Friday, 20 November 2009

Multiple choices...

Sorted! I've grasped the spiky horns of my dilemma, wrestled and tugged them into a manageable shape that now point the way forward. I am now, simultaneously, writing two books. Well, two versions of the same tale. Both with a modified plot, but one with farcical humour and the troublesome fairy, and one without. Voila! When an agent eventually reads one and cries, "Loved the story, dahling, but where's the magic/introspection/plot?" I can whip out the other version with a flourish and a grin, "Here's one I prepared earlier!"

And writing in first person is fun; 'I' can be thorough, thoughtful and threatened in one version, and a flirty, fanciful fairy-lover in the other!

I may even publish one under a pseudonym, and then sue myself for pinching my idea. Think of the publicity, the money I'd make...

Is this what a multiple-personality disorder feels like?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

What's a girl to do?

My course has finished and I now have my MA - I've got a letter to prove it so they can't change their minds and demand it back! It's been like learning to drive: the seminars, workshops and assignments were the driving lessons, the final project was the 'test' and now we've all been cast out unsupervised onto the motorway where the real learning takes place. And by God, it's scary out there...

Suddenly there's nobody directing you through a series of one-way streets, or guiding you the right way around a roundabout.

Or preventing you from crashing into an oil tanker...

I'm definitely in a curious position right now. My part-novel has provoked conflicting opinions from the professionals involved in the marking process: The Fairy has to go versus The Fairy has to stay/ The plot's all wrong vs The plot's right for the genre/ The pace is too fast vs The pace has to be fast in this kind of novel.

I know these are only opinions, not holy commandments etched in stone, but one way may lead to publication, the other will leave egg on my face.

I guess the answer lies in trusting your own judgement. Using everything you have learnt from the course and everything you know about the genre. God knows you've read enough similar books. But where does this self-confidence come from? Can I find some on ebay?

Now, I know certain truths about the world: bullies will get their comeuppance - it's the law of the universe; too much chocolate makes your clothes shrink; only men with deep-rooted psychological problems find me attractive, but, strangely enough, none of these concepts are useful in this situation. What's a girl to do?

On a more positive note, Mr Bubonic Plague hasn't been back to torment me!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Knee-lenth boots from now on...

Okay, I have two addictive and unhealthy habits: one is smoking and the other is watching X Factor. I've had the therapy, tried the willpower method and even used the patches (one on the arm for nicotine and two over my eyes to block out the telly), but to no avail. I remain addicted.

I have a designated smoking-room - well, it's more of a front doorstep really, and I quite often share my space with the local wildlife. There's been a badger grubbing around for food, several snuffling hedgehogs and most of the neighbourhood cats. Once, I was so engrossed in the book I was reading, I almost stubbed out my fag on a coppery slow worm coiled lazily at my feet. And I thought that incident was terrifying...

This morning I was out there with the usual book in one hand and a ciggy in the other enjoying the winter sunshine and the waft or newly hacked grass when out of the corner of my eye, I spied movement. Not flippy enough to be reptile, but too small to be badger cat or goat. There, in my front garden, looking me squarely in the eye, was a rat. Yep! A rat! It wasn't even an alpha-rodent but a scrawny, scabby furred, chewed ears kind of creature. I leaped to my feet, hopped around a bit and let out a banshee wail whilst flicking my book ineffectually towards the beastly bastard.

It stopped, bared its sharp ratty teeth in a gesture of contempt and slowly turned before ambling its way down the path. I, meanwhile, was still doing the hot-coal shuffle on the doorstep and hyperventilating so much that even the black spots before my eyes had gone all fuzzy.

Oh, God, oh God, not again! I can't bear it!

Heart beating wildly, I stumbled inside gasping for breath. Suddenly the sound of click, click, click surrounded me - the sound of claws clicking on the laminate floor! On God! It's inside! My poor heart ricocheted around my rib-cage as I turned, wide-eyed, to face my tormentor...

That bloody dog!

Honestly, how much more stress can one person stand? Why can't those damned rodents keep to the drains where I don't have to see them? I'll be jumping every time I see a spider, or hear a scraping noise. They'll be carrying me, stiff-limbed, to the looney bin, because abject terror will have me flat-packed against the wall, glassy eyed and drooling mouth frozen in a Munch scream.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

There's a rat in the kichen...

You all know about the noisy neighbours, right? The ones who stay up all night partying, drinking, singing Girls A-bleeding-loud songs, and then try to kill each other. I've had to put up with this for nearly three years', and before you think I'm just an old Moaning Myrtle, they do this most nights.

Well, about two months' ago, the miserable gits started stripping wallpaper at 3am. Scrape, scrape, scrape against the wall behind your bed isn't much fun. This carried on for a week, until the proverbial penny dropped; they weren't scraping - there were mice in the adjoining wall. I rang Environmental Health the next day. You know you're getting old, when the mouse-catcher looks he should still be in school.

The problem turned out to be RATS in the wall schnucking in from an outside drain. Yes, RATS. Sewage-stained, filthy, dirty, bubonic plague carrying RATS.

"Oh Christ," I shrieked. " Please tell me they won't get into the house!"

"Well, that's where they're heading, love; they're looking for a food source."

He obviously hadn't caught on to the diplomacy part of the job...

Three bags of raspberry-coloured bait down the man-hole cover, and Bob's your uncle. Not.

Three weeks, and seven bags of bait, later, they'd eaten through the cavity wall, up the cavity wall, and along the floorboards. They were planning on dropping, SAS style into the kitchen on ropes, filling up a goodie bag and scampering back under the floorboards.

Not on my watch.

