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
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01/02/2011 - 28/02/2011
01/03/2011 - 31/03/2011
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01/12/2013 - 31/12/2013
01/01/2014 - 31/01/2014
01/02/2014 - 28/02/2014
01/03/2014 - 31/03/2014
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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
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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
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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

Saturday, June 30, 2018

In which Joules turns a driving lesson into yet another Lord of the Rings style adventure... 

A day (well, a few hours at least) to myself! K&K have gone to Goblin Combe, to take a day out in the summer air without burning in this abominable heatwave thing we seem to be suffering. Honestly, a week and a half of 26 - 29 degree heat. I'm melting. And sleeping is almost impossible - especially when you're woken up at 4 am by caterwauling right outside the wide-open-because-HOT bedroom window. Well, obviously not right outside, the local cats haven't quite learned to levitate yet. But give it time, give it time...

So let's try a catch up.

First up, Kai passed all his exams, well enough, we think, that he can go on to take his M.Eng. Big relief.

The Summer Solstice came and went but we didn't do anything much. Hope everyone had a happy day anyway!

Decorating: the hall is half finished (took me three coats of gloss to cover the hall cupboard door, dammit, and I've yet to tackle the radiator, which means stripping off the old gloss first...) Problem is, I can't hold a paintbrush for more than about 10 minutes before the carpel tunnel starts making my hand go numb, and then it takes another fifteen minutes for me to exercise feeling back into it, so everything is slowed down to a snail's pace. Bloody frustrating. But I should have it all done by Yule - hopefully including the kitchen, which I'm dreading.

Garden: having to use hosepipe to water the fruit and veg - main waterbutt now only half full so I'm using that water for the greenhouse. Extra work, but it's quite fun. Everything is doing well in the beds - we're already eating fresh-picked mini munch cucumbers, blueberries, mange tout, sugarsnap peas and dwarf beans, which is all going down very nicely. And it looks like I'm going to have a wonderful plum harvest this year. Thursday afternoon Kai and I spent a bit of time cutting down and chopping the old (dead) ivy tree - I have a compost bag collection Tuesday so it can all go out then. Still have the 'trunk' to tackle (it's just a lattice of branches around what was a tree trunk before it rotted away) but some of them are quite thick: will need Ken or Kai to cut them.

Watching: Definitely, Maybe, which is a delight. Touch season 2, which is, as expected, a bit disappointing after the excellent season 1. GoodTwin found me Millennium (complete, all three seasons, 18 discs...) which I remember loving when we first saw it (ye gods, was that really 27 years ago? Ouch...) We've saving that for the autumn, I want to watch Starhunter next. I've also picked up Soylent Green and The Handmaid's Tale (the original film, not the current series, although I am considering getting the latter...) Both s-f classics at silly prices at Sains: seemed like a good idea at the time. And La La Land was half price at Tesco yesterday: picked it up to watch tomorrow afternoon, after Kai's venesection.

Swimming: 36 lengths once a week is now my norm - though limping home afterwards in this heat is no fun. Still, it's all downhill I suppose.

Criminal Damage/Harassment: had a phone call from the police on Monday evening, apologising for taking so long to get back to me. The case has been handed to the senior officer for this area, who is on leave atm, "because of who he [Wilson] is". Not entirely sure what that means, although we know he's used his 'position' as ex-police to bully and abuse other people too. Hope they aren't too long though, it's stressful going into the greenhouse every day and seeing the horrible mess he's made of the glass.

Last Friday: Lesson went very well indeed, even the infamous Hick's Gate roundabout - the cause of so many local learners failing their first test - twice. The second time from the Bath side, where there are currently no road markings... GoodTwin and Adrian arrived soon after I got back. After toasted sammijes for lunch we headed off to Bedminster on a car hunt. Checked out Tiley and Motorzone, sat in quite a lot of cars (and were able to dismiss ones that simply weren't comfy for both Kai and I) and came away with a shortlist of models we liked - Ford Fiesta, Suzuki Alto, Nissan Note and the Skoda Roomster, although I don't think we'll be going for that one, despite all the room. Have checked out insurance too, and our cheapest is with Aviva (where our pensions are) so will probably go for that (half the price of the next cheapest at So it's all coming together, although we still need to go back and test drive a car or two. The ones we've seen so far have only been between 1 and 1.3 litre engines, and I think we need a 1.4 at least.

Oh, that reminds me! Finally found out what I've been taking refresher lessons in - a Renault Clio 1.5. Very nice car - may see if we can find one second hand...

And so to yesterday's lesson...

