Saturday, 24 November 2007

Day 24

Long time no blog. Hmm. Actually that's a lie. Though my blogging has been elsewhere, I have been keeping it up.

I'm at 35,500.
Sinbad - my piratical writing accomplice - is at 39,000.
By the end of the day we should both be at 40,008.

So ... umm ... yes. I have some work to do. It's been pointed out that if I concentrated on my writing, rather than all the outlying frippery and fru fru, like: blogging, checking emails every other minute, loitering at The Hub, AD, GA, Codey's World, etc.

Of course the 'pointer outers' are right ... but then I like all the frippery and fru fru, and they can jolly well go and 'point out' elsewhere.

I have no intention of failing to get to 50,000. 'Harvest Days' is feeling good, and ... oh, sorry. Here comes my fan who needs a lap to snooze on. Gotta go! ;)


PS - I'm updating at the same place. So if you feel like reading a first draft version of 'Harvest Time' please click HERE.

If you do read it, please leave a comment or drop me an email to tell me what you think. Thank you!

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Day 17

I finished on track at 28,411 words. 'Harvest Time' is definitely going in a different direction. However I'm pleased, as I've never tried anything quite like this before.

again, read at your peril. :)

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Day 16

It was a weird day. 26,419/50,000+

'Harvest Time' has become something else, entirely.

Read it (at your peril), and see what you think.


Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Day 12

I'm off to bed.

Hmm, I'm always off to bed when I write in this blog. One day I'll write in it when I get up; but then I'd have a dearth of things to say, and what would be the point.

Oh, typically (how I both admire and hate him for his ebullient tenacity) Sandywriter - aka Dio - got to the 50,000 words on day ten. In fact he got to 52,998 words on day ten and I ... I .... Yes, probably best to leave this out welling of mixed emotions for my therapist. Not that I have one.

So ... goodnight sweet blog reader.


Saturday, 10 November 2007

Day 9

Bedwards at 2.15am and 14,113 words.

And yes, I think I'm pleased: 'cause I've almost finished the first of the inset stories. However ... I'm behind, which is a drag. On the upside it is the weekend, and I could deal with all this 'being behind' twaddle, and be 'in front' instead. That sounds like a good and worthy plan!

Sinbad, my writing buddy, is doing well. His story is an action adventure, and has no grape picking in it at all. Ah well: Grape picking isn't for everyone ;)

And so goodnight!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Day 7

So what happened to day 6? well it was very nice, but no great shakes.
Just finished for the day at 12,011.

I've taken on board Kapitano's comments, but as I said they'll be dealt with at re-write. 'Harvest Time' will have a re-write as I'm determined to finish it come what may.

Thanks too to Kaiten and Sinbad. It's more fun writing when you have someone to write with or against. I know it's just a stupid word count, but the idea you're being left behind is a virtual spur up the bottom. And boy do I need a spur up the bottom ;)

I'm half way through my first 'sub-story' of which I'd planned five. I don't know how many there will end up being, but five seems a good number. The weirdness is kicking in too. Maybe I'm overdoing it, but then I can always snip it out at a later date.

I'm enjoying it ... which is the main thing. Hopefully Kitty will too. Ya can't be a writer without a Kitty. ;)

Nighty Night y'all

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

*** New Blog ***

For NaNoWriMo 2007 I started a new blog.


So consider this one closed for the foreseeable future. Unless you have a time machine. If you do, please get in touch, as I'd like to borrow it. ;)

Over and out.


* Unedited Novel - first 5 days - 8,396 words

Working title: Harvest Time
This is the first 5 days writing. Unedited, and raw.

“It’s way too early, David. Curses on you and your progeny, and your ….”
“Yes, Col, I know.” I said, patting him on the back. “Baby brother doesn’t like getting up. So what’s new?” I finished stuffing the last of my clothes into the rucksack, and swung it over my arm; looking to see if I’d forgotten anything.
“See you downstairs. If you want coffee, buck up.” Colin grunted at me, still bollock naked, and now trying to pee.
I tiptoed quietly passed my parents door. Mum had offered to get up to cook us breakfast, but the look we’d got from dad had made us both tell her not to be so silly.
By the time Colin came down the light had changed from the pre-dawn hint of the new day to come, to enough light to see that the day was kicking off with a typical September blanket of fog.
“Shit, David. Do you think they’ll still want us?” Colin yawned, as he looked out into the paddock, then slumped onto a stool by the breakfast bar. I rolled my eyes at him as I poured the coffee, and loaded the toaster.
“Na mate, they’ll all go back to bed and forget the harvest for another year. Duh.” Colin yawned again, then broke into a grin. “Sarky git,” he grabbed my around the neck and started tickling, only stopping when I started to squeal. “So, are we ready, oh sensible brother mine?”
“Yeah, I think so.” I panted, determined to get him back, and then decided to follow the old chestnut: ‘revenge is best served cold’.

Our parents hadn’t been keen. After all I had only just got my driving license, and Colin was a dork. Okay, so they hadn’t actually said that, but that was the underlying sense of the thing as I’d understood it. Naturally, Colin thought I was the dork, and secretly, I’d have had to have agreed.
We were twins, though we didn’t look alike. Colin was flamboyant, good looking, and a magnet for girls, whereas I … well, I wasn’t. Not that he rubbed the disparity in. He was pretty much my best friend, too.
It was nearly seven thirty by the time we’d cleared up the breakfast things and were ready to leave. We’d answered an ad in the local paper for pickers on the grape harvest at the vineyard. We’d never done anything like it before, and both of us had leapt at the opportunity. It was cash in the hand, and we’d managed to luck into accommodation too, which was a boon to us the farmer knew nothing about. I’d made the call.
“Hullo,” a friendly female voice had answered, and I’d felt myself blush.
“Is this Graptons?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Umm … I’m calling about the job,” I’d said. They’d been a silence, followed by a cough that had sounded suspiciously like a laugh.
“Do you still have it?”
“Which one?” The friendliness seemed to evaporate, a hard edge taking its place.
“Grape picking.”
“Yes, there are places left. Two to be precise, no more; no less. Two to live in.”
“Live in?” I asked, “but we’re local: from Rye.” She sniffed.
“Two only … to live in … no charge.”
“Umm … no charge … okay,” I said, knowing Colin wouldn’t object.
“Good, Thursday at eight, then.” There was a pause, and the friendliness was back. “That’s eight in the morning.” She chuckled, then hung up. I’d looked at the phone in astonishment, before replacing it on the hook.
That was a week ago, and as I closed the back door and carried my pack through the thickening fog to the car, I wondered again why they wanted us to live in. When I talked it over with Colin he’d leered, and said we’d probably have to look after the farmers daughters, and tend to their every whim. He’d actually said ‘quim’ knowing I’d blush. And I had. Colin’s an utter bastard when it comes to pushing my buttons.
I slung my rucksack in the back of the clapped out old Ford Escort that Colin and I shared and pulled open the drivers door, trying to keep the squeaking of the rusty hinges to a minimum.
“Shhh, unless you want Dad to wake up,” Colin said in my ear making me jump. He patted me on the back then slung his bag in the back and slammed the boot.
“Ooops.” He scooted around and got in the passengers side, gently pulling the door too, as if the boot slamming had happened to someone else.
“You arse….” I said, getting in and shutting the door. We held our breath, waiting for the bedroom window to fly up, and dad to bellow at us. I let off the handbrake, and waited whilst the car coasted down the drive onto the main road before turning the key.
It was an old ritual, learnt from the Irishman who’d sold us the rust bucket.
“Now lads,” he’d said, eying us both over like a horse thief would stud stallions. At least that was how Colin put it on the way home. I’d just been over enamored with the thought of transport of our own, and hadn’t given a tinker’s cuss what sales techniques were used to persuade us.
“Now lads,” the man had said again, patting the bonnet of the car; and this time I’d picked up on the broad southern Irish accent, “she’s a darling, that’s what she is, and as ya know – or if you don’t, just take O’reilly’s word for it ….” He paused portentously, slipping his thumbs through his braces. “Ya have t’ treat women wid silken gloves.”
“Uh huh,” Colin had replied, as I’d been sitting in the drivers seat, running my hands around and around the steering wheel. “So what’s the scam then, Mr …?”
“O’reilly, m’boy. And what scam would that be, then?” The man had sounded upset, but as the headlight switch had come away in my hand as the back of the drivers seat collapsed, I hadn’t cared a jot. It was our first car, and I felt a connection with her.
“Come on David,” Colin said, “we’ll go look at the other one.”
“Hmm?” I’d replied, “What?”
“The other car, dolt, we should go and look at the other car!”
“Now then m’boys,” O’reilly sounded pained, this is the special deal I’ll do yas ….”
“Ready?” I said.
“Yep” Colin replied: and we linked pinkie fingers as I turned the key. Miraculously she turned over, and started. We set off.
“Lights?” Colin said, wiping ineffectually at the inside of the windscreen.
“I’ve got them on,” I replied. “I told you we should get fog lights.” I was nervous, having never driven through fog before. It seemed to billow, some times thinner and almost non existent, then suddenly thickening until it was difficult to see much past the bonnet.
We crawled through Rye, and up the hill to Rye Foreign, where the fog seemed to ease.
“What’s the time, Col?” He looked at his watch.
“We’ve got half an hour. Still it’d be nice to find out where we’re staying before we have to start plucking.”
I giggled. “It’s picking, you oaf,” I said, turning onto the winding county road that led to the Vinyard.
“Alright, smarty pants. So I’m not up on modern grape picking terminology.” He wound down the window, then hurriedly wound it back up; stopping the blast of cold air. “Christ, it’s cold.”
“You did bring thermals, didn’t you?” I said. The fog was getting thicker as the road followed the contours of the land down into the valley, and it was getting hard to see the central white lines. I slowed down a bit.
“Yes, I brought bloody thermals, David. God man but that’s boring. We should be … oh, I don’t know … drinking a bottle of vodka, or smoking pot or something.”
“Like Jack Kerouac would have, I suppose.” I said snidely, clamping my teeth together nervously, and thinking of pulling over.
“No not like Jack Kerouac, ‘cause he’s dead. I meant like us, David. You and I should be … doing things other than grape picking. Ya know? Doing great, and noble things.
“I don’t know what, but I have the fe ….
“Jesus Christ!” I swore, slamming on the brakes to avoid the back of a stationary bus. The car lurched fast towards the verge as the worn out brake-pads shrieked in misery. We shuddered to a halt by a five bar gate.
“Hell … I don’t …!” I looked over a Colin just as he looked at me. His mouth was opening and closing more like a goldfish out of water, than my brother; and I must have been doing the same, as he started to laugh.
“Close one, David.”
“Too close for comfort,” I muttered, watching my hands as they shook. I couldn’t believe how close we’d come to being scraped off the back of a bloody great bus, and I wanted to cry. I wanted to be hugged and told it was all alright. I wanted …. “Ready?” I said, offering up my pinkie finger.
For the second time the car started without a problem. Colin got out, guided me back onto the road, then got back in.
“So, let’s go slower, then David, okay?”
“Yep, I said, looking at him and pulling out from behind the bus.
The fog seemed even thicker as we pulled into the car park at the vineyard, which was empty except for a small tractor. I pulled into one of the marked slots, turned off the engine, and pulled on the handbrake. Sighing, I buried my head in my hands.
“I don’t want to do this, Col. I want to go home, and back to bed.”
“Me too, me too: but it’ll be an adventure. It’s our first job, and they’ll be lots of girls.” He started humming and opened the door.
Colin’s got a good voice, and can hold a tune. I know it, but I refuse to let him know I know it. It’s what brothers do.
“What’s that then?” I said, starting up one of our regular arguments. “One of James - I’m so MOR it should be tattooed on my arse - Blunt’s?”
“Ha ha ha, David. You know it is.”
“Poor old Simona, then.” I said as I pulled my pack, and Colin’s bag out of the boot, and shut it. He frowned at me.
“If you don’t ….”
“Kidding, you big lummox.” I said. “Let’s go and meet the veritable Rowena.”

