Uncategorized

Here I Go Again

Depression, Stress, Anxiety…

House selling and buying is increasing the levels of those 3 conditions again. I’m hoping the above C.S. Lewis quote works..

We’ve been in the situation for the last few weeks that our buyer keeps pressurising us via our estate agent or by their solicitor making contact with ours. At the time they offered on our property they were ready to complete on their property and told us they were going to move in to a caravan for a few weeks to allow for the conveyancing procedure to happen for us moving forward. This was an easy process as no one has a mortgage, we’d all be paying for our prospective properties with cash.

Conveyancing takes 6-12 weeks. Wednesday is exactly 6 weeks since we accepted their offer. We’ve been pressurised (Since the end of the first week post offer acceptance) to the point where we’ve looked in to alternative options as the property we’re buying has a paperwork delay. Our buyers have now given us 48 hours to make a decision and sort something else if we wish them to continue to purchase.

We’d love to move out Wednesday but we have nowhere to go. We’ve been advised of a system known as collapsible tenancy, whereby we move in to the bungalow we’re buying and rent it. At the point the sale completes the tenancy agreement collapses, as it will have been superseded by the sale, and all monies paid in rent are then deducted from the purchase price.

Our estate agent advised us that our solicitor was happy for us to do that. Today we’ve been advised that they’re not happy for us to do this as we may st some point become homeless, if for any reason the purchase of the bungalow fails.

Both hubby and I are so fed up by the whole process now but will have to spend Tuesday on the phone to our solicitor and to the lovely couple we’re buying from.

I’ve just come out of a flare-up; 4 consecutive days where my pain levels have been through the roof. I increased my meds until yesterday morning. I felt ‘better’ i.e. back down to normal chronic pain levels, and was thinking about getting the kitchen stuff packed. I packed decorative items, cook books, etc the other week but still have to pack pans and tins/trays I know I’m not likely to use.

Since that call today (early afternoon) my pain levels have soared again and my anxiety has brought on my stammer. I’m feeling edgy, jumpy, tired, emotional, angry, disheartened, etc, etc, etc!

It’s 1am and right now I’m not sure I’ll be able to settle to sleep and I know hubby is the same as we both feel like our buyers have us over a barrel.

The one thing I do know is that if they really love the cottage as much as they’ve said they do then they’d be willing to wait. They’re currently not living in a caravan, as they told us initially, but are living with their daughter. We understand and appreciate that their circumstances aren’t ideal but they’re effectively forcing us to complete the sale of our home with nowhere for us to live.

This sounds like a whinge, which I guess it is. Yes, we could ket them withdraw, sell to someone else but then there’s no guarantee the conveyancing for that would happen to give us time to do what we’d like to do at the other end (replace single-glazed windows with double glazed is one of the first things in the list). We won’t be able to do that if we’re only renting either but at least we’d have a temporary home.

Decisions, decisions, Stress!

Daily Challenge, Writing

8th August 2018 – Writing Challenge

Where is your favourite place to write?

I can pretty much write anywhere. I use my laptop when I am at home and sit in my armchair or at a desk. I did have a desk area but now we’re all packed up for the move I’m sitting in my armchair using the laptop. I have recently downloaded the onedrive app to my smart phone so I can write and save it directly to the onedrive so I can access and clean up later on. I also have notebooks, lots of notebooks, I have a fetish or something! Sadly I’ve struggled to always carry one with me and I know I’ve missed many great opportunities for a mega bestseller simply by forgetting the fantastic ideas I had in the middle of the night or whilst in the car or on the train! I need to get better at savings ideas.

writing

Picture Courtesy of http://arturek.pl/zarabianie-w-internecie/

As anyone who has read this blog in the last few weeks will know, we are in the process of moving. The new property has a separate sun-room. Hubby thought it’d make a great ‘Lady Cave’. I hate that description! It conjures up all sorts of negative connotations (18+ only from here please!) along the lines of ‘bucket crutch’ or similar. I am sitting here with my face screwed up and I’m squirming! I really dislike that name. I am naming it my “Studio”. I’ll be writing in there as well as sewing and doing other handicrafts.

