Finding Rabbits Where Rabbits Didn’t Oughta Be

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I’ve been lost in a time warp this week trying to complete the research for part of my historical saga. The period in question is post-Napoleonic Brittany. I love doing my research – as a form of escapism it’s second to none-but of course the danger is that it’s easy to get lost in it; to disappear into a time-space continuum never to be heard of again.

So far I’ve read a Balzac novel relevant to the period, with the aid of a monumental Larousse dictionary; I’ve Googled ‘til my eyes popped and I’ve pored over maps until I could find my way around blindfold – which is just as well in view of the eye-popping hindrance.

My dilemma with research, as with life, is knowing when to stop. I have a feeling that only a small proportion of my Brittany research will feature (since it’s not the main locus of action)and yet it is essential to the storylines. Furthermore as and when (being positive this morning)the saga reaches its adoring public I worry about those readers whose faces become empurpled as they choke over their 3.5 minute boiled egg, who miss the 6.35 to Paddington and sacrifice a whole tree to produce, at one and the same time, a treatise on French currency and a refutation of my use of Louis d’or when everyone who isn’t a gibbering imbecile knows that Francs were the dosh of the day.

Fantasy and Sci-fi authors need to create a great story in a believable world for their readers. The historical novelist has to create a great story in a world that is believable and open to scrutiny by hawk-eyed readers ready to pounce on historical inaccuracy.

Historical novelist Bernard Cornwell wrote that whilst he knew there were no rabbits in Arthurian Britain, he wasn’t aware that snowdrops didn’t feature either until a kind reader pointed out his blooper. I’m not sure I am made of the stuff that can tolerate that level of nit-pickedness.

And yet, to be fair to my future history-savvy readers, I too have felt angst when reading of rabbits where there should be none; of reading words and phrases that were a few centuries premature – so who am I to moan?

So, back to my original conundrum – when is enough enough?

One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things

The title quote from Henry Miller is right on the money this week for me.

I started to pull together all the considerable research I’ve been doing for my book on the lost villages of Holderness. For once I’ve managed the research notes pretty well, even if I have to say it myself. One folder for each village or village cluster working from north to south down the coastline. Each folder contains my “visit” notes where I tried to locate the lost site without disappearing myself under a freezing North Sea –although I cut it fine once when I got the tides wrong and went home with a soggy bottom (soggy not saggy…and yet the mirror never lies). In addition there are notes from historical documents, copies of maps and photographs. By and large a goodly haul of data and now all I have to do is to turn it into something magical, readable and sellable.

Trouble is, once I started on the first of what is usually a zillion drafts, my ever sharp, incisive brain cell that has just returned from its holiday in La-la Land – noticed a theme emerging. I mean how many different ways can you say “Fell into the sea, 1413” “Went back to the sea 1172” and so on? Even old Roget the Thesaurus would be hard pressed to find sufficient verbs to describe falling, slipping, sliding, tumbling, going arse over tip etc all whilst keeping a reader’s interest. Ay, and there’s the rub – the whole saga (as I had conceived it) is mind-numbingly, eye-wateringly, jaw-breakingly bloody boring- just ‘words, words, mere words’. How could I have been so stupid? That’s a rhetorical question folks. One day a week for I don’t know how long, I’ve ventured forth bristling with cameras, notebooks, pens, thermos and water wings to search for evidence; all that time and effort for what?

But soft, what light through yonder tunnel breaks? (Those of you still with me will notice something of a Shakespearean touch this morning.) OK, so the plopping into the sea of thirty or so villages is a trifle tedious not to say repetitive, but what I also have hidden within my notes is a far more interesting story; it’s the story of the people and communities along the coast who, down the centuries, have lived with their hungry, briny neighbour lapping at their doorsteps. These communities have learned to adapt or perish and as far as this book is concerned, I think I have to do the same. Sorry Lost Villages – you’re only part of a much larger story – you’ll just have to exit stage left minus the bear.

(Altogether too much Shakespeare in the Park – Ed)

Close to the Edge

As it is the weekend, I thought I’d give you another story gleaned for my book about the Holderness Coast. I’m still trying to find a title for the book; to date its working title has been the Uncertain Coast – in reference to the fragile nature of the coastline. However, it’s a naff title so I’ve moved on to Living at the Edge. If any of you have any ideas pleeeeeese tell me.

