Sunday, 17 February 2013


Granddaughter No 1 came to stay last night and amused herself for hours typing letters. I was rather chuffed to get mine. Mummy, daddy and her baby brother got letters too. She played teachers and rapidly typed random keys in an officious manner under listed names of children I assume are in her class at school. She used an unplugged Skypephone to make "appointments."

We played Junior Monopoly and another board game I couldn't get the hang of called Pictureureka. When she got bored, I packed them away as she toddled off to watch Gangnam Style on YouTube and then children's TV on iplayer before a snack, drink and bed.

We had planned to do some gardening today because the sun's shining, maybe go to the park later on the way back from the shop. We aimed to make a trifle for tea and of course she wanted to do some more typing and printing before bed. But after breakfast she started to get a little homesick after ringing her mum, dad and little brother and decided she wanted to go home instead of staying two nights as planned. It was the first two-night sleepover, having never stayed longer than a night before, and despite the fact she suggested it and really wanted to come, we all thought she would change her mind once away from home and she did. Two days is a long time when you're only 6 years old.

She'd brought enough clothes and toys with her for a week's holiday. It was all packed up again, bags loaded into the car and we set off across town to her house. She didn't even want to wait for lunch. She was excited to tell everyone what she'd been doing at Granny's and what a good time she'd had and to see everybody. Mum and dad looked proudly at their typed letters as she handed them over. Grandson No 1 looked a bit bemused when he got his and put it straight to his mouth to taste it - but then he is only 19 months old.

We had a cup of tea and then said our goodbyes. We headed back to the car to go home, clean up and put her bed away, and remove all the childproof things until next time, but she threw an almighty fit once we'd gone through the gate because she'd changed her mind again and wanted to come back for the second night after all. Grandad couldn't be bothered with all the toing and froing so we told her that she could come for two nights next time, or maybe another night this week, but it was no good. Mum texted us on the way home to say she was inconsolable and I didn't feel much like the "best graney a had in my laf" so I was relieved when we heard that all was fine by the time we got home and she had settled down.

Today is the 12th anniversary of when my mum died and I wonder what she would have done in that situation when my kids were small. I think she would have surrendered and gone back as I wanted to but I'm told I spoil the grandchildren too much. I know I'm guilty of that, and letting them have their way on everything, but then isn't that what grandparents are for? I did all the discipline, foot-down stuff when I was a mum and now it's time to play when the kids are about. They don't make me feel like a granny so much as an antique little girl and that's why grandkids are great.

Monday, 11 February 2013


My latest feature is in this week's edition of Love It Magazine which was on the shelves last Thursday. It's a shame they didn't let me write the whole thing up, as I have many times before for other publications, but I guess getting paid for submitting the initial teaser - or outline of the idea - helps with income but I enjoy doing the full interview and writing up stories more than I enjoy trying to place them.

There no such denial in the court story I covered last week for the Lincolnite - a local online paper that is getting quite a respected reputation for good community stories. I even went in to write up the copy from its sparkling new offices with which had a new Mac computer that made mine feel that it come straight from the stone age.

I have never worked anywhere quite as tidy. There were no mountains of paperwork on the desks, no piles of old newspapers building up in the corner, no crumbs caused by people eating at their desks, none on the floor, and no dirty cup waiting for the person who last drank from it to take it to a grufty sink. All of the above are common factors to greater or lesser extents in all of the newsrooms I've previously worked in. One even had mould on the walls but that office closed a year or two ago.

The Lincolnite is a new birth in this technological revolution and literally shines like a new pin. It is doing well in the face of cut backs to traditional newsrooms and print operations and this sort of new media could well be the saviour of the dying art of news.

My WEA crime literature course is still running and still enjoyed by those who attend who say they've never read crime before and they are loving it. Unfortunately, my creative writing course didn't continue because we didn't get the required number of learners to make it viable. However, two people who joined the course told me how after just two weeks they were inspired to write in ways that they had not done before so, like the Love It feature, rewards are not always in money earned but in meeting set challenges and attained outcomes. I wanted the course to inspire people to write and so if it achieved that after two weeks, I wonder what more I could have done to help people develop their writing after a full eight weeks.

Today I have yet more WEA paperwork to do. The aspect I dislike the most but one that is also very important. Wearing my other, voluntary, hat as a pro-choice campaigner, today started with a interview and debate on BBC Radio Tees (at 1:03.11 minutes in and available for the next seven days)on the subject of the new E cigarette craze.

I will have to dig deep and focus intensely on the first batch of my university marking as this week progresses. I must be a pretty efficient guide and mentor to my students because the editor of the Lincolnite was in my seminar group when he was a student there and he isn't the only one to have made good after he graduated.

This busy period is impacting upon the time I have to further develop my crime novel which has again gone on a back burner. The break is useful to enable a fresh approach when I get back to it but I am conscious that I still want that first draft by June. The only difference between those who get novels published and those who don't is the discipline applied to writing on a regular daily basis. With that in mind and only four months to go to my self imposed deadline, I think I'd better get cracking.