Water, Water, Everywhere And …

… not a drop to drink. At least not potable water, and we live on an island, in the middle of a lake!

When we moved here in 2012 the water, straight from a well, tasted divine. Certainly nothing like the city-water we were used to drinking in Vancouver.

In fact, when we drove out here to check out the place before we signed the lease, our prospective landlord at the time, offered us a glass of water, and it was probably one of the main things to convince us to move here.

Not so any more.

We’ve experienced a slow decline in water quality, but the stressors on the water-table this past year have been the final nail in the coffin – metaphorically speaking.

Population pressure: Since the farmers sold off their acreage this little island has been sub-divided, and sub-divided until there are far too many houses for the land to sustain. The older houses have septic sewage systems and the newer ones have pump-out ones.

The small creeks upstream of the lake are surrounded by commercial greenhouses. More and more are being built every day as people are finally starting to realise that food security for decades to come will have to be sourced as locally as possible – a legacy of the collateral damage from the last two years. And no matter how stringent their safety protocols are for their waste water something always gets past the system

This last summer heated up the lake and raised bacteria levels until swimming was a health hazard.

Our well water has been treated with chlorine to combat unsafe levels of bacteria four times, so far. It’s reasonable to expect we’ll be receiving ‘boil-water’ advisories next summer. (if we’re still here)

We don’t drink water straight from the tap anymore.

One of the things we were saving up for to buy next year as part of our preparations to head off for parts north-west of here, (and become the ‘Wunder-Lusters’ we’ve been hoping to be for the last two years) was a Berkey water filtration system.

With a little rearranging of priorities, we had the rather large, for us, sum of money to buy it now instead of next year.

Having a glass of water is a pleasure we cannot take for granted again.

 

‘… Water, water, every where,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, every where,

Nor any drop to drink …’

From ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

Today I turn 63

It happens every year about this time, this anniversary of my entering upon this mortal coil.

It occurred me to reverse the numbers, (63) to 36, and find out what was happening in the world when I was at that tender age.

Fasten your seatbelts and come with me down the slippery slope of time, to the year 1994

The Scream, by Edvard Munch is stolen from the National Gallery, in Oslo, Norway. (it happened again in 2004)

The Channel Tunnel, the underground tunnel between England and France opened.

Amazon opens its virtual doors for the first time. (twenty-seven years ago … scary, no?)

‘Forest Gump’, and ‘The Lion King’, win big at the Oscars.

‘Stargate’, the movie that launched a thousand TV series, premiered.

‘Star Trek: Generations’, wherein Jean Luc Picard and James Kirk team up to save the galaxy, also premiered.

Looking over the list of movies on the ‘1996 films’ page, I see a lot of movies that I remember fondly.

Here’s the funny thing though, I’ve never remembered a lot of my personal history. The big things stand out, but dates and events, and people, slip away the further away in time I get from them. This apparently is somewhat unusual. Most people tell me they can remember far more detail about their life’s passage.

So if you are from my past, and you see me walking down a street somewhere in the world and I ignore you, it’s not personal. Just stop and say, “Remember me?”… and regale me with tall tales of the adventures we shared.

And The Winner Is …

It’s a gorgeous sun-dappled afternoon here in the Widder-backyard as the entrants gather, and wait with bated breath for the BIG DRAW!

A Gathering of Entrants

A Gathering of Entrants

Each entrants name has been written on the inside of tiny cube …

(not an actual entrant)

(not an actual entrant)

… and placed in this rather elegant glass bowl …

(red lights not included)

(red lights not included)

… on a sun-dappled podium.

-oOo-

And now without ado …

Congratulations Quiall!!!

Please use the contact form on my ‘About Me & Contact Me’ page on my blog (Just scroll down a little) and leave me the postal address you want the book sent to, and anything extra you might want me to add to my signage.

That’s it folks. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Last Day Until The Draw

If you haven’t already entered the draw for a signed copy of The Last Dragon In London, this is your last chance. Check out the book’s own page for a description and the first two chapters, and see what you think. Leave a comment at the end of this post and into the draw you’ll go. See this post for more details.

The draw will close at midnight tonight (12th September) Pacific Daylight Time.

On the 13th, I will write everyone’s name, (the username you’ve used to make your comment) on the inside of a little cardboard box, like this …

… Which I will then fold up, thusly …

… And into a container they all will go, where Mrs Widds will pick a cube, unfold it, and reveal the winner. Simple, eh?

Good luck to all, and to all, good luck.

Have you Ever … Anaesthesia Edition

(continuing my occasional series of weird and wonderful things that never, seriously, never, happen to me)

Background: On Friday I had a Day Surgery visit to our local hospital for some surgery – gynecologically speaking – to have some non-cancerous polyps, who’d ignored my post-menopausal cease-and-desist order, removed … I’m fine now, except that I think I may have offended the Goddess of Post-Surgical Bowel movements, (Poopsalotia) by celebrating my lack of extreme evacuations just a tad too early. C’est la vie – good times’ll get you in the end!

Anyway, on with the show …

Have you ever … undergone general anesthetic, and then woken up from a dream where you had a pack of Viking warriors kneeling around you, on some long-forgotten battlefield, holding you down while they pulled a very large spear out of your throat …

… and then you realise that in all the times you’ve experienced general anesthetic (14 times to date – mostly knee surgeries) you have never dreamed at all or hallucinated, or whatever it was, and had only gone from, nowhere, to hearing the post-op nurses asking you your name …

… and then you realise that your throat feels like it’s been turned inside out …

… and then you figure that you woke, or were woken, just a little bit too soon and the surgical team were still taking our that tube they stick down your throat, and your Vikings were the team holding you still while the process was completed?

Nah .. me neither!

