Category Archives: doctor

Highly unlikely scenarios

Life news:

Ah, the house, the house. We are now so very deeply perplexed and bamboozled by it all that who knows what will happen with it. The latest ins and outs over the weekend were that the vendors didn’t appear to like us doing something they hadn’t expected, ie objecting to their fluid understanding of exchange and completion dates (Gawd bless ’em), and so kept ringing us asking us to ring the particular vendor who is unexpectedly on holiday in Croatia to sort it out. Um, no. There seemed little point doing this as (a) it’s expensive, (b) if the vendors don’t seem to speak with one voice then there’s no point chatting to one of them without the other, (c) if they do speak with one voice, what’s wrong with the one in the UK? and (d) we now want everything in writing so we can have some kind of confidence that any agreements made might actually happen.

In the end we turned the phone off to avoid the calls and withdrew our original offer on the grounds that they weren’t taking the situation seriously enough. Interestingly our simple conveyancing case has been booted upstairs at our conveyancer and the Head Honcho is now dealing with it – and even sending very sweet and supportive emails at 10.30pm on a Sunday night. Well done to her, and we did need some support!

The upshot is that we have made a much lower offer, with provisions attached, and eventually (after recovering from the shock of us not jumping through all the hoops quite so willingly, if at all) the vendors have come back with another price slightly lower than their original one, but with a fair gap still between us, so we’ll raise our offer slightly and then see what happens. In the meantime, we’re also looking at Plan B which is do up our flat, put it on the market and move elsewhere. After all, though it would be nice to continue living here, our house isn’t the only property in the area we can afford.

With this in mind, we have been spring-cleaning! A good thing for whether we stay or whether we go, for sure. I have washed the kitchen cupboards and have spent 4 hours today washing everything in the bathroom and clearing out the stuff I no longer use in there. I expected to find the head of John the Baptist, or possibly Shergar, in the bathroom cupboard but they must have moved out … Which probably isn’t too surprising as I did all the scrubbing (as it were) whilst wearing a shower cap on my head to keep my hair clean, as I couldn’t find a suitable scarf. Thank goodness no-one came to the door! If it had been our vendors, that might have been the final straw for them, ha!

Later this afternoon, I am off to the clinic to see yet another gynae expert to work out if I might need any further operation at some point – my life is so glamorous this week, as you can see. Though this evening, we’re off to the theatre so the day will at least end on a fun note.

And, is it just me, or is there just too much Stephen Fry on TV at the moment? I do love QI and admire some of his programmes, but that utterly dreadful advert for his latest book is just so self-obsessed that it turns my stomach. I was thinking of getting the book but I definitely won’t now – at least until he rediscovers his English sense of humour again. Should have taken a tip from the Peter Mandelson advert, I think, Stephen …

Book News:

I have to say how fed up I am with the number of writers’ Yahoo groups I’m in, one of which has been irritating me so much with its general snippety attitude that it was a great relief to leave it last night. At last – freedom! I took the opportunity to leave some of the other ones too as I never read or take part in them – so am left only with the Yahoo groups that are publisher-specific as those are the most useful ones. It seems a sensible way forward anyway.

Meanwhile, The Delaneys and Me paid a brief visit to the Amazon charts once more, at no 69 no less(!), but it ain’t there now. Ah well.

This week’s meditations are:

Meditation 420
If you want
to commit sins

don’t just copy
your father’s crimes

but do at least try
to be original.

Meditation 421
The quietness of stone
and the warmth of wood

are an everlasting counterpoint
to war’s harsh music.

Meditation 422
Blood leads to blood
and wars never cease

so no-one remains
who might speak of peace.

Meditation 423
It’s not the sin
you commit
that kills you

but the sin
you make
others commit.

Anne Brooke

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The Girl in the Painting

I’m pleased to say that my literary feminist story, The Girl in the Painting, has now been published and more information can be found at my website. You can purchase a copy at Amazon US and at Smashwords, in a variety of formats, hurrah! There’s also a book trailer for your enjoyment. Never say I don’t look after your essential reading needs.

Keeping to the topic of short stories, I was astonished to see that for a very brief period Dancing with Lions was number 94 in the Amazon US Biblical fiction charts. Heck, I’ve never been there before, and I’m not there now, but ah the memory is sweet.

