Friday, April 22, 2011

The gift of writing

In my spare time, I write science fiction. This started out rather late in life (compared with most writers, who've had stories bubbling out of their heads since they could string sentences together) so I've always felt a bit of a fraud. But I'm slowly gaining confidence to think that, in fact, I am not a bad writer.

This is a warming, but fragile, realisation.

For this I can thank the harsh but supportive groups of critiquers who've helped me develop my skills. Their comments have evolved over the years from outright ripping-apart, to glimmers of serious encouragement.

Being able to string words into stories is a great gift.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I feel lucky that, just 5 minutes drive from home, I can get out onto miles of woodland trails like this...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Eye to eye with the wild

I grew up somewhere where the closest I got to a wild animal was the occasional rabbit. This morning, I'm cycling to work along a quiet suburban road (not exactly wilderness) when I suddenly find myself eye to eye, as in less than a car's length away from, three deer grazing nonchalantly on a grass bank in front of someone's house.

This is not an isolated occurrence.

It makes my heart glad whenever it happens.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Time for reflection

I like to cycle to work as often as my body, schedule, and the weather allow. Sadly all three conspired to put an early end to cycling last summer, and to make a slow start this year after the winter darkness.

The trouble is, it's a long way to work. It involves an hour-long cycle each way, which is physically demanding, and requires time and preparation.

But, on days such as today when the planets align and I get on my bike, that turns into a number of blessings. I am getting exercise and fresh air. The ride is beautiful. I am often delighted by the sight of wildlife.

Best of all, I have two hours in the day free from demands. Time to myself. Time to reflect. A precious commodity.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Count your blessings

I came home from work feeling OK, after a not-too-stressful day, planning out what I was going to do with a hour or so free time. Thirty seconds later, all the good will evaporated. My wife was feeling ill, the kids were arguing over who was going to do what to get themselves some food before my daughter had to go off to Guides. Now, two and a bit hours later I've finally sat down for a few minutes after getting started on some food for my wife and I after the kids are to bed, and clearing a pile of dishes that's been depressing me for days. I feel wretched. I feel like I spend all my time looking after everyone around me and have no time left over for myself.

But I strayed on to this blog that I've been neglecting shamefully after such a good start, and I am reminded of all the things I should be thankful for. I'm lucky that I have a wife, and two wonderful children, and a home in a beautiful part of the world.

And after all that tiring effort, I did actually manage to do the one thing that I planned to do when I first arrived home, and the kitchen is clean again, and I have a tasty meal to look forward to.

Cup half full!

Thank you, blog!