The Novel – is born – the synopsis done(ish)

So after my public declaration of determination to write this long awaited novel I can report the  book is coming on. No really it is. No bullshit. I had the whole story in my head and bit by bit I have eked and squeezed it out into a synopsis. A beginning, middle and an end. Of course each time I read it I change it a little –  but all in all the idea has emerged from the head to the laptop. A major step.

I have made a decision to stop rereading OR  I will never move on with the next step…

There are other things going on this week which inevitably encourage distraction and prevarication.

Like…..We are moving house on Friday.

Like…..David is opening a new bistro/cafe on Friday.

 

Just small things like that…of course the old me would have used these as excuses to do nothing on the book front,  but the new me, the swotty Fiona Bruce type me, is pushing on.

This is the point where I have fallen foul of my plan in the past. I am honestly confused with how the hell to get the idea out of my head and onto paper in any coherent form so the new me (FB see photo above) decided as a first step to download an audio book on Audible called Write Your Novel by Maggie James which I listened to driving to and from Aberdeen to visit my Mum. Oh yes add that to the weeks goings on….

Anyway it was a good listen and the 2 hours from Aberdeen to Edinburgh and back were perfect to take it in.

It turns out listening to an audio book really makes a journey go quickly -not withstanding the number of times you have to pull over to write down things  you really want to remember. By the time I arrived in Aberdeen I had a confetti of Post Its, most nigh on impossible to decipher once peeled off the dashboard.

Still there is some great advice.

First thing is first- find the best place to write.

Every place I have ever lived I have had a designated space to “write” which has never been used. The combination of a sausage dog, a student, a hyper active husband and a visiting Schnauzer (Doris) in addition to our moving home, opening a restaurant and visiting a parent in Aberdeen has made me retreat into my bed – so it seems that is my place.  My bed.

The downside – and downslide is the encroaching IT blobby hanging double chin thing changing me into the  hunch chin of Notre Maison but would that bother Fiona Bruce? Would it? No so I stare at my laptop which is on…well my lap and all this whilst trying to avoid snorkelling a large glass of white  – after all its only 11am.

mmmnnnnn t- this is not my chin – sadly.

So – this weeks update is….

I have completed my synopsis which is very satisfying. It’s about 5 pages long though and according to my new guru Maggie James ” it’s supposed to be 1 or 2 so I am squeezing it and trying to leave out superfluous details  – which is hard when you witter on as much as I do and   love a superfluous detail.

Having reread it until my eyes bled, I have sent it off to my literary genius friend who will give me feedback. Which I will in turn feedback to you. Good, bad, or bin it I promise, warts and all,  it’s coming your way after all we are in this together.

So……fingers crossed she likes it or the fantasy 11am wine will be brought forward to  9am followed by a gin martini chaser.

OK off to pack a box as the removal men are coming….……and  as for your good self –  keep writing!!!!

Charlie Sausage and Doris Schnauzer – in love.

SaveSave

SaveSave

The Brandon at Canonmills – yum yum yum.

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In the place where Cross and Corner used to live there’s now a wee bar/restaurant on that corner of Broughton Street and Eyre Place called Brandon’s of Canonmills.  A refreshing groovsters hangout with food that frankly my lips haven’t stopped smacking themselves about since we tried it.
When I say groovsters hang out clearly not just groovsters as we are about as far from the category as you can get and still be labelled human.

We are 3 middle aged woman and a sausage dog. Sounds like a film but no it’s just my life.

So just to clarify….dogs are very welcome indeed as is everyone it seems.

When you have hit the dizzy heights of 50 odd (with the emphasis on odd in this case) it’s disheartening and annoying the number of people who ignore you, don’t do eye contact or assume you are in for a cup of tea or a slash. Well our shower arounder was a charmer make no mistake and we loved him. So we booked a booth for supper  later in the day thinking it was just a formality –  after all a Tuesday night surely wouldn’t be busy. We were right, it wasn’t busy. It was packed.

2 main courses and a bottle of wine £30 – a good deal and too good to pass up.

Photo of Interior courtesy of Scotsman.com
Photo of Interior courtesy of Scotsman.com
Japes aplenty
Japes aplenty

One Sausage & 3 women ensconced. Happy days. As we arrived a very tired beach exhausted Charlie Chorizo was offered water which he slurped before falling asleep on my foot.

The sausage looking forward to his visit.
The sausage working up an appetite at the beach.

