Sunday, 21 June 2009

Summer Solstice

Up at 04:00 this morning, then on Hay Tor at 05:00 to greet the sun and the official start of summer. Lots of other people there, plus a few calves who seemed very upset at the sight of all these people in their bedroom so early in the morning. Horizon was cloudy, so we didn't see the actual moment of sunrise, but pink tinges among the grey prefaced a beautiful golden globe which appeared about five minutes later.

Fourteen of us back home for breakfast; sitting in the garden in the sunshine before 09:00 - hopefully a good omen for the rest of the season.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

BBQ Book and Living in the Country

BBQ book: Work continues apace. I have all the chapters mapped out and the software in place. Now all I have to do is get writing. I'm hoping summer in the northern hemisphere will be good enough to warrant lots of outdoor parties - although the book is just as applicable to indoor events.

Living in the Country: I've realised I'm finally completely comfortable with life in the country. I went into the village yesterday without worrying about the fact that my bag was navy/cream and didn't match my black shoes. Such a trivial thing, but not something I would have considered doing when living in the South East. What are your indicators that you are comfortable living where you do?

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Ice-Rink Chapters Posted for Review

I've posted the first three chapters of Gorgito's Ice-Rink on the YouWriteOn website: Feel free to drop by and have a read.

If you join YWO as a reader, you can leave a formal review of what you have read. Alternatively, just leave a comment on this site or drop me an email. I'd really appreciate some feedback.

Some days it feels like this is a great piece of writing - most of the time, it doesn't. Let me know what you think.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Picking a Play Project / Novel Update

e-book Launch: I've been reading the Creative maverick site ( and decided to have a go at my own Play Project. I've been toying with the idea of writing an e-book on organising and holding a successful summer BBQ party - after all, we've been doing it every two years for the past couple of decades. So, the toying stops here.

Official Announcement: Launch date for my first e-book: 01 August 2009

Novel Update: 4,000 words rewritten, expanded and tidied up as chapters 1 and 2. So that's 'Teaching the Russians the Hokey-Cokey' and 'Russia's Answer to Harry Lime' sorted. Only 96,000 words to go. Boy, is this hard.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Sod's Law and Banking

In January, I got a cheque from the tax man (and that's not something we can say very often). Interest earned on a bill I'd paid a few days before its due date, it didn't amount to much - slightly less than £10 in total. Not wanting to lose too much in bank charges, I held off from paying it into my account, hoping for another one to keep it company and make the transaction worthwhile. Of course, these days very few people use cheques, so none arrived. Finally yesterday, with the six-month deadline looming, I gave in and deposited it. Returning from my visit to the bank, what did I find in the post, but a cheque for just over £10 - this time a refund from BA for a fuel overcharge on a flight taken some years ago. So now I'm back to square one. Sod's Law is alive and kicking.

Also on the subject of banks, I see in the news that borrowers are not getting a fair deal from our financial institutions. Enquiring yesterday about interest rates from the Treasury department of a well-known High Street bank, I was quoted 0.01%. I'm not sure savers are getting a fair deal either. Have our banking friends learned nothing?

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Rain Didn't Stop Play

In 1309, Edward II granted Walter Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter a charter for the town of Chudleigh, permitting a weekly market and an annual fair. Being Devon, it may well have been raining. It certainly rained at times this weekend, when the people of Chudleigh celebrated the 700th anniversary of the charter. However, this didn’t dampen the spirits and a truly memorable occasion was laid on by the local History Group.

The weekend started with two contrasting events on Friday evening. The entertainment was presented in a packed marquee, with audience spilling out on to the grass. First there was a recital by Media Vita (Colin Avery and friends) of music with a medieval flavour. This was humorous and serious by turn and included the opportunity for the audience to have a go at part-singing.

This was followed by ‘The Quest for Salvation’ the latest offering from the Chudleigh Repertory and Performance Society. Their explanation of how the charter was granted started plausibly enough with the demand from the Norman king for 20% tax. However, it quickly moved to the realms of fantasy with talking deer, a witch and a giant dragon which had stolen the king’s daughter. The most memorable parts were the drinking song (where the whole cast started in time and in harmony and ended up in drunken disarray) and the point where the hero’s spear lit up like a medieval light sabre.

Saturday was the main day of the celebration. During a day of torrential rain, the marquee was transformed into a marketplace with stalls selling craft items, honey and wax products, local cheeses and home-made cakes. The History Group did a brisk trade in copies of the recently-published ‘Chudleigh Book’. Revolting Peasants told engaging stories, Elfic the Jester juggled knives while riding a unicycle and the Carnival Queen was crowned. There were peasants and wenches all over the place and the Sherriff of Nottingham was on hand to sign autographs.

Towards evening, the rain finally stopped and 150 people gathered for a medieval banquet. Many had dressed for the occasion. Knights, monks, ladies, wenches and even an executioner tucked in to roasted boar with apple glaze, parkland venison with fruits of the forest, chicken and figs and fresh Teign salmon. The event was a complete sell-out and tickets consisted of wooden platters which will serve as a lasting memento of a great, if slightly damp, celebratory weekend.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Blogging for Profit and Working on the Novel

Blogging for Profit: I've just signed up for the Creative Entrepreneurs Club 30 day challenge called Blogging for Profit ( Not sure what it entails, but looks like fun. If by the end of the month I can get better at this blogging lark, then it will be worth all the effort.

Novel Update: Spent two hours on the train the other day with a pen and paper (remember those pre-PC days?) sketching out the whole story from the point of view of one of the characters. Feel a lot better now - just need to convert ideas into words - so no problem there!