A Winter Morning

The Morning after my brother’s wedding I awoke to a picturesque snowy morning. Here’s a short piece of observational writing I jotted down.

Through a misted window I watch two greyhounds lollop about. One rolls on his back, biting at great chunks of disturbed snow. A boy, wrapped in a blue snowsuit, watches his dad roll a boulder of white. Mittened hands lift high to pat the snowman’s body. A blast of snow obscures the scene and I return to packing my bags. There’s been much furore about getting home. My sister left early in the morning but the snow had already made its claim on the roads. Two hours later she’s stuck less than fifteen miles from us. I’ve kept my exhilaration secret, solemn-faced and serious words. Soon, when the opportunity strikes I will lollop alongside the dogs.

A phone call brings me downstairs to the main cottage. I pass an ancient walnut tree, last night it was alight, soft glowing bulbs spread across its empty branches. white laid thick on its roots. Benches scattered about, snow cushions a hands width thick. Earmuffs dull all sound and a wide hood restricts my view. I step in old footprints, being filled with new flurries. The snowman is almost built, the boy held in his dad’s arms. Sitting outside the main cottage, drenched and snow melting on his noes a chocolate lab stares out at the scene. I pat him on the head with gloved hands, the smell of wet dog ripe.

The cottage kitchen is perfection, with fresh tea and chocolate brownies. Mum joins me, then my stepdad, a promise of playing in the snow tempts my little sister downstairs. As I sip on tea a fellow wedding guest runs through the kitchen and arms spread wide spins in the swirling snow. Her husband follows scooping up a snowball. My feet itch. The dogs circle the two, catching snowballs midair and half knocking down the two with excitement. When they return, it’s with rose-red cheeks and impish grins.

After several trips to different rooms and the conclusion our ancient Toyota Yaris was not fit to traverse the snow it was decided tom and I would travel home with my parents. Car packed and the room emptied at long last Emily descended from her room and we ventured into the snow. Leaving the trodden path I jumped into the fresh snow with both feet. The crunch blissful. Mum was the first to throw a snowball, right at my back. I aimed one back as she hid beneath a fur-lined hood. The snow continued to fall as if it always would. We played for as long as the cold would allow.

Breakfast was called and we ate full English breakfasts listening to the scrape of spades on stone. Paths and plans were formed. Blankets handed out alongside wedding centrepieces. Cars were pushed and then towed by the farmer’s range rover. We waved goodbye to our snow-laden car, Tom and I warm and safe in my parents X-Trail.

 

Thanks for reading, I’ve been busy writing my novel recently. My aim is to get to get the first 10,000 words revised by the end of March. I’m currently at 5,300. I will hopefully be updating my word count more regularly now the chaos of Christmas and various health scares are out of the way.

 

 

 

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A Wedding Reading

I had the pleasure of attending my brothers wedding a the weekend. It was a wonderful event. An intimate affair, only forty or so guests for the main event. I was asked to do a reading. A reading I was asked to write! after much faffing, many terrible cliched lines and a minor existential crisis I came up with something I was happy with. Thankfully so were the happy couple.

Love isn’t what you see in rom-coms.
Grand gestures and extravagant gifts
Love isn’t what you see in sitcoms.
Bickering, endless competition.
No fairy tale no ball and no chain.

A marriage, a partnership,
Unique as each individual.
Andrew, ardent, thoughtful, generous
Lana, talented, determined and kind
Love, Partnership, marriage
Can not be reduced to a sentence
Nor explained in a lengthy reading.

But that’s what I’m here for
So I’ll give it a go
Love, the squeeze of a hand
When anxiety spikes
A jacket sacrificed
On a long winters walk
The crook of his shoulder
Where your head fits just right
Cold toes seeking comfort
Warmed on shins late at night

When life shatters out of control
Love is shelter, a constant, a home
Strong as diamonds and soft as down
Love endures not despite the troubles
But because you face them together

I’ve written a little observational/biographical piece for the morning after when we were all but snowed in. I’ll be posting that soon.

