Monday, 26 June 2017

Au revoir...

For the time being, I'm going to take a break from this blog. I've enjoyed doing it, and I'd like to thank those who've read, followed and commented - but at the moment I think I need to concentrate more on writing books.

I shall continue to blog with The History Girls, a group of historical fiction writers, on the 16th of each month, and I've just started to blog again with An Awfully Big Blog Adventure, which is a group of children's writers. I'll be posting there on the 25th of each month, and it would be lovely to see you in either of those places. And of course you're very welcome to visit my website for news - it has a contact form too, in case you want to get in touch.

Like Arnie, I may be back. But for now, I'll leave you with some pictures of the lovely hill - and do feel free to roam about among the reviews!

Looking from Roundhouse across Cheddar Reservoir.

Spring cowslips

A fiddled-with view!

And off into the sunset...


  1. I've followed The History Girls for a long time but I'm delighted to learn about An Awfully Big Blog Adventure which I have immediately followed. Thank you and enjoy the break from your blog!

  2. Thanks, Sarah - and I hope you enjoy ABBA!

  3. Bye. I sometimes enjoy this blog, and sometimes not so much. Particularly when my comments are deleted. To be fair, though, having my civil, polite, disagreeing comments deleted is relatively common.

    At various times over the last year, you mentioned Brexit, the vote, how awful it all was. At no point did you say why you considered it awful. I voted to remain as I felt that a divided Europe would one day eat itself in war. Seems to me that a lot of those who voted remain thought little further than that their lifestyle might be intruded on, and had little interest in the underlying reasons why others voted for exit. How about you ?

    I enjoyed your description of your visit to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's cottage in Nether Stowey. As a student teen, I did a lot of cycling in that area, Stogursey, Kilve going to and from the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. ( Summer job, washing dishes. Good pay, much better than being a dustman at Butlins in Minehead, and getting sacked for having the effrontery to catch food poisoning from one of their culinary delights ( no, not out of the bins )).

    I've made a mental post-it to visit Nether Stowey, and the cottage, with life there presented by the actors. I did note your comments about his unappreciated wife. Without going into the scenario of whether her pouring boiling water all over his leg may have given him some pause to consider whether he would be safe in going to sleep at night....., I looked further, found a recipe for toffee that she is apparently quite famous for, and made some.


    1. Brexit... it's difficult to know where to start. I think it was a terrible decision because: like you, I think a united Europe has been a great force for peace, and I think it's a sad thing that we are going to walk away from that; the amount of time, brainpower and money it will take to extricate ourselves is enormous, and for what gain?; to me (not that I'm an economist) it seems crazy to cut ourselves off from a favourable trading agreement with our biggest and nearest trading partner; we shall lose a great deal by making it more difficult for people from the rest of Europe to come and work here freely; I actually liked to see us as being part of Europe; and - well, I don't see what the advantages of leaving will be, whereas the disadvantages seem huge.

      I hope you like Nether Stowey. I think it was particularly nice going to the Christmas event. I also really like wandering along the beach nearby - amazing rock formations, as you'll know.

      I think I could say the same as you, really - I've very much enjoyed most of your comments, which have been thoughtful and interesting. If I haven't published a comment, it's been because sometimes you are just a little bit more combative than I feel comfortable with. Take care, and have a good summer!

  4. Hi

    Yes, I am a little combative, and you seem a little censorious.

    That little comment I made about my German neighbours ( they're actually my ex neighbours, having returned to Germany 20 months ago when her mother fell very ill).... , and looking outside occasionally to make sure they weren't massing their bedding plants on my borders...

    Just in case there was a misunderstanding, that couple were good neighbours. He and I shared an interest in cars, and through the conversations about head gaskets, and repairs, he and I often talked about life and stuff. His parents had come to this country, and rented, I believe, a house or flat in Draycott. Within a relatively short time of each other, both died of cancer. My neighbour was devastated. And it was me he talked with about it. And no, I wouldn't have made that little joke to their faces.

    Actually, Why I'm writing is this. Would you clarify who actually makes the 'blocking/delete/moderation' decisions on AwfflyBigBlogAdventure.

    Is it the admin, or Penny Dolan, or can the individual daily posters make a setting so that all comments, or those by certain commenters, or whoever are held until review or blocked?

    On the 17th, there was a post on behalf of Moira McPartlin. Beyond the promotion of her book, The Incomers, she also commented about racism and sectarianism in Scotland today.
    Having been raised, and spent virtually all my life, in Scotland during the period referred to in her book, and keep actively interested in football there, I felt that I had something relevant to say. As a small counterpoint.

    My comment to that post was shown as 'to be moderated', and never appeared. The draft of it is as below.
    I'd appreciate it if you could clarify who, or what, makes the decisions. I won't be making some argument about it, it's your, and the other writers', blog. But it would be nice to be clear in my mind.


    I was raised in Scotland during the 40 - 50 year ago span mentioned. School in East Glasgow, later Milngavie in the suburbs, and Galloway. Then university, and an 18 month stint driving buses in Glasgow.

    From school through to and including university, I cannot recall a single non-white face/face of colour.

    A number of little corner, and especially the open late, shops were Pakistani run.

    Very, very few non-white faces were bus passengers. 4 or 5 Pakistani drivers at a depot with around 60 or 70 drivers.
    On reflection, they may only have been there because it was a job few people wanted to do.

    I left Scotland in 1974. On BBC1 in 1975 there was a depiction of Orange sectarianism in Glasgow, and the drinking culture, in the BBC1 'Play for Today'.., Just Another Saturday which featured Jon Morrison, and Billy Connolly.
    I remember watching it, and thinking that I was really glad to be away from that.

    These days, my connection to Scotland is maintained through long distance support of Stranraer, my former local football
    club. And an active use of the main Scottish football internet forum, Pie and Bovril. In the club forums that I use, racism has just about zero presence, and is leapt on when it does occasionally show up. Also very little of what might be called racism by sideways allusion.

    The football clubs, Rangers and Celtic, are routinely referred to as the Bigot Brothers by supporters of other clubs. In my view, the managers and owners of these two Glasgow clubs have been dismal in their attitudes to sectariansism. Always just reactive.

    Overall, what really left an impression on me was the scale of the drinking. Centre of Glasgow 10 minutes after pub closing time on a Friday or Saturday night. Bus would fill up with 79 passengers. All drunk, and many with no money left. No one ever gave official instructions to drivers, but the unofficial advice from inspectors was... "Just pick them up, and drive...". 10 miles almost non-stop, bus flat to its springs, out to Castlemilk, one of the big housing schemes.

  5. I did feel uneasy about the comment about your German neighbours, and that's I blocked it. And as you say - you wouldn't have made the comment to their faces, so how would they - and you - feel if they had seen it on my blog? Unlikely, I know, but not impossible.

    As for your query about moderation of comments, I didn't know the answer, so I did some investigating. On my blog, I get to see comments before they're published - that's how I chose to set it. On ABBA, that isn't the case - they appear, and if there are any spam comments, someone will delete them if they're spotted.

    But I just discovered on both blogs that there's a 'pending' page, where comments that Blogger itself puts comments that it's not sure about. So on my blog, there were one or two from you, several from others, and a couple that were obviously spam. So I've just published all except the spam ones. It was the same thing on ABBA - so your comment is now published, as are various others by other people.

    So thanks for that - I'd never seen that page before, and I wouldn't have known about it if it hadn't been for your query!

    Take care.