Friday, 7 December 2018

Retirement: a six-month review

Real ale in the making
When Mr Thorley retired at the end of May, we decided we would give it six months and then review - by which I mean have a discussion about what each of us is doing that annoys the other. In the event, I couldn't wait that long before pointing out a few things, but by and large it's not been too bad. This is only my opinion, of course. For all I know, Mr T has spent weeks quietly seething, but has decided not to make a fuss.

Certainly there have been a few sticky moments - let's not dwell on the Vegetable Biryani incident, for example - and many a time the air has been filled with the stench of burning martyr. On the plus side, the allotment could win prizes and the homebrewing is coming on a treat. The house has never been tidier or the freezer better stocked. We've both put on weight, but this is a small price to pay.

We've also had lots of trips out, even though I'm still working. The joy of freelancing is that I can timeshift and if I fancy a Friday afternoon off I can take it, even if that means catching up during what we used to call the weekend.

There are still adjustments to be made. I need to stop harrumphing when he is 'sitting about'; he needs to stop hovering around me when I'm working. On the whole, however, it's all good. I shall let him stay a bit longer.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Another booking!

The lovely bookshop, Bookcave Limted, that opened in Kettering recently has moved to bigger premises in the next town, Wellingborough. As part of its grand opening celebrations this Saturday, I've been asked to read from my book Nine Lives, which the shop has been selling. Two of my poet friends Chuck the Poet and Kezzabelle will be there, too, so it should be a fun do.

Isn't it good to see an independent outlet doing well? If you happen to be in the area at 11-ish on Saturday, please come and say hello.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Have faith?

There's a bit of a to-do in town at the moment, because one of the pubs has renamed its upstairs function room as The Buddha Bar. I have friends who are practising Buddhists and they are very upset about this. Can you imagine The Jesus Joint, Mohammed's Movie House, Krishna's Cafe? There is, of course, Mecca Bingo, but how would you feel about the Nazareth Nitespot?

Whether the pub intended to cause offence I can't possibly know, but certainly it's brought it some publicity. Am I offended? To be honest, I'm not sure. I mean, I can see that it's at best a bit tasteless and thoughtless; but is it my place to be offended on someone else's behalf? If I don't speak against it, am I implicitly supporting it, or expressing neutrality?

It's all a bit of a minefield. I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Concrete mixer

Image: morguefile.com
I am indebted to my mum for the inspiration for today's short post.

Her latest writing-group challenge is to write a poem in the shape of the subject - for example, something about a cat in the shape of a cat. A quick Google search revealed hundreds of very clever examples of what I now know is called concrete poetry. (I won't post any here, out of respect for copyright, but they're easily found.)

I rather like the idea of fusing words and images in this way, and I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with.

Are any of you practised in this form?

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Goodness me, look at the time!

I don't know where the time has gone since my last post. Did you miss me? Although this blog is a way to keep my hand in when it comes to writing and of course it's lovely to connect with you folk out there, sometimes it has to take a back seat because real work comes along.

It's funny how often just when I'm on the verge of packing it all in and getting a proper job, things pick up: and that's what's happened in the last few weeks. People I haven't worked for in ages have resurfaced, and my regular clients seem to have perked up, too.

Not only that but I've also been commissioned to write a book! I can't tell you what it is, because I'm ghosting it for someone. That means my name won't be on it, of course, but I'm hoping I might get a mention in the acknowledgements. It's going to be hard work, I know, but I've made a promising start.

By the way, in case you were wondering, my public speaking engagements back in October went well. Since then, I've also done my first WI presentation, which was great fun. I spoke a bit about my writing and read a couple of my short stories (one from Nine Lives and a piece from Stripped-back Yoga), but the meat of the session was getting them all to write something.

This week's public appearance is playing my uke tomorrow night for a community gathering. Never a dull moment!

Friday, 26 October 2018

Talking the talk

I still get nervous before public speaking, which is a completely different beast from standing up and teaching. However, I'm working at it and actually quite enjoy it once I get going.

Tonight, I'm co-presenter at the Fellowship of Professional and Amateur Artists for an evening of readings and discussion on feminist writing. This will be low key and the audience will be made up mostly of people I've met before, so it should be fine. Tomorrow, I'm running a short workshop at the Moulton Literary Festival on bringing fictional characters to life. This is much more daunting, because it is rather an unknown quantity. Tickets are being sold on the door for the whole day, so there is no way of knowing who will turn up and what their expectations will be. Exciting! I've done my prep and packed my boxes, so bring it on!

By coincidence, as I sat down to write this post one landed from my blogworld friend Sally Jenkins, who has some useful things to share about 'Speaking about writing'. Why not pop over and see what she has to say? 

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

I've got the music in me

After my rather gloomy post on Sunday, here is something happy.

Do you listen to Planet Rock? One of the best things about my little Ford Fiasco is that it has a DAB radio, so now I can listen to this mighty station when I'm out and about. Every evening at 6pm, they have a Rock Block, where a listener chooses the music - and yesterday that listener was me. The deal is you fill in a form online with your 20 top tunes and they pick a selection to play. Of course, if I were to compile another list I'd choose a completely different mix.

This is what they played from my choices:
  • Bad Reputation - Thin Lizzy
  • Because the Night - Patti Smith
  • Long Live Rock 'n' Roll - Rainbow
  • Closer to the Heart - Rush
  • Bad Company - Bad Company
  • Only Women Bleed - Alice Cooper
  • Burlesque - Family
  • Faith Healer - Sensational Alex Harvey Band
  • Stay with Me - The Faces
  • Collide - Black Country Communion
  • I Only Lie When I Love You - Royal Blood
This is what they left out:
  • Dancing the Night Away - The Motors
  • We Are the Road Crew - Motorhead
  • Angel Witch - Angel Witch
  • No Laughing in Heaven - Gillan
  • Come With Me Now - Kongos
  • Dance of Death - Iron Maiden
  • Bad Things - Jace Everett
  • War Pigs - Black Sabbath
  • Aint Talking Bout Love - Van Halen
What do you reckon?