Sunday, May 26, 2013
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Friday, May 24, 2013
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
2. My morning shower.
3. Sitting listening to the Archers with fellow fans - my brother Pete and sister Jen.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
(A pleasure heightened by the fact that there is no vegetarian present to be offended or to disapprove. No names, no pack drill.)
Monday, May 20, 2013
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
That day in bed was just the medicine I needed. Yesterday I was back on my feet and attending to yet another revamp of the cover of Plotting for Beginners. OMG! Writing a book with Jane is the easy part – agreeing a cover design with her is virtually impossible.
Later, I had my hair cut in Sheffield (Dave: “And do you have less hair now?”) and then called in to see my English grand children – and their mother, of course.
Every May I’m overwhelmed by the loveliness of the new green leaves. This year, after such a long winter, the colours are even more intense. And I’m drooling. Actually, more than that: I just drove up Shady Lane from Ashford-in-the-Water and I had tears in my eyes at how lovely the countryside looked. I’m really soppy, just like my father.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
I stayed in bed yesterday. I cancelled my sax lesson, and I missed my monthly discussion group with friends in Sheffield – only the second time in 20 years. That’s how tired I was.
I only ventured outside to take a photo of the fab new tulips I planted last autumn, and then later, I took a flask of tea and drove up Longstone Edge and sat and looked at the view. Yep. That’s how old and tired I was yesterday.
Now it’s 7.15 a.m. and I am sitting in bed loving the bright May sunshine making the trees look beautiful. I can see a row of lime trees with fresh new leaves, and through the side window there is a cotoneaster shrub opening out and the pink tender leaves of the copper beech - they weren’t there a week ago. It’s cold, though. I could swear there was frost on the grass when I got up to draw the blinds.
What’s happening today? I’m having my hair cut, then I’m seeing Zoe, Tate and Gil for an hour.
And I am conserving my energy.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The chundies have returned to San Francisco, the house is quiet and tidy, the toys are stacked away, and I am too tired to blog. 5,000 miles away, the girls have slotted back seamlessly into a sleep routine appropriate to their location, and their parents are recovering from the 20 hour door-to-door journey, after a week of sleep deprivation and jet-lag.
Bless them for coming.
This is them on their wedding day, before the ravages of children:
Sunday, May 12, 2013
The West Coast Hepworths have been with us for a week, and Lux still shows no signs of moving to the UK time zone, although she’s not on a Californian one.
This was yesterday’s sleeping/waking schedule:
Midnight – 1 a.m. EVERYONE ASLEEP
1 a.m. LUX wakes up ready to play, so WENDY gets up to look after her.
1 a.m. – 5 a.m. LUX AND WENDY play
5 a.m. DAVE wakes up. LUX, WENDY and DAVE hang out.
6 a.m. SUE wakes up. WENDY goes to bed to sleep.
6 a.m. - 8 a.m. SUE and LUX play.
8 a.m. LUX goes to bed. ISAAC and CECE wake up.
8 a.m. – 11 a.m. an ADULT plays with CECE.
11 a.m. CECE goes to bed or falls asleep.
11 a.m. – Noon. Free time for all adults who are not asleep.
Noon. CECE wakes up. SOMEONE plays with her.
12.30 p.m. WENDY wakes up.
1 p.m. ISAAC takes a nap.
1 p.m. – 3 p.m. WENDY, SUE, DAVE and CECE hang out/play. ISAAC may or may not wake up and join in.
3.30 p.m.(ish) LUX wakes up. EVERYONE IS AWAKE! Yesterday we walked down the Monsal Trail to Hassop Station Cafe.
3.30 p.m. - 8 p.m. EVERYONE awake in various moods – somnolent, energetic/too tired to walk and needing to be carried, crabby, hungry, happy, desperate, loving, snippy, tipsy, etc. etc.
8 p.m. CECE goes to bed.
9 p.m. LUX and DAVE go to bed.
10 p.m. ISAAC, WENDY AND SUE go to bed.
10 p.m. – Midnight. EVERYONE IS ASLEEP, though CECE sometimes bucks the trend.
Eating is another matter and will not be dealt with here.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
There have been times when all I could think about was either my writing, or when the next book was coming out. If you were reading my blog two years ago, you might recall my exploding brain as I wrestled with the intricacies of publishing BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU, which came out as a paperback and an ebook. (Both still available – hint, hint – and the paperback is on special offer on Amazon at the moment so you could buy it as a present for your friend, or your sister or your mother or all three. Or if you live abroad, you could buy it reduced from the Book Depository and get free postage to anywhere in the world. Who me? Pushy?)
