Pangolin Issue 21

My mindful soulmate finds our allotment a solace and has recovered sufficiently from her hip replacement to enjoy picking the raspberries, redcurrants and jostaberries while I weed, water and strim. The spuds, apples and plums are looking good. My second novel featured an allotment but then I started reading Carys Bray’s ‘The Museum of You’ and realised just how high the bar is for urban vegetable garden plotting.

We were delighted to see a comma on the allotment this week, soaking up the sunshine. I tweeted something daft about #wildlifegrammar but only later did I see the ominous shadow of a hungry bear lurking in the rhubarb groves. That’s what happens when you try and invert a comma.

June 30 was the deadline for the first short story competition I have ever organised. We’ve had a select bunch of high quality entries and look forward to the judging of the shortlist by Chibundu Onuzo on October 1st. The competition was listed on Christopher Fielden’s website for free (thanks Chris) and I’ve enjoyed releasing my latent humour to enter his ‘To Hull and Back’ competition. Hurry, hurry, hurry! – it closes midnight on July 31st. Haraka haraka, hakuna baraka meanshurry, hurry, is no blessing’ or ‘more haste less speed’. It sounds so much better in Kiswahili. I started the first novel in 2008, the fourth major revision will be finished by August 4th (note the precise deadline there) so I am not exactly rushing it.

The first chapter of the second novel (I won’t give away the title because there’s all those competitions to enter) has now been honed to near perfection – I wish – thanks to the Leeds Writers Circle, its novelists’ sub-group and plotting sub-sub-group.

The story starts by the Leeds-Liverpool canal which ‘smells like an old dishcloth’. Our heroine makes friends with one of these beautiful creatures and takes it back to her place.

What’s not to like?




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