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Showing posts from 2009

Happy Endings, New Beginnings

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Blended families come with conflicting loyalties and at Christmas time nearly everyone has somewhere else they feel they ought to be. Throw partners into the equation and it gets even more complicated. Since Tom and I aren’t especially hung up about Christmas we’re happy to let our children go with the strongest flow, but I have to say it was a great delight to have the girls and their partners staying with us this year. When such moments are few and far between they become very precious.

My stepsons weren’t far from our thoughts either, not least because we had the very happy news on Christmas Day that my elder stepson and his girlfriend had become engaged. Congratulations Dan and Gill, here’s wishing you every happiness together.

Tom and I end a year that has seen the fruition of many years work, both of us crossing important thresholds within weeks of each other. I’m really looking forwards to seeing Turning the Tide published next year and it’s been so satisfying, after all thi…

Something in the Hare

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We travelled home the other night beneath a clear, sapphire sky with Jupiter twinkling on an invisible thread off a sliver of a crescent moon. Suddenly there was a movement in front of the car; a hare, pale gold in the headlights, loping in front of us before leaping into a bank.
‘Ooh,’ says Rose, when I tell her, ‘Isn’t that symbolic?’ So I look it up and read about fertility, longevity and rebirth none of which seem particularly relevant at first, unless I suddenly find I’m expecting octuplets in which case I’m straight off to the papers.

But then I start thinking about everything that’s happened over the last couple of weeks; certainly, so far as my writing is concerned, I do feel reborn. I’m overflowing with ideas and looking forwards to getting them down in the New Year. Tom, too, has crossed a threshold this week; he’s passed his degree and achieved a Diploma in Music some thirty-odd years after deciding, as a very homesick eighteen year-old, that university the first time roun…

Boots, Jacket and Rellies

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Ma greets the news that I am a soon-to-be-published-novelist with a variety of pigeon noises. I know she’s thrilled, but it’s just not the done thing for her to say anything that would make me or the Kid, too big for our boots. Her mother was the same; as soon as the news broke that I’d passed my eleven plus I got summoned before Nan and Grandad and warned about the perils of becoming a snob. Same again when I was offered a place at university. No lectures about sex, drugs or sausage rolls, just ‘don’t be a snob’.

Thinking about it, it was Dad who usually tackled the tricky stuff, like before my very first date assuring me that if I became pregnant I wouldn’t be turned out the house, but I ought to reflect on how it would ruin my life. Sheesh! Mind you, his tactic worked; for years I got a bit nervous if a boy so much as put his arm round me in case something flew down his sleeve and impregnated me.

Although Dad could deliver some dire warnings, he was always chuffed to bits whe…

New Author for the Choc Lit Selection Box!

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Do they mean me? They surely do because now there’s a press release from the lovely Lyn at Choc Lit to prove it! Honestly, I still can’t believe it’s happening; it’s a very strange feeling to think that something that began with an image in my head now has a life of its own.

I’m very excited to be joining Choc Lit (isn’t that a fab name?) because I had a Mystic Meg moment when I read about them. You see, it was winning a tin of chocolate at primary school in a national essay competition for my story My Life as a Cocoa Bean (a tragedy – I can still remember that ‘Oh, damn!’ thought when I realised there was only one ending to that particular tale) that started it all for me! It wasn’t just the name of the publishers that attracted me ‘though; I like to have fun when I write and I also really enjoy writing from my hero’s point of view so I felt that my novel would be a good fit for them, too.

Luckily Lyn, Choc Lit’s Marketing Director and the team at Choc Lit agreed and I’m thrilled…

First Steps

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In July, I opened Book2Book’s ‘Book Trade News Digest’ for a quick scan and noticed that an author I ‘knew’ had just been taken on by a publisher I didn’t know. Popping over to their site to satisfy my curiosity, it only took a few seconds for me to realise that this was The One. I couldn’t imagine a better fit for my novel.

