Monday, 26 August 2013

You do back up... Don't you?

I've been working with computers for a long time. A very long time. I was in the first class in my school to do any form of IT. We had to take an IQ test to get in -yes I passed - and we're taught about punched cards and BASIC.

Since then, I've taught computing, from spreadsheets to accounts to web design. I train and help people as part of my job and with relation to my writing. About 15 years ago I appeared on Sky TV to discuss online publishing as opposed to traditional methods and around the same time. 

So it's been a while. 

Before my company really had a fully fledged network system, routed through Paris as it now is, my department had a local one and I used to do the nightly backups onto tape. 

Backups. So important, especially in these days where we record so much of our daily lives. There's notes, calendars, photos, documents and so much more. I regularly insist to those I'm helping that they make regularly backups of their data. 

Well, you would, wouldn't you?

Yes indeed. 

Ah. I mean no. Well, it's not so much practice what I preach as do as I say, not as I do. 

Gone are the days of difficulty in saving your data. No more tapes, not even, really, the need for saving to disc - either CD or DVD. Now there's flash memory in the form of memory sticks, and these are getting cheaper for more capacity by the day. There's also the Cloud, an abstract mist of noughts and ones way up in the stratosphere. 

Well it's not really like that, but it's not physical to your PC. It's not plugged into you. It's somewhere out there accessible from pretty much any device you own.

Easy, no?

So whyohwhyohwhy do I not use it?  I have accounts with Skydrive, Google, Bitcasa, the Box and Asus. Gigabytes of virtual filing cabinets. Surely I use it?

You'd think. 

Part of the problem is time. I have so little. Another is that I write on my work computer during my lunch onto my memory stick. I don't have Internet access there, though I do have email. As such, my memory stick has almost everything. Of course my phone has photos and a lot of music. I have a separate hard drive plugged into my home PC with all my albums. But my main, important stuff (other than my family photos, which are important too but in another way) is on my stick. 

And only on my stick

Gutted, was I, when I lost it. As I mention in a previous post, all my writing, covers, part complete stories and the sequel to Sin were on it. 

And it was gone. 

Thanks to Cindy Harper, I managed to recover most of Sin 2. Thanks to Zoe Adams, I hadn't totally lost another important document. But the rest was gone. 

Except, a couple of months ago I actually did back it up to my Skydrive. I bought a new memory stick - 32gb for the price I had paid for 16 previously - and transferred it all to the new one. Phew. All was not totally lost. But then it was burning a hole in my pocket. Like Sin's 2p coin, I was always fiddling in my pocket to check if it was there.

It was, but for how long?

I have a Windows 8 tablet and have the apps for my cloud accounts. I also have an all-in-one app to accommodate most. Unfortunately, with each if these and, in fact, their 'proper' web-based alternatives, you can't upload a complete folder. Or I couldn't figure out how to, at least.

Last night I was almost home alone. My eldest daughter was sleeping out and my wife was on a girls' night out in Leeds so I wouldn't see either until today. My two year old was asleep in bed. 

The perfect time to write, something I need to do.

Except I had this memory stick burning a hole, trying to escape. 

I had no choice. I had to properly back up. So thus began the painstaking and painful task of creating my full directory structure and uploading all my files into each folder. What a nightmare!

But it's done. And hopefully I'll make sure it stays done. I wouldn't bet on it but best intentions and all that. 

Remind me, every so often, would you? Just to make sure?

Friday, 23 August 2013

Kelly Samarah - Expand Your World...

This interview lark can be almost as much fun as the actual hijacking of this blog.  Not only do I get to oust That Shaun Allan bloke from his chair, but I also get to meet people almost as strange as me.  Speaking of which...

What’s your name?

Kelly Samarah


Hi Kelly.  Where are you from?

Molalla, Oregon, a little logging town nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Range and just a hop away from the Mt. Hood National Forest. I grew up here, moved to Salem, Oregon for ten years, and just came back a little over a year ago. It’s still small and close-knit.


