Sunday 30 July 2017

Knitting a novel

We're still deep in puppiness here at the moment. If it goes quiet I jump up and shout 'Where IS he?' in a great panic over what he might be up to. I actually lost him this morning. He was herded the wrong way by a miniature schnauzer that he was too scared to pass and suddenly decided I must be off in the opposite direction and scampered off to find me. I had to sprint past peaceful Sunday morning back gardens shrieking his name in the exciting falsetto voice that the puppy training lady says they respond best to. He stopped in the end when he found a Jack Russell that he wanted to jump all over.

When I say I was sprinting, it was more of an uncomfortable flapping lollop. It felt as if I was running through treacle. Makes me think I need to work on my fitness a little. Early morning running again? I don't know how I stopped. Although of course now I will have to sneak out past the puppy. I'll give it some thought...

I'm also giving some thought to a novel idea I have. Not a novel idea, as in exciting or new,  I don't have any of those. But more of a fiction story thing. I have a rough plot and lots of ends and threads. They need to be woven together in some sort of order, neatly and coherently. I'm still doing non-fiction writing, but I'd like to write some fiction too.

I think I'm the sort of writer who likes to have it all planned out first. I need to know what everyone's going to be doing and work out the twists and turns. As I say, I have a whole ball of ideas. Some of them are even written down. But they need to be connected and the ends worked in neatly. It's a bit like knitting no? All of those individual stitches. Different strands being pulled together to make a pattern. No holes. And slow progress, row by row, until suddenly, one day, there's a whole thing. My knitting record isn't great, except for non-wearable items like blankets. But I've never let it stop me. I have a huge amount of optimism. One day I might pull it off, you never know.

I shall spend the day tackling the post-camping laundry mountain (only one child went away, but still, you know how it is) and thinking about threads and how to tie them all together. Wish me sunshine and good ideas.

Sunday 16 July 2017

All the summer things

Life here has been passing in a glorious summer blur of sweet peas, blueberries, sun, watering cans, bees on herb flowers, green beans, raspberries, ice-cream, skies of every colour, long golden evenings, cricket, snatched moments lost in a good book, butterflies, clover flowering in the lawn and puppy dogs' tails.

Did I mention cricket? Six games in seven days the other week, with training on the seventh. But it's been lovely, a deckchair in the evening sunshine, you know the sort of thing. It's a short but intense season, all but over now. People are talking about the start of football training. I'm holding on to the summer for the next few weeks.

On the hottest day we went to the outdoor pool which was lovely.

In the garden I've been press-ganging the children into blueberry picking. The biggest boy was horrified to find once you've done it, it all needs doing again three days later. I've been making Nigel Slater's blueberry "muffins". The quotes are all important apparently - they're cakier than muffins, although to be honest I can't tell the difference. I might try this one next, I'm a big fan of almonds in cakes.

The biggest boy and I did our bird survey down by the river the other day. I spotted a common scoter all by myself which has elevated my status no end. I also found one of those helium balloons in the hedgerow. They're such a menace, especially the ones that are released deliberately and end up causing trouble for animals and wildlife. It's just littering.

Rant over. How is your summer going? We have another week of school here, but then we're free. We can't wait.