The novel had spent many months on two desks before being rejected with heaps of praise that were incredibly frustrating to read and left me wondering why, if they loved it so much, they hadn’t taken it on. This time, though, I was sure my book was a good match so I sent an email with a synopsis to the publishers the same day and was absolutely beside myself when I had a return email the next day asking to see the entire manuscript.

An amazingly prompt six weeks later I had my reply; they loved the story and characters but wanted some changes. Now, during its time on two desks, FTT, as I nicknamed it, had gone through a couple of metamorphoses, but this time t…

Whoops! I Did it Again!

How did, 'I'd like some copper lowlights, please,' turn into, 'Give me dramatic blood red. And a bitch streak.'?

Two lessons from this story:
1) Do not go to the hairdressers on Children In Need day when everyone's in fancy dress and very excited.
2) Don't try anything new before a special event. When will I learn my lesson? Sigh.

The Variety Pack

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Friday 13 November
Due to an inauspicious combination of phases of the moon, tides and storms it’s been impossible to get the boat out the water. With severe gales forecast for the weekend, this is our last chance to catch the beast. At the appointed hour Tom, his mate Roger, the Pirate King and his Merry Crew assemble so, naturally, the clouds open and rain of epic proportions descends. Since my only role is to provide moral support I decide I can do this just as well from the car. After many long and stomach-churning moments, which compel me to dance around on the shore achieving b*gger all, the boat is finally subdued and safe on land. All is well, apart from a scary Papa Lazarou moment when the Pirate King grabs hold of me and startles me with a big wet beardy kiss.

Saturday 14 November
We leave the house at crack of doom, negotiate floods and falling branches so that I can get to my OU Day School in Cardiff at ten. Tom meets me for lunch and we head for the new John Lewis wh…

Is There A Place For Us?

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‘Well,’ says Tom, ‘no one’s going to be buying this house before Christmas.’ The words have barely left his mouth when the phone rings. It is, of course, the estate agent who’s keen to send round some cash buyers in rented accommodation who are hot to trot (well, not that hot, they don’t actually want to view until next week). Just what we wanted – except now the prospect is filling me with dread.

I know the whole point of putting your house on the market is to sell it, but something’s gone badly wrong with our timing. Earlier in the year when we had a shortlist of three properties all of which fulfilled our brief (no near neighbours, a work space for each of us), we couldn’t find a buyer. Mind you, we were hardly spoilt for choice; our viewers included a geriatric couple looking for a manageable bungalow (perhaps we should have sold them the downstairs?), the ‘couple and one child’ family who thought our house was too small (hello? Five bedrooms??), but which I still think was m…

OU Deadline Approaching!

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With a deadline to meet by Friday, I must finish my essay, but there's just time to send a 'get well soon' message to my lovely Rose who phoned for some long-distance mummy advice the other morning.

'Mummy! A lump has come up on my neck overnight!'

'It's probably a gland.'
(Poor Rose got really clobbered by glandular fever as a teenager and it returned for a couple of repeat attacks afterwards.)

'You don't think an alien has laid its egg in my neck and I'll have to lure whatever's in there out with a piece of bacon, do you?'

'Er... no.'

A trip to the GP confirmed that no bacon is required, but that Rose's glands are doing a truly impressive job of fighting some lurgy.

I'm hope you feel better soon, darling.

Painting is 'November Sea' by Tom Tomos

Extreme Sushi

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At a tad under 3000 ft, Aran Fawddwy is the highest British mountain south of Snowdon, but it’s relatively unknown because of its isolation. It’s also, from my point of view anyway, a bit of a pig! The walk begins and ends in the valley of Cwm Cywarch so there’s no leg-up; you have to gain every inch of that height through your own efforts.

The first stretch is a scramble over rock and streams.















You look back and reap the first rewards of your hard work,













but it’s only a brief respite before slogging on through very wet and boggy ground. There’s another scramble and then, some two and half hours after you’ve started, you reach the summit – and it’s shrouded in cloud.

Find some shelter and reward yourself with sushi and a Mars bar.
You descend out of the cloud base which is just as well as there’s a narrow ridge to cross with dramatic drops either side. As the clouds drift the sights take your breath away and make you feel utterly alive.

