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:

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 SP fied..::]

... 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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

So, Monday went OK. Foundations and Proofs was fine, Programming and Algorithms was fine (Kai's been using C for ages), Intro to Computer Architecture was soft and easy. The only one he had a problem with was Mathematical Methods for Computer Scientists - it involved probability, which he (and a goodly number of his fellow students, I gather) have never covered. My feeling is that a lot of this week will be the teaching staff seeing how much each student knows and thereby where they may need extra help or tuition. Overall though, it was fine, and he, along with several others in the class, actually did the assignment (to write a programme to draw triangles) last night (it's not actually due until next Monday. Talk about starting as you mean to go on!)

This afternoon is the Programming and Algorithms computer lab, three hours of it...

I've been getting a lot of client stuff done for Chelsey in advance of the Frankfurt Book Fair, and as predicted this week is even busier than usual, but come next Monday I'm hoping to dive back into my own work again - which means the next!Poppy to start with!

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Well, we got to the SU Fair in the blazing sun - and yes, it was students only - to find the queue for entry about 45 minutes long and the place absolutely heaving so we were all

and went over to the bank (to get him pound coins for busfare) and then bussed out to Blaise Castle for a walk along the river in the cool. Lovely, but my legs were aching so we only went as far as the first pools. (Kai can get all the SU info online/from the handbook/at the Union building so won't miss out.)

We've taken it easy over the weekend - well, K&K have - with a bit of shopping, Interstellar on Friday after dinner and Rocky Horror Picture Show yesterday - wonderful fun, Kai hadn't seen it but enjoyed it!

Oh, and I've identified our bees! They're colletes hederae - solitary ivy bees: our ivy tree is now full of them. They're only on the wing for a couple of months though, then they disappear until next year.

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

hee, I like the gif.
Shame about the fair but probably wise to avoid the queue.

7:42 am  

Friday, September 25, 2015

Catching up again...

Well, Fresher's Week was a bit of a roller coaster. The Monday session was fun: at registration on Tuesday although Kai was on the system and his ID card was there, they hadn't printed it out so he had to traipse off to a different building to collect it, while the afternoon session was a bit too chaotic for him: at his Wednesday Linux session he couldn't login so came home to do the session from here: Thursday am he was feeling dreadful again, with no energy and aching everywhere (feeling, he said, like he did just before the aa was diagnosed) so at his BHOC appt we asked them to run a full check (means taking extra bloods for virology tests). His blood counts were fine though; the dr we saw suggested he might have a vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to limb and bone aches, headaches and general feeling awful, and of course he's been avoiding the sun because of his increased risk of melanoma. [headdesk] So they're checking for that and in the meantime I'm trying to find out vit D supplemented food.

And since most of the students are in residences they've already established friendship groups, and Kai is somewhat left out...

He headed out again after lunch while I had the boiler serviced - and found out the guy we had do it last time was a complete cowboy. There's nothing wrong with the fire at all, and he charged me double the usual amount. New guy - Tom of TK Plumbing, recommended by a fellow APAG member - is great and we'll go with him from now on.

In the afternoon it was Kai's first real session, meeting his tutor and tutor group. And suddenly things picked up. The group is a wonderfully culturally eclectic mix, three lads, two lasses, from all over Europe, and Kai got on just fine with them all, and with the tutor. He came home much much happier and more positive - which is great because he's been so down the rest of the week I was beginning to wonder if we'd made a mistake and he'd be better off doing something else.

After dinner we went over to Tesco for him to have his flu jab (the surgery couldn't give us an appt til 3rd Oct, which is too late for Kai): it was OK, and he says he doesn't feel too bad today. I managed a swim this am - 14 lengths! - and if Kai feels up to it after lunch we'll head for the Student Union Fair. It did occur to me that I may not be able to get in (Millennium Square can be cordoned off at need, and you might need a student ID to get in) but that's OK, he needs lots and lots of change for his buses, and, as I found out after my swim, the post office no longer gives change unless you have a change card [grump]. Since we'll be in town anyway, I'll get over to the bank and get stocked up there while he explores the Fair. Ken has a day off today and is hoping to mow.

Also booked his last three inoculations - TDP/P, meningitis and MMR - all on Friday ams at 9 (he starts at 11 on a Friday so that will give him enough time to get into class): not ideal if he does get immediate side effects but the best I could do. He'll have the weekend to recover each time, at least.

I am now knackered - again - and hoping I can have a relatively quiet weekend. I have a lot of planning to do, more client stuff, and a lot of emails to send. Next week is going to be busy too, but after that we can hopefully settle into some sort of routine!

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

Routine? Surely not... :)

Glad to hear things are looking up - anything new involves a steep learning curve.

