Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...

Other sites:

:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::

I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.

August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]

If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.











I'm a Member of 

UK Veg Gardeners!


My IMDb ep summaries

(completed)
Arthur of the Britons
Sky
Star Maidens
The Starlost
Space Rangers
The Sentinel (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Swamp Thing (part: season 3)
Gravedale High
Transformers: Armada
Transformers: Energon
Transformers: Cybertron (part)
Misfits of Science (four eps)
Zoo Gang
Zodiac
Jupiter Moon
Transformers: Beast Wars (part: seasons 2 and 3)
Transformers: Beast Machines (part)
Vampire Princess Miyu
Starhyke
Nathan Barley
No Heroics
Undermind (3 eps)
Will Shakespeare (Tim Curry version)
Nightwalker
12 Kingdoms
Trigun (ep 8)
Rayearth
Hyperdrive (season 2 ep 3)

For later:

Earthian
Dragonball Z (season 2, part)
(Someone else beat me to it!)
Robotech (s2 ep14 Triumvirate)
BBC Lion, witch and wardrobe
BBC Caspian and Dawn Treader
BBC Silver Chair
Beauty and the Beast (part)
(Missing Excel Saga eps)
(Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)


Silver birch at Eastwood 

Farm

"Autumnal - nothing to do with leaves. It is to do with a certain brownness at the edges of the day... Brown is creeping up on us, take my word for it... Russets and tangerine shades of old gold flushing the very outside edge of the senses... deep shining ochres, burnt umber and parchments of baked earth - reflecting on itself and through itself, filtering the light. At such times, perhaps, coincidentally, the leaves might fall, somewhere..."

(Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Act 2: Tom Stoppard)

Autumn...

I love this time of year. I love the colours, the sharp slant of sunlight on the trees, mosaics of acid-yellow and harts- blood, velvet and darkness and a haze of mist-grey over the hills. I love its immanence, its mellowness, the tang of frost just around the corner of the year...

Watching the little birds in the goat-willow in my garden, I realised something more.

I love this land with a fierce, possessive love, deep-rooted in two thousand years of history. From the frosted beaches and cloud-brushing peaks of the north to the wind-haunted meanderings of the rivers of the east, from the sensuous rolling patchworked hills of the south to the demanding dark moors of the west, this land seeps into bone and blood and synapse, mother of motley nobility, culture, individual freedoms. It can be known. It can be understood. It can be felt deep inside.

I love its effortless eccentricities, its vigour and vibrancy, its flawed perfections, its silent strength and tenacious resilience, its hard-won tolerances and intense and variable beauty, the profound energy in its sacred mythical landscape.

Home and more-than-home, the forces that shape and protect and bind, in me, as I am in the land. Love returning love in the stillness for those who'll only take the time to listen...

(Joules, Autumn 2004)


All photographs taken by Joules unless otherwise specified. All photographs © Joules A Taylor or other specified individual.


In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme


Currently enjoying:
Muse
Transformers - IDW, Prime, Animated, Rescue Bots.

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.



Currently working on:
Heart, The Poppy Tales

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

Currently miffed at:
Nestlé, Nonpres Tinyhands Fart, Toadface Farage

Currently maintaining:
BCHS
BCP


Blog Pics
I've gathered some of my pages of photos together: the page of links is here. I'll be adding more as time goes by!




Evil Squid
A Little Glossary of Taylorspeke
(in no particular order)

plit popints - n. Typo for 'plot points' typed on a keyboard with more than half the characters worn off...

[PING] (alt [ping]) - n. A brainwave. The text equivalent of a lightbulb going on blindingly over someone's head. Usually mine. And usually at the most inconvenient of times. [sigh]

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

wulmet - n. A person of little or no talent who somehow inveigles himself into a position where he is in power over other, far more talented people and uses his position to downplay them in order to try to make himself feel superior.

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

Flatterfed - vb. 27.02.08: my typo for flattered, but since it's so cutely apt I thought it would fit nicely here. Lutra defined it as "the lovely warm feeling of satisfaction resulting from enthusiastic reviews..." (which I've been getting for my MB fics).

Composted - vb, 'compos mentis', mentally capable of working. Contrast with uncomposted or non- composted, not 'compos mentis', not capable of working, hungover...

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

Kewp - how Ken says 'thank you'. We rather like Lutra's 'nanx', too...

Musekick - noun, music, without which I cannot work.

'feinne - noun, caffeine, essential for correct mental functioning, especially first thing in the morning. I prefer mine in the form of SodaStream Diet Coke. And on that subject...

Skoosh - verb, noun. To skoosh - to add CO2 to a sodastream bottle filled with water to make it fizzy, prior to adding Diet Coke syrup (or just drinking as sparkling water). A skoosh - a bottle of water that has been skooshed. Skooshy - something that has been skooshed, water, or that whipped cream that comes in tins you have to shake then upend and press the nozzle...

Shoogle - verb. To shake gently, for example, of roast potatoes in a roasting tin to ensure they're covered with oil. I have vague memories of this being a real Scottish colloquialism...

