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!
"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
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
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
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...
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
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
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
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
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
when they were flying high, the light from the setting sun seemingly turning their wings to flames. Lovely little birds. We
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
Fingerials - (pr. fin GEEE ree yalls) noun, fingers that will not type what you want
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
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
Normally I wouldn't, but these
were just irresistible...
Too-Kawaii Kitties were adopted from Ghost's Anime
Page (which appears to have disappeared, alas...)
Anime still needed to complete series' I'm collecting...
Many thanks to everyone who has helped me acquire the collection!
Ai no Kusabi
DVD 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
Owned: Manga Vols 1, 9, 11
Mirage of Blaze
DVD Vol 1 (eps 1-4)
Owned: English Manga: Vol 1 Japanese Manga: Vol 1-7 complete Tarot Pack
Owned: Anime Vol 1-12: complete
Under the Glass Moon
Owned: 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.
It's been an interesting month. Friday is now dedicated to me writing (will continue with the WIP when I've posted this): TV off and music on. It would work rather better if things didn't keep happening on Fri...
Last week it was Virgin Media. I've recorded the BBC One Show ep from a month ago with an interview with Keifer Sutherland and Kai spent a couple of days trying to record it to disc for me, using the scart and usb sockets on the back of our new black box. To absolutely no avail, regardless of which connector/cables we tried (£40 worth so far). So we looked on the forums, only to find it wasn't just us - none of them worked. Because they haven't been enabled. Cue a call to Virgin Media... After half an hour talking to the guy who answered, I was transferred to tech support, who took my name, and Ken's name as he's the account holder (we were going to change it to my name but they were going to charge us 20 quid for the pleasure so sod that!) - and she put the phone down on me. 40 minutes wasted.
Rang again, got an apology, and discovered that the TV 500 black box had the scart and (probably) usb sockets enabled and would we like one sent to us? Only problem was they needed Ken's authorisation. Which was OK, we arranged a call back on the Sat at 6pm, although when we checked the details the TV 500 was older than our current one and had a number of complaints against it, so we decided to stick with the one we have. Worse comes to worst, I can record the interview using the film setting on Ken's camera - not ideal but at least I'd have it! 6pm Saturday came and went with no call. Then on Mon I got an email from Yodel saying they were delivering the new box on Tues...
[headdeskheaddeskheaddesk] So it was another phone call to Virgin Media, who were very apologetic, said to not accept the parcel or sign the receipt and it would go straight back to them. He also guaranteed that our service would remain unchanged (it's different settings at their end for the older box). After a second email from Yodel saying there was a delay and they couldn't deliver until Wed, I thought I'd ring them and explain it was sent in error and not to deliver. Found they 'do you want to speak to someone?' phone number on their site, rang it - and got a recorded message saying to ring their new number (the one I'd just rung) and then went into that horrible automated thing where a human voice asks for information. Which I gave, hoping I might then be transferred to a real person. But no. 'Goodbye' [click]. Tried again, same result, looked up how to raise a complaint, had to register with the Resolver service and make the complaint to them.
[Cue hair-tearing-out session]
HOWEVER... Resolver actually worked extremely well, and I got an emailed apology from Yodel and assurance that they would return the box to VM, first thing Tues.
And synchronicity strikes again, as when I was later checking up the process for taking someone to the small claims court, the Money Expert site recommended Resolver as an excellent service, so I may be able to use them for Fixit too.
Success - but it took hours to get there.
And then yesterday afternoon I suddenly realised I could hear dripping. After half an hour listening carefully outside and all around the kitchen, we finally found that the water pipe to the hot tap on the kitchen sink unit was leaking (the one that we had put in Dec 2017. I'm really glad I blog about these things as I then have a record to refer to!) So we have Tom the Plumber coming to see to it later this afternoon. I'm just keeping fingers crossed he can repair it without having to pull out the sink unit...
Onto more fun things.
My hearing is now back to normal ('OORAY!). Swimming continues with Kim every Tuesday (except last week when she was in Gibraltar). It's a lot of fun. We swim 20 lengths every week. Kai's ferritin level is continuing to drop and his last venesection was really quick and easy. He and I got the bus to Wells and Street last Sat to see if I could find the marble effect toothbrush and toothpaste holders like the ones I missed buying in the sale at Tesco - didn't find anything but had fun anyway!
Media... We're watching Years and Years. It's compulsive, frighteningly plausible, superbly acted, and staggeringly, terrifyingly good.
There's been a positive rush of films being released to DVD at the same time that we want - Bumblebee, Aquaman, Mortal Engines - but I'm waiting for them to drop in price. We still have a huge backlog of things to watch, and I've just ordered Stranger Things season 1 and 2 cheap from ebay, because Kai wants to see it.
