Wednesday 30 October 2013

Jade's New Toy

Jade has a new toy.

Monkey gets carried between her bed in my office

and the one in our kitchen diner.

Monday 28 October 2013

The Giant in the Garden

In August I posted about a plant that had seeded itself in our potato patch. It tuned out to be a shoo-fly plant. Over the weeks it grew and grew. Yesterday I thought I'd better take more photos before the expected storm hit. Since the potatoes had all been dug out and eaten, it was standing bravely alone in the rather unkempt ex-potato patch. I've chosen to show you one with Jade beneath it and the composter in the background, so you can see what a giant it had grown into.

Sure enough this morning, after a night of lashing rain and hurricane force winds, it was no longer standing but lying forlornly where it had fallen onto the patio. The runner beans, further down the veg patch, were also down on the decking at the bottom of the garden. But we have apparently been among the lucky ones to escape the really nasty results of the storm.

Friday 25 October 2013

Another Worthy Cause

I was asked to sponsor my nephew, who has committed to running a half marathon for UNICEF next March.So I decided to find out more about UNICEF and discovered that it works for children and their rights in nearly 200 countries, liaising with families, communities and governments with the aim of allowing all children to reach their full potential, and they are known as a source of expert advice and assistance in all matters concerning children. In emergencies they can be called on specifically to help the children affected. UNICEF UK is a registered charity which raises funds for this valuable work.

If you would like to make a small contribution, you can sponsor my nephew and his valiant effort here.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Life's Ups and Downs

I've been feeling a little down lately. Everything I need to do feels like I have to climb a mountain, and I just can't get thorugh all the chores. That means I don't have time for the things I'd really like to do, like posting here once the commissioned writing is finished for the day. Today I didn't even complete the one article I had intended to get through. Admittedly I had to plough through 546 paragraphs of a legal judgement before I could make head or tail of the case, but that wouldn't normally be such a problem. Hopefully tomorrow I can work out what message the solicitor client wants his readers to get from the piece, and get it finished.

On Monday, my hubby had a cataract removed under a general anaesthetic at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. He is full of praise for his treatment there, compared to his experience at the small local private hospital where he had a local anaesthetic, but the operation was abandoned because he wasn't able to keep his head still enough. That was five months ago, but it seems it was worth the wait.

Our roles in the car are now reversed and I have to be chauffeur, which doesn't suit him as he likes to be in the driving seat. This afternoon we ran a couple of errands with Jade in the back seat before I drove us to our little beach for our post lunch constitutional. The common above the beach is hardly recognisable now as we have arsonists in our midst and much of the vegetation has been burnt off. It's amazing how quickly the ground level turns green again but this is all topped with bare black branches.

The only compensation is that we can see through them so the views over the harbour are even more spectacular. The one above looks over the lake in the common and on to the harbour, with the Purbeck Hills across the water. Much of the vegetation on the far side of the lake where we ususally walk has now succombed to the fires.

