How does one sleep in a snow hotel?

This post is premature but there’s a decided wintery nip in the air that brought to mind a memory of my night in a snow hotel.

The hotel build begins by blowing up giant balloons. They then compact snow around them, and pop the balloons, leaving the hotel behind.

Then Chinese artists spend two weeks of the year carving fantastical shapes in the walls of the rooms under an art project—the only way which allows them to enter the country for the specified time for this purpose. With the right lighting these carvings are truly beautiful. The weather wasn’t right this time, leaving about 2 or 3 of the rooms unfinished. Local people completed the work, in a simple Norwegian style leaving them fairly plain. This upset a few visitors as the choice of a room is a lottery. We were lucky—we got room 12 with a beautiful ship on the wall.

So how does one sleep in a Snow Hotel? The easiest answer is ‘carefully’. The beds are mattresses on a block surrounded by ice. You don’t sleep on ice—that would definitely be too cold and impractical. The sleeping bags suit up to -35 so are more than adequate for the -3 to -6 degrees in the hotel. Also provided is a sheet (more on that in a moment), woollen socks if needed—your socks must not be thin or wet—and a balaclava. They also suggest you may wear your own hat.

So…to bed. Go to the toilet. Seriously! Even though we didn’t go to bed until almost midnight, and were sensible, I still needed to get up during the night. The information says you have to go outside. This is misleading. What it means is you need to leave the bed and your room and traipse along the hall to the door at the end that leads into the adjacent main building where the restaurant, lounge, and shower/toilet facilities are situated. You don’t go ‘outside’ at all. Still, as our guide told us, you go through the 5 stages of grief:

Denial: I really don’t need the toilet.

Anger: Why did I have that last drink?

Bargaining: (with God or whatever your faith) to please, please, please just let me make it through the night without having to get up.

Depression: There’s no getting away from the fact I need the toilet.

Acceptance: I have to get up.

Getting up isn’t as bad as it seems. Getting into bed is another story.

The sleeping bag is on the mattress. Put anything personal and valuable in the bottom of the sleeping bag. Visitors can keep an overnight bag upstairs in the lounge, but be careful what you leave there. So in the bag went my handbag including my phone, and the camera. Then comes getting undressed. First the boots. This is where you realise you’ve got to step onto the bed because you ‘must not’ get your socks wet and everywhere is ice. Off comes the clothes down to the thermals. These you sleep in. The clothes join the valuables in the bag’s base.

Now, in socks and thermals, you need to get into the sheet. My other half referred to this as a giant pillowcase and getting into it wasn’t easy. You’re trying to get into a sack on a wobbly base (the mattress) trying not to step on ice AND get you and the pillowcase into the sleeping bag. They had instructed us not to take the sheet until we were ready for bed because they’d get cold; we’re thinking they’ve got to be kidding, the sheet is cold because we can’t get into the bed! We don’t see that it made a difference and think it would have been easier had the sheet-sack been inside the bag to begin with. In the demonstration they told us that after you accomplish all this, you’d need to do some sit-ups to get warm. We weren’t the only one to say by the time you get into the bag there’s no need to bother—you’re warm enough.

At last inside the sheet inside the sleeping bag, it’s shuffle around time, making sure the sleeping bag isn’t on the ice and that the hood part is up over your head. On goes the balaclava. Now we both tried to wear them, but I could not cover my nose. First, I could smell soap powder and the scent drove me crazy. Second, it just didn’t work for me; I didn’t feel I could breathe. We wore our own hats.

We snuggled down and got the bags zipped. Bedtime. The DH is asleep at once. In fact, all the men seemed to do this and had a good night—the women all decided it must be a ‘man thing’. I stared at the ship. I closed my eyes. I opened them, looked at the ship. Closed my eyes, opened, ship, closed, opened, ship…you get my drift. I could not sleep. They gave the sleeping bags out by size but where the DH seemed to have some shoulder room, I felt like a worm, cocooned as if I would emerge as a butterfly come morning; and I reached a point where I couldn’t stand it. I wanted out, but leaping out into an icy room and giving up after ten minutes wasn’t really an option. We’d paid to do this. So the next best thing was to unzip my sleeping bag a bit, pull up the sheet, make sure my thermal was up to my neck, and the sides of the bag ‘around me’ and settle down. This time I fell asleep.

I woke up at 2, just knowing I needed to get up. Now the trick is not to go to the hassle of getting dressed. Put on your boots and coat and go off in your thermal gear. Decent enough. Back to bed it’s a much simpler transition of off with the boots, off with the jacket, and back into the bag. As the sheet is already in place, there’s no problem.

