Monthly Archives: August 2013

Phone calls from the Throne.

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a technophobe. I freely confess that it’s not because I dislike technology but because I don’t understand it and it moves a little too fast for me. It’s been some years since I answered a telephone. I’m a craven coward when I hear them ring and it’s all I can do to get myself to listen to messages left afterwards, at least where people have the courtesy to leave messages.  Of course 90% of all calls these days are to ask whether your bank owes you money for mis-sold PPI’s and who wants to listen to those. But I do have a mobile phone for emergencies. Almost everyone I know would text me with information or maybe warn me that they’re about to ring. I would usually text back straight away.

Today my brotherfriend Mike had visited with a lady friend and another compadre had come along for the ride. Shopping had been dealt with but Mike was in need of a new laptop and compadre needed a new desktop computer. I had the perfect shop in mind and so trotted them off. Nice lady friend Rose stood in the background while Mike explained to the salesman who wanted what. Compadre first got a superb little desktop box with blah-de-blah and yawn on it which ensures smooth and fast running for the next century but only comes with 12 months warranty. It has Windows 8 on it and when Mike explains the current machine runs Windows XP, I see a slight grin which says “Good luck with this then” creep across the salesman’s face. Mike then asked to see a laptop which was displayed in the show case. It came out and  Mike’s eyes glowed and his ears pricked up as the salesman ( let’s call him Pete for the sake of the story and well, mainly because it was his name) mentiond 8 gig of DDR3RAM (???) AND 1 Terrabyte of hard drive  ( This is Tower of Babel stuff folks, foreign languages and worse). The one thing I heard Mike asking was ” Is it wi-fi?” I mean even I laughed at that one, do they make anything that isn’t these days?  After an answer in the affirmative we had two happy little bunnies. All that was left was payment and Rose and I now wandered off to view the gift section.

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We decided the hard work deserved a reward. It was Rose’s and my hard work I mean, pretending to be interested for so long and managing to stay awake. So, it was off to the coffee shop. Mike has a slight tummy problem so hopped, skipped and jumped as far ahead of us as he could. Compadre has a less problematic tummy but a bladder the size of a pea so he limped on behind Mike to form an orderly queue.They both laughed knowing they’d beat me. I already know what they  both prefer to drink but at this time of the day it was coffee or nothing. Rose secured us a table outside  just away from the blasts of Siberian wind that kept lurking round the corner and I went in to order the drinks and hand over today’s sweets.

PAUSE FOR ADVERTISEMENT. Ceri was on duty and asked about my beautiful grandson so of course  I had to give her all the details and promise a visit in the near future.There is a page for photographs of my beautiful grandson on this site.

As Ceri and I were talking I heard music. No, it wasn’t just her dulcet tones doing things to my spine, it was in fact my pocket. Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve rose ( No not Rose) in volume until I twigged someone was ringing my mobile. Panicking I dragged it from my pocket just as thee damned thing stopped but I could see who’d been ringing me. MIKE !! “Heck Ceri, I’m sorry about this, but I’ve got your loo on the phone” I half whispered to her as we herd a thumping sound and some muffled voices.  Compadre came through to the counter and as if to prove he’s hard of hearing bellowed out ” He’s run out of toilet paper.” There was a chance that the next street might not have heard so he repeated it. The young man from the tills grabbed my tray and led me away blushing to where Rose sat outside. Mike followed a minute later. “Do you know what that cheeky beggar Ceri asked” he said, “whether I’d had to jiggle it under the hand drier. I told her yes and I burnt the end of it.” he laughed. Compadre joined us moments later and we had our drinks. The heat from my face kept mine warm.  Compadre in the impossible hope of embarrassing Mike made loud mention of his predicament to the town and it’s environs without success.

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We went for lunch. That affair passed off quietly since everyone was hungry.

We went home and Compadre decided to head off to set up the new Desk Top model in his own lounge and see if he could figure out how to transfer files from the old to the new. My eyes glazed over and I wished him goodbye and good luck. With an apology I headed for my room to check emails since the numbers have a nasty habit of creeping up when you’re not looking. Damn them, they had, From zero before the shopping expedition to 63. I was given leave by my guests to plough in while Rose decided we were boring (true) and she needed a nap and Mike decided he may as well configure the laptop and check it out. I thought I’d get a nice uninterrupted session and polish off the mail but I hadn’t accounted for ‘The New Toy’. Mike came to lie on the floor outside my room so he could get the code or whatever off the back of my thingy box. He input it but had no joy at all. Various messages popped up to say he wasn’t connected and my ears had to share all the details. It was a good 3 days down the line ( OK, I’m told it was nearer an hour) of being bombarded with information about ethernet cables before a growl suddenly informed me the problem was solved, or rather the reason for the problem was solved. This was not a laptop after all but a notebook and it seems notebooks are not wi-fi. This was of course a pain in the posterior ( and we’ve had enough of those today)  as he’s specifically asked about wi-fi. So back in the box the gadget went and off again he trotted to the shop.

I’d just finished the emails and was working on Mike’s family tree which should have been fairly short considering the classification I’ve mentally given to him today, when the front door opened and in he walked again with another box. With an ‘I know what’s coming’ sigh I stopped typing and tried to put my most concentrated ‘I’m totally focused on you’ face on. Out of the box it came and with a delighted chuckle he proceeded to tell me what a deal he’d made to get a swap and just what this new one did. All I could focus on was the colour  A striking blue case, blah, blah, blah “But it’s BLUE Michael, I want one.”. He managed to get on the net without a hitch and we left him tapping on the keys with a manic smile on his face totally oblivious to our presence except for the occasional “Look at this” and ” Oooh, it’s fast.” Rose and I went out for dinner and dancing and he never noticed. They say small things please small minds but I still want one. The new toy has been returned to it’s box in preparation for his return home tomorrow and his lady friend returned t him unscathed. I’m just waiting till it’s late enough and dark enough to replace the hated technology with a couple of bricks so he won’t know it’s missing. Progress, ya gotta love it !

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A Mode of Transport

I stood outside a garage for an hour this afternoon. Not because I was hoping to be picked up by a female kerb crawler, after all she’d have to let the guide dog drive, but because my ‘brotherfriend’ was waiting to pick up his car which was being repaired. Since I was having no joy with the ladies, not even the sympathy vote, it gave me time to think about just how often I’ve done this with Michael. Believe me he’s been through a lot of cars since I’ve known him, and even before that he had one of the first Model T’s from Ford’s line. Factory fresh and brand new it was apparently.