We trudged along a paved path that ended at the vineyard shop. The fog seemed to be thinning slightly, and I saw a shadowy figure standing watching us in the distance.
“Hello!” I called out, but the figure didn’t move. “I guess they’re not too friendly with strangers here, Col.” I said in an awful John Wayne accent. He grunted, still miffed at my James Blunt crack.
“So let’s go introduce ourselves, then.” He said, and set off into the fog. Sighing, I followed him, knowing I’d have to bounce off his gregarious sense of humour if I was going to get to know any of our fellow workers in the next few weeks.
“You’re the live in’s.” A tall woman, standing with hands on rather ample hips, sunglasses nestled in her long dirty blonde hair, said.
“I erm ….” Colin deferred to me, so I stepped forward.
“I’m David, and this is Colin,” I said, then, rather unnecessarily, added: “we’re twins.”
“So you are, so you are, and that’s a rare treat.” She said. “It was you I spoke to?”
“Yes,” I replied, unnerved at her piercing grey-blue eyes. She seemed to be cataloguing my body parts, and then examined Colin with equal interest before pulling a fob watch out of her leather jerkin, and glancing at it.
“My name’s Rowena,” she said, putting the watch away, “and as the others aren’t here yet, I have time to show you your room.” Without another word she walked off, Colin and I following her like a pair of lambs going to the slaughter.
“Whadda ya think then, eh?” Colin whispered as he nudged me, and made a very rude gesture. I felt myself blush.
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
“Oh, I dunno! Not your type, eh, David? Perhaps she has a younger brother, then.” I dropped my rucksack, and punched him hard on the arm.
“Fuck right off, Colin!” I spat, as I bent down to pick my rucksack up, only to be flung to the ground by his boot on my arse.
“Can’t ickle Davie take a joke, then? Aww didums, precious.” I rolled over, and looked up at him, from where I’d landed. He’d been teasing me about being gay, seemingly for ever, but he’d never gone this far before, and especially not in public. His face was twisted, mean and angry, and as I saw him loom above me in the fog, I had absolutely no idea where the vitriol had come from. I blinked my tears away, and silently held out my hand. After a moments pause his face seemed to melt back into it’s usual good natured expression, and he frowned as he took my hand and pulled me to my feet.
“I’m … I’m sorry, Davie,” he said, using the diminutive as he’d always done while we’d grown up. “I don’t know what came over me. I think this fog has me really rattled.”
I nodded as held my hand, then pulled me into a hug. “Don’t ever leave me, Davie,” he whispered as he crushed me, then he let go, clapping me on the back.
Rowena, who had watched us bicker without comment, led us back past the vineyard shop, and then turned abruptly left, down an old gravel path, that had clumps of weeds and moss valiantly growing through. The path meandered around the back of several large steel storage tanks, and I’d come to the conclusion our accommodation would be a shed, or at best a caravan, when to my utter delight, as we rounded a warehouse with rust streaked corrugated sides, a tiny whitewashed cottage appeared, surrounded by a picket fence. She stopped and turned to us.
“The door’s open, make yourselves at home, and be back where you met me in … oh, say half an hour.” She winked at me, and as usual I felt myself blushing. Blushing was a curse I’d had since puberty, and one I’d often wished would go away, along with my other problem.
“Thanks, Rowena,” Colin and I said in unison, to which Rowena curtseyed.
“Narry a problem, sirs,” she said, adding: “You can call me Row, if you’d rather.” Then she walked off, leaving us standing by the gate.
“And this is it included?” Colin said. I shrugged.
“She said it was when I phoned. Said it was part and parcel with the job, but it can’t be … can it?”
“Well we’re not members of the grape pickers union, are we doofus? So I’m guessing there’s a catch.” Colin pushed the gate open, “let’s ask before we begin.”
“Okay,” I said, following him up the path. We stopped at the front door and looked at each other.
“Remember ….” We both spoke and stopped at the same time together. We did that a lot. Our parents told us it was because we were twins, and I never doubted them. Colin on the other hand, did. When we where ten he’d tried to persuade me that he was the real boy and I was just a robot copy, and for a split second I’d believed him … until he cracked up and had fallen to the floor in hysterics.
“You go first, then,” he said, his hand on the door knob.
“I was going to say ‘remember Hansel and Gretel’” I said, and he nodded.
“Yep, me too. It’s weird, but it looks exactly like the illustration in the book.”
“Exactly.” I said, “in fact identical.” I nudged him. He turned knob, and with a squeal of distress the door opened.
“Hullo?” Colin called, and we waited for a reply before walking into the tiny living room. With a sigh of relief I put my rucksack down next to a wing backed leather armchair, which was one of a pair next to a neatly laid fireplace.
“No witch then.” I said, as Colin claimed the other chair as his by flopping down in it.
“Nope, looks like we’re witchless, brother mine,” he said. I was aware he was watching me as I wandered over to a wooden door, lifted the latch, and opened it revealing a staircase.
“Hmm … that means,” I said, crossing the room and opening the door’s twin, “that this is the kitchen.”
“Coffee?” Colin said with his best ‘I want, and I want now’ tone. He knew he was on a winner, as neither of us had had our second cup of the morning.
“Good idea that, Col. You go put our stuff upstairs, and I’ll put the kettle on … deal?”
“Yeppers, deal.” He sprung to his feet, grabbed his bag and my rucksack, and disappeared up the stairs. I went into the kitchen and explored. Kitchens are the heart of a good house, and this one was, like the rest of the cottage, cosy. Around the small scrubbed pine table in the middle of the quarry tiled floor were four mis-matched chairs. Along the outside wall, and under the window was a single sink, a drainer, and a small worktop; underneath which lay a fridge and cupboard space. On the opposite wall was a small Reyburn stove, a larger work top and more cupboards. I made a mental note that we had to go shopping, then I opened the fridge. It was full of all sorts of food. I blinked, closed it, then opened it again. It was still full.
“Colin!” I shouted, “There has to have been a mistake. We’re in the wrong house, an ….” I stopped as he appeared in the kitchen door, he was trembling, his face white. “What’s wrong, Col?” I said as I strode over and pulled him into a hug.
“I … I saw a ghost,” he mumbled in my ear. I pushed him away in disgust.
“Don’t bloody start, alright? I’m not having you winding me up, brother or not. Especially around people I don’t know, you know wha ….”
“I’m not, Davie,” he said, “I really saw a ghost.” And I believed him. We had a pact: that come hell or high water, once challenged we were honest with one another.
I followed him upstairs as he explained.
“I put your bag in there,” he pointed from the landing, not wanting to walk any further, so I put my head around the door. My rucksack was on the floor by the bed, and the other thing that caught my attention was the light pink colour of the walls.
“Pink, yeah, thanks Col.” He sniggered.
“Sorry, I couldn’t resist, seeing as how you’re ….”
“Don’t go there, brother.” I warned. “Then what?”
“Then I put my bag in there,” he pointed to another door. Cautiously, I peered around it to find a room the mirror image of mine, except with light blue walls. I grinned. It figured.
“And then what?”
“And then I went to look at the bathroom.” His voice was trembling as he pointed to a closed door at the end of the landing. I walked over to it and was about to put my hand on the handle when Colin said: “don’t Davie.”
“Why?” I asked, my hand hovering.
“’cause it was shut in my face by a woman who was wearing a smock.”
“A smock?”
“Yeah, like in the old oil paintings of the harvest, we saw at the Tate.”
“They wear them for fishing, too.” I said, my hand now clasped around the handle. I gulped, took a deep breath and opened the door. The bathroom was paneled in white painted wood, the bath, Victorian with claw feet, had a shower curtain which was closed. The tap on the sink was dripping, so I shut it off, then in one quick motion, pulled the shower curtain open.
“I swear to you, Davie ….” Colin had his hands cupped around his coffee and was looking at me with pleading eyes.
“I believe you, Col, I believe you,” I said, taking a sip of my coffee. There was something about fog that always rattled me. It had an unearthly quality to it, and that was if I was at home. Here, starting a job, in a strange place it was somehow even more unearthly. I shuddered. Colin chuckled.
“Don’t you start, Davie. It’s the fog isn’t it?” I smiled at him.
“You, too?” He nodded. “And there I was thinking we were too old to be freaked out.”
“Never too old, Davie.”
“And what’s with the Davie all of a sudden, Col?” I watched him as he put on his thinking expression. My brother was highly intelligent, but some things, made him ponder, and anything with an emotional content was high on his list.
“I dunno, Davie,” he grinned at me, and winked. “I know you want to be all grown up, and be David, but here … I … do you mind terribly?” I shook my head.
“No, Col, I don’t. I feel it too.” The mantel clock in the living room chimed the half hour, causing me to look at my watch. “We’d best get a move on, otherwise we’ll be sacked before we begin.” I finished my coffee, and rinsed the mug out, dealing with Colin’s at the same time. I was concentrating on leaving the kitchen spick and span, and nearly missed his reply.
“I don’t mind if we do get sacked,” he said, almost under his breath.