Anyhow, to commemorate the start of the 2013 Ashes series – that’s the traditional cricket series v Australia for those not in the know – I thought I’d tell you a tale about the disappearing village of Skipsea. True Followers of this blog may remember Drogo and Skipsea castle but this story rolls us forward several centuries from the 1100s to the 1950s. At that time Skipsea was a peaceful, sleepy backwater, beloved by post-war caravan and chalet tourists. Its regular inhabitants numbered around 350. The only thing disturbing the peace was the constant nibbling away at the land by the hungry sea on Skipsea’s doorstep.

However, in deepest Aldermaston, the boffins at the Atomic Research Establishment were hatching a plot to convert sleepy Skipsea into the UKs first above-ground nuclear test site. It was this tranquil character plus proximity to local RAF bases that won the casting vote from the Aldermaston boffins.

Once the initial shock/horror passed, common sense and a helping of recalcitrant Yorkshire character prevailed when Skipsea’s great and good pointed out the proximity of the proposed test site to bungalows and beach huts with a public right of way running through for good measure.

The Aldermaston folk eventually came to their senses and switched their focus back to Australia where the first test had been carried out. 12 further tests were carried out in the mid 1950s, giving a whole new meaning to the terms “Test Series” and “Ashes” and a shameful legacy from nuclear testing lives on today.

Have a great weekend.

Seductive Synopses

Something from the motivational conference I attended earlier this week must have snuck into one of the spare rooms in my brain because I have shifted some work this week. For the first time ever I chose to put writing above the day job so I got a real feel for what life might be like if I ever give up the day job.

In line with my policy of trying to get a couple of articles accepted every month I have a queue of pieces all waiting in their allotted folders to be fully developed. The basic idea is there together with notes and research material. To get them all placed I sent out a half-dozen pitches and whilst I was at the conference two came back as acceptances…well one had a laconic “let me have a look” but ever the optimist I take that as a yes. Writing those two articles kept me full at it until the witching hour on Tuesday.

But the big thing this week was a nibble from a publisher and very pleasant it was too. In a rush of enthusiasm, on spec I had submitted a 150 word general summary of the book The Uncertain Coast via the publishers’ website. Just in case you’ve forgotten the Uncertain Coast is an illustrated light-touch history of the towns and villages lost to the sea on the unstable Holderness coast and of some of the people who lived in them. On Wednesday the publishers came back and asked for a full synopsis.

Yikes – this presents something of a problem. They want details of word count, how many photos/piccys, chapters and chapter summaries, markets and market sizes, hat and shoe sizes – no I made those up just to check you’re still awake. The problem is I simply don’t know. I’m about a third of the way through the research and have just the first chapter written plus two others.

I’m not great at planning out a structure, chapters and content before I’ve completed the research. When I judge I’ve got all the material I can access together, then I start to fit the pieces and the book evolves. So collecting up some emergency rations – fruit, energy bars and sport water – what? Who wrote that? My emergency rations come in the form of choccy, cashew nuts and a fruity red wine. I went into conclave with my co-author i/c photography and we knocked something into shape. I was elected to turn that something into a persuasive, seductive come-and-buy-me to the publishers.

I’m currently on version 5, weary, wordless (well almost) and most telling of all, I’ve realised that seduction is not my forte.

Y’all have a good weekend now.

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

Are we at war? Have I done a Rip van Wrinkle (I was going to write “sleeping beauty” but this is not a work of fiction)and just woken up? Actually yes I have but let’s not spoil things.

Why is my inbox loaded with weighty missiles? Some from a group called, as far as I understand it, the Trads and others from a bunch called the Indies. Whoever these people are they are trying to enlist me into their armies and me with flat feet and bottle-bottom glasses. But they’re everywhere sniping at each other across everyman’s (and woman’s) land known as the Blogosphere.

The Trads declare Indies are killing them indiscriminately and without editing aforethought. They rubbish the rubbish that Indies produce crying that it pollutes the totally excellent Trad streams of consciousness. They abominate the horrible cheap prices or worse, the freebies, that a poor ignorant civilian population gobble up because they’ve been brainwashed into thinking that cheap is good and never mind the quality.

Then we have the Indies – the rebels with a cause, crying “freedom and who needs agents and greedy publishers anyway?” They gloat over the effectiveness of their mass writing tactics and the high payoffs. They launch statistics about who bought what from whom and when and where (and probably how and why for all I know). With glee, they parade those (according to Trads) treacherous turncoats who have done a deal with the devil and joined the Indie cause.

All I ever wanted was to write and I have enough self-belief to think that if the Trads don’t want me then in the words of Ol’ Blue Eyes I’ll do it my way.

