La Mort’s message…

“What are we going to do about him?” Günter asked. He was standing at the foot of the corporal’s bed, watching as Lawrence bathed the man’s wounds.

“We keep doing what we’ve been doing so far,” the chaplain replied. “He may not be getting any better, but then, he’s not getting any worse either.”

Lawrence was about to turn away, but Schlosse’s hand shot out from under his blanket and grabbed hold of the chaplain’s wrist.

“The man… on the white horse… he knew you would come,” Schlosse groaned. “He told me, when he… his breath stank… and he… hissed, when he spoke. He said… when you arrived… I should ask if you… would like to trade your soul… and take back your life?”

Schlosse passed out as soon as his message had been delivered and his head rolled to one side. Lawrence snatched his hand away and took several steps backwards.

“Lawrence? Are you ok?” I asked. “What did he mean by that?”

At the same time, Günter asked a question of his own, but for the first time since coming to the Tuefelkries Stammlager, I couldn’t understand what he was saying. For some reason, Lawrence, or God, had momentarily stopped translating.

“I think,” Lawrence stuttered; “I think my faith is being challenged here. He means, I can take back my mortal life if I shake hands with the devil – that an agreement with him would void the agreement I made with God.”

“Then, you could have your life back?” I asked.

“Yes, apparently,” he replied. “But now I have seen what life is like in the service of God, I can only wonder what sort of life I would experience in the service of the devil. I must say, since it had to have been the man on the horse who brought this pestilence in the first place, and since he was obviously a harbinger of evil, I am not tempted to change sides.”

There’s a change in the air…

“The time has come,” the Walrus said…

Way back in 2006, I invested quite a decent chunk of my hard-earned into a new computer. I was running my own business back then and needed to upgrade from what I had so that I could run some proper accounting software, as well as other business-related programs. The new unit was a Dell Dimension 9200 and from the minute I plugged it in, I thought I was driving the Rolls Royce of computers – it even had 2 cores, whatever that meant. Other than limitations on hard-drive storage space and available on-board memory, there wasn’t a whole lot wrong with my old pc; but the new one was out of this world and what I was able to achieve with it was unbelievable.

I’m no technofile though, and with all this new power at my fingertips I lost sight of what was going on in the technological world – which is strange, given that everywhere I went I carried my mobile phone in the palm of my hand and I upgraded that piece of equipment every year!

Jump forward 10 years and many things had changed. Computers had evolved so much… chips were far more compact and storage systems were going the same way, while at the same time becoming more expansive and far more transportable. In line with these improvements, regularly used software programs were doubling and tripling in size every few years and my old new Dell was struggling to keep up. I upgraded from the Vista operating system to Windows 8 in 2014 and the hardware I had on board was able to manage that, but when the automatic upgrade to version 10 happened in 2015, my old beast was pushed to a level beyond where it was ever meant to go.

I started writing in 2010 and managed to write 5 of my books on my old clunker – God only knows how! Had it not been for the help of an old hand-me-down laptop as backup, I might never have succeeded. From 2014 on, I started experiencing freezes at the most inopportune times and probably lost far more of my work than I care to think about.

Enter the new…

My old Dell is still working – I’m using it right now to write this post, but it’s long overdue for retirement and I’m long overdue in making the change. About a week or so ago, a friend pointed out the fact that the mobile phone I was holding in my hand right then had more computing power than my old desktop does – and it was only then that I realised I hadn’t yet let the old thing go because of some sadly misplaced emotional attachment. It’s been my comforter in times of need, a friend whenever things grew grim, a window on the outside world when I found it difficult to step beyond my front door… my companion, when my world grew so dark I thought I might never see the end.

I sat down to do some editing last Friday – just two days ago – and right in the middle of a really important sequence, my pc froze again and I had to reboot it to get it to work properly. No longer able to use a lack of available funds as an excuse, when it fired up, the first thing I did was go online and visit the Dell website – the way I figured it, the last product I bought from them lasted far longer than it was ever designed to last and that’s good enough in my books. I ordered a brand new replacement – once again, the moustache twirling, creme de la creme of what was available within my budget. It’s more stable, much faster, has more on-board memory, heaps more storage capacity – and it’s got 6 cores!!!

I received the shipment notice yesterday and I’m expecting the new arrival this coming week – and it won’t come a moment too soon!

gg… over and (control, alt, delete) out!

