Category Archives: Uncategorized

1.Books the Breakdown: Gardening!

This is how it all started!

The writing journey started with this blog. Recording my journey on the allotment was about learning from mistakes, about sharing the experiences with others and generally to keep developing myself.

This was a learning curve. How to write a book, taking the photos. Making a start on something, where I had no idea where it might go.

The first book was Playing with Plant Pots; Tales from the Allotment. Or, The Yellow one! This has bits pulled together about what I had grown on the allotment and then recipes based upon that produce.

The second is Sow, Grow and Eat. Whilst there is still some allotment and growing information in there. This concentrates on jams, jellies, preserves and chutneys. I mean, when you have that many courgettes. You have to work out what to do with them!

These books were written to demystify gardening, debunk some myths. Above all, they aren’t perfect. These are books to start gently with the gardening and to have a support hand guiding you. That, and you can also eat what you grow.

Battle of Gravelly Hill 02/05/2022

The Battle of Gravelly Hill Interchange

A Gorbind Phalla Novelette

Goes live on kindles 2nd May 2022

When an unexpected Global Pandemic lays waste, Birmingham’s defences are compromised.
The world as we know it, changes. As does the city of Birmingham

The Kiss of Death makes Gorbind Phalla’s life as the De Factor Lord of The Manor of Birmingham that bit more difficult.
He has to keep the city safe as the Kiss of death shakes the City of a Thousand Trades.

Then there is Felicity Dalton, the leader of The Rotunda Rebellion. A permanent thorn in his side.
A witch and a necromancer too.
A battle is coming. Between fractious parties, with the Kiss of Death.

The Battle for Gravelly Hill Interchange.

Shenanigans 2022: Telford March 12th

SHENANIGANS BOOK SIGNING TELFORD 2022

Not long now!

Next month I am scheduled to go to Shenanigans Books Signing in Telford. This is my first ever book signing! As you can imagine, that’s a bit scary.

I will be taking my books up the M6 and meeting lots of fellow authors and also readers too, hopefully.

Grab your tickets now for this amazing book signing. We have an amazing line up of fabulous authors and you don’t want to miss out.

Dragon Realm: On Kindle 24th Dec 2021

click here for kindle link

A city of a thousand trades. Birmingham is busy and bustles. Everyday people go about their everyday business. Yet, there is something that lives within Birmingham. Something far more magic, than a city is mundane.

Brian is on the night bus, when he hears a voice call to him from the dark. Dave and his Lady Eleanor have a far from normal day on the canals. Linus and Gary might be friends on opposite football teams, but when half-time comes they have something in common.

Dale goes out for a Balti, and gets more than his dinner. A romance reader catches the attention of Eloise whilst in the city library.

A few people of Birmingham are sought out to do something special. To act as guardians to rather mysterious packages.

Dragon Realm: On Kindle 24th Dec 2021

click here for kindle link

A city of a thousand trades. Birmingham is busy and bustles. Everyday people go about their everyday business. Yet, there is something that lives within Birmingham. Something far more magic, than a city is mundane.

Brian is on the night bus, when he hears a voice call to him from the dark. Dave and his Lady Eleanor have a far from normal day on the canals. Linus and Gary might be friends on opposite football teams, but when half-time comes they have something in common.

Dale goes out for a Balti, and gets more than his dinner. A romance reader catches the attention of Eloise whilst in the city library.

A few people of Birmingham are sought out to do something special. To act as guardians to rather mysterious packages.

Behind the Scenes: Pre-order

A book of two halves sits before you.

In the first half, what happens to the characters from the author’s novels when you aren’t reading them; what is the rest of their story? See what happens with Gorbind Phalla after the romance of Kangana. Devan Coultrie from Peace Novella Series has a life beyond making Montana Moonshine.

There are even a couple of new characters. Who is the mysterious Pencil-Sketch, and The Lady Aurelia is just dying to meet you.

In the second, meet the many different people who live in the City of Birmingham. A street preacher who yells his message, but one day disappears. Two strangers share a romantic encounter at The Kerryman Public house. What if there were spies in Birmingham, and what happens with the exhibits of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery when the visitors aren’t there? There is even some romance in Medieval Birmingham with the Lady of the Manor.

These all culminate in the apocalyptic Battle of Gravelly Hill Interchange.

The Fragments universe is set to expand!!!

Click on the Image to Pre-order your Kindle Copy

Goes live 14th November 2020

Happy Birthday, Plant Pot Tales

plantpottales

I like today. I like the date. 17th August.

Five years, ago, about tea-time, I pressed publish. My book was out there. The first book, that I would write. I didn’t know what was about to happen.

No, it wasn’t perfect. No, I didn’t know, at that point, what I should have done, or how.

But man, was I about to learn.

I have continued to do so, too. Over the course of five years, I’ve learned a great deal, and will hopefully continue to learn. Learning, is never over; as teacher, as counsellor, I know that is true. The journey has been pretty interesting so far.

This blog, was the basis for the first book. Without this blog, without the support of the gardening world, both here in Britain and beyond, the book, probably would still be a pipe dream, Worse still, it would probably be a page of inky jottings that were going nowhere fast.