Salem?  Did you have roads there, or does everyone fly on broomsticks?  Molalla sounds great.  I’d love to live somewhere like that.  Do you like living there?  If not, where would your favourite place to live be?  Is yes, where would you least like to live?

Some days you love it, other days you want to lock all your doors and pretend every other person who drives by your house really doesn’t know you. I love living in Molalla, so close to the river and the woods, but if I wish my house was further out in the country and not right in the middle of town. I hate being a “town dweller”. When my siblings and I were growing up, we always lived way out in the middle of nowhere, and it’s still hard for me now to be so close to civilization. I don’t suppose that will ever change.


When you’re in an asylum, there’s a lot to be said for ‘civilisation’.  If you’re a writer, is this your ‘day job’?

I am a writer, and no, it is not my day job. I still work full time. I never want to think of my writing as my “job”. If ever I am able to make a living off of what I love to do, it would be a dream come true, because writing, for me, isn’t because I want to be famous or become rich. I have stories twisted up inside of me, and I want to share them.


Good point.  Writing should be a ‘must’, not a ‘have to’.  Tell me about your latest project.

I will be releasing a book of short horror stories on August 25th, 2013, titled: Beneath the Blood Moon. I love to give people goose bumps. These stories were born from the late night “what-if” conversations commonly held with my son and my brothers. The best story ideas come to me after one of those sessions.


I love short story collections like that.  It’s good to be spooked in different ways.  How do you feel about bacon?  A crazy person once said it was the food of the gods.  OK, I admit that person was myself...

Bacon should be at the top of the food pyramid. I especially like it in vanilla fudge at Christmas.


Welcome to the asylum!  No, really.  Bacon and vanilla fudge...?  What is your favourite film?

I have to pick just one? Okay, I am a huge eighties movie fan, and my all time favorite is Ferris Buller’s Day Off. I know, cliché, but it really is, with Pretty in Pink running a close second.


Good choice.  The 80s are responsible for some of my favourite films.  The Goonies.  Labyrinth.  The Lost Boys.  I could go on and on!  Have you always wanted to be a writer, or is it something you found yourself doing one day?

I always have been a writer. Reading and writing go hand in hand. I am a lover of books. No, let me rephrase that. I am in love with books. In kindergarten I was reading chapter books and getting in trouble for skipping ahead in our reader books. In second grade my teacher made me read all of my short stories aloud in class. Same thing in fourth grade. In junior high I tried my hand at poetry, and discovered I am not a poet. Fast forward to a couple years ago: Life had chewed me up and spit me out. I found myself a single mom, very little money and no future. Writing had been on the back burner for a long time. I decided to go back to school - for Criminal Justice of all things - and took a writing class as an elective. My teacher told me I was cheating myself if I didn’t focus on my love for the craft. I took his words to heart. How do you explain the feeling when you have finally come back to what you were meant to do? Complete? Not a strong enough word, I think. Maybe it’s unexplainable.


That’s wonderful!  It’s clearly a real part of you.  Do you have so many ideas they dribble out of your nose if you don’t get them down, or do you have to hunt around the floor and the back of your sofa to find where your Muse is hiding?

I have so many ideas I carry a small notebook around with me. I want to get a voice recorder, but the thought of listening to myself talk to me is unnerving. I would much rather write it down.


Phillip, in here, believes that, if he talks to the TV, it answers him back.  Have you ever seen someone argueing with a music video?  If you were in an asylum, what would your particular delusion or psychosis be?

Demons, monsters. I would see them everywhere, but would it really be a delusion? I also think bouts of rage would fall in there somewhere. I can lose myself in my emotions.


Well, we have darkness and madness in each of us.  We must do battle with our own demons.  So that Shaun Allan guy tells me.  What genre(s) do you write?

Hmmm, I always hate this question. I write. I lean toward the horrific side of the spectrum, but not always. I have several ideas and story lines brewing from all over the board.


I know a guy who writes horror and children’s stories too.  Variety is the spice of life, so they say.  What genres(s) do you read?

