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suzannebowditch

Writer of historical fiction, blogger, mum, pet lover :)

Month

April 2015

My week

It has been an eventful week. Jessica is still off school for the Easter holidays but goes back on Monday. We have had each other for company all week, as Liam is in uni and Jeff‘s at work. So it has been a girly week.

Firstly, we have been down to Robina shopping centre for lunch. This was Tuesday. We got a couple of new tops and are planning what to but for our trip to Tasmania. It is countdown now as we are going in 16 weeks! We have been told that this is the Wintertime, (we are going in August), and neither Jess or myself can wait to get some woollies on! We are both so looking forward to feeling cold!

I went out on Thursday with a couple of my girlfriends – Dawn and Karen. Karen is Australian, but Dawn was born in London. Our get together mean that we can talk about Australia, and reminisce about living in Britain. Karen’s son and his girlfriend have just moved to London for two years. They have jobs to go to, as they are both in hospitality. They have put up great pictures of their time onto Face book – they are standing in front of London landmarks such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye. It is so nice to see London again. I am planning a trip back next year – staying with my mother in Wales, and hope to go to London for a weekend. I’m just taking Jessica with me, as the flights are real high, but this way I can stay with my mother without paying for accommodation, as there’s no room for us all in her little two bed roomed British house!

I managed to have one wine too many on my girls night out, and felt a little woozy the next day. But, being the good mother that I am, I managed to take my daughter out shopping again! We hit the shops at Australia Fair this time, and had lunch, coffee (or a milkshake in Jess’ case), and more coffee! We planned on shopping for hubby’s birthday this weekend. He turns 48, and is into music, especially Elvis Presley. He is hard to shop for music wise tho, as he has heaps of albums! We stuck to getting him some aftershave, a book on Elvis and some whiskey. That’ll go down a treat, I should imagine.

Jessica took her dad out shopping on Thursday whilst I was out. When I came home, there was a brochure on the coffee table with Tasmania on it – yay! There is so much to do there, and we have just a few days to do it in. We are planning to go to Port Arthur (the main reason for my trip is to research my book, Elen), but also plan on visiting the gallery and cruising up the Derwent River. I think we’ll need coats, and I havn’t bought a winter coat for nearly a decade – how exciting!

It’s countdown for Tassie!!

Shop and Surf

Yesterday, I went shopping with Jessica. Jessica is on school holidays at the moment, so we decided to ‘hit the shops’ down at Australia Fair. This shopping mall is at least 20 mins away, and there are road works everywhere on route, making it a precarious journey.
We managed to get there (in one piece!). There are so many new shops set up there that is feels like a new mall. We trolled around the shops and went for lunch overlooking the oceanfront. The water that we were had a glorious view of is at the harbor at Southport. From our vantage point, we could see the yachts arriving and leaving the harbor, their sails blowing in the wind around the bay. It was a glorious day, and one that any sailing aficionado would relish.
Whilst eating our sushi lunch, we pondered on what the afternoon would bring. This is because we decided to stay out as long as we could, rather than go home where hubby was entertaining his friends. We decided to shoot around the shops further (someone has to do it!) and buy some clothes. We are going to Tasmania in August and need some winter wear, such as boots and coats, which are in the shops.
The highlight of our day, however, was deciding to go down to the beach. We went to Surfers and sat on the beach. It was glorious! We live in such a fabulous place, that when we’re indoors, we forget that it’s still out there – the sand, surf, the beach. I lay down on the sand and snoozed a little while, whilst Jessica took some selfies and some of the sea. There was a sudden noise, and five fighter pilots zoomed past in the sky – they were so quick that Jess had no time to get her camera ready! It was an awesome sight.
We then headed down to the markets on the beachfront. As usual, they were jam packed with tourists. In the early evening, there are lots of families enjoying the sights and sounds of Australia’s no1 tourist destination. There were new stalls to look at, including a stall where tourists could pose with a macaw for 20 bucks. The queue was all along the market strip, those guys must have made a fortune! We saw a stall where the owner had handcrafted his own greeting cards which were real sweet, and yet another jewellery stall with pieces made out of agate and other stones. I love looking at jewellery, and was in my element.
Then, jess and I sat on a bench facing the sea, and watched the tourists excitedly taking photos whilst perched on a giant statue of a koala bear, put there to commemorate the Commonwealth Games in 2018. It was fully dark by now, and we snuck over to a chip shop, had some takeaway chips, and then headed to the car. It was an unexpected gorgeous shopping day, topped off with a glorious evening at the beach.
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Mmmmm

