Saturday 29 September 2012


Saw this when I was out walking Indy the other morning. The sky was bruised behind it and the colour in it so vivid. It was perfect and had a shadow rainbow too. Trouble is, the very combination of weather that brings a rainbow made it difficult for me to get a decent picture – and I only had my phone, not my proper camera. The end of the rainbow appeared to be in someone’s garden. I did consider visiting with a shovel, but didn’t think I’d be welcome.

It's a rubbish photo really, but it sort of brightens the blog up!

Indy has been doing really well on the insulin. I hadn’t realised that he wasn’t himself until “himself” started to come back. He’s been brighter, faster, sleeping better, more bouncy.

So when he went in for his glucose curve yesterday I was very optimistic. I know stabilising diabetes can take time, but I stupidly thought we’d done it.

He had his first test via glucometer at the vet’s (blood glucose 8 – excellent), then I gave him his first injection and took him out to give him breakfast before a quick walk. I then returned him for his next glucose test. For this they need a tiny spot of blood. He had more tests at regular intervals throughout the day and I went to pick him up in the evening - and what a long day it was without him here. They said he'd been a model patient!

Well it turns out Indy is a puzzle. A glucose curve should start higher then gradually dip down in the middle of the day before rising again, so it hangs like a slack skipping rope. What did Indy’s do? It went UP as the day went on, then just before I picked him up, his blood glucose had dropped to 4, which is too low! So his curve looked more like a rainbow than a skipping rope.

So he has to go back for another curve on the 10th October. He’ll be in for a few hours more next time. They’re hoping yesterday was just a blip. I’m hoping so too.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Brave Boy Indy

A few days after Indy’s annual check, he started waking me up in the middle of the night to be let out. A couple of days after that, he stopped waking me up and slept through and woke up in a patch of wet. He’s never had an accident in the house before and he sleeps on my bed. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

But no, I didn’t insist he slept downstairs or on the floor. As he threw our duvet in the bin, my beloved said “We can always get a new mattress.” This is why I love the man!

So back to the vet we went – I suspected diabetes, but of course until we knew for sure, I spent hours on the internet reading about all sorts of horrible things that could be wrong.

Initial tests on his wee (caught with great skill by me in a clean Clover tub) and blood showed his blood glucose levels were high. We then had to wait another day for his fructosamine test results which showed that his blood glucose had been high for the previous 2 or 3 weeks.

We always knew diabetes was a possible complication of his EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency) but you always hope it won’t happen and for twelve years we were lucky. Anyway it has happened and last night I spent an hour at the vet’s learning how to manage the condition and give him his injections.

Next week, he’ll have to go in to the vet’s for a whole day to have a glucose curve done to see how well he’s doing on his current insulin dose.

He’s been very brave with all the needles.

I took these pictures a couple of days before he had his blood tests. Rolling round in the stubble and having a wonderful time. You wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with him would you?

Sunday 16 September 2012

Paint Me A Picture - Patsy Collins

I’m sure most people reading this will have heard of novelist and short story writer Patsy Collins or already be following her friendly blog where she generously shares links to lots of writing competitions. If you check out her latest post, it’s a step by step guide to publishing on Kindle.

Patsy’s latest novel, Paint Me a Picture, is available as an ebook here and Patsy has kindly agreed to be grilled – er I mean answer some questions.

Who could you see playing Mavis in a film version of your book?

Emma Thompson. She'd have to keep her lovely smile under control during the opening scenes though.

Great choice - brilliant actress! So what came first, Mavis or the Round Tower? I think I mean did you have the character, the setting or the plot first?

Ha ha! I didn't think you really suspected I was as old as the Tudor dynasty.

Usually I create characters and plot first and the location sort of builds up around them, but in this case when I first thought of Mavis she was already walking up the Round Tower. It was good to have a real location to work from as I didn't have a plot at the start and I had to form Mavis's character as I went along. I think it worked as Mavis actually starts out without much personality and her character develops throughout the book, but I wouldn't recommend this approach for 'normal' characters.

Often I completely make up locations, but because of the way Mavis is, and because the locations are so important to the story, I used real places. I did have to make a few adjustments though. I moved the chip shop to where I wanted it and had my own home built decades before it actually was and let Mavis live there. Luckily Mavis and I have the same taste in gardens (about all we do have in common!) so I didn't need to alter that.

Do you have a writing room?

I do. It's very tidy - but not in my half (Gary and I share.) It's all pale wood, white walls and books. There's a window looking out onto the park opposite. Altogether it's a perfect writing space and I know how lucky I am to have it.

It sounds perfect. Do you find you’re more creative in the morning or afternoon – or doesn’t it matter?

Mornings I think, but it doesn't seem to make much difference. I write whenever I'm in the mood - but never ever after drinking wine.

Very wise! I’m always interested to know what other writers have on their desks. Do you have any non-stationery items on yours?
Er yes. Did I mention I'm the untidy one? I'll just mention the stuff that's supposed to be there ... A glass goat that my dad had made for me, a Napoleonic era musket shot, my watch (I can't write with it on) a cookie model of our house, purple nail varnish (actually that shouldn't be there) and a scented candle. Often there are flowers but not today.

