Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Fun 19

Vote Here!
The National Lottery is giving £50 million pounds to a project. The Black Country needs your vote to develop the singing caverns and a host of other stuff. Please visit and vote. I think you have to register first - but it would be so fantastic if we won.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Middle Name meme

Liz tagged me to do this.
1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.
2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don't have a middle name, just make one up...or use the one you would have liked to have had.
3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts.
4. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.
I don't have a middle name. I always wanted one and for years I used Louise so that's what I'm going with.
1. L Life is for living has been the motto I live by. I can honestly say that I have always tried to be open to new experiences and to have as many adventures as I can.
2. O Open My life is an open book. My memory is too poor to have secrets and I am a bad liar so I don't have secrets.
3. U Universe, God and everything. My faith is the bedrock of my life. I don't talk abou it much but people that know me well know how important it is to me.
4. I Intuition, as many of you know I'm prone to premonition dreams and I'm very intuitive when it comes to my friends and family.
5. S Shopping, I hate shopping for myself but I adore shopping for other people. I would love to be a personal shopper.
6. E Everyone, I like people, there are very, very few people who I really dislike and even those I'm trying hard to forgive. I've always lived by the creed, Christ first, myself last and others inbetween so I have trouble sometimes in putting things that I need to do to the front of a list.

I tag Jess, Lis and Sally L

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hippy feeling

I went to orthopoedic triage yesterday. The physio turned out to be a former colleague so that helped a lot. Impossible to say if it's just bursitis or if I have degeneration of my hip joints - so - today I went for X rays which will be sent back to the physio and she's referred me urgently to the orthopoedic surgeons. Based on that they'll decide if I need an MRI scan.
Hopefully it will be bursitis and they will be able to go ahead with the cortisone injections into the joints, the downside is obviously more needles but because of my many allergies they aren't certain how best to do the jabs.
But I'm a step closer to being mended! Got to stay positive!
Writing wise, c5 of Animal Instincts is with Jess and I'm really getting into the story now. I just finished reading Wish You Were Here by Phillipa Ashley and it's a really good read. If you want a book for someone for Christmas who likes something light, sexy and fun then treat them, and yourself to a copy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

X factor again

I'm gutted that Beverley is out and Hopeless are still in. I think Beverley has so much potential and really just needs a good voice coach to help her make the most of her voice.
Hopeless sang a really dire song and once again Phoebe did all the work. Niki struggled to hit the notes and hadn't enough oomph to take the song up a notch. Leon was better this week and thankfully didn't attempt to dance. Same Difference were really good as usual. I hope the rumours about Disney being interested in them are true as I think they could be huge in that market. Rhydian played safe this week after last weeks amazing debacle.
But was it me or did anyone else think that when Mrs O split the judges decision so the public vote was counted, did you think that she thought Hopeless would go? She looked pretty stunned when the vote was revealed.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Yesterday was a really nice day. I got to spend time with Allison, Pip and Liz (Liz has a book being published by Hale in April called The Paradise Will. If you like regencies look out for it as it sounds great) As usual the time went too quickly but at least I now have a signed copy of Wish you were here to read! Yay
Today I took Boo to Merry Hill or Merry Hell as it's known at this time of year. She had a Build a Bear card for her birthday and wanted to choose her bear and make it. We went early as traffic is chaos and the belles have dance classes today plus Miss Boo had a friends birthday party to attend.
We parked and went to walk into the centre, it had been raining on the way in but I hadn't noticed the floor wasn't just wet - it was icy.
Ouch. I have a bruise on my good hip and I jarred all my wrist. To add to my hmiliation a very nice kind man saw me fall and came over to help me up. Then after Boo had chosen her bear (Pink, fluffy, called Popcorn) the assistant had problems with the till. Finally we made it into M&S to buy a Dr Who present for Boo's friends birthday and their scanner wasn't working.
I think someone was trying to tell me to stay home today.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Fun 18

Hopefully my Friday fun posts are whetting your appetites for a visit to the Black Country. Today I thought I'd spotlight a place where you can really get a flavour for why this place is so special.
So visit
HERE and browse around. It's lots of fun and if you ever get chance to visit in person it's a must see.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Birthday Boo

