Author Archives: Kit Domino

10 Days in the Sun

Apologies for not posting last month. The due date was the day we returned from our 2nd holiday in 6 months curtesy of the generous retirement gift to my husband from his boss. Returning home late and tired to a cold house and empty fridge, and a mountain of washing to deal with I wasn’t up to writing. But here I am back again.

Our 10 days in the sun were perfect although on the day of our arrival we didn’t think so. Our flight delayed thanks to air traffic workers on strike in France and when we did land, we had to wait on our coach for other delayed passengers. It took longer getting from the airport to the hotel than the flight itself before we eventually arrived, the last drop on the run and only 10 miles from the airport! Our mood plummeted even further as the weather was awful, a howling gale, and never in 20+ years of visiting the Mediterranean had I seen it so grey, so angry with huge choppy waves. Great if you were into surfing, which some were doing. We really thought we had made a big mistake in choosing this place and time of year.

We’d upgraded to a superior room, which turned out to be the penthouse room over-looking the beach and affording a full view of the 8km bay close to the harbour. It wasn’t a large room, but spotlessly clean, well decorated, with a wide balcony, a floor-to-ceiling window at the side, lovely marble bathroom, and joy-of-joys a walk-in shower. Plus we had full coffee facilities, fridge, safe and all the extras one normally has to pay extra for.

The bay looking left from the balcony

We went down for an early evening meal then back up to our room for coffee and an early night as I hadn’t slept all night and we’d been up since 4 am for the airport taxi so we were well tired. We hadn’t been back in the room some 5 mins before a knock at the door, where stood 2 staff members, one holding 2 glasses, the other a bottle of champagne. It took a few minutes of working out their Spanish and them our English to understand this was compliments of the management for Dave’s birthday. We invited them in whereupon they burst into singing “Happy Birthday” in Spanish to him. He shot me an angry look, thinking I’d arranged this. I hadn’t. I know he hates fuss and we had purposely kept it quiet that we were travelling on his 71st birthday. Apparently, the manager on reception when we checked in noticed the significant date on his passport. Dave doesn’t drink wine so we bought it back with us to open at my mum’s 94th birthday bash at the end of this month.

A glorious sunrise every morning

Dawn arrived  We woke to the sun rising directly in front of us, the sky blue, birds singing, as it did every morning thereafter. Our mood lifted. The weather the next 10 days was glorious, some days reaching 30 degrees,  not bad for February.  Heaven!

The bay looking right.

Dave isn’t into sightseeing or daytrips and as I knew the area very well, having done all the touristy things over the years, our days fell into a lovely relaxed pattern. After breakfast, he would go for a stroll along the edge of the surf the length of the bay whilst I relaxed on the balcony in the sun losing myself in a book. On his return, we’d have coffee then go for a walk along the promenade or exploring the town. Each day it was come out of the hotel doors then turn left one day, right the next. At either end of the bay we found a lovely place to stop for a drink and or snack: an English bar come restaurant at one end and a newly opened Spanish bar the other, the owners of which spoilt us with extra coffees, gratis brandies, chocolate and nibbles each visit.

This part of the coast is known for its sand sculptures, of which this was the best we saw. The detail was incredible, including a mouse after the cheese on the table, a cat, pigs and piglets in the corner, and a real fire in the hearth.

There was one downside to our location. The noise! The road between the hotel and beach was constantly busy, day and night, the Spanish loving the sound of car horns. Although we were 10 floors up, the sound of chairs scraping in the bars outside was also irritating as they shut shop at midnight. At 4 am, motorbikes and cars as the fishermen made their way to the harbour, then the boats start up and chug out. But the worse was the rubbish lorries. Where we were in Spain, instead of large communal bins at the roadside, here were large tanks set underground beneath small bins in which people dispose of their waste. At 5:30 am along would come a huge truck and crane to lift and empty the tanks. Each day a different tank: Monday, cardboard, Tues, plastic (you get the idea) until it was glass day, twice a week. Dreadful. Imagine a giant skip full of bottles from the residents and all the nearby bars being lifted, tipped and emptied into a noisy lorry, only to stop a little way further along and repeat. We are used to quiet all day and silence all night at home, so this took some getting used to.

