Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my
... 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.
Adventures in Orchids
Apparently I am now collecting them...
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
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).
Thursday, June 30, 2011
<- Acanthus flower spike.
Blueberry bushes. Possibly my best edible plant buy so far! ->
Kai had a phone call yesterday, from his IT tutor, to say the moderators wanted all the IT students back into school this morning...
As it happened, it was simply to convert pages of their IT projects from templates to non-templates (summat to do with Powerpoint, I gather) because the moderators don't like templates. [rolls eyes] It took the sprogs all of 15 minutes. (Well, it took Kai a bit longer as he stayed back to help a couple of his peers.)
Kai then walked home (it's bloody miles) partly along the river, which is, admittedly, a very nice walk, especially at this time of year.
While he was doing that and Ken was working on revisions/comments/queries for the book, I tanked into town. Had a number of things to do (shoe repairs, pick up a skoosh, odds and sods from Wilkinson's) and managed to accomplish them all!
- Two day's blueberry harvest...
The public sector worker's strike happened here too - a large crowd of strikers brought traffic to a near standstill while I was heading for the bus home.
... and the first cucumber... ->
<- ... and the first tomatoes.
These went into the spagbol for dinner. After which we watched The Happening, which I picked up cheaply at Sainsbug's. Scary film. You can never be sure with Shayamalan - Sixth Sense was brilliant, The Village abysmal - but we really enjoyed it. Plausible too, which added to the chill...
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Sainsbug do a delicious small tub of low-fat salad - tomato and basil pasta - that I discovered a year or so ago and really really like. (OK, I'm addicted.) At the time it was around 80p or so in price. Last year it went up to just over a pound, and I started thinking twice before I bought it. Then last summer they had it on special, two for £1.50 (or something like that - it's numbers and numbers and I don't get on...) Earlier this year it jumped to £1.39 seemingly overnight, and I started buying it just every now and then for a treat. Then for the last few weeks it's been on a 'buy two for £2' special, and I've been able to enjoy it properly again (I find it very useful, as it's fairly low cal but quite sweet, and a couple of spoonfuls is quite enough to quell the munchies). Today I stopped at the cooler, hoping the special was still on - to find that the price is now £1.49.
Sod that for a game of soldiers - I'll make my own!
Kai's organic fruit juice has gone from 89p to £1.19 in a couple of weeks too.
Recession - who needs it?
Tyjer doesn't like hedgehogs invading his garden, he keeps nagging me to let him out so he can have words with them...
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
A pretty sky tonight, and an advert that
Early night, bit of a lie-in, and waking up with an odd but fun dream in which I-in-another-being was both navigator and power source for a very large starship, and I'm much more awake.
Yesterday was good. Off to Whitehall Garden Centre with Kim: picked up two potting compost bags, a sack of sunflower seeds (they only had one left!), two bags of berry suet treats, a laaaaage pot of dried mealworms (they only had the largest size left - guess lots of people are feeding their birds), and a pretty new fern for Kai's woodland pool. Had coffee and a good catchup chat while we were there - many thanks, Kim!
Ken went over to Sandy Park get some info from a friend - and arrived back with a myrtle sprig for me to try to root up. I've never had much success with cuttings (well, except for my dracaena) so keeping fingers crossed. They are rather tender plants, so I may have to see if I can keep it in a container and put in the greenhouse over winter. (Heh. So far the things that need to overwinter in greenhouse are lemongrass, the Vietnamese mint, French tarragon, a container of potatoes, and the garden bench. Will there be room for a myrtle, I ask myself...
I am very glad I have the greenhouse!
Weather dull(ish) and a lot cooler than last two days: I've risked washing the sofa covers. They seem to be drying OK. This week isn't going to be much cop for writing, unfortunately, as I have a whole load of client stuff to get done, which is going to take hours and necessitate a walk down the Bath Rd from Flowers Hill to Brislington Village. I also have to get into town at some point. And also do a belated and much needed spring-clean through the house - including washing the windows. And, if it warms up, which it might, I'll paint the feature wall in our room. All a bit busy. Still, Kai will be quite happy to do his own stuff this week, I'm sure.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Garden centre trip was successful (if expensive). Now I am absolutely exhausted - can't keep eyes open. Practically no sleep last night with the heat. No choice but to have an early night. 'fraid emails will have to wait another day...