I asked if we could go tackle the Cumberland Basin, which is a confusing interchange down where Bedminster and the New Cut meets the River Avon.

Stitched together from google maps - hope it's clear enough!

Traffic moves pretty fast here, and unless you know exactly where you're going it's very easy to take the wrong lane/exit. I've only ever been on it as a passenger, but it's the main route out of the city for half the places we want to get to, without going through the city centre, so I do need to learn it.

So off we set. Nice driver let me turn out of the crossroads at the top of our road into the Bath Rd. Traffic was crawling along by Totterdown Bridge and the Fingerpost: one lane of the roundabout over the first bridge was closed but that was OK: easy run along Coronation Rd, past the Riverside garden Centre: and then...

We got lost. Four times. Instructor didn't know the area either!

First we missed the Long Ashton turning, and ended up going around the turning near Barrow Gurney, back up on the dual carriageway, then over the basin and up along the Portway. To turn around to go back and try again he had me drive up the insanely steep and bendy road up the side of the Gorge, out through Clifton, and then around the horrible junction where Whiteladies Rd meets Clifton Down. Bloody Bristol drivers, no-one would pause for a second to let me out - instructor had to wave at one to get him to be courteous. Then it was back down the gorge road, back across the bridge, around to the right and then... not quite the road I was after but it worked out OK as we ended up heading to Long Ashton. Halfway through the village we turned to retrace our path - by creeping down a country lane so narrow the bushes on either side brushed the car...

My exclamation of "Ah! Pavement! Civilisation!!" when we reached the bottom made him chuckle.

Then it was a hill start on a steep hill at a give way sign on a blind corner - with a large VW van far too close behind me. Didn't quite stall, but the car rolled back, only a couple of inches but it was enough for the driver behind to move smartly back a few feet, which made it a tad less stressful.

So - out of Long Ashton and back to the interchange. Managed the one way nearly circular turn there - then took the wrong exit again, so we ended up going back over the bridge and up the Portway a second time. This time we drove further: it's a 50mph limit along there so I was able to get into 5th gear. (Heh. Never had a fifth gear on the old car and I nearly went into reverse - recovered quickly but I won't be doing that again!).

It's actually a nice stretch of road, along the river, fairly straight, not too much traffic. A bit before Shirehampton I was thirsty, so we turned right at the junction that leads to the Almondsbury Garden Centre, then right again into a residential area and pulled up correctly between driveways and with nothing parked opposite - which was just as well as I'd no sooner opened my coke when a bus came trundling by!

Couple of mins later we headed off again, took a right turn that we found, seconds later, was a dead end. So that was me reversing into someone's drive to turn round and retrace our steps...

Back on the Portway, over the bridge again, and I finally managed to get onto the road I wanted, that leads past the Ashton Gate Football Stadium and through the Bedminster industrial estate, round several mini-roundabouts, up the hill (where the traffic lights turned red before I reached the junction, another fun hill start), down past where Kim Lives - and then I missed the turning into St John's Lane...

[headdesk] So we drove on a few yards and turned left into a tiny narrow street with cars parked both sides and I'd guess about two foot clearance on either side. Oh joy. The idiot stepping out without looking didn't help either. But then it was a right turn back onto familiar territory, navigating past cars pulling out unexpectedly, a school just turning out for lunch, and the Malago Brook junction, which isn't difficult but I was a bit frazzled by then.

And then I missed the turn off to Talbot Hill that I had planned to take, and ended up at the bottom of the Wells Rd instead. More hill starts at traffic lights, more cars parked on the road, and I had to pull into a bus stop to get out of the way of a fire engine racing down the road, all sirens blazing. After that, coming down the other side of Talbot Hill and along to home was a doddle.

That was pretty much every driving situation you can get into in the UK, all packed into 2 hours (well, OK, barring getting stuck behind a tractor for miles, ending up stuck in the middle of a stream, or navigating the city centre), and the instructor was very pleased indeed. Said yes, I really am a good driver, did incredibly well, and am now absolutely fine to be let loose on the roads. (I was from two lessons back but Friday definitively confirmed it.)

And the daft thing is, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I think it was the challenge. We all know I like a challenge. Wonderful boost to the self-confidence too. Now itching to get the car and start taking everyone out.

Which reminds me - must ring Paul the builder and get a quote for the planned drive...

Later folks!

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Blogger GoodTwin said...

Bristol, home of Magical Mystery Tours... :) I well remember some of those turns. Well done!
Adrian thinks the Clio 1.5 might be diesel, but it's certainly worth checking out petrol versions.

We've been suffering the heatwave as well; various pets are not pleased.