Today is my middle belles birthday. Miss Boo is eleven today and tonight my house is being invaded by lots of other eleven year old girls for a High School Musical Themed party. This means HSM music, games, food, prizes etc. We're having pizza so they can all put their own toppings on, popcorn, fudge brownies, hotdogs and chips and dips. They're going to get their goodie bags emptyish at the start of the party then as we play the games they'll add their loot to the bags. I've lots of loot. Hair stuff in pass the parcel, pencils for musical statues, silver coloured rings and sweets in the party pulina, chocolate in HSM mini lockers for kiss Troy Bolton (This is blindmans buff - they put lipshaped kisses on his poster - closest to the lips wins)HSM chocolate lollies for best dancer, singer, outfit, hair etc.
First however I have to clean and tidy the house, put up the decorations etc. It's snowing here too, the same as it did the day she was born, a little premmie 5lb 20z baby in a snowbound hospital eleven years ago.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

X factor

I know, I know but I lurve reality TV. I thought the right person went home last night. Alisha has a great voice but I always thought she'd be a wonderful jazz/blues singer.
Little Leon still reminds me of Leo Sayer but I wish they would stop him from dancing. The top half of his body stays static and his legs do this weird Max Wall, Irish jig. Niki wafted around in a lurex nightie and groped dancers. Beverley sang up a storm. Hope were hopeless, poor Phoebe ends up doing all the singing while the rest just jig around her. Same Difference were fab as usual, they are so professional with everything, I really hope they do well. Rhydian, well, what can you say? Twenty male dancers, he's dressed as a sailor and singing Go West with hair modelled on the villain in Lazytown - carcrash telly at it's best.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Update on the fishy babies. We have two, one is grey and speckly and the other is orange. They are both a centimetre long and are getting braver, swimming in and out of the weed and playing more. The grey one (Babycakes) is shyer, while the orange one (Fishface) is bolder and stays out longer. We have no clue as to the proud parents so they could be Platys or possibly Mollies.
I finished c4 of Animal Instincts, yay! I don't know how much I'll do this week with everything thats going on but I'm hoping I'll get some words down.
In other news I've lots of baby congratulations for my friends.
Angie - on the safe arrival of Isabella.
Sheila - on the safe arrival of Jefferson.
Carol - on the safe arrival just today of Nathan.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Fun 18

Everyone knows that the best pork scratchings in the world are made in the Black Country. Tipton and Walsall are the main centres for this regional delicacy. Best eaten accompanied with a pint of Banks's bitter, this bar snack is extremely popular. A good scratching is fairly hard with just a small amount of puffy fat and a sliver of meat.
There has been controversy locally just recently when certain upscale establishments said they weren't stocking the humble scratching anymore on their bar snacks menu. There has been rumblings of boycotts and dark threats in the press.
If you google Pork Scratchings you'll even find entire websites devoted to them and I'm informed that you can get T shirts.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


La is feeling better and is back at school. Everything else is just mad at the moment. It's Boo's birthday on Monday - she'll be 11. In a moment of madness I agreed to her having a party at home with High School Musical as the theme. Wednesday I have a funeral, Thursday I've an unexpected prospect of a new job, a variation of my present one but less physical, Friday I have a much nicer task of meeting Allison and Phillipa and Liz for coffee. The following week is D day for my treatment on my hips and back.
I've been trying to focus on getting Christmas and birthday things sorted out. I have a lot of birthdays before Christmas, My niece, My daughter, my godson, my best friend, my husband, my brother, my mother in law and so it takes a lot of planning. Mr Nell has just started his new job so his shifts are chaotic too.
My writing has been thrown a bit of a curve at the moment by everything thats happening. I also have another family member seriously ill at the moment too. Still, no doubt everything will sort itself out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Poorly baby

My youngest daughter is home sick. This is such an unusual occurance that it shocks everyone who knows her. La is one of those tall, skinny children who look frail but in reality she eats like a horse and is as tough as old boots.
She hates missing school and is really miserable at not feeling well poor girl. We've been passing the time reading, tidying her toys, playing therapists and talking.
Here's one of our conversations.
La - Some people in my class don't believe in Santa Claus.
Me - Don't they?
La - No, they say it's just your Mom and Dad.
Me - Well, you know me and Daddy buy lots of your presents.
La - But you would tell me wouldn't you, if there wasn't a Santa? (fixes me with big blue puppy dog stare) After all I'l have children of my own one day and I'll need to know.

