Making sense where there is none.


Hi there,

people say ‘things happen for a reason’, they also say ‘you go when it’s your time’

Well something happened yesterday that would make the sanest of us doubt the validity of those two statements.

It began like any other, normal day, my partner and I woke up and seeing as we were still on holiday, decided to have a lie in. I got up and made a cup of tea for myself and my beautiful partner and brought them back to bed where we lay reading, relaxing and enjoying our time off together. It was later than usual when we dragged ourselves out of bed. We strolled downstairs, had a bit of breakfast and received a phone call from the estate agent to tell us of an offer that a prospective buyer had made. Things were looking up, perhaps the new year would see some pleasant changes. We began to hope.

We discussed the offer and where would we live should we accept, which was something we hadn’t really talked about. The house had been on the market for so long we never thought that, in this present economic climate that we would ever receive one. We talked and talked and we actually began to make plans, which was something we hadn’t dared do for almost a year.

Then it all changed.

My phone went off while I was in the shower and by the time my partner went to get it, it had rang off and I was left with a text that simply said ‘Ring me’

I knew something was wrong the second I read it. I called her and she was crying, sobbing really and I asked, “What’s wrong?”

All she said was, “Are you sitting down?” Right then I knew it was bad news, the kind of news everyone dreads and my immediate thoughts went to our mother who is 81 years old and not in the best of health. My second thought was her partner who is in his late seventies and also not in the best of health, either of them would be the obvious choice and I could feel my world slipping away. What happened next though, took me completely by surprise and was equally shocking, possibly more so because of who was involved.

She said, “Matt’s been killed,” and I went numb. To say I was in shock would be a grave misconception, this went beyond shock. Matt was her son, my nephew and one of the nicest, kindest. most intelligent people I have had the pleasure and privilege to know, and he was 32 years old.

From what we’ve managed to glean throughout yesterday, he was on his way to work on his motor bike, he overtook a cyclist on a straight piece of road and a pheasant came into his path which he hit. He died instantly in the crash. There was no rider error, he wasn’t going too fast, it was just one of those random acts that are inexplicable.

So, do things happen for a reason, if so can anyone please explain to me, the reason why one of the best friends I ever had would have to die like that. Why would my sister have to endure the loss of her son after losing her husband of over 30 odd years, just over 2 years ago. I don’t believe for a second that it was his time to go. He had some much potential, so much to give and so much left in his life to achieve so don’t tell me it was his time.

How can someone make sense of a situation when it makes no sense? That was what all of us were struggling with along with the grief and loss of our loved one. I spent some time with my sister and her daughter and close family friends and it was a common theme of all our thoughts. What happened made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

How does someone come back from that world shattering tragedy? Simple answer, you endure.

My sister is one of the strongest people I know. She has my admiration, she is my inspiration through bad times and she has always and will always have my undying love and respect. She will endure with all the love and support of family and friends and she will go on.

When I got home last night I spoke to both my children who are grown up with families of their own and was thankful that they, with their families were fine and well. I love them very much and I don’t know if I could cope if I had to go through what my sister is going through right now.

In closing I’ll repeat something my sister said which has an undeniable truth to it. She said, “Live every day as if it’s your last, because one day it will be.”

See you soon,

Jan.

 

 

All over for another year.


Hi there,

and here we are, we’ve managed to survive another Christmas. A time of the year that is fraught with frustration, greed, over eating, over spending and for what? A time that habitually brings out the worst in people in the run up to the big day, why do we put ourselves through all that for just a few hours of pleasure?

The answer is simple, because it’s also a time of the year that brings out the best in us. Whatever your beliefs, I believe that there is a magic around Christmas time. Whether or not that’s because I’m still a big kid at heart, I don’t honestly know, what I do know is that I have seen it bring out the worst in people and I’ve also been witness to the absolute best in people too.

Is there a point to all this? Probably not, except to say that those few hours that we spent months preparing for are now over again for another year. We survived and, no doubt some of us will be looking forward to next year. I also know some will actually start their preparations in the new year too. Whatever, I would just like to wish you all the best of luck for the coming year, I hope your dreams come true and all your resolutions stay firm.

See you soon,

Jan.

Weather puts kibosh on plans


Hi there,

I had made plans with my editor for him and his family to come over on friday to discus the changes he’d made to Ronin. The idea was we were going to go through the manuscript, implement the changes then upload the finished book, along with the new artwork to Smashwords.com. Well as you can imagine, the weather had other ideas.

I left work at 2pm because I had another appointment at 4pm but because of the snow it took me 2 hours to get 3/4 of the way home. The appointment at 4 had to be re-scheduled obviously and it took me a further 1/2 hour to get home.

The roads from Stoke-on-Trent to where I live in Matlock were absolutely horrendous. Snow had fallen heavily most of the morning which made the roads treacherous to say the least. Traffic was moving, gladly, but at a snail’s pace and as I listened to the radio I heard of accidents happening all over the place. Luckily there were none on my route to slow me down any further.

There was one point when I thought I wouldn’t make it home though. I had left the A53 Leek to Ashbourne road heading towards Onecote. The road was covered in snow and it looked like hardly any traffic had passed through there as there were only a few tire tracks in the snow and it looked really slippery. If I drove a 4×4 I wouldn’t have been worried but as I drive a normal two wheel drive car my heart was in my mouth, especially as you consider that Onecote lies at the bottom of a valley that has twisting roads of at least a 20% gradient on either side. After Oncote there is a further decent via a snake-like twisting series of ‘s’ bends that are even steeper at a gradient of 14%.

This did not look promising.

