It's been awful to see the huge moor fires around Saddleworth - and even worse to think that some of them were started deliberately. And yet it doesn't look as though we're in for rain any time soon to help the firefighters...
It's been quiet on the Scribbles, but you know me. I'm beavering away behind the scenes, up to all sorts of things, so here's a catch up for you.
For my 50th and Squidgeling J's 18th last year, we were bought an Experience; an open top London bus pass, and gin and cakes at Mr Fogg's Gin Parlour. Now, have to say I'm not a huge fan of gin per se. It's far too dry on its own for me. But I don't mind the odd one when it's flavoured with something other than gin, if you see what I mean?
Anyway, we headed off to London on the Megabus - we arrived around lunchtime (neither of us could face the 6.30am pick up, so opted for a later one) and found a rather good picnic spot;
The bus tour was great - we sat up top (well, you have to, don't you?) and listened to Dave tell us all about the London landmarks. The only problem was that the traffic was really heavy, so our initial plan to go all the way to Tower Hill, get the boat back down the Thames and THEN go on to Mr Fogg's didn't happen...we had to get off much sooner to make our designated Gin Time. Think we'll have to go back another day, do the whole bus route. The highlight was seeing Big Ben. Well, not really 'seeing' it;
We had a mooch around Covent Garden, found the gin parlour and - oh my! It was literally the upstairs room of a pub, decked out like a Victorian lady's parlour, and we were waited on by girls in saloon-style outfits and gents in waistcoats and top hats. There was a very steampunk vibe about the outfits, which I loved. We had two hours to enjoy ourselves - which we did!
|Cakes, with Showtime and Chorus Line cocktails|
|Oh, and a couple more complimentary Showtimes,|
because we were both celebrating birthdays!
Only slightly tipsy, we had a wander through Chinatown, Leicester Square - and there we found The Lego Shop! And finally saw Big Ben.
It's not a very big shop at all, but it's got some fabulous models built into it - you could've had your photo taken in a life-size red telephone box, but the queue was so long, we didn't bother. The mural on the stairs was amazing - the London landscape, built in 3D.
|And on a staircase - difficult to take without any random tourists!|
We had a leisurely walk down to Trafalgar Square, along the mall and through Hyde Park, taking in the sights and watching the teeniest ducklings on the lake on the way.
We got the Megabus back home - eventually. Who knew that Victoria Bus Station departures was in a totally different building to Victoria Bus Station arrivals? Not us...we had to ask the mechanics at the arrivals depot where the outgoing buses were...
Got back late and tired, but it was a lovely day.
We helped to do the flowers for a wedding at church - I knew the bride when she used to come to the church mums and toddlers group I helped to run some years ago, so it was lovely to be able to help out for her big day. The look was country-casual, and we had the most wonderful flowers to work with, courtesy of Fleurs en Fleur. The church smelt gorgeous on the Saturday morning, when - as a new church warden - I went up to see what had to be done specifically for a wedding as opposed to a normal Sunday service. The bride was radiant, and the flowers weren't bad either!
|The peonies had the most delicious scent...|
The lovely Jody Klaire recently posted a picture of a cross that her partner had made for her, and I commented how lovely I thought it was. Em offered to make me one too, and earlier this week, a parcel arrived... Inside was my own beautiful cross, made by hand 'with joy, love and focus'. I was moved to tears.
|My gorgeous cross, alongside my Anne Lamott 'bird by bird' reminder|
Things have been very busy and a little difficult at this end faithwise recently, and this particular cross reminds me that the way of faith isn't smooth - it has its winding ways, but ultimately, it's still the way of the cross. And you know what, I think I can see the word 'love' written into the loops and swirls when I look at the cross sideways on - the absolute core of my belief.
Review and Interview.
Kingstone has recently been reviewed on Everybody's Reviewing, a blog site run in conjunction with Leicester's Everybody's Reading Festival. Of course I'm biased about my own book (though I try to be objective!) but I thought it was an excellent review, written by Evie who I know wants to be an author herself and was managing the blog as part of her work experience. Evie was also prepping an interview with me for the blog - lots of questions about Kingstone that really made me think about why I'd written certain things into the novel. I'll post a link to that, too, when it appears.
The WIP's progressing - slow but sure. The hot weather isn't really conducive to lots of brain powery stuff, but I've been taking myself off to the garden room where I'm shaded and getting a few more hundred words down every time. It's been lovely to discover a blackbird's nest in a bush beside the garden room, so I keep nipping over to watch the babies through the branches whenever I hear the chirping that means mum or dad blackbird has returned. Those babies grow fast!
And that's probably caught you up with everything... I'm off to enjoy a bit more sun, and I hope you are too - but do take care of yourselves and those around you.
Bye for now!