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fairy tales

While researching for a book cover, I was looking at a series of castles, beautiful-strange creations from middle-Europe, and it struck me, there are no fairy-tale castles in Britain.

The real castles, and a lot still exist*, are brutal things built for purpose. The Victorian recreations are quaint, charming, but not ‘fairytale’.


*though a lot of the original castles stand as ruined testaments to the kind of warfare the English occasionally indulge in.


I’m always excited by the idea of a fresh start. A new beginning.  It’s about 5 weeks until the New Year which, by definition, is the beginning of a new chapter. It’s ironic that this fresh start is in the depths of winter when it would be more appropriate at the beginning of Spring (as it traditionally was) but, still, it’s a chance to begin all over.

This year has been strange, so far, and I suspect it won’t get less strange any time soon. But, I love the chance to think and plan anew.

It’s a gift.


I think I can finally end my ongoing diatribe against YT advertising. For some reason they keep sending me adverts for Korea, I think it must be part of a wider campaign, not just the algorithms targeting me based on my previous interests.

I ended up watching a full advert, then clicking on the site, which is kind of brilliant and is, temporarily at least, added to my favourites. I have no intention of visiting Korea but I do enjoy the music. And the dancing.


I finally completed* the first draft of Spenderella. I’d intended it to be a bittersweet, fool-me-twice love story in which the protagonist is abandoned by the girl he tries to help, the girl who broke his heart many years earlier.

That’s not how it turned out.

Which is fine. I like the new ending. It doesn’t have the emotional hammer-blow of the original idea but it has happy ending, of sorts.

I’ve been writing a lot of happy endings lately.


*Having said that – I know already that it needs a redraft.

Fat Man

I watched the Fat Man, the Mel Gibson/Father Christmas movie, in which Mel plays Santa, on whom a hit has been placed by an evil little boy who’s name is on the naughty list.

Loved it.

Late-period Mel, all barely-repressed anger, wrinkles, and heavily-greying beard, is a curmudgeonly joy to watch. There are few other ‘movie stars’ who I think earn the title. Tom Cruise. Brad Pitt. A couple of others.

But Mel…

I don’t care that he seems to hate the English, I don’t care he’s been previously disgraced. He’s great.

Because, ultimately, it’s the work that counts.



As I lay in bed last night, sliding towards sleep, in my head I was on Saddler Street playing saxophone, people were leaving the cathedral in pairs and groups, the air was chilled, with lights coming from shop windows in a street straight out of Diagon Alley, my fingers exploring the range of notes available to me, patterns within patterns within patterns, out of my head, following the music to somewhere else.


Having said that, I’ve just watched an entire advertisement for Korea which involved strangely clad people dancing to some slightly shouty, odd music, reminiscent of David Byrne/Brian Eno, and I loved it.

No intention of ever visiting Korea, but I loved the ad.

This was followed by an advert for the Tank Museum, which I also watched in full and very much enjoyed, and though I’m not planning on visiting I have bought stuff from their shop.

So all is not lost.


Still amazed by the inaccuracy of YT advertising – football, gambling, Britbox and doorbells – these are the four things constantly pushed in my direction by the computer geniuses who are paid to create programs that identify what I might be interested in buying.

I’m currently in the market for a new road bike, and urban tyres for my mountain bikes. At some point I might buy a new motorbike too. I read books avidly. I have an injured knee that affects my ability to do certain exercises. I love music. I enjoy history, archery, podcasts, judo, and I like tanks. I’m left-handed, and a vegetarian. I own a dog (or, I suspect, he owns me). I eat lo-carb food. These are things I’m interested in.

I’ve never watched football, I don’t gamble, I don’t own a BBC licence, and have never owned a doorbell (I own a dog). Yet these are the products I’m targeted with.

Seriously, YT, if you’re still planning to take over the world, first improve your algorithms.


At about four this afternoon, when the sun was just above the horizon, about to set, the light had a honey glow about it, and everything the light touched was touched by honey.

We’re surrounded by everyday wonder.


Chatting with Jamie, swapping songs back and forth, and I told him this is my favourite track by Tricky.

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