Thursday, January 31, 2008

GUD magazine

I got a freebie from GUD magazine. GUD stands for Greatest Uncommon Denominator, "a print/pdf magazine with two hundred pages of literary and genre fiction, poetry, art, and articles".

I love freebies - don't we all.

In this case the freebie was a story, "Baby Edward", and it was weird.

I like weird. The baby is kipt locked up in a VW Bus in the yard, but he's growing - and carnivorous. And the narrator's girlfriend wants a picnic in the yard, near the bus. Of course she doesn't know about Edward. How do you start to explain a thing like that to your girlfriend?

This sounds odd, but it's hard to say whether I enjoyed the story. Certainly I never got the urge to get out an editing pen - you wouldn't expect that at GUD anyway. I didn't have any strong feelings about it either way. Only I can't forget it.

I suppose that makes it good.

Plastic bags

I came across an interesting fact today.

The average plastic bag is used for about 20 minutes, and takes 400 years to completely decompose.

I have a couple of cotton tote bags that I take to the supermarket. I don't make a religious duty out of it or anything. If I forget them, or I need a third bag, I get a plastic one. Even so, I calculate that I'm saving about 100 plastic bags a year.

And it's completely painless.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lard neutral

I went to see my friend Norma for a delicious, full English breakfast. Since I had to climb up the hill, I hope I burned almost as many calories as I ate. We talked about my novel-in-progress and her CD-in-progress, and Ruido magazine. And then, as per usual, I started taking photos. There's something about the light at her house that sets me off. That and her amazing tolerance as I start shifting around her furniture to get the perfect composition.

And here's the result.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I finally got the Christmas decorations put away!

They ahven't still been up on the walls, you understand. I dumped them in the guest room to get them out of the way, pending a sort through, because I know darn well I'll never sort through them in December. Well this morning I finally did it. I didtched the tatty stuff and mended the nativity scene, and packed it all away neatly.

And the novel's up to 72,023 words.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Santa Cruz

Where does Father Christmas go for his holidays?

To Santa Cruz. (You may groan.)

Anyway, I went to Santa Cruz this morning to meet my friend Norma and drop shoes off for mending - yes we still have a shoe mender.

And here's a roofscape from beside the park.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Slightly famous again

My upcoming story in Escape Velocity got a mention on
Lawrence Dagstine's site

And I've been working a little on the novel every day. I should reach 71,000 words tonight.

But right now, I have to nag my son to do his homework.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Slightly mad

I remember in school we used to say that the first sign of madness was talking to yourself.

The second sign of madness was having white hairs on the palms of your hands.

And the third sign of madness was looking for white hairs on the palm of your hands.

Well this morning I decided that the fourth sign was very probably taking art photos of cabagges. But I took some anyway. Mad or not, I liked the light.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm famous!

Well, famous-ish. There's an interview with me up at

And I finally got started on the novel again. Only 140 words, but at least I'm moving again after 6 weeks off for Christmas.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Santo Domingo again

This morning I went to Garafía town hall again with Helen. As usual, it was after ten thirty when we got there, and we had to wait at the technical office, but we got all the paperwork done without any real problem. I took some photos of the little garden at the town hall. I have no idea whether the rock carvings are genuine pre-Spanish items or copies, but they're certainly pretty. We were even talking about taking a small scenic detour on the way home. But somehow the post-paperwork coffee stretched out, and we looked at the time and said, "Oops!"

Obviously I didn't have time to buy a padded envelope after all. I didn't have time to take Helen home either, but fortunately she wanted to be dropped off in Los Sauces anyway, which was on my route.

By half past twelve I wanted the loo, but we didn't have time to stop. I shoved Helen out of the car in Los Sauces at one o'clock, envying her a town full of bars with toilets. I got to San Antonio at 1:29, walked into the grounds of my son's school just as the bell went, and shot into the toilet.

Oh what a relief!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy Birthday to me

Today's my birthday, and I'm 21 again.

We celebrated yesterday at the local pizzaria with friends. I got some lovely presents, ate too much and drank too much and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It took most of the evening to recover.

Today I seem to have spent most of the day running around keeping appointments and submitting short stories, but that's OK, because yesterday was great.

Only I really must get back to work on the novel. I haven't done a thing since November.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Sam

This afternoon we went to little Sam's birthday party. He's two. Here he is dancing to the music from his new toy bus - it's one of those repetative tunes that makes little kids happy while the adults' toes curl.

