Saturday 18 December 2021

The Season of Giving


This story is in response to the regular call for shared storytelling  on the blog 100 words for advent from Loren Eaton.

The blog is described “as a place for people who like stories in general and genre fiction in particular. It's a place for folks who prefer to read and write fantasy and horror, science fiction and crime fiction”.

So here is my 100 word story:

Sarah wasn’t feeling festive.  Seemingly nor were the other shoppers although masks made facial expressions inscrutable.  Toiletry gift sets for those who could well afford such items with their weekly shop seemed superfluous. Worn out and dispirited, Sarah purchased a coffee to go when she noticed a young woman huddled in the doorway of a closed-down shop.  Impulsively she bent down to offer her the drink and saw, there in the blankets, an ashen-faced baby. Although exhausted, Sarah dashed to buy baby food, wipes and nappies, returned to the doorway only to find it abandoned except for a baby doll.   

To read more stories, check out I Saw Lightning Fall

Friday 12 November 2021

My short story in SevenDays magazine


I’m delighted to report that my short story “Coasting Along” has been published in Issue 4 of SevenDays magazine.  This will be my first story to appear in a mainstream UK publication.

Seven Days is the first new weekly UK magazine to be published for many years.   In addition to two pieces of fiction per week, there are puzzles, recipes, lifestyle articles and celebrity interviews. 

Such a thrill to see the magazine in the supermarket while doing the weekly shop! 

Sunday 31 October 2021

End of the Season 2021

Well, that went quickly! We spent an enjoyable week at the coast before closing up for the winter. The weather was agreeable and we did what we do best: reading, eating, walking, and sleeping. 

Local walk on beach and over the cliffs

 Picnic on the slipway in Hull.  Ships would be brought into
the slipway from the Humber for repairs

 Recently renovated Bathing
Pool at Burton Constable

Side view of Burton Constable Hall with the Orangery on the

 Burton Constable all decked out
                                                                       for Halloween
 Filey's beautiful beach

 Sewerby Hall and Gardens:  Someone needs to go to Specsavers

 The walled garden at Sewerby  Hall with a spooky theme

The break was a real de-stresser until we set off for home, laden with puppy and laundry, when the car broke down five miles into our journey necessitating being brought home in a rescue truck.

Monday 27 September 2021

Annual Visit to Northumberland 2021

 Each year we like to visit old haunts and find new places.  This year we had our new puppy with us so had to think ahead. 

First stop was at South Park, Darlington.

Pristine bowling green

Riverside walk

Huge duck pond with three islands 

We arrived at the dog friendly Schooner Inn at Amble, an old pub perfectly located between sea and park. Amble is a former mining town which once had railway links to the Northumberland coalfields making the town a centre for the sea transport and export of coal. The former station is now a private dwelling and the industrial workings are now Paddlers Park. It still has a working harbour and a marina.  Over the decades, we have seen it grow into a popular tourist resort.  

The pub was an old building and I found that Thomas Weir Innkeeper 1881 was mentioned here Amble Inns, Pubs and Drinking Establishments of the 19th Century. (

A new spot we found was Low Hauxley beach which is reached through the sand dunes.  Dolphins could be spotted just off the coast as could the bird reserve Coquet Island.

On to Alnmouth where we found the lovely, dog friendly Village Tearooms. Walking across the beach we saw a camera crew filming Kate Humble who was standing by a sand drawing but didn’t get too close in case the puppy spoiled the installation!

On to Seahouses for lunch.  We ate our sandwiches by the harbour where benches are arranged like a theatre.

The weather was glorious and the village of Bamborough with its beautiful beach was heaving with tourists so we gave it a miss this time.  We drove to Budle Bay but the tide was in so no birds to spot.  We did see many formations of geese coming back from Russia.  They are very vocal.

On the way back to the hotel, we found a new beach by taking a narrow road just before the bridge at Warkworth.

On our return journey we stopped at Newbiggin by the Sea, well known for its sculpture “Couple" by Sean Henry. This large (12.25 x 21 x 6 metre) sculpture was installed on 17th August 2007 with a smaller sculpture, "Land Couple", looking out at the larger couple out at sea installed on land in November 2007.

The large sculpture and students doing fieldwork





The Land Couple

There is a lot of history here. It was Northumberland's favourite seaside town in the Victorian era. In 1869, there were 142 cobles (fishing boats) in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. Newbiggin Colliery was opened in 1908, closing in 1967, but at its peak in 1940, 1,400 men were employed there.

