• I’m Back

    Stuart Lennon. Abbots Ann, Hampshire. April 21st 2015. Copyright Warren James Palmer. www.wjpphoto.co.uk 044 1264 848 056

    Stuart Lennon. Abbots Ann, Hampshire. April 21st 2015. Copyright Warren James Palmer. www.wjpphoto.co.uk 044 1264 848 056

    Me again! Hello there. How have you all been? Or perhaps that should read how have you both been? I’m back.

    I have been a busy busy boy. My Mum is now living around the corner, which is great; and I have access to a lovely place in Cyprus.

    I have played a fair amount of golf – burned some meat in the name of the British summer and even kept the garden quite tidy.

    Life is good.

    On the corporate front, I’m looking after a couple of clients AML and CTF needs, which is keeping my hand in and provides a welcome trickle of revenue.

    I even have appointments set up to review acquisition opportunities with my business partner. Look out World of Commerce – we’re on our way back.

    What I have not been doing, is very much writing or communicating on social media.

    Procrastination? One of those things?

    A bit of both, I suspect.

    But now…I’m back.

     

  • Remember the Wombles?

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    The Wombles. If you are British and of a certain vintage, then you will surely remember the ‘Wombles of Wimbledon Common’.

    The Wombles had a glittering career in TV and Pop Music in the 1970s.

    “Making good use of the things that we find
    Things that the everyday folks leave behind”

    Read more: http://artists.letssingit.com/the-wombles-lyrics-the-wombling-song-theme-from-the-wombles-tv-sho-3rql29f#ixzz3cxwTCvBH

    LetsSingIt – Your favorite Music Community

    Halcyon Days.

    This week, I am lucky enough to be back on Aphrodite’s Isle, Cyprus.

    In common with many other British people, my parents chose to retire in the sun. Somewhere to relax, escape the British weather and enjoy their twilight years. The perfect retirement.

    My Dad had a few short years and is indeed buried here.

    My Mum gamely carried on alone for fourteen more years, but has now decided to return to the UK.

    My wife and I have been very busy clearing out things that tend to accumulate over twenty five years.

    I have been assured by my Mum that all I need do is pile things up at the bottom of the drive next to the bins.

    I will admit to being somewhat sceptical of this advice. Surely the local authorities would seek some payment for hauling away old bedding, broken electricals, redundant filing?

    We left a good car-load of things next to the bins and set off to a neighbouring village for dinner.

    Upon our return a few hours later, everything had gone.

    I was blown away by these excellent levels of service.

    Yesterday was an intense clear out day.

    Load after load was deposited at the bottom of the drive.

    I also had to drive to the recycling centre to dispose of packaging in which new furniture had arrived.

    As I passed through the gates, I caught sight of a deeply tanned young man carefully sifting through the loads.

    He smiled and waved. So, I smiled and waved back.

    I have always thought that the Wombles had been victims of budget cuts back in the seventies.

    It turns out that they simply moved to Cyprus. Probably for the weather.

    Brilliant.

  • Some time off!

    Stuart Lennon. Abbots Ann, Hampshire. April 21st 2015. Copyright Warren James Palmer. www.wjpphoto.co.uk 044 1264 848 056

    Stuart Lennon. Abbotts Ann, Hampshire. April 21st 2015. Copyright Warren James Palmer. www.wjpphoto.co.uk 044 1264 848 056

    The above is me. Dashing, I know.

    As a good friend once said of me;

    “A fine figure of two men.”

    I have left the picture credit on for Warren James – who is a fantastic photographer and charming man to boot. Warren is sensible enough to have chosen to live and work in Brittany – but still comes back to the UK to muck about with flying machines and make subjects look far better than they have any right to look.

    Over the last few weeks, I have done no novel writing and no blogging.

    I have been catching up on all sorts of other things that needed catching up on and as the title of this post suggests, I have taken a little time off being a writer.

    Some time off is, I think, essential. I am feeling recharged, re-energised and focused. Even the garden is looking a bit better.

    Somehow or other I am being lured back into the corporate world, and although suspicious, in many ways, I am pleased.

    Work has always been important to me and how I define myself.

    More inspiring than this though is that work gets me sparking.

    Whatever it is that is responsible for the desire to create something, to imagine a storyline or write a chapter is ignited in me by human contact, by negotiation, by solving problems.

    I am discovering that balance is vital to me. Some time working, some time writing and some time off. Each element feeds the others.

    How do you keep balanced?

