Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cars, contracts and cash

Book News:

You'll be pleased to hear that my US lawyer and I have agreed a wording for the new termination contract, so we've sent that off and await to hear a response ...

In the meantime, I'm carrying on with the final pre-submission read-through of Hallsfoot's Battle, the second in my Gathandrian trilogy. There are only about 100 pages to go now, so I'm hoping to get that done by the weekend (though it does depend on whether or not I have another day like today - see below ...). Once that's done, I'll send it to Bluewood Publishing and see what they think about it. Keeping with Bluewood, I've sent back the final proofs of literary short story, Dido's Tale, to them and that should be coming out soon, hurrah.

I'm also happy to say that The Hit List gained a lovely 5-star review at Amazon - many thanks, Sharon! It's especially pleasing as I know my main character, Jamie, isn't easy and people either love him or hate him, with nothing in between. Hmm, there's a lot of me in that bloke, you know - which probably says it all really. And For One Night Only gained a 4-star review at Goodreads - so many thanks, Enny.

Here's the next line of the prologue in The Gifting:

Neither is she the only one who weeps, but he cannot admit the full reasons for this now.

This week's meditation poems are:

Meditation 547
When even touching
God’s covenant box
in order to save it
is a mortal sin

then best to let
your treasures die
than use a box
to keep them in.

Meditation 548
Of all the gifts
in all the world
my first choice
would never have been
cedars and stonemasons;

the quiet dignity
of stone
and the gnarled depths
of this ancient tree
all but bypassed me.

Meditation 549
A sound in the trees
that is neither the wind
nor the cries of some night bird

but something absurd:
a reminder for we who have sinned
that somebody still sees.

Life News:

The mortgage survey for our Elstead house has finally come through and looks okay. Our new conveyancer has also contacted us to say she's going over the land searches now and has contacted the vendor's solicitors to ask for the necessary information from them. At the same time, the estate agents have rung us to say it's possible that we could exchange in three weeks' time and complete two weeks after that - which would bring us near enough to the end of August/start of September - and this is the first break point in our rental contract, so that would be convenient. However, I'm now never convinced by the optimism of estate agents, so I'm maintaining a wary approach to it all. But I have rung our moving company and so far that timing is good for them, although obviously dates disappear the nearer we get to any potential move day. Lordy, it's all go here in the shires, you know.

I've also fitted in a regular visit to the doctor (I was too ill to go last week ...) and everything with the anti-depressants looks good for another two months, so that's a relief. I really do think they're brilliant - I could probably never cope with all this hassle coming our way without them, and they certainly do make me feel more like I think I should, that's for sure. Never scorn the joys of normality, eh ...

Mind you, I've certainly needed their calming effects today. This morning, I popped in to see a good friend of mine in one of the local old people's homes, and on the way back, the alarm on my car dashboard went off and lots of red lights started flashing at me to say that the car engine was overheating. When I looked at the dial, it was way past 120 degrees centigrade and well into the red-light zone. I was panicking like a trooper (a wimpy, panicky trooper ...) so drove the few minutes to the nearest supermarket (where I was intending to go anyway to pick up some lunch) and waited for the engine to cool down while I phoned K and sobbed down the line at him like a 1950s teenager. My, I'm so dignified, you know. As if. Anyway, K suggested ringing the RAC for help, but I thought if it was just a coolant problem, then I could get some more coolant and put it in without disturbing our Knights of the Road too much. The supermarket unfortunately had no coolant so I drove to the garage attached to it whilst keeping a close eye on my dashboard and they had no coolant either. So there was no option but to drive home, at which point the dashboard went crazy again and the alarms sounded. It was only a couple of minutes to get home but honestly every traffic light was against me and every cyclist in Woking today insisted on getting ahead of me and not letting me pass, so I was praying and swearing in equal measure as I limped home.

Once there, I thought I'd let the beast cool down again before tackling it. However the traumas of the day weren't over yet. As I was eating my lunch, the rental agent phoned to say they hadn't received our rental for July which had been due with them on the 1st of the month. I apologised, panicked again and rang K who said he was sure he'd filled in a standing order at the start of June. The other agent I've been dealing with (the lovely Jenny) said she was sure we had as well so didn't know where it had gone and would look into it. K rang our bank and they confirmed they had no standing order instructions for rent, so after I'd tackled the car crisis and poured the whole of our one bottle of engine coolant into the vast desert wastes of my engine coolant holder, I walked into town at about 4pm and tried to pay money for July and August as a bank transfer to the rental agent's bank, the Natwest. Well, ho ho and there's a bank that obviously don't like the colour of our money. They said (even though I've done this with Santander and goodness knows they're certainly not the best bank in the market ...) that I couldn't transfer money from the Nationwide to them as I'd have to go to the Nationwide in order to do so, but in any case the Nationwide wouldn't let me do that with such a large amount of money and I'd be better off taking out as much actual cash as I could and then walking it over to them. Well, I mean to say! As if anyone could actually walk across the metropolis of downtown Woking carrying great wads of cash and expect to be alive after ten minutes ... Words failed me!... In the end, I gave up arguing my point and accepted that Natwest in Woking appears to live in the 1950s, wrote them a cheque payable to our rental agent for two months' rent, and accepted it wouldn't actually go into the agent's account until next Friday.

When I rang the rental agent to explain all this to them, they were astonished also, and couldn't believe nobody would accept a bank transfer from me. The only explanation I can think of is that unfortunately I had to deal with a staff member who didn't know her proverbial from her elbow, and wasn't going to ask any higher-up staff member for help either. Alternatively, I have a face with the words Criminal and Fraudster tattooed across my forehead and nobody has ever had the heart to tell me, deep deep sigh ...

Anyway, whilst in Woking I thought I'd shop for a few bits and pieces, including spare engine coolant, and managed to get everything apart from (of course) engine coolant. Apparently, Halfords is a twenty-minute walk (or a short drive, if you have a car you can trust ...) outside Woking, so I bit the bullet, rearranged my shopping bags (thankfully, not too much) and headed off into the sunset. Ye gods, that was further than I thought, though I did get a nice view of Woking's mosque on the way. Luckily Halford's were open until 8pm, so getting there at 5.15pm wasn't a problem, thank the Lord. Mission accomplished, I trudged back down the wearisome rainy road, wearing my woolly hat and fleece and looking like the height of fashion, I'm sure, and eventually reached home at about twenty minutes to six. I deposited the fresh bottle of coolant in the back of the car so if I get into trouble tomorrow when I'm hoping to play golf with Marian, at least I'll have something to drink if things get too bad. Hey ho.

Really, if it weren't for the magic happy pills, who the hell knows where I'd be. Has anyone got the smelling salts? Surely today - this nice quiet day I'd had planned - must be over by now ...

Anne Brooke

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