The key

It should be so simple. Why do I always fall into the trap of thinking that things will be simple? I am 52 years of age for heavens sake, I should have learnt by now. Nothing is ever simple.

A few weeks ago whilst shopping I stopped at the key cutter’s kiosk. I wanted to get a spare key for our car, we have only ever had just the one key. I was told that because we drive a Chevrolet they were unable to cut a new key, they do not hold blanks for this make of car. They might be able to order one in but it could take a while. Owl searched online and placed an order for two spare key blanks. He had a little trouble placing his order, so we now have four blanks.

Today I took two of these blanks back to the kiosk and asked them to cut the two keys for us. I placed the two blanks on the counter, only to be told.

“We can only cut keys from our own blanks.”

“But you don’t keep blanks for my car.”

“Ah yes Chevrolet, I remember you came in before. Sorry even if you got these blanks from Chevrolet we cannot cut them. We can only cut blanks that we stock.”

“So what am I supposed to do then? If you don’t stock the blanks and you can’t use another blank?”

” You could try an independent key cutter, they might do it for you. Unfortunately we can’t because it’s our Company policy. In the past it has been done and then the key has got stuck in the ignition leading to a claim for hundreds of pounds.”

Oh why had I not known it would be down to this litigious society that we are forced to live in these days.

Thinking about things not being as simple as they should be I had already had a feeling of let down having visited one of the main high street banks. I am sure that I have mentioned before that I am now the new treasurer for our writing group. I have been attempting to get the signatures on the Group’s bank account changed. It took a while to get the relevant forms downloaded and printed. Next the three of us who would be the new signatories had to take our forms into a branch of the bank to get our signatures authorised. I took mine in weeks ago. I was then told that I had to collect these forms from the others and bring them in together. This week I finally had all the forms, took them to the bank this morning only to be told that I now need to get another form signed by two of the existing signatories. Only then can the forms be sent off to the correct department, wherever that may be. I can’t even get a statement of our account until everything has been sorted which could still take a few weeks yet. At least I have been able to pay some money in.

Whilst shopping I picked up a screw thread candle bulb for one of our light fittings on the stairway. Obviously I picked the wrong one. Yes it was a screw thread and yes it was a candle bulb, but the screw thread was the wrong size. I guess that tomorrow I shall be out getting another light bulb as well as finding an independent key cutter.

What did you do today that wasn’t as simple as you had expected?




Just the ticket

Today I needed to collect something from Chichester, Owl was busy so I was going on my own. I am learning but I still don’t know my way around. I can find my way to some places but still need directions to others. We had gone into Chichester on Friday (being Black Friday) the roads were crammed. Parking was a nightmare.In the end Owl dropped me off whilst he drove off to find that elusive parking space.

I thought about where I would park today, and how to get there. I had a look on google maps, that was when it hit me. The rail station was at the end of the road I needed to get to. A plan was forming in my head. I didn’t bother to tell Owl as he was already concentrating on his own plans for the day. My biggest worry as I set off was that the station car park might be full. Luckily there were a fair few spaces, however my problems were only just about to begin. I had always thought that there was only the one pay and display machine at the entrance, now though I could see another machine not far from where I had parked.

Now when did they change these machines? I know I am not a frequent user but really!

I could use my card in the machine or I could download an app or I could call the number on the board. I inserted my bank card but couldn’t make it go to the off peak charge of £2.00 it would only charge me for the day  £6.50. I tried several times but still couldn’t get the machine to do what I wanted. So I changed to another method. I rang the number advertised, the automated voice gave instructions including asking for the number plate, make and colour of my car. Then it wanted to know if I wanted to pay for x amount of days or a month? Noooo I only wanted a few hours. I decided to walk over to the entrance to see if that machine still accepted coins, it didn’t. I paid for a whole day by card via the machine. Having gone back to my car I placed the ticket on the dashboard.

A brief stop on the way into the station to purchase my ticket, this was a little easier as I have done this before. I only had 10 minutes to wait for my train. Luckily I hadn’t pre booked as I had seen three trains going by in the time I was messing around with ticket machines. The journey into Chichester was uneventful and fast as there were no stops ( well there were but we didn’t stop).

Once at my destination, I did a spot of Christmas shopping, not much left to do now! Before making my collection. By then I was feeling thirsty so stopped at a small cafe for a cup of tea and toasted tea cake.IMG_2196

Catching the train home I had 15 minutes to wait but the time went fairly quickly as I indulged in a spot of people watching. It was now the time of day that the local senior schools had finished for the day, so there were several teens in school uniform on both platforms.

