Why i never go out

Why i never go out:

1)      The following thought process: “Oh I would love to go to Xjgiglk!  I can get there easily for a daytrip and it would be just beautiful.  Breath of fresh air – time out of the city – exercise . . .”

2)      Checks price of tickets – affordable!  “Yes!  This is easy – why don’t I do this more often?”

3)      The following thought process: Y;lkj;lj is just a few miles away!  It would be crazy to go all that way and NOT see Y;lkj;lj!  Just a few £ extra for a 20 min train ride . . .

4)      Get into a stew on Google earth – want to see ALL the places.  Which should I chose? Where should I go?

5)      The following thought process: If I am going then I really should do it properly – it’s only fair.  You can’t go to a place in a rush without seeing all it has to offer!

6)      Looks into overnight accommodation.  Must do this on a budget.  YHA maybe?  Walking tour?  Camping?

7)      Plots 10 days of travel in the general area of Xjgiglk.  6 youth hostels, 10 trains, 4 buses, one hillside and a dodgy B&B in Y;lkj;lj.

8)      The following thought process: Oh gawd – if I am going to do this I will need some serious new shoes.  Waterproofs.  New rucksack.  A tent.  5 maps . . .

9)      Realise I have run up a prospective bill of over £800

10)   Give up and gloomily go and watch train videos on youtube . . .

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Published in: on June 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Can you heat your house in the winter using junk mail?

Having seen the budget news from posh-boy Osborne with his back scratcher and whip, I have a thought experiment – before I get on with anything more important today. Would it be possible to heat your house using junk mail? Given that you can get little briquette makers for recycled paper, just what would happen if you signed up for everything you could find of the spam, newspapers, catalogues, circulars, instruction manuals and other crap they are so desperate to send you for an entire year – would it be enough to power your heating for the winter in a modest way?

Of course, this presupposes a) a woodstove of some kind and b) some storage space, neither of which are a given these days. But aside from that . . .

I have no idea!  I might have to do some calculations . . .

Published in: on December 6, 2012 at 9:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Pizza Delivery – a true story

Here’s a little story of something that happened to me when I was living abroad in Slovenia – July turning into August – when the thunderstorms came marching across the Ljubljana plains seemingly every few days.  Very inspiring for working on my thunderstorm novel GROM if nothing else – and I loved it.  On this particular day, it seemed that another was approaching, but I was almost getting dulled to them now.  Flashes lit up the clouds in the distance and a faint rumbling was echoing down to me across the city.  And, because I was preparing to make a night of writing and perhaps try and finish off a few stories (which would be a very rare and special thing to achieve), I decided to order in a pizza from Papino.  I like those pizzas.  They have a very nice one called the Bolognaise Pizza which I haven’t seen anywhere else and I sometimes made use of them when I couldn’t be bothered to cook.  This time though I called in just before closing time and started negotiating my way to ordering something from the rather tired woodbine-alcohol-lady voice that answered.  She sounded bored and she started talking.  Asking me where I was from and what I was doing.  I explained I was writing a book and would be working all night.  She asked if I was alone (question mark) and if I wanted some company (double question mark) – and I joked that if it would help finish this damn book of mine then any company would be very welcome!  That was it and I awaited my pizza and carried on working – and all the while the storm was building up and creeping closer.  In due course the pizza arrived and I settled down to eat half of it before stashing the rest till later.  I chuckled at my conversation on the phone and reflected that taking orders for pizzas must rank as one of the most boring jobs there were in a world full of boring jobs.

But then the phone rang again.  Damn, I thought, quickly saving the document I was working on and putting child rape and nuclear power stations out of my head for a while.  Who on earth?  My friend Aleksandra finally breaking the silence?  My parents making a late night phone call?  I answered cautiously.  And what do you know?  It was the same familiar lady-voice – asking if my pizza had arrived safe and sound.  I wasn’t used to such service from a Pizza delivery firm and I cheerfully explained that it had and that it was delicious and that it would do a good job of lasting me the night.

Then the voice suggested meeting up over some wine.

I thought . . . now wait a minute here.  Why was this lady, who sounded as though she had smoked too much since a very young age, wanting to meet up with a young English horror writer.  I hummed and hawed and then, out of pure curiosity if nothing else, said yeah, sure!  Why not?  One day.  But she insisted that she was going away for two weeks tomorrow.  (Pressure tactics.)  Was I busy tonight?  Was I going to sleep?  I hummed and hawed a bit more.  Working – deadlines . . . but I never have been too good at refusing people things.  And I thought to myself, why not?  Perhaps she could answer a few questions for my Slovene novel.  But I was suspicious.  Something here was not kosher.  Why did I have the strong feeling that she was lying about something.  And as soon as I had put the phone down I was starting to get a little bit nervous.  Was this some sort of setup of some kind?  It didn’t make sense?  Either that or pizza delivery was a REALLY boring job.

Well – outside the storm broke with gothic fury and I remained there staring out into the wild night, uneasily awaiting whatever it might bring.  Munching on a pizza that had rather lost its flavor.  All sorts of odd scenarios were going through my head – and at one point I even hid my wallet carefully behind my books, just in case anything really nasty happened.

Eventually of course, through the teaming rain, the bell rang and I jumped slightly, but went to open the door.  The trouble was, there was no one there.  No one except some guy with a bag and his huge dog sheltering from the rain.  The dog immediately ran inside – very eager to get somewhere dry.  I tried to give a covert glance round without making a fool of myself, in case she was sheltering somewhere out of sight – but there was no sign of her anywhere.  I was bewildered but not very disappointed.  Then I glanced at the man in the porchway, to see if he wanted to come in or not.  He glanced at me.  We stared at each other for quite a long moment.

Oh no, I thought – quite distinctly.  Oh no.

He was about six foot tall and didn’t seem to have much hair.  Cut short, I suppose.  The bag contained a bottle of wine.

He broke the silence.  “Er – did I speak to you on the phone?” he managed, he face beginning to fall.

I nodded slowly.  There was a silence.  He obviously didn’t speak English very well – and this shock stretched his linguistic skills to the limit.  “I thought you were . . . woman,” he said, beginning to back away.  I stammered something dumb that I cant remember.  “Are you guy?” he asked.

“Am I what?”

“Guy?  I mean – homo . . . sexual?”

I shook my head urgently.

“Er – sorry,” he muttered.  “I make mistake.  I will go . . . do you like tiramisu?”

“Yes,” I said, uncertainly.

“Do you want one?”

“Ok,” I stammered.  “Thanks!”  And to complete my astonishment he thrust a huge tub of it into my hands – and then a very embarrassed six foot tall Slovenian guy slunk off into the stormy night.

I went back to my apartment . . . and cracked up.  He thought I was a bloody girl.  I thought he was a bloody girl.  What the hell are the odds of . . . In my innocence I must have given every come-on and green light that a bored pizza man could possibly want from a friendly English girl.  What had I done?  I had been seduced – completely.  No doubt he pictured her alone in a strange land and pining for a tumble in a cheap bed-settee.  I must have seemed like a dream come true.  And instead all he got was a fat Englishman with a black night-robe and sideburns.

Well, I thought, when I had stopped laughing.  At least I was richer by one tiramisu.  Shame he didn’t leave the wine as well.  I could have used that to get through that dark and stormy night . . .

The dog spent all night lying in the corridor outside my apartment.  Must have been a stray.  Very early next morning it followed me outside and strolled away, never to be seen again – but it left a stink behind that lingered for a long time.

I was so confused though that I cant even remember what his/her voice sounded like very closely – so gawd knows how many pizzas I ordered from him subsiquently!  I wasn’t abandoning that bolognaise pizza for anything!

Published in: on August 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Beep Beep – Beep Beep

Every day that an alarm clock rings, you loose two days of your life.  Today – and one lopped off the end of your lifespan.

Stage 1 – The Terror.  Duration: c4 sec

Skin prickles from head to toe.  Heartbeat races.  In an instant you know you are under attack and you are caught between two worlds.  Simultaneously awake and still asleep.  It’s a primal feeling as your sleep and dreams are ripped asunder by the sudden realisation of the presence of the great predator.  Immediate instinct is to fight.  To commit some atrocity in self-defence on the horror that is assailing you.

Stage 2 – Denial.  Duration: c5-20 sec

No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no repeat ad lib

Stage 3 – Despair.  Duration: c20-30 sec

Heartbeat continues to race.  The prickles on the skin die down a bit, to be replaced by a leaden, gnawing pain in the pit of the stomach.  Reality begins to kick in, but you still cant face opening your eyes.

Stage 4 – Helplessness.  Duration: c10-60 sec

You know that you are loosing something vitally important here.  Its the feeling that a snail must feel, when it is wrenched out of its perfectly fitting shell, essential for life and health, and left dangling in a cold, hard world.  Basically – you loose that shell, you’ve had it.

Stage 5 – Nefariousness born of desperation.  Duration: c20-60 sec

Perhaps if you told them (later) that you were ill.  Perhaps if you told them (later) that your computer had exploded.  Perhaps if you told them (later) that a family member was dying.  Perhaps if you told them (later) that a magnitude 8.9 earthquake had struck on a previously undetected faultline and your entire town was now rubble filled with 22,000 dead . . . . then maybe they would let you SLEEP for a few seconds more.

Stage 6 – leaden resignation.  Duration: c5 min – 1 day

In the end, one is powerless.  There is no meaning in life.  No one can fight the forces that control you.  Not now – not till the day you die.  This is when you open your eyes.  The heartbeat finally begins to slow down.  Perhaps you turn over in bed.  Tears prick, but they always prove empty.

Stage 7 – The clock.  Duration: n/a

Not much.  You just gaze at the clock and read the time it is displaying.  And you realise that everything that the theologians, philosophers, scientists, politicians, cartoonists etc have ever said, is wrong.

Stage 8 – Intimations of mortality.  c1-5 days

That feeling that your own death is creeping towards you as fast as you are stumbling and blinking blearily towards it.

Published in: on August 6, 2010 at 11:59 am  Leave a Comment