It’s Been One of Those Really Nice Days

Today has been one of those days that has worked out really nicely. It all started a couple of weeks ago when I arranged to meet an old work friend for lunch. I hadn’t seen my friend for a long time and it was nice to catch up.

We arranged to meet at Epicure of Hyndland for lunch today, but when I got there, the restaurant – which is in Hyndland Road in Glasgow’s west-end – was undergoing a refit and, therefore, closed. I was half an hour early so I wandered up Hyndland Road a bit and my eye was, of course, caught by the lovely little Hyndland Bookshop. I cannot resist a bookshop, particularly the independently owned one and I swear I was only going in to pick a few birthday cards for future birthdays of friends and relatives. Anyway, I picked up these lovelies:

I like them so much I am thinking of framing them rather than giving them away (sorry, friends and relatives). Anyway, whilst perusing the books, someone called my name and there was a friend I hadn’t seen for about four years standing behind the cash desk. We’d kind of lost touch. So, I spent a happy ten minutes catching up with her and promising to do lunch soon and I handed her the cards and this book to pay for them:

However, she gave me the book as a gift because we haven’t seen each other for ages. How lovely is that? Thank you my dear friend. I greatly appreciate it.

I was still a little early for lunch when I left the bookshop so I went next door to the Marie Curie charity shop for some treasure hunting. Hyndland is a very nice area in Glasgow, so you get great stuff in that shop and I picked up this Paul Costelloe leather bag for £20. Bargain! Apologies for the poor picture quality.

Then I went to meet my friend and had a lovely lunch. So, there you are, a lovely day. Plus it was sunny and warm, so you couldn’t have gotten a nicer day.

Things took a wrong turn, however, when it was time to go home. Well, I took a wrong turning…several times. I was aiming to get to Hyndland Rail Station to get my train home, but couldn’t find the bloody thing. I Googled it and somehow went off in the wrong direction. Had I only continued walking the way I was originally walking I would have gotten to the station quicker. Anyway, several wrong turns and then a few right ones later and I eventually got there. Phew! I don’t know what it is about that station but I can never find the bloody thing!

So, how was your day today? In fact, how’s your week going so far? Isn’t the weather lovely here in the UK this week so far? It makes everything seem so much cheerful. Hope you’re having a great time.

Right, and on to the most important point of this blog – Game of Thrones. What did you think of yesterday’s episode? I was so disappointed Cersei didn’t meet a nastier end. And what the hell was Dany doing? What’s gotten into her these days? She was so nice before and now she’s just awful? She seems to have turned into her mad father. It was a ‘phew’ moment when Arya and Jon survived. Cannot wait until next week’s final episode. Cannot wait and dreading it at the same time for it will be the end of Game of Thrones and I will miss it. I’m also a bit worried it will be rubbish. We shall see next week, won’t we?

Right, I am going to finish up here. The kids have the Queen/Freddy Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody on the telly just now and I can’t help but sing along…it’s a bit distracting. So to the strains of We Are the Champions, I shall say goodbye until next time.

Dawn xxx

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Somewhat windswept and interesting, plus book news

Yes, that’s me looking somewhat bedraggled after taking the dogs out for a walk this morning at our local park. Boy was it windy and a bit wet. As I write this, the wind and rain are rattling against the windows. It’s really cold outside and I am glad I am inside in the warmth.

So how are you today? Hope you are all well. This week has been a busy old week for me what with various things happening at Chez Nelson. Let’s see: the boy went away on Monday for a five day holiday with the school to an outward bound place in the Borders. He’s back home now, dragging a full suitcase of dirty washing with him and happy to be home. I missed him.

I have been out for lunch four times this week and it was great. I loved it. Was nice to catch up with everyone.

We took delivery of a new fur baby in the form of my parents’ dog, Winston. We have him for a week whilst they are away on holiday. He’s adorable. Below he’s pictured with Millie and Casper at our local park (Bonya, our pug, isn’t in the pic because, as usual, she was lagging behind):

Book news!!  I’m aiming to bring the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia out before Christmas if possible. The ebook is currently only available for Kindle, but I will make it available for Nook, ibooks and others in the New Year. Watch this space for more information.

