Wednesday, 13 August 2014

How this writer's mind works (4)

I read the paragraph I’d just typed and noticed a comma where a comma shouldn’t be. I moved the cursor up to delete it. The comma wriggled down to the next line.


I peered closer. The ‘comma’ was a tiny insect. I tried to blow it away. I tried to sweep it off with a sheet of paper. It didn’t budge. I leaned even closer and saw that it wasn’t on the surface of the monitor but inside, under the glass.

A thunderfly.

I’d never encountered these little beasts until we moved here. Our house faces fields mainly used for growing wheat and barley, which is where they (correct name is cereal thrips) spend most of their lives. The locals call them thunderflies because they swarm in the kind of hot, still weather that triggers thunderstorms.

Fortunately, they don’t bite, sting or spread disease. Their big nuisance factor is their size, or rather, lack of size. It enables them to get everywhere. And now one had got into my monitor and I wanted it out.

“It’s got two choices,” said the resident computer expert. “It either finds its own way out or it’ll die in there.”

Poor little thing!
This was odder still. I hadn’t felt sorry for all the hundreds, thousands (millions?) of thunderflies I’d brushed out of my hair, shaken from my clothes, wiped away or sucked up the vacuum cleaner, but seeing a lone individual wandering around right in front of me awakened my caring instincts. Was it male or female? Was it trying to escape the strange environment it found itself in, or was it enjoying its exploration? Was it hungry? Thirsty? Lonely?

Suddenly, it was a complete character with a name, history and lists of likes and dislikes. I began making up his first adventure while I went to get a cup of coffee. When I came back – he was gone.

Now I was even more concerned. I searched along the edges of the screen. Had he escaped and rejoined his little friends? Had he wriggled deeper inside? He couldn’t have (gulp) gone to that big barley field in the sky, could he?

I kept looking but I haven’t seen him again.

So if you find yourself in a cloud of black dots that makes you feel itchy all over, please pause a moment before waging war on them. One of them might be my thunderfly. His name is Timmy.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Versatile - or just distracted?

Very belated thanks to Anne Goodwin for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.

 To be honest, I’m not sure I deserve any blogging awards at the moment as I’ve been so busy with other things that updating my two blogs has slid right to the end of my to-do list. I have no idea how Anne manages to put interesting new posts on her Annecdotal blog so regularly, but I obviously need to follow her example.

To accept the award I now have to disclose 7 things about myself that you might not already know. Here goes:

1. I never know what to say when I’m asked where I’m from because I’ve lived in so many different places. I was born in Kent, but my parents moved about a lot and then I married a man whose work took him to a new place every few years. Home is wherever I happen to be at the time.

2. My husband and I married just two months after we met. (I knew I was going to marry him on our first date, but it took him 10 days to propose!) We’re still happily together over 40 years later so it must have been the right decision.

3. I don’t have a mobile phone – and don’t want one.

4. I failed my first driving test because I was too polite. I stopped at a zebra crossing and waited patiently for two old ladies to cross the road. But they didn’t want to cross. They had just stopped on the pavement to have a chat. When I realised my mistake I stalled the car, crunched the gears, and generally went to pieces …

5. Sweet peas are allergic to me. They are one of my favourite flowers, and I’ve tried to grow them many times, but the poor little things never survive.

6. This is what’s on the wall above my desk.

7. I still don’t know what I want to be when I’m grown up.

Now comes the most difficult part of the Versatile Blogger Award. I’m supposed to pass it on to 15 other bloggers, but so many of the blogs I follow have already been nominated for this award or else they have polite ‘no awards, thank you’ notices on their blogs. So, if you’ve managed to find your way to my little blog and you think you deserve an award too, please help yourself (here are the rules) and leave a note in the comments below.