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!

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Long lies, stunning views and ‘there’s been a murrrderrr’

Ah the wonders of a long lie and not having to get up early for work. I woke naturally this morning – well that’s not strictly true: my husband nearly gave me heart failure kissing me goodbye earlier on (I got a bit of a fright – then enjoyed the kiss!). However, once my heart stopped racing I went back to sleep and then I woke naturally about an hour later. So nice. The kids and I are off this week – their October break – so we’ve got a few wee things planned, but not a huge amount. I always book too many things in and then don’t get the break I need, so I’ve got a couple of things planned and the rest of the week will be spent chilling out.

This is just one of the lovely views I see on the walk.

This is just one of the lovely views I see on the walk.

So how are you all this week? I’ve surprised myself by going out walking again last week with the girls (some of the mums I know from school). I did it, enjoyed it and didn’t find some excuse to miss it! Result! The walk is at least four miles up in the hills overlooking the River Clyde and it’s stunning no matter what the weather. However, I managed to get a great pic on a lovely day (see above). Stunning.

I haven’t been writing much this week. I just can’t seem to get into it. I know I should, but I’m doing everything but. Sigh. Instead, the knitting needles are back out and the crochet hook and I’m sitting watching Miss Fisher Investigates, The Glades and reruns of Murdoch Mysteries clicking away on the sofa. Ooh let’s not forget Downton Abbey. What did you think of last week’s episode? Bit of a shocker, eh? Poor Anna. Can’t wait to see this Sunday’s episode! I just love a good period drama and if there’s a detective and a murder thrown in there (not Downton, but Miss Fisher, Murdoch et al) then I’m all the happier!! I think that’s why I attempted to write a wee romantic crime adventure through Dusting Down Alcudia. I’m thinking I may throw in a murder in the sequel…we shall see (she says mysteriously).

Currently reading Diana Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber, the sequel to Outlander. Oh it’s good. Am totally hooked. Bang goes my plan to spend autumn reading Game of Thrones. So many books, too little time!!

Right, I’d best be off. The girl is twitchy. She’s going to spend tonight at a friend’s house and has already packed. She’s desperate for the girl’s mum to come and get her. It’ll be strange not having her in the house tonight…strange, but very quiet!!

Til next time

Dawn xx

A Fox in a Box

Tom Frost Fox Stamp Print

The Victoria and Albert Museum shop (I love that museum, it’s fantastic) has loads of brilliant things in it just now, two of which I’m showing just now. I love these prints. I have thing for images of foxes and Guinea Pigs (goes without saying). I think Tom Frost and Rosamund Fowler produce really stunning artworks.

Maisie Guinea Pig by Rosamund Fowler

So how have you all been this week? My week has been a bit of a whirlwind: busy busy at work, busy busy at home.  Last weeked I met a friend for lunch in the westend of Glasgow. We went to a really nice French restaurant in Byres Road (I forget it’s name, but I could take you there) and then spent a wee hour going around the charity shops looking for bargains and generally having a really nice time. Sunday – I took the kids to see my parents. It’s my mum’s birthday this weekend, but I’m unable to catch up with her then so took her pressie (a White Linen perfume giftset) over last weekend along with a home-made birthday cake. She made her famous veg soup (I love it – once lived on it for a whole winter I loved it so much) and the best steak pie I’ve eaten for ages. Happy birthday mum when it comes.

This morning am planning to watch the last episode of the series of Downton Abbey (sob) and then go and seek out some surplus wood in our garage. Am planning to make little stools for the kids as part of their Christmas. I think hubby thinks I wasn’t serious when I said I wanted to do woodworking, but I am. This afternoon, I’m going to do the housework and the ironing that still sits forlornely in the ironing basket. Tomorrow I’ve set aside time to write and play piano. We have a quiet weekend ahead of us, so am looking forward to getting a bit of time to write and craft.

The papercutting – design by Elsa Mora

Talking of crafting, here’s a picture of that papercutting I did. It’s a wee bit dodgy in places, but nice. It’s by Elsa Mora. I am a real fan of  artists who do papercutting, they are so talented.

Right, am off to watch Downton with a cup of tea and two Digestives and butter – ah bliss!! See you soon.

Dawn xx

Downton Abbey and Bletchley Circle…what more could a girl ask for?

Is it sad that I couldn’t wait to bundle the kids off to school this morning so that I could finally watch Sunday night’s episode of Downton Abbey in peace and quiet? And it certainly didn’t disappoint. What a show. I just love it. I get a thrill just thinking about it, sad though that admission is!! I really got into the storylines this morning and could have whacked Lady Mary for not understanding Matthew’s point of view and being all ‘you’re not on our side’. Then there’s Tom and Sybil…my view is that he may soften in his Republican you-are-all-the-oppressors stance the more he’s at Downton…will this lead to an internal struggle??

And dear old Lady Edith (above). I do hope she gets her beau even if he is a good bit older than her. Of course the ladies who really steal the show for me are Maggie Smith (aka the Dowager Countess) and Penelope Wilton (as Isobel Crawley) whose spats have entertained me greatly. What will they make of Shirley MacLaine (very top) is thrown into the mix as Martha Levinson, Cora’s mother? She’s already come out with some good one liners…I see sparks flying between the three later on.

That’s not the only programme I’ve been glued to recently. Apart from the World War II Farm (I’ve watched most of those series, they are very good), I’ve been emersed in The Bletchly Circle starring Anna Maxwell Martin as Susan, Rachael Stirling (who was on Radio Scotland yesterday promoting her play at The Citizens’ Theatre in Glasgow later this month – I didn’t know she had been brought up in Stirling up here!) as Millie, Sophie Rundle as Lucy and Julie Graham as Jean.  It’s superb. Had me on the edge of my seat. I can hardly wait for tonight’s episode. It’s the last one. The killer has Susan in his grips and the other ladies are busy looking after poor battered Lucy (who really needs to leave that horrible husband of hers)…will they get to her in time before he  makes her his 13th victim? Oh the suspense.

Am still reading The Family Fang and quite enjoying it. It reminded me a bit of The Royal Tenenbaums, a film I really like and find quite sad but amusing. Then I read a testimonial at the back of the book which said something along the same lines…ie it was a bit like the Royal Tenenbaums, not the sad/amusing bit. Still don’t find it hilarious. Am wondering if I’ve lost my sense of humour or if I’m just a different type of person to those sited on the book jacket as finding it so funny? I think the latter. However, I am enjoying it and am looking forward to getting back to it tonight.

Apart from watching telly, I’ve been doing a bit of writing today on my adult book and attempting to save the life of my daughter’s favourite thing…an old cot blanket known in the house as Blankie. Basically it’s one of the types of blankets that have holes in it…you know what I mean? And it’s now so old (well she’s nearly eight and it’s been everywhere with her) that it’s falling apart one loose strand at a time. I find bits of it all over the house and have what we in Scotland call a nanny rooney (ie got fairly angry) with her for not picking it up. Meanwhile, poor old sad Blankie continued to fray and shrink. So I’ve put a chenille fabric backing on to it and folded over the edges so that it makes a neat edge. It took me about two hours to do it all this morning (with a brief lunch break) and I broke my sewing machine just as I finished (the feeder feet won’t work…sigh). Hopefully all that trauma will mean no more bits of Blankie (they’ve actually turned out quite useful as proof to where she’s been in the house!! She can’t say ‘It wasn’t me.’ or ‘I wasn’t there.’ if a small bit of Blankie is lying on the ground saying otherwise!) dropped on the floor and no more fraying. I doubt it!

Anyway, I’ll need to sign off just now until next time.

Dawn xx