I’m feeling a little bit cranky

I suppose your all feeling very smug, aren’t you?

Everyone back home in the UK I’m talking to.

Yes, you!

Enjoy your extra hour in bed did you?

I bet you did!

Me, being over here in the USA didn’t have that little luxury, did I? Oh no indeedy.

Normally I wouldn’t be too miffed. I mean you’ll lose it again come next spring won’t you. Oh and how you’ll moan then? Yes you will, because it always happens. The papers will be full of it. ‘What’s the point?’ ‘Only the bloody farmers want it’ ‘It’s all due to Brexit,’ that sort of thing. The trouble is that so will I, without the benefit of this years gain.

But do I get sympathy now? 

No, nothing. Because you’ve got an extra hour of coveted beauty sleep, that’s why. Not you of course madam, (let’s face it that’d take a damn sight longer). Sorry, dear? No nothing. We were just talking amongst ourselves, weren’t we folks. (I don’t think she knows actually, if I see her coming I cover the mirrors).

Now you can say it’s my fault for being on holiday. Blame me, yes it’s all my own fault. But I feel that I’m being unfairly penalised here.

What’s that? Why?

Because I’m not getting it back am I, that’s bloody why.

I’ll get on the flight home and at some point in mid Atlantic an extra hour will just get tacked on. It won’t be commented on or noted in any way. If I do happen to get 40 winks on the plane I won’t wake feeling refreshed and grateful for the precious gift I haven’t actually been given. I’ll just be jet-lagged and cranky.

Cranky, yes. A bit like now, thank you for pointing that out.

Let’s face it I won’t ever get it back will I? It’s not as if I had a receipt, could take it back to the shop and say, ‘this hour is faulty, can you please replace it in accordance with my statutory rights?’

And yes I take your point. On a long haul flight every minute does indeed seem like a week and by that reasoning I’ll gain at least eight years, but those are eight years of red eyed purgatory. You’ve just had one hour luxuriating in your pit. There’s a difference.

It doesn’t matter that you’re not tired, does it. You could use it constructively. Stare at the ceiling, mentally putting the world to rights. 

Have breakfast in bed for once.

That sort of thing.

Pardon madam? You’re feeling a bit unfulfilled yourself? Why? Well never mind, next time make sure the batteries are fully charged! 

Wha..? Her phone was flat, the alarm didn’t go off and she missed the whole ‘extra hour’ thing entirely. Honestly you lot! Mind you thinking about things like that perhaps having a bit more time we could even have – pardon – oh thanks a lot! Kate says I normally manage that in thirty seconds! 

Anyway, writing this has given me time to come up with a solution. 

I know exactly what to do now.

I’m coming back here at the end of March to not lose my hour then instead.

So stick that in your pipe and smoke it! We’ll see who’s cranky then shall we?

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Send the cavalry

So I’ve swapped Misty and Milly for a couple of weeks for their American cousins. That’s Henry (the small white one) and Murphy (the bigger brown one).


Pardon?
I don’t think that they bark with American accents, no.

Anyway… Sorry, what!?

No they don’t walk on the wrong side of the path either. And before you start again let’s not get into the whole potato, potarto/ tomato, tomarto argument o.k. We’d be here all day.

As I was about to say, I’ve been taking the lads out for a walk. In the morning, when it’s cooler – sorry, I just had to get that dig in. Is it raining back home? Oh dear!

But. And as so many things are over here, this is a big BUT. No, with one ‘T’, dear – there is a difference. Can I carry on now? Thank you.

But, when me and the girls go out in dear old Blighty we usually venture down the cut – oh, apologies again, that’s a Black Country phrase meaning ‘along the canal towpath’ – the most dangerous thing we are likely to encounter is a slightly miffed duck, annoyed because we haven’t brought it some bread.

Here in Fulshear, Texas, the new housing estates tend to be surrounded by water. Like a moat around a castle. And very picturesque it is too. Egrets stand by the bank looking all, well egrety actually, the banks are lush green grass, fountains fount. Lovely.


Hold on. What’s this? A sign. Let’s just take a look… WTF!


I thought those ripples in the middle were a bit big for any sort of fish I’ve ever seen the fishermen of England drag out of the Staffordshire and Worcester canal. And although the grass is neatly trimmed for the first foot or so, isn’t that long grass a bit too close to the path? Dogs don’t hiss over here, do they? And what ‘other wild life’? Mice? Raccoons? Grizzly’s? The sign’s not very specific is it. I mean I went to Alaska once and believe you me bears really do shit in the woods. I came across some (bear shit not bears). It was still steaming. It was probably still steaming in the extremely short period of time it took me to hurtle back to a place of safety.

