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
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01/11/2009 - 30/11/2009
01/12/2009 - 31/12/2009
01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
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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
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01/07/2011 - 31/07/2011
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01/11/2011 - 30/11/2011
01/12/2011 - 31/12/2011
01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
01/02/2012 - 28/02/2012
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01/04/2012 - 30/04/2012
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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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finally got around to cleaning the stack: shifted about a ton of dust from the motherboard fan (and presumably some from the power unit, which is now purring along softly and chucking out substantially more cold air than previously), plugged the spare ethernet cable into the router so Kai can now have internet on the laptop, and installed my replacement tablet and keyboard. (OOORAY!! Keys with things on them I can read! No excuse to keep hitting o or i or u instead of i or u or o (or equivalent) or ; instead of l or... you get the idea. The only keys I could actually still read on the old keyboard were q, x and v...) And listened to Dream Theater's Train of Thought (Kai's CD - he loves the band's music) while we worked: 'tis powerful stuff.

Now I've cleared down the client stuff I can take a stab at Chillin', the sequel to Suds... [beg]

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Well, we've just had a power cut and had to reboot everything, including the modem. No idea whether there'll be another, so hurrying to post.

Treated myself to Blackout Transformer. Just a small one, and I wouldn't normally buy a Decepticon, but he came with an itty bitty teeny weeny teensiest Scorponok and I couldn't resist. Pics here.

He's sitting on top of my monitor, otherwise I won't have room for Ironhide come Yule.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Been a strange few days. Definitely chilly once the sun starts going down (if not earlier). Ken says time to hibernate, and it is almost cold enough to get the winter downie back on the bed. Which is ridiculous. It's not even September yet!

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

A quiet day with a lot of general repairs around the house (and a little window-cleaning). This evening watched latest Lovefilm, Season of the Witch, which was oddly... pointless. Although Kai now fancies watching LotR (all of it). Maybe tomorrow.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Made a start on clearing out the shed with Ken, but half way through it started absolutely bucketing down, so heavy it flooded the patio and Kai asked when we got the new pool! It's cold too. Suddenly, autumn...

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

I know there are a few people around the world waiting for this, so I'll just quickly post Kai's GCSE exam results here.

Units from the OCR Level 2 National Short Course Award in ICT (vocational course - overall Distinction):
      ICT Skills for Business - Distinction
      Creating Computer Graphics - Distinction

GCSEs:
      English      B
      German      B
      Religious Studies      B

      English Lit      A
      D&T: Product Design      A
      History      A
      Science      A
      Biology      A
      Chemistry      A
      Physics      A
      Higher Mathematics      A*

He also took maths A Level as part of the higher maths course - and got a highly respectable C grade.

So entry into sixth form is not a problem. And we are very proud...

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

RIGHT! Little cracky Transformers-inspired (note that 'inspired' tag - you won't find this in any Tf continuum!) fic for Lutra. See the post two below this for the backstory... (Edit: you don't need to know anything about the Transformers universe for this to make sense, but it may add to your fun if you do.)

SUDS!

The first indication Poppy had that there might be something wrong was when all of the washing ended up pink.
     She bent down to stare at the wet material pressing against the front loader's transparent door, scowling. Multitudinous shades of pink stared back at her. Opening the door and dragging the damp mass into a laundry basket, she rummaged through it in search of whatever stray pink article had had the audacity to creep into the wash while she wasn't looking.
     She couldn't find it.
     Frowning, she spun the drum around to see if it was clinging to the top, hiding itself away from her wrath. But no, there was nothing there.
     She stood up, lips pursed. Something in a pocket, maybe – a red paper serviette or something like that? Grimacing – there were few things she liked less than groping in wet pockets for lurking things – she explored the few items with pockets that had been in the wash, but found nothing more threatening than a couple of old bus tickets and a two-pence piece.
     Perhaps the laundry detergent? It was a cheap brand. Maybe some sort of...pinkening agent had got into it by accident? She poured a little of the powder into her hand and gazed at it. Nothing pink there. But then, perhaps it only activated when mixed with water? She dumped the handful into a glass and added a little tapwater, stirring it with a handy butterknife, then held it up to eyelevel to watch what happened.
     Nothing. Nowt. Not a sausage. Well, it dissolved as it was supposed to, but nothing more than that.

