Wednesday, 17 January 2018

A subtle platform for bullying...

...is the art of choosing teams. This was alive and well when I was a kid, and needless to say, I was always picked last. And I haven't forgotten it.*

But it still happens. In an age when the PC brigade have declared that there must be  "no winners or losers" on sports days, picking teams still goes on in games and PE lessons. A child I know, who is being bullied and left off party invitations (that's another thing. What kind of parent allows his child to invite all the children in the class to a party, except one?), and  who is actually good at games, is always last to be picked for a team. And he minds, very much.  Why can't teachers just divide the class themselves, rather than leaving it to the children to decide? Of course  the least popular will be left until last. It's a no-brainer, isn't it?

It's hard to police bullying, for kids are subtle and clever, and a lot goes on out of sight. But surely, in a class situation, where there is an adult in charge, teams at least can be left to that adult, and not to the kids themselves.

*I was actually appalling at games. My instinct when confronted with a ball has always been "missile! Duck or run". But that's another story.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Late Christmas present idea....

I have found a lovely last minute gift here. It's never too late to please someone you love 🐱

Monday, 8 January 2018

Lovely reviews

We writers are very bad at promoting ourselves. It's so hard to tell people how wonderful your books are, but that's what you have to do if you want to sell them. This time around, with three of my books being relaunched, and the publicity people working like mad, I feel I have to do my bit. So - some readers on Goodreads have been sent review copies of Dead Ernest, and I've had some lovely reviews, which you cans see here

That's all. And thank you for reading this. I know that the writers among you will understand!

Monday, 1 January 2018

George's homework



The above is my 10-year-old grandson's recent  maths homework. That boy will go far, (If you can't read the teacher's comment, it is "this is not necessary, George". Hm.)

Sunday, 31 December 2017

The truth about feathers


When a little white  feather emerged from a cushion, my grandson and I fell to discussing its provenance. And I, for one, almost wish we hadn't. Apparently, feathers are obtained in three ways. Firstly, they come from dead birds. Secondly, they are "gathered" by grooming the birds (pretty roughly, by the sound of it). But worst of all, and this happens on a grand scale, they are plucked from live birds, often tearing the skin so badly that it has to be stitched (no anaesthetic, needless to say). Then when the feathers grow again, the whole process is repeated. Cyclical torture for the birds involved.

I was appalled, and also ashamed that I had never even questioned the origins of the feathers in our pillows, cushions and duvets. How can we check what is inside cushions when we buy them, and whether the welfare of the birds who provided them has been given any consideration? Do vegetarians use down-filled pillows? Am I the only person who didn't  know all this? And why is there no campaigning against this awful practice? Thoughts, please.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Happy Christmas...


...to everyone who reads this, and  to all writers especially, a very inspired and successful new year.
    (This wreath was crocheted by my amazing daughter-in-law.)

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Seasonal celebrity overkill

Am I the only person who doesn't need or want "celebrities" at Christmas? Every single TV programme seems to be dominated by them, and I haven't even heard of most of them. Let's hear it for ordinary, normal people for a change. As for the so called celebrities, I think we should bag them all up and send them into the Australain jungle for good. They can chew kangaroos' testicles and steep themselves in mealy worms and entertain each other, and we ordinary mortals can get on with our lives unimpeded.

There! I feel better now.