Excuse me a moment while I just barricade my door. ” Pardon Michael, sorry bro I can’t hear you too well, and something seems to have happened to the door. Now now, temper, temper, you know what the specialist said.”

His cars have never been new, except to him. and they’ve always been bargains in his eyes. Yet a relatively short time later he appears in something else as his car is in the garage. This time he has a Renault Megane cabriolet 1.9 dci which may well be Greek for They saw him Coming. When he arrived on Friday I saw the look of fear on his face that told me it may be something serious this time, we’ve all seen the look where the pound signs roll in the eyes like the handle of a penny machine has been depressed,  and that’s quite an appropriate word. You can hear the sound of mechanics hands rubbing together in glee, so fast it almost ignites the oil deposited under their nails. He’d heard a sound when driving up that came from the rear underside of the car and it sounded expensive. The car had gone in on Friday and he was told to check on it’s health this afternoon. He’d been given a loaner because the garage he’s using at the moment is owned by someone he considers a friend and a straight up front fella to paraphrase his words. This chap is very knowledgeable with car electrics and is the man to call if you have a problem in this area.

The car he’d been loaned is a Renault Twingo and just in case anyone is interested I know nothing about cars but made copious notes. However, if Renault are interested in a sponsorship deal, the Twingo is an excellent vehicle with plenty of leg room for the slightly longer person even when they use crutches. We used thiss most excellent vehicle to go and buy some urgent supplies for my daughter and new born grandson ( Come on, what kind of Pops would I be if I couldn’t brag when I could? ). We’d had to travel over the border into that country where carrier bags are still free in shops, ( but yah boo sucks, we don’t pay prescription charges on my side!), but we’d managed to deliver said supplies, received tears of gratitude, get hugs, coffee and then a ten minute argument with my daughter when she transferred the money into my bank account. *** Note to pensioner parents, be careful never to let anyone have your bank account details, this goes doubly if you’re related to them. *** Note to self, she thinks she’s won does she? HA!

We recrossed the border at the checkpoint and were eyed with suspicion by guards on both sides. I assured them we were not smuggling Titterton’s Pork Pies ( I haven’t given up hope of one of their executives reading this blog) but were on a humanitarian mission to fill Michael’s stomach, at times it grumbles more than he does. We were close to a Frankie and Benny’s ( will I ever make a living name dropping like this) so stopped for an all day breakfast. A very healthy diabetic option of course with bacon, sausage, egg, French fries, tomato, beans and mushroom, just look at all that veg. After mopping the residue from the front of my shirt we made tracks for the garage. The first thing I noticed as we arrived was a Suzuki Cappucini 675cc 1994 reg roller skate. It’s been so long since I heard mention of his second car that I almost forgot he had one. Yes, it was another of his ‘new’ cars he’d wanted because it was rare, sporty, soft top ( to match him) and only broke down on alternate weeks.This one has spent much of it’s life with him in this home from convalescent home with various ills. For the sake of my health I decide not to mention it.

In the hour I waited outside the garage Michael explained how he’d managed o swing the deal of the century in paying much less for this car than it’s worth- as a very expensive ornament- when behold it was fixed. We returned the Twingo with some apprehension and set off for home in the now repaired Renault. We didn’t get very far before I proved just how extensive my knowledge of cars is. ” Stop!!! Car thingy ! Look that has to be big enough for Yvonne, Ugo and the baby, a family! ( no-one can doubt my deductive powers after this).

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Car thingy aka Nissan Almeira.

      If it gets them out of that Fordy thing it has to be good. “The Almeira you mean” said a smug little voice, ” yes. it would be good since it’s in the garage quite a lot.” It was at this point I bit my tongue and almost choked when I swallowed it. Mind you If I’d opened my mouth just then to say what I was thinking I’d have choked for sure and Michael’s children would have been smuggling files in cakes. Anyway, Michael asked about it. Y reg model I think, one owner from new, 75,000 miles on the clock, 11 months MOT, 6 months tax ( thanks to his silver tongue) and just £850 with about £200 part exchange for his Mondeo. Bearing in mind I know naff all about cars, don’t care to and don’t drive I was so excited now I was almost salivating at this point and desperate to get it for them. Only the voice of reason held me back as I thought maybe they should agree to this first. Michael test drove it to check the handling which was fine and I texted her. It was all Michael could do to stop me rushing in and paying on my card and he suggested we go home and wait for an answer. I take back everything I ever said about him, I can see where the red haze descends and takes over now. At that point I’d have bought a bald tyre.

I’m still waiting for an answer- A reasonable, non-swearing at Daddy type answer for preference. After all, I’m just trying to look after my baby. xx

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Welcome

Finally, the news we’ve all been waiting for. My grandson got tired of playing with his wii and came out to say hello. Well, perhaps not as eagerly as I intimate since the little horror caused him Mum to be cut so the doctors could send search parties in to find him and drag him out kicking and screaming. But finally he’s joined us before we need to start preparing for his first birthday.

Reuben

Reuben David Chukwudi Eboh was born at 14.47 pm on 21st August 2013 and weighed in at 9lb 13oz though his Mum maintains it was nearer 9 stone 13lb. Reuben your Mum and Dad are so proud of you as will the rest of the family be as they all meet you in turn. It’s a shame you had to be born in England but I’ll forgive you that as you do have Welsh blood in there.One day maybe you’ll play rugby for Wales, Oggie, Oggie, Oggie.oy, oy, oy.

Here’s to a long and happy life young man. Your ‘Pops’ is delighted to meet you at last, and by the way, when you get your first job, you owe me a chip supper which you diddled me out of last night when your Mum and Dad should have been visiting me. It seems everyone’s priorities are out of kilter.

Lot of Love

Your Pops

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Welcome to an Interview with Jan Krause Greene

Oft times it brings me great pleasure to interview someone fairly new to publishing. Very often it’s an Indie since so few these days manage to find publishers. I’m lucky this time to be able to bring you an interview with someone who is going the traditional route. Allow me to welcome you to…………

Welcome to an Interview with…  Jan Krause Greene

I call myself Earth girl.