Apart from the early morning disturbances, made up for by the sun appearing in front us every morning whilst we sat in bed drinking coffee watching, we didn’t want to come home, particularly as Storm David was raging in the UK. Our flight was delayed again, this time to the airport being fogbound. Eventually, we landed back in Bristol, a rather bumpy, uncomfortable landing but we were home.

We’d so enjoyed our holiday. In fact, that much so, Dave started looking and planning our next trip the following day. Sadly, like the rest of the world at the moment, everything has been put on hold. We are now waiting for the sun and summer to return to the UK as we hole ourselves up and pray we stay safe away from this awful virus.

Wherever you are, stay safe too.

 

And Breathe….

Yes, 2020 is here. A Happy New Year to you all. A new year, new beginnings. I was certainly happy to see the back of 2019, as were so many people I have spoken with, all of whom equally had a bad year for one reason or another. We had my mother stay with us for Christmas week despite my not being able to stand up for long and none of us in the mood to celebrate for various reasons but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. Dave, bless him, did all the shopping, prepared all the veg, cooked Christmas lunch (with me supervising), and cleared away everything, looking after us both brilliantly. I say both, as Mum also had a bad leg, caused by being hit on the shin by a recalcitrant supermarket trolley back in October, causing a cut on her leg that went septic, the dressing having to be changed every two days. Thankfully, it had now healed.

Still, that is all history now and I am starting the year back on my feet, no crutches, only the occasional painkiller needed, and able to walk properly and drive again. Things are not quite recovered but I’m certainly well on the way, walking more each day as the weather permits as there is so much to look forward to this year. Starting with next month, when Dave and I are off on holiday again, this time to mainland Spain. And boy, am I looking forward to it as last year’s was tinged with sadness and illness.

Once we are back from our trip, we must do some work revamping our kitchen. The ceiling needs replacing, a new floor laid and we would like a new cooker. Not that there’s anything wrong with the freestanding one we’ve got but we want an eye-level oven because bending down as I get older is slowly becoming a problem. To fit one in requires a lot of rejigging of the current units which we don’t want to replace as there is nothing wrong with them.

I’m busy working on my new novel which I intend to see published this year. It’s already written but I have decided to introduce another main character into the story, so a fair amount of rewriting is necessary. I’m also programmed in to run a second art course at my painting group in March, and trying to decide what to demonstrate etc. I missed not being able to paint whilst I was laid up but finally managed to complete a painting I began back in the summer, something large and colourful to brighten up a bare wall, so I came up with “Tulips”. It is currently hanging in our lounge until such time as it sells… if it sells.

The best part of this year so far for me is, in fact, the garden. The weather here is currently very mild, though windy, but already the snowdrops are out and the crocus in the lawn up with many in bud, enough to see their colour. The daffodil bulbs are growing tall and dotted around the garden the hellebores are about to burst into flower. Seeing everything emerging is a sure sign the world has tilted and turned a corner, like me, and Spring is well on its way.

That’s all from me for the moment, folks. Next month, on my due date for posting, I will be jetting my way back from holiday thus my post may be a day or too late, so apologies in advance.

Kit Domino’s Website and Blog

Gallery

Crutch of the Matter

Wow! How did the last 4 weeks flash by so soon? Such a pity I wasn’t flashing around too; far from it. Just when I thought the bad of 2019 had gone, I go and find myself on crutches, on … Continue reading

SURPRISE!

Surprise! Well, what can I say? Where has this year gone? More to the point, where did I go?

