Monthly Archives: January 2014

Twanta 2013, Part Four of Four

Here it is, Twantadors, the final part of your who-gave-what-to-whom mega-blog. Click these links to see PART ONE, PART TWO and PART THREE. Now on with the show!

mrsactive Thank you very much to my Twantador for my fun gifts - breakfast will be much more fun


That lively @mrsactive is up first, singing “Thank you very much to my Twantador for my fun gifts – breakfast will be much more fun.” Fun breakfasts courtesy of the drop-dead gorgeous @och23, there.


nomdetwume #TWANTA2013 photographic magnetic schadenfreude with my lovely gift from @fluffy1st





@nomdetwume claims “#TWANTA2013 photographic magnetic schadenfreude with my lovely gift from @fluffy1st”. I wonder if you could make a filthy rude dirty dirty sentence?


noyoucockoff So thoughtful and right for me right down to the ear plugs. Can't wait to try the hot choc and the curry



“So thoughtful and right for me right down to the ear plugs. Can’t wait to try the hot choc and the curry! The Christmas tree badge LIGHTS UP and has made three or four outings upon my being including one on my nieces. She’s 7, so anything shiny is the height of awesome.” I think @noyoucockoff is pleased. Well sent, @avensarah.


nyncompoop loving my book. Farthinghoe - a carefree little laugh after breaking wind in Pilates.




Free sticker, ha! “Loving my book,” laughs* @nyncompoop, “Farthinghoe – a carefree little laugh after breaking wind in Pilates.” The Liff books are splendid – well done @louisehector for sending this one.

*actually she probably didn’t laugh at all while typing that.


phantom_blonde My #twanta pressie is brilliant. Thank you! Also thank you to @twanta2013 for organising. #suchfun


Ginger beer, OOOOH! It seems as if @phantom_blonde concurs with my reasoned assessment, for she says “My #twanta pressie is brilliant. Thank you! #suchfun.” Nice hashtaggery, there. @mrpeterwood got it spot on with this gift.


poorlittlenell Thank you so much to my Twanta for the lovely #Twanta2013. It was full of chocolate coins. They're all gone now,



“Thank you so much to my Twanta for the lovely #Twanta2013,” meddai’r hyfryd @poorlittlenell, “It was full of chocolate coins. They’re all gone now, and who’s in the #Twanta2013 case now? It’s the Baby Jesus! I’ve also been using it for my jewellery and necessaries.” Nid yw’r rhai geiniogau siocled yn hir. poorlittlenell And who's in the #Twanta2013 case now - it's the Baby Jesus!  I've also been using it for my jewellery and necesA beth yw’ch ‘angenrheidiau’? Hefyd, aw. Edrychwch ar y bach Baby Jeez! Mae’r presennol hyfryd yn dod o @davidtims.







Had one of my Welsh episodes, then, sorry it is I am. Who’s up next? Ah, it’s @pricklyemu “WHOOOO! Thank you for all the awesome pricklyemu WHOOOO! Thank you for all the awesome #TWANTA2013 gifts from my lovely #twantador @PariahSickKid71 you're luffly!#TWANTA2013 gifts from my lovely #twantador @PariahSickKid71 you’re luffly!” she says, a little incoherently. She may be drunk on Reese’s Pieces, as I have oft been myself.


rachamuffin My lovely #twanta2013 present! Sorry it's taken a while, it's not been empty for long enough to photograph





Racha! Racha! Muffin muffin muffin! Yes it’s her, @rachamuffin herself, beautiful of eye and succulent with it*. “My lovely #twanta2013 present! Sorry it’s taken a while, it’s not been empty for long enough to photograph.” Nice choice with the ‘Nerdosaurus’, @hols1983.

*sorry, these little precis get a bit difficult to vary when you’ve done about ninety already and your mind is all spinny.





Now, I know that @spiffykates received a gift, because I have this pic – but I can’t find a photo of the contents anywhere in Twanta’s Sack. In which case, all I can say is, erm, nice use of red pen, @sarahhanner.



sundayhandbag My lovely #TWANTA13 gift a pretty beautifuly hand-covered in silk notebook




Ah, here’s better, isn’t it? Why, @sundayhandbag, this is beautiful, do you not agree? “ My lovely #TWANTA13 gift is pretty; a beautifully hand-covered-in-silk notebook.” I absolutely agree. Your benefactor with the superlative taste was @waysidehealer, whom, coincidentally, I wouldn’t mind hand covering in silk. Sorry, how completely inappropriate. I’ll be risking my spotless reputation at this rate.


superblouse Here's 1 of 2 photos. I'll take a photo of the other gifts latersuperblouse Here's part 2 of my photos. We played guess the chocolate flavour on NYE. Thanks again


Hey, @superblouse, what a lovely collection you got, eh? “We played guess the chocolate flavour on NYE. Thanks.” Peach looks dead pleased, too. Great work, @hugeshark.



I just realized my #Twanta2013 gift didn't have a name. I don't know who to thank for my goodies!




Interesting selection there, @whostolemyzen– who sent them? “I just realized my #Twanta2013 gift didn’t have a name. I don’t know who to thank for my goodies.” Luckily, I do – tis that smasher @luciemr.


witchofscience thank you for my #twanta2013 gift. Sorry for being late.Here’s another Twantador whose arse I’ve seen – it’s the lovely @witchofscience, and shush, she’s talking – “Thank you for my #twanta2013 gift. Sorry for being late.” That’s OK, Giz, we don’t mind, because you showed us it eventually Winking smile Your Twanta this year was one of Twitter’s finest, @owlbird.