Finally watched Child 44, which is... disturbing. Baywatch (picked up cheaply for Dwayne Johnson - I'm kind of collecting his films as and when I find them cheap. I love his comedies). It's actually a lot better than I was expecting - gross, but in an unusual way, reversing the usual perspective. A lot of fun with a very satisfying ending. Annihilation. Hm. Rather good, but not as enjoyable as I'd hoped.
Kai and I have started watching the second season of Designated Survivor. It's very very good - and I absolutely adore the little (and occasionally not so little) digs it keeps making about politics and media in the states. Last night Seth mentioned Pres Kirkman not being seen eating Dijon mustard - a snide reminder of the media's (especially Fox media's) appalling treatment of Pres Obama.
This had me in stitches! It's so true...
The planting is coming on slowly but surely, and showing results already...
Can anyone tell me what this is? I didn't plant it. Not sure if it's invaded from somewhere else or is a 'weed'. It's rather pretty though, so will leave it in situ. Edit - apparently it's a Phacelia tanacetifolia, not native but very attractive to bees and insects. I don't remember planting it, so maybe it's an invader? Though I don't think I've seen it in other nearby gardens either... Will leave it and see what happens!
Garden - back...
Ken built a stone wall to keep the rocks that are going to make the path tidy and out of my way (the dead conifer has now been cut down)...
The cobbled path so far...
Through the greenhouse. I have tomatoes and cucumbers ripening already...
I treated myself to some pretty, cheap butterfly twig lights from Dunelm for the bedroom (tch', they've reduced them...)
And my alien orchid is coming along splendidly!
And to my joy my other, original orchid has a tiny flower spike just showing (I broke off the earlier one, by accident: hoping the orchid has forgiven me...)
Treated myself to a couple of little badges I found on amazon -
Quite apt, I thought!
Right, that's about everything I can remember. There's been weeding and hoeing and general household maintenance, but no further driving lessons: planned to correct that this Sun.
Lastly... Found on tumblr:
Good vegan alternative for those who don't want to throw milkshakes at fascists.
Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor
pontificated this at 1:42 pm
Sunday, May 05, 2019
Bloody 'ell it's been manic...
Not entirely sure where to start. It's all (mostly) good, at least.
I can only remember the highlights. Eostre was quite fun: Friday was restful, K&K went out on the Sat and as the weather was really hot I put through three machine washes (bedding and towels and normal clothing stuff) and made buckwheat pancakes (for us to have them for Sunday brunches stuffed with smoked salmon, scrambled egg and home grown asparagus (so tasty!) Kai skips the eggs and asparagus as he doesn't like them) for the freezer.
... can't remember what we did on Sun and Mon - possibly relaxed and watched stuff? On that subject we have now finished Lost (oh oooray...). It just got worse and finished with some enormous plot holes.
Tues was swimming with Kim - wore earplug and managed just fine. On the Thurs we went out to garden centres, two new ones - Cleeve Garden Centre, which is a great place, picked up some heucheras on special, and Garden Park, also great but on a main road so a bit tricky to get out of - and ended up at Congresbury for a late lunch. A really fun day with lots accomplished.
Then on Fri it was the second gastroscopy... Well, the good news is that the oesophagitis is mostly cleared up, one of the ulcers has gone and the other two are MUCH smaller.
The bad news - someone should have told me I had to keep taking the omeprazole until they told me to stop. I ran out a week and a half ago.
So I'm now back on the omeprazole (and will need to write a letter to my dr for more as they only prescribed me a month's worth), and I have yet another gastroscopy in another eight weeks or so...
[headdesk] I really can't complain, I know how overtaxed the NHS is. But it's a bloody nuisance - gastroscopies hurt.
I finally read The Wandering Earth... It's very good. As I got further into it I wondered if it counts as superior fanfic, as the plots of some of the stories were disturbingly familiar - but decided it didn't matter as the writing is wonderful. The first story in particular (it's been made into a film, which I shall try to get when/if it's available on DVD) is extraordinary, and raised goosebumps. Think I may get some more of this author's writing (although of course some of it is probably the translator's excellent skill.)
We've been watching Ghosts, which is rather good. The first ep I wasn't sure, but then in the second it picked up and had me chuckling. Will watch onwards...
Everything is going well in the garden and greenhouse. Everything is shooting up with the brighter, slightly warmer weather, and all looking good and healthy. The wisteria has been glorious this year, filling the house with its fragrance. It's past its best now but still smells wonderful.
My little alien orchid is also doing rather well!
