He is all of 13 Years Old…

Yes, he is! My boy is now a teen! i am the mother of a teen! i’m in denial, which is why this post is a whole 1.5 weeks late…

He chose to celebrate it with 3 of his friends at the Laser Arena in Basel. He would have invited more, i think. But our car could only take that many 13-year-olds.

The guy who did the walk-through was really nice and friendly. When we got there, we were the only group playing laser tag. The rest of the groups were playing paintball. It was only for the last of our 3 games that the boys played with another group.

Here are some pictures:

 

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Top: The boys in their gear, fierce, right? ;), Middle: The playing field, Bottom: The score sheets.

 

 

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The happy teen with his load of presents… there is actually still a couple waiting for him in Singapore.
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Last but not least, our traditional birthday shot!

syc

 

i was in Belgium…

Two Fridays ago, it was Mother’s Day. Two Fridays ago, i packed my boy off to school and make sure his father knew the plans for the day and left for the airport. Two Fridays ago, i gave myself the gift of attending my first-ever writer’s conference, for an entire weekend!

It was the Europolitian, organised by the 5 regions of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) for Europe. Loved it!

It was held in the lovely city of Brussels, Belgium. i had never been there before and had a great time walking around a small part of the city for the Scrawl Crawl, which was a pre-conference event.

 

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Some of my favourite buildings we saw on our Scrawl Crawl through the city.
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The weather wasn’t great; it was rain one minute, sunny the next. But we made it through; rain, sun and fun.
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The Grand Place with its gold painted buildings. Quite impressive, indeed.

There was a lovely dinner after all that walking and then it was off to bed because we had an early start to a long day.

 

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The conference venue was a beautiful manor house in the suburbs, with lush green grounds, stunning grand rooms with wood paneling and sparkling chandeliers. It was an inspirational place to have the conference.

i enjoyed the lunches which were served from food trucks! And it was an informal stand up affair.

The keynote speeches were superb (one made many of us cry, another made us laugh a lot), the workshops were helpful and insightful, my one-on-one crit was good, the many chats with fellow attendees made it feel warm and family-like. i came away stirred and recharged with ideas to move ahead with my writing!

Thank you to the hardworking, amazing team which put the conference together.

 

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What a contrast! The cathedral at Grand Place on a rainy day and at night. Both beautiful!

The next one is in Switzerland in 2019 – i am definitely there! 😉

 

syc

Book Review: Shakespeare… by Bill Bryson…

i love Bill Bryson’s books! They are funny and insightful at the same time, always. His writing is so honest and humourous, i always have laugh-out-loud moments. i have read quite a number of them already but this is my first review of a Bill Bryson book.

i like my books and i like my classics and of course, i like Shakespeare. i will admit that if i had not studied Shakespeare at school, i would be a bit intimidated or at least i would find the language tiresome to read. But i did study Shakespeare at school and in some detail, so i have come to like the way Shakespeare writes and his myriad of characters.

51q2bgmu-mrl-_sx324_bo1204203200_In this book, Bryson tries to de-mystify the person who is Shakespeare. There have been many assumptions made about Shakespeare, mainly because he lived in a time when written records of persons were not well kept. There was no google or digital database where you could find lots on any one person.

Bryson writes in a matter-of-fact voice about a rather matter-of-fact subject; a famous man’s life, and yet, i still found myself smiling at various points in the book.

He lays it out quite clearly, and with some authority, about how life was during Shakespeare’s lifetime and how inaccurate things can be when passed down through word of mouth, and how, even eye-witness accounts, or what claims to be eye-witness accounts, can turn out to be untrue.

i have to say that after reading this book, my romanticised view of Shakespeare has been shuttered, but in a good way. Shakespeare wasn’t some rich boy who had all the resources in the world and could spend his days writing and not worrying about daily life. He was a man who had to work his way up to be recognised, and yes, he was fortunate that many things fell his way but still he did not have it easy and he had gotten himself into some measure of trouble in his day.

So if you would like to know more about Shakespeare the man, but don’t have time to wade through more high-brow works on the man, then pick up this book and have a fun time learning about Shakespeare, the theater and life during the 16th and 17th centuries.

syc