Merry Christmas

23 Dec 2011

What do you get the girl whose got everything?
Penicillin, of course.

And as someone gave me a cold that mysteriously morphed into a chest infection, my Christmas dinner will be turkey with a side order of amoxicillin.

Be glad this is an electronic card. A real one would have germs on it.

Happy Christmas, everyone.

Nano Revisited.

25 Nov 2011

Well, I've done it and I've won it. But that's about all I want to say about it.


14 Nov 2011

On Saturday we went into town to get a USB lead for a camcorder. So we took the video camera with us so we could be sure to get the right lead.

When we got there we found owls. An owl sanctuary had brought some of their birds into town to show the good work they do, and to raise money for the cause.
It was amazing. I held a Harris hawk and stroked it, and I stroked an eagle owl (huge), and a screech owl (tiny).

It was an incredible, unforgettable experience. I was psychotically happy for hours afterwards. I kept grinning and saying 'Owls!!!'.

Loads of pics, cos we had the camera with us. Yay!!! Owls!!!!

Burn someone in effigy tonight.

5 Nov 2011

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

Upon the Sand of the Sea

3 Oct 2011

The nice people at Eschatology Journal have been kind enough to publish my story 'Upon the Sand of the Sea'.

And they put a great picture with it!

I am happy :)


26 Oct 2011

More fun with Photoshop.


24 Oct 2011

Well, I'm doing Nano this year. I wasn't going to, but I am.

Fake Pound Coin 3

23 Oct 2011

Well, here's another one. And I would say that it was obvious, except I didn't notice it for days.

This is the famous 'Egyptian Arch' bridge design, which always looks weird. This one is weirder. It's fuzzy and soft looking, as though the die was made of plasticine.

The heads side has almost no detail, and the words, 'ONE POUND', are far too fat.

The tails side suffers similar faults and is also unevenly struck so that the bottom right is much fainter than the top left.

The edge is badly and unevenly marked, and looks as though it has been filed.


17 Oct 2011

I have always used Paint Shop Pro 8, and I'm pretty good with it. But it's getting a bit old now and someone gave me Photoshop CS5, so I thought it was time I got to grips with it.

Nothing is where I think it should be, I'm having to look things up on the net, like how to make a gradient. But it's a nice program and when I get used to it, it should be pretty good.

I've been doing tuts to get the hang of it and learn where everything is.

This is a combination of a couple of different tuts.

The End of the Line

11 Oct 2011

I have learned how to do them pictures where it's all black and white except for one colour.

And this is the end of the line because it used to go further, and now it don't.

I like the way it bends.


5 Oct 2011

This is a carving of Merlin. I was in town yesterday, so I thought I'd take his photo.
He's pretty impressive in real life, but my photo don't really seem to do him justice.

He's about 10 foot tall and carved from oak, and he has a little dragon on his right arm, but that don't really show up.

It must have been a hell of a tree!

Anyway, as far as corporate art goes, this is a good one.


29 Sept 2011

I have been given the Liebster Award by Kelda Crich, the pen name of the lovely Deborah Walker. Thank you!

It's given to blogs with less than 200 followers, and I have to keep the love going round by passing it on to five others.

I will pass it on to the following.

Brenda Stokes Barron, Great writer and all round great person.
M J Fowler, the creator of the wonderful Captain Quasar
A G Carpenter, Writer and sage.
Nathaniel Katz, the man with the hat.
Samuel Mae, The man behind Comets & Criminals.

I have enjoyed reading all your blogs :)

And a photo, because I always do a photo.

Fake Pound Coin 2

25 Sept 2011

The first and most obvious thing about this coin is the state that it is in. It looks like someone has taken a hammer to it. That may be part of the forgery or it may be not.

This is a 1985 coin bearing the Welsh leek. I see these a lot, and many of them seem to show unusual signs of wear. I have wondered if many of them are forged, but it is hard to be sure. However, with this one it seems pretty obvious. First of all the lettering on both sides is not only faint and almost unreadable, it is also fuzzy, fat and indistinct.

The lettering around the edge seems to be normal at first glance, the Llantrissant cross is present, as are all the letters, although many are only partial. The obvious assumption is that the damage to the coin caused the disruption of the letters. However, a comparison of the word 'Gwlad' with a correct coin appears to show a misalignment of both the whole word which is tilted down, and the letter G in particular which seems to be too short and misaligned with the W next to it.