Everything She Wants is my brand new book which is due out in December. The cover is currently being put together by a designer and I’ll share that with you when I can. In the meantime, you can pre-order the book here. If you want to know more about it, here’s the blurb:

“A new dark comedy from the author of Dusting Down Alcudia. This book is rude, full of swear words and definitely not for the faint-hearted!

When Susan decides there’s more to life than housework, her cheating husband puts his foot down. Ignoring his protests and those of their selfish teen daughter, she runs away with a Wham tribute act to find herself and, hopefully, fame and fortune.

Along the way, there’s the chance of happiness with a new man, but things go awry and he turns out not to be the knight in shining armour she had hoped. Now Susan must decide whether to forge ahead with her new life or go home with her tail between her legs.”

Other book news – I am about to start my first edit of the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. It doesn’t have a title yet and I’m aiming to get it out by the springtime. Watch this space for more!

Book reading news!! Just finished the second in the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Shadow of Night is the sequel to A Discovery of Witches. I am about to embark on the third, The Book of Life, and have the new one, Time’s Convert to enjoy after that. I love these books. I read them years ago, but because of the tv adaptation, I brought them out to read again. They actually belong to my mum, but she’s not getting them back!! Hee hee.

They are amazing books, check them out.

Right, I am going to end this here as it’s after 9pm and I am desperate for a cup of tea. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

Wham! A New Book, A Discovery of Witches and a Night Next Door

 

Hi! How are you all? Hope you’ve had a great week.  Mine has been extremely busy which has left me really tired this week and feeling under the weather. However, I did get a lot done.

Announcing my next book!!! My next book is called Everything She Wants (the book with the working title Ham) and I’m aiming to get it out before Christmas or in January at the latest. Depends how everything goes with the cover and other bits and pieces you have to do to get books released.  It’s about a very put upon housewife who runs away from her horrible family to join a Wham! tribute act. Here’s the blurb:

A new dark comedy from the author of Dusting Down Alcudia. This book is rude, full of swear words and definitely not for the faint-hearted!

When Susan decides there’s more to life than housework, her cheating husband puts his foot down.

Ignoring his protests and those of their selfish teen daughter, she runs away with a Wham! tribute act to find herself and, hopefully, fame and fortune.

Along the way, there’s the chance of happiness with a new man, but things go awry and he turns out not to be the knight in shining armour she had hoped.

Now Susan must decide whether to forge ahead with her new life or go home with her tail between her legs.

Will share the cover once it’s done. This is nothing like Dusting Down Alcudia, but I hope you enjoy it. While I’m waiting for the cover to be done, I’ll be working on the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia which is due out early next year. Yes, I have been a busy bee this year with the writing!!  Watch this space for more details!! Picture of the real Wham! below.

So what have you been up to this week? For me it’s been finalising Everything She Wants and typesetting it so that it’s ready to be formulated into a print book.  I’ve also been doing a lot sorting out cupboards and rooms around the house as when I am fully into writing, housework and such like kind of go by the wayside. Let’s face it, I am not one of those people who love housework. In fact, I hate it and look forward to the time when I can afford to pay someone else to do it for me! I wish! 🙂

I’ve also been attending my exercise classes. I don’t know what it was but I found my two Zumba classes really hard work this week. I thought the more you exercised the easier it’s supposed to be, but it was a struggle. I still went and still participated, but came out with a face the colour of a tomato streaming sweat in my wake. A lovely image for this time of night, I know!

This weekend I am having a quiet time, but last weekend I was really busy. Well, to be perfectly correct, I was really busy on the Friday. I was hardly home. I met some friends for tea and buns in the morning, another friend for lunch in the westend of Glasgow for lunch (we went to the famous University Café and I had my favourite: macaroni  and chips, yes I am a classy burd!). Then in the evening, I popped next door to my neighbour who is 90 soon for a wee glass of wine. My neighbour is lovely and a very interesting man.  We have always been friendly and he got on really well with my husband. Unfortunately, my neighbour’s wife died about a year after we moved into this house more than a decade ago, so I never got to know her. He is the man our Millie always escapes to. She loves him because he’s constantly feeding her meat. Anyway, I had a fab evening with him. We chatted about everything and had a good laugh. We are going to do it again because we get on so well. So, I had intended going round for a couple of hours… I was having such a good time, I ended up staying until midnight.  Was a great night.

