How many words for ‘sick’ do you know?

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This short extract from Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K Jerome, will test your medical vocabulary, and give you some laughter therapy too.  Just enjoy 🙂

“THERE were four of us – George, and William Samuel Harris, and myself,  and Montmorency.  We were sitting in my room, smoking, and talking about  how bad we were – bad from a medical point of view I mean, of course.

We were all feeling seedy, and we were getting quite nervous about it.   Harris said he felt such extraordinary fits of giddiness come over him at  times, that he hardly knew what he was doing; and then George said that  HE had fits of giddiness too, and hardly knew what HE was doing.  With  me, it was my liver that was out of order ….. READ MORE

Ignorance is Bliss – Chapter 5

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Hummer H1

Hummer H1 (Photo credit: andyrusch)


The next chapter of Saskia Pemberton’s exciting novel. One chapter is published each week – just to keep you thirsty for more.

Tension rises as Troie and Nathan make their escape in his Hummerread on …

Antonyms – Dystopia and Utopia


Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games

A dystopia is a community or society, either real or fictional, where most of us would not like to live because it is either undesirable or frightening – the opposite of a utopia. Obviously, there is a certain amount of subjective leeway involved in the definition, as almost any society can be a utopia for some, but a dystopia for others. However, in the real world, there is pretty general agreement that, for vast numbers of people at least, the former Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Idi Amin’s Uganda and the current North Korea totally fail in the utopia department, and qualify to be described as dystopias.

In fiction, the creation of a dystopia is often used, for example, to warn us of where our politics or use of resources may be leading us, or simply to create a background where the heroes can triumph over the villains. George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson’s Logan’s Run and Susan Collins’ The Hunger Games all depict the kind of societies which, although fun for some, are the kind of places where there is serious room for improvement.

Examples of utopian ideals in fiction include Aldous Huxley’s Island, but after remembering that book my mind went blank so after a little research I realised that most books set in fictional Utopias are from antiquity, and don’t seem to be such a popular genre in modern times. To some extent this is not so surprising, as a good story needs that essential element of conflict, followed up by some kind of resolution. Perhaps in a utopia the greatest conflict might be boredom, but then it wouldn’t be utopia any more.

Finally, as regards a utopia on Earth, I think even the most beautiful places are only a utopia for some, or for some time. The palm-fringed beach-side property on the friendly Caribbean island, most people’s idea of heaven on earth, is still a worrying place; the possibilities of hurricanes, tsunamis or human aggression are always there, and many rich people in beautiful places have to live behind protective walls. However, a utopia is a fine goal and if we all pitch in and try to make our own societies a little more utopian, then surely that is a step in the right direction?

What, for you, is your most glaring example of a dystopia, and your next-best thing to utopia? I’d love to hear your feedback on this.

More Weekend Reading

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Due to popular demand, here comes Chapter Two of Enlightened:

2 The Mission

           That evening Mary and Tom went for a walk, leaving the other three digesting their revelations, talking excitedly together over tea and biscuits, swapping experiences, trying to make full sense of them. The mood in the cottage was transformed by a mammoth sense of purpose, although exactly what that purpose was eluded most of them … read more

A little weekend reading …

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Here is the first chapter of a book I started writing long ago. Enjoy!
Comments very welcome 🙂

English: Oxen Fell cottage

English: Oxen Fell cottage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


by Malcolm Pemberton

1. The Vision.

It was a cold, wet and windy Saturday, the eighth of November, when the five friends sat down on the big, circular rug before the log fire which burned so reassuringly in the huge old farmhouse grate. Outside, the wind moaned around High Fell Cottage, its path unimpaired up the slopes of the treeless fell, spattering rain against the poorly fitting windows, shifting the curtains and providing more than air enough for the fire, which, at least, made the inside of the cottage a cosy comfortable place to be on such a day … read more


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