Blogathon 29/20: Status update

It is the 29rd 29st 29th of February and that can only mean one thing…

It is a Leap Year – the one day that someone, somewhere, has decreed in a totes authoritarian manner that women can propose to men.

I mean, that’s bloody bonkers. Why the hell can’t a woman propose for the other 365 days of the Leap Year?

Or any of the other 365 days of any normal year?

Well of course she can.

It’s all a control thing; the patriarchy is controlling 50% of the population of the planet through it’s outdated quasi-religious doctrines.

Well blow that.

So women of the world (and women of any other worlds who happen to be looking in), you go girls, you get out there and if someone (animal, mineral, vegetable, human, whatever) takes your fancy, you just get on and propose to him/her/it.

But don’t propose to me, OK?

Because on 28th December last year (yes, alright, just a couple of months ago but anyway), I got married.

Blogathon 28/20: Shout it out!

This isn’t going to be either of the blog posts I was mulling over, during last night’s long but unremarkable network changes.

It was either going to be about weird pronunciations (absolutely *not* looking at any random Kiwis who might occasionally drop by), or about Sprocker the Elder and her remarkable gift of seeing things that aren’t quite there.

Instead I’ll tell you about something that happened this afternoon.

The dogs and I were hiding in the bedroom (not really hiding) because Mavis (the cleaner – not his real name) was wreaking all manner of cleaning havoc on the ground floor of the house.

The dogs were fast asleep on the bed.

I had just come off a remarkably brief Teams call and was looking forward to a spell of peace and quiet during which I could type up the call notes.

I eased the headphones off and instead of a large helping of P&Q I could hear what I can only describe as someone having a lot of fun.

In amongst the fun sounds I could distinguish a few words.

‘Yes! Oh! Oh! Like that! Yes, there! There! There!’

At first I thought Mavis was having too much fun with the vacuum cleaner, but then I realised the sounds were coming through the wall and originated in the adjoining house.

I can only assume that Mrs Next Door (for it was she) had adjusted her bedroom loudspeakers and finally achieved stereophonic nirvana, where the Left and Right balance had hit that elusive sweet spot that so many people find difficult to achieve.

It was such a shame her husband wasn’t home to share the good news.

Still, she and her friend probably demonstrated how they achieved audio perfection when he came home.


Blogathon 27/20: Up in smoke

We have a log-burner.

It’s actually a dual-fuel fire.

When it’s in use, it kicks out a lovely bunch of heat that not only fills downstairs but also heats our room (the bedroom chimney-breast carries residual heat).

During the day we burn kiln-dried logs, which I buy in at half a ton at a time.

When we choose to keep it in through the night we put a load of coal on.

Our Government (bless) have decided they are going to make burning coal illegal.

They are also going to make burning wet wood illegal, but that’s OK because we don’t burn wet wood (by definition, kiln-dried logs can’t be wet).

Except, of course, a lot of people pick up firewood (especially during Storm Ciabatta – whatever).

So in the future, picking up wood and/or chopping up fallen trees or branches for firewood is going to be illegal and transgressors will be sent to the Tower of London to be beheaded.

Or something.

Blogathon 26/20: Putting it about

The target is 100,000 words.

I’m 25,000 words in at Stage 3 (ready for final proof and external edit).

There’s another 10,000 words at Stage 2 (had 3rd proof and 3rd edit).

And another 10,000 words at Stage 1 (had 2nd proof and 2nd edit).

(Stage 0 is construction and continual edit/rewrite until I can finally leave it alone)

The plot is mapped out to conclusion.

So it’s time to trigger the rejection letters and email.

Starting next week I shall begin sending the submission of my second novel to literary agents in a quest to achieve publication.

I’m not holding my breath because I remember how difficult it was to get the first book published.

Blogathon 25/20: George Marley?

Every Tuesday evening I have a guitar lesson.

When I started, I told Alex (for that is his name) that I was the most rubbish rhythm guitarist in the world and I had about 20 years of bad habits to correct (even though I’ve only been playing for 15 years).