Now Trads and Indies – play nicely and kiss and make up.

Have a great weekend…and don’t forget to wear your flak jacket.
PS The title quote is from Nietzsche

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

Yesterday was a glorious day for a bit of field research and, purely by chance, I happened to have a commissioned article to write which entailed just that. I needed to take some photos and to pay a visit to a local museum in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

I’m finding that short (1000-1200 words) articles are a useful way of adding to the coffers whilst working on my magnificent octopus…oops, opus. My goal is to have two to three of these articles on the go each month. It’s a bit of an ask but I’m sure I can rise off my beloved sofa and meet the challenge full on.

I don’t look to the nationals to stop my financial wheels from falling off; it is mainly regional magazines, small press and trade press that keep the Writeonthebeach literary aspirations on the road. The pay is reasonable and (so far) reliable and it’s fun to write for them too.

The only problem is that I get so immersed in the research that it takes me a lot longer than it should to produce the finished article and that impinges either on writing time for the M.O. or on the day job. But then, when you’re striding out across the moors with only a few tatty-wool sheep for company and a lone curlew calling overhead, who cares?

The article is finished and the photos ain’t too shabby so after a few days “mulling time” (just to be sure I’ve not made any howlers) it’ll be winging its way to the editor and after a decent interval the next pitch will follow.

I love it when a plan comes together or am I tempting fate?

Crime Doesn’t Pay

I’m dividing my writing time between a perhaps overly ambitious family saga, “Ravensgill” – conceived as a trilogy but who knows how many tomes it will actually fill and a work of non-fiction, current title “The Uncertain Coast”. Probably I should focus on one or t’other but then I’ve never been someone who takes much notice of “should”.

The thing is I like the mix and I flatter myself that what wits I have are kept honed by the variety of fact and fiction, research and imagination.

The Uncertain Coast is a joint venture with a photographer friend and documents the lost and disappearing villages of the eroding Holderness Coast in East Yorkshire. We fossick up and down the coastline digging out (sometimes literally) the stories of people who made their mark on this landscape and the places they lived.

I have already introduced you to Drogo, alleged wife murderer and East Yorkshire big-wig back in the days of Billy the Conq. Now perhaps, you should meet Adam Alvin, aged 25, man servant, lover and priest killer.

In 1708 Adam was a man going places;an opportunist with an eye for a fortune. He declared his love for Mary Sinclair the eldest niece (and heiress) of his boss, the Rev. Enoch Sinclair. She returned his affections and our Adam decided that something must be done about Uncle Enoch since the Rev. was proving an obstacle to both his leanings for lucre and his love. The something was murder – carried out with the connivance of both Mary and her younger sister who also shared Sinclair’s household.

The deed done, the three of them put it about that the Rev. Sinclair had gone visiting on horseback. Later his horse was found, fully tacked up but sans rider. Despite an extensive search no trace of the Reverend was found. The marriage of Adam and Mary took place soon after these events.

However, the locals were a suspicious lot and, Adam, Mary and nameless younger sister all fled to London to escape the gossip. They lived there for 4 years – probably waiting for a loud knock on the door at midnight.

When the younger sister was taken ill, fatally so as it turned out, before expiring her last she ‘fessed up about the murder and the knock on the door finally came.

Rev. Sinclair’s body was recovered from a ditch near the house and Adam and Mary arrested and tried in York. Mary was acquitted but Adam was sentenced to hang. During the preaching of the condemned sermon Adam loudly declared his innocence. Scarcely had he done so when the preacher, a Mr Mace, dropped down stone dead. Not one to miss an opportunity, Adam shouted out that the hand of God had shown itself in support of his innocence and almost convinced the congregation that it was so. However, sanity returned the following day and Adam was hanged, confessing his crime at the very last.

The church, the vicarage and the village Owthorne where the dastardly deed was done have long given themselves up to the sea and the murder of Rev. Enoch Sinclair is merely a footnote in time.

Catching the Rhythm

This week is a day job week so rather than my usual posts – here’s a short story for you altho’ it’s a bit long for my usual posts. The story was inspired by my mum who struggled valiantly against the after-effects of a stroke. I entered it in a comp and it won first prize. Hope you like it too.

Catching the Rhythm

I wake early as usual. It’s still there, squatting in the corner, a malignant black and chrome goblin, with red handles turned back like goat horns. It’s only a wheelchair but I loathe it.

