Wednesday, 23 April 2014

celebrating Caroline Norton

Pollok Park, Glasgow.  Top day out.
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Last week we visited Pollok Park and House in Glasgow.  Have you been?  It's so worth a visit, but you'll need to be quick because the Burrell collection is going very soon.  We had fun in the park, enjoyed the Burrell collection, saw deer, and went on a tour of the house, which seemed to last for an entire aeon.  One of the many pictures which were explained, in great detail to us, was of Caroline Norton.  She's a very interesting woman, who I think would have been rather marvellous to share a bottle of Rioja with, so I thought I'd tell you about her.

To do this, I've got lots of information from a great website all about her and her sisters.  You'll find it here.

Caroline was one of three sisters in a posh family on hard times in the 1820s.  They needed to find husbands, husbands who could keep them well, and would get married without a dowry being offered.  The eldest married in 1826, and fell in love with her husband after that.  Then it was Caroline's turn.  

Caroline is described as being intelligent, funny, flirtatious, and sarcastic.  Outgoing and head-strong.  She wasn't ugly, but her little sister was beautiful.  It was necessary to get Caroline married off before her younger sister could marry.  Caroline was popular with older men, but rather scared the younger ones.  She only got one proposal, which did not seem ideal, but with rising pressure for her sister to wed, Caroline accepted it.


This portrait of Caroline Norton hangs
at Pollok House, and is one of three
paintings they have on copper.
She married the Hon. George Norton in June, 1827.  He was seven years her senior, a barrister who did not practice, and a rampant Tory (she, like the rest of her family, was a Radical).  George refused to discuss anything with her, claiming to dislike 'cleverness' (probably because he was lacking in it).  They argued over politics, and lots of other things, including money.  He really did not have the income he'd said he had, and didn't like to do work which he felt beneath him.  He tried to tame her spirit, and arguments became physical.  

Caroline meanwhile turned to writing, to support them.  Her first book came out in 1829, and she also had a son.  Fletcher.  She loved writing, and motherhood.  Caroline asked family friends to find a position her husband would accept, and started to host Whig political get-togethers to build networks.  Her husband was offered a position as a magistrate, and the family had another income.  Caroline carried on earning through writing, and also had another baby - Brinsley.  

Things turned for the worse in 1832, when Caroline was pregnant with her third baby (William).  George was increasingly violent, and her family wanted her to stay away.  She couldn't, because that would involve losing her children, but in 1835, pregnant for the fourth time, George beat Caroline so badly that she miscarried.  After this, Caroline and the children sheltered with her relatives, while George stayed with his rich cousin, Margaret Vaughan.  At Easter of 1836, while the children were visiting George, he sent them to Margaret Vaughan, and refused to allow Caroline access to their family home.  It was his right, as the husband, to do with the children, and his wife's belongings, as he wished.

Soon after, George sued for divorce, accusing the Prime Minister of having an affair with his wife.  He was also asking for substantial damages from the PM.  As you can imagine, there was quite a hubbub in the press, and the government certainly wobbled.  Caroline, being a woman, was only a small cog in the divorce case between the two men.  She had no legal identity without her husband, and could neither attend the trial, nor testify.  However, the trial was a farce, it was clear that no affair had happened, and the jury found unanimously for the Prime Minister.

Unfortunately, Caroline's name had been tarnished by this association with scandal.  She consulted lawyers to attempt to sue for divorce, and found that only a man could sue for divorce, and that only on the grounds of adultery.  George would not grant Caroline a divorce, and would not allow her to see her children.

Caroline set out to change the law.  She wrote, under her own name and others, and used her useful contacts once again, and is seen as being the force behind the Infant Custody Bill, passed in 1839.  It allowed mothers to petition for custody of young children, and access to older ones.

George found a way to foil her again.  He took their children to Scotland, where the new law did not apply.  In 1842, when her youngest son was injured in a fall from a horse, Caroline was informed by George, but not with urgency.  Not soon enough that she could see him before he died.

As Caroline's husband, George was also entitled to her income, which he kept, sometimes giving her an allowance.  Her lawyers advised her to refer bills to her husband for payment, which she did, but they were taken to court, and she was found to be responsible for the bills.  Again, Caroline set out to change the law.  If her husband were to profit from her writing, she would write solely about changing the law that allowed that to happen.

To make her case, Caroline had to show that women existed at all in the legal sense.  Caroline saw herself as someone who was priveleged to be able to fight the injustice done to all women.  She compared the position of women as like that of slavery.  She did not argue that men and women were equal, but that they should be treated equally under law.  The Married Woman's Property and Divorce Act passed in 1857.