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 Author of – I call Myself Earth Girl 
 A brief synopsis.
All Gloria ever wanted was a normal life. Instead she is having recurring dreams about a young girl who calls herself Earth Girl. As the dreams continue, Gloria realizes that Earth Girl’s story is influencing her own life in mysterious and unwanted ways. Although she tries to return her life to normal, the dreams set in motion a series of events that mean her life will never be the same. 
 
What made you decide to write this book?
Well, I have always wanted to try my hand at fiction. I wrote a weekly newspaper column when I was raising my five sons. It was mostly a humorous look at family life. This is my first attempt at fiction.
The story itself evolved from two sentences that came to my mind and haunted me: “I call myself Earth Girl because I chose to live on earth, even though my celestial life was one of peace and beauty. I didn’t know what to expect when I came back to life on earth, but it surely wasn’t this.” I sat down and wrote the dream sequence in one sitting, but it took a few years before I built the rest of the story around it.
 Do you always write in this genre?
No, this is my first novel and I am not even sure what genre to call it.  It’s a bit of a hybrid – contemporary fiction with a bit of the supernatural, a touch of the spiritual and an environmental message. 
  
If you ruled the World what would be the first thing you’d banish?
 Wow! That is a big question, but I think I would banish war.
 (Good answer. I’m sure that’s the same answer I gave when asked the same question)
 
What was your inspiration to write and when did you start?
I have always enjoyed writing. As a child I might have been the only kid in class who loved writing assignments. I also liked to write poetry. I loved having a newspaper column. 
 
 What was your destination to publishing? ie are you self published.
While I was writing I didn’t even think about how to get published. When I did think about it, my first idea was to get an agent. But that was a more daunting task than I anticipated and I had just about settled on self-publishing when I heard about a publisher who accepted queries from writers directly.
 
 Share with the readers one little known fact about yourself.
When I was in high school, I sent Robert Kennedy a book report I wrote about one of his books and I ended up being a volunteer in his office on Capitol Hill every Saturday. The first day when I arrived at the office he wasn’t there. The staffer who was there asked if I could answer the phones while she went to the restroom. Shortly after she left the phone rang and the voice on the other end said, “Do I have any calls?” I said, “How should I know if you don’t tell me who you are?” It was, of course Senator Kennedy. He laughed, and then he said, “It’s Senator Robert Kennedy. Who are you?” I explained who I was and he said he couldn’t wait to meet me in person. When he got to the office, he said to the staffers who were there, “This is the 16-year-old who put me in my place.” He seemed to really enjoy my gaffe.
  
Do you have a website to share?
 I have a website and a Facebook page and I am on Goodreads. 
I would appreciate visits to any of these sites!
My Facebook page is Facebook.com I Call Myself Earth Girl
Here is a link to a video trailer about the book:
 
Any links to the book/books
Here is a link to my publisher’s book page
 
Please feel free to share an exerpt.

Chapter 1

Gloria Geist awoke from the dream overwhelmed by a feeling of dread. It was that same dream again and it left her feeling vulnerable, afraid and pregnant…very pregnant.

 She did not want to have a baby. Not now, not at this stage of her life. She was 46 years old. She had a married daughter who was expecting her first child. She had come to terms with being a grandmother before she was ready. She didn’t think she could come to terms with being a pregnant grandmother. Besides, her husband and daughter would be horrified. This couldn’t be happening, but she was pretty sure it was.

She shivered with apprehension as she finally confronted her nagging fear. She went into the downstairs bathroom, locked the door and peed on the pregnancy detection stick that she had hidden weeks ago. If her fear was confirmed, and those last few months without periods were because of pregnancy, she would have to tell Jared she was pregnant rather than menopausal.

Feeling faint, she stayed seated on the toilet and put her head down between her knees. She held the stick tightly between the thumb and forefinger of her right hand.  She was going to give herself a few seconds before she looked at it again. Maybe she had read it wrong the first time. After all, it had been years since she used one of these.

As the blood began to flow back to her brain, she was able to think more clearly. With the fingers on her left hand, she carefully counted back the months to the last time she and Jared made love. Not enough fingers on one hand. This was bad, really bad.

It didn’t add up right. She didn’t see how she could have conceived. Jared had been gone for a month-long business training right about the time she would have had to conceive if her missed periods were an indication of when she got pregnant. This didn’t make sense. She decided to get to her gynecologist as soon as possible. She needed answers…and soon.

 Her visit to the doctor left her with more questions, than answers. If her doctor was right about how far along she was, she would have had to conceive while her husband was out of town. This was a total impossibility. She shivered as she contemplated what this could mean.

As she walked to the parking lot, she began to feel off balance and out of it; the same  way she felt after taking antihistamines. Her heart beat rapidly as she tried frantically to figure out how she could possibly be only three months pregnant. Maybe it would be better to walk. She headed towards Touro Park. A short walk around the perimeter might clear her head. What she really needed was someone to talk to, but how could she share this news with anyone? It would be devastating if it got back to Jared.

She sat on a bench and started to cry. Before she noticed, a man in a tattered pea coat, mismatched boots and a dirty watch cap sat down beside her.

 

“Hey, Curly, why the tears? What does a pretty lady like you have to cry about?”

 

She recognized him as soon as he started to speak. It was the homeless man whom she saw almost every time she went to the park. Most people thought he was crazy. She made a habit of greeting him and treating him with respect even though Jared thought he might be dangerous. One day a few years ago, when her unruly hair was blowing into her face, he called her Curly. Ever since, that had been his name for her. They had developed a friendship of sorts, based on friendly greetings and her occasional gifts of hot drinks, gloves, sox and much needed tissues. She figured she was one of the only people who treated him like a normal human being. She went out of her way to be kind to him. He often said to her, “Don’t you worry. I’ve got your back,” even though there was no reason to think she needed someone to have her back.

She wished he would leave her alone now, but knew that he wouldn’t go if he thought she was in trouble. Wiping away the tears on her cheek with the back of her hand, she looked at him intently.

 

“I know you can keep a secret. Right?”

 

“Hell yes, Curly. I can keep a secret. No one talks to me and when I talk to folks they think I’m psycho. I’m your man for a secret. Just call me your secret keeper and I’ll call you my secret weeper.”