For two nights, I chased them around the house, banging the downstair's ceilings to scare the nasty little buggers back to the drain.

On day three, I was exhausted, irritable and neurotic; these had to be Super-rats - the size of small hippos, at least.

By sobbing and wailing into the phone, I managed to get a workman in the same day to cement up the drain pipe (luckily, not the one collected to the loo...). For the first time in weeks, I relaxed; the rodents were well and truly cemented out.

Until the rat-man came later the same day, sighed in frustration, and pointed out that I may now have trapped them inside the house.

Double eek!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

And so I face the final curtain...

Oh, this bad; I'm thoroughly ashamed. I can't believe all this time and decent bloggable material has passed...

Well, on a quick update: eldest son is just a couple of weeks away from taking his driving test - eek! He spent last weekend at some music festival in Knebworth. He said it was awesome, but I endured a slightly less enjoyable weekend; there was just so much to worry about - mosh pits, circle things, drugs, knives, underage sex, alcohol poisoning and whether anyone had vomited in my tent. It was such a relief to collect him from the train station on Monday night and know that the tent had made it back in one piece.

I'm in the last stage of the MA - trying to write the start of a novel. It's been hell. I think I can safely say I've been cured, once and for all, of the writing bug; it's so much more fun to read a book than it is to try and write one, and faster too. I don't lose the will to live when I'm reading, either.

Okay, the next post has to be about the rats - that's a really amusing story. Not.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Shame on me...

I can't quite believe it's been nearly TWO months since I wrote a post - shameful!! And so much to tell! There's the neighbours, the assessments, the sewage-stained rodents, the continuing illnesses and the mounting hysteria as I prepare for the final MA project...

But right now, I need to catch up on some well-deserved sleep...zzz...

Friday, 24 April 2009

Dickheads R Us...

Okay, there's a junction in Helston with traffic lights to control the flow of cars coming from the left (obviously, if you're on the other side of the road, it's the right...) We're on the left approaching the junction when the lights turn red. Eldest son is driving so he slows, stops at the lights, pulls on the handbrake and finds his biting point. (Are you having hot flashbacks to your driving lessons, yet??)

The lights change to green, he releases the handbrake and slowly moves off indicating his turn to the left. Now, what does the dickhead on the other side of the road do? He has no green filter and should only turn if the road is clear. Is the road clear? No, there's a learner driver there just starting to make the turn, so what does he do? Yep! You guessed it, the prize pillock just decides to pull across in front of us. And lo, and behold, a motorcyclist figures he can squeeze through too!!

Eldest son had that look on his face; I just knew he was contemplating ramming into them as just punishment for being tossers. He must have done the sums quickly in his head: smacking dickhead = caved in front of our car = car off the road = no more driving.

Sensible choice, son.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Love - Forty (Something-year-old-needing-oxygen)

Well, Spring must have definitely sprung; the back lawn received its first chop of the season and we dragged the Swingball out of the garden shed.

Let the championships begin...

I managed to smack both of the kids in the face with a ball - eldest son got his right on the nose - what magnificent aim! My left hand will, no doubt, be swollen and battered tomorrow, because I kept hitting the bloody thing with my bat. See, now that's karma; I laughed at the boys' injuries and fate redressed the balance by whacking me...several times...

Eldest son annihilated us both - mostly with brute strength, aided by the fact he's got an extra two foot in height to play with, but boy! was it fun! I especially loved the moment where I collapsed on a garden chair, gasping, "can't...breathe..." It's amazing how much a body can deteriorate in just a year...

Youngest son stole the show, however, with his comment, "They should make a game of Swingball".

"Um...they're playing it."

"No, I meant for the Playstation or the X BOX."

Now, who says technology is killing childhood?

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Where Did All My Chocolate Go?

Well, the Chinese was delicious and the film was captivating, but the chocolate ran out way too soon.

And was it just me, or did anyone else think Skellig bore a striking resemblance to Bryan Ferry? Every time he appeared on screen with his ratty angel-wings, I kept expecting him to burst into Love is the Drug. (Ancient Roxy Music track for those of you under pensionable age.)

Yeah, I know, "Roxy Who ?"

"Mu-um! Get a life!"

Never let it be said that I don't know how to have a good time. Eldest son just dropped youngest son off to a sleepover and then dropped himself off to stay at a mate's overnight. I finally got to drive my own car home for the first time in a week.

And what, I hear you cry, am I doing with my child-free evening? Am I hosting a rave? Will I drag a young, nubile guy home from the pub for a night of unadulterated, wild sex? Will I, for once, keep the neighbours awake?

Nope! I've snuggled into pyjamas and am gonna eat Chinese special fried rice in front of a kid's film showing on Sky. For afters, I've stocked up on Galaxy chocolate and Cadbury's Creme Eggs (Easter was over far too quickly...)

I've always wondered what my kids meant when they said, "Mu-um! Get a life!"

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Ear Today, Gone Tomorrow...

Eldest son pierced his ear (again) last week. On Tuesday, his ear was red and painful.

"Hmmm. Looks infected," I said sympathetically. "Bathe it in Savlon, take some paracetamol and I'll try to prise that stud out."
"Touch my ear and you die," he growled.

On Wednesday, the ear was more red, more swollen and throbbing nicely in time with his heartbeat.
"Hmmm. It's even more infected. I think you need antibiotics," I said with a sigh, and phoned the doctor.

Today, his ear was purple, twice the size that God intended it to be, and he was shaking like a heroin addict on Boxing Day - knee deep in cold-turkey.

