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.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
So off we went to find the Brackenwood Garden Centre (at Leigh Woods, right on the edge of Briz). Another instant favourite - whackin' great place with plants I'd never seen before and the most extraordinary selection of acers, including a very beautiful pink and white one... I picked up a red berberis from the bargain section (£2) and treated myself to a bearded iris, Sultan's Palace, which is a beautiful mix of bronzes and yellows. A bit of a treat at seven quid but I do really like them, and finally feel competent enough to try growing them.
We drove over to Portishead afterwards, for a cup of coffee at the marina for a few minutes - but the wind picked up and it was quite cold by the time we headed back. Wish the bloody weather would make up its mind. And throw us some rain.
And I finally got the Jubilee review done. NOW I can get back to Poppy!
Edit: This... just... wow... Wish I could be here to see it...
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Well, I suppose midnight counts as an early night, and 8.57 as a lie in given the hours I've been keeping just recently...
It feels like a Saturday, which is mildly disorientating. Last Saturday Ken and I went to St Luke's Players (amdram) performance of Jubilee!, a celebration of 60 years of Liz. It was wonderful, gloriously funny and very cleverly written (by Jonathan Rowe) and I'm writing the review for it (in exchange for the free tickets), but it's taking me ages. So damned tired. Must have it up and posted by tomorrow evening, no matter what.
Small shop this afternoon, and a little garden work. Evening watering from the tap is now a necessity: both water butts are empty. [does a rain dance] Rain, pleaseprettyplease... Legs are aching from the garden stuff, though that's not surprising as I've got into the very sensible habit of pulling up just a few weeds whenever I'm out there. Much easier than spending hours in a dedicated effort, and works pretty well. (Forgot to say - the Roundup gel stick is £8.99! Sod that for a game of soldiers. I'm spraying the liquid stuff into a bowl and stroking it onto the grass and weeds I want gone between my fingers. Probably not the best idea but it seems to work...)
Still tired. Trying for another early night, but can't have a lie in: getting plants delivered for the Community Garden between 9 and 9.30, then Kim is picking me up for the jaunt to the new garden centre...
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
[bleary] Up at 6.30, saw Kai off, watched three eps of TfP, got a little client stuff done, then planted pak choi, pumpkins, cauliflowers and mange tout, and got a dozen dwarf French beans on the go. Then more client stuff, then Touch and the penultimate ep of Alcatraz. Absolutely shattered now, going to have a v&c, some breaded mushrooms and garlic mayonnaise, and grab an early night. More client stuff tomorrow before I can get back to Poppy...
Monday, May 28, 2012
I haz a ST-3V3!!
Well, actually, I have one on order, and I can't have it til Yule. And since the sellers selling it at a price I could afford won't deliver outside the US, I've had to give Onna's address for her to post onto me [GLOMPS ONNA] with my thanks. [g] But I have one on its way. I'd post a bouncy rhino but I think the four photos are enough for one post...
This is the pyracanthus up at the top of the garden - quite a splendid sight we think!
At the moment it is full of rose chafers. I really like these beetles, they're incredibly pretty (if noisy) and they remind me of itty bitty diddy versions of the insecticons in Transformers: Prime. Sound pretty similar too!
[grins] In last week's ep, Toxicity, Agent Fowler is in a familiar state (half conscious on a stretcher, having once again come off worst in a confrontation with the Cons) and on hearing his name calls out fuzzily - "I can haz cheeseburger!". Made me chuckle.
<- Cetonia aurata bonking...
Kai's last two exams tomorrow (I got the dates wrong), then he's off for a week and a half. We hope to go and see Prometheus on our Insider cards next Tuesday, and it seems that Wells is celebrating the Jubilee with sixty swans painted by local artists (like Bristol's Gorillas, Exeter's Sheep and Weston-super-Mare's Donkeys). We'll see about busing over to Wells to take a look!
Sunday, May 27, 2012
I put another two coats of wood preserver on the bench yesterday, and sat there with my coffee this morning. This is the view from the bench...
I love my garden.
