Tag Archives: NaBloPoMo


There is one week to go, before book number eight goes live on Kindle. The paperback is already out online at Amazon.

Book number eight.

Five years ago, when I first thought about writing and publishing, I didn’t think I’d get as a far as writing eight. This year, was meant to be a break. However, with lockdown, with working from home. Book Eight was conjured up as a means of getting through it all.

Behind the Scenes is a beast of a book; four hundred pages.

The first part, sees the reader enter the world of my characters when they aren’t in the books. Their real life, if you like. The second, involves stories set in and inspired by Birmingham. The third, is a Gorbind Phalla Novelette. It’s a smorgasbord, if you like, of stories that I might not have otherwise written.

Right, I might go watch some telly, knit some socks.

#NABLOPOMO2020: journies

I was thinking, about what I wanted to write about today. I wasn’t too sure to be honest, but then this particular image bounced around my brain.

This, is what I believe to be a Maple tree. I encountered it, two years ago, whilst on a visit to Glastonbury Abbey. I stood before it, transfixed and mesmerised for a good twenty minutes. It exuded magic, that was the only explanation I had at the time.

The Red Maple, was magic, it had held my attention and if felt important. I took the photo, I kept it close. I even had it printed onto a canvas.

If ever I had a private practice, a private counselling practice with a room of my own. This would hang on the wall.

Two years ago, the prospect of having my own private counselling practice was embryonic. I had a long way to go, before it might come off. In fact that adventure to Glastonbury, was my first get away having finished my training.

Fast forward a little bit. I completed the course, I qualified. I was deemed as being proficient. Having volunteered in agencies for sometime and accruing a diverse range of experiemce, I set up my own practice.

That Red Maple, would give it’s name to the practice. Red Maple Counselling was born.

I am a Person-Centred counsellor. I started this journey eight years ago, with a level 2 qualification at night school. I already had an undergraduate degree in Human Psychology, as well as a teaching qualification and QTS. This, couldn’t have been a more different direction as I moved through Level 3 and eventually on to a level 4. That last phase, still at night school, was over two years and also involved clinical practice. The whole process, broke me, bruised me, to make a better me. It is by far, one of the best things I have ever done. Now, I most certainly have one of the best jobs in the world. There is really something quite magic about it.

There’s an overlap, with the Rogerian theory I was learning and the cultivation of the allotment. This has cropped up many times so far upon my journey.

Now, I have my practice. I still have the canvas, but I am yet to have my own, ‘own’ room. The canvas will eventually hang on the wall. For now, it reminds me of how far I have come, how far I have to go, and the journey itself.

Trust the process. Enjoy the journey.

#nablopomo2020 inky tools

Writing a blog post, is very different from writing on paper. On paper, with pen and ink.

And I do like my pens. I have a few. I currently have seven of them. All Parkers at that. Three, are Sonnets, the others are IM. I waited a long time to splurdge, to invest in these. I did so, as they are really important to me; important as part of my writing process.

I’m not a big fan of sitting down at a laptop and typing away in the flow of a story. I much rather prefer sitting down with the pens and a notebook. I find that a far more organic, more soulful experience. This does mean however, that end up with inky fingers. I use fountain pen ink and in a variety of different colours. Not that this makes my spidery handwriting any more legible; probably makes it a great deal worse, to be honest.

Yet, the days of writing with a scratchy biro are over. For me, at least.

I do have favourite colours. I use the Diamine range of fountain pen inks, and the two colours that I seem to use the most are Deep Magenta and Imperial Purple. That said, I have used a fair bit of Sapphire Blue. I am currently in the process of window-shopping new additions to the ink box. Anything, but yellow, I think. There are a few shades of green in the ink box too.

I would be bereft, if anything happened to this pens. In the four-ish years that I have had them. I think that they have helped craft three novellas and two novels, There is a stack of other writing projects waiting in the wings. I remember, the panic I felt, when author Sir Phillip Pullman announced that he has mis-placed his pen. I was aghast. The pen, was however recovered.

There is a cliché, an adage. That the pen, is mightier than the sword. I like to think that is true; for me, my pens are my version of Excalibur. Words have a profound power, in all the forms that they take. The power to touch us within, to inspire, fire up courage. Sometimes, these words are nice; they are joyful and comforting. At other times, words can be pejorative, divisive and use to disarm and disable. As an author, this is a hard line to tread. To be responsible, whilst being creative.

Words, and therein the pens, have a power. It is up to me how to use it.

Then again. With great power, comes great responsibility.

#NABLOPOMO2020: Knitting Projects

NABLOPMO, it’s been a while.

A month long blogging and writing experience, with daily posts. I’ve spent a lot of time over this year, handwriting two books. There have been bits and pieces on here, but not a great deal. So I thought, that I could write more for the blog, and in a more meaningful way.

So here goes.

As well as writing, I’ve been knitting during Lockdown. Of all the things, to acquire by way of skills, sock wasn’t something that I had considered. Socks and leg warmers.

I have so far, knitted eight pairs of socks. One for every month of lockdown. Each one, has been a labour of love. There have even been knitting injuries in getting a little carried away.

I was given a simple, straight forward pattern by a friend and colleague. For the most part, that’s the one I am following. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a file, that it becoming increasingly bigger as I find other patterns to extend my repertoire.

That, and avoid seduction by the Sock Yarn Faerie. This, is somewhat difficult. It is all too easy, to be seduced by pretty yarn and the desire to make more socks. I have a stash, or should that be cache of yarn to work through. I am therefore, sitting on my hands. I’m trying to get my head around different stitch patterns too.

