Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: 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.
Monday, April 30, 2012
That was an astonishingly productive Monday. I had planned a lie-in, but Kai slept through his alarm (6.30 am) and it woke me up instead. Then, a minute or two later as I was drifting back to sleep, Ken's radio alarm woke me up again. I'd just begun to drift off again when I remembered I hadn't done the chicken from last night's roast...
[sigh] So I got up at 7.30, made stock, cleared all the client stuff, did a little garden work, bused up to Broadwalk for shopping, Post Office and the dentist, walked back, made lunch, tended the birds, repotted Rosa (she's not been eating, and I wondered if it was because her tank is too large and the crickets escape her too easily. A Google search proved me right, so I dug a smaller tank out of storage and moved her. And the first thing she did was catch the cricket Kai gave her and eat it ravenously. Happy now), went down to distant neighbour for Kai to work a little magic with her computer and coincidentally accepted job of webmaster for Daneline (first thing I have to do is make that DDA-compliant!), went shopping to Sainsbury's, came back, archived all the Archaeoastronomy resource material on my C-drive (nearly a gig's worth, over 5K files) so I could delete it off my machine, made dinner and watched the latest Grimm. Tired now. Going to put feet up and watch some Tf Prime on DVD before I go fall over...
This is fun too, oh joy...
Sunday, April 29, 2012
The usual Sunday...
And weather. Cat goes out, runs around in belting rain for five minutes, comes in (leaving little wet pawprints everywhere), spends half an hour drying off, goes back out for a few minutes, comes back in (more wet pawprints), spends another half hour drying, then decides it's a waste of time, leaps on the bed, snuggles under his runner and sleeps the day away... Sensible kit.
Fourteenth part of Renewal - Machinations 2 - now posted over at The Poppy Tales (link above). Enjoy!
Ken went into town this morning, to pay cheques into the bank, visit the central library, and pick up a couple of skooshes from Robert Dyas since the Range hasn't been able to get any for a month. [bemused] Only, the bank's ceiling had collapsed due to a leak on the second floor. However, the bank being who they are, in the spirit of the true Brit, were carrying on their normal business on the steps of the building... And to make it even more surreal, the road outside (and several more around the area) were full of vastly expensive Italian sportscars and their owners and people lusting after them. The cars, that is. Or maybe the owners too, I don't know, I wasn't there. Apparently this is some strange vehicular event that happens every now and then. And no, we don't have photos, Ken didn't have his camera and forgot he has one on his phone...
After he got back I took Kai over to Go Outdoors to price up rucksacks - his is disintegrating under the bulk of the hugely heavy books he has to carry around with him. No joy, as they were too complex or too expensive or both. On the way back we passed the Defender that lives around the corner - and saw this:
Yes, that is moss. Live moss. It becomes even more surreal when you remember that Poppy's surname is Moss...
This evening we watched my Lovefilm latest - Alice in Wonderland. Wasn't at all sure at the beginning that we were going to like it, but by half an hour in I found myself really caring for the characters and by the end it's gone on the must have list (though later, when I can find it cheap). It's more Alice in Wonderland: the Sequel than a straightforward adaptation, and the characters, set pieces and overall feel are amazing. I can see why a lot of people didn't like it, but we found it most enjoyable!
Back to Poppy. The next part is going to be fun, and a challenge, to write...
Friday, April 27, 2012
Meeting with J down at the park at 1.30 pm to roughly measure the new APAG community garden plot and discuss layout and what might be good to try for this first year. (Info will be on the website after the meeting on the 15th May.)
Then shopping. In the monsoon. Even my brolly didn't help much and by the time I got back the cardboard of the winebox I picked up had disintegrated in the rain that soaked through my rucksack. And it's due to continue like this for the next ten days or thereabouts (with the added joy of gale force winds on Sunday). I shall hit the next person who scoffs at climate change...
The next bit of Poppy is almost finished. I had planned to add it to the Things Poppy Never Knew section, but it actually contains some fairly relevant stuff so I've removed the adult-rated stuff and will make it the next part of the main narrative. Hopefully be posted later tonight.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
[sigh] One of the downsides of having a nature reserve for a garden: preparing veg for dinner (Somerset Chicken - my version, not the ones you can find online) I heard an avian commotion outside - looked out the window to see a hawk had downed one of the garden birds in the meadow (close to Wendy's mum's orchid, and easy to see because the meadow plants are only an inch or so tall at the moment) and was adjusting its grip before it flew off, bird in claw. I couldn't clearly see what it had caught - the bird was black-ish, so either one of the starlings or one of my blackbirds. I really hope it wasn't the latter. I am inordinately fond of my blackbirds...
