Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Olympic Torch Disappointment

Yesterday my family went to watch the procession of the Olympic torch through Chester. As we didn’t have tickets to watch the celebrations at the racecoorse which was the main area of the celebrations, we decided to head to the Town Hall to watch the procession from there.

We arrived in plenty of time but already the crowds were out in force. We found a spot in front of the Visitor Centre, which was slightly raised, and which, we hoped, would give our children a better view. A band played from the steps of the Town Hall and the atmosphere was expectant. This really was going to be a once in a lifetime experience.

To the side of us giant dummies were receiving a lot of attention and they really looked the part.


There was also one of the Queen and one of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. I felt proud to be British.

Then, just before the procession arrived, the dummies were moved to the top corner of the road opposite the Cathedral, completely blocking not only our view but also the view of many other people. We asked why the dummies needed to be placed in an area which obliterated the view of people who had come specifically come to support the Olympic procession and were told it was at the Council’s request. However, later they were moved back slightly, although still blocking our view, and I suspect they were placed here so that

This is how our view was blocked.

The Jubilee Giants are going to be a big part of Chester’s celebration of the Diamond Jubilee and they are very impressive. However, I fail to see why the positioning of them last night took precedence over the public who had come to see the Olympic torch, a completely separate event from the Diamond Jubilee. The giants were receiving enough attention without needing to spoil the occasion for many others. I’m sad to say that what I thought would be a once in a lifetime experience turned into a giant disappointment.

Guess who won't be bothering to go and see the giants on Monday!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Impersonating a Chipmunk

For the last few days I have been doing a really good impersonation of a chipmunk - believe me it's not a good look.

On Thursday I had to have some dental surgery on my gum to try and resolve a persistant problem I've been having with an abcess above one of my teeth. I've had two root canal treatments but they didn't work so they decided to tackle the problem through the gum.

It's not a pleasant procedure because they have to cut the gum and then stitch it back up again, and now I have a mouth full of stitches.  I was warned that there would be some swelling and possible bruising.  Thankfully there hasn't been any bruising but I did wake up on Friday morning feeling like I'd been hit by a cricket bat - hence the chipmunk impression.

The swelling has gone down now thankfully and I am being to look like me again.  Still a bit sore and tender but it's worth it if it's going to do the trick.

I was warned that I would have to rest for a few days.  I'm not very good at resting but I decided to take the advice given to me and took a couple of days off work.  And did I pick the right two days?  I ignored the fact that the garden desperately needs weeding, did a bit of writing and a lot of reading.   It was hard work topping up the tan though.  It's wonderful being outside and I'm loving this weather, although it does make me want to take an afternoon nap, which is a bit difficult now that I'm back at work.

I'm sure the weather will break soon, but fingers crossed for a good weekend, it would make the celebrations so much nicer bathed in sun.

I hope it's fine tomorrow too as the Olympic torch will be coming through Chester and I hope to take the boys to see it.  Not sure if we will get to see much, if anything, as it's bound to be crowded, but it's a once in a lifetime experience and I would love my boys to be part of it.

Take care


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Reading, Reading, Reading

Although I didnt manage to do much writing on holiday, I did do a fair bit of reading. My Kindle came into its element and I read books which I had had stored on there for a while.
Before I review them though, Ive still got some books I read earlier to tell you about. Hope Im not boring you! The first one is:

The Secret Shopper Affair

I love this author and this series so when I found this book in the library, I couldnt resist taking it home with me. As ever Kate kept my fingers turning page after page. Ive enjoyed travelling with the lives of the three main characters, but I think that perhaps they have gone as far as they can go. Id be happy for Kate to prove me wrong though

A Room Swept White - Sophie Hannah

I decided to take a small step away from my usual preferred reading genre and try something slightly more edgy. This book still has women at its centre though as it is the story of three women who have lost children through Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and then have been convicted of murder and later acquitted.

Its hard to think of anything worse than losing your baby, or in this case babies, but then to be imprisoned for their murder, well, it just makes me shudder.

