Good deeds week 10th – 16th November

This is all about my journey to achieve one Good Deed a day for a year. I was inspired to set myself this challenge when I began reading “A Year of Doing Good” by Judith O’Reilly. Judith undertook some amazing deeds in her year, my own challenge has opened my eyes to opportunities which would previously have passed me by, where I can make a difference to the world, not matter how small.

Good deedsNovember 10th – Face booked a friend to invite her for coffee. Cleared up lots of leaves in the garden and on a shared pathway.

November 11th – My morning helping out at school. Then I bought a plant for a work colleague to thank her for not minding me have 2 weeks off work at a busy time of the month. Found out it was a stressful day doing the wage run for her so added a bar of chocolate to the gift. Left my jam jar of coins at the school to be added to their Children in Need charity collection on Friday.

November 12th – Went for a walk and picked up a load of litter.

November 13th – E-mailed my work colleague with a suggestion to ease some of our workload and make the weeks a little smoother. Invited some friends over for supper in a few weeks, being organised and sending the invite early made me feel good. Good deeds received: A big thanks for the chocolate bar I’d left my colleague, she needed it when she had to stay late to finished some work.

November 14th – Took a big carrier bag with me when I went for my walk today and I filled it with litter, I even went down a busy road picking up litter, I threw away my embarrassment about being seen and concentrated on making the countryside a prettier place. Got home and recycled as much of the litter as possible, it felt really good.

November 15th – Today is the BBC’s Children in Need charity appeal. I’ve sent my son to school with a donation for their collection. I’ve also found items for the “Make a Wish” charity that is doing a door to door collection today. Donated more money to Children in Need whilst out at the shops.

November 16th – It’s my Mum’s birthday this weekend, so I’ve gone over for a visit and to deliver some gifts to a hardworking and very deserving Mum. Thank you Mum, we love you, enjoy your day.

Guest Author Alix B Macey

Today my guest is Alix Macey a local author of “Becoming Anorak Nid” which I reviewed here on the blog yesterday. Follow this link to the review post

Let’s go and meet Alix;

Alix B Macey

1)  Where is your home town?

Oooh now there’s a question!  Hometown? Born in Hampton Court, Middlesex, but we moved around a lot.  I have lived in 27 different places in the UK and 11 of those were before I was 15 years old! ( I have just written them all down so I could count)

Happily, now home is in a little village called Crondall, Nr. Farnham in Surrey. At  6 years, this is the longest place I have ever lived in, so this for me is most definitely “home” (followed very closely by Suffolk, then Kent – if that’s allowed?!)

2) How long have you been writing?

Ever since I was 4 years old and I could hold a pen!
I was full of stories as a child and would write story after story. In adulthood however, I am a relative newcomer to “grown-up” writing. I have written radio programme scripts, children’s animation scripts and website articles.  But my first two books in the Becoming Anorak Nid series began as an idea about 15 years ago and have been finished in the last 6 years. (yes I did say 6 years!)

3) Have you always written children’s books?

Not at all really.  I worked for a presenter for the BBC up until 2005, and so a lot of my writing has been scripts for programmes.  I have written a few scripts for children’s animations, but they were much more serious than I like to be when writing.  I see myself as a bit silly – well my children tell me on a daily basis that I am, and they are such judges of character, so I guess I must be!

4) Your fun book has a lot of subtle play on words with some of the names, can you tempt the readers with one or two examples?

Ha ha…yes,  I love this question.  My favourite is Sile.  He’s an ant who can’t talk so he is Sile-ant.  Being silent he is mute, so he is a mute-ant…mutant! He carries cardboard signs around with him everywhere so he can communicate –  so he uses “sign” language  Hah! Sorry I know I shouldn’t laugh but he just makes me giggle.  Then of course there is our hero; Nid.  He is a spider which of course is an-“arachnid”…an-arachnid. Nid buys a magic coat/anorak and becomes a bit of a superhero and gets known as Anorak Nid (an-arachnid).  Tee hee..can’t stop giggling..there are loads more…

5) You’ve chosen English Garden creatures as the characters, why was that?

I am an out-doorsy kind of girl, so I love nature. But to be honest it was really the way the story unfolded.  Nid, being a spider, could either have been a house or a garden of sorts.  And once he started on his adventure to Mr. Busy’s Bumble sale it took him outside, where he met all manner of wonderfully colourful characters.

6) Poor Nid lost his parents, can you tell us what happened to them?

