Saturday, 31 August 2019

2019 in Focus: August

2019 in Focus: August has gone to print. 
Every day in August I went for a walk with my camera and took photos. I chose some to represent each day and wrote accompanying verse. Every photo and all but one verse was created on the stated day (that one was done the morning after). The photos are not all in focus, but when I chose a fuzzy one it was for a good reason.

I knew I’d be away for part of August, so the theme is Home Away Back.

I made some of the photos into sets or collages. A few of them have been digitally altered to remove something ugly and intrusive or to create a flipped pattern. This was done in Paint. Colour, brightness and contrast are left natural and I didn’t use any effects. The coloured frames and text were mostly done using sampled colour from the photos.

 I managed to contain the size to 149 pages this time; let's hope I can keep September to a reasonable size too!

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Jigsaw Cards Remade

Jigsaw Cards Remade
Well, they never did turn up, so I remade them using three sets this time...
Here are a few samples.
Pick one from each set to get an idea.

 hat horse ink bottle statue ice ice-cream Jack jumpers joey kite
 kitten kettle bird computer dingo dog cake brumby lake tree ring

A strange A flying A painted An inky An ice Black Purple sparkling
An ugly An angry A shining A scary A dripping A weird A tiny

I want I need I don’t want Scared of Running from Looking for I found
The teacher asked for Hunting for Finding Losing Chasing Packing
Selling Buying Inventing Discovering I laugh at Racing Getting rid of

I want a strange hat...
Looking for a flying statue
Discovering an inky cake...

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Jigsaw Cards AWOL

Jigsaw writing... I'm holding some workshops in Townsville next week and (naturally) I can't find my jigsaw writing cards. I'll have a look in a few more places, and then probably give in and make some more. This time, I might try three different cards rather than two,  and make one set all objects, one set all subjects and one set all modifiers. Wish me luck!

Friday, 16 August 2019

Blossom Perspective

This photo was taken in the dusk looking up through blossom. Interesting effect... It's the kind of thing that inspires thoughts and makes you look at things differently

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Line 11 Page 111 2019 in Focus: June

Just to keep an eye to see
How long the nest would stay be-egged
I thought (you know) that roaming dogs
And kicking kids would have them pegged

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Line 11 Page 111 The Pixie Grip

Line 11 on Page 111 doesn't stand alone, so here's the paragraph.

"Peter, can I tell you something I’m scared of?”
She giggled. “Not while I have gingerbread in my pocket. Currie says if I ever see a bogle it’s probably someone with a bogle manifest, and gingerbread is bound to help.”
“It works on goats,” Peter G remarked

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Pearl 8

I'll be beginning work on Pearl 8 soon. I have an idea to use a different setting.
So far, we have books set mainly in the meadow, on the cliffs and an island, partly on a snowy mountain, in the forest, at Ogrefest, Big Rock and near the pond. The Kingdom, where all the stories take place, has lots of different landscapes and next time I rather like the idea of a desert.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Gravity Defying Rock

I saw the weirdest thing in one of my photos a few days ago. I didn't see it in situ, just later, when I went through my pictures. It was so odd, I went back today for a look and there it was... the gravity-defying rock.
I wonder what the story is behind that one?

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Slam Poem

For the poetry slam today I need a poem to perform in under two minutes. I had FOUR to pick from... These are below. DECISIONS DECISIONS


Kipper ham!
Don’t ask me whence
 that reference came
I remember it
I know
Vaguely up from long ago
But I confess
I do digress
Don’t you find
it funny how-
things-linger-in-the mind?

What the…
I don’t play basketball
At all
Although I’m tall…
I’m prone to fall
No co-ordination see
Balls are mysteries to me
I hardly give a toss…
(Well, that’s the nation’s loss…)

You sure?
I thought I heard it somewhere
Between the lemon and the salted hand
Bad for the liver anyway
I’ll take chocolate any day!

Stamp the floor
The door
No more please
Temper tantrums court disease
Yes I am
It was the wind in the door
For sure

It’s poetry?
I do believe…
You’re bamming me?
(D’you like my word? It’s out of Georgette Heyer)

Muse on fire!

You wanted verse?
That’s just perverse!


