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Thursday, 30 December 2010

Random Thought #18 - A Change of Scenery

As you may have noticed I have changed my background...it is still very purple :-) if not even more purple!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Random Quote #11

*calling from opposite sides of the river*

Beni: Hey O'Connell! Looks to me like I got all the horses.

O'Connell: Hey Beni, looks to me like you're on the wrong side of the river!

The Mummy (1999)

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

Tis the season to be jolly! So I hope that everyone has a great Christmas [and, as long as you are old enough to drink, make sure you get at least a little merry! ;-)].


[image is from www.newvistawallpaper.com]

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

A Challenge for the New Year

I have decided to set myself a challenge for next year. But before you get too excited it isn't anything particularly exciting...nor do I know if it will really be a challenge.

I decided the other day to set myself a weekly writing challenge on my other blog - The Life of Writing [do feel free to head over there for more information]. Anyway as I was saying before I started advertising myself I then thought I could do a challenge on this blog.

But what to do, what to do? Trying to search for challenges to do is fairly difficult without seeming like you are copying people. So there I am searching and I came across a challenge that quite a few people have done before me and no doubt other people will accept the challenge at the same time as me and after I have [hopefully] completed it.

So the challenge is to read 52 books in one year, luckily for me I looked in to it as the New Year is fast approaching so 1st January 2011 will be the start date.

Now I have no idea whether this will be a difficult challenge or not. When I first thought about it I realised that I know that I have read quite a few books this year...but I have absolutely no idea how many. I could go and count the ones I have read...they are dotted all over the place. But I won't get a true figure, as my head will be filled with random thoughts as ever.

Did I read that book this year? Ooh what was that one I read? With the thing? And the people? Where did I put it? Have I ever read this book?

Now the only difficult part on 1st January will be deciding which book to start with. I have a stack of about fifteen books next to my bed right now. And when I have been asked what I wanted for Christmas at least five of the suggestions were books.

So I am now frantically trying to make sure I get the anthology that I am currently reading finished so I can start afresh in the New Year.

Other people who have taken on this challenge before me have suggested reading whilst you commute...to wherever it is you are going. Now I will find that difficult...as if I try reading whilst travelling in a road vehicle I start to feel sick. I don't know why that is but if I try reading a book,  a newspaper, a magazine or whatever I start to feel nauseous. It is a shame that I can't get the train to work as I like reading on the train.

So the plan would be to read one book a week. But some books I will no doubt read faster than others. And they could be from any genre, fiction or non-fiction, although I don't think I'm going to count any books that I read for research in this...unless I sit down and read the entire thing in one go, rather than dipping in and out as I see fit...well we'll have to see.

So tune in on 1st January 2011 [where did the year go?!?!] and I will let you know what book number 1 is.

And by all means take on the challenge yourself if you want to...

Monday, 20 December 2010

Random Quote #10

Nancy Holbrook: I didn't take you for the religious type.

Quentin Smith: Yeah, well, you gotta believe in something, you know.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Monday, 13 December 2010

Random Quote #9

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone

You'll Never Walk Alone, Carousel (1945)

Friday, 10 December 2010

Random (Extended) Thought #17 - Giving Students a Bad Name

This random thought is going to be an extended random thought, actually it is a minor rant.

Yesterday the government decided that they would be raising tuition fees. Naturally most of the students were not pleased about this.
If it had happened when I was a student I wouldn't have been very happy either. Now for the peaceful protesters out there - well done for being peaceful and going about things in a civilised, intelligent manner.

As for the more violent student protesters out there well...they aren't going to really accomplish a lot are they? I would have thought that they are going to be unlikely to get a degree of any kind if they think attacking the car that belongs to the next in line to the throne would achieve anything other than them being arrested.

If they had used their brains - the things that they should use during their studies - they would have realised almost immediately that the tuition fees debate has nothing to do with Prince Charles or any of the Royal family. I could understand, although I wouldn't condone it, if it had been the car of an MP.

So the students out there that have been peacefully protesting will now be tarred with the same brush as the few who decided to turn violent, resorting to graffiti and vandalism.

And really the violent few ought to be more than a little ashamed of themselves for letting the side down.

I now declare this minor rant over!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Random Quote #8

Stayne (Knave of Hearts): You're all mad.

March Hare: Thanks very much.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Snowpocalypse!

I got up on the 1st December 2010 to discover everywhere had turned in to a winter wonderland. Well more winter than wonder really.

I quickly found out that I would have to walk to work as all the buses in the area had been suspended. So on the 1st of December I set off just before eight in the morning and walked to work. The snow was so deep in places it almost came to the top of my wellies. And I measured them and my boots are 14 inches high.

It took me 45 minutes to walk to work in which time my feet had gone numb. Which was good in a way as it meant I couldn't really feel the two large blisters on my heels developing. However once I arrived at work and I began to heat up I soon knew that they were there.
And then I had to limp all the way home again a few hours later. My place of work closed at midday as there were few of us who had actually managed to get to work.

I awoke on 2nd December to find out that once again I would have to walk to work again. But my wellies didn't come with me this time. Oh no, not again. So this time I wore my shorter but more comfortable walking boots to work.
The previous night a snow plough had gone down our road and so there was now a thin strip of road that was more or less free of snow. As the pavement was still a foot deep with snow I decided to walk down the middle of the road.
And so there I was before eight in the morning. Walking down the middle of the road, with not a single person in sight. I felt like I was in a disaster movie of some sort. It was ten minutes later when I hit the main road before I saw another person.
And then as I got closer to the town centre the more 'survivors' appeared as we all seemed to drift towards where the last of the population was gathering.

Now I have told you about my encounter with near apocalypse I have two things I wish to mention.

1) Compeed blister plasters are fantastic - the regular plasters I was using did nothing to help, I might as well not have bothered. But the Compeed ones are great - they do exactly as they say on the tin...and I haven't been paid or given anything to say that it is just my opinion.

2) Now this is just a minor rant at how stupid some people can be. The snow may have been dispersed a little so it isn't quite as deep on the pavement however it is still almost impossible to walk on the pavement so you have to risk your life walking down the road now that there is more traffic about again.
Why?
Some of my neighbours have decided to clear their driveways to get their cars out. What is wrong with that I hear you say?
Well they have cleared the snow by shovelling the snow to the sides. So you walk along the pavement and then suddenly you are faced with a wall of snow that is almost two feet high!
So you manage to navigate your way around that one...and then you come across another one, and another.
Some people have no common sense whatsoever. Just as long as they are OK everyone else can go to hell. Now I saw some people who cleared their drives who were putting the snow behind the driveway gates - that is a good idea as you have cleared the drive but not built an obstacle course in the process.

End of rant!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Reading, Writing...Err, Can We Forget the Arithmatic?

So I heard about this challenge via Sandra's Blog. Below is the list of books of which the BBC reckons most people have only read 6 out of the hundred. If you want to accept the challenge it is simple - copy and paste this list on to your blog and link back to here...please?

Instructions are as follows:

• Copy the list of books below.
• Those books you’ve read in their entirety put in bold.
• The ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt put in italics.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The King James Bible - (yes, really!)
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
Emma - Jane Austen

Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

*Last book is missing so those who have gone before me have been suggesting number 100. Therefore my suggestion for the 100th book is: The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole [the original Gothic novel!]

What book would you suggest?

