Monday, January 21, 2008

Blog Break

I'm away for a while so no blogging from me! Back in late Feb.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

From my window

From my study window I can see two beautiful swans pottering around the little creek that runs behind our garden fence. It is wild, grey and unpredictable out there today and their 'whiteness' is extraordinary against the sky and the vivid grass. They often cross the road on the other side of the creek and walk up to the front door of the house on the corner. They tap on it and if someone is home they will come out and give them something to eat. There are regular dog walkers who stop and give them a snack as well. The swans are a much loved part of our local community. Sometimes when I'm working away I will notice a build up of traffic on the road - this is unusual as it is very quiet around here - then I see that the swans are either sitting in the middle of it or in the process of crossing it. I'd post a piccie but they're a bit too far away. Trust me - they are beautiful and cheering on a grey day - any day really!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Defnitely Prehistoric

There is a pelican sanctuary just down the beach from the holiday flat we stayed in on the central coast of NSW. Every day at 3:30pm the pelicans get fed and it is amazing. In flight they really look prehistoric. I'd never seen so many before. They were compelling to watch. This piccie cheers me up when I look at it. Not sure why - they look so geeky and robust!

It has been a rough morning - my dad is back in hospital and it wasn't looking good for a while - in between phone calls to my family I began to look at flights to OZ. My stress levels went a bit sky high - he has levelled out a bit now and I'm going to wait 24 hours until I make a decision. I want to go to bed and sleep - I feel so tired but it's more than tired. I feel happier though knowing Dad is comfortable. I know his end is soon and it feels very surreal and sad. I don't really have the words to describe it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Space versus Clutter

I was looking forward to coming home to my study after being away for nearly seven weeks. I was missing the solitude I have when I'm in there. The hermit in me was pinning for my space. I had remembered my study as a tidy, bright room but the reality is that it's currently a wild room with pesky piles of 'things' everywhere. This morning is my morning to tidy it and claim it back. To get me in the mood for a session with the Mr Sheen I googled writer's rooms and found this fab site I really like David Lodge's room but think it will take more than a duster to create that one. My big criteria for a writing space is light. From my generous window here to the side of my desk I can see the sky, the south downs, trees and the rain pelting down. It is a great view. The plan is tidy now and settle in to write for the afternoon.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Broody Day

This is the view from a beachside flat we rented for a while in Oz over xmas. It was a fab location for staring out to sea and we had quite a few tropical storms whilst we were there - this is the sky gearing up to deliver a hell of a downpower. I love being by the beach when the weather is like this - all very moody. Just like today! Perfect writing weather!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


I've been wrestling with something the past few days and I don't want to dwell on it too much as I think I have resolved it a little. I've been thinking about my dad and his cancer and the past few days it has been a dead weight in my chest that nothing can shake. I was immobilised by it. I couldn't shake myself out of my grief. This is a new feeling - since his terminal diagnosis 3 months ago I have run the gauntlet of feelings but this was a new one. I figured out what it is - lack of hope.

I realised that for the first time in my life there was something important and life changing happening that was finite. There was no hope. This made me feel so bleak. Then I spoke to my dad today and even though he sounds weary and ill we still chatted about the weather - hot for him in Oz - chilly here for me. Then I realised that as long as he is still living there is always hope. Not hope for a miracle cure but just hope that he still has time to enjoy life - even in a scaled down way - even just telling me how lovely it was to sit in the garden and do the crossword. As long as he still has moments of happiness then there is hope.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Dream Time

This is the Hawksbury River on the central coast of NSW. It is so tranquil here and my friend drove me to this spot to show me a very ordinary house with an extraordinary view from its garden - this is the view. Two elderly sisters live there and have done so for about 50 years. Their garden is huge and we fantasised about building a secret log cabin at the bottom of the garden to go and write in. They would probably never notice as they have so much land. The silence here is incredible - just the sound of birds at sunrise and sunset. Bliss.
You have to dream!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Summer clothes in hibernation

My summer clothes have all been washed and put away and my body is rebelling at the number of layers I'm forcing it to wear. It is cold here - thank god for hot water bottles. I have one shoved up the back of my jumper and I'm contemplating putting on my fingerless gloves. It's hard to believe that exactly one week ago I was at a beachside cafe devouring scrambled eggs whilst wearing my still damp swimmers and gazing out over the ocean. Ahhh.