Well, I mean! Honestly! These are new estates. What are they trying to do? It must be the modern day equivalent of getting the covered wagons into a defensive circle in case of attack and the 7th cavalry aren’t around for protection. Any enemy of note isn’t about to come crawling through the grass to pinch the barbecue while you’re not looking are they? No one’s likely to swim across the lake to have an illicit bounce on your trampoline are they?

And what if poor Fido goes missing. Slips out of the back gate or a hole in the fence in the middle of the night. Are you going to go looking? Too right – nor me matey! One wrong move could be fatal. Stick your foot in a puddle accidentally and the next thing you know you’re doing the death roll tango with a ten foot reptile! The only thing you’ll find of your best friend the next day is a tuft of fur and some frightened poo. Leave well alone, that’s what I say.

Next time me and the boys go out hiking I shall take a lot more notice when they start to bark in whatever regional accent they’re using. For all I know they’re shouting, ‘Big scaley thing with teeth. And his tail ain’t wagging.’

You can buy guns here you know. 

Excuse me – I’m just popping down to Walmart for an AK47.

Land of the acronym

So here I am another year older. I am now officially as old as God’s dog. Bloody hell, who’d have thought it? There are, of course, people older than me who would scoff and call me a spring chicken. And they would be quite justified in that. But just let me have a little reminisce before the ageing process goes too far and I end up in some depressing institution dribbling into my soup.

Yesterday – the day of the sixty second anniversary of my birth – I was lucky enough to spend at COTA. Yes, I’m in the good old U,S of A, land of the acronym ruled over by POTUS and FLOTUS. From listening to some over here the former could stand for President Orange, Totally Useless Shit. Others may have it as, Prosperity Over Trumps Utopian States. Just depends who you listen to. It’s a bit like Brexit without other countries being involved.

Anyway – COTA – Circuit Of The Americas, for those who don’t know about such things. Yes, I treated myself to the American Formula One Grand Prix. I’m over here visiting family, so it would be rude not to really, wouldn’t it. So resplendent in Red Bull team shirt and cowboy hat I ventured forth. In the rain! Now I should explain that when it rains here it does actually rain. It comes down all at once in galvanised buckets. Before you know it you’re up to your wheel trims in water. Pardon? No of course we don’t walk anywhere, that’s just not the American way. 


As luck would have it once we reached the circuit, God’s dog must have been looking down. The skies cleared, the sun shone and apart from Max Verstappen being cruelly robbed at the end I thoroughly enjoyed my treat.

Which led me to thinking. Over the years, who stand out in the memory as sportsmen I have seen in the flesh. No, not naked madam, I’m not some sort of changing room voyeur. It’s a bit like those lists you get on Facebook. I’m sure you have your own. These are mine.

Top of the list has to be The Holy Trinity. Yes, Best, Law and Charlton all on the pitch at the same time. I have to say that most of my footballing experiences were down at West Bromwich Albion’s ground. Back in the day that was hard enough to get to, let alone what must surely have been a three day trek to Old Trafford. Strangely they drew two apiece. United were losing in the first half two – nil. At half time Matt Busby must have said give the ball to George. They did, and someone sprinkled magic football dust on the ground. Bestie swayed and shimmied as only he could. Law headed in and Bobby Charlton struck a ball (not the flimsy plastic things of today) from twenty yards out which hit the back of the net like a thunderbolt.

At the same ground I saw that other trinity, albeit individually, Hurst, Moore and Peters. In another two all draw I witnessed first hand why Martin Peters was called ‘The Ghost.’ Across came the ball, no one was there until I swear that a trap door opened in the ground, out popped our man and headed home.

Cricket. Ah yes. On Saturday mornings Dad went to work. In doing so he had to pass Edgbaston, home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club. He’d throw me out on the way and pick me up coming back. I saw the legend which was Godfrey Evans playing for the Cavaliers in the swan song of his wicket keeping career. Other great names from the past, the two Fred’s, Trueman and Titmus, Bob Willis, Dennis Amis, Farouk Engineer, Gary Sobers. So many, but the one that stood out for me was the great West Indies player, Clive Lloyd. I always loved watching him, such a charismatic figure and I even played my own part in a test match, England v West Indies. The match, on Saturday as usual, was underway. All was going well until play was suddenly stopped. The crowd began to boo and jeer. I could make out cries of ‘sit down!’ through the din. Clive Lloyd was waving his arms, seemingly in my direction. Some idiot, it appeared, had wandered in front of the sight screen – a huge white board which shielded the ball from the crowd so that the batsman could see it coming. ‘How was the match?’ asked Dad when he picked me up. ‘Great.’ I replied, wondering if I blushed as much then as I had when I sat down with indecent haste that sunny afternoon.

