Thursday, July 30, 2015

everyday life

Life at Hepworth Towers has been hectic this week. Dave gets up very early (typically at 5 a.m.) and starts to dismantle something downstairs so he can paint and decorate. I stumble down at six (comatose) for my first mug of tea and have difficulty finding the kettle. This does my head in. Dave is usually listening to the news on the radio so when I have located and switched on said kettle (which sounds like Concorde taking off) it does his head in.

I am a pain in the neck when he is working on the house, and he likes me to go away. I like to go away when he is working on the house. The trouble is that when he gets the urge to do something he needs to get on with it pronto, and I am not going away until September.

I love what he has painted so far. I am SO LUCKY to live with a handyman. He makes a huge difference. Look at this lovely blue door to the cupboard under the stairs with its nice new latch:


Look at these nice ‘new’ salvaged hooks and the blue porch door:


Ignore the messy porch beyond stuffed with etcetera and the poncy bike that’s too fancy to live in the shed with mine.

Dave is a domestic tornado. All I have to do is bite my lip, choose colours, fetch paint, administer appreciation, and put up with mess.

Today is a day off: he has gone to help someone in Coventry with do-it-yourself.

I am writing.

And I want to say something important: Thank you for responding to my cry for help yesterday, and so promptly, those of you who did.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I’d rather be writing my blog

Have you seen those signs in the back windows of cars that say things like “I’d rather be driving my Porsche” or “I’d rather be riding my bike”?

At present I am wrestling with the proposal for my screenplay, now in its tenth edition. I’ve told you before that I like rewriting, and I do, as long as it’s the actual piece of work – the novel or the screenplay.

I am not enjoying rewriting this proposal. It’s too hard!

I’d rather be writing my blog. And I guess you would too.

I’ll be back when this is sorted. In the meantime, how would you describe But I told you last year that I loved you? - in terms of genre???? All I can think of is comedy drama.

And imagine it as a TV programme…what other TV programme is it like? I have no idea. Help me out here, friends.

Friday, July 24, 2015

These are the moments our lives are made of

The blackness has gone. Someone special came to see me yesterday afternoon, and Lux and Cece face-timed me at bedtime. Is that all it took? Who can say? Grief and its works are unknowable.

Today we are going to make jam, because the strawberries have finished and I have time to pick to the blackcurrants; Dave is making new thingamajigs to go on top of the banister newel posts (the next stage of his hall, stairs and landing beautification project); and I am writing an outline of my screenplay, ready for submission to the BBC Writers’ Room.

If it doesn’t rain, I’ll cycle when the tourists have vamoosed, and then while tea is cooking I’ll try to beat Dave at table tennis.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, Lux is making her party sign.


She’ll be five next week, and her best friend Leo Kai is coming to her party.

HERE is my announcement of her birth on the blog five years ago.

These are the moments that make up our lives.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Some days it feels as though there are too many dead people in my life. Today was one of those days.


Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.

So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:

Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned

With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.

Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.

A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,

A formula, a phrase remains, - but the best is lost.


The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,

They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled

Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.

More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave

Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;

Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.

I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Tuesday, July 21, 2015



I just got back from a trip to Wensleydale with my big sister Kath (or Maffrin, as we still sometimes call her.) Here she is above, striding down the hill from Burtersett to Gayle, on a cold windy morning (Sunday) when we wished we had our hats and gloves with us.

I didn’t take many pictures but here’s one of Lady Hill at around 9 o’clock in the evening. The man in charge of the spotlight didn’t quite have his aim right.

lady hill 

Here is another one of Lady Hill I took a few years ago:

lady hill at sunset

This one looks in the other direction, towards Bolton Castle – can you see it?

bolton castle in the distance

Same trip, looking down…I like the light.


And here is one taken on the Thoralby road above Aysgarth, the village my parents lived in. I took it one time when I was with my mother. The cows were going in for milking. It has been my desktop photo for years.

may08 230

Dave said last week - “What is it about you lot [me and my sibs] and cows?”

Well, we were brought up on a farm which had prize-winning Friesians, and we loved our parents and think fondly of our childhood, so I guess that has something to do with it…

Friday, July 17, 2015

the news, the news; and something that isn’t news

I’m spending a lot of time reading and thinking about politics at the moment, which means that when I wake up in the morning I’m reading the news online, instead of thinking what I’m going to write on the blog. And I don’t do politics on the blog. 

