Discover my sagas and cosy crimes

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Garden, June 2013

It's late June and our gardens at the back and front of the house are stunning. 

Loads of colour - loads of life.

As a child, I dreamed that when I grew up I'd have a garden like the one in the nursery ryhme 'Mary, Mary, quite contrary' and indeed now I do. I have silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row. 

Well, no not really. I don't have anything in a row. apart from my leeks. There are no places for rows in a flower garden, the messier and more cottage-garden like, the better.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Coronation Street Weekly Update, June 30 2013

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here

This week in the Corrie weekly updates, King Solomon tried to cut a baby in half.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Coversations on the bus

I like travelling by bus and have a favourite seat. One of the joys of bus travel is overhearing other people's conversations.  Well, when they're sat right beside you, or behind you, you simply have no choice but to ear-wig.

Yesterday, two old men in flat caps and anoraks got on and sat behind me. The bus trundled past the huge - I mean huge - and somewhat controversial new Tesco Extra supermarket on the outskirts of town.

Gadgee 1: Have you been to that new Tesco?
Gadgee 2: No, I don't like Tesco.
Gadgee 2: Have you been to that new Tesco?
Gadgee 1: No, I don't like Tesco either.
Gadgee 2: Has Tom been to that new Tesco?
Gadgee 1: No, Tom's not been to Tesco. Tom doesn't like Tesco.

So there you have it, a trio of Tesco disapprovals, and I'm not fond either.

Mind you, it's not as good a bus conversation as my husband had with an old lady on the bus the other week.

He took out his novel and started reading it and she struck up a conversation with him, chatting on about how much she enjoyed reading too.

"What's that book about then, son?" she asked, peering at the cover of the novel he had in his hand, as he racked his brains to think how he'd describe Skagboys by Irvine Welsh to a somehwat frail and genteel pensioner...
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sneak peek vs Sneak peak

Courtesy of the Blundermum Blog,
here is a picture of a sneak peak. 
I feel like I'm on a one-woman mission to rid the twittersphere of people typing 'sneak peak' when it should be 'sneak peek'.   

It's the media companies and journalists who are the worst offenders.  

It's peek, people, peek.  

How hard can it be?  Grrr.  Rant over.
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Coronation Street Weekly Update, June 23 2013

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here

This week in the Corrie weekly updates, Spider got a mention - not once, but twice!

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Foghorn Requiem

To Souter Lighthouse in Whitburn, South Tyneside for an event with a difference today - the Foghorn Requiem.

I never thought I'd get as emotional as I did but when the foghorn died at the end of the requiem. All the boats tooted their horns and the band played their final farewell, all lined up along the cliff top, a little lump crept into my throat. 

Had to go to the pub and have a little drinkie to raise a glass to the dead foghorn, well, it's what he would have wanted.
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

The Glasgow Rose

To Glasgow this week for a day of artwork on the trail of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

And what a day it was.

Starting point was The Mackintosh House at the Hunterian, University of Glasgow.  You'll have to take my word for it that it was as beautiful and gob-smackingly stunning as I'd hoped it would be, because we weren't allowed to take photos.  But my expression on seeing it all was something like this:

Then a short walk through Glasgow University's campus to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to see a collection of art and design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh.   Again, no photos were allowed but it was stunning, absolutely incredible stuff and I looked a little like this:

Stop number three was the Scotland Street School Museum designed by Mackintosh and well worth a visit. This time, photos were allowed and so I took plenty.  All photos below are my own.

From there it was back on the subway to the jewel in the Mackintosh crown, the Glasgow School of Art with a paid guided tour that was worth every penny.  Taking photos wasn't allowed inside the building so here's one of the main entrance.  But, take my word for it that inside the building is well worth a look.

From there it was a walk to the Willow Tea Rooms but as we arrived only five minutes before they were due to close, we didn't take tea, or any photos.   Then onto The Lighthouse, home to the Mackintosh Centre but as it was just about to close, we didn't climb the Mackintosh designed tower for panoramic views over Glasgow. Not that I would have if I could have, mind you, as I'm frightened of heights.

Seven hours in a city with so much to see was simply not enough. A return visit to Glasgow is planned.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Coronation Street Weekly Update, June 16 2013

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here

This week in the Corrie weekly updates, detective Dev turned Corrie Colombo.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Making glass coasters by the coast

To the National Glass Centre on the banks of the Wear in Sunderland for a glass coaster making class.  Now then, I'm a writer, I'm a blogger. I get creative with words, it's what I do; it's who I am.  What I'm not is an artist so bear with me when you see some of the pictures below. If some of my artwork looks a bit rough and ready, that's because it is  While I can weave words with ease, I haven't got the slightest bit of artist within.  I don't do design, I can't create in that way, I ain't arty. And so that's why I was like a kid with a new toy taking part in this glass class because it was way out of my comfort zone.

