Well the house is full of doggy kisses and hugs just now as we babysit this week cutie (the white one above). Yes, my parents’ dog Winston is visiting and we are just loving it. The kids don’t want him to ever go home. He’s pictured above sitting on a chair next to his best friend, our Yorkie, Casper. The two of them love each other, which is lovely.
At this precise moment, both are fast asleep (as are my girls) and Winston is sleeping under the table:
I just love dogs. They are great creatures.
Anyway, how are you all today? Hope all is well in your world. This week has been really busy for me as I worked to get my first big assignment done for my university course. It was a tough one, about tradition and dissent. Anyway, it’s done and I sent it in and I can do nothing more now but sit and chew my fingernails whilst I await the results. Really hoping I do well in it. I am aiming to get a First for this course. That’s what I really want to get. So, although this is only the first module, I’m aiming to get as high marks as possible. I’ve done really well so far, but was a mark short of a distinction last time so fingers crossed I pass that mark this time. I hate waiting for results, it’s so nerve wracking.
Anyway, enough of my moaning. What else have I been up to? Well, really the assignment has taken up a lot of time, but I did managed to do some editing today on the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. I am still aiming to have that out in spring – late spring, but spring none-the-less. Also spoke to the lovely Jenny who is doing my audio book of Dusting Down Alcudia. That’s now at the editing stage and will be ready in a few short weeks. I am so excited about it. Will let you know when it’s available on Audible.
Last night was the first night in ages I managed to get any time to read, so continued with my book on the teenage brain and did a bit of Pyjama Profit, both of which are interesting books. See here for more info.
That’s it really. Sorry for being a bit dull today, but a writer’s life really isn’t that exciting (unless you are a travel writer, I suppose!). On that note, I am going to say adieu until next time. Got a son to pick up from school.
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!
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: email@example.com or sign up in the top righthand corner of this blog.
I am not doing it. Not yet. No sir. There will be no baubles, tinsel or elves on this blog this week. They might appear next week, but this week is strictly Christmas free. It’s not that I am being bah humbug about this, but I like to leave Christmas decorating until nearer the big day. So you’ll not be finding Christmas decs up at my house just now…that’s a job for this weekend or maybe next week.
So how are you? Hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve been really busy over the last couple of weeks with social events galore. I have barely been in. Last month, there were five family birthdays and four practically family (but not blood or marriage related) birthdays (ie close friends) to celebrate, including my own and the boy’s. Most recently me and the kids were at an 18th party at my friend’s house. Her daughter, who is just lovely and I wish I could adopt her, turned 18 and there was a big family bash. It was a great night. I thoroughly enjoyed it although I partook of too much wine and suffered for it the next day. Happy birthday E…have a great party weekend with your friends this weekend.
I’ve also been lunching and that’s thrown my diet right out of the window so have decided to ditch it until after Christmas when, I hope, my new kitchen may be usable. Talking of that, the extension has been going on good guns: the roof is on, the windows in and they are doing the insulation as I write. Am so excited. It’s already looking amazing.
Other big news and DarkIsle is now available in a special 10th anniversary edition. So go and buy it now. If you know me personally I will be happy to sign it for you.
Also want to give a wee mention to my Uncle Ian who sadly died this month. He was a lovely man, an ex Glasgow policeman who was full of good humour and a brilliant mimic. He will be missed.
What else have I been up to? I’ve been knitting away for my new Etsy shop called CosyCosy Studio (link is here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CosyCosyStudio?ref=shop_sugg). I’ve only got a few things on there just now, but will be adding to it. Would appreciate genuine and helpful feedback on my products if you have the time. At the moment, there are some hand knitted lap blankets and hand-made cards, but I have some scarves to add this weekend. Am just about to add the lining to them and then they will be ready. The first is a hand knitted yellow Alpaca lap blanket, the second a hand knitted green basket weave pattern blanket and the hand stamped and hand painted Three Kings Christmas card.
Books I have been reading over the last couple of weeks include Ruth Goodman’s How to Be a Tudor (am right into the Tudor era at the moment) and Alexander Langland’s Craeft. Both of them you may know from the Tudor Farm, Wartime Farm etc programmes (which I love). Ruth, in particular, is a lively and interesting writing and I’ve read books of hers before. This is the first time I’ve read anything of Alex’s and I’m enjoying it too. Hers is about – surprise surprise – ordinary folk in the Tudor era and his is about lost crafts. Loving reading both.
