Tuesday, 30 April 2013

In It to Win It...


Don't you just love them? Owt for Nowt?

Well, not quite that, of course, but you get my drift. I hope. A giveaway. A freebie. A few clicks and the prize could be in your hands. I love 'em, personally.

I used to enter so many competitions. My lunch hour would be filled with writing out postcards, I'd be throwing out emails and surfing the internet to find them. My wallet would bulge with packs of stamps.

And I'd win.

I've won some wonderful prizes. One of my first was a pair of tickets to the cinema. I was excited even though that particular chain of cinemas didn't have one anywhere near me. I won a Pot Noodle voucher. Similar tingles even though I don't actually like Pot Noodles.

I once won a flight to Sydney, Australia that was expensive enough for me to change it to take my family to Disneyland Paris. There's been money, a trip to Paris that coincided with the release of a Tomb Raider game (and the prize included the console and game to play them on). One prize was a trip to the Lynx villa, somewhere hot (I can't remember when), where they were having a big weekend party with celebrity DJs. It left, unfortunately, on the day we were going to Paris for other competition. Often, you can't transfer prizes to someone else, but you could in this case. So I sold it to a friend and had extra pocket money for the trip!

Competitions, and the time to enter them, have taken a back seat nowadays. I write when I can and when I can't, I'm working or with my family. As such, it's been a while since a winning envelope dropped through my letterbox or I had a special telephone call.

But, I still enter them, when I can. Even if it's something small, I still get a bubble of something other than wind in anticipation of winning the Grand Prize.

As such, I'm delighted to be able to actually announce a competition. Myrddin, my publishing group with whom Dark Places has entered the world, are running a giveaway.

The prize is a $100 Amazon gift card and the closing date is 26th May. It isn't limited to any locale, so you can enter from anywhere in the world. All you have to do is Like the Myrddin Facebook page or Tweet the competition. You can use the Rafflecopter towards the top right of this blog, or visit http://www.facebook.com/MyrddinPublishing and click on Giveaway beneath the banner.

Good luck, whomever and wherever you are. Don't, for one moment, think you have no chance of winning and let that prevent you from entering. You have every chance. And I sincerely hope you do!

Remember. You've got to be IN it to WIN it.

(For more from Myrddin Publishing, go to their website at http://www.myrddinpublishing.com or follow them on Twitter at @myrddinpub)

Friday, 26 April 2013

The New Toy...

I got a new toy, last night.

Well... I'll rephrase that. My daughter got a new toy. She just doesn't know it yet.

I just needed to set it up first. Make it so it was ready to go. Yes, that's it. Not play with it, simply ensure it's all prepared.

It's her birthday next month, four days before her baby sister's. We've spent a bit of money on her, it has to be said. She loves Monster High dolls, a craze of Mattel where they take a classic horror character, such as Frankenstein's monster, and give him a daughter.

Meet Frankie Stein. Meet her friends, Draculora and Abbie Bominable.

Then meet the endless stream of further dolls and merchandise to go with it. Wii games. Cars. Houses. Magazines and films. My daughter now has twenty one of the dolls. We've bought her the house for her birthday. I don't mind, really. It's better than her being sat in front of the TV or computer. She's using her imagination. And, she was given a doll rather than some form of chocolate egg at Easter - though that did coincide with a treat for being such a good girl.

So, we were spent up. We'd covered everything we wanted to and, hopefully, our back garden will be finished being completely changed around in time for a barbeque party.


I'm not a soft touch, honestly. It's just, well, I didn't have much when I was a child. My parents had little spare money, though that wasn't something I actually suffered from. Not that I have a lot, I just want to give my children something I didn't have. We ensure they're not spoiled. She appreciates what she gets and is thankful of even the smallest treat or gift. There are never any tantrums and she does well at school, is wonderfully polite, and makes us proud.

So. I saw this tablet. As tablets go, it was very cheap. Less than £50. I shouldn't have, but I knew she'd love it. We went to Manchester a couple of weeks ago and, in the car (a two and a half hour drive), she used my own tablet to watch a film and play some games. Granted, mine cost a fair bit more than £50, but, to a ten year old, that's not going to matter.

She has a basic android phone - used to make sure, if she's at a friend’s or out playing, she's always got a line to us. The tablet is also Android, and, for the price, is excellent value.

