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Friday, 27 August 2010

Slovenia, ice-cream legs and non-bouncy pork.

Ah, there you are, my chucklebunnies, I was beginning to wonder where you had got to.  You have been remarkably patient in my absence and hardly torn any of the wallpaper off, for which I commend you.  Now, gather close, for I wish to tell you tales of my travels - for I have wandered, my dears!  Oh yes.  And now I am returned once more to your bosoms.. although I can tell from here that some of those bosoms are a little artificially augmented, are they not? Anyway, clasp me to your lumpy bits, for I have such wonders to impart...

Slovenia.  A country with a language which sounds like the pronunciation of a really bad hand in Scrabble, and place names which seem to have been taken from minor characters in a Doctor Who episode.  After a few days in Lublijana  we moved out into the country to stay on a farm called Tilnik, just outside the village of Stopnik - which, I think you will agree sound like they should be evil twins, bested by the Doctor with nothing but a cutting phrase and some quick-thinking.  We ate many, many ice creams whilst sweltering in the 30 degree heat, swam in rivers as clear as swimming pools (and a lot cleaner), visited lakes, castles, goats (although we didn't have to pay to visit the goat, she was just kind of ... there).

Us in Lublijana.  The man on the end is my husband, not Mafioso, and he's not ambitiously over-iced, he's holding mine while I take the picture. It was so hot that my ice creams kept melting before I could eat them and I had trails of vanilla and chocolate all down both my legs for most of the day.  No one else seemed to have the same problem.  Hmmm.

Lake Bled.  My family sit, unaware that on the castle behind them lurks a dragon, shortly to swoop down and carry them off to.. oh, hang on.  That was my day dream.  I am, once more, behind the camera, in a kindness to you all, because by now my hair had acquired a life of its own and was going out in the evening to clubs and things without me, and both my legs were covered in various flavours.  Also my clothes.  Later in the day, when everyone else ate another ice cream, I just sucked my T shirt.

The Wild Lake.  By the time we left it was positively livid.

So.  Slovenia. Beautiful, incomprehensible, architecturally bonkers, extremely friendly and untouristy.  Not unlike me, in fact.  Go, visit.  Stay at Tilnik (not Stopnik, he's the  more evil twin), where Kate will feed your children food that makes them realise that lasagne isn't supposed to hang on to the edges of the plate, and pork doesn't bounce or make a 'ping' sound when you try to cut it.

This is how I eventually dealt with the Ice Cream Problem.  Someone with a hammer is standing just out of shot.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Why women's magazines don't cover the impossibilities of getting medieval siege weaponry into a holdall.

You may want to grab a hankie to muffle your cries of disappointment as you read this, my dear chickadees, but the very factulette of the matter is - I'm going on holiday and won't be blogging for over a week!

Yes, I hear your sobs of anguish from here!  At least, I think that's what they are, it might be next door's chickens again.  So, anyway.  I'm just letting you know.  If you want to pop over to the blog when I'm not here, then feel free, I'll leave the key under the mat and the cocoa on the top shelf.  You can even bring some friends, as long as you promise not to have a party, get drunk and leave unpleasant things in the bath.

I'm looking forward to it.  That's the holiday, not you coming round and leaving things in the bath, I still haven't got the stains our from last time.  My dear husband and I and a representative sample of children shall be flying off to the exotic climes of Slovenia, in whose language I have learned to say 'please' 'thank you' 'my hovercraft is full of eels' and other useful phrases.  But before I can enjoy the splendour of exercising my limited vocabulary, I must negotiate my existential packing fear - is one cardigan enough?  Perhaps I should take some extra extra warm clothes - just because the weather forecast for where we are going says it won't fall below 25 degrees even at night, doesn't mean I might not need a woolly.  Or two.  And will my wellingtons fit in the case?  Particularly if I've got my full-body armour in there and my siege weapon.  I mean, when the holiday season gets started you never get articles in the women's magazines about 'what to pack if you might unexpectedly travel through a sort of time-loop distortion thingie and accidentally land somewhere around the year 695' do you?  I prefer to be prepared.

