Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I put my back out yesterday morning and it's still hurting today. Still, it gives me a great excuse to sit down and read or be at the computer.

It's settled down now and if I get a comfortable nights sleep I'll be fine in the morning. If not, I shall be moaning about it again tomorrow.

I also have another PC job tomorrow afternoon: teaching someone how to use their digital camera, and get the photos onto a PC.

Some people laugh when I tell them I do this, but if you don't know how to do something, how are you going to learn? Although I can do these things almost without thinking, many people can't. So I teach them, then next time they can do it themselves without fear. I also keep in mind that there was a time when I couldn't do any of this.

No rehearsal tomorrow evening, and I'm not due in until Monday 2nd November. That gives me nearly two weeks to learn all my lines.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


What a week!

7 days of exploding PCs, broken networks and PC teaching, as well as settling my eldest into life with me. Add to that a couple of play rehearsals and that I have been 'picked up' by a woman.

We finally managed to get all my son's stuff from his mother's place and spent three days sorting out what should go in the garage and what needs to stay inside. All we need to do now is get his bed out of there.

One PC job took three visits, two HDD enclosures and several sets of wires before it finally worked, whilst another was a simple install job for Windows XP. Don't get me started on the network problems and broadband catastrophes.

I've had to put some time aside to view my latest published works. Two reviews in issue 99 of hub magazine. The story will be out in the next month or so (watch this space).

I've also started dating again with a great, wonderful, beautiful woman. We've told our respective families (10 kids, 2 parents, assorted siblings, ex-in-laws, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and assorted pets) and are working our way round friends. We should finish just before the London Olympics start in 2012.

Well, that brings you up to date on my life. But what about the writing I hear you say. I'm linking up with Community Times Stevenage to run a small writing competition in their magazine. The rules will be published soon. I've also been working on characters in the novel, looking at short stories that I could resend to magazines, as well as plotting one or two more. Mostly I'm writing reviews on SF books and films.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get back to a daily blog now that things have settled down.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Making the Break

My eldest son moved out of his mother's place and in with me today.

Not the easiest decision for a 15 year-old-Asperger's-suffering boy to make, but he felt he had no choice.

The area where my ex lives is not one of the most salubrious in Stevenage and the atmosphere in the house is stifling for him. Add to this she expects him to be a surrogate father to his two younger brothers while she goes away for the weekend with her boyfriend and he'd had enough.

I hope he's made the correct decision, and that I have too.

Prayers and Good Wishes will be welcome.

Monday, October 12, 2009

More Rehearsals

There is just over a month till the play is performed and things are coming along nicely.

We have had two runthroughs of Act 1, without books, and both went well. The occasional hiccup, but nothing that can't be fixed with a little more practice.

We've also gone through Act 2 and on Thursday we will do a 'no book' runthrough of that.

The only problem is Nora. Not because she can't do it, but because the whole play revolves around her. Well, problem is not the correct word. She is onstage for most of the play, the only exception being the beginning of Act 3. She also has many long pieces, a lot of which sound the same or have the same feel.

The rest of us have to get our feeder lines correct or she'll get things wrong.

I am REALLY looking forward to this now. At the start I was worrying if I could learn all of my lines, but I'm finding out just how well I can learn these things. I just need to believe in myself a lot more.

Oh, remember me mentioning someone flirting with me? Well, let's hope I was wrong about that as she's married.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A Read Through

Two members of the cast didn't turn up tonight. The leading lady was ill and the leading man was...well we don't know.

So, we did a sit down read through without our scripts. All in all, it went well and very little prompting was required. Even the kids got their lines right.

The play is coming together as we are also getting props sorted out and the costumes. I am also starting work on a youtube video, the contents of which are currently secret, but will be revealed in due course. We may even put a snippet of the performance online afterwards.

Now, I just have to learn the other two chunks and I'll be fine...ish.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What We Don't Know

What a couple of days. PC and Broadband problems everywhere.

One PC decided to just stop booting up for no apparent reason. A quick rejig of the internal wiring and some jerry-rigging later and it started. Why did it stop? No idea. All the hardware was wired properly and all the software had the correct settings.

This got me thinking about all the things we don't know about the world around us. In computers, why does software crash for no reason and then happily restart and give no problems ever again? Ghosts in the machine?