At Cosford in 1981, Sebastian Coe broke the world indoor 800m record. I was there with my Dad and brother. Dad had been a racing cyclist in his youth. Both of them ran marathons for ‘fun.’ That gene thankfully missed me!

And so, back to the Grand Prix, at Zandvoort in the era of Mansell and Senna but perhaps more memorably my first at Brands Hatch, not perhaps for the race but for getting there. My Morris 1000 broke down on the way, but after a quick pit stop (and hastily joining the AA) I arrived in time to see Emerson Fittipaldi beat Jackie Stewart. The next year at Silverstone nearly half the field were taken out when Jody Scheckter crashed at the end of the first lap. What names though! Some still here but most long gone in pursuit of their sport. Hill, Peterson, Lauda, Hulme , Amon, Reutemann, Revson, Oliver, Ickx, Cevert and the never to be forgotten Jean-Pierre Beltois if only for the fact that I got his autograph even though I had no idea who he was, except that he must be a driver because he wore overalls.

So – thanks for the birthday wishes and allowing a sad old git to reminisce for a bit. 

I wonder what I’ll do next?

Oh, oh, oh it’s magic…

It’s a strange thing when you have too much time on your hands. The things that go through your mind I mean.

Take now for instance. I’m on a plane.

I’ve been sat in more or less the same position for nigh on 3 1/2 hours and I’m likely to do so for a further 5 1/2. Despicable Me 3 has just finished and you get to thinking,

1. Should I go to the loo, just for something to do?

2. When are they feeding me again?

3. What the bejasus is holding this thing in the air?

I know, I know – you can get all scientific on me.

You can tell me about differential air pressure until you’re blue in the face.

Yes, and thrust too madam. I thought you might put your twopennorth in!

But it’s me sitting here over the wing and believe you me, there’s very little between the underside of the aerilon (or whatever that flappy thing is called) and the tip of bloody Greenland as far as I can see.

And 39000 feet straight down looks pretty far at the moment, I can tell you.

Between us and Arsuk (it’s true, Google it. What an unfortunate postal address that is! Where do you live? Arsuk. Well I only asked!) there is air. A lot of it admittedly, but it’s not exactly heavy. We breath the stuff in and out constantly and it doesn’t take a great deal of effort. Can it really hold up God knows how many tons (yes I know it’s tonnes but we’re going to the USA. And anyway, after Brexit do we get our measurements back?) of aircraft, fuel, cargo and us poor bloody passengers?
Furthermore, have you had the chance to study an aeroplane wing in detail?


No? Nor me until now. Honestly I’ve seen more sheet steel in your average bus shelter. 

And rivets! Don’t talk to me about rivets! I used rivets in metalwork at school once. Not the sturdiest of fixings in my opinion.

Pardon? Yes, that was rather a long time ago, thank you for pointing that out.

As I was saying I have used the odd rivet in various metallurgical disasters and they do in my experience tend to shear as soon as you look at them. Yes, I know that there are rather a lot of them dotted about the aerodynamic surfaces, but personally and particularly now that my mind is working overtime, I would have preferred to see row upon row of nice half inch diameter bolts. In super high tensile steel!

So what is it holding us up?

I’ve had a lot of time to think.

And I have come to the conclusion that there is only on possible logical answer.

It’s magic.

I hate to mention it, but there’s another vote coming up…

Hello again.
Nice to see you.
Oh sorry – I really didn’t mean to do that in a Bruce Forsyth voice.
I’m not good at impressions.
What?
You’d noticed.
Thanks.
Anyway, how are things with you?
Really?
Oh dear.
They’re protruding by how much!?
Surely you can get some cream for that?
I should ask the chemist.
Pardon?
How am I?
Well funny you should ask.

It’s like this, remember the…

What did you say?
Look, I know you were only asking out of politeness and didn’t really want an answer, but I thought that seeing as you brought it up…

Remember the play wot I wrote…

No, now you mention it, I know I can’t ‘do‘ Ernie Wise either, but this play thing…

Not the one I did for the radio, no. It turns out that the BBC don’t posterknow a good thing when it’s staring them in the face – bastards!

I was talking about pm. com, the one that I wrote for the stage.
Yes, it was a few years ago, I’m glad you remember.
Well I only got someone to go and do it!

