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!
Thursday, July 25, 2019
... 'cause it's been too hot and I've been too busy to update...
Wild(life) Summer 2 - the night after the hedgehogs, this murf -
- flew into the bathroom then out onto the landing (Ken took the photo). It's a Common Emerald (take a look at the caterpillar!!) which, despite its name, I have never seen before.
Wild(life) Summer 3 - A couple of days after that I found a dead, just-hatched baby bird outside the greenhouse - an odd place for it, but the following day, as I was returning to the house after watering, I heard a frantic rustling and distressed cheeping coming from the medlar, and seconds later our sparrowhawk zoomed off about three feet from my nose, with a tiny bird in its beak. We may have a sparrow's nest in the medlar? I believe this is the second (or maybe third) batch of eggs this year, the weather, and the fact we feed them all the time, has made it a good year for our birds...
Wild Summer 4 - oh, the thunderstorms! The most immense rumbling roll of thunder right over the house woke me just as I was falling asleep around midnight on Monday, the sort that would have shaken the windows to bits if we hadn't had them replaced, and I spent the next half an hour or so transfixed, watching out the window the most extraordinary light show of constant, continuous sheet lightning over to the south of us, accompanied by non-stop thunder. I love thunderstorms, always have, but in sixty years I've never seen ANYTHING like that. Wonderful! Taranis having a disco!
Wild(life) Summer 5 - Looks like after digging exploratory holes all over the garden, the foxes have decided where to build their lair...
In other news...
Tyjer has been having a bit of trouble jumping up recently - we think he might have a touch of arthritis in his hips. So I registered him with the vet service at Pets@Home, and got him an appt for yesterday...
Was horrified to find, when I dug out his records, that he hasn't had his inoculations since 2012. Though in my defence we've been a bit fraught over the last few years. And if I was worried about his health I'd have had him looked at before... Anyway, I bought a cheap pillow from Tesco, customised it to fit the carrier, popped him in and drove him (and Kai) up to the vet yesterday.
Bless 'im, he was more curious about the room than worried about the treatment. Vet gave him the first course of his injections (second and last in four weeks), a worming tablet (didn't much like that), syringed and cleared his ears (Kai had said they seemed to be bothering him, he was rubbing and scratching and shaking his head more than normal - and they were rather gungy) and gave him a dose of a different (not over the counter) flea killer, as the Front Line Spot On (the strongest you can buy here) didn't seem to be working any more. Apparently fleas do develop immunity to such things, a bit like bugs and antibiotics... She weighed him - 5.4 kg - checked his heart and lungs - all absolutely fine - and gave me a bottle of Metacam pain killer and a syringe to ease the pain in his hips. I mixed it with a little tinned salmon the last two evenings and he wolfed it down no problem. She did say, though, that prolonged or over use can cause kidney problems, so I'll do four days then stop for a bit and see how we go. There's nothing permanent can be done, it's just age. (Heh, know a song about that...)
I forgot to buy orchid supports when we were at Cheddar, but I've had a go at turning my original orchid a little bit every day to see if I could make the flower spike grow more upright - it seems to have worked, I have a graceful curve now with buds slowly appearing...
I also have a third plant: hobbling back from Tesco on Monday I saw one of those sad dyed orchids in the bin from the shop up the road. You know the ones, they're dyed with blue for display purposes (there is no true blue orchid) and then discarded when the flowers die. I rescued it, cut off the empty blue flower spikes and let it soak in rain water and liquid compost feed for a couple of hours, and it's perked up nicely. These are often originally white, as white takes the blue dye better, so I'm hoping for a white orchid to join the other two. Photos as things happen!
The kitchen is a little tidier: K&K fitted the new panel to hide where the hot water pipe was mended...
While waiting for the next crop of blockbusters to be available to buy we've been picking up 'classics', and the other evening Ken and I watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (or, Bruce Cassington and the Sunday Centre Kids, as my phone's auto-correct auto-corrected...) Apparently it got 4 Oscars, though gawds know why, I found it stupidly tedious and boring. But then, I'm not overly fond of Westerns. And maybe it's a generational thing...
Kai and I are now onto 24: Season 4, which I like much more than Season 3.
I'm sure there was something else... will edit later if I remember!
