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Friday, 25 October 2013

The Best Laid Schemes o' Mice a' Men...

My Mother, bless her heart, was a bit of a pessimist. 'Never make plans' she used to say, 'because if you do something will come along to upset them.' She did have a point and I've never been a long-term planner, possibly because of her words of doom, and maybe to my detriment. But you can't go through  life not making any plans at all, can you? So these were my main plans for the week:-

1. I had planned to write about light for this blogpost, as some of you may have noticed, because my first paragraph was posted by accident, earlier in the week.

2. I had also planned to get down on paper the first five thousand words of my new teenage novel which has been composting in my brain for a few weeks.

3.  We have a wedding coming up so I planned a trip into town to buy some new shoes to liven up the dress which I have decided to wear.

Then three things happened, (it would be three wouldn't it?!) and my Mother's words came back to haunt me.

Firstly, I picked up a cold on the plane on the way back from New England. If I had managed to escape the swirling germs of the man coughing permanently for 6 hours and the woman sneezing every fifteen minutes I would have an immune system of the sort I have obviously lovingly cultivated in my husband with home cooked food and palmfuls of vitamins. Why it hasn't worked for me too I don't know. Anyway, the cold and accompanying cough have confined me to barracks. But for a writer that's no bad thing. Who needs knock 'em dead shoes when you're sloping around in your dressing gown every day? And it's all the more time to get on with that novel except...

Secondly, and unexpectedly, I had an idea for a picture book. I was one day into my teenage novel and it was going well, so the logical part of my brain told me to carry on with 'the plan'. This was sound advice because I do keep saying that I'm not going to bother with any more picture book texts. I send them off, get nice comments back, but there's always a but at the end of the letter. BUT this picture book idea was taking over my thoughts, pushing the teenage novel out of the house, to the top of the garden and beyond. My heart was overruling my head and saying you shouldn't ignore a gift like that. Then, by chance, I read a post, recommended on Twitter, saying just the same thing. You can check it out here at Victoria (V.E.) Schwab's blog. Someone else was validating my thoughts. It was a sign! So I put the novel aside and spent a day on the picture book. Did I feel guilty? A little. But I enjoyed myself no end.

Thirdly, I had some upsetting news, completely out of the blue. This news was far more upsetting for the people concerned but its ripples affected me and will continue to affect me in the future. Unpleasant things happen to good people, people who don't deserve them and I find that hard to come to terms with. This news has jolted me out of my comfort zone and is making me re-assess the direction I am going in.

Thank-you for reading and next week, all being well, and in more ways than one, there will be light!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

New England

We have been away on a much awaited holiday to New England so I haven't posted my blog for a couple of weeks. It's always a little bit worrying when you look forward to something for a long time - the worry being that it may disappoint. Well, I'm happy to report that it didn't. The trees were fabulous, especially up in New Hampshire and Vermont. The places we stayed in were beautiful and the people so welcoming and polite. The whole place was also spotlessly clean. So here is a taste of what we got up to in fourteen action packed days.

Here we are in Boston's beautiful park on our first day. It was 81 degrees.

We walked The Freedom Trail and had a really fun time at the Boston Tea Party museum even though, being British, we were effectively the enemy! Here is Mr. G. getting into the swing of things and about the throw a carton of tea overboard. Huzzah!

After a couple of days we headed for Rockport where nearly all of the houses were already bright with decorations for Halloween.
But of course we really went to see the trees. This was taken from a boat on Squam Lake, New Hampshire, on a rather cold, cloudy day, but they were still stunning, although my photograph is a bit misty.
 Whilst staying in Lenox we visited Edith Wharton's house. She had a rather sad life but this house where she lived for ten years is extremely elegant and doesn't possess an aura of unhappiness.

In Mystic we went to an aquarium where we saw Beluga whales, sea lions, penguins and these pretty fish.
At Cape Cod we hired bikes and cycled along the coastal path from Falmouth to Woods Hole and the following day we took the boat over to Martha's vineyard where we hopped on the shuttle bus and visited genteel Edgartown and the pretty Wesleyan houses in Oak Bluffs.

On our last day we stopped off at Plymouth to board a replica of The Mayflower.

I find it difficult not to write but, apart from a few notes for my next novel on the plane over, I didn't write a thing. And it's really done me good. I've come back awash with motivation and inspiration from all of the sights and sounds of this particular part of the U.S. And I did get the chance to fulfil one of my most important wishes, which was to sit on a porch in a rocking chair, stare at the sea, and just think.

I hope you've had a good couple of weeks too and that over the next few days you get the chance for some valuable thinking time. As always, thank-you for reading.