We  had a couple of margaritas to start – blood orange margaritas – hello! A great kick start to any evening. there was no pressure of time so we set the pace giving more than ample time for our well over due gossiping.
And…
Well the food was great. Delicious. Fresh. Imaginative. Slurp. Beetroot and goats cheese salad. A burger – just plain but perfect and panko rolled smoked jackfruit – wtf? I have no idea so I asked. It is an Indonesian fruit apparently which was a revelation.

Resist making that revolting joker please. Thank you.
Resist making that revolting joke please. Thank you.

Our smiley server described Jackfruit as having the same consistency as pulled pork – I was sceptical but he was bang on. The flavoursome pork impersonator oozed smoky paprika and the presentation was like 2 great big meaty delicious Scotch eggs (without the egg!)
Puds were great too. We had Mellis Cheese and oatcakes and – drum roll – adffogato – not with ice cream and espresso but with rhubarb ice cream and a shot of gin. Be still my beating heart.

Dear Santa I will be a good good girl if you promise to take me back here. Soon.

Its warm, welcoming, groovy, dog friendly, cocktail delightful, foodie hangout for all.

Its so good this lazy blogger has broken the habit of being a sloth and got back on the blogging horse. Woah.

The Brandon at Canonmills: Mmmmmnnnnnnn

 

If you fancy going down the Jackfruit route heres an article from The Guardian all about it.

Dog friendly Edinburgh

Snozzling

As a sausage dog obsessed woman it is always great when you find a gaff your hairy pal is made as welcome as your two legged one. Miss Dynamite and I as ever were stomping the streets this week with Doris Schnauzer and her admirer Charlie ChoriZo Sausage dog when we fell into Water of Leith Cafe relocated from its very successful Coburg Street address to the main drag of Inverleith down to Canonmills at 1 Howard Street it has been reborn and reopened which is a delight to its many many fans.

I knew a warm welcome, a sticky cake, a light lunch and a smile were on the cards but I didn’t realise they are dog lovers to boot.

An area is designated for the 4 leggers an immediate bowl of water produced and as you can see a little love nest blanket.  Everyone was very happy and we stayed for hours.

I can recommend it for you and your Hairy pals – 2 and 4 legged like. 
The Water of Leith Cafe

1 Howard Place

Edinburgh.

 
  

    
 

Dine in Edinburgh’s newest restaurant. DINE.

Dine with Stuart Muir.
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The new kid on the block in place of Blue the much loved and missed groovacious bar restaurant of the early 90’s has been refurbed and reborn as
Dine with Stuart Muir.

The high heid yin comes from down south and had the sense to poach Stuart who was the head chef at Harvey Nichols Fourth Floor restaurant in Edinburgh to head up the team in the kitchen. Yum.

Muted lighting, warm, caramel, colours, high backed leather banquettes and delightfully sociable round tables create a warm inviting atmosphere and seats up to 80. The cocktail/champagne bar which seats up to 30 has slouchy low down comfortable leather chairs facing a bar glistening with a fine array of bottles, liqueurs well kent and eclectic.

We started with a cocktail. The list is extensive and the Santana ”
100% agave Casa noble crystal Tequila – cointreau – blue curacao – lime juice – cinnamon.” I can recommend highly. Pal Dynamite had a winter warmer which happily was not a big slipper but a chi-chi wee tea cup offering a warm concoction that made her cheeky chops smile. Lick your lips and have a gander at their creative list of cocktails here.

And so to dinner.

The a la carte menu read very well. Not too big, not too fancy and not too expensive. We were out for an impromptu girls meal on a Monday evening so requested the market menu which at £14.50 for 2 courses or £17.50 for 3 including coffee is a billy bargain.

Some went a la carte. Some market menu. And regardless of what we chose – there was nothing but praise, smiles and compliments to the chef all round.

Starters included pork rillete; two generous quenelles of rillete served with chargrilled toast – yum yum yum – toast has never toasted or tasted so good. Homemade Humus (yes you can spell it like that) and a pickled thing too set the rillete off to perfection.
Friend Janes a la carte wild mushroom risotto disappeared like snow off a dyke with oohin and aahing noises so – “excellent” was the verdict from her.

Main course I went for the veggie option – a bean casserole – don’t be so beanist – this was a belter. I am not a veggie but just fancied something warming and this hit the spot. Rich, delicious, warming and a mighty portion too for the Aberdonian tum.
Salmon was chosen by two and the presentation was impeccable as was the taste. Cod enjoyed by our a la carte girl also got top marks.

Sadly my phone had spent a few seconds face down on Princes Street earlier in the day so my camera was not up to the mark. I took a few but they would in no way do the food justice. So you will have to take my word for it.

