Thursday, 29 July 2010

Sunshine and boxes

Beautiful sunshine, streaming through the windows and making everything feel happy. The Lovely Lady's flowers in their pots reaching up for the sun, glistening with drips from the watering can. Even Much the Gnome looks contented - well, as near contented as he ever does.

(Muttering in the distance "Yeah, well, s'alright for 'im - I'm the one who sits out 'ere all night and keeps an eye on the garden while 'e snores 'is 'ead off, slugs crawling up me 'at an' all...")

He likes it really. It's his favourite spot, looking out over the river in the moonlight.

Then came the Man in the Van, with big boxes, full of stories from She of the Stories: "Urchin and the Rage Tide" has arrived at last. So tonight, when work is done, the Hairy Bloke will sit down with a glass of something nice, and Urchin, and go back into the stories of Mistmantle. Been waiting a long time to read this. So excited!

And the Lovely Lady is back home in just two more days. Can't wait...

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Hairy Bloke

Bit of a grouch, that gnome. "er's got a bloke" - it's the Hairy Bloke who loves the Lovely Lady, and who has already done a bit of gardening. The plants in the tubs and pots all had a very nice drink, burped very politely, and said "Thank you very much." Well, that's what the gentle swish sounded like, and they all looked as if they were smiling. Gardens do, if you look at them the right way. Our garden is full of smiles - the otter has a very otter-like smile, the flowers wave happily in the breeze; it's just that gnome who never smiles. Sits there and grimaces at the river. Doesn't even smile when the ducklings go past. Not even when the snow tickles his ears as it falls.

Bit of a puzzle really - how do you cheer up a stone gnome? Will he smile when Margi comes back next weekend? I doubt it - it'll be "Oh, 'er's back - an' 'er'll be full o' bright ideas for writing plays and things... There'll be no peace, now."

Actually, I think that's what cheers him up - having something to grumble about. Only happy when he's miserable? Well, I've met plenty of folk like that - if it makes him happy, he can grouch all day. I'll just get on with doing things around him, looking after the house and garden for Margi until she gets back.

Can't wait...

Saturday, 24 July 2010


'Er's off this week to learn about writing plays. Blimey, there's enough drama round 'ere without that. In the meantime, 'er's got a bloke to do some blogging for 'er. Wouldn't like to do some gardening, too, would 'e?

Thought not.

Friday, 23 July 2010

The Hundred Aker Wood

Have you read Winnie-the Pooh? WHY NOT? I can't remember if I was sold on it as a child, but those books get wiser and funnier over the years. So I was most excited, on holiday, to discover that we were not far from Ashdown Forest - or the Hundred Aker Wood, as Pooh And Piglet(or Piglit) know it. So the three of us - me, him, and Hamilton Bear - walked down to the real live Poohsticks Bridge and played Poohsticks.

Hamilton has been breathless with excitement ever since.

Have I already told you this in a former blog? Excuse Me. I am an Author of Very Little Brain, and long blogs bother me.

If none of this makes any sense at all, look up A A Milne and Winnie-the Pooh on the Internet, but make sure you get the Real Thing, not the film version.

Time for a Little Something. Perhaps a smackerel of hunny.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

more squirrels

I never expected to see little red squirrels in the south east of England, but there they were in a Wildlife Centre on the Kent/Sussex border. Their enclosure was so big they didn't know it was an enclosure, big enough to share with a few deer and any visitors who were wandering around.

The wee reds are normally shy, but these ones were so used to people that they came within inches of me. They looked smoother coated and smaller-eared than the reds I've seen in Northumberland and Scotland - maybe they don't live in such cold wild places, and don't need to be sharp and well padded.

Any there were some Very Small Creatures I had never seen before. Harvest Mice.