I’m also pleased to note that during last week’s Read an Ebook Week, my short stories, How to Eat Fruit and Dancing with Lions were downloaded over 90 times. Well, gosh. I hope those readers enjoyed the experience.

My final piece of short story news is that A Stranger’s Touch is available as a Kindle ebook and now even has its first five-star Amazon review there, well double gosh and crack open the champers! Thank you very much, Sirius11214 – that’s made my day big-time. And yes, that is exactly what I intended the story to mean – I’m so glad it worked for you, thank you.

Meanwhile, back at Hallsfoot’s Battle (anyone remember that??), I’ve now received the edits back from my ex-agent editor who commented: this is very good, much better than even the revised version of The Gifting. Which to me means a heck of a lot, as I’ve been worrying desperately about mid-series droop and whether any of it was remotely interesting at all. Thank you, John. Maybe I might just be a fantasy author after all, if the wind’s in the right direction and there’s a R in the month. Anyway, I’m going through his edits which are very very useful indeed and whipping the thing further into shape.

I’ve also uploaded my review of Megan Taylor’s wonderfully dark literary novel, The Dawning at Vulpes Libris, and can thoroughly recommend the book. Great stuff, Megan!

In my other life, I’ve finished my online poetry course. I must admit I haven’t enjoyed it as much as last term’s and I don’t think I’ll be doing another for a while, but it’s helped with the poetry. Always a good thing. I’ve also had my annual cholesterol blood test at the doctors – oh the fasting, the lack of breakfast and the desperate whimpering. I’m not known for my courage, ah well. We’ve endured a really weird day at work yesterday when everything went wrong that could go wrong – was it the feng shui lines?? Thank God there was chocolate cake around – we’d never have survived without it. And I’ve had a wonderfully relaxing hour at reflexology today. Bliss. Whatever would I do without my reflexologist?

Tonight, Lord H and I are out at the theatre to see The Secret of Sherlock Holmes with the gorgeous Peter Egan. When I was young, I was so in love with him, you know (don’t tell Lord H – though actually he already knows this, and may well wonder if I’m going to throw my knickers on the stage in the manner of Essex Gals tonight …), but I suspect we’ve all moved on since those glory days. Still, if you do hear tell of an arrest in the Guildford theatre, then no doubt it will be me. I hope you’ll all vouch for my good character. Hey ho.

Anne Brooke – scrubs up well, if given enough time
The Prayer Seeker’s Journal – getting distracted by life

Salt, Gold and Sexy Scavengers

I’m pleased to say that the revised version of Salt and Gold is now available from the Lulu store at a very reasonable price, if anyone is so tempted. I’m hoping it will also be available on Amazon at some point, but I’ll let you know when that transpires. And if they allow it.

Speaking of which, here’s today’s poem:

Meditation 230

Sometimes blindness
leads to sight

and palm trees
to iron chariots.

Everything that is
contains its opposite

twin and is as fluid
as the ungraspable air.

Have had a lovely morning today – my first port of call was a glorious back and facial massage with Alice, the Clarins gal. My, how I’ve needed that this week – the thought of it has been keeping me going through the start of the week for sure. After that I also met Jane H (hello, Jane!) for lunch and a catch-up, which was totally lovely. Really, I should do more of this Lady of Leisure stuff – I think it suits me.

On the way back, I popped into the doctor’s to pick up my latest prescriptions, but only one of them was in store – so I have a fresh supply of nasal spray (hurrah! Breathing is sooo useful …), but have to go back tomorrow for my HRT packages. And it’s such a nightmare to park at the surgery at the moment too as they appear to be rebuilding it from scratch. The poor pharmacy lady has to ply her trade from what is little more than a Portaloo.

Anyway, this afternoon, I have been updating my website with the latest poetry news, and creating mini-sites for Salt and Gold – as above – and also for A Stranger’s Table. I’m pleased that both my extant poetry collections now have their own separate worlds, however tiny.

I’ve also been continuing the edit to The Hit List, and am now on page 200, which is about two-thirds through. It’s a real slow-burn romance, that one, but I like it and it seems right for the angsts and uncertainties of the two men involved. They’ll get there. They’re just taking their time.