I have to admit that I cannot be 100% certain about this one. But my gut feeling is that it is a fake.

Down by the River

18 Sept 2011

The wonderful people at Brain Harvest have been kind enough to publish my story Down by the River.
I'm very happy.

And here is a picture of a river.

What's inside?

13 Sept 2011

What's inside a laptop?

This is.

And after we put it back together, it worked!

This is the house that Jack built.

12 Aug 2011

This fence is to stop people taking food out of the skips behind a supermarket.
It's their rubbish and they'll be damned if anyone is going to get it.


7 Aug 2011

Autumn comes with Lammas.
There are acorns growing on the oak trees. I did take a picture, but it came out fuzzy. So here are some other autumny things.
Especially the blackberries. Autumn tastes of blackberries.

Good Story 3

9 July 2011

I really like this story. The God of the Poor by James Hutchings, in Daily Science Fiction.

Short, sweet and very much to the point.

And here is a picture to fill the space.

Counterfeit Pound Coin 1

29 June 2011

I have a new obsession. Since learning from the TV that 1 in 40 pound coins was a fake I have decided to make a study of any and all counterfeits that come my way.

This is the first; it was obtained, in change, from the local garage.

At first sight it looks like an ordinary pound coin, and the fakers did get some things right. Everything matches. The two sides are aligned properly and the picture on the tails side matches the date on the heads. Both match the inscription around the edge.

So far so good, but a closer look soon shows that it is not a genuine pound but a not so clever fake.

On both sides the impression is poor. The images, and particularly the writing, seem blurred, as though the letters are thicker than they ought to be, their edges less crisp.
Furthermore the stamping has been slightly misaligned. This can be seen on the heads side as a thinning of the edge on the top and a thickening below. There is also an obvious ridge, particularly noticeable at the bottom of the coin. Lastly there is some disruption of the circle of raised dots at the top of the coin.

 The tails side suffers from the same problems. Here again can be seen the evidence of the uneven die strike. The ridge is particularly apparent at the top of the coin.

The most obvious evidence of fakery comes on the edge of the coin. Although it carries the correct inscription 'Decus et Tutamen', it is badly printed, the lettering unclear and too close to the top of the coin. When placed against a genuine coin (below) it can be seen that the letters are not spaced correctly, the word 'Decus' taking up more space on the fake than on the genuine coin. It is not clear from the photo, but the top edge also shows signs of filing and smoothing.

Conclusion - Obvious fake.
It was returned to its proud owner and has probably returned to the garage by now.
Such are the cycles of life.

Blue Flower

27 June 2011

These grow in the garden.
I have no idea what they are, but there are a lot of them.
Some have 6 petals, some have 5. This seems strange, but life is full of these little mysteries.

Old Place, Old Photo.

7 June 2011

I was inspired by Deborah Walker's photos of the Hurlers on Bodmin Moor.

So here is Pentre Ifan, It's old, it's in Pembroke and it's made of stone. I've seen a few Neolithic tombs, but this one is the most beautiful.
I don't know why the photo is the way it is. It was taken a number of years ago on a 35mm camera and scanned in. The weird stuff is on the negative. It's probably my bloke's hair, but I like to think it's the ghosts of my ancient ancestors making themselves known.

That's me, standing by the stones, and in the background is the motorbike we rode in on.

I Have A Blue Geranium


I have a blue geranium. I was given it a few years ago when it was small. Sadly it's still small. It has not had a happy life.
Every year the poor thing found itself crowded out by the buttercups that have colonised the back garden. Every year I have gone out and scrabbled in the dirt to try to give it a bit of room. Every year it has clung on pathetically and I have feared for its life.
But this year it did its thing! It has flowers. More than one! It's a happy, happy plant and I am a happy, happy person.
I think it will live.

Here is a picture of one of its flowers, and I hope you note the bloody buttercup trying to sneak into the bottom corner. The damn things are all over. The lawn has vanished under a knee high sea of weeds, nettles and buttercups.

Another Good Story

30 May 2011

This is wonderful.

In Search Of by Will Ludwigsen, in Apex Magazine.

And another photo because this post is short.

