Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Getting back on track

Well I have to say that I am surprised that July is almost at an end, I’m really not sure where all my time went… because it did go fast.

On reflection I don’t feel I’ve achieved much with my writing this month but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it and what to do next.

So for August my drive has to be to get my focus back. I’m feeling stronger, my new medication should help as I’ve had to accept that my body needs to be medicated if I’m to get back to full capacity and I’ve grown tired of performing at below my par!

My goal list is long. It is ambitious.

My reasoning for setting the goal this way is that if I achieve half of it I will be further forward than I am now. However if I only secure one or two items off the list by 31st August then I will still have made a step in the right direction.

This goal setting idea might not suit everyone, but it is the summer holidays and I need to allow for an opportunity that the weather may improve and I might decide to run away to the seaside. So by giving myself a ‘get out clause I hopefully won’t feel too bad by the end of next month.

I’ll post my task list tomorrow – it’s drafted, but I need to ensure necessary appointments and, more importantly birthdays are time allowed so that I don’t screw up in spectacular fashion.

What keeps you on track, keeps you motivated to write and submit your work?

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Formula 1 Racing #F1

What’s not to love? The smell of the fuel. The roar of the engines. This sport is dangerous, and the weather can play a key factor in the success of a driver’s race as the track heats up or turns into slippery lane a wash with rain that slows the race car down, a fraction.

And then there are the drivers, glamorous handsome young men who have earned their right to drive these fabulous vehicles. These guys, who drive these super fast cars, constantly amaze me! Their ability to make split second decisions whilst driving at plus 200 miles per hour is remarkable. And yes their brains have been proven to be wired up differently from the rest of us, mere mortals.

I have my favourites.

And I have to admit that I am biased.

In joint first place: Lewis Hamilton alongside Jensen Button. In second place: Paul de Rosta. In third place: Mark Webber . So this would be my dream line up if I had any influence over events. And finally in fourth position would be Micheal Schumacher for his sheer grit and determination after all these years… it’s obvious that racing is his passion and in his blood.

However the rest of the drivers do not interest me, (much) except when they get in the way of my favourite guys. And this impartiality bears no relationship on their ability to drive simply that I am a home girl and I will support the home boys, GB and a sneaky allowance for one Australian guy.

Last week at Hockenhiem, Button battled his way to the front and chased Alonso, the leader.

I was on the edge of my seat. Willing Jensen to win, probably along with a good number of the UK F1 populace. We could do with some good news especially as Lewis had to retire from this race.

And tomorrow, Lewis Hamilton starts the Hungarian Grand Prix in Pole position.

There will be Twitter silence from me until this race is over.

You see if money was no object I would attend every F1 race track event around the globe. Not a big wish but a suitably improbable one. Naturally I can get to Silverstone with ease. However I’ve just discovered that my brother only lives two hours away from the Hockenhiem track, how did I not know this sooner…

So could I write a novel based around this glamorous life of motor racing. Probably not. But then my blog isn’t about emulating racing. Except it takes guts to get in a racing car and race your heart out.

But I think it takes the same sort of guts to put your writing out in the public domain.

What do you think?

Does it take guts and determination to push our work out to editors, readers, and the general public?

Friday, 20 July 2012

Watts Gallery

Continuing with my theme of fascinating places to visit if you’re here on staycation this summer or a visitor from further a field… I would strongly recommend that you add the next idea to your list:

Watts Gallery, near Compton in Surrey

I found this gallery after it had been featured on the Restoration programme on BBC2 and came in second place some years ago. However the programme did secure funds for this venue to be saved, because the roof leaked and the water damage to the fabric of the building had deteriorated and was in danger of destroying the art work. The building was at risk. Since then it has been restored.

Watts Gallery is a wonderful place. Currently the exhibition on display is celebrating Dickens, until October.

However my favourite part of this venue is seen on the approach to the art gallery.

The Watts MEMORIAL Chapel

This is a Victorian Arts & Crafts movement at it absolute best! An extraordinary piece of architecture designed and built by Mary Watts, wife of George Frederick, the painter. And a beautiful and wonderful place to be buried.

