Saturday, August 20, 2016

DAY 51 in Weymouth, Dorset

Stormy night we had in Weymouth! I was awake till 3 a.m. reading a novel, so was aware of the heavy rain pelting the windows with the sounds of the wind. Perfect background noise while reading a novel. Wonderful! Today it's still cloudy and a bit breezy, the sea surface is going from right to left, probably just the wind skimming the top of it causing the effect, a silver blue melding with the grey of the sky at the horizon. Beautiful in its own way, and the smells are so fresh.

Since I last posted, a couple of previous concerns came through for me: 1) British bank account and credit card successfully opened, 2) Sainesbury delivery account opened, the first grocery delivery is happening at this very moment.

Such a pleasant man hauled my grocery order up a flight of stairs to the building entry and then up another steep flight of stairs inside the building to my apartment. I can see why he is fit and looking very healthy. Interesting work history he has ... began as a mail carrier for Royal Mail, then became a union man, was sent to university for his degree, continued on in management, retired after 25 years to enjoy golfing. etc. But he quickly became bored. So one day he was shopping in Sainesbury and saw a sign 'Drivers Wanted' ... now he delivers orders two or three days a week and he's happy. He said it gets him out into places he wouldn't be otherwise, and he loves meeting new people. What a pleasure it was to talk to him! He's married, girls! lol lol  Nice looking chap, though ... tan, wears an earring. A talker, obviously.  AND now I don't have to depend on Ali to cart me here and there for my grocery staples, or make several trips to the town center for other foodstuffs.  I'll still do miscellaneous shopping with my polka-dotted shopping cart, however, of course. Like I must go to WH Smith today for Jeffrey Archer's second book in the Chronicles Series. And when Ali has the time, we'll still lunch and go shopping to other places. That's always fun.

I've ordered a chair and ottoman  from Argos for me (testing my new credit card) ... just can't sit on these sofas furnished in the apartment.  The cushions sink so low, my knees feel like they're up under my chin. I have to sit straight and upright to be comfortable.  So I found a very inexpensive (under 100) remedy with a foot stool. Perfect!

Now I'll be able to read and watch TV comfortably.  Just need a little side table, and I'll find that in a charity shop, no doubt.

Today is August 20?  My, my. Unbelievable! Rolling right along, aren't we?

On a sad note ... friend Bud Goff, of Cambria, passed away this week. My dear friend Viv Goff has been in charge of the box office, among other things, at the Pewter Plough Playhouse for many years. Bud was in his 90s, but still very active with volunteering with the Lion's Club, and other endeavours - Pinedorado (Labor Day holiday) especially.  Viv is getting up there herself, is 86 ... and still as busy as ever with her projects.  Her family is around her at this sad time, and I hope she is okay. She's a survivor, no doubt about that. Sending luv and hugs to you, Viv!

Well, I need to spend this time writing THE BOAT TRIP, my new project set on a river boat in Europe. All new characters, not part of a series.  Lovin' it!

So have a great day!  Talk at you later.

Rebecca B.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

34 Days in England

First month has flown by, truly it has. It seems as if I've been here longer than a month, however.  And I'm so glad I've much more time to go. I don't feel I've scratched the surface.

A couple glitches, however.  First, I needed to take a real estate document to the American Embassy in London to be notorized by the U.S. Consulate. I'm merging the empty lot next door to the theatre complex in Cambria, making it part of the already developed lots. It has been approved by the County and now needs my signature to file. Well, it might have to wait till I return to Cambria, it seems. There are no appointments available, according to the consulate information on the web site, but I'm going to telephone them anyway, to see what can be done. I don't understand why San Luis Obispo County won't accept a regular notary here in Weymouth. They would in the States. Glitch number one.

