Friday, 24 December 2010

Insomnia rules KO'D Xmas 2010

Sorry for the long silence but I have been struggling with serious insomnia for some months now and I haven't been able to string more than a couple of coherent sentences together. So no writing or anything creative for a long time. Now I am seeing a Doctor and am having acupuncture and taking homeopathic medicines and I think sleep is slowly returning. I am hopeful, no determined, that the New year will see me return to my writing and blogging, so if anyone still comes to look at this blog from time to time then please come back after the 8th January.

In the meantime I hope y0u all have a Happy Christmas and a creative New Year. See you in 2011.

Monday, 6 September 2010

La Rentree and dreams of Wildfires!

Time for children to start a new school year, in France it's called La Rentree and the supermarket aisles have been filled, since the middle of August, with all the paraphanalia associated with school. The sight of all those pens and pencils and notebooks has fired my desire to start writing again. I have spent the summer lazing around, I am tanned from reading indulgently in the sun, but now my fingers are itching and ideas are floating around in my head.

I can sit outside in the early evening as the heat dissipates with the setting sun, it's quiet with just the occasional sound of a car or a dog barking disconsolately.

Although on Saturday it was a very different story. It started at about 3.30pm with the sound of a small plane circling overhead, nothing particularly unusual about that but soon it was joined by other planes flying over our house. It was then that I noticed the smoke over the hill behind our house. I called the OH to come and look. As the planes came low over the house we could identify them as Canadairs, the planes the French use to fight wild fires. It was obvious there was a fire in the hills behind our house, how close we didn't know but the smoke had dissappeared so we guessed it wasn't too close. But we spent an interesting time watching the planes coming low over the house. We found out later that about 40 hectares of garrigue[quite some distance from us] had been destroyed but no properties had been threatened. It is something that happens quite regularly in this part of southern France during the summer months, and unfortunately the fires are sometimes started deliberately. It didn't occur to me to take any photos until the 'excitement' was nearly over, I wouldn't make a very good journalist, and I missed the 4 planes all flying over together!!! So all I have is a rather grainy photo of what could be any plane. What is perhaps more interesting is that a week or so ago I had a dream/nightmare where there was a wildfire raging behind our house and we were trying to keep our house and our neighbours house hosed down with water. The house on the hill behind us was ablaze. As someone who very rarely remembers their dreams this was unusual to say the least. Premonition or what?
So tomorrow will see me back at my desk, pen in hand and notebook at the ready. I just hope I can remember some of the ideas I have had recently!!!
Oh and well done to Jackie for spotting the sheep hiding in the dining room. I am busy laying floor tiles at the moment so there may be more photos soon. Of course Jackie you could see the progress for yourself!!!!!!
And I really do intend to be a more diligent blogger this Autumn.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

August is a Wicked Month!

Half way through August already, the sun keeps shining and I am reminding myself to enjoy this glorious weather. We have been to the sea to swim and have lunch, there has been free music in the local villages plus a Folk Festival and visits to friends for BBQ's and generally having a good time. And on Saturday we had a party to celebrate our wedding anniversary. All good fun. Summer is a busy time in the south of France and we are doing our best to fit in as much as possible.
And just to prove that we are still fitting in a bit of DIY the photo is our new dining room. This is part of one of the two extensions we have had built. The furniture and contents have been in store since we moved here more than two years ago, so it was good fun to open some more boxes. We are still working on the kitchen with the floor tiles due to be delivered at the end of August, then we can really make progress. We are also working on the study[old kitchen] which will mean that I can finally get all my books out.
The title of this post refers to a book by Edna O'Brian. I have been re-reading an assortment of books out of neccessity, although last week we cycled to Quillan to our friends book stall and I found two books I wanted to read: Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits her first novel which for some reason I had not read, it's an amazing book. She is a real story teller with a remarquable style, I could barely put it down. The other book was by Margaret Forster: The Diary of an Ordinary Woman. If you get the chance to read this book do not make my mistake which was to read the Authors Note at the end of the book as it rather coloured my enjoyment. Nevertheless another excellent book from this Author. We shall cycle to Quillan again tomorrow so I can change my books, hopefully I can find some more gems. And I am beginning to feel like picking up my pen again after rather a long break when I just could not feel inspired. Sometimes you just have to accept that. Now I think it's time to sit in the sun and see if I can come up with some ideas for the wip. Oh it's a hard life sometimes but someone's got to do it.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Holiday snaps

Oh no I hear you groan, not someone elses holiday photos, can there be anything more boring? Well probably not but you are going to get them anyway. Just to prove that we actually went. It seems like an age ago, a month actually and we have been busy with diy since our return, but more of that another day.