I always find older people so interesting. When I was working as a journalist for a local newspaper in Paisley, I got to interview some residents of Erskine Hospital, which is a hospital for former military people. I was sent there to cover the visit of Princess Diana, but I found chatting to the residents (including my late grandfather who was a resident there at the time) so much more interesting. I met one of the first policewomen in Glasgow and men who had been fighter pilots and ground troops in the Second World War. They were fascinating people. I feel really lucky that I was able to do that. Seeing Princess Di was okay too, but she wasn’t as interesting… not to me anyway.

Finished reading the biog of Radclyffe Hall. I really enjoyed it. She was an interesting woman, but I hated the way she treated her long term partners. I must try and find a copy of one of her books to see what they are like. I can’t help but be curious now I’ve read her life story.

Matthew and Diana from A Discovery of Witches.

I am currently re-reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which I am loving all over again. I’ve been watching Sky One’s adaptation of the book (picture above), which is great. I am really enjoying it. However, the book is so much better.  Can’t wait to re-read the sequel Shadow of Night and then the third in the trilogy, The Book of Life. I cannot recommend these books enough. They are fantastic.

I’ve also been busy this week with my uni course. I signed up to so an English Lit degree with the Open University and I am loving it. It covers a lot of different areas of the arts and is really interesting. I am feeling so much more “cleverer” than I did when I started. 😀  I’ve just completed my first assignment about Cleopatra and Antony, and Cezanne. My next area of study is about Joseph Stalin.

Right, I need to go. I need to pick the boy up from his school’s Halloween Disco. He went as a zombie. I helped his costume come together by cutting up a pair of trousers and an old jacket and throwing flour over him so he looked pale and zombie-like, and his clothes looked old and dirty (as well as fraying). He looked great. Hope he’s had a good night.

Til next time!

Dawn xx

PS I am still looking to add people to my Advanced Reader Copy group. If you sign up, you’ll be given early copies of my books and all I’ll ask you to do (and this is not compulsory) is provide a genuine review of my books on sites I’ll give you the addresses for. If you’re interested, email me: dawn@danelsonauthor.com or sign up in the top righthand corner of this blog.

 

 

 

Mamma Mia! There’s lots about dogs in this blog post

 

Hello, hello. How are you? What have you been doing this week Hope all is well with you all. I had a pretty busy week last week, but it’s been great.

Okay, so, here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve been up to:

  1. I continued editing my second edit of Dusting Down Alcudia. I am nearly finished it and am now looking to get the cover done and the whole thing professionally typeset. I am so excited about this. I am aiming to re-launch the book before Christmas.
  2. It was my dad’s birthday this week, so we had a family party at my parents’ house on Saturday. I ate and drank way too much, but had a ball. Nursed a nasty hangover on Sunday, but it was so worth it! Happy birthday dad!
  3. Me and the kids went out for lunch last week with my lovely friend Jane and her daughter. Then we went to see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and it was fantastic. I loved the film. Okay, so it’s not the most taxing of storylines, but its a great film if you want to escape the world for a little while and soak in the magic of Abba. We had a fab lunch, saw a fab film and had a fab afternoon. 🙂

Above a gratuitous shot of Bonya looking peeved that I was taking her photograph yet again. You may be wondering why I always show her picture and not so many of my other two dogs. Well, it’s simple. She’s the only one that sits still for long enough to get photographed!

Here’s another of her doing her Princess and the Pea impression on the piled up cushions on my bed:

So, what else has been happening? As usual, I’ve been inundated with washing and housework. The boy and I built our new firepit. Here it is with Casper staring at the flames. He’s nursing a sore paw at the moment. We had him down the beach yesterday and he was running around all full of the joys of summer when he must have stepped on something. He was yelping and limping and holding his paw up. I cleaned it all out when we got him home and it seems fine. Just keeping an eye on it. I have not walked the dogs today to give the cut time to heal. If I went out without him, Casper would spend the entire day depressed!

