I think I know where the ketchup went…

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You know when you’re away from a situation and suddenly a detail comes back to you? It’s like your head has emptied out of all the daily mess and that one detail is sitting there alone and obvious. Well, now I’m away from home, I’ve realised something.

(To anyone who’s not been following this drama, my flatmate Jinjing thinks our flatmate Neville has been sneaking into our rooms for unfathomable reasons – not stealing anything of value, but with definite signs left).

One of the clues that someone had been in my room was that my ketchup went missing. But today I remembered there was some ketchup in the fridge when i left. I assumed it belonged to someone else, but thinking about it I  don’t remember anyone else ever using ketchup. It was a squeezy bottle, half full like mine was. I think maybe it was MY bottle.

Which means someone took the ketchup bottle from my room and put it in the fridge. Which CAN’T be Neville, because he never puts anything in the fridge, not even bacon. Does that even make sense? Or is the clarity in my head just a new type of nonsense?

And if I’m right who moved my ketchup? And why?

More trouble?

So just how did my laptop get broken then?

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Image from here

Weather: little fluffy clouds

Mood: little fluffy brain

Word of the day: mizmaze – labyrinth; bewilderment

Jinjing and Hamoudi were in the kitchen this morning and I needed to wash up the collection of crockery that’s been building up in my room, it’s beginning to totter. Jinjing looked slightly disapprovingly as I walked in with my pile of bowls and glasses, carefully balanced in a tower, but she was half-way through telling Hamoudi about a dream she had, so I got away with it. Our kitchen is small, and we had to do some shifting around so I could get to the sink.

Jinjing’s dream sounded disturbing, she dreamt someone was staring in the window at her. Just standing outside looking in, which is bad because we’re on the first floor. I suggested the BFG, and Hamoudi got excited about this.

‘He’s great! He can tell us stories!’ Then Hamoudi asked me how I was doing and I mentioned about my laptop being broken and how I wasn’t sure how that happened. Then Jinjing said, ‘I knew it! Didn’t I say I knew it?’ Hamoudi nodded, she had said that.

‘Knew what?’ I asked, feeling out of the loop.

‘Somebody’s been in my room, and now it sounds like someone’s been in yours,’ said Jinjing. ‘I’ll bet that’s why I had that dream, it’s a warning!’

‘Why do you think someone was in your room? Was something missing?’ I asked.

‘No, but I know. I’m very sensitive to these things. I know when someone’s been in my room.’

‘Ah,’ I said.

‘I bet it’s him,’ said Jinjing in a whisper, pointing her chin towards Neville’s room. ‘He’s a creep. I mean who cooks that much meat?’ I didn’t feel this was damning evidence, so I remained vague.

What is going on in this flat though?

Tackling the stench beast

What horrors lurk behind the fridge?

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Image from here: Monster jokes

Weather: drizzle, the kind that turns everything to mud

Mood: quite happy

Word of the day: Scurryfunge – frantically cleaning before company arrives

Today I decided to take control and find the cause of the disturbing smell in the fridge. The smell was a bit like rancid milk and vomit and I felt pretty disturbed imagining what kind of twisted creature would create a smell like that.

There were a few places the smell might be coming from: under the fridge; at the back of it; or from the big pipe at the side of the fridge that looks like it belongs to a tumble dryer, even though we have no such machine. I sniffed down the pipe, and Mike peered  out from behind the door to shout in horror,

‘Don’t bloody smell it! It’ll leap out at you!’ then he hid back behind the door.

I pulled the fridge out, looked underneath. Finally I pulled out the drip tray, and there it was, the nest of my rancid milk life-form. There were leaves, bits of plastic and goo. I didn’t poke too deep because some things are better left unknown, but I emptied what I could into a bin bag (I’m sure the whole construction was held together with chewing gum) and then left the tray to soak.

I haven’t quite got over it yet.

