Tuesday Morning we went for a stroll around various bits of London on the way to Paul A. Youngs Fine Chocolates in The Royal Exchange. I have to say that a) I was surprised the Royal Exchange was a shopping centre and not a bank or something and also it was quiet boring as shopping districts go but there was lots of pretty buildings and statues around it to photograph.
The Chocolate Shop itself was something else! I was could have just spent all afternoon photographing the chocolates to be honest! Plus the shops were obviously designed with me in mind - see even the bags are purple and the boxes tied up with little purple ribbons - tell me why there is not one of these in Cheltenham? Next to the Cheese Works would be best - just saying.
I may have ended up with a book on cooking with and making chocolate etc....
Alaric is going to try and get it signed for me at some point I'd really wanted to go and look in the kitchens or do the tempering course but when we looked they seemed to only be for Chocolate Week But I have coffee beans covered in chocolate - t my mind there is slightly too much chocolate on the bean but it is a lovely roast! Alaric got a Marmite bar. The chocolate still contains soya lectin unfortunatly so I can't exactly eat a tonne of it - but then shouldn't really anyway
I then took more pictures of London
We headed over to the Institute of Contemporary Arts to have lunch and meet a friend. This statue was on the way and is of Uri the first man in Orbit!
I didn't even know the ICA existed!
Lunch was veggi curry of butternut squash and chick peas for Al and tarragon chicken with mushrooms for me
It was really tasty!
We looked around some of the exhibits the main one was The House to Die In which had a large narcotices theme running through it though I thought the structures looked like space ships. We found the perfect present for mum but had fortunatly had already gotten her a sketch pad as the blanket was £450!
We mainly sat in the coffee shop with all our stuff and wrote things and drew things and designed things and made things.
We had tea and ginger bread men and chatted lots to Dez who I some how failed to get a photo of :/ Though I took this sequence...
Alaric kept moving his eyes about which was funny
We then headed over to Padington Station to make our journy home - I filled up my dragon note book mostly on this four day adventure And I haven't arted Alaric out - I think he almost Artied me out and I've ended up with a set of Tech/Net/Web/Geek tarot cards from the ICA which I love and am going to write so many stories from. Al broke the 10K barrier on his novel and me the 40K barrier which is just fantastic
As the whole family is taken part in this and I am actually aiming for a nutty 90, 000 words in one month and have actually broken the 20 K mark today which means I've written more than 20, 000 words in a week, we thought we would put a page where people can sponsor us. The money is for the charity that organising the NaNoWriMo event every November but they do far more than keeping the servers and the likes going for insane writers like us. They put in a lot of work for classrooms and libraries and community efforts both on a local and global scale.
Everyone in the household is now involved in NaNoWriMo - Jean's story is amazing - I don't think she'll beat last years word count but that is fine and I've slowed her down slightly as she is producing the most articulate story and drawing pictures to boot!
Her story is based on the picture on the front of her note book! Mary of course could not be left out and so is scribbling in a little cat note book that I originally got for Alaric!
Alaric has been to his first write-in in Bristol at the Water Shed and is chuffed about his 2000 words plus. I have my first write in tomorrow (as in actual and not me and the girls and pumpkin soup.
We normally get a vat of jelly beans to see me through October and Novembers writing challenges and then through Christmas and a fair way into the new year but instead there was a Jelly Bean mug! The sort with a silicon lid that helps me not tip it all over myself and the laptop. It is purple comes with a few jelly beans and of course a new mug for my foul hot beverages is traditional for my writing madness.
There is also a little lego mascot ready to help me write. I've only managed 4000 words so far but am hoping to drastically up this at the write in - to stick to my self imposed word target I need to be averaging 3000 words a day!
It's November the first which means it is NaNoWriMo again - this is National Novel Writing Month though it is a global event theses days. I have roped Alaric in this year as well as he has been moping about how work on his novel has completely stopped now he no longer has comutes to London.
