Friday, 5 December 2014


Distracted by iridescent bubbles as they rise on a soft breeze, you chased these appealing spheres and tried to catch one. Hands came together and missed the bubble and each other. Fingers splayed wide you stared at the empty palms of your hands. Astonished you look to me as if to ask where did it go?

When you were newborn I checked your fingers, delicate tiny tendrils with talons as sharp as an eagles’ claws. I tried to wrap them in soft cotton mittens tying the silk ribbons as tight as I dare round each fragile wrist. That turned out to be one futile exercise as you waved your fists and wriggled those fingers free. Scars, fine spider thin strands decorated your soft velvet skin. Tiny filaments of red lacerations.

Brushing my hair was a game you enjoyed immensely. Standing behind me on the sofa, you would aim the brush. In your hands my wooden hairbrush was your preferred weapon of destruction as its wooden side cracked my skull. My hair teased and scrubbed until it became a cobbed mass of mayhem.

The performance involved in blowing your nose always bought a smile to my face. Rude noises. Huffs and puffs. Tissues smooshed up. to be aimed then lobbed at the bin. Invariably you’d direct this squished missile and not notice you had missed the intended target. Discarded the remnants lay strewn across my kitchen floor for me to tidy later whilst the bogey still hung, dangling from the tip of your nose.

I spent hours on my knees assisting you. ‘Left over right and right over left.’ Spaghetti string laces that were too fiddly for your uncoordinated fingers and you would lose interest after a couple of attempts, to race off with those unsecure laces trailing in your wake. I would watch ever vigilant in case you fell.

The first day at nursery school as we entered the room hand in hand and you spied the sandpit. Undeterred you made a direct approach, picked up a spade and as I knelt beside you, (to reassure myself) you turned, ‘Go shopping,’ and a balled up fist pushed me off balance.

I never saw you wipe away tears of frustration with the back of your hand, you would stand there with a lost look in your eye and let the big fat tear drops splash on the ground. And then one day, when a rude man spooked me, you thrust your hand in mine and shouted: ‘Race you home.’ We ran as fast as your legs would allow, holding each other fast.

Your skin’s fine and brittle like tissue packing paper, nothing like mine and there’s a coolness and an oldness to these small hands that worries me but you seem not to notice or care. As the years passed you grew and the day you tugged your hand free from mine at the pelican crossing, ‘I can cross the road on my own.’ Left me reeling.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

My Lindor moment


30 minutes she said
building a snowman
for two Lindor balls
her favourites
that’d be worth it
surely if nobody saw
then I could have two more.

one is never enough
don’t you find?
they soothe my stress
as I hear that hard outer shell crack
to reveal a
buttery texture
my tongue salivates
irresistible temptation.
Do you dream of chocolate?

can you hear the red wrapper teasing you?
as it crackles with its
twist to open action
do you split the shell?
or slide it whole…
your tongue
and wait?
For this chocolate porn to melt

the pleasure contained within
is mouth-wateringly good
over-riding all common sense
compelling you
to eat another
but stop!
How many points is it worth?

delicious, velvety, smooth, it may be the most seductive pleasure
a mouthful of happiness
is a lifetime on my hips!
it’s not that awesome
at two pro-points per ball
but my weight loss is!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


These hands that touch me… which have the strength to bend copper pipe at a forty five degree angle, yet gentle enough to hold our daughters tiny fingers and guide her faltering steps across the polished beechwood floor.

Un-tanned, broad spans of palms act as shovels to scoop up Lego bricks, discarded by our son. Large bright coloured bricks that earlier in the day you lay on the floor to build, with care into towers. Only to have them smashed by a single swipe of his hand and as you mockingly complain, ‘Oh no!’ Peels of laughter ring out as he squeals with glee, ‘Again, again.’

You dislike public displays of affection they’re not your style. Surrounded by ice cream sundaes and pink roses that same hand trembled as you dipped to one knee to propose. Just for a laugh those nimble fingers snapped the engagement ring box shut, with such a crack I jumped off my seat, before I had time to say yes.

At our engagement party we were fooling about, you picked up the sherry trifle, turned it upside down and span the glass bowl round my head. The room erupted; our guests couldn’t contain their laughter as dribs of jelly and drabs of custard slopped down my arms. Afterwards you teased out tinned pineapple chunks and cubed lumps of pear as you showered the mess from my hair.

When there’s a storm brewing and I resemble a small boat tied to a forgotten mooring, you stroke my arm. Your touch calms me, steadies my nerves. These dependable hands that hold me with adulation and after we’ve made love those same hands that hold our bull mastiff on a tethered lead for her morning walk round the village common.

If I’m nervous you place your hand, in the small of my back, guide me to safety. The same soft fingertips with trimmed nails that before you vacate our crumpled warm bed know how and where to plunder me with a lightness of touch which draws such sweet music. Unable to resist, my body twitches to your love tap, bringing forth moans of joy before I end with a big bang that ensnares me in ecstasy.

At the end of a tough day when my back aches your experienced fingers massage liniment to dislodge tight knots. This deep kneading action and pungent menthol odour, eases my tension. Your hands work their magic, as balm for my soul.