Oh, once I slept in a feather bed
With woollen blankets warm
Now I’m glad to lay my head
On a cloak that’s old and torn
Oh, sing with me a merry catch
As summer days will come
My love he is a soldier boy
And so I’m following the drum

With a patter patter tat
And a rattle and a scrap
And the beat of the marching song
I’m ragged and worn
And my hose are torn-
Yet I am following along

Oh once I ate from a silver plate
With sauces rich and rare
Now I’m glad if I’m not too late

To find some bread to share
Oh sup with me on a scraggy fowl
And dream of sugar plums
My love he is a soldier boy
And so I’m following the drum

With a patter patter tat
And a rattle and a scrap
And the beat of the marching song
I’m ragged and worn
And my hose are torn-
Yet I am following along

Oh once I wore a silken shawl
And a bonnet of ribbon trim
Now I’m glad if I’m clad at all
‘Twixt my ankles and my chin
Oh sew with me in a sturdy stitch
And do not prick your thumb
My love he is a soldier boy
And so I’m following the drum

With a patter patter tat
And a rattle and a scrap
And the beat of the marching song
I’m lame and tired before my time
But still I follow him along
Oh, I'm lame and tired but I still smile-
And still I follow him along

I’ve always liked the memorial hall
Rosy bricks in that soft blending
Penned between pale mortared lines
In that peculiar zone of pink and brown
I walked around the memorial hall
Observing every side, till, bending
I spotted dark and white; the signs
Of the pride of a younger, bygone town

I often admire the colour scheme
And my mind walks back to a funny scene
When I and a friend stood upon the stage
As angels in a Christmas play
Looking back, it’s like a dream
For who remembers it but me?

We wore, I remember, long white gowns
Nighties? Maybe. They came down
Right to our slippers (silent soled)
Stand there quietly we’d been told
Teachers smiled in the bygone town
At good little girls in flowing gowns

Stiffened wings of wire and gauze
Affixed to our shoulders… well, because
Good little angels must have wings!
Just as they must herald things…
Wired-on wings but wait, there’s more!
Oh! I remember kind applause!

The piece de resistance I recall
As we stood on stage in the rosy hall
Were tinsel halos made of wire
Above our heads; awe inspired!
There we were, standing straight and tall
Be-winged, be-haloed in the hall
But then- disaster almost struck
Two little halos tangled up!
There we stood tilting head to head
Would real angels feel our dread?
Gowned and winged with halos stuck
We  stood quite still and trusted luck

The curtain fell on our Christmas play
A teacher came while it still swayed
Briskly she untangled us
And praised us! Girls! You made no fuss!
And we felt special in a gratified way
‘cos we’d been angels for a day

So oh, I love the memorial hall
So many memories enthral
And when you read the sign you’ll see
The memorial hall’s older than me…

 Sweet Charity

Miss Charity Curtin
The locals are certain’s
a vicarage mouse to a T
She’s shy and obscure
and extremely demure
as she offers you scones with your tea
She lowers her gaze
and looks gentle and grave
in her grey Sunday hat and pelisse
When you come to the house;
she’s as meek as a mouse
and a typical vicarage miss.


Sweet Charity isn’t at all as she seems
when we meet after Matins is done
She casts off her grey
in her sauciest way
soon after the hymns have been sung
With hair pinned in curls
She’s the merriest girl
And her smile turns my stomach to water
With her arms brown and bare
She has laughter to spare
Not your typical vicarage daughter

Her father the vicar
Has no fear of snickers
He trusts what his daughter’s about
Such a God-fearing girl
tho’ her hair is in curls
does her duty with never a pout
There isn’t a rift
between papa and miss
 as he knows she’s a treasure for certain
And what about me?
oh, be sure I agree
for I’ll marry Miss Charity Curtin

And when she’s my bride and we’re off on our own
and the wellwishers left far behind
Then she’ll let down her hair
and happily share
whatever the future we’ll find
She’ll dance like a willow
and sleep on my pillow
forever the love of my life
I’ll be thanking the Lord
Mrs Charity Ward’s
not your typical vicarage wife

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
(Psalm 98) 

Saturday, 10 August 2019

There's a...