OK, it came from China and was all in Chinese. Luckily I know my way around the menus to manage to change it to English. Once that was done, it's an impressive piece of kit for the price. 7" capacitive screen, WiFi and the latest version of Android. It's not got a superfast processor (1.2 GHz) and only 512MB of RAM, but this will be ideal for the apps she will be using. And it also has 8 GB of storage, with a slot for a MicroSD card.

(It's a Sensai N77 AllWinner, from Amazon if you're interested.)

I can throw on some films, she can Skype her friends, she can play her games. And she can smile.

Oh, and she loves to write, a little like her dad. The case I bought for it - for a mere £7.50 ish - has a keyboard attached. She's always making up stories (usually about how wonderful her family is - or mermaids...) and likes creating her own newspapers.

I know she'll love it, so I'm not berating myself too much for spending that bit more money when she was already getting a lot for her birthday.

So, last night, I was setting it up. Not having a play, oh no. Purely making sure my daughter's new birthday present it up to scratch and ready for her.


Monday, 22 April 2013

Footsteps of the Mind...

Inspiration comes from everywhere, doesn't it?

In a previous post I talked about the Case if the Vanishing Idea. How you can be struck by the lightning bolt of an idea but, by the time you've managed to find some way of writing it down, it's disappeared in a puff of muse.

But, today, Circumstance was kind to me and an idea was handed to me all wrapped up with a now, in the presence of a PC. It not only gave me the goods for this post, but also for a new short story, Footsteps.

It was something I couldn't ignore, to be honest. One of those anecdotes that slaps you in the face with the ingredients of a story. A very good friend of mine has bought, with her husband, a house. This house, however, is almost derelict and requires a huge amount if work. Once done, though. It will be an amazing building.

The house lies in nine acres of woodland - ash, oak, birch, beech and so many more. Deer roam in them there woods and a pond teeming with life has plopped itself right outside the door.

It's not only the house that needs work. The woodland does. It encroaches too close to the building. The pond had a layer of algae not unlike the skin on a bowl of custard left just too long.


As they have day jobs, weekends are when they get stuck in to cutting, moving and cleaning.

This weekend was no different. Yesterday they built a small fire to burn off some of the excess logs. Later on my friend's husband asked her to go check to make sure it was still contained, hadn't spread or had burnt out. He works away so couldn't do so himself.

This was half ten at night.

My friend drove to the fairly secluded road and stopped the car in front of the gate that barred the short lane along to the building. She had two choices:

1) Get out the car, open the gate, return to the car and drive down to where the fire was smouldering... or raging.

2) Run along to the fire, check it and run back.

Either way, a photo needed to be taken to show the current status. Either way it was 10:30 at night. Either way, it was dark. And secluded.

She opted to run. As she went there was movement. Rustling. Footsteps. She was already on her way. No turning back. Quick, take the photo. Quick, run back.

Oh no!

She'd left the headlights on. She was running straight into them! She couldn't see anything!

Luckily, she made it back to the car, heart pounding in her throat and wondering if an change of underwear was required.

Now then. What would you do in that situation? Not go in the first place? Freeze?

And what would you do if you were a writer? Forget about it? Let it lie? Or seize it and turn it into a new story?

I chose the latter. I started the story today. Hopefully I may finish it tomorrow.

She might not make it out alive in my version...



The story, entitled Footsteps, is now available to read at http://wattpad.com/ShaunAllan.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

A Winnie the Pooh Day...

Somewhere, out there (isn't that the beginning of a song?) there's a Big Bad Wolf, and he's after his little piggies. And one of those little piggies is Winnie the Pooh.

OK, so Pooh Bear is a... well... a bear. But he had a Blustery Day, and the BBW, who's only like BBM in that if you press the right buttons you might get a message - just one you won't want to hear as it involves gnashing teeth and lunch - is huffing and puffing and blowing the world away.

It kept me up all night. The wind, that is. I live on a road with a river across from the house, and an expanse of reclaimed marsh. Apparently they've tried to build houses there, but the buildings had a habit of sinking, so they stopped. Which is nice. It means we have an uninterrupted view. It means we feel private.

It means the wind can get a right run up before it leaps up and throws itself at our house.

The weather, this March, doesn't seem to know what to do with itself. Maybe it had a lot to drink in February and March is Hangover Month. Sunday, for me, is occasionally hangover Day, but by lunch time I'm feeling much better. As such, February must have been a doozy of a bender to send the weather so off kilter. We had a couple of days of sun. We've had it so cold the heating has had to go on - and that's on a day when it's been sunny. We've had fog and rain. Is it keeping us guessing? Juggling isothermic balls and seeing which one drops?

