After returning from from Lanzarote, relaxed, refreshed and raring to go, I've had flu which really knocked me for six. Not only did it leave me feeling rather fed up that all the benefits of my lovely holiday were wiped out but also quite unmotivated too. I had a new book waiting for the back-story to be worked on and for the first few pages to be scribbled down but I kept putting it off. Then last Saturday my son and daughter-in-law suggested we went to Canon's Ashby in Northamptonshire for a light lunch, and a gentle wander.
I have to confess that Canon's Ashby isn't one of my favourite National Trust houses but it does sit in the most beautiful Northamptonshire countryside and the view from every aspect is stunning and uplifting.
There's also nothing like spending time with a small child to restore your sense of wonder. To my grand-daughter, at 21 months, the whole world is new and exciting. She found a sleek white cat to stroke, piles of leaves to throw in the air, bags of freshly picked apples to run her fingers over. We pressed our faces to the glass of the garden shop which was closed and gazed at a huge pumpkin, before heading for the chapel where she and her Gramps discreetly played peep-po in the pews.
I came away feeling uplifted and much more like myself.
My week continued in a similarly happy way. I paid a visit to Farndon Fields Farm Shop in Market Harborough. Just walking in and seeing the fantastic display of vegetables and smelling the loaves of bread is good for the soul. On Wednesday evening we visited the local theatre with friends to see Gerald Dickens perform Great Expectations which is my favourite Dickens novel. It's a one man show with Mr. Dickens, the great-great grandson of Charles, playing every part and he was amazing. If you get the chance to go and see him, please do. Yesterday I nipped down the road for Literature at Lunchtime with Dr. Jane McKay and a talk on Edward, Lord Lytton's life and his best known book The Last Days of Pompeii. If you can't get to any of her fascinating talks, then she has a wealth of recordings on cd which are well worth investing in.
Today I have met up with some writing friends where we exchanged news, had a few moans and generally encouraged each other. We all got to hold a four week old puppy too which seems like the most perfect way to end the week. I haven't got a puppy picture but if you want to see three adorable Patterdale/Border Terrier cross puppies take a peek at my friend Bridget's lovely blog. Thinking of the Days.
A few brief outings, meeting up with friends, some cake of course and cuddling a puppy has put me back on track. I've even written the first rough couple of pages of the next novel. It's easy to talk yourself out of things - I'm really good at that - but sometimes making the effort to get out and about, even when you don't feel like it, really does have huge benefits.
Thank-you for reading. I hope you have an inspiring week ahead of you.