Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mostly books

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who left good wishes here and over at the Novel Racers for me and mine during the difficulties we're having in Bangkok. I've had some wobbly moments and your thoughts and good wishes have really helped. Husband got a flight to Phuket from Singapore yesterday. He left Phuket in a taxi this morning: it's a 8-10 hour car journey! (Update: Arrived home 7.30pm)

With no coup, the kids and I went off to see Twilight yesterday afternoon. Daughter is 200 pages in; Son's read it and I have no intention of reading it. It's not my kind of thing at all and it did have flaws, but I really rather enjoyed it. Beautiful landscapes. I still have no desire to read it but I'll watch another film...

After the cinema we went into Kinokuniya - our wonderful, wonderful English Language bookshop (How could I survive anywhere without copious English books?) We went in to buy New Moon, Stephenie Meyer's second book in the Twilight Saga. We also found some Christmas presents, and on the New Arrivals table, I found this:

Kate's books are always available here but the hardback of The Secret Shopper's Revenge hasn't been available to buy here. It's always very exciting to find a Novel Racer's book here in Bangkok.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Not normal

It looks like a normal day in Bangkok out of my window, but it doesn’t feel it.

Last night we heard rumours of an impending coup; that tanks were on the move; and an official suggestion that we should have enough money, food and water to hole up in our homes for three days. News reports here and here.

My husband was in India this week – not Mumbai thank god - but because of the troubles in Bangkok’s Airports he was unable to get back into Thailand, and because of the troubles in Mumbai, we didn’t want him staying in India. He arrived in Singapore this morning. All the flights are booked to other airports in Thailand so we just have to wait and see if he can get back. At least he is safe where he is.

It isn’t often I come over all lioness about my cubs. A combination of the rumours and being alone here meant I made the decision to keep the children at home today. I went downstairs at 6.30am to tell the bus monitor. I felt a bit silly actually, everyone else was going but I think feeling foolish is a small price to pay.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


After my big graphic outburst yesterday, I decided to be equally graphic today.

This time, though, it’s Thai writing.

The former artist in me fell instantly in love with the Thai script when I got here. I have no intention of learning to read and write it (Husband can: Meh, as Son would say) because life’s too short, I’m too busy writing, I’m not bright enough. The public reason is that I have no intention of spoiling the delectable visual of the script. If I knew a word said ‘toilet’ or ‘hong nam’ as it is in phonetic Thai, I couldn’t possibly think it was beautiful, could I?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


See here and here for the Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok airport) reference. All my domestic worries fade in to insignificance by comparison.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

10,000 big ones

I’m changing the subject from our holiday plans. There’s more than a little Mr Toad in the Beattie family personality, which I don’t wish to highlight any further…

I am going through my next 10,000 words as they are due with my mentor on Friday. On Sunday my heart sank as I began to read through. My family, whose minds were all on the snow in Siberia, were distinctly unmoved by my trauma. On Monday, I got past the first two pages, and there were definite signs of improvement. I marked up the pages (I confess, while I had a pedicure!) with big strokes of the pencil I stole the complementary, promotional pencil from the hotel in Korat… It’s a perfect pencil; dark enough without being too soft and it keeps its point beautifully so they found their way into my pencil case. (Yes, damn it, okay I stole two pencils.)

I am desisting from shovelling MORE on my metaphors. Clearly dialogue comes relatively easily to me, for which I am thankful. But! There has to be a but… But, characterisation; emotional roundness of my main character… Can’t work it out. She’s STILL two dimensional.

What to do?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Contemplating Christmas

The Beattie family (that’s us) may have taken leave of their senses.

The best holiday we ever had was in China a year after we moved to Thailand. I might blog about it at some point. I wrote two exercise books full and haven’t looked at it since. I rather thought it might be the kind of holiday that you enjoyed after the event. However, it was fabulous at the time. It made me realise what wonderful, adaptable children we’d brought up, who’d learned that they could ‘speak’ an international sign language, and they weren’t afraid to use it. I shall never forget watching Son (who learned ‘Hello’ and ‘thank you’ in Chinese) asking a Chinese waitress, who spoke no English, for a toothpick.