The Chapel is rich in symbolism and I’ve just discovered a book written about it, so that has been added to my wish list. And I have enclosed some photographs for you to get a flavour of the place. Because each visitor I have take here has been mesmerized by the place. It has a quiet beauty.

#Staycation idea no 4

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Staycation idea no 3: A Garden centre

It’s rare I would suggest a garden centre as a place to visit but this one is special. Take a camera because there are plenty of ideas to shoot, angles to play with and generally have fun.

Petersham Nursery, Richmond, Surrey - you can even catch a ferry to arrive in style!

Whenever I visit this garden centre in Ham, I feel I have been transported to an arid climate… somewhere remote, say the south of France.

The access point to this amazing place can be easily missed, as the entrance is tucked tight between two house, so arriving by car can be a tad tortuous as the narrow lane refuses to allow more than one car entry at a time… so don’t be surprised if you have to reverse.

It is far better to arrive on foot, or by cycle, and a walk along the Thames seems the best way to experience this wonderful venue.

Romance seems imminent amongst these pots and blooms!

Again I’ve enclosed photos to give you a flavour of what might except to find if you visit and these pictures can and may change with each visit.

It is an inspirational spot to take photographs. Even on an overcast & dull day it has a beautiful feel to the place, and shopping never seemed so relaxed!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Staycation: Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden

In case you’re planning a ‘staycation’ this year I thought I’d recommend a very beautiful spot that is worthy of a visit this summer.

Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden

This is a must. Take a picnic. Spend as long as possible. It is one of the most inspirational places I have visited. Tucked away in the depths of the Sussex countryside, pieces of sculpture from large pieces to quirky ideas can be explored as a walk takes place through ancient woodlands, and manicured lawns. Hidden in corners or displayed centre stage there are pieces/installations that may encourage thought processes or inspire awe, and if you’re like me I find it hard to resist touching but resist I must!

The house is one I would willingly stay in so is the cute cottage, a prefect retreat for a writer. Time to unwind and notice nature at its best interspersed with beautiful sculpture. I think a few days here spent as a writers retreat might inspire some interesting writing and ideas.

I’ve enclosed a few photos to give some idea what to expect however some of these installations may have changed or been sold since I took these photos.

For an up to date version visit. This amazing and beautiful venue can be found @: Standon Lane, Ockley, Surrey RH5 5QR Tel: 01306 627269

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

One of my favourite places:

At Goring-by-sea you will find the English Martyrs Church, and from the outside you would have no idea that there is a magnificent ceiling hidden beneath the curved line of the roof.

Address: 1 Goring Way, Goring-by-Sea, Worthing, West Sussex BN12 4UH

An exact & glorious reproduction of the Sisten chapel.

Each time I go to visit; I usually go to introduce a friend, I’m always amazed at how beautiful and lovingly the ceiling has been recreated by Gary Bevans.

The stained glass windows are equally mesmerizing, and it's one of the few churches I would like to lie down on the floor and just stare up at the ceiling. Probably not etiquette, and I have not tried it yet!

If you get a chance to drop in and have a look, I would suggest you go soon.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Trying to get some perspective.

It was an odd night last night… I left a friends house late, and came home glad to crawl into my bed, with the intention of falling fast asleep. But sleep eluded me. Frantic phone calls occurred in the wee small hours. A crying hysterical friend on other end… her adorable kitten was lost, presumed escaped as I had left the house!

It’s strange but I was certain the kitten was quietly ensconced somewhere in the house, curled up fast asleep doing what I wanted to achieve. Oblivious of the wailing and desperation. It was a dirty night, sodden rain water logged roads and dark out here in the sticks.

I tried to pacify my friend. I tried to sleep. I failed on both scores here. The kitten turned up safe and sound some hours later, the text came in at 6.34am. I was relieved. I was dog tired. I’m not grumpy today, just slow; everything seems to be an effort.

The rain woke me up eventually. It’s a familiar sound. And now there is a tiny patch of blue sky.

Today is a good day.

My sister made it home safely from Torquay with my nieces yesterday even though it took twelve hours, crammed in the car, instead of a probable 5 hour journey. They had to find alternative routes that weren’t water logged.

