#FirstWorldProblems

#FirstWorldProblems

So, my phone died a couple of days ago. Not just “the battery died and it needs recharging”, but complete death, cracked screen, wouldn’t switch on, RIP iPhone. Dead. Deceased. Passed on. Entered the digital afterlife. An ex-phone.

An immediate sense of panic clenched my guts with vicelike intensity. What the hell was I going to do? How would I survive? First things first, call everyone and tell them I would be out of touch. No, wait, I can’t, all the numbers are on my phone! Fine, I’ll post something on Faceboo-no, wait, I do that through my phone too. I’ll tweet…yep, you guessed it, done on my phone.

OK, Plan B, access things through the laptop instead. But what the f-sorry, what the hell is my password for all these things? On my phone they’re already logged in, all the time, just the tap of an icon away. On the laptop? Hours of headscratching as I sit in front of a screen trying to remember how to log in to online banking…re-registering? We’ll send you a text with an activation code…well that’s no bloody use!

I suddenly knew, with a flash of realisation, that I was far, far, far too tied to my phone. Like completely addicted to it. Was it ever out of my hand? Was there anything I didn’t use it for? It was my jukebox, my watch, on occasion my TV, a handheld games console, my communication portal to everyone I know…and seriously, how many different ways are there for people to communicate with me? I have three email addresses, I can be contacted by text, whatsapp, twitter, facebook…my life was basically being run through a 3 and half by 5 inch tiny computer.

So I went out. I took my boys and I went out for the afternoon. We laughed, we had fun, I ignored the hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach and the faint sensation of having forgotten something I couldn’t quite put my finger on…and it was good, you know? As long as you discount the phantom vibration sensations from my pocket, like an amputee who feels an itch from fingers that are no longer there. But it was genuinely kind of liberating to be cut off from my various digital ties, if only for a few hours. I concentrated on my sons, had fun, and didn’t check the time once.

And it made me think of all the moaning I had done about being phoneless (for a whopping 28 hours, as it turned out), and reminded me not to be so damn stupid in future.

Mobile phone not working for a while? No big deal, enjoy the peace.

Laptop runs out of battery on the train? Close your eyes for a while and chill out.

Programme fails to record on your digibox? Screw it, read a book for half an hour instead (I know three I could recommend highly), the damn thing will be on again sometime.

Long story short, maybe it would do us all good to switch our screens off once in a while, remember what it was like to live without the digital world at our fingertips.

Having said that, my new phone arrived this morning and I breathed a heartfelt sigh of relief, good to feel that pocket vibrating again. But I might just switch it off for the day again sometime soon…

As always, and no matter what device you’re reading this on, Stay Frosty, People.

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Been too sad to blog

Been too sad to blog

Now, I realise that whether or not I blog is of little or no importance to 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the world’s population, but I do feel an apology is in order.

I am sorry. I’ve been silent for the last week or so, mainly due to a kidney infection which laid me low. (Has anyone ever had a kidney infection? Oh my word, not been in that much pain, or felt that ill, since my previous life as a sufferer of the Black Death who was being tortured at the time.) But also because I’ve just not felt like my particular brand of conversational, light-hearted rubbish was particularly appropriate in the last few days. A friend of mine recently told me I should broaden my blog posts a bit, talk about more general topics than my writing or what films I’ve watched, and I shall, but just recently I haven’t felt justified in speaking about current affairs without sounding as though I’m jumping on a bandwagon.

I’m not normally one to watch the news, because, frankly, it depresses me. I realise that this is a childish attitude, and it is one I am trying to change. I want to be more up to speed with what is happening in the world, I genuinely do, but it really gets me down, to be fair. Generally speaking the news tends to be “MURDER” “TERRORISM” “CORRUPTION” “TRAGEDY”. With an occasional mention of global warming or the possibility of a meteor striking the earth and wiping us all out. And on top of that I’m supposed to give a flying monkey’s left nut about whether or not we are in the EU or not. The propaganda from both sides makes me suspect that whichever way I vote next week, we’re screwed. (Apologies if you are reading this outside of Britain, it’s the current hot topic.)

When I was a child the news always ended with “and on a lighter note…” There’d have been a baby Panda born, or a dog would have learned how to use a washing machine, or scientists would have found fossilised remains proving that dinosaurs had had Playstations…

Nowadays there’s so much bad news that the “lighter note” stuff doesn’t get a look in. There’s just not time. Who wants to hear about baby Panda’s when there’s another tragedy needing to be broadcast to the world? And I’m not saying that in a cynical way, because I do feel that people need to know what is happening in the world, I’m just sad that there is so much bad stuff nowadays that the “and in other news” pieces have been relegated to the internet.

