My latest Sherlock Holmes short story Miss Violet Dixon (deceased)

My latest Sherlock Holmes short story Miss Violet Dixon (deceased)
The front cover created with Gimp with help from Aubrey Watt on You Tube.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

After two weeks of red days on Tempo we are, I think, finally clear! The weather seems to be warming up for the coming week so EDF (our energy supplier) will be saving the remaining red days for February!

My latest Sherlock Holmes short story has been published at Smashwords! Sherlock Holmes and The Bishop's Tie-Pin is a slightly humourous tale involving a wayward Bishop, a Victorian massage parlour, secret papers falling into foreign hands, blackmail and also Watson getting his kit off! What more could any Sherlock Holmes story want? I have allowed folk to read 40% of the story as a 'try before you buy' experience so enjoy! You can find it here...

Just as a word of warning to folk in France who think they may in future send in their UK tax return can't! Despite the fact that you will be bombarded with stuff from HMRC about filing on-line, you can't. The reason being that the 'foreign' pages that you have to fill in are not on the HMRC on-line tax reurn pages. We fell foul of this after health probs. and a visit to the UK for a 'BIG' birthday celebration meant we missed the UK submission by post date. We THOUGHT we could submit on-line but no....phoned HMRC as a £100 fine EACH was looming and was told that they knew it was a problem. All they could offer was either to send in a pleading letter and hope the £100 would be waived OR use some 3rd party software for submission that had the missing foreign pages. Hmmm, looked into this, paid £25 for the 'Taxcalc' software, dead easy to use and saved us £200 in fines! Plus, as we send our tax returns by recorded delivery from here in France, that costs us about £16 as there are lots of sheets, the nett cost to us was £9 and we can use it next year! Result!

Have a great day, the sun is out here, the temperature hasn't fallen below zero and we have had no snow at all...even the grass is starting to grow!

Dick xx

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Today (and for that matter yesterday!) is a RED day, what I mean by this is that EDF (our electrical supplier here in France) has decided in their wisdom to make today a RED day. We are on a tarrif called TEMPO which meand that for most of the year we pay a lot less for our electricity than the basic rate but there is a catch! During the winter months when demand is very high, EDF decide it's a RED day for those on the Tempo tarrif and our electricity costs not 9 cents a kW but 50 cents a kW!!! So, on red days almost everything gets turned off! We know the day before what 'colour' day it's going to be so we can bake bread and run the dishwasher the night before.

On a red day I have to set the alarm clock for 5.55am so I can hop out of bed and switch off all the electric readiators and then go back to bed. We have a big stone fireplace in our lounge which burns logs and we currently have about 9+ cubic metres of wood stored in the sous-sol (the cellar / underground garage). So, a nice fire is blazing and we are warm! Temperature outside is a not so balmy 6ºC whilst inside it's a warm 19ºC. Better than in the UK where it's struggling to get above 1ºC

On a completely different topic, I still find it strange that some websites that I go on (particularly in the US) will not let me write my name as Dick as it assumes I am being rude. Hmmm, this I sometimes can get round by putting D!ck but why should I? Once more we are hit by Nanny State syndrome. Yes, we want to protect folk from obscenity but not at the expense of avoiding reality and contextual common sense. We have a friend who works in a school in the UK, my name is blocked by their mail server whenever we write to her. So, what happens then if the kids want to go and see the pantomime Dick Whittington? Madness!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Today finds me out of bed and dressed...wonder of wonders after the really nasty run in with the Norovirus. A night of wall to wall vomiting was not pleasant and as both me and Alex had it, things were not good! Fortunately, our rushes to the loo were staggered (in more senses than one!). We have been like Zombies, brain running at 33rpm, feeling like our ribs had been beaten with iron bars! Yesterday was better, we both managed a Weetabix (we couldn't keep a sip of water down before!) and just lay in bed and slept..and slept! Today we both woke with a tight chest feeling rough but better, if that makes sense, still, we improve!

My Sherlock Holmes short story is getting hits at Smashwords, glad I managed to upload it before the Norovirus took hold. Read a chunk and give me some feedback, pop along and download 33% of it as a freebie. Find it here   Scroll down and you will see the downloads page and from there, select whatever 'flavour' your ebook reader needs. You will like it, I enjoyed researching it and writing it ; )

Dick xx

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Well, a much belated Happy New Year from me. You find me this morning propped up in bed recovering from the very nasty Norovirus. New Year found us looking after the black Labrador of a friend of ours. Charlotte is a big softy and she and our Labrador are great friends. Charlotte had a twisted ankle and hopped every now and then so we were very careful with her when at the beach.

Our small town is keen on energy saving and all (and I mean ALL) the street lamps are turned off at 10pm. So, a late night walk for the dogs before bed saw me with my fluorescent 'gilet de securite' (the high viz fluorescent and reflective waistcoat from the car) and the dogs in the doggie version! The local Gendarmes also wear these as do the Customs officers who now and then make random checks of the local motorists to make sure they are not running their cars on 'red' diesel (this is the specially coloured diesel used by farmers in their tractors and is sold to them at a tiny fraction of pump prices so their is a great temptation to use it). One night we were out walking with the dogs, who looked like drug sniffer dogs, when a car approached, saw us and immediately slowed and drove at the speed limit. Must have thought we were the French 'Old Bill'.

Our friend returned from spending New Year in Versailles bringing with him the Norovirus. He thought it was food poisoning from a dodgy prawn but no, it was the Norovirus which he passed on to us by shaking my hand and a bissus (kiss) to my wife. Twenty four hours later we were vomiting for England. This lasted for 12 hours and today we feel like we have been beaten with iron bars. Our friend was so disorientated with this that he filled his diesel car with petrol. Lots of money to be towed to a garage, more money to have the tank drained and more to refil the tank. Norovirus seriously messes with your head.

Still, before I was smitten by this, I did manage to finish my third Sherlock Holmes short story, The Cagliari Affair which is now published at Smashwords. Just pop along to Smashwords and download a chunk for free and see if you like it before buying it! Enjoy!