Archive for April, 2011

Weekword: Book

I love books. I’ve got piles on the floor because I’ve run out of shelves. I have a ‘to read’ pile by my bed which is toppling over. I am in and out of the library so often that the librarians all know me by name. But I’m going to post about my attempts to write a book. (I have written a non-fiction book, under a pen-name, but that was more of an extended copywriting job than a literary endeavour).

I started writing a novel last June. Not with any view to publication – just because the characters leapt into my head and lived there, fully formed. I found myself writing and before I knew it, I had five thousand words… seven thousand… nine thousand… I felt I knew the characters intimately. I knew what scent some of them wore. I knew what wine they drank. I knew about their parents, their politics and where they went to university. I knew that one of them had a cat called Jasper that her landlord didn’t know about. None of this made it into the story – it was just stuff I knew about these people who seemed as real to me as my own friends. Then, when I had about twelve thousand words, it stopped. I thought it was just a hiatus, but there’s been nothing. I haven’t written a word of my novel for more than eight months.

I don’t really know what to do. There seems no point in forcing it, but on the other hand, the idea of abandoning these people feels wrong and makes me sad. I want to finish the story but have no idea how to do it. I wonder how many characters lurk in notebooks and computer hard drives, waiting for their stories to be finished? And I wonder if mine will ever be rescued.

Here are the other Weekworders:


Carmen is our next host. I look forward to her word!

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I’ve had some requests for more garden posts, so I thought here was a good place to start. Spring has sprung with an absolute vengeance and there is blooming and greening and all sorts.

Some primulas:

And some primroses:

Cherry blossom:

And apple blossom:

The lilac – the smell from this is heavenly:



The bluebells are out:

As are the violets:

And a bit of cheating to make up ten, as this beautiful specimen isn’t in my garden, but someone else’s. Although it’s so beautiful I may have to get one:

Anyone else made a list today?

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Weekword: Book

I think I’m hosting Weekword this week… I’ve been out of the the loop a bit, and I’ve really missed the Weekwording – and all the Weekworders!

So, for this week’s word I suggest ‘Book’. I really look forward to seeing what you do with it – post in the comments if you’d like to play. And I’d really like to get Weekword going with a swing, so if you’d like to, please encourage other bloggers (including Weekworders old and new) to join in.

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Hurrah for cereal!

I’m not usually one for breakfast cereal. I like porridge, but other than that I find that cereal leaves me starving by mid-morning.

But! There is a reason I keep it in the cupboards. I fully intended to bake yesterday, so the Little Boy could take some cake to nursery to mark his birthday. But what with one thing and another, it didn’t happen. But the cereal came to the rescue, and in about five minutes this morning I made these:

Chocolate crispie cakes. I even got over my fear and melted the chocolate in the microwave. It didn’t burn, the world didn’t end, and it was super quick. I shall do it this way in future!

And all kids love chocolate crispie cakes, right?

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The garden has been harder and harder to manage, so we decided to bite the bullet. We hired a digger for a week (and a dumper truck for a weekend) and have dug over huge areas, so we can start all over again. The big flower bed? Flat. The veg garden? Gone. The yard? Scraped clean. The muckheap and compost heaps? Gone. And in this process, we’ve made some discoveries…

The garden does currently look as though we’re recreating the key battles of WW1, but I’m confident that it’s the first step towards a garden we can live with – and live in, and love.

Did you make a list today?

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For the Little Boy’s birthday, I made this:

Only his head remains, but he was tasty.

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List it Tuesday

… no list from me today – I’m under the weather and have been struggling through the day. If you’ve made a list, though, do post a link in the comments.

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Wonderwool Wales

Yes, it’s that time of year again! This weekend was Wonderwool Wales, a huge fibre fair which happens to be held just down the road. Stalls and stalls of yarn, needles, buttons, fibre, spindles and spinning wheels, fabric, thread, crochet hooks, magazines and books… so of course, I duly go every year.

I took my camera, but was so distracted by yarn and fibre and talking to people that I didn’t take many pictures. But here are some:

Vintage knitting magazines:

The gorgeous threads at Oliver Twist that always make me wish I did embroidery.

I liked this sign!

Touching things is a big part of Wonderwool. You have to feel the yarn to check it’s what you want. There are words coined to describe the tactile qualities of yarn. ‘Feel this! It’s so smooshy!’ ‘Ooh, this one’s much sproingier than it looks….’. And the fibre! I don’t spin, but my Wonderwool companion, the delightful Elizabeth who blogs at Deep Sea Knits does. So she bought fibre as well – and would occasionally give me things to feel. ‘Just feel this,’ she said, handing me a ball of baby yak fibre. It was so, so soft that I think my brain had to grow new synapses to process the sensation. I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything so soft and light and silky.

So, there’s the feeling things, and there’s the shopping. I haven’t actually managed to knit all the yarn I bought at last year’s show, so I went with a very strict shopping list. My success at sticking to strict shopping lists at Wonderwool is patchy, but this year I was very good. I wanted a pair of needle tips for my interchangeable circulars, which I bought (cheaper than online – how often does that happen?). I also wanted some bright, washable, worsted weight yarn for a surprise project. I found this stuff, which meets all criteria. Especially ‘bright’.

Every year I buy some of these little balls of pure wool. The colours are lovely and they’re only 50p each. Here are this year’s:

The final thing on the list was some sparkly laceweight. There seems to be quite a bit of sparkle about and I have been coveting some. Well, at Wonderwool there was sparkly yarn in pretty much every colour imagineable. I cuddled teal, stroked cherry red, fondled dusty pinks, squeezed autumnal shades… and then went and bought this one, which I’d loved from the start.

Yes, grey. All the colours in the world and I went with grey. Most unlike me! But I think it’s rather beautiful. I’m having a bit of a grey phase – there’s a big grey project afoot which I shall show you when it’s finished. I already know what I want to make with my new sparkly friend – I just have to be brave as it isn’t a simple pattern.

So, all in all, a very successful day. And made all the sweeter as I drove myself there on my own. Yes, I have finally passed my driving test. I have been on the roads for ten days now and it’s marvellous. My driving examiner was lovely and kept me calm, so in the end the 40 minutes flew by and I managed a reverse parallel park without incident. Sweet freedom!

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To me, lemon cakes are perfect for spring – sharp and sweet and crisp-tasting. (Actually, there isn’t a single day of the year when I would turn down lemon cake, but I digress…).

So for a friend’s birthday, the sun was shining, the leaves were bursting on the trees, and it just had to be lemon drizzle cake. In fact, it was two, sandwiched together. My earlier experiments with creme fraiche and limoncello were so successful I repeated them – I added a bit of cream cheese to make a stiffer frosting.

To decorate, the obligatory silver candle, and spring flowers – daffs, primulas, chinodoxia. How pretty?

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I have been doing some unusual work this week. Well, unusual for me. I’ve been writing sound effect briefs for children’s computer games. This means that I get sent files showing me the animations and I have to decide what all the sounds should be, and then write that down in such a way that the clever folk who make the sound effects can understand what I mean. This is quite good fun, but it’s not always easy. Sometimes my imagination has been stretched to come up with convincing sound effects for these:

If you made a list this week, pop a link in the comments!

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