I’m baaaaaack!

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Okay, so it’s been a wee while since I’ve written a blog on this site and it’s safe to say it’s because I was getting really stressed out before Christmas. There was still so much to do to prepare for Christmas Day itself and I also had social media stuff to do. And then, on top of that, I was extremely tired. So, I thought ‘stuff it’ and then I thought ‘I’m a freelancer, I can do what I want’ and then I thought ‘I’m shutting up shop early’. And I did just that. I did all I needed to do with regards my social media business, I tied up some loose ends with some other work I was doing and then I shut up shop.

Thank goodness I did as I had a whole load of things to do (present wrapping etc) before the big day itself.

So, how was your Christmas and New Year? Did you have a good one? I really enjoyed the festive period this year. I think it’s because I decided to put my feet up and not do very much. I had my parents and a friend for Christmas Day (plus the kids and dogs), which was great fun. My parents stayed over so we had a quiet Boxing Day up until they decided to go home in the afternoon. I’d recorded the Call the Midwife Christmas special and we watched that before devouring a huge fry up (fried square sausage, bacon, potato scone and black pudding – yum!). The programme was okay, but a bit heavy on the tartan and red hair.

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I went round to a neighbours’ house for Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve), but didn’t stay for the bells as I was driving to my parents’ house the next day for dinner. My mum, who is a great cook, made us steak pie and home-made soup and it was heavenly. I love her steak pie and soup. My sister and her family were there and after dinner we played games and had a round of general knowledge.

Aside from those three events, I didn’t do an awful lot else except binge watch The Witcher (which I thought was okay, but it was jumping all over the place story-wise which was annoying) and Bones. Also started watching the BBC’s new Dracula. Saw the first episode, not sure if I’ll watch the rest of it. It was okay. I don’t know if it’s just me being fussy about telly or that telly programmes just aren’t that good at the moment. Nothing surpasses Game of Thrones or Carnival Row for me – they were just superb, perhaps I’m expecting too much. Am also enjoying Suits and I’ve discovered a French/Flemish programme on Netflix called The Thieves in the Woods which looks quite good.

Anyway, all this tv watching and resting has meant I am back this week feeling fully refreshed and ready to take on the world.

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I’m back into writing and currently drafting up a script for a one-off tv show which I’ll not speak too much about just now other than to say I’m really enjoying doing it. Whether it gets on telly or not is another matter – I hope it does – but I’m enjoying the process of writing again.

Talking of which, the nose is back to the grindstone for The Jacobite’s Share which I am planning to bring out in March. Been drafting up the cover words and I’ll send those over to my cover designer later this week. In a couple of weeks, I will begin promoting the book and plan to do an online launch of it. So, watch this space. I also have another couple of books that need edited, so I will start working on those at some point soon.

What else have I been doing? A little bit of reading. I was sorry to hear that M C Beaton (creator of Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth) died over the festive period. I enjoy her books. They are not heavy stories, but are great when you want a murder mystery that’s not just full of ingenious clues, but are warm and funny too. I’m currently reading the Agatha Raisin murder mystery The Haunted House. I am also still reading Mary Beard’s Pompeii, which is great. There’s a lot of things I never knew about Pompeii.

Right, I am going to finish up here and wish you adieu. Got a fair few things to do before the kids come in from school. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

Snow, rubbish Christmas telly and Terry Pratchett’s new book

Hellooooo! How’s things? Hope you are all well and enjoying the festive season. Have you had a nice time? I hope so. I am currently nursing an upper respiratory infection (a head cold and sore throat in other words) and am feeling a bit bleurgh! Luckily it’s only come on me the last couple of days. Apparently it’s making hubby’s life miserable because I am snoring worse than normal! Hope he doesn’t get this bug. It was the girl who brought it in, I’ve got it, the boy is sneezing and I’m hoping hubby doesn’t get it cos he has his last chemo this week. Hurrah!! If he has a cold it could delay it. The poor soul has been pretty unwell over the past few weeks with the build up of the chemo in his system. He’s been spending a lot of time in bed, it’s a real shame. One more to go plus two weeks of chemo tablets and that will be him. This year has been a bit shit, but I feel we’re coming to the end of it (I hope). Here’s to a better 2016!! Hubby deserves it. Am so thankful he’s still here with us because we nearly lost him a couple of times, but he pulled through. Yup, 2016 should be so much better!!

