Why I walked 21 miles for Wildlife

A week ago (28th April), I completed a 21 mile walk to raise money for Denmark Farm Conservation Centre. Surprisingly, I suffered few ill-effects and was able to drink beer and eat chocolate again some thirty seconds after finishing. Last Wednesday, I strolled around Denmark Farm and tried to capture a little of why I want others to support the place as I do….


Denmark Farm is a haven for wildlife whose habitats are being destroyed by Human activity…


… even common not-very-pretty wildlife…


…. as well as the classic stuff.


Preservation of these habitats needs some Human intervention, and that costs money, even the dull stuff like fencing


We also monitor wildlife as best we can to see the difference we are making


And I have a wonderful place to come and write when there’s time!

If you would like to support Denmark Farm, we have volunteer days, a wide variety of courses, and holiday accommodation (Eco-lodge, glamping, camping). And if none of that appeals, you can always bung us a couple of quid on our donations page. THANK YOU!


Categories: bees, birds, Sustainable Stuff, volunteering, wildlife, Writing | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Then there was the rain…


It has been a while since I posted here. I’m pretty sure that time does not run at a constant rate and is sensitive to diverse things such as temperature, happiness and percentage of blood in your alcohol (or vice versa).

Here in the UK we have officially had a heatwave, being 5 consecutive days of temperatures in excess of 5°C of the average for that day. Certainly one day was very hot for us, causing our dogs to almost melt. Good job they’re not chocolate*!

For inspiration, I walked around my writing office at Denmark Farm the other day, shortly after cooling rain had made it seem more like a normal British summer. The rain drops on the leaves and petals were too magnificent to ignore. So here they are…




  • If they were, I probably would have eaten them by now anyway…


Categories: camera, gardening, wildlife, Writing | Tags: , | 10 Comments

New Editor, no not Osborne

I have several excuses for not blogging more often than I do, and many of these reasons are almost entirely spurious. In my defence, although my claim that “a hundred giraffes prevented me from reaching my keyboard”, the truth is that the number was far less. Exactly a hundred less, in fact.

One thing I do find slows me down is the WordPress editor, which seems to conspire against me a lot of the time, particularly when it comes to placing pictures, or general layout considerations.











Whilst looking on the internet for substantial giraffe excluders, I came across the program I am using now – Open Live Writer, which is a free piece of software that is, essentially, Microsoft Word, but connected to your blog. Well, my blog. In theory, it should allow me to use a Word-like program, which I am extremely familiar with, to create my posts. Here goes… I am going to place some pictures of small cute animals I met last week at the Small Breeds Farm in Kington all over the page and see what happens.


I still need to publish this as a draft to my blog first because I don’t seem to be able to set up the Featured Image and the Twitter message, but it is still quicker to write and handle the pictures in Open Live Writer first. Oh, and picture captions don’t seem to be a thing either.

OK, well that seemed easier! Now, where to buy those giraffe excluders…


Open Live Writer is available as an app thingy from the Windows store – I think it only runs on Windows 10 at the moment.

Categories: General silliness, Writing | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

My Wednesday Space

Image may contain: people sitting, screen, laptop and indoor

Wednesdays’ don’t fare well in song lyrics. The best they can hope for is Freddie Mercury bicycling in their evening*; the worst must surely be Robert Smith who plans for either a broken heart or a heart attack** (he clearly isn’t a fan of Tuesday either).

Even Paul Simon decided that early on a Wednesday morning was the perfect time to ponder the recklessness of his youth and the fact he had just robbed an off-licence***.

My Wednesdays are far less eventful, and thank goodness. There are too many hills for bicycling, my heart is perfectly fine thank you very much, and I think the nearest off-licence is about twenty miles away, and possibly located in 1996. No, I choose to come here – my “office” at Denmark farm – to work on the two books I am currently writing.

Out the window there are birds squabbling over the peanuts in the bird feeder. I have a camera set up taking a picture every 15 seconds. After a few hours, I will retrieve it and put together a time lapse movie of bird shenanigans. Meanwhile, I am in an old mansion in a Scottish forest in 2083, about to fool my main character into thinking he has found his grail – a tin of baked beans.

And even better, someone has just brought me a cup of coffee.

What’s with Wednesdays? They’re great!


* I go out to work on Monday morning
Tuesday I go off to honeymoon
I’ll be back again before it’s time for sunny-down,
I’ll be lazing on a Sunday afternoon
Bicycling on every Wednesday evening
Thursday I go waltzing to the zoo (Lazing on  a Sunday Afternoon, Queen)

** Tuesday Wednesday break my heart (Friday I’m in Love, The Cure)

*** My life seems unreal,
My crime an illusion,
A scene badly written
In which I must play.
Yet I know as I gaze
At my young love beside me,
The morning is just a few hours away. (Wednesday Morning 3 a.m.)

Categories: Auguste, Writing | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Aberystwyth, a Lighthouse and the Knight


The Remains of a trip to the whelk-laden underbelly of Aberystwyth

You may know this feeling:trepidation and elation, of wanting to hang on to your version of something whilst wanting an open enough mind to accept that you may have bits wrong.

This is what happens when a book you love is brought to life. As an author I have never seen that happen to any of my characters but on Sunday I saw a book that I love to read made flesh, as it were. I had spent a month wondering how various parts of the story could be created on a stage, but the thing that leads to all that -ation is how the characters will look and sound, particularly the main ones.

Well, the Lighthouse Theatre Company had all the characters pretty much as I had imagined them. Herod, the PE teacher, was, if anything, rather too reminiscent of the one I remember from my school days. To avoid rugby in the cold rain required an act of at least one god and more chutzpah than any twelve year old possessed. I never managed it, even as a child with a damaged ankle. It made me the man I am today – an adult with a damaged ankle.

The main character, Louie Knight, gumshoe extra-ordinaire to the good (and not-so-good) Aberystwythites, was just as I imagined, even down to the voice. It was uncannily like watching your mind’s eye strolling around in front of you, but with a better delivery of the lines.

The perk of donating to the crowd funding that made the production feasible arrived through the post as I began writing this:


The mug was in use twenty minutes later; the pen is now my “writing pen”. And for two hours on a Sunday evening, I watched Louie Knight live and breath and walk through an Aberystwyth where there is a Canticle Street and Druids rule the roost. When I walked out into the cool Aberystwyth air, it felt like I was there. Which, given that I actually was in Aberystwyth, just added to the magic.

Don’t you just love theatre?




Categories: Theatre, Writing | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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