New Beginnings

If you can’t see the video, or can’t play it right now, I’m just showing of my very pretty (for now) room in my Grandparents house in Dalton-in-Furness. We just arrived today, and I’m very excited about this next step in my life. This will include more writing, find a part-time job to help keep on top of things, and meeting new and interesting people that I can get interested in my website and my book.

To that end I also have the new business cards. They arrived the same day I did. They look awesome. If you take objection to the fact it says author, that’s okay. I still consider myself an author, a writer and a wordsmith. I would include poet, but I don’t particularly enjoy writing poetry. Regardless, I self-identify as an author and I will not be bullied into changing it just because I don’t fit certain people’s narrow definition. 😛 Here’s the card, it’s double sided:

I have a little desk that folds out. I have it set up right now, but I can put it away when I’m not using it so that it doesn’t take up space. It was still in boxes when I got here. The first thing I did, before I’d unpacked even, was to build my desk. I like it very much. Being able to fold it down out of the way should encourage me to put away my notes when I’m done with them instead of leaving them strewn across the desk.

You also get to see me reflected in the mirror. Don’t be too alarmed. I’m going to keep this article short as Grandad should be coming back with Fish & Chips soon, and after dinner I need to get myself ready. I’ve been told there’s a band playing at The Derby (a pub in Barrow) tonight, and I intend to be there. With my new business cards.

I look forward to comments, but bear in mind I’m entitled to a difference of opinion. If you want to change my mind, may I suggest a reasonable discussion between equals. Shoving your opinion down my throat and insisting I change is precisely the wrong way to go about it. 🙂

Have a great day.

Mum’s Back!

I’m going to start with a video. This is the first 5 minutes of my Dad and I driving out of Pontgarreg this morning. Just because.

Mum has spent the last four nights in Dalton visiting my Grandparents and making sure the guest room at the bungalow will be ready for me to take up residence. The nieces were gone too, spending time with their father. They all came back today on the same train. Sometimes the trains here in the UK are a little weird.

The train they were on was supposed to split into two shorter trains at a town in Wales called Machynlleth. Don’t ask me how to pronounce that. I know that the double ‘l’ is pronounced softly and sounds more like ‘hl’, and the ‘th’ doesn’t sound the way you expect either.

Anyway, they were supposed to have two drivers, but they didn’t. As a result the half of the train that was supposed to continue on to Aberystwyth, where we’d already arranged to meet them at the train station, was cancelled. My sister has her own car, so she went up to Machynlleth to collect our Mum, and her daughters. Dad and I got a little more guy time in.

Last time he and I were in Aberystwyth, there were two stores we wanted to look around in weren’t open. It was a monday, and they only open tuesday thru saturday. We took the opportunity to check them out. Pic dump!

As you can see from the pictures, both stores contained a joyous mish-mash of geeky stuff from various fandoms. DC, Marvel, Game of Thrones, X-files, Dr Who, Game of Thrones, Family Guy and much more. Rickety Ramshackle even had Laurel and Hardy! Dad walked away from Other Dimensions with a Doctor Who coffee mug and a clockwork spinning Tardis!

I rather like the new phone I picked up while in Carmarthen, and decided to get a pay-as-you-go sim card for it, so I’d have a fully functioning phone while I’m waiting for Mum to order the spare one from her plan. Here’s some other shots of Aberystwyth and other places between there and Pontgarreg.

I’ve skipped a bit. Before we could go back to Pontgarreg, we had to meet up with my Sister, Mum and the girlies. They showed up right as I got my new minutes loaded. I couldn’t resist loading up Pokemon Go! to test out my new data plan as we all walked back into Aberystwyth. Dad and I wanted to introduce them to the cafe we had gone to on Monday, MG’s. Just as before the food was great, even though we could only get ‘light bites’ at that time of day.

Mum was exhausted from her trip back from Dalton with the little ones. We decided to go back home. I’d used up all my Pokeballs before we got back to the car, so I missed out on a Muk. I managed to hit some Pokestops as we drove past though, but then used all of them up when we got back and found a Drowsee in the driveway! No-one else in the car was even remotely interested.

