Wednesday 26 January 2022

Banishing January Blues

I'm normally a kind of glass half full person, but for some reason, recently I've really been struggling. Part of it is the good old Cornish winter weather which, let's face it, I'm used to. But this year I am finding the lack of sunlight really dispiriting. I know - I'm not complaining. We're lucky not to have had wall to wall rain as well as grey, as we do most winters, but even so....

So what do you do to banish the winter blues? Well, this is what I've been doing. Last Tuesday my dear friend Jac and I did a dash up to Devon and back to take my mum out for lunch. It was a full on day but she really enjoyed it, though as we took her back, she said, "I've been looking forward to this for so long, and now it's over." I think you can imagine how we both felt, but we are seeing her again in a few weeks.

I've been struggling to find enthusiasm for editing my novel which is not like me at all, but I am keeping on, and news of some part time work appeared so I will keep my fingers crossed about that. Another dear friend wrote me a long list of what I'd achieved last year work wise which instantly made me feel better, so many thanks to Pauline for that.

The sun came out on Friday - hooray! So I met another friend for a walk and bacon baps and that cheered me no end. On Sunday Jac and I went to have a bowl of soup with my cousins in Penzance which is always stimulating company and they commented on how much more relaxed and confident Lainy was - and that cheered me no end. All that hard work is paying off! Afterwards we went to Godolphin for a walk and despite the cold and the grey, it wove its magic around us.

And afer that, it was really lovely to get back to my fella's place, where it was cosy and warm, the oven was on ready for our dinner, and he lit the fire. That really made my day.

Come to think of it, I had a really busy week. What does everyone else do to Banish the Blues?

Wednesday 19 January 2022


I’ve been looking through a load of old photos that one of my brothers canned in from a random selection found in Mum’s collection - pictures and slides dating back from when my parents were first married, to old holidays, lots of the three of us growing up - can you can imagine the memories that have popped up.

Some terrific - and embarrassing - ones of my brothers, as little boys - to me and my best friend Lin, and the only one of me that I really like of me, aged about 8, doing a (very good, though I say it myself) handstand on the beach. When my technical skills have improved, I will share this picture, but my imac won't oblige right now...!

Isn’t it wonderful how an image can provoke an instant response - for instance, that handstand, feeling the gritty wet warmth of the sand in my fingers? The thudding rush of blood to my head. Arching my back, tipping my body ever so slightly in a struggle to get the perfect balance. Stretching my feet so my toes pointed skywards, while someone - my mum probably - clicked the camera.

Other pictures - remembering my paternal grandparents. Wasn’t my grandpa a handsome man? Wasn’t my grandmother a big woman - till she had gallstones and shed lots of weight, lost her husband (he died) and she became an outspoken woman…..

Memories are such powerful things, aren’t they? They can provide a perfect trigger for novels, a poem, short story, film - anything that takes our imagination.

But this was one from yesterday, when my dear friend Jac and I took my mum out for lunch. She’s doing amazingly well for 93 - nearly 94 - and I hope I will look back on this in years to come, with very happy memories of a special lunch.

Thursday 13 January 2022

Competition and van trouble

As I write, I have just sent off my novel, The Rescue, to a competition that would be oh so amazing to win, or at least get shortlisted for. I've done all I can to get it into good shape, gone over it, had four eagle eyed friends go over it as well, and now - off it's gone into the ether. I've done all I can, now I must get on with editing the rest of it and hope for the best.

My sense of achievement was somewhat marred by not much sleep last night. A warning light came on the dashboard of my van yesterday and I was told by one mechanic, "it's probably OK to drive but we can't see it till next week," while the other one said, "could be mechanical failure and it might have to go to the Fiat dealer." You can possibly imagine why I didn't sleep much.

I rely on wheels so much, notably for walking Lainy, and seeing my fella who lives a 40 minute drive away, so as it's being looked at tomorrow, all I can do is cross my fingers and hope for the best. More crossing of fingers....

But the fella will come and pick me up tomorrow if needs be, and on Tuesday a friend of mine and I had arranged to take her car to Devon and take my mum out for lunch. So two of the bigger events are taken care of. I'm not a proud person when it comes to cars - I don't care what it looks like, or how fast it goes. I just want one that works.....

Many of my friends are having difficult times (well, who isn't, most notably in Downing Street...) but let's hope life will settle down a bit and my wheels will return to me shortly.

For escapsim, I had a James Bond session last weekend. I can feel another film weekend brewing.....

Thursday 6 January 2022

Festive disruptions

I've borrowed this spectacular picture of sunrise at Gylly today courtesy of Gilli Matthews because a) I missed it and b) I think we all need something to cheer us up. And this is spectacular.

Are we all feeling discombobulated after the break? Every year I swear that the Christmas and New Year break won't disrupt my writing pattern - but it does. Big time.

I suppose I needed a break (as I bet we all did) and while being away from home was great, it isn't always restful. I'm glad to report that my break was. I drove down to the Lizard on Christmas Eve, into the village where the lights were shining everywhere, wound down the window and heard my fella ringing the church bells for the carol service. Neither of us is religious, but it was a really joyous sound and gladdened my heart no end.

We had a wonderfully restful time just the four of us (I include the dogs here) who, with the aid of stair gates and a crate, didn't have any disagreements, and by the time we left, several days later, they were really getting used to each other which was fantastic.

Back home and I felt so much better for having a lovely time away. But as a close friend said, "If you go up, you've got to come down," and I came down with a thump on New Year's Day. Luckily my gloom was rescued by dear friends upstairs that evening who arrived with a bottle of wine and a huge candle which we lit and restored sanity to life.

As I struggled with post Christmas lethargy, my editor got back to me with comments about Chapter One so after several days of feeling utterly exhausted, I have managed to summon up the energy to start editing again. The relief! I need to do another complete edit - and having had a week or so off is always good - and then start sending it out.

While I don't make new year resolutions, I am looking forward to getting my novel to the stage where I send it out into the agent world and hope someone else loves it as much as my editor and I do. Happy New Year everyone. Keep well and safe and if you're isolating - which I'm sure we all will at some stage - I hope it passes swiftly and without feeling rotten.