5K in the Bank – Now What?

5K in the bank, now what? Ali wasn’t really sure what to do, the money had come out of nowhere, she tried to investigate its origin, she presumed someone wanted it back, after some time spent with the bank it was established it was now hers. There was no assurance that whoever sent it wouldn’t want it back and that did bother Ali, she knew it wasn’t hers, whoever had sent it had made it impossible to be traced even under data protection laws. She moved it into a virtual account in her banking app, either way she didn’t want it to get mixed up with her own money so it was best moved elsewhere, fortunately it hadn’t arrived in the joint account as that would have been an even more awkward conversation, she examined the transaction references again searching for any obvious clue as to who or how it happened. It felt a bit like she was back at the beginning again but she reassured herself this was more information than she had before so it could only help, her partner John had been at work all day and she had been left to get on with the situation, she looked at the time he should be due any moment.

Looking at their savings account she noticed that some of the figures there didn’t add up there either, she clicked on the more info button and closed her eyes, scenario after scenario ran through her head, the underlying theme was John leaving of course which was something she wasn’t prepared for. Peeping at the screen she saw there had been two movements one into each of their solo accounts, then more money was added several thousand, it looked like John had made all the transactions himself but she wasn’t 100% sure, it just seemed odd that they hadn’t found the origin of the money to be from their own savings account even the bank couldn’t work that one out. Dumbfounded she sat and stared at the screen for a moment, what the hell was going on?

It was now an hour past John’s usual return time, she was concerned especially given what happened with the money earlier, she hadn’t received a message from him, there had been radio silence since he left this morning to go to the office. Opening the email app on her phone she saw a new email arrive, it was from John, her heart jolted, she pressed on it knowing that she was probably not going to like what she saw but if that was the case then it was a new start for her and the kids they would move to another country if they had to so they could begin a better life although 5K wouldn’t get them that far she would make it work. The email looked like it was from John but she knew that wasn’t him, the writer had learnt to over use [sic] and John would never do such a thing, it was shameful really and sadly didn’t really explain where John was. Reading it back from the beginning there where some ramblings about another woman and another man which made no sense followed by a half baked attempt to run away from the problem.

It was all very disorganised and that was not John, Ali was sure of that, another arrived she opened it instantly, this time the email was cool, calm and collected much more like the John she knew, he had indeed gone away for a while, return date to be confirmed, was there anything she could do? She pressed send on the reply not really knowing if she would receive an answer or not, a moment later another email said “await instructions.” She put her phone down and made herself a drink, then sat back down and waited.

To be continued.

5 Reasons Why Grammar Rules

The book Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss is an important reminder that grammar can kill without warning, the use of commas or lack of is something most of us are guilty of, i will hold my hand up and admit that im no better at times, I dont want to finish a sentence so I wuss out and use a comma to try and extend it. Here are five reasons why grammar saves lives.

  1. Grammar Nazis – should be treated with respect, a misplaced apostrophe on a shop sign can ruin their day and make your business look illiterate, because you can guarantee that if they have noticed it then someone else will as well, like people who drive their work vehicle like its a rental car, whose telling what kind of customer service you would be getting if you have that little respect for others safety whilst you are driving.
  2. Do you honestly want to eat your grandma? One of the funniest memes i’ve seen is the “lets eat grandma”, when what people actually mean is “lets eat, grandma,” the intonation is there in the sentence there is no excuse. If you are not sure read the sentence out loud.
  3. There is no need to sound sloppy, years of standardised education means we should all be at a similar base level introduced by the creation of grammar schools and then the continuation in comprehensive schools in the state system. Whether we like it or not the way we speak is judged by everyone – how do you want people to perceive?
  4. To quote Kathy Salaman, director of the south Cambridgeshire-based Good Grammar Company, told Cambridge News: “Dropping apostrophes is pandering to the lowest denominator and while eradicating them anywhere is dreadful, it is particularly bad to do it in Cambridge.” This was a reaction to the local authorities announcing they would be banning and removing apostrophes from street signs, personally I agree and for Cambridge to even consider it just shows how much standards have slipped.
  5. If you really cant cope there are websites you can use to help you, proof read what you have written and that includes sms messages or whatever kind of communication you use, no punctuation just means that its even less likely to make sense.

