Monday, August 31, 2009

The Missing Bit


OK. Here's what you've been waiting for. A picture to prove that a bit of Colin's eyebrow went missing while he was asleep. He was very good about me painting an arrow pointing to the exact place. Because it took me a few days to find the camera the eyebrow had already started to grow back but I hope you can see that the bottom bit is nowhere near as thick as the top. Proof that weird things happen. They do when I'm around anyway.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Busy Doing Nothing

It's one of those times when I don't feel like writing anything new. My ink-sister, Glynis Scrivens, suggested sending out some old stories. We've both sent out stories that have been lurking in our files for several years, and we've both had some of them accepted. It sounded good to me. It was working without actually working, if you know what I mean.
While I was at it I decided to tidy up the files on my computer - delete stuff I no longer needed, move things around so that I could find them more easily next time they were needed. See? I'm working but not actually producing. And then up popped an article I'd written and sent off only once, and that was almost two years ago. How could it have been forgotten? And later I discovered an unpublished story hiding away in the wrong place. It should have been in the For Sale file. That was emailed off. Later still a little letter peeped out at me and I got hold of it and kicked it into the ether in the direction of Real People. Quite a productive day doing nothing really.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Spell Dish


Continuing the 'weird' theme today. Mind you, what constitutes as weird for some folk is perfectly natural everyday stuff to me.
I am going to take a picture of that missing bit of eyebrow but today's picture is of my spell dish. There are lots of friends in there. If anyone is sick I write their names on a heart-shaped piece of coloured paper and add it to the dish. The dish itself is green glass and I've placed a candle in the centre and then added pretty marbles, a few crystals and a lot of love. Every day I light the candle and spend a few moments sending healing thoughts to everyone whose name is in there.
Try it for yourselves. Even if you don't believe it works it can make you feel good about yourself for trying to help others. And who knows, you might be helping others too. I believe I am.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Weird things happen

This morning my daughter told me she had been bitten by mozzies. The bites are in the shape of an equilateral triangle. Strange?
I was bitten by horseflies. I now have the Plough star constellation on my right leg.
And if those two don't impress you, how about this? The LSO woke up this morning and a section of his left eyebrow had been stolen during the night!
No pictures available at present. Sorry.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Weekly surprise


No, the picture doesn't have anything to do with the title. Couldn't resist posting it because it's me and Noel and it's coming up to three years since I visited the dream factory.

What I wanted to bang on about today is jumping through hoops - which I did in order to get on Deal Or No Deal. But today's hoops are My Weekly's. We all ask each other if the new guidelines are out yet, we seach womagwriter for the latest 'wants' from MW, we all try to remember to get the word count right and put the category on the outside of the envelope and then we all sit back and wait for six months to hear how we've done.

Well, last night I heard from a friend who rarely tackles short fiction and she told me, delightedly, that she'd had a story accepted by MW. I was impressed and asked her which type and length she'd gone for. She didn't know what I was on about. She'd never seen any guidelines. She'd simply written a story, shoved it in an envelope and sent it off. 'Didn't you write anything on the outside of the envelope?' I asked. 'No! Was I supposed to?' came her reply. And guess what, short fiction writers? She had an acceptance within a few days. So what do you all make of that then?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Swine Flu - the real symptoms


I don't know about any of you out there but I'm getting fed up with swine flu. If anyone as much as sneezes over some spilled pepper a know-all pops up and diagnoses swine flu. Mind you I did manage to get the shopping done in double quick time the other week. Colin sneezed so I shouted, 'He's been to Mexico,' and the aisle cleared quicker than if I'd have shouted 'Fire!' I was able to get to the Calippos, no problem. (I'm addicted)
So to help you all recognise the one foolproof symptom I've taken this photo. If you've really got swine flu then your trotters go green.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Blog Takeover Day - 11 August 1795

