Friday, 17 February 2023

Last week I gave a talk to a local WI group about how to be a rebel. Here in Kettering, we have an ongoing battle to prevent half a dozen warehouses being built on an area of woodland and a wildflower meadow, and that was the starting point for my presentation. If you want to know more about the Newton Rebellion and the fight to Save Weekley Hall Wood, click here.

Then I segued into an introduction to Extinction Rebellion. I've not (yet) been called upon to glue myself to anything, but I've done a bit of shouting and taken part in various actions that, depending on your point of view, might be considered close to the line that divides legal from arrestable.

There is so much that needs fixing in the world that it's hard to know where to start. Indeed, some days it seems overwhelming and it's tempting to throw in the towel and let the world go to hell in the proverbial handcart. However, as Mr Thorley wisely says, 'That's what "they" want you to do." So we fight on.

Anyway, the WI ladies were lovely. They listened carefully and asked lots of questions. Many of them seemed as outraged as I am, and they took away leaflets and details of where to go for further information or to get involved. I did, though, try to reassure them that getting arrested wasn't necessary, that there is plenty of gentle but effective action that can be taken:

  • Read the planning applications in your local paper and oppose them if they seem iffy
  • Look at those laminated notices that your council sticks up on lamp posts
  • Sit in the public gallery at council meetings so you know what's going on
  • Write letters and sign petitions - hell, why not start a petition?
  • Many of you who read this blog are writers, so submit articles to newspapers and magazines
  • Report problems on Fix My Street
  • Make a placard for someone to carry on a protest
  • Put up a poster in your window

The key thing is to do something to make the world a better place. If not you, then who?

Friday, 10 February 2023

Back in the saddle

Failed already, then. I was planning to post a blog every Friday (or as near as I could manage), but have slipped after only three weeks. There are mitigating circumstances, though.

January went by in a blur of campaigning for the local by-election. I was lucky enough to go to the count, and it was fascinating to see the democratic process at work, as bundles of voting papers were opened, unfolded, sorted, counted, then sorted again and re-counted. Goodness me, though, it was hard work getting to that point.

The week after that I decided I really ought to do some housework (I know!) and maybe stock the fridge again. There was work to catch up on, too. I'd been keeping things ticking over - a proof read here, an email sent there - but a client's 90,000-word manuscript kept tugging at my sleeve for attention. I'm pleased to say that I've made a good start on this book now and it's going well. I really should be working on it this morning, but this blog was saying 'Over here!'

The other project that has taken some of my energy is that I have finally sorted the paperback edition of my walking book, Jurassic Way. It's been a long slog, but has already had some interest and I think, overall, it's been worth it. Anyway, have a look and see what you think. If you like it, please leave a review; if you don't, then - er - keep quiet!

Watford, Northants - yes, as in Watford Gap

The question is: what shall I do next?