David has had a cold for well over two weeks. I thought he’d long since stopped being infectious but just before the holidays, the first signs of my cold appeared. Drowning myself with Echinacea didn’t help nor using oregano oil purchased to kill off germs. By Christmas Eve it was clear I’d end up in a ditch if I attempted driving my mum over to Bude to visit my sister. In spite of collecting his mum the previous day from Taunton, my wonderful husband stepped in. While we had a pub lunch, David found a pasty shop, had a look at the sea and then completed the five-hour round trip. Plans for my 8km run on Christmas Day were abandoned in favour of a trudge through some muddy fields. My only contribution to Christmas lunch was some red cabbage that I’d prepared earlier in the slow cooker so David laid on the full spread. While I joined the Christmas toast with a slurp of hot lemon, he popped champagne corks and organised the family, even managing to win three games of Scrabble. He’s off again at the minute, driving Grandma home (only a 3-4 hour drive today, depending on whether the M5 has reopened after an icy start). I stay at home, steaming my head over a bowl of Olbas oil. In spite of all this, he stills says it’s been a lovely Christmas!
There is going to be a scripted reading of screenplays written as part of a Bridport Arts Centre course which was delivered by Hester Schofield. My screenplay titled Love Hearts is included in the programme alongside Bertha’s Legacy by Elizabeth Friend, Bloodlines by Maya Pieris, Second Fiddle by Maria Pruden-Medus and Christmas Haunting by Sarah Scally. Each reading lasts approximately 10 minutes and lines will be delivered by actors from Bridport Arts Centre. As my screenplay is about improving the life chances of an illiterate young homeless man, members of the youth theatre BACStage have been approached to take the parts of the two teenage leads.
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I should’ve known better than to set myself a ridiculous deadline. To meet it, I’m having very few days off from writing but yesterday was one of them. We stayed in London on Saturday night having spent the evening with my husband’s golfing mates. It’s an annual event where the men put on a serve the dinner. My husband’s pumpkin soup had a mixed reception owing to the 3 chillies he put in it (that was in the recipe, he claims). On Sunday we visited my primary school friend for lunch.
I did a lot of talking about my WIP with friends I only see once in a while. I’m hoping all the practice will help when I get to pitch the novel to an agent in the future. In the meantime, it’s back to the one thousand words a day routine. I can’t grumble too much, at least with this target it is possible to plough on through the story. I’m 40,000 into the second draft and I’m really pleased with the way it’s progressing. My deadline to finish is likely to be brought forward if I want my fellow students and tutors at USW to read the whole thing during the next MPhil residency in March. Ugh! I better get cracking.
Good luck with all your writing projects during 2014.
I enjoyed a delightful lunch in Oxford this week with Carol McGrath and Sue Stephenson (click here and pop over to The Elstead Writers’ Group where Sue has posted fascinating real-time diary entries imaging a time when the lights went out). Our reservation was at the Ashmolean Dining Room, on the top floor of the museum with wonderful views over the Oxford skyline. Sue and I enjoyed a starter of Crispy pancetta, wild mushroom, watercress and balsamic mayonnaise. It was delicious with a lovely crackling crunch to the pancetta.
For the main course, Sue and I chose Guineafowl but Carol was more adventurous choosing pan fried hake, pancetta, moules mariniere sauce.
We chatted over our meal and ordered desserts and coffee. Unfortunately, I was too absorbed in eating my pannacotta, muscovado sugar poached pear that I forgot to take a photo.
Before catching the train home, I went with Carol to the Bodleian Library and registered for membership. When I go to Oxford in December (taking Jonathan for a college interview) I’ll be able to spend the day in the reading room. I am certainly looking forward to that.
If only I’d been bothered to bring in the duvet covers and sheets when I had the chance. Now they are dripping on the line, more wet than when they first came out of the machine. The sky is grey and lumpy and I need something to cheer me up. So, let me share with you the photos from a lovely day in Oxford last Friday, when my son finally decided to put in an application for a college place.
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The suitcases are now put away for the summer. After a week in Edinburgh we made a dash for Galway City to catch up with Regina who was celebrating her fiftieth birthday. So here’s the party girl with her husband, Andy.
It was a splendid occasion: a chance to meet Regina’s family and friends and touch base with her children who are the same age as mine. The Salthill Hotel put on a wonderful spread and we sat on a table called ‘The Enablers’ with others who have worked in the UK, Ireland and overseas. What a great compliment to be considered an enabler. The company was splendid and when the talking was over we danced well into the night.
You might like to watch the You Tube clip of one of the songs played repeatedly!
We also had the opportunity to look around the city and take a walk by the coast. What a lovely place – somewhere we would certainly like to make a return visit.
You may remember back in the summer I was delighted to be a judge at the first story slam in Dorset held at the Shaftesbury Arts Centre by Storyslingers. You can read about it here.
I’ve now been asked by Adrian Ford to circulate details of a further story slam taking place in Upton. This time I hope to be a participant, and if my name gets pulled from the hat, I’ll be reading one of my latest stories. Please find the details of the story slam below:
FRIENDS 4 UPTON LIBRARY
‘OPEN MIC’ STORY SLAM
THURSDAY, 23rd MAY
7.30 pm at Upton Library
ORIGINAL FICTION PRESENTATIONS
5 MINUTE SLOTS
JUDGES: Pam Fudge and Dr Jim Pope
COMPERE: John Barclay
FIRST PRIZE: £30
SECOND PRIZE: £10
(SPONSORED BY GULLIVERS BOOKSHOP, WIMBORNE)
FULL DETAILS on www.f4ul.co.uk/events
ENTRY ON THE DOOR: £2 (£0.50 for F4UL members)
All proceeds go to F4UL funds in support of their aims to keep the library open and support local literary and art projects.
F4UL Publishing, Upton Library, Upton Cross, Upton, Dorset BH16 5PW
‘Supporting our local library; promoting Creative Writing’