November

What are we supposed to give up this month? Smoking? Drinking? Driving? Meat? Dwarf Hustling? Otter Prodding? Breathing? I can never remember. It doesn’t matter anyway, I’ll just ignore it. I have to, there are unprodded otters in the river. Well someone has to do it. Those otters won’t prod themselves. Prodding poles at the ready…

Apparently we have once again failed to leave the EU. I don’t actually think that matters either. It’s already starting to fall apart, it’s just the BBC pretending it isn’t happening. Soon there’ll be nothing to leave.

November used to be, and probably still is, NaNoWriMo. National novel writing month. You are supposed to get the first draft of a novel completed in a month. No editing, no going back and changing anything, just blast it out.

I did it once. I wrote ‘Norman’s House‘ that way. Oh I completed the story within the month but it took years to get back to it and edit it. In the meantime I wrote the prequel, ‘Jessica’s Trap‘ and that was published first. Then ‘Samuel’s Girl‘. So the whole story came out in the right order in the end.

It’s not over. Demdike comes back in the next book, and there’s another one part-planned-out after that. There is mileage in the grumpy bastard Romulus Crowe yet.

The first of November marks the official opening of submissions for the Christmas Underdog Anthology. Number ten. And to think, when I started this, there were those who told me it was going nowhere. Every anthology has introduced at least one new author and the Christmas one already has its new voice. I won’t give a name yet in case he wants to use a pen name.

Still, Christmas 2019 has three stories locked in, two more likely, and it’s only just opened for submissions.

I have two other books to publish. One by Marsha Webb which only needs a cover. I decided to get arty and do it myself, but as always I have overreached. The cover is composed in acrylic paint, ink with a brush, ink with a glass pen, coloured pencil… and more. It’s taking ages. So there will be a first edition with a simpler cover in under a week and we’ll put out a second edition when the real cover is ready.

The other is by the new author in Well Haunted. Gastradamus is the name he goes by and he has a collection of pretty mad short stories to share. I need to get that done fast too. I’d like to engage a real artist for the cover but there might not be time if it’s coming out for Christmas. So it could be a first edition with a photoshopped picture cover and a second edition later too.

I also want to do this with some of the early books. Mark Ellott’s first novel, ‘Ransom‘, would benefit from a better cover and so would Lee Bidgood’s ‘You’ll be fine‘. Covers are important, it’s the first thing anyone sees. My cover image preparation has improved with practice, the early ones could do with a revamp.

Margo Jackson’s ‘The Mark‘ has a decent cover for an early attempt. It has a weirdo lurking in the woods (it’s actually me) which is integral to the story.

Some authors provided their own cover images – Dirk Vleugels and Justin Sanebridge, and later Mark Ellott – but since those first two tend to write in Dutch and French there wasn’t really much editing involved at all.

I’m probably digressing but I’m not sure I had a point to start with. Perhaps it was about building up and collapsing.

I never intended to build up Leg Iron Books. I genuinely did not expect it to get as far as it has. It was meant as a hobby business for retirement. It’s taken off far faster and bigger than I expected but I’m not forcing it. I set it up to get authors into print so they can go to an agent and say ‘Look, I’ve already published these’. It matters. Literary agents do not want one trick ponies. They get about 15% of the royalties and if you’re selling ten copies of your only book per year, that’s no good to them. They get pennies. They want to see you put out more books.

The big publishers do not accept direct submissions from authors. They will only work with agents. If you don’t have an agent you are never getting into the big publishers and if you are not published you will have a hard time getting an agent.

This is what Leg Iron Books is for. I want to lose authors to agents and big publishers. I’d like to think those authors will remember where they came from and maybe send some new ones this way but this is never going to make me rich. Leg Iron Books is small fry and staying that way.

Will Leg Iron Books collapse? Probably not unless I pack it in or die. It’s not being ramped up, it’s not leveraged, it has no debt and is not looking to be anything other than a backwater way in to the world of publication.

