My wellbeing journey – My xmas Tree Edition

So a year after I first put the tree up its back to christmas. I kept it sparse as only really wanted lights and tinsel.

So think thats 7 or 8 different trees this year…

I haven’t decided if ill continue yet. We shall see. Been a lot of fun though that’s for sure.

Oh and there Is a picture of the main tree. There are also trees in theIoffice and kitchen too. We like trees i guess 🙂

If you’re curious, these are the other trees:

Valentines Tree

Easter Tree

Star Wars Tree

Celebration tree

Summer tree


50th tree

How I wrote my book

A book that features nothing inappropriate at all…

Want to write a book? Want to know what it’s like trying to self publish? Well I just finished my second one so here’s my thoughts on the whole thing…

Step 1. Write a book.

Simple right. Well actually it is if you’re self publishing because you can publish a big old steaming bag of dog poo if you so wish. That is the beauty of it. I did mine in Microsoft word. I wrote words, I added pictures, I buggered around with fonts and layouts. Voila, book done.

Now, there are all sorts of programmes you can use if youre really wanting to go to town with planning and building your creation, such as Scrivener. For a small fee it will let you plan and detail your work to the most detailed degree – allowing you all the

This time round I decided to write a children’s book so I created 12 tales that revolve around animals in Africa and a waterhole and some such. I grew up in South Africa so that was part of the inspiration. Some of it also came from my blog where I did a load of animal stories a few years ago. Mostly it is a mish mash of all of that.

Step 2. Find an artist

I originally contacted someone from the blogging world to see if they fancied collaborating and doing the artwork because I loved her stuff and thought it would be a great fit – but unfortunately, we managed to both get confused over the whole matter and I thought she didn’t want to do it when she did and then I ended up going with someone else.  I still want to work with her, but for this project I ended up going to Fiverr.

I found a fabulous artist on there, Naya Kirichenko, and she was just getting started and I loved some of her stuff and sent her a synopsis and said what do you think? She was keen and gave me a price and we were good to go.  I sent her money, and in about a month or so she sent me 13 full pictures and some other wee bits and pieces. And I bloody loved them! She was just a pleasure to work with and nailed the brief perfectly. In fact, I’m still not sure my writing is up to the quality of her art…

You want to know what I paid right? I think it was about £25 a picture.  Seriously cheap – though I didn’t know this at the time. Oh and I own the copyright to them all – definitely something you need to ensure you consider. Are you buying the work, are you collaborating and sharing profit, will they get (or even want) credit, etc. Fiverr really helps you work through this though as it helps you put together the contract of sale – and all the money goes through them also.

So by now I reckon I had sunk about £350 into the project.

Step 3. Buy your fonts because you couldn’t embed them.

Not all fonts are free to use as you see fit. Some are, but many are actually owned by people so if you want to use them in publicly published work sometimes you need to own rights to them. I used one that I ended up having to buy because I could not embed it in my word document when I wanted to prepare the document for upload to the printing service. I used LULU and Amazon KDP to create my books, and both needed the fonts embedding.

Okay, so I could find dubious ways around this, which involved just stealing the font off of the web, but I decided against it. Cost me about £60 as I recall.

Step 4. Get an editor when you hadn’t even thought about that.

One day I put a post on my blog saying I was working on the book and I was contacted by M from Her Writing Haven who offered her services as an editor,. Until now I thought I was doing okay and didn’t need one,. Turns out I could not have been more wrong.  M was wanting to set herself up in the world of editing and so I gratefully accepted the offer to do it for gratis, and sent the manuscript.  A few days later I received my first revision.

Turns out I really have no idea when it comes to punctuation and had I sent out what I thought was close to my finished version it really would have been a shoddy bag of words indeed. A few revisions later we were both happy that it was what it needed to be and I was good to progress! Without her help it would certainly not have been the book I am rather proud of…Thanks M!

 I learned so much during this process and know now the value of the editor. Find one! Seriously…it can make such a difference! There are quite a few I’ve seen during my time on WordPress, and a number of the indie publishing houses will provide a service too. Cage Dunn, River at Potters Grove and Tara at Raw Earth ink spring immediately to mind.