Once the children sleep, cradled in your arms I rest. The full length of our bodies touch, skin against skin, as your tenderness traces a never ending pattern across and down my bare back and after we talk through the days events, as I drift off to sleep you enfold your fingers through mine, wrapping each finger, one between the other you cup my hand in yours, and press our enclosed hand together, against your heart. These unwritten rules of your hands, these coded messages fill me with desire.


In the run up to Christmas I thought I’d share some of my writing.

Pieces I like whether for sentimental reasons or because I surprised myself after an exercise had been suggested at writing group.

‘Cherished’ was written after class. We had been focusing on ‘hands’ and this short story, a flight of fancy and not autobiographical…came to me. *Enjoy.*

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Change one small thing

Well my writing has been a bit hit and miss over the past three months, and recently I asked myself what would happen if, I could change one small thing.

My hair has been my crowning glory (vain I know, but honest) and often once it’s freshly washed I can’t bear the idea of going swimming, you see swimming is all about the hair.

A little under twelve weeks ago I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis and this news came out of left field. No one in the family has this condition as far as I know. So its diagnosis came as a surprise.

I had ceased up so much, I went out to buy a walking stick, because I was uncertain where my legs were under my hips. I felt insecure every time I stood and then tried to walk!

As I handled the elegant walking cane with an exquisite carved handle I began to think differently and question if this device was what I really wanted. To be seen leaning on a walking stick, needing support… the stick was replaced and wasn’t purchased.

Instead I came home and put on my swim suit and took myself off to the local pool. My timing was perfect, my hair was ready to be washed so it didn’t matter or need consideration.

Since that day I’ve been going swimming twice a week, usually on Wednesdays and Thursdays to keep my hair-washing time to a minimum, seriously I’m not joking. I’ve been lucky to use a Hydro pool too and have physiotherapy regularly.

The improvement in my whole body has been tremendous. I still need to monitor how long I sit, especially when I sit to write at my computer… or reading and driving too because if I sit too long I can barely stand on rising. It can be quite a scary feeling to be that insecure, when my limbs don’t work as expected.

I’ve also change my attitude towards food which has been reviewed and heavily edited as I’ve investigated anti-inflammatory foods which I’ve readily adopted into every day meals as I’m certain that activity (the right sort) and good food will go along way to reducing the pain from the Osteoarthritis. So far so good.

I’m off to the pool this morning and now considering buying a swimming hat…one like Ester Williams used to wear? Perhaps…but have you seen how expensive they are? I’d really like a swim hat that’s a wig all neatly coiffured.

What would happen if you I could change one small thing?

Friday, 26 September 2014

#Seenwhiledriving: Random thoughts...

Today’s observation whilst driving because I spend far too much time stuck in traffic, journeying back and forth to college as a taxi and to wile away the minutes I take in what’s going on around me.

Lorries great big lorries with wide expanses of space and very little advertising, today I saw a lorry from my old town. I’d never heard of the company and its name and livery gave nothing away. I was none the wiser. So I’m curious, do companies missing a trick here, could they advertise better?

And then there’s lorries bearing hieroglyphics that I can’t read or decipher but the curly bulbous lettering have me intrigued. For all I know it could say: driven by a giggling squid.

But what do I know… perhaps lorries aren't allowed to advertise 'too heavily' and if I spoke foreign languages perhaps I could have a good stab at translating these foreign letters that I find intriguing.

What do you see from your car window that intrigues you whilst you drive to and fro?

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Summer Observations: 5 This is me!

'This is me.' A comment I overheard recently that made me think.

I attend Weight Watchers every other week. Our leader is down to earth and a fun lady with a wicked sense of humour.

No matter what sort of week I’ve had, good or bad as judged by the truth on the scales...if I stay to a meeting I end up laughing so hard, because she has a way of making the mundane funny. It’s a real tonic.

I wear dresses everyday. These are the only clothes I feel truly comfortable in… even if they seem to be inappropriate attire, now that autumn is fast approaching. I feel feminine when I wear a dress and I attempt to wear dresses that flatter my figure.

During the long hot days of July (remember those?) a linen dress was the coolest garment I could wear and as the autumn coolness creeps upon uninvited, if I slip on a cardigan then I can keep wearing a linen dress just a while longer. Although it’s becoming a battle first thing in the morning in the crisp air.

Each week when I arrive at Weight Watchers some one always comments on my dress. These comments surprise me until I look round and see that most women seem to wear a uniform based mostly around jeans and t-shirts. I would wear jeans too if I didn’t find them uncomfortable. I’m an odd shape, a perfectly formed female but I don’t fit the standard sizes currently on offer and I find dresses can be far more forgiving to my body shape. I can adapt them to suit my needs, many are too long and swamp me in fabric, so these get shortened.

So this is me…wearing my dress, whether this is appropriate attire or not, especially as the cooler mornings make my legs chilly than I’d like them to feel.

Do you have favourite clothes?

I’m heading off to my rotate wardrobe as I still don’t have one of those dream like American walk-in wardrobes…I’ll keep wishing. I dislike putting summer away...