Today’s poke-haul was a Paras, 2 Pidgeys, a Ponyta, a Weedle, a Kakuna, a Pidgeotto, an Eevee, and of course the Drowsee. That last one got me to level 5. This is only the second time I played, the first being while wandering the airport. You may recall that prior to having nothing to do for nearly 12 hours in an airport I was skeptical of Pokemon Go! Besides being disappointed, but not really surprised, to discover that there are no pokestops or gyms in the village of Pontgarreg, it seems like harmless fun. I just now caught another Weedle!

After she’d rested and recovered from the trip, Mum and I talked a little about the layout for my new room in Dalton, figuring out where my bed, desk an Xbox might go. We also talked a little about my recovery, my writing (she loves it), and one of our favourite books ever, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel. It’s nice to have Mum back. Dad and I have had some fun, but now we can really get things done! She’s always there for me.

Dad did point out that I had a few words missing from my Hermes925 excerpt, so here’s the updated version, now with comments enabled. Click here!

Gods Dammit Dad!

I had another great day with my Dad. We had to go back to Kidwelly to get some measurements we missed last time we went to (what will soon be) my parents new home. We decided to come through Carmarthen on the way back to see if I could grab an unlocked phone from a good price from their Game store. We reasoned that it would have a bigger store and a better selection, since it’s a bigger city.

The Kidwelly mission went well, in fact it went much better than we expected. Stuart from Extreme Tree Services was already at the house cutting back the overgrown vegetation. Dad got a chance to go over some of what they wanted done, which was lucky because we had no idea that they were going to be there! The house is getting fixed up for us by the Church in Wales, since Dad is moving to Kidwelly to minister at St. Mary’s (and I think he’ll be in charge of a few others also). They arranged for Stuart to come this week. It was just luck or divine providence that had us show up while they were there. We even found out that, hidden among the overgrown trees was a plastic playhouse for the kids!

We popped into Burn’s Farm Shop on the way out of town. Dad needed his coffee levels restored. You may recall me describing their amazing playground and cafe in a previous article. Follow the ‘last time’ link above if you don’t. 🙂 As I waiting for Dad to order his coffee. A waitress looked up at me and smiled. She did so again later when she came to our table with Dad’s order. She’s a cute little redhead. Dad noticed the smile.

Burn's Farm Shop Playground.JPG

I’m 36 and living with my parents. I have no job, and no money until my writing career takes off. To make my writing career take off I need to spend time, everyday, working on my writing and developing my stories. In the short term I need to start writing short stories and getting them out to magazines that will pay me for them. I don’t have time, or even have anything to offer, for a romantic relationship right now.

If Dad had said nothing, I might have been able to forget that smile, that giggle in response to a throwaway line that wasn’t really funny. When Dad hints, he doesn’t just make one subtle comment. He stacks them up. Layer upon layer of subtle comments until he’s sure you get it, and then adds a couple more to be sure. Dammit Dad! It was a really cute smile though. I know we didn’t see her there last time. I don’t know her name. I need to stop thinking about her.

The rest of the day went well. I got myself a handset for the sim Mum is going to order. It’s an LG G4 Stylus. Still had all the factory stickers on it. Once I get the sim card I’ll have an awesome and fully functioning phone! I also got a new pair of clippers to replace the American ones that went pop when I last tried to use them.

Space Marine
Dakka-dakka!

We even visited the local Games Workshop store where Mike (or is it Mark? Sorry!) and I had a good little talk about the possibility of rebuilding my Golden Sons Space Marine army. I had to sell them off to buy my plane ticket home. He even suggested I write for the Black Library (Games Workshop’s publishing house), which would be freaking awesome!

I’m really looking forward to the move to Kidwelly. I’ll be just a short train ride from Carmarthen so that I can mix it up with my fellow Warhammer geeks, perhaps get a few of them to follow my blog! We’ll be just around the corner from the Farm Shop though too. Trying to find the cute waitress again would be a terrible idea. I’ll just have to avoid the place to prevent myself from doing anything foolish. Especially since I won’t be there that long.

