Bonus exhibition piece: ‘Mushroom’, 2017

Dear reader,

It’s nice to be busy with work. It means that I’m putting food on the table, books on the shelves and, for that time grows nearer, Christmas presents in the stockings. It does, however, mean I don’t manage to have much time to blog. So it’s nice that today, having been up since 8am, having done all the work I can, and finding that it’s ‘made ease more easy; wholesome thirst and appetite more grateful’ (I’ve been thinking of Milton lately), I have some time to think about what I’ve been up to of late.

Continue reading Bonus exhibition piece: ‘Mushroom’, 2017


Cheese and Bacon Scones

I went to a party at the weekend and brought these with me. Suffice it to say, they went down quite well. So, here’s the recipe, for anyone who fancies something really tasty.

Cheese and Bacon Scones (makes 12)

45g (1.5oz) butter

250g (8 oz) self-raising flour

2tsp baking powder

1 egg

About 150ml (1/4 pint) of milk, plus extra for glazing

1 red onion, chopped finely

1 pack smoked bacon (about 8-10 slices), diced

125g (4oz) medium-strength cheddar cheese

1 tsp mustard powder

Ground black pepper (optional)

  1. Set the oven to 220C (200C fan, Gas 7) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Cook the bacon in a large saucepan over a moderate heat – drain off any water that comes out. Once the bacon is cooked (I tend to allow about 10-15 minutes), add the onion and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Season with a little pepper if liked.
  3. Once the bacon and onion are cooked, take off the heat and allow to cool – the mix doesn’t have to be totally cold, but you don’t want to go putting something scalding-hot in with butter and eggs…
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. Rub in the butter with fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese and mustard powder. Add the bacon and onion and mix.
  5. Break the egg into a measuring jug and make up to 150ml (1/4 pint) with milk. Beat lightly to mix, then add to the bowl and mix to what is supposedly a soft dough but is in fact a CACOPHONY OF MEATY SAVOURY GOODNESS.
  6. Ahem.
  7. If the mixture is overly sticky, add a little more flour. Normally for scones you roll the dough out, but this is basically a fry-up held together by the excuse of baking. Get your hands in there and make patties, as if you’re making small burgers.
  8. Brush with milk and sprinkle a little grated cheese on top, then bake for about 10-15 minutes until risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack.
  9. Ideally, eat when ravenously hungry.


ShortNess, Sources and Sauces

Dear reader,

An even shorter one this week, because, crikey, work is multitudinous and time-consuming.

In that frame of mind, in addition to CaBiret on the 24th, I’m also Doing Poems at Vinyl Deptford on Friday 8th. Come along if you want to hear something a little less fluffy…

I gave a talk on Wednesday for Videobrains, as mentioned in my last post. It went very well – mental health and videogames are subjects close to my heart, and I’ve always been interested in what can impact on or help mental illness, having gone through a bad spell of it myself. I’m hoping to expand the talk to an hour, hopefully for Nine Worlds 2018 (assuming the content organisers like the sound of it), as there was a lot more that I would’ve loved to expand on. Unfortunately the talk wasn’t recorded for YouTube – so, in case you’re reading this and were one of the 183 people who took the time to fill out my survey, thank you! The responses were varied, informative and amazingly helpful.

I made use of quite a few webpages and articles for my talk, so I’ve posted a bibliography-of-sorts below. And, well, I now need to go and learn how to use an in-browser conference program, write a bit more poetry and eat pasta. No rest for the wicked, or even the moderately good… Perhaps next week I’ll manage an update on my garden!
The Most Stressed-Out Generation? Young Adults

Thanks to:

Look upon my office, ye mighty…

Dear reader, it’s been that sort of week where I’ve either been working as hard as the spider whose web I destroy every evening (I’m sorry, but if Horace will insist on tethering his home to the watering can then that’s his perogative), or doing an excellent impression of a Snorlax. I’ve managed to write a fair few things, seen some lovely friends and generally made a decent busybody of myself, when I’ve not been asleep or suffering stress in physical form. Ah, brains. How fun they are. How good of mine to turn a stressful experience into what’s felt like a week-long, on and off panic attack. Just lovely.

Anyway! I’ve also been Doing Admin, aka sorting out my accounts and tidying the office area. I discovered that although accounts may be hard, they’re actually a doddle in comparison to assembling a magazine rack. Once I’d finally got the blasted thing together I felt so triumphant that I nearly quoted Shelley at it, because once you’ve used Chaucer to illustrate how ill you’re feeling, there really is no going back.

Speaking of how ill one feels, my back is unfortunately playing Ultimate Silly Buggers, so I’m going to have to cut this one short and see if a bath will help. However, I promised last week to plug things, so:

This Wednesday coming, I’m going to be speaking on videogames and mental health at Videobrains.

Next month, I’m in CaBiret again, Doing Poems along with a bunch of other splendid people.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try and soak in some glittery water. Next week, news of the garden. Thanks for reading.



It smelt like the memory of a six-year-old’s birthday party

Dear reader, I appear to have fallen through a wormhole last weekend, which is why I didn’t manage to post last Sunday. Either that or I was somewhat exhausted from a couple of difficult things happening, but I think I prefer the wormhole theory. Moving swiftly on, this week’s entry includes news of driving, writing and mildly terrifying cake. It’s been a tiring, but happy sort of weekend.

Continue reading It smelt like the memory of a six-year-old’s birthday party