Monthly Archives: August 2011

100 Word Challenge for Grown-ups Week 8

Taking part in this weekly challenge has really encouraged me to write more.  I have started to write a book and am up to Chapter 4.  This week’s prompt fits beautifully with the part of the story I am currently writing.  So….here for the first time, a snippet from my first book!

The alarm went off and for a moment Sarah lost her bearings.  The sounds were different – a clock ticked loudly somewhere in the house, someone clattered in a distant kitchen, unusual birdsong came through the window.  It smelled unlike grandmother’s house.  The sheets felt crisper and the quilt weighed heavily and warmly against her.  She lay there for some time taking in these sights, sounds and smells, filling her senses with them and processing the information slowly and meticulously. Then a mist of concern rolled into her mind as she thought of Daniel. She felt it as an icy chill which made her shudder. 


Dear diary….

Even though I am now semi-retired, Sundays seem like a chance to look back on the week that has passed and forward to the week that is coming.  Last week was an interesting one.  We put the house on the market (again) and did a few home improvements to make it as attractive as possible to potential buyers.  This included painting doors, painting walls and wallpapering – the first time I’ve done that in over 30 years. We had a day with mum-in-law in Eastwood, taking our daughter and her two children with us.  I met a lovely lady who is operating a Fruit to Suit franchise in the north east and we talked about how we work with schools in the region.  Hopefully, I also persuaded her to give Twitter a try. Holly the cute Shih Tzu had a hair cut and now looks very well groomed ready for her holidays.  We had our home alarm system repaired by an ex-pupil who did us a really good deal (glad I was kind to him at school!) and we took receipt of two lovely new Duvalays for the motorhome having seen them on Dragon’s Den.  Dying to try them out!

On the subject of house sales…..we have had the house on the market three times now and given up exasperated.  It is a lovely bungalow in an idyllic location.  There are 4 houses in our street and our neighbours are brilliant, lovely people. The house is clean and well looked-after.  It has a new modern bathroom and a brand new fitted kitchen.  It started off valued in excess of £270 000…..this week, we were recommended to put it on the market at £225 000.  I know that the market has slumped and that whatever we choose to buy will also be cheaper, but it seems so harsh that the house you worked hard for can lose value so much, especially when people need homes.  Coupled with the fact that young people can no longer afford to buy a house at all, it makes me wonder how we will ever get out of the mess we find ourselves in in this country.   This time, we are NOT looking at houses to buy.  We will aim to sell this house first and then be in the position of being cash buyers.  Looks like those motorhome Duvalays might get some regular testing as we become gypsies for a few weeks.

So, next week…..Monday is a bit of a dead day but will probably involve some garden tidying.  Tuesday is the day that the photographer is coming to take photos of the house – weather permitting.  I am also meeting a friend for lunch, so that will be lovely.  The car is also in for MOT and service (scary).  Thursday is my birthday.  Apparently my 3 year old grandson, Samuel, asked his mummy how old I was.  She told him he would have to ask grandma that question.  He then replied that grandma has used all the numbers and is now on to letters.  Oh great! Now I feel really old!  I’ve booked a hair appointment for Thursday and on Thursday evening will be going for a curry with some Twitter friends.  Friday is going to be hectic! Preparations for holidays, packing the motorhome, checking that my dad has enough shopping in for while I’m away and then looking after my gorgeous grandsons in the evening while mummy and daddy celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

Who said retirement was restful??

Spirit of ’76

One of this week’s paintings on ‘Artistic Kids’ ( is Willard’s ‘The Spirit of ’76’.  This reminded me of our wedding which was in April 1976, so I did my take on the wedding photo which appeared in our local newspaper ‘The Sunderland Echo’.

100 Word Challenge for Grown-ups Week 7

The little Fuzznuts could be heard having a brabble and mother heaved a sigh and went out to see what it was about.  They saw her approach and fell silent, their heads lowering so as not to meet her stern stare.
‘Poggin, Mallok, Meeple, why must you always fight?  Now you must come indoors and go to your separate rooms until you learn to get on together!’
Poggin and Meeple obeyed their mother, but Mallok, the most difficult Fuzznut, stood defiantly.
‘Mallok!’ shouted Mother, ‘Go instantly to the Growlery!’
Mallok knew right then what a foozle he had committed by defying Mother.

Fuzznut Meeple

Fuzznut Mallok

Fuzznut Poggin

100 Word Challenge for Grown-ups Week 6

The sun shone but Stella felt it like jagged shards of ice penetrating her skin.   Passers-by saw her, a beautiful woman for her age, sitting by the edge of the lake watching it stir in the afternoon breeze.  They didn’t see the turmoil within, the guilty secret grinding her down to dust.  The late summer sun reflected off the sparkling diamond on her finger, reminding her of happier days filled with love and laughter. Suddenly the ring became a symbol of loss. In one swift move she removed it and threw it into the lake, transferring the turmoil on to the rippling water.

100 Word Challenge for Grown-ups Week 5

It was what his therapist said to do. Anyone peeping through the window might be forgiven for thinking he had completely lost his marbles but he genuinely found it beneficial.  He lay down face first on the cool stone floor, bringing as much of his body into direct contact with the slabs of ancient granite as possible.  He could smell the footsteps of countless generations and a frisson of cold ran through his limbs and belly within seconds of lying there.  He felt his troubles leave his body and drain away with an almost perceptible trickle.  He felt total calm.

More creativity

Today’s picture is a little girl pterodactyl for Chris’ story about Isaacodactyl.

Creativity rules….OK?

Now that I have more time on my hands, it has allowed me to be creative again.  I have always enjoyed writing, poetry and drawing, but haven’t been able to do much while working.  Thanks to Julia’s 100 Word Challenge for Grown-Ups, I’ve started to write again and now Chris Leach has started a blog in which he gives the title of a well-known painting and people can interpret the title themselves and create a work of art.  Today I was going to empty the deck, replant some trees and generally clear up the clutter, but it is a bit chilly so I decided to do a picture for Chris’ blog.  This week’s title was ‘The West Wind’.  This is my contribultion, created on the iPad, using the Sketchbook Pro app.
Chris’ blog can be found here:

Julia’s 100 Word Challenge is here:

100 Word Challenge for Grown-ups Week 4

What a wedding it was!
The groom and his brood
Started off in the pub
Just to lighten their mood

Being true his roots
He was wearing a kilt
And was showing the weans
How to dance with a lilt

The bride was a truly
Evocative girlie
Spent an age in the bedroom
And came out all curly

Her dad wiped a tear
When he saw her bright face
As she came down the stairs
In a ripple of lace

As they walked down the aisle
They would all hope and pray
That no untoward mishap
Would ruin their day