Wednesday, December 30, 2009


It's very windy out and about here today. In this photo, Ozzie is not shaking or moving her head at all. That's the wind, that is.

Looks like the weather will turn icy again tomorrow, so it's time to order my Yak Trax so that at least the dogs don't pull me off my feet when we're walking.

Did you have a lovely Christmas? I did. I seem to have cornered the market in Burt's Bees lip salve, though, so if anyone needs any, do let me know. No exaggeration, I think I have ten sticks of it. I did also get a pile of Lush stuff from youngest Byrne, which included a fantastically bracing salt and vodka facial scrub. Almost as good as a long walk on a very windy day by the sea.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh, did you have best-laid plans, did you?

Well, now they have changed.

To get the new year off to a rollicking start (all the extra two seconds of it, or whatever it was we actually got today), Lulu gashed the pad of her paw on a piece of glass or something on the beach. Not the part of her paw she actually walks on, more the ankle bit. But she sliced that pad pretty good. So off to the vet on the frozen road we went, where she got sedated and stitched and bandaged.

She's fine, but she has to have two kinds of medication for several days, and the medication might make her sick. And she has to come in on Christmas Eve to have her dressing changed and a new bandage put on. So it means she won't be going to kennels with the others tomorrow. I feel bad for poor Ozzie that her very best playmate won't be around to do kennels with her over the next week, but in another way I feel like Lulu's time has come. After all, she did have to spend two weeks in kennels, alone, when we went to Derbyshire in June. Now she gets to hang out at the parents' house with us in comfort over Christmas Day and Stephenses Day while the others are all in kennels, freezing their asses off.

In other news, two of my photos were chosen for the vets' calendar this year. And Blakey is the only cat on the calendar.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy new year

Today is the winter solstice. Which means that tomorrow is the new year, astronomically speaking. And astronomically speaking is good enough for me.

While out walking the dogs today--I saw the sun come up at about 8.45 and was out again when it got dark at about 16.30--I had that feeling you get when you are at the very bottom, or the very middle, of a very long tunnel. You feel stifled, and then you feel that lift as the carriage or the car starts to move out of the tunnel and you find yourself leaning forwards in the hope it'll get you out faster.

Not that I'm particularly going anywhere. Next year might just be the same as this one. For me, that's pretty much okay. (Your experience might be different, in which case I wish radical change for you.) Although I do wish I could have stayed in abstracting. I miss spending my work days finding out what was going on in the world.

Anyway, when I get up on the dunes with the dogs tomorrow morning, there will be that delicious, childish, primeval holding of my breath while I discover whether the sun is going to struggle up over the horizon or not. I don't know what we'll do if it doesn't. Go back to bed and wait to see what happens next, I suppose.

Good thing Mrmonkey isn't going to work tomorrow. We can wait and see together.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Is nice system, but please, where is heat?

We recently spent over €4,000 on a new heating system for our house. It's a very clever system that adjusts itself in line with the temperature outside and can be set to heat just your water or just your radiators and no water, whichever you prefer. However, it turns out that you can't just turn it ON when it's cold out. You have to fiddle with the settings to reprogramme its start and stop times. There's no "boost" setting that turns the heat on for an hour and then turns it off again.

There is NO BLOODY ON button that just turns the effing heat ON.

So stupid. See, that's what happens when you don't ask anyone for feedback before you start production on something.

Let's focus group this mother out

As I believe they say in the publishing trade.

I've decided to actually try to produce a workable second draft of my book. If you read any of it, I would like you to tell me what you thought of it, if that's not too much trouble. One thing you did like and one thing you didn't like will be sufficient. Also, if you didn't finish it, when did you stop reading and why? And if you did finish it, did you like it all the way to the end or did you think it got rubbish somewhere along the way but you finished it anyway because you're bloody minded like that?

I've already decided on some of the broader changes I'm going to make and some of the character relationships I'm going to rework (mainly the two lead characters, who I like better as semi-robotic loners who've found their niche in life as zombie killers than as nice, regular people who fall in love with other people ever), but it would be nice not to make the same mistakes twice.

So, if you can be bothered, please comment. I realise there's nothing in it for you except that book-group feeling, but you would be helping me with my project. Thanks.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The End of Innistown

So, Google Docs doesn't allow me to upload the whole novel in one go. Stupid, huh?

Here is a link to the first part of the novel.

And here is a link to the second part of the novel.

I don't know if this will work. If it doesn't work, I am sorry.

Usual Disclaimer: Please remember that this is a first draft that was written in 30 days.

Personally I think it lacks the charm of my previous nanowrimo novel, which I greatly enjoyed writing and still think of very fondly. But it's done now and that's zombies officially laid to rest. So to speak.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Accentmonkey, just how sad are you?

Here's how sad I am. I finally found a website where I can buy a proper deck-scrub broom, so I can wash my kitchen floor properly instead of just sweeping and mopping it.

And I am excited about this, because I have been looking for one for months.

And that is the story of how sad I am.