Glitch number two ... I'm still waiting on a bill from the telephone company (BT) here at the apartment.  I need an actual bill mailed to me at this address to open a bank account, proof that I live here. They didn't accept the piece of mail that BT sent regarding the order for service when I first arrived. The other utilities go to my landlord which I will pay directly to him. So the only mail coming to me that is on the bank's requirement list is the BT statement. I called them again last Wednesday and was told it would be here this week. I sure hope so! I need to set up a direct debit for my rent each month, the cash payments to my landlord makes him uneasy.  But, as I suggested, he's got my witnessed signed lease to ward off any government inquiries, tax department, etc. The scrutiny is high level over here. And not only that, to order some things online, especially grocery delivery, can't be done without a British credit/debit card.  The address forms online, billing address, won't accept an American billing address. Caught between a rock and a hard place, I am.  I can go to the merchant and use my American debit cards or cash, but not online.  Thank goodness, Argos, who I use for some items, do accept my cards.

So you might want to make a note, if you plan to live a few months in another country, prepare for those particulars as much in advance as you can.

Since my last posting, I spent an afternoon in quaint Dorchester, the County Seat of Dorset and also the home of one of my favorite Classic writers of all time - Thomas Hardy.  Perhaps you've heard of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Jude the Obscure, The Woodlanders, and there are many more.  The town was very busy, but this time I didn't go to the museum that is devoted to Hardy, I've visited it several times before. Instead Ali and I did some shopping and had lunch at my favorite cafe there -- The Napper's Mite.  (See photos to the right.) I've taken other friends there on previous trips, Trish Alden when we came here before going to Port Isaac for a week, and Babs McKee when we came here after we'd spent a week in Paris.  So gals, I had lunch there again.  Yay!

And I must mention, if you haven't already read my Facebook post of the incident, when later that evening I was having Prosecco with my friends on their guesthouse patio, watching seafront passers by, I met one of the speakers appearing at the Thomas Hardy Festival that was going on that week in Dorchester. Two of the speakers were staying at the Channelview, where we were sitting. I had seen the banners earlier that day across the lanes in Dorcester.  So, as it turned out, we had a lovely late night evening discussing the festival and the professor's and my feelings of Hardy and his works, etc. It felt like what I would have imagined of the era of writers and artists congregating in cafes, and over drinks, talking about their craft and the politics of the day.  It was that kind of night at the Channelview Guest House, with my friends Ali and Martin Weller, and their neighbors. Loved it!

Speaking of authors and books ... THE BOAT TRIP, my latest novel, is writing very well.  I'm into it. (I'm still trying to get access to MIDNIGHT IN VEGAS, the novel I just finished writing, but in need of a final edit. I forgot to email it to myself before I left. So I don't have access to a copy. But I may have discovered a way ... More on that later.). Anyway, THE BOAT TRIP, is a stand alone contemporary romantic story of a woman on a Christmas European River Boat Cruise, trying to rid herself of guilt and grief still lingering from the suicide death of her husband four years before.  What happens?  Well you'll have to read it to find out.  Lol lol

Okay, that's it for today ... Much more to come ...

Friday, July 22, 2016

17 Days in England

I don't know what it is, but I set such high expectations on myself, set such goals that it becomes a detriment at times. It must be a carry over from corporate days, when we had to list our daily, weekly, monthly goals and meet them, no carry-overs. I have to keep reminding myself that I don't need to do that anymore.  My only commitment this six months in England is to write a book. That's all. I don't have to think about anything else. And when I get back to the states my main thrust will be to get the 2017 entertainment schedule up and running at the Pewter Plough Playhosue.  But that's not till Janauary. So why am I beating myself up because I don't want to do what I planned for today?  The answer:  QUIT PLANNING!!!

So as I sit here and watch the lawn bowlers and look out over the ocean dotted with tankers, fishing boats and sail boats, as I see the town center beach filling up already (I can see it from my balcony), and I tell myself I should be out there, walking and breathing in the sea air, I just say to myself ... I will do that, but not right now. Right now I'm having a cup of coffee and I just want to write. The sun will be there plenty of times in the next few months, I'll soak it up when I feel the real urge. And I'll take the bus rides to other towns, and the train rides, either one. I want to do it at my own pace. Nothing is urgent. Nothing. That's why I'm here. To learn to relax and empty my head of all things other than writing. (Well, the Trump stuff has certainly taken up a bit of my time.  Lol lol  But I like that, that's what I have preferred to do late nights, involving myself in the conventions.  Next week will be the same with the Clinton stuff.).

