Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Book & Film Reviews: RE-POST - The Kydd Club Bulletin

I never asked , but I'm sure Julian wont mind me reproducing his latest Bulletin here on my blog especially as I don't have much to say for myself these days ....... :)

And all I can say is if you haven't read any of Julians' Kydd novels you really are missing out on a great read, check out some of my reviews too, but bear in mind, I am slightly biased as I haven't picked up one that I couldn't put down until I finished it ........

I'm thrilled with the covers of my two books due out later this year, Pasha and The Silk Tree.

Pasha, as I mentioned in my last Kydd Club bulletin, is the next book in the series and finds Captain Kydd involved in a critical sphere of interest: the Dardanelles, strategic gateway to the Levant. I think I can promise you a few surprises in this book... Advance readers have voted it my best yet!

Here's what two of them said:

'I just finished my advance copy of Pasha and all I can say is WOW!! So many twists and turns. So many questions answered. So many things set to rights, and then it's all a whole new set up!! Totally unexpected and totally enjoyable.'

'I have enjoyed the Kydd series immensely, but Pasha is my favourite. I love the new developments in Renzi's life. I will say no more!'

The Silk Tree
The Silk Tree is somewhat of a departure for me, a standalone historical adventure set in the sixth century. Forced to flee Rome from the barbaric rampages of the Ostrogoths, merchant Nicander meets an unlikely ally in the form of Marius, a fierce Roman legionary. Escaping to a new life in Constantinople, the two land upon its shores lonely and penniless. Needing to make money fast, they plot and plan a number of outrageous money-making schemes, until they chance upon their greatest idea yet. Armed with a wicked plan to steal precious silk seeds from the faraway land of Seres, Nicander and Marius must embark upon a terrifyingly treacherous journey across unknown lands, never before completed. But first they must deceive the powerful emperor Justinian and the rest of his formidable Byzantine Empire in order to begin their journey into the unknown...An adventurous tale of mischief, humour and deception, Nicander and Marius face danger of the highest order, where nothing in the land of the Roman Empire is quite what it seems.
Collectors Sets
This year I am offering TWO Collectors Sets but don't delay if you're interested. They are in strictly limited numbers. First come, first served...
PASHA Collectors Set
SILK TREE Collectors Set

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

EDF Energy, I just can't stop myself .....

 Especially when they are being DICKHEADS 

22nd July 2014

Steve Hayfield
Customer Services Director
EDF Energy
334 Outland Road

Dear Mr Hayfield,


Thank you for your letter of 16th July informing me that my direct debit has been cancelled and as a result you are going to charge me a higher tariff for both gas and electric. I’ll wager, as a ‘director’ that you sometimes wish that your organisation was efficient but then you wake up each day to the reality of the situation, groan and head off for another depressing day in customer services!

Ah, well, never mind.  If they were efficient they might well have recorded on your systems that on the day I cancelled the direct debit with my bank, 15th July, I immediately called EDF giving my details to Chris informing him that I was changing to another supplier and that I wished to cancel my DD.  He also confirmed that my account was also in credit to the sum of £311.62 at that precise moment in time.  I also informed him that I was changing over to OVO.

He confirmed that I would not need to provide you with a final reading as OVO would do that.  Now he did seem quite efficient and so I was therefore a little surprised to receive your letter. Oh! Who am I kidding; you’re a utility company, efficient at taking money only,  but totally inefficient in doing anything else!

So, yesterday, 21st July, I provided OVO with my final meter readings, and so that you can pass them along and get a final bill raised and hopefully a credit cheque issued with that bill, here are the final readings for you.

Electric 06071
Gas 08521

By the way, in your letter you ask me to provide you with my new bank details on the enclosed direct debit form, enclosed,  which wasn't and then to return same in the enclosed Freepost envelope, which wasn't, but then these are typical examples of a poor quality service, don’t you think?

Yours sincerely

Tom Stronach 

Monday, 14 July 2014

Mr Fat: It's been a while.......

It has been so long now since posted any kind of a blog post and I felt that you at least needed something from me just to remind you that I haven't yet died......

I have been so exhausted over the last few months that I really haven't had the energy to do much, haven't even read any of the many books I still have in my kindle and so many of you wonderful authors are publishing great books and I am buying them and not finding the energy to push the on button on my reader, sheesh ......

Then I started the chemo again a week ago as the tumour seemed to be getting bigger and as usual the actual day of the gunk input was ok and it gave me renewed feeling of energy. ALthough having said that, I did get the right hump over the wait for treatment on the morning and unfairly started to take it out on the nursing and ward staff, but it's not their fault that they are understaffed and there are so many of us cancer stricken old farts hanging about  It even seemed to 'cure' the gagging and choking effect I was prone to every time a morsel of food passed from my mouth into my gullet and that in itself was a relief.  Four days into it though, last Friday I phoned the cancer specialist nurse as I wasn't feeling at all well, lethargic, nauseous, completely run down and in pain.  I was in work, as usual, but ended up going home I just couldn't cope and it went down hill  even more in the afternoon.  I really thought I wouldn't make it to the end of the day, never felt so horrible before and the last time I was on the chemo I was bad and came off it but....

