So yes, here we are – November and Nanowrimo has begun – my profile page there is http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/ludd72 and should be reflecting the word count as I remember to update and transcribe my pages of notes. I’m only counting what I’ve typed up as opposed to what is scribbled, so the actual running total is somewhat higher.
This week has also seen a significant step forward in my shenanigans with HSBC over missold PPI – having upheld/agreed to follow the court decisions and told me as such back at the end of August, I was supposed to have been told by the end of September what they would be offering as a settlement. That date came and went and after giving them a week or two extra I started making myself known at the local branch on a regular basis and being politely irritated about the lack of information.
After being told that my name seemed to have dropped off the distribution list without explanation and expressing a little mild disbelief at the failure of their efficient CRM systems I’ve had a call this week offering a new settlement which sounds reasonable and which should pay off the last of the wedding costs – so we’ll see what arrives in the post shortly and make a decision at that point.
And this evening’s fun and games would not be complete without revealing to you that even as I sit here typing, my first wholemeal dough is currently ‘proving’ in the kitchen ahead of its bake. If it works then it should be an intriguing chocolate wholemeal loaf. If it fails then it might be turned into a Dwarven Battle Croisant.
If it works I’ll post the recipe and a picture…
From the Nanowrimo – a short extract posted today:
It has to be word of mouth, I guess, for the most part. Really, it has to be – I don’t really have the budget to advertise, no matter how tax-deductible it is. There’s a regular advert in the local paper, and an entry in the yellow pages and the online equivalents – but there’s only so much I can put in one of those before attracting the attention of either trading standards or the tax man. Craigslist has been a bit of a boon – though its also a source of serious headaches – the very anonymity that is its draw makes for a high signal to noise ratio which can make it extremely frustrating, especially if I don’t recognise a time-waster soon enough.
Quite how this had translated to a semi-regular stream of consultations I never really worked out – I’m still resolutely an outsider but I have useful skills that I’m willing to use. I’m not a charity and I don’t pretend to be anything but mercenary – and perhaps that simplicity appeals. Money is never discussed, but a fair price ends up being paid for results. The poker games down the pub are always fun too – although I don’t play as often as I like. This is a pity as its often at these evenings that the work finds me. In this particular instance I’d been introduced to my client by one of my semi-regular fellow players in one of the breaks in play while we waited for the other tables to finish their games.
I’d heard the basics – the bones of the story if you’ll forgive the somewhat macabre pun under the circumstances. I’d mostly heard it from the professionally scandalised reports in the local news: the desecrated grave, graffiti, damaged headstone and picture of the grieving parents and local gypsy spokesman.
It was being reported as a hate crime: a senseless targeting of the gypsy community by small-minded bigots on a drunken rampage. The family – or families, rather – were not so sure.
The grave itself had been disturbed and that seemed to be too much effort for drunken thugs no matter how drunk or drugged up or otherwise sick in the head. The police pathologist had confirmed that the body was intact – but in the listing of grave contents, the girl’s mother had noted that a locket buried with her was not mentioned.
Distraught, the family had raised it with the investigating officers but no great progress was made from that point. The trail had precious little evidence about who had disturbed the poor girl’s final resting place and more than enough circumstantial evidence to link it to anti-Muslim attacked in nearby Feltham.
Angry as they were, the family might have given up – chalking it up to the system failing them again, were it not for their daughter’s ghost appearing to them at the dinner table.
The ghost part of the story hadn’t been reported of course – as the stranger at the bar told me, they’d thought of asking a local priest but they didn’t much like any of the current bunch:
“Your old man now – he knew what was what – he did good services and people stayed down when we put them in the ground. The new guys though – good enough for the births, weddings and the like but they’d laugh us out the church, or try counselling us…” and here he paused a visibly shuddered at the thought. “No good to that poor girl and her parents though. Can’t ‘counsel’ a girl away – doesn’t work like that, wouldn’t be right if it did either.”
I’d known at that moment where this was going – its never been a part of how I define myself but that damned word of mouth bit tends to embroider what I’ve done sometimes.