Word on a Whim

The Lighthouse Tarot – available for purchase

My small print run of The Lighthouse Tarot has been delivered:

I am selling them for £22 per deck plus postage by Royal Mail:

Price including postage for a single pack/deck:

UK standard 1st class: £22.00 + £3.85 = £25.85

UK standard 2nd class:  £22.00 + £3.20 = £25.20

Europe no tracking:  £22.00 +  £5.95 = £27.95

Europe tracked:  £22.00 +  £10.25 = £32.25

USA no tracking:  £22.00 + £10.95 = £32.95

USA tracked:  £22.00 + £13.45 =  £35.45

Canada no tracking: £22.00 + £8.30 = £30.30

Canada tracked: £22.00 + £12.70 = £34.70

Australia no tracking: £22.00 + £9.60 = £31.60

Australia tracked: £22.00 + £13.85 = £35.85

Please use the Contact Form to order a deck or to enquire about other postage options or for multiple decks.

 The cards come in a cardboard tuck box.  There is no booklet but a list of definitions can be found by clicking on “Tarot Card Meanings” tab or menu option.

They are standard tarot-size 7cm x 12cm, printed in the UK on 320gsm card with smooth finish – very easy to shuffle and fan.

Thank you 🙂

Idea for a children’s video game with minimal graphics. Free to use – you’re welcome!

This idea began in a dream, and then developed during my most alert hours between 2am-4am.

I’m old enough to be one of those who enjoyed colouring books and crayons or felt-tips, and never got into gaming. My favourite toy was a collection of plastic farm animals. I spent hours arranging them into little herds and flocks, then moving them from one place to another (across the carpet) and securing them into little pens. Back then, I thought the countryside was idyllic, and the farm animals were kept as pets. When I realised that was not the case, I refused to eat meat … but that’s a different story.

If computer games had been available when I was little, the game I have created in my mind is the one I would have enjoyed.

Not sure whether it should be targeted at three-to-six-year-olds, or under-fives.

“Rise and Shine Farmyard” is what I called it, but call it what you want.

I think this idea might be useful to a student who is lacking inspiration for a project, or any company wishing to create a low-budget game. No realistic animation required – just a progression of still pictures and with some animal sound effects.

This is how it works:

Farmyard scene/landscape initially (but more scenes could be added, such as garden pets or horse livery stables).

Start with dimly lit farmyard scene. Sepia or greyscale. Faint crescent moon. Sun just peaking over the horizon. A farmyard with outbuildings surrounded by fields.

  • Cows in cowshed
  • Cat asleep on hay in loft above
  • Horse in stable
  • Pigs in piggery
  • Hens in hen house
  • Sheep in sheltered pen
  • Dog in kennel
  • Ducks asleep at side of pond

Click/tap on each sleeping animal and it transitions to its daytime position. Or possibly drag and drop to desired area. Little or no animation. Animal noise on click.

For example:

Click on each cow and it disappears from cowshed with a “moo” and appears in a field eating grass. Click on each duck and it disappears from pond-side and appears in pond with a “quack” etc.

As each animal moves, the sun rises a little, and the scene becomes brighter and more colourful. The moon fades away and by the time the last animal is clicked, the sun is high in the sky.

The game can then be restarted, or done in reverse to put all the animals back to bed.

It’s as simple as that … but a heck of a lot of work for someone! 🙂

Car Insurance Employment Status

I was made redundant in the spring.  It wasn’t a surprise; it was a planned closure of the firm I worked for. This week, when my car insurance came up for renewal, I phoned the insurance company to update them with the change of details. Since I’m no longer commuting a hundred miles each day, I expected the policy price to be reduced.  Instead, it went up!

“I know, it’s bananas isn’t it,” said the guy on the phone.  He explained that my change of employment status to unemployed had caused the increase.  WTF?!  What exactly are the connotations of unemployment that would trigger an increase when my annual mileage has reduced from twenty-five thousand miles to five thousand?  I decided to try elsewhere.

I found a better deal on a comparison website, but couldn’t select “commuting” as I’d selected “unemployed”.  Bloody computers!  I was also miffed because the no claims discount was dependent on the renewal notice, and the previous insurer didn’t care beyond ten years so that’s what their renewal schedule said, despite me joining them a couple of years ago with far more years’ no claims.  Grrrr!

Too much time to think, I guess, but I ended up phoning the new company to ask if I could add commuting, in case I forget to do it when I get a job, and also to check that it wouldn’t massively raise the price.

Several layers of call vectoring and twenty minutes of crap music later, a real person answered the phone. (I wasn’t sure at first, these robots are getting good at impersonation!)  I asked the lady to add “commuting” and the price went up a little. Then, I asked her to change my employment status from “unemployed” to “housewife”, explaining that I’m not claiming benefits – just taking some time out, and the price came down a few quid lower than if I was unemployed and not commuting. Confused.com? I am now!