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Flying Around The Carousel

The sky sparkled blue on one side and stormy grey on the other, the weather front had positioned itself perfectly, its positioning was deliberate, the built up magical fields in the local area had created pockets of static which gathered weather fronts. The carousel had been ‘in situ’ for a decade or more and it was starting to look weather beaten, the magical field coming from the local village some 500 metres away had taken to drawing these weather fronts more frequently, the owner of the carousel knew that one more good magical storm might actually finish off the carousel, it was essentially holding itself together, the maintenance was impossible as really the whole thing needs replacing. Ted knew that he could sell it and retire on the money, it was there ready to make money for someone that had the passion he’d had when he first started. It wasn’t that his had waned he just wanted someone to have at least the same starting level to him if they were to take over, he could enjoy all the things he had worked hard for.

Selling the carousel was probably the quickest solution but not necessarily the most satisfactory, Ted wanted his business to continue to flourish without him, if he sold it to someone else they would do it differently which is fine as long as the work ethic matched his, that was something you couldn’t guarantee, he knew he would have to train his replacement and hand it down to him, the carousel itself had succumbed to the influence of magic some long time ago and there were small pockets of fairies and goblins which had taken over the inside of the central supporting pillar, there was a door to hell and another to some dimension yet to be identified . It was going to take an aware person to take this one on without blowing the village sky high, which is why you couldn’t just let anyone buy it without giving them training, then it becomes more about the money than it does the carousel. It had brought joy to many adults and children alike and Ted wanted that continue well after he had gone, his retirement would come when he had the means to. Even if he didn’t sell there would still be a way of insuring his pension, he would be looked after and the business would continue on with its new owner his student.

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Taking A Leap Into The Breach

Standing on the edge of the cliff, Anna wasn’t sure why they wanted her to name someone to replace her, she didn’t plan on going anywhere, unless they knew something she didn’t she had no need for an ‘into the breach’ buddy. Staring at the distance to the bottom, the river running through it was calm it bubbled gently as it rounded the corners. Sitting down helped the slight dizzy feeling that had started to creep up on her, she wasn’t a fan of heights and the longer she stared the more her brain was telling her to sit herself down before she fell down. Life was odd, she was already someone else’s ‘into the breach’ buddy why on earth did they need her to name hers, she was pretty sure she wasn’t important enough for such privileges. The sun was warm on her skin, she could see wispy clouds in the distance but they were heading away from her, the view couldn’t have been any clearer, she tried to clear her mind, it shouldn’t be a difficult decision if her job wasn’t that important right? Well no because she did care about her job and she didn’t want to just let anyone take over, her ego was definitely not going to let that one happen, she would have to give it some clearer thought when she got home, for now she would just enjoy the moment of being outside.