 

Home in time for Christmas :)

Here you go… they were still warm when they arrived, although the box was left sitting out in the sun for a while before it was discovered. Nevertheless, that minor detail didn’t stop me from announcing them as being quite literally ‘hot off the press!’

These are proof-only copies and, thanks to CreateSpace’s recently introduced revision to their rules regarding the number of proofs an author can order, they are in VERY limited supply. Two are already spoken for – so if you want one, get in quick!

GG… over and out!

Sorry Sister!

There I was, going innocently about my work on Milton Road in the wee hours of Friday morning when a friend tapped me on the shoulder and told me I was being observed. He pointed behind me and when I turned and saw this, for a moment I was scared absolutely shi—–!

Oops… sorry Sister!

GG… over and out!

Back once more from the point of no return…

Hi all!

I’ve just returned from another wonderfully relaxing long-weekend at The Fabulous Kirkley Manor. I always come away from the place reinvigorated and raring to go, and the posts I leave after my impromptu visits never fail to create some interest. I’m acutely aware that you would all like to know exactly where it is, but unfortunately, it’s hidden behind a veil of tight-lipped secrecy – I’m under threat of torture and a severe smacked-bottom if ever I reveal it’s true location.

However, for those of you who are eager to know more and like to play guessing games, on this occasion I was able to rattle off a quick snap of the inviting architecture from across the road when I went for a bit of a stroll, while mine host’s attention was elsewhere (see photo).

I’m not sure what they were up to at the time, but I think they were barbecuing something because the smell wafting from the garden at the rear of their secluded private quarters was divine. There seemed to be a lot of chanting and dancing going on as well and I have no idea what that was all about. Curiosity got the better of me though and I tried to peek in through the ivy-covered trellis as I made my way past, but my attempt was thwarted by some very aggressive-looking crows. I thought the whole thing a bit odd for that time of day, but left them to it… each to their own habits, right?

Still, if you have a keen eye for detail, I’m sure you’ll be able to work out where it is.

On arrival, I was immediately impressed by the physical appearance of my wonderful friends and couldn’t help but admire them for the effort they’ve obviously been putting into their diet and exercise regimes. They’re none too keen on having their photos taken and I’m running the risk of upsetting them by doing this, but I caught them by surprise in this snap (below) when they came out to wave goodbye as I was leaving. Don’t you think they look great? I guess it all comes down to the way we see things as individuals, but it just goes to show the results one can achieve when you truly put your mind to something!

I was sitting at their table one evening, sipping away nonchalantly on a rustic old ale while they slurped on a fruity little blood-red number from  stone goblets – circa 1400’s? – trying to recall the last time I was there and figured it had to be at least a few years ago. My bad of course… too many distractions lately and too much wasting of time.

I’ll be back again early in the new year no doubt… perhaps I’ll make that the first stop on the long-awaited road-trip I’ve been planning, which I hope to begin mid next February.

Until next time…

GG… over and out!

Save The Box!

Not long now before this mother and daughter combination head off on an adventure of a lifetime. I know them personally and support them wholeheartedly in their attempt to raise awareness of and raise funds to help further research into these specific women’s health issues.

Every day on average in Australia, 4 women die as a result of some form of Gynaecological cancer. With successive governments restricting funding for such research programs, it’s up to us all as a community to plug the gaps and help in any way we can.

Please, give till it hurts! This link provides all the information you need to know in order to help.

https://www.facebook.com/Brony-and-Erin-Saving-the-box

I wish them godspeed on their forthcoming journey. I hope they have a whale of a time, that the trip enriches and changes their lives in immeasurable ways and that they return safely.

 

GG… over and out!

 

A change for the better…

My life took a dramatic turn a few weeks ago. After spending several years on a pile set aside for rejects and with the file listing my skills and knowledge gathering dust in the too hard basket, I was thrown an employment lifeline. The personal changes I’ve experienced over such a short period since then have been tremendous.

This afternoon, I received a short note containing some very positive feedback from my new employer and immediately, it reminded me of how it’s often the simpler things in life which can have the most life-altering affects.

As a result, I recalled some of the things I believe are the most important to keep in mind when it comes to holding it all together in the face of adversity. I’d like to share them with you.

Never let go of your sense of humour. There will always be something out there, or someone, that will always be trying to feed off what little energy you have left in reserve. Push them into the background, turn down their volume knob and ignore them. Instead, find a source that will provide a moment or two of laughter every day and better yet, give others a cause to laugh.

