Archive for April, 2011



It’s been a fumy old month has April. To date I have worked 3 full days and by the end of the month I will have worked a grand total of 8 days this month. A combination of spring break, followed by Easter Weekend, followed by ‘Royal Wedding’ Friday and May day, yes,  I do know that’s not a day in April,  has contrived to give the strangest working month I’ve had in a long time. Mind you, December was strange too, but that was due to 2 feet of snow and Scotland grinding to a halt

Two visitors in the sun

April’s weather has been a litte unusual too. We had some April showers at the beginning of the month, there was a Bambi April Showers  link here but it may be problematic so I’ve now removed it, but the weather has thrown up some beautiful warmish sunny days, well, warm for us. Warm enough to allow me to tidy the garden, start to rejuvenate the cat runs after a hard winter, we’ve even strolled along the beach front in St Andrews me in my shirt sleaves (still with the labels attached to my new jeans much to my partners amusement, she hasn’t let me live it down) and various other outings. The downside of all this has been very little in the way of writing, the shock of an early start to summer has meant that the calling of the outdoors has been too strong. However, there is an upside on the writing front, namely that an illustrated edition of Bernie Bolts Bergen will be released later this year.

Theres always a cat pic


I have 3 working days left this month, conversations at work will continue to be characterised, as they have over the last few days, by discussions of how much work still requires to be done, how targets will not be met, how we are going to catch up and so on. Behind these conversations are the smiles and twinkling eyes of staff fully aware that more holidays are in the offing.

The 8 days of work in April brought to mind an old miner’s retort to a question asked by Lord Robbins in a discussion about absenteeism in the coal mining industry. I can’t find the exact quote but it runs along the following lines; Robbins asked why miners tended to take Mondays or Fridays off, working on average 4 days per week. The retort was simple ‘ because I can’t earn enough working three.’

Hmmmm  I wonder if we could only work for 7 days in May – I suspect not. The month of May will be a busy one. We know that we will catch up with the work, it will mean some manic days, ‘shoulders to the wheel’ and all that, but we will make it. Meantime, April is here to be enjoyed and enjoy it we will.




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It’s been a while since I posted a blog. Life has been busy, whose life hasn’t and I’ve kinda lost my blogging and writing mojo over the last few weeks. To lose one mojo may be an accident, to lose two could well be neglect. I’ve had several ideas for making my great writing comeback, but each idea  has met a premature ending and that may well be where the problem lies i.e. I’m searching for that great idea, in football (soccer) parlance the World Cup ball, when all that is needed is ‘the simple pass’.  Both  terms are used often when playing or coaching, but what do they mean. Searching on the internet failed to provide a definitive definition of either, in fact, the search yielded very little insight to either term. Yet, both terms are used by pundits, fans and players alike  and everybody nods, as if we all know and share the same understanding. To take the blog forward I need to profer a definition of sorts; here goes.

Leo watching intently

World Cup ball:  Usually a long range pass which leads to a game winning situation. The pass is usually one that requires precision and accuracy over distance and carries a high failure rate.

The simple pass: a short range pass which in itself may or may not create a game winning situation. Successful completion rates are high and carry less risk.

There is a suggestion that ‘the simple pass’ by its very name is safe, uncreative and boring whereas the ‘ World Cup ball’ is viewed as dynamic and creative. Yet, the truth is often very different; rather than being creative, the World Cup ball, or the attempt at the World Cup ball, is, in many cases, reckless. On the other hand, the simple pass, as many fans and observers of Barcelona Football Club will testify, can be creative, imaginative and powerful when harnessed fully, and in Barcelona’s case epitomises the beautiful game for many.

There are without doubt, books that are the equivalent of the ‘World Cup ball’  that stand out because of their daring, creativity and boldness in challenging conventional thought. There are also books constructed of simple beautiful passes that weave together to present a novel of considerable beauty. I have no intention of starting a debate of which writer fits which category and will leave that to you the reader. I’m open to suggestions should anyone wish to offer one.

A young Rhumtetum showing how to win

Where, does that leave me and my writing. I can only dream about the ‘World Cup Ball’, the reality if I’m lucky is the simple pass. But the simple pass isn’t any more reachable than the World Cup Ball. In fact the simple pass may be harder to attain, because the beauty of the simple pass lies in its disguise. To execute it fully, requires understanding, foresight and the ability to synthesise words, story and reader in perfect harmony. To achieve this harmony requires, not only, a continued study of the art , but practice, more practice and even more practice. Bernie Bolts Bergen is a start, but my writing has still some way to go and may be, at this point in time, more Raith Rovers, our local team, rather than the silky soccer of Barcelona.

All in all, it’s good to be back



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