Two years ago, there weren’t any real life worries to distract me from my publishing agenda. This time, it’s really hard to concentrate on things like publication dates and prices. At the mo, the West Coast Hepworths are here and it’s all hands on deck. In two weeks time I’ll be staying with a loved one with cancer. And there’s another someone I love who is seriously ill. (No, not Dave.) My head is full of matters of life and death, so when Jane and Chrissie email me articles about How to price your ebook, I see the text but my brain is inert.
The present plan is to publish the ebook for PLOTTING FOR BEGINNERS on June 1st and to publish the ebook for PLOTTING FOR GROWN-UPS on July 1st. The paperback is on the back burner, because I don’t have the emotional energy to think about launches and marketing and signings. But I very much hope it will come out this summer.
What I would like to know from you, dear readers, is
1/ do you read ebooks?
2/ how much attention do you pay to the price of an ebook if it is £3 or less?
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
They can smile because they are on Californian time. I can smile because they are here with us for nearly a week, and it’s been wall to wall sunshine. It’s harder for their poor tired parents to smile, dealing with two energetic children who are awake from who knows when to who knows when, and who settle down for the night at maybe 3 a.m.? I am rather hazy this morning about hours, as I decamped from sharing a room with Lux.
Dave was already sleeping on his study floor, and last night I slept on mine, on the grounds that two bedrooms, three beds and a cot might make the night easier for Isaac and Wendy to negotiate. I did help when I could on the two previous nights. Last night I slept well, but now feel guilty that I did nothing to ease the tribulations of the others, who have travelled 5,000 miles to see us. Oh well. I came across this saying recently – There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one – and this probably holds for grandmothers, too.
Last evening’s treat as I got into my makeshift bed was having Lux climb under the duvet with me to watch Blue’s Clues on Isaac’s iPad - both modern wonders of the world. (iPad and Blue’s Clues - the US version with my heart-throb, Steve Burns.)
p.s. My new header was a shot of my garden taken by Isaac on Monday evening. Lovely light, isn’t it?
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Look who was sitting in my garden yesterday! (For newcomers – Isaac, my son, and Lux, my granddaughter.) And for once, we had the weather they are used to at home.
At present (9.26 a.m.) 3 of the 4 are asleep after a hectic night of to-ing and fro-ing and trying unsuccessfully to persuade the two under 3s that it doesn’t matter what time it is in San Francisco, when it’s dark in Derbyshire, it’s best to sleep.
I am on duty with Cece right now.
Friday, May 03, 2013
Our small village church was packed for Christine’s funeral. The pews were full, the aisles were full, and there were people outside who couldn’t squeeze in, listening to the service on the loudspeaker that Frank had fixed up. 300 people whose lives had been touched by Christine. 300 people is almost half the village, but there are many more who were away and couldn’t be there. .
Christine ran our village shop with her brother. It’s like a shop from my childhood, stocking everything from Stilton to starch, party balloons to the New Statesman, toothpaste to Sauvignon Blanc. What they don't stock they will order.
They were delivering shopping years before home delivery was even on Tesco's business plan. But I'd rather go in and have a chat. They have a chair for weary customers – i remember one village lady who used to sit in the shop most weekday mornings, being served coffee when the family were brewing for themselves.
After school on Fridays, the children queue up with their pocket money to buy lurid sweets from plastic boxes stacked on the counter. It doesn't matter how long they dither between liquorice sticks and rainbow drops, they are treated with patience. respect and kindness. Adults have to wait their turn, which is just as it should be.
It is my kind of shop.
Christine’s life was cut short. She is missed. She will always be missed.
Thursday, May 02, 2013
I woke up with the sun straining to get in past the blinds, and it was delicious.
Then I checked my Inbox and found a stream of lovely messages from friends and family, and some WONDERFUL pictures of two little sisters having an absolute ball, racing in the countryside, and messing about in their bedroom with a giant tutu. I felt really blessed and loved and then I drew the blinds and saw my view of the Derbyshire countryside waking up to spring sunshine. The hawthorn leaves are at last beginning to unfurl, and the conker tree leaves are saying a tentative hello. It was joyous. It IS joyous.
And then I thought a about a friend and I agreeing that life gets harder the older you get. I think that at this age my moods are more extreme that they have ever been – there is so much more joy around, delight in simple things (probably because I have more attention to give to them) but there is also so much more anxiety and more dark pits of despair to avoid.
OK. That’s my thought for the day. Take it or leave it.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Dave and I have just been up Longstone Edge to welcome in the May.
We drove past the village shop where Nick was sorting out the papers for delivery. At noon today, the village will be crammed into the church for his sister Christine’s funeral, who died two weeks ago.
