The Wee Writing Lassie’s Top Ten Audiobooks

What ho, wee readers, yes I’m back – not dead, just suffering from a bit of Blogger’s block. For the longest time I could not figure out what I wanted to write about next. I mean usually it’s a tv series I’ve been binging after work – at least lately – but I’ve sort of moved away from those in favour of films. And while I could do a list of those, ranking the top ten – and I may yet in the future – I had a better idea for a post to break my writer’s block.

A while back – after the terrible storm Arwen – we lost power for an entire day. And this was back in December, so it was dark and cold and most of our phones had not been well charged beforehand. During the light hours of the day this was manageable – we had books ( for entertainment), a fire (for warmth), and a gas cooker (for cooking). Really we were all set. But remember this was Scottish winter, and there really wasn’t a lot of light hours in the day at all. Which left large chunks of the afternoon and evening shrouded in darkness. We still had the fire and the cooker, so we were a lot better off than most people – but that still left us swimming in our own boredom.

The only device that still had some power in our house, was my Mum’s iPad.  No internet of course, but she had the books in her kindle library, but only one person at a time could read them. Looking back now we could have read them out to each other, but hindsight is twenty twenty. But to cut a long story short we didn’t have to, for we found an audiobook already  downloaded. Wow, that was a slightly long-winded and first world whining  way to tell you my family’s started listening to an audiobook after dinner each night. Oh well, we got there eventually.

By now we’ve listened to too many audiobooks to possibly list them all here, so instead this will be a list of our top ten audiobooks. We will take into account strength in story, narration, production, and all round enjoyment. Rounding up each to a score out of ten.  But since I’ll be polling my family members we might end up as slightly more than that – a perfect score should be 30 out of 30.

Let’s begin.

10. Northanger Abbey

One of Jane Austen’s earliest books. In theory it’s a bit of a parody of gothic literature of the time – with the main heroine convinced some heinous plan is a foot in the house she’s staying at. Which would be fine, if that was the main action of the story – instead we spend half our time in Bath, at diff balls and gatherings and the whole thing feels like it’s just running in place until she gets the invite to visit Northanger Abbey. It’s bad people, it’s really bad.

My Brother’s Scores

  • Story: 0.5/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 2/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 0.5/1
  • Final Score: 6

Additional Notes: I can see why the publishers of the time refused to publish.

My Mum’s Scores

  • Story: 1/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 2/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 0/1
  • Final Score: 6

My Scores

  • Story: 0/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 1/3
  • Overall enjoyment:0/1
  • Final Score: 4

High Score: 16/30

9. The Mermaid’s Sister

A fun story, with a clever fairy tail energy to it.

My Brother’s Scores

  • Story: 2.5/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 0.97/1
  • Final Score: 9.47

Additional Notes: It lost points due to violence. I liked the supernatural elements and the romance.

My Mum’s Scores

  • Story: 2/3
  • Narration: 2/3
  • Production: 2/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 7

My Scores

  • Story: 2/3
  • Narration: 2/3
  • Production: 2/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 7

High Score: 23.47 / 30

8. Station Eleven

A fascinating take on the post-apocalyptic genre, emphasizing the importance of art on people’s lives no matter what age you’re living in. As the book itself says ‘Survival is not enough.’

My Brother’s Scores

  • Story: 2/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 9

My Mum’s Scores

  • Story: 2/3
  • Narration: 2/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 8

My Scores

  • Story: 3/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 10

Additional Notes: Wow. Very well written, but heartbreakingly sad at certain parts.

High Score: 27/30

7. Grown Ups

A solid addition to the Marian Keyes Bibliography – telling the story of  a very large and slightly dysfunctional family, and all the heartbreak and hijinks that go on in their lives. My only criticism – if you can really call it one – is that because there are so many characters, the opening scene at the family dinner is going to leave you a little confused, and trying to desperately remember all their names and who the heck they are. It does revisit that same scene again at the end, after an entire book getting to know these people, so I’m guessing that initial confusion was an intended reaction.

My Brother’s Scores

  • Story: 2/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 9

Additional Notes: I liked the inclusion of a Syrian immigrant (Perla), even if she only had a minor role. It’s also good that it calls attention to abuse. It would have got a ‘3/3’ for story, if Nell and Ferdia had got a happy ending (I’m a hopeless romantic). It would also have been nice, if Mum was able to listen it with us.

My Mum’s Scores

  • Story: 2/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 9

My Scores

  • Story: 2/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 9

High Score: 27 / 30

6. Room

This is a Fantastic Book, stop reading this post – or rather pause reading this post – and go out and buy this book now. (Or search your library) Either way, find this book, and read it. Go ahead, we’ll all wait for you.

My Brother’s Scores

  • Story: 3/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 10

Additional Notes: I liked the innocence of the child narrator.

My Mum’s Scores

  • Story: 3/3
  • Narration: 2/3
  • Production: 2/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 8

Additional Notes: Needed more than one male voice – all the men sounded like ‘Old Nick’ to me.

My Scores

  • Story: 3/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 2/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 9

Additional Notes: Behold my new favorite book 🙂

High Score: 27 / 30

5. Rachel’s Holiday

I wouldn’t go out of my way to say that ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ is a better book than ‘Gown Ups’ – Marian Keyes’ other book on this list – because they’re very different books, about different topics. So in the end all I’ll say is, there is a reason that this is higher on the list.