So I appear to have fully read 16 of those, including my suggestion for number 100. Although I suppose you could count the Harry Potter books individually...but then it wouldn't be out of 100 would it?

And the following books are the ones that I want to read...once I've read the stack of books that is stood next to my bed. Actually a couple of them are already in the stack of books waiting to be read.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
The Inferno – Dante
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

Now it's your turn!

Monday, 29 November 2010

NaNoWriMo - The Fourth and Final Update

Yes it is the end of week four. I will not be posting tomorrow night. It is for the same reason that I didn't post my update blog yesterday. It is because...I FINISHED!!!!!

This last week I have pushed myself as far as possible, as you will see from my word counts. Well there are a couple of days where I didn't do quite so many words but I made up for that before and after.


I ended up spending the last hour of typing sat in the dark as I thought that if I got up to close the curtains and switch the light on I would lose my momentum.


So without further ado my word counts for the last week:


Monday: 1699
Tuesday: 4009
Wednesday: 342
Thursday: 946
Friday: 2545
Saturday: 2203
Sunday: 3331


Week total: 15075


Grand total: 50079 words!!!

I actually calculated my total as 50077 words but when I had it validated on the NaNoWriMo site they had it as 50079. So I went with their total. I've printed out my certificate. And I now plan on ignoring my first draft until the New Year. I can spend the time catching up with everything that I neglected throughout November.


Well done to all my fellow NaNoWriMoers, whether you have finished or not. Well done for simply having a go!

Random Quote #7

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

Walt Disney

Monday, 22 November 2010

Random Quote #6

I want to pass on a bit of advice that a friend gave to me when I was at my lowest during that time. She said to me...she said 'Don't look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Stomp along there and turn the f***** on yourself!'

Sarah Millican, Dave's One Night Stand

Sunday, 21 November 2010

NaNoWriMo Update #3

Another week and seven more word counts. But this week has been a good one. I've had four figure word counts all week and today I have finally managed to claw my way back up to where I should be. Today's suggested word count was 35000 words and I am now four words over - yay!


Monday: 1703
Tuesday: 2136
Wednesday: 2274
Thursday: 1680
Friday: 2100
Saturday: 1832
Sunday: 1938

Week total: 13663 words


Grand total: 35004 words


Next week will be the last update before the end of NaNoWriMo. I'm on schedule at the moment so fingers crossed for the coming week.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Random Quote #5

You think I'm an ignorant savage
And you've been so many places
I guess it must be so
But still I cannot see
If the savage one is me
How can there be so much that you don't know?
You don't know...


Pocahontas, Pocahontas (1995)

Sunday, 14 November 2010

NaNoWriMo Update #2

Here we are at the end of week two!

I've read that week two is one of the hardest weeks, and I can see why. I struggled at the beginning of the week then I decided to write the ending. It had been circling around in my head for a while, so I have realised it in to my computer. And now I can return to writing the middle.

Word count:

Monday: 934
Tuesday: 1796
Wednesday: 1684
Thursday: 727
Friday: 2541
Saturday: 1845
Sunday: 796

Week total: 10323 words

Grand total: 21341 words

Although as you can see from today I have fallen behind slightly - I've been busy today, but I'm hoping that this next week I'll manage to catch up with my word count quite a bit.

See you next week!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Random Quote #4

Granville: Nobody lives forever.

Arkwright: No, but I'm going to have a damn good try, aren't you?

Open All Hours (1976-1985)

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A NaNoWriMo Update #1

Hello there fellow NaNoWriMoers, writers and everyone else not included in those first two titles.

Quick update on my word count in the first week:

Monday: 1761
Tuesday: 1834
Wednesday: 1973
Thursday: 626
Friday: 818
Saturday: 2201
Sunday: 1805


Total for the first week: 11018


I think it is going quite well so far. Some of what I am writing is complete rubbish...in fact quite a bit of it is rubbish. But my first draft is tootling along nicely. I have to keep jumping back and forth within the story to add bits.


According to the NaNoWriMo site at the rate I am going I should finish on 2nd December so I do have to catch up a little, but thankfully not by much.


Hopefull my 'random quotes' are keeping you entertained throughout this time.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Random Quote #3

Go on, laugh. Make a jackass out of yourself!

Jiminy Cricket
Pinocchio (1940)

Friday, 29 October 2010

Random Thought #16 - Random Quotes

I've been setting up some random quote posts to be posted throughout November and NaNoWriMo [so you don't have withdrawal symptoms from my randomness!].

And I think I might continue posting random quotes after November on a weekly basis.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Random Quote #2

But Chloe. That's a terrible name. And Crawley...they'll call me Creepy Crawley!

P.W. Ruby Gates on the alias she has been given
The Belles of St Trinian's (1954)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

November

From 1st November 2010 until the 30th November 2010 I won't be able to blog quite so much as I am taking part in NaNoWriMo. However I will be giving an update of my progress once a week.

I have also come up with enough 'random quotes' to keep you going throughout November and beyond - so you can still experience what it is like in my maze of a mind!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

I Have Too Many! Part 3: Eye Pencils

I can't believe I forgot about my eye pencils [I say eye pencils because some of them are not strictly eyeliners, but are for eyes].

So I also have far too may eye pencils, however they do take up less room than my lipsticks and loads more space than my nail varnishes.

I would show you my shoe collection [which takes up more room than my eye pencils, lipsticks, and nail varnishes combined]. However that would require me having to get them all out of the wardrobe and then out of the boxes and line them up...and I can't really be bothered...maybe some day but not anytime soon.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Random Thought #15 - Editing

Why is it that no matter how many times you spell check and read through something there always seems to be one error that gets through?

And you only notice a few days later when it has probably been seen and the error has been inevitably spotted...and then you feel like an idiot!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Random Thought #14 - Sleep

At times having to go to sleep is a pain. If we didn't need to go to sleep we could get so much more done.

However, on the other hand, if we didn't sleep we would be bored out of our minds. Everything would be done, Everything would be clean, dusted, vacuumed, mended, sewn, crafted, written, read, painted, built, repaired, listened to, watched, decorated, moved- the list goes on.

And we wouldn't be able to have dreams - daydreaming just wouldn't cut it!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

And Now For Something Slightly Different...Random Quote #1

You go away, I'll bite you myself! You wicked old witch!

Dorothy Gale
The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Monday, 11 October 2010

I Have Too Many! Part 2: Nail Varnish

And so to the second part of my slight obsession with make-up...nail varnish.

I haven't painted my nails recently...I keep meaning to and then never get round to it. But it doesn't stop me buying more. Now unlike lipsticks you can have just about any colour on your nails without people thinking you are weird. For instance if I wore yellow lipsticks I would get more than my fair share of second looks from people.

Anyway to the picture - they are not as neatly lined up as my lipsticks were...but then you wouldn't have been able to see as many of the colours!


I could have just put them in one long line...but then I would have to stand so far back you wouldn't have been able to see the colours.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

I Have Too Many! Part 1: Lipstick

I like make-up...a lot. And the two main areas of make-up I have the most of are lipsticks and nail varnishes.

For those who aren't in to lipsticks and will be horrified at the number that I have I suggest you look away now.


I just have the odd one or two don't I? Now for those of you who don't know much about make-up you may think that they are all a similar colour. But to those of us in the know they are all very different.
Same lipsticks, different angle!

As I have always said a woman can never have too many lipsticks [or nail varnishes, shoes or handbags].

