So how many things can go wrong simultaneously

. . . No, don’t answer that.  Don’t even think about answering that.  And really it’s not simultaneous, it’s a sort of malign entwined-tentacle serialism, if all that local negative horsepucky had been simultaneous the cottage, Lodge and surrounding territory would have been taken out by the lightning strike, the meteor landing and the gas explosion that all happened in the same moment, plus the six-lorry pile-up at the mouth of the cul de sac which would have accordioned up the hill and taken us out a few more times.  And before you tell me you don’t believe that little old New Arcadia has a multi-gimongous-lorry traffic problem LET ME ASSURE YOU THAT WE DO.  There are fewer letters to the editor about it lately because we’re all getting over-exercised about Brexit, speaking of accordioning lorries of disaster, but it is REAL and EARTHSHAKING and MIDDLE OF TOWN TRAFFIC SNARLING, the morons in the SUVs they can’t drive are enough for the traffic snarling necessary in all picturesque English villages without professional lorry-driver assistance, and ROAD SURFACE DESTROYING, you can see the ruts in the tarmac widening every time one of those eff eff eff eff (*&^%$£”!!!! lorries malfeasances around the turn at the head of Sheepdrove Road, because that turn is actually not doable by monster lorries, so it, you know, takes a while—remember what I said about traffic snarling?—and if you and your hellpair are on that deadly stretch of pavement which narrows just at the crucial spot where Sheepdrove Road T-intersections into the main street, known as Lordofthemanor Street on the right and Ladyofthemanor Street on the left YOU NEED TO RUN FOR COVER NOW.*  We already have the worst roads in southern England** . . . and yet this still does not reach the sanity-threatening hub of the matter which is the diabolically horrible tag lines and logos the regulars all revel in.***   In eight-foot lettering with optional flower fairies.

Where was I?  Oh yes.  Disasters.  So let’s say I’m starting over starting over.  Starting over.  With the blog.  Or starting-starting-starting over-over-over.  Meanwhile, I had the following all written just before the last tsunami of technological anarchy broke and by the time it had flooded through here and then torpedoed on to confuse Douglas Adams’ whale**** . . . I forget, but at the moment, for example, I’m climbing out of another vast frelling bog of ME, during which so many things haven’t got done it’s like, blog?  What the cheeseparing is a blog?  Go away.  I’m rereading LOTR.  Hey, it’s research.  For DIARY.***** 

But, keep scrolling.  An entry derisorily labelled ‘Return to Real Life’ begins right after the huddle of footnotes for this fascinatingly coloured intro . . .

* * *

* There is a special area in the churchyard reserved for those who did not run fast enough, and a petition gaining signatures that the lorry companies should be required to provide the funerals, which would involve large, slow-moving horse-drawn carriages that SNARL TRAFFIC but would at least fit the picturesque paradigm.  But of course the lorry company lawyers are all saying, it was not our clients’ lorries which mounted the pavement that took out the little old lady parking her Vespa, the stationary teenager with his earbuds drilled into his ears checking his iPhone, or the professional writer paralysed as if staring at Medusa by the sight of the tag line.

** I realise this is a much-competed-for honour.  A friend who lives in Kent was here not long ago and she said, wow, your roads are as bad as ours. 

*** Wallow is perhaps a more accurate verb.

**** Including Blogdad’s trip to the chiropractor to lever his ear away from his shoulder after all that time on the phone to various server-provider people^ who seemed to have an attitude toward their internet platforms for hire similar to lorry company lawyers addressing the public their clients have been mashing into puree.

^ Or, possibly, mechanisms

****** I don’t suppose anyone out there knows of a good American slang dictionary for the 1960s?  I’m going a little further mentally deranged trying to look up everything I can’t remember using when I was in high school, not assisted by the fact that Green’s Dictionary of Slang is far from the totally magnificent resource its reputation declares it to be.^  The huge on line Oxford is at least as good, even if it’s not specialising in slang, but one does have to hack one’s way into it every blasted time.  I belong to a participating library so I should have access, but OF COURSE IT’S NOT THAT SIMPLE.  One of its favourite things to do, after you’ve put your library card number in, is to tell you you have to choose your library from the list it offers you.  And your library isn’t on it.  If you click on some other library it, not surprisingly, rejects you.  But if you don’t click on any library it just sits there blinking at you till you scream in rage and frustration, close the flaming tab, and start over again. 

^ It doesn’t have meltdown.  How can a slang dictionary not have meltdown?  It doesn’t have hairy eyeball.  It doesn’t have get my/one’s head around [it].  It doesn’t have do your/one’s head in.  It doesn’t have spare me.  I could go on.+

+ It doesn’t have ‘I could go on’ either.