Step 5. Spend what seems to be months tweaking the layout.

Oh sweet baby Jesus this was painful.  Days and days and days of buggering around with margins, covers, layouts – all to get it to look spot on when you upload it. This nearly nmade me give up and I actually ended up taking 4 days off work to dedicate to it. I probably pent most of that tweaking and uploading to get it spot on. Oh and I then paid £16 a month for the ADOBE suite to really be able to do what I wanted with my PDF and cover because it was so hard. I shit you not, this bit was a mare!

So now I’m somewhere close to £400 to create this thing.

Save your word file with fonts embedded, save it as a pdf, check PDF text boxes, save it as a press ready PDF, upload it, view it, scream with frustration as the uploader doesn’t quite like your layout or picture DPI or spine spacing or some other such fuckery then do it over and over until you lose the will to live!


I got there eventually and now I am not sure what all the fuss was about. Or maybe I just pressed publish and no longer gave a monkeys toss about it. You decide.

Oh wait, I had to do this on LULU (because I wanted a hardback copy and at the time KDP didn’t do hardback), for KDP paper back, hardback and then a whole other process to create the Ebook. Did I not mention that? No ? Well you do .  Treat each version like a completely different product and scream into the void four different time.  Repeatedly.

And just a note on the E Book. I hate it.  I get it has to be optimised for readers, but it loses all the beauty of the physical copy. It reads and looks different too as the fonts are limited and there are not many layout options. I priced it hoping no one would buy it to be honest.

Step 6 Tell people about it and make no money at all.

So ‘Im telling you lot, and Mrs Afterwards put it on Facebook and I told a few friends.  But that is about it. I did consider traditional publishing, but that is another long road I am not prepared to go down yet. I wrote this for me and my kids and for the future grandkids maybe, not to make money.

How much money do I make I bet you’re wondering right?

Well I put them all for sale at cost with a slight rounding up so for paperbacks I think I make about £0.16p and for the hardback I think I make £0.01p.  Seriously. You split profits 60/40 with Amazon so that’s ok., But then all printing costs come out of your cut. So yes, I literally get pennies for each book – but its not about the £. Unless you buy the E Book, I make about £5 on that as there is no printing cost – but as I said, it looks like old pants and just isn’t the product I really wanted it to be.

Really, It’s about creating my own thing and I bloody loved doing it, despite the frustration!

So would I recommend it? Yes, absolutely. You might want to try the likes of Potters Press or Raw Earth though if you can affordd it as they will take a lot of the frustration out it. I like to think im pretty computer literate but art time I felt like I had only just discovered fire…

Anyway, it is there forever and ever now, and I made that. Out of nothing! And now Mrs Afterwards is proud of something I did – unlike the filthy limerick book which just brought shame on the family.

Oh and I still intend to do an audio book of it too. Maybe next month. 😊

You can find it on Amazon USA here

And you can find it on Amazon UK here

Or you can buy it on LULU here – and I think this is the nicer version though it cost a bit more with postage…and it is only hard cover on there.

A bottle of hope sat on the shelf – Room 101

Just something about bleached anus’

This is in response to M’s fabulous prompts which you can see here. These used to be 101 words. Sometimes they still are. Sometimes not. They are often snippets, occasionally unfinished and sometimes simply the beginnings of something for another time. Mostly though they are just whatever the words inspire.

“Another,” Balthazar demanded, and slammed his glass on the bar top. His wings bristled, and the dim light glinted on the tips of his horns as he looked around the room. Small wisps of smoke drifted from his nostrils and his thin lips curled up in a sneer, revealing his sharp, white teeth.

A tall, pale faced creature with skin like dirty snow wandered across, his deep blue eyes flashed as he poured a thick, dark liquid into the waiting glass.

“Long day?” He asked. The barkeep pushed the cork back into the bottle, wiped the bar top habitually, and then flicked the cloth so that it sat across his shoulder.

Balthazar snarled and downed the drink, again loudly demanding a refill.

“You sure about that?” Asked the tall, pale creature. “This stuff don’t come cheap you know, and ….”

“Another!” Balthazar roared.