My Brother’s Scores

  • Story: 2.9/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production:3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 9.9

Additional Notes: I liked how it addressed the issue of addiction.

My Mum’s Scores

  • Story: 3/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 10

My Scores

  • Story: 3/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 1/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 8

High Score: 27.9 / 30

4. The Hundred Secret Senses

I can’t say why – because spoilers – but this book moved me to tears.

My Brother’s Scores

  • Story: 2/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 0.97 / 1
  • Final Score: 8.97

My Mum’s Scores

  • Story: 3/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 10

My Scores

  • Story: 3/3
  • Narration: 2/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 9

High Score: 27.97 / 30

3. Am I Normal yet?

Myself, and many of the members of my family have OCD tendencies – nothing like what this girl has of course, but still – so I felt greatly moved by this book.

My Brother’s Scores

  • Story: 2.9 / 3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 2.9/3
  • Final Score: 11.8

Additional Notes: I enjoyed the sweet romance and empathized with Evie’s condition.

My Mum’s Scores

  • Story: 2/3
  • Narration: 2/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 8

My Scores

  • Story: 3/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 2/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 9

High Score: 28.8 / 30

2. Piranesi

This is my favorite book. Go out and read it now.

My Brother’s Scores

  • Story: 2.7/ 3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 0.99/1
  • Final Score: 9.69

Additional Notes: It lost points due to overall slow pace at the start. I liked the mystery and the existence of different universes.

My Mum’s Scores

  • Story: 2/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 9

My Scores

  • Story: 3/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 10

Additional Notes: This book was an experience – but I can’t really tell you about it, without taking that experience away from you. So go out and buy this book now, and don’t look to the end, just enjoy the journey getting there😁

High Score: 28.69 / 30

1. Longbourn

Basically this was Pride & Prejudice told from the servants’ point of view. This was a very good book, adding historical context which the original story – as good as it is – didn’t really have.

My Brother’s Scores

  • Story: 2.9 / 3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 2.9 / 1
  • Final Score: 11.8

Additional Notes: I like the alternative perspective on the Bennetts, Bingley owning slaves was intriguing and makes sense. I liked the sympathetic depiction of the lower classes.

My Mum’s Scores

  • Story: 3/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 10

My Scores

  • Story: 3/3
  • Narration: 3/3
  • Production: 3/3
  • Overall enjoyment: 1/1
  • Final Score: 10

Additional Notes:

I loved this book. It’s one of the few, if only, retellings of Pride & Prejudice in which you leave liking Mr. Collins far more than Elizabeth Bennet.

High Score: 31.8 / 30

If you enjoyed this long delayed post of mine, why not follow the Wee blog if you haven’t  already. Also check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Facebook and Kofi for the good stuff. Also sign up for the Wee Mailing list before the 31st of July to find out what Audiobook we’re currently listening to. Until next time, Wee Readers, stay safe, stay sane, and most of all have a very Bonny day.

Whore, Slut, Bitch: The Wrong way to insult a Politician

Politicians are a bit shit, aren’t they? I think we can all agree on that account. Whether we be English and forced into another pointless lockdown by an over grown blob monster in a blond wig. Welsh, and unable to buy non-essential items from our supermarkets. Irish…I’m not entirely sure what the Irish are doing right now but it’s 2020, so it can’t be anything good. American and trapped in a choice between a kinda racist jerk (Trump) and someone who is more than likely a pedophile, and also racist, and senile (Biden).

Or you could be Scottish like me up here in the north, and have the party that was supposed to be building a long-term plan for independence destroy the economy. Making it by the way, very unlikely that we’ll ever get independence again.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m not overly fond of politicians right now.

But for the sake of this post’s topic, let’s just say that I hate Nicola Sturgeon.

No more than that I wish death upon her.

Let her be smothered by her own stupid tartan mask.

Now before anyone gets upset, I’m not actively plotting the death of a politician. I just really need you to understand the depth of my hatred for this woman. So that you don’t mistake what I say next, as coming from any actual sympathy, or fondness, for Sturgeon herself.

Because as the title may suggest, if there’s a right way to insult our darling politicians, then there’s a wrong way too.

For instance, say I was to get so angry at Nicola Sturgeon one day – you know because she’s ruining my country and whatnot – that I was to call her a pigwhore. Now why would that be wrong? That’s right, although a knee jerk reaction for many of us, instantly insulting a woman’s sexuality is a by-product of our still very patriarchal society.  But that can’t be right, I hear you shout – I call male politicians whores all the time.

Boris Johnson is particularly deserving of such a title. But really think about it, when you hear someone call someone a man-whore, it doesn’t sound like a really cutting insult, it sounds like a joke. And that’s because in our cultural lexicon, it really is. It’s funny to call a man a sex worker, because clearly that’s something that just doesn’t happen. Sex work is thought of as a woman’s domain, okay…let’s pretend that’s even remotely true. Either way, you don’t have a particularly good insult on your hands.

So, you say, you can’t call her a whore – by surely calling her a pig is fine. A greasy, smelly, dirt ridding pig. Look at her, look at what she did to Alex Salmond – she’s filth. And while I agree that she very much is, why is your first instinct to insult her appearance rather than her actions? Would you do so for a man? I mean don’t get me wrong, we do insult men’s looks: Trump’s hair looks like a tribble, Biden looks like death incarnate, Boris is a toad and I swear to god Keir Starmer is the reincarnation of a shovel. And while that is also missing the point of why we hate these men so very much – as should be fairly obvious by now, it does take on a slightly more troubling meaning when it’s a woman. Years of oppression, punching down and all that. I know, I know, patriarchy ruins everything.