Maybe we need a channel dedicated to the fluff pieces? Bliss News. As in “ignorance is bliss”. I’m not saying we ignore the bad stuff, but maybe we need a channel dedicated to puppies saving drowning kittens, endangered species being given new leases of life, and any other sort of story that warms the cockles of our hearts? Not as a substitute to the harsh, bitter, real news, but as a temporary escape? Something to temporarily distract us from the tragedies we face on a daily basis and remind us that the world contains joy as well as sadness.

I write fantasy and science fiction novels, and while there are bad guys, good inevitably triumphs in the end. I’d like to think that people could also use my books as a temporary means of escapism, a way to see the world as it perhaps should be, rather than how it is.

Anyway, I’ll try to get back to blogging more often, and to emphasise the lighter side of life, but I think it would be wrong not to at least note that I’ve been as affected by recent news as everyone else.

The tragic murder of Jo Cox hit me hardest when I clicked on the various links and learned just how great a lady she was. That her life has been ended so abruptly, and in such an evil fashion, is beyond unspeakable. I highly recommend that if, like me, you were unaware of who she was, what she had achieved, and what she stood for, you spend a few moments just reading about what an amazing woman she was. And that, again like me, you find some inspiration from her and resolve to do more with your own life.

Anton Yelchin was an actor of great talent, a particular favourite of mine, someone I had assumed would go on to be as big a name as Brad Pitt, George Clooney or Bruce Willis. One of the tributes I read, after learning that he had been killed by his own car in a tragic accident, was that cinema would be poorer for his loss. And I think this is very true. Like Heath Ledger, he could have gone on to do great things, and his death is untimely, pointless and bitterly sad.

And amongst these higher profile deaths, I was also incredibly affected to hear about a man dying in a Potash mine in Cleveland. Whilst not a celebrity, I couldn’t help but wonder who he had left behind, whose lives were ripped apart by his loss, who he had left behind? So RIP John Anderson.

These are just a few of the stories that, like my kidney infection, have brought me low this past week. But in the same week, a student awoke from a coma and his classmates re-held a graduation ceremony for him, a Muslim community near Detroit, Michigan broke their fast in order to be able to give blood following the shootings in Orlando, and the lady who became famous for her joyous, infectious laughter over her Chewbacca mask has now been given her own action figure by Hasbro. There is still joy in the world. I’ll try to get back to writing more regularly about that joy.

Apologies if this post was not my usual inane rambling, sometimes even an idiot writer with his head in another world like me has to acknowledge the world he lives in.

Stay Frosty, People, or as Frosty as you can.

Zombie Bootcamp…Good Idea or Not?

Zombie Bootcamp…Good Idea or Not?

On Saturday I had the “pleasure” of attending RAM Training’s Zombie Bootcamp, near Droitwich here in the UK. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve only put quotation marks around the word “pleasure” as I’m pretty certain that enjoyment isn’t the main thing you’re supposed to get out of this type of activity.

My various bumps and bruises would be inclined to agree.

In spite of the pain and exhaustion, though, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this event. It was well run, the instructors were enthusiastic and authentically ex-military, and the zombies themselves were…well, they were large, incredibly strong men who threw me and my friends around as though we were rag dolls. Very painfully. Which, I must admit, is what we had paid for.

(It is worth pointing out at this point that at no time were we misled about the kind of damage we might be taking. We knew what we were getting ourselves into, we’re just that stupid)

I was attending this event for a friend’s stag do, and it made a nice change from the “start drinking at noon, keep drinking till we fall over, wake up realising we ended up in a strip club and spent far too much money” type of stag party. We were booked in to the evening session (assuming that doing it in the dark would be more authentically scary), and arrived on time (unusually for us) and sober (ish). We were greeted by an instructor who proceeded to verbally abuse us (again, you know what you’re signing up for, and it’s all part of the fun), especially our stag, who was in a dress and feather boa, and myself, in one of my usual Hawaiian shirts, and of course anyone who spoke up, backchatted, looked a bit funny…basically our whole group was in trouble.

After signing a form that basically said we waived our right to sue them under any circumstances, including the off chance that a real zombie apocalypse occurred while we were there and we were all turned into members of the walking dead, we trooped inside to get geared up. This was the first awesome part of the experience.

