Sunday, 18 April 2010

(Nearly) Perfect Weekend

Helloooo! It is a gorgeous day here in Bath, bright hot sunshine, and clear blue skies. Have had to come in for a bit actually, as I can feel my skin tingling from the sun.
I've had a fab weekend so far. Yesterday, eldest daughter and I started the day with a morning run as we are both training for this summer's Race For Life. Well, I say we are 'both' training, but she could probably run it backwards with a a few bricks strapped to her back, she is already so fit and speedy. We had our first practice run last week and it ended up being quite embarrassing, with her streaking ahead, stopping every now and then to shout, "Come on, Mum, hurry up!" while I was wheezing and panting in her wake. Yesterday was better although there were still a few 'face like a tomato' comments from all three kids when we got back. Daughter, of course, still fresh as a daisy. "Mum, I think maybe you should do some training on your own before we go out again," she said. Yes, all right, all right!

Anyway, once I'd got that out of the way, we drove to my mother-in-law's house for lunch... and then drove back, sans enfants! Yes, for the first time in almost two years (since our two-day honeymoon in fact), Lovely Husband and I had a night away from the kids. Hurrah! Obviously I do adore them and love them and treasure them but ooohhh... a night off... BLISS. Particularly weird to be having a night off here in Bath - never done that before. Not just the not-needing-a-babysitter thing, but also, having the house empty when we got back. Empty bedrooms. No little snores. No pattering feet (and bellowing arguments) in the morning either. But anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.

As if the no-kids thing wasn't exciting enough, we'd only gone and booked ourselves onto a hot air balloon flight. Yes! I know! And it wasn't raining or anything! The balloon took off from Victoria Park and I must confess, I hadn't really thought about the mechanics of how it would all work, I kind of assumed we'd just rock up to the park, scramble into a basket and off we'd float. But no. There were 16 of us who were going on the flight and first of all we had to unroll the balloon, so that it was spread right out on the grass. Then he picked some volunteers, two to hold the 'crown lines' whatever they were, at the top of the balloon, two to hold open the balloon as it was filled with air, and two to operate the fans, which blew in the air to inflate it.
I was picked to hold one side of the balloon's 'mouth' open which involved wearing some huge red suede gloves(nice), then standing on one of the cables at the base of the balloon and holding up some of the opening. A guy was on the other side doing the same thing, so that between us we had made a rectangle opening. (are you with me so far?) It was really hard work with the fans blasting out the air and the balloon pulling me about (especially my foot), and then even harder once the flame burner thingy went on and started shooting hot air into the balloon. (You can tell I am a scientist at heart, can't you? Just so technical with my details.) It was so cool watching it inflate though. The pilot walked right into the balloon and was checking strings and cables and things inside, and I could peer around the edge to watch him. It was such a beautiful piece of engineering, like looking into an amazing building, a huge concert hall or arena.
Once the balloon was full, we had to climb quickly into the basket (the balloon won't wait for you, you know!) and then we lifted off surprisingly fast. There was barely any breeze so we drifted really slowly over the centre of Bath, which I didn't mind at all actually, as I loved looking down, trying to identify all the crescents and hills... and our road, and the kids' school! Because there weren't any planes flying, we had permission to fly higher than usual, up to 3,000ft so that we could catch some breeze. It was so quiet up there, so dreamily peaceful, looking down on the rest of the world.
We cruised slowly along for an hour or so before finally landing in a field to the surprise of some fighting pheasants, then having some champagne. One of those really really memorable experiences. Then phoned the kids to say goodnight and my 7-year-old asked, "Did you see the ash cloud?" He sounded really disappointed when my husband told him no, we hadn't actually gone that high!

The kids are due back in half an hour... I can't wait to see them. Apparently they have been 'little angels' for Grandma. Just time for a last sunbathe/Sunday paper sesh before they come home. Hope you've all had a good weekend too x

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Happy holidays

Almost at the end of the school holidays unfortunately... have had a really lovely, chilled fortnight. So nice to have sunshine after the long, cold winter... we have had the paddling pool out in the garden and even the barbecue which has been fab. Bought the barbecue last summer but didn't get to use it once, so it was good to christen it with a few sausages at long last!

Unfortunately, there hasn't been a huge amount of writing done recently. Novel 5 is now up to 57,000 words and I have been tearing my hair out over it - getting tangled up in different storylines and probably trying to pack too much in. Fingers crossed it all comes right in the second draft. May have to wield the red pen and scalpel to knock it into shape.

Much more exciting is the fact that Sweet Temptation is off at the printers... yay! German and Dutch rights have been sold already which is brilliant news. Hurrah! I really can't wait to see finished copies now... it is just the best bit of the whole process when the box arrives and you get to hold an actual copy of your book in your hands for the very first time. And with a bit of luck, seeing them will inspire me to finish the next book... here's hoping!