Once more with feeling.

I have made the second submission.

Two pinfalls or a submission!  Come out swinging.  I want a nice clean fight and you can take the horseshoe out of your glove, straightaway.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAnd box!

This time it is to a publisher, who appeared in a search engine as accepting online submissions for original novels.  I wonder if I might be better with an agent and I did have quite a list to choose from.  However, having spent an evening perusing the options, when I logged back on to the computer I found that, of all the sites I had visited to have a look, this publisher’s site was the one the computer had left visible on the desk top.  There was a song in the Sixties about casting your fate to the wind, which may or may not have been inspired by constantly eating beans, who can say, but anyway, I did.

Not constantly eat beans. No, submit.

They did say that they were offering two types of contract.  The normal one and what they are calling a partner contract, where you share the costs of publication.  This is what used to be called vanity publishing which no writer worth their salt should touch with a bargepole.   There were publishers who specialised in it in days gone by and probably currently, if you were to look for them.  How this works is you send them your manuscript, they say it’s wonderful and tell you how much, you pay and some months later several boxes of books turn up for you to sell.  This is the essence of vanity publishing.

Nevertheless, this publisher did mention normal contracts in which a publisher takes a chance on a writer writing something good enough to make money for both of them.  That is the publisher’s job.  They earn by being able to pick out the authors who will sell from those who will not.  They have to be well read, or employ people who are, and be able to slog their way through all the submissions to find the needle in the haystack.  I would hate that.  I have an old friend, a great reader, who is a publisher’s reader and gets paid by the number of manuscripts she can get through.  Having spent so many years teaching, which involved reading and marking essays, I don’t think I could do that.  For the right person it’s the working from home dream job, for the wrong person it’s a nightmare.

Life is full of talent shows.  Do you watch those on television?  I have never done so, mostly because I just want everyone to succeed.  The thought that there are ‘celebrities’ happy to make a living by being nasty to hopeful people, is anathema to me.  The foundation of all this unnatural selection, sadly, is money.  One of the reasons I was so readily asked to the party as a magazine columnist was the ability my funny column had to sell magazines.  I made thousands upon thousands of pounds for the publishers at twenty pounds a page for me.  When I got sufficiently famous I went on strike and managed to up it to twenty-five pounds a page for all the writers, which was still peanuts compared to what the publishers were raking in.

It takes a lot of people to make a magazine. There are the people at the paper mills, taking trees, waste paper and rags and turning them into paper, figuring in the cost of the rag collectors, tree fellers, tree planters and others into the selling price of the huge roll of paper their machines turn out.  The huge roll of paper goes to the printers who have the printing machines, ink and these days, the computers, to figure into their costs.  I was working in a language college in the Seventies just as newspapers were changing from typeface to digital.  I used to take parties of students to the local newspaper at the time that journalists were cutting out typed columns with scissors and gluing them next to a monochrome photograph to make a page to be photographed in one room. In the next, on the other side of a glass screen, journalists were carefully ‘typing’  stories into a new fangled device called a computer, which would organise the words on to a page that only existed in the electronic brain of the computer until it was sent to the press.

By the time I was writing for the magazine it was all digital.  The people who got paid plenty were those who could work the powerful new computer programme that arranged the words and pictures to make a page.  Once the pages had been composed they could be sent to a printing press wherever in the world the costs were cheapest.  By this stage there were still a lot of office workers on the payroll.  One newspaper has become famous for failing to employ enough proof readers. Elsewhere, despite automatic spell checkers, they are still highly paid individuals because ‘making sure we are not printing rubbish’ is a continuing concern of all publishers.

Which is, of course, where the readers make their appearance.  If enough of them are engaged by the story and the way of telling it, it will get passed up to more important people who will have meetings about it and finally someone quite senior will decide if they are all going to have a flutter on having picked a winner.

The author cannot expect to make much at first, mostly because they are paying so many people, from the person who plants the pine seed in the nursery to the boy who makes the tea in the print works.  Eventually, if everyone in the food chain keeps their end up, especially the writer, the writer’s name alone will be enough to invoke the god of money who will smile upon all the toilers at the word face.