If you are wondering about the photos used in this blog today, they were taken before 9am on various mornings over the past week except for the last one, which was an afternoon pick a few weeks ago. I love the autumn colours and the blue skies. If you look carefully at the pics you’ll see three wee dogs running around having fun. The pics were taken on our daily walks around the River Clyde area where we live. They love it, I love it. Even when it’s freezing cold, it’s great to get out into the fresh air and enjoy the views of the river.
Right I am going to finish up here and wish you adieu until next time!
Forgive me readers for I have been bad. I have not written this blog for some time and the only two excuses I can give are: The Gilmore Girls and work beginning in my garden. The former because I recently bought Netflix and have been glued to the Gilmore Girls, all seven series of it and the winter special. Finally finished it last night after around two-and-a-half weeks of watching it in between mum and housework stuff. There were loads of episodes so I blame the tv company that produced it for a) making so many episodes and b) making it so compelling that I quickly became addicted. Am now feeling bereft because not only is Gilmore Girls watched all the way through, but Game of Thrones has finished for this year. Sigh. My tv watching has suddenly gotten very dull. The second excuse is because we’re getting an extension and I’ve been moving things around in the garden. I removed the old metal swingset, laid a new patio in its place (hark me laying a patio and it actually turned out) and then, with my lovely friends (you know who you are, thank you so much for your help, it was much appreciated) moved the potting shed over so that when the extension is up it doesn’t shade out the potting shed. It was a lot of heavy work, but I am so pleased I managed to do it. Been taking on a lot more things this year, things my beloved hubby would have normally done, including cutting our hedge which is a heavy, tiring job. Feeling that I can do most DIY things now (God help us!) and quite proud of myself. Watch this space for more makes.
Talking of Game of Thrones. Oh. My. God. Was that not the best series EVER or what? If you don’t watch it, you are so missing out on one of the most fabulous telly experiences ever. Do you remember when it first began and no-one (except me, it felt) watched it and I was bemoaning the fact that I had no one to talk to about? Then it was repeated and loads more folk started watching it and it grew from there. Can’t wait til next year and the final series.
Right, so apart from shunting things around the garden, I’ve also been doing the odd wee escapade with the kids over the summer holidays. Apart from visiting the Riverside Museum in Glasgow (which we Glaswegians will still call the Transport Museum until we die cos that’s what the old museum used to be called), we also popped into Clydebank Town Hall to see the Lego exhibition. It cost me £13 to get the three of us in and, although it was quite cheap, I still don’t think it was worth the money. Don’t get me wrong, the models were great, but there wasn’t that many of them, I expected a bit more. Anyway, here are some of the models…
There was also a massive castle which for some reason I never took a picture of which is a pity because it was really good.
Anyway, I have also been reading a lot over the summer and most recently finished William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood. I love reading about writing and am currently going through a screenwriters’ books phase. Goldman is famous for a number of film scripts and books including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man, the Princess Bride and Which Lie Did I Tell? The book is well written and full of great anecdotes and musings on how Hollywood works (or worked when he wrote the book…it was published in 1982). If you’re looking for an up-to-date book on Hollywood this isn’t the book for you. Instead it talks about the golden age and how things used to work comparing it to when things changed as tv became more prominent and how studio management changed in the 70s (ie how they were managed). Goldman is bluntly honest and self deprecating throughout. He takes a very measured look at Hollywood and is often funny. He’s the type of guy I think would be a great raconteur at a dinner party. Yup, liked this book. Looking forward to reading Which Lie Did I Tell?
What else have I been doing? You won’t want to hear about the boring stuff, the futile attempts I’ve been making to keep the mud out of my house brought in on the little clippy cloppy paws of the dogs. Our pug, Bonya, had to undergo an operation last week to remove a tumour from her leg. The vet doesn’t think it’s cancerous, but we’re going to keep a wee eye on her. She’s made a great recovery and is, as I write, lying at my feet snoring at the same level of decibels as a full grown man. Delicate pugs ain’t.
Obligatory cute pic of Bonya making herself at home on my bed.
You leave your phone down and before you know it one of the kids has decorated a pic.