The EU is ramped and leveraged to the eyes. Riddled with corruption, bad debt and vanishing cash. It’s doomed. The Church of Climatology depends on its believers and on free grants from taxpayers. The believers don’t seem keen to chip in and the taxpayers are starting to wonder why their heating bills are going up rather than down. The scam is collapsing, hence the sudden panic-driven push to get as much as they can before the glaciers roll over Birmingham.

The new anti-vaping crap is falling apart too. What a pity so many vapers have joined the antismokers. They’d have had a lot more allies otherwise. But then…

First they came for the smokers. I was a smoker, and nobody spoke out for me.

The rest of you can suck it up.

The UK parliament is wringing its hands over what the public thinks of them. The truth is, the real aims of those bloody parasites are now clear and we’re thinking what we should have been thinking all along. That’s falling apart too.

The next election is going to be worth staying up to watch. Results finalised on Friday the Thirteenth and I hope it’s unlucky for all of them.

There has been no writing tonight. I took the day off. It’s Halloween so we watched a film called ‘The Nun’. Lovely. I laughed often. Tomorrow is back to work for me, I have those two books to get ready, then I have visitors to deal with for a week, then the Christmas anthology.

December to February, we are closed to visitors. We need some sleep!

It never ends…

I don’t just mean Brexit, although that is verging on the immortal. No matter what Boris does, Jerry Cordite and Jo Swindles will vote it down. There is a way to make use of that attitude, if he’s smart enough to see it and use it. Maybe his pal, Demonic Cummings, can do it.

I know, I didn’t invent that name, but if I was called Dominic and people called me Demonic, I’d absolutely revel in it. I spend my days wishing my surname was De’ath. I’d never use the apostrophe, particularly not on my doctorate. I mean, I have a scythe, black hooded robe, the lot. I’d just need to lose a lot of weight. Almost all of it, in fact.

This place has been silent because I had to go to Wales for my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. I couldn’t miss this, it’s a big one. It’s a diamond anniversary but CStM and I can’t really run to diamonds just yet so we went for practical. They wanted a soup making machine so that’s what we bought. I’m glad my mother mentioned it, I had never heard of such a device so it would not have occurred to me.

It now takes 12 hours to drive to Wales because we no longer have to get through the mess of roads that is Aberdeen. There is a very nice road that goes right around it. It took 13 hours on the way back, I was driving slowly as it got dark and late because we’re in the potential frost and ice part of the year. A bit early this time but it’s not the first time. In the event, we made it alive, which is always good.

Before we left I was engaged in a last minute panic finishing off ‘Well Haunted‘, the ninth Underdog Anthology. It’s done, the cover is professional this time, and if that helps sales I’ll be back to ask the artist for more. It has to help sales to be worthwhile – cover artists don’t work for free (well I do but there’s no point paying myself).

Next I have two more books to get ready before Christmas and there’s a Christmas anthology with a closing date of November 30th. November is going to be a busy month – and there will be visitors in it too.

You know, CStM and I moved to the middle of nowhere because neither of us are particularly sociable and no matter how nice the neighbours are, we aren’t likely to get along with them. We are the kind of people who assemble shelving units at 3 am and cut the grass at 10 pm in summer. So we thought it best if we just live well out of everyone’s way.

Unfortunately this place is a visitor magnet. Except for Halloween trick or treaters, it seems. None of them have so far made it up the driveway after dark. I wonder if it’s the tiny red glowsticks attached in pairs to the gnarled old trees? Nah, can’t be. Those are normal Halloween decorations. This year I might try green ones.

Still, we have had relatives on both sides visiting all through this year, to the point where we plan to seal the place for December and sit around scowling out of the windows. We have garden ornaments that scowl back.

While in Wales, we had to visit That London. The posh part where the embassies are. CStM had to renew her passport and that can only be done at the Danish embassy in London because they now want fingerprints. She had offered to cut off a finger and send it to them but they wanted all of them. Besides, she would then have to carry the mummified cut-off finger like a lucky rabbit’s foot because that’s the only one that matches the fingerprint. In the end, we decided to just go there and get it over with.

