Broadband problems

I’m going to have extremely limited internet access over the next few days.  BT were supposed to be fixing our noisy phone line and now we find that we have no phone and no broadband.  I’m using another connection at the moment, but I don’t think it’s very secure, so I’m only going to use it for important stuff.  If I’m slow responding to e-mails or anything, please be patient.


A hot, busy day…

Well, busy in a relative sense.  I went to see various members of the family today.

My father and I went to my mother’s grave to take some flowers.  It would have been her birthday today so it was good to go with him.  We took a watering can with us so that we could give the grass on the grave a good soaking – it’s been ages since we had any decent rain.  My sister must have been there before us as there were already some flowers by the headstone.  By the time Dad and I had placed ours there, too it was quite a beautiful spread.

I then went to see David and Katie and my youngest granddaughter, Leilani.

Leilani at four months old (nearly)

 She was really pleasant the whole time I was there and I even got to feed her.  She must have been really hungry because she was sucking on the bottle like crazy.  This was taken after her feed and she just seems so content.  David and Katie were good, too.

I then went to visit Shaun, Emma and Caitlin, my older granddaughter.

Caitlin with static electricity in her hair

She’d been at dance class this morning and when I got to the house she’d already changed and was in her paddling pool in the garden.  A little later she got changed and went on the trampoline, which is what caused the static charge to build up.  she’s also in the process of losing her milk teeth and getting her adult ones.  Shaun and Emma are in the middle of lots of garden and house renovation and I was thankful they didn’t manage to rope me in.

At the moment I’m in the process of watering my lawn, which is so dry I wonder if it will ever recover.  then I must do some cartoons for the week…

A visit to the hospital again

June had another appointment at the hospital for her knee – a pre-op assessment.  While I was waiting for her I did some typing and one of the things I wrote was a blog entry for this blog.  Unfortunately, when I re-read it a short time ago I realised that it was simply too whiney and although some of the points I covered I feel quite strongly about I really didn’t do them justice and should take my time to cover the points in a fuller way.

June’s really not looking forward to another operation – and who can blame here – so each visit to the hospital is not so enjoyable for her.  I think the tension is getting to both of us as we felt exhausted when we got back home and it’s not as if we did anything particularly physical.

On a connected note, I just learned that our good friend Laura MacDonald has recently had surgery over in the US.  The surgery was pretty serious as she’s had a few of her vertabrae replaced, which sounds quite scary to me if I think about it any depth.  I know that a few of the people who read this may know Laura from her contributions to gaming websites and for her involvement with the game developer, Momentum and the excellent game they produced, Culpa Innata.  I’m sure everyone who knows her will wish her a speedy recovery.  Get well soon, Laura.

A Mixed Bag and a Very Funny Story

Yesterday I took June to the hospital in York because she’s been having trouble with her knee – the oposite one to the one she had fixed last time.  While I was waiting I managed to type up a few notes and develop a few ideas for the TV comedy project I’m working on.  Although that progressed well, June found out that she’s going to have to get the knee replaced, which she isn’t looking forward to, but as she’s already in pain anyway the long term means it’s the better option.

When we got back I went for a walk and seemed okay until half way when I suddenly felt very weak and quite dreadful.  this continued even after I returned and I was forced to have a nap on the bed.  When I woke I had a coffee but didn’t really pick up until the evening.

This morning I felt pretty good again, which is just as well as it was another trip out.  This time I took June to the eye clinic in the hospital in Hull where she was having a check-up on the progress of her cataracts.  The news was a bit better here as they haven’t yet got so bad that she’s in need of an operation and her actual eyesight has improved slightly since she was last tested.  On the way home we bought a cherry tree from the garden centre.

While I was sitting in the hospital this morning waiting for June, I overheard a couple who were sitting to my right.  I thought at first that they were husband and wife because he looked to be in his seventies and she looked about the same age.  It actually turned out that she was his mother and he’d brought her into the hospital, but although she was obviously grateful, their conversation showed how independently minded she was.

Him:  I think you should move into a bungalow.
Her:  I don’t want to move.  I’m happy where I am.
Him:  If you moved into a bungalow near us I could keep an eye on you.
Her:  I don’t need you to keep an eye on me.  Besides, I like living where I am.  I don’t need to move.
Him:  I’ll put you a new handrail on your stairs then.
Her:  I don’t need a new handrail.
Him:  I’ll do it in wood so it matches your other one.
Her:  I don’t want a new handrail.
Him:  Okay, I’m just worried about you getting old.
Her:  I’m not getting old.
Him:  Well, you’re 97.
Her:  97 isn’t old!