I have a confession. I have not been writing. Again because of the aforementioned reasons, but also cos I’m a bit stuck about how to end the book I am currently writing. I’ve also been writing up ideas for two more books which I will start writing once I have the other book’s story down. I’ve printed off the 65,000 words I have written so far to re-read in the hope that inspiration will smack me in the face and get me back to the laptop. I do have a strong hope that this will happen. I mean, look at me…I’m actually writing my blog again so that’s a good sign! Right?
Okay, I am going to end this blog here. I have three wee dogs to take out for another walk. Because the back garden is off limits and now open to the street, I cannot let them run about the way I used to. Apart from the fact one of them will definitely make a break for the street (Millie), I fear one or all three of them will end up the trench that was dug for the foundations. This has already happened. It was my fault, I stupidly drank some wine and then late at night fancied surveying the back garden from the kitchen door. I opened it and before I could stop her Millie (our white Jack Chi cross) ran past me and sailed into fresh air. Luckily she didn’t hurt herself and my daughter managed to coax her into jumping (that dog has springs in her heels). The girl caught her and dragged her out much to my relief as I didn’t fancy climbing into the trench. Apart from the fact it was dark and muddy, I didn’t fancy my chances of getting back out having consumed some wine. I had visions of me getting stuck and having to suffer the humiliation of having the fire service come out to rescue me. Luckily that did not happen. The back door is now kept firmly shut and I haven’t touched a drop since! Damn you wine! Millie lost her lovely pristine appearance that night and it was a brown, mud caked dog that I put into the bath that night to shower down. Thankfully she was not injured and was quickly back to her bossy ways. 🙂
Millie – none the worse for her impromptu flight.
Anyway, on that note, I’ll say adieu. Til next time.
It’s amazing what writing a check list does for how much I actually achieve in a day. If I don’t write a list, a few things get done. If I do write a list, I get oh so much more done. It’s like that list has sorted out my head and my memory and makes me do all the jobs I have to do around the house, with the kids and, equally importantly, with my writing. I wrote a long list yesterday and laid out times next to the tasks and do you know what? I managed to achieve it all. Today I am steadily making my way through a new list and I’m doing stuff…such as this blog and I wrote more than 1000 words today, plus did a bit of yoga and cut the grass in the front garden. So, it’s nearly 5pm and I’m feeling mightily chuffed with myself for actually achieving a number of things today instead of sprawling out in from the telly drinking copious amounts of tea!
Yesterday, my list included ironing (regular readers will know how much I hate ironing, but I stuck it out and completed it), walking the dogs (which I do daily anyway) and taking the kids to the school Gala Day. Regarding the Gala Day, it was really good. A lot of time and effort had been put in by the PTA and it was a huge success. The theme was on cowboys and cowgirls so there were a lot of kids and adults dressed up. A local line dancing club did a demo for the crowd. The club consisted of older men and women, dressed up in cowboy-ish clothes line dancing. There was also some ‘gunslingers’ having a ‘fight’ which also consisted of older men and women dressed in cowboy-ish clothes pretending to shoot each other. There were loads of stalls (I got a lovely Toffee the Heilan Coo brooch from my friend Sharon’s…aka Sew Silly Lily…stall
and lovely honey bread biscuits from my friend Zuzka’s…aka Honeybread Cottage…stall. I have such talented friends!).
There were bouncy castles and a dog competition and throw sponges at the teachers and a saloon and tonnes of things for everyone to do. I helped out at the cactus hoopla stall and bash the rat game….both of which were a big hit with parents and kids (see the simple things really are the best). I also had a good old chat to lots of other mums I hadn’t seen in a while. It was a great afternoon (had to drag the boy away from it cos he wanted to stay longer) and well done to the organisers for creating it.
What else have I been doing? Well my neighbours must be thinking I’m doing an online business because quite a number of parcels arrived over the last few days. Do not worry, dear friends, I am not doing an online business merely buying up presents for Father’s Day and some birthdays that are coming up in July and September. I like to be organised because if I’m not it’s always a mad panic to buy stuff in time. My memory is not good, it never was, but has been much worse over this last year, so if I buy up cards and presents now at least I have them in for the correct dates of the aforementioned birthdays and Father’s Day. Okay, so after promising myself I would stop buying books, I did indulge in a little book buying spree for myself and the kids too. What can I say? I am a book addict! It’s my only vice (she says with an innocent look on her face!).
