My Amazon Author Page

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"A Scottish Wind in the Willows on high end skunk."

"I enjoy Kate's stories..."
"A fun and spooky read..."

"The characters are so involving and
loveable that you do want them to really exist. It does read like you've
stumbled across someone's long lost diary from and alternate timeline/universe.
I quickly got into the story and loved every second of reading it...
total gem of a read by an author who deserves a lot more recognition."


Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Moon is Made of Mushrooms. And a Very Happy New Year (when it comes)

31/12/13 sea penguin

"The world is full of miracles and wonder, of which you and I are a part."
"Not like you to be so positive, Tuppy."
"I know.  I'm discombobulated.  The sky is greeny yellow and the moon is made of mushrooms.  I've just had a manicure and I'm in a crowded Japanese sushi bar sporting a spanking new silk suit and an orange bow tie.  I'm also wearing hand-tooled lizardskin cowboy boots with lead toecaps and I'm smoking a liquorice-flavoured cheroot.  I want to use my bare hands to kill everyone who smells wrong but I'm afraid I'll get caught."
"You're out of your mind on cheap port and puffer fish."
"I think it's mainly the latter."
We had noticed a news story featuring some 'research' about dolphins who gently chew on puffer fish (without harming them) in order to get the psychotropic effect of the toxins exuded from the skin.  We never trust 'research', so we decided to test this theory ourselves.   Ergo we went and fetched the net from the attic, pottered down to the Bay at low tide, and caught our own puffer fish.
It's all very well for dolphins, but we didn't fancy holding a live fish in our mouths, and waiting anxiously for it to squeeze out its venom, so we decided to bang it on the head, toss it in seasoned flour and cook it in a light beer batter.
Dousing the fish in batter after slicing it into goujons and then deep-frying it only seemed to intensify the effects.  Geoffrey had some too, only it hasn't kicked in yet.  Either that or he's immune.  Mind you - he didn't have lemon on his, and I did...or was it the other way round?
Time will tell.
We're well-primed for 2014, that is for sure.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Now Reading

...My Name Escapes Me, Alec Guinness' diaries from the 1990s, which I received as a Christmas present.  I love Alec Guinness as an actor and his diaries don't disappoint.  He clearly knows they're going to be read, so one is always aware of that, but it doesn't really matter too much.  He writes about the minutiae of daily life - pets, meals (cauliflower cheese is a favourite), music, church services, public speaking (which he loathes), doctor appointments (inevitable at his great age of 82), garden birds - and also reminisces about his acting life.  It's a lovely, gently entertaining read.  I'm now seeking out more of his writing.
That's the Christmas free download offer over now.  A couple of hundred went this time, no idea where to.  Mostly in the USA though.  About fifty or sixty in the UK.
If anyone actually reads them and likes them, please let me know.  If you don't like them, keep it to yourself!  Thank you.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Free Downloads Reminder

Just a reminder that my Christmas offer of free downloads of all five blog compilations ends on the 28th. Click on any of the relevant pictures on the right hand side of the page to find them on Amazon, or on the link to my Amazon page beneath the main header pic.

Or on these links below.

Sea Penguin Part Five

Sea Penguin Part Four

Sea Penguin Part Three

Sea Penguin Part Two

Sea Penguin Part One

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Home for Christmas...

