27/02/2013

THAT BLOG done - now back to my own,

In case anyone is interested in my account of the whole process of rewritng a novel, you can read my guest blog on
Read Short Stories and Write Short Stories at Shortbread | Home of the Short Story

Meanwhile back on my own poor neglected blog, the bananas are growing and its raining! This is a two fold blessing - it will fatten up the bananas, give every plant and tree in the area a good wash and a soaking, and put me in the right mood to pack for England.
So we are delighted to see it. The cat is not!
She  normally perches at the bottom end of the swimming pool retaining wall from where she can see the path along which we will return home from an hour of debauchery in the local bar, then she will lead us up the path, doing somersaults to trip us up.
When it rains she sulks in her nest on the outside sofa and looks at us as if its all our fault.

It was raining when I took this photo last October - the last time I saw my grandsons - so I am well prepared.
I shall be away for two weeks, leaving the OH to fend for himself - don't forget me while I'm gone!

26/02/2013

FINISHED!


I've got there at last. Two months ago I embarked on yet another rewrite of
A Volcanic Race, the first book I ever wrote, and I have finished it! This is not the final version, of course, but the novel is now in much better shape - leaner and faster-paced.
I wish I could say the same about myself as I pack for two weeks in England, where I shall be trying to keep up with my two grandsons. Yes, I know the weather's bad, but I've been missing my family.

"WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW". This is sound advice, which I have chosen to ignore in A Volcanic Race. 
      I have never been to Africa, the continent on which I based some of my imaginary country. I have read books about it, seen National Geographic documentaries by the score, and made pages of research notes, but the nearest I have been is where I live now - Tenerife, a hundred miles off the west coast of Africa. We get the same searing heat in high summer, and some of the same plants, but the largest wild animal we have in Tenerife is the feral goat. So my imagination is free to roam.
Or so you would think.
The volcanic landscape of my adopted island inspired this novel, but despite my flights of fancy I have a strong streak of common sense which anchors me to logic. I created this imaginary country and its inhabitants, yet once I have taken that “What if?” leap into my fantasy world, within that framework I must remain consistent. It can be extremely annoying when I want a character to do something and my logical demon pops up saying “No – that won’t work.”
           But what can I do? One day my story - and the other books in the series - may reach a bookshop near you, and you'd be bound to notice if I made an error in logic, wouldn't you?

20/02/2013

SNOW AND BANANAS

Yesterday morning there was snow on the peak of Mount Teide - no wonder the breeze that blew along the bar terrace was so bitter the night before!

And yet down at our level we have bananas growing.

Two weeks ago the bud appeared.
Then the flower - it's about half a metre long.
And after that each petal curls back to reveal a tiny hand of bananas. All they need to do is fatten up.

18/02/2013

FLIPPING BIKES!


AARRGGHH!!!
I nearly killed a cyclist today.
Not deliberately, I hasten to add, though from my language when I missed him you could be forgiven for thinking so.

I was approaching a bus stop in front of which is one of those traffic-calming humps with a zebra crossing painted on top, so I was going slowly. Between me and the edge  of the road was a cyclist and. just as I was about to drive over the crossing hump, he swerved and rode across it practically under my wheels.
No hand signal, no indication whatsoever - he just went for it. Stupid, stupid man!

These cyclists seem to think they have the right to chop and change between being a vehicle or a pedestrian. Is it only in Tenerife that they behave so badly?

13/02/2013

WATCH OUT - THIEVES ABOUT!



Tenerife must be lying several centimetres lower in the Atlantic at the moment – apparently there’s hardly a spare bed to be had. This is good news for the tourist industry and a much-needed boost to the economy of an island that has more than 35% unemployment.
Not all visitors are welcome, of course. Those who come to swell the membership of foreign gangs of various nationalities are indicative of the downside of tourism. When we go to meet a friend at the airport and find the place crawling with police, we know they have been alerted to the arrival of more criminals.
Although one shouldn’t blame the victims, it is difficult not to when many holiday-makers are so incredibly careless.
Some of them – not always the younger element, I might add - get stupidly drunk and become easy prey for muggers when they stagger back to their hotels in the dark.
Far too many men carry their passports and wads of cash in the back pockets of their shorts instead of using the hotel safe.
Both sexes leave handbags and bum-bags unattended while they swim in the sea.
They buy tablecloths from swarthy women in the street when there are shops that sell them much cheaper, and the tourists often hold their purses so carelessly that the women’s nimble fingers can steal enough money to buy a dozen tablecloths.
One of the criminals’ latest tricks is to stick a piece of paper on the rear window of cars in car-parks. The driver slings handbag, camera and shopping on the back seat and starts to reverse, then sees the paper and gets out to remove it. Before he/she has reached the back of the car the thieves have got in and driven off.
A variation on the car-park theme is to wait until a driver has unlocked the car and put their belongings inside, and then shove a map under their nose and ask for directions. While the driver obligingly looks at the map an accomplice steals anything of value from the car. This actually happened to a friend of mine – her handbag was of no particular value, but she lost her credit card, her cash, her Residencia, her Health card, her prescriptions and her house keys. After a lengthy visit to the Policia she went home via a ferreteria and changed the locks, then set about replacing all her lost paperwork. Her husband suffers from dementia so he forgot about it quickly, but she was traumatised for days.
But don’t let me put you off! Your chances of falling into any of the above traps are the same wherever tourists go, and Tenerife has more sunshine this time of year than the Mediterranean. So come here and enjoy your holiday, but do please be careful.

07/02/2013

I TOLD YOU I WAS ILL!

That's reassuring - despite me being off-line for a week I have still had a few visitors to my blog. Welcome to you all, and thank you!
I've been a bit off-colour and the old brain cells aren't functioning properly. My sight's blurred and my fingers forget how to type, so there have been some very strange words on the page that even I have been unable to interpret,
But enough of that - discussions of ill-health are boring. Cue cute photo of bored baby.

I am trying to decide what to do next. First there is this blog to maintain - my own - and the one month A-Z challenge is coming up - should I join this year or not? Last year I was keen and had half of it planned out in advance. This year I think I've got too much else on my plate.

I have had two short stories issued on the online magazine http://runningoutofink.com and am in the process of submitting another, I've entered a few short story competitions and even written a poem or two, but my main job had been, and still is, the re-write of A Volcanic Race, the first novel I ever wrote. Even that has a sting in the tail, as I  allowed myself to be persuaded to blog about the process on http://shortbreadstories.com  And with my various ailments - those boring ones, remember? - I haven't got on as fast as I would like.

And now I have heard from an agent who likes my novel Helter-Skelter enough to have given me detailed feedback and will look at it again if I address the issues she raised. It#s great to be told I am "An exceptional writer" but devastating to get yet another refusal. Yet I am so near with HS that I shall have to do what the agent asks and "Have another bash at it" - once I've got A Volcanic Race out of the way.

D'you reckon the Doc might have some pills to make me an instant genius?

One small sad tale to end with - my grandsons' cat died last week. RIP Marley.