Monday, 24 December 2012

What a Year...

As the apocalyptic frenzy of 2012 ebbs and I sip my eggnog, sprinkled with freshly grated nutmeg writing my final post for the year, I'm not sure how to feel about what has happened over the last twelve months.

Filled with sad moments - a very much loved family member passing away, innocent children victims of gun crime and devastating storms leaving thousand of families homeless, I should be glad to see the back of it.  But then there's been some really great moments - silly conversations with my sister on Skype, my brother's fantastic work on Skyfall, my BFF's new addition to her family, meeting friends for lunch, chatting with the barista's at Starbucks and the countless hugs from Hubby. Shouldn't that be what I remember and take with me in to new year?

Lord only knows what the coming year will be like, but hopefully not such severe weather, less shootings, a kinder word said to our neighbors (both literal and not) and some genuine peace.

It seems every year I make the same promises - eat less, drink hang more, drink less?...but in all seriousness I hope I do stick to a couple of resolutions - publish either my short stories or my novel, exercise more, refrain from making comments about the stupid things people do to annoy me...

....but whatever 2013 holds in store, I'm certainly hoping, not just for Hubby and I but you also, that it will be filled with all the good things in life - friends, family, an extra fiver in your back pocket, lots of giggles and if you have pain let it be champagne.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

A Simple Hot Chocolate

Liquid Gold
That was all I was after.

Having sauntered around doing my errands in zero degree temps, I thought I'd stop off and indulge in a hot chocolate. Or a I debated which to get, the sign outside the store said 'Peppermint Hot Chocolate'. No more pondering, I was sold.

I walked in with a simple "I'd like a peppermint hot chocolate please", did I get a "course darlin', that will be threepenny piece  'ave a nice day" (okay I didn't transport myself back to 1800s London, but you get my drift...), no I got a deluge of questions back; "sure madam, large or small?",  was that peppermint?", "dark, milk or white chocolate?", "Is that for here or to go?"

Oh sweet Lord, I just want a hot chocolate to warm me cockles for cryin' out loud. But I said, large, yes, dark and to go please, the slightly theatrical sales staff waved me off to the side of the shop to wait while my drink was created. And I waited for almost five minutes.

As I left the store with drink in hand, muttering about waiting for so long I did wonder why has ordering a hot beverage become so time-consuming? And after all the small, skinny blah, blah was this particular drink worth it? After one sip...oh yes it was. That one slurp transported me back to a small cafe in Verona where their signature beverage was a cup of liquid chocolate, so thick a spoon could stand upright. The velvety, creamy warmth washed my mouth in a peppermint caress.

Definitely, worth the extra questions, the wait and warmed me up good and proper.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Well I never...

Nestling in the pages of the Daily Mail was a catalog. You know the kind, endless pages of products that seem pointless but if you're over 60  they're the best things since sliced bread. Items like 'scare cat' - a metal cat with sparkling eyes to ward off other cats, a revolutionary bird feeder, a soft-foam toilet seat...

Anyway, I picked it up to have a butchers and worried at how many things I looked at seemed to be not bad and actually quite useful. As I turned the page over having read about an indestructible waterproof wallet, a porcelain tea set and an almost invisible hearing aid, I was shocked at what was before me. 

Could these products really be in a magazine like this and be deemed okay? 

What were these products? DVD's...of porn and not just any porn, but S&M porn. All tastefully done mind you. "Meet Tanya. She's looking for romance and excitement..." my mouth actually fell open. Has the world gone that crazy over 'fifty shades' that even catalogs for the old dear next door has to sell it? 

Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude, whatever floats your boat, but I thought it's a bit much. Can you imagine some lady called Doris settling down with a nice cuppa and a slice of battenburg trying to find that miniature water feature her nephew Derek would love and came across that? Cheeks would grow rosy and the tea cup tremble with embarrassment. But whose to say she wouldn't order it?..

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

You Gotta Laugh

Hubby and I ventured out on a cloudy, chance of rain, autumnal Sunday. It was nice to amble into town (central Boston) for a quick saunter. I eyed the clouds regretting that I didn't search for the umbrella. I had put it away but it fell towards the back of the cupboard and well, I figured I'd hunt for it when I needed it...

