Thursday, 28 August 2014


Gosh, I'm getting behind with my blogging. Since I last wrote, I have had another week in Patterdale, helping my sister set up and man the desk at her art group's exhibition in Glenridding. She sold two paintings and was dreading telling her husband because one of them was his favourite, which she has taken off their wall! As she later explained, she couldn't keep hold of everything she'd done and it was time to move on.

Unlike the blazing sunshine of my June visit, it rained a lot, apart from the last day, which was breezy and cloudy. I got soaked through and was thoroughly grumpy though, looking back, it was all good fun. We also had the thrill of a world-famous mountaineer coming to stay for a couple of days.

I got back late on Wednesday. On Sunday, it was Mr Grunpy's great-niece's wedding. Thank heavens the weather stayed dry for that, though it was overcast most of the day. I hadn't eaten since 8.30 am, never thinking I'd have to wait until 5.30 pm before any more food passed my lips. There were lots of small children there so I only hope their mums brought some food just in case. There was a bar, but you couldn't even get crisps or nuts there. Nothing. Just free Pimms and paid-for beer.

When the food arrived finally, everyone fell on it like ravenous wolves and every plate was cleared apart from Mr Grumpy's, who won't eat out as he doesn't trust anything he hasn't cooked himself. More fool him, I thought as I polished off his left-over pate. By then, the champagne and wine had flowed and by the time the evening disco started (we'd been there since just after midday), I was starting to flake a bit. Miraculously, the fascinator stayed firmly attached and the blue sandals that I'd had for years but never worn turned out to be the comfiest footwear in the world. I'm now trying to track down another pair in a different colour on eBay.

On Monday, I'm off to Camden Town to look after my friend's cat again. I've booked a ticket to see the Virginia Woolf exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, a talk on Richard 111 and a Ray Davies of the Kinks concert at the Festival Hall. On Thursday, I am off to Liverpool to stay the night with my oldest friend, then am lunching at my old grammar school, Blackburne House, on Friday with a group of my old classmates which includes one who moved to Oz so none of us have seen her since we were 18!

I shall be back from all this on the 11th. Whatever you are doing, hope you have a fabulous time.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Motive or imagination?

I didn't realise how long it was since I last blogged. Oh dear! I am about to go to my sister's in Patterdale again, in time for her annual art exhibition. I leave on Wednesday but am packing wet weather clothes this time. 

The other day, I got inspired and started a new book, but so far I have only written the first page. Well, at least it's a start. It's my first attempt at literary fiction, as opposed to romance. I don't know how, or even if, it will work out. 

I've been rather discombobulated by recent changes in Mr Grumpy's life. He has been estranged from his son for 16 years. Suddenly, his son got back in touch and came round with his partner and Alan's little granddaughter, who is just three. She is an absolute sweetie and they are doing a great job of bringing her up. However, when they come, they're not content to stay a couple of hours. They hang on and hang on until we are both dropping with exhaustion. Last time, they said it was a short visit and they stayed three and a half hours. The time before, it was six. 

It's an enormous disruption to my work and, much as I like the little girl, they are not my relatives and I find the son arrogant and overbearing and the girlfriend well-meaning but rather vacuous, and I would much rather retreat to my room and my computer than sit smiling stiffly and trying to make polite conversation hour after hour with people I have nothing in common with and don't even particularly like. I feel as if my space has been invaded, but in fact it's not my space as I am living in Mr G's house, so it's all very awkward, and I have no say as to whether I mind them visiting on a certain day or not. I'm not even consulted, just presented with a fait accompli. More than ever, I feel I need to move out and move on, if only to be able to set aside quiet, uninterrupted time for writing. It feels weird to be presented with this new situation after 16 years of just Mr G and me. I feel uncomfortable with it. Last time they came, Son cast his eyes around the house, commented on the size of the garden and was at pains to tell me that they couldn't invite us round as their rented cottage was far too small and cluttered. I suspect a motive... or is it just a writer's imagination at work?