The Path To My Inner Calm

Hi All

I still haven’t got through to the USA regarding the tax issue, although, in all fairness, I do have to admit that I have only tried once since last Thursday, and that was yesterday. I got the same old message, ‘Unable to process your request.’

I’m the kind of person who won’t give up until something is sorted and accomplished but by last Sunday I had reached the point where I wasn’t safe to be around and so I decided to take time out from this mental virtual world. 24 hours away from the computer.

Equipped with my mug of tea, and my feet rammed firmly into my wellies, I took off up the garden, letting the chucks out on the way. It was only 6.30 am and they blinked a bit in surprise at being allowed their freedom quite so early in the day.

I had a bit of a dawdle through the broad beans, fought off the million baby spiders hanging from threads in the greenhouse, and watered the tomatoes, and then, as I walked under the brick archway, decided to take up the entire path and replace it. Weeds had multiplied and pushed through the spaces making it look messy and untidy, and although the day was about to turn hotter by the hour it was nice and cool beneath the clematis covered arch.

It took me a couple of hours to lift the bricks and remove the weeds. It was at this point that Richard appeared and stood, with shaking head, and a scowl on his down-turned mush.

‘What!’ I said, which was pretty big of me considering that I wasn’t speaking to him because he’s a pillock and he’d caused me to have a major rant the night previously. I’d threatened him with putting the house on the market and sending him packing. I do this from time to time. It’s normal. He expects it. Anyway…I continued with, ‘The only other thing that pisses (yes I swore…and on a Sunday morning with church bells ringing in the distance) me off more than having to do this REALLY difficult job on my own, is YOU standing there WATCHING ME!’

‘Why are you doing this? I can’t be helping in this heat. If you did it at a sensible time I’d help,’ he said.

‘Sod off! I don’t need your help!’

He cleared off then, shuffling down the path in his stupid flip-flops, frightening pollen-feeding bees off the cosmos.

I found a roll of weed suppressant in the potting shed and laid that before embarking on the task of replacing the bricks. I found the whole thing extremely rewarding and, with each brick laid, I found the stresses and annoyances of the week evaporating. I can’t stay mad when I’m in the garden. It is my comfort blanket. Chea came and helped, laying on the weed suppressant and cleaning her paws as I laid the bricks around her.

Richard reappeared with a glass of iced water a while later and muttered something about, ‘Contrary to popular belief I don’t want you to get dehydrated.’

Well he wouldn’t would he? If I collapsed who would lay the path? Actually, I’d chilled by then and so I allowed him to fetch a bag of cement-type-stuff for between the awkward gaps. He wasn’t trusted to apply it though – so he watched.

Honestly, he drives me mad. The other night I caught him looking at me and when I turned to him with raised, questioning brows, he said, ‘When you lose weight your face gets thinner …and your hair looks thicker.’

What? What the hell did that mean? So normally I’m fat-faced with thin hair?

He can talk. At least I don’t hide my double chin beneath a stubbly beard – well, not yet.

Then, trying to justify the comment he said, ‘…or is it just that your hair needs cutting?’

I passed no comment. The look I flashed him said everything.  He blinked innocently a few times and then buried his nose in his laptop.

I’ve just had to close the door as Chea has come back to the house with a mouse. I don’t do mice. It has taken refuge behind the log basket. Richard will have to find it when he gets home. I’m making him a list, pick the broad beans, pick the peas, run me to the bank… and remove a mouse. At least I’ve calmed down enough to speak to him now, otherwise I’d have to leave him a note haha.

I think Chea must have found a family of mice because this is the third little creature she’s brought back. But here’s the lovely thing, she brings them back, gently releases them, and they scamper off back up the garden. Of course it could be the same mouse? If so it must be major peed off by now.

So, my answer to a week of hell? Turn off the computer. Take 24 hours – and go and smell the roses…or lay a brick path.

