Is it me, or are the queues getting longer

It seems that we spend nearly as much time waiting as some of us do sleeping.  In fact, I’ve been known to be sleeping while waiting.

What is it in this era of mechanization and computerization that we still have to wait.  Is it the human element that is still holding us back?

But, hang on, isn’t it the human element that creates the mechanization and computerization?  Perhaps we are building in redundancy so that we are not replaced by the very things we are creating to make our lives easier?

We don’t have robots who can perform the same tasks as a GP doctor because we still need the human factor, and since one size does not fit all, no consultation can ever be fit into a specific time frame so there will always be waiting especially as the day wears on.

We cannot automate phone call answering except for the part where you are put in a queue and told your call is important and then you sit there listening to some awful music, seemingly forgotten

There will always be hundreds of calls in a queue for the most important services. or when you need an answer in a hurry, because only a few people are available to answer the phone.  Robots will not be able to answer calls either, because once again, only a real person can respond to the randomness of callers questions.

Artificial intelligence only works in science fiction.

Then there is the time we spend waiting at traffic lights, and then, even when the lights are with us, in traffic jams.  We are still stumped by trying to find an all-conquering answer to moving masses of people, either by the roads or by public transport.

The latter is all too frequently suffering delays and congestion due to the number of services needed and decaying networks and infrastructure, all of which is only going to get worse, with, of course, longer delays and more waiting.

Maybe the answer is to work from home but sadly the internet, that so-called answer to all our off-site networking, is not going to cope, and in fact, in this country, our latest update is a retrograde step on speed and availability, ie more waiting and less work.

Waiting, it seems, we are stuck with it whether we like it or not.  Good thing then our lives are longer.  But, if we delve into the mystery of longer lives now against what they were back when there was less waiting, maybe we still have the same amount of life, and the fact we’re living longer is negated by all the waiting.

I’m sure we didn’t have to wait very long for anything a hundred years ago.

Just saying.

I think I’ve got a plan

You see, it’s the result of a New Year’s resolution which I only told myself, mainly because I didn’t think I’d be able to execute it.

The plan, that is, not some of the people around me.

Be more organized.

Have a writing plan for each story, a synopsis if you will, something that can be used to plan and write to, instead of the hodgepodge of trying to remember where I was, or what I was intending to write as a follow on.

And it’s working to a certain degree.

In the morning, an hour to check social media, Instagram, WordPress, twitter.  I don’t bother with Facebook because everything I’ve tried there has failed, and I don’t think it’s for want of trying, it’s because Facebook will not give you reasonable coverage.  If you want that, you have to pay, and even if I did, I would still not get anything like I’d want.

Best left for the Fake News we keep hearing about, or people who want their details sold off to the highest bidder.

Then it’s time to write some new blog posts, I have more than one blog, each a different subject or aspect of either writing or traveling.

Rest.  Sometimes.

Afternoon, writing.  Yep, I have managed to get a few words on paper and editing the next two novels.  Bandy words with Chester, the cat, and generally come off second best.  He had the best ‘I don’t care’ face I’ve ever seen.

Then chores, dinner, what laughingly can be called TV, then maybe some more writing.

There, how’s that for a plan.


How long do you think it will last?


Conversations with my cat – 5


This is Chester.  He’s contemplating the mess on the floor.

I’ve asked him many times to stop unraveling the extension cords or to play with it as if it was a ball of string.

I’m not sure he understands the implications of playing with electrical wires.


He is recovering from the visit by our grandchildren.

Sometimes, when they’re very quiet, he assumes they have gone.  He comes down to see what’s for dinner, or if there are any ‘snacks’.

Then, suddenly he realizes they have not gone, and panic sets in.

Sometimes he gets away.

Sometimes he is trapped, and forced to take large doses of child affection.

Yesterday, it was very close.


And that’s how I met your mother, maybe

Want to hear an interesting story?

Well, perhaps not because it’s not relevant to you.


To someone else, like your children, if they ever listen to anything you say, I’m sure there’s always an interesting story in how you met your spouse, or each of them if you’ve been married more than once,


You didn’t marry them but just live together.

We live in a complicated world, one that fortunately for some, is not ruled by a piece of paper.

Fortunately, I have only one and thank God for that.

Oh, you want to know the story?

Boring, we worked together, hated each other, and when I left for a new job, we just sort of started going out.  How does that work?

It could be said God works in mysterious ways.


That’s not the story.

Over the years we can intentionally or unintentionally run into each other, quite unexpected.  For some, this might mean they discover their spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, significant other (or whatever) with someone else.

That’s a bad day.

Then you can almost be run down by a hospital bed, that, lo and behold, you find is the bed bringing your spouse back to the hospital ward.

Yep, nearly got run over by it.

By a strange quirk of coincidence, I arrived at the ward at the same time my wife did.  There could be something like karma in all of this, nearly being run down by the motorized bed she was being transported from the recovery ward.

But only she would see the humor in that.

When I rang the ward nurse prior to coming to the hospital, to see if she had arrived in the ward, they said she was in transit.  That was 50 minutes before I left for the hospital, so it was a long, long, transit.