By the time we got back the fog had thinned, and visibility was better, revealing a farm yard with a pair of wooden huts, a tractor shed, and a barn, The tractor from the carpark, was now sitting to one side: two large wooden bins on its rear forks. There was a crowd of ten or so people milling around Rowena and I made sure I was a step behind Colin as we approached.
“Ah, there you are, boys.” She said, and various conversations stopped as everyone turned to look at us. “Say hello to the boys, guys and girls. Tey’re staying in the cottage” She spoke lightly, but I sensed an underlying command.
“Hello!” They all said, and then one by one the conversations started up again.
“Right!” Rowena said, “now for those of you new at this, you take a bucket, and a pair of snips, and follow the tractor.” She walked over to the tractor and got in, a small brown dog leaping in after her. I watched as she picked the dog up, and kissed it on the nose, before gently putting it on a folded blanket next to her.
“That’s Henry, that is,” said a worried looking woman in her middle years, looking at Colin and I as we stood not knowing what to do. “Don’t worry, boys, Rowena said I should give you a helping hand on your first day.”
“Thank you so much … umm …?”
“It’s Catherine … or Cathy if you prefer. I don’t mind which.”
“Oh right, Catherine,” Colin said. “I’m Colin, and the quiet, shy one is Davie.”
“Hullo, Catherine,” I said. The description that sprung to mind was ‘weathered’. She had a friendly looking face, with graying brown hair, and eyes that twinkled, though the lines on her forehead were more furrows. She reminded me of my grandmother, though I didn’t think she was that old.
“I don’t mind, dear. I don’t mind at all, for a grandmother is a goodly person.” She said, looking directly at me.
“I … umm … I …,” I didn’t know how to react until she laughed in good nature.
“So then: buckets and snips. Row has them on the tractor, so all we have to do is follow her and not get lost in the fog. If you get lost it can often be hard to find your way back.”
“I should say!” A man around Catherine’s age walked by at a clip and I realised they’d all set off following the tractor.
“Should we?” I said, and Catherine nodded.
“I know where we’re going, but it’s good to get into the swing of things. It’s Pinot Grigio in the far field today.” She said set off with Colin and I following meekly, like lambs. “Come on, walk with me, not behind me,” she said, and we caught up. “So what brings you two handsome boys here?” She asked, her eyebrows raised.
“Money, I guess,” Colin answered, his sneakered feet sliding around in the mud. Catherine tutted.
“Row can get you both some Wellington boots,” She said. “Remember the little adage: ‘Rain or shine, Ice or fog: until the grapes are in, the grapes are out.’”
“You mean we pick in the rain?” Colin sounded appalled, and Catherine laughed good naturedly, both loud and hard.
“Oh yes, that’s exactly what I mean, blood or no blood we pick.” It was my turn to be appalled.
“Blood?” I said. I’d always been terrified of blood. The sight of it making me, more often than not, faint.
“Yes, which is where I tell you all about snips.” She reached into her pocket and brought out a red handled pair of secateurs. “These are lethally sharp, and I jest not, boys.” She took off the rubber tie that held them closed, and they sprang apart. “Last year we had a worker who cut off the tip of his little finger.” I winced, and almost decided to quit on the spot. “Oh, don’t worry, Davie. Quitting’s not an option for real men, now is it?” She smiled at me as my eyes slid past her to catch Colin rolling his eyes. I laughed, then coughed.
“Sorry, Catherine, but it sounds so … melodramatic.”
“As well it should! But do be warned, you will cut yourself on the first day or two. Everybody does.” She held out her hand, and I could see scars running around two of her finger tips. She smile benevolently. “First aid is supplied.” I gulped.
We followed the tractor up and down three large grassy fields each with row upon row upon row of vines, the rows disappearing to their vanishing points in the far distance. Catherine kept up a running commentary of the types of grapes in each of the fields, and it didn’t take me long to guess she wasn’t just casual labour like the rest of the crew. We were the stragglers, and we’d almost arrived at where Row had parked the tractor when it occurred to me to ask about the cottage.
“Cather ….” With a look of shock on her face she walked briskly away and started talking to an old man with a flat cap. Colin, who had been checking out the grapes, had missed the exchange, so I gave the idea of talking to her up as we went to claim our buckets and snips.
The bucket were yellow, black and blue. Some pickers took two, others only one, so Colin and I followed their example. Then we were handed our snips. I took off the band that held them shut, and ran my finger across the blade. Catherine had been right, they were sharp. Razor sharp.
“Gloves?” Another middle aged woman was handing out surgical gloves from a cardboard box.
“Erm … why do we need gloves?” Colin asked, as I listened, intrigued.
“You don’t, is the short answer. But they make it much more comfortable,” she said, handing us both a pair. “Much more comfortable. believe you me, young man. My name is Delia, by the way. I gather you’re the two in the cottage, this year.” There was something about the way she said ‘this year’, that made the small hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I glanced at Colin, and knew he felt the same.
“Why?” Colin asked, and I let out a subconscious cheer.
“Because the grape juice gets all over your hands, and it’s incredibly sticky. Honestly, these gloves are ….”
“No, sorry … I meant why did you gather we were the two in the cottage?”
Delia laughed. I’d like to say she cackled like a Witch, because that’s the feeling I was getting off her, in waves: but she didn’t. It was a pleasant, warm laugh. Very much the sort of laugh one’s favourite aunt would have.
“Silly boy, or should that be boys!” she said, nodding at me. “I know because Row told me; and because you’re the last to arrive. The last to arrive always, always stay in the cottage. It’s the way it’s always been done at Graptons.”
“Oh,” Colin said and sniggered. “Sorry, Davie and I were ….”
“You’re telepathic?” Delia interrupted, sounding excited, “goodness me, we’ve never had a pair of twins before, you see, and I had no ….”
“No,” I stopped her in mid gush. “I’m afraid we’re not, though ‘cause we’re twins we think alike and often guess what the other’s thinking. It’s not telepathy, though. Sorry.”
“Oh, well, never mind.” Delia said, looking disappointed. “Though it’s an exciting subject, isn’t it? The paranormal. Ghosts, and things that go bump in the night … you know.” It was obvious she was off on a favoured subject, and I was about to leave Colin to her gabbling, when Rowena blew the tractor’s horn.
“Righty ho! Time to get to work,” She said, clapping her hands as she stood on the tractor’s running board. “So, then; Same pairs as yesterday, except David can work with Gentry, and … well, Colin with Delia, seeing as how they’re thicker than thieves already.” They all laughed, but I was in shock. I knew Colin could cope without a problem, but I was shyness personified. I hated meeting people: hated it. It was hard enough with Colin at my side, but on my own.
I shut my eyes tight and started shivering; hoping that it would all go away and become a figment of my imagination. I also assumed the hand that landed on my arm was my brothers.
“Don’t worry, lad.” The voice was old; the tone kind; the person speaking: right by my ear. I jumped, and shrieked like a little kid. Knowing it caused me to blush, too. The hand patted my arm as I opened my eyes, and saw a pair of pale blue and rather rheumy eyes creased in a smile. It was the old man I’d seen Catherine talking too.
“I’m Gentry,” he said, and you and I’ll get on like a house on fire. You see if we don’t.” He patted my arm once more, as if to say ‘no worries’, then stepped back. “So you’ve got your bucket and snips, ready for the off?” I pulled myself together, and nodded, then saw Colin talking to Delia. He smiled at me and winked before picking up his bucket and following her. I tried to smile at Gentry, and failed.
“I … umm, I’m sorry about jumping,” I said.
“Don’t worry m’ boy, I was like you, once, long ago.” Gentry said shaking his head. “Life teaches you all sorts of lessons, and self worth was one of the easy ones.” He picked up his bucket which was black. “Come on then, or we’ll be late for tea.” That made me chuckle. We hadn’t even started, and already we were talking about tea.
I followed him and the others over to the rows of vines, where we all split up, one couple per row. Gentry led me on to the very end row which was nearest the field boundary with what seemed to be a dark and forbidding wood. Colin and Delia were six rows away, with the five remaining couples taking the rows in between.
Gentry dropped his bucket by the first post, which was as thick as a sapling, and I followed suit. I couldn’t see any grapes, just a rather leafy plant that grew along wires stretched between posts some twenty feet apart.
“Where are the grapes, Mr. Gentry?” I asked, “And what do I do?”
“Sensible questions, m’ boy,” he said with a chuckle. “deserve a sensible answer. So, put your gloves on, and watch.” I struggled to get the thin rubber gloves on, watching him as I teased my fingers and thumbs into what amounted to a row of conjoined condoms designed for pigmy shrews. Gentry started plucking leaves off the vine willy nilly, revealing bunches of small, plump and juicy green grapes. Once he’d cleared the leaves between two of the posts he came back to where I was standing watching at the end. He raised an eyebrow, and smiled.
“Gloves on?” I smiled back at him.
“Yes,” I said, showing him.
“Good, now then once you’ve plucked a stretch, you pick ‘em, or rather snip ‘em.” He got out the red secateurs, put the bucket by his side, and started cutting the bunches of grapes off the vine, and throwing them in the bucket. I watched as he went ten or so feet, and the bucket was full. “See, it’s easy, but you have to watch what you’re doing. It’s very, very easy to cut yourself. And I know you know how sharp they are, David.” As he said my name, a shriek came from up the rows, a shriek of pain that I knew came from Colin.
I was about to run to him when Gentry grabbed me by the arm, stopping me. “There’s nothing you can do, David. See?” I stood back from the end of the row to see Delia escorting Colin, whose hand was dripping blood, to the tractor.
“I should ….” He shook his head, and held my arm tighter, as I struggled to go to my brother.
“No, you shouldn’t. If you ever plan to be able to stand on your own two feet, you have to let Colin take care of himself, and he has to do the same for you.”
“But he nee ….”
“No he doesn’t m’ boy. Delia will fix him right up.” I watched the reactions of some of the other pickers, who were watching, as Colin and Delia vanished behind the tractor. A youth two rows up seemed to be licking his lips, and as his partner said something he burst out laughing.
“But it’s not funny,” I said, turning to Gentry, who was wearing a dreamy expression, his tongue poking out of the corner of his mouth. He blinked, then smacked his lips.
“No, it’s not funny. Then Giles is a strange lad, as I’m sure you’ll find out.” He let go of my arm. I shook it, as his grip had almost stopped the circulation, and it was beginning to feel numb. “So … where were we. Hmm? Oh, right. We take the full bucket over to the collection bins, and empty it.” He gave me an appraising look. “Then what, eh? Can you guess, David?”
“Repeat, and repeat until we get to the end of the row?” I said, and was rewarded with a grin.
“Yes, correct m’ boy. You pass with flying colours.” He picked up his bucket and walked over to nearest bin which was near the tractor. I was tempted to go and see how Colin was doing, but just then he and Delia came around the tractor and walked slowly back to their row. Colin had his head down, and didn’t look at me.
I watched Gentry as he emptied his bucket, and then had a quiet word with Rowena. He wandered back, chuckling. “Your brother was wounded on his first snip. I dunno, talk about bad luck.”
“Is he okay?”
“Yes, I told you he’d be fine. And best for you that you didn’t go rushing after him like a pansy.” I looked away up the rows at his words: too angry to respond, too frightened to know what to say. I wanted to scream at the injustice, I wanted to tell them all, let them know who it was that was working with them, and living in the cottage. Instead I clamped my teeth together, and turned back to see Gentry plucking on the other side of the row.
“What are you doing?” I asked, my tone frigid.
“We work on either side of the vine,” he said. “That’s why we work in pairs, David.”
“Oh,” I said, and walked up to the first post and started plucking leaves.
Some half an hour later, when I hadn’t said a word, or replied to any of Gentry’s conversational overtures, he poked his head through the vine. I couldn’t help but laugh at the apparition of his head floating in a sea of vines.
“I’ve upset you,” he said, “though I’m glad I amuse.”
“No, I was just having a quiet time,” I lied, “And your head is very Gilliam.” He frowned.
“Yes, Terry Gilliam. You know, Monty Python.” His head vanished, and I could see him watching me through the vines we’d just de-leaved.
“Python … right, yes,” he said. “Hmm, so you see things in terms of … well … other things, then?” It was my turn to frown.
“I don’t understand what you mean.”
“Shrinks call it transference, or in special cases sublimation. Do you know what they are?”
“Seeing heads surrounded by grape vines and thinking of cartoons?” I said, giggling. He chuckled.
“It’s nearly time for tea. When we get back remind me to tell you why I’m here.”
“Why not tell me now?” I asked, looking at him through the leaves, and feeling the snips snap shut far too close to my fingers. “Shit!”
“What?” He sounded worried.
“I nearly took of my fingers.” I said, the fear evident even to me.
“Then it’s lucky it’s nearly t ….”
“TEA!” Rowena called from the tractor.
“Tea,” Gentry finished. “I hate it when she does that.”
“What do we do for tea?” I asked.
“We have fifteen minutes to walk back to the farmyard and have tea. Then we come back.”
“But it took us almost ten minutes to walk over here!” I said. “That’s … well, that seems daft.” Gentry shrugged.
“That’s what we do.”
While we’d been picking Rowena had brought more bins, and had distributed them amongst the rows, so we didn’t have to waste time walking to empty our buckets. So whilst Gentry walked off with the others, I emptied our buckets and then hurried after them.
I caught up with Colin, Gentry and Delia half way back.
“How are you doing, Col?” I said, looking at his hand. He had a ripped glove on, but bulging underneath it I could see a plaster wrapped around his middle finger. He didn’t reply, so I looked at his face which was wan and expressionless. “Oh Colin, do you want to go home?” I said, my hand on his arm.
“Of course he doesn’t,” Delia said, clapping me on the back. “It’s a bit of a shock when the snips have at you the first time.” She laughed, and edged herself between us. “How are you getting on with the old bugger?”
“Okay,” I said, as Gentry winked at me. “Okay. The umm … ‘old bugger’ seems fine,” I stuck my tongue out at him, and he laughed. Colin said nothing, and kept staring at his hand, which worried me.
“So the … where do we get tea?” I asked as we entered the farmyard. Gentry raised an eyebrow -- which I was learning, was one of his stock expressions -- as we all trooped into one of the two wooden huts. It had a row of pegs from which hung various bags, coats and hats, along with two large scrubbed pine tables surrounded by a motley collection of mis-matched chairs. The background hubbub seemed to increase as the other pickers all sat down.
“Get tea? You bring your own … in a flask,” Gentry said, walking over to a peg, and taking a battered green thermos out of a bag hanging there.
“Oh … we didn’t know,” I said.
“’s no excuse.
“Okay, so we’ll pop back to the cottage, then,” I said, beginning to get peeved with his attitude. Though it hadn’t been hard work, I was knackered, and badly wanted a cup of hot tea.
“Uh uh,” Gentry said, shaking his head as he filled a plastic mug. “No time. It’s only a fifteen minute break, and we’ve got head back in a minute.” I’ll share with you, just be prepared tomorrow.” He offered me the mug, and I took it with surprise.
“Thank you, Gentry.” I blew on the hot liquid, then took a sip, watching Colin as he meekly sat beside Delia, and pleased to see that she was sharing her tea too.
“We’re not unkind, David,” Gentry said as saw where I was looking. “And don’t worry. Colin will be fine, just as will you be, too: once the snips have had a taste.
“Once the snips ….”
“Tea’s over!” Rowena stuck her head through the door, interrupting my thoughts and the question I’d been about to ask, as we all got back to our feet.
“Lunch is an hour, which is enough time for you to go back to the cottage,” Gentry said as he slid the flask back in his bag.

