Wednesday 21 August 2019


I really wanted 'grotesque zoomorphic corbels' as the word of the week, but as Gary pointed out, that's more than one word. Still, I can use them as the illustration, can't I? These are on the Castle Acre priory.

Something which is zoomorphic has, or represents, an animal form.

Thanks to Sharon Boothroyd for passing on the details of this free to enter poetry competition. It's open to UK residents only (dead or alive!) and there's a £100 prize. If you can work zoomorphic into your winning entry, I'll be really impressed!

Thursday 15 August 2019


A lapidarium is a collection of carved masonry and gravestones. This one is at Coldingham Priory.

I hope you appreciate the lengths I go to in order to find you interesting words ... Coldingham is 409.8 miles from my home!

Wednesday 7 August 2019

Lin, win and In(secure)

Has your writing ever taken you by surprise?

That's this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question. (If you'd like to join the group you can do so here – but you don't have to be a member to join the discussion.)

My answer is YES! I don't think I could keep writing if that wasn't the case. When I start writing, I don't always know the direction the story or character's will take. I don't know if that story will sell, win a prize or be one of those which doesn't quite make it.

Competitions wins have surprised me – I had a poem performed in the House of Commons and a novel published as the result of winning competitions. As a result I'm always on the look out for free to enter competitions, such as this poetry one, which I regularly share on this blog.

The biggest surprise though has been the change to me as a writer. I started off 17 years ago, writing just for fun, imagining it to be a short term hobby I'd quickly abandon when a new enthusiasm took over (that's happened before). Today I'm a full time writer. I even present workshops to encourage other writers, such as this one in Nottingham next month.

Another thing which can surprise me is the English language. I'm always learning new words (which is why I post my regular word of the week). Today's is lin. A lin is a 'collection' of water – it can mean a pool above or below a waterfall, but is generally applied to the waterfall itself, or to a ravine through which water is forced, producing a torrent.

The photos are of The Lin of Dee (apparently Queen Victoria's favourite picnic spot) and The Black Lin (centre). On our current trip we've also seen The Lin of Quoiche and The Lin of Tummel (my favourite in terms of names). They're all in Scotland.