Stegasaurus - n, spider of the genus tegenaria. Why? No idea. I just find it easier, that's all...
Edit 08.09.07: Lutra thinks that Brian is a good name for a mini-stegasaurus. From now on, any 'Brian's in the posts may be assumed to be a tegenaria. Except where otherwise specified.

Viterals - noun, vitamins + minerals. Also a pun on victuals.

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

Parrots - noun, paracetemol (from the old joke "Why are there no aspirin tablets in the jungle? Because the parrots eat 'em all...")

Maggles - noun, magpies. As opposed to non-magical people.

Flamewings - noun. Swifts. So called because the first time we became aware of them was an early summer evening when they were flying high, the light from the setting sun seemingly turning their wings to flames. Lovely little birds. We always know summer's arrived when we hear their high-pitched squeeing.

Murfs - noun, moths.

Peasant cut - noun, roughly cut up into big chunks, e.g. vegetables chopped in a hurry for a hearty stew or soup. By extension, anything prepared in a hurry - haircut, material, even a first draft of a story...

Giraffe - noun, a carafe (of wine, coffee or water, for example).

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

Splings - noun, Kai's spelling homework: by extension, any spelling.

Tyops - noun, typos. var toyps, typso, psyto, psoyt, etc. Usual result of a dose of the fingerials (see next entry).

Fingerials - (pr. fin GEEE ree yalls) noun, fingers that will not type what you want them to.

Haddock - noun, time, of which I never have enough. (Origin of this term here.)

Sleep - noun? vb? a.k.a. sheeeeeeeeep.... I used to know what this word meant...


The Updates Blog

The place to stay notified of WaveWrights' Fiction updates: Zone, Darkside, DarkRealm, Matrix, Vault, Safehouse 13...




my computer gremlin Butch. click the pic to see the larger image

Butch, my computer gremlin. Click the pic for larger version, and read his adventures here...

Butch by the talented 

Sylverthorne

A gift for me! Butch by the very talented Sylverthorne. Click pic for larger image.

Joules' 

Haddock

This is MY haddock. It was caught exclusively for me by Talon. No, you can't have any. I need all the haddock I can get!!



A'lestrel by 

Valkyrie.

A'lestrel - a gift for me from Valkyrie...



Kood, my new mp3 

player.

Soundwave! (Kood's still moving in...)


Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 

2004

Another gorgeous Valkyrie gift for me - Benten the Albino Alsatian! Click thumbnail for larger image.

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 

by 

Onna

Oekai by Bakayaro Onna - Radittsu at his sexiest...



I now have an Amazon wish list - find it here. But please be warned most of the things on it are yaoi. If you don't like yaoi, or don't know what it is, you probably won't want to take a look.




The Zone Plant from
The Zone 

blog 

plant

OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Pruned [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
:: Fundies say the darnedest things [>]
(Warning. This site is likely to have you screaming with laughter, shaking your head in sheer disbelief, or weeping for the future of your species. Often all three at the same time. I disclaim any responsiblity for any harm suffered by anyone who visits...)
[::..Fun Places..::]
::HubbleSite
Stunning...
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
::The Hacker Dictionary
Hackers with Humour!
:: Carol's Place
My GoodTwin's Homepage!
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: MailWasher
Excellent anti-spam software
:: About Bristol
The essential guide - and beautifully user-friendly too!
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: ZSPC Colour Chart
Check how your text and background colours look together before releasing them on the world!
:: Symbols
Exactly what it says
:: World Timeserver
For checking the current time around this world
:: Universal Currency Converter
Actually it's just a terran-global currency converter, not universal, but it's still useful...
:: Union of Concerned Scientists
Exactly what it says. Fascinating - and worrying...

So what is it with the haddock? Am I some kind of fish freak?

I'll leave that to others to decide.

The tale (or tail if you prefer) harks back to October 2000, when my GoodTwin and I, ably assisted by Sue, ran the first UK Professionals convention...
It's common knowledge that I never have enough time, and I was determined not to bewail the fact that weekend: hence I promised not to use the 'T' word...
Of course, that didn't really work (if nothing else I had to let the trainees know what times things were supposed to be happening!) so we decided a substitute word would be employed instead. There were several suggestions. Banana came very close to being chosen. However, I eventually decided that 'haddock' fitted the bill nicely. Ever since, haddock=time. Hence the title of my forthcoming autobiography,
My Half-Life in the Haddock Space Continuum....


Normally I wouldn't, but these were just irresistible...

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

These Too-Kawaii Kitties
were adopted from
Ghost's Anime Page (which appears to have disappeared, alas...)

[::..Anime/Manga..::]
Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

Anime still needed to complete series' I'm collecting... Many thanks to everyone who has helped me acquire the collection!
Ai no Kusabi

Owned:
   DVD
   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

Owned:
   DVD
   All 3 eps on Video, dubbed
   Dj: Cyberage 1-3
   Illustrated Book 2 (Benten's) in Japanese

From Eroica with Love

Owned:
   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

Owned:
   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

Owned:
   English Manga: Vol 1
   Japanese Manga: Vol 1-7 complete
   Tarot Pack
   R.G.Veda video

Twelve Kingdoms

Owned:
   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

Owned:
   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust

Owned:
   DVD

   Vampire Hunter D Book 1



New Vampire Miyu

Owned:
   (Studio Ironcat) Manga Vols 1 -5 (complete)


Yami no Matsuei

Owned:
   Viz Manga: English translation, Vols 1 - 11 (complete: I believe vol 12 is only available online)
   Japanese 3-DVD set
   Central Park Media: Descendants of Darkness Vol. 1, English/Japanese subbed.
   Sketchbook


[::..Joules SPfied..::]


... this is Terra? How the hell'd I end up here...?

