Ricky Gervais and Bull fighting




This week Ricky Gervais tweeted the news story of a Matador attacked by a bull. There were a lot of emotive replies supporting the bull.

In Marriage a Journey and a Dog, the story of the Matador, pierced in the groin by the bull isn’t funny. The stories of the Matador’s extramarital affairs aren’t funny either, but somehow they are. It is the truth behind such incidents that makes the reader smile. I loved writing about different women putting flowers on his grave and his son who decided to become a sewage engineer and inspecting sewers during the Barcelona Olympics, because  somehow it kept him safe from bulls in the streets of Spain.



When Charles Dickens wrote his stories he made the reader feel badly for what was happening, but never said it was bad, and he was a social reformer through writing.

The power of words to change things is great. Stories can influence people. I’m, with Ricky Gervais. I’m against bull fighting, but made a joke of it and I hope it might cause discussion and thought.


I can understand the excitement of the crowds, and the headiness of the arena, but not the cruelty to the animal. I knew a man who was involved in the finances of bull fighting and he gave a lecture. He spoke about how the bull didn’t feel anything after the first spear accurately entered the neck. Nothing will convince me it isn’t cruel and unnecessary.

I came across this Torero Alvaro Muner’s story on Facebook. He was a matador and this was the moment he was filled with remorse at the suffering of the bull. It changed him into an anti bullfighting campaigner. I found his story on the site of this man.


Researching, even the smallest details can lead onto a trail of interesting discovery. I often have to remind myself that the job in hand is writing.

Men, Women and Sport.

Who doesn’t know a sport obsessed male? It seemed such an obvious characteristic to give Gerry (husband) in Marriage a Journey and a Dog.

Gerry loved cycling, he works in a sports shop and he watches sport on T.V.  He talks about sport with his mates. Do you know someone like him?

Alan, a lesser character is a mad keen Millwall supporter. Why Millwall? Well, they were playing in the F.A Cup against Manchester United in 2004, the year  the story is based.1200px-THENEWDEN


Then there was the Tour de France that year. It goes through Paris. Natalie  is there, but doesn’t bother to watch. The men in her life don’t comprehend how she could do that.


If Gerry has to give up cycling after his accident Natalie hopes they will spend more time doing things together. He plans to play golf if he can’t cycle.

I hope Gerry isn’t a dislikable character, more someone who will give women everywhere a knowing feeling.

Natalie’s ever present comfort is that sport keeps him so busy he doesn’t have time or the desire for other women – maybe.

At one point Natalie takes part in a sport herself – gliding in the Pyrenees (see other blog). This is the mountains and showing the wing tip of a glider. She tries cycling before going to Amsterdam.


If you’re a sport obsessed husband you might like to keep this book for yourself. It might be dangerous.

Any woman fed up with sport, will laugh and cry through Marriage a Journey and a Dog.

Chocolates and Soup

Natalie (heroine) visits the mountains in the Pyrenees. There she finds homemade chocolates she can’t refuse. Making all things chocolate is traditional in some areas of the Pyrenees.



Home made soup is also a tradition. and it varies from village to village. On reading the book it may seem a little odd that Natalie is ordering vegetable soup but again this is traditional. Some places, pork or duck is added.



To travel through the Pyrenees on her own apart from her little dog Spike for a company must be an awesome experience.




All the details in Marriage a Journey and a Dog are researched and travelled by me – but not on my own.

The School Library Project Part 1

2015-12-12 13.06.40

The ledger for 5000= books. Many of them unreadable.

This school in Sri Lanka is over 100 years old and tumbling down in places. In a drab and difficult building I have decided to make a library space that is bright.

Although the space is on the small side the problems are big.

All books in the school have to be entered into a ledger. No book can be thrown away without government official approval. This should happen once a year and the number of books that can be thrown away is limited. Therefore old unreadable books remain in the limited space for a long time.

Old newspapers are collected here because they can be sold. In the damp atmosphere of the rainy season everywhere is damp and mildew grows on the walls and ceilings and of course, the books.

I am going to try and create a small oasis for learning in spite of the obstacles.

The painting is happening and we are having fun.



Yet more books and no where for them to go.

Lost in France and Spain

This is an interesting scientific article about women have less of a sense of direction than men. (Generally speaking, of course).)

The lines on this diagram show how men and women navigated a route. The blue lines are the women’s routes, and the red lines are the men’s. The lines show that the men arrived faster and solved more tasks


I sympathised with Natalie in Marriage a Journey and a Dog because my sense of direction is hopeless. She had an interesting trip driving through France and Spain alone, apart from her little dog.

At her 40th birthday party she gave a speech gave a speech.

‘For those of you who think it’s funny what I have done, tell me what you have done that is better.’

She had a great time.

In a radio interview I was asked where the inspiration came from for Natalie. There was a lady interviewed on radio, about 10 years ago. She was asked, rather scathingly,’ was it a daft thing to do, go travelling around Europe and get lost?’ Her reply was much the same at Natalie’s and much the same as mine would be.


If you always know where you are going and the fastest way to get there you would miss a lot.


Come to France and Spain with her and savor the pleasures of travelling to Paris, Barcelona and returning to the South of England and London.