War and Peace

DS had some of his chums around after school today to play. The Gang of Four travel as a loosely formed pack, (in the way that boys do), whether it’s in the playground, scootering home from school or deciding on the lastest thing to be “into”.


To Whom It May Concern

Dear Jason,


The Eyes Have It

I have been trying to ignore it for some time now, but even DH has remarked on how far away I have to hold things in order to be able to read them sometimes. So, I am forced to come to the conclusion that I probably ought to go and get my eyes tested and they will almost certainly recommend that I get some reading glasses. (more…)

What Happened?

Where have all those weeks since I last posted gone? April seems to have swept by in a haze of uncharacteristic warmth.  Blossoms have come and gone, the dusty yellow pollen coating everything has finally been washed away by this weekend’s rain and the world has settled into the lush greenery of late Spring in England.

So, what have I been doing that kept me from writing for so long?


Dancing the Generation Gap

It’s late and having spent the evening listening to an eclectic selection of music, I find myself, once again, sighing and mourning the lost art of dancing. I don’t mean shaking your booty at the disco or raving it up with the gals, but rather the simple and, sadly lost, pleasure of being asked to dance and then being competently steered around the dance floor as a couple.


Moving and shaking

Possibly a misleading title to this post since I am not referring to the horrific and devastating earthquake in Japan. I am, somewhat frivoulously perhaps, referring to my rather busy and highly productive morning. I am sitting writing this post and it is not yet 11am, yet despite having had a lie-in*, I have already made:

(*these things are relative)



I disapprove of this modern trend for sacking people for personal remarks made outside the course of their normal occupation. I am referring, of course, to the sacking of John Galliano by his employer Dior.

I appreciate Dior’s desire to distance themselves from someone seen to represent them, but the fact remains that Galliano was being a racist prat on his own time and technically that’s not really any of their business. If he’d minced onto the catwalk covered in shiny pink swastikas, then fair enough, but he didn’t. (more…)

Cock Ale and other culinary oddities

Home made pork pie

I’ve been researching food and drink history recently (and trying out a few traditional recipes like the very tasty pork pie over there –>).

It’s a fascinating subject and it’s apparent that our ancestors had a much less finicky approach to food and drink. Among the oddities I have unearthed are a Medieval recipe for “Garbage”, made with all the bits of a chicken you’d normally throw in the…umm..garbage, like the head, feet and entrails. They also had assorted ways of cooking pretty much anything that flies, walks or swims (boiled heron, anyone?) and some rather novel ideas for flavouring alcoholic beverages, which brings me to the Cock Ale.


What the Dickens? I’m a Novelist!

Ok, so I’m no Dickens, but I am officially, as of last night 28th November, a bona fide novelist! See the badge? See it?–>

I won! I wrote 50,000 words in less than one month for NaNoWriMo. See me jumping up and down with excitement? Go me!

I won’t say it wasn’t hard work… umm… well, actually, it wasn’t hard work to be perfectly truthful. It was an enormous amount of fun and I enjoyed every minute of my fantasy world playing out its story in my head. Now, my head is often usually a jumble of half-baked, incomplete, bizarre and random bits so you won’t be surprised that the novel is in much the same shape at the moment. There is still a long way to go before it’s likely to be even remotely worth reading, but riding the crest of this incredible wave of achievement and momentum, I have every intention of completing the 75,000 words needed to make it novel sized, (and fill in the huge gaps still in the story). I am hoping that my fellow winners, Ali and Sara, will also persevere with their own great works (I have read excepts, trust me on this one). It has been good for me to have that element of challenge and mutual support. Long may it continue!


Herding Cats

The trouble, I have discovered, with writing fictional characters is that they have a habit of trying to take over.  Like Pinocchio, they all yearn to be real, to cut the strings by which you control them.

It starts off well enough, you write something to define who they are, what they look like, how they fit into the story and that’s straightforward enough. Great, you think, this is easy. So you sit down and  write some dialogue for them and suddenly they are saying all sorts of things that never entered your head. You think, fine, enough dialogue, lets do some action, may be a description of what’s happening, a bit of ordinary stuff, scenery and that. Next thing you know, they are trying to muscle into the limelight and if that’s not enough, they have you writing all kinds of salacious and other nonsense. Then there are the characters that have no business being there at all and just wander in off the street for a look around before disappearing again.


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