Pics were not posted by @mswaichingliu81, who was sent something wonderful by the wonderful @nyncompoop, or by @starlitwolf whose Twanta was @butmadnnw.



RainbowA Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, on a remote island far far away* in an exotic land called Delaware, there lived a right bobby dazzler called @PariahSickKid71. Kid was as excited as could be, for this Christmas would bring a special gift from someone unknown. A Twanta gift. Perhaps even a Twanta gift from a Princess of the distant realm of Gallus Gallus Domesticus. But Christmas came, and went, and the postman continued to shake his weary, snow-covered head. Twanta was there none. Kid was sad, and spoke to those assembled thus:

I feel guilty n depressed and like I’m stupid cos I still haven’t gotten a twanta gift. Like I’m a big giant loser. Like it’s all my fault for living on a stupid island that only has mainland post office with one human in it. Called said human. Still no package. I must be the failure for this year’s twanta. Well next year I’ll still do it and send one out. But I will ask if I can be skipped on getting one. Cos I’m kinda tired of getting my feelings hurt. I’m tired of waiting on people and things. I’m just very tired of being failed and being a failure. I wish I could tell the person that I’m sorry they got me. I think I’ll take a few days off here. I’m not doing well with anxiety.

With a sorrowful tear, Kid disappeared from the world, and could not be found. The Spirit of Christmas was sad, and everything was grey, and filled with a deafening silence where there should have been resounding tinkles and laughter and colour and light. The Spirit of Christmas beckoned to his friend with benefits, The Good Fairy Twanta, who sat down and had a Big Think before writing a message across the night sky all spattered with stars. And her Twanta Fairy brother and sisters saw the message, and began to do what Fairies do best. No, not that.

zpariahsickkid71 3 just got overwhelmed


Two days later, Kid suddenly popped up out of nowhere, exclaiming “Just got overwhelmed. These came with a merry Christmas card yesterday. Right when I needed it. :)” Even though Kid’s smiley dace had no nose, there was obvious joy in the words. The Twanta Fairies had begun to work their magicks.



zpariahsickkid71b I got flowers last week from a twanta fairy and this week I got this from my 2nd! Secret twantazpariahsickkid71b - It had a beautiful card with lip gloss and tea!!! I love tea!Some days later, Kid almost sang “Thank you my Twanta Fairy for the flowers. The lilies were mostly closed when they arrived, but now they are open and fresh looking.” As Kid was speaking these words, there was a translucent sparkle in the air and… POOF! A second gift appeared. “I got flowers last week from a Twanta Fairy and now this!” squeaked an excited Kid. “It has a beautiful card with lip gloss and tea!!! I love tea! This card is going next to my happy jar and the beads are going on it.” And Kid smiled with happy.


zPariahsickkid71c This one came with a USPS apology in a small plastic bag as the original packaging was utterly destroyedBut the Twanta Fairies weren’t finished yet. Over the next few days more gifts arrived. First came the original gift that had gone missing – “This one came with a USPS apology in a small plastic bag as the original packaging was utterly destroyed. I think it may be my long lost twanta gift. Thanks muchly hope it wasn’t missing too much. I love my new flower hat. Because FLOWER.” And Kid put on the flower hat from @chickenprincess and danced.

zPariahsickkid71d Next was this one and thank you so much...this is so very useful. I'm always needing notebooks



Next came a collection of remarkable notebooks. “Thank you so much,” said Kid, “This is so very useful. I’m always needing notebooks.” The very first note in the very first notebook was about the happiness that the Fairies had brought.


zPariahsickkid71e Last package and definitely not least. Is this one...thank you so so much. So many pretty girly things and CANDY


Finally came one package to rule them all. Kid opened it and almost fainted. “Definitely not least denizen of the package universe is this one…thank you so so much. So many pretty girly things and CANDY !”



zPariahsickkid71e More last package


Over the course of the next few weeks, Kid tongued out the cream egg, and was traditionally disappointed by the plastic tat in the Kinder Egg, and generally had a rollicking time and lived happily ever after.



zPariahsickkid71e More last package 2


The moral of this tale, of course, is plain for everyone to see: that the darkest hour is just before the Twanta Fairies appear and show you that wonderful, caring people still exist in this tawdry old world of ours. And that, my children, is worth a fucking mint.

*only far far away from me, obviously.It might be quite close to you.



Giant thanks to everybody who took part in #TWANTA2013 – it was one of the best ever. In the words of @davidtims this whole experience has added a sparkle to our Christmas at time it was most needed, and it has restored (or perhaps reenergised) my faith in human nature.

Especial thanks to all my Twanta Fairies, whether called on or not, who with their kind hearts ensured that no-one felt left out – @2you2me2you, @ananizapta, @bilbobaggins2k, @bywordandstitch, @cornettofairy, @gemmajoobjoob, @hols1983, @iainlj, @jamerz3294, @louisehector, @nicolacubes, @poorlittlenell, @paulmooreesq, @superblouse, and @waysidehealer.

See you next year.