Hm.

Something in the water then? But the water from the tap had been completely clear. Chlorinated and fluourinated to within an inch of its (metaphorical) life, undoubtedly, but not pink.
     Grumbling to herself, Poppy glared at the heap in the laundry basket. She could either put up with everything being pink, or risk washing it again and hope the same thing didn't happen a second time. At least it was all her own stuff, so no-one else was going to be offended by pink boxers or sport socks, and while it wasn't her favourite colour, she could live with it.
     Putting it through another wash was a waste of time, water, electricity and powder. She opted to live with it.
     When the next wash also came out pink, she wasn't quite so calm about it. Especially since her favourite turquoise shirt ended up an ugly muddy purpleish colour. The machine was well out of guarantee, but the company did have a help line, of sorts. The bored voice on the other end had never heard of any such thing happening, but could send out a service engineer to look at it for her. Wincing at the cost, Poppy decided it was cheaper than buying a new washing machine and made the appointment.

The engineer who eventually turned up two hours late opened the machine, took one look and put the backplate back on, shaking his head.
     "Can't touch this."
     "Why not?"
     "Not our machine."
     "What... Of course it is!"
     He shook his head again, more emphatically.
     "Sorry love, this has been tampered with. This solenoid valve in't standard, the timer looks like... well, it's not timing in minutes any more, and your agitator's up the spout. And the motor looks like it's been turbo-charged."
     Poppy stared at him, helplessly.
     "...but..."
     "We can only work on our own machines."
     "... but..."
     "You'll have to get hold of whoever did the original work." He scrawled something across the work order then handed over the clipboard and a pen. "Gotta charge you for the callout, but there'll be no charge for parts or labour. Sign here."
     Poppy automatically scribbled her name where indicated and the engineer watched her, the faintest gleam of sympathy in his eyes.
     "Sorry love. My missus gets all aeriated when the machine plays up, so I know what it's like. Good luck getting it fixed."
     As the front door closed behind him, Poppy glanced over her shoulder, eying the machine warily. It seemed to smirk, mocking her...

