Great Grey Shrike

What a lovely way to spend your 21st birthday (x10!). We went to the Forest via Goodrich Castle (one of my favourite castles). The castle looked lovely in the autumn sun (I was in my shorts it is so mild), and the cheese scone with my coffee was scrumptious! We then walked around the Woorgreens Nature reserve and I spent some time watching a Great Grey Shrike (a distinctive bird).

On the way back we took in the sculptures at Gloucester Cathedral. Some real thought provoking ones!

Back to writing tomorrow and Thursday!


Seth at Colston Hall

Been working on the allotment story and so I am researching carrots! Well it is a different subject for research! I have some idea of where I want to go with the story but already going off a few surprising directions!

Saw Seth Lakeman giving a great performance at the Colston Hall on Friday night. A good mix of stomping rousing music and tender songs; one moving one on D-day which I hadn’t heard before.

Can’t not mention the Super Hatters seven wins on the bounce and now top of the league!!!!! It was a turgid affair against Northampton yesterday (who were physical and very niggly), we were not very good either but a last minute goal saw thousands raise the roof and send us home smiling!

My bike Shadowfax

I have been on my trusty old stead “Shadowfax” a few times over the last few days and the climbing legs are coming back. It is a steel framed bike so although it is heavier than modern carbon bikes it is a wonderful bike! Hopefully I will be able to improve my climbing times.

Just started my new story based in an allotment, I am hoping to tell this one in the local pub at Christmas but I will need to see how it develops. I have some idea how I want it to go but I am always surprised how ideas go off at tangents when writing.

Severn Birds

Had a delightful Thursday morning on the banks of the Severn doing a bird census for the Frampton estate. This meant I was allowed to go to areas closed off to the public which was good. I will be doing this once a month for the next two years. I am still trying negotiate access to another part of the Severn called the 100 acre which is testing my diplomatic skills! (argggghhhhh!)  Back to the bird count it was a stunning morning and had one great view of a Kingfisher. Lots of Meadow Pipits around and a couple of swallows going over.

I also spoke to the Stroud Head Teachers about what I could do on the Story Telling Front. I have already had a couple of bookings as a result. Circulating some leaflets later to some friends who work in different parts of the county.

Sprockets, pedals, crankshafts and tired Bill

Busy weekend on the social front! Today I took part in the Cotswold Sportive with my David and a friend Peter. We opted for the middle route of 60 miles. David flew round doing a fantastic time. We found the mind was willing but the body found it arduous both of us haven’t the miles in the legs. We did enjoy it and certainly will do something like this again but with modification to the bike and a few more miles in the legs next time!

Hoping to write a bit this week I have a few projects and ideas to develop.

Good day at the footie yesterday!

Last Days of Troy

My final day at the festival today. Decided to be green and cycle and train. When I was waiting on Stonehouse station and the train was 35 minutes late I was getting anxious! I hurtled through the traffic from Cheltenham station arriving with two minutes to go! It was worth it listening to the poet Simon Armitage reading poems, talking and later reflecting on his book the Last Days of Troy. I later went to the Killers of the King which dealt with the fate of the men who signed Charles 1st’s execution. Another well researched book!

Back to earth next week! I had a lovely day back at Wick Court on Tuesday. Children very enthusiastic looking at the birds.


Tangled up in Blue

Festival update! Yesterday I went to see an excellent talk on the influence of Homer on Western Civilisation. Sounds pompous but it was a real thought-provoking talk. I went on to listen to an interview with the gold medallist cyclist Nicole Cooke. I was impressed by her determination to succeed in the face of institutionalised sexism. I may end up buying her book. Today I went to a lecture on legacy of the First World Poets and then one on Peasant’s Revolt of 1381. Both were meticulously researched and both were engaging speakers. My next visit is on Thursday. I do enjoy the Festival we are lucky to be so close to Cheltenham. We hope to do the Hay Festival next May.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable Saturday at Stevenage watching the mighty Hatters win.

I am starting to get back to writing again, working on a couple of story and poem thoughts inspired by my travels. Also looking forward to getting back to my voluntary work with the children at Wick Court.

Tweet of the Day

Cheltenham Literature Festival started today. I went to Tweet of the Day which was delightful. Clare is at a couple of things tonight and tomorrow. More visits this week. It is a wonderful event although we are disappointed there is no Story Telling events to see this year. I am going to express my views on this!

Off to watch the Town tomorrow, fingers crossed! Cycled up some proper hills today not quite got my climbing legs back.

Finally some enquiries about my availability for Story Telling today.


Back Home

Just a quick one to say we got back late last night. Feeling the jet lag now as I write! The web site should be updated over the next few days to reflect this.

We had a super time and were impressed by the hospitality in both countries. The American National parks are real gems and their organisation (e.g. Park Rangers and free Shuttle buses)  is superb. Now have to sort and the masses of photos! Also lots of ideas for stories and poems to work on!

Got on the bike for the first time in a month.