As we left a shop, spots of rain started to fall. I apologized to Hubby, again, for not retrieving and bringing the brolly along. He forgave me, then offered me a stick of gum saying:

"Forgot I had these; I bought them when it was raining,"

to which I replied

"Really? Doesn't make for a very good umbrella?"

I laughed, he gave me a shake of his head and a muttered 'I'm laughing on the inside'.

Nothing like a good giggle on a rainy day!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Presidential Debates

The Presidential Elections are looming and tonight (Oct 3) is the first debate between the two candidates.

I can't vote and I'm glad because I haven't a clue what either party is standing for. I've kind of got my head around the whole what's a Republican/Democrat thanks to a history book I'm reading (on and off) but that makes little difference if their polices are not 100% clear. The ads aired have so far been one accusation after the other about not paying the correct taxes, failing on increasing the job market etc. Confusing for me a non-voter, can you imagine if you had to make a decision to bring one of these men into office?

As I watched the CNN election coverage, they reported that people, especially young people, need to come out and vote. And it reminded me of what someone said about elections - make it more like a contest as the American public respond in their millions to a competition then they do a campaign.

I said to Hubby that they so need to do that. The American Idol Presidential Campaign Debate. The judges (of course) Simon Cowell, Randy 'Dawg' Jackson...

SC: What's your name?
BO: Barack..Barack Obama
RJ: Okay Barack, what are you going to sing?
BO: Let's Stay Together by Al Green
SC: At least it's not Adele
MR: I'm singing 'If I were a rich man'...ha ha I already am! Seriously, I'm going to sing 'Chasing Pavements', - that's Adele isn't it?

And then the ultimate showdown  - a TLC Steel Cage match...WWE is the most watched program, so it's gotta be done. In the red corner, Mitt Moneyman Muscles Romney and in the blue corner we have Barack Fire Assassin Obama. Throw in the 'Money in the Bank' contract...and it could just work.

But in all seriousness, I don't envy the American public this November when they'll cast their votes. It ain't gonna be easy who to choose. However, one thing that should be made clear is if you don't vote, you can't complain.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

When life gives you...


I blame myself for the vicious cycle that I've got us in to - buying them, they start to go off, I make cake.

I'm not a huge fan of the fruit. Admittedly I've partaken of a banoffee pie once or twice, even if it was more 'offee' than 'ban'. But Hubby likes the herbaceous plant - all that potassium loveliness. However, the problem is that his good intentions of eating them fly out the window once we get home. Or rather, remain in the polythene bag on top of the cookie jar.

As I mull around the fruit aisle, pondering whether to get a mango or a pineapple, I innocently ask Hubby if he'd like a banana. As well as clinging to the hope it will be consumed, I envision the effect of my question akin to that of when 'Eric eats a banana...'

Yet it never happens - either becoming Bananaman or the fruit being eaten. Instead they linger, their skin blackens, an intense aroma wafts in the air - so appealing. The upside is that these yellow fingers need not worry about being cast aside, no they become a key ingredient; one of the few foods that can be used in their deteriorating state as they are sweeter tasting and easier to mush.

As I looked at the latest offering this week, seems that banana muffins beckon. And I'm sure next time I wonder through the supermarket, I'll stop before the pile of musa acuminata and think, 'wonder if Hubby would like a banana? (sigh)

Friday, 10 August 2012

The Olympics are on?

As the Olympics draw to a close I admit that I was never one to jump for joy over them. I supported the bid - pleased that London won but didn't know that I would be stateside when they took place.

Fast forward to 2012 and the Opening Ceremony. I channeled hopped thinking that at least CNN would show something of the celebrations in London. Nope, nothing, nada...I voiced my concerns/bitched on FB as I read the 'oohs' and 'ahhs' from UK friends. What time did it air in the US? Seven in the evening...why? Apparently so NBC could edit - edit what? I appreciate in the country that's home to Benny Hill and Page 3 one would need to be careful but really, what's to edit? Yet they found something - the 7/7 reference. I'm sorry would American's not understand the bombings on that day? Or is it not as significant as 9/11? And that was just the beginning of NBC's awful coverage of the games.

