Thursday, April 1, 2021

APRIL 2021

April 30th

I have two excuses this week for failing to reach my word count quota.
One, my mum has finally decided to hang up her car keys and call it a day, much to the relief of her near and dear, especially me. 
Every time she'd threaten to fire up the engine and drive to the shops I'd worry that something awful might happen. 
Although fraught with anxiety by default, my concern was not misplaced. 
Only the other week she drove her Smart car to the cemetery to put flowers on my sisters grave and reversed onto someone else's. 
You're permitted to drive a car into the large cemetery, which has two sections, my sisters grave is in the first, and my grandmothers grave is in the expansion area.
School was out and daylight in decline as mum drove through the cemetery gates.
She recalls a group of teenagers sitting on an old grave sharing a joint and watching with strange detachment as mum attempted a three-point turn (after heading off in the wrong direction).
Unfortunately, she shot back at speed and the rear wheels rolled over, and become firmly wedged behind, the raised marble surround of a burial plot.
With her mobile phone at home on the kitchen table, she couldn't call for backup.
All mourners had left the cemetery and the stoned teenagers, bemused, no doubt, by the sight of a woman in her eighties reversing her Smart car over hallowed ground, departed. 
After half an hours bid to break free, she'd reconciled herself to the possibility of spending the night there. 
Fortunately, with persistent heavy revving, and in a cloud of billowing exhaust fumes, she finally broke free.
Yes, I know, it's not funny, and this is just one example in a catalogue of similarly bizarre driving offences.
The cars on eBay now and I've been answering a daily barrage of questions from interested parties.
The second event, which took a large chunk out of my me-time, arose after fat Bertie became incapacitated by a serious bout of acute constipation.
At the beginning of the week, I had to whisk him, tout suite, to the vets, for fear he might explode, as in that famed scene with Mr, Creosote (Monty Python's Meaning of Life), after Mr Creosote ate just one last wafer-thin mint too many.
Poor Bertie was in a fair amount of pain... and so am I now that I know a bill for over £600 is winging its way from the vets. 
They held him to ransom for three whole nights and the price for his release just kept mounting. 
Once the vets have your pet in their clutches, unless you can ride the tide of emotional blackmail ( just one more blood test to be absolutely sure and another night of observation... or he might take a turn for the worse, and you wouldn't want that would you?), you're going to have to max out that, incase-of-a-dire-emergency, credit card.
Anyway, Berties back, I've signed up for pet insurance, and mum's car has already reached its target bid and beyond.
Also, I think the oil of primrose is genuinely making a difference to my hair loss, it's looking and feeling thicker!

April 24th 

Well done me.
I prioritised my work in progress and have spent the afternoon plot lining, prior to adding to this journal entry.
I thought that Thursday's day return train journey to Bristol Eye Hospital (ten hours in total), might provide a great writing window of opportunity while my son listened to his downloaded podcasts. 
However, this was not to be, and even the window on the world outside didn't get much of a look in. 
I'd thrown a paperback novel by A M Homes into my flight bag (yes, I collect vintage flight bags even though I've never actually flown anywhere), and by page two, I was well and truly hooked. A great writer indeed, one of the best. The book was titled, Music for Torching. 
This Book Will Save Your Life is another gem by the same author and an all-time favourite of mine... five stars, highly recommend.
Among the cover blurbs for Torching is one by the Wall Street Journal which reads, 'A sly, fast-paced and darkly comic novel about a suburban marriage that's going to hell, fast', which is, I guess, a fair briefing. 
In my opinion, A M Homes could eject John Updike from any literary prize party (I've read all his books), and sit very comfortably on a front seat next to the wonderful Douglas Coupland.
There's one blurb inside the book from the women's magazine, Red, and they've obviously not even bothered to read it, they say, and I quote their quote, 'very funny and, ultimately, uplifting'. This is definitely not an, 'ultimately uplifting story! Not at all, and much of the funny, is dystopian. 
I would have, if asked (I don't know why I wasn't), written... 'Razor sharp dialogue, plot and observation, with an ending that could sever your coronary artery... or words to that effect. 
I've read all three writers, but I'd put Homes and Coupland somewhere at the top of the leader board in this particular genre. 

April 15th

Now I'm NOT feeling like a new improved me (see last entry).
Mentally I'm OK, well, as OK as I'll ever be (a toe in the crazy river and one step beyond), it's just that the Fibromyalgia is in flareup mode. By mid-afternoon, my brain zones out and all I can think of is bed, bed, lovely bed, and there's no other option, you give in and sleep for an hour or so, or try to function on low battery mode, which is pointless because anything you attempt to do on those setting is substandard. 
Anyway, I've had a rest, I've chucked a couple of chewable vitamin C tablets down my throat and made a strong mug of coffee.
So, here I am with an update.
It's Thursday and the book I'm working on (ha!), has been sorely neglected. 
Family stuff, as well as Fibromyalgia, is one excuse... or is that two?
Anyway, cats have died (not mine, my mums, cat flue I think), my eldest son has, quite flatteringly, decided that I'm the go-to person for advice on buying a flat (which he is), and my mum, although in mourning for the death of dear Peal (her cat... Ruby's still hanging on in there), decided that she needed to take a trip to the dump. Household clutter was adding to a sense of everything falling apart and in disarray.
I had an old (actually, it wasn't very old, but then, everything rubbish these days, isn't it?), cordless vacuum cleaner (very cheap, admittedly), a printer (no complaints, it had served me well, HP, they're the best), a rusty old radiator (no, no idea), a chair, extra-large cat litter tray, and a couple of broken umbrellas (large ones) up for disposal. 
The itinerary of mums rubbish pile was several lampshades (whenever she sees one in a charity shop she has to buy it), a big old plastic bin (whenever she sees one in a shop she has to buy it), a cat litter tray, old patio umbrella, and the cat carrier she'd taken Pearl to the vets in when she had to be put down.