Oh boy, I hope she's better soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remembrance Day

Poppies gleam amongst the gold as glints of scarlet thread.
'It's Rosemary for remembrance,' was all the old man said.
The beaches soft of palest sand are cleansed by each new wave.
Long, straight rows of chalk white stone, regimented graves.
The flowers bow their crimson heads and whisper in the wheat,
Petals fall like blood red tears, shimmering in the heat.
Seagulls scream out the last post while wheeling overhead.
'It's Rosemary for remembrance,' was all the old man said.
Children clamber on a tank still frozen in its track,
few pause to read the words written on the plaque.
Where the heavy boots once marched now children laugh and play,
and the sun is the only casualty at the dying of the day.
Outside the cafe by the bridge the old man sipped his tea.
'It's Rosemary for remembrance,' was all he said to me.

(C) Nell Dixon 2004

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Suddenly feels like winter

The weather has turned more wintery and suddenly I can believe that Christmas is just a few weeks away. At least this year I know what I need to buy for people. The belles have been drawing up a list for Santa. I think he may struggle a bit this year. Boo wants all of Hannah Montana's clothes, a pink chocolate fountain and a cash machine. Shaggy would settle for David Tennant with a bow on and La would like money, gel pens, bindeez (this is the toy they've just done a recall on for poisoning kids) and anything High School Musical.
What would be on your wish list for Santa?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Fun 17

I thought we'd have a few more sayings and phrases this week just to keep your 'ear' in so to speak.

More Black Country sayings -
In a Tiswas - In a state of confusion.
This has a historic explanation. A way to prevent an attack by mounted soldiers was to scatter special nails called Caltraps, Crows foot or Tiswas in the road.
This was a four-legged nail device made in such a way that however they were thrown down, one spike was always pointing upwards. The idea was to lame the approaching horses. A bit like the stinger device the police use today to stop cars.
I suppose the saying originated from this time with the horses and riders not knowing which way to turn to get away from the spikes.
Now you'll hear people say 'I was all of a tiswas.'

I culd ave drapped cork-legged - I could have dropped down dead with surprise.

A blind mon on a gallopin' oss culd a sid it - How could you not notice that you fool?

He's about as gain as a glass eye - He looks good but he's useless.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

By George I think she's got it...

Sometimes I can be stunningly slow. I've had an idea for a bigger book tumbling around in my head for weeks. I had the main character, all sorts of things but something just didn't quite click. I started a file, part wrote a synopsis but still not feeling the lurve.
Then this morning - ting! Totally different story pops into my head, four characters all named with their issues and a title. I now have a new file and the synopsis is unfolding in my head like magic at the moment.
Phew, I was beginning to wonder if I could ever get it to work but now I feel surprisingly optimistic.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


We had a barbecue last night and fireworks. It was fun. I love having people round and just hanging out and I don't get to do it nearly enough. In fact, it's a sign that I'm not at work that I'm doing it at all. I am paying for my fun today though with a very sore back and hip from standing and going 'ooh!' with the kids everytime we lit a new firework.
Today, I have a writing day planned. I have a lot of stuff in my head that I need to get onto paper both for Animal Instincts and for my half done medical. I must come up with a better title for that, don't you think?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

X factor

I love reality trash TV. So as usual I've been glued to X factor. Then last night - well - what happened? I can't believe the two groups were in the bottom two. Admittedly the girls had a stinky Madonna song and were drowned out by the band but even so.
It's quite funny to watch the blatant touting for the sections of population that they think they can get votes from. The Scots lad and the Welsh lad - the two who should have been in the bottom two - get their nationality votes, Beverley, who by the way I think is great, is for the Mum vote, Same Difference get the young vote, The girls and boys get their admirers, Niki gets the older vote but the funniest sight of the night had to be Rhydian.
He arrived in a silver suit and fur coat and sang I'm coming out. Guess which section he was after - camper than a row of tents!!!

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Eating toast with honey at the computer is not a good idea.
In other news we think we may have a baby fish in the tank. At least Mr Nell and I have seen a baby fish - we haven't told the belles in case it doesn't make it and luckily because it likes hiding under a log they haven't spotted it.
Mr Nell is very excited about being a fish daddy so I hope it survives.
Still no news on Charlie Darling - sigh.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Fun 16

Please to remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.