Driving back to her house she knew how lucky she was to have a cliff so close for her to meditate on, she wouldn’t want to live anywhere she couldn’t have a cliff to sit and think on. Thoughts turned back to her replacement, she went through the list, there was her work wife, discounted immediately because she was in a completely different department even though she could probably do it standing on her head, three also went because of their roles, two because their work ethic was not the same leaving one left, an odd choice and that would not go unnoticed. There it was, she had to let the higher powers know her decision, she would email them when she got back, technology or not there was no emailing from her car. The traffic was lighter than usual, she was relieved, she needed some food and a chilled evening, it wasn’t often she had to meditate on the way home from work but today had been one of those days, positivity had slipped a bit and she needed a reset. As she pulled into the drive there was a car parked outside her house, she parked in her garage knowing she could go straight into the house without having to come outside again. It was empty in the garage she had cleared everything out the weekend before because it had started to become a dumping ground, a completely empty room she pressed the button to close the door behind her. There was a faint noise, she couldn’t work it out, she walked quickly into the house, door entered into the kitchen which was also empty, she locked the door behind her and put her bag down on the side and listened again, you could have heard a pin drop, turning the lights on at least made her feel safer, her front door was pretty secure and she had a security system set to alert her mobile should anything happen, she checked her phone, there was nothing. Taking the pepper spray from her bag she walked through the kitchen to the hall way, it sounded like the TV was on, she swore she had turned it off but OK, she gripped the pepper spray, there was a tiny light coming from under the living room door she advanced on the door quietly, turning the handle she braced herself. At first she thought the room was empty the TV was indeed on very low, she peered around the room nothing, in a bold move she walked straight in, stopping when she looked over the top of the sofa to see a vaguely familiar shape curled up. It was her friend Tag, he must have got himself a new ride, how he got in without setting off the security system was a conversation for later when he woke up. Anna returned to the kitchen to make herself a drink, she new she needed to make some food but she guessed she would have to see what Tag was thinking, she was going to have to wake him up, she didn’t really fancy waiting around to make a decision, she made him a coffee and headed back to the living room. Tag stirred as she entered the room, she flicked on the extra side light on and sat down on the end of the sofa, he turned and smiled at her “oh hey!”, Anna laughed “oh hey! so whats the dealio dude you want some food?” she took a sip of her drink, Tag sat up and took a long sip of his coffee “uhh guess food is required, you know me I’m not that much of a fan”. Anna rolled her eyes, “pizza it is then” she pressed a button on the tablet and placed her usual order, “so without sounding rude, what you doing here sweet, is that your car outside?”. Tag looked down”uhm yeah about that…..” I need your help, stuff happened today and I don’t know how to fix it. Anna was serious for a moment, “fair enough, do we need to do anything tonight or is chill time?” Tag relaxed “Ill explain later, I can’t right now” Anna cocked her head to one side “ok dude no worries, its cool”.

Dredging Through the Goldmine of Life

Dredge: to bring something unwelcome and forgotten or obscure to people’s attention.”I don’t understand why you had to dredge up this story”

The negative connotations of the word dredge could be argued to have come from a similar verb ‘to drag’ dragging something infers a difficulty because it is too heavy to lift. Dredging up a story which some may rather forget is an inherently negative practice. It mostly likely that it served no purpose to either the person telling it or the person listening to it, but sometimes just sometimes it brings up a nugget of information which make things click, its of course difficult to predict when you will find them but it is important to collect them and use them in a positive way even if they were from a darker time, knowing now what you have learnt you need not fall in the same trap again.

Life is a goldmine of self-help nuggets, whether you believe in manifestation or not it is clear that you influence your own future by your behaviour in the present. If you are positive, caring and kind you are often rewarded, some call it karma, if you are negative life will keep finding things to perpetuate the negativity. Karma (in Hinduism and Buddhism) is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences, essentially the power of cause and effect. Is stubbing your toe karma? or is it just clumsiness? Positive people stub their toes don’t they? Well probably because we all have our moments but its less likely for positive people because their level of awareness is higher, their mind free from the distractions of negative thoughts.

Reaching in to dredge from the primordial soup of your brain is I imagine much akin to dredging for gold in swamps and waterways, sometimes you just need to reach in and try and pluck something out, you can wash your hands later its more important to choose something to tackle than let them lie there glistening in the mud. Examine it, acknowledge it, if it needs to be fixed research ways – we all have google or some kind of search engine at our fingertips now, if it fixing it won’t solve the problem then put it back and leave it alone no good comes from fixation on old things you can’t fix. Embrace the things you can fix and watch yourself blossom into the best version of you that you can be.

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Is There Such a Thing as Talent?

