The Encouraging Thunder Award

Good evening everyone!

This is another nomination I have had from the lovely Charley from the booksandbakes1 blog. Just so you know Charley my last post was my 50th and that of course is dedicated to you 🙂

Thank you for this nomination, I quite like this because it’s about my blog(s) and how they came about. I always smile when I get a nomination from Charley she’s a talented blogger and a knowledgeable reader and baker – go look at her blog and leave loads of nice comments.

The Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you.

Post the Encouraging Thunder logo. It’s here.

Mention your purpose in blogging.

Nominate others for the award.

This was my first post:

It was written on February 18th 2013 and signified the start of my blogging life (I won’t say journey – it’s so x-factor). I was encouraged by someone who I was working with at the time when they told me “See, you do have something to say” I’m grateful to my friend Lynn for doing this as I never realised how I would need this and  maybe even save my life.

I didn’t do much with my blog at first and was mainly using it for inane and random rambling (ok, no change there). I then started my techie blog (because I’m an engineer) even now this is rarely used, but I still keep it because I do find the need to post on there.

Last year was about the shittiest year I could have had in my worst nightmares, this was chiefly because my mother unexpectedly passed away and my work were being bastards to me. There was other crap, but I’m not going to get carried away. I then found my blog, the one place where I could express and articulate what I was going through. So I started using it more and more.

During all this time I was getting idea for stories, short, big, inspired by ideas, music and all kinds of things. I have a whole list of ideas for stories and the list keeps growing. The only way to itch this scratch was to.. write. Which I’m trying to do all the time.So that’s when was born. There’s not much on there yet, but I’m gradually writing stuff and through the inspiration of my new friend Rachael Ritchey I’m pushing myself to write more and more. By the way – you MUST get Rachael’s book the Beauty Thief. Just do it ok?

So there you are – my soul and the start of my blogging life laid bare. As always, this is just the beginning… make what comes next better!

My nominations for The Encouraging Thunder Award are:






There’s no pressure to do this – this is a gesture of gratitude to some good Bloggies. Thank you to all my bloggies for being so great. I love you all 🙂

Simon 🙂

The Summer Book Reading Tag

Hello lovely Bloggies!

I was nominated for this by the lovely Charley from the booksandbakes1 blog. Go and look up her blog and make sure you read it and love loads of nice comments because she’s lovely and deserves lots of credit for her blog as she works hard on it in the little time she has (like me really).

I’m not going to fill in all the sections for this with books I’ve read, there’s going to be a few I want to read bits in this as I ‘m a slow reader and I’ve been tackling some goliath’s recently. So I’ve not been going for quantity for sure.

Lemonade: Pick a book that started off bitter, but got better.

I’m not sure I’ve had one like this…

Golden sun: Pick a book that made you smile beyond compare.

This book always makes me laugh – the humour is great and the little quirks confuse and amuse.

Tropical flowers: Pick a book set in a foreign country.

It’s not flowery, but it’s set in a foreign country. This is a great bit of Military grit.

Tree shade: Pick a book in which a mysterious or shady character was first introduced.

Professor Moriarty only appeared in the Sherlock Holmes stories once, despite the impressions you are given by other stories and re-makes. When you are given his description, Moriarty is what you would envisage as a typical professor of those times and with a vast intelligence used for evil.

Beach sand: Pick a book that was grainy and the plot barely developed.

I’ve read books like this i think – but I’ve forgotten them.

Green grass: Pick a character(s) that is(are) full of life making you smile.

Who wouldn’t want to be a Hobbit?
Watermelon: Pick a book that had some juicy secrets.

The captain of the spaceship in this story had a woman on Earth and a woman on Mars. The ships medic had also been the subject of his sexual desire. The book offered briefly an insight into sex in space – most of which was left the the reader’s imagination.

Sun hat: Pick a book that has a vast universe setting.

I dug this out in a tidy up and it brought back memories of a pretty good fiction within fiction of a Star Trek story.

BBQ: Pick a book in which a character is portrayed as a hunk.