The picture is Holbeche House which lies just down the road from me and which I pass frequently. Here is the story.
After the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, the flight of the plotters ended at Holbeche House, near Kingswinford, in Staffordshire. This property belonged to Stephen Littleton, a descendant of the Littletons of Frankley, Worcestershire, who had joined them at the proposed hunting party at Dunchurch. The plotters were being closely followed by the sheriff of Warwick, Sir Richard Walsh, and his men, who were seeking to apprehend them for the raid on the stables at Warwick Castle. Sir Richard did not actually learn of their involvement in the Gunpowder Plot until his arrival at Holbeche as the government forces converged with their orders from Robert Cecil.

At Holbeche, the conspirators did their best to prepare the house for a siege, and told those not willing to make a stand that they should escape as best they could. During the flight from Warwick Castle via Hewell Grange (the home of Lord Windsor, who was kin to Sir John Talbot of Grafton and the Wintour brothers) where they were reported to have stolen arms and munitions, their store of gunpowder had become wet from the pouring rain, and it was laid out in front of the fireplace to dry. A stray spark landing in the gunpowder caused a sudden explosion that blinded John Grant, and slightly injured Robert Catesby, Ambrose Rookwood and Henry Morgan, a friend of John Grant's. This was the final demoralizing blow: when Thomas Wintour asked the party what they intended to do, he was told "We mean here to die".

Stephen Littleton and Thomas Wintour left temporarily for 'Pepperhill', the Shropshire residence of Sir John Talbot, which lay 10 miles away, where they hoped to rally further support. Sir John dismissed them in anger saying that it was more than his life was worth to assist them, only confirming the thoughts of Robert Wintour who had refused the task of visiting Sir John.

By approximately 11.00 am the following morning, Walsh's men had surrounded the house. Thomas Wintour, Jack Wright, Kit Wright and Ambrose Rookwood were soon shot in the courtyard, perhaps attempting to quell a fire that Walsh and his men had started in an attempt to drive the conspirators from the house. The two Wrights were moribund, but Thomas Wintour managed to make it back to the house, where Robert Catesby and Thomas Percy were the only defenders left who were not incapacitated by their injuries.

"Stand by me, Mr. Tom," said Catesby, "and we will die together."

The three men stood close inside the door of the house, and went outside to face their death. Catesby and Percy, standing side by side, were supposedly felled by a single shot. According to the account by Father Oswald Tesimond, Robert Catesby managed to crawl back inside the house, and finding a picture of the Virgin Mary, clutched it in his arms until he died. The soldiers rushed into the house, realising Wintour's fears of being captured. Many of those present at the siege declared later that the actions of the soldiers, hungry for trophies, had perhaps not been conducive to the survival of those who were dying, and that with swift medical aid, one or more of them may have lived.

The last door that many of the conspirators ever went through is still in existence today at Holbeche House. Although many additions have been made to the back, the front rooms and facade of the house are still the same as they were in 1605. You can still see the musket holes in the wall from this siege, which adds further intrigue to the story of the last stand of the conspirators. The location of the musket holes offers strong evidence that those inside the house were utilising the upstairs windows, probably to gain the advantage of height over their pursuers, and would thus have almost certainly been using firearms.

Holbeche House today is a private nursing home. Although a great deal of construction has recently taken place, which has resulted in the destruction of the remnants of the old water-mill, you can still see traces of the original wall that surrounded the property. Even more interesting is the existence of a tunnel in the dining room that, according to legend, led to another property. It was a surprising find, as none of the Plot literature has ever mentioned this tunnel, although it was certainly in existence in 1605. Perhaps this was the method that many used to escape, leading one to conclude that the final defenders must have chosen to die.

Reproduced by kind permission of the Gunpowder Plot Society

Thursday, November 01, 2007

All Saints

The belles had a lovely time last night. I acquired two extra children for the evening so I had lots of excitement painting faces, tying capes, faking gory injuries with stage make-up etc. They came back after an hour clutching huge carriers full of sweets and so thrilled with the whole thing.
We then bobbed for apples and played stick the leg on the spider and pass the bat. Very silly and lots of fun. One of my extra children told her dad when he collected her that she'd had the best Halloween ever.
Today is All Saints and tomorrow All souls day. Bonfire night is coming up fast and then it'll be my middle belle's birthday. Where is the year going?