Tonight, I’m looking forward to It Takes Two, with Claudia, and – are the rumours true? – is Boris Johnson in EastEnders?? Now there’s something I really have to watch. But, my goodness, soon we won’t be able to tell real life and fantasy life apart at all …

Finally, and very excitingly, I’ve been included in the Dark Divas Sexy Scavengers October competition and there are a multitude of book prizes to win (including one of my own books). So do pop along and enter. The deadline is (of course!) Halloween. Good luck!

Today’s nice things:

1. The revised Salt and Gold collection
2. Poetry
3. Clarins massage
4. Lunch with Jane
5. Website
6. A Stranger’s Table having its own small page
7. Editing The Hit List
8. TV
9. The Sexy Scavengers competition.

Anne Brooke
Sexy Scavengers – the place to be

Reviews, meetings and prescriptions

I’m delighted to say that Maloney’s Law has been given a very positive review by Val Kovalin at Obsidian Bookshelf – so thank you very much, Val, for that. So glad you enjoyed the read! I’m also happy to say that Ruth at work seems to have enjoyed The Bones of Summer – so thanks for reading, Ruth.

Meanwhile here’s this morning’s poem:

Meditation 195

The power of politics
to subdue, condemn

shows to the fallen
the danger of men.

The power of politics
to condemn, subdue

is never a threat
until it condemns you.

Today, I’ve been rushing around sorting out the emails I’ve gained at the end of last week – it’s beginning to hot up now with term starting in less than two months … And I’ve had to face a meeting of the Project Welcome Forum, plus another with the Health Centre people. I was steeling my resolve for a third but thankfully that’s been rescheduled until tomorrow. Phew. It might give me time to catch my breath and start writing up the dang things.

Tonight, I need to pick up my HRT prescription before the pills run out (arrggh!) and if I get time I might also pop in on Gladys. I have a whole new birdseed bag to start. Ooh, and there’s a new series of Would I Lie To You on TV, which I love. David Mitchell is so fabulous.

Today’s nice things:

1. The Maloney’s Law review
2. Ruth enjoying The Bones of Summer
3. Poetry
4. Having a meeting rescheduled, hurrah
5. TV.

Anne Brooke – climbing a mountain of paperwork with a merry song, ho ho
Vulpes Libris – meditating on the miracle of wealth

Short stories and the movie mogul

Ye gods and little fishes, but I actually feel marginally better today. Bloody hell, eh. I discovered that some rather pricey castor oil which my natural health lady recommended for me a couple of years ago was still lurking in the cupboard, so in desperation I smeared it all over my throat and did a wonderful impression of a chip for the evening. Bizarrely, and Lord alone knows how it works, but it actually did clear the breathing passages in a non scary way. I still only got two hours’ sleep, but I didn’t spend the rest of the night snorting like a dying horse or vomiting. Well not as much anyway. Hurrah!

This morning, I managed to grab a doctor’s appointment at as near to first thing as makes no difference, so I made my way there, courtesy of Lord H, clutching the essential sick bags, just in case. Really, I’m a style icon, you know. One day, all the top models will be carrying sick bags. Though perhaps, with their lifestyles, they already do. Sadly though, after a good chat with the doctor, we decided that I was probably already doing everything I should be doing and there wasn’t anything else they could do anyway. Interestingly, the doctor thought that my problems this week might have been caused by having the viral infection alongside the catarrh infection (rather than one at a time, as usual), and both of them were therefore feeding off each other and sending my body into virtual shut-down mode – which might explain why it’s gone on so long and been so utterly dreadful. I will either get better or … um … die. Ah the joys and strengths of the NHS indeed. This choice would have sent me into the deepest realms of despair if the castor oil hadn’t been doing its thing. I think I’ll attempt to choose the first of the options given to me therefore.

As the day has progressed, there have been further improvements and I’ve even eaten lunch (well, soup – a whole bowlful) and started doing some writing-related activities (of which more below). But I do want to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who’s been so lovely with emails, tips, advice and blog support over the last (rather horrific) week. It’s helped such a lot. Thank you. I do still feel a bit dodgy though, so have cancelled Easter – well, Easter with Mother anyway. We’ll be having a delayed Easter (much like the Orthodox churches, who always have it a few weeks after the rest of Christendom) over the first of the May bank holidays instead – I just hope the presents I’ve got her won’t be out-of-date by then.

