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Wendy Shillam
An urbanist by profession and a lover of city living by temperament.
Interests: Coffee in any square or friendly coffee shop, eco-living, DIY, vegetable growing on my roof garden, cooking for friends, I write fiction as a serious hobby, Out and about I love walking, sailing, sightseeing, Give me a sunny beach and a thick paperback and I'm a happy sandgirl.
Recent Activity
Continuing the story of our first EV holiday in a new BMWi3 electric vehicle. Part 2 - London to Aldeburgh. Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2015 at The Author's Song
Our first long journey in the BMWi3 - will we make it? Part 1 - the preparation Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2015 at The Author's Song
Harry Becks original 1933 Underground Map What has Brentford Ikea, Primrose Hill and Hendon Motorway Services in common? If I were to ask you this question you might reply that they have very little in common, except that they are all places in London. Boil a shop, a park and a service station down to the very simplest of notions and you may say, at least I can mark them all on a map. They are landmarks of a sort. For me they are new venues on my mental map of London that a few weeks ago seemed insignificant and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2015 at The Author's Song
Hill Close Gardens Warwick - design, cottage garden, garden restuaration Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2015 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
A response to the article by Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics in The Guardian, Monday 26 June. Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2015 at The Author's Song
A sentence unmasked! Always analyse why a sentence doesn't feel right to you, in your own work or elsewhere. Here's an example. Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2015 at The Author's Song
Harry Clarke 1922 I don't think I'm the only writer to admit to letting the characters rule the story line. I’m not a plotter, though I do have the rough arc of the story in my mind, most of the time. In the particular chapter I have been writing this week, I wanted to lay the foundations for one of my characters, Harry, to become an alcoholic. I'd already imagined a scene much later in Harry’s life, where home brewed wine triggered a dramatic chain of events. But this early scene was to be written in a lighter mood. In... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2015 at The Author's Song
Utah Genealogical Society Last week I experienced a feeling so dire, so dramatic, that I began to wonder whether I was not experiencing a strong psychic reaction. Was I seeing ghosts? It all started on Friday morning when I tripped enthusiastically into Bury St Edmunds County Records Office in order to follow up some hunches about my ancestors. I’m currently writing a book based on real people from the past and some – though not all- of them are my own relatives. I thought that I had been spun a reel of good luck, because it so happens that Suffolk... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2015 at The Author's Song
This infestation lasted a week, and was well masked by other plants. Already the aphids have started to drift away. I think we probably ought to leave pest management to nature?
Toggle Commented May 5, 2015 on This is good at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Five things you might not have known about aphids. Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2015 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Its Easter, a time when I spend the week trying very hard to avoid being given, or buying Easter Eggs. I usually succumb at some stage. Then I eat the whole thing and feel sick. Its Easter, the seedlings are poking their heads out on the rooftopvegplot, the sun is finally trying to shine and my life looks as if it is in for an interesting turn. Both these statements are true. But which is the truer? I've started a new novel and so far it's going well. I've placed myself out on a high diving board that I've never... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2015 at The Author's Song
Revolution Among the Lettuces In my Germinal bed I am planting Chard (26 March), Round Lettuce (5th April), Radish (8th April), and rocket (13th April). The Floréal bed will contain Burnet, Orach, Borage, Chive and Wild Mustard. Prairial will contain Thyme, Strawberry, Peas and Verbena. Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2015 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Dear Barbara, I thought it was a pretty wild infestation - now I understand! Makes a good image though.
