Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Absent Writer

I am absent from my blog as I am two chapters away from finishing the first draft of my novel. I shall, of course, be back relatively soon with insane amounts of intellectual debate and some masterful drawings.

Incidentally, I discovered whilst doing research for my novel that the next UK election is May 7th 2015 - assuming there isn't a vote of no confidence in the meantime.

In you live outside the UK let me just qualify that is a vote of no confidence within parliament - if it was up to the electorate the coalition would probably be out on their backsides by now. Personally, I want the coalition to stay in power so I can see if Cameron and Cleggy avoid shooting each other before their time is up. I rather like the idea of Cameron and Cleggy and pistols at dawn. My money would be on Cameron because frankly he's posher so he probably has a bigger pistol - despite the fact that Cleggy is always bragging.

Anyway, this fixed term of parliament is because of the Fixed Term Parliament Act of 2011 which somehow I have managed to completely wipe from memory. I'm thinking I knew about it at the time but then, on the other hand, when there's the pressing matter of the size of Kim Kardishian's bottom to consider why would I remember anything so obviously trivial? Hmm.

Where there you go - an interesting fact. You see you can learn lots of new and exciting things on this blog!

You know, I look forward to May 7th 2015. I think I'll go to the zoo. Seems appropriate anyway.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sore Fingers and Thumbs and a bad consumer experience

I have sore fingers and thumbs. They are bruised, battered and feel like scraggy leather. This is because over the weekend I have taught myself how to string tennis rackets using a collection of videos from You Tube and a few tips from Master Jacob who is qualified as a stringer but was more interested in his Xbox and therefore suffering from acute memory loss. Most of it I had to work out using my powers of deduction and elimination.

Thus it took me two whole days to string two rackets. That probably doesn't say much for my powers of the deduction. Let's just hope there isn't a serial killer in the village. Half of the population would be dead before I even raised the alarm.

So just four more rackets to go before the backlog is gone. Twenty Two years of diligent housework hasn't prepared me for this onslaught on my fingers. I think they may end up ripped and bleeding. I might even bleed to death. I think that would make a novel headline"Woman bleeds to death stringing sons' tennis rackets." It has a nice ring to it.

Still, it could be a while before I get round to stringing Master Ben's rackets whose specialist tennis strings haven't arrived from Sports Direct yet. I ordered them on the 2nd January and so far all I've received is two tubes of tennis balls valued at £149.00 each. Yes, someone at Sports Direct is either grossly negligent or committing fraud but numerous emails later (from me) to Sports Direct, two sworn police affidavits, more emails and photographs of the offending tennis balls to Paypal who are disputing the transaction and I still don't have the £104.00 tennis strings I ordered. I would order them elsewhere but Sports Direct are part of the group that own Dunlop and I'm not prepared to spend another penny with them until they can be bothered to get off their backsides and sort it out. Hmm. I think I said that in an email to them when I was particularly cross and my bad manners got the better of me. Oh yes, I did. Only I said "arses." Whoops.

Hmm.I think my consumer experiences with British Telecom have been my worst experience for gross incompetency so far but Sports Direct are coming a very, very, close second at the moment. I'm rating them about 9.9 on the Turley incompetency scale. I particularly like their technique of not having a phone line unless you go through a premium phone line service and not answering any emails. At present, I'm actually thinking of dumping all our Dunlop rackets and accessories in the back garden and lighting a big fire.

I think that would make a good instructional video on You Tube don't you?

12 year Master Ben county no 1 and two times county champion  is thinking about burning his Dunlop rackets. I will provide the paraffin.

You know, there can be a great deal of satisfaction in art. I'm still pleased with my British Telecom artwork I posted a while back. Just in case you missed it. Here's a refresher.

Let's face it, Readers, how could anyone dispute my genuine artistic talents. If you want to commission me please send me an email. I'm cheap.
10.30 am update: I have this morning received notification from Paypal that I will receive a full refund. If you purchase goods on-line regularly then I can recommend use of Paypal who have resolved this matter in a professional and timely manner. As for the Sports Direct/ Dunlop Group I am reluctant to use their products again as they lack the professionalism that as a former retail manager I expect. Having worked on the other side of the counter I know that mistakes and fraud do happen - but when it does in order to maintain customer relations the best action to take is to apologise, be honest and always keep your customer informed. Bizarrely, customers that have sometimes had the worst experiences can often end up being your best customers if they are treated with courtesy and respect. Sadly, that hasn't happened with Sports Direct. Unlike British Telecom who after about two months of ineptitude actually made me cry with frustration Sports Direct have only made me angry.

