Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

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Writing lists and getting things done!

June 11, 2017

It’s amazing what writing a check list does for how much I actually achieve in a day. If I don’t write a list, a few things get done. If I do write a list, I get oh so much more done. It’s like that list has sorted out my head and my memory and makes me do all the jobs I have to do around the house, with the kids and, equally importantly, with my writing. I wrote a long list yesterday and laid out times next to the tasks and do you know what? I managed to achieve it all. Today I am steadily making my way through a new list and I’m doing stuff…such as this blog and I wrote more than 1000 words today, plus did a bit of yoga and cut the grass in the front garden. So, it’s nearly 5pm and I’m feeling mightily chuffed with myself for actually achieving a number of things today instead of sprawling out in from the telly drinking copious amounts of tea!

Yesterday, my list included ironing (regular readers will know how much I hate ironing, but I stuck it out and completed it), walking the dogs (which I do daily anyway) and taking the kids to the school Gala Day. Regarding the Gala Day, it was really good. A lot of time and effort had been put in by the PTA and it was a huge success. The theme was on cowboys and cowgirls so there were a lot of kids and adults dressed up. A local line dancing club did a demo for the crowd. The club consisted of older men and women, dressed up in cowboy-ish clothes line dancing. There was also some ‘gunslingers’ having a ‘fight’ which also consisted of older men and women dressed in cowboy-ish clothes pretending to shoot each other. There were loads of stalls (I got a lovely Toffee the Heilan Coo brooch from my friend Sharon’s…aka Sew Silly Lily…stall

and lovely honey bread biscuits from my friend Zuzka’s…aka Honeybread Cottage…stall. I have such talented friends!).

There were bouncy castles and a dog competition and throw sponges at the teachers and a saloon and tonnes of things for everyone to do. I helped out at the cactus hoopla stall and bash the rat game….both of which were a big hit with parents and kids (see the simple things really are the best). I also had a good old chat to lots of other mums I hadn’t seen in a while. It was a great afternoon (had to drag the boy away from it cos he wanted to stay longer) and well done to the organisers for creating it.

What else have I been doing? Well my neighbours must be thinking I’m doing an online business because quite a number of parcels arrived over the last few days. Do not worry, dear friends, I am not doing an online business merely buying up presents for Father’s Day and some birthdays that are coming up in July and September. I like to be organised because if I’m not it’s always a mad panic to buy stuff in time. My memory is not good, it never was, but has been much worse over this last year, so if I buy up cards and presents now at least I have them in for the correct dates of the aforementioned birthdays and Father’s Day. Okay, so after promising myself I would stop buying books, I did indulge in a little book buying spree for myself and the kids too. What can I say? I am a book addict! It’s my only vice (she says with an innocent look on her face!).

Regarding books, following last week’s confession of being totally gripped by The Dog Whisperer’s programme I went out and ordered his book (Cesar’s Way by Cesar Milan) from Amazon. I started reading it a couple of days ago and it’s fab. I am also reading Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves and the Will to Swim by Alexandra Heminsley about her bid to do wild water swimming, something I’ve always wanted to (okay so I have swam in a loch and at the seaside when I was younger and more stupid cos I didn’t have a wetsuit, but I want to go out deeper and really swim in the wild). Anyway, am enjoying reading about her trials and tribulations as she overcomes her terror of swimming in the sea.

Right, I need to go. I have some hungry weans hovering whining about being hungry and ‘when’s dinner ready?’. Apparently they are both about to fade away through lack of food. The chilli is on, but it’s not yet ready. The house smells amazing thanks to the spices and it’s sending the kids crazy…a bit like the Bisto kids of the adverts of old! Til next time.

Dawn xx

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June 6, 2017

I did not pooh in the Girl’s bedroom. Nope, wasn’t me. What do you mean you saw me do it?

 

What a bloody awful day it is outside. It is pouring. Of course there are far worse things happening in this world – the terrible losses of life in Manchester, London and Syria etc (where there are far more atrocities, but we never seem to hear about them…what’s that about?) – but I don’t want to dwell on those in this post. It’s not that I don’t want to mark them, it’s just there are so many news stories and articles and blog posts about them all over the world that I wanted to write something to take my mind and your mind off it all.

