Friday, 27 April 2012

A typical Saturday.

Finished an editing job. Went to the Post Office. Got two heavy bags of shopping from the Co-Op and galloped home with them, trying to beat the rain clouds (made it, just!). Did the vacuuming. Fed Flad. Fed the fox - twice, as the first time she took the grub off to the cubs. The dog fox put in an appearance, too.

Made a cherry cake... OMG, time to check the oven! Dashed downstairs, cake OK, 11 mins to go. Dashed back upstairs. Remembered I have to sort out an outfit for the funeral tomorrow of my old neighbour from Highgate days, who has sadly just died aged 86. Realise I forgot to dust the stairs. That's the next job after the cake is done.

And I wonder why I I'm tired by the evening! Meanwhile, what has Mr Grumpy been doing? Fitting a new sink in the butcher's shop, that's what. Hope he brings some nice chops or a steak home. So does Flad. And so do the foxes!

Monday, 23 April 2012


After having beaten myself up ALL weekend about letting my chiropractor down, she has just sent me the sweetest email in which she said,
Hi Lorna, Of course you are forgiven.  Thank you so much for considering helping us out and I completely understand that learning a new system in a short space of time is overwhelming.  I have asked someone else to pop in and see if she thinks she could take on the job temporarily, I will hear from her towards the end of the week either way.  

Oh, WHAT a relief! I feel much better now.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Gutted again

I don't believe it. It's so unfair! I just rang to put in an offer on a lovely 2-bed bungalow just round the corner to Mr G, ideal for sorting out my stuff gradually and seeing Flad at regular intervals. I was all geared up, so happy that I'd made a decision at last. But when I spoke to the agent he said I was just too late. They'd accepted someone else's offer this morning.

I don't know what to do. I have been trapped in this cold, draughty house for seven long years. How much longer will it take? I think someone 'up there' has got it in for me.

Letting people down

I hate doing it but it seems almost inevitable in life that sooner or later, you'll let somebody down and now I've just done it bigtime and am feeling terrible. My chiropractor asked if I would would cover four reception shifts over the next two weeks. Mondays are six hours, from 1-7pm. Wednesdays are a beastly ten hours, from 9am-7pm, with a break midday. Minimum wage.

Last time I did cover for them, there was no computer and you just wrote down appointments in a book, rubbing out cancellations and rearranging, all in pencil. Now, though, a new computer program has been installed and it is fiendish. It is full of glitches, passwords, one left click followed by two right clicks... a whole six pages of instructions had been scribbled out for me. Then there's doing the credit card payments, totalling everything up in several different ways at the end of the day, two safes with various keys to be hidden, gowns to be washed but not left in the dryer overnight and the wash can't be started till the last client has gone (so how can you go home at 7pm?) and, worst of all, there were three or four different doctors and therapists going to be there, not just one, and you had to handle all their clients and phone calls and appointments.

Each time a client arrives, you have to go onto the computer and click a box that says they have arrived, then another to say they are having their treatment, then another to say they have paid and how much, then you have to prepare an invoice, and also keep different payment sheets for each doctor/chiro... This is just the bare bones. There's far, far more. After an hour and a half, my head was spinning, my spirits were in my boots, I couldn't cope and I wanted to go and lie down.

Anyway, I got home and tearfully emailed the main chiro who owns the business and told her I couldn't do the shifts as I just couldn't cope with all the work involved. There's the fatigue factor, too. I'm not sleeping well again, I get up each morning feeling tired out and keep having to have lie-downs in the afternoon. Perhaps I'm just too old to work! I feel terrible, really terrible, about letting them down and it's significant that I've had no email back, either berating me or saying 'never mind'. I feel as if I really have left them in the lurch. But what else could I do? Put myself through hell and mess up all the appointments?

Maybe I have to face the fact that I have the mind of a writer, not an admin person. I now admire and respect both their part-time receptionists (one of whom is 60-ish, like me) immensely. I had no idea how hard they had to work. There's a lot more to being a receptionist than just sitting by the phone.

Or is this particular job just exceptionally detailed and demanding? I'd be interested to know what you think. One thing's for certain. I'm going to cancel my own appointment for treatment on 4th May because I don't think I can ever show my face there again.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

More property woes

In my last post, I mentioned the lovely flat I'd seen that someone else pipped me at the post to. Well, yesterday I awoke in fighting spirit and rang the agent and offered £3,000 more than the asking price. Whereupon he told me he had had other bids of over the asking price and what he was asking everyone to do was submit their best bid by midday today.

So... what do I do? Play the game and take the risk of paying over the odds but getting a lovely flat right in the area I want? Or do surrender now and miss out once again? Seems like this has been happening for ever. If I offer any more, it will eat up almost all of my savings. Two months ago, I would have been gung-ho about it and said, 'I can always work and save up again,' but now I'm not so sure as I haven't had any work in from the agency for six whole weeks!

I suppose I could offer another £500 and see what happens... But I resent paying more than the asking price for anything and I can't forget that only two years ago I could have got this flat, not quite so nicely renovated, for £100,000 less!!! Crazy, isn't it? But that's the London property market for you.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Uphill struggle, downhill slide

It's now twelve days since I had my tooth out and I am still in pain. My gum is red and angry, it looks as if it is getting a head on it like a gumboil, and I am in permanent pain and can still only eat slop and mush. And what sympathy do I get from Mr Grumpy? None at all. He believes he has the copyright on tooth troubles and nobody has a right to complain about teeth but him - as if it's my fault that he hasn't seen a dentist since 1968!!! The reason for this being that when he was in gaol following a drunken fight which carved his chin up, he got toothache, had the tooth pulled by a prison dentist and the nerve was left exposed, resulting in days of agony. This left him with a complete phobia about dentists.

