Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A week ago today...(Tues)

My lovely friend, the poet, James Nash and I felt much more relaxed as our first two teaching sessions had gone well. I even treated myself to a vegetarian cooked breakfast and I hardly ever eat anything other than cereals.

In the early afternoon, Steve Bowkett made me cry. He was the after lunch speaker and his story of a wayward schoolboy was a tear-jerker. Won’t tell it here because Steve may want to use it again. Then it was back to the flat for a rest but I decided to explore a corner of the campus unknown to me and ended up spending a half hour sitting by the allotments watching the beans grow, the bees buzz around their red flowers, and simply being quiet. Not easy when so many writers are all out to enjoy themselves.
The main event of the evening was my lovely friend, Val Webster, who is an expert on dance from the past. She had worked really hard to research medieval times – do you know anything about the Sumptoury Laws? – and the dances performed at that time. She deserves a medal, together with her two friends who turned up to assist her. The three of them danced in heavy velvet medieval costumes when the highest temperature in Wales being recorded outside and they were in a packed theatre where temperatures were verging on unbearable for me in a sundress.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A week ago today...

A week ago today I began my course at Caerleon. I was tutoring on the subject of Butterfly Writing, flitting from one subject to another and, during the two hours on Monday morning, we covered picture books, greetings cards, local interest books and articles, and a few other things which I can’t remember. It was a long week of late nights and early mornings and my brain’s not yet back to what passes for normal.

Sunday night had been a late one, after the opening speaker, Simon Whaley, had hurled chocolate coins at us and then joined in with our group of six for the fun quiz set by Helen Yendall and Christine Cherry.
Back to Monday and the after lunch speaker was Stephen Wade – My writing life from rhymes to crimes. There were some great afternoon sessions but I opted out of those and went for a rest instead and then it’s dinner and the evening’s main speaker, my mate, Irene Yates who hasn’t got a website, doesn’t do FaceBook, can’t blow her own trumpet so I’ll do it for her. Irene has written more than 300 books. ‘Mostly educational,’ she always adds, s if those don’t count. She was a teacher, is an expert in literacy and language, spent time working for the BBC, has written for radio etc. etc. You may have seen her name in Woman’s Weekly where her stories are so often real tear-jerkers.

And then it was back to our flatlet of five rooms which held me, Irene, Paula Williams, Trish Maw and Jane Wenham-Jones, where we all sat in the communal kitchen, drinking wine or cocoa, according to taste (I am almost tee-total) and putting the writing world to rights. Oh, and eating more chocolate.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Stating the bleeding obvious

Why do so many television adverts and reporters and commentators state the bleeding obvious?
Here are a few examples.
It is what it is.
She wants what she wants.
Once they’re gone, they’re gone.
If they miss it, they miss it.
The talking point of the day is the talking point of the day.
I’ve heard all of these during the last few days.

And while I’m criticising this stupid waste of breath allow me to add what ‘Doing a Murray’ means in our house. Remember Murray Walker? He used to tell us what the Formula 1 drivers were thinking and now lots of commentators do this. They are supposed to be sports commentators not clairvoyants.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Messages from the Universe

Yes, really. I do receive messages from the Universe. Every weekday. If you'd like to receive them too then pop along to www.tut.com and sign up for them. They're a great way to start the day and remind me to be positive or give me something to think about.
The one below arrived a few days ago and I fell in love with the sunshine, a cup of tea in the garden and a smiley blue flower that had burst forth from a mysterious dark bluey-grey pod.
And next week I know I'll be in love with Writers Holiday, Caerleon.

If you can fall in love with just one thing about him, her, them, it, or you, Lynne , just once a day, and speak it aloud, you'll be surprised at how quickly this will transform your entire life.
I love that look on your face when the coin drops -
The Universe
"Them" and "it" sounded a lot better than "Oreos" and "lattes," don't you think, Lynne ?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tour de Floods

It was going to be lunch with my brother and his wife. It turned into an adventure and a kids’ game of Dare. My brother and I are never going to grow up.

Just outside Tenbury a sign said ‘Road Closed. Flood.’ My brother said, ‘Let’s take a look,’ and drove around the sign. The flood didn’t look too bad and we decided to drive through. And the little line of cars that had followed us kept following,  apart from one old man who turned back. The next flood  looked worse.  We sat and stared at it for a while before I dared my brother to drive through it, so he did. Water cascaded either side of us as we ploughed through to the far side. Easy! Not many cars were behind us now. When it came to turning left towards the pub we were having lunch at the water was halfway up the railings and at least three feet deep. ‘Wimp,’ I said as my brother turned back and carried on. Half a mile further on there was a major flood and a van stuck in the middle of it. We turned around and found a lane going uphill. But ups eventually go down and we tackled several more floods before we got our well-deserved lunch.
This morning someone told me about a cartoon he’d seen of a woman holding a dog lead, on the end of which was a fish.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fairground Attraction

The current serial in My Weekly is all about a funfair in the 1950s, called Fairground Attraction. It’s by the fragrant Julia Douglas and  you may be interested to know that her novel, The Showman's Girl, features a similar theme of running away with a travelling show, in this case a circus in the 1930s.
In libraries at the moment, the large print paperback follows the perilous adventures of 13-year-old Emily Brooke who grows up in the big top and falls in love with Adam Strand, a charismatic showman torn between his wife Jayne, a daredevil tight-wire walker, and Molly, the elephant trainer who's always carried a torch for him.


Monday, July 09, 2012

Following on from favourite things

As Teresa Ashby mentioned my blog and the favourite things to list I thought I’d add some more personal good things. Normally I write these in my Golden Notebook.

To sit, in rare evening sunshine, on a bench halfway up the Worcestershire Beacon (highest hill in Worcestershire and part of the Malvern Hills) and drink in the views. Over to Hay Bluff, Wales, on one side and across my beloved homeland on the other. Misty church spires tell me which town or village I am seeing. Pershore Abbey, Gloucester Cathedral… and ahead of me, half hidden by trees, there is Eastnor Castle with its medieval turrets, though it was built in the 1800s by what we’d call here – a rich Brummie.

To spend time with Donna, our surrogate daughter, who is visiting from her home in Sydney. To hug her after such a long time with only FB contact and an occasional phone call.
To get a shock email from long lost son. Twelve years of not hearing a word and then, finally, a short email, allowing us hope.