Thursday, 31 January 2008
Monday, 28 January 2008
Bugger. I hate feeling like this. I don't have time to be poorly, I have too much to do. I become even more unsociable than I am usually. And if you knew me personally, you would understand that that was not a good way to be. Roll on next week, when I hope to be feeling better. I had a bad cold once that lasted eight weeks. It just clung on for fear of missing out on something. People got used to seeing me with a tissue in my hand, probably wondering if it was my soothing blanket. The worst thing is, that without doubt, my husband will catch this cold and be a bear with a sore head, then Amy will no doubt catch it and have to stay off school. So all in all, rather a miserable time in the Jigsaw household.
I felt rather proud with myself over the weekend, however. I managed to connect the Nintendo Wii. It's great fun. Amy and the farmer had a round of golf last night, in our sitting room. It went on a bit as Amy kept "hitting the ball" too hard and the farmer, thinking he was Britain's answer to Tiger Woods, kept hitting it into the 'rough' and on many occasions, 'out of bounds'. I bought Amy the High School Musical Karaoke game which she loves and is able to sing along to with a real microphone, rather loudly, pretending she's Sharpay, her favourite character. So between the two, we should be multi-millionaires with yachts the size of Northumberland and fans falling at our feet.
Oh well, think I shall go back to bed. And dream.
Friday, 25 January 2008
The meme is to do with household maintenance, I think. I was a little unsure whether I had to write about dog pee but as I really do not know much about it, apart from when Sparky has the odd accident, I thought it best to write about something else. My subject, therefore, is about cleaning and tidying up. My domestic talents do not stretch very far. In fact, they do not stretch at all. So here goes:
1. The more mess you make, the more tidying up will need to be done. It is therefore advisable in my opinion, not to make any mess at all. However, if you are like me, mess comes naturally to everyday living. Finding something else to do, i.e. writing a blog, having sex, watching Neighbours, is an excellent distraction, not particularly in that order.
2. Make your bed as soon as you get up. That way you will not be faced with the previous night's activities every time you walk into your bedroom.
3. Keep children's toys in the shed. When your child wants to play, either bring one toy out at a time or alternatively, put child in shed.
4. Encourage your husband to pick up his dirty underpants together with other items of clothing from the floor. Teach him how to lift the lid off the laundry basket and reassure him that this particular task is quite easy once he gets the hang of it.
5. Clean the toilet each time you have used it. Toilet brushes are very simple to use and make it easier to remove any excess turd mess from the pan, rather than allowing it to dry and stick.
6. Keep all animals, children and husbands outside when new kitchen has been installed. Sheds will suffice.
My sister bought me a plaque a few years ago which I have hung up in my kitchen. It simply reads, "My house was clean last week, sorry you missed it".
I have always been known to be untidy. I make no excuses apart from the following:
i) I am busy.
I cannot think of anymore just yet. I will, however, make a point of keeping the new kitchen in pristine condition and have already given orders to my dear husband should he enter the house in sheep caked wellies. We have an outside tap used for cleaning outside footwear and I will be directing him to it daily. The dogs often come barging through the kitchen door, covered from head to paw in either badger poo, sheep poo or mud from the fields. They too, will find themselves outside in the Northumberland fresh air much more often than they will be allowed to snuggle up by the cosy Aga.
Unusual for me I know, but I am now going to tag five fellow bloggers. Please do not feel obliged to do the meme but it is good fun all the same: Cathy, Frog in the Field, Casdok, Preseli Mags and Snailbeach Shepherdess.
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
I felt quite proud as I passed the large brown envelope to the cashier asking her to send it 'Recorded Delivery'. She was even pleasant to me which made it all the more enjoyable. I gave the envelope a little kiss after I had sealed it, asking for a stroke of luck to come my way and perhaps a publisher or an agent to read my work with keen interest, desperate to make contact with me. My dad used to call me "Dilly Daydream" when I was a little girl.