We went back to bed and to sleep and the next thing I know the DH is telling me it’s a quarter past six. I’ve apparently been snoring. Whether he did, I don’t know. There’s been a lot of snoring in the rooms and if you can get to sleep in the snow hotel, it’s apparently a good rest.

It’s a crazy thing to do when you think about it, but we’d thoroughly recommend it…the once; there’s really no reason ever to do it again. Still it was an experience we’ll never forget, not to mention incredibly artisitic and stunning.

Update Sept 2019 2/2

After our trip to Whitby, which I talked about last week, we went on to Center Parcs, Longleat, to meet up with family — a place we’ve not visited for years. Can’t claim we’re impressed. Amazed at the high ratings on reviews. Family had booked a 4-bedroom which turned out to be 5-bedroom villa with disabled facilities, a games room and sauna. I have to say none of us were pleased with the placement for a disabled property as Longleat is hilly. One has to wonder what designers were thinking as it would make more sense to locate the disabled accommodation near the Village Plaza where the Pinewood apartments are. The slope up to the nearest land train point would make pushing a wheelchair a considerable task, and, while I’m sure an official reply would be to order the park transport service for disabled visitors, it’s necessary to book it in advance. It’s not always possible to know what a person wishes (or is able) to do one minute to the next, particularly when a family member has difficulties. In additions, the décor was atrocious. Brown everywhere. Dark brown tiles in the bathrooms with dark grey trim made it feel as though I were walking into a cave. No exaggeration:

Bathroon in ‘daylight’.

Dark brown walls behind the beds. Brown carpet almost everywhere and laminate wood effect flooring in the bathrooms and downstairs added to the oppressive atmosphere. And I’ve never stayed in any place with such creaky floorboards which by the end of the weekend were driving everyone crazy.

Bedroom in daylight and with sidelights on.

Even worse was the food. We felt the dining in option okay but less than average food, the choice at Huck’s lacking, and while they ask about food intolerances, they should fill no menu with spicy food to the point where there’s little to no other choice. No Hassleback potato available. Really? At 7:45 on a Saturday night there are no potatoes unless they’re fries? The worst has to be Dexter’s, chosen for convenience and wanting to get on the road. If one wishes to eat the world’s worst burger at deluxe burger prices, then eat at Dexter’s at Center Parcs. My husband joked that ‘maybe we shouldn’t eat anywhere called Dexter’s’ — humour only those who watched the series will understand — but I think he had a point. I’m not sure WHAT was in that bun! While we didn’t try any other outlets this visit, we had the only good meal at the Pancake House.

The one thing I do like there is the spa, and we spent three hours enjoying the facilities in their refurbished suite of saunas and relaxation rooms — a place that would be more relaxing if other visitors understood the meaning of peace.

FILM/TV:
Welcome to Marwen is a great example of a story well told and special effects put to great use so I’m surprised to learn the film flopped, along with reviews calling Steve Carell’s performance icky, the story misconceived and misguided, and questioning its target audience. But then I’m often the odd one out in such things. Granted the way the female dolls are presented is perhaps a trifle unpleasant and overdone, and the way the antagonists take on the persona of Nazi soldiers unsettling, but as this is based on true events, without delving more into the facts I can’t comment. Based on the factual story of Mark Hogancamp, a man struggling to recover from a brutal assault that wipes away his memories, had anyone told me a blend of real life action and animation featuring dolls would be so engrossing, I doubt I would have believed them. While imperfect in places and not one I would wish to watch twice, sorry, I enjoyed it.

In preparation to watch the new Netflix series of The Dark Crystal, we watched the film, not having seen it since in the cinema back in 1982. Easy to recall the details as the heart of the tale is a simple story featuring many of the hero’s journey plot points. I don’t know whether I’m alone but the puppets for me were as grotesque as they’ve always been, and by that I also mean the Gelflings. Though I admire the artistry in all Jim Henson’s work this type of puppetry strikes me as repulsive…and possibly they’re supposed to be. Still, most of us, then and now, wanted a Fizzgig.

READING:
Jonathan Maberry while best know for his Young Adult zombie books also writes for adults and proves he’s capable of handling the vampire genre in V-Wars. I started this because the series is in production. The thing to stand out for me was I’ve never seen a multi-authored book arranged in this manner with the stories broken up into parts and a sliding timeline. I can easily see why and how this has been adapted for television.