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

I’m a big fan of Lewis Hamilton #F1

I wrote this piece a couple of weeks ago, before this weekend race at Singapore.

A huge brouhaha kicked off recently around the Formula 1 circuit since Rosberg did something stupid.

In my humble opinion Rosberg’s tactics, if true, deserve serious punishment and severe penalties but we aren't privy to these decisions currently, which is correct.

This dispute might have been played out in a public arena but the consequences and any disciplinary action should be a private matter as in any normal working life. However, as fans we are keen to know what actually occurred so there is a great deal of speculation circulating.

Personally speaking I find Rosberg arrogant, but maybe this is how he got to where he is in his profession, despite being in the shadow of his father’s illustrious racing career.

And then there is Hamilton who displays his pleasure and unhappiness in equal measure and he’s always toughest on himself.

Monza was set with rumours. Lewis had technical issues on Friday and a good Saturday session. Rosberg had a good session on Friday and then technical issues on Saturday.

So far so good, but the press made this news and some of the die hard fans probably thought there wasn’t any thing unusual here other than technical issues but played against a back drop of intrigue and mystery the conspiracy theories abounded.

The Monza race started in the worst possible way as Lewis had more technical issues on the start line from pole position. Poor Hamilton lost all his gains made over the pre race trials.

Rosberg led.

Lewis is a fighter. He knows what he wants and when everything, the car, the team, his desire come together… he is unstoppable and damn fast. He fought his way back as any good hero would. He focused on the goal. He drove well. Lewis secured a substantial lead. But the fans and the press suggested Rosberg threw in the towel, and out-braked himself twice under instructions from the bosses, whilst leading this race, to let Lewis through to pole position. Well I don't think so.

In a previous life I drove Porsche for a living. I love to drive fast. I’ve even raced at Brands Hatch...I was rubbish being undertaken on the left at speed threw me right off course and any skill versus ability I normally have to drive, evaporated.

Driving fast on a normal road cannot be compared with any Formula 1 race as there is motorway fast and then there is Formula 1 racing car super, super fast.

I for one have no idea how it would feel to drive at +200 miles per hour and then break into a tight bend or chicane to resume my racing speed once the bend is negotiated. Out-braking is possible.

In fact only a few do know how it feels and all of these people are the elite of the racing world.

So for arm chair pundits to think that Rosberg deliberately out-braked himself to hand Lewis the race is a foolish notion. Rosberg remains a determined competitor because he’s top of the leader board and under immense pressure.

None of us truly know the strain of being an F1 racing driving aiming for our first championship title and Rosberg wants this title so bad he can taste it, smell it, and almost feel it. He wants it so much he’s prepared to risk everything at the Belgian Grand Prix and actually admit to running into his team mate on purpose!

Perhaps now you can understand why I think Rosberg is arrogant.

Rosberg didn’t see the damage ahead that his actions caused until he stood on the podium in Belgium and the fans booed him and the fans booed again at Monza- Is booing ungentlemanly conduct?

Fans are limited in how they can express their adoration or loathing of a racing driver and Rosberg has had to face the music from his employer, his management team, his team mate, his family, his friends, the press and finally the fans. That's one hell of a lot of pressure.

Maybe Rosberg needs to reflect on his actions and prove his worth by simply driving out of his socks and not playing games; like talking in Italian in front of his team mate Lewis, gamesmanship is fine usually but when played out on camera, in front of the public, it will not win Rosberg any favours.

Of course I want Lewis to win this years championship because he has worked hard and fights for every race even coming from the back of the field to display amazing drive ability.

I want Rosberg to be investigated by the FIA because any driver who intentionally interferes with another's drivers car is a ‘criminal’ it would be no different if another driver tried to run you or me off the road in real life. There would be questions asked and answered and possibly a trial.

And should the FIA find that there is a case to be answered by Rosberg then he must be prepared to defend his actions as an apology simply won't repair this damage to his reputation.

The racing drivers are heroes and both protagonists and antagonists.
They drive because they love what they do all the time.
They drive because it’s in their blood.

I hope that Lewis and Rosberg can come to an agreeable professional relationship but they don't have to be mates! How can they be mates when the gladiators (the management team) have set them one against the other?

Hamilton is 22 points behind Rosberg before the next race at Singapore.

My passion for Formula 1 is undiminished and all the thoughts expressed here in my blog are my own.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Goodwood Revival Dapper Gents 2014

The Veteran and his wife were such a sweet couple to meet here.

Some of them start out very young too, with aspirations of being a racing driver.

Fashion at Goodwood 2014

The fashion choices for Goodwood Revival are always beautifully executed, diverse and fascinating.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Goodwood Revival 2014

It's surprising how quickly an event can become a distant memory, almost too soon, and this year the 2014 Goodwood Revival 2014 was immense.

If you've never been to this event it’s about the Cars.

It's all about our love affair with a motor. A motor vehicle, an aeroplane or a motorbike.

It's about watching experienced racing drivers drift a valuable car through a corner, straightening it up to drift again before recovering full straight line control.