Food for Thought

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The main news this week is that Tom and I went out for a meal. Ooh, big wow! Well, it is extraordinary because we so rarely eat out, (a) because we’ve shaken every piggy bank in the house to within an inch of its life (b) why would I want to eat something that has fallen off the Brake Brothers’ lorry and into a microwave – and pay for the privilege? (c) Tom is a really stonking cook so anything else seems a bit pants in comparison (consequently, I haven’t cooked for about a million years. Hurray!).

Anyway, Mrs & Mrs Next-Door have been telling us for ages that we really should try Cnapan (that’s the name of the restaurant, by the way, not some weird thing we do to pass the time in west Wales) and before we could fret about the cost, they booked a table. ‘It’s like your favourite granny’s country house,’ says Mr Next-Door. (Actually, I only had one granny who lived in a council house and wasn’t too keen on me. I suppose you can be a bit selective when you’ve got loads of grand…

Cardiff Half Marathon 2009

The beginning... 8811 of us started the race so it took several minutes to cross the line after the gun went off. We've barely begun here, but it gives you an idea of how packed the field is. I didn't expect to spot Tom in the crowd and I was so pleased when I did.



Along the way I almost fell, got caught in the unwelcome crossfire when a runner gobbed in the wrong direction (ewwwwww!) and had a terrible episode of Jelly Legs at about mile 9 when they just wouldn't do what my brain was telling them... but I got there. Anyway, here is Mrs Clumpy-Clumpison crossing the finishing line looking ridiculously pleased with herself just after the blurred bit (no, it wasn't because I was speeding so fast).



And the final result? A chip time of 2:10:53, some seven minutes faster than last year's time. 70th in my class. (No, you cheeky thing, there were more than 70 in my class, 138 of us in the high numbers managed to stagger round the course). Next stop? Llanelli 7 March 20…

Nooo!

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You know when highly-trained athletes get struck down with a virus just before a big event and you think, ‘Oh, really?’ (Well, you don’t because you’re nice, obviously, but I can be a bit mean), well, it serves me right because I am currently struggling with the lurgy. My head aches, my throat is sore, and I’m snorting ‘First Defence’ and popping paracetamol in a desperate effort to ward off whatever I’m cooking so it doesn’t overwhelm me before Sunday. Sheesh! Wouldn’t it be frustrating if after running all those berludy miles through wind (mainly the weather, that is), rain and JRT attacks, I wasn’t fit to take part in the race?

Autumn Review PS
Since I’m feeling pretty damn sorry for myself at the moment this will be a short post, but, I do have a couple of post scripts to last week.

PS 1.
Back by popular request, well, Little Brown Dog and Calicokate actually, here is the transcript of my Ode to a Llama, first shown here.
Ahem...

Ode to a Llama
O lovely llama grazing on my land,
the s…

Autumn Review

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Writing
Sheesh! There is nothing like announcing in the national press that you intend to complete the first draft of your current novel by the middle of October to guarantee coming a cropper. Ok, so the plans were scuppered by the arrival of the Big Project and whilst I’m still staying in touch with ‘Make, Do and Mend’, I’ve got to admit that its future is a bit dependent on whether the Big Project gets a thumbs up or a thumbs down (nooooo!). Following the completion of the BP, I’ve also taken some time out to catch up with family, which is no bad thing, and on Saturday A363 Advanced Creative Writing, my next OU course, officially begins. A215 was great for encouraging me to send more work out and try different genres (still flushed with success here after my runner-up place in the ‘Ode to a Llama’ competition - eat your heart out, Ted Hughes. And I even got ‘banana’ in, as a rhyme) so I’m looking forwards to seeing what A363 brings.

Various Plots Available
Oh great! The berludy f…

Who's That Girl?

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The girl on the left is Tina, painted by J H Lynch. Tina hung around for more years than was strictly fashionable, above Dad’s writing bureau in our front room. My parents adored Tina, but for me she’s powerfully evocative of the stomach-churning embarrassment of early dates because Dad’s bureau was where the only phone in the house sat. And, unfortunately, because it was the front room, it wasn’t just the phone sitting there; inevitably the date calls came when Ma and my kid sister were in the room too, keenly anticipating the opportunity for a bit of sport.