  • Bloglovin

    <a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14019309/?claim=etwk34v5gjh”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

    Hopefully – the above means that you can follow me through an app on your smart device or through a website where you can collect all of your favourite blogs.

    Just click on the little button for Bloglovin’ to the left.

    I am sure that there are many ways to manage blog feeds, but I am experimenting with this one – as it seems to bring everything in nice an neatly on my smart phone.

    Go have a look – its free…

  • Blogging From A to Z Challenge

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    That’s it.

    I have completed the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

    26 posts, a post for each week day and Saturday in April.

    I have visited in excess of 200 blogs. Some that I have enjoyed, some that have completely mystified me and one or two that have shocked me.

    I have got a little more comfortable with the ‘craft’ of blogging, how to post, how to make a post attractive to search engines and how to comment. I think that this will be useful.

    Annoyingly, I have also learned that I will need to change my theme (again). The one that I am using here is a free theme and thus a little limited.

    There are some blogs out there that are stunning to look at.

    Should you require highly unusual features, such as words not splitting over the end of a line, then you need to ‘add some code’ or purchase a theme that automatically does this. I concede that I find it difficult to believe that there is much of a blogging market that intentionally uses a theme incapable of justifying text, but perhaps I am old fashioned that way.

    Last time that I attempted a theme change – I bombarded my Facebook wall and twitter account with hundreds of automated messages.

    Brace yourselves.

    A lesson has been how easy it is to find myself doing a million and one things. In fact ANY thing that is NOT writing a novel.

    But that is for another post.

    Time for a lie down.

  • Z is for Zanadja

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    Ha!

    I feel reasonably certain that I’m the only one in the A to Z Challenge blogging about Z for Zanadja.

    The picture above is of my Mum and Dad’s house in Zanadja, Cyprus.

    Actually, it is more properly my house in Zanadja. My Dad passed away a good few years ago and my Mum is returning to the UK – making the house mine.

    There are all sorts of economic reasons that property in Cyprus is struggling as an investment class, but at the end of the day Zanadja is a gorgeous village ten minutes from Mediterranean beaches.

    Mum and Dad had this house built in the 1990s. They had decided in the 1960s that they wanted to retire to Cyprus. They were serving there in the Royal Air Force at the time.

    As the house was being built we talked about a name and I suggested Elysium which is a heavenly place of eternal rest in mythology.

    Elysium was set in the idyllic village of Zanadja and my folks enjoyed some wonderful years there.

    Before my Dad fell ill, he walked me around the house in Zanadja and standing almost exactly where the picture above was taken from, he turned to me and said;

    “One day Son, all of this will be yours.”

    I think that his tongue was firmly in his cheek when he said it, but I also believe that he felt enormously proud. The house represented what he and his wife had achieved through hard work and saving.

    The house is now mine. I would much rather that my Dad was still around and the house gone, but that is not how things work.

    So – Z is for Zanadja. My challenge is finished.

    Phew! That was tough.

    Thank you so much for coming by and reading. To the left of this text, there is an opportunity to subscribe to this blog.

    All that this means is that you will receive a monthly update from me. I won’t spam you to death, I promise. If you are able to sign up, please do, I really appreciate it.

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    More battle-hardened blogs here 

  • Y is for Yank

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    Yanks. They are just such a nightmare.

    Loud, uncultured, ignorant peasants. Always have been. Always will be.

    I know this, as I was taught it from a young age.

    Then, I met some.

    Some loud ones. Some quiet ones.

    Some uncultured ones. Some cultured ones.

    They even came in a multitude of colours, races, creeds and religions.

    Annoyingly, I have met some spectacularly amazing people that, God forbid, were born and bred in the USA.

    On the quittrain.com there are some folk who are genuine, bona fide superstars from the States. Nancy, Babs, Colleen, Ava, DD, MQ, Sonic. Joe, Rez, Bakon – all on my bucket list of people to visit, thank and raise a glass with. (There are more too on this incredible site.)

    I once posted on a golf site about having the possibility of tacking a day or two onto a trip to the US so that I could play a golf. Within 24 hours, it was arranged that I would be staying at someone’s house in California with guaranteed tee times on Pasatiempo, San Juan Oaks and…Pebble Beach. – Yes. THAT Pebble Beach.

    The host was a Yank.

    A Yank with exceptional taste in left bank Bordeaux.

    I met a wonderfully intelligent, hospitable, humorous couple whom went out of their way to ensure that I enjoyed every second of my time in the USA.

    It all came as a bit of a shock.

    My eyes were opened to the enormity of the USA. Are there some bad things about the US? I am sure that there must be – guns would be an immediate question mark in my mind. However, in my experience, there are an incredible amount of positive things too.