Admittedly, having written the synopsis, I am now finding it easier to tune into my story, knowing what will happen in each chapter. It did change of course, several times before I was satisfied with the final draft. And after the new year, I decided to introduce a love interest for my main character, determined not to make it mushy or indeed explicit. I am hoping my mum will read it one day together with other members of my family and then realise that I am not a nun but am indeed a woman of the world. We never discuss things like sex and other such indulgences so as you see, I need to keep the sexual tension to a minimum.
But of course the story is not really about sex. It is about things that go bump in the night. And that certainly does not cover the subject of sex. In my life anyway. I have thought long and hard about the content of the story, getting to know my characters, becoming familiar with the house in which my main character lives and of course researching various aspects of what will actually make the book tick. Religion features highly, as does death, together with terminal illness. Hell, when you put it like that it sound utterly depressing. I suppose a lot of it is quite morbid, but we all enjoy a bit of variation in our lives and as several of my characters have already entered their next life, I think it might just make for interesting reading.
My mum said she will buy it anyway.
I told myself not to mention the kitchen in this post because I am sure by now you are all bored stiff by hearing about it, but, they have brought the installation date forward. Knowing it was clashing with the lambing, they have booked us in for the 25th February which means, all being well, we should have a nice newly fitted kitchen by the time lambing starts around mid March. I won't tell you I'm excited.
Sunday, 20 January 2008
Sparky had her final visit to the vet and is now proudly running about with no bandage and few restrictions. We are a bit anxious about her going on the quad bike but it has to happen sooner or later. She is a sheep dog after all. She has no fear of the tups and enjoys sidling up to them, having a sniff then running round the field, barking extremely loudly in the hope that they will lift their heads and run away. As yet, the tups couldn't care less about Sparky's presence. I worry that if she carries on they might just lose patience and teach her a lesson leading to more vet's bills looming on the horizon
Amy has decided she wants to be a hairdresser when she grows up. Do they still earn a fortune? Or is it a myth?! She has lovely shoulder length hair with a curl and a kink and she loves putting bobbles in and Alice bands. I even let her wash it herself these days, then I stand for ages while she sits at her dressing table admiring herself, letting me dry it. She is desperate for me to grow my hair but I prefer it short. Bobbles simply will not go in. She has several of those styling heads, where the hair grows out of the top. I used to have one of those when I was young. er. I wonder what the qualifications are these days for a hairdresser. I suspect science is involved somewhere and perhaps the gift of the gab. She has certainly got that so if she does well at school I can't see a problem. Providing the customer does not speak or at least says nice things to her I really would not trust my child with a pair of silver scissors. We might find another Sweeney Todd on our hands.
Due to my lack of technical skills I am very embarrassed about the fact that my mum kindly bought Amy a Nintendo Wii for Christmas and as yet I haven't connected it up. The farmer can only just manage to use the Sky remote so there is absolutely no point asking him to do it. I have looked at the destructions several times and just cannot work out what goes where. Sounds familiar... I will have another go this week when Amy isn't sat on the floor waving the remote around asking, "have you done it yet?" Why do these things have to be so technical and complicated. I therefore ask, does anyone know what to do? It's still in the box. I haven't even got past page 1 in the set up manual. Help would be very much appreciated.
Thursday, 17 January 2008
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
It is not uncommon to experience paranormal activity during daylight hours. I have written about several occasions when my attention has been required and I have felt a presence around me. I have visited many houses where I have seen another dimension to this life we currently live and where people have asked me to help them establish the existence of an astral they feel may be sharing their home. My own house boasts intrigue with its long history and many previous occupants. I have yet to find out all the identities of the people who have lived here before my own family and of course their demise of which I know has been mainly within these walls.
