Thursday, 23 April 2009

BlogNor09:Living and Writing in Norwich

I have lived in and around Norfolk since 1976. I am not sure that this makes me a local, I think I have another few decades to go before I am considered a local, or possibly generations!! I have settled here in Norwich and the thing I like most about it is the fact that it is so rich with art of all types. I have joined the Cafe Writers group, which meets monthly in Jurnet's Bar at Wensum Lodge. There one can enjoy other people's poetry and prose through open mic and guest speakers. It is always a lovely evening out and a feast of other people's writing. Since living in Norfolk, I have written and published my own collection of poetry which can be found at http://http// and am just putting the finishing touches to my first novel, which is set in Norfolk. To read an excerpt visit my website at where I am also hosting a poetry competition.

As well as writing projects, Norwich boasts a fine array of art galleries, theatres, gig venues, museums making it a culture rich environment for all who live here and many who visit. One of my favourites is the Sainsbury Centre at the UEA, which hosts a fine permanent collection and many wonderful visiting exhibitions.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Belated Restaurant Review

Having spent a few days in Oldham with Andrew, we stopped at the Ram's Head Inn in Denshaw, Saddleworth. They had an extensive menu, but I still struggled to find anything that wasn't fish or game. I settled for rack of lamb and proceeded to wait for it to arrive, which it did, on a large bed of potatoe and leek gratin, sprinkled with cranberries. It looked delicious, however it was very rare, so I asked for it to be cooked a bit more. The owner said it was perfectly done and to cook it further would ruin it. Well I am sure it was perfectly done, it looked lovely, but I cannot eat anything that is still bleeding, so I insisted it be cooked some more. He whisked it away and about ten minutes later it reappeared on a medium sized bed of gratin. I cut into it and it was still rare, so feeling brave and quite hungry I asked for it to be cooked a bit longer.
I was regaled with a barrage of chef speak about the destruction of this piece of meat and how it would be totally inedible, but I stuck to my guns and asked for it to be cooked till there was no blood. After some more persuading he finally took the offending lamb away and threatened to blow torch it till it was black. While I was waiting for it's return he started making small talk and asked what I did. You should have seen his face when I said I was a writer. I thought he was going to wet himself. He almost squeaked 'You're not a food critic are you?' If only I was a bit quicker I would have said yes, but I said I was writing a novel and waited for the rack of lamb to come back. Which it did, and cooked to perfection on the smallest potato and leek gratin you have ever seen............

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Restaurant Review

I was given the idea of reviewing restaurants by the owner of one I visited while travelling a few weeks ago. I will come back to this visit in another blog.

Today, as you know, we went to Overstrand. While we were there we had Sunday Lunch at the White Horse Public House. What a mistake. I was offended by the pieces of meat I was served, they were so fatty. As you can see, from the amount I left on the plate. The meal looked very pretty, but we were served three very small roast potatoes, that were said to have been cooked in goose fat. They may well have been, but they must have been deep fried afterwards and for way too long. The red wine gravy tasted quite nice, but it was nearly cold. About the only thing they got right was the vegetables.

So all in all it was not a very pleasant experience. When they asked if everything had been alright, they obviously didn't really want to know. The look we got given for not being totally overwhelmed by there pitiful offering was very sour. Oh well, we have learnt where not to eat next time. We will probably go into Cromer and get fish and chips.

Being such a lovely day yesterday, we decided to go out for the day today. Andrew has been in Norfolk quite some time now, but has never been to the coast. For this reason, we thought we would take a trip to Overstrand. Before we left we booked a table at the village pub to have lunch. More about that later!! As you can see from the photo of the sea, it was very overcast today and definitely quite cold. We were going to be brave and paddle anyway, but we could not find a way, closeby, to get right down to the water's edge. I am afraid it was so cold, that having to put a bit of effort into it, meant that we both amiably dipped out of the paddling, despite the fact that we had come armed with a fluffy towel.
We headed back to the car and decided to have a drive around before going to the White Horse Public House for our Sunday dinner. You can read more about that in my next post, which will be in the form of a restaurant review, and this one is not for the faint hearted!!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Sunny Day

What a glorious day we have had today. My oldest daughter Natalie came over for dinner today with her boyfriend James. It is always lovely to see them. Andrew, my youngest has had his birthday present early, to coincide with the Easter holiday. He has been drumming away on his Xbox Guitar Hero World Tour drum kit for a couple of days now. This afternoon the whole gang were there, Natalie singing, Andrew on drums and Camilla and James on guitars, so we had a whole band going on in the living room, it looked so funny.

While they were playing Andrew and I popped down to the local hardware shop to buy more tubs to plant veggies in and some fresh compost. We have been enjoying the sunshine in the back garden and planting up our runner beans, tomatoes and marrow into tubs. They are now in a row in the sunshine with the herbs we grew from seed a few weeks ago. So soon we will have chives, thyme and parsley to go with them. Mmmmm I am imagining some lovely home made pasta sauces there!! Just what we need to go with the rocket seeds we got today and some night scented stock to scatter round the garden, that we can enjoy while we are eating all that great food.


