Monday, November 30, 2015

Is it my life or Sally Howe’s?

Our internet connection has always been slow but sure, and it’s suited me fine. Recently, however, Dave decided he wanted it superfast, and last Monday an engineer came to fix us up. Since then our connection has either been so fast it makes you dizzy, or non-existent. 

I think you know me well enough, dear readers, to imagine how I felt last Thursday when a TV producer emailed to say he was keen to see my screenplay.

And I think you can imagine how I felt when I’d written my email reply and attached the docs and pressed send, and the internet failed…and continued to fail until I was beside myself with the jitters. (Fortunately for Dave he was out on his bike.)

Another thing you know is how much Sally Howe and I like Hassop Station – the cafe, bookshop and cycle hire place that’s a mile away on the Monsal Trail.


It’s where Jane and I had the launch for Plotting for Grown-ups and it’s a favourite haunt of Sally’s in the book.


Luckily for me, it has Wi-Fi. So I grabbed my laptop and jumped in the car and five minutes later I’d sent my screenplay and was sipping a soothing Earl Grey tea.

I have written this post in bed, but I may have to go to Hassop Station to post it.


Monday, November 23, 2015

A week off. Or on.

I’m having a week off from the blog. Except that last time I said I was having a week off, I decided I wanted to blog after all. So…we’ll just have to wait to see what happens.

In the meantime, one of the things I’ll be doing is playing my sax, and this tune in particular.

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

A lump like me

After I’d blogged yesterday, the doctor rang to say there’ll be no further action. The lump in my body they found five weeks ago is nothing to worry about. It’s fatty and benign. Like me.

It’s taken a day to sink in. Waking up this morning without the low level anxiety that’s been dogging my days is wonderful. Who cares that there’s a wind whipping round the house that sounds like a gale in a badly-funded horror movie, or that there’s snow on the grass?

What I’ll remember is how pleased everyone was with the news: the love.

Friday, November 20, 2015

a plain Jane post

I owe you a post. I know I owe you a post. I wrote one on Wednesday and then deleted it because I decided it was too political for a politics-free blog. I have had nothing to say this week that was not either a howl, or political, or a political howl, so I stayed schtum.

I am going to sit in bed and tweak episode two of the screenplay. Remember my sunset patchwork quilt? You can see it here.


Dave is in the kitchen ironing, and listening to David Gilmour’s new album. I’ve had to shut the bedroom door because he has it on so loud.

The sky outside is glum. I don’t feel as glum today as I have done, but after the leaves disappeared, November has got me down with its fog and rain and overcast skies and its long dark nights. It’s joining February as a month that should be struck off my calendar.

Having said that… we did have a bright blue day on Monday when my big sister came to visit. That was lovely. And it was so nice to see her. Comforting. Reassuring. Like the week our mother died and she came in the sitting room and said “I think we all need some strengthening medicine.”

And no. There is still no sign of medical test results.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

If in doubt, write

Here’s a quote from Neil Gaiman on what to do when the going gets tough. I’ve shared it with you before, but so what? I like it.

When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician — make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor — make good art. IRS on your trail — make good art. Cat exploded — make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before — make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn’t even matter. Do what only you can do best: Make good art. Make it on the bad days, make it on the good days, too.     –  Neil Gaiman


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Friday, November 13, 2015

Have you ever felt like a dumbo?

Have you ever listened to a book programme on the radio and heard Mariella Frostrup asking a Russian writer why he had used Old English and current English in his novel, and often both in the same paragraph, and heard him say it was because there was no such thing as time?


and again


And have you ever been waiting for medical results that didn’t arrive, and wanting to check your mobile phone for messages, and unable to find it, rung it up from the house phone, and then on locating it found there was a missed call from an unknown number, and thought Aha! The hospital and the GP withhold their phone numbers, and then rang both to see if they had left a message and got a No on both counts and been utterly baffled, and then an hour later realised that you yourself have a withheld number and the missed call was you trying to locate your phone?


From now on I may just blog in cave-woman grunts.

Here is a November photo taken from up the Trail, to take your mind off the long dark nights that are here for the next three months.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

You can call me a baby if you like

I’ve got all kinds of medical stuff going on at the moment which maybe I’ll tell you about some time.

What I will tell you today is that I went to hospital yesterday for an uncomfortable and intrusive medical procedure. There was no delay in the waiting room, all the staff were kind, respectful and efficient, I was outwardly calm and well-behaved, I was there for an hour and a quarter in total; and I hated it.

I have come to realise that doctors can do whatever they like to me if I am unconscious (and they have done lots), but I loathe it when people mess with my body when I am awake. It has nothing to do with embarrassment. It’s the intrusion of my very personal space that upsets me, which is odd when I so often spill my emotional guts on here.

Dave was very caring and indulgent and wanting to cheer me up, let me buy a hot roast pork sandwich to eat in the car on the way home, even though he finds the smell obnoxious. And I went to bed for the afternoon and binge watched Downton Abbey on the iPad. ( I have so far watched none this year.)

Today I am fine. Today I shall go out on my bike on the Trail despite the wind and the looming skies. One life: live it.

(You have no idea what pleasure I get from using colons and semi-colons on an informal blog. When I use them I always think – Yay! – it’s my blog, and I can do what I like!)

And now you’re not only probably calling me a baby, you think I’m a punctuation weirdo as well. Which is fine.


Monday, November 09, 2015

Let’s all say no to war

On Saturday I joined other members of Bakewell Quaker Meeting by the river Wye, to hold a one hour silent peace vigil to remember all victims of all wars -  civilians and soldiers.*


And yesterday I spoke in Quaker meeting about it. And I quoted from something I have shared with you before – Andrew Boyd’s piece called Hopelessness can change the world.

You are faced with a stark choice: do you dedicate yourself to an impossible cause? or do you look after your own, making do as best you can?

The choice is clear: You must dedicate yourself to an impossible cause. Why? Because we are all incurable. Because solidarity is a form of tenderness. Because the simple act of caring for the world is itself a victory. Take a stand – not because it will lead to anything, but because it is the right thing to do. We never know what can or can’t be done; only what must be done. Let us do it.

Following on from that, a Quaker of 90 stood up and said she had been supporting lost causes since 1940, and she was very happy to see that there are plenty of young people now who are happy to support lost causes into the future.

We never know what can or can’t be done; only what must be done. Let us do it.



*You won’t see me – I was taking the photo.

Thursday, November 05, 2015


I don’t have anything to say today, but I read someone else’s blog post this morning and thought “YES!”

Click here to read it.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Different worlds

This is the third day straight of thick foggy fog up our lane in Derbyshire, but in Colorado the skies are bright and clear.

Here is Mother Earth sitting in her chair and weaving the colours of fall into a blanket for her children for the cold winter coming.


Picture by Lux Hepworth (5 years old).

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Those moments

The picture on yesterday’s post was taken on Lux’s first visit to England and our house.

I wasn’t thinking of her when I wrote the post. I needed a photo to go with the quote and I looked through my photo collection for a November picture and that one came up. Another was alongside it that I liked, but Lux isn’t smiling. Still my face seems to express a deep but fleeting joy, and I like it because of that. So here it is, mucky apron and all:

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and here is a blurry one from way back – when Tate was born, and I didn’t know how fab it is to be a gran:

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but I was surprised by joy.

Monday, November 02, 2015


Let’s love today, the what we have now, this day, not

          today or tomorrow or

yesterday, but this passing moment, that will

          not come again.

James Schuyler, from A Few days


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