Silent Night continues Jack Sheffield’s series featuring the headmaster, teachers, and children of Ragley school in the usual charming and gentle fashion, this one set in 1984. Followed by Star Teacher, the 9th book in the series set in 1985 and bringing more changes into the life of Ragley’s headmaster.

As I was on the road a lot this month I didn’t read as much as I hope and chose some lighter titles.

WRITING:
Working on a (possible) re-release of a book and two others to accompany it to create a trilogy. Also got edits (mostly to change my English spelling and punctuation to American) from Night To Dawn magazine for a short story of mine, a work of dark fiction entitled, Bead Trickling Laughter’.

Update Sept 2019 1/2

I know I’ve been quiet for two weeks but then I’ve been away for much of the time, and it’s a good thing to take time with the bare minimum of electronics or none. That’s left me so much to tell I’m breaking up this month’s news into two instalments. The first dealing with our main trip.

Of three stops we made, two with the family, the highlight was our break in Whitby and not because we didn’t wish to see relatives but because, if I had such a thing as a bucket list, I guess I’d have to say Whitby would be on it. I fulfilled a longed-for wish. Ridiculous when it’s in my country, and I find travelling more difficult now so wish we’d done this sooner. Take advice — travel where you can when you can even if it’s on your own doorstep and you ‘think’ you’ll get around to it ‘one day’.

We booked through Whitby Holiday Cottages, but had I realised we needed to collect and drop off the key from/to their office at Flowergate, Whitby, I would not have done so, a fact I told them on the questionnaire they provided to return with the key. I expected to collect it nearby or from a lockbox which is far more common these days. Parking in Whitby is a nightmare. The Endeavour car park is the nearest at a cost of £3.60 for the hour, so dropping off and collecting the key will cost £7.20. You may be lucky enough to park in the Co-op car park for an hour at just £1 but I’m unable to advise that — it’s the shop’s carpark and likely not appreciated. Though, if you need a few supplies, this may be an option to do a little shopping at the same time.

Either way, after a long journey when tired and all one wishes to do is get in and put the kettle on, collecting a key is the last thing one wants to do and is little better when in a hurry to leave at the end of the holiday. According to Google we could park at the property and walk to the shop in 15 minutes. More like 25 at a clip, adding an hour to getting into the place. The property… We couldn’t ask for a more fantastic view. Alas, it’s the best thing the apartment had going for it. Photos of holiday lets are similar to Estate Agent details: misleading. The house is old — built in 1790, but it boasted a 4 to 5 star rating by Visit England. I’d say the place was average and I wouldn’t award it more than a 3 star. On the first night the wind whistled through the old single glazed sash windows so much I thought we might freeze to death, but I could forgive this in such a distinguished building that comes with a fire and central heating. Still, the property could have been cleaner, and we discovered the electrical and gas certificates were 2-3 years out of date and there were no PAT stickers on any of the appliances, not a legal requirement but advisable and something we appreciate in any place we stay.

But let us get back to that fantastic view:

We went up to the Abbey on our first full day, and the visit was everything we hoped it would be. I took loads of photos in standard, black and white, and sepia. The differences in these options is surprising and the amount of detail still to see is amazing.

Whitby Abbey, though originally a 7th-century Christian monastery, later became a Benedictine abbey. The ruins still overlook the North Sea and is a major feature and attraction of visitors to Whitby in North Yorkshire, England. I’ve heard the town called a typical seaside resort and while in some ways this is true so would not usually appeal to me, I found the town well worth wandering around. During our week we visit Pannett Park with its rather bizarre yet intriguing museum and popped in the RNLI lifeboat museum to support such a worthy cause. It’s a must to buy a delicious smoked kipper from Fortune’s which has been there since 1872. We enjoyed the proverbial fish and chips, and spent a day hopping on and off steam trains choosing to alight at Pickering and Goathland, the latter used as Hogsmeade Station in Harry Potter and also seen in the series, Heartbeat.

Goathland Station

We also spent a (rainy) day in York, perhaps most famous for the Minister. For National Trust members I recommend a visit to the Treasurer’s House — a site we found by getting generally turned around and taking the longer route to, though it’s located close to the Minister. We also walked part of the wall and bought some goodies from the famous Betty’s Tearoom. If one wishes to eat there, I advise to book as the queue is out the door. Try a ‘Fat Rascal’ — their version of a scone.

Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms

We left a day early not because of boredom but because we met up with the family again at Center Parcs, which I’ll talk about next week.

The beautiful blue waters at Robin Hood’s Bay

Update August 2019

OUT AND ABOUT:
I visited Tintagel on what must have been the hottest day of the month. Far too manic with many paying the exorbitant fee to cross the (IMHO) horrible bridge to the castle ruins. Not something I will do and, as the cost has risen so much, I dare say my walks on the island are now a thing of the past, remembered with some wonderful photographs of the view.

While there I met with a friend for breakfast and then went on elsewhere fast. I think I need to hibernate in July and August and go out the rest of the year. I wonder how many will be surprised to hear many living in the South West don’t go out on Bank Holidays. Was also unhappy that someone in a flash car yelled at my friend (who was driving) to ‘get over’. I quickly looked out of my side window and there was nowhere to ‘get over’ to. Unfortunately, visitors anywhere can be thoughtless. And yes, I’ve been one of them, but I’m always aware that the place I’m visiting is where people live and I act considerately. People playing music at volume, walking in the road, leaving dog mess behind…I did none of this and tire of this as anyone. Please be considerate when on holiday and on the subject of dog faeces, please bag up and dispose sensibly. I heard a news report of people regularly picking up down a country lane and throwing the bags into a nearby field. Ponies in the field accidentally ate the bags and died. Behaviour has consequences.

FILM/TV:
I’m more of a Marvel person than DC though both universes have wonderful characters. I had to watch Aquaman and not only for Jason Momoa. Unsure how I feel about the film, neither loving it nor loathing it. I found it enjoyable but likely forgettable, perhaps owing to the ladened effects although I cannot see a way to tell this story without them. For anyone still into their zombies, but who wants something a little more innovative complete with political machinations and if one doesn’t mind subtitles, they might want to check out Netflix’s ‘Kingdom’. I’m waiting for the second series now.

One noteworthy film for me was Bad Times at the El Royale. I’d not heard of this film but the cast caught my attention. Reviews seem mostly good though I’ve read mention of a Tarantino style film that doesn’t quite pull it off. I think it’s good that’s it’s not quite a clone of someone else’s work. People arrive at a hotel and then strange things happen. It’s not possible, to say much without spoilers. Turned out to be the circular storytelling I love with surprises thrown in. The type of thing I wish I’d written. Plus Chris Hemsworth. What can I say? Sue me.

READING:
NOS4R2, by Joe Hill reads like a children’s book for adults blended with a dark thriller. Though surreal, perhaps bizarre, the increasing conflict kept me enthralled. It’s been a while since I felt I couldn’t put a book down and while I maybe didn’t feel like that all the way through I did for most of the novel. This may be in part because Joe Hill has created a better heroine for me than many blockbusting movies. Victoria may be a mess but she’s a mess with reason, has stamina, purpose, tenacity, and a whole list of exceptional traits that many female leads lack. Perhaps some belief edged close to the line but in a world where Christmasland exists a thought or bike ride away I’m prepared to suspend my doubts for the sheer enjoyment of reading. I like the way he stretches the story over time told at different points in the characters’ lives. I may never enjoy Christmas in quite the same way but will happily live with that too for such a well-thought and excellently presented story which tugs on so many emotional strings.

Voice of the Night
A reread as part of a hoped-for book clearance though I didn’t remember this story at all so, first time around, it couldn’t have made an impact and I can’t say it did this time either. As with much of early Koontz it’s a book of its time. The oft sexual violence as imagined by one character is particularly off-putting as it should be but it’s still dated. Oddly, this book breaks a general rule of publishing in that if the protagonist is a child, then the book is for children but there’s no way this book would be for suitable for kids or, as the boys in question are teens, for a Young Adult readership. Nothing to do with the book but it crossed my mind to wonder whether this would have ever seen print these days. Another thing that ages the book is a ‘boy’ of Colin’s age would likely not, these days, sleep with a nightlight. I perceived the boys as much younger, maybe 7, 8, or 9, and Colin’s father is particularly devolved. The good parts of the book for me is Colin’s perceptions of the dark, a haunted house, a creature ready to jump out of the shadows having lain in wait for him, wonderfully described.

