David Copperfield and the Muppets

cat

It’s amazing how quickly time flies between posts. However, it’s not surprising as I’ve been super busy over the past few weeks: there’s been birthdays to organise (mainly the boy’s); a Mindfulness course to do;  myself and the offspring had the stomach bug that’s been going around – it was bad; been out a lot doing stuff and have not had a lot of time indoors.

However, I have found time to read David Copperfield – I’m at the bit where Mr Spenlow dies and am finding Dora just a big wet blanket. Honestly, I can’t see what David sees in her. The book’s great which puts me in the notion to re-read A Christmas Carol before Christmas. However, if I don’t get the time I might have to twist my own arm to watch the Muppets’ Christmas Carol, which is probably my favourite version of the tale. I love the Muppets, been a big fan since childhood when I, my sister and cousins insisted my grandparents call their black and white cat Gonzo and Gonzo he became, much to his disgust! Cats have such expressive faces at times! Gonzo loved chocolate, lazing in front of the fire and cat food. Gonzo did not like me, my sister and cousins, especially when we tried to dress him up in dolls’ clothes…cue a flash of black and white as the cat ran out the door to hide!

Gonzo

Later this week am also looking forward to watching a recording of It’s a Wonderful Life…sigh, life is good!

Ooh book news…it looks like DarkIsle 3 will be coming out next year. Will fill you in with the details once I know them myself!

Dawn xxx

I’m on a bit of a red vibe today

lovely old car – reminds me of the Milky Way advert…the red car and the blue car had a race, but all blue wants to do is stuff his face…

I love red. It’s such a cheerful colour, so am going to intersperse this post with photos of red. Like this one…

Poppies

The blue of the picture above is very like the sky outside just now. Thank goodness. We’ve had some mental storms around here over the last few days, but none, am sure, anything like the people of the US are experiencing. I can’t believe it’s been seven years since Hurricane Katrina struck. It’s a poignant date in my mind because it was around that time that my lovely friend Katrina was diagnosed with cancer. She died around three-and-a-half years ago, but she’s definitely not forgotten. Every time I hear Hurricane Katrina mentioned on the telly, I think of her…my dear dear much missed friend…and remember the impact she had on our lives. She was warm, friendly, witty, clever, generous, sharp, shrewd, a character. Just wish she was still around so she would know how much we miss her.

Circus tent

There’s a lot being going on in the DarkIsle household, but nothing of real interest. It’s been mainly housework type stuff and going to work. I view my week very much as being in blocks: the three days I work are all about work…getting the kids ready, getting lunches ready, ironing work and school clothes, travelling there and back, the work itself and then the exhaustion at night when all I want to do is flop on to my sofa and watch telly.  Then there’s the rest of the week: the two days I have when the kids are at school and I can do what I want (well, except for housework type stuff cos I really don’t enjoy doing that!!) and I have peace to just sit and think. These are joined by the weekend when the house is full of noise and fun and games and siblings fighting and it’s generally just a bit mental. S’good though. Out of all the days, I love Thursday mornings the best cos that’s when I write this blog, catch up on telly (and can actually hear it!) and have some me time. Nice.

red scooter

There was one thing that happened this week that made me very happy. My friend James took all my files off of my poor old dead laptop and put them on my external hard drive. I am happy – REALLY HAPPY – cos I managed to get my missing files of the adult novel I was writing. Yippee!! No rewriting those chapters again!! It’s such a relief! On the DarkIsle front, I have no news, but am still hopeful the third book will be out for Christmas.

Right, I am off to watch Once Upon a Time, Republic of Doyle and the Hairy Bikers in Mississippi…yes, I watch dross on telly, but with all the nonsense that goes on in the world,  I like to cheer myself up with some light watching!

Dawn xxx

Sunshine, school and sewing

Geilston Gardens

It’s raining outside, so to cheer everyone up here are a few wee pics I took at Geilston Gardens last week when the sun was splitting the sky and there were no sounds but the singing of the birds in the trees, the buzzing of insects around the many plants in the gardens and the screaming of my kids as they fought each other as usual.

Actually, they weren’t too bad. Sometimes their battles reach epic proportions where they are whacking each other, but they didn’t do that on this trip. There was a bit of bickering, that’s all…phew!

Geilston Gardens

The boy started school on Wednesday and his sister went into primary 4. I think I was more nervous for him than he was. He took it all in his stride and didn’t cry when my husband and I left him in the classroom. Everyone kept saying to me that I would cry and I assured them I wouldn’t…and I didn’t. I am just not the type to bawl cos my youngest is growing up. Instead, I enjoyed the thought of having more free time to myself to do more writing and creating. I knew he was happy, so I was happy. He’s continued to enjoy school and has a spring in his step every time I drop him off at the school gates. I think my daughter has been needing to go back to school. She was starting to get bored at home. I’ve noticed that the reading book she’s been given already is a lot more advanced than last year, which is excellent because she’s turning into a right wee bookworm (like I was at that age) and this can only be encouraged!!