So we’ve been contemplating Christmas… we’re not going home, what shall we do? We toyed with a few things and nothing got me going; until now.

We are exploring the possibility of flying to Moscow, taking Trans-Siberian Railway for five days to Mongolia and then having five days there, before flying home.

Today I emailed the company to see if there is availability. I discovered on the website that it’s -40 degrees at this time of year. Hmmm. I emailed Husband, and this was his response:

-40, that's minus forty degrees centigrade (or Fahrenheit).

You do realise that is level 4 on the Beaufort Beattie Shiver Scale?

Scale shown below:

0 (+5 to 0 degrees) - cold, need jumper and coat,
1 (0 to -10) - bloody cold, need to wear skiing gear. water freezes
2 (-10 to -20) -f**king cold, colder than it gets in the UK, need to wear two sets of skiing gear, rivers and small animals freeze
3 (-20 to -30) - cold isn't the word for it, need to wear arctic explorer gear, icebergs and glaciers form, people and large animals freeze.
4 (-30 to -40) - nowhere this cold on earth, no data, similar to outer space. entire planets freeze.

I should point out, that the Powers That Be decided half way through our childhoods to change the scale, from Fahrenheit to Centigrade, thereby ensuring we never understand either. We were lucky really to understand the new money.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

More stats

Did you see this in the news? Europeana an online digital library, opened recently… and then it crashed as ten million hits an hour – twice more than expected – proved too much for its servers.

According to a quote on the BBC, “Thousands of users were searching for the words 'Mona Lisa' at the same time."

This has caused me considerable worry as my own stats escalate out of control with people from all over the world searching for ‘Crystal Tips and Alistair’ pictures.

And then there’s Angie’s comment, here, about all the ‘Friday bum fun.’ Heaven only knows what impact that’s going to have on my statistics.

You know what? I’m thinking of making it a regular slot: Friday Bum Fun.

What do you think?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday roundup

Well, it's the end of my week in flat Khorat. Today I can write; tomorrow I go home. I can't be cocky confident just yet, but I've only 884 words to do today to make the 5000 words as instructed by Husband. (Or I owe him the money back for this little trip.)

So far I'm on 22,741 (before today's words) (OMG). My second lot of 10,000 words are due go to my TLC mentor next week and they need looking at again, cutting and editing a bit before they go. There's stuff in there that I wrote before the first report came back that I know needs acting upon. My word count will vary while I make changes so I might not update my Leigh O meter until this time next week.

After yesterday's post, here are some more arseicons:

from Pat Posner
(123numberbum) Numb Bum

from Lane
( ) Lazy arse

From Angie
(~!~) Dimpled arse
(_!_) Pancake arse
(,,!,,) Numb arse

From Debs
(vvv!vvv) numb arse

From Beast
٨ ٨
Rabbit doing a poo
Apologies to Beast whose ears and poos won't go in the right places.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A rude one

I was thinking of all the good signs that my writing is going well.
  1. Climbing word count
  2. A numb bum (or butt for our American friends)

And then, before I could finish my list, I got an email from my friend Jane (*waves*) that made me chuckle. Most of us use those emoticon things - I quite like the ones made up of punctuation but I don't like animated yellow faces: I think they're a bit creepy. Here's a bit of her email:


(_!_) a regular arse

(__!__) a fat arse (or perhaps, a writer’s arse?)

(!) a tight arse

(_*_) a sore arse

{_!_} a swishy arse

(_x_) kiss my arse

(_E=mc2_) a smart arse

(_$_) Money coming out of his arse

(_?_) Dumb arse

I felt compelled to find one for numb arse, which is what I was complaining of... So how about:

(..!..) Instant glory for whoever can leave a better one in my comments.

UPDATE: I gather you can't do them in the comments box, but if you can be arsed (sorry) to send me one to 4pmteatime at gmail dot com I'll post them up tomorrow. Not just numb bum but any bum!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I ♥ the Novel Racers

Just take a little sideways look over there on the left … your left, not my left … yup, that’s it … where it says 20,000 on the lovely Leigh’o’meter. Even if mine’s gone slightly wonky, with a pokey uppy border bit on the far left, it still says 20,000 big ones.

