Friday, 23 September 2011


Not mine I hasten to add.  Today is my first born’s 10th birthday.  Ten years? Where did that go then?

It’s hard to reconcile the boy with the cheeky smile, dry sense of humour and an endearing sense of thoughtfulness with the tiny scrap of humanity who entered our lives all that time ago. 

As births go it was pretty awful. Three and a half days of labour followed by a caesarean section under general anaesthetic.  Needless to say I wasn’t too with it for those first few vital hours, and my husband was booted out and left to pace the corridors like an old fashioned father.  But he came out perfect in the end which was a blessing.   And he is still a blessing too – more than he’ll know until he has children of his own. 

I remember feeling so scared that this tiny human being was completely dependent on me for his every need. He was only just over six pounds with “legs that look like they should be hanging out of a nest”.  My husband’s words, not mine.    His legs haven’t improved much – they are still long and skinny but he runs like the wind now.  

It’s been a long run up to this birthday and the excitement levels have been fit to bust.  We’ve got three friends coming for a sleepover tonight, family tomorrow and then a trip to an outdoor activity centre on Sunday with more friends followed by pizza and cake.   I only hope that his birthday lives up to his expectations.  That’s the hard thing about kids’ birthdays; it’s up to you to deliver the perfect day / weekend.  No easy task but let’s hope I’m up to the job. Wish me luck!  

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Christmas is Coming!

It’s true.  The supermarkets are full of advent calendars and other Christmas goodies.

I nearly fell over when I saw them at the weekend.   I haven’t even fully recovered from the summer holidays yet.   Halloween seems ages away and yet it’s Christmas.

I thought that rows of school uniforms and Back to School signs in June long before the kids had even broken up from school was bad enough but this is a step too far.  I was glad though that they were playing Christmas music in store, that would have finished me off completely.

No wonder time seems to be passing even more quickly with each year.  It’s because we’re having Christmas in September!  Go away, I’m not ready yet!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Sadly Missed

I was dismayed to read in October's issue of Writing Magazine that Jean Saunders passed away in August.

Jean was a prolific writer, both of short stories and novels and wrote under several names including Rowena Summers, Rachel Moore, Jean Innes, Sally Blake and Jodi Nicol.

She was also a regular contributor to Writing Magazine as well as teaching creative writing courses.

Her advice through the magazine has been invaluable to me over the years and in 2005 I was fortunate to attend one of her weekend courses at the Writers' News House Party in Harrogate.

The weekend itself was blissful. At the time I had a very young family and to be able to indulge in a whole weekend of writing was a dream come true (still would be in fact).  I met so many lovely people including Deric Longden, a favourite author, who was guest speaker on the Saturday evening.

But the highlight was Jean herself.  I found her to be a wonderful, warm person who gave me so much insight into the world of writing for women's magazines.  She was a natural born teacher and inspired everyone of us in the room that weekend. 

When reading a piece of my writing out to the class I remember her asking, "Have you been published?" and when I admitted that I hadn't her answer was "Well, you should be."

Since then, whenever I have been in doubt about my ability, and there have been many times, those four words have inspired me to keep going.

So thank you Jean, wherever you are, you have been an inspiration to my writing life, and you will be sadly missed.


Monday, 12 September 2011

Ten Random Things

Hi all

Thanks to Teresa for the tag.  (Hope the link works). I don't think I've ever been tagged before so it's an honour.

So here goes - here are my ten random things:

1. I can't sing, dance or play a musical instrument so I'm banking on writing as "my special talent".

2. I believe in fate and that somewhere there is a masterplan for everyone (OCD kicking in again). But I am convinced that fate has played a part in keeping me away from a few potentially life threatening situations.

3. I love to cook but never find the time to experiment.

4. I am fascinated with history and have often wondered about reincarnation.  I would love to try out past life regression under hypnosis but am too chicken.

5.  I am completely hooked on Nescafe Mocha coffee sachets.

6. I have a tendancy to be a glass half empty type of person but am doing my best this year to see a glass half full.

7. My parents weren't exactly flush when  I was growing up and I'm grateful because it has taught me the value of money.  I would much rather save for something than to buy it on credit.

8.  This weekend my 12 year old niece had a sleeopover at my house.  I realised that I don't feel grown up enough to have sole responsiblity for someone who is as tall as me.

9.  I have always wanted to fly in a tiger moth aeroplane but like 4. above, I am far too chicken.

10.  I love blogland and all the people I have met here. 

Thanks Teresa for tagging me, I've enjoyed coming up with ten random things.

By the way "random" is the in word amongst my ten year old son and his friends at the moment. Everything is random!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

New Term, Fresh Start

September and the boys are back in school!

I’m sure they don’t view this with quite the optimism that I do (I know for a fact my eldest doesn’t) but I’ve always liked September.

For the last few years it’s been a bit of a relief to be honest. The summer holidays are my busiest time at work, which also coincides with my husband’s busiest time. Whereas he assumes the mantle of work as usual, I’m the one who has to organise childcare and work as well. It’s a bit of trauma but I always manage it somehow. It does annoy me slightly that whilst everyone is going on holiday or chilling out in their jim jams until lunchtime, I’m running round like a headless chicken. But hey ho, I’ll get my own back by going somewhere hot in February while everyone else is shivering in their boots.

But now it’s back to routine which, whilst including numerous after school activities and taxi service, at least allows me to plan my day better. And my routine.

September has always been more of a fresh start for me somehow than January. Perhaps it’s because it always used to signify the start of fresh learning and new opportunities. Working in the education sector now, that is doubly so. A typical writer I’m thrilled at the prospect of new notebooks, files and pencil cases. Yes, I know I’m sad but I bet a lot of you reading this have the same fetishes.

And so for a new masterplan which is:

For the rest of the year I intend concentrating on short stories, fillers, reader’s letters and possibly some articles. After spending the first half of the year on my novel I feel the need complete something which doesn’t take so much time. And of course the more stuff I get out there the closer the odds will be on getting my name in print. Not just that but at the moment I need some short term satisfaction with my writing.

I have received my critique back from the RNA. At first I was a bit dismayed by how swiftly it was returned to me. As I only submitted it at the beginning of August I had prepared myself for a long wait.

Sadly, it didn’t get a second reading but once I’d picked my spirits up off the floor I found that the critique was really useful. It’s highlighted the need for a lot more work on my script and whilst that’s disappointing, unfortunately I have to agree with the majority of the feedback.

But it's better to know than not. In saying that, I think I’ll put it in a draw for a while, gain some perspective and then get back to it with renewed vigour in a little while. So it's off to my short stories ideas file, and perhaps a new notebook to fill?
Happy autumn everyone.