Sunday, 30 June 2013

Trollopuss and the Slug

I may have quoted these songs lyrics of mine aeons ago, but now that we're on the subject of slugs, it seemed high time to share them with you again. I've written the melody to go with it and one day I might actually get round to recording it and posting a link. I wrote it after seeing little Trollop (aka Trollopuss, RIP at the age of 21), lying in the middle of the lawn one evening, curled around a fat, juicy slug.


Trollpuss in the garden gave something a hug.
When we went to investigate we found it was a slug,
Fat and grey and greasy, curled up nice and snug,
From the look she gave it we could tell they were in love.

Trollopuss and the slug, oh Trollopuss and the slug,
From the look she gave it, we could tell they were in love.

A cat can look upon a queen, it can look upon a king.
For a cat to look upon a slug, ain’t that the darnedest thing?
Curled up close together, lying face to face,

That slug gave her the slippiest kiss that lips could ever taste.


Feather and feather, fur and fur can dally, date and dance,
But gastropod and feline – God, they haven’t got a chance!
If they got round to making love, what would they call their brat?
Would the bug be a furry cug or a little slimy slat?


The moral of this little tale is, know when you are beat.
Sometimes on life’s slippery trail you must admit defeat.
When her lover tried to slither off, the poor heartbroken cat
Gave that slug one last big hug and squashed the bugger flat!


(c) Lorna Read 1999

Slug-Slingers Anonymous

Come on, I bet you've done it, too. Slunk out under cover of darkness with a torch to light your way and illuminate those giveaway silver trails, betokening the fact that you have a Gastropoda munching away at your Rhodiola.

If you're brave, you'll pick up the thing with your bare hand, flinching only slightly as the glutinous mucus slimes your fingers. The less brave will don gloves. Having investigated and discovered that slug slime isn't actually poisonous,.I now go bareback to pick them up. Indeed, there's even something slightly kinky about palpating the squidgy body of a slug, or watching as a snail retracts its slippery 'foot' and regards you with beady, bulbous eyes from the tips of its tentacles as it nervously contemplates its imminent fate.

At last, with snail pail or slug trug in hand, it is time to contemplate the pesky molluscs' disposal. Some go in for the salt treatment, but that only leaves you with a bucketful of snot in the morning, guaranteeing that, as soon as your sleepy eye lights on it. your breakfast will be hurled even further than the slugs.

I happen to favour the sporting chance method. I look to left and to right, decide which neighbour I feel least kindly disposed towards, then, one by one, I pick each slug or snail up, pull back my arm and, with a bowler's swing, launch the thing on an arcing trajectory over the hedge. It then has a 50/50 chance of a soft landing or a shell-splitting concrete one. Any road up, the hedgehogs will dine well. However, I do live in fear of hearing feet crunching softly in gravel, then getting hit in the eye by a soggy slug hurled back by a next-door member of Slug-Slingers Anonymous doing their own 10 pm snail trail patrol.

As to where they hide in the daytime, I just pulled back a clump of petunias in my blue pot, and what did I see? Enjoy your flight, my friends! *demonic cackle*

Thursday, 27 June 2013

New opportunities for writers and illustrators

For those of you who don't get Writers' News, I thought I would pass on the following snippets of information. First, it's always good to have a name to send one's sample chapters to, and second, to find a publisher who is actively seeking books is like finding that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. (Don't know about you, but I find the ends of rainbows have a habit of suddenly relocating to the next field or garden, just as one gets there. No wonder that gold is so hard to find. Mind you, a metal detector might come in handy, too!)

Scholastic Books: Samantha Smith, former director at Little Brown, has joined as fiction publisher.
Headline: Mari Evans, formerly of Michael Joseph, is the new head of fiction.

Harper Impulse is the new digital romance imprint from HarperCollins. The editor, Charlotte Ledger, says 'We're very open, as long as it's romantic fiction or women's fiction with a romantic element.' They want all lengths from 30,000 to 80,000-plus. Manuscripts, which must be completed, should be emailed as a Word document in double spacing, together with a short synopsis and brief author bio, to:

US publisher Harlequin, which includes Mills & Boon, are seeking women's fiction by UK authors (across all sub-genres including romance - look on their website for examples) and also crime, thrillers and psychological suspense. See website for submission guidelines.

Fancy yourself as a cookery writer? Luscious Books ( seek mini cookery books containing recipes for special diets. A submission form is on their website and authors will receive a jolly good 50% of net royalties.

Can you write fun books for young children? Templar Publishing, who publish the Ology, Amazing Baby and Happy Snappy books, are accepting submissions from both writers and illustrators. Fiction titles should be sent as hard copy with SAE to the submissions team at The Templar Company Ltd., Deepdene Lodge, Deepdene Avenue, Dorking, Surrey RH5 4AT. Artwork should be sent as a PDF file. Email: Website:

I'm going to send some work off and will let you know how I get on!