They unfortunately got trodden on by the SB’s (Shoe Beings). It was a most unfortunate encounter with a sole and the stone tiling on the kitchen floor.  Sniff!

7) You’ve made the author have a voice as a narrator in the story, why?

Do you know; I don’t know why. It wasn’t a conscious effort, and not thought of at all. I just found myself talking to Nid, and he answered me back, so we became sort-of friends and he helped me tell his story.

8) Is there going to be a moral to the story?

Great question.  Oh yes, there are lots of morals – which come in the shape of a fairy with a massive social disorder – and lots of odd ribboned scrolls.  All is revealed in Book Two – A Rude Awakening. Things are not at all what you think they might be.

9) The book, but not the story, ends on a real cliff hanger which the reader can pick up in “Becoming Anorak kid – The rude awakening” what made you choose to make the story into 2 books?

…Shhh , don’t tell anyone but originally it was all one book.

I was told by a book analyser (that story is on my blog ) that for a paperback version the story was way too long, at over 30,000 words. So I was advised to turn it into two books. There seemed to be a natural split at the da..da..daaaa moment. So there you have it; one becomes two.

10) What are you working on at the moment? Do you have a publication date?

Book 3 in the Becoming anorak Nid series is currently being worked on – sadly in the loosest sense of the word.  I really must get a wriggle on.  Thank you for reminding me.  Names are not forthcoming yet, but it may very well have the word Turd in the title…eeeyeww!

Product DetailsBecoming Anorak Nid available here on

Product DetailsBecoming Anorak Nid – A Rude awakening available here from

Website –
Twitter – @alixbmacey
Thanks for being our guest today, it’s been great meeting someone local.

This Country Business by Max Hardcastle

Product DetailsThis Country Business by Max HardcastleMy rating: 4 of 5 stars   

This book got better as I got further in to it and all the many crazy named characters kept re-appearing, such as “Canary Mary, Thievin’ Jack and Fiery Frank”. The plot reminded me of the television series “Lovejoy” written by Jonathan Gash, which ran on the BBC from 1986-94 and followed the antics of an East Anglian antiques dealer who walked a thin line between right and wrong. “This Country Business” is set in one of my favourite areas, the Yorkshire Dales, where many of the characters would have fitted very well into Lovejoy’s world. The book is dedicated to the men who served in the Merchant Navy from 1939-1945 and there is a great piece written about ships for you to discover.

View all my reviews

BBC Sports Personality 2012

Nominees for the BBC Sports Personality 2012 have been announced. The 12 finalists are; Bradley Wiggins, Nicola Adams (Boxer), Ben Ainslie, Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Kath Grainger (Rower),Sir Chris Hoy, Rory McIlroy, Andy Murray and Paralympians; Sara Storey, Ellie Simmonds and David Weir. The awards take place on the 16th December.

Good Luck everyone.

Man Booker Winner

Hilary Mantel has just won this years Man Booker prize with her book “Bring Up The Bodies” with its prize fund of £50000.

Hilary is also the 1st British woman to win the Man Booker prize twice! She last won it in 2009 with her book “Wolf Hall”.

“Bring Up the Bodies” is about the downfall of Anne Boleyn seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell who was Henry VIII’s Chief Minister.

The BBC is planning to adapt both of Hilary’s books into 6 part dramas.

Congratulations Hilary!

10000 threshold

Have spent the morning on the new book and broke through the 10000 word count barrier. Nothing to some Authors, but a benchmark for me!

Loved an article in the Dailey Telegraph, yesterday by Xanthe Clay about a care home near Bristol which has set up a project in the garden of the care home to help dementia patients. A model size 1950’s village street called “Memory Lane” hosts a post office, pub, shop and phone box to give the residents a purpose to their movements. Chris Taylor, the senior Manager at the Grove Care nursing home was being interviewed by Sky news, Jeremy Vine, BBC Bristol, Radio Five Live, BBC Wales and has a booking with BBC Breakfast on Friday. The idea behind the project is to give the patients “stimulation and a catalyst for conversation”

Memory Lane patients and guests can wonder in and around the shop and pub, there is original packaging to handle and replica newspapers to read. There are displays of ration books and telegrams, plus old stamps and other memorabilia. it gets the patients talking and jogging memories is key to getting into the world of the dementia patient. Taylor plans to expand the village into a whole village with a village green.

This isn’t the first; Hogeweg Nursing home in Amsterdam has a self-contained village for its 152 dementia patients and a new home near Bern in Switzerland is due to open in 2017 with a recreation of a 1950’s town.

There are always critics, but the project sounds great to me.