Regarding books, following last week’s confession of being totally gripped by The Dog Whisperer’s programme I went out and ordered his book (Cesar’s Way by Cesar Milan) from Amazon. I started reading it a couple of days ago and it’s fab. I am also reading Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves and the Will to Swim by Alexandra Heminsley about her bid to do wild water swimming, something I’ve always wanted to (okay so I have swam in a loch and at the seaside when I was younger and more stupid cos I didn’t have a wetsuit, but I want to go out deeper and really swim in the wild). Anyway, am enjoying reading about her trials and tribulations as she overcomes her terror of swimming in the sea.
Right, I need to go. I have some hungry weans hovering whining about being hungry and ‘when’s dinner ready?’. Apparently they are both about to fade away through lack of food. The chilli is on, but it’s not yet ready. The house smells amazing thanks to the spices and it’s sending the kids crazy…a bit like the Bisto kids of the adverts of old! Til next time.
Oh my God! What can I say about Barcelona that would do this city any justice? It’s an amazing place with the most stunning architecture…I’ve included some pictures of a tiny fraction of the buildings above, but there are far bigger, better and stunning buildings in this city. We just didn’t have the time to see them all.
How we got there…the ship docked in the early hours that Friday morning at Barcelona’s port. We took a taxi to the airport, dumped our suitcases with Left Luggage (because we were flying home later that day) and then took a bus from the airport to the Plaza Espanya near the city centre. Look how amazing this square is…
And here’s what else is near there…
It’s the Museum of Catalunya. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go and see it. Instead we headed down a wide tree filled street (stopping at a really nice wee pizza place for lunch first) to find the Sagrada Familia (pictured at the start of this post) which is something I’ve always wanted to see. The place was hoaching with tourists, but it was well worth having a look at…the cathedral is truly inspiring and amazing to look at. Every nook and cranny is filled with exquisitely carved modern art. As you can see from the cranes, the building is still not finished more than 100 years after it was first begun. I loved it.
After that we headed for the city’s beach area which my mother assured us wasn’t that far to walk. It took us about an hour with a stop off for some drinks because the weather was so hot. Because it was Good Friday, there was a right festival atmosphere about the city and the place was jumping with locals and tourists. There were a range of street stalls and myself and the kids spent the rest of our holiday money on bits and pieces to take home – I bought two lovely fans painted in a modern style. I was really hot on holiday, but I knew I’d use them again back home…being a right Northerner, I get hot in muggy weather and stuffy offices, so the fans will come in handy. Plus we do get the odd hot day in Scotland. There are also some cheeky folk who would point out that I am a lady of a certain age who is hurtling towards 50 and therefore menopause, but as I am still only 25 (in my head) and will be forever, this will never happen!
Anyway, after the beach we walked up the packed Ramblas. It was uncomfortably busy, but didn’t put me off the city…in fact I’d love to return there for a long weekend at some point in the near future. We caught a bus at the Placa de Catalunya to get back to the airport in time for dinner and then our flight home. We only had a few hours in Barcelona, but I loved it. Verdict on Barcelona: fab. Will definitely go back. Only issue: I had the song ‘Barcelona’ by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe ringing through my head the entire time I was there and every time I think of the word ‘Barcelona’. It’s a great song, but really annoying if you can’t get it out of your head!
Anyway, that’s the holiday. We arrived back home around midnight that night and it was great being back in Scotland, but I really loved the holiday. We all loved the holiday.
Right, so back to real life. This week is the first full week I’ve had since leaving work and it’s already Wednesday and I don’t know where my time is going? Okay so this week, I have walked the dogs every day (and got soaked on Monday), I have had lunch with a friend (down at Ardardan today) and visited my father-in-law yesterday who is very old and frail. On Monday morning I also went to a pilates class with another friend. These events took up a few hours each day, so that’s my excuse for not achieving a huge amount over the last three days. The big news is that I have gone back to writing my book for adults…the one I started last year. I can’t say it’s been easy getting back into the swing of things, but I have written up my workplan and I intend to stick to it.
The rest of the week will be spent doing the bits and pieces around the house that need doing and assembling my new bike. I have great plans to take the kids out cycling more over the summer. There are some great routes around here plus I have a cycle carrier which we can use for further afield.
The first three were fantastic. You cannot beat a Pratchett for humour and a good read, and Joanna’s books are just so funny and a great beach/poolside read. I had hoped to enjoy McIlvanney’s book more because he so revered as a writer, but it was alright. I doubt I’d read it again.
