Monthly Archives: February 2017



One of my favourites in W.H. Auden’s book of Clerihews, ‘Academic Graffiti’ is this one:

Soren Kierkegaard
Tried awfully hard
To take the leap;
But fell in a heap.

The reference here is to the ‘Leap of faith’, but falling in a heap can often happen to us at any crisis point. In my editing journey I’ve just about reached the end of working in Word, and can now take the leap into learning to typeset with Pulp.

So this morning I woke full of fatigue, pain and stiffness, no doubt mostly due to my Sjogren’s Syndrome, which does that whenever it feels like it. But really now, isn’t there a possibility of my fearing the next step? I’m convinced these things work together.

Anyway, I have a nice treat tomorrow going out to lunch with two nice, people; Tuesday, watch out typesetting, I’m coming for you!




Urrgh – had a strange week indeed. Goodish news for Mystic after the Bleeding Nose Affair. The antibiotics supplied by the vet seem excellent, he scoffs them in his food without noticing, and the tissues on the outside of his nose that have been affected by the cancer are already dryer, less red, less nasty-looking. So one hopes that means a similar effect inside, thus reducing, for now, the risk of infection/inflammation and the resultant nosebleeds. He’s more relaxed and happier too.

The Moth Saga – I decided yesterday to steam into the carpet company in person, clutching my Filofax – always a dread sight. I discovered they’d been busy moving premises, within the same industrial estate, and I suppose those are mitigating circumstances. However, the lady I spoke to – the same one I originally had a useful phone call with two weeks ago – said darkly that if people wrote things down more consistently other people would know what was going on.

Anyhow, action stations. I have selected the new carpet. I have a date – next Friday – with the guy who assesses and measures up; and after that I can get a fitting date.

This whole thing will mark a turning point for me that is more emotional than might seem likely on the surface. I’ve resolved to get one of the large filing cabinets out of the house as part of this exercise, and also to admit that Andrew’s old computer needs to go. I’m always amazed and slightly bewildered by the realisation that some people don’t get attached to objects, even when those objects have association with loved ones who have gone. I usually find it hard to part with such items, but I do know it just makes sense that if everything is being dismantled for the carpet operation, I should take advantage of it. I’m very proud of myself for achieving this frame of mind, and I’m sure Andrew would be proud of me too.

Of course it’s all going to disrupt the cats and I will have to endure angry stares – but I’m used to those!


THE best Indie Book Club on the Planet… or how I became MEMBER OF THE YEAR!


Jan Hawke INKorporated

It’s the award season of course! However, this isn’t going to be about plaudits for bands, vocalists, or actors of the big, small, and live screens and stages, for the movie and music industries. Just thought I’d put that out there so any celebrity-junkies who’re expecting something glitzy can jump blogs to their usual trysting places. This is about books, first and foremost. All sorts of books, not just fiction, but memoirs, self-help, erotica (well-written raunchy tales) and non-fiction of every stripe. So, in a way, this is about the INSPIRATION behind a lot of those other, much more famous award ceremonies that have been going out with a raucous fanfare since the New Year. Because a lot of those Golden Globes, MoBOs, Emmys, Brits, BAFTAS and uncle Oscars started out in life as part of a book!

This is about theclick HERE or image above to go to RRBC…

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A hundred catalogues! This should be a cause for rejoicing, but life being life, after mentioning in CATALOGUE 99 that Mystic had not had a bleed from his nose all week, all hell broke loose this lunchtime.

I’d fed the mogs and was sitting down to a quiet sandwich when Mystic sneezed, and a large amount of clotted blood landed on the carpet. This was followed by a flow of bright red blood with lumps in it, that went on for a very long time. I rang the vet, and both a vet and a nurse came round very promptly. Of course it subsided just before they arrived, but by that time there were many soaked kitchen towels in the bin, I was fairly bloody, the utility room sink ditto and poor Mystic both bloody and exhausted.

The medical team kindly followed him around at floor level in order to assess him without upsetting him. He’s tired but recovering, they have decided to arrange for an antibiotic that I can pick up tomorrow. They also talked me through it all, confirming my suspicions that the erosion of tissue inside his nostril is almost certainly even worse than the outer surface of the nose. Hopefully the antibiotic will help to reduce infection and inflammation, and help to keep the bleeding down.

Nevertheless this is another step down the inevitable slippery slope, so cuddles shall be redoubled and expensive food lavished. Bless his dear old paws.

Fluff flirted with the nice ladies and Felix hid in his dining room – no changes there, then.



Only eight months ago his nose looked like this 😦



I never get a lot of views on this blog, and rarely get comments except those from a few faithful friends. What’s interesting is that I get more for CATALOGUE posts than for WRITING FOR A CHANGE posts.

Is the universe trying to tell me something?

Maybe I should just give up trying to put words together and refurb my house into a proper cat refuge? (It already tends to smell like one.) I could run it as a specialist gericatric home.

Or is it just that this internet full of cute cat pictures is conditioning more and more of us into an automatic ‘AWWWW!’ reaction at the thought of cats, and that books and reading have no hope of keeping up?

I’m sorry if you feel gericatric-deprived, everyone, but life has been fairly quiet with the mogs – thankfully for my editing time. Even Mystic’s nose has had a few days off bleeding. In the absence of endearing cat-tales I’ll just have to show some pics of them again, and remind you to read Shadows of the Trees before ‘The Dry Well’ comes out next month.





Still editing, and wondering why I insisted I must edit/typeset all by myself this time.

Never too old to learn! (Hmmmm.)

I’m currently adding spaces at the end of paragraphs as needed, and deleting unwanted space-bar hits at the end of other paragraphs.

It’s not that it’s totally uninteresting, it’s just that you end up feeling like those people in Dr. Who, the ones whose hands grew into the computers…
but at least I can go and make a cup of tea in a moment, unlike them.

And at least ‘The Dry Well’ is slowly turning into a book!

Watch this space (or delete it if necessary!)




Nope, today it’s moths and little white wriggly moth-babies.

In November I had two carpets sprayed for moth, and three wardrobe floors cleared of ancient wool carpet in favour of laminate.

In my study I’m living with the damage caused in three small patches of the carpet, until such time as I can get round to organising/affording a replacement. Thee’s no sign of spreading or recurrence.

However, in my late husband’s office is the last piece of the old woollen carpet that was put in the house 20 years ago when it was built. That was the second one sprayed, as a temporary measure I’d hoped, since there room contains 2 x 4-drawer metal filing cabinets and 1 x 2-drawer. I’m working to clear the papers, both business and political, but it’s a slow job as it all needs to be checked to see what needs shredding. Hopefully at least one large cabinet can then go, but whoever sorts out the new flooring will have to be willing to move this heavy stuff as I certainly cannot.

But there must be a tougher breed of moth in that old carpet. This morning I went in and collected the waste bin to empty, and found beneath it a new lot of holey carpet. And wiggling larvae and crawling moths. I hope Buddha will forgive me for the wholesale slaughter I then committed.

I think a respray would be under warranty, but replacement would be better if they can deal with the office furniture.

Darned moffs!


Snow-Trolls and Stone-Giants in Middle-earth

A Tolkienist's Perspective

La dix-neuvième Caravane des Dominicains d'Arcueil. [With a deThe evidence for the existence of both snow-rolls and stone-giants haunting the deep, shadowy passes of Middle-earth is, at best, poor.

To begin with, we have a stronger argument in favour of giants.

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