Just before I sign off, I must share with you the following joke - thanks to Writers' News again!

A writer died and was given the choice of going to heaven or hell. He asked for a chance to check each place out before making his decision and first, he was given a glimpse of hell. To his horror, he saw rows and rows of writers chained to their desks in a boiling hot sweatshop, being whipped as they worked. 
"No way!" he exclaimed. "Let me see heaven, please." So he was whisked off Up There and couldn't believe it when, once again, he saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a sweatshop, being whipped as they worked. 
"I don't understand!" he wailed. "It's just the same as hell."
"Oh, but it isn't," replied a booming, commanding, unseen voice. "Up here, your work gets published!"

Monday, 24 June 2013

On Hold

That's how my life feels right now. I can't do anything but the most gentle exercise because, if I do, it's just like seeing stars, an explosion of jet black ones and silver and gold glittery ones in my recently damaged eye.

I haven't done any creative writing because the thing I really want to work on, which is an account of all the strange, psychic and supernatural stuff that has happened to me, requires me to consult a diary which is somewhere in the mouse-chewed depths of my storage unit.

My two-book saga, Perfect Lives, is still not published and my agent is not getting any sense out of the publisher, who keeps fobbing her off with "So-and-So is reading it at the moment, then after that we want X and Y to look at it and give their opinion about the amount of sex in it" - these are books which have already been accepted and paid for.

The revamped Sweet Temptation, a historical 'bodice ripper' I wrote decades ago and decided to reissue, has stalled because of... well, sex again! I showed it to a publisher who reckoned that it was a bit tame for today's market and needed more raunch. I started, then stalled because I think that after the huge number of sex scenes I put into Perfect Lives, my imagination has developed Brewer's Droop!

Even my attempts to find a new abode are on hold. I was due to see a flat today but when I got to the station,. no trains were running, owing to damaged overhead cables, so I had to ring Mr Grumpy, who was halfway home after dropping me off (I live three miles from the nearest station) and he had to turn round and fetch me back again!

So, is there any progress on any front? Well, I won £2.50 on the Lottery, which is almost enough for a cup of coffee. One more win and I'll be able to treat myself to a nice G&T. Cheers!

Monday, 10 June 2013

New dress

I never buy 'smart' clothes as I don't go to the kind of places where one would wear them. It's 20 years since I used to go to awards ceremonies and magazine launches and I can't see me every being required to go to that kind of thing again. In fact, I could squirm in embarrassment when I recall some of the stupid things I said to my superiors after imbibing too much of the pre-dinner free champagne. It's a wonder I didn't lose my job. Hang on a minute, I did! I was made redundant in 1994. Oops!

Anyway, today, I gave in to temptation, and here's why...


A miracle happened in ‘my M&S’
in the shape of a size 12 (“Yes!”) Little Black Dress.
Understated but flirty, designed in good taste,
it featured front zips and neat, nipped-in waist.

By the Sale rail my timid hand doubtfully hovered
As I thought, should I try it, or aren’t I that bothered?
I’m a good size 14 and I’ll never get in it –
but hey, I’ll just try it, it won’t take a minute.

Well, I struggled and squeezed and then suddenly, wow!
It had slipped into place, I shall never know how.
It perked up my bosom, shimmied over my hips
and extracted my waistline from chocolate and chips.

I stood and admired this extremely svelte gal
while thinking of new shoes, hair-do’s and Lo-Cal,
for one extra ounce would be its undoing.
The seams would all split and the zips would go Boing!

I peeped at the price and from forty-nine quid
it had come down to twenty-six. Really? No kid!
But where would I wear it? Posh parties ain’t me.
I’m more jeans and tie-dye than smart LBD.

But some little devil prodded me in the pocket,
saying, “Buy it and flaunt it. Show the world you’ve still got it.”
So here I am, guys and I’m ready to rock.
I’m devil-may-care in my magical frock!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013


Actually, it should be 'eye' in the singular. Long story short, I got a torn retina in my right eye, spent hours at first my local hospital, then an eye hospital in central London, then had my torn bit lasered by a doctor who was using the wrong machine because he had left his own glasses at home! After three or four nerve-racking attempts, he asked the consultant for help.Mr Consultant, very grumpy at being snatched away from his private patients, mended my eye with the correct laser machine, then swept out before I could ask all the questions that were on my mind, such as, would the various attempts with the wrong machine have caused any damage to my eye?

I can barely see out of it at the moment. Everything is blurred, covered in what looks like a black sandstorm, and I can't work or read as the eye I am now relying on is my 'bad' eye. It's the good eye that developed the tear. Apparently, it's more likely to happen in people aged 60-70 with severe short-sight and green or blue eyes. I tick all the boxes.

Luckily, a friend assured me that when he suffered the same thing, it was two or three weeks before his vision began to improve. Cross your fingers for me and I'll carry on crossing my eyes!