I appreciate the time difference dictates how many 'live' events can be shown and so in part understood the airing of recorded races. They dedicated whole channels to basketball and soccer - both men and women. As well as a general '2012 Summer Olympics' channel. This channel, when I happened to flick onto it, would show either gymnastics or swimming. With the odd synchronized swimming and water polo thrown in for good measure. Joy. Didn't catch the athletics, so missed Team GB's triumph's as well as Jamaica's Bolt as it's not clear when it's scheduled to air. NBC has been slated for their poor programming and spoilers so people who had taped an event knew before they watched it who won gold.

But was has bugged me is the utter lack of acknowledgment of the other competing countries. I appreciate everyone will have a bias towards their own nation but if you're reporting on the whole of the Olympics, I hate to break it to you NBC, but there are about another 70 odd countries competing too. And I can't even be narky with just them, CNN was/is just as bad - with one report they didn't name the competitor just "Britain took the bronze and someone from Russia took Gold". Okay, we may not be familiar with their names, but show a little courtesy as say who they are, it's not their fault Team USA came in 7th!

What does it matter now? It's coming to an end and there have been some amazing feats of endurance and teamwork. Congratulations to all the athletes, they're brilliant. As Celine sang, "since the dawn of man, the strength of just 'I can', has bought together people of all nations....feel the flame forever burn, as the world gives us it's best, it's the power of the dream that brings us here..."  Okay a little twee to quote but it's what the Olympics is all about. Perhaps the American media should take note that there's land beyond the east and west coasts...

Monday, 30 July 2012

Writers on the Block

I was on a writing course last week. Armed with pen and paper, I entered the small classroom. My anal retentiveness had kicked in and I realized I was twenty minutes early. But no worry, the teacher was already there and I'm the queen of useless chit-chat so the time went by quickly.

For a course that ran from ten to one each day, I expected a few older women - perhaps a couple of yummy-mummies. Nope, I was the youngest one there. The women's ages ranged from late forties to mid seventies. I suddenly felt inadequate and then a little down, I'm not far off from my forties so there wasn't that much of an age difference after all!

Expecting a room of budding or published novelists, I was surprised to hear that a couple were writing memoirs, many had an idea but not sure where to start and some just had chapters floating around, but nothing connecting them. An air of slight smugness surrounded me. I had written a few short stories and finished my first novel in draft, currently halfway through the second. Yet I haven't had the courage to get an editor to look at it. Maybe spending the week with these experienced women may help.

As the week progressed, the lecturer Jane Katims gave us exercises and prompts to get our creative juices flowing. And wow did they help. I knew my first novel needed some improvement but wasn't sure where to go. After day three of the course, I saw a myriad of ways to add some 'oompf' to the story. Thursday night was student reading night and I read a short piece entitled 'Home Depot' - all about a couple having an argument in a truck. Compliments from my fellow classmates and peers flew and I became cocooned in a world where people actually liked what I wrote.

I awoke on the Friday to find three presents waiting for me. My constant support, Hubby, gave me three notepads, a box of pens and the Chicago Manual of Style. I felt even more energized to write and get published - there's nothing like writing on the first page of a new notebook.

By the time the week ended I had met a wonderful set of writers; the woman whose memoirs focused on her mother's mental illness, another with a charismatic character called Harry and one whose young pianist Eva, admired a music teacher who was a holocaust survivor. I sincerely hope they find the courage to finish and publish; for they certainly have given that to me.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Another Year Granted

I been a bit lackadaisical with my posts, it's amazing how much time reading takes up. But moving on...some good news that I should have shared a while back - Hubby and I have been granted a year's extension on our visa - hooray. And it was appropriate/ironic timing that we found out/got it confirmed a couple of weeks before July 4th

Let me tell you it was a dire few months until we got the confirmation. We spoke to HR...okay Hubby spoke to HR and found out that the head honcho left, leaving little notes (ain't that always the case?!) and the new HR lady was wondering why the company paid for me. Cue soapbox...Why pay for me? Er maybe because I'm the wife...?! As much as Hubby would relish the odd days just to lounge around play Gears and eat pizza all day...he'd miss me! (Wouldn't he?) Do they not know I'm the epitome of a 1950s housewife - who will do his laundry? make his beloved lasagna? Okay, I know Hubby can manage a lot of things on his own...and heck why am I justifying myself? I'm his wife, reason enough.

Stepping off the soapbox, they eventually said 'yeah go on then,' and we're happy.

We like it out here and although next year we have to move from Cambridge (we're after a two bed apartment) I'm looking forward to another twelve months of the constant yet changing, sometimes extreme weather, interrupted sleep by the street cleaning crew, moving out the way of people who don't say thank you (for doing so), Starbucks - the place where everyone knows your name...

And for all my American family and friends there's only one thing to say - 'the British are coming, the British are coming'...

Friday, 22 June 2012

The Quiet Carriage

Heading back home from NY recently, Hubby and I clambered aboard the Amtrak train at New Haven into the "quiet car".'s one of those carriages that you know about and long to be in when you hear the chatter of some rowdy gang of teenagers or the businessman behind you bitching about the latest presentation that he had to deliver on time. Yet when you get there suddenly the need to speak rather loudly is overwhelming.

However, this time I was fine with it - I was knackered and needed to kip. As I sat there shifting trying to get comfortable, Hubby came back with lunch. I cringed as I tore apart the cellophane surrounding the sandwich cursing the makers as the crinkle and crunching seemed to reverberate around the carriage.

Lunch eaten I eventually drifted off to the lullaby of rumbling train-tracks. Only to be awoken by the rather loud announcement of the train arriving at a station. Shouldn't there be a volume for the quiet carriage? As I settled back into the seat chasing sleep again, the clickety-clack of knitting needles was heard behind me. Boy are knitting needles loud. At first I was impressed by the speed of this anonymous knitter but after a few moments thought - should they now put on the notice of quiet talking only and no cell phones also no knitting, just crochet after all that only requires one needle?

As we approached Boston South Station, the rustling and movement of the carriage became marginally louder as people gathered their belongings together, yet they still obeyed the rule of hushed tones. It wasn't until the train came to a complete halt at Boston that I spoke at a normal volume. By which time two women were discussing a lost phone which one of them had put on vibrate....good luck finding that one love...ah one the perils of sitting in the quiet zone!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Summer Time Clutch
"If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air," then you may also be fond of or at the very least familiar with the 'summer time clutch'.

No it's not a new dance wave that will replace the macarena (can anything?), no I'm talking about the bevy of women who normally balk at the idea of wearing anything below the calf muscle who will happily don a maxi dress because its sunny out.

Suddenly, you can't turn a corner without bumping into a pretty lass with Audrey Hepburn glasses, sun-kissed skin and a skinny iced-coffee in one hand, whilst the other hand is grasping a handful of material as they walk along in their designer flip-flops slapping against the pavement.

I look at these sometimes beautiful Bostonian women and want to stop them and ask, 'if its that long, why don't you take it up another cm or so, you'll have a hand free then? Or at least a wear a wedge? Either way I guarantee my love you won't be sweeping the floor and/or taking half of the dust home with you'.

Am I being a tad too cynical or should I just admit that I'm jealous? I know that if I wore said piece of clothing, I'd look more like Homer Simpson when he wore the 'tent dress' only with make-up on. Ah well, I suppose I can forgive the 'maxi-dress clutch' as summer lasts only a few short months. Perhaps I'll focus my attention on men in shorts; ah yes the knobbly knees, way too hairy legs...then again maybe not...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

American Idol - Season 11

Tomorrow are the results and I really hope Philip wins. Oh and in case you missed this season, I'll give you a rundown:

A 100,000+ people waited in football stadiums, shopping malls, or the black hills of Dakota to strut their stuff - or sing. Some got so nervous they just squeaked in front of the judges, some made complete fools of themselves i.e. wearing odd outfits or very little and others well...they should have just stuck to singing in the shower. Guaranteed there was crying...a lot of crying.

Hollywood week - where the diva's and the drama queens emerged as well as some illness tormenting the larynx.  The groups bickered and fought, forgot the words, created amazing harmonies and then they got thrown into four rooms. Randy, Jennifer and Steven walked in to make or break their dreams. Guaranteed there was crying...a lot of crying.

Another set of elimination rounds where some who were lackluster shone and those that were great had an off day, but guaranteed there was crying...a lot of crying. The final twenty-four got downsized to the 'Top Twelve'.

And it's at this point I actually start to watch the show seriously. If I happen to catch the other build-up shows so be it, but I couldn't be bothered to watch sometimes cringe-worthy singing and listening to 50 odd versions of Adele's 'Someone Like You', Christina's 'You are Beautiful' and/or Donny Hathaway's 'Song for You'. Some argue it's the best part of the show; I can take it or leave it.

