Thursday, 24 July 2014

Literary attempts, beetroot and redcurrant jelly, sunshine and bad news days

Its been too long - the blog kept appearing on lists but didn't get done! But I'm having a day of getting through my current list before I add anything to it. So here goes!

Failed miserably in getting work out to agents. This always happens initially because once I start to look at my little archive of stories they don't seem good enough, its funny how you have to be in the right mood to approach these sorts of tasks. Hoping for better next week, but am a little side-tracked by my entry to the Costa Short Story Competition which closes for entries in 7 days time.  I've had a snippet of a story languishing on the computer for some time that I've now taken by the scruff of the neck and completely revamped with more characters and more plot and lots more words. I'm happy with it but now the polishing begins, thesaurus and Fowler's Modern at the ready. Wish me luck.

My neighbour's wedding was a treat to behold, white horses and carriage started the day and smart sports cars ended it with lots of colour and bollywood dancing in between.  There are photographs but must get some permissions first before sharing.

The beetroot is lovely and I've perfected a great relish recipe - so close friends beware a jar or two may well be on offer soon - when I find a day to commit to the work - but it can't be long because the baby beets are ready.  Time will be taken up this evening with the yearly ritual of making redcurrant jelly.  The currants are lovely this year, must have been the spring rain and all this sunshine.  The juice is ready and the pots are being washed at this very moment by my better half.

The sunshine here continues which is great, but watering the veg and our new plants takes time and effort.  I'm trying to turn it into a fitness regime - walking fast holding two full watering cans must do something to your waistline, so here's hoping.

Work on pictures for my October exhibition is going to plan, just need the last four to the printers and then eight onto the framer.  A couple of my last choices are below.....

I always try to include some national news here each time - but most of the big stories at the moment are making me sad and angry - the conflict in Gaza and Iraq and the shooting down of the airliner in Ukraine for example. Why does man (and I mean man specifically  - I'm a mild feminist) choose the aggression route to solve problems. I can imagine how hard it is to carry generations' worth of hatred for another tribe, religion, race whatever it is. But I have a theory that in cultures where women lack any real power there is often quick calls to fight rather than calls to discuss and resolve. I'm with Ban Ki Moon and his call to the Israelis and Palestinians "Stop fighting and start talking". Easier said than done Ban Ki.

Here's hoping for better news next time I put pen to paper, thanks for reading this blog...
Elaine x

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Post-holiday blues, Brazilian football, Wimbledon and phone hacking

Well a good time was had by all in Brittany, despite the only mediocre weather.  Eurocamp was just as we remembered, simple but value for money. The campsite at Beg-Miel was right next to a lovely beach, giving us scope for long walks with good coffee at each end, and a nature park complete with otters. Lounging by the pool, eating pizza from the takeaway a bit of tennis and watching world cup football in the bar made up the rest of the time. Bliss. Brittany Ferries also need a mention, great crossings both ways, a lovely new ship and really nice staff - thank you.

Back to work with the scary task of polishing my best stories ready to be packaged off to some unsuspecting literary agents - I have a list of anyone remotely interested in short stories on who's desk they will be landing.  Scary because of the fear of the rejection letter (tends to a be an email these days if you're lucky, or mostly no response at all - the poor dears are so busy with submissions they have very little time to correspond in any depth if at all), but it has to be done, how else would you know about your chances unless you put it out there.

I've grown beetroot!! Dead chuffed with the lovely row of bushy leaves and growing beets underneath.  The plan is to make beetroot relish and do some pickling - sorry but it is the sort of thing I get excited about these days!

The coming weekend looks busy. We've been invited to our neighbours' daughter's wedding. They are Sikh so we're really looking forward the occasion, with all its colourful dressing up.

Not sure what I think about the new laws which will allow the security services and government to look at data about who we are calling and contacting. Is this what's known as 'phone hacking'? Things getting rushed through often go a bit awry shortly after when challenges are made.  However I have nothing to hide on my phone and computer and want to know that the security services are keeping an eye on the baddies, but also understand the civil liberties issue, so not sure about this one.

I'm not surprised Brazil are out of the world cup because their football lacked any of the skill shown in the past, but 7:1 was a bit of a shock.  Its interesting watching sports tournaments when your team or favourite player gets knocked out and you're watching as a neutral - a bit of passion is lost. 
I missed the second week of Wimbledon (which was a bit of error on my part - I booked the holiday) and once I learnt that my lovely Andy was out my interest waned. However was treated to a masterful show of tennis on Sunday - thank you Djokovic and Federer for a great 5-setter.

Thanks to all the readers of my blog, hope you're finding it interesting and would love to hear more of you comments.
Elaine x