Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Books on Pews for a Good Cause

Amnesty International Book Sale at the Church of Ascension, London

This past weekend I took a lovely stroll down Dartmouth Row in Blackheath to the Amnesty International UK Booksale.  Having read online that there would be over 20,000 books on sale, I had to see for myself.

Did I mention the almost unbearable heat that I battled to get there?  The dear lady glowed all afternoon...hand me a fan and draw the curtains.

There were books on pews, tables, in boxes and scattered in places on the floor.  Although I expected find a number of previously loved titles, I was struck at how many recent publications I found.  Imagine my excitement when I discovered a copy of The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monica Roffey, whose opening sentence of chapter one is currently one of my favourite lines. I snaffled it up for £3....yes I love book sales!

Spotted, a gem amongst the 20,000 titles

Last year the Blackheath and Greenwich chapter of Amnesty International raised £11,700 and fingers crossed they are hoping to better that figure this year.  All books, I was told were donated from members of the public including publishers and book reviewers.  The dear lady on the desk chuckled when I asked if there were indeed 20,000 books in the church at that very moment.

A variety of Vamp Literature on sale

Don't you love reading the handwritten messages inside donated books?  I do - its one my favourite things to do in dusty bookstores and sales. I opened one particular vampire book which had a 2009 Christmas message scrawled....mmm clearly untouched.  I wonder what Geraldine would have made of Katie passing it over so soon, perhaps they were no longer besties.

How about you...once you've finished reading the latest bestseller - do you keep it?  Or do you pass it onto family and friends or charity?

Photos courtesy yours truly.

I'm generally a horder of books but I think there may be a cull coming up soon.

AI UK Greenwich and Blackheath will hold their next big booksale on 20th November.  If you are interested in browsing, buying or donating, please check their website for details.

Friday, 25 June 2010

*Love * Art * Passion*

It started with a quiet drink with a dear BFF on a lovely roof terrace in London; we soaked up the summery evening and exchanged more than a few bubbly toasts before making our merry way to an amazing corporate art event - the Transatlantic Pride Art Show which showcased the works of many talented artists.

Writers and artists share a passion about their work and painting is another past time I would like to resurrect...I'll add that to my list, along with piano lessons.  Last night, I met a number of bright young up and coming contemporary artists who were so passionate about their work, it was utterly refreshing, absolutely infectious and lots of fun!  I lost myself completely in a number of conversations throughout the evening, and well I just plain lost my BFF...last seen...speaking animatedly to a tall, dark and handsome stranger.  Hussy, the dear lady whispers waggling her finger. 

Here are a few snaps from last nights evening of art and passion!  Please enjoy!  And remember all paintings have a story, if you are looking for inspiration...you might find your next novel on the wall in a gallery.

Two good reasons to sit outside in summer

North Port Sanction by Nigel Cox

A favourite image....alas, I wasn't able to locate the elusive Mr Cox last night

Flaxman Road by Paul Ashurst

The Annunciation by Maciej Urbanek

Pipedream by Anja Priska

I spoke to the lovely Anja about the inspiration behind her painting.  She told me that this piece is about fear of relationships mainly but also other feelings about how a relationship could go.  The dark castle with windows lit show there is potential good, the balloons make light of the darkness, the wings and birds represent freedom.  There are so many different symbols in this image - and despite murmurings that this was Kate Moss, I was told that, no, this was not the case. 

Oh yes, I wanted to curl up in this nook
There was an incredible image of a nude male to the left of this nook,
think 'shroud of turin' and black and white negatives.
Will leave to your good imaginations

Two more hauntingly evocative works by Nigel Cox...yes I know we liked his work last night!

Heronry by Paul Ashurst

Walking art - beautiful tattoos which I loved.  
Lovely man named Chris obliged photos and his story.

A/N:  Photos courtesy yours truly, all images of the paintings belong to the individual artists. Where possible I will link to the artists websites, please do go visit them for more wonderful works of art!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Foliage, Midlands and the P word...

I love stumbling across words I have never heard before, ones that you want to keep, to say over and over...like a mantra.