So what’s been happening chez moi? Not a lot. Just waiting to hear from my publisher about DarkIsle 3 to see if I need to do any final tweaks to it. Am hopeful it will be out in time for Christmas, but I’ll let you know once I know. Been doing a wee bit of sewing and knitting. I made my son a sandshoe bag from some material I bought at Mandors in Glasgow (my fave fabric store). The material is fab: bright colours, images of Minis on it…v nice…so I made the remainder into two cushion covers and I still have some left over to make a bag for me. Will take some pics for the next post.

Dawn xx

Geilston Gardens

Back on the horse…so to speak

Wild horses at the Highland Wildife Park

Well, back on the blogging horse now that I have a new laptop to do it on. Sadly, my lovely old Dell was too dead to save so we had to invest in a shiny new HP one. It’s red (fave colour, although it’s more cherry red than the flame red I truly love) and works, so enough said.

Monkeys at the Highland Wildlife Park

I can’t believe it’s nearly the end of the summer holidays here in Scotland. My kids went off at the end of July and the summer seemed endless. They return to school next week (actually, the boy starts school then…yippee!) and that’s the summer over.  I was lucky enough to be able to take four weeks off work over the holidays and I’ve loved every minute of it. We’ve visited the Riverside Museum in Glasgow (I will still call it the Transport Museum because that’s what it was when it was in it’s old southside/ Kelvin Hall homes when I was growing up and not the lovely shiny new museum by the Clyde it is today), we ran around the National Trust’s Geilston Gardens, we watched the rain come down in buckets, we made chocolate cake and pancakes, we created sock puppets, we went to a soft play area and visited family and friends. We also had a four day trip to Aviemore that was fun and included a visit to the Highland Wildlife Park (we loved it…I loved the wolves and we actually managed to see red squirrels running about wild) and the type of touristy shops kids love to buy tat from (and they did). I made bread, the kids played in the paddling pool in the garden on the few days we did have sun, my veggies grew and the guinea pigs loved running around in their pen outside (supervised cos of all the pesky cats that live around here). My husband and I watched the bats flying about our garden at dusk.  I knitted a cardigan that I’ve still to finish cos I can’t be bothered to sew it up. I made a pirate for my one-year-old nephew and a doll for his two-year-old sister and I forgot to take pictures of them!

Wolf – he or she is in there somewhere!

We have a week-and-a-half left til the kids start school. I have no plans for this week except to get back to sewing, to finish my cardie and to start writing my book for adults again (I had some more editing to do on DarkIsle 3 – am hoping that’s it finished now).

Yaks

Am glad to be back blogging. Speak to you soon!

Dawn x

It’s beautiful outside, but the Lurgy is visiting

Today is simply gorgeous. The sun is shining. It’s roasting hot and the birds are singing in the trees. But instead of life being like this today…

Or this…

Or even this…

It’s gone a bit pear-shaped. It started this morning with the girl being sick. I told her to take the day off from school, but because it was her school sports day and because she was doing the wheelbarrow race, she wanted to go. She seemed fine, so I sent her to school. I arrived a couple of hours later to watch the races to find she had just been sick again. So I picked her up, picked up all my picnic stuff and took her home (picking up the boy from nursery en route). She’s currently sitting on a fold-up camping chair (bought yesterday for the sports day because I didn’t want to sit on the ground) watching Victorious on Sky. She’s looking peaky, has been sick again, but is otherwise okay.

I blame it all on the fact that her dad wants to go and see Hipsway’s Skin play tonight.

And here’s the reason why…  the last time she had the Lurgy, hubby was on a night out with a couple of friends. He doesn’t go out that often, bless him, but when he does something seems to always go wrong. Anyway, he doesn’t go out a lot, which is why I didn’t call him home when the girl was sick all over her bed, quickly followed by the boy and then me.

I am hoping that today is not a repeat of that night. I want him to enjoy himself without worrying about us. I am feeling a little under the weather myself, but that could be because I’ve just drunk some gassy coke… at least I hope that’s the reason!

Heard from my publisher that DarkIsle 3 (name still to be agreed) should be out around Christmas this year or early next year. I can’t wait!!

