It’s been raining again – hmm, no, I think that needs a little more emphasis . . . It’s been raining again.
I have just dashed outside to rescue my washing from the latest downpour. I probably should have known better than to even think of putting things outside on the line’ After all, every day this week has had more than its share of wet weather. The water barrels we set up to collect the rainfall, much-needed back in the long ago hot days of summer – have been overflowing every single day, and the flower beds, the lawn have been reduced to a quagmire where even the cats squelch as they walk along it. And it has just been announced that January has been the wettest in the UK for 100 years.
But I couldn’t resist just the little hint of sunshine that appeared at breakfast time. The brightness of a blue sky that promised a dry hour at least. That was about all I did get! From the middle of the day, dark clouds had been gathering and now the brief pause in the rain and winds has ended and we’re back into the - well, the wettest beginning to February that you can imagine.
But the truth is that I don’t really care – not too much. For one things living here in Lincolnshire, we have luckily been spared a lot of the worst of this wild weather. We have been drenched, and the winds how blown trees down in the local woods where I have my morning walk, but that’s nothing when compared with the floods, the tornadoes, the savagery of the seas and the damage it has caused in other places. Aberystwyth in Wales which is where I and my husband met, has been pounded by ferocious waves, with metal benches that were concreted into the seafront wrenched up and thrown aside, and huge amounts of sane dumped on the road until it resembled a new, wild, beach. We were sad to see the places where we had walked on peaceful sunny evenings turned into a total devastation.
My mother always called February ‘February fill-dyke’ meaning that the rain that fell filled up the dykes and the reservoirs ready for the Spring. And there’s certainly been plenty of that going on! But also, I’ve found the past few weeks have been a sort of time of renewal, off ‘filling the dykes’ for me. The slight lengthening of the days, the way that more light lingers in the evenings, the glimpses of blue sky and occasional sunlight have meant that there is a promise of Spring in the air. And just at the end of January there was the Chinese New Year to celebrate.
I’ve always felt that I was better to celebrate the Chinese New Year than the one that comes so fast after Christmas
. If you read my blog last month, you’ll see that I wasn't too keen on the ‘New Year New You’ thing that happens then (Not that that stopped me from looking at all the articles on renovating and rejuvenating that were published around then.) But now I feel that this hint of the approach of Spring has lifted my spirits and giving me a fresh lease of life. I’m looking forward to the course - Advanced Romance Writing - that I’m teaching in Wales at the end of the month (just hoping that the roads are clear and we can get there in safety!). Talking about writing /reaching writing always revives my interests in the creative side of my life and I’m itching to get on with the new story I have in mind – and half on the page. I have to get this one down fast because there is another one, another hero another heroine, demanding that I tell their story. That’s a real sign of the fact that the ‘dykes’ of my imagination have been filled and refreshed.
Oneof the reasons for this is that I've just spent an intensive couple of weeks working on revising and updating my 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance, ready to being out a brand new edition In a whole new set of formats. With the help of the lovely Lee Hyat – who of course runs Author Sound Relations and this blog - I’ll be bringing that out soon and making it available it to a lot more people more easily. So – watch this space.
So I haven’t really minded that it’s been pouring down outside, or that the winds have been lashing the windows – I've been busy and absorbed – working on planning courses, revising the 12 Point Guide, and getting to know my brand new Spanish hero who has a dark grudge against the family that rejected him when he was younger . . .
It’s great being a romance writer. When the weather outside is vile or life is dull and dreary you can transport yourself off to a totally different world and enjoy being there, meeting new characters and telling their stories.
And on February 26th I’ll be heading for Fishguard to talk about doing just that with all my students – can’t wait! We won’t care if the rain is lashing down outside – we’ll be warm and safe . . .and dreaming of new and exciting places and people.
And this year we will have an extra-special reason to celebrate because one of my students - lovely Rachael
February fill dyke will have given us lots of refreshment and inspiration for the rest of the year to come.