Either way, we don't seem to predict what the day will bring, and the weather apps on our phones are as ineffective.

The other day, it caught my car doors enough to trap my wife against a wall and to make me need two hands to pull the door shut.

Yesterday, there was a strong breeze. Last night, that strong breeze had eaten it's spinach and was trying to yank my front gate off its hinges, slamming it repeatedly, perhaps trying to coax me out so it could take me too. Through the night, a party was going on. The wind had invited its friends around and was dancing and singing at the top of its voice. If it had been a neighbour, I could have nipped around and asked them to just tone it down a touch.

I didn't think the wind would be bothered enough to listen.

On the way to work, I think the it was peeved at me for not bowing down to its power. It was pushing against my car as I drove to work. Bins were blown over. People were leaning into it, with hair akimbo and coats flying about trying to escape.

It's blowing, now, against the building. Taunting us. Like teenagers kicking a ball against your wall, waiting for you to dare tell them to stop so they can hurl abuse and run off laughing.

Maybe the wind, as it is, actually is the teenager of the family. Stroppy, opinionated and pushing its boundaries. Then it grows up.

Then it becomes the tornado and the hurricane.

Then I’ll lose my gate.

Then my car won’t just be pushed, it’ll be thrown.

Maybe then, I’ll get to see Oz for myself, hot air balloon swapped for diesel powered Renault Megane.

Who knows.

I bet a certain hunny loving little bear didn’t have those worries, though his always blue donkey friend might have.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Where Would You Go?

We're all going on a summer holiday. No more worries for a week or two...

Well, a week at least. And when I say worries... I have a not-quite-two-year-old with a milk allergy, so we need to be on top of that, but OTHERWISE...

Where do you go on holiday, hmmm? Do you prefer the excitement of another country? Another county or state? Far enough so that the accent is not quite your own, or where the language is completely different.

For me, I don't mind. A break is a break. I love to fly, and love to visit far off places, but I've had as much fun at a caravan here in the UK.

I live right next to a resort. Cleethorpes. For us here, it's a bit boring, but that's because we know it and it's part of our life. Cleethorpes has a nice beach, a pier, arcades, a market, restaurants and so on. There's a multi-screen cinema, a theme park and more. So where do we go? We go to Skegness or Mablethorpe.

Essentially, these are still seaside towns and have a beach, arcades, markets...

But, it's not here. It's different. It's a change. We'll take the children to Cleethorpes (known as Meggies locally), still, though. We don't turn our backs on it totally. It's a fun day - losing pounds worth of two pences in the slots (Sin would be happy...), trying to get that one toy to fall off. Fish and chips on a bench. Sandcastles. It's fun and it takes possibly 15 minutes to drive there.

Mablethorpe is about an hour. Skegness another half on top of that.

The caravan holiday I spoke of was at Great Yarmouth. It's another seaside resort, though bigger than Cleethorpes (as is Skegness). We had a great time even though we did much of what we'd do at Cleethorpes.

But then there was Luxor in Egypt, a surprise holiday from my wife. She'd known I had been interested in Egyptian mythology etc. since being a child. She herself had been to Luxor multiple times, but realised I'd want the 'real' Egypt and this was one of the best places to experience that. Many people go to Sharm el Sheik but it didn't appeal to me. I have no doubts it's a wonderful place, but I'd heard it described as the Blackpool of Egypt. More of that in a little bit.

Luxor was amazing. I can't begin to put into words how much I enjoyed that holiday. Walking through the Valley of the Kings, something I'd dreamed of for so many years, was almost emotional. The hotel was right on the edge of the Nile, and a felucca (small river boat) would come to the edge to take you on your trips. The sun set over the Nile to the left and the hills of the Valley of the Kings were lit to the right. Breathtaking.

Last year, for our honeymoon, my wife and I went to Budapest, in Hungary. We want to explore the world. New York, Moscow, Prague, Bulgaria, St Petersburgh, Barcelona, the Rio Carnival - these are all places we plan to go. We've both done the typical summer beach holiday (in a previous life, it was all I knew) and want to do more. We want to educate our children on the different places there are and not have them think a holiday abroad is all about sun, beaches and waterparks - although there's nothing wrong with that at all.

