Jaye’s Journal (off the beaten track!)

In an effort to forget my health problems for a while, my journal today will concern itself with a much better topic!

 

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In my wildest dreams, I could never have dreamed what I would be getting up to in my advancing years. Just goes to show how far you can come if you let yourself dream big.

I have always hated anything to do with computers for they are illogical, slow and complicated. I firmly believe they were sent by the devil to drive us all mad. At least, that’s what happens in our house!

But it wasn’t always this way.

There was a time when the idea of a machine with such amazing capabilities did seem like a fantastic advantage. But my first encounter with one, some thirty years ago, probably ruined me for life. This was when it was in its infancy, and you had to upload or input reams of data to do even the simplest thing. My son was playing chess on this strange looking box and I wanted to have a go. What he forgot to mention, was if you made even a small mistake in entering this data (which seemed to take hours) you would get a big fat nothing. Stubbornly, I tried and tried but failed to get it to work.

Fast forward to just a few years ago, when Indie publishing started making headlines.

Despite my earlier disappointment, I felt myself warming to the idea. I wouldn’t have to input masses of data like before, so maybe it would be easier to use. We all know the answer to that supposition, don’t we?

I still hate computers with a passion, but I do appreciate just how wonderful they are if you can learn the ropes. I still have days when I could beat mine to death with a mallet, but this is more to do with my stubborn brain than anything else. Because they can sometimes do so many amazing things, it encourages us mortals to reach for the stars.

Way back at the beginning of my blogging career, I can remember wondering if I would ever write a book, and now I have written three, well, five if you count the non-fiction ones. At the time, I was happily editing Anita’s books. I never thought a muse would bother me.

When it did, I was astonished by just how addictive writing can become. The most surprising thing was the behaviour of my characters. They became like old friends, and I enjoyed their company so much, the first book turned into a series. Even now, they are nagging me to let them loose again!

It has been an amazing and often terrifying journey, from that first ever blog post to eventually formatting e-books, paperback copies and book trailers. Learning how to put a book together was hard, but the writing was the best part, once I convinced myself that it was something I could do, after all.

None of which was easy for the biggest technophobe this side of Microsoft, someone who battles technology every single day for that magical moment when realisation dawns and I finally understands how things work.

I am well past retiring age now, but I am busier than ever and have no intentions of slowing down or stopping, for where would the fun be in that?

This journey still has some mileage, however, for there are a few things I haven’t attempted yet, and several that need improving. So I won’t be putting away my thinking cap just yet.

 As they said when I was at school, “There is always room for improvement…”


 We hope everyone has a lovely weekend! The weather is behaving, so kick off your shoes and enjoy!  Back to work on Monday!!!

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Anger…

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

“When you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on…” Thomas Jefferso

 

What do you think when you read this quote?

Do you think of anger or frustration?

Or something else?

What is the best way to handle anger?

Is it better to hide it inside you, and never show what you feel?

Or should you vent your spleen, regardless of terrifying the cat?

Some people scream into a pillow or punch the wall… I tried that once and nearly broke my hand.

 

I have been surrounded by angry people for most of my life, and this has surely been the primary cause of the length of my own personal rope.

Having more patience than most people, it must seem as though my rope has no end, but I can assure you that you wouldn’t want to be around me if I ever do reach the end of it.

I have seen first-hand what a bad temper can do to both people and situations, and it’s never good. More damage is done in temper than almost anything else on this planet.

 

Over the years, I have become very good at controlling my emotions. I can be positively seething inside, but no one would ever know. Sometimes it is more difficult and I get perilously close to blowing a fuse. This is when I usually go for a walk.

Even if it isn’t far enough, it usually allows me to rein in some of my errant rope.

 

‘Give someone enough rope, and let them hang themselves…’

 

What do you do when you can see the end of your rope approaching?

 

#Writephoto: Pinnacle

Today, I have beaten Anita to Sue Vincent’s #Writephoto entry!  This mysterious castle just called me and I couldn’t help myself!

 

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Frozen Pinnacle

The air was so cold my lungs screamed with every breath and I had lost all feeling in my feet a while ago. Something I was grateful for, as they too had been in agony from the intense cold.

My breath seemed to hang in the air, inches from my face, the moisture rendered heavy enough to linger. I wanted to stop, to stand still and watch what would happen. Would my frozen breath drop to the ground like human snow?

However, I would not stop, not yet.

The snowy castle spires were visible now, appearing above the frozen trees as I drew closer. Each step became harder, every breath more painful. My thoughts scattering like snowflakes.

Defeat was visible now too, and I wondered if anyone would find me, a frozen statue still gazing at the distant destination…

 

©JayeMarie 2018https://scvincent.com/2018/05/24/thursday-photo-prompt-turrets-writephoto/

The Royal Wedding

 

 

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I raced through my work that morning so I could sit down and watch the long awaited royal wedding.