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Tiny little update... last night was magical. I heard faint scramblings against the gravel of the drive, and when I looked out, a hedgehog, legs twinkling, scuttled over the road from our garden and continued on up the road. While I stood there, a second hedgehog also meandered over the gravel and headed up the road (on the pavement on this side). And THEN, a minute later, a third hedgehog scuttled over the gravel and headed down the road in the direction of the park... THREE hedgehogs. never seen more than one at a time in the garden (and that was about a decade ago) so not sure if they were youngsters leaving to search out their own territory or all inhabitants of our garden (which is, after all, big enough and rich enough in insect life it can support more than one! We have two blackbird families, after all) just out for a midnight stroll, but it was fantastic to see them. I did watch a little longer but there were no more 'hogs, just a fox leaping over the wall and heading off on its own business...
I do love living here.
Friday, July 12, 2019
Later edit: And then I forgot to say I had an email from CICO books, who are bringing out a second edition of The Book of Celtic Symbols! (email arrived last Tues, when everything else was happening...) Heh. You know you must be doing something right when publishers start reprinting your books!
Well, what a weekannahalf it's been...!
Swimming went well last Tues: seeing if we can gradually increase the number of lengths now we can do 20 in half an hour.
Back in May I had a letter from Wyevale with my last loyalty vouchers - £5. Only problem is, the nearest Wyvale garden centre is at Cheddar, which is a bit of a way to go, although there is a bus that goes to the centre of the village. Mentioned this to Kim, who said she'd be happy to drive us there - so last Thurs, it being a lovely day, she picked me up at 10.30. Great drive, out along the new road below Dundry, over to airport road, then down the narrow (and somewhat hair-raising) country lanes past Stanton Drew (useful, that, as there's a stone circle there that K&K will probably want to revisit at some point, and it's near impossible to get to except by car. Unless you don't mind walking through fields of grumpy bullocks, which I do. Or using the once-a-week bus! Now I know the route...) The garden centre is a fair way outside the village, although by the looks of it there is a local bus, but we found it and parked up. And discovered it had become the Hillier Garden Centre the week before... [sigh] BUT they accepted the vouchers, so that was OK. And the centre itself is lovely, really big, and had LOADS of specials. Picked up a heritage raspberry and a thornless blackberry (because the mystery fruit bush I bought from Hurrans turned out to be a loganberry, which is great!), both at £3 reduced from £9.50: a skimmia (my old one died, alas) and a beautiful convolvulus cneorum (photo later if I remember, the flowers only open in the sun) - both at £2, and a gorgeous petunia, 'Lightening Sky' -
Never grown petunias before - you're supposed to lift them and keep them in the greenhouse over winter - but at £1 and with those colours I couldn't resist...
Bought a beautiful little handpainted glass table (blossom and humming bird: now in bedroom with jar of lights on it) and some useful kitchen stuff at half price, too. Fun and very successful day out!
Fri was supposed to be a writing day, but ended up shopping instead, and planting the front garden flowers. Then on Sat Ken and I took our long promised trip to Keynsham. Very successful for me: found an interesting light coat/top thing, and a pure cashmere pashmina in peacock colours for £2.50 (think that may have been wrongly labelled!) Also some peacock feathers in the flower shop (I ended up buying a second lot of butterflies-on-bleached-twigs lights at Dunelm in the sale: ten in the jar were too many, so Kai and I rejigged the collection so there are now seven, three with extra lights and butterflies. Looks gorgeous!) which I planned to add to the jar, but it was too cluttered, so they're now in another jar on my bedside table.
Heh, that was a bit rambling - sorry!
Sun was a driving lesson - Kai is doing very well - and we dropped in to Benson's for Beds on the way back for me to buy a new Igel pillow (mine was guaranteed for two years, it did three, which is very good, but recently it's stopped being comfy and wouldn't return to shape, so time for a new one.) They're Igel Side-Sleeper pillows now, instead of Igel Bliss, but it works just the same. Peaceful, incredibly comfortable sleep...
Monday was the usual, business-busy day. Tues is delivery day: Sains (booked for 10 - 11) arrived at 10.01: had just finished putting that away when the Tesco deliverer rang to ask if we minded an early delivery as he was just a few minutes away - absolutely fine by me. So he arrived and unloaded by 10.30 (was booked for 11 - 12). Turned out that was just as well, as around 10.40 the Council workmen arrived in a van to put my 'disabled' line across the drive! Only took them 20 mins - it's not paint, it a sort of plastic with ground glass mixed in, which they melt to the road using a very powerful sort of blowtorch. I though it would be neat, small lettering, but nooo, you can see mine from orbit! Still, hopefully it'll stop people from trying to park there. It has very little legal power: it's more the moral shame of making a disabled person's life more difficult that should work.