The crunch came with the next wash she put through. She'd avoided using the machine for a week, but finally couldn't put a wash off any longer or she'd have nothing to wear for work. Tense with trepidation she loaded it, very carefully selected the right setting and added an anti-limescale tablet, the correct amount of detergent, having switched to a liquid in the hope it might rectify matters, and a half-capful of fabric conditioner. Then, holding her breath, she hit the 'start' switch. The machine whirred and spluttered to life, and she retired to the kitchen table with a mug of coffee to wait for the cycle to complete.
     Once again everything came out pink.
     "Oh for..." Poppy felt her blood pressure shooting up, and without thinking slapped the top of the machine as hard as she could. She was distracted from the pain of human flesh meeting plastic coated metal when the machine seemed to flinch under her hand. Disbelievingly she heard what sounded like a peculiarly mechanical 'ouch' come from deep within.
     "What the..." The analytical part of her mind absently noted that it seemed to be her month for incomplete sentences. The more emotional part jolted her into jumping backwards with a stifled shriek.
     "Who..? What...?" She stumbled back to the table and dropped into her seat, staring wildly at the appliance. For a moment her mind went blank, then began to cascade rationalisations. The engineer had said the machine wasn't standard – had she somehow managed to accidentally buy a prototype of a new sort of washer? One equipped with voice commands or responses or something? Was one of her friends playing some sort of obscure joke? Or had she simply imagined it?
     Occam's Razor, she thought to herself, taking a deep breath and trying to calm her racing pulse. I just imagined it. 'Course I did. Why would anyone make a talking washing machine, for Pete's sake?
     She glowered at the machine. "OK, you stupid hunk of metal..."
     It was as far as she got.
     "I'm NOT thtupid!"
     Silence fell like a workman's hammer dropped from a roof. Poppy debated briefly with herself whether she'd finally cracked from the stress of work, then reminded herself that being a minor accountant in a big company wasn't really stressful enough to cause hallucinations. And she was pretty sure there hadn't been anything... dodgy in the coffee.
     "You can talk."
     "Well, yeth." The tone suggested the 'duh!' on the end of the reply.
     "You can talk."
     The selection lights twinkled on and off across the front face of the machine. It vaguely suggested laughter, though how she knew that Poppy couldn't have said.
     "Tho can you."
     "Yes, but I'm supposed to be able to talk. I'm human."
     "Yeth. And?"
     Oh my god. I'm sitting here arguing with a washing machine. The realisation tickled, and before she knew it she found herself giggling near-hysterically.
     "You're a washing machine! You're a... a thing. An appliance. Things don’t talk."
     If a washing machine were capable of bridling indignantly, this one would have done so.
     "I might look like a wathing mathine. I might perform a wathing mathine'th functionth. But I'm not jutht a thing."
     Poppy managed to rein back the giggles enough to be able to speak intelligibly. Though not necessarily intelligently.
     "Why did you make my washing pink?"
     She could swear the voice turned whiney. "But I thought you'd like pink. Everything I've read thayth pink is a girlth colour..."
     "Everything you've read where?"
     "World wide web of courth. It'th where we all get our information from."
     'We'? Oh my god, there are more of them?
     "What are you? And what are you doing in my kitchen?"
     How a stationary cube of metal and plastic and hoses and wiring could look shifty she was never able to say. Nevertheless, the machine managed it.
     "Um..."
     "I think I have a right to know."
     There was the electronic equivalent of a sigh.
     "Hiding."
     It was mumbled, and Poppy leaned forward, frowning.
     "What?"
     "I'm hiding."
     Poppy blinked.
     "Hiding from what?"
     "Them."
     "Them, who?" God, she'd had easier conversations with a three year old.
     "Them." the machine hissed. "The bad guyth. Dethepticonth."
     "What are... you know what? I don't want to know. I just want an ordinary washing machine. One that washes clothes how I want them washed and doesn't talk back to me."
     "I can do that." It sounded overly eager to Poppy, who eyed the machine suspiciously.
     "But you're... alive. Well, conscious, anyway."
     "Yeth, but we're uthed to hiding. In plain thight, tho to thpeak."
     Poppy metaphorically banged her head against the kitchen table.
     "Isn't that a bit... unfair? Boring for you?" What am I saying? Why do I care?
     "Oh, it'th all right. Anything for a peatheful life."
     Poppy considered her options. She supposed she could get rid of the thing – although that would mean buying a new machine, and given her finances at the moment that would be a pain in the bum. Also... well, there was something weirdly appealing about having someone in the house that she could talk to when she was alone. Kind of like having a dog. A dog that didn't eat anything, need walking or taking to the vet. That stayed where it was put. And that could talk back, hold conversations with her... So not much like a dog at all, really... She frowned as a thought struck her.
     "Um... are you male or female."
     A moment's thoughtful silence, then, "Well, we don't really have male and female ath thuch. But I thuppothe I'd veer more to boy than girl."
     Oh my god! He's been washing my underwear! Inside him! And I've walked about naked...
     "But you're not my type."
     "What...?" Belatedly Poppy realised she'd spoken aloud, and promptly blushed a deep red. The machine regarded her for a moment.
     "Thee? You do like pink. You've gone pink."
     Gritting her teeth, Poppy scowled at the machine.
     "It's called 'embarrassment', you... perverted voyeuristic contraption you!"
     Another moment's silence while the machine, presumably, accessed the internet – how? Poppy wondered – to check the reference, and then, "That'th not fair." The electronic voice sounded – sulky? "It'th not my fault."
     "You could have made your presence known earlier! Right back at the beginning would have been good."
     Her imagination provided an image of a washing machine with its head lowered contritely, scuffing the floor with a foot.
     "Thorry."
     Poppy was about to launch into a rant – then changed her mind and took several deep breaths.
     OK, if she was going to keep the thing, they'd have to come to some arrangements concerning privacy. She'd have to find out what it was, where it came from, how many others there were...
     But for the moment...
     "OK. I want your promise that from now on, you'll just wash my clothes. You leave them the same colour they went in."
     "I promith."
     Poppy nodded.
     "Right. Good... So you do anything else? Other than wash clothes, I mean? And do you have a name?"
     The machine paused, then said, guardedly, "I can do other thingth, yeth." Before Poppy could ask what, her new acquaintance added, "And my nameth Thakeththpin."
     Poppy untangled the lisped syllables.
     "Shakespin?"
     "Yeth."
     Poppy sighed resignedly, then smiled. She was over the shock now. After all, not everyone had a... sentient washing machine in their home.
     "OK Shakespin. Welcome to the kitchen."

