Friday, 29 November 2013

About last night...

After last nights's launch of The Bridport Press, I'm steering you towards a post I've just written for their website.

Normal service to be resumed as soon as possible.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Thursday, 21 November 2013

New book! New book! The muse has been busy.

This past year in Corfu, I've had the time and discipline to get on with various writing projects which have been languishing around for far too long.

And those characters who have lain abandoned like the toys in Toy Story, with bits of things missing, back story only sketched, motivation and desires just outlined, have at last taken on a life of their own.

Earlier this year, I was able to bring out my novella, A Year in Lush Places, a light-hearted, affectionate look at English country life based on an election year's worth of blogging from Dorset. Sales are going well and the reviews on Amazon have been lovely, thank you.
And now there's A Town Like This, a comic romp inspired by my early days as a local newspaper in small towns in Devon and Dorset.
Likened by one reviewer to Porterhouse Blue in places, the novel is being launched alongside two other debuts by West Dorset writers.
You can read more about that on The Bridport Press website, where you'll also see Q&As with the three of us.

At the moment, I'm practising my signature in readiness for a launch party next week and a signing at Waterstones, Bridport, between 10am and noon this Saturday, 23 November.

It's all go here. I'll be glad to get back to Corfu for a rest. Oh, I forgot, I've got to get my first draft up together of Kalimera Kerkyra: A Year on a Greek Island as part of NaNoWriMo.

Better get my skates on. Ah, that sounds like a cue for my favourite chase sequence of all time.
That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Monday, 18 November 2013

The pointlessness of blogging or tweeting when you're angry

There are a number of things you shouldn't do when you're angry.

Writing a resignation letter is one of them. I once knew someone who did that in a fit of pique. They wrote it, seemingly with their own bile, posted it, immediately regretted it and had to camp out on their employer's doorstep in the hope they might be able to prise the letter from the postman's hands over the next few days.

It didn't work and they were out of a job.

Blogging or tweeting in anger is not to be recommended either. That's why I've waited several days to post this.

At the weekend, Mr Grigg and I drove up to Bristol for the south west heat of the Great British Care Awards. We had nominated my autistic stepson's carer, a 24-year-old with the calmest, most respectful attitude you could ever come across, as a carer of the year. He and we were chuffed when he was shortlisted. This young man is a diamond, he really is.

He didn't win but he shared in his colleague's joy when the latter picked up an award in another category.

There were around four hundred people at this event and if you multiply this by the number of regional heats, even if, like me, you're not very good at maths, you'll see the awards involve thousands of carers up and down the country.

It's an opportunity for people like us to say thank you, an opportunity for excellence to be celebrated. And it's an opportunity for carers to let their hair down and have a good night out. There were people there from charities like Scope, the Leonard Cheshire Foundation, council departments and old people's homes. The thing they all had in common was what they did for a living.

Caring is not a job for the faint-hearted and you need to have a special aptitude for it. It doesn't pay well but there are some people, like my stepson's carer and one of my sisters, who are very good at it. Good carers make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable people. They are all winners.

And that especially includes ordinary, untrained people who care for family and friends without getting a bean. But that's another story. Don't get me on that one.

There are awards evenings for all sorts of professions, industries, trades and vocations - film and television, housing, nursing, journalism, house building and accountancy. 

This one was slick, professional and well-supported. And as the staff at my stepson's home enjoyed a night off, I, along with others, tweeted about the event.

I posted a picture of those who had been shortlisted, with the caption: They're all winners.
Among the Twitter replies was this, from a community video organisation:

be a million times better if they got paid a decent wage. No carer does the job for awards, so really is a pointless pr stunt.

Why thank you very much. What a completely fatuous, glib comment. Pointless really. Of course carers deserve more money and of course they don't do it for awards - does anyone in any job? But why, just because carers in general are undervalued by society, shouldn't they have an awards ceremony? Why dismiss it as a 'pointless PR stunt'?

I was so cross until I saw on the organisation's website that at least one of the film makers involved had won international awards. That's probably why he got into film making. For the awards, I mean. 

As if. 

That would be just pointless.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Pink pig racing in Dorset

Back in the Shire - for a while at least - we get quickly back into the swing of things.

A  night out at a local village hall where the smart money was on pink fluffy pigs.
Mad really. Only in Dorset.

And in the final race, our table of twelve turned to Nobby Odd Job. He had been winning all night. We needed a hot tip.

'Perky Rasher,' he said. 'Put your money on Perky Rasher.'

So we did.

Dear old Perky came in at a cracking pace and outperformed his rivals by a curly tail and a trotter. And then Nobby won a prize on the raffle.

There were snorts all round as Nobby (now known as Perky Rasher) brought back his prize of a pink and fluffy wind-up pig and sent it shuffling and snuffling along the table.

And lots of money raised for Movember.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Monday, 11 November 2013

Blog visitor from Boise, Idaho: who are you?

Hey, blog reader from Boise, Idaho!

Are you a real person, a cyber stalker, a spammer or a computer programme that's got stuck?

According to my Feedjit live traffic feed, you've visited this blog I don't know how many times, over and over again.
I want to know who you are.

A publisher maybe, a film director (please, oh, please) or an American lady who just likes reading about English and Greek village life?

I asked on Twitter and someone suggested you might be the Morning DJ at WOLD.
Go on, tell me who you are. I'm intrigued.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Competition winners

I've just wrapped up two copies of A Year in Lush Places to send off to the winners of the Smitten by Britain competition.

One's heading to Houston, Texas. I do hope the winner sends me a picture of herself reading the book wearing a Dallas-style cowboy hat or at the helm of the space centre and about to launch a rocket.

The other, unbelievably, is in the same county as me - Dorset - but at the eastern end. Right where those Turberville tombs lie in the church and inspired Thomas Hardy to write Tess.

Maybe the local winner will oblige by sending me a Dorset-themed picture of herself, A Year in Lush Places and a sheep.

Or maybe not.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Back home on the Lush Places roundabout

We've only been home in Dorset a week and my feet haven't touched the ground.

There's been the surprise party, a midweek grouse or two, a book club meeting, a village fete meeting, a big band spectacular, afternoon tea and a re-run of the harvest supper video, trips into Bridport, Beaminster and Sherborne - three lovely Dorset towns - and a meeting of The Bridport Press to discuss an exciting new venture.

There have been haircuts and dental appointments, a car to service and a falling out with and then a falling back in with a village stalwart when she and I realised we were talking at crossed purposes.

There has been freelance work to do, two business meetings and an outrageous, laugh-a-minute Sunday lunch with two old friends.

There have been family and friends to catch up with, children to hug and animals to stroke. There have been waves and smiles and kisses. There has been a fantastic local reaction to A Year in Lush Places, the novella based on the Dorset part of this blog, as well as non-plussed feedback.

And a cuddle and a kiss from Posh Totty at a chance meeting in a car park and an offer of an evening get-together over a glass of wine. No mention of being duffed up at all.

There have been packing cases to collect and sort through, a house to tidy up and enough washing to hang on the Siegfried Line if only we had one. But with no washing line or tumble drier there's laundry everywhere and boxes upon boxes still to unpack from the store after taking our house back from the woman who rented it while we were away on our big Greek gap year.

I miss that Greek washing line, that Corfu drying weather.

But do you know the best thing so far? On our first morning back in England, I was so excited, I crept out of the house at a quarter to seven and went for a walk on my own.
But this feeling will wear off. And then which direction to take?
That's about it.

Love Maddie x

A horror film for Halloween

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