Nature notes

Squeezing the very last juices out of this long autumn before sitting down to properly begin the DAUGHTER OF THE HOUSE edit, with an afternoon walking another lap of the Capital Ring from Crystal Palace to Wimbledon. It’s not an area of London I know at all, or can even remember visiting before, having spent my forty-odd years here living at the diametrically opposite corner. Who would have thought that Upper Norwood is full of grand houses and startling views over the Kentish weald or the far-distant Shard and Gherkin? At this time of year the huge gardens are all scarlet berries and drooping butter-yellow foliage, and the quiet pavements thick with black-spotted sycamore leaves. As in a previous blog entry (the One about Sewage) we are still admiring the triumphs of the Victorian water engineers. This Moorish-looking brick temple complete with cupolas is another pumping station, built in 1888 for the Southwark and Vauxhall Waterworks Company. No self-effacing utility exteriors in those days. It’s all BLAM! Get an eyeful of THIS!

IMG_1540And one other long walk, following the Suffolk coast. A spell of damp weather after a sunny summer has intensified the colours to saturation point. The purple-russet of that bracken looks good enough to EAT, while the gorse is still bright with flowers. Oak and birch leaves are genteelly fading against the glossy background of pine and spruce. Any day now there’ll be a heavy frost, and everything will pitch straight into winter.

IMG_1542Back to work. Today I’ve re-read my text with my editor’s detailed notes in front of me, and am reminded yet again what a gulf there always is between what I think I’ve written, and what’s actually there on the page. After a month of not looking or even thinking about it, coming afresh I have to agree that I’ve undercooked the love story quite seriously – as a result of trying not to overdo it! It won’t be difficult to flesh it out (ahem), and I’m really looking forward to stitching in some new scenes, and at the same time cutting otiose pages, slashing the adverbs, smoothing out the time scale, and turning it all into seamless perfection. I hope.

Actually I’m itching to get started.

More later.


8 thoughts on “Nature notes

  1. Is that seriously a pumping station????????! An absolutely gorgeous building and no wonder that people are buying them when they become defunct to turn them into living space! Hats off to them for saving an important piece of our heritage! The autumnal colours of the foliage in your second photo are beautiful and I can never agree with those who say that autumn makes them feel sad. How can such glory make one feel sad? So glad you are feeling positive about the editing, Rosie. I’m sure it can be a soul destroying job at times, but if you are itching to start, then that’s all to the good. Good luck with it. Keep us all up to date when you can. 🙂

  2. PS. I’ve just noticed (and read) your short story! I could just picture it while I was reading – particularly the young man with his shirt off! 🙂

    • Hi Rosemary – thanks for asking – I’m actually still waiting for the detailed notes! I’ve done what I can on broad brush strokes, but it’s the nitty gritty I need from them. These editors are all SO busy with meetings and digital strategy and consumer focus groups, I think they sometimes lose sight of the poor little authors down at the coal face who are actually chipping out the words. But shhh……
      Nice to know the readers are all out there, though. Thanks again for your interest. Are you getting ready for Christmas?

      • At the moment, Rosie, I’m recovering from pneumonia – which I seem to contract about Christmas time on a fairly regular basis – but I’m definitely on the mend now! 🙂 As for the editing holdup, just take a deep breath and tell yourself that in the light of it, you might as well enjoy yourself with the family and friends! CHRISTMAS here is generally low key, which is just as well because I wouldn’t celebrate it at all if I had the choice. Have you made plans? A trip away, perhaps?

      • I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been ill, Rosemary. Hoping you are well on the way to recovery. Take care of yourself in this bitter weather. Very best wishes.

  3. Thanks for the good wishes, Rosie. Are you and the family well and getting together for Christmas? Have you started editing yet? Everyone around me seems to be rushing round like lunatics, and all I seem to want to do is be indoors in the warm. 🙂 I’ll be thinking of you over Christmas and hoping that the New Year will be another fabulous one for you and yours. Take care of yourself and have a good time. A Happy Christmas, Rosie!


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