Lockdown – 2020 – 8 Rubbish Night

Des Res World War II

Once upon a time…

Going round the waste baskets yesterday in order to to put out the rubbish, I was struck again by the difference in practice a lifetime has seen. When I was a child, the milk came in glass bottles, rinse and return, rare bottles of juice – ditto for a small payment. Am I old enough to remember jam jars being in that category? Not sure. Biscuits were sold from huge glass topped containers into brown paper bags. The bags were then re-used ro wrap around the cake tin and prevent the cake inside burning.

Newspapers were an essential part of life. They provided the news, de facto, but they also screwed up to light the fire. We never had one as primitive as the one above, but my granny lived with us towards the end of her life. She always talked of cooking anything as ‘putting it on the fire’. I remember, too, visiting the home of a schoolfriend whose mum cooked on one like that above and baked in the side oven. Skillful or what?

Yesterday, I shopped for meat for two days and brought something in for an elderly neighbour. Oh how it jars to leave it on the doorstep and not have a wee chat.

Exercise in the afternoon was a shorter local walk. I met several folks I hadn’t seen for a while – why do I say that? I also checked out the local school where the playground has been re-invented and contains a hobbit-house.

In the evening, there was a beautiful glow around Edinburgh’s Arthur’s Seat and a rosy sky among the clouds.

I didn’t sleep all that well. I suppose we’re all suffering a bit from low grade anxiety. That was another meaning of Rubbish Night.

Flights are bringing home stranded UK tourists.

I wrote 1,000 words on the WIP. Hope I won’t need to delete when I re-read this morning.

Thanks to the binmen. We’ve started using the dalek for kitchen uncooked waste again as it’s a bit warmer. So one fewer bag in the food waste.

Keep going,



Lockdown – 2020 – 7 – Support systems

A small selection of the novels by EWC members past and present.

I did say early on in this excercise that I’d surprise myself if it kept up. I’m being surprised as this is the seventh post.

We’re all grateful to the small shops, the delivery folk, the people enabling the printing of our newspapers, the posties and the many, many others in more often mentioned jobs who keep going and, therefore, keep the community going.

Within that, there are yet others.

Yesterday, my church, Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church, posted a Sunday Service, with children’s address, on the website. My cousin sent me a link to a poetry exchange. My writer’s club, Edinburgh Writers’ Club, some published tomes featured above, is active in online ‘conversations’. People are phoning one another. Remember the telephone?

Pumpherston, a village in West Lothian, is asking folk to put stuffed teddies in their windows so the village children can spot them and thus be encouraged to take a walk for exoercise.

Whatever contribution you can make – do it. It may be small, but it may also be just what someone needs.

On the grand scale, today sees the launch of Scotland Cares. Widely reported, it might allow you to volunteer. Details are here

I did walk yesterday. I have the means to make soup today, butternut squash from the WI book of soup recipes. The sun is shining.

I see my friend, Jo Allen, is enjoying great sales with her DI Satterthwaite books. The most recent is Death At Eden’s End.

Till tomorrow,


Lockdown – 2020 – 6 – Teacakes etc

China plate Teacake design

I should have mentioned yesterday that Tunnock’s have suspended production of their teacakes meantime. This wasn’t in order to let me get to the shops first as I didn’t shop at all yesterday. Selfless or what?

Walked for just over an hour yesterday and met only two neighbours while out. Brief chat with next door on return and smiled to one of the children.

Spoke on the phone to a rel who lives alone. Husband spoke to London friend, ditto.

Hail in the late afternoon. Slept badly.

Good progress on WIP, at last.

If you would like, Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church have posted up a virtual morning service including music, children’s address and sermon, on their website.

Boiler self regulated, PC hasn’t so it’s still showing yesterday’s time and not BST.



Lockdown – 2020 -5- RBS initiative on Foodbanks

Woken to the return of sunshine and blue skies which is delightful and means people will be able to get out into their gardens.

Magnolia, home

The news this morning is of an initiative (I did need the dictionary) up and running at Royal Bank of Scotland, Gogar. They’re collecting non-perishable food and hygiene necessities for onward transmission to Social Bite and the Trussell Trust.

It’s for firms and not individuals, folks. We can still leave physical or monetary contributions at many places.

