Am I a cheapskate?

I published this a while ago… am I being cheapskate by publishing it again?!!

Even if you don’t actually know the meaning of the word cheapskate you can guess the meaning – it’s just one of those words! Combining cheap in the sense of being miserly or lacking generosity, with the word skate as in the fish which would be all slithery and slippery, and being flat would be able to squeeze through narrow gaps or out of tricky situations – skate meaning to glide over ice and the idea of slipping away swiftly and silently and easily from something gives a very clear and visual idea.

The word seems to have originated in the 1890’s in America… but maybe the skate part of the word had a more scatological origin… which makes sense if you were insulting someone!

Cheap now means inexpensive or insulting, but original the sword meant to do with trade; Cheapside and Cheap Street were where the traders and merchants were. This word for trade might have had an older origin, being connected to cattle, which of course would have been traded from earliest times.

Have a look at these interesting blogs about ‘cheapskate:

More Glasgow memories

Glasgow will be rocking to the Mavericks tonight! We were there seeing them in 2013… what a wonderful time we had! here is a little souvenir…

As you may have realised, I recently visited Glasgow; the purpose was to see the Mavericks in concert, and wow, what a concert it was! I haven’t yet written a review of it… still descending gently from cloud 9! I also had the opportunity to meet up with dear cousins I hadn’t seen for a while, and we got to walk round Glasgow… such a beautiful city, a place I definitely have to revisit!


So many buildings reminded me of Manchester


Elegant architecture




Inside the station


Rennie Mackintosh takes tea


Inside the Willow Tea Room


Donald Dewar and friend considers at the economic downturn


George Sqauare


Sir Walter Scott


New and old




Glasgow… Mavericks… 2013

Two years ago a gang of us went up to the beautiful city of Glasgow to see the Mavericks… They are in Glasgow again tonight, February 28th 2015, but here is a little memory of our fun time last time…

I’ve just returned from a magical few days in Glasgow, which I now realise is a city in which dreams really can come true. I posted yesterday that I was off to see the Mavericks in concert as part of the Celtic Connections celebration in Glasgow, and going with and meeting up with some dear friends. I knew the gig would be tremendous and I just hoped that I might have the opportunity to meet up with a couple of guys… Imagine my delight when we spotted this charmer!

Mr Robert Reynolds looking mighty fine!

Mr Robert Reynolds looking mighty fine!


One of the most talented singers,  song-writers, producers, performers in the world… Mr Raul Malo

The concert was fantastic, but more of that another time; we met up with the band afterwards and Raul bought me a drink; someone remarked that surely this was the wrong way round, his fans should be the ones doing the buying… not according to Raul. What a gracious man.. I was so lucky to sit with him for a few minutes and speak to him as I enjoyed the Highland Park he had bought me.

Foxglove Summer

I’m reposting this having made a mention of it to a friend earlier today:

I have just finished reading ‘Foxglove Summer’, the latest in the series of books written by Ben Aaronovitch about the young policeman Peter Grant who is also a wizard… It wouldn’t be my usual type of novel, but I began reading the first one ‘Rivers of London’ because I am fascinated by hidden rivers. It was such a gripping read, exciting, intriguing, very funny, and I couldn’t wait to read the next, and the next. They all feature the same characters, locked in different battles with criminals and the supernatural, and I’m looking forward to the next book The Hanging Tree, which will be published in the summer.

I’ve published six books, self-published on Kindle, and I have been thrilled by the comments people have made about them, and very, very grateful for kindly criticism which has been offered. When I published my novel ‘Flipside’, set for once in a real location, Oldham in Lancashire, lots of readers told me it was their favourite of all my books so far. However, one person also added that she found the ending not quite right somehow… yes, it had ended up with a big ‘reveal’, yes, it had been unexpected, and yes in a way it was satisfactory in that many of the loose ends were tied up… but, but she also very helpfully mentioned that to her it was too abrupt… she was left thinking ‘…and? …and what? …is that it?’ I took her comments seriously and reread the last part of the book… and she was right, she was so right!

In the next book I wrote, Radwinter, I finished it, finished it with the big reveal, and yes I hoped it was unexpected and yet believable in the context of the plot and the character of my people, and yes I had tied up of all loose ends and different strands of story-line… but, but it was too abrupt, just as Flipside had been. I went back to the keyboard and I wrestled with another ending, and came up with a final, very short chapter… and it was right, it fitted, it completed the novel.

Now, going back to ‘Foxglove Summer, which I enjoyed enormously and stayed up each night far too late reading it, I have to say that I found the ending rather abrupt… I turned over the last page and there were the acknowledgements and thanks Aaronovitch was giving. Had I missed something? I turned back… no… the last pages led up to an exciting and unpredictable denouement with a startling and dramatic rescue and resolution… but somehow I wanted a little tiny bit more, just to finish it off… like a coffee at the end of a fabulous meal.

This isn’t really a criticism, it’s just a reflection on what I have learned as a writer thanks to having an audience, and what I now observe in other writers.

An amusing way to present boiled fowl

The National Mark Cookery Calendar was produced in the 1930’s and considering it is eighty years old, much of it has really stood up well to the passage of time and is as relevant and useful and pertinent as it was when it was written.

However… some of the text seems to have lost something in the transition from 1935 to 2015… I have read this recipe a couple of times and still can’t see why it is an amusing way to present boiled fowl!!

Boiled Fowl with Spinach

  • National Mark boiling fowl
  • National Mark spinach
  • White sauce
  • 1 National Mark egg
  • butter
  1. This is a rather amusing way of presenting boiled fowl!
  2. Cut it up after it has boiled and let the pieces cook for a few minutes in a little butter. Drain them very carefully, lay them in a dish, and pour over them some good white sauce, flavoured and coloured with spinach (boiled and then drained and passed through a hair sieve, if not a cloth
  3. You could garnish the dish with rounds of hard-boiled egg

Can you see why this would be amusing?