It's about an audible sigh of disbelief as a car that costs more than an average year’s wages hits the barriers and crumples its beautiful sleek lines.

It's about glamour. Good old fashioned glamour. Red lipstick, seamed stockings and fur wraps.

It's about everything vintage. From clothes, to much paraphernalia.

Everyone makes an effort, to pick an era and dress accordingly. It's probably the best fancy dress party ever. There is of course the best dressed competition too, for both ladies and chaps.

This event pulls in people from all over the world and it's the one place that men seem to make an extra effort to dress smartly. There are seas of tweed and flat caps at jaunty angles. Teddy boys, beatniks and biker boys abound. And every type of military man in a uniform you could dream of…

This year it was the 75th anniversary of Goodwood Aerodrome and there was an amazing tribute to honour our Veterans of WWII. It was fantastic very nostalgic and stirring celebration as an array of restored vehicles each carried a war veteran on a tour of the race track.

It's about the glamour of flying too, as many aeroplanes are parked to view, beautiful stunning shiny models.

The sound barrier was broken and boy was it loud. And each time the two Lancaster’s flew over head the crowd reacted by applauding with spontaneous clapping.

It's about allowing and letting the rich and famous mingle unnoticed or at least not to be photo bombed.

It was a brilliant event again this year and the weather was kinder than last year.

Lord March has mastered the art of pulling together an amazing team that produces an extremely successful and well run event again and again.

Goodwood Revival grows bigger and better each year.

Photographs to follow…

Monday, 15 September 2014

Reading & Writing & Sharing...

I’ve read a reasonable amount this summer.
And I’ve enjoyed all that I have read.
I’ve written from time to time.
I find when I read I am prompted to write.
And I’ve noticed one significant change.
I’ve stopped wanting to share my writing with other people.
However, I’ve no idea why this lack of desire to share my writing has happened or if this new and odd situation will change in the near future.
I am a writer.
I will always write.
Often I write just for myself, to record what happened that day.
Maybe I write simply to make sense of my own world.
Perhaps what I’ve been writing recently isn’t for ‘general’ consumption.

So over the next few weeks I am going to see if I can keep myself in the swing of writing my blog notes and posting them online. Let’s see if this helps kick start my ‘new-sharing-my-writing-habit.’

Friday, 12 September 2014

Summer Observation: No 3

Each August I ‘drag’ myself, willingly, up on to Beachy Head to watch the Eastbourne air show, usually wrapped in all manner of wet weather gear to protect my body from the fierce wind that rushes to meet me from the sea.

Two things were different this summer:

The weather was fantastic!

I mean really good. Beachy Head was rammed. I don’t think I've ever seen so many people or parked vehicles up there in my life.

I was able to wear a summer dress and didn't need my coat!

Atop Beachy Head is a great vantage point to watch the aeroplanes and the flying acrobats and I take a small radio to tune in to the local radio/air show.

The cloud base was virtually non existent with only the lightest breeze which meant the planes looked glorious against a powder blue. The Red Arrows display was breath takingly good. The speed of their close passes was fantastic; it was a spectacular display of precision flying. With the addition of red, white and blue smoke it’s patriotic to the core and the new livery shone in the sunshine.

When the Lancaster bombers flew over head the sense of excitement grew as I wondered what it must have been like to watch these aircraft in action back in WWII as today there me fill me with a sense of awe.

There is something quite remarkable about sitting atop a hill and lying in the long grass to see and hear a jet aircraft fly by and pass over head. You feel as if you could raise your hand and stroke the under side of the wing tip as the roar of the jet engine, so close overhead, is exhilarating.

For me the highlight of the show has to have been the Red Arrows display with their striking new tailfin design of a Union Jack these aircraft looked magnificent and their display really wowed the crowd.

It was a grand day out. One I shall enjoy again next year, hopefully…

Where did you venture out this summer that made you happy and relaxed?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Summer Observation: No 2

This summer I’ve been back swimming at my local pool on a regular basis, twice a week, sometimes three! This routine wrecks my hair (vanity I know, because I haven’t got around to accepting that wearing a swim hat would improve this situation) and on the whole, it’s been a rewarding experience so far, as I feel much fitter.

I’m less achy and not creaking quite as badly.

I go to swim… however; I don't understand or get the social aspect of swimming… yet, especially those women who can ‘swim-and-talk’ at the same time.

Perhaps this is because I go as a single swimmer.

These ‘swim-and-talk’ women insist on swimming ‘side-breast-stroke-side-by-side’ and take up at least four individual swim lanes in the process, because they space themselves conveniently to talk to their partner.

Also they manage to swim at a less than walking pace speed.

For me this frustrating on many levels. These lovely women appear oblivious to the excessive amount of space they take up and seem to be unable or perhaps unwilling to change course.

It leaves little option for the unsure swimmer how to negotiate this swimming-conversation: Do I plough straight through the middle? This would probably be considered rude.

So how do I circumnavigate this wide berth?

The truth is I don't. I wait.

