Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So far, so good

Yup, I like being unemployed. The blog index is tidied up and linked to, the door's ready to varnish tomorrow, I've submitted five stories, blogged, and best of all, I've written 300 words of the next Agent Hammer adventure. I just hope I can keep the momentum going.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Unemployed at last!

My temporary contract doesn't officially finish until the end of the month - Tuesday - but I have two days holiday owing, so I'm free at last! Free to write all day (apart from shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, tidying up...)

It's going to be great, at least until the end of the month when my pay check doesn't arrive. But lucky me, I have a husband with a good job, and the house is paid for.

Over the weekend, I produced a subject index for my blog about La Palma, and submitted a story. This morning I'm blogging, sanding down doors ready for varnish, and submitting more stories. Plus some housework, inevitably.

In other news, my husband worked out a way to get the Berlingo repaired for our friends in Franceses. This is a long story, but it started when a rock fell onto the road and leaped at their radiator yelling, "Banzai!" Since this was absolutely not their fault, they should get compensation to pay for the repairs eventually. Meanwhile, there's a cash-flow problem, and we were begining to think that the Berlingo would have to stand out in the rain for perhaps four years, getting slowly rusty.

As I say, my husband thought up a workaround. And last night I dreamt of a dog-sized Berlingo jumping around his lap, being petted. "Good van. Good van."

Obviously I haven't been getting any saner lately, which isn't going to surprise anybody.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


On Tuesdays, my friend Helen arrives in time to produce lunch for my son and look after him until I get home from work. Most days I organise their lunch before I leave, although Helen's pretty good at finishing off something half-done, or improvising from scratch.

So this morning I phoned her. "Your lunch is the big pan of chicken stew in the fridge. Do NOT taste the small pan on top of the stove. It's ecological aphid-spray."

Not that she'd have needed hospital or anything - that's rather the point of an ecological insecticide. She'd just have been screaming and foaming at the mouth, since it's mostly chilies and soap.

I've just squirted the aphids. Does it work? I'll let you know tomorrow.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Satellite shot of Saharan dust blowing over the Canary Islands

After an colder-than-average winter, the temperatures here have shot up. This happens whenever the trade winds give way to calima - a hot, dry wind and dust blowing from the Sahara. We used to get it only in summer, but for the last few years it's been happening earlier in the year.

Actually, it's really nice at this time of year. Suddenly it's warm enough to sit on the beach, even if you haven't just flown in from northern Europe. Whereas in summer, it's frankly too hot. Anything over about 35ÂșC, and I start to melt.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I'm in Print Again!

Escape Velocity Issue 4 is out, and it includes my story "Zuggy Zu and the Humans" along with nine others, an interview with Stefan Arngrim from the Irwin Allen TV series Land of the Giants and photo features on 'Flight of the Phoenix - The University of Arizona Goes to Mars' and many historical photos from the infamous NASA 'G.R.I.N' files. I'm really looking forward to my contributor's copy.

You can buy it at http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=1727255

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

International Woman's Day

March 8th was International Woman's Day, and I was too busy to blog.

Worldwide, women do about 2/3 of the work, get 10% of the wages, and own 1% of the land.

Of course the places which treat women worst are precisely the ones that wouldn't dream of celebrating women´s day. Places where women get jailed, or even stoned, for having been raped. Places where their life is legally worth exactly half a man's life, or where they're never legally adults, and a widow has to get her son's written permission to travel.

Things have come a long way since I was told that getting a university degree in mechanical engineering was an excellent idea, because then I could get a really good job as secretary to an engineer. But even in Europe, women still get paid less than a man doing the same job, and still have to postpone or dump their careers to look after children or parents. Perhaps that's partly why so few politicians are women. Just look at any photo of the EU national leaders - one woman and twenty-six men.

Monday, March 02, 2009

A Wonderful Mystery

In the last ten days or so, at least five people have congratulated me on loosing so much weight. But according to the scales, I've actually gained half a kilo.

This is very nice, but very odd.

I can only think that either I've managed to swap some fat for muscle (muscle being denser) or that my posture's improved. Either way, it must be the extra exercise.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Returning my Sister's Face

My friend and talented fellow writer, Eugie Foster has a launch party today on Facebook and LiveJournal for her collection of short stories, "Returning my Sister's Face." She's part Chinese, and her stories are often set in the orient. More importantly, they tend to hang around in your subconscious long after you put the book down, which is probably why they've been into Greek, Hungarian, Polish, and French. She hasn't won any major awards yet, but it's only a matter of time. She's already been nominated for the British Fantasy, Bram Stoker, Southeastern Science Fiction, Parsec, and Pushcart Awards.

Definitely a name to watch.