Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Summoned by Pants

I’m sorry if I haven’t visited your blog. I haven’t gone off you; it’s just that the Force of the Writing Pants is with me. My creative bits and pieces are flowing free and I’m working like a thing possessed. I only hope I’m a thing possessed by someone who can shift shedloads of books, not some mad eejit.

Cardiff Half Marathon Training
Runner’s World SmartCoach Programme Week 8, a ‘dropping back’ week = 16 dog and trot-free miles.

‘It’s OK, I’m wearing really big knickers’, one of the fabulously funny Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison

Thursday, 20 August 2009


Will anyone seeing the lazy-bum writer known here as Chrish please fit her with writing pants and return her to her desk immediately? There is WORK to be done, Chris. Do you really think you are going to become a successful novelist by THINKING about it? Hmm?

Stop Press!
Oh, berlimey! Never forget to be very careful about what you wish for; I now have some serious work to do which will require my strongest, biggest writing pants!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Looking Natural

Tom’s school friend, Mick, and his family have come for a visit. It’s a glorious day and west Wales is at its breathtaking best. Mick’s thirteen-year-old daughter lights up at the mention of dolphins and harbour porpoises in the bay. ‘Can we see dolphins?’ she asks. Now, the best time to see dolphins is probably not on a hot holiday afternoon when Mwnt is swarming with staycationers, but it’s our local beach so we brave the gridlock of folks trying not to scrape their expensive city cars in the narrow, twisting lane and find ourselves a quiet spot on the cliffs. With sun on their faces and spectacular views, our visitors are perfectly happy, but only Mick’s daughter really believes that dolphins will appear. And suddenly, exactly in the spot where we’ve told them to look, the miracle happens. One black fin appears and then another as two harbour porpoises break the surface. It doesn’t always work like that, but it’s a great feeling when it does.

The weekend brings my lovely Lily and her partner, Russ and – amazingly – more sunshine (it always seems to rain when Lily stays). We take the path along the banks of the Teifi, through the marshes looking for kingfishers. A short detour takes us to a secluded glade with a shallow pool where Tom and I have watched pondskaters and waterboatmen and jewel-bright dragonflies spangling the sunny air. Today presents a very different scene. A submerged ring of empty beer bottles encircles the pool, a cardboard crate is torn up and abandoned in the grass and, on the picnic table, the graphic remains of someone’s sexfest. Pretty it ain’t. We withdraw and I feel faintly murderous towards the selfish idiots who’ve desecrated this lovely spot.

By Monday I have a new concern; the Western Mail is sending up a photographer to take some pictures for a short piece I have written. Some coaching from cyber-friends and professional photographers Westerwitch and Dave Hunt has given me an idea of what to expect, but I’m still a bag of nerves. James, who has been up since the crack of doom photographing the Ospreys, is a very gentle and patient man who must feel as if he’s wandered into Wallace and Gromit territory with me since so much of his time is spent putting me in position. After posing on my sofa, in my porch and in my front garden (‘Just like a Timotei advert’ James tells me, not too convincingly) we’re done. I don’t know which of us is most tired, but I feel that James has certainly earned his money!

Cardiff Half Marathon Training
Runner’s World SmartCoach Programme Week 7 = 21 miles. A fairly smooth and uneventful week except for a near-disastrous attack of Runner’s Trots on my long run, (believe me, that’s all you need to know!).

Painting is 'High Preseli - Mist' by Tom Tomos

MeMeMe Award

Thank you, Gaelikaa for so kindly presenting me with this award. I'm afraid I'm skipping the meme as I think that I've aired all I feel comfortable with, but if anyone else would like to take it up the rules are over at gaelikaa's so you can check out her new-look blogs at the same time.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

A Wife on the Ocean Wave

Crossing the bar at Cardigan is always something of an experience even in benign conditions. You surf out on waves breaking on the beach at Poppit and then bear right aiming at the rocks at the foot of the Cliff Hotel. Sometimes you can have conversations with your neighbour fishing off the same rocks as you pass. Once you’re out there’s nothing but sea and even on the calmest days the waters lurch and roll with the last of the Atlantic swell. In bad conditions there’s nowhere safe to run except Fishguard or Holyhead.