Friday 18 October 2013

Book Launch Coming

This post is a message from my pal, David Robinson, who is the most prolific author I know.  He writes in several different genres, and I have read pretty well all his books and really admire his work. Here he writes about The Deep Secret, the sequel to a thriller called the Handshaker, which other Kindle readers have called "a rollicking roller coaster of a read" that "will leave you gasping for breath". And I thoroughly agree. The Handshaker kept me reading well into the night as I just had to find out what happened next.
The Deep Secret will be released by Crooked Cat Publishing on Friday October 25th 2013.
David writes:
Despite having written the first draft in a month or two, The Deep Secret has been almost two years in the making, partly because of the amount of research I had to do.
Spanning eighty years from pre-war Germany to modern Britain, odd bits of it were written in German, and I have a slight problem with that… I don’t speak German.
Fortunately, Steph Patterson, one of the co-directors at Crooked Cat Publishing, comes from Germany. Not only that, but she comes from the Heidelberg region, which is where much of the early flashbacks are set.
It meant that after the initial editing by our old and trusted friend, Maureen Vincent-Northam, the manuscript then passed to Steph for verification and more accurate translation of the German phrases than I could obtain on Google Translate.
The result is a thriller which continually casts us back to a Germany where the Nazis had begun their inexorable rise to power, through Britain in the war and post-war years, all helping hero Felix Croft and his partner, Detective Inspector Millie Matthews, hunt down a serial rapist and murderer who wants only one thing: The Deep Secret.
What is that secret? Well you’ll have to read the book to find out, but here’s a little appetiser.
In the scene that follows, it’s 1943, and Julius Reiniger, a member of the Garman Intelligence Services, has asked for political asylum, in exchange he will use a hypnotic interrogation technique in order to ‘out’ German spies working in Britain. Reiniger is about to demonstrate his skills to Corporal Graham Burke and Captain John Stokes.
“Du wirst mir den echten Namen geben.”
“Beg pardon, sir,” Burke said, “but how do we know what Reiniger is saying? I mean, I don’t speak any German.”
“Fortunately, I do,” replied Stokes. “He’s just said, ‘you will give me your real name’.”
They were stood in a small, darkened room, hidden from the interrogation room by a two way glass, and watching Julius at work on one of the suspects he had named. Douglas Kenworthy, a forty-year-old supposed businessman from Norwich, was suspected of being a German agent before his name appeared on Julius’s list. He had been held for four weeks and so far resisted all attempts to break him.
Julius had been under careful supervision while he manufactured what he called his ‘hypnotic cocktail’, which consisted of a dash of Veno’s cough mixture, blended with a small tot of brandy, to which he added a few drops of chloral hydrate.
“It’s a bloody truth serum,” Stokes had declared.
“Not so, sir,” Julius replied. “Truth serum like sodium pentothal will make a man talk liberally, and at some point in the conversation, he may give himself away. This mixture, which was taught to me by my master, Franz Walter, mimics the first stages of light hypnotism, and permits a lowering of the subject’s guard so that my suggestions will be more readily accepted. Within minutes, the subject will be deeply hypnotised, and under my control.”
Still suspicious, still ready to order a firing squad for both the suspected agent and Julius Reiniger, Stokes watched while Julius persuaded Kenworthy to drink the mixture, and had Burke standing by to comment on the process.
Julius’s usual clothing was standard POW issue chocolate coloured drills, with a white patch, denoting him as low security, non-Nazi, but the dress could be varied according to the grading of the prisoner he was interrogating. For the interrogation of Kenworthy, he had asked for and been given a blouse with a black patch, indicating a hardline Nazi sypmathiser.
“It will help to reassure him that he is dealing with a devout follower of the F├╝hrer, Captain,” Julius ha explained, “and that will make him more amenable to drinking the hypnotic cocktail.
And so it had proven, but on Burke’s protest at his lack of German, Stokes tossed the wording in his head. “Curious thing to say.”
“Normally, when we’re interrogating, Corporal, we would say, ’tell me your name’. Reiniger didn’t. He said ‘you will tell me your name’. I was thinking it’s a curious way of expressing it.”
“Standard hypnotic practice, sir,” Burke explained. “Commands need to be put as suggestions. Reiniger is using pretty forceful tones, but he’s still constructing the order as a suggestion.”
The Deep Secret is released on Friday October 25th, and will be available as an ebook and paperback. You can pre-order your paperback from Amazon at :
You are also welcome to join the Facebook Launch event on the day of release at

Caution: The Deep Secret contains scenes of graphic sex and violence.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Finding your Toilet in the Cactus Garden in Lanzarote

Most people didn't have a problem finding the right one

Unfortunately the sun and shadow spoil my photos a bit, but I think you can get the idea.

Monday 14 October 2013

Sponsoring a Good Cause

pic by Editor5807 at Wikimedia Commons

What follows is a copy of part of an email I received from a friend. Their son wanted to support the charity and has succeeded in swimming across the body of water from the UK mainland to the Isle of Wight, that we call the Solent. I've crossed that by ferry a few times and it has taken around half an hour, so it's quite a swim. The photo above was taken from Cowes on the island looking back at the mainland so you can get a vague idea of the distance.

