Attempting to make it as a writer

Archive for November, 2011

Tumble Down

The mountain of washing that accumulates in my house is gargantuan.    Like the famous Forth Bridge; by the time it is completed, it needs starting again.   We own two washing baskets one for the children’s bathroom and one for ours; magic baskets that fill and overflow without any visible signs of help.  I can empty them; sorting them both into piles, colours dark and light, whites, woollens and special wash items, return the baskets and by the end of the first wash I guarantee one at least will be full to overflowing.

I have a theory; one of course disputed avidly by the rest of the family.   I wash and return the clothes not quite to the inner sanctum of their rooms; where I dare not tread for fear of never coming out alive, but to outside their rooms.    The clothes then dutifully disappear inside the room away from my watchful eye.

Cries of, “I have no socks, boxers, jumpers”, resound around the house regularly, despite the pile that was left ready and waiting outside their rooms.   Finally another clear out of baskets reveals, socks amazingly only one of a pair at a time.   Also boxers, jumpers and all manner of trousers, shorts and shirts miraculously refill the baskets.     Items of clothing which I have just washed and we haven’t actually had the opportunity to wear.

My theory is that outside the bedroom is only one step away from being thrown back in the wash bin.  I have on occasion, actually emptied out still folded and ironed items of clothing.  Naturally none of my boys would dream of such a thing ; so I am in ownership undoubtedly, of a washing imp.  The antithesis of my more hallowed kitchen pixie who appears early in the morning and clears away the debris left from the night before when I am often too tired to contemplate it.

In a household of sports loving boys, along with the washing machine, constant supply of washing powder and conditioner the other can’t do without equipment to keep this never ending task from backing up; is the tumble dryer.   Understandably not everything can go in the tumble dryer but with winter fast approaching and the mud and wet of sports kit more caked on and needing re-wearing on an alarming regularity, there is a large proportion of my washing that needs to be tumbled.

For weeks now my little tumble dryer has been on the blink, literally.    It tumbles with no problem however the heating element has been completely temperamental, only working when the door is firmly shut or it is completely empty of water or when there is a T in the day of the week.    It will tumble and turn the washing for hours without actually doing any good but having used huge chunks of electricity, not to mention swear words under my breath.

This weekend it finally died on me once too often and I was left with no heat at all, no matter how carefully I patted, encouraged or gently co-erced the stupid machine.   Nothing would happen.

The house was beginning to resemble a clothes factory with items of attire adorning each and every radiator in the building.  The banisters make a fabulous bar to throw skirts (mine of course) or trousers over and the shower rail is ideal for hanging pre ironing on.  Added to which the heating has to be running constantly and the children complain of the heat, not required against cold but to get the clothes dry.  Bedding, towels and anything that can be delayed was piling up into an insurmountable peak in the bathroom.

In a fit of desperation I advertised on freecycle just in case anyone had a spare.  Well if you don’t ask you don’t get.  I am very well aware that tumble dryers are the kind of thing you only replace when one is broken.  Just maybe, I conjured the scene in my mind’s eye; someone had one that would limp through the winter until the January sales offered me a never to be repeated, once in a million, incredible saving on just the perfect tumble dryer for me.

For all cynics in this world; there is a god.

I had a phone call last night from a friend of a friend; checking there definitely was not more than one of me in the area.   I could assure her there is only one of me. Apologies for calling you at home but did you place an advert on freecycle for a tumble dryer?

I have a second hand one that works fine but with all my children, and she does have a lot and much younger than mine, my mother has just, for my birthday, bought me a new all singing all dancing super fast model to keep up with my washing.   I was about to offer my old one on freecycle and recognised your name.

What could I say.

Her husband brought it round and fitted it last evening with Sexy Sporty Dad; I sent back a bouquet of flowers which I hope she will enjoy looking at more than the utilitarian gift of the tumble dryer her lovely mother treated her to, which will last many years longer than the flowers.

Four loads of washing later I am delighted to report; it works a dream and there are radiators visible once again in my house, I can pull myself upstairs using the banister and no more balancing on the edge of the bath to take the hangers down before climbing in to shower.     It doesn’t take much to make me happy.


Apologies for the lack of posts just lately,  I have been a little busy.

Here is a speedy update on the latest novel “Scrum Down” .   I have uploaded just over 22,000 words,  I have another 8000 possibly 9000 written awaiting typing but only 9 days left to do the final 20,000.  Having got most of the story down, am flagging a little with interruptions like work and family life, not to mention catching up on washing.  There are still a few gems of wisdom I hope to be able to find to finish off this week.   No promises.




Time Passing

We moved from Devon 6 years ago this November and only fleetingly have gone back to visit.  Initially we did go back briefly to stay with my mother, refusing to visit any old haunts or even see old friends.

It was a conscious decision at the time as the choice to move was not altogether a happy one.  We had been settled where we were, the boys at a school that seemed very much to match our needs despite the 15 minute drive each way.   I had my own business having been made redundant a couple of years earlier and Mini Son had just started nursery.   My mother was in the same village, a peaceful stroll away past the cemetery where my father now unfortunately resides, the children would always stop and visit his grave as we passed.  Birthdays and anniversaries would be marked by a few flowers often picked from the hedgerows as we walked.

