Skip to main content

Sunshine and Tinsel

An incongruous sight while out shopping during the recent heatwave. Cloudless blue sky, people flashing flesh in summer clothes and ... tinsel. Oh and a hanging teddy bear. I was quite disorientated, I can tell you. I still don't know what the bear was doing up there.

I keep thinking there's a story in that picture somewhere, or at least a caption, but I haven't come up with anything suitable yet. (Call yourself a writer? - Ed)

I've been shimmying around the country on trains for the past two days. Up to York to spend a day with family - typically the sky went surly and a breeze sprang up the second I stepped on the platform - and today to spend time with writing friends, to discuss an exciting new project (top secret at the moment! Don't you hate it when people put that on their blogs? I know I do.)

I love travelling by train, I find it genuinely relaxing. I got more writing done than I would have at home, which made me think I should take a long journey every single day. Then I realised I'd be broke by the end of the week and quickly came to my senses.

Does anyone remember when train travel used to be cheap, or am I imagining that?


Oh yes, I remember the days of cheap rail travel, Sadly a thing of the past - just like a lot of good things.
Amanda said…
Ooh, I love travelling by train too - my favourite mode of transport. Like you say, it would be much better if it was cheaper...and I'd quite like a bit of steam too! X
Diane Fordham said…
It's been a very long time since I've been on a train. I find everything is getting more expensive tho. I'm still wondering about that hanging teddy strange is that? Would be interesting to know the story behind the bear.
liz fenwick said…
That bear is worrying really...
I love train travel and it never used to be so crippling. I too work well on trains...
Teresa Ashby said…
Ooh that poor bear! What had he done to deserve that?

Can't wait to hear what your exciting new project is!

I like trains, but I don't like stations - it doesn't take a lot to confuse me these days! And I certainly do remember when it was cheaper.
Love the incongruity of the heat, tinsel and hanging bear! Trains are my favourite form of transport and on a recent journey, I wrote more by hand than I'd ever written all at once before.
Anonymous said…
Is your top secret project anything like Cally's secret project?
DAB said…
Big Ted was hanging around waiting for the delayed train to take him on his top secret journey ;-)

Sounds interestingly quirky, Clarkey.

womagwriter said…
I quite like train travel too, which is just as well as I have to do a 5 hour round trip on the things every fortnight for work. I don't write on trains though (used to but it was never any good) so I just enjoy myself reading.

Love the hanging bear!

Captain Black - being 'in' on Karen's top secret project I can tell you it is nothing like Cally's - unless there's another secret she hasn't told us about...
Ann said…
I always loved traveling on the train. It is terribly expensive here.

I have to say I was wondering about that bear hanging precariously as well. A bit on the eerie side....

Nothing like a heat wave to bring people out and about!!
Debs Carr said…
We don't have trains over here (no point) but when my son was talking about one he had to take I couldn't believe the price!
Teresa Ashby said…
I have awarded you a Friendly Blogger Award, Karen, if you'd like to accept it :-)
Lydia said…
Trains were great when they were cheap and gave you tables. I used to write then too, but I just can't manage on those tiny flip-down things you get nowadays (I sound like someone's granny, I know!)
Hope secret project comes to fruition and I'm guessing the hanging teddy is tantalising everyone! x
David said…
Am intrigued about your new project, Karen. What could it be...?

I just thought of a caption for your pic:
'Bear bored steiff by early Christmas shopping'

Bad puns. Sorry about that!
Talli Roland said…
I quite like the train, too. I took it loads when I lived in Poland!
Jenny Beattie said…
That Teddy is very disconcerting!

I also remember a time when I could understand train prices. Now they just seem to make them up. I hate the way that a last minute ticket is SOOO expensive when I know perfectly well it doesn't cost anything different from the ticket I might have purchased (for so much less) two weeks earlier! Grrr.
Suzanne Jones said…
We're putting our Christmas tree up in a couple of weeks. Luckily I'm Scotland, so the weather and daytime lighting will be suitably dismal for such jolly decoration. Tinsel just doesn't seem right in the sunshine.