Dad wants to watch a movie together, and then I have to get working on a short story. Should I do the War on Magic? Throw some of my City of Gate chronicles together? Or should I write out the hold-up scene for The Lord Highwayman as a stand-alone short story? I could even do something Church of Daemonism related. What do you think?

If you make any comments regarding the redhead, please just tell me she has a boyfriend so I can drop it and move on. I have writing to do!

 

Daleks, Demiro’s and Dude-time

Dad and I had another guy’s day out. This time we went to Cardiff, Wales to see ‘The Doctor Who Experience‘! It wasn’t just awesome, it was awemuch! If you are even a tiny bit of a Dr Who fan, you must come check it out. I wouldn’t consider myself a Whovian, in fact several of my American friends are way more excited about the last of the Time-Lords than I. Despite that, ‘The Doctor Who Experience’ is pretty epic.

*Spoiler alert – skip down to the paragraph beginning “After that..” if you’d rather see for yourself*

The building is located in Cardiff Bay. Before you even get in the building, you can see a Tardis standing out in the bay on a slim structure. When you get inside there’s several daleks, including one built out of lego, another Tardis, and a couple on costume replicas in the lobby. You start out you’re in a Gallifreyan museum, in which a curator hands you each a pass and advises you not to touch anything ‘because we don’t know how your human dna will react with Gallifreyan technology.’ After a brief celebration of the Doctor and his many faces, they track the Tardis and bring it up on screen. We get to watch helplessly as the Tardis is attacked by space dwelling time-squids.

The interaction of these creatures and the Tardis causes a time-space rift to open in the museum. The curator is genuinely shocked to discover that we can enter the heart of the Tardis itself. The Doctor himself, his 12th regeneration, notices our intrusion. At first it seems he’d rather leave us trapped in the labyrinthian corridors of the Tardis, but he soon realises he could make use of us. We are to find time-crystals that have been scattered through time and space to strengthen the Tardis and stop the aliens.

The Tardis materialises within itself to allow us a way out, and we find ourselves in the control chamber. The Doctor talks us through working together to fly the Tardis to the site of the first crystal. It’s a bumpy ride, but we land safely on the Dalek’s home planet Skaro. The damaged and destroyed husks of Daleks are everywhere, and the first crystal is lodged in one of them. A brave volunteer removes the crystal, but the Dalek’s are alerted and we a forced to flee quickly to a time corridor to our next destination.

We emerged in a dark and heavily wooded graveyard. Tombstones marking the graves of Amy and Rory, and two of Clara’s stand amid several Weeping Angels. The second crystal is held in an Angel’s grip, and my Dad steps forward to retreive it! The Doctor contacts us once more to inform us that the aliens are causing the universe and time itself to fold in on itself. He gives the curator some instructions and we follow his lead, finding ourselves back in Cardiff.

Something’s different though, and it’s revealed that we’ve been transported back to 1963. Time and space are still overlapping though, so the dirty alley we’re in also contains a view screen from the Tardis and the device waiting for 3 time-crystals to be placed in it. Luckily we find the third crystal right there in a barrel of trash. The three crystals are set into place, and the alley wall explodes. Weeping Angels, Daleks and time-squid aliens tumble through the rift, lashing out at us as they go. Then the rift is closed, the wall restored, and we’d saved the universe!

Then the curator (who never broke character), leads us out of the alleyway, collects our passes and ushers us into the real museum. Starting with the control room set from the first ever episode in 1963! The place is a treasure trove of original props, sets and costumes from the series all the way through to present day. Several versions of the Tardis and it’s control room. Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, and many other classic and modern enemies of the doctor, along with costumes worn by companions and all 12 Doctors. It was amazing!

After that we went looking for somewhere to eat and found Demiro’s. They serve traditional Welsh food as well as Italian and Spanish inspired cuisine. We happened to be there while they were preparing for a 60th Birthday party for someone, which helped make the mood seem even more celebratory! I had Calimari followed by Spaghetti Carbonara, and Dad had Crabcake then Spaghetti Marinara (containing fresh mussels, shrimp and calimari), and it was all delicious.

