Old Man look at my life….

Opening lyric from Neil Young seems appropriate for the day after my birthday! The second year running I’ve been abroad on my birthday. I had a delightful day in the sunshine. We had gone for an early breakfast because I was off birding. Suddenly the whole hotel staff came out singing to our table with a bottle of champagne. It is a lovely family run hotel right in the centre of Funchal old town.

Birding was good it was only me with the guide and driver. Had good spots of the endemics of Maderia. I also enjoyed seeing their Firecrest and the charismatic Waxbills. This was followed by watching Martimo who play in the Portuguese top flight. I got very hot sitting in the sun. The only blemish on that was the Luton result  came through and we lost.

Clare and I had a wonderful meal to finish a great day. She had given me Neil Gaiman’s book the retelling of the Norse Myths which I am really looking forward to reading and hopefully extending my telling repertoire.

I’ll maybe add a picture when I get home.

The Long and Winding Road……….

I am not sure if the inspiration for the Beatles song came from using Maderian roads they are certainly winding! We explored the North of the island yesterday and the valleys were stunning. This morning was a Levada walk which was fascinating. It is warm here so have actually chilled by the side of the pool this afternoon, those of you who know me will be surprised, did finish my book and did swim.

Birding tomorrow morning, my birthday present but it has been reduced to a half day because of the heat! It is tough being in the sun!

Sunshine on my shoulders

Just enjoying the sun out here in Madeira. Really warm today.Had a super bus ride over the tops yesterday not for the faint hearted. Views were stunning. Off to North of the island tomorrow. More towards the end of the week.

Finally publication draws closer should have a date next week. Should be around the third week of November.

Who’ll Stop the Rain

A busy old week for me.

I thought the old Creedence Clearwater Revival song was appropriate for today’s title. My goodness it has made for a fairly dry year today! I got two absolute soakings on the bike today. At least when I did the Bird Survey first thing the rain didn’t start till almost the end. Had some good spots and enjoyed watching a Kingfisher for some time. It was High Tide so it all looked very different.

Couple of enjoyable Story Telling sessions this week. Certainly nailed a new story.

I went to Exeter for football with some trepidation. They were second before the game. However it was another special performance in a bizarre game, we ran out comfortable winners after hanging on in the first half.

We are off for a week in the sun (hopefully) next week.


I went to Wick Court today to take pictures of Mollie the Sheep who is star of the second story in the soon to be published book. This is so we can put a picture of her in the back of the book. It was rather entertaining watching the children from the Charles Dickens School round the sheep up and particularly Mollie who in her own idiosyncratic way took some time to move. The picture below is of our new media star!

A Happy Hatter!!!

Sorry but the blog today is my response to football yesterday. Normal service will be resumed in future blogs including news about publication of the book.

Wonderful, fantastic, brilliant, unbelievable, superb! 7-1! I expected a tight hard fought game, well what do I know. The mighty Hatters were irrepressible playing fast flowing football. I’ve never seen us score 7 before I missed the 8 against Yeovil at the start of the season.

I am “Over the Moon Brian” if you can remember that old sketch.

Osprey in Frampton!!!!!!

A birding ambition achieved this morning! I have seen Ospreys in different parts of the country, even seen them catching fish. Always wanted to see one in Frampton and have missed them when they have turned up before in the village. Heard there was around yesterday and I saw it this morning with a fish! Brilliant! The pictures above are from Frampton but not mine. Might pop out later to see if it is still around. Also had a wonderful view of a Kingfisher, the iridescent blue was striking in the sun.

Busy learning some old stories of mine for a gig next week.

Hopefully news on publication in the next week or so for the book.


Cheltenham Again!

It is that time of the year again, the leaves are turning, the nights are drawing in and the Cheltenham Literature Festival is here again. We both went on Friday only one event together. I went to a debate on History in Schools it was surprisingly thought provoking. We both went to an event called Words and War. It had Harry Enfield and Alison Steadman reading a wide variety of poetry through the last thousand years. It was superb a mixture of poignancy and humour.

I’ve had a couple of interesting meetings about future work which is going to be different.

The book is a step closer to publishing, I saw the lay out of the text with the illustrations. Looks good! Will blog when I have a date for publication. I enjoyed reading it through again.


Like Buses it comes in Threes

I was asked recently about how regular is my Story Telling work. I replied it was like buses a quiet spell followed several gigs. Last Friday it was like that with three enquiries and one of them is going to working in a completely new field which I am excited about. I will blog about in the future when they happen.

Tried out another new story this afternoon, which went well and can be developed in the future. It was a Brazilian folk tale ( I am performing South American stories for a school in a fortnight) so it helped giving this one an airing.

Clocked a few miles on the bike this week, all connected with visits. One was to meet old friends on Wednesday for a delightful lunch (put that in especially for you David as you one of my regular readers!)

Saw a Whinchat with the children on Tuesday. Don’t see them that often last one was a couple of years ago.