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Random Thought #13 - Literary Revenge

Today's random thought centres around the fact that taking revenge on someone by writing them in to a story makes you feel a lot better.

It's a lot better than some of the alternative forms of revenge that could get you in to some serious trouble.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Gone But Not Forgotten

When I decided to write this post it took me a while to work out how to start it...and what to call it.

This morning I was deeply saddened to hear that that great British comedy actor, Sir Norman Wisdom, had died. However I have spent the rest of the day chuckling to myself whilst remembering my favourite bits from his films. Which I think he would prefer to everyone being upset.
There are quite probably people who are my age who have never heard of Norman Wisdom, let alone seen his films. It amazes me when I come across people who have never heard of such great people. I know someone who saw a picture of Laurel and Hardy and thought one of them might have been Charlie Chaplin!

Anyway the point of this post is for me to point out some of the classic stars who you should never ever try to get one over on...because they will get you back! They  are gone but certainly not forgotten. And before I start I am not an expert so do not take this as gospel truth, or complain if I get something wrong.

Norman Wisdom was one such person. In his films he may have been short in stature, but what he lacked in height he made up for in heart. He would always stand up for his friends and family, against any opponent, no matter how tall they were...sometimes in fairly childish ways. In some ways he was like a child who never quite grew up.

He was a classic under dog. He didn't really stand a chance, but he somehow managed to work it all out by the time the credits rolled.

My favourite Norman Wisdom film is The Square Peg, set in World War 2, where he plays both a British road mender turned soldier and a German general. Anyone watching these classic comedies will notice that for a little guy he has a very loud voice! :-) May he rest in peace and be forever remembered for making us laugh.

Next up on this list is that man who told us to Smile no matter what - the great Charlie Chaplin. Now I have not seen a lot of Chaplin's films, however I do know that he would stand for what he believed in. I do know that he was an under dog, sometimes described as a tramp, one who poked fun at Adolf Hitler with his film The Great Dictator.
As I have mentioned I have not seen a great many of Chaplin's films...but I couldn't really do a post on the classic movie stars who were good at getting their own back without mentioning him now could I? To put it plainly: No I couldn't.


Now our next star I know slightly more about, my brother being the family authority on the duo that he was part of...yes you have guessed it...Stan Laurel. Now he was slightly different in that you may on occasion have been able to get one over on him...however do anything to Oliver Hardy and you were toast.
In the short film Them Thar Hills the duo are taking a holiday where unbeknownst to them the well is full of moonshine. Long story short they end up drunk and in an altercation with another holidaymaker they have come across. The guy hits Olly, Stan does something to the guy i.e. sticks a sink plunger to his head, Olly laughs, guy hits Olly, Stan does something to the guy etc. It goes on for a while and ends with the guy being covered in molasses and feathers, with a plate of beans down his trousers, and still with the sink plunger on his forehead. And Stan and Olly have no back to their caravan and Olly has had his trousers set on fire!
No matter how badly Olly sometimes treats him, Stan will always stand up for his friend.

And now we come to the most fearless of these stars. One who you only needed to slightly insult to feel his wrath...Harpo Marx. I am a very big fan of the Marx Brothers owning all of their films and being able to name them all off the top of my head. So therefore this bit will have the most examples in it.
You may have thought that the ones to watch was Groucho with his quick tongue and rapid fire insults he was a force to be reckoned with. However whilst you are struggling to get a word in edgewise with Groucho or Chico for that matter you aren't paying attention to the silent one who is stood behind you getting up to all sorts of mischief with his scissors and car horn.

For instance, in The Big Store, a woman claiming to be a journalist tells Harpo to 'Get out of my way stupid'. From that moment she is danger. Harpo follows her and whilst she is arguing with a shop assistant about getting some hat fabric to match her dress, Harpo's scissors appear out of his pocket.
He suddenly appears with a piece of fabric that perfectly matches the woman's dress. However she decides she doesn't want it after all and we see that Harpo cut the fabric out of the back of her dress. She kind of deserved it though she was very rude to all she came across.

Another example is in Duck Soup, where see a loud mouthed lemonade stand owner being slowly driven mad. Whilst he is arguing with Chico, Harpo cuts the guy's pocket out of his trousers, sets fire to the man's hat, squirts him all over with lemonade and, later after a further altercation drives the man's customers away by paddling in his tank of lemonade.

And so the curtain has fallen for the last time for another great star, we must keep their memory alive through their comedy.

Laughter may die down...but it never truly dies...

Sunday, 26 September 2010

A Tale of Five Fish: Part 5 - Yet Another Update

Mac the Fish is still on his lonesome, although his tail has almost completely grown back now. However I don't think the top of his tail will ever completely grow back.

Anyway I thought as you had been tuning in throughout this saga you might like to actually see the survivor of The Terrifying Fish Tank 2010.

So without further ado may I present...MAC!

Now the red-orange background is just the wallpaper behind his tank. And the slight blotchy look to the picture is where the tank's exterior could do with being wiped down.

My mum wants to get some more fish however she has said if and when she does they will be put in quarantine for a while before they go in to the tank with Mac - I don't think he could stand a repeat performance!

Friday, 17 September 2010

I Can't Be The Only Person Who Has Read It!

When I was young[er] I remember reading a book that I borrowed from the library.

Recently I have been trying to seek out this book however I don't know who wrote it or what it was called. Searches on the internet appear too have been fruitless. I can't be the only person to have read this book...or did I come across some mystical copy that only appeared for me?

Anyway I may not remember the name or author but I can describe some aspects of it that may jog someones memory and help me to find it.

It was kind of a Alice in Wonderland/Wizard of Oz type of theme. I'm pretty sure that the main character [a young girl] travelled to another land. I am pretty sure that there was some sort of robot/automaton that she befriended. And she had another companion but I can't remember anything about them.

I want to say that there was something to do with a snow globe...however I may have completely made that up!

Two scenes from the story that I remember are:

  1. They have to climb a mountain that is shaped like a needle.
  2. There is a room [possibly inside the needle shaped mountain] that is full of some kind of sticky cobwebs.
And as typical in these sorts of story there is a big bad nasty enemy lurking somewhere.

I probably read it in the late 80s/early 90s, so it will have been published before then...obviously!

Anyone have any ideas on what it could be?

Any at all?

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Another Delivery From Dolly!

A few months I posted about some handmade bags I bought from Dungaree Dolly - The Wonderful World of Dolly's Bags

Well I couldn't resist for long so just over a month ago I ordered some more. And here they are:

Item Number 1

The first item I ordered this time round was the bag known as the 'Perfect Purse', which is a lovely sized bag.
It took me absolutely ages for me to decide which fabric to get this bag in. In the end I settled for owl print fabric, and I'm glad I did. This fabric is absolutely adorable, even better in real life than I thought it would be. And the bag itself is a lot roomier than it first looks- a bit like the TARDIS, only on a smaller scale!

Isn't it cute?

















Item Number 2

Now for my for my second item I knew which fabric I wanted but wasn't sure which bag to have it made with. Decisions, decisions. The fabric I wanted was onyx damask.

In the end I decided to get a 'mini bag', which you can use as a clutch or to put bits and pieces in your handbag in, so they are easier to find.



Item Number 3

Now item number 3 was a little different this time. I decided to get the family dog a new collar, her old collar was getting a little worn, and in my and my sister's opinions we didn't think it quite suited the dog's personality [my brother had bought her a black collar with metal studs in it].

