Tuesday, 31 January 2012


At the weekend we went for a lovely meal at The Sun Inn, Lightcliffe, whilst our daughter was on her first Duke of Edinburgh weekend and our son was at a birthday sleepover.  It was a lovely romantic meal out where I had a delicious duck in orange sauce with bubble and squeak and Marcus had the house burger which was also excellent.  We finished the meal with their cheese platter which went very well with the bottle of zinfandel rose wine.  We watched our DVD copy of the fantastic film Super 8 (a true homage to how movies used to be with all the benefits of new techniques) which I urge you to watch as soon as you can (though it is probably too scary for anyone under 13).  All the child actors are fantastic (especially so because it is the first film for some of them) but Elle Fanning excels.

On Sunday when our son came home we introduced him to the original Footloose which still rocks, but unsurprisingly he thought the remake was better.  Our daughter came home tired and cold (due to the inside of her tent being frozen amongst other things) and very muddy, but I am extremely proud of her.

Monday, 30 January 2012


The deadline for the 2012 submissions for this competition will be upon us soon, so I thought I would share with you a sample of my play 'Bottle' that was shortlisted in the top ten of this competition last year.

Bottle is a play for adults in four acts.  It centres on Will and Dave, two men with an agenda - to rid the world of sinners.  They believe they are on a mission from God to realise his creation as it was envisaged originally; to borrow a much-used political phrase of today 'to create a big society.'  It tells the ill-fated story of a man with a drinking problem (Adam) and the trouble it gets him into when he finds himself on their radar and the consequences of this on his wife Carol.

Below is a short extract:

BOTTLE by Karen Naylor  3 sample pages     Act four

WILL:     Maybe this is a blessing; the state of the World is not conducive to bringing another life into the world.

DAVE:     Yes brother.  Take, for instance, the gang culture that has spread like a disease across our world. 

DAVE:     Youths with knives and guns ready to kill each other for little more than not belonging to the same gang.  What can we do about this as God’s children?

Carol turns off the vacuum cleaner and puts it away. 

WILL:     I remember the image of Michael Jackson separating those two gang members from a fight in the music video for Beat it, it is not that simple is it my child?

CAROL:    He is hardly going to solve the gang problem in his piano pyjamas!  Well, I mean to say, I can’t see anyone taking Michael Jackson seriously anymore let alone letting him loose on gang culture.

WILL:     We as God’s children could help in the fight against evil.  As true believers we could turn this around.

Carol tries to sit, but the photo album and the watchtower are on the middle seat of the sofa.  She picks them up and thrusts them toward Dave, cutting him off mid flow.

DAVE:     We believe we were chosen to do this.  Herod heard the beating heart of the divine and we-

CAROL:    Hold this a minute please.

Carol hands Dave the two books and sits between the two men on the sofa.

DAVE:     H-Herod heard the beating heart of the divine and we, we hear the pounding of evil within their breasts.  We need to cut off its life blood, this evil within our world.  We have to extinguish its flame.

WILL:     Yes, we have a purpose and it’s God’s will.  We can see what they are.  We alone.  We can see their faults, the aura of evil that surrounds them. 

CAROL:    Er, right.

WILL:     Sometimes we can hear the heartbeat of the Devil within them and this is how they reveal themselves to us.  We need to cleanse humanity of its cancer.  They are chipping away at the fabric of our society and it must be stopped.

Carol glances around, obviously not interested.  Will becomes even more zealous.

WILL:     Sinners expose themselves to us without mortification and therein lies their shame.  They do not bow their heads in embarrassment, nor quiver at the revelation.

Carol wanders away and we hear the loud clunk of crockery.

DAVE:     But brother, there is hope.  They could bow their heads in prayer.

WILL:     But they gloat brother, gloat of their triumphs, encouraging us to laugh along with them.  We do not.

Carol comes back with two plates of fruit cake.  She holds one

out towards Dave.

DAVE:     No we do not.  We attempt their salvation by –

Sunday, 29 January 2012

RSPB Big Birdwatching Weekend and Australian Open

Lucas has been taking part in the RSPB Big Birdwatching Weekend and so far he has seen 2 blackbirds, 1 blue tit, 1 chaffinch, 1 dunnock, 6 house sparrows, 1 long-tailed tit, 5 magpies, 4 wood pigeons, a land gull, a feral pigeon, a thrush, a jackdaw and a chicken (it had escaped from a garden up the road) in our garden.  Who would have thought we had so many birds in a household that has 2 cats (proof they are the laziest creatures ever).

I am currently watching the final of the Australian and what a final it is.  Such unbelievable tennis and both Nadal and Djokovic are playing out of their skins.  It is hard to call who will win but what fantastic entertainment for us viewers.

Entered the 100-word short story competition run by the Readers Digest with an edited down version of my flash fiction 'First Date' the other day, so fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Had an excellent Writers Group meeting on Monday night.  Neil, Dawn and I had a very informative discussion on how our writing is progressing (in parts thanks to the Writers Group) and we have all decided to try and enter one of three competitions that have deadlines coming up soon.  This involves either three chapters and a synopsis of an adult novel, a short story, flash fiction or poetry.  We are all trying to get to first draft stage with a novel each and agreed that we will spend approximately a third of each meeting working on each of our pieces.  We all have differing wants for each of our writing (be it action, plot or whether it is just 'working') and we all feel re-energised and focussed on our goals.  Long may it continue.