Right, I think I will finish up here and say adieu until next time! See you then.
I’ve come to the keyboard not sure what to write this week for life has been busy, but there was nothing that you could say ‘wow, that’s really exciting’ to. I’ve started back writing, which is good, although I’m finding it difficult to get the time to do it. Looking after the kids and the house and working leaves little free time to do anything else. Plus the dogs are incredibly messy so all I feel I’m doing every day is hoovering up chewed up toys and cleaning up poo and pee from my carpet (anyone got any tips on how I stop them doing this…they are old enough now!). Anyway, I’m making time this afternoon to write and NOBODY better get in my way! Add in some dramatic music here!
Yesterday (Friday) I was barely at home during the day. I popped in to see my friend Tracy for a cuppa in the morning then met a couple of friends for lunch before meeting another friend to take the dogs a walk. She has a beautiful black Labrador that my dogs are a little wary of for some reason. She barely even looks at them. We took them down the beach and they loved it. Having dogs – despite the mess – is great for socialising with friends with dogs and meeting other dog owners. Plus you get a lot of love from them and they always look happy to see me (whereas my children often do not)!
The weather this week has been wet and windy with a touch of slushy snow on Thursday – that was what we got here as part of Storm Doris. The dogs loved being out in it, especially Millie who loves water and can often be found rolling about the shower after it’s been used. She is an odd bod dog. We have a deep puddle underneath one of the swings in the back garden which has filled with water. The hole was dug last year by the boy and a friend and never been filled in. I caught Millie at its edge testing the depth with one paw…sigh. I swiftly put her off the idea of going in. She just loves water as opposed to Casper for whom water is an anathema. * just looked out the back window and she was at it again! Sigh. Muddy footprints and dirt everywhere!
Jean Harlow and William Powell.
Watched a great documentary about Jean Harlow on Sky this morning. I knew she had died young, but 26 and from kidney failure. Poor woman was at the top of her career and had genuinely loving relationship with actor William Powell. She had everything and then it was all cruelly taken from her. So young to go. Such a sad story. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen any of her films – I probably have because I was an avid watcher of the Saturday matinee when I was a child. For those of you who do not remember it, the Saturday matinee showed all the old films. Can’t remember if it was ITV or BBC that showed them, but I used to watch them every week which is why I’m such a big fan of Bette Davis, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, Doris Day, Laurel and Hardy, Fred and Ginger and many more. I think I’ve seen all the big musicals from the 30s, 40s and 50s. I just love it.
Christina and Will from the television adaptation of Flambards.
Anyway, currently reading the fourth in the Flambards series. It’s good although I could happily give two of the main characters a good shake. You know you’re enjoying a book when you want to knock the characters heads together when their behaviour is out of hand. Will let you know how I get on with the rest of it.
Watched Dr Strange last night and really enjoyed it. I love the Marvel films and this one is full of action and adventure plus it’s got Benedict Cumberpatch in the lead role so that’s always a bonus. I like him as an actor and he didn’t disappoint with this one. Got to mention the cloak which has a personality of it’s own…nice touch.
The Vicar of Dibley.
As I write, The Vicar of Dibley is on the telly so I apologise if I seem a little distracted from this blog. I love that programme. Ian bought me the complete set one year for Christmas and I just love it. It’s so funny. It’s the first episode that’s on at the moment and Geraldine has discovered that the village don’t want her because she’s a woman. Classic telly. They don’t make them like this any more. I find today’s sitcoms – both American and British – to be turgid, formulaic programmes full of fake canned laughter and rubbish jokes. What are the writers doing? The jokes aren’t clever and the programmes often feel like they’ve been written in that way because it’s safe. No-one (and I’m talking about the mainstream telly channels here) seems to be taking risks any more. It’s so sad. Anyway, rant over.
As I look down I see Millie has indeed been in the puddle. She has mud on her legs and now needs a bath…sigh. They just love to create more work for me, don’t they? I think I’ll take them down the beach for a bit of a run and then bathe them both (Casper will love that! Not!).
Right I am going to finish up here and say cheerio til next time.
Oh I’ve been tired this week. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve not been sleeping at all well. Well, I do know what caused some of it – the girl shouting out at 2am ‘Where’s the toilet roll?’ and I took an allergic reaction another night which caused me to be wheezy and unable to breathe properly. I think it was either a reaction to Casper (whom I am slightly allergic to) or the feather duvet cover. Hmmm.