And of course there was cake.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The key to weight loss

It's January, and like half the women in the world, I want to lose a bit of weight. So I promised myself that I'd start exercising again as soon as my son went back to school.

Yesterday the morning disappeared as I caught up with housework. When I still hadn't managed a walk by eleven, I got cross with myself, grabbed my keys, and dashed out.

The sun shone, it was pleasantly warm, and I had a really nice walk. Right up to the moment when I got home and realised that I hadn't picked up my own keys. Nope, they were my husband's.

So one of them had to unlock the front door, right?


I went through them again. Only two would go into the lock and neither would turn.

I went around the house and down to the back door. (The house is built on a hill, so that the back entrance is a storey lower.) I couldn't get in there either. Nor into the garage.

We leave a spare key with Esperanza next door for just this sort of thing, seeing as the whole family is a bit ditzy, but she was out. I started to get really worried.

Well, I couldn't do any of the stuff I'd planned to do, but hey, the garden needed attention, and here I was. So I pulled up weeds for an hour and a half.

Boy was I pleased to see Esperanza when she came home.

She said, "But I haven't got your key. You never gave it back after the last time."

I said something very unladylike. Seeing as I said it in English, Esperanza couldn't have understood the words, but I expect she understood anyway.

I mentioned that the French windows to the balcony were open. Such a pity we didn't have a long enough ladder.

Esperanza said that she also had the key to the flat on the other side of the semi. You could probably get from one balcony to the other if you really tried.

So we borrowed a stepladder from another neighbour and we all trooped up to the balcony.

Esperanza said she couldn't go over, because she had vertigo. I hadn't expected her to. This was my screw-up, not hers.

The neighbour announced that he had vertigo too. I had rather hoped he'd be the one to do it, but it was still my screw up. Besides, I want equal privileges with the men, so logically I have equal responsibilities, dammit. And my legs were a little longer.

So I climbed up the stepladder and onto the balcony balustrade. I was careful not to look down at the three-storey drop below. Once on the balustrade I swung one leg over the 45º wall between the balconies, onto my own balustrade. I swung the other leg over and jumped onto the balcony. After that it was easy.

I just had time to wash my hands (after all that gardening) and give Esperanza the spare key, before I had to fetch my son from school.

Maybe I won't bother with a walk tomorrow.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Last night the kings left presents under our tree. It didn't take long to open them all this morning.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

We Three Kings

Tonight the three kings came to Santa Cruz. They come every year to bring presents to the good children, but first they parade through town.

We wenbt to see them. Of course the parade started late and of course the crowds were tiring. We had originally planned to see the whole lot, but we gave up pretty early.

Tonight the shops will stay open at least until midnight for last minute shopping. Monday is a public holiday, and the sales start on Tuesday - if you've got any money left by then.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Update on the feet

As I was chasing my son to bed, I noticed that his feet were a still a bit wiffy.

He said, "That's why I'm growing so fast, Mum. My nose is trying to get awsay from my feet."


I have just traced the awful stink in the kitchen to my son's slippers.

They're shaped like dogs' heads, with the snout forming the toe part. My son loves them, and we call the Gerroff and Down Boy. I bought them when he was wishing for a pet dog, you see.

They look great, but they make his feet sweat, hence the pong.

I opened the windows and washed the slippers of course, and the water turned black. Then they took about fifteen rinses because they're so thick, but they're out on the balcony, dripping.

I wonder how long they'll take to dry?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

And a Happy 2008 to both my readers.

We partied next door with a selection of my in-laws. That's my niece in tyhe photo above - good looking girl, isn't she?

I spent a good bit of the afternoon baking a cake. First I couldn't find my cake tin anywhere, so I gave up and bought a new one. Actually I planned to make a second, individual cake for another neice with gluten allergy, but I found that the gluten-free flour was well past its sell-by date. So I spent a frantic hour trying to buy more when the health food shops were shut - nope ther isn't a single local supermarket that does gluten-free flour. Sugar substitute, gluten free biscuits, bran, you name it, but not gluten-free flour. So I gave up and tried corn flour for the mini cake.

Then it turned out that the niece with the gluten allergy wasn't coming for dinner after all.

Ah well, we had a good time, and the big cake was appreciated. I expect the little cake will be welcome, too, when I finally see my niece.

We have a terrific view from the back of these houses. At midnight we could see six different firework displays.

But now you'll have to excuse me. You see, I haven't cleaned the kitchen since last year.