While there, we met Martyn K. Jones, one of the authors in recent Underdog Anthologies, for a quick drink. Also Tom Paine of The Last Ditch blog. I have met very few online people in real life, so few that I have wondered if the entire internet is just me, and everyone else is the creation of a supremely talented impressionist who lives in a bedsit in Truro.

We didn’t go shopping. We were in a part of London where we couldn’t even afford to look in the shop windows. The sort of shops where if you have to ask the price, you really shouldn’t be in there.

Anyway, all the visitors this year have slowed down work. And it’s not over yet. I would blame my granddaughter for attracting them but she is turning out to be as antisocial as me, so I can’t fault her.

At least the Halloween book is done, and the authors should now have their payments or copies. I posted all but one from Wales, since Amazon seem happy to deliver to just about anywhere. I was missing one address but it’s on the desktop computer so I can finalise this job tomorrow. Then it’s on to the next.

I have two authors waiting for their books to be finished and by the end of November I’ll be locked into Underdog Anthology Ten. All of this must be finished in time for me to take a Christmas break. After spending September in a state of knackeredness exacerbated by infected insect bites, I have a lot of catching up to do by the end of November.

After that, I’ll probably sleep a lot.

Flying saucery

I have sometimes wondered about buying one of the little drone things with a camera in it. It could be fun to take some aerial photos around here and I’m far enough away from anyone else that even when I inevitably crash it, it won’t bother anyone. A couple of things put me off.

My son used to be really into radio controlled helicopters. You know you need insurance for those? Not for the model, but for the damage it can do, which can be spectacular and potentially fatal. Insurance doesn’t cover the model, it covers the costs of getting a shattered rotor blade out of someone’s car door or chest.

Crashes always ended up with a three-figure bill. He’s a homeowner and father now, such expenses are no longer a good thing to have on your home budget and he doesn’t have a lot of spare time anyway.

The cost of crashing a little cheap drone is probably a lot less, but how many crashes before I get the hang of it? It could soon add up…

I once had a go at a radio controlled plane at one of my son’s club’s open days. Fine when it’s going away from you but you have to reverse your hand movements when it’s coming towards you and that’s not easy at all. You have to watch the plane, not the controller. I did learn one important thing. If you crash in farmland, try to crash in a field of sheep, not cows. Sheep will run to the far side of the field from the crash. Cows will come over to investigate the new thing and when they’re done, there’s not likely to be much left to salvage.

The little drones I’ve looked at won’t do much damage if they crash into something. They probably won’t even break a window and if they hit someone, it’ll be a few scratches at worst. There is another problem though.

Unlike the model plane which only goes in one direction, these things don’t have a clearly defined ‘front’ when viewed from the ground. You can make it hover, great, but which way is it going to go when you next press ‘forward’? Unlike even a helicopter there’s no way to tell until you move that lever.

I have radio controlled trains. Much more sensible. Speed control forward and back and they are on rails so they aren’t going to surprise me by spontaneously deciding to go in an unexpected direction. It doesn’t matter if they are moving away from me or towards me, the lever only controls speed.

This does have relevance to the title, which is something mostly studied by people whose wardrobe looks like this –

I’m being a little unfair. I cannot be certain that no UFO sighting is of an alien craft. I could argue ‘well why have they never made contact?’ but a little thought tells me a likely reason. Imagine you arrived here after crossing interstellar distances, with all great intentions to make contact with the monkey people on this new world. Ten minutes of any major news channel and you’re going to engage reverse gear and floor it, right?

There was a time when ‘cigar shaped UFOs’ were all the rage. That was back when zeppelin test flights were floating over rural areas. No internet, few phones, limited news of any kind. Nobody knew what they were. They were ‘unidentified flying objects’ to ground observers, but the people in them knew exactly what they were.

In the UK, we had a spate of sightings of mysterious black triangle ships that never showed up on the nearby airport radar. Naturally, anyone reporting one was dismissed as a crank. Then the new military stealth planes were revealed – black, triangular planes that didn’t show up on radar. Just like that. There must have been test flights, right? As it was secret those test flights would have been at night.

