My Amazon Author Page

Find my Amazon author page via this link

"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."


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Walk of the Day - Ardalanish beach, Isle of Mull






A very wide, deserted beach about half a mile down a track.  Lovely views over to Jura and Colonsay.  Amazing rock formations (it's a Site of Special Scientific Interest - which means they'll probably be building a wind farm or a golf course on top of it at some point).   I read in a guide book that Rangers football club used to train here - why?  it's miles from anywhere and no different to Gullane or other beaches which would seem to spring more immediately to mind as being 'handy'.  Och, it's probably not even true.
I wonder if it gets busy in the summer?  Probably not terribly.  Wonder if it gets warmer in the summer?  Probably not terribly.  Much,  I mean.
We saw a sea eagle fly across, scouting for a meal and scattering a small flock of greylags grazing in the field above the beach.
Ardalanish Weavers are just by the car park (and along a little bit).  I covet one of their jumpers.

Monday, 26 May 2014


'The thing is Tuppy, I mind TERRIBLY.  I do I do I do,  and I can't help it.'
'So do I,'  I replied flatly, draining my glass of industrial-strenf Alcobov, and injecting another syringeful of...
'But how do you know what I'm talking about?'
'I know you so well by now - cue Barbara Dickson and pass the extra-huge sick bucket - that I can read your mind without the aid of your vilely-intrusive mind-reading skills.'
I belched loudly and closed my eyes.  'Just give it a rest for now,  will you? There's nothing to be done, anyway, so we might as well forget about it.'

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Writing My Writing

This is a short piece I submitted to Shortbread Stories competition 'Shortbread personified'.  It didn't win.  I think really it's more ME Personified, rather than Shortbread. So, here it is.

'Smells like cats’ feet and wool and soot and stale biscuits and mothballs and bubblegum and lemons and rosewater and cool earth and furniture polish and the apple drawer in my grandparents’ spare room, with a sizzle of bacon and eggs and a skoosh of Lynx.
Looks like something grey and bent over, wearing a floral pinafore (see illustration), perhaps glimpsed from a 1950s railway carriage as one glances up, for no reason at all, from one’s cup of railway tea; or in a fragment of mirror found in a thrift shop or in a skip, then taken home for ‘upcycling’.
Also looks like a baked potato, left to blacken in the ashes of an abandoned fireplace.
In early summer it looks like a brass jam pan, gleaming dully in the late afternoon sunlight, left by a well-meaning friend on the doorstep of a late Victorian ‘pile’ with crow-stepped gables and a croquet lawn.
Feels like a fluffy cat, or the thing that my brother told me was a fluffy cat when he made me put my hand into the loft in the old cottage when I was five.
Sounds like a steam train. Somebody shouting Daddy my daddy, like at the end of The Railway Children, and everybody cries. There’s a kettle whistling, and the ‘snap’ of a chilled Kitkat. And then the soft but deliberate ‘rip’ of paper hankies being removed from their box.
And the crunch of ice as winter boots cross a frozen field.
Can be found, by the way, on Tuesdays and Fridays ONLY, in the newspaper section of WH Smith, Waverley Station, Edinburgh, in between The Lady magazine and Monster Trucks. On Sundays it can be found hiding beneath a grey cat in the gardens of the Palais Royale, Paris, directly beneath the apartment formerly occupied by Colette. On Wednesdays it lurks in Highgate Cemetery, London, near the grave of Karl Marx. At all other times it may be found with the aid of a celestial map and a space rocket.
Third star on the right (as someone once said) and straight on till morning.
Don’t forget the biscuits.'

Read more: Short Story: Shortbread, My Shortbread | Shortbread 
Catching up with a few bits and pieces.  I've written another of my recipes on this page here - goodness only knows why I've started doing this.  This one is for Arsey Lentil Soup.  It's quite good actually - don't be put off by the title.

Walk of the day - Uisken, Isle of Mull

Uisken beach

Another view of Uisken


From the cairn

The Paps of Jura from Uisken cairn

From the tidal island, Uisken
Well, I'm cheating because I was there two days ago.  One of the lovely beaches on the Ross of Mull. Great to potter along at low tide, when you can cross to a tidal island. Requires no effort at all, other than placing one foot after the other until you get there.  We saw kittiwakes, rock pipits and wheatears, as well as the more usual cormorants, oyster catchers, and various types of gull.  If you feel more energetic you can scramble up to the cairn and get terrific views to the Paps of Jura and southwards down the coast to Carsaig.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Scottish Islands Explorer: Staying on Flannan

Fascinating photos of the Flannan Isles via >  Scottish Islands Explorer: Staying on Flannan: Not the easiest of landings, nor the most secure-looking steps, but this was the landing place for an expedition to the Flannan Isles ...