Sunday, June 26, 2011
It must have hit 28° this afternoon. Ken came to Sainsbug's to help me carry shopping (had milk, fruit juices and potatoes to buy, too much for me): got back practically melting, but veg bed and greenhouse are no respecters of human suffering (or bare feet: the slabs inside were too hot to stand on) and demand attention regardless...
Then again, I have a number of cucumbers forming (on both plants now), the first tomatoes are ripening, all the pepper plants and the melons have flowerbuds (as do two of my white egret orchids!) the courgette plants have their first flowers, the dwarf beans flowers are close to opening, I'm eating blueberries nearly every day, and the mange tout remains prolific. And the sweetcorn is growing doggedly on. It is worth the effort, honest.
Kai has his last exam tomorrow afternoon - then he's off until the end of August!
Kim's taking me to Whitehall garden centre tomorrow morning [glomps Kim] - I am completely out of sunflower seeds, mealworms and fruity suet treats. I need at least four sacks of sunflower seeds a year to keep the birds fed, and in a vicious winter another one wouldn't go amiss. Not a cheap hobby, this helping native wildlife...
I've taken a bit of time tonight to start going through all the old blog entries: the early ones are near-unreadable since I changed the template, and a number of the early photographs have the wrong links on them. A hell of a job (I've got as far as October 2002 tonight) but it's something I've wanted to do for ages. Will try to get a bit done every night before closing down. Heh. It's only 3,700+ posts... (Actually, a little less than that as I changed the format early 2010...)
Wendy - it's the week beginning the 7th. Sorry I haven't replied - will do asap.
[sigh] There's something out in the garden really annoying Tyjer, he hasn't been this agitated or growly for ages. Only hope he sticks to ranting at it down here - we have all the windows open upstairs to try to make the heat bearable, last thing I need is him thinking he can fly...
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Gah, busy again. And I have emails I haven't answered yet and I'm too tired to do it tonight.
Latest Lovefilm offering was Plan 9 from Outer Space, which we watched after dinner and which at least had Kai and I in stitches. Truly bad film...
Friday, June 24, 2011
Off we tanked to watch Green Lantern...
Hm. I knew nothing about the superheroes or story before today (well, I recognised the costume and knew the story had something to do with magic rings, and that the idea is pretty old - I thought 50s but actually the Green Lantern first appeared in 1940, it seems) so both Kai and I went into it blind, as it were. It was interesting. Gorgeous CGI - the space shots were amazing, especially in 3D. Interesting concept, although I'm not entirely sure that the 40s comic translates perfectly into 2011 (Kai said it came over as being cartoonish. Fair enough, the original was, but...) and I can't say I was impressed with Hal Jordan's imagination. But it was enjoyable in a weird sort of way, once you get past the strangely anachronistic feel of some of the characters - and the green lanterns themselves. (Lanterns? Ohhhh kaaaay...) One to pick up when we see it cheap. (Although it won't be quite the same in 2D.)
Quick shop at Sainsbug's on the way back, then a little gardening (in the rain). Kai moved the two suffering ferns from the square down to the woodland pool, where they'll be much happier.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Out and about, in town, doing stuff. 558 bus up to Broadwalk for DVDs and bits and pieces (including bird muesli (that's muesli for birds, not made of same) and two rainbow windmills for the garden), then into town to bank, Robert Dyas (to try to get Sodastream sugar free tonic syrup, which they no longer stock nor can order, soddit), Lush for soap, then X39 out to Hurrans for swingy bird table/feeder thingy and ferns for Kai's woodland pool. Found a nice hartstongue, which he planted when we got back - and they were having an end of season sale on some of their summer stock. Bought myself two nemesia, a Berries and Cream and a Fragrant Gem. Gorgeous fragrance, vanilla and cream, with a faint hint of lilac in the Fragrant Gem. I don't usually buy flowering plants but these were 50% and 75% off respectively, and they're so pretty and perfumed I couldn't resist. They're supposed to be perennials, needing overwintering in greenhouse, so we'll see how we go...