Take care my lovelies x2014-06-23 06.38.44

PS The promotion I set up for The Sleeping Field did actually work! I know, a bloody miracle, BUT it ends today at 6.00pm UK time, so if you would like a copy at 99p make sure you download before then. And a big thank you to those of you who have already supported me and purchased a copy. If I knew how to put a ‘smiley face’ here I would, but I don’t, so I can’t.





To Stumble Blindly Over Molehills…

Hi All

I was busting my gut for Richard to toddle off back to work on Monday because I was going to move mountains without the-love-of-my-life (?) stuck under my feet and within a metre of my vision, and if not mountains then hills or…slight rises in unchartered territory. What I’ve actually done is nothing more than stumble blindly over molehills. Yes, I know, it’s the velvety coated Mr Mole who is almost blind but…

I feel like I’ve been trapped in one of those hamster-wheel thingy’s, running like mad and merely ending up where I originally started from. But, unlike the hamster, who merely stops after his exertions and pops off for a peanut, I was stuck, spinning faster and faster. Over dramatic? Possibly.

Anything and everything that I have attempted this week has been met with problems. I spent the whole day yesterday attempting to contact the USA tax office. I probably made twelve attempts? An automated, “We cannot process your request…we cannot process your request…’ informed me that – they could not process my request! How the hell did they know that they couldn’t process my request? I never got as far as making a request!

Around 9.00pm I gave up and watched the second half of England getting their backsides whipped. Why is it that I, knowing precious little about football – other than the ball goes one way for 45 minutes, before they all strut off to stuck on an orange, return, and the ball goes the other way for 45 minutes  – can sit on my sofa and see where they are so obviously going wrong? Oh! I also know that they have ‘injury’ time added on to that. That’s ‘real’ injury time (?) and ‘pretend’ injury time. Those precious minutes where a player goes down clutching a broken leg and then rises, like a phoenix from the ashes, to sprint down the pitch faster than the Derby winner to score a goal? The goals against us last night were scored in exactly the same way. England left the goal scoring area open and unprotected and Mr Whatever-his-name-is whacked in two goals. I can see that, why can’t they?

Anyway, I digressed there a bit.

It’s been a truly crap, waste of time week. The garden has been shouting at me to go and stand at stare at its splendour and the chucks have gone googled-eyed (more so than usual) straining their little necks, expecting to see me on my way up the garden to let them out. Yesterday they got so totally peed off that they started screeching like hell’s demons and made it impossible for me to continue with my call to the USA. I had to buckle and go and let them out. Actually, I needed it too. There is something about picking up warm chicken pooh that tends to refocus a person.2014-06-20 10.37.17

I put my short story collection on offer three weeks ago, or so I had thought. It never ran because I’d programmed it incorrectly. I have attempted to put The Sleeping Field on offer from Saturday 21st June – Wednesday 25th June. I say attempted because who knows? Nothing else has gone smoothly this week…or even right. However, having got myself into all sorts of dead ends, and horrendous time-wasting exercises, I do have to say that without a shadow of a doubt I have received tremendous help and advice from several friends. I would have imploded or jumped off one of those bloody mountains that I was expecting to climb, without your kind help. You know who you are (M.M, G.G.P, P.E, D.M) so thank you. Seriously.

Having experienced the kindness of these people it has once again confirmed my belief that something positive always comes from something negative. And because the chucks are screeching and demanding to come out to tear up the garden I will keep it short and go. There is no way I am attempting to contact the USA tax office today!

At least I have a friend in all this confusion!!
At least I have a friend in all this confusion!!

Take care my lovelies x

For those of you who are kind enough to support me, here is the link to ‘The Sleeping Field,’ BUT, please check that it is 99p and not list price…because I’m not yet convinced that my ‘messing everything up’ session has passed?

P.S. Welcome new followers, Baitress and Kim Clair Smith.





It’s Like Coming Home.

Hi All

Just one more day and my DIY sparring partner goes back to work. I can hardly wait. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been quite nice having him around, under my feet for the last fortnight, and we have refurbished the bathroom, but my nerves are at an all-time high.

I need head-space. Time to think without being constantly bombarded with questions.

