Posts Tagged ‘Terry Prachett’

h1

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

Advertisements
h1

Stripes and Burns

January 24, 2015
A couple of wee snowy pics from earlier in the week...

A couple of wee snowy pics from earlier in the week…

Had a really busy week this week. Firstly, I attended our local school’s Burns event…the kids (including my two) sang Burns songs or those written in Old Scots (loved the rendition of The Welly Boot Song…reminded me of my early childhood, we used to sing it at school on rainy days when everyone wore wellies), poems (again Burns or other poets’ work, well done P7 for their Address to a Haggis) and Scottish country dancing. Was a lovely event and we even got haggis, neeps and tatties at the interval (washed down with Irn Bru of course)…delicious! I love haggis. I don’t care what it’s made of, it’s sublime! Our school started the Burns event last year and invites parents, grandparents and carers. It’s a good way of getting the community together and I find it’s a chance to not only see my weans perform, but to catch up on folk I haven’t seen for ages. More importantly (because when I was growing up we celebrated everyone else’s culture except our own – my first Burns supper was in sixth year at high school!) I like the fact that they are celebrating the Bard and being Scottish…it’s important.

...These were taken about 3.30pm in the afternoon. Look how dark it looks.

…These were taken about 3.30pm in the afternoon. Look how dark it looks.

Also, apart from seeing friends, piano lessons and the kids’ stuff, I’ve been writing up the knitting patterns for our new project at Yarntastic (the knitting group we started at the school). I give to you little bags (for use for tablets or just to put your stuff in). Last time, we concentrated on casting on, casting off and garter (or knit) stitch. Now we are moving on to purl stitch and shaping. So the girls who returned again and are now fluent in garter stitch can move on. The newbies, including I was pleased to see, a young gentleman, can knit the same bags in garter stitch. Feels good to be passing on a skill such as knitting. I think it’s really important particularly when, having talked to the kids, I found out that if they could knit before it was their granny and not their mum that taught them. It seems that knitting missed out on a whole generation (mine). I was lucky, my mum knitted, my grannies knitted, it was normal in our family. It was my mum who taught me to knit and I took it from there. I don’t think I’ll ever be as lovely a knitter as my mum, but I try my best.

20150124_112726

20150124_112705

Just finished reading Molly Keane’s Time after Time. Loved it. She’s such a vivid, perceptive writer. It is a lovely, humorous book about an elderly brother and three sisters whose staid lives are completely thrown into chaos by the arrival of their mischievous and equally decrepit cousin Leda. Really enjoyed it. Now I can’t decide whether or not to read another of hers or something else…does Terry Prachett call? Hmmm…maybe. Or what about another Claire and Jamie story courtesy of Diana Gabaldon? Decisions, decisions. Still reading Nora’s book…it’s one of those books you can pick up and put down. Still enjoying it. I think Terry wins out just now. Now…which one???

Right, I need to be off. Til next time.

Dawn xx

h1

Scarves, scarves and more scarves!

December 31, 2012
Three of 12 - sounds like a Grimm fairytale  title or the name of a Borg soldier!

Three of 12 – sounds like a Grimm fairytale title or the name of a Borg soldier!

Two days ago…

It’s amazing how one little inspiration can turn into a major project. About four weeks ago I was flicking through my knitting books looking for something that would be simple to do so that I could knit them for my kids. In Jane Brocket’s Gentle Art of Knitting she has a few scarves that are just lovely and I nearly made one of them. However, I was a tad stressed in the run up to Christmas (having had a November of birthdays to contend with including my own) and didn’t want to follow a pattern, so inspired by the Moss stitch creations in that book, I decided to do one of my own. I bought chunky wool and used size 8 needles, cast on 21 stitches and knitted in Moss stitch ’til the ball of wool was finished. Well, I actually didn’t do this at the beginning…instead I used size 6 needles and one-and-a-half balls of chunky yarn, knitting over 25 stitches. The first scarves were wider, but took longer to do. The simple pattern I ended up with was a lot faster. In the end, I knitted ten scarves as Christmas gifts for friends and family: one each for my kids and hubby; one each for my mum, dad and father-in-law; one each for two friends and their daughters. I also knitted one for me (finished yesterday) and have started another for my sister who saw the boy’s lovely green scarf and wanted one for herself. I love the green scarf and am thinking of embarking on an expedition to Glasgow to get the yarn I want to do one for myself.

Other home-made gifts including some papercut pictures for the kids and I used a Little Girl’s Rose Barrette pattern from the Purl Bee to create brooches for my friends and their two kids and hairclips (as we in sunny Scotland call barrettes) for my girl. She loves them and is currently wearing them whilst watching Phineas and Ferb.

So how was Christmas for you? Ours was great. We went over to my parents’  house where we were totally spoiled by my mother who put on an excellent spread as usual. The whole family was there and the kids (six in total) ran around in a pack…even my one-year-old nephew joined in. We had a great day, but were all exhausted. Thank goodness for Boxing Day and Marks & Spencer!! We spent that day chilling out and catching  up on Christmas Day tv (Dr Who…those snowmen were scary!) and eating M&S party food (ie shove in the oven, easy-to-make, very little effort food…which was delicious!).

In the run up to the Big Day, I was feeling exhausted, wrung out, but after a few days off and lounging about (which I don’t normally do) I am starting to feel normal…well, as normal as I can be!! Ha ha! (Said it before you could Ian!). I even made bread today. I love making bread, but had lost my bread ‘mojo’ until today when it returned with a flourish. I love the Spanish rustic loaf (tomorrow’s bread) from the Hairy Bikers’ Baking Book and the sweet breakfast bread which I made tonight. Mmmmmmmm!

Today…Hogmanay

Over the weekend, we caught up with some friends, which was fun. Although  my head feels a little fuzzy today (damn you wine!), but it was great to see them.

Regarding writing, I completed what I hope is the final final draft of DarkIsle 3 plus I put together a teachers’ pack for the second book, which I hope will be useful to teachers and their classes.  Am going to go back to the book for adults I’m halfway through. I really want to get that finished to see if I can get it published.

This afternoon I spent a couple of hours cleaning up my study which was stuffed to the gills with a lot of Christmas type stuff like packaging and some decorations and other bits and bobs that I hadn’t had the time to tidy up until today. It’s amazing what you find…my row counter for one, which I thought had been lost forever!

I also ventured outside and was nearly blown away as I walked round to our local shop to pick up some milk. Talk about blowing the cobwebs away! Mine were blown way up to the Artic!!

Anyway, I must go…my current reading book – Dodger by Terry  Prachett (bought for me by my lovely hubby who buys me the current Prachett every Christmas) – is calling to me. I am really enjoying it, particularly as Charles Dickens appears as one of the main characters in it. Never thought I’d read a Dickens/Prachett combo in one book.

Happy New Year when it comes!

Dawn xxxx

%d bloggers like this: