Thursday, June 30, 2011

Houses galore and fantasy

Book News:

I'm very happy to announce that my writing friend Dee Weaver has at last produced her first novel as an ebook - it's called The Winter House and will be very well worth buying. Dee's an extremely good writer, and that cover is wonderful too. Here's the blurb:

It would take more than flowers and remorse to make amends. He could taste her anger in the air that he breathed. She wasn’t satisfied. She wanted revenge. He wasn’t forgiven...

The Winter House stands on the western slopes of the Pennines, near Lancaster. Only visible when the surrounding trees have dropped their leaves, it has been abandoned for forty years. Only the shade of Lily Brent, who was murdered there over a century ago, lingers on in the mouldering rooms. When Fynn McColl moves in to restore the house he has more to contend with than dry rot and rising damp. Lily recognises in him a man from her own time; the one she can never forgive. The unfinished business between them will not be ignored, and she has waited so long, feeding her hatred, storing her psychic energy. Her assaults on Fynn, escalating in power at each encounter, finally drive him back to his pagan roots to seek his own resolution, risking his soul, his sanity, and the woman he loves.

So do pop across and grab yourself a copy - it will be well worth it, I guarantee it.

More personal book news is that I've finished the first editing update of Hallsfoot's Battle, but I'm now going to leave it until after the weekend to give it a thorough read-through. I'm also delighted to say that The Gifting is now available at Smashwords, and I've decided to publish brief extracts of it on Facebook and Twitter at regular intervals. Here's the first two lines of the prologue:

It is silent in the elders' cave. The dark-haired man with the blue eyes waits.

I've also had three more reviewers ask for a copy of this one, so have sent that off to them today. I hope they enjoy the read.

Turning to short stories, I'm pleased to say that Dancing with Lions gained a 4-star review at Goodreads - many thanks, Nancy. And How to Eat Fruit gained a very interesting review here - so thank you also, Animeuver.

Meanwhile, much to my amazement, my Sunday Haiku collection is still selling in a steady-ish fashion as the lovely Seventh Window Publications sent me the most recent royalties this week - thank you, Ken! Ooh, and I'm continuing on with the next erotic short story in the Delaneys series, Dating the Delaneys. I think I have some idea of which direction it's heading now (thank goodness ...) but as always it's hard to tell. Just keep on typing is what I say, and something will turn up ... I hope.


Today, at Vulpes Libris, you can find my review of The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham (in her other life she's Sophie Kinsella) - and it's a very good example of chicklit with a great deal of depth and humour - so I thoroughly recommend it. Do take a look.

Here are my most recent meditations:

Meditation 542
Jehu is a confident man
who stands quiet and proud

amidst his two lone syllables.
Because when something is said once

it needs no repetition
so despite all contrary evidence –

the steady breath and consonantal patterns
of larger, longer folk

who have syllables by the score –
Jehu himself does not wish for more.

Meditation 543
As fierce as lions
and as surefooted as deer –
these are the soldiers
the people fear.

But when the great river
overflows the land
then the courage of men
is as shifting as sand.

Meditation 544
It’s a quiet journey
and one uncertain
of success

as we set out
to search for the man
they talk of.

None of us speaks,
holding our thoughts
and strange dreams

too closely to our skin
for simple conversation.
It’s a slow accounting

and we do not know
when this night fades
what the day will show.

Life News:

Our house excitements continue. We raised our offer slightly on the Woking house on Monday - to which we've had no response. So we also put in an offer on the Elstead house - which we've raised today, as they actually appear willing to negotiate, gosh indeedy. Unlike the Woking people ... I must say that it's been a surprise in this house-hunting year how few people are actually willing to negotiate and what unrealistic expectations some have. The Elstead vendor is the first person who's not rejected our initial offer outright, and it's very pleasant to see that. After all, we're damn good buyers right now, and it would be a shame to lose us, I think ... We are of course totally adorable in every possible way - as you know!