‘Are you hungry yet? What are we having for lunch? What time are we having dinner? Would you follow me in the car so that I can take my motorbike to that chap in Nova Scotia, (slight exaggeration) and pick me up, because it isn’t running right?’

That sodding motorbike is like a cloud of doom hanging over my head. I’ve lost count of the hours spent taking it up and down the motorway to the ‘’guy who is really good with bikes!’’ If he was so frigging good why have we just collected it for the third time in as many weeks? And then, when I’ve arranged my whole day around ‘us’ Richard announces, ‘Do you mind if I piss off out on my bike for a ride?’

He doesn’t actually say ‘piss off,’ but he may as well, because that’s what he means. By this time I’ve lost the will to live, besides anything else, and just spend the alone time scrolling Facebook instead of writing.

I controlled myself a little better last night, when the boy-racer took off for a quick spin…and spent two hours on You Tube listening to sad songs from artists that most of you wouldn’t even know. I’m feeling terribly vulnerable at the moment. Sad. A little depressed – well, quite a bit depressed, actually. I have no real reason or reasons. I think the trip-out to the coast last Monday started this dip.

We travelled to Sheringham, on the east coast. Sheringham is a smallish town, very unspoilt and with the local ‘accent’ to be heard on every corner. I know it so well…Sheringham not the accent. My parents had a caravan there, when my brothers and I were young, and the memories I have of that place are ingrained in my heart forever. I remember stropping off, under instruction from my parents, to clamber up and slip down Beeston Hill, along the sea-front and into town to the local bakery at the crack of dawn to fetch a large uncut loaf. It felt like a bit of a chore then. It wouldn’t now. Not if I was returning with the still warm, freshly baked bread to two loving parents.

Somehow I seem to have an affinity with the place – the east coast. I guess that’s why I set my novel ‘Starfish’ in this area? It’s like coming home. I can only explain it that way. Travelling the coast road, seeing the places I saw so many times as a child, brings the memories flooding back. Sometimes they come as a ripple on the beach, sometimes they come as a tsunami. I can handle the ripples. The tsunami is harder.

And of course…it’s Father’s Day, and it’s mighty tough knowing that there is no one to buy a card for. Memories of my dad, like the childhood memories, come as daily ripples or a once in a while tsunami. Again, the ripples are easier to manage.

But…hey-ho all things pass and I will shortly rise from this gloomy me. I always do. And I really don’t mind feeling this way. I’m an extremist. I have black and white moments. I have manic highs and silly self-indulgent lows. It doesn’t matter. That’s me. And frankly, tell me, is there anything more sad and self-indulgent than Des O’Connor singing ‘My Cup Runneth Over,’ (You Tube ). It’s a bloody miracle I made it through the night!

So you see, I can’t blame Richard for this…well not totally. He is a bit to blame…

As I write this he is attempting to mend a leaky u bend beneath the kitchen sinks. I am having nothing to do with this. I am writing my gloomy blog. However, I fear that having mentioned ‘tsunami’ twice, I should lift my feet and wait for the flood to hit?2014-06-09 14.17.58

Take care my lovelies x

PS A special welcome to new followers Amy Saab, WilliamtheButler, Jonathan Roumain and theeditorsjournal.

Trust Me…It’ll Wreck Your Back…

Hi All

Those of you who have been ‘with me,’ on this blog for some time now, know that I am a great planner and organiser of people, chores and myself?  Some might call it ‘control freak syndrome,’ But we won’t worry about the opinions of people like that.

So…I had plans. Things that I wanted to do. Like…start a fourth book. Which, in all honesty, I did, but exactly that…start a fourth book. 4,500 words. Bear in mind that running side-by-side with this is the garden to attend to and all the other irritating bits of life, like shopping, cleaning and breathing etc. When I get into writing the later tend to get shelved, except for breathing of course, even I have to do that, though some may question why.

This is all leading to the announcement from Richard that he’d decided to take a fortnight’s holiday. This met with as much enthusiasm on my part as a dose of the trots. I know, harsh, but honestly, Richard being stuck under my feet for fourteen days wasn’t conducive to my great plans. I have long learnt that he has to be out of the house, or asleep, in order for me to be left to my own devices, so the fourth book has been shelved.

