Sunday, 18 February 2018

It's cold.

I know England is just a drafty little island squatting in the North sea, but we're usually saved the worst excesses of weather by Ireland to our left and the rest of Europe to our right. 

    Someone obviously forgot to tell the weather man that because for the past two weeks it has been cold, I mean really cold. 

    Before you say I don't know what cold really is, I do. Five winters in the arctic showed me just how important it is to cover up and not sweat too much, and when a visit to the little boys room becomes unavoidable, then speed is of the essence, especially if you want to keep all your original equipment.

    No, it's been cold because it's still a little warm. A contradiction in terms I know. But when the temperature hovers between plus five and minus five or so the moisture is still in the air, draining your energy and darting through the heaviest of clothes with a jaunty smile. It's only when the temp drops further when said moisture freezes. After that provided all the necessary points on the body are covered, ie, the ankles, groin, wrists and the head (the places where all the arteries come to the surface) then one could effectively run around naked if one chose, and the police didn't arrest you, or a randy moose didn't mistake you for his next mate.

    In fact it's been so cold that for the first time in about four decades I toyed with the heretical notion of dumping my bike (into the nearest frozen lake) and getting a car. Coming home at night has almost killed me. Apart from the usual line-up of lunatics, the cold is so intense that my tyres never get warm and afford me as much grip as ice skates bolted to my wheels.

    But it's alright now; normal service is to be resumed and my bike is safe. The weather man reports temperatures in double digits for next week. Meanwhile, the next largest commercial channel says that we're in for another mini ice age. I'm not listening because I'm banking on the BBC being right for the first time in years. The law of averages has to be with them once in a while.

Monday, 12 February 2018

No he hasn't shuffled off this mortal coil.

I've been editing.

    I might have mentioned on the odd occasion that I like editing. Well I'm bored with it now. 

    In fact, I've read and edited my new novel so many times I can no longer find anything good about it at all. That's why I've stopped - before I burn it.

    Fifteen edits and I've read it frontwards, backwards, not read it at all but just looked at the punctuation. I've even read it backwards not looking at the punctuation.

    Here's the original cover. I decided that it was a little to bare (if you'll pardon the pun) and decided to put another little image alongside it. I don't know how long it'll take because my trusty painting tablet that I bought for £66 pounds what seems like a lifetime ago, has finally packed up. It's now become a tray to stop me dropping yet another cup of tea over my keyboard. I'll have a delve into Amazon later to see what I've got to sell in order to pay what they're probably charging these days.

    Any helpful hints as to a good one that doesn't cost a million would be gratefully received

Saturday, 27 January 2018

What has the most holes in the world?

You might have thought it was the Masters at Augusta, or wherever they hold it.

    After the twelfth and hopefully final edit of my new novel, I found yet another plot hole. That makes about twenty I've discovered and dealt with. I know I could edit it for the rest of my life and still not be satisfied, but after all those times one might think that even my ant's brain would have spotted the most elemental cavern into which my novel was plunging. 

    Ergo, edit thirteen beginning now.

    And there was me thinking I'd be publishing in January -  fat chance.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Caffeine and me

Sorry for my absence but I've been sort of busy.

    I made a bobo the other day. I had to collect a car from France. Nothing too unusual there. However, I also made an appointment for it to go into the garage upon my return.

    Now for the bobo part. I accidentally made the appointment for the actual day I came back.

    On approaching the south of France in the aircraft we passed through the most amazingly vast thunderstorm. That it was almost a hundred miles wide didn't really bother me until much later. As I was looking out of the window an incredible explosion engulfed the aircraft about three feet from my head.

    "Oh,", said the captain with a jaunty laugh, "you may just have heard a small thud, We were hit by lightning." I heard it. It nearly boiled my eyes.

    A couple of hours later I began driving the car and entered that same thunderstorm. It was like the end of the world - for two and a half hours. But I couldn't stop because I had precisely sixteen hours left to get back to England. The car I was driving only does about five miles to the gallon, so on the first fuel stop I had a double Espresso. I don't like coffee. I mean I really hate coffee, but it helps me to stay awake. At the subsequent and following fuel stops I had more double espressos. 

    By the time I got to Calais about eleven hours later I'd consumed about seven double espressos and I was like a zombie on steroids.

    Much later I got to England, and after another two and a half hour drive, dropped the car off at the garage and then decided to go home. It was about a minute after climbing onto my motorbike when the caffeine left my system. Talk about a danger to myself and everybody else on the road. I almost got killed about ten times on the way home.