Yesterday morning, I was part of the workforce. Today, after working an eight hour shift, I have been told that my services are no longer required. The reasoning behind this (in a private office conversation that we had) from the team leader is that I am not proficient enough in Excel spreadsheets. So, my hopes of being a customer service officer have been dashed. I have gone from earning money to being another figure in the unemployment statistics – all in the space of one day. I wouldn’t mind, but I was hoping to get a new bed for my daughter this month, and would have to wait it later. As Ned Kelly said as they put the hangman’s noose around his neck: Such is Life.
I suppose this means that I will have to learn Word Excel so efficiently that they cannot tell me any different. Except that at the moment, I haven’t got the heart to learn it. I want to spend this weekend working on my novel, and say blow to any employer in the future.
What if I make it as a successful writer/author? How I will sneer at those who have done me wrong! Surely life is not all about being as fast as you can be on a keyboard? This really has got me thinking about the world we live in and the absolute necessity in being as fast as possible with all things technologically based. What an earth happened to quality? Good service? Everything is rush, rush, rush, and I don’t think it’s a good look. Today’s world is just going to get faster and faster, and woe betide anyone that can’t keep up with it.
Back to my writing, I guess.

Work Drama

There was a fair amount of drama at my house this morning. To recap, I am not working at the moment, but am waiting to finish my Grad Dip in Library Studies which does not start until July of this year. I am also keeping busy with writing my book and my blog.
At the beginning of the year, however, I was fervently job hunting. I had no studying to do, and had no writing started yet, so was at a loose end and thought I could an extra income. So, I put my name down at an employment agency, and promptly forgot all about looking!
Today, I get an unexpected phone call – the recruitment agency wanted me to start work. No probs, I thought – until they said I had to be there in literally half an hour. At this time in the morning I was still in bed (OK it was the school hols), so I jumped out of bed, and rushed into the shower, put my contacts in. and threw some toast into the toaster. It was all systems go. My son at that moment decided to go out (only for a little while, he said), so I was panicking trying to feed the dog, myself, put the dishes on (which I left for Liam) and generally get myself together and in ‘work mode.’
There was hardly any food left in the house (I go shopping on Thurs and this is Weds) that can accommodate a lunch out, ie no sandwich fillings, so I had to grab a dry piece of cheese and shove it in a slice of bread. Woe is me.
I bombed it down the highway, and then slowed down when I realised that a few minutes being late for a casual job is not the end of the world (very philosophical for the morning). I made it with minutes to spare. The job was pretty straightforward, and involved making phone calls to rearrange appointments for installing the internet at people’s homes.
The office had its air con on full blast thought, so I am full of sniffles this evening. The good news is that they offered me full time work for the next month. I can use the extra money for my trip to Tasmania later in the year, so I am well pleased.
So tonight I am chilling and watching TV with a very pleased hubby (who is thinking ‘we have more money!’). I can see the cogs in his head going into over drive. I have sent hubs down to the garage to get some more petrol, bread and a snack. Because tomorrow is – MY SECOND DAY AT WORK! How weird is that.
Still busily checking my blog, writing and doing research on my book, but will concentrate on it on the weekends…after I’ve waxed Jess’ legs and plucked her eyebrows that is, and then curled her hair for her. There’s definitely no peace for the wicked, and even less for me!

Reality TV

Reality TV is one of the downfalls of the modern age, I seriously believe that. My interest in the shows has waned considerably over the years. It started with the reality music shows that have made Simon Cowell a millionaire. Shows such as The Voice, X Factor and Britain (and Australia’s) got Talent. I really did like reality then, but it has taken over TV. I feel like it is ‘lazy’ TV for the TV networks, as they just have to get a load of people off the streets and put them in front of a camera.
I remember when they first showed Big Brother on the TV. I was living in the UK at the time, and there was such excitement and gossip about the show. The newspapers were full of the antics of the ‘stars’ of the show, and people talked about them at work, shopping, and in everyday life. We were subjected every night to random people from all walks of life who were put into a ‘goldfish bowl’ and constantly bickered and talked about each other – it made for irresistible viewing in the early stages, but now people are so ‘over it!’
At the moment, the show that I am watching is My Kitchen Rules. As a reality show, it is now the worst. It least it has people who have some sort of ‘talent’ in that they cook on the show, and get critiqued by reputable chefs. Its saving grace is that there is competitiveness and a progression, rather than the BB scenario where the ultimate goal is to get people to disagree with each other! My Kitchen Rules Is one of the better shows that are being aired at the moment. I cannot get into The Block at all – who wants to see contestants wreck some buildings? Oh no, not me!
The X Factor in the UK produced One Direction, so for that we have millions of teenage girls across the globe who are eternally grateful, including my own daughter Jessica. So, for that, a reality show has done well.  Another show that I have warmed to is The Great British Bake Off. This is another baking show, but the contestants have to have the skills of baking sumptuous and delicious looking cakes and pastries. Delish! I also enjoyed Master chef Australia when that was on air (especially the first season), but last year’s show was abysmal. Don’t get me started on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! though, because I cannot watch grown people (Z list celebrities) eat worms, bugs and testicles! That may be very entertaining for some, depending on the celebrity!
It seems that I may have a love/hate relationship with reality shows. I class them as I do ‘pop music,’ because they please for a short space of time until the viewer gets totally sick of them and switches off. They are the TV version of throwaway items in your life, alongside weird coloured hair and ‘in fashion’ clothes.
Just what will we be saying about reality TV in 50 years’ time, even if they stand up to the longevity test?

