Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Work, Writing

Bubbles Bursting

By Scott Bailey © 2014

All around me
Lies
The ruins of young
Dreams
Away from me hope
Flies
Bursting at the
Seams
So where to go
Now
The truth has been
Exposed
When you don’t know
How
To let go what you
Supposed
Find a new path to
Walk
Step up to the
Task
Start the do and stop the
Talk
Start the make and stop the
Ask
Man up and face the
Truth
You’ve faced worse and
Survive
Your longer in the tooth
Time to come
Alive

 

In response to the daily prompt Survive

#DailyPrompt, #amwriting

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Work, Writing

Bruised

By Scott Bailey © 2013

 

He would never see his son again.

Unless…

Unless he went made it through today. Found the strength from somewhere. Put aside his pain.

The trauma his son had suffered had not been at his hands. Logically there was no responsibility for it on his shoulders.

Logic was a weak fence against raw emotion. Emotion that told him that he had failed as a father, that the protection he was supposed to give had been lacking, just that once.

Nobody agreed with him.

That made no difference.

So, he would not compound failure with failure. This was his last chance. He would take it.

He had tried all other avenues. Therapy, prayer, medication. Nothing worked, Yet what it had done was show him the way. It had made clear the path he needed to tread.

So he took a deep breath and rose from his seat. He nodded to the doctor signalling his readiness. The doctor frowned but kept his piece. He opened the door and let him enter his son’s room.

The room was sparse, clinical. His son lay curled on top of the bed sheets, motionless. Awake but unresponsive. He did not look up or acknowledge his father’s entrance.

There was a small bedside table to the left of the bed on which sat a plastic beaker of water. The bed was positioned by the window. Sunlight tried to make an impression on the coldness of the room but failed. The only other furniture was a white chest of drawers and some empty white bookshelves.

Then there were the books.

The books, many many books, that should have rested on the shelves or strewn on the floor. An impressive collection for one so young.

They hung impossibly in the air.

He sighed. He knew what came next. It had all become familiar to him. This time though he did not avoid it. He did not flinch or try to defend himself. This time he smiled at his son.

The books flew at him. As if thrown by immense strength and anger. The hard spines whacked into his flesh like dull nails. Again and again and again. Raining pain upon his body. The books that hit him fell to the ground limply, twitched like dying flies, then were suddenly whisked up and flung again.

There was no let-up.

He could feel his body being pummelled into a bloody bruised mess. But he took it. Stood calmly, raised his arms towards his son and kept smiling. Gave all he had left to him – gave him his unconditional love. Took the punishment not meant for him.

The books whirled faster as the rage grew. Like a tornado of leather and card, they descended on him, pounded him. The pain passed over what was bearable to no longer being processable – so he no longer felt it. He knew he would not last much longer – if this continued his body would fail him. Darkness crept inwards along the edges of his eyes. He kept smiling, locked his legs and stood, arms out.

The whirl became a darkness that was trying to beat his flesh from his bones. He felt like the bones themselves were splintering beneath.

Then it stopped.

Suddenly all the books fell to the floor. Sunlight sprang into the room as is a lock had burst.

His son looked up and held out his arms for his father.

 

In response to the daily prompt Impression

#DailyPrompt, #amwriting

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Work, Writing

Catapults and Boiled Sweets

By Scott Bailey © 2017

Catapults and boiled sweets
Sailing boats and jam jars
Watching tadpoles
Playing in the woods
Hunting newts
Swings and roundabouts
Wistful thinking
For the days
That never were

 

In response to the daily prompt Catapult

#DailyPrompt, #amwriting

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Work, Writing

Sailing, Unfettered

By Scott Bailey © 2017

I am a ship
Crowded into the harbour wall
Anchored sound
And safe
But I can see the sea
Beyond the gap
Calling
Lulling
The storms come
The harbour shields
But still, I am tossed
And battered by
Uncaring waves
The chain is strained
The anchor holds
For now
So many storms I have seen
How many more
Before the chain breaks
Setting me free
Lost at sea
Sailing unfettered
Unmoored

In response to the daily prompt Unmoored

#DailyPrompt, #amwriting

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Work, Writing

Always Descending

By Scott Bailey © 2017

Always descending, never ascending.
Moving downwards, moving down.
I can’t get used to this feeling
Moving downwards, moving down.
Is it really like this? What are we doing?
Do we really want this?
Is this the thing to be?
The chains that pull the valves and the levers,
That drive the steam through pipes of dreams.

Dream worlds falling, morning calling,
Pull the chains on, shoulder the yoke.
Down to business. Down to labour.
Moving downwards, moving down.
I don’t like this, what am I doing?
I don’t really want this, what is to be?
Enter the shaft that takes us downwards.
The light is dimming as our dreams descend

 

In response to the daily prompt Descend

#DailyPrompt, #amwriting

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Journal, Poetry, Science Fiction, Work, Writing

The Lonely Tree

By Scott Bailey © 2016

The lonely tree

Stood atop the blasted hill
Stark
Barren branches snatching
Rays from a mist-shrouded sun

Every now and then
Upon an errant breeze
Flits a weary bird
Resting one more time
On its final flight
Then falls

All around the roots
Dead birds and ash
Giving meagre succour
To the lonely tree

One day
From that blood-soaked soil
This tree’s seed will rise
Green will conquer grey
Once more

But too late
For this final witness
Of our fall

 

In response to the daily prompt Temporary

#DailyPrompt, #amwriting

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

Posted in Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, Journal, Science Fiction, Work, Writing

Fleeting Thoughts

Change is the only constant

One of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite books – Dune by Frank Herbert.

