Reading · stories · Writing

Short stories and Teapots

I was lucky enough to do a reading of a story I had written for children at the Aberdeen Booked! festival.

Of course I was nervous, who isn’t, but once I started I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Reading aloud is one of my favourite  things to do. The joy of sharing a story is such a treat.

Anyway, at the end a lady spoke to me and told me she had enjoyed my story and was herself re-reading Anne of Green Gables.

Now I know my writing and I know I have a long, long way to go but to even have ‘Anne with an e’ mentioned in the same conversation as my story – well – I’m still happily living off the buzz!

thumb_IMG_1391_1024For my birthday I was given this beautiful book by a lovely friend. Picking out stories I am amazed at how dark some of them actually are – even Cupid has a bad name.

I’m constantly told the stories I write are too ‘nice’ and I did wonder if I should channel some of the darkness of HCA into my stories but then I realised I’d it’s probably just not my thing.

The funny coincidence is, when I started this blog and my ‘Cup of Tea’ books section, I knew I wanted to include the story of The Teapot.

 

 

I think it fits very well with this blog. It does make me remember that the stories we write for children are so often read by adults.

 

‘One is one thing and then becomes quite another.’

‘It is a blessing to forget oneself in others.’

(Hans Christian Andersen, ‘The Teapot’)

 

 

 

 

Great to see the bees back in the garden on a bumper year for the Rhododendrons.

Art · Books · Seasons · Writing

A Book for all Seasons

I’ve just finished reading ‘Autumn’ by Ali Smith and coincidentally my sister bought me the next in the series, ‘Winter’ for my Birthday.

A few weeks ago we visited the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (M2) in Edinburgh and I’d loved seeing the Andy Warhol  and Eduardo Paolozzi exhibition.

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An image of an image of an image?

To see the iconic Marilyn Monroe images up close was an amazing experience and I was blown away by the gigantic ‘Vulcan’ sculpture by Paolozzi. Anyone who’s read Ted Hughes ‘The Iron Man’ will surely love it!

Having enjoyed the post on the Novel Points of View Blog about where writers write; I really appreciated seeing the studio of Paolozzi which had been gifted to the nation.

 

So what is the link to the Ali Smith book? Well, by reading it I learnt about the artist Pauline Boty who was the only female British painter who took part in the pop art movement.

As Jim McColl says – ‘Every day’s a school day!’

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Be prepared for all types of weather if you live in Scotland – hailstones in May!

 

bees · Wildflowers · Writing

Ten Minutes to Spring

How do I feel? I want to catch this moment! Paint it, sing it, tell it, share it!

The sun is warm – yes! – and blinding me as I write this.

Ten minutes in the garden, I’ve been telling myself. It’s a way to get started. Well, it always stretches, doesn’t it? That’s a good thing though.

So, today it was the turn of our ‘wildflower patch’. thumb_IMG_0201_1024It was so successful last year but over the winter it had become covered in long grasses and piles of damp leaves.

I picked up the long handled rake ready to attack then suddenly noticed a fresh green shoot sticking up. Of course! I had planted some bulbs in the autumn. I’d nearly forgotten about them. What a gift!

With care, I raked away. More and more shoots began to appear and the ground cleared easily.

I’m a bit nervous, will the wildflower area be as good as last year with so many insects enjoying the flowers? Well, I guess only time will tell but now I feel at least we’re off to a good start.

So my thought for the day? Begin with ten minutes and scrape away carefully, let’s see what’s underneath. It’s a trick I’m trying with my writing.

 

 

Looking forward to using this – a gift from a lovely friend!

 

Flowers · Garden · Happy · Nature · Photography · Writing

Simply Not Perfect

Life isn’t perfect.

When I started writing this blog I was very aware I didn’t want it to be a relentless round of cheery posts with no indication of the reality of life.

On the way I’ve found it to be so much harder to write a blog post about sadness. I don’t want to be the person spreading sadness and yet there are always things that upset, worry and make me sad.

No one has fabulous days every day.

It’s the tough days that make me appreciate the good ones all the more

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Searching for the sun.

So if I post a photo of my garden, I’ll usually take it on a bright, sunny day. Sometimes I’ll have to wait for quite a few days for the sun to appear and when it does I’m out there,  really appreciating the light.

For every flower, fruit, vegetable and so on I’ve been proud of, there have been the plants I’ve put in the wrong position, or not fed correctly, or something (who knows what!) and they’ve not survived.

However, every seed, every bulb, every plant has been planted with optimism – I’m going for the cup is half full!

I guess there’s ups and downs in nature and in life but I’m going to keep on plugging away.

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A close up of  a murmuration of starlings at Aberdeen beach. (Not a very sunny day!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers · Garden · Inspiration · Writing

Planting Patience

 

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First ever cornflower grown from seed.

Do you stop, hold your breath, count to ten, raise your eyes to the sky?

What helps you to be patient?

Do we have time for patience in this world?

At the graduation day of my nephew last week the speaker included this quote:

Judge each day not by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Gardening and writing are both a game of patience.

Think of the countless authors who have folders full of rejection letters, think of the gardener planting seeds.

Patience and hope are needed. Will your writing develop into something truly worthwhile? Will the seed you planted or the cutting you took grow into something beautiful?

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Honeysuckle grown from a cutting

I have just been so delighted by this honeysuckle – I took a cutting from the one in my garden last year, dipped it in some rooting powder and stuck it in my raised bed.

Hey presto!

A beautiful flower and even better, I got to divide it in two; one for my garden and one to give to my parents.

 

Definitely a win for patience and hope.

Now just to keep on writing!