Friday, 27 July 2012

Absolutely nothing to do with writing

I wanted to share this site with you.

Who doesn’t watch a plane going overhead and wonder where it’s come from or where it’s going to?

Well my son showed me Plane finder this morning and I spent far too long on there. Hover your mouse over the red plane of your choice and it gives you the flight number, click on it and a little box comes up full of info.

You can see where the flight is from, where it’s going to, what kind of plane it is, which airline, speed, altitude – oh it’s just too blinking exciting for me.

And if, like me, you live on a flight path, you can look out of your window, see a plane and seconds later know all you want to know about it.

Zoom in anywhere in the world and you can check on flights. How handy is that when you’re meeting someone at an airport?

Got to go, there’s a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines plane due over any minute on its way from Cardiff to Schiphol, it’s at 33,000 feet and travelling at 531 mph. 

Darn these clouds!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Little People and Me

I haven’t blogged for a while. I’ve been busy. Looking after the Little People is quite tiring, but goodness knows, I do my best.

This is my smallest little person. He’s the one in blue trousers.

I’d lost my treat ball under the sofa bed at the weekend and the little man was trying to help me get it out. We both had our heads stuck underneath for a while and I did try to persuade him to wriggle right under, but he wasn’t having any of it.

He gave me almost a whole packet of cheesy puffs the other day and quite a lot of his tuna sandwich. Yesterday he shared his fromage frais with me. I have really got the hang of training these Little People, which considering I didn’t even encounter one until I was five, isn’t bad going.

Trouble is, the bigger they get, the less likely they are to share, although they all shared their cookies with me after swimming. Herself says it’s unhealthy, but I says it’s tasty.

I like to sprawl out on the swing seat, but I didn’t realise there had to be a human bean on it to hold it still when I jumped up. No one ever bothered telling me.

I leapt up, looking forward to a shady nap and the whole thing moved and flung me skywards like a clay pigeon. As I flew through the air, I half expected someone to yell, “Pull!”

I landed in a heap and when I stood up, my back leg stuck out at a peculiar angle. I hobbled round the garden with Herself running after me, “What have you done?”

“Well, I thought I’d see what it was like to fly,” I said. It was lost on her. She rubbed my back, felt all round my hips and my legs and got herself into a right state. I milked it for a minute or two, did the whole sad-eyed I-need-a-treat thing (to no avail I might add), then spotted one of the Little People emerging from the house with a packet of Prawn Cocktail crisps.

It brought about a miracle recovery.

Before I go, she says I have to tell you about this link. Lots of prizes up for grabs, including two chances to win a Kindle. Can you beat it, she said - Can you eat it, that’s what I’d like to know?

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sore Feet but Yay!

My feet are so sore I am now sitting at my desk with my feet in the foot spa feeling like a complete plonker. I am not going to be walking anywhere for a while and so as I am stuck here, perhaps I’ll get some writing done.

I was going to have a day off today!

We went to the Harwich Sea Festival. Gorgeous day. Hot and sunny. And I am delighted to say the quay was absolutely packed with people, which is fantastic for everyone who worked so hard to put the event on.

I've been looking forward to it for ages. Live music, stalls, boats, what more could you ask? And I wasn't disappointed.

We could have walked, but decided to drive down and park in Dovercourt town centre. There was parking provided nearer to the quay, but we thought it would be the proper thing to do to leave that for people coming from out of town. Thank goodness we did take the car though! Halfway to the quay my feet started to hurt. I was wearing “comfort” sandals. Comfort? My feet would have been more comfortable in coal scuttles.

I got blisters on the soles of my feet so walking barefoot wasn’t much better, but I did for a while, although I feared for my toes with so many people about. And of course, there’s all the usual muck you get on the ground where there are crowds of people, dropped food, cigarette ends etc. Ugh.

We went to have a close up look at a Thames Barge which entailed walking along a metal pontoon – which was okay except my lovely “comfort” (hah!) sandals have little heels and I was terrified my heels would go through the grid and get stuck. I’m sure anyone seeing me tip toeing along will have thought I’d been hitting the bottle.

The gulls thought it was hilarious!

Goodness knows why I didn’t choose more suitable footwear. I have been there enough times to know better. I would say, “You live and learn,” except I don’t seem to.