So then we started a minor argument on which fabric to get. We wanted one of the ones with paw prints and it ended with a 2-1 vote for the dog bones fabric, which has paw prints and bones on it. There are loads of fabrics to choose from, and four different sizes - all adjustable - and we got our dog the medium size. Dolly also makes dog leads...and aprons!

So here is the collar, modelled by the lovely Sophie - who is my adorable greyhound.









I had to chase her half way round the house to get a decent photograph of her and her collar. She doesn't seem to like having her picture taken! I think she's a bit shy...much like me. Well they say dogs end up like their owners, or is it that owners end up like their dogs?

And so another Dolly review comes to an end...I use my previous Dolly items all the time. However with summer at an end I think the sunglasses case will be taking a break fo a while.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Random Thought #12 - Winter

Me thinks it may almost be time to get the winter wardrobe out again.

And it only seems like five minutes ago that I put it away. *sigh*

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Having Too Many Hobbies

I have too many hobbies. and not enough time to do them all in.

My current hobbies include:
  • cross stitch
  • card making
  • making/customising clothes
  • reading
  • 1940/50s vintage clothes/hairstyles etc
Add to this that I also have to work, write [hopefully one day work and write will be classed as one thing], eat and sleep, I don't have a lot of time left...although I do have some spells of doing absolutely nothing, which I also enjoy.

All this and what do I do? I decide to take up sketching again!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Suicidal Pedestrians!

Why do some people not look before they step in to the road? Do they all have a death wish? Or were they absent when the 'Green Cross Code' was taught at school.

Yesterday I went to pick up my sister and on the way home three different people decided that getting hit by a car might be fun. By the way I did not hit any of the people involved.

The first was an elderly man who decided to step in front of me as I turned a corner. I saw him walking down the road, I slowed down, indicated, got to the turn before he did and started to turn when he stepped in to the road and then saw me. He glared at me as though it was all my fault. As though I wasn't indicating, as though I was doing 100mph, as though I had rolled down the window and shouted '10 points, Grand Theft Auto' at him.

Yes I appreciate that being elderly he may have been deaf...but he wasn't wearing glasses. He didn't have a white stick or a guide dog with him. If he had looked before he stepped in to the road then he would have seen me.

Second incident was as I came down a hill approaching a main road. I saw two cyclists begin to cross to the island in the middle of the road. But rather than stopping there until I had gone past, or even slowing down and checking to see if anything was coming, they decided to just cycle straight out in front of me. I can only be glad that I was approaching a junction and was therefore slowing down.

One of the cyclists was a friend of my sister, who when my sister mentioned it to her said 'sorry but I couldn't stop'. My sister is not as sarcastic as me. Had it been me I would have been very tempted to say 'it is a shame that they haven't come up with something for bikes that slows them down, maybe even stops them kind of like a brake on a car'.

The final incident occurred as I came round the corner on my street. A woman with a push chair was crossing the road diagonally so it took longer for her to get across. I had to slow down so that I wouldn't get too close. And not once did she look to see if there was anything coming. She may have been deaf, however a lack of road safety knowledge is more probable, and if I had nearly hit her she would have given me a mouthful of abuse.

It's not difficult - stand on the side of the road. Listen for traffic, look left, look right. Then start crossing IF it is safe, whilst still looking and listening. I can't see what is hard about that.

I now declare this rant over - just remember to look next time you cross the road!


image is a wallpaper from http://talesoftheroad.direct.gov.uk/hedgehogs/html/hedgehog-downloads.html

Saturday, 14 August 2010

I Look a Lot Younger Than I Am!

That is enough to have everyone hating me but it can be a little irritating at times to be constantly asked for ID. It's not so bad when going in to clubs and bars - the bouncers have a quick look, see what year I was born and in I go...granted I am usually dolled up to the nines as well. Make-up and the right clothes do make me look slightly older...but only slightly, probably by about a month or something! ;-)

Anyway when it is really irritating is when I have a lack of make-up, I'm wearing my uniform of t-shirt, jeans and Converse, and I try to get in to a film or buy alcohol.

I recently went to see a film rated a '12' and when I looked at the ticket later the assistant had put me through the till as a teenager...which I haven't been for six years now. On the plus side it meant I got in slightly cheaper, but that was the assistant's fault not mine. Anyway a couple of years ago I went to see a film rated '15' with my younger brother and I was the one who got asked for ID!

Next irritating incident happened a couple of weeks ago when I went to buy alcohol from a supermarket, which I don't do a lot because of the confusion my age causes. I had my drivers license out ready as I knew that I would be asked, it is their job to ask. You always see those signs that say 'think 21' or sometimes 'think 25'. If I can't get in to a film rated '15' without being asked what are the odds I can pass for 21?
So back to the story I hand the check-out assistant my ID when prompted and she must have stared at it for a full minute. She then placed it on the counter while I was packing my shopping bags. Before I could pick it up she asked me what my date of birth was and picked it back up and continued to stare at it for another 30 seconds. She then told me that I don't look it and let me have my license back.

One good thing about looking so much younger is the look on people's faces when they ask me how old I am. It was recently my birthday and some of my colleagues were completely gobsmacked when I told them age. The look of astonishment is always priceless! Although I am sick of hearing 'You'll appreciate it when you're older.' Yes I probably will appreciate it when I'm older..but right now it gets on my nerves.

As you can see from my experience looking younger than I am has it's pros and cons.

Another of my colleagues recently asked my age as we were discussing going out and she said I didn't look old enough. I told her and she then told me how old she thought I looked. The answer to how old do I look does tally with my experiences.

So I can declare that I have recently turned the tender old age of 25...but I only look 17!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Random Thought #10 - Randomly Strange

Earlier on I was on my way somewhere when we came up to a lights controlled crossroads.

We were on a busy main road and the lights changed to green. As we went through the crossroads on our left, were two youths who were coming through a red light...on a mobility scooter!

Clearly with a death wish!!!!

Random Thought #9 - Tall Actors

Watching old movies brings random thoughts to mind.

With how tall Christopher Lee and Vincent Price are you could put them either side of your door and use them as columns for a porch!

However you'd have to add 1 inch to Vincent Price in order for the roof to be level.

I imagine it would be kind of like the clock on Count Duckula where the 2 characters come out and have a talk every so often! =D

Friday, 6 August 2010

A Tale of Five Fish: Part 4 - Another Update

It has just occured to me that maybe this 'saga' should now be called 'The Tale of One Fish'.

For any of you that are wondering - MAC THE FISH STILL LIVES!!!!!

His tail appears to be very slowly growing back, and he has a couple of black marks on it that are apparently a sign of healing.

Black marks can also mean a parasite but it is unlikely for three reasons:
  1. They are too big and aren't uniform enough to be a parasite
  2. Mac is still alive and a parasite would probably have killed him by now
  3. Mac can't be that unlucky - to lose 4 tank mates, his tail and then get a parasite!
My mum won't buy any more fish though until his tail has regrown, just in case.

I suppose this story really has become a fishy tail! *groan*

Monday, 26 July 2010

Where's my Background Gone?

I don't know if you are seeing my blog the way I am but it appears that my background has waltzed off.

Where did it go?

Will it return? Should I just go get another background?

Or is it just me going quietly insane seeing mysterious disappearing backgrounds that to everyone else are all present and correct?

