Saturday, November 29, 2008

Postcard from Birmingham's German Market

Birmingham's twin city is Frankfurt, which I guess explains why the largest German Christmas Market outside Germany sets up in Birmingham every year. Stalls selling stollen, gluhwein, wooden toys and other German flavoured products set up along New Street and Christmas shopping gets underway – much easier when you have a glass of warm wine in hand!

Unsurprisingly, the stalls selling alcohol and frankfurters do the best business. Makes you wonder what Birmingham exports to Frankfurt in exchange – a pub selling pints of mild and faggots?

The crowds at the market this evening would make you wonder 'what recession?' Seems where Christmas and alcohol are concerned we still have money to spend.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Postcard from a writer's room

I’ve been hiding out for five days at a wonderful writer’s retreat in Devon. My second novel (working title ‘Park Life’) grew faster than I'd hoped it could, while my every need was looked after by Deborah and her family. They made Sue (the other writer staying for the week) and I so welcome and comfortable we couldn’t fail to be inspired to get on with our writing.

The house is wonderful - each writer has a comfortable room equipped with desk and kettle (what more does a writer need?) and in the evenings a log fire tempted me to scribble in the sitting room in front of the flames. Meals are delicious, there are riverside walks on hand for vital ’fresh air’ breaks, and the family are great company when sitting at the PC screen feels a bit too isolated.

Deborah’s a professional writer who was happy to help me with writing queries and I hope Sue got as much out of our chats about writing as I did. It was great to immerse myself in the book for an extended period and to discuss characters, plots and techniques with people who were interested.

Definitely recommended to any writers who want to invest some time in their writing and Deborah can offer writing exercises and feedback for anyone who doesn’t just want to get their head down and crank it out as I did! Check it out at:
As well as writing a lot more of Park Life, I've noted some revisions I want to make to Map Reading and written two thirds of a short story - it was an intense few days!
If any authonomy members see this and want to know more - message me online, I'm KR.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Postcard from the first frost

Autumn's arrived and it feels more like winter. We had snow in April then snow in October. The summer never seemed to start.

This recently planted passion flower might have been hoping it would grow up to a life of sun-kissed bliss. Instead it's been put to work disguising a new fence panel and, within its first few weeks in the job, got chilled to the core. It's surviving though, clinging on and only shivering slightly.

Things have warmed up a little now with wet weather from the West instead of ice from the North. Sorry for the delay in posting this, guess I can't even pass the blame to the Post Office this time…