Kevlar body armour, as used by actual soldiers – check.

Bulletproof helmet, as used in real combat – check.

Knee pads, as used by extreme sport enthusiasts and anyone who keels down a lot – check.

Elbow guards, as used by anyone who wants to look like a bit of a tit – check.

OK, the elbow guards didn’t look massively macho, but the rest of the gear made us feel like Green Berets, even with my bright orange shirt hanging out of the bottom of my Kevlar vest…

We then had a quick briefing, followed by some Public Order training. This was where the Bootcamp part of the experience was felt most keenly, as we paraded up and down with enormous riot shields and rubber batons, learning a few drills, repeating orders back to our instructor with childish enthusiasm and volume, and then being forced to do more push ups than most of us had experienced in a loooooong time (think north of ten). There was another stag group participating on the same evening as us, and mock riots followed, the two groups taking it in turns to beat each other silly with the rubber batons.

All in all, a good introduction to the evening. A bit of fun, getting to play with actual riot gear, whacking a complete stranger on the backside with a rubber baton…what more could you ask for on a Saturday night?

Our group was then first to do an “exercise”. This involved us being kitted out once again with the riot gear, being bundled into the back of a van and driven to another part of the compound (industrial estate) where we quickly formed up in a line, as trained to do a full twenty minutes previously. Immediately there was a “casualty” to be checked, and I, in my ridiculously chosen bright shirt (might as well have had “target” tattooed on my forehead) was chosen to go and see if said fallen soldier was still breathing.

He was not. He was, of course, a zombie. One who proceeded to vomit blood all over my helmet, visor, body armour, shirt sleeves, arm, ear, jeans and shoes. Please believe me when I tell you that this blood is not that easy to clean off, especially when ignored for several hours…and in a facility where the only mirrors are the ones in the sun visor of the passenger seat of your car. (Also no showers on site, should you choose to stay over, which we did. Take baby wipes.)

After so effectively vomiting blood all over me the zombie proceeded to drag me to the ground, whereupon my friends beat the cr*p out of him with their rubber truncheons, rescuing me from the clutches of the undead…and just in time for another couple of the biggest, burliest zombies you’ll ever see to come lumbering out from behind cover to attack our little group.

They were big. They seemed angry (possibly because we were constantly hitting their legs, arms and torsos with rubber truncheons). And they were extremely strong. They genuinely did pick us up and hurl us through the air. Sometimes we landed on the conveniently placed sandbags designed to cushion our falls, sometimes we missed and landed on the inconveniently placed gravel which seemed designed only to incur maximum pain on any body part it came into contact with.

I hit the gravel. A lot.

Of course, I was being enthusiastic, and giving it my all, really getting into the spirit of the whole thing. Otherwise what’s the point? This did, though, make me something of a target. I’m not the biggest man in the world (about 5’9″ and around 12 stone), I was getting up quickly and attacking these beefy zombies again and again, and I was wearing an item of clothing that I have been told makes the word “garish” feel small and insignificant.

I forget how many times I was airborne that night, but it was a lot. And it was worth it. When the exercise came to its conclusion one of the instructors declared “not a bad effort, there, lads, especially you, Hawaiian Shirt”. I felt like Arnie, Sly and Dolph rolled into one (and if you don’t get those references, I instruct you to go and watch every 80’s action movie ever made). I was a warrior!

A short break followed, and then some mandatory training on the paintguns we would be using in our next assignment (here’s the trigger, here’s the safety, try not to shoot anyone in the face). Then it was back on the van, back to the encampment, back into action! Only this time, we had firearms…

Split into two Fire-Teams, we proceeded to clear rooms, shout gung-ho phrases and pepper the broad chests of some suspiciously similar looking zombies with paintballs (they were now equipped with goggles, though in the darkness and at the speed we were moving, this detracted in no way from the overall atmosphere). Each Fire-Team was accompanied by an instructor, who kept the whole thing moving along nicely, and occasionally threw a “grenade” (firecracker) into a room before us, adding to the illusion of being in an actual war-zone. Eventually our two teams met up, and at the end we lined up in two ranks and let rip at an oncoming horde of the undead.

Whereas in the first exercise it seemed that an almost infinite number of blows with a baton was required to down your reanimated foe, in the second (and in my opinion far more fun) exercise the walking dead went down after three or four hits in the chest. This made the whole thing more satisfying for me, and I think a very sensible way round to order the activities. The zombies beat the living hell out of you in the first round, and in the second you get to shoot at them at close range with paintball guns. Fair enough.

