Diary of a Writer -November?

With the help of the knitters of Mayfield Salisbury Parish church, the above box of blanket squares is now on its way to The Sunday Sock. It was on that blog that I discovered the OCS (Operation Christmas Sock) blanket square pattern. The national charity, Crisis, accepts socks for distribution to clients. Because of their different arrangements this year, blankets are also being distributed. Because a blanket is large, the Sunday Sock Blogger was looking for others to knit a few squares. The knitters of Mayfield Salisbury did not disappoint. Thank you all.

Knitting has always been one of my passions.The passion flower was photographed on a recent meander around Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden. What an asset the Garden is.

I should say writing, or story-telling, has also and is one of my passions, but what with one thing and another…

Still working on that serial. Still cudgeling the brains for a prompt or theme or even the glimour of an idea for the next pocket novel. Or even a short story.


One I wrote earlier is The Cemetery House and its in Dark Stories by Capital Writers.


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 132 – And On

Greyfriars Bobby – a capital landmark

It’s Sunday and online worship continues to be the norm for most although I did meet a friend last night who was hopeful of attending Mass in her own Church today.

Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church is again offering music and reflections for all here

The church building will be open for quiet reflections on Wednesday evenings between 6.30 and 8pm from 5th August.

Delighted to see Tommy’s return to Mathieson’s yesterday: the world begins to right itself.

Finished The Grand Sophy. I have 20 of the 26 GH regencies. The Infamous Army is one I have failed to enjoy or read all the way through, but if life continues as at present, I may have to make the effort. There was a GH question in the Guardian Quiz yesterday. We scored 7 – nearly respectable.

Now the wip is finished and while I await advice about the serial, I’ve been reading through some of the short stories I have started and left hanging. One or two of them fill me with, if not excitement, hope. Am also dissecting what the writing and editing of the wip involved.

Writers – how do you beguile the time between submission and commission?


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 124 and 125 – Now is the Moment

Not quite Missing in Action yesterday as the Round Robin was posted, however, time didn’t permit a diary entry. Fruit picking on Friday at the wonderful Craigie’s meant there was a load of fruit to be dealt with and that always means now. Topping and tailing, washing, open freezing, putting into bags or boxes. All done. I don’t make jam (only marmalade).

We entertained neighbours on Friday evening – Oh wow! That’s three folk so far – hardly flood-gates opening, but it did feel nice. DH finally got rid of the last of the debris following the building works. Rotten score in the quiz – where is one’s brain when needed.

It’s Sunday again and there’s another service available online from the team at Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church. For Rev Helen Alexander’s reflections, readings and music go here 

I’m electronically visiting on Rosemary Gemmell’s blog this morning talking about Pocket Novels in company with Linda Tyler. I hope you’l pop over and have a browse on Rosemary’s lovely blog.

First feedback about A Debt for Rosalie was positive. Sigh of relief.


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 118 – Royal Recycling

It’s Sunday – again – the weeks keep coming round. Rev Helen Alexander is sharing her reflections in the online worship of Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church, here

Spent most of yesterday in the editing cave and so the world had to revolve without much attention from me. I was looking out for the pictures from the Royal Wedding but they came only this morning. Princess Beatrice looked lovely in a remodelled Hartnell gown (one previous careful owner) and that beautiful tiara.

DH is reinstating the climbers around the garden as they had to be unpinned to let the stonemasons work. Missing in action – one pair of secateurs! Possibly in the same place as the back door key. Ageing is such fun.

More editing on the cards. Full cover reveal tomorrow and on Put it in Writng where I’ll be describing my ‘Writer’s Day’ in a new series for that blog.

I did start to read the book group book. One chapter down. Oh, and we scored 8 in the Guardian Quiz (how much editing? ed)



Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 111 – Gathering Pace

Almost MIA, however, I have been around in the background attending the RNA virtual conference yesterday and today the Scottish Chapter’s virtual celebration of Historicals.

The chat, readings, excerpts and special appearance of Twinkle, Emily Royal’s snake and rather unusual necklet, all made today a very warm and cheerful celebration. Thanks are due to our chapter organiser Rosemary Gemmell and our zoom chat admin, Mairibeth Macmillan. Mild  frustration caused by FB preventing some people posting!

The conference, mentioned yesterday, went well and some attendees came along to help the Scots today.

Also, afternoon tea with delicious cheese scones in a friend’s garden. The critical timetables of the bus company have been reviewed and the other local bus will run from tomorrow. The freezer is empty, defrosted, washed out and dried and will go back on tomorrow. Phew!

It’s Sunday, and Mayfield Salisbury are here for you.


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 104 – 90% perspiration

Anyone who thinks writing is the life of Riley, should try it.