I have a dozen or more books to edit for others.
I have a book to finish writing for a deadline.
I have a lot of books waiting for me to write.
So... why am I writing verse?
'Cos there's a poetry slam tomorrow... that's why!

Friday, 9 August 2019

Pearl's Still Progressing...

I'm still working on Pearl the Friendly Unicorn. Here's a piece where Pearl meets a new friend. This material is first draft, so it may not make it into the book.

‘You’re a bat!’ Pearl said.
            ‘I know,’ it said. ‘I don’t know what you are though. You look like a horse with a spike on its head. It’s a pretty spike, though.’
            Pearl laughed. ‘Thank you. I’m a unicorn. I’m not surprised you didn’t know. I’m the only one in the kingdom, as far as I know.’
            The bat squeaked, ‘Pleased to meet you. I’m sorry if I upset you. I was flying about catching my supper, and I didn’t really see you. I hunt by sound, you see.’
            ‘That’s interesting,’ Pearl said. ‘I’m Pearl. What’s your name?’
            ‘Flit,’ the bat said, ‘but you probably don’t want to talk to me. I make most folk nervous.’

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Following the Drum

Every so often, I get an email from someone who has encountered one of my poems on the 'net and who has been trying to find its provenance. These people think the pieces are "old", you see.  The one that attracts the most queries is called Following the Drum. It's in my collection Long Ago Love Songs.

Following the Drum

Oh, once I slept in a feather bed
With woollen blankets warm
Now I’m glad to lay my head
On a cloak that’s old and torn
Oh, sing with me a merry catch
As summer days will come
My love he is a soldier boy
And so I’m following the drum

With a patter patter tat
And a rattle and a scrap
And the beat of the marching song
I’m ragged and worn
And my hose are torn-
Yet I am following along

Oh once I ate from a silver plate
With sauces rich and rare
Now I’m glad if I’m not too late
To find some bread to share
Oh sup with me on a scraggy fowl
And dream of sugar plums
My love he is a soldier boy
And so I’m following the drum

With a patter patter tat
And a rattle and a scrap
And the beat of the marching song
I’m ragged and worn
And my hose are torn-
Yet I am following along

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Pearl - a work in progress

I'm writing Pearl Number 7! Here's an excerpt.

“Do some magic for me,” said the frog.
The other frogs croaked crossly.
“You’ve got to ask politely,” one said.
“Don’t see why. She does magic for that firebird and that ogre girl.”
“They’re her friends, Splotch. You’re not her friend.”
“Does it matter?”
The other frogs laughed. ‘It matters,’ one said.
‘’If I had more bugs than I can eat, I might give some to you, because you’re my friend. If you weren’t, I’d expect you to ask politely.’
‘Sorry.” The big frog cleared its throat and started again. “Please, unicorn, would you do some magic for me?”

Monday, 5 August 2019

Husband of the Year - Not

A Chocolate Misapprehension

Chocky Lochie loved his choc; he loved his chocolate a lot
Choc-fuelled, he vaunted grant ambition for a high-choc-chief position
For this honour Chocky knew he had to render something new…
So Chocky Lochie made a plan; a clever-clogsy kind of scam
He went to Marge, his patient wife and swore upon his munching life
If she would lend her time machine he’d polish it and make it gleam…
Chocky Lochie took the helm and high-tailed to the Aztec realm
Parleyed there and made an offer for the contents of their coffers
Roaring, “Chocolate ahoy!” this chocolate-consuming boy
Flittered back to Chocolate Town hoping for his new renown.
With eagerness and fell intention he proclaimed his own invention
Chocolate as you’ve never eaten! Now, I know it can’t be beaten!
Beaming with benevolence the judges soon dispelled suspense
But their faces frowned and scrunched for Chocky’s loot could not be munched…
Bravely though, they raised and sipped. The chocolate foamed and oozed and dripped
Ick! It had a bitter taste and Chocky’s efforts went to waste

You see, he’d never realised that modern chocolate is disguised
The bitter foaming peppered slop is now a solid moreish block
So Chocky Lochie made an error…now he lives in constant terror
Marge will find her time machine was pawned to finance Chocky’s dream.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

A Lament on a Misnomer

Think before you use those words people come up with!

