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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Irresistibly Sweet

I’ve just been awarded The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award.
Thank you, Pippa. Nice photo of you and Sylvester!

Here are the rules:

1. Thank and Link To the Person who Nominated You (that’d be Pippa here)

2. Share Seven Random Facts About Yourself.

3. Pass the Award on to 15 deserving blog buddies.

4. Contact those buddies to let them know.


A lot of the blogs I like have already been awarded The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award!
I’m tempted to give them another award – why not, after all?

But no, I shall keep my remaining awards safely in a cupboard until I stumble across new reads.

Here are the first round of awards:
Things I Learned From My Horse

The Stark Raving Cello Blog

Mark Yarwood – A Struggling Writer


My seven random facts:

  1. I hitchhiked round Ireland (without a fridge).
  2. We’ve just bought a house by the seaside.
  3. When I retire I’m going to open a cattery and keep rescue ponies in the back garden.
  4. I once did a nude photo shoot.
  5. I like swing dancing.
  6. I shared a bed with Rufus Sewell (Oh, alright, that’s not true. But he did stay in the same room in the same holiday home. Allegedly.)
  7. Crisps are my downfall.

(Photos from Photobucket)


looking for a feisty heroine!

I don’t seem to have a practical bone in my body.
I can’t cook, forget to fill up with petrol and will always let someone else volunteer to do the tricky bits.

This must change. From now on, I’m going to throw myself rashly into life, looking for problems to solve.

All my heroines to date have been quite modest, gentle creatures like Jane Eyre. Lisbeth Salander or Scarlett O’Hara she is not.

Any suggestions on who my new female role models could be?

spooky or what…

We went to France this weekend and revisited some old caves hidden away in the middle of a forest. They are dark, cold and stretch for miles underground. It was used by soldiers during the first world war.

J took a picture and on checking it noticed an odd mist-like substance in the camera. He took another and it was clear.

He didn’t tell me at the time, correctly assuming I’d want to run away as fast as I could. It’s a spooky sort of place anyway and the forest is alleged to be home to several angry wild boar so I was anxious enough as it was.

I’m sure it was either J’s breath, or some odd trick of  the light. But part of me doesn’t want a logical explanation….

chocolate chili cake

My bro made this for me a couple of weeks ago. Delicious!

Preheat the oven to 180 and grease a cake tin.

Melt 115g butter and 85g dark choc.

Beat in 2 large eggs. Add 225g granulated sugar to the choc mix.

Sift 55g self raising flour and add a finely chopped red chili.

Mix it all in and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Serve cool with cream.

(Not tried making it myself yet, so blame my brother if it doesn’t work).


I’ve just finished the autobiography unit of my online writing course. The idea was to look at various aspects of life at 10, 15 and 18 – clothes, likes, fears, music etc – and see where it went. This is what I wrote:

I don’t mean to criticise, but there’s a major design flaw in God’s plan. It’s in the way that the gifts and skills which he bestows so generously are like presents from a great aunt who you never see: they’re just not what you want.

Take prettiness, for example. Completely wasted on a ten-year-old. There’s a photo of me on holiday in Majorca and I’ve never looked so cute. I’m lying on a sun lounger in a bikini, grinning cheekily and unselfconsciously at the camera. My stomach’s flat, my hair’s long and blond.

I was first choice to be the Queen’s assistant in the Church parade and to be The Virgin Mary in the school play. I was so lovely Dad’s best friend said he’d wait for me.

 If Dad’s friend had been a horse or a packet of midget gems, I might have been interested.

8 years later and Dad’s friend is conspicuous by his absence. Huh, who can blame him? Who’d marry me? Dear God, now would have been the moment for the Being Pretty gift.

Here’s a photo of me at a summer family barbecue. My hair’s short, thick, shapeless and mousey. I hate being outside. The sun makes me squint. I’m uncomfortably hot but refuse to change into shorts and let everyone see my fat thighs. I wear jeans which are too long and an oversized t-shirt with Morrissey (“he’s NOT gay!”) of The Smiths on the front. My belly’s spasming with period pains.

 I’m pathetic. 18 and I’ve only ever kissed one boy. Called Nigel, of all things.

The other wrong gift is knowledge. What’s the point of 80-year-olds having knowledge and insight? Shouldn’t they be allowed to sit back and watch Corrie with a nice glass of sherry rather than feel obliged to pass on pearls of wisdom to people who aren’t listening?

No, knowledge would be better at 15. If I’d known that – yawn! – “the coolest thing is being true to yourself” life would have been a lot different. I might never have dumped Katy as my best friend in favour of Vicki. Katy was a buck-toothed, born again Christian, top of the class. Vicki had a denim jacket, bleached hair and stomach cramps from the number of fizzy drinks she got through.

My tutor said I could have stopped after the Nigel paragraph because the later ones blurred the impact. It does now seem that a mish mash of thoughts at the time, at 18 and now, so I’d clarify that in a rewrite.

Another student thought the humour would work better in a different style than the monologue, which she found almost in the style of stand up comedy.

When writing I spilled out both the comic and tragic. It’s quite a challenge to even know what the right tone should be, but one I enjoyed experimenting with.

bloody prose

I finally plucked up the courage to go and give blood the other day.  I’m quite squeamish and wasn’t looking forward to it but didn’t think that was enough reason not to go. My brother’s a nurse and I told him I was scared and worried about them finding a nice, juicy vein (in the past, there’s been a lot of um-ing and ah-ing and prodding when I’ve had blood tests).
“Hm, they’re not that prominent,” he said, poking my arm.  ” I’ve given blood myself and wouldn’t rush to go back.” Oh.

Anyway, I went. It was at the local town hall. I was there for about half an hour, chatting over my medical history with three different people and trying not to look at the poor lad who’d feinted and was now lying on the floor with his knees up.

I’m finally summoned. “Any arm preference?” asks the lady.
“Not really, whichever’s easier.”
She tries the left arm. Nothing.
“I’ll try the right,” she says and pokes about a bit. In vain (ho ho).
“I’ll have another go with the left, then have a word with the nurse.”
You’re not a qualified nurse, I think?
She stands waiting in all the bustle, trying to find a spare nurse.
The nurse repeats the process. “There’s a vein here,”  she says, “but it’s too close to the artery. We don’t want to risk you losing your arm.”
I feel terrible. I’ve wasted everyone’s time and have spent an hour with nothing to show for, no one’s life potentially saved.
“It’s quite common,” she reassures me.

So, um, I don’t know what the lesson is? Feel the fear and do it anyway cos you might get let off but that might make you depressed, not relieved?

The nurse said I could try again. But not for another five years. I wonder what diet I could try to give myself more prominent veins…

Vote ‘yes’ to AV

Here’s why I’m voting for AV:

  • It’s easy and is tried and tested. Political parties use it to elect leaders, MPs use it to elect the Speaker, Hollywood uses if for the Academy Awards.
  • Votes really count. No wasted votes or tactical voting.
  • MPs will need 50% of the vote. At the last election, two thirds of the country didn’t vote Conservative but they were elected.

It’s a shame it’s such a dry subject. Not as exciting as the royal wedding or the death of Osama Bin Laden, and plagued by playground politics.  But I hope people aren’t so turned off they don’t bother to turn out and express a preference, whether it’s for or against.