After speaking with Mel the cancer nurse and her reminding me about ALL of the meds ... shit I have so many of them I forgot what I had and for what symptons.  There is one I call Dom Perignon, sounds like it but it's domperysomething .... anyways this is to counteract nausea.  I also have tablets for constipation, have been taking them but then I ended up with diarrhea but hey, I have pills for that too.  Anyway I didn't feel any better Friday and was still at deaths bed on Saturday but began to make a gradual improvement and continued to do so on Sunday but gawd was I pleased that Ishbel took the weekend off to look after me and of course Marie, Peter and the twins Holly and Charlie turned up to cheer me up.  The only problem with that, having gone through life as a big tough scotsman with no outward show of emotion I find it difficult to not just start blubbering and just seeing the kids and the grandkids turning up is enough to turn me into tear streaked numpty.

Oh, I've posted this, as you can see under the Mr Fat page but I can report that he has left the building ...... which everyone but me is getting their knickers in a twist over.  Yep, lost just over a stone and a half in the last three weeks and had a visit from a dietician while I was in getting gunked up last Monday.  Infact they are so concerned he told me I have to start bulking up again... WTF says I.  You do realize that for the first time in 15 years I have just seen John Thomas, if you think .......

And he says, yes very good but a lot of good John Thomas is going to be to you when you are dead. So, I want you to eat more;

Mashed potatoes with extra butter and grated cheese Double cream full fat yoghurt chocolate .....
Thick Gravy on meat dishes
Full fat Milk
Bread lashings of butter, toast

Now for some, that is an invitation to heaven I suppose, but for me, to be honest I'm finding I am full after a couple of bites, providing I can get it down that is.

And another thing why is that I feel good enough, well most days anyway to come into work, but at the weekends I feel shitty, when I should be chillin and relaxing and then there is the pee problem. What's that I hear you ask? Well let me tell you.

You know this chemo lark.  They want you to get it into your system but perversely they also want it out again as soon as, I mean WTF again.  Well you know me I never argue and alway, always do as I am told. So I have to drink gallons of water.  Not a problem, I like water and so I drink gallons of the stuff anyway.  Now tap water is good enough for me, not Ishbel though she has to have bottled water, just wait till I'm gone and she has to hump it back from the shops, we'll see how long that lasts then... anyway I digress

So, Take the chemo, drink gallons of water and flush the system.  Fine and then that's where if there is a god  he is messing with me again. like the feeling shit at weekends when I should be partying...
I'm drinking gallons of the stuff sat here at my desk in the office but do I need to keep running up and down the corridor to my private loo, yes well what can I say I deserve it.  No, I am not running up and down to the loo although with the amount of water I'm taken I'm thinking there must be a problem there too.  So off home I goes and of course when I get home, it's time to take the next bunch of chemo meds so I'm drinking buckets of water again and do I need to run up and down the hall to the loo, no I bloody don't! But what I do do, is get into frigging bed, close my eyes fall asleep for an hour and then the first of my three or four 5 frigging minute visits to the loo starts... I mean WTF is going on there and who is messing with my head and body sheesh, I just cannae win .........

So after a frightful weekend I have been back in the office today and felt much better, been run ragged with that bloody contractor again and not stopped, but it has been a good day so the sun is shining and all is rosy in the garden again.  The chemo? I did say to Ishbel and the kids that I was going to phone the hospital and tell them to stuff it where the sun don't shine, but I'll give it some more time.  YThe amelioration from the gagging has been good, but it's beginning to creep back again. so maybe the chemo has had an immediate effect but may not be doing all it might be... bastard, but I'll try and persevere and Jules is telling me to try radiotherapy, which wee Ollie the oncologist has also talked about, so I'll discuss that with her next week and by then it will soon be time to go back to Southend for another round of gunk input AND SOUTHEND HOSPITAL IF YOU ARE READING THIS DON'T HAVE ME FRIGGING HANGING AROUND COS I'M NOT NICE WHEN I'M GRUMPY.

Other news: None. Well apart from the fact that we have had astro turf done in the back garden and all the kids love it, including the neighbours kids and tip good quality astro turf seems much cheaper from the carpet shop, I know, I know, than from the garden centres in fact in south east Essex can't give enough Praise to MD Carpets for the job they did with ours.