After that Caroline carried on writing fiction, but increasingly suffered from ill-health, and was sad at the deaths of family members and friends.  Her oldest son, Fletcher, died of tuberculosis in 1859.  

Caroline never did get a divorce from George, but he died in 1875.  Her remaining son, Brinsley, soon became Lord Grantley (George's brother's title).  He was a Tory.  The current Baron Grantley is descended directly from Brinsley.  He worked for the Conservative party until deciding to join UKIP in 1993.  On Debretts his recreations are listed as Bridge (he's rather good) and smoking.  

In March of 1877, Caroline married her friend of twenty five years, Sir William Stirling-Maxwell (and therein lies the Pollok House connection).  It was a happy but brief marriage.  In early summer she became ill, and she died in June.  Sir William died seven months later.

Personally, I think Caroline Norton was a bit of a hero.  Thanks Caroline for improving the lot of women.

Other posts you might like:


The book challenge
Words at 23/4/14 - 80,000.  Yay!  I'm over 80,000 (although I suspect this will be going down shortly, as I divide the story into two books)
27,000 words done since the challenge began, 11,500 so far this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - end of Chapter 16.
What I did last - a proposal.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

visiting Somerset

We went to Somerset during the Easter holidays, and enjoyed sun, fun, and cider with my family.

Have you been?  It's so worth a visit, and not just for the weather, or the cider (although both are good).

Eating outside our Executive Holidays home.  They
provided fab weather.
We did a few visits while we were there, so I thought I'd tell you about them, in the hopes of helping you plan your Somerset holiday.  But before I do, a quick plug for the place we stayed - it was a self catering cottage just outside Frome, run by Executive Holidays.  Nice, well provided for, and just not perfect enough to make it affordable.  I would recommend them (although it was rubbish that they charged extra for wifi).  

So here's where we went, and what we thought of it.



This was a great visit, although it is quite dear.  We saved money by using our Tesco vouchers.  The safari park was fab, we especially enjoyed the worried look on Auntie Julia's face as she entered the monkey enclosure (they are adept at removing car aerials).  We had a chance to feed the giraffes, and loved seeing the lemurs enjoying the sunshine.  Happily, our car did not catch fire in the lion enclosure, but how scary would that be?!  The lions were big and beautiful, but the tigers were bigger and won the big cat competition in our book.  Once out of the safari bit, we really enjoyed the maze, and the outdoor play area.  Much of the outdoor play area was actually closed, while
they were doing work on it.  It looks like it's going to be great.  We had lots of things to do, and so didn't manage to look at Longleat house, but a very good day was had.  I'm trying to limit the number of photo's, but it's great for taking pics.

Speaking of pics - the great pics of the tiger and my brother in the maze above, were taken by my sister, with her fancy new camera.  Thanks sis.


Wells is such a nice place.  Lots of nice cafe's, a fun and friendly market, and lots of history too.  We didn't visit the Bishop's Palace, although it did look nice, but we did visit Wells Cathedral.  You have to pay £3 to take photos but it is so worth it.  It's full of glorious light, and wonderful spaces.  I particularly loved this staircase, which leads up to The Chapterhouse on the right.  The Chapterhouse has amazing acoustics, and I longed to sing in there (but didn't because there was someone else in there).  Unlike York Cathedral, you don't have to pay to go into Wells Cathedral, so we were happy to make a donation, and pay for the kids to light votive candles for those that had passed.  My awesome nephew decided to light a candle for God, because he was the only person he could think of who was dead.


Cheddar Gorge was recommended to us by my Mum, and it was a good visit.  The Gorge is lovely, and you can see how it inspired Tolkien for Helm's Deep.  The caves were big, and alright, but not a patch on more beautiful caves in other parts of the UK (like Stump Cross Caverns in Yorkshire).  There's a museum, which is pretty good, and sparked some interesting questions (I have no idea how they proved that a local history teacher was descended from Cheddar man through mitochondrial DNA - I'm assuming they meant they shared a common ancestrix?).  There was a man at the museum who showed us how to do flint napping, and was excellent with the children.  He so inspired my son that we now have stone-age style weapons that he's made, and I found myself shouting "put that arrow down - we don't wave arrows in people's faces" earlier today.  The trouble with Cheddar Gorge was the outrageous pricing.  It really is very expensive for what it is.  Happily, you can get tickets through Tesco, if you've got enough vouchers, and I'd recommend doing that.