The usual busy Sunday - Tesco and Sainsbug shopping (Ken came along to help carry today), a little garden work and a lot of watering (our forecast rain never arrived, which is a problem: my water butts are already both half empty. Fingers crossed Wednesday's rain does actually materialise...) Remember I said on Tuesday I'd planted my sweetcorn seeds? By Thursday ten of them were peeping out, by Friday it was twenty-seven, and today...
Everything seems to be trying to make up for lost time. I have my first Black Russian tomatoes developing too.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Twentieth and final part of Renewal - Liberate - now posted over at The Poppy Tales (link above)
Friday, May 25, 2012
Gah. Up at 6.15 this morning, out into garden on today's gastropod genocide mission. Over the last three mornings I've slaughtered hundreds of the damn things, slugs and snails both. I am not giving in! They shall not ravage my veg bed! They shall not pass!!
[Ahem] Sorry. Tired. Need 'fienne...
[One large mug of coffee and a Twix later...] A bit better. Where was I? Oh yes...
Took advantage of the early morning and the ridiculous heat to wash the grubby sofa cushion covers (and Kai's armrest cover) - badly needed. The wolf needs washing too, but will have to do that in the bath (not risking the washing machine, last thing I need is the filter clogged up with fake fur!)
Then I dragged Ken out into the garden to dig the new bog-garden for the irises by Roeg's Pool...
A little close together but it was the biggest container we have at the moment. They'll need dividing in a couple of years anyway, so we'll improve on the accommodation then. I now need to find something else - low growing and spreading - to fill up the empty space. Will have a think...
My next job is to pick up one of the new Roundup weedkiller sticks. There's grass all through the rockery and it's encroaching on the meadow: I can't use the spray as it's all mixed in with the plants we want to keep (and by the same token it's impossible to dig out without damaging said plants). It'll take ages, but be worth it in the end (much as I hate using the stuff. Sometimes you just have no choice. It won't be used up in the veg bed!)
Kai's half term starts on the 2nd of June - only, as he told me last evening, once his Monday exams are done he has the rest of the week off, as they don't have to go in for the subjects they've just taken exams in. [sigh] Thanks for the advance notice. Now have to recalculate lunches for next week... So far he's fairly happy with the way they've gone, and he's generally pretty good at judging how well he's done. Still keeping fingers crossed though.
Most of the morning taken up by client stuff, once the washing and gardening was done. Finished now though, and heading back to Poppy. Should be able to post the next part later tonight: this will be the last chapter in Renewal. (The next part is New World, though I may not start it until after Kai's holiday.)
And tomorrow I shall have a lie in! (Assuming I don't automatically wake up at - as Lutra would put it - sparrow's fart...)
Oh, yeah, and this is the torture instrument I'm wearing for the next couple of months. The dent in the front wire is where it's forcing the misaligned tooth back into line.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Terrific morning. Kim drove us to a new (to us) garden centre out at Tickenham - Golden Acres. Great place, and very reasonable prices: I picked up two cerinthes (lovely plants and very attractive to bees, but only annuals, so I'm going to hope it will self seed), and four irises, including a little variety with the charming name of Flight of Butterflies. Ken has extended the magnolia bed (behind the greenhouse) for me and I've planted the cerinthe and the dry-tolerant iris there, along with my purple sage moved from Roeg's Pool to make space for another bog section for the other irises, which we hope to construct tomorrow. (Photos when it's done!)
On the way back we stopped at Kim's to drop off her purchases and I took a peek at her garden (haven't seen it for a while). It's amazing! It's much smaller than mine, and she's turned it onto the loveliest Mediterranean courtyard garden with loads of gorgeous shrubs in massive pots. I forgot to take a photo, but we're off again next week to check out another new garden centre so I'll try to get one on the way back.
Absolutely knackered now though - no choice but for an early night. At least it's Friday tomorrow and my last early rising until Monday...
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
So, up at 6.45 again, saw Kai off, tended garden and greenhouse, bused into town, did Broadmead, Wild Oats and Better Foods, arrived back at 2 pm (long day with queues everywhere I needed to be) knackered, did a little more gardening, made dinner, made Kai's lunch, indulged in an hour's Chelsea Flower Show, then ep 2 of new Town Called Eureka. Tired now. Planning early night - off to a new garden centre with Kim tomorrow am (have fallen in love with some of the irises in the flower show and want to price them up, see if we could grow them...)
