Sunday, 24 July 2016

Burns, The Man was a Man for A' That

Burns Monu,ment

In a dream on Halloween
He addressed the Deil (Devil)

He wrote bawdy prose
Romantic songs, messages heart-felt
And love likened to a red, red rose

The words in Tam O'Shanter 
said at speed
Imitate Meg, his trusty mayer's canter

Nothing in nature escaped his attention
Not a mouse, or the intrusive louse

A tale he could tell
His first he claimed was to the handsome Nell

The world said goodbye to him 
Two hundred and twenty-years past
But the name, Robert Burns forever will last

Friday, 22 July 2016

Star Man

    David Bowie's personal art collection is up for sale at Southeby's in November. Four hundred items from this private assemblage will be exhibited in London, Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong prior to this.

    It's exhibitions like this that give us an insight into what inspired this talented man and others like him. Listening to Bowie's music without a doubt will have stimulated many writers and painters, and will continue to do so in the years to come.

    The true genius and the value of many truly great artists is not recognised until they pass away. Not so with Bowie, he had the recognition he deserved in his life-time. In the works he collected, there are many unknown artists, however this treasure trove is likely to help the artists that excited him gain the appreciation they merit.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Handbags and Gladrags

Looking down towards High Street, Dunfermline

    I've had the crazy idea over the last couple of weeks that I would like an umbrella stand for the hallway of my home. Its probably because we've had so much rain recently that it has stayed in the forefront of my mind and on Saturday I decided I would go looking for one.

    I want something that is shabby chic, therefore I thought the best thing to do was hit the second-hand stores.

Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline

    As the rain had ceased for a few hours and the temperature was hovering at the dizzy height of 16 degrees Celsius, I decided to go to the town of Dunfermline. There, I could combine shopping with a walk in the beautiful, Pittencrieff Park.

    After visiting four, or five stores I gave up on my search. The stores were mostly disappointingly filled with handbags and gladrags, however I did enjoy my stroll through the historical town and park.

The search goes on!

18th Century Doocot, Pittencrieff Park

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Drawing on Life's Experiences

    When authors write fiction they immerse themselves in an imaginary world. Places, people, situations come to fruition in their mind and hopefully then come alive on the final written page, being shared with the reader.

    People know that authors at some time, or another may draw on their own life's experiences and the live's of others to use in their work.

    I've been asked if it's any different when writing fantasy and 'no' it's no different. I have and will I'm sure, use again true-life situations in the at times humorous, fantastical world of angels and demons my books take place in.

    For example, many years ago I visited a client in a block of apartments, his home was on the top floor, level fourteen. Having been warned by a colleague that I was to expect the unexpected on level thirteen, I held my breath as the elevator came to a halt on the said floor.

    As the doors slowly opened a large snarling Doberman dog lunged forward, only being stopped short of me by the tight rope that was tied around his neck. The poor animal was regularly placed there by a couple of kids who found the reaction of the lift's passengers more than a little amusing.

    The next small extract from 'Chapter 30' of my first book 'Salvation No Kissing Required' is my fantastical interpretation of that night.

    'Ting, the elevator doors open, we both jump in and I press number three on the panel. The doors seem to shut so slowly, we start to move chung, chung, chung, ting, we're here. The doors start to slide open, we prime ourselves for our next dash.

    "Wah-wee, whoa." That's me exclaiming my horror at what has just leapt towards the lift doors. The welcoming commitee comes in the shape of a huge version of Beelze. This guy must be his pop. His gaping mouth fills the entrance, wow, it's a cavern. If I had known I was going to be faced with this, I'd have brought a miner's lamp.

    I'm now gawping at teeth which resemble huge sabers, and a large red coiling tongue that's sloshing about. Yuck. I thank God for small mercies, because Papa B's head is too big to get into the cabin. But the big wiggly thing that's moving in and out of his mouth could be a problem, without a doubt.'

Monday, 11 July 2016

Putting Their Foot In It

    In the past when politicians put their foot in it, either deliberately,or naively, the reporting media would turn a blind-eye if they favoured the individual.

    The video recording would have been erased at the appropriate point, the journalists would have rubbed the words from the page of their notebook's, the offensive words of the person would have never reached the eyes and ears of the public.

    However, now in the times of live broadcasting, mobile downloads, social media tools and instant messaging applications there is no place to run and no place to hide for the powers at be.

    Especially in the US and the UK where at present there are candidates jockeying for the position of the top job, right now.

   But, pausing for a moment before we Tweet, or post is something we all should do, if we care about others, because pigeon post is long gone.

    Writing a book is a little different though, authors do have the time to consider their words, grammar and punctuation. It's a necessity because sooner, or later when we are published, our words will be their for all to see just the same.

Time for editing I think!



Friday, 8 July 2016

Murray Mania!

The Allan Water
    Our country needs some good news and as a nation we're pinning our hopes on Andy Murray winning Wimbledon for us.

Dunblane Cathedral (Murray was married here)

    He's through to the semi-finals on July 8th and while I can't post any pictures of Murray himself, I do have some pictures of his home town of Dunblane to share with you.

Dunblane High Street

Monday, 4 July 2016

When Reality Resembles a Fictional Plot


    Many of us have settled down in front of the TV to watch the latest box-set.  A popular one here is of the BBC's drama, House of Cards, one which the viewer can immerse themselves in a political world, of intrigue and corruption.

    Until Brexit just over a week ago, I could never have believed that the political arena in the UK could resemble in the slightly, the exaggerated world portrayed in the series.

    But now, we have journalists asking politicians if they see themselves as characters within the drama and politicians using the mini-series in their warning statements to their peers.

    No author, or script-writer knows the ending to the scenes that are being played-out in public at present. Let's hope against hope that sooner rather than later, all the players will get their act together and make sure this whole messy scenario closes with if not a happy ending, a satisfactory one.

Friday, 1 July 2016

A Sanguineous Destiny

    The whistles blew, the piper played a Scottish lament and the crowd stood in silence as they awaited 7.30am, zero hour. Today, July 1 2016, throughout the UK and France, we commemorate the Battle of the Somme.

    The battle that lasted one hundred and forty-one days, came at a price; one million men becoming casualties of this horrific trench war. In excess of twenty-five thousand being killed on the first day.

    Young men from the age of fifteen-years upwards marched into a sanguineous destiny. The live's of whole families changed, as they heard the news that they would never see their fathers, brothers and uncles again. The young soldiers hopes and aspirations disappearing in the blink of an eye.

Approximately twenty-two thousand men lie in unmarked graves in France and for many years their sacrifice and that of the others was forgotten. However, one hundred-years on, we now recognise what every man did for us and today we can all say thanks.