Saturday, December 02, 2023

Advice for the Winter Writer

Many thanks to Penny Dolan for the following winter advice as told to her by the inimitable Miss Edith Winterbottom and shared with us on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.

Dear Fellow Scribes,

Alas! Winter, in my opinion, is the hardest season for Writers. One sits at one’s desk, oft-times without flames in one’s meagre hearth, attending to One’s Work (in Progress, Resting or at a Standstill) and finds One's Creative Spark chilled beyond Endurance.

Fear not! Today, I am suggesting Various Accoutrements that will make the sedentary life both bearable and productive, even as one’s Aspiring Thoughts cloud the inky page (or laptop screen. Ed.)

The Winterbottom List of Author's Essentials:

You will need:

1. A knitted snood: a most useful, soft, cylindrical garment for wearing round the neck, but without the encumbrance of lengthy scarfage.

2. A warm woolly hat, if needed. Without, for obvious aesthetic reasons, any bobble, slogan or in any team colours.

3 A pair of fingerless mitts. Adaptable for use with pencil, pen, paintbrush or keyboard. Also of assistance when opening Biscuits Tins or Confectionary Containers.

4. One Essential Over-Garment to wear over one’s regular clothing. For example, a large flannel dressing gown; a Mariner’s oversized Guernsey; one’s Grandfather’s raglan Overcoat, or any other superior garment you have the bodily strength to wear. Nb. Garments with pockets only!

5. If at your Country Desk, wear thick Socks and Sturdy Tweed Slippers. However, for superior comfort at your Town Desk, fur-lined Ankle Bootees will look more stylish.

6. Several large cushions or pillows, strategically wedged in place to ward off draughts but, hopefully, not drafts.(Excuse my wee moment of wit!)

7. If available, a lazy, well-fed, friendly cat for close comfort on the lap or nearby. If no feline is available, use a wrapped hot water bottle, although this is a far lesser option in terms of literary companionship.

8. Warming cups of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Spirituous liquors occasionally, when necessary for inspiration. (Suitable flasks & vessels can be found in Superior Expedition Catalogues, especially useful on the maid's half-day off.)

9. If one wishes, an Amusing Sausage Dog door draught excluder, ha ha. Or large, real Dog, if handcrafted version unavailable.

10. And now, a Final Suggestion, if you are Comfortably Equipped but still unable to get on with your Vital Project:


No, Not you, Dear Writer!

The Long Healthy Walk is for All the Others

so that now you can get on with Your Work, Peacefully, Cheerfully and Happily!

Sunday, November 26, 2023

The man whose name is lost

I'm on a mission: to reassure the spirit of the man whose name is lost that even though we don't know what to call him, he is not forgotten.

His label reads 'Limestone stelophorous statue of a man whose name is lost, 18th Dynasty, about 1400 BC, Provenance unknown'.

I came across him while wandering (i.e. lost) in the British Museum, and I would probably struggle to find him again, but that doesn't matter. Nameless man, consider yourself remembered.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Great Minds and Exploding Heads


A happy World Philosophy Day was had by all at the Edinburgh Bookshop last week. And in amongst the serious discussions of philosophy there was also an experiment to see if jumping high can make your head explode. Research is ongoing...

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Grayson Perry and an invitation

 This week I visited the Grayson Perry exhibition in Edinburgh and fell in love with a ship.

It's Perry's 2011 The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman and in the label he writes:

'It is a monument to all the anonymous craftsmen and craftswomen who have made all the wonders of civilisations all around the world... This cast-iron coffin in the form of a ship is encrusted with casts of objects from all over the world that are part of the British Museum's collection. The bottles hanging from the ship are filled with liquid, which represents the blood, sweat and tears of the men and women who made all these artefacts... Whenever we visit a museum, we make a pilgrimage to the tomb of the unknown craftsman.' 

That was a highlight of last week, and next week's highlight will be, naturally, the launch of Great Minds: 2500 Years of Thinkers and Philosophy* at the Edinburgh Bookshop on Thursday 16 November from 6:00-7:00. Free tickets are available here. Hope to see you there!

*Not such a non sequitur as you might think - Grayson Perry gets a mention on page 53 of Great Minds!  

Friday, November 03, 2023

Great Minds Book Launch


It's World Philosophy Day on the 16th November and if you're in range, come celebrate that and the launch of Great Minds - 2500 Years of Thinkers and Philosophy with Joan Haig and Joan Lennon at the Edinburgh Bookshop 6-7 pm. (Visit to book your place - we hope to see you there!)

Saturday, October 28, 2023

The Joy of Puddles and Zippers


Sunday, October 22, 2023

Remembering Trains!


At last I have a reason to dig out the old brio train set! Thank you Arran and welcome to Scotland!