Thursday, 26 February 2009


One of the hardest words to put into practice.

Why is it some days I can be incredibly disciplined and other days it totally alludes me?  Is it to do with my bio-rhythms, moon phases or inner clock cycle; the recent programme on the inner clock was fascinating and although I learned a lot about the theory of the body clock like the most productive times of the day, applying it with any degree of success is an entirely different matter. Still, I press on fighting against the desire to just get out and have fun and fresh air.  It is the dormant sportswomen in me fighting to rise to the surface. 

In an attempt to retain some degree of discipline, knowing I have a mountain of things I need to tackle, I am going to take a leaf out of Brian Keaney's book and plan to walk one mile at a time until I get there.  So for today anyway I will make a start, Rosie over and out.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

I have resisted the temptation

My Arvonite friends would have been proud of me today, in particular Roger.  On account of resisting the temptation to press the add to basket button on my Amazon account as the also recommends button appeared, whilst ordering from my intended shopping list.

I had my fingers, or rather my wallet, badly torched in the autumn. I was ordering a couple of screenwriting books including one on philosophy, when half way through the order the little bell on Amazon's till dinged and shouted 'buy me Sucker' as it recommended a book of writing inspiration. Clearly the warehouseman who waits patiently for my orders, decided I must be in one of my low boredom threshold moods, so he wapped me with a list of recommendations that took me to places I didn't even know existed; including Indian chants for the creative soul, I resisted.  However, I ordered said book which initially promised to inject me with enthusiasm, inspiration, writing tips and insights into good writing and also promised to swell the coffers of the author; a writer of articles, reviews, short stories and two novels!  I bought it on the basis that she must know a thing or two as she pipped me by two novels on the writing hierarchy ladder.  Little did I know, I was about to be duped.

I waited with anticipation.  This was going to be the book that laid the golden egg.  In fact, when it arrived and I read the contents, it was full of famous writers' quotes.  I had spent all that fekking money to have a list of famous peoples quotes, which I could have downloaded for free from the Internet.  I shan't name the book on the grounds that I need to hang on to my depleted greenbacks, and with the reunion looming I am not prepared to defend a law suit.  I am delighted to say that the money wasn't totally wasted, as it created some degree of hilarity in a barn in Devon as the author was savagely ripped to shreds.  The main learning point of the book was 'Don't think, just write'.  Sage advice maybe, but personally I would quite like to think and write at the same time; after all I am a woman, I can multi task and get a casserole in the oven at the same time!  The hour I spent thumbing through her book, damn I have revealed the author's gender, might have been put to better use... like writing.  Note to self... just bloomin get on and write...

It is the doing that eventually turns us into writers, not the procrastination.  The law of averages means the more we produce, the more we learn about ourselves as writers and hopefully in time, the better we will become.  What is inspiration for one, may well be the Nightmare on Elm Street for another.  

For those suffering from post traumatic stress, where maybe your centre has been thrown off kilter, there is a place of peace and creative realignment called 'Heartspring' in Wales.  Not as spartan as a monastic retreat but nonetheless a spiritual retreat.  More things to take you away from writing or more opportunities to reintroduce you to your inner voice, possibly a reconnection with your own soul.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Larkrise to Candleford

Like all compelling stories, it is the characters who are at the heart of the piece who reel us in, hold us in the palm of their hand and ensure we become transfixed and addicted.  I am embarrassed to say, that it has almost become a religion. A costume drama soap to please on every level.  Perfectly cast, perfectly acted, perfectly adapted and not one character is colourless. The post office is the Rovers Return or The Queen Vic but with much more charm and intrigue. The ensemble piece is a lesson in the seamless weaving of narrative content, without loosing a sense of time or purpose.  My only regret is that I know it must end, albeit for a season.  It might be a bit of romantic intrigue and nonsense, but on a personal note I love it.

BBC and other broadcasters, more good drama please over pointless reality shows.  Ahhhh, Monday tomorrow only six more days to go.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Fondue strikes again

They say imitation is the biggest form of flattery, I will take it as a compliment therefore, that The One Show chose to feature Fondue as an open discussion point tonight with the two Masterchef judges.  Clearly they read my previous article on Fondue albeit not in sufficient detail. The thought of cooking meat in a vat of boiling oil placed on a table of ski resort combustible plastic cloths, where women and children gently cook whilst drunken men play out their 'Up Jenkins' drinking games within fireball distance, ensures my spleen is filled with bile and terror. Don't they know it should be court bouillon?  Oil?  The bloomin thing would be spitting globules of boiling fat at the nosy children as they poke their dear little faces literally within spitting distance of the oil vat.  Ye Gads... AND not one of those fondues on show (apart from the sample in the Swiss Restaurant) was the correct colour, consistency or I suspect flavour, of an excellent cheese fondue - and the bread was far too doughy.  Masterclass for the masterchefs... Rock on 1960's...

Rant over...

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Frostings from February

For my sins I have started planning my film networking event/party which I have moved to June this year.  Additional funding looks likely through a new Millennium source set up to help social entrepreneurs, which in turn will help all those who live and work in film across the Wessex region.  The event/party is a double edged sword as on the one hand I actually enjoy the planning and project management pulling together film agencies and organisations to provide support, funding or practical help for attendees and making new contacts who are as enthusiastic as I am about the event, yet on the other hand it takes me away from my writing as it is just one more thing in my life to be juggled.  Even though I fight against the project management side of what I do, I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame, clearly it is in my blood, my wings are often singed sometimes getting too close to the moving flame as I juggle specialists, organisations, venues, costs and marketing to try and make it a worthwhile experience for newcomers and previous attendees.  It is important that every year meets the increasing expectations of the burgeoning audience.  

