Posts Tagged ‘#DRC’

It has been a slow Christmas and New Year for me on the productivity front. Mainly due to this little outbreak:

Also, I am still trying to get used to the new tablet, which I think I have bought every accessory on the planet for, just to make it user-friendly (keyboard, hardback stand, laptop stand, wireless mouse and so on).

I had a laptop before (a lovely lightweight Lenovo), which if you read my previous post you will see that I gave it to my mother as a Christmas present, and I was continuously battling Android’s system of trying to do the impossible, and amend a document offline. Well that is still an ongoing battle, and as a result, not only do I have insufficient hands, but said operating system is providing to be just as useful as my nerve-damaged, physically scared extremities.

The issue with the hands is simply severe dermatitis which has gone untreated for so many years. Thank you NHS. It is now so bad that not only does it look horrific, but my nerves are affected making typing painful, and just doing anything with my hands a chore. I don’t have fingerprints, creams, potions, prescriptions don’t do anything, I just have to grin and bear it.

As for the issue with Android, I can only assume the functionality was created by a frustrated Apple fan (or perhaps a cunning Apple moonlighter), who was never going to use Android.

The good thing about Monster growing up is that Christmas is becoming more and more interesting again. I feel you reach that point in adulthood where Christmas just isn’t magical anymore, not like when you were a child anyway and so the blessing is that when you have a child you see everything through their eyes again like it was the first time.

To more of my delight, it appears my 21 month old monster is properly following their parents and is a petrol head, or a little speed freak. We have now learnt that four wheels are so last year! This was validated one day when Monster decided to disembark and abandon their Paw Patrol ride-on in the park and run after another child for their two-wheeler ride-on.

When my father-in-law asked what Monster wanted for Christmas, I recanted the story and said ‘something on two wheels’, to which he and his partner bought a balance bike.

It fits Monster perfectly, and surprisingly Monster wears the mandatory bought helmet to go with it, which is amazing considering we can never get Monster to wear a hat, or put up their hood.

Monster is also becoming accustomed to many vehicles on the road, they love buses, cars, lorries and Monster trucks. We even took Monster to watch lorry racing at Brands Hatch a few months ago, and around the same time, when we went to ‘spec up’ a new van, Monster loved running up and down the inside of a long-wheeled based VW Crafter. Fingers crossed it won’t be long before we can call the guys at Lucky 6/Outland Adventure Vans to give them the go ahead with our van. We just have to get over the cost of the kitchen being refurbished due to builders behaving badly. Long story, bad building work means spending thousands in remedial work. Watch this space.

Hopefully when the Crafter is done it will mean us revisiting our traveling days, and exploring once again. Jack and I both loved to explore prior to the VW Transporter issues in Italy a few years back on Rogue Run. Only this time, we will be plus one, which again will be great seeing how the world through Monster’s eyes. Sure enough the vehicle will not be made for speed, which means that Monster will more than likely not raise their arms in glee shouting ‘weeee’ at the top of the voice when one accelerates, but they will be in a high up, comfortable position and will gain a better understanding of camping in a van, and the great outdoors.

So this year has started on a few low notes, but nothing major by any means. There has been a lot of illness in our household, low productivity as mentioned above, a disastrous kitchen in desperate need of work which will set us back by thousands, but on the upside we have our health, our work and our family, and this coming year will no doubt be full of more achievements, more developments, more commiserations, more happiness, and hopefully, and this is really hopefully, much more travelling.

Ending on a funny note, many know that Monster is full of belligerence and has absolutely no fear whatsoever. They also have a way with words and actions, even at such a young age. I thought it would be nice to give Monster a piggy bank containing a panda which pops out the top and takes the money, when it is placed on a sensor. You may have seen the ads for them on Facebook. Well Monster did not see the funny side, because every time the panda popped out, rather than letting it take the money, Monster felt the need to press the sensor to make the panda pop out and then hit it on the head.