Megan and Harry had a lovely day for it, the sun beamed down on all the people, the bright colours of all the fine dresses and flowers simply breath-taking.

The amount of celebrities attending the event was amazing, an absolute Who’s Who of show business. I could list all the ones I spotted but the list would be too long. It made a change to see no politicians amongst them though!

But everything was not so lovely where I was. Roadworks right outside our window competed with the sound control of the TV, doing its level best to spoil what promised to be a lovely, special day. Our TV is right next to the window and most of the morning it was like having a split screen, wedding on one side, men, and noisy machines on the other. But before long, I forgot about the machines and the noise, and enjoyed the wedding of the year.

At one point, due to the amount of people there, I was expecting a battle of the bonnets, as there didn’t seem to be enough room for all those glorious hats!

Everyone was looking forward to seeing the bride and her dress. Something I always look forward to as I used to make wedding dresses. This was one of my favourite jobs, helping to make so many different women’s dreams come true.

I remembered one young woman who had just been badly let down when a wedding dress company went bust. She turned up at my door, barely holding back the tears. The wedding was only a week away and she hoped I could do something. Now, I have been known to achieve the impossible at very short notice, but miracles usually take a little longer than a week!

I pulled out all the stops, called in a few favours and did manage to pull something out of the hat. I ended up being invited to the wedding!

While I waited for the bride to appear, I couldn’t help thinking back to the dress I created with the help of a wing and a prayer, and the look on the woman’s face when she saw it.

When you get to my age, it seems that everything reminds you of something else, and I am constantly surprised by something I had long forgotten about.

It was a beautiful wedding, and the love came through the TV and made my day rather special too…

To Be or not to Be?

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This morning, as I was reading the news on my PC, there was an article about recognising the signs of Alzheimers or dementia, and as I am constantly being told that I am well on my way to having one or the other, I gave it a read.

I suppose it was inevitable at my age, 74, for the remarks to start because I must admit, I am nothing like I used to be. (Sssh, don’t tell anyone I said that!)

 For instance:

… How many times do I forget what I am doing, or what I was going to do?

… How many times do I ask the same question or misunderstand the answer?

… Trying to find the right words to express myself.

… Are my mood swings more pronounced? Although personally, despite public opinion, I think I am having more good moods lately.

… Then there are the changes in my vision. (Which are definitely caused by my cataract)

…Do I have trouble learning new skills? (This is not exactly new, I have always been a bit dense, but I get there in the end!)

 

But on the good side:  (That I managed to find a few of these pleased me no end!)

I haven’t yet got lost in the street. (Although I did recently forget my dentist appointment)

I haven’t yet staggered down the road, waving my knickers in the air. (And I hope I never do, but it could happen apparently!)

I have not lost interest in any of my projects or hobbies. Just the time I need to do them!

I can still do sums in my head and follow a plot. (More or less!)

I have begun to worry less about our progress, but wonder if this is down to losing the plot!

 

One of my main accusers is also displaying some of these telltale signs, so it is probably only a matter of time for either one of us falls foul to the disease of the aged…  This isn’t a competition I intend to win, however…

All joking aside, I am becoming a little concerned about the star of my brain. At first, it was amusing and on a good day, it can be hilarious, watching myself do the most stupid of things. Like going out for a walk without any shoes on, or forgetting to switch on the washing machine/computer/iron/oven and wonder why nothing happens. One the best ones was wondering why the kettle didn’t quite fit in the fridge. Even I had to laugh at that one.

All of this is beginning to affect my writing too, despite all the notes I make, and the frantic checking what I actually wrote yesterday.

I still get a satisfying buzz when I reach my daily total, but the extent of my elation is in itself alarming. I am having to work in short bursts, and this is playing havoc with my productivity!

I want to believe this has everything to do with the cataract in my left eye. It has been slowly growing for some years now and is finally large enough to be removed. As per NHS guidelines, of course. My vision is doing such weird things, but could it be affecting my brain too?

If anyone has any experience of this, I would be delighted to hear it.

 

 

Come out, come out, wherever you are…

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image by Pixabay.com

 

I have been trying to sort out my ever-growing collection of photographs as I am a bit of a hoarder; things have been getting out of hand lately. Actually finding what I’m looking for is proving to be not only impossible but downright frustrating, even though I know what I’m looking for is there somewhere.

I put my ultra-patient hat on and set to work, but soon realised that I might still be doing it this time next year, so I gave up. I would have to do a section at a time, fitting the time in as and when possible.

Fast forward to the following day, when I was looking for yet another image on Pixabay.com. If you have ever used this site, you will know that you have to enter your requirement in their search box and with one click, they give you pages of exactly what you are looking for.

I realised that this same system is in operation on many other sites too. There are search boxes everywhere, and this got me thinking. Why can’t we have a search box on our own image files?

Just think, instead of scrolling endlessly through dozens of folders and hundreds of images, you could just enter the relevant word and hey presto, no more frustration!

