Twists and Tails

‘Let’s go for a Chinese!’ says Tom in a true triumph of hope over experience. There’s only one Chinese restaurant anywhere near us and both the decor and the menu are seriously in need of a revamp. However, with our long-serving Dyson becoming the latest victim of the appliance apocalypse sweeping (or not in the case of the Dyson) through our house, we feel in need of, well not a treat exactly, but a change of scenery.

No surprises at the restaurant; everything about it is reliably dreary, although the evening livens up when the man on the table behind us does a runner. That is, he fumbles for his walking sticks and hobbles slowly out the door without paying. Having tasted the sweet and sour pork I can understand why. So, it seems, can the staff because it takes several minutes before a waitress sets off after him.

Although the meal’s a little less than bog standard, there’s nothing wrong with our pot of jasmine tea which arrives with a couple of fortune cookies. I’m a bit wary of fortune cookies since my dad decided, a few days before he died, that he fancied a Chinese takeaway. It wasn’t a huge success since he only managed to swallow a couple of microdots of prawn toast before having to admit defeat, but our falsely jolly evening took an even bigger nosedive when I tried to cheer him up by reading his cookie fortune. ‘You are in a very difficult place,’ it said, ‘but this will pass.’ Tonight, mine predicts that, ‘You will be called to fill a position of high honour and responsibility’, which is happier if a bit worthy.

I wish someone could tell me what’s going to happen with our house move which has been dragging on forever. I do know that I’m very grateful to Preseli Mags who’s kept me sane in all kinds of ways, offering emotional support and practical advice. I’m slightly more sceptical when Mags suggests a bit of space clearing could sort out a spot of bother, nevertheless I decide to try a small experiment by space-clearing my desk which has become unusually cluttered. And here’s the really spooky thing; before the exercise, the paperback of Turning the Tide was at 58,000 on Amazon (not that I check these things... much) and I didn’t have a berludy clue what to do on the WIP, then, once my desk was clear, Turning the Tide shot up to 19,000 and I wrote 700 words. Ooh-er!

My short story, Charm’s Way, which appears in the latest edition of ‘Your Cat’ magazine also involves transformation and, maybe, a little bit of magic. I was particularly charmed, however, by Mary Kilvert’s illustration accompanying the piece. Mary’s blogged about her work here, and you can see the illustrations both for my story and that of Jane Wenham-Jones which appeared in the previous issue. Thanks for the link, Mary, I look forwards to working with you again.

Painting is 'Totem Gymraeg' by Tom Tomos


Debs Carr said…
Did they ever catch the elusive payer as he hobbled out of the restaurant?

I do hope you have some positive news on your house sale soon. Nothing much seems to be moving and it must be a nightmare to be selling right now.

Congratulations on the sale to My Cat mag.
Pondside said…
Of course you're going to sell and move and it will all work out.
In the meantime, avoid that Chinese restaurant at all costs!
Love the painting - we see lots of these, what we call Inukshuks, over here.
Fennie said…
I love these little pictures of you, the intrepid traveller struggling through a world in which everything down to the last Dyson and fortune cookie is somehow ranged against you. I hope you're keeping the collection.

Lot's of luck with your house; I'm sure you'll get plenty of prospects when the weather turns warm. Could you not rent it to Londoners wanting a view of Dublin, while you're waiting?
Sallys Chateau said…
House selling... arghhhhhhh, space clearing is the bane of my life too. I'm sure the 'tide will turn' soon. xx
Flowerpot said…
I love the idea of the aged diner hobbling his way out of the restaurant! And funny what a bit of space clearing can do (she says, look at desk which looks like a bomb's hit it). Love those illustrations for your short story Chris - and very good luck with your house sale. Sigh....
Milla said…
Wow, send PM round NOW. that's serious uplift on the figures. Love Fennie's assessment of what you're at - aka life, non, the uphill battle against (hopefully small) hurdles.
Pipany said…
Wow, that's a bit spooky about MAgs suggestion Chris! Love the idea of a clear up making such a major difference. Good luck with it all Chris x
Lins' lleisio said…
House buying, always stressful and even more so in this current market. Good things come in threes, so with the help of Preseli Mags you never know....
Well there you are, you see - don't knock the spooky stuff! A bit of judicious tidying up and popping a few crystals here and there can work wonders. Now looking into my magic crystal ball I can see Jupiter heading over towards your ascendant later this year (about June time, if memory serves me right). So I think we can all expect your star to be in the ascendency. Going over to see if I can discover the cat story now - sounds just up my street.

J xx

PS I find myself idly wondering what it said on the old man's fortune cookie to make him leg it like that.

PPS Don't suppose I could persuade you to come over and tidy my desk - you're obviously very good at it and mine is looking distinctly cluttered right now. x
Chris Stovell said…
Debs, the waitress came back with a couple of notes and then rushed back with his change! Thank you!

Pondside, I don't know why we go back either! Oh, interesting about the Inukshuks - will look them up.

Fennie, thanks for your good wishes... you know, I don't go looking for things to happen, they just do!

Sally, I berludy hope so - it's like Groundhog Day every day at the moment, waiting for Something To Happen! Any better over there?

Fp, thank you! Go on, try the space clearing so we get to hear about your non-fiction news! (Fingers crossed for you, Sue).

Milla, yes, Mags is seriously good at calm, supportive vibes - not to mention space clearing! Mind you TTT currently at 100,000 so maybe it's something I need to work at!

Pip, lovely to see you - will be over to see what you're up to. Yes, give it a whirl! Thank you.

Lins, keeping everything crossed here. And looking forwards to joining in with you, Mags and the dogfest (hmm, better say for the benefit of people who don't know any of us, that there's no mucky business involved in this).

LBD, I will come and clear your desk any time (see above comment) but I'm sure you're the expert at it! It was just a touch of beginner's luck with me. Jeez, hope you're right about June! Cx
Fran said…
I've never had to sell or buy a house, but I can imagine what a trial it all is. To comfort yourself, keep going out for meals. But perhaps try a different restaurant next time?...
DOT said…
My fortune cookie, pinned to the kitchen wall, told me, 'Prosperity would come my way in February'.

That was eight years ago and I am still waiting.
Chris Stovell said…
Fran, restaurant options thin on the ground out here, so perhaps better to stay in!

DOT, Dad's fortune cookie worked very quickly, but it's not really the kind of prediction you hope for!
Posie said…
We have a new Chinese takeaway here and were so excited at the thought of having a take away, and then the disappointment set in when we tasted the food on offer, so can relate to your experience. Wow the house clearing bit bodes well though. Good luck with it all Chris
perhaps you are going to be mayoress????? Somewhere???
Chris Stovell said…
Posie, sorry to hear it's not better there. Oh well, think of all the money we'll save!

SBS, don't take up fortune telling will you?!
Preseli Mags said…
Third time lucky! Finally it lets me comment (computer has had its knickers in a twist...) I hope the space clearing is still working. I'm wary about mentioning it to people as sometimes they think I'm quite mad (and they are probably right!)

I think I've been to that Chinese restaurant. I love the fact that the other diner could do a 'runner' on sticks. The service must have been 'attentive'!
Chris Stovell said…
Mags, I'm pretty sure you DO know that restaurant!

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