Not sure which hawk it was either - we have kestrels, sparrowhawks and I believe buzzards around here now. Pretty sure it wasn't a buzzard - it wasn't big enough - and it looked bigger than a kestrel to me. So perhaps one of our pair of sparrowhawks?
We now have eight collared doves haunting the garden, and I saw three greenfinches at the veg bed feeding station while I was closing up the greenhouse for the night.
In other news: planted out two pumpkin seedlings, one in the veg bed next to the asparagus plot, the other in a cleared patch under the magnolia. Also planted out mange tout (and put the 'castanets' on their frame - individual aluminium fruit pie cases loosely tied together so they sparkle and make noises when tied to the frame, to help keep the pigeons away), and got some more lettuce on the go in the greenhouse. Moved the salad burnet, which had appeared under my sage, to its own spot in the main bed: salad burnet is great in salads and sammijs, tastes of cucumber without the associated flatulent properties some people (not us!) experience with cucumbers themselves.
I reckon if I can do at least one hour's worth of garden work a day I can keep my portions (greenhouse, fruit plants, veg bed and square) under control. Two hours would be better but not sure my hands would cope. We'll see.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
It's all go in the garden. My apple tree is a mass of flowers (I love the scent of apple blossom - there's nothing like it), and the greengage has finished flowering and I'm waiting to see what the crop is like. My little pear tree, the one with the three different varieties that I planted last year, has also flowered - well, the two grafts that cross-pollinate have flowered: the third is a later-cropping self-fertile variety - and given that my garden has been full of bees this spring I'm hoping for at least a few pears come autumn! The tayberry is looking good, and the two raspberries are thriving too, as is the strawberry bed. Fingers crossed for lots of fruit: I'm planning to make a big stack of sweet pancakes for the freezer to have as desserts this summer with fresh fruit and ice-cream (cheaper and better for us than bought pudding!)
In the veg bed - most of my pak choi have survived, and about half the first batch of radishes: the first beetroot seedlings are showing above the soil and we have the first six asparagus shoots now showing! (Mmmmmm asparagus with dinner for a month - one of my favourite things about the spring!) Nearly time to get the first of the mange tout seedlings into the new bed and some French dwarf beans on the go.
In the greenhouse - all's well and surviving the horrible weather we're having, though I am having to dive in and out to adjust the door and louvre openings several times a day.
Photo from the AllSpark Almanac 2 - the galaxy according to Swindle! The creators have gone to insane lengths to make the whole continuum as complete as possible...
[bg] If you go north from the word 'realize' on the right hand page you'll find earth (just outside the Quintesson Pan Galactic Co-Prosperity Sphere. That's worrying...). Just above it is Tencton (with Tenctonese script below the English title!), and over to the left is Paradise. Just outside the periphery is Skaro, and there are other familiar names dotted around too - the Coriakin System, Yautja, Sarpeidon, Pern, Giedi Prime, Majipoor, Druidia, Eternia, Thundera, Z'ha'dum...
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
My AllSpark Almanac 2 arrived! (With one day to spare on the delivery date - I was beginning to panic that Royal Mail had 'lost' it, since they are still 'losing' our mail, and the price has now gone up to £1,026.89 new and £195.98 second-hand at amazon UK (or $500.00 new and $197.95 used at amazon.com)...)
It's wonderful, so stuffed with stuff it's like having seventeen overlapping windows open at the same time. It's going to take me days to read it all!
Hence the happy rhinos on pogo-sticks...
Labels: Transformers Animated
Monday, April 23, 2012
Good riddance Monday - roll on Tuesday...
Sunday, April 22, 2012
We had a couple of hours of sun this morning, before the rain set in again. Kai helped me in the garden, weeding the little chamomile bed between the greenhouse and the shrub bed and potting on some tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse (I think he enjoys the break from his homework) while I replaced the grease bands on the apple and pear trees, dug up the bramble that was thinking about taking over the bed with the magnolia stellata, cut off the dead shoots on the bramble by the woodland pool, and got the first couple of slug-pubs in the ground. I should be able to get the first of the mange tout, courgette and Swiss chard seedlings into the veg bed this week, and probably pot on the leeks and cauliflowers (yes, four seeds have germinated. I'm not very good with brassicas, but I thought I'd give them a go, just in case: we like cauliflower. They'll probably get eaten before they reach a decent size though...)