Still, I'm quite happy in the rented flat right now - the garden is lovely and I had a wonderful time sitting out in the sun over the weekend and reading. Bliss indeed.

Anne Brooke

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Houses and Bollywood

Book News:

I now have the edit back from the lovely Sarah Abel for Hallsfoot's Battle, which is the second part of The Gathandrian Trilogy and therefore the follow-up to The Gifting. So I'll look forward to going through that next week and afterwards getting it ready for submission to Bluewood Publishing (who I hope might like it), though obviously it'll take a while. I'm also delighted with the blurb that Sarah has provided - she's just soooo much better at blurbs than I am. Here it is:

Gathandria’s enemy is plotting his revenge. Banished to the mountain’s darkness, Gelahn the mind-executioner begins his campaign. His powers are sublime, unmatched – even without the mind-cane in his possession. Using fear and pain he enslaves his victims. Next he will break and possess the Lammas Overlord. Recently appointed Acting Elder and left in sole charge of her people, Annyeke Hallsfoot draws on all her mind-skills and courage as the fight for Gathandria rages. The precious ancient Legends are her bedrock. She begins teaching their wisdom to the scribe, Simon Hartstongue, who must quickly learn to work with the mind-cane’s strange powers. But Simon is distracted by his own demons and only fears the artefact. Supported by Johan and Talus, her young charge, Annyeke plots a desperate strategy to defeat the enemy. As the Gathandrians frantically rally behind their new leader, Gelahn strikes at the heart of the city.

Good to know someone out there knows what the dang thing is about, as I certainly never do ...

At the same time, I've been working on the edits and proof galleys for upcoming short story, For One Night Only, and have now sent that back to Amber Allure ready for publication on 17 July. I'm also happy to say that comic short story, Rosie By Name, gained a 4-star review at Smashwords - many thanks, Fred, for that!

And - sound those trumpets! - The Gifting has received its first review, which is a 5-star one from Sarah at Goodreads. Many thanks, Sarah - I really appreciate it!


Here's my most recent meditation poem:

Meditation 541
David’s list of heroes
is really very long,

all of them so noble
and all of them so strong.

I wonder if I dare
to ask about their wives,

to hear the different stories
of how they lived their lives.

For no man is an island
or so the poets say

and it’s when we walk together
that we truly learn the way.

The Sunday haiku is:

Butterfly flutters
by my window, silver wings
sparkling in the sun.

Life News:

I popped into Godalming on Friday and gave our old flat keys back to our estate agent, hurrah! At the same time, I took flowers and biscuits as I think, in the final analysis, Seymours in Godalming have done a bloody good job in somehow (God knows how) keeping our buyer through all the months of agonies from the tricksy neighbours and keeping our confidence above drowning point (just) also. Bloody well done, them. I also gave the lovely Lucy a big hug and would have given Stewart a hug also, if he had been there (sensible Stewart ...). Lucy admitted it's been the most complex case they in Seymours have ever known and they too are amazed they've kept it ticking along, against all the odds. So. Completion date is this Friday, 1 July, and let's hope (please God!...) it's a smoother ride through that process ... But, whatever happens over the next few days, they've still ruddy well deserved those flowers, biccies and hug, to my mind.

Talking of houses, we've viewed several over the weekend, and there are two we particularly like. So, we've put an offer on our favourite - in Woking - yesterday and await to hear what the reaction is. We're also keeping another house as a strong second choice, in Elstead (not so good for K travelling, but it's so lovely, and also next door but one to our friends, Liz & John - run, good people, run for the hills ...), so if the first one seems uncertain, we might well put an offer on that one too, and see what happens. Wish us luck!

Speaking of Liz & John, we popped in for coffee at theirs after the viewing and caught up with the latest from them - and then we were back at theirs for supper in the evening with Robin & Gavin (hello, all!) as Liz's son, Rob Heanley, is an actor and has a role in the recent Bollywood hit, Patiala House. I must say it was an utterly wonderful film and I loved it. I can thoroughly recommend it for its sheer pizzazz and fun, and also Rob is pretty impressive as the hard-line cricket selector too. Well done, Rob!

This morning, K and I ended up at our new church again, and it was something of a surprise as they were having their thrice-yearly healing service as well as the usual communion - which was fine as far as putting my red stone of sin (wonderful concept, and bizarrely similar to a scene I have in The Gifting, which just goes to show there are no new ideas in the world, just new interpretations ...) in the pot of cleansing water, but I really don't like the concept of being prayed over by a team of elders, so we gave that aspect a miss. Probably a fall-out from being a scarred Evangelical church survivor but there you go. It's our history that makes us indeed. Actually, thinking about it afterwards, I would have been happy to go up for the anointing of oil, but I thought that was attached to the prayer bit so didn't do either - but K thinks they were separate after all, so next time I might brave the oil. Just as long as I don't wear anything too smart, eh. Some of these priests can be rather enthusiastic ...

Finally, Naturewatch Woking has good news to impart - the thrushes outside my window are bringing regular supplies of food to their nest so there must be chicks in there somewhere, hurrah! Like expectant parents, the thrushes, K and I are all equally awaiting the sound of squeaking and the sight of hungry beaks.  And in all the glorious sunshine of today too. Whatever next?

Anne Brooke

Friday, June 24, 2011

The birthday girl and a week of firsts

Book News:


Anyway, keeping to the publisher theme, I'm very happy indeed with the 2nd quarter royalties from Untreed Reads, so evidently some of my books do sell somewhere. And I've been lucky enough to be asked for an interview by Reasons To Be Beautiful Magazine - many thanks, Stephanie and Madel. The questions certainly made me think!

Meanwhile, at Vulpes Libris, I've reviewed I Love The 80s by Megan Crane, which is very much a book of two halves, but it does warm up, so worth a read.

And here are two recent meditations:

Meditation 539
These hills swallow up
the dead where even the swords
are silent:

all the noise and smell
of battle stilled
by evening air

and the sure approach
of night.

Meditation 540
David destroys
a good many cities

simply in order
to rebuild them again.

It’s a shame
he can’t do likewise

with all the people,
their memories and pain.

Life News:

It was my birthday on 21 June, hurrah! So a big thank you to everyone who sent their good wishes and/or cards as both were very much appreciated. K bought me a lovely jewellery box so I don't have to push my earrings in a tiny drawer where I can't see anything properly, and also a wonderful SatNav system - which I absolutely love and which is my new best friend. I'm hoping this means no more panicking and getting hopelessly lost, but you never know. Anyway, it's nice to have someone else in the car sharing the pain, if only a disembodied voice.

Other birthday amusements were the utter mystery of why my mother had bought me a box of contact lens solution when I don't actually wear contact lenses. Is she going senile at last?? Is it a subtle hint to tell me she's never liked my glasses?... We puzzled over it for some time until the mystery was solved - when I opened the box there was a bottle of my favourite peppermint foot cream. Aha! There's method in the old gal's madness, and Mother is not as strange as we thought she was for a while. Though, possibly, I am. In addition, in the evening, after my first glass of champagne (only one, mind you - honest!), I heard the neighbours outside chatting to the house gardener and so went outside to say hello. K joined me to be sociable and it was then that the wind caught the front door and slammed it shut. Arrggh! Naturally, neither of us had our keys, and so Steve from one of the other flats very sweetly went to see if he had a spare key. Sadly, he had all the keys to all the flats in the known universe, but not ours. There was therefore no option but for K to pick me up, lift me over the thankfully open window in the living room and push. My, how all the neighbours loved that - and are still talking about it ... K appeared at one point to be paying a great deal of attention to my bottom, which was most definitely not stuck in any way, but he maintains he was only trying to help. Hmmm ... Still, I broke in to our own flat successfully and the problem was solved, hurrah. Mind you, K is very happy to claim that in our 18 years of marriage, he has lifted me over the threshold of both the flats we've lived in in some way or other (the first time upon return from our honeymoon, ah bless) and is limbering up to do the same again for our next house. I'd best lay off the chocolate then ...