A lot of horror, fantasy, and sci-fi. Crime thrillers are starting to interest more as I get older. One genre I just cannot get into is erotica and romance. Just not my thing. I guess I’m too cynical.


Cynicism/realism – it’s a fine line.  If these are the same, what attracts you to them.  If they’re different, why do you think that is?

It’s not as simple as I love to be scared. A good horror writer can get into your mind and turn your doubts into beliefs. Think a monster can’t live in your closet? That’s impossible right? Then you read that book and suddenly you’re padlocking your closet door at night.


As far as Sci-fi and Fantasy, is the expansion on your world, the idea that there is more than what you see around you. How can someone not love that?


I completely agree.  Some things are darker than just the night with the lights out.  Bacon – just cooked or crispy?

Definitely crispy, but not burnt.


Too right.  Now you’re in the asylum with me, how do you aim to get out?  Do you have an escape plan?

Kill them all and run.


Oh, good luck with that.  You’d probably get a queue of people wanting to shake your hand.  Difficult, though, with your strait jacket on...

Kelly Samarah grew up in a small town located in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. When she isn't busy working on a new story to share with her readers she enjoys cooking, music, painting and of course, reading. She also enjoys spending time with her dog, cat and two children.

An excerpt from The Edge...

....You want to remember? He hisses in my ear. I pull away from him as his face begins to change. His glasses melt into his skin as the color begins to change from a healthy peach glow, to gray, creased with ooze. His eyes become hollowed depths of black, his teeth jagged bits of metal waiting to slice my skin. I am frozen in fear as he wraps his once normal hand - now a gruesome claw - around my head. I scream and try to pull free. Rashelle’s voice reappears, encouraging me. No, Joe…it’s alright…I try to focus on her, but Dr. Gilson - the monster - begins pushing down on my skull. The pain is unbelievable. So white-hot I can’t utter a sound. My body jerks and contorts into positions it shouldn’t be capable of, and I think, This is it, I’m going to die…but she is there again, her voice weaving through the madness…remember…



Buy links:




Twitter: @kellysamarah

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Pacific Grim...?

Guillermo Del Toro is a talented writer and amazing director. He is, there's no two ways about it.  From his earlier outings with Roald Dahl's The Witches through Mimic, Hellboy and the wonderful Pan's Labyrinth, he has repeatedly produced films full of originality and brilliance. 

But every bright light has its dark days. 

Now Pacific Rim is one film I've been waiting for. There's a good few blockbusters this year that I've looked forward to. Star Trek, Iron Man 3, The Wolverine. I've yet to see the latter but loves the first two, as you can see from my reviews on this blog.

Pacific Rim was one more. An immense film with an innovative storyline. Let down, however, by predictability. If you've seen this and live it, as 72% of you do according to IMDB, then forgive my personal opinion, but there were so many stereotypes here.

Manly names like Chuck and Hercules. The Russians were straight out of an 80s movie. The scientists were obviously kooky. The egotistical tough guy and his dad. The distant, troubled chief officer. When he gave his big speech, I expected him to tell us "Today is the day we celebrate our independence!"

I won't deny this was an epic film with impressive, action filled, set pieces. I won't deny that I even enjoyed it, but I generally do with these films, including the obvious after credits sequence. I turn my brain off and enjoy the ride.

The problem was, this ride was almost pre-cached on Google Maps.

Losing a limb...

I had my right arm cut off the other day.


Not literally, though it was, perchance, as painful.  I felt as if I'd lost a limb.  I felt a twist in my gut and a pull in my heart.


No, I hadn't lost my phone.  I can see why you may have thought that.  My phone, nowadays a portable computer giving me social, net and personal contact across the globe, is almost part of me.  Pretty much surgically attached.  But it's debatable whether losing my it would be more or less agonising than losing this... my memory stick.


Yes.  I know.  Disastrous.


During the day, at work, my memory stick is plugged into my office PC.  At lunch time I'll write a bit, when the chance prevails.  I'll work on the various author interviews that Sin carries out when he hijacks this blog.  My book covers, blurbs, part completed stories and all sorts are stored thereon.