The rest of the morning went by in a flash, and I was grateful, as I walked back to the cottage with Colin, that I’d managed to avoid the snips. I’d come close to being cut twice: the first time Gentry had warned me to pay attention just as I’d been about to cut off the tip of my forefinger, the second time I’d been talking about music and had cut through the edge of my glove at the second knuckle of the same finger. I’d cursed at the snips, and Gentry had looked at me, his head cocked over to one side.
“They really want to blood you m’ boy,” he’d said. “Strange, I wonder why they’re so keen?”
Colin had been more than quiet on the walk back, and I was getting worried about him. He was the mirror to my nature’s shy reticence: normally extrovert, bold, loud and funny. As he pushed open the front door I bopped him on the shoulder, and realised it was like we’d swapped places.
“’sup Col?” He shook his head, and beat me to the fridge.
“Cheese and Ham?”
“Mmm, yes please.” I sat down, lay my head on the table, and shut my eyes. “I’m bloody knackered, Col. How ‘bout you?”
“Yes, I am.”
He was my twin, and I knew him better than I knew myself, and he’d never -- even in terminal throes -- sound as disinterested as he’d just sounded. My eyes leaped open, and I sat up and looked at him: he was shaking.
“Col?” I said as he put the cheese and ham on the counter and closed the fridge door. Then he turned to me as I stood up, and flew into my arms, sniffling.
“Col?” I repeated, unsure how to help as I was unsure what was wrong.
“I’m frightened, Davie, really frightened, and the fog won’t go away.”
I’d forgotten the fog. It had become part of the greater background that I took for granted. Yet as Colin mentioned it I felt a shiver run down my spine.
“Col, mate, the fog’s just part of the weather. A pain in the arse, sure, but nothing unusual for the time of year.” I crushed him against me: willing all the bad things to go away. Then I gave him a kiss on the cheek and let him go. He took a step back, blinked a couple of times, then returned the kiss and sniffed. I sat him down, gave him a sheet of kitchen paper, and watched as he blew his nose.
“All sorted, mate?” I asked with alacrity I didn’t feel. He shook his head.
Although I was only ten minutes older than Colin, it was a ten minutes that gave me a huge responsibility. I was the older brother, and Colin treated me as if those ten minutes gave me a special insight into how he should deal with his problems, and what he should do when he hit a rocky patch with his girlfriend. It was a ten minutes that was often a curse, as I was, if anything, less likely to know the answer to any given problem than he was. Out of the two of us, I was the kid, and it was ironic that I knew it and he didn’t.
“So tell me what you’re frightened of, and I’ll make the sandwiches, okay?”
“Okay, Davie, and thanks” He smiled, the tone in his voice almost back to normal, which cheered me up no end as I started to make lunch. Then I stopped.
“Look, Col,” I said, pointing through the window. It was a shaft of sunlight: pure and bright, and it blazed through the fog like a spot onto a darkened stage illuminating a great oak some fifty feet away in the cottage’s back garden.
“Wow!” Colin said in awe. Then as we watched the light became fainter and fainter until it vanished. I could feel Colin’s spirit being crushed as the light disappeared and he sat down again.
“Do you want to go?”
“Hmm … what? Sorry?” He was looking at the sticking plaster over his finger, and teasing the end away.
“I said, do you want to go? ‘cause if you do, let’s just forget this grape picking and let’s go home.” He stopped playing with his plaster and looked at me, a smile flowering on his face.
“You mean it?”
“Of course I mean it, doofus.”
“Then ….”
I’d just finished the sandwiches, so I slapped them on a pair of plates, added a couple of juicy tomatoes and handed him his. He took it, put it down and I could tell his mood had changed again.
“I should stay, Davie. But you should go.”

We arrived back at the farm yard just as the rest of them were coming out of the wooden hut.
“Good lunch?” A chap walking in the same group as Delia asked. He was wearing a beanie, and seemed a bit older than us. I was about to answer when Colin beat me to it.
“Yes thank you, Charlie, you?”
“Yeah, same ol’ same ol’. I could do with a juicy steak.
“Me too, and I was ….”
Gentry pulled me aside, and I lost the thread of Colin’s conversation.
“Good lunch?”
“Good as sandwiches can be,” I said, and he caught my bitter tone.
“Problems?” He asked, his voice oozing kind consideration.
“Yes,” I said, sighing. “It’s Colin, he’s got ….” I snapped my mouth shut. I’d know Gentry for less than half a day, and I had been about to spill my guts to him. About to tell him all the problems I had with my twin, about to tell him personal family details that no one had any right to be knowing. “Sorry, Gentry. Maybe later.” I added feebly.
We walked on in silence for a while, though it was a companionable silence, and not uncomfortable. Colin was back with Delia, and they seemed to be walking in silence, too.
“Gentry, could I ask you a question?” He glanced over at me. We had just entered the field we’d been picking, though we were still several hundred yards away from the vines.
“Why hasn’t the fog burnt off?”
“Fog? I … erm ….” He laughed. “Do you know, I’d hadn’t noticed it. I mean now you’ve mentioned it it’s there, but before I just … I mean … I don’t know.” He sounded perplexed, and I felt he meant what he was saying.
“Oh. So umm … how long have you been picking, then?
“Yes. Before Colin and I turned up, how long had you been picking?”
Before he had a chance to answer we arrived back at the vines, and milled about picking up our buckets and snips. I tried to put my gloves back on, but it was hopeless. They were far too manky, and I ripped them.
“Damn!” Like magic Delia appeared and handed me a new pair.
“I saw Colin had ripped his, and thought you’d probably be in the same mess,” she said. I thanked her, and put them on, awkwardly. By the time I’d finished everyone was back on their vine, so some five minutes late I joined Gentry, and started plucking leaves on the next segment.
It must have been a post prandial depression, because Gentry was silent, the snipping of his snips, and the occasional flashes of his clothing the only indication I had that he was picking grapes on the other side of the vine.
I’d got into a rhythm to see how fast I could work, and was congratulating myself on my speed when he spoke.
“David I ….”
And I screamed ….
Gentry's voice had queered my concentration just enough that I’d taken my eye off my snips, and that was all the excuse they needed. I’d had a plump bunch of grapes in my left hand and had just got the stem in between the blades when he’d said ‘David’ and my eye had wandered enough so they managed to catch the tip of my left hand index finger. As I screamed a spurt of warm blood spattered the glove and my wrist, followed by another and another as the vines seemed to sway ever faster. Now they were no longer in front of me, instead they were above me: along with Gentry’s horrified face … and then Colin was there and I knew it was going to be alright.