In times of stress and trouble, it helps to remember that all things pass, even the things that darken our days. So savour the moments that count, enjoy them.

My biggest problem is that while intellectually I accept that, try to live that, in my heart, I crave conformity and security. Safety and predictability.

A dangerous and seductive train of thought that I am finding harder and harder to resist. Getting old maybe?

Well, it’s time to shake things up. I will be starting a new job in a few weeks. Life is forcing changes on me whether I want it or not. Time to wake up, embrace the change and revel in the storms.

In response to the daily prompt Temporary

#DailyPrompt, #amwriting

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

Posted in Creative Writing, Family, Financial, Health, Work, Writing

Long Time No Write!

So this month is turning into a nightmare – writing wise – and in other ways. This has largely been down to the fact that I have felt ill for most of it. Running a high temperature and feverish. I can’t afford to take any time off sick and have been crawling into work, making it back home and straight into bed most nights.

All this has had a detrimental effect of our youngest’s autism and he has been a handful, to say the least – in turn, this has had a knock-on effect on our eldest.

To make matter worse – my car has been out of service. It has taken three garages to work out what it was and fix it. I started off using public transport at first but when the Bus broke down it just about finished me off. I ended up having to hire a car. So much money down the drain.

I was feeling a little better over the last few days but of course, there’s so much to do now to catch up. One of those things was to tighten the security on all the kids’ devices. That’s when I discovered that the Microsoft account on my eldest was not working. He could not log into anything – for example, One Drive as it was asking for a parent’s permission. Ok, I followed the steps but this did not work as it was insisting on a US based credit card. It proved impossible to do what they were asking. So I contacted Microsoft, who didn’t believe me. I spent 4 hours going around and around in circles. It appears that when setting up his account originally I must have set it to US. by mistake. Simple – they said  – get him to log in and reset the region. He can’t log in!

ME: He can’t log in without my permission!

THEM: OK you give him permission. I can’t! That’s why I am contacting you.

ME: I can’t! That’s why I am contacting you!

THEM: Just enter your credit card details at this link.

ME: The link I told you insists on a US. based credit card so I can’t complete it.

THEM: Ah, that would be because his region is incorrect. Get him to log in and change the region.

ME: @#@!ing hell! He can’t LOG IN!!!!

Four hours! Four hours of this before they admitted it can’t be done. Then they asked me to Fax them his details. Fax! FAX! Is the Microsoft help department still living in the 80’s! I can’t remember the last time I even saw a fax machine. I certainly don’t have access to one.

Starting to feel the mania creeping in!

Anyway, there was one bit of good news amongst all this garbage. I should be ecstatic and singing about it but all the rest has just left me feeling so drained I haven’t really had time to think about it properly.

I have got a new job! Accepted the offer and last week handed my notice in. It’s going to be a big change. Been in the same job for 10 years – time to blast away some cobwebs!

Posted in Creative Writing, Family, Health, Poetry, Self Publishing, Work, Writing

Blogging Lull

I had one last week. May continue into this week.

I was on annual leave last week. Note leave – not really a holiday – most of the days were spent in hospitals, job interviews and other appointments. But still, did manage some days out with the kids including a trip to London to the Science and Natural History museum. Ambitious for us – especially with an autistic 4 year old. It was challenging but overall very worth it. Things were much better than other trips we have had so there has been improvement.

This week has started with my car breaking down on my first day back to work. Not a good start. However, things have improved with some good news – but that’s for later.

What writing I have been doing has been concentrating on editing my epic poems. One is terrible!  But lots of editing will redeem it. The other – which was originally supposed to be the libretto for an opera  – I still really love and needs little work. It might be the best thing I have written for ages. Maybe it’s just me. Will be interesting to see if others have the same preferences, is anyone reads them.

 

Posted in Family, General, Health, Journal, Work

What a Week

I have been quiet – nothing but my scheduled posts ticking away to keep the blog going.

There has been good reason. I just had the week from hell.

First, there was work. I have been feeling like crap but struggling to work only to get there and the stress levels have gone stratospheric. Everyone is feeling it and no-one – myself included is dealing with it very well – so no-one can support anyone else.

That alone would be fine – not feeling well didn’t help matters.

It was a short week. But not for good reasons really. Thursday and Friday we were stacked with Doctors, Hospital and School appointments.

For my wife – who has what could be a serious, life-changing heart condition developing. We have to now wait for more appointments and results on that one. For now, she can hardly walk up the stairs without being out of breath as she is not getting enough blood. – Though it may also be being affected by her asthma so we have to see which is the worse factor.