For the rest of the day, I have done fun stuff on the computer relating to my short stories. First off, I’ve rehashed my website short story pages so that now you get information on two of my upcoming stories, Painting from Life and The Voyage. Plus details about my longstanding comic short story, Not a Shred of Evidence, which is still available in Gatto Publishing’s story collection. There are extracts from the beginning of all three tales on my site, so enjoy the reads. And the pictures are of course fabulous too (especially as one of them is by me indeed!).

I’ve also created a book trailer for Painting from Life, which I’m very pleased with. I won’t upload it anywhere yet though – not till we’re nearer the May publication date. Still, I’m happy with the results, it was a lot of fun and I am now the Movie Expert of Godalming. Well, of the flat at least.

Ooh, and Leslie from Bristlecone Pine Press has been running some competitions and, out of the winners, two people chose Pink Champagne and Apple Juice and one chose Thorn in the Flesh as their prizes – so whoever you are out there I hope you enjoy the reads. Honestly, hearing that news is like being picked first in the school netball – or hockey – or tennis – or anything else at all team (whereas I was always picked last in actual fact) … Leslie has also kindly said she’ll include these in my royalties, so thank you for that also!

Today’s nice things:

1. Being slowly but resolutely (at last! at last!) on the mend. I hope …
2. Working on my website
3. Creating a book trailer for Painting from Life
4. Lovely people choosing two of my books as prizes, well gosh.

Anne Brooke
Anne’s website – telling the stories you want to hear …

A visit to the doctor and the Swedish detective

Another relatively short blog today. And one obsessed by illness. Sorry, but that’s really all I’m doing at the moment – being ill. Had a really bad night last night and only managed about one hour’s sleep as my ears were so painful from the nasty catarrh thing. Coughing was rough too. So as I’ve now not eaten anything worth the naming of it since Tuesday morning, I rang up the doctor first thing and made an appointment. I just got worried, I think, as usually I get rid of these attacks in a couple of days and I’m now on my fourth day.

Anyway, Lord H took me to the surgery, and the good news is my lungs, ears and throat are okay. It’s just the catarrh problem we need to kick back (which I knew, I suppose). So I now have a box of antihistamine tablets (which I haven’t taken before) as the doctor hopes that might get me through the worst of it over the next few days. And he told me not to worry about the food thing and to keep drinking. Really, I just want to be well enough for the Sunday reading, and of course I’m supposed to be on conference next week. Honestly the surgery pharmacist greeted me like an old friend when I popped my head round the door – which was brave of her really, seeing as I haven’t dared to wash my hair (ears, people, ears!) and I hadn’t been arsed to put any make-up on. Well, these days, I’m there often enough – maybe I’m her best customer. I also bought some Complan (a meal substitute for people who can’t eat) and have had a mug of that once at home. So I’m less worried about morphing into some kind of super-being who doesn’t actually need food, or sleep, now – and at least I’ve had some vitamins.

However, one good thing about today is I have had the odd bout of sneezing – any catarrh/sinus sufferers out there will know how wonderful that can be! – which gives me some hope. And I’ve had another hour’s sleep on the sofa, though of course it took me a while to get back on an even keel after the bad move of actually lying down, sigh …

Meanwhile, I’ve read my first of the Henning Mankell Wallander books (of the four we have – well, Lord H is very fond of them) – this is the original one called Faceless Killers. It’s strangely addictive and quirkily written. There’s a lot of telling rather than showing, but somehow here that doesn’t matter. It’s very … um … Swedish. Other things that Lord H has noted as possibly being very Swedish is the constant mentions of the weather. And goodness me, what a lot of mentions there are. The man is obsessed with snow, and the possibility of it. Wallander also thinks a lot and has a lot of headaches, as well as carrying out a lot of his investigations in the dark. Well, it is Sweden after all. I enjoyed it. It’s perfect reading for when you’re ill. I’m onto my next one in the series now.

