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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

I thought I’d left behind all those plumbing crises I encountered at the red house. For a while yesterday, however, it seemed they were coming back to haunt me. Every time I went upstairs I could hear what sounded like a water-pipe reverberating behind the bathroom wall. And then it seemed to stop - only to start again when A came home. Maybe it’s an air-lock, we thought, and went around the place turning taps on and off, flushing toilets, running the shower. Occasionally the knocking would stop, only to start up again a soon as we relaxed. Only one thing for it: A got on the phone to her son, who is a plumber. Meanwhile I went and investigated one more time. It seemed that the worst of the noise was coming from our toothbrush rack, which was rattling. If I removed that at least we wouldn’t have to go to bed with our ear-plugs in. That’s when we had our X-Files moment. As I carried the rack through to the bedroom it continued to vibrate. Just as the violins were about to start screeching in my ear, I picked up my purple-handled toothbrush, the one I’d grabbed out of the drawer in the red house when I was packing to come home. Whaddaya know? It’s electric, it must’ve belonged to some hunter, and I’d switched it on without realising it.

I guess I’m pretty well settled back here. I have my first cold, I’ve been to the doc for a flu jab, and am back in harness writing my thousand words a day for the next Mike Pannett book - due to be delivered to the publisher towards the end of January. I’ve had a look at the allotment, picked what is probably the last of our sweet peas (there’s a frost forecast for tonight), and decided I’ll start my winter digging after Christmas. That’s the traditional time over here, when the frosts can get to work on the turned earth. Ours is a clay-based soil and needs a few good freezes to break up the clods.

Last weekend I caught up with my family. Had the perfect Saturday in York with my son: a huge fried breakfast in a favourite cafĂ©, a refreshing pint of Guzzler, and a great football game, which our team won with an 88th-minute strike. If you care to see what will undoubtedly be billed as ‘the goal of the season’ follow this link:

After that we took the train to Leeds to visit my elder daughter and her husband. They’re expecting their first baby - and my first grandchild - any day now. Next week I’ll be off to London to see daughter number two and buy her a dinner to celebrate her First Class degree in Fine Art.

I think I’ll keep posting an entry here, but it may be only weekly; and I will try to do what I did every time I set foot outside in Nebraska: take my camera with me. I’m sure there’s a way of changing the title of the blog, but right now that’s beyond me. Still, the Chainsaw is coming up tomorrow, and computers are his livelihood.

I am still waiting to hear from the University of Nebraska Press about the proposal I sent them for a book called Red House On The Running Water. You can bet I’ll post another entry as soon as I get any news.

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