The train arrived and I stood with others waiting to board. I noticed among the others a hunched up old man. He followed me onto the train, I sat on the right of the carriage and the old man sat on the left opposite a young girl in uniform. At first I had thought the man was a down and out, but a glance sideways I changed my mind and figured that he was in fact just an old man hunched down into his coat against the cold wind. A few moments into the journey I noticed him fumble with the zip of his backpack. I though he was retrieving his phone as I could hear a muffled ringing. To my surprise he took out a bottle of jagermeister. He proceeded to take a swig from the bottle replacing in back into his bag. The young girl caught my eye but neither of us said anything. I half expected her to say something once he had left the train a couple of stops later. She didn’t, so I kept quiet also.

It wasn’t long before I was walking back to my car, I was ready for home.


I am beginning to get used to my new injections although I still don’t think I would be able to do them for myself.  I’ve had seven in total so far and the only one that actually did hurt was the first one that was done by the diabetic nurse. Since then two of my colleagues have done them for me and the last few Owl has done.

I have noticed since I started having these injections that my appetite has been much smaller, I am struggling to eat much of even my favourite food. I am suffering from heart burn on an almost daily basis.  I feel very full and bloated. I would have thought that considering that I am eating less I would feel slimmer but I feel fatter.

Since watching that program yesterday about the people who have to follow extreme life changes to lose weight I have decided that I need to make myself go for a walk every day. I have now done two days. I can’t promise I will go every single day but I am aiming for 5 times a week for now.

This morning I got up early, I had got an idea into my head about a possible new story I wanted to write. I wrote two pages right away and have been thinking about where I want it to go from there. This afternoon I was reading another blog  When all is said and done and found a post talking about a book ……The Bobblehead Dad by Jim Higley. I have not read the book but I gather that Jim has survived cancer and this is his book about it. This got my mind working. I have been going wrong all the time I have been trying to write a novel. All this time I have been trying to find a plot to write my fiction novel about, when all along I have been wanting to write about living with and after cancer.  I have already written about my experience with cancer elsewhere so why don’t I just write my story in my own way instead of trying to put it into a work of fiction.





Boxing Day Anniversary

It’s Boxing Day here in the UK. I gather from my step children that this is not celebrated in USA.

Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their bosses[1] or employers. Today, Boxing Day is the bank holiday that generally takes place on 26 December. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and other Commonwealth nations.

In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994. In Ireland and Italy, the day is known as St. Stephen’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Stiofáin) or the Day of the Wren (IrishLá an Dreoilín). In many European countries, including notably Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and those in Scandinavia, 26 December is celebrated as the Second Christmas Day.[2]

However my reason for this post has nothing to do with Boxing Day Holiday except that it was a year ago today that I first began this blog. In other words I am celebrating one whole year of this blog.

During this year I have made new blogging friends. Renewed other online friendships and shared my world with people in my every day life who have learnt more about me and my life than they would do normally.

I have married my Owl.

We had our honeymoon in California which I was then able to share with you through this blog.

I have celebrated my sons’ achievements.

I made a start at serious writing (on hold at the moment but watch this space)

We have shared the extremes in weather from the harsh cold long winter complete with unusual amounts of snow to the unexpected un British heat in the summer months.

We have also mourned the passing of our faithful cat.

Ending the year with various preparations for Christmas.

2013 has been a year of extremes, extreme happiness as well as extreme despair.

In a few days we will be celebrating the start of 2014 which I hope will bring with it a more relaxed year.

Maybe I will even manage to write something that I can do something with.

How would you describe 2013 for you and what are your hopes for 2014?

This Christmas

Every year I vow to be ore organised next year.

This year I have wrapped all but one of my presents (usually end up doing that for hours on Christmas Eve evening) and we still have two full days to go.

The food was delivered last night, later I will be in town picking up the few bits I forgot to order.

The cake has been sitting in all it’s white glory in the corner of the kitchen for a week.

Mince pies were made last night with more to follow tonight along with cocktail sausage rolls.

The tree is semi decorated

Pug is home from University

Statto will arrive on Christmas day with my mother.(Prodigal won’t be with us this year but we will see him on Boxing day).

Today I have to make sure that everything is ready for Wednesday as for me tomorrow will be a lost day.

