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Friday, 24 September 2010

Getting a bit like autumn now, but at least an excuse to change to big snuggly winter-weight duvet.  Our cat Minnie is very pleased, and it means she can no longer claw our toes as through the lighter version.  She is now 17+ but cheerful and well, especially after her latest steroid injection which stimulates her appetite and stops her wretched allergy problems (grass mites apparently, and possibly house dust - but surely none here?).

About to finish my next fortnightly script for Eastleigh Talking News.  Some interesting things happening in the area, which makes it easier to fill the 30 or so pages of cuttings/printouts required each time.  Every one has to be edited, and I put the info in sections - business, fundraising, crime, health etc.  It takes ages each time but seems a rewarding thing to do as my 'voluntary job'.  We are about to change from tapes to memory sticks, which may require a different approach - editors' meeting tomorrow to discuss.

My brother and his wife came down for a day and a night; we visited our largest local garden centre which was fun and productive.  I am into these scented-oil-and-infuser-sticks things; the front room is sweet pea and the hall is lavender.

Spent a good day in Portsmouth's Gunwharf Quays shopping centre.  Came away with a set of four Viners saucepans and matching frying pan, with the outsides of them all a delightful lime green, my favourite and the colour of almost everything in the kitchen.  Never thought pans could be so much fun.  Keep looking at them - how sad is that.

Why does Matalan not stock the enticing owl fake fur jacket featured in Good Housekeeping mag?

Little writing done since last time, though waiting for responses from two magazines that expressed an interest.  If they respond positively to a pitch, it's make-or-break time for the writing of the piece.  Not sure whether to hassle them - could be counterproductive.

My most recent article on is for an easy vegetarian pasta meal for students on a budget.  This is likely to be the reason why I suddenly made 41 cents a couple of days ago - all those students clicking on the ads.  I note the highest earner on the site, who makes about $2000 a month, writes on campus life - she is a north American tutor and lecturer so I guess all her students respond.  I shall therefore concentrate on student stuff - study skills, student food, relationships - for a bit, apart from one piece in progress on the artist Stanley Spencer.

Question of the day:  Why do so many people sniff?

Monday, 13 September 2010

Just a quick one (actually two).  Really pleased to gain first place for a 500-word non-fiction piece and also for a non-rhyming poem in the Writing Buddies anthology competition.  A second place for my one-act ten-minute drama.  These will be included in the forthcoming anthology, but don't worry, family - I shan't shower you with copies.  Gained a 'highly commended' for biog of artist Dora Carrington, too, which has been edited down and published on suite101.

Talking of which, I have now made up a page on my website ( to list sample titles of my articles on - they are found by searching for Jacqueline Pye and checking 'writers'.  This is mainly for possible markets for my features where more details of what I write might be of interest.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Pleased to get tickets to see Rich Hall at The Point, Eastleigh in November - done this before and found really funny.  Also booked for a couple of other films, Inception and Made in Dagenham.

Another good day out with son Jeremy and family - met at the Horniman museum which has a very nice sea creatures exhibition including my favourite, jellyfish.  Then a walk around Dulwich Park (mile or so) and lunch at Pizza Express.  Shrieking children (other people's), but excellent lunch.  Then over to their place for the afternoon.  Excited to meet their two new kittens - each very like our own (17-year-old) Minnie, and adorably playful and cute.  Both curled up happily on John's lap so couldn't possibly be disturbed.

Another enjoyable and interesting Writing Buddies meeting; the necessary cheques have been paid out and the books balanced to show - we hope - enough funds to pay for set-up of the anthology itself.  Judgments have already been made, but no-one except the organiser and secretary know them.  Grrr.  John is coming to the next meeting where results will be announced - he doesn't know whether to bring champagne or Kleenex.

Food corner: have since dined at the South Garden Chinese Restaurant (Sunday buffet - delectable), and Coriander Lounge, both firm favourites.  Chinese place in Southampton has changed hands and reopened as the Royal Wok - enjoyable lunch though the only vegetarian dish on the special menu is mixed vegetables.  The odd cashew nut or piece of tofu would have been nice, but these are only on the main menu.  Next time, I think.  Lunch on the Isle of Wight was at our favourite, Olivo (Ryde, but also Newport), where they adapted their goats' cheese salad for me.

Spent a happy afternoon at Mottisfont Abbey and House; an amazing art collection and some trompe l'oeuil artwork by Whistler.

Have now met with a kinesiologist at the Ashtara Centre about my food problems; she agreed I was very reactive to wheat but also warns mildly against wine (ouch), strawberries (oh no), oats (bye bye home-made granola), mushrooms (I 'heart' them), and tomatoes (several kilos in the fridge).  Even eggs got a bit of a sideways look.  It's an amazing system - you can feel the different reactions in the muscles.  I'll continue absolutely wheat-free (not hard these days) - already feel benefits including less appetite, starting to lose weight, rings looser on fingers - and keep mainly off the other offenders.

Horse goes into a bar; barman asks, "Why the long face?".