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

[::..archive..::]
07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
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 - 30/03/2017
01/05/2017 - 31/04/2017
01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Knackered. Stupidly busy but successful day. Early night.

(Rachel's Apple and Elderflower yoghurt tastes far too good to be good for you...)

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Monday, May 30, 2011

An interesting day.

Last day of Sainsbug's 25%-off TU clothing special, so I took Kai over to do some shopping. Picked up a couple of smart-casual-ish tops ready for sixth form, and found some of the comfortable camisole tops I like, so bought two pairs for £5 each (before the 25% off). Except, as I found out much later (too late to go back today) on checking the till receipt, I was charged £6 each and for three pairs, not two. [sigh] Wasn't planning on going out tomorrow but will have to get down and speak to customer service.

Kai and I were both working (he has maths, D&T product design, biology and RE GCSEs next week, on Monday and Tuesday): I thought it would be good to have music instead of films on in the background. So, first it was Beethoven's 9th Symphony (which I haven't played in ages), followed by In the Court of the Crimson King (ditto, and which Kai had never heard, and which he liked so much he's ripping it to his C drive). After that it was T.Rex's Futuristic Dragon, then Incubus Succubus' (back when they were still using c instead of k in their name) Wytches. Ah, I'd forgotten how good it is!

Kai requested Oxygene next, and we let the disc run onto Enigma's MCMXCaD (unfortunately the last three tracks are horribly distorted, so we can't play it right to the end), by which point we had actually managed a lot of work, and it was dinner time.

After dinner we all settled to watch my latest Lovefilm rental, Monsters...

It is simply awesome, a near-perfect gem of a film. I commented to K&K afterwards that I loved the filming style (kind of documentary but without all that everyone talking over everyone else that drives me nuts) - it was so incredibly real. It was wonderful to see an American multi-million $ sci-fi offering so restrained and understated and realistic - and oh, the ending, so beautiful. It went straight onto not just the 'must have' list but also my 'all-time favourites' list (joining Company of Wolves, The Fountain, Sunshine and District 9 - which it predates, incidentally).

Then we watched the bonus features...

Heh. It's British, almost all improvised (they knew the basic plot but the rest they made up as they went along), and was apparently made for around £9,000 ($15,000 - though the IMDb says $800K) by a tiny British crew (about six of them I think, including the unbelievably long-suffering editor) and just two American actors (all the other characters are played by locals - not even extras!) Absolutely astounding. And the music is wonderful. The director/writer, Gareth Edwards, is a pure CGI wizard and a name I will most definitely look out for.

I'd recommend it for anyone who likes a bit of thought behind their sci-fi. It lacks the visceral horror of District 9: it's a film that will repay repeat viewings, as much of it is surprisingly subtle.

I'm impressed. VERY impressed. And seeing how it was made (if you do watch it, check out the first of the bonus features, the 'making of' bit, it had us in stitches!) makes me want to try my own hand at film-making...

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

... zzzoooommm...

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Showcase to see On Stranger Tides... Hm. OK, predictable, lovely scenery, some parts were great, but on the whole it's a little past its sell-by date, I think. Geoffrey Rush is looking a little past it (he's only 60!). Ian McShane is great though. But I want to know what happened to Philip and Syrena...

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Well, hands still a little swollen and sore, but at least useable today...

Up early, finally made time to watch The Right Temptation, which is actually rather good. Then when sprog surfaced tanked down to Sainsbug's for a much-needed shop. Then it was research, and tonight we watched the last of my B5 offerings, A Call To Arms (which sets everything up for Crusade so we have now come full circle) and caught the first ep of Charlie Jade. It sounded interesting when I read the write-up but I never managed to catch it on TV: last time I was in town I checked Head - looking for presents, actually - and found part one for £3. The guy at the checkout thought they had part two for the same price and found it for me.

Hm. Interesting. Heavy Blade Runner influence. Not as gripping - yet - as The Lost Room, but it might get there, we'll have to see...

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

So there I was, deep in research material, when I hear a bit of a kerfuffle outside...

The sparrows have been bringing their babies down to the patio area (they normally all perch on the fence - I think the parents are pointing me out, telling the sprogs that that weird big thing with no feathers makes food happen once a day), and today was no exception - except that Tyjer appeared from nowhere, took a flying leap, used the patio door to give him extra height, and caught one of the babies in his mouth. The others went frantic, flapping around trying to get him to let it go - I opened the door to grab him, whereupon he came in, purring happily, to give his prey to me... Turned him round and back out and forced his mouth open, but unfortunately cat instinct kicked in and he buried his back claws in my hands.

... nnnnnggggggggggggggg...

