Wednesday 24 October 2012



I was reading Rachel’s post on blogging in Slow Lane Life and it struck me that although I enjoy blogging I don’t write as many posts as I used to. My life has not changed substantially so what am I doing instead? Have other things taken its place or is it just a phase I’m going through? (Why should children be the only people to have ‘phases’?)

I could lie and say I have been redecorating – but no, I leave that to the dogs. I have some embroidery to finish – and more to start. I have shallots to pickle – or will have when they’re delivered tomorrow, that is if Tesco hasn’t run out and tried to substitute them with onion-flavoured crisps. (Some of their substitutions defy belief.)

I ought to pick the crab apples that haven’t already dropped and make crab apple jelly but the garden is a quagmire. It’s time to make some more marmalade, too – and piccalilli and pickled red cabbage.

There again, I should declutter the house, starting with the spare bedrooms, but the thought fills me with . . . exhaustion.

My excuse is that I am writing. One book is being prepared for Kindle publication and I am editing another. It’s a feeble excuse, really, because I don’t spend disciplined – or even undisciplined – hours feverishly tapping out literary fluff. No, I read emails, do some online shopping, catch up on television programmes that take my fancy, replenish the bird feeders, watch the birds, laugh at the dogs, take them for walks, nurse Winston and attempt to clip his claws – oh, and there are the usual household chores, and meals to prepare and eat – it’s a busy life and no mistakeJ Add to that weekend visits from sundry, and sometimes all, family members – and their dogs -  and I can’t think how I have time to do anything;-)

Anyway, the following is an extract from the book I’m editing. (It's called 'Good Fences Make Good Neighbours') To set the scene, Sandra’s son David has just lost his hamster to one of Pat and Larry’s cats and a funeral has been arranged.

At the simple ceremony the following day Beatrice and Damon Yardley joined the chief mourners. The Minter children had wanted to come too, but the girls stayed at school for activities and prep and were never home before seven. Alexander didn’t want to go without them.
Sandra was touched to note that Pat and Larry had changed from their usual scruffy sweatshirts into clean shirts and ties. David carefully placed a cross made from lolly sticks under the mahonia japonica he had chosen at the garden centre. He was quite specific about what he wanted; it was to be evergreen with scented flowers and should not grow too tall too quickly. He chose the site in a sunny corner of the garden, ‘So that Honey won’t get cold.’

Sandra remembered burying beloved pets in her childhood garden. When it came to the point of covering the stiff bodies with damp earth she always felt a pang they would never feel the sun again. Even as a teenager, she couldn’t rid herself of the irrational thought that it was wrong to shut out the light. She had always wanted to tuck a warm blanket round the cold body. She took her son’s hand now and led him into the kitchen. Everyone sat down at the circular table at the dining end of the room and tucked into the sausage rolls and quiches and vol-au-vents and pizzas Sandra had cooked earlier.

As the children were finishing their ice-cream, Pat and Larry slipped out of the room. When they came back, Pat was carrying a soft cat bed and Larry had two pottery bowls in his hands.

‘Where would you like this, Sandra?’ Pat asked.

‘I think you’d better ask David,’ she smiled.

‘Well, David?’ said Larry.

‘Is that mine?’ said David in a hoarse voice. ‘Are we going to have a cat, Mummy?’

‘Look in the cat bed,’ said the men.

David got down from his chair and went slowly to look. Peeping out at him was a shiny brown Burmese with large chartreuse eyes.

‘It’s Nutmeg,’ he said. ‘What’s she doing here?’

‘She’s come to live with you, David. We’ve been looking for a good home for her and she likes you.’

David shook his head wonderingly and was quite speechless. Sandra felt tears pricking her eyes and chided herself for foolishness. Quickly she pointed her camera at her son and captured his joyous expression.

‘Oh, thank you, thank you,’ David managed at last. ‘Please may I hold her?’

‘Of course you may – Nutmeg’s yours now and you can hold her whenever you like. She’ll never tire of having a fuss made of her.


  1. Exciting that you ARE writing and preparing a book for Kindle! I have missed your blog entries though, so have been glad to see a few more recently again.

  2. I know so well that myriad of things that need to be done, should be done, but I'm taking pictures. Well I should be taking pictures. c'est la vie

  3. Please try pickling onion-flavoured crisps, and let us know how you get on!

  4. I noticed that it takes me far less time to blog then in the beginning, it gets a routine. I get up, write my posts post my pictures answer comments and then the rest of the day I am out meet friends etc. I don't stitch, I don't do anything in the household besides the laundry and I only watch a little TV when we have lunch (just a sandwich. Of course I have to prepare supper, quick and healthy, and still I am busy the whole day. I don't write a book but I prepare to have my blog printed not all of the posts but there are still a lot from the beginning on : August 2006 ! Meanwhile my English has improved so I have to correct some texts. It takes time to put the pictures in the text, so I try to do a little bit every day. Maybe I will have finished in 20 years or so !

  5. The name Nutmeg caught my attention... a cute and spicy-natured Burmese?

  6. Hi Janice .. I too noticed nutmeg .. good name! You know I'd love to come and spend a couple of days pickling, jellying etc with you - I haven't done it for years and years ... one day I'll get there again ..

    Don't stop blogging .. I need to know about your new staircase and carpet! And to keep an eye on those 4 legged critters ...

    Cheers Hilary

  7. Catching up on commenting, Janice, and this one made me a bit sniffly. When I lost my first hamster, I cried and cried, so "a bit sniffly" is an improvement. And the cat. How wonderful.
    I wish I could get back to my travel writing instead of posting photos for memes, or poems for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, but I need to maintain the writing style of my first several chapters and I can't seem to do it.
    Don't you just hate non-writers who say, "Oh, I could write a book"? They set my teeth on edge (and I wear dentures).


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