We've finally managed to make time for Citizen Kane, which is better than I remember (although I first and last saw it while at Uni). Kai thought it was great!
Last Sun - Kai's first driving lesson! It went splendidly. He's looking forward to more, and we should have had a lesson today, but some pillock parked partially over the drive (five foot over the drive, not just a few inches) making it tricky to get in and out. I took photos and measured and rang the police (101 non-emergency no.) and explained the situation (narrow road, cars parked opposite, disabled, clear space needed for possible ambulances etc) but pointed out it wasn't an emergency (though it is an offence to park over a legally-constructed dropped kerb). Got a call back from an officer that he'd call this afternoon, and knock on a few doors first to see if he could find out who it belonged to (I didn't know). Well, half an hour after that someone in a white tee-shirt came charging down the road, leapt into the car and drove away, so I rang the police back to cancel the case number in the hope he doesn't come back and park there again. In the meantime it's a little late to have a lesson now.
And THEN!! Oh joy....
I've been posting a brutally honest review on bark.com about Fixit, as they still haven't paid, and every time it's removed I post it again. Well, the nasty little bully boss rang me earlier, asking for Mrs Joules and wanting my initials as he needs them for the solicitor's letter he's having prepared to stop me broadcasting the truth (or, as he puts it, harassing his guys and slandering him). So I told him - JA - and to put everything in writing, and put the phone down. He rang back immediately, threatening to 'come around there with my solicitor and a newspaper man and have it printed that your Councillor husband' (Ken is business admin, not a Councillor) 'has been harassing and slandering me.' I told him I had full documentation proving everything I said is true - which it is, and we've printed out full copies of everything this afternoon to hold as evidence if required - told him to put everything in writing, and put the phone down again. (He rang three more times within five mins: I picked the phone up and slammed it down without answering.)
So we may be getting a solicitor's letter addressed to Mrs JA Joules (seriously, what decent businessman can't even get a customer's name right - especially as it appears above my review!?) in which case I shall send copies of everything to the solicitor. Which will be expensive for Fixit. They'd have done better to have just paid what they owe.
As for the review -
Apparently Fixit have no qualms about bullying and ripping off a disabled 60 yr old woman, but don't like anyone else to know about it and got my last review removed. (bark.com haven't even acknowledged my email, let alone answered it.)
So let's try again, with a little more detail this time.
They are absolutely abysmal. We hired them to construct our drive because 1) they had good reviews and 2) they promised the work would be done in 3 weeks...
Although their contract states no payment until the work is completed, we were bullied for a payment after the wall had been demolished, to 'pay for materials and pay for the excavation licence to be bought'. They didn't turn up for the next appt: when I rang to ask where they were I was told they were getting the excavation licence. A week later the tool they arrived with wasn't working, and they had to take an hour to go and rent another. Then, after the surface had been done, more money was demanded - again - 'to pay for the excavation licence'. Five times in total we were told the licence had been applied for - I checked with Highways each time and it had not. THIRTEEN WEEKS after we'd hired them, I sacked them.
A day later I was contacted and told that the builders they were using would dig up the pavement on one day, zone it off, then come back a week later to finish the job - compare this with the professionals I hired to drop the kerb properly, who had finished in 6 hours, enabling people to walk along the pavement the same day, and we were able to drive over it the following midday.
Said professionals also commented that the blocks that should have been put along the front edge, to keep the gravel in place, hadn't been done (they're currently in the back garden), so now we have to regularly sweep the pavement free of the overspilling gravel. Fixit have also made the drive too high, so the bumper of the car scrapes when we drive in and out.
And now, despite guaranteeing in writing they would refund us and being given seven weeks to do so, we have still not seen any repayment. We aren't even asking for much, just the difference between what they quoted us to do it quickly, and other quotes we had to do the work at a slower pace. The case has now gone to Trading Standards but we now have the hassle of taking them to court to get the money promised.
So - overpriced, substandard work, and a boss who is unprofessional, unreliable and untrustworthy (to their credit, the younger guys work very hard and tidied up after themselves very well. Which does NOT make up for the awful job done). My recommendation - AVOID THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE.
Although strictly speaking it was only 4 days wait between the old pavement being dug out and the dropped kerb being put in, as I found when printing out his illiterate emails.
I haven't yet posted the (perfectly legal) photograph I took of them. Saving that for if I need to post on the Cowboy Builders facebook pages I've joined.
In more fun news, my hearing is almost back, at last. And I've finally started working on Lutra's and my Dystopia (WIP) novel. Well, I've gathered together lists of all the characters, places, organisations, and the basic world background. I think the time for it is now near perfect.