Storm tossed

Toscaig Harbour

The wild weather has given me the perfect excuse to stoke up the fire, coorie-in and settle down to some serious writing after the mad festive holiday. Today a finished a story, oringinally called The Pier and inspired by the pier in the photo.

Central Scotland has been blasted by storms over the past week and thankfully there is only slight damage outside, although I did loose most of my wee cabbage seedling when the frame they were sheltering caught a gust in the night.

This is also the perfect time for booking holidays and I managed to work a fifty first into this activity this year.

Fifty First Timer No.2

Spend my BA Airmiles

In the bad old days when I worked for Shell I managed, through work, to accumulate thousands of airmiles which I have never spent. One of my tasks for this year was to spend them.

I know I am always blabbing on about the environment and how we should all reduce our carbon footprint. And I know that air travel is the worst possible contributor but after all the grief I had traveling the world to earn the airmiles (often, I felt unnecessarily so), it would be such a waste not to use them. And, I know this is a bit of a cop-out but I do have some tree planting on my list for this year too.

Also I feel there is unfair guilt put on poor old Mr. and Mrs. Public because they burn up the atmosphere using cheap airlines whilst trying to experience a small part of this wonderful world. Instead the government and media should look at business travel. They would find a huge number of trips made for no other reason that to ensure the traveler reaches his/her gold card points quota for the year.

Oh well, there really is no excuse for me, is there? Except to say I am human too, and I never yet managed to earn that gold card, I preferred to stay at home.

After all that I am really excited to be going to Hong Kong – for three weeks! I can only image the number of first time experiences I will be able to fit into that trip.

Just Read – His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman

These three books have languished in my bookcase for years, taunting me with their reputation. When the film The Golden Compass was released in this country it was just the push I needed to devour these books one after the other.

The story, set in many parallel universes, tells the story of Lyra a young girl with a destiny. In her world everyone has a dæmon in the form of an animal. These dæmon’s are what we would probably recognize as our soul or inner reason.

In the first of the trilogy Northern Lights Lyra goes to the far North, armed only with a compass like device, to rescue stolen children. During her mission she is hunted by the Church and Mrs Coulter, and hindered by her guardian, Lord Asriel. But she is helped by Gyptians, an armored bear, witches and a Texan balloonist.

The Subtle Knife is the second book of the trilogy and finds Lyra in another world where she teams up with Will, a boy from our world, who is in search of his father. This time they encounter the same old enemies including some new ones in the form of Spectre and orphaned children. But they also enlist the help of a scientist, Doctor Mary Malone. And of course they have the knife to help them cut through into new worlds

The third and final book The Amber Spyglass, introduces the reader to yet more new worlds, as well as slipping in and out of the old ones. It also continues to build on all the old characters, who are now familiar, as well as developing new, strange creatures who move on wheels.

This book meets with some controversy because it seems to attack Christianity and it is aimed at young adults. On the first point I feel that the book throws up loads of questions for debate, but it also allows me as a reader to think hard about what religion means. At no time during the reading did I feel I was being preached to. In my opinion any book that makes me think deeper than the actual text is the mark of a classic.

Unlike the Harry Potter books, ‘His Dark Materials’ never felt like a children’s book. It worked for me on all levels.

It is a fantastic read and my copies have now returned to languish in the book shelve until I read them again.


  1. His Dark Materials must be my favorite books— they’re certainly the ones I’d most like my own writing to be like. I just hope the movie doesn’t turn anyone off the books. I think the film had its daemon cut away.


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