Right, so, as I was saying, the weather is awful today. Bloody awful is how I actually put it and the mutts and I have been forced to stay in. They are not even keen to go out in the garden today, not even Millie who is our resident furry water baby. So we’re indoors and they were snoozing until I put on a recording of the Dog Whisperer. Have you seen this programme? It’s about a very well groomed Mexican gentleman called Cesar Millan (above) who teaches humans how to properly train their dogs and, well, he’s quite frankly a miracle worker. And he also has the loveliest eyes, but that’s a by the by. Anyway, it’s a hoot when I put it on because my three just love watching it and having a wee bark at the dogs too. I enjoy it because it gives me useful tips on dogs – let’s face it Millie needs to be a bit better behaved what with her not coming when she’s called – plus I go away thinking ‘no problem, I can do that’. Then I try it on the dogs and they give me a look like ‘who does she think she is?’ and refuse to perform. I think I need to get Cesar over here to sort out my three…well actually, again it’s just Millie. Casper and Bonya are very well behaved on the whole although Bonya got caught short this morning in the Girl’s room and did a big pooh. Cue: lots of screaming and shouts of ‘naughty girl’. Am I a bad mother for thinking it was all highly amusing?? AND I made her clean it up…heee hee heeee!! (whaaaat? it’s all payback for the times she’s refused to clean out HER guinea pig and for all the times she’s messed up the living room, en suite and other rooms in the house).

So. How have you been since the last blog? It’s been nearly two weeks and that’s my fault because I have been so busy cleaning out cupboards and the garage and other places that have been totally neglected over the past couple of years that the blog went out of my mind. Anyway, I’m here now. I’me generally good, although I’ve not been sleeping all that well recently. I am not sure of the reason. Millie keeps waking me at 2am to let her out (we’re working on that…I am now putting down dog matts so she has that option, but am not getting up to let her out. It sounds harsh, but isn’t. She needs to learn to sleep through the night like she used to. Also, this morning, when I opened the back door to let the dogs out to relieve themselves, guess who didn’t go? Yup, Millie. I supposed the urgent 2am need for outside wasn’t so urgent after all!). Anyway, am finding it difficult to drop off, so I need to get back to my Mindful Meditation which always sorts that out. Apart from that, the kids and I are good. The dogs are full of health except Bonya who is shedding like crazy all over the place…the amount of hair she is losing would stuff a pillow!!

Over the weekend we went up to the westend of Glasgow to meet my friend AJ and her daughters for lunch. We went to a wee pizza place on the corner of Great Western Road and Otago Street – I forget it’s name – and it was lovely. I knew the place when it was a bank and then a coffee shop and was pleasantly surprised at the change in decor which went from Starbucks (or the other one) to a little piece of Italy! The menu also surprised me. I’ve never seen such a small one…not physically but in the few thing you could buy on it. They had options for about eight different pizzas and about five puddings. You could also get wine and fizzy drinks, but that was essentially it. We all ordered. The pizzas arrived really quickly and were lovely (all crisp and delicious from their pizza oven). It was fab to see AJ who is one of my oldest friends and catch up. We had intended to walk up Great Western Road and go down Byres Road and look in the shops (they have lots of fab charity shops for treasure hunting in!), but it was pouring down, literally stoating off the ground, and we were reluctantly forced to call a halt to the afternoon.

Martha Gellhorn.

 

On Sunday, I made myself breakfast in bed and spent far too much time looking at Facebook before reading some more of my book, Martha Gellhorn: A Life by Caroline Moorehead. I am close to finishing this book, one chapter left, and I’ve really enjoyed it. Martha was a very well known American journalist and writer who covered a large number of stories including the Great Depression, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War and wars in the Far East. She was also Ernest Hemingway’s second wife. She led a really interesting, exciting, often dangerous life that took her all over the world. However, she also seemed to have often been a very difficult person to be with, someone who was selfish, who went off and did her own thing no matter the cost to other people, but who was passionate about justice for others, about telling their stories and how the great event (war, depression etc) affected them and what the Governments should do about it. She was strong. She was a restless spirit. She didn’t take any crap from anyone. I’m not sure she and I would have gotten on, but I’ve greatly enjoyed reading about her. The book is really well written and goes at a good pace. I shall be sad when it’s finished, but this book will stay in my collection (as opposed to being donated to our local library as something I’ll never read again).