I did it once before.  Can I do it again?

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First rejection

Not entirely unexpected. In fact what did I expect sending people writing with wiggly lines underneath?  Rank amateur.  Happily they got back to me sooner than expected.  The best rejection is a fast one.  I did once have a friend who had been engaged for about a million years because she just couldn’t really commit – as the years ticked by they both got older….

Therefore, fast rejection is a good rejection.  I will now open a book and take bets on the number of people who will invoke J K Rowling and rejections and the record companies who turned the Beatles (peculiar name, do they know it’s spelled wrong?) down (funny music, no call for that.)  There will be lots.  Meanwhile a saying from the world of sport: winners never quit and quitters never win.

Accordingly a letter of enquiry has been sent to a publisher and when that comes back I will send the letter off to an agent.  I will rewrite the letter each time but later today will re-examine the partial thingy with the wiggly lines and make sure they have all vanished.

Tomorrow I’m off to the hospital for a cancer check-up.  When that is over I will hopefully be able to think more clearly.

In the meantime I am making Christmas cards now instead of in a rush in November and right now the sun is shining so I am off outside into my neglected garden.

Rejection sucks but giving up sucks your soul into a vacuum. Onwards and upwards.

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Errors show that learning is taking place.

You would hope, as you get older, to be able to avoid some of the rubbish you perpetrated when younger. You would aspire to distance having leant enchantment to the view, so that you did not rush headlong into inadvisable situations as heretofore but employ the wisdom of age to ensure that every action was considered.  You would hope in the course of a life to have acquired the knack of standing back, so that standing back had your back, so to speak and that you were not chopping yourself off at the ankles before you even got started by inconsidered and rash actions.

This is what we would wish, dear, does it eventuate? Does it heck!

I had been frustrated for months because I had finished the novel and the illustrations, had proof read the lot and was ready for ‘Houston, we have a go, we are cleared for take off, the weather is looking good, we are firing on all boosters.  I have clearance to begin the countdown.  TEN, NINE, EIGHT, SEVEN, SIX, FIve, four, Oh blast, the computer’s fallen over.’

As you know if you visit regularly.  If you visit regularly and have kept the faith during the weeks of my absence due to computerlessness, and kept coming back until I reappeared, well what can I say?  If we didn’t live so far apart I would visit with cake.  (I do a good Victoria sponge and gingerbread men that my grandchildren say are the best, I could show you a photograph of their endorsement but it fell overboard with the computer.)

So, new computer.  S&H arrive, put on basic programmes, insert antivirus, go away.  Oh dear, can shop, no programme for writing words.  Visit S&H pay through the nose for entire officey prog will probably never use, though a completely unsuspecting friend, who thinks I am intelligent, has offered to instruct me in the use of a spread sheet.  Pity, I was enjoying the friendship.  Heigh ho.

Having a computer connected to the net I removed extract, and novel from other, unconnected computer and as per instruction from S&H inserted to new computer, composed letter and submitted submission submissively and then breathed out.

Fool!  Idiot!  Nincompoop!  Halfwit!  Nellie!

I have proof read, extensively.  I am good at that.  I proof read the OH’s master’s degree essay thingy and he got a special mention for the excellence of the proof reading. One of the reasons I was so readily employed by magazines is my proof reading, I sent it, they printed it, nary a mistake dearie, always print perfect.

I had actually proof read the entire novel for spacing mistakes, that’s the gaps between the words.

So, at the writer’s group meeting, reading aloud, I found a mistake.  DAMN!  A word repeated, repeated.  Wrote twice twice.  Like Neanderthal with hairy knuckles draggin’ on the gravel and snot dribbling.  HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN DOING THIS WRITING LARK? WILL I NEVER LEARN?

So I went back to the novel on the new computer and discovered that the new computer has a different system and had bunged wiggly lines under everything it thought was a mistake.  They weren’t, they were invented words and people speaking in assorted dialects and they were EVERYWHERE.  And I had cockily without looking sent it off like that.

