Saturday, 27 July 2013

Poetical Performances, and Stuff on the Web.

Next weekend, I will be performing at The Bardic Picnic. It's a free festival of music and spoken word, and it's held in the grounds of the beautiful Delapre Abbey. It's also where the annual competition is held to find a new Bard of Northampton - I was the very first one back in 2009. It's run entirely by volunteers; if anyone would like to help out, do get in touch with the Bardic Chair, they'd be very glad of the help.

It's always great fun... there are vegetarian food stalls, beer, crafts - and this year a fancy dress competition to find the best Green Man or Woman!

I am especially excited as this week, the headline act has been announced, and it's a lady whose work I have admired for years - Joolz Denby!

I've previously been to see Joolz perform at a couple of places, including with Red Sky Coven a few years ago, and I think she's brill.

I am not performing very often now, as my freelance work keeps me too busy, but I love this festival, so I'm really happy to have been invited to perform here.

Here's the flyer for it.

Science Fiction-wise, I've done a write up to advertise the forthcoming Andromeda One convention on the BSFA blog, with quotes about the Edge-Lit con that took place earlier this month, so that you can get a flavour of just how good one day conventions can be.

Also, there's been a lot of activity over on the Northampton Science FictionWriters Group website recently, as my talented friends are getting their work out there. I had a little piece earlier this month about my single publishing success this year. I really need to find more time to write, but I think a lot of freelancers must be on holiday or something as I'm pretty busy. Too busy to pen anything myself apart from the odd blog post. Boo.

Frugal Brownie points this week go to my OH, who made a lot of pea and bacon soup for us for pennies. I know, it's a bit hot for it, but still. My frugal win was getting train tickets cheaper by comparing across different websites and buying singles instead of a return ticket. My frugal fail was cider in a beer garden on Friday night. I am going to be FAT at 40... boo.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

It's the End of the World As We Know IT, But I Feel Fine. And Full of M&Ms.

This Sunday, I went to see a film I've been looking forward to for chuffing ages: The World's End.

This is the last film in the Wright/Pegg/Frost Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, and if you are fans of the Rom Zom Com Shaun of the Dead or the cop bromance Hot Fuzz, then there's plenty of intertextual humour in this film to make you go squee. Whilst it lacks the nuts/icecream/strawberry sauce combo level of humour of the first two films, it's certainly got the lump of chocolate at the end of the cone to wrap the trilogy up nicely. See how I go about using metaphor to avoid spoilers in the first paragraph? Ah, like the cold confection itself, that's not going to last. I'm not revealing any twists, though.  

So, how was this in any way, shape or form frugal? Well, my friends, do you know about Sweet Sundays? Get a free cinema ticket by buying packs of M&Ms, or Milky Way Stars etc. Now, that's great if you were planning on buying the chocolate anyway, which I was - I got 1 ticket by buying 4 snack packs to sneak into watching the last Superman film (which I got to see thanks to a wedding gift card). These snacks were sourced at Home Bargains, which at £1 a bag was pretty much half price to the same in Sainsbury's etc. and way cheaper than the cinema foyer. The second ticket was sourced from buying just 3 bags, which I decanted into little bags and snuck into the cinema for this trip (because I needed the codes at the bottom of the bag).

Why only 3 this time?

Because my street is full of litter. Oh yes... I got one code from picking up a bag I found blowing around just outside my house. Get in!

That's nothing... I've picked up 8 empty bottles of Coke this weekend alone. I am grabbing the points and putting them to recycle. Green karma a-go-go.

Litterbugs of Northampton, you are quite literally throwing your money away. Thank you very much.

Unfortunately, you can ony claim 2 tickets per household for Sweet Sunday, so it had to be this film. I've been looking forward to it for years. And I got ready for it by watching the first two on DVD again in the morning. What a great way to spend a Sunday!

In June 1990, Gary King (Pegg) experienced the best day of his life. He and his mates from school all went on the ultimate pub crawl, the Golden Mile, in their hometown of Newton Haven. Their goal - a pint in each of the 12 pubs, ending up in The World's End. They never made it. Since that time, Gary's life has gone downhill, and he and his friends have grown apart. To Gary, though, the key to resolving all his woes is that pub crawl. He is determined to get the gang back together and finish the job. There's only one snag: they all think he's a cock. And the town is not the same anymore either.