Nunney is a beautiful, very small, village.  There is a cafe, but not much else apart from Nunney Castle, which there is not much to, but it is free, and it's a good wee visit.  Up the hill from the castle is a car park, and a grassy area which was great for a game of frisbee, and would be good for a picnic.  We were really glad to go to Nunney, it's got a lovely atmosphere, and it's always good to do something free!  It's also not far from Frome, which is amazing for shopping...


Another lovely town, Frome is jam-packed with nice pubs and good shops.  Watch out for Catherine Street, it's full of really good little shops which are very difficult to walk past.  I bought a lovely new bag, and Kenny breathed a sigh of relief that I didn't fit into any of the marvellous dresses.

There are lots of other places to visit in Somerset, and I've have loved to have gone to more of them, but that was all we had time for.  We also enjoyed plenty of Cheddar cheese and lots of yummy cider.  

Have you been to Somerset?  Where would you recommend?

Other posts you might like:
The book challenge
Words at 23/4/14 - 80,000.  Yay!  I'm over 80,000 (although I suspect this will be going down shortly, as I divide the story into two books)
27,000 words done since the challenge began, 11,500 so far this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - end of Chapter 16.
What I did last - a proposal.


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

singing the songs of our lives

I did a couple of posts recently, choosing songs for the soundtrack of my life so far.  You'll find them here, and here.  Writing them was great fun, mainly due to enjoying lots of blasts from the past on YouTube, but the feedback from you readers has been great too.  I thought I'd share some of their suggestions with you.

Let's start with Adam Ant - Stand and Deliver was the suggestion, and it took me back to being at my Dad's school (he was a teacher) on one of the occasions when he was working, but we were on holiday.  One of the boys at the school had lots of Adam Ant LPs, and recorded some for me.  Fantastic.  I love Adam's glorious appreciation of style over substance.  I also love dancing to this song - Diana Dors style.



One that was suggested for work was Head Like a Hole by Nine Inch Nails.  I love the strength within this song, even though it's well cushioned in despair.  Top tune to bear in mind next time your boss is getting you down.



We went down a bit of a Country and Western rabbit hole, wherein I was reminded of the truly glorious mystery song, Ode to Billie Joe, by Bobbie Gentry.  Do you like Country and Western?  This might be my favourite (just right now).  I like to think that Billie Joe was a girl.  What do you think?



I've also been introduced to Amanda Palmer through this, for which I am very grateful (thanks Steve).  If you haven't had the pleasure here's one to check out.  Here's Amanda (not for the faint hearted, or children)



Amanda has odd eyebrows for that video, which brought to mind another band I'd had recommended by a friend (only because of odd makeup really). I have Robin to thank for introducing me to CocoRosie.  Here's their marvellous video for Lemonade, and it's beautifully odd.  I'm not sure I could sing along with it, but I would like to dress like that (maybe skip the beard).



My little brother asked if the lists I'd put up were my desert island discs.  They're not.  I'm not sure quite what my desert island discs would be to be honest, although I'm thinking on it - watch this space.  I'm guessing I can't just take a smartphone as my luxury item?

Anyway, I'd love to hear what songs you might have for the soundtrack of your life so far, and indeed, what your desert island discs would be.  In the meantime, if you liked this post here's some other's you might like:


The book challenge
Words at 20/4/14 - 75,500.  
23,000 words done since the challenge began, 6000 so far this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - beginning Chapter 16.
What I did last - planning chapter 16 (back to the hero).

happy for 100 days: days 31 to 40

Did you see that clip of Pharrell that's been doing the rounds on Facebook lately?  He was on Oprah, talking about how people from all over the world have made video's of themselves dancing to 'Happy'.  It made him cry, bless him... it could nearly make me forgive him for writing Blurred Lines.  Nearly, but not.  'Happy' is a great song.


It's the Easter holidays for us, and we've been on holiday.  The sun has got his hat on, and there are lots of things for us to be happy about.  Here are just a few of them, from days 31-40 (they're all in my Instagram feed too).  What's been making you happy lately?

If you fancy taking part in #100happydays you can find out more here.