Plus there's wonderful news on our flat sale - we've exchanged at last, triple hurrahs and put out the bunting, big-time!! Completion date is 1 July. It's so unbelievable that I can hardly believe it myself. I think I might even have cried, goodness me - tell no-one. As a result, we're seriously back on the house hunt again. Today we have 2, possibly 3, houses to see, and another 3 tomorrow. It's all hotting up here in the outback of Woking, I can tell you.

Really, it's been a veritable Week of Firsts. I've shopped online for the first time, and our order was successfully delivered by Tesco on Monday night. They gave me exactly what I asked for - so I have made a mental note that ice cream cartons are larger than I think (we ended up with the miniscule versions) and I don't really need enough cheese to feed the Roman army, should they wish to pop by. K resigning himself to weeks and weeks of cheese sandwich lunches ahead ...

The dishwasher is proving a truly wonderful invention too - though yesterday I spent the whole afternoon puzzling over why it should eat a tupperware pot lid and searching through the kitchen to try and find it. At one point I was even chatting to the dishwasher asking it to give the lid back, but I appreciate that's probably not something I should admit, at least not in normal society. However, that mystery too was solved when K came back home and pointed out the lid was in the cutlery drawer. Goodness knows why, but at least my lunchtime rice is no longer likely to spill everywhere on my way to work. Result.

Last night we went to see The Pitmen Painters at the theatre, which is absolutely marvellous and everyone should see it. The only thing was the ending rather faded out, and K and I think it would have been much better with simply a quiet scene between George and Oliver as they prepare for another day in the mines - it would have been stronger like that, but it's still one you should see. The interesting thing, for me, was that it's set in the North-East where my mother's family come from - and the moment they started talking, I was right back there in my childhood with the menfolk in my family talking about the mines in those glorious accents. The playwright is also spot on with the phrases they use and the ways of saying things, as it could easily have been my uncle/cousins/grandfather speaking. Great stuff.

Anne Brooke

Sunday, June 19, 2011

More excitement from a publisher

Book News:


Other, and more positive, book news is I've sent out eight review requests for The Gifting, so am hoping one or two reviewers might show interest from that.

The most recent meditation poem is:

Meditation 538
Somewhere in this long list
of names and histories –
Abdon, Gedor, Pithon, Zimri –

God is hiding.
I just can’t quite
see him yet.

The Sunday haiku is:

The song-thrush flutters
past my window, her bright eye
intent on her nest.

Life News:

After a dodgy houses week, the rumour has it that our tricky neighbours might (just might, mind you) have sent back some documentation which may possibly arrive at their solicitors on Monday. Who knows, really, and I'm not believing it until I see it ... Watch this space - you'll hear the screams (either for good or bad). Oh and if Seymours in Woking ask me one more time what our house buying budget is, I swear I will not be responsible for my actions - don't these people ever listen??!? Words fail me - which will be a first, I can tell you. Arrgghh!

Anyway, Marian and I had a very wet and very enjoyable game of golf on Friday - it's amazing how much nicer it all is (even with the rain) when, because "rain stopped play", the competitive menfolk aren't breathing down our necks because we're too slow - and yes, we do always let them through nonetheless. I can be nice, well, occasionally ...

And yesterday was my pre-birthday opera treat at Glyndebourne - we saw Wagner's Meistersinger which was fascinating but I wouldn't really want to go again. Typical of Wagner, parts of it were extraordinarily long drawn-out but, heck, he does know how to nail an ending. The man playing Hans Sachs was great too, which made the second half - where things actually happen, good Lord - very enjoyable indeed.