I love the sound of the goat and the musket shot – and knowing you, I’m not surprised about the purple nail varnish!
What do you like to watch on TV?

Quiz shows, Dr Who, Coast, wildlife and history programmes. I don't watch much TV and never worry if I miss something which I often do as I'm easily distracted by writing or gardening.

Thanks, Patsy. I enjoyed that insight into your writing life. And thank you for the lovely pictures of Mavis’s garden!

A little bit about Paint Me a Picture:

After Mavis Forthright decides to delay her suicide, strange things begin to happen. First of all people that Mavis dislikes start dying, then people who have been kind to her are killed or injured. Is Mavis to blame? She has to find out and somehow stop the deaths before she can enjoy the new life she’s making for herself.

You can find Paint Me A Picture on Amazon.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Winging It!

We didn’t have a car when our oldest two children were small. My beloved had a motorbike and I had a bike with a little seat on the back. We got by.

Our lives changed with the arrival of the car. We used to pile in the kids and often Nanna too and occasionally our dog Sweep and just go. No sat nav, no maps, just a sense of adventure and a picnic.

Often we didn’t know where we were going, just where the fancy took us.

In an attempt to recapture some of this spirit of adventure, we took off with only a vague idea of our destination. Just the two of us.

We’d given our road atlas away a couple of weeks before to a lost driver and I said “Let’s wing it. No sat nav.”

When I got out to the car, there it was on the windscreen. What happened to winging it?

We set Brian Blessed to take us to Woodbridge, land of my fathers – well some of my several times great grandfathers anyway – and off we went on our merry way.

I told Beloved to ignore Brian and follow my directions instead. He did and my directions (not Brian’s) took us to a car park.

Okay, I admit I cheated and looked it up on Google the day before. Maybe I wasn’t as committed to this winging it business as I thought.

There are a lot of book shops in Woodbridge. And coffee shops. And charity shops. It’s very nice. The pace there is slow – slower than here anyway. I liked it very much and felt a sense of belonging.

We walked along the riverside and pondered selling up and living on a boat. 

We watched old men sailing their model boats round and round a small boating lake. It was oddly relaxing.

I also wanted to visit Bawdsey – also land of my fathers – well one of my several times grandfathers anyway and he didn’t live there very long.


The sat nav threw a wobbly (or perhaps it knew something we didn’t) and kept telling us to go back to Woodbridge. We passed Sutton Hoo, Rendlesham Forest and saw the turning for Hollesley Bay where former guests at the prison include ex cabinet ministers.

Next time, oh yes there will be a next time, I want to visit the Suffolk Punch Trust which I have only just found out is there.

On we went. We should turn back said Beloved, except there was nowhere to turn. Then there it was, a sign for a car park and picnic area. We drove in. It was empty. We parked, walked through a cloud of dragonflies and found ourselves on Bawdsey Quay where it seemed all the other visitors had chosen to park on the verge along the front.

I waited for the feeling of belonging that you sometimes get when you visit a place once inhabited by forebears. It didn’t come. We walked past families on the little beach and children crabbing.

Nothing. Not a dicky bird. Well the ancestor hadn’t lived here long – perhaps he didn’t feel at home here either. It's a pleasant enough place.

There is a lot of shingle at Bawdsey. 

Not far up the coast is Shingle Street which is another place on my want-to-visit list.

As the crow flies we were about 6 or 7 miles from home, but by road, home was over 50 miles away.

We looked across the river Deben to the hamlet of Felixstowe Ferry. I have been there before, but only in a dream. It looks very familiar to me.

“I wish we’d driven there instead,” I said. Beloved said nothing.

Saturday 8 September 2012

Indy's World

It’s been all go here again! Herself has a post all lined up – all boring stuff about some day out she had with more pictures of boats and water. For goodness’ sake, I keep telling her, no one wants to see pictures of boats, they’d much rather see pictures of me!

The big news is that my little people all went back to school this week. This one is going to playgroup four mornings a week now. Doesn’t seem five minutes since she was dropping baby food on my head. And why has she got two tails? Is that because she was so happy about going back?

The other big news is that I’ve been to the vet for my check up and boosters. I’ve got the beginnings of arthritis in my hips and the start of cataracts in my eyes, but otherwise Tom said I was looking good. I don’t know who this Arthur person is and the only cat I ever see these days is next door’s. But the important thing is that Tom gave me a biscuit.

I was out at the woods first thing this morning. She said she wanted to take me out before it got too hot. Heh, bet you didn’t think that’s something we’d be saying in September did you?

She says this picture is noisy. I don’t know what she means because I wasn’t barking.

There, that was better than boats wasn’t it?

Thursday 6 September 2012


If you’re a fan of historical fiction (and even if you're not), pop along to Lynne’s blog at I Should be Writing where you can read a guest post by lovely Jane Jackson. Jane is giving away her full length historical novel, A Place of Birds on Kindle - free!