I am going to extend my gym routine to incorporate knee flexions. Thus I will be able to kick myself up my own arse to save anyone else the bother.

Keep reading, no doubt it will get wurse, wurserer and wursererer. The awfullest thing is that the novel celebrates the second rate and I HAVE JOINED IN.

Next one’s going to be about Pulitzer Prize winners.

Der.

Also still don’t go shopping here.  I will not know if you have done so.  I’ll tell you when it’s fixed, I appear to have left a password in the same secluded location that I left my thinking ability, if I rediscover either, you’ll be the first to know.  For now just believe that I am a person in need of knuckle bandages, the person I submitted the submission to knows, so you’ll be in good company.

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Don’t go shopping.

There’s a thing you won’t often hear a retailer say.  Please don’t go shopping here.

It’s a bit unusual, even online where strange things happen.  There are a couple of online retailers who have my email address and if I go and just have a look on their site they will then follow me back to my email and ask me why I haven’t bought anything.  This horrible trend started long ago with a famous plant company who didn’t have what I wanted but kept my money ‘against my next purchase’, needless to say I have not been back and tell their name to all gardeners I talk to.

But here I don’t want you to buy anything.

This weekend we went to see the S&H in his new house, taking three computers in a suitcase. One was the one with the novel on it because your idiot blogger could not manage to extract an extract but kept putting the whole thing on the memory stick. Der.

The second was the old computer for the S&H to extract the hard drive and see if any of the photos of the grandchildren could be salvaged.  This is a strong case for actually printing them off and sticking them in an album.  I did start doing this and then wavered slightly because each page was so flipping clever with pull-outs and pop-ups and 3D this and that it was taking several days a page.

The third was the new machine to have more details of this website added including the bit where, when you buy something, PayPal sends me notification so I know who to send it to. Setting this up requires a password.

Yes, well, passwords.

How do you remember yours? The OH keeps changing his because it is recommended and then forgetting them because he is knocking on.  There have been many telephone conversations in which he gives the listener the choice of all of his passwords, which I can’t help feel is not quite the security one is after, at all.

I put all of those pertaining to the website setting up in a file but there are lots and, of course, visiting the S&H I naturally took the wrong ones.  So please do not buy anything, I will not know you have done so at all.  I’ll tell you when it’s safe to do so. There might be a sale, I don’t know it all depends if the book finds a publisher, if it does I might be busy. 

Meanwhile, do not go shopping here, just read the nice free words, thank you.

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Back to the present

Did you miss me?  I’m sorry I’ve been away so long.  My elderly laptop died.  Like all bereavements it was quite traumatic and unexpected.  The shock dear!  I’m still reeling.

It was like this.  There was I, one evening, tired after a day gardening in the rain, thought I would just have a nice cup of tea and catch up with the fashions on QVC the shopping channel.  I now buy nearly all my clothing from QVC the shopping channel and have been doing so for about twenty years.  I hate clothes shops.  I hate snooty assistants.  I am not fond of being short. I do not like tiny changing rooms with violent floodlighting.  I do not consider a curtain to be adequate privacy.  I hate those mirrors  with the grey cast that magnify my varicose veins and I never have any idea whether anything I like in the shop will go with anything else I have at home at all.  Also, have twenty seven other people tried this on before me?  How many times have these trousers been farted inside?  Was the person who had a go of this bra before me keen on washing?  Why does this tee-shirt smell of perfume?  What is this ginger stain round the armhole?

I believe the purchase of clothing to have been traumatic for most of my life. I went to a girl’s school that had only one uniform supplier and standard sizes for each age range.  The uniform bit was up an open-plan fifties staircase with huge gaps between the treads, ensuring that the small uniformee would arrive at the changing area in a state of panic to be consistently told that I was too small for my age and would have to wear the kindergarten uniform until I was sixteen.  I don’t remember there being a changing room.  I do remember having to stand on a very slippery polished wooden floor in my underwear whilst numerous grown ups including my mother sighed deeply.  I do remember my mother’s horror at the bill. Well, it was a monopoly.  I do have crumbling photographs of me lost inside a giant grey jumper, sleeves trailing.  I do recall the weight of a wet tweed coat and having to walk home from the bus by swinging one foot and then the other as the massive garment weighed me down like a sack of wet coal.  And the smell! It was like going to school in the middle of a herd of sheep. To this day, when I see sheep I think of a school bus.

