25/8/2017

It was a big day in our house yesterday. The moment had finally arrived. Results day for Harry’s GCSEs (well everybody’s GCSEs).

School had sent an e-mail a couple of weeks ago, saying they would email the results at 6 am. Harry had been to a party the night before but I told him I’d get him up early in case the internet went down (again) and we had to do a dash to school to get paper copies (they won’t tell you over the phone).

I woke at six but waited till half past just in case there was a delay, then went to Harry’s room. He was in very  deep sleep then all bleary-eyed when I woke him. He couldn’t remember his password to log into the pupils portal. He didn’t get to sleep until 4, he said. He’d been lying  awake feeling something like a cross between the night before Christmas and being told that someone has died.

He finally managed to tap in the right email and password but only after three, half -asleep attempts

The writing was way too small for my old lady’s eyes, but I could see the A star for biology.

‘What does it say for maths?’ I asked.

‘Eight.’ he said still not smiling yet.

‘Are you sure its not a six?’ I said.

‘Let me have another look,’ he said, moving the laptop closer.

I squinted. ‘No,’ I said. ‘I think it is an eight.’

Its an eight Mum,’ he said, his face starting to break into a massive smile.

And it was.

The full results were: A stars in Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and English LangIMG_0758uage. A’s in History, Geography, and English Lit, and a B in German. The boy had done it! Got the grades he needed for Hills.

He’s gone to Reading Festival now with his mates who all got what they needed, too.

I am so very proud of him and I hope he’s partying like its 1999, or at least that he did last night. This is a new start for both of us. No more long school drives, no more six o clock starts. He can be independent and get the guided bus there and back again, to the best state Sixth Form College in the County. The picture above is one I took last year at La Sagrada Famila, in Barcelona. The light was so intense, shining through the stained glass windows into the vast dark space. It looked almost tangible, like running water, leaking into intense puddles on the floor. It made me well up because it was so beautiful. That’s why I’ve put it on here. The feeling I felt when Harry realised his success was similar.

Anyhoo…on the writing front, I found a home for the weirdo spider story – a new E-zine called Occulum. I’ll post a link when its published (first week of September). Also I’m to be interviewed by Uprising Review as part of my prize for winning Zero Flash this month. I’ll post that link too when its done. I also entered a wee flash into Ad Hoc.

 

 

 

15/8/2017

Just read my last post and sadly I didn’t get the story submitted to Molotov Cocktail because my connectivity went off for about the thousandth time in two weeks.
We’ve had no end of internet problems and BT have been absolutely useless.

George phoned them dozens of time when we were away in the Highlands, to no avail, then Nick spend 8 hours going through the same loop with customer services which always ended in them testing the line and cutting him off. We live in the sticks with hardly any mobile connectivity so every time they disconnected his call, he had to go back round the loop. On the fourth attempt, he begged them not to do it but they said they had to, and it took him about half an hour going through the same story with someone else at the call centre to get back to the place where they’d just cut him off from. It was like Groundhog day, all over again. They wouldn’t have it that it was the line and sent us three new routers during this stage of the proceedings, and to make matters worse, they kept insinuating it was somehow our fault. BT broadband really do have terrible customer service. Their whole approach seems to be to avoid having to do anything,  other send routers out. The whole process seems geared up to fob you off – not to solve your problems, so you go away and give up.
Of course this is a ridiculous tactic with us, because every one in our house can’t exist in the real world, we all have to be wired in. Nick and I both work from home,  and we have two teenagers. How we ever managed before t-interwebs I do not know. Grumpy Husband, who at least had reason to be grumpy over all this, and who did his very, very best to sort it out, reckons we’ve become too dependant. Too dependent, I screeched – of course we’ve become too dependent, the interweb’s given us the whole of the world’s knowledge at out fingertips, allowed us to communicate with almost everyone in the known universe. Of course we’ve become too dependant. Why wouldn’t we have become too dependant?
After he’d calmed me down, he said he said he thought it was a fair point.
To cut a very long and upsetting story short, after two weeks, they agreed to send out an engineer who said it was our switch box which was from the fifties. It was slowing everything down and knocking everything out. It worked for about three days before we had a power cut and everything went tits again. We’ve decided to have a new line put it so we’ve got a belt and braces approach. I’m doing the final year of my on-line MA come October and I need robust connectivity for that, but at least we have a plan.
Anyhoo, as I said at the beginning, about 3000 words ago, I missed the Molotov Cocktail deadline. Despite this, when the list of the winners was out last night,  I still felt disappointed not to be on it. I know, I’m bonkers. I’m also in possession of a totally IMG_1468weirdo flash fiction about gender equality and fake news, on a planet of intelligent spiders, (it was the prompt) which I need to find a venue for. This could be tricky. Going to have a re-read of it today and see of I can find a different strange zine that might want to provide it with a home.

 

Above it a picture of a pine-marten. I took it when we were on our holibobs. Five of them visited every evening.  It was such a privilege to be able to see them, and from the comfort of our own (rented) front room. I thought it might be an antidote to the annoying broadband. I think I’ve probably moaned enough, and at least I’m currently connected, and can post this.

7/8/2017

Back in the Hobbit Hole today tapping out a story for Molotov Cocktail, for a wee flash comp whose theme is ‘worlds.’ Its one of my fav zines is Molotov Cocktail – follow the link here –https://themolotovcocktail.com/ to sample its specialness. I love it for its clever mix of retro darkness and the way the stories  illuminate the here and now by casting shadows from other bizarre worlds. Haven’t really got enough time to write owt good, but I love the prompt so much I’m dashing summat out anyhoo, and anyway, I’m feeling a bit cock-a-hoop because I won the monthly Flash comp at my other fav site, Zero Flash  – https://zeroflash.org/

My winning 300 word flash is really nasty, and the prize includes having the story performed, which I’m sooo excited about. I’ll post a link when its done.

In the real world, Harry came back from his trip to America looking really well apart from a swelling on his back, which is a rugby injury from the last match. I think he’s finding home a pale shadow of ordinariness after a fortnight in California. Its hard coming back to a house full of people who didn’t share your extraordinary experience. I know what it feels like when you try to make people know what you lived, but the words don’t capture it, they onIMG_1478ly reinforce how its all slipped into the past. First time for Harry all this, but he had a wonderful experience and he’s got Reading to look forward to…after the dreaded GCSE results…

A day after Harry got home, George and Paulina flew to Poland, so we all went out for a meal to celebrate being together for a day and also my distinction. Here’s a picture of the gorgeous quartet after they’d stuffed their faces. Right better go back to my strange scribblings for this comp, to see if its as weird as it was an hour ago and to edit it better.