Oddly in an almost empty pool, in my first week, a man managed to enter the water, position his goggles, he put his face into the water and arms flailing- front crawl, he ploughed on.

I prefer back crawl. And then we collided. We cracked heads hard, one against the other, his apology was profuse. I was stunned and staggered as I had set off and positioned myself in what I thought was a safe area, some considerable distance away from him.

Obviously not.

I still can’t work out how he covered such a wide area and then precisely targeted me. This uncomfortable episode/incident hasn't put me off, just left me reeling.

I’d be interested to hear about your swimming experiences if you’d care to share them, here with me.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Summer Observation: No 1

It’s that time of year when shoes had to be checked: do they still fit of has a growing spurt occurred?

It’s that time of year when trouser hems have to be checked: and let down to stop trousers flying at half mast or put up to stop hems dragging along hard surfaces.

It’s that time of year when the most important shopping becomes Stationery: Shiny new folders. Crisp new…unused notepads.

And oh...the smell of fresh crayons.

It’s that time of year when the must have item is a new pencil case.


It’s a time of year I dread: personally I seem to become over reactive to seeing the farmers harvest their fields. I have a huge, actually an immense desire to ask them to stop, to halt their progress that signals the end of summer. I don’t know where this desire to hold back a season comes from but maybe this wish comes as I am a child born in the summer months.

Am I alone in this over reaction?

Do you over react to the fading of the summer months?

Back to school...

It’s the first day of college term and life as I have come to know it, returns to ‘normal.’

I’ve put normal in inverted commas because I’m not sure what normal is anymore.

The weather’s about to turn as autumn adds a chill to the air to remind me that the days draw shorter and shorter as summer, before she fades to a memory, blasts us with a final glorious warmth… as leaves begin to fall.

This is my least favourite time of year.

Yesterday, as my car idled at traffic lights, I watched large lime-yellow-green leaves tumble and cascade across the tarmac with a joyous bounce and rolling action yet my body shuddered with a sudden pang of unhappiness.

And this morning on the college drive-in, shafts of light, lit by bright piercing sunlight streamed gloriously between the gaps in long branches, illuminating a tunnel of trees.

My writing has taken a back seat for far too long this summer so I’ve set myself a challenge to write a blog post a day, starting today, the first day of school.

Probably too much at the moment but I have to start somewhere. And I have to set the bar high. There is no theme, to these daily posts, just my ramblings on life or how I view the world on that day.

Let's see how this new challenge works for me...

Thursday, 19 June 2014


Another day, another email pinged into my inbox!

Another piece of flash fiction has been accepted for the national flash fiction day of flash flood on Sat 21st June.

Delighted, yes to say I’m feeling thrilled is putting it mildly... that a second piece of my work has been accepted by the National flash fiction flood journal #nffd @nationalflashfd

I wrote: Adrenalin-rush from the perspective of an armchair spectator dreaming of owning and riding a Ducati motorbike, once she’s passes her motorbike test because until now she’s only ever ridden pillion.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

#amwriting paid off…

Or should that be #amsubmitting paid off!

It’s strange to think that around a month ago I mentioned that I had submitted my work (mostly short stories) to various competitions and I deliberately thought no more about these submissions until an email pinged into my inbox to let me know that my short story *Cherished* a flash fiction piece of 500 words, had been accepted.

I was elated.

The elation that comes with this acceptance is tempered by a lack of celebration on my part, because for the life of me, I can’t think how to celebrate this victory. I’m not sure what to treat to myself too…

Being typically British I’m not fabulous, well not yet, in the art of promoting myself. It still feels a tad arrogant to blow my own trumpet and stand up and say Hi- my work is over here- please look at my work, pretty please. However, if I don’t blow my own trumpet… how will anyone find my work?

I am ecstatic and a little overwhelmed (all at the same time) to be included with so many other writers, and it’s lovely that some of them are familiar to me: @NikPerrin @taniahershman & @Sarah_hilary who I’ve met through Twitter.

Naturally this anthology: ‘Eating my words,’ excites me as it is goes into print on Saturday 21th June as well as a Kindle version, available now from Amazon.

‘Eating my words’ will be the 3rd annual anthology from National Flash-Fiction Day #nffd @nationalflashfd

So my thanks to Calum Kerr and Angela for all their hard work in pulling this together this year anthology.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


In the morning I sit by my window with a cup of tea and look out across the garden. The Sambuca is in flower.

It's raining outside and the temperature has turned cooler not the gorgeous summers day I was hoping it might be. The rain is heavy, good rain that falls straight.

A bird took off from the rooftop across the way. It faltered, stuttered like a car engine on a cold morning before this bird founds its rhythm in flight and that got me thinking- is it harder for a bird to fly in the rain… than normal dry conditions?

Truthfully I don't know the answer, to this question I pose, off the top of my head but I shall investigate.

My short story writing has gone off course this week... so I'm just going to keep fighting. It doesn't matter if I win this battle, just keep fighting to win the war or as little Dory in Disney’s Nemo said: ‘Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we ... When you want to swim you want to swim. ... You think you can do these things…

Keep swimming, just keep swimming and more on swimming laters.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

F1 a tough challenge for one man

For those of you that know me here...I love Formula 1 and this year formula one rules have dramatically changed.

