Friday, 29 July 2011

St Malo With Himself

Yesterday it was my gorgeous husband's birthday and he wanted to go to St Malo for lunch with me. How could I refuse?

We arrived at 11.30 (1 hr ahead of us in Jersey/UK) and after a bit of a wander around the town and a drink, we finally decided to have lunch at Les Voyageurs (near to Chateau Briand - turn right at the main entrance to the walled town). I hadn't eaten there before and I'll definitely be going again. The food was delicious, as was the bottle of rose I managed to consume (with a little help from Himself, I hasten to add) and we relaxed in the sun as we slowly worked our way through several courses. Then it was off to find some white peaches for his mum and chocolate for my daughter/son.

Whilst we were sitting having yet another drink at yet another bar, Rob spotted a policeman from the Hampshire Constabulary and being a nosy chap (Rob, not the policeman) he asked him what he was doing in St Malo. Apparently he'd been partrolling the streets with a couple of the French Gendarmerie for three weeks to help with any undesirable british holidaymakers. What a clever idea.

Our last visit was to L'Absinthe, a small bar where the floor is covered in fine sand and you sit around huge barrels with parasols even though it's inside. Highly recommended.

On the boat on the way home, we were invited up to the wheelhouse by the captain - Rob knows a few of them - and he was surprised when I didn't want to join him. The sea, although calm, was a little choppy and I'm happiest sitting down when the boat moves (at all!). When Rob came back and said for the umpteenth time, "You would have loved it, you should have come to the wheelhouse." I finally said, "How would you feel if I asked you to come with me to a literary festival so you could listen to one of the authors giving a reading from a romantic novel?" He grimaced. "That's exactly how I feel at the thought of spending time in a wheelhouse hearing about how a ship's engine works." "Oh, I see what you mean," he replied. Bless!

Today I'm editing, and tomorrow, and the next day... However I've done more than enough for the timebeing and the sun is shining, so I'm going to go and make the most of it and read the latest Dorothy Koomson novel that I'm going to be reviewing for Novelicious this Thursday. There'll also be my interview with her and a piece on Dorothy's writing space, as well as a book giveaway, so do try and visit the site if you can.

PS Does anyone know how I can preserve an ivy leaf? (Odd request, I know!)

PPS I promise I'll catch up with all your blogs this week. x

Monday, 18 July 2011

Shakespeare & Co

I've just returned from an incredible few days in Paris. I especially enjoyed Montmartre where I watched artists drawing portraits of diners; wandered passed other artists displaying their paintings and visiting small galleries.

Then walking through the streets from the grandeur of Sacre Coeur down passed Le Bateau Lavoir where the likes of Picasso, Matisse, Mondigliani painted whilst mixing with actors (Gertrude Stein, etc) and art dealers.

I spent hours wandering around Pere Lachaise taking countless photos and gazing at the gothic graves of many people and spotting among others the graves of Jim Morrison, Rene Lalique, Edith Piaf, and Oscar Wilde (covered in lipstick kisses).

One of best places I visited was Shakespeare & Co the second-hand bookshop on the Left Bank shown recently on The Book Show where writers including Ernest Hemingway have congregated since the early part of the Twentieth Century. I could have stayed for hours resting on one of the comfy settees, or sitting in a little cubby-hole where writers (including moi) have left short notes about their time spent in this fascinating place.

I was also there doing research and made a thrilling discovery, but it's something I needed for the book I've just finished writing, so I won't post about it for now. Suffice to say that sometimes in life things happen that are so serendipidous that if you wrote about them they would seem hard to believe.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The End

I've just typed 'The End' on my historical romance which at 124,000+ words is too long, but with editing I'm sure I'll bring it safely within the 120,000 word limit for the RNA NWS. I still have to edit before sending it off hopefully in early August, but for now I'm thrilled.

I've loved writing this book. It's set in WW1 and follows the harrowing experiences, passion and betrayal of four characters, two men and two women, whose lives are unavoidably interlinked and ultimately altered forever.

I'm going to go and have a glass of wine now to celebrate and will be taking a couple of days off to read and get used to the idea that I've finished the first draft.

This picture of the moon above hydrangeas growing over nextdoors wall was taking a couple of nights ago.

Have a lovely weekend. x

Friday, 8 July 2011

Chainsaws & Holidays

This picture is of the beautiful roses my son's girlfriend bought me as a thank you when she was staying with us last week. Aren't they lovely?

Today is the first of 17 days off work. I'm so excited to have time off, even though I do love my job, so that I can spend more time with the family, read, relax and ultimately finish the first draft of my book. I'm already up to 121k words and still have to write the final couple of scenes, but I know that after edits it will come down under the 120k words I want it to be and then I'll be able to send it off to the RNA NWS for their report.

I was up at 6.30 this morning. I know, you'd think that as it's my first day of the holidays that I'd at least stay in bed for a while, but once I'm awake, I'm ready to get on with things. So, the laptop was switched on at 7.30 and instantly a chainsaw started revving (do they rev?) and cutting down the elderflower hedging from the nextdoor property over looking the field behind us. So noisy and so much for a couple of hours of peace before I have to get going with other things ie hairdresser for daughter, visiting parents, shopping, etc.

Nevermind, Grumps is thrilled to have me at home, even if it does mean that I spend a lot of the time tapping away at my laptop.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Happy Independence Day

Happy Indpendence Day to those of you who are celebrating today.

I hope you like the picture of my husband's Stars & Stripes flag. Usually we have the Jersey flag flying, but on 4th July each year he hoists the American flag for his grandfather who was born in the USA.