Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Buses, Farming and Buffy

September 20, 2017

 

Hello. How’s things? Hope you’re all well. What’s been happening in your world?

This month is the tenth anniversary of the publication of my first book, the award winning Darkisle. Happy anniversary Darkisle. Still really proud to have written you and your sequels.

DarkIsle

The last couple of weeks have been spent doing washing…

…sigh. Above is what came down when I asked/demanded the kids tidy their rooms. I only have two kids by the way.

Also took the boy to Bridgeton to see the vintage buses in an open day. It was really good. I love vintage vehicles and we had a lovely afternoon searching for Lego characters amongst the lovely buses and other vehicles. We also went for a ride on an old Corporation double decker complete with rear entrance. Loved it.

 

 

I’ve been doing a fair bit of clearing out various cupboards and the garage. Now on first name terms with the guys down at our local dump I’ve been there that often.

Was also daft enough to agree to accompany the boy’s class on a school trip to a farm in Luss. I  thought it would be a good bonding thing and the school is great so wanted to do something for them. We arrived at the back of 10am to pissing rain, knee high mud and several long and cold hours outside or under canvas/in sheds learning about farming. I grew up in a farming community so was bored early on. The kids were fine for about five minutes per subject (animals, grains, biodiversity, dairy etc) and then grew antsy. We had a few in our group who could not help themselves but be naughty. I think we would all have enjoyed it more if the day was shorter and it had been better weather. I came back damp and with a sore back from standing all day. We got back about 2.30pm. I had a hot bath and knocked back a bottle of wine later. I needed it badly. Here are a couple of coo and sheep pics…

Been getting the kids into Buffy the Vampire Slayer and they love it. I used to watch it in the 90s and it’s back on the telly so here’s a gratuitous cast shot cos I still love them…

Right on that note I am off to watch another episode. Til next time!

Dawn xxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Frank Quitely at Kelvingrove, Superman in Helensburgh and an Explosive Sunday

July 24, 2017

I cannot believe it is nearly August already! July has flown in. What is equally as quick is how fast the days fly in too! I don’t know how I managed to work part-time (or even full time before I had the kids) and ran the house and had time to myself for I feel as if I have no time at all. If I’m not doing housework, I am cooking. If I am not shopping for food, I am gardening. And so it goes on. The days are busy busy busy. How I squeezed work in there every week I do not know!

So, anyway, how are you? How has your week been? Ours has been good, but it started off with a bang…literally. Just after 8am last Sunday morning two explosions shook the house…and I am not joking. I thought something had hit the roof it was that loud and that powerful. I popped my head outside to see if I could see bits of the roof in the garden but there was none. The street seemed quiet so I went on Facebook to tell my woes to my friends only to find that the ones living in our area had also heard it and been frightened by it. Eventually, one – my friend Zuzka – came up the explanation…two old cranes had been taken down in Greenock across the water from us. They used controlled explosions.

I am sure that all of Greenock knew it was going to happen, but no one over this side of the river had been told. The Faslane Naval Base is only a few miles away so you can imagine what everyone initially thought…thankfully there was no fire and smoke and no mushroom cloud and it was all explained when Zuzka shared the link to the online news feed. Phew. It was a helluva explosion though!

The following day, we met my youngest sister and her two children last Monday at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. We paid in to see the Frank Quitely exhibition, he’s a Scottish comic book artist. It cost me £13 for me and my two so I thought this was alright. The exhibition wasn’t huge, but I really enjoyed it. I think comic book artists are amazing. Some of the artwork they produce is beautiful and Frank Quitely’s work is really stunning. Plus Superman’s cape was there too, so it was good.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

After that exhibition, we had a wee wander around the Art Gallery and Musuem itself. I’ve been going there – like most folk who grew up in and around Glasgow – since I was wee and I love it. A lot of the exhibits were there that I remember from my childhood but arranged in a different way. There’s lots to see although the kids didn’t seem that fussed on viewing art…in fact my nephew (who turned six recently…happy birthday wee man!) found some of them highly amusing. I love when small children giggle at serious stuff, it’s funny. He made us all laugh. We had lunch across the road at a small pizza type place. ** Alert ** Alert ** gripe coming up – what is it just now that all the wee pizza places are going for weird toppings on their pizza? I just want a ham and pineapple pizza. That’s it. Just that. I do not want Himalayan Goat’s Cheese with Rocket and Pink Seasalt and…pardon my French…poncy shite like that. My children do not want it either. This place was the type of small artsy café that sold that kind of stuff (well, it is the west end I suppose!). We could have left, but the kids were hungry so I opted for a pizza with chorizo and some weird type of fancy cheese. It was alright. Sigh.

