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][20/03/2019 - giving up. I don't have enough time to update the blog atm, let alone edit old entries!]
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.
First, a recommendation. Dive over to The Jonathan Day Fiction Site and try some of the stories. I love this author's writing - it's funny, bitingly witty, dryly incisive, chilling, and deliciously subversive by turns. Absolutely well worth a look!
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Interesting. When I headed off to Sains for a small shop this morning, there were yellow painted lines on the pavement and kerb where the drive access is going to be. They weren't there yesterday morning...
About to settle down with caramel lattes and salted caramel cookies to watch Justice League - nice colourful action for a Saturday matineé.
Friday, October 26, 2018
So, two (working) weeks after their last visit, I'd still had no news about the drive's dropped kerb, so I rang Highways again. Surprise surprise, no licence application had been made.
So I sent them an email - text copied here as I'm now keeping a proper public record of events:
Then I rang them to say it had been sent...
Exactly four minutes later I got an email back - "It is all in process". I assume he means progress.
It's the weekend now. I'll ring Highways again on Monday, and if the licence still hasn't been applied for we'll consider firing them and getting someone else to finish the job. Then we'll consider what to do next. Applying for a refund through the small claims court is a possibility, as is making a complaint to Trading Standards. And of course, there's always review sites - not just at bark.com. There's a very useful facebook page called Name and Shame Cowboy Builders which is open to anyone to join and post to.
Will update as events unfold...
Onto more pleasant things... Wendy visited yesterday! Had a fantastic time, as always, and she brought up Deja Vu, which we've never seen but which looks very good - might watch that tomorrow.
It was great to see you again!
Ken and I watch Little Buddha (Kai was working with friends on the uni site so opted out). It's a strange but interesting film. Won't be to everyone's taste, but surprisingly thought-provoking.
I've never mentioned it, but it's always annoyed me that if you want caller number display with VirginMedia you had to pay for it - until just recently, when suddenly I noticed numbers appearing on the screen! It's now been introduced into our area, and it's great. We're being plagued with scam TPS calls at the moment: I'm now making a list of numbers NOT to answer (we could get call blocking but you still have to pay for that. This works fine for now.)
That's probably about it for now. I need to nip over to Tesco, but there's rain forecast for the next couple of hours, and If I'm to use the wheelie, my walking stick and an umbrella I need three hands. Which I don't have, honest... Will wait til after lunch.
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Later edit: - forgot to say I emailed a letter of complaint over the weekend and got a reply back, so at least someone there is tech savvy. Though not overly literate...
11 am bully shows up with two men from the co he uses for licence application - I think he said it was Greentree, which does exist according to the web. No apologies, just 'assurance' that 8 weeks is the absolute maximum it'll take to get the licence. It should be much much quicker for us. Though since I refused outright to shake his hand at the end of the conversation and shut the door on him it'll probably be delayed...
Onto more pleasant matters. Since we no longer have a gate the only house identification were two small, very inconspicuous numbers that we screwed into the wall to the right of the porch when we first bought the house. (There was a number painted in black on a scruffy white patch on the left but I tried to get rid of that as it was ugly.) Really not great for identification, especially since the numbering in this part of the street goes from 59 to 77 with just a lane in between (we tell people there's actually a row of 8 houses in between but you need a Hogwart's spell to make them appear...) So I found a rather nice slate no. plaque on amazon and ordered one for us. It took a while to reach me as the number on the package was only half of our real number (a mistyping, I guess) but it arrived on Sat and I'm really pleased with it. K&K put it up on Sun afternoon and it looks very smart. Combined with the work we're doing on the front garden, the house will have definite kerb appeal by the time we've finished.
On that subject, Kai came to Hurran's with me on Sunday morning - I had £28 worth of vouchers to play with. We found three lovely conifers - two, silvery ones, will grow to 6 - 8 foot, the other one is low and sprawly, and a few Yuletide bits - and with the vouchers it ended up costing me exactly one pound, as although we didn't see any notices the conifers were on a 2 - 3 offer! Dead chuffed. Less chuffed at the fact the garden centre is closing, as it's been sold off for housing although we don't know when. Going to try to get back there early next month and see if the offer is still on, as it would be good to get a few more evergreens while we can.
Autumn is finally here. Winter downie went on the bed last weekend, and I've just put the heating on. The house is a lot warmer since we had the double-glazing done, but it's still a little too cool for comfort. And it's very difficult to get washing dried...