 Pegg's character in Shaun in Shaun of the Dead was being kept back by his irresponsible friend, Ed (Frost), while the rest of his friends were beginning to grow up. In this film, childhood is definitely over for all but Gary King, and his buffoonery is a mask for a tragic life. Hence with this film there is scope for a lot more pathos.

I'm not going to talk about any of the jokes, except to say rather a lot of them are callbacks to the other films and intertextual references to other films that you might expect (Terminator, Mad Max, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, Enter the Dragon, Stepford Wives). There are even a few scenes that recall Spaced... and videos by Fields of the Nephilim. Not quite as funny as the other films, there's still plenty to laugh at in there, and it's a very enjoyable film to watch. I loved it. And being rather distracted at times by the most excellent soundtrack, I daresay if I watch it again, I'd pick up on little things I'd missed here and there, because they always pack little treats in.

There's a bit more social commentary in this film too... Newton Haven is a freakishly white town. Not to give too much away, but the end of the film makes you think about this, and what it says about our attitudes to 'others', now and not so long ago in our history, as well as saying something about 'clone towns', and the bleakness of trying to blend in and grow up.

It's pointed out how shabbily the boys treated girls when they were young, and though there's some karmic revenge, it's still a bit of a 'for the dads' moment. Rosamund Pike is not just a 'love interest', but could be in the film a bit more... but they gave me Paddy Considine, and I'm made up with that.

The Intrepid Fox is not a pub in the film. But it is a rather cool rock pub...

 On the way home, we were reminded of how much better the music was circa '87-92, which was the time period from which all the non-score music in the film was gleaned.

New boy band member hides the only good tattoos in the band.

Shit tattoo boy band mock my shortness. Rude!
... and then en route home, who should we bump into but one of the extras. Aw!

Thanks for reading... that's what you typically get with this blog: passion for geek stuff; genuinely useful tips for enjoying more of what you love for less; pictures of hedgehogs. This blog is a love letter to life, love, friends and the whole world. I've no room for misery or hate, and I'm hopeful that if you follow me or read this it's because you love 'stuff' too. I hope you enjoy, and that you feel included. Even One Direction fans. I'm only saying I know plenty of really good tattooists round here, and they could have helped.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Ooh la la, le Fromage Puant!

I've been watching Le Tour this week and feeling all nostalgic for all things French... I lived in Alsace for a year for the obligatory immersion-phase of my French degree, and it has been a favourite holiday destination for my family too. I know - almost makes us middle class!

Sadly, I've not been able to go back for leisure for years, but a little taster came to Northampton yesterday with the travelling French Market.
Blackadder was right: 'Sausage' is not in the first English dictionary written by Dr Samuel Johnson... but saucisson is. Not sure about cassoulet...

Crowds loving the Gallic ambience.
Beautiful tablets of savon de Marseille

Tempting cheeses!
I needed some cheese, so I decided to get it here, as quite frankly it was a bargain. I chose 3 good-size cheeses for a fiver: some creamy blue cheese, some Pont L'Eveque and a cheeky little Munster.

Ah... and thereby hangs a tale!

Munster is one of the smelliest cheeses in the world, but it is very nice. When I lived in France as an assistant in two schools, I and my fellow assistants in the town got invited to a cheese and wine evening where we got to try beaujolais nouveau and some lovely cheeses, including Munster. In fact Hugh loved it so much, one day he went out to buy some.

Now, in our flat, my room was next to the kitchen on the east side of the building, and Hugh and Reinhard had rooms on the west side. Hugh had been a bit concerned that his purchase of Munster cheese would offend us, Reinhard having already had a go at me for grating some emmental into a bowl he liked to use, because, you know, emmental - a very mild cheese - was to him incredibly stinky and washing up the bowl seemingly would fail to redeem it to its unstinky natural state. He was, to be frank, a bit nuts.

So Hugh decided not to put his Munster in the fridge.

The first I realised was when I woke up before the alarm on what was going to be a very warm day, the sun already piercing through the shutter blinds. So was something else.

A most bizarre, sweaty-feet-like gaseous odour. I swear there was a yellow mist in the room.

What Hugh had done, to be considerate to his fellow flatmates was to put the cheese in a bag and hang it out of the kitchen window - next to my bedroom window - where the sun's rays had worked their magic on the warm and ripe cheese.