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Random Thought #8 - Lack of Random Thoughts

My random thought today is that it would appear that I haven't had a random thought in some time.

Which would mean that all my thoughts have been reasonable and sensible - but surely that can't be true! ;-)

Saturday, 17 July 2010

The Bargain Hunter Strikes Again!


Although men are often seen as the hunter gatherers, evolution has created a type of woman who can rival the male hunter and get a thrill from it too. They are the 'Bargain Hunters'.

  
And as a bargain hunter myself I want to point out I'm not referring to some TV show where you buy antiques [although antiques bargain hunters no doubt exist – and by that I don't mean they are really old ;-)]. I mean a true bargain hunter, the type who bides their time. Who doesn't just grab the first thing they can find because it's 50% off.

I just had one of those triumphant moments when a good game of bargain hunting has taken place.


Time period: 1 week

Hunting ground: eBay and Amazon

Prey: a pair of boots


I wasn't sure at first if I would really like this particular style of boot. I thought in the wrong colour they would look a little too masculine for me. But then I found them in the most perfect colour. Any guesses? That's right – purple. Well they are actually lilac but I don't discriminate between shades of purple - I love them all! 

These boots however retail at £100! But on Amazon [one of my favourite online shopping venues, along with Etsy] I found a pair for £56. I still thought this was a little high and so, while I waited for pay day to come back round I decided to make enquiries elsewhere.


On eBay I found a pair that were the ankle length version of the boots I had seen [those one being calf length]. At the time they were going for £10.50 with 6 days left. So I put in a maximum bid of £25.


I was immediately outbid…by 10p!


I decided I didn't want to let them go for an amount so close to my maximum bid and so I added a miserly £1.50 on top of my original bid and suddenly I was winning.


Meanwhile on Amazon the price for the calf length boots was running at £53. For two days I kept going back to eBay, praying that I wasn't outbid but knowing that in reality I would have been. For two days my bid was the highest – TWO DAYS!


But inevitably I was outbid with one day to go. More bidding had taken place and I wasn't prepared to go higher than the current high bid.


Dejected I traipsed off to Amazon to gaze longingly at the calf length boots [that to be honest I'd always preferred to the ankle boots – and I'm not just saying that because I was outbid]. I clicked on my 'wish list' and the boots appeared on my screen.


But what was this? The price had changed again. They were now…


£28.50!!!


Needless to say I have bought them…and that bargain hunting thrill has certainly brightened up my day! :D
 

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Under Construction

Do you hear all that building work going on next door? No?

Well I'll wait a moment for your imagination to kick in.

...

That should be long enough. Now do you hear it? The hammering and the sawing? Yes?

Good.

That is the sound of my new blog being built, just down the corridor.

I realised recently that although I started this blog with the intention of it being about writing it has descended in to a purple mayhem overflowing with fish tanks and handbags.

So I thought that this blog can continue to be as the title suggests - random.

My new blog, which I intend to go live on 1st August 2010, will focus on the amount of writing/research that I am doing. It will be sort of journal like in style and if you want to read it you can...if you don't then fair enough. It will be a 'progress meter'. I'm not even going to have a hit counter on it.

Why the 1st August I hear you ask? I thought it best to start at the beginning of a month...and 1st July had already come and gone [isn't the year going by fast?].

I don't think I will be posting any of my actual writing and ideas online just yet though. Not that I'm paranoid or don't trust you but if any one did plagiarise me it would be inconvenient for me. It would cost me a lot of time and money to follow you round all day shouting 'You stole my ideas, you plagiariser!' ;-)

Sunday, 4 July 2010

A Tale of Five Fish: Part 3 - An Update

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the fish tank...

After my last tale about the fish tank I thought that was the end of it. Mac [the Knife Holmes] seemed a little depressed at first, skulking around in the bottom of the tank. Then he perked up and was dashing around the tank as happy as ever.

But then...

The other day we noticed something strange about him. The night before he had been fine and now...he was missing most of his tail!

It would appear that Mac [the Knife Holmes] has got fin rot. :-(

So we have treated the water in a bid to save him.

Poor fishy...he has lost almost all of his tail but on the plus side that was a few days ago now and it hasn't got any worse and it does not appear to have spread to the rest of his fins.

Lets hope though that we weren't too late...

Sunday, 20 June 2010

A Tale of Five Fish: Part 2

So where were we? Oh yes, first Horatio had gone, then Gibbs and quick on his tail Grissom. And now there was another body at the bottom of the tank.

Was it Mac or was it Simon [Patrick Moriarty]?

It would seem that after all that had been, good had finally conquered evil in some way unknown to us mere human beings.

Simon [Patrick Moriarty] was the next to have died, his body getting wedged in one of the plastic flowers in the tank.

Clearly Mac must be a descendant of Sherlock Holmes...although I have now taken to calling him Mack the Knife.

Mac seems perfectly OK now but he has taken to drifting around the bottom of the tank...we think he's lonely without his crime investigating friends. However until we are sure that he is OK he will have to remain alone...poor Mac [the Knife Holmes].

On the plus side he doesn't have to fight to get food any more.

Now I am well aware that this is a slight anticlimax but what did you expect? They are fish. There wasn't going to be a struggle and tumble down a waterfall now was there? ;)

Saturday, 19 June 2010

A Tale of Five Fish: Part 1


 For some time my mum's fish tank has stood in the corner of the living room. It's four inhabitants floating around in there, occasionally congregating near the front of the tank. A sign that they require food.
   
The large goldfish was named Gibbs, the slightly smaller one Horatio. The darker coloured fish was named Grissom [we couldn't call him Gil could we?] and the multi-coloured one was Mac. If you watch a lot of American crime shows, like we do, you'll understand where the names came from.
   
They seemed to live quite a happy life these four forensic team leaders. I joked that we should get some more fish. Three to be exact and name them: Langston, Castle and Patrick. Again US Crime fans will understand.
   
My sister and her boyfriend recently went to a fair, and on their return we found that they had won a small goldfish. Tiny little fish he is, only about an inch, maybe an inch and a half long. In comparison to his soon-to-be tank mates, he was practically microscopic.
 The next day he was placed in the tank and my sister's boyfriend was given the task of naming him. At first the name 'Shark Bait' was considered in reference to Nemo's nickname on Finding Nemo.
  
In the end it was decided that he would be called Simon. That's ok, I thought. Simon Baker is the actor who plays Patrick Jane in The Mentalist, so I thought he would fit in fairly well.
 Simon [Patrick] spent the first few days hiding in the corner of the tank, behind the pump, as the other fish continued on with their lives.
 In the bottom of the tank is a large ceramic skull [courtesy of my brother], which during his brave moments Simon [Patrick] would swim through before returning to his hidey hole.
   
All was well in the detective fish household. Until…
   
Without warning Horatio died. He was found at the bottom of the tank. So began the mission of staring at the fish to see if they were ok. It was noted that two of the others appeared to have a reddish colour developing on them – a possible sign of ammonia in the tank.
 This problem was dealt with and again the fish went on with their lives…only now with one less. Simon [Patrick] was now less inclined to hide in the corner and would happily swim round with the others
   
However a couple of days later, Gibbs was found to be unnaturally still next to the pump, up in Simon's [Patrick's] corner in fact. After much staring we came to the conclusion that Gibbs too had died, and been despatched to that great pond in the sky.
 Where's Mac? Is he ok? He seemed it – his patch of redness seemed to be fading. Simon [Patrick], where's he?
Oh, hiding in the skull how cute. Now what about Grissom? Grissom did not appear to be all that well. He seemed ok in spirit but his scales were taking on a whitish colour…a possible sign of some kind of parasite in the tank.

