Friday 30 September 2011


The rain finally stopped falling around dinner time.  That's lunch to all those people who got the heat wave in Southern England.  I saw it on Sky news the other day.  Lucky you.

So I walked up the huge hill near our little farm.  It's about 500 feet or so.  It's always been called the mountain.  There's a stone cairn on the top of it.  My grandparents used to call it the "Stony Man".  The tradition was for the walker to place a stone on top it.  The old people would say; "

If you do, you will always come back."

I am not really a big fan of walking.  It's a bit like writing - you set yourself on a journey and you're on your own!

Indifference destroys the writers spirit and the will to write.  It's like the last mile home always seems the farthest. Or the light is always darkest just before dawn.

I had a good think, walk and lots of philosophical thoughts.  I even came back with the first lines of a new poem - song.

Walking gives you the muse!

Thursday 29 September 2011


I have been having another one of my midlife crisis today.  You see I live in the countryside and I don't drive.  I am too nervous to drive.  I even jump when I'm sat in the passengers seat and another car drives passed.

The public transport only operates twice a week and it goes via Tibet.  I exaggerate a little.  But it does go on a thirty mile journey instead of my usual five or so miles.

I can easily get a lift into town every day.  But I want my own autonomy - wheels.  I have even thought of starting hiking.  But that's boring on your own.  It's also very dangerous because the speed limits are crazy and there's no pavements to walk on!

So what do you think readers?

Can you start cycling when you're nearly 48?  What kind of a bike should I get?  What gears would I use?

Will I start writing about cycling?  Am I too old?

"Daisy, daisy give me you're arms..."

Wednesday 28 September 2011


Hi everybody.  Thanks for keep reading folks!   Just a short blog today.

I  have set myself a target of writing 1000 words a day.  This consists of writing at least 800 words of my new book and writing this blog and my twice weekly one on my publishers blog.  I have been sticking at this for just over eight days up to now.

There's a saying; "use it or you'll lose it!"  It's true.  The more you write, the more ideas you get and the more words appear on the screen or paper.  I also find that I am a lot more happy in myself and I am starting to be able to call myself a Writer!  Procrastinating writers get nowhere.  If you want to be a writer - you have got to write!

Back to the book!

Tuesday 27 September 2011


I thought that when I FINALLY had my book published that I would be content.  It's nearly twelve months since I actually placed my hands on my  brainchild; ARCHIE SPARROWS BOOK OF USEFUL TIPS TO BEAT THE RECESSION with...........Baling String.  Twelve months since I held the book in my hands.

But am I content?  Yeah.  I achieved my life time dream of becoming a published author.

There are several downfalls though.  I find myself constantly checking my book rating on Amazon and seeing if my two blogs have any comments.  Things are pretty quiet on that front at the moment.  Although my view ratings are doing well and I have heard lots of people read them but don't post comments.

In the mean time.  It's back to my new book idea. I'm tapping those keys and thinking "it's only a book!"

Do you suffer this writers neurosis problem?

Monday 26 September 2011


Many moons ago.  I wanted one of those Christmas Hampers.  You know the one's you see in the posh newspapers and on the telly?  The trouble was I couldn't afford one!  So I had a brainwave!   I would make my own. It's really easy.

Just clear out a cupboard or get yourself a large cardboard box.  One that you can HIDE in the living room or in the wardrobe.  That's the hamper made.

Now go to the supermarket every week or day.  Buy an extra few items.  Or even double up on them - especially if you are buying some bottles of whiskey!  You will be amazed how quickly you fill your hamper (cardboard box) up to the brim.  You also only fill it with the stuff that you like - no boxes of After Eights!

The Christmas Cupboard is also great to raid if you are skint or it's blowing a gale outside.  The only rule being that what ever you use - you have to replace.

Come Christmas Eve. You won't be going round the supermarket with an enormous shopping trolley or an enormous debt!!

Sunday 25 September 2011


One of my favourite Irish films is The Quiet Man.  Movie film director  John Ford bought the film rights for TEN Dollars!

