The Incredibles, True Blood and Celebrating a 90th birthday


Well it’s been a very busy week this week at Nelson Towers! We’ve been to the pictures, went out for lunch (twice), visited a well-known Glasgow museum and helped my father-in-law celebrate his 90th birthday (Happy Birthday!). Plus have been knitting whilst binge-watching Foyle’s War (love that series, can’t think why I never got into it before!). And I’ve been writing…finished the first edit of my murder book. Phew.

So, let’s start at the beginning. At the start of the week, I took the kids out for lunch before we popped into the local cinema to see Incredibles 2, which was fab by the way. I loved the original movie and was not disappointed by the sequel. It was great. Love Jack Jack and the new baddie was great, although I’d worked out who it was about halfway through…mainly because it couldn’t have been the more obvious choice, but the other one. I know this sounds garbled, but if I put in the character names it may spoil the film for some. And I don’t want to do that.

This week I also met my talented illustrator friend Mandy Sinclair for lunch, which was lovely. We don’t often get time to meet, so it was good to catch up. We went to Bar Soho in Glasgow, which in my younger years used to be called The Fixx (I used to hang out there), and had a lovely lunch. It was the perfect place: not too noisy, good music and the food was nice. The boy was with us – he’s too young to be left at home – so after we parted ways with Mandy, we went to the Riverside Museum (which is the new name for the old transport museum) for a look around. I do love that museum, it’s full of such interesting old things such as steam trains, trams, old cars, old motorbikes and much more. It was pretty busy and we got around it within an hour. He then hit the shop and bought himself a lot of tat. I picked up a new mug for myself with an old poster on it denoting the joys of Saltcoats (an Ayrshire town next to the sea which has a fabulous beach). The last time I was in Saltcoats (I used to go there a lot as a kid) was with Ian and the girl, when the girl was still a baby. It was a hoot because she insisted on paddling in the sea (with us keeping very wary eyes on her) and her nappy got wet thanks to the waves and swelled up to about three times the size. She couldn’t walk any more because of that and had to be rescued. Happy days! Anyway, here’s the image that was on the mug (that’s me in the swimming hat…only joking!):

Yesterday, we helped my father-in-law, Edward, celebrate his 90th birthday. There were few family members there and some of his friends and it was a lovely afternoon. Myself and my brother-in-law did a small buffet and it was a good afternoon. Apart from my kids and my niece and nephew, I was one of the youngest ones there at the tender age of 47 and my brother-in-law in his 50s, so there was a lot of talk between the rest of them about their childhoods and reminiscing about this and that. Was interesting to listen to.

Today I am having a quieter day. Was exhausted yesterday evening because I’d spent a few hours in the kitchen making up the buffet, then we went to the party. We didn’t get back til after 5pm and by that time I was tired with a capital ‘T’. Anyway, I’m glad everyone enjoyed it.

What I am reading right now – I have now completed three of the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris and am looking forward to going to bed tonight so I can get on to book 4, Dead to the World. I am loving the series. Am not surprised because I loved the tv series, True Blood. So, so good. Favourite characters? Eric Northman, the big blond Viking vampire closely followed by Alcide Herveaux, the werewolf.

 


Alexander Skarsgard as Eric Northman.

Joe Manganiello as Alcide Herveaux.

Right, on that note, I must leave you here.  I’m away to have some tea in my new mug and a slice of cheesecake that is whispering ‘Eat me’ in the fridge! 🙂 It truly is the simple things that make life so nice!

Til next time,

Dawn xxx

Writing, Sookie Stackhouse and the Southern Vampires


I don’t know what’s happening to me today. It’s 7.35pm and I have been chasing my tail all day. I got up later than I normally would and I’ve been trying to catch up with myself ever since. It’s weird how being an hour later in your schedule can knock you off your stride. Sigh. Still, never mind.

How are you all? Hope you’re hail and hearty and enjoying the day. It’s been overcast here all day after about three weeks of non stop sunshine, so it’s been nice that it’s been a bit cooler. I am not a sun worshipper, I like variety in weather, so while it’s been nice to see the sun I am now bored with it. Plus I don’t like being too hot. It’s been too hot. I’m not moaning about it, I’m just explaining why I like today’s weather.

I have been really, really busy writing and researching over the last week or so. I have finished the rough draft of my sequel to Dusting Down Alcudia. I hope it turns out to be good. It’s not good at the moment because, as I said, it’s very much the rough draft, it’s me getting the story down before I go back and edit it. I’ll edit it a few times before I send it to my editor to tidy up and then we’ll publish it. Anyway, it’s nowhere near that stage at the moment, but I’ll let you know when it is. I’ve also started to do my first edit of my murder mystery book. So far, so good.