And the subsequent Skyping...

Lutra: ROFLMAO! He lisps!
Joules: Yers... I thought that was apt... No idea why, I just did.
[giggling] Completey appropriate.
[g] Like it?
Oh yes!
Goodgood. I shall post it on the blog, and maybe on ffnet too. And it really does kinda demand a sequel doesn't it?
And smut! ... Though to be honest I have no idea how [g] Though if ss really does have voyeuristic tendencies...?
[beg]
I have to visualise his transformed body. Haven't yet.

I should go to bed soon... oops, midnight. Very soon, then. Thanks for the fic - iz funny! (Oh had brief mental image of Poppy coming home to find the washing machine exerting himself with say, the new fridge.)
... [PING]...
[smirk]
[THWAPTHWAPTHWAP]
[yip!owowowo!smirk]
... I hate you....
[smirk] of course you do.

[shakes head] Stay logged in for the next instalment. Though if it has smut it may have to go in The (other) Zone...

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So off we tanked to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

It's very good. Heart-breaking in places, a little OTT in others, and you do have to serve it with a goodly dollop of suspension of disbelief, but on the whole surprisingly plausible. Oddly, this was one film where 3D may have been used to really good advantage, but there you go.

The Tf-inspired crackfic mentioned in yesterday's post is now under way. It's called SUDS and is going to be very silly. If it's not too long I may post it here when it's finished...

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Skyping...

Joules: at the moment I'm rereading Teaching Young Bots Old Tricks.... [licks lips] has to be a real fave. Wish it was finished, although it does end on a rather nice note.
Lutra: [beg] Yes. And of course we know why OP was the plugger rather than the pluggee his first time [eg].
?? [being dense tonight].
Having a Prime pregnant in the middle of the war, not the best tactic.
Ah, yes, of course.
Cos I'm sure Sod's law applies to 'bots, too.
Indubitably.
[giggling]
[drifts off] A Prime/Ironhide sparkling - gawds help us. [pause to ponder, alarmed] Oh gods - can you imagine?
D'awww!
[spluttering]
[smirk]
[big xmiek]
LOL!
LOL! um - big smirk I mean. [eyes fingerials warily] why you no work?
brb. Washing machine's been needy....
I'm glad you can translate joules... you have a needy washing machine? Have you been abusing it? is it a submissive bot? ... If I was prone to giggling I'd be doing it about now.
Oh gods, I hope not. Really don't think I'd be good for something submissive... No, it 'errors' very easily. Bit precious [gamely not imagining you giggling].
[falls over spluttering] [regains a measure of control, then collapses again, trying to fight down the 'ping' that just hit....]
ROLFMAO!
[falls over spluttering again] Oh gods..... [wiping eyes] I think I might just try that. [making notes....]
[smirksmirk]
Owow. Stomach hurts from laughing....

[evil grin] There may be a distinctly cracky fic in the near future...

The fic (Teaching Young Bots Old Tricks) is on ffnet, in case anyone is interested. It's very good, very funny, extremely plausible, and very well written.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

[bemused] So I'm sitting here, feeding hatchlings, grumbling to myself that I think I'm going to give up on the app, I'm only getting maybe one new egg a month if that, and suddenly I get seven (SEVEN!) new eggs in a row.

Wish I could do the same with the lottery...

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Yesterday was frustrating. (Then again, Sundays often are.) I really wanted to have the new worktable for Kai's room made, so I could paint it and we could get it set up. But what with procrastinating males, I was carving the roast pork dinner before they managed to finish it (at 6.30 pm) which was, of course, far too late to paint. And I still had all the other chores to finish afterwards - ringing grandparents, feeding birds and hedgehog, watering and closing up greenhouse (though to be fair K&K do help with that, especially if I'm pushed for time. Ken had to do it while we were in Devon, so knows what's needed).

