The Experiment

It finally happened, my trusty old laptop has started to misbehave and I can’t trust it not to just up and die on me in the middle of writing a word. So I have been to buy a shiny new purple beast. And it came with Windows 8.1…Eeeek!! I was still using XP till Tuesday, this is a real shock to the system. And transferring everything from XP to 8.1 has degenerated into moving individual files and writing down settings as THEY ARE NOT COMPATIBLE!

So, while I slowly but surely lick the new monster into a good enough shape to let me get on with writing my novel I’m playing around in Kara’s world a little. What you will get to see are a set of little stories, most weighing in at under 300 words, all unpolished and fresh minted as first draft from my fevered brow. Without further ado here is the first.

The Experiment

Part I

Kara sat at the table in her room, to her right was the notebook opened to the page where she had carefully written her equation for this experiment. On the left she carefully placed her recording stone, the piece of magnetite she used for storing her voice logs.

Gently calming the butterflies in her stomach, she built the equation in her mind carefully setting all of the variables to the base level. Uttering the activation word she watched the clear space on the table carefully. Nothing showed but she was not disappointed, there was no way she could be lucky enough to hit it first time.

“Alternate Reality Access. Experiment 1. No result. I will increase the value of alpha in term one by a factor of 10 for the next test.

Again Kara set up and activated the equations using with the new value.

“Alternate Reality Access. Experiment 2. No Result. I will again increase alpha by a factor of 10. This should begin to put some stress on the potential barrier.”

“Alternate Reality Access. Experiment 3. Still no result. Increasing alpha by factor of 100 for the next test.”

Kara shook stone dust out of her hair and looked thoughtful.

“Alternate Reality Access. Experiment 4. Observed significant feedback reaction via gravitation channel. Now had five people come to check I am alright after the ‘earthquake’. I think I’ve taken alpha as high as is safe now. For the next test I shall reduce alpha slightly and modify the value of beta in term one by 10% positive.”

Reaching down she retrieved the recording stone from the splinters that had been her table.

“Alternate Reality Access. Experiment 5. These settings of alpha and beta seem to produce highly localised vibrations in the local Space/Time fabric. Have to see if I can sneak these results to the Defence Council. End of testing for this day.”

She looked down sadly at her favourite table, now she had better make up a good story for when she requisitioned a new one.

If you enjoyed this please share the world and let me know what you thought. Part 2 will follow on Friday evening UK time.

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Stormy Weather II

Well the weather here has improved, more blue sky than cloud, it must know that I’m on to it.

And on to it I am! The Winter Tree has been drafted and is ready for my testers to go through it with a fine tooth comb. While I await their dread reports on all of the bad gramer (yes I know) and speeling (again I know), I have decided to press on while I’m on the proverbial roll. As we speak (type, blog, post…dammit I know what I mean) I am taking a wee break from the crafting of Stormy Weather, the second in a set of connected short stories starring my protagonist Karanthia Reynolds in battle against the strange and mysterious alongside Detective Inspector Peters of the Greater British Police Force. Currently I’m 1000 words in and sinking fast, I didn’t know the bookshelf had such a steep drop off into the crushing depths of the Wordcrafting Ocean, at least I can doggy paddle!

As a little teaser (nope, other than the short I put into my recent blog post called Sadness there is nothing to see here) here are the titles of my next short stories in this thread. Vulcan Rising, Sunflare, Ocean Deep, these are in no particular order and may have one or two more added to them. Eventually I’m planning to add a little short piece between each to join them up into a nice little collection. Who knows I might then look at the posibility of getting it published! If not of course I’ll probably share it with you poor crazy wonderful people.

Whoops, my muse is calling, and Kara is on the link whispering more adventures into my mind. See you all later…if I survive.

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Stormy Weather

You wouldn’t think it was June would you? Grey overcast sky, gusty winds. It has rained in the night and will probably rain again. The forecasters are saying it will get warm and sunny later in the week but I am taking that with a pinch of salt and leaving the summer clothes at the back of the wardrobe.

Can’t you tell I am British! They say the top conversation between British people who meet up is the weather, doesn’t matter if it is rain or shine, snow or hail. And it’s usually prefixed with “How are you today.” Well that is true for me and others I know, but is it a generalisation? And what about other countries, I wonder how it goes for them.