Newbiggin by the Sea Mechanics Institute, Northumberland founded Aug 1891. On the premises were reading, smoking, games and billiard rooms. It also housed a public library established by a Miss Fraser with 2,000 books.

On our way home we stopped at Barnes Park, Sunderland for a picnic lunch.

We always enjoy our visits to Northumberland and have experienced flood, snow and gales.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves again this year; the wonderful weather and a well behaved puppy being the icing on the cake.


Monday 13 September 2021

An interesting weekend in East Yorkshire


We often stop off at the tranquil Madhyamaka Buddhist Centre at Kilnwick Percy on our way to the East coast for a snack at the Peace Café or to eat our picnic.  However, this is the first time we have done the Lakeside Walk with its benches and picnic tables along the route.  It forms part of the Pilgrimage of Grace Heritage Trail, named after a Yorkshire rebellion of 1536 sparked by dissolution of the monasteries.

Kilnwick Percy Hall - Madhyamaka KMC

Kite Festival

The Kite Festival, an annual event in May in normal times, is held on Sewerby Cliffs at Bridlington.  Kites of all shapes and sizes are flown giving an amazing aerial display.  Kites are also available to purchase and the various stalls make it a jolly affair.  I find there is something magical about watching kites soaring in the sky although they can be very frustrating when they don’t behave as you would wish.

A visit to a vineyard in East Yorkshire

Set up in 2009 when a piece of land was purchased in Aike, Laurel Vines is now an award winning vineyard whose wines are stocked in the best restaurants and pubs.  We learnt of the trials and tribulations of the early days and their position on climate change and sustainability, the process of winemaking and we had the opportunity of tasting their produce.  It would have been rude not to!

Laurel Vines | Wine from an East Yorkshire Vineyard (


Saturday 21 August 2021

Six (or Seven) on Saturday


August is not the best month for displays in my garden nor are Dahlias one of my favourite plants but I couldn’t resist taking photos of these in Valley Gardens, Harrogate.

The Propagator generously hosts Six on Saturday.  Click on the link to his blog to see what he and his followers are growing and doing in their gardens this week.  Perhaps you feel you could add your own six too.

Stay well everyone.

Monday 12 July 2021

Renewed experiences

I should think most of us are once more experiencing events that were denied us since the start of the pandemic.  On line communication has served its purpose and I would still prefer AGM’s and other meetings to be done on line for their swiftness, but it can't replace the real thing.


We are now able to resume our monthly radio programme, The Deli,  at the recording studio.  While we have been away the newly acquired property next door to the original renovated chapel has been refurbished Virtual Tour – Chapel FM

Gardening club

Our gardening group, Friday Forum, has met up again in each other’s gardens which has been delightful, with the added bonus of cake.

Friday Forum


Against all my protests and threats to leave home, we have acquired a very mischievous puppy called Freddie.  He wasn’t being looked after by the owner so we removed him early and had to feed him with a syringe.  Freddie has now doubled in size, chewed everything in sight but now sleeps though the night.  He was supposed to be a mix of French Bull Dog and Shih Tzu (Bullshit?) but I don't think so!

Freddie at 6 weeks

Freddie at 12 weeks

Walking Tennis

After not lifting a tennis racquet for decades, I have taken a course of walking tennis at a local club.  It does not entail, as my son questioned, passing a balloon over the net, but uses less pressurised balls which are allowed to bounce twice.

Walking Tennis | LTA will tell you more about it.  The lessons were free and funded by Sports England so they may be running courses near you.

Nisa Nashim

Our local branch of Jewish and Muslim women were able to meet up again face-to-face and plan our events for this year.

I still haven’t managed to meet up with family abroad and hope it won’t be much longer.

I may even go clothes shopping this week, to replace items chewed to bits by the puppy.  I have received both vaccinations but I shall probably continue to wear a mask indoors.

What new or renewed activities have you been doing and how do you feel about resuming your former life?

Saturday 5 June 2021

Six on Saturday: Two-a-penny

Aqualegia, perennial cornflower, forget-me-not, Welsh poppy, geranium, wild poppy

These common plants make my heart sing.  They are worth their weight in gold as they appear every year (not always in the same place), need no looking after but provide colour, form and ground cover aplenty.

Which would you choose from your garden?

The Propagator generously hosts Six on Saturday.  Click on the link to his blog to see what he and his followers are growing and doing in their gardens this week.  Perhaps you feel you could add your own six too.

“The sea is their grave but this Memorial sculpture is, in many ways, a headstone for the lost trawlermen”

I have always been impressed by the architecture in the centre of the maritime city of Hull, especially the old buildings with their carving...