Comme dit les francais - pew.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Plenty of Bite, No Doggerel in Sight: Project Dogwalk Northampton Art and Poetry

I'm a bit crap on Facebook these days, so almost missed out on notice that a friend's private view of her latest art exhibition was on last night. The exhibition is called Project Dogwalk, and is the result of a project that the very talented Minnie Teckman has been working on for years. The exhibition is running for a couple of weeks in the upstairs room of Made in Northamptonshire, and is free entry. If you're a fellow Northamptonian, you might know the shop... it's full of art and crafts made by people from the region and I go squee over the button bags in the window every time I walk past. If you don't know it, it's in St Giles' Street - next to the lovely cake shop where they sell Northampton curd tarts - yum!


Check out Minnie's website and you will see how good she is. And go and see the exhibition - it's great!

Minnie chats to an art fan.

Lucy Anderson
For this exhibition, Minnie has been collaborating with a local poet, Lucy Anderson, who has spent months creating response pieces to the sketches and paintings. I chatted to Lucy and we realised we had already worked together on the 48 Hour Book Project at our local library.

Refreshments for the opening were provided by local independent wine seller, Northampton Wine Lovers, and they'd chosen some lovely wines, most of them featuring doggies on the labels! I tried all the white ones, and my favourite was the sweet, apricot-scented, sparkling Moscato.
...there were also bowls of water on the floor for the doggy visitors!

Visitors were invited to add their own prose, poems and sketches to a wall, so this was my contribution. A little quick poem about Dylan the very overweight spaniel who passed away a couple of months ago.
A cushion cover;
several pairs of slippers;
logs from the log pile;
dirty nappies;
bread bags;
used kitchen roll.
Dylan ate them all;
sneaked them, chewed them,
one eye looking,
snarling, tail wagging.
There's no end to a spaniel's greed.
But if you think that's bad,
Nanook, my sister's husky,
once at a whole leg,
arm, and some of the back
... of a leather sofa.

All in all a great night, and rescuing my husband from a sun-soaked beer garden on the way home, I got introduced to someone looking to collaborate with a poet for a musical project. Fingers crossed, eh!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Edge-Lit and Everything After - Undoing the Damage...

The Science-Fiction fan readership of this blog may possibly have taken a look at my latest blog title, and gone, "Damage? What damage? Oh my life, what happened at Edge-Lit? What juicy tidbit could we possibly have missed?" Because, ah, fickle Interwebverse, it seems that barely a week goes by in the world of genre literature without someone writing about something that went horribly wrong, or something that someone else disagrees with. Because books can make people all hot and fiery. As hot and fiery as the crisps at the launch of Spacewitch and Fox Spirit's Noir Carnival... (they were jolly hot).

 I don't really want to get into the fish and chip paper, even if it irks me when I see the term 'victim-blaming' used by a well-intentioned (?) pro-feminist man against a female writer who has very recently bared her soul and come out as a survivor of abuse. Cons are great things to go to, and we can all as fans, as professionals, as influencers, as human beans, use our powers to 'pay it forward'. And by 'it', I mean that lovely, warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you've been somewhere nice and met lovely people you share common ground with and feel all included and happy and glad you went. I appreciate that's not how most of you experience hangovers, but I'm a jammy sod, and that's my privilege.

Anyhoo, the damage I refer to is twofold: yet again, I suffer this week as hayfever contends with the germs circulating round the air-conditioning, it is clear I lowered my defenses by imbibing some lots of pinot grigio. I'm fine, just I start sounding like the penguin from Toy Story if I go on for too long.

Secondly, even though I stayed in a grotty budget room (knocking shop?) by myself and used all my internet savvy to get there cheaply, and didn't drink until it was officially 'evening', and just came home with the free books, it was so hot in Derby town centre, that I probably bought shares in evil Coca Cola. At least the first bottle of the day had my OH's name on, so I could say, "He's here! I just got very thirsty..." Beware my powers!

So what did I get up to? Well, I did what I went to do, and met lots of writers and fellows (who need editors, of course), and met up with friends and colleagues, and nabbed potential event guests and article contributors. And I came back with even more to do...

There were panels I went to on crime fiction, as well as fantasy fiction, and even though it was very warm in the cinema rooms and I had to battle with what I realise is now probably a mild form of narcolepsy (not once in the last 6 months have I managed to stay awake for an entire cinema film, or bus journey of more than 20 minutes.Yes - be glad I don't drive!), they were all very enjoyable. (I kept coming to and seeing Conrad Williams on stage staring at me. Eek! Sorry...)

