Friday, May 31, 2013


I am so so pleased with the orange tulips I planted last autumn. And look! The foxgloves are coming up and will be ready to take the baton when the tulips are over.


Thursday, May 30, 2013


a bundle of unrelated thoughts and all in lower case a la e e cummings with scanty punctuation because it suits the mish-mash effect and is less effort and also in homage to giovanna, a character in plotting for beginners who took to writing her emails in lower case with no punctuation:

two dear people start chemotherapy this week. i think about them all the time.

i have had a good week working my way through a list of tasks and was about to upload the first ebook to Amazon when i hit a problem and now i have to wait to speak to isaac before i can sort it out, and he is in san francisco and asleep till this afternoon

the trees are fully out here but the may blossom has not appeared and it will be june in two days. will that make it june blossom?

this is my tweet of the week (cut and pasted from twitter so not in lower case)

Sue Hepworth: My husband learned today that a shower cap is for keeping your hair dry in the shower. He'd hitherto thought it a fashion item.

dave persuaded me he needed another narrowboat holiday so although i have a million things to do at home which include three weeks gardening and various publishing matters we got a cut-price-for-late-booking one on the leeds-liverpool canal for next week

the following pics are of said canal at gargrave, another may, another year



fortunately someone else will be here at hepworth towers to feed the cat

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The good news and the bad news


Jane and I have agreed a cover for the ebook version of PLOTTING FOR BEGINNERS! And I love it! LOVE IT!

Plotting for Beginners E Book Cover.004  Image © Sue Hepworth and Jane Linfoot

We designed it ourselves: I took the photo and Isaac applied the lettering and it’s done. Phew.

The bad news is that it has not been straightforward to format the book for an ebook conversion, so we may not be able to get it out for June 1st. The upside of this – according to one of the characters in the novel (Wendy) -  is that the elective chart for June 1st was crap anyway, and we’d be much better off publishing after June 8th when the moon is waxing.

So that’s it. I will keep you posted. As soon as you can buy the book online you’ll be the first to know.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Small pleasures - 7

Going out for a short bike ride on a rare sunny teatime when most of the tourists have gone home from the Monsal Trail, and saying hello to my lovely neighbours on the way back, and being urged to join them for a Pimms in the sunshine. So we sat on their terrace in the sunshine and chatted and laughed and looked at their garden and the fields beyond, and I realised that the last time I was in a similar situtation - garden, sunshine, fields, Pimms, laughing - was with my mother, and the realisation enhanced a moment which was already beyond delight.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Small pleasures - 6

Waking up on a sunny morning in an empty house that will fill up later.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Small pleasures - 5

Stumbling across a clothes shop in a small country town where the window contains two (two!) items you like, going in, and discovering that this shop seems to have had you in mind when designing its clothes in terms of cut and colour; and trying on a succession of said garnents while your sister sits in the armchair by the till and eggs you on.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Small pleasures - 4

Sitting in a walled garden on a May afternoon, listening to birdsong.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Small pleasures - 3

1. The trees in May, and even more so here in Hampshire where I am staying this week, probably because there are more trees and more varieties than in my little bit of the Derbyshire Peak District.

2. My morning shower.

3. Sitting listening to the Archers with fellow fans - my brother  Pete and sister Jen.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Small pleasures - 2

Sitting at my sister Jen's kitchen table with Jen and my brother Pete, drinking wine and eating slow-roasted shoulder of lamb, and talking about how much we are enjoying it 
(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

Small pleasures

Yesterday I enjoyed sitting on the train for several hours, doing nothing but look at the May countryside and dozing in the sunshine.

This morning I ate the best bought lemon curd I've ever tasted: M&S Sicilian lemon curd.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


I am away for a week. Perhaps I will blog. Perhaps I won't.
These photos were taken by Isaac Hepworth along our lane last week (© All rights reserved.)
   clouds by Isaac
wall by Isaac

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The wisdom of 2 year olds

What Lux


said to her mother this week:

“You open the book page and then you go on an adventure.”


Friday, May 17, 2013

So green

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

Opting out

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.

view from my bed

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

Too tired to blog

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

Hepworth Towers sleeping schedule

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.

Gil's dressing gown on Lux

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.

CECE here

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 ASLEEPthough CECE sometimes bucks the trend.

Eating is another matter and will not be dealt with here.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

The current plan

a pile of plottings

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?)

June 2011 launch day 014

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

cece and lux here

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

The Californian contingent

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

Not even standing room

Our village church

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.


caseys for blog

Thursday, May 02, 2013

At this age

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

May Day

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:
apr06 017