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5 Happy Things: January 2018

Things that are making me happy this month?

1.My job! I am loving doing formatting – I’ve had a stack of books from Grimbold to do over the last few months, and I’ve finally got to the stage where I’m a bit more confident with what I’m doing (and have just had confirmation that I am doing it right, with the correct formats and results) – and it’s great 🙂 I like being able to help people, and seeing something physical as the result of my work is just brilliant. We’re gearing up for a whole stack of releases over the next six months, so that’s going to be amazing!

2.Playing new games! I’ve joined a gaming group in Salisbury that meets in a lovely pub (The Pheasant) every Tuesday, and it’s great to be playing again. I’ve played some old favourites, and also been introduced to a lot of new games – my favourite was last week, which was Ex Libris. You get to collect books and shelve them! It’s pretty much the perfect game for a librarian.

3.Silly songs! Every time I knock on Grandma’s door, I get “Who’s that knocking on my door? It’s only me, from over the sea, said Barnacle Bill the Sailor” – no idea where that comes from, but it makes me laugh! And another friend (I say…he’s shortly becoming a mortal enemy if he keeps this up) has been sending me My Little Pony tunes from YouTube, which GET STUCK IN MY HEAD. You try waking up every morning with “Raise a barn, we’ll raise a barn, 1 , 2, 3, 4,” going round your head and tell me you wouldn’t go insane…

4.Salisbury Plain. In case you’re not familiar with it, it’s a chunk of countryside that the Army borrowed a while back, and it means the roads are tiny, there’s very few villages, and it’s pretty unspoiled (if you ignore the occasional tank). Think Wales with fewer mountains. I’ve been travelling across it for most of the last ten years as I slowly moved further and further north, but now I’m usually heading to the other side of Swindon to see friends, and I’ve been exploring different routes. I still can’t get used to going through Avebury – trundle trundle, country roads, HOLY FRICK THERE’S A STONE CIRCLE. I love the landscape of the area so much; having grown up involved in the archaeology in Salisbury, I love Stonehenge and the cursus, Old Sarum and Woodhenge. So getting to pass Silbury and Stonehenge as I go, and wave to the barrows and the white horses, is a real joy.

5.Dim sum. Our local Chinese in Swindon – which is pretty awesome anyway and does good fried rice – now does dim sum. I was randomly wanting it before Christmas and did some investigating, ad could only find a local buffet (which obviously involves leaving the house) so I was sad…but then accidentally discovered that the Chinese has it! I got ALL THE SUGAR BUNS. It was amazing. I haven’t had them for a couple of years…actually, probably about five…and I just. Gah. There’s something about the mix of sweet dough and different insides that just makes me so happy. Plus, I got a steamer for Christmas, so I can try making my own!

So that’s little things for January!

Random Writing: snarky Ghost stories

Stories about a character named Ghost, that is. I probably should change her name, although it’s already confusing, so…meh.

I went to the Salisbury Writer’s Circle this week, just to see a) what it was like, and b) if I met anyone. It was ok – I’m never sure I’m the right candidate for writer’s groups, as I don’t often have work to share, write fantasy, and do not get on at all with language analysis. So the meeting was ok: it was busy (they had a lot of new people) but they had a fun interview with Barney Norris, and we also got given some writing prompts – so I thought I’d share the snippets!

The first was the prompt of a mobile phone not working, with a focus on the phone itself. This is straight from my scrappy notes!

I step out of the gateway, fish my phone out of my pocket, and thumb the button. In true helpful fashion, nothing happens. I swear – quietly – and push the power button. Two…three…there.

Still nothing.

I’m mindful of the commuters rushing past me, and manage the next virulent swear under my breath. Press and hold. Two…three…four…

I want to slam the damn thing into the ground, and manage to turn it into a snarl of frustration. Of all the days for my phone to break, it has to be now?

And the second prompt was “mist”.

I’m being followed.

In most cases, this wouldn’t be a problem. I’d slip on my invisibility, walk lightly, and hightail it out of there. In this case, though, I have two problems. One, it’s misty – so thick that I can pretty much walk on it. Being invisible ain’t going to help me if whatever is following me can follow through this cloud of misty, white cold.

And two, I have a strong suspicion that what’s following me is something rather nasty. Like…a hag. Skeletal, bent, and with a taste for human flesh.

This isn’t good.

Even having typed them out, I can feel my fingers itching for tweaks and amendments! I have no idea where either of these would go, but they definitely could be story starters.