Friday, August 31, 2012


It's all been a bit rushed since we got back. Scrub that. It's all been very rushed.

The holiday was great, but towards the end, I got an ear-infection. It got more and more painful, until I was taking the maximum dose of ibuprofen and the maximum dose of paracetamol, and still waking up wanting more. I started running a fever, too.

The flight home on Monday was a bit grim, what with the ears and the pressure changes. We got home at 7 pm, which just gave us time to fetch the cats from the cattery and for me to go see a doctor. In Santa Cruz de La Palma there's a thing called the ambulatorio, which is something like A&E for people who aren't actually bleeding profusely.

The doctor said that it sounded like a virus, and he didn't think he'd be able to help. Then he looked down my ears, said, “Eugh!” and gave me a prescription for antibiotics.

Yes, well. I knew it was bad.

The antibiotics kicked in pretty quickly, and it stopped hurting by Wednesday, but I'm still half-deaf, and still catching up on missed sleep.  Plus, of course, a week's worth of laundry and a week's worth of dust to sort out.
I met Helen, who's doing the layout to A Breathtaking Window on the Universe and I love what she's done with the bit I left her to work on.  that got me working on the book again.  Slowly, but I've started.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Something Wicked is coming

Yay! The limited edition of the anthology "Something Wicked", which contains my story "Breathing Space", is available for pre-order at The book officially launches on 22nd of September. Please note: Limited Edition. The last I heard, they only had 40 left.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Leiden is lovely.

It's full of old buildings and canals, so much that random photos tend to look like postcards. The town centre is largely pedestrian and bicycles, so it's remarkably quiet and sweet-smelling for a town that size.

So we did a lot of strolling about, stopping for hot chocolate or coffee.  We managed quite a bit of sight-seeing too.

And I got off the hamster wheel and had time to think.

I can't get the book out by September 20th unless I do a bodge job.  I'd much rather do a good job, and release it a little late.  So the pressure's off.  But knowing me, I have to watch that I don't dawdle all the way to Christmas.

Still, Leiden was lovely.

Wednesday - The Hague and Escher

On Wednesday we took a train to The Hague to go see the Escher museum.  It's in an old royal palace, so the rooms are fun, and the chandeliers are fantastic.  Downstairs they have Escher's older work, which is the same drawing style, but mostly landscapes, and none of the fun tricks with perspective or illusions.

The second floor has what you might call classic Escher: the metamorphoses and impossible buildings, and hands drawing each other.  All of which is copyright, obviously.

But our favourite bit was the top floor with all the interactive stuff. The cube is painted on the walls - some around the doorway, some in the room behind.

They've also got a hemispherical mirror, and we had fun photographing each other from different angles.

Best of all was the room-within-a-room with trick perspective.  The left hand side is actually smaller and closer to the camera. You have to pay extra for a photo, and I usually regret paying for that sort of extra, but we all love this.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The holiday's finally booked!

I left it all ridiculously late, but we have the flights and hotel sorted out for a week in The Netherlands, starting Monday evening. Now I just have to finish as much of the observatory guide book as possible, so the layout genius, Helen Bennett, can get started while I'm away.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012


The residencia has a new coffee machine, which makes rather nice coffee. You buy a token from reception, put it in and press the button for your choice of coffee. Then you see the coffee pouring down the drain, swear, and grab a cup fast enough to catch the second half of the coffee. That's right - no plastic cups. It's better for the planet, and anyway I prefer drinking out of a proper cup. I just have to remember before I press the button.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The fire's controlled.

I woke up on Tuesday morning to find that it had rained. Not much, but apparently enough to really help with the fire. It's controlled. The fire-fighting planes are off to help La Gomera. Yippee! I went off to work at the observatory much happier for that (and took this photo of clouds in the Caldera on the way down.) I'm nobody special to be saying it, but many, many thanks to all the people who fought that fire. And good luck to Gomera.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Fiery night

I went up to Montaña las Breñas to see what was happening with the fire. A lot of other people evidently had the same idea - the car park was packed and the view wasn't at all reassuring.

Forest fires

La Palma has another forest fire, just south of Mazo. La Gomera has a forest fire burning the national park at Garajoney. animals have been burnt alive and people have been evacuated (although I don't think anyone's lost their home yet.)

 In my blogs about La Palma and El Hierro, I've tried to stay professional. But this is my private blog, and I'm going to say what I really think.

 Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

And another!

Abyss and Apex magazine are buying "Rose Petals, Lavender and Glitter". I don't know when it'll be published, but I've been trying to sell them something for years, so I'm well chuffed.