Anyway, I am not my usual sparky self this week and lack of sleep has meant I have not been eating that healthily either. I’ve been using food to keep me awake at work. What I haven’t done, I am pleased to say, is slip back into the habit of drinking fizzy drinks. I am afraid that if I have even one I will go back to drinking it every day. Instead, I stick to water (hark me being all evangelical!).
Talking of cutting things out, I have been trying to lose a bit of weight, but despite my best efforts (okay, it wasn’t my best efforts but those glasses of wine were for medicinal purposes…ie to stave off the headaches caused by my kids battling with each other), I have only lost a couple of pounds in about three weeks. Sigh. I have been exercising more thanks to my beloved Fitbit, which I am still enamoured with. I know what the next step is, but I don’t really want to do it: cut out alcohol! I enjoy a glass of wine. However, I do need to get rid of the stubborn flotation ring that has developed around my middle. Sigh. I think I may have a glass of wine and think about it! J
So, where are we this week? I finished reading Nora Ephron’s Crazy Salad in the wee small hours last night – I was up all wheezy and decided to read while I was waiting for an antihistamine tablet to kick in. I’ve been reading this book since the weekend and loving it. It’s made up of pieces of work she did in the early 70s and it’s really interesting not just from the fact that she is a compelling teller of tales, but for the historical side of things as some of the articles talk about the women’s movement and the Watergate scandal.
Now I’m back to the dilemma all we bibliophiles have and that is: what am I going to read next? It may sound simple to someone who does not love books as much as I do, but it’s not. There are certain factors to take into consideration: what mood am I in? Light reading, heavier fiction or something non-fiction? What’s the weather like outside? I can’t read a heavier book when it’s sunny outside, it just doesn’t feel comfortable. I know that sounds mad, but have you ever tried to read Wuthering Heights on the Costa Brava? It’s impossible because you can’t get into the foul weather in the novel when it’s 90 degrees where you are and the weather is an integral part of the story. Am I hungry and trying to lose weight? Then all books about food or mentioning food are out cos that will make me hungrier and then I might eat something I shouldn’t. Okay, there’s 100% chance I will do this, so food books are OUT. Do I take a chance and read an author I’ve never read before or should I stick to one I love? Should I re-read a favourite book or take up something new? Honestly, sometimes I’m stuck in front of my (numerous) bookshelves feeling overwhelmed with indecision. Eventually I’ll just pluck something off the shelf and hope for the best! This sometimes works. Other times it doesn’t.
Anyway, there are worst decisions folk have to make in life than choosing which book to read and (secretly) I often love the dilemma!
Now on to films I’ve seen recently and it was one I absolutely loved. Bridget Jones’s Baby is very funny and, I’m so glad to see, is as good as the previous two. It did, however, make me sad to watch it on DVD in my living room because the Bridget Jones films were films Ian and I used to go to the cinema to watch together. We used to hoot with laughter at it. They were some of the first films we saw together and always remind me of him. It’s weird the things that do trigger memories of my beloved. Anyway, I enjoyed the film none-the-less and cheered when she finally married the man of her dreams and had her baby! I will not spoil it for those who have not seen the film. There are two men to pick from. I’m just glad she got the one she did.
The kids and I had a relatively quiet weekend last weekend and I’m really glad we did. I am still tackling the mountain of washing, but have taken an executive decision that the ever growing pile of ironing will be sent out. It’s amazing how liberating taking such a decision is. I know: I am sad, but I hate being chained to the ironing board and don’t see why I should when there is a perfectly good company staffed by perfectly nice people who will do it for me. There: onerous job done.
Right, time to finish here and say my adieus. Til next time,
I have bought a Fitbit and have become totally obsessed with it. This is a good thing because it’s making me more active and a bad thing because I’ve slightly fallen in love with it. Okay, I’m totally in love with it. I know I’m late coming to this gadget – folk have had them for a year or so – but now I’m one of the gang, it’s great: I must check my stats at least five times a day. Added to that is that I’m doing a walking challenge at work so I have that website to update too. Having a little gadget on your wrist telling you to do more activities might seem like a horrible thing to some, but I like it. It’s sort of comforting to know that this strip of black cares that you need to be healthier. It’s become a sort of pet. Sad, I know.
