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That felt like a very short week away, but involved enough food for about a month!

I am still catching up with washing, housework, sleep etc so I tonight I’m just going to share a picture from my travels.

Late one afternoon we went for a walk into a nature park area, and just out of sight of the parking area, beyond some trees, was a little hotel.

In The Woods

There was a wedding party at the hotel, the tables all lit with candles shining through the windows, and it felt magical.

When I think of the stereotypical German village it’s very much from fairytales – a leftover from a childhood reading The Brothers Grimm, no doubt – and this scene seemed to fit perfectly.  There was such a romantic feeling to the place, and a sense of timelessness that is almost impossible to define.  It felt like I had fallen into a storybook, for just a few moments.

And doesn’t that seem fitting for a couple celebrating their own love story?

Until next time – happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

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You know how last week I said I’d be ok with the whodunnit timeframe if I got the three interviews done this week? Well…

I am behind, of course. I’d normally try to catch up over the weekend but I’ve barely had any time to myself this one. It’s been good – things ticked off in the house; time with my parents and my husband’s parents; a few hours helping out at my friend’s charity event and so on. Still, I am behind and getting a little irritated with myself for not planning my time better.

Tomorrow is a bank holiday here so I will spend most of it writing. I can already say with near-certainty there will be no book this week, and I will have to finish the first draft of the whodunnit before I can get on with the reading and catch up with that!

I did manage to get some proofreading done for my friend but it was a bit of a thankless task – I was too slow for her and she’s decided not to have a proofread!  Still, I can cross it off in good conscience and say no if she asks again.

So now it’s a case of using the next 10 days to their absolute best and getting this story concluded.  I don’t much fancy spending my time in Germany writing it, and assuming it’s complete, I will load up the kindle (and my bag) with books to get me back on track.  I’ll be spending a lot of time in a car so I might as well make the most of it!

I just want to stop feeling like I’m controlled by one of these:

Time Lord

I’m going to leave it for tonight – there’s another weather warning in place and I can hear the thunder rolling already so no doubt we’ll lose power soon!

Until next time – happy writing!

EJ

🙂

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It’s been a long week and I’m not feeling it. The weather is rubbish, the roads are awash with bits of field that have washed down in the torrents, and it’s cold.

British Summer Time at its finest!

I can’t even summon up the energy to write the post I’d planned for you. I will share the picture I was going to use though: I took it last weekend and it’s a reminder that, every so often, we are blessed with a beautiful summer’s day.

Tractor Summer

Sometimes – happily – the British summer gets it right!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have got myself a little overwhelmed this week, with too many things to do and not enough time to do it all.  It’s been fun but also busy, tiring and not quite as productive as I would have hoped.

This is a little bit like my to do pile, at the moment (in fact, technically this is part of my to do pile!):

The to do pile

So let’s start with the writing, shall we.  Well, I got the timesheet  out and this week I dropped 2 hours – Friday and Saturday – so I’m going into next week with a challenge to make that up.  I don’t know if I will do it, looking at my diary for next week – but I’m very conscious that I have 17 days to get the first draft of the whodunnit completed so I really do need to get on.   In terms of the storyline, I am on track – I have 3 interviews, a repeat, a reveal and the end point, so if I can get the 3 interviews done this week, the repeat and reveal next week, and the end point plus any mop-up in the 3 days of the week after, I’ll be ok!!

I also need to dig out a couple of my poems and pass them on to a writer for a second opinion; but he is awaiting my feedback on his work so I need to prepare that first!  I promised it about 4 weeks ago so I must get that done by Wednesday at the latest.

In the non-writing, I have to get to grips with the proofing for my friend, which I have set some time aside for tomorrow, and work out some time to go through a project proposal of another member of the writing group.

But they are for next week, and in the meantime I really should be getting the most out of this one.   After all, there’s 2 hours left of it!

And finally – as you know, I gave up on the 100 novels list a few weeks ago, more due to time that anything else.  So here is the full list and I hope you find something new and interesting to try from this list, as I did.  As to the next step – a more diverse list, perhaps – there’s an opportunity to get involved if you like.  One book I would have liked to see, but would never have appeared, is The Silk Road by Jeanne Larsen – a book I have mentioned more than once on here because of the impact it had on me.  It has influenced my thinking on mythology, opened my eyes to the way language is used differently in different cultures, given me new and interesting poetic forms to try.  I loved it as a teenager, and as an adult writer I have absorbed lessons from it that have shifted my perspective – and I still love it!