Clothing was different in the past.  A friend and old flame of my mother’s, who had never managed to leave home, finally married when his mother eventually popped off.  I was twelve at the time. The outfit bought for me was a roll-on girdle, a pair of nylon stockings, a brown houndstooth check pleated skirt and matching short sleeved high necked top with a wool trim like the teeth of a circular saw round the neckline and a pair of white gloves that cracked like lightening when you bent your fingers.

I took the lot off in the taxi on the way home and arrived in my knickers and vest with a one inch upstanding weal round my neck and was warned I would have to wear it again plenty to get the money’s worth.

Then there were the trousers of my cousin that I wore to go on a skiing trip with the school. My cousin is a tall bony girl with thin limbs.  I am a short fat girl with cabriole legs.  The trousers were half lined in order to enable the linings to wind themselves clockwise up your legs with every stride, gathering the inside seams where they were sewn to the wool outsides, into bunches.  You had to do three or four waddles and then stop and pull the trousers down your legs again.  Two hundred yards and your ankles had turned to icicles.

Then there were……………….oh you get the idea. Me and clothes. No.

So shopping channels which have a guaranteed money back return policy and the opportunity to try stuff on a home and look in a mirror which has been educated to your requirements with everything else you already have? Show me where to sign up.

So ‘twas in the middle of a very necessary fashion show with spindly models demonstrating  assorted clothing on a person rather than a hanger that the computer screen suddenly did rainbows, a test card, a migraine pattern and then nothing.

As I have not even had email I couldn’t tell regular correspondents what was the problem.  But here we are up and running again.  Can’t find a photograph management system I understand.  Haven’t got a document writing system yet.  The S&H, however, advised on make and model and came two days ago and set up quite a bit of it and here we are.

I hope this will work, let me know if there’s a problem.  Next weekend we’re off to the S&H’s so he can attempt to retrieve everything his idiot mother had not backed up.  The only item I had a paper copy of was some of the email addresses, so if you want me to write to you write to me and I’ll reply.

But first, clothes shopping, online where nature intended it to be.

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Slow on the draw.

Not a shoot out with the OH or some doctors, actual drawing.

I cannot believe how happy simple drawing makes me and, amazingly, at my age it’s new.  Many people go through a stage of drawing endlessly when they discover what to do with a pencil.  I never really did, partly because I was enchanted with writing very early, there are ‘books’ I wrote aged five.  Also, of course, I just thought I was rubbish at drawing and didn’t know how other people could do it, I had no idea I couldn’t see very far.

About four years ago, looking for new craft stores I found an art shop in the next town to me, running drawing evenings, life drawing and portraiture and thought I would have a go.  It really helped that a lot of the students were also rubbish.  For the first five or six evenings I sat beside a little old lady who rendered the nude, patient model in green scribbles that would have had Picasso putting his head on one side and asking what it was meant to be and wasn’t the eye, if that is what it was, in the wrong place?

So cheered by comparison and the lack of tuition I continued to attend.  It was also a big attraction that wine was served and at the time I was worried that because of the drinking of the OH that I would develop a psychosomatic aversion to alcohol such as affected my grandmother.  She, brought up in a pub and marrying an alcoholic, suddenly had a problem.  At my cousin’s wedding she took one sip of champagne and her face swelled up like a balloon.  It did the same ever after with just one sip of alcohol.  Determined not to go down this route I bought a glass of wine at each drawing session in half time and consumed it publicly with no ill effects of any variety.  I only ever buy it when I have got to the colouring-in stage or I’d be giving Picasso a run for his money but the object was achieved and four years on I can draw, as well.

What I am doing now is the illustrations for my novel, which is finished.  There are eight illustrations, including the cover.

