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Filey 20: 30 July – 5 August

So here we are: with all the fanfare of a submarine slipping its moorings in the predawn darkness one cold winter’s morning, my second novel was launched on Amazon this weekend. It’s called The Bone Fire and is a contemporary fantasy novel, set partly in Edinburgh, partly in the shaman spirit world, and is probably even stranger than that sounds. And it’s free! (At least till Wednesday, anyway.)

You can read more about it, if you’re interested—and you can always go to Amazon and read the beginning online, or download a sample. As ever, the hard part is getting noticed among the deluge of self-published books; but short of renaming it “A Good Shag” to capitalise on the Fifty Shades of Gray market, there’s not much I can do—and anyway, knowing my luck, it’d just get lost among all the other books on pipe tobacco…

Anyway, as ever, if you feel so inclined, any help you can furnish by letting people know it exists via Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads.com, or blogs would be a huge help; and if you should happen to read it, and enjoy it—stranger things have happened—then an Amazon review would be much appreciated.

Thanks to everyone for your solicitation over my blocked ears last week. I duly had them syringed on Friday. I don’t know if you’ve ever had it done? Basically, the nurse plants one foot on your chest to keep you steady, while filling a syringe that looks like something a market gardener in the 1930s would use to spray greenfly on his roses. She then inserts the nozzle in your ear and squirts.

Teepee? No, it’s the bonfire-in-waiting

Now, if this was a Bugs Bunny cartoon a jet of water would immediately arc out of the other ear. But no. In fact, the effect is rather like having a power shower turned on inside your head, and it’s only a wonder the nurse doesn’t look in the basin afterwards and say, ‘Oops! Is that a piece of brain floating in there?’

Not that I’m complaining. The good news, I can hear again; the bad news, the fairground parked down by the riverside was suddenly far more annoying, like having a Bruce Springsteen fan parked outside your house for several hours a night. (I didn’t go to the fair; I find them a bit tacky, plus those rides that spin you round have an unpleasant effect on my stomach, turning me into a sort of human muck spreader, with unfortunate consequences for anyone happening to look up as I go whirling past…)

The fair was here for Wick Gala, and it all finished off with fireworks over the river—we could see them from our house, thus saving us the inhuman effort of a five minutes’ walk. But the really cool part was the fog: at ground level all was clear; but higher up there was a dense cloud of mist, so when the rockets went off all you could see was a coloured haze in the sky, like Captain Kirk torpedoing Klingons in a nebula.

I’m on the second sleeve of the gansey, and as usual it’s going slower than the first. I’m never sure quite why this should be, but it always happens. I suppose it’s partly the feeling of starting all over again, and partly because the top of the sleeve is wider than the cuff—so each row takes half as long again as you’re used to. Still, I’ve seen off the gusset, and am slowly getting back into the zone.

Now it’s back to Amazon to see how my book is doing. And remember, if you only read one novel this year combining the shaman spirit world, Arthurian knights, and foul-mouthed talking animals, please make sure it’s mine.

11 comments to Filey 20: 30 July – 5 August

  • Faith Harvey

    Lucky for me… I just downloaded it Thanks

  • Hear, hear!! Bone Fire is awesome, and so original. Well worth reading– congratulations, Gordon!

    Oh, and the gansey is looking great. One of these days I’ll get back to knitting on mine; I certainly can’t say I lack for inspiration!

  • Gordon

    Hi Sheila, and thanks for the support!


  • Gracie

    Hi Gordon,

    Congratulations on your successful ear treatment. It sounds like it would make a worthy spa offering!

    Thank you for the cool firework photos. Is the Wick Gala an historical event apart from the “carnies” and “fried Mars”? Does anyone still eat those? I’ve even heard of “fried ale”!

    I must confess that I’m not a reader, despite a laborious post-grad degree. Thus, I won’t be a great ally on the literary front, though I look forward to finding your book on Amazon. I send you best wishes.

    The gansey is looking pretty spiff. Every time I see photos of your progress, I imagine a -8 °F Norfolk night with snow so high, people don’t walk or talk, dogs move like heavy bison, and a red gansey trumps all coats. Just picture it.


  • =Tamar

    Are you planning a sequel? That was a sequel hook, I hope.

  • Gordon

    Hi Gracie,

    I don’t have to picture it – I’ll just look out my window in January! Wick Gala is an annual event – don’t know how long it’s been going on, but thumpa-thumpa music every night for 4-5 hours gets a bit wearing. Though the fireworks just about made up for it!


