Sunday, 26 September 2010

Inspirational quote

"The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action."   John Dewey

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Books and Boots festival, Richmond 24 September to 3rd October 2010

Based on the town of Richmond takes place from 24th September to 3rd October

Indulge your passions for walking and reading, though maybe not at the same time in case you fall off one of the many hills round there.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Allen Lane, creator of Penguin Books

It's the birthday of the creator of Penguin Books, Sir Allen Lane, born Allen Williams in Bristol, England (1902).
Penguins, be it orange or blue played a large part in my personal library in the 1960s and 70s because they made it possible to read a wide range of foreign classics otherwise unavailable to me.

World Peace Day 21 September 2010

Take a minute out of your day today to pray for peace.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Argleton - on the map or not?

Caught a great radio programme, Saturday last with Steve Punt about non existent places on Google maps.  Took us into the realms of maps, data, magic and copyrighting.

I listened because Argleton is supposed to exist about ten miles from where I was born so it was fun to think of this place having been conjured out of thin air thanks to Google. 

And the conclusion was that it will continue to exist in the ether of the internet despite now having incorrect data wiped from Google maps database.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Coronation Street - what I remember

I watched The Road to Coronation Street last night with my sister.  We're old enough to remember the beginning of the soap and the portrayal of its origins had us laughing throughout.

Not only because in itself it was a great story but for the memories it brought us.

At the time Coronation Street began, we were both living at home and we'd had a television for about two years.  My Dad won a work sweep and with the money we invested in a set.  Huge it was.  And quite fearsome looking in the corner of the kitchen (we only used the front room at weekends or high days and holidays).

Next door lived my Dad's aunt known to all the family as Auntie Ann.  And two doors away from her lived my grandmother. 

Now our street wasn't terraced; it was mostly semi-detached on the edge of what was originally a farming village.  And we weren't anywhere near Manchester - in those days it was an hour's train ride from one of the two railway stations our village boasted.  But anyone could have identified with the behaviour and the personalities shown in Coronation Street.

Lace curtains twitched just as vigorously there, and though we didn't have a Mission, we did have a Methodist Chapel where some of the attendees were as fierce and focused on hell and damnation as Ena Sharples.

Of course we were church which to my grandmother was a cut above the Methodies.  And of course we never associated with the RCs because everyone knew what they were like.

Despite the fact that my grandmother was deeply suspicious of television she had been beguiled into watching some improving things and when Coronation Street aired for the first time she was in her seat well before time and waiting for the set to warm up.  Oh the long lost days of patience.

And once it began, both Grandma and Auntie Ann were hooked.  The pattern was set.  Round they came and woe betide anyone who spoke during the transmission.  Even my poor sister coming home from a late shift at the library, had to eat her supper in total silence while the show was on.

Over the years their allegiance never wavered.  They never had their own tvs not trusting the technology.  At that time they still both used ranges powered by coal for heat and cooking and gas lighting that popped as the fittings went.

So many memories.  And now as a writer I can appreciate and celebrate the standard of writing that has been maintained over the years.  My sister and I still watch, though not every episode and sometimes a quite innocent conversation is proceeding in front of us and a character comes out with such a wonderful line it has us marvelling at the expertise of the writer.

Coronation Street - long may it continue and long may its writers be celebrated.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Candlestick Press at Waterstone's Nottingham 7 October 2010

Received an invitation to a poetry event to celebrate National Poetry Day on 7 October, 6.30 - 8pm.  Event is called Home is Best and you're invited to take your favourite poems about home.
Can be about your physical home, or your emotional or spiritual home.

Entry is free.  For more details contact Jenny Swann at

Monday, 13 September 2010

Words and music

Not at all connected but anniversaries today of two luminaries in the world of words and music.

Roald Dahl

Too old to read him as a child but my niece recently bought a collection of his books for my great niece so I had a good time dipping into them.  Feeding my 8 year old self.
Clara Schumann
The trailer for a German film gives a flavour of her success as a pianist, her love for and heartache of life with Robert Schumann and the relationship with Brahms much of whose music was dedicated to her.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Richard Strauss

Heard on the radio this morning that it's the anniversary of his death in 1949.  He wrote some of the most beautfiul music espcially for the female voice.  Having tried in a very limited way to sing a couple of songs I know how simple they seem and how difficult to get right.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Simon Schama

Spent part of yesterday reading bits of Simon Scama's book, Scribble Scribble.

I've watched some of his television series and read the occasional article in papers.  Reading the book gave me more of a sense of the man.

What I enjoyed the most were the pieces about food, cooking and memories of his childhood and food.

If you have the chance look the book out and read the piece on Ice Cream.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Social media for writers

Spent a couple of hours yesterday with Caron Lyon of PCM Creative who I've awarded the challenge of co-ordinating my social media efforts and installing a strategy for using it.

I like working with people who really know their stuff and she is full of bright ideas for helping me use all these platforms efficiently.  That's the thing - for me it has to be practical and as easy as possible to do because otherwise I won't do it. 

What I'm looking for are a few places I can go and schedule appropriate text to go across a wide a spectrum of sites as make sense for me.  It's starting to come together and it has to because it's important that I can make it work for me, then I can pass on tips to others.

For more information about Caron and what she can offer go to

Women's Day Expo 2010 - Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Campus; Sat Sep 11, 2010 to Sat Sep 11, 2010

Not involved in organising this but it sounds like a great way to pamper yourself.

A fabulous event celebrating all things to do with women’s health, wellbeing and fitness.
Includes an exhibition, demonstrations, taster therapy sessions and seminars.
Booking Instructions

Register in advance for discounted tickets by e-mail
or phone 07980000316

Please provide a phone number, your name and how many tickets you require. £8 Advanced registration until 8th September; £10 on the door; £5 for young adults 14-18yrs. NB: No credit card facilities are available on site so please bring cash to pay on the door, and for shopping. Sorry, this event is unable to cater for children under the age of 14.
Contact: Claire Minshull

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Trent Valley Windows Nottingham

This is nothing to do with writing except it's a problem that distracted me over the weekend. 

On Saturday I decided to clean the windows and was going along happily when somehow, and I have no idea how I did it, I managed to lock a window with it open.  Of course then it wouldn't close..

Immediate panic because I couldn't find the key.  And after trying all the other keys, I still couldn't find the key.  The fortunate thing was the window in question was at the top of the house and not immediately apparent from outside that it was open.

Searched the paperwork for the installer and on Tuesday was on the phone to Trent Valley Windows in Nottingham.  A very helpful and tolerant, ie he didn't tell me I should have had the key safe, offered to find something in their stores that might help. 

This morning in the mail, some replacement keys. 

Tried them and relief, they worked. 

What a star John at Trent Valley was.  Left him a voicemail message to say thank you.

And the moral of the story?  Next time I won't give in to my impulse to clean the windows.