I’m not sure what my next read will be, but I have quite a few to choose from, which is both vexing and exciting at the same time. Vexing because it takes me ages to decide. Exciting because I love jumping into and being immersed in a new story and going places I’ve never been before.

Right, on that note, I am going to finish up here. The rain has just gone off and I am toying with the idea of getting the dogs out for a quick walk before I need to collect the boy from school.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

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Barcelona!

May 17, 2017

Oh my God! What can I say about Barcelona that would do this city any justice? It’s an amazing place with the most stunning architecture…I’ve included some pictures of a tiny fraction of the buildings above, but there are far bigger, better and stunning buildings in this city. We just didn’t have the time to see them all.

How we got there…the ship docked in the early hours that Friday morning at Barcelona’s port. We took a taxi to the airport, dumped our suitcases with Left Luggage (because we were flying home later that day) and then took a bus from the airport to the Plaza Espanya near the city centre.  Look how amazing this square is…

And here’s what else is near there…

It’s the Museum of Catalunya. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go and see it. Instead we headed down a wide tree filled street (stopping at a really nice wee pizza place for lunch first) to find the Sagrada Familia (pictured at the start of this post) which is something I’ve always wanted to see. The place was hoaching with tourists, but it was well worth having a look at…the cathedral is truly inspiring and amazing to look at. Every nook and cranny is filled with exquisitely carved modern art. As you can see from the cranes, the building is still not finished more than 100 years after it was first begun. I loved it.

After that we headed for the city’s beach area which my mother assured us wasn’t that far to walk. It took us about an hour with a stop off for some drinks because the weather was so hot. Because it was Good Friday, there was a right festival atmosphere about the city and the place was jumping with locals and tourists. There were a range of street stalls and myself and the kids spent the rest of our holiday money on bits and pieces to take home – I bought two lovely fans painted in a modern style. I was really hot on holiday, but I knew I’d use them again back home…being a right Northerner, I get hot in muggy weather and stuffy offices, so the fans will come in handy. Plus we do get the odd hot day in Scotland. There are also some cheeky folk who would point out that I am a lady of a certain age who is hurtling towards 50 and therefore menopause, but as I am still only 25 (in my head) and will be forever, this will never happen!

Anyway, after the beach we walked up the packed Ramblas. It was uncomfortably busy, but didn’t put me off the city…in fact I’d love to return there for a long weekend at some point in the near future. We caught a bus at the Placa de Catalunya to get back to the airport in time for dinner and then our flight home. We only had a few hours in Barcelona, but I loved it. Verdict on Barcelona: fab. Will definitely go back. Only issue: I had the song ‘Barcelona’ by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe ringing through my head the entire time I was there and every time I think of the word ‘Barcelona’. It’s a great song, but really annoying if you can’t get it out of your head!

Anyway, that’s the holiday. We arrived back home around midnight that night and it was great being back in Scotland, but I really loved the holiday. We all loved the holiday.

Right, so back to real life. This week is the first full week I’ve had since leaving work and it’s already Wednesday and I don’t know where my time is going? Okay so this week, I have walked the dogs every day (and got soaked on Monday), I have had lunch with a friend (down at Ardardan today) and visited my father-in-law yesterday who is very old and frail. On Monday morning I also went to a pilates class with another friend. These events took up a few hours each day, so that’s my excuse for not achieving a huge amount over the last three days. The big news is that I have gone back to writing my book for adults…the one I started last year. I can’t say it’s been easy getting back into the swing of things, but I have written up my workplan and I intend to stick to it.

The rest of the week will be spent doing the bits and pieces around the house that need doing and assembling my new bike. I have great plans to take the kids out cycling more over the summer. There are some great routes around here plus I have a cycle carrier which we can use for further afield.

Over to books and I am currently reading: Caroline Moorhead’s ‘Martha Gellhorn: A Life’, which is a great read. On holiday, I got through several books:

The first three were fantastic. You cannot beat a Pratchett for humour and a good read, and Joanna’s books are just so funny and a great beach/poolside read. I had hoped to enjoy McIlvanney’s book more because he so revered as a writer, but it was alright. I doubt I’d read it again.

