Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Where I move house to my rural idyll and have no Broadband

Hello dear friends,
If you thought I'd dropped off the face of the earth you're half right, mentally I think I have. I have just moved house in rural Northumberland and house moves are always traumatic for me. this one in particular as it has involved two stages.  First there was the delivery of three quarters of our worldly goods from storage, where they have been lying dormant for 18 months.Second, was arrival of the remaining day to day stuff from the rented house. When not unpacking boxes I have been lying down with a flannel over my face. The Husband has gone back to work for a rest.
"That's it!" I told the husband "we'd probably be better off with a gypsy caravan, lovely cushions with tassels, no more packing and unpacking for me, the open road, go where you please...Provence..mmmm" "Tricky for me to get to work, daily from France," he said interuprting "and any way, as soon as you  needed a shower or to plug the hair drier in it would be straight to the local five star hotel."
The other snag with our rural idyll, is that it does not have Broadband and will not for another two weeks.  I am typing this at the old house where I am letting the  man into fix the alarm as it was making a wailing noise. No problem with the alarm when we lived here but now, sod's law, it has been very temperamental, going off the minute I turn my back on it.
Just to let you know I have an article in 'Living North' this month.  It's in the supplement about getting older, more George Clooney that Victor Meldrew.  I have written a piece (page 12) in which I make a few observations on the ageing process suitably called "Growing Old Disgracefully."
Man has now finished and alarm is fixed so I can return to my boxes.  Hope to get more of "Pearls and Suitcase" done tonight. Hopefully be back shortly into the land of technology and will have news..

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Where I'm smug because I get my first short story published

I have been annoying The Husband by going around the house shouting 'yes' and punching the air smugly. The reason for my jubilation?
You may remember that I entered a writing competition entitled "Home Tomorrow"  and I didn't expect to get anywhere as the competition was so stiff.  Well Hurrah! Because look what popped into my in box this week-

"Thank you very much for submitting to the 'Home Tomorrow' writing competition - and well done from James and I (Laura) at Writers' Block and from Gillie and Graeme at Sixth Element, as your entry has been selected to feature as part of the 'Home Tomorrow' anthology. This collection of the strongest of the stories submitted will be published by Sixth Element later this year!

Thank you again for entering the competition - the standard of entries was incredibly high and we are really proud of the talent and diversity showcased in the 'Home Tomorrow' anthology."
This is my first piece of Published fiction so I'm very excited.  Based on this, The Husband says I'll be insufferable if I publish 'The Pearls' but probably even more insufferable if I don't.   Hopefully, I can the post the story on this website shortly, or if you want to read the book which features writing talent from across the North East, including winner Tracey Iceton,  it can be ordered on the link below

TITLE: Home Tomorrow: An Anthology of Short Stories
AUTHOR: Various
Due for release: April/May 2011
Home Tomorrow is a collection of over a hundred short stories submitted to a competition run by the Writers' Block NE and Bohouse in Middlesbrough, with the theme 'Home Tomorrow

Thanks again to those of  you to those of you who have reviewed "The Pearls & The Suitcase.  I have done quite well this month and it's progressing at a better pace.  I have set this Summer as a deadline for first draft and even though its self imposed I'm stressing as much as ever. If you feel like sending me a message I would be delighted to hear from you.
As always, thank you for following  and also the comments on my blog. 

Friday, 8 April 2011

Where I bolted to the bus stop still wearing the dentist's bib

One of the things I dread most in this world is a visit to the dentist.  The Husband says I am a wimp of World Class standard and I cannot pretend to be otherwise. I've had this fear since childhood when my dentist, who I believe fancied himself as being in the oil business, drilled merrily away as it speculating in Texas during the boom.   
He was a portly chap, had fingers like bunches of bananas and wore an apron which I had also seen being modelled by our family butcher, not a good sign. Once, after losing my nerve at the last minute, I even bolted through the waiting room and was still wearing  the bib still around my neck when I reached the bus stop and my getaway on the Number 49.
In order to get me to 'the chair' on one occasion, my mother and Granny conspired to bribe me with a bottle Rimmel's scarlet  nail varnish which I had coveted for weeks, since seeing it in the local chemist's.  I was told I could wear this marvellously trashy colour if I had this little 'itty bitty' tooth out. Boy did they knew how to negotiate a deal!  I still sweat when I see red nail varnish today.  The other odd thing was that any one coming from the dentist always wore a scarf, you never see that now. My Mum says it was to keep the cold air away from the gums but I think it was more likely to cover up the gore.
Any way, should I survive today's examination by my gentle and patient dentist I will tell you about my progress with "The Pearls" next week.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Where I find tumbleweed under the dining table

I've been a busy girl since my last post, completed a short piece for a magazine and have been doing quite well with The Pearls & The Suitcase.  The only problem is the house is now falling down around my ears.  This morning I spotted a fluffy cushion lurking under the dining table which, on closer inspection, turned out to be a humongous dust ball. I was considering ringing the Guinness book of records to see if it might take the world title, when it  drifted past like the tumble weed you see rolling down the main street in Western Movies, shedding budgie feathers in its wake. Will get on my marigold gloves and become a domestic goddess for a wee while before finishing another article.  Will let you know how things are going in a few days.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Where I sign off Job Seeker's Allowance and write a Fairy Story

