Wednesday, 29 December 2010


                                                          So long, snow people.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Aging snow people

Following the incredible snowfall in Southport last week we made two snow people.

They've smiled out from our front garden at neighbors, visitors and the postman for the past seven days.

We thought that they would melt fairly quickly and end up like The Snowman as piles of hats, carrots and, in the case of our snow people, banana skins.

However, the snow people have refused to go quietly and are enjoying an extended old age. Stooped and shrinking, heads down, they are growing old together, but they are still smiling.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Let it Snow!

Last night we had more snow than I've ever seen before. Every time I look out of the window it makes me smile.

Here's a link to more snowy pictures on the BBC Website.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Word Clouds

I've been messing about with word clouds today. It's been interesting to put several of my short stories into wordle and observe the repetition of themes and ideas over a varied selection of my writing.

Here is a word cloud of my story 'Just in Case':

Here's one of 'My Burglar':

Here's one of 'The Ice baby':

Messing about with word clouds is seriously addictive - next step is to learn how to display them on my blog properly!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Nativity: words and pictures.

It's been pretty much a year since I started this blog. Yesterday afternoon I found myself in the same position as a year ago when I watched a nativity play that I wasn't allowed to photograph or film (although I filmed and photographed in 2007 - see left). The fact that parents all over the country have been banned from recording their children's performances has received attention from the press this week in the Independent the Telegraph  and the  Daily Mail. The Mail article begins, 'Victory for common sense: Parents should be free to take pictures of their children's nativity play.' There was no such victory in the school that my children attend. I watched my daughter play a large part in what was her last nativity with mixed emotions: she was brilliant - she had memorised long passages of difficult words and had to step in at the last minute to take the part of a child who was ill - but I have no record of what was undoubtedly her most significant achievement of 2010.

Although 'Parents have been told they are free to photograph their children in school nativity plays and are urged to challenge teachers who tell them that it is forbidden,' (The Times) teachers are clearly not listening. As I challenged my daughter's head teacher yesterday, he informed me that a parent 'somewhere in the country' had contravened a photography ban this week and subsequently been removed from the school premises by the police: a cautionary tale to put camera-wielding mothers in their place.

I'll try to remember the way that my daughter spoke her lines, the way her face stretched itself around the long words, the way her hands clenched and unclenched themselves as she recited, the way she said 'extraordinary long time' instead of 'extraordinarily' which was one syllable too far - but ultimately I won't remember. Last year I took a notepad and a pencil to the nativity and tried to record it that way. But when I read the account back, it's just words; the words of a story that needs pictures too.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

MA Graduation.

Yesterday I attended my MA Graduation. It was a simultaneously sad and happy occasion - I'm pleased to have completed the MA, but I enjoyed it so much, I was sad that it had to end.

Here's a picture of me in a silly hat standing next to Tanya Byron of 'Little Angels' and 'The House of Tiny Tearaways' (she's also Chancellor of Edge Hill University).