Easter Excesses

Now that the Easter break is winding down, it is time to recover from its excesses. It’s early Monday morning at our house, and we have had a healthy cereal with skimmed milk for breakfast. Hubby and I have checked our calendars, and it is 18 weeks to our Tassie (Tasmania) trip. Whoo hoo, can’t wait!
So, our fitness has started in earnest. Our little dog Billy will just love the next few weeks as he will be walked so much more than usual. Now we cannot ‘pass the buck’ and cajole our teenage son into taking him (even when Liam has spent a full day in Uni, and done a shift at the burger bar that he works in). No, the dog walking duties must now fall to us, in our quest to Get Fit (says with a groan).
We have talked about our Tassie trip for quite a while now. We are planning to fly down, and to spend some time at the Port Arthur penal colony. It is apparently the most popular tourist attraction on this picturesque island, so the convicts that were sent here from Britain all those years ago did not do too badly really, if they but knew this at the time!
We are not hiring a car for the trip, as it is to be just 3-4 nights so not worth the trouble. We are going to rely on local transport and the coach trips courtesy of our hotel. I have heard that it is easy to get around Hobart, and the markets and scenery around the harbour are spectacular. Hobart has built up on the foothills of Mount Wellington, and the CBD has grown around the River Derwent, which winds up as far as Lake St Clair in central Tassie. The island is steeped in history from the Aboriginal settlements, through to the English penal colony that started just a few years after the settlement of Sydney.
My hubby came home from work last week with new information on Tasmania. Apparently, it boasts a fabulous Art Museum, one of the best in Australia. I will definitely paying a visit there to soak up some culture. There is also a Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory nearby by which offers tours and samples of chocolate bars. I cannot face chocolate at the moment but I am sure we will recover by then. We are taking our 13 year old with us for the trip. Jessica is more excited for the chocolate tour than anything else.
We are leaving Liam to look after our dog, Billy. Liam’s life is full of his band The Vultures, and he cannot wait to have time to himself ‘to write songs.’ He is allowed a few friends over, but I confess to having reservations about leaving an 18 year old for the weekend! I suppose trust (and a good talking to!) is necessary, but nearer the day. It is the first time we have left him Home Alone so to speak, so this weekend will be a test for us all…!

Easter Weekend

For weeks before the great Easter weekend, I was prepared. I had gone to the local store with the intention of buying a certain amount of chocolate eggs, and putting them away in my wardrobe to surprise my kids with. I chose to go at least three weeks before, as experience had taught me (from previous years) that 1. Easter is as busy as Christmas, 2. There are no eggs left on the shelves, just empty spaces where they once sat proud and luscious, ready to be eaten.
So, this year I was relaxed and ready, smug in the knowledge that I HAD BOUGHT THEM. Well, the great Easter week arrived and yes, I was smug. How can I keep up the surprise tho? My daughter had a devastated look on her face when I mentioned NOT going out to the mad rush that befalls Easter shopping, and NOT getting any eggs – I had turned into the Wicked Witch overnight (the one from Wicked, and green is not even my favourite colour!). We bought large eggs and small eggs, eggs in packages and eggs without. We queued for 20 mins amongst other egg fiends, and the only conversations I could hear around me were egg filled and chocolaty. We went home with our fill and proceeded to eat our way through the goodies (this is Good Friday)
So, the very next day – who trudges down to the local shopping centre, yet again? I do! Am I mad? I think so… We load ourselves up with what is left on the shelves (sadly vastly depleted) and spend Easter Saturday eating them some more chocolate treats. Yep, by now you get the gist – you guessed it, we had to go out the NEXT DAY and buy some more for Easter Sunday….because we have now run out of supplies (again). We then settle down on the eve of Easter Sunday (did I mention that we had really scrapped the barrel in egg choices that day. All we had left to choose was the cheap, nasty ‘pretend’ chocolate eggs – still eaten – and silly kids eggs in a mug variety – also still bought and eaten), to watch a movie and eat chocolate.
So, it’s Easter Sunday, 5 April 2015. I have a raging sugar headache and a thirst that the Nile River could not abate. I sneak into my wardrobe, and put MORE eggs on display, because this IS officially the day that we are supposed to eat them! My kids do not rise until after 10, and I can hear my son saying to his sister, ‘Guess what, more eggs.’ I don’t think the enthusiasm was there – he sounded more like it was a trudge to get through another egg eating extravaganza. I almost felt sorry for my kids. We has bacon and scrambled eggs (more eggs?) for breakfast and by early evening were all ‘egged out’ again.
I think I will leave the ‘preparations’ for Easter until the last minute next year. Otherwise we will all have sugar overload. I am so ‘over’ eggs, that my picture to accompany my blog will have cute little chicks to celebrate the Easter hols. Next hurdle, Christmas. Thank goodness it is a few months off yet. Now, shall I do some preparations for that, starting this week? (!)
Happy Easter!!easter-chicks-12