 

She considered his answer. Maybe he is crazy, but no one will believe anything he says about me.

 

“I’ve got a problem. I’m pregnant and…”

 

“Unplanned babies. Hmmmmm, there are lots of those in the world, Curly. Look at the stars, probably as many unplanned babies as stars in the skies. Did you know that we are made of stars?”

 

“Sure. I know…lots of unplanned babies but this one can’t be my husband’s,” she said, tears beginning to flow again.

 

“Oh, well that’s a different problem…Curly, I hate to tell you but you are in some deep shit. Cheating women, ummm, ummm, ummm…lot of songs been written about them cheating women.”

 

“I didn’t cheat! I didn’t even have sex. I just…well…I think it happened in a dream,” she said tentatively.

 

“And people think I’m crazy? That’s a good one Curly, but even a wacko guy like me can’t believe that one. Unless, you are the Virgin Mary come back to life in the here and now. You aren’t, are you?”

 

For an instant she considered the story about the Virgin Mary. She had never really believed this story, but for a moment she empathized with the Virgin Mary and what she must have gone through before she told Joseph that she was pregnant. She wondered when people started referring to Jesus’ mother as the Virgin Mary and that led her to wonder ruefully how people would refer to her. The Cheating Gloria? Maybe the Crazy Gloria?

 

“Hey, Curly, don’t look so sad. Why don’t you tell me the whole story? I’ll figure out an answer. You know that when I look through a window, I always see things no one else can see,” he said.

 

“I don’t want to disappoint you, but the only reason I am telling you any of this is because I know no one will believe you if you ever repeat it,” she said.

“Yeh, I get that. That’s for true. Go on, tell me how you got yourself in this fix, Curly.”

 

“I don’t even know and I sure as hell don’t know which will be harder, telling my daughter that I am pregnant or telling my husband I am pregnant with a baby that is not his.”

 

“That one is easy, Curly. Telling your husband is gonna be harder for sure. Whoooeeee, that’s gonna be a hurtin’ time.”

 

“You’re no help. You don’t even believe that I didn’t cheat on Jared. But l didn’t. You know the beginning of menopause does weird things to a woman’s cycle and people have change of life babies. My periods have been kind of random lately.”

 

“Maybe I don’t need to know all the woman stuff details about this,” he interjected.

 

“But, it’s important. See, if I wasn’t pregnant and my periods were regular, I would be just about due for my third period since Jared’s business trip. According to the doctor, I am fourteen weeks pregnant. That means I got pregnant while he was gone. But that’s impossible.”

 

“Sure is impossible if he’s the daddy,” he added

 

“We didn’t even have sex for months before he left because of his back sprain, and before that I got poison ivy on my legs, and that was gross. So if I figure back to the last time we actually made love, I would have to be at least six months pregnant, and the doctor says I’m definitely not.

 

“Ummm, ummm, that’s a mystery.”

 

“God knows what he thinks about why I kept insisting that I had to be farther along. He probably thinks I’m having an affair. Like that would ever happen.”

 

“Curly, you got a world of trouble here. I got to think about this before I see an answer. I’m gonna go look through that window there…that one, the third one over…that’s the one. I think you best go home and face the music now. Get it over with.”

 

As he walked away, Gloria considered her options. Maybe she should stop for a cup of coffee before going home. She just couldn’t walk back into her house, knowing she was pregnant and that she literally did not know how she had conceived. It made no sense to her. Worse than that, it scared the bejeezus out of her. As she ordered a large latte, she pushed the hair off her forehead. Her temples were covered with sweat and her thick, curly hair was beginning to clump in moist bunches.

She had so much to figure out, so many questions she needed to answer. The list made her head throb. She really wanted to call her best friend Sheila, but Sheila was also her sister-in-law. She just couldn’t take the chance that Sheila would tell Jared’s brother. She sipped her latte tentatively, wondering if it was still okay to drink coffee. She hoped it was because giving up coffee would be even harder than giving up alcohol.

Alcohol. Oh, my God, how much wine have I had in the last three months?  She needed to get a grip. Most of all, she needed to figure out how to break this news to Jared. How could she tell her husband she was pregnant and the baby was not his, but not to be upset? How could she make him understand that she had not had sex with anyone, and yet she was pregnant? It made no sense to her. How could she expect him to believe it?

Would telling Melanie be any easier than telling Jared? Probably not. No matter how the baby was conceived, Melanie would not be happy to hear that she was going to have a sibling the same age as her own child. No point thinking they might grow closer because they were pregnant together. No way. Melanie would be at best incredulous and at worst very hurt and angry.

The more she contemplated telling her husband and daughter, the more convinced she became that there was no upside to telling them. She was in an impossible situation that made absolutely no sense to her. If she was having trouble believing it, how could she expect Jared and Melanie to believe it?

Despite her worries about how Jared and Melanie would react, the question that caused her the most distress would surely be the hardest to answer. Does this pregnancy really have something to do with that dream? Could I possibly be the girl in the dream?

For the past few months, Gloria had been plagued by a recurring nightmare; a nightmare so real and so graphic that she had begun to wonder if she had tapped into a past life. Each time she had the dream she felt more connected to it. But the realization that she was actually pregnant with a baby that could not be Jared’s shocked her into believing that she was truly linked in some mysterious way to the girl in the dream.

Every time she woke up from this nightmare about a young girl who was raped, she felt an intense desire to help her. But now, with her inexplicable pregnancy confirmed, she felt trapped and afraid.

The dream was always exactly the same. It was a narrative told by a young pregnant girl in a hospital. The girl always began the story by referring to her celestial life, but the story was about her earthly life and it was always exactly the same. The dream always ended with the girl in a hospital bed, being told by a nurse, that she was pregnant. Every time Gloria had this nightmare, she woke up just as the girl was learning that she was pregnant. Each time she woke, she wondered if she felt a stirring inside her womb.

She had this same dream so many times during the past three months that she could recite it from memory. Now, as she sat bent over a half empty cup of coffee, she reviewed the dream yet again.

Thanks very much for joining us Jan. The very best of luck with the book.

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A Surprise, or is it?