While we were there we took our eldest son to the doctors thinking he had tonsillitis again. The doctor  – she must have some hunch – asked for a urine test. Three hours later they were on the phone telling to go to the hospital and get a blood test. So the next day was spent doing that – this involved me having to hold him down screaming and sobbing while they did it. It wasn’t painful but he has had some bad experiences with needles and hospitals before so was very freaked out about it.  It is heartbreaking.

So there’s more waiting for results – we don’t really know why either.

In the middle all of that – literally – I had to squeeze in a job interview!

Just as all the appointments and visits were done – my wife and both my sons went down with what appears to be the norovirus. They have all been very very sick. I have been up to my elbows in – well you don’t want to know.

My brain has been fried, I have had very little sleep and I need a year off. Can someone arrange that? Please?

One tiny bit of good news today – I reached 1000 followers at last!

Posted in Work

Surprise Job Role from the Past

As I am actively looking for a job now I am signed up on all kinds of job boards, I get an inbox full every morning.

Sometimes I get some really odd ones – that have nothing to do with what I have searched for. Maybe one day one of them will be the dream job I never knew I wanted 🙂

Today I got one that really brought back memories. It was basically a (very) old job of mine. The name of the place has changed and it has moved down the road a bit but it is basically the same role. Assistant Manager in a camping and outdoors shop.

I am tempted to apply just to see if I would still be considered.

But maybe not.

Still – I think I need a complete career change – just not sure what. Writing would be ideal  – but that’s a pipe dream. Maybe – one day. Maybe.

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Family, General, Poem a Day Challenge, Poetry, Work, Writing

Poem a day challenge #168 (Glory Days)

Glory Days

By Scott Bailey © 2013

So the soldier walks alone
beneath the
starry night
He has no aim but distance
from the bloody fight
But the war it still pursues him
snapping at his heels
He slips into the forest deep
beyond those broken hills

O glory days
Those glory days
They’ve shattered
and they fade
They only left a rumour
A shadow
where they laid

So the sword is silenced
with a deep and lasting chill
In his heart, the war goes on
the beating never still
Behind the hallowed orders
that laid so many low
Is revealed the empty truth
the sickest, cruellest blow

O glory days
Those glory days
They’re gone
they never were
So the soldier walks away
from guilt
that he defers

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

Posted in Creative Writing, General, Poem a Day Challenge, Poetry, Work, Writing

Poem a day challenge #147 (I/O)

I/O

By Scott Bailey © 2013

The information superhighway
It is a heavy weight
Data, redundancy
Processes
Alerts
Objectification
Frames
Presentations and investors
Response
Time
High availability
Validity
Technical, radical, practical, logical
Balancing load
Stresses
Testing
Testing
Test

Craving
Simplicity

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

Posted in Creative Writing, General, Poem a Day Challenge, Poetry, Work, Writing

Poem a day challenge #143 (Words)

Words

By Scott Bailey © 2013

Master of words
By words mastered
Many a politician can claim
Those that abuse the power
By which they rose
Will be bitten by the beast they tamed

Such is the reality
We choose to believe
But the truth we know is worse
Where corruption rules
It protects its own
Mostly, the corrupt rule

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Family, General, Poem a Day Challenge, Poetry, Work, Writing

Poem a day challenge #141 (Bound to Serve)

Bound to Serve

By Scott Bailey © 2013

Bound to serve
The master that we crave
Enduring the pain
Not struggling in the ties
That bind
Taking the punishment
Utter submission
Belittled
Stripped
Of dignity
All for the reward
The release
The coin

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Family, General, Poem a Day Challenge, Poetry, Work, Writing

Poem a day challenge #139 (Candles)

Candles

By Scott Bailey © 2013

15th Oct: a wave of light and love
15th Oct: a wave of light and love (Photo credit: scribbletaylor)

One lumen
The light of a candle
It can be seen they say
For many miles
Candles burn tonight
One for each lost angel
Light that will been seen over many years
Still bright in our minds
A million candles
A fiery sun of bittersweet memories
The burning potential
Of lives that never were

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

Posted in Creative Writing, General, Poem a Day Challenge, Poetry, Work, Writing

Poem a day challenge #136 (Blunt Hammer)

Blunt Hammer

By Scott Bailey © 2013

When horror is turned to love
And death has become high romance
Do the forces of the underworld
Practice a jubilant dance

Do vampires laugh with glee
And werewolves lick their fangs
As they open up their gates
With fanfares, bells and clangs

And into their arms they run
The poorly misguided youth
And their heroes welcome them in
With claw and jaw and tooth

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

Posted in Creative Writing, General, Poem a Day Challenge, Poetry, Work, Writing

Poem a day challenge #134 (The Dark)

The Dark

By Scott Bailey © 2013

The darkness where the heart beats fast
The shadows where no moonlight’s cast
The deepest dell of starless nights
Gleaming eyes the only light

The sound of cold and ancient breath
On the breeze the scent of death
A rustle from behind the trees
A snapping twig the blood to freeze

The conflict of the fight or flight
But where to run on icy night?
The frozen legs the burning fear
The certainty of danger near

Imagination births these fears
But even as the presence nears
Pointing out what we must mark
Why do we so fear the dark

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

 

Posted in Creative Writing, General, Poem a Day Challenge, Poetry, Work, Writing

Poem a day challenge #133 (Cable Ties)

Cable Ties

By Scott Bailey © 2013

Cables ties us
Hold us tight
To one spot
Even invisible ones
Chains
Keeping us busy
Keeping us attentive
Keeping us productive
and consuming
So when they are cut
We are lost
Unable to produce
As we once did

www.scottandrewbailey.uk

 

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Family, General, Health, Journal, Mankind Limited News, Review, Work, Writing

What a Week

It’s been a hell of a week – hence a quiet one on here for me.