Of course, sexism isn’t the only bigotry we have to be careful about using when we display our righteous anger to the coldblooded butchers that run our world. Well…the British one anyway. For instance, if I were to say that Sturgeon’s haircut makes her look like a wizened little man of a hundred and eighty-five, that could be construed as transphobic… possibly I’m not certain, please feel free to correct me in the comments. But it’s certainly slightly ageist; after all, why is it a bad thing that she looks like a little old man of a hundred and eighty-five? Sucks all of the joy out of an insult. You only want to hit the leech of a politician, but you end up being cruel to some innocent person instead.

While there is some ground to the argument that the modern notion of political correctness can rather perversely be used to shut down real political discourse – it cannot be denied that when we insult a politician using hate speech, we dilute our own insult and rob it of both its intended meaning and value.

Damn it, I hear you say – it’s practically impossible to insult the murderers running my country using the slurs, and rhetoric the internet has prepared me to use. So, I’m just gonna make up my own words.

And well…yeah. It’s certainly fun to make up your insults, and it defiantly frees you of the danger of offence, or miss fire on an innocent. It’s fun to call Nicola Sturgeon a Fuzzwopple; or Keir Starmer a Bolderfups; or even Obama and the Clintons EvilDennjsydfjai. But you see the problem there, too right? The words are fun to say and they certainly don’t hurt anyone, but they also just don’t mean anything. We only really understand that these are insults by the tone in which they are said, and with written media we don’t even have that. We’ve gone from one extreme of just offending and insulting everybody, to the other end of the spectrum where we’re not even really insulting our intended target.

So then, what’s the answer – how can we express our anger, in a way that won’t hurt someone innocent and yet still actually expresses our hatred?

Honestly the answer seems to be the simplest: just be honest about why you’re actually angry.

Why do I hate Nicola Sturgeon? She’s ruining my country, by gutting the economy and encouraging the worst of Scottish racist tendencies within her followers. Not because she is a woman with a stupid haircut and an old man face.

I hate Keir Starmer because he is surgically removing the actually left-wing members from the Labour party – and if that sounds counter intuitive, well, congratulations you have a fully developed sense of earth logic, it’s a pity the Blairites don’t. I do not hate him because he has a shovel face.

I don’t trust Obama, not because he has a set of clownish ears or (ridiculously enough) anything at all to do with his race; but because people seem to conveniently forget his war crimes every time they want to compare him favourably next to their political villain of the week. He’s also a little too chummy with sexual predators and, you know, other proven war criminals.

Biden and the Clintons are those sexual predators and other proven war criminals.

Twitter is saying we might have a third lockdown, no…no…clearly the reason I hate Boris Johnson is because he looks like a shaggy dog that was turned human through a series of horribly cruel laboratory experiments.

There is probably a list longer than the entirety of the bible why people don’t like, or take issue with Donald Trump and I can guarantee you that when it comes down to it; not one of them involves his skin being orange or his hair being ridiculous.

Well that’s me, that’s my rude little rant done. If you’ve enjoyed this excuse to call the politicians of the Western World as many rude things as I can get away with, to try and express my rage in a somewhat healthy way, then follow the Wee Blog, if you haven’t already. Also check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and GoodReads. Also check out my Short Story page, to see if my fiction is as racey as my posts; and don’t forget to sign up for the Wee Mailing list before the 19th of December, to see some of the insults that were a bit too rude even for this post. Also, before I go, I’d just like to say something:  I focused on western politicians, and these ones in particular because they were honestly the ones I knew the most about, and therefore have the most intimate hate for. If you think there was any I left out, that I should have mentioned, please mention them down below in the comments.  All I ask is that you be as inventive and colourful in your language as possible. And for those of you wondering why I didn’t go harder after Trump, this is a blog post about how to insult politicians and if you have trouble insulting as big a target as Donald Trump, then nothing I could say would help.  Until next time Wee Readers, have a bonny day and if I don’t see you before then, have a very merry Christmas.

Just a brief note before we leave, if you’ve enjoyed this and other posts like it on the Wee Writing Lassie, why not buy me a Wee Cup of Coffee, or drop me a tip over on Ko-fi. Which is linked to the image below.

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The Sunshine Blogger Award…and it’s all mine!!!!!

What ho, Wee Readers! Yes it’s happened, I’ve gotten an award. Finally some acknowledgment on how awesome I am. I’d just like to thank my Mum and my Dad for Home Educating me, and my brother for providing an intellectual sparing partner, and all the friends who had the common sense not to get in my way during my rise to the top. But most of all I’d like to thank Autumn from Mischief and Mjolnir who is the wonderful blogger who nominated me. Seriously go check out and follow her amazing blog right now, or I shall think much less of you from this day onwards.

Okay so acknowledments over, what is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award given to creative, positive and cheerful bloggers by their peers as a token of appreciation and admiration. (Which considering some of my more depressing blogs, I’m a little shocked I got nominated for. Happy, but a little surprised.)

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to him/her. (Check)
  2. Answer 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you. (Double Check)
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions. (Mwahhahaha! *cough* I mean, sensible laugh that’s not worrying to my nominees at all.)
  4. Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  5. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your blog post.

My Questions

  • What would be your dream job?

A published novelist

  • What big thing would you love to do if you had the means?