Going logo...
I went to the joint launch of Spacewitch website for independent publishers, and Noir Carnival by Fox Spirit Books (click the link to see videos of readings at Edge-Lit from their latest anthology - ooh, er, I'm in the audience!!!). They supplied wine, very hot crisps, olives and gorgeous cupcakes. Damien G Walter came up to chat to me while I was trying to get into the butter cream, so I had to hold back a bit to avoid looking like a right butter cream-loving pig... otherwise nom, nom, nom. Schlurp!
Lots of cool books by Fox Spirit.

Del Lakin-Smith launches Spacewitch. My eyes! These photos didn't look so blurry on my phone...
All in all, it was a great event, and I loved spending time with friends in publishing.
In the morning, I went for a tiny explore of Derby town centre, taking in the outside of the historic market hall, and the cathedral, which was just about to have a service, so I didn't go in. The cathedral has green men on the entrance! I didn't take any pics because my battery was going. See this picture from the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project:
So, extreme frugaldom is called for, with an added twist: healthy eating. Unfortunately, all the week's budget has gone on the cats, whose little friends have developed immunity to Frontline, damn them. So, for us human beans, I'm using up stuff we have and have spent just £7.30 on the week's shop. Oh yes! Yellow sticker a-go-go.

Red Pesto Pollock with Fennel Rice and vegetables

First dinner of the week for 2 comes in for me at £2.71 - so that's £1.35 per portion, and is very yummy and nutritious. Apart from the free garlic, the ingredients were all sourced from shops at non-reduced prices, so most should be able to repeat for the same money. Go to the market at 3 to get more fruit and veg in your £1 bowls, but no later, as the stalls may close or sell out.

Sainsburys's basic pollock fillets - £2.00
Sainsbury's basic stock cube, half - £0.005
Basic long grain rice (40p per kilo) - £0.04
Home Bargains red pesto, 49p per jar - £0.13
garlic - free from garden
a few fennel seeds - use them if you have them, they're nice!
1 x onion from market £0.10
2 x tomatoes from market £0.05
1/4 bag green beans from market £0.25
half a market pepper £0.13

Very basically, set your oven to 200 degrees for the fish. Meanwhile, chop and  saute your veg in a pot with some oil or a little water if you can get away without using any, and if you have the fennel seeds, add them at this point so they release more flavour. Measure out 50g rice per person and add them to the veg pot and top with cold water to about 2cm above the top. Crumble in the stock cube and simmer away until the rice has absorbed all the water, about 20 mins.

Make 2 foil parcels for your fish, and spoon the pesto on top. Fold the foil over, making a fold to allow for steam. In a preheated oven, they will take 20-25 mins.

Waste not, want not: when everything was done, I added the juices released by the cooked fish to the rice for extra flavour and stirred through. Serve!

 Dinner yesterday was light shepherds pie, made with basic peas, basic gravy, yellow sticker lean lamb mince, yellow sticker swede mash on top, and served with yellow sticker cabbage and a drizzle of mint sauce. Less than £1 a big portion.

I'm joining in SFT with her health kick, as I'm turning 40 next month, and need to be FAB. But until then, can I resist the cider...?

Monday, 15 July 2013

Summertime Picnic Treat at NNestival on the Waterfront

Wowsers, I am a busy bee! I've been so overloaded that the following blog post was begun last Monday. So get aboard the TARDIS and let's go back to the weekend before this one just gone...

The following images constitute about 50 per cent of my weekend. The initial part was spent cooped up in the house, feeling sad that I couldn't join my friends on a camping trip to Wales, and working like crazy on a book ahead of a weekend deadline. But I promised myself that if I hit my target I would take a little time out and go to the Waterfront festival.

We went out to watch the telly.
 We set up base camp with a prime view of the Wimbledon final. How posh we were with our Fortnum and Mason hamper, and our glasses of chilled Chardonnay with strawberries! And our cheese sarnies and homemade jam tarts... what, what.

Attempts at frugality were slightly undermined when OH spotted the zorba balls, and paid a fiver to look like a hamster in a ball in an oversized paddling pool.

Did I want a go too? Er... no.

Spot the conical bras - very Lost in Space

 There was also lots of games and amusements, and a marquee packed full of Most Marvellous vintage, crafts and lovely things to buy. I was hugely tempted by the cake-like soaps, which smelled divine. Apparently many small children had tried to eat them. Honestly, I'm trying to Google Saucy soaps for the link, but I just get back loads of stuff about Hollyoaks.