Pteropine tale update

Moth Girl recoloured

Today I have been mostly working on a small rewrite of Moth Girl. I wanted to make the ending feel slightly less rushed, for a start. I am far more satisfied with this new version of the final episode/chapter; it flows far more believably. I have also taken the chance to correct a couple of slight typos and a honking great deus ex machina. The new version is a little longer than the original, and will make its way into the “The Soul of the Universe” anthology that I am editing The story will automatically update for any of you with synced Kindles, once I upload the new version. The paperback will move to Second Edition. Thanks to Michael Manz for nudging me to do this.
Prompted by the Moth Girl revamp, I asked Twitter what the collateral adjective was for bats, as ‘bovine’ is for cattle. The word I was after is, I learn, ‘pteropine‘. I do like any day that I learn new words.
This evening I will be putting the final touches to a tale set in World War 2. This one will be entered for the Historical Novel Society 2014 Award for outstanding short story. Not sure when you lot will get to see that – although two of you already have. Once that’s away with the judges, I intend to leap back with both feet into the too-long-neglected 1322, while still spurting out occasional shorts into occasional anthologies. Ahhh, this is the life.

Twanta 2013, Part Three of Four

Further festive fun and frolic. Click HERE to revisit Part One, and HERE for Part Two.

belmsie Apologies for delay in posting. Here is my #twanta2013 cat hat. Big thank you to my twanta, its purrrfect


The Cat in the Hat is first up this in this section. Yup, it’s @belmsie, who unforgivingly puns “Big thank you to my twanta, its purrrfect.” Good present selection from @b_wildered there.



bexagin My #TWANTA2013 present! I'm having my coffee in it. Thank you @dawbes! It's perfect!




@bexagin says – “My #TWANTA2013 present! I’m having my coffee in it. Thank you @dawbes! It’s perfect!” bexagin A huge, XL thank you to my #TWANTA2013 fairy @jamerz3294, who wanted to be sure my gift wouldn't be too small.After the mug had been in the post for over three weeks, it seemed lost, so a generous Twanta Fairy stepped in, sending a giant shirt. “Huge XL thanks,” said a grateful Bex. The legend says “Normal is just a setting on the dryer”. Then the mug turned up after all. Lucky @bexagin, say I!


bilbobaggins2k Thank you #TWANTA, my present was perfect



Lookit, a Cheese Kit! What’s a Cheese Kit do? I really have no idea. Perhaps @bilbobaggins2k will tell us. First though “Thank you #TWANTA, my present was perfect.” is the message passed on to Twanta @cara_erin.





The two pics below are from @butmadnnw, who delightedly jabbers “The pic on the left was my 1st glimpse of my brilliant #twanta2013. I’d’ve been happy with these three. Then I started unfolding it! I wish my Twanta had been here to hear my delighted, awe-filled gasps as I carefully unwrapped the tissue paper. Well chosen, mi twantador! One of my favorite, impossible-to-get-in-US candies & a full set of Whovian stamps! I’ll need a frame!” I can add nothing, save that the sender was the wonderful @littlebit_bod.

butmadnnw This was my 1st glimpse of my brilliant #twanta2013. I'd've been happy w these 3. Then I started unfolding it!

butmadnnw Wish my #twanta2013 had been here to hear my delighted, awe-filled gasps as I carefully unwrapped the tissue paper









ByWordAndStitch hannah Oh my goodness @twanta2013! Look what my amazing #twantador sent me.  thank you so much! I love it


“Oh my goodness!” is the exclamation from @bywordandstich. I think she was pleased Smile Hannah continues “Look what my amazing #twantador sent me. Thank you so much! I love it.” Crafty work from @little_mavis, for it was she.



cara_erin So, I got this v cute nail dryer in the post today. Which I think must be my missing



So, @cara_erin got this “very cute nail dryer” in the post over a fortnight after it had been posted not 100 miles away. Apparently the monkey blows you, or something equally suggestive. Quirky and amusing, courtesy of @kimnmilward. cara_erin Thank you to my secret #twanta2013 fairy for my great gift! Can't wait to give it a go later Since it seemed as though Cara’s gift had gone missing, one of our remarkable Twanta Fairies sprang into action. “Thank you to my secret #twanta2013 fairy for my great gift! Can’t wait to give it a go later,” quoth Cara.


cobain_10 aftercobain_10 the mug works and the chocolate was yummyThis mug, apparently, represents the essence of reindeer. @cobain_10 reports that “the mug works and the chocolate was yummy”. Oh I see; a hot drink turns the mug into Rudolph, as the After pic on the right proves. Nice work, @flomineek.




dawbes Thank you so much #TWANTA2013 I know which bit I'm going to bite off first! xx


Wine and jelly men with jelly willies. “Thank you so much #TWANTA2013,” says @dawbes, “I know which bit I’m going to bite off first! xx”. Filth. Might have guessed that @belmsie sent them.


emmadventures Thank you for my very thoughtful #twanta2013 gift, such a lovely note




@emmadventures pipes up “Thank you for my very thoughtful #twanta2013 gift, such a lovely note.” Click on the picture to read it, Twantafans; considerate giving there, from @2you2me2you.


doodledawne's Em This was Emily's #TWANTA2013 gift, thank you so much she was thrilled




Here are the goodies sent to @doodledawne’s 9-year-old Em. Apparently “She was thrilled, thank you so much.” I think I must have a mental age of nine, cos I really like these. @badunderpants was the clever old sausage who sent these.



ericafairs To my twanteetwantador Your gift is not only useful but made us laugh as well. A Christmas result! Thank you!