To be honest, if I’d chosen my footwear more carefully, I’d still be down there!

But I saw a Thames Barge up close! Yay! I could have gone on board, but didn't as I didn't relish the thought of lurching my way through everyone else on there.

Before I go and dry my feet, thank you everyone who downloaded A Portrait of Louisa & Other Stories.

And finally, there is a very good post about the pitfalls of using images on your blog. You can read it here. A timely warning I think. 

Happy Sunny Sunday!

Friday, 20 July 2012

New Book and New Competitions!

I haven’t been around Blogland much because I’ve been busy editing a new collection for Kindle and it is finally done! Yay!

There are fourteen stories in the book which have all been published in various magazines - and all come with happy endings.

For today and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday), A Portraitof Louisa & Other Stories will be free, then it will be on sale for under a pound.

In case anyone has missed this, Maggie Seed has put out a call for Pocket Novels. Womag has blogged about it here. You can also find the latest guidelines for Take a Break Fiction Feast there too.

And the Costa Short Story Award has been announced – more details here. It’s free to enter and you have until 7th September to get your entry in.

Not free to enter, but for a very good cause and with prizes, is a short story competition supported by the Write Place Creative Writing School. This one is to raise funds for the EllenorLions Hospices and the Children’s and Young People’s Service (ChYps). Judges are Elaine Everest and Gerry Savill. Closing date is 30th November, entry fee £5 and the theme is survival. More details here.

Happy reading and writing everyone – hope the sun shines on you this weekend!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


I loathe having my photo taken. There are very few of me taken when I was younger – I used to make a conscious effort to stand out of the way whenever a camera was brandished anywhere near me. Recently I saw a picture on Facebook with the caption, “I wish I was as thin as I was when I thought I was fat.”

How true that is. I wish I could speak to me in my twenties, when I weighed eight and a half stone and felt like a hippopotamus. Perhaps I felt like a hippo because that’s what someone called me – someone I loved, trusted and respected. There was more, but that’s the one that sticks in my mind.

It is so easy to erode someone’s confidence with a few unkind words isn’t it?

Writing is the same. How criticism can sting! And how easy it is to believe unkind critical words whilst not hearing the positive.

I have only read one book since May. That was Briefs Encountered by Julian Clary which I enjoyed very much.

I have started a couple of paperbacks by authors new to me. I got halfway through one and decided life was too short and gave up. I got one chapter into another and couldn’t have cared less about any of the characters so I put it in the charity box. Both had a mixture of reviews on Amazon, some good, some bad.

Would I write a bad review? No. I paid my money and took my chance. That’s the way it goes sometimes. Would I tell you which books they were? No. Chances are, some of you would read the same books and enjoy them very much and it would be a shame if you missed out just because of my opinion.

At the moment I am catching up on magazine reading while I await delivery of my latest Amazon order. Stephen King's 11.22.63, Jill Mansell's A Walk in the Park, Colin Cotterill's Slash and Burn and I have pre-ordered Liane Moriarty's The Hypnotist’s Love Story. I have the feeling I shall be back in the swing of reading again very soon!

And I have just remembered I have several books on Beloved’s Kindle waiting to be read so it looks like it’s going to be feast for a while as far as reading goes.

But back to photos. Here’s a chap who has never had an image problem. Taken when he was a tiny pup with his beloved toy spider – which he eventually ripped to shreds.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Buying Books

I really shouldn’t look at The Book People website and I really shouldn’t put so much in my basket, but then again money spent on books – and most of them are for the kids – is never wasted.

But I did treat myself. I ordered the Maya Angelou collection – six books for £3.

And I’ve been in for this free to enter competition to win a cottage holiday from the Daily Telegraph.

In other news – my beloved took some photos of me and Indy for an upcoming article. 44 pictures and I didn’t like any of them (only needed one). Indy looked his beautiful best in them all, but I did my usual blobby impression.

I’m not going to mention the weather. Oh, I just did. Sorry.

And I still haven’t sorted out a cover for the new short story book. I haven’t finished editing it either, but I am determined to get it finished soon.

Warm sand and ice cream, birdsong and soft grass – for an explanation see Lynne’s blog about Favourite Things.