Monday, April 30, 2012

The Bookseller of Derwen Fawr

My first stock of paperbacks arrived today!
Just as Husband tells me he's found a mistake on the FIRST page! And Janet tells me she found 2 other mistakes.

I can't believe it: me, the one who picks up errors in other people's professionally-published books, letting them get through in mine. I put it down to familiarity: I see what I expect to see. But this does demonstrate the advantage of not doing-it-yourself. With a publisher comes a copy editor.

Ah, well, I'll have to hope most people aren't as eagle-eyed as Husband and Janet.

By the way, if you still want to buy this flawed manuscript, it's available from me or from

Sunday, April 29, 2012

How cool/old am I?

We had a great night out at the pub yesterday! I had to drag Husband but he enjoyed it too really. We went to watch Captain Cat & the Sailors, a local folk band. I felt really cool spending Saturday night at the pub but paid for it today: this afternoon I went to lie on the bed to read and woke up 2 hours later ...


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Avril's my hero

Think of all the bad things that could happen to a child or a woman. Seriously bad I mean, and Avril's life story will tick most if not all of the boxes.

I knew some of her story but she told me more this week. All I can say is that she is my hero.

Not because she's super good but because she's alive and smiling. I couldn't have dealt with a quarter of the hardship and pain she's endured. (I was going to amend that to  maybe I would if I had to but I don't believe it.) And she keeps on  believing there's hope, believing it can change. 

And the change we've seen in her over the past months has been incredible but she has an enormous way to go, a tortuous battle ahead. Her departure for rehab has been put off because they had an emergency admittance. If you're a pray-er please pray that it won't be a long delay; she needs to be away from her present situation soon.

Hers was the second baptism I've been involved with. The first was a young woman, from a comfortable and loving middle class family, about to go off to university with a bright future ahead of her. She and Avril could hardly be more different yet they're the same in they both acknowledge the need of God in their lives. And it's the same God who loves them equally. And that's what makes me hang on to the fragile hope that things can be different for Avril.

The nobbliest tenderest artichoke

My computer is making me lazy - or addling my brain, I'm not sure which.

I was writing an article today about Jerusalem artichokes when I described them as knobbly. After I'd written it I had to check in the dictionary to make sure it did begin with k. It does but probably won't for long now we have text speak and Nobby's Nuts.

Then I suggested eating only the most tender leaves of the globe artichoke - go on, ask me anything you want to know about artichokes -  and thought it didn't sound quite right. I changed it to tenderest and the spellchecker didn't object so left it at that. For a while. Then I consulted Mr Chambers who assured me there was no such word.

I've always prided myself on my grammar and spelling (as long as there are no double letters); if that is going to be taken away from me what will I have left?

The talky bit

Friday, April 27, 2012

The wet bit

Oh George!

We've been in Devon for the last couple of days and I must have done something right in my life because all my children are good cooks. The first night Daughter made us yummy curries and then last night made some pizza but, unfortunately, she's not used to George and left them within reach.

He stole and ate a whole large raw pizza.

Luckily she'd made enough to feed a small army so we could still enjoy plenty while taking it in turns to harangue George.

But I despair of that dog. Lazy and greedy. He's heading for a fat belly - except we've put him on a diet! That'll teach him! (But probably only how to steal more food.)

Vanity has a lot to answer for

Steve reckoned I was a size 10 in a wetsuit; I said, 'I wish. No, I'm 12.'
He brought both so vanity demanded that I get into the smaller one.

At one point, if I'd been able to get it off easily, I would have given up and swapped but I decided the effort would be too great so braved it out. 'Um, Steve, could you do up my zip, please?' This was after Avril had tried and failed.
'Breathe out, shoulders back.' 
Which was how I was for the next 20 minutes or so. 

I waddled back to the sea front pulling at the collar to allow me to take in little but vital gasps of air and lasted the duration. The smile you see on my face in the previous post is that of a woman desperate to get back to the van to be unpeeled.

And the minor tremor felt in the Swansea Bay area last Tuesday was a result of me releasing my flab, flptt, flpppttt, pllttt, plltt.