Hello everyone, I hope you’re all having a nice weekend. At this point of the week I fully expected to be regaling you with tales about the birth of my grandson and boring you to tears with 73 different pictures of his tiny hands as the shadows ply upon them giving the impression of movement. Instead I think the hands may actually be moving in temper when we actually tempt him out with pieces of chocolate swung on a piece of string. Of course my daughters recent ( ha ha) predilection for chocolate may already have put him off for life.

Anyway, at the moment the little scamp is still holding on to his cushy berth ( sorry) for dear life, and refusing the glare of publicity and the intrusion into his private life. It appears he’s shy. It seems he reacts quite well to my voice doing little somersaults when he hears me. Remind me to tell you about Olive, a fish I had that used to do the same. They react better to lower tones. His mum so desperately wants to see him she’s resorted to screeching now when he moves. Of course he’s been in there so long we reckon he’s already probably 6 foot tall.

So, it looks like the news will have to wait another week but I’ve already got an author interview in hand so heaven only knows when I’ll fit him into my calendar now.

 

In the meantime there is a little bit of news I’ve been keeping under my deerstalker this week ( Now Now ladies, keep it clean). Some people may think I’ve taken advice from my contemporaries, I  prefer to think of it as giving in to incessant nagging from various sources. ( Yes. you know who you are people!).

When I’d written the Barsetshire Diaries books I’d started a blog for Oscar the  cat Superior after being threatened with legal action by his brief for using his proper name in the books. He said the constant adulation left Oscar no privacy. Anyway, it appears his many fans ( damn you both) thought with a few minor changes the blog would make a good book and unbelievable as it seems, there are people out there who like cats Superiors ( why does my machine keep  defaulting to that word?).

So let me introduce you to the new book which is currently on the Amazon kindle sites and Xin Xii. During the coming week I hope to OK the proof copy for Lulu and have the paperback up on sale too though it will take a while to reach Amazon. Here’s the cover…….

Oscar's Book Coverhttp://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-of-a-Superior-ebook/dp/B00EJ9FNWS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1376781878&sr=8-2&keywords=memoirs+of+a+superior

and here is the first review already which is very exciting.

By Ilil R. Arbel (New York)
This review is from: Memoirs of a Superior (Kindle Edition)

The book “Memoirs of a Superior” succeeds where so many other books fail – it makes a cat communicate with us in an entirely believable way. I have read many books told from the point of view of an animal, and this book stand above and beyond most of them. As a matter of fact, I can think of only one that could be compared – and this is high praise indeed – “The Fur Person” by May Sarton, an acknowledged masterpiece in the genre. Nothing else comes to mind that could be termed as good as Oscar’s story.

Anyone who had met this fabulous cat before in the other delightful books by Lord David Prosser, knows that Oscar is really the master of the household. Oscar himself has no doubt of it, and he runs the lives of his “longlegs” in a despotic though kindly way, as a “superior” should. If you never met him before, not to worry… he will let you know exactly what he thinks, in no uncertain manner.

I also want to touch on the language, which is extraordinary. Oscar’s “voice,” choice of words, and style of narrating his story are wholly consistent, so much so that you would be able to feel that indeed, a cat is sitting at the computer and typing or dictating to his beloved slave. New definitions like “superior,” “longlegs,” “dark time” “sleeping place” and “clearway,” among many others, are used so brilliantly that you feel and see the way a cat feels and sees. When Oscar is outside, I could hear the “things that rustle in the grass.” When Oscar notices the delightful scent of food, I smelled it with him. His views on veterinarians, rats, dogs, or catteries are perfectly in line with his distinctive personality and he would not mince words – why should he? He is a Superior, with a capital S.

Oscar’s adventures are sometimes suspenseful, sometimes very funny, and always entertaining. I highly recommend this book which, incidentally, has no age limit. Any animal lover, of any age, would love it, and if you are not an animal lover, well, Oscar may just convert you… Enjoy!

If you know anyone who likes cats don’t hesitate to make me rich by recommending this book. Maybe I’ll even make a new start on the next book someday but as yet I don’t hate the world quite that much.

My thanks to Owen Jones who helped me get The book on the sites it needed to go on. Megan Publishing Services.  http://fb.me/2ltocSkbO 

See you soon with the next interview with exciting Author Jan Krause Greene.

Hugs to you all. David

 

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The Price of Victory and Niggles of the Week.

I know that quite a few of my friends followed the mighty battle earlier in the week as I contested hotly on Ebay to win the carved bamboo walking stick that left me with foot rot from drooling so much. I have to inform you that due to significant skill on my part plus various IOU’s I WON IT !
I’ll never be able to use it of course since it cost me an arm and a leg ( plus my soul I think) and I now topple over a lot. That however is not about to stop me displaying the same picture as before just to rub it in on anyone who may have bid against me.

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I don’t have it yet as it’s still in transit guarded by an SAS regiment and a brace of rottweilers.The other stick I won earlier in the week is still in transit also and I have a budgie sending me messages about how it’s doing. It’s really nice but the carving is not in the same class. I’m going to have great joy checking for signatures to see if I can be more specific with the dates . I’m pretty sure they’re both about the 1880 mark but it’s nice to be sure. For anyone entering the walking-stick / cane collecting arena, I promise the Meiji period produced the most fantastic work.

I won’t bore you to death with my other purchases over this week because much of what I got was for gifts and some very nosey people curious family / friends read my blogs these days.

It’s been a week of frustration and niggles too.I find it curious that we are forever being exhorted to upgrade our computers and operating systems. Recently I’d been giving this some consideration since I run Windows Vista and have been experiencing some real problems.I decided to look a little more closely first.
The First problem started a few weeks ago but seemed to be getting worse. I was unable to get into wordpress accounts, getting a message that they weren’t available (including my own) or, if I could get in, I wasn’t able to leave comments. I could write them and save them but they didn’t appear.It turns out this is a well known problem between Google Chrome and WordPress. What didn’t help was that in going to the WordPress ‘help’ button for this with a question, I was redirected to the forum where I got no answers at all. Anyway a Google Search soon brought up the subject and information from fellow sufferers on how to overcome it. ‘Get rid of chrome and go to IE was one.’ I did that and my regret was almost instant because I remembered the crashes I used to get that sent me to Chrome . Go to Firefox was another suggestion I tried. The layout on that was terrible ( for me) and in the end I uninstalled and re-installed Google Chrome thinking the problem was less annoying than the cure. As it turns out, I may have done something right as things have improved a bit. Not perfect, but definitely better.

