Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...

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

Other sites:

:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications ::

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

... I'd write my autobiography, but no-one would believe it....

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

The Poppy Tales

(Transformers fanfiction!)

Transformers mini-comics here.

Adventures in Orchids

Apparently I am now collecting them...

There's room for one - or maybe two, at a pinch - more on that bedroom windowsill (the only one in the house that's ideal for them). Let's see what I find. Well, that didn't last long...

EO - Everlasting orchid. Phalaenopsis. I've had this orchid since 2007 and it just keeps flowering...

AO - Alien face orchid. Phalaenopsis . Bought 2018 - lovely little flowers, all different patterns!

RO - Rescued orchid photo to come when it flowers. Phalaenopsis. Rescued from a bin up the road in 2019. Classic!

TO - Tiny orchid. Phalaenopsis. Bought at Tesco 21.8.20. It just begged to come home with me. How could I say no?

CO - Crimson orchid. Cambria. Another Tesco find. This one may be going to live in Ken's room once we've redecorated and put up the new shelving; it prefers a cooler, less sunny windowsill. If so, I'll need to find another cambrian to keep it company.

GO - Golden orchid. Phalaenopsis. Saw this one when I bought CO and left it behind - then immediately regretted it as soon as I got home. Never seen one like it before. Ken, bless him, went back over to Tesco in the rain and bought it for me...

DO - Dendrobium Orchid. Smells of wisteria, so beautiful...

RO2 - Rescued orchid no 2. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I rescued from the wall along the road middle of 2021.

PO. Pink orchid. Phalaenopsis. This is the one I bought at Cabury Garden Centre on special, late 2021. It's much happier here!

TWO. Teeny weeny orchid, Phalaenopsis. Rescued from Tesco end 2021 (I think).

My IMDb ep summaries

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

For later:

Missing Earthian ep
Missing Haibane Renme eps)
(And possibly Marine Boy...)

Silver birch at Eastwood 


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

(Joules, Autumn 2004)

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

In Memoriam

17.03.09 - Argent

25.07.08 - Raptor

18.12.07 - Quyn

02.12.06 - Ryme

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

Currently reading:
Various Transformers books and graphic novels.

Currently working on:

Currently chuffed with:
My garden

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

Currently maintaining:

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

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

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

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

TPTB - The Powers That Be.

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

biteable - referring to an anatomical part vb, tasty.

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

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

Cumbles - n, cucumbers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Splish - verb. A combination of slosh and splash.

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

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

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

Murfs - noun, moths.

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

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

Shrumps - noun, mushrooms.

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

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

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

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

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

The Updates Blog

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

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

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

Butch by the talented 


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



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

A'lestrel by Valkyrie.

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

Albino Alsatian Benten (c) MEBird 


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

Radittsu, an oekaki for my birthday 04 



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

The Zone Plant from
The Zone 



OrganicHTML (which alas no longer seems to exist...)
[::..My Regular Reads..::]
:: Astronomical Pic of the Day [>]
:: What is Space... [>]
:: Dark Roasted Blend [>]
:: BLDG [>]
:: Watchismo Times [>]
[::..Fun Places..::]
::PALEOMAP Project
Absolutely fascinating.
:: Skymap
Check out the night sky where you are!
[::..Useful Sites..::]
:: GreenNet
First stop for environmental matters
:: The Forest of Avon
Our local community forest and places to visit
:: The Guardian
Online Guardian Newspaper.
:: Symbols
Exactly what it says
:: World Timeserver
For checking the current time around this world
:: Universal Currency Converter
Actually it's just a terran-global currency converter, not universal, but it's still useful...

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

I'll leave that to others to decide.

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

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

How could I resist?

Just too adorable...

and to complete the rainbow...

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

Useful sites:

Yamato -
Fabulous anime figures

Anime Lyrics
A huge selection... evil popups

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

   Dj: June Special
   CD: Ambivalence

Cyber City Oedo 808

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

From Eroica with Love

   Manga Vols 1, 9, 11

Mirage of Blaze

   DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)

R.G. Veda

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

Twelve Kingdoms

   Anime Vol 1-12: complete

Under the Glass Moon

   Manga Vol 1, 2
Vol 3 needed

Vampire Hunter D - Bloodlust


   Vampire Hunter D Book 1

New Vampire Miyu

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

Yami no Matsuei

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

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

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

(Thanks, Lutra, for the quote!)

