03 June 2008

Writing Exploits, Bury Market, Rainy Day Snail Tales

It is practically unfathomable that it is already June. Time has flown by since Matthias and I moved here in mid-February. We must be having some fun. Even the last week and a half are just a blur in my memory. I can't seem to differentiate days or what I did with them. But I do know and I thought you might like to as well.

Post-Birthday Recovery: It took me a couple days to recover from the cold I caught and all glorious upheaval that was my birthday:  a visit from best friend in Glasgow, numerous phone calls, emails and Facebook messages wishing me well; surprise flower deliveries from my German in-laws, a gift certificate to Yarn Market from Mom, and drum roll, please, my Dad standing outside my front door! Yes, he was in London on business and had booked his return flight out of Manchester. He and my husband had conspired for months to plan the birthday ambush. Dad and I both started wailing as soon as I had registered what was going on. I then spent another hour pacing back and forth in the living room, reeling from the shock of it all. We spent another couple days together, cooking, eating and showing him around our lives here in Manchester. Other than the initial moment of surprise, the highlight of the Dad's visit was probably our trip to Scout Moor, a gigantic wind park with 26 turbines being built by Matthias' company just north of Manchester. Here is what it looks like from a few miles away.


Scout Moor Wind Park

We donned safety gear and were taken around by the site manager in his pickup. Then he even let us into a turbine that hadn't yet gone live. It was mechanical heaven for Dad and Matthias. To top that, we had fish and chips with mushy at the local chippy. Those pieces of fish were monsters. The waitress got a good laugh at Dad and Matthias who ordered like they were at Ivars. They couldn't finish their plates. What a cultural experience.

Freelance Writing: I spent last week finishing up the editing of my first article submission with the help of my two best girls, Alexis and Lisa. Big thanks to them for their useful and constructive advice. The article became much better because of their suggestions and I am confident that the article has a good shot at publication. Now I am on to generating new article ideas and even querying the same article idea with other publications.

Finally I have come to the twelfth and final week of Julia Cameron's The Artist Way. I can hardly believe that I have been doing this program for three months now. Time really does fly. Doing the program, I have made some significant steps toward creative recovery. Journaling every morning before I do anything else is a huge asset not only to my writing and creativity, but also to my own sanity. My morning pages help me sort out any mental funk which in turn enables me to be still and present enough to pick up on creative quickening and not drive myself crazy with a bunch of egoic crap playing on repeat. The Artist's Way has also helped me hammer out a faith and persistence in what I am doing and where my dreams lead me. It hasn't always been easy to allow myself to undertake this mission. But with a little faith, anything is possible. Remind me if I forget that.

Cheesy Self-Reflection

I also have been blogging like a madwoman. I decided to refocus the theme of this one, mainly as a journal of what I am up to over here in jolly ol' England so that, should you so desire, you can keep up with the life and times of Britt Breu. I have since started a knitblog, so I don't have to bore unwilling readers with the details of my obsessive stitchery and all my explorations of the knitting universe. Finally, I have set up a blog that solely exists as a shameless plug for my writing talents. I did this so that prospective clients can check out where I have been published and the spectrum of styles I employ. Now all I have to do is get published and list those!

The Bury Market: Not too far away from the Scout Moor Wind Park is the Bury Market, named Britain's Best Market. I don't know about you (except Alexis), but I love markets. Not only are the a welcome assault to my senses and a fantastic opportunity to do some people watching, but they completely reflect the local and national culture. Along with the wife of one of Matthias' colleagues, Henrietta, I went to the Bury Market on Saturday with basket and camera in hand.

Bargain Bunches at Bury Market

The Bury Market has over one hundred vendors. British markets are a combination of a farmers market and a department store. Sometimes there is even an element of flea market thrown in - what Britons might call a boot sale. It is a yard sale/flea market out of the back of your car. I have really only ever associated markets with the likes of those in Germany and the farmers market in the States. It is an interesting twist to see vacuum cleaners, watch makers, seamstresses and haberdashery, and granny pants (large women's undergarments) thrown into the mix. Here are just a few more impressions:

Panasonic Hoovers

Courteously Qeueing

Cheese Choices

Watch This

Produce Pleasantries

Matthias' Delight

I ended up with a whole basket of goodies: freshly baked bread, local, in-season green asparagus and strawberries, fresh cream, white cannelli beans from an Italian deli, some slices mortadella and blood sausage with tongue slices for the big guy (I know, it's gross, but he loves it) and some freshly made chili and old English sausages which we ate up the next day. 

Snails Tales: Hen and I had some real luck with the weather on Saturday morning. In fact, it was the nicest day we've had in the last two weeks. It has been totally dreary and even stormy: we had gale force winds the weekend before last! One upside to all this rain is the fact that I get to see all my little slimy friends after a good pour. My fondness for them has become something of a love-hate relationship, especially since I have planted a garden of my own. I've just found about six of those little pesky bastards buffeting on my Josephine clematis. Here are a few frequenters around our place:


Queen of the Gardener's Scourge


Even Small Snails Leave Trails

That is the latest from Mancunia folks. I hope you are as entertained reading this as I was writing it. Thanks for reading.

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