Buy the Woods and the Loch by my house.

  • If a genie gave you three wishes, what would you wish for?

Wish Number One:  to have Mum’s health back.

Wish Number Two: to have my books published and successful

Wish Number Three: to be able to watch the Mandalorian without paying for it (damn you Disney and your malicious ability to provide excellence).

  • If you had the opportunity to change the world, how would you do it?

Change Trump into a wooden doll.

  • What would you do with a million dollars?

*cracks knuckles* Buy a plane and travel round the world. Buy a castle. Buy a mansion in Italy. Buy tickets to Hamilton and Come from Away. There’s too much to choose! Darn, am I only suppose to pick one, then fine…pay my taxes, and according to JK Rowling become a saint.

  • What would you name your pet dragon?

As I am a firm believer of the inverse law of pet naming – which states that the more fierce the pet, the cuter the name, and vice versa – I here by name my pet dragon: Mr. Tickles.

  • Would you rather time travel to the past or to the future? Why?

Hmm, that’s a hard question, indeed. I do so love history, but there’s the issue of what if you kill your grandparents accidentally. You could stop yourself from being born. And believe me, considering my currently living grandparents, it would be a very hard thing not to kill them, should I ever encounter them in the past. Yet if I go any further than that I’m sure to be hung as a witch. So, it must be to the future I go. Yet even that has its dangers, for if you see what’s going to happen to you, or the world in the future – once you’re home how will you ever be sure that you’re not undoing that timeline with your every action? So if I were to time travel at all, it must be to the future, and it must be a one way trip.

  • What word would your friends use to describe you?

Bubbly

  • What’s your favouratie candy?

Fox’s Glacier Mints

  • What’s your favorite song?

It changes daily – today it is Word Up by The BossHoss, but who knows what it’ll be tomorrow.

  • What are the greatest gifts God has given you this year?

While I’m not particularly religious, so probably wouldn’t phrase it like that,  I can understand when a good thing has happened to me – here are some of them:

  1. My mum coming home from the hospital.
  2. Getting a 73 on my last assignment, when I’d been certain I’d failed it.
  3. Getting my newest short story published – despite many people turning their noses up at the Scots’ dialect of the characters.
  4. Just how many people have been reading and enjoying my blog.

My Nominees’ Questions

  1. Who is your favorite author?
  2. If you could rule one of these five fictional/mythical lands: the Galaxy of Star Wars, King Arthur’s Britain, Westeros, Middle-Earth or Discworld – which one would it be and why?
  3. If you had the powers of a god, what would you do with them?
  4. Which famous historical figure would you have round to dinner?
  5. You’ve been abducted by aliens, and they demand that you take them to your leader – who do you take them to?
  6. If there was a film made of your life story, which famous actor would you want to play you?
  7. If you were trapped in a historical time (presumably your time machine has malfunctioned) what period would you be most likely to survive in?
  8. What is your favorite kind of weather and why?
  9. Chocolate or Caramel?
  10. If you could turn into any mythical creature, which one would it be?
  11. Who are you most grateful to in your life?

The Nominees

Linda Gukicova at Some Photoblog

moviefanman at Movie Fan Man: Cinema Connoisseur

Sophia Ismaa

Eunice C. English at My Parkinson’s Diary

Mia Winhertt at A struggling Author – My Journey with You

JoAnna at Anything is possible

Lolsys Library

amymayj at Sassy Cat Lady

Widdershims at Widdershim Worlds

joanne the geek

Whitneyibeblog at Whitney Ibe Blog!…Always with You

If you’ve enjoyed this touting of my own horn, don’t forget to follow the wee blog if you haven’t already. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Goodreads. Also check out Mischief and Mjolnir, and my Nominees’ blogs – they’re really worth a check out. Until next time, My Wee Readers, have a bonny day.

Just a brief note before we leave, if you’ve enjoyed this and other posts like it on the Wee Writing Lassie, why not buy me a Wee Cup of Coffee, or drop me a tip over on Ko-fi. Which is linked to the image below.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

We now interrupt your regular scheduled programming with a message from a Wee Lassie

What Ho My Wee Readers – I’m back, and I haven’t died or vanished from the face of the earth. Unfortunately my course work became somewhat overwhelming – so I had to make some cutbacks on the rest of my work, and the blog lost out mainly because there isn’t a deadline for the work I do here.

Anyway, happy times ahead because I’m back, along with some exciting news. Check out my Stories page and you’ll find a brand new addition – my short story, ‘The Squirrel’ was accepted for issue 7 of the online magazine, Route 7. Check it out and marvel at the authentic use of Doric. Also, we’ll have some new blog posts hopeful up soon, including but not limited to:

12 Vegan Meals cooked by a complete amateur

Due to some personal reasons, I’ve taken control of the cooking for my family – behold and watch the terror unfold before you

The Top Ten Books of a Wee Lassie’s GoodReads Challenge

If you’ve followed me on GoodReads than you might know that I’ve finally completed my Reading Challenge for the year – this is my top ten favorites.

Cool Motive, Still Murder: an in-depth look at why the Sherlock Christmas special is not feminist, it’s stupid

I think this one speaks for itself.

A World without Aliens: why what works for Firefly, can’t work for Star Wars

Ditto with this one

Friends: This is not the Best Day of Your Life

Din’t you ever find it both annoying and very strange how Friends treated the desire to be a bride, not only as expected for women, but so commonplace that even women from completely different countries, can understand it in each other, even over their own future husbands. Yes, it’s another Friends post – but if the Friends’ writers didn’t want lengthy think pieces twenty five years after their show began, then they should have taken more care to make it age better.