Being a guy I’m not into hunks, I’m making this about a babe… for which I’m going to double Rendezvous with Rama – the ships medic sounded kinda tasty to me! 😉

I would like to thank Charley again – keep smiling and I’ll make sure I keep annoying you 🙂








I would love it if you all did this, I know it’s not really summer now. If you don’t have time don’t worry – I’ve selected some old bloggies and some new.

Simon 🙂

Scorched Planet – Part 2

As David stood there. looking out over the terrain, the storm started calming. It was eerie, like the eye of the storm was passing over him suddenly. The terrain became more visible and he could now make out more detail. He looked up, the quieting of the storm gave way to the sounds of his life support and his heavy artificial breathing. The storm wasn’t passing, it was lifting. Some distance, maybe 100 metres above him, he could see the storm still raging.

A notification flashed in his heads up with a gentle beep. The data download was complete. David pulled out the wire and secured it back into it’s pouch.

“Control this is Hicks1512, please can you send out a ride to pick me up, I’ve had enough of walking through this and the storm has… risen I suppose.

“Affirmative Hicks1512” crackled through the reply “Lauren has just volunteered *crack* annndd.. ” with crackled screech the transmission ended.

“Control this is Hicks 1512, get it together!” There was nothing but the sound of static.

“Control respond please” David caught a few human sounds among the garbles static. With resignation he realised he had lost contact, he hoped Lauren would be here soon because he suddenly felt strange. David thought he was alone, but as the dust settled from the storm he couldn’t see far and something troubled him.

As he thought this, he felt the ground vibrating. Inpercievably at first but his feet sank into the dry dirt as he felt the strength of the vibration increased. Looking around for the cause David looked out over the plain and out of the dust storm he made out a vast spacecraft emerging. It seemed round in shape, probably 50 metres tall although he couldn’t tell how big it’s diameter was, it must have been hundreds of metres. Lights were visible around the flat rim and a blue glow was visible through the dust, located in what he assumed was the centre of the vessel. There was a loud hum coming from it, this was causing the ground to vibrate and his head hurt with it.

David watched as dark grey hull of the spacecraft moved across his view, keeping itself mostly hidden in the swirling dust above. It was moving across and away from him now, it was like nothing he had ever seen. Human spacecraft were nothing like this and all his could do was stand in wondered awe, not noticing his feet sinking still further he suddenly felt the grip of the soil and he pulled himself out of the dirt. David was on this hands and knees watching the spacecraft drift away, losing altitude it gently lowered, the hum of whatever passed as it’s engines quieting and then falling silent as it landed. He wasn’t sure but it was maybe 10 kilometers away.

With stunned disbelief he stared into the dust, only just making out it’s shape. All he could hear was his laboured breathing. He looked down onto the Orchid he had found only minutes before “This is turning out to be an interesting day” he said with more than a little irony.

“Hicks1512 please can you hear me?” came a crackled and distorted voice from control.

“Affirmative control, I lost contact with you and the signal isn’t great, but I can hear you now!”

“What happened?” the crackled voice asked with urgency?

David stood up awkwardly, his suit being a pain to move in, looking out toward the space craft “I’m not sure you would believe me if I told you!”

“What does that mean?”

“Just that” for a few seconds David paused “I have just observed an unidentified space craft very close to my location. It has landed about ten kilometres away” He waited for the response.

“Have you found a way to drink whiskey in that suit?”

“No I haven’t, I said you wouldn’t believe me” David barked back at them “Where’s Lauren?”

“She’s on her way Hicks1512” the reply still crackled and distorted. With nothing else to do but wait David sat down and looked out into the distance straining to see something. David’s excitement was tempered with caution. He could only guess their purpose here, maybe they were responsible for this re-generation that he had just found. Just then, spots of water appeared on his visor, only the odd few at first, then more and more… it started raining. The drops of rain tapping on his outer helmet, it hadn’t rained on Earth for decades, what was going on? This was unbelievable!

“Control this is Hicks1512, it’s raining here. Is it raining there?”