The kitten was not lost and my friend has rung to apologize for her frantic calls.

I wasn’t one of the unfortunate spectators, standing in a water logged field watching their hero or hero’s race at frantic speeds on a water logged track at Silverstone and I wasn’t stuck under an umbrella on Henmans Hill!

Because this weekend promises to be an interesting sporting event. Rain may stop play but there again…

My home hasn’t been consumed by fire like the people in Colorado who only have ashes and burnt timbers of their once beautiful homes and I didn’t die in my bed like those poor people in Russia, when the flash flood waters rose in the night as they slept.

I’m not a refugee living under a piece of canvas in a swamp infested region in Sudan fleeing for my life and there have been many floods in Bangladesh that have surpassed anything we might have suffered in the UK. A quarter of a million people were displaced here, with 800 of them losing their lives.

My heart goes out to anyone who has been flooded out… whether it’s their home or their business premises. It must be stressful. It can’t be fun.

This summer is a wash out so far.

We did have some gorgeousness in March, remember? A distant memory now and from today forwards I’m going to do my best to ignore the weather, wear layers that can be added and removed and just get on with having a good time.

I suggest we do what we do best – apply the stiff British upper lip – because truly it could be worse. And where we can offer support. Financial or other.

And I’m going to put my feet up. Switch on the telly. Fix my lunch and watch some great British sport, thankful that I can participate as a spectator, even if it is only from my armchair.

And I hope the summer weather improves across the globe.

Friday, 6 July 2012


Over the years I have drawn immense pleasure from watching my nieces grow into beautiful young women. Jenny is no exception. In my opinion she is exceptional and I might be biased! Having just finished her gruelling GCSE exam sprint under immense pressure to succeed, but this didn’t stop her from fretting in the run up to the exam period, and she studied hard to get to the end. I’m incredibly proud of her achievement because from a young age she has been gifted, and now she is destined to go to Charterhouse, this September, because on her own merits, she has secured and won a scholarship. She will attend sixth form as a Flectherite. Who knows what will come next for her, Oxford maybe?

Prom night was last Friday. There was a mad dash to get her ready as her last exam was just the day before. Her fabulous dress had been ready for a while but she wanted help with hair and make up and this assistance came from her sister and cousin. As you will see from the photos, Jenny looked stunning. Hannah did a beautiful hair make over and Jenny's make up was exactly the look Jenny wanted to achieve.

I know that Jenny had a fantastic evening and felt like the belle of the ball, as did all the girls from her school. Even so Jenny was surprised how many people wanted to have their photo taken with her, and that might have something to do with her lovely sunny personality and perhaps, because this young woman has potential to go far.

Jenny’s big sister Charlie (Blondie) make up artist & Hannah hairstylist to the rich & famous (maybe)

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

There's none as queer as folk…

Today I’ve had a new adventure with ebay! To my surprise I sold some belongings and wrapped them up to post.

As a first timer seller I asked the postmaster how best to do this and explained what I needed and how many parcels I wanted to send.

It’s strange but he did seem disappointed that I wanted to my post parcels. Me: ‘And could I have a proof of postage, please?'

Oddly he seemed very put out by that request, he asked: ‘will this be a regular thing?’

‘No, this is a one off,’ as I smiled.

It did take a while to complete the task and I left with my receipts.

I had a few more parcels to wrap this afternoon and I decided to be circumspect and not to return to my own post office (in case I got a frosty reception) and went along to the next village.

I queued. Patiently. As you do. And this postmaster seemed helpful, more so than this mornings postmaster. They were both men, middle aged and from different ethnicities. No one waited behind me. There was no queue.

He said: ‘could you come at another time of day, next time?’

I smiled. ‘When would be better?’

‘Earlier.’ He replied, ‘this is a busy time for business men.’

I looked over my shoulder, first to the right and then to the left. There were no business men or women to be seen. Just me! I chose not to make any comment.

Now is it just me, or does this strike you as odd?

The Post Office is there precisely for the reason I ventured in…to post parcels and whilst I appreciate this is a difficult time for many, I’m puzzled by the lack of customer service.