The writing area is going to be a little cubby-hole. I’ll have my comfortable, ergonomically designed office chair in there at the desk. I plan to have reference books I already own in there, which I tend to use sometimes as more reliable sources than the internet. The area will also have prints on the walls, a rocking chair my youngest sister gifted me and a nice, colourful rug. I’d like a plant or 2 as well but I need to wait until I am in the space to decide exactly. So whilst there is no physical ‘place/home’ for me to write in now I am very much looking forward to this new area. I’ll be sharing photos once we’re there – this countdown is frustrating, but it’s coming…patience is a virtue (apparently!) I think I was last in that queue…

Until next time! šŸ™‚

Daily Challenge, Uncategorized

7th August -Return to Camping Memories

This post is a continuation of the blog post I wrote in the early hours of this morning. It was still my yesterday, as I consider I’m still on the day of the week it is until I’ve actually slept! This is the link to that post…Ā 6th August ā€“ Writing Challenge.

I’d just started to tell the story of my favourite camping memories – that of our family holiday in 2008 that we called our “South Coast Adventure”. It was a mad week, and in true British style we enjoyed it despite the fact that for most of the entire week it rained. Not just a little rain either! I took a look at the photographs I took while we were away and the trip was pretty much exactly 10 years ago. We left Cambridge on 8th August, so this is a great trip down memory lane for me!

Day 1 was mostly travelling down to Somerset from our then home in Cambridge. It was early evening by the time we’d arrived, put up the tent and arranged the beds. It was a very small tent with just 3 cells – a main central cell, where I made the tea and cooked, and two cells either side. Hubby and I had one and our son had the other. We thought as we had loved Cheddar during a holiday in 1994 when we were married, and had no children (we’d actually just lost a daughter when hubby decided to take me a way for a few days). I’d never been before and that time we’d stayed in the Cheddar Gorge Hotel, which sadly wasn’t there by 2008.

Cheddar is one of those places that stays the same and you know what you’re getting as soon as you arrive. Ok, the tea shops, museum, etc may change ownership but the Gorge itself and the caves remain as stunningly beautiful as they’ve been since they first formed 1.2 million years ago. The official Cheddar Gorge website isĀ here.Ā For more information about the geological aspects of the gorge and caves the British Geological Survey have a page specifically dedicated to the formation of the limestone cliffs which make up the gorge. Their page isĀ here.

I wanted to share some photographs I took but they are poor quality – the camera I had at the time (10 years ago) was greatly inferior to those available now – my mobile handset takes far better photographs than my digital camera took at that time! So all pictures of Cheddar Gorge, due to the weather really aren’t great quality.

Anyway, once the tent was up hubby and I wanted to go in to Cheddar to see if the Riverside Chinese Restaurant was still there. When we’d visited in 1994, by the time we arrived and had relaxed for a bit in the hotel it was late, and the Riverside was the only place open to get a meal. We just took a risk on whether the food would be ok. Thankfully, it was fantastic, so in 2008 we were ecstatic they were still there and that the food was just as delicious. Our son became a fan too šŸ™‚ *We did a mini repeat of the trip in Summer ’17 with our now adult son and his g/f and the Riverside isĀ stillĀ making great tasting food! I checkedĀ TripadvisorĀ and whilst there are mixed reviews the food and service are better than average.

The next memory is so sweet. As any Mother will tell you, when your child has new experiences their reactions make your maternal instincts fly. Mine bubble or crawl whenever my son is in need of reassurance, even as an adult, and, as he lives away (funnily enough close to the coast in Hampshire) whenever he visits or we go down to visit him I can’t control my maternal instincts and they’re never fully satisfied until I’ve had at least 2 full, long bear hugs and spent over 3 hours in his company! #motherandsonlove

So, we were laid down with all the tent closed off for the night. The camping lantern was on in the central area until our we were comfortable in our respective beds. We said goodnight and then, taking the lamp into our cell, switched out the lamp. Our son had a miniature camping lantern in case he needed to get up in the night. He was given clear instructions that if he needed the bathroom he was to wake us, as we didn’t want him walking across the camp site alone in the middle of the night.

So, we’re lying there chilling when I hear him crying quietly. He was deliberately muffling his tears. I asked if he was ok and he just broke down. He was scared that it was so dark and that all we had between us and the elements was a thin canvas. My heart went out to him, I mean literally. There were waves of motherly love floating through the space between me and him. He didn’t want us to get up to go to him and after a few minutes of reassurance he settled down. I didn’t sleep until I heard him sleeping.