And, it’s really 20,364 words. Now I've no idea how long my book will be, but I plucked 100,000 out of the air since I'm told I should be aiming between 80,000 and 120,000. 100,000 is a pleasing, round number. So if that's so, I've done a fifth of my book. A fifth. And most of those, I've done in the last ten weeks.

I should have a bit more humility about all this and I do apologise if I sound like I am shouting, but damn it, I am shouting. I am proud of myself.

I am coming to the end of my second year with the Novel Racers, and frankly I’ve been a bit crap – no, a lot crap. I can’t understand why they didn’t throw me out long ago because I have struggled. And some of my posts have been a load of drivel with the most boring excuses – I know because I’ve been back and read some of them. Let me apologise in retrospect.

Husband says that if I come home with less than 5,000 words I have to give him the money back that I’ve spent here. So Husband, today I’ve done 1,707 words.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

'Cracking mountains' Not

Here I am in Khorat, where I came for the mountains … and it’s a plateau. Brilliant: not a bloomin’ mountain in sight. It’s so flat it would give Bangkok a run for its money in the flat stakes. Oh well, at least I won’t spend hours gazing out the window.

And, you’ll never guess: there’s a school residential in MY hotel. No, it’s not one of our school residentials – but a primary school. I’m going to have to get up earlier tomorrow to beat those little critters to the omelette chef.

I had a little bit of a panic yesterday. A combination of ‘I am here to write: I must write’ terror and not being able to get onto the internet, meant that I couldn’t write a damn thing. I convinced myself that I needed the internet first… before I wrote and I couldn’t sort that out. I was waiting for help from reception. I telephone Husband and he is the kind of man who asks ‘have you plugged it in?’ so I pre-empted him and said ‘I’ve plugged it into the right hole’ which in reality turned out to mean: ‘I’ve plugged it into a hole it fits into.’ It was the wrong plug, obviously. When I eventually got onto the internet I was in a proper panic. Everything is crap, it reads like I’m in primary school, I can’t handle the story, blah blah blah.

Today I’ve woken up feeling less panicky. I will free write until I work out what comes next…

I had a look at the news, and I found this. Nick Park is one of my heroes. In an interview with the BBC, he says of his current project, A Matter of Loaf and Death, "You should do it for the fun or it, and not have any other ambitions in mind."

That, it reminds me, is what writing should be about.

Go and have a look at the BBC article: the film, due to air at Christmas, looks ‘cracking.’

Monday, November 17, 2008


We've just had three days mourning for the funeral of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, the Thai King's older sister.

Thais were expected to wear black during these three days, but the children's school and our condo also issued requests for people to show their respect by wearing black or dark colours.

The colour of clothes are important to Thais. On Mondays, the day on which the King was born, Thais wear yellow to pay their respects to His Majesty. The Queen was born on a Friday and Thais demonstrate their respect to her by wearing blue. The colours are dictated by the day - they learn the days of the week hand in hand with the colour of that day. Even the political sides in the current troubles have a colour that they wear to show solidarity to the side they support.

I took this picture on the skytrain platform.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Oh good grief. In pursuit of the ‘essential items’ as dictated by school, Daughter and I went to MBK this afternoon.

MBK is one of the malls I will miss desperately when we eventually go home. It’s rather like a market in a mall – the shops are mostly small units, rentable individually or in multiples to make a big, ‘proper’ shop.

We were downstairs where the units are mostly individually let. We were tired; only one item remained on our list. Daughter was inside the tiny, cramped shop examining the thing we wanted. I stood outside, where more goods spilled out. In front of me there was a suitcase for sale and I rested my bag there while I opened it up to check out the spondulics situation.

“Oh,” I said to Daughter, “I don’t have enough money. I need to go to the cash point.” I went off in search of a money machine, found one and then made my way back to the unit. I was gone around five minutes. There, sitting on the top of the suitcase outside the shop, was my handbag, open, proudly displaying a camera, a Blackberry and all manner of detritus we women carry around with us.

I am still flushing hot and cold at my stupidity (and good luck.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Next week my children go away on their school residentials. All of the senior school – apart from years eleven and thirteen – go away for five days, leaving the school quiet for mock exams.