Budapest. It was a beautiful city. We walked everywhere and found hidden delights. Rather than stick to main roads, we would use Google Maps to find our way back to our hotel and discovered back street coffee shops, stunning churches and more on our travels. The people were so friendly, and places like the Holocaust Museum and House of Terror were moving.

I mentioned Blackpool. Like Cleethorpes and the others, it's a seaside town. Apart from that, it's sort of the flagship holiday of its type. The Blackpool Illuminations, where the streets are lit up towards the end of the summer season ready for Christmas, are legendary. At the foot of the Blackpool Tower there is a circus, and it's easily the best one I've ever been to. We loved it.

In the previous life, I went to Alcudia in Majorca. It was great. A beautiful stretch of beach. But then, that's where we went every year. Even to the point of going to the same apartment complex. It lost its appeal eventually.

Now, however, it's holiday time again. As much as I said we want to explore and educate, we do have the problem of my youngest's milk intolerance. There needs to be a minimal language barrier. Yes, we could have gone to one of the many places in the UK, but we wanted to really feel as if we'd had a holiday. We wanted to get away. It's been a hectic time with various things, so the fact that we'd need a plane to get to where we're going adds to the excitement and the sensation of not being HERE. We'll be able to take a breath.

A friend of mine was working in Norway. He was in a bakery and commented on the girl behind the counter's excellent English, even down to the accent. When he asked where she'd learned to speak it so well, she told him Majorca...

That's a Spanish island...

OK, so Majorca, and Spain in general, is a magnet to Brits on holiday. A couple of hours flight and almost guaranteed weather. But also, they understand English very well. As such, if we ask whether something contains milk, as our daughter is allergic, we can be fairly sure they'll know what we mean.

Google Translate will be our friend, though, just in case.

My eldest daughter, who's nine, can barely contain her excitement, even though it's weeks away. She's already made her list of what she wants to pack - a list which will need to be trimmed otherwise there won't be any room in the cases for anyone else’s clothes. My wife and I are bubbling nicely too. Our youngest has just learned what an aeroplane is. She saw George, on Peppa Pig, playing with one.

Yes, I've done Alcudia in Majorca to death. We're going to Majorca, still, but somewhere else. We're letting the children have their summer beach, sea, pool and waterpark holiday and we'll be fairly confident the wee one won't eat something she shouldn't.

It doesn't take much. We have to keep testing her to see if she's outgrown the allergy. Even a small piece of pizza crust has an effect that can last days. She was accidentally given popcorn at a party that was meant to be sweet (which she's ok with) but turned out to be toffee. That was over a week ago and she's still suffering.

So, we're all going on a summer holiday (though it's not on a red double decker bus and Cliff Richard won't be singing along - thankfully). I can't wait.

Where do you go? Where wouldn't you go? Where would you like to go, but don't think you ever will?

I didn't think I'd ever get to Egypt, but I now have a neat line crossed out on my Bucket List.

Never say never.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Fuzzy Headed...

I feel fuzzy headed today. It's my own fault, really. I know I can't burn the candle at both ends, let alone in the middle too.

So I guess that means no sympathy for me! Well, fairy nuff (the Fairy Nuff being where pixies and elves and fairies go to buy their little boots and tunics - they can never get their size in M&S, Primark or Monsoon).

My sinuses are playing up too. No change there. I seem to live on snorts of Sudafed nasal spray, it being more of a staple diet than meat and two veg sometimes. That's adding to the fluff slowly replacing my brain cells, a sort of candy floss Blob devouring the contents of my skull.

As such, it's a little difficult to concentrate. I'm managing work, which is a task in itself, particularly today where I seem to have a variety of issues to deal with, but it's the 'other' stuff I seem to have trouble focussing on.

I'm part of the way through the South Sea Bubble, the finale to Alison DeLuca's phenomenal Steampunk saga that began with The Night Watchman Express. This book was my first foray in to the genre, and I didn't know what to expect, but the characters and situations and excitement are so well written, I was hooked. I'm honoured to be beta reading the 'Bubble' and I'm rather sad that I know it's coming to a close. The characters are my friends, and Mana is one of my favourite character creations (next to Dory from Finding Nemo).

Buy Here

Still, the ride aboard the Express was thrilling and it opened my eyes to a genre I'd not even ventured near previously.

But, with my sinuses and my fuzzy headedness, I'm haven't given the book the attention it deserves. Also, I need to address various points on my website and other places. I gave myself a list this morning of things I needed to do at lunch-time, but when the break came and I'd eaten my lunch, I couldn't think what I'd listed (doing it mentally when I know I should write it down), so I ended up getting to the book with only a few minutes to spare.