They are tiny, with pointy faces and tails for swinging from grass stalks, and so light that they can run up a stem of grass without bending it. They tumble over each other and don't appear to notice. They build tennis ball nests out of grass, and one small and peckish harvest mouse was enjoying nibbling a bit of his front door as we watched. (A long grass stalk that gradually disappeared into the nest, and into the owner.)

If you want an uncomplicated life, be a harvest mouse.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Rage Tide

URCHIN AND THE RAGE TIDE is published today. Whoo, at last! Fanfare of otter-blown trumpets, squirrels doing somersaults, hedgehogs throwing peals into the air, moles whacking drums and tambourines. Declare a festival! Yes, please! says Fingal. Blooming fuss, says Todd, but he loves it really. Ooh, Mum! says Hope before stepping into a bowl of raspberries. Just eat them, Hope.

Juniper goes to see She of the Stories, and says

Are you all right?

Yes. I've been looking forward to them reading it.

It's the last one.

Finishing writing it was the hard part. Publishing it feels good. I just hope they love the story. Juniper, what about you? are you all right?

Oh, yes. You gave us a future. It just won't be in books. How about a cordial?

Have we got any elderflower? Heart keep you, Juniper.

Heart keep you, Margi. Look out for riding stars.

Prior to all this, I have just had a holiday in beautiful Kent, and will tell you about it as the week goes on. Think of moated manor houses, amazing gardens, dappled sunshine in leafy lanes, and moorhens.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

this week

A very full week, this one, writing furiously, but I can't yet tell you what about. I took Tuesday off to take my newly graduated godson to lunch in York. It could have started off catastrophically as I texted to suggest meeting by the flower stall York station. I got there first to discover that every trace of the flower stall has gone. Not a petal, not a leaf, not a black bucket or a bit of cellophane in sight. So then I texted him to say 'meet at WH Smith' forgetting that there are two of those. (Who needs two Smithses on a station?) However, we found each other and ate in the sunny garden of the Bar Convent cafe before a meander round the beautiful city. Having broken both legs at different times in the past, leaving him with a hole in one of them, it's very good to be able to meander anywhere with the lad.

I had a little phone chat with some of the younger godchildren today, concluding with the three year old. After some fascinating insights, I tried to round off the conversation -

- I'm going to make some tea now. Are you going to have some tea?

- I hungry.

- Then you'd better have some tea.

- My tummy's gone dark.

- Your tummy's gone dark! It must be very empty!

- (giggles)

- are you going to say bye-bye?

- Bye bye I love you! (giggles blows kisses can be heard in the distance requiring tea)

Bye bye from the house of stories and I hope your tummies haven't gone dark.

Sunday, 4 July 2010


Just a quick entry for a today to greet all American readers and wish you a very happy Independence Day, and may all the world's peoples be free.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Hamilton Crispin Me

Some of you like to hear from Hamilton the Hamster, some of you want to know what I've been doing, and there is always a clamour to hear from the creatures of Mistmantle. Lugg, Crispin, Fingal and Apple seem to have quite a following. So today we'll all have a say - or a txt from Hamilton, but I have rewritten it for you.


Always make sure your hamster, or any other animal, has fresh clean water in this weather. It's easy for a small creature to dehydrate in this weather. I have been working on the designs for a bicycle - I think I could build it if Bethany can bring me the parts - but it's too hot to even think about cycling just now. Running on a wheel is OK.


There is nothing like splashing about in the bay on a hot day. There's nothing like splashing about in the bay on any day, but when it's like this, you get warm sun on your fur and a splash of cold water in your face,just when you want it. I've repainted the boat and left it to dry in he sun, cos just now I'd rather be in the water than on it. I've been trying to teach a small hedgehog to swim, but he swims like a brick, so not much success, I'm afraid.


Another sunny week with a pretty garden and the strawberries ripening. A delightful day yesterday, with a baptism party in the afternoon and a get-together at a friends house in the evening. A garden. A warm dry evening. Great food and drink, and even better company. Beautiful. Thanks, Kath.