So got up early today instead (well, 7.30 am) and slapped on two coats of paint before Kai even surfaced. It should be dry enough to get up into the room in an hour or so.

I'm fidgety. Kai gets his GCSE results on Thursday (he's said he doesn't mind if I go with him to collect the details: I have things to do in town afterwards) and it's all a bit tense here. Makes focussing on work a little tricky.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Computer now up in Kai's room and the ethernet cable connected - without problems, luckily. Other than that it's been a blissfully quiet day...

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Cabinet painted and drying outside. Cheap paint (required two coats) but it's a nice ice-blue colour that will be perfectly serviceable in the room. And as Lutra pointed out, it'll be covered in other stuff in no time anyway, so the quality isn't exactly a high priority.

My Ravage pen-drive arrived while we were in Devon - it's cute...

Ravage pendrive

Hopefully catch Torchwood on replay tonight. Last week's was... dunno. I found it disappointing somehow.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's no good, I'm going to have to update the blog earlier - by eleven these days I'm too tired to be bothered...

Yesterday also involved two loads of shopping, standard one to Tesco then another to Proper Job to pick up gloss paint for the cabinet (and the worktable K&K are now designing out of the ancient workstation parts I've had sitting behind me for a year) for Kai's room. It took longer than anticipated (of course) to get the room cleaned/windows washed/curtains done, but we were ready in time for the bed delivery. Which was supposed to be between 1 and 4 but which didn't turn up until 4.15, which occasioned not a little stress. However, it all slotted together beautifully and Kai is very pleased with it.

Today I was going to sand and paint, but that has to be done outdoors and it's pissing down, so will have to try again tomorrow when the forecast is for dry weather. I really want Kai's room done: my own writing is being pushed further and further back, and it's beginning to frustrate me. (Though that being said, I still need to sort out my room, and then the shed is next on the agenda to be cleared out. Ken will help with that.)

Off to Maplins for a 20 metre ethernet cable. We might be some time...

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Well, new bed delivered and installed, and Kai is very pleased. The room looks bigger, too.

Think another early night is in order...

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quick catch-up...

Kai helped me bus a whole load of stuff up to the Broadwalk charity shops today - finally the hall is clear (well, enough to get the new bed in tomorrow anyway). While there we picked him up a bedside lamp for the bedside cabinet he's inheriting from me. It has a history, that little cabinet. I bought it while I was at Uni in Scotland and it's travelled around the UK with me. It has four layers of gloss paint on it - grey, black, yellow and peach - which we'll need to sand off before repainting it (probably light grey), oh joy...

In the house, two of my phalaenopsis have flower spikes: unfortunately, however, the myrtle sprigs I was trying to root up have all expired. In the greenhouse, the white egret orchids have finished flowering and are settling down to sleep 'til next year. My tomatoes have finally put on some growth, and the peppers are doing well. In the garden, we're in the middle of the blackberry harvest, almost at the end of the blueberry season, and our apples are almost ready. National phenomenon that, apparently all the country's apples are ready about two months earlier than normal. This does not bode well for the winter...

The growth on my new sweetcorn variety has been horribly uneven, with some now reaching over five foot and others badly stunted. I may leave a comment about it on T&M's Facebook page, as it's most unusual for their seeds to fail, and if other people have had the same problem they do need to know.

Mange tout and dwarf beans have now just about finished too. But the marrows have started: have two so far, and had some steamed tonight with dinner. Very tasty!

Should really try for an early night tonight.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Right! Pics!

Monday we stayed in Exeter. Spent an hour getting all the info we needed for the various bus trips and buying the train tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday, then went exploring. Found St Nicholas' Priory (900 years old) and went in to have a look - great place but I wouldn't want to live there! Then it was down Stepcote Hill to the mediaeval bridge, then along the river to The Quay (lots of eateries and craft shops). They were running boat trips along the canal out to Double Locks, and since it was a hot sunny day we opted for one... Wonderfully peaceful... Pics here.

Tuesday Wendy drove us to Tintagel. The last time we were there we were both still at college - it's a lot more touristy now (though to be honest you can say that about anywhere in the South West. Bloody emmets...) We climbed to the first stage, and Kai went on to the second, but my legs were decidedly shaky after climbing that far so I opted to sit and rest for a bit. Gorgeous day, and the views! Pics here. On the way back we stopped at the Delabole windfarm - it's owned by Good Energy. We've recently switched to them: with power prices going up all the time we decided bugger it, we'd rather our money went to a company we believe in...