Ken picked up Agents of SHIELD: season 5 on his way back from work the day it appeared in the shops, and we watched the whole thing in less than a fortnight. Gods it's good! The phenomenon has gone from strength to strength and we're all completely hooked. Alas, season 6 isn't even showing yet (well, no summaries on the IMDb so I assume it isn't) which means it won't be available to buy until next year at the earliest. At the moment Kai and I are watching the whole thing from S1;ep1 onwards to try to cope with the withdrawal symptoms!
That being said, Legends of Tomorrow season 3 is now out, as is season 3 of Lucky Man, so will buy those in the near future. To our relief, amazon picked up The Expanse, so there will be more, although season 3 won't be available to buy until next November. Eh well, something to look forward to when the nights draw in next year!
I've managed to paint another wall, so the redecorating is coming along, if extremely slowly. Though it has been a bit of a manic year.
And Kai is doing well so far - easily able to keep up with and even get ahead in all of his subject units this year.
So, all in all, despite the irritating hassles, to date this year has actually been quite good! I would rather like next year to be a little quieter and more easy-going, though. Fingers crossed.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Next time it comes to choosing workmen I'm letting Ken do it. I opted for Fixit Landscaping and Driveway Contractors because they had good reviews on bark.com, and their 'mission statement' reads -
On the plus side, the younger guys work extremely hard and have done a good job. On the minus side...
They cost £1K more than three of the other quotes we've had. Yes, I should have challenged that at the time, but I hadn't read the statement at that point. The verbal agreement was no payment until after the work was completed, they estimated they could get the excavation licence in two to four days, and the entire job should be finished in around two weeks. They were able to start the same week, and I was happy with what they did. So when Luke asked for a deposit - to pay for materials and so they could pay for the licence I very stupidly said OK and arranged a BACS transfer (to his own account rather than a business account. Hm. Does that seem fishy to anyone else?) They said they'd be back on Monday: when they didn't turn up I rang and was told they were organising the licence that day but would be back on Tuesday. Which they were, then again on Friday to finish the drive. At which point the older guy - the boss, I assume - started up...
Have you ever had to deal with a whining brat who will not shut up? Add bullying and shouting to that and that's what he's like. Ken listened in and agrees with me, he is HORRIBLE to deal with, and eventually I gave in and BACSed another part payment for the licence. Because he was apparently lying when he said he was sorting it out on Monday. He then said it would be applied for the following Monday (Oct 1st).
Monday 8th I'd heard nothing, so rang Highways at Bristol City Council, only to find that no licence had been applied for either for the house or by the builders. So I rang him back and told him, and he apologised ans said he'd get onto his men and get it sorted. Yesterday he rang me to apologise again, telling me that the father of the guy who was supposed to be arranging it had died and had been uncontactable for a few days. Yeah right - I'm going to believe that after all the other lies he's told me...
They're coming back on Tuesday next week, supposedly to get the measurements for the kerb dropping and no doubt to demand more money. I've contacted a few other kerb-dropping specialists to see if I can use someone else instead, then I can just fire Fixit and get professionals. I'm tempted to use my phone to film next Tuesday's meeting in case of repercussions. I am absolutely going to use what I've typed here to post brutally honest reviews everywhere I can. I took a photo of the crew - perfectly legally, stood in the porch, announced I was going to take it and told them to smile. They didn't, but neither did any of them object or turn away - which shows the faces quite clearly. Always useful to have backup!
I really don't need this stress.
Monday, October 01, 2018
YAY! Five minutes peace to sit and update!
... and I wrote that 48 hours ago... heh.
Anyway - I do now have a few mins to type, so, what's been happening?
Weather wasn't brilliant over the weekend before last, so we watched things on Saturday - Deadpool 2 which is brilliantly funny and really quite clever. MOST enjoyable! Kai and I have continued watching Agents of SHIELD (season 1) all through last week.
Sunday was the usual cleaning, shopping and general busyness, and Kai's venesection in the afternoon.
