This really must be the most neglected blog in the country!  Pressure of work is my excuse, or maybe it’s just living keeps getting in the way.  Not to worry.  Goodreads keeps pinging up all my reading – some of which I review, all of which I rate.  

The view from our hotel

The view from our hotel

The year has been quite significant – I reached sixty in June.  I wondered how I’d feel about that, but actually I’m still half that age in my brain.  Shame the body doesn’t feel the same!  To celebrate in style Will and I spent a week in New York – doing all the things I had dreamed of doing from watching too many old films, and reading loads of US books!  We had a great time and took in The Met, Empire State Building, Central Park, Battery Park, Wall Street, Fraunces Tavern, Brooklyn Bridge and J P Morgan Library.  As well as eating in a deli and also a diner!  Little things, but what fun! We did loads of walking, used the subway and the Staten Island Ferry, as well as the occasional yellow cab ride. Unusually we would happily have stayed longer – we usually just want to get home at the end of a holiday – but we loved the ambiance and the people so would have extended our stay if we could…

Becky has been hugely busy getting on with the social enterprise side of her film – and is having some real success getting that side funded, so she can run workshops with kids from all sorts of backgrounds – and starts another series of workshops in the new academic year.

Sarah’s busy singing and teaching, Canter Semper is doing well getting regular bookings, going from strength to strength, and Hymek Manoeuvre are also busy, now they have a new drummer.  If you’re in and around the north west check them out!  

Will is working up some new material both for Sweet FA and also for the DTs next revue (2014) and show (2015).  He was last in Antigone at Royal and Derngate last month.



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Free Country

Just uploaded this to You Tube – Will and friend Peter as Sweet FA doing a revue back in March – very funny, slightly naughty and just fun!

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December 27, 2013 · 3:40 pm


Saturday was a day at Library Camp in the new Birmingham library – well I spent the morning there but by lunchtime I had to leave as the pain in my head was awful! So, I spent the weekend thinking I had a tooth going horribly wrong – the pain was intense and excruciating but I couldn’t quite decide which tooth it was…. Odd, but an emergency dentist was called for – as my own dentist only works a 5 day week. Off I went to a wizzy new building and the Mannock Practice in Wellingborough. An excellent and efficient service – and a delightful french accented dentist – all assured me it was not my teeth. Possibly neuralgia he suggested, and I felt relieved!

Monday morning dawned too early after a very disturbed night – and so many painkillers it was unbelievable. Another emergency appointment, at my Doctors – and I am diagnosed with Trigerminal Neuralgia. There is a TN Association which gives me more information (on the recommendation of the doctor) and I wish I had never looked…

TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA is an extremely severe facial pain that tends to come and go unpredictably in sudden shock-like attacks. The pain is normally triggered, for example by light touch, and is described as stabbing, shooting, excruciating or burning. It usually lasts for a few seconds but there can be many bursts of pain in quick succession. What is TN?
The trigeminal nerve is the fifth cranial nerve and its function is to send pain messages to the brain. When the nerve malfunctions, pain messages are sent at inappropriate times and the pains can be of great severity. In fact, TN is regarded as the most painful condition that is known in the medical world. From TNA WEbsite – see link above – accessed 3/12/13

I can agree about the pain, and the medication prescribed has one of the most awful lists of possible side effects and warnings – but a friend has had the condition for some time, takes the same medication and he was very reassuring in his response to my rather quavering inquiries…  So, whilst we get the medication sorted and my condition stabilized I will have a few days off work and catch up on some reading – the condition is so debilitating that nothing else is possible.

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The Autumn


The Outdoor Drawing Room

Well didn’t we have fun at the wedding!  It was a wonderful day, resulting from loads of hard work by all involved, plus some friends without whom it would never have got finished.  The bride and groom looked so happy – everyone have a fantastic time and the weather was very kind to us all.

Since then it’s been frantically busy at work with a two major celebrations in Bath and London, and then just the ordinary run of the mill stuff that takes up time.


