Thursday, 30 October 2014

one of those days: life with a pre-schooler

There is a very high mischief rating around these parts today - a half-eaten banana choc chip muffin only tells part of the story!  I've also found texta on a lampshade, plant tag and chair and found goodness only knows what happening in the bathroom.  Needless to say, the small child who was standing on top of the toilet was swiftly removed!  It's time to give up trying to do any more today, we're heading to the playground - it's one of those days and I'm just going to roll with it...
And in case you were wondering what the muffins looked like before the deed was done, here you are!  No time now to blog the recipe - I hate to think what would happen if I spent any more time on the computer - but the addition of a full packet of chocolate bits and four overripe bananas was absolutely delicious!

How are things in your neck of the woods?  Have you had one of those days lately?!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

stonefruit season's photographic alphabet...

A-Z in pictures, as taken by me!  I survived the Fat Mum Slim photo a day challenge  on Instagram and am now contemplating joining in with next month's as well.  It would seem quite a lot to do, but I love photography and it's another wonderful form of expression.  I will keep you posted if I do!

In the meantime, here is my A-Z, sailing a bit close to the wind at times, but it was quite a challenge!

A is for aubergine
B is for blossom
C is for cake
D is for dinner
E is for echeveria
F is for freesias
G is for garden
H is for helping
I is for iris
J is for jug
K is for Co. Kerry (Ireland, where Joe is from)
L is for Lucy, me of course!
M is for Melbourne
N is for nurse
O is for old linen
P is for poppies
Q is for quiet, be quiet!
R is for rose
S is for street lamp
T is for trick
U is for up, look up!
V is for very excited about my Woburn Abbey rose
W is for wow, white irises!
X is for x marks the spot
Y is for yippee, it's Show Day!
Z is for zippedeydoodah (stretching it there, but isn't that what you think of when you look at the sculpture in the bottom right-hand corner?!)

Monday, 27 October 2014

fun of the fair...

Is there anything better than the clowns on show day?  I couldn't resist snapping a few pictures of these bright sparks at our local agricultural show this weekend.  We braved an unseasonably hot day to join the crowd.  People ducked for shade wherever they could, even if it was just a small patch at the end of an amusement ride.  The kids had two activities each, including the bouncy castle, boat ride and dodgem cars - I won't be in a hurry to go in a car with them, I can tell you!
It was sweltering in the pavilion after a few hot days in a row.  Someone suggested they should hire a person to overnight there in that instance and open the doors when the cooler night air comes in - what a fabulous idea!  Despite the oppressive heat, I was I thoroughly inspired by the roses - this prize-winning entry makes me want to enter my own next year - aren't they just beautiful?
And finally, the poultry display!  This handsome devil just begged to have speech bubble - see the results on my Facebook page - let's call it a bit of healthy procrastination.  He was a very happy and friendly chap compared to the one in the cage opposite.  It scratched madly on the floor and waved its wings menacingly at Joe and I when we looked at it - not great pet material at all!

How was your weekend?  Is it show time in your neck of the woods?

Friday, 24 October 2014

no plot? no problem! the writing guide revealed...

Nanowrimo is just around the corner - the national novel writing month founded in America is now fifteen years old.  Author Chris Baty's 'low-stress, high-velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days' uses a great deal of humour to support crazed creatives in their efforts to succeed.  Coffee, stolen time and getting rid of the inner editor are essential according to Baty, who says writers just need to keep moving forward.  Whether you plan on writing a novel in 30 days or not, this is a fantastic guide to getting started and a wonderful insight into the process.

Essentially, it doesn't matter if you don't have your novel mapped out from start to finish when you write that first word - the plot will reveal itself.  I felt myself falling into that trap last week, when I sat down to start my second manuscript.  I thought I needed to research heavily first, but then I realised I could write and research at the same time.  What I needed to do was to start writing - and have now amassed nearly 8500 words.  I highly recommend Baty's guide, forget about the 30 day deadline if you prefer, and concentrate on the content and many tips by fellow writers - enjoy!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

blooming marvellous!

Gah!  All the roses are opening, our penstemons (top right) are just about to burst and the orange tree is filled with blossom and baby fruit - perfect photographic material!  For such a time of growth, however, the lawn is already starting to dry out with flushes of heat and no rain.  We won't water all the grass over summer, so we'll enjoy the patches of green while they last.  Must make mention of our Chicago Peace rose (bottom left) and Woburn Abbey - both new to the garden this year and alive with colour - just love them!

What roses make your heart sing?  Any recommendations for next year?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

roll up! roll up!

Card tricks and more were the order of the day for Sophie and Tom's magic show.  Once Soph moved past the trick where all four cards were the same (and of course it was easy to guess what someone had picked), she then fluked two of the right ones - hence Tom's wide-mouthed look of surprise in the bottom left-hand corner.  The show was the culmination of an afternoon's practise by Sophie and I'm already looking forward to the next one!

Monday, 20 October 2014

and so it begins - the second manuscript...

There has been no rest for the wicked, writing-wise that is!  Now that my first manuscript is wending its way into publishing houses for appraisal, I have started work on my second.  It's no secret that I'm mad about gardens (particularly for those of you who follow me on Instagram) and one in particular will form the major backdrop of this next story.  It's hard to say more without giving too much away  - so exciting for you all, I'm sure (!)  - but it's more the background, the writing process that I share here.

I have been ruminating on the basic storyline for a while now (careful to not give it too much air play as I didn't want to interrupt my first manuscript) which has allowed the creative processes to commence.  Rather than being scared I wouldn't have anything to write, whenever I'm thinking about the story, there is an overwhelming rush of ideas - and long may it continue!  I know where my protagonist grew up, what she worked as before she married and how she met her husband.

I've been making the most of spare time - half an hour in between kinder drop off and the hairdresser's gave me time to make pages of notes to be transcribed to my computer.  I bought a reporter's notepad especially for this project - a Spirax pad with the rings at the top, perfect for a left-hander like me who usually runs out of room on left-bound notebooks.  It's the type of book I had when I worked in rural journalism back in the mid 1990s - 20 years on and I'm still using some of the same technology.

And between the notepad, tablet, laptop and computer, let's hope I can create something worth reading!