A new, more recent phenomenon, is leg warmers. I’ve made one set, using sock yarn. To be honest, they aint bad! As far as a hypothesis tests go, they are a success. They fit, they do their job and they were actually really straight forward to knit. Far more straight forward, compared to socks. Another set have been cast on, albeit with more appropriate wool.

I knit using circular needles, rather than double pointy things. The ones for the leg warmers are 5mm, with the sock needles being 2.25 and 2.5. It does take a while to knit a pair, and it’s a good thing that I’m not in a hurry to be honest. I’ve enjoyed it so far, and it’s a great mindfulness, stress-relieving activity. I must remember to take breaks though, as then there are knitting related injuries otherwise.

#NABLOPOMO: Browncoat braves comic con


I’ve never been to a comic con, I’ve never wandered around the city of Birmingham in a costume. I did yesterday. I did, and I was brown coat. I like the Whedon-verse, Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Serenity have been watched over and over for years. There are lines from the shows that I know backwards. The highs, the lows, the tears and the tantrums, are an anthem to my youth.

A very dear friend of mine saw that Comic Con was coming to town, and asked if I fancied joining her. Yeah, sure, I would love to, I said. There was kicker, though. We’d be in Cosplay. There would be costumes. My friend went as the female version of The Pied Piper, so there were high standards.

I would be dressing up. What would be simpler than being a brown coat. Thank fully, I wasn’t the only cosplayer, there were quite a few there. I wasn’t the only brown coat either, I am sure there were a couple of them floating around.

A bollywood brown coat. You couldn’t make it up.

#NABLOPOMO: Thinking about next year on the plot

I really should think about what to sow and grow next year. Reflect on the squashes, chillies and other vegetables that might find themselves being played with on the plot.

We are getting closer to the festive period-the first of December marks the start of Advent, so I will wait til then to feel festive-and that means sowing chillies days after the turkey has been eaten and left overs dealt with. The first thing that I want to sow and grow, I do need to think about what varieties of chillies I would like to have. From cayennes, to habaneros and super hots, there are a number in the seed box.

In the coming weeks, I shall rifle through the seed box and see what the state play is.

#NABLOPOMO: Three years down the line



WordPress has just informed me that the blog has been running now for three years. I feel that is a really nice milestone, the blog is now officially a toddler.

Growing has been going on a little longer. However three years ago, I decided to make a more formal. more public record of what I had experienced and what I had learned. Initially, I started to record, but this developed to become more about sharing and allowing readers to get a deeper awareness of what was happening on the plot.

I am fortunate, in that I have a lot of help with the plot. From the gallery you will see that both my parents do have an involvement in one way or another.  Mum does all the digging, and then also helps with the preserving experiments. Dad is the engineering and structural advice, as well as the leaf mold gatherer who lugs along compost as well.


There has been a great deal of progress. Both with the cultivation on the plot, and also beyond in developing a brand and writing a book. The book, builds on the experiences that are documented on the blog and also contains Mum’s recipes. You can rest assured, that she sat next to me and dictated them all whilst I listened and typed.

When I first took on the allotment, I had no idea how much I would learn, and what the journey ahead of me would be. Since then, so much has happened, it is still very difficult to fully understand it all. I still enjoy the plot, and feel very passionate about. Having an allotment is not necessarily a conventional hobby, and there are still many people with a view that I should perhaps occupy my time with something more interesting and socially defined as being acceptable.

I have no plans to leave it, so I guess that I should really carry on….

#NABLOPOMO: An apology!

A profuse one. This time last year, writing for NABLOPOMO was a really good experience. I did my best to post daily, trying to find something new for people to read. This year is more challenging. It has become more difficult to write and then post blogs that will be interesting, engaging and allow the reader to take away something away from them.

That does not mean that I am giving up, not at all. I am just going to try alternative strategies to keep going. Hopefully, I shall come up with something to make up for the lost days.

Sorry for missing a few days, but normal service will be resumed shortly.

#NABLOPOMO: The Chillies…no, not the band


Even then, the chillies in question are purple.

This year, for the first time, I had a purple chilli in the poly tunnel. Along wit the Dorset naga, these were bought from Seas Spring Seeds at the Edible Garden show in March. We have come along way since then, and the two plants are still in the poly tunnel.

I have had a purple chilli before, albeit a rainbow chilli. The fruit changed from purple to an assortment of bright, vibrant colours. This particular plant had fruit that started off purple and then ripened to a lovely shade of red that we normally associate with a cayenne. It was a productive plant, and there were a number of fruit produced. I do like to sow and grow chillies, they have always been a presence in my growing adventures.

Next years chillies adventures are likely to start days after the Christmas celebrations occur, so I will be looking into my seedbox to choose what will sown.

#NABLOPOMO: That Patch of Earth

That patch of earth has seen a number of changes over the years. From being entirely covered in weeds, to having dips and depressions that needed to be filled, the topography of the plot has changed a great deal.

All of that has been a process. Nothing has happened instantly or over night. The process is actually on going, and will always be; there is always something to be done on the plot.

It is not always easy to go there, and spend lots of time there. Real life, as it were, does take priority. However, spending even half an hour walking around is incredibly valuable. There have been days where I have been doing planning, marking; and simply walking up and down through the roses bushes has helped to alleviate stress and tension. This makes me a great believer in gardening being valuable and a tool for mindfulness.