I’m so behind with everything

dick and angel

Jeezo this week has flown by and I feel like I’ve not really achieved much! I have been working hard at various things, but I still feel not much has been achieved – and I hate that.

Anyway, next week will be more productive, you can bet on that.

So how’s your week been? Hopefully it’s been good. I’ve had a good week despite feeling I haven’t achieved and here’s why…

On Monday night, my friend Tracy and I went to Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall to see Dick and Angela Strawbridge on their tour. If you don’t know them, they are the couple who do Escape to the Chateau, a programme I LOVE. Anyway, they both came across just like you see them on telly: warm, nice, approachable. They were great and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. However, being out past my bedtime knocked me off my stride for a couple of days after – I was yawning and feeling tired. Such are the perils of growing older! I’m 50 at the end of this year!!! Scream!!! 🙂

google

On Tuesday, I attended training on how to decipher Google analytics, which was great. It was run by a lovely Dutch man called Rene and he really knew his stuff (although all the contractors who do this kind of work for Business Gateway all seem to). Anyway, now I feel much more confident in working out what’s what when I look at my analytics so that I can formulate what works best social media-wise and for my website. Exciting times!!

shopping

On Wednesday, I visited the new Lidl that’s opened in Dumbarton and it’s a lovely shop. It opened the week before and apparently people were queuing to get in on the morning of its opening. Well, they were giving out goodie bags! Anyway, it’s a nice shop and I look forward to getting my groceries there again. You know, when you’re a teenager or in your 20s you never think it would be possible for you to look forward to a supermarket opening. But you do and I did! 🙂

fridge

And once again here’s how exciting my life really is because yesterday afternoon I cleaned out the fridge. It needed done, but I am very pleased with it because I put down fridge protectors which will help me to keep it clean – got the idea from Mrs Hinch and it’s a good one. You can get them from Amazon. Basically, it means all you have to do is remove the dirty protector, wash it and return it to your shelving. It means you won’t have to be constantly pulling out shelving and drawers to clean them. Anything that makes my life easier is to be celebrated!!

BOOK NEWS – nearly there for the cover of A Jacobite’s Share. Watch this space for more details.

Not heard from ACX ref my audiobook so am going to try and contact them today. That’s been well over a month.

SCRIPT NEWS – have finished writing my script and have laid it aside for a week or so to ‘marinate’. I’m going to start going over it next week.

UNI NEWS – was so excited this week (and this is one of the things I was working on), we finally got to do some creative writing, so have submitted that for my next assignment. Am now worrying it’s not good enough, but I worked on it a lot, it’s the best I can do. Now worrying I’m not a good writer! 🙂

Right, that’s it for this week. Oh, the other thing I did (and I did it because it was taking up a lot of time for little return) was to shut down my book formatting and editing website. I will still do it, if anyone wants me to, but I’m going to concentrate on my author and PR/Social Media businesses. That makes sense to me. Til next time.

Dawn xx

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Exciting news and a small loss

Okay, so I’ve got some news I’m dying to tell you about, but I can’t tell you details yet. The first is that I am collaborating with a very dear friend of mine on a new book for kids. She’s a great illustrator and we work well together, so I am looking forward to doing that one.

The second is international. I’ve teamed up with a group of authors from the US, Australia and the UK to do a whole series of books, romantic thrillers. We’re just working out the details now, but we’re hoping to have the first book launched by the end of the year. I cannot wait to get started. I have already begun planning.

(Takes deep breath to calm down) Sorry I can’t tell you any more, but I will give you details as we go along.

So, back to reality, how are you? What’s been happening in your world? Apart from signing up for two projects, the rest of the week has been pretty mundane. The weather has been terrible, we lost a chicken (she died – I think it was the weather that did it, it’s been wet and miserable for weeks now), but on the plus side we still have three healthy chooks left. The dogs have been loving trailing through the mud on their wet and windy walks. Sorry, let me re-phrase that, the Yorkie and Jack/Chi have been loving the mud, the pug (who hates going out for walks and I have to force her to go) does not like getting her wee tippy toes wet. So we’ve been getting a fair bit of grumbling from her this week! 🙂

Millie – our Jack Russell/Chihuahua cross loves water and getting muddy. That’s her ‘crazy eyes’ look because I am holding up a ball – she’s ball mad – in order to make her look at the camera!
Casper – our Yorkshire terrier doesn’t like getting wet, but will happily put up with wet and mud in order to go a walk. He spends a lot of time sleeping and pacing between the living room and kitchen. I don’t know why.
Bonya – our pug, hates going walks, hates getting wet and spends her life sleeping on the sofa. She’s a lazy dog.

