Tag Archives: Scotland

Blog Number Nine – Remember Happiness

ImageIt has been a pretty strange week by all accounts. Recent incidents made me go cold and grateful that I live in the countryside.

The world is getting too dangerous. Why should I want to bring a child into a world where it is in our nature to destroy ourselves? Yes, I know, I’m quoting Terminator 2 here, but I always quote films in times of trouble.

Then I remembered that throughout the whole of history, there have always been dangerous and violent people. Several hundred years ago, Vikings came over to Iona in Scotland (not a city by any stretch) and slaughtered the monks in their abbey. They would’ve been defenceless. Let’s not forget the Tudors, the Romans, the Nazis and the IRA. All, I’m sure, believed what they were doing was right.

But the effect is on the victims, and the victims’ families. Ultimately, they lose a loved one and I don’t know what I’d do without my husband, my family. And I’m scared I could lose everything because of someone else’s violent act, or if illness descends.

What power does the average person have? None, and I’m glad I’m not a politician right now. So what can I do?

Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. OK, so I’m quoting Dumbledore now. But it makes a succinct point. If there was a media blackout on these events, it would make the country a dictatorship with a censored media. We are not China or North Korea.

I read somewhere once that when something bad happens, always look for the people who are helping those who have been hurt. It’s worth remembering compassion and it must be celebrated.

So draw on the polar opposite of sadness. What is the point of life? There is love and happiness. Even if we aren’t in love, we have a right to be happy. And what is there to be happy about?

I can think of plenty of things. My family, the way my spaniel snorts when he’s happy, lambs pronging, piglets asleep in a pyramid and twitching as they dream. I love writing, gardening, watching the interwoven pink clematis and yellow laburnum sway in the breeze.

I don’t think I really have a bucket list. I’ve written a book, I’d love for it to be published, but that is kind of out of my hands right now. I’d like to do some more travelling, but that is only a plane ride or car journey away.

Looking after myself and keeping healthy for the sake of my loved ones is my priority. My day job means I can easily sit down at a desk for anything up to three hours at a time. So here is my pledge, I am going to exercise at least once every other day, be it gardening or walking the dog. At least while the summer months are here. I can’t guarantee I’ll go back to snuggling under a blanket on the sofa when it’s snowing outside. Limber up. Sorry, that’s from Zombieland. Another point well made though, if survivors of a zombie outbreak can remember the importance of staying healthy to stay alive in all that chaos, then so can I.

Please visit www.facebook.com/LucyGhose to see photos and read sample chapters of my book. Click the ‘like’ button to keep updated with my writing journey.

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Blog Number Five – Pastures New

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Sitting at the top of the field, we’re enjoying Dorset scenery as we have the first barbecue of the year. It’s a minor miracle that I’m not wearing a jumper. My arms haven’t seen the light of day in months, let alone my feet. The wellies are staying on for now.

Heat curls up from the urn and pork ribs sizzle as we gaze across the fields to the rippled horizon of Eggardon Hill, towards the sea. We squeeze up on the picnic bench, drinks in our hands, grinning at each other. We’re feeling almost undeserved of the warmth, a newfound treat.

I’d forgotten that we spent most evenings last summer eating outside like this. Trundled all the food up in the wheelbarrow and ate under the stars. Easy to forget when it’s snowing in March and the ground has been squelchy from October until now. It only takes a day and night’s rain to make the rivers overflow.

While daffodils and other flowers have been late arrivals, many people wouldn’t consider the slow growth of grass to be a problem. But for farmers who rely on grass to feed their animals, the low yield has meant more reliance on concentrated feed. With our acre, feed costs for six sheep and their lambs pale into insignificance. Some farmers’ feed costs are £60,000 for a week because there isn’t enough grass.

A few weeks ago and things were getting desperate for us. The grass was no more than a thumbnail long where the sheep were all in the field. We had a field of yelling sheep at feeding time and had to make sure the hay-nets were permanently full.

Going on a dog walk, we found everyone else was struggling too. Cue tutting from us, as a boy on a quad bike sped up the road. Thug. He screeched up next to us. ‘Have you seen two hundred sheep? I’ve lost them.’ Must’ve been so hungry they buggered off to pastures new.

It’s a stereotype that a sheep’s main occupation in life is dying or escaping. And they’ll escape when hungry. I had an ask round in the village for grasskeep and a deal was made just up the road. The sheep have a shiny new field to play in, which hasn’t been used all winter. It is frequented by ducks, pheasants (to the dog’s delight) and pigeons. From there, we can see the church where we got married and the rooftop of our house.

We left our ram up with us, so he doesn’t get randy with the ewes. And he’s not happy about it. From a harem to nothing. He’s watching us from two pens away, making a bleeting sound like an unblocking sink. He’s not used to seeing us up here unless we’re feeding him. He beats his hay-net up by bashing it with his head a few times and then struts off to his sty.

His luck is soon to change. The week of our holiday is coming up. People with pets will appreciate that animal cover is needed. Usually I’d ask my mum, but she’s coming with us. So it is left to Dad. It’s a big ask, so we thought we’d bring all the sheep back together for a while to make it a bit easier for him.

He will have to animal-sit the dog, the ram, the ewes and lambs, and Big Pig who is due to give birth any day now. I’m slightly concerned about this, as the last time he ‘pig-sat’ for us, we had the flying pig incident (this anecdote has gone in my book). Pigs do fly.

We’re hoping she’ll have the litter sooner than later. But if it is on Dad’s watch, the good thing is that pigs tend to get on with it when in labour. Last time Big Pig had piglets, I thought she’d finished when I gave her breakfast. Seven piglets. I went back two hours later and counted ten. Everything stops for dinner.

This excursion will be a writing holiday in Iona, Scotland. Mother will be walking and Hubs will be fishing. I’ve been there before and I’m excited at the thought of writing in such beautiful surroundings by the sea. But Marjorie-Self-Doubt pops up when I start thinking about it. What’s the point in starting a sequel when you haven’t got an agent for the first one yet? Shouldn’t you be researching now if you’re going to start that science fiction book? How are you going to take all those notes as luggage? Will you be able to carry it all? Bugger off, Marjorie.

No, it’ll be fine. I should enjoy the thought of starting from scratch again, whether I do my Piggy Tale Revelations, or the SF book. Maybe both. I have the luxury of choice.

In other news, I’m trying to reach 70 ‘likes’ on my Facebook author page this weekend. Please visit to see photos and read sample chapters of my book. Click the ‘like’ button to keep updated with my writing journey. www.facebook.com/LucyGhose

 

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