Hurrah, I have been very busy this week and have posted a new piece on my website today. It's called 'Fairy Story,' is  just for fun and is a modern day version of ... Hah! I wont' tell, maybe you can guess.  It has been a welcome change to write this and also the entry for the Short Story competition last week.  The theme for entries was 'Home Tomorrow' and it was only 500 words long.  The nice thing about writing a short piece is that it's completed relatively quickly and you can sit smugly looking at the finished article rather than the tangled web of words that makes up a novel.
I have also now have now signed off  and this is my last week on 'Job Seekers Allowance.' You are only allowed it for six months, unless you pass a means test. As both my regular Blog readers will know, I have not had much success on the employment front where I have been looking for part time job while I finish my novel. However in between writing the short pieces, I had set myself the task of finishing another two chapters of "The Pearls & The Suitcase" by the end of March.
This was further complicated last week when I got sidetracked into picking up the threads of  a novel I began writing last year.  Called 'The Hen Party' it's a story about how life changes forever, in just over one year for a group of friends in a village in Northumberland.
Problem is can't go between both as it will get confusing. OMG Dilemma!  I think I should try and finish 'The Pearls & The Suitcase,' as when I think of switching tracks, I feel a headache coming on. If any of my blog followers  have read my excerpts or short stories on the website, including the latest addition, I would be pleased to hear from you.
As from next week, I will be stepping up the writing of my novel,  hoping for Summer completion, at least of the first draft and also another short story.  I hope to write my  blog a couple of times  a week to let you know how my novel is progressing and of course any exciting details of my haphazard life, our continuing search for a new house and Monty's (our Parrot's) romance. Watch this space!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Where The Husband lights candles and sticks them in my ears

The husband is a poorly boy as he has a problem with his middle ear and has been feeling dizzy when he moves suddenly.
I've had the same thing myself and that strange heaving sensation induced a quick flashback to a trip I once made to Amsterdam, by Ferry in January.(If you're thinking of doing the same, my advice is don't).  It may be for the best that the details are a blur but I recall the room swirling madly as the contents leapt around as if in a centrifuge.
The doctor diagnosed a middle ear problem and prescribed anti-biotics but Bee suggested going to the local Hippy shop for an alternative treatment.  The shop smells of Patchouli and is bursting with crystals hanging on bits of string, things that look like spiders web's but are called dream catchers, tiny 'Zen' water features, wind chimes and Feng Shui books.
"Ah," said Sapphire Moon, the kaftan clad Lady who runs the shop, as I described the symptoms, "we have just the thing."
Her turbaned assistant nodded sagely, "You need some of the American Indian Hopi ear candles."
"Hah," I said, "what do you do with those light them and stick them in your ears?" I winked at Bee, thinking I was being terribly witty.
"Have you used them before? Sapphire Moon said surprised, "because that's exactly what you do with them."
Which is how I came to be lying on the living room carpet while The Husband lit one of the cigarette sized candles. "Are you sure about this?" He kept saying, "I'm sure this is a war crime in some countries."
You're supposed to do one at a time, which is just as well, as if I'd stuck one in each ear I wouldn't have been able to resist having a glance in the mirror to see if I looked like something from a wacky cartoon and would probably have passed out instantly.
"What's it supposed to do any way? Other than terrify the parrot?"
"Apparently the candles act like tiny chimneys and draw the air out of your ears so the poorly bits realign or something like that." I said looking out the corner of my eye at the tiny sparks. Even more disconcertingly, I could then hear fizzing and sizzling and I had a panic attack when I wondered how much hairspray I'd used earlier in the day.
"Hmmm," said The Husband doubtfully, standing back from the smoke rings "doesn't sound very scientific to me."
But, next morning the pain mysteriously subsided and I felt a little less dizzy.
"So do you remember all that then?" I said to The Husband, "Sapphire moon probably still has them in stock."
"If you're for one minute going to suggest sticking what looks like dynamite into my ears, lighting the touch paper and standing well back you've gone completely barking," The Husband says. "Nope, I'll stick with modern medicine and TLC, any chance of a cup of tea and a Kit-Kat with the papers?"

Monday, 21 March 2011

Where my inner thighs jiggle like a trifle on a trampoline, not like Nigella's cheesecake.

"Why are we doing this?" I asked  Bee this  morning at the gym.
"So we don't turn into fossils," She says panting beside me.
"Yes, yes, health's one thing,"  I said puffing away on the bicycle "but it's not as if we'll be exposing any of this flesh is it?"
"Not at this time of the year in Northumberland."
"But even abroad, we could be fantastically toned, have no bingo wings and a six pack like corrugated cardboard and still raise eyebrows if we stepped out by the hotel pool in a bikini."
"True, when you're young you can show off your hard work but now I feel indecently exposed in a short sleeveled tee shirt."
"Exactly, even if we develop thighs that could scale a coconut tree without us using our hands, no one wants to see them anyway. If I put on a mini skirt I'd  be put on the 'crimes against style most wanted list' and get 25 years from fashion police.
"Unless you're Madonna," Bee says, "she seems to get away with it."
"Only because she can afford super duper expensive lawyer and newspapers are afraid of being sued." I huff,
"I just wish this keep fit malarkey was more exciting."
"I'm slogging away on this treadmill and it seems to me there's cookery programmes on every channel." Bee says nodding at her screen.
"I know, its' like some sadistic foodie plot."
"Nigella was just making peanut butter cheesecake at 1,000 calories a whiff and now all I can think of is getting to the cafe for a slab of cake."  Bee says longingly, "Oh and by the way, Nigella says she knows her cheesecake's set when it has a slight inner thigh jiggle."
"She obviously hasn't seen my inner thighs then, they jiggle like a trifle on a trampoline."
"That's  it," Bee says with relief as her timer goes off, "that was sooooo boring."
"Well Ladies," says Dr. Purvis (AKA Dr. Perverse) coming alongside Bee's treadmill like a fully laden tugboat to a pier, "You know what they say, if you're bored with your life you should try something new."  He winks at us theatrically.
"Eeeew," says Bee. "Definitely time for the caff, I'd say."