Blogathon 18/19: Roadtrip 2!

Wiltshire is wet. The ground is wet. The sky is wet. And everything in between is also… Wet.

But nevertheless we went out. And got wet

We walked into town and had second breakfast.

Then we went to Avebury to get completely soaked look at the stones.

And we may have cuddled some of the stones.

And now we’re back in our temporary home.

These three have been following me around all day

Blogathon 16/19: Let There Be Light

And there actually was.

It’s been a busy day. Not mentile back-to-back stuff, but busy.

I cleared the back patio of brambles (which was a major undertaking).

Then I don’t know what I did.

Then we went in to Nottingham to see some things.

Then, back home, I reassembled the previously flooded light fitting, wired it up and got it back into the ceiling mount.

And it all worked, as prophesied by Young Masher.

Then I went down to the stables and rode my pony*.

And now this blogging malarky.

Mind you, before 9am Sam had run over six miles, so I don’t know why I’m so knackered.

*not an actual pony

Blogathon 15/19: Flash Flood!

Not half an hour before bedtime last night the lights went out.

But not the TV, not Spotify and also not the Sonos speaker, bizarrely.

There were cries of ‘It’s a power failure’ which I mentally dismissed because of the above exceptions. I genuinely thought someone had switched the light off.

Turns out it was the hand of Dog (other deities are available).

The downstairs lights had tripped; we quickly identified the source as the kitchen lights.

One stepladder investigation later, and it was revealed we had water where water shouldn’t exist (i.e. in the kitchen light fitting).

While Sam went upstairs to investigate I took the light fighting apart and got soaked when I finally detached it from the ceiling. It was full of water. The light fighting, not the ceiling.

Meanwhile upstairs in the bathroom the side panel was quickly off the bath and water was spotted flooding out of the u-bend.

The Phillips screw in the middle of the drain plug was tightened up and Robert’s your Mother’s Brother, we had no more leakage.

Last night and today I’m slowly drying the light fitting (it was flipping expensive!) in the hope that it will keep the faith and carry on working once all trace of moisture has gone.

So that was exciting!

Blogathon 14/19: VD

It’s that tine of the year when a young man’s thoughts turn to fancy and a young woman’s thoughts turn to a million things because that’s the way their brain processes information.

It is, of course, VD.

Valentine’s Day. Or, as I’m sure we used to call it, Saint Valentine’s Day.

About a hundred years ago, at school, we used to have an inter-class Saint Valentine’s Day postal service – so that you (or someone) could anonymously post a Saint Valentine’s Day card to the object(s) of your (or their) desires.

I think I can remember getting about three cards, over the course of my time at that school.

Of course, there’s always the possibility my memory has failed and the actual number of cards is lower.

Blogathon 13/19: Half-term

Next week, for my part of the country at least, it’s half-term week.

This means that school’s out; children will spend the week not doing homework and generally amusing themselves, whilst some parents spend time and energy trying to think of entertaining and amusing things to do with their children.

And other parents will go to work, noticing how much reduced their commuting time is. And how easy it will be to get a space in the company car park.

We are planning a mini adventure.

And then on Thursday it will be back to work for me (and into a likely bunch of network changes on Thursday night, into the bargain).

The forecast for next week is quite good, so I’m looking forward to four days of fun in the sun activity in the Wilds of Wiltshire.

We’ll see how everyone else in the family feels about it.

Blogathon 12/19: What’s in a name?

I have a cousin who lived for decades in a converted mill. Actually she may still do. I hope that’s the case.

As in ‘old mill by the stream’, not ‘Old Amsterdam’ kind of mill.

Inspired by that cousin I wanted to live in a mill.

I was going to call it ‘Rumour Mill’, and spend all my days making up founded (or unfounded) rumours about people and events.

However, the invention of the Internet means that particular market is well and truly cornered.

But you have to admit that was a great name (if not a great way to pass the time).

We don’t really call them ‘rumours’ any more. Conspiracy theories, that’s the label we use now.

My favourite is the conspiracy theory that we didn’t go to the moon. My second favourite is that we did go to the moon but the filming was done by Stanley Kubrick to isolate us from the potential horrors of another Apollo One-type disaster.

Look it up kids; terribly sad.

The thing is with my second favourite is this was very well covered (ish) by the rather good film Capricorn One. Look it up kids: very good.

And I do love a good rumour (an old school rumour, not a modern-day conspiracy theory) so, just to keep my rumour-skills honed, here are a few to peruse:

  1. I may be getting married this year
  2. We may be getting a puppy
  3. I may have got a new battery fitted to the ZX10-R today

Only you can decide which is true and which is a rumour.

Anyway, back to the starting point.

It would be a bit bonkers to call a house ‘Conspiracy Theory’. wouldn’t it?

I quite like ‘Rumour Mill’. Or perhaps ‘Rumour Control’, if it’s not an actual mill?

Blogathon 11/19: Going flat

A couple of years ago, when we got the dog first pair of cats, we put a cat-flap in.

Not long after that we put a different cat-flap in. A battery-operated cat-flap. For battery-operated cats.

We soon noticed, post battery-operated cat-flap implementation, that the house stopped smelling quite so ‘catty’.