Right, I think I will finish up here and say adieu until next time! See you then.

Dawn xxx

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Holidays and it’s a pug’s life

April 27, 2017

Okay so I sort of haven’t been around that much recently. Basically, me, the kids, my niece and my parents flew out to Orlando at the end of March, had three full days in Florida before joining a cruise ship at Port Canaveral for a trans Atlantic cruise back to Europe. It was a fantastic holiday, thoroughly enjoyed it and I would have told you all about it last week (we came back mid April) except I wasn’t well…I had a stinking cold for the entire holiday (not that it stopped me enjoying myself – see pic above of me on the upper deck enjoying my daily Bahama Mama cocktail!) and it got worse when we got back. Had to go on antibiotics to get shot of it. I don’t like taking tablets, but I had had this flamin’ cold on and off for five or six weeks. The antibiotics finally cleared the cold at the beginning of this week.

Anyway, regarding the holiday, I have lots to show you and talk about so I’m planning to do it over the next couple of weeks rather than doing a ginormous blog about it.

The other exciting news is that we’ve welcomed a new furry family member. Her name is Bonya (she was previously owned by a Russian lady) and she’s just adorable.

Unfortunately her previous owner had to rehome her, but I’m glad we’ve got her cos she’s a lovely wee dog. My other two dogs were a bit scared of her at first (although she’s the least scariest dog I’ve ever met), but are coming round now. She’s a terrible snorer, loves to give you big face licks (ew…I hate dogs licking me on the face and it’s a fight to keep her from doing it…she’s very determined!) and is very cuddly.

In other news, I took a major leap of faith and gave up my job this week. I feel that life is too short and I want to write for a living, so I’m going to give it a go. I made the decision months ago and it really feels right. I don’t really feel I’ve stopped work yet because I never work on Thursdays, but I think it will start to sink in next week when I don’t have to go. Just want to thank all my friends and colleagues at work for their generous gifts and see you all next week! People keep asking me what I’m going to do with my ‘retirement’, but I don’t view it as that…I am going to WRITE!! I am taking a couple of weeks off to get the house and garden in order and to chill out. Then I’ll start back writing again. Can’t wait.

Anyway, it’s getting late so I’m going to finish here. Til next time…and all the holiday tales to come!

Dawn xx

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Jean Harlow, Muddy Paws and Geraldine Grainger

February 25, 2017

 

Jean Harlow...more about her later.

Jean Harlow…more about her later.

I’ve come to the keyboard not sure what to write this week for life has been busy, but there was nothing that you could say ‘wow, that’s really exciting’ to. I’ve started back writing, which is good, although I’m finding it difficult to get the time to do it. Looking after the kids and the house and working leaves little free time to do anything else. Plus the dogs are incredibly messy so all I feel I’m doing every day is hoovering up chewed up toys and cleaning up poo and pee from my carpet (anyone got any tips on how I stop them doing this…they are old enough now!). Anyway, I’m making time this afternoon to write and NOBODY better get in my way! Add in some dramatic music here!

Yesterday (Friday) I was barely at home during the day. I popped in to see my friend Tracy for a cuppa in the morning then met a couple of friends for lunch before meeting another friend to take the dogs a walk. She has a beautiful black Labrador that my dogs are a little wary of for some reason. She barely even looks at them. We took them down the beach and they loved it. Having dogs – despite the mess – is great for socialising with friends with dogs and meeting other dog owners. Plus you get a lot of love from them and they always look happy to see me (whereas my children often do not)!

The weather this week has been wet and windy with a touch of slushy snow on Thursday – that was what we got here as part of Storm Doris. The dogs loved being out in it, especially Millie who loves water and can often be found rolling about the shower after it’s been used. She is an odd bod dog. We have a deep puddle underneath one of the swings in the back garden which has filled with water. The hole was dug last year by the boy and a friend and never been filled in. I caught Millie at its edge testing the depth with one paw…sigh. I swiftly put her off the idea of going in. She just loves water as opposed to Casper for whom water is an anathema.  * just looked out the back window and she was at it again! Sigh. Muddy footprints and dirt everywhere!

Jean Harlow and William Powell.

Jean Harlow and William Powell.

