The other thing that has stopped me writing the last week or two is that I’ve been playing some gigs with a local band, Thelonious Punk, who sort of do exactly what it says on the tin.
I play a number of musical instruments, fairly badly, but with lots of enthusiasm, and the last time I jammed with these guys, I was playing soprano saxophone. But that’s on loan to Emo-san and he’s living somewhere down in Clerkenwell, and I forget where; anyway they asked me to play guitar this time.
Ralph, the alto player, suggested I play tenor sax in future, but in the absence of a keyboard player or until we find another guitarist, it’s me doing the chords. Although I’m left-handed, I play orthodox, and it’s all back to front.
It kills me, playing guitar orthodox, it gives me migraines, but it’s the way I learned.
So anyway, over the last fortnight I did two or three fairly chaotic performances with T-Punk, playing an oddball selection of jazz standards, heavy metal covers, and movie themes, and I have one more set to do on Wednesday.
Then it’s back to writing.
My laptop is three years old; ancient. I got Gav the IT guy to build it for me with the money I got from a Guardian article (£1200 plus £900 every time it got optioned – which was, erm, once) and it’s served me faithfully.
But the battery has failed completely, the track pad is wearing away, and there are bits of peanuts jammed beneath the keys, from where I’d try and write while drinking, and snacking.
Plus the ‘O’ key has disappeared, leaving me with a residual soft rubber nib that I have to push in quite a deliberate way to make it work. Totally throws me off my rhythm, hence my lack of blog entries in the last fornight.
So I have to buy a new computer. Been putting off for months, I know what I want, and how much it is going to cost – all I have to do is visit the Mac shop and open my wallet.
Back in October I hung a few bags of nuts and things in my back garden, for the birds that winter around and about. But they were still there, virtually untouched, when the clocks sprung forward last week.
I guessed that the birds were wary of landing in my garden when Starlight was on the prowl. Still, I thought, it was strange that the birdseed was uneaten.
Then today I saw a bluetit hanging from one of the seed-bags, eating its fill. And another joined it. A pair, a couple even; nesting. I watched them from my kitchen window as they ate their fill; a lovely sight. A joy to watch.
Then I went back to the front living room and back to my writing, which has been going fine the last couple of weeks.
Just wrote another couple of chapters of Grendel.
Picked up my Citroen today too. It’s huge. And blue. Sort of miss my little VW though.
Going to take a couple of weeks off blogging in order to spend some time doing actual writing, rather than just writing about writing.
I’ll probably be back online round about Easter.
Was expecting a few emails tonight but they didn’t materialise so, instead, I’m going out for a half hour’s walk. Did three miles this afternoon too.
If I’m to walk a hundred peaks with Wilson, I need to be in training.
Thing is, I’ve decided that everything that happens to me is good.
And that’s the truth of it.
At my little table, working on the NHS job, while watching a documentary about dogs, and it’s all good. Starlight has left the room in feline disgust.
This NHS thing, it seems that most of what I’m doing is layout. That’s fine though because I know nothing about the business of health, so I can only use what they give me on that score. I’m not adding anything. All I have to do is set it out in a colour-coded sequence, add some blurry images of ‘blues n twos’ and maybe the odd shot of someone in scrubs or a smiling biddy being pushed in a wheelchair, and then give it back for an initial viewing.
I’ve got so much stuff on at the moment, but I don’t really mind.
It’s ironic really, me doing all this stuff, because when I was at school, they wouldn’t let me take art or any of the design subjects, and my English teacher wouldn’t even put me in for the exam because he reckoned I’d embarrass him.
I didn’t go to uni either. Not at first. Not until some years after leaving school, when I decided to learn some stuff, and enrolled myself on a couple of part time courses. Ended up with a Masters Degree.
So here I am designing booklets for government departments, and answering emails from readers of my short stories as far apart as Germany, America, Australia and Singapore.
Was reading an article this morning on the new series of Doctor Who, and I saw that the new Doctor has an all-new new Sonic Screwdriver, and I thought, they’ll probably get them in the model shop down at the mall soon, so I’ll keep a lookout and buy one for Ernie, cos he’s mad for Doctor Who and it’s his birthday in May, which is only a few weeks away.
Then I thought, No, I can’t buy him one. He’s gone.
Sometimes, things sneak up on me, a stitch frays, and I forget for a moment.
Every weekend, I go to the same cafe, at about the same time, drink a couple of lattes, read a book, write in my diary, write lists, watch people.
Friends turn up to chat
I like it that way.