07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002
08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002
10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002
11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002
12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002
01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003
02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003
03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003
07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003
08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003
09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003
10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003
11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003
01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004
10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004
11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005
10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005
12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005
01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006
02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006
03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006
04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006
05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006
06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006
07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006
09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006
11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
12/01/2006 - 12/31/2006
01/01/2007 - 01/31/2007
02/01/2007 - 02/28/2007
03/01/2007 - 03/31/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/30/2007
05/01/2007 - 05/31/2007
06/01/2007 - 06/30/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/31/2007
08/01/2007 - 08/31/2007
09/01/2007 - 09/30/2007
10/01/2007 - 10/31/2007
11/01/2007 - 11/30/2007
12/01/2007 - 12/31/2007
01/01/2008 - 31/01/2008
01/02/2008 - 29/02/2008
03/01/2008 - 31/03/2008
01/04/2008 - 04/30/2008
01/05/2008 - 31/05/2008
01/06/2008 - 30/06/2008
01/07/2008 - 31/07/2008
01/08/2008 - 31/08/2008
01/09/2008 - 30/09/2008
01/10/2008 - 31/10/2008
01/11/2008 - 31/11/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/12/2008 - 31/12/2008
01/01/2009 - 31/01/2009
01/02/2009 - 28/02/2009
01/03/2009 - 31/03/2009
01/04/2009 - 30/04/2009
01/05/2009 - 31/05/2009
01/06/2009 - 30/06/2009
01/07/2009 - 31/07/2009
01/08/2009 - 31/08/2009
01/09/2009 - 30/09/2009
01/10/2009 - 31/10/2009
01/11/2009 - 30/11/2009
01/12/2009 - 31/12/2009
01/01/2010 - 31/01/2010
01/02/2010 - 28/02/2010
01/03/2010 - 31/03/2010
01/04/2010 - 30/04/2010
01/05/2010 - 31/05/2010
01/06/2010 - 30/06/2010
01/07/2010 - 31/07/2010
01/08/2010 - 31/08/2010
01/09/2010 - 30/09/2010
01/10/2010 - 31/10/2010
01/11/2010 - 31/11/2010
01/12/2010 - 31/12/2010
01/01/2011 - 31/01/2011
01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
01/04/2011 - 30/04/2011
01/05/2011 - 31/05/2011
01/06/2011 - 30/06/2011
01/07/2011 - 31/07/2011
01/08/2011 - 31/08/2011
01/09/2011 - 30/09/2011
01/10/2011 - 31/10/2011
01/11/2011 - 30/11/2011
01/12/2011 - 31/12/2011
01/01/2012 - 31/01/2012
01/02/2012 - 28/02/2012
01/03/2012 - 31/03/2012
01/04/2012 - 30/04/2012
01/05/2012 - 31/05/2012
01/06/2012 - 30/06/2012
01/07/2012 - 31/07/2012
01/08/2012 - 31/08/2012
01/09/2012 - 30/09/2012
01/10/2012 - 31/10/2012
01/11/2012 - 30/11/2012
01/12/2012 - 31/12/2012
01/01/2013 - 31/01/2013
01/02/2013 - 28/02/2013
01/03/2013 - 31/03/2013
01/04/2013 - 30/04/2013
01/05/2013 - 31/05/2013
01/06/2013 - 31/06/2013
01/07/2013 - 31/07/2013
01/08/2013 - 31/08/2013
01/09/2013 - 30/09/2013
01/10/2013 - 31/10/2013
01/11/2013 - 30/11/2013
01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
01/04/2014 - 30/04/2014
01/05/2014 - 31/05/2014
01/06/2014 - 31/06/2014
01/07/2014 - 31/07/2014
01/08/2014 - 31/08/2014
01/09/2014 - 31/09/2014
01/10/2014 - 31/10/2014
01/11/2014 - 30/11/2014
01/12/2014 - 31/12/2014
01/01/2015 - 31/01/2015
01/02/2015 - 28/02/2015
01/03/2015 - 31/03/2015
01/04/2015 - 30/04/2015
01/05/2015 - 31/05/2015
01/06/2015 - 30/06/2015
01/07/2015 - 31/07/2015
01/08/2015 - 31/08/2015
01/09/2015 - 30/09/2015
01/10/2015 - 31/10/2015
01/11/2015 - 31/11/2015
01/12/2015 - 31/12/2015
01/01/2016 - 31/01/2016
01/022016 - 28/02/2016
01/03/2016 - 31/03/2016
01/04/2016 - 31/04/2016
01/05/2016 - 31/05/2016
01/06/2016 - 30/06/2016
01/07/2016 - 31/07/2016
01/08/2016 - 31/08/2016
01/09/2016 - 31/09/2016
01/10/2016 - 31/10/2016
01/11/2016 - 31/11/2016
01/12/2016 - 31/12/2016
01/01/2017 - 31/01/2017
01/02/2017 - 28/02/2017
01/03/2017 - 31/03/2017
01/04/2017 - 30/04/2017
01/05/2017 - 31/05/2017
01/06/2017 - 30/06/2017
01/07/2017 - 31/07/2017
01/08/2017 - 31/08/2017
01/09/2017 - 30/09/2017
01/10/2017 - 31/10/2017
01/11/2017 - 30/11/2017
01/12/2017 - 31/12/2017
01/01/2018 - 31/01/2018
01/02/2018 - 28/02/2018
01/03/2018 - 31/03/2018
01/04/2018 - 30/04/2018
01/05/2018 - 31/05/2018
01/06/2018 - 30/06/2018
01/07/2018 - 31/07/2018
01/08/2018 - 31/08/2018
01/09/2018 - 30/09/2018
01/10/2018 - 31/10/2018
01/11/2018 - 30/11/2018
01/12/2018 - 31/12/2018
01/01/2019 - 31/01/2019
01/02/2019 - 28/02/2019
01/03/2019 - 31/03/2019
01/04/2019 - 30/04/2019
01/05/2019 - 31/05/2019
01/06/2019 - 30/06/2019
01/07/2019 - 31/07/2019
01/08/2019 - 31/08/2019
01/09/2019 - 30/09/2019
01/10/2019 - 31/10/2019
01/11/2019 - 30/11/2019
01/12/2019 - 31/12/2019
01/01/2020 - 31/01/2020
01/02/2020 - 29/02/2020
01/03/2020 - 31/03/2020
01/04/2020 - 31/04/2020
01/05/2020 - 31/05/2020
01/06/2020 - 31/06/2020
01/07/2020 - 31/07/2020
01/08/2020 - 31/08/2020
01/09/2020 - 30/09/2020
01/10/2020 - 31/10/2020
01/11/2020 - 30/11/2020
01/12/2020 - 31/12/2020
01/01/2021 - 31/01/2021
01/02/2021 - 28/02/2021
01/03/2021 - 31/03/2021
01/04/2021 - 30/04/2021
01/05/2021 - 31/05/2021
01/06/2021 - 30/06/2021
01/07/2021 - 31/07/2021
01/08/2021 - 31/08/2021
01/09/2021 - 30/09/2021
01/10/2021 - 31/10/2021
01/11/2021 - 30/11/2021
01/12/2021 - 31/12/2021
01/01/2022 - 31/01/2022
01/02/2022 - 28/02/2022
01/03/2022 - 31/03/2022
01/04/2022 - 30/04/2022
01/05/2022 - 30/05/2022
01/06/2022 - 31/06/2022
01/07/2022 - 31/07/2022
01/08/2022 - 31/08/2022
01/09/2022 - 30/09/2022
01/10/2022 - 31/10/2022
01/11/2021 - 31/11/2021
01/12/2022 - 31/12/2022
01/01/2023 - 31/01/2023
01/02/2023 - 28/02/2023
01/03/2023 - 31/03/2023
01/04/2023 - 30/04/2023
01/08/2023 - 31/08/2023
01/11/2023 - 31/11/2023

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cabot Circus Yule lights

<- Xmas lights at Cabot Circus. Kai thinks that someone has a sarky sense of humour!

[blink] That shop at top left is called Rumble! Erk. I'm still being haunted... (For the uninitiated, Rumble is a G1 transformer, one of Soundwave's deployers...)

Kai's actual sixth form schedule for this morning would have been supervised course work - which he can't do unsupervised - so he did homework while I went shopping.Well, first I went to the Post Office. But before I went there I thought I'd better ring them to check they were open, as I wasn't sure how the strike would affect POs...