I’ve been beavering away at my uni course and have an assignment to hand in next week, but it’s a creative writing one and I am just loving doing it!

What else have I been up to? I attended a tarot reading at our local pub on Monday night. Let’s just say I was a bit sceptical when I went and I remain sceptical now. The guy doing the reading was nice, but the stuff he was telling me was way too general and I felt he kept looking at me for signs of information so he could add to it. Do you know what I mean? I think there are people who are genuinely psychic or something – and I’ve only met one who was so accurate it was scary – but most are just reading off their client. Anyway, we’ll see.

I am still making my way through M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin books. They are a fab way of relaxing at night. I like to go to my bed at 9pm and read for an hour (sometimes two) before lights out. These are great books – I love the characters, I love the humour and the stories are great. It is murder and mayhem, but not so you can’t sleep at night (I don’t read dark murder stories or horror at bedtime because my mind goes into freefall with imagining things that go bump in the night and I can’t sleep).

Oh, I see it’s now raining again. It’s the type of rain that’s almost snow… you know the kind I mean? The type that when you look out you think ‘Is that snow?’ but it’s not settling. It’s not hail cos it’s too soft and too easy for the wind to blow about. Anyway, it’s bloody cold and miserable outside. I had to bring the chickens in last night and I kept them in a large cardboard box in the living room. They’d got soaked yesterday and were in their coop shivering. I was worried they’d get hypothermia, so I brought them in. Looks like they’ll be spending another night indoors tonight.

Right, I am off. Got another two blog posts to write and then I’m going to finish my assignment and then I’m going to start researching my kids book project. Til next time.

Dawn xx

Miserable outside, so I’m away to put the telly on

rain

Well, Storm Dennis has hit today and it’s bloody miserable outside. So far, it’s just heavy rain which – I saw as I was going to my car to drive my daughter to her friend’s house – has flooded the entrance to my garage. This means inside probably is flooded too. Sigh! I will worry about it later, no point just now as there’s nothing I can do about it.

So, how are you all? Hope you’re all well. How’s life been lately? My kids were off school this week – it’s the February holiday – and spent a good bit of it lazing about in their rooms. One is a teenager, the other a pre-teen, so I don’t see much of them these days, just when they are hungry or wanting money.  However, I did have a good week: my friend Val (from Austria) came over to stay for a couple of nights and we had a lovely time. Another friend joined us for dinner on Sunday night and then Val and I spent Monday night drinking wine and watching movies on the telly. We watched Judy. My God that’s a sad story, but a great film. Recommend it. We also watched Chicago, which I love and I’m sure The Joker, but I fell asleep and missed most of it. Of course I wasn’t drunk!! Ahem. What I remember of it was feeling very unsettled by Joaquin’s Joker. Creepy! Anyway, it was lovely seeing Val again. You can stay over anytime, Val.

So Val left on Tuesday morning. And I spent Tuesday recovering from a wine hangover. No sympathy please, it was totally self inflicted. Wednesday, I did a training course with the local Business Gateway folk on Pinterest and Instagram. It was really good. Their courses are great, by the way, really recommend them. I have two Pinterest accounts: D A Nelson, author and D A Nelson PR and Social Media. Please pop over and have a look.

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Also on Wednesday, the house was full of teenagers. My daughter had a friend stay overnight, but they had a couple more friends in during the day. I felt like I was feeding the 5,000. They were remarkably quiet and well behaved, though, so that was good. The girl – my daughter – has been remarkably well behaved all week. Might it have something to do with her birthday coming up in a couple of days? Not that I’m cynical or anything.