But, hey, I got in a size 10 wetsuit!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wet on the outside

After terrible weather warnings tonight was bright-ish and dry-ish. Steve, who was loaning the wetsuits, was late but that turned out to be to the good as it rained while we waited but the shower had passed by the time it came to going in the water. And, for someone who doesn't like water, Avril was a total star. That's her in between me and Kay who decided at the last minute that she would be baptised too.

Husband came and filmed the whole process but I can't find the wire at the moment so can't download it. But there's a treat to look forward to!

It was Avril's birthday yesterday too. And on Friday, all being well, she's off to rehab so this has and will be a momentous week for her and the start of her new life in so many ways. I pray God blesses her mightily.

There's a reason why things are cheap

In the case of this non-stick pizza pan from the pound shop, it's because it's going to take me weeks to get the glue from the label off the non-stick surface.

And I should have known there was a reason why the 100 piece icing set was only £1.

Will I ever learn?

Monday, April 23, 2012

And tomorrow will be ...

Driving to work this morning in the pouring rain and almost gale force winds I told myself that it will be just fine and dandy tomorrow evening when we're baptising in the sea. That is assuming the baptisee turns up and is in a better frame of mind than last week. And that no-one is washed away by the waves.

Everything will be fine. I am confident. I am borrowing a wetsuit; what could go wrong?

How t boil an egg

I haven't done any proper cooking for ages. A week last Friday Husband made us his cottage pie and that lasted 3 days. He also cooked us a salmon dinner and then took me out for a meal - oh I haven't told you: I sent my fish back! More of that in a minute. Then we stayed with Elder Son and Daughter-in-law and were well-fed before returning to an omelette on Saturday and beans on toast yesterday. And tonight's it's salad and smoked mackerel after circuit training.

But all that will end with a bang tomorrow when I make a birthday cake and bolognese for 30. But then we're off to Devon again; I shall be forgetting how to cook.

So, the fish. It was meant to be simple beer-battered fish and it looked fine but when I brought a forkful to my mouth it smelled slightly of ammonia. It tasted okay and I ate a few mouthfuls but was put off by the smell each time. Even Husband who is olfactorily-challenged could smell it. So we sent it back and I had beef casserole instead. And the waitress took it away before I'd eaten many of the chips.

I can remember two other occasions when I've sent food back and it was fish each time. Either my nose is too sensitive or the fishermen are out to get me.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Woodman, woodman, spare that tree

This is what we've been doing for the last few days. (Note the royal we. Actually it was Husband and Elder Son doing the work.)

Husband was in his element cutting down trees. It's possibly his one regret in life that he took up computer programming rather than becoming a lumberjack. And you can just see Elder Son chopping down the smaller tree at the back in between being told to pull the rope ... oh no, run!

No harm was done to either of them and not a lot to neighbours' property either. And the tiny bit of damage that was done Husband blamed on the tree: 'It's a different sort of tree from the ones I'm used to.'

George meanwhile was in kennels where he has developed a reputation for being a con artist. 'One of us feeds him,' the girl told Husband, 'but when another goes into the kennel he sits and looks sorrowfully, as if he was missed out first time round.' It's no wonder he comes back with a round belly.

And while GrandSon1 was napping yesterday I took the opportunity to pop along to the second-hand book sale. It was a good sale! I would have bought more but Husband phoned me and ordered me home!
The ones on the left are for GrandDaughter, ones on the right for GrandSon1 (yes, I brought them home with me by mistake) and the ones in the middle for me, so it wasn't too extravagant really.
And they have these charity book sales once a month ...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's arrived!

And it looks good! I am very pleased. All the stress was worth it.

As soon as I've got over the excitement of holding my book in my hands I'll set about the really hard job of marketing and selling it.

But for today I'll just revel in the pleasure.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why I'm never going to watch Hitchcock's Birds

Arriving at work this morning I spotted a cat climbing a tree. We all know what happens to cats who climb trees: the fire brigade gets called out so the embarrassment of being rescued is why, presumably, we don't see many cats attempt it. Fascinated I watched the moggy.
He must have gone up about 8' when he stopped, looking unsure. Then a big black crow swooped around the trunk of the tree. Moggy hesitated a moment longer then beat a retreat.
I don't blame him; I'd have backed down faced with that evil-looking bird.