6:24 pm  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Warning: spider photo below. 

So - Fresher's Week starts tomorrow. And Kai has a wretched cold, poor Childe.

But we've got there. Still a few hurdles to overcome, but I'm hoping the worst is now behind us. Kai has his last (I think) chimerism blood review on Thurs, and he's booked to have his flu jab at Tesco's pharmacy 7.30pm the same day, so he has the weekend to get over it if he has any side-effects. I didn't, but Ken did, so it's 75/25 he may not get any. Fingers crossed. It's the Student Union Fair at the Millennium Square on Friday, so if he doesn't feel too good he won't be missing anything too important.

It's going to be a very busy week here...


He was using sulphur again today - while my washing was out.

Rosa. Or rather, Rosa's bum. I have absolutely no idea what she's doing!

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

They appear to be very social, for solitary bees...

And I think Rosa is playing ostrich :)

11:30 pm  

Friday, September 18, 2015

Busier than ever, and likely to stay like it until the beginning of classes (28th)...

I had client stuff yesterday: in the afternoon we did another quick recce of the Uni buildings, and Kai is now happy he can find his way around. Then we met Ken at Za Za Bazaar for dinner (we had vouchers - put through the door as advertising - for meals for £9.99 instead of the usual £14.99 and thought we'd use them before they ran out on the 20th).

It's a bit of a strange place, upstairs overlooking the harbour and with a sort of industrial aesthetic, high ceiling with lots of pipes and ducts. Kai was grumpy and thought he wouldn't like it: by the end of the meal he was grinning and asking when we can go back! He and Ken had chicken korma - I did my usual and went round the Asian and Indian stations taking a little bit of everything. And it was scrumptious! Kai came with me for second helpings - I recommended the tempura prawns which were absolutely delicious and which he loves but hadn't been able to eat while he had no immune system - and really enjoyed it. And then we piled more plates with the wonderful desserts, again a little of everything. Gah, I was stuffed! But it was a fantastic meal out, and I guess you'd have to make at least 11 or 12 visits to try everything. Which is very tempting...

Though my gulab jamun are better.

Managed to finally make time for a swim this morning - twelve lengths! Hadn't planned to but after ten I felt like doing a little more, and as I got there in plenty of time it was all very relaxed. Almost went for fourteen, but my arms were beginning to ache so thought I'd not push it. Afterwards I wandered down to Bill's Fishing Tackle for some strong transparent fishing line to suspend my latest Starscream from. He asked me what I wanted it for, so I told him it was to hang large and fairly heavy model planes from the ceiling. Were they mine? he asked. So I said yes, and thus we were off into a discussion about planes. Turns out he has actually had a Vulcan fly over his head, at about 30 feet, by the sound of it. I'm jealous! This now has me hankering for the Airfix model I've seen at Hawkin's Bazaar (I built one when I was at college back when dinosaurs ruled the earth but I don't know what happened to it). And maybe a Vampire. And an F-16 (Primeverse SS). And maybe even a Sukhoi (Armadaverse SS, supposedly) if I can find one.

I bought the line he recommended and will have a go at new SS later. Photos if I can get it to work!

While I was out Ken took some photos of the nature reserve that is our garden...

Birbs at feeder.

Woodpecker on the mullein up on the slope

Squrl in the hazel tree. Little bugger stole all but one of Ken's nuts and buried them in next door's lawn. Oops...

Speaking of next door, he's spent two days with a flamethrower completely scorching the whole area at the top. We assume he'll try to get it re-turfed, even though it's obvious by now grass is never going to do well there without major work, the soil's too dry. The current result, of course, is that there are now thousands of bees burrowing into all that lovely bare soil. And crows and magpies pecking for insects (or possibly burnt bees). Looks like the foxes may have visited too...

The bee colony on our side has settled happily into the veg bed and the slope, bless them. The main problem is trying not to tread on them when filling feeders or hanging out washing!

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

Though my gulab jamun are better. That's easy for you to say... :)

and buried them in next door's lawn hee. Give that squrl a nut :)

Flamethrower...? It's a shame he didn't set fire to himself...

8:02 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...


1:27 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Actually, Ken tells me he very nearly did...

11:56 pm  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Yesterday Kai and I went to Clevedon, for a last trip coast-wards before his term starts. Walked up over Poet's Walk, but didn't go any further: he had his multiple meningitis (ACWY) inoculation on Monday and was feeling a bit meh. Though not as bad as the last one. And he announced, on the bus as we entered the town, that he suddenly had mental clarity after feeling fuzzy for the last two years, and today, while we sorted out his wardrobe, he found he had restored manual dexterity too. It was thirteen days ago he stopped the tacrolimus, and I believe it's now finally clearing his system!

