Thursday, 27 August 2015

That Moment When...

Do you ever have one of those moments when realisation strikes and you cringe and groan as you wish you could hit undo and avoid the stupid thing you just did?  Please tell me it's not just me.

Well I had one of those moments today.  Someone greeted me in the most friendly upbeat manner, asking me how I was and how life in the thrilling world of finance was going.  I smiled back, answered her questions, and asked her how she was.  All perfectly fine right?  There's just one catch.  I had absolutely no idea who she was.

I'm pretty sure she wasn't just some random stranger toying with my brain.  She knew my name and what department I worked in.  So she must know me.  But why don't I know her?

I've never been one of those people that's bad with names but remembers faces.  I can't remember either.  However, I do have that 'I know I know you' feeling when I see them.  I usually don't have a clue why I know them, but at least they are vaguely familiar.  Today though, not even a teeny tiny flicker of recognition existed.

In the end I just had to admit, with profound apologies, that I couldn't remember her name.

She laughed it off graciously, while I felt completely embarrassed and forgetful.

The trouble is, even though I now know her name I still have no idea who she is or how she knows me.  Not that I'm about to admit that though.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Publication News

For a writer there is nothing more exciting than getting a piece of work accepted for publication. It’s a feeling that I don’t think I will ever get used to, or at least I hope I don’t.

I love that sensation when you receive an email that says yes.  That thrill of excitement that has you jumping up and down, before you’ve even finished reading.  All you can hear is your heart pounding and your own gleeful shouts of: “They want to publish it.”

I’m delighted to say I had one of those moments today.

Kishboo magazine will be publishing my article; ‘If You Don’t Try’.

The article follows my own nerve wracking, yet gratifying experience, of getting my novel reviewed by the Romantic Novelists Association as part of their New Writers Scheme.  The feedback I received filled me with a renewed determination and belief in my writing and inspired me to write the article.  

The acceptance of my article for publication filled me with a desire to shout my news from the roof top.  However I figured my neighbours would prefer it if I announced it here on my blog instead.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Greenhouse

This weekend we decided to clean out Dad’s greenhouse.  For a self-confessed neat freak / non gardener like me, the question that springs to mind is why would anyone want to make a structure out of glass?  Seriously, it’s just gonna show the dirt!

Okay, so I do actually get the purpose of a greenhouse.  I might not appreciate it when I have to clean it, but I do get it.

We started by emptying all the plant pots, bags of compost, weed killer and grass seed that attempt to hide in this see-through storage room.  Actually no, I lie.  We started by finding me a pair of gloves to wear, after I picked up the first plant pot and discovered all the spiders, woodlice and slugs that were attached to it.  Ugh.

Once the contents of his somewhat cluttered greenhouse was spread across the lawn, I started hosing down the inside of the greenhouse, while Dad rummaged through the collection of plant pots on the lawn to decide what he actually needed.  I’m still struggling to figure out how he managed to acquire so many in the first place.

I quickly discovered that a hose was not going to shift the dirt, or even the strong willed cobwebs that were still hanging in place, a little crumpled and twisted, but still present.  I reverted to a bucket of soapy water and a brush, and scrubbing commenced.

The whole process took all day.  With one break for lunch and a couple of minor intervals when a wasp decided to evict me. Yes a wasp has that much power.  Especially when I find myself in an enclosed space with only one exit and the entire thing is made of glass.  That’s just a recipe for disaster…

Eventually we put everything back in our nice clean greenhouse.  Yes I do mean everything.  The unwanted plant pots are tucked into one corner waiting for the local jumble sale next month, in the meantime they need to be kept somewhere.  Obviously the see-though glass house is the most logical place to store stuff right?

I stepped back and admired our handy work… With a sigh I realised that it doesn’t really look that much different.  It’s just stacked a little neater.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Dance of the Lawnmower

As it's a slightly early finish at the office on a Friday, my plan was to head on home and mow the lawns.  I know how to live it up on a Friday night don't I?

However, when one of my colleagues informed me that the weather forecasters are predicting a monsoon on Thursday, I figured that I might want to move it up my schedule.  Soggy lawns tend not to be much fun to mow.

So Wednesday night I unraveled the worlds longest extension cable, I dutifully located and tested the RCD adaptor and then began my ritualistic 'Dance of the lawnmower'.

While my neighbours can manage to stroll up and down their lawns with ease as their cable stays obediently behind them, I twist, turn, shove and tug my way around the garden.  All the while battling an unruly cable which is always too taut, too loose, or often somehow wrapped around me (don't ask!).