A discussion thread started by Faith over at Purple Coo on ‘Firsts and Worsts’ this week got me thinking about Tina and those first dates again. Before The Best Optometrist In the World and I became regulars at the youth club discos and learned to flee the dance floor before the last slow record was played and all the extras from the Thriller video emerged from the shadows to grab a snog (ooh, get me, Miss Gorgeosity with bad …

Save Jess

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‘Em’s on GMTV’ a text from Stepson Two and Gorgeous Girlf tells us. Em is Gorgeous Girlf’s eldest sister. Blonde, bright, articulate and vivacious, Em, sitting on the sofa chatting to Penny Smith might be there to promote her latest film or talk about her current book. But Em’s story is far more remarkable. Three years ago the damage to Em’s lungs caused by Cystic Fibrosis was such that only a lung transplant could save her life. The family, as Em’s other sister writes so movingly in her blog, were sat down by doctors and told to say their goodbyes.

Em’s story ended happily because in January 2007, the lungs became available that enabled her to have a transplant, become well and lead a full, happy life. Oh, hang on, ‘the lungs became available’- yes, another family put aside their own grief and turmoil so that a stranger could live. Lots of heartache and difficult decisions. Em and others have worked hard to address those issues and give a voice to those affected by transplant t…

She's Leaving Home

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Rose, my baby, is moving into a new flat... and this time she’s taking her books. After a year of renting a room in a house (albeit one belonging to a fireman), Rose is setting up home with her boyf, the lovely Si. I’m really proud that my daughters are capable, independent women who have had the courage to make tough decisions; Lily’s path, carving out a life in the city where she went to university has taken her through some hard and lonely times to reach a place of happiness. Rose, too, had to make tough choices when she struck out on her own. I hope I’ve encouraged the girls; certainly I’ve always believed that the sooner you make your own life the more you’ll get out of it. But when Rose asked if I could bring her books with me when Tom and I head back to help with her move, I realised that my daughters had finally left home.

Books have always been special and I know how much Rose is looking forwards to having hers around her, but it still felt strange packing them up and seei…

A Hard Day's Write

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That’s it! After two weeks of solid work on the Big Project it’s done, polished and sent off into the big wide world looking its very best. My thanks to Tom who, as ever, has kept me fed and watered whilst I’ve been leading my alternative life and put up with my primitive conversational skills whenever I’ve emerged sounding (and looking) like someone who’s been in the dark forest too long. It’s Tom, too, who’s done his Mr Red Pen bit – even when I get scrappy if he challenges a word – and picked up my clumsy mistakes. Best of all it’s Tom who swells my heart when he says nice things about the plot, because I know he’d tell me if he thought it stank. Ta, darlin’, my very own Critical Reader.

Having two weeks to write is a luxury I’m lucky to have at the moment, but I’ve spent years trying to juggle writing with all the other stuff. One of those ‘thrifty’ tips in the paper this weekend reminded me of when I tried to buy myself some writing time with some redundancy pay. It wasn’t …

Western Mail Article

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I can't provide a link to the article, but thanks to Rosie who kindly scanned it in, I can show you what it looks like.

I'm still working on my Big Project, but will resume normal blogging and visiting as soon as I've finished. See you then!

Ahem...

Starring in a litter tray near you by the end of the week... but currently appearing on pg 6 of the WM section of the 'Western Mail' (not to be confused with pg 6 of the 'Country and Farming' section which features a very cute Bichon Frise Cross Pug) is, er, me. I'm in very good celebrity company today as Charlotte and Gavin are on the cover, except that they also made it to 'Hello!' and I didn't. Well, not this week anyway.

Summoned by Pants

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I’m sorry if I haven’t visited your blog. I haven’t gone off you; it’s just that the Force of the Writing Pants is with me. My creative bits and pieces are flowing free and I’m working like a thing possessed. I only hope I’m a thing possessed by someone who can shift shedloads of books, not some mad eejit.

