Wednesday, 31 August 2016


Something which is mellow is soft, rich and free from harshness, particularly where our senses are involved. If we're mellow, we're either softened by age and experience - or by alcohol! (A nice mellow shiraz, perhaps?)

When describing fruit it meand soft, sweet and juicy. Mellow soil is rich and loamy.

I took this picture of my and Gary's shadows in the mellow evening light. (That's not snow but chalk - the light breeze was mellow too.) I *may* have drunk some wine when we returned to the van after our walk.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

News from the mobile writing retreat

I've spent the whole summer in the campervan. You probably think I've mostly been swanning around, admiring the scenery and sunsets, food and drink, wildlife and history, and squeezing R'ten (our van) onto ferries.

You'd mostly be right.

I have done some work though - including co-writing a book on writing 'From Story Idea to Writer' with Rosemary J Kind.  The writing part is done now and we're on to the editing.

The cover image should be ready to share soon and the book will be available to buy in time for Christmas.

Think I deserve a break after all that hard work. If anyone wants me I'll be at the nearest castle, ferry port, cake shop or wildlife haven.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016


To festoon is to decorate elaborately. It's also the name of a chain of flowers and/or foliage hung in a curve as decoration (also known as a swag) or a carved or moulded ornament reflecting this.

It's not listed in my dictionary, but I believe festooning is the name for the technique of bending and tying down fruit tree branches to restrict vigour, whilst increasing productivity.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Discover dark dragonflies ...

Thanks to Jacqui Cooper for passing on the links to the details of these two competetions.

On the Premises have one with the theme of Darkness and a $220 prize.

The Dragonfly Tea one also has a theme; Discovery. The prize they're offering is £1,500! I could do a lot of discovering with that amount of cash, but sadly can't enter as professional writers are excluded and they define this as anyone who has ever earned a fee from writing.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Luck of the Irish

Creative Writing Ink run a free monthly competition, with a small cash prize. You can enter either a short story, or a poem.

The organisation is based in Ireland - somewhere we've been several times. It's where we spent half of our honeymoon.

 It didn't rain all the time and we got a really close view of the ferries.

Some things don't change, but the length of my hair clearly does!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

The Venerable Bede

After a very early start in South Shields, we visited the remains of St Paul's monastery in Jarrow.

This was once home to the Venerable Bede. Aged seven, Bede joined a monastery and dedicated his life to scholarship, prayer and the keeping of records. He lived from 673 - 735. Not many people were writing things down then, so his work is still important today.

I doubt I'll ever be as well known in my lifetime as he is thirteen centuries after his death - but I'm OK with that.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Tumultuousness is a long word, so I'll build up to it ...

A tumult is an uproar or noise, an angry demonstration or disturbance or a conflict of emotions in the mind.

Tumultuous is disorderly, noisily agitated or making a tumult. If you're being those things, you'll be acting tumultuously and demonstrating tumultuousness.

Waterfalls are a tumultuous torrent of water.

Can you imagine the tumult of emotions the pixies experienced when Gary knocked on their door? He only tapped gently, but to them it probably sounded like a tumultuous racket.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Wonderful Whitby

The Abbey at Whitby is beautiful and I can quite understand how it inspired someone to write an epic story. Unless you already know, I think you're going to need a few clues to guess which famous tale it prompted.

 It might help if you imagine the sky less blue and sunny.

And something flying overhead ... although thinking about drinking Yorkshire tea will put you on the wrong track

Graves, particularly empty ones should give you a hint ...

Or I could just give you the author's name - Bram Stoker.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Sunny Scarborough

To continue my series of travel photos with tenuos literary links ... here are some shots of Scarborough, including the castle...

... and Pickering Castle (just because we went there on the same day).

It really was sunny - some of the time! The dark, moody clouds look make a better castle back drop than bright sunshine, so I wasn't to disappointed to see them develop.

And this in Anne Bronte's grave - just a short and very steep walk from the castle.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016


Selective means, using or categorised by selection, or able to select. It can also mean able to tune into a particular frequency without interuption from others.

I've been selective in compiling this set of photos - and if anyone says they don't like them, I shall employ selective hearing!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Inspiringly spireless

We had a fascinating visit to Ripon Cathedral. There's a good mix of architectural styles and historical periods, from a crypt underneath dating through the 600s to the 'modern' font added in Tudor times to coloured statues created only last century.

The guide who chatted to me for a while passed on several pieces of information which I'd love to include in a story some time.

I'm not the only one to have seen story potential. A former canon's son C.S Lewis noticed a carving in the misericords of a rabbit being chased by a gryphon and disappearing down a hole. He later wrote Alice in Wonderland.