"Hmmm. That's really infected," I said with a grimace. " That earring has to come out, son. Just let me - okay! okay! I'm backing off, nice and slowly... we'll have to go to Minor Injuries."

"Nope! Not happening! Nobody is touching my ear!"
"Hmmm..." I said thinking aloud. "I know! You can drive."
"Cool! Where are the keys? Let's go!"

Now I thought the NHS were short of funds. Apparently not; instead of giving the boy a stick to bite, they plugged him into the gas and air. He giggled while the nurse dug out the stud and squeezed the rivers of lumpy pus from the wound. I was pretty darned woozy at this point myself to be honest...

When they'd finished, he staggered off the hospital bed, hiccupped and giggled, "That was so cool; I'm completely wasted. Now, where are the car keys? I'm driving home."

Yeah, right.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Driving Ms Carney...

Oh God, the first driving lesson hosted by moi. And I use the word 'lesson' loosely. If eldest son is behind the wheel careering along the road and I'm pinned to the passenger seat catatonic with fear, then, let's face it - there's not a whole lot of instruction going on; it's more a case of bumper-cars and trying not to vomit.

Actually, the whole experience wasn't too horrendous; there was a bit of bouncing between the kerb and parked cars, but once the Valium kicked in, I was fine. And I needed a new front nearside tyre anyway...

He's been riding a moped for a year, so he's certainly developed some road sense, but I'll be a lot happier when the proverbial penny drops and he realises a car takes up a smidge more space than a bike and doesn't quite tuck into a hedge as neatly as a ped, and when a Truronian bus is hurtling through the lanes towards you, launching yourself into the back seat, doesn't actually move the car out of its way.

Oh, no. That was just me.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

W.O.M.A.N Let's Say it Again...

Oh, the delights of being a woman. Had my ultrasound scan today to check that all bits are functioning properly. Nobody thought to tell me it was gonna be an internal examination. I was expecting the normal pregnancy kind of scan, where you hike up your shirt, shriek as a tube of ice-cold gel gets splurged on your belly and relax while the nurse runs this mouse-like thing over your stomach.

Well, you know what thought does? Yep, gets you in the arse very time.

I was greeted by an elderly nurse snapping on industrial strength Marigolds all the way up to her elbows. By the time I'd dropped my drawers and plunged underneath the 'modesty' blanket, she was armed with a three-foot-long probe-thingy ornately decorated with a condom.


"Um...I'm allergic to condoms," I squeaked.

"Do you wear rubber gloves?" she barked.

"We-ll, not usually for sex, but sometimes for washing the dishes."

"Then you'll be fine! Now, brace yourself, dearie; I'm going in..."

I won't go into all the grisly details, but let's just say a pulsating cavity-probe rummaging around in my more intimate areas certainly brought back vague memories. I seem to remember something similar happening in a former life.

If only I could remember the details...

Monday, 6 April 2009

Beer, the Beach and Teenagers...

Last night I delivered my seventeen-year-old son and six of his mates to the beach for a party. Armed with tents, sleeping bags and enough beer to drown a small army, off they trekked belting out songs from Reel Big Fish.

I sat in the car park and murmured, "Dear God, I don't ask for much; I live in a tiny house full of crappy furniture, hungry teenagers and a dog with ADHD. I have no ambitions, no talents and no sex life. I'm old and wrinkled, but I get by on a good sense of humour. Please, please, please don't let anyone drown, fall in the fire or vomit in my tent. Thank you, love Sar XX"

Of course my stomach was in knots all evening. By midnight I was in bed, my clothes laid out ready to leap into like a fireman who's on call. I couldn't sleep. Just kept drifting. Every hour I'd sit up, heart beating like a bass drum. Was that my phone? Did I just hear a siren?

By six am, I figured they must be asleep and trouble had been averted.

I just picked them up, wet, cold, hungover, but ALIVE! I'm so relieved, I'm cooking them all a fried breakfast.

Thank you, God.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Happy Birthday To Me...

Happy Birthday to me
I'm not yet forty-three,
I may be old and wrinkled,
But I don't smell of wee. Yet...

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Buy One Panic Attack, Get One Free...

I don't know what I've done to piss them off, but ASDA cashiers hate me with a passion. And what's more, they do it with great chuffing smiles on their faces.

Yes, I was in there again today. A normal weekly food shop - trolley overflowing with bread to be toasted and smeared with peanut butter at midnight, crisps to be snaffled and thrown on the floor and apples to decay in the fruit bowl before being lobbed in the bin next week. Dog food, loo rolls, ham, cheese, seventeen packets of pasta, twelve boxes of cereal and chocolate digestives to be hidden under my bed. When do teenage boys stop eating everything in sight?

Eldest son is seventeen tomorrow so I was also lugging a huge birthday cake, candles, banners and enough beer to floor a small army.

As I started to pile my goodies onto the conveyor belt, the smiley cashier said, in a sing-song voice, "Can I help with your packing?"

"Lovely, thanks. I'll take over when I've emptied my trolley."

Very slowly, she began to pack my shopping. Everything stacked neatly, bags not too heavy, nothing squashed. Three perfectly organised bags.

And then I took over. Within seconds, she'd whizzed half the trolley load through the scanner. The dog food was perched on top of the salad and my beautiful chocolate-drizzled cake was somewhere beneath the bleach and washing powder. Sparks were flying off her fingers and I just wanted to cry.

Why do they shove everything through at full pelt while you're still grappling to open the friggin' bag? Call me anally attentive, it's fine; I've been called worse, but I always load the groceries onto the belt in sections - tins together, cleaning stuff in one pile and fruit and veg in another. Why, oh, why do they dip in the sections and grasp the bananas and then the shampoo and finally, a lump of cheese? And do it all faster than the speed of light?