Another great day with my Dad, with lots of good talk both there and back. One of the things we talked about was doing short stories. I know of several publications offering money for short stories, but so far I’m putting all my effort into this blog and (slowly) my two big story projects. If I put the big stuff on the back burner for a little while perhaps I could churn out some short stories and bring in a little money? Dad pointed out that Isaac Asimov, one of the greatest sci-fi writers of all time,  got his start with short stories in magazines too.

With that in mind I have a question for you. Should I switch my focus to short stories, at least for now?

I look forward to hearing your replies, and please follow me, if you haven’t already to be kept up to date on what I decide to do. Perhaps you’ll even get so see my first drafts and help me polish them up!

Have a great day.

Erm…Superman?

I really have no idea what I’m going to write. I’m determined to write every day though. so we’ll see what comes out. It’s 10:30 at night and I haven’t even looked at by computer screen all day. I hadn’t even picked up my tablet until about 10! Mum is out of town, the nieces are with their Dad, and my Sister is spending some time with her boyfriend. It was just me and my Dad today. It was a good day!

We set off early for a nearby town called Aberystwyth. Dad wanted to get a second controller for the Xbox 360 so that we can play Halo together. I hoping he wants to play co-op,  because I’ve never been a fan of head-to-head contests. More on that another time perhaps. Aberystwyth has the closest branch of a chain of video game stores simply called Game. It’s similar to GameStop in the US. He also wanted to just hang out with me for a day, so that’s what we did.

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Aberystwyth, Wales.

On the way we talked about all sorts of things, including differing cultural references between America and the UK. We had watched Deadpool together the night before, which he enjoyed, but we kept having to pause the movie while I explained what Deadpool was referring too. The only one I wasn’t able to translate was when he describes Professor Charles Xavier as “heaven’s gate looking”. I just googled it quick and I’m quite certain that I don’t want to know.

The reason the subject of cultural references had come up again on the drive is that I had just seen a red Rover, and had laughed at it. Americans, here in the UK we have a a few different car brands not available in the states, including Rover. In other words I had seen a red car that happened to be a Rover. Brits, in America there’s a child’s playground game called Red Rover. Of course, it’s only funny if you’re crosscultural, and my Dad is not.

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Red Rover

I then had to explain the difference between the difference between the American slang term ‘junk’ meaning male genitalia, and ‘junk in the trunk’ meaning a woman’s big beautiful buttocks. He brought up ‘fanny’, which means female genitalia in the UK, but a gender-neutral bottom in the US. We discussed the possibility of writing a whole article of the subject, but I’d rather share the rest of our day with you.

We briefly looked into getting me a UK mobile phone, which I’m used to calling a cellphone, but quickly discovered that the selection sucked and Dad wasn’t sure what the new postcode (zip code) was going to be anyway. They’ll be moving to Kidwelly soon, and I’m moving to Dalton-in-Furness shortly after that, so there’s little point in getting a phone that works in Pontgarreg, without knowing for sure if it will still get a good signal elsewhere. So we moved on.

It was quite the walk from where we parked to Aberystwyth proper, and my calf muscles began to tighten, just from not being used to walking everywhere. Our pace slowed a little as we got into town, and my legs functioned as they should for the rest of the day. I had mentioned on the way that I was craving black pudding, (click the link Americans) so our first stop was a café that served a full Welsh breakfast. We found a delightful place called MG’s Cafe Bar. If you happen to visit Aberystwyth in Wales yourself, I highly recommend you make a point of finding it.

After our delicious breakfast, we began hunting for Game. It wasn’t where Dad expected it to be, so we wondered about a bit. We visited the ruined Castle, walked along the promenade enjoying the sea air, and even went up Constitution Hill on an electric cliff railway. That’s a pair of train cars that travel along a steep incline in counter-balance. One goes up as the other comes down.