My wife went to a very emotional funeral to send off her Uncle. While My parents got to see the granddaughter they haven’t seen for nearly 10 years!

My wife also had an appointment about our youngest’s diagnosis of Autism. While I had excruciating physio on my frozen shoulder.

On top of that, server problems of the worst kind meant that I was working well beyond midnight for half the week.

The result being I have had very little time this week. No time to write, no time to take advantage and spread the word about the wonderful review I received for my book (see what I did there) – other than retweet all the retweets!

So the stats are down and so my energy levels.

The plus side has been that the kids have spent a lot of time this week with my brothers and their families. And they have enjoyed that a LOT!

I cannot thanks them enough for their support this week and in recent weeks. It has bonded our family even more I think. Even if it did mean Uncle Daniel getting dunked in the swimming pool a lot and being roped into Batman Games all day and Aunty Carol and Aunty Charlie falling in the sea!

IMG_3445

Posted in Politics, Work

Where is my country?

The town where I work has – in the past – been the host of Asylum seekers – it is also a port of entry for visitors from abroad. It’s fair to say that it has seen its fair share of social tension.  Where I worked before that and lived for a while – Dover was even worse. The flashpoint of many a protest and news story.

In the nearly 15 years of living and working in this area – of working in the immigration sector – I have never seen – first hand any direct racial abuse.

Today – my first day back at work after Brexit – I saw it twice. Twice I saw people just shouting at other people who looked foreign – to go home.

To all those people who voted to get their country back – I am sorry – we seem to have mislaid it. Instead, we have imported the seeds of Nazi Germany.

Let’s all grow up a bit. Even while the politicians are backstabbing and playing chess with our lives – let’s show them we can do better.

Posted in Creative Writing, Family, General, Health, Journal, Poetry, Self Publishing, Short Stories, Technology, Work, Writing

Thoughts and updates

So his blog has been a bit quiet lately – mostly reblogs. I was ill for a while, then my kids were ill. Work has been stressful as usual and life has been in the way.

But I have managed to do some writing, just not for blogging purposes. I have edited my latest collection of short stories. I have half of one very short one left to do.

This is the first round of editing. Basically rewriting them – they are very old so I was improving them. I am pretty much seeing them as first drafts.

The second round of editing will be proofreading and looking for mistakes. Then they will be ready for publishing.

So I have not dedicated so much time to blogging. That may continue! I will try to do Ronovan’s Weekly Haiku Challenge and something else every now and then. Beyond that, I will be mainly trying to market the two books I have already published.

On a more positive note – I got a new laptop – a hybrid laptop/tablet. It’s only small and not powerful but does exactly what I need – makes it easier for me to write even when I can’t sit at my desk and do so. It also means an end to my non – windows household but hey ho.

Next, I’ll be getting a windows phone! Only joking! But a new phone is on the books. Just have to decide which one.

Talking of phones – I was thinking about the article I wrote a while ago about phone snooping. What brought this thought on was something my wife said.

For work, I quite often have to go to our manufacturing partner, to drop things off, pick things up, sort out problems with testing etc. The place is called Simtek but for some reason, my wife always calls it Semtex. So when she said to me this morning, are you going to Semtex this morning – I suddenly had visions of alarm bells going off in some CIA listening station!

Oh well – getting arrested by the CIA might be just the thing to boost my book sales!

 

Posted in Creative Writing, Family, Fiction, Self Publishing, Short Stories, Work, Writing

Very Quiet

It deserted around here tonight! Stats are low!

Mind you I haven’t posted very much lately. Been snowed under with the kids and work. Plus I am concentrating now on getting my short story collection together. I ma may post up the first completely edited one but not sure I want to give too much away yet.

The stories are completed I just need to re-edit them.

There’s thirteen – and they are ghost stories 🙂

I have also discovered a site called scriggler.com. I have posted a few older one on there to try it out and it does seem to have generated more views than WordPress. It not as easy to use though – but may persevere and use both!

So all this means it looks unlikely I will do NaNoWriMo this year. I think it would be too much to take on this time around.

But you never know

Posted in Creative Writing, Family, General, Work, Writing

Absence and the heart

You know what they say – hopefully there’ something in it as I have been a bit quiet on here lately. Work has been hectic and have been doing a lot of late nights.

This is partly due to trying to get everything done before this coming week – as we are off on our holidays!

So don’t expect too much from me for a while longer 🙂

Posted in Technology, Work

Maths, maths, maths!

Today I have wrestled with weighted linear regression, multiplying and inversing matrices and trying to convert an extremely complex excel spreadsheet full of formulae I had never seen before in my life into a PHP function!

So that was fun!

