I’m so topical I don’t understand why I’m not an icon

Just call me Ms Demographic, Demi for short. I’m a babyboomer, for starters. Born between 1946 and 1964, and a little fed up that my retirement age moved from nicely handy to six years further down the line.

I’m a writer of breezy novellas who, thanks to the ebook and POD revolution, could publish myself. That’s a bigger demographic than you might realize. Last time I checked there were over 13 million books out there, and I checked Amazon.com right now, as I’m typing this – in my main category, Mystery Thriller and Suspense, there were 6829 new releases in the last 30 days.  (One of them is mine, 17 18, woohoo). There are over half a million in that category alone.  I do get pretty excited about occasionally popping into the top twenty thousand writers, but the reality is that only authors consistently in the top thousand enjoy the dizzying excitement of being able to support themselves with their writing.  Still. My books pay for my holidays, and I do take a lot of those.

I’m a mature single – that’s an absolutely huge demographic – and have been on a singles website for a few years now. Research, of course,  but I take my research seriously, been there, done that, got my heart broken (okay, dented) and wrote the book(s). (Being the mature single is the demographic, writing On Meeting Mr Will Do Nicely and a couple of novels was a bit more niche.)

I was made redundant  recently, that’s a growing demographic, and for the second time.  With all those extra years to fill in before I can start living off the fat of the land with a (partial) British pension, I’m part of that other demographic, the one that thinks oi, life the way it is hasn’t really ticked all my boxes or rung all my bells, is it time to try something else?

There’s the demographic of the many, many Brits who bolt to the sun to try that something else in a warmer climate. A staggering percentage of them chose Spain. Never one to buck a trend, I found a dilapidated (i.e. affordable) townhouse in a fairly perfect white village, and decided that was it, future sorted. Sell the house in Scotland, buy the house in Spain, which is way big enough to run a couple of Airbnb options (another growing demographic) and Bob’s your uncle.

Okay, working in Spain would be challenging, since my Spanish so far consists of knowing how to order coffee, and increasingly talented in the areas of point-and-or-mime, and that’s after seven holidays in rapid succession in Spanish-speaking territories.  All I can reasonably ask of the house is that it will earn enough to pay for its own maintenance and upkeep.

No problem. Teach the Spanish to speak English. So I did a TEFL course and am currently busily gaining vital experience as a teacher through an international online agency. That’s a smaller demographic, I’ll grant you that, but it too is growing.

Demographically, I am in so many Venn diagrams that Windmills Of Your Mind is becoming my theme song. I’m a human fidget spinner.

Surely I can turn this wealth of overlapping demographics into cash terms somehow? Brexit and the dratted General Election are playing merry havoc with the pound / euro exchange rate, and I do need that rate strong to do the house-and-fix-up thing. Scotland’s will-we, won’t-we rumblings about independence has slowed the house-sales market to a crawl. Tchah!

Ideas on cashing in on my demographic potential ? Anyone? Ta.

Walking the dog – a musing blog, not making any point whatsoever. Pass quietly by.

I was tugging a little impatiently on the dog’s lead today on the walk – definite nip in the breeze, lots to do back home – when I had one of those epiphany moments which for all I know she had beamed straight into my head.

To me – an item to be ticked off my day’s list, sandwiched in between laundry and writing and finishing the design of the bookmarks and and AND

To her – the highlight of her day. Oh, she likes eating, very much, and sleeping is good, and charging through the dog flap into the back garden to squabble through the fence with the westie which passes every morning on its walk and the border collie every afternoon, that’s high on her list – but her walk is the cherry on top. That’s when she checks out her little world from corner to corner.

There’s a set ritual to the whole thing. She has to be on the lead for crossing the road, and until I can be sure we’re good to go. She pulls as far ahead as it will allow, in her impatience, then stops to check some enthralling smell I can’t begin to imagine. Then she charges past me again to lead the way to the next smell. Progress is – jerky.

Once I can see far enough in every direction to be sure the westie, the collie, or any other dogs, are nowhere to be seen, the lead can come off, and she’s free to roam. It isn’t the longest walk, because she’s portly by breed, and getting elderly now (I’m not in the first flush of youth myself).  At some point known only to herself, slightly different every day, her fascination with every clump of grass is sated and stage three – the ball-throwing – follows. There’s no more sniffing around, this is serious stuff, the charge followed by a canter back with stately dignity to demand the next throw. Eventually we reach a point where she’s breathing hard and decides she’ll just carry it now, thanks, and we turn for the walk home.

