Monday, 28 November 2011


We went to this yesterday with our good friend Sarah and her two boys Matthew and Harry and although I am not sure there were enough lights to call it a 'switch-on,' we all had a great time.  It was lovely to spend time with Sarah and the boys, who I am sure have grown loads since I last saw them, and they seemed to like the home-made Christmas pudding we had for tea (even despite Marcus burning the brandy sauce!).  Really looking forward to seeing them all on Wednesday when we meet up to see Arthur Christmas at the cinema - the silver lining to the teachers Christmas shopping (oh, I mean striking) day.

Saturday, 26 November 2011


Just got back from a lovely evening in Leeds with Marcus, Georgiana and her friend Emily.  We went to the Christmas market which is full of gorgeous chocolate, sweets, german sausages and lots of other interesting things.  We were a little disappointed that the singing moose wasn't there (the kids loved that year), but we really enjoyed the dark chocolate-covered strawberry skewers, yum.  We met Marcus' workmate Johnny Rich (really, that IS his actual name) who seemed to have been enjoying the steins of beer, which is probably a good thing as I was wearing my winter hat which is not a very good look for me, but very warm, LOL.  We also went to pizza express which was good, but the restaurant was extremely hot - I sometimes wonder if they do that so that you buy more drinks!

Passed the 35k mark in wordage for NaNoWriMo this afternoon, but am not sure if I can make the full 50k by Wednesday.  Here's hoping.......

Friday, 25 November 2011

BEAT IT - A Tribute to Michael Jackson

I attended this event last night held at Whitcliffe Mount High School and it was really entertaining.  This was a musical and dancing extravaganza featuring the songs of the legend that is MJ and there were some fantastic performances.  It is nice to know that Cleckheaton has such amazing musicians, dancers and singers - even the DJ/AV was to a high standard.  Unsurprisingly, my favourite was 'Beat It' performed in the second act by my daughters' group.  My daughter and her friend Chloe sang a rocked-out version of the song whilst they were ably supported by two excellent guitarists, an in-time drummer and a female organist.  Thankfully, unlike the Christmas light-switch on, the microphones were up to the task and you could hear the singing along with the instruments!  I thought they were all incredibly brave to do that in front of an audience of people they know (sometimes that is worse than strangers) and it is the first time Georgiana has sung in public - usually she plays her trumpet as part of the band and that must be nerve-wracking enough.  The other evening highlights were Keiran Roberts and his band doing 'Smooth Criminal' (his performance was very reminiscent of Kurt Cobain in a good way), the excellent voice of Georgia Rigg and the minute timing of the vast majority of the dancers, though it would have been the perfect end to the performance if all of the Thriller 'zombies' had taken the stage for a bow at the finale.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Over the 30k mark with NaNoWriMo

Drum roll please........I have just completed 30,750 words and although I know that means I am behind (estimated to finish on 9th December unless I try to catch up!) I have passed my own personal goal of writing 30k words.  I am inordinately pleased with myself, but will try to get as close as I can to 50k before the 30th.

Am going to see my daughter singing in a Michael Jackson tribute night at her school tonight and I am really looking forward to it.  Will let you know all about it tomorrow, have a good evening.

Monday, 21 November 2011


At the risk of sounding like Mork of Mork and Mindy fame, I am back on the Nano (as in NaNoWriMo).  I managed just over 1,500 words today and actually got quite into the romantic fiction element of my two leads 'connecting.'  I am looking forward to jumping back into it tomorrow and hope that I can get more words done so that I can catch up to speed and maybe even have extra words to play with for Thursday when I am at work again.

NOTE: My husband informs me (having just read my blog) that Andy Booth is an ex-player (striker) for Huddersfield Town ( he is now an ambassador for the team) and that means that my daughter gave me the wrong information on the light switch-on on Saturday - and she calls herself a Town fan!