I really cannot tell you what a relief this is...

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Blogger Sue said...

That is very good news indeed!

7:40 pm  

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Quick reply to Sue's comment, below:

In fact, it ended up being a very pleasant and civilised affair! (Though not many people participated, which made it smaller and quieter: I think a lot of people were away for the weekend...) Come the evening there were kids playing football just outside, but there were three adults staying in control of it, so no problems there. It was too hot and sunny for it to be comfortable for Kai during the afternoon, but in the evening we went a dozen houses up the road to where an acquaintance (I know most of the street to say hello to but can I remember their names? Gah...) had five guys playing music in the front garden (guitars - electric and acoustic - and a squeezebox). They were very good, and we listened to some fun and extremely boppable music (Steamy Windows, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, Going Up The Country, and do you think either of us can remember the others? [sigh]) for a half an hour before it got a bit too cold to be comfortable.

The noise had quietened to a reasonable level by midnight, too, so all in all it was a good day - only spoiled by next door blithely announcing to his wife and/or daughter, 'Right, I'm going to kill some bees.'

But they have sanctuary here. And they're adorable. I found one on a sweetcorn stalk (we cleared the patch today, as they'd finished) and held it in my hand for a few minutes before I could tempt it off onto the thyme. And yes, they are the gentlest, cutest bees imaginable, and yes, they have no stings.

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Blogger Sue said...

Glad it wasn't as bad as you anticipated. I've had trouble with children and footballs for years now but one benefit from our neighbour leaving a car permanently parked outside our house is that the children can no longer use our hedge as a goal. There's an upside to most things :)

9:05 am  

Friday, September 11, 2015

Gah - tired. Then again, when am I ever not...

Useful day today. Decided it'll remove one source of stress for Kai if he's a little more familiar with the University buildings and layout, so we bussed in to the Clifton Triangle and went to all the places he will need to visit during Fresher's Week: the Wills Memorial Building, where he'll take his Certificate of Registration from his online registration to be stamped, and will get his ID card; the Faculty of Engineering in the Merchant Venturer's Building (more familiar as that was where his interview was two years ago); and finally the Student Union, where he'll go on Mon 21st for the induction - or, as the SU puts it, 'how to survive at University!'

We were able to get into the Union building (the other two we could step inside, but not go any further without ID) so took a look around and found the Anson Rooms, where the induction talks and presentations will actually take place. There's a really nice, comforting atmosphere in the place, and the security guy at the desk was very friendly and helpful: Kai came out smiling, which is very good.

All in all it was a good idea. We plan to do it again: Kai's applied to do two different maths courses for two of his optional units, and the Maths Faculty is up the hill and through a pretty garden area. We'll check it out next - and I want us to find the Uni bookshop, so he'll be able to get there if he needs to.

Tonight he filled in the application for a mentor. It's optional, but I believe that having someone onsite who knows what he's been through this last couple of years and can act as a safety net if he has problems is an excellent idea, and he agreed with me. This makes me feel happier and less stressed too.

Tomorrow is Bristol Open Doors 2015, and unfortunately also our road's 2015 street party. Which I'm not happy about as we weren't asked if we wanted one and last year's was an absolute nightmare for me, with none of us able to participate due to Kai's risk of infection, and the kids across the road coming this > < close to smashing our lounge window with their football. Ken has already organised, several months ago, going out to the villa at King's Weston with a friend this year, then going on to several other sites: I'm too worried about the house to want to go anywhere, and Kai is tired after all the trips this last few days, so will most likely stay home. It's going to be a very noisy, very BBQ-smelly affair lasting from 11 am to 11 pm - though last year the music and shouting went on well into the early hours of the next morning - and I'm dreading it. I have, however, explained my concerns to the organisers (some of whom are APAG committee members, so instant rapport there) and the flyer with all the info has a firm request to everyone NOT to let their children kick balls around anywhere they might cause damage, so fingers crossed...

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Blogger Sue said...

You have all my sympathies over the street party. Running for that length of time and planning to have loud music is completely unacceptable and shows a complete lack of regard for anybody else.

8:33 pm  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Yesterday we finally got to Chepstow!

Kai made friends with a robin - shared a little of his lunch. Smol birb was very sweet!

We walked the first few hundred yards of the Wye Valley Walk, which runs up the side of the Castle, then followed the rough path to the back of the Upper Barbican.

(Photos of the 2013 trip here.)

Very windy, a lot of walking, but it was great and we both loved it. The trip was terrific too!

APAG meeting last night, all went well.