The sparrow flew away unharmed, but my hands are still swollen and very painful. I can't be really angry though, he thought he was giving me a present, and at least he came to me rather than taking it off somewhere where I couldn't rescue it. But I kept him in the rest of the day - no great punishment given it's pissed down on and off all day. It's great - all the waterbutts and bins and watering cans and pools are completely full, and the garden's replenished enough to cope for a week (if it doesn't get too hot).

Kai is now on study leave - only has to go into school for his exams and the odd lesson. This rather threw me when he told me two days ago, as I now have to get lunches organised for him for the next month instead of him having them at school.

But he has a week's holiday first. Planning to go and see On Stranger Tides at some point...

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

By Jove I am a sight weary...

Dental hospital first thing: as expected everything is absolutely fine. Lump was completely benign (she thought, too, that the jagged edge of the filling may have been a contributory factor), and you can't even see where it used to be.

Since I was in town on an all day ticket I tanked up to Wild Oats for provisions, then checked out the new(ish) Better Food shop. Heh, takes me back. Twenty-two years ago when we were still in the Totterdown flat we used to get one of their organic fruit and veg boxes delivered every week - and it looks like Phil is still running the business! (Very nice shop, by the way...)

Got some Yule shopping done on the way back down Whiteladies Rd, then to bank and Wilkinson's. Back home and got a little gardening done (well, Kai did most when he got home - all the sweetcorn are now planted, and the second lot of dwarf beans. Will try to get brassicas and lettuce in tomorrow).

Then watched B5: The Gathering, the pilot to the series. I hadn't seen it before, and it was intriguing to note the changes made. Enjoyable, and answered a few questions we'd asked throughout the series'.

Tired now. Early night.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

... zzzzooooommmmm...

Got a lot done though.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

[sigh] Today the wind caught under the bench cover, knocked the bench over and pushed it down the slope...

I righted it, pushed it under the elder tree and stuck two rocks on the seat to hold the cover down, stop it acting like a sail. I think the bench is OK, but can't tell for sure 'til we get it back into place and take off the cover, which isn't going to happen until this spell of wild weather is done.

And I can't plant the sweetcorn until Thursday now, as we're due a ground frost on Wednesday night...

Can't win.


Cantaloupe with tiny native strawberries - food porn for Lutra!

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

YAY - Chelsea!

In other news - something pulled my fruit cage netting out of one side of the platform and pushed in the side of my coldframe last night: I wonder if the badger has found another way in? (Dave next door has solidly blocked up the hole it was coming through.) The damage was too great for a cat or hedgehog (which I believe we have again from the evidence in the garden and the way Tyjer sits and stares at the hedgehog house under the fake currant), and the wind didn't do it. Fortunately it was fairly easy to repair (the coldframe isn't glass), which is good because I needed to plant on my cantaloupe melons today. Still haven't got the sweetcorn into the ground - the winds have been ferocious this weekend. Planning to get it done on Tues/Wed and keep fingers crossed I haven't left it too late...

Kai helped me put a sturdier metal pole in to support the goji-berry (the wind had knocked over the wooden branch I was using. It really has been pretty severe here).

Had the first of the carrots, and some steamed Swiss chard, from the garden with dinner, and with a bit of luck I can pick the first of our strawberries to have with half a melon for breakfast tomorrow.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Grant Bradley Gallery




I've spent the day standing up. (Ouch legs.) First down at the park taking pics of the crew installing the APAG-provided benches, then into town with Kai to visit the Grant Bradley Gallery, then over to Windmill Hill City Farm (pics here).







Skunk cabbage in the mountains





The gallery is lovely, tranquil and light, and Ryoko Oikawa's work is extraordinary - beautiful, intense, quietly powerful. It glows from within...

Kai particularly liked this one (Skunk cabbage in the mountains!) All the flowers are chosen for their meaning (in the Japanese language of flowers, I believe, which differs from the Western version).



Sunflowers


Sunflowers.

Her oils are positively 3D in effect, built up in rough heavy layers that nevertheless are light as petals - quite amazing.


Cymbidium


Cymbidium orchid ->
- and that particular variety was the first orchid I ever owned, that sparked a lifelong love of the plants!

Sorry about the photo quality - there were a lot of reflections. (I checked it was OK to take photos: unfortunately there was no catalogue of the works. I'm not sure about the ethics of posting them here, but they're not brilliant, and as far as I'm concerned the more people who see these glorious paintings the better - even at this quality!)


Epiphyllum



<- And this is an orchid cactus!






The pictures are all for sale (prices vary between £95 and £2,500+) and a lot of them already had 'sold' stickers on them.




But then I found the picture that I'd fallen in love with on the BBC clip...

It cost £125 and there was no 'sold' sticker on it...


I pick it up on the 31st, after the exhibition has finished.

Flower, bottle and cup

Flower, bottle and cup. Photo simply doesn't do it justice..


So that's my Yule and birthday present money from... well, everyone... for the next two years, extremely well spent!

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Tired. Spent much of the day on client stuff, but we did all get into the garden this evening, Ken to mow, Kai and I to do a little tidying up - weeding, and I've taken off the extraneous baby apples (applets?) which will leave space for the best ones to develop.