Sunday, 20 November 2011


The whole family attended the switch-on yesterday and my son was singing with West End Middle School Choir and my daughter was one of Santa's little helpers.  It was very well attended (looked to be about 2k people) and it was a fantastic event as car access to the town was prohibited.  There were fairground activities, Christmas stalls, entertainment (including many bands, 'Mr Agadoo who had flown in from Benidorm' and the local vicar) and of course, Santa's Grotto.  It was so lovely to be able to see and hear both my children this year, as we have been to many over the years and my children have always been involved, but neither of them were very easy to see/hear because of the crowds.  This year I could see Georgiana at the grotto, on the float in the parade waving to the crowds and on stage as Santa switched on the lights.  Also, my son was singing at the front of the stage as part of the WEMS choir segment, so I could see and hear him (when the too-loud organ/lack of microphone problems were sorted out) and I don't think I have ever been so proud or smiled so hard.  I think they are both very brave to have been on stage with that many people listening and looking up at them.  It was exceptionally good and it really didn't matter that Andy Booth (goalkeeper of Huddersfield Town) never turned up.

Saturday, 19 November 2011


Took my daughter to see The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part One (now that's a mouthful) this morning and those who know me well, will know I was looking forward to this as much as her (I think Edward Anthony Masen Cullen - see PROOF I am a Twihard :) - is the most romantic character since Jane Austen's Mr Darcy).  Unfortunately, I can only report that it is, for me, the worst one.  What a disappointment.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the wedding, the honeymoon (lots of longing looks, kissing and bed-breaking - what's not to like?) but the talking wolf pack scene was the most cringeworthy and ridiculous thing I have seen for quite some time and essentially ruined the whole movie for me, because it was SO bad that that is the enduring memory for me.  Such a shame because all the books are amazing (and as Stephenie Meyer was listed as an Executive Producer, she must have had a hand in it) and I really, really wanted to enjoy it.  Kellan Lutz's comedy hair was also a sight to behold and, although I know they needed to make it a 12A to keep the majority of the fans able to see it, the 'birth' scene was nothing like the book.  Maybe my imagination is too good to translate to a movie, but if they are going to go so tame with this, what will the final film be like?  My daughter thought the scene was gory (she's 14) and I suppose I could have forgiven them this, if they had just spent the majority of the budget getting the wolves right (or even taking that whole scene out).  My daughter thought the film was cool (so obviously all the teenage fans will love it - though the fact that Taylor Lautner takes his shirt off quicker than you can say 'twilight' may have a hand in that) and she is a massive Robert Pattinson fan, but for me, and to a certain extent for her, Billy Burke's 'Charlie' was the best thing in it and he deserved to be more utilised.  It may be that it will improve on further viewings (initially I didn't like the Eclipse movie and I think that was because it was my favourite book and the elements that made it the best for me were taken out of the film, so I was very disappointed.  This coloured the whole film for me until I could view it as completely separate to the book), but for now, I would not recommend it, not that this will stop it from making lots and lots of money.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


I have really been struggling since yesterday with my back.  I rather stupidly carried a box of mock exam papers at work and it has set it off again.  I was in agony all last night and I had to have some very strong codeine and a very warm bath to get movement without agony again.  Today it is either spasming or locking in pain intermittently, but at least I have managed to keep going using paracetamol only. As a consequence (because it is more important to rest it so that I can keep working this week) I have not done any NaNoWriMo writing and am very behind schedule with the challenge now.  I am hoping I can catch up next week when I am no longer working.  Fingers crossed.

I have two affected discs that are causing my back problems.  The bottom disc has gone completely and the one above has the disc material bulging out at one side.  This is causing shooting nerve pain, swelling, spasming and locking in my back, arms and legs (as the discs are touching the nerve columns).  My MRI scan in 2009 shows that the third one was beginning to bulge and my consultant is recommending a Lumbar Posterion Interbody Fusion which is a scary sounding operation (see for details and look at the picture of the affected spine it shows - mine has two discs like that) with a 7-week recovery span.  I went for another MRI scan a fortnight ago as I have had my back go badly twice since the 2009 scan (once embarrassingly in M&S when I could not feel/use my legs and ended up going to LGI in an ambulance - I could see the sale rail, I just couldn't get to it! - and once outside work when my back muscles all went into spasm and I ended up in A&E) and the consultant was worried that might have been the third disc degenerating.  Both times were unbearably painful and had to be treated with very strong codeine.  I was hoping to avoid the operation, but the pain is now becoming more debilitating, so I can now see where the consultant is coming from.  Should be getting my scan results soon, so this will help me make a decision.  Will keep you informed, but meanwhile, definitely NO lifting heavy things for me at work any more.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

No NaNoWrMo

Something is wrong with NaNoWriMo - I just tried six times to log in to upload my word count total for today and it is not letting me in.  Is this a ploy to get me to write more words today? 