I’m not a chocoholic
The term just drives me nuts
So please refrain from using it
And if you really must
Explain to me in syllables
Of choc or o or hol-ic
Exactly how you parse the term
(It’s giving me a colic)
If I boozed unto excess
I’d be an alcoholic
That’s alcohol plus ic, you see
(And pretty melancholic)
Now play the game of mashing terms
And look at chocoholic
And you will see it flouts the form
It’s horribly shambolic
Chocolate plus ic, you see!
So give that fake the flick
And say the proper term with me
I am a chocolate-ic.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Xanthe and the Seaman

My brand new novella Xanthe and the Seaman is out now! If the cover looks a bit familiar, that's because it shares a cover picture with my July book, Betony Buys Adventure. They're both part of the Fairy in the Bed series and also the Scorched Souls collection. I've been a bit curious about the seamen ever since I mentioned them, in passing, in Honey and the Harvest Hob back in 2017. Now one of them is a major character. Another one appeared in Betony, but he wasn't always a seaman. Mor, the hero of Xanthe and the Seaman, is. He's one of the oddest heroes (using the term loosely) I've so far invented. If you'd like to check it out, it's available through this link: - but only if you're 18+!

Friday, 2 August 2019

Writers Read

This pictorial comment is the header for a new blog I have started which is especially for authors who wish to advertise their new books. I hope it will remind them that for our industry to survive, people have to buy new books. And yes, that has to include authors! I've said it before and will no doubt say it several more times...

If anyone reading this is an author, and has a new book to advertise,let me know and I'll be happy to host your book on the new blogs. This pair differs from my Promote Me Please pair in that for PMP I send questions to the author to answer whereas with RealWritersRead, authors send me whatever they wish to showcase.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

2019 in Focus July

 2019 in Focus: July has gone to the printer. As usual, it's a book of verse and photographs, each taken/written on the day in question. This is the cover I chose, and below are the other cover pics I auditioned, along with votes from people who gave their opinions. In the end, I decided on a different picture, as you see!

Every day in July I went out for a walk with my camera and took photos. I chose some to represent each day and wrote accompanying verse. Every photo and verse was created on the stated day. The photos are not all in focus, but when I chose a fuzzy one it was for a good reason.

July came in blustery and wet. I liked the idea of using water or wind for a theme, but water has featured in every month so far, and wind and my camera aren’t good friends. Therefore, the theme for this edition of 2019 in Focus is Patterns and Perspectives.

I made some of the photos into sets or collages. A few of them have been digitally altered to remove something ugly and intrusive or to create a flipped pattern. This was done in Paint. Colour, brightness and contrast are left natural and I didn’t use any effects. The coloured frames and text were mostly done using sampled colour from the photos. 

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Tell Clancy's Challenge

My stories aren't about problems. I prefer the term challenges. Even then, my books are not about challenges. They're about characters who have challenges. There's a subtle difference. 

Tell Clancy, from Trinity Street, has an enormous challenge, but her first one in the book is understated. Tell, who feels herself to be an ordinary girl, is best friends with Camena de Courcy, an orphan who lives with her elder sister. Camena is a certified genius, but her social development lags well behind her intelligence. Tell is challenged by her need to protect Camena while interpreting the world for her friend, and also interpreting Camena for the world. It's a challenge that leaves Tell precious little time to think of her own problems.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Foreign Languages? Me?

Using other languages when I don't speak them myself can be complicated, especially when there are different forms for male and female... Is that la or le in French? Ami or Amie? Fortunately, in fantasy, I can avoid that problem because although my alpenfee might speak a kind of German and my courtfolk might call their parents Maman and Papa, the languages are not exactly German and French or Welsh, or Gaelic or Swedish... I can base a few lines on one of those languages and if I get it wrong... well, my characters are NOT Swedes; they're fjiordfee and as such they don't properly speak Swedish!

Here's an alpenfee madchen using a kind of pidjin German to an English speaker...