Finally, having survived our experience, we retired to the bar, where one of our instructors was doubling as a barman, along with a much more attractive barmaid (no offense to our instructor, of course, fine figure of  man but not my type), and we drank for a few hours while reliving our evening. And playing beer pong. And eating pizza and kebabs from a local takeaway. And occasionally groaning with pain.

The sleeping arrangements were zombie-apocalypse chic, bunkbeds in a dormitory, very much bring-your-own-sleeping-bag-and-pillow-and-anything-else-you-think-might-make-you-more-comfortable, but as we didn’t stop drinking till nearly three and breakfast was at eight, it wasn’t like we spent long in the beds anyway.

Speaking of breakfast, it was served at a nearby café, and was everything you could ask for in a full English. Hearty, well-cooked, and served with a mug of tea.

All in all I had an excellent time, even if I could barely move my left shoulder for the following two days, though this is not something I would recommend for the faint of heart (two members of the other stag party had to sit out the second activity, I believe) or the ridiculously unfit. I was shattered by the end of the first exercise, which was pretty physically demanding, and I’m not in bad shape. Not great shape, but not bad.

The instructors were entertaining, just abusive enough, but friendly when all was said and done, the zombies were suitably terrifying and violent, but also restrained (they could easily have crushed me like a grape if they’d wanted to) and the whole thing was a great experience.

Pros – the equipment was authentic and top notch, the action was physical enough to feel real without being overly dangerous (minor bumps and bruises occurred, obviously, but at no point did I feel in actual danger), the staff were all great in their respective roles.

Cons – I’m still feeling the bruises 5 days later…definitely not for the fragile. Could have done with some real ale in the bar.

Overall I would recommend this to anyone who wants something a bit different as an experience, especially fans of zombie horror. And only if you can take your sense of humour with you.

More writing news next time, hope life is treating everyone well.

Stay Frosty, People.

Amidst the Excitement, Writing

Amidst the Excitement, Writing

So, my third novel has hit Amazon (yesterday) and I am ludicrously excited about that. The anticipation and nervousness, wondering when the first review will arrive, will it be a good one or not, will people like it…I think I could be forgiven for letting all this distract me, but I am pushing on and continuing to write Realmborn 2.

Which is difficult, because I keep finding myself checking the Amazon page to see if there’s been a review yet…which is pointless! The work has been done, it is out there in the world now, no more I can do at this stage…but still I keep checking! (And have been doing since about five minutes after Metal Blade became available on Amazon, as if someone was going to speed read it and immediately leave a five star review)

So today I decided to knuckle down and write chapter eighteen of Realmborn 2, which I am very much enjoying, although I am finding it a very different process to writing Silver Soldiers or Metal Blade. Oh, the basics are the same, I’m still typing words into a computer, still making notes on each chapter and then fleshing those out into proper prose, still rewarding myself with a beer when the chapter is done, but the actual writing is very different.

For one thing it’s a different genre. Silver Soldiers was basically an action thriller, Metal Blade is pure sci fi, whereas Realmborn 2 is going back to the style of its predecessor, my very first novel, Realmborn. Very much a fantasy novel, a la Lord of the Rings, but with one of the protagonists being from 21st Century Britain, and so a large number of the chapters have a much more modern spin on the narrative style. This means chopping and changing the style chapter by chapter, depending on which character’s point of view that section is from. Which requires a lot more brain power…

There’s the complexity of the whole thing, as well. Silver Soldiers and Metal Blade had maybe ten or twelve main characters each, and they were both written as punchy, very linear, straightforward slices of entertainment. Short but exciting. Quick and fun. Fast and furious. Much like the way I make love. Well, Short, Quick and Fast, anyway.

Realmborn 2 is much more complicated, an epic fantasy novel with a huge cast of characters, interlocking storylines, and far more complexities to draw the reader in to a (hopefully) engaging and engrossing read. Which is all well and good, but it does mean that each chapter is about twice as long as those in my previous two books.

More words. Lots and lots and lots of words.

This is making the process of writing each chapter a little more gruelling, because I like to do a chapter in a single sitting. This is not always going to be possible with Realmborn 2, and I need to accept that. I need to accept it and persevere with a new writing process. Burning the midnight oil to get a chapter done is all well and good, but burning the 4 in the morning oil is just taking the ****.

