Out And About

I’m coming to the conclusion that train journeys are a great way to get around – as long as you’re travelling off-peak and don’t particularly care what time you get there. 

Those who commute regularly will have already rolled their eyes. All I can say is: I know the pain, it’s why I don’t commute if I can possibly help it. For travelling to see friends, loved ones, and partners however it’s proving to be a good option this week.
Yes, I am only using the train because my car is out of action. Hush, I’m making the most of it, and it’s working out relatively cost-neutral once you factor in parking on top of petrol.

Today’s my second trip to Brighton this week. Monday was a lunch date with Mre B and a dry run to test the route and timings for today’s journey down with Lady M. We’ll be staying overnight at the Malmaison as a treat for our anniversary (five years already!?) so we can have a proper explore and catch Mre B after work too.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I’m fully intending to drag Lady M to the amazing library at some point. I mention this to provide a smirk for those who know us, and to cement the notion that our bookish geekery really does know no bounds.

So. Busy couple of days of letting the train take the strain, as they say. Saturday also looks set to be busy. Didn’t someone say holidays were meant for relaxing?

Short Story: Identity Crisis

I sat on the floor of my apartment, my laptop cycling through various songs, and tried to make a decision. I was resting with my back to the sofa, legs straight out in front of me. The form on the screen just had so many options on it, and I dared not make a mistake. Kay came through from the kitchen, drying her hands.

“Are you still dithering? You started that ages ago!”

“Yeah. I got so far, but I got bogged down on the second page. Look!” I half-turned the screen as she came over. Kay had a smile that promised sarcasm already, but she sat on the sofa next to my head to take a look.

“”What’s the problem? You breezed through your tax return, so it can’t be any more difficult than that?” She was teasing of course.

“It’s impossible, look, silk or matt?” I pointed to the options. “I’ve never had to buy these before, what works best?”

“Seriously?” Kay cuffed the back of my head gently. “You’ve literally faced down demons, kicked a werewolf’s head in, and you’re reduced to a quivering wreck by a website asking you to make a choice?”

“But people will be judging me on these…” I chewed my lip and selected an option. Then I changed my mind. Then I switched it back again. “You choose!”

“The first one. Go with your gut instinct.” Kay reclined on the sofa so she could drape herself round my shoulder for a closer look. I sighed. Now for the difficult bit.

“So I’m stuck between what to put as the description. Obviously my name and mobile number, but what should I call myself? Freelance exorcist? Professional Know-it-all? Ghost hunter?” I tapped my front teeth with my pen.

“Well who are you giving the cards to when you play the scene in your head? Clients? Potential clients? Random drunkards down the pub?”

“I don’t know. Clients, but which ones?” I had been eking a living as a counsellor with the occasional bit of parapsychology, but life had got a lot stranger of late. Word was getting round, and my regulars were more reluctant to make appointments while there was still police investigation tape all over the estate.

“Door, I swear you’re so obtuse sometimes. You’re never going to stride both worlds with a piece of card, no matter how shiny and watermarked it is.” She kissed the crown of my head. “With the best will in the world, you’re registered for the day job already. You’re the one who’s got it into their head not to rely on word of mouth for the spooky stuff any more.”

I nodded, as much to myself as in acknowledgement of her words. “I know love, just find it really awkward.”

“I know. You’ve spent ages stepping out of your dad’s shadow, course it’s going to be odd.”

“That’s not entirely true, or fair. There’s more to it than that as you well know.” I angled my head back to look at her, but the best I could do from this angle was see up her nose. She reached round to grip my hand instead. She gave it a gentle squeeze, just once, and left it there.

“He’s a dick, but he has his reasons. You on the other hand are picking your own path.” She kissed my head again as I tried to stare down my laptop screen. I sighed again.

“Okay. I know what I’ll put on it. ‘Problem Solver’ should cover it.”

“Can you live with that? Thrive with it? Put it on a card?”


“Okay then my Problem Solver, place the order.”

“Can I borrow your debit card?”