Carnival, Agatha and finishing the audiobook – I hope!

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So the start of this week kind of started a bit slow mainly because I’m getting on in my years (I’m 50 this year) and I can’t hack it when my son wants me to take him to the Carnival.

In my defence, it was the big Irn Bru Carnival at the SEC in Glasgow, we were there three-and-a-half hours, the noise was deafening (lots of competing pop tunes played at ear splitting intensity) and there were loads of flashing lights – everywhere. I’ve never been one for the carnival. I did go to our local one in Neilston a few times in my teens, but I never truly enjoyed it. This one is indoors, in a big echoing shed type structure and there were loads of visual and aural stresses.

The boy was there with his friends who met us there, so, while the boys went off to enjoy the carnival, me – Methuselah that I am – went to the food court to sit and wait for them. And wait and wait. I bought myself a very ordinary hotdog with very ordinary chips and some tasteless chilli on top. That plus a bottle of water set me back £11 – daylight robbery if you ask me. It wasn’t that nice, but I ate it anyway. Then I tried to read my book, which was impossible due to the aforementioned noise and people and noise and flashing lights – oh yeah, and the noise.

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So, I sat on my tod for three hours waiting for the boys to get fed up and want to go home. They didn’t, but thankfully the boy (with whom the others had come with) had contacted his father to come and get them. So we had to wait another half an hour for him.

Anyway, I digress, back to sitting dolefully people watching on that hard wooden bench at that sticky drink laden bench table. The only good thing to come out of the event (apart from my boy have a ball with his friends) was the people watching. Oh my God, there were some sights there I can tell you. I don’t know what it is about some Glaswegians, but they wear summer clothes in the middle of winter. Sunday afternoon was really cold and, although the hall was warm, I wondered at folk coming out without proper winter clothes on.

And the fashion was fun too. There were lots of very young women, plastered with makeup, glossy hair scraped back in a ponytail or worn long, wearing the latest fashions. Some had their children with them or a gaggle of friends or their young looking boyfriends. One in particular, a young mum pushing a white pram (they always have white prams this type) was an attractive girl with too much makeup and eyebrows drawn into pointed perfection. At her side was a wee girl of about four in designer clothes complete with a dummy tit in her mouth and a huge bag of pink candyfloss which was almost as big as her. The mother was sporting a pale pink, fake fur skipcap. I’ve never seen one before. I didn’t think they existed. Anyway, the pair plus small baby in pram (I think, she had the hood up so you couldn’t see it), wafted past me en route to meet a young man I can only presume was dad. He had on long shorts, no socks, trainers, a t-shirt that showed off his tattooed arms and sported an earring in one ear. He was perma-tanned – like his partner – and his hair was rigid with some sort of wet look hair gel. Neds R Us.

Anyway, I eventually left the SEC around 4.30pm and we got home just after 5pm. The boy, who claimed all I had done was sit and do nothing all afternoon, couldn’t understand why I was so tired. Just wait til you’re doing this with your kids, I thought smugly, then you’ll see.

Anyway, enough of my tirade. How was your week? Was it busy? Did you get loads done? I am permanently busy.  Last week, I took some time away from studying and writing to go to a 4N networking meeting at the Hard Rock Café in Glasgow. It was really good. Everyone was really welcoming and it was good to meet new people – two of whom live nearby! I handed out some cards and connected with a few folk on LinkedIn so we’ll see what happens.

M C Beaton

I’m still making my way through the Agatha Raisin books and recently finished The Haunted House one, which was a fun read. I really like the books. They are a nice easy read and I enjoy the stories. I was sorry to hear that their author – and creator of the Hamish MacBeth books – M C Beaton (above) died over Christmas. Apparently, she was a lovely lady. Anyway, I look forward to starting the next one which is Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance.

Still reading the Pompeii book. It’s taking so long, not because I’m not enjoying it (I am), but because I’ve been binge watching Bones until late so haven’t had the time or energy to read when I go to bed. Plus I’ve been reading those Agatha Raisin books in between.

What else has been happening? I’ve been continuing to work on my script plus the finishing touches to the book blurb for my next in the Nina Esposito adventure series, The Jacobite’s Share. I sent that over to my book cover designer this week and hope to launch it by the end of March. Watch this space for more details!

Am still struggling to get the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia out. I’ve made the changes required by the company who will upload it to Audible, so hopefully I’ll be able to launch that soon.

