Sunday, 10 January 2016

Stressed by relaxation techniques

Things have been a little hectic lately. Work, the other job that I can't give you the facts of, is manic. I'm editing my third and fourth novels and I'd love to reveal I'm writing the next DC Nina Foster, but that would be a lie. I don't have time at the moment.
Someone recently let me in on a relaxation technique, and it didn't involve alcohol.
I thought it would be worth a try.
The idea was to get as comfortable as possible, close my eyes and imagine I was in a canoe paddling along a stream. The sun is shining and the birds are singing.
Eventually, I paddle up to a clearing and get out of the canoe and lay on the grass and relax, taking in the sounds and scents of all around me.
This was all very well but the last time I canoed anywhere, I was eleven on an adventure holiday. The canoe capsized and I ended up soaked. The memory of this brought about the first concern I had about relaxing in this particular way. Secondly, I worried if I should be wearing a helmet and a life-jacket. I'm not one to be glib about safety.
Next came my concern that once I got out of the canoe, presumably without drowning, hitting my head or getting soaked to the skin without a change of clothes, how would I stop the canoe from drifting away? Would it be too heavy to drag up the bank? Is there a rope to secure it?
My imagination conjured up a small jetty to secure the canoe that would also allow me to crawl out to dry dock. It would, of course, be an undignified exit but I was in a deserted clearing.
Or was I?
The relaxation technique didn't specify where I was. America and Canada have bears and other animals only too happy to rip your face off. England has wasps. I'll admit they aren't as scary but I'm not sure if I'm allergic. I'm now faced with the possibility that my relaxation technique will end with anaphylactic shock and my death. Remember, the place was deserted.
Don't even get me started on where the nearest toilet was.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Love? Seriously?

I would like to warn you now that this post isn't about deep and meaningful thoughts concerning the concept of love.
I don't do that. I leave it to you to make your own mind up as I'll never do it for you. In fact, if I could tell you what it was, I would be writing lyrics.
This is about shop assistants feeling it's acceptable to call me, 'love'. It's something I really have no objection to, just so long as the person doing it isn't a foetus masquerading as a grown-up.
A couple of months ago, I went to buy a new computer. My husband was with me for the entire time that the patronising sales person was with us. He rolled his eyes when we asked if we could have a discount for buying a laptop at the same time. He squeezed out words along the lines of, 'We can't get away with the same discounts we used to give in the '90s'. This was all very well but if I had to guess, I would say that he was probably born in 1995.
No sooner had my husband left the shop to get the car, the sales wally started to call me 'love'.
Not being one to back down from a challenge, albeit a very childish one, I then proceeded to address him as 'cupcake', 'darling', 'sweetheart', and I'll even admit to throwing in a 'sonny'.
Well he started it. And I'm pretty sure that I won.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

How do they get away with that?

Something I have never understood is a booking fee for tickets. The price quoted should be the price without any extras being added on.
Have you ever bought a cup of coffee from somewhere, seen that the price for a latte was £3.50, ordered and then been asked for more money? I've never had someone pass me a cup of coffee and say something similar to, "That's £5 please. Don't forget the ordering fee."
I understand that some countries add tax to the price advertised at the point of sale but where in the world adds a drinking fee or a cup fee or an ordering fee?
There is a happy note to my rant in the form of St James Theatre, 12 Palace Street, London SW1E 5JA. And yes they have a website and if you're in London or thinking of paying our capital a visit, please take a look. Not only are they booking fee and credit card fee free, they'll even post your tickets in the UK for £1.00.
I'm not even sure how they manage to cover the price of the stamp and envelope.
Just as important as anything else is that it's a brilliant theatre with lovely staff.
See - I told you it had a happy ending.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