Last week I watched Mrs. Henderson Presents and I completely fell in love with Dame Judi Dench all over again.  I could listen to her voice for hours.  Dare we say Lady crush? She is truly talented. There is one scene in the movie where Mrs. Henderson speaks with Lord Cromer about the nude revue show she plans to put on, and he asks if the ladies foliage will be shown... the Latin word 'pudendum' came up.  I was fascinated.  In the end they agreed to refer to 'the ladies foliage' as 'the midlands'.  It was hysterical.  Of course the dear lady spluttered wordlessly...she's secretly in love with the Lord Chamberlain types.

Which leads me onto thoughts of writing and these wonderful words that fall into your lap.  How would you work them into a scene in your own WIP?  Discombobulate is another word I love to say aloud. I will try to work 'discombobulate' into casual conversation with friends...just to gauge a reaction. Try it!  And just today 'recalibrate' worked its way into my mind...now I want to say it everyday.  "Can I recalibrate that for you honey?"

Here are five cobwebbed covered words that I am hankering right now:


How about you? Any words got your attention?

The Lotus Flower...
(Foliage which the Lord Cromer would approve of, methinks)

Photo courtesy yours truly.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Perfect Friday Cocktail

It's Friday Happy Hour!

Lychee Martinis' at The Post Bar, Singapore

Lets see what is on the dear lady's drinks trolley tonight?  A lovely selection of Betty Draper inspired hors d'ourves...and martinis'!

Dear Lychee Goddess,  

How I miss thee.  I have a wee confession to make.  Lately, my mind has been well...absent from the real world.  

Don't panic, the house has not been invaded by burrowing hobbits...nay, that shadowy figure with the unkempt hair, cross-eyed-fuzzy-brained-dazed look walking the passage ways at ungodly hours of the night...is actually me...after a few hours of writing.

And the post-it notes stuck to forehead, randomly scrawled words on pieces of paper, tea gone cold on desk...well they are merely products of my hours spent alone thinking in that room.

Although I haven't developed the hermit crawl as yet, I will admit that these days I am drawn to a hobbit hideaway with PC and WIP vs. socialising in the flesh these days.  Am I alone on this thinking? We can always face book, twitter, text, Skype from the comfort of our shabby sofas...right?  I know, I know...its not the same.  Don't worry as soon as I've finished this chapter, I'll be right out.   It's just that, well...I could be sometime.  I don't know how long...just please save me a barstool and a long cool drink!


PS: How about you?  Has writing kept you in your own world, closeted up away from friends?

The best cocktail in Asia? -  The Lychee Martini at the Post Bar, Fullerton Hotel, Singapore.  The lady doth recommend tasting a couple...just to be really sure I'm not making it up.
Photo courtesy yours truly.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

What Genre Are You?

I'm curious.  When your family and friends first find out you are writing - what's their reaction?  Is it pregnant silence before recovering with faint smile...yes dear, always knew you were a little loopy...now did I tell you about the teacake your Aunt Edie served up yesterday? Shocking...really.

Or, perhaps you get that sideways glance, subtle rearing of head with raised eyebrows...Really? How exciting, er...what do you mean, like...writing a book? 

Quite funny isn't it?  How about if a complete stranger asks 'what genre are you?'   Followed through with...'and why did you choose to write that?'  Why the devil would you want to write about that...silly girl. 

Personally, my favourite reaction is the excited squeals, jumping up and down, hugs and 'Wow! Thats awesome...cheers!'

We are told that its the writer's job to know their genre - true.  You should know your genre and your reader.  However I often ponder this whole 'pigeon-holing' business.  Are there genre-pigeon-hole police? What happens if you decide to cross the borders?  Say, from Historical Romance to Paranormal Young Adult or dare I suggest Chicklit to Sci-fi Fantasy.  I mean what are the rules about pigeon-holes and writers?  And who decides what a genre is?

Tell me, how did you choose your genre and why?  And do you ever want to cross that border?

Aunt Edie's teacake...a dollop of cream...shockingly sinful

For the record, my lovely family and friends have been very supportive cheerleaders! Yah Team Scribe!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Fanatical about writing

Football Chevre, anyone?

I am feeling ludicrously happy.  Whilst the rest of the country maybe fanning themselves with the colours of their chosen football team in anticipation of what's it called again?  The World Cup dearie...now pass me that crocheted blanket for my knees and shush up.  I'm watching telly, hisses the old lady.  