Some magazines advocate rolling up items to enable them to fit more snuggly into the corners of the suitcase.  This won't roll, except forwards.  It's most trying.

So, think of me, if you will, as I move inexorably towards the airport, towing my 397 tonnes over the luggage allowance, for which I fear I may have to pay a little extra. I shall see you all on my return.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

An Unveiling of a New Blurb

I am enblurbulated!  And for all those of you who don't believe that is a real word, well you can just confabulate off.

Those truly lovely (and deeply understanding) people at Choc Lit have raised my blurb from the bottom (not from my bottom, I hasten to add), scraped off the barnacles and the weed and given it new words, sparkling new adjectives, re-rigged it with fantastic punctuation and launched it down the slipway of anticipation.

Stretching a metaphor?  I'm an expert...

Anyhoo.  The unveiling.  And here we go...if someone would like to pull that dangly thing...  I hereby launch my...

Oh. Right, well that will teach me to do blurb unveilings in my dressing gown.  Okay. Well, while I go and put some clothes on, here is the brand, spanking new blurb for my forthcoming release 'Please Don't Stop the Music' (available from Choc Lit publishing from 01 February 2011 - just in case you've been living in some kind of cave for the last three months. On the moon.  Without internet access.  And your head in a bucket.).

How much can you hide?
Jemima Hutton is determined to build a successful new life and keep her past a dark secret. Trouble is, her jewellery business looks set to fail - until enigmatic Ben Davies offers to stock her handmade belt buckles in his guitar shop and things start looking up, on all fronts.
But Ben has secrets too. When Jemima finds out he used to be the front man of hugely successful Indie rock band Willow Down, she wants to know more. Why did he desert the band on their US tour? Why is he now a semi-recluse?
And the curiosity is mutual - which means that her own secret is no longer safe ...

There.  I will go and leave you to enjoy your day in peace now.  Albeit with the image of my naked body burned onto your retinas for all eternity.  Try to not think of it while you're stuffing your Sunday chicken...

Monday, 2 August 2010

The creative-juice bucket and bridge-stalking

Yesterday I went to Durham.

This is a place in Northern England.  It has rivers, bridges, a castle and geography which creeps around all over the place.  There was a bridge, right, and I crossed the river on it, and then when I went to cross back over the river - the bridge was gone!  It was in another place entirely!  You can't tell me that's normal.  There are bridges round here that have been in the same place for hundreds of years, but that one didn't even hang around for half an hour!

Anyway.  The castle stayed put for long enough for us to walk around it, but I can't vouch for what it did when our backs were turned and there was a cathedral where they buried the Venerable Bede.  They had to, because he was dead.

So, I've now been around the oldest Chapel in Britain (allegedly) and seen the most perfectly preserved Medieval Doorway in the World.

Here is a picture of me.  I am both Old and Perfectly Preserved.  And I found that standing on top of the bridge stopped it disappearing, probably because I am quite heavy.

Yes, I am poking out my tongue.    And it's a church just behind my left shoulder, not my dinosaur spines.  

One of the reasons for going to Durham (apart from it being our second wedding anniversary - that's the second anniversary of our wedding, not the anniversary of the second time we got married) was to refill what I refer to as the Creative Juice Bucket, which has been somewhat depleted of late.  I think I may have kicked it over one night on my way to the bathroom, there is certainly something moist on the landing, and I have been a little lacking in the creative department.

A little architecture, some history, just the thing to top up those missing juices.  So, I wandered around the streets of Durham (or rather, I stayed still and the streets wandered around), and little by little the drip of inspiration flowed into the rather attractive plastic bowl of invention, and by the time I came home I was rejuvenated and slightly sticky, but I put that down to the ice cream.

So, all in all, I can thoroughly recommend a change of scenery to provide the ideal laxative for those somewhat stiff and reluctant writing ideas.

But only go to Durham with a confident bridge-hunter, cos those buggers can really shift.