Anyway, how’s your week been? Mine has been alright. Just working and staring forlornly at the twin mountains of ‘Dirty Washing’ and ‘Ironing Pile’. It’s surprising how well I manage to ignore the latter. As regular readers of this blog will know, I hate ironing and will do almost anything to get out of it. My ironing is currently sitting in a massive pile (one on a chair and one in a basket) in the living room taunting me as I write, but years of putting this activity off has lead me to almost not see it as watch telly or read books or write this blog in this room. I cannot, however, ignore the mountain of ‘Dirty Washing’ as it’s lying festering on the kitchen floor. Normally I can keep up with my washing, but because I gutted the boy’s room (uncovering a large secret treasure of dirty pants, socks, jeans, t-shirts and other items of clothing) and found the missing clothes, it’s a huge pile again. Sigh.
Still I will not become depressed by it. I’ve just come in from taking the dogs a walk along the riverside and it was fab. Despite it being quite cold outside, the sun in shining and all seems well in the world today. It’s my favourite type of winter’s day: cold to the point that it’s almost frosty, but sunny and clear. If I didn’t have my house to clean and the two mountains to tackle, I would say today is almost perfect. The dogs loved it too…they had a good old run about and found lots of interesting sniffs on the beach and in the grassy areas. I let Casper off the lead because he is a good boy and comes back. I kept Millie on the lead because she is a wee besom who will not do as she’s told…ever. I let both of them off the lead last weekend and myself and the boy spent about half an hour trying to get Millie to come back. We only caught her when she stopped to pee. Just as well she is so cute!!
Talking of Casper, we in this house have decided he is actually a cat in disguise as he loves walking along and lying on the arms and backs of my Chesterfield sofa and chairs. The girl also caught him climbing on the bookcase next to our sofa. Is this normal for a Yorkie? I don’t think so. Millie we already know to be a bit of a climber. If it wasn’t for the dog breath and terrible pong when they let off, I would suspect the both of them were cats in disguise! 🙂
The Princess Bride – Carey Elwes and Robin Wright are Westley and Buttercup.
I had a bit of a heavy heart yesterday…I finished reading The Princess Bride. Westley and Buttercup no more. I really enjoyed the book. William Goldman is a great writer and I loved his interactions with the reader in his role as ‘editor of the original text’. Basically the book starts off with Goldman saying he’s abridging a favourite book of his from childhood called The Princess Bride which has been written by another (fictional) writer. And in between the story itself (which the film is quite an accurate version of), he intersperses the action with comments from himself. It’s a lovely lovely book and now on my list of books I will read many many times.
I’ve also finished Relish, so am now in a quandary about what to read next! There’s no problem about books in this house (I am lucky enough to have loads), just which order to read them all in. Oh dear, I will have to spend a happy half an hour scouring my bookshelves tonight! That’ll be torture…not!
Joy of joys, Miss Pettigrew’s Home for Peculiar Children was finally released on DVD and we watched over two nights this week. I wasn’t gushing about it after seeing it in the cinema, but I was right about it being a grower on me. Really enjoyed it. Eva Green is great in the lead role. It’s a lovely film. Scary in bits, but lovely.
Right, I hear my washing machine winding up it’s latest programme so I must go and bravely scale Mount Dirty Washing and then clean the house from top to bottom because it desperately needs it. Til next time!
Washing day – not my washing day, my washing day is every day and there’s mountains of it!
Things have quietened down lately and thank goodness. For a while there, myself and the kids were dining out rather a lot, which is good for seeing friends and family, but not great for the pocket.
However, while we’ve been going out less, the house has not been peaceful thanks to my kids fighting with each other. Sigh. They bicker over everything. A lot of the time it’s the girl’s fault because she just loves winding her wee brother up. However on Sunday she was definitely not to blame for the major temper tantrum the boy took because she was blocking they way into the fridge (see, you don’t get between a nine-year-old kid and his lunch!). He battered her, she battered him and then he took a carton of orange juice from the fridge and threw it at her. It missed and bounced off the wall, spraying sticky orange juice everywhere. I – to coin a Glasgow phrase – managed to ‘keep the heid’ and made him clean it up. I took his precious tablet off him, banned him from the PlayStation and told him to go to his room, which he did stomping as loudly as he could on the way up muttering how he hated his sister, it was all her fault, she made him do it (unless she can suddenly do magic, she didn’t) and claiming he hated his life. The bedroom door was slammed shut.
