Ice, ice, baby...

Hello from Antarctica. Really? Whoever is controlling the blasted world thermostat is definitely having a laugh. Unbelievable weather. It’s put a stop to my exercise regimen. I find it impossible to jog in sub-zero temps. Right, like I EVER run. The only time I break out of a walk is when someone’s trying to beat me to the fridge and nab the last piece of chocolate.

But this weather is brutal, for everyone (except penguins) and I do hope you are all coping. Lots of stories about burst pipes, broken heaters, etc. Not fun times at all. But, always an optimist, one has to look for positives. In my case, I welcome the opportunity to wear baggy clothing and hide my fat bits, mostly from myself. I also rather enjoy picking out which pyjamas I plan to wear for the day…decisions decisions.

Did we all survive Valentine’s Day? I did, or, more importantly, Gump did, but only by the wrinkled skin of his very white teeth. The man did buy me a bunch of tulips from Aldi’s (the romance of it) but that was a couple of days prior, and even then, he just handed them to me with the rest of the shopping to put away. But he did cook me steak on the 14th (inside-it was too bloody cold to light the grill, and we had no charcoal). It was quite nice. The two of us sat up at the breakfast bar, and by the romantic light of the television, we watched the local news while eating our meal. As our eyes met over the butter dish, it was that moment when I finally understood why I have never based any of the heroes in my books on the Gumpster. Pity really, because he used to be my hero. When is it that the first blush of romance dissipates? All of a sudden, we see our partners so differently than we did in the sunrise of our relationships. I am no marriage counsellor, but I’d hazard a guess it’s probably the first time they have gas, forget to flush or leave the toilet seat up. The upside is, Gump may never take the lead role in my novels…but he’s often one of the characters who gets killed off in the first few chapters!


It’s 5:30 a.m. and I’m sitting in the dark to conserve my bit of electricity in our little corner of the world so we won’t lose power. We have all been asked, as a community, to be conservative with our fuel usage while the temperatures are polar. I’ve taken this very seriously. I’ve turned all the lamps/timers off, unplugged everything and still feel guilty for having my computer on to work. Yet down the street, I see my neighbours (who are my age) have on all their usual lights. Their outside lights are blazing, and oh, that sweet, jazzy, celebratory Valentine light thingy they’ve got going as well! Guess someone in that house must have got something besides Aldi flowers…..But really, they could do their bit, couldn’t they? Every little helps, especially if it keeps the grid going for hospitals and the like – right? Besides, it’s not even the 14th anymore! Crikey, listen to me – I shouldn’t sound so snarky. It’s not like I haven’t ever broken the rules. I was expelled twice from two different high schools. One for being naughty, the second time for being pregnant (which probably classifies as being naughty)- Gosh, when did I become so judgemental?

Our world at Debtwood has been thrilling lately. Scout, the wonder dog was acting a bit ‘off’. Lethargic, tired, moody, turned her nose up at meat, licked her chops at cookies….sweet tooth…yep, I spotted the tell-tale signs… it was the curse. For the second time in her short life, she got a visit from ‘Grandma’ – that’s what I always called it back in the day. Boy, what a pain in the arse dealing with a dog in heat. And all because Gump BEGGED me not to take her and get her fixed. He wanted to let Scout have one litter of pups before she went under the knife. He planned to keep one of her puppies because she ‘is such a smart dog’, and fool that I am, I relented and said okay. But every time I looked into her eyes, I thought about some male Heeler trying it on with her, that she might not even let them get that close (she’s quite bitchy) (makes me proud). And then, if she did get pregnant, she would be subjected to weeks of misery, torturous labour, only to have her babies ripped away from her-except one – and we’d probably pick the one puppy from her litter that she didn’t like…it was all wrong. And then Gump finally admitted that he didn’t actually want a second dog, but wanted to breed her because “She’s so cute, and such a great dog, I want to keep her bloodline going.’ “Oh, right” – I told him. “Because every female should go through contractions, then while having your insides feel as though they were being strangled, have to extricate multiple live bodies from an opening in your body the size of a pea.” Gump still didn’t get it. I had to compare childbirth to constipation before he realised what I was getting at. Needless to say, Scout gets fixed on the first of next month.

I just realised I have alluded to bathroom antics multiple times in three paragraphs. Hopefully, I am done now. Sorry.

Gump has a dodgy hip, and a dodgy back too. For eleven years I have tried to convince him to use a heating pad, but apparently, requiring the aid of a warm object is tantamount to stopping to ask directions while driving. But finally, he was in such excruciating pain a few weeks ago, he relented…now the rotten swine won’t give the bloody thing back. In the end, I had to buy another one for me. Gad -does that officially make us an old couple now we are a two-heating-pad family-and we joined AARP?

Today’s important fact — Did you know, that in yesterday, in addition to being Ash Wednesday, it was also National Cabbage Day and National Acts of Kindness Day

Tomorrow, (19th) don’t forget to celebrate National Battery Day, National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day and round it all off with National Drink Wine Day!