Watched a great documentary about Jean Harlow on Sky this morning. I knew she had died young, but 26 and from kidney failure. Poor woman was at the top of her career and had genuinely loving relationship with actor William Powell. She had everything and then it was all cruelly taken from her. So young to go. Such a sad story. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen any of her films – I probably have because I was an avid watcher of the Saturday matinee when I was a child. For those of you who do not remember it, the Saturday matinee showed all the old films. Can’t remember if it was ITV or BBC that showed them, but I used to watch them every week which is why I’m such a big fan of Bette Davis, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, Doris Day, Laurel and HardyFred and Ginger and many more. I think I’ve seen all the big musicals from the 30s, 40s and 50s. I just love it.

Christina and Will from the television adaptation of Flambards.

Christina and Will from the television adaptation of Flambards.

Anyway, currently reading the fourth in the Flambards series. It’s good although I could happily give two of the main characters a good shake. You know you’re enjoying a book when you want to knock the characters heads together when their behaviour is out of hand. Will let you know how I get on with the rest of it.

Dr Strange.

Dr Strange.

Watched Dr Strange last night and really enjoyed it. I love the Marvel films and this one is full of action and adventure plus it’s got Benedict Cumberpatch in the lead role so that’s always a bonus. I like him as an actor and he didn’t disappoint with this one. Got to mention the cloak which has a personality of it’s own…nice touch.

The Vicar of Dibley.

The Vicar of Dibley.

As I write, The Vicar of Dibley is on the telly so I apologise if I seem a little distracted from this blog. I love that programme. Ian bought me the complete set one year for Christmas and I just love it. It’s so funny. It’s the first episode that’s on at the moment and Geraldine has discovered that the village don’t want her because she’s a woman. Classic telly. They don’t make them like this any more. I find today’s sitcoms – both American and British – to be turgid, formulaic programmes full of fake canned laughter and rubbish jokes. What are the writers doing? The jokes aren’t clever and the programmes often feel like they’ve been written in that way because it’s safe. No-one (and I’m talking about the mainstream telly channels here) seems to be taking risks any more. It’s so sad. Anyway, rant over.

Geraldioe marries.

Geraldine marries.

As I look down I see Millie has indeed been in the puddle. She has mud on her legs and now needs a bath…sigh. They just love to create more work for me, don’t they? I think I’ll take them down the beach for a  bit of a run and then bathe them both (Casper will love that! Not!).

Right I am going to finish up here and say cheerio til next time.

Dawn xxx

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Comfort Eating, Nora and Bridget Jones’ Baby

February 2, 2017

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Oh I’ve been tired this week. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve not been sleeping at all well. Well, I do know what caused some of it – the girl shouting out at 2am ‘Where’s the toilet roll?’ and I took an allergic reaction another night which caused me to be wheezy and unable to breathe properly. I think it was either a reaction to Casper (whom I am slightly allergic to) or the feather duvet cover. Hmmm.

Anyway, I am not my usual sparky self this week and lack of sleep has meant I have not been eating that healthily either. I’ve been using food to keep me awake at work. What I haven’t done, I am pleased to say, is slip back into the habit of drinking fizzy drinks. I am afraid that if I have even one I will go back to drinking it every day. Instead, I stick to water (hark me being all evangelical!).

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Talking of cutting things out, I have been trying to lose a bit of weight, but despite my best efforts (okay, it wasn’t my best efforts but those glasses of wine were for medicinal purposes…ie to stave off the headaches caused by my kids battling with each other), I have only lost a couple of pounds in about three weeks. Sigh. I have been exercising more thanks to my beloved Fitbit, which I am still enamoured with. I know what the next step is, but I don’t really want to do it: cut out alcohol! I enjoy a glass of wine. However, I do need to get rid of the stubborn flotation ring that has developed around my middle. Sigh. I think I may have a glass of wine and think about it! J

So, where are we this week? I finished reading Nora Ephron’s Crazy Salad in the wee small hours last night – I was up all wheezy and decided to read while I was waiting for an antihistamine tablet to kick in. I’ve been reading this book since the weekend and loving it. It’s made up of pieces of work she did in the early 70s and it’s really interesting not just from the fact that she is a compelling teller of tales, but for the historical side of things as some of the articles talk about the women’s movement and the Watergate scandal.