Now every week, I'll watch quietly and make my criticism's loudly (at the beginning of what the judges are wearing, and at the end about the singing) - to Hubby - who at the same time over the last couple of months has done the washing up to avoid having to watch AI. Hey, at least the washing's done. Result shows do my pressure no good. I often end up yelling at the TV about who's in the bottom three and then make predictions of who will go home. Normally if I say 'Bob's going home', 'Ted' will be the one singing his final song. Then I'll pipe up saying, 'yeah thought as much, he wasn't as good...' I've never claimed to be Mystic Meg...

Last week's top three was as predicted (by fellow AI watchers, not me I hasten to add) but we were all shocked when Joshua got booted off. Then I started in with the sage sayings of 'he'll be fine', 'he'll be another Jennifer Hudson' blah, I've voted and voted....and voted for Philip Phillips. If he doesn't win, I always knew Jessica would.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Too Much Reality

A news report on CNN stated that a man was suing the producers of 'The Bachelor' because they didn't have a black guy as a bachelor, or he wasn't chosen to be the bachelor because he was black...whatever, who cares.

Let's not make this a race thing; you're bitchin' 'cause you're making a point that all races are not represented on the show or is your need to be famous that important that you have throw the race card in there? Seriously, regardless of your color, you're telling me that you're happy to subject yourself to a nation passing judgement on your love life. Mate, it's a tough enough job to meet someone who gets you - but to do it on national TV?

Hubby and I have spent many a night flicking from one 'reality' program to the next just to watch something that isn't 'reality'! No kidding, the choice includes:

Beverley Hills Wives
Mob Wives
Basketball Wives
Momma's Boys
Auction Hunters (I actually like and watch this one)
Sons of Guns (another one that I'll watch)
American Pickers
Sweet Home Alabama
Storage Wars
Texas Storage Wars ('cause opening a storage unit in another state is SO different)
Toddlar's & Tiara's
Dance Mom's
Gun Smiths
Jersey Shore
Teen Mom...

I could go on but quite frankly, I don't care about 'real' people anymore - their ups and down's, their many conversations of 'no she didn't' or 'why get married, mom cooks for me...'

Hubby quite rightly said, 'I just want to watch some fiction.' When did light entertainment suddenly turn in to lets follow a bunch of people to see what they do everyday. Sorry, really not bothered. I never bought into the whole Big Brother thing and all these shows are bugging me (can you tell?). Please bring back the days of canned laughter, stage right exits and The Des O'Connor Show...

Monday, 16 April 2012

Grand National Tragedy

The Grand National for many a year has been my favorite race.

I used to beg my dad to make a bet for me when I couldn't go in to the bookies myself. As I got older, the thought of walking into a place filled with aging men, leaning on counters staring blankly at TV screens, betting slips strewn around their feet, a cigarette hanging from their mouth (before the smoking inside a public place ban), the tinge of stale beer clinging to the smoky air as their eyes swiveled to watch you approach the till, well, just didn't appeal - surprisingly!

But living next door to William Hill (we owned a sweet shop) meant that I knew everyone who hailed that place as their 'temple', so my fears and mild embarrassment soon abated.

I would read with a certain amount of frenzy the pages on Saturday morning of the race about the latest odds, the kind of ground (good, soft), the age of the horse, if the horse liked jumping more did I just rely on 'ah, he's wearing number 6, yeah I'll go for that one' or 'that name sounds good,' oh no, I did my research.

Last year I placed my bets online praising modern technology for once and this year, was no different. Unfortunately, I didn't win as I have done practically every year that I've placed a bet; each horse I backed fell. Worse still, two had to be put down - again. And despite Aintree making some improvements, the fences are still too high, there are too many horses racing and I think this may be my final year of betting.

As much as I love the majesty of this fine sport, I love the animals too. And I know there are those who say if a horse doesn't want to jump he won't, yet I can't help but feel that I've placed a bet on the death of these horses. Yes, that does sound a tad over dramatic, but that's how I'm feeling right now.

And who knows, next year as April approaches, and they've made the course really safe, I may well glance a causal eye over the form and make an imaginary bet.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Baby Classes

Hubby and I popped over to see our friends baby, born just over a week ago (cue the 'ahhs'). Whilst there, a friend of theirs also popped in with his teenage daughter. She walked in holding a carry cot. At first glance I thought the baby in it was real, but it wasn't.