The lovely Sarah Spade performed a couple of sets. Click her link and give her a listen - a Bestival favourite, she sings vintage-style songs with a sweet and soulful voice, and is often backed by her band The Joyful Noise.
I just wanted a pic of the cushions.

Nanna's cafe corner - with a sheep.

Northampton's answer to 'Murray Mound'. I haven't thought of an alliterative name for it.

A lady being vintage. I think the dude in shades may have spotted me...

Ah - remember Madchester?
After the tennis - and how amazing was it to be watching that at a festival? Cool as.  - we decamped to a second festival in the next field, which had a bit of a different vibe. Fewer doilies; more dreadlocks. It took all my powers of persuasion to stop OH from buying a 'paint your own' TARDIS moneybox (reminding him that I bought him a TARDIS moneybox already... mmmm).

Some band, gigging on a truck.
Sadly, we'd missed The Mobbs.  I'm full of good music suggestions... They're jolly good, and have been on BBC 6 dontcherknow, and that's a free download link on their front page, there.

In no way is this the same as drinking in public. Adding a strawberry makes you look soffisteekatid. Plus I have a chair. See?
On the way home, we passed Beckets Well (where Thomas a Becket was reputed to have taken a much-needed drink whilst fleeing for his life from Northampton Castle). The Victorians made a shrine of it, but it's been barred off for years. However, with the ingenious use of a picnic wine glass and shoestring, OH got round the defences like a downmarket Indiana Jones.
His face doesn't melt off, either proving he's not an evil Nazi, or it's just river water.
So, that was last weekend's frugal fun, and this weekend we had some not so frugal fun with parties and a convention, but that's for another blog post, maybe.

My July-June book challenge is going, wow, better than I'd expected. The number of full-length books I have completed so far this month is 8. Okay, some of those were begun in June. Or earlier. I'm not recording the names of any I am Beta reading or working on, but I'll update my widget for the commercially available/accessible ones.

Oh and a big hello to Thrift Deluxe - lovely to have you on board the TARDIS. Help yourself to Jelly Babies from the cupboard.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Frugal Ways to Do What You Love. Plus Get a Free Virago E-Book!

I'm proud of my OH who has got into a bit of frugal fitness.  Here he can be seen running around in a kit that claims he is part of The Patriots under 16 squad,  though he is in fact a 41 year-old man playing 7 touch rugby (7 in the team - you only get 6 touches) with The Noyz, a team made up of a group of lads from his office.

One of the players commented about the opposition,  "Look at his pink socks! " He was taking the proverbial,  as pink sock lad was actually a lass. Yes,  this game is for all sorts,  young,  past it, and as The Noyz found with the team they were playing,  the current Saints' coaches.  Yep, the Noyz lost, and that was their excuse (one of them). But for just a tenner to join for the season,  they get to keep fit*,  have fun,  and after the final,  they will be able to watch a proper Saints match, as this is an incentive provided by Northampton Saints.  How much would that cost normally?  A lot more than a tenner...
*Scale of fitness achieved decreases in relation to number of post-match pints consumed. This week, this didn't happen. Don't think they were in the mood... Good-oh.
 For me, this week, doing the thing I loved involved a lot less running about... but did involve a little drinkie.
I went to see 2012 Edinburgh Award-nominated, utterly fabulous comedian David Trent perform his new hour long Edinburgh show (bit longer than an hour, as it went) This is All I Have for free last night. Yes, I know him, and his support act, the dour but very funny Jon Williams, but this wasn't a case of me using my - let's face it - pretty shit hot comedy credentials to blag my way into a gig. Which I could, by the way, but no, last night I was just an ordinary Joe, going to a gig, being a 'punter'.
July is the month to catch works in progress. They tend to be in smaller venues, perhaps advertised less showily. You're unlikely to catch really big names, like John Bishop, doing whole show previews, as they are more likely to just pop in and try a few minutes at a time as a surprise guest out at the Glee, or wherever... if they do write and/or practise, that is... But your up and coming, actual good comedians - ones who may have done a bit of telly, but are not ubiquitous by a long way - are likely to try out whole shows before audiences for very little money, or  even for free. Keep your nose to the ground: if you see 'Edinburgh Preview' on a poster, take a punt! The comics appreciate the support and the feedback, and you get the kudos of seeing their show first.
Anyway... for an Edinburgh Award-nominated comedian, David Trent's actual Edinburgh run this year is already a bargain, as you can see him 2 for £10 at The Pleasance Gardens... but he has nine more previews before then, so you should see if he's coming to a town near you an pop along. What to expect? A noisy, funny, multi-media bag of slightly risqué fun. David Trent's show is clever-clever, and this year, his show raises the bar with things to think a bit more deeply about, from how and what we teach our kids, to the evils of corporate messaging and corporate invasion of privacy.
Both he and Jon had great gigs last night, and the audience enjoyed them very much, as did I.
Okay... here's something you can have for free right now. Virago writers include bestselling and prize-winning authors such as Sarah Waters, Linda Grant, Marilynne Robinson, Sarah Dunant, Maya Angelou and Margaret Atwood, as well as writers of some of the most provocative and original non-fiction being published today, including Lyndall Gordon Kate Figes and Natasha Walter. 
Help yourself to an absolutely free collection of fiction from Virago to celebrate their 40th anniversary.