The reason I spent 6 weeks in Oz was that my Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late October. He was given 6-9months. I wasn't going to blog about it but I realised I need to. Blogging for me is the equivalent of writing morning pages. This is a huge part of what is going on in my life at present and to ignore it and keep it from my writing doesn't feel right. I don't feel great writing about it and probably won't reread the paragraph above - it is very raw.

My trip home was filled with laughter and tears. I went home with thoughts that I could help my Mum with caring for Dad directly but actually I soon realised that is Mum's role and one she wants. They've been married for 46years so I understand that. So I realised that my role was to support Mum. We had quite an assembly line of support going on! Some days I realised that doing the vacuuming and making sandwiches for lunch was a great thing to be doing and I'm sad that I'm not there at the moment to do it.

Mum and Dad both have big families scattered around the globe and next week three of Dad's siblings arrive to visit and help out. They have all asked me what I think is the best thing they can do to help out - I said 'cook meals, clean house and make sure Mum gets to go out into the world, even if it is just to shop or visit friends - and keep Dad company.' I'm trying to work out when I should return home again - that is the tricky part. I'm going to put faith in hoping that I will just know but I'm OK with it not working to any plan. That doesn't ease the sadness but what possibly could?

On a positive creative note - I am going to submit my novel to an agent this week. I've decided on a single submission at this stage but I have a back up list if this one doesn't pan out. I just decided that I really like this agent and the way he works so feel like just submitting to him at present. I'm going to print off my submission today, proof it (again!!!!!) have my husband proof it (again!!!) and then pop it in the post tomorrow and then commence Novel number 2 in earnest. If I didn't have my fictitious worlds to disappear into at the moment I would probably go a little mad. There is only so much reality a person can take at times.

Friday, January 04, 2008

New Year...again and again

I haven't washed my hair since last year. My final brush with shampoo was in Sydney on New Year's Eve. My hubby and I woke to the kind of morning that Sydney does so beautifully this time of year. Blue sky with a few kindly white clouds, pure sunshine streaming through the window and the day's heat snaking up from the pavement. We had spent the previous night (our last one in Oz) with dear friends and we'd been up to 2am drinking, laughing and yakking.

Needless to say we were all feeling a tad weary. Only one thing for it - a dip in the ocean followed by breakfast in an open air cafe. Our friends live a 5min walk from one of the most gorgeous places to swim in Sydney - Clovelly. So we ambled down the road loving the sun beating down on us. The beach was busy already with bodies of all shapes, colours and sizes enjoying the glorious start to NYE but one of the things I love about Oz is that even when a place is busy there is still room for a few more bods.

The water was fresh to start with and not exactly calm. We were swimming in a lovely cove but big breakers crashing onto the rocks at the mouth of the cove made it seem as though we were in a washing machine according to my friend. Any seedy residue of the night before quickly dissolved and I certainly luxuriated in the freedom of the ocean before our 22 hour flight back to the UK.

The beachside cafe was buzzing but we managed to snag the best table with uninterrupted views over the ocean. At that moment life couldn't have got any better. Soon it was time to do the final pack and enjoy a long, hot shower and a hair wash before our flight. We had initially been a bit peeved about having to fly on NYE but then we got excited and thought it would be an adventure. It was.

We had 3 NYEs throughout the flight and watched fireworks erupt in Hong Kong as we ascended to begin the final leg back to the UK. Champagne has never tasted so good.
Happy New Year - I hope it is a joyous, creative and peaceful one.