Monthly Archives: May 2017


Cats all bemused and delighted by the sudden arrival of nice weather, and are going in and out like anything, even dear old Mystic, who is now decidedly wobbly.

I’ve managed my small allocation of time to gardening every day for the last four days, bringing gardening time since March up to 2.3333333 recurring hours. (I can only manage about 20 mins at a time due to joints.)

I seem to have a million small things to do, they must have been building up while I was typesetting. I’m not writing at all, am still reading, and have become annoyingly hooked on a silly game I’ve discovered on my phone.

Still in the Dog Days, then, even though (a) the date is wrong and (b) I’m a cat lady.

And this is a burble, rather than a blog. But don’t worry, I’m fine really. I even Tweeted just now!



An Open Letter To The 20-Year-Old Faceless Girl On My Book Cover

Agree wholeheartedly, as so often, with Tara on this.

Tara Sparling writes

Open Letter To The 20-Year-Old Faceless Girl On My Book Cover

I know it isn’t technically your fault. You didn’t ask to be there.

One day you’re just a working model standing on a beach, a clifftop, a bridge, or under a lamppost; the next, you’re blazing across bookshelves and bookshop windows, the cover girl of a bestseller.

I know you were just thinking to earn a few quid, getting your photograph taken whilst preserving your anonymity (because your job is to never face the camera, and girl, are you GOOD at that). You didn’t ask to be the Faceless Representative Of All Femininity. And yet, here you are.

Or rather there you are, your twenty-year-old legs firmly planted on the soil of whichever dreamy landscape was photoshopped around you. There you are, your twenty-year-old arms lithe and long, clutching that old-fashioned handbag, quaintly addressed letter, or hand of a small child. There you are, facing away from me, your slim and trim twenty-year-old body…

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Job Done Mrs May

It’s called research!

John Howson

We will create a single jobs portal, like NHS Jobs, for schools to advertise vacancies in order to reduce costs and help them find the best teachers.                                                         Conservative Party Manifesto page 51

Good news for the Conservatives: this already exists and is free – TeachVac is now the largest teacher job site in England and is free to all users; schools to place vacancies and teachers and returners to locate jobs that meet their needs.

So, Mrs May, pick up the phone and call the team in Newport Isle of Wight and we will happily show you how the service operates. We are already saving schools millions of pounds in recruitment advertising and with government support, such as is envisaged for…

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Just a question or two today rather than a blogpost of any sort.

Are some people constitutionally unsuited to Twitter? I keep forgetting I have an account and have just checked it today for only the 3rd or fourth time since I opened it.

How do you use yours?



…is the last mile home, according to the old song. In my case it’s often the smelliest mile home too, as en route I need to pick up the cats from the cattery. There’s so little to do on the journey, pooing helps to occupy the time.

It’s lovely to get them home again, though overwhelming after being out of the routine that keeps us all fed, watered and mostly sane.

This time, when I collected them Mystic had been very low-spirited and not keen on food. All week. Of course a cat with terminal cancer will have bad days, but a week is alarming. The kind cattery aunts had been hand-feeding him bits of chicken and getting his meds gently down him.

Tuesday bedtime I lay awake planning how I would phone the vet first thing and get someone to come round and assess whether this was the end. [Stop me if you’ve heard that before. Yes, I thought you had.]

He didn’t want his tea and remained very depressed all evening in spite of cuddles.

Then Wednesday he had three quite decent meals and has so far had two the same today – little and often for old tummies.

He’s much less dejected and avidly seeking cuddles, indeed just before I started this he came upstairs to the office for a desktop cuddle, one of his recent things. He didn’t stay long, but purred a good deal, maybe saying thanks for bringing him home.

No trips scheduled now for a few months; his weight-loss is faster and his nose worse, so realistically I may not have to worry about that next cattery date. But if he is still here by then, I guess I’ll have to hire a home-carer!

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– one of those phrases we use without thinking. I’ve been under it for some time now, as evidenced by my lack of effort online and the dearth of blogposts, even the mogblog.

As I’m going away soon and will be offline again, I’ve dropped in to say hello and bore you with the details of my sub-weatherish state.

Firstly, what does the phrase mean? here’s a link to one popular explanation of its origins for you to contemplate:…

Sounds plausible to me.

Secondly, in what does my sub-weatherment consist?

Here’s another link to one of the culprits, sadly with a lot of extraneous material but it’s a pretty good coverage of the problem:…

Yes, the relentless march of rapeseed cultivation – it’s closing in on our village more each year, so I feel permanently as though I have a cold and/or hay fever all through spring and summer. It exacerbates the dry-eye aspect of Sjogren’s syndrome, and bungs up my head and settles on my chest.

Plus I may have a dental infection developing but my inner ostrich is still undecided on that.

Perhaps the chief factor today is that it’s Andrew’s 71st birthday, and I once again will be marking the day by taking flowers to the graveside instead of giving him gifts and taking him out for dinner.

So I aplogise for my absence, but you see how it’s been.

Hopefully when I get back from the Mildenhall Register Reunion I’ll be at least a little out from under the weather.…

Andrew focus


No, I haven’t forgotten I’m a writer as well as a mad cat lady and inefficient gardener.

Given my general state of lassitude I’ve hit upon something I can do locally, which won’t immediately result in sales but may get some people reading my books; I am casting some of them upon the waters, like bread.

This means I’m giving some sets to local charity outlets and bookswap shelves, hoping to benefit, in the long term, awareness of my work as well as the charities.

A drop in the ocean, I know, but hopefully a few more people will enjoy the stories now, which is an important outcome, is it not?

I also asked the county library service how my previous donations to them were doing. Their reply was; ‘I can see from our catalogue that Perian’s Journey has issued twice, and Shadows of the Trees has issued three times.’

Having feared the answer would be 0 and 0, I’m delighted!



This might have been a blog about the weather, but the battle inside my brain seems to have resulted in a victory for yet another cat-poo update.

What this constant theme says about me I hate to think. But all day to this point of decision, there’s been a cat update and a complaint about Bank Holiday weather circling each other warily inside my head, now and then a feint, here and there an outright attack, until my synapses didn’t know which way to turn.

How they ever know that is a mystery to me, and I certainly don’t know why they’ve settled on the cats’ unpleasant day yesterday instead of the awful weather yesterday and today, but that’s what they’ve done.

It began on the landing carpet, where Felix had left me enough deposits for ten cats, after being a Good Boy for some time now. The next (wary) step was on the dining room carpet, or what used to be the dining room before it became Felix’s Very Own Room. Here is where he’d thrown up, not quite as copiously but fairly significantly. Cat breakfast was prepared late, after clean-up, and mine even later; however, since nobody actually seemed to want any breakfast apart from me, maybe I could have left cat breakfast out entirely.

Some minuscule quantities were consumed at mid-day, except by Felix, and led to no particular trouble.

For supper 3 small portions of fresh chicken went down OK, but not long thereafter it was Fluff’s turn to throw up. In the living room. Variety is…..

Overnight I left only water, hiding the usual dry food and hoping the whole thing would have cleared up by today. So far so good. But it’s only 3.30.

The synapses are currently flashing on and off in contemplation of what may yet be lurking round the corner.

Little and often is supposed to work best for older cats, but someone forgot to tell yesterday.