I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from laughing out loud.  But good for her for not letting him do things she doesn’t want.


For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been on Twitter for more than six months.  At first I only joined out of curiosity and I’m not quite sure why I stuck with it, but after it gained a certain amount of momentum with the number of people I followed I began to see the value.  Why not follow me on Twitter to get regular updates on the kind of things that interest me.

If you’re so inclined, you can follow Mitchell on Twitter, too.

Sunny Saturday – mostly

The weather has been pretty good today, with the sun out most of the time, although we keep getting some clouds coming over.  I’m currently inside having drawn the Mitchell and Octavius cartoons for this week and prepared them for the web site.  All while listening to the wonderful Miles Davis.

I finished off the first draft of my TV script yesterday, which pleased me no end.  Although I’m pretty pleased with it (for a first draft) I’ve asked a few friends for their opinions.  It’s easy to be too close to our creations and get wrapped up in the excitement of actually finishing a piece, so I need a bit of a reality check.  Fingers crossed.

Yesterday evening I mowed the lawn and this morning I trimmed the hedges at the front of the house.  June’s been planting out some new plants and shrubs as well as tidying up and the whole garden looks pretty good at the moment.  The lawn isn’t in the best condition, but it had a lot of moss in it from the winter and although I’ve been treating it the shortage of rain over the past couple of months hasn’t helped matters.  Although we had some rain earlier this week, the lawn is only just beginning to show signs of improving now.

Went to the supermarket after lunch to get a few things.  You’d think it was a bank holiday or Christmas the way people seemed to be stocking up.  All I can think of is that there must be a lot of parties going on for the England match this evening.  Me, I’ll be watching the Grand Prix qualifying and then Doctor Who.  While I hope that England do well, I can’t sit and watch football.  Rugby League is a whole different matter, of course. 🙂

The Difference of a Day

I can’t believe how much better I feel today.  My head is so much more together and I think that part of it has to do with writing those two blog posts yesterday evening.  If that’s really the case, then the original intention of this blog – to help with my moods and focus – is working.

My TV script idea feels much more cohesive after some work on it today and I even changed one of the characters quite considerably to give it a better balance.  Although there is an element of the cliche about it, still, I think that my approach is different enough that it will push through that aspect and work anyway.  My intention is to finish off the first draft fairly quickly and then show it to some friends for feedback.

Had my hair cut today for the first time in ages.  It feels really weird because I’d let it grow so long and now there’s something missing from my neck.  I think it will be at least a week before it settles back in again.

I spotted a hedgehog in the garden this morning, which is unusual for the daytime.  June went out to film it with the camcorder and noticed that it had an injury on its head.  We have no idea if it’s caught it on a thorn or the cat’s had a swipe at it, but June brought it into the house and it’s currently in a cardboard box in the kitchen.  We’ll release it back into the garden when we let the cat in for the night.

One of the supermarkets in Pocklington recently changed from a Somerfield to a Co-op.  It’s all been done out very nicely, but the arrangement of the shelves feels very confusing.  I think I’ll stick to the Sainsbury’s a little further down the road for most of my shopping, although it gets a little crazy at times and isn’t really large enough for the customers they get.  God knows what will happen when they start building all the new houses around the town.

Doctor Who and Van Gogh

This post will likely contain spoilers, so if you have yet to see Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who, for whatever reason, and don’t want an excellent episode ruined, I suggest you stop reading now.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the last episode of Doctor Who, in which he went back to 1890 and met Vincent Van Gogh.  I’ve long been into the work of this wonderful artist and have anumber of books about him, including one on his complete works and another containing his letters.  The letters in particular are an excellent insight into him as a person.  I’ve also visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Musee D’Orsay in Paris, the latter of which was used in the Doctor Who episode.

The silliness with the invisible monster was a little over-the-top in this context, but overall the meeting with Vincent was handled very tastefully in a great script by Richard Curtis and had a masterful performance by Tony Curran as Vincent.  The scenes at the end were just wonderful and had me thinking, “if only it were possible…”

The tragedy of Van Gogh wasn’t so much that he killed himself (he was a victim of, what people now believe, some kind of bipolar disorder, undiagnosed at the time), but that he had no idea of the greatness of his talent and how much of an effect he would have on later generations of artists and the art viewing public.  If only we could go back and show him this.

But then, how would he have ever been able to carry that burden?

Part of me feels so strongly for him.  To the point where I turn it back on myself, as we are all prone to do – we are our own best frame of reference, after all.  But if such a great talent had trouble making the world see the value of his creative output to the point where he doubted his own abilities, what then of my modest work?