How do you keep a new military advance secret? Well, you make it obvious and deny it exists. Let the Forteanists claim it as a UFO sighting. Few will take it seriously and those that do will be those who think it’s an alien craft. It’s wonderfully deflected into tinfoil hat territory even though the military know those people really saw something.

Towards the end of the second world war, the Nazis were working on some interesting flying designs. Let’s gloss over Dornier’s clearly drug-fuelled flying insanities. They had the rocket propelled Me 163, whose major drawback was its propensity to spontaneously explode. In jets, apart from the well known Me 262 there was the Horten 229, which didn’t get into service before the end of the war. Lucky for us, really. It had the same Junckers Jumo 004 engines as the Me 262 but it ran rings around the earlier plane.

The Nazis also worked on disc-shaped aircraft although there seems scant evidence to suggest they actually built one, much less flew it.

What would be the point of a flying disc? Aerodynamically it would be horribly unstable unless some serious gyros were installed. It would have no aerilons, no tail, no easy means to control its flight.

The alleged German designs were just disc shapes with a cockpit in the middle and a definite front and back, with jet engines at the back. The disc shape seems iirrelevant in this case.

However, a sharp military mind could have seen potential.

Remember that toy drone, with its equally spaced lifting propellors? Make it a disc and replace those propellors with louvred jet engines such as those on a Hawker Harrier. All of them under the disc, no engine at the ‘back’.

The Hawker Harrier is a plane. It has a very clearly defined front and back, When it’s hovering, you can hazard a good guess at which direction it’s going to go in when it fires up the main engine. A hovering disc, however, gives no such clue. Like the little toy drone, which way will it go if you press ‘forward’?

Imagine a fighter aircraft that can make turns the way a house fly does. Ninety degree turns in the air. A disc with a central cockpit able to rotate, and louvred jets that rotate with it. You don’t turn the thing, you just change its direction of travel. If you paint a dot on the ‘front’ as you see it now, when it makes a 90 degree turn to the left, that dot is now on the right side. There is no ‘front’ nor ‘back’, the ‘front’ is whichever way the cockpit is facing now.

The g forces could be horrifying, of course, but if it could be made to work, how can a modern jet fighter chase something that can turn like a fly? An observer seeing it hovering could have absolutely no clue as to which direction it’s going to move in next. Don’t you think the military would be interested in something like that?

Don’t you think they’d be experimenting?

Perhaps that’s what the Roswell crash was about. Not little green men but an early attempt to get one of these things going. Maybe that’s what really happens at Area 51. Sure, the air force have not so far unveiled any kind of flying disc but the aerodynamics must be horrible and controlling something using only jets must be difficult. It’s not an easy project but if it could be made to work it would be well worth the effort.

I think the rim of the saucer would have to spin, to give it a frisbee-like aerodynamic. That just makes it harder to control the jets and harder to change direction, since the whole damn thing is now a gyroscope. Are these problems insurmountable? I have no idea but I bet they’d take a hell of a lot of trials to figure out.

I won’t be at all surprised if, one day, the military reveal a new, saucer-shaped fighter plane.

I also won’t be too surprised when nobody asks how they managed to spend decades testing it without anyone finding out.

The Chance I Missed

I spent four years working as a janitor in Local Shop. I was there over a year before anyone other than Boss knew what was really on my CV and when they found out, they inevitably asked ‘What the hell are you doing here?’

My answers ranged from ‘Hiding from the Mafia’ to ‘It’s a secret Government experiment and I can’t talk about it’.

Really I was there because my consultancy business went down the tubes for a variety of reasons and I was skint. In the end it actually did me a power of good. I learned a lot about the inner workings of food shops, who worked there, how they thought and why food poisoning happened. I now have a few reasons for food poisoning events that I could just share here but well, this kind of information is worth a lot.

I’ll tell you what though. It’s not the staff. Well, in a very few cases it could be but the mainstay staff? No, they get the blame but they aren’t the problem.