And I discovered heucheras. This link should take you to the google images page for the plant - I could not believe the glorious variety of foliage colours. Hurrans had at least three dozen plants on display and every single one was a different colour. Just fabulous. I'd love some - but they were £8.99 each and you'd need at least three to start with, to show them off properly. Perhaps I'll make a start next year, and build up a collection bit by bit, when I've decided where I can put them!
Planning to see Green Lantern (in 3D) with Kai in the next couple of days. Nice bit of escapism: I know sod all about the hero so it'll all be new to us...
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The day continued busy, but was successful.
Kai finished his design project about three-thirty, then hoed the sweetcorn patch for me, as well as trimming the grass around the veg bed and fruit cage, which was much appreciated as it saved my back and hands. We did the greengages between us (we'll have a nice harvest if they all ripen - and don't all get eaten by the bugs!) and were settled to watch A Town Called Eureka after dinner. (It's a terrific series - we're really enjoying it.)
The 'quickie' part of the veg bed ->
Welsh onion, carrots, normal (very large!) onions, mange tout, dwarf beans, sweetcorn in the background.
Earlier on Skye:
Joules: Kai's last exam is next Monday - then he's off, effectively, until beginning Sept.
Food porn for Lutra - medium-grilled lamb leg streak, homegrown spuds, carrots and mange tout, organic peas... [g] Very tasty it was too. Next time I make my own mint sauce though - I have enough mint now.
Very much a garden day today...
My mange tout are being amazingly prolific this year - have now blanched and frozen the first batch and there'll still be plenty for dinner, though that being said there's not enough plants to actually supply our needs (we really like mange tout!) So I'm planning to dig a long, thin new bed alongside the fence at the top, and devote that to mange tout and peas (and maybe a few sweet-peas to make the place smell nice and encourage the bees!) for the next few years. This does mean co-ordinating with Dave next door, as I'll need to paint the fence thoroughly first, and his side will need doing too so the plants don't get paint-damaged (edit: just spoken to him so that's all sorted). The fence does need doing, and I've bought a cordless battery operated Cuprinol sprayer from the Range for £9.99 - £20 off (hope that's not because the thing doesn't work!) so I can do the work myself can't use paintbrush or pump action sprayer, too hard on my hands).
Also furtled out the potatoes from the planter - only enough for two meals, but that's one up on last year and they're very tasty looking. Will try to focus more on spuds next year - so far I've only had minimal success, and that needs to change!
... I'm wondering whether it might be possible to grow spuds in the planter in the greenhouse over the winter... already planning to get some carrots in the cold frame once the melons have finished, so we can have fresh even if the weather's bad. Well, that's the plan, anyway!
Kai's finishing off a school project at the moment: when he's finished he's offered to help me in the garden. Need to pick the extra greengages off the trees to allow them to ripen properly without rubbing against each other.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Joyous Solstice, All!
[sigh] Great start to the day. We lost TV and broadband early this morning - no idea why. After the standard 'switch off then on again' failed to work I rang tech support to report the problem. Very nice guy there explained that Virginmedia were working on a major upgrade and everything would be dead between 8 am and 6 pm - possibly for the next three days - but outside of those times we should be OK. (It would be nice if they'd work out some way of, like, akshully telling us this is going to happen...)
In fact, though, they finished it much earlier: Kai took a call while I was out shopping this afternoon to check that everything was back to normal, which was nice of them. Haven't noticed anything different yet: will see when I boot up tomorrow.