This book, has moved. It has flown to the US. As a paperback, it was stocked in an Indie bookstore; it was on a bookstand! In fact, a few of the books were. At least 3, of what is growing-oh, there’s an unintended pun-catalogue.

 

A few of the books. The yellow book, paved the way for the rest. There was green book, what with the chutney making. A blue book-not the content, but the cover-that was based upon a grief model. I made a foray into writing contemporary romance.

All because of this blog, because I carried out an experiment with chilli plants.

Today, I am proud. I am happy, to acknowledge that the yellow book, paved a way. Oh, there’s another reference. I  get butterflies-not intentional-when the book is downloaded; when someone orders a paperback copy. When someone, decides to take risk, and engage with something that I have written. It’s magic, but altogether nerve wracking

That yellow book is special, it placed me on an interesting, ever developing journey.  It is also a little bit of my soul.

To the yellow book!

behindthescenescover

Runners and Riders…beans

Let’s talk beans.

Runner beans and Climbing French Beans.

Runner beans often get a bad press; for being stringy, for being confusing, and not knowing what to do with them. Climbing French Beans, get ignored.

I like both, I think they are both equitable for growing and need not be confusing in the least.

You can sow these now, in yoghurt pots or cut down pop bottles. Make sure the compost is moist not soaking damp; ensure the containers do have some form of drainage. Otherwise your seeds will too cold, damp and simply rot away.

(That last one, is probably a good science lesson to do with kids. They can see the development of the root system amongst other things.)

They do and will grow quickly, and will need to be hardened off before you plant them outside. This means to acclimatize the plants to the cooler conditions outside. Ideally, they should be planted outside once the frost window has closed. Here in England, that doesn’t happen til the end of May-the late May Bank Holiday, to be precise.

I’ve grown runner beans in pots, so this is possible. As well as planting in open ground. This will involve making tripods or Rugby-post structures to support the plants as they grow.  More often than not, the variety sown tends to be Scarlet Emperor. Think the Climbing French Beans were called Cobra…well, they do snake….

Runner beans and climbing beans are rapid growers. Once settled in position, they will keep going to the early autumn if conditions allow. They will need to be watered well when the temperature rises and the summer is full flow.

(That, could actually happen.)

The more you pick the ready beans, the more you will get. Start from the bottom and work upwards to get a steady crop that isn’t over ripe.

And what exactly do you do with them?

Runners, can be chutneyed, or cooked with potatoes, spices and potatoes. That’s how we have them at home. Chop them up, saute with onions, garlic, ginger and some chopped tomatoes. Add the contents of your masala tin to experiment as required.

Climbing Beans can be used in the same way, but are probably best steamed or cooked with butter, and dash of seasoning.

Chatting with @TheOrdKnitter

You may have read the post about socks; how I’ve learned how to knit them.

I wouldn’t have got that far without a little help from my friends, not to mention a book of patterns.

Well, I was kindly invited by The Ordinary Knitter, Heather, to share my experiences of knitting socks on flat needles.

I’d asked Heather for some advice on how to start, and she was great in walking me through a pattern.

You can hear the full podcast with Heather here.

 

socks

These are my current projects. Two stripy pairs for me. An experimental Dad  sock, and even one on a pair of circular needles. These, are the ones that I still need to reflect upon a bit further.

 

The book that I’ve used is by Alice Curtis Knit your socks on Straight.

To get growing

At this moment in time, there is a lot of seed sowing. The current situation, has inspired, challenged, encouraged people to start gardening. This might be growing your own food, sorting out the dahlias, or just rejuvenating your green space.

Gardening, has certainly struck a cord with people.

As such, I’ve been thinking about this blog. About how I started just over a decade ago, with containers in Dad’s garden. I started gardening, growing food through a combination of sheer fluke and curiosity.  Everything was an experiment.

It was also to help mental health at the time. I’d just come to the end of my initial teacher training, and was unlikely to be employed by the end of Summer. There was sadness, anxiety and uncertainty that experimenting with seed sowing could be alleviating.

Ten and bit years later, the change in the universe is global.

I started with cherry tomatoes, chilli plants. I found runner beans and even a Butternut squash plant that I called Gladys. We have Kevin the aubergine too.

That was an interesting summer, in 2009. We had a heatwave, and this led to a bumper crop of cayenne chillies.

I remember going to Wilkos, to Poundland, to get my supplies.

At this moment in time, that is impossible. There are DIY stores, but I’m not for one moment, encouraging non-essential travel. There are also online outlets, who are doing their best to support customers. Again, I advise caution, as businesses do the best that they can.

For my part, I have an allotment, that I can access sparingly to tidy up. I’ve yet to sow anything.

That doesn’t mean that I can’t offer support; especially with all the content on the blog. I wrote it, for that very job! To help others, perhaps share my mistakes so others would avoid them.

(There are also two books on the side bar, but that is not an advert.)

Gardening has the potential to bring great joy, stability, focus and so many other things. I know that it means a great deal to me. All being well, you may find something on the blog that also helps.