It drives me demented. By the time I need to pay, I've developed great sweaty patches under my arms, my breathing's all shallow and I'm having palpitations. There's a queue of seventeen behind me and I've run out of bags.

Grocery shopping's more stressful than being married. And just about as sexual.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Starstruck and Dumbstruck...

It's official: I'm a gushing, giggly girly who's starstruck. Yep, I know, I'm old enough to control my urges and pretend to play it cool, but I just couldn't do it today.

Y'see, it's Industry Analysis Fortnight and basically, we have to, well, analyse the industry in a fortnight...

I chose to research the novel publishing market - more specifically, the romantic comedy, 'cos that's what I'm trying to write...

Anyway, spent the day chatting to some of my very favourite authors asking about the market in this area. I tried to be professional, but I didn't succeed, "This is soo cool; I've got your novels on my shelves and I just lurve your books!" Giggle, gush, squeak, squirm and blush.

Oh, God, why do I have to be me all of the time?

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

It's me, oh Sara, I've come home. I'm so cold...

The hunky engineer - let's call him Heathcliff - arrived this afternoon lugging his Bob-the-Builder toolbox, rooted around under the floorboards, and plugged my leak.

Oh, joy! How I've missed warmth!

That hunky, brooding hairy man is a bloody genius.

Unfortunately, he's also a vegetarian. Story of my sodding life.

Old Boiler Needs a Good Servicing...

Yesterday, I discovered water dripping through my living room ceiling. Again. In exactly the same place as before. It's easy to spot; the artex is bulging beautifully and the decorative brown water mark is acting as a fuck-off great red arrow.

So I rang for a heating engineer. Again. He turned up, shook his head and said, "Sorry love, it's too late to lift the floorboards tonight. I'll drain the system and be back first thing in the morning." Well, I wasn't expecting that response. Much.

So here I sit, at eleven am, snuggled in my yellow fluffy blanket, waiting. Again. No heat, no hot water, a-bloody-gain.

At least this time, there's a positive note floating on the edge of my Carry-On world; he was bloody gorgeous - dark, brooding, tortured eyes, and a mane of silky black hair tied up in a ponytail, with only a few loose wisps that I just wanted to smooth back into place...

Y'see, that's the trouble with being single at my advanced age - all the equivalent men went bald years ago. Not that I have anything against the more follicular-challenged members of the species; bald is beautiful and intimate, but I just harbour this long, flowing locks fantasy. It's just one of my things, okay?

Maybe if I offer him a bacon sarnie, he'll let me play with his hair for a bit.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A Box of Black Magic...

Ooh, am all excited; I've found a new button! Click on the Black Box, decide from the choices and find yourself whizzing around the blogoshere onto a perfectly random person's blog.

It's a little bit like delving into a box of Quality Street, having a good old rummage and coming out with an orange creme. Well, I expect there's an odd one or two nutty ones in there as well, but what's life without taking chances?

Friday, 20 March 2009

Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling...

Oh my God! I've lost three readers in twenty-four hours. Am I just not entertaining enough for you anymore? Come back!! I'll try harder, I promise...

I wouldn't mind, but this is my bestest writing. It's official: I'm doomed...

Monday, 16 March 2009

Welcome To My World...

Let me give you a quick precis of the last six months of my life. In September, I lost a stone and a half in weight stressing about starting this course. Doc diagnosed Stress-related Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and prescribed these lovely Valium-type tablets to relax my tummy muscles.

Next, I developed migraines - averaging one a week. One morning I woke up with no sight in my right eye. After being checked out at Treliske, it turned out to be a pain-free migraine. Go figure.

Two weeks later and I developed shingles. A week after that, the nasty shingle virus went into my eye. Yep, you guessed it - back to bloody Treliske where I saw the same doctor. And yes, that was the mistaken identity day when I almost got zapped with the laser gun to treat somebody else's cataracts.

And the most recent health catastrophe? Well, I won't go into too many grisly details, but let's just say that thirteen periods in the last six months is roughly seven too many... So now I need an ultrasound scan and blood tests, just to be on the safe side, but it very much looks like I'm heading for the old menopause. Yep, not to put too fine a point on it, me old ovaries are shrivelling up and me 'ormones 'ave gone 'aywire.

Take my advice: don't even contemplate thinking about returning to Higher Education; it's bad for your 'ealth.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Happy Birthday To Me Next Month...

I was conceived on or around Wednesday 13th July 1966. (Actually, I know this bit is inaccurate; I was conceived on 30th July 1966. If England hadn't won the World Cup, I wouldn't be here. May God bless Bobby Chartlon for his contribution to humanity.)

I share my birthday with Bette Davis, Spencer Tracey and Gregory Peck.

I'll be 42 on my next birthday. I'll be able to boil 4.80 ounces of water from the heat generated from all those candles...I am 503 months old. I've been alive for 2,188 weeks. I've spent 15,313 days on this God-forsaken planet.

My fortune cookie reads, love always and deeply. Ha!!

My birth tree is the rowan. This means I am 'full of charm, cheerful, gifted, without egoism, keen to draw attention to myself, a lover of life, and I do not forgive. Ever.' It's hard to argue with the facts...

And how do I know all these amazing details? Check out Plug in your birthday, and away you go...

Friday, 6 March 2009

A Self Fulfilling Prophesy...