Tonight was quite exciting though. Kai was feeling hot, so went to stand outside and enjoy the cool evening air for a bit. And while he was there our hedgehog arrived (we think from the front, which is a bit worrying as we've had several run over by cars in the past), trundled past him and went straight for the pile of peanuts I now leave out every night. Kai was dead chuffed to see him, and after he'd come in we both watched from the upstairs landing window - I've placed the food so you can see it clearly from there. And to our great surprise, while he was munching away a second, smaller hedgehog arrived at the 'level-crossing' on the patio side of the meadow! This had me a little concerned, as I thought the wee beasts were rather solitary and fought if they met, but it all seemed quite amicable, and they went their separate ways after meeting (at least, they were heading towards each other and would have met behind the lavender, where we can't see what's happening!)
Ah - just found a good info page (erk, aren't supposed to give them whole peanuts... will get the bag in tomorrow and break them into smaller pieces, and mix with sultanas and sunflower seeds from now on) which says it's not unusual to have more than one in the garden and they usually just avoid each other. This is great! Of course, what would be even better would be if they were male and female and mated (not tonight, too quiet!) It would be great to have a bunch of hoglets in the garden.
Monday, June 20, 2011
(Small edit at bottom of post)
[blink] OK, that was... cute.
A small ginger cat has just wandered in through the open patio doors. At first I thought it was Tyjer, then quickly realised it was far too small to be him. It glanced around warily then headed for his food bowl in the kitchen: needless to say I caught the kit and carried it out to the garden to shoo it away before his lordship arrived back from wherever he's patrolling this morning (since I don't really fancy clearing up blood today...) I haven't seen this one before, it may be new to the neighbourhood. It has a collar and one of those tube things with the address written inside, so it's not a stray, and in fact it was surprisingly heavy for such a small, thin kit, so it's being well-fed. Obviously used to being handled too, as it didn't struggle. I do hope whoever it owns keeps it in at nights though - and that it learns to avoid the garden, or Ty will have it for breakfast.
And speaking of the big pudgy one... I strongly suspect that he is doing the same - sneaking into other houses and eating their cats' food. He's getting fatter, even though I'm only giving him two pouches and a bowl of dried food a day. This is not good - the vet will not be happy when he goes next.
But on a happier note - I picked the first blueberries of the season today. Blueberries and apple and elderflower yoghurt and a mug of jasmine green tea for breakfast - it's summer!
 Lutra asked what the Bristol Dragon - see previous post and the associated photos - is all about. You can find info about Bristol's very own dinosaur, the Thecodontosaurus, here. Artists' drawings here.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
A grand day out (although the Museum got very busy very quickly: we'll go back in the summer for a more leisurely exploration). There's a page of pics here.
I bought some herbs, of course! The bugs have pretty much decimated the herbs I grew from seed and planted in the new little herb bed, so I picked up replacements - flat-leaved parsley, common thyme and a sturdy hyssop. The stall also had lemongrass and persicaria odorata (a.k.a Vietnamese mint or Vietnamese coriander but actually belonging to neither family): Lutra had recommended the latter and as it does smell very interesting (very nice!) and it was cheap I thought I'd give it a try. The last two are now in Sue's big terracotta pots on the slabs outside the greenhouse (recommended to keep them inside in the winter) while the others are now planted in the little bed. Kai also repotted his bonsais, and I got some more salad leaves on the go. So the day ended up being quite busy, and I'm not planning an early night, because every time I say I am I never manage it...
Saturday, June 18, 2011
We caught an ad for fruit ice lollies on TV (can't remember which make) and Kai thought they looked rather nice, so I had a go at making some. Very easy - sliced strawberries and halved raspberries layered in a lolly-maker filled up with strawberry/raspberry/apple juice (Sainsbug's do their own triple pack of lunch-box sized cartons) and frozen for 24 hours. We tried one each after lunch: extremely nice, but a little on the sharp side, so I sprinkled the fruit with a tiny bit of xylitol sweetener for the next batch. It works so well I'll try some other varieties (fresh pineapple makes a lovely version!)