Here’s that packet of pulchritude @ericafairs now. “To my twanteetwantador Your gift is not only useful but made us laugh as well. A Christmas result! Thank you!” It says ‘ideal for broken ribs’ on the box – perfect giftage from @dbrereton.


flomineek bella it's so INCREDIBLY thoughtful and appropriate, I remember the tweets these things reference




Heeeeeere’s @flomineek! “It’s so INCREDIBLY thoughtful and appropriate,” says Bella, “I remember the tweets these things reference.” Good stalking then, I’d say. Perhaps @judgetread has had plenty of practice… no, not he. He’s a prefect gentleman.


gemmajoobjoob I fear I may have to fight lily for my TWANTA....fab!



The lovely @alezed sent this present to @gemmajoobjoob, who was a bit chuffed. “I fear I may have to fight Lily for my TWANTA,” she says, “Fab!”. Fab? What are you, back in the Sixties?


hunyock My happy #twanta2013 gift! Thank u so very much, secret twantador! xx




“My happy #twanta2013 gift! Thank u so very much, secret twantador! xx” chirrups @hunyock, completely forgetting to spell ‘you’ correctly in the rush to go and make some lists. Your listing Twanta was @MacJude.


kimnmilwardShort of a camera, @kimnmilward posted this on New Year’s Eve, which says all it needs to really. Someone who always has amazing ideas, drunk or sober, is sender @superblouse.


lardychap BIKE PORN



“BIKE PORN!” screams @lardychap, as well he might. Not randomly, though, in the middle of a crowded restaurant. Oh no, tis because of his gift. Did these bicycles actually “change the world”, I wonder? @captain_doodle would probably know, cos he sent it.



little_mavis This was my lovely #Twanta2013 pressy. I will use them next time I have an indulgent bath.



Here’s the most wonderful woman who ever lived now, @little_mavis. “This was my lovely #Twanta2013 pressy. I will use them next time I have an indulgent bath.” she says, nodding her thanks to Twanta @underbundle.


littlebit_bod share the pretty tin. The stamps are all mine though at least until next Christmas


Who should scamper in now but that @littlebit_bod? She speaks to us in that sultry voice that we all know so well. “The lovely tin has yummy caramel waffle biscuits in that will help keep my energy up as LJs battle latest cold & then we can share the pretty tin. The stamps are all mine though at least until next Christmas.” Not just any old caramel waffle biscuits, these are yummy caramel waffle biscuits, sent by @dutch_bitch.


luciemr THANK YOU



“THANK YOU,” says @luciemr, keeping it short and sweet, rather like her pastry, although I’m not sure that the shouting is necessary. @starlitwolf puts her fingers in her ears.


macjude My actual Twanta took a better photo of my present than I did  RT @bilbobaggins2k





Totally spoilt by her Twanta this year by receiving a whole box of treats was @macjude. “My actual Twanta,” she says, “Took a better photo of my present than I did. Thank you x” The better photographer in this case was @bilbobaggins2k.



mallrat_uk My #TWANTA2013 #twanta present is perfect. An SWFC bear for my unborn son.



Boooo! Ssssss! Bloody Wednesday wan… whoa, sorry. Got briefly taken over by my Millers inclinations there. I’m under control now, honestly. Piggies fan @mallrat_uk says “My #TWANTA2013 #twanta present is perfect. An SWFC bear for my unborn son.” A very thoughtful gift indeed, from @teddy_red. Up The Millers.




mrpeterwood Warm hat. Jelly Beans. And the worst attempt at a selfie in recorded history'I’m not entirely sure that I’ve got these the right way round, so forgive me if not, but @mrpeterwood was another Twantador whose gift was in doubt for quite some time, and therefore was blessed by a Fairy. I think his original Twanta, mrpeterwood BREAK AFTER THIS Cat proverbs, a journal, lots of cat toys, even more cat awesomeness@whostolemyzen, sent the hat and comestibles. The cat stuff was Fairy-bestowed.



That’s it for Part Three. The final part will be coming in a day or two.

Twenty four years ago

Wednesday 24th January 1990

“Bugger me, I’m a Dad! I wonder if all these people can tell?” I glanced above my head, but there was no illuminated sign to announce my new fatherhood. The thoughts ricocheted around my head as I drifted along The Rock in Bury. It was a cold, snow-drifted winter day. Freezing wind ran its icy fingers through my hair; back then I still had some. Snow flurries eddied about my feet.

Nine months before, Rotherham United had won at Stockport to clinch promotion (goals by Des Hazel and Raggy Goodwin, fact fans). That evening, in celebration, Mary dressed in naught but a Rotherham shirt, with inevitable consequences, and a new life was sparked.

This baby (‘James’ perhaps, or maybe ‘Grace’) had proven its independence throughout the pregnancy by absolutely refusing to turn the right way round for an easy exit. This tiny bundle of stubbornness insisted on remaining the wrong way, with one foot dangling down the birth canal. A footling, we were told, which necessitated a Caesarean delivery.

The operation had been arranged for ten o’clock in the morning. Mary was already in the hospital, and I made sure that I awoke early. I was a bit surprised by how bright the light in the room was, but I discovered the reason when I threw back the curtains.