Oh, and the champagne was glorious, hurrah!

Anne Brooke

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A very expensive lesson ...

Book News:


Other book news is that the Delaneys series had a rather lovely mention here (thanks, Tracy) and I've chosen the reading for the upcoming launch of The Gifting - it's nice to get that one sorted out. Now all I have to do is practise it and hope people will come along.

Meanwhile, along at Vulpes Libris, my fellow Book Fox Lisa and I have been chatting about Trilby Kent's Smoke Portrait, so do pop along and join in the conversation. It's definitely a fascinating read.

This week's meditation poem is:

Meditation 537
Amongst all the temple’s
sacred equipment – flour, wine,
oil, incense, spices –

it’s the cutlery
that’s mentioned first
proving that people

can’t really face God
without the essential defence
of knives, ladles, spoons.

Life News:

The long-drawn-out agony of our flat sale meanders on, though really K and I have by now entirely discounted the idea of its success, sad to say. This week, our conveyancer (yes, she of the ridiculous questions and no idea what our position is ...) got very excited on Tuesday and was convinced that exchange was about to happen. My, how we laughed. As if. Today, I rang up our tricky neighbours' solicitors again, who admit that documentation is being sent back to them by said neighbours, but they neatly sidestepped the question of whether it was signed or not. Later on, additional information from our conveyancer informed us that the tricky neighbours were questioning the validity of the latest documentation, which they themselves had asked for, ho hum. So, my dears, we pootle on into the abyss. As a result, I sent a snotty email to everyone I could think of asking them not to taunt our poor buyer with ideas of exchange when it is obvious to anyone who has the wit to ask sensible questions that we are still a long way from such a glittering goal. I also asked them not to assume that the tricky neighbours' solicitors are in any way telling the truth about anything and to wait until they can see the whites of their eyes and the black of the signatures before they believe a word that is said. K very pleased with my communication skills ...

This week, nice things have happened too, hurrah! I met the lovely Kirsty of the Book Foxes for dinner in London which was fab-u-lous and we set the world to rights in a very snazzy Italian Restaurant in Store Street. Bliss indeed. Plus I've had a very relaxing session of reflexology at the Uni and dozed off at the end of it all, so I was obviously chilled beyond belief.

Ooh, and we've planted a nemesia in the garden, and harvested our first four strawberries, which tasted like nectar, I can tell you. So enthused were we by this unexpected treat that we have planted (probably too late, but hey what do we know?...) some more strawberry plants in the spaces in the beds and are keeping a close eye to see how they behave themselves. We are indeed Garden Heroes.

Today's excitement was the dental hygienist this morning - please admire my sparkly teeth - and we've gone to two house viewings this afternoon. The first one in Pyrford which was interesting, but would need a heck of a lot of work; and the second in Normandy which was stunning inside, but the garden was smaller than we'd thought. Still, definitely one to bear in mind.


Anne Brooke

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Houses and haikus

Life News:

Well, we've finally made our decision: we've withdrawn our offer on the Woking house because of the general incompetence of our vendors' solicitors who in the last 3.5 months have been amongst the most inefficient people I've ever known. However, our own conveyancer has not been far behind: when we withdrew our offer formally on Friday, we were both annoyed but not at all surprised when the vendors' solicitors and estate agent both asked us what the point was of our decision when we couldn't buy their house anyway without selling ours - as of course we'd told them both about 7 times that the purchase was not at all dependent on the sale of our flat, so we were used to the fact that nobody was listening to us. We were rather more surprised when our own conveyancer emailed us to say she couldn't understand either as surely we "couldn't buy without selling, could we?..." I've never known K be quite so cross and indeed I felt very much like ringing the silly bint up, telling her she was a useless pile of shite and kicking her arse to kingdom come and beyond. But, being the calm and loving person that I am (ha!), I left it to K to send a snippety email saying we'd told her about 5 times that the purchase wasn't in any way dependent on the sale. Oh, and by the way, she was now sacked as our purchase conveyancer, we were making a formal complaint and she'd have to whistle for her fees. Put that in your pipe, love, and smoke it ...