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In case you are wondering, I’m putting in ‘winter wonderland’ type pics because I feel we should always have snow at Christmas (thanks to Charles Dickens for this!! Apparently when he was a child, we went through a mini ice age and Christmas was always snowy so he wrote about snowy Christmases and now we all feel it should be snowy). Anyway, it’s not snowy here in Scotland. It’s been raining and very windy lately, although the last couple of days have been calm and dry. I am, however, still missing the snow (I feel a bit peeved we don’t have it – feels more Christmassy somehow)…hence the pics.

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Still trying to tot up our Christmas movies. We’ve not been watching a lot of Christmassy tv because basically the tv has been rubbish this year. As hubby quite correctly pointed out – Why are we paying our TV licence to the BBC when all they have mainly been showing is repeats of shows from when we were kids!?! And it’s not just been them! Other channels have been regurgitating tv shows from Christmas past too! And films. Yesterday we watched The Great Escape for instance…how many times has that been on British telly since the 70s??? The only thing new I’ve been watching is Dickensian, which I’ve only seen the first episode of. I love Dickens and this looks promising. I hope it’s good. Also watched the very last Downton Abbey…well I had to find out if Lady Edith got her happy ending. Seems like all the characters did. Hubby thinks Downton is rubbish and that it was all tied up too nicely, but I love a happy ending and I love Downton, so it was thumbs up from me. Even Daisy looks like she’ll finally get some romance. I know it was a cheesy finale, but it made me happy. I now feel all the characters will have a happy ending, which is the Disney-type ending they all needed!

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I’ve been taking it a bit easier these last few days so there’s not much to tell. My mother put on her usual massive spread for Christmas Day – it was great. She did the full thing and there was at least five courses. My favourite was the home-made soup – my mum makes the most amazing soup. I have tried to emulate her, but can’t quite get it right. It’s like ambrosia. I love it. When I was in my early 20s and still living at home, I lived on her soup for a whole winter. She would ask what I wanted for dinner and I always asked for her soup…it’s that good. Thanks mum!! It was a great spread…especially the soup!

Haven’t been doing too much over the last couple of days except try and bring down the mountain of dirty washing that suddenly appeared two days before Christmas (when the kids were told to tidy their rooms…ahem!). Nearly at the end of that. Plus am spending a lot of time reading. Hubby got me the new Terry Pratchett book The Shepherd’s Crown (I love Terry Pratchett), so will start that as soon as I have finished Eat my Globe by Simon Majumdar. He’s a lover of food (aren’t we all?) and decided to travel the world trying out different foods. It’s a great read. He comes a lot of dishes he loves and a few he thinks are disgusting and meets lots of really interesting people along the way. Am nearly at the end of it, but have really enjoyed it.

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We also have a few family board games to play…can’t wait to get into my Terry Pratchett The Witches boardgame!! (she says shivering with excitement!)

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Right, on that note, I’m off to make some lunch. Got a pork pie in the fridge that has my name on it. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

PS If someone was to ask me what the theme song for this Christmas was I would have to say the Dr Who theme tune. The boy is obsessed with Dr Who and got more Dr Who stuff for Christmas. If we don’t hear the theme tune from one of the many toys, he’s humming it or singing it or him and his friend from across the road are yelling it at the tops of their voices. Sigh. On that note, thought the Dr Who Christmas special this year was rather weak…the series is not as good as it used to be even with the excellent Peter Capaldi in the lead role. The storylines are often way to complicated for kids (the boy will now only watch a maximum of 15 minutes of an episode, but sits through hours of previous series – he’s a big fan of the Matt Smith storylines, but also loves the earlier seasons). However, I can’t say that for the Christmas Day version. I will continue watching, however, because I love Dr Who too!

Achoo!!

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I have the lurgy. The boy brought in the cold a few days ago and I’ve been sneezing and been snotty ever since. My throat hurts and I generally feel a bit off colour. I had a medicinal glass of wine the other night there, but that made me feel worse…the next morning! Anyway, I shall soldier on.