    Most importantly – the vast majority of Yanks seem to be ….well, quite normal people really.

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    Some great A to Z Challenge Blogs can be found here

  • X is for that thing. You know, the X Factor.

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    X.

    Lots of bloggers have been frantically googling “Words beginning with X”.

    I have absolutely no doubt that there will be some fantastically clever posts around words which are completely new to me.

    In itself, this is a good thing, as I will learn something today.

    However, I must raise the question – Has X had its day?

    Let’s be honest, if there were no letter between W and Y, we would cope.

    There are absolutely no words in the the common parlance beginning with X

    None.

    The closest might be -ray or -Factor.

    I imagine that X ray might be replaced by Radio Image – and X Factor could be replaced by, oh I don’t know… white noise?

    The Greeks have a few words beginning with X – but it seems likely that those will be lost to austerity cuts.

    Language is a living, evolving and vibrant thing. I am not sure that X will make the grade.

    Any modern writing resource that you might ever find will advise you to cut, cut, cut. “Make the writing tighter”.

    “Look at adjectives and adverbs with suspicion. Show, don’t tell.”

    ‘The secret to effective writing is to keep the pace up, and not distract the reader with description or anything else that might require long words.’That appears to be the message.

    I suppose that this is good advice.

    Us folk of Generation X grew up with the writing of Stephen King and others, where the pace is relentless. The phrase ‘a real page-turner’ was born.

    Tolstoy was for us, an examination text. I mean that fellow was just all adverbs and adjectives….

    Wait.

    What do you mean War and Peace is important?

    Well written?

    Has an X Factor?

    Oh No. Maybe we need X after all?

     

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    Great Blogs here!

     

     

  • W is for Whisky

    Scotch-Whisky

    Stone me. Would it happen to be the 27th of April?

    W in the A to Z Blogging Challenge?

    Quite apart from these momentous events, I will be celebrating the beginning of my forty fifth year on the planet.

    Friend and foe from my past will be surprised that I have made it this far. I mean to forty-five. Although my reaching W in the A to Z Challenge will probably also come as a surprise to them.

    Whisky. Will I drink some? Yes.

    Ok. There is a fair chance that I may drink a lot.

    Why will I drink a Whisky particularly?

    1. Whisky is Scotland. I am irrationally, passionately, Scottish.

    2. Whisky brings to mind the greatest man to walk this earth. Dad. (I may be a little biased.)

    3. Whisky is the spirit of the landmark.

    On Hogmanay, do people reach for a gin? A Vodka? No. Should auld acquaintance be forgot…’let’s have a Scotch’.

    There is something fundamental about a Scotch.

    I have no doubt that the Japanese have made an incredible whisky or two and will continue to do so. The Irish and the Americans have some great spirits, and even felt moved to sneak an additional vowel in – Whiskey as opposed to Whisky.

    But here’s the thing. When presented with Sashimi, it never occurs to me that the Salmon is Scottish. Sashimi is Japanese.

    Presented with a Whisky, I raise a toast to the King ‘across the water’, nod to my Father and revel in being a Scot.

    Whiskey is Scottish.

    Live with it.

    Take a strong nip of Whisky, roll it around your mouth, and just for a second touch your inner William Wallis.

    Slainte.

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    There are lots of great blogs to try – here 

  • V is for Vanity

    From the Oxford Dictionary

    Excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements: e.g. ‘it flattered his vanity to think I was in love with him’

    1529

     

    He certainly had a way with words didn’t he?

    Are we living in the Age of Vanity?

    An age where people ‘share their status’ – through a variety of media.

    People seem much keener to tell the world that they are shopping in Harrods than they are to let us know that they have gone to the corner shop to buy milk.

    Judging by Facebook, the world is a place where everyone is fabulously wealthy, taking exotic holidays and drinking only the finest Champagne. And their children? Oh don’t get me started on that…

    “Vanity asks the question: Is it popular?”

    I am a writer. I want people to read my words. Ultimately, I want people to pay to read my words. Vanity is an essential driver.

    In the new world of publishing, I am expected to ‘build my following’, to attract followers on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram. I am not even sure that I understand Instagram! (Nevertheless – I can be found on all of those channels and more, feel free to follow me.) I am expected to persuade you good people to subscribe to my blog.

    In the age of vanity, the more popular that I can demonstrate I am, the better support I would get from a publisher.

    This is just business sense I guess; but it does seem a little backwards.

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    More blogs here