mean, eaten? Mint is supposed to be incredibly easy to grow and pest resistant, but not here, oh no...).

Oh, and I have two white egret orchid sprouts! They're coming along nicely. Unfortunately I can't say the same for the butterfly orchids, which aren't doing very well at all...

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

tired cat is tired

Tired cat is tired. We know a song about that...

But I got another load of seeds planted (including my dwarf French beans) and Kai has finished and filled his pool (henceforth to be referred to as the woodland pool). It looks terrific, and is the largest one yet. I'll try to get a photo of it tomorrow.

Picked up Voyage of the Dawn Treader with the Sainsbug shopping - watched and enjoyed it tonight. Now planning an early night and a bit of a lie-in...

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Friday, April 22, 2011

... gah, knackered...

Does 9.03am count as a lie-in these days?

Spent most of the day in the garden. Strimmed, which badly needed doing and which has really improved the appearance, but ye gods it's left my hands and arms painful. There was a lot of general tidying up while Kai continued with his pool (hoping to have it finished and filled tomorrow), then we had a barbecue (venison and pheasant burgers, mustard-honey-glazed sausages and chicken thighs, very tasty).

The wisteria smells absolutely wonderful. I've been standing under the arch just breathing it in. Pity the flowers don't last. We must see if we can afford to have someone come and put supports in the wall so we can train it across the front of the house. It would be fantastic falling asleep to that perfume...

... I'm sure there was something else but I can't remember what it was...

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Photos of yesterday's trip to Wells now uploaded here. (Big pics - please allow them time to load.) The Bishop's Palace has amazingly reasonable entrance fees - £7.70 for the two of us (reduced rate for kids between 16 and 18: free below that).

Today... well, today ended up being incredibly productive. I was up at - as Lutra would say - sparrow's fart, to feed them (sparrows, that is). Got Sainsbug shop done before Kai woke up, then dived up to Broadwalk to try to buy cheap paintbrush for the bench preservative (in Wilkinson's, finally. Along with bolts to fix the side gate, a spare double mattress protector, and several different bird feeds, Bill Oddie endorsed so I presume they're OK...) And in Pink Planet I found the DVD of The Silent Flute - a very old favourite film that I only had on tape! Chuffed, me.

Back, got washing done, managed three coats of preservative on the bench (all dried - it was hot here today), Kai hoed the bed where the corn will go, and between us we got the disparate bits of hose connector to actually fit together, so I now have a working hosepipe. Which is handy as it hasn't rained in weeks, and my main water-butt has just run out (it's APRIL, ffs. I'd not expect that to happen until bloody August...): gave all the fruit and veg plants a good soaking tonight. There are mutterings about a possible hosepipe ban in the near future, but until that happens at least I can water. I prefer rainwater but if there's nowt else... And I've caught the sun today, too.

This evening it was two eps of B5 and the latest CSI (yawn), and Kai is now watching QI (which we find hysterically funny). Tomorrow I need to try to catch up with a little research: Kai will be working on finishing digging his pool, which is coming along nicely.

I badly need to get to a garden centre: I've nearly run out of potting compost and I have a lot still to get on the go.

It might also be useful if I got my arse in gear and sent out the client site invoices for last quarter. Should have done it on the 1st...

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Went to Wells (where Hot Fuzz was filmed), for the Wednesday market (had sausages for dinner - venison with black pepper, and pheasant. And the most wonderful individual hand-made Bailey's cakes for dessert...) And the Bishop's Palace. But took 130 odd photos, and I'm knackered, so will have to sort that out tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a photo of the wisteria...




Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Suddenly, exhaustion...

Going to go fall over.



Monday, April 18, 2011

We had a very pleasant day at Clevedon. Here are some pics (mainly of paths. I was in a path mood today...)

Yes, that path is as steep as it looks...

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shopping, garden, B5. Busy but not spectacularly exciting day...

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

My garden is colourful!


- Wendy's mum's orchid's flowerspike.
Frilly tulips

Frilly tulips ->.

Tyjer is being an absolute horror. After the goldfinches we're now only letting him out after 10.30 and getting him in early, and one of us is trying to stay out with him. But while I was serving lunch he caught a female blackbird. Luckily I was able to grab him and force his mouth open, and she flew off, so can't be too badly hurt. I hope. He's shut in now for the rest of the day.

I do hope this eases off after fledging time...

lunaria flowers.

Kai's raising his train platform by a few inches, I'm off to finish weeding the veg bed where the corn will be planted. Still behind with the research: will have to try to catch up tonight.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

So, after another major shopping expedition, I got a whole load of gardening done this afternoon: the brassicas are now in the ground, surrounded by slug pubs, onion sets, slug-blocker and flutter-proof netting. And my legs ache.