I intended to write the book the moment my duties as a carer had finished but that summer – 2017- I broke my arm so badly, I couldn’t type but I could hold a light plastic pencil, so I drew the cover.

That was going to be it but I had drawn the buildings where the action takes place so I knew what you would see if you came out of one room and turned left, for example, as I did for the village, which is on the book cover.  Then one of my writer’s group asked for a floor plan which I was happy to do, as it was in the text anyway.  Having done those, there were one or two things that had been banging about in my head so I got them on paper too.

I went off to my local copy shop and got four copies of each to colour in.  This is not a bad idea, I have back ups, can do experiments and best of all, my chosen medium will not react with ink and I cannot accidentally erase the pencil lines.

I know you’d like to see but I won’t put them on the Internet and pre-empt my own copyright, that would either be asking for trouble or great publicity, depending.  I cannot tell if they are good or not, I couldn’t see very well until I was sixteen.  They could be worse than I think, it could be me and Jackson Pollack riding a bicycle across a lake of paint shouting ‘wheee!’

Or it could just be me carefully colouring in stuff that looks like what it is meant to represent ( I am hopelessly old fashioned sometimes.)

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Marginal sanity.

I have been washing my fountain.  This is not a euphemism for anything, I have actually been washing my little solar fountain because the grand children are coming today and they always make straight for the fountain.

I should have been washing my fountain a week ago on Monday, which was my birthday.  As it was a Bank Holiday and no one was working, the family offered to come for the day but I put them off and instead stood in the garden in the freezing cold digging trenches across the lawn and crying.

I have such low self esteem partly because I’m married to a drinker, partly because of my childhood.  The drinker problem seems to get to all relatives of anyone who will put a fluid before a relative in importance.  All the months I was lying in bed with cancer and a broken arm and the OH was out drinking himself into oblivion did little for my confidence.  In fact it is one of my perpetual worries now; if I get sick again, he’ll be off.

The other, in particular the birthday thing, is to do with my mother.  I did hope it would improve when she was no longer around to be difficult.  It seems to persist.  Every year I dread my birthday, think I might be OK, on the day am awful up to suicidal and then the next day I’m fine as if nothing had happened.

For years, by which I mean all my life, my mother used to say on my birthday :On this day I do not think of you, I think of your mother who gave you away.  I did have birthday parties when I was little but I was supposed to be ‘of service’ to my guests and woe betide me if I ever won a prize by mistake.  My twenty first was terrible.  My mother poured vitriol verbally in my ear in the kitchen and then pushed me into my relatives in the lounge telling me to smile.  Perhaps her behaviour had something to do with jealousy or control, I really don’t know but I do know the effects are long lasting.

Yesterday I was round at my neighbour’s, she too had childhood difficulties with her mother.  She was dismayed to hear they did not finish when the parent passed as she was hoping they would.  But she did suggest I had two birthdays, like the Queen.  A real one to be miserable on and an official one for larking around.

I see there was a reunion on the news of a lady and her birth mother who is 103.  I was always told never to seek my birth mother because she would have forgotten me and made a happy life without me, her horrible mistake, and that if I turned up on the doorstep I’d be a home wrecker.  Lately I have thought it would not be too clever anyway to turn up just as someone was looking for someone to care for them as they’d gone a bit potty.  I don’t think I can do dementia a third time, having paid for the first two with cancer each time.  I might have to do it with the OH unless he packs in the drink.

So – Happy Birthday – is it just a saying, as I always thought, or is it possible?

On the other hand, it’s all good for a writer.  If nothing bad ever happened to you, you’d be slim, healthy, happy, well adjusted, happily married, sound of wind and limb with achieving, kindly, caring and appreciative relatives.

Completely abnormal, in other words.

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Stuck up

What’s this?

P5050539

You can see the size of it.  It’s quite large for what it is.

Some of the porcelain things I make are small, well they would be – they are dolls’ house miniatures.  However out of those some are really small.  The 24th scale ornaments for example are small enough to get stuck up your fingernail.