This is the story of how these women try and deal with their lives post acquittal but it is also a thriller which kept the pages turning. In some places I found the plot a little contrived, but I’ll certainly be looking out for more of her books

What Alice Forgot
This is the story of Alice who has an accident in the gym and loses her memory of the last ten years of her life. When she wakes up she thinks she is completely in love with her husband and is pregnant with her first child. In reality, she is 39, a “supermum” of three and is going through an acrimonious separation from her husband. As Alice tries to reconcile the person she has turned into with the person she remembers, we find out piece by piece how her life has become so complicated. This is partly revealed through dairy entries by her sister, who has her own traumas as repeated attempts at IVF fail. Can Alice reconcile her 39 year of self with the person as remembers and will she be able to fix her marriage? I’m not telling. Its up to you to find out for yourself but I really enjoyed this book.

And finally,

A Gathering Storm

I enjoyed the first book I read by this author, reviewed here and particularly loved the atmosphere and the sense of place she created, as well as liking her characters. But I found some of the plot twists a bit too contrived.

This, however, cannot be a complaint of A Gathering Storm. Like A Place of Secrets, this book was also set in the present and the past, this time during World War II. It was a bit more linear than the previous book and the part set in the past was particularly engaging. I didn’t always feel comfortable with what happened in the past, read it to find out, but it certainly presented parts of the war I have never encountered before.  
This author is definitely on my To Read More Of list.
And that's it for now, more reviews later.  Have a good week eveyone.



Tuesday, 15 May 2012

It's My Birthday!

Another score on the calendar of life, but does this face look bovvered????  No, because age is just a state of mind - or so I keep telling myself.  Actually I've decided to count backwards from 40 so today am I 36 years young, and I got 36 kisses from my boys this morning to prove it.

Actually, after the hectic partying a few weeks ago, I must admit that I'm happy to have a quiet one this year.  A glass of pretend fizz and sharing cripsy duck with my family tonight will be the pefect way to spend the day.  Besides which we're off to a dinner at a local hotel at the weekend with the footie crowd so that will be my celebration.

Despite the fact that I have a few more wrinkles, and considerably more grey hairs, I feel I'm finally growing into my skin.  At the moment, I'm in a relatively happy place.  I could do with more time, but who couldn't.  Now, all I need is a book deal, or at least to sell a few short stories and life will be perfect.

Whatever you are doing today, have a happy one.

Linda XX

Monday, 14 May 2012

I Want That House!

As mentioned in a previous blog I'm currently working on an old work in progress for the RNA's New Writer's Scheme.  It's a novel I started on a few years ago, and I have a rough first draft.  In fact, the beginning chapters are more or less right, because I wrote them while I was completing a Writer's News Home Study Course. My tutor was the lovely Sue Johnson who gave me no end of encouragement. 

What I loved about this course was rather than writing random assignments, you were asked to send completed chapters to your tutor who gave you feedback.  It helped so much that after I finished the course, I paid for an extension so that I could continue.  After that I completed the draft, but somewhere along the way I lost the plot which is what I hope to rectify over the next few months as I work towards my submission.

My first task was to read through what I had already written and figure out what works and what doesn't.  I had quite a lot of paper and decided to get rid of what had been either duplicated or superseded, and along the way I came across a file I had put together when I was in the first planning stages of the novel.

The file was a compilation of photos and descriptions of the house where my heroine lives.  I remember spending hours trawling estate agents websites  to find the perfect pictures so that I could visualise each room as I was writing.  Probably not the most effective use of my time, if you were costing it out by the hour, but it was fascinating to see what I had created.

In fact, I think I've actually created my dream house, and each night when I come home from work, I'm a bit disappointed to remember that I live in my house and not my heroines.  Does that make me weird?

I only hope that I can translate the pictures in my file and my head into the novel, and maybe one day I will find my dream house.  Who knows, you can only dream can't you?

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

It's been another long and busy weekend and I am only just recovering.

On Sunday my youngest took his first holy communion so the clan descended to celebrate with us, including some of our Irish cousins who stayed for the weekend and went home this morning.

I was really proud of him dressed up in his suit - he looked so smart.

And we had a lovely celebration afterwards.

On Monday, the boys had a football tournament first thing, which was a nice early start, and the weather was typical of a bank holiday - yes it was raining!

Last night we were out again for a meal with our guests and then this morning I woke up to two sick children, who have a bug which is doing the rounds. Looks like its just a 24 hour thing so fingers crossed.

Hey ho - we'll all get back to normal soon!