Well into second page of nextPoppy but it's so busy right now I don't have time to focus, and since it's a fairly important (and tricky) part I do need to concentrate. Maybe tomorrow (or more likely Friday).
Oh, and daneline.co.uk is off. I contacted the current webmaster to organise the exchange yesterday evening, and this morning got an email from the domain owner saying said current webmaster had got back to them offering to maintain the site for free. I'm wondering if my saying that I'd have to change the text as it wasn't DDA-compliant - and pointing out that with no index.html in their images directory they're wide open to hacking - might have caused the offer (along with my TOS on the JAT site). Not that I'm particularly bothered - it's a charity I believe in anyway - but the lack of professionalism annoys me, especially when they were, apparently, charging £60 per hour (the entire site being created with Dreamweaver. Does no-one code up the old school way any more? Heh, just me then...)
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Suddenly, summer. Got back from early shopping and had to change into vest-top and shorts (and clip hair onto the top of my head) to cope with the heat!
Still, I have more beetroot, leeks, radishes and spring onions on the go, and have started my sweetcorn in the greenhouse. Tied the tomato plants to supports as well, as they're shooting up apace.
The Olympic Torch arrived in Briz today, accompanied by an extremely loud - as in we could hear it clearly from miles away - evening show at the Harbourside. It seems to have finished now, though, which is just as well as Kai has a Psychology A Level tomorrow and needs his sleep.
One page into nextPoppy now, but planning an early night, as I need to get into town tomorrow morning. This week is another busy one...
Monday, May 21, 2012
Yay, first day of summer! Suddenly, sunshine...
Busy day. Up at 6.45, saw Kai off to school. Much client stuff was done. Got Swiss chard, more mange tout and two courgette plants into the ground, and some more carrots planted. Brace is getting easier to use (actually teeth hurt more without it than with it, which takes some getting used to). And Chelsea is wonderful!
Also started next Poppy...
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Sneak peek at the Chelsea Flower Show this afternoon! Something to enjoy all this week.
Special Unit 2 is airing on CBS Action. Ken and I watched it when it was Sci Fi Channel way back when and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now Kai is watching it as well (and I'm recording it) and it hasn't dated at all, it's still as funny and sharp as it was back in 2002. Great fun!
Saturday, May 19, 2012
So h'oft we jolly well went to see Avengers Assemble...
It's great for what it is, an all-action superhero film. Some lovely comic banter, very nice depictions of everyone, great cgi, definitely one to pick up for the collection when the price comes down.
Nineteenth part of Renewal - Disclosure - now posted over at The Poppy Tales (link above). Enjoy!
Friday, May 18, 2012
So there I was at 12.15, checking emails and blogs and Skyping with Lutra, when the phone goes. Expecting it to be yet another bloody 'missold PPI' cold-caller I answered coldly...
It was my consultant at the dental hospital, ringing to ask if I could make it for a 2 pm appointment! So of course I said yes, grabbed a quick lunch and just managed to get there (after missing two buses and arriving very hot and bothered at 1.59 pm...)
I now have a brace. It's deceptively simple and feels... weird. It's basically a plate - admittedly a very comfortable plate, silky smooth and nice to the tongue - that sits against my palate and supports two clips that fit over my back molars to hold it in place, and a strong wire 'spring' that fits over my front teeth and will push the misaligned tooth back into place over the next couple of months. (I hope it's only a couple of months: he seems to think it will realign quite quickly, though I still may have to have a section shaved off the side to make it fit.) I have two more appointments, one in three weeks and the other three weeks after that, to tighten the spring, then they'll either fit a small device behind the teeth to hold it in place, or make me a retainer like Kai still uses to keep his teeth aligned. I think I'd prefer the former.