So, from now on I am going to attempt 2000 words a day, Monday to Friday. Weekend working optional. This should equate to roughly a chapter every other day. Or three a week, maybe. Which would still allow the world to see the Realmborn sequel by about mid August, I think. I shall persevere.

It’s a target, I’m aiming for it. Successfully today, because Chapter Eighteen got written, yay for me!

Oh, and apologies to anyone who doesn’t find today’s image all that funny, that’s very much one that I must be the exact perfect generation to be amused by…

As always, my friends, Stay Frosty, People.

Metal Blade – Honest Reviews Welcomed

Metal Blade – Honest Reviews Welcomed

It’s been a few days since I’ve blogged, apologies for that, I’ve been in the process of juggling new chapters for Realmborn 2 with getting Metal Blade out there and available for public consumption.

I am very pleased to be able to say that my third novel, a sci fi action story, is now available as an ebook on Amazon! As this is a shorter novel, very much designed to be a quick, un-put-downable read, it is priced at the bargain cost of just 99p for the electronic version, and can be read for free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. The paperback version should be available in about 4 weeks from Amazon, or can be purchased from Lulu here.

I’ll update the Metal Blade page on this site in the next day or so, but in a nutshell the story is about two former bounty hunters on New Earth, one cybernetic, one a master swordsman, once best friends and now estranged. They must come together to defeat the evil plot of the sinister Science Ministry, joining forces with a beautiful assassin to save the life of an innocent young man who holds the key to mankind’s survival.

I’m hoping everyone finds it as exciting to read as I found it to write, and if you do give it a go, please, please, please do leave a review, they are very much what drives other people to give it a go, absolutely essential for an indie author like myself.

You can find Metal Blade here, and I do hope you both give it a try and enjoy it. No gore, no filth, just an exciting read to transport you to a new world with some flawed heroes, villainous bad guys and a plot that moves at breakneck speed.

Thanks in advance, I hope you’re all well, and Stay Frosty, people.

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Overcoming Writer’s Block

No, not with beer! Although as anyone who knows me can attest to, the beer pictured combines two of my great loves – the beers of Brewdog (Five AM Saint is my current favourite) and the great Elvis Presley. Happily I quite like the beer as well, it’s fruity and refreshing but still quite potent.

However, this is not a post about beer (leave a comment if you’d like some beer reviews, more than happy to sample a few over the course of an evening and let you know what I think), but about overcoming writer’s block. And here it is, my secret.

I don’t know how to overcome writer’s block.

I’ve been going great guns on this latest novel (the sequel to my first novel, Realmborn, which can be found here along with its reviews), happily bashing out a chapter a day for the last couple of weeks, and even deliberately taking a couple of days off here and there so as not to burn out too quickly. And it’s been going well, I’ve fond myself easily slipping back into the world of Jake Ranidir and his Mage-Knight cousin Rayne, enjoying the complexities of the Realm they live in, and particularly pleased that I know how the overall story arc goes, so I don’t need to come up with any twists or plot devices, it’s all there already, just waiting to be told.

Until Chapter Fourteen.

Chapter Fourteen is an exciting chapter, with one of my favourite new characters, some action, a little bit of exposition…should have been a really quick one to type up and put in the “happy with that” pile.

Nope. Nothing doing.

I hit a real wall, just couldn’t get past a certain section, and so did what I usually do when inspiration isn’t forthcoming. Slept on it. Normally a sure-fire solution for me, but on this occasion (four days ago), I woke up the next day and (when parenting permitted) sat down to write with the same damn results. Typed up a paragraph, re-read it, deleted said paragraph. Rinse and repeat. Over and over and over again.

This time, instead of sleeping on it, I drank more coffee than is probably healthy and pulled an all-nighter, determined to push through and finish the chapter no matter what. I awoke at three in the morning with my face in the keyboard having last typed “fdcdhlrieyqfdhlhfdggieu”.

So, sleeping hadn’t worked, not sleeping hadn’t worked, and this chapter was now in its third day. Two days overdue. Threatening to blow my own self-imposed schedule out of the water and make me -gulp – work at the weekend. What was I going to do? Try persevering? Take a break and forget about it? Pay a vastly more talented writer to pen the chapter for me?

As it turned out the choice was out of my hands anyway. What with one thing and another the first chance I had to write yesterday was at about 10PM, and in fact I did do so with a beer, so maybe my opening statement was wrong. Because it was last night that I broke the back of the chapter, leaving me only a little to do today. And today I finally finished it!

Phew!

