Hello dear reader and welcome to another week at Chez Comb. I has been an interesting one as I have been doing literary things for a change. I was interviewed on the Adam and Anna In The Afternoon Show on Radio York on Wednesday and Anna's opening comments were that the Café Paradise books were a bit racy and off the wall! Mmm, I'm not too sure what to make of that one. On Saturday I was at a Lit Fest day in Chorley and after my Café Paradise presentation a member of the audience who follows my weekly blogs asked me if 'Spouse' really existed, or had I invented him?' Now really dear reader, would anyone invent Spouse? Although I confirmed that he was real, she went away looking unconvinced. And so it's back to the writing block for me. Much better to lurk at Chez Comb and write what I like anyway, as no-one believes what I say in the first place!
That's enough of literary outings for now. Let's turn our attention to matters on a different plane entirely. The human psyche and yes - in the same breath this involves Spouse. I bet you never imagined in your wildest, that one day we would be discussing his psyche. Pause - to assimilate this notion.
We were on the lookout for very large plant pots as our bay trees had well outgrown their old ones and were almost begging for mercy for bigger pots. We have scoured all the garden centres locally to no avail and as we were going to York for the aforementioned radio spot, Spouse volunteered to look on the internet for a garden centre along our route. Come the morning to set out on our travels, when asked about the garden centre it turned out that Spouse had not actually researched it, but he said with absolute and unshakeable confidence 'my subconscious knows the way.'
Excuse me - am I missing something here? Is his subconscious working on a higher plane than mine? Obviously it is, because in the event we travelled the country roads on the outskirts of York to a wonderful garden centre, almost in the back of beyond. Not only had we never been that way before but it was one of the best I've ever been to.
I would listen to Spouse's subconscious more often if it came up with such great results, but it doesn't always work in my favour. He is now channelling my Mother through it and also my Father. Scary or what? Now don't get me wrong, I loved my departed parents dearly, but the only too mildly irritating things they did - old Spouse is now doing - without ever being told about them in the first place
If I had been naughty as a child, or as a rebellious teenager come to that, my father, who was usually a cheery man, would summon me into his presence, calling for 'PATRICIA', in a loud, exasperated grinding-of-the-teeth kind of way. I knew this voice much too well and it always meant that I was well and truly in the soup. I can't imagine why dear reader, but Spouse has developed the exact same voice when at the end of his tether and 'PATRICIA' resounds through the house. He is my father re-incarnate.
As if that's not enough he's now taken to crimping the natural waves in my hair between his fingers - just like my dearest Mama used to do and I detested it then as much as I do now. When I told him how my Mother used to do that crimping nonsense, Spouse smiled a mysterious smile and said sweetly, 'I'm channelling Mother'.
Now I know he was always her blue-eyed boy, but this is ridiculous. I am not having my Mother directing operations from beyond the grave. If she does much more I might have her exorcised. Dealing with Spouse is quite enough, I don't need my Mama throwing into the mix.
I hope you have a good week dear reader and I sincerely hope I will be here too - spook and psyche-free next week. I am my Mother's daughter, I will have to take a firm line with her. She can go and channel one of my siblings for a change.
Hello there dear reader and welcome to another week at Chez Comb. It has been an interesting one, but then living with Spouse it always is! The weather has been glorious and we have started work on the re-design of our overgrown garden. We have been here almost a year now and Spouse has his big shed up and running, so I am hoping that this summer will see all his energies channelled into dismantling the old garden and re-building the new - along with my assistance of course. We have been taking out long-dead trees and leggy old shrubs and so the executioner's axe has come into use again. Believe me dear reader, if you saw Spouse enthusiastically wielding a very large axe, you too would speak nicely to him - and so I did.
That is until he almost knocked himself out with it and then I got very cross. I had suggested removing the old washing line and post as it is an unlovely sight in the garden, but Spouse disagreed and began working immediately beneath it, breaking up an old tree stump. Wouldn't you know it, he lifted the axe up preparatory to come crashing down on the stump and bounced off the washing line, braining himself with great force in the process. He yelped and staggered back with blood running down his forehead. Now he is sporting a lump the size of a large egg on his forehead and I have nobly resisted going down the 'I told you so' route.
