An Autumn Weekend

It’s not often that one would feel so pathetically grateful to see a sign saying M42. On the way back from visiting my daughter today, a journey which should take no more than two hours, a major road was closed which resulted in me driving round and round Milton Keynes and eventually having to make a choice between Newbury or London. In some respects I am very competent, in others reasonably competent but when it comes to a sense of direction and geography I fail dismally. I arrived home three and a half hours after I had started. This is not the first time I’ve had a similar disaster trying to make this journey. Back to the drawing board to look at routes. I do have a sat-nav but even though it was updated only a couple of weeks ago, it doesn’t take account of road closures and diversion signs which take you off in one direction and then suddenly cease.

I tried as hard as I could to find a silver lining and came up with the fact that the additional driving time allowed me to see more of our beautiful English countryside. Only last week most of the trees were still green but there’s a lot of colour changing going on now. Many have now started to turn; give it another week or two and the stunning hues of Autumn will be all around. Despite the cooler temperatures, it will remind me why I so often say that October is my favourite month.

Those of you who read the recent post about bears will recall that Barnaby Bear was soon to move home. Here he is in his travelling outfit. Smart or what? He is already much loved by his new owner.

A further note on writing: although I used the previous post to convey the positive comments about my writing, I’d be fooling no-one if I said that there were never any negatives. Interestingly none of these have focussed on the plotline, but on my writing style. My daughter has just read the book and although it’s not her preferred genre, she did speak very positively about much of it. However, she said that a few scenes are too journalistic and too research-heavy. As a student at uni I consistently achieved top grades for my non-fiction work, but when it came to fiction the good comments were often tempered with less positive ones which always related to my writing style which was variously described as ‘clipped in places’ or ‘a little too journalistic’ and I had to work hard to move away from that. It seems that I must try harder still. Anyhow, spurred on by the enthusiasm I mentioned in the last post, I am now 2,500 words into a second novel. It feels good. I’ve also started a notebook for when inspiration strikes at a time when it’s not practical to record it any other way. I did this with the first book and can’t imagine working without a notebook. I chose a book I received for my birthday last year and was yet to use. I like that it reflects the current season.

Whilst typing this I received an email from eldest son with his latest placement report. It was superb. It’s no mean feat at the age of nearly 40, and with a young family, to go for a complete career change. In the same week as his youngest child was born, he returned to university to complete his previously abandoned degree with a view to following it with a post-graduate Diploma in Social Work. Just another few months to go. *A Mum feeling proud*.

10 comments

  1. I’m glad you eventually arrived home safe and sound. I also have little sense of direction. I use an app called waze.com which takes any road closures etc. into account. (It even let me know of a pothole in the road one day last week).
    Barnaby looks very smart and suitably dressed for the cooler weather. X

    Like

  2. Well done your son, and well done you for starting book two. Consider book one as the learning book, and you never know, if you can complete book two, or at least write the first three chapters and a synopsis that might interest an agent or a publisher, you already have one book to show them which could be book two, if you see what I mean?
    I’ve never had to drive a long journey in my life. I think driving from here to Cullompton was about the furthest I’ve driven as husband always did the long-distance driving that we once did. But I did put in a lot of miles over the years as I drove each and every day, so while no long-distance trips, a lot of mileage overall. But that must’ve been tiring and tiresome to go all that way out of your way to get home, pretty countryside or not!
    Love the little bear’s outfit, very smart!
    Margaret P

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comments, Margaret. Oh, it was horrible feeling lost and even though I did loads of mileage when working full time, I still hate driving in areas that I’m not familiar with. Of course, I do far less now (with work being less than a mile and a halfaway). My car had a service last month and it had done less than 5,000 since the one last September .

      Like

  3. Glad you made it home, safely. I am hopeless when it comes to finding new routes and get lost all the time when roads are closed! Glad your daughter liked your book and made some helpful comments on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Daughter had told me that phone app sat navs recalculate the route to take account of road closures. We have a not inexpensive sat nav which doesn’t. I think a phone update might be a better option. I was catching the train to my daughters because it’s far cheaper than the fuel cost and less stressful, but I’m not happy about travelling by train during Covid.

      Like

  4. Interesting comments you made about your writing style Eloise. I wrote yoga courses and seminars, and trained yoga teachers. Then when I went to write a blog, it was as though I was still telling people what to do and how to do it. It took a while to change this, I hadn’t known that blogs were supposed to be more personal. Along the way, I studied a more successful blog, of a style that I loved, and gradually retrained myself. I also read from a successful author and lifestyle blogger, that it helps to write for oneself, that there are so many people out there just like oneself who would love one’s work. So it would be for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Writing for oneself… that’s a very good point Ratnamurti, because we all enjoy different writers and styles. One of my friends likes long descriptive passages so that she can imagine a setting exactly as the writer intended, whereas I don’t like too much because I like to make up my own picture.

      Like

  5. My sympathies to you about the driving disaster. I have a good sense of direction but I have come unstuck many times when given two options of place to head towards and have no idea which is in the direction I needed to be. So frustrating. And why do diversion signs always just stop? It’s as though they want to just remove you from the problem with a false promise of help, then simply abandon you.

    Barnaby looks gorgeous in his travelling outfit. Love it! Interesting what you say about research. It’s a tricky balance of demonstrating enough knowledge that shows you have done research and understand what you’re saying but not so much that the reader will lose interest in the story. I do lots of research for various parts of my books to ensure I understand what I’m talking about – whether that be the process involved in making chocolate to symptoms and treatment for Parkinsons – but tend to avoid much detail in the book. Even then, my editor will often cut the limited detail I include to keep the story moving. You’ll find your balance as you go and it’s great you have people who will give you that honest feedback which is exactly what you need to hear.

    Jessica x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, the false promise of diversion signs. I also get annoyed about road signs which assume local knowledge. There is a road sign local to me which points to the town centre. Then the driver comes to a T junction with no indication of which way to go. Yes, balancing research and story is not easy. I have read books where I want more background, and those where I have skipped over too much description. Honest feedback is essential. Thanks for your response

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s