Did I or did I not predict that this novel option was going to finish me off? Was I right or was I right?? Yes, yes and yes again. I am officially demented. Manic. Lost the plot. On the 'at risk' register.
All week I have slaved, sweated and cried into the damned thing. And what do I have to show for my efforts? Ten miserable, measly, minging pages. Two months' work, no less. I have just over a week to produce another fifty f&*%ing pages!!
How do people do this every day? Where's the fun? The joy? The sleep? This course has already taught me a valuable lesson: I have learnt that, when I finish, I don't ever want to write another word again. Ever. Seriously, when I need a shopping list in future, I'm gonna take a pink wax crayon and draw a picture of every bloody thing I need.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

You Learn Something New Every Day...

We've got Eastenders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. Who remembers Brookside? God, I used to love that show. For years I had a secret crush on Barry Grant (he was the eldest son, by the way, not the slobby Father who went on to play Dad in the Royle Family. I may be slightly warped in the male fantasy area, but even I was never that desperate).

Then there was Grange Hill with hunky ol' Tucker Jenkins. And Eldorado - a short-lived yet memorable soap set in Costa del Spain. I can't remember much about it except for a smouldering young senorita calling out for her beloved Marcooose! (Marcus to you and I, of course...)

And the point of this post? Well, I've just found out why soap-operas are called soap-operas. It all dates back to American radio-plays in the 1930s. 'Operas' because of the drama, and 'soap' because the plays were sponsored by soap detergent companies such as Proctor and Gamble and Lever Brothers. Et voila! It all makes perfect sense now, doesn't it?

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Christ, That's Big...

Wow! Look at the size of that illustration; it's massively impressive! See, size does matter...

I Surrender...

It's official; I surrender. I give up. I've just spent the last three days sitting at the laptop typing. A feature, a film and character outline and my Industry Analysis proposal. I've worn an inch off the end of my fingers and my body has seized into sitting position. I've got a yellow, fluffy blanket wrapped round my legs because the my blood ceased circulating thirty-seven hours ago.

My comfort blanket is scorched in several places from the sparks that have back-fired from my (now stubby) fingers flying over the keyboard. Seven old teacups, in various state of mouldy decay surround my space. I've fed the kids pasta for the last three nights because it's so quick. God alone knows how they're still growing and scurvy-free...

I wouldn't mind (so much), but even after all that, I'm still behind bloody shedule!! And now, I've got to start on the piggin' novel. Oh, dear God, give me a break. I'm all worded-out...

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Blowing Your Own Trumpet...

As if my life wasn't difficult enough, eldest son has just purchased a trumpet. Between them, my kids play bass guitar, drums, mandolin, electric and acoustic guitar, ukulele, harmonica, keyboards and now the bloody trumpet. Actually, that's a lie; my son doesn't technically play the trumpet as he hasn't yet worked out the whole cat's-bottom mouth shape and breathing thing. It's more of a loud, wet-fart sort of noise reverberating through the house while I try to write, or talk on the phone or fall asleep...
And then, just to really piss me off, he opens up a tube, blows through the mouthpiece and blasts the accumulated spit out onto the floor.
"All brass players do it, Mum. You have to clear out the moisture to preserve a clean sound."
"Not on my bloody carpet, they don't! And that's not moisture, that's a flaming waterfall!"
Now, I'm all for encouraging creativity, but when will they give me peace to nurture mine?

Friday, 20 February 2009

Down a Dark Alley...

My youngest son and I sat in the car this evening awaiting the return of eldest son from his guitar lesson. Blinding lights in the rear view mirror, a last-minute swerve and a police car swung in beside us. Two cops leaped out and belted off down the alley way in front of us. Youngest son and I exchanged raised-eyebrowed looks and surreptitiously locked the car doors.

Forty minutes later, bored to the back teeth, because neither eldest son nor the police officers had returned, we decided to have a walk. Actually, that's a lie; Matt's lessons can drag on for days if I don't poke my head in the door and shout, "Three minutes and I'm leaving without you, darling!" (It's the term of endearment that always get him moving...)

Well, youngest son and I had exited the car, stepped in front of the cop-mobile about to walk down the alley, when from the darkness, a deep voice yelled, "Get away from the car. Move back against the wall where I can see you. Do it now!"

Son and I, limbs all a-tremble, leaped three feet into the air and flattened ourselves against the wall. The growly voice, dressed in police uniform, threw himself towards us, and stopped dead. "Oh, sorry, darling. You all right? I thought you were kids messing with the car."

"No," I squeaked. "Just walking past...innocently..."

"I'm really sorry for scaring you."

"S'allright," I squeaked again.

He leaped into the car, reversed and screeched out of the car-park. I sneaked a look at youngest son, who was still pressed up against the wall, eyes wide, mouth open. When I was sure my legs could carry my weight again, we un-peeled ourselves from the wall and scurried back to the car.

I tell you, those streets just ain't safe anymore...

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Grubby Nets and No Knickers...

It's official; I've turned into one of those women. I collected fourteen loo-roll tubes, seven empty shampoo bottles and an assortment of decaying insects from my bathroom today. I wanted to bathe, but the bath was dirtier than I was. Amazingly enough, the bleach bottle was still full though...

I've had to buy the kids new clothes because they've nothing clean to wear, and my fridge is home to E-coli, salmonella and something furry with ears. Bending to retrieve a black, balled-up sports sock from the floor, I realised it wasn't a sock at all, but a nub of mouldy bread. It must have been sitting there on my terracotta-grey tiled floor for hours, if not weeks.

I've never been meticulously house-proud; preferring, instead, to subscribe to the Only Boring Women Have Immaculate Homes school of thought, but even I can see that things have gone too far. I have become a slob, a slovenly sloth and a slattern.

