Monday 29 February 2016

Back -of-the-Book Blub Friday #3

I know, it's Monday!!

I did actually write this on Friday but I've faffed around with it a bit over the weekend and tried to see if I could get the word count down without loosing the feel of it.

It really is a challenge for me as I tend to be a very wordy person particularly when it comes to fiction but I'm enjoying having to reign back a bit.

This is what Sioux has to say:

  This challenge can be as easy or as sweat-producing as you like.  Your mission--if you choose to accept it--is to write a book blurb for the cover photo below. And you only have 150 words (or less) to do it.

  • You choose the genre of your prospective novel. Is it a mystery? Chick lit? A romance? A sci-fi story? (Well, probably not, with this picture.)
  • Post your blurb on your post... and then link your blog, using the charming Mr. Linky below. (It's really easy. If I can do it, your golden retriever can do it.)
  • Make it enticing. A book blurb is crafted to seduce the reader into buying the book.
  • Check out the other linked blurbs, and leave a comment. You'd be surprised how different our inspiration is, given the same photo.


Mostly they walked in silence. The still air only punctuated by the odd question.

When, where and, more often, WHY?

The questions were met with a mixture of shrugs and sideways glances.

Answers trembled on her lips finding no escape.  Nails digging into her palms as she fought to frame the words.

Ever onwards they walked towards the mountains.  Maybe the answers were amongst the low swirling  clouds.

What if the truth that had brought them together also had the power to tear them both apart?

What hope was there for either of them then?

 (word count 95)

I hadn't decided what their relationship should be whilst I was writing this so I decided to give it a bit of a twist with the title.

Thursday 25 February 2016

What's Been Going On Around Here?

Well, the sun's been shining so that's pretty good.  We've had clear blue skies and sunshine for the last couple of days.   It's cold but it's that kind of invigorating cold that makes your blood zing and gives you real hope that Spring is truly on it's way.

The mornings and evenings are getting lighter too which is great for me as I really struggle with the long nights.

Big D turned 32 on Tuesday.

I'll just let that sink in for a bit ...

THIRTY fricken TWO!!!

I have a 32 year old son ...

Good God, it hardly seems possible.

It means that he is now exactly twice Miss Mac's age (well, until the end of April when she turns 17 anyway).

It's curious because in Big D's eyes I'm still a 'young Mum' - much younger than many of his peers Mums but to Miss Mac I'm definitely an 'older Mum'. 

Same Mum, two different perspectives.

Postie, the kitten who got caught up in the barbed wire fence, is doing really well.  She had a check up at the vets on Monday and the wound has shrunk considerably.  Hopefully the vet will sign her off next week.  Meanwhile she is full of herself.  Her favourite pastime is knocking everything off the coffee table and waiting for me to pick it up so she can do it all again.

She has also discovered that the bath, which is enamel, retains heat for quite a while after it's been emptied and so makes a great place to play:

It's especially good

When you have a plug to play with!

I made Big D some cupcakes for his Birthday.  Half were coffee with a salted caramel centre and half were chocolate with the same filling.  Unfortunately Miss Mac and I needed to 'taste test' the salted caramel (just to ensure we didn't poison any one you understand) and we managed to eat half of it - It was GOOOOD!!!  But that meant that I didn't have quite enough to fill all of the cupcakes.  Seeing as I'd made a dozen and a half I didn't think it would matter too much and I kept half a dozen back for us with the plan that I would make more caramel today.  I left the box of cupcakes on the kitchen counter overnight and, for some reason, I left 3 clean plates on the top of the box rather than putting them in the cupboard.  This morning I came down to 3 smashed plates and a box of cupcakes on the floor.

It probably says a lot about me that I was more relieved that the lid hadn't come off the cake box rather than being cross about the smashed plates.

Talking of the bathroom (which I was in a kind of round about way) - It's STILL not bloody finished!

I have NO idea why such a small room is taking SO long!!!

At least, I KIND of do.

Nothing is ever straight forward in this type of house. There are always hidden horrors waiting to jump out at you whenever you start to work on them.

Most things I'll have a go at myself but some things require a grown up which is where SD steps in.

I found this great tool in the shed, must have been left over from the days of Ex Lax (my ex for those who don't know - he got that name due to my friend once misspelling his name in a text and call him Lack and the fact that he gives me the sh*ts).

Anyway, it's a special tool for tightening up taps - who knew such things existed?  I only knew that's what it was because it helpfully said so on the side.

So, one of the taps on my bath was a bit loose and it seemed like the perfect time to sort it out.

This involved taking off the bath panel.  The only thing was that it wasn't a standard bath panel, it was a homemade one that had never been finished properly and there were gaps at either end and it just looked a little rough generally.

SD set to work and framed it with some wood to finish it off and give in more strength.  I painted it and then, after tightening the taps, we put it back in place.

I think he did a pretty good job!    
He also made a panel to cover the exposed pipes running behind the sink so now I have no patches of bare wall and pipes and it looks great.