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Now I’m back to the dilemma all we bibliophiles have and that is: what am I going to read next? It may sound simple to someone who does not love books as much as I do, but it’s not. There are certain factors to take into consideration:  what mood am I in? Light reading, heavier fiction or something non-fiction? What’s the weather like outside? I can’t read a heavier book when it’s sunny outside, it just doesn’t feel comfortable. I know that sounds mad, but have you ever tried to read Wuthering Heights on the Costa Brava? It’s impossible because you can’t get into the foul weather in the novel when it’s 90 degrees where you are and the weather is an integral part of the story. Am I hungry and trying to lose weight? Then all books about food or mentioning food are out cos that will make me hungrier and then I might eat something I shouldn’t. Okay, there’s 100% chance I will do this, so food books are OUT. Do I take a chance and read an author I’ve never read before or should I stick to one I love? Should I re-read a favourite book or take up something new? Honestly, sometimes I’m stuck in front of my (numerous) bookshelves feeling overwhelmed with indecision. Eventually I’ll just pluck something off the shelf and hope for the best! This sometimes works. Other times it doesn’t.

Anyway, there are worst decisions folk have to make in life than choosing which book to read and (secretly) I often love the dilemma!

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Now on to films I’ve seen recently and it was one I absolutely loved. Bridget Jones’s Baby is very funny and, I’m so glad to see, is as good as the previous two. It did, however, make me sad to watch it on DVD in my living room because the Bridget Jones films were films Ian and I used to go to the cinema to watch together. We used to hoot with laughter at it. They were some of the first films we saw together and always remind me of him. It’s weird the things that do trigger memories of my beloved. Anyway, I enjoyed the film none-the-less and cheered when she finally married the man of her dreams and had her baby! I will not spoil it for those who have not seen the film. There are two men to pick from. I’m just glad she got the one she did.

The kids and I had a relatively quiet weekend last weekend and I’m really glad we did. I am still tackling the mountain of washing, but have taken an executive decision that the ever growing pile of ironing will be sent out. It’s amazing how liberating taking such a decision is. I know: I am sad, but I hate being chained to the ironing board and don’t see why I should when there is a perfectly good company staffed by perfectly nice people who will do it for me. There: onerous job done.

Right, time to finish here and say my adieus. Til next time,

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Throwing Cartons of Orange Juice and Florence Foster Jenkins

January 19, 2017
Washing day - not my washing day, my washing day is every day and there's mountains of it!

Washing day – not my washing day, my washing day is every day and there’s mountains of it!

Things have quietened down lately and thank goodness. For a while there, myself and the kids were dining out rather a lot, which is good for seeing friends and family, but not great for the pocket.

However, while we’ve been going out less, the house has not been peaceful thanks to my kids fighting with each other. Sigh. They bicker over everything. A lot of the time it’s the girl’s fault because she just loves winding her wee brother up. However on Sunday she was definitely not to blame for the major temper tantrum the boy took because she was blocking they way into the fridge (see, you don’t get between a nine-year-old kid and his lunch!). He battered her, she battered him and then he took a carton of orange juice from the fridge and threw it at her. It missed and bounced off the wall, spraying sticky orange juice everywhere. I – to coin a Glasgow phrase – managed to ‘keep the heid’ and made him clean it up. I took his precious tablet off him, banned him from the PlayStation and told him to go to his room, which he did stomping as loudly as he could on the way up muttering how he hated his sister, it was all her fault, she made him do it (unless she can suddenly do magic, she didn’t) and claiming he hated his life. The bedroom door was slammed shut.

I left him there to stew for an hour whilst I ate a piece of (medicinal) cheesecake and drank tea in front of the telly with the dogs (who were recovering from the shock of seeing the boy in a rage – I think they were also relieved he wasn’t throwing orange juice at them!).

Victorian celebrity chef Alexis Soyer - more on him later.

Victorian celebrity chef Alexis Soyer – more on him later.