Return to real life*

WHICH IS AS FAR AS I GOT a fortnight or something ago when I last went to write something for the poor already-neglected new blog iteration.**  ARRRRRRGHThe short form is that there is way too much frelling doodah doodah doodah ratbagging blasted explosive real world crap going on and by the time I’ve hacked and howled through the day’s ration of pernicious piffle I’ve no energy*** for a blog post.  Not to mention that said blog crashed again, plus, as some of you may be aware, and although Blogdad has turned this undesirable widget off, it periodically times me out anyway and then won’t let me back in again till the stars have realigned and the proper sacrifices have been made, and for some reason I’m resistant to the idea that I need to sacrifice anything, except perhaps a few houseflies and a broken chopstick, to get into my own blog.  Also I’m just easily discouraged by technology.  Or you could say the blood-pressure headaches get old.

. . . Which is as far as I got the next time I tried to write a blog post, because Microsoft pulled one of its Hi!  We’re updating! tricks on me, which it is set to warn me about before they happen, only it didn’t warn me, and when I found out that it had closed everything down, oh, and?, it’s supposed to reopen all your on line tabs but it didn’t, it also simply ate the beginning blog post.  Which did not magically reappear in ‘Recover Unsaved Documents’ either.

Maybe I can make one or two other of these sagas of snafu . . .

. . . Which is as far as I got the next time I tried to write a blog post when I went to footnote ‘sagas of snafu’ in which I was going to promise to drop the alliteration thing soon when I found out that this ******* RAH RAH RAH RAH ***** ** **** RAGE RAGE RAGE RAAAAAAGE has deleted all those footnote symbols I spent HOURS putting in and carefully assigning keystrokes to.%

I HATE COMPUTERS.  HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE.  Which is awkward when you’re trying to run a blog.%%


Maybe I’ll just talk about the garden.$


* * *

* Whatever that is

** I kind of like ‘Days in the Life II’

*** and no suitable vocabulary

% And no, I’m not going to spend a whole lot more hours putting them all back in again until Raphael comes up with some kind of safety net.^

^ It’s under discussion.

%% Let alone earn a living by writing stories.   If vinyl is undergoing a renaissance, maybe they’ll bring back electric typewriters.

%%% Take, for example, my blender.

My blender died.

This is now a critical item because . . . one of the stories of bleakness and horror from year of infamy 2017 is about my teeth.  Nobody told me they had a use-by date of 2016 and they’re falling out.  This is not a trend that can be allowed to continue, except that when one of them fell out incompetently last autumn—shortly after Darkness died, so I wasn’t at my best anyway—and  I had to go to the dentist to have it extracted, I was terrifyingly ill from the anaesthesia afterward.  For weeks and weeks and weeks.  My herbalist friend—I don’t think she has a blog name yet?  Let’s call her Morag—said that this is probably because I’m living so pure and holy a life that my henwitted body reacted extra-extravagantly to something that it (correctly) identified as toxic, and it wasn’t listening to the ‘yes but necessary in this case’ caveat.  Oh that’s great.  If it has all this frelling energy why isn’t it putting it toward making me STRONG and HEALTHY?  Too logical I guess.  I was never any good at logic and clearly this continues on a cellular level.  So at present I eat an awful lot of soup to try and retain the teeth I’ve got left till the golden, and fabulously expensive, day some time in the future when I am all shiny and able-bodied and can start having all this frelling remedial work done.  Maybe I’ll get used to soup.^

HOWEVER.  Putting everything through the blender requires a blender.  And mine went futz over a month ago.  Well, turns out it’s still under guarantee, how fabulous is that . . . and I even found the right warranty numbers and all that, and the store in question accepted the validity of my claim . . . but don’t hold your breath, this charmed series of events stops there.  Which is to say that six weeks later I’m still waiting.  Customer service answers promptly, they just never say the right thing.  Over and over and over and over again.  And it’s always someone else, you know?  And whoever the present bozo is, they don’t have the Complete Case File in front of them and most of them give the impression that they have a target minimum or maybe get paid by the individual clocked-in client contact, mangling optional, and what actually happens as a result of said contact is irrelevant.