Day 5

Phew, and blimey. I'm still on schedule. Going to snooze at 8,396 which is 66 past target. I think I'm getting overly anal about targets. Perhaps I could get a job with the government. ;)

So ... I'm posting these first 8,396 words.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Day 4

I was away in London, and didn't get back until nearly 11pm. So, sadly nothing added on day 4. It's lucky my count at the very end of day 3 was 6,619.

Hmm. I think I'm getting word-count-obsessed. This is a dangerous condition.

Lots to get on with, then!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Day 3

It's 9.30pm and the NaNo site is unavailable. Typical. Anyway I'm up to 5,317 words and am just about to start the first of the short story segments.

I have not the vaguest idea if they are going to work ... but muse seems happy. He's in and out of the room, and singing - if that's anything to go by. I still haven't got a photo of him in his NaNo costume, but he looks a lot like David Bowie in Aladdin Sane.

I'll update the word count nearer to the witching hour - or maybe I won't. ;) I'm on track, and slightly ahead, so I'm not really bothered.

edited to add:
It's 11.56pm, I've got to 6,544 and still can't get on the NaNo site. :(

Day 2

I've just finished day two with 4,373. And it's good, at least I think it's good. Okay, perhaps calling my own writing good is arrogant; but hell, I think it is. I think. ;)

I'm tempted to post it as I go, even though I've been advised against it. But seeing as I hardly have a zillion people reading this blog, does it matter? No it doesn't.

Hmm. I'll ponder some more.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Day 1

I wrote 548 words soon after midnight, and have just finished for today with a grand total of 2,195. Are my characters where I want them to be at the end of the first day? Hmm. A good question. As I have no real idea where the muse wants them to be, then yes, they are ... aren't they?

I'm actually pleased as punch at how it's going. Then, I think I said the same last year. ;)

Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Working title: Harvest time

It's September, and time to harvest the grapes. It's casual work, so David Blake and his brother Colin aren't over enthused at finding themselves driving to the vineyard through an ever thickening fog.

Over the next few weeks David finds himself over hearing the stories of many of the other itinerant workers. Stories that ultimately make him wonder if he's living in the same reality as they are.

So there you have it. Okay, so it's not a 30 page outline ... unless you whack up the point size, and give it a humongous line spacing. But I'm happy. As a sandboy: As Larry: As ... well, as me, actually.

Good luck to anyone else who's giving it a go. May your Gods be with you ... and your Muse. Mine is looking way cool for the off. He persuaded me to let him go shopping, and got a special NaNo outfit. I keep telling him he's a figment of my imagination, but he won't have it. He won't give me the credit card back, either.

Ah well. Laters.

milling by the tape.

Happy Halloween, y'all. Which means mere hours to go until the start of the 2007 NaNoWrMo.

I have my mate Kapitano to thank for helping sort out what I'm going to write.
[quote]I suspect these few weeks aren't a dry spot of inspiration, so much as a dry spot of inspiration for novelistic ideas.
So...maybe write something that isn't a novel, like a short story, with an eye on the story later becoming the first chapter of something big.[/quote]

Not that Kap's entirely to blame; though he planted the seed. The idea of plotting a novel is daunting, and I couldn't get my head around it. So instead, I'm going to write a linked series of short stories ....
Five or six short stories in a month sounds much more do-able ... even if I am going to 'pants' it. :)

Remember milling about at the start of a cross country run?

Thursday, 25 October 2007


Still no closer to the 30 page outline that some of us are supposed to have *glowers at Sandy*. Still, another pantser isn't going to do me any harm, and who knows ... I could still come up with a solid plot before the off. Hmm.

In other news: there isn't any.

Friday, 19 October 2007


Yes, well. Knee almost better now, so Muse can worry less about mobility and more about plot. Get it, you stupid airy fairy Muse, you.

Not that I'm in anyway panicking. After all, there is still ten days to go.

Sunny days - of which this is one - means cold. I don't like cold unless I have a roaring fire. Fire means wood. I don't have any. Life throws these things at us. Perhaps it's a test? But if it's a test, that pre-supposes a tester, which means God, or an alien entity is real .... Another quandary.

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) seems very complicated. I thought it was an easy thing to do. I'm much mistaken. Not that this is anything new. Poor Kap :(

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Silly Muse

I had a great idea, but it evaporated ... and I keep having all these ideas for plot, yet none of them have solidified into anything worth noting. I'm not even sure of the genre I'm going for, though I doubt that whatever I write will end up becoming a door stop. Unlike some I could mention, who reached 50,000 words in the first eleven days. Pah, I say. And poo.

I want to be organised! I want a well written, and logically laid out outline! I want to be able to refer to comprehensively drawn character notes on neat cards in an smart index box ... I want all these things!!! Want ... WAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

*slaps self*

I'm sure there's a Buddhist saying to cover my 'problem'. I'll ask M in the morning. The bottom line is: I'm a pantser, and proud! Perhaps I'll start P.A. Except I've already outed myself. Damn.

More Daimoku required.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Nano server overload

So popular is NaNoWriMo now, that their server can't cope. Still, that doesn't stop the creative process, just one of the excuses as to why I haven't written anything.

Sandy (Dio) and Sinbad have both declared, so at least there are three to bounce off against, and I'm hoping Kitty takes part too.


Being determined, as I am, to come up with an outline worthy of a pulitzer, I decided to let my muse do the work. Consequently: I haven't overtly thought of anything even vaguely plotish, for the last twenty fours hours ... and it's worked. I have a stonkingly good idea, and some rather interesting characters.

Now I have to write them down.

I might change my mind ... but that's my prerogative. Obviously. Duh.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Idea time

I have until the end of the month to come up with a sterling, nay, spiffing plot, and write an outline, too. I'm still going to 'pants' it, but 'pants' it with decorum. With some semblance of order ... but I'm not there yet, so I'm in the early stages of panic.

I'm hoping - fingers crossed - that two, or maybe even three friends might write along for the ride. It would be even more fun if they did, and fun is what life is all about. That's my theory, anyway.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Begin Again


Another year, another NaNoWriMo.

In 2006 I scraped just over 50,000 words out of my head, and I did it by the seat of my pants: by the skin of my teeth: by the hair on my chiny chin chin. Which is not to say I didn't have fun. I did. Lots of it.

This year, come hell or high water, I will be doing it again, but with organisation! See the difference? Fair enough, you don't. But it's there as an underlying worse'name. I'm a 'Pantser' and proud of it. But for once I think I'd like a little direction.

During October I'm going to be plotting - yeah right. Okay, honestly: during October I'm going to be trying to plot, and then ...!

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Car closure

Car well and truly legal.
Road tax has, of course, gone up. It's now £99 for six months. Six months ago it was £83. Frankly, I nearly fell over backwards. Bleedin' cheek.

There is a rude word that begins with a C, ends with a T, and has four letters. It's oft used to describe traffic wardens, and now can be freely used to describe whoever it was that upped the road tax.

Nighty night.

Oh yes. If anyone has suggestions as to how I can stop Cody eating the local baby rabbit population, I'd be overjoyed. Ta.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

The saga that is car

Leaving home my rear brakes seized. Lucky I was still on the drive as I'd be sitting on a cloud otherwise. Bought new rear brakes. Mick helped fit same, with lots of bickering. Then he insulted my neighbour - or rather he didn't, but you have to know his sense of humour.

Car to garage - now a daily trip - lots of shaking of heads, result of which is that car is booked for another full MOT test on Thursday: which it will fail as the brakes are not legal *cheesy grin* Around and around we go. Horses are cheaper, and you can stroke them.

How fed up am I?

How fed up do I sound. FUCK!

On the bright side, we have a gig on Thursday, which should keep our half dozen fans happy.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


The first row you have in any relationship is shocking. Lucky it is that the older I get the more tolerant I become. In years gone by I've literally not spoken with 'arguees' ;) for months. Nowadays I'm copacetically chilled most of the time, and don't really give a fuck ... even if they are out of order.

Just saying. ;)

Friday, 13 July 2007

stop press *** Car fails again

My car - I love her, but all cars are a pain in the arse when they don't perform - has failed the MOT emission test yet again. Also, one headlight is no good :(


I was advised that I had to 'take the car for a burn up and then arrive at the testing station'. I did, and alas, no good. Now I need to get a 'lambda unit' along with a 22mm spanner. The Lambda unit attaches to the exhaust pipe and then the engine, and does something useful, no doubt.

So. Re-test on monday. Whoopsy doo.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Harry Potter and the media driven madness

Sadness. :(

It's nearly time for the end. The final instalment of the Harry Potter franchise (franchise? huh? wtf?) is in the shops on the 21st - many staying open late to sate the neediness of fans. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh book which is obliged to tie a whole bunch of loose ends together ... or else.

Daniel Radcliffe has signed to play Harry in the last two films for a supposed £25 million, and JK Rowling is apparently the richest woman on the planet, and worth more than the Queen.

Can you say insanity?

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Off one's face

Part of the reason I originally moved down to the coast was to avoid membership dues to the 'getting off one's face' trap. So it was with trepidation (yeah right) that I got the call and rushed for the train (Whoopee!!!).

Mental salivation is just as good as physical in my opinion, though on the way up I much doubt anybody watching me would have known, and on the way back I could have cared less.

One thing I have missed is the eye candy (paragraph two equally valid here, too). Not that I knew it until I realised it was lashing down with rain. Normally, when I'm in central London, I walk. But the rain made it impossible - so I got the tube. People watching is the only pastime for brief tube travel, and lawks-a-lawdy there were some fine specimens of mankind to watch. ;)

I knew there was something I was missing!

Finally I make it from the parochial coast to the urbane dealers pad ... and much fun was had by all.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Here and Now

Friday 29th June

The solstice hasn't affected me as much this year. Normally I'm depressed as hell, as the year starts to wind down, and the days get shorter. I know it takes a long time for it to become apparent, but it's happening none the less.