Items of this nature cause problems with display.  Exhibitors have an interesting range of solutions.  Some who have a very good opinion of themselves are prone to big glass enclosed cabinets and ‘Do Not Touch’ notices.  Some just display one sample fastened down and have the rest in boxes under the table.  Bettina who used to exhibit with me showing her tiny crocheted animals, had them all pinned to her velvet covered foam steps.

I have always enjoyed the kind of display that has the lot out.  Everything.  So you can choose.  But when they are tiny light things there is always a danger that visitors bending close, may inhale the exhibits.  This could cause further problems for St John’s ambulance (usually in attendance) and  the exhibitor’s insurers (at one point I was insured to pierce your ears with a nail while you sat on a deck chair in the street.  I never actually tried this but, with the right nail, could have ended up a millionaire on a really busy thoroughfare.)  The inhaling visitor may have not come out of the encounter well either and I almost certainly could not have resold the inhaled, retrieved item.  Snot possible.

So my solution was good old double sided sticky tape on plastic steps designed to put in a cupboard so you can see the tins at the back.  I lined the steps with strips of tape, transported them with waxed strips on top and, upon arrival, took the ornaments out of their boxes and placed them on the steps.  It worked.  The visitors could choose, the ornaments stayed on the steps and everyone enjoyed picking off their choice with plastic tweezers.  Brilliant.

Well brilliant for several shows then a problem evidenced itself.  Sticky tape is sticky for ornaments but also for tiny price labels, dust, lumps of fluff, hairs, sneezes, dirt.  Gradually the white plastic steps turned grey with undertones of something quite nasty.

I thought I would just peel off the sticky tape and put on some new stuff.  That is what I thought.  The trouble with double sided sticky tape is that the underside, which is stuck down, is as sticky as the upper side which is coated with gunk.  You cannot just get your fingernail under the end and rip if off unless it is your fingernail you wish to rip.

Eventually I resorted to a chisel.

P3280485

This method very effectively chopped tiny triangular pieces out of the plastic.  The sticky tape was left largely untouched.

P3280486

Minute fragments were rolled along by the chisel until they reached a stickier area to which they attached themselves immovably, like a crowd on a rainy day out finding a cheap cafe.  Look, you can see what rubbish this method is. The ball is the result of an hour and a bit, chiselling.

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You can see the filth.  In the end I sacrificed the rest of my fingernails having previously tried a pin, scissors, a scalpel, a spoon handle and anything else.  After nearly three hours of my life picking off the sticky I had put there, I washed the shelves and dried them and then, when they were shiny white and clean, I stuck fresh sticky on for the next show.

And this

P5050540

Is the ball of sticky stuff I generated.

Visitors to shows sometimes tell me what a wonderful life I must have, endlessly creative.  It is, it’s fab.  There are people who are employed, as a proper paid job, to get the chewing gum off pavements.  Whilst I have every admiration for them I would not necessarily shake them by the hand.  Well, not when they were at work.

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Happy Easter

Easter already, can you believe it, where is the year going?

I didn’t post last week because I had a germ and was horribly sick.  These days after the hospital horrors I just stop if I am ill and look after myself, so I did that.  I am on the mend now and looking forward to seeing the family on Sunday when we will celebrate the GDS having his second birthday a couple of weeks ago, the OH having his 68th on Tuesday and quantities of chocolate eggs which are just worth celebrating on their own.  After the weekend we move into the best season of the year by far.

Yes dear reader, up and coming it’s marked down supermarket Easter eggs season.  This yearly festival sometimes lasts only a few days.  I was happiest when we had a Woolworths because they had vast quantities of eggs to begin with and, therefore lots of leftover eggs to be reduced.  Because of this they tended to reduce the prices in three steps.  The first was as markdown of pennies on the ordinary eggs about two days after Easter once shoppers were unlikely to be soothing their consciences about folk they had forgotten.  Quite a few eggstras were sold and the remnants of dozens of shelves moved to one display unit.  After a pause, usually by the following weekend, the very expensive eggs would be reduced by five pounds a bash and the bashed eggs on the bottom shelf to a pound a go.  This was the time to keep your nerve.  You could pass by and hover and watch the less controlled shopper swooping on medium priced eggs with a pound off but still costing a lot in terms of weight for the chocolate, still charging a lot for a fancy cardboard box.  At this stage on the bottom shelf more eggs would develop holes and casualties with robbed out innards be removed completely.  But for those of us with nerves of steel the weekend after next was the one to wait for.  Large quantities of garden plants arrived in the store as the gardening season got underway, shelf space was at a premium and the remaining eggs; posh ones in huge gold boxes, ones with fancy chocolate selections and anything with a big red ribbon were put on a table by the door displaying seriously slashed prices.  And then those of us with iron self control would dive in off a trolley and swim around in the best, the thinnest, the finest chocolate of the year.