We always aim to be at the top of Longstone Edge before dawn, but it was 5.30, and light, and the birds were singing, though the sun was still below the horizon.
We stood on the edge of the hill and listened to the birds for several minutes, then we sang a traditional May Day song – Hal an Tow, with the chorus–
Hal an tow, jolly rumbalo We were up long before the day o To welcome in the summer To welcome in the may o For summer is a comin in And winter's gone away o
I broke down in the first chorus and Dave continued alone. I joined in with the next verse and managed to sing to the end.
Dave asked me why I cried, and I said “Because we don’t know what the summer will bring.”
And he said, “We never know what the summer will bring.”
Here’s a rainbow over Longstone Edge from another day, another year, another spring:
Monday, April 29, 2013
Sally Howe, heroine of PLOTTING FOR BEGINNERS and of the soon to be published PLOTTING FOR GROWN-UPS, has a blog. She finds it a burden: she doesn’t know what to write on it, and yet she feels she needs to keep going because all authors need a presence on the net.
Unlike Sally, I like my blog. I like showing you my photos, like these from last week -
but sometimes I can’t write my blog because I can’t share what’s in my heart. There are some things that aren’t up for sharing.
After my mother died you, dear readers, could see the course of my grief. It ran beneath the surface of my days, but every now and then it would emerge on the blog (like here and here.) I felt justified in writing about her death and my bereavement here, because my mother wasn’t around to upset or offend, and because her troubles were over.
Right now there are three people I am close to, people I love, who have potentially life threatening health problems. It is they who have the problems. I am someone on the sidelines, someone anxious and concerned for them, eager to support them, and at the same time anxious for me because I don’t want to lose them. But I can’t write about any of that on here.
Meanwhile, there is an ebook of PLOTTING FOR BEGINNERS to be prepared for publication, and a paperback and ebook of PLOTTING FOR GROWN-UPS which need to be sent to press. The paperback will be delayed because of lack of time and emotional energy to attend to everything entailed in its launch, but the ebook will be out before too long.
Life is hectic (next week the Californian family are coming to stay – yay!) ……and life is also full of stresses, so if you don’t hear from me for days at a time, I know you’ll understand.I’ll be back.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Yesterday, a dear friend and I were talking about how we felt the minute we woke up in the morning – our habitual frame of mind – was it positive or negative? cheerful or gloomy? and I said that I usually wake up cheerful. Lately, this hasn’t been the case. You might have noticed that I’ve been veering wildly between gloomy and sunny-side-up. Just one of the reasons has been my continuing sinus troubles, which make me feel as though my head is full of jelly, so thinking clearly is a challenge. It also saps my energy.
I had a good day yesterday – my head was slightly clearer, and I knocked several admin tasks off my to-do list. I didn’t play my sax, but I did get a short bike ride in along the Monsal Trail.
But then last night I couldn’t sleep because of the 65 mph gales, and because I was thinking about the death of a woman in our village. She died on Tuesday in a car crash. It is a huge shock to everyone. She was much respected, and a key figure in our community. We can’t believe it has happened. The circumstances of her life make her death appear like one last definitive kick in the teeth from fate.
But what’s in my head is the tenuousness of life, and the way that we have to pretend it isn’t tenuous, that our life is sure, that the lives of those we love are sure, certain, safe. If we didn’t have this notion fixed in our heads, how could we go on? We’d be paralysed by anxiety.
As for me, I think I am coming up for air. I am bobbing up and down, but I hope that soon I will be my usual optimistic, positive, Pollyanna self, floating evenly and calmly, balanced in the blue.
This might help:
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
"You know son, life is a pain. You work hard, try to provide for your family, and then for one minute, everything's good...and in that one minute, you have peace." from the film - While you were sleeping.
“Reality continues to ruin my life.” Calvin and Hobbes
“Real life pretty much sucks – which is why, I suppose, I spend my days concocting alternatives.” Sally Howe in Plotting for Grown-ups (to be published this year.)
The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's own, or real life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life - the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one's real life is a phantom of one's own imagination. C.S.Lewis
Whatever else - the lambs are lovely.
Monday, April 15, 2013
1/ there are lambs in the field along the lane
2/ the daffodils are finally out (in our garden)
3/ the tulips my sister-in-law gave me 11 days ago are still looking lovely
4/ someone I love whose op has been cancelled twice in the last month has been promised it will go ahead tomorrow (no, it’s not Dave)
5/ the sun is shining
6/ it has been much, much warmer than it has for months
7/ Dave and I are going on a narrowboat holiday next week
8/ my grandsons came to stay on Saturday night and really cheered me up
9/ I have a host of caring friends and a loving family