I just know that round about now, someone is going to tell me that there is already such a system. So, why don’t I know about it, and who is going to tell me how to get it?

 

#WednesdayWriter ~ Nine Lives ~ Chapter Two

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Nine Lives was my debut novel, one I made such a lot of mistakes with.

Feel free to comment, advise or criticise, as I am very interested in improving my craft.

Chapter One received some valuable advice last week, please keep it coming!

Even though it might never be perfect, your first book is always special, isn’t it?

To this end, I will be posting a chapter every Wednesday…

Chapter Two

What happened next was a bit like trying to watch a film through a heavy net curtain. There seemed to be far too many people in her flat, and no one appeared to be talking to her or each other. Foul tasting pills were pushed into her mouth. She wanted a drink of water but couldn’t seem to get anyone’s attention. Then something was wrapped around her arm and she was dimly aware of someone looking at her.

Something warm and fluffy gently pushed against her hand and she realised it was Dylan, back to check on her again. He was an intelligent animal and always seemed to know when she needed to fuss him. What would happen to him if she weren’t around?

Then she was pulled to her feet, what was happening now? Where were they taking her? Two men in bright Day-Glo jackets led her outside to a waiting ambulance. She didn’t understand how she was walking; she wasn’t in control of her legs. How was she moving? What was happening to her? Worry about finishing her latest artwork tried to take shape in her head, but she couldn’t seem to make herself care about anything. She was glad she had cleaned the paint from her fingers earlier and that was all that seemed to matter.

Once inside the ambulance, more pieces of equipment were attached to her and machinery hummed and bleeped. One of the men was talking, and it all sounded far away and very technical. Then the ambulance started up and the ride to the hospital was a nightmare. There didn’t seem to be enough room to swing a cat what with all the equipment, and the ambulance man was not exactly skinny. He seemed to be putting his hands all over her to keep his balance. The driver must be a maniac.

When she arrived at the hospital, she expected to see the emergency department, but they took her to what appeared to be a state of the art operating theatre. She didn’t know it at the time but this was where they usually took people who were having a heart attack. This was technology at its finest but she was in no state to appreciate any of it. By this time she was pumped so full of morphine she literally didn’t care if it snowed. Nurses tried to reassure her, but she didn’t care what they did. They asked if there was anyone she wanted them to call, and she shook her head. There was her brother Danny, or her agent and friend Samantha Cameron, but she didn’t want either of them there, so she said no, there was no one. That suddenly seemed so incredibly sad she felt like crying.

The pain in her chest was bad, and for some peculiar reason, it wasn’t bothering her much. Whatever the doctor was doing was nothing worse than someone holding her arm tightly. She looked in his direction and all she could see above the mask he wore were his dark eyes, concentrating hard on something in front of him. They seemed to be kind eyes if a little young. She wondered if he was tired. It was late after all, she heard the nurses talking about being woken up to come and help her.

All the machines and equipment around her seemed to be wrapped in plastic bags, and it struck her as funny they hadn’t unwrapped everything when they bought them. No, that wasn’t right, was it?

Something was happening to her arm, he was squeezing it harder than before and then he said something about feeling something cold. Was he talking to her?

Then she felt it, a weird coldness was slowly creeping up her arm and into her chest. What was he doing? She was so tired and desperately wanted to fall asleep and it wasn’t happening.

A strong waft of a familiar fragrance drifted over her as she lay there, and she struggled to open her eyes, expecting to see a nurse close by, but no one was close enough, so where had it come from?

For some inexplicable reason, the scent of flowers made her think of her mother. She died when Kate was sixteen and because of her miserable childhood, made infinitely more miserable by her mother, Kate should have hated her. All the time she was growing up, Kate thought she did.

Now, all Kate felt was sadness for the woman who clearly hadn’t been happy either, never managing to find anything to make her life worthwhile.

After all this time, Kate still missed not having a proper mother.  She never had a dad either; he died during the war so he had the ultimate excuse. Try as she might, Kate could never come up with a decent excuse for her mother’s behaviour. She had always been achingly absent whenever Kate needed someone to comfort her and it would have been nice to have someone to rely on, no matter what.


A long time seemed to pass, with all the people in the room busy doing something and calling out to each other, and she couldn’t quite figure out what they were saying. It was as though she was seeing things with the wrong glasses on. Everything was blurred and out of focus. Then she was moved again, the trolley she was lying on pushed down seemingly endless corridors ending up in a dimly lit room, being made comfortable by an attractive, dark-haired nurse dressed in what looked like blue pyjamas. There were plastic stickers with wires attached all over Kate’s chest and something tight and painful clamped to her wrist. Apart from this, she felt much better. The pain had stopped, so that was something.

The nurse brought her a cup of tea and nothing had ever tasted so good. Suddenly she knew she was going to be all right, she was not going to die after all, and might finally be able to go to sleep, even with the machine bleeping gently by the bed…


See you all next week!