We're not sure if we're really home, or if we're hallucinating due to lack of food and drink.  At the moment, we don't much care.
We seem to remember being pushed shore-wards at alarming speed by the Great 'Fat' Whale of Norway.  Both of us remember that,  so it must be true, surely.   We reached land at about 5 o'clock this morning - Christmas morning - and managed to leap ashore and throw the painter round a rock to secure Fancy, before she could escape.
It wasn't easy, weak with hunger as we were, and we wouldn't have managed it but for the assistance of the forward momentum provided by the Whale.
"Thank you, Whale!"  we cried.
"Don't forget me lads!  Throw me some food as soon as you get the chance."  The Whale circled slowly in the deep water of the Bay.
Not too far behind him, circled the other coracle - the Big One.   When we got back to the Outcrop, I found my most powerful spyglass and had a look at it from the livingroom window while Geoffrey set to in the kitchen, lighting the fire and getting some breakfast on the go.
"Sausages, egg, bacon, fried bread, tattie scones, beans....yes, that should do.  Brown sauce.  Mustn't forget that.  Toast and marmalade for afters, and a large pot of tea," I heard him murmur, amidst the clattering of pans, and the spattering of hot fat.  Comforting, homely sounds.
"That coracle's carrying a ragged black flag at half-mast,"  I said. "What do you make of that,  Geoffrey?"
The kettle whistled.
"Same as you,  I imagine,  Tuppy.  She's a Death ship, come to claim her own during the Dark Days of Winter.  Let's chuck a sausage sandwich down to the Whale and then light the signal fire.  We'd better warn the others."
"What others?"
"You know.  Our neighbours.  The Fulmars.  Stormy Petrel. The Narks.   Doctor Wilson."
"Wilson?  The Narks?  You must be kidding."
"Well, the Tupfinder-Generals then. Although, I'm quite certain he'll already be aware."
"Oh I can't be bothered Geoffrey.  At least, not until I've had my breakfast and a serious nap.  Surely nothing bad will happen today.  After all, it's Christmas.  Goodwill to all.  A time of joy and starlight and happy faces crowded round a homely fire over glasses of hot punch.  Everyone will be busy with their Christmas dinners and stockings and presents and stuff."
"Not everybody,  Tuppy.  Think of that poor Whale, circling round and round all alone in the cold and the dark.  All he has to eat is what we throw down to him."
"But that's his natural environment Geoffrey.  He's a Whale.  He can't manage on land, just as we can't manage in water."
"I can.  I'm a gull.  I can manage water, land and air."
"Don't be smug!   You know what I mean.  Not everyone can enjoy Christmas like we can,  but there's nothing we can do about it so we're just going to have to blot out the guilt with insane amounts of food and drink,  and hopefully every other nasty memory.  Is that breakfast ready yet?"
"Oh dear Tuppy.  That's not the way to approach things, at all."
"Well I can't help it,"  I snapped," I'm tired and I can't manage moral dilemmas and guilt on an empty stomach.  I hope you've made plenty tattie scones."
"I have,  Tuppy.  I have."
"Black pudding?  Don't say a word.  I can tell by the look on your face that you forgot."
"Well to be honest Tuppy - and I know this is very poor timing - I think we need to give up black pudding."
Geoffrey swallowed anxiously.  "I want to go macrobiotic Tuppy.  There, I've said it."
" I'll have your full-cooked then."
"I didn't mean right now!  It's something for the New Year. You know the kind of thing."
"I do."
Phew!  I thought.  Macrobiotics?  It'd be yoga next,  if I couldn't nip this in the bud, and giving up smoking and opium.  And then where would we be?  Life wouldn't be worth a candle.  I'd need to keep a close eye on Geoffrey.

We sat by the fire and ate in silence, and then dozed pleasantly in the warmth as we waited for the sun to creep above the horizon.

And we tried not to think about the lonely Whale, swimming round and round in the cold dark water, or the coracle of Death, as it drifted ever closer....

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Free Downloads over Christmas

All five of my blog-based e-books are now free to download, for five days over the Festive only.  You can find them via my Amazon page here.


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Yuletide Ramblings

"You know, it looks like we're going to be celebrating Yule whilst tossing around in..."

"Do you mind!" interrupted Fancy, doing one of her twirls.

".... in the middle of the Atlantic," I continued, ignoring her.

"With nothing to eat or drink bar our own finger and toenails," added Geoffrey.

"Make that just 'toe', Geoffrey," I said,glancing at my fingers, which were bitten down to stumps.