Not much else has been happening. I am about to embark on a couple of hours of cleaning the house (boo hiss!) and then I’ll settle down to Joanne Harris’ new book Peaches for Monsieur le Cure. I think it’s common knowledge that Joanne is one of my fave authors and this is the third of the Chocolat trilogy. Already started it and it’s looking good.

Okay am off to clean! Speak to you soon!

Dawn xxx

PS re the last bout of sickness… poor hubby ended up with it too! And it wasn’t a bad pint!

Winning Easter hat and DarkIsle 3 edit complete

It’s amazing what you can do with a glue gun (my new fave thing) and some things from Poundland. My boy came home a couple of weeks ago with a note from nursery asking for an Easter hat/bonnet for a competition they were running for the kids. Cue: mild panic. Cue: mad thoughts about what I could do and where I would get stuff to make a hat from. Cue: more panic. And then the dark clouds of ‘I’m-a-bad-mother-if-I-can’t-do-this’ dissipated when I remembered that every year Poundland (a shop I must admit I love cos I always get fab bargains in it) sells Easter stuff. So during one workday lunchtime I trotted along to the Argyll Street store and picked up: two cowboy style hats with silver sequin headband; a bag of plastic eggs; a box of Easter chicks; some Easter Bunny hair slides; some paper flowers. Added to that was a bag of crepe paper from Tesco and Easter bonnet heaven emerged. Armed with my beloved glue gun, I not only came up with this for the boy (which won, by the way…and how pleased was I at that?? I never win anything…well apart from a national competition a few years ago, but generally I don’t win stuff):

and this for the girl:

I was pretty pleased with myself. I had to laugh though (and I thought this was pretty clever), one of the boys in my boy’s class had a cap on covered with yellow Easter Chicks and the immortal title of Chick Magnet.

So what have I been up to and where have I been for the past couple of weeks? Well, I’ve been finishing off a further edit of DarkIsle 3. I like to take my time with the editing stage because I want the book to be the best it can be and I’m hopeful it won’t need any further editing. Althought it may still do.

I’ve been doing a few Easter type things including doing the National Trust for Scotland’s Easter Egg Hunt at Geilston Gardens on Sunday there. I’ve been catching up on telly – all my fave programmes are back (Game of Thrones, Castle and Murdoch Mysteries). Now I’ve finished editing, I’ve resumed attempting to learn the piano. Am still very much in love with our two guinea pigs and last week ran the Guinea Pig Hotel again (my friend’s two females came to stay whilst they were away on holiday – cue lots of squeaking and interest from the boys in their cage). I’ve done a bit of baking, a mountain of ironing, a tonne of washing and gutted the house. My intention this week is to pick up the knitting needles again and get my boy’s cardie finished. I also have two mini quilts, which I must admit are a bit wonky, to finish. I’ve been reading E Nesbitt’s The Phoenix and the Carpet (so old fashioned, but very enjoyable) and Jane Duncan’s My Friend Flora (I just love her books). I intend to start making my way through the pile of Dickens books soon – well once I’ve finished The Pickwick Papers. I like to read two or three books at once depending on my mood. I’ve also recenly read Goldie Hawn’s book on teaching children mindfulness and I can tell you there’s a lot of wisdom in mindfulness. Now instead of rushing them on, I try and point out things in their environment like birds and plants and interesting houses. It’s made me slow down a bit, which is definitely what I need to do.

I’ve been busy, but it’s been a manageable more relaxed kind of busy.

I also have another book in the offing. It’s one for adults and hope to have that complete by the summer. I’ll tell you more about that when I’m ready.

Anyway, talking of stuff to do, I’d best be off. Hubby’s home in a little while from work and I have meatballs and pasta to make. Yum.

Dawn xx

Where do Robins go in the summertime?

I ask the question because this week a robin suddenly appeared in our garden and cheeped at me in that cute little way they do. We always have at least one robin in our garden during the autumn, winter and into spring, but I never see them during the summer. So where do they go? Are they like Raymond Briggs’ Santa Claus and go abroad for the summer, sunning themselves in the Bahamas and drinking iced cocktails? Do they change into something else? Like a sparrow or maybe something more glamourous like a heron? Where do they go??

Anyway, I haven’t done much crafting this week, but have been doing a tonne of writing…mainly at work (which has been super busy) and also this morning (am on chapter 16 of DI3 now…yippee…and things are hotting up!). Last Friday, hubby was away overnight with his scooter club to a meet at Arrochar. They had a dance and did a ride-out and generally had a nice time. So me and the kids ate macaroni cheese (one of my all time fave foods) on trays in front of the telly and watched a movie (Dreamworks’ Sinbad – it’s very good). On Saturday, me and kids visited my parents for lunch. My  mum made us soup (at my request cos she’s the best soup maker out) and homemade bread (which is always fantastic) and later we went home with very fully tummies and a nice buzz from eating such nice food.