There are downsides to being able to see the bigger picture.  It’s like those films you see that pull out from the Earth, the Solar System, the Galaxy – in creative terms I know that I’m “an insignificant blue-green planet at the edge of the western spiral arm” *  The Van Goghs and the Shakespeares are the powerful supernovae.

When you read a great book, when you look at great art, when you see a wonderful film – it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the talent behind these creations.  However, because this kind of talent is way beyond most of us it is actually easy to manage.  Those of us who are not in that bracket can accept that we’re not destined for greatness, but we’d still like to be regarded as good, maybe even very good.  We hope that by persevering with our art, our writing, our chosen creativity, that we can become good.

But sometimes, when we’re feeling down, wouldn’t we all love Doctor Who to take us to the future and show us that we did, after all, make a significant contribution.

But isn’t that the scariest thought ever?  What if we were shown that we were complete failures?  How would we then live with that?  Or worse, we’re told that we will write the best novel of the decade.  Every little thing we then wrote would come under such self-scrutiny that we would drive ourselves into despair.

I’m feeling a little down at the moment, but nothing like the horrors that must have befallen Vincent.  I have a lot to be thankful for in my creative career, but these down times can make certain uncertainties loom very large indeed.  Hopefully, I can manage this in a constructive way.

*Not sure if the quote is right.

The World is Screwed

I was actually going to use a much cruder word instead of “screwed” in the title and this was going to be a blistering rant about the state of the world and everything that’s currently getting to me (politics, environment, economy, etc.) but I’m really not in the right frame of mind to write it.  And when I’m in a better frame of mind I probably won’t feel like being so negative.  So the fact that I can’t be bothered about such important topics shows that today is a pretty non-good day.

It’s been grey and miserable all day, with lots of rain, which hasn’t helped at all.  But really, I’ve struggled with my writing today and haven’t been able to get my head into the right gear to make any headway with either my novel or my TV script.

That may be part of the problem, of course, having two personal projects on the go like this means that I swing between the two, always wanting to work on the other when I start into one of them.  And I’m worried that the TV idea is a bit cliched, even though I’ve written some good scenes.  Do I finish off the first episode or ditch the whole thing?  Who on Earth knows?

I went for a walk after lunch – in the rain – and didn’t feel any better when I came back.  I passed one old guy during the walk and he said just one word as I passed: “miserable”.  I hope he was talking about the weather and not me.  I can do without personal comments from complete strangers.

I feel like rolling up and hiding.  Though I’m not sure who from.

Moles and other things

It’s been a little while since my last posting on here and it surprised me how quickly the time has gone since then.

We woke up this morning to find a mole hill on the lawn and the thought of a never-ending chasing down of the blighter filled my mind instantly.  Merlin was watching the small mound of earth, so we had a feeling that the mole was still inside.  June and I inspected it and could detect no movement and wondered if it had gone.  A little later, though, June was taking a look and thinking about how it might be disposed of, when Merlin managed to pull it from the hole.  However, I don’t know why but apparently he then seemed a little confused about what he should do next and simply stared at it.  June, realising that she couldn’t waste the moment, grabbed hold of it and took it to the woods at the rear of the house.  I must say that I’m impressed because I would have thought twice about picking it up without wearing gloves.  I just hope she’s moved it far enough away from the garden so it doesn’t return.

Apart from the bit of damage to the lawn, the garden is looking good.  It’s taken a lot of watering over the last week with the hot weather on top of the fact that we haven’t had very much rain for ages.  So yesterday’s rain was very welcome.  Not only did it give the garden a good watering, it also re-filled our water butt.  We have a group of irises in the pond which have just come out and look wonderful.  The hydrangeas seem to be struggling a bit at the moment and there aren’t many flower heads coming through yet.  It must be the way the weather keeps veering between hot and cold on a seemingly weekly basis.

I put in my claim to the people handling the liquidation of my client.  I still have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth over this, but at least I had some good news on other projects coming up.  Fingers crossed there.

We have a BT Vision box and on Saturday I had trouble setting Wallander to record.  Then yesterday we couldn’t access any of our recorded programmes.  We then had an error code come up which told us to reset the broadband router and the BT Vision box.  However, this made matters worse and the box wouldn’t come back at all,remaining on the boot screen.  Turns out one of our adapters is on the fritz, so I phoned them up and they’re sending replacements, which was pretty painless.  Unfortunately, we’ll be without the means to record anything until they arrive.

I’m reading a book at the moment that I nearly stopped reading on two occasions.  I’m determined to see it through, but there are too many things that happen easily for the hero or are presented in a very matter of fact way.  There was also two chapters of exposition, flatly presented, one after another.  I actually started falling asleep during one of those chapters.  Exciting this book is not.