Might try for an early night...

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

... zzzoooommmmm...

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Research was fiddly, but APAG meeting went well. And I now have a much better idea of what the secretary's role and duties are, so that's all good.

Oh yes, and ordered Babylon 5: The Gathering.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hm. Finished this week's work on the book already. [g] Should try to do next week's as well...

Watched Unstoppable on Filmflex tonight after dinner - something of a 'park brain at door' disaster movie but a lot of fun, kept us on tenterhooks throughout.

Now, you probably know by now I have no time for 'fashion'. It's a rip-off, and life is far too short to wear anything uncomfortable. I don't do dressed-up. Hell, I don't even do smart unless I really really have no choice. So I don't usually bother keeping up with fashion designers (well, except Issey Miyake, some of whose clothes I quite like - and I really must try to get around to making up that gorgeous coat pattern I bought from e-bay... actually, given my sewing skills, perhaps I ought to have someone else do it for me...)

I certainly haven't bothered keeping up with Alexander McQueen - the only thing I knew about him were those unbelievable hideous hoof shoes he invented. But then I followed a link to a Youtube video, a montage of different shows, and was startled to find that some (not all by any means) of the clothes are really rather lovely. Some even looked wearable, and some of the models weren't approaching anorexia, were even almost normal sized. (Some of the makeup is just plain ugly though, especially the horribly overdone mouths around 7.45 minutes in.) Quite a revelation, it was...
Badge from Sue


Sue found me a badge...->

I love it! I now have to find something to wear it on...

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Monday, May 16, 2011

So Nick the Geek confirmed that the little .reg file Kai found was the correct one and all is now back to normal. Although I still think the rusty spoon idea is a good one.

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

[snarl] So there I was, doing a little last minute browsing of favourite sites before I closed down last night, and I may have accidentally clicked on a suspect link (my tablet really needs replacing: sometimes it will activate even when I'm holding the pen an inch above it) but suddenly Firefox crashes and AVG flashes up an alert that the site is attempting to install malware VRY.EXE. I let AVG deal with it, which it seemed to do very effectively, then booted Firefox back up.

Rather, I tried to. I get the 'which program do you want to use to open this?' window appear.

... what?

Heh. It wasn't just Firefox, it was everything. Every bloody application I wanted to use had to be opened manually. So, dark wishes of breaking the fingers of the bastards who create these foul things (viruses/rootkits/spyware/malware I mean, not Bill Gates. Though sometimes....) simmering in the back of my mind, I thought I'd try reverting to my last restore point.

Except that I can't. Trying brings up a rundll32.exe - application not found message. EFFING system 32!!

By now thinking that breaking the fingers is too mild, and hacking them off with a rusty spoon is far more appropriate (violent? Me? Nah, I'm just a big, cuddly pussycat...) I explored a little further. At the moment I have no Skype, Digiguide or ftp (a real bugger that last, given how much client stuff I'm getting), and of course I have to remember to boot up AVG security before anything else. I did manage to upload my review of What a Swell Party (the photos aren't mine, they were taken by Becca Plumley) by borrowing Kai's machine, but that's not an option when he's not here, like, y'know, during the day when he's at school.

Kai found a fix for the problem for XP users on the Micro$oft site, but, much as I trust his savvy, I'm waiting to hear back from Nick the Geek before I try mucking around with the system. At the moment I can work - Word is operating OK, plus all the internet apps, and I can look at Excel (though I have to delve deep into my program files to find the correct ui) though not change anything, so I can at least see what's left to research for the book. And access the latest online info, so all is not lost - except for my temper and my blood pressure. And my swearing at Butch, who claims this time it's not his fault.

In other news, Kai has his first GCSE tomorrow at 9 am - English. Please keep fingers crossed...

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

[happy sigh] After Dr Who (which was actually not too bad this week, although that's not too surprising since Gaiman wrote it) we watched the last eps of B5 season 5 and The Deconstruction of Falling Stars, an episode I simply adore. Then Ken said to order B5: In The Beginning, so that's on its way from amazon. (I already have the Thirdspace/River of Souls/Call to Arms set, so now just need The Gathering and The Legend of the Rangers. Oh, and The Lost Tales - although I was sure I'd picked up a copy of that when I ordered Crusade back whenever it was. Must have a hunt for it tomorrow...)

It was a plant day today: the aubergine seedlings and a few more sweet peppers planted on into larger pots, while indoors I repotted my euphorbia fasciculatus, the peace lily and the kitchen chives I picked up at Tesco (Kai's developed a liking for them and they're great with egg mayonnaise. For some entirely unknown reason I can't seem to grow chives - no matter how many seeds I plant I only ever get one spindly, measly seedling). I have to get my sweetcorn in the ground tomorrow, regardless that it's really too early in the year: the roots are now several inches long out the bottom of the loo-rolls and if I don't get them planted soon I risk losing them. I should also probably plant the sprouts I got on the go to replace the ones that failed the first time around. So it's busy in the garden again tomorrow.

