Sunday, August 29, 2010

Currently working on...

It seems like an age since I reported on what I'm currently writing - so much so you might think I've been sitting with my feet up, filing my nails and doing no work at all.

That isn't the case; I've just been concentrating on a couple of long-term projects which are going to take a while to finish. One is a whole collection of short, dark, crime-related stories which I'm hoping to submit somewhere as an anthology once I have enough gathered together. So far I'm up to about eight or nine, including one inspired by a recent story in the news, but obviously I need more than that before any publisher will look at it. And the second project is a brand-new novel, which I've been thinking about for some time but have only just begun committing to paper. Like much of my work it's a darkly humorous take on 21st century relationships (this one involving a landscape gardener and his wife). Given my current record on finishing novels, it's likely to be a couple of years yet before it's in a fit state to even think about sending off anywhere.

But rest assured I am still writing and I'll try to report back on progress from time to time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Many a true word...

I've been decorating this week, in the little cubby-hole I use as a study. The previous owners of the house had it as a nursery for their young son, and had decorated it beautifully with baby-themed wallpaper which is very sweet but perhaps not entirely appropriate for an office. So I dug out an old pot of paint and got to work.

The wallpaper is mostly cream, with cute baby words on it like 'sleepy', 'hungry' and 'naughty'. I was busy obliterating one of these when the paint brush slipped out of my hand, did a few graceful pirouettes in mid-air, and landed with a pale blue painty splat on the pristine cream-coloured carpet.

So which word was I painting over at the time?



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Paragraph lost, paragraph regained

A while back now I had a little piece accepted by Paragraph Planet, an online magazine that publishes paragraphs that are exactly 75 words long.

Owing to a slight misunderstanding I missed the publication date, which was actually back in June. However, the good news is that you can still read my offering by following this link, and selecting the entry for 7th June.

The piece is called 'Rollercoaster Ride' and is a (somewhat autobiographical) tale of a child's visit to a fairground. And all in only 75 words. Phew. I'm not going to tell you which bits really happened, though. You'll have to work that out for yourselves!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quick march...

It was a gorgeous day on Saturday - sunny intervals, occasional stormy-looking clouds, warm but with a fresh breeze. We haven't done nearly enough walking in the Lakes lately - Real Life (TM) keeps getting in the way - but this time we were determined to make the most of the opportunity and chose the Grizedale Forest, a huge area of forest trails with the added interest of sudden mountain views and a fascinating sculpture trail.

Over the years we've done several of the trails but this time Dave picked one we hadn't done before, taking in Grizedale Tarn which is apparently the only natural tarn in the whole forest. The way to it was surprisingly rough with steep slopes and ankle-breaker tracks but we followed the white marker posts past some ingenious sculptures (a giant metal wasp, something that looked like huge animal droppings but was probably meant to be seeds) and were rewarded when we staggered out at the top onto rough heathland with a stunning view of the Fairfield horseshoe in the distance.

Although we followed the trail for what we thought was every inch, we somehow managed to miss the tarn completely (or perhaps it's a special tarn that vanishes and springs out at you when you least expect it) but it was still a lovely three-and-a-half mile walk. But towards the end Dave realised the two hours' parking he'd paid for was rapidly running out, and we'd have to hurry. I got back down the rough tracks and steep slopes in record time and we worked out we'd done the entire walk in one hour and forty minutes.

It was only when we were back in the car that Dave revealed the recommended time for the walk was... two and a half hours.

No wonder my legs were shaking!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Drying out

We are slowly but surely drying ourselves out. We've had visits from a local builder, our insurance assessor, and a decorator. We've stripped the vinyl wallpaper off the worst affected part of the hall, since it was acting like a massive waterproof jacket and keeping the water in. We now have two industrial sized dehumidifiers and two colossal air-blowers going, full-tilt, in the hall and pantry. I can hardly hear myself think, but gradually the damp patch is shrinking. And at last, our next door neighbours have also set up dryers in their house so the damp will hopefully stop oozing through the wall. It's all progress.

Mind you, talk about 'after the flood'. The night before last we had an earthquake. O.o

Only a tiddler at 1.7 magnitude, but it was a big enough bang to wake me up and shake the foundations of the house. Whatever next? A plague of locusts? A volcano in the back yard?