The proper definition of talent is someone who has a natural aptitude to be able to do something without being taught. They say you are born with talent but I believe that is perception, starting to play an instrument at a young age will build up a bank of transferable skills simply through practice, boosting natural talents when learning new skills as you grow. Things that we learn subsequently are boosted by our ability to commit to learning a new skill, when learning an instrument some find it easier to learn to read music first. Some work out the chords depending on their chosen instruments for instance guitar music has tabs which negate the need to learn to read music, whereas piano and string instrumental pieces are usually written in sheet music form. Either way you are learning a process of combining letters, numbers and symbols to create your desired effect, when the music is pleasing to the musician ear it is is ready to share with the world if they choose. You can be talented in many different things but it usually comes from an early taught set of skills which somehow link up, people challenge talent if its something they’ve never considered before, eagerness often uncovers hidden talent whereas unwillingness will make it harder for one to complete the task.

Knowing that the choices you make affect your future in whatever way life has decided to challenge or reward you, if you have a talent for something practice it, it might be the thing you love to do the most and if it makes you happy then that can only be a bonus right? Some of us spend our lives searching for that thing that makes us happy, most of us have settled with the saving up for material things to please us rather than finding something we don’t want to escape from, those who are lucky enough to find their passion it becomes life and that’s the way it should be, if your passion is cake why not learn to make them? Love to write – ever tried writing a novel? Your talent will shine through for the things you truly love. There might be someday’s when you don’t think you can do it but those are the days we sit and look through the one inch picture frame and describe what we see.

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How Hope Changed In 10 Years

Photo by Hatham on Unsplash

Now 25 Hope was more than capable of looking after herself, despite previous demonstrations otherwise, her substance use became an issue when she was caught at work sniffing something in the toilets, no one actually knew what it was in the end and it was swept under the carpet on the understanding she would reform her character, what this meant to Hope was to do it at home not at work so she didnt get caught, no lesson was truly learned other than she found out how to cheat the system. In time she met someone polar opposite to her, straight down the line tee-total everything she was not, fascinated by this creature Hope worked her magic, it was love she was sure of it, how had she fallen for a straight head? She couldn’t answer that, it felt good to find someone who was her complete opposite they balanced each other out in a strange way.

Life as a teetotaller was difficult for Hope at first the withdrawal was crazy and she locked herself in her room for about a week, she knew she just needed a bit of rest before starting her new life, her body was in shock at its change in fortune. A new lease of life was given after a week or two of difficulty her relationship was better than ever and she felt great, no cravings and clean for 3 years, what next? The future unbeknown to Hope held a world of challenges, some of the lessons she had yet to learn were still to come, she had learnt a few lessons but more were required, she thought about the things she wanted to achieve now she was clean, they were not the same as when she was still taking stuff, she had a clearer perspective on reality and life now her goals were upgraded, the house and dog remained true but the get a job changed to writer, she wasnt sure how she would support herself but hell she had to give it a go, she had a lot to give back. As she stood in the door way to their new apartment she knew times had changed a new era had arrived.

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At the Shore of the River Ganges

I have been more than fortunate to sail down the river Ganges whilst I was travelling round India. It was a mini holiday within the trip, sitting on the boats watching wildlife and people go by on the banks, we even saw river dolphins, frankly it couldn’t have been any more special if it tried. Right down to the food produced in the tiny galley kitchen and the sun rising over the camp site we had made our beds for the night, there are some memories that I will remember for the rest of my life. I cant say that I would recommend for everyone to that trip, you do have to be agile if you are on such a small boat and camping on the beach brings its own perils. Fortunately we didn’t have to pitch our tents but it taught me to think about my surroundings there is a wealth of flora and fauna all around you and you have to be mindful of where you step. There is a level of awareness that you reach living in a country populated by poisonous snakes and spiders because you don’t fancy getting bitten, its a level I would love to achieve, living life at a 10 all the time can only be a good thing. It takes, for me at least, a bit of work and practice, having spent so long essentially switching off its time for me to flick the switch back on, it’ll take time to warm up like any light bulb but it will come.