Weymouth.  A lovely southern seacoast town, situated midpoint between the east and west coasts of England at the mouth of the River Wey.  Actually Weymouth was originally on the west side of the harbor. Melcombe Regis on the east side. The settlements fought over everything in those early years, and eventually were merged together. Finally Queen Elizabeth I appointed them as sujects of the Wincester Cathedral.  (Not far from here, will definitely be going there.) That was the era of surrounding land and towns belonging to the religious orders and becoming cathedral properties, so to speak, governed and ruled by such.  If you read Ken Follett's wonderful series - 'World Without End', 'Pillars of the Earth', you'll find a prime example of how that works.

It's fun researching the history and life of these regions. Truly is.

Well, I must stretch my legs a bit before I get to my novel.

Have a good day ... And just do what is necessary to get through it.   We aren't always super humans. Gotta take a break every once in a while.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Day 11 in England

Beautiful day here today, sun is bright even at 4 p.m., sailboaters are in the bay, the beaches are full of sunbathers and swimmers ... Wonderful day out there!

I'm having an afternoon cup of coffee, waiting for Martin and Ali to come and put my desk (table) and chairs together, need a drill. Table knife and nail file didn't do the trick, that is the extent of my tools. So they are coming to my rescue soon.

I blew the fuse on my plug converter this morning, when I plugged in my Magic Bullet.  Oops!  Kitchen appliances are best to have UK plug apparatus. So I can either buy the UK version of the bullet, or just do without.  Haven't decided. But now I need to pick up a couple converters for my other electrical devices.  Tomorrow.  Today's Sunday, am not going anywhere.

Last night I had a very interesting time at a pub in the harbor. Met some real characters, to say the least.

One lives in his refurbished navy ship docked in the harbor. 50ish fella, who imbibs very heavily and calls women the C word instead of by name.  Evidently his father is very wealthy he doesn't work, just drinks. I plan to go and take a look at the ship this week, maybe he'll be sober and I can go onboard.  Maybe not.  Anyway, worth a try.

Another fella, a more polite and soft-spoken man, probably around 45, was eager to tell me all about the history of Dorset and places beyond.  Salisbury is his home, and he wants to give me pamphlets and books that he has describing the region.  He's in Weymouth for a few weeks, then will return to Salisbury. The odd thing about him is, half of his head has been sliced off. He didn't seem to be handicapped or effected by it, brain-wise. I did pay attention to his speech and his thought processes. Didn't seem to be hindered.  He was able to keep up with his buddies' conversation in the pub. Seemed like a nice chap.  The drunk character, the Navy ship owner, said at one point that he wants to send the guy to have is head repaired.  I had no comment.

Then there was another fella who was sort of a cross between the two. He was jovial, drinking, but not crass, and offering his time to show me around Weymouth.  He kept me abreast of who and what were the other patrons who came in.

I decided after a while to leave and go to another spot across the harbor to have dinner.  Had pork ribs and they were fabulous.  Called a cab and came home.  That was my night out at the harbor.  Won't be having very many of those.  Lol lol lol.  But I did thoroughly enjoy myself.  And of course I always have a ball talking with the locals. Always.  Next time I go it will be during lunchtime, having a crab sandwich sitting on a bench watching the fishing boats unload.  Just like my heroine and her mother in THE CHRISTMAS DIARY.

See you later ....

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lovely Rainy Morning - Afternoon Clear

This morning started out to be clear in some places, cloudy in others.  At least that's what it was when I woke up and checked the weather reports.  But by the time I left for the cafe down the lane it was beginning to rain. Didn't rain long though. It was nice and cool.  Perfect for me.

