Lego, Goldman and a Deep Deep Trench

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.

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

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Jean Harlow, Muddy Paws and Geraldine Grainger

 

Jean Harlow...more about her later.

Jean Harlow…more about her later.

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.

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 HardyFred 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.

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.

Dr Strange.

Dr Strange.

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.

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.

Geraldioe marries.

Geraldine marries.

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.

Dawn xxx

Inconceivable! Fitbitting, Laundry and Finishing The Princess Bride

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Casper

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.

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Millie

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! 🙂

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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!

miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-children-poster-banner

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!

Dawn xxxx

A toilet roll trail and reading about Jack Kahane

Is it Friday already? I swear to God my life is speeding up and every year it gets quicker. I cannot believe it’s nearly Christmas!!

Anyway, so far this week I have done this: gone to work, taken the boy to his swimming lessons, hoovered (a lot cos the dogs are worse than the kids for making a mess), gutted the house (more on that in a minute), put the outside Christmas lights on our small trees, attended a funeral (my friend’s mum, was a lovely funeral) and had lunch with friends on two different occasions ( I am turning into a lady who lunches all the time!).

Back to cleaning the house. I spent around two hours on cleaning up the house yesterday. I really went to town on gutting the place. It needed a good old scrub, so I gave it one. I was so happy when I finished and the house was sparkling. Then I went upstairs to wash and change (I always break a sweat when cleaning the house – I like to put my all into it, it’s like doing a workout). En route I took up a basket full of clean clothes leaving some toilet rolls on the stairs. Big mistake. I washed up, changed and touched up my makeup. Happy that the house was sparkling, I skipped downstairs (kind of like Snow White but not as young or as thin or dark haired) full of the joys of not having to clean anything for a while when I saw it…First it was the toilet rolls spilled all down the stairs and onto the hall rug. Then I noticed the trail of white toilet roll paper from the hall into the living room a la Babes in the Wood. Taking a deep breath to quell the rising fury, I peeped into the living room to see Millie looking all innocent with a chewed and decimated toilet roll sitting next to her and a tell-tale piece of toilet roll stuck to her little black, toilet roll chewing lips.

Her: Whaaaaat? I’ve done nothing. It was Casper.

Me (wild fury that only a parent can muster): Oh MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!! I’ve just cleaned in here! Naughty dog! Naughty dog! Look what you’ve done.

Her (shame-faced and all big sad eyes and drooping ears): Sorry.

Casper, by the way, had been with me the whole time Millie was merrily chewing her way through the paper, so I knew it wasn’t him. I wouldn’t have minded, but it wasn’t even cheap nasty toilet paper, but Andrex…the quilted one! Sigh.

I did not tear up the toilet roll!

I did not tear up the toilet roll!

 

This evening I was looking forward to taking my wine making into the next stage by de-gassing the wine and sticking the hydrometer in. Unfortunately, I am clumsy and it’s worse this year and I dropped the hydrometer onto the kitchen floor which is tiled with ceramic tiles.  It smashed into a million pieces – okay a bit of an exaggeration, but it did break and I couldn’t use it and I couldn’t check if the wine was ready for the next stage. So I swiftly went onto Amazon and ordered a new one. Bloody butter fingers and I was completely sober at the time! I’m making Chardonnay, but the way. I hope it’s nice.

harley-quinn

Harley Quinn

Watched Suicide Squad this week and loved it. I really like the Marvel films and this one was great. Harley Quinn definitely steals the show although I hope she doesn’t have too much of an influence on the girl who watched the film complete with Harley Quinn-esque bunches in her hair. Sigh. She’s already having her ‘moments’ – thank God I can take her phone of her as punishment – and loves Harley, so I don’t want any of Harley’s attitude rubbing off on her. Why can’t kids stay as babies and not turn into pre-tweens with the attitudes of a 20-something New Yorker? Anyway…what is it about Marvel women that they (mostly, there are a couple of exceptions) have to wear the skimpiest of skimpies? Harley for instance spends most of the film in a pair of the smallest glittery shorts that leave nothing to the imagination. They are actually more like knickers. And the Enchantress is not much better.  All the men, however, are fully clothed throughout the movie (except for the Croc one who takes his shirt off at one point to get into water, but trust me there was nothing sexy about it). Talk about objectifying women! Anyway, enough of my moaning…

Currently reading Neil Pearson’s biog of Jack Kahane, the founder of Obelisk Press who printed Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, Anais Nin, D H Lawrence (Lady Chatterley’s Lover), Lawrence Durrell, Radcliffe Hall and James Joyce. I’ve only just started it, but am already enjoying it. I watched the tv programme that goes with it and loved it.

Jack Kahane

Jack Kahane

It’s a really interesting story. He was born and bred in Manchester, was injured in the First World War, met and married a French girl, moved to Paris in the late 1920s to become a writer, didn’t succeed so set up a publishing company. It’s a great tale of a man who loved books printing some of the most controversial and influential books of the last century. As well as the more high brow literary smutty books (haven’t read Tropic of Cancer, but Neal Pearson read out an excerpt, it’s explicit), he also wrote printed cheap smutty books too to bring in regular money to keep the business going and food in the mouths of his kids. Apparently they were quite a sensation in their day, but incredibly mild by today’s standards!

anais-nin

Anais Nin

Right, on that note, I am going to leave you to go upstairs, put my Christmas CDs on (cos I love em!) and read all about Jack. Til next time.

Dawn xx