Tuesday, 28 September 2010

75 Words

I'm a member of the SFF Chronicles website, and every month they run a writing challenge. Tell a story in 75 words or less. There's a set theme and the winner of the month gets to pick the theme for the next month. I won it in August and so picked September's theme of the Seven Deadly Sins.

For now, I'll share my first ever entry which was back in April. The theme was 'visit another world.'  I came second.

The Dilemma

I asked for the world and he gave it. It’s been sitting in its box on the table for two days now. I know he’s expecting something in return. I don’t even like him but what can I do? I could open the box, I suppose. I wonder if I can squeeze inside and escape. Then I don’t have to make any decisions. I’d feel guilty though...

Screw it. It’s not even a nice box.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

My plants part 2

Well, I have the memory of a goldfish. I missed out my little split rock plant in my other post! How rude of me. Here it is then. Otherwise known as Pleiospilos Nelii.

These plants like the sun and will rot quickly if watered too much, or if water gets between their cracks. As I found out, as this is my second split rock.

I water it from the bottom so I avoid getting the fleshy leaves wet and this one has lasted quite a while now!

I think it's pretty cool looking.

In other plant news, my polka dot plant (which I thought was just a foliage plant) has flowered! It has pretty little purple flowers on. Lookit!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Writing Contradictions

That's contradicting writing advice, not writing about contradictions...

I've been told my sentences should be longer, then told they should be shorter. My paragraphs are too short. No wait, short paragraphs up the tension. Don't info dump. Do info dump sometimes. Don't start sentences with 'then.' Apart from when you want to.

Don't call your character a silly name. Do call your character a silly name. But don't ever use that name because it doesn't work.

Don't use passive sentences. Except that sometimes they work quite well.

Don't come out of your character's viewpoint... Unless you have to come out of your character's viewpoint. Are you writing in close third person? Narrative? First person? What? It all depends on the POV!

Take that bit out. No wait... put it back in again, I liked it.

Don't use repetition. Apart from here, here and here.

Don't write how you speak! Unless you're writing dialogue. Or first person. Or close third person where the character would talk like you speak...

You need to describe more! But take out this, this and this because it's overly descriptive.

Writing, eh? Easy.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

My plants

I love pretty things. And you can't get anything prettier than flowers. (Apart from Ben Barnes. Have you seen him? Super pretty!)

Bromeliad (Guzmania)
I have quite a few house plants, and several plants in the garden that I'm pretty pleased with too. I'll just show off my house plants here though, in case anybody would like one similar and wants to know how to look after it!

The plant on the right is one that I'm particularly pleased with because I grew it from a pup. Yes, a pup. It's a type of bromeliad and these plants grow tiny offsets known as pups. My mother plant sent out a load of these little pups and I set about trying to get a few of them to root. The one of the right did!

When the plant flowers it should look pretty awesome.

Regarding how to look after it, it's pretty easy. Just water into the well in the middle of the plant and make sure it stays filled.

Euphorbia Pentagoba

Next up I have a Euphorbia. I know, looks like a cactus, right? Apparently, it's not. If you break spines off, it oozes sap. This makes it not a cactus. I think.

Treat it like a cactus though. Lots of light, not much water. Mine is twice the size as it was in the picture now, and is sending off a load of babies. I've broken a couple off, so let's see if they'll grow...

Random cactus

Now this one is a cactus. I'm just not sure what sort of cactus. Good though, eh? Again, it's now a fair size.

Haworthia Tortuosa

My Haworthia is pretty new. I got it from a flower show but I can't actually remember which one. I'm now sure if it's classed as a cactus or a succulent. But it's pretty cool. Again, nice light, little water. It's tiny at the mo, but when it gets big it should look awesome.

Now, I know I said 'pretty flowers' and so far it's been all green. But the next lot are pretty.

Paphiopedilum (Slipper orchid)

 This one on the right is a slipper orchid. 'Slipper' because of the big pouch on the front of the flower. My brother thinks it looks like a bum. I prefer Triffid. The roots on this one go into the ground, unlike the orchids which grow on trees - the moth orchids etc.

No direct sunlight for this one, and let it dry out between waterings.

More orchids next, my moth orchids. Or 'phals' as they're called. Which is short for phalaenopsis. More light than the paph, but same with the water. I feed them with orchid food every now and then. Once they've finished flowering, cut off the spikes and wait for them to go again! They flower for months and months.

My other flower plants are the African violets. They also flower for ages! I got the purple and white one for my birthday and that was back in May. It's not stopped flowering yet. These like the light, and they also like to be watered, but make sure not to water from the top or they'll rot! Just a bit of water in the bottom of the pot until its sucked it all up is fine. They don't need to be soaking wet, so probably just water once a week. I feed mine too. Plant food, that is. I don't sit them down to meals or anything.

My last plant is a polka dot plant (below). Just lots of cool coloured leaves. They come in different colours I think, but I like my green and pink one. I'm not quite sure how to care for it, other than stick it in the window and water it every now and then. Mine has gone leggy, so I think it might have too much light. Or I should prune it or something. Anyway, it's not dead yet!

Hypoestes (Polka dot)

So that's all of them. I think. There's a peace lily too which belongs to my mum. But I water the bloody thing. What I really want is a bat plant... Go google it!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The West Country: Chard

Chard is a crappy town in Somerset. It's where I live. The shops here suck. The town centre is horrendously depressing.