To distract him from his axeman activities, I suggested he had a bonfire later in the evening. At the bottom of the garden there is a large lawn much overgrown with buttercups and weeds and so I have been piling up all our chopped down bits of trees for burning on it (we've kept the trunks for the log burner next winter). One simple bonfire would have been fine, but as you will know by now dear reader, Spouse never does anything by halves. Not content with getting that one going, he set fire to a large tree that he had spent all afternoon trying to dispose of. It was an old fir tree with many thick branches. Dear reader you have never seen anything like it. Armageddon had come to Yorkshire. The flames and the billowing smoke from two simultaneous fires were an awesome sight to behold - with Spouse frantically running between the two of them to keep them under control. A long time later he staggered back to the house, hair and eyebrows singed and looking like he had spent a long shift down a coal mine. Maybe we'll leave the fire thing for a while and get back to the garden, perhaps a little gentle weeding as (a) it isn't dangerous and (b) it won't upset the neighbours.
We haven't upset the neighbours but as you know from previous blogs dear reader, they do think we are slightly off the wall and possibly a little bizarre, (remember the chimney smoking episodes of a few weeks ago). After this week, it is now official - we are barking bonkers. How is this? Well, we are having a new summer sitting room built on the back of the house The plumber is doing his plumbing and now the electricians want to do their electrics as in power points and T.V. point. And they need to know where we would like them siting. It would have been fine if they had wanted to know this week, as we have been sitting outside in the glorious evening sunshine in the half-built room. But no, they needed to know last week when the weather wasn't so good - in fact, it was awful - cold, misty and wet.
So, what did we do? We got the sun chairs out and sat outside underneath our umbrellas in the rain, trying to decide where the furniture was going to go and where we would need sockets for lamps and a T.V. point. Even now, a week later, on one side our neighbours avoid us altogether and on the other they scuttle away at our approach, shaking their heads in disbelief. Maybe one day I will get to explain things - but that is not looking likely any time soon.
And now Sunday has come round again, the start of a whole new week. I hope it will be disaster free as we have friends visiting and I can do without Spouse sporting cuts, bruises or black eyes - he'll blame me, rolling those big, baby blues eyes of his and saying in a broken voice, 'if you only knew ...' And they'll probably believe him!
I hope you have a splendid week dear reader and that the sun shines on all of us. I hope to be here next week, always providing that Spouse hasn't buried me under the new concrete floor about to go down in the garden .....
Hello dear reader and welcome to another Sunday at Chez Comb. It has been a bit of a roller coaster of a week for me and for once nothing to do with my dear Spouse. Yes indeedy, he is lily-white and in the clear. A friend of mine once said that I could cause bother in an empty house. Well, Chez Comb is not empty but I have caused bother for myself.
For some years now I have been prone to leaky eyes - tear fluid constantly flowing. No doubt some of you are familiar with this pesky condition. At first it was diagnosed as 'dry eyes' and eye drops were prescribed to alleviate things. But things gradually deteriorated and the eye drops did not seem to make much difference, to the extent that one evening last year when I wanted to watch a particular wildlife programme on the television, I could only watch it with the lights out and wearing sunglasses!! At this point I took myself off to the optician who, after a thorough examination decided I did not have 'dry eyes' but may have blocked tear ducts, a condition I may have to put up with as even though an operation would ease things, the effects might not last long.
Stay with me dear reader, I promise you, this is not too shaggy a dog story. For another week or so after visiting said optician, I put up with weepy eyes and then had the bright idea of looking the condition up on the internet. As I am in the main a healthy person I have not had cause to seek out information on afflictions. But I am very glad I did. I went to the NHS website and looked up 'blocked tear ducts' and learned quite a lot more about them. Not only that but a simple massage of the area between the eye and the nose on a daily basis or even a few times daily helps alleviate the symptoms.
Brilliant. Thank you NHS and the massaging worked. My weepy eyes were greatly improved. But - here is a weird thing. All in my little eye world is hunky dory until a bit of stress comes on the scene and then off I go again, eyes leaking like a tap. I have no idea what the connection is but there must be one somewhere and I hope someday, someone will enlighten me.
