Confessions of a writer, Elizabeth Hunter and the Hedgehog Who Froze

Autumn a

I cannot believe it’s only four weeks until Christmas! Where did this year go? My parents were right: life does speed up the older you get! Just goes to show you should enjoy every minute if you can.

Anyway, how are you all today? What’s been happening in your world?

Autumn c

I’ve been busy getting things ready for Christmas. I am almost there with my preparations…just got Christmas cards to write and a couple of wee things to buy and that’s me. I hate Christmas shopping, there’s nothing pleasurable in it so I like to get food etc in well before the big day so that I only have to drop round to my local shop to pick up the necessities (bread, milk, veggies etc).

I have a confession: having signed up to Nanowrimo, I have been unable to keep up with it. I simply have too much on and am too tired at night when I have any free time. I’ve decided that I’ll just write on the days I’m not at work…it’s the best I can do I’m afraid. I feel a bit guilty, like I’ve let myself down, but I have to be realistic about what I can do. I’m not superwoman after all. I’ve written around 30,000 words, so that’s still an achievement.

Autumn b

Does anyone know anything about the winter habits of blackbirds? We have a mating pair in the garden and normally I’d still see or hear them around at this time of year (especially as I’ve been putting seed out on the bird table), but I’ve not see a single feather of them. I am worried one of the cats that live around here have got them. They’ve been with us for years (well the family has, not sure how long they live for). I am hoping they turn up again. Maybe they’ve just moved to warmer climes. Hmmm.

Autumn e

Talking of winter visitors, the squirrels and crows (can’t say that word without thinking of Ygrit in Game of Thrones!) still raid the bird table. I also saw a hedgehog taking an evening stroll down the middle of the road the other night. I was out walking with friends when I spotted the little creature frozen in the road. My friends thought it was dead, but I’ve seen them do this before…if threatened, hedgehogs seem to freeze and pretend they are not really there in the hope that you go away and leave them alone. It barely moved a muscle apart from the almost imperceptible twitch of its nose. We left it there worried it would be squished by a car, but we didn’t want to terrify it any more. Hopefully it got home safely.

I love hedgehogs.

What else have I been doing? Knitting socks as Christmas presents. Have also a started a new book called A Hidden Fire by Elzabeth Hunter. She’s a self published, this is the first of four books and is really good. It’s supernatural, mystery and romance all rolled into one book. I am really enjoying it. Recommend it if you like a well written romantic adventure with vampires. It was my mum who put me on to her (I’ve borrowed all four books from her), so thanks mum. This book comes hot on the heels of Bleak House by Charles Dickens, which I loved. In saying that, I have loved nearly all of the books of his I’ve read (I haven’t yet read them all): the Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Great Expectations. The ones I didn’t enjoy as much were Little Dorrit (I found Little Dorrit too insipid for my tastes) and Hard Times. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked the books, I just didn’t like them as much as the others. Still have a fair few to read, but I will.

Autumn d

Right, I suppose I’d better be off and do my housework. I am procrastinating, hoping the housework fairies will come and do it for me. Sigh. Still, I’ll just put on some good tunes and have a dance and a singalong while I do it.

Til next time.

Dawn xxx





Enid Blyton and the Seven Stories Centre

M'cester Seven Stories Centre  1

You know how in the film Julie and Julia when Julie goes to see an exhibition of her heroine, Julia Childs, and she’s a bit in awe of it all? Well that’s how I felt when we went to Newcastle on Thursday so that I could attend the Enid Blyton exhibition at the Seven Stories Centre – the National Centre for Children’s Books. I was in my element anyway, being in a place that celebrated children’s books, writers and illustrators, but being so close to Enid’s diaries and typewriter and stuff, and seeing all those lovely and familiar illustrations from her books, just made my day.

I am a huge fan of Enid Blyton and have read a lot of her books. My favourites were The Faraway Tree stories closely followed by The Wishing Chair.

M'cester Seven Stories Centre 2

M'cester Seven Stories Centre 3

Anyway, I just loved being there and seeing her things and reminiscing about books I had read as a child and just loving every moment. The Enid Blyton exhibition was on one floor of the centre and once my family had prized me away from it, we explored the other floors.

Seven Stories is housed in a lovely old building several stories high and on each storey there is something different. Above the Enid Blyton exhibition was one on Cressida Cowell who wrote How to Train Your Dragon, amongst many other titles. There were original texts and sketches and lots of Viking costumes for my kids (and their parents) to try on. It was fun.

Above that, the kids made dragon masks in an area for making stuff. Above that is the attic (above) where I think authors go and read to children and children can try on different costumes and sit in the big wooden chair (below).

M'cester Seven Stories Centre 4

M'cester Seven Stories Centre 5

We ate lunch there in the little café (which was really good – we had panninis and they were excellent), perused the shop, bought some books (I of course bought the biography of Enid Blyton which I am just reading now) and it was a lovely afternoon. I was sad to leave the centre, but we had to get home and we headed north after that – well after a brief stop at a scooter place for hubby.

It was a hot and dry drive home. The day was muggy and the car was really hot, but the kids did really well, not complaining too much. We had a couple of stops en route to stretch our legs and use the toilet and got home in the evening.

En route, we stopped off at Marks and Spencer’s and I picked up some snacky things for dinner. We were, by now, heartily sick of deep fried or chips-with-everything food so I bought some nice picnic type things and a salad, which we ate at home.

It was lovely waking up in our house the next morning. I like going away and visiting new places, but I like coming home more. We had a great few days away in Manchester and I would recommend it for a short break.

We had a great time, but I’m glad to be home.

Dawn xxx