loopyloulaura

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Holiday 2019: Linlithgow Palace and Calderglen Country Park

Linlithgow Palace is a beautiful ruin of a pleasure palace for the Stewart monarchs. James V and his daughter Mary Queen of Scots were booth born here as well as James VI’s daughter Princess E,izabeth from whom the Hanoverians are descended.
Sadly the palace became derelict after the monarchy united with that of England and the court headed south to London. Fire eventually destroyed the palace although I didn’t spot any obvious scorch marks in the ruins.

The remaining parts of the building give a hint about the magnificent palace it must have once been. Many floors, intricate decoration and a good imagination indicate what it looked like in its glory days.


I climbed to the top of the tower and it was a very long way up! My legs were quivering but I’m not sure if that was due to vertigo in repsonse to the height or leg exhaustion due to the number of steps!
After the palace we went into St Michael’s Church which is just outside. The crowning glory on the steeple shows the royal use it used to have but the door which the Kings used to use has been bricked up.

 

The Linlithgow Museum has lots of historical information about the town and offered free admission with a children’s trail to keep them entertained.

We sepent the afternoon at Calderglen Country Park which has a small zoo, gardens and conservatory which currently has a dinosaur trail!

I had a few passive aggressive words (‘look how scared those poor animals are by those children’) to say about children banging on the glass: honestly why do some people refuse to parent their children?!

I hinestly thinkg that the kids would like a holiday where we just went from playground to playground. They had great fun at the one at Calderglen and we decided to let them relax on the play equipment reather than explore the rest of the park.

 


#GlobalBlogging 125

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My love-hate relationship with laundry

Love it or hate it, laundry is everywhere! Especially in our house!

You may notice that many of my pictures have drying washing in the background, although I do try to crop it out. Here I am bringing shame to my youngest whilst dancing to David Gibb‘s latest CD:
Here are the kids being zombies whilst washing dangles ominously behind them…

Laundry runs my life in a way that I never imagined possible until I owned my own home. The washing basket is rarely empty as a family of 5 makes a lot of mess! It can be heavy work carrying loads of washing around, back breaking lifting and hanging it out. There is nothing quite as sould destroying as watching your child throw themselves onto your nicely folded pile of clean laundry.
I also admit to quite a lot of pride that none of us have ever had a wardrobe panic because they have run out of pants or socks. It was a major turning point in our relationship when I began doing Chris’ washing and putting it away.

It is a labour of love. Sorting dirty washing says ‘I love you’, actions speak louder than words.
I now appreciate my own mum more for doing my washing for all those years! I used to laugh at her for hanging out washing on snowy days but now I appreciate that you can’t let a good drying day get away without a wash on the line! The pressure of checking the forecast and the anguish of an unexpected rain shower are bboth things that I grew up with but didn’t understand: now I do!
Following our 12 day holiday, I had a MOUNTAIN of washing to sort despite doing one load while we were away. One day I spent a whole hour sorting one lot of washing, putting it in the machine, hanging it, folding the previous load and matching socks, putting it in the airing cupboard and putting the load before that one away.

Is laundry a feminist issue? Am I perpetuating gender stereotypes? I don’t think so. I do the washing because I am home. I sort the washing because I am at home. I like knowing the state of everyone’s clothes to that I can plan for what new things need to be bought.
Chris is more than capable of doing the washing and often hangs it out at the weekends when he is around but he doesn’t know the minutiae of everyone’s wardrobes, he doesn’t have my system in place for being more efficient.
Is my washing work unappreciated…? Yes, and let’s be clear it IS work. My children might not appreciate it everyday but it makes their lives easier and one day they will take over the burden and THEN the appreciation will come. When they have their own families, they will understand that having clean pants in the drawer had my heart with it 🙂


Holiday 2019: remembering sporting greats and the union of Scotland and England

Dunblane was a hidden gem. The cathedral was beautiful and the person that welcomed us was so knowledgeable. We had a trail to follow to spot intricate details around the building, perfect for challenging children and parents!

There is a stone to mark the burial of the first wife of James IV who died with her sisters, possibly due to poisoning so that the country could make an alliance with England, and indeed James did marry Margaret Tudor shortly afterwards…

 

I remember writing in my diary as a fifteen year old of the tragedy of the Dunblane primary school killings and I was honoured to be able to offer a prayer by the sculpture commemorating the children and teacher who were killed on a normal school day in 1996.

 

My personal highlight of the day was seeing the golden post box, painted in honour of Sir Andy Murray (thankfully reinstated after being knocked over by a car 3 days earlier!)

 

The museum was another lovely place to visit with historical artefacts as well as Andy Murray memorabilia (I hadn’t realised he’d married in the cathedral).

Our next stop was the Wallace Monument. We decided not to actually go inside as Chris and I didn’t fancy climbing 200+ steps carrying Zach. The trek to the top of the hill was tough enough! Along the route to the monument are lots of items of interest depicting the history of Scotland.