Anyway, I digress. The point is that I had Devo’s song ‘Whip It’ on vinyl for many years before I worked in that shop and I missed an incredible opportunity in the four years I worked there. It only came to light in a conversation with CStM this very evening.

So here, much too late for me but perhaps of potential use to any current cleaning staff out there, is what might have happened if Devo had been cleaning staff:

Wipe It

Grab that wipe
Clean the surface right
Dust in the seam
Scrub it till it’s clean

When there’s dirt upon the floor
You must wipe it
Later on there will be more
You must wipe it
Every surface, every door
You must wipe it

Now wipe it
Get it clean
Wipe it up
Use the spray
Get the brush
And the mop
Get all that dirt out
There’ll soon be more
So wipe it
Wipe it good

If it’s spilled upon the ground
You must wipe it
It’ll stain and turn to brown
Unless you wipe it
Clean that mess away
Really wipe it

I say wipe it
Wipe it good
I say wipe it
Wipe it good

Grab that wipe
Someone’s spilled the milk
If it gets in the cracks
You cannot get it back

When a table’s soaking wet
You must wipe it
Oh you haven’t finished yet
Still you wipe it
When it’s done, there’s something else
Go and wipe it

Now wipe it
Shine it up
Make it gleam
See your face
Clean that toilet
Hold your breath
Oh it’s a bad one
It’s up the walls
So wipe it
Disinfect
Clean it up
Perhaps repaint
Go outside
Take a breath
Hold on to breakfast
Or you’ll be forced –

To wipe it
Wipe it good

Eradicate Whitey

Can’t happen.

Oh you could wipe us out and replace us with Africans but guess what? That’s where we came from.

Humanity, science is pretty sure, started in north-east Africa. Side note: real science is never more than ‘pretty sure’ about anything. All of science is open to question and open to new data. When you hear ‘the science is settled’ and the Word cannot be questioned, that’s religion. Especially if it has a repeatedly-predicted apocalypse that never actually happens. Climate ‘science’ has predicted far more Days of Judgement, and been wrong more times, than any religion on Earth.

Even so, science is pretty sure on this one. Humans first appeared in north-east Africa, pretty close to where the Bible says Eden was situated (yeah, couldn’t resist chucking that cat among the pigeons :D).

So, in the beginning, we were all black-skinned. Had to be or we’d have died of sunburn and skin cancer. White skinned at or close to the equator is not a good mix – okay these days we have sunscreen and clothes but back then, no.

It is therefore no surprise that the much-vaunted Cheddar Man, apparently the first human in the UK, was black. Of course he was. He would have migrated here from Africa. Just like everybody else, everywhere on the planet.

The thing is, having black skin when you’re getting close to the poles is a disadvantage. You cannot produce enough vitamin D in your skin to survive.

Note for the obvious retort – Vit D carries calcium and helps with bone growth. You can get rickets in Africa if you have all the vit D you need but not enough calcium in your diet. You need both. Oh, and no, you could not nip to the chemist for a pack of Vitamin D pills. In many places you still can’t.

So those who were born lighter skinned in the North did better that those who were born really dark skinned. Eventially we lost most of the melatonin and became the Honkies who are so despised, even though we are actually the same people.

It took thousands of years. It will take thousands to do it again but it will happen.

So sure, wipe out Whitey and fill the North with black Africans. Wait a few thousand years and you’ll have to do it all again.

They might come here hating us, but the very act of coming here, as we did thousands of years ago, means their descendants will become us.

We are not a separate species. White people did not come from different stock than black people or brown or any other shade of skin. We are one species. We all came from the same place, we just adapted to the place we lived in. All you white people who hate black people, your ancestors were black. All you black people in Europe who hate white people, your descendants will be white.

In the end, as with most things in life, your fevered rantings and violent purges will end up changing nothing at all.

Have a cup of tea. Smoke. Relax.

In the end, nothing matters enough to get a heart attack over.