Tomorrow (Christmas Eve) I shall be leaving the house by taxi at 6.15am to keep an important appointment with some very special people. People who instead of being at home with their own families are  making sure that people like me have the surgery that we need. I am only having a small procedure and should be home some time in the afternoon. However this does mean that I have no choice but to sit back and relax on Christmas day whilst Skater and Statto between them cook Christmas dinner with help from Pug and guidance from Grannie. (Owl will be on washing up duty).

Am I looking forward to Christmas day?

Yes with some reservations (I hate not having any control over what is happening).



I have been keeping track of the word count on my debut book but until now hadn’t given a lot of thought as to what my final word count target should be.

I have begun following this blogBreezy Books I found this post quite amusing. I’ll be dead by then

It got me thinking about my word count so here goes


Secrets of No 15  

Chapters as they currently stand

Helen   1259

Slugs   1419

Weasels   3864

running total  6542

Now if I set myself a target of 80000

That leaves me with  73458 words still to write

If I am to submit my work for this competition Richard and Judy search for a Best Seller I need to get writing to get the first 10.000 words completed in time .The deadline being 1st January realistically means before Christmas.

I shall endeavour to post an update of my progress weekly.


Here is a taster of what I have written so far:


Billy arrives at The Cricketers in an flap.
‘Hi Matt, sorry I’m a bit late, you would never guess in a million years what just
happened to me.’
‘Ok tell me but first what are you drinking? First round is on me.’
‘Umm I’ll have a pint of, no I can’t, it’ll have to be orange and lemonade heavy on the
ice please Jack.’
‘What ever is the matter with you drinking that on a Saturday?’
‘It’s only because I dropped Jake off in Chichester, and as it’s still raining I decided not
to take the car home first especially as I was already running late.’
‘Never mind you’re here now, sure you won’t have a half?’
‘No best not, Katie would kill me if I did.’
‘You could always leave your car here you dolt.’
‘Ok ok I know but I don’t fancy walking back today, any other day I would as you know.
I usually do walk. I might add.’
‘There’s an old couple sat in our normal corner shall we sit by the front window and
watch the idiots walking their dogs in the rain.’
The pair move over to a round table beside one of the four large bay windows
overlooking the village green.
‘What was it you were going to tell me?’

“What? When? I thought you had something to tell me.’

‘I do but that can wait, what were you going to tell me before I interrupted you with my
generous offer to buy you a drink.’
“Was I?’
‘Yes you were Billy, what is up with you today, you came in all excited saying I
wouldn’t guess what had happened to you. So?’
‘Oh um I don’t think it could have been that the weasels are having their practice in our
garage. Or that I had to take Jake in to town to meet up with some of his school mates.
Ah yes that was it. On the way here after dropping Jake off that’s when it happened.’

‘You got the weasels practising in your garage how did they sound now? Danny says
they are playing a gig at school on Friday in their lunch break, 50p entrance.’
‘I don’t think the band get any of that, it all goes into the school fund. I think half goes
towards new music equipment and the rest goes into the school charity fund. Any way
that was why I was late, I had to stop and call the police. Do you know how difficult it is
to get through to the right person to tell them to be quick. You get asked all these
questions about who you are and where you are. Heavens if it had been a real emergency
everyone would be dead before they got off the phone even.’
‘So what happened? Why did you need to call the police?’
‘What do you mean peacocks?’
‘Oh come on Matt you do know what they are don’t you?’
‘Of course I do, but what about them?’
‘In the road, two of them calm as you like just walking about in the road, never mind the
traffic. That’s why I stopped put my hazards on and called the police. Had to wait for
them to arrive, that’s why I was late.’
‘Where did they come from?’
‘I don’t know they weren’t talking peacocks so I couldn’t ask them’

‘Very funny ha ha, did the police have any idea?’
“Nope but they were calling RSPCA to collect them before they come to any harm, then
they were going to call all the big houses in the area to see if they knew anything.’


This business of writing seriously is complicated.

Because I have decided to expand my short story writing into something more I now have to think about who my characters are, give them each a profile.

Now I am starting to think about where I am setting it. Village, town, city. What should I call it etc. Building up a picture in my mind.

Another thing I have had to think about is what kind of book will this be, but I realise I have no choice, if I am to write what I am any good at it  will have to be humour.

I have not written any more since I wrote the first two scenes, but my mind is constantly working on building it.

One day I will get started on the story proper.