On Wednesday, me, the kids and one of my best friends’ teenage daughters popped down to The Tower in Helensburgh to see the latest Spiderman Homecoming film.

We had brunch in Riverhill first (yum) before dropping into the wee arts centre and cinema for the film. We had a ball. It was a great day: brunch was lovely as always and the film was really quite good. This young lady has been unwell recently, but is back on the mend. I’ve known her since she was a day old. My kids think of her as their cousin and she’s like a niece to me, so we really did have a lovely time with her. We are going to fix a date for August for a wee cinema night at my house.

Thursday was pick up the new car day…I wish. Basically, someone ran into the back of my car a couple of weeks ago. The van driver’s insurance company sorted everything out and I currently am driving a beautiful gun metal grey and brand new Qashqai. It’s a stunning car with all the mod cons. I shall feel bereft when I pick up my newly fixed car (there are a couple of dents in the boot door) this week…whenever that will be. Sigh. It’s been so nice driving such a lovely car.

Right that’s about it apart from to wish my dad a happy 71st birthday this week and my father-in-law a happy 89th birthday today.

Til next time!

Dawn xxxx

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Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

July 10, 2017

 

Hello blog readers! How are you? Hope you are all well. Sorry I’ve not written for a couple of weeks. I have no excuses other than me, the kids and the dogs went off for an adventure for a week recently. Luckily the weather wasn’t too bad, in fact there were a couple of stunning days, and the midges didn’t bite too hard (a major issue when holidaying in Scotland) and we had a lovely time.

So where were we I hear you cry? We stayed in a cottage near Skipness which is near Tarbert and directly opposite the isles of Arran and Bute. The cottage itself was…well…it doesn’t have great curb appeal as you can see (we were on the lefthandside without the front porch or plastic chairs)…

…but it was nice enough inside apart from the 1970s avocado green bathroom which was a bit grotty and there was no shower. It didn’t help that they have a private water supply which is peaty (which I don’t mind but the kids did and refused to bathe in the bath). Worse still the tv and dvd player didn’t work and…GASP…there was no Wi-Fi! Well, the girl went on and on and on about that because apparently she can’t live without it…funnily enough despite experiencing days on end without Wi-Fi she is actually still alive! Anyway, we were only there for a week so she just had to deal with it!

So instead of my kids sitting in front of screens all day they…

Paddled and swam in the sea in the lovely little cove at the cottage.

Climbed rocks and collected shells.

 

Ran about a beach with the dogs near Cambeltown when we drove down there.

 

Ran about in his onesy!

We also shopped in Tarbert and picked up some books and the kids bought rock (a prerequisite for a UK holiday). We ate ice cream in Cambeltown and had lunch on a nearby beach. The dogs ran around and loved every minute of it.

My friend Jane and her daughter visited bringing lunch and we took them to Skipness Castle.

We visited the castle again two days later when my parents were up with their dog. It’s a fab 13th century castle that is free to visit and has the most spectacular views of Arran. There’s a smokehouse beside it which sells the most fantastic Cullen Skink. Also nearby is the Skipness Seafood Cabin. This was where I first tried oysters around ten years ago and loved them. Ian didn’t so much. We had drinks there and me and the kids patted their tame doe called Coco and cuddled their Jack Russell called Jim.

Even though the kids maintain the holiday was rubbish, they actually had a great time. The cottage was right on the beach. It was quiet and relaxing and it was nice to spend some time together as a family without electronics getting in the way. The dogs had a brilliant time too.

Okay, so that was the holiday. We did come home a day early due to extreme Wi-Fi moaning by the girl and my desire to get a shower…it was bliss when I finally had one!

What else has been happening? Well, I’ve told you the nice bits first. Now on to the not so nice bits. While we were away the daughter of one of my closest friends was very ill. This girl is like a niece to me and we were all very worried when we found out. Thankfully she’s on the mend. Get well soon E!

This week also saw the anniversary of the death of my lovely husband, Ian. I cannot believe a year has gone by already. It was extremely quick. Just want to thank everyone for their messages and gifts. You really didn’t have to but it was lovely. I think that’s the last of the ‘firsts’ (first birthday without him, first Christmas without him, first wedding anniversary without him etc) so hopefully the various events of the coming year won’t be quite so painful for us. Anyway, moving on…

Books I read on holiday…just managed the one: Dave Eggers’ The Circle which was great. It’s about a woman who joins a major IT company which introduces a variety of IT projects to the world. The only problem is, while these are packaged as essential and desirable inventions (eg the kid tracker), the flip side is that one commercial company is slowing working its way into controlling the world.  It’s beautifully written and had me gripped.

