A Few Local Difficulties

Thurs 7 June : About a Boat
Oh dear, there’s tension in the air chez nous. In this lovely weather with flat calm seas a young-at-heart man’s thoughts turn to sailing. Tom thinks of sleepy havens where we drop the hook and sip a few glasses of something cold. I’ll be writing very productively in my notebook and he’ll be pulling up a couple of fresh mackerel for lunch. All very civilised (unless of course you happen to be unlucky enough to be one of the very rare mackerels Tom actually manages to catch). Unfortunately I have a few bad memories to contend with before I reach this stage such as huge rolling seas and, on one occasion, being so sick that I wet my knickers as well. Charming.

There is also the very slight problem that our poor old wooden boat is laid up in a yard with serious injuries after being damaged in a severe storm. It’s a bit ironic really. We kept her at Fishguard harbour, which is considered very tricky in certain conditions, for years without a scratch but only a couple of months after moving her to a nearer, allegedly safer haven she was scuppered!

After weeks of procrastination, since neither of us can face the devastation on what was our floating home, we decide we can’t put the moment off any longer. Dear God what a mess we find! There is oily water everywhere, carefully stowed food supplies have bulged and oozed into the mix with even the most innocent ingredients like black pepper fermenting into a mephitic stink. Cushions and curtains, made by moi, are thick with slime and our collection of dear old boat books are ruined.

While our hearts sink at the enormity of the task ahead Tom spies activity across the yard. It’s been a long-term plan of his to own a motor sailer, a boat that you can sail but has a nice big engine with a bit of poke for when you need to get out of trouble. There is one such boat for sale in the yard and, look, here are the owners!

In no time at all we are standing on the deck of the motor sailer, our sad wooden boat forgotten. Tom’s eyes are shining and as soon as we’re alone he turns to me excitedly and says ‘What do you think?’

My answer, putting it bluntly, is that I think I’d like to know where the magic beans are that turn into money since I would dearly like some new glasses, a spare pair of contact lenses and, by the way, my running bra, I’m ashamed to admit, is about to celebrate its fifth birthday!! Alas, this is not the correct answer and prompts a mega-sulk which I try to ignore.

Saturday 8 June: Happy Dead Flowers to You!
Living in the sticks means, as many of you know, being heavily reliant on the internet when it comes to sending gifts to friends who are far away. I’d used Asda to send flowers to my sister on her anniversary and she assured me that they’d arrived in perfect condition and had lasted well. So I had no qualms about using them again when I wanted to send my lovely friend Hazel some flowers. Yes well I won’t be doing that again! Poor old Hazel received a lovely bunch of mouldy blooms for her birthday! Just what every girl wants.

Sunday 9 June: This Wheel’s on Fire (and so is something else)
After a full and frank financial discussion there is a temporary truce on the boat front. In the meantime Tom is servicing both bikes. A keen cyclist himself he is eager for me to share the delights and I am heartened by thoughts of freewheeling through the country lanes. When my bike’s raring to go I have a little practise in our road and attract the attentions of a neighbour’s small boy who is so alarmed by what he sees that he feels compelled to rush out and give me a few lessons.

Monday 10 June
Up at the crack of doom we head off for a ‘gentle’ six-mile cycle. By the time we finish I have terminal hay fever, my eyes and nose are streaming and my backside is on fire.

Tuesday 11 June
Has anyone been crippled by their buttocks? It’s a question that really bothers me as I try to sit up in bed only to find that someone’s attached a couple of cricket balls to my bottom in the night. Dragging myself up, I limp to the bathroom and run a hot bath to try to soak the pain away. It’s late afternoon before I can sit down with any sort of nonchalance… reminds me of how I felt after giving birth and it’s not a good feeling

And finally…
1) A crumb of news on the book front. Apparently if ‘Fighting The Tide’ had been ‘instantly rejectable’ I would have heard by now. I don’t know whether to be pleased or thrown into despair… how will I cope if it’s turned down now?

2) I’m both delighted for and envious of Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams, the writers of ‘Tunnels’ billed as ‘the next big thing’ by Barry Cunningham who ‘discovered’ Harry Potter. With advances of over £500,000 the pair sounded refreshingly taken aback on the ‘Today’ programme this morning. N.B. Jane – send ‘Walker’ in now!

3) Stepson Two is twenty-one this Friday but he won’t be celebrating just yet as his band, Clocks, are currently recording their first album. With a Glastonbury performance ahead, a full release single in August and other exciting projects in the pipeline he’s more than answered those who raised their eyebrows when he took special leave from Cambridge to pursue his musical career. Happy Birthday Tom, we’re so pleased for you.

Hwyl fawr!

The painting is 'Ceibwr' by Tom Tomos


Elizabethd said…
Good for tom! I gather to be de rigeur at Glastonbury this year you have to take a Cath Kidston tent. Things have changed!
I remeber doing jogging at colelge and leaping out of bed next morning only to find that having doen so I could go no further as my bottom and thighs had waht seemd to be rogour mortis!

Keep thinking positive thoughts about your book all will be well!!on the other hand if it sells millions do you really want him to buy a motorcruiser with your proceeds!!
Crystal Jigsaw said…
What a wonderful achievement on the book front. I wake up each morning, ambition still well and truly alive and find myself wondering where the day went before I close my eyes at night. I really must do something about it, people like you are an inspiration. Crystal x
countrymousie said…
I wish I was young enough for Glastonbury so I could have one of those flowery tents.
At least I will know who Clocks are if anyone asks. I know Charlie Simpson's mum so now I know another rock star mum!! My street cred will be sky high.
No idea what the cricket ball bum is - sounds very nasty!
When you get your advance - I am sure you will - you can get a gin palace all of your own! We can all have a get together on it. love mousie
Suffolkmum said…
Love Mousie's comments - I'm equally impressed by 'knowing' who Clocks are now. So glad that hope might be flickering quietly on the book front ...
annakarenin said…
I have been mackeral fishing in my dad's boat when it was sea worthy and I loved it, but that was probably because there was loads of them about and I also love eating them. Shame about the disaster though all that mess and to lose all your things.