You'd think, of course, I'd backup.  Regularly, considering what's at stake.  I have Skydrive, Google drive, Dropbox and others.  Lots of Cloud storage at my disposal.  I've worked with computers for over 30 years.  I tell others to backup all the time.




Why didn't I?


Well, I did, but that was a couple of months ago.  That was before I'd worked on interviews.  That was before I'd written more of Mortal Sin, the sequel to Sin.


Do I feel like an idiot?  Yes.  Have I berated myself?  Oh yes.


I unplugged the stick from my PC when I left work, as I always do.  I put it in my pocket, yes, like I always do.  But when I went to it later that night, it was gone.  I'd been in my car, but it wasn't there - I checked.  I'd taken my girls to the park, but that was a large area so there was little point in looking there.  It wasn't at home.


It also wasn't still poking out of my PC the next morning, as I'd hoped.


It was gone, along with everything on it.


Thankfully, Cindy Harper, a fan and friend, was the holder of my salvation - or a part of it, at least.  I'd sent her, up until a week or so ago, what I'd written on Mortal Sin.  She sent it back and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Granted it was only around 10,000 words or so, but it had been written over a couple of years - I'd paused in the story to write Dark Places.  I couldn't reproduce it, so I was hugely relieved when she emailed me the files.


The rest, I will have to download from my Skydrive when I get a new stick.  Still, there'll be bits missing.  My blog entries.  A couple of stories I was working on.


I could kick myself.  I should.  I should also heed my own advice.  Maybe I will from now on.  If you could email a file direct to your own Skydrive storage, that'd help.  Maybe you can - or to one of the other Cloud storage places - but I don't know how.  I should make the time to find out.




Backup, people.  Or risk amputation of the most painful kind!

Oh, hopefully you see the relevance of the image up top. Just a little joke from me.  Also, you can see Sin's interview with the aforementioned Cindy Harper here: Drop by there as a thanks for saving Sin!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Win With Sin...

Wow! I'm delighted to have just passed 16000 Twitter followers! I feel a giveaway coming on!

The question: Name Sin's sister.

If you haven't read Sin, there's info on my website, in interviews and she has her own story (the last one) in Dark Places.  And she's the 'opposite' to Sin.

The prize? A compendium of ebooks, including Sin, Dark Places, Zits'n'Bits and Rudolph Saves Christmas.

Closing date end of August!

Either post your answer to my Facebook page or tweet me @singularityspnt with the hashtag #WinWithSin

Friday, 9 August 2013

Best Served Chilled...

I do enjoy these visitors in the asylum. How they get in is beyond me. How they get out again... thats their problem. Today, i have Zoe. She's nice. Just so you know. 