Still I am not as bad as this guy.

http://www.theladbible.com/articles/some-people-on-the-internet-are-really-struggling-with-quite-simple-maths

Posted in General, Technology, Work

The Triumph of the Subconscious

A while ago – and again I have lost any links or references to it – I saw a documentary on how the subconscious can take over and solve tricky problems for you. I think it was a BBC Horizon episode but could be wrong.

It described how many great thinkers often had similar habits – like going for a walk at midday, after which the ideas would come. For many years this was attributed to perhaps the health benefits of such activities, the increase in endorphins perhaps vitalizing the brain. Perhaps that is a part of it.

Recent research has shown though that certain parts of the brain that are normally dormant start to become active under these sorts of circumstances. When someone has been struggling with a problem or a puzzle and then their thoughts are diverted onto something else – something simpler and less taxing on the mind.

Its seem that while your conscious brain is trying to solve a problem your subconscious can’t or won’t go near it. Leave the problem alone and it gets it grubby hands on it. And unhindered by all the distractions thrown at the conscious mind does a better job if it.

Anyway – it seems like something I kind of knew at some level but had never vocalised or thought about in concrete terms. After watching the program though I began to see it happening more and more – or maybe I am now biased to see that!

Today was a prime example. All last week I have been struggling with a problem at work – I won’t bore you with details, it involved a very very complex SQL query that worked fine in one situation but not in another – with no logical answer. I had tried all kinds of solutions and approaches all week with no success. To be fair to myself there was an awful lot else going on as well so I was not 100% focused on it. But if I had been I don’t think it would have made a difference. I was kind of blocked from the answer.

So this weekend I forgot all about it and spend some quality time with the wife and kids. It was Rachel’s birthday and since I have spent so much extra time at work lately I was determined not to do any this weekend.

I went to bed Sunday night – not with dread but knowing that my task for Monday was to hunker and down and crack this particular nut. I woke up Monday morning and the answer – which should have been obvious – in my head. It just popped in there.

I rushed to work eager to try it out, now dreading the possibility that it might not work. It did! That is a good start to the week!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “We Can Be Taught!.”

I had a few good teachers but not many. And those that tried were wading against a tide of social programming. So school was not that productive for me. I left with few qualifications and no direction.

I drifted – pushed by financial necessity into work before I could begin to dream about what I might want from life.

So who were my best teachers?

They were my friends. They didn’t sit me down and lecture me they did two vital things.

They believed in me.

They believed in themselves and acted on that belief.

Watching them follow their dreams whatever the outcome – taught me the bets lesson in my life. To take control of my life and start steering my own destiny.

The best teachers are like the best writers – they show they don’t tell

The Best Teachers?

Posted in Technology, Work

We are hiring again – different role this time

Job description
Axscend Limited are looking for a dedicated Sales & Marketing Exec.

The role will be generating and closing new business as well as developing a sales pipeline for new products currently in development.

Axscend’s products and services help customers manage fleets of trailers, our hardware and data portal provide customers with visibility over a trailer’s……

Location

Brake Performance

Weight

Door Status

Temperature

Tyre Pressure

EBS faults

Lighting faults

…. … to name a few.

The role will be nationwide and we would invite applications from across the UK, particularly the midlands

A successful candidate should expect to earn in excess of £65K per year along with other benefits.

Desired Skills and Experience
Candidates must have…

a background selling into the Road Transport / Haulage / Logistics sector at either OEM (manufacturer) and/or Fleet levels. For example a background in trailer lighting, tyres, trailer rental or telematics would be ideal.

the ability to work alone, unsupervised and be able to to generate and close new business.

a Driving licence

good basic IT skills

a desire to succeed

Ideally the Candidate will have…

the ability to engage with large corporate clients as well as smaller companies.

an understanding of SEO

be able to write copy for trade press

an ability to liaise with graphic designers to produce adverts for trade press

be able to build a sales team

Posted in Adoption, Family, Financial, General, Health, Science Fiction, Work, Writing

Forgetting it all for the weekend

So it seems the moment I signed up for NaNoWriMo the pressure from all sides of my life takes off like a rocket.

Work has become more and more stressful. To the point of the web site having major problems last thing Friday night. At this point I was so sick with stress I decided it would have to wait until Monday morning. I walked out and decided to try to forget everything for the weekend.

This was not easy, as I said work stress is building up and up, relentlessly. Getting tired of it now.

On top of that the pressure from our adoption is also growing – all the social workers and health visitors want a mass meeting with us – we are naturally stressing about this as we don’t know what it is about. The annoying this is that we feel we have made great strides in the last few weeks and the little one if definitely feeling settled, safe and his behaviour has improved dramatically. The problem is we don’t think they are seeing it.

And then there are financial strains, cars breaking down, things going wrong and family illnesses. All piling on and on.

So this weekend I though sod it all. Lets just concentrate on family time.

And we had a great time. On Saturday we took both boys to a local children’s centre and they had a great time. They found some bikes and played together lovely with them. Then Alexander went to one of his classmates birthday parties. It was in a cake shop, making cakes.