Well I’ve been playing with Alex (if you know what I mean) for over a year and now I think I’m almost the most rubbish rhythm guitarist in the world, and I have hardly any bad habits left.

I have also become the world’s most rubbish lead guitarist because yes, that’s right, Alex has me playing lead parts as well as sorting out my rhythm technique.

Speaking of technique, I have accidentally developed a habit of soft-muting (using the heel of your plucking/strumming hand softly against the guitar strings) when I’m not concentrating.

This has lead to an unexpected reggae feel to whatever we’re playing (e.g., Pentatonic scales or What We Did Today by the Beatles or whatever).

It’s an interesting effect, but it’s not how the pieces were intended to be heard, so I’ll try and sort it out and revert to George Harrison.

Blogathon 23/20: Helping hand

Starting Friday this week we will have a cleaner*.

We’ve agreed on one two-hour session per week; I hope that’s enough!

She’s described herself as ‘very thorough’

I just said ‘Oh yes, thorough would be great!’

I did explain that we had two spaniels. And that they have free-rein in and out of the house and that the garden is a tad… muddy.

I just hope the poor lass knows what she’s letting herself in for.

*nb: Our cleaner is categorically not Young Masher’s cleaner who has been reported as being mysteriously AWOL This is another cleaner entirely.

Blogathon 22/20: Just a light trim

I have returned from the barber!

I asked for a light trim and a beard tidy.

While this was underway, I zoned out a little and listened to the conversation in the shop: Cars, cars, cars, football, football, cars, old schoolfriends, cars, and football.

It’s no wonder I feel like I don’t fit in.

If the conversation could be: Wales (and the Welsh), Welsh politics, 70s and 80s prog rock, 200bhp sportsbikes, bad films, contemporary literary fiction (and authors thereof), European road trips and our spaniels, I’d fit right in.

Blogathon 21/20: Confession is good for the…?

There’s a Twitter account called @Fesshole that I’m slightly addicted to.

The principle is people make anonymous confessions, and these confessions then get reposted to all of the @Fesshole followers.

It’s simple really.

Some of the confessions are a bit close to the knuckle, some are just hilarious, some are a combination of the two, and some are just sad insights into other people’s lives.

Here’s a few of my current favourites:

  • When I was at university, I lived round the corner from a pub. Whenever we needed toilet roll we would go for a pint and come back fully stocked with bog roll
    • Actually, this sounds reasonable to me
  • I had a one-off outdoor afternoon tryst with an old school girlfriend I met on Facebook then spent the following week trying to prevent my wife seeing the rash of ant bites covering my back after having had sex on an anthill
    • Ants in your pants?
  • I found out my husband looks at porn when I am at work, what he does not know is I was paid to pose for a granny porn website last year
    • Wait. Granny porn? That’s a thing?
  • Our cleaning lady has been cleaning our house for 8 years, we exchange lovely presents at Christmas, I know all about her son and grandchildren. But both me and my wife have forgotten her name and there just seems to be no way we can find it out.
    • Oh. That’s a bit sad!

Blogathon 20/20: Bowling (but not for soup)

As in Ten Pin.

I have a day off!

As it is half term we decided that I would take a day’s leave and we would take the dogs up to the Peaks in Derbyshire.

Unfortunately the weather had other ideas.

So we went Ten Pin Bowling this morning.

Unfortunately the bowls were a bit wonky, the lanes were slightly uneven and the adding-up/scoring software was a bit glitchy.

For both games.


But despite these things we had a great time, though the dogs didn’t come with us, obvs.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s road maintenance contractors are still digging up the lane through the village, so as soon as we got home Sam decided to make tea for them all.

Uncharacteristically the weather has given us a temporary lull; the wind is reduced to mere tree-bending and the rain has stopped. Not for long, I’m sure, but it has stopped.

We’ll go and collect the mugs shortly.

Meanwhile, here’s Bowling For Soup and ‘1985’. Lots of parody in the video: