Chateau Lynch Bages

It was the evening that the definitive, complete, no more fiddling, final, edited version of Dolphin Days was to be uploaded to Amazon Kindle. We had celebrated with a superb bottle of Chateau Lynch Bages and a shared rib-eye steak (which Sir cooks to bleeding perfection). Oh dear, should have known this was a precursor to disaster. Sir takes the last enormous glass of claret towards the coffee table to watch the 10 o’clock news, waves a congratulatory arm to the fairly sober wife at the laptop, and trips. About a pint (magic glasses) of rich red claret describes a graceful Dolphin shaped arc over the sitting room. This is the moment when you press STOP, then REWIND.

Really, the brain is extraordinary and surely no computer could calculate in a fraction of a second:

a) how many rolls of kitchen towel there are in the flat and where,

b) How much the pair of pale blue and turquoise faux silk curtains cost 5 years ago and what they might cost now.

c) Could we cut the carpet 6 feet in and replace it. Oh no. Matching that particular beige would be impossible. How about a pale turquoise carpet? I’ve always wanted one. And just the sitting room, or the entire flat?

d) Instructions for Sir.  Kitchen towel. Large bowl of warm water, pile of tea towels, all towels that aren’t white. WHITE WINE. Salt. Bicarbonate of Soda.

e) Where did I find the tips for removing red wine stains from carpet the last time this happened?

f) Why is Sir lying flat on his face flapping like a fish out of water and not getting the WHITE WINE to pour on the red wine? Because he has fallen over and is jammed between the coffee table (which is a large and heavy chest packed with games for the grandchildren) and the sofa.

g) Why is there MORE red wine soaking the carpet under his nose? Because his nose is bleeding like a full bottle of claret lying on it’s side with no cork, and OMG, what is his daily Warfarin dose?

h) Instructions for Sir. Keep tea towel firmly gripped to nose.  Do not bleed.

There is a hiatus while I blot, dilute, blot, dilute, blot.  Unjam husband from between chest and sofa and get him vertical. Scream for WHITE WINE. He brings large green box with a tap while holding tea towel to nose. I pour contents liberally over the faux silk curtains and about 2 square metres of carpet before looking at the now empty box and reading PERRY.

Do I know Perry? Did I buy it? Is it white wine? Does it take the stain out? No to all of that, but I do know who DID buy it, thinking it was white wine.

More hiatus while I dilute, blot, dilute, blot. We have now run out of all towels, coloured, white or paper, and the bath is full of damp, pinky/Perryish terry.

By Sunday the book is still not uploaded, we have no curtains on the windows as they are laid out damply on the kitchen floor with claret/water/Perry marks all over them. The carpet underlay has stained in an enormous dark brown ring surrounding blood and red wine and we are due to fly to Scotland early tomorrow for three weeks.

 

 

 

 

Dolphin Days – nearly there

Due to be uploaded this weekend to Amazon Kindle and published on 1st December.  You’ve all been waiting YEARS for me to shut up about this book, and the moment has come.  All proceeds to the charity “An African Dream” – well, all donations,  You can pre-order it (what a thrill) and tell all your friends to go buy…

paypal.me/charlottemilneauthor

Here’s what it’s about…

If she can’t handle failure, will she ever learn to handle success…

Artistic young antique dealer Melissa fails to recover a precious Byzantine manuscript stolen from her in Greece. Instead she finds herself accused of theft by wealthy architect Nicholas.

Struggling with financial disaster, a dangerous attraction to an embittered Nicholas, and guilt over a family tragedy, Melissa sets out on a new career path in design and illustration.

But it seems that Nicholas has not only destroyed her career as an antique dealer, but that his unwanted interventions may wreck her new plans too.

Determined to put the past behind her, Melissa is tempted to trade her talents and career for the security of marriage to kind, devoted David, but as she gets to know Nicholas better, her resolve wavers.

Will she overcome her lack of confidence, build her career and find the love she longs for?

Tear across and down

 

On our flight out at 7.10 a.m. to where my sweat-stickied fingers stick to a sticky keyboard, we were given (by BA) a very hot bacon bap as breakfast.  The entire aircraft was abuzz with adjectives which floated up and down the cabin: ‘delicious’, ‘damned hot’, ‘sensational’, ‘yummy’, ‘ouch’, ‘bestest’, and many another surprised and appreciative exclamation.

Much tastier than reheated scrambled eggs, easier with fingers instead of bendy plastic non-cutty knives and a pleasant way to start our day.

HOWEVER, I do have a major complaint. With our coffee (at this distance in time I have no recall as to whether it was palatable, but I think so) we were given a ’stick’ of Freshways British Farm Assured Milk, to be precise Dairystix semi skimmed milk uht.  The offending item made me so cross that I took the wrapper with me on disembarking in order to vent my angst with real quotes from a real Dairystix.

At one end of Dairystix is a little red dot dot dot line and a sort of arrow to tell you where and in which direction to tear it in order to access the contents. Then just below, some fierce instructions:

HOLD FIRMLY HERE

TEAR ACROSS AND DOWN

I don’t know that I need to tell you the end of this story as you will have already guessed it. Broken fingernails (smart pink holiday nail polish gone for a burton), front teeth nearly ripped from gums, back teeth not nearly sharp enough, nail scissors in security bin at airport, husbands teeth too blunt as well, milk wrapper stretched and warped and twice as wide as when it started but as completely sealed as a submersible at 2,000 feet below sea level.

Of course, we could have drunk our coffee black, but I do hate to be beaten. Eventually we got a few splashes in the now tepid cup, which very nearly went flying in the wrestling match. The rest went down my front so that I looked like a 70 year old lactating mother.

But the bacon butty was very good.

 

This is the leg

And this is my daughter-in-law on having met with no understanding

Trudi Murray

This is the leg that had a cut
and this is the germ that crawled right in
This is the fever that came on fast
and this is the bed of hot and cold
This is the dash for help at dawn
and this is the Doctor who acted quick
This is the blip he expertly spots
and this is the query? a bad surprise
This is the Doctor who ordered a scan
and this is the specialist and her machine
This is the findings in black and white
and this is me, reluctant to hear it

This is the waiting.

This is the fun, I thought on the way
and this is the town I’ve never been to
This is the map I followed along
and this is the clinic here, at 3
This is the waiting room, hot and full
and this is the baby crawling about

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Music cells

At school we did music practice in tiny rooms that had once been nuns meditation rooms. There was room for a piano and a person. They weren’t very soundproof and walking down the cloister outside one could hear a cacophony of piano, violin, cello, flute, oboe, etc.

But not from my cell.  I used that time to scribble romantic stories -mainly fantasy – in little notebooks and on scrap paper.  I never got caught.

That is why I scribble and am not a concert pianist.

REGRET

Regret. It ought to be banned.

It comes together with waste.  Waste of time, waste of potential, waste of knowledge, waste of life.

Here I am at 70 and I regret my life’s lack of self confidence, that I didn’t train as a teacher, that I accepted how the world was – a place where  the highest I could achieve was  Personal Assistant!   And certainly not ‘the boss’.  Why ever not? Why did I accept the mores of our time, the gender gap, the not good enough for university. Why did no-one challenge me?  I realise now that I am not stupid .

How little my education gave me, how little I made the effort to use what it did give me.  How I regret that I was not kicked and pushed and thrust to achieve. I regret that no-one knew I scribbled my stories – a secret because I didn’t think they were ‘good enough’!  Only now I begin to explore the world of writing, the blogs, the help that’s out there, waiting to be picked up and used.  Of course it’s not completely too late, but I regret I didn’t find it sooner.

The tagline of my one and only story, Dolphin Days, creeping towards publication is “If you don’t experience failure, you’ll never learn to handle success.”  My protagonist is quite like me, really.

Progress

Today the typescript was reduced to single line spacing. Ensure Fast Draft otherwise the ink will bankrupt me. Margins narrowed almost to extinction. Spend time stripping paper off gummed blocks of squash scoring sheets and using it to print. (I am a Scot). Then press button on Print All.  Discover no page numbers printed. Spend time numbering by hand 185 pages.  Discover the squash scoring sheets weigh twice as much as cheap paper and I can barely lift 185 pages.  Write begging email to an author friend asking her to proof and edit.  Think the postage will make me faint.

‘Ere we go

Well, I suppose we all have to start somewhere, but I never thought I’d have to Blog. Such a revolting word. Nearly as bad as Moist.

I wrote a story. Now I’m told I have to promote it if I want anyone to read it, so….

What did the earwig say when he fell over the edge?