Contented suncat... ->
In my quest to eventually replace all our videos with DVDs, I found Elvira, Mistress of the Dark in a double bill with Transylvania 6-5000, both old favourites and available via amazon from moviemars (who we've used often in the past - highly recommended!) for a total of £5.98, including p&p - excellent value for money. We'll watch one of them tonight.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Ken's birthday today: spent it working, unfortunately, but enjoyed the steak dinner and Eton mess dessert. And we watched his present from Kai, And now for something completely different. Hugely enjoyable, had Kai and I in stitches (especially the Upper Class Twit of the Year, which had Kai choking on his ham and cheese slice). It was his first real intro to the Pythons, and he's now seen the origin of "My hovercraft is full of eels". Also of longcat. I'd forgotten about the Pythons' longcat...
On a less cheerful note, apparently there was a question wrong in Kai's physics GCSE this afternoon - they were advised by teachers before the exam. It's really not good enough, is it?
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Off we went to the Post Office to get the Fathers' Day cards in the post (it's on Sunday and we only just realised today we hadn't sent them. I swear this year has been so bloody hectic I've barely had time to think, let alone sleep...) and then into ZONE, the hair salon opposite Casanova...
It's nice inside, very clean, uncluttered, modern and tranquil. I spoke to a very pleasant young man called Jeff (who I'd guess is the owner), explained what had happened and showed him my printout of the hair-over-eyes photo so he had some idea of what I'm after, and asked if he could help.
He took the time to tidy it up for me then and there - as he said, he couldn't do too much or it would be even shorter and take longer to grow out to where I want it - but I'm very pleased with what he's managed to do. It's much more even, smoother and altogether more professional than before. (To be honest, he did say that the original cut wasn't altogether a bad one, it was just far too short at the sides and too long at the top. Fair enough, but it absolutely wasn't what I wanted!) Sorry about the photo quality, it was taken in artificial light, which, while being more flattering to me, gives everything an orange hue.
I shall go back in a couple of months for another cut, and see how it progresses.
Then it was tanking down to Sainsbug's, back to unpack and have lunch, then over to Tesco for a new phone for Kai - PAYG of course, dead snazzy, touch screen keypad (if that's what they're called) with all sorts of functions, at a good price (we agreed to put £25 to it and if he wanted anything more expensive he'd have to add it himself, which he was happy with). There was £10 off the full price if you also bought a ten quid top-up, and as it happened I had one of their vouchers for 200 extra reward points if you bought a £15 top up for the phone, so everyone was happy. He's going to have fun customising it over the weekend (and I must remember to put the number on all our phones...)
Odd ad of the day: Samsung Galaxy SII. Who the hell keeps a chicken in a library and why would anyone trust them with books?
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
A bit of a catch-up...
Kai now has just three GCSEs left to do: this week he's had the ones he was most worried about (History and Chemistry). The chem went fine - he was quite surprised at how un-hard he found it - but the history... [growl] You may know the exam situation over here has been a bit of a mess for the last few years, perhaps more noticeable to me this year because Kai's in it. The History paper was on a subject that they hadn't studied - in fact, it wasn't even in their course books...
The teachers weren't very pleased either. Will let you know what happens.
In the garden: the honeysuckle in the rockery has flowered profusely this year and the lower part of the garden is full of its fragrance - gorgeous. The wild native strawberries have never been so prolific (they smell wonderful when it's sunny, too) and we're eating home grown mange-tout, carrots (beautifully sweet) and Swiss chard with appropriate dinners (i.e. not spagbol or fajitas!)
In the house: I've finally, today, racked and stopped the dandelion wine (and the generic red) ready for fining tomorrow, but had to ditch the sake, it really wasn't up to standard. And I've decided to repaint the feature wall in our bedroom - found the most gorgeous, intense matt shade of deep teal. It'll only take a day, but it would be helpful if it was a warm sunny day, and they've been in short supply recently. Photos as usual once it's done.
