Wednesday 28 March 2012

Holidays and sunshine

This is Godrevy, taken on a Cornwall Today walk I did on Sunday with Sally.

My week away was a lovely break – I hadn’t realised how tired I was until the day before I left, but that evening a group of us went to a fabulous evening of folk music at Devoran Village Hall having had a bite to eat in the pub beforehand. It was a lovely evening of music and laughter and set me up for the week to come.

The week itself was great – lots of walks, talks, food and drink. The cottage was south facing and we had lots of sun, there’s a great pub 3 minute walk away and also the best fish and chip shop on the other side of the road.

Various friends came and stayed, contributed to the cost and brought food and wine so I will definitely book it again. The day before I left, Howard rang (who’s painting my flat) - as there’s no storage he’d had to pile everything onto my bed and he said mournfully that it looked like a bomb had hit it. In addition, he’d had to get a mate to help him as there was so much to do, and he’d got flu and was being harassed by his neighbour and had to go to the police.

I really didn’t want to come home, but arrived back with a sinking heart, prepared for the worst. But Howard’s painted half the flat which looks fabulous. It took a while to get things sorted but a friend helped move furniture and it was reasonably in order by the time I got to bed that night. Howard’s still stricken with flu but will resume painting the rest of it when he’s better poor love.

Meanwhile the sun is shining, two dear friends are back from their travels and I’m off to Rosudgeon car boot with one and seeing the other one later. Got to make hay while the sun shines, as they say. Plenty of rain to come I’m sure.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Sunshine Award, New Meetings and Holiday

Recently, an editor introduced me to WAYN (Where Are You Now), a website which is for making friends with like minded people around the world. As the introduction came from a reputable source, I thought I’d join and have since been inundated with requests from men for friendship/meeting. Well……......

The other day I read a blog which suggested that “It’s not what you get in life that makes you happy, but how you respond.” And I thought, how true.

On that note, I have been awarded the Sunshine Award from Debs. In order to reply, I have to list 5 things that make me happy, so here are some of them.

1. A wonderful walk yesterday, despite the fog and getting lost. Just to set the tone, at the start of the walk, Jon told me the following: “A bloke picks up a girl and takes her home, says, “You remind me of my little toe.” “Why?” she says. “Because I’m cute and cuddly?” “No he replied. “Because later on I’m going to bang you on the bed.” Sorry – this just really appeals to my sense of humour.
2. All my daffodils have come out, and their yellow smiling heads nod at me when I walk up my steps.
3. A friend often sends me texts that (inadvertently) make me laugh. I save them for when I need cheering up.
4. The feeling I get when a few more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that will make up my next novel fall into place.
5. My friend Viv, who has a great capacity for one-liners. When talking about the fact that at our age most of us (men in particular) have a lot of baggage, Viv said, “Get a porter, I say.”

And on that note, I am off on holiday for a week. By the time I get back my flat will be redecorated – or most of it – so I will come home to a new me. Or rather, the next chapter begins…....

Talking of which, I am planning next novel. Ideas for female character's name please......

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Running Scared

When I was in my early teens a combination of events ended in my losing confidence. I went from being a happy, galloping being, running free, to a captured one that slowed to a canter, a tired trot, then stumbled to a halt and fell. They break in horses, don’t they? I was broken all right.

I got up, of course, but kept on falling for many years. It was a very frightening, lonely time that involved hospitalisation, shrinks, anti-depressants, truth drugs – years that I prefer not to dwell on. I hit rock bottom more times than I care to remember, but finally, one day, in part due to a lovely fellow called Paul, I started coming up again. Yet it was a fragile ascent, for at my core was this terrified girl who was lost. Stumbling. Falling.

Fast forward 40 years and life – and several men in particular – have helped turn me into a stronger, wiser woman. Just as overly sensitive but I understand myself better, and having lived with Pip for 14 years, I have some knowledge of complex men. I trust myself and the fates that although tragic things happen, there are joyous things in life. Joyous people.

Just before he died Pip got a fabulous camera for his 70th birthday and the idea was that we’d share it – I would use it to take pictures for my walks for Cornwall Today. And while it has an idiot’s guide on it, I wanted to understand how the camera works so I could take good pictures. So I enrolled on a photography course.

A photographer friend had told me I had a good eye, and would soon pick it up and get my pictures published. So I went along that first day full of excitement and anticipation.

I left the first class nearly in tears. In the space of three hours, I entered a time capsule. I sped backwards, faster than the speed of light, and once more was that crying, lost little girl. “I don’t understand,” I kept saying. Not having a logical brain, I really struggle with the technical side of photography. But I couldn’t understand when the tutor explained.

This is the third course – the first was cancelled, the second was slightly better and I am keen to learn, and there are no other courses at the moment. This time I decided to go armed into battle. I tell myself that I’m not stupid. I expect to be made to feel an idiot and have to deal with it. And keep asking him to explain.

I have learnt a little. But the basic mechanics of photography elude me, like a fragile dream on waking. The other day the tutor said (in exasperation, I fear), “It’s just a matter of fractions,” and my brain had a seizure. I’ve never understood maths so numbers make my head spin. In fact, at the moment, photography makes my head spin.

A good friend has lent me some amazing books on photography. “Look at them and try not to get too bogged down in the technical side of things,” he suggested. “Go out with other photographers if you can.” Good advice – and one which I am following, though my photographer friends are very busy so it’s not a regular thing.

My pictures are published every month alongside my walks, but they aren’t as good as I’d like them to be, and I would like to understand more.

I very nearly didn’t go yesterday. I’ve been feeling exhausted, not able to sleep. But when I finally dragged myself out of bed, the sun was shining. We went to Swanpool and had an hour taking pictures focusing on composition. We had one-to-one tuition which was a great help and a few things started to come clear. I was quite pleased with the pictures I’d taken.

What I need, I think, is more one-to-one help. My dear friend Michael is going to give me a technical lesson on Friday (this could be the end of a lovely friendship) and I’m going to ask my photographer friends if they can be patient and go out with me and take pictures so I can learn on the hoof.

The amount I need to learn lies before me, like scattered pieces of a vast and complex jigsaw puzzle. So far I’ve fitted together three bits – of sky, of sea and of sand. Only another 9,672 pieces to go….. In the meantime I try and hold fast. I can do it, I keep telling myself. I can. I will. I hope.

To end on a cheering note – This afternoon I will be talking to Philip Marsden (author of The Levelling Sea) for my new walks book about Cornish writers. We will be discussing St Mawes, one of my favourite places. And his.