It was a 'real-life' doll she had to look after as part of a class at school (I forget the actual name of it, but let's just call it "Health Class"). The teenager and her best friend had joint custody of the baby and it was their responsibility to feed, bathe, and change its nappy - all after they electronically swiped in to indicate to the teacher that 'the mother' is looking after the child. When the 'real doll' began crying, she rushed to pick it up, hurriedly changed it (there are different color-coded diapers to use) and gave it a bottle. And then her dad told us that the other day, the 'real-doll' was crying and crying and his daughter couldn't work out what was wrong. Her dad simply said, 'maybe she just needs to be picked up and held.'

We asked if it was a mandatory class - it isn't - and the five adults in the room all surmised that perhaps it should be. As my friend said, you have to have a test to get a drivers licence, yet nothing is asked of you to show that you can look after a child.

America has almost got it right; I didn't have 'baby classes' when I was a teenager, but times have changed and with TV programs on MTV like 'Teen Mom' making it 'cool' to have a baby (if only to gain stardom), these type of classes are really needed. They should make them compulsory - both boys and girls need to understand what it is to have a baby and look after it.

As I watched her change the diaper I wondered where the 'care' came in? I appreciate that it's a doll; how much affection can you show? But isn't creating a loving and safe environment just as important as feeding a child? To me she excelled at doing the basics, but there was an air of 'I'll do this quickly, get it over and done with.' The mere fact that her dad said, she just needs to be held is telling - what exactly are these classes about if it doesn't teach how to care or show affection for a child and most importantly to show love?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Budding Novelist Looking for Thicker Skin

I mentioned a while back that I was starting to write. And wrote a couple of short stories - short being the operative word.

So someone reviewed my short story 'When You're Happy' (which can be found at: and gave it two stars (out of five) as it "needed more substance". She claimed that it "has potential and it's such "an interesting idea and story line". All great I hear you mutter...but then she ends with "the characters are underdeveloped, there is no clear picture of who each of them is...go back and work on this..."

Now initially, I thought, cheers for the feedback love I can see what you're getting at. But then I mulled over what she said and I thought, no it's a short story. By definition there isn't always a need to develop characters. their interaction with others, a deep plot etc. It's been a few months since I wrote said piece but I wrote it with a sense of floating in and out memories - it's vague for a reason, it was from the main character's point of view (can't say much more as I'll give the ending away).

Fast forward a few days and yet more time spent mulling over the critique; whilst I still harbored a slight resentment for her not getting what a short story's about (Tess Gerritson faced the same problem - she wrote a short story about her main characters Rizzoli & Isles and received so much criticism about lack of plot etc!) I realized that I had to accept her feedback because if I'm going to put my written words out there, people will either love or hate my work! So I'm going to have to toughen up...and should I write more short stories hope that people understand the concept (wink).

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Extra! Extra! Royals Have a New Dog!

I'm a fan of the royal family. American's love the royals too but they are less inclined to splash news about them across their broadsheets - in the fashion or gossip magazines, yes - but not their papers, unless its something important like William heading off to Argentina.

Unlike the British press who will publish anything...and I'm referring to the tabloids. So I was tad surprised to find that The Times (London edition) composed a two page article on finally finding out the name of the Duke and Duchess' (of Cambridge) dog. I skimmed the article to read that apparently people have been eager to know the name of their puppy ever since he arrived on their doorstep and The Times are proud to be the first ones to Twitter this historical event.

I suppose with worrying headlines concerning Syria and economic downfalls, an article on the new royal dog is a little light relief and I shouldn't be critical. What with being away from a daily down-low on the royals, I've forgotten how the press makes us obsessed with every detail of their lives. And with that in mind, I'm waiting for the next article..."Too posh to pick up poop? An in-depth review of whether a Duchess should carry out this task."

Oh by the way, the name of the dog? Lupo...

Thursday, 9 February 2012

What Happened to the Simple Act of Revenge?

As I swept the floor this morning, I listened to CNN as they relayed a story of a man who killed his girlfriend because she dumped him. And then later, I read an article where a man killed a couple because they stopped being friends with his daughter on Facebook.

All of this makes me sad and really just worry about the state of people's minds today. Being slighted or dumped automatically means slaying someone? What happened to the good ol' fashioned, non-violent forms of revenge?

