The money is in the bank but have you fixed your gutters?

Just glorious.

Just glorious.

Of course, before the writing and publishing period, a question about guttering might well involve hardware items and a trip to the hardware shop of Bunnings again. A wife would perhaps hold a ladder while husband is cleaning the gutter from leaves. Leaves always find a home inside the gutter. I can’t remember that cleaning gutters played much of a role in continental Europe. It is strange, but in Holland it was far more important to clean windows. Cultural differences are always so fascinating to reflect upon.

I remember as if it was yesterday. We had arrived at Schiphol airport, near Amsterdam. It was May, 1973. We walked through customs and into the below sea-level of Holland. The first thing I noticed after booking a night in a hotel nearby, was a solitary man standing outside on a short ladder washing his shop window. He was wearing a white jacket but wasn’t a doctor. I don’t think doctors stand on ladders cleaning outside windows.The shop was a spectacle shop. It had ‘optician’ written on the window, behind which was a display of different spectacles. This shop was all on its own with no other shops nearby.

All of a sudden I experienced a rush of recognition. Holland was still this window-cleaning paradise. It all came flooding back to the period before my families’ departure from Holland to Australia back in 1956. It was so long ago, but I felt, just for a second or so, doubtful if we had made the right move. I did feel a bit dispirited. Perhaps it was jetlag.

But, almost sixty years later I am on my second book. The gutters now involve the formatting of the pages. This time the book will be better. I am not saying that the word-order is different. The editing sorted out the worst of my crimes. After all, in my Word-Press blurb I seem to advertise grammar and syntax mistakes as an advantage and enticement. No, this time the presentation will be better. I know that in formatting one has to go for the ‘mirror option.’ It means that the margins of the book will alternate differently between the pages, facing the spine of the book. That is called the ‘gutter.’ I am also starting the different chapters or sections on a fresh page, instead of joining the previous one straight below it.

Yesterday, while checking the bank account I noticed a deposit. It came from Amazon. My first income from the previous book, ‘Almost There.’ It was a rather small amount. Enough to celebrate the event with a rack of lamb and a nice red. As yet I have to pluck up the courage to go to the local book shops and try to get the books on the shelves. In my minds eye I am preparing a little spiel on introducing myself and the book. I have to exercise and present solid confidence and a mien that oozes the successful author, with a straight look in the eyes of the bookshop owner. But, every time I come out practising the introductory sentence in the safety of home, it seems to come out reticent and hollow.

Still, it is all worthwhile and it keeps me away from washing windows while standing on a short ladder.

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27 Responses to “The money is in the bank but have you fixed your gutters?”

  1. Yvonne Says:

    I’m a happy donor to the bottle of red. But, not the lamb, it represents the vegemite of meat to me, I leave it to others who like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nonsmokingladybug Says:

    Clean windows are an​ European disease; we inherit it from our ancestors. I think I am the only one who cleans the windows still with vinegar and newspaper.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I clean them once a year and even then I often just use the hose. With sun on them at a certain angle, they often look worse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonsmokingladybug Says:

        With the hose!!!! Your European ancestors are turning in their graves. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        I remember living in Holland with our neighbour opposite us washing her windows each week. She would take down the curtains and spend Fridays washing her windows. Week in week out. It was a depressing sight. She was married to a local councillor.
        I think that in that particular village she wanted to be seen as an example of good housekeeping. A good wife.
        Another good thing that many tourists often comment on is; oh, the Dutch, they are so clean. But having experienced the flipside- that weekly window washing- I rather live with a bit less discipline and more chaos…

        But, as always, each to their own.


  3. shoreacres Says:

    Well, whether you’re cleaning the gutters or rearranging the gutters, both are far better than being in the gutter. I used to sail little boats made of bark and leaves in the gutters of our streets, but when the candle guttered out, I sailed them only in my dreams.

    Goodness.I haven’t a clue where all that came from! I’ve not thought before about what a rich word “gutter” really is. When I hear it used, it’s generally someone on the radio trying to persuade homeowners to purchase some for their roofline.

    I’m so pleased to hear that you’ve turned a little profit with your first book. And you’ve learned a lesson or two that should make the second easier — good for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Linda. And also the verb ‘gutting’ although I am not sure about ‘to gutter or not.’ There is guttersnipe. There is gutter press.

      The second book will be around after all the ISBN and Library registrations get finished. As before, it will be self- published through Create Space and sold through Amazon. Which is a bit like getting your name and number listed in a telephone directory.

      The love of putting down words is the driver. If writers had to live off selling their words, it would be the queue at soup-kitchen or a lucky dip from the bins that line the food courts in shopping malls.

      I was so pleased to see that Amazon had deposited money in my account. I should frame the bank statement and hang it above the bed.


  4. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Clean windows wold be a plus around here! Gutters seem to take precedence, either on the roof or street. There is a law term “guttering”, but I can’t seem to find it right off.
    I’m so glad you will be a rich Aussie Gerard. Now I can brag that I know a wealthy Australian author.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Kayti. Drunk with being a tycoon now. Where is my cigar?

      Riches are always a bit subjective. I felt rich finding a six pence when 8. Now I got the same joy again from a deposit by Amazon into my account. When I mentioned the two figure amount, Helvi gave me a big smile and we both laughed.

      I am so chuffed that people are reading anything that escapes out of my typing fingers.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Then there is ‘get your mind out of the gutter’ when you are thinking low, but possibly interesting thoughts… 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  6. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    I finally remember that the word I was searching for is not “guttering”, but “uttering”. Close, but no cigar.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Patti Küche Says:

    The English are always “gutted” about something!

    And well done on your Amazon deposit, good beginnings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Then there is ‘rutting’ too, Patti.
      A former female friend of a well know Frenchman who was accused of raping a hotel maid, said of him; ‘he came at me like a rutting chimpanzee.’ Such descriptions are so lasting.


  8. anneharrison Says:

    What a fantastic title! And thanks for teaching me what a gutter is; L hope one day to embark on the self publishing realm.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Julia Lund Says:

    You are becoming a guttering expert.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. gerard oosterman Says:

    Have a read of this one by Sedwith.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. rodhart (@roderick_hart) Says:

    Neat play on ‘gutters’. And it’s good to know that the money is starting to flow into your account.

    A few days ago, as I was climbing into bed, I noticed ceiling paper coming away overhead. I knew what the problem was – a blockage of the water valley caused by leaves, probably held in position by a spider’s web or two.

    The next day I got the ladders out and there it was, a blockage cased by very few leaves. Easily solved, but the same can’t be said of the bedroom ceiling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Roof Valleys are notorious for letting water in. Some say, water runs uphill on some roofsves by the capillary action of leaves distorting the normal downwards action and instead pushes the water upwards.
      I wonder though why in Australia not more water gets saved into storage tanks. Instead most rain gets caught into stormwater drains and let out to sea, where it often pollutes and kills coral.


  12. sedwith Says:

    Yes a book signing. Have you got an equally individual warm style for your signature?


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