Archive for the ‘Spring’ Tag

Another Promotional Roundup

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

This blog has been a bit quiet of late, and for that I apologise.  We had an unexpected burst of Spring here in London last weekend, and we all went rushing outside to make the most of it.  Sadly it seemed to have been a blip, with normal UK weather restored in time for the working week.  After basking in the garden in a t-shirt on Sunday, I was obliged to get back into my coat and scarf on Monday.  Still, at least the rain has been holding off of late.

And in the meantime I’ve been very busy in cyberspace, with two more guest appearances in the last week or so.

First up, I was interviewed by Pete Sutton for his BRSBKBLOG blog, which is described as ‘Adventures in Publishing’.  We talked a lot about the creation of my amateur sleuth Shara Summers, and the forthcoming re-release of DEATH SCENE, and you can find the interview here.

This week, I’ve been visiting ‘Waibel’s World‘, blog of fellow MuseItUp author Mary Waibel, and talking about how being a writer is both a curse and a blessing.

And finally, it’s just over two weeks until the Sci Fi Weekender in Wales, my first Con of 2014.  This year, not only am I going, I’m on the programme.  I’m very excited to have received preliminary details this week about the panels I’ll be on.  All will be revealed soon!

In the meantime, if you’ll be at the Con, do stop by and say hello.

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Nothing To Do, Nowhere to Be – For Once

I’m having a busy old time at the moment. The bi-annual formal dinner I organise for work is on Friday, and the run-up to it is always hectic. The week after that, we’re off to Canada. As we know so many people there, I’ve been firing off emails to various people to find out who’s free to meet up with us and when as part of the trip organisation.

Hubby has spent the best part of the last two weeks working abroad, and when he comes back he’ll have to pack his suitcase for Canada. In fact, I think sitting at the airport waiting for the plane will be the first chance I get to have an extended conversation with him in three weeks. But because he’s not been here, I’ve also had to run errands on his behalf. Taking his suits to the dry cleaners so he has something to wear to the office when he’s back. Sorting out the tax disk for his car, which expires while we’re away. Booking an appointment for a hair cut for him, so he can get it done in the day or so he’s in the UK between flights.

And I’m still being diligent in getting up at 5:30am twice a week to get my ‘writing mornings’ in.

But in spite of all this, I’m not feeling stressed (rather exhausted, perhaps, but not stressed). After a cold winter and unusually cold May, it seems the warm weather has finally arrived in London. I love Spring. Getting up at 5:30am is not so bad at the moment because it’s broad daylight at that time in the morning. I love the extended days we get at this time of year, this far North of the equator. We pay the price with excessive hours of darkness in winter, but winter’s a long way off.

And there’s tonight. Tonight I have nowhere in particular to be – for the first time in ages. I have no urgent emails to send, no documents to hunt out, nothing important to do. So just for tonight, I am going to do nothing. I am going to be on the sofa with the cats, in my PJs by 9pm, watching ‘Supernatural’. And then ‘Dexter’.

From tomorrow, I’m busy until July. But that’s tomorrow. Tonight, I’m spending quality time with the Winchester boys. Bliss.

Springtime

I don’t like the cold, as I’ve mentioned before. I’ve been bundled up in thermal vests, sweaters and socks for months now.

Last week, I reported on signs of Spring being visible, in spite of it still being quite cold. This week, it’s arrived without notice. Last week I was still wearing my scarf and winter coat. For the last couple of days I’ve been wearing my rain coat, but I had the afternoon off today and as I arrived back home I was surprised to discover I was actually feeing quite hot.

It’s 15c in London today, and it seems that the season has changed all of a sudden. This time last week, I think it was about 7c. The winter duvet is still on the bed, and the radiators are all still cranked up to maximum.

This change of weather is refreshing, but it’s taken me by surprise. I’ve just gone through the house opening up windows. It’s the first time they’ve been open since September – some of them were a bit stiff (I’m not one of these people who sleeps with the bedroom window open all year round – I am generally opposed to fresh air if it’s cold air). My ‘slobbing at home’ outfit consists of a t-shirt with my jeans instead of a sweater, for the first time in months.

Winter seemed to go on forever this year, but I think we can finally say we’ve seen the end of it. Perhaps it’s safe to put away my sweaters and dig out all the clothes my stylist picked out for me last year, most of which I haven’t worn for months because it’s been too cold.

Springtime in England can be wonderful. I’m so happy it’s finally here.

Signs of Spring

London has seen two weeks of relentless rain, coming right after the coldest winter in 15 years and weeks of snow, sleet and ice.

This week, though, as we move into March, the rain has stopped and the clouds are gone. It’s still cold, but the sky is blue and the sun has come out.

Birds have returned to the trees. Crocuses have begun to bloom, and the first buds of leaves are appearing on the trees. The days are getting longer, too. It’s now daylight when I leave the house for work, after months of travelling in darkness. It’s still daylight when I leave the office at the end of the day.