I look forward to the renovations of the kitchen taking place due to the energy that will once more emanate; fresh activity that can be fictionalised and incorporated into my book. An edifice acts as a video recorder, constant memories of life's events being stored within the flesh of a building. It is, however, more atmospheric should a spirit wish to visit in the dead of night, shining their manifesting torch as they present themselves to you, eager to pass on a welcome message or a comforting thought. It fascinates me even to this day, how a complete stranger is able to know my name as they speak, albeit from their astral plane.
I have no doubt that since my arrival on the farm, my husband has not given the passed souls of this residence a second thought, even those he was closest to. His Aunt and Uncle; his grandmother and grandfather; his mother, were all family members who lived here when he was born and went on to live here for many years to follow. I have of course introduced my husband to an open minded view of life, one where we can think positively about what lies beyond this current existence; is their really life after death? I do not like to think of my astral friends and loved ones as "ghosts" for I have always associated that word to have a more sinister meaning, as was the way I had grown up to believe. Beings with white sheets float about the stairwell saying, "boo!" and other such ridiculous enunciation with a quivering tone in the hope that we would all run away, petrified, determined to sleep with the light on.
It is possible in some circumstances to be physically attacked or hurt by a spirit, sometimes known as 'poltergeist activity' but we should be aware that this is quite rare and something we should not fret about. Poltergeists are often harmless, just wishing to attract ones attention, perhaps in some cases scare a little. Many harmless occurrences have been noted during my time living in this house, books falling off shelves, shoes being moved, doors opening and shutting. Hardly a day goes by when I have not experienced something, trivial as it may be, I never forget because if I did, what would be the point of the spirit returning to this earth plane?
My husband and Amy swapped beds one night when she came into our room complaining that she had been woken up by someone. The farmer kindly left his warm bed to allow Amy to snuggle up with me and get the sleep she so desperately needed. It was three weeks later when talking with friends about our fascinating home that he announced his unsettling night that time he had moved into Amy's bed. He explained how he had heard someone walking about in the room, quietly, yet disturbing him from his rest. Another occasion was just a few months ago when we had both heard a child ask for her "mum" from the top of the stairs only to discover Amy fast asleep in her bed.
The most recent of my husband's experiences of which he remains open minded was a night not so long ago when he brought me a cup of tea in bed. It was approaching 10pm and I was sat up watching something on the television. As he moved towards the bedside table he began comically sniffing around. Although knowing why he was portraying such antics I questioned him. "I can smell smoke," he replied. "As though someone is smoking perhaps?" I asked. "Yes," was his answer.
Why, just last night as again I was sat up in bed watching the television, the cat contentedly lain upon my lap, the bed began to shudder. A few seconds of what felt like an earthquake sensation beneath my lower body. I reduced the sound on the set and looked around me. The cat continued in her state of unconsciousness while I asked out, should anyone have joined me to watch the magic screen. I went on to experience many corner of the eye moments, fleeting glimpses of what could have been a moving soul. I once more increased the sound, happy to share my space with a guest from afar.
Monday, 14 January 2008
Dishwasher under the sink and the famous fridge to the right of it. As I have lots of items to display I wanted adequate glass doors in which to show off my heirlooms.
The green range represents our Aga which is currently cream coloured and far too dirty to show on here. Sparky's chair is currently situated to the left of the Aga where, as you can see, a new cupboard will be installed. Sorry, Sparky.
The display cabinet was something I wanted in order to make the kitchen look complete. In the same design as the units it will be in keeping and will again be a glass front double cupboard to show off some of our china, in particular, a tea set which belonged to the farmer's ancestors.