“Hicks1512, that’s affirmative. We can’t believe it. Lauren should only be a few minutes, get straight back here”

David didn’t answer, he had another plan. Just then from behind him a Rover pulled up, it’s huge wheels carving tracks in the now sodden dirt. The side door opened, climbing in and sealing the door the red light showed as the air was replenished. After a few moments, the light turned green. David removed his helmet, hanging it up. The door to the drivers cabin slid open.

“It’s been quite a day for you with little find and now this rain” Lauren chirrped, smiling as David worked his way in clumsily, water dripping off his suit.

“That’s just half of it babe.” David replied “Do you fancy and an adventure?” he smiled mysteriously.

“What kind of adventure?” Lauren asked, knowing to be worried as he had got one of his little plans on his mind.

David motioned “Drive that way for a bit and I’ll explain”

*No ownership claimed on pictures*

Copyright 2015 Simon Farnell

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The Fire of the Dragon


My wonderful friend Erika Kind nominated me for this award and I’m so honoured she did. I’ve been pestering her and generally taking up her time and it’s good to know that this friendship is valued. Thanks Erika, you really are a wonderful person. You really need to see her blog if you haven’t already, with daily posts on inspiring quotes and music it’s always something to brighten the dullest of days.


This is what the creator said about the award: The Dragon’s Loyalty Award is an award for the loyal fan/commenter’s, whether the recipient is a fellow blogger or just a someone who follows and comments regularly. 

Rules for the award:

  • Accept the award with thanks.
  • Give your readers 5 facts about you.
  • Nominate other bloggers and let them know.

Here are five facts about me regarding loyalty

  1.  I don’t have many friends outside this bogging community, but there are great people here. I will always stick by those that are my friends and help if ever I can.
  2. I have sometimes found I have been naive in my loyalty.
  3. Once I have fallen in love with something (music, people, brands etc…) It takes a lot to make me fall out of love with them.
  4. Because I’m an engineer I often find machines or gadgets easier to understand than people.
  5. I don’t like conflict, especially between friends.

In no particular order, my nominations are:

Inside The Life Of Moi



Erika (I know she nominated me, I couldn’t leave her off – sue me!)










I’ve nominated those that I talk with most and share the closest bond with. Some of you may have already been recommended, don’t worry you don’t have to do this twice – just consider yourself extra awesome!

Simon 🙂

Perplexing Pluto

I love space stuff and the Pluto mission has been something I’ve watched with great interest. So whe I saw this I had to share it. It’s amazing what we can do really.

See the full article on:

Pluto's surface

Pluto in enhanced color

Volkswagen – Why it’s not a surprise


Oh dear, poor Volkswagen have had to admit they’ve been cheating the system and that many of their cars emit more pollutants than is stated in their car’s blurb. Shocked – no. Why? Let me explain…

Lets take the three basic elements of the car and what they mean:

Fuel – The fuel is pretty much the same we’ve been using for years, within some tolerance when you burn it, it will emit a        load of crap, how much depends on the purity of the fuel.

Engine – Burning fuel in a controlled way to create efficient movement energy. By mucking about with it efficiency and            emissions and power can all be made better, but there’s no way you can make all of them better. It’s trade off.

Car – It has four wheels and it takes a certain amount of force to push it forward depending on how heavy this is and              that’s the force needed by the engine to drive the car.

The only thing we need to think about here is the engine as the other elements haven’t changed much (ok, cars have probably got heaver needing more force to drive, a bigger engine usually solves this). The last I heard, no-one has found the silver bullet to making a mega efficient engine that delivers the power that we want to as drivers and it’s common knowledge that you cannot get the same miles to the gallon efficiency that that the car blurb also states.

This means when we drive, unless we drive more efficiently, we are not burning less fuel than we thought and therefore we have to be emitting the same amount of pollutants. It’s my suspicion that VW isn’t the only car maker screwing with their emissions data and this is just the tip of a large and ugly iceberg. What this means is that car makers have been easing our conscience by making the driver think they’re helping the environment. If we think about it though were we only kidding ourselves into thinking this?