Snow. Lots of snow. More snow than you could shake a stick at, if that’s your idea of a good time. Snow which meant problems for anyone like me who had to drive. I quickly threw on clothes and leapt into the car, skidding out of the village. The hospital wasn’t that far, a couple of miles at most, but as I descended the hill to the main road I could see that the short journey wasn’t going to be easy. Traffic heading south into town was at a standstill.

I waited a short while but nope, nothing was moving. Oh bollocky bollocks. All was not lost, however, as I brought my alternative route into play. I headed away from town to join the motorway heading south, relieved to see that the slip road had been gritted. And what did I see as I sailed, relieved, down that slip road? Yes, the motorway was at a standstill too.

It was getting late. I had about ten minutes to get to the hospital. I wasn’t about to miss the birth of my first child however, so I swung onto the hard shoulder and floored the accelerator. I glanced to my right at faces glaring at me from stationary cars as I sped past. I turned my eyes back to the front to see an obstacle in my path. A police-car-shaped obstacle with  beautiful flashing lights. Oh BIG bollocky bollocks. I slowed to a halt just behind and a frowning officer with a sad moustache approached crossly.

“What are you playing at, Sunshine?”

“Gibber gibber baby gibber birth gibber gibber ten minutes gibber hospital.”

“Right. Well, don’t drive on the fucking hard shoulder again. Now follow us and concentrate on your driving.”

It was wonderful. I swaggered in my seat (actually, is that possible?) as the queuing drivers watched the patrol car lead me down the hard shoulder to the next exit and up the road to the hospital. At one point he used siren and lights to move a recalcitrant van. We reached the hospital just after ten. I was effusive in my thanks, but PC Moustache just said “Go on, bugger off and good luck. Promise me you WON’T call the baby Bobby after me.”

I legged it inside, delighted to have got there on time, only to find that the snow had delayed the consultant anyway, and we would have to wait until he arrived. Why hadn’t I thought of that?

Newly born ElinorBy the time the consultant was ready we had completed the Times crossword. Mary went off to be prepped, and I was taken to a nearby room by a student nurse named Stuart, who was going to observe. Stuart was quite excited as this would be his first Caesarean. He made me wear baggy trousers, a smock, face mask and clogs. Clogs, FFS! I walked like a Dutch ice-skater in a painting by Brueghel.

Stuart took me into the theatre where Mary lay with a green sheet bunched across her waist so that we wouldn’t see the consultant, one Dr. Wake, rummaging about her insides. He put on our tape of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony and began his work. Mary and I held hands and chatted to Dr. Wake about our choice of music.

You know, it’s funny – I still wasn’t completely certain that there was a real live baby in there. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Maybe Sooty would pop up from behind the bundled sheet and squirt me with his water pistol. But no, Dr. Wake lifted up a squirming purple thing and announced “Here she is!”

A girl! A girl a girl a girl a girl a girl! Whoa, spinnyhead. Our new daughter was rested on her Mum’s breast for a first cuddle, while Dr. Wake began repairing Mary. We both (and Stuart, I noticed) had moist eyes as Ellie was measured and wrapped.

I eventually left Mary to be ‘sorted out’ and clog-skated up to the ward, where I got to hold my new child and gaze in amazement at this fragile wonder. I felt her little breath on my face, and I told her all about Stockport against Rotherham. She gave a little yip when I told her about Raggy’s goal.

Visdare 45–Mon Oncle

visdare badgeThis is an entry for Angela Goff’s Visdare challenge, the idea being to write a story of 150 words or less prompted by a picture. I fear that in this instance I have not so much written a story as simply reported what was actually going on in this scene from Tati’s Mon Oncle. Click the link on the right to check out Visdare and other stories posted for this collection.

“Monsieur Tati, are you sure you want such an ugly, angular sculpture for this shot? It hates the eyes. It will be harsh on the screen.”

“That, my dear Alain, is exactly the point. Geometrical lines do not produce likeable people, and the Arpels are anything but likeable. Regimented and clockwork, like their house and this garden; they only turn on their ridiculous fish fountain when the doorbell rings. They have forgotten humour.”

“Is that why this statue is not funny?”

“Au contraire! It is hilarious!”

“It does not make me laugh.”

“But Alain, the sculpture is exactly my height, is it not?”

“Et alors?”

“Where are your eyes, man, do you not see? The horns reflect the shape of Hulot’s hat. And if Hulot stands so, legs as stiff as a plinth and arms akimbo?”

“Ah, oui! Ha ha! Mon ami, you are a genius.”

Invisible Dick

Wish I’d written this…


Terrifying Easter Bunnies

wtf_easter_bunny_20120404_1400923143.png.jpegI stumbled across this creepy image recently, and posted it on Twitter with an amusing caption. Mildly interested in what else might be out there in Internetland, I did a Google Image search on “Easter Bunnies” and uncovered a horrific world of terrifying bunnies and screaming children. There are scores of them out there; here are just a few of those that I found.. The last one is my favourite.


But my favourite is this. I can’t stop laughing.creepy-easter-bunny

Twanta 2013, Part Two of Four

More revelations, more fun gifts. If you missed Part One, you can find it here.



It’s @grumpy_mel up first this time. “My #Twanta2013 Xmas gift,” he witters, “Love it, keep me nice and toasty on cold nights.” Toasty? You mean smothered in butter and burned on the bottom? Actually, let’s not go there. @cha0tic was your benefactor, Mel.