Suzanne Jones said…
Ha - I've just read David's caption. :0)

Anonymous said…
Karen said…
colette - It was definitely far cheaper under British Rail.

amanda - Steam train would be much more romantic - but possibly too slow!

diane - That bear was probably as upset as I was by the sight of tinsel so early in the year!

liz - There's something quite relaxing about train travel, and letting someone else doing all the hard work :o)

teresa - Thanks so much for the award :o) That poor bear probably wasn't feeling too friendly!

rosemary - Me too. The only downside was I then had to type it all up!

captain black - Like womagwriter, I had to smile at that. It's categorically NOT like Cally's project which has now made its appearance in the world :o)

tommo - Ooh I like the sound of that :o) I should have grabbed him and taken him on the train with me!

womagwriter - I'm wondering if I can work in a 5 hour round trip evey week - I'd get so much more writing done!

ann - Sadly that heatwave seems a very long time ago. Hopefully the bear's been brought in now it's raining!

debs - I'd managed to get a good deal, or I'd never have beena ble to afford it. £172 just to get to York and back!!

emelie - Thank you :o)

lydia - I must admit I didn't use the flip-down thingie either :o) Secret project will be blogged about shortly (it's writing based, in case you hadn't guessed!)

david - Great caption :o) I can never think of one until ages afterwards (and not even then, usually!)

talli - I much prefer it to flying or going on a boat. Would love to take a train trip through Europe sometime :o)

jenny - It really is frustrating. It's not always possible to buy weeks in advance, as you never know what might crop up in the meantime. Grrrrr!

suzanne - Ooh I can't think of getting the tree out until after my boys' birthdays on Dec 1st. Mind you, it's not that far away now and the weather's definitely turned appropriate!
FPDuck said…
It's probably been put out to dry. either that, or as a Halloween decoration they're going to hang it with the tinsel. Or a child has just discovered the truth about Santa and his run in the Iranian authorities a few decades back. Has he been freed yet?

I do love travelling on trains. I especially love the tannoy at my station which begins inaudible, and gradually gets louder until it becomes inaudible again, only heard through the vibrations felt throughout the station.

I travel by bus a lot too, I find that although I can't get anything done, I get to stare out of the window for an hour. Every so often I spy something which confuses the smeg out of me. 'WELL NICE DOGS 4 SALE' one sign read. And a lad who embarks looking like a medieval squire. And Ashburton- narrowest main through roads in Britain (not a fact. Haven't checked). But still insists on two lanes of double-decker bus traffic.

Lola X said…
Such a great post! Love visiting your blog!

Lola x
Poll Nike said…
version of Microsoft Office 2010 will also be introduced.64 systems and 64 Office 2010 Download will also be able to provide superior handling performance and processing advantages.

Popular posts from this blog

100th Post!

100 posts! This time last year I was a Blogging Virgin. Now I’m a bit of a slag. It’s become the highlight of my week, both reading yours and writing mine. Which means either:

a) I don’t get out much
b) I don’t get out much, or
c) I don’t get out much

(I think it's C)

This was my first ever post. Not a single comment did it receive. I dry-heaved into my hanky for an hour and considered leaving the country. Then I cottoned on to leaving comments in order to entice readers over.

Anticipating disappointment, outrage or (worse) apathy, I was pleasantly surprised to trap some lovely Readers in my cage of blathery nonsense. I nearly threw a Comments Party, but daren't push my luck.

It’s been a real journey, as they say on bad reality TV (is there any other sort?) On the way, I’ve been given some fantastic advice from you lot, as well as from a Real Published Author and more importantly I've learned that…

Mugs CAN live without kettles
The price of gravy changes with the wind
You can live i…

Q&A with Amanda Brittany

I'm thrilled to welcome Amanda Brittany to my blog today, to talk about her debut thriller Her Last Lie. 

It's been described as 'gripping with a shocking twist' and I can confirm that it is!

(It also has an amazing cover)

Which character in Her Last Lie would you like to meet?
Hi Karen, thank you for inviting me to your blog.
I suppose feisty Roxanne is the character I’d most like to meet. She’s so determined to get to the bottom of things, and appears to be a good friend to Isla.
There are definitely a couple of characters in the book I would hope never to meet.

I know the book has several settings, which did you enjoy writing the most?
I loved writing the second part of the book set in Abisko in Sweden. I visited Abisko a couple of years back, and it was great fun bringing the cold, bleak landscape to life, and describing the way The Northern Lights swoop across the night skies.
Are any of your characters based on people you know?
No, not at all, they all sprang from my imagi…

It's (not-even-nearly) the Season to be Jolly...

I know it's only September, but my new book THE BEACHSIDE CHRISTMAS is out today. It's the final in the Beachside series and writing three books in a year means I've been pretty immersed in this world.
10 things that stand out about writing this series are...
1. The Beachside Sweet Shop gave me the perfect opportunity to make some coconut ice. I used to help make it with my grandmother growing up, and it tasted exactly as I remembered
2. Also, in the course of research, I tried eating pear-drops to see whether I’d grown to enjoy them – I haven’t. I always preferred chocolate and still do.
3. Shipley, the setting for the series, is based on Swanage in Dorset, one of my favourite places to visit, but I changed the name so I could use some fictional license when it came to naming and placing pubs and shops. 
4. I don’t have green fingers so there was plenty of research involved in writing The Beachside Flower Stall. I loved learning the meanings and symbolism of various flowers …