Although he could have stayed we decided that L would just cause chaos in such a small place with flour and eggs! So I took him down to the beach and we spent a great couple of hours together, the best behaved he has ever been. While Alexander had a great time making “Alien” fair cakes and eating marshmallows dipped in a chocolate fountain, L and I threw pebbles in the sea, raced the tide and sat an ate lollies while watching the boats. It was bliss.

On Sunday we went for a walk in the country side around the village. Again the kids were remarkably well-behaved, collecting leaves and twigs for a Halloween picture project mummy has planned.

I won’t say I wasn’t stressed – it was still there bubbling under but time with the kids and my wife has helped.

So despite all that – because of all that and to spite all that – I decided to plough ahead with NaNoWriMo. I uploaded the cover (see below) and synopsis. Using Scrivener I have made a very rough plan. Writing down some very rough scenes, mostly in order though a few may change. I think my next stage of planning will be to describe for each character how they change between each scene. So I get a little journey plan for each of them as a guide.

I still think there an extra dimension to my idea missing, but not going to worry about that at present. It will only be a first draft – I can add more to it later if I still think it needs it once i have finished.

Onwards

Cold Sanctuary

Cold Sanctuary by Scott Bailey

Synopsis:

Orphaned, wrenched from their home, can Gabriel look after his adopted brother? Can he find a voice to stand up for himself?

In an alien world, unwelcomed and lost, all they have is each other. They must endure a clash of cultures, adapting to a radically new life and dealing with deep-seated grief. Gabriel struggles to keep the promise to his parents to look after the brother he has waited for all his life whilst coming to terms with his new surroundings.

Can such a young mind take all the demands? And, when they are suddenly separated, can he find his brother again?

Their searches for answers, for each other and to fill the holes in their hearts leads them on paths of rebellion and revenge.

Posted in Adoption, Family, General, Health, Work, Writing

NaNoWriMo and life.

So those few who follow my blog (and despite nearly 500 followers I know only a few are regular followers) will have noticed a drastic drop in my output. Since finishing my year of a poem a day I have done very little since. This is despite my promise to myself to keep up the writing.

Well life always has its own designs on our plans. The old reason (excuse?) has been the lack of time. Its been a hard few months. We have been under a lot of pressure from all kinds of angles.

We are still trying to adjust to having a very full on two-year old join our family, and all the knock on effect of that. We love him dearly and would not change our decision but it is taking the wind out of our sails.

Talking it over the other day as we realised that one of the issues that has affected us in a surprising way was his age. When we signed up for adoption we, like many, were envisaging a baby. As you progress through the courses and the process it becomes clear that it is unrealistic, so we opened up our minds to a slightly older child. When it came to it, in our minds age was no longer an issue, and in some respects we could see an advantage in a two-year old. One of the driving forces behind our decision to have another child was as a companion for our oldest – who dearly wanted a brother or sister and had already been deprived of one already. A two-year old would be more ready to play and interact with him.

However the reality has hit us harder than we expected. When you have a baby – as daunting as it all seems, you get introduced to each challenge gradually. So when they are first-born, you have to learn how to feed, them comfort them, change their nappies etc. But their demands don’t go far beyond that – by the time new challenges come along you have just about mastered the first ones.

With adoption of a slightly older child, all the challenges come at once. Not only have you got to learn to change nappies but also how to get them to eat their dinner, deal with challenging behaviour and stop them escaping the push chair Houdini style and make their escape.

Now I hear you crying we don’t have to learn all that as we have already done it once. Well that’s true. But you have to get used to doing it all again, and its a bit of a shock to the system. I don’t envy people who are doing it for the first time.

On top of that, the support we have enjoyed in the past has slowly ebbed away. This is no fault of our support network, they have all had their own plan challenging life changes, and they all support us still in many ways. But the support of having someone there has fallen. For example – we haven’t had a night out together for over a year now. And the nights out alone can be counted on one hand. It takes its toll. On the one hand our sources of stress have bloomed while our outlets for it have wilted. It’s no one’s fault. Just one of those perfect storms of circumstances.

Throw in a few bouts of very bad illness, some natural disasters ( a flood and a maggot attack! Seriously!) and it all adds up.

And then there’s work. We are balancing on a knife’s edge of survival. We have run that knife’s edge for a few years now. It’s a situation of risk, where we could crash and burn or reap what could be ripe rewards. Those rewards draw ever closer but as they do the risk and the pressure increase. Due to my position a lot of the physical responsibility falls on me. No solely but were I to get something wrong it would tip the balance enough to crash it. We are all in that position at work really and after a few years of it, it is tiring. Many late nights home and sleepless nights worrying.

So that I hope is some sort of explanation as to the lack of output.

Two things further to say. Firstly – that all sounds like doom and gloom but it’s not. In all areas we are making progress. A few months ago we felt like we were drowning. A few weeks ago like we were treading water. Now – we are swimming strongly towards shore. It’s some way off – but we will get there.

Secondly. Many people would say that if I had a real passion for writing none of that would matter – that I would make the time to write. Maybe that IS the difference between a successful writer and an amateur. I do love writing – but I also love my wife and kids and I can’t put down my responsibilities to them for my passion. I think that would be selfish.