My blueberry bushes are doing well, and I have two different sorts of raspberry in large pots as well this year, a gift from a fellow APAG member. Not likely to get a lot of fruit from them, but we'll see. Even a little would be nice!
Off to see about another ficlet for Things Poppy Never Knew...
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Thirteenth part of Renewal - Machinations - now posted over at
The Poppy Tales (link above).
Friday, April 20, 2012
A day of shopping and tidying up. But I do now have just 1 gig worth of photographs on my C drive, instead of 8.7. That alone was worth the time it took.
Watched some more Tf season 2 (well, had it on the background to check that all the discs play properly). The episode A Decepticon Raider in King Arthur's Court had me in stitches (it's on Youtube here). Kremzeek is daft (though Kai thought he was kinda cute), and Sea Change is jut WTF?? weird. I don't know what the writers were on when they wrote these two eps but I'd be tempted to try it just for laughs...
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Hmph. Blogger have changed their control panel and interface. Why, I have no idea - what was wrong with the old one? I don't like it, but I've no choice, so I suppose I'll just have to get used to it...
Popped into St Nick's Hospice shop while out - and found Transformers Season 2 (G1, complete series in two boxed sets) for £8! With the special art postcards included - still sealed! [bg] Dead chuffed. (Not that I'm a G1 fan, but season 2 has characters I keep falling over when reading but know nothing about, like Tracks and Perceptor (whose alt form is a microscope. Very strange, that). And they're fun to have on in the background, for Peter Cullen's gorgeous voice if nowt else...)
One ep in particular - Microbots - had me LOLing (literally). It's a sort of
"It's Megatron's brain!!"
[snickering loudly] Explains a lot, that does...
In other news... Tyjer is no longer under house arrest, and went out happily this morning, but keeps coming in complaining about the rain. No pleasing some kits.
My orchid cactus has started flowering again. Keeping it well watered and misted really works.
I need to get my pak choi into the ground - if the rain would just hold off long enough...
Next Poppy well under way.
(I really don't like this new interface. Just hope it doesn't cause any problems with my ancient template...)
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Watched my latest Lovefilm. Conan the Barbarian (2011).
... Just watch the trailer, it has all the good bits.
What a waste of time.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Twelfth part of Renewal - Complications - now posted over at
The Poppy Tales (link above).
Monday, April 16, 2012
A new channel appears...
CBS Action. They're showing Kung Fu (ye gods, that brings back memories!) and - YAY! - Brimstone! Unfortunately we've managed to miss the first six eps, but I shall record what I can and hope they repeat.
Poor Tyjer is still under house arrest. Though he's being very resigned about the whole thing, luckily.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Early (for a Sunday) morning down to the park to help out with the APAG Easter Egg Hunt (should have happened last Monday but the weather was so awful we postponed it). We've held it every year for the past five years and the kids love it. Then it was the usual Sunday shop, this week's Tf: P ep - a recap and a bit disappointing, although it did answer some questions and give a bit more of an insight into certain elements of the plots.
After dinner it was the third ep of Once Upon A Time, which is fun, especially since I can't work out where they're going with it...
Still working on poppy5.12, and it's proving tough. Holidays can really muck things up.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
[sigh] Tyjer came home with a baby blackbird yesterday while we were out. Ken got him in (the cat, that is) and the fledgling made itself scarce, and it looks like it's survived as the parents have been feeding it (at any rate, they keep disappearing into the big pile of cut ivy at the top of the garden with food in their beaks). So now Tyjer is under house arrest until Wednesday (the RSPB site says it takes blackbirds a couple of days to be able to fly, so hopefully that will be long enough). Needless to say he's not very happy about it...
Poppy coming along slowly.
Friday, April 13, 2012
... and egrets! Two of them now.
(That's Wales in the background - Newport I think.)
Lovely day, but now I'm knackered.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Tyjer under the cherry tree. (Photo © Ken Taylor)
Went to see Battleship this afternoon. It was pretty much as expected - predictable, formulaic, Transformers-lite (even to the score, though since it's in association with Hasbro and Jablonsky wrote the score for both that's not overly surprising), but nevertheless a fine rollickin' romp, real 'leave brain at door, shut up and enjoy your popcorn' film. One to pick up when it comes down in price!
