Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cake, bunting and a giveaway

Life News:

Yesterday's baking extravaganza was a brave attempt at Grasshopper Cake - i.e. chocolate cake with a peppermint fondant icing. As my cake mixture has been proving a little dry in the new oven, I added a dessert spoon of mayonnaise, and it's worked a treat. All perfectly moist now. Mind you, with one small success comes a little failure - the icing didn't really work, and what you see in the picture isn't at all how it looks in the book. Not sure what I did wrong - but at least it tastes okay. The peppermint gives a nice edge to the rich chocolate cake, which I like. Next week it's the turn of Boston Cream Pie, so watch this space ...

Other excitements of the week are that we're planning a Jubilee party in the road, so I've ordered a job-lot of Jubilee bunting for the occasion. Hey, maybe I should make a cake, but goodness knows what.

Yesterday, I was planning to attend a day's Introduction to Contemplative Prayer with the local church, but sadly that had to be cancelled, but I'm hoping we can still get to do it later on. Silence is so wonderful. Instead K and I visited the Festival of Tulips at Dunsborough Park Gardens. I don't think it was as good as the last time we went - I suspect the weather has held the poor tulips back, but some of them were out, at least.

On the way back we popped into the Wisley plant shop and bought two skimmias, four wallflowers, six chrysanthemums and one monkshood - which, dodging the raindrops, we've planted out this afternoon. I also took the opportunity to prune (i.e. hack down to manageable proportions) the forsythia against the front fence as it was utterly out of control. Much to our delight we found a plant underneath it we hadn't known was there as it was hidden in the forsythia branches. Goodness knows what it is, but at least it will get some sunlight now. Um, if there is some ...

And, oh joy and rapture unforeseen, the azalea in the shrubbery has a wonderful scattering of pink buds on it so can't wait for those to come out. It's going to be quite something, I think.

This morning, K and I attended our first Mattins at church and very nice it was too. I could have done with one or two fewer hymns, frankly, but chanting the psalms is really the perfect way to start any day. In my opinion.

Meanwhile, I've grasped the technological nettle and linked my Nectar card to my British Gas account. Mind you, the amount we appear to be paying British Gas, we should be able to earn enough Nectar points to get a Caribbean island any day now.

Book News:

Don't forget - today is the LAST day to enter the FREE giveaway LibraryThing competition for fantasy novel The Gifting. So far 67 people have entered, and I'm hoping that somehow we can get to 70 by the end of the competition. Only three people to go. All help with this is greatly appreciated!

This week, I've also sent back the first round of edits for gay menage short story The Delaneys at Home to Amber Allure. It's due out on 3 June, so not long to go now. At the same time, I'm working on an office-based gay short story I'm hoping to submit to Riptide Publishing by the summer. Trouble is it seems my main character, Alan, has a mind of his own - I wanted him to be dark and dangerous, but he's fighting back as he'd rather be quirky and wry. Goodness knows how I'm going to work that into my planned-for plot line, but I'd best go along with it for the moment and see where he takes me. Ah, the joys of writing, eh. The author is always the last person to know just what the heck is going on, dammit.

My most recent meditation poem is:

Meditation 647

This morning sun
and silence

are a setting
and a space

for the cuckoo’s
soft call:

the promise of spring
and its dying fall.

Which is cunningly linked with my Sunday haiku:

The cuckoo's soft song
drifts over these morning fields,
announcing the sun.

Anne Brooke
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK

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