Autumn is here, schools and parliament have gone back, sort of, and the government continues to behave as if it hasn’t the first idea what governing is supposed to be about. Jeremy Paxman says we’re led by twerps, and he’s right. Amongst the silliness is the travel news; which country is on the quarantine list which isn’t. It is a muddle and the travel business must be crying in frustration. Yet, we apparently still do not have testing at airports. Why can’t we have the same system as Germany where arrivals are tested and self-isolate till they get the all clear, usually in less than two days. That’s the way to reduce the chance of international spread of disease.
We’ve been considering going electric – car that is. The fact that we live in a block of flats with a communal car park is a problem which shouldn’t exist. The block was built in the last five years but no provision was made for charging points. Is it a planning rule now? I doubt it. Anyway, I don’t think it would be impossible to get a charging point installed so we’ll put that issue to one side for now. The most important question is, what car. The problem here is cost. A new Renault Zoe, perhaps the best of the small electrics, costs about 50% more than a new Yaris hybrid (which we have at the moment). Having had a test drive of the Zoe, I can report it is a lovely car, quiet, smooth, plenty of oomph (that’s a technical term) and a decent range of over 200 miles on a full charge. But we can’t afford the price of a new one. Running an electric car is cheaper of course, but you have to do the maths. We currently do about 10,000 miles a year. Swapping from petrol-hybrid at 10p/mile to electric at 3p/mile (optimistic) means a saving of about £700 a year. We’d have to run the electric for 15 years to make up the difference in purchase cost. Second hand electrics are more in our range but any electric car over 2 years old has a range of no more than 120 miles. Not really good enough for a trip to south London to see the family. I think the same considerations will apply to most people so going electric is not just a simple job of swapping cars and getting a charging point fitted. It means a lifestyle change.
Jasmine news! The editing of Impersonator is complete so now the manuscript is being prepared for publication. I’m still not sure when to go for publication but I hope to show off the cover design very soon.
Writing club met in a village hall this week – our new home. It was great to meet together even though the acoustic was somewhat difficult (too much reverberation from a high, domed, metal roof). The theme we set for the week was “thief” so here is the short piece what I wrote.
There is a thief about. Unseen, unheard, they slip into your bedroom when you are in your bed. Not when you are asleep, mind. No, it is in that warm, cosy time when your brain is awake but your body is at rest. That time when the ideas come flowing fast, fully formed, word perfect. You are surfing on the wave of your imagination, while at rest. And then, and then.
The thief comes and whispers in your ear and you slip into slumber while they steal your thoughts. You awake in the morning and they are gone, all the fine words and smooth sentences. All gone. Just a memory in a shadow of a memory. You know you had those night-time thoughts, that outpouring of ingenuity, but it is gone, stolen.
Now I know you are thinking that this is just a metaphor, that the thief isn’t real. An excuse for not stirring in the dead of night to scribble down those scintillating thoughts on the notepad kept beside the bed for just that purpose. But no, I am not telling a fanciful tale. The thief is real. I know, I caught them at their secret task.
It was as I have described; a dark night and I lay, still but sleepless. Thoughts buzzing, ideas tumbling, words, sentences, paragraphs, whole articles assembling in my head. And then. . .I opened my eyes. What disturbed my thoughts? Not the thief. Silent and invisible, incorporeal. They were in my head. I could neither hear nor see them, but I felt the gentle caress on my mind. Soothing, numbing, sending me to my slumbers. Yet I resisted. I knew what the thief wanted; to steal my wonderful thoughts, deny them to me, carry them away to be lost to me for ever.
I fought, I struggled, we wrestled, one mind with another. I resisted their enticements to fall into sleep. You shall not take my thoughts, I cried. They did not answer of course; they made no sound. Still we fought, our minds entwined, like a pot of snakes or a net of squid, never quite getting a grip on the other.
Who are you? What are you? I cried. There was no reply. Still they persisted in trying to calm me, to send me to the land of Nod. They won.
I awoke when morning had come and sunlight crept through the curtains. I awoke and remembered. Not my fine words and clever phrases, they were gone, taken by the thief, but the fight lingered. I recalled the struggle we had had, but though I knew I had slept I did not know by what means the thief had overcome me.
Nevertheless, having met them once, I shall be more prepared next time. We will fight again and i will prevail. My night-time compositions will be more than faded dreams.