Last night it was like the clouds had parted and allowed me to see the chapter in the sunshine again, and today finishing it off was simply a formality. And I have no idea what made the difference, although re-reading this blog entry it appears to be beer. Not that I am condoning the use of alcohol in any way, shape or form! Well, maybe a little bit, it does seem to be my go-to reward for finishing a chapter…but only in moderation, people!

And why do people say “everything in moderation”? Pretty sure there’s quite a lot of things that aren’t ok even in moderation…genocide, suicide, fratricide…any of the “cides” really. Also heroin. And any kind of bigotry. In fact, the next time anyone says that everything in moderation is ok, punch them square on the nose and ask them if that was ok. I mean just the once, that’s in moderation, right?

Anyway, I digress, which may be why Chapter Fourteen took me four days to complete. Too much digressing! I think the upshot of my rambling is that there is no sure-fire way to beat writer’s block. You can take a break. Might work. You can try pushing through it. Also might work. You can have a beer/cake/cuppa/poison-of-your-choice (in moderation). Again, might work. Who knows? The thing to do is keep believing in your ability to finish it eventually, and to remember that, at the end of that day, it’s only writing. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t happen. Continents won’t crumble, mountains won’t topple, the seas won’t rise…and yes, I am terrible at remembering this, and treat every chapter as though Armageddon and Ragnarok might have a child, presumably named Armageddarok, and if I don’t finish a chapter on time then that child would not only end the world but spit on its remains afterwards. But for Pete’s sake don’t use me as an example of what to do!

(Who is this Pete, anyway?)

Right, it is late, I am tired, and I have written far too many words today. Stay Frosty, People. Unless you are a writer with Writer’s Block, in which case do whatever you need to do to get those next 1,000 words written. Whatever the hell that turns out to be.

Ouch…everything hurts

Ouch…everything hurts

So, first things first, once I finish writing a chapter tonight I will still be on course for my five chapters a week target for the sequel to my first novel, last year’s well received fantasy epic,  Realmborn. The writing is going well, flowing nicely, the story taking shape, the returning characters having matured nicely, the new faces proving very interesting. All in all I am well pleased, and looking forward to carrying on and hopefully having it finished by August.

I am also in the process of releasing my third novel, a scifi action adventure called Metal Blade. So far test readers are telling me, and I’m paraphrasing one of them now, “it’s so good I’ve been sneaking off to the toilet at work to read just a little bit more”.  I’ll let you know as and when it is available.

Now, the reason for the title of today’s post…I went to boxing training for the first time on Thursday evening. And now everything hurts! Yesterday was pretty bad, today is excruciatingly awful!

I’m not in terrible shape, I run a few times a week (not to blow my own trumpet, but I did run the London Marathon a few years back…ok, I’m totally blowing my own trumpet), and I casually assumed that I’d be in good enough shape to cruise through an hour and a half of boxing training at the local amateur club.

Oh, how wrong I was.

First off was skipping. With a rope. For twelve minutes (three minutes skipping, one minute of rest…four times). And kids do this for fun?!!?? Well, in days gone by, now they probably play a skipping game app on their phones instead…

After the exhaustion of an antiquated schoolyard playtime activity, one actual boxing occurred. Well, me against a heavy bag, and then me against Barry the trainer and his pads. Who knew boxing was so complicated?!?? My off hand to his off hand, always protect the chin, but also always protect the torso, keep your feet apart, soft knees, punch through the target…it was a mental workout as well as a physical one.

Finally, after the muscles in my shoulders and arms had been stretched beyond all recognition, we finished with what was described as “light circuit training”…if that was light I’d hate to see intensive.

I actually felt good afterwards, energised, strong, accomplished. But the next morning…trust me, a little light jogging does not prepare you for the intensity of rigorous boxing training, not even nearly, and I take my hat off to all those who do this on a regular basis, and in fact to athletes everywhere of all persuasions. Healthy people, I salute you!

The next session is Tuesday, giving me another three days to recover…could be dicey, but what the hell, I think I’ll give it a go. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, sudden cardiac arrest, I guess, and there’s almost certainly the prospect of more pain the following day, but you know what? I got two chapters written the next day, I was more focused, and even remembered to Tweet. So maybe healthy body means healthy mind? Or maybe it was too painful to move from my writing position and as I wasn’t able to stand up I was forced to just work…who knows?

Right, my weary bones have got another evening of writing ahead of them, hope everyone is enjoying their weekends. As always, Stay Frosty, People.