I thought Id finished the painting after hours of backbreaking work giving the ceiling a couple of coats of paint but when I looked around I decided that the narrow coving that runs around the edge of the ceiling and walls would look better painted grey rather than white.

I really did try to fight that feeling, cutting in is NOT my forte and every bit of grey that I got on the white was going to have to be cleaned off and repainted ...

But I couldn't leave it when everything else was looking so good, it would always bug me.

Half the coving is done
I will have to go round and do some touching up when it's finished and I cant help thinking that the tiles around the bath could really do with some sort of edging, they don't look quite finished ...  Maybe a baton of wood painted grey to match the coving ...

So, by the end of this week I should be able to add the finishing touches, put up the signs etc and have a proper reveal.

The only things that wont be done are the floor (because I simply cant afford to do that right now) and a cupboard that I picked up and that houses all out bits and bobs.  It's oak and I plan on painting it but that won't get done until it's dry and warm enough to take it outside.

Meanwhile I have stripped off more paper in the dining room and discovered that there are several areas where the plaster has blown (come away from the wall) so I'm going to have to take all the loose stuff off and possibly get someone in to do that (although I might give it a go myself ...).

Oh, and there was a trip to the beach last week.  I did start to write a post about it but it didn't get finished so here's a pic anyway:

It was bloody cold!
 I'm actually not keen on this photo but SD says I'm far too precious about things and too vain and I should just concentrate on the fact that photos, whether I like them or not, are a record of the things we have done so I should be happy with them.

Can't argue with that!

Monday 22 February 2016

Back-of-the-Book Blurb Friday #2

First of all, thank you to Val for introducing me to Sioux's  blog.  It's been ages since I last wrote any fiction and hopefully Sioux is right when she says it's like riding a bike.

The idea is that, using the photo Sioux posts as inspiration you write a book blurb in 150 words or less creating a title and making the book sound so exciting that people will rush out to buy it and then link it to Sioux blog via Mr. Linky.

So, here goes ...

 Behind Closed Doors
Grownups talked about it in hushed voices shaking their heads whenever Lucy sidled up hoping they wouldn't notice her trying to listen to their conversation.

The children in the neighbourhood dared each other to run up the path and touch the hand half fearful the stories were true and the hand would reach out dragging them right in where unimaginable horrors awaited them.

Lucy felt sad for the hand with it's fluted sleeve.  

Maybe it was just waiting to throw open the door and welcome you in.

Years went by, the hand became pitted and spotted with rust.

Passing one day Lucy noticed a sign in the window propped between the dirty glass and ragged net curtain.

FOR RENT in bold black letters, the number of the agent written underneath.

Had the time had come to take the hand and discover the real secrets behind the blue door. (word count 148)

I have to say, this was FAR more difficult than I expected it to be - I wanted to write so much more and actually DID write lots more and so had to do some serious culling of words.

It's amazing how much you can take out and say pretty much the same thing though - that might be something I should think about in future!

Wednesday 10 February 2016

It's All Happening Around Here!

Or NOT as the case may be ...

I thought I'd be doing the great bathroom reveal by now but the fates have conspired to eat into the allocated bathroom time and there are still a few things to do before it can all be put into place.

Last weekend was supposed to be the final push until we got a call from the farm to say that there was a problem with flooding.

The farm flooded a couple of years ago and we spent weeks clearing up and drying it out so something needed to be done ASAP to avoid that happening again.

The UK has been battered by storm Imogen over the last week or so with high winds and heavy rain.  Apparently there was even some snow in Somerset yesterday although we didn't see any in Taunton.

Anyway, SD and I spent most of Sunday digging out drains at the farm.  Being in the country there are no mains drains and so the responsibility for maintenance falls to the house owner.

The problem the farm has is that it backs on to fields which are already waterlogged and the water table is now higher that the drains.  The other problem it has is that behind the house is a yard which, when SD's Dad was still farming was part of the milking parlour.  The people who farm the fields now raise beef cattle and the yard hasn't been maintained properly and the drains have become blocked, mostly it has to be said, with cow shit!

Normally this doesn't cause a huge problem as there is also a soak away which deals with the surplice but that's waterlogged too at the moment.

Anyway,  after SD's Dad (who is 80!) declared that he was going out there to try and dig it out we hotfooted it over to avoid finding him face down in 3 foot of mud and shit!

Got to say, it wasn't the MOST fun I've ever had ...

We started at the far end and cleared the drain running along the edge of the field which had become blocked with leaves, mud and a few discarded feed sacks.

Yes, I WAS in there too up to my knees in freezing water with a shovel in the stickiest mud I've ever come across!

SD did take a couple of pictures of me but, in SD time honoured tradition he managed to make me look dumpy (how it manages to do that seeing as I'm 6ft tall I do not know!) so I'm just posting this photo of me with the mattock - hard to believe that I didn't know what a mattock was before meeting SD ...