There have been many mechanical changes that have resulted in Vettel, a four times world champion struggling to compete.

How is that possible?

He can't simply forget how to drive as Vettel is an expert formula one driver. Yes, he can be arrogant and last year was a much disliked driver but that doesn't explain his loss of position.

When we write our characters we have to get inside their minds. Think as they do… so what’s happening in Vettel's head?

Mark Webber was replaced this season by Daniel Ricardo. Did Vettel believe this would give him the upper hand again over the new boy, a younger Australian with a happy disposition and apparently relaxed manner.

Schumacher is Vettel’s fellow countryman and an absent race driver, who is still in intensive care in a coma, could this be troubling our out-of-sorts-champion?

Red Bull should be running two identical or at least incredibly similar cars, set to each drivers preferences, so why does Ricardo’s car run visibly better than his team mates? I for one don’t have this answer.

What has happened in Vettel's head.

For a head strong arrogant man he appears frustrated, bowed and lost. Can he cope with the changes that have occurred? Could it be that changing his driving style is too tough for him?

His frustration is tangible as each race goes wrong.

And then this year each driver chose a number, their personal driving number which they will keep for their driving life. Hamilton chose 77

Vettel chose number 5 but drives with No 1 on the hood of his race car because he's the champion.

So I wonder does this irony get lost on our no 1 champ as he falls further and further behind with each race. This weekend he did not even complete at Monaco. His season is almost over. There is no way he can fight his way back to the top of the leader board despite his remarkable ability.

Truthfully I've can’t say that I like Vettel but I do have a huge respect for his driving skill set and yes he has my sympathy, nothing is going right for the blue eyed, blond haired hero and he must be wondering what he can do to regain his prowess.

Vettel has a tough challenge ahead of him.

Sundays Sound bites

I sit on the bleached wooden bench and close my eyes and tilt my face towards the sun, its rays warm my face as I begin to relax and unwind, the tension in my shoulders eases.

I love sitting here, alongside ‘African Queen.’ a glorious decadent boat with a fine navy blue livery and bleached blond wood deck. She attracts lots of attention from promenaders who wander along the quayside.

'Granny says you could fit two families in that boat but I want it all to myself.'

‘Astrid come here ... Astrid.’

The gentle drub overhead of a light air craft travelling from east to west, is drowned out by an overly large man. ‘You can only be a master if you sail a merchant boat.’

The long stride of a heavy foot fall accompanied by the soft pad followed on by a swift scratch of nails, broken by a regular pant. Its name tag jangles as dog and owner pass by at a brisk pace in a wordless conversation.

‘They've asked for money for bricks at Jill's wedding.’
‘What a good idea.’

A soft spoken woman, a foreign language I can't recognize passes, who comes across as discreet, she walks close to her partner, intimately exchanging news.

The flip flops flap with a regular clip, clap.

‘She should've left Carl, because if she doesn' know what…’ however I’m not privy to the exchange of glances that took place.

‘They cost £45 and how often do you wear them? Dresses...I'd rather go to primar...’

‘How do boats get here?’
His voice escalates several octaves; ‘by sea,’ He stands, turns forty five degrees, squares up with hands on hips, ‘how do you think they get here?’
‘On a lorry.’ She sounds certain, not foolish.
He walks off, in an exasperated tone, ‘don't be daft.’

Another young couple saunter by... ‘I like that speed boat.’
‘What the boat with that bloody big sail… how can it be a speed boat?’
‘Oh... I didn't see the sail,’ she shakes her head as muffled giggles escape.

A gaggle of students, young, boisterous, all vie to heard simultaneously in a foreign tongue, probably Italian.

I open my eyes: ‘beautiful sunshine, you enjoying it?’ She brushes past briskly, her cheerful comment directed at me. Yes I reply to the cheery woman I don’t know, who notices me sunning myself, ‘glorious isn't it’ and she keeps walking, and then she's gone.

Two, couples stop and drop on to the benches alongside me. ‘Take a picture of Princess. I think we should buy one each, we'll have the white one and you two can have the blue one.’
‘There's too much glare from this angle.’

A handsome young man walks in bare feet; his soles do not react to the rough screed surface of this concrete path. Behind me in the flowerbed a gull screeches, another gull stops, sits atop the other gull, dominant and frustrated.

‘Send the picture to Lauren.’

Wearing an I'm-going-to-enjoy-this-Sunday-stroll-smile, a father walks holding his little girls’ hand. A hand he finds comforting and knows will not be withdrawn or rebuffed. His wife appears to ignore them, trailing several steps behind and traipsing even slower than them, a young boy who appears to wish he could be somewhere else, anywhere but here. His sullen face ready to burst. They look disconnected, out of sorts yet strung together by tense invisible threads of varying degrees of annoyance. This unspoken message is loud and clear, sitting here.

‘They haven't heard for him, they've tried to contact him, rung, written, but there's been no response, so they've had to take control. It's all very distressing.’

