Why is it that when I try to do something simple, like buy a flat, everything seems to get in the way? First I had an offer accepted back in MAY. Not a problem, I've been looking to get this sorted, to move closer to work, so we can hope to be in within 6-8 weeks, thus taking us to July, right?
The mortgage advisor went away on leave, then her colleague took over. When she returned, she took the file back and messed around for a few more weeks, before quitting her job, no less! Then I end up back with the second mortgage advisor, after speaking to head office in the estate agents. So we finally have a mortgage offer, made to me on the 2nd of September. Summer, indeed.
Think the saga ends there? We've still got two months, my friends!
Back and forth for a spot of tennis between the solicitors (Mine, vendor's and of course the housing association's own team). Finally we seem to be getting somewhere, but then the estate agents wade in with their size-10s and tell me that my solicitors are a load of rubbish and that they aren't providing what is needed to the other side. Imbeciles is a word that springs to mind in this case, as I've seen all of the paperwork on file.
So, the saga rumbles on to today and I've signed the documentation, ready for my next part, which is authorising payment to come to the solicitors and get my mortgage in place, properly. Now after three attempts at getting through the online banking system, which tells me that the landline is not working properly and knowing what a shocking reception I have on my mobile in front of the computer, I bumble my way through the transfer of all of my worldly posessions unto the solicitors. Now I have to wait 24 hours, as my payment is suspect.
So, in short, I'm jaded at the process, almost 22 weeks into the process of buying my first property and still not having a key. Now, I'm flying to Canada on the 6th of November, so when might I be able to expect completion?
Remember, remember, the 5th of November. Because if I don't get my keys, I'm going to explode*
*This means I'll be furious, not that I'm going to strap explosives to myself and scatter my worldly remains across a wide range. That's too melodramatic, even for me.
Well, I feel blessed that I live in a town that is so close to the countryside. Normally, this is shit, because I drive to work and get stuck behind a tractor, when I'm no doubt running late for work, thus setting my day off perfectly, as you can imagine. However, today showed me the lighter side of things. I looked up from my screen, to glance across the road and I saw an unfamilar bird perched on my neighbour's front wall.
A bit of double checking later and I discover that there are two partridges at the neighbour's. Then, when the traffic died down, they made their way slowly across the road, through out gate and up the drive. Grabbing my camera, I made my way cautiously downstairs to try and grab a few snaps. Twitter has the lot posted, but here is one example, as they look marvellous.
I know I'm not as good a photographer as Wade when it comes to wildlife, vistas an the like, though I feel I did a pretty good job.
Okay, so it's the big one. StoryShift has finally made me a published Indie Author, I guess.
This app is great (download it for your phone, tablet or whatever), you read the story in about 10 minutes and vote on how it progresses. After a week, we tabulate the votes, write the next part and then begin again. It all seems so simple.
This is where you come in. You guys and girls need to read my story (I pray that you like it) and then you tell your friends about how good the app and the other stories on there are. Benjamin A. Smith; MK Douma; Etienne Breton - I hope that these names will become famous, as well as my own, but we are all little-known artists that need your help.
Thank you for your support.
As a non-practitioner of religion in general (see also Agnostic - I made my mind up, having read the bible, thank you very much), I find it somewhat hypocritical of me to say "Merry Christmas", since I am not a Christian. However, as everyone seems to celebrate something at this time of year, I felt that I should cover one or two of them below:
And of course Bah Humbug!
It's 0023 here at present, so I'll leave you all to it and respond sometime later with what Satan Clause brought me. Night all
As is usual for my Sunday afternoons, I went to see my Granddad at the residential home, where he has been for the past 20 months. We were all aware that his condition was slowly deteriorating and that eventually, his innings of 91 years would come to a close.