Hubs wants to gets bikes so we can do more things with the oldies I am no sports person and not terribly keen but might be nice way to see countryside which is pretty good around here (the Forest of Dean)

Well done Tom having such success with his band as it can't be easy.
I am sure it will rub off on you and your book.

Faith said…
Goodness woman treat yourself to a new running bra or you will have cricket ball boobs too!!
LittleBrownDog said…
The chap who taught me sailing (many moons ago) now lives in Fishguard - wonder whether you've crossed bows (or whatever sailors do). I've many less-than-fond memories of being hauled up over the transom after capsize practice.

Fingers still crossed about the book!
Exmoorjane said…
You are one brave woman. I have a bike but it remains quietly forgotten in the stables (bereft of horses)....But I do have this faint idea of trying to cycle again when we move...that old refrain.
Boats and men. What can I say? Adrian would love a boat. I slap my thighs and chortle: 'Yup, great, kill us all why not?' He is a crap sailor.

My old school was Nonsuch High School for Girls in Cheam... a very uptight grammar school where I learned lots of Latin and ritual humiliation on the sports field. I try not to think about it.

Ah, Barry Cunningham. I did indeed send him Walker - some years back - and he wrote back saying he thought it wasn't a children's book at all, but an adult one. I sometimes ponder that. Can you imagine it though - a VAST advance?! Oh bliss incarnate.
Still keeping all crossed for you - do wish they'd hurry up as I'm getting cramp! jxxxxx
I remember cycling around the main Aran isle (Ireland) first time on a cycle in 25+ years ...that feeling is so well described!
Everything crossed for the book (and the poor boat)
elizabethm said…
Mm, boats. We learned to sail about eight years ago, sort of, and have toyed with the idea of getting a boat and keeping it in conwy. Bearing in mind how little time we seem to have for the house/garden/family the chances of our getting out on one are slim so this keeps us from taking the plunge. Ian just reads sailing magazines in bed at night instead. I'm afraid I have never got on with bikes. got rid of mine when we came here as had not ridden it for about nineyears, despite much gentle encouragement.
impressed with achievements on the music front (and book? ssh)
liz fenwick said…
Men and boats.......mine has continual baot envy. Hang in there on the book - but I know how tough that is :-)
Woozle1967 said…
When we bought our new bikes last year, J decided we would "just go round the block, love". First outing of the year. Around 6 miles too. Had to get off and lie on the grass verge half way round - we forgot to take water and my tongue was like a piece of leather!! Oh and my bum! Don't go there.

Fingers still crossed on the book front.xx
Pondside said…
Boating, biking, bras, books - a blog with everything!
I think your response to the 'should we buy it?' look was a magnificent example of self control.
I hope the big fat advance letter comes soon!
KittyB said…
Good luck on the book front. I would join the novel race but I've only done two paragraphs and lots of scribbling in a notebook. Got lots of characters but no plot and I can't do dialogue so am a bit stuck.
Band sounds very cool - never been to Glastonbury, wish I'd done it when I was young enough not to mind tents and mud!
Nice pic - very flattering!
DevonLife said…
Oh I am so impressed by stepson's music career. My best friend's partner is a 'famous' rock musician (famous to some, means nothing to others) and so myself reap the rewards of his success by using their London home as a hotel. Tell him to keep at it and he'll keep you in boats til the ends of time.

You HAVE GOT TO GO to Glastonbury to cheer him on. Couldn't resist the capitals as it is so exciting.
Cait O'Connor said…
Bicycles, books, bras, bottoms and boats. Love that.
Good luck with them all.
Ouch to the cricket ball bottom. Fingers still crossed on the book front and Glastonbury - wow - I have never actually been.
Hi Chris...just a little question about your neck of the woods...Brian John? the Angel stories ...had to come on holiday every year for five years to get the next one! Not readily available 100 miles away! Anyway has he written anything since?...in the same vein?
Thanks SBS
Thanks Chris...have tried Amazon..he's not there...will have to now persuade rest of family we need another long weekend in Pembrokeshire...for our health of course tee hee...just so I can find a book. When HE comes to YOUR book launch do tell the pesky man he has cost me five holidays and it looks like another on the way just to find his books! Loyalty or wot?
Milla said…
continued finger crossing going on here for your book!!!
Inthemud said…
Good for Tom!
Evie's off to Glastonbury , she'll have her birthday whilst there on Thursday.

Um I get very sea sick, can't cope at all in a boat unless water is like glass. Never been fishing in a boat only from river bamk.
Hi Chris..me again ..thanks for the link info...unfortunately only into the Angel saga with new covers on...almost bodice ripping pictures ...not like mine..BOOKS not BODICEs for goodness sake! I have got all the 'Angels' and just wondered 'wot came next' so to speak...because if he was trundling out a book a year when doing the Angels ..how did he just stop after? But don't put yourself out any more ...as if I needed an excuse to get back to Pembs...still got to persude the family they need a trip..will work on it. Thanks for all that.
Pipany said…
Where have you gone, Chris? Any news on the book yet? xx
Thanks for the welcome, it's great to be part of the Novel Racers!
sally's chateau said…
We simply MUST know all about Glastonbury !
Zinnia Cyclamen said…
Here's hoping that crumb turns into the full cake. Am here on a semi-official visit from the novel racers to say thanks for your support for the race.
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