Right, that’s enough for now. I’ve just caught Casper once again eating my lovely new hall rug. There’s a full corner out of it. Time to take the wee nuisance and Millie out for a walk. Bonya, the pug, is currently at the vet’s getting spayed. I left there this morning, feeling a crumb as I kissed her goodbye. You should have seen her ‘where are you going?’ face. We should get her back this afternoon. We’re all missing her already.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

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Pretty

May 1, 2017

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New post on Fiction Writers’ Friend

January 28, 2017

Hi

I’ve come back to writing my blog on writing and there’s a new post on my other blog (which was set up for folk who want to write). Get it here.

 

Dawn xxx

 

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Socialising, Reading and Watching Films…

January 7, 2017
Kilmahew Castle - will be making more visits to it this year.

Kilmahew Castle

 

Well it’s 2017 at last. I thought 2016 would never end. It seemed to drag on forever…not that I think things will suddenly be amazing because we are in a new year, but I am hoping life will get a little bit better, a little bit easier.

Anyway, how’s things with you all? Hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year! We had a quieter week this week – thank goodness! – with my parents and Ian’s brother coming over for New Year’s Day dinner. We had a lovely time and my parents stayed over. I gave them my bed – well they are in their early 70s, couldn’t have them lying on a blow up bed – and I slept downstairs. I was up early the next morning to let the dogs out, but unfortunately wasn’t quick enough when they came back in again. Casper (our Yorkie) was past me like a whippet and up the stairs before I could protest. I heard his little feet dart along the corridor and into my bedroom. There was a cry of surprise and then I heard my dad say: “All right Casper I’ve had enough kisses.” The wee monkey had leapt onto the bed, waking my poor mum and lavishing my dad with licks. Luckily they have their own dog, Winston (who was also woken by the little scamp) and were laughing at Casper’s antics. We had a leisurely breakfast (a fry up) before all wrapping up and walking up to Kilmahew Castle which is a ruined castle near to where I live.  We were out about two hours and the sun shone the entire time. Kilmahew is situated on top of the hill and the views up there are stunning. It may have been a beautiful day, but it was really muddy underfoot and the three dogs were caked in mud by the time they got home. Thank God for our outside tap which took the worst of it off before we allowed the shivering trio into the house! All three dogs and my kids were exhausted after the walk, but all of us enjoyed it. It certainly blew the cobwebs away!

What else have we been up to? Well, we met my stepkids for lunch on Wednesday in Glasgow and it was lovely to see them. J has been in Australia for the last year (coming back shortly before his dad died and then returning about a week after Ian’s funeral). He came home for Christmas, surprising his mum and sister, so it was great he came for lunch with us so we could see him too.

I hosted a small brunch get together with some friends on Friday. I see these ladies most Fridays anyway, but I wanted to do something to mark the end of the holidays. Plus one of them had put on an excellent spread for me the week before and I wanted to repay the compliment. I opted for a continental brekkie with bread, ham, cheese and pates. Of course there were cream cakes for afters…well it wouldn’t be a normal Friday morning if there wasn’t!!

This weekend we’re having a quiet time because I still feel the need to chill out before returning to work. In saying that, I never really chill out properly, there’s always so much to do around the house. Today I did a couple of washings, sorted out the ironing which I’ll do tomorrow, did a shop, took the dogs out for a walk, tidied up and filled the small skip I’ve hired to take away the large pile of rubbish that was heaping up around the back of the house. Our council, in their wisdom, decided to go to three week uplifts for our general waste which would have been good if it had started at another time of year and NOT just before Christmas AND if they had given us more notice and not the week we got. If I had had more notice, I could have worked harder to reduce our waste. Instead, because I now have only one bin (instead of two) that is emptied every three weeks, the waste has been building up in binbags in our garden. Sigh. I could have taken it all down to the dump – indeed I started to do that – but it stunk my car out, so I opted for the skip. I am hoping that if I start with a clean slate, I’ll be able to not overfill our general waste bin from now on…that’s the plan anyway, whether that works that way or not remains to be seen. I do try my best. I do recycle. I fill two large recycling bins with recycled waste. I understand why the council are doing this: it’s to meet government targets and, let’s face it, save money. However, just asking householders to reduce their waste isn’t enough…they need to work with supermarkets and other industries to get them to stop using as much packaging in the first place. I mean why do my bananas have to be packaged in a poly bag??