Do all would-be writers live in this perpetual state of decay, I wonder?

Monday, 16 February 2009

Talk To Me...

Is there anyone out there in cyberspace blogoshere? Please, leave me a comment, somebody. Anybody...

Sunday, 15 February 2009

A Sex Slave for Valentines Day...

I Saw the wonderful Sex Slaves last night in their farewell gig. Well, probably their farewell gig... Enjoyed the music, the atmosphere and the dancing, although in my case, it was more bouncing up and down on the spot than dancing as I seemed to be hemmed in by a wild, whacky blond guy with elastic, flailing limbs and a dark-haired lady with huge knockers, which kept banging me in the shoulder blades. Boy, could those big mammas move.

I went with some mates and my (almost) seventeen year-old-son. I still can't get over that; how many (nearly) seventeen year-olds spend a Saturday night out with their mum? And it only cost me two pints of Fosters.

Farewell, Sex Slaves - a sad loss to the Cornish music scene.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

When you're in Love with a Beautiful Doctor...

Okay, it's been a long time coming, and I was beginning to wonder if my Prince would ever show his handsome mug, but he's here at last.

It's official: I'm in love.

It started out as a(nother) routine visit to my GP's surgery, because I can't seem to shake off the shingles. Expecting to be seen by old Dr Hemorrhoid, my knees went wobbly at the sight of new Doctor Lurve. Tall, dark and gorgeous, his eyes are like pools of melted chocolate, crinkling at the corners. He has closely cropped dark hair, that I know would just feel like velvet Velcro under my trembling palm. He laughs a throaty chuckle, and speaks with a sexy Irish lilt. Oh, be still, my beating heart...

I explained my sorry tale of (more) blistering pox popping up on my cheek and he gently brushed the shaggy curls away from my face. As his thumb gently swept across my temple, I let out a strangled moan. He moved in closer. I felt his warm breathe on my skin. Oh, God, he was just inches away from my quivering lips.

"Herpes," he announced. "Do you have any more blisters anywhere else?"

"No. Shall I take my shirt off?"

"And how's your health in general?"

"Fine. Shall I climb up onto the examining coach?"

"Are you feeling particularly stressed at the moment?"

"Hell, yes. Shall I just get naked?"

I think I may be ill again tomorrow. And the next day, and the one after that...

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Warning: only read this on a strong or empty stomach...

My secret fantasy involves Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon era - think untamed curls and firm buttocks).

Imagine: a cabin in the wilderness, it's dark outside, a log crackles as it settles among the burning embers in the stone fireplace. Two naked bodies are curled across a milk-white sheepskin rug. The firelight flickers, shadows are smudged across the dips and curves of their shaded forms. Scented candles send wisps of vanilla into the warm air.

She slithers onto her back, drawing up her knees. Her heels dig into the smooth fur of the rug. She closes her eyes and moans, "Now. I can't wait..." He moves away. She hears him rustling through his jacket pocket, and then, the soft fall of his footsteps. He's close now; she feels his warm breath on her cheek. She slides towards him, turns her face. His lips on hers, hungry, urgent. She moans, but the sound is soft. "Please..." A rip splinters the silence as he tears opens the packet. She claws at the rug, throws back her head in anticipation. She slides her tongue across her full, open lips. "Oh God," she murmurs and she feels the touch of his soft fingers. He moves across her tense body. Suddenly, he's there - she feels the slight pressure between her lips, opens up, ready for him. He slides the piece of Galaxy into her open mouth and she sighs, delicious...

Well honestly, what did you think I was talking about?

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Url's a Singer...

We had a 'modern technology' session at Uni this week. It was all about urls, embedding videos, and rss feeds. What can I say? The only 'feeds' I'm familiar with, are oven-bake pizzas.

The youngsters in the group had no problems, of course; they were just born knowing how to self-scan groceries in ASDA or set-up a web link to Mars. Us oldies had a few more problems...

"Twitter? Isn't that just the noise a sparrow makes when he's horny? Why d'we want that on our blogs?"

"Twitter's a form of social networking."

"Cool! Will it organise a speed-dating evening?"

"We'll link it to your blog to help your readers keep up-to-date with your news."

"What's the point of that? I'm the only one who ever reads the bloody thing."

By the end of the session, our lovely lecturer had beads of perspiration across his upper lip, and a persistent tic beneath his right eye. Well, it can't be easy teaching technology to a group of Special Needs students...

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Car Saga: Part Four..

Yesterday, I was stranded in ASDA car park as the newly fixed car refused, once more, to start. (Yes, I know I spent far too much time in supermarkets; I keep telling the kids not to eat, but do they listen?) My local garage mechanic said, in a broad Cornish accent,

"Starter motors can be sticky for a week or two, my lover. Try it for a few more days and see how you go, bird."

Go? That's the bleddy problem; I can't go anywhere if the piggin' car won't start!

But, next morning, of course, I turned the ignition key and she vroomed into life. Just as well, because eldest son had missed the college bus and needed a lift into Truro.

The journey in was fine - quite pleasurable in fact, once I'd persuaded my eyes to fully open. Going home was slightly more problematic... yep, the engine cut out on a mini roundabout in the grounds of Truro College, and adamantly refused to start again - make no mistake: this big momma was vroomimg nowhere. It was just about nine o'clock and the place was heaving with buses, cars and delivery vans. And I was stuck on the roundabout. Marvellous.