That said – I have decided to give myself a rather large kick up the arse in the writing department. I am going to try the nanowrimo challenge. (Maybe unofficially if it’s too late to sign up formally.) For those who don’t know it it’s National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write a 50,000 word short novel in 30 days. (The official website is here http://nanowrimo.org/)

Now I have all the same everyday stresses and challenges but I thought – sod it! I am going to attempt it despite all that – because it is difficult not easy.

Trouble is I am fresh out of ideas! I mean I have loads – but ones I think need longer than 50,000 words.

If it comes to November the 1st and I have nothing still then I will attempt the technique of just starting writing anything and see where it goes. Not something I have ever done before, I usually have a plan, even if it’s very rough.

But in the meantime – if anyone has suggestions or prompts they would be welcome. Maybe a title? Or just a single word? Perhaps a concept to explore? I like combining two disparate concepts into stories, that normally enlivens things. So maybe if I get enough separate ideas I will combine a few of them.

So wish me luck! I need a lay down now to think 🙂

Posted in Family, General, Science Fiction, Work

Detours of the Mind

Today has been a little strange.

Stresses have been building up. Money worries, over work, trying to get the kids up and to school on time, family illnesses, friends in turmoil.

All the normal stuff, just got to me a bit more today for some reason, and has done all week.

So when I left work and saw a long traffic jam I surprised myself with my reaction. Instead of letting it rile me I shrugged and said to myself – OK let’s use the opportunity. So I turned off down a country lane to try to find a short cut across country.

A short cut it was not – a pleasant drive it was. Over some rolling hills with stunning views and down through winding valleys and dark, magical woods. I even got surprised by a juvenile deer jumping out into the road and running, for quite some time, in front of me.

It wasn’t just the pleasantness of the drive that made it such a nice change though – it was the change itself. The fact it was out of routine. So I am carrying on with it by taking time out from study and housework tonight to read something purely trivial.

Gladiator by Philip Wylie

This is nothing to do with the film. Let me explain. I have developed a passion for vintage – even ancient science fiction. I can’t explain why – there is something about it. Maybe the less cynical outlook – though some are still quite dark. Maybe the fact that they were not so aware of the physical limits of the universe so their imaginations were freer. They always seem to me more human than some more modern attempts. I think also I like to see where things have come from.

This one appeals to me on two levels though. It describes the story of a man – who as a result of experiments done by his father – is imbued with great power. His skin is invulnerable and he can leap over buildings, run faster than a train. At one point he asks “is he a man of iron rather than flesh”. In another scene, as a young boy, he lifts a wagon off a man who has been trapped under the axle. His father guides him to be good and responsible with his power but to keep them hidden. All sounding a bit familiar?

Published originally in 1930 – many see this as a huge influence on Superman. I will let you know my own thoughts when I have finished it.

The other delight with this book was it was free. You can get it from Project Gutenberg. Click here is you are interested.

And that was another nice surprise – Last time I looked on the Gutenberg site they had plenty but it was all in plain text form. Now they offer it in all kinds of e-book formats. And furthermore – you can get it delivered direct to your favoured cloud storage – Google Drive, SkyDrive etc.

I can foresee a lot of time browsing their site.

By the way. If anyone else is interested in old Sci-Fi here are a few I have enjoyed – most are free on Amazon.

The Coming Race – by Edward Bulwer

Trips to the Moon – Lucian of Samosata (very ancient – contemporary with Homer).

A bit more modern and not free – but I cannot recommend enough is

Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon. A very original book – with not a single character in it.

Maybe my taste is just weird.

Posted in Family, Financial, General, Work

Goodbye Goldie

So we have just had one of the wettest weekends we have seen for ages – and of course it was a bank holiday. But we were determined to have fun and relax. Especially after I had a day of total crisis at work – the stress after-shocks of which I am still feeling.

Anyway, we still had our days out. Firstly we took the boys for along the river in Sandwich. Alexander had the rare chance to get on his scooter and scoot free. They both loved it. Unfortunately the fun was cut short when Alexander got badly stung by a stinging nettle. It only brushed him but his whole arm blistered – leading us to wonder if he has an allergy to then? Thankfully it went down again very quickly.

The next day we went to a steam rally. This was a mix of old steam engines, vintage cars and  – the only thing that interested the boys – fun fair rides. We were treated to the sight of Alexander and his little brother enjoying something together for once. L just looked up at him with a look of sheer pleasure and joy as they went around and around on the mini roundabout.

Maybe I am getting old but after paying to get in, paying for three or four rides and having a hot dog each for dinner we burnt through £50! What happened to cheap days out?

Then it chucked it down – we got out just in time. So we went around to visit Nanny Jean and Grandad Maurice. This was L’s first visit to any of our relatives – most have now met him but at our house. Nanny has a new large tropical fish tank which they were both entranced by.

The forecast for the next day was again for heavy rain. Once again were up early – relatively – and ready to go. I found us something to do but I knew if I said what it was it was unlikely to appeal to Rachel. So I declared it a mystery tour. I reasoned that the best place in the abysmal weather would be underground. So we went to Chislehurst Caves. And we had a fantastic time there – reminded us of our Holiday at Wookey Hole a few years ago. L was wide-eyed with wonder all the way through and Alexander thought it was a great adventure.