WRITING:
THE INFINITE TODAY, featuring Matt’s Smith eleventh Doctor and companion, Jo Grant, read by Jo herself ‘Katy Manning’ is up for pre-order at Big Finish Productions. https://www.jms-books.com/erotic-romance-c-29_94/swansong-p-2867.html

I also re-released a short GLBT romance story that previously featured in a charity anthology, a story I’m proud of for the layered construction. Swansong is available from JMS books and other reputable outlets for 99c/p:

Richard stands at the door of his living room watching a young man move about the room examining mementos of his life. He has brought this man here for one reason — to lay both he and a ghost to rest. Like the poster hanging on his living room wall, Richard has lived a sepia life for too many years. With his wife gone but not forgotten, his grief is complicated, yet Gloria’s presence lives on guiding him towards a happier future.

Richard believes what little love he had in his life has withered but before she died, his darling Gloria unlocked her silent throat.  Now the time has come for Richard to sing his own song, to face the future, to make the right choice.

Swansong Re-release

Richard stands at the door of his living room watching a young man move about the room examining mementos of his life. He has brought this man here for one reason — to lay both he and a ghost to rest. Like the poster hanging on his living room wall, Richard has lived a sepia life for too many years. With his wife gone but not forgotten, his grief is complicated, yet Gloria’s presence lives on guiding him towards a happier future.

Richard believes what little love he had in his life has withered but before she died his darling Gloria unlocked her silent throat. Now the time has come for Richard to sing his own song, to face the future, to make the right choice.

Purchase from JMS Books and well-known outlets.

This story first appeared the charity anthology, I Do, published by MLR Press. Now re-edited by the author and re-published as a independent read by JMS Books, releases on Wedsnesday 21st August 2019. This is a short story with a more serious tone and literary feel.

The Infinite Today, Doctor Who Short Trips

As per my news last week, I’m delighted Big Finish Productions announded my short audio story performed by Katy Manning featuring the eleventh Doctor and companion Jo Grant (Jones) which will release in January 2020.

When Alfie Shaw approached me with the concept of the Doctor and Jo having more air time together how could I refuse. In fact, they wanted a story where these two might be stuck together for some time to come, and gone, and come, and gone…

Jo Jones is travelling. Setting out from London Gatwick to Mexico, she lands back at Gatwick.

Jo Jones is travelling once again. Setting out from London Gatwick to Mexico, she lands back at Gatwick with the exact same crew and passengers.

Jo Jones is travelling once again. Setting out from London Gatwick to Mexico, she lands back at Gatwick with precisely the same crew and passengers, again.

Jo Jones is travelling once again…

Available for preorder from Big Finish.

Available for preorder at £2.99. Big Finish also offer the 12 episode series bundle (TBA) at £30.

Update July 2019

The long awaited exciting writing news (for me anyway) is coming at the end of this glance at the month’s news but I want to address a few other things.

OUT AND ABOUT:
Despite travelling being difficult I persevered and spent a week in the Brecon Beacons. One of my favourite towns in the area remains Hay on Wye but as it’s a town of mostly book shops how could it not. Had a noteworthy lunch at Talgarth Meal (seriously cannot recommend it enough), but only a passable dinner at The Dragon Inn, Crickhowell after waiting an hour (not recommended and I hate saying that about anywhere). The area deserves a mention for the amazing scenery and clean air — perhaps the freshest I’ve yet to come across in the U.K.

Talgarth Mill Sharing Platter (cheese option).

FILM:
I had high hopes for Possum directed by Matthew Holness and starring Sean Harris and Alun Armstrong, in which a disgraced children’s puppeteer returns to his childhood home, forcing him to face secrets that have tortured his entire life. Sadly, I feel this spiralled away into a missed opportunity. I watched this out of curiosity because it’s decidedly dark fiction, and the twisted plot contained touches of Iain Banks in style. The dark ‘Silent Hill; look of the protagonist’s old house held promise as did the posters, but this played too much on many people’s innate aversion to spiders.

This film is eerie rather than scary, though that might not have been a bad thing if played right. The initial sight of the puppet’s legs are definitely worth a shudder, and the head worth a yike, but, once fully revealed, the puppet quickly loses any hold over a large percentage of the audience, eventually looking laughable. Though surreal, we’re aware from the blurb that what Philip sees may be delusional and while we, therefore, cannot easily separate reality from fantasy, this tones down the scare factor still more. The one good thing about this for me is the questionable ending, though I cannot say why without a spoiler. Still, although the film is short at approximately 1 hour 20 minutes, the plot plods along at a slow build to reach an abrupt and somewhat predictable climax. I worked out the story of the parents, had ideas regarding Uncle Morris, and I suspected what was in the room Philip is reluctant to enter. Still, Holness achieves his wish and preference for films that ‘linger’, and nudge the viewer to contemplate later, plus there is no faulting the performances of the two lead actors. Reviews on this film are mixed. For me, this didn’t quite work, mainly because I expected something ‘more’ but it remains an interesting if surreal exercise. The thing I found most disturbing is the central poetic story behind the puppet’s creation.

