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At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Christmas cards

Wednesday 18th December

Hare are my two favourite Christmas cards (so far.)

I have chuntered on about stiles all year in my blog posts and during my frequent walks with BC to such an extent I reckon, that it must have registered with Gimmer, another good friend who comments here often. I guess they have heard enough from me about those stiles that try to make my robotic knees bend more than they want to, and those designed to take advantage of my diminishing ability to balance, and those with steps covered in lethal, slippery green algae, and worst of all those that are in a state of disintegration - an accident waiting to happen. This stile has comfortably spaced steps, appears to be well constructed and has high handholds to nullify questionable balance and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that this card from Gimmer was a joint effort along with BC hopefully suggesting I find nothing but such stiles and therefore stile-heaven during 2020.

Number two is from my neighbour and is entitled "Just out of reach."

First of all I like the design. It reminds me of helping Big Brother RR with the design of a cover for one of his novels which had an aeronautical background. We had a suitable photo of an aeroplane and messed about with it for ages. Eventually we had an epiphany when we realised we didn't have to show the whole of the image. As an aside this is a good read and available on Amazon (see my review) - a good little puff for my writer brother eh?

The card photo cleverly only shows part of the dog and part of the tree concentrating the viewer's attention on the essentials.

Secondly, I have always had a soft spot for dogs.

Thirdly, there seems to be something symbolic and profound about this image and its title which had me thinking about interpretations for "just out of reach" giving the card much more potential meaning than initially realised.


  1. obviously it had your name on it, both stile and hills: live ringer

  2. Thanks for the advert. It's getting near to Christmas and I find myself scratching through the four and a half novels and fifty short stories I've written to discover not a single scene is based on this festive season. Why? No use saying - as both of us must say - that Christmas can be a singularly unhappy time, since unhappiness is meat and drink to fiction. Verse is of course another matter, and one sonnet jumps out. A desperately unhappy time. One problem about Christmas is that the good times are often so trammelled, so dependent on cliché.

  3. gimmer - Perhaps "style" as well?


    RR -There are some aspects of The Season that are pleasurable, especially seeing the enjoyment of children (perhaps one of your clichés) and the giving and receiving of presents.

    Other aspects I do find stressful, and sad for personal family reasons as you allude to, but I don’t wish to be Grumpy Old Man here. As I write I am off to meet daughter to make an early morning assault on M and S. We did try to use their On-line Order Click and Collect Service but after filling the virtual basket we found the next available collection date was 29th December so we have to brave the physical fray - just one little example of the stresses that arise.

    I hope you are able to have a more relaxed time - from what I read you seem to have skilful offspring who are taking on more of the culinary responsibilities at a high standard.


    A little delight just identified: I have just opened my weighty dictionary and found that I had instantly selected the exact page for the word I was looking for.

  4. i thought that was good book - but preferred its earlier title - more relevant and inviting

  5. Gimmer: Gosh, you painted me into a corner - I'd forgotten the earlier title and had to trawl aged folders to remind myself. It was called Risen on Wings and stayed that way for several months. Eventually I worried it sounded religiose. I accept that the present title relates to a purely incidental aspect of the story, at worst it is bland. I think I possibly over-imagined the exoticism of the state name.

    The facsimile shown is, of course, out of date. The published version incorporates the back view of a woman's head, bottom right. The type face is now seriffed and has been enlarged so that OoA overlaps the plane's starboard wing.

    Many thanks for admitting membership of a tiny elite group - those who have read OoA.

  6. Correction - I see that I didn't review Out of Arizona but I did review GORGON TIMES another of brother RR's novels which again is available on Amazon - just search under Roderick Robinson. That novel, set in the Thatcher years, is also a good read - if you want a brief rundown read my review.

  7. I've been waiting for the sequel to R o W ever since - it finishes as though there will (will, not would - be one . . . )
    I also read Gorgon times (i think I bought it) and thought its themes and structure were reminiscent of David Lodge - but your friend Joe (?) scorned the comment, mistaking style for theme (so i thought - i kept stumm)

  8. Gimmer: Joe, usually quite a gentle soul, was uncharacteristically harsh in that judgment. Alas, he didn't have long to live. You will, I hope, remember I welcomed the parallel you drew; Lodge has entertained me all the way back to The British Museum Is Falling Down.

    The friend of mine who has published and - much harder - tried to publicise my novels has also raised the subject of a sequel to OoA/RoW. I can see the commercial sense in that and even an emotional argument in favour of it; OoA/RoW was the novel I most enjoyed writing. But when I look back on it I feel I was entirely profligate in what I invented; I know now that invention is very much a finite resource and I doubt there's much left. My present WIP, Rictangular Lenses (the misspelling is intentional), has been stuck on about 40,000 words for over a year and I'm starting to be to be fatalistic about novel-writing.

    Sir Hugh: I much appreciated your review of Gorgon. The aims of Gorgon (the engineer as hero) were a bit too ambitious for what was, in effect, the first serious novel I attempted and I fear they were not entirely realised. But the story remains and there are one or two ideas I still treasure; my son-in-law was struck by the TV competition I invented, said there was room for such an event on TV. That made me laugh.

  9. RR - There's room for almost anything on TV - last night was a blank for me on the regular channels. I ended up watching an interesting documentary on Neftlix called "Don't F--k with Cats." It was a chilling account of how an amateur Internet group managed to track down a guy who had posted videos on You Tube which are too upsetting to even describe here, although their gruesome detail was not shown in full in the programme, thankfully. The sleuths used clues from the video and combined with Internet manipulation managed to track this guy down. I nearly packed it in at the beginning but it was worth the watch in the end.

    There was a headline on the BBC News this morning - I didn't read the story:

    "TV repeats and songs can help with dementia"

    If that's true it's a wonder there is any dementia at all.

  10. Sir Hugh: Help doesn't mean cure. Sing-songs at what used to be called old folks homes revealed that music could occasionally reach areas of memory which had previously been beyond conversation. Music's relationship with our brains is complex and only partially understood. I'm hoping for the best.

  11. RR - it was mainly the "repeats" I was having a tongue in cheek go at.

    A friend of mine helps a lifelong friendship couple where the lady has dementia. Whilst she can't communicate verbally and is generally confused she can still play the piano and also wins at bridge. If they take her anywhere that has a piano, by chance, she just homes in on it and starts playing.