Christmas

As a child growing up in Wales, Christmas was my favourite time of year. My brother Andrew is three years younger than me, so we had to share our ‘big’ presents (big meaning most expensive) with each other. I remember us having a tape recorder between us one year, and having our friends around to record on it. The machines in those days (the 1970’s) had a little microphone on a stand, and you had to press the two ‘record and play’ buttons together. We all had to be very quiet, as the player would record all the sounds in the room – I can still remember a bunch of normally rowdy kids hunched over this little machine in my tiny bedroom! And don’t forget the dog squashed into the middle of us…!
We were the first family in our street to have a colour TV. We felt like the ‘poshest’ of kids. The other kids in the street used to sit around our TV after school. In those days the telly had a knobs to control sound, brightness etc (the days of remote controls were well into the future). We used to watch the children’s programmes in colour, but then change it back to black and white, and then back to see the contrast, and to marvel at the technology of it all! One of our ‘big’ presents that year was a black and white portable TV that us siblings had to share – wow, the arguments over who was to have that present in their room at any one time! I still recall the tensions.
The best part of Christmas was having our own presents. I remember the joy of my first typewriter, and trying not to make any mistakes on it – otherwise, out came the tippex! When I think of those old means of communicating, I realise how much further we have travelled in communicating with each other – and how easier it is. I remember carefully threading the ribbon through the top of my typewriter, then typing across the page as neat as I could (without having any ink ‘shadows on the page), and pulling the handle to go omto the next page – those were the days. I went to a craft fair recently and one of the stalls has antique items, including typewriters, and old typing keys – I felt as old as the antiques they were selling!
As I got into my teens, my love for books grew stronger, and my greatest joy at Christmas was in having girly annuals such as Jackie, Girlfriend, and Blue Jeans. Just give me a bag of sweets and an annual and you wouldn’t hear a peep from me! I was also a big fan of Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers series, so they would nicely lead well into the New Year. As I got older, I loved those CS Lewis books, and was heavily into music and loved the music books, such as Smash Hits – I has a huge pile of them in my wardrobe. My love of reading started in my younger days, and has taken me through teens, and adulthood.images

Australian Journey Part Two

Rhian and Matt were lying beside the hotel pool, whilst the children were happily slashing in the pool. Matt had bought them huge inflatable dolphins from their visit to Sea World, and they were squealing with delight.
“This is the life, love, what do you reckon? I wonder what ‘s going on in Wales today, whatever it is, I bet it’s lamping down!”
Rhian nodded and plastered some more sun cream onto her shoulders. She couldn’t agree more. The Gold Coast and its attractions were certainly enticing and she was starting to soak up the relaxed and laid back Australian lifestyle. Wales seemed like another planet. They had visited so many attractions and enjoying the holiday atmosphere as new arrivals to Australia. It still felt a bit surreal that they could stay longer than the token two weeks holidays that they had previously spent in Spain. The children were starting to become as brown as berries, and there would be no peeling skin when their ‘holiday’ ended. Just yesterday, they had driven down to the QLD/NSW border to Coolangatta. It was so beautiful there, with the sparkling blue water, enticing coves and luscious foliage. They had walked along the coastline amongst the eucalyptus trees and were thrilled to see the curious lizards basking on the rocks as they strolled past. They had gone to the Currumbin Wildlife Park and sat amongst the Big Red Kangaroos and Carys had been delighted to cuddle a Koala bear. Jack tentatively held a snake whilst having his photo taken…
“Another day in paradise” Matt remarked as he flopped down on the hotel bed after they had spent the afternoon sunning themselves on the nearest pristine beach. “I don’t think I can cope with all the excitement any more. Tomorrow I am looking for some work, or I may get used to this enjoying myself malarkey!” index
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