We then ran into a couple of problems. The roads that Google was trying to send us down were closed so we had to find alternatives. I am not a fan of single lane steep country roads and was quite frankly terrified by some of the journey. We then came across other roads that were closed that Google didn’t know about.
We finally arrived at Doune Castle but the car park was full and we were advised to go back and park in the town. I jumped out to snap a quick pic but we thought that it was chockablock with tourists so we wouldn’t enjoy the visit. We decided to search for lunch instead.

We returned to Stirling and went to the Smith Museum and Art Gallery. Inside were the oldest football, believed to have been owned by Mary Queen of Scots, and the oldest curling stone.

The Church of the Holy Rude is the only church in the UK other than Westminster Abbey to be a working church that has held a coronation, in this case of James VI (and later James I of England). He was crowned there as a baby after the abdication of his mother Mary Queen of Scots.

We returned to our holiday cottage and decided to explore Palacerigg Country Park where it was based.


The Night Caller, by J.M.Hewitt

 

 

A murderer is loose on the streets of Manchester. Nicknamed The Pusher, he is responsible for the deaths of several gay men before changing his victim type to those with unpleasant pasts.
The police speculate that there are in fact 2 killers as the choice of victim has changed, that the original Pusher became a victim of the new one who is seeking revenge on society’s evil.
Jordan disappears one night and it is believed that he ended up in the canal. No body is found and his mother Emma is distraught. Jordan does not fit in with either victim type so the police are confused. Neighbour Jade knows things about Jordan but is keeping quiet. Secrets begin to unravel, leading to shocks for his mother.
Lead police officer Carrie Flynn has her own demons to face. Her whole life has been dominated by an unsolved crime and she joined the police in order to find the person responsible for destroying her family and happy childhood.
The narrative style of this book is non linear and I personally felt that this made the book seem a little disjointed. However, I believe this was the effect that author J.M. Hewitt was trying to achieve as it leaves the reader making the same realisations as the characters in the book and helps us to identify with them.
The emotional impact on Emma is almost painful to read as a mother myself. The despair and fear feels so raw and is well written. Equally good is the anguish faced by Jade as she struggles to deal with past events and reconcile them with her friendship with Emma.
Most of the book is written from the third person perpective so we see how Emma and Jade cope with the revelations about Jordan, as well as the how the police are responding to developments in the case. We do see the occasional first person viewpoint from the Pusher which makes him even more mysterious!
The Night Caller focusses more upon the emotional impact on Jordan’s family rather than on the police investigation. This has the effect of making it more personal but means we don’t get to know the police characters very well. The big reveal about Carrie’s past comes at the end of the book and sets up for future books.

Title:         The Night Caller

Author:     J.M. Hewitt   
 
Publication Day: 15/08/19
 
Buy Links :
Amazon: https://geni.us/B07S35FB6SSocial
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2VVYXSG
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2QBoIa5
Googleplay: http://bit.ly/2W6GDeB
 
Description:
Detective Carrie Flynn has spent twenty years searching for her little sister, who was kidnapped and never found. The worst part for Carrie is that she was with Hattie on that hot summer day. Carrie saw her sister’s abductor, but she was just a little girl herself, and remembers nothing. She will never forgive herself for letting Hattie down.
When the chance came to join the police force, Carrie didn’t hesitate. She would solve missing person cases and fight for justice – no more families stuck in limbo, no more grieving mothers, no more sisters growing up alone… But now a serial killer is stalking Carrie’s hometown of Manchester: late at night, people are going missing down at the canal. Six years, a dozen disappearances.
When another victim is taken, Carrie is sure the family is hiding something and she’s determined to find out the secret behind their silence. Why does the mother not want to answer Carrie’s questions? Who is the mysterious girl next door? Carrie knows that to track down the killer, she must find out everything she possibly can about the innocents they have chosen to hunt.
Carrie holds on to one fact: last year, standing by the water, she caught a glimpse of the killer, and the distinctive tattoo on his arm. He slipped through her fingers, but she won’t let it happen again. She’ll never stop searching, for the grieving families, for her belief in justice, and her hope that, one day, something she finds will lead her back to her lost little sister.
Can she finally solve the case that has cast a long shadow over her career and will the demons in her own past help her to catch this deadly killer?
If you love Val McDermid, Robert Dugoni or Angela Marsons you won’t be able to put down this dark and twisty thriller. J.M. Hewitt will keep you guessing until the very last page. 

Author Bio:
J.M. Hewitt writes crime fiction and is the author of two previous crime fiction novels and has been published in two short story publications. Her work usually incorporates twentieth and twenty-first century events and far flung locations, and her novels explore the darker side of human behaviour.
In contrast to the sometimes dark content of her books, she lives in a seaside town in Suffolk with her dog, Marley.
When she was ten years old she’d read all the books she owned, all those on her mother’s bookcase and everything the library had to offer. She decided the only course of action to take was to write her own stories. Thirty years later, she is still writing them.
 
Author Social Media Links:
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/j.mhewittauthor/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/jmhewitt
WEBSITE: www.jeanettehewitt.com