I arrived there with my dad, both there to support the other and we were told that the carers were changing his bedding. So we sat in the hall and waited for a few minutes, passing the time with idle chit-chat. Before going in to see him, we were warned gently by one of the girls there that he had taken a turn for the worse and that he was just staring into space, unresponsive. I had seen him that way last Sunday, so I knew that the end was getting nearer.
We stood by his bedside, my hand on his shoulder, dad's hand in granddad's, as the elder Coop struggled to breathe. Yes, it was upsetting, I make no bones about the emotion shown there and then, but I have come to accept over the past few months that this day would eventually come to pass.
Noting in the visitor book that dad's sister had been in to visit this morning, we made our way home, less talkative than usual - what can you say at a time like that, anyway?
Dad tries to call his sister, with no answer, just to give her an update, while I put the kettle on. As we settle down for a cup of tea at just gone 3pm, the phone goes and dad goes to answer, thinking it will be his sister, returning his call. No, it was the home, saying that granddad had slipped away peacefully.
We were at his bedside not half an hour before the end. He waited for us to come and see him, in a way. At times like this, I am very thankful to have a massive core of friends, who are willing to do nothing less than support me, because I don't want to burden the family any more than necessary. It helps to spread the load and get whatever needs to come off my chest out there.
I'm a lucky man - I've said it before - to have reached 30 and still have 2 grandparents left. Now that I have just one, I don't feel that I'm any less lucky, as I have lived with all four of them at one stage or another of my life and have had good times and bad with all (some more than others, but I'm not here to dwell on that)
He will always be my favourite grandparent. I don't know why, I can't explain it. He always had a soft spot for me and the feeling was more than mutual. I shall miss him dearly and though I shall feel particularly at a loss next Sunday, when I would usually be seeing him, I also feel proud to have been able to call him my grandfather.
If anyone can bring a smile to my face, by mentioning "James & The Giant Peach", it will always be the enduring memory of his reading of chapter 1, when the description of grandma reads "and she had a small puckered up mouth, like a dog's bottom." For the entire afternoon of my 6th birthday, he sat in the armchair and chorlted his way through the celebrations, unable to read any more. It's these little details that make life so interesting, don't you agree?
RIP, granddad. I will miss you. Forever in my heart, you helped me become the man I am.
So the summer is officially here - I've started wearing short-sleeved shirts to work and the cufflinks have officially been mothballed until about September / October this year.
And so with the sun baking me nicely on the M5, heading home, I decided to get a few new items for my wardrobe. Yes, while the weather was cooler, I did happen to get a new Iron Maiden T-Shirt as well, so I had to show that off with the new shorts. Basically, what I want to know is does Metal really go with the season of summer? I think it does, personally.
The summer is great for a couple of reasons - firstly, the cricket season rolls around again, so I get to make an arse of myself in the name of sport and secondly because by wearing shorts, I can show off one of the better features of my physique: My legs.
Now if you're the sort of person who wants to see more of my legs (personally, I think that my thighs are better), then you need to do something about it. Simply send me a PM, saying "Coop, I just can't get enough of your sexy legs!" and I will oblige, by showing even more flesh in my next photo shoot. Perhaps we can come to some sort of arrangement, who knows?
So, what do you think?
Well, since it's been a good few months since I posted any news, so here goes with a quick update on a few things Coop-related.
As you may know, I've been in a new job for the past four months. Yes, it has eaten into my Newgrounds time, but I have to live with that and accept that there are bigger things in my life than the internet and my friends I have met on here. Yes, I am still here, I still respond to messages, I just don't spend as much time as I used to. C'est la vie.
I'm still single. Wait, that's not news, really - I just can't seem to find single girls who are attracted to me. Of late, I've found that most of the women I try to chat up are either with someone, or just saying that, because they find me hideous. It could be either way.
Last Sunday, I hit 30. On Newgrounds terms, I'm old. In sporting terms, I'm middle-aged, but in real life terms, I'm still a young man. It's not a big thing, as I don't feel older, but I did get a chance to have my friends and family together for a great day, which was fantastic.