Yeah!
How about that then?
Honestly – I’ve never seen anyone so underwhelmed.
I thought you might be pleased.

Sorry, you thought what?
That it would just be,’something else for me to keep banging on about.

There’s no need!

But let me finish telling you, ‘cos you’ll never guess what.
I’m in it!
Cool or what?
In a purely am-dramish sort of way.
So I’m line learning.

I knew you’d say that!
Just because I wrote it doesn’t mean that I know it off by heart, no.
I have to practice my art.
Now I’m a thespian.
Getting used to the smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd.
Of course I couldn’t compare myself to Burton or Gielud, well not yet anyway.

Arise Sir Dave, I can picture it now.
Me and Madge.
Her with a sword in her hand.
What do you mean, ‘you wish you had a sword right now‘?
I’ll take that to mean that you don’t want a ticket then.

They’re only three pounds.
I know – cheap as chips!
I’ve got friends on Facebook see.
Surprising as that sounds, yes I have.
And I was thinking that if any of them, in say Oz or Trumpton, fancied popping across for the evening that the low price of entry may be of benefit.
Help out with the air fare.
And the airport taxes.
See how thoughtful I am?

Now there was no call for name calling, ‘one act short of a scene!
Honestly, some people.

Afraid that we can’t put them up though.
My mate Nige is coming over from Ludlow and he’s already claimed the couch. Perhaps you could help by…

Oh! I see. They can **** right off to where?

Isn’t that the chain Lenny Henry advertises?

17342786_10154627669764086_1081957200397871344_n

Anyway, it’s a political drama – of a sort.
About the ‘Countrywide Reform Alliance Party.
Well in these days of uncertainty and surprise after Brexit, Trump and Leicester City, I thought it best to concentrate on the issues that concern us all.
The cost of beer and football admission prices for example – that sort of thing. Hard hitting and factual.

Pardon?

It spells what!

Perhaps I’d better have a rethink then, eh?

Be careful what you wish for…

Oh, hello, nearly missed you there – huddled up the corner like that.
Do you want me to..?
No.
Oh, o.k.
Well I’ll just sit here for a bit if you don’t mind.
No, I won’t say anything.
I’ll be nice and quiet.

Dum, de dum de dum.
Pardon?
Oh sorry, I didn’t realise I was humming, no.
Nor drumming my fingers on the table.
I’ll just…
Humming and drumming. Heh! I made a rhyme.
Oops!
Sorry again.
Yes – quietly.
Like a church mouse, eh?

Did you do it?
No, I know we agreed, but I was just curious.
About that thing you said you were going to do.
The New Year resolution, yes.
That.
Did you!
Really!
And how did that work out then?
Oh dear!
Still, at least you tried.
Well yes, I suppose if you had a pound off everyone who said that you would be very rich indeed.

And you never know it might grow back.
Eventually.

No wonder you look a bit…
I’m concerned that’s all.
I do consider you to be one of my best…
Oh.
Right.
Not if I were the last person where?
On Earth.
Oh dear.

Do you suppose that if the New Year thing had turned out better you might, you know, have had a bit of a, shall we say, rosier outlook on things.
And people, yes.

Well I suppose it’s a perfectly reasonable reaction.
Do you think you’ll try again?
If at first you don’t succeed and all that.
Oh!
Well can’t you make a new one?
Or claim on the insurance?
Oh it wasn’t.
That’s tricky.
But it was yours wasn’t it?
Really!
He’s not going to be best pleased is he?
Have you told him?
Well sooner the better I’d say.
Get it over with.
Give him the abridged version.
No need for all the nasty details.
Least said, soonest mended and all that.
Sorry!
Sorry.
Just an unfortunate turn of phrase.
No I know you can’t physically mend it.
Not when it’s in that many pieces anyway.
No!
Really?
Well I don’t know what temperature that stuff melts at but the flames must have been really fierce.
Who’d have thought…
Well I know you never did, obviously.
Otherwise you wouldn’t have…
Would you?

So what did the police say?
Now let’s get this straight.
They were here anyway.
Because the neighbours had already complained.
So they saw it happen?
Well that’s handy.
Can’t ask for better witnesses that that then.
They got what?
An ambulance each!
Gosh!

Yes I did hear the sirens.
And see the flashing blue lights.
I did wonder what was going on, but I never thought…

Tell you what though, look on the bright side.
Yes, of course, there’s always a positive spin if you search hard enough.
Well if you give me a chance I’ll tell you.

Come here and I’ll whisper.
No I don’t want everyone to know.
Lean this way a bit more.
That’s it.
Ready?