I haven’t been up to much. My kids are at the stage where they don’t want to hang about with me and poo-pooh any suggestions I make for activities we could do. I wanted to go and see Patrick. They didn’t. We didn’t go. I think we are going to see The Incredibles 2 soon though. I loved the first film, it was so well done, and can’t wait to see the sequel.

Here’s a wee sneak peek…

Just finished the first in Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire series (it was known as True Blood on telly, loved that series). Dead Until Dark was great. Loved it and am looking forward to the next one in the series, which is Living Dead in Dallas. Can’t wait to go to bed tonight to start it! I know, I sound like a teenager, but I do love a good story. Other book news and I recently purchased a copy of Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton, a photographer who in 2010 decided to start taking pictures of 10,000 New Yorkers. His idea was to log them and he put their images online. I first came across him on Facebook. What he has also created is a fab book full of colourful and interesting human beings. There’s a little bit about their lives and where the pic was taken. Really interesting. I love things like that. People are so interesting. If you want to see some of the images pop along to the Humans of New York website.

Right, I am going to finish up here. I have dull housework stuff to do before I retire to the cosy warmth of my bed, snoring dogs beside me, to delve back into the life of waitress Sookie Stackhouse and the Southern Vampires! NB if you can’t be bothered reading the books (why that would be I can’t think because books are almost always better), try and watch the True Blood television series, it’s excellent.

Til next time,

Dawn xxx

 

This image doesn’t do the view justice!

The view from the Ben.

The view from the Ben.

I am shattered. We – myself, Tracy and Jane – walked up part of the John Muir Way again this morning…Ben Bowie…and what a view from the top. It was amazing. It was even better because the weather was fantastic. At the top, we chose a place to sit and take in the wonderful view. We ate mozzarella and sun dried tomato wraps, drank water and chatted. It was great. I felt on top of the world. You forget what a fantastic place Scotland is when you live here and you’re too busy with life to take in what’s around you…it’s beautiful, especially round where we live. Today the weather was perfect, the sun was splitting the sky, it wasn’t too hot (although it was cold in the shade – that’s autumn for you!) and the view at the top was more than worth it. That part of the walk isn’t too hard going so it’s a good starter walk. Am planning to take hubby and the kids up there next summer when he’s back to fighting fitness. I think we’ll have a picnic and enjoy the walk. 🙂

So how’s your week been? Work has been really really busy and hubby had another chemo session. He’s doing well considering, but is exhausted all the time. Looking forward to when it’s all finished and he can work at getting back to full health.

What else? Swam an half mile in the local pool yesterday. Am planning to start running next week. The triathlon isn’t til June, but I want to build up to it slowly but surely.

This week’s been taken up a lot with work and hospital appointments, so haven’t really done much else.  Currently reading Meredith Atwood’s (aka swim bike run mom) Triathlon for Every Woman which is a great read even if you never plan to do a triathlon. She’s very funny – probably told you that before. Still reading John Forster’s biog of Dickens, nearly finished it.

Am about to embark on making some things for Christmas. Due to time constraints (etc) this year I don’t think I’ll be knitting as much. Time to dig out the ole sewing machine!! I’ve already got a few ideas on what I want to make some members of the family.

Tis a sad week for me telly-wise, am nearly finished the very last series of True Blood. Soon it will be adieu Sookie, Jason, Bill, Eric, Pam and the rest of them. Sigh. Just as well I have the books to read!! Hee hee (she cackles with devilish delight!).

Right am off. Am away to make a cup of tea (go team Tea Force – that’s our name for the Inverclyde team triathlon in August next year!). Til next time.

Dawn xxx

Favourite illustrators part 2

NPG P1363; Mabel Lucie Attwell by Elliott & Fry  Mabel Lucie Atwell

Had to put in a wee bit of Ms Atwell because her illustrations were another part of my childhood. I just loved her rosy cheeked children and lovely images of fairies and children’s book characters.

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So how are you all? Sorry I’ve been missing in action for the past two weeks…it’s just been a busy time for us what with hubby’s various appointments, catching up with family and friends, working and keeping the home running. No wonder I’m feeling so tired!

ppaw09-bigSo how’s life been for you since we last spoke? Let’s see…I suppose the most interesting and fun day we had recently was last Saturday. During the day, I visited my parents and we rushed back to get the house in order to get it tidied for friends coming round. We ordered a Chinese carryout, drank lots of wine and had a good old laugh when la famille Blanc came round to play. I’ve known this couple for…oh God!…twenty years. Is it really that long? You know you’re getting old when your friendships go into decades! We have worked together, played together, holidayed together and been really good friends for  a long, long time.