Right, that’s it for today. Due to a glut of hen eggs, I baked over the weekend, so am going to have a cup of tea right now along with a fairy cake. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

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I’m baaaaaack!

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Okay, so it’s been a wee while since I’ve written a blog on this site and it’s safe to say it’s because I was getting really stressed out before Christmas. There was still so much to do to prepare for Christmas Day itself and I also had social media stuff to do. And then, on top of that, I was extremely tired. So, I thought ‘stuff it’ and then I thought ‘I’m a freelancer, I can do what I want’ and then I thought ‘I’m shutting up shop early’. And I did just that. I did all I needed to do with regards my social media business, I tied up some loose ends with some other work I was doing and then I shut up shop.

Thank goodness I did as I had a whole load of things to do (present wrapping etc) before the big day itself.

So, how was your Christmas and New Year? Did you have a good one? I really enjoyed the festive period this year. I think it’s because I decided to put my feet up and not do very much. I had my parents and a friend for Christmas Day (plus the kids and dogs), which was great fun. My parents stayed over so we had a quiet Boxing Day up until they decided to go home in the afternoon. I’d recorded the Call the Midwife Christmas special and we watched that before devouring a huge fry up (fried square sausage, bacon, potato scone and black pudding – yum!). The programme was okay, but a bit heavy on the tartan and red hair.

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I went round to a neighbours’ house for Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve), but didn’t stay for the bells as I was driving to my parents’ house the next day for dinner. My mum, who is a great cook, made us steak pie and home-made soup and it was heavenly. I love her steak pie and soup. My sister and her family were there and after dinner we played games and had a round of general knowledge.

Aside from those three events, I didn’t do an awful lot else except binge watch The Witcher (which I thought was okay, but it was jumping all over the place story-wise which was annoying) and Bones. Also started watching the BBC’s new Dracula. Saw the first episode, not sure if I’ll watch the rest of it. It was okay. I don’t know if it’s just me being fussy about telly or that telly programmes just aren’t that good at the moment. Nothing surpasses Game of Thrones or Carnival Row for me – they were just superb, perhaps I’m expecting too much. Am also enjoying Suits and I’ve discovered a French/Flemish programme on Netflix called The Thieves in the Woods which looks quite good.

Anyway, all this tv watching and resting has meant I am back this week feeling fully refreshed and ready to take on the world.

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I’m back into writing and currently drafting up a script for a one-off tv show which I’ll not speak too much about just now other than to say I’m really enjoying doing it. Whether it gets on telly or not is another matter – I hope it does – but I’m enjoying the process of writing again.

Talking of which, the nose is back to the grindstone for The Jacobite’s Share which I am planning to bring out in March. Been drafting up the cover words and I’ll send those over to my cover designer later this week. In a couple of weeks, I will begin promoting the book and plan to do an online launch of it. So, watch this space. I also have another couple of books that need edited, so I will start working on those at some point soon.

What else have I been doing? A little bit of reading. I was sorry to hear that M C Beaton (creator of Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth) died over the festive period. I enjoy her books. They are not heavy stories, but are great when you want a murder mystery that’s not just full of ingenious clues, but are warm and funny too. I’m currently reading the Agatha Raisin murder mystery The Haunted House. I am also still reading Mary Beard’s Pompeii, which is great. There’s a lot of things I never knew about Pompeii.

Right, I am going to finish up here and wish you adieu. Got a fair few things to do before the kids come in from school. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

Just a quick post to say Merry Christmas

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It’s been a little while since I published a post and I apologise about that. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of doing stuff: building my social media business, meeting new clients, doing domestic things and getting ready for Christmas. I also had an assignment to hand in for my uni course, so that’s taken up a bit of time. It’s been a bit mental, I can tell you.

Anyway, how are you all? Are you set for Christmas? I’m just about there. The wonders of the internet mean I have my turkey (etc) ordered from Marks & Spencer, to be picked up on Christmas Eve. It comes as a crown, already stuffed and I’ve got nice bits to go with it. Easy peasy.

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The Lurgy has reached this house again. The boy was very sick overnight on Friday night and has been fighting a heavy cold ever since. I’m not sure if it’s the same bug, but it seems to be. I know a few people who have experienced similar symptoms around about here, so I think it’s just a bug that’s going around. Anyway, he’s off school today and we’re sitting watching Antman and Wasp at the moment. We both love Marvel.