Was out weeding the front drive this morning. It was starting to resemble a jungle. I can only do it in one hour sessions as my back gets really sore. I haven’t finished digging up the weeds, but I will get back to it tomorrow. Hope they don’t grow back so quickly this time. I would put weed killer on the driveway, but I have green sensibilities and I can’t abide the thought of putting something so poisonous down in my garden. So, it’s manual weeding for me every time! 🙂

What I am reading: I am continuing to read Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books and loving it. Am now on Definitely Dead and it’s great. If  you love great stories, with a little romance, suspense, humour and some supernatural beings, I would really recommend this series.

Right, I am going to finish this blog here. It’s lunchtime and I have lots to do around the house today, so I’ll say au revoir. Til next time,

Dawn xxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worrying about feet and why Jenny Lawson’s books are so good

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What is it with older men on trains? They always seem to fall asleep. I travelled home by train all week this week and on Tuesday and Wednesday, I sat across from older men. Both times they’ve been fast asleep. Obviously my conversation is not as scintillating as I thought! Not that I’m bothered. I usually spend train journeys with my nose in a book or talking to friends who happened to have been getting the train too. Anyway, I digress. Now I had the dilemma – do I wake them in case they go past their stop or leave them where they are? I opted for the latter. The reasons for this are: 1) usually people wake up before their stop anyway; 2) it was early enough that they could have gotten another train if they overshot their stop, it wasn’t like it was the last train; 3) I was being a bit lazy…I was so tired I couldn’t be bothered talking to anyone and waking them up would have meant I’d have to talk to them. I know – so antisocial!!

This is not what our trains look like, but as I like steam trains, I decided to put it in.

This is not what our trains look like, but as I like steam trains, I decided to put it in.

 

Once again this blog is late. I usually write and publish it on a Thursday or Friday (today is Saturday), but I’ve been so busy that I couldn’t do it. I simply did not have the energy to think of anything even remotely interesting to write. So I left it today. So where have I been? On Thursday, I went out with mum. She bought me loads of lovely things for my birthday and we had a cream tea in Marks & Spencer’s café in Braehead. I love scones with clotted cream and jam, so it was fab. Friday I met up with friends in the morning and we had a visitor in the afternoon. This morning I took my boy to his swimming lesson and the girl to her singing lesson.

This afternoon I flaked out on my bed and watched White Christmas on the telly. I love that film.

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The only thing that I ever worry about regarding this lovely old film is the fact that the little girls are up on point. Surely they are far too young to be on their blocks?? Everything I see them I have this faint feeling that they probably grew up to be ladies with very damaged feet. I mean look at this…

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I also think the same about the little girls from the Lullaby League in The Wizard of Oz.

Maybe I should just enjoy both films and stop worrying about the feet of the cast.

Right, so how’s your world been this week? Just letting you know I am not going to mention all the bad stuff that’s been happening in the world lately. I think there’s been enough of that on telly, so am just concentrating on what makes me happy.

  1. Reading – no surprise there! Have just finished Jenny Lawson’s (aka The Bloggess) current book Furiously Happy. It’s very funny and a little sad in places as she talks about the mental health problems she experiences. Would recommend it. Her first book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was excellent. It’s about her crazy upbringing. Of the two, I preferred it, but it doesn’t have the excellent cover of Furiously Happy. Look…

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The raccoon is a real stuffed raccoon called Rory. Jenny is a collector of weird and wonderful taxidermy. I love Rory. I want one. She very kindly put an image of Rory on her website for her fans to print Rory and taken him with us wherever we go, but my printer would only ever print his left hand. Sigh. I had plans to take pictures of him annoying colleagues at work, in George Square and on the train. Now I will never have the pleasure. I think the expression on his face is hilarious. I can never feel down looking at him. Added to that is the fact the publishers have very helpfully put glittery bits on the cover and you have one perfect book cover!