It was a fantastic day - thanks Wendy!

Wednesday it was off by train to the Eden Project, which is ten years old this year! Wonderful wonderful place, and not too horrendously busy while we were there. The pics really say it all, here. (Looooong and very tiring day it was.)

Thursday we trained it again along the Jurassic Coast westward to visit Ken's folks in Babbacombe. We checked out the Marychurch charity shops (which is now traditional!) and then Kai and I walked along Oddicombe beach. Overcast day, and muggy at the shoreline, but still a very pleasant walk. Great to see the folks again.

Friday I'd suggested Lyme Regis - mainly because it's a fantastic ride and Kai has never been there. (Me neither for donkey's years.) These days the bus crawls its way down narrow steep roads to Beer and Seaton before reaching Lyme Regis and heading on to Weymouth, which was convenient (if a little hair-raising) for us. Lyme Regis is horribly touristy, so we headed off to the far more sparsely populated coastal path beach, where Kai discovered a passion for dry-stone construction. Very impressive those pillars were, too. Pics here.

Then it was Saturday, and we all bussed it to Exmouth for a final sight of the sea. Kai found his steel-stringed guitar, and we used up the last of our energy walking from the town out to Maer Rocks and back. (No pics - there are plenty in other places on the blog, like here.)

And then it was back, laden down with about as much as we arrived with, including a Royal Fern from the Eden Project for Kai's woodland pool area, and of course his guitar. The Balloon Fiesta was on, but the wind was wrong for the mass lift-off. However, the Red Arrows were performing, and one flew right over the garden, so close you could almost see the pilot's face - a wonderful welcome back!

Writing this very early on Tuesday morning but backdating to Monday because why the hell not? I did manage to get all the washing done before it rained, and got in a major shop (and treated myself to a Ratchet) - and bought Kai's new bed, which is being delivered on Wednesday.

... will have to have my recovery holiday once he's at sixth form...

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

We're baaaaaaack!
Tintagel

And absolutely bloody shattered. S'what comes of trying to cram in too much I s'pose.


Tintagel, Tuesday ->


Photographs - well, yes, there are photographs. 690 of them, actually. I've made a start on winnowing them down, but now (1.40 am Monday) I'm flagging, so will have to continue tomorrow (after the washing and the shopping and the garden and greenhouse care...) Due warning - they'll be in PS auto slideshow format (because it's quicker) and they'll be big. I'm thinking 1200 px in width at least.


Bee at Eden Project


<- Bumblebee at the Eden Project, Wednesday.



Babbacombe


Babbacombe to visit the other grandparents, Thursday ->



Lyme Regis



<- Kai's first rock art constructions, Lyme Regis, Friday.



Exmouth




And at Exmouth on Saturday ->

Kai found the steel-stringed guitar he's been looking for! (We've bought it for him for Yule.)



Exhaustion aside, we managed to do everything we set out to do though, which I'm very pleased about. Teh AWSUM Playlist played on both the folks' DVD player and in Wendy's car. And on that note I must say a special thanks to Wendy, for driving us all to Tintagel and back (via Delabole wind farm) along the route of the old A38 (and you can shout at me if I've got that wrong!) through all the villages - a crackin' fun day out!

There will be more when I can get it all sorted, but for now I'm going to go and fall over and (hopefully) sleep more than four hours in my own, comfortable, bed.

Oh, and Tyjer came bounding down the garden when I called him, and was happy to be picked up and cuddled, and followed me around and curled up beside me purring while I ate dinner. He's his mum's cat, my Tyjer, and very forgiving.

Stay tuned...

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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Saturday night, 10.40 pm-ish... Well that was fun. Tiny microsecond power-out, the computers rebooted - sans Firefox for a few minutes, which was alarming - and all the house alarms went off all down the road. (Not ours: we're on a battery that recharges from the mains.) [blink] And now the TV signal has frozen in the middle of Mock the Week....