I pulled the suitcase out to start packing, and discovered that my husband hadn't emptied all the small pockets before putting it away (he doesn't use the small pockets), so found £40 Xmas money, previously presumed lost.  Result for day 31.
Feels like ages since I've seen my little brother (he's 6' 4", so not that little), so I was very happy to see him again on day 32.
Day 33 brought joy in a double whammy - not just my little brother, but my little sister too!
We all had fun at the safari park on day 34.  Going through the monkey enclosure was particularly good fun, but I liked this picture of the giraffe the best.
It's a real shame I'm not a Christian, because I seriously love a cathedral.  The one we visited on day 35 was in Wells, which is a super visit (the cathedral, and the place).  I loved these steps, and the room to the right - The Chapterhouse, was gorgeous, with amazing acoustics.  There was also an utterly fantastic clock which I've mentally taken down from the wall there and placed in the town square in the story I'm writing.  The Chapterhouse might make it in too.
On day 36 we visited Cheddar Gorge, which is massively over-priced, and the stalactites have mainly been broken off in the 1960s, but I did love the reflective qualities of the pools in the caves.  They were like mirrors.  How do they do that?  The Gorge itself was really interesting, and apparently inspired Tolkien's Helm's Deep.  
On day 37 we discovered Nunney Castle.  A gorgeous little castle in a lovely little village, and the best bit is... it's free!  We enjoyed the sunshine, had a walk, and played a game of frisbee, in a beautiful setting.
Day 38 saw us enjoying the delights of Talgarth in Wales.  There is a seriously good cafe at the mill.
It took HOURS to get home on day 39.  We were all truly sick of being in the car, but it was so good to see our fabulous cat again.
Day 40, and the prize-giving at my local writing group.  I got a lovely batch of certificates, but I was very happy to see Alasdair, a great writer, and ever so helpful too, win more trophies than he could carry.
I keep losing count of which number I'm on!  If you liked this post, here's some others that you might like too:

The book challenge
Words at 15/4/14 - 73,000.  
21,000 words done since the challenge began, 5000 so far this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - middle of Chapter 14.
What I did last - explaining the rings on the fingers of one of my more awesome characters.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

singing along with women: the seven ages of me in songs by women!

My last post was on the songs I could use as the soundtrack of the seven ages of me, so far. I messed up though, I only had songs by men. In an effort to both put that right, today I'm doing the same thing, but only with songs by women (I'm losing the term 'by' loosely here).

Child
My Mum and I, camping in knitted jumpers.

My Mum is great at singing along with stuff. She'll sing along with anything. Actually knowing the lyrics is not required. This song was my favourite to sing with her in the car, because of the harmonies. Chapel of love by The Dixie Cups.

Teen

As a hormone riddled teen my music choices mainly involved men with long hair and eyeliner, but I was also mad about the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and this song (written by Richard O'Brien but sung by both him and Susan Sarandon) was one of my favourites, and I still sing it today.  I made lots of friends singing along with this film.  The song is, There's a Light.


Youth

I explained yesterday that I had an odd couple of years between school and university.  During that time I'd bought the album Blue, by Joni Mitchell, mainly because it reminded me of my Mum.  I would listen to it (and sing along, of course), when I was feeling low.  Little Green, about the beautiful mess Joni Mitchell made in her own life, was one of my favourites (and I'm so glad it worked out OK in the end).




Student

I really grew into myself at University.  I loved it.  I also loved my music.  I had a big thing for Rosetta Stone, Depeche Mode, Japan, and Voice of the Beehive, while I was there.  But for today's post, I'm sharing the song I sang when I was in the RAG week blind date, by one of my favourite bands to sing along with.  Shakespeare's Sister's Stay.  I love it.  See that one on the stairs?  That's me that is (not).


Lover

Not sure anyone is happy with the title of this category!  I guess it just means that period of time when you're putting yourself into possible relationships, which mainly fail.  It hurts quite often, but it can be fun too.  Apparently people in this phase of their lives have less sex than married people.  Hmm.  Here's a great song which I have cried to (but I can't sing along with it).  Weak, by Skunk Anansie.


Worker

So excited that I get to pick this song, because it's totally awesome, and it fits perfectly here.  I love me a bit of Country, and this Dolly Parton song is just perfectly fitting for all those awful admin jobs, and indeed, more highly qualified positions.  Plans thwarted by rubbish bosses, and being part of the employment mill.  Sing it, Dolly.

Mother

There's nothing quite like motherhood to highlight the differences between men and women, and their roles in the family.  I am very happy that we have me to focus on the family, while my husband earns.  I had the necessary equipment in the early days, and now he earns more than I could, so it makes sense.  But some days, when my daughter has hidden her socks because we need to leave the house, when my son is refusing to do anything other than nag me to give him more screen time, when there is more laundry than you could shake a stick at and also homework and cleaning, and arguments and all the rest of it, well then this song comes to mind.  Running up that Hill by Kate Bush.



