On Saturday I got to go out for the day. Outside the sun was shining through the trees over this little pond. I only had my i-phone so I didn’t think any of the photos would turn out, but I got several magical shots (at least I think they’re magical). When I was taking the pictures I was focusing on the light and shadows on the water… [Read more…]
This afternoon I stopped off at my favorite charity shop to see if there were any interesting books and I found one called ‘The Treasury of Flowers’ by Alice M Coats (published 1975). I’ve had a fearful fascination of plants and flowers since I was a small child. When I was about 4 and a half we moved out of town to this small farm. One morning I was out in the fields with my mother when she pointed at foxglove and said, “That’s foxglove! Don’t touch it or you’ll die!” The big red mushrooms with pretty white spots in the surrounding forest were similarly pointed out along with black widow spiders. “You see that black spider with the red spot? If it bites you, you’ll die!” Needless to say, along with a fear of imminent death I developed a fascination for flowers. Obviously I didn’t grow into a botanist, but thankfully one doesn’t have to be a scientist to enjoy flowers or even go near flowers. One can look at pictures.
As long as there have been books there have been books on flowers. Coats’ book is a presentation of 118 prints by various artists over the centuries that have been overlooked because they’re small (some of them very small). I didn’t really understand what exactly the book was when I bought it. I just noticed it had prints of flowers starting from the early printing press using woodcuts through to the mid 1800’s and I thought it might be interesting. It is! Coats unearths all sorts of interesting facts and vignettes about the artists and plants in the prints. Plate 32 alone makes this book a treasure. [Read more…]
Last month I persuaded my Goblin to take me to this antique market west of Lincoln. It’s an ex military base where the old RAF buildings have been taken over by various individual businesses many of which sell antiques. I’d decided that I needed (yes, needed) to treat myself to something Georgian…preferably something that had been manufactured before and then survived the Regency period.
Being an overly optimistic soul I had visions of finding an ugly ceramic figurine or clock that no one else wanted. I gave myself a budget (that could be given stretch marks if I saw something that called my name and promised I’d die without it). The Goblin only lasted the first building and then went back to the car for a nap. I carried on, determined to find treasure. After three buildings I’d seen about three things I liked (in the first building), but none of them made me feel anything. I looked at the objects. They stared back. They were lovely, but they weren’t for me…particularly after I gave myself a mental slap and asked myself if I really wanted to spend 80 English pounds for a cup and saucer that for all I knew was worthless. I kept looking. I was feeling exhausted when I entered the fourth building called Astra Antiques Centre. As I stepped inside and saw all the glass cabinets my spirits rose. Behind all that glass had to be at least one thing for me.
Just inside the door, I was peering into the nearest case when I overheard the young man behind the counter tell three apparent customers (who were also young men) that all the best stuff was in cabinet No. 1 which was located at the top of the stairs. I made a mental note to find that cabinet and have a look because it doesn’t cost anything to look at the best stuff and dream. Long before I made it to the stairs I’d seen several Georgian cups and saucers I liked at only 20 – 40 English pounds which compared to 80 seemed like a steal. I didn’t really spend too much time looking downstairs, I was drawn up the stairs by the nagging mystery of cabinet No 1. [Read more…]
It didn’t seem likely that we’d see much sun, but the Goblin had the day off, so Tuesday we took our cameras off to Tatershall Castle (about fifteen miles east of Lincoln). It’s more of a moated tower. It was built at the end of the 15th century and was apparently one of the early large residents built in brick. When visiting most National Trust properties you get a sticker to prove to the volunteers stationed around the property that you’ve paid. I, being paranoid, kept asking the lady at the desk… “Are you sure we don’t need stickers?”…three seconds later…”Are you sure we don’t need stickers?”…ten seconds later etc… How was I to know there would be NO volunteers? No one to stop me from taking five hundred photos! The lady looked at me like she hoped I’d fall down the stairs which wouldn’t be hard. Tatershall has one serious winding staircase (the wedge type that rap around the central pole thingy) from the second floor all the way to the roof. [Read more…]
This morning the power cut out as the Goblin was heading out the door. I didn’t check my computer till after he’d left the house…and of course, because I was planning to work on chapter 47, the computer claimed no knowledge of me or my files. Being a computer-incompetent I had to wait for the Goblin to come home to get the computer to cough up my settings, files etc. It was rather annoying, but as I was feeling really rather fatigued (in a good way) from yesterday I went back to bed. When I finally got up (rather late) I dressed and went outside to sit in the sunshine on the deck. It’s my favorite part of living here. It’s a suntrap and there’s only neighbors on the left so if I put my back to the fence I can pretend we live in the blissful rolling countryside (when there’s no children on their way to or from school and the neighbor isn’t out working on his new garden fence). This afternoon it was quiet and warm. I hadn’t been sitting there long when into the garden came a cat; a teenage cat that’s come to visit several times before. [Read more…]
I went for a walk in the evening sunshine with my camera. I didn’t think I’d find any pictures. The sun was setting and after an emotional yet positive day my thoughts were turned inward. I intended to have a short gentle walk down the paved road into the countryside as usual, but when I got to the first footpath sign I stopped and admired the young rape seed plants starting to sprout and the rock hard path shaped by endless dog walkers cutting through the field. For the first time in months I decided to walk down into the field. My camera was in my hand, but I didn’t think I’d use it. I knew the path and couldn’t think of anything of interest. Down the hill and over the foot bridge into the next field I noticed the sun, still fairly high, over an overgrown bush and took several unexciting pictures before heading past a boring looking tree and around the corner. Being out of shape, I stopped to catch my breath. Looking back over the way I’d come I saw a pleasant view with the two fields juxtaposed with three trees at various distances all the colours infused with the soft yellow light.