So it was back to work today and back to reality. Now have the extra project of seeking out a new hosting partner for our web app. The day was further spoilt by the loss of one of Alexander’s goldfish – Goldie. He was very brave about it, Helped me fish her out and bury her. He insisted he wanted a “cemerony” and made up his own prayer – which went like this.

“Oh God! My goldfish is dead. Amen!”

Short and to the point I suppose. I think we will get the reverberations of this in a few days when it sinks in more.

But overall it was a good weekend.

Posted in General, Poem a Day Challenge, Poetry, Work, Writing

The End is Nigh

It’s not a doom laden message. In fact a small celebration. I am getting close to the end of my poem a day for a year challenge! To be honest – it’s already done. I had a bad night a few weeks ago, couldn’t sleep, all the small niggles of life piling up on me chafing. So I sat up and did the last twenty or so. They are all just waiting to be posted one after another.

But that begs the question – what next?

Well I don’t want to stop writing that’s for sure. But I feel a bit like I freewheeling now. I need to step it up a notch, push myself a bit more. However I also need to keep it realistic and achievable. With the poems, though they ruminate in my head for days, weeks even, when I come to write them down its usually fairly quick. Hence I have achieved several goals. First to get something posted each day, but second to put myself back in a state of mind where my creative juices are running all the time. I have to take into account time constraints – especially now that we have a new little one settling in.

Incidentally – I am beginning to see other benefits from this project – that I had hoped for. For a few years now I have really been struggling in certain areas, particularly at work, trying to grasp new programming concepts and methodologies. Even though some of it was very simple. It was getting me down, I was worried I had lost the capacity to learn.

My push to get back writing was, in part, in fear that I could lose the ability to do even that (not that I am claiming a special ability but you see what I mean). I wondered if I might never write again.

Anyway – over the past few days – I have started on a another new project at work (Drawing using HTML5 canvas and JavaScript). It’s all new to me – but – for the first time in ages it’s flowing. I am getting it, and getting it quickly. I feel like a corner has turned there and I think it’s because I am waking up parts of my brain that have been asleep too long. Who knows?

So what next?

My plan now is to write longer pieces less often. However – having the push of a time-table also helped, although I was writing for me I had at the beginning an imaginary audience – now a small but real audience  who were expecting each day’s post.

So here is my idea. I will write one long piece each week. Four or five a month. Furthermore they will be as follows.

1. A short story
2. A film review
3. A book review
4. Just general ramblings.
5 (when needed) another of any of the above.

I will still try to post something each day perhaps more like a journal now, something that happened that day, and every now and then some more poetry.

We will see how it goes.

Oh – and I am also planning to re edit my novel and push on the marketing for that. Plus I will gather together the poems from the year and publish those in an e-book too!

Finally – I am going to make an effort to actually be more social on this social media! I have spent so much time writing on here that I have engaged in much reading or commenting. That is something I need to do more now. I need to feedback and the fertility of ideas bouncing around. Very often something someone says to you – or a particular phrase in somebody’s work can set you off down a completely different train of thought, or give you the kick you need when stuck.  That is the beauty of blogging that I have discovered.

Posted in Adoption, Family, General, Work

Quick Thoughts

Working hard from home – needed a break.

Just a couple of thoughts and occurrences from the last few days.

The second Hobbit movie was a lot better than the first!

So was the second of the latest Muppet movies.

Hosting kids birthday parties and play gyms is so much easier!

Off to bed now. Number one son is happily asleep now, content that he has a scalectrix set up in his room and a promise of one to one Daddy time every day. Number two son is settling in very well now. He is quite amazingly intelligent for a 20 month old. We put him down to sleep as normal tonight and left him to it – he normally goes to sleep quite quickly. Tonight, Rachel passed by his room and peeked in to check on him. He was slowly rising up over the edge of his cot, playing peek-a-boo with his shadow, giggling each time he did. Must be a sign he is happy and relaxed surely.

Posted in Family, General, Poem a Day Challenge, Poetry, Work, Writing

Poem a day challenge #168 (Glory Days)

Glory Days

By Scott Bailey © 2013

So the soldier walks alone
beneath the
starry night
He has no aim but distance
from the bloody fight
But the war it still pursues him
snapping at his heels
He slips into the forest deep
beyond those broken hills

O glory days
Those glory days
They’ve shattered
and they fade
They only left a rumour
A shadow
where they laid

So the sword is silenced
with a deep and lasting chill
In his heart, ​the war goes on
the beating never still
Behind the hallowed orders
that laid so many low
Is revealed the empty truth
the sickest, cruellest blow

O glory days
Those glory days
They’re gone
they never were
So the soldier walks away
from guilt
that he defers

Get the previous ones here
http://wp.me/P3kG6h-bb and get my début novel Mankind Limited

Posted in Family, General, Poem a Day Challenge, Poetry, Work, Writing

Poem a day challenge #167 (Tuesday Blue)

Tuesday Blues

By Scott Bailey © 2013

Crisis everyday
When did this start?
When will normality
Return
Is this the price
Of years of hard work
Maybe I should just sweep roads
Noble simplicity

Get the previous ones here
http://wp.me/P3kG6h-bb  and get my début novel Mankind Limited