"I mean come off it Fancy. It is Yule after all,  Season of good will and so forth. Can't you see your way clear to coming out of your towering huff and sailing us back home again?"


"I might be able to help," ventured the Whale. "I could push you landwards, till the water gets too shallow for me.  It would be my pleasure.  What with it being Yule and that,"  it added, glancing darkly at Fancy.

"Whales don't celebrate Yule," sneered Fancy.

"We do so too," replied the genial Leviathon*. "Only this morning I felt the joy of Christmas leaping in my breast, and I wanted to scream "Happy Christmas!"  at the top of my lungs."

"Screaming doesn't sound very festive," said Fancy," Are you sure you didn't have a case of heartburn?"

"Quite sure," replied the Whale,"Given that I haven't actually eaten anything for ages.  Besides, Yule means different things to different people.  For some, it's a time to gaze at the stars, and ponder the coming of the Christ child.  For others, it's a time to contemplate murdering your own family, as you stare at them over the skeletal remains of an Aldi three bird roast and the last of Aunt Bessie's frozen roasters.  For others,  it's a time to enjoy the sight of brown land lying fallow before the resurgence of Spring.  For others, it's a time to sit down beside a roaring fire, at a table laden with food and drink.  Turkey,  stuffing, ham, bread sauce, gravy, fine wines..."

"O stop, stop," cried Geoffrey,"You're torturing us.  Stop talking and start pushing.  We want to get home!"

So home we went, despite Fancy's sulky efforts to the contrary.    In hot pursuit, however, was the other coracle - the Big One.....

*apologies for using the term 'genial leviathon' again

Please remember that all five of my blog-related e-books are available for FREE for five days, as from Christmas Eve.  Here is the link.  to one of them, on Amazon.

more later

22/12/13 sea penguin

Now Reading....

Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley, and A Christmas Carol.  I don't think I need to say who wrote that one.
Crome Yellow is good.  It was Huxley's first novel, so I approached it warily.   But it's got GENIUS stamped right through it, so I needn't have worried.  I'll move on to one of his later ones next.
I drag A Christmas Carol off the bookshelf every year but to be honest I prefer the films.  Especially the Alastair Sim and Patrick Stewart ones.
Included in my very cheap volume are The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth.  Both teeter on the edge of the nauseatingly sentimental (some might say that they plunge right in and have a wallow), but I don't care and I prefer both to A Christmas Carol.
All five of my blog-based e-books will be free to download to Kindle,  phone, PC, whatever, for five days from the 24th.  Here is the link to my Amazon page, where you can find them all.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

pinetum 21/12/13 sea penguin

Jethro Tull Rare Promo Vid for Solstice bells 1976

I think I've posted this every year for the last five!  Happy Solstice - it's time to polish your brasses, whack out that Yule log, set it ablaze,  and break open the dusty barrel of Somerfield 'Yellow Label' cooking sherry.
Or even just to appreciate the dark and quiet days.

Solstice Thoughts

The other coracle - the steam-powered one (or so we thought...) - paused in its relentless approach.  Everything paused, as the world itself drew a breath and settled down in front of a roaring fire with a large brandy and several mince pies.
Or perhaps a Mr Kipling Frosty Fancy from the reduced shelf, and a mug of Earl Grey, in front of a one-bar electric.
Sprinkle some crumbs on the windowsill and a robin will arrive.  Then you will see the tree into which it flies, and notice how the rain or snow makes the branches gleam in the dim winter light.
Then you will see it fly to an evergreen hedge and find shelter, till the weather turns.
It's the solstice.
A time of cold, and silence.
A time of darkness and waiting.
A time to take stock of the failures and successes of the past year, and to look forward with hope to the next.  Because in the darkness even the tiniest spark of light can be seen, just like a star, and one can gaze in wonder as it grows and flames, miraculously, into brightness.

 'The tide of darkness (has) reached its fullest ebb...' (George Mackay Brown - master of the winter tale).