   
That night Grissom was found dead. We were then looking at Simon [Patrick] in a new light. The four fish were fine until he came along. The cuteness of him hiding in the ceramic skull was replaced with something more sinister. Was he hatching his evil plans in there? Was he trying to get the tank to himself?
 I have suggested that if we get any more fish we should name two of them Holmes and Poirot so, should anything like this happen again, they have two of the greatest detectives of all time to help solve the mystery – before it's too late.
   
Maybe we should consider changing Simon's [Patrick's] name to Moriarty.
   
I returned home from work the other day and the two survivors were swimming around quite happily. However an hour later there was a body at the bottom of the tank.
   
Whose was it?
   
To be continued...tomorrow!

 

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Random Thought #7 - Justice

Aah...justice...there is nothing like it.

Whilst I was sat on the bus yesterday, we pulled up at a bus stop. A small boy, probably 7 or 8 years of age, asked the driver a question. I don't know what the question was but the answer was no.

The driver closed the doors and began to pull away from the kerb. The child, who turned out to be a little brat, then attempted to open the doors again by pressing the emergency button on the outside of the bus.

He missed, turned around and walked straight in to the bus stop! Serves him right... :)

Monday, 31 May 2010

Reality


A few years ago the image in my mind of a 'writer' was very different to what I know now is the reality. The term 'writer' conjured up images of myself sitting at a writing desk made of wood, by a window, in the glow of the sun as I frantically scribbled away.

(painting on left - "I am half sick of shadows", said the Lady of Shalott by J W Waterhouse)

The reality I know is very different. My desk made of chipboard, sits on the opposite side of the room to the window, and is mainly used as a dressing table. I sit on my bed in the corner with my laptop resting on my knee, as I type away.

Another image that often came to me when I heard the term writer was of fields of wildflowers, wearing a long flowing dress as I sat and wrote great works in long hand with paper, a quill and an ink pot. Romantic stuff huh?

(painting on right - Ophelia by J W Waterhouse)

Again reality bites. Long flowing dresses make me look even shorter than I am. Fields of flowers bring on my hay fever with a vengeance. And I cannot write for very long in long hand. The longer I write the faster I write. The faster I write the more illegible my handwriting becomes...to the point that I cannot read it myself. And then my wrist begins to ache.

So reality sees me dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, filling myself up with hay fever remedies, whilst scribbling the odd note down in a notebook until I can get to my laptop to actually 'write' anything of any length.

On an entirely different note - the paintings I have used to illustrate this post are by one of my favourite artists - J W Waterhouse. I love not only his style but also his subjects. You may be forgiven for thinking he painted in the mid nineteenth century alongside the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. However he did in fact paint later than them, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, having been born in 1849, around the time that the first Pre-Raphaelite exhibition began. I was very dismayed to hear about the exhibition of Waterhouse's work last year, on account of the fact that I found out about it just after it had finished.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Book Review: How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries


From my experience of 'how to write' books I have found the ones that best fit the genre I'm working in fall in to two categories: mystery and historical.

That is why I was so happy when I came across How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries by Kathy Lynn Emerson. This is the only book I have seen that looks at historical crime/mystery. If there are any others out there do let me know.

Kathy Lynn Emerson is a writer of historical mysteries including two series, as well as having written in a number of other genres. So she knows what she is talking about.

I have read this book all the way through and now as I plan and research my novel I find myself returning to it more often than some other books.

There is some very good advice in it, and it seems to concentrate more on the fiction side of things. The fact that you can make up a place if you want to, or invent your 'sleuth'. Like other books on historical fiction this has sections on anachronisms and research. However in this book there are also sections on marketing and selling your novel [not necessarily in that order].

Kathy also includes a case study of one of her own books, where she explains how the idea came about, and her research, writing and subsequent revisions. There is also a section on writing historical mystery short stories.

There is a brief section on female sleuths. As I have decided that my main female character will become a sleuth this section encouraged me to think long and hard about who she was and what her life was like. Women could not always be police officers, and the further back in time you go the more women seem to be tied to their husband and children...so why should my character be gallivanting around solving mysteries?

Well I'm not going to divulge that information here but without this book I wouldn't have considered the what, the why or the how come.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Random Thought #6 - Imagination

Some people say they have no imagination...my imagination is so big that I can't imagine what that's like! ;)

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Book Review: The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction

I've decided to review some of the books I have to do with writing. I have recently got rid of some writing books - sold on eBay or packed off to the charity shop - but I thought that I would review some of the ones I have kept and the ones I haven't read sometime in the future.

So first up is a book that I have recently finished reading:

The Art and Craft of Historical Fiction by James Alexander Thom

The novel that I am working on is a historical mystery so I thought that this book would be good to read.
James Alexander Thom has written a number of American frontier books, that are heavily researched. This is reflected in The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction where his advice on research draws heavily on examples from his own experiences.
There were some chapters that I feel didn't really apply to me whereas other chapters I found quite useful.

One of the chapters that didn't really apply to me was the chapter that dealt with genealogy. One of the main assumptions of this book is that, although fiction, you are writing about real people. The vast majority of my characters are fictional. I am drawing on some real life people from the period that I am looking at, however if any completely real people do appear it will only be very briefly.

There are also parts of the book that focuses on 'facts' that were actually made-up and are now seen to be true.

I did find a lot of good advice in this books though. The chapters I found the most useful were Songs, Smells, and Sensations, and How Not to Write Historical Fiction. These chapters gave advice on cliches, avoiding anachronisms, describing sounds and smells.
There are also chapters on research, credibility and 'modifying the truth'.

This book has helped me with the planning of my novel. Originally I was going to have a major event happen before the second main character appeared. However after reading this book and its advice on starting in the action or with an event, rather than describing the scene too much, I have decided to start as though the event has already happened and the second main character is already involved.

Overall I like this book though I think that some of its advice is directed more at writers whose characters are all real historical figures. A good book to have although trying to read it straight through is a little challenging.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

The Wonderful World of Dolly's Bags!

To all those who love handbags...this is the review for you.

I've never done a product review before but here goes anyway. I have also never included photos in a post before so hopefully all will go well.
I first came across these handbags via Lisa Freemont - a blogger and YouTuber, who did a couple of reviews on these bags.

So let me introduce you to Dolly's Bags! Dolly makes all the bags herself, as well as other accessories. And I absolutely love them! This is a review of the products I recently ordered from her - but there are lots more styles, fabrics and items to choose from so you really have to check out her website.

The bags arrived just in time as the handles on my current shop-bought handbag are disintegrating - it took me a week to realise that the bits all over my coat were coming off of my handbag.


Dolly's Bags is part of the company 'Dungaree Dolly's' and is based in the USA. My order included 3 items and including shipping time took about seven weeks to get to me - remember the items are handmade - and very well I might add.
 
I was going to film or take photos as I opened the parcel, however I was so excited it took all of my will power not to tear the pretty tissue paper, it was wrapped in, to shreds so pictures of the products will have to do. It was all very well packaged and arrived quickly.
 