Meanwhile I have a tiny old blender add-on to an infuriatingly incompetent food processor, which is why it has been gathering dust on a shelf for over a decade, and which you have to hold down when you hit the button so that it doesn’t leap off the counter^^ . . . but it does slushify what you put into it.  After a certain amount of persuasion.  I do not feel that blender design shows human ingenuity at its best.  Maybe they could rip a few superfluous engineers off endless computer updates and set them to redesigning blenders.  Hmm.  No, that’s not going to work.  The pointy dorkheads who invented blenders in the first place are no doubt the gene pool responsible for the multiplicity of Gordian knots that is the present state of computer life.  I had ANOTHER update today which cheerfully said, oh, this is going to take a while!!, took FIFTY MINUTES with no warning of anything whatsoever, and ended with a gigantic scroll of ‘hi, we want to suck up all information about you and sell it to Cambridge Analytica and Russia!  And we want you to tell us that’s fine with you, because you’re a citizen of the world and you believe every word Mark Zuckerberg says!’, cut up in small bite-sized, or I suppose byte-sized, pieces, like, we want to use your LOCATION!  We want your name, current sexual orientation and percentage of gender fluidity, your favourite brand of chocolate and your passport number!  We want to be able to TARGET you with advertising!  And we mean TARGET!!  We have new definitions of target  and computer-generated algorithms that will SCARE YOU TO DEATH!!!!  Mwa hahahahahahaha! We want to know the name of every other person!!! in that Communist party cell you belonged to in the ‘50s!^^^    Uh.  No.  The timing of this onslaught on our dwindling privacy seems to me perverse in the extreme, and as I try to labyrinthine my way out of the inexplicability of it my native paranoia about Large Corporations, which is already a little jumpy due to recent events, threatens to take over my universe, at least, if not Microsoft’s.  I WANT MY ELECTRIC TYPEWRITER.  Although I’ll have to get used to commuting to London for the hardcopy libraries.

^ Most of my soups are pretty frelling good because I make vats of my own chicken and vegetable stock.  These are separate vats, you understand.  The Chicken Stock Vat.  The Vegetable Stock Vat.  I keep trying to crank myself up to make Bone Broth but all those gigantic beef bones take up A LOT OF SPACE IN YOUR TINY REFRIGERATOR(s).  Or your even tinier (single) freezer.  Chicken carcasses squash nicely and I eat so many frelling veg that it’s hilariously easy to put together a huge stock pot of odds and ends.   But you can drop almost anything in home-made stock and it comes out tasting like you knew what you were doing and meant to do it that way.  If you like soup, that is, and relentlessly unadulterated organic ingredients.  Really I’m the wrong person to ask.  I’ve been eating this way for so long now I don’t trust myself to know what acceptably normal food is and when people come to visit I prefer to take them to the pub.

^^ Probably onto a sleeping hellbeast.  Although Chaos doesn’t like the noise and will probably slink away, Pav figures there’s food happening and is not going anywhere.

^^^ I was a precocious political rogue.  And I only remember my name because I can read it off my passport.  Although it’s changed a little since 1952.

$ And yes, I have 1,000,000 Ask Me a Question(s) to answer.  The thing is . . . either my technology has to settle down or my health does.  Meanwhile there just may be long echoing silences in Days in the Life II, for which I apologise.  ARRRRRRRGH.

$$ Yes!  Really!  I’m just not saying when!


29 thoughts on “So how many things can go wrong simultaneously”

  1. I am sending you hugs, roses, and a tune-up for Mr Bolty. Apply as needed.

    It’s good to hear from you again, and I hope your woes lessen as soon as humanly possible. I have a mental image now of Robin in her kitchen, Chaos in a corner with his paws over his ears and Pav underfoot with her mouth open for flying food. At least she has a hobby; it’s good to have hobbies.

  2. Can you use the online slang dictionary called “Urban Dictionary”? It’s better for newer slang, but it’s not bad.

    Also, do you know a book called “The Pushcart War”? Wherein the pushcart vendors of olde New York declare war on the giant trucks that are terrorizing them. Perhaps some of their tactics are applicable.

    All best possible wishes to you, your teeth, the Hell-critters, and whoever the patron saint of computers is.

    1. I was going to suggest urban dictionary as well. It is people-edited so don’t rely on it for accuracy but it will perhaps jog your memory 🙂

  3. You might also try for the completeness factor. Sending positive thoughts your way with regards to teeth and overall health.

    My spouse and I are in the process of buying our first house and I am extremely excited to put in rose bushes — how are your roses doing this year? And is 5 climbers too many?

  4. There certainly seems to be a rash of crappy disasters going around. *Fingers crossed* With luck it will clear up soon. I am still happy to see you back again, again. 🙂

  5. At this point I only want the places who aren’t updating their privacy policy to contact me.

    Glad you sacrificed the appropriate number of houseflies to the computer God’s so that you were granted admittance back to the blogsphere.