You try and do something nice and, well…

Kelly’s aims / releases for 2018:

1. Continue to achieve and be happy at work and at home
2. Release fifth installment of The Dragon Realm Chronicles

3. Release the book The Perfect Brownie

4. No Food limits

5. SwimFor3k

6. Lotus Magma

7. Some digitally crafted characters


As book 4 will be released in the next month, I will be posting extracts of the first three books as a reminder of the journey so far beginning with the first novel which was released in 2007: The Dragon Realm Chronicles ‘Stefan Lowe’ The Devil, the Angel and the Carpenter’s Son. Please visit the Books and Art page to purchase the entire book.4

Chapter 4

Stefan awoke the next morning feeling the cold December weather. He wanted so desperately to stay in his warm bed, but after convincing himself that there was no real reason to justify it, he managed to get up and stumble sleepy-eyed towards the bathroom. 

Stefan was not a morning person, he could stay up and work through the night with flawless energy, but mornings were definitely not his thing, especially when the weather was this cold. 

He would have been much happier in his warm comfortable bed even though he reminded himself again that there was no real reason for him to stay there. Had there been that attractive blonde who just moved into the building opposite, then that would be another story, but the likelihood of that happening this morning was slim, so he might as well get ready for work.  

He stood at his bathroom sink brushing his teeth, eyes still half closed, fighting the morning grogginess and the chill he was receiving from the non-insulated floor. Even though the hot shower was bellowing steam around him he was still no warmer, but this was normal for Stefan; he was more of a cold-blooded mammal. While others were walking around in short sleeved shirts, he would still be wearing a jacket.  

The mirror on the bathroom cabinet was now fully covered by steam and he could barely see his reflection. He reached towards the left hand side of the sink, to the usual spot where his shaving foam stood, but all he was greeted with was air, as in his daze he missed the canister completely. He sighed and went to grab it again but instead knocked it into the sink. His morning fatigue had yet to fade, and now he also had to contend with the rattling sound of his shaving foam canister rolling up and down the bowl. The high pitch rattling was deafening. He tried again to reach for the canister but failed miserably.  

“Damn thing, what the hell is wrong with me!” he muttered. Then frustration took over, he assertively grabbed the canister successfully and replaced it on the side of the sink.  

He carried on brushing his teeth and then began to look for his razor. As the sound of the rolling canister had been extinguished all that was to be heard was the running water in the shower and Stefan’s slight movements. However, in the midst of this he kept turning around to look over his shoulder. He had the feeling that someone was watching him, or that he was not alone. 

He kept muttering to himself to make the atmosphere more comfortable. 

With no success in locating his razor he opened the cabinet door and picked out a disposable one, but when he closed it again he saw a dark figure in the reflection of the glass quickly flicker past the gap between the bathroom door and the frame. 

Stefan caught a glimpse of three black pointed fingers release their grip from the side of the door frame. He spun around quickly, but there was nothing. 

A streak of terror surged through him. His heart fluttered and then began to beat faster. He listened for any foreign movements coming from outside the bathroom but the only sound he could hear was running water and his shallow breaths. In the split second sighting he had dropped his toothbrush and razor. He stepped over them and walked slowly over to the bathroom door. 

There was a tapping sound clipping his wooden panelled floor in the hallway; he then heard the creak of his bedroom door opening. Without thinking he hastily proceeded through the bathroom door to the direction of his bedroom. By now he had completely forgotten about being cold, the adrenaline coursing through his body and the speed at which his heart was pumping had superseded it.  He looked around his bedroom door before entering, there was no movement but the room’s temperature had fallen considerably. 

He walked in and saw an open window welcoming in the cold winter air. He knew it had been closed and locked all night so he cautiously walked around the bed to close it. Before doing so, he briefly looked out but there was nothing abnormal to be seen just a picturesque winter’s morning.  

Still sceptical that something might still be in his room he looked around as he shut the window. 

As he turned back to the window, he saw three narrow lines, around four to five inches in length, imprinted next to one another on the glass. Upon closer reflection the imprints showed detailed circular lines in the centre, which could only be attributed to the unmistakable characteristics of fingerprints. 

Stefan stared for a moment in disbelief then locked up the window. Feeling even more unsettled than before, he quickly went back into the bathroom, and carried on with his ablutions, before hastily exiting the apartment to go to work.

As book 4 will be released in the next month, I will be posting extracts of the first three books as a reminder of the journey so far beginning with the first novel which was released in 2007: The Dragon Realm Chronicles ‘Stefan Lowe’ The Devil, the Angel and the Carpenter’s Son. Please visit the Books and Art page to purchase the entire book.