On a different note, sadly one of our regular members has decided to quit and therefore, I am extending an open invitation for anyone to come and join our little group on a Monday evening once a fortnight and see if it is for you - the more the merrier.

Sunday, 22 January 2012


Last night we went out for a family birthday to The Railway in Driglington and my husband and I tried the crocodile steaks that were on the menu.  We have had them before, but this time they were, unfortunately, overcooked, caked in cajun and smothered in hot salsa.  They really should have been cooked for a smaller length of time and maybe pan fried with chorizo (like they do with scallops) as the chicken/fish consistency of the meat lends itself to this.  Even my husband, who loves spicy food, felt that he had to eat the dish avoiding the salsa as the chef had been too spice-happy so, as you can imagine, I really struggled with it.  What a shame, as I had really been looking forward to it once I had ordered it.
This afternoon we watched the Man City and Man Utd games at our good friends Kevin and AJ's.  Excellent matches, but I was incensed that Mario Boletteli was not sent off for his deliberate stamping on Parker and to my mind he should have been sent off, therefore, he could not have scored the penalty as he should not have been on the pitch!

Thursday, 19 January 2012


I would like to share a new poem that I have written:


Falling tears of a fragile truth
quietly splinters apart
Keepers turned hostile with their views
now shuttered and on their guard

Prickles of ice bring cloying change
bergs seperate and adrift
Intangible rods now keep us caged
upon this perilous cliff

Tectonic colleagues dragged under
wondering how best to heal
Smashed against rocks torn assunder
insects turned to cochineal

Cavernous wreckage lies dormant
waiting for moons to wane
Turn a blind eye to its torment
Refuse to play at the game

No-one can still a tornado
or still a violent quake
You can't mould people like play-doh
Let them make their own mistakes

Sunday, 15 January 2012

RSPB Big Birdwatching Weekend

I have just registered to take part in this event on behalf of my son Lucas who is a huge animal lover (of any kind) and we will be making a note of all the birds seen in our garden on the 28th and 29th of January (our two timid cats permitting of course, they never catch any of them, but they sure know how to frighten them away).  If anyone fancies joining in this event, log on to the RSPB webiste and register for free.

Saturday, 14 January 2012


Well, back to work this week (which I know is somewhat later than most of you), so not had much chance to blog.  So, I thought it prudent to update everyone on the highlights of my week.  My son has had two things of note this week, he passed his cycling proficiency (or bikeability as they call it now) and he has auditioned for a part in the up-coming play at his school, Peter Pan (will let you know if he is successful).  My daughter sat her Science exam, which she said everyone agreed was very hard and got her mathematics exam result back which we are very pleased with (only one grade below the highest she could get for the test).  I am very pleased and proud of both of them.

Also, went back to Master at Arms on Wednesday where we got the chance to shoot standing up at the range this week - this is a lot harder, trust me - and I booked a short break to visit my friend Shanti in London for a few days after I have finished work.

Dreaming of sunnier climes this week (must be the cold weather and the dark mornings), so will be looking into booking a holiday soon.

Monday, 9 January 2012


Dawn, Paul and I met this evening for our first Writer's group this year.  Paul shared some new work from his novel 'Unholy Communion' which is now over 60k words!  He is really nailing his characterisation which, in turn, is really enhancing the action in his religious who-done-it.  Keep up the good work Paul.

I shared my new poem with the group but unfortunately I could not share my feedback on Neil's new piece (as posted on his blog) as he could not make the meeting.

Looking forward to meeting in a fortnight, where Dawn is hopefully sharing some more chapters from Sun Charm.

Here is my new poem, I hope you will like it:


Obsidian, the shadow spreads over all

Fragments of sky plummet

to shatter impotently

Acidic, the vice that stills

Pressing down the truth that

pulses through your veins

Breath, the effort to continue

Mind, the roadblock to time

the impenetrable sustenance

Regret, the only flavour as

steps cement to the earth

Sounds hitched to fragile tendrils

Eyes, too blurred with

memories a suitcase

filled to overflowing

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


Well, it's that time again.  Back to reality when all that partying, eating, drinking and frivoloty are at an end and we must go back to our normal lives.  My resolutions are probably just the same as everyone else's, namely to lose the weight I put on enjoying the aforementioned, and to make the time to do more exercise (back permitting of course).  Then, essentially, as a writer I resolve to enter at least 3 competitions and get one of my novels finished to first draft stage (phew).  Let's hope that 2012 is the start of big things for me and for all my followers too.

Monday, 2 January 2012


Happy New Year to you all.  Hope you all had a fantastic New Years Eve and a great start to your 2012. 

We went to Go Outdoors today to get Georgiana her Duke of Edinburgh staples in the sales.  She now has a new waterproof and fleece-lined jacket, walking trousers, above-ankle walking boots, thermal socks and t-shirts, rucksack liner, personal first-aid kit etc. which were expensive but necessary for her to remain toasty warm on her treks.