Friday, 28 September 2012

Call Me

A little over a month ago, I was talking about phone scams (Don't Call Me).

My brain is even slower than I thought. The right and correct way to handle it came to me earlier, not as predicted while in the shower, but as I was adding Marmite to toast (which is always a great activity to engage in, earth-shattering revelation or not).

This is how it will go.

            ‘Ma’am, it’s about your computer problem.’
            ‘Oh, thank you for ringing back so quickly. I just didn’t know what to do.’
            ‘That’s okay, ma’am, I’m here to help you. I’ll just need your password, then I can fix it all for you.’
            ‘Oh, that’s wonderful. Thank you so much.’
            ‘If I can take your password now, ma’am.’
            ‘Here we go. It’s Y for Yankee.’
            ‘O for Oscar.’
            ‘U for uniform.’
            ‘R for Romeo.’
            ‘E for echo.’
            ‘A for alpha.’
            ‘C for Charlie.’
            ‘U for uniform.’
            ‘N for November.’

Then they put the phone down.

At least that’s how I imagine it will go. Now I just need some sort of DeLorean-based time-travelling device so I can test it out.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Analyse This

I’m running. Not from a fearsome, drooling monster, but competitively. I’m in a bunch of four people and we’re at the front.

So far, so good.

Except I haven’t run in a week because I’ve injured my right knee. During the last seven days, I’ve also detected a distinct degradation in my decision-making skills. I now theorise that the right knee is the decision-making knee. Maybe we could test this theory with everyone smacking themselves in the right knee and then seeing if they can decide what to have for dinner. If you can’t inflict pain on yourself, get someone else to do it. Try annoying someone who’s been getting on your wick for a while but who you generally consider a bit too big and scary to irritate. I’m not sure how you get them to specifically inflict damage on your right knee, but I’m sure you’ll think of something.

Where were we? Oh right, the run. When the route deviates through a branch of Currys, I get a niggling suspicion that this may not be reality. Then the four of us come across a table around which are sat various members of our families. (An aunt, an uncle and a cousin for me – I can’t speak for the others, I don’t know them. Also, they’re not real.) I do a little bit of familial catching up, then I realise the other three runners have gone.

Dream-me turns out to have a sense of direction on a par with real-me. I end up running through hoards of shoppers, then my path is completely blocked by a man with an enormous trolley stacked with a couple of dozen assorted microwave ovens.

When I find the route again, the other three runners are long gone. The shoppers have made me lose the will to live, let alone run. Small children are overtaking me.

I come in 76th.

Friday, 14 September 2012

“When I grow up, I’m going to be an estate agents' bugbear.”

The above title is a line (as accurately as I remember it) from a book I read as a kid. I can’t remember which one. Probably something involving ponies (I couldn’t have one, so I read about people who did instead).

It stuck in my mind because I thought, yes, I’m going to grow up to be that sort of person too. I’d like to spend hours of my life nosing at houses that I have no intention of buying. It was a prediction worthy of Mystic Meg.

I wouldn’t go and bother actual estate agents, of course. That would involve leaving the house, talking to people, and being polite about curtains. The writer of the quote above can’t even have imagined how much more fun and accessible bugbearing could get, thanks to the internet.

I can easily lose half a day browsing houses. Mostly it’s aspirational, winning the lottery-type browsing. Once I find one I like, I get absorbed by the floor plan. Aren’t floor plans wonderful? I can spend half an hour imagining what each room would be used for, how my life would be lived in that house.

The lower end of the market (that’s the one in my price bracket) can be a bit disappointing. Occasionally I come across a photo of a vast, loft-type room and think, wow. Then I’ll see another photo of the property, of a room that contains some furniture, or white goods. Suddenly, I notice that there’s a microwave so wide it could cook an entire cow. Or there’s a bath so vast that one end is in a different time zone to the other.

Please stop stretching photos to make properties look bigger, estate agents. It spoils my bugbearing.

(And if anyone can tell me where the hell that quote comes from, I’d love to know.)


If you fancy reading a bit of fiction, I’ve added a new page to the blog – Books – where I’ll be listing my current books.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Please sir, no more!

I’ve just eaten my lunch (nothing unusual in that, I know – I’d eat lunch several times a day if I could).

I had a great big salad of lots of different leaves, griddled courgettes and toasted seeds with a vinaigrette dressing. It was very yum. It got me thinking, though, in a contrary sort of way, of the worst thing I’ve ever eaten.

When I was about 18 I was living in a bedsit. I wasn’t earning a lot, and what I did earn, after paying the rent, mostly ended up inside the pub’s till. Quite right, too, I was 18 after all.

Two days before payday one month, things were looking pretty desperate. Not only was there no money for the pub, but there was no money for food. I looked in what passed for a store cupboard in my bedsit. It contained some dried pasta, an onion and a bottle of brown sauce. I boiled some of the pasta and half of the onion. I drained it, plopped (this really is the right word, believe me) it on as plate, and topped it with a good drizzle of Daddies’ finest. It was honestly the most disgusting thing that I’ve ever eaten. And I’ve eaten at motorway service stations.

Do you know what the worst thing was? I spent all of the following day at work, with nothing to eat, knowing I had only that to look forward to again. It was so gross I almost didn’t bother, but hunger got to me in the end.

The following month, I didn’t learn my lesson. What I did learn though, was that my account allowed me to overdraw. It was Pot Noodles all the way.


I’ve released another short story this week. Holding Cells and Dragons is a short story featuring DC Dan Deanson. Dan has a problem when his friend, the one with the scaley tail, is suspected of a crime. He hopes he won’t have to arrest him. They don’t have cuffs big enough.

It’s available at Smashwords in formats for every ereader, and Amazon (UK), Amazon (DE), Amazon (FR), Amazon (US), Amazon (IT) and Amazon (ES) for Kindle.