As If I didn't have enough work to do! Now the Mistress has given me an extra job. She handed me two tiny beehive shapes, each the size of a good walnut. 'Empty them,' she says to me.
Well, I didn't see how that could be done and said as much.
'Use a button-hook,' she shouted and then gave me further instructions so this is what I have been doing, without knowing why.
Once the mess was removed, with the button hook, I had to melt some wax, add a little perfume and refill the beehives. Then I placed them in the larder to cool. Such a fiddly job. There is some talent in getting the wax to the right temperature so it's not too runny, yet not too solid either. I told you before how difficult the life of an upstairs made can be, didn't I?
Later when the hives were cold I carried them up to the Mistress's bedroom. And this is what made me giggle. I had dressed her hair and was about to button up her ball gown when she took the little brown beehives, decorated with tiny holes, and placed one in each armpit. Of course I had to ask what for.
She was in a good mood and here's what she said. 'As I dance and begin to glow the wax will melt and give off a perfume. You know that men and lice enjoy the scent of roses. It attracts both. The lice will run up my body, wriggle through the holes in these tiny objects and die a perfumed death as they become stuck in the wax.'
Oh, I did laugh. And then the Mistress joined me. Together we danced around the room and giggling, she whispered, 'By the time my beloved escorts me to the garden to embrace me his kisses will not be interrupted by me having to scratch.'
It was only after we had dried our tears of laughter that she told me the whole darned thing has to be repeated tomorrow. I have to dispose of waxy fleas with the button hook.
These flea catchers can be seen in a curio case at A La Ronde, twixt Exeter and Exmouth.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

photo acknowledgements

The picture of me with my mixing bowl, giving a lesson on the Ingredients Of Short Stories, was taken at a NAWG workshop in Durham by Susan Haniford.
The picture of me and Jane, on the panel at Caerleon was also taken by Susan.
The lazy cow was taken by Len Toms.

Hair and Whodunnit


To make sense of today's blog you'll need to read yesterday's.
First - matching wigs. Here's me and Jane. I decided to go the wig route when I came off HRT and my hair started falling out. I was in danger of looking like my own grandmother who, according to family legend, could get all her hair in two curlers. Now I never have a bad hair day! Leanne, my daughter, reckons my hair might grow again because of the Mushroom Method - my scalp is permanently in the dark so growth should be encouraged. Even if it grew back luxuriantly and red I'd stick to wigs now.
Next - who blocked my computer with a massive email attachment? Not telling. It wouldn't be nice. I've told him/her off and they've promised never to do it again. At least it wasn't a joke being sent. If it had been I would have named and shamed. I did however have to give up on this computer and take the laptop 8 miles before I found a mobile signal that didn't waver up and down, and it still took 45 minutes to download, by which time another 15 emails were blocked behind it. Complaining over! I'm off to do some real writing.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

crime of passion?

Some of you may know that I live Behind the Back of Beyond. Some of you may even remember that broadband hasn't reached me yet. But this morning someone has forgotten that and ever since 9am an email has been trying to worm its way through to me. It's wriggled halfway and then the server terminated the connection. Thrice! It's taking about two minutes for each one percent to crawl down the telephone line and I am going mad. If I had any hair I'd pull it out. Alopecia's put paid to that. I'll prove it tomorrow by posting a picture of me and Jane Wenham-Jones in matching wigs. I took two identical ones to Caerleon in case one got wet. You can't dry them with a hair dryer.
If this email fails again my only option is to take the laptop out in the car - I've a dongle on the laptop and it is set for broadband, so I'm told - and try it on that. If I drive uphill about a mile and a bit I can get a slow connection. If I go about five miles I'll get a decent one.
Now, my question is, if this email turns out to be someone sending me a stupid joke, will I be treated sympathetically by the courts if I kill them?