Simon 🙂

The Scorched Planet

It was never an easy task going for a walk onto the planet’s surface. Today was even worse as there was a hurricane raging outside, and had been for weeks. This walk had been put off numerous times because of the weather but it couldn’t be put off any more as the data buffers were full on the all the remote instruments and needed to be downloaded and reset. David Hicks was one of the six technician’s being sent out to do this job. He pulled on his helmet with a sense of resignation, Lauren was helping him get it on.

“Be careful out there David” She pleaded. It was always tough for her coping seeing David go out on these missions and she struggles to hold back her tears.

“I’ll be fine” David reassured her, taking the helmet for a moment he leaned forward and kissed her tenderly on the lips.

“How come you get to go? You’ve going to be out there in that!”

“I’m just lucky I guess and last time it was fourteen hours because I got stuck” Lauren wasn’t impressed with either of these answers.

“Don’t be funny, not now…” She started to say, David put his suited finger to her lips.

“Shush. It’ll be ok – really” David had to say this, but the reality was that he hated it as much as she did, the vehicles were useless in this wind and the dust would make them seize up. The only good thing was that he had only the one instrument to maintain. “Help me on with this helmet babes, please.” The helmet was lowered down and and locked into place. As it locked the heads up displays flashed onto the inner visor. All his oxygen readouts, heart rate, weather updates and he could even send and receive emails. What he liked though was that he had modified this suit so he could play his music, this was a great boredom killer

Lauren looked through the visor at him “take care – I love you!” She shouted through to him.

“I love you too babes, could you open the inner airlock please” Turning she walked to the door controls and the massive inner door opened up as David walked in the door shut behind him, when it sealed a green light shone and Lauren pressed the button opening the outer door. As the door cracked open David heard the raging storm blast into the airlock.

“Visibility down to between 20 and 50 metres, tracking and guidance engaged. I will report progress as I go. Please let me know of any changes in conditions”

The voice of a control room operator crackled in his earpiece”Acknowledged 1512 Hicks, please be careful and get back safe”

“Will do my best” David replied as he took the first steps out and onto the rough terrain, I’m hoping you soft guys in control are going to buy my drink tonight, otherwise you’re doing this next time”

“It’s a deal 1512”

David allowed himself a small chuckle, they knew they had the best deal so drink was a no-brainer. The wind was blowing him about, but the weight and mechanical assistance offered by the suit meant he could push through without too much effort. The wind was howling outside only inches away from his fragile human body. “Play me some DC/DC” David commanded It took a few seconds to process the command, then the helmet filled with the best epic rock. “Oh yeah, he said to himself, with this playing I could rally kick some” with renewed vigour in his pace David walked away from the station, onto his destination.


Stopping for a moment to rest he stared at the rugged landscape and thought how this planet was once lush and full of life, that was before a huge rock slammed into the planet, before Armageddon. The sea boiled, the land was washed away and them steamed with the boiling oceans. Now here he was, trying to bring life back to a dead planet. David started off again, he didn’t know if it was his imagination, but the thought the wind was dying off a bit.

Eventually after more time than David wanted to think about he reached the monitoring station. A small robotic cluster gathering all kinds of data that would help them work out how effective the terraforming was on the environment. David plugged in waited for the data to download. His instincts were right, the wind was easing, as he stood there he looked down to check over the monitoring station when to his shock he saw something white, growing out of the ground. Looking again in disbelief he raised control.

“Control this is 1512 Hicks, can you see this on my suit cam? Are you getting this?”

“Affirmative 1512 Hicks, we can see there is some kind of white vegetation”

“Vegetation?” He replied “That’s an Orchid” David never thought he would see one in his life, but there it was, as plain as the hands in front of him.” In excitement he exclaimed to control “It looks like planet Earth is coming back to life!” As he looked about for more, he could now see in the near distance, small flecks of white and as the dust cleared briefly in the valley, he could swear he saw shades of green.

*No ownership claimed on pictures*

Copyright 2015 Simon Farnell

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One Liner Challenge

I was nominated by Beaton to this one liner challenge, what I have to do is real simple, add a single line to this story (and on a not entirely unrelated aside I must say some people have really weird minds)
 My line is at the bottom of the post in italics.