I left him there to stew for an hour whilst I ate a piece of (medicinal) cheesecake and drank tea in front of the telly with the dogs (who were recovering from the shock of seeing the boy in a rage – I think they were also relieved he wasn’t throwing orange juice at them!).
Victorian celebrity chef Alexis Soyer – more on him later.
Talking of the dogs, Casper went in to get a wee op last week. I decided, after much deliberation, to get him castrated. The vet said it would be better for him as he wouldn’t get upset if he sensed a bitch was on heat. I hated taking him – just like I hated when I got Millie done – and felt a crumb when I left him in the capable hands of our vet (who is a very nice guy and great with animals). I can still feel the dog’s accusing little eyes boring into me as I left him. Anyway, he was there for the day and myself and the boy picked him up around 4pm. As we sat in the waiting area, Casper must have heard us talking because we could certainly hear him barking and whining for us. I was relieved to see him looking well, if a little comical in his plastic collar (the ‘collar of shame’). He needed to wear it until today when he got a check up with the vet (he’s doing well), but it didn’t seem to bother him that much.
Far from missing him during that day, Millie didn’t seem at all upset that her pal wasn’t with her. She played and ran about as usual. Totally different from when she went in to get hers when Casper was bereft (we’re talking lying about, ears down, whining occasionally and looking like he was about to burst into tears) until she came back to us. She was, however, much more jumpy and barky than usual, so deep down I think she was missing him.
Nora Ephron whose ‘Heartburn’ is excellent.
On Saturday, I began the onerous task of cleaning out the boy’s room. I did a good clean of it about two months ago, but decided it really needed a deep clean especially as he’d really messed it up and it was really bad again. Put it this way, you couldn’t see any carpet because of the toys, dirty clothes and rubbish he had strewn all over the floors and under the bed. I did about two hours on Saturday and then all afternoon on Sunday. We took out around 12 bin bags full of rubbish and old toys that were too young for him. I took a bin bag full of old clothes and two bin bags full of books to the charity bins. I took down a huge amount of dirty washing and it’s currently lying on the floor at the washing machine waiting to be washed…sigh. It is amazing how much clothing I took out of that room…I had no idea how much he actually had. We also found two pairs of new jeans still in the wrappers (he claimed last week he had no jeans!), numerous dirty pants (ew) and a new coat scrunched up into a ball. He is a lazy little…(insert appropriate word here). He actually had the cheek to complain that he hated the smell of his room and was astounded when I said it was all his own fault for leaving dirty clothes and mouldy bits of food lying around.
Don’t worry, I made the boy help, although it’s debatable that he actually made a lot of impact on the clear up…he spent a good bit of his time ‘seeing how the dogs were’, reading things he’d found, finding old toys and looking for parts and generally wasting time going to the toilet and for glasses of water.
He has been warned that if he ever gets his room in that mess again, he will be punished…I just need to take his tablet off him and ban him from the PlayStation to punish him. Ah technology, so bad for kids in many ways, but great for parents in others.
Currently reading: am coming to the end of ‘Relish’, the biography of Alexis Soyer, the Jamie Oliver of the Victorian era and I’ve really enjoyed it. What a character that man was. I’m surprised no one has ever made a tv series or film about his life. He was so interesting and larger than life. This book gets ten out of ten for me.
I have also just finished ‘Heartburn’ by Nora Ephron which is a novel loosely based on her divorce from her second husband after she caught him cheating on her. I loved it. Nora has such a fab way with words, everything has a comical slant on it despite the pain this period of her life obviously caused her…she is so witty and a talented observer of people.
Telly: like many others, I waited with baited breath for the return of Sherlock and was disappointed with the first one. I watched last week’s episode and I quite liked it. I know a lot of people didn’t and thought it was pretentious, but I found it interesting.
A scene from Suite Francaise.
Writing: I’ve not been great at keeping up with the writing lately. I don’t know why because I was going great guns in the run up to Christmas. I think having the break has put me off going back to it plus I have been feeling really tired and fed up lately. I put that down to returning to work and coming off caffeine (which gave me a tremendous headache all last week). Anyway, I feel much better this week so really don’t have a good excuse not to get back behind the keyboard. I just have to start!
Okay, I am going to finish here for just now and go off an do some writing (and not procrastinate or find an excuse for not writing like doing the washing or the dishes or shouting at the kids for trying to kill each other). Til next time!