I had to get my fix, though.

It isn't helping that my daughter, not yet two, is lactose intolerant and was inadvertently given something to eat at a get-together the other night that contained exactly that. We were told it was safe. When we checked... Let's just say it's not pretty when it wakes her (and us) at 3 am.

Last night I had the chance to go to bed early. My wife was ill herself, so went to bed before our two year old. I put the wee one to bed then, with my older daughter, went out for some shopping and to put petrol in my wife's car (I'd had to use it for work due to losing my keys (found now)). We got back, I tidied the kitchen, my daughter went to bed herself, and I sat down to watch the latest episode of Person of Interest. Just chill for a little while.


Famous last words.

I had my tablet with me (the touch screen, Windows 8 variety - non-medicinal). I was looking for images for a children's book I'm planning. Eventually Person of Interest finished. That should have been my queue to down tools and retire for the night. It was around ten-thirty.

Ah... There's that second episode of Labyrinth to watch... It'll only be on an hour. Less if I fast forward through the ads. Labyrinth is a two-parter based on the Kate Mosse book, not (something which elicited groans of disappointment from my older daughter) a new version of the Jim Henson/David Bowie classic film. I'd tried the book, but it didn't grab me. I think maybe a new Odd Thomas book came out, and I'll pretty much drop anything for that.

Still, I'd give the show a go. Well, I had done the first episode. It was... ok, I thought. I liked it, but, like the book, it didn't quite grab me. Not quite enough excitement, but worth the watch.

But... it was on for two hours, not one. It was now well after midnight.


Then up at 7 am this morning for work.

So THAT'S why I'm fuzzy headed.

Someone do me a favour and kick me, next time. Yo, Shaun. Get your backside up them stairs and get some sleep.

Tonight, OK?

I had a point to this blog post. Can't quite remember what it is.

Got a fuzzy head, you see.

Maybe I'm just ranting at myself. Telling me off for doing something I know I shouldn't. Like touching a door with a 'Wet Paint' sign.

Well, I consider myself told. I'll do better next time.

Well... I say that...

I think I’m writing this so that I’m actually writing. I’ve had the ideas for Mortal Sin, the sequel to Sin, and want to get on with it. I want to enter his head and see what madness lurks there. But I know I’ll sit at the screen and go “Erm...” My mind can still wander and wonder, however, so I can berate myself and use it for a purpose. After all, ‘tis better than to write than to want to, isn’t it?

Oh, talking about Finding Nemo. How pleased am I that there’s a sequel, and it’s Finding Dory?

One word. WHOOP!!

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Case of the Appearing Temptation...

I've been naughty.

Sorry, but I have. I didn't mean to. I didn't want to, in fact. My willpower needs willpower to get some willpower!

I've just eaten a Snickers.

I know. How bad am I?

I didn't want it. Wasn't hungry. No pangs twisting in my stomach, crying out Audrey II-like, "FEED ME!"

No. I was fine. I'd had a round of toast for breakfast. Well done, thanks, not anaemic and looking as if the bread has been waved in front of the toaster for a few seconds to get the implication of heat. No waiting for it to go cold before buttering either. I like it hot, thanks.

Lunch was a couple of rounds of bread with ham. An apple, satsuma and banana. A small packet of crisps. Cheese & onion, to be precise. The crisps were an additional treat. Usually it's sandwich and fruit and that's all.

I do admit to having had a finger of shortbread around half ten with a cuppa. They'd been brought in but one of my team. It'd be rude not to, wouldn't it?

Anywho. That's it. My evening meal would be around six-ish, though I don't, as yet, know what it'll be. But I was full. Wasn't even thinking of food. I'd just made a drink for us all, so had a cup of tea and some water next to me. Getting on with work.


She had to do it.

She just had to...

I heard the noise first. The tear of the wrapper. The smell of chocolate and nuts. A SNICKERS!

Why, oh why, oh why?

You see, then I was thinking about food. Then she had to say (she being one of my team) that she'd not eaten and only had a stash of rubbish in her drawer. Rubbish being crisps, more chocolate, another Snickers, cup-a-soup and the like.

I walked away. I did. Adamant that I'd wait until later, but without the stripe across my nose (oh, that's Adam Ant - I always get them mixed up).


She just had to, didn't she?

She just had to...

"Do you want one?"

