Friday, 27 November 2009


Dreams are strange things indeed.  This morning I woke with the impression that I had been listening to the radio, to Simon Mayo in particular (why him I don't know), who was talking about the anniversary of the first airing of a programme called McFadden.  For some reason I knew that it was some sort of spy/action series, but I'm pretty certain it doesn't exist.  Maybe someone can help me there?
I can only think that my mind has brought together MacGyver with Matthew McFadyen who starred in Spooks.  The other strange thing was that I was sure that actress Jaye Griffiths was also in it, but again was my mind just remembering her role in Bugs - a similar type of programme.  And I thought only my conscious mind was weird.
I've written two chapters of a story this week, and been planning out events for the next ones.  I'm actually quite pleased with it, if I say so myself.  It almost writes itself, maybe that's how it should be?  We'll see how it goes though.  This time next week I may be saying something completely different.
Finally a new spotify playlist today, this one entitled Cats and Dogs

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Read an article on the BBC website today Vaughan remembers test debut in which former England Cricket captain Michael Vaughan (and Sheffield Wednesday fan) remembered his test debut in South Africa in 1999.  He batted at four and came in with the score on 2 for 2.  Before he had faced a ball, England were 2 for 4!!
I remember listening to this on the radio and was stunned to realise that it was ten years ago.  It was the worst performance I had listened to since the 46 all out in Port of Spain back in 1994, although I think that still ranks as the worst - at least the commentary is more vivid. 
There have been others of course, Australia 2007 always comes to mind, and that's only on the radio.  England collapses on TV are just as memorable.  Sri Lanka in 1998, Australia in 2005 and 2009...the list goes on.  I think it's a typically English thing to remember the abject defeats more clearly than the stunning victories, for instance I can barely remember a thing from last summer's Ashes.

Onto a completely different subject now, and the spotify playlists seem to be popular, and so here's another, inspired by a song I heard on the radio last night Money Money Money.  And the answer to my previous question, well, it was a trick question really, there were two songs: Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head as mentioned, and Why Does It Always Rain On Me?

Monday, 23 November 2009

November Rain

The weather has taken a turn for the strange.  Rough winds and rain, dark clouds mingling with sunshine and clear skies.  Not too sure what coat to wear, let alone whether I'll need gloves or a hat.  So, with such a pot pourri of outside conditions, a mixture of blog topics today.
I'll start with the walk I took yesterday, all the way up to Alexandra Palace from Kentish Town.  I took the main roads via Highgate (charming, with an intriguing Caffe Nero), Queens Wood and Muswell Park.  Those in the know will already be aware that it was the first home of the BBC back in 1936, and the aeriel is still there.  There is also a pitch and putt course, a boating lake, an ice skating rink and views down to south east london.  I'm thinking I'll have to head up there again - in better weather of course.  Here are some photos from the walk, the Palace and its grounds:

After a long walk like that I needed some good food, and so cooked myself some rice, peas, brocolli, carrots and cod with a nice hollandaise's a picture of that to get your mouth watering

England's winter tour of South Africa finally got properly underway yesterday with the second one day international (the first having been cancelled due to rain).  Paul Collingwood gained his 171st cap, a new record, and subsequently went on to win the man of the match award after two wickets and an unbeaten century to his name.  England won by 7 wickets, with four overs to spare! Pretty resounding result and the sixth one day win in a row against the South Africans.  The next match is a day nighter on Friday.
I've been working on some writing over the weekend, which came off pretty well.  I meant to do some more today but reading got in the way.  I picked up the most recent 'watch' book, The Last Watch, and am already a third of the way through it.  I also got a book by Henning Mankell, creator of Kurt Wallander, the Swedish detective.  Should be an interesting read.
Finally, inspired by the weather, here is another spotify playlist November Rain .  Not ten tracks this time but nine - the other one that I wanted wasn't avaliable on spotify...see if you can guess what it was.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Stuck in the Middle

Something a little different today.  Follow the link below to a Spotify playlist based on songs relating to the middle, or the centre, which i have compiled for no other reason than it's fun.  Enjoy!

Stuck in the Middle

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The 'Go-around'

Imagine yourself on an aeroplane.  It's night time, you're tired, the seat-belt signs have been on for a while.  You're settling in for a landing.  The houses are getting bigger.  You can distinguish buses from cars on the roads.  The plane's wobbling a bit; it's windy.  The ground is getting closer.  Any moment now you'll see the airport grounds and feel the aircraft touching down.  Then the engines kick in.  That can't be right? You ask yourself.  Surely we'll speed into the ground?  Then the plane heaves; it's trying to lift up.  For a moment it seems to hang. Although it feels much longer. Then you're up again, getting higher while the ground gets smaller.  What just happened?
Well, that's what happens when the aircraft in front of you fails to clear the runway!  Luckily, last night was a beautifully clear night and it was no problem to see London mapped out in front of me like a three-dimensional Google Earth.  It's cliched I know, but everything looked like a model, a tiny Royal Albert Hall, a minature London Eye, the whole of Hampstead Heath in the size of my palm.
And so a second circle of London, which they call a 'go-around', before we finally did land.  Feels strange to be back in England again so soon, but back again I am.  It doesn't seem quite so dark here, even if it is more windy.  The sky is brighter and doesn't stay dark for so long, at least not yet.
But I'm armed with plenty of swedish chocolate and new ideas for my writing.  Today I think I need to relax, get some shopping in, empty my bags, re organise my flat so that it's not in such a mess and try not to miss my girlfriend.  At least not too much...