What exactly are we teaching the younger generation? That if someone annoys you, stops being your FB friend you off 'em? Really? It seems to have become the norm; imagine bumping into someone you know:

Bob: "Heard you and Shelia are no longer together, sorry to hear that..."
Billy-Bob: "Yeah man.."
Bob: "How are you dealing with it?"
Billy-Bob: "Oh, you know, I killed her...b*tch broke my heart man..."
Bob: "Yeah...right..."

Seriously, there are other ways to exact revenge. I mean why not shrink her favorite dress, sprinkle cress seeds on her keyboard or carpet or better still shove a rotting fish behind the radiator. Or, take a leaf out of Amelie's book - change the light bulb for a lower wattage one, swap the toothpaste for hemorrhoid cream, change the alarm clock so they get up at 3 in the morning not 7...

OK, it may cause some distress - but in the grand scheme of's practically harmless, everyone stays alive and once you've committed these tiny acts of revenge, you can go on and find your true love.

By the way I'm not condoning these acts of revenge; it's always best to take the higher road, but sometimes...

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Murder at Pemberley

My love affair with Pride and Prejudice started in sixth form when our English teacher stood before us and revered the majesty of this Austen classic.

I'm pretty sure that I'm not alone with this deep affection. It captured my imagination when I was 17 and never left. It created a solace in my days of being single that I would some day meet a Mr. Darcy - someone who was tall, handsome, dark haired and looked down-right seductive in a pair of breeches! (Hubby meets 3 out of 4 of those characteristics; he's yet to don a pair of 17th century trousers...)

I'm always enraptured by this tale and it never ceases to amaze me how much I get caught up in the intrigue and romance, I mean, I know that they will eventually get together, but I still read/watch with a huge sense of anticipation! By far, my favorite of the adaptations (of which there are endless) is the sumptuous BBC production casting Jenifer Ehle and Colin Firth as the main characters. Admittedly, Jenifer was prettier than Austen's Elizabeth, but it's all forgiven as the actors' chemistry on screen was magical.

Besides watching, I've obviously read and re-read those practically iconic words. And, even though I longed for a follow up (there have been several written), I didn't venture to read any as I didn't think anyone would be able to meet Austen's level of insight and wit.

So it is with some trepidation that I am venturing to read P. D. James' Death Comes to Pemberley. Granted, it is not a sequel but as the title suggests, a murder-mystery, taking place six years after Elizabeth and Darcy marry. I'm a huge fan of James (she herself, is an avid Austen fan and felt compelled to pen a novel as a homage to her) and I look forward to how James' brilliant, descriptive writing, ties in with Austen's infamous characters. I'm sure (or hoping) I won't be disappointed....

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Writer in the Making?

This is the year I get serious about writing.

Whilst my dreams may take me to heady heights of being the next P.D. James or Tess Gerritson, I appreciate that to get to that level of notoriety I have to actually submit something.

For years, I've written snippets of stories or day dreamed about characters. So, late last year, when ambling around the stands at the Boston Book Festival and happened across Libboo (an online forum to which budding writers can publish their stories) I thought why not? Why not write again and this time do something about it. So wrote a couple of short stories:

I don't think their too bad, but there's room for improvement. However, I haven't written and posted anything else for a while! Reason being, I was busy reading, but as 2011 drew to a close, I realized I was using that as an excuse (and according to P.D. James, its a good thing for a writer to do; keep reading to keep the creative process alive). I've jotted down a few ideas of plots and characters including particular lines that they would say. Now I just need to put them down on paper (I tend to write long hand first) and get moving.

I'm still working on what kind of  genre I'd write about; crime? suspense? children's? And, although, my two tales (above) are somewhat suspenseful I do have an idea for a children's book too...ah the possibilities are endless.

However, my true calling could be 'romance' novels. An avid reader of Mills & Boons back in the day, that could be where my talents really lie. So I'm thinking to get inspired, I'll paint an area of the living room pink, wrap a pink feather boa dramatically around my neck, paint my lips a stunning magenta and write a narrative as a homage to the queen of romance - Barbara Cartland. Ahh, yes..."..she tried not to let the sultry look in his dark, haunting eyes, steal her breath away. He leaned in closer, momentarily glancing to her slightly open, waiting lips..."