Something About Me

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In every day life, John Jackson, a former Ship's Captain now retired. He still retains an avid interest in the Hash House Harriers, Rugby, Food, Romantic Fiction, Philately, etc etc etc.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sort of New House-Owners

More Random Jottings!!!

We have bought a House!! Actually, we have had our offer accepted on a 3 bed bungalow in a village just north of York. Why York? Well, its mainly flat, and we need that – both officially being disabled, we have friends there, we like the city a LOT, and we could get a good “bang for our buck” for what we got for our house on the Isle of Man. Did I mention the pubs?? The Brigantes is a good start. 

So now we wait. Everything is in the hands of the solicitors. Fortunately, we are under no time pressure to move, and indeed, wouldn't move until next Spring anyway. My Mum is still clinging to life (just) up the road from us here in a care home. Unfortunately, all she wants is not to wake up tomorrow. For any of you out there who also have elderly family, our hearts go out to you. As a friend of mine in a similar situation was told “You can't bring back your Dad, her sight or her youth. You have done all you can.“ Frustrating, though, and guilt-inducing.

Mind you – with the house, its not just the waiting – its also the form-filling. Our solicitors are very good – I used to play rugby with the head of the firm. That, though doesn't diminish the amount of times you've got to produce a current passport or similar, AND proof of address, AND proof you have the funds legally. Just more stuff to wade through. Still, the end results should be worth it.

Strictly is turning out to be an excellent season!! Even without Vincent and Flavia. By happy accident they seem to have ended up with an engaging cast of slebs who all seem determined to try. Those who have been eliminated have hardly been controversial, and there are a few REALLY good dancers. Farewell this weekend to Julian McDonald.

In the world of Romantic Fiction, it seems my choice of friends is inspired – they all seem to be in the running the their particular world's version of the Oscars. I like the way they suddenly slip out their latest literary offerings without any fanfare. They are remarkably fecund in a literary sense as well.
This month I have read Talli Roland's Build A Man,Liz Harris's Art of Deception, Nigel Tranter's The Wisest Fool (an old favourite) and Desperate Remedies by Christina Courtenay (and that's only so far) All excellent. I'm in awe of their ability to edit, as well. I know from my own (non-fiction) writing that after getting all the words down, the last thing you want to do is to go through crossing them out.

My Hash House Harrier friends know I'm very involved organising a mammoth weekend of running and socialising(i.e. Hashing) over in Brussels next summer. It has proved remarkably popular, and we have over 2500 people coming from all over the world for it. I love Brussels – its a lovely city, and the beer and food are among the best in the world. Less than two months until my next trip over there – intelligently combining a committee meeting with the Brussels Manneke Piss H3's Christmas Party. For any of them reading this, its all going very well!!

And now – a word on Stamps!!! Yes, ANOTHER great thing to do when you don't have working legs. Actually, I just love them for their own sake. Perhaps better saved for al later blog - but believe me - you have NO IDEA how often South American countries changed their Presidents a hundred years ago. They truly did measure time in revolutions there. :)

What a madcap whirl my life is!!

More soon.


Some Blogs I read:

Paul Woodford, the best blog on Hashing!
Guido Fawkes – the sharpest political blog around
Anna Raccoon – always contentious
and several of my lady-writer friends sites and blogs – good reads all!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We're in the Money!!! - Well, not really.

At LAST – those three little words we have been longing to hear – Your House Sold!!! On Monday of this weekend after 2 years of trying we finally completed the sale of our house on the Isle of Man.
But – of course – one door closes and another opens wide – we now have to find somewhere to live in our dotage. Perhaps fortunately we have the classic case of my parents as an example of what NOT do do. Don't buy a cottage in a Cotswold village! Finding one and doing it up may have kept Mum out of Dad's hair for a couple of years, but after Dad died my non-driving Mum found herself stuck in a village where, then, the bus service consisted of a minibus running to Stratford on Avon once every Thursday on months with an “r” in the name. To get a taxi to the Doctor would cost her about £40.

So we are looking for a bungalow in York. Its mostly flat, we can just about afford one, and there is a great bus service in the areas we want to move to. Its fine now while I can drive, but looking ahead.........

Did I mention that York has about 300 pubs?? Mostly good ones. We'll probably check out a few while house-hunting next week.

On the Strictly front, its all kicked off with much aplomb. Actually not a bad line up at all. My tips: - First out, Vanessa Feltz or Tony Jacklin. Last 5? Rachel Riley, Abbey Clancey, Susannah Reid, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Patrick from Casualty. The new studio looks considerably bigger – probably because it is. We have applied for tickets for the Blackpool show (without any expectations)
Having Strictly back on the telly means we also get It Takes Two back as well. The evenings are a lot brighter on the box as the night draws in ever faster.

I've been chatting on Facebook and Twitter over the last couple of years with an expanding group of lady authors of the romantic kind. This started off tweeting over Strictly and sort of grew. Now you would think, in such a competitive field as modern romantic fiction that a large group of competing females was a recipe for a total bitch-fest – and you couldn't be more wrong!!! Actually, they all appear amazingly nice and supportive, and extremely chatty and friendly. Curiously, at their annual conferences and various get-togethers, they are rarely seen without a glass in their hands, so they'll fit right in with the rest of my friends. Yesterday I actually got round to meeting two of them. Pia and Sue are very much leading lights in the Romantic Novelists Association, and they gave an entertaining and informative talk at two of the Leicester Libraries of writing, both in general and from the romantic fiction point of view. Delightful ladies both. Well done Leicester Libraries for putting the lectures on.

We've both recovered from our holiday the cheese has all been eaten, and most of the wine put away for a while. Autumn is definitely with us, and its the jam and chutney season. Fortunately we have a crab apple tree a few hundred yards down the road, and as usual I took a brolly and my walking sick down to collect a few – in this case a bucket-full. We now have 9 pounds of crab-apple jelly adoring the larder.
We also have a litre of blackberry gin that will be ready for Christmas. Lovely.

More soon!


Some Blogs I read:

Paul Woodford, the best blog on Hashing!

Guido Fawkes – the sharpest political blog around

Anna Raccoon – always contentious

and several of my lady-writer friends sites and blogs – good reads all!