Sunday, 27 June 2010

Germany v England

England's worst performance in a World Cup Finals?  Undoubtedly. Outplayed, outclassed and out of (South) Africa.  At least the 1966 ghost of "did the ball cross the line?" has now been laid to rest.  Whether it did or not, it certainly did in Bloemfontein, but on this occasion there was no Russian linesman.  And as for Munich, well we can all stop talking about that too.
Something, completely and unutterably, has to change now within the FA.  I don't know whether Fabio should stay or not, and to be honest I don't think it really matters.  What has to change, however, are the players.  A manager must choose his system and then pick the best players to play that system, like any club manager would.  He should not be picking the "best" eleven English players and then hoping that they will make a team.  If anything an international manager should have it easier, since money to buy the best players, does not come into it.  And England have plenty of good players.
But FIFA must do something too now.  Their decision to not use technology on goal lines was ridiculous when they made it several months ago. It now looks more ridiculous, now that it has had an affect in a World Cup. I very much doubt that it would have changed the outcome in this game, but it might have, and that is the point.  If results of these matches are called into question because of this, then that must be a problem for the governing body.  We will see.
For the first time in my life I have not been able to sit through a whole England game, and I have been there for other defeats.  It was more their lack of interest that became a problem.  But at least I have the cricket now...

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Back to Work

Since I blogged yesterday I have received confirmation that I have some work...(sharp intake of breath)...starting tomorrow for about a week.  So it seems that another new portion of my life begins.  My girlfriend gets here later today, and I can't wait, but she will be somewhat alone in taking her first steps.  For now I'm just trying to enjoy the warm weather as much as I can.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Twinge of Sadness

I always feel a twinge of sadness, of regret, when I finish reading a good book.  It's worse when it's a trilogy, or a series, especially when you've been able to read them back to back.  I finished reading the Amber Spyglass last night and I'm still feeling the effects of it this morning.
The first time I finished the story a few years ago, I was sitting on a train, surounded by people, and had to try swallowing back the tears.  When I saw the play last year, the same thing happened.  I'm sure that if they make the two more films of the trilogy, the same will happen.
I wonder how many times I have to read it, or watch it, before it will stop affecting me.  Something tells me that it won't stop. I've seen Pan's Labyrinth three times, and each time cried at the end.  A Very Long Engagement brings tears at the beginning still, even!
The strange thing is that I should be feeling extremely happy.  My girlfriend will be here tomorrow, not just to visit, but to move here.  She's decided to move to another country, just to be with me.  I should be the happiest man in the world, and deep down I am.  For the moment though, I still can't help worrying about Will and Lyra.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Words and Pictures

Since I last blogged I have signed with an agency...No work as yet but I have to wait for references etc. to get through the system, but hopefully something will come up during the next week.
In the meantime I have been doing a little more sketching, this time of people I've caught accidentally in photographs of other things:

On Tuesday I took a walk into town before meeting a friend for a fantastic pizza.  While out I bought the entire His Dark Materials trilogy for just £6!  I was shocked at how cheap it was, and a saving of £16 on the rrp.  Interestingly I had heard Philip Pullman on the radio on sunday morning talking about his new book.  I also made a sketch of two people in a coffee shop (unfortunately the figure on the right moved while I sketched) and have made watercolour based on a sketch I made on one of the numerous elephants still in the city.

The Football World Cup is finally starting to get interesting, with defeats for Spain and France.  England were disappointing last week, but too much is being said of the 'keeper.  The fact was that they should have scored more than the one goal in my opinion.  Hopefully they will do better today.

So that's the pictures, now the words (yes I'm afraid this is a longer blog this time).  I've decided to post a couple of 500 word stories that I wrote a while ago.  Hope you enjoy them.  Comments welcome.

Summer Holiday

It ended in the same way as it began, on a cloudy, moonless night.  Rain plopped gently into the sand, and drummed loudly on the planks of the wooden hut above them.  For two weeks they had met here, every night, but tonight it was time to say goodbye.
The rain had led them here on that first night, independently of one another.  First the boy, and then her.  She had given him a wary look at first, as if trying to judge if he could be trusted, but then a glance around had shown that there was no other shelter on this part of the beach.
She stepped in and shook herself dry, sitting down on the step next to him.  And that’s how they met, sitting there in silence and staring out at the dark water.  When the rain had stopped she stepped out cautiously, and giving him a quick backward glance, she ran off.  The boy didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye.
The next night was clear as the boy strolled down the beach.  The stars shone and the moon was reflected in the sea.  When he came to the hut he had been surprised to see her sitting there, as if waiting for him.
He stepped up slowly, not sure whether his company was welcome or not, but she appeared to give him a nod of acceptance.  He sat down and introduced himself, telling her that his name was Billy Connor and that he came from London.  She stared up at him for a moment with her blue eyes, before turning to look at the waves.
As they met night after night, the boy told her more and more about himself.  His family were here on holiday for two weeks.  But, all that his parents and older sister wanted to do was lie on the beach all day getting sun tans.  He would rather be in the museum, learning about the history and culture of the island.  The rest of his family weren’t interested in museums.
He told her that History and Geography were his favourite subjects at school, and that when he grew up he wanted to be an archaeologist, or a historical researcher, or maybe even a curator in a museum.  He hadn’t decided yet, but still had plenty of time to work it out.
And so it had come to the final night.  He was flying back home tomorrow and he would miss her.  He still knew nothing about her, not her name or where she came from, but he would still miss these moments of stillness and of being able to talk freely.
He told her that he would take her with him were it not for his mother’s allergies, and the fact that she might belong to someone.  He hoped that she would understand that he wouldn’t be coming there again.  But she simply purred gently as they stared out at the falling rain.

