aquariumCame back from Barcelona yesterday where a fun time was mostly had by all. The hotel (Hotel 1898) is on Las Ramblas and is wonderful, a curious checkerboard of black and white marble in cool post-colonial splendour, with excellent customer service – friendly and prompt – efficient without being cap-doffing, and they do a killer mojito in the rooftop restaurant.

The footie was seriously weird. Barca are unbelievably good up front and unbelievably bad at the back. Being a lifetime Bolton Wanderers fan I couldn’t help but think Barca could do with a bit of help from Big Sam in that department, but as he’s working his particular Allerdycian magic at Crystal Palace at the mo, spose there’s no chance of that. Anyhoo we were perfectly positioned to see Messi score two fab goals and Barca hold onto a flimsy lead to win 3-2 in the end.

On day 2, we went to the Picasso museum and the teenagers were very well-behaved though I reckon the Las Meninas room stretched their engagement a wee bit. Grumpy husband curiously taken with it all though, and even bought himself a t-shirt.

We decided to go to the Aquarium on day 3 because we all wanted to see the axolotls, none of our party of four ever having seen an axolotl before. I just like saying axolotl, so went along with the plan. The aquarium was an amazing space full of strange and curious sea flora and fauna  – octopi, nautiluses, puffer fish and such like. We were in there for three hours and right at the end we realised there were penguins too and so dashed off to spend another half hour watching them. We’d just come outside the turn-styles with our shell-anklets and shark’s teeth souvenirs, when we realised we’d missed the axolotls entirely. Thus the axolotls must be revisited on another trip. The picture above is of us all at the aquarium. Grumpy husband is looking more uncomfy than grumpy in this photo. This was not because he was not enjoying himself its because we had to pay 5 euros for the photo.

Writing wise I’ve done nothing, nothing at all. Today I am back in the hobbit hole for one day only and intend editing a couple of stories ready for sending out into the world. My last Tutor Marked Assessment which I got back on Friday, scored my highest ever score (joint with a wee story from A215). That story came third in the 2016 Scribble short story comp so I think maybe I’ll enter the new story into a comp too. My tutor feedback was very helpful so I’m going to take all her advice and edit it now, and send it out this aftie and see what happens. Better crack on and stop blogging then.


Well that went quick. March I mean. Here we are on April 1st and I blogged not in the entire month. Here’s why – mahoosively busy with MA – sent in Tutor Marked Assessment 03 this Thursday, which was not the one I planned. Ended up writing a sci-fi about a post-truth telepathic judge who enters the minds of those undergoing reassessment to decide whether they should live or die. All this Donald Trumpism has a lot to answer for!

This month has been the steepest learning curve for me writing-wise. I’ve now got names for techniques I was using instinctively. Knowledge IS power. Now I have names for what I’m doing, I can both control myself and my writing, and edit miles better.

Case in point – I entered a short story for The Fish Prize in November, a story I’d started doing A215, then had mashed together with another story.  I quite like said story, and was very pleased that it was long-listed – but here’s the thing. Fish are really good because they keep the draft for you to revisit and I went and had a look at what I’d submitted. Don’t get me wrong its quite a good story, half-decently written with much potential, but boy did it need an edit! I decided to re-edit it post TMA deadline (last night) planning to send it off to Fabula Press’s comp, deadline midnight. The story is now 500 words shorter, stripped back (as I have a tendency to ‘over write’) and the first thing I’ve finished that I think really has a chance to do well. Setting myself up for disappointment? Maybe but I’m going to take a min to feel pleased with it. I missed the deadline for Fabula by falling asleep! So will scout around for somewhere else to send it off to. Editing getting better, time-keeping needs more work!

EMA writing starts on Monday and Block 4 – the final part of year one of my Masters. Much, much work to do and Harry starts his GCSE’s in May and we’re off to Barcelona too,  so don’t know if I’ll get back here again in April. One thing I must prioritise is getting new specs though. Have had a series of awful migraines due, I’m sure, to spec breakage and wearing Tesco’s magnifiers instead of prescription. First thing on my to do list over Easter.

Right off to pick up Harry now, from a last day of term party, somewhere in Norfolk. At least the sun is shining.