Thursday, 29 November 2012


Apologies to Graham Greene, but this is not a play on his classic novel  of the same name (far from it!) but the 3-word title for this week's 'THURSDAY@3' story seemed appropriate.

In a brief interlude of insomnia last night, the writing muse interrupted and I came up with the idea for this tale. With a little judicious wordsmithing I've managed to bring it in 'bang on the nail' at the 300-word limit I set myself for these little challenges.

I hope it amuses - please leave a comment if you feel moved to! ;-)


The Third Man

Well, it’s been quite a ride, so far. As I peer over the edge of the swaying basket at the Lilliputian vista below I wonder, briefly, how we've arrived at this extraordinary impasse.

I can’t work out the logistics of what brought us together in the first place. Albert, the scientist amongst us, has tried to explain a theory that involves complicated calculus and espouses the notion of time travel, which I can sort of comprehend, although I rather think that’s a tad fictional.

Hughes is the driving force of the mechanics; with his aviator’s experience of wind direction and velocity we are rather relying on his inspiration and inventiveness to keep us aloft safely.

Me? I'm the third man; the writer. As I drink in the details of our surroundings and try to work out how we came to be three men in a balloon I have the beginnings of a fantastic story in mind, if we can only get back to 'terra firma'!

My writers’ intuition is plotting the outcomes should we survive; Hughes is experiencing the first signs of agoraphobia and Albert is becoming ever more bemused by theoretical analysis. All I can think of is what to title this new novel!

And that brings me to a sticky point. Hughes has just informed us that we are losing altitude but if we ditch here, across the Alps, we will not survive the conditions; assuming, of course, we should manage to walk away from the inevitable crash-landing. The solution involves a question of ballast, or rather the lack of it, having utilised all we could find in the basket.

So I suppose it all comes down to that old question of who would you throw out of a balloon – Howard Hughes, Albert Einstein, or me, HG Wells?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Hooray for Hollywood! (and other stories!)

A week or so ago, there was much excitement as Dear Daughter and I went to the Victoria & Albert museum in London, to see a special exhibition of film costumes. Of course, being great fans of the 'Wizard of Oz' (she , I have to say, is bordering on the 'obsessional'! ;-p) we were thrilled to see Dorothy's (Judy Garland's) dress and Marilyn Monroe's famous white couture!

But the prime reason for our trip was to have the rare privilege of seeing the RUBY SLIPPERS themselves!

They were on special loan from the Smithsonian and were only here in London for part of the exhibition's run. Incidentally, it was a grand reunion for 'Dorothy's' dress and the shoes - they'd not been in the same building together since the film was originally made!

The whole exhibition was amazing - the costumes were on mannequins, but instead of a head, there was a small screen with a film of the character/actor's face, which was almost imperceptibly moving; just the odd blink, or the start of a smile, or even the eyes focusing on different people! Amazing! (and a little disturbing, in the case of Morticia Addams / Angelica Huston!)

But it was comforting to see Superman / Christopher Reeve, winging his way above us! 

We also got to see Vivien Leigh's 'green curtain' dress, as Scarlet O'Hara, in 'Gone with the Wind'. Sadly, this seems to have not survived so well - the vivid green we recall from the film is now rather faded...!

We weren't allowed to use cameras, so these pictures are from the V&A website - see more here


Last Sunday afternoon, DD and I took a walk along the canal tow-path near our respective homes. I was hoping to get some pictures of the Autumn colours in the trees, but a lot of the leaves are falling now and with the canal being elevated, the trees along the banks succumb to the winds soonest!

Still, we did manage to see some narrow boats, making their way along the Oxford canal. There is something comforting about the gentle chug-chug-chugging of the engines as they sedately make their way along. (Inland Waterways regulate speed at around 4mph, to avoid the 'wash' damaging the banks).


And finally - the Dog-sweaters are done and will be posted off tomorrow!

(see here )


So - in the best Hollywood tradition - for now, th-th-th-that's all folks!!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Autumn Leaves....(but Winter beckons!)

The first icy chills of winter are beginning to be evident, even here in the Midlands. The geography tends to keep away the extremes of weather, but since the clocks went back and the nights have drawn in it seems  to have been even more cold. I turned the thermostat up a notch on the central heating yesterday, but even as I did I realised that we will have colder temperatures to deal with in the coming weeks - we've only had one sharp frost so far!

The shops (especially the supermarkets) paid lip-service to Hallowe'en and Guy Fawkes' Night - now they're into full-on Christmas mode - yet it only seems such a short while ago we were all walking around in t-shirts and flip-flops

I see the festive season rushing towards us, but I want to savour Autumn. The leaves have turned into wonderful shades of golden yellow, through orange, to russet tones but the winds are ripping them away before we can fully enjoy their splendour. It's as if Mother Nature is hurrying things along towards Christmas. Still, I love the patchwork blanket of leaves she spreads across the grass!

I'm also agog to see my fatsia japonica come into bloom, despite me totally ignoring its well being!

But, for a while, it's nice to cosy up and drink hot tea and eat buttered crumpets; for soft, mood lighting and the flicker of the fire.....and realising I am so blessed!   And, of course, it's an excellent excuse to get on with the knitting! At the moment I'm trying to get some 'dog-sweaters' done for the Dog's Trust appeal (see my alter ego: The Knitting Assassin! ) - people who find themselves on the streets often have canine companions, so Dogs Trust are working with charities to help those who are forced to spend time out in the open.

Finished this one this morning - four down, I want to do at least another two before I have to send them off next week. It won't change the world, but it may make a difference to someone's canine buddy!

In the midst of all this, I really must get back into reading other people's blogs - apologies, guys, if I haven't visited so often. Also, the literary angle has been lacking recently! Actual writing done this month = 0; plot ideas=simmering away; what to do......what to do?