Deep into the synopsis – actually it’s an outline – I’m cross-eyed and, well, just cross. All the usual problems: continuity, how many characters is too many, whose bl**dy story is it anyway…

And so on. Writers – you’ve been here. Non-writers – try something else first, anything really.

Some of my friends had fraught days yesterday. It was fairly uneventful chez Novels Now. Much synopsis writing, see above. Some garden organising for work that starts tomorrow. Clearing of utility room, ditto. DH won the scrabble by FIVE points – and he went out!

Sunday is still online at Mayfield Salisbury. Helen Alexander’s reflections and Kate Pearson’s organ music can be found here

Hope it’s calmer where you are and normal service diary-wise may be resumed tomorrow.


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 97 – Webs

I don’t have a photo of a web or net to hand, so here’s one of a barred window – making a cage. Frustrated? You bet.

I had three bits of business to complete online this morning and I’ve managed half of one. Round and round in ever-decreasing circles. Truly, what is the point in sending your customer (all bills paid in full and on time) a website address that does not open in either of two reputable browsers? What is the point of offering to send a text with a security number to a landline which has no display?

Okay, rant over and normal service will be resumed.

Great visit from several family members yesterday. Braving the rain, we rendez-voused in the garden. Fine display of umbrellas. Good progress with the jigsaw. Excellent chicken dish from Hello Fresh. Dreadful score for a second week in the Guardian Quiz.

It’s Sunday and Mayfield Salisbury is online again for any who would like to share. Go here.

I hope your day is moving more smoothly,


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 90 – Father’s Day

There must be many fathers worldwide today who are unable to meet-up with their offspring. More than is normal certainly. I hope they can all cherish good memories and look forward to creating new ones when we come out the other side.

Stories are surfacing now we’re all out and about a wee bit more. The Scotsman featured a lady who is locked down in an African village but teaching the children how to dance the Gay Gordons. Some neighbours have an adult son in the Amazon where he’s met another person from Edinburgh! (Chances of that?) Actually, on the only visit I’ve made to Chile a fellow parishioner of Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church, came across the breakfast room to tap me on the shoulder. Our visits until then mutually unknown.

And speaking of Mayfield, if you’d like to share reflections, please join us here

WIP became a submission this morning and has gone out into the ether. Fingers crossed. DH won the scrabble – I was not gracious. Supper out of the freezer. Scored our lowest in the Guardian Quiz for months. Family members did sponsored run for medicins sans frontieres. The site is here


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 83 – Haar haar

You can actually see the hill in this photo whereas yesterday Arthur’s Seat, here in Edinburgh, was MIA. The horizon has lifted a bit this morning but not by much and nor has the temperature.

It’s Sunday and Rev Helen Alexander reflects on the possibility that anyone may have something to offer us – perhaps even if we don’t like them, perhaps especially if we don’t like them. You can hear her, and Hillary Leslie‘s children’s address, here

Inside day yesterday until a wee trip out in the car to collect our treat. A seafood platter from LeftField of Barclay Terrace. Add chocolate mousse and some complimentary ice cream and the total in the Guardian Quiz fades into the haar. This week’s menu from these enterprising folk should be up here in due course.

Progress on the WIP, the jigsaw and the current Georgette Heyer. DH had War and Peace from the Mariinsky to entertain him. Am contemplating making soup in response to the temperature drop.

NB Haar is a usefull scrabble word…


Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 76 – Start the Week, Again

In the garden Bomarzo, Italy

So, how is your upcoming week looking? Are you starting it in church, Mayfield Salisbury’s online service is here? Today the youth ministry is led by Hillary and the sermon is given by Rev Neil Gardner for Trinity Sunday.

Perhaps you’re travelling, virtually, to somewhere exciting like the garden Bomarzo where the sculpture above is one of the attractions? Designed in the 16th century as an expression of grief and horror, the garden today retains a sense of out-of-this-worldliness.

Our armchair tour went to France yesterday and evoked memories of a lovely family week that included a swimming-pool, baby owls and a troupe of scouts singing around a campfire deep in the surrounding woods. Scrabble started with a bang as we both went out in the first 3 moves! Bee sting is waning in strength and the discoloured patch is now as big only as a coffee cup saucer and not a small tea-plate! Have removed a trout from the freezer and will hope to cook it for tonight’s tea. It’s quite large.

ADVENTURES WITH THE PAINTED PEOPLE by David Greig, directed by Elizabeth Newman and starring Kirsty Stuart and Olivier Huband is broadcast on BBC Radio 3 this evening. The Royal Lyceum, David is its artistic director, and Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Elizabeth Newman is their artistic director, communities will be tuning in. Why not join us – virtually.