Had a great day out in Newport today at the ICC for the Newport Brick Festival. Spent a lot, but on a set I’ve been wanting for ages, and saw some incredible builds. Here’s the gallery of photos from the event, and well done to all the makers, these were fantastic!
Category Archives: Uncategorized
Newport Brick Festival
This cat has been appearing in our garden for the last three weeks, and he was very skinny when he first appeared. And if we had food out, he would gobble it up like he was staving. We’ve been keeping an eye on him because we were worried he was a stray. He seemed to walk a bit funny, instead of his feet being in line with his hips, his feet tend to point outside. We were also worried because he aggravates our cat who is old and unwell.
Because we get a lot of cats in the garden who aren’t ours, I tend to name them so that we know which ones we’re talking about. This one we called Spot.
Spot is almost mute, rarely makes a sound. I never heard a meow from him. You’ll see him in the pictures, he looks like he was hissing. He wasn’t. He was doing his mute crying. Spot had a good temperament (except with our cat) and was clearly not afraid of human contact. However, there were marks on his back legs that I couldn’t tell if they were damaged or dirty. The worry was that he’d done something to himself
Well, today we took him to the vets, and thankfully he’s microchipped. Better yet, his legs weren’t damaged, though he did have some issues with his teeth, which might be the source of the dried blood on his back legs (from washing himself). His real name is Rocky, and the vets were able to call the number registered as his owners. It wasn’t that simple, but at least the vets were able to start the process of tracing him and they kept him in the practice to get him back to his owner.
I won’t know what happens to Rocky, but I hope it’s a happy reunion with a loving owner.
I’ve been driving for years. It was my way of commuting for a very long time, but the biggest thing I’d ever driven was an estate car.
Five years ago my husband and I brought a campervan. When I say we bought it, he bought it. While we had had a Volkwagon camper when we were first married, that was really a day van. This time around, we wanted something bigger. After checking out a lot a different van configurations, we worked out what we wanted. That came down to a fixed double bed, a table for me to work at, and a bathroom for when hubby gets back for playing outside and needs a shower. That meant a big van. Not silly big, but 6 meters long. Here it is.
Though I can legally drive this van in the five years, I’ve only ever dared to do two short drives around Pembury Park, and one drive from pitch to exit point in a campsite in Keswick. I’ve wanted to drive more, but the sheer size of the bus makes that a cary prospect and I’ve never before driven on public roads.
Today I did!
Hubby drove us up to Llangors Lake in the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons), which meant that I got a good view of the roads. Between there and home, we had motorway (about a mile of), good A-roads, reasonable A-roads, and some B-roads that narrowed in places. Basically, everything but twisty country lanes. The terrain included residential roads and mountain roads. So I surprised my hubby by saying that I wanted to drive home, but he’d have to do the reversing onto the drive. Mostly this last is because we live on a shared drive and I didn’t want to risk other people’s cars because I know in our car that that reverse onto the drive can be tricky even in a smaller vehicle.
So I did it, I drove home. All the way. I’m proud of that. I’ve never driven anything that size before, and I did well. I even did the reverse.
The funniest thing about the reverse was that my hubby said, don’t worry about the reverse, you’ll never do it in one. I did it in one. He wasn’t amused, impressed yes, but annoyed that I did it first time when he’s rarely able to do so.
New Year’s Eve
Another year at an end already. Kind of feel like I lost 3 months of it (thanks Covid) but other than that it’s been good.
Read lots, reviewed most, wrote very little, edited some cracking books. Published two books with Diamond Crime (Breaking Free and Play The Game). Went to CrimeFest, Harrogate, and Stirling for Bloody Scotland. Went loads of places in the camper which was great. Made some new friends, got on with my life.
Still working on getting an agent, but that will happen when it happens. Going to keep chasing the dream. Gotta have a dream to have a dream come true, after all.
Lots of good books to read in 2023, some to write (assuming I get time) and lots of work do on on organising a festival. Should be a fun year.
May 2023 bring you all that you would wish for.
Running on Empty
As I’ve mentioned here before, I had covid in September. Totally knocked me for six, and my hubby too. In fact hubby is still suffering.
We were talking last night and he said how quickly I got back on my feet from it. And after about three days of being out of it, I was doing things around the house and generally managing things. But that’s not to say I was well. I wasn’t. But things needed doing, he couldn’t do them, so someone had to. And I can also say I was a bit resentful at the time because really all I wanted to do was sleep.
But heres the thing. I was able to do the keep going thing because, like a lot of women, I am used to running on empty.
Just because I don’t want to do things, don’t feel like doing them, don’t feel well, I know I still have to get things done. So I do.
This isn’t a superwoman thing, it’s an everywoman thing. It’s kind of the opposite of man-flu.
Am by the way, still not entirely up to full strength, I get tired very easily and don’t want to get up in the morning. But it’ll pass. And if it doesn’t, then I’ll just carry on functioning anyway.
Filed under Natural Health, Uncategorized
I had a call from my doctor this morning, the results of an ultrasound I had last week. I’ve known for a while that I have a condition called fibroids. These are fibrous growths in the womb. Theses are not cancerous, and they are not in themselves dangerous. However, they can cause problems.
For me, those problems include a lot of menstrual pain and very, very heavy periods. Those periods are so heavy, they also have a negative effect on my ability to remain iron in my blood. I’ve been anemic, with low iron for many years now, and it doesn’t easily improve. And when I say pain, I mean that even prescribed painkillers do little more than take the edge of, they certainly don’t kill the pain. It’s extremely unpleasant for me, curtailing my ability to so much as stand upright, let alone actually do anything. It’s that bad it actually impinges on my family too.