Hm. And blogger is refusing to save as well, and it looks like Skype's offline too. Wonderful. We appear to have lost everything. Oh joy.

Contented cat is contented

But happy cat is happy, so that's all right.

Sunday morning. And everyone had just got their alarms stopped when there was a second micro power-cut and everything went off again. And then there was a third while my computer was still rebooting - at which point I gave up, closed down and watched Transformers 2. No idea what the problem was: everything's OK again now. Sorry Lutra - would have been here if I could have.

This morning it's wet. Very wet. Tyjer has just come in looking like the proverbial drowned rat. Travel's going to be interesting this afternoon.

And we're off to Devon. No posts until next Sunday, at which point there will be photographs. Assuming my camera cooperates and the world doesn't end in the meantime.

Later!

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Saturday, August 06, 2011

SideswipeSideswipe alt form



Sainsbug's have a series of itty bitty Transformer toys for £4.97. They had a Sideswipe, and I just couldn't resist...

So cute!




And yes, even the itty bitty ones transform. Here's his alt form. ->

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Friday, August 05, 2011

Kai's room is coming on apace. His keyboards are now against the wall where the bookshelving used to be (he cleared and lifted three shelves to make space) and the space under the cabin bed, which used to be packed solid, is now down to a couple of crates that will fit under the new bed. He brought down the old Amstrad stereo (a little cube with radio, CD and cassette tape players that's older than he is!) to see if it still worked/if we wanted it back...

Our DVD player happily plays raw mp3s, but after we'd had a day of listening to the favourite playlists earlier in the week we found a ghost image of the track list column stubbornly refusing to leave the screen when we went back to the TV (as though it had burned itself on). It did eventually fade, but occasioned not a little alarm, as we can't afford to buy a new TV just yet. So we've been very wary of playing mp3s since. And although we still have the ancient stereo, it's bulky and we have nowhere for it to sit. However, our old speakers are still up on the wall and in good nick, so I wired them into the cube to see if we can play music without needing the TV on. Which we can, and the sound is fine.

So far so good, but the cube is so prehistoric it won't play mp3s. However, my preinstalled computer stereo software has a 'create CD for car or home stereo' option - which I've never needed to use - so I thought I'd give it a go. TEH AWSUM Playlist is 109 tracks long - fits easily onto an mp3 archive disc, but filled up six recordable CDs using the create option. But it works perfectly! And if it plays on the cube, it should play anywhere. [grins evilly at Wendy] So maybe we can have some music while travelling?

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Well, I now have an Ironhide. I'll rephrase that. I do have an Ironhide, but I can't actually have him til my birthday. [g] I can wait. I like Ironhide - he reminds me of me in my grumpy rhino mode. (Gorgeous detailing, especially the face. Ironhide that is, not me.)

So the day was spent in two loads of shopping, wrapping Yule presents, and leaving numerous lists for Ken: one for the birds, one for the other animals - cat, tarantula, crickets, hedgehog - another for the greenhouse and cold frame, another for food... Honestly, I need a holiday before my holiday - and I know I'll need another one to recover when I get back!

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Orthodontist this morning - she's very pleased. While over the river we took the opportunity to climb up through Brandon Hill Gardens, take a quick look around the Museum, and dive quickly into Forbidden Planet before heading back to Broadmead to pick up a spare skoosh. (Both FP and The Entertainer had some very nice Transformers figures, including Jolt and Ironhide - both of which I'd like - but the prices! £13 and £23 respectively at The Entertainer. Sainsbug's 'one third off' specials have obviously spoiled me...)

All fun, but tiring. And it was very hot today, and muggy. It's supposed to rain tonight and some of tomorrow - fingers crossed, because otherwise I'll have to water.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Heh. Two loads of shopping, a little client site stuff and not a lot of gardening. Life not terribly interesting at the moment...

Should pick up again next week.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Sooooo - what have we been doing...?

Much the same as usual. Client sites, a little gardening, Kai continues to clear his bedroom. We need to pick up a very long ethernet cable for him - will schedule that for when we get back from Devon. Two of my phalaenopsis orchids have flower spikes. The corn finally has cobs. I've decided not to bother with brassicas (except for a few Brussels sprouts) next year as they've been a complete failure.

At least it's restful...

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