The Amateur Vegan Cook: Christmas Lunch addition

Yes, that’s right I’m cooking Christmas Dinner this year

And since J.K Rowling is kicking up dirt again – surprise everyone who hasn’t read my earlier post, J.K. Rowling is supporting a transphobe – I’ll be talking a bit about her work, and just well…all the things I kind of just let slide first time round, because of the lightening bolt shaped stars in my eyes. Also the fact that I was basically six when I started reading the Harry Potter books.

And that’s about it – a story published, an update that I’m not quite dead yet, and some plans for the future.

If you’ve enjoyed this Wee refresher into the insanity which is my mind, don’t forget to follow the wee blog if you haven’t already. Also check me out on Instagram and Twitter, along with my Goodreads, Pinterest and Tumblr accounts. Thank you for your infinite patience during this long hiatus between posts that we’ve somehow found ourselves in – I’ll try not to take so long with the next one. So, until next time my wee readers, have a bonny day.

Just a brief note before we leave, if you’ve enjoyed this and other posts like it on the Wee Writing Lassie, why not buy me a Wee Cup of Coffee, or drop me a tip over on Ko-fi. Which is linked to the image below.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Moving Round the North: or the eight places in Aberdeenshire you should see before the world ends

What ho, Wee Readers both old and new. My last post was let’s face it, interesting but a bit of downer all round – so I resolved to write about something a bit more cheerful. But that left the question, what exactly? I have things to say about, many different topics and no doubt you’ll hear about all of them in time – but they often tend to descend into a bit of a rant. And I didn’t really feel like doing that so soon after my last epic one. And then like a shining light descended from on high, it came to me. Scotland, specifically the North of Scotland. What on Earth am I talking about? Well, sit down and I shall explain.

If it wasn’t clear from my chosen pseudonym, I am a Scottish Lass – or Quine as we say in the North – and have always been very proud of that fact. I love Scotland, I love everything about it and judging by the fact that you are currently reading a blog called The Wee Writing Lassie – you probably have a slight fondness for it too. I am particularly fond, as you might expect, of my home county of Aberdeenshire. Though sadly sometimes it feels like we’re often forgotten by the world at large ; indeed even our own country men and women, struggle to understand the Doric accent of Aberdeenshire. So, I say enough is enough, people should know what we have to offer and so here we are, moving round the North of Scotland – and the eight places in Aberdeenshire / Aberdeen city you really should visit before global warming turns this planet into nothing more than a husked out shell. What? Too dramatic?

8. Tyrebagger Stone Circle

Tyrebagger Stone Circle
Behold the Standing Stones of Tyrebagger
Recumbent Standing Stones
A Bonny standing stones

Situated just outside of Aberdeen, Tyrebagger Stone Circle is a very hard place to find. You can’t find it by typing a name into Google maps and following the road layed out for you dilagently right into the thing’s car park. There is no car park at Tyrebagger Stone Circle, just a country lane, and a small patch of dirt beside a qaurry and a field. And even then you have to get out and walk a bit up another small country path, until you get to another field where you should see the tall standing stones of Tyrebagger just visable over the horizion. I’m not trying to put anyone off going, really, once you finaly reach it – this beutiful Neol/ Bronze Age Recumbant Stone Circle is more than worth the effort it will have taken to find the blasted thing. But I’m a firm beliver of going into something with your eyes wide open, so I’ll be honest, if all you’re looking for is a fun day out seeing round the sights of the North of Scotland, Tyrebagger may not be for you. However if you’re determined, and don’t mind a few tears on the road while you scream at your stupid Satnav, because it contuines to insiste you’ve arrived even though you’re still on the highway – then all the more power to you. You won’t be dissapointed with what you find at the end of your long, long journey.

7. Broomend of Circhiy Stone Circle

Broomend of Circhiy Stone Circle
Broomend of Circhiy

Situated near the Scotish town of Inverurie, The Broomend of Circhie Stone circle is a lot easier to find than the last entry on this list, it’s even got a car park. Technically speaking it’s a Henge – yeah like that one – with three standing stones placed in the middle, at least one of which is a Class 1 Pictish stone. That particular stone was placed there in the ninetieth century and bears the symbols of the Pictish Beast, and the Crescent and V-road. Now, is that the stone pictured in the photo above? Well, honestly I’m not sure, that was just the best picture I personaly have of the Circle so we’ll just have to live with that.

6. Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle
Dunnottar castle on the cliff
Challenge Accepted
The Lion's Den
The Lion’s Den

Dunnottar Castle ( Scottish Gaelic Name: Dun Fhoithear, “fort on the shelving slope”) is a particularly large ruin up here in the north of Scotland. So large in fact that I couldn’t even finsih walking round it, before becoming tooo exhusted to contuine. Tough perhaps that had more to do with the mass amount of stairs you have to climb down to get to the bloody thing. And don’t even get me started on the ones you have to climb up to leave – they’re the same stairs, its just a lot harder coming back up. So the moral of our story, don’t attempt Dunnottar Castle if you’re in anyway, sick, tierd, or just started you’re period. But in all seriosness this is a fantastic piece of Scottish History. Sometimes it seems like it never ended for the densions of Dunnottar Castle – if they weren’t hiding the Scottish crown jewels from Oliver Cromwell’s invading army in the 17th century; they were forfiting their titles by taking part in the Jacobite rising of 1715. I think I even heard somewhere that the Vikings attack Dunnottar, though possibly before there was a castle there.

