Wednesday, 28 January 2015


A pipedream is an unattainable or purely fanciful hope or idea. You know, like the hope that when you upgrade one thing on your computer you won't discover your printer, working practices, hair colour and country of residence are all incompatable and need to be changed before you can do so much as open an email.

Compared with that, becoming a successful novelist seems a perfectly reasonable plan.

I did know the meaning of the word pipedream, but not its origin. It comes from the visions or hallucinations experienced by people smoking opium pipes. Obvious when I think about it - presumably I never had before.

Here's an opium poppy, I grew this year. Even without smoking them they raise my spirits.

Do you have any pipedreams, or perefectly reasonable plans, you'd like to share? (If it involves getting your poems published, a mentor to help with that and finacial assistance while you do it, click here)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015


Slight means of little consequence, barely perceptible or scanty. If a person is described as slight they'll be slender or frail looking. If you refer to someone slightingly you'll be treating them as though they're insignificant. I think that's more than slightly rude.

Historically castles were slighted to make them useless for military purposes. This kind of damage can be seen at Kenilworth. (There are more shots of the castle and it's grounds on my gardening blog)

Wednesday, 14 January 2015


Mutable doesn't mean 'able to be muted' which would have been my guess. It actually means liable to change or fickle. The meaning of words can change (wicked, gay, nice) so if mutable is a word which exhibits mutability, I might eventually be right.

Tulip flowers are mutable; often changing colour as they age or 'breaking' into intricate patterns as a reaction to a virus.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Too early for insecurities

It's the first Wednesday of the month, so time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group post. It's also the first Wednesday of a brand new year though, so it's too early for insecurities. There are twelve fresh, shiny months ahead of us to achieve our aims, get over our bad habits and find reasons to feel good about our writing, our lives and ourselves.

My main resolution this year is not to waste time. Reading a book I enjoy isn't a waste of time, nor is writing a story I could submit somewhere, or setting off in the van for a trip, or having a laugh with a friend.

Internet quizzes I have no interest in the answer to, constantly checking my Amazon ratings, comparing myself with anyone else and all the other 'stuff' that's neither productive or fun are a waste of time. I'm going to make a real effort to realise when that's what I'm doing and stop!

The other resolution is to enter more of the free to enter writing competitions I keep blogging about - like this one which offers the chance to win £500 for just 100 words.

Friday, 2 January 2015

La Palma with Sheila Crosby

A few weeks ago I went to La Palma and met up with my writing friend Sheila Crosby. She gave us a fantastic personal tour of the highlights of the Island including the observatory where she works, the volcanic crater, fantastic vertigo inducing scenery, the 'youths' at the very top of the Island, the local crows Sheila has partly tamed, the busy capital where historic balconies are home to amazing floral displays, horizontal water mines ...

It was my first visit to La Palma, but in a way Sheila had already taken me on a tour of the Island in her lovely book, The Seer's Stone. In it I read how the geography was formed from volcanic eruptions, about some of its political history and was introduced to a few of the people, plants and creatures who've made La Palma their home.

Oh and Mr Pock-Pock a rather sweet alien, Carmelo a talking crow and a thief stopping, cheese toasting dragon.

I really enjoyed reading Sheila's stories and I loved seeing a few of the places they were set. 

The aliens and dragons have long since left La Palma, but Carmelo is still there and I met him! His beak looks terrifying, but he took food from my hand very gently.

Do you like our carefully synchronised mad red hair looks?

Having seen the island I fully understand why Sheila wanted to write about it.

And having been given a fascinating glimpse into the observatory, I see why she wanted to write about that too, in A Breathtaking Window on the Universe. 

Sheila writes Sci-fi as well. Again, I suspect La Palma and the observatory were contributing factors. There are some strange looking, and sounding, things up there!