The cricket season starts soon and I have been conditioning myself to be ready. I'm now running about 6 miles a week, plus playing football on Wednesday evenings, combined with cricket training, which has now finally moved outdoors. Considering that we lost two sessions of indoor practice to snow over the winter, I'm glad that things are finally warming up.
Finally, I've done a bit of work for a project that has been floated out by Evil-Dog. He gathered a few writers together and I was one of them to answer the call. Of course, he has other programming commitments at the moment, but assuming that you have a smartphone, stay tuned to here and my twitter account (@SportingCoop), where I will advertise more detail as and when I'm allowed to divulge it.
Ooh, that's exciting!
An unusual occurrence took place in my life yesterday. I've heard about it happening, as a lot of people do, yet no-one quite realises the significance until it's their turn, or someone close to them does it in front of them.
I knew it was coming, but I approached the evening with a sense of trepidation that I could not shake - perhaps I was nervous because I'd asked if I could give a speech. I'm good with words, but lack in the confidence to deliver them with aplomb. Why must this get me down so?
Andrea's birthday seems to be becoming a yearly event, where we do something a little special. We've been as a small group to see movies, grab a light bite to eat and so forth, but this year, all of the stops had been pulled out. A table for eleven, gradually reduced to nine, but we still made it special.
Suited and booted at the request of Andrea's mother and friend, I still felt underdressed, despite the effect of the white collar and cuffs, the cufflinks and my shoes being shined almost to a military standard. When Andrea walked around the door, I had to pick my jaw off the floor as her appearance in that little black dress made her look stunning. Her figure looked fantastic, with a plunging neckline that left little to the imagination and reminded me that Dave is a very lucky man.
Her hair done to a tee by her younger sister, Andrea broke into a massive smile, seeing the looks on both mine and Dave's faces. Recovering our composure, we headed out to the restaurant, stopping to pick up Bev in the process.
Some time later, when the rest of the guests had turned up, we all had a chance to have a drink and socialise. The meal came and went and the ladies among us consumed a variety of cocktails, which I had to abstain from, due to driving duties. I'd been asked to bring the camera, despite planning to do so anyway. Andrea doesn't like having her photo taken, so catching her in a place where she actively wants to be pictured is a no-brainer.
Then it happened. Andrea's sister clinked a glass, to get our attention and Dave stood up to deliver a speech about how much he was thankful for Andrea and how much he loved her. Then, he descended to one knee and produced a delightful little blue velvet box, trimmed with silver. Opening it, he showed Andrea her mother's engagement ring, complimented with a note as he could not get in touch with the jewellers in time. The real deal will replace it shortly, I am reliably informed.
As Dave was in the middle of the proposal, the waiter turned up and was swiftly shoed away, mortified that he had interrupted proceedings. Neither of the happy couple seemed to notice though and things progressed without a hitch. Andrea never needed to say anything, she just squeaked and threw her arms around the most deserving man in the world.
Dave thought that he had upset me, due to my more reserved attitude, when he had told me his plans. Nothing could be further from the truth, as I will always do my best to be as true a friend to them as possible to them - honest, caring and above all, accepting their decisions as their own. It all worked out well, didn't it?
So now I have two weddings to go to in 2013 - Pam and Warren / Bev and Marc. At some stage, Andrea and Dave will be getting married, but that's a little way off, so let us bask in the glow of their smiles, our collective happiness and offer them what support they need. Let's hope that they don't take as long as Natalie and James did (six years). I now have my four closest friends all committed to two relationships, with one pair married and the other now engaged. At the moment, I'd go so far as to say that Pride is not a sin in these circumstances. Saying that it's all down to me is an out-and-out lie, but I'd like to think that I've helped matters along at some stage.
In the meantime, I can turn my attention to getting my own happiness sorted out. It's not like the poor girl is going to fall out of the sky into my lap, though I can't help but hope.