“Liebchen, I think I must have made that for the man-to-be. It has gathers and cuffs, so it can get bigger as you do. Do you like it? If not, I can make you one for the lad-you-are.”
“I like it this way. It’s dashing.
“I’m glad. I like folk to feel right in my clothes, even if they’re a kleines bisschen Zukunft.
He must have looked puzzled, because she laughed and said, “a small bit future.” Then she offered her hand as if he’d been a man already, and went to fit someone els

Monday, 29 July 2019


Betony has just stepped through the stag stone to an island called Arrival. After a largely-drab life up until now, she finds herself somewhere strange.
I suppose most of us have thought about being dropped somewhere utterly strange and wondered what we'd do. Betony, having little interesting reality to hark back to for context, thinks about things she's read, but she also notices the ambiance of the place, thinking back, and forth and then focusing on the present.

She stared around, but it was every bit as dark as it had been at the Stag Stone.
She never thought, for a moment, she was still there. The shift in temperature was too marked. Then there were the sounds, the smells, and the feel of something shifting under her feet.
“Is that sand?” she said in wonder. She rested her hand on a dark rock and found that, too, was warm.
There was no answer, so she looked at the driver to see what he had to say for himself.  He wasn’t there.
“Hello?” Betony turned on her heels, which sank into the presumed sand with a faint crunch. Had he darted behind the rocks?
She spent some time searching and then gave up.
She was alone. She knew it. She was alone on a stretch of sand in a warm place, lit only by a few faint stars. The rhythmic sounds and the perfume in the air told her this was a tropical beach. The glinting movement out to one side must be the ocean and behind her were obvious trees.
So, my time of my life experience is a desert island holiday.
She frowned, wondering, as she often had as a child, why they were called desert islands. The ones she’d read about were never deserts. On the contrary, they teemed with life.
Especially the one in the Lost Island series.
She hadn’t read that series as a child, and just as well!
She put her hands to her face and explored her temples. If this was Virtual Reality it was extraordinarily realistic.
No headset. Not VR. 
She had two options—Meltdown or Immersion.
Betony turned again, hearing the slithering crunch of sand under her boots. A playful breeze ruffled her hair, and she tasted salt on her lips. More stars glittered into view.
Immersion was the obvious choice.

Betony Buys Adventure

Sunday, 28 July 2019

The Cèilidh

Betony was visiting Bodhran Island in the star pin when she got mixed up with a bunch of leprechauns holding a cèilidh... She gets passed along from one partner to the other, and meets Maura Dervla, the granddaughter of Dervla Flower O'Shea, an earlier character... 

Her new partner was older and shorter but he, too, had green skin, the dark green of olives. He smelled of fresh-cut grass, which was delightful. He smiled with a merry crease to his cheeks and introduced himself to her as Fergal son o’ Padraig son o’ Lorcan Hillman. That was all she heard before someone else snatched her into his arms and dropped a sweet kiss on her collarbone.
No, her arms, as Betony saw, as the young woman twirled her around. She was a redhead dressed in a green skirt and white blouse cut so low her bountiful breasts rose from it like proving dough. She at least wasn’t green. She was small, coming up to Betony’s chin, but she grinned up at her and flashed a dimple.
“Road rise to ye, lovely! Tis good to be alive!”
“It is,” Betony said and meant it.
The girl spun her again, her bosom bouncing along with her red hair. “Maura Dervla,” she said. “And you?”
“Betony Field.”
“Not of the green way, lovely?”
Betony shook her head.
“Braeside, I expect. Sure, ye’ve the bountiful hips for it.”
“I don’t understand.”
“What order are ye?”
Still puzzled, Betony turned the question about. “What order are you, Maura?”
“A colleen, darlin’, an’ I thought from your dress, perhaps you were the same.”
“Oh, no. My—the highlander gave me these clothes to wear for the dance.”

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Heather Island

Betony is having the week of her life. She's been taken to Heather Island to see the sun come up...

...she saw the disc come up like a gold-foiled chocolate coin. She gasped as the light washed over the long valley below her. For as far as she could see, the ground was shawled in a counterpane of flowers, in every shade of pink and purple and through to lavender and white.
“Heather!” she exclaimed aloud, laughing with delight. “Oh, so beautiful!” 

Friday, 26 July 2019

The Brow of Dawn

Betony is on a galleon called Mermaid. She's been told to watch for the sunrise to see what you can see.