So there you have it, folks – a week of doing, adding to the to do list, and planning for the next phase.  Lots more still to do, but now I just want to go and read my favourite book!!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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I saw an aerial display by the Red Arrows recently, and unexpectedly, from my back garden, so I grabbed my phone and tried to snap a few pictures.  I didn’t get anything particularly good but this one was at least improved by putting a black and white filter on it…

Not exactly picture perfect

I always feel torn between taking photos of everything and actually experiencing it – it’s a balance between recording the event, and being part of it sometimes. Basically, I get bad photos but enjoy myself 🙂

I’ve tried to improve: I joined a camera club, and went to talks about apertures and depth of field and the rule of thirds and so on, but to be honest I’m not patient enough to consistently take good photos.

Which is weird, really, because writing takes a lot of patience.  Maybe it’s a different sort of patience, because when I write, I am in control of the action and when I photograph I inevitably have to be outside the action.

But that’s all rather too philosophical for a post being written at 11pm, so I’ll think about that at another time!

It doesn’t really matter that my photos aren’t great though.  Firstly, photos can’t capture every feeling and when they try to (for example when you get married) you can miss out on the actual human interaction!  Secondly, they serve as reminders of times, places and feelings, helping me to recall a million different moments.  Those moments fill my writing, serve as a backdrop to poems and scenes, and inspire events.

Thirdly, if I’m sharing them on the blog I’ll at least attempt to get a few decent shots, and all I can do is try!!

Happy writing (and photographing!),

EJ

🙂

 

 

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WordPress tells me this is my 500th blog post.  I feel like I should share something momentous and life-changing but what I really want to do is have a 500th post party.  It’s something to celebrate, after all – and, any excuse for a bit of fun, hey?!

It’s Party in a Post: just add drinks and nibbles!

Let’s start with the small-talk:

‘How’s the writing going?’

‘Not too bad, actually.  I managed to get a good section completed this week, and although I’m still behind where I want to be, I am bringing the timesheet in from Monday so I can make sure I get quality writing time planned.’

‘Great.  Shall we have a dance?’

‘Fabulous idea.’

Now we need the music:

Let’s make it one of my favourites, shall we?

Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon

And, just to finish it off, let’s have a toast:

MonthiversariesCheers everyone!  Thank you for joining me as I’ve blethered and chattered and gabbled through 500 posts.  I hope somewhere in amongst them there’s been something fun, useful or interesting for you – and if not, keep your eyes peeled, as they say, because there’s another 500 on their way!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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It’s three months since we were on this beach, dipping our toes into the ocean. Time passes so fast, it’s hard to keep up with it.

Looking back

Having sat through storms which knocked the power out in work today, I find it hard to believe that in one day we probably had more rain than the island would see in 6 months!

It was an amazing few days, and for such a short time away it had a profound impact on me. I said at the start of this year I wanted to try new things in 2015, do things I wouldn’t have done before. This island gave me unicycle (won’t be revisiting that one!), juggling, magic tricks, trapeze, learning a new language. Eating octopus (won’t be revisiting that one either!), dancing kimboza. It gave me a pink sequin-covered hat and a new set of friends.

For a week, that’s a pretty fantastic return.

Even in the few months since this year began I have come a long way. I’ve accepted the challenges in my writing life that are an inevitable side-effect of the ending of my career break – and I’ve accepted that many of the opportunities I now have are possible only because of my return to work.  I am still tinkering with the arrangements, but I am determined not to stop.  There are still so many things to try, so many places to see, so many wonderful ideas to explore, and write about.

This year I’ve dipped my toes in the ocean; maybe next year I’ll start to swim.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

 

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I managed, just about, 2 this week, partly because I was 45 minutes early for a hair appointment so I decided to while away the time reading in a sunny pub garden!

Book 30 – Polmarran Tower, by Charlotte Massey (it seems my 1975 version has a slightly different spelling of the name to the 1977 version!). This was from the inheritance pile, and is the story of Katherine Ainsley. She arrives in Marrambridge one evening to take up a post of Governess at Polmarran, to be greeted with violence and anger by the drunk son of her new employer. As she embarks on her new life in Polmarran, she finds herself drawn into a gloomy, unfriendly world where her resemblance to the mysterious Eliza seems to bring ghosts from the past. As she becomes more and more afraid for her life, she also finds herself desperate to protect her ward, Adelaide, and suspicious of all around her.

