Rose’s Glastonbury Diary: Rose has left the building

26 06 2013

And we’re off! Bye bye home comforts, Glastonbury Festival here we come!

I know I’ll miss my toilet,
And my long and bubbly baths;
But they’ll be quite forgotten
As I wander Glasto’s paths.

I’ll miss my furry slippers,
And our Joint Ownership Cat;
But only if there’s time between
The music, drink and chat.

Farewell my snuggly pillow,
Adeiu to you, dear bed;
But honestly I’d rather be
At Glaso Fest instead.


Rose’s Glastonbury Diary: Pre-departure

26 06 2013

Today’s the day!

Whaddya mean, “What day?”! It’s going to Glasonbury Festival day of course, hurrah!

Everything’s checked off on The Big List, my rucksack’s packed, the Bag of Miscellaneous Stuff is pretty much packed, and I just have to wait for my other half to pack his rucksack, now that he’s finished work at last.

Oh, and I’ve done the obligatory last minute panic-shop and stashed a load of emergency Nakd bars (yum!) and generally healthy nibbles in my bag in case of late night/early morning munchies. And Pringles… There has to be Pringles…

We usually head off around midnight and arrive at dawn Thursday morning – might have to walk a bit further to find a space for our tent, but we’ve never had to queue at that time thank goodness; just hope there’s still a spec left to squeeze our tent into this time… Watching the fields fill up on the webcam is slightly worrying!

The only slight spanner in the works at the moment is my knee… You might know that I have Palendromic Arthritis (if you’re thinking “What’s that?” read this post…). I haven’t had a really bad flare-up for a few weeks, but last night I became aware of a slight twinge in my knee as I came downstairs. I thought “Oh-oh – that feels a bit like… no, it can’t be, not at Glasto time!” Three hours later I was a little ball of pain in bed (cue tiny violins), wanting to cry and break things, because a) it wasn’t fair – we’re going to Glasto dammit, I need my knee! and b) if it’s still dodgy when we get there it’s really going to ruin things for my other half.

This morning it feels less painful, and I’ve managed to negotiate the stairs, albeit slowly and limpily. So finger’s crossed this is one of those quick flares that’ll be gone by dawn tomorrow – and also that it isn’t the start of a week of wandering flare-ups. There’ll be serious trouble if it dares to pop up in my cider-drinking arm!

That’s all for now – I’ll just leave you with a tiny rhyme…

I have a little palindrome,
It’s flared up in my knee;
But NOTHING’S going to stop me
From enjoying Glastonbree!

Right, off to pimp up my walking stick…

Three if you include the coots…

23 06 2013

Hello hello!

Well, I promised you some more Granny Battle, and here it is! I’m being mean though, and will eek out the next few chapters over a few posts rather than all in one go!

If you want to catch up with the story so far, click here… (I’ve added this latest chapter to the end).


Chapter 9

‘Going back to your first question,’ said Granny, pausing to extract a troublesome piece of cress from between her teeth and flicking it away, ‘what’s going on is, we’re on A Mission.’ She leaned back smugly, then looked thoughtful and added, ‘Well, two Missions actually.’

Hearing the important capitals, Ellis looked up from his phone. ‘What sort of missions?’ he asked.

Granny rummaged in her bag again. ‘Banana? No? Okay.’ She deftly unpeeled one and tossed the skin to Ian, who caught it in his sleep and swallowed it in one gulp. Taking a delicate bite, she chewed thoughtfully for a moment, whilst Ellis waited impatiently.

‘One,’ she said bananily, ‘is to find your dad. The other is to stop a bunch of nasty weasley no-goods from destroying everything the dragons have been building up for hundreds and hundreds of years. Although I think the two missions might be related, so you could probably just call it one mission, but sort of in two parts.’ She waved the banana around vaguely. ‘Actually, three parts if you include the coots. Sure you don’t want want a banana?’

Ellis had gone pale. He’d felt himself go pale – well, he’d had that tummy-dropping-heart-booming-hot-and-cold-dizzy feeling that he guessed made you go pale. Considering what had happened in the last few hours, he fleetingly wondered if he’d stay pale for life.

