Saturday, 23 February 2013

Walking in Sunshine

Looking towards the Cleddau Bridge at Neyland (the bridge makes a great run)
‘Right then, give me the camera and I’ll take a picture of you, too,’ says Tom. And then… but, wait, that comes later. 

If there is a downside to living in a house with sea views, it’s that it’s easy to sit indoors and take root. Especially when it’s damp and cold. But you have to feel the world not just watch it go by, so we try to make a point of going out once a week just to do something different.

The sunshine’s been so lovely this week that it’s looked like summer, despite the bitingly-cold wind. We decided to treat ourselves to a takeaway of sausage and chips (we know how to live) at Neyland, on the River Cleddau, then walk along the coast from the beach at Whitesands to the rocky headland of St David’s Head. I really like coastal path walking; I like being on the edge of the land and this particular walk isn’t too long but undulates just enough to feel as if you’ve put in a bit of effort.

The gorse was in bloom ...

The scenery was dramatic ...
Looking back towards Carn Llidi
I was happily following my true love to the headland …
Where he decided to take my photo only he DROPPED MY CAMERA! Which bounced off from rock to rock taking one final photo of me as it fell …
When it was retrieved the camera was not happy and neither, I have to admit, was I. I wasn’t cross, just sad. However, it seems that my mourning was premature. The camera’s looking worse for wear, but a bit of percussive maintenance seems to have got it working again. Another day to remember!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Blooming Marvellous!

Look, I just have to show you these!  I know that bulbs are supposed to produce flowers, but most of them are not planted by me - fortunately!  This is the same bulb kit I showed you a few weeks ago, the one my dear friend Ann gave to each of us that make up my ace gang girl group, The Thursday Girls.  Ma and my sister are both passionate gardeners. Ma's attitude to gardening is incredibly relaxed; so long as she's outside doing something, she's happy and she can make the saddest, most neglected plants grow.  My sister's brilliant at garden design and creating beautiful, elegant outdoor spaces. Although the gardening gene seems dormant in my case, I was determined that I would succeed with this little pot of bulbs for Ann, who has a birthday this week, for my Thursday Girls, who I miss.  Here's to friendship!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Small Steps

Happy memories of the Llanelli Half Marathon! Post-race triumph!
I’ve been for a run; a joyful, glad-to-be-alive run in the bright winter sunshine. Nothing crazy; just a tentative two-miler after a long, long absence. During the time out, I’ve written about my love of running, I’ve thought about it and dreamt about it, but I was beginning to fear that running was destined to become one of those things I ‘used to’ do. 

My enforced absence has been due to a troublesome posterior vitreous detachment (no, not a troublesome posterior) which – she says keeping everything firmly crossed – seems to have settled down. I hope. Though, of course, since both my eyes are the same age and are equally short-sighted it’s possible that I’m not out of the woods yet.

Anyway, this morning all went well. From that first moment of picking up my heels, filling my lungs with cold, clear air and settling into the familiar rhythm of the ground passing under my feet, it was an utter joy to be out there again. I didn’t realise how much I’d missed it until Tom said, ‘how did it go?’ as I walked through the door and promptly burst into tears! It might well have been the slowest, most tentative run I’ve ever done – but it was a start.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Where I Am

‘You’re the family sandwich filling at the moment,’ says my dear fellow Choc Lit author, Linda Mitchelmore, ‘between the generation either side needing your help.’ To be fair, most of the time, all that’s required is a phone call, we’re not running around all over the place yet. Our surviving parents, by no means in their dotage, have the medical problems that come with age; aches, pains and the occasional referral which gives rise to concern. Our children are shaping their careers, settling down and even having children of their own. 

It’s six years in April since I started writing Home Thoughts; pretty much unpublished, largely unread and free to let off a bit of playful steam. Lately, I’d begun to think this blog had run its course; family either side of me deserve a bit of privacy to get on with the nuts and bolts of their lives and months of grey skies, endless rain and constant cold have worn me down. Then a lovely reader left a very appreciative comment about Home Thoughts on another post which reminded me that one of the best things about writing is connecting with readers and encouraged me to renew my efforts here. Thank you, Chanpreet!

One of my aims this year has been to recapture the joy of writing. Achieving the dream of being published brings a fear of never being published again which is not exactly conducive to creativity! My head is full of future books and I’m enjoying writing Book Three, but I’d still like to overcome the inner critic who slows me down. I’ve recently reread Hilary Mantel’s Ten Rules for Writing Fiction (one of my favourite articles ever is her hilarious account of not winning prizes here) and finally got round to buying myself a copy of Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande. I can tell you that the ‘morning pages’ are hateful – absolutely the last thing I want to do the minute my eyes open is to reach for a pen and yet, and yet, I can feel something changing. I’m not sure I like the finger-wagging tone, either, but I’ll persevere. One writing book I do very much like though is Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. One sentence in the preface always stands out for me, ‘You tell the truth,’ she says, ‘and you depict it in detail’ – such a simple and straightforward reminder of what to do.

And finally …
In other news Move Over Darling is on the list of eligible books for the Wales Book of the Year. A couple of other writing friends are there too, including my fellow Choc Lit writer, Evonne Wareham and Honno author Juliet Greenwood. I’m not exactly holding my breath to be shortlisted, ah, but wouldn’t it be nice?

Painting is 'Rain Setting In, Pembrokeshire Coast' by Tom Tomos