It arrived…when was it? Oh, I don’t remember now. Rosie the physiotherapist brought it in.
“Your chariot awaits” she trilled. “This one’s been specially tailored for you.”
‘Specially tailored for you’ the words sounded ominous. “Why?” I’d asked. “I won’t need it for ever. I’ll be walking before long…won’t I?”
“I’m sure you will” Rosie soothed, “but it takes time you know. You’ll be more comfortable in your own chair rather than the small hospital one”.

After breakfast, Rosie pushes me down to the gym. The chair smoothes silently over the lino floors. Once I’m in it I feel as though it will never let me out. I’m almost sure the footrests will snap over and shackle me for ever. I know I’m being fanciful but it’s how I feel about the thing.

In the gym, Rosie and Karen, her helper, manoeuvre me on to the bench.
“Sit up straight Kate, look up, look at me” Rosie encourages as I try to hold myself upright. I push on my arms as she tells me but it’s exhausting. They catch me before I can flop forward onto the floor. Rosie straightens me up and positions my hands, arms and legs. I feel like a ventriloquist’s dummy.
“You’re improving Kate. It’s just a matter of time and confidence” Rosie says.

Back in my room, they lift me back into bed and prop me up with pillows.
“Don’t put that where I can see it” I nod towards the wheelchair that Rosie is pushing into a corner, “it gives me the creeps.”
Rosie looks puzzled.
“It’s only a chair Kate. You won’t need it for long.”
“I know it’s only a chair” I snap, “but I don’t want it there. Take it somewhere else.”
Rosie shrugs, “OK I’ll leave it outside.”
I know I’m being tiresome but I can’t explain to her how the chair scares me, or rather, what it might signify for the rest of my life.

Susan, my ever-so-sensible daughter arrives on the tide of afternoon visitors.
“How long have I been here?” I ask.
She says its seven weeks since I had my stroke. Seems like forever to me. I don’t really remember it happening. Just a few confused images and the sound of music on the radio. Susan says Frank found me on the kitchen floor when he came to pick me up. She says it was a good job it was my dance night and or I could’ve been there til’ morning. She says I’m making progress even though my face looks lop-sided and I dribble. She says a lot does our Susan but I’m thankful to have her. She comes at three fifteen every day, regular as clockwork, bless her.

She takes me on a tour round the Hospital, swerving the wheelchair down the long corridor to the lifts. My stomach gets queasy. She giggles.
“Do you think I need a driving licence for a wheelchair, mum? I wouldn’t pass my test if I did; this chair of yours seems to have a mind of its own.”
I shiver. Silly words, but they upset me.

We stop every now and again so she can point out something she thinks will interest me. At the chapel – “Mum, aren’t those flowers lovely?”
“They look like the leftovers from a funeral” I snap.

We go up in the crowded lift to the cafeteria. No faces to look at when I’m in this squatty chair. All I see are bums and crotches. Mostly people take care not to notice me. They talk to Susan though.
“It’s your mum is it? Poor thing.”
“A stroke was it? Can she remember?”
“Ah, never mind, there’s always someone worse off than us, isn’t there?”
I feel invisible, a no thing, just part of the chair.

Susan leaves with an indomitably cheerful “Bye mum, don’t worry, you’re getting better. Uncle Frank says he’ll come in as usual this evening. See you tomorrow. Love you” and with an airy wave she breezes away.

Frank is my brother-in-law and dance partner. Every week for the past ten years we’ve gone ballroom dancing at the Astoria. That I do remember. I think we even won some prizes but I’m not sure. My memory’s still iffy. Apparently that’s what happens with a stroke. Still the memories are coming back now, swirling around like specks of dust in the sunshine, settling in confusing new patterns.

It’s true though, what Rosie said, I have improved. I can wiggle my fingers now and grasp the bed sides. But why aren’t I back on my feet as I should be? What if I never dance again? What’ll I do? All my life there’s been music and dance. I used to dance through the housework – waltz with the Hoover, glide with the iron, a quick cha-cha-cha with the duster – I was never still. Couldn’t help myself. There’s a rhythm for everything. You just have to catch it.

Another day and I’m waiting for Rosie to come. I’m really moithered this morning; sick, anxious, twitchy. I slept badly too. I dreamed about the wheelchair – how I was stuck in it and it ran away with me and we came to a cliff and it threw me out over the edge and I just kept falling and falling into darkness. It’s really got to me, this damn wheelchair. The more I use it, the more I feel scared and trapped by it.