Just think of it like this.
Only 365 days and you can have another go!

OW!
That wasn’t very nice!
I wish I hadn’t asked now!

Blogging Away – Louise Wise author of ‘Wide Awake Asleep.’

Let me take you forward in time.
It’s Christmas Day.
You’ve eaten way too much.
Hold on, you didn’t have sprouts did you? Did you!
Oh dear!
You’ve watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special and stood to attention whilst Madge has told us how horriblius her annus has been again.
On Boxing Day you’ve queued for ages to get to the local mall, only to find that thing you wanted hasn’t been included in the sale.
You’ve got back home to find that you have to sit through all of the Back To The Future films – in reverse order.
And – hang on, what’s this!
You’ve got Tuesday off too.
What you going to do now then?
Well I don’t know about you but after these time travelling analogies I’m going to be downloading Louise Wise’s new book, Wide Awake Asleep.

And here to tell you about it in the first of a new series that I’m going to call, ‘Blogging Away,’ because it works on so many levels, is Louise herself – another Midlands author. I mean, the talent just flows out of this place doesn’t it..!

 

‘Past events can be changed but one must be careful of how one does it because it’ll impact on the rest of one’s life.’—Dáire Quin, Modify your Destiny if you Must, 2003

No one saw Julie’s car leave the road, no one saw her crash into the watery ditch, no one saw the gnarled tree branch pierce through the window screen and impale her to her seat.
No one heard her screams.
Yet, this was the beginning of Julie’s life.

Julie Compton, is a forty-something woman, striving for success in a male dominated business world. She thinks she’s made it. She thinks she has it all. Trouble is, her destiny has been travelling in the wrong direction and Julie is now forced to relive her life by occupying people’s bodies from her past in a time-travel, paranormal adventure.

For readers who enjoyed books like ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ and ‘The Lovely Bones’.

Universal link: http://bookShow.me/B01N2QW3VX

UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wide-Awake-Asleep-where-expect-ebook/dp/B01N2QW3VX/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1481118398&sr=1-7&keywords=louise+wise

America link: https://www.amazon.com/Wide-Awake-Asleep-where-expect-ebook/dp/B01N2QW3VX/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1481118460&sr=8-4&keywords=louise+wise

wide-awake-asleep-cover-medium-web

Excerpt from WIDE AWAKE ASLEEP – a paranormal, time travel romance.

Disorientated, I looked around at my surroundings. I had the strange feeling that I wasn’t here at all. I thought I heard a voice, and I cocked my head, but it was carried away on a gust of wind. The feeling of hands touching my body subsided and I was left in this paradox universe where I was me inside someone else’s body.

I looked down at myself and the first thing I saw was a plaid skirt, and thick tights, which sagged at the knees and ankles.

My heart began to beat in horror. No, no. Please, God, no.

My hands touched the stained cardigan over my large droopy breasts. Up further to my face…

My hands recoiled.

I felt a moustache!

I gasped in horror. I was ‘Auntie’ Iris Grimshaw!

It was bad enough being goofy Sarah Marshall, but now I had a moustache! And a bloody monobrow!

Iris began to walk, and I felt a sharp pain in my hip. I slowed, but the pain persisted. It shot down my left leg every time my foot touched the ground. No wonder the old sod was grouchy.

 

Louise Wise is a British author. She lives in the Midlands with her husband and four sons, and works as a pharmacy technician.

Her debut novel is the acclaimed sci-fi romance EDEN, which was followed by its sequel HUNTED in 2013.

Her other works include A PROPER CHARLIE (romantic comedy), OH NO, I’VE FALLEN IN LOVE! (dark, comedy romance), and SCRUFFY TRAINERS (a collection of short stories). She has written numerous short stories for women’s magazines including Women’s Own and Take a Break.

Her latest novel, WIDE AWAKE ASLEEP, has just been released. In this novel, she has mixed time travel and romance with her on-going theme of isolation and loneliness.

Links:

Website: http://louisewise.website

Email: wiselouise@gmail.com

Books: http://amzn.to/1Ne7KX0

 

I enjoyed The Time Travelers’s Wife. Can’t beat a bit of Nifen.., Niffenbi.., Nibig.., Audrey. So that’s me with my feet up at Christmas then.

Who said ‘no change there!’

There’s no need!

Have a great Christmas everyone!

Me and Misty are going for a walk now. Yes we are. Go and get your lead. Yes and your ball. No you don’t need a stick too! Oh, do you? Come on then. No – we’re going this way, we went that way yesterday…