Tired. Planning to go to Clevedon tomorrow, so should try for an early night.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Eleventh part of Renewal - Normality - now posted over at
The Poppy Tales (link above).
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Kai and I went to see Wrath of the Titans - yes, we forked out for the 3D version despite its dreadful reviews. Went in not expecting much, but we really enjoyed it! Much better than its remake prequel, Clash of the Titans, all round - the 3D was great, the acting good, the CGI wonderful. A very satisfying film, one to buy later.
The rest of the day was fairly relaxed. Kai helped me plant beetroot and white carrots in the veg bed, and I got marigolds, chilli peppers and two different sorts of salad leaves on the go as well. Oh, and put slug-gel down around all the shoots in pots and seed trays, although I haven't seen many gastropods yet this year, and the ones I have seen are all tiny. Not that I have any intention of letting them get big, of course...
Still watching Grimm on Monday nights (still fun), Touch (OK, if a bit forced in places I feel) and Alcatraz (which is moving at the pace of an arthritic snail on crutches, as Ken would say) on Tuesday nights. And season 4 of Sanctuary has now started on Friday night (I found last week's first ep disappointing, but then I'm not fond of time travel into the past sub-plots), so TV wise it's quite busy at the moment.
Hoping to post next Poppy later on tonight.
Monday, April 09, 2012
I pop out shopping for a couple of things, I come back loaded down with three bags and a rucksack... It's not my fault the supermarkets are trying to woo their customers with all manner of excellent BOGOFs, specials and deals!
Poppy 5.11 coming along swimmingly, finally...
Sunday, April 08, 2012
A nice relaxed day, with old-but-unseen films on TV (Happy Feet and Toy Story, both of which I mostly missed, in pottering about doing other things), and Kai helping me construct the growing frame for the mange tout up in the new bed. It's been very pleasant.
Transformers: Prime S2E8... Hm. Very interesting. I can see this going in any of several different directions.
Back to Poppy...
Saturday, April 07, 2012
Morning of the Talbot Allotments group seed swap. All my fault - I suggested it as a way of giving away all the seeds I can't use to people who might be able to use them. Off I tanked to the allotment shop for 10.30 with the three cucumber plants I don't have space for and a whole heap of seed packets...
Not all that many people turned up, but the ones who did were great and brought loads of seeds along to swap. I now have everything I need for this year and half of what I need for next year too! And all for free. Can't get much cheaper... Hoping we can do the same again next year.
I was also able to buy two whackin' great bags of potting compost for £6 (thanks Sheila for dropping it around in your car!) which is considerably cheaper than the garden centres. So I'm all set now - just need to get out to the greenhouse to get potting, probably tomorrow.
Oh, and I now have red onions, carrots and radishes showing above the surface, and the leeks on the potting table have finally sprouted. Time now to start the courgettes, butternut squash and marrows.
Got a Tesco shop on the way home - the supermarket is just at the bottom of the allotments hill
and picked up Green Lantern going for half price. As usual there's soddall on tonight, and Ken has never seen it, and Kai and I saw it long enough ago for it to feel fairly fresh. Maybe tonight after dinner.
In the meantime, the Poppy plotting continues but my brain is squatting in the middle of the road refusing to move until it gets... something, it's not being very clear in its demands. No doubt all will become clear later. I hope.
Friday, April 06, 2012
Apparently Friday is the new Saturday - at least, that's what it's felt like all day. Client stuff, a considerable bit of tidying up, a fairly major shop, then recording the first five eps of season two of Through the Wormhole - intriguing stuff - while K&K started getting the ivy off the wall: realised this morning it's blocking all the light from my pear tree, so it has to go. There's nothing nesting in it and they found no insects...
Tired again now!
Thursday, April 05, 2012
The main water butt is now completely full, and the rain was enough that the garden won't need watering for a few days, especially if it stays dull.
Kai's last ortho appointment at 10.20! All clear. Now he just has to keep using the retainer every other night.
And then we embarked on the Hunt for the Toilet Seat Buffers...
To explain... long term readers may remember the Curse of the Upstairs Loo - that the blasted seat keeps breaking, or the cat collides with it and smashes it, or it falls apart. A couple of years ago - or maybe longer, I'm not good with time - I bought a good and rather expensive one from Gardner Haskins, thinking that should solve the problem. Heh. Should have known. The two (yes, just two) rubber/plastic things on the underside of the seat are hollow and one of them has smooshed flat, which puts strain on the hinges and the thingie that holds it all in place (like the technical terms? [g]) So we decided to get FirstDay tickets and bus out to the big B&Q at Cribbs Causeway to find something to replace them.