Grumpy cat is grumpy - I took his mouse away and shut him inside the house around 5pm. The mouse was OK, luckily - we managed to rescue it before he'd had a chance to play with it.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Ooooray!! Blogger have finally sorted out their problems and I can login again. (Well, me and several million other bloggers...)

Anyway... Yesterday was my six-month dental check-up. Everything fine, though I did complain (yet again) about the jagged edge of the root canal filling. Dentist sympathised, said she wouldn't be at all surprised if that had exacerbated the tongue lump thing, and patched the sharp bit over with some filling stuff. Bliss! Finally it's all smooth and non-hurty! New dentist is new best friend...

Today I seemed to have had loads of client stuff to do as well as finishing off yesterday's book stuff. Also repotted my orchid cactus into a large, heavy terracotta pot (and sorted out the spider plant and the ceropegia, which are now hanging in the lounge window). This evening we enjoyed four B5 eps (three more to go of season 5 and The Deconstruction of Falling Stars from season 4, and we'll be ready to move onto the films).

No doubt there was more but not being able to post yesterday has thrown me slightly...

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Black aquilegiaBlue aquilegia

My aquilegia plants. That black one is definitely the oddest aquilegia I've ever seen...

Busy day with book, then this evening it was What A Swell Party, the latest offering from the St Luke's Players amdram soc - a celebration of the life (and death) of Cole Porter. Kai said he'd like to go with me (I get a couple of complimentary tickets to some events because I write reviews for them), so we tanked off down to Briz village hall...

Heh. I didn't know Cole Porter was gay. Not that that's a problem, but I wasn't too sure how Kai would take it. As it is, we both enjoyed the performance, which was very ambitious but well realised and very nicely done. I had the usual problems (horrendously uncomfortable seats: must try to take a cushion next time, I'm still sore now! And the acoustics just don't work for me, although Kai had no problem hearing everything) but overall it was fun.

Tired now. Have made a start on the review but really can't do any more tonight.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Woodpecker


Ken's photo. Our woodpecker was back - but, as Ken said, she's not damaging the medlar...

Ever seen anything like that? She's grabbing onto the foot-rest thing with her claws and using her tail as a lever under the feeder to hold her in place while she raids the sunflower seeds!

... I swear I'm feeding half the birds in Briz...

We caught the local news after dinner, and I was particularly struck by this. Well, it was one of the incredibly beautiful pictures that really hit me. It's not here, or on the Grant Bradley Gallery site, but it was striking and simple, two jars with flowers in them. The painting was almost luminous: one of the jars was the most extraordinary shades of turquoise and pink.

I know - I don't do pink. Except... there's something about the combination of soft teal and luminous pink that transfixes me. I remember, waaaaaay back in my second year of grammar school when they were trying to teach me to make dresses (yeah, right. Embroidery, no problem: basic dressmaking, not a chance...) I'd chosen a simple pattern - and then found a bolt of cotton material in swirls of teal and pink with hints of blue-white that I just couldn't walk away from. (The dress did get made, eventually, with a lot of help, and I even wore it a couple of times, but it took longer than it should because every time I was supposed to be working on it all I could do was stare at the gorgeous fabric.) I can still see it now in my mind. (Wonder if I saved any of the material? It's the sort of thing I'd do.)

Oikawa Ryoko's painting had the same effect, even just glimpsing it for a second. And brought back the memory of my first and last attempt at dressmaking, which up until this evening I'd completely forgotten about. Amazing the way the brain works.

Anyway - the gallery is over Kim's way, in Bedminster Parade and really easy to get to, so I shall be going over for a visit. Probably on the 20th, as Kai wants to come too. Keeping fingers crossed they have a complete programme of her glorious art, or that they'll let me take just one photo.

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Monday, May 09, 2011

Busy. Work for Ken this morning before diving up to the doctors' after lunch, back, more work (only to find I'd got completely the wrong end of the stick and have to redo it all tomorrow), speedy spagbol for dinner, then down to Arnos Hotel for an incredibly productive BCP meeting. Back just in time for one ep of B5 before Kai had to tank off to bed, then an evening of client emails.

Tired now.

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

sweetcorn

The thing I particularly like about growing sweetcorn, other than the taste, is that you can check them in the morning when just two or three seedlings are showing, then again after lunch, when a dozen more will have appeared, and again when closing up for the night, when almost all the rest have suddenly sprouted. Photo was taken at lunchtime: by this evening all of the ones on the right and seven of the ones on the left had their first leaves showing. Very satisfying...

Shopping in the morning, followed by a busy afternoon in the garden while trying to get washing dried despite threatening showers (though in fact it didn't rain. Blew a gale and the sun was very hot, but no wetness). Courgettes, marrows and dwarf French green beans now in the veg bed - a little early but the roots had come through the peatpots; I think the weather should be OK for them all (but I may get some more on the go anyway just in case). Also weeded the brassica bed, always a pain in the bum trying to reach without taking the netting off.

On the subject of netting, we had a mini-drama this evening when a dopey blue tit (a young one I think) got one of its claws tangled up in the fruit cage netting. I had to wrap it in a tea-towel to keep it quiet while I held it, and cut the netting away with scissors. What a mess! But there was no obvious harm, and the wee thing flew off into the hawthorn once I let it go, so I have to assume it's OK.