Steve, Son in Law No 2 who lives down in woking came over and took me to hospital and Peter son in Law No 1 took time off from his work to come over at the weekend.  I said it earlier in the week, life has been pretty good to me, pretty shit upbringing in terms of an abusive alcoholic father, but the hardest working caring mother as compensation.  Ishbel who has put up with me for over 38 years, and I can see the pain in her eyes when I just want her to cuddle me, but not too tightly as it hurts, and three of the most loving, caring and hardest working kids, in Marie, Brian and Jennifer  it would be any parents privilege to have helped bring into this world and from them we have been given 5 beautiful intelligent* loving grandchildren and then the added bonus of two of the most hard working sons in law that you are ever likely to meet in Peter and Steve who clearly love and adore their partners and their children and work all bloody hours to support them - guys take it easy once in a while will you - I love you all dearly and I want to be the first out the door

*intelligence and tattooed eyebrows I'm sure there is a contradiction there.........

So a few photos of what's been going on recently

Fun in the garden before Astro turf

The new Astro turf

Ishbel planting pots but no pot for my pain!

Our first Indian Restaurant Lacey loved the popadoms!

Peter, Holly and Goalie Charlie K 
Mollie loving the hot towel after the meal
Lacey Mae, Mollie and Shannon aks KatNip
Mollie teaching Lacey Mae 

Grandmama and the darlings 

Daddy Steve and cuddly Lacey Mae
MY JENNIFER with curls and.....

Charlie beginning to outgrow Holly 

Daddy Peter also being shown how to lose at archery


Sunday, 11 May 2014

Two Birthdays in one....

Raspberry and meringue with coulis for both
You all probably know that the British queen has two birthdays on two different days and to be honest I have have never been that much of a fan of UK royalty to be bothered to ever find out why that is, but there you go.

Well I too, now have two birthdays to celebrate but, unlike old queenie my birthdays fall on the same date so it's double celebration time for me.

10th May is my official birth date and so yesterday we celebrated me reaching the grand old age of 58 (I think) and I spent the day chillin' with the gorgeous one, Ishbel.  Mind you after a cock up with a security company this week I thought it was going to be a day spent at work but Sharon who works for me and who herself celebrated her birthday eight days before me and was officially still on holiday yesterday, passed the workplace came in and sent me home covering the shift herself ... bonus payment next month I think!

So, got home, promptly fell asleep for an hour and a half and then woke up and went out with Ishbel.  We didn't get up to much as I have this problem that we assume is linked to the problem in that if I am on my feet for to long or walk for any distance I start to get a pain right across the top of my back that soon spreads to the whole of my back and quickly begins to feel like, I suppose, a sinking submarine would feel as it got to depths that would soon begin to crush its hull and it implodes in on itself.  I imagine if that happened to such a vessel and it was capable of feeling pain it would be extreme and excruciating, well that's how I get.

It happened last week too when, with my Big brother Jim and wee wifey Marie up from Liverpool and I decided they, me and of course the visiting angels, Mollie, Shannon and Lacey May along with mum and dad Jennifer and Steve would all go for a walk through the local woods and then to the park and I just barely made it home before collapsing in the kitchen in agony, it wasn't nice and it's the first time that my family had seen it this bad and I felt more sorry for them having to witness me blubbering, than I did for myself.  I know although it is bad and I crave for it to end that I also know that as soon as I get sat down with a glass of water and a few painkillers it doesn't take long for me to make some sort of recovery.......

Yesterday, we decided to do a 'little' bit of retail therapy as I received gift cards and vouchers in cards, so we headed over to Bluewater across the Thames via the Dartford crossing. It got a bit much for me and I could feel Ishbels' arm stiffen as we walked around holding hands as she attempted to stop me from going down, so we curtailed the shops and headed to the restaurant and spent an enjoyable two hours in there recuperating and eating a damn fine meal with me chomping on meds throughout to prevent one of the gastric attacks I suffer from, no one stared, so it worked.

All in all it was a good week and day

The second birthday I was sharing with myself was of course my wee tumour.  It was the 10th May 2013 that it was officially confirmed that I indeed did have cancer, so, although the prognosis hasn't been great, who cares, life still goes on and here is to sharing many more birthdays with my symbiotic friend, because as long as we celebrate it WE ARE LIVING and one really can't ask for much more than that on a birthday
Granny Ishbel and Grand Aunt Marie teaching Mollie ball tricks

Lacey Mae and Shannon with Grand Uncle Jim

Super Mollie foreground Super Jim background

Mummy Jennifer outdoing Mollie

Pink Veal and salad for me 

Sewing machine shop front that doesn't sell them!

New outfit!

Sea Bass for Ishbel

Mollie, will I sit on Grand Uncle Jim?

Yes I will

James Adam Wilson Stronach aka JAWS, but I'm better looking!