Cutting a long story short, the past year has not been good, with all three of my siblings having major health problems, my brother seriously so. With him living in Spain, it proved doubly hard for all of us, especially my mother who is no longer able to travel abroad. After the worry of one sister going through breast cancer treatment, I’ve never been one to suffer from depression but I certainly felt it this time and when, after learning about my brother’s illness, then my other sister’s condition and poor prognosis, I couldn’t stop crying, which is one of the reasons I kept my head below the backyard fence these past 9 months. It’s been a matter of coping and keeping going. It hasn’t been easy and I couldn’t have managed without the help of my husband, close family, and good friends. And thankfully, Lydia’s condition isn’t as bad as the specialist first diagnosed. With care, she can control her problem and hopefully it will not worsen.

You may recall, January saw me teaching acrylic art to a beginners class at my painting group over a 4-week period. I was nervous, spent ages working up my notes and worrying about what I would actually paint. But the course went well. Very well, in fact, and the majority of my 18 pupils are now fully-fledged members of the art group. May saw the art club’s Annual Exhibition, where many of my beginners exhibited, several of their works selling. As did two of mine, so I was well chuffed.

June saw the release of my latest novel White Stones. With so much work involved in its promotion, there’s been no time to write anything else, my head still spinning. But that’s the price we authors pay, isn’t it? Now that baby’s strings have been cut, I can finally concentrate on something new and push myself back into writing mode.

Good news came in July with little George, who’s far from little now, acquiring a baby sister. Unable to have another child, his parents turned to adoption and she arrived into the family in May 2018. The legal side proved an exceedingly complicated affair, taking over a year. We were all invited to Exeter Crown Court to the witness signing of the full adoption papers in a little ceremony, followed by a celebratory lunch. She is adorable and looks so much like her adoptive mother it’s quite amazing. Unfortunately, due to a legal caveat, we cannot post photos of her face on the internet. Dave and I made a full weekend of the event, and a lovely opportunity to catch up with various members of the family. George is doing brilliantly. Can you believe he’s just had his 11th birthday! A recent visit to the hospital showed his hips are now perfectly healed and no further surgery is required. He’ll always have problems walking but that doesn’t stop him doing things. His favourite pastime is surfing, Living on the West Devon coast, famous for its waves, he can thus indulge often.

Early summer’s good weather meant we spent a lot of time in the garden, except for during August, when we had plenty of rain – just in time for the long school summer break. Instead, Dave and I did a lot of – believe it or not – holiday hunting. He was given a holiday voucher as a retirement gift two years ago by his firm. As the voucher runs out Feb 2020, we decided we’d best make use of it. The voucher covered enough for us to book two holidays: the first to Ibiza during October, the second to mainland Spain in February.

September. A month of birthdays including my twin sisters’ 70th. The grand plan was that we would celebrate this occasion by being in Spain as it’s was also our sis-in-law’s 70th. That plan was scrapped due to my brother’s illness and Lydia’s poor health and treatment making her unable to venture abroad. Instead, my brother, wanting to surprise them, booked a flight to the UK, his doctor giving him the okay to come. At the last minute, he felt all the travelling would be too much for him. Sadly, a few weeks after their birthdays, his health deteriorated rapidly and he lost his battle with lung cancer a few days before we were due to fly out to Ibiza.

After all that entailed, we certainly needed to get away from everything and managed to enjoy a lovely, if heavy-hearted, break in the sun. Dave loved it, his first holiday for 21 years. The hotel, staff, location, food, room were perfect. It is definitely a place we intend to go back to if only for the incredible sunsets! Enjoying plenty of long walks around the large bay at San Antonio, a warm sea and the beach virtually to ourselves, we really didn’t want to come home.

Life is now returning slowly to normal. In many ways the year has gone by too quickly, winter here already ­­– yesterday we woke to snow! ­­– and Christmas will soon be upon us again; however, I will be glad when it’s 2020. A new decade, a new year, a new beginning, and new journey, one I hope you will allow me to share with you. I have missed you all. x

Kit Domino’s Website and Blog

Paint and Snow

Apologies for being a little late with this month’s post. I blame Word 2010. It’s been playing up, crashing for no reason, changing fonts without my blessing and goodness knows what other mischief. It seems I’m not the only one either, from what I’ve gleaned on the internet. I was just about to load my post when it crashed again, so I gave up. Never mind. I’m here now.