And on the subject of birds, I forgot to say that the other day when I was in the greenhouse I heard a steady dull knocking sound. 'Ay oop' I thought to myself 'that's a woodpecker!' And indeed it was, as I found out on peering out of the greenhouse to see a little face looking at me from one side of the medlar trunk, then the other, before it flew off. My first thought was 'lesser spotted woodpecker', which is quite rare, but I think it was probably a great spotted female instead. Ken tells me it was back the following morning, checking out the medlar trunk and possibly digging bugs out, before we let Tyjer out (the medlar's branches start about four foot up the trunk, so the bird was dangerously close to the ground). I hope it visits occasionally - it's lovely to see them.

woodland pool

The woodland pool, planted up. Kai has carried on tidying up the area, pruning back the ivy drastically and shifting logs. It looks very pretty there now, and will be even better when we have some more plants around it.

After dinner we watched the second Lovefilm rental, Shutter Island... Complex, intense, deceptive, compelling - it's a good film. Not easy to watch, but fascinating. What I don't understand is why I felt vaguely let down at the end. The end is exactly right for the film - so what more was I expecting? Heh, if I ever work it out I'll mention it...

Lastly, all three white egret orchid sprouts are now above the soil, and I'm hoping for a fine display again.

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Saturday, May 07, 2011

By 10 am, when the overnight rain pretty much stopped, the main waterbutt was about 3/4's full, so we filled the waterbin and put two watering can-loads into the greenhouse waterbutt, then filled the frewtnog pool and added a couple of loads to Roeg's Pool and the top pool. In order to do the latter, we lifted the mass of reeds out of the pool and Kai cleared out all the ivy leaves that had drifted in over the last year - and we found dozens and dozens of water snails!

So, after putting the reed-mass back in, Kai and I gathered up all the little snails that had dropped out of the reeds and moved them down to the woodland pool, along with several beetles and what Kai thought was probably a dragonfly nymph...

Which led to a frantic dive out to Hurran's to pick up plants for the pool, as there was nothing in there at all. They have a special on at the moment, six pond plants for £20 (normally £3.49 each): the pool now has three zone 4 plants, 1 zone 3 and 2 zone 2 (a sedge and a reed). It will look lovely once they're established.

The rain held off until we'd arranged Kai's plants, I'd had another stab at clearing the algae from Roeg's Pool, and put in a water hyacinth from Hurran's, in the hope it will keep the water clear. Not native and very invasive, but there are no fish there any more, and the green soup depresses me. Having a floating alien will improve the look at least, and I'm very careful about letting such things loose into the wild.

Then the rain started again, so we went in for dinner and Dr Who (yawn).

By the time Kai had chosen a Flimflex treat for the evening (Skyline, an interesting film...) the main waterbutt was full again, so we finished filling all the pools in a lull between showers. And then it belted down, so the main butt will be full again tomorrow (and hopefully the greenhouse butt as well!)

All in all a pretty productive day. And so happy it rained.

Knackered again now though...

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Friday, May 06, 2011

band of rainclouds

Finally, rain.

There was a very dramatic sky running up to it too. My camera simply can't do skyscapes justice: those bands stretched from horizon to horizon, and raced across the sky. By the time I got my camera they'd moved from over the hill to directly overhead...

The forecast is for heavy rain tonight, and more tomorrow, so I'm hoping I can dive out between bands tomorrow morning, fill the pools and water bin up from the main butt, and have it fill up again before the rain stops completely. That's the plan, anyway. Fingers crossed it works. rain

Managed to get the netting over the fruit cage this afternoon, and plant the purple sprouting broccoli up in the brassica bed. Oh, and I have seven dwarf bean seedlings almost ready to plant out, and six sweetcorn sprouts just peeking above the soil. All splendid stuff.

Why is the telepath sub-plot in B5 season 5 so... tedious? You'd think it would be gripping stuff, but it's just left us cold. Maybe because Byron just isn't convincing? There's no real feeling there?

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Had a terrific day: spent a small fortune stocking up on bird food of various kinds and two large bags of compost at Whitehall Garden Centre: then Kim suggested going to the restaurant/picnic area at Chew Valley Lake, which I'd never visited...

It's gorgeous there - and I forgot my camera. [grump] But we shall go back again next time and I shall take some photos. Bought a bag of birdseed and fed the ducks while we were there - great fun. Ducks do look funny when they're trying to run.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Well, the book is now about 75% (I think) done, which is pretty good.

And Kim rang to organise a trip to a garden centre. Which is also good, as I'm now completely out of sunflower seeds and down to my last pint of compost...

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

[sigh] Hottest (driest) April for over 100 years. Wonder if performing a rain dance would help...

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Monday, May 02, 2011

Had a terribly civilised start to the day: took breakfast (half a cantaloupe melon with sliced kiwi fruit and a cup of organic jasmine tea) up to the bench and sat in the sun to eat. Was quite early - all very quiet, really nice! I should do it more often, it's good just to sit and enjoy life for a few minutes.

Kai's back to school tomorrow, so today we tanked over to the Showcase to see Thor.