Ken has today and tomorrow off and is currently upstairs assembling Kai's desk. It's going to take all day...

Ten lengths this morning!

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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Let's catch up again, shall we?!

Not going to bother saying it's been hectic, just take that as read. Friday was completely taken up with business, both client sites and getting Kai organised: Capability for Work forms to fill in, various documents to get scanned and printed, and I had to call the DWP to ask about Kai's ESA and PIP payments, now he's starting uni. Very helpful man told me he may still be eligible for some PIP as he may be considered a 'student with disabilities' - we'll have to wait and see.

My chair and Kai's desk arrived, and the plan was to set them both up on Saturday, but it was a very pleasant day and Ken wanted to get out of Bristol, so he and Kai bussed to just outside Bath, climbed to Kelston Round hill, and then went on to the start of the Cotswold Way - a goodly walk.

They arrived back quite late, but really enjoyed it. I spent the day preparing and freezing apples and general house and garden stuff...

Native bog iris near Roeg's Pool. Hoverflies love them!

And Tyjer loves the sun...

Sunday was brilliant wall-to-wall sunshine, so I started the washing early (as in 7 am) - towels and bedding, always a lot to dry...

Now, we have these absolutely gorgeous little burrowing bees at the top of the garden:

They are the most unaggressive bees I've ever met. You can walk through clouds of them and they completely ignore you - I'm not even sure they have stings. Wonderful little pollinators: you just have to be careful when hoeing that you don't fill in their burrows.

Mid morning, and next door was out using a device to pump out sulphur to smoke out (and probably kill, sulphur being poisonous to insects) the bees on his side at the top of the garden. My washing was still hanging out just over the fence.

Ever smelt sulphur? It absolutely stinks.

This morning he was out ranting at our hard-working garbage men for some imagined slight or other...

Kai got his registration completed on Sunday, and logged into his account - to find, to our horror, that the Uni hadn't cancelled his first registration, he has over a hundred lecture notes and reports from various tutors, and some bastard hacked his account and got it banned from Youtube. [headdeskheaddeskheaddesk] I'm now trying to get that sorted out...

However, my latest Starscream arrived - cheap on ebay, Bayverse but in gorgeous grey and green deco. I may very well leave him in alt mode and see if I can find a way to suspend him from the shelf...

Lunch! My stomach is grumbling...

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

It's all go over there, isn't it? :)

If they're ground bees (quite likely, although I thought they were solitary) then they don't have stings, hence the lack of aggression - they can't back it up :) I don't understand why people can't distinguish bees from wasps (assuming that was why your neighbour was being a complete idiot, although he has got a head-start...)

We had a tree bumble bee nest in one of our spare hutches this summer. It was only after they'd quietened down that I discovered they can be quite aggressive and perhaps I should have been a little more careful around them :)

Weave a curse for the idiot hacker...

7:31 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Well, if hundreds of them all in separate burrows counts as 'solitary' then yes they are! But they have sanctuary here, and the top of the garden is now filled with a musical humming...

Oh, he knows they're bees. He just doesn't want them in his garden. He's spent the last 20 years trying and failing to grow grass on the (completely dry) slope, instead of using drought-resistant plants like we have. He strims it right down to the ground and expects it to thrive. Instead it's a dead zone - and since sulphur kills everything (that's why I used a sulphur candle in my greenhouse last year) he may very well have killed off what's left of the grass too.

Am working on the curse...

As far as I'm concerned people who deliberately harm bees are scum and deserve to have plagues of very large, very angry wasps delivered upon them!

12:09 pm  

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Eight lengths this morning!

After the appt yesterday, Kai and I walked over to Staples: I've been needing a new office chair for some time but wanted to sit on it to check it out rather than buy blind on amazon, and Kai really needs a decent desk. We both found what we were looking for - well, the desk isn't quite perfect, but as I pointed out, that's only possible if you have it custom made, and we don't have that sort of money - and the chair is being delivered today. Hopefully the desk too, but that might take up to three days, which will give us time to try to sort out the mess up there...

I promised myself I wasn't going to buy any more salt and pepper sets after finding the clockwork robots, but I spotted these in a charity shop and just couldn't resist.

Client stuff today.

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Blogger Sue said...

Well done on the swimming and yes, how could you resist those pots? Very cute!

9:30 pm  

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Day + 365 

It's been exactly a year since Kai's stem cell transplant.

His haematology appt today went well: his counts are very good (although the neutrophil count may be due to him fighting his second DTP/P inoculation yesterday: he feels a bit 'flu-y). His next appt will be in three months: we'll make it once we have his uni timetable.

It's all good.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Yesterday afternoon.

Kai's last tacrolimus today!



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