Less Rush

Today Owl and I went to the cinema together for the first time.

I had suggested it a few days ago and Owl booked the tickets yesterday. We were going to see the film Rush (set in 1970s) about James Hunt and Niki Lauda. I of course as an English teenager had adored James Hunt at the time.

We were both a little excited this morning, stupid I know, we were only going to the pictures, something other people do all the time. But to us it would be an adventure.

After a late brunch we set off. I couldn’t wait, neither could Owl. We collected our tickets, bought a bottle of water to share, found our seats and settled down to wait for the film to begin.


By the time we had sat through half an hour of adverts and trailers I was beginning to feel a little queasy. As the film progressed I was feeling worse. I tried closing my eyes and listening, which didn’t make much difference. I tried chewing on a mint, which did help briefly. An hour into the film I had to make my escape.

Having made the trip to the ladies still feeling unwell I sat on one of the comfortable chairs in the hall leading to the various screens. A young staff member asked if I was ok, she fetched a cup of iced water for me and asked if she could do anything else for me. (A  very helpful and pleasant young lady). After a while Owl came to see if I was ok. He offered to take me home but I insisted he continue watching the film. I sat where I was for sometime before making my way outside. I had just made my way back inside when I saw Owl coming towards me with my jacket in his hand. We had both wanted to have a walk around the marina and boardwalk but under the circumstances we went straight home.

I don’t think I shall be rushing back to the cinema again any time soon.


Well this week I have been thinking that I must be jinxed when it comes to computers. Not only have there been ongoing problems with my laptop. But the computer I use at work went wrong too. Is this just unlucky or is it something I have done, I don’t know and if it is then I have no idea what. I don’t recall doing anything different.

Any way an IT engineer was called in, nice guy, he is well liked by us. Not only did he fix my work computer but gave me some advice on how to sort out this laptop. I have followed his advice and now my laptop is in a much better way. One thing I had noticed last week first at home and then the morning my work computer went wrong, my search engine changed to Delta. I didn’t want to change search engine so did everything I could to revert to google. IT man told me this seems to have been happening for about 6 months. It gets onto your computer either in an email or with a download. Once there it will repeatedly direct you to its own searches. He told me that I have to uninstall it and delete cookies otherwise it will keep coming back. So after a bit of work I have got rid of it.

Now that I have gone back to basics with my reinstalled windows 7 I need to find a software program that I can use now that I no longer have microsoft office on my computer. I do not want to pay the price required to get it put back when I have paid for it once already.  I have been advised to install Open office. I have searched online and found a variety of sites offering this package. Each time I have attempted to download these I get so far only to discover that part of the package which is not possible to avoid is the DELTA toolbar. Now why on earth would I want to install this when I have gone to the trouble of erasing it from my computer.

So now I am looking for alternative ways to get an office software onto my computer without including Delta.

It is just typical that now I want to write I don’t have a program to write with.

I also have developed a jumping cursor. I am finding that unless I type slowly my words become scrambled as the cursor jumps around, which is a real pain as I have to keep unscrambling what I have written.

Does anyone know how to solve this?


Going through some old documents on my computer I came across this which I had forgotten I had written some 4.5 years ago……



The clatter of studded boots on concrete floors as the players spill out of the changing rooms, on to the open grass, heading towards their allocated pitch. Parents and other spectators standing in groups stamping feet rubbing gloved hands in an attempt to get a little warmer. Clutching flasks of tea or coffee for later.


Nets being hurriedly put up whilst managers and coaches go through the warm up exercises, practicing set pieces, corners, penalty shots and the rest. Numb fingers trying to collect money and write names onto official forms. The shouts of abuse from opposing sides sometimes friendly banter other times intimidation. Persuading one of the spectators to take up the flag and run up and down the side line keeping up with the run of play, taking the flack from spectators annoyed by his decisions.


The man or occasionally woman in the middle all dressed in black with whistle, note book and cards to hand. Good or bad he must be paid, his decisions unquestioned, rarely appreciated, isolated from the masses, a lonely figure, dedicated to the game.


Turning out no matter what the weather, cold and wet, freezing or hot, wind or snow.


These are the things I remember as I receive the text. ‘stay under duvet, game is off’


Turning over in my bed, snuggled in the warmth………that’s ok then.



This was remembering what my life had been like running a youth soccer club for several years, the memories being revived when I dated a local referee, I had planned to watch one of his matches but the ground was too frosty.