    I mumbled something incomprehensible to my wife who'd very kindly made me some dinner, and without even disrobing, fell onto bed and wouldn't have woken again if WW3 had occurred. When I did emerge it was with the biggest hangover I've had in the decade since I stopped drinking.

    How can people drink coffee - it's horrible.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

The dreary days of January

Do you know why this country (England) has such bad weather? Do you want to know why it's the most depressing place in the world at times - and I should know cos' I've lived in France.

    It's because we have four weather fronts continually, or should that be continuously, arriving from four different directions. One sweeping up from Africa, One hurtling over from the Siberian Steppes, and another drifting down from Scandinavia, and the last (thanks USA), a warmer one coming from the new world. When they hit they cause the most awful turbulence. 

    The only reason I'm bothering you with this ephemera is because right now all four of those dratted weather fronts are coalescing right over the roof of my house. 

    My only only desire is that the strongest of them is coming from the east. I wouldn't mind if my whole neighbourhood got blown over to Bermuda or Miami. At least then I might even get to see the sun. I kind of remember that from when I was in LA: big, yellow and hot. 

    Role on summer.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

I blinked and then it was gone.

It's the same every year. I love the build up to Christmas which usually begins about mid March and as it gets closer the atmosphere of everything and everyone changes. Suddenly the world seems a more more exciting place, like when I was a child. Then poof, it's gone.

    My daughter has flown the coop so the day was exceptionally quiet. I miss her already. It isn't like she's gone to another continent (no matter how much she'd like to) but the house doesn't seem right without her. Not that I'd tell her that. The only sound we heard in the final two weeks were furious muttering and curses that her iphone had slowed down on her. Don't know about the rest of you but I believe Apple when they say it's to cut down on battery consumption. I really do believe them. Why, they'd never even think of pre-installing automatic obsolescence just so that their several trillion customers will eagerly queue to part with a £1000!!! to buy the newest one.

   Admittedly I was really too busy to notice. I thought I'd use the spare time to do yet another draft of my new novel. Only one more to go now I think. Finally all the plot holes are gone, and all the tangents off to which I never sped. Furthermore all, well nearly all usages of the word "that" have been eliminated. I'm still chasing "which" but I've pared them down to a minimum.

    I hope you all enjoy what's left of Christmas an that the new year brings all you could ever have hoped for. I've just about given up on Santa leaving a brand new Harley at the front doorstep. But there's still enough of a child left in me to continue hoping. Alas, according to my wife there's still way too much of a child in me. Don't care. Want one.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The part I hate most.

I've finally finished the last edit but one of Sod's Law. Now comes the part I hate the mostest: the bit where I get rid of all the typos. I read somewhere a few years ago that the best way to find and destroy typos is to read the book backwards. 

    It works but is the most tedious and boring and method of doing it. I then tried a couple of the most common pieces of software for this, to which I might treat myself as a Christmas present. The only thing is that they don't seem to have been coded by someone who's ever heard of regional accents or dialects. Or in fact anyone who speaks English like an englishman.

  Now even I'll admit that when I'm writing with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek some of the words and phrase I use are fine over here on the wrong side of the Atlantic, but probably won't be recognised by anyone else. The problem is that the software spent so much time pointing out my mistakes but completely missed all the absent full stops, commas and in fact just about everything else.

    Here's a case in point:

‘I am a policeman,’ the man said patiently despite the barely concealed agitation in his eyes. ‘Detective Sergeant...’ but got no further as something appeared at lightening speed from the edge of Arnold’s vision.
    The something was a hand - a very large hand. And it was now encircling the man’s neck. It was not a hand Arnold recognised and his eyes fixed on its long fingers, their length and girth clearly sufficient to crush the man’s spine. Furthermore, those fingers were currently squeezing with wrathful vigour. Arnold looked past the hand with interest and onto the pulsating arm, then slowly at the body to which it belonged. He could not stifle the gasp.

    Never before had he seen such a face. It was a woman, probably. A virago of a woman. High cheekbones almost pierced the skin as jaws laden with yellow teeth ground nauseatingly together. Her eyes, if it really was a she, were black and lifeless while from her throat a low guttural groaning denoted either imminent asphyxiation or a bizarre form of laughter. From the heels of her ten inch Doc Marten boots to the top of her masculine haircut she must have been six feet tall. And every inch of it was muscle as displayed through the skintight jeans and short sleeved t-shirt tautly stretched over a thin bosom-less chest.

    At first I compromised and changed most of it just to satisfy the whining of the software. When I'd finished, the passage bore no similarity to the original so I changed it back and checked it letter by letter.

    I'm looking forward to finishing this; my new one, Snodden, is burning a hole in my brain.