The next morning we were up early. We knew we had just the one day to visit the gorge as we were moving on the following day. It was already raining and going over to the shower block was an experience. By the time we were over there we didn’t need a shower as we were already soaked through to the skin!

We had a damp but enjoyable day in Cheddar. We parked within the main gorge car park and decided to walk through the main road in to Cheddar itself. This really is the best way to enjoy the town and the views are spectacular throughout. We visited both Cox’s Cave and Gough’s Cave – see photographs below.

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Cheddar Cheese being matured within Gough’s Cave. This is with the permission of the Marquess of Bath, owner of Longleat Estate (the location of Longleat Safari Park).Ā Ā©Nattinatters 2008-2018

cheddar3

A calcite “waterfall” within Gough’s Caves. This is actually in gorgeous tones of Gold.Ā Ā©Nattinatters 2008-2018

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One of the pools within Gough’s Cave.Ā Ā©Nattinatters 2008-2018

Cheddar Man

Cheddar Man – 9000 years old – the oldest complete skeleton of a Homo Sapien found in the UK, within Gough’s CaveĀ Ā©Nattinatters 2008-2018

After visiting the caves we went for a cream tea at Derrick’s Tea Room. Our son doesn’t like dried fruit so he was overjoyed that chocolate chip scones were available, with Nutella spread in the bowl in place of the usual jam. In Summer 2017 the tea rooms were under new ownership and had been renamed the Lion Rock TearoomsĀ Despite the change of name, the service, scones and tea were just as enjoyable as those we’d had 9 years previously.

We then visited the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company. Their cheddar is so much tastier than the cheese you buy in a supermarket. It has a unique taste all of its own and, as when we visited they’d just started to mature some of the cheeses back in the caves, as was done historically, we were advised by the guide to try the normal mature cheddar first and then immediately afterwards try the cave matured mature cheddar in order to appreciate the difference in taste. There was just no comparison. How the cheese can taste so much fresher, but creamier by just being matured in a cave rather than the maturing racks at the company’s buildings I don’t know. We decided to buy some cheese to take with us to use towards a picnic the next day. *We visited again in Summer ’17 and ordered a few cheeses to be posted to reach us after we’d returned from the holiday. The range of flavours in the past 9 or 10 years has increased, as has the choice of chutneys and sauces. It’s definitely worth a visit. The Visitor Centre is accessible – I was in my wheelchair last Summer and they were very accommodating – I did email them first to let them know when we were coming so they were expecting a wheelchair user. The cheese making area is still visible from wheelchair height and so are the sample counters (thank goodness for that one!)

After that very damp day we had a fish and chip dinner in Cheddar before returning to the campsite for an early night.

I can’t believe that I’ve been writing this for a couple of hours and that 2 minutes to midnight I am still only on Day 2 of the South Coast Adventure. I’ll leave the rest of the adventure to some future date where I’ll link back to these original posts. I would say to any tourists coming to the UK that if you decide you want to visit an area of outstanding natural beauty and a fantastic history the South West is an amazing place to visit, and Cheddar especially.

Until next time! šŸ™‚

Writing

6th August – Writing Challenge

Firstly, I’m apologising for a couple of days absence. The dreaded elephant in the room appeared and I had a do nothing, in my chair phase. I’ve had a busy admin day today and by the time I’ve arrived here the hands of time had slipped past midnight…as I’ve not yet been to bed I am still on Monday 6th. Tuesday 7th can wait til at least 8am! On to a writing challenge question…

Do you have any fond memories of camping with your family?

I loved camping! I could still camp now but it’d have to be ‘Glamping’ as I can’t sleep on the ground and even an inflatable mattress just wouldn’t work.

But…I love camping!! šŸ˜ Some of my favourite memories are of camping.

My first memory of camping was on a school trip in 1984 to Lynton & Lynmouth, 2 beautiful villages in Devon – wiki states as follows:

“Lynmouth is a village in Devon, England, on the northern edge of Exmoor (an area of hilly open moorland in west Somerset and north Devon) The village straddles the confluence of the West Lyn and East Lyn rivers, in a gorge 700 feet (210 m) below Lynton, which was the only place to expand to once Lynmouth became as built-up as possible. Both villages are connected by the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway which works two cable-connected cars by gravity, using water tanks. Incidentally, this is known as a Funicular Railway. The Devon Guide gives more information about the area.

