Showing posts from July, 2014

Life after CBeebies

There's often much talk bandied about in the press about television ratings. Such and such a show got 8 million viewers, what the most watched programme was on Christmas Day and such like. 8 million is quite an impressive number when you consider the vast choice of channels on offer these days. However for a few of us - several hundred thousand in fact, there is only one channel of choice. In fact thee isn't even a choice if screaming toddlers are to be avoided. From 6am to 7pm daily, if the television is on, the default and only option is CBeebies. Now don't get me wrong - I think CBeebies do a fantastic job. If the children must watch television at least they can watch one with me safe in the knowledge they won't come to any harm (the infamous "Jimmy Savile" episode of The Tweenies aside). They also aren't being marketed to incessantly with adverts. In fact I wish there had been something like CBeebies when I was a kid - all we had to look forward to

The End Of An Era

Today was Jamie's last day at the Courtyard Preschool, bringing down the curtain on his two years there, and our own four year association with them as a family. It's amazing to think it's nearly four years since a very small Ollie first walked (very reluctantly) through their front door. I am going to hugely miss walking up with one of them every day, chatting to the other mums and dads and of course the staff, at least three of whom, Donna, Tracey and Sarah have been there throughout. I imagine the end of the year must be quite a wrench for them too - saying goodbye to the children for the last time. Jamie seems remarkably unfazed by it all. It was just another day to him. Perhaps children at that age don't measure out the passing of their lives in the way that we do. It certainly made its mark on me - yet another landmark in a life that's pegged out with first days and last days here and there. I've been trying to think back on my own experiences and th

The Monday Sketch Part 2: The BBC Interview

Recap: Jason has been invited to the BBC to pitch his programme ideas. He's just arrived and been shown into the meeting room where Geoff is waiting... Jason: Good evening! Geoff: Good evening? It's 11am! Jason: Ah, sorry about that - I thought I'd come in character, you see. I was playing the role of one of my favourite characters, Lord Bicester. He always greets people by saying that, morning, noon and night. Geoff: Hilarious, I'm sure. Perhaps it'll grow on me. Would you care for some coffee and biscuits? Jason: Have you got any sausages? Pork Pies, anything like that? It's nearly lunchtime after all. Can you organise a buffet? Geoff: I beg your pardon? Jason: I was told you could have anything you wanted in the BBC? Sorry, I was in character again. That was Bloaticus. He eats a lot. I am actually a bit hungry though. Had a few beers last night, need to soak it up a bit. You know how it is. Geoff: I don't actually. I tend to keep my drinki

The Monday Sketch: Prime Time Schedule

To make a change from the recent discussions, I thought it was high time I did something more light-hearted on here, so I'm introducing a new fictitious segment to the blog which I'm calling "The Monday Sketch". This will give me a chance to play with some ideas that have been knocking around in my mind, as well as a chance to re-introduce some of my old characters you may remember from the past. Picture the scene: Two busy BBC executives are sat in their office, trying to make plans for the new Autumn season on BBC1. We'll call them Phil and Geoff. Phil is a young, excitable man, fresh from an assignment on BBC3 and looking to liven up BBC1. Geoff, his manager, is old school, a grizzled veteran who likes to stick with tried and trusted ideas. Geoff: So, Saturday nights on BBC1. We've got Doctor Who , Strictly and Casualty . That still means we've got a half hour slot to fill before the News and Match Of The Day . What else can we put on? Phil: W

Writing a sequel

It's nearly a month since I launched The Time Bubble and I've been really pleased with the response. It's selling steadily, if not spectacularly, averaging about 4 copies a day and maintaining a healthy position in the Amazon sales rankings. Most of the sales in the first few days will have been to friends and fans (yes I do have a few - thank-you!). But since then there has been a steady flow of people discovering the book, and I get a little bit excited every time I see that someone has bought a copy. Out of the millions of books available online, people are spotting mine and finding the cover, blurb and "look inside" attractive enough to pick up a copy. It's early days and I live in hope that the readers will enjoy it, tell their friends, and the word will spread. I am one of thousands of indie authors out there chasing the same dream - some of us will make it, some won't, but we have to believe. I guess we are no different to all the thousands of

The BBQ Masterclass

Tuesday was a momentous day here at BaconHam Villa. It marked my first foray into the realms of presenting in front of camera. We had gathered to shoot some promotional films for Love Pork on getting the best out of the great British BBQ. I was teamed up with Andy Annat, 3 times UK BBQ champion and world championship finalist. We made a good double act - with me asking the questions and Andy showing how it's done. Having not worked on a film set before I didn't appreciate how many people and how much work and time goes in to creating just a few minutes of footage. Along for the day, as well as myself and Andy were Andy's partner, Penny, Oliver Harrison, the cameraman, Alan Harrison, the director and photographer and also Tony Goodger from BPEX Marketing and his son Henry. We were also joined by my old friends Keith Fisher and Claire Holland from BPEX who I'd worked with before at last year's sausage awards. The team began arriving around 10:30am, having come f

Monday Musings with Mohana

I've been spending a fair bit of time over at Goodreads recently. If you aren't aware of what Goodreads is, the easiest way to describe it is as a kind of "Facebook for readers and authors" site. When I joined I found that quite a few of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers were already there. I also found it was a great place to meet and share experiences with other authors. I have found this invaluable as I still see myself as very much in the fledgling stage of my writing career. Making contact with other authors has led to a first for this blog today. After three years and several hundred posts, I am delighted to welcome today my first guest blogger: Qatar based writer Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar who has some valuable insights to share on the writing process: =============================================================== First You Write it, Then You Raise it By Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar Writing is a solitary activity: I’ve already been at this des

A day out in Oxford

This weekend is one of those rarest of moments - a weekend without the kids. Now, you all know how much I dote on Ollie and Jamie but even I need a break occasionally. This is the first time for some months that they have been able to go and stay with the grandparents due to house renovations. So, we intend to take full advantage. For once all of the cards have fallen into place - Claire has the weekend off, I don't have anything to do that's particularly pressing, so we can actually get out of the house and make something of the time. A pity that it's started raining after several dry and fine weeks, but you can't have everything. So the world is our oyster. Or rather anywhere within reasonable travelling distance and in today's case, that means Oxford, about 15 miles away. I never ever tire of Oxford. I was born there, went to school there and conducted many of the ritual passages of my growing up there. Almost every corner of the city evokes some memory