I eavesdropped on many people's conversations and each brief discussion holds its own fascination. The endless supply of possible starts for a stream of short stories from the lives of ordinary folk filling a Sunday afternoon with parley walks.

Where do you eavesdrop for writing inspiration?

Friday, 23 May 2014

Where my inspiration comes from?

My mum is one of life’s grafters. She grew up in a different era when people did the best they could with what they had, as rationing formed a dominant part of her formative years. My mum cares for each and every member of her family by ‘doing.’However, I grew up in a large family, in a time of plenty.

And I don’t think I’m the same as her. I've little desire to do ‘tasks or chores’ that don’t directly benefit my welfare.

I would much rather sit down and write, capture the essence of a day, explore the feelings that drive one specific emotion and its resulting actions.

When I observe people I pick up on nuances and comments.

When I overhear a comment, “you mean I've got to make sandwiches every day for your lunch” did trigger a direct response for a short story. I knew immediately who these characters were, ‘new retirees’ and as yet it remains unpublished.

To me a short story should capture a moment in time and not necessarily have a beginning, a middle and an end. Perhaps this view is contentious.

I find newspapers often provide a rich seam for ideas that inspire me to write. A few years ago a man stood accused of poisoning his wife. This article made me think. Why did he want to poison her? I could understand how a woman might poison her partner but this article showed life from a different point of view.

I wanted to get inside ‘his’ head and work out what had pushed him to take such drastic action. It led to a short story called: Poisonous Thoughts. I wrote this story as the reason behind his actions. To this day I still wonder about his wife and daughter because I presume I could taste mercury in my tea… couldn’t I?

Of course there’s two more stories still waiting to be written, one from the wife’s perspective and then the other from their daughter.

Where does you draw inspiration from for your writing?

Thursday, 15 May 2014

12 Spoons

My simplified understanding of how it might feel to live with M.E./(CFS) Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome.

Each day without thought I do many things, every day things, nothing special: gardening, shopping, reading, writing alongside going swimming, to the cinema, meal outs and regular daily household chores. I even ride a bicycle sometimes.

Now imagine yourself watching all these people going about their everyday lives, ‘nothing special things’ and being vastly aware that your energy is finite.

Your daily energy allowance is a handful of spoons; let’s use them as tokens of measure. Twelve to be precise.

Put your feet into the shoes of a bright young woman aged 16-20 as her day begins, her morning goes something like this:

Wake up, ‘good, hello kiddo time to get out of bed,’ one spoon used.

Breathe, knees working? Moderate pain but that’s okay, take some medication. It might take the edge off, stop the pain escalating. Get up and go to the loo, another spoon spent.

A shower will make me feel fresh, that’s two more spoons. If I wash and dry my hair that will be another two spoons. (Think I’ll opt for dry shampoo.)

I’m going in to college, I need to get dressed. Another spoon gone.

Make up takes time, valuable time; I can’t go in to college looking wan and lifeless. Too many questions will be asked. An additional spoon is required to make me presentable.

Almost ready to go. Walk down stairs, knees operating at a reasonable level, not too much pain. One more spoon.

Eat breakfast, well prepare it first and while I’m in the kitchen put some lunch in a box for college, a further spoon used. I leave the dishes in the sink.

I want to do my laundry, put last weeks dirty clothes in the machine but that means going back upstairs, rounding up the items, one spoon to go up and one to come back down, should have done this while I was upstairs. Perhaps I can leave it for another day.

I’d love to change my bed linen but that’s a big task and it needs to be on a quite day when I’m good and don’t have much happening. Stripping the bed, one more spoon, remaking the bed with fresh sheets, one further spoon and bringing everything down to the kitchen, an extra spoon. Too expensive today. Perhaps if I ask nicely Mum will sort this?

It’s almost 9.30am, I’m ready to go to college. Time to leave the house. Walk to the train and train journey to the next town, one spoon. Walk to college from the train, up three flights of stairs to the top floor of the science block, carrying a heavy satchel. An extra spoon consumed and my day starts.

I’ve used eight spoons to get here. My day officially begins. Now the hard work commences.

My thanks to: Christine Miserandino
Author of the ‘The Spoon Theory’

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Writers panic…

I woke up in a cold sweat last night and panicked… foolish really as there was little I could do to resolve the problem or change the issue at 2am.

I dreamed I had broken the rules of the writing competition by submitting a piece in the wrong font size!

I crawled back into bed after checking my computer. What an idiot. I have submitted the piece correctly. Phew. It seems I had read the instructions accurately and gone into auto pilot and completed the piece accordingly.

Shame I didn’t remember that in my waking dream.

Do you do this too?

Or are you better prepared than me to be judged?


Friday, 9 May 2014

New writing group

Joining a new writing group can be a curious thing to do.

I joined a new group a little over two weeks ago.

Mostly I’m good at turning off my internal critic when I sit and write my own work as I’ve learned to do this over many years of practice.

However, I find it much harder to switch off the 'internal critic' when I hear other authors read out their work.

I find myself comparing my ability (or rather my perceived lack of it) to their ability to write, what I hear seems so much more eloquent than anything I’ve written, and I find myself asking why didn’t I think of that?

