NaNo News, Computer Blues & Swimming Views

Help, I’ve created a NaNo monster!

My wife, that is. Having decided to join me in the annual wordfest that is National Novel Writing Month, Sue has caught the bug well and truly. At present, with me struggling to keep up to the 1,667 words-per-day par, she’s ploughing ahead and has almost written half the month’s 50,000 allocation in the first 11 days! It’d be invidious of me to give any details of her plot, but from what she’s told me, and extracts she’s read to me, it’s complicated, clever, imaginative and worthy of the likes of PD James, Stephen King and Ruth Rendell at their finest. One to watch, my missus.

Apart from an ongoing health issue, one of the reasons I’m lagging behind is that my beloved netbook computer, which I use to do the bulk of my writing, especially when otherwheres than home, has died. Booting it up last Thursday, although it hiccupped into life in its usual slow way, the screen remained resolutely blank, despite my turning it on and off several times. A trip to the silicon chip hospital being the only way to go, I left it at my local (independent) computer shop the next day, and received a call yesterday to say that, yes, it was the screen that was the problem, and although a new one could be purchased and fitted, it would be prohibitively expensive to do so. Added to that, some bearing or other that assists the hard-drive in its revolutions is also on the way out, so even if I did fork out the non-existent money necessary to get the thing sorted, it wouldn’t be long before something else went clang and I’d be back to square one anyway. And so it’s ta-ta netbook and a choice of either lugging my main laptop with me again everywhere I go (I bought the netbook because I was so embarrassed to be seen hiding behind something the size of HMS Titanic), or resorting to the dreaded quill pen and carthorse that I used to favour many moons ago. Some of my writing friends would take great delight in hearing of this disaster, as, being total technophobes, they consider the computer to be very much surplus to any requirements whatsoever. So if I keep quiet about it, you will do too, I trust?

In a desperate attempt to hold back the clichéd tide of advancing years that’s seen my stomach expand from a healthy 32 on my wedding day 15 years ago to an extremely tight 34 now, I’ve decided to ditch my pride and throw myself into my local swimming pool once or twice a week. It’s something I’ve attempted in the past, but never really managed to keep up with any kind of monotonous regularity. And monotonous I mean – swimming really does have to be one of the most boring forms of exercise ever invented!

For a start, I admit I’m no good at it. My ‘technique’, if that’s what it can be called, consists of holding onto the wall at one end, taking a deep breath, launching myself off and breast-stroking underwater until I can’t hold the breath any longer. I then flollop around with my head out of the water until I can take another deep-enough breath to hopefully complete the 20 metres to the other end. And then, of course, I find that I have to do the whole thing again, back the other way! Really – what’s the point?

All this is ‘accomplished’ in a building where the only scenery (apart from the tiles on the bottom of the pool which are what I’m mainly looking at most of the time) is magnolia walls, yellowy-green changing rooms and the occasional sign proclaiming ‘1.3 metres deep here’. Friendly as the staff are, convenient as the place is, the Caribbean it is not.

I will keep going, I will keep trying. But if anyone’s invented a water-proof Walkman and earphones combination that’ll help take away the sheer boredom – do let me know, please.

(This is the post that disappeared on me during the night. It has now reappeared in Draft form, so I’m now publishing it before it decides to do a runner again. Great, technology, isn’t it?)

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