NaNoWriMo – Day 15 – Half way there

Yes, 15 days down and 15 days to go.

At this point my hand is starting to cramp from the toils of writing, yes, I’m one of those writers who often puts words to paper longhand.

Two weeks is a long time, but I think this sort of exercise is what’s needed if you want to write a novel every year, though this one is going to come out with more than 50,000 words.

I think there are about three more chapters to go to end part two, then I can get onto the big finale in part three.

It has turned out to be a bigger project than I originally thought, and I didn’t think I could stretch it to 50,000 words.  Now, I’m hoping to keep it to about 60,000.

Still, no need to get ahead of myself.  Murphy’s law may yet rear its ugly head.

Conversations with my cat – 18


This is Chester, he’s lurking in the shadows.

This is near the front door, so I wonder if he’s waiting for someone, or keeping guard, or he’s spotted something outside.

The grandchildren will be here soon, and I haven’t told him they are paying a surprise visit.  He has a habit of disappearing the days they usually come.

We both hear a noise outside.

He goes into stealth mode.

Then I recognize the sound, of letters being shoved into the mailbox.

He shakes his head.  I think he was expecting a mouse.

I hear the back door rattle and the loud sounds of the grandchildren arriving.

He lifts his head, stands, and bolts.

That’s the fastest I’ve seen him move for a long time.




Waiting rooms, a great source of material to write about

Watching the doors that lead to the consulting rooms is about as exciting as watching pigeons standing on a window ledge.


When you have little else to do while waiting to see the doctor, it can take on new meaning, especially if you don’t want to be like 95% of the others waiting and be on their mobile phones.

What you basically have is a cross-section of people right in front of you, a virtual cornucopia of characters just waiting to stay in your next novel, of course with some minor adjustments.  It’s the actions and traits I’m looking for, and since it is a hospital, there’s bound to be some good ones.

It’s a steady drip of patients getting called, and it seems like more are arriving than being seen, and those that are being called have arrived and barely got to sit down, whilst a steady core has been waiting, and waiting, and waiting…

Everyone reacts differently to waiting.

A lady arrives, walking tentatively into the waiting area.  It’s reasonably full so the first thing she does is look for a spot where she doesn’t have to sit next to anyone else.  I’m the same, nothing worse if you sit next to a talker, and getting their life history.

Another sits, looking like they’re going to read, they brought a book with them, but it sits on her lap.  The phone comes out, a quick scan, then it remains in hand.  Is she expecting a call or text wishing her luck?  It’s not the oncology clinic so she doesn’t have cancer.  Hopefully.  The fact she brought a book tells me she’s been here before and knows a 9:00 appointment is rarely on time.

As we are discovering.

A couple arrives, maybe a mother and daughter, maybe a patient and her support person.  Both of them don’t look very well do it’s a toss-up who is there to see the doctor.

Next is a man who could easily pass as living on the street.  It’s probably an injustice to say so, but his appearance is compelling, and I’m not the only one.  He sits and the person next to him gets up, apparently looking for something, then moves subtly to another seat.  Someone else nearby wrinkles her nose.  Two others look in his direction and then whisper to each other.  No guesses what the subject is.

More arrive, fewer seats, some are called, but everyone notices, and avoids, the man.

The sign of the door where the stream of patients are going, says no entry staff only, and periodically a staff member comes striding out purposely, or sedately, clutching a piece of all important paper, the sign of someone who knows where they’re going, on an important mission.  Names are being called from this door and various other sections of the room, requiring you to keep one ear open.

It seems all hospitals are branches of the United Nations, medical staff, and particularly doctors, are recruited from all over the world, and it seems to be able to speak understandable English is not one of the mandatory requirements, and sometimes the person calling out the name, has a little difficulty with the pronunciation.

Perhaps like the UN, we need interpreters.  No, most of the names are recognizable until there is a foreign name that’s unpronounceable, or a person with English as a second language calls an English name.  It makes what could be an interminable wait into something more interesting.

And then there are the people who have names that are completely at odds with their nationality.  They are lucky enough to have the best of a number of cultures, and perhaps a deeper level of understanding where others do not.  I’m reminded never to judge a book by it’s cover.

When there is a lull in arrivals and call-ups, there’s the doctor in consult room 2.  He’s apparently the doctor with no patients and periodically he comes out to look in his pigeonhole, or just look over the patients waiting, and more importantly checking the door handle when not delivering printouts to the consulting room next door.

He’s a doctor with no patients, get my drift.  Well, that joke fell very flat, so, fortunately, he comes out, a piece of paper in hand, and calls a name.  His quiet period is over.  Someone else will have to look at the door handle.

But we’re still waiting, waiting.

It’s been an hour and four minutes, and a little frustrating.  Surely when you check-in they should give you an estimated waiting time, or better still how many patients there are before you.

I guess its time to join the rest and pick up the mobile phone.

The good news, I only got to type one word before my name was called.  By a person who could pronounce it correctly.

The doctor, well that’s another story.

Friday afternoons – where would you like to be?

