"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In My Head I'm Here

Specifically, in this bluebell wood in England. Known to me, and known to my ancestors. The book I'm presently writing is set in a region of the country that I dearly love. I've messed about with the actual locations, jumbled them up to create fictional places with different names. But I have the benefit of my memories and all these nice photographs, so when it comes to descriptions of the landscape and architecture I'm relying entirely on reality. And the scenes-in-progress correspond to the abundantly lovely season in which I took all these photographs.

These head games have given me spring fever. And inspire a longing to return to these picturesque streets.

And the canal...although for my story I've turned it into a river.

And the fields across which my forbears roamed. (One held the lorship of the manor, so not a pheasant--I mean, a peasant.)

And the village green that surrounds the church in which they wed and were baptised.

And this sunny pub garden. Don't I look as though I belong here?

Most of my activity lately has been in my head, meaning there's not anything else worth blogging. Mine continues to be an extremely quiet and secluded existence...apart from my foray to the State House last Thursday. The public hearing on marriage equality drew approximately 700 citizens, and of those who signed their names about 550 opposed repealing it and only 50 or so favoured repeal. The committee chose to retain the bills for consideration next year, at the request of the sponsors.

The Chap returned yesterday from a solo trip to Boston, during which he visited the Museum of Fine Arts, had dinner with a friend, and attended the annual meeting of a hereditary organisation (and was elected an officer!) While he was away we received a mere inch of snow which melted away quite quickly, before the temperatures became rather grim...single digits. But yesterday the mercury moved just above the freezing point. Now it's bright and mild and snow cover is melting but there's still feet of the stuff around the Lodge. Less in Concord.

This afternoon my mother rang me up. She reports having daffodils blooming in her garden, and filling vases all round the house. To me this signals that I've got a birthday coming up soon--not that I've forgotten.

Busy, busy times ahead, so probably more consistent blogging. For what it's worth.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winter Bay

I unexpectedly extended my stay in the North Country for another night. While removing stored images from my camera, I though this pair worthy of posting. They were taken last Friday during my very brief visit to the Big Lake.

Unless you've actually been there, the first photo won't mean a great deal, but it's intended to give an idea of the snow depth. The badly drawn red arrow indicates a metal pole suspended between two trees. In spring, summer and autumn I park my car beneath that pole, which hangs very high up. If I could've walked to that spot (no way, the snow was too deep) I could probably have reached up and touched the pole, something that would be impossible at any other time of year. Or indeed, in the average winter!

Here's the town boat launch, now a snowmobile entry point and a means of access to some of the bob houses belonging to the ice fishermen.

Coming home on Sunday, through North Country towns, I saw more snowmobiles than automobiles in some places--especially the petrol stations. One town was holding its annual "Sled Festival"--the modern definition of "sled" being snow machine!

During the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, we had some intense (and very close) competition for "Best on Couch" here at the Lodge. Jewel edged out Ruth by a snore and a twitch. We were all excited about the Scottish Deerhound winning best in her breed on the first night. And then she took Best in Show last night as well!

Some days I have a lot to do. Some days, not so much. We haven't had any snow for a week or something like that, and are enjoying what the forecasters smilingly call "a warming trend." We won't be lured into complacency, but we'll enjoy it while it lasts!

I was sorry to miss the Annual Weekend Backyard Bird Count Survey sponsored by Audubon, but I was away and I forgot to remind the Chap about it so he could do the observing. (He did feed the birds in my absence!) So I'm unable to post my totals this year, or contribute them to the overall count for New Hampshire.

Valentine's Day--what can I say? He gave me a 6-pack of Magner's Irish Cider, Ghiradelli chocolate mints, other favourite consumables, and a card that made me laugh so hard I cried.

Yesterday afternoon we attended separate diocesan meetings at the same time in the very same building (he was upstairs and I was downstairs.) I smooched him when we met in the hallway...no witnesses, so it wasn't a P.D.A.

My next outing will be to attend public hearings in Representatives Hall on a proposed repeal of marriage equality, my first return to the State House since retiring from the Legislature. I expect to see many former colleagues, as well as some diocesan colleauges, clergy and lay, speaking in opposition. The Chap will be monitoring a different hearing over in the L.O.B. so we probably won't get the chance to smooch. But that wouldn't raise eyebrows these days, because he's no longer my constituent!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Way Up North

The White Mountains are spectacularly white today!

I took a road trip...so I could attend the funeral of a friend, a retired priest who served well and faithfully and was married to one of my favourite people in Christendom. I'm so happy that the most recent times I saw him were at the 2 weddings of our Friends from the North Country, such joyous occasions. I know he is resting in peace now.

In fact, I am spending tonight with our FFTNC. And their dog Oliver. The Chap is on his own with our girls until suppertime tomorrow.

On the way here I drove past the Big Lake--now a very big white frozen lake. The seasonal airstrip at the bottom of our Bay was quiet, so planes taking off or landing. The bobhouses and some pickup trucks were dotting the vast expanse of what in the other 3 seasons is blue water.

I even drove to the cottage but the snow pack was too deep for me to wade through--especially not in "normal" clothes. An official visit will have to wait for another day...but it was nice just to breathe the air there, and feel anticipation build for spring and summer!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

And So It Goes...

The official New Hampshire Groundhog, Woodchuck, Marmot, Squirrel and any other shadow-shy rodent did not have anything to fear this morning. No sun, no shadow--apparently spring will come "early". Next week wouldn't be too soon, in my opinion.

For days now we've been awaiting the one-two punch of a predicted pair of storms. Perhaps you've heard about it--it was in all the newscasts, alternating with the situation in Egypt. The smaller snowtorm arrived yesterday, the Big One in the early hours of this morning. The forecasters threatened our locality with possibly two feet of snow from the 2-day system. I reckon by the time it's all done, we'll top out at 20 inches total. Mind you, that's on top of the accumulated feet of snow we've already got.

On Monday the Chap's car died (not unexpected) and reviving would be too costly for a vehicle of its age and condition. So, knowing a blizzard was bearing down upon us, we made the most of the sunny Monday and visited numerous car dealerships. He narrowed it down to the last one he saw, and by the time we were back at the Lodge his mind was made up. Yesterday, as snow fell, he did the deal. My Tuesday meeting was cancelled and I didn't make my music lesson, but that's because I let the Chap use my Author-mobile. After a rather grim commute across terrible roads, he picked me up and we went to collect his black Subaru Forester--All-Wheel-Drive and loaded. It has plenty of interiour headroom, great for a tall chap like mine.

Although the new acquisition would have got him to the office, he chose to work from home today--like many in our region. Some of that work includes snow shovelling, of course.

I'm really reluctant to do this, as I feel I've posted far too many snow scenes lately. But here are the views from our office windows today, mine first, then his:

I've got Rogan Josh simmering in the slow cooker, warm and spicy food for a cold and snowy day.