A place of (unsolved) mystery still - though for my taste much of the atmosphere is lost through the 'medium' of modern technology.  It seems in a way a shame that you can go there on a fast boat with powerful lenses and take the place apart, in a sense.  I can't help feeling that it's equally regrettable that visiting remote places these days seems to involve eye-popping amounts of ugly orange lycra, portable toilets, and hi-tech equipment. Oh for a wooden boat or a coracle, and a decent set of tweeds....or perhaps not....I suppose one must be 'practical'.  Very unattractive however. But I suppose you aren't thinking about appearances when you're desperate for the toilet in the middle of a Force 9.  Perhaps that's what happened to the three lighthouse-keepers!   One of them made an especially violent curry, and they of course not.

I wonder if they suffered from scurvy.  It is possible, if they were there, unrelieved, for long stretches. I must read up on the mystery, and theories thereof.

Best account of Flannan that I can think of (the poem aside) is the fictionalised encapsulation in Neil Gunn's The Silver Darlings - they sail away, away west, beyond the horizon....and encounter wondrous things...

Haven't read that book for about ten years - not sure how much of my remembering is really from the book and how much is from my own imaginings.

Monday, 12 May 2014

I decided to put the Sea Penguin story I mentioned a week or so ago on Shortbread Stories - here is the link.  I have to say it isn't my best writing.  It's 'under-written', i.e. bunged out straight on the page as fast as I could think it up, and not re-written at all.  All the Sea Penguin Tales have been pretty much speed-written like that - and there is such a mass of them now that the thought of going back and re-writing and editing is just overwhelming*.  It's embarrassing having stuff 'out there' that I know I could improve and polish up;  however, on balance I think I'd rather just move on and do some more 'Clint Clantons'.  Different head space entirely.
*if anyone wishes to fund me for a year**, so that I don't have to do a 'job' to earn 'munny', I will gladly spend that year re-writing Sea Penguin to my satisfaction.
** as if.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Brain Fuel

One of the joys of life is food.  When you're on a budget it can be difficult to eat well;  I've had to learn how to do that.  Food is fuel - fuel for the brain, fuel for the body, and most of all, fuel for the spirit.  Without a healthy, varied diet, you might not actually get ill immediately, but you simply just don't feel good.  I think even if I had lots of money to spend on food, I'd hate to waste it.  I have a huge respect for it;  I don't like ready-meals (been there, done that).  I'm not keen on much out of packets - exceptions being Tesco crumble mix (39p), tinned tomato soup, Mr Kipling's French Fancies and sausage rolls out of the baker's.  Home-made is almost always best. I rarely eat out and when I do I'm almost always disappointed with what appears before me - and actually quite annoyed.  Why can't they cook, for God's sake?
I 'splashed out' on a bargain hotel break a few weeks ago ( as mentioned in a previous post).  The food was so disgusting and repellent I could barely eat it.  Over-cooked, bony fish, mushy potatoes, dry 'gateau', vile-tasting 'Lincolnshire' sausages at breakfast, liver pate that looked and smelled like dog muck - I could go on, but won't.
Well actually I probably will at some stage.  Probably fairly soon if I'm honest.
In the meantime I've made a page to share some of my tried and tested low-cost recipes.  I like them - you very well might not, so take your chances.
Here's the link.  The first one is Lovage Soup.  It's not everyone that has access to lovage (I do, obviously) but hey.

Now Reading...Useful Work versus Useless Toil by William Morris

I bought this for a penny on Amazon (yes, I'm still doing that, in the full awareness that it is neither clever nor big).  Its title attracted me, for obvious reasons*.  I've read about four pages and it seems to be saying pretty much what I was trying to express in my post a couple of weeks ago, about work as a form of self-harm, only a zillion times better.
I must try harder.
And I will.
I will formulate some thoughts about it and organise them in a much more articulate and interesting and umm.....whatever......ummm....manner or whatever.  Or perhaps I'll simply post a quote with a pretty picture, as usual.  Depends on the time and energy levels really.**


*obvious to me, at any rate.

**in other words, whether I can be arsed or not.

Monday, 5 May 2014

I must catch up with Tuppy and Geoffrey some time soon.  I think I left them stuck in the coracle somewhere, contemplating cannibalism and talking to the Great 'Fat' Whale of Norway, trailing a trailer-load of orange wooden-toothed sheep, round about last Christmas.  I will collect those posts and put them on their Own Page.  So that they're easier to read and that.  I've completely lost track of what I Kindled into Sea Penguin Part Five - I've a feeling that was mostly about mutant wasps, rather than orange sheep.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

The ramparts on Castle Hill, Clunie, Perthshire.

Loch Clunie and the island from Castle Hill

On an ancient gravestone,  Clunie churchyard.  'Set thy House in order for thou shalt Die and not Live.'