So I took a stroll next door to the cafe, after having a meal, to the kiddies park. There's a miniature golf range, a sea life display, a child's train that goes from the park to the Town Center along the promenade, adults ride it too.  And some other things ... A sand park, a stream, looks great for people with children.  I  couldn't believe how many people were there at 10 a.m.  Loads of them, literally, bus loads.  On a Wednesday. This is a family town, it is.  And dogs. Tons of them both - children and dogs.  I saw one cat today when I went to the cafe ... A beautiful calico, she/he let me pet her/him.  It had been raining and she was wet.

Then I walked the promenade along the beach, took some photos, read the memorials on the monuments to our USA soldiers - RANGERS - in World War II.  Lots of mention of our guys here in Weymouth, written on monuments as well as photos in buildings.  I stopped by the Channel View B&B, no one home, so I went on to do some minor food shopping at Marks & Spencer.  Tomorrow Ali and I are going to Dorcester to shop.  I'm looking for a narrow table that will do as a desk in the living room in front of the window.  Dorcester is Thomas Hardy Land, people!  One of my favorites! Surely I can find a writing table there.

The rest of this day was taken up by thinking of and remembering some of my loved ones who are gone from this world, and then contemplating possible plots for my novella that I plan to write while I'm here.  Although, it crossed my mind to write a novel, not a novella. One of my mentors told me one time, that a novella is a good way to introduce a new series ... And since I've already written the 'introductory' novella - THE CHRISTMAS DIARY  -  maybe I should take it up a notch and write a novel as the second in the series.  Really considering that. The best thing to do is just start writing it and see where it goes.  Friday I start.  July 15.  My schedule.

One thing I forgot to do before leaving home was to email MIDNIGHT IN VEGAS to myself.  I need to finish that and have it ready to publish before I get back to the States.  So, I'm going to ask my dear friend Barbara to send it to me via email, on my computer.  (If you're reading this Barbara, I'll send you the password to get into my screen on the iMac.  We can chat it through on our iPads.)

OKAY ... It's almost midnight, want to post this before then ...

Am getting on with life, and am almost up to speed ... Feeling good, exercising, sleeping well ...

Monday, July 11, 2016

Weymouth Monday

Well, one thing for sure ... Mondays follow me wherever I go.  I feel the same on a Monday thousands of miles away, as I feel on Mondays in Cambria.  It's my do-nothing day.  Although I did have a purpose in hanging around the apartment today, was waiting on the BT man to hook up the Internet.  Success!!!  Done!!! Now I'm feeling normal again.

Here is the view from my balcony tonite at 9 pm.  So calm and beautiful.  Not cold either.  Not cold for me, that is.  Last night I was out walking in it ... Went to a local pub called THE PARK to try and reach the Internet, which was a very good idea.  Worked so much better there. But like I said above, I won't need to do that for that reason anymore, since I'm all set here at home.  BUT ... It was an interesting evening at THE PARK.  I was the only woman there except for the barkeep.  I sat back by myself, using my phone apps and watching the patrons, and listening.  Love to eavesdrop.

So, a nice looking guy, 63 as it turns out, dark hair and eyes, a beautiful and friendly smile (had all his own teeth, none missing), began talking across the room from his bar stool to my table to me.  Fun conversation going back and forth. Lots of laughs.  He finally moved to my table and I learned a bit more about him.  He's a welder, his mother is a real gypsy (not a 'traveler'), dad is an  Englishman, and he went on to tell me that all gypsies are not thiefs, that they've been given the wrong rap due to the media. Well, I already knew that, because I had done some research about the gypsies before for my writings.

Anyway, we had a great time, it was refreshing to talk to him. What a happy guy!  Told me about his girlfriend, wanted me to come back tonite to watch him play darts. I said I might, would love to meet his gal.  He said she wouldn't be coming, she never came there.  It was his place.  I said I would, but I didn't.  Lol lol lol.  Ain't gonna get into that lane.

