Writer’s Digest – Saturday October 23, 2021

Spicer’s Clovelly Estate

So, it’s Saturday morning, we’ve been to the farmer’s market, and I’m writing this at the kitchen bench with a cup of tea (as always) beside me. Sarah’s home for the weekend because we have an early birthday lunch for Grant in a few hours and she and Grant are watching Mamma Mia. I’m pretending not to watch but it’s really why I’m here and not upstairs in my office. 

Fabulous raw cheese at the farmer’s market

No matter when I see it, this movie reminds me of a cold, rainy/snowy afternoon in Buchlyvie, Scotland back in December 2015. After a few weeks on the road, Sarah decided that we deserved an afternoon inside by the fire. Grant and I protested and pretended we weren’t watching, but by the time “Dancing Queen” was playing we were all sitting down by the fire.

It’s a movie that never fails to make me feel happier and this morning it was the movie I needed to pretend not to be watching. I had, you see, come back from the farmer’s market in a crappy mood. No real reason, just tired, I think. Anyways, it’s gone now. I don’t really have the focus required to hold onto a bad mood for too long.

Weather-wise it’s been a stormy week. This time of the year is when storm season starts here in Queensland, and it’s been right on schedule. We drove through a storm cell the other day coming back from Gympie that really freaked me out (I’m glad Grant was driving), and last night Sarah took shelter in a highway roadhouse when the sky turned green – a sure sign of hail.

Just before we hit the storm the other day

What else?

Clovelly Estate

Grant and I spent last weekend in a guest house in the hinterland – Spicers Clovelly Estate at Montville.

Even though it’s only thirty minutes from home and even though we only stayed one night, it was a lovely break and an early 60th birthday treat for Grant – and our meal at Long Apron was the best we’ve had in a very long time. I’ll tell you more about it later in the week.

Clovelly’s Bombe Alaska

Writing News

On a writing front, I’ve been struggling a tad. I have a couple of major projects I’m coordinating in the day job; as well as the purchase of the new place in Hervey Bay for us, so practical matters have been taking up rather more of my available brain space than I normally like them to. I am, however plodding along and still managing a daily word count in It’s In The Stars.

It would be easy to take it easy, so to speak, but I know from experience that writing can be like exercising – when you stop moving, it’s tough to start again, so it’s far better not to stop in the first place and push through.

In other news, The Little Café By The Lake is all locked and loaded and ready to be published on November 4. What’s even more surprising is that unusually for me, it will be available on all platforms (including print) on that day. 

I’m also in the process of working with my cover designer on a cover for It’s In The Stars, and have begun a little world-building for the Philly Barker cosy mystery I’m excited to be starting on November 1. I am, however, running very behind on the secret project I’m working on with Debbish and am wondering whether if we go properly public with that it might give me the kick up the butt I need.

a not so subtle hint about where Philly Barker is set

A baking failure

On account of the whole work getting in the way thing, other than these peanut butter and jam biscuits, I haven’t been doing the baking I need to do to bring my head into the space it needs to be in.

In book club, we’re currently reading our way through Charlotte Bronte’s Villette and I’m at that point of really needing to make a decision about what we’ll be baking as a group when we’re done.

While each of the other novels has taken place largely around Yorkshire or neighbouring counties, this one is mostly set in a fictional town based upon the city of Brussels. So off to google I went and typed in Belgian traditional cakes and up popped a Belgian lemon teacake. Yum. 

Now, I’ve only been to Belgium once and while I was there, I didn’t have anything made with lemons – apples yes, chocolate absolutely, beer definitely, but not lemons. It sounded good so I had to, however, give it a go. After some further googling I determined that Belgian Lemon Teacake actually has very little to do with Belgium and rather a lot more to do with Australia and New Zealand. Hey ho.

No matter, the recipe was a doddle to make and into the oven it went. The only problem was, just as the baking time was up, I took a call for the day job. With my phone stuck to my ear and the oven timer going off, I took the cake from the oven but didn’t get to test it as I normally would. By the time the call was done, the cake had cooled in its tin – and sunk in its tin; a sign it was undercooked. A pity, but I will give it another go – preferably when there’s no chance of work calls coming through. See, even I can have the occasionall baking failure!

On the blog

Speaking of traditional recipes, Grant brought me home this gem from the op (charity) shop. I wrote a bit about it here.

I also told you a little about what I’ve been reading in What’s On Your Bookshelf. Spoiler alert – it’s all been good. And, over on BKD, I told you about these fabulous little chocolate pots. Give them a go.

Finally, I’m participating in Becky’s October square challenge. This month it’s about previous square themes and I’ve chosen flowers…and here’s today’s entry. You can find other square-ish posts here.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

22 thoughts

    1. Honestly this cheese is soooo good. It’s a raw milk cheese and he makes it right here on the Sunny coast.

  1. I’m not a fan of musicals, so I’ve never watched Mamma Mia, BUT my nieces loved it. They’re pretty young still, and know my mom (grandma) hates Abba, so they annoy her by singing the songs when she comes to visit. It cracks me up because they’re being annoying on purpose haha.

    1. I am such an Abba fan. My daughter says she isn’t, but she’s had 23 years of me dancing around the house to it – and Mamma Mia is one of her favourite movies and stage shows so I suspect she’s more of a fan than she admits to being.

  2. I always enjoy your Writer’s Digest Jo. The guesthouse looks lovely and I think it would be just what MIke and I need when things settle down in our life. Great to have Sarah home for the weekend and who can resist Dancing Queen or Mama Mia? – I ask you! #lifethis week

  3. Excited about the secret squirrel project – I felt a bit exhausted reading this, you’ve got so much on your plate right now (most of it delicious!) Hope things ease up on the day job – Grant’s birthday getaway looks amaze, can’t wait to hear more about it. I was especially impressed with the chocolate pots, they look so good. I’m currently obsessed with yogo (kind of like a poor man’s chocolate pots) a little pot of it makes for a lovely sweet treat after dinner. Great catching up with you 🙂

  4. Happy to go public with our project if you want. It’s up to you as you’re the one with so much on and I completely understand the struggle with your existing commitments and everything related to the new place as well.

    And bloody storm season. I love the rain (mostly) if I’m not stuck out in it but even though I have little on I’ve already had to start factoring in potential afternoon storms. I don’t like being out in them either so worry about having to be driving at that time. They’re so unpredictable. I can’t remember it being like this every year but I’m sure it is.

  5. Well done on getting through the week and sharing some great treats with us Jo. That guesthouse looks divine and congrats on getting everything done for the new book in November. You are a marvel doing so much with loads going on around you! Keep smiling and hope Grant had a happy birthday, love that he was watching MamaMia with Sarah 🙂

  6. BUSY much…hey! I am glad some Mamamia time gave you all some laughs and good moves.Congratulations to Grant for his zero birthday. Interested to learn of the purchase of a Hervey Bay place. Can guess Miss OT will occupy it. Way to go. Yes to you and Deb getting into the project more…I am very interested…

    It’s been great to have you share your post this week for #lifethisweek on Denyse Whelan Blogs. Thank you. I hope you will be back next week, where the optional prompt is “young” but my guest poster, Mr Whelan, is sharing his thoughts for the final time on the blog in 2021 on a different topic. See you there, Denyse.

  7. Happy birthday to Grant!
    I take it you don’t have many Kitchen Fails. Like I always tell Younger Child, the fails just make the successes that much better …. but I can’t say I enjoy the feeling watching a bake flop. Will you be trying it again?

    1. I don’t have too many, but when I do it’s a wake-up call – and a learning experience. I will be trying this cake again though as I think it has promise.

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