I thought I'd wait to boot up until later this afternoon, since I planned to be out a large part of the day, so grabbed the Thompson Local Directory to get the number. Only it wasn't in it. Nor was it in the Yellow Pages. As a final resort I even looked in the normal phone book. To no avail.

That all took me half an hour. I booted up and found the number in 30 seconds. Why do we have these phone books, again?
Cabot Circus Yule lights

Cabot Circus lights looking the other way. ->

Anyway, being delayed by that, I was rather later picking up the shopping than intended. Not to mention Sainsbug are selling the MechTech figures (those are the larger ones under my monitor, GoodTwin and Sue) at a third off, and yes, I know I said I wouldn't buy any more this year, but that was before Samhain and the Celtic New Year so I'm not really... Where was I? Oh yes. And I'm fancying a Roadbuster to go with my Topspin (and that's all because of a convo over at the awesomeness that is Death-Hendry's site: colour-coordinated spikes and stickysmut at its most delicious). But they didn't have one. (The Entertainer in town did but £13 is far too much to fork out for a non-fave figure.)

ANYway... Kai wanted to see In Time, so I thought I'd take him this afternoon. However, to my irritation it was no longer on at the local Showcase - but it was on at the Showcase De Lux in town. So off we tanked for the 2.15 pm showing - only to find the town absolutely packed with strikers and the queue at the cinema so long, and with only one person issuing tickets, that the film would have started before we got in. [grump] So we did a little shopping (Yule cards and bird food mostly) and bussed back again. Kai says he doesn't mind, and I'll add it to the Lovefilm list, but it's still a little disappointing.

Decided to put the Poppy Tales link over in the left-hand infopane at the top to save me adding it every time. Will note here when the story has been updated (which will hopefully be tomorrow, although Ken is now angling for me to get the proposal written for the book I keep putting off). Now just have to remember to remove it when the story is finished!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rain. Lots and lots of rain. September weather at the end of November. My acanthus spinosa thinks it's spring and has two new flower spikes, and my magnolia stellata is budding. [grump] I hope they survive...

Kai is home tomorrow - his teachers are on strike with the rest of the public sector workers, and Ken has swapped days so he doesn't have to break the picket line. And the budget is going to be hell for us, oh joy.

Day spent researching a little extra text that's needed for the book (Ken's next, that is). Found what I needed but it took all day. Tired now: I'd like to get the next bit of the Poppy Tales written but not sure I have enough braincells operational...

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Well, that was fairly good for a Monday. Got a fair bit of client stuff done and made my first appointment with the Dental Hospital to try to get this tooth sorted. Will also have to get back to the doctor as so far the gel isn't working and the pain in my hand is worse.

On Skype, earlier:

Joules: What you up to?
Lutra: Just finished a blog update. Battling with the cat for keyboard space. Going to remind cubs it's rubbish night. brb :)
LOL! K. lotl [= lopes off to look. At blog, that is.]
this is what the cat did while I was gone [rolls eyes]

[blink] whoa, clever kit! Railway tracks! It's an OMEN!!!!
[blinkgasp!] You're right!!!

It remains to be seen quite what it's an omen of, however...

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another really nice day - for once less hurried than Sunday usually is. Picked up the usual shopping (and some specials, including a very nice duck on half price that's in the freezer ready for Yuletide), finally got around to disinfecting three quarters of the greenhouse (need help moving the staging to do the rest and by the time Kai reached a natural break in his homework it was too late), and this evening we watched my latest Lovefilm, The Other Guys, which was OK, funny in places, but hardly quality entertainment. It did manage to keep us all wake, however, so that was good. We're all knackered!.

And Battery - PDpt5 - is now up at Poppy Dreams. For anyone new, start over at The Poppy Tales. The story starts with Appliances and continues with Devices, Too. Best to read those first (Appliances at least) before Poppy Dreams.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lovely, lovely day - Carol and Sue visited to exchange presents, laugh ourselves silly, and generally catch up...

But first, a lightning-fast intro to the Transformers for them, since they've never seen any and I thought it would help with setting the Poppy Tales in context. We watched the Arrival to Earth from the first film, The Shanghai section from the second, and Scrap Heap from Transformers: Prime. [g] Sue thinks she'll stick with my versions...

Discussing Things Seen On TV, Both Recent And Ancient:

Me, talking about the new Brit comedy The Café (which Kai and I watched on Wednesday and which we both loved):
"... oh, and there's also a local boy made good, an events manager from London..."
Sue - (bouncing enthusiastically) "Ooh, I saw him in the trailer... Oooh, ooh, what's his name? (Turns to Carol - no use asking me!) You know... Hathaway!"
Carol (thinking) - "Anne Hathaway?"
Sue (waving hands) - "No, no, of course not... You know, Lewis!"
Carol (grinning) - "Fox!"
Sue (exultantly) "Yes! Lawrence!
... it's not him."

[second of silence, then hysterical laughter all round for at least five minutes. Even from me, who didn't have a clue who they were talking about...]

And the day was rounded off by the pilot ep of Dead Like Me, which neither had ever seen. Wonderful day, really relaxing for me, and great fun.

Thank you, both!

Off to write the next part of Poppy Dreams...

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Friday, November 25, 2011

And the first part of Mechanism - Nuts and Bolts - now posted over at The Poppy Tales.

Knackered. Been stupidly busy today. Bit of a rest tomorrow.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Still not Poppy, but I betook myself off to The (other other) Zone to have my hair trimmed today: Jeff, as usual, did a wonderful job, and scrunch-dried it for me with a thing that looked a bit like a mini-version of one of Ironhide's canons. (I believe it's called a diffuser. 'Hide could really do some damage with that! [g] And I'm not sure whether to be impressed or scared that google was able to translate what I actually typed into the search - haior fryer diffused - into what I was actually looking for...) Anyway, the end result was amazing and for the first time ever I'm tempted to consider getting one - assuming I can find the time to use it...

On the subject of tfs... Yesterday my salad spinner broke: the inside wheel bit that makes the inner basket turn came apart from the lid, a blasted nuisance since I use the thing every day when making Kai's lunches. I couldn't fix it - hugely fiddly, you have to line up three tiny spikes with three matching holes (nearly said valves there!) while at the same time matching up the inner and outer cog wheels. Kai said he would have a go after dinner, so I plonked the lid upside down on the draining board and dropped the wheel on top of it.

When Kai picked it up after dinner it was fixed.

Ken says I have a transformer salad spinner...

I say there's a reason why the subtitle of this blog is Surreal Я Us...

