Naturally Laterally

I had a hospital appointment the day after our delayed Christmas, for planning, which sounds more like a council department, but is to measure up for radiotherapy. Handy hint – always re-read your hospital letter the night before. I was supposed to do a lateral flow test. I had never done one as I have had regular PCR tests at oncology outpatients during chemotherapy. Luckily Team AK had half a dozen boxes someone had given them as the tests were hard to acquire over the Christmas season; the whole country had been told to do them frequently before visiting. Luckily Team H were still with us, with school and work they do them all the time. Fortunately I wasn’t on my own as chemotherapy has left me with peeling finger nails and peripheral neuropathy, making undoing or peeling open anything difficult. I read the instruction booklet carefully, set the kitchen timer and announced I must not look at the test result for thirty minutes. ‘No, twenty minutes’ said someone. ‘You have to check for the pink line after five minutes’ said another.

‘What pink line?’

There was no pink line, the test was null and void. It was suggested there was not enough magic fluid in the squeezy phial. Two more test kits were opened so we could use two phials. The pink line appeared and in half an hour I had a result. My son-in-law said I had better photograph the result in case I needed proof. It had taken a team of five, three tests and two self assaults on my throat and nose to get a negative result. Thank goodness I had not left the procedure till the morning.

Not all tests are exactly the same I gather and they probably have different names according to where you live. I wonder how anyone living alone with bad eyesight or hands that don’t work one hundred per cent manages to do these tests, let alone busy parents who are expected to test their children every time symptoms or contacts occur. I have also concluded from my limited circle of family and friends that we are divided over testing, the same as we are divided over mask wearing. Some families test continually and demand the same of visitors while others have never taken a test.

Parents with school children are testing frequently. Fortunately a positive result in children usually means mild symptoms and time off school, yet again…  A recent survey reveals that since the school term started three out of four grandchildren now have Covid…

Hallows and Heretics

I published my last book on Amazon Kindle and in paperback in November 2019. I have never stopped writing short fiction since then, but for the first time I don’t have a novel underway and I have barely started putting together another collection to publish. But Hey Ho, with all that’s happened in the past couple of years it doesn’t matter and I do have five novels and four collections always available – unless something happens to Amazon! The late Cyberspouse always helped me with the technical side and designed the covers, which made up for him never reading my fiction! Later on I was thrilled when it became possible to produce paperbacks through Amazon Kindle, at last my mother could hold and read ‘real’ books by me.  

If you have read all my books and are waiting for a new one let me know… To read about all my books here just link in above to My Books. In the meantime, I am always thrilled when a fellow blogger mentions one of my books in his blog and especially if he gives it a Five star review…

Top review from the United States

Geoff

5.0 out of 5 stars All Good Whether Dark or Light

Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2022

Verified Purchase

I purchased Hallows and Heretics because I favor short stories. These are all winners because you do not know where you are headed when you begin reading one. Gogerty is comfortable in both ordinary and quirky settings. Relax and enjoy the twisting journey through two dozen different stories. Fun reads.

Take a look at Geoff Stamper’s blogs if you aren’t already following him.

Insurance Strategies | Suicide Squeeze (wordpress.com)

Prologue:      Hallows and Heretics is my second collection of short stories. Twenty four tales to take you through the year. ‘Gate’ is set in a Western Australian summer, return to Saints and Sinners for an English spring and pass through all the seasons in the British Isles. ‘Red Car’ and ‘Moving On’ take place in my local area. Discover the Hambourne Chronicles, other places you may not find on the map… These are short stories, the shortest is 700 words, the longest 3,000 words. As in the previous collection ‘Dark and Milk,’ some tales are light and others are very dark, but you won’t know which is which until it’s too late to turn back.

Hallows and Heretics was published in 2013. I was going to call it Saints and Sinners, after the first story in the Hambourne Chronicles, but after looking it up I discovered many books on Amazon had the same title. Hallows and Heretics reflects the good and evil in some of the darker stories. Hambourne is a place you may not find on the map, though perhaps it will feel familiar if you have visited Middle England. All the stories in the Hambourne Chronicles were written to read out at our writers’ group and are linked.