Friday, 20 December 2013

Thursday, 19 December 2013

shelfie 19/12/13 sea penguin

"Biscuits," I said. "If only!  We ran out of food AGES ago and now we're going insane with hunger.  I was just thinking about eating my best friend, until you came along, taunting us with talk of biscuits and weight gain."

"It's remarkable how long one can manage without food," said the Whale, "For example, when I was Overthere... "

"Yes," interrupted Geoffrey, "Food's not important.   It's water that's essential to life.  At least at first.  And we're running out of that.  There are only three teeny weeny drops left in the flask.  Ooops!  I dropped it and it broke!  I'm sorry Tuppy.  I've let you down again, haven't I?  Please don't be too angry.  I feel bad enough as it is."

"Right.  That's it.  We've no food, and no water, and our boat refuses to behave as it should," I began furiously, thumping the foc's'l with my front hoof.  I had to take control - I simply had to.  But how could I, when the boat had a mind of its own, and we were in the middle of some sort of trackless ocean-style thing?

"Coracle!" shouted Geoffrey.

"Yes, I know it's a coracle.  I was using the generic term.  We're being dragged to wherever Fancy takes us, and it's about as much fun as having your fingers trapped in a door."

"No - CORACLE!  There's another one, and it's heading our way.  It's far bigger than this one, and it appears to be steam-powered.  Oo-er.  Fancy - you have a rival."

more later

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Great 'Fat' Whale of Norway Shares His Feelings about This and That

"I don't know much about This,  but I can tell you an awful lot about THAT," began the Whale.*

Then it began to cough.

"Jings,"  I said.

"Crivvins," said Geoffrey.

"Help ma boab**," said Fancy, spinning round and round in her excitement.

"STOP THAT FANCY!" I shouted, "You'll knock us all sick."

"Yes please do stop," said the Whale,"I can't address a spinning audience.  It reminds terribly me of the terrible time when I had a terrible inner ear infection, and I got terrible vertigo.  I got terribly ill and it took me a terrible length of time to recover.  And even then, when I was supposedly better, I felt terrible."

"Doctors eh," said Geoffrey.

"Never trust 'em,"  I added darkly.  (We were both thinking of Drs Wilson and Kwak, mentioned in earlier Tales, and in the first four e-books)

"That was how the weight gain started," continued the Whale, warming to its tale. "There I was, housebound, with only a reclining chair, a biscuit barrel, a deep fat fryer and a wall-mounted TV for company."

Geoffrey and I glanced at each other.  "Where were you?  A sheltered housing complex?"  I asked. "Did you have a walk-in bath, as well?"

"No Tuppy.  You're quite wrong.  They couldn't possibly allow deep fat fryers in sheltered housing, due to health and safety issues," said Geoffrey in his best 'job'sworth' tone.  Not that he's ever had a job.

"Yes!" said the Whale,"Well, kind of. It was a theme park for elderly whales.  Well they said it was a theme park, but really it was a knacker's yard, for old whales who couldn't jump and do tricks any more. Before they made us into scampi bites and fish-style fingers.  They wanted us to fatten up.  Pile on the beef, so to speak.  You know - Overthere.  Right by the Speedispend Hypermarket and Compulsory Screening Centre.  I managed to escape," it added proudly.

"How?  How did you manage to escape?"  we cried.

"Give me a biscuit and I'll tell you.  I've not had sight or sound of so much as a Rich Tea for three long months."

more later

*apologies to the late Chic Murray

**apologies to The Broons

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A Christmas Present on the Frickin' Way

....for all readers.  All five of my e-books will be available for free download for five days, starting on December 24th.

I don't do free promotions as a general rule any more - this is for Christmas only.

Not that they cost very much anyway.  However, there we are.

Merry frickin' Christmas.  Compliments of the frickin' Season.  And so on and so forth.