I was about to move on to finish my walk when I suddenly thought I’d try to take a closer shot of the nearest tree because from this side with the sunlight on it the boring tree looked sort of interesting. I’d never walked up that way before. I’d never thought to take a closer look at this tree. Once I was a few feet away I could finally see…at some point it had been struck by lighting or suffered horrific winds. The trunk had been split open. [Read more…]
Dancing the Maypole is progressing. Wednesday I finished chapter 45 and started chapter 46. Today I deleted what I had of 46, but I know where I was going wrong. At least I can write. For most of February into March I felt so poorly with a never ending chest cold I couldn’t think. The book now has 125,115 words and I don’t think it will be longer than 130,000 (hopefully less). The story is rolling to it’s last scene.
Yesterday I didn’t get any writing done because my Goblin took the day off work and we went to the beach (Aldeburgh in Suffolk). It was one of those sunny days with a certain kind of clear light that leaves the brain saturated with visual beauty. [Read more…]
Another year older…whether it’s made me any wiser is debatable. The only downside to my birthday has been a hideous chest/head cold which after nearly two weeks is still making me feel miserable (though less miserable than I was a few days ago). I can’t wait for my head to clear so I can get back to work finishing Dancing the Maypole (AKA hitting my head against the proverbial brick wall). I’ve written (and deleted) the next chapter from four different characters’ perspectives. At least I know everything that’s going on…whether I need to or not. Maybe the characters are punishing me for getting impatient with them. I probably want to be done with this book more than is good for my characters (or my mental well being). My sanity aside, I did have a lovely birthday (without cake and ice cream – that’s how healthy my diet is. The closest I come to a treat is a carrot, but I have visibly lost weight which makes me feel good). On my birthday, after being stuck indoors for a few days, I wrapped up like a mummy and went for a walk in the snow with my camera. Of course, the camera battery ran out (because that’s what happens when you find yourself in a magical landscape demanding to be photographed). Thankfully I eventually remembered my phone has a camera so I was able to capture a few lovely shots I would otherwise have missed. These are some of my favorites… [Read more…]
I may have developed a blog posting phobia. I’ve been wanting to write a post for weeks, but every time I tried to pin myself down at the computer I’d find a thousand other things that needed to be done first, like watching another rerun episode of The Mentalist. It’s not really the fear of writing a blog post, it’s the fear of letting people down because I can’t yet say, “It’s done!” However, I can say I’m nearly done with Dancing the Maypole. I started chapter 44 yesterday (it’s now over 121,000 words so it’s by far my longest story yet). This should be the last chapter before the Epilogue. Something Cari this way comes! Over Christmas I pulled out Once Upon a Wager and read what I have. I only see it needing about four more chapters. As soon as I’m done with Maypoles I’ll see if I can get the characters to cooperate.
It’s a miracle I got any writing done this past month as I spent most of it sick, but (as of the 1st of Jan) I’m back on my mega healthy Candida diet so after a few weeks my energy levels should rise now that I’ve thrown sugar overboard. This time I have some new tools to help me stay on course. I’m looking forward to being less fat and having more brain energy to write faster. Stories are piled on my mental file cabinet. I thought of another one on my walk today (a child’s picture book). I should probably make a note of it before it falls into my mental black hole. The likelihood of it getting written isn’t high, but I think it’s best to capture all story ideas just in case I turn into one of those scary super-writers who churn out brilliant stories every three months. One can always hope!
In the mean time…this afternoon I walked down to the Fairy-wood where I found some magical photos. [Read more…]
Three-thirty this afternoon I told the Goblin I was thinking of going for a walk. ‘You don’t have long,’ he said. ‘The sun is already starting to set.’ I put on two sweaters (and one of my trusty knit hats which make me look like Santa fired me for insubordination) and headed off with my camera hoping there would be enough light filtering through the trees (the sun was already low in the sky when I set off) to take photos of something… [Read more…]