The glass was quickly filled, and then filled once more. The rage in Balthazar’s eyes dimmed slightly with each consumed glass, and by the time he had finished two more he placed the empty vessel quietly.

“Yes,” he said, letting out a long deep sigh.

“Yes, what?” the bar keep asked puzzled, as he offered the bottle once more.

Balthazar placed a hand over the glass and shook his head.

“Long day. You asked me if it had been a long day. Yes, yes it has. Really long.”

The barkeep nodded and placed the bottle back on the shelf behind him as Balthazar continued.

“It’s people you see,” he said, the wisps of smoke now gone and the fire in his eyes dimmed. “You know how it is with them right?” He didn’t, however, wait to find out whether the barkeep did, or did not, know how it was with people and continued. “Every day I get up, clean my horns, sharpen my teeth and ensure that my skin suit is clean and presentable. I’m never late, I stay late, and I give my very best efforts. You know what that gets me?” He asked.

A wide mouthed, bat like creature with ears where its eyes ought to be and eyes where its ears ought to be settled on the bar next to him and looked him up and down. It then caught the attention of the barkeep and asked for two vodka martinis to be delivered to table seven.

“You know how it is with people right?” Balthazar asked it, “you know how they are I’m sure.”

The bat like animal flashed a smile with its ear-eyes and gave Balthazar what he took be a confirmatory nod, and flittered off towards the back of the room where what appeared to be a couple of snakes were having a loud disagreement over the existential power of apple imagery in medieval architecture.

“You see, he knows,” Balthazar said, “he knows what they’re like.”

The barkeep was used to this sort of thing, he tended to see it a lot as the week wore on. First thing Monday morning everyone was filled with the optimism of the week ahead, the potential for pain and suffering, the chance to make a real difference and bring proper misery and sadness. But by Wednesday he could see the doubt seeping in as the long hours took their toll. By Friday the stark reality would dawn on them and they would flock to the bar after work with a pocket full of silver and a big old dose of reality.

“People,” the barkeep said knowingly.

“Exactly!” Proclaimed Balthazar. “See, you get it too. There is nothing that we can do to them that they probably haven’t already done to each other.” He seemed invigorated in finding someone who understood his plight. “Do you know, that just this morning I was doing some anal stretching on a school teacher from California, and do you knwo what she said?”

The barkeep shook his head.

“Bleach. She asked for bleach. Said she wanted to look her best and was wondering if she might be able to put a picture of it it on the ‘gram becasue she was pretty sure none of her friends would believe it.” Balthazar took a deep breath to compose himself, visibly shaking. “Do you know how hard it is to find bleachg down here?” He continued. “But even when I did find some it really wasn’t as if it was my idea, so where’s the joy in that. I had intended to start with gaping and progreess from there. I mean most people finish at gaping, so I set a high bar, professionally speaking. But I just couldn’t relly get into it. She stole all the pleasure from it. Left me with this horrible empty feeling right in the pit of my stomach.”

“That’s out of order,” said the barkeep as he signalled the bat like creature to fetch the drinks for table seven.

“Damn right it is, I had to desecrate a couple of yoga teachers to try and make myself feel better about things, but sometimes even defiled yoga teachers aren’t enough to make you feel good.”

“So what did you do?” The barkeep asked as Balthazar motioned to his empty glass once more.

“2 million likes for a bleached stretched anus,” Balthazar replied, his shoulders slumped and his eyes dark with disappointment. “Two million. I swear, we really should have just left them to it. They dont take anything seriously, and nothing we can do can make it any worse up here…fuck them all.”

Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday: LOOSE and TIGHT

My ongoing desecration of diminutive Japanese poetry forms

Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday

Not done one of these in yonks!  Let’s put that right…

This week the challenge was to use synonyms for LOOSE and TIGHT.

clothes baggy like sails

billow in wild winds of greed

tossed as left salad

in exchange for sweet, rich fare

trousers slowly strangle me


A carnivore’s forbidden desire

The follow up from the archives…

You should read this first.  I did so enjoy writing it.  Below is quite the opposite and not a single word of it is true.  Ok maybe the frog pasty bit but only that.