He managed to get his vocal chords working and said faintly, ‘Find my dad?’

Granny swallowed the rest of the banana and nodded. ‘Yep,’ she said peering at him, ‘You all right? You’ve gone a bit pale.’

Ellis took a deep breath and let it out slowly. ‘Um. I dunno. I guess… er… yeah. No. I don’t know.’ He stared down at Ian on his lap and chewed his lip, thinking hard. ‘You think my dad is here?’ he asked.

‘Oh, he’s here all right,’ said Granny, ‘I’ve seen all the signs. I’ve just never been able to get a good fix on him. But now…’ she paused and grinned conspiratorially ‘Well, here we both are!’

Something stirred in Ellis’s memory, and he screwed up his eyes trying to recall what it was. ‘Wait a minute, you said before that you knew where he was, but didn’t know yet how to find him. Do you mean you’ve worked it out, just since we were in your kitchen?’

‘Yep,’ said Granny smugly, ‘Clever, eh?’

‘But how?’ asked Ellis.

Granny was rummaging in her bag again. ‘How do you think you’re showing up on the map?’ she asked without looking up.

Ellis looked exasperated. ‘I don’t know!’ he said exasperatedly.

Granny looked a little peeved. ‘All right, calm down,’ she said, ‘Look, right, when I did that thing with your hair back in the kitchen, I – er – borrowed a bit of you. That’s all. I just borrowed a bit of you, popped it into the app, and that’s why you’re showing up on the map.’

‘You borrowed a bit of me?’ asked Ellis, ‘What bit?!’

Granny opened a large packet of crisps she’d just retrieved from her bag. ‘Just a hair,’ she said, ‘Don’t worry, you won’t miss it. Anyway, a bit later I noticed something, and that’s when I worked it out.’

Ellis shook his head. ‘This is bonkers,’ he said flatly.

Then he looked down at Ian snoozing in his lap, and realised that everything was, indeed, extremely bonkers. And also that it was all happening. For real.

He sighed. ‘Sorry,’ he said quietly, then looked up at Granny, who was crunching and watching him carefully. ‘Okay. So what did you notice?’

Granny swallowed a mouthful of crisps and had opened her mouth to reply when there was an ear-splitting screech of brakes and the train suddenly lurched violently from side to side. Ian shot off Ellis’ lap and landed in a tangle of baby badger on the floor, and the contents of Granny’s crisp packet dumped themselves over everyone.

‘Bugger,’ she said, ‘That was quick! Grab your bag and follow me – we’re here!’ And with an apologetic wave at the badger family, she extracted Ian from the tangle on the floor, threw her bag over her shoulder and crunched to the carriage door.


Rose’s BookCross – The First…

16 06 2013


Well, I’ve just liberated the first book in my bookcrossing experiment! I wonder if anyone will pick it up? And I wonder if anyone will let me know if they have? Will they read it? Will they like it? Will they keep it, or pass it on? Or will it just get swept up with the rubbish by the cleaners? I hope not…

The first book I’m releasing into the wild is… *drum roll…*


Transition by Iain Banks. I couldn’t really choose any other author at the moment, could I? It’s a cracking read, and I also really enjoyed the audiobook version (even if it was abridged) when it was released as a series of free podcasts on iTunes a few years ago.

I’ve made a laminated bookmark with some blurb on too, which is tucked inside…


I set it free on the 1730 East Coast London King’s Cross to Edinburgh train, somewhere between Grantham and Newcastle… The train was busier than I’d expected (no free tables or seats to leave it on!) so I thought I’d ask the chap behind the counter in the buffet car if I could leave it there. He was very lovely, seemed to like the idea, and asked what book it was in case he fancied reading it himself!

Goodbye book, I hope you get read and enjoyed…

Goodbye Mr Banks…

11 06 2013

I discovered one of my favourite authors by accident.

It was 1991, I’d just moved down to London, and was looking for something new to read one evening. A housemate offered up his small collection of books, and a couple stood out to me for their rather cool black and white, graphical cover designs.

