Waiting, waiting, waiting… and then a variation of the soft shoe shuffle

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.

It’s raining, it’s pouring…

It’s one of those grey, dark, wet mornings where you can inadvertently sleep in because the bedroom remains dark for an extra two hours.  That could be a problem if you have a day job, but I’m one of the more fortunate, I am supposed to be retired.

Pity then the rest of the family haven’t quite got it yet.

But, today is Sunday, and there’s no pressing requirement to get up.  It’s one of those times when you are comfortable and warmly ensconced under the doona, somewhere between asleep, and in a sleepy haze.

Time to mull over the latest storyline, marshal my thoughts, write the prose in my head.

Too many storylines, and nothing to do with any of the current projects.

The rain is getting heavier, and is splashing outside; the steady waterfall of overflow from the gutters is taking away my concentration.


Rain, rain, go away …


I have two different visions.

A cold, grey day in London (is there any other sort of day in my second favourite city) waiting for a train, and seeing the woman of your dreams go past, standing in the doorway, and in that fraction of a second when your eyes meet, a connection is made.

I suspect it has fuelled many a song such as ‘The Look of Love’.

The second is on a desolate section of coastline as for north as you can go in Scotland (yes, I am a glutton for punishment), and she is standing on the cliff top gazing out to sea, hair blowing in the wind.  Silent, strong, resolute.

Hang on, I think that happened further south, Cornwall in fact, and her name is Demelza.  With red hair!


The rain has gone.  That degree of comfortability is now gone after a gentle nudge that reminds you, you cannot stay in bed all day.

And the cat is forcefully reminding you that he needs to be fed.  A cat that’s begging to get sent to Siberia on a very slow boat.

Notes hastily scribbled in a notebook for later reference.

Time to think about tending the garden…

“The Things We Do For Love” – Coming soon

Is love the metaphorical equivalent to ‘walking the plank’; a dive into uncharted waters?

For Henry the only romance he was interested in was a life at sea, and when away from it, he strived to find sanctuary from his family and perhaps life itself.  It takes him to a small village by the sea, s place he never expected to find another just like him, Michelle, whom he soon discovers is as mysterious as she is beautiful.

Henry had long since given up the notion of finding romance, and Michelle couldn’t get involved for reasons she could never explain, but in the end both acknowledge that something happened the moment they first met.  

Plans were made, plans were revised, and hopes were shattered.

A chance encounter causes Michelle’s past to catch up with her, and whatever hope she had of having a normal life with Henry, or anyone else, is gone.  To keep him alive she has to destroy her blossoming relationship, an act that breaks her heart and shatters his.

But can love conquer all?

It takes a few words of encouragement from an unlikely source to send Henry and his friend Radly on an odyssey into the darkest corners of the red light district in a race against time to find and rescue the woman he finally realizes is the love of his life.

The cover, at the moment, looks like this:


“Sunday in New York”, it’s a bumpy road to love

“Sunday in New York” is ultimately a story about trust, and what happens when a marriage is stretched to its limits.

When Harry Steele attends a lunch with his manager, Barclay, to discuss a promotion that any junior executive would accept in a heartbeat, it is the fact his wife, Alison, who previously professed her reservations about Barclay, also agreed to attend, that casts a small element of doubt in his mind.

From that moment, his life, in the company, in deciding what to do, his marriage, his very life, spirals out of control.

There is no one big factor that can prove Harry’s worst fears, that his marriage is over, just a number of small, interconnecting events, when piled on top of each other, points to a cataclysmic end to everything he had believed in.

Trust is lost firstly in his best friend and mentor, Andy, who only hints of impending disaster, Sasha, a woman whom he saved, and who appears to have motives of her own, and then in his wife, Alison, as he discovered piece by piece damning evidence she is about to leave him for another man.

Can we trust what we see with our eyes or trust what we hear?

Haven’t we all jumped to conclusions at least once in our lives?

Can Alison, a woman whose self-belief and confidence is about to be put to the ultimate test, find a way of proving their relationship is as strong as it has ever been?

As they say in the classics, read on!



Sunday In New York

Tomorrow never comes

I’ve often said, that can wait until tomorrow.  I mean, I don’t have the time at the moment, or more to the point, quite often I can’t be bothered.

So, how many things have I put on hold, and then forgotten about, deliberately or otherwise?  I suspect quite a few.

What is it that makes us put off something until another time, using tomorrow as an excuse?

Perhaps the point is, tomorrow never comes, does it?  By the time it’s tomorrow, it’s today again, and that onerous job can be put off yet again, until tomorrow.  So, does the fact tomorrow never comes, really mean it;’s something we don’t want to do?

I keep putting off the rest of the editing of my latest novel until tomorrow.

Does that mean I just don’t want to do it, because as we all know, editing is an onerous job we tend to put off until we have to do it, usually when the editor is turning a bright shade of purple?

Or does it mean that we don’t think the book is very good, and this is our way of expressing our feelings about it without condemning it outright?

I don’t think I’m happy with it in its current form.  But, as quite a few say, it’s better to get the words on paper, and you can always fix them later.

Tomorrow perhaps?

Perhaps it’s time to go back and have another look, screw my courage to the sticking place, and do what needs to be done.

And do it now, because if I say I’ll do it tomorrow…

Now I’m starting to feel like I’m on a merry-go-round.

Repeat after me, do it now, do it now, do it now, do it now……..

What happens after the action-packed start – Part 28

Our hero knows he’s in serious trouble.