The new job is... interesting. It's astonishing how early some people go shopping.

5:35 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Cheers! It was bonkers but fun...
I think Adrian's right, it is a diesel, but I am quite comfortable in it now, and I gather it has a good rep, so will check out the petrol versions if I can.
... yerssss... Well, give it a week or so and see how you do. It's always a bit odd when the job is new. Yay, rhyming couplet!

9:57 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

Wow, well done on that crazy trip of Bristol! Sounds like you are really back in the swing of driving.

5:08 pm  
Blogger Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

[grin] Ta! I think half of it is knowing I don't HAVE to drive, I can drive when I want to and that makes it a lot more fun. (And given that walking is painful now and driving isn't, it opens up a lot more opportunities for me - us - to get to places we've never explored before.)
Also, I'm a lot calmer and more in control than when I was younger. That makes a big difference given how different, and more manic, the general level of driving is these days. I just tend to swear at the idiots on the road rather than panicking, now!

11:03 pm  

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Quickest of all possible updates: GoodTwin and Adrian are coming over from Winchester next week to take us on the first stage of The Quest for the Car!

It's all getting quite exciting!

[GLOMPS] GoodTwin. Be fantastic to see you again.

Oh, and we watched The Nines, which is just amazing. Wonderful, complex film. My respect for Reynolds' range grows with every film I see.

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Blogger AmandaHuffleduck said...

dun dun DUN!:D good luck!

12:37 am  

Friday, June 15, 2018

Tch'. I forgot the other automatic louvre opener. Add another £30 to the greenhouse cost - £910...

Last night we had drilling, hammering and sawing next door until gone midnight, which led to a disturbed night for me. Very tired, stressed and frazzled today, so when my instructor arrived I asked if we could just review everything we'd done so far, in quiet roads, instead of the reverse-parking, hill starts and venturing out onto faster roads we'd planned (and told him why, and what had happened last Fri.) He said of course, that would be fine - then almost inconspicuously guided me into doing what we'd originally planned anyway, the sneaky erbert!

Actually, once I got started, it all went incredibly well. My positioning was really good this week, hill starts (which I always used to be good at) perfect three times in a row on a rather steep hill, and although it took several attempts, my final reverse parking (into a parking bay with a pavement and a tree behind us) was perfect, if I do say so myself. (I find it much easier to perform that manoeuvre if there's an obstacle behind me. I may be the only person in the world to feel this way...) Clutch control is almost as good as it used to be, and I'm confident enough now I'm not bothered by other traffic. All in all a very good lesson, he thinks I'd be fine now to go buy a car and be safe to drive it, and made my week by saying I must have been a very good driver back when I drove before!

And I thoroughly enjoyed it. So that's all good.

Of course I'm now really tired and heading bedwards in a wee while (will let the amitriptyline start working first). We have a relaxed weekend planned: it's Ken's birthday on Sunday, which is also Father's Day this year, and he's taking Mon as annual leave, so has a nice long weekend ahead. Kai should have venesection on Sun, but has gone down with a throat infection and is feeling a bit rough, so I've rescheduled it for the 1st July. Dr told him to double his penicillin meds for 10 days and get back to her if it hasn't eased in a week. He doesn't have a temperature, and Bronchostop and honey and lemon drinks and lozenges seem to be helping, so I'm not too worried. It's annoying for him, but this is, unfortunately, going to keep happening as his immune system is never going to get back to normal. But he's accepted that and is learning to cope. It's all we can do really, and he's not letting it get him down too much...


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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Brief edit to the last post. Looked out the receipts to show the police: the greenhouse cost £880 (28/5/16), construction another £1,285 (early Sept 2016), so a total of £2,165. Damn right I'm angry.

Forgot to mention: a month or so ago we watched Black Mirror season 3, which was excellent, with both the nicest - San Junipero - and the nastiest - Shut Up And Dance - episodes so far.

Yesterday's swim was another 36 length (in 50 mins), and felt really good. I think the weekly swim is the only time I'm completely free of pain. Pity about the walk home afterwards, but at least it's all downhill. Last night we watched Self / Less, which is wonderful. A really excellent film - deserves higher than it gets on the IMDb.

Today is business: some book ideas to send to our agent, and for me to finally sort out my pension. Oh joy...

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Blogger AmandaHuffleduck said...

aaahhh that looks delicious, thank you! :D
and I want a shady nook just like Kai's, thanks.

yay for the health stuff, boo for the troggie next door D:

11:46 am  
Blogger Sue said...

Unbelievable behaviour by neighbour. Well done on the swimming and the driving lessons!

