Thursday, 3 October 2019

'Christmas at The Chalk Farm Bookshop' - A Study Novel

With the next part of my Masters in Creative Writing looming, I thought I'd share part of a piece of work I wrote a year ago for my first Assessment. I'd always wanted to write a Christmas novel, so I penned one chapter for the purpose of study. 
Anyway, I went back to that chapter over the summer and completed the whole novel, finishing it this week. I doubt I'll do anything with it, but I had heaps of fun writing it! 


It's Autumn again!

Copper hot chocolate mugs from Fortnum & Mason

 It's my favourite season again.
The time when I cosy up with my family in our lovely house, that's taken us almost four years to sort out.
It's not completely finished, there's floors and doors to consider, but other than that, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Much needed logs for the stove

 outdoor living

Stay tuned for Christmas 2019!

Friday, 1 March 2019

Walking and Reading

 I haven't been so well lately. Apparently I've had a respiratory virus. It left me short of breath, tight chested, bunged up, coughing and feeling all over pretty bloody grim. Obviously no anti biotics, which I'm sure has prolonged what has lasted all of February.
The consequence of this is that I've spent a huge amount of time indoors, which quite frankly has left me feeling fairly low in mood.
From this came an urge to walk. Walk and walk and walk.
So I did.
 We're lucky enough to have open green space very close to our house, and a park where dog walkers stroll. Fed up with hearing myself saying I felt ill, one morning I put on my trainers and started walking. I could have walked for miles if I wasn't so out of breath!
Since then, I've starting walking every morning. Just half an hour around the park and the green area. It's been brilliant for my mental health and well being.
I'm now in my third week of walking, and if for some reason I can't walk that day, I feel a massive urge to do so the next day.
It's been a little life changing to be honest.
I'm also reading a lot too - I mean 'a lot' because I usually have a book on the go anyway, but over the past two months, I'm finishing one and devouring another. I'm also playing about with different genres too, including crime fiction, and also going back to the classics. I've just finished Ann Granger's 'An Unfinished Murder', and then started Guillermo Martinez's 'The Book of Murder', which I ate in three days. I'm just about to start F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby'.
I'm fortunate I can read with noise around me (even having two almost teenage boys doesn't disturb me!), and I can pick up a book anywhere and get straight back into the flow. 
I tend to use the school run as time to catch up - I'm no longer 'needed' on the playground so I wait in the car instead, pulling out a book is ideal.
So, walking and reading - what saviours, because as busy as life is, and as guilty as you may feel sometimes, you really need to take the opportunity (when you can), to clear your head and escape.

Pottering about in the Peak District

 Last week, half term, we packed our bags (and the dog!) and headed an hour and 40 up the M1 to the Peak District.
We stopped in Bakewell for a veggie pasty - Jackson (left), sniffs out a pasty before we've even seen a shop. He's still a Cornishman at heart!
We ambled around for a while as we had time to kill before we could get into our cottage - we shopped, bought heaps of food I knew we'd end up bringing home, and were mesmirised by the array of birds in the nearby river.
 By early afternoon we were ready for a break. We'd been walking about for hours. We found a pub close to the village we were staying in called 'The Angler's Rest', which was surprisingly cosy and homely inside, and I indulged in a large glass of Chardonnay, well, we were on our holiday!
 We stayed in a small village between Bakewell and Buxton called Taddington, in the most wonderful holiday cottage I think I've ever seen (and I've seen a few). It truly "wowed" us! It was like an emporium; a Parisian boudoir. 
Kitchen and dining area.

Cute cottage window
Got to love 'Betty's'
Henry in his favourite place!
 My lovely, kooky family.
Fire place.
 My dudes. Can't believe we made them.
 Outside space where we managed to sit for a cheeky glass of wine in the unseasonal February weather.

I wish we could have stayed for longer, three nights just wasn't enough, but it was definitely the stress busting break I'd been hoping for.

My Family and other Animals

 Good Morning from Hetty, Mary and Olive, my gorgeous ladies.
 Afternoon from Garfield's looky likey - Macbeth (Maccy B)
 Good Evening for the faithful hound Henry ("H")
And goodnight from my beautiful girls Molly and Milly.

Fools Gold

When I was fifteen years old, a family friend offered me the opportunity to buy his entire Stone Roses vinyl collection for £25 as he was going travelling. 
OK, I was still at school, and had no money, but even I knew this was an opportunity I couldn't let go.
Deal done.
Forward the clock - 2012. A move from one house in Cornwall to another and hey, my entire (yes all of them!) vinyl collection got "lost" in transit. I was distraught, and have been ever since.
Over the past three years I've been re-collecting. By this I mean I am gradually buying all the vinyl I lost. It's taking so long because many are no longer available. 
Anyway, to help, I've discovered a great online site called 'Discogs' - a shop that people can sell their records from around the World.
So, that's where I finally found this 'The Stone Roses' Fools Gold gold disc - an original from 1990. I'd browsed eBay, and figured as much as I wanted it, I wasn't prepared to pay £350 for it.
Cue Discogs
This beauty comes from the States. The disc was just £24, however, another £25 for P&P, and another £20 for customs in the UK!
Still a bargin though.
This time I'm keeping it very safe - all 9 minutes and 53 seconds of it.

Crackers about Cornishware

 A few years ago, when we still lived in Cornwall, we drove the short distance from our house in St Ives to Mousehole. 
 We had a cup of tea in one of the quaint tea shops, as we always did, but this time, as soon as I walked into the dark coastal cafĂ©, I was drawn to the rows of blue and white and red and white striped pottery.
 I'd heard of 'Cornishware', but I naively still thought of it as something vintage and well, old fashioned, however, the shelves of striped tea pots and cups and saucers woke me up, this is a company that is anything but 'old fashioned'.
 I bought my first piece of Cornishware soon after, ironically, we'd moved back to the West Midlands by then - and the piece in question was a small red and white 'Betty' teapot, and right there my love affair with this company began.
 Years later, I now own as fair few pieces - small, medium and large teapots, cups and saucers, a dinner set, salt box (now discontinued), eggs cups, cutlery drainer (also retired), utensils pot, jugs, the bloody lot!
 Having bought most of the red and white I needed, I moved on to blue.
 My collection has now taken over my Emma Bridgewater pottery!
 They've recently retired a few of their pieces, so I'm hoping for some new bits, or maybe they might even re-introduce some old pieces.
I definitely need another shelf.
Well, that's my excuse for buying more!

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

First Snow

 So, here I am embracing winter, when this happens last night. 
 OK, so there wasn't enough to have a snow day or anything, but it was a pretty scene in our back garden - 
even Henry, the Labrador had a great time.
I wonder if there's more to come?

Hello Winter!

 So, the decorations are gone, and we're left with winter.
I told the Husband I'm not going to let myself get all morose this winter (usually I loathe January and February), instead I'm going to embrace it.
So, out come the books. 
 The vinyl.
 The log burner to erode those dark, cold evenings.
 Hum, back to studying (assessment two due early February), but getting seriously and happily distracted by the marvellous Daisy Johnson.
 Snow and a fox - always a winner for me!
 Light, never darkness.
 Winter window box to brighten my mornings,
and Champagne for my evenings (not every one of course!)
So, hunker down and enjoy the beauty that winter brings, because of course, spring is on the way!

'Christmas at The Chalk Farm Bookshop' - A Study Novel

With the next part of my Masters in Creative Writing looming, I thought I'd share part of a piece of work I wrote a year ago for my...