Scary! Oh and some nice pics of textures

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So I’ve gone and done it…I’ve signed up to take part in a mini triathlon and am feeling scared. I think the distances are doable and it’s not til next year (September in Stirling) so I have plenty of time to train, but it’s still a bit terrifying! Am sure I’ll be fine. I’ve already been walking and swimming twice this week. Next week I plan to start running again…

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So how’s things in your world? Hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve been really busy at work, but it’s been good. I don’t take the car into work any more, I find the traffic too heavy and too stressful and I’m just not prepare to do it any more. On Wednesday, I was all over the southside of Glasgow taking pictures for work and it was great – I got the bus to Pollok, took an underground train to Kinning Park and also got the train to and from the city centre. I loved it. There is nothing better than sitting at the top of a double decker bus (at the front of course) living out my childhood memories. I used to love doing that as a kid and it’s still good doing it as an adult. You can see loads from up there! Such good fun. I waved to an old lady who was staring out of a third floor tenement flat, but she didn’t wave back…probably was wondering who the mad bus top stranger was!! I enjoy travelling by underground too…so long as it’s not busy. It’s so quick to get about the city centre. And then there’s the train journey to and from work…I love travelling by train and it enables me to get some very relaxing reading in!

 

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Yesterday, I took hubby up to B&Q to buy a new wheelbarrow for the garden. This might sound like a boring trip, but I love B&Q (I like any DIY store) and hubby was stir crazy  so it was good for both of us. Then we had lunch at McMonagles (a famous fish and chip restaurant/chippy) – my cod was huge!! And delicious!

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Today I did the housework, went swimming with two friends, came home and made lunch. My step-kids were visiting so I made pasta bake, which is basically penne pasta, a Bolognese sauce (home-made, secret recipe and all that) and cheese baked in the oven. Oh it was good…even if I say so myself. It’s kind of a Nelson family favourite which I brought with me when hubby and I started going out. Everyone loves it! My mouth is watering at the memory! It was probably a million calories, but I didn’t care as I scooped it into my mouth.

Convento do Cristo a Tomar

This weekend I’m having a quiet-ish time. My parents are visiting tomorrow and I’ll go swimming as usual on Sunday, but I’m planning to do some reading and writing and that’s it. I do have ironing to do, but I could get that done in a couple of hours tomorrow morning. Hmmmm. Anyway, before I know it it’ll be Monday and I’ll be moaning that I have to get up for work! Sigh.

I had to laugh. The girl is still reading the DarkIsle trilogy and she said it’s really good. I said: “Don’t sound so surprised!” and she said: “It’s just that I didn’t think you would write a book like that.” and I said: “What do you mean?” and she said: “It’s just that you are so boring!”   Out of the mouth of babes!!

Right, am off. Got home-made pizza to make (yes we are on a bit of an Italian trip today!). Til next time!

Dawn xxx

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Scarves, scarves and more scarves!

Three of 12 - sounds like a Grimm fairytale  title or the name of a Borg soldier!

Three of 12 – sounds like a Grimm fairytale title or the name of a Borg soldier!

Two days ago…

It’s amazing how one little inspiration can turn into a major project. About four weeks ago I was flicking through my knitting books looking for something that would be simple to do so that I could knit them for my kids. In Jane Brocket’s Gentle Art of Knitting she has a few scarves that are just lovely and I nearly made one of them. However, I was a tad stressed in the run up to Christmas (having had a November of birthdays to contend with including my own) and didn’t want to follow a pattern, so inspired by the Moss stitch creations in that book, I decided to do one of my own. I bought chunky wool and used size 8 needles, cast on 21 stitches and knitted in Moss stitch ’til the ball of wool was finished. Well, I actually didn’t do this at the beginning…instead I used size 6 needles and one-and-a-half balls of chunky yarn, knitting over 25 stitches. The first scarves were wider, but took longer to do. The simple pattern I ended up with was a lot faster. In the end, I knitted ten scarves as Christmas gifts for friends and family: one each for my kids and hubby; one each for my mum, dad and father-in-law; one each for two friends and their daughters. I also knitted one for me (finished yesterday) and have started another for my sister who saw the boy’s lovely green scarf and wanted one for herself. I love the green scarf and am thinking of embarking on an expedition to Glasgow to get the yarn I want to do one for myself.

Other home-made gifts including some papercut pictures for the kids and I used a Little Girl’s Rose Barrette pattern from the Purl Bee to create brooches for my friends and their two kids and hairclips (as we in sunny Scotland call barrettes) for my girl. She loves them and is currently wearing them whilst watching Phineas and Ferb.