  • Gordon

    Hello Tamar,

    I have at least two other books I want to write before I can think about a possible sequel. And to be honest it will depend on how many people download it!

    But you might be interested to know that I took your comment on the end of Wraiths of Elfael to heart and am currently writing a sequel to that – I always planned it as a trilogy, but lost heart when I couldn’t find a publisher. Watch this space…


  • Sue

    Hello all, I’ve been off-line and away from it all for a while and I’m only now just catching up with developments and all the goss here – the gansey is looking really great Gordon.

    At the moment I’m repairing a gansey for a friend – both me and the gansey are pretty frayed at the edges! I’ve undone and reworked one cuff and just started the 2nd. Once that is done I’ll move onto the neck but I think that I’m also going have to work out a way of redoing the shoulders whilst not dropping the stitches across the top of the sleeve – which off course if it was knitted the traditional way will have been done first.

    But I don’t think it was done the traditional way – I don’t think that the sleeve was worked from the should down after picking up the stitches there does seem to be seam of sorts so I might be anticipating a problem that doesn’t exist. It was bought on Guernsey and I think that it was probably handframed but not handknitted – there are side seams on both the body and the sleeves. Nor could I undo the cuffs from the bottom – I had to pull out a line of stitching above the frayed part (which lay on the line were the wearer had turned the cuffs back) and pick up the stitches there in order to then knit down.

    I was in Arbroath at the weekend and the Reaper (a restored traditional Fifie fishing boat) had been sailed up from Anstruther for the annual Seafest. Two of the crew were wearing extremely handsome ganseys – one knitted by the wearer’s mother-in-law and the other by a knitter on Scalpay who’d done one for her brother and then been persuaded to knit one for the stranger who’d admired her brother’s! I must remember to not get caught by that tactic!

    Getting into conversation I discovered that the Trust had considered obtaining traditional handknitted ganseys for the whole of the regular crew but had been put off when they realised how much it would cost. I suspect that they’d tried Flamborough marine from something that was said. I didn’t say anything at the time but I later thought that I’d be willing to volunteer to knit one simply for the cost of the wool as way of supporting the Trust but one isn’t that much use on it’s own. So I wondered whether others would be interested in helping out too? Do people think that there’s enough knitters out there to make it viable for me to suggest to the Trust that they could put up an appeal on their website for volunteer gansey knitters?

    Looking forward to be regular reader once again, Gordon, keep up the good work.

  • =Tamar

    Ooh, Sue! Was the Scalpay-made guernsey a traditional one for that location? Did you take notes on the design? I haven’t yet knitted a gansey but I love historical documentation.

  • Gordon

    Hi Sue,

    Welcome back! Just a quick note to say that you can read about the Reaper’s visit to Wick here: http://www.ganseys.com/?p=4607 – I had a chat with the skipper and thought of donating one of my ganseys to the crew (I have a long to-do list), in recognition of the excellent job they do telling people – and children – all about the life of a working fishing boat.


  • Sue

    Hi Tamar, I would have said sort of! The most obvious difference was that it was in navy rather than the cream I associate with Hebridean ganseys but of course that might have been at the request of the wearer. But looked to me as if it was actually knitted in DK rather than the traditional finer 5ply I always associate with ganseys but perhaps Hebridean ganseys are traditionally knitted in thicker wool – I’m sure that Gordon would put us right on that one? Also, the tension was looser than than most gansey knitting and certainly much looser than Gordon’s exacting standards!

    That said the arrangement of the motifs was more traditional – the body done in one set and the yoke another divide by a border and the same on the sleeves. However, there were no lace motifs with ie motifs incorporating openwork stitches within them such as the chevrons in the one that Gordon knitted and has in his gallery – again that always has seemed to be one of the characteristics of Hebridean ganseys.

    So overall, I would have said that the design drew on the traditional styles and patterns but that it was a personal interpretation of them rather than a strictly traditional working of a Hebridean Gansey.

    I agree with you, Gordon – they are ding some great work and the kids being taken on board in particular loved it. Especially being allowed to crawl into the bunks and test them out – even quite young ones were taken aback by how cramped you would be sleeping in one for any length of time! Well, Gordon, it looks like we could provide them two ganseys between us. Anybody else out there interested in such a project?

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