Saturday, 29 August 2015

Furniture but no house!

In just over a week the builders will arrive on site! Hurrah! In the meantime I've been choosing flooring, scheduling plumbers and buying taps. I've also become slightly addicted to eBay which is a bit of a problem as I've run out of storage space. This week I bought two beautiful Ercol armchairs and a massive chest of drawers which just about fill the dining room. Then yesterday two more chairs arrived - a birthday gift from Mum and Dad - and, although they are meant for the garden, I've brought them in to the conservatory while I finish oiling them. I think the 'rents are now rather eager for the studio to be completed so they can have their house back!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Green Light!


Ready, steady... BUILD!
I've designed the kitchen, calculated U-values, sourced sockets, signed off the final plans and paid the deposit! We are ready to build on 14th September.
In the meantime I've got two books to write and illustrate, a holiday to take and an MA to prepare for!!!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Call Bomb Disposal!

Great excitement at the site this week. I raked up a 'bomb'. Well, something that was suspiciously bomb-like and therefore quite alarming.
I was tackling the dust bowl left by the weekend's excavation. Work on site will take a summer break before the proper build begins in September, so I was making the garden more summer-friendly by clearing stones and reseeding the lawn. I'd just begun raking when an object I thought was a root flipped over on the soil. I was about to yank it out and throw it in to the wheelbarrow with all the other roots until something made me paused. I had a bad feeling. 
A root is not metallic. A root does not bulge in the middle. A root doesn't have a perfectly smooth collar at one end. A root doesn't rust.
The bad feeling grew.
Better to be safe than sorry, I thought.
I called the police...
... who also thought it was suspicious. They emailed pictures. The recipient also thought it was suspicious. Mortar or cocktail shaker? Better to be safe than sorry. Warn the neighbours not to go in their gardens and call Bomb Disposal...
...who arrived (blue lights and sirens all the way from Aldershot) and took a look. They didn't know what it was either. After picking it up (carefully), peering at it, x-raying it and finally cleaning it up with a wire brush...
... It was decided that it WASN'T a bomb or a mortar or even a cocktail shaker. It was probably part of an electric motor.
Better to be safe than sorry, they said.
The cops were really disappointed. They were hoping for a controlled explosion!

Friday, 3 July 2015

Diggers!

I just realised it's been almost a month since my last post. I have an excuse. I've been super busy moving out of my cottage and doing someimportant ELECTRIGIRL stuff. The cottage sale negotiations are STILL ongoing (so I won't go there) but here, at 'the site', the first real work is about to begin.
Look! The digger has arrived!
They start work early tomorrow morning so I've been measuring the plot and painting new white guide lines on the grass. 

All the soil will be redistributed around the garden so we are all preparing ourselves for no lawn and lots of mud and dust for the rest of the year.
Poor Dad is upset about the loss of his lawn. What WILL he do with his weekends from now on?

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Retrospective


Moving to a new studio (eventually!) has made me look back on all the projects I have completed at Abinger Cottage. My first published books and many illustration commissions were created in my tiny second bedroom or on my renovated gate leg dining room table (that I'm about to put on eBay!).
It will be hard to leave the house where my characters were born; where Ember Fury's conversations with her invisible friend in a WW2 bomb shelter made me giggle 'til my sides ached; where I punched the air when Verity Fibbs escaped from two miserable goth assassins by driving over the Millenium Bridge; where Esther Armstrong and her brothers broke my heart and made me cry for hours. 
More recently, that (solid oak, great condition and yours for 99p) dining room table was where Jo Cotterill and I worked out some of our early ideas for ELECTRIGIRL, our exciting new collaboration (published Feb and Aug 2016 by OUP).
All this nostalgia deserves a retrospective, so here are the last 12 years in pictures...
...Ember, Ned and Finn set out on their 'adventure' (EMBER FURY, Headline 2009)...

...JP, Rip, Psycho and Taz about to get a serious fright (SCARLETT DEDD, Headline 2010)...

...JP and psycho making horror movies...

...My first three girls (with HEADLINE), Em, Scar and Vee...

...doing festivals (meeting Sarah McIntyre and many other author pals at Hay)...

...Northumberland National Park 2013...

...Esther making me cry (EVERYTHING IS FINE AND OTHER LIES I TELL MYSELF, Headline 2013)...

...and surfers in peril...

...Joe and his dangerous sketchbook (GRAPHIC, Barrington Stoke 2014)...

...Illustrating for some of my fave author friends like Karen McCombie (Barrington Stoke 2014)...

...twice (HONEY AND ME, Barrington Stoke 2015)...

...Michaela Morgan x4 (STAR SCHOOL, Edition Didier)...

...Melvin Burgess (PERSIST, Barrington Stoke 2015)...

...and my brilliant ELECTRIGIRL co-creator, Jo Cotterill.

More tomorrow...










Monday, 11 May 2015

The story so far...

Hedge planted...
Shed painted...
'Stumpery' filled with hostas and ferns...
New fence built...

Phew, no wonder I'm sleeping well!





Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Packing

I've been packing my life into cardboard boxes ready for the move.