On that subject, the first part of part three (Mechanism) of the Poppy Tales - Nuts and Bolts - is now underway and should be posted soon.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

[g] And the next bit of daftness - Hair - is now up at Poppy Dreams.

(For anyone new, the story starts with Appliances and continues with Devices, Too. Best to read those first (Appliances at least) before Poppy Dreams..)

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011



Reward offered for their successful return.



Sunday, November 20, 2011

[beg] The latest Poppy Dreams - Pole - now posted in The Poppy Tales. Enjoy...

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Arno's Vale Cemetery
Arno's Vale Cemetery.

This weekend it's the Totterdown Art Trail, and I thought I'd see if Kai wanted to join me for a hike to check out some of the events...

It was great fun! We started off at the Spielman Centre at Arno's Vale Cemetery - some absolutely gorgeous artwork on display, accompanied by the artists who were very happy to talk about their work. A lot was on sale too, for once at very reasonable prices.
Sycamore seeds over the stairwellSycamore seeds

These are sculpted sycamore seeds over the stairwell in the Centre - the stairs lead down to the crematorium exhibition...

From there we went over to Paintworks, where we stopped off at The Tube Diner for lunch. We both fancied pancakes - and this is what we got: plain with maple syrup for Kai, blueberry with vanilla ice-cream for me. (Those plates are dinnerplates, and the cutlery is normal size...) Huge, freshly made, and absolutely delicious. Highly recommended! (The place itself is fun too.) The photographs around the walls are the amazingly atmospheric works of David Webb.

Inside the tube dinerPancakes

The Paintworks event space itself had these in the courtyard -

Jigantic tulips


Inside there were another handful of artists, some very nice craftwork.

<- Installation.

This house was beautiful and wonderfully tranquil, filled with coloured glass and Nazca-inspired décor and twinkling lights.

All in all we visited nine venues with everything from knitted woodland animals (and the cutest ladybirds!) through photochromaic glass jewellery, gorgeous wooden bowls, candles in teacups and a graphic novel writer to the Fools on the HillFools on the Hill playing their own - extremely professional and appealing - music.

A crackin' day out, but ye gods we aren't 'alf tired. Totterdown is one of the hillier parts of Briz and our legs are really feeling it tonight.

Could try for an early night. Haven't succeeded in the last week but you never know...

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Right - the last part, part 8, of Devices, Too is now posted in The Poppy Tales: the story continues in Mechanism, coming soon!

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Client stuff again, and the uploading of a second Poppy Dreams, over at The Poppy Tales. Now working on Devices, Too part 8, which will probably be the last in this section before I start the third part of the story - haven't decided on a title yet...

Haddock. Needs moar haddock.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shopping, client stuff, and a rejig of the Poppy Tales section on the WaveWrights site (which I am told was being moved to a new server last night, hence the downtime. Everything is back to normal now). You can now get to the whole thing here.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

OK, it looks like WaveWrights is down for the moment. Anyone trying to email me please use my JAT addie: no WaveWrights emails are making it through.

[g] I've posted the first of a little series of very small ficlets over on FFNet - Poppy Dreams. I'll get round to posting them on on WaveWrights when it's back up, but for the moment you'll need to read the first one over there... M rated, though not explicit. And very silly.

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Client stuff, more client stuff, and an Environmental Group meeting tonight. Looks like the weekend may be busy...

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Well, Devices, Too part 7 is finally finished and online. Can't post it here though - it's over eleven pages long. This link will take you straight there, however - hope you find it worth the wait.

(For anyone new, the story starts with Appliances and continues with Devices, Too...)

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday... I don't like Mondays.

Now Kai has a cold.

And just as well I didn't guarantee. Although it is coming along very nicely. 7 pages now.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

The usual Sunday - Sainsbug shop, a bit of garden work (the dogwood is now planted, lawn mowed and we've started pruning the medlar), Kai ploughing through homework (getting a little ahead of himself so less to do during the week).

Oh, yes, forgot to say... remember I gave Agent Graham a Defender as his car? There's one now parked a few doors down, and another in the road I walk on the way back from Sainsbug! Synchronicity strikes again? Or perhaps I'd subconsciously noted them previously and thought they looked like the sort of thing he'd drive. Who's to say... (Not me, half the time I have no idea where my mind is playing...)

Still working on poppy2.7. I'd hoped to have it online by now but devising a plot that wasn't immediately predictable, and then the research needed for what I want to do, has taken longer than I thought it would. Sorted now - just have to write it. I'm hoping to have it up tomorrow, though not guaranteeing...

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wow, actually managed a lie-in!

Kai and I went to Hurrans this afternoon - I had some reward vouchers to spend. We came back with a red dogwood, something I've always wanted and which will sit very nicely at the far end of Kai's copse.

Other than that... it's been quiet. Still working on poppy2.7.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

I picked up Children of the Stones a couple of weeks ago for £1.99 at the cats charity shop , and over the last two nights we've all watched it (I missed it when it was shown on TV). Excellent stuff, thoroughly enjoyable for us all. (Though it does sound a little strange to hear Queen's English spoken on a TV show. Rather sad reflection on how sloppy the language has become, I suppose.)

Poppy2.7 is coming along nicely...

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another day vanishes. APAG meeting was useful, but I do find typing up minutes tedious. Would help if I could read my own handwriting, of course...

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

And I blinked and there was today gone...

Well, a couple hours research for the next part of Devices, Too, a Sainsbug shop and a Tesco shop did take up a bit of it, I suppose.



Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Bonus post - Devices, Too part 6.

(For anyone new, the story starts with Appliances and continues with Devices, Too...)