A year or so ago I bought a huge mother of a computer, that had at one stage in its life, been a server. I got it cheap and struggled to get it into the car. Prouder than a chipmunk with a horde of nuts, I set it up and moved most of my mp3 albums onto it (as well as a bunch of other stuff). It hasn't worked since. So today I pulled it apart, took out the hard drive, and found I had over fifty albums, a lot of writing I'd forgotten, and a recording of a rehearsal in 2004 where I played drums. All in all nearly 4Gb of data.

Factoid: The lavatory doesn't leak any more. Happiness.

Much to my surprise, and without thinking, I called M 'Babe' this afternoon. He grinned. After I got over the shock, I grinned too. :)

I'm utterly fed up with normality. I'm going to get off my face, then, maybe I'll be able to write something worthwhile.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Suing the bank - update

I actually got the money today. Yesterday I called them, and nice woman said it 'is being processed, and will be in your account in seven to fourteen days.' This morning I checked, and there it is. All of it, every last sou, just begging to be spent...

Oddly, I don't feel triumphant, though I did let out a whoop that frightened the cats: I feel mildly guilty.

Hey ho. So now I'm going after a couple of mortgage companies, and a credit card company.

If anyone wants all the relevant information it's at

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Suing the bank

an update:

They overcharged me by rather a handsome amount, so I asked them - politely - for the money back. Like the shysters they are, they offered 50% of my claim. I declined, espousing common law from every orifice. They caved.

Peachy. Now I can pay another bunch of shysters for a bit longer.

Pound of flesh, anyone?

Wednesday, 20 June 2007


I'm not sure if this achieves what it set out to do.
You decide.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Mouse and Cats

Two days ago Eduardo Dominic Wouk-Wouk (large, beefy, black and white beast who, like me, thinks he is a novelist) brought in a small mouse. He's a sweetheart, and plays with them rather than having them for supper. Nonetheless big cat playing with small mouse can result in mouse having coronary, so I pull him away, at which the mouse looks at me, winks (might be my over-active imagination), then rushes for the skirting board at high speed.

I try, oh lord I try, but no amount of cheese (do mice actually eat cheese, I wonder) will bring the cute wee beasty out. I go to bed, leaving two of the four cats circling like sharks.

Yesterday - no sign of the mouse. Very sad. Almost went to church.

This morning, having got over the trauma, I'm strolling to the kitchen for a second cup of coffee when lo and behold there's the mouse looking up at me. In mouse terms I'm big and frightening so mouse rushes behind freezer. Nonchalant cats lurk, pretending disinterest, licking chops and purring.

After hefty freezer moving manoeuvres, fending off cats with nimble foot parries I managed to catch the mouse, and release him/her in the long grass by the caravan.

Friday, 15 June 2007


I'm not good with money. I love to spend it, and have had rather ... expensive habits over the years; so consequently my relationship with banks hasn't been exactly peachy.

You bounce a cheque and you get charged. You're bad and you get spanked. These things you learn as you grow up. However....

In 2006 some wise sage found out that it was actually illegal for banks to charge the extortionate fees they do when you are a 'bad' banker. I watched the documentary with sceptical interest, and thought 'no fucking way will he get his money back', then wandered off and sang a song, or some such. He did! And now so are lots of other people, including me!

Over the years the bank charges I've accrued (good word that) are not negligible, and it seems like I'll get them all back. They've already offered to settle for 50%

Consider me tickled pink.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Life is what you make it

A truism, and a line from a lyric. Nice song, if I ever get to record it. If I ever get to do anything I want to do.

Don't read further if you value your sanity. This is self serving drivel.

I don't like the 'human condition'. Especially my 'human condition'. Compared to the vast majority on the planet I have nothing to be upset about. I'm not starving, I don't live in a desert with no water, I'm not being ethnically cleansed. I have a house - ergo I have money, but I don't. No sense to that statement, but that's the way it is, and the way I'm feeling.

I've always lived from hand to mouth, 'cause I didn't want to get into the debt trap, but here I am balancing on a knife edge. If I don't get rid of this ... pile before the end of July I'm stuffed, and if I do I'm well off, in that I'll have money - but I'll have nowhere to live. How fucking stupid is that?

In theory all is peachy. Sell the house, be rich for a short time (remembering not to go totally stupid with the money - even though recording an album in the Bahamas would be nice, and a holiday in the US, and, and) and then what?

Then I don't know. The plan is France, but where? No idea. Getting on the boat and then driving until one finds somewhere nice is actually daftness personified. But probably just what we'll do. With six cats.

Oh, God help me! Oops, I'm an atheist. Or is that agnostic. Dunno. God?

*runs away screaming, looking for nice padded cell*

Friday, 1 June 2007

Time de......lay

I've just got off MSN with a friend in the west coast of the United states, and it's nearly three am and I want to go to bed. The cat wants me too as well - though there's nothing fishy afoot she's angrily meowling.

Anyhow. this is a winge about the eight hours I'm missing

Saturday, 26 May 2007

The flat roof debacle

I love him. I do. I always have, though it took me a good many - too many - years to realise it, during which time I upset a lot of people. But can I work with him?

He's so bloody annoying. I'm told by those who listen, that we bicker perpetually. I don't see it that way. It's just the way we are - and it's causing me gyp.

So. I have a list of jobs that have to be finished before anyone can view the house. It's a long list. A looooong list.

Today, as it was sunny I decided to fix the flat roof. What do I know about roofing? Nothing at all, except, how hard can it be? The answer is very. Very damn hard, especially when you don't have the right type of roofing felt, and an idiot you love to help you.

I could have auditioned for the Minstrels by the time we'd finished, and I say finished half heartedly as I think, *sob wail gnash* I'm going to have to do it again.

And the list goes on....

Tune in for more exciting adventures of 'The Fool and the Blithering Idiot'

Friday, 25 May 2007

Speaking of which - France!

I'm off. Finally, and it's taken a long looooong time, I've put the pile on the market. Yep. On the market this afternoon.

I've no idea where we're going to, except it's not likely to be Blighty. Too effing expensive. So France is - as I type - the planned destination. Don't ask, 'cause I've no idea where in France. Probably an old Cow shed.

Actually, I quite fancy New Zealand. It's good enough for Frodo, though rather distant from my druggy friends in London ... I could grow my own, I suppose.

Ah well, you live and learn. I've learnt you have to earn money to pay bills, otherwise nondescript suits get upset. I've decided I don't like playing 'the game' where you slave to pay for a place you don't really want to be. What's the point?

I will write both music and 'fiction', and I will do it where I can get up at four in the morning and record a drum kit without having upset neighbours hammering on the door.

I will, I will, I will Mr Fawlty.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Pondering the powerless Sunday

Sitting in the dark, a small tea light flickering, with a wind up torch to read by made me think. What would I do, how would I cope without electricity?

If society eventually does fracture and break down how will we cope mentally? In the 1970's, when the idea of the army taking over the country was last mooted, there was TV - but no computers, and no games consoles, and not many electrical appliances.

Now we are totally reliant on the 'lecky' for everything from cooking to work, and seemingly even more important, entertainment. Humanity spends an inordinate amount of time watching tubes of various kinds. Kids don't go outside to play anymore, they either watch the TV or play games on computers.

It was tough (yeah right), and it was only off for a short time.

Makes one think...

Monday, 21 May 2007

Powerless Sunday

Yep, she's another bleak and cheerless post ... move right along.

Sunday; heralded by the sun peaking it's cheery face through scudding clouds. Lovely it was until the neighbour tapped on the window to mention the power lines were causing a tree to smoulder. Not wanting a forest fire (been there, done that when I was fourteen) The electricity people are phoned ... as they were a week ago with the same complaint.

Today, however, it's Sunday, and automatic double time - please forgive the jaded tone of this post - and what better than a day out in the country for five highly paid - now doubly highly paid - electricians, and their 'gang boss'.

Ok, so I don't know he was a 'gang boss', but he seemed like the 'gang boss' in 'Cool Hand Luke'. They are called around 11.00am, they arrive around 13.00 and then they say: "Gotta take five substations off-line to work on yours". This is lingo for going to the pub. They come back a while later and do some work ... then, alas alack, the gang boss, who had sworn on a virtual stack of bibles the power would be back on in a couple of hours, knocks on the door.

They are 'missing' a vital piece of equipment. They have to travel forty miles to get it, and forty miles back and so we won't have power back on until 'later'.
"What's later?" I ask, naively. Stupid boy.
"You'll need candles." He grins, winningly, and leaves on his double bubble mission of mercy.

The power came back on around 22.30, and much cheering and blowing out of candles ensued.

Thank heavens I'm not paying them.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Dental trauma and fear

Ha! Another cheery blog entry I hear you cry.

I bashed my middle tooth on a mug of coffee, and now I have to go and see a *shudder* Dentist. With most people that wouldn't be a problem. But I have a fear of Dentists that far surpasses logic.

When I was little (and cute - thought I'd mention it) We had a private Dentist called Donald Derrick who was a friend of the family. He used to drill and fill without anaesthetic, and when I'd start getting fractious he'd say: 'don't be a big baby'. I was. A big, big baby. Fair do's at nine years old. I defy anyone to sit happily being drilled without anaesthetic, nowadays.


Then at twelve I went to the woman in the surgery next door ... Anne Panting. It's strange how I remember their names. Much like the way you can't forget Hitler, probably. Anyway, she had me under a general anaesthetic, took out four back teeth (why?) and gave me braces. I hated braces.

Now, due to the complete lack of Dentists in the country that don't demand half your house, I'm probably going to end up cowering in the corner behind a plant pot whilst a large South African with a thick accent waves a drill at me.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Rowing not rowing

I hate rowing, especially with someone I love. How we've managed to get by for over a year without a row is honestly amazing, considering our personalities ... so I guess it was only to be expected that sooner or later we'd get on each others tits - that's a British expression, in case you were wondering.

It affected me deeply - probably more than I should admit; because I really, really thought that 'it' was all over. And all over paltry petrol money too. Stupid.

It was made worse because we were on our way to see friends - who knew nothing about the problem, so well we behaved in front of them.

When you know someone almost as well as you know yourself, you know all the right buttons to push, all the snidey comments to make to maximise the hurt ... and Lord do we know each other well. Too well maybe.

It's over now, but it's left a bitter taste that's going to take a while to totally dissipate. My rock wobbled, and I reacted badly. So much for predictive plate tectonics.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

A Good Gig

Last Saturday (5th) we played at the Poor Boys Cafe again. Another miniscule audience; though a couple of interesting things happened. We were asked to play a specific song by a total stranger: and the next morning two people went in to ask who the band were from the night before as they were 'fantastic' - and they then bought the two CD's we'd left behind.