Yesterday a neighbour told us he'd seen a heron in our garden. That might explain why we haven't seen the fish in the outside pond for a few days.

No, you don't want to argue with birds.

In which God speaks to me again ... possibly

Linden's Sunday morning talks are recorded (by the experts) and put on t'internet (by me). As I missed yesterday because I was in prison I listened to it as I did other computery stuff in work this morning. It included the encouragement not to give up on your dreams, which set me thinking about novel-writing obviously. (I am so shallow; no dream for world peace for me.)

Afterwards I flicked through a newspaper I'd found lying around and it opened onto the page about female authors writing erotica. 'That's it!' I declared - if you can declare something to yourself. 'God is telling me to write porn.'

The future's bright, the future's blue.

Only problem might be - make that problems:
a) I struggled when all I had to do was let my hero and heroine kiss;
b) I am not experienced in such matters (which may not be a problem as all the women interviewed claimed it was totally their imagination);
c) I would blush so furiously the heat would likely cause my desk to go afire.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How many left?

I came downstairs this morning to find Husband studying a website.
'It's brilliant,' he said, excitedly. 'It tells you how many of each model of car are still on the road.'

Apparently there are only 691 Alfies (Porsche 944S2).

I don't know how I've managed to live so long without knowing.

P.S. There's an iphone app for it too!
P.P.S. I bet I can guess which of my regular blog-readers will check out this site ...

This is the tree that George ...

Until this morning this rose tree was growing in a corner of our front lawn. That was before George got at it. To be fair it wasn't entirely George's fault: Husband must bear the bulk of the blame.

You see Husband was mowing the lawn and George was woofing at the mower. Husband threw the cable over his shoulder where it lassoed George and frightened him, making him rush around frantically and get himself and the rose tree all tangled up in the cable. 

And that was the undoing of the rose tree. It's a shame because it had beautifully-scented flowers. But I suppose I should be grateful. George's already suffering from post-traumatic stress; goodness knows what he'd be like if he'd had an electric shock. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I haven't mentioned my novel ...

I realised I've hardly mentioned my ebook, This Time Next Year, for a few posts! What kind of marketing guru am I? (The very bad kind is the correct answer - it's so hard to sell yourself.)

Anyway, my novel, This Time Next Year, is all about a year in the life of Alison Turner who, in the post with her 50th birthday cards, receives her final divorce papers. At the beginning of the novel she is still trying to come to terms with the fact that her husband left her for a 28-year-old - and the realisation that she is now well and truly middle-aged.

By the end ... well, you'll have to read it to find out!

This Time Next Year is currently only available as an ebook - but you don't have to have a kindle to read it. You can get a free app from Amazon that will let you read it on your computer or laptop or other device. You can also try a sample chapter before you buy.

Tomorrow is a big day for my heroine, Alison: it's her birthday. You'll be able to read all about it on her blog. (Which I'd forgotten she has ... see what I mean about rubbish marketing and publicity skills?)

Friday, April 13, 2012

A spoiled girl

I've been spoiled today.

Husband went shopping while I was in work and cooked Irish cottage pie for dinner for us while I sat around and read my book. (Irish cottage pie is Husband's take on Gary Rhodes' recipe for shepherd's pie but with beef and Guinness.) Delicious it was too.

And while shopping he bought flowers and an Easter egg to wish me Happy Friday 13th! He is quite my favouritest husband. Today.

When he said he was going to cook pie I said, 'Don't make it too big,' as he tends to cook in large quantities. 'I won't,' he said. 
He tried his best but we'll be eating it for 3 days ... which is fine by me.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My life in 60 words

I've been trawling through old computer files with a view to publishing as ebooks some of the 'Christian' books Daughter and I wrote, and I came across a short poem I'd written when asked for a mini-biography of up to 150 words. I wrote my mini-biog, counted the words and there were only 58. I was a bit shocked to find I could fit in to so few words.

My life
My life fits into sixty words
the who, the what, the where.
But where in that is me?
The why, the how, the who
of me
the hopes and prayers
the dreads and fears
the thoughts and deeds
the lies and truths
the real and lost...
the glimmer within
that dares to dream.