I'm wondering what your seven songs are?  Assuming you're around ages with me, here are your categories:  child, teen, youth, student, lover, worker, parent/partner.  Please share.

Other posts you might like:
The book challenge
Words at 15/4/14 - 73,000.  
21,000 words done since the challenge began, 5000 so far this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - middle of Chapter 14.
What I did last - explaining the rings on the fingers of one of my more awesome characters.

Monday, 14 April 2014

singing along: the seven ages of me in music

What songs would you use for the soundtrack of the seven ages of you, so far?

In his play, 'As You Like It', William Shakespeare's character Jaques gives a monologue, which starts with "All the world's a stage..." in which he outlines the seven ages of man:  infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, pantalone (kind of translates as foolish old person) and old age (dependent).  

I'm still only 40 so I've changed my seven ages (so far) to be: child, teen, youth, student,
lover, worker, mother. These are based loosely on the traditional seven ages, but adapted to fit a woman, and because I'm not old yet.  I hope you'll give this a go too, you can adapt your seven ages any way you see fit.

Me, taken by my Dad, on our last family holiday
Child

I was a lucky kid, I had a super family, and good friends, but my parents divorced and I didn't want them to, and there was a song that got played around the time that I liked. Let's Stay Together, by Bryan Ferry.  At first glance it seems a simple song about not wanting a relationship to end, but I was also kind of interested in the dynamic at work here. Bryan Ferry is saying he wants to stick together, but you get the impression that he's the reason she's leaving, and that he's not sorry for whatever it is he's done. He's telling her to stay because she said she would, not because he wants her to. You know it's not going to work, even as he's singing it.



Teen

This was a tough one to choose. Music was so important to me at this point. I loved to put my walkman on, stick the tape in, and be in my own little world. Also at this time my musical world was changing.  Moving from my Dad's rather fabulous record collection (he was once Entertainments Secretary at UMIST) to follow my own path.  What to go for? I'm tempted by Black Planet by Sisters of Mercy (I love the beginning of that song), or 225 by New Model Army, because, well, because it's just pure dead brilliant, and NMA were my local band. However, when I became Goth I was utterly obsessed with one band in particular. I would coat all my black clothes in flour and patchouli before leaving the house with their tape in my walkman. I still listen to them often. After the nasty man in the car park last week, I listened to one of their albums (on my phone) to calm down. Can you tell who it is yet?*  I chose this track because it's one of the first I got, and it's great for faux horse riding.  They don't make video's like this any more.  Preacherman by Fields of the Nephilim.  Thank Goth for that.



Youth

In between school and university I had an odd couple of years. I left home, and immersed myself in a different life. It didn't turn out how I'd envisaged, which is a shame, because I was a different, less trusting person afterwards. Just growing up I guess. The song I've chosen brings to mind my relationships back then, and it's by another band I love.  Earth, Sun, Moon, by Love and Rockets.  This is beautiful, and yearning, and perfect.  It's a shame they didn't make more videos back then because Daniel Ash was pretty perfect too.

Me, and my mate Nathan, in 1994.


Student

Shortly after the above picture was taken, I went to University.  It had taken me a while to get there, but I revelled in it.  I loved spending lots of time in the library, and getting heavily involved in student politics.  I also had a massive fit of religion, and a bit of a panic about my romantic future.  I did feel like I got to be me finally, and that was awesome.  I carried my big box of LPs between Halls of Residence and digs and home while at University, but the song I'm going to choose was on one of my new CDs.  The Witch by Rosetta Stone.  I went to see Rosetta Stone whenever I could, although I was never a Quarryman.  I felt tremendous fellowship with their followers, and I still love their music.  This is one of their covers, but they do it so well (and the witch thing kind of works - see what I did there?).


Lover

What a thing to call a category!  Ahem.  I'm using this to mean the period between University and my first proper job.  A period which included a few relationships, going to University again, and a whole lot of admin.  Yawn!  It also involved a lot of drinking, not enough money, and a lot of stress.  It was better than puberty, and at times it was incredibly good fun, but I wouldn't do it again.  I've chosen this song for the beat, for the incredibly wrong sexiness of it, and for the tinge of despair... and also because it is guaranteed to get me on the dancefloor.  This and sex dwarf.  Should I have chosen sex dwarf?  The song is called Closer and it's by Nine Inch Nails.  Grown ups may choose to watch the video.  I wouldn't recommend it.  The song is great.  The video not so much.  Why are all rude YouTube videos on Vevo?