Caught my latest Lovefilm rental after the Friday fajitas - The Expendables, which is quite simply the most violent film I've ever seen. (Dolph Lundgren hasn't aged at all well, neither...) It was quite a relief to get back to B5 afterwards (we're now half-way through the entire thing).

Have managed to do everything I had set myself this week, with the exception of two subjects' research, which I shall have to try to make up over the weekend. Time. Needz moar tiem...

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Photos of yesterday's terrific trip out can now be found HERE.

Still knackered. Today was very busy too, and tomorrow and Friday I somehow have to squeeze five days' work into two as I'm so far behind. In between planting out and protecting the brassicas and making and freezing the year's first batch of beefburgers, that is...

Speaking of gardens...

frilly tulips

There were frilly yellow tulips in the front garden when we bought the place: a few years ago I transplanted them out to the bed behind the greenhouse (where the spiraeas, magnolia and daphne are), not really expecting much. I'm not fond of tulips - too stiff and formal - and yellow is not a favourite colour. But behold, this year there are yellow and pink tulips. I did not plant the pink ones. I'm pretty sure birds didn't drop them. So where the hell have they come from? (Kai wondered if there was some sort of recessive gene in yellow tulips that made any offshoots pink - which is the most logical reason, maybe...)

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Had a wonderful - if very long and tiring - walk in the sun along the Kennet and Avon Canal this afternoon, and took loads of pix, but am absolutely shattered so will have to organise and upload page tomorrow...



Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday shopping. Three lots of it. All successful though.

Less good - Ken has a nasty cold. Tyjer caught and killed one of our goldfinches (brought it into the kitchen for me) and is now in disgrace. It's very hard to convince a cat not to catch little birds, little rodents and little lizards. But I shall keep trying...

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Busy Weston

Well, we had planned to go to Clevedon, but the Sunday Bath bus arrives just as the Clevedon bus leaves - so we ended up going to Weston-super-Mare instead...
Dangerous waters

It was heaving, and neither of us like crowds, so we only stayed an hour then got the same bus back - the Sunday WsM double decker that goes all around the houses. Lovely ride on the top deck both ways!

- Weston has quicksands... (That's Steepholm behind the pole.)

Fullsize original of below

I am really very impressed with the telescopic function on the new camera.

On the right is the original photo I took: below is Flatholm fullsized and cropped (though at 75% sampling quality) from that original. The amount of detail is staggering, even on the hot-hazy day it was today...


Tired now, and another busy day tomorrow. Later!

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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Apple tree

The apple tree looks very pretty and smells wonderful...

Spent most of the day in the garden. Mange tout now planted (took a while making the frame for them), some weeding done, and dandelion wine started. And K&K assembled our new bench.

Planning to go gallivanting at the seaside tomorrow...



Friday, April 08, 2011

Later edit: decided not to bother with pics, there's really nothing much to see, and it's not at all gory.

Ai haz a hoel in mai tung!

Well, that's not strictly accurate. I have a wound in my tongue, where the lump was excised and sent for biopsy, which has been closed with a dissolvable stitch (yes, I decided to go for it. I was assured it would heal quicker). At the moment the anaesthetic is wearing off, one of my least favourite sensations in the world, and it's beginning to really hurt. Just as well I picked up some nurofen express...

And I do wish they wouldn't say things like, 'you'll just feel a tiny scratch' when they're injecting the anaesthetic. It didn't feel like a tiny scratch, it felt like a knife going in. (It was the same with the amniocentesis back in '94. 'It'll just feel like a bee sting' they said. Bee sting my arse! Felt like what it was, a bloody great needle going through me...)

But this was all very quick and routine (although everyone seemed strangely impressed - and pleased - by how far I can stick out my tongue...) Appointment was for 2 pm, I got in at 2.10, and was out again and heading for the bus by 2.26. I've been ordered to take it easy this evening (so might go and do a little gardening in a bit, and it looks like a B5 fest tonight), not to eat anything hot or spicy ([sigh] There goes my Friday fajita) for a few days, and if it bleeds tonight to sit with the sterile gauze they've given me pressed over the wound for 20 minutes without pause. Though I usually heal quickly so hopefully it won't be needed.

... the tongue is not the sort of thing you think of as bruising...

Might be a pic later, for the gory-minded.

Kai is now on holiday for two and half weeks. Fingers crossed this glorious weather lasts!



Thursday, April 07, 2011

... zzzzzzoooooommmmm....