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So get thee to Saltire Court, Cambridge Street upstairs from the foyer of the Traverse. Go on up you go.

It was first of many a Christmas night out and this one will be hard to beat.

Tonight I am off to meet the Tesla – the amazing electric car which is taking the car world by storm. I will report back.

A tail of two Schitties (Schitzus)

Dog friendly places are a joy to find and Edinburgh is just getting more and more dog friendly. Initially keepers of the canine were used to being cast out to stand in the dreich weather giving the dog the evil eye for being so unwelcome  but now they are welcomed with open arms, bowls of water and a clap on the head. Joy.

Recently we were in The Raeburn in Stockbridge where they are welcome outside but also in the bar area. It was like a dog crèche. Big ones, small ones, multiple leads all tangled, spaniels, a pug, a scottie, two schitzus, two westies, a couple of labs, a labradoodle, 2 schnauzers and of course Charlie Chorizo Sausage dog. Fellow dog lovers understand the overwhelming love you feel for this hairy crater on the end of the lead and know only too well why you are not enjoying a drink in the pub round the corner after the barman barked at you “Nae dogs in here, oh for Gods sake just tie it up outside”.  Huh I think not.

So as the places we are all welcome multiply tails are wagging wildly.

The Raeburn on Raeburn Place Stockbridge, we would highly recommend and with the lovely summer months ahead but there may well be a queue of canine owners jostling to get in – including me – see you there!
 

MUST LOVE DOGS

 

Small dogs shiver as this one gets stuck right in. Turncoat and waterproof coat.


Dog lovers of the world unite. Have you heard of this fabulous new website BorrowMyDoggy.com

It is for the time-poor dog owner, for the lively and always ready for a walk dog and for the dog lover who cannot have a dog of their own for whatever the reason ….be it landlords rules, work commitments or a partner that has allergies or frankly can’t stand them (though why you would want to be with a person that didn’t love dogs is beyond me frankly). In fact this may be the catalyst,  if your partner doesn’t like dogs get rid of your partner and join this site as there are a plethora of new hairy pals for you to walk.

Whether you are a dog owner or prospective walker all you do is register on the site, fill in a few details and your postcode then you will see the array of dogs in your area who are looking for a new human shaped friend to take them out for some fun and if you’re the dog owner you will see the people in the area keen to take out your quadroped pal.

 

There is no money that changes hands it is just a happy meeting of local dog lovers. fat_dog.jpg..

So have a look and get thee registered. Exercise, fun, happy waggy friends, whichever your situation if you ask me whichever way you look at it –

It’s the dogs cajaones!

Blimey the French put us to shame…..

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Get all road designers or engineers or Robert MacAdam fans to France now.

The roads are fabulous!

Its so easy to get from A to B ( – as long as you ignore you Satnav – “please prepare to continue straight ahead”) the old days of being told the drivers in this neck of the woods are wild is nonsense. Everyone cruises along quite the thing.

The motorway service stations are great too. Edible food by God and drinkable coffee.

Yes there are toll roads but honestly the non-toll ones are fabulous too.

I am a confused traveller.

Is this another country or another planet.

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Sorry Scotland but we are years behind. Pockmarked, one lane each way on our main road to England in the East it is a  piece of nonsense and frankly I’d rather we sorted this out rather than fiddle about with the damn useless empty ghost like trams of Edinburgh….

The A1 is a travesty.

A dangerous life risking horror show.

So how about putting this on the agenda for the big vote on September 18th?

Yes a ranting post but hey ho – better out than in.

 

 

Road Trip Thelma & Louise Day 1

 

So we’re off. Mum and I are heading off to Europe today in the car. In preparation last night we drank a lovely bottle of wine and toasted the next few weeks of driving, travelling and “mindfulness” Yes the buzz word for the middle aged crisis sufferers the world over of which I am one. Obviously. Mum is neither middle-aged nor neurotic so that must have come from my Fathers side of the family. The mad, hairy, ones. Ah yes there’s the clue. Still back to the trip.

 

The first hurdle in leaving is pictured here. The dog.

SMILE IF YOU HEART IS BREAKING
SMILE IF YOU HEART IS BREAKING

Nellie the lurcher. She got a bit twitchy when she saw Mum pack her bags and spent last night pacing the flat then when we got up this morning she was glued to Mums bags displaying her doleful eye.

 

I took a different approach as my dogs are 15 and 13 respectively if I had said goodbye to them it would have taken 2 hours and involved a lot of wailing and snottering so I gave them a biscuit a cursory scratch on the head and  they walked off rewarding me with a lazy wag.