I am sending him to his first meet on his own tonight in Bristol which has a vibrant group with friends from Uni plus it is close to his Hack Space which he goes to on Thursdays anyway. I on the other hand will wait for the weekend when I shall pootle into Gloucester to go and have coffee and do some writing and catching up with my WriMo friends who ashamedly I have failed to meet up with outside of the writing yet again!
I am continuing on from the novel I started for GothNoWriMo last month - well sort of - it has actually spilt itself into three so I shall be working on the second story/book The Prophesy it is part of the Punk Canon as I am now calling everything set in my world of gentically engineered humans and older hominid race with ancient super computers and what not. This trilogy called The Godex is specifically about bio-computers and ancient blood cults - it is a psuedo horror/crime with elements of Grail type quests within.
It is doing things I didn't expect it too - the manuscript has become a living creature with its own ideas of whats happening - all I know is the over all story arch and how it fits in with The Punk tails.
And then because I am completely nutty I am also doing PiBoIdMo which is Picture Book Idea Month with Tara Lazar once again. It was this picture book challenge that really got the The Little Books of Poetry going. The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry already existed - just. But The Little Book of Festive Poetry and the others stemmed from this writing challenge. I shall be blogging and stuff about the kidlit over on Orange Monster but in summary I shall write up my list of ideas - some will be new some will be ones I have scattered in notebooks of which I already have hundreds :/
However PiBoIdMo has become something more to me - it is a month that I work on childrens books. I am hoping to get The Little Book of Festive Poetry actually in print for the public this month - at the least you shall have a down loadable ebook like I have just done with Spoogy. Last year I made 100 copies with my home printer and embellised the cover with metallic pens and things as gifts for people - some of whom will be getting them this year instead!
30 hrs minimum I shall spend on my kidlit projects this month - I did this last month in the effort to get Spoogy out there and that achieved all the illustrations and the time it took to scan, edit and put the book together.
I love my writing and drawing challenges
The first book of The Godex - The Awakening is going out on Black Monster a 1000 words at a time - it is completely unedited and I am very dyslexic but it is there if you want to read it - or wait five years and you can buy the nice edited version
And that brings me back to Halloween
The kids all seemed to have a great time out on their walk and floating lanterns on the stream in the village. I stayed in the hall to finish decorating the cakes and prepare the luke warm hot chocolate
(I love my new plunger cutters for icing)
Then when we got back to the house I made dinner whilst Alaric did pumpkin carving with the girls - well Jean! Mary loves her little pumpkin that Jeany chose for her (because she loved hugging the little pumpkins at the farm shop!) but all she wants to do is hug it so we decided carving it would be a bad idea so I gave her a pen to decorate it with - she was exstatic!
They then went off to bed happy and I helped Alaric find his way round the NaNoWriMo forum and website
I was tempted to stay up and start writing but my wrists were a bit achy from the icing of cakes so I decided to rest well instead and lo! I am writing - well have been already this morning - now obviously I have a Mary to look after but here we go!
Oh and Jean's doing Nano again this year too She is armed with the pink glitter monster notebook Ulrike gave her - she has spent about half an hour on characterisation and tonight after school (and a bit of room tidying) we will be having our very own little writ in - I even have toffee apple chocolate fingers
Today is the tenth Halloween for me and Al We started going out actually on Halloween - I skipped several parties and a workshift to do so and I wasn't even sure if it was supposed to be a date or not!
I remember faffing over which cloths to wear and went with the new things I'd bought with my first wage check of the new academic year - I'd been shopping with Becca Lavander tie dye boot cut fitted trousers with a black lacy top with a plunging neck line and erm... trainers.
I'd printed out his email stating the time and space coordinants and the invite for dinner and then showed it to my friends for advice on weather it was a date or not Jihane said it was whilst Greg said it wasn't! And both panicked as they thought Al was a random from the internet as I mentioned the facted we'd been emailing each other. We had infact met the previous spring when Tanya had tried to set Aoife up with him - we had been emailing each other ever since reguardless of an embarrassing attempt of friends to force us together when he had started going out with another girl shortly after the Aoife set up. They were only going out for two weeks but I didn't realise that so we tiptoed around each other electronically for the whole summer!