After much consideration it appears I would perhaps

like to try Koala glazed with cranberries and schnapps

and I’m now perhaps quite tempted by a plate of hamster fillet

just as long as it’s deboned and someone took good care to skin it


These days I’m rather ready for a broth made out of Turtle

I would even eat a pokemon, say Pikachu or Squirtle

and I’d not say no pasties filled with vegetables and frog

and my mouth sure starts to slaver at the thought of slow roast dog


Ooh a seventies style fondue with small chunks of cat and monkey

and a creamy sauce of gruyere cheese would be ever so funky

and then wash it down with beaver juice fresh squeezed, soda and lime

or a thick stew made with Panda bits would hit the spot each time


Then at lunch time there’d be squirrel cakes and sauces thick and tasty

and a wellington with mushrooms and a parrot wrapped in pastry

there’d be volauvents with gold fish tails and budgie infused cider

and a lion steak and hippo cheek and tender side of tiger


Oh the banquet of the carnivore holds such delicious treats

mouth watering and quite sublime with most forbidden meats

they care not now for beef or lamb or chicken, goose or pork

to the extreme their pallet’s crave such dark things on their fork.



On the matter of eating endangered species

Ome from the archives…

I would not eat a panda

it does not appeal to me

Despite it being grass fed

and not tough and quite juicy

It’s flesh I would not sauté

bake or broil or steam or fry

I would not make some pastry

and then bake it in a pie

Please do not serve me blue whale

it would surely be obscene

To brown it in a skillet

with chopped garlic and some cream

I could not sample blow hole

or a steak of flesh most pink

Do not prepare me sperm whale

or an orca or a mink

Bald Eagle’s off the menu

it could never pass my lips

I’d never shallow fry it

And then serve it with some chips

Please do not bring it to me

if you do I will reject

The smorgasbord of tasty

claws and wings and beaks and necks

Be gone you furry entrée

do not ask me to abide

A puppy stuffed with kitten

and Koala on the side

It leaves me feeling queasy

and on me it does repeat

I gag on eucalyptus

flavoured mar-su-pi-al meat

I’d never eat a chilli

made of simians for sure

Orang-utan with lentils

that I surely would deplore

I’d not enjoy chim-pan-zee

milk poached with fresh vanilla

I’d rather eat a salad

than bar-be-cued gorilla

But pig and cow I’ll gorge on

and chickens fill the belly

Once eels I even sampled

But the hot ones not in jelly

So why’s each species different

some not headed for the pot

whilst others we eat freely

quite delicious cold or hot


Fancy something else?

4 years of blogging and my 2000th post!

Well, well, well, what a conflagration of celebrations this is. Four years ago today I first penned something on WordPress and now I am here celebrating 2000 posts also.

2000. Yup, 2000!

Now if you’ve come to my blog more recently that might be a surprise, and I will admit I have not been particularly active the last year and a half, but regardless, what a fun ride it has been! ,

Now I know that lately it’s been a lot about limericks, some diet stuff and me meandering around Halifax with my dog but looking back at the post categories I realise just how eclectic the blog has been over the years.

There are hundreds of short stories and pieces of flash fiction, posts about comics and art, limericks and haiku a plenty, a smattering of moody poetry and there was even that kinda full book thingy I did that one month. Actually, I am quite proud of the 350000 words I have put to paper. There’s a big part of me on this blog. Mostly a rather twisted part, but a big part nonetheless.

Oh and the book, I published the book of limericks too didn’t I. And there was that time that I nearly accidentally ended up on the sex offenders list by showing a class of 9 years olds a detailed list of sexual fetishes. Remember that? Oh, how we laughed.

Those 2000 posts have helped me enjoy 1517 followers (though a lot seem to have become sadly inactive), 13000 comments, 30000 visitors, 76000 views, and rather a lot of new friends from a lot, but sadly not all, of the planet. Greenland continues to evade me, much to my constant frustration.