What a busy month January turned out for me. If someone had told me a little over 12 years ago when I began painting that I would find myself being an art tutor, I would never have believed them. Likewise, when I accepted the opportunity to teach acrylic painting to a group in my art club, I never expected how much of my time it would take. Who would have thought teaching for 2 hours every Friday afternoon for 4 weeks would take over my life entirely.

I had no idea of the abilities of those attending, and without this information, I had to structure the sessions to fit all comers.  I found out at the first session at least six had never painted before. Others were already members of the art group, but had either never used acrylics or had tried them without success. What was I going to say? What would we paint? Could I paint a half-decent picture in front of an audience? Did I know enough to fill up 8 hours.

I made copious notes, and wrote my opening dialogue out several times, so it at least sounded as if I knew what I was talking about. I then played it back using TextAloud, to check I didn’t waffle on for too long and to make sure it made sense. I had several sleepless nights pondering on everything. Worrying, not that I couldn’t pull it off, but whether my nerves and my voice would hold out. It goes croaky and quiet if I talk too much.

I need not have worried. I had a full class: 20 people. More than anticipated but I didn’t have time to give as much individual attention as I had planned to. We had laughs, we had questions, we had fun, and they came back the following week, so I must have been doing something right. But again, I spent hours working on my notes and dialogue and order of the day. And I didn’t mess up once. My thanks in all this go to my writing group (the Ivy Writers) who, over the years, have given me the confidence to read my work out aloud. A nervous, shaking wreck the first time I had to read out anything; now I have no problems doing so. It all comes with practice. A bit like painting, as I told my acrylic beginners.

The third week arrived and painting continued, but I realised I had chosen a too ambitious a painting for my class. I should have picked a much simpler piece, for them and for me. It’s not easy standing at an easel because I always sit when I’m painting. I had to paint large too, so those at the back could see, and I had to work almost sideways at the easel. If I stood in front they wouldn’t have seen anything. Another week working on my final notes, closing dialogue etc. It was all I could think about all week.

The fourth and final day dawned, heralded by 5 inches of snow, roads blocked, schools closed, as was the venue we use. Disappointment all round. I had hoped to have a photo of my entire group. Pictures of the paintings they produced, and some feedback on the entire course. At this point in time, I do not know if we can rearrange to this Friday.

I’ve enjoyed it all. Learned a lot myself. Gained confidence. Made new friends in the art group. My notes haven’t gone to waste. The art group has asked me to run the course again later this year. I will know what I’m doing. I won’t have to spend weeks working on my lessons. I have time to find a simple painting for them to work from. I know what to leave out, what to emphasise.  And out of the snow day, a new painting is emerging. Watch this space!

Kit’s Website and BlogKit’s Kitchen,  Kit’s Art  Site

A New Year Begins

A Happy New Year!

It can’t be 2019 already, can it? Where’s the last one gone? Gone far too quick, that’s for sure. Seems like only yesterday I was saying a Happy New Year 2018 to you all. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the recent festivities. Ours was quiet, just as we like it, with my mother, Dave and I together over the period. This year, for a change we opted for a traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, including sprouts, followed by Christmas pudding, something Dave would never eat once upon a time. Now he asks for it and is hoping when we next go shopping the store will have some left. He even enjoyed the mince pies,  Lebkucken biscuits and Stollen –things he’s always turned his nose up to before. He’s also ventured into the pleasure of eating yoghurt, and curries. (Okay, who is this man and what have you done with the real Dave?)

Mother enjoying a quiet moment.

Boxing Day was made even more enjoyable by a surprise visit from our daughter and two grandchildren. My mother, their great-grandmother, was delighted to see them as she doesn’t have much opportunity to nowadays. I often think the term “grandchildren” sounds wrong for adult grandkids. There needs to be a better one. Any suggestions?