Currently reading: still reading the history book about Pompeii, the one by Mary Beard. Haven’t had the time or energy for reading lately, hence the reason why I’m still on that book. Still enjoying it. It’s so well researched and written. Hopefully over the Christmas holidays I’ll have lots more time to read.

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Talking of the Christmas holidays, I have decided to take some well earned time off. This year has been really busy what with finishing the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia, doing my OU course and setting up my business. I’m in need of some time off to recharge the old batteries. So, with that in mind, I’m going to say goodbye now, I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and see you in January.

Dawn xxx

 

Another birthday, another book, another week

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So, I am writing this blog sitting on my sofa in the living room whilst an old episode of Bones is on the telly and a storm brews up outside.  And I’m wondering what nuggets of information I should share with you this week.

Firstly, I think I should apologise for being a bit late with this post this week. I’ve been really busy. I’ve been working on my uni course and on building my clientele for my social media business. Then add to that all the things I do on a daily basis and all of a sudden it’s Thursday night and I’m thinking: oh no! I haven’t written one blog this week yet.

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Right, so let’s begin with the weekend. It was my birthday last week and to celebrate not only did my parents take me out for lunch, but my friends took me out for dinner. Weirdly both events happened at the same place – Padrone’s in Helensburgh – but I was happy to go as I love the restaurant. It does a fab pizza and really nice pasta. Yum. Had a fab time on both. Also met my sister for lunch today. We went to Bill’s in West Nile Street, Glasgow and had macaroni (yes, there is an Italian theme going on here) and a good old blether. She paid cos it was my birthday last week. Thanks to everyone for taking me out. Had a great time.

Was going to put the Christmas decorations up on Sunday, but as I was feeling foggy with a hangover, I decided it would be best not to. So, I spent much of the day lying on the sofa with the dogs watching Bones. I used to watch Bones years ago, then went off it. Recently, I’ve been in the mood for it, so have been catching up with the episodes I missed. It’s good. A lot of the things they do on it are ridiculous, especially how fast they solve crime, but it’s good old fashioned entertainment. NB the decorations went up on Tuesday and Wednesday. Couldn’t be bothered doing all in one day!

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Been working on getting the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia done and out, but every time I upload it, I get an email back saying something else is wrong with it. Sigh. It’s not the recording of the voice, but room tone that’s missing. Anyway, I am going to work on it tomorrow and see if I can finally get it uploaded and accepted by the platform I’m uploading to. Watch this space for news. I will get this audiobook out soon if it kills me!! 😉

Currently reading Alternative Scriptwriting by Ken Dancyger and Jeff Rush. Just started it, so don’t have an opinion on it yet, but will let you know. Am keen to learn about scriptwriting. I really want to give one a go, so am learning everything I can about it. Early this year, I signed up to Masterclass and there’s a number of courses on screenwriting on there. S’good.

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Quick update on the chickens. For those of you who don’t know it already, I adopted four ex-battery hens in October. The poor wee souls were pretty bare about the bottom. I don’t know how their feathers disappeared from their posteriors, but it’s definitely linked to how they were kept before we got them. Did they pluck out their own feathers because they were bored and depressed? I don’t know. However, the chooks are looking a lot better these days. I’m allowing them to roam the garden in the afternoons and they are loving it. They are perky and curious, their combs are bright red and perky (unlike the pale pink, floppy combs they were when we first got them) and their feathers are starting to come in big style. They seem really happy and cluck softly as they scratch about the back garden. The dogs have been great with them. The pug seems oblivious to the fact that they are there, although she must smell them. We think she’s a bit blind and deaf (she is an old lady), so may not see them properly. She’s also very laid back, almost horizontal, so that could be it. Millie, our Jack Chi, is besotted with the hens. She just wants to sniff and play with them. However, the chickens aren’t so keen and she soon gets told off with a quick peck if she gets too close. Both her and Casper are keen eaters of chicken feed – you would think I don’t feed them! – so I have to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t go into the pen when the chickens are out. Casper is also curious about them, but is a little scared of them. It’s hilarious!

Right, I am going to finish here and go and make myself a wee cup of tea. I drank copious cups of it at Bill’s earlier, but am in the mood for another. Til next time.

Dawn xx

 

 

 

Four days in Austria… bliss!

So I went to Austria last week for four days to visit my good friend Val, who lives in the south of the country close to the Italian and Slovenian borders.

And it was fantastic.

Not only did I have four whole days to myself – although two of those were spent travelling – and get to see Val, but I got to experience a beautiful (new to me) country.