The holiday away with school mates also included some pupils from the year above so my older sister came too and we shared a traditional tent.

The fond memories I have include the drive there and back, as the soundtrack for ‘Breakdance: The Movie’ was pretty much on repeat the whole way. The cassette must have been nearly worn through! I still listen to the soundtrack every so often and it always reminds me of this school holiday.

Other memories are of the smokers sneaking off into the field next to the toilet shower block thinking we’d be able to smoke without being seen. Duh! Toilet block. Maybe we thought the teachers didn’t need the loo…? It wasn’t long before we were spotted!

Also, I had my first ever Cornish pasty from the South-West and, after walking down the cliffs from our campsite we were able to travel back up on the Funicular Railway, which was great!

If you’re ever in the South-West then a trip to these twin villages is well worth the time.

My next camping trip which holds good memories was in 2008. We decided to camp our way across the South coast of the U.K. I named it the ‘South Coast Adventure’ and bought some t-shirt transfer sheets and designed a transfer for the 3 of us to wear on the first, and the last day of the trip. Here are hubby and son each modelling one of their t-shirts.

The journey took us from Cheddar in Somerset across through to Dorset, then Hampshire, Sussex and Kent. We stayed for 2 nights at each camp site. It rained for almost the entire week, our bank card was cloned the 5th day in and as we were on holiday we were unable to hand over the requested passports in order to retain full access to our account, thus, sadly had to go without the final night – which was a night in a posh hotel to spoil us after a damp trip. The hotel wouldn’t allow us to pay by cash. I’ve never even considered them for any breaks since as we were upset to not finish the holiday in the way we wanted, so we drove back straight after our day at Dover Castle – another must visit location in the UK.

I’ll write up the holiday in more detail when it’s my tomorrow as it’s now nearly 1am! Until then… šŸ™‚

Daily Challenge

August 3rd – August Writing Challenge Question

Would you prefer to live by the ocean or up in the mountains. Why?

For me either decision would be an easy decision, but I’m a water baby and I’d choose the ocean without fail.

There’s nothing wrong with the mountains. The fresh air, the beautiful.greenery and scenery and the silence from everyday life. However, the silence would eventually be too much (and let’s face it, with my rickety bones I’d struggle with both ascending and descending!)

There is nothing more soothing to me than the sound of the movement of water; running water from a tap, a water feature, either in the house or garden. A pond waterfall, or fountain, or waves crashing against rocks or the beach. I love the feel of the wind from the sea in my hair and blowing around me. The spray on my face. At those times I feel at peace, at one with the world.

The ocean is a schizophrenic-beast – one which demands to be respected. It can be beautiful; the ridges of waves sparkling in the sun like the crown jewels, the colour gradients from.the lightest blue, the stunning aquamarine and the darkest navy blue of an angry storm, but it can also be ugly, a viscious hungry beast, taker of crafts, no matter their size, and of lives, with no discrimination towards colour or creed; claiming all for itself.

Living by the sea is a romantic ideal for many. My dream would be a cottage in somewhere like St. Ives bay, or Mullion Cove in Cornwall, or if Im going to dream, dream big and dream of a large beach hut with the abilities of the Tardis, or at the very least the capacity to close the door on one destination and open them minutes later in a new ocean paradise…and on that very long and deep sigh I’m off to dream for real. Until next time…

Cath Kidston Beach Huts on Bournemouth beach. Picture courtesy of Good housekeeping.com
Book Review

Book Review – A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I was given this book in a carrier bag of books from a friend’s mum. I pulled all the books out and read their synopses and piled them in the order I was going to read them – the floor by my bedside has a permanent bed-high pile and anyone that has read any of my blog before, discussingĀ booksĀ will know that I read this book back in 2016 but because my son bought me ‘Shadow of Night‘ and ‘The Book of Life‘ for Christmas 2017 I needed to decide whether to read it again to refresh my mind of the story or just get onto reading the second of the trilogy. Back in 2015/2016 I had piled all those books up from my friend’s mum with ‘A Discovery of Witches’ down in about 5th or 6th place as I thought it would be just another book jumping on the ongoing trend for books and films about vampires, witches etc (Twilight being one of many).Ā Ā I’m pleased to say that this isn’t the case and is actually a great read, one of those I’m glad found it into a bag with some dubious chic-lit (some chic-lit is okay, some is mundane or dubious – sorry to huge chic-lit fans!)