The Meadows, Denford, 14/09/13

Trying to catch up with friends and family and even do some reading has all been a bit on the back burner….  Mind you, now the weather is deteriorating and the nights are drawing in I’m sure I will get reading some more!

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Belfast, weddings and hens

Well the summer has arrived at last – and with a few days off, so trying to catch up a little!

Plans are well underway for the wedding in September – in fact the banns were read for the first time last week! So,it’s the Hen do this weekend – a little early, but one of the bridesmaids (RAF personnel) is being posted so need to get these things in early.  Have sorted the disabled access for the various parents and grandparents (it is quite amazing what one can hire nowadays).  I just have the cars to sort.  All my friends tell me I’m getting off lightly as Becky the producer is doing most of it!  Invitations fantastic – look like bunting, and everything else is falling into place.

Our SLA weekend Course in Belfast worked well – and our few days afterwards exploring the coastline were lovely too – some great photos!

A week in Manchester and a conference and a series of meetings all went well – though I seem hardly to have been at home.

The path to the Giant’s Causeway


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Reading again

So – business at work has been fairly relentless just recently so reading has been the escape!  Highlights from the last month to 6 weeks show a good mix.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is set during the Second World War and takes the story of two heroic but relatively ordinary young women who work for and with SOE (the special ops of WWII).  It grips,  you identify with the characters and yet I can not envisage being that physically brave – ever.  I laughed and cried with this book.  It’s on the Carnegie Award short list – fingers crossed!

hartmanSeraphina by Rachel Hartman is the story of a young woman who feels she is a bit of a misfit in the world where dragons walk about in their shape-changed format, to keep the people and the dragons from going to war again.  As a major celebration of the long term peace approaches Seraphina finds out some strange truths about herself and her family, ad has to decide where her loyalties lay.  a major US best seller this is a fascinating take on the usual people versus dragons tale. Loved it, can’t wait for the next volume.

Jeremy de Quidt’s Feathered Man is a dark, thrilling quest set in a Victorian Germany and full of scary and rather odd characters, some from Mayan mythology, some just downright wicked. Will definitely appeal to the slightly ghoulish.

I have also been reading a bit on my iPad. Two books recently – Fragments by Dan Wells – which failed to grab me, but that may have been the delivery media rather than the book.  Plus Anne Cassidy – Killing Rachel – a good thriller, with a surprising series of twists.  I do find it harder to engage with on screen reading, and I must admit I only supplement my reading of hard copy books with iPad materials.  Wonder if taht will change over time?

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Reading in January

Having had a couple of days off work with a very annoying reappearance of an old health problem there was only one thing I could do – read!  Image

I have long admired Catherine FisherIncarceron and Sapphique are amazing fantasy novels.  Her latest The Obsidian Mirror is another triumph.  It promises a whole series to follow  – and I can’t wait.  Oberon Venn is Jake’s godfather since his own father mysteriously disappeared some time before.  But Venn is very obsessive and secretive and Jake is convinced Venn murdered his father.  This is the page turning totally gripping First Book of the Chronoptika – an adventure in time and space, with all the elements of a country house mystery and a thriller set in the worst parts of Victorian London.  A literary style novel that fully engages the excitement as well as giving food for thought.



Interestingly – as I finished The Obsidian Mirror there arrived a publishers proof of one of my other favourite authors – Eoin Colfer.  Warp: Book 1 – The Reluctant Assassin has many similar elements – time travel, Victorian London slums, engaging characters and a ‘thrill a minute’ approach.   I imagine the style will appeal to established Colfer fans when it is published later this year – and it is a thoroughly enjoyable, fun, thrilling read.

To make a change from both of those I followed up with the
 latest Tim Bowler Sea of Whispers.  This is an exploration of growing up in a remote community, and of the hostility certain small communities exhibit to change or difference.  Hetty has always felt different, and has a sense of otherness that marks her out from her peers and community.  The arrival of an old woman washed up on the shore of the remote island in a storm unleashes a series of events and actions that appear to doom all involved.  Tim always writes with a style and elegance that makes his novels very readable – well worth trying.Tim Bowler

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