I'd been looking forward to this. Not that Thor was ever one of my favourite 'superheroes' (always preferred the X-Men to the Avengers) but our own Kenneth Branagh directed, and I like his work. Not to mention I've always found Norse myth appealing. Kai had no knowledge of the subject at all, so on the walk over there I gave him a potted history of what I know (both myth and the Marvel incarnation of Thor), which was enough for him to have some idea of what was going on.

And the film... The first thing that threw me was Heimdall. A black Heimdall? Heimdall, the "whitest of the Aesir" played by a black actor? Wtf??

Then I reminded myself sternly that this is the Marvel universe, Marvel, who play fast and loose with reality, let alone mythology, and just parked my brain...

I have to confess that Elba is magnificent in the role, damn near perfect. (And I love the golden eyes!)

The film is terrific, the acting OK as a whole (it's an American superhero action blockbuster, we wouldn't expect excellence) and good in a few instances, the cinematography and sfx awesome. And no horrible erroneous American accents! I was impressed. Very impressed. My only complaint is that we watched in in 3D, and the fight sequences made the eyes hurt. 3D fights really need to be slowed down, as they were in Avatar: at normal speed it's not possible to focus properly and gives you a headache. (Well, gave Kai a headache and left me feeling slightly nauseous.) I do wish that directors would realise this and do something about it (though if the Stranger Tides trailer is anything to go by, they haven't yet). Personally I love 3D films, but this effect spoils them.

The characters? Well, as far as I remember (it's been a wincingly long time since I've read the comics) Thor was always a bit of a simple no-shades-of-grey chara in the Marvel universe (and in the mythology, if I remember aright!) and so he is here, very nicely and convincingly played by Hemsworth (could any role be more different to George Kirk?). But it was Loki who fascinated me (heh, 'evil' is always so much more interesting than 'good', neh?) - a deliciously complex and unpredictable chara (as he should be). And the perfect actor to play him too - Hiddleston's huge wounded/vulnerable/reproachful/intelligent eyes and astonishing subtlety of expression was absolutely spell-binding. [vbg] He's going to be in the Avengers film too. I'd watch it just for him!

The realisation of Asgard is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and I absolutely adored the association of Yggdrasil to the universe as a whole. The tripartite universe imagined as a world tree is innately satisfying, whether the Norse Yggdrasil or the Mesoamerican Yaxché. To me anyway...

Loved it. It's at the top of the 'to buy' list as soon as it's available. I really want to watch it again, soon. Crackin' stuff!

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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Happy Beltain!

greenhouse

Got my sweetcorn started today. The packet said 'approx 30 seeds': there were 39! Which allows from some no-shows, of course, though it would be great if they all germinate. I treated myself to one of these last year, quite looking forward to trying it!

There was a Love Food Festival at Paintworks today. (Paintworks is a great place just 10 minutes along the Bath Rd from here - lots of small businesses and a cracking event space: we've been there several times, for local art sales and Love Food.)

Love the tube diner!

Beach House Bakery

A little food porn for Lutra...

Beach House Bakery are fantastic. I bought Ken and I one of the sumptuous strawberry cupcakes each (specials for the festival I think, as they aren't included on the site!): we had them for dessert after the chicken this evening. Got Kai a very large double chocolate brownie from the La Dame Gateau stall, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Of course, I spent most of the time drooling over the Glenholme Herbs display...

Glenholme Herbs

Also of course, since I can never visit a herb stall without buying something, I came away with a French tarragon plant (which will need to be container grown and overwintered in a cold greenhouse) and a bergamot (a.k.a. bee balm). Great for attracting pollinators and, apparently, predatory bugs which will attack the pests. It's now planted in the veg bed between the strawberries and the asparagus bed.

He also had catmint plants (and catnep - different plant), so I asked if he always came to the festival (so I could replace my catmint plants if they all failed), and bemoaned the fact that the established one can barely get an inch above the ground before Tyjer eats it back down to the soil.

And he looked at me and said...

'Put a cage over it. Get a hanging basket cage, upend it and fix it over the plants. Then the cats will only be able to eat what grows through the holes. [grin] Drives 'em mad, but lets the plant survive.'

...

... Now why didn't I think of that?

Sainsbug's only had minimalist ones, which Ty would have been able to get his whole head into, so I dropped off the shopping at home and tanked off to Hurrans. (The garden centre at Hick's Gate on the Bath Rd. The first company who ran it were Hurrans, then it became Wyevale, and it's now Keynsham Garden Centre. Which is too long to type, so I'm going back to calling it Hurrans.) catmint cage

They had exactly what I wanted, so I bought two, came back, and planted out two of the five seedlings I have in pots (just in time too, they were about to become potbound). The cage is held in place by three solid metal pegs pushed well in to the soil. Another seedling is now in a fullsized pot - keeping that one safe to try to get more seed - and the other two I'll probably plant up in the square in the next few days.

Brilliant idea!

Watched my latest Lovefilm after dinner - The Tooth Fairy. It was OK - good hearted and feel-good, but hardly great cinema. But then, we never expected it to be.

So, a pretty good and successful day all 'round!

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