So here are some news items from Hepworth Towers:

  • I beat Dave at table tennis last night – the first time this summer. Whoop! Whoop!
  • I finished the screenplay (again) and am waiting for comments before I do the next draft
  • I am going to start a brand new screenplay next week: it’s a novel I had already planned, but now I am going to make into a TV serial instead
  • The sweet peas are doing fine, but the convolvulus is doing even better
  • Dave was given an old oak creosoted gate for firewood and made it into a bench instead. The slots are where the bits fitted together:



  • Zoë is bringing the boys over today, which will be fun.

Finally, here is the “not news” portion of our programme: an old blog post from 5 years ago, which amused me yesterday. The context is this: I was anxiously waiting to hear about the birth of Lux.

Sue Hepworth is a ratbag


I am a ratbag. It’s official. I chew people up on the phone. And I don’t mean people selling double glazing or trying to entice me back to BT, or someone from the subscription department of The Times, with a great, great offer.

I chew people up that I like. I chew them up when I’m stressed. I chew them up when I’m waiting impatiently for a particular call and the wrong person rings.

On Saturday morning my daughter got it. She was due to come over with her boys, and after speaking to me, she changed her mind. (Who could blame her? Even I didn’t like me much on Saturday.) Tate and Gil were looking forward to coming to see me, so she tried to bribe them to go paddling in Padley Gorge instead. They chose me.  She told them I was a ratbag. They still wanted to come. She told them she’d buy them an ice cream. But they wanted to see me more. I apologised profusely on the phone to Zoe, and begged her to come. She relented, bless her. She forgave me.

So…I may not have a publisher for my novel, but it is a delicately nuanced novel.

I may be a ratbag, but my grandsons like me more than ice cream.

No-one is perfect. And I am especially not perfect, but the people who matter still love me. So everything is OK.

And here is an official apology to everyone I have ever chewed up. I’m really sorry.

p.s. The header today is also a blast from the past.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Some things don’t change

We got home from our hols on Friday night and the garden had gone wild, so on Saturday and Sunday I worked hard at taming it.

When I woke up yesterday after nine hours sleep I was still so exhausted that I stayed in bed all morning. (It was raining, anyway – which may not matter to you, but it does to me.) And I wrote. I nailed episode 3.  It now has an exciting new plot point and it also has a stonking cliffhanger at the end. Whoop, whoop! I LOVE screenwriting.

This morning I was stuck for something to blog about so I looked at some of my earlier posts from way way back, and found one from 6 years ago, almost to the day, that went like this….
I recently met a farmer's wife at a party, and she was asking about my writing schedule, and I was telling her that I sometimes sit in bed all morning, writing on my laptop, and that if someone calls at noon, say, and I answer the door in my pyjamas, I feel as if I ought to tell them - ‘I've been up since half past six - working, and I am still working.’
She looked shocked at this and said ‘You don't look like someone who spends all day in bed.’
And I felt that she really hadn't got the idea that writing is work - and that where you do it doesn't matter....writing on a laptop is WORK.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Falling in love again, never wanted to…

Dave and I have been going to Northumberland for holidays – on and off – since 1978. Last week we went again. It was five years since the last time, and we fell in love with the place all over again: up to our necks in it, we are. When we’re there I never want to leave. And Dave wants to leave even less than that. It’s like a sickness. An obsession. 

may holiday 09 131

I didn’t take many photographs last week because I already have so many. Empty sandy beaches, sea, castles, space. That’s what I like. And the quiet lanes with wide verges and fragrant hedgerows and faraway views of the sea and no traffic – perfect for cycling.

Holy Island harbour:

july 05 019

july06 017 

Embleton bay:

july06 030

Embleton bay and Dunstanburgh castle:

May 2010 193


Dunstanburgh Castle from the other side:

dunstanburgh on a windy day

The view from the tower:

june06 050 

Dunstanburgh Castle with sheep:


Yes, I am obsessed with Dunstanburgh Castle. Well spotted.

And just for completeness, here is the helicopter that rescued Loretta in BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU:



Friday, July 03, 2015

Hello and goodbye

Hello to my first sweet peas of the year! Yay!

sweet peas

And goodbye from me. I’m taking a week’s break from the blog.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

July on the Monsal Trail

Yesterday morning I went out on my bike while it was still cool enough, in order to take some photos of the Monsal Trail for you. But when I stopped on the Trail and got out the camera, the battery was dead. Someone (who shall remain nameless) had been taking unsuccessful pictures of the moon in the middle of the night and run it down, and not thought it would be a good idea to recharge the thing.

So… here are some photos from another July cycle ride on the Trail. Views of the Trail and views from the Trail.



Great Longstone station platform -