SSeptember to October 2014
29 October 2014 ~ Violet Varney RIP

The funeral of my mother-in-law, Violet Varney, took place today. Her death is one of the reasons I have been less active on Head in the Clouds of late. The other is seeking to publish the Fetish Collection in early November.

Jokes about mothers-in-law tend not to work for me as I have fond memories of the two I knew.

I got to know Violet well as she lived with Sue and me for a time after her husband, Ted, died. Vi, as she was known to her family and friends, was, of course, devastated.

What seemed to make the most difference was her grandson, my nephew, Tom. My favourite memory of Vi, as she was known to her family and friends, was her holding Tom as an infant. She would sit for hours with him sleeping in her arms or on her lap and the sense of love was palpable.

21 September 2014 ~ Howling at the Moon

Sue arranged a mystery evening out last night as the last of her treats for my birthday. We zipped past Heathrow and kept driving on the M4 until Junction 12. She took me through the village of Beenham until we reached the drive that leads to UK Wolf Conservation Trust

Within minutes of parking we heard the first of many howls. My first thought was of horror films, the only other source for me apart from TV programmes of the sound. However, the tall metal mesh fences were reassuring, as was being told later that the metal barrier continues into the ground for eight feet to overcome wolves' talent for excavation.


We soon saw out first wolf, a silvery Northwestern (American) called Maiwho came up to the fence, which meant we were just feet away. Despite the generous size of the enclosures, most of the wolves came close. In part, they seek the attention of the staff who not only stand right next to the fence, but also scratch various parts of the wolves' bodies.


For people braver than me, the charity also holds walking wolves  events. Most of the wolves are used to being taken outside the enclosures on a lead.


It was good to see such care taken of animals with an undeserved literary reputation and to hear how the trust also supports conservation of wild populations of wolves. These are closer than you might think; they are in the Champagne region less than a hundred miles from Paris thanks to reintroduction.


14 September 2014 ~ A Thingummy of Things Published

This children's full-colour e-book is now available from (c. £2.07)  and (US $3.36)

Thingummy is available in full colour to anyone with access to the Internet via Kindle Cloud Reader.  


Reviews on Amazon are sought. It would be  great if you could show to a child in the target age group – 3 to 7 – and get comments.


You can also read the book on Kindle devices, but these don’t all have colour.

Kindle also supply Readings Apps for Windows, Android and Apple/Mac/iPod/iPad /devices.

I provided the idea and text for  A Thingummy of Things, and for over a year, my partner in the project, Donata Zawadzka has been working on the illustrations. The cover below shows some of them.

The book is based on invented collective nouns for animals starting with an audience of alligators and a buzzload of bees.