Lordy, what fun we're having right now, eh! Who indeed will rid me of these troublesome conveyancers, and are there any good ones in the whole of Surrey?? Alas, I believe not ... In the meantime, we continue to be utterly bemused that it seems so incredibly difficult for people to accept that we have (a) no chain; (b) savings enough and a decent mortgage to buy a house; and (c) the desperate desire to give vendors money. Why won't the buggers take it?!?

So, back to the house viewing, and we've one lined up to see on Thursday, and 2 more I'm intending to get appointments for this week. Let's hope someone out there starts to take us seriously or I'm going to build my own bloody house in the middle of our former conveyancer's garden. Ha!

However, there is good news! The lovely Brucie finally gets a knighthood and we had a fabulous (and house/publisher crises-free) time wandering round the gardens and enjoying a cream tea at Nymans, and then wandering round yet more gardens at Wakehurst Place - both are definitely recommended.

Today we have got round to visiting our nearest high Anglican church in the area - All Saints Woodham - and, if trying out high church offerings, it's always best to go on Pentecost (today) - ah, the bells, the smells, the ritual, the bling. Bliss. All served (sorry) up with a hint of informality and laughter. We loved it. Plus the coffee they serve is real. Real ground coffee after a church service - we've never had that before! We'll definitely be back ...

And, this afternoon, we have done something we haven't done since our honeymoon nearly 18 years ago (steady, people, steady ...) - we have used the dishwasher that comes with the flat. Gosh! Isn't it lovely. Everything's sooo clean and we didn't have to do it ourselves. How very grown-up we are becoming. Will definitely be doing that again too.

Book News:


On a happier literary note, The Art of The Delaneys is now available at Amazon UK and Amazon US. And I'm really delighted to say that my Sunday Haiku collection gained a 5-star review at Goodreads, so many thanks to Vicki for that.

This week's meditation poem is:

Meditation 536
It takes 212 men
to guard the temple gates

which just goes to show
women are more dangerous
than you think.

And the Sunday haiku is:

A slow-falling note
soothes this melodious air:
the greenfinch's song.

Anne Brooke

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Writing? It's riskier than you think ...

Book News:


Meanwhile, back in the quieter world of writing (remember that?), The Gifting is now available for purchase at All Romance Ebooks. And, hey, selling a few might even help towards my legal bills, so at last I must have made it as a serious writer, ho ho! I'm also pleased to say I've received my first review for the book, and it's a 5-star one, so many thanks, Sarah, for that - I'm thrilled you enjoyed the read.

Speaking of reviews, The Art of The Delaneys gained a 4.5 star review at Top 2 Bottom Reviews - thank you, Lisa!

I've also uploaded a review of Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead at Vulpes Libris, which is an interesting satire, but rather too heavy for my taste. Worth a look though.

Just one meditation poem this week so far:

Meditation 535
is an angry man.
He stands at street corners
and glowers.

He chews over
the wrongs of the past.
His griefs
come in showers

and he’s never content.
Pity him.

Life News:

I have a life? Goodness me. Delights of this week include the discovery that we have a nesting song-thrush just outside the spare room window (where I work at my computer), which is lovely. She doesn't seem disturbed by our comings and goings either, or even when we open the window, so we're hoping for the pitter patter of tiny bills at some stage. I'll keep you posted.

On the other hand, we heard mid-week that our vendors' solicitors have apparently been waiting (for about 3.5 months now) for us to sell our flat first (some hope, eh ...) before they do anything with the purchase we're trying to make from them - and this in spite of the fact that we've told them five times that our buying their client's house does not in any way depend on the selling of our flat. Deeeep groan - no wonder nothing's happening ... Anyway, their incompetence and inability to listen has meant that, if nothing happens by tomorrow (Friday), then we're withdrawing our offer and frankly they can whistle for it. Tough luck to them is our view. We prefer a house we can actually buy.

