A bit on the side(-effects)

I didn’t post last week. You might have noticed!

I had my first Covid-19 jab on Saturday afternoon (believe me, I haven’t spent so much time in the same place as other humans as I did queueing for and than having my jab!). It was very well organised (of course, thank you NHS), and the jab itself was almost painless.

Side-effects, not so much. Nothing life-threatening, definitely better than catching Covid-19, but oh I really wasn’t on board with the interuption to my editing programme! Flu-like symptoms do not make this writer want to, or be able to, focus on the nitty-gritty of editing, that’s for sure.

I did edit, but boy did I just want to, well, not. I’m all better now. And definitely grateful for having the vaccine. Round two will be better, I’ve no doubt.

But Freya! You’ve got an editor! Editing’s your editor’s job! The clue’s in the name!

Yeah, I know. You know those people who have cleaners but clean and tidy before they come round to clean? Well, there you are. In all seriousness though, I want to make good on all the things I’ve spotted before passing my MS (manuscript, it’s writerly jargon dontcha know), over to my editor. I might as well. I’m not alone in that. That means the editor hopefully can focus on the proper editing and not my funky typos or repeated use of words like shrugged, nodded and sighed (my characters do a lot of those things, they need to dial it back a bit!).

Despite the interruption, I am on track with my plan (I do have one). I’ve even managed to submit a couple of short stories for potential publication this afternoon. That’s a good feeling. And no nodding, shrugging or sighing was necessary.

Toodle pip!


They burned books in the hallways. I could smell it, the pain, the anger, the protest as the words scurried out of the open windows, sucked out into the great, black yonder by the treacherous summer wind.

I had expected more of Nature. After all, She had suffered enough over the millennia, as Man chewed Her up and spat Her out. But no, here She was, aiding the destroyers of the only beautiful thing that we had managed to create without destroying Her.

But. Maybe that was the point.

Helping Man wreak his own destruction.



Steak Out

My grandfather lied to my grandmother. I guess it runs in the family.

We are, all of us, habitual liers. It’s not because we actually want to deceive one another, but mostly because we want to protect our nearest and dearest from the painful truth. My mum, God bless her, didn’t tell my dad that she was suffering from skin cancer whilst she was pregnant with me, because she knew how desperately he longed for a child. The doctors had told her that it was either chemotherapy to save her, or have the baby. She chose the baby, waited until after I was born and then embarked on her too-late treatment, which she took in secret whilst he was away on the oil rigs. The thing is, he would much rather have had her alive than be left on his own at the age of 28 with a 2 month old daughter and no wife. I don’t take it personally. Why would I? He had no idea how to look after me and was forced to rely on my aunty for childcare whilst he was working away. She hated him for it, resented me and was only looking after me out of a sense of duty to a dead sister who she knew had been adopted. My mum didn’t know about that. Yes, you guessed it, my aunty kept it secret because she wanted to save her sister from pain.

On Tuesday, she asked me the most peculiar question. “Lily, do you know who I am?”

Of course, I gave the obvious answer. “You’re Aunty Jean, my mum’s sister.”

“In a manner of speaking,” she had said. “You know me as Aunty Jean, but I’m not actually your aunty.”

To be honest with you, I felt a little bit relieved that there was at las tsome honesty going on. She had kept many secrets over the years, but had never failed to hide the fact that having to look after me had ruined her life, or what she had imagined her life would be. Widowed at a very young age (a car accident perhaps, if the stories could be believed), she had intended to make something of herself, have a career, be an independent woman – and then I had been foisted off on her. Dreams ended.

“Oh?” I had said mildly, hoping that she would leave it there.

It wasn’t to be.

“I’m actually your grandmother.”

Oh. Oh damnation. I didn’t need to know this, the sheer seeming impossibility of it all tying knots in my thoughts.

“Yes,” she continued, taking my silence as a yearning to hear more. “The way Herb – your grandfather – defrosted the refrigerator used to drive me mad. He’d just turn it off, leave the door open and leave me to deal with the food. Who defrosts a refrigerator without running the food stocks down first? God, it was infuriating!”


“So I hit him over the head with the griddle pan. Damn well killed him I did. Of course, the police turned up eventually, but I really, really didn’t want to go to jail so I ‘became’ your Aunty Jean. We let it be known that ‘Granny’ had run away with the family savings and… voila! Here I am.”

I should mention, we were in the kitchen at the time, and she was at the stove, frying steaks. On the griddle.

But then, we are all of us habitual liers. Go figure.