I’m not sure what I did on Thursday, but you can be sure it involved cleaning and washing clothes. Yesterday, I did a lot of my degree course. I was way behind (oh I remember now, I was doing my OU course on Thursday as well), so spent most of the day catching up. I still have a wee bit to do to get me back on track, but I’m nearly there. I also went to B&M to buy hay for the chickens and dog food for the dogs, but ended up paying £97 for a whole load of essentials for the house. You know the type of stuff: cleaning products, some food, other things. I swear to God, you’d be as well handing your purse or wallet over to them at the door! I go in for one thing and come out with a trolley full, I can’t help it. It always has products I need at great prices. The cashiers say everyone says that. It’s a great shop for bargains!

Today? More OU and I’ve written a short story which I hope to sell to a literary magazine. Or one of the women’s magazines. More likely the latter.

I must admit, a fair bit of my time this week was watching telly. I did binge watch The Stranger, which I loved despite the plot being a little bit woolly towards the end. There were a few unanswered questions, but overall it was great. It had me on the edge of the seat most of the time. I loved that. I’ve also been watching Locke & Key, which, as a lover of fantasy, I have been really enjoying. Hmmm, maybe that’s where most of Thursday went! 🙂 Must look out the graphic novel of it.

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Reading: and I am still binge reading M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series. They are just the thing for a light read. They are funny, clever and highly enjoyable. I’ve got about eight more to read before I reach the end of the whole series. I may through a couple of more serious books in amongst there to shake it up a bit (yes, my life is so “rock n roll” – not!). Oh no! Torture! Got to read Charles Dickens’ Hard Times for my OU course. It’s not one of my favourite Dickens’ books, but I enjoyed it when I read it before so it’ll be no problem. Can’t wait, in fact, to get into it.

Right, I am going to finish up right now. I have a million and one things to do this afternoon, so I will say adieu and hope the weather doesn’t get you down. Til next time,

Dawn xx

 

Is it February already?

rain

Jeezo, January went fast this year. One minute we were celebrating the new year and the next it’s February! And it’s been a pretty soggy month already – although today is sunny, which is a welcome change from the torrential rain we’ve been having lately.

So, how have you all been? I hope you’re well. We’ve had the lurgy in the house again. The boy was off with it on Friday and I’m feeling dodgy today. It’s a nasty stomach bug which a lot of people around this area have been experiencing, if the amount of kids who have had to take time off school is anything to go by. Anyway, it’s short lived, so hopefully I’ll be over it soon.

So, what’s been happening in your world? Anything exciting happened lately? Please tell me, I need a bit of excitement. My life lately has been one long round of working, housework with the odd bit of fun things thrown in.

toastie

Talking of which, I lunched with my friend from next door last Tuesday. We went to a lovely farm shop type complex called Ardardan, which is a five minute drive from where we live. My friend loves their lentil soup, so Ardardan has now become our place to go. I had a cheese toastie (grilled cheese sandwich) and we sat and had tea after. Ardardan offer a range of fab cakes, so I “forced” myself to have one. Okay, I couldn’t resist, it was a caramel apple granny cake and I just love it.

I also met up with an old (in the sense we have known each other for years) friend from work. We went to Rose and Grant’s at the Trongate in Glasgow. We both worked in that area before, so it was our local when we were there. Anyway, it’s a great place if you eat meat, are vegetarian or vegan. They do a great range of really nice food for everyone and their vegan food and cakes is delicious. I’m not vegan, in fact I am the total opposite, but I do love vegan food. I opted for the vegan square sausage  (a square sausage is a Scottish thing – it’s a beef sausage, without a skin, pressed into a loaf shape and then cut up into sort of square shapes before cooking. Square sausage – also called Lorne sausage – is fabulous in a crusty roll). Anyway, their vegan square sausage is very like the meat version, so you don’t feel like you are missing out. I can recommend their vegan and full Scottish breakfast too. Yum.

tea

I also attended a women’s business event in Helensburgh on Friday night. It was just a couple of hours and there were ten of us in total. Set up by Lesley, who owns the Beachcomber Café at Kidston Park in the town, the night’s aim was to bring local business women together to chat, support each other and share experience. It was really good. There was a great atmosphere and everyone got on. I was there not as an author but as a PR/Social Media business owner and I volunteered to set up their Facebook page, which I’ve done, and I hope to have that go live soon.