I have to say the photos are not as good as I had hoped and I have decided that I need to upgrade my camera. I know that old excuse, but this time it's true. Anyway for what they are worth, starting in Verazza Italy, then Sienna, the Piazza del Campo and the Duomo, then Pisa, lunch overlooking the Med, Volterra where we stayed for 4 nights then Saint Maxime [opposite Saint Tropez] in France and a rather angry sea. It was very windy and I couldn't keep the camera still.
We had a wonderful week, the weather was fabulous, sunny and hot so I was able to swim every day. We adore Italy, it's even more laid back than France, with good wine, gorgeous food and amazing architecture everywhere you go. Somehow it's good for the soul and we definitely recharged our batteries.
On the return leg of our trip we stayed two nights in the Var region exactly one week before the area was devestated by floods, with considerable loss of life. We felt very lucky indeed that we had not been involved and very saddened by the tragedy.
Hope you enjoy the photos.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Holiday whoopee!!

We are off to Italy today for a weeks rest from DIY. We are going to the Ligurian coast and are so looking forward to seeing the wonderful rugged coastline and the beautiful fortified towns. The food and wine is not bad either!!!
See you when we get back.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Late snow and central heating!!!

We are probably one of the few people to have central heating installed just as the winter finally bows out. Although I have to say that the snow we had at the beginning of May was a surprise to say the least and we thought we might ask the plumber to get a move on as we needed the heating now!!! It has been hectic and chaotic with seemingly every room taken over by the plumber and even more mess than usual. And just as the plumber left the gas board started digging up the road to bring our gas supply. However all the work going on in the house meant that the OH had some time on his hands so he set to and built a Hen house and we are now the proud owners of 4 hens that are currently laying 2/3 eggs a day. It is so good to have our own supply of fresh eggs again.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to concentrate or find a quiet corner to write or blog. But i shall try and get back into some sort of routine again. I am so easily distracted, any excuse will do. Now I need to give myself a talking to especially as the sun is shining and it is finally getting warmer, and I always feel more energetic when the sun shines so a photo of our new hens and then !!!!! Back to digging the trench across our front garden to take the gas pipe, we thought about getting in a man with a mini digger but decided it would make too much mess so we are playing at 'navvies' for a few days. It's hard work but probably good for the muscles, although I'm not sure about the hairs on my chest!!!!
Back to the wip tomorrow or maybe the day after ..........!

Friday, 26 March 2010

March 2010

It's very nearly the end of March omg where has the month gone? Sorry I haven't been round to other blogs much but I will try and catch up with everyone soon.
Well it started with more snow in one day then I have ever seen. The scenes are taken from our house and are what we woke up to on March the 8th! We had to drive to Carcassonne that day[about 45mins normally] as we wanted to order our new kitchen while it was on offer. With 30% off we couldn't afford not to go and it was the last day of the promotion. Luckily we have a four wheel drive car and got there no problem. Ordered the kitchen, delivery end of April, not that we will be ready for it then, and then left for home. The return journey took us 90 mins mainly due to very slow moving cars in front of us[not 4 wheel drive] but we made it. And apparently we were lucky because not much more than half an hour after we had travelled there were cars and lorries littered all over the road and friends took 3 hours to get home. We had a week of freezing weather and then the wind changed and we now have lovely sunny days and temps of around 20degrees. It's such a transformation. We have the doors and windows wide open and my spirits have lifted. I do love the sunshine, it gives me energy and enthusiasm hence the new addition to the sidebar. I have started Novel 2. Admittedly only a couple of pages but I have ideas floating about that want to get on the page.
All I have to do now is keep up with the second draft of Novel 1!!!!!
We have also made progress on the home front. The utility room [in the extension] is finished and we are now using it as a temporary kitchen. It is decidedly better than the old kitchen even though it is quite small. A definite improvement and we are getting on with the new kitchen, although this is being delayed by a problem with our four wheel drive car, we can't get to the wood yard with the trailor, but we'll sort that out soon.
So although March is nearly over we are making progress. And tomorrow there is a big wine event in a nearby village which should be very enjoyable. And we can walk there so no problems with over indulging not that we would!!!!!
Now it's time for a run, and that's going well too. Always easier running in the sunshine.