The Second problem is with Google Chrome and ‘Flash’ ( no, not the fast running man in the crimson outfit, that’s FLASH). More and more I’ve had the message that Flash has crashed which has frozen my screen in Ebay. When you’re in the last minute of a bidding war this you don’t need. Neither swearing nor cajoling seemed to be doing the trick. I turned to professional assistance, otherwise known as the ‘Scream for Help’ from my browser, only to be told yet again this is a well known problem between Google Chrome and Adobe Flash.I’m not very technically minded but I did manage to follow the directions I was given which would cure this. What is odd is that when I went to try it again it wouldn’t work at all as no Flash showed up at all. I retraced my steps and lo’ and behold all seems OK now.

The niggle is that wordpress must have been aware of the problem and didn’t try to help me. They could have sent a general message out warning Google Chrome users they may experience this problem and this is how you deal with it. 1, 2, 3 done. I could have gone out and bought a new computer in my ignorance which might also have run Google Chrome and I’d soon be in a mess again. Adobe Flash can’t be unaware of the disparity between themselves and Chrome either. They may feel it isn’t their fault but it would be good if they put out a general alert since so many systems use their product. As for Google, well they certainly must have known what was happening as theirs was the system that came last and caused the problems. If a patch wouldn’t work, again surely they could have sent out a general message saying some users might experience problems but here was the solution. It was a disappointment that it appeared none of the companies was prepared to confront the problem that would hit some of their users.

Anyway a week of some Joy. Since my beloved daughter is still crossing her knees and refusing to let my grandson appear I have no news on that front. His father’s birthday is next week and he’s hoping for an extra special present.  Sorry Ugo, I think you’ll have to put up with the ones in gift wrap.                                                                                 As an aside to this I have recently been tweeting a lot about the Miracles of Cord Blood. That is the blood from a baby’s umbilical cord that is fresh and pristine and doesn’t have memories of being any particular organ and can be used to help repair or create many things within the body. It  really is turning out to be a great miracle helping heart conditions, cancers and has even helped an AIDS victim. I have always said that too few of our hospitals save the cord or harvest the blood and asked that mothers to be check to see if their hospitals do so and if not, encourage them to do so for research purposes.

At the moment there’s one little boy who could do with all the help we can offer and I hope maybe you’ll take a look and see if there’s anything you can do. His name is Rayaan and here’s his link.  http://www.thecordbloodmiracle.com/2013/08/Rayaan-Siddiqi-hemophagocytic-lymphohistiocytosis-Stem-Cell-HLH.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheCordBloodMiracle+%28The+Cord+Blood+Miracle%29

Now, since I’ve just seen a spider the size of a carthorse scuttle across my floor, you’ll have to excuse me. Since there’s room for only one thing that size in this house I’m off to stand outside the font door and plead for help. Someone must have a chair, a trident and a lot of courage I could use.

Have a Great Week everyone.   Hugs to you all. ( Yes, even men )

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Welcome to an Interview with The Phoenix

Today we have an interview with a Great Couple. But instead of a series of Questions, I’ll let them do all the work…..Take it away THE PHOENIX…..

Hello. We are Lee and Gary Jordan and we are THE PHOENIX.

The Phoenix

We are passionate readers, reading many different genres. As a writer team, we don’t intend to go with custom and stick to one genre. We have several novels in the works.
We enjoy getting to know readers and other authors via the Internet, love movies, and sitting outside to soak up the Southern California sun. We live in Hollywood with our crabby tomcat, Snickers.
Lee wrote A Whisper from Eden. She loves researching and is never content with the way things are explained and likes look into the nooks and crannies and wonder, what if?
Gary is a third generation Californian, born and raised in Anaheim. He has always had an insatiable curiosity about everything. He was involved with telecommunications for many years and now has his own business. He has always been a happy, laid back person. But now he has something to be very intense about.
Lee invited him to help her with a paranormal thriller she had in mind, and once he sat down at the computer and started, his life transformed. He found his real passion – writing fiction. He has never been so excited to do something in his entire life.
Both of us feel it is never too late to change the direction of your life.

From Gary to Lee: Well, we are a great team. I love all those brainstorming sessions. Amazing! I want to thank you for being my lover, my confidant, my best friend, and for your dedication to the craft of writing. You are so much fun and so sweet – most of the time.
It’s just, I wish you weren’t such a crab sometimes. Let’s be honest – you nag.

From Lee to Gary: I want to thank you for being your loving, honest, ethical, and wonderful self. And I want to thank you for being my one true soul mate and for sharing with me your wonderful talent. It is truly a joyful experience co-writing with you.
I’ll tell you what makes me crabby. You have been so caught up in writing our current new novel, you keep forgetting to eat or sleep. Well, okay. I know. Writing this novel is so exciting, and I’ve been doing the same thing. I know, I know. Right now it’s 5:00 a.m. Okay, I know I haven’t eaten since yesterday at lunch.
Oh well, to hell with it.
We hope you enjoy Leon’s Lair.
Lee and Gary Jordan, THE PHOENIX

LEON’S LAIR – AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 11, 2013

LEON’S LAIR, an international thriller/urban fantasy, will be launched on September 11. It is a nail-biting ride that is grisly but somewhat tongue-in-cheek, a brutal tale of horror and the occult that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

It includes romance, continental adventure, action, suspense, and dozens of vivid characters from around the world.

The Jakarta is an elegant cruise ship sailing the exotic seas in Indonesia with a passenger list of ninety, unsuspecting people. Jane and her best friend, Remy, are just getting know the rest of the small group of young twenty-somethings when the ship is attacked by pirates.

However, Leon and his band are not your usual pirates – they want something else besides the usual booty – they are taking female hostages to feed on. They are vicious vampires.

Jane and two male companions escape the horror, fleeing in a lifeboat. In their flight to escape Leon and his men, they become lost at sea for weeks, are out of water, and have nearly lost hope of ever finding rescue when they finally catch sight of land, a dangerous rain-forested island that seems deserted. However, their fight for survival has only just begun.

They are not alone.
Fate is cruel because this island is Leon’s Lair.