(Well, first we tried to find some local honey, for my hayfever, but Better Foods had sold out, so I decided to try the St Nick's open market on Wed.)
B&Q didn't have them. Neither did Wickes. And then I remembered the Bishopston Ironmonger in the Gloucester Road...
So we leapt on a 75, got off at Horfield, found the buffers (last pack), checked out the charity shops, found my local honey (from Keynsham! Can't get much more local than that!) in one of the wholefood shops - can have a spoonful in my morning hibiscus and ginger tea - then leapt on a bus to get back to the centre. Except we got on a 20, which took us in the opposite direction up over Cotham Brow and down St Michael's Hill. Which actually worked OK as we got off at the hospital and the bus station is a two minute walk from there. Only, it would have taken less time to walk there from the bus stop in the Gloucester Rd than it did to get the bus...
Six different buses today. Must be a record!
After dinner we watched Space Adventure Cobra, the anime I had for my birthday to replace the video I taped many years ago. We MST3Ked it all the way through and much hilarity ensued. It was funny too. Not to mention completely insane...
I should do some more Poppy tonight but I only managed four hours sleep last night and it's been a busy day. Tired...
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Ken bought me an Eostre-come-surviving-the-end-of-the-financial-year present...
Transformers: Prime Soundwave... (the WANTEE!! one from Tesco)
I am staggered by the amazing accuracy - and the very impressive lack of kibble. These figures are just getting better and better!
In other news...
The rain did arrive this afternoon. It hasn't been heavy, but it has been persistent, and the main water butt - which we'd nearly emptied filling up the greenhouse butt and topping up the pools - is already half full again. If the rain continues overnight we'll be able to keep going for a few weeks.
Kai has been doing maths homework downstairs all afternoon, which has meant music! Including Weird Al's Running with Scissors (A present from Wendy some years back). Kai hadn't heard it before - he found it wonderfully funny.
As for the rest, it was the standard busy day. We're planning to watch the latest Lovefilm shortly - Read or Die. It's been a while since we watched an anime.
Tomorrow it's Kai's (hopefully) last ortho appointment. I have a few things to do in town, so we'll probably get FirstDay tickets and travel on buses for most of the day.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Kai and I went to see The Hunger Games today...
It's pretty good - kept us engaged all the way through (though I felt the end could have been a little more angsty). Absolutely stuffed with familiar faces. One to pick up when I see it cheap!
Monday, April 02, 2012
....zoooom and the day was gone...
But at least we started pruning the buddleia. It'll need cutting back to head height in the autumn, but at least it's a little tidier for now.
Ditto the wisteria.
Cold again. I may have to put fleece on the tomato seedling tomorrow night as well as their mini-cloches. Fingers crossed the sudden drop in temperature tonight doesn't do them any harm.
Sunday, April 01, 2012
Later edit: Forgot to say - Tesco had a Tf: Prime Soundwave (WANTEE WANTEE!!), the first of the next wave of figures, at a third off (which still makes him £17-odd, which is a little expensive for the budget at the moment). However, Sainsbury had their large Prime figures on half price (£11.49)! So I now have a Megatron and an OP - put away for me for Yule.
It's only nine months. I can wait. I've become quite good at waiting. After all, I had to wait almost as long for Ironhide last year...
Sunday catch-up time!
In the garden: I have about 10 paeony spikes coming up; my little prunus has flowered beautifully; and the greengages are in flower (smells of vanilla!). My Magnolia stellata survived the false spring and it flowering. We now have five collared doves and I'm wondering about getting a dovecote... And my garden is full of bees!
In the veg bed: I have red and white onions, carrots, spring onions and radishes on the go, and the cat-scarer seems to be working a treat. On the potting table I have pak choi, lettuces, cauliflowers and two different varieties of leek, but no sign of sprouting yet.
In the greenhouse: tomatoes now potted on, and cucumbers and peppers almost ready to be the same.
In the house (sorta): Kai's now on Eostre break for two weeks. Tyjer is happy with the longer, warmer days.
And as for this week's Tf: Prime - whoa! It's all getting rather complicated - not to mention brutal!