Spent Saturday afternoon at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth to see Calamity Jane with Jodie Prenger, beautifully cast as Calamity. I always love the theatre. During one poignant scene with Calamity and Wild Bill Hickok, a child’s voice rang out, a child’s laugh, to be repeated a moment later. The audience laughed, the two characters struggled not to laugh before Wild Bill, an excellent Tom Lister, got it together again and spoke his next line. Just a reminder that on stage anything can happen. I sang the songs in the car on the way home – fortunately I was alone – and still can’t get ‘The Black Hills of Dakota’ out of my head. It was a busy weekend. The copyediting for my new book A Close Connection arrived on Friday to be returned preferably by Monday so that kept me busy. Now I am waiting to see what the cover will look like.
I am so lucky to have the choice of some great walks where I live. One of them features a steep hill leading down to the river and standing on the bridge there provided the inspiration and the first idea for Just Another Day. Ideas come from anywhere and after working at the computer for a while I love to get my walking shoes on and go out. It was easier when I had my beloved dog and I still can’t quite get over not having him but a walk is a walk and it feels good. I can do a circular one with both an up and down hill in it with some straight bits in between and it takes roughly three quarters of an hour. I like to think it brushes away the cobwebs from my brain and that some new ideas are planted there although they may take some time to emerge.
I have paused the novel I am working on for the moment. Sometimes I find it helps to do that so that when I return to it and read it from the beginning it gives me a new momentum on it. There is no rush with it as ‘A Close Connection’ is not out until March. Yesterday I went on a day trip to Forde Abbey in Dorset. What a hidden treasure! I have to confess I hadn’t heard of it but it is well worth a visit. The gardens are beautiful from the formal -massive topiary and wide flower-filled borders - to the kitchen garden and the salad I had at lunchtime was so fresh the lettuce must have been pulled up that morning. The Centenary Fountain – England’s tallest powered fountain - in the grounds is turned on 3 times a day and we were lucky enough to see it in its full spectacular action, a shower for a giant! Indoors you are overwhelmed with room after glorious room and stunning 17th century tapestries. Doing things like this refreshes me and it was so good to be outside in the September sunshine.
September already and, after a week when it looked as if the summer was gone, the sun is out again. I was just starting to look through my wardrobe, deciding what to bin and what to send to the clothes-bank, thinking longingly of autumn and now I’ve had to get the summer stuff out once more. I love autumn in fact. I feel happier in warmer clothes and I love tights – bare legs do not do me any favours. I like coloured tights but am instructed by my 14 year old granddaughter Ella that I must not on any account buy leggings. She permits me to wear jeans even if they are not very grandmotherly but leggings – no. I have to admit she is right. Does anybody look good in them? In the meantime, I am busy with my short stories. I want to have a good batch ready and am experimenting with various lengths. As a novelist though I must be careful I don’t wander off into novel territory which happens as soon as I get too interested in my characters.