As I navigated the first descent towards Onecote I saw a Ford Mondeo struggling to climb up the bank. His wheels were spinning and he was hardly making any headway and a queue was forming behind him. The car in front of me pulled over and decided to turn around clearly not fancying his chances any further on that particular road. This gave my a dilemma, should I do the same and pick another route home or chance my luck?

A group of women got out of a car behind the stalled Mondeo, as he was making no headway at all at this point, or at the very most only a few inches at a time. They began to wave me on so I proceeded toward them and asked what the roads were like further on. They told me that they were quite passable and that I just needed to take my time. This gave me heart so I continued and to my surprise once I reached the top of the road leading out of Onecote it became a lot easier. There was still snow but the road was clearer, which just left me that 14% down gradient of winding ‘s’ bends.

The moment I reached the top of that particular, nightmare road I knew I would be alright. There was snow on the fields to either side of the road but none on the road itself so I was able to continue safely breathing much more freely.

Once I reached home around 4.30 I contacted my editor and told him of the conditions of the roads leading to my home. He would be travelling more or less the same roads I had to get to our meeting and after a quick phone discussion we decided to postpone until the following morning. That too, proved to be a problem.

I woke on saturday morning to find we had an electrical fault in the system and had to call someone out to look at it. This meant that my plan to complete the book had to be postponed once more. I began to wonder if fate was against me ever getting this book out.

Anyway the plans have now been re-scheduled for a day after Christmas whereby, hopefully, everything will be completed satisfactorily and Ronin will be out on Smashwords.com.

I look forward to this immensely and I hope it’s worth all the effort that has gone into it. There is a positive to be taken out of all this, last night I was able to concentrate fully on my new project and move it forward. I was pleased with the results and when it’s completed I hope you will be too.

That’s all for now, the run up to Christmas is getting closer and more frantic every day. I hope each and every one of you get’s to spend time with your loved ones and may all your hopes and dreams come true.

See you soon,

Jan.

Holidays are coming


Hi there,

the year has flown by, again, and the end of the year is almost upon us once more. Today is the last of my holiday’s until we finish for the Christmas break and it’s Christmas shopping day. I’m still fighting my recent dose of manflu which knocked me off my feet, literally so today will be somewhat of an uphill battle but I’m sure it’ll be worth it in the end.

Yesterday was the Christening of my second grandson and it was wonderful to see all the clan together once more, and some faces I hadn’t seen for decades. The actual service aside, it was a fabulous church that dates back to pre-Norman times and as you walked up to it you could almost feel the history that surrounds and permeates through that venerable ancient building. I won’t comment on the service because faith is a personal thing and up to the individual. I’ll just say that it wasn’t to my taste. I’ve been to, what I consider better christening services but I won’t detract from yesterdays because it was my  grandson’s big day and he shone.

I find it almost unnerving when going to church, for whatever reason, be it a wedding, funeral, christening or simply a service, unnerving by the strength and depth of some people’s faith and belief. I was at my uncle’s funeral a few years back and discovered a whole new side to this wonderful man. I always knew he was active in the church but never realised the strength of his belief system.  One of the things that will always stick with me is one of the comments a friend of his made during the service. He said that he was with my uncle at Keswick and they were standing at the top of a hill overlooking the wonderful scenery and he asked my uncle, “How can you believe in God?” My uncle simply replied by pointing out the view and said, “How can you not?”  This led me to a personal search to see if I could find just what it was he saw. I began to go to church for a short period, as I was getting married at the time and I even enrolled in an Alpha Course to see if it would help me find some answers to my unasked questions.

Did I find that which I was searching for? No, I couldn’t get past the blind faith in certain people to take what was written thousands of years ago as gospel when it could very well have been embellished to some degree. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t believe in what the church tells you, not by any means. As I said earlier belief is a very personal thing and up to the individual, I however believe in something but at this point I’m still not sure what. What I do know is that I live by certain tenets and always have done. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself, all life is sacred (which can be quite a challenge when your fear of spiders tells you to lash out and squash the little critter), thou shall not kill or steal or covet thy neighbours wife, these are all basics of right and wrong. I don’t hate someone who believes in something different to me and I certainly would never challenge anyone because of their belief system. What I cannot believe is, that anyone capable of creating all the wonder that surrounds us would create all the hatred we see in the world. That is not His will, it’s purely the will of man.

The older I get the more relevant a line I once read becomes. Someone once said, “I swear there aint no Heaven but I pray there aint no Hell.”

To you all, whatever your belief’s, I hope you have a very happy Christmas and I hope all your hopes and dreams come true in the new year.

See you soon,

Jan.

Illness destroys creative juices.


Hi there,

for the past week I’ve been knocked off my feet with a dose of the manflu. I haven’t been able to eat properly, sleep properly,  most nights I would sleep on the sofa so that I didn’t disturb my partner with my endless coughing and sneezing. This is the first time in seven days I’ve actually been at my laptop to actually write anything.To say I felt like s**t would be a huge understatement.

Today though, after spending a full night of restful sleep in bed I woke to feel, better. I’m still recovering, the cough is still there as is all the mucus that accompanies such an event, but I actually feel better. I found myself thinking of plot details on my new story, which had completely stymied me whilst I was ill, unfolding in my mind as I lay in bed. This morning I got up to write and not because I couldn’t sleep which has to be an improvement, don’t you think?

I’m so glad I’m on the mend, it’s hell when you’re ill and I have the utmost respect for those whose battle illness or disability on a daily basis, their strength of character is nothing if not epic. I’ve only had to battle a dose of the manflu, I have no idea how I’d manage with anything more serious.

Anyway, that’s all for now, just wanted to say Hi,

see you soon,

Jan.