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Saturday, 30 October 2010

How I Blog Now

The Sweet Friends Award

I like the idea of Bloggers generating their own awards and nominating a selection of fellow Bloggers to receive them. Some might think it somewhat incestuous and almost self-congratulatory but it's great way of finding new blogs and hopefully expanding one's readership horizons.
If I enjoy your blog there's a good chance I will also like the blogs you favour!
Joanne Fox, whose writing-based, thoughtful blog is always a worthwhile read has been kind enough to nominate To Discover Ice with a 'Sweet Friends' award which I blushingly accept. (Bazza down on one knee, hand on heart, head bowed). Joanne appears to be aware of the need to make posts of a certain length which maintains the readers interest without having a soporific effect! 
So, one condition of this award is to communicate six facts about 'how I write', (Joanne is a writer). This about how I blog:
1) At this time I have my next four posts already written although order of publication is not yet decided.
2) I don't write much personal stuff, not because I am shy or private but because it bores me and I suppose it would bore you too!
3) I choose a subject or topic that interests me and then I research it. Usually it's a painting, a poem, a book, a person or a website.
4) I always write too much and then pare it down with some ruthless editing. I know attention spans are short these days!
5) I always wait at least two days before publishing something I have written; sometimes when I return to it, I don't like it and have to make changes.
6) If you blog/write for yourself first then others might enjoy it too because it will be sincere.
Here then are my six nominees. I have chosen them because they are blogs I read that I don't think get as much traffic as they deserve:
1) An Evolution of Knowledge Stephen in Sydney, Australia doesn't post often but always says something of interest.
2) The Snee Rebecca(?) puts so much effort into her amusing posts that she must be retired/unemployed!
3) English Buildings Philip Wilkinson is an author specialisng in architecture and writes very informative posts about interesting aspect of buildings in (mainly) the south of England.
4) Sagan's Brain "Skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility". Hundreds of followers, few commenters. Great science blog. You may have to be a nerd!
5) Hedgeland Tales Excellent photos of wild birds (no, Sir Tom!) located in Peterborough, England.
6) Belgian Beers  "All about Belgian Beers. Belgian Beer Bars. Belgian Beer Breweries. A discovery of the many Belgian Beers. In a nutshell Belgium and Belgian Beers. Cheers!" Nothing more to say.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

My Heroes (31): Kathryn Wiliams

Kathryn Williams

Kathryn Williams is an English folk-singer/songwriter who was born in Liverpool in 1974. She has a fragile, gentle singing style and makes hauntingly lovely acoustic recordings. My favourite is 'Relations' a collection of cover versions from 2004. You can hear her hard-to-beat live version of Leonard Cohen's much recorded 'Hallelujah' here. She often collaborates with Neil McColl (Kirsty's brother, Ewan's son). Here is their single ‘Come With Me Darling’.
 I love the fact that she is so natural, not show-bizzy or glamorous. I don't suppose she will ever get the proper acclaim that she deserves.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

How to Get Rich Quickly
Part One: In this part we will be explaining how you can get rich very quickly. Professor Wisemouth will be here to give you all the details that we know you are anxiously waiting for. In Part Two we will have a look back at Part One and examine how things will develop in the second part with a preview of Part Three when the real secrets will be revealed. So, let’s have a quick look back at part one; we have shown how the programme will be laid out and previewed the rest of the show. Please join us after this message from our sponsors.

Part Two: Welcome to Part Two. In Part One we introduced you to the show’s format and told you about Part Two. In Part Three the real secrets will be revealed. Let’s have a quick preview of that now. Part Three will look back at the programme so far and Professor Wisemouth will be here to tell all. Please join us after the break for the final part.

Part Three: Welcome back. In Part One we told you about Professor Wisemouth and introduced the layout of parts two and three. In Part Two we recapped on what we have learned so far and looked forward to part three. Well that’s all we have time for this week but please join us next week when Professor Wisemouth will be revealing the little known secrets of getting rich quickly. Here’s a sneak preview....
Don't you just hate the way they make documentary programmes these days?

Sunday, 10 October 2010

First in a New Series, Spotlight on a Website (1):

Delicious is a Social Bookmarking site that I waste spend a lot of time at. To be absolutely honest I am not quite sure exactly how it works but I am sure that I like it. This from their site:
"Delicious is a Social Bookmarking service, which means you can save all your bookmarks online, share them with other people, and see what other people are bookmarking. It also means that we can show you the most popular bookmarks being saved right now across many areas of interest. In addition, our search and tagging tools help you keep track of your entire bookmark collection and find tasty new bookmarks from people like you."
What it means to me is access to a selection of new and interesting websites. There is quite an emphasis on technical stuff such as software writing and logo design but also humour and satire. Here are some examples of what I found on my last visit recently:
1) 20 Best Free Calligraphy Fonts for Download from
2) Take Your Web Designs to the Next Level from
3) 8 Awesome Websites to Take Free College Courses Online from
4) Brain Teasers & Optical Illusions at
5)  Free Clipart from the Open Library at
Now go and have some fun and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

How I l Live Now by Meg Rosoff

I don't do much by way of book reviews but I am happy to post this one. I bought this book through a recommendation from a respected source but I very nearly didn't.
The cover of the edition I got is shown on the left; you can see that it wouldn't necessarily appeal to a middle-aged man.
However after dipping in and reading a few pages I was intrigued. I'm glad I did because it turned out to be not at all what I expected. It's hard to categorise and I won't attempt to because that might become a spolier. It is about a fifteen year old girl but even the cover blurb steers you in the wrong direction but humour, strong characterisation and storyline  takes you to a place that you are not expecting to go. It's many themes include displacement, starvation, getting by in a crisis and examining a possible future. My one crticism is that I wish it was about 50 pages longer allowing some of the themes to become more developed.
I would recommend the book to teenage girls but I would equally to anyone who simply enjoys good writing.
In his book How to Write a Novel, John Braine said 'write what you know' and Meg Rosoff's book is testament to that dictum as a brief biographical enquiry revealed. I'm off to buy the next one at the weekend!
Meg Rosoff (photo by Helen Giles)

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Painting of the Month (10) October 2010: Géricault's 'Raft of the Medusa'

The Raft of the Medusa  Théodore Géricault 1818-19
If you are not familiar with this painting it is probably not what you might think it is at first glance. It looks like a typical 'history painting', a genre that usually depicts great events from history often biblical, mythical or classical subjects.
However, this picture depicts an event that happened just two years before it was painted. The Medusa was a French vessel that sank just off the coast of what is now Mauritania creating a public scandal because it's captain was incompetent and the whole event reflected badly on the newly re-installed monarchy.
We see the vessel after 13 days at sea. Only 15 of the 147 persons on the raft have survived. They have evaded death by starvation, madness, dehydration and cannibalism!
The survivors have just sighted the vessel that will rescue them. Meanwhile, in the foreground, people are dying.
Gericault (pronounced Zherico) acheived the fame that he craved because of this picture but, sadly, he died at the age of 32.