It’s been a while…

14 12 2011

…a very long while…

But I’m nearly back!

Watch this space…


The little ash cloud…

18 04 2010

Oh dear. I’ve been neglecting my blog. It’s all been a bit hectic here, mainly due to me suddenly finding myself in full-time employment again which has drastically eaten in to my online time. Thinky-writing time is still good though, as I have a couple of hours train commute a day, and a whole hour for lunch (gasp, luxury!).

And then that volcano went off again last week… so I haven’t been able to help myself. My first weekend after a full week of ‘proper‘ (?!) work has seen me glued to volcano webcams and Twitter… My name’s Rose Appleby and I’m a volcano fetishist…

Anyway, thought I’d better plop a quick blog, and what better thing to do with it than to share with you a silly little poem that’s been brewing about The Ash Cloud (I think it deserves initial caps, don’t you?). Like the ash cloud, it’s probably going to keep growing, but here it is so far…

I had a little ash cloud,
I fed it every day.
But then my little ash cloud
began to blow away…

It blew to Scandinavia,
it blew to Scotland too.
And then it blew to England –
I don’t know what to do.

My lovely little ash cloud
is causing quite a fuss.
Instead of people flying
they are forced to go by bus…

There’s people stuck in China
and strange sunsets on the Tyne;
I’m getting quite embarrassed of
that cheeky cloud of mine…

There, that’s what we have so far. Raw and uncut.

And now back to the webcams… oh dear… I’m such a volcano geek…

Bins, bubbles and buried alive…

2 03 2010

At last! The black bin-men have been! Missed the last one so the situation was getting rather critical (cue whinge about fortnightly bin collections…).

Had one of those ‘moments’ last night – suddenly woke up at 1am with The First Line running round and round my head… leapt out of bed and bolted downstairs to get it down before it slipped away. Very excited, as have been searching for it since… er… 1992… (now that’s a bit embarassing)… but am trying to curb the excitement as I’m supposed to be in my shed. Woke this morning and the big, fat, heavy, stifling bubble that’s been growing on top of my head over the last few days has gone – so I think the bubble was the first line gradually putting itself together.  Odd that.  Not the first time a few days of that heavy bubble feeling have suddenly culminated in the lost idea pinging into existence.  I say lost, as it’s always as if you’ve had it all along but couldn’t find it.  Or you’ve just remembered it.  Odd…

A couple of daft things…

For some reason, the following line from a pub review in a local CAMRA magazine made t’other half and I snort into our pints the other evening: “To the side of the pub is a small walled garden, where the world record for being buried alive was broken in 1998 by Geoff Smith.”  What a selling point! Actually I’ve just googled him, and it turns out it was rather controversial ( Also the bubble has been slightly deflated (not the idea bubble, a different sort of bubble) after reading that he was in a box, not underground. Humph.

Radio presenter talking to a woman on the phone about her husband:

Presenter: “Is he sporty?”

Woman: “No, he’s 38.”


Odour eaters and ploughmen…

19 02 2010

Ooops, been a while. Long overdue a blog, so here we go…

Firstly, a snippet from Granny Battle… bits and bobs have been coming together lately on this, so here’s a first rough of Ellis’ first experience of meeting Granny Battle (this is very rough!)… he’s just walked into her house…


Ellis backed away and stepped in something that just felt… wrong.

‘Now then,’ said the daft old lady, ‘don’t move. You’ve just trodden in the Odour Eater I was making.  Stupid dragon made me drop it out the pan.  Just hold still – once it works out that your feet don’t smell, it’ll loosen its grip.  Er – your feet don’t smell, do they?’

Ellis shut his eyes tight and said ‘No!’ very quietly.  Whatever he’d stepped in was slithering around his ankles, exploring inside his trainers and investigating between his toes.  Suddenly it stopped slithering and started to quiver.

‘Oh dear,’ the old lady said, ‘I thought you said you didn’t have smelly feet?’

‘I don’t!’ squeaked Ellis.  The quivering got faster and faster, then suddenly it stopped, and whatever it was slithered off his feet.  Ellis opened his eyes and looked down.  He was standing in the middle of a splat of gloopy brown goo. He looked up at the old lady in horror.

‘Come on, come on,’ she said, ‘You’re all right now, obviously just a borderline case.  I’d do something about that though, before it gets any worse.  Step off it, quick now!’