What’s your name?
My full name is Zoe Victoria Adams, but I only get called that when I’m in trouble. I write under Zoe Adams.
Ok Zoe Victoria (you’re in the asylum – you’re in trouble now!).  Where are you from?
I’m from Cleethorpes in North East Lincolnshire. I’ve lived here all my life, but I was born on the Nunsthorpe Estate in Grimsby.
Oohhh, the Nunsthorpe.  I was born on the Grange.  Mortal enemies!  Do you like living there?  If not, where would your favourite place to live be?  Is yes, where would you least like to live?
I quite like Cleethorpes when it’s quiet. Everything is in reach and it’s not far to travel further afield. When it’s summer and the sun is shining, it’s a death trap for tourists because we’re a seaside town. You can’t get to where you want to be.
I’d least like to live in the big cities like London. Things are too busy and touches of claustrophobia settle in. I do like London, for its theatre shows and big shopping stores like Forbidden Planet and Tokyo Toys, but I don’t think I could live there all the time.
Cleethorpes is definitely like that.  A lovely place but gets rammed when there’s a hint of shame.  That’s why people who live there go to Skegness!  As for London, it’s as busy at 11pm as it is at 11am.  Too much for me.  I’d end up in a mental... oh... hold on...  If you’re a writer, is this your ‘day job’?
I can officially say now since the release on my first book on 30th May 2013, (Best Served Chilled) that I am a professional writer. Sadly, I do not earn enough to live on and have it as a ‘day job’. I’ve just finished university, where I studied BA (Hons) Professional Writing and I also freelance for various websites.
Sounds great.  Well done on the BA.  I know a person who could benefit from that, but don’t tell him I said so...  Tell me about your latest project.
My latest project… Well that’s a conundrum as I have a few things I’m working on. I’m writing the second book in a series (so far titled Best Served Within) and I’m around 4,000 words in thus far.
Another project I’m working on is lead scriptwriter on an independent zombie film, with plenty of comedy, drama, guns and girls, so far titled Zombie Squad
Zombies.  Nice.  I wonder if you believe in the existence of anything supernatural like that?  How do you feel about bacon?  A crazy person once said it was the food of the gods.  OK, I admit that person was myself...
I don’t understand how people cannot like bacon! It’s delicious – especially between two pieces of thick bread and tomato sauce. Mmm…
Exactly my point of view.  Except you just spoiled it with the tomato sauce.  What is your favourite film?
Labyrinth (1986) starring David Bowie. I’ve been in love with this film since I was in secondary school. Bowie is a beautiful man, and the film is filled with catchy songs. It’s pure fantasy and I can relate to Sarah’s character in such a way, it scares me. The plot is fantastic! Reading Labyrinth fan fictions in my teen years really impacted what sort of fiction I like now and how I write. I own a lot of merchandise from the film, the most expensive being the paperback novelisation, which went out of print in the 80’s. It cost me over £40 and is still in the cellophane wrapping.
A great choice.  The only bit I didn’t like was those things where those things take their heads off and play foodtball with them.  I don’t know what went wrong with the effects there, but it seemed out of place with the rest of the film and the song was annoying.  Brilliant film otherwise.  Love the ‘Allo’ worm and Hobble and everything.  Have you always wanted to be a writer, or is it something you found yourself doing one day?
I’ve always been writing, but when I was a child I wanted to be: a fairy, a cat, a princess, a pop star, an actress and a teacher. The only fiction I would write would be fan fiction, and when I wrote it with anime characters, it caught my partner’s attention and told me to apply for a Professional Writing Course. I haven’t looked back or stopped writing since.
And the literary world can thank your partner.  How’s the plans on being a fairy or cat going?  Do you have so many ideas they dribble out of your nose if you don’t get them down, or do you have to hunt around the floor and the back of your sofa to find where your Muse is hiding?
The ideas don’t stop. I need a bucket to catch them all. I have multiple notepads with started ideas and notes all over my bedroom. My phone at one point was filled with drafts of started fiction. Some days, I feel as though I can’t write. That’s when my Muse is tied up and tortured until it agrees to co-operate with me.
Oh, you have a Muse like that too, hmmm?  Sneaky sods, ain’t they!  If you were in an asylum, what would your particular delusion or psychosis be?
An author once told me that writing is akin to mental illness, so I’d say its depression. I suffer with a lot of negative thoughts and though I surround myself with supportive and creative types, it all gets a little tough. It’s why I write. To survive.
Apparently, I’m a form of therapy to a similar person.  Can’t understand it myself.  What genre(s) do you write?
I primarily write paranormal and urban fantasy fiction, but have no aversions to crime, erotica, horror, romance and science fiction. I’ve found that the more I read outside the typical genres, I want to try my hand at something new.
You’re not limiting yourself there, then!  What genres(s) do you read?
I read anything I can my hands on. The last books I read in the genres specified were:
o        Paranormal/urban fantasy – Sword of Darkness by Kinley MacGregor.
o        Crime – The Other Half Lives by Sophie Hannah.
o        Erotica – Beauty’s Release by Anne Rice.
o        Horror – The Ghosts of Sleath by James Herbert
o        Romance – Alphabet Weekends by Elizabeth Noble
o        Science fiction – Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Great choices.  If these are the same, what attracts you to them? If they’re different, why do you think that is?
I’m attracted to anything with a good plot and action that keeps you going. If it’s a crime novel, I want to keep guessing and play ‘detective’. Characters who are flawed and with devilishly sexy men. I think this comes from the fan fictions I read in my teens – some more X-rated than others.
Bacon – just cooked or crispy?
Crispy. No other way. I love my bacon that way! At the university atrium, the staff knew that in a bacon, sausage and egg bap, my bacon would be crispy.
How else?  These people who don’t get that should be burned at the stake till they’re nice and crispy!  That’d show ‘em!  Now you’re in the asylum with me, how do you aim to get out?  Do you have an escape plan?
Well, that’s where being a woman comes in handy. I’d use my womanly wiles to confound the staff and persuade them to set me free. I can be a pretty good actress when the situation calls for it.
And if that doesn’t work, I suppose I could use a blade of some kind…
Well, your womanly wiles may get unwanted attention.  I say go with the blade, and I’m not a violent man – ignoring the deaths!