_hols1983 My #TWANTA2013 gift. Thank you very much to my mystery twantador. It have me a good laugh. Oh and I LOVE buttons



Here’s Holly-hol-@hols1983: “My #TWANTA2013 gift. Thank you very much to my mystery twantador. It have me a good laugh. Oh and I LOVE buttons.” Buttons are evil. Except the chocolate ones, they’re OK. Yours came from the delicate hands of @LilianLouvaine.



Below lie two pictures from @hugeshark. Look”! She has soldier-shaped toast to dip in her egg! That’s dead cool, is that. Well played her Twanta – @doodledawne’s wonderful offspring, Emily._hugeshark Thank you Twanta! Looks like silly fun_hugeshark look! It works!








_iainLJ Thanks a lot for my #TWANTA2013 present. I'm afraid the delicious chocolates didn't last long enough 4 the photo op


@iainLJ, as is only polite, says “Thanks a lot for my #TWANTA2013 present. I’m afraid the delicious chocolates didn’t last long enough for the photo.” Is ‘magic snow’ a euphemism for something else? If not, it should be. @rachamuffin did well there.



_inno tony ta muchly! There was a name on a label, but it's long gone in a wrapping paper mountain


“Ta muchly!” pipes up young rapscallion @_inno, “There was a name on a label, but it’s long gone in a wrapping paper mountain.” Then you’ll be pleased to finally discover that your Twanta was @monbling, Tony.


_jaxbourne jacqui Perfect! Thank you #TWANTA2013 x x Merry Xmas



Hey look, it’s @jaxbourne! “Perfect! Thank you #TWANTA2013 x x Merry Xmas” says Jacqui to her Twanta Santa @doodledawne.



_judgetread dave An absolutely brilliantperfect #twanta2013 present from @WitchOfScience! Very very me!




Nice socks, @judgetread – what do you think of them? “An absolutely brilliant/perfect #twanta2013 present from @WitchOfScience! Very very me!”. Huzzah! So glad you like them. Your Twanta was – oh, you already know.


_kirstyhalton Thank you and Nadolig Llawen @FannyIngabout ! It's beautiful



@kirstyhalton already knows who her Twanta is, too, cos listen – “Thank you and Nadolig Llawen @FannyIngabout ! It’s beautiful.” And you know what, she’s not wrong. It is a beautiful thing.


_kjcollard I got beautiful smells from my #twanta2013!!!!!!! Thank you sweet unknown person!!




Aha! Here’s someone still in the dark – “I got beautiful smells from my #twanta2013!!!!!!!” says @kjcollard, “Thank you sweet unknown person!!”. ‘Sweet’ is right, as your Twanta was the fragrant @niffer62.



_leontia2001 Thanks to Twanta for my Sully onesie, not modelling it cos I'm saving wearing it for the bedroom. Rawrrrr



If you get a onesie as a present, you HAVE to model it for Twanta. It’s the LAW. Flagrantly flouting the law here is @leontia2001, who pathetically offers “Thanks to Twanta for my Sully onesie, not modelling it cos I’m saving wearing it for the bedroom. Rawrrrr.” I imagine Twanta @jaxbourne will be terribly disappointed. Not to mention me.



_lilianlouvaine lil I am a very lucky girl - look what I got from #twanta2013! Thank you Twanta


Hey, it’s another Simon’s Cat book! Also The Broons, which I used to read centuries ago. The fortunate recipient of these goodies is @lilianlouvaine, who gushes “I am a very lucky girl – look what I got from #twanta2013! Thank you Twanta.” And that Twanta was none but @_inno.



_louisehector Thank you very much to my wonderful #Twanta2013. What a great present.



Here’s a huge pile, received by @louisehector. “Thank you very much to my wonderful #Twanta2013,” she says, “What a great present.” A great present from the great @grumpy_mel.



_luggermatt Thanks very much indeed to #TWANTA2013. I shall enjoy making it


Whoa, here’s a cracker! Lucky old @luggermatt! “Thanks very much indeed to #TWANTA2013. I shall enjoy making it,” he babbles, overcome with wild exceitement. I expect he’ll even explode when he discovers that it was sent by @paulmooreesq.


_matcochr Thank you, #TWANTA2013



Laconic @matcochr restricts himself to a brief though heartfelt “Thank you” for this eye-catchingly stylish mug, sent by the eye-catchingly stylish @spiffykates.


_monbling monica My #twanta gift, I wish we had smellatwitter as it's yummy!





@monbling says “My #twanta gift, I wish we had smellatwitter as it’s yummy!”. Now, I read her quote before I looked at the photo that accompanied it, and I must apologise to Monica for the mental image that flashed into my mind. I should have remembered that @sundayhandbag, her Twanta, is always classy.


_mrsashboroscat #TWANTA2013 such an awesome gift! There was also 2 postcards in it.  thank you so much KJCollard


Wor Jen says “#TWANTA2013 such an awesome gift! There was also 2 postcards in it.  thank you so much @KJCollard.” Yes, not only does @mrsashboroscat now possess a fine collection of STUFF, she also knows who sent it.


_nicolacubes I couldn't be more delighted with my #twanta gift. Thank you so much x #happy memories #twanta2013 #BiscuitWorldCup



“I couldn’t be more delighted with my #twanta gift,” says that gannet @nicolacubes. “Thank you so much x #happy memories #twanta2013 #BiscuitWorldCup.” Ah yes, the Biscuit World Cup – who can forget it? What the hell won it again? Perhaps @alexbrightsmith knows, since she sent the things.