It’s Friday afternoon and…

The expectation I once had a long time ago, and I suspect I’m not alone, has always been that if it ever became possible, Friday afternoons off were sacrosanct.

In a lifetime of working for others, Friday afternoons were the same as all the rest.  Finish at 5 or 6 and either go to the pub with workmates or go home.

Every now and then you’d take a sick day, but it’s a bit obvious to everyone that you’re just looking to have a long weekend.  Just hope your boss is not heading away at the same time and you awkwardly meet at the airport.

Yes, it does happen.

Of course, for those who seek to transition from worker to being master of your own destiny, ie become self-employed and are lucky enough to do so, you tell yourself you can make your own hours, work when you feel like it, and Fridays, well, they’re out of bounds.

Until reality sets in.

You still have Bill’s to pay, and work never presents itself quite at the times that you want, and any form of working more hospitable hours goes out the window.  That desire to improve family life?

For some, it has happened for some, but for the rest of us, well, the best of intentions always seem to go astray.

Now you don’t have a steady paycheck, you quickly realize that work does not necessarily turn up on your doorstep when you want it to, but when it’s available, and what starts out the be sure and steady, soon becomes steady without the surety then patchy because demand is market tuned.

A downturn in the market and suddenly your good intentions and desire for more money and a better life are out the window, and suddenly you’re working 7 days a week trying to make ends meet.

I’m sure there are more salient factors involved in making the decision to become a contractor rather than a ‘wage slave’, but it seems these days working on a Friday afternoon might not be so bad, rather than having nothing to do at all.

What am I doing this Friday afternoon?

Picking up the grandchildren from school.  You see, to get Friday afternoons off I had to wait till I retired.  But one thing I can tell you with a great deal of certainty, I will not be taking up golf anytime soon.  I have better things to do with my Friday afternoons.

NaNoWriMo – Day 13 – It’s that unlucky number

Hopefully, it won’t hex my writing.

It’s day 13 and I’m over half way in that devil on the shoulder word count, 27, 275 words to be exact.

That is in Microsoft Word is not playing ‘Friday the Thirteenth’ tricks on me.  Good thing it’s not Friday.

Part 2 is proceeding as expected with no surprises, and the characters are behaving themselves, well, in the writing sense.

I’ve found that I now need to write another chapter, before the end of the first part, to help explain, later on, some of the plot nuances.  This sort of issue often arises for me when getting to a particular point in a later section, I realize the reader needs a pointer or a nuance earlier on so that the revelation makes sense, not come out of left field.

Sorry, I have to get back to work, I don’t know where the time goes.

NaNoWriMo – Day 12 – I’m heading into uncharted territory

It could equally describe a place or my emotions, though in this case, it is the emotional side.

I’m taking on the persona of the main character, and try to sort through the emotions of, firstly wondering what it might be like to want the unobtainable, and secondly, what it might be like if circumstances, albeit unfortunate, bring you together.

Yes, it’s the girl.  You know how the standard love story goes, boy meets girl, boy loses the girl, boy somehow manages to save the day and win her back.  That’s the male side, for women it might be the other way around.

However, sometimes the unobtainable is that for a reason.  We shall see how this turns out.

On a more interesting note, I have hit the halfway mark for the number of words, 25,118.

I’d like to say it’s all downhill from here, but that’s never the case, is it?

A horrible method of doing some research into pneumonia

After my first visit, with imminent kidney failure, I said I wasn’t coming back.  Hospitals and I don’t get along.


Guess what?

Three days later I was being taken by ambulance back to the hospital.

I went to see my local GP about a cough that wouldn’t let me speak, and I was having a little trouble breathing.

OK, I was having a lot of trouble breathing, so it was straight on oxygen.

As you can imagine I hate hospitals.  It’s where a lot of people go to die, and, for a short time, lying in my bed in Emergency, listening to all the possibilities of what was wrong with me, I started to believe it was my time.

Don’t ever consent to a nasal swab, it’s having very long cotton buds shoved up your nose and into your brain.  It hurts like hell and makes your eyes run like taps.  This after the nurse said I would only have momentary discomfort.

It was still hurting three days later.

When the X-rays came back it was confirmed I had pneumonia.  A comparison with an X-ray from my first visit showed clouds where my lungs were, whereas the previous one had none.

It was thought I may have acquired it in the hospital on that first visit several days before.

So trying to find the bug was going to be far more intensive and painful than it being an ‘ordinary’ case of pneumonia.  These bugs were more resistant to treatment and harder to track down.

The bad news, I wasn’t going anywhere for at least a week, possibly longer.

It took 9 days to get over it and be well enough to be discharged.  For the first few days I could not breathe without oxygen, and for the first five, I could do little other than lie down or sit up in bed.  A walk to the shower or toilet, about 10 yards at best, exhausted me.

So there was little to do other than observe the medical staff and other patients.

Enough research to fill several pads.

And when I was well enough, I spent some time writing.

Never let it be said there isn’t a silver lining in at least one of those clouds!