Barry the barrowman

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“Chanu spoke loudly, he weighed his words like gold and threw them about like a fool.”
― Monica Ali

Weather: frost, sunshine, rain, sunshine, rain, cold wind.

Mood: in search of calm

Word of the day: Callithump – boisterous and noisy parade

Most of the road sweepers at my work are mellow and friendly, but Barry the barrowman (as he’s not known to his face) is a little different. Today, I was trying to read my book on my lunch break when he walked up close and screamed ‘Oi! Oi!’ in my ear. Then he began to leap about in front of me, saying ‘What you reading for babe? What you want to read for?’

The problem is that quiet upsets him, he takes it as an insult. Me reading is an affront to his dignity. He needs constant noise and attention, which is tricky because he spends all day sweeping on his own. He has hours alone to think up paranoid reasons for everything: colleagues he thinks are avoiding him. Or spying on him. Plots to oust him from his job. How everybody hates him. By the time he gets to break he’s so wound up, so desperate for attention that he shouts his way around the room, scaring everyone away.

I try to calm him down by asking about his plans for the weekend. His mood drops, he drifts into melancholy and tells me about how his kids won’t talk to him anymore. Even the one who’s earning lots of money, but won’t give him any. His emotions are a roller-coaster.

 

One of those weird coincidences?

You know that dead cat we found..?

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Weather: a monkey’s wedding

Mood: tottering along

Word of the day: Bletherskate – a garrulous talker of nonsense

We were sitting in the smoking area before work this morning, chatting about the cat’s head found earlier this week (Jessica found it in the children’s playground, the police deny foul play), and Mike said,

‘Here’s a strange coincidence, I saw a poster for a missing cat yesterday.’ Our ears pricked up.

‘Where was the poster?’ asked Jessica.

‘It was further up this street. Isn’t that weird, when we just found a cat’s head and then I see the poster?’

‘What did the cat on the poster look like?’ I asked.

‘I don’t know, it was just a cat, it looked like a cat,’ said Mike, dismissively.

‘What kind of cat? What colour was it?’ Jessica was starting to lose her temper now, imagining the poor owners of the headless cat scouring the streets.

‘I don’t know, do I? It was just a cat!’

‘What do you mean it was just a cat? What did it look like?’ we all asked.

‘Why are you shouting at me? I just thought it was an interesting coincidence, we find a cat’s head and then a poster appears for a missing cat.’

‘WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE?’

Eventually he said the poster was for a ginger cat, but the head found was a tabby. I find Mike very difficult to fathom sometimes.

 

I’m sorry, you said you see what?

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Time to re-enter the world of other people? Or time to rearrange my sock drawer?

Word of the day: Bewray – to reveal; to betray; to divulge

Weather: nondescript

Mood: curious

The hedgehog cake face is still in the fridge at work. Every time somebody goes to get milk you hear a cry of dismay as they see the disembodied face staring back at them.

It’s been a few months now since I upended my life and shifted across town. Since then I’ve been in hiding. I work, and it’s healthy superficial fun. I go out exploring London and talk to strangers. But I’ve been careful not to make friends. I can’t go on like that forever though.

Thinking this inspired me to leave my room and spend time with my new flatmates. I met Hamoudi and Jinjing, two Canadians who travelled to England together. They were in the kitchen preparing food for some guests they had coming round.

‘We’re just friends,’ said Jinjing, ‘everyone thinks we must be sleeping together, but we’re just friends.’ Hamoudi looked at her adoringly while she said it. He looks like a huge friendly bear. I asked why they came to London, and their demeanour changed from perky to hollow.

Jinjing said intensely, ‘Sometimes you have to get out, you know? You just have to leave.’ Hamoudi nodded, his eyes haunted.

‘What happened?’ I asked.

‘Well, we worked together at the local Walmart, and we had this boss and she was a super bitch. I mean she was awful. She used to bully us, make us do all the horrible jobs, shout at us. We both used to hide in the stockroom so we didn’t have to deal with her. And that’s how we became friends. But there was a point where we said, “No, we have to get out of here”.’