But I did remember to mist the orchid cactus.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Later edit for previous post: after Thorne and GoodTwin commenting, I dragged out my trusty ancient five part Success With House Plants binders and searched the cards for the succulent...

Turns out it's an epiphyllum - also known as an Orchid Cactus (very appropriate for me!) Apparently they're very long-lived (I can vouch for that). The one I have is, I believe, an epiphyllum ackermannii. And it's supposed to flower profusely. It also loves high humidity, being a jungle succulent, which is where I've been going wrong all these years, assuming that as a succulent it prefers things dry. So I shall start misting it, and once it's finished flowering this year I shall repot it and start looking after it properly (though quite where it's going to live I do not know...)

Three of the four expected deliveries arrived, including the bench: planning to put that together over the weekend,

Kai tells me he got an A* for the coursework he's been dealing with over the past couple of weeks (as homework): it counts as half his GCSE, so we're dead chuffed about that. (He didn't say, but I assume it was biology or biochemistry: it dealt with the pros and cons of genetic engineering, and part of it was to state how he felt about the subject, whether it should be allowed or not and why (I think) - so some ethics in there as well.)

He also got an A for his last English assignment. And he's been formally invited to join the Sixth Form in September (still dependent on his exam results, though everything is going very well so far. Still, we won't assume anything until it happens).

And I even managed to get today's work done in time. All in all a very good day.

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Up early - we're expecting a handful of deliveries (including one of these, which Kai requested), and after the (ongoing) hassle with Royal Mail I really don't want to not be here when they arrive. So here's a few pics while the second wash goes through the machine and I get ready for the day's work...

Early morning garden...

See that half Coke bottle lying on its side just below Roeg's Pool? That's a mini-cloche I had over the established catmint plant, to try to let it recover a bit before leaving it open for Tyjer (he loves it so much as soon as it has a couple of leaves it gets eaten back down to the ground again - and I can't find anyone who sells the seeds). It's been knocked over during the night and all the lovely new leaves eaten by someone else's cat.

I am very pissed off. Especially since one of the catmint seedlings in the greenhouse (I only managed to germinate 6, out of a handful of seed from the year before last: it won't be viable much longer) was attacked by a gastropod last night and completely devastated. (With an earth base to the greenhouse this is always a risk, but I have slugblocker gel around all the planters and a slug-pub on the floor. Unfortunately the catmint has been sitting out on the potting table and the rain washed off the blocker - and I forgot to replenish it...)

Will need to do some proper greenhouse tending later...
flowering succulent

Flowering succulent - I can't remember it's common name. There's a story behind this one...

The original plant was my mother's, and she used to keep it in the downstairs loo (there was a small south-facing window). She didn't particularly like the plant - it's not the prettiest of succulents - but she did like the flowers. Not that it flowered very often - twice as far as I can recall in about 15 years.

Eventually she gave it to me, and I've been taking cuttings and bringing them on for the last 25 years. It's flowered just once in that time - until now. There are three flower buds!

Sorry the pic isn't all that clear: the pot is in a double macrame holder with a rescued spiderplant in the bottom net, and I can't set it down anywhere.


And it's a little heavy to hold. But here's a close up of the flower - it's really quite beautiful. ->

In other news... Kai, poor sprog, after being ill all last week, now has a wretched cold.

We have our first asparagus shoot up in the veg bed! They were wonderful last year - really looking forward to including them with our steamed veg.

The wisteria is absolutely covered with flower buds. Going to look very pretty when they all open.

Tyler is loving the sunny weather. Unfortunately he's proving very proficient at catching slowworms. Luckily he brings them to the patio, so I'm usually able to rescue them.

Right. Back to the research.

After breakfast. Now just need to decide whether to have a nuked spud with a small portion of chilli con carne (leftover from yesterday) or cheese and English mustard on toast. Spud, I think. I'll call it early brunch...

Cheery tree
The flowering edible cherry tree in the front garden.
This is about the best I can do - it would be better against a dark background but we don't have one!

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

[sigh] And ditto...

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Busy as ever. Got a lot done though.



Sunday, April 03, 2011

Happy Mothers' Day!

I get a day off today. Was woken at ten (as I'd requested), with a coffee and a pain au chocolat - very nice! After checking greenhouse and feeding the birds, Kai and I headed off to join the Talbot Rd Allotment group.

Allotments, looking south from around the middle. The big building and car park is our local Tesco.

No, I don't have an allotment, and wouldn't have the time to tend one if I did, but local residents can join for £2 a year, and there are all sorts of benefits, like seeds at cost, all sorts of different nutrients, cheaper than the garden centre, by the kilo, and a lot of friendly people to ask for advice.