Amy had a friend stay over on Saturday night. I tried to keep the peace but spent most of my time trying not to listen to the girly banter which gave no resemblance to when I was a child. It is only when we have Amy's friends here that we really begin to realise how socially immature she is. Both girls were excited and happy to be together so I tried to stay out of it as much as possible. They had supper, played a few games, ran about the house screaming blue murder, had a bath, then played quite happily in the guest room where they intended to spend the night together in the double bed. As midnight approached and they were still chatting and playing I became the wicked witch of the North East and split them up. Amy slept with me in my bed while the friend stayed in the double. It did remind me of the many sleepovers I had with Ali when we were the same age. We used to stay up watching Ali's television, watching Betamax videos and chatting until the sun came up. One night I will never forget: it was 2am and we were still talking about what 8 year old girls talked about then, for us it was Charlie's Angels and Blue Peter (Ali will kill me for revealing our secrets). Ali's grandmother lived with her then and slept in the room next door. She knocked so hard on the wall in anger at our making a noise, that the lamp fell off the table and went out. That sent us into fits of giggles for, oooh, about thirty years. We still laugh about it today. Grandma Ella was a lovely soul. But I suppose needed her sleep, like everyone.
I feel that Amy is so lucky to have such loyal friends. This one in particular is terribly patient with her and tries desperately not to lead her astray. Living in such a remote part of the country, driving a car is an essential part of everyday life. I know at one time shanks pony was the only thing available but now that we are fortunate to have wheels to get us from A to B it becomes something of a necessity to own a car. Therefore, for Amy to have friends home it means a car journey. But it is so worth it, to see the child's face beam with pleasure when her friend draw up in their family car on Saturday afternoon is a memory to be treasured. I mentioned taking them both to McDonalds on Sunday but the friend pulled her face. "I don't like McDonalds," she said, much to Amy's disgust. Ham sandwiches won over. Saved me 44 miles worth of fuel and a fiver for the food. Not to mention a feast on junk for myself.
Saturday, 12 January 2008
Thursday, 10 January 2008
Jack questioned my distraction, turning his head to search over his shoulder into an empty space. I smiled at him. I wondered how he would feel should he have been able to see the woman too. I wondered if he had sensed the stale aroma on his clothes. Before my thoughts could be turned into words of intrigue, the woman had gone. The smell with her. My attention once more rested on Jack's story as we both made our way back through the house.
Upon our return to the lounge later that day, my hand reached out to turn the door handle. My strength seemed to have momentarily left me as I began wrenching, unsure as to why I could not manage the simple task of opening the lounge door. Being prevented from entering the room by an unseen force, I moved aside to allow Jack to try. Stuck fast he turned to look at me. Unable to see the woman yet feeling her presence, the same profuse aroma attacked me as I pondered for answers as to why my attention had again been sought. Eventually the handle turned. We were permitted to enter the room, followed by the gentle footsteps of a visiting soul. I have never appreciated the smell of smoke on one's clothes, the same smell that clings to fabric after standing outside to inhale their addictive fix. Yet it filled the room, bearing down on my shoulders, making me ache and feel heavy as I tried in vain to relax.
I turned to Jack. "Have you been smoking?" My thoughts were no longer as words fell from my mouth.
"Of course not!" he replied, astounded at my ridiculous question.
"I can smell smoke; stale smoke, as though you have just been outside for a cigarette."
"But I don't smoke," he assured me. Assurance of which I did not need.
Within minutes, the aroma vanished. Along with the presence I once felt had joined our group. The woman had succeeded in vying for my attention. The night before, she had also attracted the Farmer's.
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
I made myself a cup of tea, took it upstairs and sat on the bed. I watched "A Place in the Sun" for an hour and stroked my bunny rabbit. I also thought a lot. Thinking is something I have always done a considerable amount of. I am more of a thinker than a doer. I have thought so much recently that I have changed a rather significant detail in my book. A detail I hope will work. One which will require some research and possibly a chat with a vicar. Not sure I am too chuffed about that but if I want this book to be of even little success, I know it will be necessary. Providing of course, that when a vicar finds out what my book is about, they do actually want to talk to me anyway. Which, let's face it, could be a bit touch and go.