Hell's Bells, am I nervous, or what?
So on Thursday, I had my last shift with the company that had been my employer for the last seven years, Haywood Homes. I've had some great times there, but in the view that we are not building at the moment and that since I was down to either 3 or 4 days a week, I needed something else to tide me over.
And so, as of tomorrow morning, I'll be making a 35 mile trip to work, down in Ashchurch, just on the other side of the motorway to Tewkesbury. A little further from the River Severn that I used to work, but still, a job is a job.
So, what will I be doing? Well, aside from the usual admin work, that I have been doing of late, I will also be expected to do a little more accountancy based stuff on Sage. Great, as it will expand my horizons and make things look better in the great scheme of things, plus on my CV. The work is very different to building houses, as this company is known as DSG, which specialises in Defence Support, so I probably won't be able to talk about it on here.
I'm nervous about it all, as this is a massive shift in my life, especially just before Xmas, but if I'm going to London for the next meet, I will have to get some money to buy drinks, transport and to put into the g-strings of the unsuspecting Newgrounders, such as Luis.
Wish me luck.
The revelry lasted long into the night, but Coop was not one to stay around until the end. After a few toasts to his name had been made, he stepped discretely from the campfire and made for his bed, leaving the others to forget their cares, their fears for just one night.
The next morning, he roused himself early and packed quietly, adding the minimum of his gear to the saddlebags, before stopping to gaze at the horizon, where something filled his gut with a sense of unease.
"Ever the vigilant one, Coop. I should have known you wouldn't wait for us to finish." A large man, talking with a rough Australian accent addressed the knight from over his right shoulder.
"You know as well as I, that we cannot let our guard down, gamejunkie." Coop turned around and faced the giant of a man, his features hidden largely behind a huge black beard. "Anyone who lives as long as you should know this."
"Easy now - I'm not that old." He looked at the younger knight with stern eyes, a hint of playful mischief behind the rough exterior.
"Something is stirring this trouble up. It feigns weakness, so that we might be lured in, one by one."
"Aye. You think we can take it on?"
"If we can't then it will claim my life as its prize. I will not stand idly by and watch the portal fall. The king does not want my sacrifice, but the people might need it, so that someone else makes a stand, in my stead." Just then, a massive rumble of thunder accompanied a huge bolt of purple tinged lightning roared up to the sky and the two men stood looking toward the source for a moment.
"TO ARMS!" Yelled gamejunkie, as he stepped back into the camp, grabbing his massive sledgehammer from where he had left it on the floor. As the camp roused from the slumber and started packing in a barely organised chaos, Coop merely rolled his shoulder over a few times, as he whistled softly. His steed, Dawn Chaser trotted up to him and nuzzled his shoulder, affectionately. Coop stepped to her side and withdrew a long double-headed glaive from aside the saddle. Picking up his helm and wiping the worst of the dried grime from the visor, he slid it over his head, comfortable in his blinkered view of the world, seen through the tee shape of his eye-slits.
In the distance, the tower loomed, threateningly, almost beckoning the knight to his doom.
Some hours later, five hundred troops, headed by knights and distinguished soldiers took the field trotted toward the tower, which now stood before them, piercing the dark sky in all its twisted, malevolent glory.
"The whole place reeks of corruption. I don't like it," said gamejunkie, as they moved closer, looking at various deformed monuments, scattered around the local area.
The small force jumped as one man, hearing a voice echoing around the tower and the desolate wasteland surrounding it. "It comes to talk to us, my sweet. Pray, what does it want?"
"I want you to stand before us," Shouted Coop to the deserted area before him. Another rumble of thunder echoed around the area and with a purple flash of lightning, a figure, hunched over itself stood there, coughing, as the smoke cleared. The voice came from this creature's mouth, but it echoed, just the same, as it hobbled towards the line of men. All the while, it stroked a cat, snuggled up in the crook of its arm, strangely wearing a coat of green fur.