Monday, 1 March 2010


This should be the first page of Fiona Robyn's new novel but I haven't managed to copy it so I will just give you the link to her blog. You can read THAW here .
Please do go and read the first entry of Ruth's diary[Thaw] and then follow events as they unfold daily over the next three months. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

Monday, 22 February 2010

There once was an Ugly Duckling!

Well a duck actually. As you can see he/she is different from the other wild ducks. They are on the River Aude where I often go running/cycling and just before Christmas this unusual duck appeared. I have tried looking in my bird book but cannot find the species so if anyone out there recognises it do leave a comment. I have named the duck Dab Dab after the duck in Doctor Dolittle and have taken to feeding them when I cycle along the river.
The locals probably think I'm mad as the only reason they would feed the ducks would be to fatten them up ready for the pot!!!
At last the weather here seems to be warming up, we have already had two lots of snow this year and it has been really cold, down to -8 deg C overnight and not much warmer during the day. Not what we expected when we moved south!!!!! However over the weekend the temp reached 16 deg C with lovely warm sun so fingers crossed that it stays like this. I always have more energy and enthusiasm when the sun shines so am intending to start on the second draft this week before I forget what the novel is about.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Isabel Allende and me!

Before I tell you what Isabel Allende and I have in common [apart from writing] I want to thank P&D from TW for acknowledging my wearing of and dancing in High Heels on New Year's Eve, see comments in last post. However the OH wants to know what you mean by S&M, was it just a typo or is he missing something!!!!!!!!

In my last post I didn't make it clear that it was in fact my Blogiversary on the 8th January, three years to the day. I think I have mentionned before that I get an e-mail every day from The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor. It has a poem and gives the birthdays of poets and writers from around the world along with interesting facts about them. It was from this that I read about Virginia Dare[see previous post,btw how can I put in a link to a previous post can anyone advise me?] Anyway in the e-mail for the 8th January there was a piece about Isabel Allende, already one of my favourite authors. On the 8th January 1981 she heard that her beloved Grandfather was dying so she sat down to write him a letter, it became the novel 'The House of Spirits.' Since then it has become a sacred day for her to start a new book, apparently she gets up early and goes alone to her office and lights candles for the 'spirits and muses'. She surrounds herself with fresh flowers and incense and meditates then tries to write the first sentence in a trance as if somebody else is writing through her. That first sentence opens a door into an unknown world that she must explore with her characters. She doesn't have an outline and doesn't look back at what she has written until the first draft is finished. She starts a new novel every 8th January!! She carries a notebook with her at all times and constantly takes notes, keeps interesting newspaper articles and writes down stories other people tell her, then she looks at all her notes for inspiration.
Oh if only I could say that my 8th January was as productive, but reading about how she prepares herself for a new work is inspirational and instructive. I have read many of her books including Paula, a memoir she wrote for her daughter who lay dying in hospital.
On a lighter note we have atleast one other thing in common a love of food and cooking, and cooking for love. Her delicious book 'Aphrodite, a memoir of the senses[1997]' is a cookery book with a difference. It incites the senses with its beautiful language and sensuality and the recipes are to be prepared with love for lovers. Even without the recipes this is a book to savour again and again. That book was published in her 55th year and she is still writing amazing books. Such a talented lady.

Friday, 8 January 2010

A New Year and a new look.

As you can see from the second photo, which is the view from my desk,we have lots of snow here and having nearly completed this post the electricity went off and I lost everything. Now I shall save as I go along oh my grasp of technology is still very limited!! For this reason I have only made small changes to my blog and will make further changes gradually.
I started this blog three years ago so that I could join the Novel Racers, I hoped it would help me get my novel moving forwards and give me confidence in exposing my writing to strangers. I think it has done both and I have encountered lots of lovely people via this blog who have given me lots of encouragement.
The three years have been a roller coaster of ups, finishing the first draft of my novel in November 2009 and moving house, and a terrible down which will be with us always. Now a new year stretches ahead which we look forward to positively. I have a second draft to complete and a new novel to start, plus other ideas.
Last year I wrote a list of things I wanted to do before a milestone birthday in 2011. I am pleased to say that I accomplished two of them on New Years Eve. I wore high heels for the first time in many years and I danced the Paso Doble [amongst lots of other dances] with the OH. No photo of the dancing but I do have witnesses who will hopefully leave a comment to that effect. I hope to cross off more from my list this year, watch this space!
So my first post of 2010 and I wish everyone a very Happy and Creative New Year. Good luck with everything you do.