Saturday, January 29, 2011

And the Tea Stains 4th birthday giveaway winners are…

As adjudicated by Husband and Son.... in no special order....

Congratulations to the winners. Please send me your postal address so that I can send you your prize (when I've purchased them.) Thanks for the birthday wishes from everyone and commiserations if you didn't win.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Photo Extravaganza

Yesterday a group of us went to Koh Kret or Pottery Island. My journey was a taxi, two skytrains, a boat, a coach, another boat and then a bicycle around the island. I took loads of pictures and couldn't edit them down any further than this selection.

We had a lovely day. Thanks Kate for organising it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Tea Stains!

Well, I jolly nearly missed that, what with all the hard work, wild dreams and food obsessing.

But I'm very pleased to announce that Tea Stains is four years old today. And as well as sharing tea and cup cakes (do try; they're wheat free) to all readers I'm going to have a blog birthday giveaway.

There will be a mystery prize (probably of a Thai flavour unless you live in Thailand) for four winners - one for each year that I've been blogging.

All you have to do is leave a comment or email me at 4pmteatime (at) gmail (dot) com to say you'd like to be entered into the birthday draw. You will have to be prepared to give me a delivery address if your name is picked out of the hat. I will send prizes any where in the world (I hate being excluded because I live in Thailand; it's just not right.)

Do please pass the details on; the more the merrier. You have until Thursday 27 January to register your interest.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Here I am


Is there anyone there?

I thought I’d pop by to let Facebook friends know that despite an unhealthy interest in making statuses about cashew nuts, I am okay. I’m working hard. When I went to the cupboard this morning for a handful of cashew nuts to eat with my tea I was quite shocked at how few were left. I emailed Husband to ask (hopefully) if he’d been helping me out by eating them; sadly he confirmed that he didn’t like cashews unroasted and any consumption into the family pack of nuts in the cupboard will have been me. Eeek.

Anyway, the good news is that I’ve finished them tonight. I just need the strength not to buy anymore.

Along with having cashew control problems I’ve been having mad dreams. They started a couple of weeks ago.

One dream involved being bitten by a snake. Its fangs hung on the fleshy skin between my thumb and my forefinger and I was upset and worried that it would fall off and I wouldn’t remember what kind of snake had bitten me. The biting took place opposite Emporium, a mall in Bangkok and then the scene cut to London where I was wandering through the streets trying but failing to find the railway station to take me to the hospital.

Last night I had a dream that a cult was trying to recruit me.

But the weirdest one was nearly three weeks ago just as I started working on the novel. Husband was pregnant and he delivered two babies and then several weeks later he delivered the other four. In the dream I didn’t take much notice of the first two: I think our existing children and their cousins were ‘looking after’ them. I found the babies under a bed when Husband delivered the other four and I knew then that I had to start looking after them. I had the strongest feeling even in my dream state about these six babies. I knew they would be loved and I’d do what I had to do but the sense of disappointment I felt that I wouldn’t be able to finish my novel was so palpable.

Anyway I probably haven’t reassured any of you that I’m okay. I probably should’ve kept quiet about the weird dreams and cashew nut fetish… but you know I’m not getting out much at the moment.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Not a Friday Photo

I’ve failed already in my ‘resolution’ to be a better blogger this year. Still, I might be on target with remembering family birthdays, which is my other hope for the year. (I know it's only 14th January and there's plenty of time to cock up but I've just bought cards for the first two. Last year I'd failed by the 26 January!)

I don’t believe in New Year resolutions: I reckon the moment of recognition (that something needs to be changed) can come at any time and when it hits you in the head… that’s the best moment to resolve to change. So, so easily said…. Not so easily stuck to….

I know it’s Friday and I should post a Friday photo but I haven’t got one that inspires me. I toyed with posting a photograph of me with my head down but I started to worry about the chins it might produce.

Anyway, that’s the reason I’m such a bad blogger: I am working on my draft.

Posting might be a bit sporadic here for a while.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Made to measure views

So I promised photos of the apartment some time ago. This isn't quite photos of the whole place but here's my office. It's alright, isn't it?

But yes, that is a brick wall I look out on.

Back in the summer, before I'd even seen our new apartment, I was at an Arvon course outside Inverness - at Moniack Mhor. This was the view from my window. I made a joke that I wanted to paste the view up on my window when I got to Bangkok. Ha; I had no idea that unless I wanted to look out on concrete I REALLY would need to stick up a picture.

All I needed to do was blow up my digital image onto really large photo paper and I could have Scotland outside my window. Voila:

Then I got to thinking.... I could do a few - dependent on my mood. It's a sunflowers in Lopburi kind of day today:

Tomorrow I might be homesick. Let's have Kent in July:

How about back to Asia? How about Kuala Lumpur at night:

Oh HOW much fun can we have here? Hastings beach anyone? With killer seagull...

Right; okay. I think it's time to go back to work now. Head down...

Monday, January 03, 2011

You're doing WHAT with those teaspoons?

I've designated today a day of dreaming.

I've had my head down in my novel for about five days now. I have made some progress but I woke this morning feeling overwhelmed. Where am I? What needs doing? What doesn't need doing?

After my week in KL I made a list of things that occurred to me after reading the whole book through. I brought it along with me on my dreaming/thinking outing because I hoped it would show me where I felt I was. I have four headings:

1. What's irritating
2. What's not working
3. What scenes I need to write

And then because I ran out of space:

4. What's not working 2.

This is what I wrote under the heading What's irritating:

• M fleeing into the garden
• M going off to reflect
• M being unable to go into the studio. HOW MANY TIMES?
• People doing minute actions with teaspoons and things.

It hasn't made me feel any more confident that I know where I'm going but it gave me a good laugh.

What are my characters doing with all those teaspoons?

So I've come out (to Starbucks) to think. I'm asking myself what did I want (originally) Polite Lies to be? What was the essence of this story? Have I lost all of that along the way?

I've written down what I wanted it to be when I began. I've written down some questions I need answers to in the hope that I can move closer to the original idea again And now that I've laughed at myself I feel less panicky and the next step is to give the dreaming a go. And the best way to expedite that is to go off and get a foot massage.

So that's what I plan to do...'perchance to dream.'

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Hulahooping into 2011

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2011.

There are no hangovers in the Beattie residence today.

During yesterday afternoon Husband dragged me out of the house to prevent from feeding my manuscript through the shredding machine. He bought me some stationery, some chocolate and two hula-hoops and then we went to Starbucks.

When we got home I resolutely refused to look at my novel. Instead we got out the hula hoops.

We had a lovely quiet family New Year, watching National Treasure films, eating satsumas and then watching the panorama of fireworks from our balcony.