Sunday, 15 November 2009

Of London Parrots and Nurse-Spanked Schoolgirls

As you know I Don't usually make an entry on a weekend - especially if away from home, as I am this weekend. Not that I am very far from home geographically, just a couple of miles or so north and staying in an area called 'Bounds Green' - an area largely filled with late-Edwardian housing and a million miles away culturally from the crime-ridden grimness of Woodgreen and Turnpike Lane, perhaps a brisk 20 - 25 minutes walk away. Anyway, the 'other half' does a bit of teaching (fashion marketing and journalism and that sort of thing) and is bogged down marking student assignments which will take a couple of hours or so. There is not long enough to do much - though I should just have time enough to integrate some of the stuff I have written in the past week into the main body of the new book and perhaps do a little initial proof-reading / rewriting of some of the early sections if I do not spend too long here.

But having booted up my old trusty laptop - that I keep stashed here for just such opportunities - I thought I'd have a quick look at the blog and a read through of my email. Having spotted the record of my past fortnight's correspondence with Lulu (through whom I publish) and irritated by their lack of response to my latest email to them as regards the option to purchase my work as an electronic download being so obscure on their redesigned site (click here to read my previous gripes), I decided to try to do something about it myself. Accordingly I have just reconfigured the sidebar links to INSTITUTIONALISED volumes 1 and 2 (click for vol 2) on Lulu so as to take the potential reader straight to the electronic download page whereupon the volume concerned may be purchased for £3.75 - rather than the £8.95 plus postage they charge for a print copy.

I also thought I'd take this opportunity to share with you a few of the latest pics sent me from the 'Regulation Knickers' site (currently my only affiliated account - I have to pay the rent somehow) - mostly because the set looks right up my street but also because it fits in so well with the storyline developing in the new volume - the majority of which takes place before the events outlined in INSTITUTIONALISED volume 1. It's also nice not only to see a woman in a nurse's uniform (or governess?) in an authoritative position but also to see a school uniform in brown, as an alternative to the hackneyed navy-blue. It's as if they could read my mind!

On a completely different tack: While walking in Trent Park (Cockfosters - North London) this morning I heard - and on one occasion saw - several ring-necked parakeets. Now, I know that South-West London is chock full of the things (as was Kensington Gardens / Hyde Park, in the vicinity of the Serpentine, the last time I visited in late summer) and there are increasing numbers on Hampstead Heath in the Kenwood House area. But this is the furthest north I have come across them in London. I just wondered just how wide-spread these birds have become in if you live in London (or elsewhere in the UK - I know there are communities around Margate and also in the Midlands, but where else are they?) and have come across what is apparently the world's most widely-distributed parrot please let me know. Now for a bit of real work - see y,all later.


Doonstar said...

Regarding Keat's parrots, mini-parrots, parrots-lite etc
I walk Trent and most of the other nearby parks (Grovelands, of General Pinochet fame, etc) and at least 50% play host to the; little buggers. As with egrets what was rare and exotic is now commonplace

Toyntanen said...

Thanks for that, doonstar. It's nice to meet a relatively local fellow author and fellow aficionado of our interests. I have walked many times in Grovelands park, though admittedly not recently, I never heard any parakeets. It is only during the last year or so that I've occasionally caught what I have taken to be the squawking of one of those things, usually while driving into Trent Park and close to the entrance. But the past couple of times that I have visited, including this last weekend, I've heard many and very obviously identifiable calls and have now actually seen a couple flying over around the area of the cafeteria (they can be pretty difficult to make out in the treetops). Since coming across the colony on Hampstead Heath, a few years ago, I have been intrigued by the spread of these things across London and have been endeavouring to chart their Progress.

By the way, I occasionally indulge in a few ales in the Southgate Wetherspoon's (today being one of those times with any luck) so if you see me around please feel free to join me (and that goes for anyone who spots me and fancies a chat - feel free, I hardly ever bite!).

Robin said...

woahh are they really doing that!!??