_nicolax Twantabiscuit! Excellent




Maintaining the biscuit theme (and what finer theme to maintain?) is @nicolax with her “Twantabiscuit! Excellent!” I expect it’s all gone now, poor biscuit. @breadesign sent the delicious comestible to its doom.


_niffer62 jenny Thank you for my lovely Christmas gifts #twanta2013



Big smiles from @niffer62 as she discovers a wee collection of pleasing objects sent by @mrsashboroscat. I’m quite pleased, with no real reason, that the Twanta computer put a pair of Jennies together. Uh-oh, mind now straying into murky waters… move on quickly, Wombat.


_och23 fiona  thank you twanta,  you said it lacked inspiration but you may know me better than you think




See all the goodies arrayed here! Envy @och23, the recipient, although not the probable effect on her waistline. Fiona says “Thank you Twanta, you said it lacked inspiration but you may know me better than you think.” Well played @iainlj, I say.


_owlbird sue Look at my fabulous #Twanta2013 gift - I love it!! Thank you SO much




@owlbird is in a domineering mood. “Look at my fabulous #Twanta2013 gift!” she commands, with irresistible authority. And look we do, and go OOOH at “Knit your own Scotland”. Who wouldn’t want to do that? Sue does: “I love it!!”, she says, “Thank you SO much.” @poorlittlenell is the recipient of those thanks.


_paulmooreesq Thank you to my #twanta for my present!  It's ace! Such a lot of thought went into it!  Have a great Christmas



A lot of thought went into @paulmooreesq’s gift, as he himself remarks approvingly. “It’s ace!” is his estimation. Thinking hard about this gift was the admirable @Leontia2001.


_sarahhanner Thank you #twanta2013 it smells delicious ! And thank you @twanta2013 for the whole thing, brilliant X




It’s tea-time for @sarahhanner, the lucky thing. “Thank you #twanta2013, it smells delicious!” she says, “And thank you @twanta2013 for the whole thing, brilliant X”. You’re welcome, Sunshine, you’re all welcome. @ericafairs it was who bestowed the gift of tea upon you.


_secretstef Thank you #Twanta for my pretty scarf with little Twittery birds on. I wear scarves all the time



Here’s @secretstef, another happy Twantee – “Thank you #Twanta for my pretty scarf with little Twittery birds on. I wear scarves all the time.” All the time? Even in the bath then, I imagine. Stylish. @phantom_blonde was the Twanta who originally prompted this unexpected image by sending that fine scarf.


_teddy_red julia Thank you to whoever sent my present




Swavesey? Where’s Swavesey? Only @lardychap knows, the sender of this fine gift. Oh wait, Google Maps will know too, hang on… it’s near Cambridge. Oh, and the 2,480 people who live there will know too. Maybe Gareth is one of them. The village motto is “Steadfast in work and play”, words which renowned flibbertigibbet @teddy_red, the recipient, would do well to heed.


_theflossietp How lovely! Thanks for the gift Twantee, or is it Twantor Quite lovely, whatever you are


Look, it’s a little Twitter bird. I assume, anyway. It’s extremely pretty, even if it’s just meant to be a random sparrow. @theflossietp is pleased, at any rate. “How lovely!” she purrs, “Thanks for the gift Twantee, or is it Twantor? Quite lovely, whatever you are.” Your TWANTA, dear Floss, was @secretstef.


_underbundle bill Thanks #Twanta! Brilliant




That fine gentleman @underbundle received games, and a catapult. Remarkable presents, perfect in every way. Whoever sent those is certainly refined, perspicacious, and delightfully lovely in every way. Oh alright, it was me.


_wombat37 Thanks Twanta! That's perfect xxx


And since I’ve brought me up, we’ll stick with me shall we? Me me me me me. I received a rather wonderful set of pencils and a personalised notebook, which is even now being used as an aide memoire for future writing ideas. Thank you @mallrat_uk, they are perfect.


2you2me2you ann look at my Twanta .... I love it




Ann, @2you2me2you, is another with a small collection of gifts. But these are Dutch, and include HAGELSLAG – get them in your bread! These delights courtesy of @amwii.


addison_crow Gorgeous pen and parchment paper  thank you mysterious gifter x


I like how @addison_crow has included a thank you in the photograph – good thinking, there. “Gorgeous pen and parchment paper; thank you mysterious gifter x” I shudder slightly at the use of ‘gifter’ rather than ‘giver’, but let it slide, Wombie, let it slide. Your ‘gifter’, by the way, was the splendid @hunyock.




aimee_red I cannot post pictures due. To country internet connection. #twanta2013 I loved my vegan chocs and mrsa bug x perfect gifts thank you x

Here’s a message from @aimeered, which speaks for itself, and is directed to her Twanta, @ByWordAndStitch.


alexbrightsmith  thank you #twanta, they're perfect (though I may have to fight Ben for the fudge)


@alexbrightsmith pipes up from behind the wainscote – “Belated thanks to #twanta for exceptionally skilled stalking in the face of my almost complete absence in November. Thank you #twanta, they’re perfect (though I may have to fight Ben for the fudge).” Mmmmm fudge. That @TheFlossieTP always did have superlative taste.


