Hello dear reader and welcome to another week in frosty North Yorkshire. I hope you are all keeping well and keeping occupied in Lockdown 3. I am pleased to say that spouse and I are managing to do both.
We are instucted to 'stay local' and so we are doing as we are told and take our permitted daily exercise by walking around the village. These are not the most exciting of walks as one route is closed off to us at present. The route takes in the narrow country lanes past some farms, but heavy rains followed by several keen frosts have made the road into an ice rink. If we don't slip and slide along the lanes, then we sink up to our ankles in muddy water if we have to step on to the grassy roadside verges to allow for a car/van/tractor to pass. Not an ideal state of affairs, dear reader. No-one enjoys trudging home in sodden walking shoes. So, we have had to content ourselves with tramping the village streets.
In 2017 I wrote a blog called 'A Sense Of Direction', a good title as I have absolutely none. When that particular gift was given out I was either at the back of the queue or had gone on holiday. This fact was again bought home to me a few days ago. Stick with me, dear reader, we are getting there.
Now, spouse does not always accompany me on my peregrinations around the village. As I mentioned last week, he might be occupied with his wood gathering or chopping activities. So on this day I toddled off solo. You would think by now, dear reader, wouldn't you, that after almost fours years of living in this village I would be able to find my way about? Sadly you woud be wrong.
In my 'A Sense Of Direction' blog I mentioned getting lost on Darlington railway station. A friend and I were heading off to a wedding in Inverness, leaving spouse at home as he was still in Her Majesty's employment and could not be spared. So, there we were, 2 ladies of middle years waiting on the platform in the early morning light for our train to arrive. Having already had a longish car journey and it being a cold morning, Mother Nature called. I duly trooped off to find the Ladies and went in and used the facilities. Stepping back out on to the platform was a bit like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia and nothing was familiar at all. The world did not look at all as I had left it. I wandered about in a worried manner. How come this was not the platform I had left? Dear reader, I had to go back into the Ladies and start again. And then, much to my relief, I found that I had come in one door and gone out another. Hurrah, I tried the other entrance and found myself back on familiar territory. There was my friend minding our bags and all was right with the world again.
So, dear reader, sadly for me, 'Advance Brittania' has never happened, directionally speaking. I remain directionally challenged, although curiously enough, plonk me down in France and I can navigate like a rally driver's navigator and get you to your destination without any problem. The problem seems to be in my own country.
On a recent solo walk around the village, two dog-walking ladies were holding a socially distanced conversation and as I rounded the corner, they included me too. Lovely though that was I had to turn away from my route, (that spouse had painstakingly drummed into my head) and face the good ladies. On conclusion of our conversation I turned back to my route, or so I thought and walked on. Only it wasn't my route at all. Somewhere along the line I had taken a turning I should not have and was now in completely unknown territory.
Oh dearie me, dear reader. I can't tell you how many unfamiliar roads I went down searching for a smidgen of familiarity in the terrain. Talk about 'going the extra mile'. I did that alright. My usual 3 miles turned into 4, according to my mobile phone data. Eventually and much later I found my way home, not wagging my tail behind me. Had I been missed? No. Spouse happily ensconced in his shed hadn't even noticed I'd been gone.
Between you and me, dear reader, I'm not going to tell him of my adventures. Why give him ammunition? That's what I say.
I hope you have a good week. Stay warm and stay safe. My very best wishes to you.
Hello dear reader and welcome to another week at Chez Comb. I should be continuing to write Chapter 18 of 'Aunt Mildred's Millions' today, but what with lockdown blues and 'Storm Christoph' turning our garden into a very large puddle, somehow the inspiration does not flow. The only thing that does flow and in copious quantities is the rain. The window in my den looks out on to the garden and I have been watching some very bedraggled birds huddling up in the tres, their feathers sodden by the unrelenting downpours. Note to self - next time I feel a pang of envy as I watch the birds swooping effortlessly across the skies, just remember today - it aint all beer and skittles for our feathered friends.
Canny old spouse has been keeping an eye on the weather forecasts and with rain imminent has spent the last few days working outside in the garden, chopping up wood for the fire and bringing it in to the garage in crates to keep it dry. The process involves large electric saws, chainsaws and large axes. Dear reader, you know spouse's track record. All I can say is I say my prayers and hope for the best.
We have a wood burning stove and at this time of year it is lit in the late afternon, keeping the house cosy and warm. But it is a voracious beast and finding fuel to feed it is an ongoing task in our lives. Spouse is a Yorkshireman and true blue Yorkshiremen do not pay good British pound coins for firewood. Well, mine doesn't and come to think of it neither do any of my neighbours. We are all skip rats and scavengers. Wherever we walk or ride I am instructed to keep my eyes open for building works, skips or wooden pallets. Where there's a builder there might be a crate or a pallet and where there's a skip there will always be wood, or so spouse's mantra goes.
