Saturday, November 28, 2009

The beginning of the new tale

Sooo, I've started it. My new story has its first few hundred odd words, and I think I'm going to have some fun with this one.

The first few lines are:

The half of my car that was left looked perfectly natural propped against the wall. As if I could peer round the gate post and see the rest of it sticking out the other side. The snag was I knew this was all there was. I’d met Simon, my boyfriend, pushing the back half into the barn as I cycled into the yard.

If any of you want to follow its progress, you can find it here

Let me know what you think. I really value opinion and feedback, and by the way, this opening incident was something that really happened, although of course, I am fictionalising the people and the story in general.I haven't quite finished working out the plot, but I didn't with Arie either. A lot of it just evolved, so I'm hoping this one will too. It's great to be starting a new project!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How to Breed Sheep, Geese and English Eccentrics

How do you like that for the name of my new book?

I've just written up the list of principal characters and certain events that will be included in the story.

Now I just need a good plot to hang all the events on. I'm still working on that one, so as soon as I've started, I'll create a new blog and let you know.

This feels good.....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Plans afoot

Mo as we have got use to seeing her these days

There's been some encouraging news this weekend. Mo and Craig have finally got themselves a berth in a harbour in Rotterdam. Not in ours, for which I think they can be thankful given the political shenanigans, but in harbour across the river. It's quite a bit more expensive, but then they will just pay their money and get on with life. No restoration plans, no burdensome rules, just keep your ship neat, well painted and clean and no one will bother you. It sounds so attractive I'm even making an enquiry there myself!

The next move is bringing their ship down from Amsterdam, which is going to happen on the 5th of December. More about that later! What this all means in practice though, is that the prospect of moving back onto the Vereeniging is closer than expected...and I have plans....

Firstly, I want to re-do the 'roof' before moving back on. I was going to put a steel roof on, but that would mean dismantling the entire interior - again! I have therefore decided to use wood instead. Sheets of heavily sealed or painted plywood in fact - positioned under the hatch boards. This should result in making the top watertight, and give me the chance to dispense with the tarpaulin.

Then inside, I have some restructuring to do, although I'm not quite sure how it's going to work, as I need my office space back. What I have decided to do, though, is invest in an eco toilet. Everyone around me seems to be abandoning these, but there are some very sophisticated models available now. As I don't want to be restricted as to where I can go on account of having an environmentally unfriendly loo, it seems like a good time to make the investment.

So....exciting times ahead, not to mention the new book I am about to start. Which one do you think it should be? The sequel to Watery Ways or a novel based on my slightly loopy life in England's west country before I went to South Africa? The first will be easier, but the second, more challenging. I'm open to suggestions!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just for a real hoot

The text below is the English translation of a Dutch email I sent to someone at the Administration office here in our harbour. I've left out the names for obvious reasons, but I felt I had to publish it. The translation was done through Google and is absolutely hysterical. I haven't laughed so much in weeks.

Hope you find it amusing too! The email it was in response to was already in English and mentioned that the Board of the Museum had not received enough information from Maryssa's restoration plan to determine whether she could get a place in the harbour. I should explain that the words fireplace and chimney that keep cropping up have to do with the Schouw Comissie, (real meaning = inspection committee) who are the people responsible for evaluating the ships coming into the harbour. However schouw does also mean fireplace and apparently chimney too, leading to these very strange and highly amusing suggestions that I had a rapport with my chimney.. Read on....!

My daughter, Maryssa, the email below from mnr XXX received. Rxxx I do not know who wrote this email or who is responsible but I find it surprising for the following reasons:

1. Maryssa has a very detailed restoration plan in September of service with answers to most of the questions below. Regarding the questions about "swords" and the cockpit has she sought advice from the Commission uses Schouw so these questions are very confusing.

2. When the fireplace chimney committee did, they had not seen any records of her ship and last week Martin had no hair restoration plan is to fish. How is that possible if Maryssa these documents has been in service in September? Mnr XXXXX in September confirmed that everything he "in good order" and has received documents that were "impressive". Why now, after more than two months, the fireplace committee not see everything? This is clear from the questions below. Still a very confusing time.

3. When my ship put into the Old Port, I had a real rapport with advice for my chimney restoration plan. I paid nothing. Maryssa has paid € 150 but she has no report received and chimney should seek advice from other people? I find this more confusing Rxxx and very unprofessional. She said in the original application that she is serious about the restoration of the ship with a reference year of 1932 but she has also said that she needed advice from the chimney committee. Why are they getting these questions but gets no opinion?

It was not my intention for me to Rxxx in this case, but I find it strange that after all her work and after almost three months, it is clear that no one proposal has Maryssa good read and that the chimney commission so little information had received (as before and after the chimney). Also report that they had no fireplace.

It seems to me that the handling of this matter your personal attention, Rxxx. If the Port Museum to be more professional and people have to pay € 150 for an application, they expect more than this kind of treatment. Maryssa deserves the same opportunities as other people but I hope that not all the other applicants have had this experience.

Sorry for my Dutch, Rxxx. Chose (what it made of Koos) is not here as a translator so I hope you can understand.

Best regards


Friday, November 13, 2009

Lost in translation

Well, folks, it seems com can lose all sorts of things, even the correct language. Yesterday afternoon, I picked up a copy of the Skipper's Child and proudly handed it to Jodie. She opened it, looked at me in an only Jodie-knows-how-to quizzical fashion and asked "Since when did you write in Italian Mum?"

Puzzled? Yes, so was fact, it turned out that I had someone else's book in my cover! I'm not sure what to make of it, but I'm sure there's something about copyright that comes into this, especially as if this Italian author has my book, which was not intended for distribution yet, then we could have a situation....I sent them these photos since they asked for proof (cheek of it!), and await their response....

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Autumn chills

Mo and Craig's Marion Aagje at its mooring in a nature conservation area near Amsterdam.
They can't wait to bring it to Rotterdam, where at least they'll be able to scrape and paint without worrying about noise, pollution and upsetting the old ducks (of the human variety) who watch them from their windows.

I don't really know what to write about this evening....feel I should write something as it's been a while since I updated my blog. I should be working on material for my classes too, but I'm a bit fed up with that now. In fact, i've got a real case of anti Autumn chill blues. The barge is warm and it's cosy inside, but it's really absolutely and horribly yuk outdoors. I love being outside so the rain, wind and looming dark clouds are really depressing, and I can't quite get the hang of the fact that summer's over.

Last weekend, we went down to Westdorpe, and even there I couldn't get inspired to do anything.

I know what I want to do...... I'd like to replace the other peeling panel on the Vereeniging, oil the wooden berghout or rubbing rail as I think it's called. I'd also like to do some more of the paintwork, insulate the engine room, oversee the installation of the startermotor on the engine....yes, well, you see? It all means working outside..grrrrrrr.

What I will do now is just add a couple of pics I've lifted off my phone again, and then get back to work. At least I can still do things that will help to earn the money I so want to spend on my ship....once this blessed rain has stopped!

Oh and yes, there's a thought! I could always start on my next book. the idea has been simmering for ages. Watch this space!!!

I just like these wind tubines. Sorry to all those who don't!

The big barges meet their match in thse monster transporters on the Westerschelde estuary near Antwerp.