Some of my stories were entered for competitions and ‘Experiment’ was written for a competition run by Diamond Light Source, which does really exist.

Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron. It works like a giant microscope, harnessing the power of electrons to produce bright light that scientists can use to study anything from fossils to jet engines to viruses and vaccines.

About Us – – Diamond Light Source

Alas, visits by the public are now put on hold due to Covid. But in my story the hapless Gregory, hoping for inspiration for the science fiction thrillers he writes, gets an experience he hasn’t bargained for… I wasn’t placed in that competition, but I entered it for a local competition in 2013 and came second. Amusingly, when I went up to get my prize, the judge was totally astonished that I wasn’t a man, she assumed only men write such stories?

Have a peep inside the book.

Christmas Cancelled – NOT

We had our second, proper Christmas on Tuesday 28th as Team H felt well enough to drive 180 miles on Monday and had negative results. People still get coughs, colds and winter lurgies nothing to do with Covid. It would have been a waste of totally rearranging and child proofing the house if they couldn’t have come at all! With my son and daughter-in-law living with me it has tripled ( octupled? )  the amount of equipment needing protection from three and six year old boys, not to mention the mountain of Christmas presents they had given each other.

Traditional chocolate Christmas cake.

A favourite children’s present, sent by Nanna in Spain via Amazon, turned out to be very popular. Seasick Sam is a game, along the same idea as Buckaroo, but they just liked playing with Sam. You see how much food you can stuff in his mouth before he is sick. We five adults had Secret Santa with all presents to be bought locally or in charity shops and we all came up with a great selection.

Writing did not take a back seat as six year old wanted to write his own Frightened Freddy Lego story and being six it revolved around vomiting, with Seaside Sam having a starring role and toilets. We took lots of screen shots and edited the pictures on the computer. When I suggested we start writing the story he said ‘I think I’ll make the story longer…’ who would be an editor!

The next day we edited more photos and whittled them down to 33. Then he narrated and I typed, no easy task with someone who bounces around like Tigger the whole time, whilst leaning on my desk… We printed it out and sent the photos to his mother’s ipad in time for the deadline of going home .

Reviews and Resolutions – NOT

I can’t abide reviews of the year, any year and especially not the Terrible Twenties! Sport, politics, war, disaster or disease, I don’t want to see or hear reviews; it started days before the chimes and fireworks …

Revitalizing, reviving and rambling is what we need. You can ramble around having exercise or you can ramble on when you are blogging…

A BOXING DAY RAMBLE – FOR ONE DAY THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT and I was going to write a blog about it... but

I haven’t completely left 2021 behind; Christmas was delayed for three days Chez Tidalscribe, so I am a bit late arriving in 2022 and I have only just started reading the book for tomorrow’s Zoom book club.

Two days later… well it turned out only one person in the group had read the book and the lady who runs the group had not even opened it. Everyone cited Christmas as the reason.

Four more Christmas cards just arrived, one of which I will definitely have to answer with a review resume an update on 2021. Just when you think the Christmas card nightmare is over… remember those days in the December twenties when you realise you have not sent out cards early to tell old friends and relatives you have moved, got cancer, been widowed, made redundant… or you realise you did not reply to those old friends and relatives who wrote last January to apologise for not sending a Christmas card because they had been widowed, busy moving house, got a cancer diagnosis, lost their dog …

Covid has given us a whole new string of excuses for not sending cards, or more importantly getting out of actually seeing anybody next year…

We must get together when things settle down.

Would love to take you up on your invitation to come up and stay, but I’m working 24/7 at the hospital.

Just tested positive so New Year’s party is cancelled.

I’ll send you the link for the Zoom funeral, such a shame you can’t come, Dad would have loved a good turn out…