Now, I think I have far more right to a dental phobia than him, because not only have I, too, suffered the screaming agony of an exposed nerve in the past, but I was brave enough to continue seeing the dentist and I have also been through all the bad experiences you have read about here, and far more besides. But that's him. I am not allowed to moan about headache, stomach ache, a cold, a sprained ankle... I must endure it all in silence, because he didn't moan and grumble following his strokes, so what right have I to make a fuss about my own much more minor ailments? That's what he says.

So here I am, sitting in my room which, despite the sunshine outside, is only 10 degrees C inside, trying to edit a friend's novel, with a huge blob of Corsadyl Gel crammed into my cheek. The dentist said I might have a bone splinter working its way out. It certainly feels like it.

I dared to voice a complaint about Mr G's precious house this morning. I went to get an envelope, only to find that every single envelope in the packet had its flap glued down and was useless. There is only one thing that does that: damp. So I marched into the kitchen where Mr G was, crumpling envelopes angrily and muttering that the house must be damp to have caused this, and within moments he was on his feet demanding that I took back my unjust words. He tried to force me to say, 'This house is not damp,' as if I were a schoolgirl writing lines in detention. I refused. "I have a right to say what I want. What else could cause my envelopes to glue themselves together? You give me another reason," I said, quite calmly, but he wouldn't let it go and he sulked for the rest of the morning. He did give me one of his envelopes. "A pound," he said as he handed it to me. He'll have a bloody long wait for it!

Yesterday was a bad day, too. I went into London and viewed two flats, both lovely and both of which I could have lived in. The second was £20,000 cheaper and had glorious views so that was the one I decided on. The agent told me he'd rather I didn't put in an offer instantly, in case I changed my mind next day, and told me to call him on Monday. Then, before I had even reached the tube station on my way home, he sent me a text message to say someone who had seen it an hour before me had just offered the full asking price. I was absolutely gutted. I couldn't afford the other one as the agent had told me they wouldn't accept lower offers, and so I had wasted an entire day.

I got to Paddington Station, ran for a train, got it with seconds to spare... then came an announcement saying there was a signal failure and there were no trains to Hayes for the foreseeable future. I was dead tired. Depressed and exhausted. Mr G was already waiting for me at Hayes. I rang him, he was cross. I then got back on the tube and a whole hour later I got to Hilllingdon, almost staggering with tiredness and asked if he would pick me up. He did. It was really nice of him. If he hadn't, I would have faced half an hour on a bus and a long walk with a heavy bag. Containing, amongst other things, a bottle of wine.

Now we come to the 'downhill' part of the title. I drank half last night and shall have the other half tonight. Mr G has insisted on cooking lamb, which I can't eat as I can't chew. So dinner will be mashed potato, gravy and wine. Nice!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Publishers' time-lags

I've just been reading a press release about Transworld being thrilled to be publishing the debut novel by a brilliant author whose writing is utterly inspired and moving, blah-blah. Then I was stopped in my tracks by the next line, which said that they hoped to get the book out some time in 2014. And I was just thinking of shelling out and buying it.

Having whetted the appetite of trade and public alike, we now have to wait over a year for it? How ridiculous! Yet again, I am struck by how slowly the wheels of publishing creak along. No wonder more and more people are opting to self-publish and see their book in print within weeks, rather than years. After the thrill of bring offered a publishing contract, nothing is more disheartening for a writer than to be told they will have to wait at least eighteen months to see their book in print. This is the era of instant gratification. Celebrity memoirs can be rushed out, so why not novels? It doesn't make sense. It can't take that long to edit, proof-read and email the cover design and text to the printer. What do you think?

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Contented cats and fox, too

Before the weather turned wintry again, we had a visit from Chi Mimi next door. Flad seemed pleased to see her and here they are, sunbathing on the deck.

Yeterday, I managed to snap this photo of the two cats and the vixen snaffling a piece of stale chocolate cake. See my wildlife blog for more foxy news.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Listless and lacklustre...

What lovely, alliterative words and how well they describe how I'm feeling. Someone at my birthday party gave me a very unwelcome gift in the form of a sinus-y cold. I have now passed the aching and shivering stage and have the head full of porridge stage. I've got through a box of tissues in the last two days. So apologies for not having written anything.

On the upside, I've used my days in to trawl through my bags of summer clothes and divide them into three heaps: car boot, Ebay and charity shop. The latter have already been the lucky recipients of three bagfulls (should that be bagsful?). I have things I bought new three years ago but haven't worn due to lack of summer. Let's hope last week wasn't this year's summer!

It's decidedly chillier now and the wind feels as if it's come straight from the freezer, yet as I walked to the post office, I was following two young girls in strappy t-shirts, short leggings and plimsolls. I was like the other old ladies, muffled up in jeans and a fleece, no longer struck by the need to brave the elements in order to parade my assets.

The teeth dramas are still ongoing. I have told my dentist that there is no way I can pay £1400 for root canal treatment. He has offered to take the tooth out for £240, which is what the dentist before him charged for taking out the tooth that had given me trouble for three years, and is the reason why I left that dentist, in the mistaken belief that a local one would be cheaper than a central London one. I have two more dentists to try. One is an NHS one who is advertising for new patients (does that mean he is no good and everyone has left the practice?) and the other is a Denplan one and I have been on Denplan before. £36 per month, but that covered nearly everything. Neither can see me for a fortnight. My teeth have a habit of flaring up over Easter. Either way, I feel crucified!!!