"It has its wish. Now why does it want us here?"
Coop removed his helm and slid from the saddle, taking a few paces ahead of Dawn Chaser, he stood there and regarded the haggard old man, sensing something was not quite right. "Your presence has blighted the land. The portal is dying around us and your tower is the route of this corruption."
"It would have us leave, my sweet. Its demands are toothless, for it lacks true conviction."
"The King and the Prince have decreed that the balance be restored. I shall fulfil their command."
"It makes threats it cannot carry out. It lacks true conviction, as it will not sacrifice itself to see it done." As the hunchback decreed this, Coop noticed that the cat appeared to be mouthing something. In one smooth movement, he placed his helm on and drew his pole arm, standing ready. The knights reacted to this, drawing their weapons, standing ready. As they did this, another clap of thunder and flash of purple light greeted him, as the figure disappeared. "So far to climb, so little time," the figure, now atop the tower taunted.
The patter of raindrops started and the ground became saturated. Coop stepped back and mounted Dawn Chaser, readying himself.
"Coop, it's raining cats and dogs now."
"No, just cats." Coop started to advance, with the booming laughter of gamejunkie behind him, waving his sledgehammer over his head as he followed suit, the pace increasing towards the tower. As Coop predicted, the raindrops started to mutate, when they hit the floor and started to stand up as a hoard of bright yellow cartoon cats. Still the pace of the knights quickened, as they started to advance on the tower, cutting a swathe through in triangle formation.
With little regard for his own safety, Coop approached the door of the tower and dismounted, hitting the ground hard, but managing to roll to a stop, picking himself up and swatting a few cats away. gamejunkie slowed and dismounted, as the knights fought in earnest around the field. Dawn Chaser galloped around, stomping on cats unfortunate enough to be under her hooves.
"Stand back!" He bellowed and brought his sledge into the doorframe, with a crunch, sending splinters of what was once a fortified door across the base of the tower.
"Right, try to stop them from coming up the tower and I'll see if I can deal with the wizard." As he turned to advance up the stairs of the tower, an unfamiliar voice hailed him
"Coop!" Called the young man, rather unimaginatively. "What if it's a trap? Let me accompany you, good sir." This young man was no grizzled war veteran - this was someone who had heard the name mentioned and was so inspired, that he grabbed a sword, to accompany the army to fight in the hour of need.
"If you accompany me and it is a trap, then that just makes two bodies, instead of one, kid. You want to help, stay with gamejunkie - watch the door... and my back." He turned once more and entered the dark doorway.
"But... without you, who will we follow?" Upon hearing this, the knight paused momentarily.
"Someone else will take up the cause. I can't live forever." gamejunkie swung his sledgehammer around in a massive arc, as more of the yellow felines descended on the pair. The young man stood alongside him and started to carve through the fight, as his hero climbed a dark tower.
Taking the steps two at a time, his legs and chest began to burn, but still Coop pushed onward, reaching a trapdoor to the very pinnacle of the tower, where he hoped that the wizard was still awaiting him. Still lurking in the darkness, he looked around, spotting the hunchback, standing, looking over the edge of the tower, still leaning on the staff and cradling the cat in the crook of his arm.
"Magyar, give up. It is over." Coop stepped forward into the storm, as the wizard spun around excitedly, mayhem in his eyes.
"It knows us? But we knows it better. Could have just pushed us to our deaths. But no, too much pride, it has." From this distance, the cat's eyes were a very vivid yellow and the hunchback's were just the same, spinning wildly, as it pontificated at the knight.
"Surrender and this will all be over." In his right hand, the long, golden pole arm glinted against an illumination of lightning overhead.