Saturday night we finally celebrated hubby’s birthday. The actual date happened during the week before, but none us had any time to celebrate. Me and kids made the cake (the kids decorated it – I think they put about a whole packet of sprinkles and other cake decorating things on top of it). We got the disco ball out (it’s one of those black balls, that light up and spin – the kids love it. My sister bought it for me many years ago before I met hubby and had the offspring. My kids discovered it during one of their expeditions into my wardrobe (which they are not supposed to do, but all my warnings about staying out of mummy’s things always fall on deaf ears!) and insisted on using it!). We danced to 60s, 70s and 80s music and had a good time.

Sunday – let’s say we spent it recovering! We also watched the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, which was long and disappointing. It’s definitely not as good as the others (which we all love in this house). Although if certain young people, who shall remain nameless, hadn’t talked all the way through bits of it, we might have enjoyed it more. What I want to know is what happened to the preacher and the mermaid…was she taking him to live as a merman with her or was she taking him to drown him?? I only have vague memories of mermaid tales – anyone know? It wasn’t clear in the movie what happened to him.  (NB since writing this post, I immediately went online and asked the question, apparently a few other people wondered this as well – perhaps it’s got a lot to do with the fact the preacher is quite dishy! – anyway, apparently a mermaid’s kiss can stop a sailor from dying so we have to assume he didn’t die. However, did they live in loved-up bliss or was she taking him down into the sea as a snack for her and her sisters?? I like to think the former).

This week we celebrated ten years living in our house. I can’t believe we’ve been here that long. It’s flown in. Sigh.

Anyway, I’ve gone on long enough. I’m going to get back to writing. I will pick up the boy from nursery shortly. I will do the housework (reluctantly because I really don’t like doing it) and I will probably make some more macaroni cheese tonight for tea (even if they protest)…yum!

Dawn xx

Poppies, Angel, Ruby and Freddie

Poppies growing next to our train station

Took the kids round to our local shops the other day (one of the two or three days we had sunshine up here) and we stumbled across these poppies growing wild next to our train station. They were so pretty I had to take their picture despite the scrubby ground all around them. The ground is this way because last year the station was done up and the ground in the little park next to it was churned up by the machinery being used to do up aforementioned station. What’s left (in that part of the little park) is an exceptionally stony piece of ground…with poppies growing on it! So it’s not all bad.

Angel, Ruby and Freddie

The good thing about making handmade goodies is that you can often do things that are completely handmade (ie not using a sewing or knitting machine). Above are the three toys I’ve recently finished for the kids whilst sitting in front of the telly at night (pining the loss of Game of Thrones…hope it comes back soon!) watching Castle or the American Office or Pawn Stars or Gold Rush (we’re on an American programme trip right now cos I personally feel there is NOTHING on UK tv that’s worth watching at the moment – if you disagree, let me know. Oh, with the exception of Horrible Histories, which is funny. We’ve even stopped watching the soaps, so bored are we with the storylines). Anyway, Ruby is the pink bear and I made her by rejigging a pattern I found in a knitting book. I think she turned out really nice. The other two (Angel is the deer, Freddie the dog) are from this book. I hand stitched them. The only problem was that I didn’t have thread to match the felt, so have had to make do with what I had. I think they turned out okay though.

This week I’ve been off on annual leave and trying to entertain the kids. So far we have had a friend of the girl’s over for a sleepover (they were still awake after 11pm and got up at 5am – sigh), we went to Geilston Garden for walk around, had lunch at McDonald’s (a treat they don’t get often), went to GoMA for an art class (the girl drew a bird, the boy had me draw a cow that I must admit looks awfully like a pig), had a picnic lunch at Glasgow Green and played in the swing park, went to Mandor’s in Glasgow for material for me to make them a tepee from a pattern from this book. I have a couple of other things to do this week and then I am done! Next week I AM DOING NOTHING! I really need a break (ie just slouching around the house), but I’ve had invitations to do stuff with the kids from friends this week (which has been great) so haven’t been able to. Next week I am doing it, I am going to be the Queen of Slouching (well as much as you can be with two active kids)!! Besides, I really need to get on with writing DI3.

Right am off to get dressed. The girl has a play date with her friend round the corner, so need to take her there. See ya!

