Category Archives: writing

Friday again…

christmas cakes

Today is an auspicious Friday – it is the last day of my academic year, I got my last assignment back and I made the first batch of Christmas cakes.

Of course, not all is sweetness and light – I had to say goodbye to all my study friends until the new year, and Dad is having surgery as I type. The nature of melanoma means that there will be an anxious wait for the next week for the pathology results, even though we are optimistic.

I’ll be keeping in touch with one of my friends from the CAE – Bruce Clarke– through his blog Write On!. Bruce is a really talented writer; probably the most polished ‘new’ freelance writer I’ve ever come across. You should check it out when you get the chance.

On the Christmas cake front, I think I’ve finally found the recipe I’ve been looking for! I’m so excited – all the while I was trying out ‘rich’ fruit cake recipes, and what I should have been making was a boiled fruit cake! This might not seem important to most people, but I do love Christmas cooking, and now that my Grandma has gone, it is left to me to hold the fort (a self-imposed responsibility, of course).

Due to one of those very unpleasant and unexpected things that happen when someone in the family dies (like one half of the family suddenly telling the other half that they never really liked them, and winding up the estate on their own), my Grandma’s cookbook went who-knows-where, probably in the bin. For the last six years I’ve been trying to find a recipe just like hers, and I think this is it – hence my excitement.

Cakes are one of the things I like to give as gifts at Christmas, so I’ve been saving large Tuna tins for the last couple of months. They make the perfect-sized cake tin for this. The recipe, for a boiled-fruit-cake, was one a friend pointed me to on the ABC Sydney’s website. The only variations I made to it were to omit the lemon and almond essence, and the walnuts – mainly because a couple of friends had nut allergies (and I don’t personally like lemon essence) – and to divide the mixture into smaller tins.

If you want to do this, I found that each tin takes 1 1/4 cups of mixture and that they need to be cooked for an hour and a half. The three tablespoons of extra sherry called for at the end of the recipe became four, because I put half a tablespoon onto each of the eight cakes.

Happy cooking – hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Life cycle

life cycle

I’ve no idea what the person who wrote this was trying to say, but the fact that they went to the trouble of writing it on the sign, cracked me up.

Its been an interesting week.  On the plus side, NanoWrimo started today and I had an idea and got my first 1649 words written; on the negative side, my dad has been diagnosed with a malignant melanoma. We’re not anticipating anything, just waiting to see what happens, but it’s pretty horrible none the less. I think it is particularly hard for Meg, who adores him, not to worry, but we’ll just make sure that we see him often – daily, if we can – and give him lots of hugs. Mum, too, of course.

In the meantime, there will be lots of love, laughter, singing, photography and good food – all the things that make life worth living.

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Daylight saving

Suburban nightmare

Daylight saving time has started again here in Melbourne and I love it. I love the long evenings that allow time for walks after dinner, or wandering around the garden with the dogs at my heels.

I love that, the minute it starts, it feels like Christmas is almost upon us; that barbecue dinners become regular occurrences and that – for a while – I am able to get up early enough to see the hot air balloons drift overhead in the mornings.

NanoWrimo starts tomorrow, so I’m going to have to be really organised if I’m to get all of the Christmas things done, as well as writing my 1,666 words a day! I’m making myself a schedule, though I don’t know how I will go at sticking to it, with these lovely long evenings and meals with friends to distract me…

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Signing my life away – for November, at least

bookshelves

NaNoWriMo registrations have opened up for 2007, and I’ve taken the plunge. 

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo (aka ‘National Novel Writing Month’) , is an event which, according to their website, ‘is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30’.

The idea behind it is that procrastination kills us as writers, but that if we have a deadline to meet and a target word count – even artificially imposed – we are more likely to be able to step up to the plate.

Last year – having discovered NaNoWriMo around the 18th of November – I  managed to complete around 10,500 words before the end of the month.  I was pretty proud of myself, considering I’d never thought I could write fiction, but my efforts fell a very long way short of the target of 50,000 words.

This year, I’m going to devote myself to the task and see how far I can get. 50,000 words in 30 days is 1666.6 words a day – they might not be good words, but the discipline will be very good for me.  I have the luxury of time, this year, too – and my own computer (last year I was sharing a computer and trying to work around Michael’s extended hours and my own job, and ended up doing much of my writing at one in the morning). 

The working title of my novel this year is ‘Hornet’s nest’ – now I only have to work out what it’s about!

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