I have to take it out to eat - which means I won't be snacking much over the next six weeks, as it's a bugger to finagle in and out. Though that's actually a good thing, really. And it hurts, but since I've been in pain of one sort or another my whole life that's not really a significant consideration. It should ease as the tooth moves back.
But the motht amuthing athpect of the whole affair ith that I now have a very pronounthed lithp. Yeth, I now thound like 'Thpin (of The Poppy Taleth, for anyone who ithn't reading them). [thigh]
Eh well. 'Tith finite...
Thursday, May 17, 2012
... ye gods, I've finished everything I set out to do today and only have three emails left in my inbox!
Then again, my day did start at 6.45 am (making coffee and a bagel for Kai as a trial run for his exam mornings - tomorrow and three days next week - as I don't think starting an A Level half asleep is a good idea). After he'd gone I watched an ep of TfA, then got a Sainsbug shop done, watched another ep of TfA when I got back, then dived into the client stuff at 9.15. It's taken all day, but it's now done: I can send the minutes out tomorrow.
Poppy tonight, then!
(Assuming I can stay awake...)
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Quickie before I disappear for an early night...
I lovelovelove this. The video is from the three part arc finale of the end of the first season, which still gives me chills, and the song is one of my all-time favourites. Beautifully done.
And just in case anyone can't see it here (which I know has happened before with my blog) the originating page is here.
Client stuff all day; have planted more courgettes and marrows, and trying Galia melons again: A Town Called Eureka season 5 starts at nine tonight!
The Poppy Tales calls....
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
... there can be few more... disconcerting garden events than being inside a glass greenhouse in a thunderstorm when the clouds are belting down grape-sized hailstones instead of raindrops... Welcome to May in England.
Once every couple of months or so I need to buy crickets for Rosa. Reptile Planet up the Wells Rd is in walking distance, so I get the bus up Talbot Hill, check out the charity shops, get bird food from Wilkinson's, walk down then up to the shop, then back via Tesco. (Who now want a £1 deposit if you want a trolley. Sod that! Pay-for trolleys don't like me. I used a basket. And pointed out - just as feedback to customer service on the way out - that while I understand and appreciate why they're doing it, I don't want the hassle, so will use a basket for shopping in future - which means I'll be spending a lot less in the supermarket...)
But I found this (still in its shrink-wrap) in one of the charity shops, for £1.99. It sounds irresistible. Will let you know when we've watched it!
APAG meeting tonight, but I doubt I'll be doing the minutes when I get back. Absolutely knackered after late night, Kai's bloody alarm waking me up (but not him, oh joy) at 6.30, then a busy day. Tomorrow will be soon enough.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Eighteenth part of Renewal - Captive - now posted over at The Poppy Tales (link above). Enjoy!
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Quickest of all possible catch-ups as I'm very close to finishing the next Poppy chapter - ooh, I am enjoying writing this part!
In the greenhouse - with the slightly warmer weather and the last few days' worth of sun, things are finally shooting. I have flowers coming on the tomatoes now, another pumpkin (one got eaten), mange tout, and chilli pepper seeds sprouting.
In the veg bed - we're having asparagus with every other meal - yum! Asparagus tastes of pure green... First lot of leeks are now planted too.
Watched a baby sparrow being fed by its parent in the hawthorn this afternoon - it was adorable, the baby stretching up, cheeping furiously until its beak was filled, its wings going nineteen to the dozen. So cute!
And as for last week's TfP - whoa! Excellent stuff. Though that's one hellish long walk home for Starscream!
Can't WAIT until it all comes out on DVD. Kai's itching to watch...
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Seventeenth part of Renewal - Motion - now posted over at The Poppy Tales (link above). Enjoy!
Friday, May 11, 2012
First rain-free day for what feels like months! Put through two washes and dried them out in the sun, did a little weeding and greenhouse tending (my tomato plants have their first flowers) and Ken hoed the patch in the veg bed that's going to be holding my twelve leek seedlings (shall get some more on the go then). And apart from a little client stuff, the rest of the day has been taken up with the next Poppy chapter. It's a biggie, in both senses of the word...
Should be posted tomorrow.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
[grump] Did too much - everything hurts.
Next Poppy almost half written...