How are you? Hope you are well. What have you been up to? We put the Christmas tree and decorations up this week and the house is looking very festive. I bought a new, slimmer tree and new lights and they look great. I like to buy a new ornament for the house every Christmas and this year I chose this…

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The kids think I’m weird putting out figurines from The Nightmare Before Christmas, but I love them! Nothing like a bit of the macabre to really feel Christmassy!! Hee hee.

Another thing I’ve loved this week is this video. It’s so funny.

Other news and sadly we’ve lost another uncle to cancer. My thoughts go out to his daughters, my cousins, at this sad time. Feels like too many people are being affected by cancer this year.

Anyway…I am going to finish here because I have the house to clean and an ironing mountain (yes I have never managed to see through my intention of doing a bit a day…instead I leave it to pile up hoping that somehow it will go away. I hate ironing!) to do. So I will finish up here.

Yours sniffing and spluttering

Dawn xxx

 

 

There’s a pheasant in my garden

pheaasant 2Walked out to fill the bird table earlier today and nearly had a heart attack when something relatively big and fast ran into the bushes. I was just in time to see the streak of brown and the long tail. It was a female pheasant. I don’t know what she was doing in our garden, but I threw down some seeds for her. She was really shy and flew off when I tried to take a pic so I’ve had to borrow a pic of what she looked like from the web.

We get quite a lot of different types of birds in our garden. Apart from the usual crows, rooks, the odd gull, blackbirds, tits, finches and robins, we also see the odd bird of prey, ducks (in the stream running down the back of the garden) and herons. More recently, what we think was a peregrine falcon used our back fence as a resting place.

falconIt’s really nice. We’ve also had hedgehogs, neighbours’ cats, our guinea pigs and the odd feral child in the garden too!!

Anyway, how’s your week been? Busy getting ready for the festive season no doubt!! I’ve been the same. I’ve been finishing a lot of projects up for work and also completing various home-made gifts. I haven’t taken pics of them yet (apart from the bears and the hat), but I’ll do that before I give them. So there’s been a fair bit of knitting and sewing going on. I’ve also been getting food etc in for Christmas. I don’t know about you, but I hate Christmas shopping…it’s always too busy, too hot and too full of very rude people. I do most of my shopping online and in October!

This week has been interesting weather wise. We were hit by what the press are calling the ‘weather bomb’ earlier on in the week. That meant we had everything the weather could throw at us: heavy rain, very strong winds, hail, sleet, thunder and lightening (a new one for me – I’ve never known it to do that in winter), low temperatures, ice and sun. Thankfully it’s died down and it’s just very cold and icy here. Makes me glad we’ve got a cosy warm house to go into. We’re lucky.

I’ve had one of those weeks where I’ve been forgetting a lot of things. I think it’s because we all have a cold and it’s making my head a bit woolly.

Went to the boy’s nativity during the week. He was one of the singers being one of the older children. The actual nativity play was called Baubles and was a take on the Christmas story. It was enacted by the Primary 1 pupils who were all incredibly cute and very good. All of us parents, grandparents and carers really enjoyed it. Well done P1-3. You all did very well.

Next week the girl is doing a carol concert, so I’m looking forward to that. I like attending these, it really starts off Christmas for me.

Anyway, I’m off to have a little read of my book – Elizabeth Hunter’s  A Fall of Water – before I start dinner.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Making Christmas presents and Halloween bags

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Oh it’s getting really autumnal outside! What a week we’ve had weather wise…heavy rain, high winds. Nasty. That was the start of the week. Yesterday the weather was beautiful and today it’s overcast and rainy. It’s dark too. Sigh. Winter is coming!

So how have you been? I’ve been working hard on Christmas gifts. I will show you pics of them soon. Just need to set them up and take them!

 

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Tonight the kids and I got some sweet bags ready for tomorrow night. I’m not bothered about Halloween, but the kids love it. I like to get bags ready so that I just hand them out when the guisers come round trick or treating.

autumn 2This weekend I’ll continue on with the gifts so that I have them all ready by the end of November. Fingers crossed all the recipients will like them!!

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Anyway, I’m going to stop this post here. Got to get on. Am off to take up the knitting pins again!! Til next time!

 

Dawn xx