I will probably restring Master Ben's rackets with Wilson Sensation strings and not Dunlop Silk strings.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

In Praise of Liz Hurley

You may remember that back in December I reported that whilst out Christmas shopping I forgot where I had parked my car in a large multi-storey car park - and that subsequently it took me a whole hour and the assistance of a security guard to find it.

Therefore, I was delighted to hear that actress, Liz Hurley, reported her car stolen in London's Mayfair last week - only for it to turn up in the exactly the same place she parked it four days previously.

Liz (courtesy of Wikipedia) knows a thing or two about cars. Just not where she parks them.

Isn't it nice to know that celebs are human too? In fact, I feel kinda like I have one up on Liz now - I mean we're the same age and she may have the body, the money, the looks and Shane Warne as a boyfriend but when it comes to memory at least mine is only partially up shit creek. Liz's memory is obviously totally kaput - she didn't even remember where her car was at all - The Sun newspaper told her where it was because they'd photographed her leaving it.

Anyway, well done Liz. You made me feel a lot better today. Now all I need is liposuction and a face lift and I'll be in with a chance of touching up Ian Botham.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Into the Final Furlong with Kevin Bacon

I have just killed off a character in my book. I think this means that I am into the final furlong of my novel.

Originally, I planned to kill off three characters and a family dog. However, I quickly decided the family dog getting run over was just gratuitous sentimentality. You see, I don't want my novel to be compared to a Kathy Reichs one. I once read one of her novels which started off with a jumbo jet crashing and the first thought that sprang into my mind was "Hey, ho this serial killer is pretty ambitious!" I then immediately checked the room for blow flies. And moths. And I kept a body count for the rest of the book: I think it ended up being abut 9,753, 467.

Talking of body counts, the other evening I watched the first episode of The Following, starring Kevin Bacon. It was fairly gruesome stuff: I had to watch some parts through my fingers. Fortunately they were still on my hand and hadn't severed off by a nutter sewing a dress out of fingers whilst citing Vivienne Westwood as a fashion influence.

Or to look a it another way The Following made Downton Abbey seemed really quite mundane. In episode one of The Following about ten people get killed (I lost count). In episode one of Downton Abbey the big thrill was the parlour maid almost causing a a poisonous cleaning substance to be sprinkled over a chicken - for about five minutes I was sitting on the edge of my seat wondering if Hugh Bonneville was going to die with a chicken drumstick in his mouth. Unfortunately Julian Fellowes (the writer) lost his nerve and Hugh Bonneville lived to eat another chicken. I felt utterly cheated. I had to endure five minutes of acute emotional distress for nothing, absolutely nothing. There should at least have been some food poisoning and loose bowels.

I quite like Kevin Bacon as an actor. Bit of an unfortunate name though. Although it could have been worse had it been Kevin Chop or Kevin Sausage. Did you know Kevin has a band? Well it's a band that consists of him and his brother, Michael. It's called The Bacon Brothers. Yes, I could make some predicable jokes about butchers etc but I'm not going to Kevin is a fine actor and deserves my respect. Besides I love bacon butties. You can't beat a hot bacon butty with a bit a of tomato ketchup and some diced eyeballs.

Kevin Bacon trying to disguise himself as a geek. It's not working. He is still going to be tracked down and have his eyeballs removed - unless by some stroke of good fortune the serial killer chokes to death on a bacon butty at the very last moment.  I guess that would make it marginally more interesting than the traditional sprawling fight and shot in the dark. I wonder if they could get item placement sponsorship for the Bacon butty from MacDonalds? Now there's an opportunity. (Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.)


So anyway at the moment when I'm not writing my novel I'm watching episodes of Downton Abbey and The Following for inspiration.

I think it's going to be a pretty screwed up novel, especially as it's a comedy. I'm not sure how that works really. Oh well.