With the Jakarta incident, Leon and his crime ring have made the mistake of attracting too much attention to their many worldwide sins. The press is going crazy over the news that vampires actually exist. That amazing news hits the media like a tsunami.

The survivors of The Jakarta, Jane, Peter, and ten women, are caught in the middle of the paparazzi storm. They are being hunted by not only the press, but by Leon. He demands revenge for trying to kill him. And he wants Jane.

Some people are fascinated and find the odyssey entertaining. Magazines and the Internet are vampire-viral. Vampires and pirates are hot Twitter and blog posts. T-shirts emblazoned “Vampire’s Need Love, Too” are a #1 seller.

However, the majority of people around the world are terrified. Police forces and the media are digging up old cases – brutal, grisly unsolved murders of women – and blaming them on vampires. Thousands of old cases are brought to light from around the world. People are going crazy, bringing back all the ancient vampire myths and methods of protecting themselves. Mobs are killing suspected vampires. Not only that, witches are now also being hunted. Worldwide persecution has started a new Dark Age.

The media frenzy and public terror is endangering a secret, sophisticated, and very organized group of paranormal creatures who have stayed hidden for hundreds of years. Their leader, Wolfgang Ulrich, a talented and powerful wizard, must find and exterminate Leon’s group to end the risk of being discovered.

Leon is on the hunt. However, he doesn’t know he is also being hunted – by creatures who have powers as terrifying as his.

Only the most powerful will win. Will it be a new Dark Ages or a cleansed earth?

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A WHISPER FROM EDEN, A HISTORIAL FANTASY:
The year is 1827. Sixteen year-old Clayton Pinckney is an aspiring writer enamored with the Indians, much to his wealthy father’s distress. He wants to change white prejudice, but he needs interesting material. A fight with his father is all that he needs to prompt him to run away from his home in South Carolina in search a fabled tribe called the Mandan.
When he finds their villages, they are perched high upon a lofty cliffs lording over the turbulent waters of the Missouri River in what is now North Dakota, perched like walled fortresses and ruling kings from medieval times.
He finds that the rich and powerful Mandan believe in magic powers, taught to them by one of The People from Above from ancient times past, the great god Lone Man. The Mandan were Lone Man’s chosen ones.
Naive Clayton becomes thrilled with this unique tribe, their elaborate culture, and their amazing appearance – many have blond hair and others have white hair. They are like nothing he has ever seen or even imagined. At first, he is completely enamored with what looks to him like a utopian society and becomes very involved with the flamboyant Chief Rained for Many Days and falls hopelessly in love with the chief’s magical, young daughter, the exotic and, at times, very frightening, Crying Wind.
However, as he learns more about the Mandan, he finds he has a big problem – much of what he has seen is too unbelievable to write about. Who would believe him?
This is a 19th century saga of spiritual awakening and the fulfillment of an ancient promise, a unique take on real events, with magic, the supernatural, and . . . the promised return of the great god Lone Man.

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Contact
http://www.fictionbyphoenix.com
https://twitter.com/PhoenixRead” title=”Twitter” target=”_blank”>Twitter
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5769390.Phoenix_Reads” title=”Goodreads Author Page” target=”_blank”>Goodread Author Page
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Fiction-by-Phoenix/222089231211337″ title=”Facebook Page” target=”_blank”>Facebook Page
http://www.facebook.com/#!/readphoenix” title=”Facebook Personal Page” target=”_blank”>Facebook Personal Page
http://pinterest.com/phoenix80/” title=”Pinterest” target=”_blank”>Pinterest
http://www.amazon.com/by-Phoenix/e/B007II09OY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0″ title=”Amazon Author Page” target=”_blank”>Amazon Author Page
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Whisper-Eden-Historical-Fantasy/dp/1481143743/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375944411&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=A+whisper+from+edein

Many Thanks Lee and Gary. We wish you the Best of Luck.

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David’s Drool Time.

I had fully expected to be blogging at this time about the birth of my grandson. However, my daughter has her knees gripped tightly together to make sure my prediction of an early arrival is wrong.

I am therefore going to offer some insight into my acquiring mind.Just recently my eyes were glued to the screen in an effort to follow the progress of some Gadget sticks/canes. Though there are many varieties of these including ones with corkscrews, umbrellas, pencils and even binoculars, the ones I was looking at were swordsticks. In the UK, ebay is no longer allowed to sell swords or other weapons online. Calling swordsticks by the euphemism ‘Gadgets’ we have overcome that problem. The next problem however is affording them since the competition is hot.As with everything else you have to decide how much you’re prepared to pay and stick ( sorry) to it. As always happens, you decide how much you’re prepared to pay and exceed it. I exceeded my limit quite a bit and still lost them……………… Pause while I get a tissue and milk your sympathy to it’s limit.

I have not allowed the loss of the ‘Gadgets’to sour me to the evil creatures who bid against me. It merely embraced the idea of winning even more over their heads. I struck lucky on Monday with the winning bid for my third walking stick of the Meiji period, from 1868 until 1912 in Japan – after the name chosen by the young prince Mutsuhito, when he followed his father to the throne. See how educational I can be.

meiji stick

These pictures are of the third Meiji period stick I own. It depicts a man with a bat at his feet and one in the air around the flag he's carrying. It's a beautiful stick.

But, what has me drooling even more is a stick worthy of the Emperor himself. ( Damn, that means I've just raised the reserve price). This is carved by the hands of a master.Get your tissues ready, I'm about to show you pictures.

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Isn’t that just tremendous.The work is fantastic. I’m bidding on this one at the moment and it scares me how much it might go for.Next weeks meals seems highly likely. But in fairness, who wouldn’t want to own this beauty?

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Hitting the Nail on the Head

Michael had been to Londinium yesterday to pick up a new ( to him ) car. By the time he’d travelled home to pack and then travelled up to see his L’il though taller bro’ it was around midnight. We chatted for a while over coffee and I listened to his tales of being a wheeler-dealer ( no wonder some call him Del Boy). It was getting late before I made my way through to finish my day’s emails. I know if I leave them, there are always over 100 by morning.