So much to celebrate all during the month of February, otherwise known as National Grapefruit Month! The party just goes on, doesn’t it?

On the writing front, I’ve been scribbling away like a two-year-old with their mother’s lipstick. I’ve started a couple of new stories, one which I like to think of as a cross between Bridget Jones Diary and A Fish Called Wanda. While typing away, I keep giggling to myself. I envision it as a movie and crack myself up.

Also, I got a bit giddy the other day when a friend let me know my first book was now available at the public library – it is a wonderful feeling to see it in the library catalogue. Now if I can only get Oprah or Reese to read the stinking book, I’ll be set for life!

Gump needs a haircut. Now his hair is grey/white, if you turned him upside down he’d look like a floor mop. Although I have no room to talk – I look like a Brillo pad. It’s hard to believe this time last year Gump still had a job and went to the barber’s, and I had a new puppy. None of us had a clue, did we, of what lay in store for the year? I remember being so blasted excited about my first book coming out. I was going to have a release party and had planned to really celebrate. Also, my entire family were going on our first-ever combined vacation, one which my son and his wife had planned as a wonderful gift for my 60th birthday. It all had to be scrapped because of Covid, and I was so disappointed. But it was far more important that we stayed healthy, and staying put was the best solution. Now, a year later, we have collectively lost relatively little in comparison to some. For that, I am extremely grateful. But just think – when we do finally start getting out and about again, won’t it be lovely to see each other again? Family, friends, taking trips…let’s hope it’s not too far off.


I have been collecting our empty cardboard egg crates. This is because we are approaching that magical time of year when Gump’s mind turns to gardening. This is the Gumpsters third love in life, after Scout the Wonder dog and watching ‘How To’ videos on YouTube. Soon, in addition to all the Rosemary plants he dug up, put into pots and brought into my house because of the awful temperatures we’ve had, I shall have a gazillion seedlings scattered about the place. Gump’s nursery. It will be the usual selection of bloody tomatoes, and he’s already excited about the varieties of basil he’s bought. Is it any wonder I write? I think it is referred to as Escapism. Yep, that’s the ticket.

On a positive note, the Gumpmeister is becoming more British everyday. We have yet to reach the stage where his language is comprehensible, but lately, we’ve have been able to watch several British shows without using close captioning! Unfortunately, he still needs it when listening to me…😊

As I sit here, my brain is literally churning away to find a relevant topic to write about. Gone are the days of my having experiences between blogs which I can write about and share. I live with a moody Heeler and a man with bad hair. One likes chewing things and annoying you, the other likes Science Fiction and pies. Trust me, it’s a stretch with my not going anywhere, or seeing other people. The excitement of the day is if the dog has been #2 yet – again, another bathroom reference…sorry.

The cold weather has brought gazillions of birds to our bird feeders. I have one right outside my office window, and though the glass needs a good clean, I still have a pretty good view of our bird community here at Debtwood. We have TONS of Cardinals here. We don’t really know why. I hope they are the earthly spirits of people who have left this world, and I’m cool with that, because it means people I cherished are hanging out at our house (yard). I do think they must be my family, not Gumps’, because they act quintessentially British. They all politely take their turn at the bird feeder, one after the other, and their manners are awfully good. To Americans, us Brits might be famous for our funny teeth and propensity to wear black socks with sandals, but you absolutely cannot fault us when it comes to queuing! We have developed it into an art form!

Speaking of Brits, I do miss home. Not being able to get on a plane and go and see everyone is tough. The yearning to eat my weight in fish and chips and sausage rolls, the joy of the saucy banter, Hello magazine, The Daily Express newspaper, getting on a bus, getting a train to everywhere! I’m going nuts…’s the seclusion….locked away from the rest of the world for a year is finally starting to take a toll on me. I’m hanging out with a cattle dog and a Gump with a tomato fetish….I’ve started to say ya’ll…I’m cooking a lot of southern food…I’m wearing Carhartts…..okay, well I don’t mind that part… Wait…I had to stop writing for a second, because Gump just came in from the snowy yard and told me we should go outside and make snow angels…I told him he could only make snow hillbilly’s…yes, this is my world.

You tell ’em Boris, mate.

Oh well, I’ll just put another English show on the telly, whip up some Yorkshire pud, and eat Cadbury’s chocolate. It will stem the flow, but it won’t stop the flood!

Dear readers, please forgive my lack of wit, wonder and lustre in this edition of the blog. It’s hard to be funny sometimes when recounting real life. Much easier to do when I’m creating a fictional story. But I’ll do better on the next one. March promises to be much better. I’ll have Dog Park stories (yawn), the snow will be gone, the roads will be clear for my escape. And Scout the Wonder Dog will have been born again, into a post-menopausal female. I will finally have someone else in the house experiencing hot flashes and mood swings besides me!

I hope everyone gets through this cold snap safely. Let’s hope spring isn’t too far away. I never thought groundhogs were trustworthy!