Sunday, 30 December 2012

What drought?

My blog title is particularly pertinent right now. I originally called it Writing in the Rain because I was writing to keep my brain occupied during the time that Mr A was having all the chemotherapy treatment in the hospital. It would appear that I am now literally writing in the rain!

Do you remember those threats of a UK hosepipe ban early in 2012? By April our reservoirs were dangerously low. They said it would take years for the underground water levels to be restored. The government declared the country in a state of official drought. The next day it started to rain and it’s hardly stopped since. Wasn’t that summer rain relentless? There were brief spells of summer sun but the rain dominated and now we’re about to finish the year with threats of more floods.

Apparently 2012 has been the wettest year since UK records began. That does not surprise me. The rain is drumming on the conservatory roof as I type this. I’m relieved that we don’t live in an area that’s prone to flooding. How awful that must be. My heart goes out to all those who do.

I know we need water for our survival but there are limits! I hope it stops raining soon, just for a little while.

The next time I blog it’ll be 2013. I don’t usually make resolutions but I’m determined to think more positively next year… so if you hear me being negative you have my permission to give me a sharp rebuttal! Well, maybe not sharp... well, maybe not a rebutal... perhaps a gentle reminder would be adequate ;-)

I hope you all have a happy new year. See you in 2013.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Help! I'm Strictly at a Loss

I’ve blogged on and on about it for the last two years. I can’t not blog on about it this year, now can I? You might think I’d managed to ‘get myself a life’ and that would never do!

I’m talking about Strictly Come Dancing, of course. [For those in America it’s like Dancing With The Stars] and here's the glitter ball again which I've dusted off from my 2010 blog post aptly named Why I'm Obsessed with Strictly Come Dancing.

For the last three months I’ve watched every Saturday extravaganza and every Sunday results programme. I’ve even watched Strictly It Takes Two every weekday evening. I’ve loved every dance, every interview, every bit of back-stage gossip and now that it’s over, I’m bereft. The programme becomes so much a part of my life for three months each year that I’m at a loss when it’s finished.

Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace
performing their winning show dance.

So, now it’s all over, what am I going to do with myself?

STOP PRESS:  Thanks to @kirstyes I've now got tickets to go and see the Strictly Live Show in Nottingham. Yay! And thanks again, Kirsty.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A Fun Photo!

I just had to share this photo with you. 

It's Barney, our friends' lovely little Jack Russell dog. 

I think he might be saying, "Of course I can lick my nose. Can't everyone?"

I bet someone out there will be able to think of a better caption though... right?

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Bleak Mid-Winter

It’s been a week of two halves [and I thought I’d explain why I’ve not been around to visit many blogs this week.]

On the bleak side Mr A has had a bad attack of flu. His temperature soared to scary heights on Tuesday. His resistance has never fully recovered from the stem cell transplant two years ago and so any attack like this has to be carefully monitored. Thankfully the antibiotics have kicked in and he’s slowly recovering.

On the bright side there have been lots of Chanukah celebrations, donuts and latkes to eat [traditional Chanukah food - I’ve explained why at the bottom of this post] candles to light and parties to prepare and organise.

And this morning the changing view from my Writing Den window reflected my week’s two halves.

A frosty -4 degrees   :-/

And then the sun came out   :-)

[Donuts and latkes and all things fried: In the year 168 BCE the Jewish Temple was seized and defiled by the enemy. There is always a symbolic light burning in the Temple but in those days each jug of oil lasted for only one day. During the siege that one jug lasted for eight days. This is why we eat fried food during Chanukah, to remind us of the miracle.] 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Right Place Right Time

[Last week I started a blog post with ‘It was twenty years ago today...’ but, in spite of my ‘Sergeant Pepper’ reference, the post had nothing to do with The Beatles. Now I’m starting with ‘It was fifty years ago today...’ and it has a lot to do with The Beatles so:]

It was fifty years ago today, 9th December 1962, that The Beatles played in their usual venue, The Cavern Club in Liverpool, but to an unusual member of the audience, George Martin, the Parlaphone Producer. It is said that he looked totally out of place mingling with sweaty youngsters but he was there on business and went on to record The Beatles’ first album, Please Please Me.

1962 was an important year for The Beatles. They had their first BBC Radio session in March and they recorded Love Me Do in September but I wasn’t overly impressed by them... not yet. They were just another young pop group dividing their time between UK and Hamburg and it could have stayed that way.

What if they hadn’t performed at The Cavern that night?
What if one of them had decided to live in Hamburg and the group had split up?
What if they hadn’t gone on to record Please Please Me with George Martin?

I do believe that success has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time. That’s what I think each time I submit a manuscript. Will it land on the right editor’s desk at the right time, at a time when he/she has a gap in their publishing list? I submitted a children’s novel and a children’s picture book this week and I am really hoping that they land on the right desk at the right time.

And a very Happy Chanukah to all those who are celebrating this week. I’ll be lighting an additional candle each evening until all eight plus the central lighter candle are burning and I'll be watching that miracle, the one where a tiny candle flame has the strength to overcome a room full of darkness.

These were my candles on the last
day of Chanukah a few years ago.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Happy Birthday SMS

It was twenty years ago today [No, this isn't a Sergeant Pepper track!] that the first experimental SMS text message was sent. It said "Merry Christmas" and was sent by Neil Papworth, the British Engineer who developed the software. It was originally intended as a paging system for use in offices. No one expected it to take over from actual phone calls but it's now estimated that over 15 million messages are sent every minute... and that includes mine!

I love text messaging and the following are just a few of the reasons why:

  • You can pass a message on without interrupting someone, even if they're in the middle of their dinner.
  • You can send a happy smiley face to someone without saying a word.
  • You can reply when you've got the time. That's why I'm happy to text if I think someone might be driving whereas I'd never phone them.
  • You can send someone something like an address or a contact name and they don't have to scribble on a piece of paper with the phone under their chin.
  • You can get a reminder from the doctor/dentist/hospital/garage about an appointment so you've no excuses for forgetting.
What are your favourite reasons for text messaging? And if you've never tried it then why not give it a go. Even Mr A does it!