The white stuff, Bagpuss and Enid

I am not going to state the obvious and talk too much about the amazing weather we’ve been experiencing, so I thought I’d let the photos speak for themselves.  Above, my dogs have been loving the snow…well Millie and Casper have. The pug, Bonya, hasn’t been too keen on going out but as you can see from the photo above she has been out.

She prefers to lie on the back of our sofa against the radiator snoozing and snoring, dreaming happy pug dreams.

A wistful pic of Casper as he watches Millie from the comfort of our living room.

Footsteps in the snow last night. These are my kids’ footsteps and the trenches the dogs made.

Anyway enough about that, how are you? And what’s been happening in our household? Well, the extension is still ongoing and its finishing date has been further put back thanks to the snow. The flooring was supposed to go down yesterday (Thursday), but unfortunately the company couldn’t get here. Their van was stuck outside their office. They couldn’t have gotten into the house anyway as our estate is unpassable for cars. There have been a fair few drivers getting stuck trying to get out of the estate yesterday and today. One wonders: having witnessed others getting stuck why they bothered even trying? Didn’t they think it would happen to them?

Our local shops have already run out of about everything…once folk realised they were open there was a stampede (well okay not literally a stampede, but you know what I mean). We were okay because I had stocked up before the weather hit, but one of my neighbours popped round this morning with a loaf of bread and some milk anyway. I thought that was really, really nice of her. She stayed for a cuppa and we had a good blether. Every school in Scotland (just about) has been shut because of the weather since Wednesday, so it was nice to see and speak to an adult instead of my darling kiddies. Not that I don’t find my darling kiddies adorable and interesting (they read this blog), but it’s nice to have a conversation with someone who is nearer my age.

Me and the kids braved  the weather and walked to the local shops yesterday to get out of the house for a bit (we were a bit stir crazy although the boy had been in and out all day playing with his friend in the snow…they were soaking!) and to pick up additional supplies (crisps and sweets for them, crisps and wine for me). It took us a wee bit longer (we had to fight our way out of knee high snow to get to the main road which was, thankfully, cleared although the pavements weren’t), but we got there and back without injury or frostbite. There were quite a few folk out and about, but the village did seem a little too quiet and a bit eery.

Apparently, to combat the feeling of being stuck inside (and stuck in the village – the roads  in and out were all closed due to snow drifts today and yesterday), some of the villagers have organised a party in our local hall tonight…all welcome. BYOB. We would go if we lived closer, but we are at the other end of the village and I don’t fancy the walk at night, in the freezing cold.

Changing the subject, I have finally worked out who it is that Bonya reminds me of…

Bonya (above, lying on the back of the sofa as usual…I think she thinks she’s a cat) reminds me of….that saggy old, baggy old cat…

Bagpuss! Yup the resemblance is astounding especially the way she moves and gives me those sleepy eyes a la Bagpuss. Can’t understand why I didn’t see it before!

I sent in my first assignment for my degree course on Wednesday. I don’t know why but I was nervous about doing it. Hope I get a good mark. I really want to do well in it. Have started the second part of the module. The first part was about Reputations, this one is Traditions and Dissent. I’m reading about Plato and Socrates, philosophy and deductive arguments. It’s really interesting, very thought provoking.

For leisure reading I’ve been reading Looking for Enid: The Mysterious and Inventive Life of Enid Blyton by Duncan McLaren. It’s really quite different from normal biographies. It’s done in a part dreamy way, but it’s amusing. I didn’t know boys liked Enid Blyton too…I’ve never met anyone who read Enid when they were kids who wasn’t female, but evidently Enid fans were males too. Duncan is a huge fan and he goes to where she lived and fantasies what the Five Finder Outers would have made of the real life theft of two of Enid’s own first editions which were taken from her house. As a major fan of Enid, I’m really enjoying the book.

Quick flashback…

Here I am at the Enid Blyton exhibition at the Seven Stories Storytelling Centre in Newcastle a few years ago…I loved it!!