Down by the River

22 May 2011

I was going to do a post about some swallows I saw while I was sitting outside the cafe. I can't smoke inside so I sat outside at a rickety table and watched the swallows flying up to a nest under the eaves of a nearby house. I tried to take a picture, but the zoom on the camera is rubbish and whenever I got close enough they all flew away. So all I have is a couple of photos with vague blobs on a wall. One is the nest the other is a swallow. Out of all the unimpressive photos I have taken these are the most unimpressive. They are even less impressive than the photo of a shop floor I took by accident.

So I took a picture of the river instead. At least it doesn't bugger off when I get too close.


 14 May 2011

Today I was driven out the house by a desperate need for tobacco and food: mostly tobacco.

On the way down the road I saw the columbine that grows out of the hedge by the church. It's there every year but never before have I had a camera with me when I've seen it. I ought to carry my camera around with me for moments like this, but it just takes up too much space in my bag. Now, however, I have a new phone and it has a camera on it! How very modern and 21st century I am!

There is something about the shape of columbine that fascinates me, it seems to combine both the organic and the architectural. This columbine, that straggles out of a hedge at the side of the road, uncared for and unheeded by the cars that pass it by, is the most beautiful I've ever seen. Their colour is spectacular, so deep it looks like you could squeeze the purple out of it. Unfortunately it is not a colour that I seem to be able to capture on a crappy second-hand camera phone, but I tried.

A good story.

12 May 2011

This short story was recommended over on Absolute Write. It's wonderful.
A perfect story.

"Hello," Said the Gun by Jay Lake, from Daily Science Fiction.

And as this post is rather short, here's a picture I took some time ago.

Don't Be In Such A Hurry To Get There.

8 May 2011

I live in a small village and noting much ever happens. However, very occasionally you find evidence that something very interesting happened to someone else and that you missed it.

Like this. Clearly someone couldn't wait their turn and tried to get into the graveyard early. They didn't quite make it over the wall, but I do have to award them points for a good effort.

Well done, Sir! And better luck next time.


2 May 2011

Yesterday was the first of May. Beltane. I was going to write something about the folklore of this day. But now I'm here I can't be bothered. I think that either people know it already, or they're not interested. Anyone else can ask the great god google.

Instead here is a picture of some Hawthorn blossom. It's early this year.


28 April 2011

Yesterday I went to the woods to see the bluebells, they seem a bit early this year, but the weather has been gorgeous, so maybe that's why. As always I took my camera, and as always I failed to capture the beauty of it. There is something about a bluebell wood. You have to experience it. No picture can ever do it true justice, especially not mine.

But I tried.

Happy Easter

24 April 2011

Today is Easter Sunday, a day sacred to the bunnies that lay the chocolate eggs.
In honour of this I shall mock them with a very old joke.

Sad to say, I am such a wuss that when I eat my own bunny I shall feel sorry for it. I shall eat it anyway, but the flavour of the chocolate will be tarnished with tears.

Peacock Update

23 April 2011

Yesterday, after I had posted, I googled 'white peacocks'. It turns out that it is supposed to be lucky to see one. Of course lots of things are supposed to be lucky, the world is full of folklore about luck and unluck, and most of it is rubbish.

However, today my bloke, (he that saw the lucky peacock), got a letter giving him some much wanted information. Information that he had given up waiting for in the belief he had been forgotten. Clearly this event is due to the sighting of the lucky peacock yesterday. I do not know if this is enough to prove the fortunate influence of the white peacock, but now I'm even more irritated that I did not see it myself.

New Blog

 22 April 2011

Time to start a blog, I thought.
So here it is.

My name is Lydia Gray and I write stories. If things go well then I will be blogging about writing every now and again. Other than that this will just be about stuff that takes my fancy or catches my eye.

I missed a treat today. My bloke went down to the garage to buy tobacco and he saw peacocks in a garden. One blue, one brown and one white. They were standing at the door of the house as though they expected to be let in. They don't live there, they belong to the local doctor. They live at his house.

I missed them. I wish I'd seen them. It's not something you see every day.

Other news. It's April and the bluebells are starting to come out down along the hedgerows. In a few days, if the weather holds, I'll go down to the woods for a look.
Until then, here is the cherry blossom on our tree. It's almost gone now, but it was nice while it lasted.