All in all, this ruin is well worth the price of admission, though I would advise packing some energy bars and bottled water before setting off down that hill.

5. The Bass of Inverurie

The Bass of Inverurie

Behold the hill you see before you is all that remains of Inverurie Castle more commonly referred to as the Bass of Inverurie. No one is quite sure who first raised the Bass or when – but by the time of 1176 it was held by the Leslie family and remained in use until the fourteenth century. Now the only sign of that castle are the two hills left in a middle of a graveyard. If you happen to come across it, it’s really a sight to behold once you reach the top of one of those hills where once a mighty, or at least fairly impressive castle sat. But be careful not to slip, it’s a nasty fall.

4. East Aquhorthies Stone Circle

East Aquhorthies Stone Circle
Long live the Old Gods of Scotland

Dating from the Neolithic / Bronze Age the Easter Aquhorthies Stone circle is one of the most well preserved exambles of a recumbent stone circles or so says wikapiedia anyway. Being one of the few to still have all of it’s stones intacked and unmoved. Yeah, the Scottish people – and by that I mean it’s churches – had a habit of stealling standing stones and building them into their churchs. The part of me that wants to see the good in people, might say that this was done mearly for practiclatity. The Scotish church builders had no idea what these circle of stones were for – in fact even to this day that knowledge still remains lost to us – and they needed stones to build their churches, why shouldn’t they take them? However the other part of me, which is far more scepticle in nature, thinks that at least partly this was a symbolic act. The new religion – the Christ God – concouring the old – who ever came before – by litraly using the stones from their places of power to build their own. Though I will admit that this theory relies on the notion that stone circles were places of worship, or even relgious significance. It’s higly likely they were, but unless someone builds a time-machine to go back and litrally ask the bronze age people what they were doing, we may never know that for certain. However, whatever the case, the fact still remains that a lot of our stone circles were dismantled to be built into churches, and houses, and heck even farmer’s fences – with no thought to the history they were destroying, or the damage they were doing to future genrations that will never get to experience many of these circles in their entirety. *gasp* Oh my God I didn’t know that rant was in me.

Okay…so East Aquhorthies Stone circle , a full stone circle, and a great place to stop and eat a picnic at. Moving on now, before something else sets me off.

3. Our Beaches

Fraserburgh Beach
Fraserburgh Beach

Beaches, yes! I love Beaches! And the one fetured above is a particular favourite of mine. Located in the town – or at least near the borders of the town – of Fraserburgh, this particular beach is well known for its sandy dunes. Look in the distance of the picture and you’ll see one particular sandy hill, known as Tiger Hill – so named for the tiger that apparently once got loose and went wondering on it. What’s most intresting about these particular sand dunes is that they’re not natural at all, they are man made. Turn your clock back to World War II and there were no sand dunes on Fraserburgh Beach at all; but rather mounds and mounds of barbed wire. They were meant to protect the town, and by extension Great Britian itself, from Nazi invasion. And before you start saying that’s completly ridiculous – why would the Nazies want to attack a small-ish town in Scotland; just remember that Fraserburgh actualy was bombed during WWII. Granted it wasn’t so much a planned attack as it was, just dropping all the bombs they had left on the nearest availbe settlement while they fled back home, but still the people on the ground didn’t know that.

Wow…that…eh…that got kind of dark didn’t it, Wee Readers? Okay…well…moving on.

2. Daviot Stone Circle

Daviot Stone Circle
The Circle
Daviot Circle meditation
Sitting in the Circle
Standing Stones
Standing Stones

Ah here we are now, Lonehead of Daviot, hands down my faviourte Stone Circle. Dating from the 3rd millennium BC, Daviot’s stone circle is considered one of the earliest structuures in Gordon, erected nearly 5000 years ago and best of all, it has a car park. You might have to walk through a bit of a forest path to get to it, and pass the huts for the Boy Scouts – yes, we have those here too – though it’s a short and well maintained path. And then wow, you’ve reached the stones and they are amazing. You’ve got you’re usual large standing stones, including the always exciting recumbent stone – but what really makes Lonehead fasinating are the smaller stones cituated in the middle of the outter circle. Spirealed into a ring shape and covering most of the inner ring, until all that’s left in the centre is a small circle filled with gravel. This Circle is less good to take a picnic in than say something like East Aquhorthies Stone Circle, but it’s more than worth a spot on your Scottish Bucket List.

1. Las Iguanas

Olives and Guacamole
Holy Guacamole Batman
Mushroom Fajita Stacks
Yum..Mushrooms
Wraps
I’m Hungry

And now we reach the final slot in our list; I struggled for some time with what I should put here. There are many stone circles I’ve yet to mention, but then there are so many up here that it would take all year to list them all. So not a circle, or a castle either, we’ve had enough of them for just now I think. Something new, something different – and then inspiration struck. Earlier this month my family took my Mum out for a Birthday trip round Aberdeen, which included lunch at our favorite vegan restaurant: the Latin American Restaurant & Bar Las Iguanas.

I could spend hours waxing poetically about this wonderful, wonderful place but that would literally take all day to read and nobody has that kind of time anymore. So instead I’ll just tell you what we had, and let Las Iguanas wax poetically for itself.