My life fits in a thousand years,

A parcel of oystercatchers

A parcel of oystercatchers at Blackpill with County Hall and the Tower looking strangely close in the background. (Alternatively the collective noun for oystercatchers could be stew or rockefeller.)

The same oystercatchers but with another type of bird too. Intensive research on my part, done using this photo very enlarged and blurry and my well-known ornithological expertise, suggests that they might be Black-tailed Godwits. (Or Greenshanks but Black-tailed Godwits is a much more impressive name.)

My little foible

On either side of our front door we have small windows with matching stained glass - primroses in case you can't tell from my brilliant sketch. The one on the left as you look at it is the window of the downstairs toilet.

In the evening when I use the downstairs toilet I don't put on the  light until I'm washing my hands. I'm not sure who I think is going to come to our front door late in the evening at the precise moment when my bottom might be a tiny bit visible through the frosted and stained glass and why that visitor would want to peer in through the window, but that's the way it is.

Do you have any little foibles? 

Bouquets to Amazon

For Easter I ordered some books for Grandson1 from Amazon to be delivered direct to him. The estimated delivery date was 4th April and they've not turned up yet so I contacted Amazon on Live Chat. 

It was amazingly simple. Sandeep said they'd send a replacement immediately by first class post. 

I am so impressed with the service. After my dealings with Paypal I was prepared for a long and complicated battle so well done, Amazon, on your customer service!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This Time Next Year, the paperback

Well, I've gone and done it! I've ordered a copy of my novel in paperback from Lulu!

It turns out that all the problems I've been having with images disappearing when I looked at the print-ready copy were easily solved: by using Husband's laptop! Looks like they were there all along and I've torn out my hair pointlessly.

It works out expensive though for a paperback copy: minimum price I could set on Lulu was £7.10 and at that, if copies are sold through other outlets, I don't get any royalties. But, I tell myself, I'm not in it for the money. But by the time postage is added a copy will be about £10, which isn't going to make it a big seller.

But I'll have one!

But I'd better warn my 86-year-old uncle. He told me he wants to order 17 copies - he has a lot of lady friends. Maybe some of them will have to share!

The puritan in me

My uncle gave me £50 in WH Smiths vouchers for Christmas. I haven't used them yet so before going to the hairdressers' I had a wander around Smiths to see what I could find.

Should I buy a new game for all the family? Or a jigsaw for me? Either way I could get some books as well, maybe the new Nigella cookbook - on special offer -and some novels. Or should I buy some presents in advance for others? That would be thrifty but not a lot of fun

I didn't buy anything. Somehow it seemed to too decadent to spend £50 on frivolities just for me. I told myself that Husband had a bottle of whisky from my uncle and he'd had no qualms about enjoying that. And in the past when Uncle has bought me expensive perfume I've been happy to splash that on. But actually having £50 just to spend  ...

I'll have to overcome this puritanical side of me, and somehow I doubt if it'll put up much of a fight.

P.S. I don't think puritan is the word I'm looking for.

Who am I?

I had one of those 'Who am I?' moments in the hairdressers'. 

Do you ever have those? When you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and you wonder who that person is looking back at you? Which one of you she is?

Is she one you like? Or is she someone quite unexpected? And unfamiliar?

No, Husband doesn't have those moments either.

Caesar's hole

Last Christmas I bought Husband Ashley's Walks, detailing walks around Gower; this morning we finally got round to trying one.

According to the book it was 4.3 miles but allowing for our, um, 'detours' we must have covered 4.5 if not 5 miles! It's a good job Husband can navigate by the sun otherwise we'd still be going round in circles. On the whole though it was easy to follow the route until the promised signposts didn't materialise.

Starting and finishing in the Southgate car park the route took us east towards Pwlldu Head, the highest headland in Gower. The photo bottom left is looking back across the sea at the length of Oxwich Bay; top photo is looking down onto Pwlldu.

It was a gorgeous morning for a walk, especially a guided one that informs. If you look carefully just to the left of the centre of this photo you'll see a circle of stones. 