I know dear reader, what a wimp I am and what bother I have caused for myself this week. It goes like this - I am planning a romantic comedy novel for next year, Walking Bertie. The principle male character is a crime writer and for the purposes of the book I needed an outline plot of a crime novel for him to discuss. I really enjoyed constructing this and getting to know my new detective on our Easter journeyings to and from the south of England. Arriving home bright-eyed and bushy-tailed I embraced the new week happy and dry-eyed.
Until I randomly picked up a crime novel from my pile of waiting to be read books by my bed. After the first few chapters my tears began to run, big time, as the uneasy notion stole over me that the plot in this book might unfold along the lines of mine.
In between my domestic goddess duties at home, it has taken me the best part of the week to wade through the novel, eyes spouting copiously along the way, as I stressed as to whether I was going to have to think up an entirely new plot. My literary concerns were unfounded thank goodness, as this crime novel was a very muscular one, packed full of violent deaths in as many different ways as I could every imagine, but of course, I had to read right to the end to make absolutely sure.
Magically dear reader, my eyes are getting much better now that I know i can sashay on my own sweet way with my lovely detective and - talk about teaching an old dog new tricks - I am surprised at how desperately I cared about the plot within the plot of Walking Bertie - it may be comedy but it's serious stuff to me and at the dawn of this Sunday morning Chief Inspector Francis di Angeli is poised ready to make his debut in what may turn out to be Are You Going to Mulberry Fair? and I am one very happy Easter bunny.
I hope you have a very pleasant and dry-eyed week dear reader. The weather forecast for North Yorkshire is good and Spouse and I intend to start re-modelling our gardens. As this may involve the use of power tools I hope I will still be here to tell the tale next week. Happy Eastertide.
Hello my dear reader, how nice to meet up again after the Easter break. Spouse and I have been away for a week's holiday in the south of England visiting family and doing touristy things. If you ever get the opportunity to visit the Portsmouth Dockyard do go, the Mary Rose exhibition is amazing. The ship sunk in 1545 and the Trust has managed to rescue half of its hull and thousands of artefacts from it are on display. You can tour Lord Nelson's ship, the Victory and take a boat across the bay to tour around a submarine. Then we moved on to Canterbury and visited ancient churches and of course, the Cathedral, (took in family there too!). A wonderful trip all in all, but that's enough about our journeyings. The thing is, it is some distance from North Yorkshire to Hampshire and Kent and whilst sitting in a car the old brain box gets to thinking ...
Spouse and I can happily yap away to each other for long enough and then there is always Radio 4 and then a whole bunch of CD's to listen to, as I forgot to get a talking book from the library prior to our departure. But everything happens for a reason dear reader and the reason was that I now had thinking time. Recently I have been constructing a new romantic comedy - in my head and on scrappy bits of paper - I know, the organisation is impressive - and one of my characters in this book is a writer. How's that for originality in a writer, eh? In my plot he sometimes discusses his plot with his lady friend. So ... you can see where I'm heading with this - I need a plot within a plot to discuss. Shades of Hamlet here, although sadly, I am no Shakespeare.
What a lovely journey I had down to Hampshire. My writer character is a crime writer, so I have created a detective and a crime, in fact a series of crimes for him and his team to solve. My detective is delicious, so much so that I think I am a little in love with him myself, although best not communicate this fact to Spouse, he may not be too impressed.
The homeward journey was equally interesting, although a little alarming for poor Spouse. He nearly drove into a tree when I asked out of nowhere, 'could a woman have the strength to garrote a man?' No need to take it personally dear Spouse, I was only asking. Writing romantic comedy as I do, I am not generally called upon to delve into the depths of human depravity, but my plot within a plot is taking shape that way and I have to confess dear reader, that I am really enjoying it.
Spouse however, is not enjoying this new experience. There is much talk of violence, guns, knives and murders and many a wary look is cast my way. In fact, I think Spouse is giving me a wide berth altogether. I can separate fact from fiction in my life, but I have to admit it's quite fun to drop the odd snippet about my murderer into our conversations - especially as it's a woman. Funnily enough, I don't think he's sleeping too well either - possibly with one eye and ear cocked - just in case ...
It's just as well we are staying home for most of the summer. I don't thinks Spouse's nerves could stand it if there was another long trip in the offing. Not yet there isn't, but there is talk of visiting Australia - what a trip that would be for thinking time. Excuse me, I must go and check my passport.