Watch away, football fans!  I shall be doing my own little flag dance over my WIP.  I finally printed off Chapter One v18 and yes I feel ridiculously giddy about it.  Although it could be pure horse manure, I'm rather proud of it.  Silly right?  It's the small milestones that are meaningful in this journey.

Are you enjoying your own writing? I read somewhere that you should print off your first 10,000 words and fan yourself with them, breathe them in and wave them across your face and anyone else sitting nearby.  Be proud - you wrote that. Little old you!  Pat yourself on the back, dance a little jig, run a victory lap around the house.  Feels good right?  Now, back to work!  

Happy Writing, Editing, Re-drafting, Re-writing to everyone!!

*  Offerings will be made to football gods to keep England in the tournament; I like it when the whole city is smiling. 
*  Photo snapped at local cheese monger - they're a talented bunch.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Right Under My Nose

Sometimes you spend the entire weekend driving yourself insane, riding up and down the countryside in crazy traffic jams, traipsing through busy villages, flitting about in over-heated tea-rooms...searching for that quirky but quiet place to visit and the whole time all you need to do is look right under your nose.  I found a few gems recently...(deep breath)...on foot (gasp-shock-horror)...in my own hood!  Ye gods, but my middle name is not philistine...where have I been all this time?

So Ladies and Gents, let's down those pens for just a few minutes.  Psst...Don't worry, its not cheating on your MS if it doesn't know and we're not telling.  You're just taking a little break from writing.  Strap on those sensible sandals dearies, grab your brightest hat if its sunny and a brolly just in case it rains...it's time for a stroll!  

Our first stop is the Fan Museum
A good lady must have a fan at all times

 Morning tea in the Orangerie
Lord knows we walked a good fifteen minutes so far

A lovely old map shop, step right inside...

 Always browse these lovely boxes of surprises, 
you never know what you'll find!

Local market for lunch
Moroccan anyone?

Brazilian barbacoa...a favourite!

Remember...leave room for dessert ladies and gents.

Cheese and wine for later perhaps...

Now, its time to walk off that lunch...at the park.
 Brollies at the ready! 
Marching ladies and gents...here we go

Greenwich, the other park with a billion $$ view.

Time for a nap in the cool afternoon breeze,
Grab a book, find a shady tree and snooze.
It's free-time on the Lady's tour.  

The Lady-doth-scribe walking tours will depart on a regular basis, especially on sunny afternoons.  
Do come visit us again soon!

Happy Friday All!!

A/N: A brolly is an umbrella.  Quite a versatile object....protector of your skin, fabulous hair-do and body, come rain, hail or shine.  Useful for poking annoying person in crowded bars, or hooligan in park.  My favourite use? A walking stick!

Photos courtesy of yours truly.  

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Devils On Horseback And One Satiated lady

Polo in the Park...what can I say?  My heart is still pounding from the excitement, aside from sliding down a black ski-run on my backside this had to be one of the most exhilarating sports I've ever encountered.

On Sunday morning, I went into the grounds with a game-plan.  To soak up the glamour and atmosphere of this intriguing sport and if possible...seek out interesting characters for my writing.  That strategy went out the window in the first five minutes after a rumbling of bodies headed down the side of the field towards me.  I gasped in horror and excitement as Team Edinburgh and Team Oxford flew by, limbs flaying, sticks swinging.   My inner scribe was left in pieces on the sideline.  And, shock-horror this was the so-called warm-up game.  The rest of the morning was spent wondering why the hell I hadn't bothered to watch the sport previously.  You must come to the Polo with us!  Yeah but no, thanks I've got all this work to do....silly girl.

The finals match kicked off under the hot mid afternoon sun -  a terrifyingly talented Team City AM New York clashed with an equally masterful Team IG Index Paris.  My SLR didn't know which way to look...I couldn't quite keep up dear.  The green turf rumbled, split open beneath the thundering hooves of the most beautiful beasts as fearless devils in saddles commanded their moves, skilful in their jostling for the ball, powerful and thrilling with their speed flying across the field.  It was a formidable sight.  I was captivated.  

Could a Polo Virgin ask for more?  Wait, did I mention the sweaty flash of the pink and navy blue uniform and swinging crops...phew. 

So, now here I lie, in a thousand glittering pieces...post-Polo-coital-bliss...yes really, it was that good. Hussy...the dear lady sniffs indignantly before turning back to her cross-word puzzle.
Will this not-so-innocent lady be going back for more?  Abso-freakin-lutely.  It could be my new addiction.