Nothing fancy – but it means so much to her that I felt thoroughly guilty about the tugging. Maybe if I followed her example? Perish the thought I’ll start snuffling around the same spots, that would be eccentric and I don’t have the nose for it anyway, but I resolved to enjoy it, chilly wind notwithstanding.

Actually, pretty nice out there, what with it being spring and all – Scotland is always a little late to spring but some utter genius  in the town council has turned whole swathes of land over to wildflowers, which are starting to build up their energies. The Firth is always beautiful, in every mood, and the foreshore is so vast that we mostly have it to ourselves. You’re reading this on my website, right? Look at the picture at the top. Just been there.

It was a good walk.

One Two Buckle My Shoe- E.J. Lamprey

richardbunning

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I could have sworn that Miss Maple was back, in Scottish guise. Is it ever fair to compare, possibly not, but this is very Agatha Christie-esk for the modern century. ‘One Two’ is a great first in series, introducing some wonderful characters of senior years. Lamprey has a very easy read style and an ironic, subtle humour that says most by what it leaves out.
The plot is complex enough with a couple of classic murders, lots of possible clues and badly attached leads, some more doggy than others. All the bits simply can’t be quite put together until Edge gets a grip on the case. The older generation will enjoy this, if they can find their glasses, and the aging youths and middle readers should enjoy noting that at least at the Grasshopper Lawns, 20 miles north of Edinburgh, old age doesn’t necessarily mean the end of joie de…

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Can this marriage be amended, sorted out? Is Brexit really the only option? WHY?

So many people voicing their opinions, such absolute chaos, I know I’m not the only one frustrated to the point of helpless inarticulate rage because the powers that be aren’t listening.

tower-of-babel-by-pieter-bruegel(The Tower of Babel, by Pieter Breugel)

 

Long time ago, I was married, and it wasn’t going well. scoldThis has to change, I said. Family comes first, not last.  That has to change, I said, working until midnight (it genuinely was work) is a no-no. If you don’t, I said, I will have no choice but to leave.

I wish you would, he said.

Oops. Er. Um. Okayyyyy – so I did.

Turns out he didn’t mean it, he was calling my bluff but that’s all water under the bridge and a marriage that could have been okay, even good, if we had talked and compromised and made some changes, was in the crapper.  Should have gone for counselling but hey, who expected the break?

So, Brexit was  about a long-term marriage – not ideal, and ouch paying a lot into the joint bank account but sharing the benefits of being married. Okay, the other partner is overbearing, opinionated, deaf to input, very controlling, kept moving the goalposts and taking on more and more commitments with dodgy partners you would personally sooner avoid but marriage, we all know, is for richer for poorer, for better for worse.

Divorce on the other hand, is isolation, reduced income, the ritual sharing out of friends, drop in lifestyle, having to get out there and make new alliances – eek.

There isn’t a marriage councillor in the WORLD who wouldn’t have said put your foot down, talk about your issues, make your partner listen, don’t just give up.

Brexit didn’t offer that option. Brexit said

  • stay in, exactly the way things are
  • or pack your bags and go.

So Britain went to the polls and I am ready to bet a lot wanted to say we don’t really want to go, but we do want them to finally realize we aren’t happy, and there has to be change. 

A lot? Oh yes. Over half.  Oops.  Many of them older, there’s been a lot of whinging about that but older people have had time to learn that situations which are heading into trouble don’t magically fix themselves. Whether you like it or not, they head deeper into trouble. Always.

Thing is, those bloody politicians still aren’t listening. They are fighting over when the bags should be packed, and they are fighting over whether we should go at all, or just pretend the whole quarrel never happened. None of them are saying hey, how about we work something out that will appeal to the Leavers wanting some compromise, that will make them happy. In the process we keep most of the Remainers happy? Wow. Happy population!

That working something out – how about, just like any marriage, we want things back the way they were during the honeymoon period?  Working together, common goals, supporting each other for the good of both, not bullying, not controlling, not losing every argument because our partner is just ignoring us and forging on?

What we need is a marriage councillor to take charge. Please. SOON.

I wish, I really wish, I had a voice, a real voice, loud enough to make the idiots listen and wasn’t just another voice vanishing into the background clamour.

sigh