Half a Year Gone Already

Can you believe it’s July 2016 already?

No 71

I’ve been living in my little house for over six months now! Simultaneously it feels like time has flown by yet like I’ve lived here for a long time. I’ve had quite a few big changes, including starting a new job, and moving into my little house. Both of those things were arranged last year, and they ticked off the two main things on my list of aspirations for the year. Coming out of a time when the media (here’s looking at you, Mailonline) and the general voice of the public seemed to have a downer on young people in general, with a difficult job market and a nigh-unscaleable property ladder, I very quietly set my mind to those two things, and I’m so pleased that I achieved both.

My favourite flowers
My favourite flowers

For 2016 I have the one main goal: to get writing, properly. It’s been easy to get distracted with new house, new job, new kittens, and the new Game of Thrones, but I set my mind to finishing off “My First Book”, shall we vaguely call it. This is a book I’ve had in mind since I was in first year of university, and have dibbed in and out of over the past few years. From about September time last year, I embarked on the not-inconsequential task of pulling together all the random vague chapters and drafting in the remainder, pulling together a sketchy first draft. That came to a close in February of this year, at which point I began the great editing process. As it stands, I’m about halfway through, having cut down on about ten chapters so far, and rejigging a lot of the pacing, action and some of the relationships. So far I am still really enjoying it.

It’s been quite an intense half a year so far, from a horrible start into a gloomy, dark sort of non-summer.

Bursts of colour
Bursts of colour

Things I’ve enjoyed so far

  • Wheel of Time – I finally finished this mega series! I actually cried at the end, and was pleased with its final execution, especially when you consider its original author and instigator, Robert Jordan, died before the last few volumes were to see the light of day. I’ve got the prequel to read yet, so it’s not quite over for me.
  • Game of Thrones – obviously! I got Sky TV just in time for series 6, which has gone beyond the books now. The past couple of years have seen me get back into a fantasy zone, which is great, considering MFB is definitely in the fantasy genre, though quite a different take to WoT, which is straight-up epic fantasy on a far-reaching, dazzling magical scale, and GoT, which is a much more human, visceral approach on it, with a smattering of zombies and soaring dragons flitting here and there.
  • Living in Casa Katy! While paying for everything is a bit annoying, I really like my little house. I have a lovely little corner set up for writing, and my front room is coming together nicely, as is my little garden, which I’m looking forward to working on a bit more once this summer *hopefully* gets underway… will it… ever? Who knows!

Things I’m looking forward to

  • Finishing MFB’s second draft. It’s picking up a bit of momentum in the middle section now, and I’m excited to charge on through, and see how things go. I’m adding structural pieces and frames to tighten things up, and I’m getting a definite buzz.
  • Winds of Winter – who isn’t? And is it ever coming? 2016 might be over and we might not be anywhere. One can dream.
  • My birthday! The mid-point of the year of course brings my little birthday, and without the summer school to distract me, I can look forward to it, though July as a whole is a busy little month anyway. I haven’t any special plans for my birthday as such, though I’m going to the Great Yorkshire Show so that will be exciting.
  • Summer in Casa Katy – I’ve bought some nice cushions for my patio furniture and it’s done nothing but rain since I got them. I would like to get them out of the plastic wrapping sometime, please.
Come back, Mr Sunshine!
Come back, Mr Sunshine!

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Nurburgring 2016 (May)

our rides

 

So, I think since I last posted anything car-related we’ve gone on a couple of Nurburgring trips! The most recent was in May of this year, and it was different, for quite a few reasons – some sad, and some joyous.

me and steffi

One wonderful reason was for this lady who was my co-driver, passenger, wingwoman, shotgun and general all-round splendid beauty and now honorary member of the “Jallanby” clan, Miss Scatty Jallanby herself, Stephanie Glaves!! (cue rapturous applause) Steffi came, despite (at the time) being a non-car-driver on a car holiday. She very valiantly put up with my driving, my music, and the general specific oddness of the Nurburgring, and I love her ever so much for it, and we had the best time ever, and I am proud to say that now she has got her provisional driving licence and has had at least one driving lesson. Go Steffi go!!

Us in Germany

A sadder reason was that we lost Grandad earlier in this year. For many years Grandad was my Dad’s passenger and co-driver – long before I rekindled my interest in cars, Grandad always went with Dad for the biannual pilgrimage to the Nurburgring, and I think he proudly held the mantle of oldest and fastest man around the Ring. I know there will definitely be some photographs on computers somewhere out in the world of this old chap snoring his head off in a Subaru Impreza. Grandad loved going to Germany and definitely was one of the “boys”; the trip felt very strange without him being there, whether it was him laughing at all the stupid shenanigans we get up to, or else muttering about the rock-hard bread or the steak he couldn’t chew, or even for pinching Dad’s glasses for an entire trip. It was a sad occasion but John (or “JC” as I think he is globally known) made these fantastic stickers for us and so Dad and I had our cars wear them with pride.

Grandad in Germany

Another big change was… Dad didn’t go in the Spec C. Nooo! He went in something else… we call it “Redzilla” – yep, Dad has gone and bought a Nissan GTR!

"Oui oui KK"
“Oui oui KK”

It’s been something he’s dreamt of I think for a good long while. And boy, was it rapido! Bear in mind that Dad knows the Nurburgring inside and out, but the GTR is a very different car to a Subaru – I think my advice to Dad of “take it easy” was fairly sensible! And I’m usually the one going, “go on Dad go on faster do the Ring Taxi do the Ring Taxi!” (actual dialogue). I think judging by the massive grin on Dad’s face he kind of liked his new car (never fear, he still has the Spec C of “fuck me, that was lucky” fame!), and we had some pretty epic laps, including of course chasing the Ring Taxi. Funny how keeping pace with the Ring Taxi was always the big thing to do, and now it’s like see yaaaa. Now I couldn’t find a gif of this scene from The Fast and The Furious, but I found a clip of it:

This has got to be the most quoteable movie ever, and I think Dad and I could just quip it back and forth for the whole film.

We had a great big group of us going – we took up the whole hotel, and I think we all had an ace time.

The obligatory Pinocchio photo op
The obligatory Pinocchio photo op

I think I was getting better, and I even got a couple of “very good”s and “perfect”s off Dad, which is high praise indeed! Even though it was very strange having one member of our group missing, we all enjoyed ourselves, and I especially enjoyed having Steffi with us. It was scorching hot and we got interested sunburns. We weren’t especially impressed with the new car park politics going on – particularly when the Ring Taxi Porsche nearly reversed into the car waiting to exit the car park directly behind it. But no near misses happened and we all got back home in one piece, which is, as always, the most important thing. I’m still chasing that 10 minute lap, and now I think Dad’s chasing that sub-8 minute lap. Preparations are being made for the next trip, so watch this space!

Until next time, petrolheads!

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