Which was nice. :)

Friday, 4 May 2007

For the disbelievers

For the man who said: "I'm not sure, but I don't think the Monster Raving Loony Party exists anymore. Didn't their leader shoot himself through the head some years ago?" I say nay! You give too much credence to those who would like to see only serious politics.

In my inestimable opinion Screaming Lord Such would have made a fine Prime-minister. There wouldn't have been a 'cash for honours' debate, as he would have handed them out freely to all and sundry, and probably legalised all sorts of nice things too... Ohh yeah maaaaan, let us paint number ten pink.

Here is the offical site

Thursday, 3 May 2007

The Voting Malarkey

Into the automobile and off to the polling station we went, tra-la. 'twas a sunny day, and we sang our hearts out. Ok, we didn't, We listened to Keane. I like Keane, and probably would have voted for them if they'd been standing. Alas-Alack.

The only parties available for my pencilled cross were:
• Labour - no thank you very much. Ten and a bit years is quite enough.
• Conservative - so close to labour as makes no difference, and we don't know what Cameron's been up to as a child 'cause he won't tell us. Poo. In exchange for my vote I want all the salacious goss. Finally (drum roll, I thank you) The
• Liberal Democrats. The party that 'might', if they got the chance, work. They won't get the chance.

No Green party candidate. WTF? The planet's in ruins and they can't be bothered to stand. Dimwits.
No Respect candidate - just as well.
No monster raving luny party. Damn. I should have stood.

And who did I vote for? That's between me and my muse.

On the local council front there were six names, and we could vote for five of them. Huh? This I don't understand. What is the point? Also there was no indication of what their policies were. I voted based on names I liked. Good huh? Stupidity. But then: that's voting Jim, but not as we know it.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Election time again! *falls asleep*

Tomorrow is local election day.

I have not the vaguest idea who to vote for, and that's not apathy, it's pragmatism. The planet's doomed. Is any political party offering me a seat on a shuttle to Moon Base Alpha? No. Is anyone telling me that "if you vote for us you can build a small housing estate in your garden, retire on the proceeds, then make music and write novels until you drop"? No. Is anyone actually going to do anything to better anything? Probably not. They didn't the last time, or the time before that, so what's new? Nothing. Except it appears Blair is off, leaving a megalomaniac in his stead.

I will vote because it is my right, and if I didn't, like seventy percent of the electorate, then I'd really have no excuse, or fatuous comments to make at awful dinner parties.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Sweet Fanny Adams is what I've achieved. Yes, yes, it's yet another fucking negative blog entry. But at some point along the line I have to switch on. It nearly happened today, but didn't. And again the thoughts of ... unpleasantly unpleasant things intrude.

I'm thinking - seriously - that I should go and talk to someone. Yet that would mean admitting defeat. Admitting that I am a total fuckwit, and not just a bloke with a problem.

Here's the rub. If I don't pull my finger out I'm going to sink. And all the nice fluffy thoughts of a future with Mick will come to nowt. Perhaps we've known each other too long, too well. Perhaps whatever I do I can't change the way I am. But if I don't, and NOW I'm fucked.

I go to bed at 4am get up at noon spend all day reading instead of getting down to achieving goals that I know I can achieve. Why? Why do I do it to myself. It's as if I'm seeing just how far I can get before I fall.

The Dark Tower

I'm reading Stephen King's 'The Dark Tower'. I go through phases of reading intensely for a while, and then not reading at all. I'm hoping this one lasts long enough to get to the end of the seven books. I'd be rabidly envious of him had it not taken him thirty two years to finish. As it is I'm in awe. Thirty two years! Blimey!

I'm just starting 'The Drawing of the Three', the second book, and I'm hooked.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007


I'm drawn to fantasy. No idea why, except I'd think I'd prefer to travel fantastical lands having adventures than have the hassle of the normal day to day mundane.

I started a story which was loosely about a bully at a boarding school. Now, like 'Nyquist', it's taken a left turn, and the hero finds himself in an otherworld where he makes friends with a Centaur called Ma'suela. How I got from the one to the other is beyond explanation ... if anyone knows, please tell me.

I feel like my life is holding its breath waiting. It's been sunny for the last week, and even though I love the sun I get the impression - I'll quote a title - 'something wicked this way comes'. I don't like it, but I don't feel as if I'm in control. Of course logically I am in control, but I'm not feeling it...

Here's an idea. I should sit down and write a blog entry for every mood. Kinda like blogging by numbers. Then I won't have to bother dredging up real feelings, just pick the requisite entry and post it. Hmm.

Snap out of it. Dolt.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Brain Ache

I want...

I want a lot of things, but I am still, even with this 'new attitude' of positivity, totally inept at achieving them.

My emotions seem to run around and around the gamut of my desire, swinging from 'Yes I'm gonna do this, and do it now!' to 'why the fuck should I bother?'

I wish I'd been sensible when I was younger. I wish I'd decided who I was much, much earlier. I yearn for that lost halcyon youth, as much as I curse some of the paths I took. Pointless and Pathetic. But I don't really see myself as pathetic - just lost.

Thank goodness for friends.

Anyway, enough frippery. I've nearly finished another short, and the sun is shining.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Where to now?

In 2003/4/5 I wrote a lot of music. When I say a lot, I mean a lot. Probably five albums worth of material. Sure a lot was crap, but amongst the detritus were some 'good and worthy pieces'. Then I discovered writing fiction and I changed. I packed away the studio and although I've still written lyrics, and have some melody lines floating around my head I haven't recorded anything in over a year (except for one voice and other old stuff for the set).

Now I've come to a point in writing fiction where I seem to have stopped. I have to finish Seraph - but not really because I want to. Then what? What am I going to do next? I'm too old to be an astronaut. Train driving seems dull now they're mostly electric. Cowboys (or Indians) are a bleak prospect, especially after 'Brokeback Mountain', and I'm too much of a wuss to take to crime....

Life is such a trial.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Change of Attitude

It's been pointed out that I'm being extremely negative about life. Rather than seeing, and talking about the good, I'm focussing on the bad, and it's not healthy. Take my last post about the gig at the Poor Boys Cafe. On reflection I'm grateful that anybody came and saw us play, and chuffed as hell that they liked us. So what if I only came out with £18. £18 is far, far better than nothing.

There was an episode of Oprah on this afternoon on a topic called 'The Secret'. This is supposedly a new philosophical way to live your life, that brings you everything you desire, with little or no effort. It's championed by a lot of celebrities (who already have everything they desire) and a lot of people seem to be leaping on the 'Secret' bandwagon. However, as with anything 'new agey' there is also a raft of critics. Here is a presis of one of them which made me laugh: 'The Secret takes the well-worn ideas of some self-help gurus, customizes them for the profoundly lazy, and gives them a veneer of mysticism.'

Profoundly lazy, hmm ... sign me up!

Anyway, from now on, I will be positive rather than negative. I'm also going to try creative visualisation. Add all that to getting off my rather lazy backside, and I'm going to be a much happier bunny.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Poor Boy

I'm in a semi-sulk.

We played a gig on Thursday night at the 'Poor Boys Cafe'. Mick organised it, and seeing as how I was too chicken (read shy/perpetually embarrassed/stupid) to go in with him, I didn't get to see the venue before we arrived to play.

Mick did say it was small; but I equated small with small, not with Lilliput. Also, rather than getting a straight fee, we were being paid 20% of the bar. Woo Hoo! I thought, rubbing my hands in a Shylockian fashion, dancing up the street, and wondering where to salt away the pounds of flesh.

Alas alack, although it was packed, the Twenty or so people were not alcoholics. The total takings were £180, ergo our cut was £36, or £18 each.

£18 for three hours, and the angst and other shite that performers suffer. Plus petrol. The Bowling Gnomes we are not ... nor The Rolling Stones either.

We have been 're-booked' for 5th May, and are henceforth considering Poor Boys as a paid rehearsal. It's an apt name.

All that aside, musically it was a great gig, and I had a whale of a time!

Friday, 30 March 2007

Galloping Banana Slugs & Muses...

Happy fools day! No, that's wrong. Happy day, fools! Nope. Damn. Anyway, I was kidnapped by aliens, I won a trillion Slovakian slotties on the lottery, and I have a newly found Twin a couple of years my senior. One of these is actually true.

No, really. I have discovered that I have a twin. Like me in nearly every way; except for age, sex, and country of residence. I think our parents might have something to say on the subject, but if they don't know, whose problem is that?

One day, dearest bloggeroo, I'll tell you her name ... but first we have to get the results back from the lab :P

Oak-ski-doke-ski, now a swift segue to my favourite topic of the moment...

We all talk flippantly about our 'Muse' - the part of us that inspires - being an individual, with a distinct character that is separate and different to us.
"Oh dear, my muse has gone on holiday." we say, knowing that there is no such 'being'.

By what if there were? What if there really was a part of our psyche that was as real and as individual as we are ourselves.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

endings and beginnings

I don't know if it's human nature, or just my own nature, but I have a feeling that the spring anthology title at GA is very apt, for me personally. I don't know the whys and wherefores yet, but I have to do something to change my life, and whatever it is I do, it's got to be soon.

I'm in a rut that is getting deeper day by day, and week by week - or that's what I'm thinking at any rate. It's my new 'life-state' analogy. Onions were last months thing. This month it's 'ruts' ;) And yes, you don't have to tell me it's not terribly original: I know, but it fits my state of mind.

I've no idea what it means, other than I really have to pull my finger out.

Oh, and I don't like work any more. The people I work with are very 'nice' but as far as interesting conversation goes, nada ... and unless I start getting into fantasy football, I might as well just shoot myself. Now. God almighty! One bloke - who I know is gay, though that's really neither here nor there - has an IQ of a rabbit, and not even a cute rabbit, at that. Maybe I'm becoming a bitch? ;)

When I worked in film I was challenged everyday, and consequently everyday was fun; even though the working hours suit vampires more than humans. Now, having moved to the coast, there in nothing of interest. It's sad. Or perhaps I'm sad for moving here.

Yes. There are definitely endings and beginnings on the horizon.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

I want...

I know what I want to do, I know what I'd like to achieve and yet when it comes down to doing and achieving I'm a bone idle SOB.

I've been meaning to tidy up what I laughingly call 'my study'. Each time I walk through the door, I glance around, glowering at the piles of paper I should file/shred - because everyone's paranoid about identity theft, though I can't imagine even the most insane fraudster, wanting to be me. Then I fire up the computer (which is beginning to beg for an upgrade) and vanish, internet bound, for hours at a time. Consequently the spiders are almost as big as I am, and, no doubt, one day soon they'll tell me to get lost.