Item Number 1
 
The first item that I ordered was the 'Messenger Bag', which I got in candy heart print fabric. The original lining colour was baby pink, however I asked that the purple pin dot lining be used instead - purple is my favourite colour if you hadn't already guessed!
 
I love this fabric, it is very brightly coloured and eye-catching. I can't wait to use it.
Being short of stature I asked Dolly about adjusting the strap length and she very nicely added an adjustable strap to bag for me. =)

The bag is really well made and stitched together. It feels as though will last a really long time.


Item Number 2

The second item that I ordered was the 'Bella Bag'. This bag is very very cute, and I ordered this bag in black cherry print fabric with red confetti lining. I have a slight obsession with cherry print fabric, I also have an obsession with Mary Jane style shoes but that is a different story entirely.

The Bella Bag will hold a lot more than it's exterior suggests, which is great. I'm a little sick of carrying around a bag that looks like it is the size of a suitcase, just to accommodate everything that I carry around with me.

Both bags have a magnetic closure on them and internal pockets.


Item Number 3

The last item that I ordered was a sunglasses case. I had been looking for a case for my sunglasses for some time. I wanted to prevent my glasses getting scratched or damaged in my bag, but all the cases I had looked at were plain and to put it bluntly...boring.

Of course I had to get it in black cherry print fabric - I also own a black cherry print dress and headband, so all I need now is cherry print shoes for a complete outfit!

My favourite sunglasses are quite big but they fit in this case perfectly.


I will carry Dolly's business card with me wherever I take these bags so that when people ask where my bag is from, and they will, I can hand them Dolly's card.

I may never buy a shop bought handbag again...unless there is a sale on! ;)

The only problem I have now is deciding which bag I should order next...and how soon is too soon to put in another order! =D

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Random Thought #5 - Wasting Your Breath

Do you ever get the feeling that when you speak to some people, they couldn't really care less, and that you are wasting your breath? But by that time it is too late to do anything about it...or you will have been interrupted.

Write it down in a blog and the people who actually give a damn will read it - and your breath will have been saved.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Michael Buble and Naturally 7

Just a short post today as I had to tell you all about what I got up to yesterday.

Last night I went to see Michael Buble in concert at Sheffield Arena.There are a number of words to describe the night but the one that springs most to mind is:

PHENOMENAL

It was absolutely fantastic - I expected it to be good but it practically blew my mind with how great it was.

A big surprise were his supporting act who I hadn't really heard of before yesterday - Naturally 7
Naturally 7 make all their music with their voices, which I hadn't realised when I listened to a bit of their music before heading out to Sheffield. If you don't know that there aren't any actual instruments, other than their voices, you can't tell just by listening.

Check them out!


Sunday, 2 May 2010

I Did Not Come Here to be Insulted!

In my last post I mentioned that there are at least two films called Monkey Business. One starring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers, and the other starring the Marx Brothers, the latter being made 21 years before the former.

I am a very big fan of the Marx Brothers, owning all 13 Marx Brothers films on DVD. I believe that the most well known member of the Marx Brothers is Groucho Marx.

Groucho with his quick fire insults and responses to other people's attempts to put him down, and his array of unusual character names and professions: Captain Geoffrey T. Spaulding, Explorer; Wolf J. Flywheel, Private Eye; Rufus T. Firefly, President of Freedonia; Otis B. Driftwood, Operatic Agent. And from my favourite Marx Brothers film, A Day at the Races, Dr Hugo Z. Hackenbush, a Veterinary Surgeon and Horse Doctor who is masquerading as a Medical Doctor.

As I mentioned before Groucho is well known for his insults, that roll easily off his tongue. Insults that go by so fast you don't realise they are in fact insults at first. And quick witted answers to things that other people have said, that when you think about them do make perfect sense...in a way.

'You must fight for this woman's honour, which is more than she ever did.' Rufus T. Firefly, Duck Soup

Naval Officer *looks at passport*: 'Say this picture doesn't look like you.'
Groucho: 'Well it doesn't look like you either.'
                                                                                                                 Monkey Business

*Whilst taking Harpo's pulse* 'Either he's dead or my watch has stopped'
                                                                                             Dr Hugo Z. Hackenbush, A Day at the Races

I could go on and on listing Groucho's best lines, but I would be here for some considerable time. Someone once said (unfortunately I forget who) that they would rather be insulted by Groucho Marx than complimented by anyone else. I sort of understand that statement.

And so, lastly, I will give you my favourite Groucho Marx insult.

It is from Monkey Business, and the scene goes like this:

The ship has docked at the harbour and the passengers are beginning to make their way to have their passports checked. A woman, a well known star of some kind, is being interviewed by a group of reporters. Groucho swiftly steps into this group, takes the notepad and paper off the reporter stood next to him and begins firing random questions at the woman. She begins to look a little irritated with him and then he asks:

'Is it true you are getting a divorce as soon as your husband regains his eyesight?'

May the Marx Brothers live on through our laughter and DVD players!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Blank Page Syndrome

'That's the trouble with being a chemist, you can't actually think. Every now and then you feel compelled to sit and stare at a sheet of white paper hoping it will speak to you but it never does.'

Dr Barnaby Fulton, Monkey Business, 1952

The other day I was watching the film Monkey Business - which is a different film to the film of the same name that stars the Marx brothers - when the above line struck a chord with me, so much so that I had to pause the film and write it down.
Dr Barnaby Fulton was played by Cary Grant, and the second line of this quote made me think of 'Writer's Block' or what I am going to call 'Blank Page Syndrome' (BPS), as it is not just writers that suffer from this.
The first part of the quote has little to do with writing - I'm sure most writer's do have the ability to think.

Most writers, at some point or another, will have sat down in front of their computer with a blank document on the screen, or turned to a brand new page in a notebook, and will have had no idea what to put on it.
And as the seconds tick by and become minutes, the vast, white emptiness, begins to scare them slightly.

I think one of the reasons I get BPS is because I want to write it all in order, the beginning, the middle and then the end. However a lot of the time I do not have the middle, I only have the beginning and the end, and so while I try to think of the middle the page remains blank.

I am currently working on changing that, by typing the end in a few lines down from the beginning, it is done. The gap in the middle will need filling at some point but the bits that were floating round in my head are down on paper, be it real paper or a computer screen.

Perhaps if I stick at it, these bouts of BPS will become a thing of the past.

We must remember that we need to speak to the piece of paper and not rely on the hope that it will speak to us. Because it never will...

Monday, 19 April 2010

I Love a Good To-Do List

I love crossing items off a to-do list.

So Monday is here, and it's time to take a look at my to-do list from my post on Thursday. What did I manage to cross off?

  1. Write a letter to my doctor.
  2. Complete proof-reading exercise.
  3. Start writing number one of my fairy tale ideas, into an actual story.
  4. Start writing number two of my fairy tale ideas, into an actual story.
  5. Continue research for novel.
  6. Take something from my pile of clothes to customise/adjust and customise/adjust it.
  7. Practice putting false eyelashes on.
  8. Eat some chocolate. ;)
Number eight was naturally the first item to be crossed off the list. :) With regards to item number three I have a beginning and an ending to the story...just need to bridge the gap in the middle now.

Items number four and six may have been completed had some new things suddenly been thrown into the mix:

    9. Fix a broken ornament that I didn't break but got lumbered with anyway.
   10. Washing-up

So new item number nine is almost complete if I can get the bits to stick back together slightly more solidly. And as for number ten...well the washing-up has long since piled back up.