alliterative An amazing t-shirt based on my blog! Thank you, you lovely secret #Twanta2013 person! A very special gift indeed.alliterative Here's a close up“An amazing t-shirt based on my blog!” splutters an obviously appreciative @alliterative, “Thank you, you lovely secret #Twanta2013 person! A very special gift indeed.” Lovely secret @mrsactive was the woman behind it.



avensarah BREAK AFTER THIS That’s a pair of Xmas socks, a Treacle Tart Pudding Bar, saffron from Spain & a recipe for Cornish Saffron Cake & a Roman coin@avensarah, who was away for Christmas, couldn’t open her pressie until a few days afterwards, at which point she reported “OMG!! My Twanta must have been so impatient, waiting for me to open this! It’s amazing. That’s a pair of Xmas socks, a Treacle Tart Pudding Bar, saffron from Spain & a recipe for Cornish Saffron Cake & a Roman coin. Thank you so much to my Twanta, it’s an amazing gift, thoughtful & fun & perfect for me! I can’t wait to find out who you are.” Now it can be revealed that your thoughtful benefactor was @NicolaX.

_waysidehealer nicki Ohhhh nice #TWANTA2013  gift! Thank you @twanta2013 for organisingAnd now a little poem-

White tea and Raspberree,

All joy they give to me,

Twanta sent to her Twantee

Something that will make her wee

Turn pink.

Just about the perfect present, I think, sent by @NicolaCubes to @waysidehealer. A right pair of sexpots, those two.


That’s all for now, Twantadors – look for Part Three coming soon.

Random witterings on character

Dscf7659I watched The Desolation of Smaug today; wonderful film. I particularly liked the way Thorin was written, as his urge to complete his quest began to overturn his decency. Yesterday I saw Django, and was struck by how well-written, how real, the title character was. A man who happily kills three men who were befriending and about to help him. I do wonder about my own characters. I thought I made Finn believable, and was happy with him. White was a bit too wry, though, and actually had moral reasons, albeit twisted ones, for what he was doing. Thea turned out a bit two-dimensional, but then Moth Girl was a short book. Cuetip was a rabbit.
You can probably tell that I’m currently fighting my tendency to make everyone I write likeable. Even my baddies aren’t without wit and charisma and an internal moral compass of some kind. It’s about time I handled a completely amoral character, one who respects no rules, or life, or anything but their own selfish desires. Chaotic Evil if you like. TOTALLY not me. Now THAT will be a challenge. And great fun. And probably happening in 1322.

Things found in the writer’s ideas drawer

@leontia2001Of course it’s a metaphorical drawer, existing only in my capacious head, and now on here. My list of possible future writing projects, once I’ve finished 1322 and the seven short stories I’m currently working on. Some of these will never see the light of day, and some will probably be stolen now that I’ve posted them. C’est la vie.

Which one’s your favourite?

  • Inflatable Ingrid. A short story based on that photograph on the right there, which was taken by @leontia2001. I love the nonchalant daftness of it.
  • Operation Dynamo. When the BEF was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940, over 40,000 Allied men were left behind. I want to write about those men ordered to stay, to fight to the last man and the last bullet, to slow the German advance long enough for most of the BEF to be evacuated.
  • Tam Lin. A retelling of the old folk song. I fancy writing this as a collaboration with another, each author writing as either Tam Lin or Janet.
  • Death at The Slaughtered Lamb. A detective story collaboration with Alex Brightsmith which is already in the initial planning stages.
  • Dads. An anthology of stories/memories about our Dads, using contributions from Twitter. Or possibly ‘Mums’.
  • Heidishire. An graphical erotic fantasy about teeny-tiny people living on a human body. It would involve close photography to make said body look like a landscape. This one is not very likely, I admit, cos my body’s horrible and I’d need a willing collaborator.
  • And So To Bedfordshire. Samuel Pepys and his wife come to the modern day through some random people who role-play them on Twitter. Yes, alright, through me and Leslie and our @SamPepys_1663 and @LizziePepys accounts. The Pepyses find that they are an ocean apart; the book would tell of their adventures trying to get back together.
  • Sweet Fanny Adams. A ghostly horror story based on the tragic girl whose name has now become a commonly used slang term.
  • What The Food? A collection of recipes for unusual foods or combinations thereof, like these scattered through this blog.
  • The Drunken Potter. A story about Edward Raby, my OH’s great-great-great grandfather, who was a sublime artist, a roaring drunk, and a complete charmer with the ladies.
  • Tabby. I’ve always thought my short story Salt would make a good opening chapter for a time-travel book, so that, but avoiding the tired, over-used Time Cop idea.
  • Double Decker. Time travel, someone called Decker, multiple selves working as a team, that kind of wossname.
  • Djinn. A story about an inept demon who keeps cocking up the three wishes he grants to people.
  • Five Leys. A rollicking smuggling-cum-supernatural adventure set around and under Filey Brigg, based on the excavation there of a Roman signal station in 1857.
  • The Sands of Time. A tale told by a beach. You heard.
  • Bunny Prince Charlie. A Warren Peace sequel which begs to be written for that title alone.
  • Advotaart. I was playing around with outtakes from #NuddyChristmas and as a joke made a mock book cover using this photo of my good friend @BottyB. I like it so much I’m beginning to consider writing a story to go with it.
  • Moth Girl versus the Steam Scorpions. Another Moth Girl adventure, follow-up to Moth Girl versus the Bats.

Now I just have to manage to live to be 117 in order to finish them all. Wish me luck.

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