Archive | November 2012


Just spent a few days in London, reminding myself why I like the city so much. Of course there are the usual tourist things, the theatre and art galleries, the major sights. We went to see The Magistrate at the National, and it was a very enjoyable evening, a bit like a panto. But it’s not that, although the cultural The Magistratelife was the reason I moved to London. I think the attraction for me is the energy that so many people hurrying around seem to engender. There is always the possibility of some suprise, of changes occuring that create a new experience. The Shard glittering in rain, a new art gallery, an extension of the Serpentine Gallery, being built in Hyde Park. It’s still wrapped in its plastic sheeting so its shape is a secret but the architect is Zaha Hadid, so it should be an exciting addition to the landscape. I came across a class for nervous cyclist (or even teaching those who can’t) in Little Wormwood Scrubs Park. I watched an elderly woman on a three wheeler set off cautiosly round the park, and two girls who said they hadn’t ridden bikes for years racing round. That’s another new addition to the street scene, the blue rows of ‘Boris’ bikes. These are the sort of places and events I need to keep my novels up to date.

I’ve also discovered a pedestrian route under the Westway which would make a great setting for a crimestory. It runs between a number of sports facilities, a sand ring with two disconsolate looking ponies, empty fives courts, a climbing frame and a sculpture that looks like a set of coloured pencils bent in peculiar shapes. Next time I go I must take a camera and photograph the route.

The photograph is the set for The Magistrate from the back of the circle.

Does anyone have any other ways of keeping the locus of their novels real.


Childhood Home

In my blog Sense of Place, I suggested that homes live in the memory and we are able to describe them in detail. Whether that detail is correct is, of course, open to debate, our memories are faulty, and we probably describe home as we want it to be rather than as it really was. I thought it would be a good exercise to describe some of the places I have called home and see if I can make them real again. I’ll begin with the house I lived in as a child, from the age of one to soon after my tenth birthday. It was in a village on the western side of the Pennines, called Edenfield.

I hesitate to call my first home a house as it had originally been the village market hall, and was, at the time we lived, there a shop. It was situated in Market Place at the junction of two busy roads, one went to Bury and then Manchester and the other to Rochdale. A roundabout occupies the place now.

Edenfield Village Centre - - 3...

Edenfield Village Centre – – 399389 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our home was rather burrow-like as we lived in the back part of the building and the rooms were dark and only really cosy in winter when the fire was lit. From the parlour there was a stone-flagged corridor that led into a tiny kitchen, where my mother cooked and washed. There was a smell of wet clothes emanating from the copper, as steam filled the kitchen, to be followed by the sound of rollers wringing the clothes before they were hung out on lines in the back yard.The other smell was a mixture  of linseed oil and paraffin. The linseed oil came from cans of putty, which were for sale in the shop and the paraffin was spilt as it was poured from large canisters into cans brought by customers. During the day there would be the sound of the plumbers and apprentices my father employed as they worked above our heads, the bang of hammers, the hissing of soldering irons and their chatter.

After a few years we moved upstairs and lived over the shop. The picture shows the view from the large sitting room window. But I will come back to those years later.

One Lovely Blog


one-lovely-blog-award (Photo credit: Valdecor)

I need to thank for recommending me for a ‘One Lovely Blog Award. Following the rules

1. Insert the logo -took me hours to find it.

2. Thank the person nominating you.

3.Share seven things about yourself

4. Nominate seven blogs you like

5. Tell them you have nominated them

Seven things about myself.

1. I’m half Australian. My father was born in Newcastle NSW but came back to the UK when he was only seven.

2. I have an orchard of about 34 apple trees.

3. I like cheese with my apple pie, preferably creamy Lancashire.

4. I am a fellow of the Royal Zoological Society, but never get to the meetings.

5. My favourite animals are dormice and tigers.

6. I can keep a secret.

7. I dislike doing housework and I’m not very keen on gardening.

Blogs I like

The struggle to be a writer that writes.


Cristian Miahi

People,Places and Bling

The dog ate my novel

Sally Xerri-Brooks