Monday, June 30, 2008


Back into the world of tax bills and hospital appointments, misalignments, and well, work.

I have a copy of Tree Soup that I'm looking at lightly, because newly printed books of mine send me into a panic. The cover is lovely, save for it having (along with the paperback of Wenlocks) fallen into a gap between the announcement of age-banding and the outcry of most children's authors that seems to mean that age-banding won't last. This means a nasty 7+ sign on the back. Currently several authors with a lot more clout than ones like me have voiced their disapproval so vehemently that a few publishers are not going ahead with the scheme, and others are offering it as a choice (I did not particularly feel I had a choice when Tree Soup went to print, or I would certainly have said no).

Inside, I am very proud of the book, though I've spotted a few mistakes already. I'm hoping the most obvious of these is perhaps restricted to this one copy, or just a few, since it is only to do with cropping. These kinds of problems are always the sort of thing that most wouldn't notice, and people ask me if I'm proud etc. when a new book is printed, and I always am, especially with these Stanley books that I have struggled to make (in lots of different ways), but you might be able to see why it is also always a bit of a panic and a mixed emotion?

Yesterday we had a picnic in Victoria Park. I like Victoria Park, even if there are scary squirrels there.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Congratulations Peg!

My sister got a first class degree!

I'm still in Scotland. Nine and a half hour bus ride scheduled for tomorrow...
A finished copy of Tree Soup awaits, apparently!

It's interesting what you can do with a couple of hours despondency in a cafe while your father researches bagpipes in the library:

Approx two thirds of the thumbnails for Dexter Bexley book 2.

Then maybe you can go home and sit in a Scottish country garden.


I found out that I've paid the whole of my student loan off! Two months ago, in fact. I could get a different job now...

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Despondent in Edinburgh. In a dreadful cafe with awful service. They keep playing Nico, which always has driven me up the wall, but they have free wifi, over which I have failed to make much headway looking for a new ticket. A mix up with my booking means I can't get back to London today, or in the near future unless I ride a bus forever or give the train people all my money.

Meh, you know what it's like. You have to do a bit of whining in such a situation.

Maybe it means I can stay up late and play fiddle tunes and drink whisky with my dad for another night. Oh no, we finished all the whisky last night.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Away from it all...

Breaking news:

I've almost forgotten how to write anything on this thing.

I'm still away in Scotland, I'm covered in beard, the banjo went home with its owner...

You can listen to my friends Rowan and Marit in a live recording from Beverly Folk Festival for BBC Radio here, (if you can manage to fast forward to around the 38th minute, after which there is pretty much a whole set). Last weekend I stayed at Rowan's in the Peak District and saw a concert and did a workshop with them, which was great, even if I've forgotten all the tunes by now. Rowan, I'd love a recording of that tune called whatever Cold Shivers is in Swedish... somehow.

By the way, I'm not half so covered in beard as a man I met in Peebles today...

Also by the way, It was not always so quiet here. This is a headline from years gone by.

I have to start working again. I did some today. I drew and photographed some cats.

Friday, June 13, 2008


After a really stressful stretch of work, I'm going away for a couple weeks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Spare Moments?

In spare moments (which I don't really have) over the last week or so, I've been building a banjo for someone who needs one. I built it from bits, but have done the finish (still not quite ready), fitted the neck, inlaid mother of pearl markers and decoration, and carved the neck scoop myself.

Here is the first tune ever to come from this instrument. The tune is, roughly, Rhymeside by Catherine Tickell.

First tune.mp3

Monday, June 9, 2008

Strange Experiments

If you click here and listen to the Sasha's first track (Shaman's Blues) you can hear me playing some of the electric guitar, and quite surprisingly (for me) a harmonica. I played accordion for other tracks, but they aren't up on the site yet.

I lost the pencil that I have drawn with for the last two years (one I bought in Florence), somewhere in the rubble of that recording studio, and was quite distraught for a while, but I think I have worked out where to get a replacement.

As if playing the harmonica weren't enough, today I'm doing strange experiments, and Rowan is here on her way by from Sweden.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Long last

Tree Soup is off to the printer this afternoon!

(Note that horrible 7+ sign on the back...)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008