And so it has continued. The battery-operated cat-flap has continued to let our cats in (and out!), and it has continued to keep invading cats (that ginger tosser from next door) out.

But the battery-operated cat-flap began to get through batteries quicker and quicker.

So we moved to rechargeable cats batteries.

Now we rotate the batteries every 3-4 days, which isn’t long, really. There must be something in the design of the cat-flap that makes it eat battery juice. Or something.


Today I ordered a new battery for the ZX10R. I was offered a choice. I could order a Kawasaki battery for £180. Or I could order a battery with a different name on it for £80.

Well gosh, that’s a tough choice.

Blogathon 10/19: It’s not good to talk

We need to talk. It’s good to talk. You should open up more. I have something to say. Do you have something to say? Have you got something on your mind? Do you want to talk about it?


When the last one of us gets home we turn the key in the lock and say ‘I’m locking the effers out!’ and the other one of us will say something like ‘Good!’

We aren’t sociopaths; there is ample evidence to contradict that. But we both get a little… reticent (someone who doesn’t like to talk).

We just reach a certain point in our day when we don’t want the social construct of talking to someone outside of our inner circle.

I’m the same when I go to the stables. I don’t want to get into big conversations about what kind of a week you may or may not have had.

I’m sure you’re a lovely person and that, but I’m at the stables to get my boy in, groom, tack up, ride his furry little bottom off, untack, groom him, and put him to bed.

And at home, at the end of a long and hectic day, we have the same sense of inner purpose. It’s all about switching off, moving away from the dictates of the working day, into a softer, more comfortable, closer-fitting, envelope of calm.

A bit like your favourite pair of pyjamas. Well no, not like *your* favourite pyjamas, obv. That would be wrong.

Anyway, you’re probably asking yourself where I’m going with this?

Simples. It’s about speech. Or dialogue, to be more precise.

I’m working on The Difficult Second Novel and I have fallen in to a pit of dialogue.

Personal statements. Writing dialogue, is difficult. Writing *good* dialogue is impossible.

But if your characters don’t interact, then you lose a vital leg in your storytelling. And your plot falls over.

I’ve just written 555 words of near-total dialogue and it was not a good experience. It will take much editing to get it down to the level of sharpness that will make it fit with the rest of the project.

It has taken about two hours to produce 555 words that I don’t like much. That’s why I don’t like dialogue. That’s why it isn’t good to talk.

Bob Hoskins had it wrong.

Blogathon 09/19: Mix tape

About three-hundred years ago I used to make mix tapes.

Ankle-deep in C30s and C60s, I’d record music off the radio (usually the Sunday night chart show off the BBC – or the Friday night chart show if Luxembourg reception was good enough – seldom was though), or try to blend selected tracks from my huge vinyl collection (T. Rex – Slider, Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman, Carole King – Tapestry).

I’d blend the mix tape music together to suit my future moods such as the inevitable break up that would inevitably follow when Belinda Thomas actually inevitably deigned to start talking to me which, inevitably, she never actually did. Strangest relationship ever. We communicated exclusively by passing notes to each other on the journey to/from school and only speaking on the phone on weekends.

Or a mood mix tape for the inevitable rebound relationship with Belinda Thomas when she inevitably realised the inevitable folly of her ways and we made it to full-on talking to each other in public (which, inevitably, never happened).

Or a mood mix tape for the inevitable time I picked up my self-esteem and inevitably left Belinda Thomas in tears, as she inevitably realised the foolishness of her ways – but, inevitably, too late – and I inevitably blew the dust of that small Welsh town off me, and strode manfully into the setting sun. Actually, most of that one happened.

My point is a lot of time and mental effort went in to producing each mood mix tape. I’d make lists, I’d make lists of lists. I’d make lists of lists of lists. Probably not that last one.

I’d try to match tempo, so that listening order wasn’t random. I’d try to put lyrical themes together, so that messages flowed. Nothing was left to chance.

Years later, when I was stationed on the Dutch/German border, I discovered the wonderful world of Dutch FM radio stations and the awesome selection of world music they played.

And I made more mood mix tapes. For my car this time. The Phillips stereo FM/cassette player didn’t have much of a receiving range, but I had tape-cases full of cassettes all over the back seat of that Mini.

Fast-forward a bunch of years and I was (largely) consuming music through my iPod Classic. Mix tapes are not called mix tapes any more. Now they are playlists. My playlists. On my iPod. They are made from my music, all 10,000 tracks of it, and these playlists are all exclusively mine. And they’re on a device the size of a cigarette packet.

All those cassettes, gone.

Fast-forward another bunch of years and I still have my vinyl collection (slightly bigger than it was all those years ago). And I still have my iPod Classic. And all those playlists. But now there’s a new game in the musical town,


Now I have access to millions of tracks in millions of playlists. But unlike the iPod playlist years, these tracks aren’t exclusively mine. Yes I can search and select for a global database of music, but there are two additions.

The first addition is that now I can access playlists of complete strangers, no matter which part of the planet they live on. I can add those playlists, or any number of components of those playlists, to mine.

The second addition is that I can share my playlists to anyone; people I know, people I don’t know. I can post a link to any of my playlists here. Or on any social media. I could even share a playlist with Belinda Thomas. Except I can’t. She’s probably still not speaking to me. Inevitably.

But music? That’s growing up really fast.