Went to the theatre to see Swan Lake – Birmingham Royal Ballet – and it was wonderful.  Act III began with that ice-effect covering the stage and the swans slowly emerged from the mist – magical.  Have been granddaughter sitting for a couple of days – hide and seek with a 3 year old is lovely because if she hides her face she thinks you can’t see her.  Oh the joy of childhood innocence.  Back to work now and the short break has been good for that making me keen to get back to the writing again.

Just finished reading ‘Stonemouth’ by Iain Banks. I hadn’t realised until I started to read that I’d seen an adaptation of it on television which put me in the odd position of having a visual memory of the characters instead of forming an impression of them in my head. When I’m writing, my characters’ appearance is fuzzy at first but it sharpens up as I go – I have much more of a feeling about their personality, the sort of person they are rather than a clear image of how they look.  What a good writer Banks is – the last paragraph made me catch my breath. It was a gritty read, not for the faint hearted, but I enjoyed it. I can’t understand writers who say they don’t have time to read. Don’t neglect the reading and somehow you will find the time.

A visit up north to Preston for a family wedding. That journey seems to get longer each time. It was cold outside the church and the bridesmaids were doing their best not to shiver in their flimsy lilac dresses.  The bride, my great niece, looked beautiful with her dark hair tumbling about her shoulders. I was reminded of my own wedding many moons ago. That was an April day and chilly and it had rained overnight so that when my father helped me out of the wedding car he promptly dropped the hem of my dress in a puddle. Sorry love, he said, but I could forgive him anything because he was so proud that day.  It is wonderful to catch up with family – a joyful occasion this time – and well worth the tortuous trip up the M5/M6.

Been busy writing. Overdid it yesterday and ended up with aching shoulders from all the typing. I wish I could do the Barbara Cartland thing and dictate novels from a chaise-longue but doubt if that would work for me. I need to see the words coming onto the screen, playing around with them and so on.  That’s where the excitement lies.  Had a long walk this afternoon – two attempts to get up the lane because my cat Lucy followed me  at first and I had to pick her up and take her back.  The bull is in the field – a gentle giant I think lying  quietly in the middle of the field with his favourite brown cow close beside him.  Wouldn’t like to cross him or her though as the calves are in there too and I think they are keeping a parental eye on them.

Went to see the film Everest about the ’90′s ill-fated expedition that claimed too many lives. Mountaineering is so far out of my comfort zone that I have no idea why I find such things fascinating but I do. Two of my characters in two different books Calculated Risk and Emily’s Wedding have been climbers.  Reached a bit of a barrier in the new story – abandoned half a chapter because it wasn’t feeling right. Starting the scene again in a different place to see if that will work.  Ah well, it’s good to know when to pull the plug.