A word from Mrs Grumpy-Grumpison

I’ve been a right old Grotbags this week. After the excitement of an imminent offer on our house at the end of last week which failed to materialise after our prospective buyer’s sale fell through, it was back to the trauma of showing folks round. ‘Oh, we’re cool about the social housing opposite,’ say the latest couple. I point out that the ‘social’ houses are affordable homes for key workers namely one teacher, one deputy head and a local government officer, but I can see they’re not convinced. A little later the estate agent phones to tell me that the couple like the house but ‘can’t say’ why it’s not for them. Well, I can. People, do your homework first and get real! The fact is that even in this part of the world you will not get a house this size and six acres of land in the middle of nowhere unless you have a much bigger budget or a time machine. Grrr!

Key worker homes are out then. But what about chickens? Surely it’s nice to have a few chickens in the garden? Well, yes – but not if the chickens don’t belong to you. Next-door’s hens have worked out that there’s a gap in the wire which leads to the paradise that is our garden. Whilst I don’t mind a few hens clucking about the place, Tom absolutely loathes them. But what I’m not terribly keen on is the amount of chicken-poo piling up around the place. I particularly don’t like it when I scoop some up on my skipping rope whilst having a little work out. Skipping is quite enough exercise on its own so I can do without the extra excitement of dodging flying chicken muck.

And talking of poo, I’m currently at that really horrid stage with novel#2 when it feels like our wormery. You add lots of good ingredients in anticipation of a glorious end product and forget you have to go through the stage where all you’ve got is the most disgusting mess. The only answer is to keep the process going. Sooner or later some alchemy starts to work and you get a tiny glimpse of magic and, in my case, cheer up immediately and feel wonderful. So, for Tom’s sake, I’d better get back to it...

Before I go we’re blogging on the subject of research over at Choc Lit’s Author Corner this week for anyone who’s ever wondered what you have to do to make your book feel real!

Painting is 'Coast near Dinas' by Tom Tomos


Calico Kate said…
I was away in New York then returned to the top of your blog to discover that you'd posted another one! Have thoroughly enjoyed catching up. At last BT have been kind enough to grant us broadband and as it is raining outside and so now chance of me going out in it to do gardening I am thoroughly enjoying my blog catch up. Oh lucky you to meet the divine Frances, I am so pleased she is as nice as I think she is! And HOW EXCITING to get your book in print! I am off to preorder and read first chapter etc. Though I too should be doing OU stuff, but am uptodate with the Life writing chapter at the mo. Are you doing the Advanced CW? Is it hard??!
Thank you for popping by to my blog recently I do appreciate it and thank you for your lovely comments.
Preseli Mags said…
Hello Grotbags, Grumpy No-Pants here! Commiseration over the house sale. How frustrating.

I can empathise over the chicken poo, except in our case is the farm cats who have discovered that the playbark under the swings and slide makes a perfect litter tray. At least you've got the possibility of free eggs from your poopers!

As for the novel Hemingway said his were always sh*t for the first draft, so you're in excellent company. To get gorgeous blooms you need good old manure!
Cottage Garden said…
Thank you Chris for your comments while I was taking my 'blog break'. I wish I could take a 'work break' to go with it!

How frustrating about the offer. People are very strange when they view houses aren't they - brings out the worst in people's social aspirations!

I sympathise with the chicken poo thing - but you do make me laugh Chris! Hope some creative juices are flowing today.

Jeanne x
mountainear said…
Oh dear, you do sound rather pished off. Definitely need a re-alignment of your personal planets.

I have the chicken poo under control but why are the sheep currently at home in the field so keen to break into the hen pen. Reassembling an electric fence in rain at twilight is not fun.
HelenMHunt said…
Hope you're feeling a bit less grumpy. And managing to avoid the chicken poo.
Frances said…
Chris, I know that all those current ingredients of your life must be a pain, but ... how well you translate them into very amusing prose!

Maybe your neighbors can fix that chicken fence?

Please pass along more compliments to Tom on another fine picture.

Pondside said…
Nothing worse than selling a house - that horrible feeling of living in a show home and then the bl&%#y nuisance of idiotic tire-kickers coming through your house. Chin up - one day you'll surely be blogging about the hassles of packing up in a hurry to move...fingers crossed for that day!!!
Flowerpot said…
Trying to sell houses is so frustrating isn't it Chris? Do hope that speeds up soon ad you get through the yicky stage withthe novel - you will!
Debs said…
It took us 18 months to sell our two houses and buy this one and it nearly drove me nuts. So frustrating.

Poor you having chicken poo on your skipping rope. Naughty pooey chickens.

Off to see the Author blog now.
Brown Dog said…
Well, chicken muck is supposed to be a very good fertiliser for - oooh, all kinds of vegetables, I should think. The trick, probably, is to align yourself to the veg patch whilst skipping. Have to say, I'm with Tom on chicken-hating. There's something really prehistoric and, well, a bit spooky about those scaley grey legs and malevolent beady eyes. Hope they're giving you free eggs for helping feed their chicken flock.