8:29 pm  

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

[sigh] Perhaps if I say - "don't expect me to have time to write anything for three weeks" I might be able to update more regularly? Like some kind of reverse psychology? The other method ain't working...

Let's see how much I can remember.

Flower spike on the everlasting orchid.

The garden - first peas and mange tout appeared in the raised beds, first sweet and bell peppers in the greenhouse. We've decided on the design for the drive (well, mostly me but Kai loves the idea and Ken is OK with it, so it'll probably happen). Gravel isn't permitted by Bristol City Council, so we're going to go for yellow pebbles instead (six drives along the other half of the road have them, so it looks like it's 1, perfectly acceptable, and 2, there's precedent). Going to plant blue flowers around the edges to give the effect of a beach surrounded by water... We don't have a price for it yet, but it's going to be a little while before we can afford it in any case. I'm planning to have an extra wide entrance: I've had to get Kai into hospital three times in the last couple of years, so want to make sure there's space for an ambulance if needed.

Have some garden pics!

Kai's copse, shady and safe for him to sit out when it's sunny.


Our crow. This one fishes tadpoles out of Roeg's pool for snacks!

Tyjer's new shelter when it rains...

The painting is coming along, but very slowly: I can only hold a paintbrush for about ten minutes before my hand starts going numb (the carpel tunnel has resurfaced with a vengeance. Should probably go see dr and ask for another steroid injection). It's going to be weeks before everything's done, but it is going to look lovely, so that's something.

We're still waiting for the quote to replace the downpipe - actually I'd better email our WeCare person to find out what's happened to it.

We've had the plumber this morning: the ballcock to the extension tank up in the roof had packed up and over the last four days (over the weekend, of course, when no-one's available to come out) Kai's heard running water going out in the guttering. All fixed now - for once it was a nice easy job - but not looking forward to the bill. This summer is turning out to be rather expensive...

Food porn for Lutra - Korean Beef (except it's not really Korean, but it is extremely tasty and is now on the repertoire).

Health: dentist has refilled the problem tooth, but if it gets another infection or starts causing pain, I'm to get there as quickly as I can to have it extracted (she left notes to that effect on my records). I may be lucky - it could go for years with no further problems. On the other hand it could start hurting later today - there's no telling. Keeping fingers crossed for the first option!

Also, happy to report that the amitriptyline is working: the sciatica has all but gone, which is a huge relief. Haven't needed to increase the dose either, one tablet before bed is proving to be enough at the moment.

Media: We've finished watching Touch season 1, and will probably start on season 2 next week. Ken and I have a sneaking suspicion it's not as good as season 1 so we didn't want to spoil 1's enjoyment. Caught Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle on FilmFLex and thoroughly enjoyed it. Dwayne is brilliant, and it's the first film I've seen where I actually like Jack Black. We'll be buying it when it comes down in price - so I picked up the original Jumanji for 49p at St Pete's (for completeness sake). We watched it last week and to my surprise, although I thought I'd seen it before, it was completely new to me. And fun.

I watched Buried by myself. It's very good, but not an easy watch... I found Definitely Maybe in a charity shop in Wells - Kai and I went there last Saturday for a day out. Had a great time - as it looks like I'm now idly collecting Ryan Reynolds films.

The much-touted Bumblebee film is out in Dec. I wasn't too fussed, as he's not a favourite character - but the design looks good, and Starscream is in it, so I will be buying it, and no doubt there'll be an associated Starscream action figure in due course, so that'll be one to look out for.

Swimming - week before last made 24 lengths, and last week 36, which is a full one half of a mile! Quite proud of myself. Of course, this means I now have to try to reach that every week...

Except for this week. I did too much gardening with Kai and can barely move today, dammit. Will this teach me? I hope so!

Driving - the week before's lesson went really well, and last week's even better: we focussed on reversing, parking and manoeuvring. I get the impression he thinks another lesson, maybe two, and I'll be good to go. Kai and I will start scouring Autotrader asap...

Of course, there's always something. After such a great week, I went out to water in the greenhouse, to find that the poisonous, hateful old waste of oxygen next door has sprayed fence paint all over the side and roof, right down to the ground. For no reason. And it has to be deliberate: I had it built a good 7 foot from the fence so he could spray his side without causing any damage. My greenhouse is less than 2 years old and cost me £2,000 in total.

Needless to say I am absolutely furious. Got straight onto the police, reopened my complaint against him, got a crime report case number back, and am now waiting for them to visit. And this time I'm bloody well pressing charges. Gods I loathe him!!

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