Part 6 - Survive

'Beat took the direct route this time: the weather was cloudy with a hint of drizzle in the wind, the autumn leaves looking somewhat duller than before, limp until the wind dragged them from the trees and tossed them into the air. Not a great day for the scenic route.
     There was only one other car parked in the 'car park' when they arrived; Poppy wondered absently how the pub kept going, being so out of the way and with hardly any customers. Perhaps their evening trade was better. The same woman was behind the bar: she looked up and grinned a welcome as Poppy entered.
     "Ullo again! Back for seconds?"
     Poppy chuckled.
     "Thought I'd try your puddings this time!"
     The woman - the owner's wife, Poppy had discovered - nodded and reached for a half-pint mug, pausing to glance at Poppy.
     "Same again?"
     "Please." It was nice to be remembered, though it did reinforce the idea that not many people used the pub. Poppy took her cider and glanced casually towards the corner - then looked again, her face falling, and heart plummeting, at the large 'Out of Order' sign taped to the jukebox's front.
     "Oh! What happened?"
     The proprietress sighed.
     "We dunno, love. Switched her on yesterday evening, something went bang and smoke started coming out the inside. Had to switch her off. Lucky it didn't blow all the fuses in the place! Someone's coming to take a look..." she checked her watch. "Should be here by now..."
     And the door opened, and in came a middle-aged man in overalls, carrying a bag of tools.
     "Gotta problem wi' yer jukebox?"
     The proprietress nodded and held her hand out for his card, checking it as she pointed to the machine. Poppy watched from the corner of her eye as he pulled out screwdrivers and a torch and set to work removing the front panel.
     "What you fancy today, then, love?"
     "Mm? Oh..." Poppy ran her gaze over the proffered menu and opted for chicken and chips with a side salad. That should leave room for a dessert. She took her drink to the table near the jukebox where she'd sat last time and watched as the workman poked and prodded around inside the machine. She was no expert, but the burnt cabling and cracked components didn't look very promising. She bit her lip, expression anxious. Was Lightdance even still... alive?
     A light twinkled at her, very briefly. She blinked, gaze darting swiftly to the bar, but the proprietess was pottering around washing glasses and hadn't noticed. And the power cord was still clearly lying on the ground, unplugged from the electricity socket. She watched a little more intently as the workman tugged on wires and jiggled connections, finally shaking his head and pulling himself upright.
     "Nope, s'no good. No-one'll be able to fix that. S'too old, can't get the parts any more."
     The proprietress plunked Poppy's lunch on the table and sighed.
     "Well that's a damn shame. Are you sure?"
     "Yers. Whole thing's shorted out, destroyed half the whatchamacallit."
     Poppy nearly giggled, inappropriate as it was, at the wonderfully imprecise description. The proprietress grumped quietly for a moment, then shook her head.
     "I suppose it had to come sometime. She is very old."
     "You insured?"
     "Yes, but I don't think it'll cover wear and tear on an antique."
     "Shame, that." He tilted his head to one side, then said, "I could take it off yer hands. Come in useful for spares."
     "No!" Poppy half stood in agitation. They both turned to her, startled. "You said I could have first refusal..."
     The proprietress frowned.
     "But she's useless."
     Poppy nodded, thinking fast and apologising mentally for what she was about to say.
     "It's still pretty though. I could gut it and use it for... a drinks cabinet. Or a bookcase."
     The proprietress looked at Poppy, then turned her gaze to the workman.
     "Wellllll, I dunno..."
     "How much do you want for it?"
     A speculative gleam entered the woman's eye.
     "Oooh, let's see..." She eyed the workman. "What's she worth for parts?"
     He pursed his lips, then surprised Poppy by shaking his head.
     "Not much. S'all shot to hell. Maybe a couple hundred tops."
     The proprietress smiled at Poppy.
     "And what's she worth to you?"
     Poppy swallowed, then squared her shoulders.
     "Fifty quid more than he's offering."
     "She's worth more than that! Even just as a piece of furniture."
     Poppy nodded.
     "But how many people do you know who want an old jukebox as furniture?"
     The workman hissed through his teeth.
     "Mm. Course, you could always strip out the insides and replace 'em with a new system. Play them mp3 things..."
     Poppy could have kicked him.
     "Isn't that going to cost a lot? I mean, surely you'd be better off buying new."
     "True, that. Won't come cheap. New'd be cheaper.
     Poppy was seriously beginning to wonder whose side he was on.
     "OK. Two seventy-five."
     "Three hundred."
     Poppy winced - but then realised that NEST would reimburse her. Surely. Wouldn't they? Of course they would! Reluctantly she offered three twenty-five.
     The proprietress's gaze switched back to the workman, who frowned and drummed his fingers on the edge of the table.
     "Three thirty."
     "Three fifty."
     Poppy gritted her teeth. It was, after all, in the best of causes...
     "Four fity. And transport."
     The workman shook his head.
     "Nah, that's too much. Let the young lady have it."
     The proprietress grinned rather too triumphantly at Poppy.
     "S'yours, love. When can you collect?"
     "I'll try and get that sorted now." A little worried that the woman might change her mind, Poppy pulled out her mobile and rang Ramp, who immediately patched her through to NEST. Graham wasn't available, but his second-in-command, a Lieutenant Smith, was able to speak to her, swiftly authorising the transaction and organising a van to pick up the jukebox in about two hours, just before closing time. The driver would also bring the required cash. She sighed and relaxed, thanking the officer gratefully. The proprietress smiled at her.
     "All right?"
     "Yes. Be here in a couple of hours."
     "And payment?"
     "Cash. I'll need a receipt though."
     "O' course." She glanced at Poppy's lunch, now going cold on the table. "Want me to warm that up for you?"
     Poppy gazed down at the plate. She'd forgotten it was there in the stress of the last few minutes - and she hated cold chips. "Yes please."
     "Won't be a minute, love." As the woman disappeared through the door into the kitchen Poppy slumped back and finished her drink, gazing at the jukebox. Five minutes later her lunch was back - with freshly cooked chips and another half-pint of cider, on the house.
     She chose plums stewed in red wine for dessert. It was delicious, but the cook wouldn't give her the recipe.

Poppy was beginning to get twitchy: the closing time bell had already been rung twice and the transport hadn't arrived. The proprietress was beginning to give her dubious glances.
     Then to Poppy's relief a head poked itself around the door and grinned at her.
     "Poppy Moss?"
     The young man sauntered to her table, inconspicuously flashing an ID and handing over an envelope.
     "Sorry I'm late. Traffic snarl-up in the town centre."
     Relieved, Poppy took the envelope with a smile.
     "You got here in the end." She gestured to the jukebox. "Need a hand?"
     He eyed it narrowly then shook his head.
     "No. Got a sack truck in the van - should do the trick. Be right back."
     As he ambled off, Poppy handed over the cash to the proprietress, who counted the notes then handed over a receipt, hand-written on pub notepaper.
     "Good luck with her."
     "Thank you." Poppy carefully stowed the receipt in her wallet, then helped steady the jukebox as the young man eased the wheeled trolley under its base.
     "See you again, love?" The proprietress inclined her head as Poppy headed to the door.
     "Oh, I expect so. You've still got some puddings I'd like to try!"