If I snuffed it now, what would I leave behind other than a few songs and some short stories - albeit well edited. ;) I haven't added to the gene pool. I haven't saved some rare animal, fast approaching extinction; I haven't added anything to String Theory (except it easily tangles), or even found out what Dark Matter is. I've just lived, consumed, and given back nowt.

My dad, who is now sitting on a cloud, and watching over me, would be livid. God knows what my mother would think.

I never use to be this bloody lazy. And, AND, the telephone is beginning to terrify me. It's always my sister ... being cheery. "How are you doing?" she says, and I have to lie.
"Oh, you know, fine."
"And work? Going well?"
"Um, yep, works good."
I shouldn't be a 'baby brother' at my age, and if I am, she should come and look after me. Blimey, I've painted enough of her houses over the years. The least she should do is come and give my spiders a good talking too.

Oh look. I'm blogging on the internet. How unusual. ;)

I'm thinking of joining World of Warcraft, which is a Massive Multiplayer on-line Role Playing Game, or MMORPG. There are a lot of these in the internet la-la-land. Second Life is another, though that's too close to real life to be that much fun. Much better to be an elf, or a thrarg or whatever, and go on quests to fight monsters, than it is to clean and paint a home in Second Life, especially when I can't be bothered to clean and paint my real one. Talk about irony.
MMORPG's are huge. World of Warcraft has close on six million regular players. All trying to escape, like me... Hmm.

Monday, 5 March 2007


I'm in a distinct "What the fuck am I doing with my life?" mood, and I shouldn't be. By now I should know what I should be doing, and be doing it. Why doesn't it get any easier? and What is the point? are two further questions I want answers to.

Thank God it's sunny outside.

Friday, 2 March 2007


No, I'm not. But I've always liked the name. What sort of parents call their child Randy? It's like having the surname Bates. Very unfortunate if you are a small boy in the UK "and how is young Master Bates to-day?"

Anyway, I came across a chap called Randy Ingermanson who is a published writer. He advocates the 'Snowflake method' of novel writing, which seems rather sensible. He also posits the question 'Want to get your novel published?' Duh!

I've discovered I'm a 'Pantser', not a 'plotter'. Oddly it's my namesake who tells me this. Two Camys? I ask you. I know which one I like best. :)

So now I know I need to snowflake, all I need is the perseverance, determination and energy: all of which I seem to be lacking in abundance today ... and probably tomorrow as well.

I've discovered a flaw in my character. If I can't be arsed to finish writing a story/chapter/song/whatever, I simply put it to one side and start something new. Consequently I have a lot of unfinished 'bits' waiting for completion. Seraph is causing me so much trouble I'm tempted to be very silly with it. After all, Gabriel is the name of an angel. When, or if, I finish Seraph, I am going to renounce pantsing forever, and will try to become a snowflaker ... then again.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Good Gig!

I really, really-really-really didn't want to play, but after all the angsty twaddle, and bollocksy butterflies, it ended up; not only being good fun, but being a good gig too. We've been booked back, got another booking from a different venue, and I watched as a guy in the audience sang along with the chorus to 'love song'.

I don't mean to sound arsey, but watching a total stranger singing a bit of a song you've written, has to be the best high on the planet.

Time to take my medication!

Sunday, 25 February 2007

A writer's gig

It's 2pm on the day of the gig. Yesterday we rehearsed the entire set, and I was fine, today I feel like crap, and every time I swallow I'm more than aware of my throat. I just want to go back to bed, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm truly ill or suffering stage fright. Pathetic, huh? It's only a stupid pub.

I haven't written anything in nearly a week - idle git that I am.

Friday, 23 February 2007

What the Doctor said

I staggered into the surgery at 09.30 - early, for once. They have a neat new touch screen computer (designed to remove human elements: such as sympathy) enabling you to check in for your appointment.
The doctor is new - to me anyway, and a woman. Luckily, women have sore throats too. If it had been anything more 'personal', I might have run for the hills.
So ... I have a bacterial infection of the throat, and have to take 500mgs of Penicillin VK four times a day.
This doesn't bode well for the gig I'm playing this sunday. :(

A theory of sickness

Being ill isn't too bad for the first day or two, though it actually depends on what commitments you have to put aside in order to suffer in style.

As I write, it's already been way too long, and no sign of getting better, yet.

I'm off to see el Doctoro in the morning. Everyone else has been given a course of Anti-biotics, so I assume I'll get the same - though I'm loath to take them for something as seemingly trivial as a cough.... My immune system must be capable of fighting it off, otherwise, in the words of Dads Armies John Laurie, "We're doomed!"

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Still 'ick 'n' mopey.

I posted this elsewhere:
I've just gone through my work in progress folder, and apart from Seraph, King of the Marsh, Albert's Day and Kempton, I've got four other short stories percolating. 'Gin' is loosely based around a true event from my ... well I'd guess you'd say adolescence. 'Dearly Beloved' is set in a boarding school. 'Mirror's Edge' is set in Yosemite, and 'Around and Around We Go' is weird. Maybe supernatural would suffice as a genre.

So ... I have all these ideas partially written, and I so want to work on something, yet I'm feeling fuddled, and yuk. I've spent hours today thinking about thinking - if that makes any sense. And now I feel like actually doing something, I should go to bed ... otherwise my body clock's going to be knackered.

M wants to change the name of the band, and oddly, I couldn't give two hoots. I had a feeling it was in the wind, and though we have talked about it before, I'm not reacting in the way I envisaged. I'm not leaping up and down, pouting - though that might be due to the sore throat. Bottom line: I'm not as rabidly attached to it as I thought I would be. Either that, or my doppelgänger is seething, and will explode in a psyoptic rage the next time we transmogrify, and eradicate half of the universe. Dunno.

The cat says meowllo.

Saturday, 17 February 2007


I'm feeling grotty, ill, and bad tempered. I ache, my throat is sore, and a headache comes and goes - taunting me. Meh.

None-the-less I feel behoved to blog on how wonderful the gift was I got from my mate Kapitano. Not a red-rose or a bottle of wine, not a yacht or a villa in the south of France; but a short story called Future/Past. Kapitano, when he can be bothered, writes really well, and this is no exception.

Without further ado: read it here!

Thanks, G!

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Valentine felicitations

I would like to say Happy St.Valentine's Day to all those who happen by.
If you come by tomorrow, it'll be too late: unless you'd like to take the sentiment away with you, and keep it for next year. Feel free. And feel free to leave a comment, too. You know it makes sense.

Waffle over.

Camy :)

Friday, 9 February 2007

What drives me?

I'm generally lazy. I know this, and I accept it, and furthermore I'm way too long in the tooth to sign up for the Army.* Anyway. The last job I had (read: travelling to paid work) they'd want me in at 10am and I'd roll in at eleven. It got to the point were they'd just be glad to see me, which was odd - though I didn't think so at the time. It not that I can even put it down to drugs.

Where was I?

Music: I haven't written a song in nearly a year. I have instead, switched to poetry and prose. I'm not unhappy, because we rehearse three or four times a week, but I was so intensely into song writing and now the energy, the muse, has gone elsewhere, and I'm worried I won't get it back to music.

Each of us has a great 'work' we have to produce for - well,posterity isn't right ... maybe it's for a shelf in the library of the gods. A 'work' we can be proud of in our final hours. Something we can hold close and say "I did this! It wasn't all for nothing."

I don't think money is important. Ha, fucking ha. We don't need it to survive, to create. Ok, that's fatuous. Money is important. You can't produce shit if you don't eat. Hmm, there's deep for you. This is beginning to be a ghastly ramble, and here it ends.

No! Wait. The question 'what drives me?' I have no idea.

*"Join the Army, and you'll get a grounding in personal discipline that will last you for life" - some dozy relation.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Humdrum daily weird

I think I've upset a friend of mine. I say, 'I think', because I received an odd email from them this morning. The friend is upset, and it's my interpretation that tells me I'm the root cause. I wouldn't mind if I'd actually upset them on purpose. But what I find annoying, is that I didn't, and I'm not even totally sure my interpretation of the email is right, and that it's me that did the upsetting.

The last paragraph probably won't make sense to anyone, except me ... which is tough, as it's my blog. So ... if you don't like it, you know what to do. See? Now that's designed to piss people off, without overtly being unpleasant. I wrote it, I'm culpable. I don't like having 'internet only' friends.
I printed out 'King of the Marsh'. After reading it through, I got rid of a chunk of rubbish; and it's now 94 pages of arial 12pt.

I now know what I have to do, which includes: a lot of punctuation, Tweaking several scenes that don't make sense, re-writing several others, and finishing the ending. Some of the erotic scenes have to go, too.
'Nyquist' is ready to go, though it was written for GA's fairy tale anthology, it's now so far past the deadline, I'm just going to post it at my site, and maybe e-fiction too.
The phone people came yesterday. After two weeks with a phone that sounded - when it worked - like a transmission from mars, and with adsl that was on and off - like a ho's dro's - they replaced the cable entirely. All was well with the universe, until this afternoon, when the crackling came back.
The repair bods will be back tomorrow. How hard can it be to connect a wire?

Friday, 2 February 2007

HP&TDH and other bits

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the Harry Potter cannon, is released on Saturday July 21st at one minute past midnight, and I, for one, can't wait.

The first slash fiction I stumbled across was Potter cannon stuff, and from there I went on to discover a whole new world. So, I owe JKR a big thank you. I can honestly say that had I not been 'turned on' to the Potter universe, I wouldn't have started writing, and wouldn't have met Kitty - my editor - or any of the other wonderful people I now know. Yep, it's an odd world.

'The Card' is finished, and ready for release on Valentines day. 'What Do You Think?' is also pretty much finished. It's a short of under a thousand words, and could be fitted into a longer story as a neat little scene, or stand alone by itself. I'm not sure which way to go.

Over at GA 'TheZot' has been writing a story in his blog. It's entitled 'Busted' and he releases a chapter every day. It's rough, and when it's finished he's going to edit it. But it's very refreshing to read something so 'instant'. I'm thinking of doing the same, though perhaps I should get Seraph out of the way first ... not to mention 'King of the Marsh'.

Right! Bedwards.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Onion skin blues

My analogy of the trial of life is the humble onion. 'tis my belief that every experience we have, every day that goes by, adds another layer to the skin ... until you are such a big bastard onion, you keel over and peg it. OK, so ignore the bit about the big bastard onion, and keeling over.

My point, as I sit here writing, is that I've accumulated too many layers of (onion)skin. I need to lose a vast number of them and get back to the cute little spring onion I once was.... Hmm, too many years of appallingly bad behaviour and habits might make this seem, to those who know me, impossible. However, with due diligence, and a fair wind, I'm sure I can succeed! ;) *coughs from laughing too much*

Oh well, and how was your day?