Saturday, 12 November 2011


I have just registered my word count as 20,217 on the NaNoWriMo site, so am feeling pretty pleased with myself as this feels like an achievement.  I just hope I can keep this up as I have work all next week and a very busy day tomorrow with two Remembrance Parades.

Looking forward to going to my friend Aj's Birthday Drinks 'Do' at the New Inn tonight.  I can't believe she will be 50 in a week - she looks really great, I hope I look as good when I hit the big 5-0.

Friday, 11 November 2011


I realise I have not posted any of my writing for a few posts, so I thought I would share a poem I recently got accepted to an anthology coming out shortly.  I hope you enjoy it:


Endlessly waiting whilst time is in stasis
     Clock ticking its way to the end
Expanding forever instead of contracting
     Keeping us prisoner within
Learning is tested and memories pilfered
     Giving up secrets like gold
Teams united as one in their suffering
     Silent in measured rows
Bailing out is no longer an option
     Pens scratching out words with relief
Communication eclipsed by rigid convention
     Watched by minute degrees
Psychoanalysis mixed with instinct
     Have them labelled before they begin
Instructions imparted roundly ignored
     Thinking it only happens to him
Oscillating constantly around the room
     Eyes a beam from a lighthouse of truth
Vigilant robots scanning for errors
     In judgement with consequence high
Frustration with matching regret grows tall
     Whilst proud roots wither and die
Fabrications that will follow eternally
     Shifting sands beneath your feet.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


Went to see this film with Dawn last night as part of the Orange Wednesday promotion.  I thought it was excellent and Rhys Ifans and Jamie Campbell-Bower were outstanding, although most scenes were stolen by Rafe Spall as William Shakespeare the drunken, illiterate, actor.  You don't need to appreciate Shakespeare to love this film and I give it 4/5, so I recommend you go and see it even if you don't think Shakespeare or the Theatre is for you.

I spent all morning making my Christmas puddings and cakes and feel very hot and bothered now, but it will all be worth it when we eat them in December. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Writer's Block

Well, I had hardly any time to do any writing today and was hit by 'the block.'  I ended up starting a new chapter where I put my leads together for the first time, but I am positive that once the NaNoWriMo challenge is over, I will be deleting the lot - or at least editing the heck out of it.  Adding what I managed to do today, I am at 17,052 but not looking forward to trying to do the wordage again tomorrow.  Fingers crossed that my muse returns....

On a happier note, I checked out some fellow writers (and followers) blogs today and really enjoyed them - and not just because it was a distraction from getting my writing done!  Welcome Maggie and Leah to my blog and if anyone wants to check out their blogs too, you can find them at and  I would also like to welcome Sarah Elizabeth Baethge and Doreenb8 (two more new followers) and I hope that you are all enjoying my blog/writing.  Feel free to comment any time if you read anything you like or you find useful.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

NaNoWriMo first week

I have just finished writing my latest chapter of my novel for this challenge and am now at 15,395 words.  My average per day is fluctuating, but I am still on target.  Found it harder this last couple of days to do the required number and hope that this is not going to last as next week I have work all day, so I may struggle to write the required 'wordage' on a night.  I am having a bit of a block now I have got to the point that my romantic leads need to be 'together' and think that this is what is slowing me down.  Think I will need all the encouragment I can get from my fellow writers, NaNoWriMos and blog followers.

Monday, 7 November 2011


I wrote this short piece as part of a five word challenge - the five words were: cribble, dog, sockdolager, flux and sauba (BTW I did not choose the words)

Sockdolager was running again.  It always seemed like that was what his life mostly consisted of.  He felt like a mangy cur with the Councils' dog-warden on his tail.  If only life were that simple.  A dog; now that took him back.  He remembered when this world had animals, greenery, living, breathing things that you could interact with.  Not this lifeless existence those that were left had to contend with.  He felt like his life was in flux.  Ever since he had made his escape from the Sauba he had been running, but he had been free.  This time, at least, he was running towards something and not away.  But he was still alone and somehow he knew that it would probably always be that way.