I'll post links at the time.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

An Encounter with the Great 'Fat' Whale. Of Norway.

No,  of course I didn't eat Geoffrey.  He would probably be perfectly edible served up with a couple of rashers of bacon on his back and some sage and onion stuffing, or even, at a push, roasted with a Knorr stock cube crumbled and massaged into his skin 'to bring out the flavour', and an unwaxed lemon up his nethers a la Marco Pierre White,  or even simmered vilely in Coca Cola a la Nigella,  but sadly there are no cooking facilities on the coracle and I just couldn't face him 'au nature' or whatever.
I certainly couldn't manage to pluck him, with my hooves.  I'd have to singe his feathers off.  Maybe with my Zippo.  But it would take AGES.......

"Tuppy!  How c-can you even think of such things!"  gasped Geoffrey.  I'd forgotten about his mind-reading facility.

Oh dear.   Oh well.....

"I'm STARVING Geoffrey!  Have a heart.  Call yourself a friend?  The least you can do is...."


A large whale appeared off our starboard bow.  Well, it would have been our starboard bow, if we had one. The coracle doesn't have bows,  being circular.  So,  I suppose all bows are at the same time either and or equally starboard and or port depending on how the mood - or indeed "Fancy", to make another nauseating and laboured allusion* - takes you.

"My.  You're awfully big.  Even for a whale.  What kind are you?" asked Geoffrey politely.

"I'm the Great 'Fat' Whale.  Of Norway," replied the creature.

"Really?  How interesting.  Do tell me how you came by your name, especially the 'Fat' bit. I'm sure it will be an absolutely fascinating tale, and I'm longing to hear it," enthused Geoffrey.

I put my feet up on the bowsprit and prepared myself for a nap.

"Fire the kettle on and crack open your best biscuits, friend," replied the genial Leviathon**, "Chocolate ones.  And maybe some cake as well.  And I wouldn't say no to a scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam, if you have it.  And plenty full fat milk and six sugars in my tea.  And after that I'll tell you how I got my name and other tales that will make your feathers fall out."

I opened an eye.  "Ummmmm....."

*the name of our coracle is Fancy.  Feel free to split your sides.

**apologies for using the term 'genial Leviathon'

Monday, 2 December 2013

Hamster Droppings

We're still on the boat.  IN the boat, rather, what with it being a coracle.  And all.

It's still in a mood.  It skirted the Corryfreckle whirlpool, lacking the courage, thankfully, to plunge right in, and took us instead round the Paps of Jura and out into the wild Atlantic.  Where we remain.  Waving forlornly to passing trawlers and such-like.

Not to mention whales.  More of those later.

Two rather pressing issues.  One, we forgot to bring the Travel Scrabble (always a godsend on a long trip).
Two, we're STARVING!!!!!!

Goji berry flapjacks, UHT almond milk smoothies and all that other vegan food is no substitute for flesh.  To make matters worse, Geoffrey informs me that the flapjacks that we so blithely consumed, were made from the sweepings from Val Nark's horrible child's horrible hamster's cage.

"Those chewy bits weren't goji berries Tuppy.  They were hamster droppings."

"Hamster droppings?"

"Yes.  From the Nark child's hamster's cage."

"I didn't know that there was a Nark child."

"Oh yes.  I think it's a boy child,  called Bucket or something.  Something that's not a proper name, anyway.  I can't remember.  Oh Tuppy!  I'm too hungry to think!  What are we going to do?"

"I haven't the foggiest.  Only I'm thinking, you DO look rather like chicken Geoffrey.  Quite appetising,  if you were trussed up with a couple of rashers of bacon on your back and half a dozen chipolatas sizzling on the side. I might even manage a sprout or two, if they were going begging.  Just for the aesthetic appeal."

"Charming!  I thought that sheep were herbivores!"

"Not in a tight spot, Geoffrey."  I edged towards him, hands outstretched.  Was I really going to eat my best friend?

more later