Looking east, towards the Talbot Rd entrance.

It's a big space, and an absolute delight to walk around - Kai was dead impressed and says he'd really like an allotment (though I don't think he realises quite how much work they entail!) Still, I could check out if it would be possible to put his name down for here. There's about a five year waiting list (last time I checked, anyway) so plenty of time for him to change his mind.

Looking north, up Talbot hill. The tallest building you can see is the green-roofed water tower at the top - the highest point in Briz on this side of the river, if I remember correctly.

We were going to spend some time in the garden this afternoon - Kai volunteered to pick our lavish crop of dandelions so I can get the dandelion wine on the go - but it's hailing at the moment (Hail? It's bloody April!) so that's been put on hold. It may just be a shower, as forecast. Fingers crossed.

So, other news... Ken tells me there was a sparrowhawk perched in the medlar earlier, but it flew off before he could grab his camera. We know we have them in the city (one of the joys of living somewhere with masses of parks and open space) but it's been years since we saw one. The last time was when Argent was a kitten and one thought he might be a tasty snack: luckily it changed its mind when it saw me and swooped off again. Don't really want it haunting the garden, not good for the little birds, but it's nice to know they're still around.

Elsewhere in the garden: I now have two rows of carrots coming up, and the potatoes in the planter are coming along a treat. The garlic and onions are looking good, and the Swiss chard (planted last year and neglected over the winter, but it's thriving) almost ready to start eating. The blueberries are full of flower buds, as is the apple tree: the pear is coming along nicely but is very unlikely to fruit for a year or two. The tayberry is merrily sprouting too - oh, and the wintersweet shrub I ordered (on sale: decided we needed something that flowers in the winter to help wakeful bees and other goodly bugs) from T&M has arrived, though we haven't cleared the area where it's to be planted yet, up by the elder. The hail and rain has stopped while I've been typing, so we might be able to do that today.

In the greenhouse: the tomatoes and 'burpless' cucumber are now in their final pots (I managed to overwater the 'Flamingo' cucumber seedling and it rotted, so I've started another one. This is a new variety for me, supposed to be all female, prolific, and particularly tasty. We'll see...) I have a pot each of lime and sweet basil, more pots of thyme, parsley, oregano, chives (which Kai has decided he really likes) and hyssop, and am waiting for the peppers (bell, sweet and chilli) to sprout. Next month I get the dwarf French beans and sweetcorn on the go!

On the potting table I have two different leek varieties, doing OK so far; two different sorts of sprouts will be ready for planting in the ground in a couple of weeks. The first cauliflower seedlings didn't survive (don't know why - haven't had any success with caulis so far, but it's a favourite veg and organic ones are very expensive, so I'm determined to manage it!) so we've planted more. I have 13 (so far) mange tout seedlings growing apace, and the Romanscu and summer sprouting broccolis are doing fine.

We're merrily ploughing on with B5 (and loving it. Kai wasn't too interested in all of the first season, but now we're well into the second and he's hooked...) We're not far off finishing DBZ season 2, either. And we also have Star Maidens to finish watching. Blame GoodTwin for that one: someone pointed her in the direction of the first ever ep posted on Youtube: she emailed to ask if we'd ever seen it: I replied saying I used to love it - and then found it cheap on amazon, so ordered it. It's one of those cult things that's so bad it's brilliant - though after saying that, we watched the first ep and it's nothing like as bad as I remember. A product of its time, obviously, but it tries to make some very valid points. Heh. More comment when we've watched all of it.

SO! Steak and chips for dinner later (thoroughly self indulgent day!) and some more B5. Then it's back to the rockface tomorrow (and correspondingly lighter blogging, probably...)


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Saturday, April 02, 2011

So that's Kai almost completely recovered and with his usual appetite almost back. This is good...

A day of generally tidying up, bitty, but productive. Tomorrow will probably be the same...

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Friday, April 01, 2011

So... up early, shopping, Post Office, research, emails, client site stuff, more seeds on the go in the garden and greenhouse, and tried one of Nigel Slater's recipes for junk food Friday (that's our junk food Friday, not his, obviously - sausages in a honey and mustard glaze done in the oven, absolutely delicious and has immediately gone into the repertoire. The sauce would do perfectly for chicken or pork too...) Then watched three eps of B5 (yes, bit self-indulgent that) and one DBZ (Ginyu Force! YAY!)

I do believe we have a pair of greenfinches now visiting the garden.

In other news, Kai is feeling a lot better and had a bit of an appetite today, which is a relief. Should be fine to go back to school on Monday.

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