 

Right, on that note, I am going to end this blog here and go upstairs with a glass of milk (#livingawildlife) to continue reading aforementioned book. Keep safe in the snow. Til next time.

Dawn xxx

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It’s snowing and the kids are hyper!

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Well, it’s finally decided to snow around here and it’s lovely. I love the snow. It makes everything look so pretty. It dulls sounds so that all is peaceful. And, well, it’s just gorgeous. The only thing I don’t like is driving in it…I won’t do it if it’s heavy and there’s snow and ice on the road. Uh-huh, not me. Had too many slides and near misses over the years to even think about risking it.

*sigh of happiness as I watch the flakes drifting gently to the ground

Anyway, how are you? How was your week? I’ve been really busy. I decided that I really needed to lose weight and get fitter (plus I have those aforementioned triathlon events coming up) so I joined our local swimming and triathlon club. I went along to a local swimming pool on Tuesday night and joined…and loved it. It was nice because there were a couple of girls I knew from the village there, so I had a chat plus everyone I met was really welcoming and friendly. I went along to another swim session on Thursday night and again loved it. Am wondering now why I didn’t join something like this before.

Hubby and I went to Braehead Shopping Centre to celebrate him taking his last chemo tablet (fingers crossed and all that!). God love him, but he was shattered within about five minutes. He’s really still very weakened by the treatment so he walks slowly and needs lots of rest (Braehead has lots of benches dotted around which were a Godsend). He’s also still very breathless and is as thin as a rake (am trying to encourage him to eat more).  We weren’t there very long, but it was enough for hubby to feel a bit normal and less stir crazy. We were there because he wanted to go to Marks to buy another hat (he really feels the cold at the moment).

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We dropped into a lovely little café in Govan for a bite to eat en route home. Café 13 sells a great range of delicious food and is a real gem. I had falafel in a wrap, hubby had home-made soup. Delicious!! If you’re south of the river, I would recommend it. The café is attached to Govan and Linthouse Parish Church on Govan Road.

What else have I been up to? Popped in for tea and cakes on my friend Tracy who is just back from climbing Kilimanjaro with her family. Just wanted to give them all a mention and say well done again! Am proud of the lot of you, particularly her 11-year-old daughter and 10-year-old friend who also did it. It was great to catch up with her and hear all about her adventures. Tracy is an excellent orator and always tells her stories in a way that is entertaining and often very funny. Also there was my friend Jane who is equally as funny so we had a good old belly laugh. We hadn’t seen each other since before Christmas so it was fun.

On Friday afternoon my step kids came down for a visit, it was great to see them. We haven’t seen them for a wee while for various reasons and it was good to catch up. Today, I had a jammies morning (watching the snow falling) and then my parents came over for a visit in the afternoon. I was worried they wouldn’t get here because of the snow, but they managed it and arrived bearing pansies (I love flowers) in a pot and sweets and way too much pocket money for the kids. They left around 3pm when it was still light, which is just as well because the snow was falling really heavily and they live nearly an hour’s drive away.

Talking of the snow, the kids have been out all afternoon playing in it. They had a ball and there are little snow creatures dotted right through our estate. I watched my boy creating snow angels in the front garden earlier and he had a huge grin on his face. See, it is the simple things that matter the most and there’s no simpler pleasure than playing in the snow!

If hubby is feeling up to going out, we hope to do a family visit to our local cinema to see the new Star Wars. We’ve all been desperate to see the new film – all being fans – but we didn’t want to go without hubby who has been very unwell over the past few weeks due to his treatment. He’s a bit better, so fingers crossed we’ll be able to go see it soon.

Right, I will finish up here with a sneak peak at the cover of my new book Writing Fiction for Kids which is due out soon. It’s already available on Amazon as a Kindle, but I’m not going to do any kind of launch until the printed book is available, which I hope will be very soon. Just waiting for proofs from the printers, then I can sign it off and make it available.

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This book is great for kids and adults who want to write for children. It’s full of tips and info about how to plan and write your book. Plus there’s lots of exercises for you to try that will get you started.

Okay, am aff. Got stuff to do. No rest for the wicked and all that. 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!