Today’s nice things:

1. Making a decision to go to the doctor
2. Getting a new pill
3. Sneezing
4. Complan
5. Books.

Anne Brooke
Anne’s website – hoping for another bout of sleep and sneezing, soon please God

Book trailers, interviews, pills and potions

Goodness me, it seems as if my feet haven’t touched the ground once today – or perhaps I really am sitting very strangely at the computer desk? It’s hard to say … Anyway, I had fun last night answering some very searching interview questions from First Edition Magazine which they hope to publish in May. And I also filled in an author publicity sheet for Bridge House Publishing in preparation for the arrival of the Real Bible Stories anthology later in the year. Hell, I almost sound like a real writer there. Obviously it can’t last … Actually I’m very excited by the anthology as Bridge House have all sorts of plans and ideas for it, including a blog, an authors’ network and a possible launch event etc etc, depending on how near to each other all the contributors live. In the sheet, they also asked for suggestions of who might endorse the work, and I instantly thought of Victor Stock, the Dean of Guildford Cathedral, or perhaps the University Chaplain, Jonathan Frost. Something to ponder on, maybe …

This morning, I’m afraid I’ve not done my usual Bible reading, so there’s no meditation poem – my excuse is that I’ve had to skip breakfast in preparation for a cholesterol blood test at the doctor’s so I haven’t had the energy for spiritual exercise. Of any sort. At the surgery, they managed to get some blood out of my arm at the first attempt too (very rare), so well done them. However I shall be sure to limp and look suitably pathetic for when Lord H comes home. No change there then. I also had my usual diabetes test done at the same time – really, in this day and age you’d think they’d provide something more suitable than that minute test-tube to do one’s business in, but sadly not. Apparently they’ll ring me and let me know if (a) my cholesterol is rubbish; (b) I have diabetes; or (c) I’m dead. How kind. So no news is good news, as they say. Whilst there, I also picked up a renewal of my HRT pills, as they seem to be working okay at the moment. Long may that continue, eh.

For the rest of this morning, I’ve been having fun sourcing pictures, music and making a running plan for my proposed book trailer for Maloney’s Law. For which I must heartily thank the lovely and talented Caroline Rance who spared me time in her no doubt action-packed pre-publication schedule to write me a short manual of how to do a book trailer. Thank you so much, Caroline – you are an utter star! I’m planning to have a go at the first version of it, with Lord H’s help, this weekend, so wish me luck. However, at this stage in the game, I’m really thrilled with the pictures I’ve found, and the music is ace too. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

I’ve also managed to squeeze out another 1000 words to Hallsfoot’s Battle, so I’m now into the 101,000 zone. And I think we’re getting to some pretty explosive and magical goings-on right now. Though Ralph is rather the worse for wear, what with the agonies the mind-executioner has put him through. At the moment in that little scene, Simon is actually the only sane one there – which is a rather desperate situation, to say the least. Whatever next, I wonder.

In the midst of all that, I’ve also written a nonsense poem based on the words “bank”, “barn” and “bottom”. Yes, well. That probably is as good an indication of the state of my brain as any. It just started drumming away at my head at about 10.30 (maybe it’s the lack of breakfast?), demanding I notice it, so I had to give in in the end. I enjoyed writing it too. Better out than in. As it were.

And much to my blessed relief, I’ve finally dragged myself, moaning and chortling (but not in a good way), to the end of the quite astonishingly dire Belshazzar’s Daughter by Barbara Nadel. She’s described on the front of the book as the “Donna Leon of Istanbul”. I’ve never read a Leon. Is she really that bad?? Words fail me. Are publishers on drugs??? It’s the only explanation. Anyway, it’s very sloppily written, the point of view changes with the wind, even within paragraphs, and it’s full of horrid, selfish people, all of whom I wished had died on Page 1. The only good thing is that Policeman Number Two, Suleyman, is nice, and Policeman Number One, Ikmen, is interesting. That’s about it really. The plot is so cliched that I actually laughed out loud at several points, unable to believe what I was reading. I began to fear I would never get to the end of it and I would be stuck in the nightmare world of Nadel for ever, with no possibility of reprieve. Please God let her not write anything else. I couldn’t bear the thought.

Tonight, Lord H and I are lightening the mood by going to the theatre to see Lloyd George Knew My Father. I’m hoping it’s as funny as it says it is – after the recent reading horror, I need all the comedy I can get. Hell, I deserve it.

Today’s nice things:

1. Responding to an interview request
2. Publicity sheets
3. Book trailers
4. Writing Hallsfoot
5. Nonsense poetry
6. Theatre.

Anne Brooke
Anne’s website – I’m ready for my close-up, Mr DeMille …