We managed to fit these in the boot and backseat of my lovely old Mercedes (which I bought two years ago for just £700, AND it went through its first MOT no problem!).
The car looks fantastic and people assume I bought it for a lot of money, but here's the thing, if you buy a lovely old car that once cost a small fortune, you've got a great machine that was once top of the range (as dealers say), for next to nothing.
People with money want a new Mercedes, not an old one, and people without much money, think they can't afford an old Merc or Jag... when they can! My best car was a Jaguar XJS, in immaculate condition, which I bought for £2000. It served me well for eight whole years before rust ate the chassis and we were forced to part ways.
Mum and I both agreed, as we drove back from the dump via the scenic route, that it had been nice to have an outing. Sad, I know, that's what lockdown's done for us.
Not only that, there's yet another exciting trip in the offing. 
A train journey, I love a train trip. I'm heading up to Bristol Eye Hospital with my youngest son for a pre-op appointment.
He's to have a cornea transplant. One eye already has a new cornea (from two years back), and all went fairly well with that, now the other eye needs a new cornea and a cataract removed.
He has an eye condition called Keratoconus and here's a link with information on Keratoconus 
Like so many operations, Coronavirus stopped play in 2020.
I've a good book ready for the trip and my son uploads audiobooks for the journey. If there's the time, when we get there, we have lunch at the nearby Beefeater, which is brilliant and incredible value for money.
I can't praise the nearby Beefeaters or Bristol Eye Hospital enough.
For anyone following the alopecia, I think the oil of primrose capsules might actually help.
Maybe lye with your legs up the wall as well, to let the blood flow on down to the scalp.
I'll also try and use the time in transit for scribbling down notes for my book. If I do, the notes will be handwritten as I'm not going to lug my laptop around for the day, even though it is very lightweight and I'm still crapping on (as my husband calls it), on a daily basis, to anyone interested (no one), that it's the best damn laptop I've ever had!
See the previous post for a link to the best damn, very reasonably priced, laptop, I've ever had!

April 8th

Well, I'm feeling like a new improved me.
I've also bought a new and improved laptop.
If you've read my past posts then you'll know that I was having problems with the laptop I bought only a month ago. I should have sent it back within the week, but I was hoping that some of the glitches might sort themselves out (by magic, or something). 
It's fairly easy to return items these days, but then you have to wait for a replacement, and I'm not that good at the waiting game. Patience was not a virtue I have been blessed with.
I could wax lyrical about quite how fabulous my new laptop is in comparison to the rubbish one now returned. It's OK, I won't bore you with that. I'll just say that this laptop was sixty pounds cheaper than the last one and one hundred per cent better.
I'm so impressed, I'll add a link in here, and if you don't like buying from Amazon, then you can try and find it elsewhere Laptop on Amazon ...ha, it's now ten pounds more than when I bought mine on Sunday! Winning!
My beloved brother's been down with his lovely family, which now includes a new baby girl. There are four sisters and just one brother, so we all dote on him.
I've not had any alcohol and am all the happier for that, those in the know will appreciate that anti-depressants and alcohol don't mix, especially if you're inclined to manic-depression (I prefer the old term, the way I feel on a downer is manically depressed and completely bonkers, rather than bi-polar).
Despite the wait for my new toy (the laptop), I have been writing and now that Easter and all the visiting, lovely though it was, is over, I can't wait to get back in the writing seat.
The last time I switched computers from old to new, I managed to somehow lose over forty-thousands words of this book in the process. I've had to re-write from scratch and this new version has veered off in a different direction, although the idea is fundamentally the same.
(This keyboard is so much better than the old one, just the feel of it, everything! This is a very reasonably priced Asus and the other laptop, which I don't recommend, was a Fusion5).
Having learned my lesson, I made sure that all my recent work was saved to a chip. I know there are storage spaces such as Cloud that will save everything for all eternity, but that's now for me, I like to live on the edge, and potentially destroy hours of creativity with one reckless press of the Delete button.
Still, I'm nearly back up there in the forty words zone and this is a new and improved story.
So, it's been a week of the new and improved, emotionally, technically, and creatively. 
I wish you all the same. x 

April 1st

Depressed, hate myself. I've pretty much given up drinking as it does me no favours. Made the mistake of celebrating the acceptance of my sons offer on a flat by pouring a large 
gin and tonic, which then became several as the evening progressed and I found myself on the downward slope to LaLa Land via Bonkersville.
All I can say is, thank goodness the pubs are closed and I didn't take myself to town. Making a spectacle of yourself was very much frowned upon in my family... though the vein of insanity runs through it, and sometimes the dormant volcano erupts.
Lesson learned, now all I want to do is spend the day in bed, I should get some writing done, probably will later on as it might make me feel better.
Beautiful Spring day, and I've squandered it.
Well done me.
April 1st - part two.
I went to bed and now I'm up again.
Big fat Bertie's just moved onto my lap, which is rather comforting... and, as he's a cat, there's no judgment in his eyes.
Now I'm going to stop playing with my mobile phone (checking out the different ringtones), and get down to some plot shaping.
I've also made a vow of abstinence and, henceforth, will no longer sully my liver with, or marinade my brain in, intoxicating liqueur. 
Remorseful, that how I feel.

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