At the top of the hill is a camera obscura. That may sound like grease on your lens, but it’s actually a darkened room in which the surrounding view is projected onto a round white screen. Honestly, I was disappointed with the clarity of the view and preferred to observe the town below and the surrounding countryside from the observation deck.

Then we resumed our hunt for the Game store. During this time we talked about all kinds of things that I barely remember. I just enjoyed being able to hang out with my Dad. We had no schedule to keep to, and no strict agenda. If we didn’t get him a controller while we were here, it wasn’t going to be the end of the world. Not even the middle. No hurry, no worry. We did eventually find the Game store. It had moved locations. We discovered that they also sold used mobile phones, so I decided to bear that in mind as I researched. The controller was acquired and we meandered back through town toward the car.

On the way back it was decided that we should have a Superman marathon when we got home. Man of Steel followed by Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (extended cut). He’d never seen either of them. I’d seen Man of Steel many times, but BvS only once, and even then it was the theatrical cut. We bought snacks and beer on the way, so we could just munch during the movies without either one of us having to cook. It was great! I even showed him the trailers for Wonder Woman, Justice League and Suicide Squad afterward.

To cap it all off, Mum called from Dalton and has been helping my Grandparents to make the guest bedroom liveable. They’re going to remove one of the built in units in there to give me more room, find me a folding desk and get a blackout blind to prevent the neighbours security light from waking me up at night. She also happened to mention that her own mobile phone plan comes with an extra sim card if we want it. All I need to do is buy the handset. Which would give us a great excuse to go back to Game in Aberystwyth!

That pretty much brings us to right now. I would say it was an awesome day, but as Dad pointed out while we were heading back to the car, awesome doesn’t seem to cover it. It was an awemuch day!

I hope your day was at least as awemuch as mine! Remember to follow and share, and I’d love to hear your comments. I’m going to bed now. Goodnight! 🙂

Kidwelly Castle

A trip to Kidwelly

Today my family and I went to check out the town that they’ll be moving to at the end of August. Kidwelly. That’s actually the English word for it, in Welsh it’s Cydweli. I took lots of pictures on the way, and while we were there. Some of my favourites will be posted on Instagram, but the full pic-dump is right here!

My plan is still to move to Dalton-in-Furness to help take care of my Grandparents and to be near my old friends and my old stomping ground. That won’t be happening until mid-september though, and there’s lots to sort out until then. Including being able to prove that I’m staying here so that I’m eligible for employment, getting a copy of my National Insurance card, actually getting the in-home care position arranged and secured, etc. In the meantime, I’m going to help Mum, Dad, Gill (my Sister), and girls Bethany & Imogen, to get set up in their new home.

I rode with my Sister and the Girls. The country roads are tiny, particularly around the village of Pontgarreg where they currently live. It’s a good job I trust Gillian completely or I might have been absolutely terrified. I tried to take video of the speed at which my sister confidently navigates these narrow lanes, but then we got stuck behind a tractor.

The first thing we did was visit Parc Y Bocs, a farm shop with a café and an amazing playground. The girls had a great time, and went for the the pirate-ship themed treehouse first.

After we were done playing, we went to the café. I had the salmon and broccoli quiche, which was yummy. The girls had the cheeseburgers, and I got to try some of Imogen’s. That too was delicious. The kind of delicious that starts at your mouth and spreads comfort and joy through your entire body. I took a picture of the specials board because I thought some of my more immature American friends would find one of the items amusing. Can you guess which one?

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It’s a Welsh-style pork meatball.

After that we had a quick glance at the Ysgol Y Castell, or Castle School, which will be the girl’s new school once they start the new school year. We couldn’t actually get close because of the security fence around the grounds. It seems appropriate that it be heavily fortified, but the real reason is because you can see Kidwelly Castle from there.

It’s not far from there to the Priory Church of Saint Mary. This is one of 3 churches that my Dad, as Priest in Charge of Cidweli and Llandyfaelog, will have purview over. This is the reason why they’re moving. The Reverend Trevor Copeland‘s promotion. It’s a beautiful old church. Here’s some pics of the interior.

