Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Ornithologists wanted

I took this photo a week ago in wetland in the Cynon valley. The duck was swimming with a group of mallards but doesn't fit with any of the pictures in my books of immature or eclipse plumage for that species. The closest match I could find for it was a female Garganey but it would seem unusual to see one in January as they don't normally visit our shores until later in the year. I'm not very good on waterfowl so any assistance greatly appreciated. Whatever the duck was, it was a striking bird with beautiful caramel-coloured plumage. Perhaps it's something really obvious but I'd still like to know.

Help put this duck out of its not-identified misery.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

New Art Riot #7

 I haven't posted any art here for a very long while, but I did splash some paint around over Christmas. Here is the result. Not quite sure if it's finished yet, but I'll certainly put it aside for the time being before revisiting with a fresh eye. Acrylic ink on untreated canvas board.

Monday, 13 December 2021

An F1 pundit writes

 Unquestionably that is not how you want a world championship to be decided. The procedure at the end was irregular and Mercedes are right to be feel aggrieved. Ordinarily Lewis Hamilton (who was far more gracious in defeat at the end of the season than Max Verstappen was on last week's podium, when he flounced off) would have won under the anticlimactic condition of a safety-car finish. However, Mercedes should cease with their challenges against the result and just accept what has happened. Verstappen is not an undeserved winner. He has driven well (if aggressively) throughout the season, both teams have at various times benefitted from odd decisions, and yesterday's result was always going to be on a knife-edge.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

This can't be twenty years old...


I liked the album this is off very much when it came out, but it's only since putting it on my running MP3 (at my pace, it's just right for a 5k) that it's really revealed its secrets to me. This song contains the late Edwin Morgan's wonderful recital of his poem "Scottish Fiction", worth - as they say - the price of admission.

Sunday, 5 December 2021


 With the Omicron variant spreading rapidly, there's an understandable push to press on with the booster jab program. I've been waiting for my call-up for weeks, so I was relieved to get a text advising me that slots were available at my local vaccination clinic. I called the number and was arranged a time and date to get my booster. When I arrived, however, they had no record of my booking. Apparently this wasn't the first time that day that the third-party call centre handling the bookings hadn't passed on the relevant details to the clinic. As a consequence, there was no slot available for me - even though I was there, ready and willing to have my jab. I even had my vaccination history with me. I was offered no option but to go home and call the number again. This being a weekend, though, I won't be able to get through until Monday, at which point I'm back to square one.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Belladonna Nights and a story sale

 Copies of "Belladonna Nights And Other Stories" have reached me, and it's a beautiful-looking item. Aside from the cover, which takes its inspiration from the title piece, Marc Simonetti has also done a lovely illustration for the end papers, inspired by the story "Night Passage". It's a privilege to have my stories collected so handsomely, and of course always a pleasure to continue my association with Subterranean Press.

I talked about the book a bit more back in May:


In other news, although it's perhaps a bit premature to speak of a story which won't appear in print until the latter part of 2022, I'm very pleased indeed to have sold a new piece to Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, my first such sale there in two decades. I didn't mean for it to be such a long gap, but these things happen. My new story is entitled "Things To Do In Deimos When You're Dead", which I hope is a forgivable nod to a song by the late, great Warren Zevon (no, not the one about werewolves). I'm told it will appear in the Halloween-themed issue next year, and I couldn't be happier to be back.

Friday, 19 November 2021


 (Photo via the Guardian, credited to Xavi Bonilla/LiveMedia/Shutterstock)