Hamoudi nodded, ‘And I had started seeing dead people, anyway,’ he said.

‘What?’ I said, but the doorbell rang and it was their friends, so I went back to hiding in my room. But, dead people?

I’m back! From outer space!

“When you throw everything up in the air anything becomes possible.”  ― Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses

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Helleborus

Weather: sunny with a bitter wind

Mood: happy!

Word of the day: ideolocator – the name for the ‘you are here’ sign.

For anyone who still remembers old inkbiotic, I’m back! How are you all doing? I’ll be taking a wander around to find out in a bit.

I’ve not been here for a while, and I’ve missed the blogosphere and you delightful people who inhabit it.

Part of the reason I’ve been away, is that everything has changed for me in the last six months. I now have a new home, a new job, a new goddamn attitude (actually, I’m lying, the attitude is much the same). I’m still a gardener, but working for a much smaller organisation made up of quirks and oddballs. I’m living in a house with four people I don’t know, two Canadians, an American and another Englander. Everyone seems friendly, but I’m still trying to figure out routines and moods. So all is kind of chaotic at the moment and I’m hoping this will make for entertaining blogs in the weeks to come.

But for now, I’m going to have an explore of the WordPress world. See you soon.

A Blogging Award and me mumbling on

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The lovely and inspiring Lynne Fisher has nominated me for an award, thank you Lynne! Below, I’ve answered the 11 questions she set me;  and then below that I’ve set 11 of my own that I’d love you (yes YOU) to answer. I’m not going to nominate anyone specific, but it would be great if any of you you felt inspired add your four penneth in the comments.

1.What do you feel is your greatest personal accomplishment?

I guess the thing I’m proudest of, that makes me happiest right now, is just that I am living life in the way that I want: doing a job I care about, spending my free time on things that are important to me, and friends only with people I love and respect.

2. What makes you feel joyful?

Writing, painting, time with people I care about, joking or connecting with just about anyone, walking fast with music playing, driving when the road is clear, when my job goes well, sushi, ice cream, gooey cake.

3.What makes you angry?

Cruelty and bullying, when people use intimidation to win an argument or get their way. On the more trivial side: my laptop has the CD drawer open button on the side just where I hold it to pick it up, so the CD drawer keeps on opening needlessly.

4.What is one law you could change if you could?

I’d legalise all drugs, but control the most dangerous ones – which I believe to be crack, heroin, coke, cigarettes and alcohol. I appreciate this would cause some ructions.

5.Where is your favourite place in the world to be?

The rainforest! The constant chirruping and calling sounds, the bizarre bugs, fungi and plants, the rain, the stars; the urgent clash and competition of life – so much energy, determination and innovation. I lived in one for a while, miss it constantly and visit whenever I can, but I’m a wuss these days and find the heat a struggle and the isolation a bit disturbing. I work with tropical plants to calm the need to go back.

6.What is it about your ‘favourite’ coffee shop that makes it your favourite?

I’m from the past, I’m afraid, and coffee shops don’t interest me. I like coffee and I like cake, so if someone takes me to a coffee shop and gives me these things I am happy, but the actual building I forget as soon as I leave.

7.If your house was on fire (God, forbid) what five objects/items would you just have to save?

Assuming all people get out? My laptop (annoying CD drawer and all), the art/writing project I’m working on, I guess some shoes and a coat would be useful. I have a load of photos/old diaries I would be heartbroken to leave, but it would take a few trips to get them out of the flat, so probably best to leave them.

8.Who would you prefer to play you in a movie?

I think, nobody famous. A homely, unknown actress with a spark in her eye and a sarcastic tone to her voice.

9.What are your strengths?

No idea really. I always try to do the right thing, until I forget or get distracted by cake. I’m good at arguing, although I suspect some would see that as a flaw. I don’t flinch when a cockroach runs up my arm (useful in my job). I have no interest in shoes (some definitely see that as a flaw.)