The river Ganges is a dangerous place, make no mistake, but it is beautiful in so many ways that it doesn’t matter so much. The variety of sights you can see is incredible, from burning bodies, to people washing clothes to fishing boats there’s something new everywhere you look. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to visit and travel along it, the simplicity of life is laid bare before you. The variety of colours is quite inspiring, there was colour everywhere from buildings to peoples clothing, from what I understand most of the dyes are natural proving just how amazing nature is. I am sure its not all roses and chocolates all the time but the time we spent there was peaceful, I developed an unusual obsession with the sunrise because it was so beautiful even though it meant waking up at 5am, not something I would do now if I’m honest but its a habit I would like to regain. It sounds inhuman but plenty of people do it, getting up early means you can get things done, its not a bad thing to be ahead of yoursel

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5 Tips for Writing and Life

Now I’m not one to give out too much advice as I am pretty bad at taking it myself however, there are things that I have learnt from writing my blog almost everyday for the last year or so.

  1. Writing routines are incredibly subjective – there is no right or wrong way to write so if you look at all the other authors you follow on social media and worry that you aren’t like them then don’t worry about it, we all have our own process we follow. I try the little and often technique, it doesn’t always work some days I can only sit down once and do half an hour but there are other days when Ill sit down a few times and build up the work slowly.
  2. Read this poem by Phillip Lopate and absorb what its saying, it is the perfect pick me up for when you are having a moment of self doubt we who are your closest friends
  3. Remember to read as well as write, you will develop a style of your own but reading others works will help you think about your characters and plots, if anything you can work out what you dont want your writing to be like.
  4. Dont be afraid the use the writing community if you want – there are a host of places you can have your work critiqued in a non-judgemental way if you want to, if you dont and you want to keep it to yourself thats absolutely fine, but publishing your work means proof reading, remember punctuation and grammar can cost lives!
  5. Steven King – On Writing and Anne Lamott – Bird by Bird – I cannot tell you how much they have helped me gain perspective on writing and life Anne Lamott in fact introduced me to the poem I recommended earlier in the list.

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Pleased to Meet You

“Hi there! So pleased to meet you!” Ady stood up from the coffee shop table he had been sat at. Sol noticed there were four coffees all with patterns in their foam, Ady held out his hand for Sol to shake, it was ignored, this wasn’t nice, it was borderline hostile. “So am I missing something are we here to talk business or are you here to take me out like a mob hit?” Ady sat back down, he was loud enough for Sol but not the rest of the room, he was impressed by his discretion but Sol assumed that was probably more luck than judgement he was young and impressionable so he would have to be careful with what he said. “We will talk business when you understand a few things, one life is black and white it is or it isn’t , two life will test you and tempt you its how you deal with it that matters and three live life at a 10” Sol’s voice was velvety Ady was quite confused by the signals he was getting, none of them screamed coming home with him either though so he at least put that one to bed.

The low light in the corner of the coffee shop shaded both their faces from being completely clear, meaning that neither really knew who they were talking to Sol had to be careful, he didn’t miss his marque ever and he wasn’t about to start doing it either. The scanning app in his phone scanned Ady without him even noticing and within seconds Sol was up to speed on his entire life and current physical and mental states, the pictures matched and so did the name, this must be the guy he thought to himself. Ady carried on chatting nervously, about the deal and how it hadn’t gone well, life wasn’t so good right now but if he could just have another week then it would be sorted for sure. Sol barely heard the words flying from Ady’s mouth he had zoned into work mode, unfortunately that was it for Ady. It was a shame the kid seemed nice but work was work and this one was worth a mother load, he couldn’t quite understand why so many had failed. Then he started to actually listen to Ady who was in full song about his life and the way he had been treated, perspective changed, Sol understood the injustices in Ady’s life, that made it harder, you don’t get to know your marques just makes it harder to kill them.

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