Anyway, today, my head filled with bitterness and fantastical thoughts of revenge (so the ideal moment really ...), I've gone on a planned retreat day at the Acorn Christian Healing Foundation which was very nice indeed, despite the evangelical tone, which I don't warm to. Why, oh why does one have to sing a chorus three times when the words meant so little the first time round? It's a holy mystery indeed ... However, there were a couple of interesting talks, I found some like-minded folk, which was lovely, and also had a wonderfully quiet chill-out time in the garden. Bliss.

Anne Brooke

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Plants, poems and pesky publishers

Book News:


Anyway, back in the real world, I'm happy to say that Entertaining the Delaneys gained a fascinating review at Goodreads by Kassa (thanks, Kassa), and I've also settled enough into the new flat to get a meditation poem done, of a sort:

Meditation 534
Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, Jachin
have never been tempted to sin.
Their armour of “J”
keeps the devil away
and their vowels are an absolute win.

The Sunday haiku is:

Under quiet skies
I deadhead roses. Somewhere
a small bird chatters.

Life News:

As mentioned above, we're settling in nicely to the new flat. On Friday, the chimney sweep came round - which was somehow very quaint, even though we don't really need a fire right now. Yesterday, K and I took a leisurely stroll into Woking, bought a few bits and pieces (we live in a town now! It has shops with things you actually want to buy, well gosh!...) and had lunch and a cappuccino at one of the many Italian coffee shops that crowd the streets of Woking. Well, Woking is full of lovely Italians so it makes sense. I'm planning to try them all as soon as possible, you know (the coffee, not the Italians ...). We did have rather a Jane Austen moment before deciding to set out, as K said: "Mr Darcy suggested a walk into Woking during the morning, and the idea delighted Miss Bennett. The rest of the company were in general agreement and the expedition began ..." Do you think we've been reading too many novels?

Today, we've had lunch at Wisley and bought one or two display containers for the patio/path area - they look very colourful, I must say. My dears, we're gardeners, real gardeners at last! Plus I was thrilled when it rained on my washing as I've never been able to put washing out at all for 18 years, and so it's an utter delight when it gets wet. I suspect this feeling won't last long. And tonight we've had as many of the neighbours round as possible for drinks and nibbles, and it was great fun indeed - which explains the late blog entry. What a lovely bunch of people. They can definitely come again. Though if that pesky publisher keeps on demanding money with menaces, they may have to bring their own nibbles ...

Anne Brooke

Thursday, June 02, 2011

We're here!!!

Life News:

OMG, we're here!! In Woking, a surprisingly nice part of it too, ye gods and little fishes. Yes, we have moved, begorrah and pass the smelling salts. I cannot believe it. Honestly, it feels soooo good to get out of the Godalming flat, though we will miss the neighbours, that's for sure. We got up at 4am on Tuesday and didn't get to bed till 10pm but it was worth every last strange second of it. Our four packers (who were surely all below working age, or am I just getting older?...) arrived at 6.45am and were absolutely wonderful in every way. So a big thank you to Cook's of Cranleigh who, although they have no idea what a website is for, don't have email or mobiles (goodness, so modern, madam ...) and live in a hugely rural setting with a lot of horses, are experts in smiling efficiency, friendliness, speed and glass wrapping. Not to mention coping with the sixteen outside steps and sixteen inside ones in our old flat with absolutely no complaints - what stars. I loved the way they arrived, cased the joint and then promptly took a twenty minute smoke break with coffee, teas and biccies supplied by me - so wonderfully British, my dears. However, after we'd realised that once they got going they packed at the speed of light and could strip a room in less time (almost) than it took for me to say golly, you're fast, I has absolutely no qualms with them taking whatever time they needed to refuel. More tea, anyone?...