What I did on someone else’s holiday

I am a little behind. Some prefer to call me a short arse, but really I’m just a little behind.

I have copies of Mark Ellott’s latest book to send him and a couple of other things to send out which I will get done before Monday. I’m now down to two books to deal with, one novella and a collection of wonderfully surreal short stories that Roobeedoo is editing. I have a week before the next visitor…

One big mistake I made was the overuse of ‘open in new tab’ for the Leg Iron Books site. There’s no need for internal pages to open in new tabs because they are all accessible from the top menu. It’s not a hard thing to fix, it’ll just take time. One of those ‘kick yourself’ realisations.

The last week, we have been visited by CStM’s father. He travelled all the way from Denmark, he saved for ages for the trip and he hasn’t been to Scotland before – and might not get another chance for years. So we went all-out on the sights. Mostly the weather was okay, sometimes rain and thunder, but we managed to time things just right for indoor and outdoor things. We did get caught in rain a couple of times, can’t be helped, it’s Scotland.

The visits all had some kind of liquid theme but again, it’s Scotland. Wet is normal here.

So we have been to…

Loch Ness – that’s Urquhart Castle on the north shore.
Fyvie Castle, which has a lake.
Haddo House, which has a pet cemetery. Also a lake.
Dufftown, which has the Dufftown/Keith private railway and is home to Glenfiddich and Balvenie and a host of other distilleries. If you visit the Glenfiddich distillery shop you can marvel at a bottle, on open display, with a price tag of £1600! I didn’t buy that one.
Aberdeen. Naturally.
We toured the distillery at Glen Garioch, a small one that produces some excellent and often rather expensive whiskies. My budget ran to a bottle of the 12 year old which, at 48%, has to be approached with caution.
Finally, the one every visitor wants to see and the one I’m terrified they’ll want to see – the most inaccessible castle in Scotland. Dunottar. There’s no bridge. You want to see it close up, you walk down the cliff path and then up the opposite cliff path. I did it once, 20 years or so ago. I’m not keen to do it again. This is where the Scots hid the Royal Treasure from Cromwell because at the time there was no way to attack this place without getting minced. Your army is in single file down the cliff path, in full view of the archers.

I have also discovered something about driving an automatic car. When you do it a lot, and the Loch Ness trip was 8.5 hours of driving, your left leg can swell up. Your right leg is busy with pedals but your left leg is doing nothing. It’s on a long haul flight. It’s going down now but it’s something I have to keep in mind for the next trip to Wales. Frequent stops and walking about.

Now I have a week until the next visitor – CStM’s aunt – who will also want to see lots. Then we visit Denmark for a week and then it’s Halloween anthology time. So this week is going to be some intense work to get the novella ready and thank whatever Gods there are, Roobeedoo is dealing with the short story book.

I’ll very probably have to take the laptop on holiday… won’t be the first time.

Unfortunately CStM’s aunt, unlike her father, isn’t interested in tasting whisky so I won’t have an excuse to buy a different one for every day.

But I probably will anyway.

The Dance of the Garage Door

Currently I have no internet apart from using my phone as a link and that could turn out expensive if I do it too much. If you send email and I don’t answer, it might not be back to full activity for a few days. I should be back to full internet access by Tuesday or Wednesday, and here’s why (wrote this offline and pasted it in, it’s quicker that way)

Saturday was a crappy day.

On Friday I cut the big lawn. I did this late because the air has been stuffy here. It has topped 20°C (I know, perfectly normal for the end of June and some of you are weird enough to think that’s cold) and humidity levels have been appalling. The slightest exertion left me soaked in sweat and getting out of the shower meant an hour or so of trying to get dry.

Last time I cut that lawn I decided to let the clippings dry and rake them up the next day. It’s standard procedure – the grass box is no use, there’s far too much grass so I let the mower leave the clippings on the lawn. It has a flap on the back that leaves the clippings in a neat line on the left side.