This felt much more like a gothic novel than last week’s effort, and interestingly this also had the ghosts of ‘wreckers’ used against our erstwhile heroine. However, this book was better written, in my opinion – more taut and tension-filled, more believable, more engaging.  This was not a romance in the conventional sense – the only ‘romantic’ elements were a few statements in the book about one character needing the support of another, and a short scene at the end.  The character was beautiful – of course – but her beauty was used against her, marking her as a target, making her a victim.

There are a number of twists and turns in this tale, but what I found most effective is the twist of what really happened to Eliza, and who was responsible.  The story foretold the truth – but not all of it.  It was well done, I felt.

I enjoyed it and would read it again.

The next book was an entirely different animal.  Literally…

Book 31 – Making the Cat Laugh, by Lynne Truss.  This is a collection of articles written by  Truss over a period of years, across three publications.  The overriding theme is being single but living with cats, but it also covers obsessions, neuroses, social awkwardness, sheds, tennis players and maltesers, amongst other matters.

A lot of this book seems very old-fashioned now, and some of the articles are a little too self-consciously ‘middle class’ for my amusement (for example, attending a protest about Radio Four Long Wave being withdrawn) but mostly this was a light-hearted read which made me smile a few times.  Not laugh-out-loud funny, but entertaining.

I bought this book because I have Eats, Shoots and Leaves, which I read ages ago and can’t remember much except that it came with stickers, and I’m a sucker for a sticker.  So I guessed that Truss would be a fairly readable author, because I have not sworn never to try one of her books again…

There’s really not a lot more to say about this one – it’s easy to pick up and put down because each section is an article length, so quite short; it doesn’t take a lot of thought; it’s suitable to read if you’re feeling a bit rubbish and can’t concentrate very well, like me this weekend.  I don’t see it being one I’ll instantly re-read but it would be a good one for a beach or beside-the-pool book that gets read intermittently.

This is the book, artfully displayed on a plastic tablecloth in a pub garden.  I have got to grips with the camera on my phone so for the next few weeks months, you’ll probably get lots of shots like this peppering the posts.  Sorry.

On a related note – the book below is likely to turn up in a blog post soon!

Until next time,

Happy reading!

EJ

🙂

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I’ve been feeling a little rough – these really busy weeks have taken their toll and although it’s lovely to have lots going on sometimes I need to have a day’s holiday to recharge my batteries.

So yesterday, my husband and I went on a little ramble.  We headed out to see an archaeological dig which was open to the public, then off on a coastal drive with a stop at a country pub before heading home for a rather marvellously French inspired afternoon tea.

On our travels I got this picture.  It really was a gorgeous day; sunny and warm, with a light breeze to keep from getting overheated. Those cliffs on the far left are the White Cliffs of Dover, and the two tiny white blobs are ferries going into or coming out of the harbour – you can just about make out the harbour wall.

Just a bit of Dover

 

I always love to look out from the southeastern coast of England and see the coast of France.  I like to think when I wave over, someone there is waving back 🙂

What you can’t see from here, although I got some photos of these too, are the imposing Dover Castle or any of the Martello Towers that dot the coastline in this area.  It really is a reminder of how relationships between European countries have changed over time – and I for one am glad I’ve grown up in a time of friendship and community with our neighbours.

I do love to see the history of a place uncovered.  I watch a lot of documentaries, and even those with a decidedly unlikely theme often give me an insight into a part of the world that is unknown to me: its geography, history, folklore, culture, all tied into the roots of its existence.  This often influences my poetry, and the courses I take are frequently determined by whatever random programme I have seen that sparked my imagination.

I can’t ever know everything, of course – and the more I know, the more aware I am of the limitations of my knowledge – but the more I can learn the more I understand who we are, and how different people understand the world we inhabit.

In turn, the more I can bring to my work either in terms of language and imagery or in terms of creating peace poems.

This weekend enabled me to learn new things, and remember things I was once taught.  It gave me a chance to see, literally, what was buried in time – a real, live dig is a very different place from a visitor site and it was great to see the earth being treated with such respect.  It gave me a chance to sit back and be lazy, and learn, and absorb.  It gave me some ‘me’ time.

So I’ve had a chance to rebuild my reserves, and in a way that has invigorated my imagination: next week I’ll use that to expand on the work I did this week, and get the whodunnit another step closer to its conclusion.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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This has been another super-busy day so tonight’s theme is fewer words, more beauty.

Sundown

I love this one.  It makes me peaceful and although the pink glow from the sun on the flowers wasn’t planned, I think it adds something wonderful and magical to the scene.

Hope you like it,

EJ

🙂

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