What are beneficial insects - and what are pests? organic, beneficial insects, pests, vine weevil Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2015 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Weeds, Malvern Spring Show, biodiversity, crop diversity Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2015 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
weeds, biodiversity, Malvern show. Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2015 at The Author's Song
Yesterday I was in Bath and took the opportunity to meet Lynn Keddie. I've actually only met Lynn face-to-face once before, when she came to photograph my garden. She contacted me, cold, by DM, inviting herself to photograph the rooftopvegplot. That's the name I give my vegetable garden, perched on the flat roof of our studio, high above Central London. It’s my pride and joy. So obviously when she asked, I said Yes straight away. Lynn is one of those twitter contacts who has turned into a friend rather swiftly. Lynn @Lynnkeddie is starting to run seminars on the business... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2015 at The Author's Song
I've always had a strangely ambivalent relationship with money. I've never tried too hard to earn it; preferring intellectual challenge and an engaging life, ahead of a profitable one. I put this down to a secure upbringing. Psychologically money and love are mixed up in my mind. If I feel happy and secure, I 'feel' wealthy. Since that very secure childhood, I haven’t worried too much about financial matters. Like Mr Micawber, I’ve always assumed that, ‘Something will turn up.’ Of course, I recognise that a feeling of security can be as dangerous as a feeling of insecurity. I've enjoyed... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2015 at The Author's Song
I've always been intrigued by that line in the song Cockeyed Optimist from South Pacific. When I was younger I didn't even know what Jell-o was, and instead of a jelly, I imagined a bowl of jelly babies. I couldn't fathom why remarking that life is akin to a superfluity of sweeties would make the girl seem 'more intelligent and smart'. But in contemplating an enjoyable and social weekend, I too can't help but see the last few days in terms of bounty. I recognise that I'm coming out of a type of hibernation precipitated by winter and by mourning.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2015 at The Author's Song
Hoar frost in Regent's Park early January 2015 I've been expecting ...dreading ... the appearance of the first frost on my rooftop vegplot. Last weekend we went to the country and I was fascinated to discover how much browner it was than our own garden. There was a spinkling of snow on the ground. Even in the park, ten minutes walk away we've experienced frosts. But on the roof - not yet. Not until today. When I got up the temperature guage read zero. I tweeted to all my gardening friends, ’The first frost - 0°C in the greenhouse!’. I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2015 at The Author's Song
Hoar frost in Regents Park last week I just tweeted to all my friends, ’The first frost - 0°C in the greenhouse!’. I was reading from the automated temperature gauge that gives me a warning if the temperatures are low on the rooftop plot. But when I got up there a different scene greeted me. Nowhere could I find evidence of frost. The sweet peas planted late last year are growing well. The Osteospermum is flowering! Nasturtiums are in bud. There isn’t a limp leaf anywhere to be seen. I’m pretty sure that it was a false alarm. The greenhouse temperature is now 16°C, the sun is shining, there is blue sky. Could it have frosted overnight? Or could I have misread the thermometer? The maximum-minimum thermometer in the greenhouse has gone nowhere near to freezing. Here, in the centre of London I can only go on my own measurements.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2015 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
When I'm busy I have to remind myself that there is time. It's an oxymoron, but I think as we get older we discover that we have more time than we imagine. When I was in my twenties, I never missed the January sales. It helped that my office was opposite Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge. I'd observe the stock being assembled in the window. I'd see the posters go up. I'd wonder at the reductions. Then, at lunchtime on the first day, I'd pitch in with hoards of other wannabe Sloanes. I found some lovely bargains and a few toads.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2015 at The Author's Song
Dear Meg, You always find the right words. Thank you. Draaisma's book says that memory is a palimpsest, a series of engravings traced over the original. Perhaps I am in the process of tracing right now?
Toggle Commented Jan 16, 2015 on The Nostalgia Factory at The Author's Song
Yesterday we launched Set in Modern, an on-line literary journal and an off-line community for writers and readers. Meg and I have been planning it for weeks. Part of me would like to say that we've got it all sussed. But we haven't and I don't really mind. This is a soft launch. We're proposing the idea and we will be flexible according to the response. I'm enjoying the frissant of it. If it were all fixed, it might cease to live for me. On some aspects we are very clear. We have no wish to replicate the mass market... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2015 at The Author's Song
This year I've determined to concentrate on reading new work. This is partly from taste and partly work related, (more anon). Some years ago Mike and I decided to attend one new play, once a month. We live in the West End. You would think that the chances would be high of finding twelve new plays in a whole year. But that turned out not to be the case. On Shaftesbury Avenue the plays were all revivals, or simpering lightweight fluffy things, with pop stars for leads and re-mixes for melodies. Off Avenue, in the 'burbs' of Brixton or Hampstead... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2015 at The Author's Song