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
And the second mini-comic is now posted - link above. I have an embarrassing amount of fun making these... [snerking/chuckling]
Labels: Transformers: Prime
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
A particularly manic couple of days...
I have a running battle with this pigeon. It's a very bright bird. After I hung the basket thing under the feeder to catch the stray sunflower seeds (they make a horrible gungy mess on the grass otherwise) it learned that if it stood on the edge of the basket it could just reach into the feeder to steal the seeds. So I attached wire to make the basket hang a little lower. So it then learned that if it hung off the branch to the side, it could just reach the seeds if it sort of hung down sideways.
So I cut off the branch to the side.
This is the pigeon upside down hanging onto the wires that hold the basket in place It can't stay in that position for long, but it can reach the seeds, and determined blasted creature that it is, it keeps coming back for more.
(Sorry it's not a good photo - I had to take it from the kitchen window and the bird was moving...)
The next step is to organise a sort of 'roof' over the feeder. Perhaps a plant saucer. Going to tackle that tomorrow.
For now, I've taken a series of photos - finally - for the next Tf mini-comic. Will have a go at that in a bit.
Sunday, May 06, 2012
The area around Roeg's Pool is looking pretty this year!
Shopping earlier. I sometimes wonder if some shadowy authority is using supermarket shoppers in their own psychological experiments. I generally pick up a pack of Twix single biscuit bars for Kai's lunchbox: I normally buy the 16-pack for £2.50. Today, right beside the 16-packs on the top shelf, was a box of 9-packs on special offer - for £2 for two. Now, numbers and I don't get on that well, but even I know that £2 for 18 is better value than £2.50 for 16!
I wonder how many people just bought the 16-pack without noticing?
Most supermarkets are stuffed with offers these days though - trying to hold onto their customers in these tricky times I suppose. Sainsbug have a good special on at the moment - the best smoked salmon steaks I've ever tasted at £2.69 each or 2 for £4. Given that I have to buy six at a time to take advantage of the special, that works out basically at buy 4 get 2 free. (No, we don't have them often, but they freeze easily and we all love them, so as a special treat they are a very good deal.) Their 'buy 3 for £10' organic lean mince (500g packs at £4 per pack individually) is another good one: three packs does the three of us six meals in spagbol or chili, which we have once a week. I know it's not ideal to rely on specials to keep us fed without compromising our organic principles, but it really helps!
Just caught the latest Tf: P on Yt... [grin] Fun. And while I really miss Starscream, it's nice to see Megsy is an equal-opportunities abuser...
Saturday, May 05, 2012
Sixteenth part of Renewal - Plans - now posted over at The Poppy Tales (link above). Enjoy!
Friday, May 04, 2012
Fifteenth part of Renewal - Conversation - now posted over at The Poppy Tales (link above). Enjoy!
In other news, I finally got my hair trimmed again. Jeff has done his usual excellent job. One of these days I'll be happy with a photo so you can see what it looks like...
Later edit: Ken took a photo of the back - no photoshop, no hair glitter, no hair product, although the camera flash does accentuate the silver...
Thursday, May 03, 2012
This is ridiculous. When I stepped outside earlier this afternoon I could see my breath! It's May, ffs! My poor plants are trying so hard to flourish but there's not enough warmth or sunlight for them...
More client stuff. More rain. More shopping...
Mayoral elections tomorrow - we get to vote for a publicly elected versus a council allocated one. Or something like that, I haven't really been paying attention. Said to Ken I had no idea whether to vote yes or no and he said he didn't know whether I wanted to use it to help me decide but Cameron (that effing tory bastard (my words not Ken's) PM) had visited Bristol to whip up support for a Yes vote... Best possible reason to vote No!
On the plus side, Ferdinand the bat made his first appearance of the year this evening, flitting around the garden hoovering up midges from above our pools. Such a sweetie!
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
(Well, for last night anyway.)
Lie-in 'til 9.30. Whole day spent on client stuff. Except for potting on courgettes, tomatoes and Swiss chard. It's big enough to go into the ground, but it's so wet it'll either rot or the gastropods will eat it...