Monthly Archives: October 2017

Chance Meetings

There’s only five days to go before the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo),  and I’ve been working hard to get ready for the stresses and strains of trying to write 50,000 words in a month. Last weekend I went along to the York launch event for NaNo. It was great to meet up with all the local  writers. There was a great mixture of new and old participants, writing everything from children’s short stories to regency romances, with a good smattering of fantasy in between. The enthusiasm of the group is catching, and I can’t wait to start on my book.


Gamal and the Dancing Death. My first attempt at novel writing, and I haven’t a clue what’s going to happen!

Exciting though NaNoWriMo is, it’s not the most interesting thing that’s happened this week. Some of the best things in life happen by coincidence, and this week I’ve been involved in the launch of a new collaborative project with origins in a chance meeting a few years ago.

It all started when me and my old mate John and our wives went to see a band called the Peat Bog Faeries. As befitted the music John and I were in kilts and carrying fully loaded hip flasks. Surely we’d be the only blokes in Malton in kilts that night? As it happens there was one other kilt wearer.  Andrew and his wife soon introduced themselves and we sent the night listening to the band, drinking scotch and chatting about music.

At the end of the night we exchanged emails and Andrew and I became Facebook friends, and for five years or so so we exchanged the occasional message.

Fast forward to this summer. Andrew happens to be a musician, with an interest in creating guitar based ambient music. He contacted me with an idea: if he wrote some tracks, would I be interested in adding pictures and collaborating on a YouTube channel? I love anything new, so there was no doubt about the answer.

The result of our chance meeting all those years ago is The Aaah Project. Aaah stands for Ambient Art and Audioscape Harmony, and is a combination of ambient music and photography.  Our YouTube Channel is at, if you want to check us out.

As you might gather, I like taking photographs, and working on Aaah has opened up a whole new area for me.  There are now five tracks on the Aaah Project channel and we’re planning to add a few more over the course of the next month or so. Let me know what you think: better still subscribe to our channel and share it with your friends.

Spare a thought for me when I start novel writing next week. I’ll post an update in two weeks time. Until then, enjoy The Aaah Project. 



It’s been a long time!

Hello. Anybody out there? Ah there you are, not everyone’s disappeared off home then. I’m really sorry that I’ve been away from this blog for so long. I didn’t mean to, but I got carried away; literally.

It’s been quite a summer, and I seem to have spent most of my time travelling. First it was Italy and then I’ve been to the Lake District (three times), Rhodes and a road trip with mee old mate to the Yorkshire Dales.

It’s been quite inspirational too. We’ve seen some wonderful sights, taken hundreds of photographs and I’ve fallen in love again with the Lakes. It’s been years since I went walking on the Cumbrian Mountains and to my surprise I’m not as old and knackered as I thought. I’ll be back there soon.


View of Grasmere from Loughrigg Terrace. If it’s good enough to inspire Wordsworth, it’s good enough to inspire me!

Now autumn has properly started it’s time to get down to some work again, and I’ve got some  ambitious plans for the next few months.

Most of these involve various writing projects. I’ll be  continuing  my family history research and I’ll see what books come out of that. I’ll also be publishing some photo essays on this blog: the summer’s been a rich source of ideas, so look out for something in the next couple of weeks.

A major change, though, is in what I’m going to write. When I first started this blog I published a few short stories, but then decided I wasn’t going to write any more fiction. I can’t remember the reason why, maybe I’d just run out of ideas, but I’ve had a change of heart.

What brought it about was something I saw by chance on the internet. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)  is a scheme that started off in the US in 1999. The aim is to encourage aspiring novelists to write the first draft of a novel during the month of November. Drafts  must be at least 50,000 words long. It’s not a competition and there are no prizes: the challenge of writing to a deadline is it’s own reward.

I’ve had an idea for a novel floating round in my head and various notebooks for nearly 20 years, and it would be a crime not to  try and write it. The provisional title is Gamal and the Dancing Death, and it’s a murder mystery set in North Yorkshire just before the Norman Conquest of 1066.  Fifty thousand words in 30 days means I have to write an average of 1,677 words a day, so I don’t expect to be doing much blogging in November. I’ll probably just stick to a quick update every now and again.

From December I’ll be be publishing two posts each month on this blog, normally on the second and fourth Friday’s. The reason for reducing the number of posts is that I want to focus on slightly longer pieces, and I don’t want the quality to suffer.

If you were reading this blog last November, you might remember that I posted a short story about a dim-witted young criminal, Camel. He seemed to be quite popular and a few of you wanted to know how he’d ended up in such a mess and what happened next.

I’ve often wondered that myself until yesterday afternoon. I was mowing the lawns at home (it’s funny where inspiration strikes), and I suddenly figured out the answer. I’ve now got the outline of the sequel, Camel’s Revenge, and I’ll be posting it as part of Dave’s Christmas Cracker on 22nd December.

It’s good to be back behind the keyboard: I’m full of ideas and ready to start! I’ll be back on 27th October with a photo essay, but in the meantime, here’s a photo that Liz took when we were in holiday in Cumbria.



Laurel and Hardy

Here’s two of my comedy favourites, Laurel and Hardy. Stan Laurel, the thin one, was born in Ulverston in Cumbria, and the town has erected this statue to his memory. The fat bloke on the right is Oliver Hardy. I don’t know who the other guy was: just some tourist I guess.