In 1760 the Caesar was shipwrecked off Pwlldu Head. The crew saved themselves but ignored the 62 men and 3 women, who'd been press-ganged and were shackled below decks. When the locals went the next day to salvage what they could they were horrified to find the rocks strewn with bodies. The villagers buried them in a common grave marked by the stones.

What makes it worse that at an inquiry into the wreck nobody mentioned the lost men and women and nobody was punished.

There've been numerous shipwrecks off Gower and Gower folk have never been slow to take advantage of the bounty but that day they must have regretted their enthusiasm.

On a brighter note, I felt I deserved an ice cream at the end of the hike. And now I'm off to sit in the hairdressers' for 3 hours. Shall I take a good book or use the time to catch up on the celebrity gossip mags they usually have there? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I need a cup of tea

I've just got back from Zac's. I don't normally have a cup of tea at this point but tonight I needed it.

Sometimes I think God has a wicked sense of humour. I'd hoped/prayed that our Irish friend who'd been quite vociferous last week - 'I'm a catlic' - might decide not to come this week. He did but was very quiet - unlike Cookie. 

Cookie's an old friend of mine: we've met on numerous occasions in prison. He's a sweet old soul but he can't half talk. And he isn't entirely coherent all the time. When he wasn't joining in the discussion he was muttering in the background as were a few others so I spent most of the evening SPEAKING LOUDLY AND REPEATING MYSELF! 

I'm not actually sure if speaking loudly helps as my voice gets squeakier the louder it has to go and I'm not sure how much of what I wanted to get over did get over. But then it's not about me - although it turned into a 'stop-Liz-feeling-guilty' exercise at one point when everyone was reassuring me that although I had a bigger house than anyone else it didn't necessarily mean I was going to hell.

It's Paul's birthday on Friday. Paul has been a familiar sight to Mumbles road commuters for years as he's stood by the side of the road in his sandwich board. I doubt if many people read what it said on the board but most will know him as the happy man who always has a huge smile on his face.

The eye of the camel

Sean's away tonight so I'm leading the bible study. We've reached the bit in Mark where a rich young man is told by Jesus to give away all his possessions if he wants eternal life.

Unless there are any secret millionaires in our little group I'm probably one of the most well-off (by Swansea standards) people who'll be there so I'll be squirming on my seat a bit. Not comfortable reading. As one of the websites I looked up said, 'If that's true not many Christians are going to get to heaven.' (It was an atheist website but it's a valid point!)

By the way, I'd been told that the eye of the camel referred to a city gate in Jerusalem, so low that camels had to be unladen and go through on their knees. It's a useful little analogy for how we are to approach God but apparently there's no archaeological or historical evidence for such a gate. 

Monday, April 09, 2012

Oops, I've done it again

The people from Kidwell-e Festival asked me for a photo and blurb for their website so I sent them the blurb I've used on my Amazon author page.

I probably should have looked at what the other authors attending had used before I sent it off ...
They include:
Lesley Pearse ... fans across the globe and sales of over 7 million copies;
David Davies, author of the acclaimed series of naval historical fiction and winner of the Samuel Pepys prize;
Andrew Kirby, award-winning author of 5 novels;
Sue Moorcroft won Best Romantic Read 2011 
etc etc

Till it gets to Liz Hinds who proudly boasts that she's a granny of three and able to trace her family tree back to Julius Caesar and including Boudica.

Oh, and I've just noticed that one of the speakers has the same name as the 'hero' in my novel. He's not a quarter as good-looking as my version though.

Is the glass half full?

I realised this morning that I haven't cleaned the dining room since Christmas.

 Even by my standards three and half months is bad, and the result is that it's become a dumping ground, so cleaning mostly involved moving things into other rooms - which is fine until I come to clean those rooms. Ah well, that's another day. And not for a long time judging my record.

Now what do you see when you look at this picture?

I see an empty bottle so I put it for recycling. Husband saw what I'd done.
'What are you doing?!'
'Getting rid of an empty bottle.'
'That's not empty!'
'It is.'
'It's not. If you leave it for a day or two all the drips congregate at the bottom. You can't waste that'
Sometimes I worry for Husband.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

With friends like this

I knew there was something else I meant to say.