Last year I went to Andaman Discoveries which is community based tourism project set up in the wake of the tsunami. This year I’m off to write for five days in Khorat in the Nakhon Ratchasima province. Famous for its silk and stone industries, I might have to take a day trip out to Pak Thong Chai where the best silk cloth is rumoured to originate. The jungle at the nearby Khao Yai – Thailand’s oldest national park – was the backdrop for the film version of Alex Garland’s novel The Beach.

I was scrabbling away for somewhere to go last week, my priorities being:

Relatively cheap
Max half a day’s travel
Mountains in the distance

It isn’t a rural idyll as it's Thailand's third largest city but it’s a change of scenery and being away gets me out of my regular ‘stuff to do’ mode.

In the meantime, my ‘stuff to do’ list is gigantic as we have to purchase all sorts of things on the kids’ lists of essential items.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fantastic feedback

Since I started the TLC mentoring, my writing habit has improved enormously. In order that I have 10,000 words to send in every six weeks, I’ve got to write most days.

I think it’s a bit sad that at my age I still need the help of somebody else’s deadline to make me do something I do really want to do. I hate the feeling of panic when I’ve left everything to the last minute so I am getting better at the motivation thing.

Knowing how brilliant I’ve found TLCs’s feedback, let me tell you about fellow Novel Racer, Caroline, who runs BubbleCow. She’s holding a Christmas Competition with a fantastic prize. It’s a lucky dip, offering a free in-depth edit and report on a manuscript of up to 100,000 words.
The deadline to enter is midnight GMT November 30 2008. The rules and details can be found HERE.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Poor old Flicka dog didn’t make it.

Rather than relying on the exchange of information via Older Niece and Daughter I spoke to my Dad yesterday.

Flicka was very frightened by bonfire night and thunder. She’s a big dog, but she turned into a quivering jelly (8 stone of terror) at either noise. She also hated people saying goodbye (I think this is a collie personality trait.) On Sunday night Nieces had spent the weekend with their Dad and they were saying goodbye to him. The combination of bonfire night and goodbyes, and the door being left open a crack, Flicka tried to escape (okay, going outside wasn’t the brightest plan …but she was in a panic.)

Anyway, the bastard car didn’t stop. Ex BiL stopped and helped. He and Dad drove Flicka to the local vets HQ a couple of villages away but for the diagnostic MRI scan she was transferred to the Royal Veterinary College in Potters Bar. They called with the results while she was still under the anaesthetic. It was a close call. They could’ve tried to operate but the prognosis wasn’t good and recovery couldn’t be guaranteed.

Thanks to all who left good wishes yesterday. Sorry the news isn't cheerier.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fingers crossed

Pigtopia was brilliant. I finished it early this morning and I loved it.

Got to move onto sadder news. Flicka, my parents’ dog, was hit by a car at the weekend. She was rushed to the vets with a mouth full of blood, wibbly teeth and hopes for the best.

Yesterday we heard the more alarming news that she is unable to use her back legs and was being moved to a different vet surgery for a scan. Daughter, who had to lose her cats when we moved to BK, is devastated. We await further news. Please keep your fingers crossed.

Here are two incarnations of Flicka dog. Can you tell which one is the real one?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


It’s Book Club today.

We’re talking about Emergency Sex (and Other Desperate Measures) by Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait and Andrew Thomson. It’s written by three UN workers who meet in Cambodia and they tell their stories through that mission, and then subsequent missions in Rwanda, Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti and Liberia.

It’s another hit for the book club reader in me as I would NEVER have picked it up voluntarily and it was tragic but brilliant.

I’m now reading Pigtopia by Kitty Fitzgerald. You might have seen in on my pile of goodies here. It has a lovely spine and cover (the spine is very important if that’s the way it’s presented in the book shop) which is why I picked it up.

In my own struggle to cobble together a novel, I’m strongly attracted to ‘beautifully crafted’ in the hope that I might learn something.

Pigtopia tells the story of two unlikely friends, Jack and Holly. ‘Jack Plum looks like a monster’ says Holly, ‘but his voice is sweet and soft. He also looks like an adult but he doesn’t act like one.’ With only his invalid, alcoholic mother at home, Jack wants to befriend Holly but he waits until her 14th birthday so he can make offerings and approach her when the time is right. When he does speak to her, she’s terrified as Jack is the brunt of local folklore. Jack asks himself ‘why she is so feared and is it just my big hoghead and ugliness?