So how was Christmas for you? Ours was great. We went over to my parents’  house where we were totally spoiled by my mother who put on an excellent spread as usual. The whole family was there and the kids (six in total) ran around in a pack…even my one-year-old nephew joined in. We had a great day, but were all exhausted. Thank goodness for Boxing Day and Marks & Spencer!! We spent that day chilling out and catching  up on Christmas Day tv (Dr Who…those snowmen were scary!) and eating M&S party food (ie shove in the oven, easy-to-make, very little effort food…which was delicious!).

In the run up to the Big Day, I was feeling exhausted, wrung out, but after a few days off and lounging about (which I don’t normally do) I am starting to feel normal…well, as normal as I can be!! Ha ha! (Said it before you could Ian!). I even made bread today. I love making bread, but had lost my bread ‘mojo’ until today when it returned with a flourish. I love the Spanish rustic loaf (tomorrow’s bread) from the Hairy Bikers’ Baking Book and the sweet breakfast bread which I made tonight. Mmmmmmmm!

Today…Hogmanay

Over the weekend, we caught up with some friends, which was fun. Although  my head feels a little fuzzy today (damn you wine!), but it was great to see them.

Regarding writing, I completed what I hope is the final final draft of DarkIsle 3 plus I put together a teachers’ pack for the second book, which I hope will be useful to teachers and their classes.  Am going to go back to the book for adults I’m halfway through. I really want to get that finished to see if I can get it published.

This afternoon I spent a couple of hours cleaning up my study which was stuffed to the gills with a lot of Christmas type stuff like packaging and some decorations and other bits and bobs that I hadn’t had the time to tidy up until today. It’s amazing what you find…my row counter for one, which I thought had been lost forever!

I also ventured outside and was nearly blown away as I walked round to our local shop to pick up some milk. Talk about blowing the cobwebs away! Mine were blown way up to the Artic!!

Anyway, I must go…my current reading book – Dodger by Terry  Prachett (bought for me by my lovely hubby who buys me the current Prachett every Christmas) – is calling to me. I am really enjoying it, particularly as Charles Dickens appears as one of the main characters in it. Never thought I’d read a Dickens/Prachett combo in one book.

Happy New Year when it comes!

Dawn xxxx

How fantastic are these??

These pictures were sent to me by Caireen Lamont, teacher at Duncan Forbes Primary School in Inverness, whose P7 class last year created these fantastic drawings and book reports about DarkIsle.

Their great aren’t they? I love showing artwork that kids have created that relates to DarkIsle.

Thanks to all the kids for their fab drawings and book reports. I love them! xx Here’s the  Book Report of Dark Isle.

Right on to more mundane things…what’s been happening chez moi this week. Truthfully not a lot. I’ve been looking at finally getting round to creating something from wood. I bought a book about it last year and haven’t yet gotten round to doing anything with it. It’s difficult – I don’t have a lot of free time. There’s always something else needing done first. Anyway, now that the kids are both at school, I do have some free time on a Thursday morning (an no excuses!) so I could be doing something with that, couldn’t I? Watch this space for more.

Talking of Thursday morning me time, this week I finished an assignment for a wee course I’m doing and a papercut picture (I finished cutting it out) that I got from Making Magazine. I’ll share that papercut with you next time. I need to mount it on paper first. I’m quite pleased with it as it was my first time doing a complicated papercut picture and you can see the mistakes, but it’s still a nice wee thing. I’ve also been knitting a sock I’ve been knitting for quite some time. I’ve finished its twin, but I’ve just not been inspired to finish this one. I’m forcing myself to do it! Hopefully that’ll be finished soon too.

This week I’ve been taxi driving for the kids to their various Halloween and other parties, swimming lessons and other things. They’ve had a ball dressing up as Wonder Woman (the girl) and a surgeon (the boy). I have not been doing: any writing (bad Dawn!) or baking. I just don’t have the inclination to do either this week. Here’s me all inspired to write after reading about Dickens and now that has waned. Sigh.

Anyway, here’s a promise I will make now: next week I will WRITE, I will KNIT and I will create a school pack for DarkIsle: Resurrection.