Ellis stepped out the splat as quickly as he could and followed the old lady into the kitchen.  She put the frying pan down on the table, crossed her arms, and stared hard at him.  ‘You’re the boy from number 23, aren’t you?’ she asked, ‘Ellis, isn’t it? Likes drawing dragons? Close your mouth and just answer.’

Ellis closed his mouth and nodded.  What was going on, he thought?

‘I thought so,’ said the old lady smuggly.  ‘I’m Granny Battle.’ She stuck her hand out and Ellis jumped.  She seemed to expect him to shake it, so he did, carefully.

‘I’m a slooth,’ said Granny.

‘Don’t you mean a sleuth?’ asked Ellis, hearing the spelling mistake.

‘No,’ said Granny, ‘Not a sleuth, a slooth.  There’s a very big difference.’


So, that’s that then.

And what’s with the ploughmen, you’re thinking? Well. Whilst spending a rather crazy evening in Bradford recently, I was introduced to a poet who nonchalantly ate a ploughman’s-in-a-bag in front of me.  Having never seen such a snack before, and being very impressed with it’s bizarreness, and it being my birthday the following day, he presented me with a couple of bags of the said snack, then wrote me a birthday poem. I won’t mention Colin Firth.

If you don’t believe that ploughman’s-in-a-bag exists, here’s the proof:

Isn’t that just the daftest thing ever?! I saved that last one for my other half, but unfortunately he had one of those cracker-eating moments, and lost half of it – and one pickle – on the floor.

The Ploughman’s Poet blogs at There is mention of the Ploughman’s incident. And he called me lovely!

Strange things in bags – and dog-sticks – may well be working themselves into a story in some manner…

So, enough for now… back to my shed…

Iceland – The Golden Circle (Part 2)

22 01 2010

Iceland – The Golden Circle

We drive past Geysir, fluffy white puffs of steam rising from the ground, and turn off to Gullfoss, the Golden Waterfall. I’m looking forward to this. Hope my fear of edges doesn’t prevent me from seeing everything. The coach pulls into a parking area, and from the window I catch a glimpse of the falls, making me stop breathing for a minute and press my hands to the window. Before we disembark, we’re warned to watch our step because of the ice. Last year someone slipped and fell in, and they haven’t been found yet. I wonder if I’ll join them. There’s a narrow gravelly stone path going across, then up sharply (well, it looks sharp to me) to a craggy peninsula. I stand for a moment at the edge of the car park and smile at the view, then gingerly make my way up the path, stopping halfway for a blissful view of the churning white torrents, and feel a moment of dizziness as the force draws me to lean forward. I check myself and carry on up the path, hardly daring to breath, watching for slippery bits. As I near the top I can hear and feel the power of the falls, and I scramble awkwardly up some rocks, eager for the view.

Well. About the view. About the roar of the water; about the delicate, quiet spray, softly rising and drifting in the breeze; about the atmosphere; about the clean, sharp air; about the beauty, the grace, the sheer unstoppable power. My automatic camera packs in, so I’m forced to the unfamiliar manual one, probably none will come out. Well, hold the memory. It won’t be difficult. The falls go in steps, turning a corner, and the water is that beautiful, milky green of glacial water. Remember this. When I’m on my last legs, about to pop my clogs, bring me to Gullfoss and throw me over the edge. Let the falls finish me off, and let the tiny once-me-bits be spread the length and breadth of whatever route this river takes. I’m moved.

Then I move, a moments panic at the climb back down the rocky bit. I can see myself slipping over the edge crying ‘Not yet….!’. I slither down awkwardly on my bottom, as the others spring down gazelle-like around me. Bugger them. I walk slowly back up the path.

This is the Silver Waterfall today; all around the edges of the falls and on the slopes the spray has landed on the rocks and mossy ground and frozen, turning everything into a miniature forest of delicate silvery white crystals. And now I’ve climbed up the steps and am on top of the world, but still dwarfed by the surrounding mountains. I can see the falls in their entirety and everything is beautiful. I’m the last one, and I feel like the last person on earth; I turn in slow circles listening to the chill wind that bites my ears and nose, hearing the roar of the falls, and feeling the power and peace of the land around me.