Chapter 1…THE BEACH
It was a warm sunny day and sea was an almost transparent shade of blue.
I lay there, watching the waves lap on the shore, a drink in hand, a tear rolling down my cheek.
I stand up yelling at that boy who threw this load of sand into my eyes and my drink when he jumped over me.
I then grabbed my water gun, running fast after him, I was laughing, he was jumping over people to escape. He turned to look at me, but didn’t see the two children in front of him carrying two delicious looking ice cream cones.
As he barreled into the children, knocking the ice-cream from their grasp, I caught one of the scoops of pistachio and hurled it at his head as I fell laughing to the ground!
And what luck, his mouth was open and he gulped down the scoop, spitting nuts rapid-fire style like a rabid squirrel! And wouldn’t you know it, a squirrel leaped from a nearby tree, performing a flying maneuver worthy of the best traveling circus family, catching the nuts in his mouth in mid-air!!
It was all too fantastical and I wondered for a moment if I’d forgotten to take my medication earlier…or perhaps I took too much!
I opened my eyes with a jolt, peeled my face from the sticky plastic beach lounger, and rubbed my eyes-sun and too many mojitos make for ridiculous dreams!
Unaware to her, the man behind the one way mirror furiously scribbled down notes and couldn’t help but marvel at how his creation truly believed IT was a real human being and he hadn’t even begun stage 2984DU which everyone with his intellect knows is when the real fun starts!
Professor James Loxet knew he had just one more test to carry out before the implant of the 2984DU chip, Just one more social situation, the dinner party. The thought of going to this party, surrounded by so many people, just made James cringe to his core, he hated crowds of people! Yet, at the nagging of his close friends, James, picked himself up from the beach and headed home to change for the party. Despite his nagging headache and the gnaw of anxiety in his gut, James found a sort of peace in the ritual of dressing.
The party was a very formal affair, so James decided to put on his best black tuxedo. He stood before a mirror, fidgeting at the tight-fit of his white shirt and tie, trying to feel comfortable.
The minute he walked through the rotating doors, he was greeted by Brenda, a horrid woman with a snaggletooth and unibrow who spoke through her nose and mocked his work, calling him Mr. Latex.
The back of his psyche buzzing, “Mr Latex will read your entrails!” hisses toward her.
His thought was interrupted as his eyes landed on Robin, mesmerizing in strapless long black dress with hair tied high on her head, flashing her glowing skin. Mrs. Robin, he clenched his teeth as he reminded himself of her new status.Just as he was imagining how different his life could have been if he had married her, Robin felt his eyes trailing the length of her body and gave him a cold, hard look before turning her back to him.
James would not let her go so easily, no matter her status; he rushed behind her, pressed himself against her back as one hand gripped her wrist and the other pressed firmly on her stomach. The pain of a stiletto heel shot through him, and as he released his grip on her, Robin spun round,and James doubled over in agony as her knee made contact with his balls. Why oh why, after previously ripping the very expensive fitted sheet his mother had bought him for Christmas, had he let her persuade him to wear those stilettos in bed again?

He slowly straightened himself and quickly did a scan around the room to see who may have witnessed what had just happened…good, no one, it seemed, and sauntered over to the bar, in his ‘no, I wasn’t just kneed in the balls’ kinda way.

Behind the bar stood the lovely Karen, whose eyes looked on James with pity. “May I have a bag of ice?” he asked looking down at the floor. “I saw what happened James. You need more than ice. Meet me in the upstairs bedroom and I will take care of you.”

Karen slipped out from behind the bar as James walked away. She watched him head up the stairs, and then followed him up. The bedroom door was open. She closed it, fastening them both in the room. His eyes widened at the sight of her teeth. Long. Sharp. Pointed. A vampire? “I know what you’re thinking, but vampires don’t get cavities,” Karen opened her mouth and pointed to three fillings in her molars then to her sharp canines, “these are just something all werewolves are born with.”“See this shiny clip on my tie Karen” James asked, hands fidgeting with something in his pockets “Silver.”