Dawn xx

Red, chrome, Helen Reddy and South Korea

I have a new love and it links beautifully in with a love I’ve had since birth. I’ve recently purchased this…

It’s a Steepletone Roxy 3 that is a record player, CD player, radio and has a USB port…what more could a music lover want? I really like it and it’s meant I can play my records once more. I have quite a large record and single collection stemming back to Bright Eyes (my first purchase) through the 80s right up until the mid 90s when I swapped vinyl for CDs. However, I never got rid of my records because I knew that one day I would buy another record player. And the Roxy is it. As an added bonus, it’s red…my favourite colour…and it’s got chrome (very vintage!). And added to that is that I have a few of my parents’ old record collection (which they gave me when they went to CD), so not only am I doing the 80s and 90s, but the 60s and 70s as well. Anyone for the Carpenters? Helen Reddy? The Beatles?? It’s been a nostalgia fest round here lately!!

Talking of colour, have a look at these lovely things… They are the South Korean versions of DarkIsle and DarkIsle: Resurrection. Unfortunately the second book got a little bashed en route here, but I’ve placed it under a pile of Nigella Lawson cookbooks, so am hoping she’ll sort it out for me!

Dawn x

Scribbling in books and a panini in Edinburgh

Today I spent my time happily scribbling in books and enjoying the sunshine in Edinburgh. I wasn’t out to deface literature, merely signing copies of DarkIsle and DarkIsle: Resurrection at Waterstone’s in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow (my favourite shop), Edinburgh and East Kilbride. Thanks to Keith Charters – my publisher and fellow author – for putting up with my incessant chattering and taking me round the shops. Thanks too to the shop staff for making me welcome. And hello and thanks to all the kids I met on my travels.

Here’s a couple of pics (taken on Keith’s mobile) of the day…

Me with book fan Daisy Thomas in Edinburgh

Me at Waterstone's Sauchiehall Street after running into my old friend Harry Burns

Dawn x

This is weird…I have some time to myself

The kids are away to school and nursery respectively and I’m feeling a bit weird about it. Think it’s to do with the fact that this is the first time in years I’ve actually had some time to myself. I’ve spent the time so far:

1) writing 1400 words of chapter 6 of DarkIsle 3…yippee, back into it!

2) drinking Irn Bru and eating shortbread (love it, love it, love it).

3) guiltily trawling craft blogs when I should be writing.

4) answering emails.

Tomorrow morning, I plan to write again. It’s my big plan for the year. Now I have a precious four hours to myself (that are not after 8pm at night when I’m so tired my eyes feeling like they’ve melted and are sliding down my face) every week, I am going to use them to do writerly things such as…erm…writing…and blogging and pushing my writing career forward.

I also need to get some better pictures to illustrate this blog. Haven’t been anywhere interesting this week except for work, so haven’t had the chance to take any nice pics. So here’s a couple of the garden, which shows how: a) the snow has now gone, thank goodness (it was getting a bit mental with snow and ice here before Christmas, although I believe my country folk up north are experiencing some horrible conditions…hope it clears up soon guys) and b) how wintery everything looks.

Our tree

The skeleton of our tree contrasted with the green of the hedge and the broody grey of the sky

Deceased sweetpeas which I havent yet gotten round to ditching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, by the way, I was right about that cardigan I was knitting. I discovered I didn’t have enough wool right enough, so I ripped it all out and began to knit a v-neck jumper for the boy. It was then, after searching for my knitting needle sizer, that I discovered another two balls of the said wool. Now I’m wondering if I would have had enough wool all along. When I think of it – esp after all the work I put into my cardie only to rip it out again – my head goes into meltdown. Arggghhh!

I have started a jumper for the boy

Still haven’t finished the curtains, but here’s what the material looks like…

The curtain material...it's lovelier in real life, photo does not do it justice!

I’ll get round to finishing them at some point.

Dawn xx

PS have started reading Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler. My mum picked it up at a local shop and thought she’d buy it for me as I am a Jane Austen addict myself. I wasn’t sure about it because I don’t normally read modern romantic stories, but it’s actually quite good. It follows the story of Courtney Stone who wakes up one day to find herself slap bang in Georgian England. What’s worse, she’s not even in her own body, but that of a girl called Jane Mansfield.  I just love Jane Austen books – fave is Pride & Prejudice. Puts me in the mood to dig out the book again!

Also had to show you this…isn’t it great?

Here’s the cover of the UK version of DarkIsle: Resurrection  (above). I love this cover with them all running. Fantastic.

And here’s the very lovely US one…

I love Mephista in this one. She’s beautiful, but still so cruel. Really like this cover.

I have copies of some of my foreign covers for DarkIsle – they are all great. It’s good to see different artists’ takes on the story. I’ll put them up on this blog once I’ve scanned them all.

Dawn x