Outside, the young man - who introduced himself as "Second Lieutenant Philip Collier, but please just call me Phil" - was easing the jukebox carefully into the back of the white van parked beside 'Beat. He grinned as he climbed into the van's driver's seat.
     "I'll follow you back."
     "Thanks. It's not far." Poppy slid into the Mini and let 'Beat take over the driving. The drizzle had turned to rain, though it wasn't too heavy, and the afternoon turned overcast: the sooner they got home the better.
     But first she had to have words with 'Beat.
     "Did you know he was out of order?"
     "Yup - tol' me when we got here. But's jus' pretendin'. Easiest way t'get out."
     "You could have told me! I thought he'd died!"
     'Beat was silent for a few moments, then sighed.
     "'M sorry. I forget y're not one of us, sometimes."
     Poppy wasn't sure whether to be flattered or insulted. She decided flattered was less hassle.
     "Well, that's nice, 'Beat, but I can't read your mind. Or your internal communications. You have to tell me these things in future, please."
     "Oh, all right."
     A few seconds of silence, then, "He really is just pretending, isn't he? All that damage looked very real."
     "'E's fine. Give 'im a mo to transform an' it'll all be back t'normal."
     "Oh... good..."

All was quiet back at the house: the transformers were understandably a little wary of strangers after the energon incident. Phil wheeled the jukebox in and settled it against the wall, then saluted Poppy, politely declined her offer of a coffee, and headed back to his base. As he drove off she called out "All clear!" and her charges made their way swiftly into the lounge. Even 'Beat squeezed in, careful not to damage anything, and seated himself on the floor, knees pulled up to his chin. Poppy smiled at the jukebox.
     "Welcome, Lightdance. You're among friends..."
     For a moment there was silence, then the newest arrival performed that wonderful twisting, transforming dance that always had Poppy transfixed, and suddenly there was a new individual standing (a little shyly, she thought) before them. She opened her mouth to speak...
     'Spin flung himself forward as Chill lunged for the newcomer, hands outstretched and frighteningly sharp 'claws' extending from his fingers, the washing machine catching the fridge around the waist and preventing him from colliding with the jukebox. Poppy stumbled back a pace or two, eyes wide in shock, as the fridge began shouting, his usually fairly blank, expressionless face contorted with what could only be fury, though since he was bellowing in very fast Cybertronian she couldn't understand a syllable of it. With 'Spin also speaking loudly, trying to calm his friend down, and TeeVee and Blue shielding Lightdance, who was shouting back at Chill (but without trying to attack, as far as she could tell), and the smaller transformers scrambling to try to hide behind various bits of furniture, the lounge was a scene of pandemonium. Poppy jumped onto the coffee table and tried to make herself heard, but was completely ignored - until 'Beat sounded his horn, loud enough to rattle the windows and leave Poppy deafened for a few seconds. Everyone went still, and the Mini stood, looming over them all. His own Cybertronian was deep and sounded angry, but whatever he said at least had them all calm a little - although Chill was still snarling. Poppy glanced gratefully at 'Beat and managed to grab back control.
     "Chill - kitchen. NOW."
     "Save it. I'll speak to you later. 'Spin, go with him. I don't want to see either of you in here until this is sorted." As 'Spin shoved the fridge in the direction of the kitchen, Poppy turned to Lightdance, who was glowering angrily after them. "You, over there." She pointed to the corner furthest away from the kitchen door. "Not a word until I say." She scowled after him as he obeyed, slowly and reluctantly. Then she turned to 'Beat.
     "Right. Translation please."
     With Lightdance grumbling an almost inaudible, incomprehensible counterpoint from his corner, 'Beat began the sorry tale.

© JAT Nov 2011

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[sigh] Well, I suppose the cold is marginally better than it was yesterday, only now I'm coughing again, and my ribs hurt...

Skyping, earlier...

Lutra: Blog's updated, btw.
Flare: lotl (note: lopes off to look).

From Lutra's blog

[sbg] I laughed out loud. in the office.
...Oops. You're obviously reading too much Transformer stuff.
ROFL! y'think? Can see the washing machine from the loo seat. With the door partly closed I am constantly misreading the 'energy' label as energon... I blame you [bg]
[falls off chair laughing] It's nice to be... something. You should put that on the blog. Or I should... Or in the comments?
You do. More people read yours!
Actually - comments will do - let me kog in. Um, kog???
ROFL! How steampunk of you!
Heh.... it's a transformation cog (note: from G1 Tfs). In Swedish
[twitch] LOL!

And on the subject, the next part of Devices, Too is almost written...

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Felis fastidius

A fine example of felis fastidius. See those four little round things neatly arranged in the bowl? Those are peas (from his turkey with vegetables pouch of Whiskas cat-food). Yes, we have a cat who won't eat his peas... (The hopeful expression is him waiting for us to clear the bowl and put something else in it. Sorry he's a bit out of focus, he didn't want to hold still.)

Catch-up time... Went for my doctor's appointment on Friday. All good news - x-ray (which I didn't get to see) shows nothing wrong (well, there's a tiny touch of degeneration of the first phalange of my thumb, which will mean a touch of arthritis when I'm older) and the blood tests were all fine too. Which means there is no obvious physical cause for this bloody awful constant pain. (Ken says - "You hardly ever go to the doctor, and when you do they can't tell you what's wrong!") She's prescribed me piroxicam gel, which I can use under a tubigrip thingy to help support it when I'm handling things, and says to exercise it gently to stop it stiffening up. (Images of thumb doing weightlifting with tiny barbells...) If it hasn't improved in a month I'm supposed to go back - but the next things to try are a steroid injection (DO NOT WANT) or a consult with the osteos (though what they could do if no-one can tell me what the problem is I don't know. Dr says they mostly perform surgical operations...)

I may just be stuck with the pain - not a happy prospect. Still, will see if the gel works. Will have to do a spot check first to make sure it doesn't contain wintergreen (the pharmacist couldn't tell me!) I'm allergic to that, makes my skin blister.

Picked up a copy of X-Men: First Class yesterday from Sainsbug: watched and thoroughly enjoyed it last night (Ken hadn't seen it). A fine film, intelligent and well acted.

The lurgy has turned into a full-blown and most unpleasant cold. Really hope it goes as quickly as it came.

I think that's about it. The birds are, as usual, eating us out of house and home (going to need to get more sunflower hearts soon, the goldfinches can empty a feeder in a day) and it looks like the hedgehogs have settled in for the winter - at any rate, the food I'm putting down isn't being eaten any more.

Time to start writing the next part of Devices, Too...

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Saturday, November 05, 2011

Bonus post - Devices, Too part 5.