Just then the door flew open, James spun round (as well as one can with pummelled balls) and saw a robot standing there. After a short and awkward pause the robot said “A metaphysical dichotomy is affecting this program – Leave now”

We will have to find out what he has in his pocketses from Rachael Ritchie (Next Victim)

Rules, these things always have rules:

1. Write one line in an ongoing story
2. Pass the challenge onto the next victim/nominee
3. Link back to your nominator
4. Link back to Rich at Shine On: Wafflemethis who created the challenge
5. Copy and paste all the previous story and add your line in italics
6. If you decide you don’t want to take part, please contact Rich at Waffles so he can send it elsewhere and keep his story going



This is blog post 42.

42 is a very significant number for me – it’s the answer to life the universe and everything according to Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Most of you now are thinking that I should be confined to a darkened sealed room and left for a while to heal as the stress is getting to me and I’ve finally flipped.

For the most part you’re not wrong, however I’m a special breed – I’m and engineer and as such every engineer needs to have read this – by law!Other people are allowed to read this book of course, but only the engineer needs the education provided within it’s pages to survive. The ironic, satirical and clever humour and random, seemingly unconnected events prepare the engineer for all of this in their life.


Along with this there is the advice to always carry a towel and… don’t panic. This kind of advice is invaluable and if there’s one thing in life I’ve learned, it’s not to panic. Often things are worse than they seem.

So this is my small and rather unusual celebration of post number 42.

Keep smiling and remember – don’t panic!

Simon 🙂

Minecraft Steve’s Long Dark Walk #BlogBattle #Writers


“Great – I’m back where I started” thought Steve. It was night and he had spawned back into the Forest where he started. Looking around he tried to work out which way to go to get back to the house. Turning left he hurried through the trees, keeping a watch out for any of the monsters that come out at night. The groan of a zombie had him worried that he might be caught sooner than he expected, but seeing nothing he kept going. On and on through countless trees he ran. His thoughts turned back to how he ended up here. He had found a good seam of Iron Ore as the darkness has started setting in, foolishly he had kept mining then on the way back fallen from a cliff running from a creeper.

“Is it my Imagination” he thought to himself “I’m sure the trees didn’t go this far last time.” The trees began thinning “any moment now there should be the sea” Steve said quietly under his breath. It was then that his worst fear was realised – he had gone the wrong way and had reached the desert. Looking out onto the plain before him a large group of monsters, everything from creepers to zombie pigmen were strutting about the place.

“It’s a good thing I don’t have to go across this” He said to himself. Steve was annoyed that he hadn’t realised sooner that he had been going the wrong way, now he had a far greater distance to cover. Turning around and making fast tracks back the other way. Two zombies had spotted him and made their sombre walk towards him, but they they were too slow to keep up. Rushing back the way he come he swerved as he came across something living, this time it was only a cow. He had now reached the place where he had spawned, without stopping he passed the site as two spiders jumped out of the dark. With a sharp chomp one of them bit him, his health dropped to half, but he didn’t stop.


He started recognizing where he was now, there was the signs were he had been mining only the day before. Looking ahead he could see the lights of his torches glowing around his house, feeling elated and that he might actually make it, Steve slowed as he approached the house. Looking through the thinning trees he could see the sea and the dark shapes that were squid jumping about in their random pattern. Finally he caught a glimpse of the house and his heart sank. There was a group of monsters outside the house, a skeleton a zombie and a few zombie pigmen. Steve was going to have to get past them to get to his house and food which he needed desperately now as he was hungry and his health was very low.

Making a run for it, Steve ran out of the trees. Running past the skeleton and narrowly missing his arrow, both the zombie and the zombie pigmen groaned and started walking towards him. The door to the house, was getting closer and closer. He was nearly there when he could see it was wide open, realising he must have left it open before he went off the day before. “Good” thought Steve “I don’t need to open the door” in Steve bolted, turning sharply he closed the door as the monsters gathered outside. Steve allowed himself a smile as he poked fun at the monsters, now not able to harm him. He turned around and there before him, oh no! Creeper!