The last time I had a scan, in 2016, I was told there were a few small fibroids, the largest was 5cm long. Because they aren’t dangerous, I was told I could have a hysterectomy or id I could put up with the pain and bleeding, it would all be fine once I got through menopause. Only it’s now 2022 and I’m not getting any of the obvious signs of menopause. The call from the doctor today told me I now have multiple fibroids that are so large they have merged. My womb is now about 20 cm. That’s roughly equivalent to being 4 to 5 months pregnant. Which would explain my rounded figure.
The nature and size of these growths now mean that my only options are full hysterectomy or put up. I have to say, for many years, I have not been in the right frame of mind to have a hysterectomy, but now, the pain and trouble of menstruating have changed my mind. I still don’t want to go through such an operation. I realise it’s a routine operation, but it’s still a major operation. I have however, reached a stage where I accept that there simply isn’t another option for me.
So here’s hoping that I get to speak to a consultant soon, and that I can get the operation I need soon-ish, the doctor did say she was trying to get me seen as a priority, but after covid the waiting lists have grown longer. I don’t know what the true situation is now, but I did hear that the waiting lists are 2 to 3 years. I hope it won’t take that long. I do feel for the people that are on that waiting list, because there is nothing worse for a woman than gynecological problems that aren’t being seen too.
Filed under Natural Health, Uncategorized
Over 66 Books
My daughter and I are bibliophiles. We may even be verging on Tsundoku, collecting reading materials and not reading them.
Though in truth we do both read constantly too.
So when we heard about 66 Books, it was a no brainer. We had to go. A bit of a girls weekend.
We drove across the country and stayed overnight.Yes, it’s costly with fuel prices, but the train took more than twice as long. And we stayed overnight, but I got a very good budget hotel price.
On the way down, we listened to “An Argumentation of Historians” by Jodi Taylor, a great romp through time and illogic. That night before bed, I read a little of my current reading book, “Hard Time” by Jodi Taylor. The first is from the St Mary’s Chronicles series, the second is The Time Police series, but characters crossover between the two series, so as I settled down to read, I was a tad confused as to who was doing what. Note to self – if listening to one book, don’t be reading another by the same author.
Anyway, the trip to the book warehouse took us three hours. We bagged 81 books in total. The ones in the bag are gifts for others, hence hidden. Savings were way more than we spent – including petrol and the overnight.
The problem now of course is shelf space. But I’m comfortable with that problem.
Sorry that I’ve not been around much lately, but I caught Covid while I was on holiday. I got so bad my husband had to bring me home early, so we missed 5 days away.
It was just as well though, because we were in the campervan, which only he can drive and the day after we got home, he succumbed to Covid too. I’ve heard some people say that Covid is just a bad cold. It is not.
I’ve had proper influenza before. You know the kind where you literally can’t get out of bed, can’t eat, sweat even when you’re cold and basically become delirious. Covid was closer to that. After eight days, I started testing negative, but I’m now 19 days in, and not feeling a whole heap better.
While I am improving, I’m still struggling, particularly to breathe. My chest is so tight. I do something for a few minutes and then I’ve got to rest for an hour. I’ve never been so exhausted, and I’ve worked full time while having two kids under 5 and doing a part-time degree.
The worse however, is the Covid Brain Fog. This is a real thing. I can’t concentrate for more than a couple of minutes at a time. I can’t hold a thought for long either. As someone who writes for a living this is a major issue. It’s also why I haven’t been blogging or doing much on social media, I just can’t keep up. Then there’s reading, well, there’s the not reading. I’m doing a blog tour due up on the 10th, so I have had to power through and read the the book, write the review etc, but it all took a lot longer than it should have.
As I said, I’m getting better, just not there yet. But what this does mean, is that when I get back to blogging, I’ll be blogging about our trip and visiting various cities and attending Bloody Scotland, even if I will be several weeks late for it all. Just wanted to let you know.
Shrewsbury Steampunk Spooky Spectacular
On a recent visit to Shrewsbury I picked up a leaflet for the Shrewsbury Steampunk Spooky Spectacular. It will be held in Saturday 15th October 2022 in St Mary’s, st Mary’s Street Shrewsbury. Entry is free.
see http://www.chantillygrey.com for more info.
Chancing My Arm
I’m learning to take risks, or am I?
Being part of a team organising a crime writing festival means I need to approach and talk with some very successful authors. These are people that I would never have the courage to walk up to in real life.
I wouldn’t for two reasons. There is, of course, the “I’m not worthy” feeling, the imposter syndrome. There’s also the whole introvert nature of who I am.
But I don’t have the luxury to be shy when I have to invite these authors to the festival. So I’ve come up with a reasonably professional form of works to invite without being demanding.
Recently I have been asked to invite an individual who is a total best seller, not just the kind of best seller that a lot of writers claim, this is a at the top of all proper listings, earnings in the millions kind of best seller. My first thought was ‘that person’ll never agree’, but I had a responsibility to extend the invite. So I have done.
The thought that moved me to action was, what’s the worse that can happen?
Oddly and simply, the answer to that is the worse they could do say no.
So what happens if they say no?
Well, I say thank you, wish them luck in whatever they do. And that’s it.
I chance my arm. If I fail, I fail, but I’ll still have my arm.
Of course, there is the alternative, and it has already happened; the person might say yes, and then I’ll have pulled off a bit of a coup.
So yes, I’m learning to be less risk averse, risking nothing tangible.