It was almost time.
“When the sun comes over the brow of Dawn, you follow the finger of light with your eyes and see what you can see.”
She gazed at the island. The brow of Dawn. That must be the rounded place that suggested a hill or maybe a smooth dome of rock.
The sun edged closer, and suddenly it was there, blazing into her eyes. Betony blinked back tears and hurriedly followed the line of light down into the water away to one side of Mermaid.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Betula Began It

Indeed, Betula began it! For years, I've belonged to an on-line discussion group whose special interest in 20th Century girls' fiction, centred on school stories, but embracing pony stories, ballet and theatre stories, sport stories, adventure/camping and mystery. One of the other long-term members is named Betula. Early on I, probably along with just about everyone else she's ever encountered, asked about her name. (I'm a sucker for a good name.) Betula explained kindly and patiently that it means birch tree. I stored it up in my mind and I've since used it twice in fiction; once for a walk-on character, and again, more recently, for a character born Betula Grene but known in the books in which she's mentioned by her married name, Betula Bakewell. In The Pixie Grip series, Betula features in some chapters. On the strength of Betula's name, I decided to give some of her family members plant names as well. Her brother is Birch. Her cousin Berryman Grene has a son named Quercus, which means oak, and his son is named Salix, which means willow.

This isn't the only name I appropriated from the book discussion group; a former member had the first name Richenda, although she didn't use it. I didn't borrow it directly, but when I was looking up Cornish names I found that one on the list and remembered the person I'd once known.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Tess Brynn's Wedding Dress

Esther "Tess" Brynn married her husband Gard Tillien in 1930. Tess was a lively young woman, who enjoyed going to jazz clubs with her friend Jestima Grene. When she chose to marry Gard, she did so in her mother's wedding dress, which had belonged to her grandmother and great-grandmother before them. The dress was made of fine braeside wool in a soft green, in a long tunic style with a finely embroidered overdress looped back to show the  tunic from hem to thigh. It was charmed for joy, and so when Tess's daughter Pia announced her intention of marrying, Tess immediately offered the gown. As Pia was taller, it had to be lengthened, which meant unpicking the tucks put in for shorter brides. Tess had this done, and Pia duly wore the dress. Her shawl was a gift from her parents, giving her a keepsake that never needed to be returned. The dress was used next when Pia's sister Alba married Farren Willow. After that, it went back into storage until 1969, when Pia's elder daughter, Melody, wore it for her wedding to Roderick Skipton. Pia's younger daughter, Leilana, wore it in 1985, and Melody's daughter, Ryl Skipton, in 1999. Alba's daughter Cambria wore it. Cambria has a daughter, Cèilidh, and Leilana has a daughter, Promise, who are currently (2019) the only unmarried direct female descendants of Tess Brynn.   

Tuesday, 23 July 2019


I was struck, recently, by the plethora of pet names with diminutive endings - ie, e or y. It seems common among cats and dogs. Back in the day, children were often named with a formal first name which was registered, and they were then referred to by or addressed by a diminutive.
David would be Davie, Penelope would be Penny, James would be Jimmy, Timothy would be Timmy and Florence would be Florrie. In some cases these were just shorter names, but Jimmy sounds longer than James (it has an extra syllable) and Davie is the same length as David.

Later, the fashion was to bestow the diminutive itself as a name, so Betsy, Sally, Jamie, Johnny, Jill, Tommy, Vicky, Debbie and Susie might be registered under these names rather than as Elizabeth, Sarah, James, John, Jillian, Thomas, Victoria, Deborah and Susan. Then there were names that had no formal longer form; Wendy, for example. 

There are arguments on both sides of the fence for these naming practices, so I wondered whether I'd done it with many of my more recent book characters. I came up with a few, but in most cases the names just naturally have the ie/y ending...

Out of sixty-four characters, I found Chloe, Honey, Flori, Betony, Xanthe, Melody, Tansy, Rory, Derry, Duffy and Jory. Of these eleven names Chloe has an oe ending because it's Greek, Honey is shortened from Honeycomb, (and who could blame her), Flori is short for Floribunda, Betony is the full name - a plant name. Xanthe is Greek, Melody is the full name, Tansy is another plant name,  Rory is the full name,  Derry is short for Diarmaid, (and who could blame him), Duffy is the full name, and Jory is the Cornish form of George.

That's a long way from pet names though, where it seems y rules the bunch.