A Blaise of Glory

31 Jan

If you read my review of 2022, you may remember that it wasn’t a great year in reading for me. This year, however, has started with three absolute bangers – although I actually started reading them in 2022. The other two were The Martian and Wool, both of which I started in December, but this blog post is about Blaise Pascal’s Pensées, which I read slowly over the course of the year.

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My year in review – 2022

31 Dec

Objectively, this has been a bit of a bad year for me healthwise, relationshipwise and careerwise. Subjectively, though, it’s doesn’t seem like a bad year, mostly because I finally managed the mega interrailing trip (see the Travel section) and I spent the whole year working on a project that really interested me.

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Catching up with Christmas films

20 Dec

Last year, I came across a list of Christmas films (I think it may have been one of those cheap-to-make countdown programmes that they fill schedules with, but I don’t remember) and was surprised by how many I hadn’t seen. I mean, I have seen a lot of Christmas films, and deliberately avoided a lot of others (anything Hallmarky) but there are still quite a few significant gaps, apparently.

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Escape from Ward 66

12 Dec

I was planning to blog about Christmas films round about now. I was planning to do a lot of things this month, but ended up spending the start of it in hospital instead. That really messes with your diary and your to-do list, I find. Anyway, I’m still feeling very wobbly, but I’m out of hospital now, and I thought I would share with you all the things I like about not being in hospital, so that you can appreciate them too. Unless you’re reading this from hospital, of course, in which case you have my sympathy.

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Acceptance of rejection

22 Nov

My friend Fiona Stewart, who founded Foolproof Creative Arts, asked me to contribute a episode to her ‘Foolproof Bites’ mini-podcast series – something related to working in the arts as a Christian. I must have been in a less-than-upbeat mood, because the topic I chose was rejection – specifically rejection as a writer, by the way, lest you think I’m a Norma No Mates.

It’s an ever-relevant topic for a writer, though, and never more than this year. I will say more about this in my review of the year, but I set myself a target for submissions of work, and the only acceptance I have had all year is from Esperanto in Scotland, which doesn’t pay, is always short of contributions, and where I am friends with the editor. So yes, feeling a little rejected.

Anyway, the mini-podcast is actually not that depressing, and features me reading poetry, if that floats your boat. (I did read it, to be on the safe side, but it’s one of a number of poems I can recite in their entirety. Memorising poems without even trying that hard is one of my fun but mostly useless talents. I can also wiggle my ears.)

You can also listen to other episodes by Christians working in the arts, including those by my friends Matthew Todd (filmmaker) and Sam O’Donnell (painter). See, I told you I have friends!

Of draws, argers, and the perfidious English R

26 Oct

There was rather a funny moment at church this week when the man giving the sermon was talking about how his Bolton accent makes it hard to articulate the place-names Ur and Ayr, at least so that anyone can understand him. Ur was easy enough from the context (Abraham’s home) but he did have to specify that Ayr was on the west coast before we got it, because frankly both names just sounded like vocalisations of uncertainty – “er?”

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Gnoc, gnoc, gnocchi on heaven’s plate

11 Oct

Another installment of my very occasional series of adventures in not-really-cooking, and another dish I sometimes make when I can’t be bothered to cook properly. I recently had back-to-back recipe boxes with very faffy meals, so after two weeks of that, not really cooking is more appealing than ever.

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Robin Hood – the man, the myth, the legend

4 Oct

I am very sleepy today because last night I was up past my bedtime, appearing on the Monday Night Fan Club on Radio 5 Live.

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Five books to make you think

12 Sep

There are a number of reasons for an author to have a website. So that people can get information about my books is the obvious one. So that I can share my impassioned or facetious opinions without inconveniencing my general acquaintance is another. But a third, which is quite fun, is that sometimes people contact you unexpectedly via the website.

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The Sun Always Shines on my Top Five

23 Aug

Inspired by my last post, where I collaborated with a fellow A-ha fan, I thought I would give you a wee run down of my top five A-ha songs.

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