Friday, August 07, 2009


This is my Lazy Cow. I can't remember where I bought her but I do remember why. The LSO had called me that name after one of our rare arguments. (I was actually being very lazy at the time.) We were on holiday somewhere but I don't recall the location, and the very next day I saw this in a shop and bought it to show him what a lazy cow looks like. Now she sits on my desk and reminds me to get writing and not be a lazy cow.
Today though, I feel like one. I have EBS. Got that name from Susan Haniford who also went to Caerleon this year and reckons she's got it. Empty Battery Syndrome. After a week of late nights, non-stop chatter and input, input, input I returned home, worked like mad and am exhausted. Actually that's not lazy, is it?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Stressing about buttons

Last night the LSO showed me his new shirt. 'The buttons are all loose,' he said, holding it well away from me. 'And it's only been washed once.'
I once read somewhere that good wives always re-stitch the buttons when buying new shirts for their husbands. It might have been in the bound copies of 1940s Woman's Weeklies I have. Colin will be sewing his own back on. Why? Because I have a button phobia. Not a huge one these days. I used not to be able to touch buttons at all and always bought clothes without them. I didn't know where this phobia had come from until I visited a hypnotherapist and we delved into my past. I was in one of those deep relaxed states that I can often achieve when I'm supposed to be writing. He asked me about buttons and I saw my mother-in-law standing over me and my baby son. He was about five days old and we were leaving hospital. I was trying to dress him and, with my long fingernails, was having trouble with the teeny-tiny buttons on his matinee jacket. 'If you can't even dress him how do you think you're going to be able to look after him and keep him safe?' boomed the dreaded mother-in-law.
I didn't touch buttons after that but hadn't realised why until that scene was replayed in my mind. I was seventeen.
The hypnotherapist asked me to replace the child bride and teenage mother (he didn't actually use those words but I do all the time to explain why I have middle-aged kids) with me as I am now, then relive the scene. So I did and I can't print here what I told my mother-in-law to do.
Once out of my trance I was able to touch a button. I've recently bought a brilliant green Mac' with buttons and I can do it up and undo it with no problems. So what will happen if Colin's shirt buttons fall off. I'll remind him I still have a phobia about sewing.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Simply The Best

I'm on a Caerleon high. Writers' Holiday at Caerleon, near Newport, South Wales was held last week and it always inspires me. The first half of the week I was teaching 'Writing For Money' and I felt a bit of a fraud because I haven't made much at all this year. My excuse? Let's say a bereavement and leave it at that. Hopefully I inspired my class and I tried to listen to what I was saying so that I could inspire myself too.
Second half of the week I went to Simon Whaley's class on Writing Features and Travel Articles and I came home buzzing with ideas, and I am going to get down to them. I am!
Inbetween I made new best friends of Katie Fforde and Sophie King, caught up with loads of old friends I only see once a year, sat in on a panel which included Simon, Kate Walker (M&B) and Stephen Wade. Oh, and Jane Wenham-Jones, or was that me? We both wore identical wigs and dressed in orange and swapped identities for the afternoon while the audience asked us questions. Teresa Chris, the agent, was there, a.k.a The Fearsome One. Lucy Mangan from The Guardian. Ray Allen of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. Too many to mention. Everyone is lovely at Caerleon where we are told to leave our troubles at the gate - and we do.
Thursday evening we were entertained by the Cwm Bach Male Voice Choir who, after their official performance, continued in the bar where Jane WJ danced on the pool table. I keep telling her that she'll fall off and break her hip one of these years and dancing with a zimmer frame as a partner is not a good look.
If I've whet your appetite then take a look at www.writersholiday.net. You could come next year and be my new best friends.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Seventy Seven Apologies

I am being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century and its horrible technology. Anita Loughrey and my daughter, Leanne Williams, are doing the dragging and I don't like it. There again I didn't like computers for a long time and I only like mine now when it does what I want it to, which makes it rather like my kids.
This afternoon the LSO (Long Suffering One) is standing behind me, arms folded, looking very determined. Yes, he's determined that I shall write something on this blog. 'You've had 77 people look at this and see absolutely nothing,' he shouted.
Apologies to all 77 of you. I shall endeavour to pacify you all and write things but for now that's all. I'll tell you about Writers' Holiday, Caerleon tomorrow. Incredibly it's just stopped raining and I am about to go out for some Fresh Air. Sod that Gulf Stream getting lost.