Wednesday 26 March 2014

Saying a Temporary Goodbye

Tomorrow afternoon I'm away. I go by train to Surbiton, where I will be collected by my daughter for an overnight at her place before we fly to Venice. I'm so excited. It will be tinged with sadness, though. It's easy leaving hubby. He knows I'll be back on Tuesday.

It's not so easy leaving Jade, whose sad, pleading eyes will follow me through the train window as it leaves the station. No matter how hard I try to explain, she really won't know when she will see me again. Although I know I will get an ecstatic welcome when the time comes.

Anyway, farewell to this blog for a week, and then I can tell you all about my adventure.

No time to write more now. I have to go out to the bookshops to find the guidebook I'll be reading on the train.

Monday 24 March 2014

Feet Treat

I had a lovely pedicure today, to make my toes look a bit more attractive for the Venice trip. It was bliss. So relaxing. I love the massage bit. And now I don't have to worry about all that hard skin underneath and on my heels, either. I should do this more often. The last time was in London when I was treated by my daughter in exchange for child and dog minding. Must be nearly a year ago.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

The Great Outdoors

Today I've been writing about health and safety training, and trying to get my head around wireless presentation systems enough to write about them. In between I just have to get out, and walking Jade is my salvation.

We walked the common above our local beach and then went down the steps to the sands. Jade chased a stone, dig some digging and when we arrived back at the car, it was still in her mouth and she even carried it  to her bed inside the house. Then we had to relieve her of it, but it's just outside the door so she can play with it again if she wants.

Monday 17 March 2014

Making Working Enjoyable

Just occasionally I get a commission that I love. For a while I was asked to write about an aspect of the countryside for which people would need weather-proof clothes or particular equipment. Of course it was for a company that sold country style clothing and waders for fishing and suchlike. But I had carte blanche on the ideas and I loved doing the research and writing it up. Among other things, I remember writing about ancient clapper bridges and a particular show jumping arena I had been to. I was heaped with praise for raising the interest level of their blog, but of course the job didn't last very long. I suspect they got the idea and thought they could do it themselves for less dosh.

This clapper bridge pic by Brett Sutherland was taken at a place called Postbridge on Dartmoor in Devon near where I was brought up.

Most of my work is to write about something that's already been done to death, and the client wants an original slant. People often ask me how I get started on something like this. My technique is to use mind mapping. I'll put a working title in the centre of a piece of A4 scrap, and as I do my online research, I jot down notes around it, trying to paraphrase where possible. Usually I get an idea for a somewhat different angle, so I can get started with a couple of sentences. After that I normally find it easy to get the flow going, and I cross out the notes that have been useful as I write. I don't stop until everything has been crossed through. Once I've got the required word count, I'll then round it off with a conclusion and I'm done with that for the day.  I like to sleep on it before reviewing and proof reading if the deadline allows.

Some pieces are more difficult than others, though. When I'm trying to write something and I can't think where to go next - I get writers' block, if you like - I click on the spider solitaire icon. After losing a few games, I've usually refreshed my mind enough to get an idea on how to continue my article. What do you do to defeat that writers' block?

Friday 14 March 2014

Jade's Health

Jade went for her annual check up and jabs this week. The vet confirmed what I feared. She needs to lose a few kilos. I've cut down the treats and halved the amount of Science Diet nuts she gets for breakfast and supper. She's not very happy about that. Tonight I tried to cheer her up by adding a little cooked cod and salmon, leftovers from our meal, which she wolfed down. Tomorrow I intend to replace the nuts with some cooked rice, which she does usually like.

I also lengthened our afternoon walk a little. It's a pity she doesn't enjoy galloping around with other dogs as most of them do. She's even ambivalent about chasing after a ball and will leave it on the ground for me to retrieve after she has sniffed it. She does perk up a bit on the beach and will collect stones I throw for her after she's had a good time digging them into the sand and out again.

Jade also needs to have her teeth scaled, which has to be done under anaesthetic. I phoned my insurers today to see if I could claim for that, of course the answer was no. Now I'll have to get my skates on and book it as they have a special offer on it this month. It will only cost me £150!

Not cheap owning a dog these days.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Lipizzaners of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna

Now I have something else to look forward to. The beautiful Lipzzaners are coming to Wembley Stadium in London in November and I'll be in the audience with some family and friends.

This pic by Lucie Provencher was taken in Quebec, Canada in November 2008. They certainly get around.

Monday 10 March 2014

Eighteen Days to Go

We are now well into the month when I'll be boarding the plane to Venice on the 28th. I've just had a great time trawling the photos in Wikimedia Commons for one to put here. This view, by Didier  Descouens, is titled Campo Santa Sofia. Be great if I can find it and see it when I'm there.

I'm really getting excited now, and not a little anxious too. It's about five years since I used my passport to go out of the country. What do I pack to wear in Venice in March? Do I need to go out and buy things to wear as well as a guide book? Can I fit everything in within my luggage allowance?

Venice has been on my bucket list since I did a history of art course in the 1970s. I've bookmarked a number of  websites about things to do in Venice. How much can we fit in in three days? How can I make sure I get around the unmissables? I think I'm going to be on tenterhooks until we get there.

Friday 7 March 2014

Definite Signs of Spring

Daffodils are everywhere. We have miniature ones in our back garden. This afternoon we ambled along beside Holes Bay with Jade, and the clumps that just had buds last week are now sporting beautiful golden heads that dip and dance in the breeze.

They were quite a tonic, even though there were some threatening clouds in the sky. It was the first time I've been further than our local park for a few days while I have been feeling so rough. Hubby has been very good about taking Jade out in the afternoons without me. But the stroll has tired me and I'm off now to find my Kindle and rest up with a good book.

Monday 3 March 2014

Out of Action

Three days after hubby got the dreaded lurgy, it was my turn. Spent most of the weekend in bed, including while my nephew was completing his half marathon for UNICEF. Good thing it wasn't him

He's now less than £50 off his £1000 sponsorship target, which is fabulous. ( )

Now I'm still feeling somewhat rough but trying, in dribs and drabs, to catch up with all I intended to do over the weekend.

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