This week, as we were driving home from a food shopping trip, spouse spied a house with building work going on and there were wooden crates and pallets a-plenty in the driveway. Naturally he stopped at the roadside and bounded out of the car like a Thomson gazelle. (Quite appropriate really, as he comes from a long line of Thomsons). He asked the Site Manager if he could have the wood. Mr Manager was happy to have it so easily disposed of and offered to deliver it to us. Better and better. Spouse gave our address and directions and was back in the car in a jiffy, beaming like the ray of sunshine he is.
At home he eagerly awaited the delivery of the wood. Nothing came that day, or the next day, or the next. Spouse decided to investigate and went back to the building site. Mr Manager was not there but his deputy said the wood had been delivered!!! Had it, by jove? Well it hadn't been delivered to us.
Spouse returned home and proceeded to search the neighbouring driveways and gardens. Our crates and pallets were not to be found. We have a Facebook group for the village, so he put out a very polite request for information, i.e. had anyone had a delivery of wood they weren't expecting, because he was expecting one and hadn't had it.
To date, dear reader, there was been zilch response. So, who has got our wood? I have no idea and no-one is saying. I am under orders again to keep my eyes peeled for builders and skips when I am out for my walk around the village. We are still under lockdown regulations and I prowl the village daily as we are instructed to 'stay local'. I think we are so locked down, no-one around here is contemplating any renovations at present, not a skip or a builder in sight. If it's a long winter and we run out of free wood and we had to buy some ... No, let's not even contemplate that one, that is never going to happen. Spouse will surely come up with some free fuel before then - won't he?
My very best wishes to you. Stay warm and stay safe.
Hello dear reader and welcome back to my blog page. Well, fancy. Here we are in 2021 and in the midst of a pandemic. Who ever would have thought we would meet again in these circumstances? Difficult times, dear reader, but we have to muddle through them.
I think we last met before spouse and I made our Australian trip. We thoroughly enjoyed it, spending time with family there and doing a little sightseeing and, surprisingly, quite a lot of fiction writing got done by yours truly. We were based in Brisbane, who play host to the Queensland State Library. Reader, I am in love.
What an amazing site, it's like a village. In addition to the main enormous library, there are two art galleries, bookshops, a museum and cafés serving a variety of fabulous foods. The library itself is amazing with an endless array of computers, all free to use and tables to work at. I had two favourite spots to work in. One on the ground floor, looking out of floor to ceiling windows overlooking the river and a table upstairs in the reference library, for real quiet if I needed to concentrate. It was wonderful to see people of all ages studying hard or just enjoying sitting in a comfy armchair for a good read. I loved the atmosphere and managed the first quarter of a novel there. Yes, I have put it to one side whilst I get on with other projects, but it's planned out and ready for next year. Thank you Brisbane, I could happily live in your library.
So what of now? Well, our garden is three quarters established and now that it's winter I am back to writing again. I am halfway through a new novel with quite a few others lined up after that. Now here's the thing dear reader - one of these proposed books involves a lady murderer, who for her own reasons desires to polish off three particular men. Most of the time I can successfully put book ideas to the back of my head, but this lady occasionally and very insistently brings herself to the fore and demands my attention. So it was last Saturday.
I gave her the floor and she stepped into the spotlight. 'Methods of murder?' asked she. 'Stranglulation for one', says I. But, would my hands be strong enough to strangle a man, I wondered? Ask spouse, thinks I. After all, with a rich and varied career at Her Majesty's Service behind him, he should know a thing or two.
And, alarmingly my dear reader, he did know, in spades to to speak. What that man doesn't know about strangulation I could probably write on the back of an envelope or come to that, a postage stamp. During the afternoon I was soundly put through my paces on the many methods of strangulation. Who knew (a) that there were so many and (b) my seemingly sunny tempered and happy spouse knew all the moves?
For the only time in almost twelve months of pandemic, I was glad that there was no-one calling at the house, who migh have observed two allegedly rational adults engaged in weird wrestling and jabbing moves, complete with yelps and some shouting, (from me).
I am now a little older and wiser and maybe won't be consulting spouse next time my lady murderer pops out of her box. Unfortunately spouse knows a great deal about shooting and stabbing as well and I'm not up for deomonstrations of either of them.
Hey ho, let's hope the lady stays in her box in my head for some long time to come. I need to recover from spouse half killing me and finish 'Aunt Mildred's Millions' this year and 'Walking Bertie' is waiting in the 2022 wings. Everyone else can go to the back of the queue.
Keep well and stay safe dear reader and I hope to meet with you again before too long.