So, back home again after a very pleasant week in Cyprus. Touched down at 11PM last night, bang on schedule, and then waited for over an hour in the queue at Border Control and then a further three quarters of an hour for bags to turn up. This of course meant that we missed our train and had to sit around until the next one at 2:30AM. This one (of course) didn’t go all the way across London, so we had to change to a replacement bus service at London Bridge to take us to St Pancras. Finally crawled into bed at 5AM. Welcome to the UK, where everything works so much better than the rest of the planet.

And today we had to go to the vets to pick up the mortal remains of one of our cats who met a premature end crossing the road without doing her proper Green Cross Code routine. We found out what had happened whilst we were away – the driving instructor whose pupil had the misfortune to be at the wheel when Sybil decided to make a run for it very bravely called us to tell us what had happened. Not sure who was more upset – us or her. So we’ve now gone through the process of dealing with it all twice over. Rule #1: if you don’t want to have to cope with loss on a regular basis, don’t keep pets. Especially ones as glamorous and reckless as Sybil, who liked nothing more than strolling down the middle of the road showing off to the world – that is, when she wasn’t exploring our roof. She was really quite something.

So I don’t really feel like writing much tonight, despite a looming deadline for Round 1 of the TWIWrite Zone. Quite a few rejections this week, too, along with several competitions that must be shortlisting around now and seem to have neglected to tell me about the fact. Ho hum.

Back from a week’s break in the Peak District – the excuse being that it was our daughter’s 21st birthday and she’s at University up there. Beautiful part of the world, and the sun even shone on the day we climbed Mam Tor. Nice one, God.

However, despite having plenty of time to let the mind wander, I didn’t manage to come up with as many ideas for stories (or even poems) as I’d hoped. I did manage to tie together most of the loose ends in one piece in time to finish it off in time for today’s deadline, but I’m still without either a story or a poem for Round Seven of the Whittaker Prize, and we’re over halfway through the fortnight.

As far as the Whittaker is concerned, I’m still (just) hanging on in sight of the leader in the story section, but things took a bit of a turn for the worse in the poetry in Round Six. I’d managed to lead the poetry section for the first five rounds, without really knowing how. And then I read this article about sonnets in the Independent, and I thought “Ooh, I’d like to write one of them”. So I did. And proceeded to come a serious cropper, scoring a stonking 59/100. However, on the bright side, it’s probably the first poem that I’ve ever written that Mrs P has really liked, which counts for quite a lot – especially as it is a love poem of sorts. Altogether now: aaah.

Well, I never did get around to doing that “Merry Christmas” post, like you’re supposed to do in this kind of blog. Things suddenly got terribly complicated in the week leading up to Christmas, with my father being admitted to hospital suffering from an infection that left him in a very poorly state. Fortunately, he is now much better, but it did mean that our plans were somewhat thrown into disarray, and things like this piece of self-indulgence took a bit of a back seat.

Anyway, loads of things have been happening, so watch this space over the next day or so …