To cut a long and tedious story short, I was rescued by a breakdown truck at around midday after spending the morning mouthing, "Sorry. Female," at approximately seventy-three male drivers as they tried to navigate their large vehicles around my voluptuous rear end. I was also cornered by the local copper, who suggested I switch on my hazard lights as a warning to other drivers. Now why didn't I think of that? I probably assumed they could already see the Ford Escort parked in the middle of the roundabout, and if not, maybe, the chaos of delivery vans and buses jamming up the exits might have given them a clue.

"Sorry," I smiled. "Female."

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Love Thy Neighbour...

...or stab her through the eye with a rusty pitchfork, scoop out the gloop, feed it to the cat, and then stick a five foot metal pole up her arse, and make her spin. No, actually, scrap that last one; she'd probably enjoy it too much...

All my life, I've only ever known lovely, decent neighbours, so I guess by the Law of Averages, I was due some crappy ones, but by Christ! I must have been an evil cow in a former life to deserve this lot next door.

They moved in just over two years ago, and within a month, I had to call the police, because the eighteen year-old son had been beaten-up, and chased out of the house by his mum's new boyfriend. It was two o'clock in the morning: the kid was bruised, dripping blood, and on my doorstep. The boyfriend was drunk, wielding a kitchen knife and coming up my path. Gulp.

Things just degenerated from there, really; I'm treated to arguments, swearing, loud music and doors slamming. It normally kicks-off at around 11pm, just as I'm snuggling into the duvet (or, more recently, slumping at the laptop, trying to finish the current writing assignment...) and can end anywhere between two and five o'clock in the morning.

It's not exactly warm sands and the gentle lapping of the Caribbean sea in the background, now is it?

I've asked, I've pleaded, I've shouted, I've sworn. I've thumped on the walls, made complaints and screamed abusive phrases. I've been sending 'incident diaries' to our housing association for TWO years, they send next door a slapped-wrist letter, next door behaves for a week, I sleep in twenty-three hour bursts, and it all kicks-off again.

Last night was dire: the most horrendous yet - I quake in my fluffy bunny slippers just thinking about it. From eleven until half past two, they blasted my leaf-green walls with...with...Girls Aloud! There! I've said it. Can you imagine the pain it caused? The anguish? The trauma?

My body adopted the foetal position - thumb in mouth, quilt over head, limbs a-tremble - and quietly slipped into my subconcious...

Actually, that was even more traumatic.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For...

I often wish I could be somebody else for the day. Well, you've had a taster of my life, wouldn't you want a break from it now and again?

Today, my wish came true...

Dread and apprehension bounced and lurched through my stomach as I awaited my appointment in our local hospital's eye casualty. Eventually, my name was called by an Asian doctor. The fact that she has an Asian accent is imperative to the telling of this tale:

"Mrs Carney?"

"Yes, that's me," I cried, leaping off the hard plastic chair.

"I remember you."

"Yes, you treated me three weeks ago. Different problem Other eye..."

"Okay. Please take seat and put chin on metal bar and we begin laser treatment."

Huh? Laser? But, naturally, I did as I was told.

"Okay. We start laser treatment for cataract."

Double huh? What cataract? I came in with optham - opthal - eye shingles...

"Huh? You not Mrs Carly?"

"No, I Mrs CARNEY."

"Oh, thought you look too young for cataract..."

Now, I know the NHS receives a barrow load of aggravation for its waiting times, but it comes to something when you're left so long, you develop cataracts in the bloody waiting room.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Eye Can't Take Anymore...

And yet another fun-filled week in the Carney household. After suffering severe facial pain, nerve tingling and blisters popping up on my left eye-lid, I took my sorry arse to the doctors and was diagnosed with shingles. Oh, joy.

Now, when you catch chicken-pox, the virus stays in your body forever. Bouts of stress, other illness or even rays of strong sunlight can re-activate the virus in your system. Instead of dickering your whole body with spots, it runs along one nerve. And it is EXTREMELY painful...

If you can imagine some miserable git scraping a boiling-hot darning needle across your scalp, through your eye and into your gums every thirty seconds, you've got some idea how it feels. All of Santa's elves are suddenly resident in my head, where they bang and bash and hammer together wood and metal for next year's toys.It makes my whole head go into spasm, and one eyeball judders and bounces in its socket. And it is EXTREMELY painful...

The fuck-up fairy was obviously enjoying this spectacle sooo much, she decided to blow some magic shingle - dust into my eye. Oh, double joy. My eyeball is now scarlet, half-closed, swollen, itchy and weeping gunk. Every thirty seconds, it judders and bounces and rolls around in its socket as another spasm strikes. And it's EXTREMELY bloody painful.

Tomorrow, I must attend the hospital, where they'll prod, poke and drip noxious drops into my poor, vulnerable eyes, to check there is no corneal ulceration.

Oh, and did I mention that shingles is EXTREMELY bloody painful?

Monday, 12 January 2009

A Novel Death...

When I drop dead in mysterious circumstances sometime between now and September, let it be known it was the Novel that finished me off.

Our 'holiday' homework was to plot a novel and write the first thirty pages. Yep, you read that correctly - thirty pages. Ok, the damn typeface refuses to come out of italics mode; I've now got to spend the next hour emphasising every bloody word!

Now, as you know, if you've read previous posts, I'm a bit of a Chick-lit girl . Some of my contemporaries are seriously credible writers, so I decided, in my half-arsed wisdom, to attempt something more I planned and plotted and came up with a workable novel idea. Trouble was, it was as dreary as Auntie Mildred in her crocheted beret discussing her corns. With less than a week to Deadline-Day, I scrapped the original and forged ahead with a new idea full of bed-hopping and double entendre (that bit should be read in italics).