My Brother and I had: Fajita Stacks – Portobella Mushroom or the Las Iguanas website described it : ‘Cooked to order in our special mix of spices, onions & peppers. With guacamole, grated cheese, jalapenos, roasted tomato salsa & soft wheat tortillas.’

My Dad had : a Burrito Bowl – Pulled Jack-fruit or as described by Las Iguanas website: ‘All the flavors of a burrito without the tortilla. A loaded bowl of salad, spring onion rice, black beans, fresh sliced avocado, grated cheese, slaw & pico de gallo.

And finally my Mum had a gorgeous Coconut curry that for some reason is no longer on Las Iguanas menu on their website, so make of that what you will.

And we all had the very starter dishes of Holy Guacamole : ‘Make your own & season as you choose, with spice-dusted corn chips ; and Peruvian Botija Olives: ‘Olives in a herby marinade’.

And thus with a grumble in our stomachs, our journey through the North comes to an end.

If you’ve enjoyed this foray into the best and most visit-able sights up here in the cold North tip of Scotland, remember to follow the wee blog if you haven’t already. Or check me out on twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and my brand new Tumblr blog. Also for new, rants and pictures alike sign up to the Wee Mailing List. Until next time My Wee Readers, have a bonny day.

Just a brief note before we leave, if you’ve enjoyed this and other posts like it on the Wee Writing Lassie, why not buy me a Wee Cup of Coffee, or drop me a tip over on Ko-fi. Which is linked to the image below.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Adventure Ho!

Behold, My Wee Readers, the glinting waters of a Scottish summer ocean. Gaze upon the footprints left in the warm sand and the shiny gleam of the black rocks before you. The sky is clear and the sun is bright , and for a moment all is wonderful in the world. Now, what is the point of this? You know, other than to show off the fact that I took a really good picture of St Combs beach last week. What has this to do with anything? It doesn’t, I was just distracting you while I finish packing.

That’s right my Wee Readers, I’m going on Holiday. On the 16th of June, I’ll be heading off to the far flung reaches of Scotland for my Adventure – hopefully to collect photos similar to the one above, and not ones depicting a week full of rain. So while they’ll be no new blog posts next week, I do recommend you check me out on Instagram and especially Twitter, as I’ll be continuing to post there frequently all throughout my trip.

Well that’s me said my piece, thus I shall leave you with this image of what hopefully all my food is going to look like on holiday.

Until next time my wee readers, have a bonny day.

Just a brief note before we leave, if you’ve enjoyed this and other posts like it on the Wee Writing Lassie, why not buy me a Wee Cup of Coffee, or drop me a tip over on Ko-fi. Which is linked to the image below.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Harry Potter and the Dirty Robe

Or how JK Rowling finally succeeded in retroactively ruining her own books.

Welcome, my wee readers to the first of many rants well thought out think pieces on the Wee Blog.

Let us begin, much like Rowling herself, with a boy on a train.

His name is Harry Potter.

Ah, Harry Potter, that mythic golden goose that managed to ensnare both child and adult readers before…well every franchise under the sun was trying to do that. Like many in my generation I spent a good amount of my childhood reading the words of Ms. Rowling, and getting lost in the world she created. Thus, like many of my generation, and let’s face it everyone else, I was ecstatic to hear more tit-bits from the world of Harry Potter. However, I don’t think it took us very long, relatively speaking, to notice a bit of a trend with this new information.  

She seemed to be trying to retroactively ruin the Harry Potter books.

We all kind of know where it started – with the revelation of Dumbledore’s sexuality. But don’t get me wrong, Dumbledore being gay wasn’t the problem – it was the fact that she chose to reveal it retroactively on Twitter. Why would you do that? Why not just put it in the books to begin with – I mean it doesn’t have to be the focus since its Harry’s story, but it would have been really good to have that representation in the books. To have the leader of the Light be an out and proud Gay man, would have really added something to the story JK Rowling was trying to tell.  But okay…guess we’re just going to put it on social media and collect the praise without doing any of the work for actual inclusion.

Still, that revelation didn’t ruin the books themselves per say, but it did cast a shadow of doubt on the author. Was she really as progressive as she made herself out to be? Or was she just playing the part to court the favor of both the LGBT community and the homophobes? And if so, could we continue to like her books even if she turned out to be a terrible, terrible person? Could we separate Harry Potter from his Author? It’s a questions fans of works written by writers who turn out to be human garbage, have asked themselves since the beginning of the written word. In the end I think it’s a personal choice – and I very much doubt that ‘the Dumbledore is Gay’ revelation ruined the Harry Potter books for many people. After all, it didn’t exactly prove JK Rowling was an awful person, just maybe a little thoughtless in her actions sometimes.

The Next strike – or at least the next strike I remember – came in the form of supplementary material from the site Pottermore (a site I’ve never quite understood the appeal of myself, but many people seem to like so I’ll leave it be). In preparation for her new Fantastic Beast Films, Rowling released a series of short stories detailing the history of magic/wizards in North America and… oh boy, was it a racist slock.  I’m not entirely sure which was worse, the fact that she had written the Navajo Skinwalkers into her text as misunderstood Animagi; or that when she was confronted by Native American readers, she declined to respond and instead let her more rabid fans do the answering. No, no, I’m being unfair…both actions can be awful.