Worker

This is the grown up bit.  Things did come together.  I met a man who didn't know anything about Goth music, and fell in love.  We finished our respective University courses, got proper jobs, and got houses.  We even got married. 

This bit is called 'Worker' and it's that that I'm focusing on.  I had a real job.  One you needed a postgraduate qualification for.  I had a job that involved meeting with senior people and providing advice.  It was weird.  It was good too.  There were lots of things I liked about my job, but one thing I did not like was meetings.  Don't get me wrong, I liked the meetings where you travel to meet with someone to get a good understanding of what they're doing about something.  Those meetings were great.  The meetings I hated were those ones where you have a meeting because you always have a meeting on Wednesday.  The meetings where people talk about how many spoons are missing from the kitchenette.  Surely we have better things to do with our lives than have those meetings?  I also hated the regular meetings with my boss where she would dissect everything I had done to point out the flaws in it, and I would not punch her.  Again and again.  What I did do, was imagine getting up out of my seat and singing this song.  One Step Closer by Linkin Park.  I know they're not a proper band, but this song is awesome.


Mother

So now we're up to date, with where I'm at in my life now.  A full time mother to three weans.  Truth be told that last song doesn't go completely neglected, but as a mother I've spent an awful lot of time with children who are nearly asleep, or should be asleep, or won't go the 'ahem' to sleep.  When the child does finally sleep, whether they look gorgeous or not you have that amazing moment to realise how wonderful this whole thing of creating life and getting to live with these little people is.  I love this song.  I Don't Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith.


So that's me, so far... way too many men represented!  I'll have to do another version with women.  What's that about?  Anyway, I'm wondering what your seven songs are?  Assuming you're around ages with me, here are your categories:  child, teen, youth, student, lover, worker, parent/partner.  Please share.

Other posts you might like:
The book challenge
Words at 15/4/14 - 73,000.  
21,000 words done since the challenge began, 5000 so far this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - middle of Chapter 14.
What I did last - explaining the rings on the fingers of one of my more awesome characters.


Friday, 11 April 2014

loving apps

What app have you got that you couldn't live without?  What's so good about it?

I love the flexibility of apps for phones, tablets and Chrome, and I am often amazed at what some of the good ones can do (and curious as to the point of some of the bad ones).  

A blast from the past, from
Timehop
I use some apps, like the camera app on my phone (just the standard one it comes with), like Gmail and Facebook so often that I don't really think of them as apps any more.  They're all great, but if for some reason they're not working (the Facebook app used up too much memory to ever work on my last 'phone), then I can survive.  I have used different apps for the camera.  I used to be a big fan of Vignette, but there are so many camera apps out there.

Other apps are newer to me. I've just got Timehop (yesterday), which gives me a daily blast from the past of my status updates and photos from this day in previous years.  Today, I've got this picture of the little girl from two years ago, wearing a very fetching ensemble of bobble hat and summer PJs, and a couple of songs that were on my mind in previous years.  I like Timehop.  It makes me feel that time is moving more slowly than I had feared.

However, the app which I couldn't live without is not one I use every day (although I do use it most days), and it is not new to me.  It's marketed as a great tool for work, and great for making lists in.  I use it all the time, to make notes, to draft blog posts (because the Blogger app is truly awful), to keep a note of those web sites you come across that you think will be useful one day, and also for lists of books to read, places to visit, and things to pack (but lists of things to do are done in Remember the Milk - it being the best of a bad lot to replace the marvellous and now dead app, Astrid).  I got Evernote as a friend had been raving about it, thinking I'd hardly use it, 
Find Evernote here
but it is so incredibly useful.  Not just because of what it does, but because of its marvellous ability to sync.  You can draft a blog post on your 'phone while you're on the train, do more to it on your tablet later, and then transfer it from Evernote on your computer when you get home.  It's so easy to use, and just generally brilliant... so I'm expecting someone to buy it, take all the staff, and leave its carcass drained of blood in an elephant graveyard.  Hope not.  


If you've not used Evernote yet, do give it a try.  It is, honestly, awesome.

So, what's your favourite app?

Other posts you might like
The book challenge
Words at 10/4/14 - 72,000.  
19,000 words done since the challenge began, 4000 so far this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - middle of Chapter 14.
What I did last - lots of worrying from my new POV character.  Not sure how to carry on from this bit, but it'll come to me.  Don't want too much information.

I'm still blogging too much and not writing enough of the book, so I'm reducing the blogging further, to focus on the writing.  That's the theory anyway!