But as they say, it’s good for the gardens. And so far it has saved me watering in my attempt at growing interesting vegetables. Thanks to my younger daughter I have planted some unusual things (well they are to me anyway). I now have Tomato plants growing that will eventually bear stripy fruits, purple carrots and would you believe red brussels sprouts. My Christmas dinner this year is going to look very colorful!

Oh and for those who like serials the blog title today is a hint to my next posting. Watch this space.

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Castaway Mage – To rewrite or not to rewrite?

I have a decision to make, it’s one of those important ones, the sort that change worlds and the lives of people. I am of course talking about writing, still not quite important enough to do that for real.

I’m currently writing my first book and I’m doing it all wrong. I know this but I just can’t help but get words down on pages. This of course means I keep having little ideas that I think would look good and then I have to do a bit of rewriting to make it work.

And that brings me to the decision, it’s all due to a matter of scale really. I realised that the story would work better if I increased the distances in the story by a factor of 10, in fact it needed to be increased for it to make sense. What to do? I can either rewrite the whole thing, losing some great lines, remake it as a short story to keep the good stuff in or shelve the project until my skills have improved.

We shall see.


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A new sort of Saturday (perhaps)

Good morning folks, time for a general blather to get the momentum up in my postings. Normally after waking up at the weekend I’ll just go through my Facebook and Twitter feeds and read the current book on my reading list, going through a couple of coffees before waking J and then sort of wasting the morning before finally heading out to the shops around lunchtime.

Today? Well this morning I’m trying to fight the normal apathy and it’s not easy by any means! So far I have checked the feeds, had a coffee, eaten a breakfast of porridge made with 70% water, sweetened with honey and with a banana sliced into it. Tried similar before but I assure you fresh pineapple just doesn’t do it for me. Now I’m putting together the shopping list before heading out to the shops…oh and typing a blog post of course. By lunchtime today I am hoping to have completed all of the shopping and got in a pleasant 2 mile walk along the Nutbrook Trail in Derbyshire. For those who want to follow my exploits I’ll be starting at Stanton Gate Nature Reserve at Stapleford and walking along the Erewash Canal towards Ilkeston, at Stanton Lock I will cross the canal and continue along the trail through the old Stanton Iron works. On reaching Compton Road I will assess how I feel and either retrace my steps for a total distance of 2 miles or explore more of the route through the old works towards the Nutbrook Canal. After that I can take a well deserved rest before seeing what my afternoon is going to bring.

Anyway, enough of the chattering from me, how do you organise your days, is it just a routine that you have fallen into? Do you plan every minute before hand?  And do you stick to the plan relentlessly? Or like me do you just amble through the day and then try to pack it all in at the end?

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I’m Back!

Sorry friends, I’ve been lax of late and would like to apologise for the lack of blogs from me. Two weeks of the time had lots of running around and then I was back at the day job. I still, after all of these years of adult life, have to learn even the coarser points of time management.

I will be posting with some details of what I was up to during this missing time but for now I’ll just deal with last weekend and the Tuesday Weigh-in.

On Saturday I took part in an event organised by the company I work for. Called The Big E.on Run it was a set of activities in aid of The Teenage Cancer Trust, website here. There had been a choice of either a 10k run, 5k run or 5k family. No prizes for guessing which I chose! A few of us from the team I am in at work all did the 5k as a walk, my daughter E who has been banned from running until her foot has improved switched from the 10k to join me. And I’m so glad she did, having her along side me taking selfies and encouraging me made it so much easier to complete a distance that is about 1.5k longer than I have managed to do for about 5 years. We even managed to break into a run as we crossed the finish line. Our time? We did the distance in 1:17:57…joint last (we linked arms to make sure we crossed the line together). And to top it all we had the people I know from work cheering us across the line. For me this had been a great achievement and is proof to me that I can do this. Getting back some of my fitness and losing weight go together.

And it’s moment of truth time too. I don’t have my customary picture of my weight slip but on 21st April my weight was 24st 4lb, this is 1 lb up on the previous week and leaves me at 7lb down on my start weight. With all of the family events and the convention over the last couple of weeks I have taken my eye off the ball and am paying the price. My timetable isn’t changing though it is still to lose 50 lb by mid July, I’ll just have to improve my game.