I spent such a long time before the holidays hand writing the synopsis. Knowing as I went along that certain parts would need further clarification, more attention to detail. I feel quite excited at the prospect of finishing it and doing what James Caan's character did in the thriller screen production of "Misery"; opened a bottle of champagne. Unfortunately, he was also tortured by Kathy Bates but hopefully that won't happen to me.
So the order of the day is less thinking and more doing. Write the book. Edit it later. Someone gave me that piece of advice and he is a successful author. If I keep changing my mind about the plot I will be sat here in another year's time, thinking about the doing. I know it won't happen over night. But it might happen in my life time. Writing about the paranormal world is a touchy subject. Some believe, some don't. Some want to believe, some have no interest. But if I can change someones mind about the astral plane, I will feel I have succeeded.
I wonder what Amy is doing at school.
Sunday, 6 January 2008
A few of you have kindly asked after Sparky; I would say with confidence that she is back to normal. The wound on her leg has almost healed and apart from having to wear a small bandage to prevent infection, she bounds about as though nothing ever happened.
As the Christmas holidays draw to a close and the decorations are once again taken down, I sit back in my red leather chair and reflect on yet another festive period, full of fun and gaiety, packed with laughter and jubilation, remembered with heartfelt joy and memorable moments.Okay, so we laughed. Occasionally. We had fun. I think. Memorable moments? Lots of. And back in the real world, I cannot wait until Tuesday. At 8.30am the taxi will drive my eight year old daughter to school, I will retreat back inside what has become an incredibly untidy house and I will sit for at least one hour doing absolutely nothing. I will allow my brain to wind down. I will hope that the headache I have had for the last seven days will begin to subside and I will think about writing down the ideas I have recently had for my book.
I can honestly say, hand on heart, that Christmas Day 2007 was the best one yet. In my whole life. The atmosphere was perfect. I cooked a delicious dinner in my own time, played with Amy for as long as I wanted, kissed my husband and even got an "ooh, that's nice darling" when he opened his present from me. Boxing Day was similar. We had a good friend over for lunch and all was jolly and sweet. It was relaxing for us all, even Sparky was good. On the 27th however, it all went pear shaped. Amy and I made the journey to my mum's where my sister and her daughter were also staying. Excitement got the better of Amy and she became the child from hell. All I could think about was 'Ritalin', a drug given to Hyperactive children to calm them down. A drug which in my opinion, is a last resort. The other thing I thought about was a very strong alcoholic drink. For me, not the child.
Since then, I have counted down the hours until 8.30am on Tuesday 8th January 2008. We have had friends staying with us since New Years' Day which has been a welcome change but as I have suffered for the past 2 days with a migraine, I have had to retire to bed at 9pm leaving the farmer to do the entertaining. They have been wonderful. They have taken Amy to the beach, taken her for a drive in the car, played various games with her, taken her for walks with the dogs. And this time, I do not feel guilty. Just grateful.
I have thought about my New Years' Resolutions and have made quite a few. Some I will share with you, others I will leave for my husband's eyes only:
1. Spend more time writing and less time thinking.
2. Be more sociable.
3. Get the kitchen done. Steps already taken. Work hopefully starting soon.
4. Get fit. Lose weight.
I have no doubt, apart from the kitchen being done, the same resolutions will rear their head this time next year. When I was a little girl, I used to promise myself that I would stop biting my nails. My mum spent a fortune on "Stop 'n' Grow" which is simply a disgusting tasting nail varnish and is supposed to deter you from biting. Of course it never worked because I still bite them. My dad often promised me money or a present if I didn't bite them for a whole week. I never did have any willpower. I sometimes sit having a conversation with someone and find that once they have gone I have to raid the first aid drawer for germolene and plasters due to the skin I have unconsciously picked away at. Some people smoke, others drink. I am a self confessed cannibal.
I should find out how much my new kitchen will cost on Wednesday. Something to look forward to. Spending money has always been something I am good at, so my husband tells me. Coping with mess however, isn't. Does anyone know where I can buy a magic wand?