I finished the first draft of The Novel last weekend. It’s a strangely anticlimactic feeling. Eighty thousand words in a document … and? A vast number of notes (things to add, adjust and work out in the rewrite) and a sudden emptiness. I was tempted to dive straight in to editing but I’ve made myself take at least a week off. We did have a bottle of fizz (it was on offer at £6.99) to celebrate.
One sunny day I wasn’t at the day job so I drove over to Dymock and Kempley (near Ledbury) to see the wild daffodils.
This coming weekend (14 – 15 March) is their local Daffodil Weekend with guided walks, cream teas and lots of information. There’s a 10 mile marked walk (with map) available that includes the best sites. Inevitably the area is right on a join between OS maps.
I began at Kempley’s St Mary’s church and was delighted – it’s a gem dating from the 12th Century and with the remains of ancient wall paintings still visible. Outside, the porch, with it’s pegged stone tile roof, is simply a later addition to the building.
Next I ambled through Dymock Woods listening to birdsong. Lots of evidence of deer (tracks and barked saplings). The daffs there were not out as yet (in the shade) and one of the smaller paths is almost impassably muddy. Even on a logging track gouged by heavy machinery, the daffodils were hanging on and budding.
In the lanes around the Poets’ Paths north of Dymock the daffs were in full bloom, brightening sunny hedge banks and field edges.
Just outside Dymock itself I caught a glimpse of one of our rarely seen big cats. As I came through a stile something raced across the narrowest open grass of the field below me. “Cat” my brain told me automatically, then, a split second later, “No – too big – must be a black Labrador,” then, “WOW! it moves and is shaped like a cat but is the size of a Labrador” by which time it had zoomed – far too fast to grab my camera. So, yes, it might have been a silent, stray, short-legged, long-slim-tailed, short-muzzled, feline-running dog but the biologist (and natural history nerd) in me says “big cat”.