And so to other writing spheres . . .

While waiting for the shortlist for the New Voices, First Novels competition to be announced at Adventures In Fiction, and reckoning on venturing further into two developing novels (Biome NE47: Sequel, since you asked, and Keep Me in Your Heart) when we return from our Outer Hebrides adventure, there’s still lots of writing spheres to foray into.

The travel blog, for example, keeps me busy trying to recount our adventures, so zip over to if you want to stay up-to-date with us. And then we did a funny thing, since The Guardian has finally put up a form whereby readers of ‘A new start after 60’ can submit their own stories. I may have mentioned that I tried to submit something a couple months ago about my new life as an aspiring novelist, but I didn’t have any successes yet to report and my ‘new life’ story fell on deaf ears or stony ground. But I suddenly thought, wait a moment, my beloved’s later life is really quite remarkable, and she’s done amazing things since she turned 60, after all! So I composed a little piece about her and sent it off. Who knows whether she’ll find fame in The Guardian’s Lifestyle section?

And there’s still the weekly Writing Group tasks, some of which are particularly compelling. I strive for levity but usually end up in deeply serious mode, grappling with difficult subjects to the despair of my writing buddies. But for this latest task, to dwell in some creative mode on the topic of ‘after,’ I did find a more humorous tack.

Back in the day, when we’d only been living in the North Pennines for a year or so, we participated in a new folk club, Music Nights upstairs at the King’s Head, Allendale. Such fun to hear the folk songs of the north-east. So many happy memories of those times, when we each indulged too in a rendition of something. But one of the more popular numbers, sung by a cherished singer, was called ‘After the ball.’ I didn’t realise that her version was a parody of the original, a music hall ditty written in 1891. But I found it most enlightening to create my own take, a parody of a parody, for the Writing Group task. Odd how humour changes through the decades. Coupled with my seriously sad piece, that should make a reasonable submission for Sunday, if we’ve still got broadband internet connection in the new campsite on South Uist.

Anyway, that’s the extent of my writing adventures over these few weeks of travel and sight-seeing, relaxing and being comfy in Harry Hymer. And that should suffice for a holiday sojourn. But by the time we get home, I’ll be that eager to engage in a regular routine of writing conscientiously again.

By Larry Winger

Retired scientist, devoted diarist (, community-minded aspirant novelist, I've lived on a smallholding in the East Allen Valley for the past 30 years, delighting in watching our family grow up, in experiencing the development of our grandsons, and in taking care of our small flock of chickens and garden.

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