So where does this leave us? Do I think JK Rowling is actually racist – a bit, but probably not consciously; she’s more likely just very, very lazy in her research. Or, and I like this idea the most, this is just another step in her dastardly plan to ruin the Harry Potter series. Think about it, would you really want to read the books of a racist? I know I wouldn’t. Still Harry Potter is such a well written, if slightly flawed in sections, work that even if JK Rowling does turn out to be a terrible person and not just a very, very daft one – it isn’t a difficult thing to separate her from the work. You can still enjoy the books and the films, even if you dislike the author.

It’s what I had to do when Rowling stuck her ‘terribly large nose’ into Scotland’s business – and then refused to talk about it like an adult. Still that was back in 2014 and I can be an adult, who cares if she described the SNP as Deatheaters, and the head of Scotland’s Labour branch – one of the leaders of the ‘No Thanks’ Campaign – as a ‘good little Gryffindor’. It’s not as if it was an important political situation, that would affect the lives of almost everyone in Briton and deserved to be treated as such…oh wait.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make before that trip down painful memory lane was, that all these mistakes – and there have been many more that I haven’t mentioned here – all lead to one solid explanation:

She’s doing it deliberately.

She wants to ruin the Harry Potter series for us.

 By now you must be thinking, Wee Lassie, how have you come to this ridiculous conclusion? When there are so many more sensible ones on offer: maybe she’s just not very good at Twitter, maybe she’s just lazy, or maybe she’s just a terrible person. All excellent well thought out conclusions, my wee Readers, but all proven wrong by one new fact about the wizarding world that Rowling released relatively recently at time of writing.

Before they had toilets, Wizards would shit themselves and then just magic it away.

This has ruined Harry Potter for me…I will never again be able to take any books or films set in the wizarding world seriously. And I cannot believe that an author who wrote something so profound as the Harry Potter books, could reveal something that stupid about her own world with sincerity…ergo… this must be a deliberate campaign to sabotage her past success.

Now, why would she do that? Possibly because none of her other forays into writing have been as universally loved as Harry Potter – pigeonholing her as only the writer of Harry Potter in the public’s eyes, instead of a successful author in her own right. Perhaps she’s simply trolling us for the giggles. Or maybe I’m just seeing conspiracies where there’s really only a shitty person.

What do you think?

If you enjoyed this little foray into the frightening world of my mind, check me out on Twitter or click the follow button on my Wee blog if you haven’t already.

Until next time, my wee readers, farewell and have a bonny night.

A Wee Introduction and a Walk round Strichen

What ho, my wee readers, allow me to introduce myself. I am The Wee Writing Lassie . I am predominantly a Writer, with aspirations for a freelance editing career in the future, and this is my wee blog. This post is intended to give you a brief idea of what you’re in for during your time perusing it.

So as we talk, let us take a wee stroll round the northern Scottish village of Strichen – it’s nay actually my own village, but it’s close enough and it makes for some very pretty pictures. Lets start with the Lake…

Strichen Lake / A Wee Introduction and a walk round Strichen / Charlotte Burnett / The Wee Writing Lassie

As we look out onto the Lake of Strichen community park, the stillness of the place lets my mind wonder into worlds that are nay my own. As a writer I’m fascinated by all things Science Fiction or Fantasy – although the Horror Genre seems to creep into almost everything I write – so you may be hearing many future tirades well-thought out think pieces, through out this blog. Huh…it’s getting a wee bit nippy, I guess its time to go inside now

An old fashioned Reading room in Strichen / A Wee Introduction and a Walk round Strichen / Charlotte Burnett / The Wee Writing Lassie
The Reading Room at Strichen Library

Ah now, that’s better…it may not be exactly toasty up in the Reading Room of Strichen Library, but it is full of one of our society’s greatest treasures… the Written Word. If you take a look at the page marked in an unsubtle fashion as ‘My Short Stories’ up on the menu, you may see some of my own ‘humble’ contributions to that expansive world. My legs are getting sore sitting here, let’s go take a look around.

An old desk in the second upstairs room of the Strichen Library.

In a smaller room off to the side, we find ourselves staring at an old desk. It’s well made and doesn’t look to have much wear – meaning it’s probably not had much use. It’s one of those things we put aside and try not to think about about in our day to day lives. I’m Dyslexic and – although I haven’t had a formal diagnosis – I’m pretty sure the amount of furniture I’ve ruined with my violent stimming, allows me to say that I’m also slightly Autistic as well. Will this be a main and or recurring topic on the blog? Probably not, unless I have something interesting to say about it, it’s more a driving force behind other topics. If I have an obsession with something I’m going to be talking about it at length. Hmm…I think this metaphor has played itself out, onto the next slightly forced but very pretty picture.

Strichen Maps / A Wee Introduction and a Walk round Strichen / Charlotte Burnett / The Wee Writing Lassie
A Strichen Map

At last we come to our final stop, what I’m assuming to be some kind of map of Strichen as a whole. Thus like the map we can look back, and discover what we have learned about The Wee Writing Lassie. She is a Dyslexic, slightly Autistic, Sci/Horror Writer & Freelance Editor in Training. She lives in the North of Scotland, which she clearly loves taking pictures of, and forcing them into blog posts – so expect to see many of those in future posts to come – and…oh yes!

Vegan Pizza / A Wee Introduction and a Walk round Strichen / Charlotte Burnett / The Wee Writing Lassie
Vegan Pizzas…yum.

She’s a vegan! Thank you for joining me through this metaphor laden trip through Strichen…here’s a slice of vegan pizza for your troubles. If you enjoyed the many pictures in this blog post, then follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest to see more.