Waiting For The Bell

There was still tinsel around the picture frames,

all smiles and glitter staring back at you

in that echoing space

when the meals are finished

and the bottles drunk

yet the end is not quite upon us.

So we wait

and pretend

that this will be the year that we do something different.

Christmas Just Regurgitated Itself Over My Kitchen-Or- Why I Smell Like Apples

If we were having coffee, well this week I’d ask if you’d rather try a glass of non-alcoholic spiced apple cider. I’m emphasising the non-alcoholic side since I’m English and cider is normally assumed to be alcoholic here.15338643_10155547663678012_4293679249890200497_n

Anyway, this weekend one of the neighbours caught me on the way to buy my Christmas wreath and asked if I wanted any cooking apples. He’d been lovely enough to bring by some beans earlier in the year and he thought I might have some use for apples too.

I was going to make a crumble until the lovely fiancee suggested mulled apple cider. In the end I bastardised a few recipes, hurled some apples, an orange, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice into the slow cooker and left it to simmer along for eight hours.

After straining the result was what you can see in the photo. I need to reduce the amount of cloves I’m using, and amp up the cinnamon a tad, but overall it tastes pretty scrummy and super Christmassy. My kitchen is also covered in the evidence of my multiple attempts at working out how to strain boiled down apples.

Tip: Never assume that you don’t need muslin cloth and a sieve with small holes will work just as well. It doesn’t. It really doesn’t.

Aside from throwing myself into Christmas and the wonders of my slow cooker, I’m starting to kick myself into gear for 2017. I’ve now hit the half way point of the current draft for Shadow Dawn, and even though I didn’t manage to win NaNoWriMo, 50,000 words of the draft are down on papers and I’m loving what I’m writing. The rest of this month will be about finishing the current draft and getting ready to re-instate a blogging schedule come January 1st.

With the end of my AAT course in sight, there will soon be nothing in the way of me finding time to write outside of work. I will probably still find excuses, but they’ll be ever so slightly less valid.

So with that in mind I will wish you a happy holiday and goodnight. It’s a short post but I’ve not got much to say.

Let me know, are you making anything special for Christmas? What is your signature dish? Any tips on apple cider?

I’ll leave you with an extract from the current Shadow Dawn draft. Happy reading.

‘What on earth is going on?’ Tara asked. Becket had disappeared to find out what all the commotion was about and was yet to reappear.

‘Your Highness, what an unexpected pleasure.’

Tara turned.

‘Frenrick, how… nice.’ Despite trying to maintain her calm Tara felt the heat rushing to her cheeks.

‘Did you get my flowers? I was afraid that the lack of response meant that had somehow gone astray in this huge palace of yours.’

‘No, I got them,’ Tara said. Ilia was frowning beside her and behind Frenrick one of his envoys sniggered into his gloved fist.

She was not punching anyone Tara told herself. No matter how much they may deserve it, she was not going to punch someone today. She caught the envoy’s eye and he turned the laugh into a polite cough.

Becket chose that moment to reappear, stealing Tara away before Frenrick could reveal anything about the flowers, or their note, to Ilia.

Farmhouse Christmas

The crumpled paper and tinsel meant that she’d just missed him. Checking the back kitchen she found the coat hooks empty and the dog missing too. He was out on the farm then., trudging through the snow to check on the sheep before lunch.

She tossed the wrapping into the bin alongside the cardboard and plastic tie from his new gloves. He’d left a note next to the rayburn.

Turkey on.

Called Thomas about lame ewe – coming about nine.

Gloves good.

Thank you.


She tacked it to the noticeboard and checked the clock.

Ten to.

Better brew the tea.


If We Were Having Coffee…

If we were having coffee I would tell you all about my new jumper. I’ve never owned a Christmas jumper before and to be honest I’ve never really had the desire to buy one. But work has a Christmas jumper day and hey ho I found myself in the Next knitwear section perusing all the holiday themed woolly garments thinking about how I really wanted the sheep one but apparently that wasn’t Christmassy enough. So instead I go the one with a reindeer and snowflakes because that said Christmas without being utterly in your face about it. I have also not taken it off since I bought it because lo and behold! I have discovered that I love jumpers! It has opened up a whole new world of snugly and that sheep jumper is now on it’s way to me and tomorrow I will be the proud owner of two Christmas jumpers! It’s like wearing a dressing gown that’s socially acceptable to have on in public places like the supermarket. What’s not to love about that.

If we were having coffee I’d also tell you that I’m fine. Really, I am. I’m sad yes and every time I think about her I can feel the ache, but  I don’t feel like anything has been taken from me. I had more time with her than I probably should have in the grand scheme of things and I’m not going to poo-poo that with tears.

If we were having coffee I’d say that Nanowrimo went out the window but the novel is still moving forward. Granted, it’s at the pace of a wounded snail but progress is progress and my skull only slightly aches from bouncing off the wall repeatedly as I tell myself over and over ‘I can do this! Just keep writing!’

If we were having coffee I’d apologies for the mass of posts one week and my utter absence the next. Consistency has never been my strongest suit and recently my juggling skills have become a little haphazard. The balls tend to go out the window and around the garden before coming back to me. I’ll get it together eventually I hope, but for now I’m going to cut myself some slack and focus on one task at a time. Let’s see how far I can get with that before diving back into everything.

If we were having coffee I’d thank you for listening. Sometimes I just need someone to ramble at.

me in a jumper