He could feel the tracking device moving beneath his skin and knew that the Cribble would be methodically working their way through all the possible hiding places.  There were only a few left now; rather like humans.

His breath was visible in the cold air and that comforted him.  He was alive and for that he was thankful.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Took the kids to the Fanwoods Bonfire last night.  The fireworks were fantastic (only one stray rocket went into the trees sideways!) and we all really enjoyed them.  The pie and pea supper was delicious with the mint sauce and the kids said that the hotdogs were yummy too.  We all went to the East Bierley Cricket Club afterwards so the kids could spend some more time with their mates and we could wind down with our friends Andrea, Aj, Kevin and Stuart.  Hope all my followers had a very happy and safe Bonfire Night.

Friday, 4 November 2011

NaNoWriMo fourth day

Well, I am up to 7,857 words (which is up to the end of chapter 5) now which is not bad, as I have just had an email from NaNoWriMo informing me that quite a few members haven't written anything yet.  If I keep going at my current rate (here's hoping) it is estimated that I will finish by the 25th of November.  I am beginning to wonder if when I am finished and I validate my novel, if it posts the whole thing on their website for all participants to see?  If anyone knows, can you let me know.

Thursday, 3 November 2011


Yes, that's right, I said it.  Today was my first official day of Christmas shopping.  I start early every year to a) Beat the rush (which avoids all the manic people crushing each other to get to the bargains), b) Because I have quite a lot of work in December and c) It is my birthday in December so I want to celebrate it (and my Christmas Do's) without fretting about all the things I have yet to do.  I am all organised with my shopping vouchers (Amazon and Love to Shop for presents and M&S for the Christmas food), but because I have work and NaNoWriMo in November, I feel I may have to be especially organised this year.  My present buying list is halved after today, but I won't feel relaxed until they are all bought.

I am now at 6,537 words for NaNoWriMo (that's four chapters in total) and I am hoping to get some more written tomorrow morning before I go see the girls in the afternoon.  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


Well, I officially started this challenge yesterday.  For those of you who don't know what this is, it is a yearly challenge to write a novel in month with a target word count of 50,000.  This sounds like it is impossible I know, but I have set myself a personal target of 30,000 words.  Although I started working on my novel early and have got to 10,819 words already, because I have quite a lot of work this month (was there already today), I am inputting my chapters one at a time to make up for the days I miss, so I am officially at 3,966 words as of today (my first two chapters).  I am also trying to write my romance and my crime novels together (the reason for this is threefold - 1. I have entered my joint novel into the McKitterick Prize 2012 and it needs to be ready by March, 2.  I am still not 100% sure whether the crime/romance elements will work well together and may be separating them into two different novels and 3.  This will move both novels on quite considerably to a draft stage ready for some heavy editing in December and will give me until March 2012 to get my joint novel ready for if I am successful with the McKitterick Prize (here's hoping).  Will keep you all updated how I get on throughout the month.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


Just got back from previewing this very powerful and moving film.  It made for very uncomfortable viewing and I am positive there was not a dry eye in the house, but I highly recommend it.  It is the true story of an American 'sinner' who finds God and decides to build his own church in America and an orphanage in war-torn Sudan.  The atrocities that are committed in Sudan were very visually depicted and this was made even more harrowing when it involved little children.  The film makes you doubt our very humanity when these things are going on in our world and seriously question why our Governments only want to enter wars to help countries that have oil or some other benefit to themselves.  We may be in a recession, but when you have seen this film, you will come to realise that we have it good.  5/5

Another very successful and fun Writers Group was held last night where we fully embraced the date - we all shared spooky stories.  Neil's excellent tale of a little girl's sleepover caused many goosebumps and earned him a bag of sweets as first prize in a competition (may it be the start of many competitions wins to come) and Paul's wicked story of an evil killer creeped us all out.  My story was also well received and we felt we had better read out something lighter before we ventured out into the darkness.  Paul read a couple of chapters of my romance novel to lighten the mood and we got so carried away, we had to be reminded that the library closes at 8pm.  Can't wait for the next meeting.

Unfortunately Dawn was unable to attend the meeting, but she has posted her spooky story on her blog (as has Neil) so if you wish to be chilled, check them out.