Sailing away

Sailing away

-oOo-

A reminder that my ‘The Last Dragon In London’ giveaway is running until the 12th September. Entry is by simply leaving a comment on THIS post

Now, this is my kinda Viking music …

 

I’m Giving Away A Signed Copy Of The Last Dragon In London!!!

Short version – leave a comment on this post to enter the give-away.

Slightly longer version – Zon.com was taking so bloody long to get my ‘author copy’ to me, (hard to imagine the USA and Canada are next-door-neighbours sometimes) so I bought it from Zon.ca and got it a week earlier than the .com one. Now have two copies, and what better way, I thought, to celebrate such good fortune than to give one away.

The give-away will close at the stroke of midnight on 12th of September, and Mrs Widds will pull a name from a hat on the 13th of September, which I will video and post here on my blog. The winner will then use the ‘contact me’ form on my ‘About Me & Contact Me’ page, to get their postal address to me … and a short, tasteful message for me to include if they so desire … then I will sign your very own copy of The Last Dragon In London and post it to you, poste haste!

That’s it!

P.S. If you want to leave a comment but don’t want to be in the draw, just let me know in your comment.

Raindrops On Jasmine, And Novels On Desktops

After some 60-odd days we finally had a bit of rain the other day. I was so excited I rushed out and just stood in it and wallowed. Those of you who’ve been here for a while know how much I am not a fan of rain. I can remember not long ago really, enduring 60-odd days of rain and overcast skies, and expressing my displeasure in no uncertain terms.

This year, (and perhaps for all the years to come) the arrival of the rain that finally broke the drought’s back will be a most welcome sight indeed.

Every plant in the garden absorbs every drop it can

Every plant in the garden absorbs every drop it can

-oOo-

In other news to cheer me up, this arrived in the mail …

In my hands

In my hands

For all that I love the absolute brilliance of ebooks, this is what finally makes it real.

I am very happy to announce that The Last Dragon In London is now available IN PRINT!

All the info can be found on its very own page.

-oOo-

And in reference to the title of this post, I’m not going to link the Julie Andrews version of one of my favourite show-tunes, but a spectacular version by Betty Carter.

Take it away, Betty …

Game, Set …

Me: “We’ve been in a relationship for seventeen years, and you still …” (doesn’t matter what. If you’ve been, or are in, a long-term relationship, you know what I mean)

Mrs Widds: “We’re not in a relationship. We’re married!”

… and Match, to Mrs Widds!

 

Annnnd … The Heat Is Back

I had two consecutive days there where I felt somewhat human, alas, it did not last.

I am now reduced to a mere puddle of protoplasm desperately clinging to my beloved portable A/C unit.

And we have a choking smoke pall to deal with as well. This is a significant piece of information because …

… There are two major meteor showers every year. The Leonids which fall, (heh) in November, and the Perseids, which fall, now.

I am enamoured of meteor showers, and have been since a small child. They’re the only extra-terrestrial visitors we can count on. Since we have been living here on Widder Island I have not seen either of these showers once. It rains in the summer (or at least it used to) and snows in the winter. Both types of precipitous events have conspired to deny my will, until this year.

Clear skies were forecast. The waxing moon (what there was of her) would be annoying folks on the other side of the planet. I set up a comfy chair in the front yard, communed with the Summer Tree, and waited for the wee small hours of the night when the shower would be at its most illustrious.

With tea and snacks I ventured forth to bear witness … and couldn’t see a bloody thing.

The smoke from the wildfires had finally arrived, thanks to a dastardly nor’westerly.

I squinted and peered but the only stars I saw were inside my eyelids. Broken in heart and spirit, I turned to go back inside and weep bitter tears into my pillow, when, bright enough to pierce the smoke, a single meteor streaked to its doom across the sky.

Sometimes a single shooting star is all you need

Sometimes a single shooting star is all you need

-oOo-

After the devastating ‘heat dome of 42 degrees’ at the end of June, Mrs Widds and I decided to splurge and buy a couple of ‘mini swamp coolers’ because I was adamant that when the next one hits (and it will – in fact there’s one over the Mediterranean as we speak) we wouldn’t rely exclusively on the portable A/C. Redundancy in all things is our motto.

Sunsets and smoke - not the first, and, most unfortunately, not the last

Sunsets and smoke – not the first, and, most unfortunately, not the last

Have You Ever – Publishing Edition …

(Continuing my occasional series of weird and wonderful things that never, seriously, never happen to me, ever)

… slaved over a hot keyboard for seven months creating, from the five dimensions (at least) of your imagination, and then editing, a brilliant story filled with engaging characters, and drama galore …

… then formatted it for stage and screen digital and print editions …

…and then upload the digital versions and see nothing wrong them (this is important for later in the story) …

…only to discover, when you return to finish off the print formatting, that there are a few too many typos, that you’re sure you have already corrected, in the manuscript you’re working on …

… until you realise that in some unknown and probably unknowable way, you uploaded the WRONG BLOODY FILE, and didn’t even notice it?…

… so you go back to your clean copy and go through it with a paranoia-inspired fine-tooth comb, secure in the knowledge that no matter how obsessive you are, there will always be at least one typo that will escape detection …

… nah, me neither!

-oOo-

IMPORTANT NOTE: The clean files have been uploaded, and Amazon and Smashwords should clear them within the next 24 hours, so that those of you who have already bought your books can download the updated versions if you so desire. (it was mostly punctuation gaffes)

(For Amazon you need to make sure your device has ‘Automatic Book Update’ turned on – ‘Manage your Content and Devices’ in your Amazon account. Click the ‘Preferences’ tab. Scroll to ‘Automatic Book Update’. Choose ‘on’)

IMPORTANT LESSON: Be able to laugh at yourself, and have a back up plan!