Heading home

We're heading home and what a strange feeling it is - to be leaving the equator and arriving back in England in December, ready for the run up to Xmas.

It's not like any overseas homecoming I've known before.  It feels as though it's happening in slow motion. 

Usually you fly away, enjoy the heat and sunshine, then you're back in the matter of a few hours in the air.  When you're cruising it's a far more protracted process, the weather getting noticeably colder and more grey by the hour.

Lecture 5, the E of my MURDER has... Read more

The ups and downs of life at sea (literally)

There's a hugely under-rated advantage about the wonderful thing called the land - it doesn't wobble up and down all the time and make you feel nauseous.

We've just made port in Tenerife and I was so glad to see the island that I rushed out and hugged the ground. 

Yes, I've been suffering seasickness again, and it's been horrid squared, plus some more horrid thrown in, with a bit of added yuk. 

Anyhow, I'm feeling better now, so 'tis time for a quick update on the Hall at sea saga -

Lectures three and four are done,... Read more

Cruise curiousities

It's a strange feeling, writing this on a November Sunday afternoon with the sun in full glory, whilst bobbing around off the third of our Cape Verde islands. 

But there are many oddities to a cruise.  To illustrate -

Here's a question; what are the three most redundant features on the ship?

The answers...

1. The "late night disco". 

The Balmoral is filled almost entirely with older people, who get up about 6am and go to bed before 10.  The disco is entirely empty, night after night, but all the more memorable for that.

In fact, when... Read more

Still afloat

I'm pleased to say that I'm still afloat, both literally and metaphorically. 

Lecture Two went jolly well, so much so in fact that I was delighted to receive a wonderful and original piece of feedback. 

A lady said to me - "I've seen alternative comedy.  But you do alternative lecturing."

And this I'm very contented with indeed.  I may even adopt it as a motto!

I've done my best to make the talks entertaining and a little different.  There are six in all, and as they're on the theme of Crime and Punishment, I've given the series... Read more

Simon at sea

This cruising lark so far has been one of ups and downs, and I don't just mean due to riding the waves.

(For those who don't know, I'm on a Crime and Punishment themed cruise to the Cape Verde islands for 17 days, talking about my writing.)

Let me be a true journalist and deal with the bad news first.  It was seasickness, and it was yuk yuk yuk (translation = horrid and worse.)

Most of day two I spent an unedifying shade of green.  We were several hundred miles from home, but given the option I'd have happily started... Read more

Confession, angst, apology

That's quite a title for a blog, and one which leaves me wondering whether I'll be able to live up to it.  However, here we go -

I'm away on this cruise thing later in the week, and it's got me in a mild flap.  Not a dreadful one, like a swan's frantic attempts to take off, but enough to irk.

The curious thing is why.  I'm giving six talks about my books and writing, each of an hour's length.  These were daunting enough, but I've been working on them, on and off, for the best part of a... Read more

Another world

I'm continually being asked questions about the curious world of social media, so I thought I'd try to answer a few here.

Firstly, my view on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In etc.

That's straightforward.  I'm instinctively not an online person. I prefer the hideously old fashioned way of communicating, that was once known as "going out and talking to people."

How passe!  However...

I do think the online sphere has a place, so long as we don't make the fundamental error of mistaking it for that weird existence known as "real life".

For a writer, social media is very powerful. ... Read more

Energy and passion

... a pairing that I'm pleased to say, even after near to 44 years residency upon this fair planet, of which I still seem to have some reserves.

I was chatting yesterday about what it takes to be a decent teacher, following the lecture I gave to the teaching students at Plymouth University.

A brief digression here - thanks to all of you for being such a great group to work with, for not minding my strange ways of teaching, for not complaining about being frightened, or molested, or sprayed with my scents (particularly the lady who wanted to... Read more