To this end E suggested that we walk a 5k every month, a great idea as the companionship makes the walk easier. I’ll also be doing walks of various lengths several times each week and welcome anyone who fancies an amble in the local area and perhaps a little further afield. Don’t expect power walks or runs though, I’m really not anywhere near that level of fitness. If you are near to Bramcote in Nottinghamshire or perhaps a little further afield with some interesting places to walk near you please do get in touch. And to encourage me further and help a good cause please visit  and consider making a donation. Even $1 (that is 0.66p to my British readers) helps towards my target. And if when I get to $500 I am going to walk 10k along the Monsal Trail in the Peak District. This is along the bed of a disused railway through some really impressive countryside in one of Britains most spectacular National Parks. Take a look at the trail here. So come on and get me walking. I’ll be posting some of the best pictures I take along this walk and they will be available to buy after the walk with all proceeds going to the C3 Foundation.


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Easter Part One

So much done, so much to say! There are going to have to be several posts today just to get in all that has happened since Friday night!

Friday was almost a normal day, housework done in preparation for visitors arriving on Easter Monday. But then late afternoon we loaded up the car with our holdall, and a wheelchair and set off for an Ibis Budget hotel on the edge of Leicester.

The Ibis chain is pretty good if you are looking for a place to stay when visiting cities everywhere, they are inexpensive and convenient. Unfortunately as we found the budget hotels are not as comfortable as the normal Ibis if you suffer aches and pains as we do, the beds are a little on the hard side. The rooms are quite basic, tiny shelves either side of the bed which almost fills one end of the room. There is a good size shower stall and a tiny toilet. A sink in one corner of the room and a small table and chair completes the complement of furniture. The TV on the wall in the corner is the standard these days. Free, reasonable speed wifi is a great plus though. The room cost us £73 for two nights though so if you are younger and fitter than us it could work quite well. Breakfast is an extra at £4.95, but you get a good selection of croissants, toast, bacon and egg, cereals and fruit are also available. Add the fact that it is all you can eat buffet style and it is quite a winner.

Right, advert for the hotel over, time for the pub. We ate at the Hobby Horse, just up the A46 from the hotel. For someone on a Slimming World eating plan the mixed grill was pretty close to perfect! Have to admit though that I did eat the fries and onion rings too. And I had dessert too! Apple and Raspberry crumble with custard, not a lorge portion of either but definitely naughty. What the heck though, this weekend was a birthday present from J and while I intended to try to behave I was holidaying!

After this it was back to the hotel, to watch a bit of TV and read a little before trying to get a night’s sleep before the events that were to unfurl the next day.

Well that was my Friday, more to follow soon.

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Going down

Weight 310315Well as you can see from the above it has been a better week, 4 lb which makes my total so far 7 lb since the start of my fundraiser. Going onto Slimming World was certainly a good decision. Well I say going, I follow the eating plan from the last time I went to meetings which is not the latest version. And I go to the local chemist to weigh myself. But is saving me a fortune and working too.

Not so good on the exercise front though, I’m a fair weather walker and with the way the weather has been recently I have stayed at home rather than getting soaked in the middle of a field somewhere. The countryside isn’t quite as attractive when you are cold and wet. But as soon as we see the sun again for a reasonable time I’m going to dust off the walking boots again and get out there.

In other news E is visiting, she is my partners daughter, though I do treat her as one of my own, she has been living in America with her husband for around 18 months now and this is her first visit back. She is here with us today and we have been off to see Insurgence at the local cinema. Not a bad film really, and we enjoyed all of the action sequences.This evening is a trip to a local carvery before dropping her back at her Dad’s place. She will be back to spend next week with us before we take her to the airport for the loooong trip home. More on that in another posting.

My next blog post will probably be all about the awesome First Contact Day in Leicester, but be warned it is my first con in 19 years and I might be a little incoherent.

See you all later


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Ranting a little

I’m lying here on the sofa this morning listening to the wind whistling round the building and looking at the grey sky. The forecast says that this is what the weekend holds for us and it is so tempting to just accept that it is just not fit to get out and about. It doesn’t help that I am still suffering from depression, that I am overweight (nay, lets be honest, obese) and unfit, and generally lacking in ‘get up and go’ either.

Today I need to get a walk of around 2.5 miles done, preferably on flat ground, no mud, undercover and dry. Unfortunately as I hate gyms I shall have to compromise on this and will probably end up on a hill, knee deep in a puddle in pouring rain. There is a nice walk I had planned for a nice day that takes me along the River Trent near Sawley taht includes an option choosing between 2.5 and 3 miles near the end depending on how I feel. It also has the benefit of a couple of pubs at the finishing point for a nice warming lunch. Mmmm the pub sounds enticing and I might just have to bite the bullet here and get out there.