The photos below are all mine, taken on the day with permission from the tutor.   Here we go with the tools of the trade needed to get started - cutting, tracing, preparing, slicing.

We started by designing stencils to work with. To help prepare in advance, I'd already found some stencils online that I liked and printed out to take along.  I loved this Mackintosh-esque tile but didn't know how easy it would be for a complete beginner like me to transfer to glass. 

We started off by outlining the bits of the stencil to cut out with knives...

... which sounds easy unless you're not used to cutting shapes with knives - the pressure from the cutting knife made my finger bleed - but fortunately we had plasters! 

Spurred on by cutting out one stencil, I thought I'd give another one a go and went for a more intricate butterfly stencil. The idea was that we would make four coasters.  We could create four different designs, four the same or two of each.

Here's a butterfly stencil I'd found online and had printed off to take along to the class.  I'm pleased I found the stencils in advance because it meant I could start cutting and preparing straight away and had an idea of what I was aiming to achieve.

And here's my work area with my two stencils cut out ready for the next step.

And now the fun begins.  These jars contain the coloured powder we used to add colour to the stencil.   Wearing face-maks and using tiny sieves, we put a layer of white powder all over the base of a glass square, which had already been cut into the right size for us by the tutor.

Putting the coloured powder on was tricky, it took a lot of patience and a very steady hand - neither of which I have!  What I did have was another plaster on my finger after catchng my skin on a corner of the glass. Oh dear.

Anyway, we sieved coloured powder onto the glass through holes in the stencil we'd cut out.   Then we put another little bit of glass on top of our work 'sandwiching' the coloured powder between two small plates of glass.
Here are the four coasters I made, all lined up in the kiln.  I used the Mackintosh-esque stencil three times with different colours around the red rose in the centre, and used the butterfly stencil just once.

The coasters were left at the National Glass Centre to be fired in the kiln and we collected them a couple of days later - and here are my coasters in all their glory. 

I'm very tempted to return for another glass coaster making class as I now know some of the techniques, I'll be better prepared and use the skills I learned in that first session to make something that looks even better. 

Ok, so my first attempt at glass coasters... well, they aren't perfect but they're mine! And for a first attempt at doing anything like this, I'm over the moon with my work. 
I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Coronation Street Weekly Update, June 8 2013

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here

This week in the Corrie weekly updates, it all went a bit deedle eedle deedle eedle deedle um.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Haway to the heritage

There's a heck of a lot going on in Sunderland this summer - have a look here and here.  And while the big guns are out on the sea front, the Stadium of Light, Mowbray Park with all kinds of great stuff going on, it's often the little things, the quiet things that I like the best.

Here's one of them.

If you're interested in the history and heritage of Sunderland, you might like this event which is taking place this weekend - June 8 and 9 2013. It's the Heritage Open Weekend and takes place at the Sunderland Antiquarian and Heritage Centre on Douro Terrace in sunny Sunderland. 

For more information check out

And if Sunderland history and heritage floats your boat, you might want to have a look at this.

I'm on twitter @flaming_nora

Monday, June 03, 2013

Sunderland Big Bike Ride 2013

If anyone had told me a couple of years ago that I'd be a happy cyclist, I'd have laughed in their faces and took their beer away from them as clearly they wouldn't have been right in the head. Either that, or it was said by someone who didn't know me very well.

And if anyone had told me a couple of years ago that not only would I be a happy cyclist, but that I'd be cycling in to work and back on a regular basis (as long as it was dry and sunny) and I'd have taken part in not one, but two, Sunderland Big Bike Rides, well, I wouldn't have believed them.

But, dear reader, all of it came true. 

This weekend I rode 27.5 miles in the Sunderland Big Bike Ride 2013,  raised £175 for the charity Cancer Research UK.  There's a picture of me in the Big Bike Ride photo album on the Sunderland Council facebook page so if you know me, you'll find me there.

Obviously, the picture on this blog post isn't me. It's a stock image, copyright free. But it's how cycling makes me feel. And yes, I did take my feet off the pedals yesterday, swung them out to the side and let out a very long "wheeeee...eeee...eeeee" - when no-one was looking, of course.

Read about my first experience of the Sunderland Big Bike Ride 2012

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Coronation Street Weekly Update, May 31 2013

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here

This week in the Corrie weekly updates, I make a small change after 18 years.
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