(For anyone new, the story starts with Appliances and continues with Devices, Too...)

Part 5 - Funtime

The first hint Poppy had that all was not as it should be back at the house was when, pulling into the drive, she saw Muncher cuddling a tree...
     'Beat yelped as she slammed her foot on the brake, forcing him to stop dead before she scrambled out and raced to the front door. Which was open.
     "'Spin? Chill?"
     A sound reached her from the kitchen. She frowned, trying to place it, then realised it sounded like... a giggle? What the hell?
     Heavy footsteps behind her had her whirling, alarmed, only to relax a little as the bulk of the transformed Mini loomed over her.
     "Can't let you go in there alone." Internal sensors measured the doorway and he nodded, calculating he would just be able to squeeze through without causing damage. Well, much damage, anyway. "You better stay behind me."
     Only too happy to have half a ton of metal between her and whatever was inside, Poppy followed him as he wormed his way into the downstairs hall. She peered out from behind him, looking around carefully, but couldn't see anything to cause any immediate alarm. Then the giggle came again. She laid a hand on 'Beat's back.
     "I... I think we'd better see what that is."
     "Mm." It sounded a little dubious, but, making sure Poppy stayed behind him, 'Beat moved cautiously to the kitchen door. He could be surprisingly quiet for such a large, metal creature, Poppy thought absently.
     At the door he paused, then sniffed loudly – then straightened up, his head just brushing the ceiling. Arms folded across his chest he turned to glance at Poppy. She was startled by his expression – narrow-eyed, lips a thin line, almost scowling. At least, that was the impression he gave, and looking into the kitchen she thought she knew why.
     'Spin was lying in the middle of the floor in a shallow pool of liquid, with Steamy jumping up and down on his stomach and giggling, while Sucker... was lying curled up in the sink? What...?
     "What the hell is going on?!"
     'Beat growled from somewhere deep inside.
     "They've been at me energon!"
     Poppy closed her eyes with a shudder, then shouted loudly for Chillvern...

"I'm so sorry, Poppy." Chill – who had been so engrossed in the five games of chess he was playing simultaneously with Ramp that he hadn't noticed what was happening in the rest of the house – was wringing his hands. "I didn't hear anything, didn't realise anything was happening... I'm sorry." He bowed his head, shoulders hunched, and Poppy sighed.
     "It's not your fault, Chill."
     "But you left me in charge, and I've let you down."
     "It wasn't your fault! They all knew the energon was for 'Beat." She glowered at 'Spin, who was wincing and rubbing his head with both hands. "You at least should have known better!"
     "But we only had a little bit! A tiny little bit each. Jutht to... tathte."
     Poppy humphed her disbelief. 'Spin flapped a hand vaguely in the direction of the garage. "Go and thee if you don't believe me..."
     With Chill and 'Beat following her, Poppy went to check. To her surprise she found that 'Spin wasn't exaggerating: there were barely two pints missing from the first tank, and none from the other three. She frowned at Chill.
     "It is really that potent?"
     "Not usually, not even after such a long time without..." He leaned closer and sniffed cautiously at the upended cap, and pulled back sharply. "That's... strong." He glanced at 'Beat. "Is that your usual grade?"
     'Beat smelled the cap and shook his head.
     "Nah. That's had stuff added, that has." He carefully removed the caps of the other three tanks, large fingers surprisingly dextrous, and he and Chill sniffed the caps. "All the same. All had somethin' put in 'em."
     Poppy switched her gaze between them uncomprehendingly.
     "Is that good or bad?"
     Fridge and Mini stared at each other for a moment or two, then Chill turned to Poppy and shook his head.
     "We'll need to have it analysed. It would probably be best if no-one took any more until we know what's in it."
     "I have to contact Graham anyway – I'll tell him what's happened. Will NEST be able to check it?"
     "Yes. It's a pity we don't have the facilities here – it would be quicker - but that can't be helped."
     "Will you be able to manage?" Poppy was watching 'Beat anxiously. "Without refuelling, I mean."
     "Got enough in me tanks to cope for a couple weeks, s'long as you don't want to drive Landsend to John O' Groats."
     Poppy chuckled briefly. "Not in my diary for this year. Will everyone be OK though?" She gestured towards the house. Chill nodded.
     "It would have been useful to have clean energon to flush the other out of their systems, but since we don't have any, it'll just be a matter of time. Sunlight would help, but the forecast is for cloudy for the next few days." He eyed Poppy wryly. "I'm afraid you'll have to cook your own food for a day or two. I wouldn't trust Steamy to boil water at the moment."
     "I'm sure I can remember how." Poppy turned back to the door. "But I'd better contact NEST right away."

Graham frowned.
     "Hm. I'll arrange to have the tanks collected – no, on second thoughts, I'll pick them up myself. When they left HQ they were perfectly fine. If the energon was doctored, it was probably on route, and that couldn't happen without the driver's cooperation. I'll have him detained for questioning. What I don't understand is why anyone would want to tamper with it. Not to denigrate your value to us, but your operation simply isn't that important in the larger scheme of things."
     Poppy nodded: she'd considered that herself already. Her transformers were all neutrals, refugees, and none of them were fighters (though she suspected they could all defend themselves if they had no alternative).
     "Well, we see what we can find out." He glanced to one side as someone leaned in to speak to him, then nodded and turned back to Poppy. "Fortunately we have enough energon stockpiled for me to replace the dodgy tanks. I'll bring it with me."
     Poppy grinned. "Thanks. 'Beat says he has enough for a week or so, but I'd rather not push it."
     Graham nodded. "And how did your meeting go?"
     Poppy frowned momentarily, then smiled.
     "Oh, yes, at the pub. Well, Lightdance's alternative form is a jukebox, of all things. We couldn't actually speak, but 'Beat says that he likes me but isn't sure he really wants to leave the pub."
     "I expected that. It really would be safer though."
     "We're going back on Thursday to see if he's changed his mind. Or if we can change it for him."
     "Good. Let me know how you get on. I'd rather not intervene if we don't have to but I do want to see him settled with you."
     "Do my best." She was about to sign off, then remembered. "Oh, just one last thing. Do you think you could take Grunt back with you? He seems to think he's training me to join the army and Chill thinks he'd be better off at one of your bases. You know, where he can torture real soldiers."
     Graham laughed.
     "Oh, I'm sure he would. Very well. Tell him it's an order from me. I'll see you later – I should be able to get there by 2 a.m., if that's not too inconvenient."
     Well, she was already tired, but should be able to get in a nap this afternoon.
     "Should be OK. I'll see you then."

