Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Welding and fabrication

One of the joys of being in the country, at least as far as my bf is concerned, is the machinery. More specifically, driving around in a completely knackered Land Rover. At the moment, our passenger door won't open, we've snapped the key to the door locks, so can't lock the driver door, the steering wheel won't go straight, the rear view mirror has only just been glued back up after weeks of lying on the car floor and the radio aerial is - what else? - a bent coathanger. But there is something heartening in dodging the myriad rules of health & safety and other busybody bureaucrats. After we failed the MOT and were threatened with an £800 bill to fix the car, we remembered a mechanic who operates out of a garden shed. He duly fixed the car for £200 and even slipped the MOT inspector a fiver to turn a blind eye to the stuck door. I couldn't help but laugh when I saw his business card: 'Gary - For all your welding and fabrication needs'. Only in the country....

Monday, January 28, 2008

Small Matters

Another beautiful weekend in the country. Winter sometimes brings the best days - blue skies, bright sunshine, crisp air. The fields are freshly ploughed, tiny intensely green shoots are springing up, alongside the clusters of snowdrops. After a bracing morning walk and several hours slaving over a hot typewriter, I sat by the spitting log fire. An idyll, of sorts. I know there are drawbacks to being in the country (the least attractive of which being the two rats I nearly ran over as I drove to the station) but for these two days they were firmly at the back of my mind.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

'I'm on the train...'

Travelling up on the train from Liverpool Street to Colchester yesterday, I was able to make some more observations for my 'Commuting' chapter of Mud & The City: Dos and Don'ts for Townies in the Country. A young guy sitting opposite me chatted until Manningtree Station (a good 40 minutes) to his mate, describing in great detail the plans he had for carpets, building works etc for a new house he was moving in to with, apparently, seven other blokes. None of the rest of us could even think, let alone, read the paper or concentrate on some work while he was banging on. But we couldn't help smiling when at the end he was heard to say into his handset, with some force, 'But look, mate, don't tell ANYONE about this, yeah?'.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My horse has broken down

A taxi journey with one or two of my fellow Country Lifers is never without a surprising revelation. One girl was telling me that she was missing her riding – she couldn't go anymore because: 'My horse has broken down.' I thought this was a pretty callous way to talk about a living beast, but it turns out that this is an old, well-worn phrase amongst countrymen that was most likely reappropriated when people started driving cars. It merely means that the horse is no longer fit for riding and will now live out the rest of its days pottering about in a field. I've seen that happen to a couple of cars, too.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Getting started.....

The book is now one week away from the publisher's deadline. Last-minute first-book nerves are thrashing about in my daydreams and my nightmares. Who was the fool who said, 'writing is hell, editing is bliss'?