Saturday, 27 September 2014

Never a dull moment!

I was going to start the week with lots of good intentions, but somewhere between feeling exhausted from our trip to the New Forest (future post) and the fact that the new baby next door kept us all awake half the night, that original idea took a walk without me.
Stuck to routine in the morning, didn’t think I could go wrong there…and then the repairman for the cooker turned up. I wish all my problems could be fixed as fast as this one, it must have taken him all of 10 minutes to whip out the broken thermostat and bung in a new one!

Today I was determined to concentrate on Nine Lives. There is still so much editing to do and October 1 is approaching fast! But as I ran the tap before I filled the kettle, something strange had happened. The water was brown. I let it run for a while but it stayed brown. Not much chance of a cuppa at this rate, I thought.
An hour later, I telephoned the water company and they couldn’t explain it either. Eventually it cleared, but it makes you wonder what we are actually drinking. A short trip to the local shop for bottled water was in order.
In between dodgy water and grooming Lulu, (nearly half of the matted fur has gone now) I did manage to get quite a lot of editing done.

The tap water has a strong smell of bleach this morning, so it was back to the bottled
 stuff. Hopefully the bleach will clear soon and the water will be fit to drink!

Went to use my Dragon recognition software, only to find it uncooperative for reasons known only to itself. Wrestled with it for over an hour before it decided to toe the line. My typing skills have suffered  with my advancing years, so having a machine do it for you is brilliant. If you need to give your fingers a break, you should definitely try it. It’s not very expensive and very easy to use. Like all things digital, it does throw the occasional wobbly, but I couldn’t be without it.

Today I decided it was time to run Nine Lives through the spell and grammar checker. Two gruelling hours later and what seemed like hundreds of corrections, the readability score was 79.5 which I thought was quite good. Wish I could get a handle on this passive sentence stuff though.
Lulu gave us all a laugh last night. The poor frail old lady defied all the odds and staggered into the living room and promptly jumped up on the couch. I just knew there was more to her than she was letting on!  She did look very pleased with herself I must say!

The minute I woke up I had the feeling it wouldn’t be a nice day. I had no reason to think this and no idea where the idea came from. I wasn’t always right, so I tried to ignore it.
But the brain must have heard this observation and decided it needed time off, refusing to cooperate in the slightest. When I finally switched on the computer, I found BT had sprung another change. BT Yahoo has now gone and everything has changed dramatically, so going through my emails was a nightmare.
Why do they keep doing this? Everything has to be new and different, upgraded and improved, why can’t they leave things alone? Some of us like what we are used to, slipper syndrome I expect…
Publication day for Nine Lives next week and there will be a midweek post to commemorate the launch of my very first book.

God bless…


Saturday, 20 September 2014

One disaster after another...

Of all the days for the cooker to decide to die, it had to pick a Sunday. There I was, doing my ‘master chef’ impersonation and everything on the hob was cooking nicely. Then I opened the oven door to check on the roast potatoes. The oven light and fan were working, but the potatoes were cold and raw.
Not to be deterred, for I never panic in the kitchen, I sliced and sautéed them and we ended up with a reasonable rendition of Sunday lunch.

Monday started just as brilliantly with bad news.  The cooker cannot be fixed until next week. Apparently, if you can believe it, every repairman in Hampshire is on holiday at the moment.  So great fun will be had by all, as we try to come up with alternative meals that do not involve the oven.
Lulu surprised us all today, by finally accepting us as friends and insisted on being fussed. She has come so far in just two weeks, and shows no sign of popping her clogs anytime soon. This is all the more surprising as trying to remove the matted fur from her coat cannot be pleasant, even though I am doing just a little every day.

This is not turning out to be my week at all. Climbed out of the shower, turning it off as I passed the taps, and nothing happened. Well, I say nothing happened, but the water did stop. The shower pump did not however, and sounded as though it would blow up any minute.
There followed a scene from a Monty Python film. Me, nearly wrapped in an inadequate towel, tearing about the house, looking for something that looked like a fuse switch, or anything that would shut it off.
No such luck, but after a frantic telephone call, someone turned up who knew what to do and I could stop panicking.
Makes me wonder what tomorrow will bring…

Just as I thought, today brought more of the same when I tried to renew my driving licence. Anita’s was easy, so I thought mine would be too. Wrong! I need to be certified as fit, and only for 3 years at a time. Well, I wasn’t about to go down that route. I only wanted it for identification purposes anyway. Maybe it would be easier to renew my passport?
Turns out it to be very easy, so I could be jetting off to somewhere interesting any day now.

