Of Course You Realise… that this 11-year-old girl has more grit, determination, and discipline than most of us ‘professionals’

It’s been a while since I did a random post of something I found online!

But I just had to share this one. For some context: I was researching rock climbing videos because I was writing a scene where Longinus watches Rory execute a very difficult climb, and sometimes I like to have visuals of what I’m describing so I can better capture details/movements etc.

That scene wound up on the cutting room floor, but this video I found stayed with me. This girl is amazing, and not just because at 11 she’s breaking world records in rock climbing.

How seriously she takes her climbing, her dedication, focus, and discipline at such a young age really puts me and most people I know to shame. That girl’s got some serious chops!

My two favourite quotes from the video:

“To be a really good climber, you can’t just have it. You have to train really hard, so I take it pretty seriously” (an understatement when you see the training she does)

“I like to look for challenges, it keeps me motivated. I don’t like doing the same thing all the time… If I don’t make a route, it’s just motivating because I don’t want to leave it undone.”

Replace climber/route with writer or any other kind of profession, and that’s a pretty perfect summary of discipline, focus, and perseverance! It makes for a very good kick up the arse if you’re feeling unmotivated or falling prey to procrastination…


Of Course You Realise… How to walk on water.

Ok before I explain the random post title, a quick update. I know I’ve been absent for *ahem* far too long. I’m discovering that when I go through a period of intense/heavy writing, I seem to completely fall off the grid when it comes to blogging, to say nothing of general social media.

It’s not just that if I’ve had a big day my brain is too frazzled to focus on writing or reading blog posts, I also sometimes think I’m a special breed of introvert who gets all the interaction she can handle in a day if she spends too long in characters’ heads. You know that special kind of ‘drained’ feeling you sometimes get after you’ve had a busy day full of people? I often get that feeling after a big writing day, even if I haven’t spoken to anyone all day, so then all thoughts of social media interaction go flying out the window.

Anyway I don’t mean to fall off the grid like that — I know I did the same thing this time last year when I was writing The Viper and the Urchin — and I’m coming to the realisation that it’s going to be inevitable every time I work on a new book. So I hope you guys don’t mind too much! I’ll try to put something up about locking myself in the writing cave next time it happens (my cave, if you must know, is kind of like the batcave, but with books and tea and a computer rather than super cool gadgets)

I am now back to full operating form though, and the first draft of The Black Orchid, sequel to The Viper and the Urchin, is finished (hurrah!) with the second draft well on its way.  While I was gone I’ve also outlined and started writing a prequel novella to the series (anyone interested in Rory’s past stay tuned!), I have a rough story outline for book 3, as well as the basic plot points for a completely separate duology that will take place in Victorian London. Busy, busy time and lots to look forward to! 🙂

Now, onto the blog post. To give you some background, the other day I googled ‘how to walk on water’ — because, writer. This was genuine work, not one of my aimless internet rambles (although it did turn into one) and after sifting through the ubiquitous (but hilarious) videos of people falling into pools, I came across this:

A group of men literally walking on water. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, fast forward to 1:50 where you can see one impressive shot of the guy actually running on water. The guys talk about the science of it, the water repellent shoes, the speed, the curve of the trajectory creating enough momentum…

Doesn’t it seem amazing? If you’re anything like me you’ll get all swept up in the excitement of such an achievement, maybe you’ll even bounce over to your better half and enthusiastically explain about the speed, the curve, the water repellent shoes…

And then brain kicks in, pulling out remnants of physics lessons from high school – no, the curve of a trajectory shouldn’t be enough to prevent an upright person from sinking into the water.

Turns out the whole thing is a hoax by the company who produces the clothes and the shoes. There were submerged platforms just under the water for the guys to run on. Epic disappointment. I guess Jesus retains the monopoly on walking on water.

Of course there’s always the option of making yourself walking on water shoes. In fact if you ever have polystyrene boxes and too much time on your hands, you could do something like this:

PS: Walking on water didn’t make it into the story in the end. Turned out to be a dead end, much like liquid mountaineering itself!

Of Course You Realise… How French Women Work Out

I had to share this as a Monday smile – it make me laugh!  It’s obviously completely factually correct – that is how all French women exercise in France 😉

This post is part of my ‘Of Course You Realise’ series, a collection of random or interesting or funny things I find during my meandering on the internet. 