Cardiff Half Marathon Training
Runner’s World SmartCoach Programme Week 8, a ‘dropping back’ week = 16 dog and trot-free miles.

‘It’s OK, I’m wearing really big knickers’, one of the fabulously funny Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison

Missing

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Will anyone seeing the lazy-bum writer known here as Chrish please fit her with writing pants and return her to her desk immediately? There is WORK to be done, Chris. Do you really think you are going to become a successful novelist by THINKING about it? Hmm?

Stop Press!
Oh, berlimey! Never forget to be very careful about what you wish for; I now have some serious work to do which will require my strongest, biggest writing pants!

Looking Natural

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Tom’s school friend, Mick, and his family have come for a visit. It’s a glorious day and west Wales is at its breathtaking best. Mick’s thirteen-year-old daughter lights up at the mention of dolphins and harbour porpoises in the bay. ‘Can we see dolphins?’ she asks. Now, the best time to see dolphins is probably not on a hot holiday afternoon when Mwnt is swarming with staycationers, but it’s our local beach so we brave the gridlock of folks trying not to scrape their expensive city cars in the narrow, twisting lane and find ourselves a quiet spot on the cliffs. With sun on their faces and spectacular views, our visitors are perfectly happy, but only Mick’s daughter really believes that dolphins will appear. And suddenly, exactly in the spot where we’ve told them to look, the miracle happens. One black fin appears and then another as two harbour porpoises break the surface. It doesn’t always work like that, but it’s a great feeling when it does.

The weekend brings my lovely Lil…

MeMeMe Award

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Thank you, Gaelikaa for so kindly presenting me with this award. I'm afraid I'm skipping the meme as I think that I've aired all I feel comfortable with, but if anyone else would like to take it up the rules are over at gaelikaa's so you can check out her new-look blogs at the same time.

A Wife on the Ocean Wave

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Crossing the bar at Cardigan is always something of an experience even in benign conditions. You surf out on waves breaking on the beach at Poppit and then bear right aiming at the rocks at the foot of the Cliff Hotel. Sometimes you can have conversations with your neighbour fishing off the same rocks as you pass. Once you’re out there’s nothing but sea and even on the calmest days the waters lurch and roll with the last of the Atlantic swell. In bad conditions there’s nowhere safe to run except Fishguard or Holyhead.


Today we’re off to Fishguard, it takes three hours motoring, because there’s no wind. We spend a blissful afternoon in the rare sunshine before watching the sun bleach to apricot and the amethyst clouds darken to pewter. Lights twinkle in Goodwick and we raise a glass of malt whisky to a good day.

The next morning we motor to Cwm yr Eglwys, a sheltered bay, where we drop the anchor and settle down for another peaceful day in the sun. Peaceful that is until two yac…

A Bit of Trumpet Tootling!

Back from sea in one piece... with a Distinction in my OU A215 Creative Writing Course. Hurray!!!!!!!

Rump Steak, Anyone?

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I’ve just returned from a trip to casualty. Not quite the ending to the morning run I expected. Less than a mile from home, outside a pretty little cottage the other side of the village, I was just congratulating myself on almost completing a horrid seven mile interval session when something took exception to my smug face. There was a very scary snarling noise, a sensation of being stabbed in the backside and then I was trapped by the World’s Angriest Jack Russell (yes, another one – I love them! I don’t deserve their hatred!).

I stood there wondering what to do whilst WAJR danced and snapped round my legs until a gate opened and there was a kind of Jack Russell explosion when two of WAJR’s mates appeared together, thankfully, with the owner. She looked very uneasy when she saw what had happened, even more so, minutes later, when having inspected my bum and found a puncture wound, I returned to tell her about the damage.

Then it was a quick shower and off to casualty. My tetanus …

Ready For A Fright?