GOODBYE CRUEL WOMAN
GOODBYE CRUEL WOMAN

As they disappeared off into a bushI ran in and gathered the next armful of extraneous goods to stuff into the boot before leaving the flat for the last time tears threatening.

 

For those considering taking a car. First revelation.

 

Travelling across Europe by car is a joy. No one to winge about the size of your cases or the number you have of them. So we have spread out…..there’s just us and over the boot and back seats we have:

  1. The Library; Selection of books to read on the road. Travel books, thrillers, sci-fi-romance, history it’s all in there. NO WE DON’T HAVE A KINDLE and NOW WE DONT WANT ONE.
  2. The larder. Food for stuffing into the face in times of desperation which we plundered on day 1 more details to follow…..
  3. The digital radio – yes I must have @BBC6music at all times when in transit
  4. The footwear. Shoes, flip flops, trainers, wellies, boots, flippers.
  5. The rumbley rolls of clothing. Warm stuff, sandy, old summer stuff, winter stuff, spring and Autumn stuff – fully prepared for all eventualities.
  6. The drugs. Not illegal ones but the ones you end up accumulating. Ibuprofen, aspirin, paracetamol, a couple of back supports as my back as been chronic recently, vitamins, Nytol for the insomnia and then Mums array of stuff for blood pressure. I wonder when you see Posh Spice (Yes I still call her that) swashbuckling through Heathrow with all her bags if they are filled with Berocca and painkillers in case of a cracking hangover after a wild night out with Gordon Ramsay and his wife Tana.

But seriously to the untrained health freak we probably look like a couple of dealers. There are a serious number of bottles with pills in them in the boot. I hope we don’t get stopped at customs.

  1. Shampoo. I ordered it twice by mistake on Amazon and thus have 12 bottles of shampoo in the car which we can sell if we run out of money, or petrol, or the will to carry them round Europe.
  2. Lotions and Potions required for maintenance. This is a biggie.

You know the sort of things Cleanser. Moisturise, Veet, conditioner, body moisturiser, deodorant, anti-pespirant, perfume, my make – up which we did consider putting in a separate trailer. Mums make up – pictured. Is slightly less high maintenance.

 

Electronics:

Laptop. Phone. Chargers. Camera. Batteries.

Vital equipment: Maps. Addresses of where we are going. Instruction on how to use the Sat Nav.

By now there is barely enough room for Mum and I.

 

If it doesn’t just burst I will report back tomorrow…..

 
Hasta La Manana

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot and steamy rumour for Edinburgh’s West End

Hello? How can I assist you SIr?
Hello? How can I assist you Sir?

So I hear a sauna is opening in the west end of Edinburgh on Queensferry Street? Is this a rumour or is it true.? And what kind of sauna I wonder. A sauna where we all meander in and out openly in towelling dressing gowns and slippers with whale music in the background or a more closed down, surrepticious, run round the back with a bag over your head and muffled gruntings emanating from rooms type of affair.

 

Only time – and the press – will tell.

High Visibility Pillock Spotted In Mirror. Me.

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So the road trip plan is going on – and on – and on. I am the culprit. I could organise I piss up in a brewery but other than that organising anything confuses my brain completely.

I need to drive from Edinburgh to Barcelona by car.

I can’t fly. It’s not that I don’t want to. I can’t so I have no choice.

So I look at the map.

I can see where I am and where I want to go but how do you plan it?
How do you know where to stop?

When to stop?
How many miles you can realistically drive on a day to day in a right hand drive car in France or Spain?

A pal told me I need a breathalyser – thanks I said – no he meant legally in France you must have two in the car. Oh. OK

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Also on the list are two high viz jackets.
Where do you get those? I said arriving to buy some tea lights from IKEA and instantly stumbling into a huge pile of high viz jackets for about 90p each. Weird.

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But as it’s IKEA not only is it weird – its a bargain.

Though I do get distracted with why one earth do IKEa sell high viz jackets?

Is it  for people who fall asleep half way through building a flat pack so their family don’t trip over their  prone exhausted  bodies as they go about their business. Anyway it was a happy coincidence whatever the reason.

So I bought 2 for me and 2 for him and so he got the breathalysers so all we need now is the route.

Even the drive to Dover is confusing.

Drive all the way in a day or stop over somewhere and if so where?

Or get a ferry from Newcastle?

And so it goes on so prevarication wins out as usual.

Speaking of which it’s Good Friday – Happy Easter – I am off to stuff my chops with chocolate eggs in the hope the rush of sugar to the brain will effect a shift in my capacity to plan…