It’s funny how different something looks from one perspective than it does from another. I thought that the first few words of the first sentence of New Thing* would clearly, unmistakably and irresistibly label it as fiction. People who read the blog even occasionally (I thought) would be aware that I mention Peter from time to time** as an ongoing part of my life***—and if people who don’t read the blog at all might be intrigued at the possibility of one of those scary train-wreck blogs where people describe their bosses as pustules and how they had it off with the plumber last Saturday† while their spouse was buying Marmite at the corner shop,†† hey, whatever keeps them reading. But it never occurred to me that even the least regular reader could get to the end of the first sentence, and we will pass over the reference to computers and conferences since not everyone knows who Peter is†††, absorb the reference to the fourth volume of The Epic of Flowerhair and not at least suspect the presence of a fragrant rodent. The Epic of Flowerhair? Seriously? I must be even farther out of touch with my genre than I realised.‡ And the only reason this blog exists is because I’m a writer. A fantasy writer. Um. People do read sidebars, don’t they? Where mine outs me as a fantasy writer. I always read sidebars. There is vastly, universe-crackingly too much content out there in internet land. You need a fast way to say ‘no’‡‡ occasionally. Sidebars (sometimes) provide one.
And haven’t I been chirpy and upbeat about the New Thing? Well, I thought I’d been being chirpy and upbeat‡‡‡ about the New Thing.
Anyway. It’s fiction. There will be more of it. And, you know, thanks for worrying . . .
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I know I promised you a What? You’re doing what? semi-explanatory blog tonight but I’m several leagues beyond shattered and I have to get up EARLY tomorrow.
About six weeks ago, I think, we received a very chirpy email, speaking of chirpy, from the parents of one of Peter’s grandchildren, informing us that the grandchild in question had reached the finals of the national division of the Pan-galactic Gargle Blaster Young Musician of the Year competition, which is being held in Dastardly, which is not impossibly far from here. So we’re going. Tomorrow. EARLY tomorrow. We’re going (EARLY) because we’re getting a ride—from Georgiana and Saxon who are getting out of bed even earlier to swing past here and pick us up. They are noble and wonderful human beings.§
It’s going to be a clan gathering—I believe they’re pegging off one whole section of the arena for us—but the finalist grandchild and his immediate family swooped through here a day early and stayed overnight last night at Third House. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It seemed like a good idea before I had this flu§§ and it still seemed like a good idea up until the electricity started flashing on and off like an urgent Morse code message yesterday morning. I was (serendipitously) out buying batteries when one of the other clerks came flouncing back in the shop and announced crossly that both our little local grocery stores were closed, allegedly because of automatic-till problems. Oh. My next stop was some little local grocery, for supplies for the troops who were arriving in a few hours. . . .
With reference, the other night, to the question of protecting your technology from erratic power delivery: I have this great boulder of an object under the desk at the cottage, which is both hard drive back up, enough battery to let you close your desktop down without data loss or meltdown if the power goes out, and a kind of super-whammy surge protector, in that it cost ridiculous amounts of money, but you don’t have to keep changing the freller every time something like yesterday happens. It has a major drawback, however, which is that while the power is out it screams. It screams incessantly for as long as the power is out—and it doesn’t stop screaming until the power is back on again AND you have reset the wretched thing.
It spent a lot of yesterday screaming. I did not enjoy this.
And then when I finally got to Third House to make up the beds, I couldn’t get the frelling heat to turn on. The OLD boiler§§§ was thirty (or forty) years old and it had pretty much two settings: On. And off. And it had a dial, so you could set the temperature. That was about it. It also made a reassuring roaring noise when you turned it on and it came on. I am capable of understanding this system. The new boiler, which was installed when I had all that fun having the Weight Bearing Floor built for the attic a couple of years ago, will make a cherry pie, sew a fine seam, and calculate pi to 1,000 places. All I want it to do is heat my house. And I couldn’t figure out WHY I COULDN’T TURN IT ON. I wasted a lot of time on this, to the detriment of the bed-making, but it was cold last night#. . . .
They had been keeping me up to date with their progress by text, including the indefinite delay when the M-something motorway stalled out due to a traffic accident. Then I didn’t receive the last two texts about their getting underway again, and the next thing I knew there was a sudden influx of tired, chilly human beings who were bemused by the fact that Wolfgang was preventing them from parking in Third House’s drive, and after everyone is home from work there never are spaces on the street. Oh. Technology, you ratbag. You get careless, when things are working. You assume they will go on working.
I have to go to BED. I have to get up EARLY. PS: our grandchild is going to blow the rest of those weaselly little suckers out of the water. . . . ##
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* It doesn’t have a name yet. You will be the first to know.
** See: I am my own best material because I don’t have to worry about taking my own name in vain or hurting my own feelings. And poor Peter suffers the disability of being the only other person who doesn’t have an alias. So I do try to protect him.
*** I suppose, since I’m always reminding you how much I don’t tell you, you could have leaped to the sudden, horrified conclusion that our marriage is actually a seething rancorous mass of barely restrained mutual loathing, and that this had broken out at last. Um. No. And even Gelasio isn’t a villain. At least I don’t think so. At least not yet. I suppose he could . . . mmmph mrgle gmmmph.
† Cheaper than weekend overtime rates. If the plumber fancies you.
†† Sorry, you hopefuls. I don’t write that kind of blog. Nice knowing you.
‡ Hoist by my own petard again. I also keep saying that I’m very under-read in everything because I’m a very slow reader and read over too wide a range. True.
‡‡ Or even ‘yes’, unfortunately. Noooooo! I do not want to receive email updates! Noooooo! I do not want to be on your RSS feed! Nooooooooo!
‡‡‡ And annoying.
§ I believe there is also a classic Jag involved. Oooooooh. May I be awake enough to appreciate it.
§§ There was a noxious miasma hanging over Bologna this year. I know several people hitherto innocent of any crime who went home plague-bearers.
# Yes. I am extremely tired of bringing this year’s baby plants indoors every night.
## PPS: The boiler had turned itself off at source. I guess because it got tired of the Morse electricity. It did allow itself to be turned back on again—when someone other than me figured this out.
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