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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dawn xx

 

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Just a quick post to say Merry Christmas

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It’s been a little while since I published a post and I apologise about that. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of doing stuff: building my social media business, meeting new clients, doing domestic things and getting ready for Christmas. I also had an assignment to hand in for my uni course, so that’s taken up a bit of time. It’s been a bit mental, I can tell you.

Anyway, how are you all? Are you set for Christmas? I’m just about there. The wonders of the internet mean I have my turkey (etc) ordered from Marks & Spencer, to be picked up on Christmas Eve. It comes as a crown, already stuffed and I’ve got nice bits to go with it. Easy peasy.

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The Lurgy has reached this house again. The boy was very sick overnight on Friday night and has been fighting a heavy cold ever since. I’m not sure if it’s the same bug, but it seems to be. I know a few people who have experienced similar symptoms around about here, so I think it’s just a bug that’s going around. Anyway, he’s off school today and we’re sitting watching Antman and Wasp at the moment. We both love Marvel.

Currently reading: still reading the history book about Pompeii, the one by Mary Beard. Haven’t had the time or energy for reading lately, hence the reason why I’m still on that book. Still enjoying it. It’s so well researched and written. Hopefully over the Christmas holidays I’ll have lots more time to read.

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Talking of the Christmas holidays, I have decided to take some well earned time off. This year has been really busy what with finishing the sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia, doing my OU course and setting up my business. I’m in need of some time off to recharge the old batteries. So, with that in mind, I’m going to say goodbye now, I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and see you in January.

Dawn xxx

 

Another birthday, another book, another week

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So, I am writing this blog sitting on my sofa in the living room whilst an old episode of Bones is on the telly and a storm brews up outside.  And I’m wondering what nuggets of information I should share with you this week.

Firstly, I think I should apologise for being a bit late with this post this week. I’ve been really busy. I’ve been working on my uni course and on building my clientele for my social media business. Then add to that all the things I do on a daily basis and all of a sudden it’s Thursday night and I’m thinking: oh no! I haven’t written one blog this week yet.

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Right, so let’s begin with the weekend. It was my birthday last week and to celebrate not only did my parents take me out for lunch, but my friends took me out for dinner. Weirdly both events happened at the same place – Padrone’s in Helensburgh – but I was happy to go as I love the restaurant. It does a fab pizza and really nice pasta. Yum. Had a fab time on both. Also met my sister for lunch today. We went to Bill’s in West Nile Street, Glasgow and had macaroni (yes, there is an Italian theme going on here) and a good old blether. She paid cos it was my birthday last week. Thanks to everyone for taking me out. Had a great time.

Was going to put the Christmas decorations up on Sunday, but as I was feeling foggy with a hangover, I decided it would be best not to. So, I spent much of the day lying on the sofa with the dogs watching Bones. I used to watch Bones years ago, then went off it. Recently, I’ve been in the mood for it, so have been catching up with the episodes I missed. It’s good. A lot of the things they do on it are ridiculous, especially how fast they solve crime, but it’s good old fashioned entertainment. NB the decorations went up on Tuesday and Wednesday. Couldn’t be bothered doing all in one day!

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Been working on getting the audiobook of Dusting Down Alcudia done and out, but every time I upload it, I get an email back saying something else is wrong with it. Sigh. It’s not the recording of the voice, but room tone that’s missing. Anyway, I am going to work on it tomorrow and see if I can finally get it uploaded and accepted by the platform I’m uploading to. Watch this space for news. I will get this audiobook out soon if it kills me!! 😉

Currently reading Alternative Scriptwriting by Ken Dancyger and Jeff Rush. Just started it, so don’t have an opinion on it yet, but will let you know. Am keen to learn about scriptwriting. I really want to give one a go, so am learning everything I can about it. Early this year, I signed up to Masterclass and there’s a number of courses on screenwriting on there. S’good.

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Quick update on the chickens. For those of you who don’t know it already, I adopted four ex-battery hens in October. The poor wee souls were pretty bare about the bottom. I don’t know how their feathers disappeared from their posteriors, but it’s definitely linked to how they were kept before we got them. Did they pluck out their own feathers because they were bored and depressed? I don’t know. However, the chooks are looking a lot better these days. I’m allowing them to roam the garden in the afternoons and they are loving it. They are perky and curious, their combs are bright red and perky (unlike the pale pink, floppy combs they were when we first got them) and their feathers are starting to come in big style. They seem really happy and cluck softly as they scratch about the back garden. The dogs have been great with them. The pug seems oblivious to the fact that they are there, although she must smell them. We think she’s a bit blind and deaf (she is an old lady), so may not see them properly. She’s also very laid back, almost horizontal, so that could be it. Millie, our Jack Chi, is besotted with the hens. She just wants to sniff and play with them. However, the chickens aren’t so keen and she soon gets told off with a quick peck if she gets too close. Both her and Casper are keen eaters of chicken feed – you would think I don’t feed them! – so I have to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t go into the pen when the chickens are out. Casper is also curious about them, but is a little scared of them. It’s hilarious!