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Doh! There is nothing like bragging in cyberspace about how brave you are to be put to the test. When Tom announced that both the weather conditions and the tides were ideal for a run in the boat I went a bit deaf and pretended it wasn’t going to happen. To be fair to Tom he was quite prepared to go out in it by himself, but that’s a bit of a slippery slope. Pushed to the edge, you discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how you work as a team (or not, if you’re going to the Antarctic with James Cracknell) and we’ve always done very well together at sea.

So there we were, the one bright, sunny morning
this week, sitting in the car. I was speechless with fear, trying to control my quivering bottom lip (and my quivering bottom) whilst Tom gently explained the plan. I still couldn’t speak in the dinghy, and sheer terror meant I needed a wee as soon as we got aboard. It was after I’d had a swear at the loo, because it’s so difficult to flush, and Tom, sounding rather sa…

The Seven Summary

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Gaelikaa, whose thoughtful, reflective blog about her West meets East life always makes me stop and think, has tagged me to describe myself in seven words. Here goes:-

Tenacious. I will abso-berludy-lutely cling on to what’s important to me. Seven years ago my dear friend, Ann, got me into running. We joined Epsom Allsorts, a women’s group with formidable skills in talking and laughing whilst running. The club's highlight was the dreaded Hogsmill Ladies 5 Mile Race, which gave me my first taste of competitive running. As a novice runner I learned that by doing the work, hanging on in there and putting one foot in front of another you can achieve half marathons. It’s a lesson I apply to everyday life. Every novel starts with a single word.

Warthoggish. When my daughters were little they were very impressed by a nature programme about a mother warthog defending her young. ‘Ooh, that’s just like you, Mummy,’ they said. No one makes my babies cry and gets away with it as one or…

Flotsam and Jetsam

‘I couldn’t half do with a sit-down,’ says my hairdresser, . Not quite the words I long to hear when she has my hair in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other, but I’m sure it will be fine. It’s like a youth club in the salon today with the amount of school kids on work experience before going off to college in September. The trouble is they keep floating back to ask what to do before being sent off to arrange the shampoos or tidy the magazines. More worrying is that every time one of them hovers, my hair is in danger. As another child is sent away on a mission I have a fleeting sense that something strange has happened, but by the time everything’s been blow-dried and straightened, I’m lulled into a false sense of security... until I wash my hair. The ‘something strange’ is that several layers have appeared, especially in my fringe, and I’m now channelling Suzi Quatro. ‘It’s fine,’ says Tom, ‘exactly the same as usual.’ Little does he realise how dangerously he is livin…

The Good Ship Floats Again

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It's that time of year when I start thinking, ‘I’m never going out on that boat ever again.’ But sailing is what Tom loves to do. He’s just replaced the stern gland with a stuffing box (no, don’t ask me, I haven’t a clue) and generally fussing over her so, reluctantly, I decide to give her once last chance.

The launch gets off to an inauspicious start; we arise bright and early and go down to the estuary. The plan is that we will board the boat, still on its trailer, on dry land then The Pirate King and his Merry Crew, the folks who run the river here, will tow us, by JCB, deposit us in the middle of the channel and wait until we’re happy that the boat isn’t about to fill up with water again. But no, we arrive at the appointed hour to find that The Pirate King & Co. have arisen even brighter and earlier and dumped the boat in the river on a rising tide. Furthermore, the inflatable’s on board. Berludy great. Tom goes off to have words with The Pirate King whilst I wait on…

Doing the Write Thing

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Wednesday
Write blog on plotting. Read blogs. Watch tennis. Give stern talk to self; must finish plot of Make, Do and Mend tomorrow and get writing.

Thursday
a.m. Day 4, Week 1 of Runner’s World SmartCoach 16 week training programme which will take me up to the Cardiff Half Marathon. Run 6 miles, (one warm, one cool, four at tempo).

Continue reading blogs plotting. Eat quite a few Peach Loops (nothing to do with peach and everything to do with sugar and gelatine) whilst desperately trying to make characters play.

p.m. At last! A teeny little chink of light shines in the dark world of my plot. Congratulate self and eat several more Peach Loops (named after a fruit therefore good for me).

Friday
Easy run: 2 miles. Watch tennis.