The reward from achieving this is priceless!

The day we stop learning is the day we start dying. Learn something new every day – whether it’s about yourself, about someone close to you, about the world you live in, about the people you share the world with or about the environment which surrounds you – and when you are planning your tomorrow, try to put something you’ve learned today to good use.

Learning is continued evidence of your connection to the outside world. Never forget – knowledge is power!

At the end of the day, in that wonderful period of silence between when you lay your head on the pillow and when you start to drift into the sub-conscious ether, take a few precious moments to reflect on the day, on your attitudes and behaviours and on the effect they had on others. Take note of the positives that came from what was and use them to plan what will be.

Each day must constitute a step forward in some way, even if your progress can only be measured in fairy-steps 🙂

When you wake each morning, go straight to the bathroom. If you share your home with others, it’s important that you lock the door behind you to ensure a minute or two of uninterrupted selfishness.

After completing your morning ritual, before you unlock the door and leave, take a good look in the mirror and say 4 complementary things about yourself. These could be based on your reflections of the previous evening and concentrating on any positives arising from the previous day will make it easier for you to approve of yourself.

You are worthy! Your life means something to someone! Setbacks are only ever temporary; and the only way you need to be looking is forward.

Life is full of hard-work experiences and frustrating dilemmas. Welcome them and embrace them. Break large challenges down into more manageable chunks and if there’s too much on your plate, remember the following: do one thing at a time, do it to the best of your abilities and try to get it right. What is absolutely forbidden is beating yourself up if you make an error. Mistakes happen and if nothing else, they are evidence that you are still human and haven’t yet become a vegetable. Things can be fixed easily – people can’t!

The question here is, how do you eat an elephant? The answer, in very small bites!

It’s extremely important that you reward yourself regularly for your achievements – however small. My personal preference is to tidy myself up and head out to a coffee shop for a flat-white and a muffin, but really, it comes down to whatever floats your boat. If you ever pass by my coffee shop of choice and see me gorging on something unhealthy, as long as you don’t poke fun at me, I’ll extend the same courtesy and forgive you your little peccadilloes 😉

In closing this one down, I’d also like to say that very little of what life throws at you is going to be fun. In most instances, my most fundamental rule is: keep calm and try your damndest not to hurt anyone!

We can’t control the curve on the ball that’s heading our way, so there’s no point in worrying about it. What we can control and what we must control is, what we do each day with what is presented to us. As I shut down each evening I ask myself three questions: did I do the best I could do today with the gifts I was granted; what little self-improvement will I concentrate on tomorrow; and most importantly, when I achieve what I set out to do, what flavour muffin will I choose 🙂

 

GG… over and -mmmmmm… muffins!

Walk a mile in my shoes…

I really feel Joe South said it best when he penned the lyric:

If I could be you and you could be me for just one hour
If we could find a way to get inside each others mind
If you could see you through my eyes instead of your ego
I believe you’d be surprised to see that you’d been blind
Walk a mile in my shoes, walk a mile in my shoes
Yeah, before you abuse, criticize and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes

I’ve been on the receiving end of a bit of thinly-veiled criticism on a few occasions recently and I’ve been stewing on them since they were delivered. To be honest, I really don’t mind if you pull apart my work and criticise what I do… that’s to be expected when I put my stories out in the public arena. I really don’t mind if you have issues with the way I go about doing things, if your opinion is contrary to mine or even when you vehemently disagree with my point of view – because beneath the surface, we’re all different.

What I will not stand for, however, is when people jump to conclusions and open their mouths without taking time to find out the truth first, and in particular, when they choose to turn their criticism into a personal attack. Do you not understand that when you do that, it says far more about you than it ever will about me?

I’m not a perfect person. At different stages of my life, things may not have turned out quite how I’d hoped they would and I might not now be in a position you believe I should be in – but that shouldn’t be taken as an admission I should be held responsible for all of the things which have gone wrong. The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, and all that.

I’m generally a quiet and decent man who always tries to do the right thing by everyone I come in contact with – and if that isn’t good enough in your eyes and if in some way I don’t meet your expectations, tough! It’s who and what I am.

So again, in trying to do the right thing by those I’ve come into contact with, I’ll leave you with just a little bit of advice – a lesson, if you care to look at it that way. It’s free, gratis and comes directly to you at no cost.

Before you abuse, criticise and accuse, try walking a mile in their shoes!

 

gg… over and out!