Back down in the gym it’s still not happening for me. I tell my leg to move; I will it with all my strength; I strain every part of me. Nothing.
“It’s no use” I sob. “I can’t make my leg work. I can’t do it”. I’m propped between the exercise bars. Rosie’s holding me up. My left leg sags, lifeless. I’m trying to take one small step – what’s the phrase, one small step for mankind? Well mankind’s going to be disappointed. I can’t do it. I never will, I know that now. The wheelchair sits in the corner… just waiting for me.
“Let’s call it a day” Rosie says and she gets me back in the wheelchair. I yield to its soft leather embrace. It has me. I must learn to live with it.

Rosie bowls me back down the corridor. “It’s there Kate; there is movement in the leg.” She tries to encourage me. “We just have to keep working at it.”
She and the nurses lift me into bed. I tell them quietly, “no more. I can’t do this any more.” They look at each other and leave.
Tonight I’ll tell Frank to find another dancing partner. He won’t be short of offers, I know. That Joan Lawson for one, she’s always been after him. Strange, isn’t it how I remember that so clearly when there’s so much that I can’t quite recall.

Oh but I’m so tired. How can my body feel so dead and yet give so much pain? It’s not fair. I’m young still, only 65. I’ve done all the right things, diet and exercise and so on. Ha, look where it’s got me.

It’s visiting time and Frank has arrived.
“How you doing Katy lass?” he asks. I think he’s the only person who ever calls me Katy.
“It’s no good Frank,” I tell him. ”I’m never going to walk again. Never. I know that now.”
He’s silent. I can’t look him in the face. I suddenly feel hot and … ashamed. Eventually he does speak, slow and serious, not like him at all.
“Katy Simpson, I never thought to hear you say something like that. I thought you were a fighter. All these years we’ve known each other, all those dances we learned together, all the time you nursed your Bill through his last days…you never gave up. You never once said ‘I can’t’.”
I get defensive with him. “But I can’t Frank.” I hear the whine in my voice and it disgusts me. Yet I go on anyway. “It’s not my fault; I’ve tried, really tried. If I can’t walk, well then I can’t. I have tried Frank.”
I’m almost pleading with him to understand. He takes my hand.
“You have to believe you can Katy, believe it with all your heart.”
I shake my head; can’t speak; I’ll cry.
“I’ll drop in soon to see how you’re going on” he says as he leaves.
I let the tears fall now. I’ve let him down. I look at the wheelchair in the corner; a gleam of sunlight glances off its chrome. “You win” I whimper, defeated.

I haven’t slept well. Shafts of early morning light pierce the broken blind, creating patterns on the wall. The wheelchair is in its usual corner. This morning it doesn’t quite seem so sinister, I guess I’m coming to terms with it. It’s a few days since I had any physio – giving me a rest – the nurses said. Frank hasn’t visited either. I suppose he’s fed up with trailing in here every evening. No, fed up with me, more like.

Rosie comes in. “Right Kate, you’ve had a couple of days to rest, now we’ve got some work to do.”
“No, no” I protest,” I don’t want to. It’ll just be another pointless, painful round of ‘head up, back straight, push on your good leg’. It’ll make no difference, so why bother?”
“Kate, we’re going to try something a bit different today. If you don’t like it, we’ll stop straight away and bring you back” Rosie promised.
“It’s a waste of time, you know that” I chunter, but deep down I want her to persuade me different.
“We don’t think it is. Let’s try again.”
I let her hoist me into the wheelchair and whizz me down to the gym. We go through the sitting down exercises and I don’t do too badly with those now. My balance is definitely getting better.
Then it’s on to the bars. Rosie has me wedged between them. She bends down to straighten my left foot which insists on turning inwards all the time. “OK” she says “let’s see how this works for you.”
To my amazement, Frank appears and switches places with Rosie.
“Now, madam” he says politely, “may I have the next dance?”
Suddenly, the haunting strains of “Moon River” fill the room. I feel my heart lurch, my eyes brim with tears, and my breath comes in short hiccups. “Frank, you fool. What are you doing? You’ll drop me.”
“Never” he says sternly. “Now will you dance or no?”
“I can’t” I whisper.
“Just catch the rhythm Katy, catch the rhythm. Remember, it’s a glide not a step. Ready?”
I know I have to try. I close my eyes tightly and there’s nothing in the room for me other than the music and Frank.
“One two three, one two three, one two three” he murmurs, and I feel my body slowly responding to the beat.
Suddenly I’m filled with the music. The weeks fall away and I’m in the ballroom; Frank is elegant in black and white; I’m in midnight blue and silver. We move as one, gracefully, effortlessly.
The music stops. I open my eyes. Frank is smiling. Rosie is applauding. I’m crying now – I don’t know why. I’m exhausted too. My whole body aches.
“You did it Katy, I knew you could”, Frank says.
I look round in amazement. We’ve gone the length of the bars. Just six short faltering steps but it’s a start. I begin to tremble. They fetch the wheelchair and as my body sinks down into it, my soul soars, singing, to the sky. Funny, how comfortable this wheelchair really is.