I got to South Ken Station early and hung around - he didn't show so I walked up the steps to check up by the shops and then headed back down them and through the tunnel. No Al but he was there when I got back to the station. He was relieved that I was late as in his excitement he'd gotten on the circle line and gone the wrong way! We were married several years before we found out each others version - neither of us wanting to seem too keen incase it scared the other off!
We walked aimlessly talking of everything from scifi to social issues and my course work which I had been showing him for the last few weeks at the Union after an incident were I had fainted at Musical Theatre and ended up being brought down to the union and placed with Andy D and his friends to recover a few weeks previously. Somehow I'd ended up chatting to Al.
We ended up in Pizza Express which became like our place. We had dough balls which we shared.
We then walked some more - down to the river but my back was starting to really hurt - I had on my college rucksack and I was cold - I was already having intensive physio at the time and had also been told I had a life expectancy of 30 so I was not even sure I should be trying for a relationship. But again my health actually helped me - I had to sit down. We sat on the river bank. And I was cold and fed up of waiting to see if he would make a move so I flopped against him and snuggled up for warmth. He took this as a sign that he was allowed to make a move FINALLY and so he went to kiss me and I got the giggles. But we did kiss and it was a cheesy forever moment only shattered by the lights on the buildings all winking out as it was 11 o'clock!
Shocked at the time I waited with him on the Kings Road opposite the Blue Bird restaurant until he got on his bus - he wanted to walk me home but I felt this was stupid as he would have to walk away from his bus stop! I had also insisted on paying half the bill.
From that unsureness of each other we became inseperable and much to everyones horror we moved 'too fast' moving in with each other after only a few months - and then engaged after 10 months and married the following summer. With a baby due just after our first year wedding anniversary. But we are happy with each other and the kids - other things have been hard but they have been external to us and the thought of facing the stresses alone is an intollerable one. Now that things are improving we are being careful not to emulate alot of couples mistakes - sometimes it is the stress that binds you together and you grow apart as your both dealing with life.
We have lots of plans for our lives still and he is joining me in NaNoWriMo this year as he confessed to missing his writing time and he is a fair way into the novel/story arch that we made up together starting on that first night - it is a joint effort but I can't do my bit until he has finished his.
To celebrate this moment that has lasted a decade we are coming to London for a long weekend in November. We will visiting what is left of our old haunts (The Black Widow is gone but I'm hoping we can visit another Erri Pub, The Foundary too is gone, we may go and look at The Union but I don't think we will go in or if we do it will just be for a drink). We want to visit a Paul A Young Chocolate Shop as they have become an our place as well even though we've never managed to be in one at the same time yet!
The Natural History Museum is a must though I will probably mope outside doors I'm no longer allowed through. Pizza Express, the places in Ealing and maybe a meet up with friends.
We are mainly coming down to London to London to see Gotye
We found this artist as our friend Ulrike sent us the youtube video on Facebook - she was the first of a wave - 'Doesn't he look like Alaric?' and yes he does though Al himself says he can only see a vague similarity
We even made a spoof video - which we now actually have permission from Gotye Head Quarters to have made.
I organised the gig, Al the hotel - we still have no hotel books
Our lives are not exactly were we envisioned them but on the other hand we are all together in an amazing house that is not rented. Al is loving his job and I appear to have ended up with the career I thought I would have once I retired. And for that I owe a hug debt to Alaric - he helps me with the writing and art, doesn't get annoyed when I forget to cook dinner when I've said I would because I've got distracted by drawing or papier mache or writing. But more than that - he has given me the self confidence to get out there and do the things. this year has seen me win medals and get through to the final stages for poet laureate of Gloucestershire and so much more I can't even begin to list.
He took pity on me and sorted out the tech issues I was having with The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry Talking of which today is your last chance to download it free You have until midnight just click on the image below.
And now I am off to back Halloween, fireworks and autumn cakes because predictably we are running an event for the cubs tonight