Talking of the dogs, Casper went in to get a wee op last week. I decided, after much deliberation, to get him castrated. The vet said it would be better for him as he wouldn’t get upset if he sensed a bitch was on heat. I hated taking him – just like I hated when I got Millie done – and felt a crumb when I left him in the capable hands of our vet (who is a very nice guy and great with animals). I can still feel the dog’s accusing little eyes boring into me as I left him. Anyway, he was there for the day and myself and the boy picked him up around 4pm. As we sat in the waiting area, Casper must have heard us talking because we could certainly hear him barking and whining for us. I was relieved to see him looking well, if a little comical in his plastic collar (the ‘collar of shame’). He needed to wear it until today when he got a check up with the vet (he’s doing well), but it didn’t seem to bother him that much.

Far from missing him during that day, Millie didn’t seem at all upset that her pal wasn’t with her. She played and ran about as usual. Totally different from when she went in to get hers when Casper was bereft (we’re talking lying about, ears down, whining occasionally and looking like he was about to burst into tears) until she came back to us. She was, however, much more jumpy and barky than usual, so deep down I think she was missing him.

Nora Ephron who's 'Heartburn' is excellent.

Nora Ephron whose ‘Heartburn’ is excellent.

On Saturday, I began the onerous task of cleaning out the boy’s room. I did a good clean of it about two months ago, but decided it really needed a deep clean especially as he’d really messed it up and it was really bad again. Put it this way, you couldn’t see any carpet because of the toys, dirty clothes and rubbish he had strewn all over the floors and under the bed. I did about two hours on Saturday and then all afternoon on Sunday. We took out around 12 bin bags full of rubbish and old toys that were too young for him. I took a bin bag full of old clothes and two bin bags full of books to the charity bins. I took down a huge amount of dirty washing and it’s currently lying on the floor at the washing machine waiting to be washed…sigh. It is amazing how much clothing I took out of that room…I had no idea how much he actually had. We also found two pairs of new jeans still in the wrappers (he claimed last week he had no jeans!), numerous dirty pants (ew) and a new coat scrunched up into a ball. He is a lazy little…(insert appropriate word here). He actually had the cheek to complain that he hated the smell of his room and was astounded when I said it was all his own fault for leaving dirty clothes and mouldy bits of food lying around.

Don’t worry, I made the boy help, although it’s debatable that he actually made a lot of impact on the clear up…he spent a good bit of his time ‘seeing how the dogs were’, reading things he’d found, finding old toys and looking for parts and generally wasting time going to the toilet and for glasses of water.

He has been warned that if he ever gets his room in that mess again, he will be punished…I just need to take his tablet off him and ban him from the PlayStation to punish him. Ah technology, so bad for kids in many ways, but great for parents in others.

Currently reading: am coming to the end of ‘Relish’, the biography of Alexis Soyer, the Jamie Oliver of the Victorian era and I’ve really enjoyed it. What a character that man was. I’m surprised no one has ever made a tv series or film about his life. He was so interesting and larger than life. This book gets ten out of ten for me.

I have also just finished  ‘Heartburn’ by Nora Ephron which is a novel loosely based on her divorce from her second husband after she caught him cheating on her. I loved it. Nora has such a fab way with words, everything has a comical slant on it despite the pain this period of her life obviously caused her…she is so witty and a talented observer of people.

Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins.

Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins.

 

And the real Florence Foster Jenkins.

And the real Florence Foster Jenkins.

Films: I haven’t watched any good films lately but have Suite Francaise and Florence Foster Jenkins to watch. Can’t wait.

Telly: like many others, I waited with baited breath for the return of Sherlock and was disappointed with the first one. I watched last week’s episode and I quite liked it. I know a lot of people didn’t and thought it was pretentious, but I found it interesting.

A scene from Suite Francaise.

A scene from Suite Francaise.

Writing: I’ve not been great at keeping up with the writing lately. I don’t know why because I was going great guns in the run up to Christmas. I think having the break has put me off going back to it plus I have been feeling really tired and fed up lately. I put that down to returning to work and coming off caffeine (which gave me a tremendous headache all last week). Anyway, I feel much better this week so really don’t have a good excuse not to get back behind the keyboard. I just have to start!

Okay, I am going to finish here for just now and go off an do some writing (and not procrastinate or find an excuse for not writing like doing the washing or the dishes or shouting at the kids for trying to kill each other). Til next time!

Dawn xx

 

 

 

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