Saturday, 29 August 2015

'Writerly' Activities and Family

Must confess I've neglected 'writerly' activities. It's still the school holidays so, on Friday, I had the pleasure of three of my grandchildren's company for the day. In the evening my daughter joined us at dinner. I served a vegetarian version of a Boston three bean bake with creamy mashed potatoes and a blackberry and apple pie with cream for dessert. Yesterday, guiltily aware that I had not met my writing target for the previous day I doubled up on the number of words that I usually write. I exceeded the target for Tuesday's Child, my new sweet romantic historical. I then indulged in reading for the rest of the day. Daughter's children are back at my house for the night. They are sleeping like angels. Today, we are going to lunch at our favourite vegetarian restaurant, Sakonis in Harrow.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Writing Target, Cooking, Cook in A Stately Home

This morning I met my writing target earlier than usual. After breakfast I nipped out to get some milk and take some money out of the bank.

After I came home I made 4lbs of redcurrant jelly. (I didn't have time to make it before I went on holiday at the end of July, so I boiled the redcurrants with the correct amount of water, strained it through muslin and put the liquid in the freezer.) Next I made a blackberry and apple pie, after which I made more mango ice-cream - the g...randchildren will really love me this year as its their favourite homemade ice cream. I then made my lunch, a vegetable pie, sweetcorn, potatoes, gravy and home grown runner beans. By the time the kitchen was clean and tidy I needed to put my feet up after I ate.

How did a cook in a stately home cope? Meals for the upper class and dinner parties etc., as well as meals for the servants. No electric gadgets such as food mixers and blenders, no fridges, freezers and dishwashers. Ranges fuelled by wood or coal etc. etc. How on earth did the cook keep going even if she had kitchen staff?

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Rainy Day

Yesterday, the weather didn't look too bad but the minute after I hung the washing on the line in the garden it started to rain. I left it on the line overnight. Today the rain poured as though a monsoon had arrived. The laundry's still outside. Unable to finish tidying up the front garden, I made more plum cordial and mango ice cream as well as starting to tidy my office aka the spare bedroom.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Which Are the Correct Classification of my Novels?

I write novels set in times past. I agonise over how to describe them. The hero and heroine are imaginary but they are not 21st century people dressed in costume. The novels  are romances enriched with historical facts and  social history. My hero and heroine's bedroom door is never wide open. So, how should I describe my books? Are the historical novels, historical romances or romantic historicals? And which term is the best to describe them - traditional, sweet or clean? I want to send a clear message to potential readers.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Writing Targets - Cooking - Plum Cordial - Ice Cream - 3 Bean Bake

The weather forecast predicts rain so I shall cook after I finish this morning's writing targets. To start with I'm going to make plum cordial. I shall simmer the bullace, small wild plums with water until they are soft, then strain them through muslin overnight. Tomorrow, I shall bring the liquid to the boil add sugar, stir the cordial until the sugar has dissolved and then bottle it in sterilised bottles. I am also going to make several strawberry ice cream and at least two batches of mango ice cream which I shall freeze. (My ice cream maker is an excellent investment.) Finally I shall make a vegetarian large three bean bake with black eye-beans, cannelloni beans and freshly picked runner beans. I shall add deep fried cubes of paneer, an Indian cheese, which will soak up the flavours of the tomato and spices.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Early Morning Service and Today's Targets

I went to the early morning service this morning. I enjoyed the excellent sermon about appreciating others and thanking them for what they do. After all, what would the premises look like without the unpaid cleaners, the flower arrangers, fund raisers  and others who serve God. I left feeling energised and full of good will. On the way home I stopped at my daughter's house, then socialised wither her and my grandchildren instead of going home and getting on. I have a lot of writing to do if I'm going to meet today's targets. There's also 8 pounds of rather small plums in the fridge to be made into something, 3 cartons of double cream, a large punnet of strawberries and 2 boxes of mangos in the fridge. I plan to make strawberry ice cream and mango ice cream. Then there's the week's laundry to catch up on, and I'm baby child sitting this evening while my daughter goes out. Before I go I should pick the ripe plums from my tree and...and...and. Deep sigh. I doubt that I will accomplish all of today's goals.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Novel Competions

I entered a novel in two competitions and paid extra for the readers' comments. Well you know the saying you can please some of the people all of the time but not all of the people all of the time, it certainly applied to the comments. One reader praised my writing style but didn't like anything else about the novel. He or she couldn't identify with the main characters. Although I won neither competition the other reader really liked it. However, if I had depended on the first writer's opinion I might have given up on the novel.