28 Apr 2007

Chapter One?

It was a late March day when Fiona Harland made the decision that would change her life forever.

She was sitting on a bench by the Serpentine, wondering why she was still wracked with grief after nine months. She was strong, had always been so. She got over things. So why was there still this feeling of emptiness, this feeling of things being not quite right?

She tried to divert her thoughts by watching the activity around her. It was six o'clock in the evening and still light thanks to the recent change to British Summer Time. The silhouettes of the trees were beginning to blur with their nascent summer greenery and the park was busy with people, rushing through on their way home, strolling along watching the wildlife on the lake or skimming along the walkways on roller blades. Two businessmen in dark suits walked past, one of them glancing at her as he drew level.

Her thoughts drifted backwards as they always did when she wasn't immersing herself in work. Back to that June day when her mobile belted out its electronic rendering of Beethoven's Fifth, a piece of music she hadn't been able to listen to since. And the voice on the other end said could she come down to Barnes Hospital urgently as her parents had been in a car accident. By the time her cab had fought its way through the traffic out to Barnes it was too late. Her father had died at the scene of the accident they said, and despite their attempts to save her mother she died an hour after getting to the hospital.

How quickly and brutally life can change.

Someone had sat down at the other end of her bench, drawing her back to the present. She glanced idly sideways and recognized the dark-suited man she'd seen earlier. He'd opened a copy of the Evening Standard and seemed to be having some difficulty keeping it straight in the slight breeze that had blown up. Without really thinking about it she looked around to see if his companion was nearby. He was leaning against the railings bordering the car park looking rather out of place in his smart suit; as if he should really be going somewhere rather than just hanging around.

27 Apr 2007

What course next?

The Start Writing Fiction course that I've been studying with the Open University finishes today and my final assignment is in. While I'm waiting for the verdict I need to plan what to do next.

Creative Writing, a Level 2 course, starts in October and would be the next natural progression but I'm slightly worried about the fact that it includes poetry and play writing as well as prose fiction. You only have to look at my Haiku attempts back in January to see why!

But, despite being a complete amateur and probably totally untalented, I'm really enjoying this writing lark. The course I just finished was such fun and the group I was in were so supportive and enthusiastic that I'm very tempted to go forward with the OU. It gives me the summer to see if I can keep my enthusiasm up and to practice daily writing which I'm not too good at yet. Probably because there's always something else to do (prevarication!).

Now there's a thing - prevarication. I have more journals and pens than you can possibly imagine - all designed to make me write better! Oh dear, how sad is that? But it's such fun buying them. My recommendations are CIAK journals which are absolutely beautiful leather journals in several sizes and the Pilot Capless fountain pen with a medium nib.

So I really must write something with them.

23 Apr 2007

Grass, grass - PLEASE grow!

Our back garden's always been short of grass. What with two Irish Wolfhounds peeing all over it and a total of 18 pine trees drinking all the moisture it didn't stand a chance really.

So a few months ago we had nine of the pine trees cut down. We found a tree surgeon called Woody (novel, huh?) who undertook to do it. He decided he'd bring along a crane to take the tops off which would take a day and then he'd finish off during the course of a week. Oh, by the way - this was the week we had gale force winds in the south-east! I remember he got the crane caught on a tree he was cutting the top off and when the top fell it released the tension and the crane swung back through 90 degrees with Woody hanging on for dear life with a power saw in his hand!

So once the trees were down and the stumps ground out we tried to make some sort of a flat surface. Then, just before the dry season started again (unplanned!) we bought some grass seed from an advert in one of the Sundays. You know the sort of thing - "GROWS ANYWHERE, SUN OR SHADE, DRY OR WET". Oh yeah? We're watering like mad before the next hosepipe ban starts (inevitable, despite more rain this past winter than for the past ten years together) and regularly visit the site with a magnifying glass to search for signs of green.

No - no sign yet!

17 Apr 2007

New car!

Well, he got it at last - his new car. Well, not strictly new, but almost. What is it? I'm not saying, but it's silver, sporty and very, very quick and I don't think I've ever been round a corner quite so fast in all my life. Small problem is the inside's a rather yucky shade of blue and a couple of things have had to be superglued back on but, hell - at the next corner they'll probably all fall off again anyway.

I'm sure if I really try hard enough I'll be able to shoehorn my two Irish Wolfhounds in the back of it. That suggestion didn't go down too well though, so it looks like I'm stuck with my old bus and no swapping.

Good news came the other day. Looks like the planned by-pass road that was going to dump a roundabout right in our garden has been shelved. This means I can stop planning my burger brunch bar service area which had been giving me problems as I'm a veggie and my trial burger recipes weren't something I was particularly proud of. I was considering the pros and cons of growing some bio fuel in my neighbour's garden so I could put in a forecourt and pump, but it was all getting rather out of control. Just as well it's nobbled.