As for the house sale, with my Mystic Meg hat on, I'll just say Expect the Unexpected. ((cue Enigmatic Expression and Knowing Wink))

Off to check how to make my book real. Currently, the only 'real' thing about my book is that I'm with the (hypothetical, at this stage) reader, in that I haven't a clue what the ending's going to be. Hope they're gonna be able to help me out here... ;-]
Sallys Chateau said…
house details linked to your wonderful blog and twitter ?
I miss my chickens poo and all! But then I wasnt rying to wield a skipping rope. Bad luck re house move. Just found one I fancy only to be told that unless we have 'sold' we cant even get a viewing I only wanted a peep to see if I really wanted to move - so that's that then!!
Chris Stovell said…
Hi Kate, good to see you again and it's lovely of you to drop in when you've got so much on your plate. OU A263 has had mixed reactions; personally I've found the assignments have stretched and challenged me and I've got lots of out of it. However, the exercises in the coursebook have tended towards the dull. Take care.

Well, Mrs Commando, it's a tad draughty on this side of the Preseli so I'll be keeping my drawers on. Sooo hope you are right about sh*t first draughts!

Jeanne, good to see you fresh from your break. I do love your Monday poetry - it's a treat to start the week.

Mountainear - I wonder why the sheep want to get in with the hens? But, mending fences at twilight sounds as unattractive as flying chicken muck - so that's sheep off my list too!

Helen, thank you - I'm in a better mood tonight. I think it's called Tesco Cheapo Winebox!

Frances - they got half way along with the fence then gave up. To be fair it fooled the chickens for quite a long time... although the dog saw through it pretty quickly. But that's another story!

Pondside - you keep tempting us with the offer a bench to sit on and a lovely view. Much more soothing than berludy timewasters that's for sure.

Fp, thanks for sharing the book pains! It's amazing how many things you can think of that need doing when you're in the sticky bit. Had a good day today though!

Debs, I'm very consoled by the thought of how long it took you to sell. So many of the viewers have such unrealistic expectations of what they'll get for their money it just leads to disappointment all round. Be nice to think that sooner or later it will fall into place.

Brown Dog - yes definitely a case of too much B.E.F (Beady Eye Factor according to the Cute Overload glossary... although that doesn't sound very cute to me). And such good news on the Mystic Meg front... do you think that falling chicken mucy is lucky as well as nutritious??

Sally, oh wise one, I shall set to it. Clever girl, thank you - hope you are feeling better.
Chris Stovell said…
SBS, yes- we've found that with viewings. There are a couple we can't even get near for that reason. I know it is berludy frustrating letting all and sundry through the door, but one of them might just buy it. Well, maybe not the ancient couple looking for a bungalow, the lady looking for a smallholding, the couple who wanted to pop to M&S... but SOMEONE might want to buy it!
Fran said…
Never thought of a novel as a wormery before. This is a whole new idea. It has legs. Well, I guess, not legs.
lampworkbeader said…
Better luck with the new book than you are having with the house Chris
Fennie said…
What a beautiful house, Chris. I take that it is the one you are selling? Gosh, wish mine looked like that and had all that land and space about. And about the poo, I should settle for the chickens; just imagine how things would be if your neighbours had geese. Am, too, going to look into this 'research' business.
Leigh Russell said…
I sympathise. When our house was on the market, it was hazardous opening a cupboard as I'd shoved everything out of sight. Cupboards were crammed so full you had to be wary opening them if you didn't want something to fly out and bash you on the head or foot, depending on the height of the cupboard. I found you on Helen Hunt's blog, where you commented on my interview, and came over to say thank you.
JJ Beattie said…
Oh yes, chicken poo isn't nice - slimey and belonging to someone else.

I hope the magic's beginning to happen and you're feeling less grumpy.
her at home said…
Tell Tom I love that painting. Very evocative. Know feeling well re viewers and hosue sales etc I think we may have to stay here forever as I do not want to even contemplate the idea of going through all that again.
Chris Stovell said…
Fran, didn't mention that you also get an awful lot of worm-wee out of a wormery. Thought that might be an analogy too far.

Lampie, thanks - just a matter in both cases of hanging on in there!

Fennie, yes it's a lovely home in a lovely spot... I don't know why we want to sell it really :(

Leigh, it was a great interview and most heartening to read that you write because you enjoy it - I'll remind myself of that whilst I'm in the horrid bit!! Cupboards... don't!

JJ - had a little flash of magic yesterday! Phew!!

HAH - I love that one too. I hope that the forever house is waiting out there - can't face all this again.
elizabethm said…
Ah, another one with an attack of the grumps! mine have faded so hope yours do too and really sympathise about the house sale. We had viewers when we were selling the last house who decided it wasn't for them because it didn't have a granny flat - was that or was it not obvious from the details before they came through the door, twice?
Liane Spicer said…
I love your husband's work. I can see this one on my wall so clearly, but alas I don't yet have a budget for original paintings.

Good luck with the house selling, and LOL re the chicken poo. We used to have a similar problem with the neighbour's fowls, but they (the chickens) probably got sick of hearing my mother screeching about the destruction to her garden, so they don't come through any more.

I'm afraid to ask what a wormery is.
Chris Stovell said…
Elizabeth, Oh dear Tom's got an attack of the grumps too ... he's just shouted at the chickens!

Liane, Thanks very much for your kind comments about Tom's work. After his outburst just now, I wonder whether the chickens will have got the message!
Thanks for the post. I liked it. Keep going I follow you.
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