Our minds are a similar puzzle. Is our mind a part of the physical brain that we haven't discovered yet? Or is it a soul, a spiritual essence that only partly resides in this universe or the three-dimensional world?

There is so much we don't know, and probably never will.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Diary - The Next Generation

7.30am: Alarm woke me up and I tried to wake up youngest son. Failed.

7.35am: Finally got grumpy little child up and out of bed. Made His Majesty some breakfast.

7.45am: The Emperor is crying as his mother packed the wrong trousers for school. Promise to swing by her place so he can get another pair.

8.15am: Leave to take the High Priest to school.

8.30am: Chase the High Lord of the Galaxy around the school playground. He runs out of energy before I do.

8.45am: The God of all things deigns to enter school...after I chase him around some more and kiss him several times in front of his friends.

10.30am: Leave home with sprog number 1 to collect sprog number 2 and go to Royston.

12.00pm: Have lunch in Royston, sprogs go to friend's house for fun. I rehearse lines with my friend.

5.00pm: Walk dogs on heath, sprogs come and find us.

5.15pm: Leave Royston and return sprog number 2 to mother's house.

6.30pm: Leave house to go to play rehearsals. Leading lady ill, so cut short. Stay late with another member of cast to rehearse our lines in act 3. Neither of us can stop laughing at the absurdity of some of them.

9.00pm: We leave together

9.10pm: Get back home and try to calm down.

10.15pm: Absolutely cream-crackered. Goodnight all.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Diary IV - The Final Insult...Until Next Week

7.30am: Alarm went off and woke up. Lovely day outside. Went back to sleep.

9.00am: Woke up again, went downstairs and made a cup of tea.

9.15am: Woke eldest son up by threatening to sit on his face. Worked a treat.

9.45am: Had a bath and a shave. That's two of each this month. Am I becoming obsessive?

10.30am: Whilst reading 'Mort' by Terry Pratchett, came to a sudden realisation. The 'evil' character in my novel should not be actually evil. He should be more of an accident prone, do-gooder vicar with a sense of duty who has been handed an awful lot of power. Novel should be finished by 2015.

11.00am: Old friend contacted my via Facebook. We agree to meet up at 1.30pm for lunch.

1.15pm: Gather my stuff together for 3pm meeting with CAB and go to lunch.

1.30pm: Friend is late (as usual). Turns up at 1.35pm. (Men. Ha. Never get things right do they)

2.45pm: After insulting each other for over an hour we part company. He goes to get his youngest from school and I go to CAB.

2.55pm: Arrive at CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) for meeting with Family Advisor about kids and residency. Discover that eldest can make his own decision about where he lives in January as he turns 16. Brings a smile to my face.

3.55pm: Arrive home and tell son good news. He's happy, but has been told by his mother that he has to make a decision by the end of October. Fine by me and him. If the flat is OK (and I will see it within the next ten days), then I'll move in before he goes to Germany and he can make a decision. Horrible thing for a child to have to decide, but I don't know what else I expected from THAT woman.

18.30pm: Finally get back on MY computer now that my son has been peeled off it.

18.35pm: Realise that the end of the week has been better than the beginning. Can go to sleep with a smile on my face...providing I can find that miniature coat hanger.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Diary III - Another Sequel

4.30am: Can't sleep anymore. As I need to be out of the door by 5.15am anyway, decide to get dressed.

5.15am: Leave house to go and get friend and kids to take them to Gatwick Airport.

5.45am: Arrive. Mother not up, kids ready.

6.20am: Leave...20 minutes late. Mother not going as she is unwell.

7.00am: Stop so one of kids can be sick by the roadside.

9.00am: Arrive at Gatwick and check kids in. Go get something to eat.

10.05am: Get kids back to checkout desk so flight attendant can take them through. Lots of tears from one child as she's leaving her boyfriend behind for seven weeks.

10.30am: Leave Gatwick for return journey.

12.15am: Drop girl's boyfriend off at his house and go visit mother to see if she's OK. She's fine, if queesy.

1.10pm: Arrive home.

3.15pm: Council ring to tell me I'm top bidder for a flat. May get my own place soon.

3.30pm: Bank ring me to tell me that my account problems have been sorted out.

3.35pm: Start blog, wondering how such an awful week can up reasonably good.

3.40pm: Realise that there is still Friday to go. Things could still go horribly wrong.