I was so determined that nothing would go wrong today, I played safe and concentrated on routine tasks. Things that could not possibly go pear-shaped. Pretty boring really, and by the afternoon I was more than ready for something a little more risky.
I looked at the state of Lulu, our ancient rescuee, then went and fetched a brush and some scissors. Some of that matted coat had to go. It wouldn’t be easy or much fun for her, but the only alternative was the vets and an anaesthetic, if she wasn’t already too old for that.
It was the most scary thing I did all day, but one that didn’t end in disaster, just one large matt down and several more to go. I hated putting her through it, but you can never be sure if a badly matted coat was uncomfortable or even painful, so it was something I had to do.

There might be something wrong with her eyes, too...
Started to come up with some ideas for the Magic Oxygen short story competition. All I need is 4.000 interesting words in the form of a story.  See
Anita has already entered, so I thought I would too. There is a risk, I suppose, that our writing partnership could turn into quite a competition of its own, but that can only be food for our ambition, don’t you think?

God Bless…

Saturday, 13 September 2014

An interesting week in Hampshire...

Sunday was a quiet day and I managed to get a lot of work done on #Nine Lives. I have grasped the proverbial bull by the horns and pencilled in the 3rd of October as the publication date, which should give me plenty of time to finish the editing and do a final polish.
Lulu, our 21-year-old feline visitor seems much stronger now, but we have to keep an eye on her for her meow seems to be broken and we don’t always hear when she needs something. I have tried to clean her up a bit, her coat is in a terrible state, but nothing short of  shearing and a bath will ever get it right, and I keep postponing any drastic measures until she seems stronger.

Monday. While I was following some advice about background images for our website, I managed to pick up some malware that was described as a ‘Trojan’ called ‘Astromenda’. Its mission, apparently, is to infiltrate and crash computers. I was at my wits end trying to find out how one gets rid of such a thing, and finally managed to disable it, but not uninstall. Hope that’s good enough!
I followed this disaster with a bout of gardening, and every bramble in Hampshire attacked me and I ended up bleeding copiously. I love to garden, but the amount of brambles we get is downright evil.
Didn’t think the day could get any worse, but not wanting to push my luck, I retreated to my book.

Tuesday.  Not sure if I’m imagining it, but my e-mails and social networking seems to be taking longer than ever. Possibly a good sign, at least I like to think so.
Lulu is getting stronger every day, so much for thinking she wouldn’t last long. She seems to go from strength to strength, how long can cats live, anyway?
Decided to risk giving her a bath, as touching her was not pleasant. I expected all kinds of opposition, but she was really good. Didn’t struggle or complain at all, really surprising. Most cats cannot stand water, but maybe she is too old to care.
At least now, when she ever decides to let us fuss her, the experience will be pleasant for all of us!

Wednesday.  Today, I entered Anita’s short story ‘Eye for an Eye’ into a competition at Magic Oxygen. Too good an opportunity to miss, as it was exactly the right word length.
This was prompted by the fact we have both managed to be accepted by Chris Graham at The Story Reading Ape website and will be published on the 15th and 30th of October respectively.
We are also scheduled to appear on A Woman’s Wisdom on the sixth and 13th, so a significantly busy month all round.  If this doesn’t improve our author platforms somewhat, I can’t think what will!

Thursday.  It was time for my annual MOT at the doctors, where they check I am still breathing and not heading for another crisis.
Mainly good news this time, cholesterol is nearly normal and blood pressure OK. The blood tests and things all came back fine. There was a thinly veiled hint about my weight, which I pretended not to have heard, but apart from that, a clean bill of health. So, good news all round.
Lulu is starting to really assert herself. Far from behaving like a veritable fossil, she is becoming quite a character. I was a bit late with her supper yesterday and hadn’t heard the muffled squeak that passes as her meow, so the little madam had trotted down to the kitchen and was helping herself to our other cats food!

I had been putting it off, supposedly for Lulu’s benefit, but if I’m honest it was for me too. It was time to try to do something about the state of her coat. Her fur was so badly matted, I wasn’t looking forward to putting her through the ordeal for even if I was very careful and as gentle as I could be, this was not going to be pleasant for either of us.
Since she had walked, or I should say ‘staggered’ into our lives, she hadn’t really complained about anything. Even putting the drops into her infected ears was met with resigned passivity, so I was dreading actually upsetting her.
I decided that little and often would be best and after ten minutes, both of us had had enough. But it was long enough to have removed quite a pile of hair.

She was looking decidedly better with each day that passed, and at this rate, I shall have to find something else to write about…

I live in the hope that our cats will end up like this!