Monday, July 31, 2006

Burning Down The House

It's been another weekend away from the internet, though not from the computer altogether. I've been trying to limit my web access, and so my blogging activities, in an attempt to haul myself back to within screaming distance of my deadline on Benfro book three. This is a vain effort, since I've already missed getting it done by Harrogate. I pushed that date forward until Friday week, when the Horse Doctor and I are off on holiday for a week, but realistically the damn thing's not going to be done by then either. Not helped by the fact that I'm going to lose Wednesday and Thursday having to drive to Ayr and back for a funeral.

Ah well, at least I've not got publishers and editors breathing down my neck for this one. More's the pity. And for those of you who think I'm slacking, I currently have 140k words done. Conservative estimates are that there's another fifty kay to go before the end of the book. If this were the same length as books one and two I'd have finished on time, but I seem to have developed an over-verbosity that will need ruthless editing when the time comes.

The weekend started in a slightly surreal manner anyway. My mother has been determined to get the Horse Doctor something more substantial for her birthday than the pack of cat-themed playing cards that arrived on the day. Due to some offhand remark I made a while back, she decided that the ideal gift would be something for the garden. I suggested a new wheelbarrow,* and in particular a bright yellow JCB wheelbarrow. Fortunately for my mother, some of her older grandchildren were staying at the time, and were able to use the internet to track one down. JCB having stopped making them.

Quality British Engineering. And yellow, too.

So I had an unexpected call from Cheap Charlie's in Aberystwyth. Could I come and pick up this bright yellow wheelbarrow. And preferably as soon as possible as it was cluttering up the storeroom. It's difficult to park near Cheap Charlie's at the best of times, but in the summer holidays you don't stand a chance. So I ended up wheeling the bright yellow JCB wheelbarrow back through the streets of Aberystwyth to the spot, about a mile away, where I'd managed to park the batmobile. And all the while, AA Milne's long-forgotten poem was trundling through my head:

Jonathan Jo
Has a mouth like an "O"
And a wheelbarrow full of surprises;
If you ask for a bat,
Or for something like that,
He has got it, whatever the size is.

If you're wanting a ball,
It's no trouble at all;
Why, the more that you ask for, the merrier -
Like a hoop and a top,
And a watch that won't stop,
And some sweets, and an Aberdeen terrier.

Jonathan Jo
Has a mouth like an "O,"
But this is what makes him so funny:
If you give him a smile,
Only once in a while,
Then he never expects any money!

Needless to say, the Horse Doctor was delirious with joy. Or at least quite pleased. She wants me to drill some holes in the old wheelbarrow so she can plant it up with flowers. I prefer the old toilet bowl in which I grow mint for my Pimms, but that's another thing entirely.

Friday evening was warm and dry, but the weatherman had promised rain on Saturday. Since we now had the necessary kit, we decided to build a bonfire and dispose of the remains of the privet hedge. I had thought of hiring a woodchipper and turning it all into mulch, but when the local tool hire shop suggested I part with £65 a day for the kit, fire suddenly presented itself as a better option. It's amazing what you can do by rubbing two boy scouts together.

I'm not sure why my house is so much grubbier than the neighbours.

*and before you go on about 'buy your wife a birthday kettle', the Horse Doctor wanted a new wheelbarrow, OK. And anyway, I got her a loom so she can weave me nice things.


Blogger Dr. Lisa said...

Lucky horsie doctor!!!

Grubbiness might be due to different paints?

July 31, 2006 4:32 pm  
Blogger Dr. Lisa said...

Lucky horsie doctor!!!

Grubbiness might be due to different paints?

July 31, 2006 4:32 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Actually, Lisa, I think it's because my house was unoccupied, and hence unheated, for about ten years before we moved in. The rest of the houses would have had a residual heat in them enough to dry out the walls and stop fungus taking hold. Ours just went a grubby shade of green. I'd repaint it, but I really think that should be the landlord's job.

July 31, 2006 6:00 pm  

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