Which means that Virago is a whole month older than me. Ha! In your face, Virago. I win!
...and thanks for the free book.


Monday, 1 July 2013

Wheel of Fortune

In the past couple of weeks it  feels as though my self has split in two. There on the one side, the side my mother often praised, is the sensible-with-money, superbly organised, prodigious daughter. She is currently standing looking aghast from behind a glass wall as the feckless and ditzy dream-headed oaf  that is the other me begins to open the box and let out the furies... each one waving a humongous bill in its fist. None of them are Nick Fury. Uh-oh.

When I initially realised I'd missed a huge bill, it was very hard not to be downhearted about it.But I'm trying to put it in perspective.

  • I'm not alone.
  • I'm not as bad off as a lot of people, not by a long way.
  • It's a setback, yes, but only in the short term.
  • I will soon put this behind me and wonder why I got so worked up about it.
  • I have avoided the bill getting even bigger by sorting it out now.
  • I do bloody owe the bloody money.

So... lots of grown-up conversations have taken place where OH and I have tried to work out what our life priorities will be over the next ten years. It's been a bit like Compare Your Life (a lifestyle programme that could be much improved by the introduction of meerkats). Do we want to live by the seaside or near family? Do we want the dream house? Does it matter where that is? Do I want to start up a new business, and when would be the best time to do that?

And in the short term, getting the most out of our lives while we face this fiscal blip. (Yep - still sounds like a euphemism.)

It's a damn shame, but I'm going to miss out on a fantastic weekend camping in Wales next weekend because I can't travel up with other people on Friday as I have to work, and trains are now out of the question.

Ah well... at least there's always something interesting happening for free round here. Take this pop up allotment display in the market square this weekend.
Pretty, but basically some pick and grow lettuce re-planted in a box.

There were army vehicles on show too.

This fella felt like a bit of a star, posing on bikes for the British Legion.

I have no idea if this man has anything to do with the British Legion or if he just liked sitting on their bikes.

If time weren't an issue this weekend, I'd half be tempted to hitch to Wales. I've been reading Kath Kelly's Thumbing Through:Hitch-Hiking Tales From my Diaries (£6.64: Amazon Kindle). She is the author of my all-time favourite frugal-living book, How I Lived for a Year on One Pound a Day.

Kath Kelly walked into some slight controversy earlier this year when she apparently agreed* with IDS about it being possible to live on £53 a week. (*Caveat - according to the Daily Mail). Well, of course it's possible. It's the grim and awful reality for a lot of people.
Nonetheless, Kath Kelly is an awesomely inspirational writer. Reading her hitch-hiking anecdotes has re-affirmed my desire to see more of the world and to bear in mind to 'pay it forward' when dealing with my fellow humans. You can tell Kath has developed a philosophical attitude to living her life to the fullest. She seems to have always picked up jobs that afford her great experiences and time over income, and so has had to thing creatively about getting from A to B when she hasn't got much cash to spare - hence hitching.
In becoming a devotee of travel by thumb, Kath has been able to meet a huge variety of people. It seems motorists pick up hitchers for a number of reasons: someone to talk to and help pass the time; people wanting to practice their language skills; people wanted their children distracted; people wanting someone to hear all their troubles. It's an honest and frank account, detailing some of her more risky journeys, but playing them down at the same time. One situation had me shaking my head at her book - why did you accept dinner from that guy? But on the whole, I felt admiration for her gutso, and envy of her experiences. She's a very good writer, too! Recommended.