27 June 2010

Rose Overload

When we moved to this house, there was in order of fifteen roses in the garden. Most were in these stone-ornamented beds on either side of the driveway, outside the front door. Ordinary rose bushes, the majority small and spindly and uninspiring. There were also a few in the far right corner of the back yard, covered in scale and this blah yellow-pink combination which I don't like at all.

I had four potted roses which I'd been attempting to kill with lack of water for a couple of years, and I added them to the back right corner (a little to the right of the scale-infested bushes, which I pruned back ferociously).

To all this I've added eight climbing roses, three bush roses, and a handful of floribunda (I much prefer floribunda). The most successful so far has been a rose called "Shady Lady" which flowers profusely and lasts wonderfully when cut. My climbing iceberg has also grown well, and I really love the look of the unopened buds, white with the faintest flush of pink. I like it so much that today I added three floribunda icebergs (two burgundy and one blushing pink), and am using the bricks from my BBQ demolition to create a kind of paved area around them along the left wall.

I am so very much not a methodical, ordered gardener, and roses respond much better to someone who remembers to fertilise them, and fight off the black spot and aphids. But I'm having fun.

24 June 2010


Too many writing projects wanting my attention, plus I was distracted into reading a long and interesting MS (and then arguing about it).

Discipline, I need it.

Still, worked out the 'next action' on Wellspring, which has been sitting on the back-burner for a while. And, re-reading the last chapter, was very much enjoying one Duran, of beautiful voice and butterfly attention level.

18 June 2010

Bad Habits

I overuse certain words in the first draft:

Pretty (much) (certain) (sure)
A bit
Kind of

Almost all adverbs (and weasel words!). It amazes me how easy it is for me to read over them, and how frequently I do use them. Particularly in the fiction blog I kept for a year, where I barely polished during the first draft, but even on re-reading a manuscript I've polished and re-polished, these lazy words are everywhere.

I am by nature a qualifier, it seems.

13 June 2010


Fan of Agatha Christie that I am, I looked forward to a new spate of adaptations on tv. But while I never expect an adaptation to be exactly like a book, this series seems determined to mess around with the stories - to add sexed-up sub-plots and to remove other ones. "The Clocks" was the last adaptation, and they do random things like change two boys to two girls, and to completely remove any reason for liking most of the characters.

07 June 2010

Edith Nesbit: "My School Days"

It is a constant source of wonder to me that anyone can recount in detail - with names, no less - things which happened to them when they were three. Or five. Or ten.

Edith Nesbit appears to have been a child greatly loving nature, and tortured by her own vivid imagination. Night terrors haunted her. No less was her suffering at the hands of "Stuart plaid", and a teacher whose strictness may have been well-intentioned, but may well have been that of an habitual bully.

One of the charms of this short biography is how very much in the mind of the child Nesbit takes us. Dislike her teacher she might, but she does not wonder if she has been singled out for especially negative treatment, or do more than endure Stuart plaid's selfish whims. As a child Nesbit did not plan any solutions, or question why, but simply suffered mute.

Like that child, we do not have the power to know the fate of the many people who filled Nesbit's early life. Did Stuart plaid ever receive her just desserts, or did she perhaps grow up to be a better person? Why was the teacher so seemingly cruel? Did the kind French boy have a life anything like the one Nesbit imagined?

Although there is little resolution to many of these tales, this journey into Nesbit's formative years was well worth the trip.

Three Skips

I started accruing my book collection in my late teens.  Not too many early on, since I moved house a lot.  A couple of shelves of books.  T...