The swim was done together with a mate who is chairman of the Norfolk branch of the charity. I have made a small donation to recognise their achievement and wondered if any of you would like to join me

"A charity called Surf Life Savers (SLS) is run by volunteers who give up their time to save swimmers, kite surfers, and wind surfers  lives. They dovetail with the RLNI who do a great job but only  provide life guards during the summer. SLS provide this during much of the rest of the year.

Recently one of their volunteers was off duty walking his dog in the early morning along the coastal path when he noticed a swimmer was in trouble. The swimmer was a middle aged man who was having a heart attack. The volunteer tied up his dog and jumped in to save him. He managed to get the man back to shore and called for emergency services. Our life saver was only 11 years old.

SLS focus on training hundreds of young people as well as adults to  give them a purpose and learn discipline and skills that are invaluable throughout their lives. It relies totally on charity and all funds go into equipment, training and the clubhouse."

If you would like to support this great charity then please do so on this link.

Thursday 10 October 2013

Changes on the Way

It’s hard to believe it’s a week since I managed to post here. In my defence, it has been manic, and I must have overdone things a bit because that’s when I get migraine attacks. This week they were pretty rough. On Tuesday I had to retire to bed in the early evening, but yesterday it was before lunchtime  and it was after five before I could pull myself out and back downstairs to bung some fish in the oven with some oven chips.

A couple of times last week and all weekend hubby and I were working at the flat my son is going to move into tomorrow, which is on the other side of Bournemouth, some nine miles away. On Saturday, I left Jade with the dog minder, but we took her with us on Sunday, and I left hubby struggling with a shower surround while Jade and I walked to the nearby cliff-top and joined other promenaders in the glorious sunshine.

The views there are fantastic, with Hengistbury Head jutting into the sea to the left, and beyond that The Needles of the Isle of Wight in the distance. Below the cliffs is Boscombe beach and Pier, and looking to the right, Bournemouth beach stretches away to Poole and Sandbanks with the Purbeck hills in the background, then Studland merges into white cliffs and the Old Harry Rocks.

This pic by Trish Smith
is of Boscombe pier with Hengistbury Head visible through the arch.
The black shape behind the headland is the Isle of Wight.

It was something of an anti-climax to go back to the flat and get stuck in to cleaning out a fridge freezer that had been left in a sick-making state by the last tenant. Hubby and I had some cause to regret the deal my son had struck with the landlord to do the cleaning and repairs in return for his tenancy and rent payments starting two weeks late. We were doing most of it because he then had to work all week and go and help his girlfriend prepare to move down from London at the weekend.  Moving day is tomorrow and this evening he has already gone, to get an early start by staying overnight with the friend who is going to help with the DIY move. His things are still here, but they can be collected gradually in the next week or so.

Of course, I’ve had all my own work to fit in as well, hence the migraines, which haven’t helped. But now I can look forward to an easier time, with less laundry and cleaning, shopping, cooking and packed lunch making. I’m just praying that nothing goes wrong for the pair of them and they can make a good life together. At least they will be near enough for easy visits, and perhaps I can get them to dog-sit sometimes.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Diana Movie

Just been to see the film Diana at the Senior Screen. It's all about her love affair with Hasnat Khan. He says the film is a work of fiction and their relationship was very different, although they did have tentative plans for a future together. Nevertheless it made for a very touching love story with, of course, the tragic ending of her death in a French hospital after the car accident in which Dodi Fayed also died. Now I'm sure you know who I'm writing about. Here's the trailer.

The reaction to this film is varied. I wouldn't expect the royals or the Fayad family to like it. And it would surely be heartbreaking for her sons, even though they must be used to their mother still coming up in the news over and over again.

I don't think this is one of the greatest movies, but I quite liked it. As the screenwriter is suposed to have pointed out, it's good to think she she had someone who loved her for herself after her divorce from Prince Charles.

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