disc of witches

A Discovery of Witches’ has been criticised by some for the unbelievable love story, unreliable characters, similarity to other well-known Vampire, fantasy yarns, etc, etc. That said, it’s a popular, internationally best-selling novel with ‘Goodreads‘ readers scoring it with 3.99 stars out of 5 from 272,184Ā RatingsĀ Ā andĀ 27,096Ā ReviewsĀ , and on ‘Amazon‘ scoring 4.4 stars out of 5, from 946 reviews.

The historical aspects within are, unsurprisingly, very well researched. Deborah Harkness is a historian, and her interest lies in alchemy. Good advice, which is usually given to anyone starting to write, is to write about what you know, and here Deborah Harkness does exactly that. Diana Bishop is an academic researching alchemy and reviewing ancient manuscripts in the Bodleian LibraryĀ  – something (somewhere) else the author knows rather well, having used the library for research herself.Ā 

The story isn’t your typical boy meets girl who discover as they go along that one is a vampire or witch, who then fall head over heels in lust then love, or vice versa (although some people may have read it a completely different way to me).This more ‘mature’ developing relationship – the main protagonists are in their thirties (no Bella and Edward high school sweethearts line here)Ā  – stretches the reality of the love at first sight idea, although as time goes on you get to discover why it occurred that way, however with academically inclined, more mature individuals (Matthew being a 30-something, but actually 1500 year old vampire) the believability of some of the narrative and action is dubious. I promise I amĀ a romantic and love a good love story but this makes me squirm a little. I also found that some of the way the familial relationships develops seem just a tad far-fetched too, given that we are led to believe there is obvious animosity and bad feeling between the supernatural cultures of Vampires, Witches and Demons.Ā 

The rest of the development of the story and characters was believable, although dragged a little at times, despite the action happening within a very short space of time. I think either speeding the story up to match the passing of the time (mega edit), or by slowing the whole passage of time narrative to offset what was occurring would have balanced the whole story better.

Overall, I enjoyed ‘A Discovery of Witches‘ (so much so that I’m currently reading part two of the trilogy ”Shadow of Night‘ at break-neck speed) and would recommend it to readers wanting a ‘grown-up’ supernatural novel.

** ‘A Discovery of Witches‘ is now an upcoming drama, based on the novel and comes to TV this Autumn/Fall. In the U.K onĀ Sky OneĀ  with international distributor still to be announced.

thought of the day

August 2nd 2018 – Musings on Writing Time

I was discussing my writing with a friend yesterday as I feel that all the ideas I have are now stuck in my head; there are ideas for 3 novels, snippets I’ve found inspiring from news stories or magazines etc

I’ve only written in dribs and drabs in the last few months, after having achieved 19,000 words on the first part of a novel (I think it may be more of a novella) last year. I can’t blame blogging for this because that’s not taken up too much of my time either.

I was reminded by hubby, again, that I’ve spent this year being busy. Weddings, milestone anniversary party, getting the cottage ready for marketing and now packing.

Once we’ve moved the initial months will be spent buying new windows, doors, furniture and fittings. Whilst this is very exciting I really do need to make time to write every day or I feel all my ideas will slip away, never to be seen,/heard again.

I wonder if I make writing a part of my day; so it fits in to my daily routine, it’ll help me, but also wonder if I should just write whenever I get the chance during the day. Maybe a set time immediately after breakfast or late afternoon, or alternatively when it’s easier to fit in before or after the things I’ll be doing throughout the day? I wonder if other writers have particular times of the day where they feel they’re more productive? I’d be interested in hearing from anyone with tips. With a whole studio to myself there’ll be no excuse for not turning anything out.

Additionally, would it be a good idea to maybe record my ideas on to a dictaphone to then upload? That way I maybe carry that with me in place of a notebook and pen to record ideas as I get them (hubby will have a view on this as every time I buy a new notebook I like he rolls his eyes!)

Until next time… =)