Kim had to miss swimming this week: her work had scheduled meetings, much to her annoyance. I nipped down to Sains to have a look at their new clothing - Ken needs new shorts - but didn't find anything that interesting. Nor shorts. Went swimming (by myself) Wed am instead, via Wilko to pick up birdseed, then back via Tesco for tonics the delivery had missed off. Absolutely knackered by the time I got back, so had lunch, watched another ep of 24 (we're on season 3 now, my least favourite. I just can't bring myself to like or care about any of the characters in this one) then took the rest of the day off.
Yesterday Kai helped me plant up the fruit bushes and move things around. I've repotted the acacia, and all the soft fruit is now in pots in a 'hedge' along the line of the dip Kai dug out when he was going to build a wall there (we don't think there'll be enough rocks left over once he's finished the patio to complete the job). It looks fine, and is very convenient for cropping. And my blueberry bushes now have more room between the two raised beds.
Had to spend half an hour putting stakes in the lower bed and tying twine around them, as the foxes (we have a vixen with three cubs that visit) had dug up my pumpkin plant. (They don't like running into the twine so tend to leave the bed alone.) The pumpkin plant has recovered, and today I planted the two marrow seedlings - that bed is now complete.
We have a LARGE bag of mange tout in the freezer ready for winter, and I'm thinking I'll lift all the plants - they're mostly finished now - and see if I can get a second crop to grow. It's fantastic having fresh homegrown mange tout and sugarsnaps. The cucumbers have finished too, so will try for a second crop of those.
This on the left is the clock Kai's been working on. The mechanism came from ebay and is over 100 years old, and he's built the wooden stand and pendulum covering himself - he's getting quite into carpentry. It still needs work, then he's going to make space for it in his room. Somehow.
Media... Bounty Killer, which is an absolute riot! Completely bonkers and huge fun. We all loved it! Stranger Things (seasons 1 and 2) which is fabulous. I wasn't sure I was going to like it - it's taken bits from every horror/scifi/thriller genre and mashed them together - but the more I watched the more addictive it became. It's bloody good!! We liked it so much we ordered the soundtrack CDs (Season 2 has arrived and is simply gloriously beautiful... and the first soundtrack arrived today - not quite as polished but still amazing.) Really looking forward to season 3 now. Finally watched The Owl Service... it's not aged well, and the acting isn't great, but it's still very unnerving. And there's an amazing interview with Alan Garner in the bonus features, which explains a lot! Then yesterday Ken and I watched Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (bought because I'm collecting Matthew Marsden films). It's a pretty standard creature feature, but fun, and silly, and a perfectly fine way to relax after another busy, and very hot, day.
And that's us up to date. There's a SpringFest event in Sandy Park Rd tomorrow that I want to go to, then we plan a driving lesson Sun with a possible diversion to Whitehall Garden Centre - I need some plant supports for the fruit bushes. Ken has a week off next week, so we may be doing things - will see what we all fancy!
Tuesday, July 02, 2019
After the monsoon, it's now become hot again, so Kai and I have put up the shading I bought last year for the greenhouse. And ye gods, does it make a difference! Suddenly everything is fruiting instead of curling up and dying in the heat! Home grown cucumbers and tomatoes, and I currently have mizuna and rocket, mixed spicy salad leaves, and watercress (a hybrid variety that grows beautifully in soil in a pot as long as you keep it very wet - deliciously tasty) sprouting ready to come in on the kitchen windowshelves. And fruit! Ken filled the raspberry pots with wonderful rich compost from the large bin, and they suddenly exploded. Three times the size they were, and we've had raspberries for dessert (warmed waffles, crème fraïche and fruit, topped with Tesco's own raspberry coulis, which is the tastiest I've found) three times so far. My blueberries are already producing too - having to pick them as they ripen or our blackbirds will nick them!
Next year I'll get my strawberry pots sorted out...
We're nearly in a position to get the horrible asbestos soilpipe, that's as old as the house, replaced. It leaks - Ken's patched it up over the years but it's now well past saving and a health risk (not to mention smelly!) I should be able to get that booked at the end of the week (it's already priced up and provisionally booked). Then we're also having the soffits, fascias and guttering replaced - Anglian confirmed this a.m. that the soffit's aren't asbestos, so we don't have to pay extra to have them removed. There's black mould growing on the ones outside the bathroom and our room, which is making its way inside, and that's a definite health risk, especially for Kai. It'll be good to have everything done!
Third gastroscopy... Well, the ulcers have all gone, but have left scars, and my stomach lining is still inflamed - so it looks like I'm on omeprazole for life. Oh joy...
Off to get ready for swimming!