In church this morning I was sitting next to Debs. I haven't seen her properly for ages so we were nattering a bit so when Chris said something about sharing bread and wine Debs nudged me - I was sitting at the end of the row - and said, 'Come on, let's go and get it.'
I said, 'Hang on. Chris hasn't finished pouring the wine out yet.'
'I want to go early cos I have a condition,' Debs said, Les-Dawson like. 'I don't want an infection.'

Well, we were so busy talking about this we didn't hear what else Chris said, so when he'd stepped away from the table I said, 'Okay, we'll go up now.' (There's no dramatic performance about giving out the sacrament;  bread and wine is put out on a table and people can go up as they want to fetch it.)

Now when one person goes up everyone else usually follows on quickly but it was just Deb and me. We stood there silently eating our bread and drinking our wine, before hurrying back to our seats and wondering why no-one else was going up. 

The song went on and Deb and I looked at each. 
The song finished and Chris and a couple of others moved the table from the back to the middle of the congregation and then it was like the floodgates opened.

Afterwards Deb blamed me: 'She went up first!'
And I blamed Deb: 'Only because she pushed me!'

I knew we should have taken the holier-than-thou route and said, 'We were led by the Spirit.'

A good reason to be Irish

So, Husband and I were talking about bank holidays and how they came about. I thought it sounded like a post-war thing, round about the time the NHS was introduced. I've just googled it and it turns out bank holidays became law in 1871 following a campaign by Sir John Lubbock, a Liberal MP. (Remember the days when Liberal MPs cared about the people?)

There were originally 4 bank holidays: Easter Monday, Whit Monday, the first Monday in August and Boxing Day. Christmas Day, Good Friday and Sundays were already 'days of rest' so didn't need to be included. An interesting fact is that bank holidays are not automatically public holidays although most workers' contracts will have them written in.

Bank holidays since 1971 are appointed each year by royal proclamation and extra ones can be appointed for special occasions e.g. last year's wedding of William and Kate. They can also be used in emergencies as in 1968 when a one-off bank holiday was declared, after a middle of the night Privy Council meeting attended by the Queen, to stem losses in the London gold markets.

Finally, while England, Wales and Scotland have 8 bank holidays, Northern Ireland has 10!

Speed texting

On the way to Sainsburys Husband's mobile rang. Unusually I was driving so he was free to answer. 

It was Elder Son. He said, 'What's mum doing?'
'Driving us to Sainsburys. Why?'
'She's just sent me 20 text messages in one minute.'

At the next traffic lights Husband leapt out of the car, retrieved my handbag from the boot, found my phone and locked it. By that time I'd sent another 3 messages.
'She's not very good with technology,' Husband told Elder Son. As if he needed telling.

It was Friday but Sunday's come

It was Good Friday on ... um Friday, as you probably knew. For complicated reasons to do with the days I work and how much leave I get I decided to work as normal even though it was a bank holiday. (I've been pondering bank holidays and shall do a post about them shortly - I know, I know, but you'll have to restrain your impatience.)

My church, which is also my employer, like many employers, has been in a bit of financial difficulty recently so it was agreed at a church meeting to encourage fasting on Friday followed by a prayer meeting. I didn't fast or go to the meeting BUT I did pray. 

I asked God to put into my head words that were of importance and I jotted down what came into my mind. At the end of the list I stuck on resurrection, what with it being Easter and me thinking that should be relevant. Then with the help of my concordance I looked for scriptures. After a few not-really-what's-needed bits I discovered all of my 'key' words in one chapter of Proverbs. All except resurrection, which was fine as that was me not God anyway. 

And I found that all a bit spooky.

I don't expect God to talk to me. I should but I pay so little attention to him most of the time I wouldn't blame him for ignoring me the rest of it. And maybe you know what it's like: after you've heard from God you begin to doubt that it was him and wonder if it was just not your own thoughts leading you. And if it hadn't been for the amazingness of finding all the words in one section of one chapter I'd probably still be saying, 'Well, yes, maybe.'

From Proverbs 3: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 

Note to self: must talk to God more and expect him to answer.

Parmigiana to you

Time to catch up on blogging! 