Both were by a bloke I’d never heard of: Iain Banks. One was called The Wasp Factory, the other Espedair Street. I chose The Wasp Factory.

It blew my mind.

It shocked me.

Some bits, when I was reading it on the bus, made me look nervously – and a tad guiltily – over my shoulder.

I loved it.

I wanted more.

So I read Espedair Street.

Totally different. But the same dark humour, lighter belly laughs, shocking twists, sadness, joy and pure unusualness.

And so began my Iain Banks addiction. I discovered he was also Iain M. Banks, and despite not being much of a fan of science fiction I couldn’t get enough of The Culture, and his vision and insight. I still want a drone. I’m sure they’ll become reality at some point – I’ll wager Apple will get there first…

Iain Banks, in whatever guise, has baffled me, made me laugh out loud and giggle guiltily, disturbed me, made me cry, made me throw a book across the room in frustration, then scuttle after it, pick it up, and carry on reading.

He increased my desire to want to write, along with John Irving, Charles Dickens, Terry Pratchett, E. Nesbit, Stephen King and others.

He made me realise that things I’d thought were taboo can be written about. And with a humerous twist.

He became the first author I ‘followed’ – in that I’d buy him in hardback as soon as a new book was released – a privilege later also assigned to John Irving, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. A select few.

He was on my (very short) list of Writers to Meet – if only to giggle embarassedly at and get a book signed. I achieved this with John Irving and Terry Pratchett (and more recently – sort of – with Ian Rankin, but that was random and I was too shy to ask him to sign a beermat!), and I’m heartbroken to have missed the opportunity with Mr Banks.

Lately I introduced my partner to him – as he’s a musician and a whisky-lover, I pushed Espedair Street and Raw Spirit his way. He’s not a big novel reader, so I was chuffed he read Espedair Street, and enjoyed it. Raw Spirit, with its whisky and cars, was more up his street. I hope he tries more… (Iain Banks books, not whisky and cars…)

In April when I read his announcement, it made me cry.

Now, too soon, he’s left us. Us, his readers, who hang on to his every word, who read his books again and again, and itch for the arrival of the latest outpouring from his incredible imagination. Ah, the selfishness of “us readers” – most importantly of course, he’s left his Adele, his family, his friends…

Some of the words from his fellow writers have been beautiful; in particular Val McDermid voiced via Twitter what I think a lot of his fans were thinking: “Iain Banks, RIP. Grateful for what he left us, angry for what he’ll miss and we’ll miss.”

I wonder how many people in the world picked up one of his books, poured themselves a drink, and raised their glass to him on Sunday? A lot, if the amount of photos tweeted to Ian Rankin after he tweeted a photo of a-book-and-a-wee-dram is anything to go by.

His books.

There’s only one left.

That’s hard.

There’s only one left.

Part of me wants to run away to a wee cottage in the wilds of Scotland on my own to read it with a bottle of whisky. But I don’t really like whisky, and I’d miss my other half. So I’ll probably read it on trains, at home, and perhaps take myself to the local pub for the last few chapters, with a pint of Deuchars (and a tissue) for company.

So. Please join me in expressing deepest condolences to his family and friends.

And when you have a moment, raise a glass and drink to his honour; to the wonderful worlds he created, to the words he’s left us. To his raw spirit.

As Ian Rankin put it so perfectly, “Away the crow road far too soon…”

Goodbye Mr Banks, and thank you. Thank you for retractables, for champagne hedgehogs, and for Every Single Word.

ps – Thank you to Val McDermid and Ian Rankin for giving me their permission to quote their tweets.

Now with added sound…

4 06 2013


I’ve done something rather embarrassing.

I’ve popped a couple of my rhymes on SoundCloud, so now you can listen to my silly voice reading Trying to Rhyme… and Something Nasty in The Bathroom.

I’m not sure if this will become a regular thing, or if I’ll end up deleting them out of shame… But anyway, they’re there if you fancy listening!

*runs off blushing furiously*