Friday, 25 April 2014


At the moment my life is very unpredictable and I'm struggling to plan any writing time.  Or rather I plan it and then life happens to get in the way.

Now that I am working three days a week (which could soon become four), a large part of my daytime writing time has gone.  

My freelance work is also picking up, but it always comes in when I'm least expecting it.  I sit down at my computer with ideas brimming for a story, I have a quick check of my emails and low and behold there is work to be done.

I can't knock it though, at least I'm getting some work.

At the moment I'm doing some audio transcription.  Years ago when I was a secretary, my boss used to record onto a cassette, which then when into a player which had headphones and a foot pedal plugged into it.

My boss then was based in London, while I was based in Chester and every day he would dictate his letters and then post me the package containing a tape.  Initially this was in the days before email, so I used to type out the letters print them off and fax each letter down to him.  He would then make any amendments and fax them back.

Well how times have changed.  On the promise of receiving a regular amount of work, I purchased some software which converts files into audio. On receiving an email, I download the file, plug my iphone headphones into my laptop and I'm good to go.

I'm a pretty fast typist so I've been trying to do this without the use of a foot pedal.  It's do-able but a bit fiddly so I have given in and purchased a foot pedal.  I'll see if it any easier when I type my next report.

So, what with all that, I haven't managed to do much actual writing recently.  I have been editing a novel wot I wrote though. It's in its fourth draft now and I'm hoping with some final tweaks I'll feel ready to start sending it out to agents.  Its a long job though, with little light at the end of the tunnel, so I may just have to write a story to break it up a bit.

Yesterday, to get away from it all, I decided to go for a walk down the Greenway which runs through the city and starts near to where I live.  At the entrance to the Greenway (on a farm) is a new cafe, so after my walk I decided to test it out.  And there I sat, writing away with no interruptions from technology (or my husband).  What bliss.  The only down side was drowning out the noise from the rest of the people in the cafe and several very loud children.  Ah well you can't have it all.

Have a good weekend everyone.  

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Who's for Ice-Cream?

As ever with the school holidays, I'm juggling work and childcare.  But last Friday I took the day off work and spent some time with my boys.  All of them, as my husband took a rare half day holiday too.

It was blissful to wake up and not to have to marshal the troops to our various destinations on time.  Instead I pootled around in my PJ's and dressing gown - aahhh!

In the afternoon, we took a jaunt out in the car to nearby Nantwich to Snugburys, an ice-cream farm.  Not only do they service a fantastic variety of ice-cream, but every year they also build a massive statue in straw.

Last year it was a bear, and in the Olympic year, a huge Olympic ring with a cyclist on the top of it.  A few years ago it was a mere cat which was just brilliant.

This year it was a Dalek

It can be seen from miles around and took 700 man hours to build the steel girders and then pack with straw.

I love the sign directing people towards it.

The piglets were quite cute too.

But best of all was the ice-cream. Honeycomb's my favourite and I managed to bring home a tub of it too!  It's nestling in the freezer for when I really need it.

What's your favourite ice-cream?

Monday, 7 April 2014

Egg Gate

Last week's homework from school was to design and paint an egg.

I hate these arty homeworks because not one of us in this family has an arty bone in our bodies, so its always a bit of a trauma.

Unfortunately for us, we forgot all about it until Thursday morning, so I dashed to Hobbycraft to buy paints and things to stick on the egg should it all go pear-shaped.

Unsurprisingly, my youngest wanted to paint the Leeds logo on his egg (he's nothing if not predictable).  So we sketched out the logo on the egg and he began to paint.  But the paint wouldn't dry and it looked a mess.

We rubbed off the paint and searched out the felt tips, and this was marginally better. It was only the front of the egg though and it looked a bit sparse so we tried to stick on some football shapes I had bought.  Have you ever tried to glue things onto eggs?  The glue I had bought didn't work and even UHU didn't produced the required effect.

Fortunately my husband had some quick drying white paint so we painted the rest of the egg with that. Sometimes its useful to have a painter and decorator as a husband - even if he didn't have the right colours for the Leeds Badge.

This is the end result.

Lets just say it didn't win any prizes but at least he had something to take into school with him.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Book Review

I can't believe that its April already - this year is going even quicker than ever.

As I'm now bogged down in sorting out accounts for the end of the financial year, I thought that a book review would make more interesting reading than what I'm up to at the moment.

So here it is, The Light Between Oceans by M L Steadman

This is a story about a lighthouse keeper and his wife, based in Australia, and it was on a recent Richard & Judy Bookclub list.

Tom and his wife Izzy live a secluded life.  They only receive provisions by boat once every six months and are allowed home leave once every three years.  But despite this, initially, they are happy. Tom is a WWI survivor, and after the horrors of the war, he is content to live a peaceful, ordered life.  And Izzy is happy with Tom. A child would make her life perfect. But Izzy has a series of miscarriages which devastate her.  Then, one day, shortly after miscarrying late in her pregnancy, a boat washes up on the shore.  In the boat are a man and a baby.  The man is dead but the baby is alive.

What should Tom and Izzy do?  Should they report the incident and give the baby to the authorities, to be brought up in an institution if there are no other living relatives?  Or should they take a chance to create their own happiness? Their decision has devastating consequences, for both themselves and others.

This book is described as compelling, gripping and heartbreaking.  At the beginning though, I found it a bit slow.  It is beautifully written and the atmosphere is vivid, but I kept wondering where this story could go.  About half way into it though, everything changed, and from then on I didn’t want to put the book down. 

It is a story of love and loss, and what can happen when someone breaks your trust. 

I’m not one to abandon books when I’m half way through.  I’m always optimistic that they will improve.  Sometimes I’m disappointed but in this case I wasn’t. Definitely worth a read.