Right, I am going to finish here and go and make myself a wee cup of tea. I drank copious cups of it at Bill’s earlier, but am in the mood for another. Til next time.

Dawn xx

 

 

 

Four days in Austria… bliss!

So I went to Austria last week for four days to visit my good friend Val, who lives in the south of the country close to the Italian and Slovenian borders.

And it was fantastic.

Not only did I have four whole days to myself – although two of those were spent travelling – and get to see Val, but I got to experience a beautiful (new to me) country.

I’ve been in a number of European countries, but this was my first visit to Austria and I loved it.

Waiting at Frankfurt Airport for my connecting flight to Salzburg.
View from the flight from Frankfurt to Salzburg.

The journey there was quite long. I couldn’t get a flight from Glasgow for the day I wanted, so I had to travel to Edinburgh Airport instead. I flew to Frankfurt and then from there flew to Salzburg. Val met me at Salzburg Airport and we took the bus back to the city.

Schnitzel in Salzburg.

We spent the night in Salzburg, eating in the Mozart Cafe before finding a local Irish pub where we drank wine and enjoyed the karoake.

The following day we had breakfast in Salzburg and a good walk around. Unfortunately, we only had the morning in the city, but it gave me enough time to see some of it and it’s gorgeous. I now want to return to be a total tourist and go into the Mozart Museum and, more importantly, The Sound of Music Museum, which we found just as we were heading for the train south.

A very cold me outside the Mozart Museum.
Even McDonald’s is posh in Salzburg.
The Sound of Music Museum.
Salzburg Castle – I’m going there one day.

My lovely friend lives near Villach in a brand-new house overlooking the wonderful castle of Landskron, which was shut for the winter (I chose the wrong time of year to visit!). I fully intend to return to Austria at some point and go and explore that castle – I love castles. Apparently, it has a brilliant café where, in the summer, you can sit outside and enjoy the stunning view of the valley.

Landskron Castle,

Talking of stunning, part of the train journey south takes you through Carinthian mountains, which when we travelled down from Salzburg, was about a foot deep in snow. In fact, it didn’t stop snowing until almost the point where we reached Villach. We couldn’t see a lot because the mountains were shrouded by snowfall, but what I did see was an amazing landscape covered in snow, which was oh-so-Christmassy.

Villach getting ready for their Christmas festival.

Anyway, the following day, we went into Villach for a wander about. Unfortunately (again), they were only just setting up for their Christmas festival (I kept on missing things!), but I got a glimpse of their lights and what the festival would look like with its kiosks and ice skating and glühwein and everything else that goes with it.

The restaurant where we lunched – of course, I have forgotten its name!
Lunch – yum! Think the restaurant is called Charles!
Posh toilets.
Posh toilet door.

We lunched in local restaurant/bar which was just stunning (see the pics – sorry about the quality, it was the best I could get) and the food was lovely. We’d actually asked for a different dish, but I think we mixed the waitress up and she came out with these. It was probably my fault because I said ‘we’ll get the daily special’ to Val and when the dishes came out, Val called them a word that sounded a bit like ‘special’ so I think that’s what the waitress thought we wanted. We didn’t say anything but ate it anyway and it was lovely, kind of like a nice macaroni cheese.

Day four and it was time for me to go home. I was gutted because I had had such a lovely time with Val and seeing this gorgeous country she’s now staying in.  So, she dropped me off at Villach station and I began my epic journey home: train to Salzburg (two-and-a-half hours roughly), bus to Salzburg Airport (10 mins), flight to Frankfurt Airport, flight to Edinburgh Airport, bus to Glasgow, train home, picked up at the station by my dad who, along with my mum, were babysitting the kids for me. I was shattered when I got home. I left Villach on the 9.16am train and arrived at my actual home west of Glasgow just after 8pm that evening. As Val said, it was ‘planes, trains and automobiles’! It was so worth it as not only did I get to see my friend and spend some time with her (we had a good laugh), but it totally refreshed me – just four days away made me feel less tired and more energised, so it was well worth the journey.

Anyway, I’d like to thank Val and family for putting me up, my parents for babysitting and my friend, Jill, who was supposed to come with me, but due to circumstances, was unable to go. This time. Jill, we will go again next year, promise!

So, that was my week last week. That’s one thing I love about living in Scotland – it’s only a few hours plane ride away to the amazing mainland Europe.

Food – loved the food. I ate pork schnitzel, Austrian pastry and that pasta type dish, which was lovely. Val also treated me to some Austrian wine, which was delicious.

Scenery – loved the historical buildings, the mountains, the snow, the castles.

People – Austrian people are very friendly and nice and very helpful. Thank you to Matteo who helped me tackle the machine where I had to buy my ticket to the airport. I couldn’t work out how to work it, but he helped. And thanks to all the Austrian people I met. Also like to say a big hello to the British folk I met too – the people on the flights and those in the Irish pub.

Would I go back? – definitely, I loved it.

Dawn xx