Why would we ever wish to move you might say.

Sexy Sporty Dad had got a new job which was just over that feasible hour’s commute. He got his new job the day the builders moved in to build the fantastic new extension we had been working to get for the previous 7 years.    It took three months before he actually had to move, so he would return each evening to yet more chaos as they built the foundations and blocked the garden.   My business was just taking off and timings really couldn’t have been worse.

Once his new job began, Sexy Sporty Dad left us each week, renting a spacious flat, yards from his office which he stayed in all week.  We visited during school holidays when he still had to work.  I have many friends, braver than me who go through this every week, it is not unusual particularly in these days of recession, but for us it was difficult.  Three boys growing up needed their father’s presence to guide and reassure them.  I had terrific support from friends and family while I was on my own but I too missed him and the half hour phone call each evening, shared with the boys did not really compensate.

The final straw came when Middle Son was run over and leaving the other two with neighbours, I was blue lighting down the motorway in an ambulance and I had to ring him mid week and ask him to drive down to Devon not knowing if Middle Son would make it.  Thankfully Middle Son did make it, escaping with a fractured skull and cracked hip.  That was September, 9 months after he had left.

By November we had let the house with it’s fantastic new extension and my own designed kitchen to die for.  We bought a new house on an estate with a primary school next door.  The boys had their greatest wish, they could walk to school and not have to drive each day.  The irony now is that they have a 15 minute walk up to the top school and they try all kinds of persuasion, urging and subterfuge to persuade us to drive them the half mile or so up the road.

It has taken a long time to go back and face our past.  My mother moved about two years after us to a village close to both my sisters and nearer us than she was in Devon, which negated the need to return regularly.

With the school half term upon us and my brother having just moved back to Devon, to the next door village, it was time to return and check out old haunts.  On our way down we took the boys into Exeter.  We were about to show them the old maternity hospital that saw all three of them born over the years.  No longer a hospital; a brand new Waitrose had opened its doors to the public apparently within the last month.    It triggered many hilarious jokes of giving birth in the aisles of the supermarket, and the quality of Waitrose producing strapping young men, not to mention questioning their returns policy.

We also drove them past the hotel where we had celebrated our wedding reception, the colours and feel of autumn similar to that day so many years and so many lost friends and family ago.  Then taking the longer route managed to meander up through the village and past the tiny cottage where following his birth No 1 Son came home for his first six months on this planet.   Poignantly we visited my father’s grave 9 years to the date of his death.  Mini Son watered the plants on his grave,

he doesn't even remember him

despite having never really knowing his grandfather.  His older brothers commenting on the number of new graves and the baby boy, who had been in our thoughts many a time, buried behind Gramps still has constant fresh flowers even after all this time.

My brother has moved to a wonderful old house where he will spend probably the next 30 years doing it up, and like the Forth Bridge will require starting again before it is finished.   There is now central heating to top up the rayburn and woodburners that circulate warmth around the thick cobbed walls.

Narrow passageways lead through the house to uneven walls and non regular rooms.  Original beams on the ceilings so low, that my boys now have to stoop to save their heads from being hit. The large enclosed and fabulous garden full of apple trees, climbing trees and a huge kitchen garden where they plan to grow all manner of vegetables and fruit.   Hidden beneath the overgrown hedges we found sheds and fruit cages, a bird house above a stone bird table and in the middle of the garden the pond with a tiny stone bridge over just begging for a fishing knome to dangle his rod.   They are going to have their work cut out but they will have a great project for years to come.

We finally plucked up courage to go back to our old house, well to the road we use to live in.  We called in on our next door neighbour for coffee and realised her baby was now a boistrous 8 year old with a mind and life of his own.   She suggested we knocked on the door and have a look around the old house.  Not that brave yet we but noticed the new windows and checked up on all the other neighbours and what they were doing now.

We moved round the corner to great friends of ours and were met by their youngest child. It was only yesterday had he started nursery; when I first met his mother, he and No 1 Son were just a few months apart and attending the same nursery at the school 15 minutes away.  He has now left top school and travels each day to college to do his A-levels.  He too is taller than me and his sister who was not home is away at University no longer in her second year of top school as she was when we left .  Where did the time go?

I know we have kept in touch and commented on what our children have been doing, over the years.  Meeting occasionally when work commitments brought her within spitting distance, but it is only the visible sight of the children that makes you realise that they are no longer the tiny people we left behind.  They, like us have grown up and got on with their lives and there is no way of catching up on that lost time.


Well NANOWRIMO is upon us all too quickly and as threatened I have again fallen under its spell.  I have committed myself to trying; even if this does not succeed I will be able to say I have tried.  Writing a novel is quite scary anytime but to do it within the tight time frame of a month is probably as Sexy Sporty Dad has commented complete madness.   He has been very supportive so far asking how it is going and how many words so far.

Delighted with his new found interest in my writing, although I believe it is more in keeping with the idea that he wants 50,000 words to be written quickly and be out of the way, rather than interest in the actual story.  I will however treasure the fleeting interest I might receive from him for as long as it takes and if I can produce a half decent novel at the end then all the better.


I also write this with thoughts and prayers for all those affected by the horrendous M5 crash.

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