Short story: Rock Thoughts

Rock, Cornwall mainThis short story by Judy Darley was originally published by Fiction 365 and is posted here with their permission.

I once went on a silent meditation weekend in the Brecon Beacons, and this feels a bit like that, just sitting around listening to my thoughts getting louder and louder in my head until I’m desperate to have a good shout. The retreat was supposed to last from Friday night till Sunday afternoon, but I wigged out on the Saturday, pretended I was going for a ‘soul-cleansing stroll’, stuffed my overnight things into a rucksack and never looked back. Continue reading

Book review – Unthology 3 from Unthank Books

Unthology 3The art of creating a short story anthology is not so different to arranging the seating plan for an extravagant dinner party. A variety of tales by a variety of writers, with often different world views, need to sit together in harmony – similar enough in tone not to prevent discord, yet dissimilar enough to stimulate interest. In the case of Unthology No.3 the editors have proven to be the perfect hosts.

You know to expect the unexpected with Unthank Books, and the third edition of the annual unthology doesn’t fail to deliver, with a wonderfully diverse array of stories.

From narratives presented in almost entirely in social media format, through to whispers of folklore, pockets of sci-fi and insights into suburbia at its most surreal, there’s plenty here to stretch your mind a little out of shape in the most delightful ways. Continue reading

Slavonia: the undiscovered corner of Croatia

River Danube, CroatiaThe following extract is part of one of my travel features, and can be read in full at

That night we stayed at Hotel Dunav, an exquisite family-run hotel set on the shores of the River Danube – Dunav in Croatian. With its own sandy beach, a multitude of outdoor seating and even its own pleasure cruiser, this is a popular spot for vast wedding and Christening parties, as well as providing a tranquil getaway. I woke shortly after dawn and meandered along the riverbank in the early light, watched by a flock of crows that flapped their way from tree to tree as I passed.

Ilok city walls

From here it’s just a short journey into Ilok, Croatia’s easternmost town (pictured above), with 1km of intact medieval walls, a lovely old stone church and a state-of-the-art museum, one of the few in Slavonia with displays in English as well as Croatian, overlooking the river to Serbia. Continue reading

How to make your neighbourhood magical

Bedminster Town Team Lantern ParadeLast week I published a feature on SkyLightRain about Bedminster Town Team and the efforts to regenerate this area of Bristol. That feature previously appeared in The Bristol magazine in August 2012. This is an update on that feature, with news about the current and upcoming events to make a better Bedminster.

So what makes a better Bedminster? At least part of the answer seems to be a greater sense of community, engaging events and some beautification of the more desolate areas. Here’s a taste of what you can look forward to. Continue reading

Shifting perceptions

total permission cr Sue AustinOn Monday I was lucky enough to attend the theatrical premiere of Total Permission at Watershed, Bristol.

The 30-minute documentary offers a glimpse into 12 of the performances that made up the Unlimited Festival as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Timed to coincide with the Paralympic Games, each of the creators was disabled in some way, and produced works that challenge our perceptions and preconceptions. Continue reading

Crafty Christmas creations

Buttons1Christmas offers the perfect opportunity for getting creative, whether that’s writing witty round robins, or making gifts and cards.

This year I decided to make some dinky baubles for my Christmas tree using some pretty oversized buttons from Bedecked Fine Trimmings.

They’re really simple to make. In case you want to give them a try, here is the step-by-step guide. Continue reading

Weekend mornings

Winter sky

Weekend mornings are my absolute favourite time of the week – that sense of ‘anything could happen today!’ is irresistible. Not to mention the peacefulness and cosiness of mooching around in PJs.

Add to that an utterly beautiful sky like this and i’m pretty much in heaven. Happy December 1st!