It is by such iron self control that I have achieved the figure I celebrate today.  Oval.  I blame those adverts in the Sixties, telling you to go to work on an egg.

Eggstatically happy Easter to you.

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Miniatura.

What a lovely show.  The feeling in the hall was so happy.  There is nothing quite like a hall full of likeminded people, getting together to celebrate a hobby and doing it in such a super show.  Several people remarked on the quality of the exhibits to me.  It’s one of the main reasons I exhibit at Miniatura and not anywhere else.  I think if you are taking the time and trouble to get out to a show and paying good money to get in to it, then every single table should be something worth looking at.  There are lesser shows that are larger because they are filled up with cheap imports or things that are not really miniature related but I wouldn’t exhibit there.  If you only have a weekend or a day, then every moment of your time should be used for the reason you have come out.  I also would not exhibit at a show that did not cater for everyone, meaning full wheel chair access and facilities; toilets and restaurants in the hall and a place to sit and think if you want to.

Miniatura has it all, it really does.  And it has free parking, at the NEC this is quite a consideration, as I discovered visiting other shows in the summer.  £16 out of my budget before I even got out of the car park was a bit of a shocker.  The parking for Miniatura is free, you just ask on your way out of the hall and they will give you a paper hat, or a voucher, or stamp your boot or draw kisses on your face or whatever they are doing this time round for you to show at the car park booth on the way out and not be charged.  Hooray!

However the benefit of Miniatura that I love the best, is meeting up with old friends, both exhibitors and collectors and making new friends, both exhibitors and collectors.  It is such a pleasure to hear someone gasp with pleasure because they’ve just discovered I make porcelain dolls under three inches tall fully articulated and jointed.  It makes me so happy to encourage people to pick the doll up and have a good look and see just how very small and lovely they are in the hand.

I also love to hear where my dolls are living and how well they are cared for.  They make people smile.  Collectors do smile, often I think without realising they are doing it, when they tell me all about their houses and what my dolls are up to.  Everything about the show is positive and happy.  It’s just lovely.

When I came home, after a couple of days off I began to have a big clear out of the sun room, ahead of the builders knocking a wall down.  In the sun room live the wheeled bags I take to the show.  And a ton of junk.  And for lo!  behind it all I found a huge plastic bag that I had forgotten all about with paper pictures in it.

I began painting oil paintings in miniature, probably ten years ago.  Then I painted oil portraits of visitors.  I took a photo at the show and by the next show had the portrait ready.  They were not much money and I got quite good at it but they were not a success because people forgot they had asked and didn’t come back, sometimes they did several years later, when I had stopped doing it.  So then, when I got good at making silicone moulds I began making bass relief pictures in paper clay.  I had only just started, quite successfully as I recall, partly because the method of production enabled me to make several of the same at once, rather than having to start from scratch with each one, though they were painted individually. This in turn meant they could all be very reasonably priced for a hand made item and, as they were made of paper they were very light for hanging on dodgy walls.

I was just getting under way with these, when my father died and I became carer for my mother.  So shows were fitted in with everything else and the big bag with the pictures in never saw the light of day again.

But it has now.  What treasure trove!  There is an entire stand full of pictures and I have  a head full of ideas for others.

I always feel inspired by Miniatura but I think this is the first time I have been inspired by the clearing up afterwards.  Pictures next post if I have finished the new ones by then.

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