In other news – the Prime Minister and two other top blokes have symptoms of the virus. Also, The Prince of Wales.

The fish van did call and we enjoyed smoked haddock and leek in a mustard sauce last night. Fishmonger thinks yesterday might be it until ‘the other side’.

A really long walk yesterday afternoon in the mist, but dry. The new jacket is great, should anyone be wondering. Replenished our bread supply and bought some iffy looking dry sherry. However, it was okay.

I met a friend out with her D-i-L and the toddler granddaughter. The last named keeping her social distance as to the manor born. Lovely to catch sight of people and know the world still exists out there.

Not everyone has seen that Edinburgh isn’t collecting glass meantime and some of the boxes are looking a bit murky. The garden rubbish went early. Three cheers for the binmen.

Good progress with A Lady of Quality. My but Lucilla is annoying. If I were her aunt, I might take a wee while to tell anyone she’d gone missing.

Yesterday’s codeword in the Scotsman was sneaky. Certainly shook me up.

Got back to the WIP although progress was slow.

Anyone else find they’re sleeping longer nights? A return, perhaps, to winter hibernation.

Capital Collection – a selection of short stories by Anne, and also Kate Blackadder, Jane Riddell and Jennifer Young.


Lockdown – 2020 – 4

Detail, Adam Library, Kenwood House

This wonderful Adam plasterwork isn’t a rainbow, but it’s reminiscent. It’s been lovely to see the rainbows drawn by children to cheer us all up. Equally, it was an emotional moment to hear the applauding of our NHS staff last night.

Other things reaching many hundreds of thousands include the gym videos of Joe Wicks. I’m not trying them – I can’t think it would be a sensible idea in my case – but they must be bringing cheer to many isolated teens.

The misty atmosphere never cleared in Edinburgh yesterday and it still hasn’t. It wasn’t too cold on my constitutional. Maybe I should carry my camera. I found a ‘thing’ – redundant water supply? in the Pleasance. The plaque says Waterloo 1815. Anyone know what it was?

I was also able to buy hand sanitizer and a thermometer. Two policemen were engaged in unhappy dialogue with a bloke as I came home. Otherwise the streets are eerily empty.

The help for the self-employed was announced last night. It won’t result in payments until June as time is needed for calculation.

Hello Fresh delivered and we enjoyed the first meal. A difference I notice is that there were no herbs included in the box. This is understandable and mentioned only as an observation, not a complaint. Hoping to welcome the fish van today, but I notice both the local fish shops are closed, so who knows?

Finished a short story and sent off by e-mail to my ed at DC Thomson.

Worked out why one part of the WIP isn’t working. Yay!

Began A Lady of Quality featuring the wonderful Annis Wychwood.



Lockdown – 2020 – Acetate Film for Face Masks – rain – 3

Starting today by repeating the plea from some talented Glasgow hospital technicians who have devised a face mask they can make for their colleagues to wear. They need sheets of A4 acetate film. Details are in this Radio Clyde item by Linsey Hanna. There’s also a report in today’s Scotsman newspaper.It’s wet in Edinburgh. There isn’t any rain in this picture, but given the volume of water behind me, there must have been at one time or another. And frankly, when I can see so much rain through the window, why would I want to replicate it on the blog?

Will the rain further reduce footfall on the streets? Our observation of the bird feeder is that it’s busier during rain than at other times.

Yesterday evening saw the DH and his friends engaged in their usual bridge group, but online. A few hiccups getting started, but they’re all bright blokes and soon had the glitches under control. Who knew?

Elsewhere, the phone is ringing. It’s a revelation. We’ve all largely moved to e-mail communication and forgotten how nice it is to hear a friend’s voice over the wires.

On the writing front – the WIP is in a bit of a muddle. I’ve set it to one side and am working on a short sotry idea I’ve been nurturing for a bit. That was going well by bedtime. We’ll see. Maybe a few shorts would ‘prime the pump’.

How are the rest of you doing? WIPs in good fettle or too many distractions dealing with necessary changes? I know some people have taken in vulnerable relatives meantime. That will bring enormouse challenges.


