Sunday, 31 August 2014

A few wintery things to look forward to...

Sigh.  It's nearly September already, and we all know that means it's practically Christmas, and that the next time we look up it's going to be dark, and probably 2015.  And, since winter is quite clearly the longest season EVER, and manages to last at least sixteen months of any twelve month period, I thought we should take this opportunity to look forward to some of the more pleasant things about winter.

No, me neither.

Oh, no, wait, I've got one.  Winter is the only time you can legitimately, and without being ill, retire to your bed at 5.15 pm with a well-angled lamp and a packet of cashew nuts, to read a book.

Try doing this at the height of summer and you will a) be constantly disturbed by the feral pack of local five year olds playing 'kick the can around the street and yell at the tops of our voices', b) spend at least half your time wondering whether you're missing something more exciting that may be going on downstairs - barbeques, ice cream runs, visits to local places of interest and c) boiled.

There is something about nights that start at 4pm, when you draw the curtains to block out the sight of the cats' faces pressed against the window as they try to claw their way back indoors, despite the fact that they have a perfectly comfortable bed in the garage which is, not to put too fine a point on it, several degrees warmer than the inside of the house.  Making a mug of hot chocolate - merely, we all understand, a vehicle for the whipped cream and marshmallows, but a mug of whipped cream and marshmallows alone does tend to attract stares and clicked tongues, and taking it upstairs.  Settling oneself under a snuggly duvet and on top of an electric blanket which has been switched on to maximum at least an hour earlier and is currently causing your valence to smoke.
Not dissimilar to this, but with more dust, fur, dropped clothing, paperwork and books

Getting yourself into the perfect position under the duvet, so that enough of you sticks out to make turning the pages possible without an arctic-level of draught getting in and to gain access to the hot chocolate.
And possibly listening to either the wind, snow or rain falling outside.
There. Now, are you all looking forward to the winter?


No, me neither.


Sunday, 24 August 2014

A quickupdate

I'm sorry.  No, really, I am. Very, very sorry.

I have been absent, you see, just lately.  There were reasons, I didn't just fancy a few days under my duvet with only my nose poking out and enough room to insert a Giant Chocolate Button where my mouth should be.No, I have been accommodating family, who regard my particular part of North Yorkshire as a pleasant place to spend a couple of days, and also dealing with a recurrence of my Old Trouble, which is not, as you might imagine, being visited by a geriatric wrongdoer, but a playing up of my shoulder problem.

In consequence, I have not been typing much lately.  Having an arm that seems to have all the animation of an old log is not conducive to writing, and having a house full of people is even less so, but that was all right because if I wasn't typing I might just as well be entertaining, so I did.

Also, this
Hopefully next week things will be back to normal. Or have less drunk dog in them.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Wharram Percy - Peasant Farming for Fun and Profit.

Writing progress 23,000 words yada yada, but you don't really want to know about that, do you?  You want to know about my trip this week to a Spooky Deserted Medieval Village!  Yes, you do.  No, running away with your fingers in your ears won't help.  Anyway, it counts as research, so there.

Not far from where I live, as the crow flies anyway, is the Wolds.  Are. Is.  Not sure if the Wolds are singular, as in there is only one of them but it's very big or there are many different Woldishnesses all welded together and therefore being plural.  I learned, long ago, just because something has an 'S' on the end, it doesn't have to be plural, when I had a friend called Tess, of whom there was only one.  So, anyway, these Wolds...  Upon them (or it, the jury is still out), there is a well-known and much explored village that was periodically deserted.  Not because of plague, although I'm sure the more picturesque sites would like you to believe that, but for the far more mundane reason that the lord of the manor (who I can't help but picture in a monocle and spats, even though those hadn't been invented) wanted the place cleared so he could keep sheep, which were more profitable than peasants.  I think he probably just hadn't got the whole 'peasant keeping' thing down and that's why he wasn't making money out of them, maybe he should have tried free-range peasants, but anyway.

So I took a representative sample of the young people who currently clutter up my house, two dogs, a picnic, and set forth for the Deserted Village.  And here are the photographic results. Pictures 1, 3 and 5 were taken by me, pictures 2, 4 and 6 were taken by Vienna, who is much better with a camera than me.

Vienna and Will survey the ruined church. They weren't, on this occasion, responsible for the ruination, although I docked their pocket money anyway, on principle.

One man and his dog. Actually, one scheming, conniving probable criminal and her boy.

The church. Still ruined.

Dylan swimming in the reconstructed fish pond on the site.  This is probably frowned upon, although there was nobody there except us to frown, so we let him.

Vienna, staring wistfully into the middle distance,  Behind her are some of the lumps that used to be medieval tofts, crofts and..errr...bofts.

On the way back we did some Urban Exploration.  This is the Wharram Percy Chalk Works as was.  Very atmospheric, if you like the atmosphere of terror.