The Monster

No one would be expecting it from him, of all people.  He was the quiet, nerdy kid with the strange name, who always sat in the corner of class, the timid field-mouse of a student who wasn’t even worth teasing, since nobody ever noticed him.
He would never have even come up with the idea if he hadn’t seen the article about the celebrations in the local paper.  It was the perfect opportunity, the whole town would be there, and they would be in awe of him.
He made a trip to library; picking up books on anatomy, back issues of horror comics and of course Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  The assistant had given him an odd look, but Barnabas had just smiled nonchalantly back.
It had been difficult keeping his father out of the garden shed until he spun him a story about how he was building him something for Father’s Day.  His dad winked at him then, tapping his nose twice and saying how proud he was that he had finally taken up woodwork.  Barnabas thought that he would be disappointed that he had been lied to, but would understand when he finally saw what his son had created.
And on hindsight maybe it hadn’t been such a great idea to put the sign on the door saying: “Top Secret Project – No Unauthorised Personnel”.
It had only made his younger brother even more curious as to what he was doing.  The game had almost been up one day when he came home to find that little Joseph had already broken through two of the three padlocks with a pair of bolt cutters.  He had ended up having to bribe him with free sweets and football stickers for a whole month.
His mother had been the most persistent at wanting to know what he was up to.  First of all she had been worried that he had joined a cigarette smoking gang, which then led to her thinking that it was a drug taking gang after he borrowed a couple of tea spoons.
She had been satisfied when he told her that it was for a science project.  But that only lasted a day, by which time she had come up with the notion that science was a codeword for biology, which was a euphemism for girls.  The only way he could stop her going in there was to agree to listen when she spoke for an hour about the dangers of unprotected sex.
But it was worth it, because now the monster was ready.  Tomorrow the whole town would see what he had created, when it was unveiled at the Halloween celebration Monster Painting competition.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Classic Experiments

Having heard very little from the agency I signed with several weeks ago I today visited another agency who were much more positive...I sign with them tomorrow.  In the meantime I have completed the short story I began in Sweden, which I am quite pleased with.  I intend to sketch out another story later tonight, for which I already have ideas for submitting.  I also received an email from a writing website today which contained links to other writing websites, some of which looked very interesting.  When I get work, I intend to subscribe to them.
With the World Cup in football finally beginning tomorrow I picked up a wallchart today so that I can keep up with the scores.  It is stuck proudly to my wardrobe.  I have also been painting, as you can see above.  A blue flower (watercolours on watercolour paper) and fruits (chalk pencils brushed with water on card).  I'm quite pleased with them actually.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

New Painting

To deal with boredom last night, a new painting...English Landscape with Plesiosaur

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

I Made This

Saw the night for the first time in eleven days yesterday...and no, this is not a metaphor for missing my girlfriend. With the year inching towards midsummer the light in Dalarna, even after eleven pm, is little more than dusk.  But now that I'm back home I saw the black of night once more.
My girlfriend is a little happier now to have left her art school, but there were still the final days to get through, including a goodbye event involving singing, humour, costume changes and bingo.  Unfortunately I couldn't understand enough of the numbers to genuinely win a prize.
I did however get the opportunity to carry an over-heavy bag, more than half full of my girlfriends belongings...which wasn't quite so fun.  She also gave me a huge recipe book to bring back with me (for her use when she moves over).  I think the weight of my bag made it into double figures for the first time ever.
While at her dad's I watched A Knights Tale, for the first time, fun and a lot better than Dirty Dancing...but that goes without saying. Carrying a heavy pack is better than having to watch Dirty Dancing.  I also cooked for all the family, a very daunting prospect, but decided to go for something simple, and English...A cottage pie.  Thankfully it went down very well, mainly thanks to my girlfriends sister having some Worcestershire Sauce, for it would have been poor without it.
Now I am faced once more with having to find work, not fun, but I really must push myself.  I have also managed only a little writing in the last fortnight and must sort my brain out again.  Have just finished reading The Summer Tree however, one of my girlfriends favourites, need to wait for her to arrive with books 2 and 3 of the Fionavar Tapestry.  It was good, and I am curious to know how it all ends. For fantasy lovers I do recommend it.