Here's a few snaps from the day and those devilish men on horseback  Enjoy.

Team City AM New York's Henry Brett takes on Team IG Index Paris' Andrea Vianini

In foreground: Team City AM New York's Jack Kidd vs. Team IG Index Paris' Andrea Vianini

Stomping the divots

V.C Bar

Team Edinburgh ( Blue) vs  Team Oxford ( Grey)

Team Oxford's Jamie Dundas

Boys toys

Free range Pig on a spit

Kids Zone 

Divots mingling really, not so much stomping here 

Team City AM New York's Jamie Morrison

A/N:  Although Team London did not make the finals,  we did cheer for Team City AM New York as all three devils were englishmen...I'm told.   The final score was 11-10 with Team City AM New York victorious over Team IG Index Paris.

Photos courtesy yours truly, please do not reproduce or copy without permission. 

Friday, 4 June 2010

Musings of a Polo Virgin on a Frivolous Friday

Don't you just love Fridays? I'm in a frivolous mood, a few lovely things happened today.

Firstly, everyone this side of the pond knows that weather is paramount...beautiful sunny day brings happy smiling people to the street.  Everything really does look shiny in the sun and today; our Sun Goddess has been frightfully nice and smiled on us all day!

Secondly, I actually rode my bike today...if you ever get stuck behind a lady on bicycle with a wicker basket...please resist the temptation to honk your horn.  Please...if I want to take a leisurely ride through scenic London, I will.

Thirdly, the seemingly impossible happened.  I have tickets to see the talented Lady Gaga in December!  Hooray for me, but especially for my BFF who will be designing himself a special out-fit for the evening!  We won't be competing for the best Gaga impersonator because he'll win.  Hands-down.

Lastly, I'm off to Polo in the Park this weekend.  Do I have anything new to wear?  Er, nope.   Seeing as this is my first time.  Here stands before you, a Polo Virgin...am I worried?  Strangely, no.  Mid-week I may have laid face down on the floor in front of a bursting-at-the-seams-can't-close-the-doors-wardrobe woefully chanting the 'I've-got-nothing-to-wear'  mantra.  However that all changed when someone suggested 'heels were a no-no and wellies should be worn'...as a precaution dear, it may just rain.  

Well, here we are back to the weather again... blame it on the sunshine, I just want to have fun, enjoy the matches and soak up the atmosphere.  So, out go the heels!  Doubtful that my wellies will make an appearance but if the suns out - the big floppy hat will be on.

Ooh and if I get a chance to stomp those divots, I will.

The lady rather likes this fetching red number!

PS:  For the record, my inner scribe will be on alert the whole day.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Whimsical Wednesday

It's Wednesday and I'm feeling whimsical!  Tonight, I'm going to see Sex and the City 2 on the big screen with one of my BFF who is super-excited.  Myself - I'm squealing with delight in anticipation of seeing Carrie and the gals...ahem, not for the superb acting or incredibly challenging plot lines, no dear friends - its for the fashion!  The strategy is 'stratospheric expectation of fashion; few expectations of plot.  It's a win/win combination!   'Fashion schmasion...the dear lady mutters whilst buffing her french manicure.   

Dear SATC Goddess,
I used to be really truly madly in love with your show...but now you're just...  
Your inner-fashionista still rocks though!

Now, let's kick-off our Whimsical Wednesday, take a deep breath and sit up straight.  Channeling your best 'Audrey-standing-outside-Tiffany's'...grab a coffee and croissant and follow me!  We're flying through a favourite department store in London with our dear fairy godmother and she's waving her sparkly wand...its time to play dress-up.  Carrie is a paper doll who needs a new ensemble for tonights show.  Let's find her some decent threads!  A good lady always starts her out-fit with a pair of shoes right?

Fanciful Louboutin of the peep-toed variety

Sexy sassy blue...methinks this one!

Accessories!!  Our Carrie of yester-year would have worn the fiddly statement piece plus the blue feathers, however we're throwing those out!  The shimmering silver pieces are less of a statement yet so much more..

And finally, cue sweet notes from the harp...

Arm-candy...the graceful Lady D


...the to-die-for Jimmy Choo python!
Which one?  You decide!

Have a lovely Wednesday all!