I have no idea what I'm doing

It's been a very long time since my last post. Much has happened, some of it is even interesting. I've tried to keep up with technology but I continually embarrass myself.
I miss the days of simplicity when I could take my camera on holiday and snap away to my heart's content and then on my return, take the rolls of films to Boots. Someone with a clue about life would print the pictures and I would count down the minutes until the hour was up before rushing back to get my photos.
Now, I get home and with a sense of dread, I plug the camera into the computer, turn it on and off again, swear, get some wine, run a bath, threaten the computer, shout, 'For crying out loud', or something stronger, get more wine and then perform a much less funny version of Basil Fawlty when his car broke down and he thrashed it with a branch.
We've recently got back from a fantastic holiday in Africa. I have managed to get my photos on the computer, but this has given me a new problem - I've bought a new computer.
If you're reading this (and thank you for taking the time to) and you see a picture of Victoria Falls, an elephant, giraffe or a zebra, I've had a good day as far as technology is concerned. The chances are that it was a fluke and I won't remember how I managed it for next time.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Getting away with murder

Over the last nineteen years, I've worked on a lot of murders. I can't discuss or disclose the details of any of them, of course, but I remember them all. One thought that has often occurred to me is why those who deal with murder in their professional capacity, such as police officers, crime scene investigators, paramedics, scientists, don't commit more murders.
Perhaps they do and just don't get caught. That's a very frightening thought.
I suppose that it comes down to being able to cope mentally after the deed, rather than the practicalities of planning and carrying out a killing.
How long would you be able to live with yourself if you took another life? I know that I'd almost instantly go insane but I wanted to explore the area of historic murders so I wrote the second in the DC Nina Foster series.

Remember, Remember

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Have a good feeling about 2015

On the whole, 2014 treated me very kindly. There were a few minor problems along the way, one or two that sent the air around me blue at the time, and a family bereavement.

It was a busy year socially as well as all things writing-related, not to mention my 'other job'. In the last twelve months, I've been fortunate enough to attend book launches, have one of my own, be interviewed for magazine articles, been on the radio twice, taken part in World Book Night, met and spoken to readers in Kent libraries. I've been invited to book clubs, been on panels at First Fictions in West Dean and at Brighton's Dark and Stormy, given after breakfast talks, after lunch talks and after dinner talks, and I've spoken to children at their school. I was invited to all of these things, in case you were wondering. Otherwise the school one would be especially worrying.

I've loved it all and I've met some brilliant people along the way but what made 2014 particularly pleasant was two lovely holidays with my husband, the weddings of friends and relatives, my mother-in-law's eightieth birthday celebrations, friends having babies, finding a new pub and ending the year there with my husband.

The last sentence isn't strictly true as we decided that going out to see the new year in was a little bit raucous for us, so we had lunch there and were at home by 2.30pm. I make no excuses - it's been a busy year and I needed a siesta.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Scones, cream and a seal sanctuary

Last week was spent in Tintagel on the north Cornish coast. What a beautiful place it is too.

The weather held out and we sat eating many fantastic lunches in the sun, drinking Cornish beer in the evening and sampling local seafood.

Due to a dental emergency - I can't say enough good things about St Austell Community Hospital and the NHS helpline - I was dosed up with antibiotics, so spent most of the week on the wagon.

And still I managed to enjoy myself. I think it gives you some idea of what a great week it was.

One evening we met some old friends for a meal at Widemouth Bay. It has a beautiful beach and watched the sun set as we chomped through fish and chips (no, the tooth wasn't that bad). It was a great way to spend the last night of our holiday.

My favourite day out was the Seal Sanctuary at Gweek. I have a bit of a soft spot for seals and it was such a pleasure to spend some time there, hearing about the care and welfare of them. I even eavesdropped on a conversation some of the staff were having as I queued for a Cornish pasty (ok, so it wasn't that painful to eat). The staff were talking about the animals they were looking after in such a caring way, and how they didn't blame them if they bit now and again - they were only frightened.
If you're in the area and get a chance, pay it a visit. You won't be disappointed.

We stayed at the fantastic fully equipped Gilbert Lodge in Bossiney Bay, a short walk from Tintagel where I even managed to get some writing done. Information and bookings here