The following excerpt is from Chapter Five of ‘Best Served Chilled’, published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Press.
Above her, the shōjō began to glow a brilliant red. His skin bubbled, as he pulled her energy into him. He drank in her nightmares, fears, hopes and dreams. Jealousies from childhood rose to the surface.
Stronger and stronger, the shōjō grew. This had to be the most satisfied he had felt in such a long time. True it was a shame her old man had to die, but at least he’d been happy for a short while.
And now to find his affections after all these years… Oh he couldn’t have wished for anything as sweet as this. Father like daughter. And the corruption was ever so easy.
These little humans were his idea of fun. They were the perfect toys; fun for hours and so easy to break. With the right beverage, he just had to seek them out. Other demons might sneer at his profession but he didn’t have a care in the world. Especially right this second.
Zoe can be found brightening the internet at the following places.  She’s also a delightful person and friend!  Not only that, Zoe is the inspiration for my Dark Places collection and I owe her my thanks. 
books available)

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Who knew...?

I'm a life long Doctor Who fan. Like many, I've grown up with the time travelling adventurer and enjoyed most, if not all, of his incarnations.

My first Doctor was Jon Pertwee but my favourite was always Tom Baker. He had power and gravitas and OWNED it. I thought nobody could come close. They didn't for a long time. This didn't affect my enjoyment of the show, though, I simply didn't find the other doctors as strong.

Then it was cancelled. I wonder who was the BBC executive responsible for that one. (Update: thanks to my friend Carol who reminded me it was Michael Grade, the man responsible for bringing us Neighbours... 'Nuff said...)

Saying that, the cancellation could well have been the shows lifeline. It needed a regeneration, of sorts, itself. Russell T. Davies gave it that. And Christopher Eccelston brought the Doctor back to life in a big way!

I was gutted when Eccleston left. He made the show really good again. He was needed. Who was this David Tennant bloke? Casanova? PERLEEZ!

Wow. Was I wrong? The answer to that is yes. Hugely. Christopher Eccleston was great. David Tennant, however, was THE Doctor. He had some powerful story lines and equally powerful performances. He also had Rose, one of the best assistants since the show began.

Billie Piper was one of a kind, really. She was one of the first assistants to be more than just an assistant. She had a real part to play.

I do really like Jenna Coleman as Clara, the latest companion. The introduction of her as the mind if a Dalek was very clever and she's nose and feisty too. 

Anywho. Then Tennant left and we had Matt Smith. We had now ties and a Fez. But we also had Alex Kingston and Amy. And we had one of my favourite episodes.

'The Doctor's Wife' had the wonderful Suranne Jones playing Idris who was taken over by the core of the Tardis. I bought this storyline was fab. Suranne played the part perfectly and the sentient nature of the Tardis became a former and more integral part of the show after that.

And now we change again. We have a new, twelfth Doctor. Congratulations to Peter Capaldi. The name is one I wasn't familiar with, but the face I certainly was. He's been in many shows I've seen. He was also on World War Z, a film I seriously enjoyed. More of that in a moment. 