Everyone in the business knows that you have to be proactive and keep pushing through the barriers that seem to present themselves at every opportunity.  The advantage and the reward of putting on such an event is the feedback and the news I receive often months after, from individuals or companies whose projects have benefited as a direct result of attending the networking party. Last year one documentary filmmaker received a finishing fund to complete her Indian documentary, one production company received further awards which has enabled them to expand their own documentary projects and a couple of actors have picked up work as a direct result of networking on the night.  One actor has been commissioned for a radio play, as well as being broadcast and cutting a demo tape for voice over work.  So all in all it is worthwhile, but it does mean I have yet another excuse to put my own projects on the back burner.  I vow this year to spread the load more by offering a part time opportunity for someone to help me manage some of the daily or weekly tasks involved with pulling the event together.  You see, even as I type and talk about the planning, I can feel the blood coursing through my veins in tune with the increased rhythm and beat of my heart.

The frosting came on Monday and I approached the quest to get to work with a real Gung Ho attitude. I was thwarted at the first hurdle even after slithering down my snow laden driveway, when at 7.30am I couldn't even join the log jammed traffic which snagged up and down my road.  I retreated back into the house, phoned work vowing to try again later, which I did at 9.10.  I left home enjoyed car free snow clear roads until one mile away when I hit a pocket of queuing traffic, abandoned cars and signs of earlier accidents.  The road had not been gritted and unbeknown to me at the time a major road, along my usual route to work, had been closed off.  With traffic at a standstill when it did eventually move again, it was was re-directed on a five mile detour.  I persevered determined to make it through the frosting of snow, thin by comparison to the six feet of snow Switzerland is usually blessed with every year and where I have not only visited every Winter since the age of eleven through to my mid thirties but also driven on the roads on numerous occasions too.  Fifty minutes later when I pulled back into my driveway, I had to admit defeat.  Some of my colleagues along different routes had taken up to three hours to get to work;  most live no more than nine miles from the workplace.  Given I only work two days a week, I was absolutely determined to get to work so Tuesday saw me leaving the house at 6.30am through a fresh fall of snow.  When I arrived at work at 7.10am with the snow still falling, I placed newspaper across my windscreen to ensure the anticipated heavy dump of snow, could be effortlessly peeled off at 7pm. They say pride comes before a fall; 4pm found me scraping it off the windscreen into a bin bag, kindly provided by our facilities manager, as a consistent stream of rain had ensured the paper turned to mush and with thoughts of a papier-mache abstract entry for the Turner Prize, I retreated to lick my wounds.  In fact I returned home at 11pm not because of the weather conditions but due to providing succour for family members.  I fell exhausted into my lovely bed and woke the next morning to find I could not have moved a muscle all through the night.

Thursday night was a fabulous night.  I was able to catch up with good friends at an art event as well as networking with some new and interesting folk.  I have allowed myself to be persuaded to go along to a music event at the end of the month.  The music group take over a pub in Poole for a private evening of music, singing, jamming and learning to play instruments; I have harboured a secret passion to be fluent and proficient in at least one of the many instruments I have sitting around the house, left over from when Jo lived at home.  The choice is  flute, violin, guitar, piano? As the piano is too big to lug down to the pub, I fancy learning the violin; Jo played perfectly, so I was rather spoilt as she never went through the 'resembles a screeching cat' stage, she was note and tune perfect from the start, as she was with the flute, guitar and piano.  Learning to play a musical instrument well, is on my ninety-nine things to do before I die list - watch this space.

Finally tonight, weather permitting, a friend will be coming around for a homemade curry.  He lives in the same village and can therefore walk along to me which is handy when he wends his way homeward.  We both share a passion for champagne, although I am not convinced shampoo and curry are a match made in heaven, something more robust to drink alongside it maybe.  We shall see.

Here in Dorset we are blessed with amazing weather, looking through the window in my office I am greeted by an air blue sky and the frozen crystals of snow are shining like gems.  After a deep sigh and a large intake of breath, I am wondering if curry is appropriate, maybe a fondue Chinoise would have been a better choice.

This recipe is simplicity itself, very easy to prepare with no fuss, it is a very sociable meal, a great icebreaker for sharing with new friends and could be used a starter with smaller quantities and without the potatoes.  Somehow snow and this meal are perfect partners.  If you don't drink the broth at the end, it is also very slimming.

Fondue Chinoise:
Serves two people

1 lb fillet steak cut into thin strips approximately the size of your forefinger and seasoned with salt, pepper and a scraping of Swiss, french or German mustard
Enough beef bouillon or stock to come three quarters of the way up your table fondue pan
A wine glass (4 oz) of Madeira or Marsala (saved for the end).

Heat the fondue pan containing the bouillon to simmering point
Spike your meat onto your fondue skewer dip, one at a time, into the pot and cook for no more than 1/2 minutes for rare or around 3 minutes for well done
Eat in between cooking
Keep repeating the process

NB:  Because fondue forks have coloured ends each person will know which is theirs

Serve with a glistening crisp green leaf salad including watercress, tossed in a mustard salad dressing and boiled potatoes with a dollop of unsalted butter and chopped parsley

When you have finished cooking all the strips, turn off the heat pour the remaining bouillon broth into a jug, add the Marsala or Madeira before serving in some heat proof glasses then all that is left to do is neck it back.  Bliss...
Happy Weekend...