What exactly is a “housewife” and why are they less of a car insurance liability than someone who is “unemployed”?  I imagine many housewives are busy ferrying children to various activities; doing the school run at peak times; trying to park in spaces too small; popping to the supermarket on the way home, and then taking the dog to the vet. Meanwhile, the unemployed person is sitting in the house browsing jobs on the internet … and paying more for their car insurance at a time when they could really do with paying less :-/

Sex scenes in fiction

I blogged about writing sex scenes back in May 2012 but here we go again.  Not because I’m fixated (my partner will vouch for that!) but because I feel it’s a difficult subject to write about and have respect for authors who achieve it sensitively, without being off-putting or sounding like a biology book.

I read 99p Kindle books, selected from suggestions that come up on my Facebook news feed.  Before splashing out 99p, I read the description and some reviews – and it’s surprising how opinions differ.  Some of these books are so good I feel guilty that I only paid 99p.  Others are crap and I either abandon them or rush through, wondering how they got such good reviews.

When reading a paperback, you see the title and the author every time you pick it up and if there’s a character that wasn’t built strongly enough to remember who they are you can easily recap to the point where they came in. With Kindle, I tend to forget the name of the author and the title of the book. I can’t recall who wrote the sex scenes in this 99p book I’m half way through but the cringe-making nature of the following snippets means I’m either going to ditch this book, rush it through, or plough on out of morbid curiosity in case there are any more of these gems:

Name that tune! 

Never did feel hypnotherapy would work for me.

“her actual vagina” :-/

Update 26/07/21 – a couple of good ones from the crime fiction I’ve just finished:

Stop unfolding me!

Sounds like a bad bathroom experience!

Whilst it’s easy to take the Mickey, I’m not claiming I could do much better.  I only attempt a sex scene if it’s relevant and it would be cheating the reader to simply leave the couple at it and move on to the next chapter.  I find sex scenes excruciating to write and therefore I imagine not too easy to read. 

The 99p book I have quoted from has lots of five-star reviews, otherwise I wouldn’t have bought it.  My own 99p book (available from a link on this site) only has two reviews – both of them five-star.  Hilariously, one of those reviews is from someone who hadn’t yet read it!  Guessing they must’ve been taken with Dean Harkness’s cover design!

John Sherwood’s ambient music

I had a lovely surprise in the post this morning from my friend and former colleague, John Sherwood:

John is a composer of ambient music.  Some is for meditation – ideal for blocking out summer’s intrusive relay of lawn mowers and strimmers, whilst pieces such as The Saturn Suite send you flying through the cosmos with an ear on the response of the rocket’s engine as it propels you into infinity and beyond …  Does anyone else feel slightly weird thinking about infinity?  What if you had a rocket that generated its own fuel and could go on forever and ever  ……?

The Lighthouse composition seems to work equally well as foreground or background sound, having the energy to help you on a journey of the imagination but without taking over. It would provide an ideal backing theme for a tarot reading, or to create atmosphere in a video or montage. 

That’s probably enough pretentious twaddle from me. Let the music speak for itself!

 Here’s a link to a wide range sound samples, MP3 downloads and CDs:

https://johnsherwood.bandcamp.com/

… and here is the link to The Lighthouse Tarot CD:

https://johnsherwood.bandcamp.com/album/the-lighthouse-tarot

Cheers John 🙂

Another review of The Lighthouse Tarot

Thank you Kayleigh for this lovely review 🙂

The Light Creatures Tarot – work in progress

I have no plans for a second print run of The Lighthouse Tarot – at least not for the foreseeable future.  Sales of The Lighthouse Tarot (there are still some left!) will be used to fund the printing of my current work in progress, The Light Creatures Tarot.  I started working on it before The Lighthouse Tarot was published and it won’t be finished for ages yet, but a few lovely people have expressed an interest in the current project, so I am sharing a preview here.

The Light Creatures Tarot” is a working title and might possibly change.  I feel that The Lighthouse Tarot has … a lightness about the whole deck, whereas some of my creatures so far have a bit of attitude about them. 

Here we have The Magician, The Hermit, Death & Rebirth, The Tower, The Moon and The Sun:

Love and Light 🙂

xxx

Video review of The Lighthouse Tarot

When I put a copy of the deck in the post to wing its way across the Atlantic to Jennifer, I had no idea this lovely lady has a YouTube channel, and was delighted to discover this review of The Lighthouse Tarot.

I love Jennifer’s warmth, humour and insightfulness – and the ironic connection with the Ten of Swords!  I also love the interaction with Baker the cat who appears to be able to count to seventy-eight and took centre-stage right on cue 🙂

Thank you, Jennifer!

The Lighthouse Tarot in action!

Donna was one of the first to buy The Lighthouse Tarot and it made my day when I was queueing for a Covid jab today and she sent me this link to a video of the cards in action. I am so impressed with Donna’s intuitive readings and her lovely voice!

The Lighthouse Tarot – more photos

I have been asked for more photos of the cards, so here are a few of the sample pack that I am keeping and using:

This is the back of the cards with a ‘choppy sea’ effect:

Enjoy 🙂

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