I had things to do on Monday, and Frank took this picture of Tyson sitting on the stairs waiting for me to come home (he might have seen someone with sausages or maybe a cat, but for me, this is my dog waiting for me to come back with good news).
I did come back with good news. I went out to organize a bank account and that was a roaring success. I went out to buy a mobile phone and that too was 28 euros of technological perfection. The phone even connects to the internet and has a built in FM radio. With 15 euros of call time thrown in, it was a bargain.
One other thing was successful. Over the weekend I was perplexed. I had seen one apartment and liked it. It's 5 minutes walk from this house, near the shops, a bar, a bus stop, a cycle path to areas of outstanding natural beauty. When the snow comes down to the valley it's 5 minutes from a cross-country ski area. It has a balcony with a view of the church. It has, wonderfully, a wood-burning stove. It's a good place, and yet I had told the man I wanted to sleep on it. Surely one shouldn't take the first thing one sees?
Over the weekend I couldn't stand it any more, called him and said yes. He said good.
I seem to have somewhere to live.
Anyway, he wants the whole year's rent up front -- the main reason I wanted to think about it. At 250 euros a month I can afford it, but it's almost all of my money until I get paid for the drawings I've been doing. On the other hand, if nothing goes wrong with the deal at least I don't have to worry about rent for another year. He sent me a contract and while Tyson was sitting patiently on the stairs wondering where I was, I was in Alinka's little ski hut drinking schnapps at noon. She was reading the contract to make sure I wasn't going to sign away my children or a kidney. She thought it was pretty standard, so I returned to Tyson a huge step closer to Phase 2 of the New Life.
I have to move most of my money around the globe (something which Sarah is helping me with) and when it's in my Slovenian Bank, I can do the deed and move 5 minutes down the road. It's exciting and obviously I'll be giving you a blow-by-blow account. I think I'll be in a position to pay him in about 10 days. I see it as my first place in my new life -- convenient if not exactly what I'd go for if I was buying. But it gives me 1 year of security while I discover the country and find out how it all works and where I want to go next. It's a good start. He's organized broadband and cable tv too, which is 40 euros a month. I can have 40 channels and Tyson can have 40. We'll be ok.
Meanwhile I'm getting drawing work, thank goodness, and yesterday I sold the first writing of 2014. I awoke to see e-book sales of Like Minded, The Wonderful World of Linus Bailey and The Midlife of Dudley Chalk! I have started the next novel. I don't know what it's about yet, I'm still feeling my way into it, but I have a working title in my head -- The Homeopathy of Lauren Cooper's Couch. There's a story in that title isn't there?, and I want to know what it is. I will only discover it as I write more and, like Dudley Chalk, suddenly the characters will gain momentum and I can just sit back, watch and report it.
I'm going to give you some photos to look at. I don't have a good camera so I get them from Frank, but it takes a bit of time. The pics of me on a grassy slope high above the local lake is the take-off point for paragliding. If finding a place to live is Phase 2 of this new life, then learning to paraglide is Phase 4 and launching myself from this deceptively terrifying place is Phase 5. You have to know what you are doing to fly from this garage-sized patch of grass. The drop-off behind it is vertical and it's a LONG drop. This isn't the rolling hills of the South Downs, where I've tried paragliding before, nor the hills of New Hampshire where I spent 3 days learning in 2010. This take-off point is for experts, but it's a cycle ride from here so it's the perfect goal. Also, on the other side of that lake, there is a hotel where Agatha Christie took her holidays. I might go there for a cup of coffee and turn The Homeopathy of Lauren Cooper's Couch into a whodunnit. So many things to do...
Slovenia, writing, other things