Having failed to find a book, Stefan embraced the inevitable and sat with all of his financial papers spread out on the dining room table. 
“What to do…” he said aloud. He couldn’t afford to buy the other towers but of the same time he so desperately didn’t want to leave the Estate. He was content where he was, the crime rate was low, it was easy to get to work from, he had lived at the Estate all of this life. 
There had only been two temporary occasions when it wasn’t his home, and that was when he was at university, and the short time he was married. But most importantly, the Estate kept the memory of his mother alive. It had sentimental value above everything. 
Stefan’s mother died four years prior from what was described as ‘unexplained causes’. She had always been in good health but one day she collapsed and was rushed to hospital. The doctors could not determine her condition they concluded it was severe fatigue. Five days later she passed away.  
At the same time of her admittance into hospital, Stefan was submerged in a large case and had not been outside of the office in days. Then one evening he received a telephone call from one of the doctors at the hospital urging him to come quickly. His mother had taken a turn for the worse, and by the time he had got there it was too late.
“Stress can cause a lot of problems which may hide underlying illnesses…” one doctor said. ‘…It seems her body gave up’.  
Stefan recalled entering the room after the doctors gave him the bad news – her lifeless body laying on the hospital bed in complete tranquillity, her face supporting a slight smile like she was at peace.  Stefan could not understand why this had happened. 
After the first day of her admittance the doctors said her condition had improved and they were making arrangements for her to be moved to the hospice wing. Even though Stefan had been told by the doctors (and on numerous occasions by family and friends), that it was just one of those things, he still felt there was more to her death than met the eye.  
There was not a day that went by where he questioned the situation. He felt he could have done more or called someone. He could have received a second opinion, acted on his own initiative, and then maybe she would still be alive today. He refused to believe that the situation couldn’t have somehow been avoided, but back then he was a very different person. He was consumed with the prestige and the power of the corporate world. He was constantly working unsociable hours and took for granted things that he thought would be there forever – but this was not through will of his own. 

The legal world was competitive; if you only gave half of yourself to it, you may as well not have bothered.   
Stefan sat at his dining room table sifting through his papers not really paying much attention to the endless rows of figures. He knew it was hopeless; he did not have enough money to buy the rest of the towers and he knew the other landlords would sell if the price was right. Rumour had it the price was more than right however, he had an undying curiosity as to why there was a strong interest for the Estate. 
He guessed it was only a matter of time before reasoning revealed itself.

As book 4 will be released in the next month, I will be posting extracts of the first three books as a reminder of the journey so far beginning with the first novel which was released in 2007: The Dragon Realm Chronicles ‘Stefan Lowe’ The Devil, the Angel and the Carpenter’s Son. Please visit the Books and Art page to purchase the entire book.


Stefan returned to his apartment that Friday afternoon to find the light blinking on his fax machine.  Stefan occupied apartment six on the first floor of St John’s Tower. His family had been residents there for over seven generations.  He walked over to the fax machine and pressed the button whilst at the same time flitting through his post. The machine beeped and then played the only message recorded.“Mr Lowe, I am calling from Charlton & Co Solicitors concerning the offer to purchase St Towers Estate. Please could you call Carten Validine on 01 6578920 for an update, thank you”.

“Blah blah blah,” said Stefan walking away from the machine and throwing the post onto a nearby chair. He rubbed his temples – he could feel the dull numbness return to his frontal lobe, glands and around the ears.  Stefan walked over to the fridge and opened the door.

He peered in amongst the half eaten desserts and left over casserole that was next to an ever-greening cheese, and shrugged. He shut the door and began wandering around the apartment, which was very spacious holding a large living room, leading into an even larger dining area. From this there was a small kitchen off to one side (a wall with an arch separating the two), and two bedrooms one of which was his daughter’s Imogen. It catered for all of her toys, clothes everything a growing child could own (in Stefan’s interpretation several skips of junk), but he never had cause to complain when she was there. It was the only time he ever truly felt happy.

With regards to material possessions, his apartment still held several articles of his mother’s. Up until her dying day she had been a traveller and must have circled the globe several times.

Each wall in the apartment was covered in artefacts from her expeditions; hanging prints, tribal masks, weapons, wall ornaments, voodoo and dream dolls, and other antique mementos.