Naturally, after I had cut it and left the clippings for the next day… it rained for a week. So by the time I got back to it, the grass was six inches long again and peppered with lines of rotten grass. That was the situation on Friday, when I just ran the mower over it again. Just to make it that bit more dreadful, that was when the back flap fell off the mower just so that it could coat me from head to foot in minced grass. There was a delay while I fixed it back on.

I tried to pick up the clippings straight away but as I didn’t start until 8 pm and had to fix that back flap, I ran out of light around 10:30. Still, I had the lines pulled together to make it easy to do on Saturday.

Well, it was another stuffy day so I left it until just after 6 pm to start. It was clouding over, great, that makes it cooler.

Then the rumbling started. Those clouds weren’t just overcast. They were big dark buggers and they were coming in fast. Lots of rumbling and flashes of light. I got about halfway through raking the grass when the first drops fell and I realised I was standing in a big open space, in the path of a really mad thunderstorm while holding the long metal handle of a lawn rake.

Considering the way my luck had been going the last couple of days I thought it best to beat a hasty retreat and deal with the rest of the clippings another, less potentially lethal time. In the end I finished clearing them up on Sunday. But more about Saturday…

The storm lasted over four hours. We lost count of the power outages, which were fortunately all short-lived. At one point I went out to check on the garage and found its main door wide open. I closed it and went back inside.

It took a few moments to register.

Soon after we moved in, the landlord finished his refurbishment of the garage by fitting an electric garage door. I have a key fob I can use to open it remotely, which is fun. I don’t keep the car in the garage though, partly because the garage is full of stuff but also because if the power went out long term and we had to go somewhere else for a while, the garage door wouldn’t open. There’s no manual way to do it. Anyway, I finally figured out what was happening.

What was happening was that every time the power came back on, the garage door mechanism interpreted it as a pulse and opened the door. I guess it was opening and closing at every pulse. Anyway, I had to do something about it so I decided to close it and turn off the circuit breaker so it wouldn’t randomly open again. Otherwise everything in there would get soaked.

It was getting dark by this time. Normally it doesn’t get dark here in June but the enormous thunderclouds took care of any residual sunlight. I went to the garage, sure enough the door was open but the door and lights weren’t working. Okay. I went back for a torch. The circuit breakers had flipped to ‘off’.

I turned them on. At this point, the storm decided to have a bit of fun with me and it went for peak intensity. Flashes and rumblings were seconds apart.

I pressed the button to close the door. It got halfway down – flash – the circuit breakers tripped. I turned them back on. Nothing. The power was off. The power came back on and the circuit breakers tripped.

I turned them back on and pressed the button. The door, now convinced it was in the opposite phase, opened fully. I let it. Then I pressed the button again and it started to close. Flash. The power went off but the circuit breakers didn’t trip. I waited. The power came back on and the circuit breakers tripped.

Okay. I turned them on and pressed the button. The door went back to fully open. Pressed it again. Flash The circuit breakers tripped. Switched them on. The power was off.

By this time I was considering disconnecting the door from the mechanism and nailing the damn thing closed.

One more try when the power came back. I finally got the door to almost-properly closed and – flash – the power went off.

Good enough. I made sure all the circuit breakers for the garage were off and left it.

Naturally, the rain came down like stair rods (you have to be a certain age to remember that one) and I was soaked on the short walk back into the house. Just one last insult from the storm gods.

Also we now have no internet. A quick check of the ISP’s site using the phone (we can get 4G if we’re in the right part of the house) shows that a big chunk of the UK has no internet tonight. Looks like the storms managed to hit something important.

The Dance of the Garage Door was just the storm playing around after it had completed its mission to screw up as much internet as it possibly could.

On Sunday, still with no internet, I called the ISP who ran a line check and decided the router was fried. I have to agree – the cordless landline phone is also dead but the plain old powered-from-the-phone-line one is fine. Switching things around told me the line itself is working but the router and cordless phone are destined for scrap.

I will have only intermittent internet, using the mobile phone as a link, until the new router arrives on Tuesday or Wednesday. And we have to go shopping for a phone too.

On the plus side, the storm really has cleared the air of stuffiness.