Sunday, 2 June 2013

Good thing, where have you gone?

I've had a good few weeks. 

Not a particularly restful few weeks, to be fair, but a good few weeks, nevertheless.

If I made a list, alternating Good Things, and Things That Make Going Back To Bed Seem Like A Truly Excellent Idea, I reckon we would run out of the latter while still having a good few of the former in hand.

In fact, let's try that....

I was commissioned to write a fairly large feature for a genealogy magazine.  This was a Good Thing.

While writing said article, and pulling up some information to illustrate a point about always double-checking your research, I discovered that not only had I spectacularly failed to follow my own advice, I had also carefully inked the resulting misinformation into my massive, handwritten family tree, meaning that many, many hours of work have been wasted.  Or many, many tubes of Tippex will need to be employed.  This is a Bad Thing. 

I had a lightbulb moment regarding short stories, ie that it is possible to create a work of fiction in less then 195,000,000 words.  That is not to say that I approve of this practice - I like words, which is a good job, really, given how many of them Thomas manages to squeeze into a day - but I get the general idea.  This was a Good Thing.

Back in the world of law, the Legal Aid Agency decided to digitise the vast majority of its application forms.  This sounds, in theory, like a Good Thing but is, in actual fact, a Very Very Bad thing, thinly disguised as a Good Thing.  It has taken me a week and a half to make an urgent application for funding.  This is because the LAA Online Portal (sounds a little ominous - like you might get sucked through a wormhole into the Legal Aid Agency if you don't watch yourself, and that would very definitely rank as an Uber Bad Thing) is a sensitive little collection of code, and sometimes decides it doesn't like your password, before locking you out and sulking for a while.  Not only that, but the powers that be thought it would be particularly helpful to create an application process that doesn't like Internet Explorer or one of the fairly major business operating systems.  And then not tell anyone about it.  Finally, when creating a handy drop-down menu of all the different sorts of things for which you might want funding, some bright spark decided to put "a" in front of all of them, as in "a Doctor's Report" or "a Builder's Survey", meaning that you can't hit the first letter of the thing you need and avoid the need to scroll through five million options, because they all sodding well begin with A.  In case you didn't already pick up on my negative vibes, this is a Bad Thing.

Aforementioned writing lightbulb moment led to the production of some short stories.  Well, some short-ish stories, which then became short enough to fit the word count of some competitions by dint of the kind of editing that would probably be better approached with a bulldozer and wrecking ball than with a backspace key.

Do I need that word?  Do I really need it?  In fact, do I need that sentence?  Oh bugger it, I never liked that page anyway.  DELETEDELETEDELETE!

Some people liked said stories.  I was asked to read Last Tango in Space at one of the bi-monthly Bath Story Friday events.  Nobody booed.  I read it again at a new story event in Cheltenham where there was a further notable lack of booing.  The Man on the Platform made the longlist of the Bath Short Story Award.  I then had to withdraw from the competition because the same story made the final list of the Mslexia Short Story Competition and is in the current edition of the magazine. 

Needless to say, I responded to all this with great dignity.  I did not run around screaming like a teenager at a Justin Bieber concert.  I definitely did not ring the only Mslexia stockist in Bath/Bristol to see if they had a copy of the magazine so that I could get my hands on it two days earlier than the expected arrival of my postal copy.  And I absolutely did not read the judge's online comments five million and ten times while trying to look modestly unconcerned.  Definitely not.

 Despite the lack of a copy of the magazine in my greedy little hands, this is all a Very Good Thing.

Thomas's eardrum perforated and oozed gunk.  Just before we went on holiday.  Although, his timing was slightly better than the previous eardrum explosion, which was in the departure lounge at Gatwick Airport with our luggage already on the plane.  That was our last attempt to leave the country.  Until now.  Fortunately we were travelling by ferry, so we got the all clear to carry on.  But there's gunk.  Lots of gunk.  And a cast-iron excuse for him to ignore everything we say.

"What's that, beloved parents?  Did you say that I wasn't to run my brother over with a Little Tikes plastic car?  You did?  Oh dear, I didn't hear you.  It's my ear, you know."
This is obviously a Bad Thing.

Despite said eargunk, we made it to Jersey.  Where the weather was lovely and the "Child Friendly" hotel was not, as I had feared, seething with small, wriggling children, in a manner evocative of one of those ponds where too many tadpoles have hatched all at once, but actually very nice.

This was a Very Good Thing.

The hotel had a spectacular array of indoor and outdoor swimming pools and water slides.  None of which we could use due to aforementioned eargunk.

This was a Bad Thing and caused sadness and pouting.

While in Jersey, HWSNBN won a bike race.  In a photo finish.  This was very clearly a Good Thing.  Although Guernsey Cycling appears to disagree, judging from their twitter feed in which there is wailing and gnashing of teeth on behalf of the other party in the photo finish.  We, and all our heirs and assigns from now until the end of time, are probably now banned from Guernsey.  Oh well.

See?  The Good Things won!  Hooray!

Unfortunately, Ben does not seem to share my enthusiasm about recent events.  If I was feeling uncharitable, I might suggest that Ben is never happier than when he's moaning about something.  He has Mmmmmmmmmmmwaaaaah-ed and Uuuuuuurghaaaaamoooooan-ed his way round south-west England, across the Channel to Jersey, and all the way back again.  And every now and then, I catch a glimpse of a mid-moan, smug little smile that makes me suspect that he is enjoying every minute of it....

A tortoise! 

Tortoises are rubbish.  Mooooooooaaaaaan.

Sandpits are rubbish!  Moooooooooan!

And now I've got sand on my hands!  Moaaaaaaaaaan!
Tractor pulling!  You've actually brought me to watch tractors pulling stuff?  What is your problem?

Tractors are rubbish!  Mooooooaaaan!
This haybale's not too bad, mind.

Oh you know what, it's all rubbish, all of it!  You!  You over there!  I say!  You're rubbish too!
Ooh.  Buzz Lightyear.  Definitely not rubbish.

On second thoughts....MOOOOOOOAAAAN!

 I am hoping it's a phase......

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