Lutra and I have been discussing revisiting the Leander Pryne stories as light relief from more important work. Not sure if I've said much about them before - it's been years since I've written anything - but what we've done so far is not 'alf bad, it would be nice to see a coherent whole. As a taster here's the first page of the intro (I've just checked, I have posted this before, back in Feb 2005, but that's almost unreadable since I changed the blog's format - not to mention so long ago old readers will probably have forgotten it and new ones most likely not gone back that far - so here's a more accessible version!)
What do you think? Like to read more? (Some of the chapters will only be available in The (other) Zone, since they involve the usual sex and torture...)
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
(Later edit - photos at bottom of post.)
Back from the hairdresser...
She insists she did what I asked for (I'll see if Kai can take a photo later and put it on here side-by-side with the hair-over-eyes one further down so you can spot the difference), and eventually said she was sorry I wasn't happy with it. Not for how she'd cut it, mind you... I asked to speak to the manager, Bruno, who was finishing up with a customer's hair, so I said I'd wait. In the meantime, she took a look at it, said all it needed was a bit more of a trim (on the wrong side, the side where it's marginally less horrible) and offered to do it for me. Heh. Like I'd trust her to cut it again. So she said I could speak to Bruno, but I'd have to wait, as he was very busy.
At which, he finished his customer's hair - and went straight to his next customer, fully aware I wanted to speak to him. Couldn't even spare me a minute. How's that for customer service?
I walked out, said I'd never go back. I still have an ugly, horrible mess of a haircut, and I'm £24 out of pocket, but being in there was making me feel ill.
I think I should put a note about this on the BCP's Local Amenities database against Casanova's entry. I certainly SHALL be adding comments to all the review sites I can find where Casanova is listed. I'm not just upset now, I'm angry, and you know what they say about angry Wooki... er, Jouleses.
There is another hairdresser on Sandy Park Rd, dead opposite Casanova. It's called Zone - which may or may not be auspicious - and I shall check it out on Thursday.
It took me two years to grow it out to this soft froth of mane, exactly how I wanted it. All I wanted done - and showed her I wanted done - was to prune the long top bit so it brushed back to complete the mane effect (and to tidy up two small heavier clumpy bits at the nape of my neck).
- This is what she's left me with - ugly, uneven, the sides hacked short, the clumps still there and the top bit almost the right length, except now, with the sides butchered, it looks stupid and makes my face look even longer than it really is. And she thinks this is OK.
I am disgusted. I'd be ashamed of it if it was my work.
Monday, June 13, 2011
My acanthus spinosa has eleven flower heads this year! I thought the awful weather at the end of last year had killed it, but it's come on amazingly. So much so that I ought to try to split it in the autumn.
In fact, things seem to be picking up in the garden. The courgette and marrow plants have doubled in size in the last few days, I'm now picking mange-tout twice a day, and I have two cucumbers developing on the 'burpless' plant (the other, the new-to-me Flamingo variety, is still too small to have flowers yet - it was planted late - but is growing strongly). So fingers crossed...
Ferdinand our resident bat is back, happily hunting bugs every night. Ken thinks he may have brought a friend along, there may have been a smaller bat hunting too. They move too flitty-quick for me to tell.
Odd ad of the day: Peugot 308. How on earth can anyone think that having a white dress sprayed with filthy, oily water from the road thrown up by a car's wheels could possibly be sexy?
Apples, and pink and white foxgloves in the meadow...
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Rain. Lots and lots of rain. It's not here that we need it, it's over in the drought-ridden south east, where the crops are failing. Food prices are already through the roof (nearly doubled on some staples) with the global recession, so what this is going to do I dread to think.
Though that said, it's not that great over here. The cold (and it was cold enough for us to have to put our heating back on today. It's nearly mid-summer, dammit!) and lack of decent sun has slowed everything down: my tomatoes are not doing anything like as well as they should, and I'm now concerned that my sweetcorn may not thrive (though it is specifically bred for indifferent British summers and it's late harvesting, September to October, so it may still be OK...)