My hand was reaching out. I watched it move. Horror screamed within the confines of my mind. 'DON'T DO IT!' But my hand didn't listen. My hand didn't care. My hand wasn't going to turn away for anyone.

"Yes, please."

No! My mouth! In cahoots with my hand! Ganging up on me! I was surrounded!

Dejectedly, I surrendered. I knew when I was defeated.

It was right nice, though!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Case of the Vanishing Idea...

Don't you hate it when you get an idea, but then, when you're in a position to actually do something with it (write it down and CREATE), the idea is gone? Just on the outer edge of your memory, dancing about, leaning in just to tantalise and tease you before jumping back out of reach?

Don't you just hate it?


I've been struggling, a little, with Mortal Sin. Not in a religious way, but in a creative one. Mortal Sin is the sequel to Sin and I was stuck fast with the whats, whys, whens and who-be-dos.

The 'where' was easy. I was - or rather am - setting it, once again, in Grimsby. They say 'Write what you know,' and I know Grimsby. Not quite New York or London, but it was founded by a Dane trying to protect the heir to the throne of another country from assassination. Not too shabby an origin, methinks.

I'd come up with some ideas, including a 'half-way house' where the our man (though he doesn't know he's Our Man) is taken by a woman feeling sorry for his plight. I knew exactly where this house was going to be. Welholme Road. Large homes overlooking the People's Park. Perfect. Enough room and rooms for the various odd tenants to come and go and to gradually become more... well... ODD.

Luckily, I know someone, my wife, who knows those houses inside out and can give me highly detailed plans and information about the layout etc. From the type of flooring to the colour wallpaper to the light switches, I can get a real image of what they look like inside. Not that I'll necessarily go into that amount of detail in the book. You need to picture it yourself - but I will be able to picture it myself too.

Even if yours and mine don't quite match, that's fine. It's all in the eye of the beholder, but we'll both be walking, pretty much, hand in hand.

But the rest. Sin's DEAL. What of that? Well, I had inklings. I had musings. I had odd samples of script all worked out, though they'd be forgotten by the time I came to that scene - if I ever did. But the actual MEAT, the food on which the hungry reader would satiate their appetite? Well...

A friend at work, yesterday, asked me if I'd watched the new Jonathan Creek on BBC1 on Monday night. I hadn't and I kicked myself for not realising it was on. Jonathan Creek, for the un-initiated, is an offbeat detective show starring the wonderfully strange Alan Davies as a magicians 'assistant' (in that he's the one who comes up with the illusions). He finds himself tied up in various murders and mysteries which have the police stumped and his unique outlook is the only thing that can solve them.

Jonathan Creek is... different. It's comfortable and quirky and fun and I always enjoy it. As such, I wasn't too happy that I'd missed this episode. The show finished a couple or more years ago, so I wasn't expecting it to resurface. On Monday night, oblivious to Creek’s resurrection, I'd been watching Broadchurch, an excellent drama series starring (amongst other familiar faces) ex. Doctor Who, David Tennant. So, last night, tablet in hand, I watched Jonathan Creek courtesy of the BBC iPlayer. And it was a welcome return indeed - not disappointing in the least.

So? And?

And. I don't know what, in the programme, prompted me. I really don't. But, something in that 90 minutes of conundrums and disappearing bodies, an idea popped into my head. It wandered around for a while, letting me concentrate on the show, and then, as I lay in bed, it expanded in my mind and became a plot. It became a three course meal for those ravenous readers. That was it. That was what would happen. That was the what and also the WHY.

Then I fell asleep.

Then I woke up.

Now I'm sitting here berating myself, once again (for this in not the first time) not having a notepad beside my bed.

The idea has faded. It's stepped out for a moment and may be sometime. I can just see its shadow, and its Cheshire Cat grin as it knows I'm trying to grab hold and I can't.

Maybe I'll look the other way. Pretend I'm not interested. Maybe then it'll step back within reach and I can lunge, notepad in hand, and snatch it back up, shovelling it back into my brain like coal into a bucket - fuel for the fire. No, it'd be more cramming it in, like the last pair of pants into a suitcase that you have to sit on to zip up, knowing you'll be over the weight restriction and, once opened, you'll never get it packed quite the same.

Either way, hopefully we'll be reunited, like Jonathan Creek and his not-quite sidekick Sheridan Smith. Let's hope the puzzles will be solved and the end result won't be a crime to the literary world. Eh?