These are all signs that we are finally moving out of winter into spring, and it feels marvellous. I really hate winter, but the one good thing about it is that when it ends, I love spring all the more.

Reasons To Be Cheerful

People, it seems, rarely get in touch to say thank you. They only ever want to complain. I spend most of my work day dealing with people who are cross, or stressed, or both.

Yesterday, though, I noticed a marked increase in the number of cheerful people my path crossed with. Everyone who visited our office seemed to have a spring in their step. Colleagues were cheerful. There were no cross phone calls or grouchy emails – I even got one saying thank you!

It was Friday and the sun was shining, and maybe this was a very simple explanation as to why everyone was happy.

The other explanation is that someone’s put Happy Pills in London’s water supply. If so, I want to know where I can get some!

Hay Fever Hell

Much as I love Spring, it can also be an irritation – literally. I seem to be allergic to much of nature, and get hay fever. I spend this time of the year with a perpetually runny nose, not being able to go anywhere without a tissue. And that’s with the antihistamine pills – without them, things are far more unpleasant.

I have been told that a defective immune system is a genetic trait, and many members of my family have various allergies, though every one is a little different. No one seems to be agreed though on why some people’s bodies suddenly decide that a perfectly innocuous every day substance is toxic, and tries to reject it.

One theory I have heard, though, is because in Western first world societies we endeavour to abolish all germs, our environments are now so clean our immune systems have too little to do. I guess every once in a while they get bored of waiting to fight germs that never materialise, go a bit nuts and decide that a perfectly harmless everyday substance is a problem, and work on fighting that off, instead.

I guess this means we can blame it all on antibacterial hand wash!

Weather Fictions

I listen to the weather forecast on the radio every morning to help me decide what to wear to work.

We are firmly into British Spring now, which means I have abandoned the thick sweaters and winter coat, in favour of the brolly and rain coat. I’ve also decided it’s warm enough to shed a couple of layers – but have not yet switched the heating off at home.

The last few days have been overcast, grey and wet but reasonably mild. In other words, typical weather for April in Britain. This morning, however, the weather forecast was: ’20c high. Feeling hot and humid. Thunderstorms likely’.

OK, I thought, thinking of the stuffy tube journey, and the fact that Southern Rail have not yet turned off the heating on their trains. So I dressed accordingly. Linen trousers, short sleeved top and no socks (along with rain coat and brolly of course).

Now I feel underdressed. I was cold on the way to work this morning. Rain is a definite – I’ve managed to avoid it so far today, but the skies definitely threaten rain. It’s in no way humid, and nowhere near 20c.

Granted I leave for work very early, and there is always the chance it will warm up considerably during the day. But with all this 21st century technology at our disposal, why is it that the weather forecasters still can’t forecast the weather accurately?

Grey Monday

Mondays are a drag. Today, even the weather is being typically Monday – grey, overcast, dull. A blustery wind has picked up and rain is imminent. So much different from last week, when Spring finally made an appearance. I’m not sure where it’s gone this week, but clearly it snuck off somewhere when no one was looking. I’m still dressing for Spring, however. I will have to address that tomorrow, if Spring insists on staying away for a while; I’m feeling decidedly chilly today.

I have the Monday Blahs. I would rather be at home under my duvet (or maybe on my sofa with Leon and the Nintendo Wii blasting zombies in ‘Resident Evil’) than staring at my in tray trying to decide which of these boring but necessary phone calls to make first.

Sadly, though, I have to earn a living. Time to get back to work.

Oxford Street at 8am

The Victoria Line wasn’t working this morning. Well, at least I found out as I was entering the station – normally I have to jostle my way onto overcrowded platforms before discovering there are horrendous delays – so I just turned around and got on a bus.

The Number 73 London bus is a pleasant journey at 8am, especially on a lovely Spring day like today. The bus makes its way past Hyde Park, which is blooming with daffodils, past Marble Arch and down Oxford Street. From the comfort of the bus I enjoy looking at all the window displays. The windows at Selfridge’s are always interesting, if a little pretentious (they’re not ‘window displays’, they’re ‘window installations’ don’t you know?).

On balance, the bus is a nicer way to travel than the underground, if you travel early enough. And it’s sunny. And you’re not in a hurry. All of which apply to me this morning.

Good morning, London. I’m ready for another day.

Feeding the Ducks

Walking through the park this morning, I was immensely cheered by the fact that Spring has finally sprung, after a long cold winter. The park was awash with colour – daffodils are out, the flower beds are in full bloom, and the trees are covered with blossom. And the parents are out in force with their children, feeding the ducks in the pond.

This made me think about feeding the ducks with my own dad, over 30 years ago. We would take the last few stale slices of the old loaf to the park with us, and lob chunks of bread at the ducks. I’m sure my dad used to do this himself as a child, with his own parents.

It seems generations of children have been feeding bread to the ducks. I’m not sure if bread is really any good for ducks, but the ducks love it and they have survived. I’m pleased the ritual has survived, too. I think the feeding of the ducks is just as much of a rite of spring as the blooming of the daffodils.