Tuesday, 26 April 2011

No Further than the Garden Gate


Easter time at our house has been a garden fest of glorious sunshine.  We've been making changes to the 'forest' out back and buying new plants, transplanting - and admiring the spring shrubs and trees.
The cherry trees look amazing this year.  One of them is lit up at night.  In fact there are lots of colour- changing lights springing up on shrubs and trees - and in tubs too.
My son says it's kinda cheesey - but what the hell, I LOVE IT.
Phew - gardening's hard work and I'm absolutely KNACKERED!  But you know what they say - 'the sun shines on the righteous', so that must be ME!



The cherry trees in the garden inspired me to write a little haiku.  A Haiku should always be based in nature.  I entered it into a Fan Story competition.  It's entitled:
You can take a look at it, artwork and all, at the link below:
You can even read the really super reviews I've been getting - EXCEPTIONAL, they're saying.  My! My!

Waterfalls and Fairies

I also got it into my head to write a piece for Authspot online about waterfalls, fairies and pixies - what a wonderful combination, don't you think?  It's entitled,
You can read it at the link below:

Midi- Pyrenees - Gites et Les Plus Beaux Villages de France

My commission to write about the 'gite' (cottage) we booked for a week's stay in 2009 is complete.  Next stage is to add the photographs and get it off to the online publisher, Trifter.  The article describes the hilltop villages we visited in the Tarn region of the Midi-Pyrenees.  I enjoyed writing this article and I hope you'll enjoy reading it when it's published. It's to be entitled:

For now, it's au revoir, adieu, bon vacances - I'm off to pull some weeds from my beau jardin!
Talk to you soon, Constant Readers.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Sugar, Digger, Gigger, Blogger...

It's good to be a mum at this time of year.  I love all the fuss ...and the Mother's Day card...and the flowers...and the chocolates!!  Ah, SUGAR!  Love it.
   This year, I was invited to spend the night at my son's flat for Mother's Day too.  He doesn't know how lucky he is to have a flat overlooking the Tyne; watch the boats come in and out; watch the lights from North Shields to South Shields twinkling bright from dusk till dawn.  I never got a wink of sleep - it was all too magical to go to bed.  Thanks, Phil, for the best Mother's Day ever.



As the garden starts to take on all that lovely Spring colour, it's time for the cats and I to get out there, get the gloves on......and do some mucking out.
Oh, what a chore.  But it makes it all so much easier when I have the reds of the Pieris, the whites of the Ornamental Cherry and the pretty cerise of the Camelia to gaze upon as I go.
And I did enjoy (praise be to the heavens) a whole weekend of  unexpected glorious sunny weather, me digging out the weeds, me planting summer bulbs - and the cats, Mr Jim (the fluffy black/white one) and Rosie (the tubby ++ one), digging them back up again!
Within a couple of days, my lilac blossoms have made an entrance, my tulips have come into full orange, pink and red blooms - and the clematis is growing and budding at a mile a minute. So, now that my green fingers are working again: onward, Sheila, onward...
It's good to get me gardening head back on!       

The Gatecrashers were red hot when I caught them at the Rising Sun, Crawcrook, last weekend.  Not only were they fantastic, us girl partners did the 'biz' too!  We grooved together with the 'bum' dance, Nina and I, shaking our booties to increase the wild atmosphere of the gig - and we did - OH YES!

Nick (vocalist and guitarist), Ant (lead guitar and backing vocals), Dave (Bass Guiatar) and Maurice (drums) were on fire.  Nick sure knows how to get a crowd warmed up, sparks flew from that amazing guitar of Ant's, Dave's bass was like an electrical storm of deep thunderous tones - and Maurice was a live wire on those beautiful blonde drums. 
The crowd loved the Gatecrashers:
"Fantastic night - I hope they're back here soon," said one.
"Wouldn't have missed this gig - not for anything," said another.
At the end of the night, they wanted more, more, more - and the guys hit white hot heights with 'Sex on Fire', Nick right there gyrating on the bar to drive the audience crazy.
What a brilliant night - a great night to be a GIGGER, I thought....



Invited to blog for the wonderful North East Magazine, 'North East Life', I have penned a couple of blogs containing super photographic footage for 'The Otters of Otterburn' and 'A Gaggle of Geese'. 

Photos by kind permission of Dave Hildreth and Dawn Boulton - thanks, guys.
The blog, entitled, 'TWIGS, GIGS, HAUNTS AND JAUNTS' is a diary of walks, gigs, favourite haunts and my travels around the locality of the North of England.  Give it a whirl - I hope you enjoy.
Here's the link:
Twigs, Gigs, Haunts and Jaunts

Yet another feather in my cap, don't you think?  Another string to my bow!
WRITE ON!! and read on - there's more... 

I was commissioned by the fabulous Gatecrashers band, to ghostwrite their official website.  What an honour.  It was a real privilege to work with these great North-East musicians.
You can visit their website at:

The Gatecrashers Band


Talk to you soon, Constant Reader. 
Hope you enjoyed this installment. 
There'll be another one soon.
In the meantime...


Go to the link below to colour in your own Easter Bunny (!!)

Monday, 4 April 2011

Leeds, Long-ago Liverpool and a Love of Language


We met up at the Travelodge, Leeds Central, to spend a night and a day taking in the atmosphere of Leeds.  There was just me and my best friend, Dawn, and we had a ball (except that I snored all night -allegedly!)

We wined and dined in 'La Tasca' - a great Spanish restaurant that served us perfect paella - and at  Wagamama.  Wikapedia says of Wagamama, 'a British headquartered restaurant chain, serving pan-Asian food in the style of a modern Japanese Ramen Bar'. And that's just about right. The food, in 'get it when it's ready' style, comes at you fast and furious, in bowls with chopsticks.  It was a huge treat.  I'll have to try out the one in Eldon Square, Newcastle, near to where I live.

We had breakfast in a super greasy spoon in the indoor market.  We strolled around the 'tat' stalls where I found a bag and a couple of bling watches.

 We wandered into so many arcades with cascading fountains, they all looked alike, blurring into one, except for the designer gear and jewellery in the shop windows. We strolled, mesmerised by the retro clothes shops until we came to the arts and crafts market - here every second Saturday apparently - where I found myself drawn to beautiful amber rings and things - and I bought one (a ring, that is!).
Dawn bought a hand-made framed clutch of hens in recycled metals (she'll correct me if I'm wrong in my description - but she won't dispute that it's simply gorgeous!)

Around the town hall were stunning statues and a tree of shoes (yes, you read it correctly!)

 Inside the art gallery were the amazing works of Henry Moore.  The Henry Moore institute, a collaboration between the Tate Gallery and Leeds Art Gallery, houses marvelous must-see sculptures.  I was enthralled.  This was a great week-end.  We'll do an away week-end again, for sure - and so should you, dear readers!  


Love of Language:
Thanks a million to my writing buddies (and tutor, Kathleen Kenny, who introduced the activity) of the Wednesday writing group at Mea House Newcastle, for their involvement in the writing exercise that fuelled my 'about writing' article for - 


It was published on 24th March, entitled 'Waltzing with the Word'.  You might want to try out this great activity for yourselves.  Here's the link:
Flash Fiction Chronicles: Waltzing with the Word

Ghosts and Games of Long-Ago Liverpool
My manuscript for the 'Forget-me-Nots'section in 'This England'- a quarterly glossy magazine about life in England - has been retained.
How fantastic to be considered worthy by such a magazine.  I'm honoured!  Everything's coming up roses - a great big crimson bunch of 'em!       

That's all, constant readers, until next time...
...and next time, I'm likely to be giving my garden some much-needed attention!