Courting the Countess, a Scottish regency

Lockdown – 2020 – 2 – shopping local

The shopping expedition also involved depositing a bag of empty jam jars on a neighbour’s front step. Appealed for through our local What’s App group, I was glad to oblige. Glass collection being suspended meantime, it helps reduce the pile.

Butcher’s shop minus the two elder statesmen who’ve worked on into retirement, but now asked to stay home. Or decided to stay home. Lines are painted on the floor to indicate social distancing. Apochryphal tales of excess abound, but there’s enough trouble in the world as it is.

Met neighbour who didn’t get off on holiday either and had a chat from the recommended distance.

DH is involved in an online meeting. As the voices of strangers are resonating around the house, this must be working.

To the newsagent where I paid our bill (small businesses are struggling) and skimmed round his shelves. Emerged with fresh carton of pink grapefruit juice (I’m not allowed, but DH prefers), two onions and two tins of tomatoes. Oh, and an anti-bacterial handwash.

And maybe a packet of teacakes…

Made soup for lunch.

Yesterday’s writing was poor – only 500 words. tut!

Really enjoyed the online adjudications posted by the council of the Scottish Association of Writers. they can be found here

Edinburgh Writers’ Club have several mentions.

Volunteers are wonderfu!

Lockdown – 2020

Garden magnolia

Day one, afternoon. Our magnolia is coming into bloom although not yet as far on as it is in this pic.

Writers have stuff to do always, but as a friend posted on FB earlier, some of us are in a kind of mourning and will need to let the grieving take its time before getting on with life.

My constitutional involved a local walk. Subtle change in the behaviour of other walkers today. Whereas yesterday we all shared half-embarrassed smiles, today several people turned purposefully away. Is this to demonstrate their better awareness of the instructions or just a knee-jerk reaction? Who knows, but I hope we don’t lose our togetherness spirit.

Passed a young man carrying what looked like his newborn baby against his chest.

Great chat with a friend who was gardening. She’s spring-cleaned two rooms. I’ve brought the hoover upstairs. It’s a start…

Downloaded Amanda Grange’s The Six Month Marriage which she is offering free for kindle today.

Buses still running, posties still delivering, binmen still scavenging. Three cheers for you all.

140 words written. Um!


March round robin – what draws you into a story?

I haven’t written a post this month because I should have been away from base on an exciting holiday. Like so many other people, I’m not. Flights cancelled and a curious sort of half-life carrying on.

Not writing the post doesn’t mean I have no views on the issue. I have. As a short story judge for many years, people’s openings would drive me to distraction. I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHY IT ‘HAD BEEN A BAD DAY’.  As this statement was usually followed by a list of enticing snapshots (not), like the toothpaste sprayed all over his designer suit it slowed everything down and prevented the reader getting an immediate understanding of what this story is about.

My aspiration is to achieve as good an opening as Hugh Scott did in his Whitbread prize winning, Why Weeps the Brogan? I was deeply impressed by his reading of it and that feeling of dramatic excitement comes to mind when I try to get my openings right.

Courting the Countess

Melissa stood as still as her injuries allowed. Soapy water drained down her skin into the tin bath, making her shiver in the night air. A tiny breeze riffled through the steam and made her wonder if the bedroom door had opened?

“Allow me, ma’am. Your maid is unable to come to your assistance.”

The opening of my Scottish regency poses several questions a reader may find intriguing, if not in this book exciting and dramatic. How was Melissa injured? Whose is the voice? Why is her maid unable to come?

Others in the group have posted and you can find their rather more crafted thoughts here:

Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1RR
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com

Diary of a Writer – March Prompt




I took this picture in north Rajastan while on holiday. I was visiting the Camel Research Institute where I learned many things I had not previously known about camels.

While the gap doesn’t represent the eye of a needle, I do believe it’s too small for this lady to get through.

Unless she makes it bigger.

Does the picture inspire thoughts for you?

I’m currently reading Christmas at Miss Moonshine’s Emporium which is entertaining and thought-provoking. It’s a collection of short stories by several authors whose brief is to include Miss Moonshine in their tale.

I’m currently writing a Christmas novella which is set in a place that seems to have got a tight grip on my imagination just at present. Slightly getting in the way of what I should be writing.

The writer’s life…