Last night I joined the dizzy heights of setting up a facebook account. For me this is an enormous breakthrough and something that Andrew has been trying to get me to do for some weeks now. I am a complete technophobe and it takes me some time to work my way round these different sites. For some reason, my mind just isn't organised the right way for the internet to become something that I am resonating with.

However there is some hope for me, I now have the said facebook page up and running and not only that, I have started a group called 'Reflections of a Multiple', so people can share my poetry with me and vice versa. You can check out my profile using this link

I am also hosting the Summer Poetry Competition - The winner of this will receive a signed copy of my book 'Reflections of a Multiple' and their winning poem will be featured on my website. For entry details please visit

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Literary Agents

In the short space of three weeks, I have had rejections from Darley Anderson, Andrew Lownie and Wade and Doherty. While you might be excused for thinking that this is awful news, I am glad that they have turned it round so quickly and am thankful that I haven't been left waiting for weeks on end to get replies. The last of the rejections, hardly seemed like a decline at all it was such a nice e-mail from Broo Doherty, of Wade and Doherty Literary Agency.
Not to be put off, I have decided that the time has come to post off multiple submissions and have sent out six big brown envelopes with the required three chapters in each and will now start the patient, or not so for me, wait for the replies. I always get a surge of excitement and enthusiasm as I post the submissions off, but it is soon overtaken with that deep seated uncertainty, will this be the one that asks for a full manuscript. So I am now in the company of writers all over the world. Waiting to see if that big brown envelope I enclosed in the submission, comes bobbing up the front garden path in the hands of the postman.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Performance Art

Today has been quite a busy day for me. Normally content to spend time on my novel and avoid the outside world, I have ventured out twice. This evening I went along to St Gregory's Church Gallery to support a new friend, Sarah, who was doing a piece of performance art, accompanied by some friends reading, singing and playing instruments.

Sarah started the performance in the middle of a huge ring of night light candles, flickering gently. She was clothed from head to foot in white and silver. Wearing a white lacy type mask she stood tall, wrapped in different white layers, with a long black mesh train, decked out with, yes I could hardly believe it, suitcases. The silver completing the ensemble gave the appearance of wings. She definitely looked like some kind of Angel as she moved purposefully around the stage, emitting haunting sounds which echoed in the churches rafters.

Then as her co-performers read excerpts of her friends book between them, Sarah started to untangle and lose the different layers of her costume. First getting rid of the cumbersome baggage she was trailing around with her. Then she started to tear off her skirt, made of brown paper. Next to go was the unwinding of her upper body which had been modelled out of plaster cast bandages.

By this time her friend was playing haunting music at the back of the church, that filled the room with its melodies. To the sound of the piano accordion, Sarah finally removed the white mask, only to reveal a black one underneath. Then off came her long white dress, which was hiding a skin tight black outfit with the bare bones of the skeleton on the front.

Having relieved herself of all the bonds of daily living she was left with the raw passion that lurks beneath all of us. Once these ties had been removed, she danced with the raw passion that is her sexuality, grace and innocence, all at once. The dancing continued to different songs and instruments, all with unique styles and as the evening outside grew darker, so the candlelight became more stunning.

It was a very moving and well thought out performance and I am sure that Sarah and her musician friend will both be very happy with their final piece of performance art, for their degrees.

Creative Writing

I have come back from my creative writing group buzzing. It is such a welcome oasis, listening quietly to others sharing their work. Marvelling at the differing styles of writing. Swapping tales and laughter, and sometimes, as today, a spine chilling short story, that leaves you shaken, with its impact.

I have only been to this group a few times, but I have already noticed the difference it has made to my own writing. The simple act of collaboration seems to stimulate the creative process somehow, giving you, an often much needed boost. It has left me desperate to get back down to my writing, which is a shame, as I have already arranged to go out this evening. I will have to postpone my novel and settle for a quick blog.

Having stopped for a hastily eaten meal, I notice that the buzz has all but subsided and feel it may well have been induced by the strong coffee I was given and the sneaky cigarettes, yes two of them! that I consumed, while I was there. I have given up smoking, but succumbed to the dreaded weed when I was offered it, much to the annoyance of my loved ones. But hey! if you can't have a ciggie with friends, at the creative writing group, what is the world coming to. Oh great, now I am getting a hard time for drinking the coffee. This is starting to be a bit like hard work. Maybe next week I should take a packet of raisins and a bottle of orange squash, in the hopes that I don't face retribution on my return.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

New Blog

I thought that this would be easier than it is. I have had a blog before, for a couple of years, so one would think I am a fairly seasoned blogger, but I find that I am out of practise and virtually at a loss for words. I am hoping this will be a transient feeling and that the blogging bug will catch hold of me again. In the meantime I will just post this and leave you with my website link, so you can have a little look behind the scenes.