Monday, 16 November 2009


Hej from Sweden (that means Hello for those who don't know).  Had a nice trip over, even though I was at the back of the plane, but all my transport connections ran fairly smoothly.  My girlfriend was there to meet me at the station and we've spent some nice days together as usual.
I've eaten Elk for the first time, which is rather tasty, both in minced form and some fried pieces from the shoulder.  I've also been joining my girlfriend's family in making some sort of flat bread, which is a tradition for them around this time of year.  I think I did OK, but don't think that I have a new career.
It's already snowed a couple of times this week, but it didn't last long on either occasion.  It was down to minus six but it's not too cold now.  Much more like english november weather.
Visited the Falun copper mine on Friday.  The pit is huge and you can walk all the way around the top of it.  It is from the rock here that the famous red paint gets its pigment.  Almost every house you encounter has its wood painted with it, apart from the corners of course, which are white.
Also saw Falun's museum, which has some exhibits relating to Selma Lagerlof (as mentioned in the previous post) because she lived there for a while.  They have a room which was reconstructed from her own, with tables, chairs and books.  You can also hear a recording of her speaking on the radio, and despite the fact that I couldn't understand a thing she was saying, she had a nice voice.
Travelled up to Arjang yesterday, and while my girlfriend has been painting in the studio, I sat beside her doing some writing.  I have to say that I found it easier to write while in a working environment.  You can't help but concentrate on what you are doing since everyone else is concentrating on their work.
I travel home again on Wednesday with some fresh ideas relating to my writing and extra enthusiasm.  I really want to get a lot of work done between now and christmas when I travel out here again.  Still, it will be a shame to travel home so soon.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

All Food and Lagerlof

Been quiet for the last few days because I've had my dad down to celebrate his 60th. We've been doing plenty of eating and drinking, home made as well as eating out.  We went to the nearby Junction Tavern a couple of times which I've come to like.  You're treated as if you've drunk in there every day for years which is a nice feeling.
One of the meals we cooked for ourselves was lamb's liver, mash, carrots and spinach, with a bacon and onion gravy.  A picture is below.  You can also see our Gin & Tonic's!

And for the actual birthday itself we went to Loch Fyne in Covent Garden which is a lovely fish restaurant.  I had the smoked salmon pate and smoked haddock while my dad had whitebait followed by dressed crab.  It was all delicious and washed down with a Muscadet.
I also took the chance to see the new road layout at Oxford Circus and had to walk diagonally.  Great fun.
Not much writing done these last few days and not likely to do much next week as off to Sweden again tomorrow.  Speaking of which, I did catch the lunchtime lecture last Thursday on Selma Lagerlof, the swedish author.  It was very interesting and I'm now keen to read her books.  However, the english translations were done a long time ago and are said to be not very good.  But Norvik Press will be issuing some new translations in the next 18 months, so I'll have to wait until then.
That's it for now, but hopefully some more writing news in the next blogs.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


A short post today to add some links to other websites.  First to a picture that I first saw in my Fortean Times of the squirrel crasher who appeared in a photograph in Banff.  As if the name of the lake at which the photo was taken wasn't funny enough.
And the other is to emcartoons which has kept me going over the past month or so.  Em first appeared in The London Paper (which has now closed) but who is now continuing in The Sun.  Please enjoy!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Out of The Woods

I should know better really.  I should know better than to borrow a Harlan Coben book from the library.  In this case it was 'Into the Woods'.  I took it at at 10.30 yesterday morning and I finished it at 1.30am this morning.  But then I should know better.  Whenever I have one of his books it never lasts long.  The longest to date is two and a quarter days.  From the first chapter you know that whatever the perceived reality is, that's exactly what it isn't.  And you become desperate to know what it is.  You just can't help it.  So that was my day yesterday.
As for the past couple of days, I've been working on a short story, along with a couple of other ideas.  Yesterday I cooked myself an all-day breakfast: Two sausage, two bacon, two egg, chips, beans, mushroom, tomato, pot of tea.  It was fantastic! Even the eggs went well to my surprise.  The weather can't seem to make up its mind what to do, one day wet, the next sunny and cloudless, the next grey and windy.  It'll be another sixteen weeks before its as light as it is depressing!
Excitingly though I've just received this months Fortean Times.  I think I know what I'll end up doing today, no matter how much I want to do something else.