2) Crafting – I haven’t felt like doing much knitting or sewing this year. Think I’ve simply been too tired. However, I am going to make my kids something for Christmas. I do this every year. Normally I make stuff for other members of the family too, but I just couldn’t face it. Anyhoo, I will show you my makes once they are done.

3) Cooking and baking – again I’ve not enjoyed doing any kind of cooking this year. It’s become a major chore. I think I probably just need a wee break. Roll on Christmas. Hopefully I’ll get my cooking mojo back then.

4) Watching old movies on the telly – I watched the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street (a young Natalie Wood played Susan) on Wednesday and White Christmas today. So big tick for that one!

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5) Looking on Pinterest.  Here’s my pages if any of you are interested in looking at all the fab stuff I like. I love Pinterest. My hubby doesn’t get it. I can’t describe why I like it so much. It’s like compiling your own online scrapbook of some of the most fantastic images and ideas ever!

6) Meeting up with friends…you know who you all are! Thanks for the birthday wishes, cards and pressies by the way. My birthday isn’t til next week, but have already been given some lovely things.

7) Reading some more – am now in that weird place where I have to decide what I am reading next. I kind of like this time because the possibilities of what will happen next is endless…will it be a murder mystery, a biography, non fiction, comedy, a classic?? Hmmmm. The toss up is currently between a Dorothy L Sayers novel or something by Jon Kabat-Zinn (probably Full Catastrophe Living – was talking to a friend about this, she’s into Mindful Meditation too. I haven’t read it yet, but she swears by it, she thinks it’s amazing).

8) Hiding from the kids so I can get some well earned peace and quiet!

Right, in Glasgow speak…ahm aff! Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Rain…sigh!

Autumn eWell the lovely autumn weather has disappeared today as the rain (with heart-lifting spells of bright sunshine) hits the west coast hard. It was literally teeming down about five minutes ago. Winter is coming right enough!

So how’s things with you? Hope you are well. My week has be super busy at work and super busy at home. Today I’m taking it easier. I should be doing my housework right now, but I’ve got Grand Designs on the box (recorded last night) and I’m here talking to you and I’m just about to get another wee cup of tea. Life’s good.

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Am a tad achy after swimming just over half a mile this morning in our local pool. I felt great after doing it, but am now starting to feel a little stiff around the legs. Think I should maybe have stretched a little afterwards. Am now in training for next year’s mini triathlon and Great Scottish Swim (haven’t yet signed up for this but I will).

This weekend I will be taking it easy. It’s the September weekend so I’ve got Monday off…yippee! That’s three long lies! Last weekend, me and the kids were up early to meet my mum at Braehead shopping centre in Renfrew. My parents always buys the winter coats for the grandweans as part of their Christmas (that’s on top of the pressies and/or money they also give them…they are so generous!). I hate shopping, but it wasn’t quite so painful when my mum treated us to tea and cake before we started and then we treated her to lunch a couple of hours later. The kids both got really nice winter coats from H&M. The girl is now so tall she needed a small adult’s coat, which she thinks is just fantastic. She looks great in the coat and just loves posing in it. It’s navy blue with a fur hood. The boy got a lovely charcoal grey jacket (no fur on the hood, but lovely none-the-less). He looks great in it too, really suits the colour.

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Have just taken possession of Jenny Lawson’s (aka The Bloggess) new book, Furiously Happy. I have her first book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, which was so funny I had tears streaming down my face and I snorted so much I eventually couldn’t breathe. Her blog is good too. I’ll let you know how I get on with it, although have just started a biog of E Nesbit and am about to start Jayne Williams’ The Slow Fat Triathlete having just finished (yesterday) Meredith Atwood’s Triathlon for Every Woman (which was excellent and very funny). Yes there is a bit of a theme going on here: not only the triathlete bit, but both ladies are larger athletes which is good because I am not a teeny wee stick of a wummin myself.

 

slow fat triathlete

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Apart from relaxing, I am also planning to search out a pair of waterproof overtrousers that I bought about two weeks ago and have now lost. I hope I didn’t accidentally post it back to Amazon with the other pair of the exact same trousers that I accidentally bought (in other words I ordered two pairs instead of one and sent one back…at least I hope it was one pair and not two!). Am such a ditz. Wonder where that other pair are? Sigh. I hate it when I misplace something. What’ll happen is I won’t find them, so I’ll order a replacement pair and on the very day the replacement arrives I will find the original pair I was looking for in the first place.