Watch Out, Lizzie Borden’s About

What a week. I had so many good intentions that rather than paving a way to Beezelbub’s des res, I’ve built a motorway.

Intention No.1 was to produce 3 blogs this week. So far I’ve managed one. The reason being I got swept up in an impusive decorating frenzy. Having lived with bare plaster walls on my hall, stairs and landing for weeks now, I was bored with it; having lived with an uncarpeted wood staircase where the exposed carpet gripper waited to puncture unwary bare feet I was limping badly; having suffered all this, in silence mind you, I finally called in the Decorating Team. We did a deal. They’d do the painting if I bought the paint and did the prep. Being a bit on the skint side and, as a Yorkshire woman determined to uphold the reputation of that county for “careful” folk, I agreed. I mean it couldn’t take more than a bit of a wash and brush up on the paintwork surely?

Thirty-six hours later the D-team arrived – well actually there was only one of them and he had a bad knee. He looked at my handiwork and at my broken fingernails and my scabbed hands; he hurrumphed like a rhino getting ready for a bit of head-banging but then thought better of comment when he saw the Lizzie Borden axe I was holding. Not that I have psychopathic tendencies (I know, that’s what they all say) it was just that he caught me fulfilling Intention No.2 – the great log chop.

I have been given some huge old logs more suited to a roast-your-own-ox fireplace than my compact woodburner. My own electric saw proved too weak and feeble so the only alternative was an axe. (I expect Lizzie had these problems too). The first log behaved itself and fell neatly into quarters; the second however, had a mind of its own. Clearly it still resented its severance from the mother tree. This log managed to evade the carefully aimed axe blow, roll away down the drive, leaving the axe to whack me on that knobbly bone at the side of the ankle.

Of course this disaster completely threw out any possibility of achieving Intention No. 3 – to add 5000 compelling, sizzling, can’t-stop-reading words to my Ravensgill Saga. Instead it was back to the trusty old sofa, hugging my soft cashmere throw and nursing myself back to a semblance of sanity with a luscious, full-bodied Merlot.

“Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty one.
Close your door, lock and latch it,
‘cos here comes Lizzie with her hatchet.”

You have been warned.
Have a great weekend.

And Now For Something Completely Different…

Why is it that when I’m away during the week doing the day job, when I get to the weekend there’s a more than usual number of “must-do” jobs around the house and garden? These “must-dos” are not tasks that I’ve let slip (well not many really) but are things that have cropped up during the days I am away such as a delivery that I’ve planned. I explained to the courier when and where to bring it only to find that he washed up three days too early and seemed to have left my precious parcel with everyone and his dog in the village. By the time I finally tracked it down it was, shall we say, well handled!

And another thing…have you noticed that the whinge factor of my posts is on the rise? No? Well it’s just not fair. Pay attention please. I’ve been blogging since January this year and over the weekend I took a trip down blogging lane to revisit some of them. Over the weeks I noticed how they’re beginning to sound whiney. Too hard, too difficult, too much work, not fair, no-one will buy my wares blah blah blah. It’s a dangerous thing this increasing whinge factor – for one thing it exacerbates my rheumatism – have whinge will twinge sort of thing – but more seriously whinging raises the victim spectre. Poor me; all I ever wanted to do was write but “they” won’t let me. They insist I pay my mortgage; they insist I write something worth publishing; they say that unless…Oh get over yourself woman.

So there’s going to be a few changes around here. This blog is going to be less about writing, the writing process, Kindle and all the other writing/publishing nibbly-pibblies (bring back “Blackadder” please). Instead it will be more as I originally intended – notes from the coast and will probably not even mention the W word, the K word et al.

If this is not to your liking and you follow this blog (what wonderful refined taste you have) I’ll quite understand if my future musings are not your thing and you decide to “unfollow”. However it’s only fair to warn you that I am the neighbourhood witch and I know where you live.