How will he do? What sort of Doctor will he play? I don't get the impression he'll be as physical as Matt Smith. He seems more brooding and thoughtful. We shall see. Perhaps, with the advent of the Doctor's great secret (hello John Hurt!) a darker, more dangerous role will ensure. 

We shall see. I look forward to finding out.

Now, back to World War Z. It seems, according to IMDB, the identity of the new Doctor Who was revealed a good while ago. If only we'd known where to look...
Speaking of where to look, the Doctor has been captured on Google Maps!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Wish Upon a Star... Or Not...

Back in May we, more or less, rebuilt our garden.  It's not that big, but - with us having children - it wasn't exactly child-friendly.  There was a raised bit of grass at the back that had to be re-turfed every year because of frost and snow and dog, and a tired section of decking in dire need of some TLC.  The prospect of doing what my wife envisaged was as unattractive as the decking.

But then we did it.

The decking was ripped up.  The raised grass area was torn down.  A small brick flower bed, built by my wife, was knocked down and rebuilt over the other side, SOOOO many slabs were laid and then the fake grass went down.  We were going to seed, but we had our children's birthday party coming (with barbecue) and needed it ready.  Fake grass is brilliant.  Easy to lay, easy to clean.  I don't mow it, I hoover it!


I've always been interested in space.  And science.  And, as you'll know, gadgets and science-fiction.  I'm enthralled by the stars and the life that must, somewhere, circle them.

But I've never seen a shooting star.  Not once, not ever.  It's strange how that's the case, when I spend so much time looking at the heavens.  Even when I know that this month, August, is a prime time for meteor showers and shooting stars aplenty light up the night sky, I've yet to witness the spectacle, and to make the required wish.  Saying that, I struggle now to know what to wish for - my life is pretty much complete.

In late July through to August we are treated to the Perseid Meteor Shower.  I know this.  I've known this for many years.

The Swift-Tuttle comet, zooming happily along on its 130 year orbit, shares some of itself with us and we have showers that can reach around 60 shooting stars seen in an hour.  Once, there was a peak of 173!  That must have seemed like the stars were almost raining down.

The Perseids are so called as they tend to appear to start from the region of the constellation of Perseus and the word derives from Greek mythology (another interest of mine).  The word Perseides refers to the sons of Persus.

Perseus was the first of the Greek heroes and the demi-god (his father being Zeus) who killed the Gorgon Medusa and rescued Andromeda from the Kraken sent by Poseidon.

August is the month where the sky celebrates this hero with a spectacular show.  Which I've not, as I may have mentioned, seen.

The weather recently has been what you might call inconsistent.  It can be sweaty-hot in the morning, thundering in the afternoon and cold at night.  The rain can hammer down and be gone in a few minutes.  Last night, though, it was lovely.  The sky was clear, it was warm, and at around 11:30 pm, my wife and I were laid on the grass (it's still grass even though it's plastic) drinking a glass of wine and looking at the stars.  Well, we were when we unplugged the security light to stop it going off every time I pointed upwards.

I was pointing out the constellations - Cassiopeia, The Great Bear (or Plough, or Big Dipper) and so on.  I explained about how the light from them took so long to reach us, we were effectively staring into the past.  Our ten year old daughter heard us talking and came out to join us (it's the school holidays - she can have a lie in).  Suddenly my wife exclaimed, my daughter yelped and jumped and I thought our dog had stood on her.

She'd seen a shooting star.  I'd been looking at her as she was talking and not at the sky.  I'd missed it!  The perfect night to see such a thing, and I missed it.

I don't know if I'm destined to never see one.  Maybe so.  But, it's August and apparently there's a good chance - as there has been every year for the past 2000 years or more - of seeing quite a few.

I just hope, with the weather being unable to make up its mind and settle on what it wants to be, that it's not cloudy until September!

If you've seen one, want to, or have made a wish upon one, let me know.  Go on, rub it in!