The problem is, there are familiar faces and a question of who is a friend and who is foe made all the more difficult because of the enemy, if it was the enemy, simply because it didn’t look or sound or act like the enemy.

Now, it appears, his problems stem from another operation he participated in.


I was escorted to a small room that adjoined the interview room, and I was separated from the main event by a one-way mirror.

It was a cliché, but not surprising.

The interrogation room was much the same as an office, with a table, two chairs, and on the side, a cabinet, closed up, and an interesting addition to what might be called a boring room.

It was currently empty, and I was the only one in this small room, sitting at a counter, looking in.  In front of me was a stack of writing pads, pens and pencils.  I wondered if I was the only party that was about to observe Lallo and the new arrival.

Five minutes passed before the door to the room next door opened and a hooded man was led in.  His hands were cuffed, and his legs had chains, standard prisoner gear.  

From the man’s manner and body language, it appeared to me as though he was surprised he was being treated so badly, and was not forcefully resistant, but wasn’t making it easy for his captors.

He was asked to sit, and when he didn’t he was forced to sit, with some force, and then his hands were locked onto the metal bar at the table.  His legs were locked to a lower bar.  A precaution in case he decided to attack his interrogator.

One thing I knew for sure, this man would not give up information willingly.

Once he was secured, one guard took up station inside the door, the other left.  That’s when Lallo made his appearance.  He came in, put a file on the desk, nodded to the guard who remove3d the hood, and then he sat.

I’d expected to see Lallo in full uniform.  He was not.  He was, if anything, dressed casually.  The man on the other side was in a cream suit, very crumpled and slightly stained as if he had not changed during the entire journey from capture to this room.

No doubt part of his conditioning.

“Mr Jacobi, that is your name isn’t it?”

The man stared at him sullenly.  I got the impression he was usually the one asking the questions, not the other way around.

The man lifted his head and stared straight at Lallo.  It was not a look I’d want to be on the end of, but Lallo, I suspect, had been on the end of a lot worse.  And a closer inspection of his face, and features, I noticed that someone had already started the harsher form of interrogation.

“You know this already.  I am an employee of the United States Government, your Government, and you will regret treating me like this.”

“That may be so, but you have failed to define what part of the Government it is you work for.  Is it the CIA?”

Another withering stare, followed by, “You people are so incompetent, the left-hand does not know what the right hand is doing.  I require a telephone so that I can contact my liaison, and this farce will stop, and you will be reprimanded very severely.”

“I seriously doubt anyone knows you are missing yet.  Maybe after a week or so, but we know you keep to yourself, and very few people know your business, a situation, I assure you, the benefits us more than it benefits you.  So I will assume you are Jacobi.”

There was a knock on the door, and Monroe came in with a small box, handed it to Lallo, and then left again.

Lallo looked in the box, then pulled out a plastic evidence bag with a mobile phone in it, and put it on the table.  “This is the phone you use to call General Bahti, your contact inside the current government.  It seems it is not registered with a telephone network in your country, but another, shall we say neutral, country.

He reached into the box and pulled out another plastic evidence bag also with mobile phone in it.  “This phone,” he held it up, “is the one you use to talk to the, shall we call them the local resistance.  It’s so much nicer than calling them rebels.”

The man’s eyes followed each bag from the box to the table.  He was almost expressionless.

Then Lallo pulled out another bag, with another phone, “This is the phone which you make and receive calls from your American contact.  It is what we call a burner phone, and was given to you, we think, on a recent visit to this country, by that contact.  I am assuming this is the person you wish to call and who will stop this farce.”

If Lallo was expecting the man to break down there and then, he was sadly mistaken.  There was little if any movement in his expression, perhaps just enough for Lallo to assume he’d got the men behind the phones correct.  That he was basically unmoved at Lallo’s revelations told me this man had a resolve Lallo was going to find hard to shake.

Lallo took the third phone out of the evidence bag and pushed it across the table towards the man.  “You can call your contact now, and you can tell him I would like to speak to him.”


© Charles Heath 2019

Just when you think you’ve found the right wordprocessor

It was as if Microsoft Word was sent down from that place in the universe where a group of torturers sit around a table to find new ways of making our lives just that little bit more difficult.

I mean, most of the time it works really well and behaves itself.


Then there are the times, usually when you are stressed about a deadline, or you are nearly at the end of what you believe to be the most brilliant writing you have ever put on paper.


Disaster strikes.

It could be the power goes off, even for just a few seconds, but it’s enough to kill the computer.  It could be that you have reached the end and closed Word down, thinking that it had autosaved, all the while ignoring that little pop up that says, ‘do you want to save your work’?

It’s been a long day, night, or session.  You’re tired and your mind is elsewhere, as it always is at the end.

You always assume that autosave is on.  It was the last time, it has been since the day you installed it however long ago that was.


When the power comes back on, you start the computer, go into Word, and it brings back all the windows you had open when the power failed, and the one with the brilliant piece you just wrote, it’s just a blank sheet.

Or up to where it last autosaved, which is nowhere near the end.

Or it didn’t save at all.

You forget the software updated recently and that always brings changes.  Usually unwanted changes.

By which time you have that sinking feeling that all is lost, deadline missed, brilliant work lost, it’s the end of the world.

You promise yourself you’re going to get Scrivener, or something else, where this doesn’t happen.

Or if you’re like me, you put the cat on the keyboard and tell him to sort the mess out.