10.What do you wish you were better at?

Not getting lost, swimming, singing, knowing when to stay quiet, martial arts, tying knots, baking, remembering names, parallel parking, not panicking, paying attention, remembering birthdays.

11.What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned about blogging?

That you don’t blog in a vacuum, it’s more fun to connect with people than to just splurge out your thoughts and hope someone’s reading. And people on here are just surprisingly lovely.

My 11 questions for anyone who fancies answering them:

  1. When was the last time you laughed? What at?
  2. What’s the weather like where you are? How does it affect you? (In the UK we’re having a heatwave, everyone is half dead)
  3. What thoughts keep you awake at night?
  4. What conversations do you avoid?
  5. If you were invisible for a week, what would you do?
  6. What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever seen? (Things on the internet don’t count)
  7. If you could live the life of any character in a novel, who would it be?
  8. When do you feel most alive?
  9. You can have a penfriend from any time in history, who would it be? What kind of letters would you write?
  10. Do you ever feel like you haven’t a clue what you’re doing and you’re about to be found out? What makes you feel like that?
  11. Would you like your home country to introduce basic income (everybody gets paid enough to live on whether they work or not)? How would it change your life?

 

I’ve nearly finished the first draft of rewriting my book, so hopefully I’ll start blogging properly again soon. I’ve missed being on here, and many of you out there, I hope you are all doing great and life is beautiful. Even if you don’t feel in the mood to answer my questions, I’d love to just hear how you’re doing. 🙂

 

 

Almost More Mystery Than You Can Handle

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Siddiebowtie is running a competition way more exciting than all those ‘nominate a hundred blogs and get them all to write an essay about what they did on their holidays’ competitions.

This competition has unknown rules!

– you have to make up your own and whoever gets it right wins.

It has unknown prizes!

possible prizes include a wooden testicle, an egg and an evil book.

You may never know if you’ve actually won it or not…

Although you might win a crafty object of delight!

And the post is really funny in the kind of delightful and ridiculous way that can only brighten your day.

Now I appreciate you’re busy, you have commitments, you just remembered you have to feed the goldfish and cut your toenails and put the Roomba out for the night. However, the significance of those things pale into comparison with this competition.

So, time to play

Siddiebowtie’s Mysterious Competition

I mean seriously, when was the last time you had some proper mystery in your life? Now’s the time folks, now’s the time…

You’ll never guess what…

I’ve been keeping this quiet because I didn’t really believe it would happen, but now it looks like it is and it seems daft not to share it with you lovely people.

So, here goes: I’m getting a novel published and just received the proof copy. I mean, Fucking heck!

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My book

It’s being published by Dr Cicero Books, a publisher in New York. You see I wrote it many years ago, put it online, and lovely chap and successful writer Carey Harrison found it.

He was teaching writing at New York University and was with a student and talking about the word ‘discandy’. He Googled the word, which appears in my book, but not in many other places online. So he found the book, read it and loved it; then contacted me through the website.

We exchanged emails for a while. He’s lived an incredible life and is still having adventures across the world. At the time I was seriously ill and could barely leave my bed, so communicating with him brought some excitement into my life. Then we lost contact.

Seven years later, my life was fairly sorted. I was more or less healthy and working, but all my energy was going into the job, and I had that pointlessness malaise that I tend to get when not writing. Then an email from him pinged up, saying that he’d set up a publishing company and could he publish my book?

Since then I’ve thrown myself back into writing, and it has felt like a flood of joy like it always does. I’ve written another novel. I’ve started this blog (been going for a year now). And now my first book is going to be published.

I’m a bit staggered about it all.

The book, Riddled with Senses, is about a seventeen year old who’s an angry, drug-taking cynic, hellbent on self destruction. She meets and falls in love with a girl who’s an outcast, living by her wits and creating imaginary worlds for herself. It’s about what happens when two very different worlds collide.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that. I’ll keep you posted on what happens as it happens.