READING:
Cross Stitch (AKA Outlander), Diana Gabaldon
Read this mainly because I’d heard good reports and because I considered watching the series based on this book. I detest giving negative views; unfortunately, I can’t give this more than a passing nod despite wishing I could. I found the writing excellent, and the history I imagine/hope well-researched though full of accuracies/inaccuracies as suited the story with sufficient plot to carry the content well. I can even get a handle on this is historical and women were treated differently (as was everyone in those times, but especially women at least when comparing with most of the western world today). Indeed, their treatment was likely far worse than portrayed in this book.

The reason this story fails for me is Claire, the protagonist herself. She lacks emotion in that she doesn’t suffer the right level of angst and heartache. The sense of her worry over her true husband missing her is less than if he were a brother or father who might discover her gone, and she hardly seems to miss him at all. While I could accept her going into another relationship through necessity (I won’t say more to avoid less than obvious spoilers), and even attraction making the reality less odious, still there’s no heartrending for this ‘lass’. Jamie is right approximately halfway through the book that she’s not taking her predicament seriously enough, although, of course, he doesn’t comprehend the true nature of her plight.

Claire seems to shake off dangerous situations like a dog rids its coat of water (oddly paraphrasing a line in the book I didn’t know existed when I started writing this review), in a way any person would be hard disposed to do, and with little physical, emotional, or psychological damage. Even a woman of the 21st century would feel terror let alone a woman, who should, by historical fact, have led a more cosseted existence. The idea she has nursed men injured by war seems used to inure her against the threat of rape, torture, and death itself even when it’s her own and hideous. And one moment I surmise they intended to be powerful (though many women will find off-putting as sexual violence) had me rolling with laughter and ready to cast the book aside. This book would have worked far better and might have had a chance of being a real love story had the man left behind in the future been a relative or dear friend (maybe even an adopted brother to avoid nasty associations with other characters in the book) instead of a husband. There would be no infidelity questions for one thing, which almost everyone in the romance market votes as the biggest turnoff.

The character of Claire is sometimes far too shallow and unbearably naïve, yawning in boredom even when her life is in jeopardy, making her appear plain foolish. Even when she’s at her most courageous, she spoils it by doing something reckless or stupid so dashed any hope moments later in disbelief. She has some redeeming factors, namely unwavering determination, but it’s not enough to present a strong well-rounded heroine. There’s a little too much deus ex machina, which in a novel of this length stretches even suspended belief to breaking point and there’s little regard whether her actions alter the course of history. In addition, some degrees of suffering best left to the imagination gets dredged out as though for perverse entertainment leaving me to question why. To show strength of character? By that point we already know the levels of pain endured, and how strong these people are. This left me feeling constantly flipped around and turned on my head as the book is neither one thing nor the other. The historical machinations were the only parts of interest to me and the repeated references to various forms of rape repellant. I don’t believe in prettying things up when writing, but this screamed of excess.

Yet…the book is epic and inspires emotional investment, even tugs at the heartstrings, and I was on the edge of my seat at one point hoping for a happy ending by which time realising there was no other (emotionally happy) future for Claire. It’s good but because of Claire’s impulsive and heedless nature I didn’t find it one to keep. I doubt I’ll read more, but I may check out the series.

Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
A reread of a classic (because I’m awaiting the DVD release so I can see Amazon’s adaptation starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen) by two outstanding authors who are also my favourite writers. This story displays both their talents, creating a meld of the sublime and ridiculous in all the right ways. Any fan of Douglas Adams would do well to pick up this story. The world would be a poorer place without this collaboration. Pure magic.

WRITING:
As to the big news… I’ve spent months unable to reveal the contract I signed with Big Finish for a story in their audio Short Trips range. My story, THE INFINITE TODAY, features Matt’s Smith eleventh Doctor and companion, Jo Grant, read by Jo herself ‘Katy Manning’. They invited me to the recording earlier this year but alas owing to health I could not attend. I need not say how I felt about a missed opportunity that may never occur again. Katy has apparently done a wonderful job bringing the story to life and I await hearing it. The story releases in January 2020.

The Infinite Today by Sharon Bidwell, January 2020