I’ve been in a number of European countries, but this was my first visit to Austria and I loved it.

Waiting at Frankfurt Airport for my connecting flight to Salzburg.
View from the flight from Frankfurt to Salzburg.

The journey there was quite long. I couldn’t get a flight from Glasgow for the day I wanted, so I had to travel to Edinburgh Airport instead. I flew to Frankfurt and then from there flew to Salzburg. Val met me at Salzburg Airport and we took the bus back to the city.

Schnitzel in Salzburg.

We spent the night in Salzburg, eating in the Mozart Cafe before finding a local Irish pub where we drank wine and enjoyed the karoake.

The following day we had breakfast in Salzburg and a good walk around. Unfortunately, we only had the morning in the city, but it gave me enough time to see some of it and it’s gorgeous. I now want to return to be a total tourist and go into the Mozart Museum and, more importantly, The Sound of Music Museum, which we found just as we were heading for the train south.

A very cold me outside the Mozart Museum.
Even McDonald’s is posh in Salzburg.
The Sound of Music Museum.
Salzburg Castle – I’m going there one day.

My lovely friend lives near Villach in a brand-new house overlooking the wonderful castle of Landskron, which was shut for the winter (I chose the wrong time of year to visit!). I fully intend to return to Austria at some point and go and explore that castle – I love castles. Apparently, it has a brilliant café where, in the summer, you can sit outside and enjoy the stunning view of the valley.

Landskron Castle,

Talking of stunning, part of the train journey south takes you through Carinthian mountains, which when we travelled down from Salzburg, was about a foot deep in snow. In fact, it didn’t stop snowing until almost the point where we reached Villach. We couldn’t see a lot because the mountains were shrouded by snowfall, but what I did see was an amazing landscape covered in snow, which was oh-so-Christmassy.

Villach getting ready for their Christmas festival.

Anyway, the following day, we went into Villach for a wander about. Unfortunately (again), they were only just setting up for their Christmas festival (I kept on missing things!), but I got a glimpse of their lights and what the festival would look like with its kiosks and ice skating and glühwein and everything else that goes with it.

The restaurant where we lunched – of course, I have forgotten its name!
Lunch – yum! Think the restaurant is called Charles!
Posh toilets.
Posh toilet door.

We lunched in local restaurant/bar which was just stunning (see the pics – sorry about the quality, it was the best I could get) and the food was lovely. We’d actually asked for a different dish, but I think we mixed the waitress up and she came out with these. It was probably my fault because I said ‘we’ll get the daily special’ to Val and when the dishes came out, Val called them a word that sounded a bit like ‘special’ so I think that’s what the waitress thought we wanted. We didn’t say anything but ate it anyway and it was lovely, kind of like a nice macaroni cheese.

Day four and it was time for me to go home. I was gutted because I had had such a lovely time with Val and seeing this gorgeous country she’s now staying in.  So, she dropped me off at Villach station and I began my epic journey home: train to Salzburg (two-and-a-half hours roughly), bus to Salzburg Airport (10 mins), flight to Frankfurt Airport, flight to Edinburgh Airport, bus to Glasgow, train home, picked up at the station by my dad who, along with my mum, were babysitting the kids for me. I was shattered when I got home. I left Villach on the 9.16am train and arrived at my actual home west of Glasgow just after 8pm that evening. As Val said, it was ‘planes, trains and automobiles’! It was so worth it as not only did I get to see my friend and spend some time with her (we had a good laugh), but it totally refreshed me – just four days away made me feel less tired and more energised, so it was well worth the journey.

Anyway, I’d like to thank Val and family for putting me up, my parents for babysitting and my friend, Jill, who was supposed to come with me, but due to circumstances, was unable to go. This time. Jill, we will go again next year, promise!

So, that was my week last week. That’s one thing I love about living in Scotland – it’s only a few hours plane ride away to the amazing mainland Europe.

Food – loved the food. I ate pork schnitzel, Austrian pastry and that pasta type dish, which was lovely. Val also treated me to some Austrian wine, which was delicious.

Scenery – loved the historical buildings, the mountains, the snow, the castles.

People – Austrian people are very friendly and nice and very helpful. Thank you to Matteo who helped me tackle the machine where I had to buy my ticket to the airport. I couldn’t work out how to work it, but he helped. And thanks to all the Austrian people I met. Also like to say a big hello to the British folk I met too – the people on the flights and those in the Irish pub.

Would I go back? – definitely, I loved it.

Dawn xx