What else? I’ve heard no word back regarding the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia. Fingers crossed I hear back from ACX, the production company linked to Audible, soon. Regarding The Jacobite’s Share, Dusting’s sequel, I’m awaiting some proofs of the cover for that. I hope to launch that towards the end of March. Once I have some artwork, I’m going to start promoting it, so watch this space.

I’ve also been working hard on my draft script for a production company I have contact with. Don’t know if it’s going to be any good, but I am so loving writing it. Maybe this is my next career!! Anyway, we shall see.

This coming week will consist of working on my uni course, the script and some short stories. I’m also going to meet an old work friend who now teaches English in China (nowhere near poor Wuhan), but has been back in Blighty for a month now. We’re going for lunch and I’m looking forward to a catch up. Remember my Austrian trip? Well, my friend from there is coming back to Scotland next weekend and she’s going to be staying for a few days at my house. I cannot wait to catch up with both of them.

chooks

My chickens (see above peering in my patio door – they are so nosey) continue to produce lots of eggs, so I’m going to do a bit of baking later. A nice wee Victoria sponge I think! Yum. The hens are doing really, really well and love being able to wander about my back garden, scratching and eating grubs and bugs. I love watching them, they look so happy, especially when they take dirt baths. The dogs pretty much leave them alone, except Millie who just wants to play with them. They soon see her off, though. On Christmas day, our chicken Nugget (the big one second from right, above) chased her right across the garden. It was hilarious!

Anyway, I will leave you on that happy note and say adieu until next time! Have a great week.

Dawn xxx

Keeping busy and meeting an old friend

Winter girl

So, I know this is a very British thing to say, but where the hell has January gone? One minute I was dreading the cold weather and dark nights and now, it’s nearly February and I’m looking forward to spring! My life is whizzing by so fast these days. My parents were right! They always said life goes quicker the older you get and it’s true. As a kid, the days used to last forever. Now I’m lucky if I know what day of the week it is! 🙂

In saying that, the last couple of weeks the weather has been mild for this time of year. A wee bit blowy, but not the freezing temperatures we normally get in January. Except for today. Today is COLD.

So, how are you? What have you been up to over the last (is it really??) two weeks?? I’ve been really busy writing my script, doing assignments for my uni course, being a mum and general dogsbody and going to my exercise classes. I have managed to meet up with friends though, which was good. Last week, I met up with a friend I knew in Primary School. It’s horrible to acknowledge this but Una and I have known each other nearly 45 years! Yikes! We had a late lunch in Bill’s in Glasgow, which was nice, and a two hour catch-up, which was fab. It’s such a laugh remembering the things we used to get up to as kids: sledging in the park across from her house on tin trays and binbags (only very posh people or kids with joiners for dads had sledges in those days), watching horror movies at her house and then being terrified going home, playing Space Invaders on her games machine. She came round to mine too, but for some reason I only remember being at hers. Anyway, was great to catch up with her and I look forward to doing it again soon.

Hands typing on laptop computer

What else have I been doing? I’ve been working to get The Jacobite’s Share out in March/April and then audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia out (yes, it’s still not out and I take full responsibility!).

Still beavering away at building my PR/Social Media business. Am still loving doing the social media side of things because it’s right up my street creating images and memes for Facebook and Instagram. I love thinking up the ideas for the post, researching it and then putting it all together.

Talking of social media, did you know that I have a Pinterest account on which you can see pins I’ve collected for my books, examples of my creations for my social business and other stuff I love. I don’t go on Pinterest nearly enough. I love it. It’s like having an endless online scrapbook – well, I suppose that’s exactly what it is! Anyway, you can find me under D A Nelson, author, PR and social media.   

Right, I am off. Got loads of things to do. Til next time, my friend.

Dawn xxx

Dog on the bed

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

I’m baaaaaack!

we're open

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.

winter 1

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!

baubles

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.

winter 3

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