"Outnumbered we are, my sweet. A mighty weapon of gold, it has, when all we has are our SPELLS!" As it yelled the last word, a giant flaming ball of yarn leapt from the staff straight for Coop. In a split second, he turned and crouched, as the flaming ball bounced up off the shield that he wore on his back, sending the ball tumbling down towards the cats and knights below. With a look of shock on his face, the hunchback stepped back, as the knight strode over to him. Despairingly, he tried to fend off a blow with the shaft of the weapon, wielded like a quarterstaff. Blow after blow was traded between the two, Coop by far the more advanced warrior, having spend the best part of a decade on his crusade to protect the lands of the portal. Another flicker of the magic, combined with a flash of lightning dazzled the knight for a split second and a searing pain lanced into his side, as the green cat clawed at him, viciously.
The drops of rain, falling on the height of the tower had slicked the black marble and neither man was moving freely any more. Coop tried to press home an advantage and both men tumbled to the floor. As they rolled, their weapons became entwined and the hunchback fell over the side, suspended only by his quarterstaff locked with the glaive's haft. Still the madman giggled, almost triumphantly.
"We cannot be defeated!" From a position now on top of the tower, the cat shed sparks from Coop's helm, as its claws lashed out once more. Coop was too preoccupied to notice, as his strength held the wizard suspended hundreds of feet from certain doom. "It cannot make the sacrifice!" Slowly, Coop felt the unnerving sensation of being pulled closer and closer to the edge, across the marble.
"Time to ground your power." Coop looked the madman in the eye and for a split second, saw realisation and blind terror, as he let go of the weapon in his hands, allowing the hunchback to slowly start his descent to ground. He watched for a few seconds, as the figure fell, turning over and over, while screaming obscenities. Triumphantly, he rolled over, onto his back, breathless.
The cat was not impressed and began tearing at the tabard he wore over his armour. Dissatisfied with finding a chain shirt beneath, it moved upwards, trying to find some flesh to rend. The gap between the shirt and Coop's helm looked very inviting to the feline seeking vengeance.
Suddenly, the knight disappeared and was replaced with a rushing wind in the cat's face. The cat was aware of a stinging sensation, somewhere around its tail, though that problem was not as immediate as the ground that was approaching at near terminal velocity.
It is a largely accepted fact, that cats will not demise from a fall from a great height. Taking into account the speed of the fall and the shock that the cat felt, one could be forgiven for feeling that this was an exception to the rule.
Rolling a little and bouncing from a few corpses of its fallen brethren, the green cat picked itself up and gave the feline look of loathing toward the tower. It was the sort of look that says "I meant to do that", which cats make all the time, when the unexpected happens to them. Slowly turning around and surveying the local area, the last thing that it saw was a hoof descending on it from about four feet.
"I thought I told you to stay down there." Coop was still lying on his back, breathless and now unarmed.
"Yes, but I'm not a part of your army." The young man looked at the older knight, as he sat up gingerly.
"I never did ask your name, did I?"
"Jones. Sergeant. 347519." Sergeant Jones saluted Coop in a way that he had seen a lifetime ago.
"You're not from around here, are you, sergeant?"
"No, sir. Something happened, a long time ago and I ended up in the middle ages."
"I guess that we have something in common, then. Keep it to yourself, though."
"Of course. I've done that for the past four years." Helping Coop to his feet, Jones helped to make him look a little more presentable, before they made their way down the tower, where gamejunkie was marshalling troops, as the fighting petered out.
"I think something is wrong with your horse, Coop. She looks a little lame, or something."
"Maybe she just stepped in something. I'll get the smith to take a look at her. Oh, by the way, this is..." His voice faded out
"Call me ZJ." The young man said, clasping hands with gamejunkie.
"Always glad to have another man on the team!" gamejunkie's voice boomed out across the field.
"Don't let Gagsy hear you say that. She'll throw a fit... possibly of giggles."
"So, what will you do, Sir Coop? The enemy lies vanquished."
"Some of the enemy lies vanquished. There is only one thing to do. Get a weapon, head out and keep the portal safe."