Saturday
Reach 5000 words. Worry about money and decide to enter short story comp.

Sunday
Steady run: 7 miles. Week One total: 17 miles.
Go to dinner with The Axe Murderers aka a delightful pair of artists we met at the top of a mountain.

Monday
Week Two: Card…

Plot Luck

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This week, when not enjoying the company of Rose and Si (a lovely long weekend) or preparing the house for timewasters prospective purchasers (Octogenarian couple seeking small bungalow and new friends. One man and his dog having a nosey. Woman looking for small holding.) I’ve been thinking mainly about plot.

Now plotting is something that scares the bejesus out of me. It scares the bejesus out of a lot of people and there are folks who charge good money to tell you how to overcome your fears. I once attended Robert McKee’s Story seminar. I had a great time and learned more than I needed to about Roland (Fine Young Cannibals) Gift’s socks, because he kept slipping his shoes off, and a lot about what not to do when Robert McKee is talking, but if you buy Robert McKee’s book ‘Story’ it’ll give you the nuts and bolts about plotting without the socks and at a fraction of the price. For a simple explanation you could do a lot worse than pop over to The Blood Red Pencil and read Maryan…

Inspiration and Persistence

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Or, how late it is, how late. With hindsight it sounds a bit pretentious to talk about a new ‘writing project’ when what I mean is that I’ve started a new novel. Sorry about that. It’s not even that new since I had the idea for it two years ago.

One of the downsides of writing a regular blog is that it’s all there; the hopes, the dreams, the plans - all laid out and ready to come back to bite you, especially when you realise how much time has gone by. What I hadn’t foreseen, when I originally said I’d started some new work, was that I would then do two rewrites of ‘Fighting the Tide’, turning it from a ‘light lunch’ to the ‘substantial meal’ an agent suggested, and then trimming 10,000 words out of it at the suggestion of an editor. Whilst there’s a danger in chopping and changing, the suggestions I was advised to make made sense and I’m happy with the version that’s out there. It’s now a question of waiting.

I’ve also completed the first year of a Diploma in Creative Writing…

Back Home

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This is what I did last week:
Monday
a.m. Run off steam before packing for trip to South. Leave home. Stop at Sarn Park retail outlet to visit M&S. Replenish underwear after knicker cull and world shortage of my bra size in west Wales. A really snazzy pair of yellow peep-toed wedges call out to me and say they want to go home with me. How can I resist?
p.m. Arrive at Worthing, Mil and Dil’s. Eat Chinese takeaway. Sleep fitfully in the Marshmallow Bed which flings me in the air every time Tom turns over.

Tuesday
a.m. Mil & Dil, in their new car (‘nuff said), follow us to deepest Surrey and Best Optometrist In The World aka my dear friend, Jill, as Mil is in need of a second opinion. Have lunch with BOITW. Bid farewell to Mil and Dil. Proceed to Ma’s. Inspect Ma for signs of wear and tear.
p.m. Over dinner, (Ma’s homemade steak pie) catch up with Kid Sister, Bil, and two nieces.

Wednesday
a.m. & p.m. Burst with prideiosity all day (see previous post).

Thursday
a.m. Col…

Going for Gold

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Crack of doom. Tom and I meet Rose and Si at the station for our trek up to St James’s Palace where Rose is due to receive her Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. To add a little challenge to the day there is a tube strike, but Tom, bless him, has brought a rucksack to carry our ‘car to bar’ shoes. The socks and trainers don’t do much for my outfit, but at least I can get round London without breaking a heel.

Arrive Victoria in record time. Typical. It’s pouring down with rain. Double typical. Si shields Rose with a golfing umbrella and we hoof it to Maccy D’s for a McWee and some essential nutrients like coffee, doughnuts and McMuffins. Greatly restored we head for St James’s Palace, spotting Seb Coe along the way... Perhaps he’s the person dishing out the awards? Arrive St James’s Palace. Hop around changing shoes and part company with the men. Only one guest per young person, sadly. We’ve been told to bring two forms of ID but Rose and I have a collection between us, just i…