As Dave packs away the Christmas tree and decorations into the loft, I have a quiet moment to look back on 2018 in the Domino household. It’s certainly been a busy year, one with many ups and frequent let downs, highlights and disappointments, and worry over the health of one of my sisters, who thankfully is now okay. And a sad one too, with the loss of two family members, but made up for by a new little member to the clan, which I’ve yet to meet. We endured a freezing spring with the Beast from the East, made up for by a gloriously hot summer to remember. And it was a year that saw a milestone for us with our 40th wedding anniversary, not that we celebrated; we never do.

It’s also been an expensive year as we’ve revamped and restocked the garden and the dining/living room, and had to unexpectedly change what was meant to be our car for life. This was thanks to a design fault in the sunroof which let in water when it rained, destroying all the electrics. And having paid out previously for a costly repair which didn’t work, the car had to go. We are thrilled with our serendipitous replacement, so it turned out good in the end.

Back in May, I enjoyed a successful art exhibition which led to a few sales and a request to teach an art class, which starts next week for 4 sessions. I’m feeling quite chuffed although a little daunted and nervous at the prospect.  The response for a place was so overwhelming, I’ve already been asked to run another later in 2019.

I missed having a holiday abroad, but fully intend to make up for it this year by having two (or more if I can!), and maybe I can finally get Dave abroad again.

So what else does this year hold in store for me? Teaching more art classes, perhaps? I will if the opportunity arises. And I must, must, must, stop dithering and wasting time on social media and other things when I should be writing. I’ve no excuse, but as we all know, it’s so easy to let it slip. And with at least four books either finished, nearly finished or even half-way finished, I need to knuckle down. That’s where the disappointments came last year. Too many rejections. But I shall not give up. I mean, what else am I supposed to do whilst it’s cold, and he’s downstairs watching cricket, and rugby, and American football? No, no excuses at all.

And what of your year? Whatever you have planned I wish you one of good health and harmony and success in whatever you do to make it a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR indeed.

Kit’s Website and Blog, Kit’s Kitchen,  Kit’s Art  Site

The Grand Reveal

Drum roll, please. For today is the day I can finally unveil the new lounge and dining room. Yes, we’ve finished! Well, almost. We’re waiting on new patio doors to the rear and then we can buy new blinds but until then, it is with great relief we are back to normal and sitting comfortably.

Although it doesn’t show in the photos, the chimney breast has sparkles in the paint; not a great deal but enough for our liking, as has the wallpaper. The rest of the walls are plain pale grey. I admit I was dubious of the colour at first, as it is such a marked changed from our usual taste and I thought it would look cold. It doesn’t. Dave was worried in case the wooden floor would be cold too as opposed to carpet on our concrete floors, but again, it feels warm to walk on, and I quite often find him walking around in bare feet.

He’s worked incredibly hard. He’s done everything with the exception of the plastering and hanging the wallpaper either side of the chimney breast – that was my job as he’s never hung a strip of paper in his life. And I have to say for what are two small walls with no sockets or fiddly bits to cut around, it was the most expensive paper I’ve hung and the most difficult. An absolute nightmare. And never again am I ever hanging another strip. Dave knocked down the tired and space-filling stone fireplace, allowing me to take the first swipe with the sledgehammer, he’s done all the painting, laid the flooring throughout and fitted new skirting boards as well as humping and retrieving our furniture from storage, with the help of a man with a van. It’s such a joy to be able to sit in our own chairs once more. We’d really had enough of sitting on stiff, unforgiving garden chairs.

The photos don’t really do the rooms justice, particularly today when it’s cold and wet outside so the lighting inside isn’t very good. I did turn on our new overhead lights to take them, but they were too bright so I hope you get the idea.

So now to relax and enjoy Christmas. And taking this opportunity to wish you all a safe, happy and fun-filled time.