Then we walked through the town and what passes for a town centre on our way to Kidwelly Castle. There were some great shots of St Mary’s and the Castle on the way.

Then we got to explore Castle Kidwelly for a bit. I’m looking forward to exploring more of it once they live here.

We walked back through town, had some disappointing ice-cream, and drove to the new Vicarage. Two and a half storeys. It’s only 2 from the front, but the pavement curls around on a slope to reveal 3 storeys from the back. Sure enough, once we get inside, there’s a downstairs with just 2 rooms in it. One of which will be Dad’s office, where he talks with visiting parishioners and church officials. The other will be the guest bedroom where I’ll be staying until I move to Dalton, or whenever I show up. 🙂 It has an en-suite bathroom!

After the grown-ups finished discussing what still needed fixing and measured up the rooms we made our way back from Kidwelly to Pontgarreg. We played I-spy on the way so I didn’t take as many pics. Here’s what I got though.

It was a fun day. Kidwelly is a nice little town. There are buses which will make it much easier for me to get around if Dad or my Sister are unable to drive me. Not that it should be an issue for long.

I’m going to get more writing done tomorrow. I’m thinking it’ll be Hermes’ turn for an update. I’ve been requested to write an article detailing my dating misadventures since I broke up with Monica. I may actually oblige them. Subscribe so you don’t miss it, and don’t forget to share my articles!

Have a great day/ night. I certainly did!

 

The Journey Continues

Day 2. It’s almost 3 pm British time. I’m riding a train to Swansea, ahead of schedule. I’ll be changing trains to continue to Carmarthen, which will probably be the same train I would have switched to if I’d taken the later train out of London. Either way I can’t call ahead because I  didn’t think to check if my US bought pay-as-you-go would work here in the UK. It can, I just need to add international minutes. Significantly harder to do when you have no available data.

On top of that I feel sweaty and gross. I’m still wearing the clothes I put on at 4 am US central time yesterday. Which on British time would technically be 11 pm on Wednesday July 20th. In other words, I’ve been wearing the same clothes for about 22 hours straight, and I was already feeling clammy before I even boarded the plane. There is WiFi on board, which is good, but have you ever tried to type or text whole sitting on a moving train? It not easy! The carriage bounces and jolts. As I’m writing, the movement of the train carriage has caused my finger to come in contact with the screen when and where I didn’t intend to. This results in chaotic spelling errors  and random movement of the cursor. The last being particularly annoying when I have to find where it went and discover what part of the sentence was deposited there.

Apparently it’s also possible to accidently the article before it’s ready! Despite my tiredness, my sweatiness, the difficulty I’m having writing this, I’m still excited. I get to be with my family again!

I will type more later but I feel an involuntary nap coming on.

I’m back. While I was sleeping the ticket guy came, looked at my ticket and told me to change at Bristol Parkway. I then went back to sleep. I knew that all I had to do was stay on the train until Swansea and change there. However, my sleepy head got me up and off the train when they at announced the next stop was Bristol Parkway. Imagine my lack of surprise when they told me that the best train for Carmarthen was the one I just gotten off. So now I’m on a different train, that will likely put me back on the original timetable. Not a huge problem, just a minor inconvenience. I should have ignored it and kept sleeping!

I realize that my American friends and followers won’t have any idea where I’m talking about. Some of the Brits won’t either. However I like British place names. The train I’m on now (that doesn’t have WiFi) just pulled out of the station at Neath, for example.

On this train I met a young chap called Dave who studies physics but is leaning towards computer engineering. We had a good chat, and he followed my blog. Thank you Dave. 🙂

I made another new friend on the plane called Joe. He’d just spent a week in Oregon and was flying home. He too said he’d look me up. He was kind enough to offer me the use of his phone when I discovered that my US phone didn’t work here. Thanks Joe, I managed to contact my tribe via WiFi instead, but you’re awesome nonetheless for offering. 🙂

I’m on the last leg of the journey now. I just need to stay on this train until Carmarthen, and a representative of clan Copeland with be there to drive me the rest of the way to Pontgarreg.