We were in Devon Wednesday/Thursday, I was in work on Friday and Friday evening I - very unusually for me - just didn't feel like blogging. Anything I'd written then would have been stodge. Yesterday no time so finally, today, after cleaning my desk so I can use the keyboard without things toppling on me, I'm able to sit down and catch up.

Back to front probably. Or rather in the order that things come into my head beginning, unsurprisingly, with food. I thought I'd cook us an Italian-style meal yesterday, mainly to use some of my authentic parmigiana before I finished it all in big chunks between meals.
While in Italy I had a starter much like this of braesola (dry cured beef) with rocket, parmesan and balsamic dressing. I tried out 2 variations of dressing but neither was quite right - or as good as the one I had in Italy. I think the simple oil and vinegar one was closer and maybe only needed to be whisked a bit more to make it homogenise. 
 Then we had portabella mushroom risotto with parmesan.
Both quite delicious even though the risotto looks a bit like sludge.

While on the subject of food I had to buy a box of Cadburys Fingers in Sainsburys yesterday as they were half price. Similar reasoning applied to the Buttons egg I bought. Very small Buttons egg. I broke a piece off this afternoon with the intention of leaving the rest of it till later. Why do I even try to pretend to myself that such a thing is possible? Chocolate wasn't made to be eaten slowly. It has to be devoured rapidly for the buzz to be huge and instant and worthwhile.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Running away to ... Devon

Just off but had to share this gem from last night in Zac's. One of our Irish friends said, 'I've got a 14-year-old son; he's 18 now.'

More to follow when I'm back.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Running away to join the circus

Been a busy bee this afternoon, making apple cake for Zac's and brownies to take to Devon tomorrow.

I noticed, when I was rubbing the fat into the flour for the apple cake, that there was a funny coloured bit. I didn't appear to be bleeding from any obvious orifice so I think it must have been jam.

I fished it out just in case though.

Did you know there were lots of circuses in Mexico? A girl has just won a Geographical Society award for her project on running away to join a circus. That's never something I wanted to do. I was probably fussy about toilets from an early age.

Email bad, email good

I get regular emails from the Dylan Thomas Centre advising me of literary events happening there. I received one this morning inviting me to the launch of the new book - from the man who's just rejected my novel! Yeah, right, I'm going to go to that.
Not that I'm bitter or anything.

* * * * * *
Aw, just received another email, this time asking me for my photo and bio for the Kidwell-e Festival website. That makes me feel better.

Trouble is they're going to get to see me in July so I suppose I'd better find an up-to-date photo and not use the one I tend to send i.e. the one of me aged 25 leaping about in the sea in a bikini. (Not that that's got me a publisher yet ...)

Monday, April 02, 2012

Why I must stop watching House M.D.

I woke late this morning from a very vivid dream involving puppies, Christmas, a train strike and druids. I jumped out of bed (I say jumped, reluctantly fell would be more accurate) and felt very odd. I wondered if I were really still asleep. 
Then I had a strange pain in my chest. 
Which led me to the conclusion that it was all significant and a definite case for Dr House.

My day has gone downhill since then ...

You want to know how depressed I am?

I am so depressed I've had to stop cleaning. That's how depressed I am. There's only so much misery a girl can cope with in one day.

It wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't raised my hopes. You see, I emailed them a few weeks ago to make sure they'd received the sample and the reply said it was currently being read. When I then didn't hear from them for a long time I took it as a positive sign. Hope only makes rejection worse.

So I'm thinking maybe I should give up on novel writing and do something I'm good at - but then I can't think what that might be.

But I suppose the world is full of very talented singers and actors, for example, many of whom should be famous but who have to make do with joining local amateur companies and knowing they're never going to make it big. Maybe it just seems easier for them to show off their ability than it is for writers. 

In a comment on the previous post Dr Stu suggests I console myself reading how many rejections JK Rowling had. It's a kind thought but I need to wallow for a bit. 

Sighing again

Remember my other book? I'd submitted a sample to a publisher a while ago and the editor had wanted to see more but I hadn't finished it and then she left?

Well, I resubmitted it and the editor this time, a male - possibly relevant? - has rejected it. Very nicely but all the same.

Excuse me, I shall have to sigh a bit and be depressed for a while.