I did it! “Edwin’s Ghost” is live…

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It’s been so many years in the making. God only knows when I dreamt this story – well, the bare bones of the story – but it had to be the best part of 18 years ago. I even dreamt the title of “Edwin’s Ghost”. It was one of those dreams that you remember clearly when you wake up, and so I wrote it down thinking “well, what do I know of haunted houses, children who see and speak with the departed, and 1920’s jazz?” As luck would have it, 16 years ago we moved into a pleasantly haunted house. Handy!

When someone I know (not on a personal level) read this story they told me they felt they were a voyeur into my life… I smiled, because although there is a lot of stuff in the story that is based on my experiences (after all, don’t you write about what you know?) I most certainly didn’t write an autobiography, so that gave me quite a boost of confidence, knowing that I’d fooled folk into believing in the main character, if nothing else!

I started writing the story about 12 years ago and then my badminton academy commitments entirely took over my life so I stopped half way through, picked it up after a break of some 8 years or so, and tried to start writing again. Goodness, that was hard! I was a different person before and what I had written seemed alien to me and it took a while to get back into the story. When I finished it, it sat lurking in the depths of my hard drive for three years whilst I plucked up the courage to give it to the world (or the half dozen wonderful people who have read it already!).

Two or three years ago – or even just last year – I didn’t have any self confidence or believe that I had the right to inflict my story on anyone, but now it’s ‘out there’. Whether anyone else reads it or not is way beyond my control and that is kind of liberating.

Now I need to get working on the hundreds of other stories I have bubbling away in my head, but they’ll need to be fitted in around my university studies. So, watch this space…!

Available on Amazon (click on book cover image)

I must paint my pets before they die… too painful otherwise!

Share this!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailHaving lost four dear old dogs within a year of each other, the pain associated with that really did hold me back from painting dogs for a long time. It was unbelievably difficult, firstly looking for photos that would be suitable (especially when both spaniels were ridiculously camera shy!), and secondly feeling their spirits come through as I painted them.

But now all four are reunited, both wherever they go after this life, and now on our kitchen wall! So, this picture is of our Princess Piggy. She was the most gentlest of dogs, and left us at the grand age of 15 years.

Princess

Please bring our kids back to the real world and to real childhood

Share this!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailI’ve vented my spleen with my hairdresser this morning (she understands me!) but the need to articulate my anger at the toxicity of childhood these days has prompted me to write it all down.

We (yes, the collective “we”) are still failing to look at the causes of the problems that beset society and are still looking on the symptoms as the problem that needs fixing. This applies to physical health, mental health, and behavioural issues that are, now, a deep and seemingly out of control feature of our western society. Every single day  news headlines are swamped with regurgitated news of the epidemic of physical health and now, even more alarmingly, the mental health of our children. We are being told day in, day out, that we are all sick; that 1 in 3 of us will have cancer; that 1 in 4 of us will have mental health issues; that 20% of adolescents will have mental health problems  (and that’s just the ones that seek help). The resources to help us all are stretched to breaking point; the NHS can’t cope; government simply says it’s not good enough and we need to do something about it. Continue reading

Why University For All?

Share this!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailWell, I heard a snippet of a news article on BBC Radio this morning that said that schools should start encouraging fewer children to consider going on to University from now on. Now can I find that article anywhere on the BBC News website? Of course I can’t. I wanted to  reference it here in my words but as I can’t I’ll just use my own words anyway. This subject has prompted many episodes of anger from me over the years and I can only hope that whatever this news article was suggesting becomes reality sometime soon. A did find an article in the Daily Telegraph from December 2013 but I’m sure I’m not in some kind of time warp. Continue reading

The plight of the virgin novelist

Share this!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailMm, well I’m no virgin but I have just written my first novel. And God, was it painful! Well, it still is.

The highs, the lows, the doubt, and the pleasure. Damn that dream I had twelve years ago that gave me the plot and the title, the subsequent life changes that gave me the requisite material, and blast that psychic who told me I had a book to write that would take me to places I couldn’t imagine I’d ever go. And no, she didn’t know me from Adam. What kind of existential dilemma have I been Vaselined and shoe-horned into? Continue reading

The Backside of Volunteering

Share this!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailI was listening to part of the Good Morning Sunday program on Radio 2 last weekend and it was dedicated to volunteering. It was what spurred on my need to write this. It was focussing, while I was listening anyway, on those excellent people who volunteer to help the sick, the elderly, the disabled and disadvantaged. I didn’t hear the entire program, and I’m sure I’ll be told off if I’m wrong, but I suspect that little emphasis was placed on appreciating the work of those who volunteer in every other aspect of social and community living outside of the care industry. Continue reading

Blogs-in-waiting

Share this!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailEvery day my poor brain is filled with things I want to say or write about. I’ve decided to list the blog topics I want to write about as an incentive to get on and do it! If this list grows exponentially then I’m not writing enough! Or something like that…

On Volunteering – Done

The Courteous Road User

Car Insurance

Rail Travel

Christmas Smellfungus?

Share this!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailI felt I had to write something about the QI Elves Word of the Day (19thC) – Smellfungus – someone who always manages to find fault.

I have often wondered what Twitter has to offer us mere mortals who gaze at the feed wondering what the bloody hell it is all about and this evening I almost got it! It’s about sharing knowledge or links to interesting stuff. Have I got that wrong? Probably, knowing me.

But someone tweeted about the word of the day and I latched on. And I learned how to retweet! Woohoo – goodness only knows who will ever see my ‘retweet’ but at least I’ve pressed all the buttons and found the right one. Things are looking up. Continue reading

Changeover

Share this!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailIt’s been quite a hideous year, has 2015, in some way or other. There has been a moment or two of joy but, my God, the rest of it has been all over the shop and I can only be glad I can put the crap stuff behind me now. New Year has the capacity to allow you to do that. Funny really; you should be able to make any date in the year the day you decide to shove the past backwards into oblivion without a passing glance and embrace the prospect of exciting new things with open arms. But it rarely happens like that.

And, as I think about hitting the sack at nine thirty on New Year’s Eve, I realise that an early night just ain’t gonna happen. Fireworks in the back and beyond village I live in? With my dogs going bonkers barking at them means not a quiet night to be had here. Continue reading

Value Added Children

Share this!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailLast night I realised something quite shocking: – we don’t tell our children how much we value them. I’m not talking about telling a child that they have done something well, or are gifted, well-educated or beautiful, etc. I’m talking about telling children that they make a difference to our lives. We praise them, sometimes too much and possibly unjustifiably and inappropriately, but we don’t let them know that they, too, can inspire us adults and make us feel happy, energised and valued.

Continue reading