And the meal planning. Now I have settled on following a Slimming World plan of eating I have to change my mindset quite drastically. I have always been one for the ad hoc snack, crisps or a sandwich when I was peckish or low. Suppose that has been my downfall. Biggest problem I have had so far is “the most important meal of the day”, yes I mean breakfast. If I have breakfast then I start snacking and grazing, it really seems to kickstart my desire to eat. And I get cranky if I try to resist. Note that I said desire, not need back there, I can get through an amazing amount of fruit etc between breakfast and lunch on the average day and even following SW that is not conducive to losing weight. I have even taken to leaving things in the car until lunchtime at work to try and help.

As far as meals go though I am a bit of a stick in the mud. Meat and chips (fries) is good and a variant of SW chips (no parboiling first) tastes excellent. Then there is Spag Bol, Chilli with Rice and the good old fry-up (grilled of course). But many of the recipes in the SW cookbooks leave me cold as the substitutes for some ingredients or the need to buy in new stuff leaves me cold. I know what I like and as I would have to make these meals for one while making something else for the rest of the family it is easier to go with a narrower selection. And that is the diet killer, boredom!
Each morning last week I had porridge oats soaked overnight in Mullerlight fruit yoghurt and topped with frozen fruit. I anticipate that by next weekend I will have to try something else or start hating it. But it is something I can eat at my desk easily. Fortunately I will be off work for 1 1/5 weeks over Easter so the SW fried breakfast comes in, grilled lean bacon, egg, mushroom and tomatoes or beans, I can even have some wholemeal toast with it. And that should get me ready again for the porridge, which I do like both for the taste and the illusion of plenty that you don’t get from 30g of many other cereals.

Lunches are not so bad as they do tend to be alternating between SW quiche with salad or leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.

All I need to do it seems is find my own mindset, I find it too difficult to get into the normal self-deception many employ to tell themselves that what they are eating is just like the full fat/sugar version. Fortunately when I cook I start from scratch and use no fat or sugar in preparation if I can help it (J does like a little sugar in tomato dishes though to offset the acidity). I will find my way though, the thing that works for me and I will be slim and fit again!

Thanks for listening to my Saturday rant, normal service will now be resumed.


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On track again.

Right then readers, it’s another day and the upset of yesterday is behind me. It’s all about getting back on the horse isn’t it? Not that I have been on a horse for over 40 years!

I started the day right with 30g of porridge oats soaked overnight in a Mullerlight yoghurt, topped this morning with a handful of defrosted strawberries. Then after taking J to work (I had booked leave for today) I set off on a walk along a stretch of the old Nottingham Canal.

A really pleasant day for a walk it was too, the sun was out but the day was not too warm so I was quite comfortable as I walked. Starting from Pit Lane in Stapleford, the site of the old colliery I crossed the Nottingham to Sheffield railway and on to the old canal towpath. The first stretch took me to Trowell Garden Centre where it straddles the bed of the canal. Skirting round the centre I eventually met the canal again and set off along the path. At the 0.95 mile point of my walk I reached the M1 motorway where it crosses the A609 at Trowell. Here the canal passes through a culvert and I turned round and headed back. At the 1.3 mile point my knees, which often give me discomfort when walking, started to complain a little, but after a brief rest I carried on until I arrived safely at the car. In total according to my phone app I walked 1.9 miles and burned 675 calories in doing so. Feeling pretty chuffed right now and rightly so I think.

Meal wise the rest of my day looks like this: Lunch – Roasted veg crust less quiche with side salad followed by an apple for dessert. Dinner – Roast Pork(no fat) Slimming World chips and garden peas with 2 slices of wholemeal bread. That will make my whole day a free day on the Extra Easy plan. I may add a scraping of butter to the bread which can come out of my syns as I am adding skimmed milk to my coffee.

Back on track with a vengence now, would be lovely if I could get down to 24st before First Contact day weekend at Easter. But I’m aware that that could be hoping for too much, the idea is to take it steadily and as long as I can now maintain a loss each week then all will be well.

And of course I have to remain focused on my plan, my target is 50 lb loss by 18 July, it is doable still and I still would love your help in meeting my target of fundraising for the CThree Foundation, please encourage me by donating anything you wish at all monies raised will go towards their fantastic work.

Have a grand day


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