And a couple of items that, although  not on the list, were accomplished today:
   
    11. Ordered a couple of books to help with my research.
    12. Decided to change one of the two main characters in my novel.

So overall, not a bad weekend's work.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Weekend

Every time I have an extended weekend coming up I imagine all the things I can get done. These tasks don't actually get done, and I find myself returning to work with everything still to do.

I have got tomorrow off work, making my weekend this week not two but three days long, and I am going to attempt [yet again] to get something done.

Whilst reading the blog of artist, writer and illustrator Jackie Morris, Drawing a Line in Time, I saw that she regularly puts a 'to do' list in her blogs and then checks off the the items on the list that she manages to complete.

So as encouragement to get me to actually complete a task I have decided to a similar list. Having a list of things I haven't done displayed for all to see might actually encourage me to achieve some of them.

So my list of things to do this weekend includes:
  1. Write a letter to my doctor [so I don't have to spend the next week on the phone trying to make contact with them].
  2. Complete proof-reading exercise.
  3. Start writing number one of my fairy tale ideas, into an actual story.
  4. Start writing number two of my fairy tale ideas, into an actual story.
  5. Continue research for novel.
  6. Take something from my pile of clothes to customise/adjust and customise/adjust it [it must not return to the pile to count as an achievement].
  7. Practice putting false eyelashes on [another hobby of mine, make-up, I've had the eyelashes for weeks and done nothing with them yet].
  8. Eat some chocolate. ;)
Okay, so number eight is only there so I can definitely guarantee that I can cross something off the list by the end of the weekend.

We shall reconvene on Monday to find out what, if anything other than number eight, I have completed.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Random Thought #3 - Muddled Up Lyrics

Whilst singing Lovely Rita by The Beatles to myself, I accidently muddled the words up resulting in a thoroughly different song:

'Lovely meter, Rita made...'

Presumably it would have been a parking meter that she made, but would it really have been a lovely one? :-)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Once Upon a Time...


At around the same time that I began writing this blog I decided that I would write at least one short story a month…it wouldn't even matter if it wasn't completely finished as long as I had the idea and most of the story down on paper.
Last week I came up with an idea for a group of short stories involving rewriting fairy tales and other classic fantasy stories.
I immediately sat down with a piece of paper and a pen, and began mind-mapping various ideas, that turned each well-known tale on its head, making the good guys bad and the bad guys good.
It was after doing to this to five different stories that I realised that I would have to think a lot harder and look deeper into these stories.
Out of five story ideas, three of them all involved a sinister plot to overtake one kingdom or another.
So it's back to the drawing board for now...hopefully it will not be long before I come across some slightly more original motives for evil 'good guys'.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Random Thought #2 - Scam Emails

One of those moments that make you laugh out loud!

The reason that I laughed out loud: an unscrupulous moron sent me an email supposedly from my bank. Email regarded a possible account theft.

Possible was spelt 'posibile'.

I wonder if it is legitimate. ;) Hmm probably not... [Plus my bank doesn't have my email address]

Sunday, 28 March 2010

My Other Hobby...


When I first started this blog I said that it wouldn't always be about writing. So as I stood at my 'mannequin' attempting to adjust a dress I thought why not blog about that too.
Granted some of the customisations are only a matter of adjusting them slightly for a better fit.
For example, the item I am adjusting now is a Jane Norman dress that I got in a sale. The main base colour is a dark grey-purple, with a dotted flower pattern in dark pink, lilac and white. It is a polyester dress that looks like it is made of a satin style fabric. I had seen it in a UK size 12; however this would have been far too big for me. Then one day whilst browsing the racks I found it in a size 8.
Now you are about to hate me. I find that when it comes to Jane Norman I have to get a size 6. A lot of other shops I am a UK size 8 to 10, however in Jane Norman their sizes do appear to be one smaller. So if you are a size 8, you become a 6; a size 10, you are now an 8; and so on and so forth.
Anyway I knew I would have to adjust the dress but I really wanted it so I got it, I have had it some time now and I have only just got around to adjusting it around the shoulders and bust line.
Which brings me on to my other recent project - I made myself a mannequin. To buy one that would adjust down to my size would have cost me a lot.
Making it was the result of my sister wrapping me in duct tape, cutting the result off me, tape it back up and stuffing it. I found the instructions to do this on YouTube, by simply searching for 'duct tape body form' or 'how to make a body form'. I adapted mine by putting a large postal tube down the centre of it so I could attach it to the top of my easel.
And as a result, I now have a 'mannequin' which is my size (give or take 2 or 3 layers of duct tape). If you have a go yourself, be warned:
  1. Go to the toilet first
  2. You will get to a point where you cannot move the top of your legs or arms very well - don't panic!
  3. Put an old t-shirt underneath to stick the tape to, preferably one you don't mind cutting up.
  4. Take your time - the YouTube videos may do it in 10 minutes, however they have been sped up.
  5. Make sure you have plenty of duct tape - you do not want to run out half way through.
So as I have an immense pile of clothes to customise I may as well tell you what I get up to with it - however I probably won't be putting up pictures of the finished product, maybe one day in the future but not just yet.
Stayed tuned for more writing and customising adventures!

Monday, 22 March 2010

Spring Cleaning

A number of times a year I find myself sorting through my clothes (and there are a lot of them) in a bid to make some space. Each time I find that 90% of my clothes go straight back where they came from. The other 10%, I stand staring at for ages.

Shall I keep it? Hmm...am I ever going to wear it again? Probably not, but what if...? I'll keep it, just in case...you never know.

However during a recent sort through I decided that I would be ruthless, I was not going to hang on to stuff that I wasn't going to wear.
Tops were discarded, dresses were dispatched; the combat trousers that, although I know are coming back in to fashion, I will never wear again, all gone. Even a couple of pairs of shoes went (but keep quiet about that as the rest of my shoes might get worried! ;)).
None of the times were wasted, most of it went to my sister, a pair of shoes went on eBay, a few things I put to one side to dismantle and turn in to something else and the rest were parcelled off to the local charity shop.
My wardrobe is still overflowing - I am a fully-fledged shopaholic!

I can tell what you are now thinking.

What does this have to do with writing?

I'll tell you.

The grand sorting out of Chippy's clothes 2010 prompted me to sort through some other things, make-up, books etc.
The final item to sort through was my handbag. As I emptied it, all sorts of things came tumbling out.
Receipts, pens, bills (paid ones), lip balms, allergy tablets from last summer, an umbrella, a notebook I keep notes for my novel in, and bits of paper. Loads and loads of bits of paper, with random notes and ideas scribbled on to them, which had then been banished to the bottom of my bag.

I decided to sort through these notes and write then down in one of the many notebooks that I own, which I bought because I thought they looked 'pretty'.
As I went through them some were written straight in to the notebook. And then with about 10% of them (like with my clothes), I sat and pondered over for a while.

How did I come up with that idea? What was I thinking? That's no good.

My eyes were trained on the rubbish bin, as my hand prepared to scrunch the piece of paper up in to a ball.

No, that idea may come in handy one day; I can adapt it into something at least half decent.

So, when it comes to writing, unlike with my clothes, clinging on to long forgotten items is a good thing.

You never know when half an idea that you scribbled down will become a fully formed story. And ideas scribbled down in this way don't take up half as much room as my clothes! :)