The bus starts its engine, rudely interrupting my dreaming, so I jog back down the icy steps trying to avoid the bird droppings on the handrail. They’re purple.

Long haired granny…

12 01 2010

I’m intrigued.

Someone landed on my blog the other day by searching for ‘long haired granny’.  Can’t help but feel a bit disturbed… does the internet think I’m a long haired granny?  Being long overdue a haircut isn’t helping my paranoia…

Had an extremely funny cat moment over Christmas – one of those ones where you’re kicking yourself for not having had your phone/camera trained on it in video mode.  It went a bit like this…

Rather quiet, old, shy, small, nervous black cat with white paws comes out the cat flap into partner’s sister’s garden whilst partner and I are outside having a crafty fag.

Cat is not expecting people to be outside, and feels the urgent need to run away.

Cat jumps onto garden table.

Cat gives one of those quick pre-launch bum wiggles and leaps to the top of the garden fence.

Cat misjudges top of garden fence by a good metre, hits fence with belly and all four legs splayed out diagonally.

Cat slides down fence, hits ground, jumps again in panic, rebounds off table and disappears over top of fence.

Partner and I absolutely wee ourselves.

No, we’re not cruel nasty people – if you’d seen it you’d have been incapable with laughter too! It happened so fast, and the only thing missing was the comedy cartoon sound effects.  I’m sniggering now thinking about it.  It was almost as funny as when our cat was having a mad half-hour, tore down the hall into the bathroom, shot between my legs, jumped onto the side of the bath, misjudged it, landed in the bath… which was full of water (and bubblebath).  He was moving so fast that he somehow managed to jump straight out the water and leg it back down the hall leaving little puffs of bubblebath in his wake.

Oh dear, bit of a giggle problem now, best sign off…

Snow and fat blackbirds…

8 01 2010

Ooh look, it’s a new year, outside it’s all white and fluffy, and the country seems to be grinding to a halt. Had a little sprinke of extra snow in the night here, and… ooh, it’s just started snowing again! Hurrah for proper winters!

The cat is totally freaked out.  He only goes out to go to the loo, and is spending a lot of time sitting by the back door staring out the cat-flap in disgust.  When he does go out, he tries his best to either tread in previous paw-prints, or jump between rare patches of snow-less ground. Of which there ain’t a lot.  Ooh look, big flakes!

Been listening to local radio the last couple of days just to hear the lists of school-closures (how sad!).  Memories of sitting round the green formica kitchen table at breakfast waiting for Radio Leicester to announce the closure of our primary school.  Getting so wrapped up in extra jumpers, scarves, wellies and gloves that you’re rendered almost spherical, and sitting in freezing classrooms with your mittens on.  Now, was it just one of my birthday parties in February that a lot of kids didn’t make it to because of the snow, or just one? Or maybe they just didn’t want to come – hmmm, that hadn’t occured to me before! One little boy had to stay for ages because no-one turned up to take him home – was that snow, or forgetful parents?  He’d bought me a jigsaw puzzle of a lassie-type dog and a little girl in front of a roaring fire, and we did the jigsaw together whilst he waited to be collected.

Then there was the lorry driver.  A big lorry broke down outside our house – did the diesel freeze, or is that a made-up memory? Did he spend the night on the sofa, or is that made-up too?! I’m sure he came in for a hot drink at least, and mum may have made him a flask to take out with him while he tried to get his lorry going again – did he light a fire under it to try and thaw it out?!  That’s got to be made up… or is it?!

Snowball fights on the green by the Mace shop – always good fun until you get a snowball in your eye. Clumps of snow getting stuck to your woolen mittens, rendering them useless at making snowballs… tramping through the snow on the central reservation keeping your eyes on the ground to make sure you didn’t tread in the little yellow holes…

Well, I’m going to get a fire lit now and edit the second shed story with my notes from yesterday, then it should be just about done and I can get on with the third one, the first couple of chapters of which popped out a couple of days ago.  No title yet…

Look, there’s a very fat blackbird on the path outside with a beakfull of snow.  Blackbirds seem to turn into obese cartoon birds when it’s cold and they fluff their feathers up.  This one has absolutely no neck whatsoever, and he’s now sitting on the fence looking about as disgusted with the snow as the cat. Oh, and he’s gone.

Well that’s that then.