Right am off now. Last night’s recording of Castle calls and you know how much I love Castle! Hubby thinks it’s mince, but I like it…it’s not scary, it’s funny and it’s fun. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

Favourite illustrators part 2

NPG P1363; Mabel Lucie Attwell by Elliott & Fry  Mabel Lucie Atwell

Had to put in a wee bit of Ms Atwell because her illustrations were another part of my childhood. I just loved her rosy cheeked children and lovely images of fairies and children’s book characters.

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So how are you all? Sorry I’ve been missing in action for the past two weeks…it’s just been a busy time for us what with hubby’s various appointments, catching up with family and friends, working and keeping the home running. No wonder I’m feeling so tired!

ppaw09-bigSo how’s life been for you since we last spoke? Let’s see…I suppose the most interesting and fun day we had recently was last Saturday. During the day, I visited my parents and we rushed back to get the house in order to get it tidied for friends coming round. We ordered a Chinese carryout, drank lots of wine and had a good old laugh when la famille Blanc came round to play. I’ve known this couple for…oh God!…twenty years. Is it really that long? You know you’re getting old when your friendships go into decades! We have worked together, played together, holidayed together and been really good friends for  a long, long time.

Anyway, we had a great night. I got slightly drunk (ahem!)…okay I was well drunk, but after the last few months (which have been pretty stressful) it was good to let my hair down and be with friends who don’t mind me partaking a little snifter or five!

Thanks for the great night!!

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I have started training for the Great Scottish Swim at Loch Lomond next year. I love swimming, I feel at home in water – I love it – and it’s near where I live. Plus my friend Jane did it a few years ago and totally inspired me. I have concerns about doing it – mainly about the actual day itself, about panicking in the crowd (am not good with stressful situations or crowds these days) – but I figure that if I start training for it, tell folk I’m doing it and get to the day and panic about it and don’t go in, then the worst I will have done is get fitter and (hopefully) a bit thinner.

The inspiration for actually being serious about doing it came during a walk – part of the John Muir Way – Jane, Tracy and myself did last week. We were all talking about challenges and the Great Scottish Swim 2015 took place last weekend. As we admired the fantastic view of Loch Lomond, Tracy said she wanted to do it, I said I will do it with her and Jane looks like she may do it too.

I need to do something about my weight and fitness levels, although I do a lot of walking and I swim every week.

Anyway, the plan is I’m going to do it…so watch this space about this time next year.

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Just finished reading Tom Hodgkinson’s How to be Idle, which is his manifesto for everyone to be much more idle and less workaholic. It’s funny and I love his views on various aspects of being idle throughout life (even if many of his suggestions are totally impractical in real life). However, what he’s saying about not being a consumer and living with less so you can work less and enjoy life more does ring true with me. Definitely a book I’d recommend if only for the lovely warm and witty way he writes.

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 I met my youngest sister in Glasgow this morning for brunch. What luxury! I never do this, but we hadn’t seen each other since July (dad’s birthday) and it was the only time we both could make. We went to the Riverhill Café and it was lovely. Riverhill have a bone fide restaurant in Helensburgh and I’d been there. I knew they had a café in the town so suggested meeting there. I was glad we did. She had a hummous and potato naan and I had the poached eggs and black pudding on toast. Oh it was delicious! My mouth has just burst alive with saliva at the memory. Yum! Was great to catch up with her and happy birthday to her daughter this weekend.

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Did I tell you I am totally hooked on True Blood? Can’t get enough of it. Am now on series four thanks to Sky boxsets and am addicted to it. The storylines are getting increasingly ridiculous, but although it can be really gory, it can also be really funny. It’s my current fave programme.

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Right, am going to finish up here. It’s nearly 10pm on a Thursday night and I’m desperate for my bed and need to be alert tomorrow for a bike ride (and later on more True Blood). Hope you enjoyed the lovely pics. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Favourite Illustrators Part 1 – Edward Ardizzone

Edward Ardizzone

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I love his work. He’s one of those illustrators I saw a lot as a child and didn’t realise it. His work was in books at schools and in the local library. I think he’s fantastic.