Then we worked our way up cutting a new channel so the water could drain down from the yard and away from the house.

So that was our plan for sorting the bathroom out of the window BUT, I'm so excited about some of the finds we have had for the bathroom that I'm going to share them now anyway even though they aren't all in the right places.

SD found these great metal signs on EBay and they are perfect for my 'workshop' feel

And I found this one at The Range (my new favourite shop!)

It will hang on the wall above the bath once we get it sorted.

These taps were a find in Dunnelm
 They started out life with a set of hooks underneath but SD has taken them off and they will sit just above the tiles running along the side of the bath and under the sign above.  I'm hoping it give it a bit of an old municipal baths (meets workshop) kind of feel.

I love this 'we are open sign' also from The Range
I think it's going to hang above the toilet pointing toward the bath and the other sign.  (See my cute little DAB radio? - It was a Christmas Present and I love lying in the bath listening to Absolute 80's!)

I can't wait until it's all properly finished and I can post some proper photos.

Obviously being me there have been a few other ... difficulties ...

I must have knocked the light fitting when I was painting the ceiling (yes, it bit the bullet on that one!) and now the pull switch doesn't work so no lights!

As a temporary measure we are using a halogen light that SD had which actually gives a lovely glow in there and has the added benefit of acting like a heater - I'd be quite happy to keep it!

Yesterday I ran out of things to do in there until SD is free and I was bored ....

You know where THAT'S going don't you ...

There was this bit of loose wall paper in my dining room and a bit where the kittens had scratched at it quite badly over Christmas ....

Anyway, lets NOT talk about that right now - it's barely noticeable really, just one alcove and half the window stripped of paper ...


How's the little fella doing?

Well, good and bad news really.

The bad news being that there was so much tissue damage on her stomach that the stitches didn't hold properly and several of them just came away leaving an open wound.

We took her back to the vets last night and they have removed all of the stitches that were left as they really weren't doing much and could cause an infection.

She had a bumper shot of antibiotics and I am picking some more up today and we are going to have to just treat it as it is.

This means bathing it several times a day which I have to admit I'm a bit squeamish about but it's got to be done.

The good news it that it isn't holding her back ALL!!

As you can see, she's been busy trashing my house!

She spends much of her time sitting on my shoulder like a small, purring black parrot trying to eat my hair.

She really IS the most affectionate, resilient cat I've ever come across.

I think she might even be wining SD over a little ...

Thursday 4 February 2016

Postie - The Luckiest Little Black Cat

Meet Postie

This has surely got to be THE luckiest kitten around right now!

On Tuesday evening SD (that's Surfer Dude for those new to Fudge) was at the farm.  He noticed that one of the covers on the Beach Buggy had worked loose during the recent windy weather so he went to check on it.

Bearing in mind that the Beach Buggy is housed in a carport along side the house backing on to a field and possibly weeks go by without anyone venturing down there.

While he was re-covering the Buggy he heard a noise and went to investigate.

He found Postie, one of two 14 week old kittens that live at the farm caught up in the barbed wire stock fence between the carport and the field.

Poor Postie had the barbed wire wrapped around her body and she was hanging upside down totally trapped.

SD and his Dad carefully cut the kitten away from the fence but she still had the wire wrapped around her belly and front leg.

Despite the fact that she must have been in a huge amount of pain and completely terrified she didn't struggled and purred and rubbed her head against them the whole time.

SD popped her into a cat box and rushed her to the vets.

Now, to be perfectly honest with you, on farms cats are mostly seen as rodent control.  They don't tend to get a huge amount of attention and mostly they are left to get on with things rather than being particularly pampered.

SD's Dad has always had a slightly different view.  He's not your typically hardened farmer and he always makes a bit of a fuss of the cats at the farm.  They do live outside but they are fed twice a day and he always has a kind word and a rough stroke for them.  As a result they tend to congregate around the door of the farmhouse and Postie and her sister were born in a box in the porch.

Postie was named in a hurry by SD as the vets needed a name for their records.  The postman had taken a particular fancy to one of the kittens and had offered it a home although he hadn't yet actually taken it.  SD assumed this was his kitten as it was so friendly and the other one tended to be a little more timid.

After first thinking that the wire might have gone right through her the vet discovered that it was just fairly deeply embedded and they were able to remove it without too much trouble.

Postie has lost the very tip of her tail which probably wont be noticeable once the fur grows back and she is sporting a row of stitches along her belly right now which will be removed in about 10 days or so but she's so lucky to be alive.

If SD hadn't gone down there ...  If the wire had caught around her neck ...

It really doesn't bear thinking about!

SD is struggling slightly with the size of the vets bill so far and the thought that there is more to come but I know that despite his grumbles he wouldn't do anything differently.

I think it's probably going to means revising any plans he has for my Birthday next month but you know what?  I don't care.

Postie is going to be just fine and that's all that really matters isn't it?