On Monday I had a dr's appt to ask about my eye (right one has been badly bloodshot for over a month now - no pain and it's not affecting my vision but it looks horrible). Dr said it's either episcleritis or inflamed pterygium, not dangerous as it's not spread over the cornea, it should go by itself over time but I should get it looked at at the Eye Hospital if it gets worse or worries me. They can give steroid drops which would clear it up (she can't prescribe them), and she'd be interested in knowing their diagnosis. If she makes the appt it will take between 2 - 5 months: if I just turn up at opening time and wait to be seen it would be much quicker. In the meantime it looks as though it's finally clearing up of its own accord, so not going to waste time if it's not necessary. Simple eye drops prevent it getting too dry.
The electricians from Ian Williams came to put in the extractor fan. Rather a lot of hammering and drilling (made the house vibrate...) but it's in, it's tiny, but ye gods is it efficient! Absolutely no humidity at all (and given I like my water one click down from maximum heat that's really saying something). It keeps the bathroom so dry it even helps with personal drying off! Very happy with it.
On Tuesday left Fixit carrying on with the drive while I went swimming with Kim. The pool water was bath-warm again, but managed 28 lengths, so that was OK.
Wed was another shopping/sorting stuff out day, and finishing the web content from Chelsey (it's the Frankfurt Book Fair in a couple of weeks so this time of the year there's usually quite a lot to do to the website). Kai finished choosing and applying for the units he's taking this year - including Advanced High Performance Computing, Types and Lambda Calculus, Artificial Intelligence with Logic Programming, and Image Processing and Computer Vision - and applied for some time with the uni's super computer. I'm going to hazard a guess that I may not be of much use to him, academically speaking, this year!
Then on Thursday the decorators arrived to paint the bathroom... We had a choice of magnolia or white (not great but hey, it was free, and it saved me doing it!), so went with white. They've done a cracking job, and although I was a bit concerned the white would look cold and clinical, they used a matte white paint and with the white tiles, white shower and white curtains it's a bit like showering inside a cloud. And it really brings out the colour of the teal towels and bathmat, the royal blue and gold lino, and the warm pine of the cabinet and loo seat, so for the time being I'm very happy with it.
Now if they would just fix the curtain rail everything would be near-perfect...
Friday Kai had a meeting at uni - introduction to the new academic year - and spent some time with me discussing how he's going to cope with the work and his fatigue. He's going to go in for all the classes, but can manage the lectures at home, as they're always posted on the uni's internal site, and we know from experience Kai learns better that way. It's going to be a tough but hopefully very interesting year for him.
And Fixit finished the drive (but not the kerb drop - that's going to take up to another 10 days. Fingers crossed it's less...) I had to move Derpy while they finished up, so drove Kai and I to Sainsbury's to get a heavy shop (litre cartons of the iced coffee Kai likes, tins of beans and meatballs etc etc). First proper drive for me and first time driving with his mum for Kai. All went nice and smoothly. And when we got back no work had been done as the blade on the compactor had bust and they were off hunting for a replacement... [sigh] Parked up outside Bill's house and left them to it.
But they did get the work finished, and we now have a beach outside the front door!
Going to look pretty good once I've got everything planted up.
Sat was shopping, then Ken and I watched Lesbian Vampire Killers (49p from a charity shop in Weston). It was OK. Mostly harmless, mildly amusing in places. Kai opted to miss it as he was doing well with the programme he's been working on this summer.
Sunday Ken and I bussed out to Hurrans - for a break, to get out of the house, and treat ourselves to a salted caramel latte (for me) and an Americano (for Ken). Except the cafe was closed, and they didn't have the jardiniere I wanted. Eh well. It was fun anyway! In the evening Ken and I (Kai caught 15 mins and walked out in disgust) watched Mallrats (another picked up cheaply at Weston)... 90s American humour, I guess. Crude, gross, foul-mouthed and not at all funny. We'll keep it, as it has the biggest Stan Lee speaking part we've ever come across, but that's the only reason.
And so to today. Kai's skipped this am's lecture (will catch it online later) and is going in for two classes this pm. We've all finished watching Agents of SHIELD season 4 (and Kai and I are partway through rewatching season 2): season 5 is out tomorrow (on amazon, at least). Kai and I have our flu jabs booked for tomorrow evening at Tesco pharmacy: will see if Tesco have it. If not, I'll order from amazon. I'm staying in this pm as there's a delivery due, of a clock Kai bought for himself on ebay: going to sit with Ken's plan of the little bit of front garden we have left, my list of plants and how big they grow, and mark out a first draft of where everything should be planted for best effect.