The author of the Quiet man was called Maurice Walsh.  He was born near Listowel in county Kerry.  John Ford tried to sentimentalise rural Ireland.  He paints a picture of a farming community without social class or religious division.  He later paid Maurice Walsh six thousand dollars.  Mr Walsh described the Technicolor film as "extraordinarily fine".

It's a really beautiful film.  I some times see Maureen O'Hara in one of the West Cork towns near my little smallholding.  It's quite strange see in a Hollywood legend getting out of her car, going shopping.

My only negative comment about the film is the music.  I am not saying I don't like it, oh no!  It's when they keep playing: the Rakes of Mallow.  I can't get the tune out of my head;

Altogether now;

"Dum da, dum da, dum da diddle da".

See what I mean?

Friday 23 September 2011


No I am not talking about one of those reptile creatures.  I am talking about my Crocodile Azada grubbing hoe.  They are the best thing since sliced bread was invented.

You must have seen one or something similar.  I bought mine last year.  It's fantastic for clearing weeds and grass.  I suffer from a bad bad - most gardeners do!

About 12 years ago I helped somebody move a double wardrobe and they accidently let it go on the stairs.  The wardrobe decided to push me down the stairs and crush me behind the front door.  I felt my heart move and broke a rib or two.  Every time I do anything physical - my back aches like mad!

That's why I bought my Crocodile hoe.  It really is so easy to dig with.  I am currently clearing my potato area at the moment.  So I have set myself a challenge of clearing a two metres square area of weeds per day.  That's four wheelbarrows of compost material every day.  This then gets piked (four prong pike) into my trusty wheelbarrow and composted in my pallet compost area.  It's then mixed with farmyard manure and covered up with a old carpet.

My compost area consists of six wooden pallets stood up right and tied together with baling string.  Talking of baling string!! I am the author of a funny book about it's many uses.  Put Archie Sparrows book of useful tips with....BALING STRING? in Amazon books.  See if you can find it!


Are you writing a book at the moment?  I try to write something everyday.  It's like exercise.  The more you do it - the easier it gets!  Well that's the idea anyway.  It took me ten years or more to finally achieve my dream of becoming a fully fledged published author.

Never never stop believing.  Remember rejection slips aren't personal.  Book publishers aren't rejecting you!  They might be full up or they can't afford to publish at the moment.

I am currently writing a travel book based in Ireland.  It's a kind of McCarthy's Bar style of manuscript.  There's lots of humour and moans and it's really difficult but I am kind of enjoying it.

I think writing is like the banging your head against a wall.  Why?  Because (never start a sentence with because) it's so good when you stop banging your head!

Are you writing a book?  What's it about?  Drop me a line.  I love corresponding with writers - yeah you!

Thursday 22 September 2011


It's a good job we have the old Tinternet and T'web (northern English phrase) to read about allotments and smallholdings.

The other night I was doing my usual remote control channel switching.  I can watch three programmes at once!  Not really.  Any way.  There I was thinking "There's nearly a thousand different satellite channels and not one about growing vegetables or running a smallholding."

Even the gardening programmes are repeats or very infrequent.  I used to really like watching Geoff  Hamiltons PARADISE GARDEN series.

There was also THE BIG DIG: presented by former Radio one DJ Simon Mayo. It was a wonderful fly on the wall account of allotment life in Wales and London.  I think there were three series in total.  Then the powers that be decided to scrap it.  WHY pray?

There used to be 1.4 million local authority allotments in Britain.  Now there only 300000.  These places are living lungs and need to be protected.  I have heard (read) that there is a 100000 waiting list!  The Beeb could at least repeat THE BIG DIG or make some more?

At least we can read and write blogs and books.  Oh we can always do some WEEDING on the old allotment?

What do you think readers?

Wednesday 21 September 2011


I think that blogs and Internet publishing are the new Punk Rock!  Years ago people decided they were being in a band and that was that.  The band's name was more important that the ability of the musicians.

We are currently going through a technological industrial revolution.  The Internet is the best thing since sliced bread.  All you need to do is tap those keys and press PUBLISH.  You don't have to be Shakespeare to write.  Writers are people who write!