Nevertheless the end result is a short lawn.  Albeit with somewhat wonky lines and long edges.

More relieved that it was over than satisfied with the job I'd done, I finally packed the mower away in the shed.  More twisting, tugging and shoving involved here.  Large mower and over crowded shed... need I say more?

The only good thing is it means I now have Friday night to do whatever I want.  So what shall it be?  A quiet night at the pub?  A night out with the girls?  Or more likely... vacuuming the lounge?

Cloudy with a chance of disappointment

So there I was, all excited about the possibility of watching last nights meteor shower.  So much so that I actually remembered to look out of my window.

Usually with this type of rare event, I head off to bed with a nagging feeling of having forgotten something, which typically remains a mystery to me until my colleagues are discussing it the next day.

But this time was different.  This time I was going to join in the excited post event chatter in the morning.  That was the theory anyway.

The reality was that I spent about an hour or so, repeatedly peeking through my curtains to peer up at a big expanse of nothingness.  No meteors, no stars, and not even an airplane penetrated the darkness, which given I live under a flight path was a pretty momentous event itself.

I fear the only thing I achieved, aside from a sense of disappointment, was to end up looking like a nosy neighbour with my curtains twitching all night.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Is It Just Me? De-cluttering The Car For Its Service

So my little car went off for its annual visit to the garage yesterday.  Thankfully it came back without any unexpected additional costs, the ones I already knew about where quite high enough already .

As part of the ritual for its annual service my car and I always embark on a major de-cluttering event the night before.  So there I was on Sunday night unearthing countless pairs of shoes from under the seats, retrieving missing sunglasses, note books and pens from each little hidey hole along with two window demisting cloths, and three scrappers. 

Yep I said three.  Nope I have no idea why I need three, or to be quite honest how they got there.  I know this is England and scrapping the ice from the windows first thing in the morning is a winter tradition, but seriously just how much ice do I think we're going to have this year? 

I collected everything up, along with the emergency bag I carry in the boot of my car, and plonked in the hallway. Well everything apart from the shoes, they were put back on the shoe rack which had strangely enough been looking rather depleted recently.

Why do I go through this rigmarole every year?  Partly because I am the neatest, most organized person I know, so it's actually a little embarrassing that my car seems to become a dumping ground for stray items.  Partly because I figure the mechanics have enough work to do without trying to maneuver around all the footwear hidden in my car.  But also because it's lovely to see my little car all neat and tidy again.

My somewhat lighter car went off to the garage completely empty, or at least I thought it had.  It wasn't until I got it back last night that I realized I'd forgotten to remove one last item....  The CD that I'd left in the player.  Now this wouldn't normally be an issue, it's just a CD after all.  Except this wasn't just any old CD, this was our CD.  The one that has the demo of the song a friend from the writing course and I collaborated on.  Oops.

So what though right?  It doesn't matter if someone else hears it does it?  Well no actually it doesn't.  In fact it would be quite a good thing for it to get out there and be heard.  However when the guy handed over my keys last night and asked if I had any questions, instead of shaking my head and thanking him for returning my little car, I could have quizzed him on what he thought of the song.  I guess I missed an opportunity there.  Nevertheless, I'm going view it as a good sign that the volume control had been turned right up, so that when I started the ignition the final few bars of our song came blaring out the speakers.

The emergency bag has now found its way back into the boot, the demisting cloths are back in the side of the drivers door and the scrappers are hidden under the seat.  I know I don't need three, but what am I supposed to do with the spares?  It seems a shame to throw them out.  I'm a firm believer in holding on to things that maybe useful, albeit it might take a while.  What's the lifespan of a scrapper anyway?

Monday, 3 August 2015

Is It Just Me? Speaking Like Your Characters

Has anyone else started speaking like the characters they are writing about?  Or is it just me?

Like most writers, the characters I write about seem so clear and close to me that they are practically real.  It seems that like my real friends, my characters can have an affect on me that lingers on even after I put my pen down.

Having spent the last few months immersed in editing my first novel which is set in the old west, this very English writer found herself suffering a slight identify crisis this week.

In the middle of a very serious discussion on one of my department’s year end accounts I found myself uttering the words ‘I reckon so’. I can honestly say I have never used that expression before, especially in the middle of a formal meeting. Whilst by itself it doesn’t sound too bad, added to the ‘ain’t’ I’d already caught myself saying, I can’t help what other words from my characters vocabulary I have also let slip.

The only saving grace is that I haven’t yet acquired accent to go along with my new vocabulary. At least I hope I haven’t. That really would start people questioning my sanity.