What a wonderful Winter’s Day! A lovely walk around Frampton Lakes followed by a dodgy pedal ( odd patches of ice on the roads). A few self indulgent pictures below and a quiz!


Good news we have now got the Two Severn Bores podcast on the River Severn sorted (I mentioned this some time ago) -what I aim to do over the next month is redo the web site and put the podcast on it.



Today’s Quiz is on Winter of course!

a) Which Shakespeare play starts “Now is the Winter of our Discontent”   b) The Winter Palace is in what city?  c) Which Christmas carol is based on a poem by Christina Rossetti?  d) Where has the White Witch stopped Christmas and is winter all the time?  e) What was the name of the public festivals held on the frozen Thames throughout the 17th and 18th centuries?



Today’s blog was prompted by a questionnaire I had to do this week. I had to fill in a whole lot of stuff for the publishers re my prospective book. One question asked what books or authors have influenced me-we had tackled this once at Book Club and it was really interesting listening to others on their book choices. I found it really difficult because throughout  your life your perception of books will be different.

However, my choice was influenced by the first Christmas when I arrived home from college I had just got a copy of The Once and Future King by T.H. White on the recommendation of a really good friend. It is of course the Arthurian Legend that runs the whole gamut of emotions.  Memorably I spent all that Christmas with my nose in the book much to the amusement of my sister who had a new cassette (younger readers might not know what that is) who spent all the time recording us and all she got from me were either grunts or monosyllabic answers. That book inspired the first decent length story I ever wrote and subsequent stories I’ve written. I think it also probably fired my Story Telling.

Great win last night for the Mighty Hatters!

Will try and do a quiz tomorrow.

Wet, Cold and Punctured (again)

Apologies for no title for yesterday’s blog -think I’m losing it! Today’s title reflects my cycle ride today. It was only just above freezing and the balaclava came out for the ride so with my wonderfully streamlined body it looked like I was out on a SAS training ride. It started to rain so I got a soaking and sadly two miles from home my back tyre started to lose air so it was a question of nurse it home because it wasn’t exactly conducive to stopping for a repair. A new tyre will be fitted tomorrow because this has happened to often!

Yesterday’s Cultural Quiz on the Wind answers

a) Kenneth Grahame wrote Wind in the Willows  b) Raymond Briggs book was called Where the Wind Blows  c) Gone with the Wind was written by Margaret Mitchell  d) Shelley’s poem was Ode to the West Wind   e) Donovan of course sang Catch the Wind

Fingers crossed for the mighty Hatters tonight!

Woke up this morning to see a dusting of snow which was different! We managed to go out for a walk later and the wind was like a knife. I thought I would do a quiz on winds but realised I have done one before so today we have a cultural wind quiz. Well I am stretching a point! You will notice all my quizzes are inspired by something that I have experienced during the day getting worried that it might getting repetitive!

Quiz questions on Wind in culture

a) Who wrote Wind in the Willows?  b) Raymond Biggs picture book with wind in the title on Nuclear war is called?  c) Who wrote Gone With the Wind?  d) What is the name of Shelley’s famous poem with wind in the title?  e) Who sang “but I might as well try and  Catch the Wind?”

Quiz Answers

Yesterday’s Boxing Day Quiz

a) The Wren was traditionally hunted on Boxing Day in several countries particularly Ireland because one legend has Irish soldiers were betrayed to the Vikings by the beating of a Wren’s wings!  (picture below-not mine!) b) Good King Wenceslas of course looked out on the Feast of Stephen  c) Boxing Day was traditionally the day when tradesmen were given boxes with gifts in and Pepys mentions it in his diary  d) Melbourne Cricket Ground is the famous Boxing Day Test Match venue although there are Test matches in New Zealand and South Africa  e) It is called The Day of Goodwill in South Africa -what a good name!


St. Stephen’s Day

I could of course put Boxing Day for the title! First of all I hope all of you had a good Christmas although it was probably different to what you normally do! We had a surprisingly social one meeting friends for a walk on Selsey Common and then joining neighbours on the street. We even managed a ride!

Disappointed with my football’s team’s lacklustre first half today-on to Tuesday!

