September Stocktake

tutburyTomorrow is the beginning of September so I have been here for  just seven months. It is time for a stocktake. Let’s start with the pluses. I have finished the book on time. A total of 105,004 words and it took exactly one year to the day to write. Sad to say my sense of achievement is somewhat dimmed by the fact that I am now looking for a publisher and my fate hangs in the balance. The fear of rejection is always on my mind. Sure, it is a first draft and what I want now is an editor to work with me to get it right, but without a physical publisher I won’t have that. Plus two is the apartment. It’s quirky and cheap and I love the village; it has a castle and church. It is a proper English village with lots of history. Also near to family and that counts for so many extra points.

So now the minus points. Top of this list is the weather. No point in discussing it. I can’t do a thing about it, but it is colder than I remember and there doesn’t seem to be a summer at all. It is August and I have the central heating turned on!  Equal to that is the food. It is simply disgusting. I am slowly finding places to buy things that are fit to eat. The frozen food tastes like cardboard and nearly every restaurant is full of prehistoric meat menus. No wonder everyone is so fat. The shops have more alcohol than actual food. Working hard to stay healthy and craving for fresh vegetables and fish. Sushi trains run through my dreams. The third minus is shopping. Horrible dull shops and no wonderful clothes, like in Sydney. The shops are largely empty as everything is online, but the sizing and quality is so haphazard that you can’t really buy unless you try things on or inspect them. You can easily become a prisoner of your online deliveries. The delivery window is usually very wide and you really need household staff to wait in for the postman.

The most seriously worrying minus is I can’t find a job. I had rather counted on finding a part-time job fairly quickly, given my high level of computer skills and experience. But no – the UK is still in the dark ages. People keep asking me if I have ‘retired’. Whatever are they talking about? That sort of thinking is long dead. I live in terror of ending up on a check-out in some trashy supermarket. I have to punch my way through whatever artificial ceilings are in place. I am simply changing my career that is all.

Sadly, things are wrong between Philip and me. We have met twice and I can honestly say, and he will no doubt read this, that I love him. He is more interesting that many men I have known. He is intelligent, kind and affectionate, and a brilliant companion. But is he not well; he is bi-polar and that must be terrible and terrifying for him. Right now he is not himself and I have to deal with a different person who I just want to get away from. Like the weather, there is no solution. What happens, happens.

While I was doing research today for my next trip to the town where I was born, I found out  that my ex-husband had died. This was a shock. I had no reason to remember him fondly. He was cruel and he hurt me physically. Nevertheless it is still a shock to come upon his obituary. Not sure how I feel about it. Certainly I am not grieving. I can only say that I feel a sense of loss. Someone who was once close to me has gone from the world. You sense the passing of time. Three of my long-term partners are now dead; one I feel little for, one I regret, and one I truly miss every day.