They promised we'd arrive in Woking at round about 2pm and they made it at 2.10pm, which for removals is pretty much bang on the dot, good for them. And I love it here. It's even quieter than Godalming though it's odd to be on the ground floor (but what bliss ...) and have people above us. There's a novelty - we've lived in the roof for eighteen years, so it's good to ditch the oxygen masks and be able to admire the flowers. Which we can actually see from here, goodness me. It's a shame in some ways that it's only rented and a temporary move - the rooms are great, especially the living/dining room, which is simply a vast expanse of space with some fantastic sofas and wooden flooring. Wooden flooring! My dears, living on the top floor means we've never dared imagine such luxury ... And we have a garden too - and today I have sat outside on the patio (yes, one of those as well!) furniture supplied very kindly by the rental agents, Martin & Co, and eaten my lunch. Bliss. This is the life, eh ...

Mind you, I've not been entirely lazy - we did most of the unpacking on Tuesday evening, but K sorted the books out yesterday, and today I have tackled the spare room - except for the boxes that are too heavy to lift, which we can sort tonight. Not many of them now, thank goodness. And, as you can see, K has sorted out our Internet connection with Virgin Media via a dongle (yip, I'm still laughing at that one, sadly ...), and it does seem a lot faster than BT, so far. Though of course the connection in Woking is by default better than the one in Godalming (valley, TV/phone blackspot, the Surrey outback, etc etc) so I shouldn't be too surprised that things are faster here. Still, there are a couple of niggles I hope we sort soon - TV is a bit of an issue as we think the best option would be Virgin cable and of course they want an initial 12-month contract for set up so that's impossible at the moment. However, we've gone back to basics and K is looking for an aerial and a booster so we can get some kind of transmission in a terrestrial fashion. Not, at the moment, that there's very much on, by the look of it, but it would certainly be nice to have. Ooh, and we're having trouble with the bath taps - they're soooo stiff, I have either to call for K to come and help me turn them on and off, or wrap a towel round my hands and go to it, as it were. What fun. Still, it's great and I'm settling in much faster than I imagined, hurrah.

Yesterday, I was back at work for one day only - the commute from here was roughly the same as the one from Godalming and appears to be only one mile longer - but of course it's half-term so it will be interesting to see what it's like next week when I'm in on Monday. Being me, I took a map in the car but I managed to find my way rather well, I must say. However, I was very grateful indeed that I'd booked a reflexology treatment for lunchtime - as I certainly needed it by then as I was absolutely shattered from the move.

Today, as well as unpacking and sorting out admin stuff, I've popped in to see my lovely former neighbour in Woking - he's now only a two-minute drive in the home so that's fantastic. Yes K did suggest I walked it, but really I was just too idle for that ...

In terms of flat selling news - yes, you've guessed it: our solicitors in Knaphill have found yet another document for my poor lovely ex-neighbour to sign and are going to be sending it to her. Thankfully she's agreed to sign it (thank you, G!) - this time it's a document for the current/future flat dwellers to agree the new lease that's already been updated, agreed and signed by the old flat dwellers. This apparently is standard practice so you'd have thought our solicitors would have known this and not told me last week that there was absolutely nothing else that G needed to sign. My confidence in the legal profession, particularly when it comes to conveyancing, has always been appallingly low, but it has reached new depths of negativity in recent times, I can tell you. Deep sigh ...

Book News:

I have a launch date for The Gifting! - which will take place on Wednesday 6 July at Godalming Museum, so I'm very much looking forward to that. Ruth at work's husband, D, has agreed to do the catering (thank you, D!) and I already have eight people attending, well gosh, even though I only sent out the invitations today. Okay, I admit that includes Ruth & D, K and me, and the Godalming Museum rep, but three yes responses aren't to be sniffed at in the small-time author trade, believe me.


Anne Brooke