    Missed your updates!

  6. If you want, I’m offering hugs/fistbumps/high-fives of solidarity. It all sounds really frustrating.

  7. Sorry about everything piling on at once, but that does seem to be how my life works too. Never a single disaster when there can be half a dozen or more. I also share you frustration about huge trucks and horrific roads. Michigan has the absolute worst roads in the states. Not just those of us who live here claim this, but when all those put together lists of whatever -as worst roads- come out, our listing is 50th for good roads or 1st for worst. I could rant for days about our roads and the lack of attention our state elected officials give said roads. Tickled to find a blog post this morning. Helps make my Monday better already. Your soup post makes me want to throw some together today. The daughter and I eat soup any time, no matter what the temperature outdoors, but only if we make it ourselves. We refuse to buy those cans of salt and chemicals labeled soup sold at the grocery.

  8. But really, why couldn’t you use a typewriter? Don’t the publishing companies have interns or worker bees who could gain Valuable Learning Experience by scanning your story onto a computer?

  9. Very best wishes with the Chaos of Randomness of Doom!

    I’m an admiring reader of many, many years whom your books give endless joy and contentment, and whom they carried through many a time of sadness and discontent. So I wonder if you could do me one more kindness. If you need Nice but Steely Middle-Aged Eastern European Lady whose Ancestors Outbargained Death with Whining to make phone calls on your behalf to the blender company, please email me. It would be the world’s smallest thanks for many hours of happiness.

    1. I adore your suggestion of the “Nice but Steely….Outbargained Death with Whining” soul to make phone calls. 🙂

  10. Kudos to Blogdad for getting the server issues resolved, and much sympathy for you for the assorted loads of bushwa that have been aimed in your direction. Especially for the teeth. My (new) dentist said “crown” and “root canal” to me in the same sentence, and the front desk people then quoted me a price. My first car cost less money, aargh.

  11. Well, if you ever decide escape the frustrations and go to see a “Library with real books in London”, I work right next to the British Library so come and say hallo! I can amuse you with the wonders of an elevator, where you cannot change your mind regarding which floor to visit once you have entered, and other miracles of modern architecture. If really desperate and bored, I can even tell you about the trials and tribulations of being a scientist! So, please come!

  12. I so needed to hear your typical humor in the wake of frustration and chaos this week. My 8-yr old broke her wrist on the first day of summer break, throwing a wrench in almost all of her (and our) plans for the first half of summer. Fortunately, she’s a voracious reader; and even more fortunately, our library is 5 minutes away. (And most fortunately, the break was set by an excellent doctor and seems to be healing nicely!)

    Thanks for the re-restart. I was wondering if the ME had ambushed you again; so sorry to hear that was true. But when reading your lorry description, my stomach clenched, fearing you or a hellbeast had suffered lorry-related casualties. I suppose I have broken bones on the brain.

    Hugs and hope for better days starting now!

  13. Sorry to hear about the expansion of your troubles to teeth and household appliances. As an interim measure, have you considered an immersion blender? We make soup year-round as well, and being able to blend in the pot means we don’t have to pour hot soup with chunks from the wide pot mouth into the narrow blender mouth.
    Best wishes for better days ahead! (When I look at my roses blooming I think of you…)

  14. The gods like to do all their pummelling in concentrated bursts, I find…

    Glad to see you back.

  15. Yay you’re back! It always cheers (and amuses me) in spite of my sorrow at your many tribulations. Probably some of those stories do manage to be humorous.

  16. I’ve concluded that it’s best to assume whatever blender I have won’t be with me as long as I want it to be. Only my food processor breaks down more often. 🙂

  17. Glad you’re back, but I’m sorry about all the troubles. I can sympathize about the teeth- all but 3 of mine have been capped or root-canalled. Whoever suggested the immersion blender: Great idea! They’re so handy.

  18. Sorry about the teeth, been there, appropriately grateful for modern dentistry but the post-restoration has Issues, in my experience……. The one time I got an immersion blender, it smoked lightly and died. Do not try to cream butter with such a device, it will not like it.
    The whole getting old thing is poorly thought out, and I shall exchange views with The Management, Later.

  19. Well phooey! to all the gods of misfortune, who are slinging things your direction. Fie to them! Fie and begone!

    Here’s hoping that works. I strongly second the suggestion of an immersion blender. I have one; it’s my favorite kitchen tool. (Condolences on the dental issues – they’re the *pits*.)

    Jedi hugs!

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