Today’s Word Count: 561

Day Four: In Which I Recover From Sunburn

I’ve been feeling pretty dreadful recently. This is my escape to the mountains, day four.

Hotel Armin, Selva Val Gardena,Italy

29th June 2016, 12.50pm

I only left the hotel an hour ago. Yesterday was incredible, but tiring. We managed to spot some edelweiss. They are a strange flower.  A group of german walkers were delighted when my father-in-law pointed them out. I’ve been practising my german, to varying degrees of success, I think this group possibly understood about a third of what I said.

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I am burnt to a crisp, my nose is bright red,my arms tender  and swollen. It turns out I should have taken my pilates instructors advice when she told me to get my hip checked out. After a painful day yesterday I ended up not being able to walk down stairs without swearing. I slipped a disk a few years back and ended up with sciatica along my left leg. I think over the years I compensated my right leg and managed to mess up my hip. This became apparent whilst half way down a very steep descent, my hip gave up on me.  Whilst trying not to put any weight on my hip I put way to much pressure on my knee. The  end result was that I was unable to walk down a flight of stairs without muttering profanities.

Tom and I spent a little time in the spa yesterday. He took a little bit of convincing but I think he had a nice time. This morning I was feeling too rotten to go down for breakfast. The lovely staff at the hotel prepared me a pretty breakfast tray with two croissants and a cup of tea.

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We had a wonder about the town and picked up snacks from one of the bakeries.  I borrowed one of Tom’s shirts to keep my arms protected. We’re now sitting on the balcony tucking into Apfelstrudel. 

Day Three: Mount Seceda

It is taking me some time to get my musings up online. However, I am very much enjoying dipping back into the past. I can almost breathe the fresh mountain air.

Mount Seceda, The Dolomites

28th June 2016, 11.42am

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Sitting at  ten thousand feet on the peak of mount Seceda, I understand what craggy means. Looking across unending, snowcapped mountains, it’s easy to  imagine I’m in a different world.  We’re about the walk the plains, to try and spot some edelweiss. Alpine choughs and snow finch dive about the mountain top. A handsome redstart perches on a rock just below.

 

Mount Seceda, The Dolomites

28th June 2016, 1.15pm

Just stopped at a little cafe after walking through flower-strewn mountains. The great flat-topped mountain, so often surrounded by clouds, stands behind. To my left are rolling hills covered with buttercups and globe flowers, peppered with ash grey rocks. amongst the sea of yellow sits A wooden hut with a tiny chimney extending out of a tiled roof.

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Ahead of me a donkey and her foal munch on the grass and flowers. Behind their  grassy mound looms a rock face of  mottled burnt orange and grey.  To my right, past  a great sharks fin of a rock, reside a  semi-circle of dust grey mountains about a deep basin.  Standing watch over long forgotten glacier.

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Day Two in The Mountains

Hotel Armin, Selva Val Gardena

27th June 2016, 11.55pm

The problem with describing mountains is, I have very little context. Mountains of this scale should be far in the distance. Looking to my left, from the hotel balcony, a huge craggy mountain stands proud. The flat top looks no higher than a sky scrapper. I’m told it’s 3,000 feet above me. Yesterday we took the cable car to the top of that same mountain, then walked our winding way across and eventually back to Selva.

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Cowbells rang all about the mountains, Two floppy eared cows lay content on a grassy rise, being washed dutifully by their mother. Fir trees line the pale rock, deep green against grey. Pretty purple orchids, daisy’s and innumerable other wildflowers brighten the fields.

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I lost my footing more than once. Steep pathways made all the more trechourous by fine gravel. I lost my footing more than once. Steep pathways made all the more trechourous by fine gravel. Take small footsteps with knees bent and the weight on the balls of your feet. If all else fails zig zag or side step.