Anyway, we had a great night. I got slightly drunk (ahem!)…okay I was well drunk, but after the last few months (which have been pretty stressful) it was good to let my hair down and be with friends who don’t mind me partaking a little snifter or five!

Thanks for the great night!!

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I have started training for the Great Scottish Swim at Loch Lomond next year. I love swimming, I feel at home in water – I love it – and it’s near where I live. Plus my friend Jane did it a few years ago and totally inspired me. I have concerns about doing it – mainly about the actual day itself, about panicking in the crowd (am not good with stressful situations or crowds these days) – but I figure that if I start training for it, tell folk I’m doing it and get to the day and panic about it and don’t go in, then the worst I will have done is get fitter and (hopefully) a bit thinner.

The inspiration for actually being serious about doing it came during a walk – part of the John Muir Way – Jane, Tracy and myself did last week. We were all talking about challenges and the Great Scottish Swim 2015 took place last weekend. As we admired the fantastic view of Loch Lomond, Tracy said she wanted to do it, I said I will do it with her and Jane looks like she may do it too.

I need to do something about my weight and fitness levels, although I do a lot of walking and I swim every week.

Anyway, the plan is I’m going to do it…so watch this space about this time next year.

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Just finished reading Tom Hodgkinson’s How to be Idle, which is his manifesto for everyone to be much more idle and less workaholic. It’s funny and I love his views on various aspects of being idle throughout life (even if many of his suggestions are totally impractical in real life). However, what he’s saying about not being a consumer and living with less so you can work less and enjoy life more does ring true with me. Definitely a book I’d recommend if only for the lovely warm and witty way he writes.

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 I met my youngest sister in Glasgow this morning for brunch. What luxury! I never do this, but we hadn’t seen each other since July (dad’s birthday) and it was the only time we both could make. We went to the Riverhill CafĂ© and it was lovely. Riverhill have a bone fide restaurant in Helensburgh and I’d been there. I knew they had a cafĂ© in the town so suggested meeting there. I was glad we did. She had a hummous and potato naan and I had the poached eggs and black pudding on toast. Oh it was delicious! My mouth has just burst alive with saliva at the memory. Yum! Was great to catch up with her and happy birthday to her daughter this weekend.

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Did I tell you I am totally hooked on True Blood? Can’t get enough of it. Am now on series four thanks to Sky boxsets and am addicted to it. The storylines are getting increasingly ridiculous, but although it can be really gory, it can also be really funny. It’s my current fave programme.

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Right, am going to finish up here. It’s nearly 10pm on a Thursday night and I’m desperate for my bed and need to be alert tomorrow for a bike ride (and later on more True Blood). Hope you enjoyed the lovely pics. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Favourite Illustrators Part 1 – Edward Ardizzone

Edward Ardizzone

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I love his work. He’s one of those illustrators I saw a lot as a child and didn’t realise it. His work was in books at schools and in the local library. I think he’s fantastic.

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So how have you been this week? What’s been happening in your world? We’ve been caught up in poor hubby feeling so unwell – he’s a bit better now – and I’ve been working. The kids went back to school on Wednesday (Yippee! Peace reigns in the house! Love them dearly, but they are really noisy and sometimes you just want quiet). You parents out there know what I mean!

 

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Remember this book? We read it in primary school during the 70s and there was a television series too. I remember it being read on Jackanory! Am showing my age now.

Maurice+Sendak+TGSo life has been pretty quiet this week – thanks mainly to the weans not being around – and I’ve gotten into True Blood this week thanks to the box set appearing on Sky. I missed it when it was on telly…well I missed the first three episodes and never picked it up. Now I have watched all but the last episode of series one and I’m totally hooked…you could say I’m a huge fang! Boom boom! Sorry terrible joke! I am just loving it. Can’t wait to get on to the next episode.

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Still reading the biography of Dickens by John Forster, but have also been reading Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra. It’s a really good book about a man who went from being an alcoholic to a vegan ultraman. It’s very inspirational. Would recommend it. The Dickens biog is great too. Am such a big fan.

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Right am going to finish up now. What did you think of the illustrations? Lovely aren’t they. I love the oldy-worldy feel of them and they are so beautifully done. Ardizzone was such an illustrator. He’s one of my art heroes.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

PS before I go…here are a few more…

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