Graham had only stopped long enough to unload the new tanks, load the old and get Grunt (who to Poppy's relief had raised no objections to being moved on: she rather suspected he was simply used to obeying orders. She wondered idly what he'd been, back on Cybertron) settled in the back of his Defender. She waved him off, hiding her yawn behind her hand, then locked up and set the alarm. As she passed the kitchen door Chill appeared, a mug of rich hot chocolate drink in his hand.
     "Don't tell Steamy..." he chuckled. Poppy grinned tiredly.
     "Thanks Chill. You're a star."
     The fridge blinked, head tilted to one side – then smiled as he tracked down the reference.
     "One does one's best. Sleep well, Poppy."

Wednesday morning was... awkward. 'Spin was sullen, Muncher maudlin, TeeVee and Blue – who had imbibed less of the energon than the others – were irritable, Sucker was hiding somewhere, Livewire was curled up on the bed with his head under the pillow refusing to speak, Grounds (the coffee maker) was sulking, Hotpot the microwave refused to open his door, Downbeat (the stereo) was working – sort of, if you could call playing music at the wrong speeds working, Airhead (the tumble drier) wouldn't stop working, Blurt the kitchen TV played nothing but static, Hooker the food processor kept shorting out, and Steamy was inconsolable, not least because he still wasn't sufficiently recovered to cook Poppy's food. Ramp, who'd been playing chess with Chill and hadn't partaken, was unbearably smug and amused himself by making loud noises whenever one of the suffering transformers was in his vicinity. Cable had been with Poppy so had missed out on the fun, but was wisely keeping quiet. Only Chill and 'Beat were normal. Well, what passed for normal in this household, anyway. Poppy was torn, on the one hand wanting to be sympathetic – after all, they were all suffering the transformer version of massive hangovers – and on the other wanting to shout at them all to just shut up!
     Eventually she took herself out to the garage and offered to rub Ratchet's special oil into 'Beat's frame, an offer he accepted warily. She opened the can and carefully poured a little onto a soft chamois cloth as he transformed from Mini to robot mode and hunkered down so she could reach all of him.
     It was very soothing. 'Beat was happy to play music quietly rather than talk, and after a few minutes apparently decided she was skilled enough for him to relax (though quite what he thought she could do to cause him discomfort Poppy couldn't work out. Perhaps the cables and wires between his metal plating were particularly sensitive...) and settled a little lower to the ground. She took her time and used careful strokes, and an hour later patted him on the shoulder as she finished.
     "How's that feel?"
     'Beat stretched and blinked at her.
     "S'good. It'll do nicely."
     "Good... How often do you need it applied?" She frowned. "Come to that, how do I keep you clean? Should I take you through a carwash? Or can you use a hose? I mean, I can help you with that..."
     "Hose would do, as long as water's hot, ta. We got our own cleansers – there'll be some at NEST, if your officer could have 'em sent. And th' oiling should do me for a month, unless weather's really bad."
     "Thanks. And I'll be sure to ask Graham." She sighed then patted him again, affectionately. "I suppose I'd better go and see how everyone's doing..."

By Thursday morning everything was back to normal – helped, admittedly, by Chill allowing everyone a little of the pure energon on Wednesday afternoon. (Poppy had watched, bemused, as he'd trickled small amounts into inlet tubes with the precision of a nurse: the beneficial result was almost immediately clear as they'd all visibly perked up.) 'Beat had also refuelled – Poppy saw that the first of the energon tanks was now about a quarter empty and made a mental note to keep an eye on the supply so she could request more in plenty of time – and was ready and waiting as she slid into the driver's seat. She took hold of the wheel as he started his engine.
     "Right. Let's go and see if Lightdance has changed his mind."

© JAT Nov 2011

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Prime and Bee


Alt modes

Right - I am not buying any more.

... this year...




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Friday, November 04, 2011

Bleurgh... gods I hate colds...

His teachers are very pleased with Kai - especially his psychology tutors, who say he's a straight A student and they'd like him to take a psychology degree, please. He has the intensely analytical mind, and the literary skill to present his findings, to be very successful in the field. I can't say I'm surprised, but whether he'd want to do that we don't know this early!

Kim picked me up at 10 this morning to go to the Cadbury garden centre at Congresbury. It's lovely there at the moment - they have all the Yuletide decorations on display. I picked up two Small Bird Feeders (because the magpies have discovered they can squeeze under the bars and raid the birdtable, and our flock of goldfinches is back) which will go on the medlar once all the leaves have fallen.

Tonight Kai chose Insidious on Filmflex: scary film - made me jump in places!

Now I'm going to try - again - to get Devices, Too pt 5 finished. Takes longer when I'm poorly, unfortunately.

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

While shopping at Sainsbug yesterday, I saw that all their toys were on half price sale - so I picked up an itty bitty Ratchet and Ironhide to match the itty bitty Sideswipe I bought earlier in the year. (Ended up costing me about 60p, as I had £5 worth of reward vouchers plus a £1.64 voucher under their new 'if you could have bought it cheaper elsewhere we'll give you a Sainsbury's cash voucher for the difference' scheme.)
Itty bitty Ironhide, Ratchet and Sideswipe

They're just adorable! So tiny yet so beautifully made and articulated...

(Will try to get decent pics at some point.)
Itty bitty Sideswipe, Ratchet and Ironhide in alt mode

Even in alt mode.

So after my BCP comms group meeting this morning I thought, since I still needed to pick up a couple of things shopping-wise, I'd get an itty bitty Bee and Prime as well, complete the collection. (Well, OK, not quite, but I haven't found an itty bitty Jazz...)

[GRUMP] They're no longer on half-price sale, and I really can't justify the £15 it would cost to pick them up at full price. I'll keep checking elsewhere though - a lot of places are selling off their old stock cheaply, presumably to make space for the oncoming Yule stuff.

In other news, I'm very dischuffed. Haven't even properly got rid of the last lurgy yet and I'm coming down with something else. Oh joy. Feel sufficiently rough that Ken's going to Kai's parent/teacher evening today (for some reason it's at the Bristol Metropolitan Academy, out Filton way, instead of at John Cabot). I really hope I'm not going to have a winter where I get every new bug going...

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Almost-belated Joyous Samhain to All

This was our pumpkin lantern (my design, but Kai did all the work). Basement cat!

Today was busy as usual. Nothing much to report, just a load of stuff out of the way...

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