Who’s Afraid of the Cold East Wind?

18/9/2020: Featured in the City Lit Writing Department poetry performance showcase

Figs, figs, figs

London figs (Harrow)
Figs, Septermber 16

Figs yesterday, September 15

Update: Another three, September 18

The figs bleed a white sap, similar to the latex that oozes from a rubber tree. Once they are soft and starting to change colour, I pick them and leave them in a bowl in a sunny position, where they continue to ripen.

Homegrown figs

Tess with champion fig, mid July

Figs on the tree

Split fig

Figs in a bowl, harvested mid-July

Fig today, ripened this week (2nd week of September)

Fig for breakfast, not as good in July but ripening in latest warm spell this week.

The tree is very happy in a sun-trap walled corner and still has about thirty figs but they might not all ripen. We’ve taken three ripe ones this week and now all depends on this latest warm spell. We planted the tree in virgin soil that had been under concrete till 2018. It has grown from a small houseplant into a huge and still spreading plant, a kindly monster.

Gone mad here counting*

Over the past sixteen years, I have been instrumental in publishing 139 short stories by 113 writers, not counting myself, from Bosnia, Canada, China, England, India, Ireland, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, USA and Wales.

The last few were online and the rest were in 11 anthologies. I also co-edited two anthologies of poetry. Sales have been very poor but the writers I picked have gone on to win all the major prizes for short stories and some of them are now big names.

Link: Index of contributors to the New Short Stories book series and Story of the Month

* With a nod to The Onion Eaters by J.P. Donleavy

Giving up?

Update: since writing this, I have resumed work on the novel.

Stephen

I am not a novelist. I’ve wasted good ideas for short stories by trying to think of them as novels. However, if I revisit them, and I have about four I think I started on, maybe I can rewrite them as long short stories. I’m very down and depressed. Hardly an hour goes by that I don’t spend partially in contemplation of throwing my hat at it all. I wish this coronavirus would go away, it’s so worrying and depressing. So much anxiety, fear… We’re shielding each other here. A ticklish throat, random cough at night: is this it? Are we goners?

Then sometimes interludes of welcome respite in the garden. I wish goldfinches would slow down so I could have time to get my binoculars and have a good look at them. They flit to the bird bath and are gone in an instant. I’m going to go for a long walk today, my 3 mile walk. I’ve been taking the 1 mile route most days or staying in all day. Meanwhile here’s Donny…

Giving Up by Donny Hathaway (Spotify)

Snaps and claptrap

Weeds are good. I like them. We have to stick together. The camera can’t quite capture the delicate primrose colour exactly.

Primroses growing wild in the back garden

In other news, our lemon tree has been freed from its greenhouse prison to romp about in the sunny outdoors. It is bedecked with flowers like jasmine only more grown-up and sensual. The one lemon is still a work-in-progress, hidden by two sentry leaves and lots of tiny lemons have got started and are hoping to hang around a bit longer.

Freed lemon tree gambolling and frolicking in the open air

My all-time Spotify yearly "top songs" in one playlist

I copied the songs presented to me by Spotify as “Your Top Songs [year]” for the past number of years. They started with 2016 and I created this in 2020 with the songs from 2016 to 2019. The same songs recur from year to year but only one copy goes into this playlist. If they do another one for 2020 I’ll add the tracks from that too. Here is a link to the complete playlist.