Obviously I had to turn my planning skills to something else.

It didn’t take long to come up with a plan…we would lay a new bathroom floor. As plans go it wasn’t mind-blowing but it would sure please me not to have walk on black tiles each time I used the loo. The bathroom was totally ‘done’ some years ago, when black was the new black, and very ‘in.’ Now it just looked out! So, after some discussion that somehow managed to conclude without blood flowing, we decided to lay a new ‘bathroom proof’ clicky laminate floor in off-white. The flooring was purchased, at what turned out to be great expense, and, after having a massive argument in B&Q, regarding how much we needed. Obviously, I was right because as already mentioned I am the planner, the whiz with a calculator and brilliant with a tape measure.

Five minutes into the job and we started bickering. Ten minutes into the job and we started yelling and Richard had to slam shut the bathroom window because the neighbour was conveniently sitting in his garden, listening to my every obscenity. Twenty minutes into the job and we were both prostrate on the bathroom floor with laminate stuck behind the radiator. 2 hours later and we’d decided to consider it an exercise in stupidity and to scrap the box that we had opened and to take the three remaining boxes back. Then my ‘won’t be beaten at any cost’ attitude kicked in and I changed our minds. We would continue and we would succeed.

We opened the bathroom window after that because we weren’t really talking to each other.

Slowly we regained our humour and continued, that is until we were inches away from the airing cupboard door and with only a third left to do. Richard said a very naughty word that began with F and slammed the window shut again. I couldn’t see anything wrong, and certainly nothing to warrant the ‘F’ word, that is until Richard pointed to the airing cupboard door and then attempted to open it. To my horror it would only open six inches before banging against the heightened floor. And Richard couldn’t take it off because he couldn’t open it wide enough to access the hinges.

The floor came up.

We continued and an hour later we were back where we had started when I noticed, in the very first row, unclicked boards. Richard said he couldn’t see the problem.

I bellowed, Are you frigging blind?’

He bellowed,’ Yes I am!’

And frankly he isn’t far off. I had to tell him which way the screw heads were facing before he could get the screwdriver lined-up to take off the airing cupboard door!

I said, ‘That’s it! I’m making you an appointment at Specsavers!’

He said, ‘Well you’ll have to lead me there.’

The floor came up.

Eventually, we finished and trotted off to B&Q to get something for skirting etc. Unfortunately, Richard jumped into the car at an awkward angle and did his lower back.

The task of ‘No Nailing’ the skirting to the walls was down to me, with Richard, doubled-up in agony, (or so he pretended) hanging on to the door frame, issuing instructions, that is until I informed him that if he didn’t shut up I’d be ‘No Nailing’ his mouth to his gums.

As a last ‘nice touch’ I hung a lovely little beach hut thingy, which looked stupid because it had been threaded back to front, so I removed the string and rethreaded it. Except, because of my nerve-dead forefinger I couldn’t thread the second side, so Richard attempted to do it. Half-blind and with the string unravelling, he tried to push it through the hole and succeeded in buggering up the end.

I said, ‘You need to lick it! Lick it with your tongue! Put it in your mouth! Make it stick together!’

The sound of falling terracotta came from the neighbour’s garden, and for good measure, after realising how my instructions could be misconstrued, I shouted, ‘That’s it! Push it a bit more. You’ve got it in!’

Well, the bloody neighbour knows more about my life than I do – and I’m the one living it.

Lord knows what we will get up to next week, that’s if I can plan something that doesn’t require Richard’s poor eyesight or weak back. Just one more week and then I can get back to the new novel – probably?

Take care my lovelies x

A pretty little picture - that has nothing at all to do with this post - just to add calm.
A pretty little picture – that has nothing at all to do with this post – just to add calm.

PS I do have to own up to cutting the window blind an inch too short…but I’m sure it had something to do with Richard’s faulty tape measure?