Pursued by the Muses of prose, poetry, and music.

So they have a purpose after all!


After a long battle with snails this year, for once I caught them doing something useful.

Every year, an ancient apple tree drops inedible apples on my patio at the top of the garden. These apples are huge Bramleys that rot, even while they’re on the tree; a tree that’s gradually dying but I haven’t the heart to cut down.

When my dog was a puppy, she used to like playing with the apples and I dreaded her chomping on a lurking wasp by mistake. On countless occasions I’ve almost twisted my ankle on apples or skidded on their slushy remains in the rain. I can’t sit at the table on the patio in the wind without wearing a tin helmet. They jump like bouncing bombs across the lawn, requiring picking up before mowing the grass. And for all their sins, not a single apple pie to be had.

Hopefully, the baby apple tree at our allotment will produce its first yield of Cox’s this year. Meanwhile, perhaps I should transport a bag of rotten Bramleys there to keep the snails off our vegetable produce. On the other hand, perhaps every snail within a mile would head to our plot for the chance of a squidgy apple feast.

To check out my earlier posts involving snails and slugs, you’re welcome to follow the slime trail @~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~

Monday Morning Haiku #23

The Allotment into its Fifteenth Month

Wordless Wednesday: Mr Slow Worm, the Garden Hero that Eats Slugs

Wordless Wednesday: Garden Demolition Expert

tanka 13

Monday Morning Haiku #24

Henry 01

Fluffy white kitten
Tomcat under construction
Tiny claws grow fast

Very Inspiring Blogger Award


Many thanks to Blondeusk at Blondewritemore for this nomination. Everyone, do check out her writing blog (after you’ve read my post, of course!) and say “hi” to her. I love reading her posts, which are concise, relevant, and gently humorous. She’s also an extremely good writer and is my guest storyteller for August, so watch out for her post scheduled for next Saturday on my blog.

The Rules:

Thank and link the person who nominated you.

  • List the rules and display the award
  • Share 7 facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know you have nominated them
  • Proudly display the badge

The 7 Facts:

Well, this is a difficult one as I’ve been awarded the “Inspiring Blogger Award” twice before. So if my fellow bloggers don’t mind, on this occasion I’ll share some up-to-the-moment trivia about me and, if you’re interested, you can visit my “Blogging Awards” page afterwards, where you can link to my earlier posts.

  1. I spent two hours in the local town centre the other day and only bought a recipe book that cost £4.99, 6 postage stamps, and a bargain packet of AA batteries (5+3 free). The sales were on in the clothes shops, but I thought that everything was rubbish, much of it unethically produced in sweat shops, and I couldn’t wait to get home.
  2. My granddaughter just had her 12th birthday and dyed her hair bright pink to celebrate! I couldn’t help wishing they’d had fun colours like that around when I was that age; although, thinking back, I was more interested in climbing trees and making stink bombs than bothering about how I looked.
  3. At the moment, I’m only watching two programmes a week on the telly: the exceedingly quirky conspiracy theory Utopia (Series 2), and an atmospheric but perplexing thriller, The Honourable Woman. On my computer, I’m doing a catch up of Game of Thrones (Series 4) — the brilliant epic fantasy series based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R. R. Martin.
  4. I’ve given up taking all nutritional supplements other than Krill Oil (sustainably sourced, of course). As a result, my former food intolerances have disappeared, including that of chocolate. Yay :-)
  5. The most gripping novel I’ve read this year is 11.22.63 by Stephen King. It’s a time travel novel first published in 2011 that asks the question “What if you could go back in time and prevent the JFK assassination?”. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the novel, but am now grateful that it was part of a 3-for-the-price-of-2 offer in the bookstore or I might never have read it! Thanks W. H. Smith.
  6. Sometimes I wish that the first person I submitted my first novel to had told me it was rubbish and that I should give up writing. Instead he used the word “promising”, thus condemning me to many years of chasing a dream when the odds of success are only a little higher than winning the lottery. Even so, I have a consuming passion for writing, the flip-side of passion being pain.
  7. Last night I dreamt that zombies had taken over my home town, although they only came out after sunset (vampire-zombies?). This meant that everybody had to rush home and barricade themselves in their houses with blackout blinds at the windows, and stay silent. In my dream, I was walking across the recreation ground just a moment after sunset, trying to get home before the zombies saw me. But then a bass from the church choir (it’s always a bass) started to sing and drew attention to us. One of the zombies, whose name was Valerie and who looked normal (apart from her glazed blue eyes), took a liking to me and taught me how I could hoodwink zombies into believing I was one of them.

My Nomination(s):

I’m going to break the rule here about 15 nominations, as I’ve already showered awards on certain bloggers and don’t wish to drown them in a sea of the things. Thus, I’m nominating just one blogger who I’ve started following recently. Ajaytao Botanical Photography shares my love of flowers and delights me daily with his photographs accompanied by a few well-chosen words.