Tonight we watched Battle of Los Angeles. Well, when I say we, Ken lasted until quarter to ten, Kai had to go up at ten, and I hung on to the bitter end (except for the five minutes spent stripping the carcase of the roast chicken we had for dinner today), sitting gaping at the screen unable to believe I could be watching something so bad. A truly, truly abysmal film. (Mind you, it's Asylum, so I should have expected the worst...) The 2 out of 10 the IMDb gives it is overrated. Someone there described it as "Right up there with Plan 9 From Outer Space, but not as entertaining" and that just about says it all.
I could do with some of this...
Saturday, June 11, 2011
X-Men: First Class... Absolutely brilliant. Really, really good. Superb characterisations, extremely good acting (for the most part. Emma Frost left me cold (arf arf!) and Angel was... heh... less than believable. But Banshee was terrific!), and truly excellent backstories. And the bit with Wolverine is hysterical. All together very impressed! Can't wait for the next ones. Our only difficulty is whether we buy the DVD as soon as it's available (because we both want to watch it again, right now) or grit our teeth and wait for a putative Director's Cut.
Our hedgehog seems to prefer peanuts to sultanas... Saw him tonight just as it got dark, trundling along the slabs again and stopping to stuff his little snout with the peanuts. I called for K&K, so now we've all seen him. It's lovely to know he's there.
After dinner Ken suggested a Filmflex (for a break, as he's just done the last spread for the book, based on my research. Reads well). Kai pointed out that... well, what can you possibly follow X-Men 5 with? so we opted for a special offer cheapie, £1.99 for 48 hours - Altitude. Reading the blurb and the reviews we were expecting to sit and laugh it to pieces - but actually and to our surprise it's an intriguing little film with a great ending. The acting is OK, not brilliant but believable, and the plot, while not unique, was very nicely handled. Well worth a look (but not worth paying a lot for).
Friday, June 10, 2011
Kai home, revising for his history GCSE on Monday. He's more than halfway through his exams now, and says everything's going OK.
Watched Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers last night. And thoroughly enjoyed it! Good chemistry between the main characters (... why is my brain whispering Martell/Dulann slash...?) and a fun, if daft plot. The notion of a young, maverick crew of Rangers is very appealing. I really really wish the series had been made, it could have been great.
... think I'll have to go back to the hairdresser to complain. It's not like I have a lot going for me, but I've always loved my hair. Now I just want to cry every time I look in the mirror.
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Back from hairdresser. And I could cry. Despite my showing her exactly what I wanted before we even started, she's ruined it, cut it far, far too short. I hate it. Only good thing is that at least it grows quickly: three months and it'll be back to where I want it again.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
[grump] Remind me not to ever mention 'day off' ever again... BCP/Neighbourhood Partnerships meeting at 12.30 and by the time I'd also dived into the butcher and done a Sainsbug shop it was gone three, and I didn't finish the first bit of the work the meeting generated until well gone 11. Going to take a good few hours tomorrow to get the rest done. And I still have to get the synopsis for a possible book proposal written fairly urgently, as well. It's all go...
Monday, June 06, 2011
'OORAY!! My contribution to the new book is now done. Well, except for revisions/additions/corrections, but we expect that...
Can have a day off now.
Sunday, June 05, 2011
... why are Sundays always so maniacally busy?
Saturday, June 04, 2011
So there I was, standing at the landing window, wondering if I'd ever see our prickly little friend, when suddenly, hedgehog!
He trundled out of the meadow, scampered along the 'railway platform' slabs, then went back into the meadow. A good sized adult, very lively and obviously on the hunt for his breakfast. Happy now!
Busy day again - shopping, a little gardening (planted hyssop and garlic chives in the new herb bed), research and the second ep of Charlie Jade this evening. How can a series with such a fascinating premise be so mind-numbingly dull? It keeps sending me to sleep...
Tired again. Hoping for an early(ish) night.
Friday, June 03, 2011
We aren't at all sure what plane this is but it must be something pretty big!
Hottest day of the year so far. I'd promised Kai a day out if he got enough revision done, so today we went to Severn Beach...
This time we walked down the estuary, towards Avonmouth, instead of the other direction. It's a bit of a hike, but there's always a breeze, and it's never crowded there.