An item that was by far Stefan’s favourite, was also one that had been in his family for generations. It was an antique medieval looking sword, mounted on the sideboard cabinet in his living room. The handle was made from pewter like material and displayed intricate carvings which were mimicked down the face of the blade, however these were covered by tarnish so they were virtually indistinguishable. There was an element of mystery to it, as the date of creation was unknown.

Its rustic condition often led Stefan to assume it was either very old, or it had not been taken care of properly.  The blade was gloved by a soft velvet cover which looked newer than the sword itself. It was rather fragile and acted like a cloth skin as opposed to a protective casing. Stefan thought this odd but to his recollection there had never been an outer, more solid sheath.

Hung on the wall above the sword was a giant print of a map of the earth with a pictorial timeline along the bottom, displaying all of the creatures of evolution.

The map was another one of Stefan’s favourites, as it had been a gift from his mother from when they explored Africa over twenty years before. The map was more of a novelty piece and Stefan did not know if there was any fact behind it, he just found it intriguing.  Since his mother’s death the items Stefan did not want to keep were put up for auction. Half of the proceeds went to charity and the rest went on the co-purchase of St Luke’s Tower.

The items which remained in the apartment segregated Stefan’s and his mother’s predilections. However, there were still many items with origins that could not be verified. In particular there was a key engraved with the letters DSS which hung in a frame next to Stefan’s wall map. Stefan’s mother had specified in her will to keep it close but she never mentioned what it unlocked. Stefan had his suspicions that there was a safety deposit box somewhere which contained hidden treasures – or rather that was more wishful thinking.  His mother had only left a solitary one-liner in her will about it, ‘…you will soon discover what the key is to. A companion will help you find your way…’

Even though this sounded cryptic, Stefan was confident in time the key would tell its tale.  In her will Stefan’s mother left the apartment to him but when she died he decided to purchase the whole of St John’s Tower (which was the same time he was looking at leaving law).  Stefan walked around the apartment feeling restless. He switched on the television using the remote, and started to flick through the channels. He wasn’t really paying any attention to the broadcasts it was just something he could apply his attention too.

He continued to flick through the channels until a news bulletin caught his attention. He paused on the channel. The large print across the screen read ‘Britain’s largest snake abducted.’ Next to an overly large snake enclosure stood a reporter detailing the story.

‘This morning Kensington Wildlife Park reported the loss of Gertrude, the largest recorded python in Britain. In the early hours of this morning, intruders broke into her enclosure and took her. Gertie, commonly referred to by her keepers, is a rare breed of python and quite valuable. It is thought this is what instigated her abduction.’ The camera showed damaged glass at the front of the enclosure with nothing inside but a few vines and branches over a small water feature in the centre.

‘The wildlife park officials have yet to comment, but all wish for safe return. Police are treating this matter as very suspicious and are investigating within the park as well as outside.’

‘Gertie was born in the park six years ago and has since been one of the park’s major attraction…’

“That’s odd”, Stefan muttered.

He switched off the television and strolled around the apartment again trying to find something to occupy himself. He looked through his large collection of books which were packed tightly on six large shelves dominating the width and height of one of his living room walls.

The books varied different genres of fact and fiction but he could not decipher as to what mood he was in. Then something caught his eye.  He walked over to the large windows which curtained one of his living room walls, and peered out. The apartment in the tower opposite his had not been occupied for some time, but it looked as though a person, a woman to be more precise, had rented it. He stood there staring curiously until she came into view. She was young, very attractive with long golden blonde hair and soft porcelain features. She had an effervescence that captured Stefan instantly, he could not look away, and then she turned to see him.

His heart skipped a beat, she too looked surprised as she was unaware that someone was watching her, but then she met his stare and smiled slightly. She then turned and walked into another room, out of Stefan’s sight. He shook his head and returned to reality, but the feeling did not subside.

He felt the consumption of something he had not experienced in a long time, desire, attraction and the stirring of lust. It was a strange and dormant feeling. Stefan was young in years, and very attractive, but he had developed a ‘grumpy old man’ facade which repelled the opposite sex.

Even though he had been divorced for nearly four years the concept of getting involved in another relationship was not the desired option he would choose at this point in time. On the contrary though, living at St Towers estate had suddenly become much more interesting.