I suppose the truth is what we each see and hear, when the written word is spoken, can be different. What we each choose to hone in on is different too. And how we write is what makes writing so tough to conquer.

I know I’ve always enjoyed hearing how a group of people can write such diverse pieces given the same instructions.

One of the exercises last week was to describe ‘hands.’

I enjoy doing observational pieces and the feedback I get often surprises me. At the time of writing I thought I hadn’t done this exercise well.

But once again I was surprised by the responses from my fellow writers, some of whom are already published authors. I thought my hurriedly written piece was just a list (not what we were asked to do in the exercise.) Apparently not so. My writing was compared to a current author who I now need to find and investigate.

And then my tutor surprised me by suggesting I should put the two pieces I’d written into some flash fiction competitions! You could have knocked me over with a feather duster…

‘What do you get out of your writing group?’

Signing off until next time… when I’ll share one of the writing exercises we did this week in my next blog spot.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

#amwriting again

I am writing again, getting back in the swing of things and Phew that’s a relief

I have to thank the lovely Ange Barton @angebarton for nominating me to accept: ‘Pass-the-baton’ and encourage me to get back into my writing.

I stopped writing around six months ago when I became distracted by a bright shiny new project that took all my energy and absorbed my creative talents in a different area. I got to choose colours and design new layouts, pick fittings and furniture as I refurbished a one bedroom flat into an urban oasis of calm.

This tired, grubby flat which had alarming holes in the ceiling, has been transformed! I was undeterred by the random holes; and now they are a distant memory.

Today the flat has a warm, welcoming feel to it (a new heating system was installed); it has a lovely modern kitchen with whacky appliances that I’ve not read the manuals for or used yet.

And the once soulless bathroom is unrecognizable. It is a windowless room, not something I’m keen about but there had to be a compromise and this was it. Strange but since the revamp I hardly notice that there is no window, no external light, it’s so bright and clean now.

There are still a few jobs to be done and other creative tasks that I will enjoy. I’ve resurrected my old Singer sewing machine and discovered that I can still sew straight lines. Phew. The practice I put in many years ago, it seems, is deeply embedded. This came as a terrific surprise.

So here I’m back at my pc waffling my way across a blank page, hitting the keys one at a time (with wonky fingers) hoping that what I’ve written makes sense!

I write because I want to get the ideas out of my head and on to paper.
I write because I think I have something to say and record.
I write because I enjoy writing.

By accepting this challenge I wanted to regain my focus so I promised myself
Firstly: to join a new writing group.
Secondly: to write a blog article twice a week.
Thirdly: to be kind to myself.

I accepted the baton on 21st April. On 22nd I joined a new writing group- I’ll write about this next week. Yesterday, 23rd I had a stab at writing a blog article, which I posted, phew and yes I’m being kind to myself. And I wrote a brand new piece this morning so I'm feeling good.

Over the coming days I will need to select another writer to pass the baton too and I’ve no idea if it’s breaking with tradition by asking: but are there any volunteers to accept the baton?

This question when voiced in a class usually meets with silence…prove me wrong…

As I have to pass the baton by 27th

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Formula One v Rounded characters

For those of you that know me... I love Formula 1 it’s a sporting event I’ve always loved.

If anyone watched last weekends Grand Prix, for the first time, in China- they could be forgiven for being unimpressed. It was a rather subdued affair. Uneventful to say the least.

How do I know this?

The Brazilian Grand Prix (two weeks ago) had me shouting instructions and yelling ‘abuse’ at the television. That race was absorbing, frightening, packed with action. Gripping stuff. I find I always support my favourite racing driver and curse the anti-hero!

This weekend I could have multi-tasked and read a book rather than actually watch the race but I didn’t, I remained steadfast and watched the event unfold, to its final chequered flag.

My hero is Lewis Hamilton.

I find his passion for his profession fascinating. He won his first world championship at the tender age of 23, and now he’s a seasoned driver who has not won since 2008 and he has a habit of saying what he thinks and wearing his heart on his sleeve. If he’s having a good day we can tell by his facial expressions and when he’s not we can read his body language. He’s not good at hiding his feelings. And he speaks his mind. None of this should distract from his amazing ability.

The reason I find Formula One so alluring is because a race is action packed and can often reflect the ups and downs in writing, because there is always tension between drivers (characters), team mates (protagonists) and rival companies (antagonists). Each events ends differently.

On race days the drama unfolds rapidly and can without warning spiral in to a frightening turn; especially if there is a collision or an accident, and the safety car comes into play. Hopes, dreams and aspirations can suddenly dissolve.

The most famous drivers can be seen as rounded characters and well known to the public and fans or less known drivers might appear to be slightly flat.

The side issues this year may distract fans from what’s going on, on the track because the rules have changed significantly and this has shaken up the pack, what we once thought to be certain has been turned this event on its head and 2014 promises to be a fascinating year ahead.

No two races will be the same.

Dramas will unfold.

Rivalries will continue develop.

F1 is not to be missed…Come & join track side and see for yourself…