Anyway, enough of my ranting. I will see how it goes.

On a happier note, it’s time to talk about the books I’ve been reading lately. Am about to finish John Mullan’s What Matters in Jane Austen? which is a look at her novels in more detail and why things happen as they do. As an Austen fan, I’m really enjoying it.

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The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - images from the film.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – images from the film.

 

Also recently read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aitken which is a lovely kids book and one I’ve been meaning to read since I saw the film some years ago. Am hoping my kids may read it…will certainly be pushing it forward to them. I finished it the other day (sigh, I hate finishing books I’m enjoying reading) and started Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons simply because I never read it as a child and felt it was a book I should read. It’s a lovely book and I’m really enjoying it.

Regarding films, I’ve been watching all the Harry Potter movies over the last couple of weeks (and I love them still!). I’ve basically been recording films and watching them a little while later and one of those was a surprising hit with me called Albert Nobbs. It’s set in Victorian Dublin and stars Glenn Close as a woman who dresses as a man to work as a waiter in a posh hotle in the city. She meets a painter and it’s this meeting that opens up a whole new world of possibilities for her. I’ll not say anything more as I don’t want to spoil this film for you, but it is a wonderful film. It’s got a great cast and a great script and I loved it.

Glen Close as Albert Nobbs.

Glen Close as Albert Nobbs.

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Right on that note, I will have to end it here. The lightbulb has gone on one of the upper hall lights and the boy is pestering me to get it changed because he can’t sleep if it’s not on. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

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Here’s to a better 2017!!!

December 31, 2016

Hello, how’s things? Hope you’re all well. Just popped in to wish you all an early Happy New Year.

Usually at this time of year I would think about doing a retrospective of my year in the blogosphere, but this year has been so bloody awful I’m not going to do that. Don’t get me wrong, there have been a lot of nice things that have happened, but Ian’s death has overshadowed it all and makes it hard for me to appreciate the good stuff I’ve experienced and/or have in my life. I’m hoping that aspect of the grieving process will vanish at some point, I want to enjoy life fully, but I miss him so much…

Anyway, enough of my moaning. I am sure you don’t want to read about depressing stuff. The weather this morning is awful, there are big dark grey clouds in the sky, so have decided to use nice happy pics to illustrate this week’s blog. That’s why the pics in no way connect to anything I’ll be speaking about…just in case you wondered! I just like them.

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So what’s been happening lately? Well, we went to my parents’ for Christmas dinner (and we stayed over) and once again my mum put on a magnificent spread. It was all good, but her soup was superb as usual…it’s so good, I once spent an entire winter living only on it (at my request) because I love it so much. The entire family was there, but my beloved was not so I can’t say I had a particularly good day despite my best efforts. Anyway, me and the kids stayed over and my dad made us all an excellent fry up the next morning. We were totally spoiled as usual. Me and mum took our dogs a walk to the local beauty spot…the weather was wild, but all five of us (me, my two dogs, mum and her dog) loved it. Really blew the cobwebs away. I remember years ago Ian and I took his two elder children down to Irvine beach around about Christmas time. It was sunny, but so cold we couldn’t feel our faces or ears for ages after coming in…was fab.

Met a few friends for lunch over the past week, which was lovely. Had dinner and went to a panto with other friends on Thursday night. It was the Snaw Queen at the Tron Theatre and it was really very good. The dame was a hoot and the rest of the cast were excellent too. It was all very Glasgow humour, but we all enjoyed it including my kids who were a bit reticent at first, but really got into it later. Yesterday we had lunch at my friend Jane’s followed ( last night) by dinner at yet another friends’ house. It seems – to coin a Glasgow phrase – we really would ‘get a piece at any door’ this week! There’s been a fair bit of eating out and it’s been lovely to spend time with my family and friends. Thanks to you all for the great company and gastronomic events!

Over the next few days we have some family coming for New Year’s dinner (steak pie – natch), we’re meeting up with my stepdaughter for lunch and I’ll probably catch up with a couple of other friends at the end of the week. Another busy week ahead, but a good one.

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In between I’ll be attempting to complete the two outfits I’m making for pug toys I made the kids for Christmas, knit a bit, take the dogs for a walk and do some more reading and writing.

Right, am going to finish up here. One final thing to say: hope you all have a happy New Year and here’s to a much better 2017!!!

Til next time,

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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