I called my friend Ali and she came to meet me for a glass, THE PARK is very close to where we both live.  Guess what?  Her mother is a true Gypsy too!  Am I being nudged? Then we left and joined up with her hubby Martin and had a nice Italian meal across the street from the B&B on the beach.  A very pleasant Sunday night.

So like I said, today being Monday, has been a quiet one.  I've thought about my new gypsy friend today, he'd be a good character in one of my books. Keeping him on the back burner.

Nite nite ... More tomorrow ....

Friday, July 8, 2016

Day 3 - 180 Days in England

Okay, Day 1 & 2 are missing ... I haven't been able to get to wifi till now.  My Internet has not been installed at the apartment, so my dear friends Martin and Ali are allowing me to use their wifi at their guest house.  It appears that BT will not not be installing my Internet till July 22 now.  So, I'll just be posting from wherever I can till then.  There is a coffee shop not too far from my apartment that has wifi too, I'll certainly try it.  It's much more comfy here though, at my friends.

My apartment is very nice, I've already moved the furniture around, is that a surprise?  Lol lol. And I've made a list of a few things I'll need to live comfortably. A small desk-table is in order, for my writing in front of the window with the sea view.  Top of my list.

Ali took me food shopping yesterday at Morrisons, a supermarket here.  But there's a small grocery within walking distance that I'll use in between big shopping days.  I need to buy a phone today, landline phone.  Service is in, waiting for a phone to be plugged in.  I changed the SIM card on my cell phone, so I can make and receive calls on it reasonably.  So my cell number is changed while I'm in England.

The weather here is perfect for me.  In fact as I walked down the promenade this morning, I was dressed too warmly.  This weekend is a special one for Weymouth ... A big seafood festival, the town is full of tourists already.  Should be interesting and a time to eat a lot of shellfish ... Yum yum!  I'll take photos.


I'm sitting in front of a coffee shop at a bus stop waiting for the bus from Bournemouth to Weymouth, my final destination. I've an hour and a half to kill. So here I am writing about the trip so far. I wrote yesterday's blog post, finished it, lost it.  The program I was using on this iPad was new to me and I just plain didn't know what I was doing.  I don't know where the writing went.  So I'm using this version of Word and I hope I'm able to save it and post it when I have wifi.  Most likely tomorrow.  We'll see.

On the coach from Heathrow to Bournemouth, I slept.  So I'm good to go when Martin and Ali pick me up in Weymouth, I should be wide awake and social. I do know one thing though, I need a bath ASAP.  Traveling like this always makes me feel so grimy and smelly. I don't know if I'm smelling myself or the restrooms are attaching their smell to me, or it's the soiled walkways at these stations. This one leaves a lot to be desired.  But there's an attendant washing the brick floors out here, with water and hose.  I don't think anybody has cleaned the restroom today.

A SIDENOTE:  (When I arrived at the new apartment and took a bath, I mistakenly used Vitrol in the bath water, which is a liquid toilet cleaner and disinfectant, and added another liquid to make more suds, which wasn't what I thought it was either.)

A very cordial English woman and her gentleman husband started up a conversation with me when I ordered my coffee and sat at the bistro table next to them.  They were here booking a bus trip to London to celebrate their daughter's birthday with her.  They don't like to drive to London, so they go by coach.  He was dressed like a country gent, and she the usual conservative woman.  Probably a upper-middle income couple.  Very well-spoken and friendly. Having their coffee after buying tickets before heading home.  They'd done their shopping, she said. So I bet they live out in a village or in the country, not in Bournemouth.

On the shuttle ride from Bakersfield to LAX yesterday, I met a pretty young gal who was on her way back to Russia.  She teaches English in Moscow and lives there year-round. Comes to the States a couple times a year, especially Christmas to be with her parents.  I forgot to ask where she'd just come from, must have been in the SLO-Santa Maria area since that's where she got on the shuttle.  She was carr very large tote full of toys and candies for the children she teaches in Moscow. Such a pleasant and interesting young woman.  Exactly the kind I love to put in my novels for 'Rachel O'Neill' to meet.

More tomorrow!