I promised a picture from my story Pig the Legend drawn by Jane Fryer so look at it below. Should get you guessing about the story! I think it is unlikely I will write much more about the book until I have firm details but I was excited by the news so wanted to share something.

A Boxing Day Quiz (I think I will go for three quizzes a week because we are now Tier 3!)

a) What bird was traditionally hunted on St. Stephen’s Day?(-the answer will surprise you if you don’t know)  b) Who looked out on the Feast of Stephen?   c) Why is it called Boxing Day?  (Pepys mentions why!)  d) Where is the traditional Boxing Day Test match famously held?  e) What do they call the 26th December in South Africa?


‘Twas the night before Christmas……

Well Christmas Eve has come into Gloucestershire in style. The non-stop rain of yesterday has seen widespread flooding with roads closed. The roads into village were awash and were closed for a while last night. We decided not to cycle today because we didn’t fancy aquaplaning through the roads! Went for  walk instead – pictures from the walk are of the Buzzard on the ground looking for worms I think and the Little Grebe on the canal.



The good news that I hinted at in an earlier blog is my story “Pig the Legend” will be published in the Spring. So I will give you an enigmatic taste and will put in one of Jane Fryer’s fantastic illustrations in the next blog. More details in future blogs!





HO HO HO HO!!!!!!!!!

Thought we would go all seasonal today. Picture below is of some strange “Santa Ambassador” (no prizes for guessing the identity). This was two years ago before I got onto my sleigh that was being pulled by a tractor around Sharpness-the reindeers were having a rest! Sadly because of the sad circumstances of 2020 my services have not been required this year. Over the years I have done many Santa Gigs starting with my first ever job as a young teacher way back in the mists of time through to my last teaching job and beyond. At Dursley I had to go over to the playgroup across the playground-so I would wear my tracksuit bottoms and wellies with my Santa outfit, as soon as I did my bit I would go back to my office quickly change (including trousers and said wellies) and then pop out to greet families leaving their party with the children telling me they had just seen Father Christmas (Yes!)

At the school parties I used to persuade a friend or one of my sons to dress up as Santa and I would walk around the classes with Santa ringing a bell. One older child memorably said as I was standing next to FCIt is Mr Church!” they were meaning Santa so I quickly said “It’s all done by mirrors!” I then heard a loud whisper “There you are I told you it was Mr Church and it is all done by mirrors!”

When I was Chair of the charity running the Children’s Centres I had to do three or four gigs in a couple of days around the Stroud area! It was often quite humbling listening to them earnestly innocently telling me all sorts of things about their lives and what they hoped Santa could do for them.

Finally a joke told to me a couple years ago by a Y4

“What do you call Santa’s little helpers?”

“Subordinate Clauses!”


Locked Out

What I intended for today’s post I will do tomorrow because I have been locked out of the blog most of the evening! It is good news as well!

Quiz Answers below

a) The last conjunction that could be seen was in 1226 so seven hundred and ninety four years ago (800 will do as an answer!)  b) Olympus Mon on Mars is the largest volcano in the solar system  c) A supernova is the explosion of a star  d) Mars has two moons Phobus and Deimos  e) It takes about eight minutes for the sun’s rays to reach earth!


Damp Squib

I was really looking forward to observing the celestial conjunction this evening where Saturn and Jupiter appear as a double planet. Sadly it was raining and not one star to see in the night sky. I did go to have a look but only found 3 strange blokes on camels who were lost! Seriously our British weather often spoils events like this-I can recall being invited into a home made observatory with a fantastic scope to see Halley’s Comet ( a one in 76 years chance) and it was a similar night as tonight.

We did manage to get a cycle in today; it was being Postman Pat (not sure which one of us was Jess the Black and White Cat). Luckily it was before the heavy rain started although it was damp and mizzle for us!

A Cosmic Quiz for today.

a) How long ago did Saturn and Jupiter last have a similar conjunction? b) What is the name of the largest volcano in the Solar System and what planet is it on? c) What is a Supernova?  d) How many moons does Mars have? e) How long does it take for the Sun’s rays in minutes to reach the Earth?