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So how have you been this week? What’s been happening in your world? We’ve been caught up in poor hubby feeling so unwell – he’s a bit better now – and I’ve been working. The kids went back to school on Wednesday (Yippee! Peace reigns in the house! Love them dearly, but they are really noisy and sometimes you just want quiet). You parents out there know what I mean!

 

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Remember this book? We read it in primary school during the 70s and there was a television series too. I remember it being read on Jackanory! Am showing my age now.

Maurice+Sendak+TGSo life has been pretty quiet this week – thanks mainly to the weans not being around – and I’ve gotten into True Blood this week thanks to the box set appearing on Sky. I missed it when it was on telly…well I missed the first three episodes and never picked it up. Now I have watched all but the last episode of series one and I’m totally hooked…you could say I’m a huge fang! Boom boom! Sorry terrible joke! I am just loving it. Can’t wait to get on to the next episode.

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Still reading the biography of Dickens by John Forster, but have also been reading Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra. It’s a really good book about a man who went from being an alcoholic to a vegan ultraman. It’s very inspirational. Would recommend it. The Dickens biog is great too. Am such a big fan.

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Right am going to finish up now. What did you think of the illustrations? Lovely aren’t they. I love the oldy-worldy feel of them and they are so beautifully done. Ardizzone was such an illustrator. He’s one of my art heroes.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

PS before I go…here are a few more…

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Escaping to Perthshire and enjoying the peace

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We escaped from the madhouse this weekend by taking a two night stayover at Crieff Hydro in Perthshire. We’ve been before – I’ve spoken about it before in this blog – but we’ve always taken the kids. This time round, however, hubby and I decided to leave the kids with their grandparents and go ourselves. It was great. We had a lovely relaxing time. We didn’t make use of the spa or the sporting opportunities the hotel offers, which are many and very good, but we just went with the flow about what we wanted to do.

We arrived late afternoon on Friday and after we’d settled in we had dinner, a few glasses of wine and went to see The Other Woman in the hotel’s small cinema. The film starred Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton. It’s a film where Cameron’s character Carly, a successful lawyer, discovers her boyfriend (played by the oh so handsome Nikokaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones) is actually married. Anyway, the wife (Kate King, played by Leslie Mann) finds out and in her despair befriends Carly. They then find out he’s also seeing a much younger and bustier Amber (played by Kate Upton). They tell her and together the three decide to get their own back. It’s quite an enjoyable film, but predictable. Good for a Friday night film watching stint (minus the kids). Don Johnston plays Carly’s dad and Nicki Minaj is Lydia Carly’s secretary. I’d give it a seven out of ten. Anyway, it was good going to the flicks.

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The next day, we decided to get out our cameras and go photo hunting up the Knock which is the hill behind the Hydro. We really knocked it off with the weather. It was one of those sunny, frosty, gorgeous winter mornings that you read about in novels. Added to that is the loveliness of the scenery and it literally was breathtaking.

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We had a lovely morning exploring and snapping and having a good  old laugh. We must have been out a good two hours traipsing about the hillside and returned just before lunchtime. We spent a little time in our room before venturing out. Hubby wanted to take shots of the Deil’s Cauldron, a waterfall at nearby Comrie. I didn’t go with him, but waited in the car (I was knackered from the walk earlier!!). We had a late lunch at a nice little café in Comrie before returning to the hotel.

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Chilling out time!! We spent the rest of the afternoon chilling out and taking it easy. We had a few glasses of wine before dinner and then went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (can you tell we love going to the movies?). It was okay. It’s not my favourite type of film anyway (although I have seen the original film and tv series!). Good cast and excellent special effects. It too was predictable. It’s also quite violent. Six out of ten.

 

Anyone for golf? Don't fancy trying to hit a hole in one from here.

Anyone for golf? Don’t fancy trying to hit a hole in one from here.

Anyway, it’s top marks to Crieff Hydro for an excellent time. The room was lovely (and really big), the food was great, there was lots to do and the staff couldn’t be more helpful.

