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Monthly Archives: February 2013

simplify, simplify

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”


Someone, can’t remember who, said that people tend to visualise the future as being a bit like now, but with more stuff.

Most people can’t imagine a future where they have less than they have now, but that’s all I want. I so badly need to have less going on that I think it’s one of the main causes of the chronic migraines from which I suffer – I’m just juggling too many things in my mind.

Putting things in compartments doesn’t work well for me either, my brain just keeps running all the programmes and all the options at once.


The spark has gone.

As wonderful as she is, I no longer love Polly Jean Harvey. Not sure why. Doubt she’ll lose any sleep over it.

(thanks to last.fm for the image)

Spring forward

Walked round to the chemist to get something to stop me coughing, and passed old Mr. Nicholson tending to his front garden.

‘My bulbs are out,’ he said.
‘Feels like Spring is on its way,’ I said.
‘Spring is already here,’ he told me, pointing at his bulbs.And who am I to argue with Mr. Nicholson’s bulbs?

custard cream correlation

Garrick sent me this:

It’s a graphic expression of the link between custard-cream consumption and creative output. Essentially it proves a direct correlation – every custard cream equates to about 200 words.

Half a packet equals a good chapter or a decent short story.

I’m going to test it later in the week on some Ginger Snaps; I’ll let you know what happens.


flodden field

It’s 500 years today since the English army destroyed the Scots at Flodden Field, Northumberland. Some say it was the superior weapons technology of the English halberds versus the less effective Scots pikes, others say that the English lords stayed at the rear of the battle while the Scots had their leaders right at the front. And so, of course, they died first.

As did their King, James IV.

Whatever the reason, the resulting defeat meant the destruction of much of the Scottish aristocracy. My ancestral laird, John, 2nd Lord Ross, died leading his men from the front. It’s a sort of madness, leading the charge, but if you’re head of a clan, which is basically a tribe based on extended family ties and personal respect, that’s how you do it.

That’s how they did it in those days.

The battle is pretty much forgotten now, but it is one of the most important on UK soil. It relegated the Scots to a lower league, politically, and established a power-relationship between the two nations that has existed pretty much ever since.

I’m going to try and get up there this week and take some pictures of the site. If I do, I’ll upload them.

you wait ages for…


And Jester is still out there somewhere, in the badlands, searching for Kotes.

software glitch

Imagine a broiling pool of geometrically-patterned light hubbling and bubbling and boiling over and completely filling over your vision, accompanied by huge mood-swings (or monstrous dreams if I’m asleep), deep muscles aches, aphasia, a racing heart.

And then a pain like someone shot you in the forehead above the left eye and used a fishhook to pick the bits out. Accompanied with deep, deep emotional lows.

That’s what my migraines do to me.

The neurologist told me it was ‘a software problem’ which, I guess, means there’s nothing physically wrong with my brain – just a programme glitch in there somewhere.

I get tired of them.

Image by Danny Caes.


Thinking about getting a dog. Much depends on what I’m doing later in the year, how many days the Day Job will expect me to work, and how the financial situation goes.

My favourite breed is the bulldog; some people call them English bulldogs but to me they’re just bulldogs.

They’re great pets but absolutely no good for walking, however, and I walk a lot. If I want a companion I can walk with it’ll have to be something else; a breed that will happily walk up to four hours a day, but can live with an hour’s exercise when I’m busy.

I’ve given it a lot of thought, and apart from being active, I want something that’s not too big, so I’ve come up with a list of possibles:

Bedlington Terrier
Australian Cattle Dog
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

I don’t know. Will keep thinking about it. Suggestions on a postcard to the usual address.


Lishman is a big proponent of music on websites; I’m not convinced. The Venn overlap of someone liking your writing and your taste in music is fairly small. I don’t listen to music when I write so I don’t attempt to have it on when you’re reading the end result, but I do listen to music most of the rest of the time.

I like this guy, Mathias Eick, plays sort of jazzy improv stuff, very Scandinavian; discovered him on youtube, playing alongside Froy Aagre. If I was going to have a soundtrack to my writing, his music would be on there, somewhere near the top.


Part 2 of Grendel is here.

Plus a couple of post-romantic short stories here.

biggish mac

I used to go to this arts centre to write; it had parking, wifi and coffee. But the parking was expensive and the coffee came in small cups, and it was often closed.

So one day I went to MacDonalds. Cheap coffee, free parking, wifi, and it’s open 24/7/365.

I’m a little bit addicted to it now. You have to come early, when it’s quiet, but coffee, a chocolate brownie and two hours writing costs less than three pounds, compared to the arts centre where it would have cost me double that. I don’t eat meat, or fries, so can’t comment on the infamous big mac combo, but the coffee is fine.

So here I am. Saturday, twenty past eight on a Saturday morning, working on Grendel, in MaccyDs.