The wind turbines at Avonmouth (a.k.a. "The whirling blades of destiny" - Kai). I think they're beautiful. The two giraffes to the left are massive cranes! There are two more turbines on the Wales side that you can just make out across the river (no photo I'm afraid, they were just that little bit too far away).
So we had a lovely, if exhausting, day - until we got back to the station to find the 13.54 train had been cancelled. We were not impressed: there's only a train every two hours and BR weren't prepared to do anything to help (like provide a bus for us - us being the 18 people, half of them kids, waiting for the train). Maybe this is British Rail's latest thing, leave your paying customers stranded...
With a two hour wait for the 15.54 we used up some of the time on a walk the other way, up to the new suspension bridge (worked out we walked about four and half miles in total, which isn't much - I was sure it was further, although, given how hot it was, a walk to the end of the road would have felt like a marathon today...) and ended up sitting on a bench for a bit to rest the legs. That, unfortunately, was a mistake: I now have a most unpleasantly-sunburned face (and Kai's neck is a bit sore too). Aloe gel is helping, but it's still burning. (I didn't take lotion with us as we only planned to be there for two hours.) And then on the way back the train kept stopping (half hour journey took nearly an hour), so of course we then hit the rush-hour traffic on the bus.
Still, it was all good training for the trip to the Eden Project, which we're hoping to manage over the summer holidays.
Photo below is from about three quarters of the way along the path we took, looking back to Severn Beach village. We're about a mile away from the new bridge at this point.
Quieter and more relaxing day planned for tomorrow.
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Another busy day. Kai revising, but took time off to dig an offshoot to the veg bed for some herbs (the turves have gone up to the slope upon which sits the bench) - now have a small sage, some flat-leaved parsley and a tiny thyme (the rosemary bush is down by the greenhouse). Will get some garlic chives on the go on Saturday and see if I do better with them than with ordinary chives...
The SyFy channel is re-showing A Town Called Eureka (we missed it the first time around). It's rollicking good fun so far, although the timing is a little awkward - 7 - 8 pm, every day at the moment.
The woodpigeons were a huge disappointment. Mine tasted most peculiar - more like fish than game - and Ken didn't like his either. Kai ate his, but won't fret if he never has another. And when I cut the bramley apple and walnut loaf, it had dried fruit in it, so I couldn't eat that either (Kai didn't like it). But you don't know 'til you try... The belly pork with Thai rice that we had tonight was delicious, though.
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
So off we tanked to Bedminster...
Kai managed to leave his acoustic guitar on the school bus last Thursday, but luckily one of his friends grabbed it and has kept it safely at his home for us. Since today was the day for picking up my painting from the Grant Bradley Gallery, and since the D sprog lives not far from there, we combined the trip and collected the guitar first. Then after the Gallery it was back into town for St Nick's Wednesday open market (where I managed to spend far too much: we're having roast woodpigeon tonight, probably with some of the bramley apple and walnut loaf, then spelt sesame cookies - which are absolutely delicious. Tomorrow will be honey-mustard glazed roast belly pork with Thai rice...) One of the stalls was selling unusual herbs, so I now have a chocolate mint plant. Yes, really. It smells of After Eight...
Tired now. But only two more spreads to research and the first draft of the book will be finished - a month before the deadline!
On Skype, a couple of days ago...
Lutra - Hey, guess what? I need a hearing aid [rolls eyes]
Since I'm catching up... forgot to say but I invested in a large stainless steel stock-pot from Tesco a few weeks back: used it for the first time yesterday to make chicken stock with the chicken carcass from Monday's dinner. Eight substantial portions of stock, and it smells great! (Even Kai commented he liked the smell...)
Beautiful. You probably can't see it in this photo, but there are tiny white specks on the blue bottle top and down the right hand side of the vase. She's used sparkly paint for these parts, but it only really shows when the light hits the painting the right way - so pretty! It's now sitting above my monitor: will take a photo later, when the light is on.