Anyway, so what have I learned I don’t hear you ask. Well, here you go. Pearls of wisdom for you…

  1. It really doesn’t matter if people like what you write about. Write for yourself and the right people will find you.
  2. Take a break when you need to, then come back when you want to. It can all get a bit overwhelming sometimes trying to keep creating content. So don’t. We will miss you when you’re not here and welcome you back when you return.
  3. Read more than you write. Everyone wants to be seen, but if you don’t follow, comment, like and read then you’re a selfish twat. There are some really fabulous people out there who pour themselves onto their blogs and you should feel honoured to be able to enjoy them. Mostly…I mean there is some utter shite too, but it’s passionate shite. Usually. And please, if people who you like don’t always read you just remember they were probably at the shops, or dealing with blocked drains or just dealing with the shit life brings. It’s not personal. Not usually anyway.
  4. Enjoy it. Seriously, find joy where you can and just enjoy it. Most of the people you find along the way will disappear on you but there are those that will stick it out with you and you will find friends in them, even if you don’t know what they look like or if they are even who they say they are.
  5. Don’t be a dick.

So there you go, happy blog day to me and here’s to many years more of looking for interesting words that rhyme with ‘Fuck’. A huge thank you to all of you who have been here with me along the way and especially those who I feel I know particularly well after these 4 years.

Stay fabulous



My wellbeing journey – Fit by 50 – 2nd of July 2021

An update for you…Happy weekend!

You can read the kick off post here

Ive not written about this for a while. I haven’t given up, that I can confirm. I’m mostly just not quite as focussed as writing about it as I was.

I am still walking lots, eating pretty well and mostly mindful of what I put in myself and what energy I expend. I am though, just at one of those stages where I am just trying to refocus and get things really where they need to be rather than it being ‘okay’.

I broke my ankle, then sprained the other, then sprained the broken one so ended up pretty immobile for a few months and took up eating and drinking a little too much during that time so am now working on improving those good habits again.

Ive stayed off the scales mostly, and to be honest they just lie anyway right, so don’t quite know the damage done but I am not bothered either. Creating that permanent change that can survive sitting on one’s arse for a few months is where I need to be and that remains my goal. The rest will follow.

Hey. Psst. You, yes you. Got a nasty limerick for you.

It’s just one. It will be fine. No one will know trust me…

A flatulent baker called Martin

Won all contests he’d entered his tarts in

His baked wares were the best

And he proudly confessed

“‘Cos as well as sweet treats, they have fart in!”

What Teddy saw. 9.

Teddy returns briefly to get him out of my drafts. I forgot about him.

Part 1 Part2  Part 3 Part 4 Part 5  Part 6  Part 7   Part 8

It’s been a while, I realise.  Because of reasons, obviously. And those reasons mostly revolve around the whole lot of them not having left the house for the last fucking year and a half nearly. I mean, Christ-on-a-bike, I couldn’t get one bloody minute free to myself to let you know how I was doing..

You’ve all been well I hope?

Who am I kidding, to be honest I don’t really care. I am currently so wrapped up in my own self pity that giving a monkey’s rancid fart about anyone or anything else seems beyond me.

Please don’t judge me too harshly though, a bear can only take so much you know. I know we have all been through a lot, and for many it has been a heart-breaking time filled fear, uncertainty and the horrors of a pandemic but fuck me, the obsession with zoom quizzes, bread baking and artisan cheeses is just not acceptable. And don’t get me started on the home schooling…seriously, I find it hard to believe that the lot of them get through the day without falling into heavy machinery or accidentally drinking bleach.

Oh and get this, you’ll love this, they started having family game nights. Excuse my big sweaty bear balls but that was hardly going to work out was it.  They can hardly stand each other at the best of times. Throw in monopoly and a bottle of riocha and she ended up locked in the downstairs bathroom insisting her mother was right about him and the kids were crying because daddy used naughty words about granny.

For what it’s worth though, he is right about her mother. But Jesus, in what world do you actually admit that she has a face like a melted candle and always smells like she’s just enjoyed a hearty lunch of pickled herring. Honesty never got anyone anywhere…

It’s all just a bit much and I really need them to fuck off back to work/school/wherever she used to go without her nickers on after he goes to the gym.

Enough already.

Did I mention the artisan cheeses?  Oh don’t get me started on that.