Friday, 16 March 2018

Instant goosebumps

Works for me anyway. Sadly no moving image of the Fanfare Ciocārlia but close your eyes and enjoy . . .

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Finally . . .

A recent picture of me that I not only like, but feel looks like ME - if you know what I mean, seated at my writing table in the corner of the front room next to the wood-stove, and map of London/ book-scribblings on the wall above me. Thanks Penny - great friend and brilliant people-photographer.

Leave me a comment if you wish to know more about her work.

Monday, 5 March 2018

A step in the right direction

I've been listening to a lot of talks lately about farming practice and Permaculture, partly in relation to  my own research for writing about a speculative world in 2070, and partly because of the amount of information revealed to us all everyday about how we are, through overuse of pesticides, petrol-based fertilisers etc, basically killing the surface of our one and only human home - and I'm not one of the folk who think we'll just piss off to Mars when this globe's kicked us off.
Therefore, I was really excited to find on one of my favourite dog walks up in the hills that some enterprising and sensible bod had introduced their flock of sheep and lambs into a huge area of vine fields - fenced off and patrolled by one of the calf-sized sheep dogs of this region, the Great Pyrenees, or Patou, in local speak.
What could be more sensible? The sheep eat the weeds - usually treaded with roundup or some similar poison, (weeds, not the sheep) and then the animals crap thus fertilising the soil . . . It's beautiful in its simplicity and a joy to see rather than some tractor grunting up and down the striped fields spraying clouds of death-juice into the atmosphere.


Sunday, 25 February 2018

Being on a roll


Bit uncomfortable, depending on the roll - not much purchase on one of those shiny egg-glazed ones, bit bumpy on a granary, maybe a soft bap type of a roll - squashy, giving . . .
Oh. That sort of a roll.

Odd phrase when you analyse it, but I am on one - a roll.
After seeing a literary agent a month or so back and being given the carrot of further possibilities, I'm into a serious re-write on my novel, Hoxton. It's what I needed really; the book had got to a level that people were commenting very positively (thank you all!), and enjoying the read but I knew, if I thought about it honestly, there was a mountain of stuff to be turned over, prodded, ripped up and re-constructed depending on which particular section of the novel I was looking at.
Interestingly the only other person who'd voiced serious doubts about it when I'd passed it to him for inspection, was another (published) writer. I didn't want to hear the comments at the time, but he was right. I suppose I just needed someone who might give me a crack at the real publishing world to say it, again.
So, all other projects including re-editing my last book (the Hundred and fifty-Eighth Book) and re-working my trilogy, Going Out in the Midday Sun, are on total hold while I scratch/tap away at the main thing, ceasing only to eat, sleep, walk dogs, and as little else as possible.
Below, my writing room (corner of sitting room next to the wood-stove) with London map with my scribblings, and notes/timelines and reminders.
Blog back on normal mode soon . . .


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Building No 61

Continuing my sub blog on largely over-looked architectural wonderments . . .

I happened upon this fine brick and corrugated iron specimen in a small Costa Brava village on our last foray down to Cerbère, Port Bou and the mysterious mountainous areas of thereabouts.
I rather wanted it to be the new Google Headquarters of Catalonia, but the appearance of a pair of gold-sprayed shoes during our hike-let around the area suggested it to be the local carnival workshop - unless golden shoes are statutory wear for Google employees.


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Feb 14th

Nah . . . we never do anything about Valentine's Day, but this year, inspired by our 70s house, I decided to create a suitably kitch menu for my 'other half' returning from work, starting with the pub favourite of the era: Prawn Cocktail, followed by salmon with peas and potatoes, and a fabulous ending of the most industrial-looking frozen pud - sadly the Arctic Roll doesn't seem to exist, or maybe not in France anyway gateau roulé glacé, perhaps . . . all to be sloshed down with a bottle of Blue Nun - couldn't find the that either so a local white will have to suffice. Possibly a good thing . . .


Monday, 12 February 2018


It's that time of year again when our small town becomes a drift of confetti every Saturday and Sunday. From January for three months the Carnaval is king - the longest carnaval in the world but nothing like Rio . . . forget the sequinned/ flesh-revealing women and thudding rhythm, this is somewhat different: satin costumes, an actually rather elegant dance (when performed correctly) and live music, featuring brass of all sorts - trumpets, sousaphones, trombones, etc and bass drum/snare.

As 'étrangers (foreigners) we did both managed to infiltrate a group and stayed with them for eight years, practising, painting scenery, working out the theme for the morning 'slot' and eating/drinking way too much on the weekend of our 'Sorti' - performance.

After we left a few years back due to other time commitments, I rather forgot the goings on in the town square, occasionally nipping down to see what new costume might have been decided on, or quaffing a quick blanquette and having confetti stuffed down my neck - as is the tradition.
Yesterday, although it was raining and viley cold, we went down to see what the 'Las Femnas' (women's group) had come up with costume-wise - not overly exciting, a sort of tulle, grey/pink affair and a lot tamer than their usual cash-splurge outfits but it was a great atmosphere. We got confettied, were invited to squeeze plastic breasts (a lot of these, and always the men who wear them) and whapped with fish and leeks. Ah, just like old times.


                                          Le pont Neuf with neon carnaval mask