Holly, despite her lack of physical development, is more mature than her peers. Things got better when her Dad left so she lives happily alone with her Mum. However, the status quo is about to change at home.

So they begin an unlikely friendship. Jack introduces Holly to the pigs that he rears in secret and Holly promises to help him with life’s practicalities.

Some of the reviews I read suggest an uncertainty whether Pigtopia is written for children or adults… they wonder from the book jacket (not the same edition as mine) and speculate whether Kitty Fitzgerald knew. But what I think… I DON’T CARE. It just doesn’t matter who it’s aimed at.

Listen: ‘Mam says that Dad was pigflesh and pigmind, a huge mucky porker what nabbed her by force, then jogtrotted off beyond the farlands when he understood what had been hatched.’

I’m about half way through and something rather awful has happened. Holly has promised she will help Jack without the outside world intruding in on his world. Jack has 'the frights' and so do I. I can’t wait to find out what they’re going to do.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Adults Only!

This made me chuckle.

Finland has released the DVD of ‘A Little House on the Prairie’ with a certificate of ‘suitable for adults only.’ The costs of having it assessed for the correct age certification are prohibitively expensive.

I doubt very much that the DVD will sell. Any adult buying it hoping for a bit of ‘how’s your father’ will be deeply disappointed.

I loved the books as a child. My mum used to read it to us at the kitchen table before we went to bed. I was ‘Laura’ because I was not such a good girl and my sister was the prissy ‘Mary.’ I was completely mortified when Mary went blind because we identified so much with our characters. My Mum said my sister and I were in floods of tears when she read about Jack the dog dying and so she had to edit frantically as she read.

Then the series came on TV and I loved that too. I knew the books so well that when the TV show started veering away from the stories in the books, I got my first taste of book to film disappointment.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Kick up the backside

It strikes me as funny that I can dish out advice to someone who’s struggling with their writing – not platitudes - but something I’m sure will get them going again. But when it comes to my own crises of confidence I’m not so quick to take my own pill.

I think it’s relatively simple though… and my advice was:

Write. Write anything. Have your characters brush their teeth if it makes you put words on the page. None of it is final, is it?

I KNOW that the action of writing puts my brain into the place where I begin to … well, do whatever it is that I need to do to create the words, tell the story.

Hmmm, that’s progress. I remember a while ago saying that I knew how to get there with art (particularly life drawing – that gets me to the creative place quicker than anything) but that I didn’t know if I’d got there with writing… Then suddenly, look up there, I wrote “I KNOW that the action of writing puts my brain into the place…” And it’s true, I do know it and I have been there. It’s the place where the time passes faster than in reality.

There’s been some good news too, which has given me another kick up the backside. I am not at liberty to pass it on but if you’re a novel racer, you can go to the private blog to find out. (If you haven’t got access to it because you haven’t been on one of our meets, then email me and I will issue you with an invitation.) But sorry, non novel racers, you’ll have to just wonder.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Last Monday I could hardly stop smiling as went to meet Carol in the afternoon. The reason for this was the writing … the words … the pile of them grew bigger and bigger. I was enjoying it. One minute I was on 15k and then a couple of minutes later I was on 18k. Wow.

Then on Tuesday I went to the Melbourne Cup celebrations organised by the Australian and New Zealand Women’s Group where I drank too much champagne. I went home and I haven’t felt right since – and I’m writing this on Saturday.

Worse than ‘not feeling right’ for four or more days, is the fact that I’ve annihilated my writing cells.

There are lots of people around me with loved ones with serious illnesses and here I am making myself feeling utterly crapulous voluntarily. What a stupid thing to do; my poor old body.

I’ve said lots of times ‘I’m never drinking again’ so there’s no point in saying that but I do think that perhaps alcohol and I don’t really get along too well. If I’m honest, it’s not just over indulging that makes me feel awful; even a couple of glasses will do it.

The combination of feeling terrible and not being able to write … well, it’s just not worth it. I think I may have to live a life of near teetotal boredom.