But I'm allowed to say that. If anybody outside of Chard says it, you'll get a smack.

There are some nice places. The reservoir, for example, is very pretty. Nice bit of woodland, some meadows, some streams, the reservoir itself.

Plus Beau loves it there, which is good.

Then there's Forde Abbey. Which is really nice and again, dogs are allowed.

The abbey is really nice inside and the gardens are pretty. Plus there's a tearoom where you can get a proper cream tea. Yum.

If you visit their website, they usually do some sort of offer on the admission price.

Castle Neroche. Not in Chard, but pretty close. Great for dogs! There's also no castle there, but there used to be, though I've been there plenty of times and I've no idea where the castle was supposed to have been.

It's also quite easy to get lost wandering about!

Ferne Animal Sanctuary. Has animals. Including the cool pig on the left.

What more do you want?!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The West Country: Beaches

I am from Somerset in England. A county in an area known as the West Country. Now, I may be biased, but it's the best part of the UK.

Lyme Regis
If you ever get to come on holiday here, I'll give you some recommendations. There are some great beaches here. Particularly Lyme Regis, in Dorset. It's very pretty and there's a sandy beach and a pebbly beach. It's also pretty famous for its 'Cobb' and fossils. You can get the best ice cream at the Alcove.

It's a pound to park all day, provided you don't mind walking down through the gardens from the car park. You can park closer to the beach, but I never bother. If the sun is shining, it will be very, very busy.

There is also Beer in Devon. Which is lovely, but pretty small. Seaton in Devon, which I would avoid as it's pretty grim. And Minehead in Somerset. You can take a steam train to Minehead from Bishops Lydeard, which is very pretty. Minehead itself is not my cup of tea as it's very touristy. And it has a Butlins.

There's also West Bay in Dorset. I would recommend West Bay as it's not too busy and has some very pretty scenery - the cliffs are very photogenic. Pretty good ice creams too.

Exmouth in Devon has a long sandy beach. It's a bit too far away for me so I tend not to go very often. Good for walking your dog along the beach, and if I remember rightly, the town's quite nice.

I think there's a lot of kite surfing at Exmouth, if you fancy that. 

Sidmouth, Devon again, also has a nice sandy beach. Although according to somebody I know from there, the town is 'pretentious.' I'd say give it a visit and make your own mind up!

And there you have it. Some of my local and not so local beaches. I'm from Somerset, but I'm from the south of the county, which means my local beaches are those in Devon and Dorset.

What's the best thing about beaches? Ice cream, of course.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Minced Frog

This is an old blog, taken from my Myspace page. Lazy? Yes.

Our garden was like a jungle. Weeds as tall as I am. Ok, I know I'm short but still, I'd say that's some impressive lazy gardening!

My mum refused to sit out there until it was sorted. I quite liked it all wild and jungle-esque. Especially the bee bush and the butterfly bush. Not so keen on the flying-ant paving step though.

So today we called on the garden man to come and sort it out for us. Took him a while but it's all sorted and looking lovely now. I've just realised how big our garden is!

The grass is. . . kinda brown now. And there's been no less than six ant nests uncovered. One big fat slug. One snail that's been through the mower. A baby bird (alive) and, the best part. . .

A minced frog! Now I was quite pleased with my discovery of the minced frog. If it didn't look so nasty, and I had a spade to hand, I would've scooped it up to show the whole family! As it was, with no spade to hand, I had to let my mum and brother know by describing it to them from across the garden. Kinda macabre, but I'm sure they loved it!

"Come and look at this frog!" I'm yelling excitedly like a hyper child. "It's been had by the mower, come and look!"

My mum tells me that she doesn't want to look at it. (Why not?!) And that she doesn't want to hear about it. (Crazy!)

"It's got a leg missing and everything!"

By this time mum's moved round the garden a bit, (she's inspecting garden man's work) and comes so very close to the minced frog.

I'm grinning inanely now. I really want to pick up this frog and show people. . .

"Look at its leg!" I'm just trying to share my joy with my mum, nothing wrong with that? She tells me to shut up. Charming. "You're gonna step on it!"

She looks. She groans. She doesn't share my morbid fascination.

My brother arrives. I give him a tour of the ants nests and show him the baby bird. We agree that it's fat and it's a robin.

"There's a frog too, come see!" So I lead him first to the mangled snail (got to start off slow, work up to these things) and then,

"Look!" I point. Wait for my brother's reaction.

He grins. "Gross!"

I nod, pleased. And return to the house.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Food (poem)


He dives into the reeds, nose first.
Pushes through the rushes and coots
startle and flee. Panic flies
and swarms ahead of him like fire.

Moorhens kipp kipp kipp and are gone.
The others still follow him,
his family, his brood.
Whiskers twitch. They all smell it.


He pauses and checks the coast is clear,
his ears swivel and listen, and
his tail flicks in anticipation…
He smells eggs ahead!

They swarm over him now, too eager
to wait or listen for danger
or his indignant squeaks. His family,
his brood. They smell eggs ahead!


None of them listen as they dive
through the reeds, spreading forwards
like fire through the rushes.
They swarm. He squeaks and warns.

Wait, just wait, don’t rush ahead.
Danger flies above ready to dive
for her family, her brood.
She smells rats swarm below her.