Dawn

Govan Gals and Rain

Busy Street by CanadianC via stock xchng

It’s been one of those weeks where not much has happened, but I’ve been really busy. Am currently working on the website for work, so that’s been taking up a lot of time. There’s a lot of time and effort goes into it, but I’m nearly there! At work, I’m captaining the Govan Gals walking team as part of the Glasgow City Council/NHS virtual walk to Dehli Challenge. It’s a challenge Glasgow Life (a sort of Council dept) started last year when we walked the virtual West Highland Way. Basically, we have teams of six, we’re given pedometers and we have to walk so many steps (8,300) per day to meet our quota. This challenge is over five weeks and teams are taking part from all over Glasgow (City Council and NHS) staff. Together, we’ve been challenged to walk the equivalent distance of walking from here to Dehli and back. I really like taking part in this type of challenge because I really enjoy walking and it gets me motivated to do more of it. I was going to walk the kids to school and nursery this morning (journey of about a mile one way), but the heavens opened and it’s pouring down.

Raindrops by Johnny Berg via stock xchng

Hopefully, the weather will clear and I’ll get out later. As I write, I’ve done less than 1000 steps…my theory is that the pedometer is somehow not working! 🙂

Been a bit stuck on the ole writing front recently so have gone back to re-read DI2 and what I’ve written so far.  Will keep you posted as to how I get on.

Have also started knitting myself a pair of socks, which I do later in the evening when I watch tv and have no energy to do anything else. Also finished the girl’s summer dress (which is lovely – I will post pics soon) and am almost finished my own dress, the material for which I bought months ago on a trip into Glasgow with my friend Tracy. Will also post a pic of that once I have taken it. I made two further wee dolls – one for the boy and another for a friend of the girl’s, which turned out lovely.

Right am off to cut down some black-out blinds for the kids’ rooms (their rooms face east and the sun – when it’s out – just streams through their windows in the morning). Then I’ve got work to do!

Dawn xx

Sticky ice-poles

Beautiful!

I would like to say that these are the flowers that grace my garden and that I took this lovely pic, but I can’t take credit for it. The blooms do not flourish chez moi and I did not take the photo (well, if you’ve seen some of the other pics I’ve published, you will know this to be true!). This picture was taken by Vavoom 09, an American photographer, at a flower show in Philadelphia…yet another picture from the Stock Xchng website and one chosen to add some more colour to this blog. I’m not even sure what kind of flower it is, but I’m guessing some kind of lily.

Anyway, so how have you been?? Have you gotten over the fervour of the Royal wedding? It was great and was followed by a fantastic weekend of sunshine and warm weather (practically unheard of here in Scotland in April!). The kids have been out playing a lot over the last few days, which has been great, and I took them to Levengrove Park in Dumbarton yesterday for a bit of a run (my two don’t walk anywhere, they run…they run in the way a dog does when let off its leash: full of abandon and joi de vivre). Levengrove Park is a lovely place to be particularly at this time of year: the spring flowers are in full bloom, the grass is as green as can be and the wind swishes through the trees like it does in Enid Blyton books – in a friendly, welcoming sort of manner that makes you think the trees are talking to each other. The park sweeps down a gentle slope towards the River Clyde and to the left is the impressive Dumbarton Rock on which curls Dumbarton Castle, which has lots of romantic historical tales to tell. Added to that mix was a bright blue sky and lots of warmth and sunshine PLUS three kids (I had a friend of the girl’s with us) all wanting an ice-cream or ice-lolly and no ice-cream van to be found! Thank goodness for little local newsagents and their stock of sticky, sugar laden ice-poles (remember them?). They came back lightly tanned and exhausted from the walk/run.

Today was a quieter affair with not much happening, which is just what I needed. It’s been a busy old life lately and I was glad of having not very much to do today other than the usual round of housework and reading my Terry Prachett (‘I shall wear Midnight’). Got it for Christmas and this is just me getting round to it, which is not like me cos normally I’d have my latest Terry Prachett book read by Boxing Day. Read some of it outside on one of our reclining garden chair thingies in between telling the girl ‘no, no, no’ to all the unreasonable demands she was making about various things – as usual. One thing I’ll say about Terry is that his books are consistently good, although Thud! is still my absolute favourite.

Would have gotten on with DI3, but have hit an impasse in the old writing and wanted to print off what I’d written so far so that I could sort out in my mind what it is I want to do next with the story. There feels like there is a big void in my head at the moment every time I think of DI3 and this is the best way I know of getting through it (this void thing happens every time I write a book). However, my printer has gone on the blink again and this time I cannot get it to work. Sigh. Later this week, when my week’s work in my ‘real’ job is through, am planning to go online to order a new printer. If anyone has any suggestions as to which printer to buy, I’d be most obliged!

Right, on that note, am away to bed. It’s 9.55pm as I write this, got work in the morning and won’t be worth a button if I don’t go soon. Goodnight, sweet dreams!

Dawn x