I hope I still get invited out sometimes.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Stats madness

Just what is going on?

I’d almost come to terms with the fact that everyone who chanced upon my blog does so through searching for ‘large spiders’ (why large? Why not big?) There are no big or large spiders here (well apart from here) and then there was that bit of Colin Firth action, here and here. And I could understand that because some people have him a google wotsit that pings him into their inbox when something's written about him.

But now, NOW, it’s all Crystal Tips and Alistair. Why? Why?

Please… will one of you tell me why everyone’s searching for them? Why? WHY?

Thursday, November 06, 2008


UPDATE: I had a little blue moment this morning. I've been away being hungover after Tuesday so I posted this to cheer me up. Of course it won't mean anything to any of you, sorry. But I thought it could ... well, stand alone, somehow.

I've come back to explain:

Back in the summer, my sister and I were sitting in the garden, under the fruit trees, at our parents' house. I think we were catching up about life, serious things... until our conversation took a detour:

Me: (pointing at the bottom of the horsechestnut tree) What's that little door?
Her: It's a fairy door.
Me: Who put it there?
Her: (in deadpan, 'how can you be that stupid') The Fairies!

I think maybe you had to be there...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I don't bake...part two

Yesterday I said that I would post Daughter on World Book Day 2004.

Here she is: two pictures for her as I loved the attitude in the close up shot.

She was Medusa.

Now I think you can see why the solicitor woman told me I took it a bit too seriously! You’d think I was in the Hollywood films the time I took concocting these costumes.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I don't bake...

Bookworm costume
... but I do make costumes. The children know that they can ask to be anything and I will huff and puff and grumble about time and then usually I will do it. But, if I can't, my Mum or my Dad can and will. That is one reason why my parents are so fantastic.

This is Son as 'Bookworm' for World Book Day 2004.

That year, I rather surpassed myself. Both Son and Daughter looked spectacular, (Daughter tomorrow) and another mother passed me in the playground, and said: 'You've got too much time on your hands...'

I was devastated; I could've cried. She was a solicitor - I am impressed because she had a real, grown up career and she baked her daughter's birthday cakes, while I didn't have a job, I just went to art college. I could make costumes but not cakes and so I bought mine from Tesco or M&S. I reckoned we were pretty even on the making front but she'd reached the finished line on careers before I'd even heard the starter pistol.

Anyway, sorry for the 'me me me, aren't I clever' post but I'm writing you know, and can't think of anything else to post.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I'm not worthy

Today I’m toasting those brave Novel Racer souls (here, here, here and here - I hope I haven't missed anyone) who’ve signed up to do Nanowrimo. Really, I’m applauding anyone who’s taken leave of their senses signed up for it. To me, it seems akin to agreeing to do a marathon: stark staring bonkers. I know that that kind of vomit draft is probably very liberating to some people, but I also know I just couldn’t do it.

For the rest of us Novel Racers, November is just another month that we’re writing. For me, I’m not far away from 17,000 words (update: I'm there now.) My writing discipline seems only to have emerged on signing up for the mentoring with TLC. When my mentor originally wrote and said she would expect to receive 10,000 words every six weeks, I nearly had a heart attack. But it’s doable actually. I’m managing it. What’s more important is that I manage to keep up that momentum after my six lots of 10k words because the full ms will be read by TLC and there’s an end to that offer.

Just as I know there are people on my side waving flags and yelling encouragement, I want to let you Nanowrimo members know that I might consider you out of your cotton pickin' minds, but I will be there on the sidelines cheering you on. Now, go write.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Today brings the excitement of opening up a new document for November’s postings (Really, I MUST get out more…) It’s just so clean and tidy and, well, organised – against the morass everywhere else on my desk and in my life.

1st November also marks my first full day having demoted myself. Yesterday I met with G who has agreed to take the post of Webmaster for the BWG, which I have been struggling with for some time now. I volunteered originally to be creative and not technical. I had two assistants with specialist knowledge but expats move on, and in their absence I was forced to be a bit more technological than I was comfortable with. I am, after all, more techno-twit than techno wizard.

It's not just trying to content with the techie stuff, but also wanting to concentrate on the writing... which is what I was doing before I came and blogged, so procrastinating aside, I'm off now.