Somehow I managed to wake at about 5.45 am and went straight back into messages. Only 62 (YAY) and quite a few of those could be scrapped. I worked till 7 am then went through to turn the fish tank light on- we’ve already done the joke about me turning the fish on- take my assorted meds and make a coffee. Feeling especially generous of heart I didn’t wake Michael until 7.30 with a coffee. I was granted the usual grunt so I disappeared to get myself washed and dressed. By 7.45 I was startled to hear a voice ask me whether I was OK.  Startled because I usually have to wake him 3 times, tell him there are vestal virgins dancing nude on the lawn or revert to threats of water by the bucketful. Anyway, he’d awoken and was in a terrible mood, happy but full of biting sarcasm. Just about normal then really.

We normally have a routine for a Saturday which starts with me suggesting which store I’d like to do the shopping in and then me wiping the dripping sarcasm from his chin before we went out. Today was slightly different in that Michael suggested the shopping venue for a change because he wanted to visit a specific garage in Chester. I acquiesced and off we went. On the way I realised there was another store within reach that would be better for us because they stock a brand of unmentionable white sticks the other supermarket don’t stock. I was not to know this but it was my first major error of the day.

I apologise for this but I need to backtrack to a moment a couple of weeks ago. I was suffering major frustration with my computer ( thank you the person whose message from Twitter gave me a virus).  Alone in the house I was kneeling on the floor in my bare feet trying to disconnect the power line. When I eventually succeeded I struggled to my feet only to notice two large patches of blood on the floor which it seemed had leaked from the nail on the ‘index’ toe of each foot. I suppose in maintaining my balance I may have pressed too hard. The plasters were now off.

Back to the ‘Now’ of the tale. We reached the Supermarket and parked up. My blue badge gives us leave to park in disabled bays. I hobbled slowly in on my crutches , nice bright blue ones thanks to ebay. Michael put the bags on the trolley and the expedition was in motion. Strawberries from the fruit aisle and a reminder to pick up cream later in our journey. Potatoes, meat and round the corner to look for sausages. Having scored those it was some yoghurts and on to the pop for some Vimto and some lime juice. Cream, milk and other sundry items went in and then in was time for the cakes. As I pointed out some nice looking eclairs my snoring on his feet driver backed up. He moved to the side but the trolley didn’t and ran straight over my toe. Toe 4 on my right foot to be precise. All of a sudden no nail ! Yeeouch. I backed away at speed then stepped forward as Michael turned round in concern. s I did so, I walked straight into a trolley wheel. What are the odds I’d connect with the same toe? Whatever they are, I did.

Hobbling ahead to collect bread we then headed for the till when I managed to drop £40 on the floor much to the amusement f the young cashier. Deflated we made for the in store cafe for breakfast. My shaking hands ensured I had a bottle of orange to wash my sin down as Michael wouldn’t trust me to hold a coffee. Everything was washed down and somehow I’d remembered to take the appropriate tablets or he’d have made me eat again. We left and made for the garage where his business was concluded in less than a minute. If you knew how he talked you’d have expected me to have caught up on at least a quarter hour of sleep. As it was still early, not even 11 am yet he suggested we go to my daughters to see how the pregnancy progresseth. In view of the fact my prediction was for a birth yesterday, it progresseth not a lot. Yvonne is due around 15th really but I’m convinced he’s trying to dig his way out. At their house there’s mayhem as they try to prepare the place before the baby is born. Having moved not long ago there was a lot to do by way of decoration. That part is now done and the nursery is finished thanks to her husband Ugo, but we were just in time to help with a few odd jobs. I ‘volunteered’ to build a coffee table. It looked a simple job and there was only one drawer in it. I swear that the instructions would have defeated the codebreakers at Bletchley Park. I don’t know whether they were written in the dialect of a yak herder from Outer Mongolia but I’m sure the diagrams were drawn by the same cartoonist who drew Alfred Hitchcock’s head. ( For anybody under about 40 I’m sorry, maybe you can look it up on one of these phones I can’t get to grips with). Yvonne  joined me and started making the drawer as I started to put the sides together. Michael joined us and helped me. Two sides up we erected the braces between front and back which would also serve as drawer runners. Then it was time to fix them together. We stood them up and Michael asked ” Which one of these two is wrong?” of course he grinned when he asked. One of the side panels was on upside down. As he gripped it to get the dowels out and unscrew pieces he knocked the other side panel. Where did it land? I’ll allow you three guesses. Of course there was all the sympathy in the world with ” Don’t get blood on the wood.”

Eventually we left feeling proud of our donation. Heading back I swear I heard him snore as he took the wrong road and we ended up at a small shopping centre we didn’t know existed. Yes, we dropped in and got a few pieces before setting of on a magical mystery tour which took all of two minutes to get us on the road we wanted. One more stop on the road home and we had a coffee before completing the journey. Unpacked, groceries away and after a small interlude with my emails I made a meal. I passed Michael’s through on a tray and returned to the kitchen. There was a loud shout of ( **** rude word) and when I went in the plate looked like Mount Fuji. The top of the salt cellar had become detached and smothered the meal. Being of noble heart I passed my tray through and tried to get rid of as much salt from his meal as possible to make it edible. I managed to save quite a bit. I dished up the strawberries to follow.

In an effort to recover something from the day I waited for a suitable gap in TV programmes and asked Michael if he’d wash my hair. I have to point out that it’s not laziness on my part, I can’t easily raise my arms above my head without suffering angina. Also, he’s  a great hairwasher and knows what “Can you give my head a little scratch” means. So, down I knelt beside the shower cubicle with my head over the edge. I held the hose until he was ready to wet my hair and then while he washed it. After rinsing he dropped the hose inside the cubicle. Great, up surged a jet of spray straight into my face and fountained over my head. I grabbed it back under control as I gasped for breath.He did the second was and rinse with me maintaining a strong grip after which he helped me to my feet and I put the hose back where it belonged and turned off. I have no idea how my jeans managed to stray dry  but as we looked round we could see Noah’s flood across the floor. He had a wonderful time mopping that up.

We’ve chatted this evening and watched a little TV.before me coming back to the computer. Ebay behaved ( apart from not letting me win the items I wanted) and I managed to do most of the mail but as I progressed to the last half dozen the computer decided not to co-operate. It took over an hour to do three messages and the cursor just hung on the last one so I’ve shut everything down to concentrate on this. I’m not risking kneeling down tonight, I’ll just hope things work themselves out. Have you had days that  are catalogues of disaster that cause you to laugh so much as I have today?

 

 

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