Minus 100 to the medical students who were holding their Midway Ball at the hotel and kept us up and awake a good bit of the night on Friday and Saturday night with their shouting and crying and carrying on somewhere below our third floor room (yes we were up that high and could hear them) . I don’t know where they were doing it from but we could hear every word, every expletive and every sob from them, the drunken bums. It honestly sounded like they were in the room next door to us, but they were outside. I am assuming it was them – it sounded like the group that invaded the piano bar the first night we were there. Anyway, whoever it was…I don’t appreciate being kept up til 2.30am listening to your childishness.

Phew that felt good!

Anyway, we still managed to enjoy ourselves. We feel all rested.  The kids also had a good time as my parents took them to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayr. They loved it and want to go back. We’ll take them in the summer I think. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Oh, and if you ever go there yourself, mind and pick up this book on Burns’ life…it was beautifully illustrated by my friend Mandy Sinclair.

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We picked the kids up at lunchtime today. I really missed them, but I think they had such a good time with their granny and grampa that they didn’t give us a thought!! We got lots of kisses and hugs from them though, which was lovely.

Can’t believe that’s us been and come back already. Sigh. Anyway, I must get on. Got a whole pile of washing to do (except the kids’ clothes – thanks Mum for doing that). Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starry, starry night and do Guinea Pigs sleep with their eyes closed?

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Oh the Northern Lights have been making an appearance across Scotland yesterday and today. I missed yesterday, but me and the girl were out looking for them tonight. We didn’t see them, but we did get a fantastic view of the starry night. It was amazing. It’s a clear night, so you can see hundreds of stars. Orion really stands out. Fantastic! We loved it. If it hadn’t been so cold, we would have stayed out longer. Fantastic!! Can’t stop saying that.

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Have made the imagery theme the Universe today. I like sci-fi so sci-fi-y type pics are right up my street. (pauses for a moment)

Anyway, you may be wondering what on Earth I was talking about regarding Guinea Pigs sleeping with their eyes closed? Well, it’s like this. You would think they would, right? But, despite having Guinea Pigs in our lives for the last three years, it’s only recently that I’ve actually seen them close their eyes when they sleep. Honestly, I could go up to their cage and peer in and both of them would have their eyes wide open, but be so still they look as if they’d died. There was not a flinch! It was weird, which made me wonder if they didn’t have eyelids. However, on Wednesday, as I was working at my laptop, I spotted them both asleep WITH THEIR EYES CLOSED. So that proves it to me. And also proves that sometimes I’ve not got enough going on in my life! Hee hee. I wonder what they were doing ‘sleeping’ with their eyes open…for that is what it appeared they were doing? Thinking DEEP THOUGHTS? The meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything? Answer = 42 (of course! Can’t be a sci-fi fan and not know that). Creating sweet Guinea Pig poetry in their heads? Doing quantum physics? Who knows? It certainly takes them several minutes to realise I am there…daft wee things that they are!

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Anyway, how’s things with you? What’s been happening in your world? Hope it’s been a good week for you. Been a bit of a mixed bag for me, but today I met a couple of friends for lunch to celebrate Tracy’s birthday. Happy Birthday Tracy!! Was a good lunch. We had a laugh, ate nice food and generally had a lovely time. Need to do that more often!

Getting very excited about April 7 – series 4 of Game of Thrones is back on the box. Can’t wait!! I just LOVE that programme! Have also been watching The Great British Sewing Bee again. Excellent programme and absolutely compelling viewing. Am loving it again!! Roll on Tuesday!

Currently reading The Fellowship of the Ring, which is shocking really. I should have read it by now. I love fantasy, so it’s taken me a number of years to get round to this book. Most people I know read it as a child. I didn’t. Anyway, am reading it (and the other two books) now and loving it. Also currently reading Jack Monroe’s new cookery book. It’s a really nice book and I’m looking forward to trying out a number of recipes. Well done Jack!!

Right, am writing this at 8.45 pm on a Friday night. Got some Aurora Borealis to see before bed.
Til next time!

Dawn xxx