Hotel Armin, Selva Val Gardena

27th June 2016, 5.27pm

The spa here is devine. Laying on a chair after the steam bath, I am a roman goddess, with nothing but a towel to cover me. I shower in a spray of mint scented mist, then warm my feet on  stones bathed in  fiery hot water.

Today we walked the fifteen stations of the cross, a pathway lined with eairy wooden carvings of the ressurection. The ruins of a castle clung to the mountainside, the rock eating away at the old imposter.

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After around half an hour of walking we came across the valley. Fine trickles of water fall from hills into a shallow stream, transparent save for white crests atop stones. the tiny streams run steeply, branches causing dams and diveritng their pathways. Long grass is pale and pressed by the waters breaking thier banks.  A small chapel stands a little distance from the waters, waxen frescos and bold, perhaps garish, statues adorn the brick building, tucked safely behind crisscrossed bars.

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Earlier we walked through a meadow of wildflowers. Barabra knew most of them, and those she didn’t we soon looked up in her little flower book. The meadow stretches far ahead, stopping in a steep valley to let the stream pass. The mountains rise behind the fields in stark contrasts to the delicate flowers.

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At this moment, i am in the hotel room, legs propped up on the desk, wearing my denim dress. I change outfits about three times a day. Breakfast, casual wear, then into walking clothes (B. just got brought me a new shirt to keep the sun off my neck). After walking it’s time for tea and cake at the hotel from 3.00. Then, strip off the sweaty clothes and sink into a bath, or take a trip to the spa as I did today.  After that it’s only right to dress for dinner at 7.15. Five courses and a nice glass if wine. It’s getting late now. I need to pack my bag, we’re moving rooms tomorrow, it’s away from the road at the back. The staff here are delightful.

Today I wrote: 800 words

A Bit of Observational Writing

Writing up my notes from Italy brought me straight back there. My father in law is already looking at booking for next year. I can’t wait. Here’s the first day of notes from Italy.

Hotel Armin, Selva Val Gardena

 26th January 2016, 11.00 am

Rain pours down in sheets.We’re sitting in the hotel bar, maps strewn across the table amongst cups of tea and coffee. Lightening flashes, followed quickly by thunder. Two families wait near the door. One with a girl no more than six,  dressed in a bright red poncho trimmed with checks of black and white. They’ve just left, undeterred by the downfall…wait they’re back. It was a short-lived enterprise.

The other family have a little girl named Sophia. She looks around three and is less than impressed at the fact she is not allowed outside. Wide eyed she stares out at the rain as though she’s missing out on some great adventure…ok, she has been given a set of keys now and seems much happier. Ah the first family are off again

Ah the first family are off again, I hope they last longer this time.

The bar is softly lit, huge lamps with gold and blue stands, spotlights and delicate crystal chandeliers adorn the dark wooden ceiling. I am drinking from a pretty floral cup,green tea with a slice of lemon. The others have uniform white coffee cups with tiny gold wrapped coffee chocolates.

Sophia is trotting about happily now, circling her mother around a huge woodburning stove. There’s an oak bench attached, adorned with a dark turquoise cushion with gold triangles. the downstairs is all the same theme, the curtains, the upholstery, the table clothes and the lamps.

I’m in my room. The rain persists but less urgently now. Folk walk back and forth, hoods up and heads down. The mountains are half hidden behind clouds. fir trees stand to attention, soaking up the moister. Time for a rest, wrapped up in a soft white blanket.

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Hotel Armin, Selva Val Gardena

 26th January 2016, 4.10 pm

Back in the hotel room after a fantastic walk. We saw the little girl, sans poncho, having a picnic with her family at the top of the mountains. Absolutely exhauted. will describe the walk when I have energy.

 

Today’s word count: 973 (561 for my other blog, and the rest for this one – it totally counts for typing up bits!)

Yesterday’s word count: 185 (I wrote the bare bones of a scene set in the mountains)