Wordless Wednesday — Finding Heaven in Quarr Abbey Tea Garden:-)

Scone at Quarr Abbey Tea Garden

Quarr Abbey 1


You can read a review of Quarr Abbey Tea Garden in Matt and Cat’s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide and to learn more about the Benedictine monastery itself, you might like to visit the Quarr Abbey website

Monday Morning Haiku #23

Dog sniffs begonias

Begonias thrive
amidst decimated plants
devoured by snails.

Anti-Social Media (?)


This is a most thought-provoking post from Uncle Spike who lives on an isolated farm in Turkey and spends a great deal of time on his own . Do take time to listen/watch the video that goes with this post. It made me think very hard about how we all get sucked into the whole addiction to electronics thing. Wishing you a lovely Sunday, and make sure to talk to someone today while looking them in the eye!

Originally posted on Uncle Spike's Adventures:

Social Media; the bane or backbone of modern existence. See it how you will, we have ALL been dragged willingly or with tacit reticence into this bizarre age of instant electronic inhuman sources of gratification. When I say all, maybe not everyone on this planet of ours, sure, but if you are reading this blog post… need I say more?




I happily admit to enjoying the whole social media thing. It’s added a new ‘social’ dimension to my life as what you can only describe as a semi-hermit, albeit a clean and relatively tidy one. I live in quiet existence away from most societal ties, and apart from a few hours between the kid arriving home from school around 5:00pm and his bedtime, I often spend days on end without seeing a soul as my wife works away. In fact, when she and kiddo went to Ankara for…

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The Allotment into its Fifteenth Month

Back in September 2012, Mister and I inherited our allotment. To mark this event, I wrote a haiku and posted this picture.

An old allotment
awaiting transformation.
Next year, fruit and veg.

Victor and Joshua: men to the ready

Victor and Joshua: men to the ready

And this was what it looked like the following Spring, with all the ground dug  and seeds planted.

Allotment: April (Year 1)

Followed by a bountiful summer of vegetables and a noticeable reduction in our food bills; although we didn’t have much fruit in the first year, apart from rhubarb. Below, is a picture of a typical weekly harvest in late summer.


September harvest.
Produce packed with goodness:
bounty of the earth.

And for anyone who hasn’t seen the picture of the giant marrow, here it is in all its glory (grown without fertilisers or artificial chemicals of any kind).

So far, on the vegetable front this year, we’ve had spinach, potatoes, globe artichokes, and lettuce. There would have been a greater variety of things but we lost a whole load of seedlings to slugs and snails, with us finally resorting to beer traps. Birds had a go at the seedlings, too, when they’d have been better employed pecking away at gastropods.

allotment June 14

Fruit-wise, we’ve had far greater success, with the usual rhubarb and a decent crop of huge, not-to-sour gooseberries, strawberries, and raspberries. In fact, for the last month, I’ve had strawberries or raspberries with my breakfast every morning and they’re so much tastier and sweeter than those sour shop-bought ones. Mister commented that he’d seen a small punnet of strawberries on sale for £3.00. From this, he concluded that we’ve paid for our allotment for the year from what we’ve saved by growing our own fruit.


Over the next couple of months, we’re expecting bumper harvests of all sorts of other goodies, so look out for regular allotment updates.

Wordless Wednesday — Slow worm, the Garden Hero that Eats Slugs!

Slow worm


“I never knew you were like that…”


Have any of you unpublished authors, or those published under a pen name, ever worried about what your family, friends and social associates might think about certain risqué or controversial elements contained in your fiction? Back in May, I interviewed Geoffrey Gudgion about his novel Saxon’s Bane. Since then, he’s published a most amusing post about some of the conversations he’s had with people about his novel, including one about “Shush, you know what”.

Originally posted on Geoffrey Gudgion:

Draumr KopaCindy Callens, on the Belgian book review site Draumr Kopa, kindly asked me to do a guest blog. I shared some of the more amusing comments people have made since Saxon’s Bane was launched. Click here for Draumr Kopa.

Here’s what I had to say:

People have said some strange things to me since Saxon’s Bane was published.

“I never knew you were like that,” an elderly lady from my local church said one Sunday.

“Like what?” I asked. The question made me stop in my tracks, and the departing congregation flowed around us.

She shuffled, making that eyes-lowered squirm with which Christian ladies of a certain age simultaneously mention and avoid mentioning delicate subjects. “Well, you know…”

“No, I don’t know. What’s the matter?” I sensed that the subject causing her such embarrassment was of a reprehensible and possibly sexual nature, and my mind raced in a frantic ‘Oh-God-what-have-I-got-to-be-guilty-about’

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Monday Morning Haiku #22


~ Pink extroversion ~
Multitude of peonies
shout for attention.


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