I really believe in Community Arts - do you?  Let's be like William Blake and write and paint, play instruments, grow vegetables, play Cricket and Football (or watch it anyway") and just be creative!

Not sure if William Blake played Cricket?

Tuesday 20 September 2011


I've been collecting cardboard boxes lately from the shops.  I can't believe how many of them have MADE IN CHINA on them.  No wonder Europe is in recession.  Does anybody make anything any more?

 Anyway.. I have been having a go at Lasagna gardening.  It's a North American term for mulching with cardboard and compost and good old farmyard manure.  It's ideal for anybody taking over a overgrown allotment.  Just lay the cardboard flat on the weeds.  Strim them down first if you can get hold of a strimmer.  Somebody will do it for you for a few pints or ten.  I'd do it for you except in live in West Cork on a little farm!

When you have finished laying your cardboard all over the grassy weed area.  Cover it with Farmyard manure, leaves, compost, grass clippings... Then leave it for old Mr and Mrs worm to work it into the soil.  Then hopefully next March or so you will have some beautiful friable compost.

You are just imitating nature really.  That's what the leaves do in the forests.  Shedding their leaves and making gorgeous leaf mould compost.  Get yourself a vegetable allotment or a smallholding!

Monday 19 September 2011


Have you ever thought of getting a smallholding or an allotment?   If you are this is the place to share your thoughts.  I have had three ("thought it was four?") allotments and now live on my smallholding.  It's a hobby nay obsession, that rewards you with tons of chemical free veg and a bad back and gives you a pragmatic and stoic approach to life, the universe and next doors allotment!

I spent an hour or so today on my veg plot.  I thought it was too wet but it wasn't so bad.  Been digging my Orla potatoes and a swede for my tea!

The slugs have been having a field day boring and chomping my Solanum Tuberosums.  They don't win though.  I throw them and the weeds into my wheelbarrow and cart them to the ducks and hens.   The slugs and snails - not the potatoes!  The ducks and hens scratch about and leave me some wonderful compost material!

Gosh and golly it's to do some digging.  Thank God and old Mother Nature for my little vegetable plot!

Sunday 18 September 2011


What's your favourite northern English film?   Let me give you a few of my favourites to think about; BILLY LIAR, BRASSED OFF, KES, LITTLE VOICE, RITA, SUE AND BOB TOO, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND, SATURDAY NIGHT SUNDAY MORNING, WITH NAIL AND I, HOBSONS CHOICE, GEORGE FORMBY films....

Hows them  for starters?  I am a published writer who loves everything to do with northern England.  I would love to write a film script would you?

I am currently writing a travel log book based on West Cork in Southern Ireland.  It's another place I have got a soft spot for you.  I also adore Herefordshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Wales, Soutwest England - especially Cornwall and Somerset.

If you want to read a couple of fantastic books about England, read : THE LONGEST CRAWL: Ian Marchant and also read ENGLAND: AN ELEGY:   Roger Scruton.

If you want to read my funny book about BALING STRING.  type ARCHIE SPARROWS BOOK OF USEFUL TIPS TO BEAT THE RECESSION............With Baling String.  

Archie is a Lancashire smallholder who decides to save England from bankruptcy by using his baling string tips.

If you are daft like me and like or write zany humour drop us a line or ten..!


Friday 16 September 2011


Howdy Folks!

It's been a long time since I Rock and Rolled... Guess the rock song?

I have been busy writing on my publishers blog and trying to write a book or ten. Last year my book was published and I achieved my life time dream. CLUE: It's a funny book about Baling String!

Do you dream to be published one day? Well. If you never give up you will achieve it. Honest!

Have a look at my profile please! If you write comedy, heavy rock music (lots of music) or have an allotment or a smallholding. Please drop me a line or ten.

Anybody thinking of self publishing or setting up their own book publishers please let me know!


A Bus man's Holiday To See Some Pigs At Balmoral Show.

You know what a bus man's holiday is don't you?  It means going on holiday and doing the same thing that you do at work.  Or on the ...