Of course, it’s been a long day but it seems I was more worried about the day’s events than she was.  That, I suppose, it’s s good thing because if our roles were reversed I would have been in a blind panic by the time we got to the hospital, prior to the admission.

And the surgery was not one that could be taken lightly, at the heart of it the removal of a 35cm section of the bowel because of the possibility of cancer.

After a five hour wait after leaving her in the hands of hospital staff, always with the lingering thought it might be the last time I see her alive, the doctor called and said everything went fine.

So, its another trip to the hospital, out of visiting hours, another running the gamut of finding a parking spot, though had I known it, there was one right outside the night entrance, good to know if I need to come again, and a happy end to what could have been a traumatic day.

It’s no wonder I don’t like hospitals, either as a visitor, which I have been on numerous occasions, or a patient, which I try very hard to keep to a minimum.

“The Devil You Don’t”, be careful what you wish for

John Pennington’s life is in the doldrums.  Looking for new opportunities, prevaricating about getting married, the only joy on the horizon was an upcoming visit to his grandmother in Sorrento, Italy.

Suddenly he is left at the check-in counter with a message on his phone telling him the marriage is off, and the relationship is over.

If only he hadn’t promised a friend he would do a favor for him in Rome.

At the first stop, Geneva, he has a chance encounter with Zoe, an intriguing woman who captures his imagination from the moment she boards the Savoire, and his life ventures into uncharted territory in more ways than one.

That ‘favor’ for his friend suddenly becomes a life-changing event, and when Zoe, the woman who he knows is too good to be true, reappears, danger and death follows.

Shot at, lied to, seduced, and drawn into a world where nothing is what it seems, John is dragged into an adrenaline-charged undertaking, where he may have been wiser to stay with the ‘devil you know’ rather than opt for the ‘devil you don’t’.




Where do you write?

Here’s an interesting question, where do you find the most comfortable place to write?  Is it in an office, in a room overlooking the ocean, and basement where you can make it dark and creepy for atmosphere, is it at a train station, at work, which could end up presenting you with problems, or somewhere else.

Some people have an office, mine is a converted garage, and the walls are lined with books.  It isn’t the greatest place though.  There’s a smart alec cat always on my case.

There’s a couch in the living room where, late at night, I sometimes sit and ponder over about a thousand words of whatever the current story is in my head.  Cat withstanding.

It could be a cafe or restaurant, where it starts out as notes on the ambiance, the food, the people, then a little more, and gets me into trouble with my dining companions.

They should not have created writing programs for mobile phones.  Or for that matter, allow the phones to get smarter than their users.


That’s a whole other story.

So having found that special or nonspecial spot in the house, or out there in the universe, how do you become creative?

Is it you’ve been carrying the ideas around in your head for a while and you just need somewhere neutral to get them on paper, or in that pesky smartphone?

Is it sitting by the window with a cup of coffee and a mice cream-filled cake, when something catches your eye, and instantly the words begin forming?

Are you with someone, a muse, a partner, a spouse, a friend, a secret friend, or just a stranger, and you start getting the wrong ideas?  Or the right ideas if it’s a different sort of book.

Sometimes I move seats and sit opposite the writer’s chair to take a good long hard look at the person, the so-called writer, conjuring up in my mind, if I was someone I’d just dragged in off the street, what would I ask?

They, no doubt would be cynical.

Why bother when there are a million others out there trying to do the same thing?

That’s the easy question.  Every story is different.  Why?  Because every writer has a different point of view, a different set of experiences, a different personality, different friends, this could go on forever…

Here’s a test, outline a story and give that outline to ten different writers.  You’d get ten different stories.

Where do you get the motivation?

Don’t know.  Some days I don’t want to get out of bed, others, I can’t go to sleep until the words have stopped.  Go figure.

What do you do for inspiration?

Inside, outside, upside down, everywhere and anywhere.

Just remember, always have a notebook and pencil on hand.  Why pencil, I never have any luck with pens.




It’s late, I’m tired…


There’s more to this story.

Or that’s what I keep telling myself, struggling to stay awake and write the next sentence then the next sentence, and the one after that.

Long after I should have gone to bed.

Does that sound like your life?

Of course, it doesn’t.  The rest of the world is sane, goes to work, come home, have dinner, watch a little television or play with the children, or maybe not, then go to bed.

None of this writing business, trying to finish the page, the scene, the chapter while the ideas are fresh in your mind.

Only your mind isn’t fresh, it’s been a long day, an argument with the significant other, a bigger argument with the cat, there’s the washing, the cooking, the cleaning…

When do I get five minutes for myself?

At the dead of night when everyone else has gone to bed, getting their eight hours sleep.

In the dark with only the screen to light the keyboard, I’m trying to find the way around the keyboard and turn out what has to be the next international best selling thriller.

The dog next door barks, it means the cat got out and is terrorizing it.

A door slams, it’s old Joe getting home late from the pub, probably drunk again.

Yep, right on target, the vitriol of a bitter woman, and I have to say, I don’t blame her.

Then I hear it, that voice from the deep, “Poppy.”

The youngest of the grandchildren, the very devil to get to sleep.

Writing for the night is over, time to read other people’s stories.