Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Old Duchess - Going Home

The Old Duchess May McLoughlin 7th September 1923 - 17th June 2011

My Dear Friends

It is with great sadness that I share with you the news of the death, some four hours ago, of The Old Duchess, my mother May.

As I posted recently she had been quite ill this week but her passing has still come as a shock as I think we all secretly believed she was indestructible. I believe her death came quite suddenly, and in her own home which is as she wished.

I will write more later but for now ask that you keep her in your thoughts and wish her a happy reunion with her loved ones who went home before she did.

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet, are of imagination all compact . . .

Good Evening Dear Friends

Welcomes and apologies in equal measure; it's been somewhat of a frantic time since the last posting and I have found myself with little time for anything other than writing words out of necessity rather than pleasure and dashing back and forth across the local environs to minister to The Old Duchess who is, sadly, laid up and rather under the weather. 

As is often the case the apparent cause of her malady seems none too serious on the surface but the knock-on effects are quite debilitating and worrying . . . still the various family members have got together and are providing care on a shift pattern so with any luck she should be on the mend rather sooner than later. Any messages you would care to leave would be gratefully received and passed on by hand to the sick room at the stately pile where broadband is a creation of science fiction suitable only for children and strange adults.

To be totally honest I have to admit to squeezing in a few words of pleasure as a short story I am rather proud of entitled "Our Beloved Sister" comes into being; it is very short indeed -only around 1500 words - but quite effective I believe and so I am now in the process of editing the final draft and looking around for suitable competitions to enter . . . I am still waiting for news of the final resting place of "The Maelstrom"  - things do move exceedingly slowly! -  and as soon as I know I shall share the knowledge with you all.   Two other projects are still in progress: a book of doggerel and a book explaining death, both aimed at 9 - 13 year olds . . . watch this space and also this one for more details about release dates and possibilities for download.

The bulk of words due to drip from my pen are destined for the counselling portfolio which must be finished, bound and submitted by two weeks tomorrow; I have about 6,500 words left to write which, were it fiction, I would  considered a mere bagatelle!  However, the nature of the beast and my reluctance to commit to it means it is a bit of a grind . . . it will happen, even if both ends of candles and midnight oil in barrels end up in the conflagration! I wrote a quick thousand this morning and was so pleased with myself that I took most of the rest of the day off - this will not do! Actually, the main reason for the break was to give Sal a bit of an outing . . . the combination of bad weather and visits to the stately pile mean her outings have been somewhat restricted  - one must ensure the metal health of one's companion remains as perky as possible, or so she informs me!

And that is pretty much it; I'm over to visit the OD at the crack of dawn tomorrow so an earlyish night is on the books and, looking in the mirror, the old phisog could benefit from a few extra hours kip - and a severe session with a steam press . . . it's a bad sign when your faces matches your linen trousers!

I hope the climatic conditions remain good but that whatever the weather you have a week filled with love, hope and sunshine!

'til next time

Be Seeing You!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Last Man in Europe . . .

Good Evening Dear Friends!

Well, here I am, back from my travels and sequestered once again within the homely grange of Myrtle House with tales to tell of the seclusion and isolation us poor starving writers - that's me -  have to face in order to feed the ravenous cravings of our fans - that's you, in case there was any kind of silly misunderstanding!

The long-awaited trip to Jura has been and gone, seemingly in a flash, and left me somewhat adrift but with a finished product in the form of my short-story "The Maelstrom".  I could make lots of fuss about it and liken it to gestation and pregnancy and giving birth but, let's face it, it would be rather ridiculous and could invite rather unsavoury comments about the state of my waistline . . . strangely enough though, completing it does feel rather strange; I suppose I've had it inside me since November or so last year, knowing where it was going but not exactly how . . . anyhow, whilst sat in the Music Room in Jura entranced by the view ( see the pic above) I managed to pull it all together and the birth was relatively easy!

It's fate is another matter; I believe the Diurach's will be wanting to inspect it with a view to publishing it on their website; I also want to do an e-version of it for download which one hopes will be available from the Myrtle House site sooner rather than later . . . whilst reading it out loud I suddenly imagined it on Radio 4 as an afternoon short story . . . Hmmm, you never know!

Jura is without doubt an intriguing place to visit; as an 'island off an island off an island' it is obviously remote in one sense but it is the absence of small, everyday things that make it seem so distant. The Long Road - as the one and only road on the island is known - isn't that long; about 32.5 miles or so from the port Feolin Ferry to where it ends at the farmhouse at Kinauchdrach and is single track for all of its distance, thankfully with many passing places although the traffic is not what you would call heavy. One thing I did enjoy about driving there, and on it's big sister Islay, was the fact that everyone - drivers and pedestrians alike - waves to you as you pass, rather nice I thought!

The Lodge where I stayed was in Craighouse which is the biggest settlement on the island and boasts not only a hotel and a bistro but a general stores and a telephone box - one of three I saw on Jura. A building from the original distillery built in 1810, it has a bizarre and fantastically eclectic interior by someone named Bambi Sloan - appropriately enough as Jura comes from the Norse for Deer Island and the population of 5,000 easily outnumbers the human one of 180!

I found myself unexpectedly sharing the Lodge with two Norwegian journalist who - judging by their expressions - were equally surprised and I worried that this would affect the creative process; when I write I like to have peace and solitude and need to 'set up camp' as it were in a chosen location which could lead to issues if others were there wanting to use the same space . . . I commandeered the Music Room which overlooks the Bay of Small Isles and sat in the bay window hopefully not looking too unfriendly and managed to press on with the job. The Norwegians spent much time in the distillery and associated tasks so I saw little of them but was relieved when they left on Thursday morning, leaving me to spend the day in full creative spurt as it were!

And so the deed was done and, waving to passing traffic,pedestrians and deer, I made my way back here; I will have a sort though the photos I managed to take and post a few if any of you are interested . . . in the meantime life goes on and a search for further literary prizes begins - I quite fancy Iceland next, what do you think?

I hope you have a week full of joy, love and happiness

'til next time

Be Seeing You !