Of Course You Realise… About Pe’a tattoos

** Warning, this post does contain a naked bottom — although you can barely see it because of the tattoo. Just thought I’d warn you right at the outset, in case it’s early where you are and you haven’t had your morning coffee yet, and you’re not quite ready yet for the sight of a bottom, tattooed or not **

I came across this in one of my random googling sessions one night when I couldn’t sleep and I thought it was fascinating. The Pe’a is a traditional Samoan tattoo for men, that covers the body from the waist to the knees. The detail is such that a quick glance and you’d think it was just a piece of skintight clothing.

The pattern with its amalgamation of small details and lines actually reminds me a little of the tangles that Sammy (she over at Bemuzin) does – although obviously not using the same canvas!

As you can imagine it’s an incredibly painful experience and it can take from a few weeks to several years to complete. The master tattooist does the tattoo using handmade tools made of bone, tusk, turtle shell and wood. I can’t imagine what the rate of infection must be to do such a huge tattoo with such rustic tools!

Tattoed men are revered for their courage (which is fair enough considering what they’d have to put themselves through) while men without a Pe’a tattoo are called telenoa which literally means ‘naked’. To start the tattoo process and not complete it due to pain or the inability to pay the master tattooist (it’s a very expensive process) is a mark of great shame.

Women have an equivalent tattoo but it’s a lot more delicate, more like a filigree along the thighs. The women’s tattoo is called Malu. 

Both the Pe’a tattoo and the Malu tattoo are a point of pride and are viewed as hallmarks of manhood and womanhood respectively.

I really have to take my  hat off to these men and women who have the patience and pain threshold to endure these tattoos — they’re absolutely stunning and a beautiful part of the Samoan heritage. But I have to admit, I don’t think I’d ever be able to put myself through that. I think I’d have to be a telenoa. 

How about you, have you got any tattoos? Seen any particularly amazing or crazy ones? Do you think you’d be able to get such a huge tattoo or would be a telenoa like me?

Of Course You Realise… about the prevalence of theft among penguins

It’s a bit of a random title, I know. I wanted to introduce you guys to a another series of blog posts I’ve been meaning to do for a while, but first I have to tell you a little story about ‘Of Course You Realise’, which is going to be the name of the series.

I was 22, and my new boyfriend (now husband) was taking me down to Cornwall to see his parents for the first time. On the way, we stopped to have tea with the Hubs’ godfather, Talbot. We weren’t there for long, but in that short time Talbot told me about his time in the theatre, about when he was a physchiatric nurse, and then a tapestry weaver, and what it was like to work with an old fashion spinning wheel. As if all that wasn’t interesting enough, Talbot’s life partner had been John Lennon, cousin to the John Lennon you’re thinking of. Talbot quite possibly remains one of the coolest people I’ve ever met.

Very sadly, Talbot passed not long after, and I never got to meet him again. But my family-in-law often mention him, and one things that keeps coming up is how much he liked to talk about topics that interested him, so that if something came up in conversation, he’d say “Well, of course you realise –” and then reveal an entire wealth of knowledge on the subject or recount some fascinating anecdote.

Now I don’t for a moment pretend to have Talbot’s extensive knowledge, but I do have something else: an addiction to googling things. Every so often I lose myself in a vortex as I click through website after website and read random articles about all sorts of things. Don’t get me wrong, not all of it is highbrow (if you look at my last google search it was ‘Charlie Hunnam Height’. If you must know it’s because I love Guillermo Del Toro so I was googling his latest film, Crimson Peak, in which Charlie Hunnam stars, and through a very logical progression of thought, I wondered how tall he was), but some of it is quite interesting.

So I thought I’d share with you the interesting and random tidbits I come across during my googling. And I’ll start as Talbot did, by telling you “Well guys,Of Course You Realise….

….That thieving is rife among penguins. Seriously.

I can’t remember how I came across this video, but brace yourself for a look at greed and corruption amongst the penguin population during nest building season…

I love the cold, over the shoulder glance the thieving penguin gives! And the fact that it isn’t an accident, he’s clearly waiting for the other one to leave before stealing stones. He’s a proper, hard core thief!