On the positive side, I'm learning bundles about the writing and editing process (posh writerly term for scrapping the idea or deleting the text...). The disadvantage, however, is that I've only written eight pages, and DD is - *she checks the calender* - tomorrow - gulp!

And this is just week one...

I know, with the certainty of a Roman soothsayer, that this module is going to kill me.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Ground Control to Cyberspace...

Helloooo! Is there anybody out there?

Leave me a comment, and I'll write a new (fun-filled) post. You know you want to!!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Car Saga: Part Three...

Can you believe that labour and VAT costs more than the price of a new starter motor? Nope, me neither, but I think I'll knock this writing lark on the head and train to be a mechanic...

With shocked, shaky fingers, I parted with the dosh and went to retrieve the car. Hmm, I thought, that windscreen wiper looks askew, I'll just take a closer look...and it came away in my hand.


I made it home without incident: no near collisions, no getting stuck, and no bits dropping off and bouncing round the countryside. The future was looking bright.

Until I rang the Ford garage in search of the radio key-code: "Yes, Madam, we can supply that information - for a small fee..."

Well, I'm sorry, but I think three minutes spent on a computer looking up a four digit code should be part of customer services and I bloody well refuse to pay for it! I shall be radio-less by principle, and just sing badly instead. After all, look what happened last time I listened to Radio One in the car: the friggin' exhaust fell off!

It's my fault of course; I've got a jinx hanging around my neck like a diamond-studded necklace. Now can you see why I'm single: after an hour with me I'd kill your engines and your bits'd be dropping off in my hands...

Monday, 5 January 2009

Car Saga: Part Two...

As you know, the exhaust dropped off my car last week: it's sitting outside my house looking all forlorn, and whimpering, "please fix me!" Not a hope in hell; the clutch needs replacing, the brakes need doing, the tyres are thinning on top and those are just the bits I can see. It's going to the big scrap-heap in the sky, I'm afraid. And if it's affronted, it should've held onto its bloody bits, shouldn't it?

Well, a friend (I shall call her J) offered me a car for free - free! She'd been given a new one by friends and wanted to pass this one onto a good home. Well, homes don't come better than this one; just ask the dog. Fan-bloody-tastic! was my hearty response along with thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.

I went to collect the new car today. It wouldn't start. We rocked and jiggled it, we pushed and pulled it, we swore and cajoled it, and it started. (It knew there was a swift kick coming its way if it didn't play ball.) I stopped at TESCO on the way home for essentials - milk, bread and chocolate. Yep, you guessed it: the bloody thing wouldn't start again, even with a good kicking... Two hours and several cups of coffee later, we bump-started it into action. Yippee!

I dropped it into our local garage on the way home (after narrowly avoiding a head-on collision in the lanes - no way was I even slowing down, let alone stopping, I can tell you!)

Watch this space for Car Saga update...

Saturday, 3 January 2009

May God bless Friends Reunited...

I've recently made contact with an old friend, Sue. We lost touch after leaving college twent - I mean, a couple of years ago...

Well, of course, we played the, 'do you remember when...' game. There was this huge ampi-theatre in the grounds and we used to take blokes there after the student bar had shut and force them to stumble all the way to the bottom and back up to the top again. If they managed this successfully, we'd consider going out with them. I wonder what happened to those guys who didn't make it back up again...

One February night, we 'borrowed' a boat from the terribly exclusive private school next door, and sailed it round our swimming-pool. And yes, of course I fell in. I went down clutching a cider bottle, gurgled back up and waved to shore. I went under, gasped back up and waved again. This jolly routine continued until finally, a guy called Pete cottoned-on, realised I was actually drowning and leapt to the rescue.

I emerged shivering, coughing-up green pond-scum, embarrassed but victorious; even as my life flashed before my eyes (several times), I'd kept a firm grip on the cider bottle.

Was I rushed to hospital? Did I need my stomach pumped? Nah, we got changed and carried on the party in Sue's room.

Friday, 2 January 2009

The World is Mine...

My mouth was dry and my fingers were trembling as I collected my new glasses today. Metallic-red, narrow-framed and just as sexy as I'd remembered. I slid them on, and surveyed myself in the mirror: Marilyn Monroe pouted right back. I licked my lips, tousled my hair and sashayed onto Falmouth High Street.

I pouted and preened and perfected my Wiggle. I swaggered. I flirted. I fluttered my lashes. I peeked and peeped and tossed back my hair. Thirty-seven young men panted in my wake. (Look - this is my fantasy: I'll self-delude if I want to, okay?)

The World was mine 'till my swagger turned to stagger and I swayed and I wobbled. I went blurry at the edges and lunch began to bubble at the back of my throat.

"I'm ill!" I cried, head tilted and the back of my hand firmly placed upon my strangely cool brow. "Those shops are zooming into focus and fading back out. Into focus and fading ... and ohmygod! Woolworths has completely disappeared ..."

I lurched back to Specsavers: "These glasses are making me sick!"

"Your prescription has changed, Madam. Give your eyes a few days to get used to the new lenses."

I knew it was too good to be true. Instead of 'sex-kitten', I'm more 'amputated leg, been shot in one eye, addicted to vodka' kitten.

I can feel another tantrum coming on...

Thursday, 1 January 2009

First decision of the year...

Okay, the decision is made: I have taken expert advice, drunk a little Jack Daniels and shredded lots of tissues. I'm going for - is there a drum-roll button on this site? - Novel and Features.
It's done; the angst is over - until the start of term at least...
And I do have two weeks' of Sex with Derrek to look forward to... I'll let you ponder that one for a while.

I wish you all a Happy New Year! For those of you on my course, forget happy; just concentrate on survival!