Today we’re off to Fishguard, it takes three hours motoring, because there’s no wind. We spend a blissful afternoon in the rare sunshine before watching the sun bleach to apricot and the amethyst clouds darken to pewter. Lights twinkle in Goodwick and we raise a glass of malt whisky to a good day.

The next morning we motor to Cwm yr Eglwys, a sheltered bay, where we drop the anchor and settle down for another peaceful day in the sun. Peaceful that is until two yachts from Cardigan appear and we get a visit from groovy old retired vicar, Godfrey. Godfrey’s one of the breed of what we call ‘Bloody Buggering Old Boys’ a term coined when the girls, Tom and I were berthed next to a crew of them in Cherbourg and had to listen to them shouting ‘Bloody this’ or ‘Bugger that’ deep into the night.

Actually, I’ve got a lot of time for Godfrey who seems to get roped in to conduct funerals for most of his chums. Tom and I were present when Godfrey conducted the funeral for our yacht club’s founding member, Ian, a long-term sailing friend of Godfrey’s. He must have been hurting terribly, yet his concern was all for others. Today, Godfrey doesn’t stay because he has plans for a light lunch on another boat but before he leaves he gives us news of another club member, Colin who is sailing round Britain. ‘He’s got as far as Scotland,’ Godfrey tells us, ‘simply by turning left and left again. He’ll probably write a little book about it.’

Next morning we’re up at six to catch the tide home. Although I don’t ‘do’ early even I can appreciate the beautiful pale lemon dawn. There are no other vessels in sight but we are visited by a harbour porpoise riding alongside the boat. A pair of gannets dive into the sea, straight as arrows, oystercatchers ‘kipkip’ as they pass and a gathering of Manx shearwaters cloud the surface of the water only scattering at the last moment. It’s times like this that make sailing worthwhile.

The Captain Prepares to Repel Boarders

Cardiff Half Marathon Training
Runner’s World SmartCoach Programme Week 6 = 18 slightly nervous miles since the dog bite. A 2 mile deficit (lost at sea). Backside on the mend. Rogue dog caged in with new fencing. Also given quite a scare by yet another JRT on the lonely farm where Lily once suggested they might keep me and turn me into sausages if they saw me. Plenty to keep me on my toes then.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

A Bit of Trumpet Tootling!

Back from sea in one piece... with a Distinction in my OU A215 Creative Writing Course. Hurray!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Rump Steak, Anyone?

I’ve just returned from a trip to casualty. Not quite the ending to the morning run I expected. Less than a mile from home, outside a pretty little cottage the other side of the village, I was just congratulating myself on almost completing a horrid seven mile interval session when something took exception to my smug face. There was a very scary snarling noise, a sensation of being stabbed in the backside and then I was trapped by the World’s Angriest Jack Russell (yes, another one – I love them! I don’t deserve their hatred!).

I stood there wondering what to do whilst WAJR danced and snapped round my legs until a gate opened and there was a kind of Jack Russell explosion when two of WAJR’s mates appeared together, thankfully, with the owner. She looked very uneasy when she saw what had happened, even more so, minutes later, when having inspected my bum and found a puncture wound, I returned to tell her about the damage.

Then it was a quick shower and off to casualty. My tetanus jabs are up-to-date, fortunately, but the wound needed to be dressed and I’ve got strict instructions to return for antibiotics if there’s any sign of an infection. Tom and I differ in our approach now. Tom is incandescent with rage that I’ve been attacked and thinks I should report the owner to the relevant authorities. My view is that I’ve informed the owner that her dog has bitten me, so she should make damn sure it doesn’t do it again. I’m shaken, upset and my bum hurts. But never mind, we’re going sailing tomorrow...

Cardiff Half Marathon Training
Runner’s World SmartCoach Programme Week 5 = 19 miles and a dog bite.

Paiting is 'Blue Pool, Mwnt' by Tom Tomos