Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Oops, I did it again!

Phew! Another November and another novel is born. This one is 50,061 words (last year I 'won' with 50,005 words) and once again is a wonderful collection of complete and utter rubbish.

Why do I love doing NaNoWriMo so much? Probably the complete and utter freedom of being able to write absolute rubbish, but also the joy of watching a story unfold and the characters take over and dictate to me how the story should go. Why for example did that character steal those files in chapter six? Oh I see, to give to him in chapter nine. Clever. Nothing to do with me though; I only do the typing.

Anyway it's all over for another year. I'll do it again next year, of course. I'm an addict!

Now, I have to get over the PND - post novel depression. Then there's the small matter of visitors on Saturday, all of whom need Christmas presents and one even needs a birthday present. On Sunday I have to organise a fifth birthday party with bouncy castle and party bags for R4(nearly 5) and 25 of her closest friends. On Monday have to fashion a pony using the miracle of sponge cake and chocolate butter cream ready for the Big Day on Tuesday when R4 actually does become R5.

Before all of that I have to clean a house that has not been cleaned at all for a month, iron ironing that has been sitting in baskets for a month, do Christmas shopping, write cards, put up the decorations...

Writing a novel in 25 days? It's a doddle. It's real life that's hard.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Running around (Elvis) Preseli

My favourite running route is a 6.3 mile loop up towards the Preselis. This is about two thirds of the way looking towards a really pretty farm on the slopes of Foel Cwmcerwyn. It is very bleak up here in the winter and sometimes we can't see it for days. I turn right at the junction, it's a clockwise route.

An ancient road marker. One day I'll stop long enough to read it. Recently someone put a sheep's skull on top of this. It looked appropriate, but it's gone now.

Looking back the way I have just run. Sometimes, even here, the roads are straight. To the right of this picture in the distance (and the lower, rockier hill in the middle of the picture below) is Carn Meini, the only site in which the Preseli bluestone is found. How did they get the stones from there to Stonehenge? Who knows! And why is this road so straight? I'm about to run around two 90 degree bends, but other than that the road is pretty straight again. Who knows why!

Finally for Snailbeachsheperdess from Helium.com:

"In Wales, Pembrokeshire, there is a Neolithic burial chamber which bears the name of St Elvis Cromlech', also in this area is St Elvis Farm and the Preseli Hills. This is considered by most people to be an eerie co-incidence but there are some people who theorise that this, along with Elvis' mother having a Welsh name, Gladys, proves Elvis Presley was of Welsh ancestry. "

I knew I should have called myself Elvis Preseli!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

November sky

It was a nice, crisp dry day here today,
rounding off with this lovely sunset.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Four legged friends

So, exactly where am I? What is this place? Who lives here?

Ooooh look! I can see three new friends!

Look at me! I'm GORGEOUS!

Do you wanna be in my gang? Bullseye (grey, foreground); Pippin (aka The Boss, behind Bullseye); Maisie (visiting Exmoor) and Isty (dark bay, extravagant tail) start to get to know each other.

Itsy examines potential riders from head to toe. Hannah (blonde, aged six) and Rosie (brunette, aged four).

How lucky are we? We have been fortunate in being chosen as a new home for Itsy, a devastatingly pretty cob mare. She's 13.1hh and is the perfect addition to our little pony herd. She was owned by fellow blogger Bovey Belle who has written a little about Itsy on her lovely blog Codlins and Cream.

Itsy arrived on Friday and is settling in well. The other ponies were, understandably, astounded to find a new pony in their midst, but there was no animosity and I'm sure they'll be firm friends in a day or two. Itsy has a posh snuggly rug to keep her warm and dry, which caused some consternation among Pippin, Bullseye and Maisie when we put it on last night, but I think today they are all a bit envious of her extra layer.

Itsy is magnificently well-behaved, easy to box and catch (Pippin and Bullseye take note!) and is quite, quite gorgeous. At the moment she's a bit like a glamorous film star amongst a herd of hicks from the sticks. I think Pippin, Bullseye and Maisie will have to raise their game a little!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Nick, chicks and rally madness

It dawned on me yesterday that, although my blog is called 'Life in the Preseli Hills', I have written about everywhere but the Preseli Hills recently.

But the hills are still here and I suppose I avoid writing about life in them because, at times, it seems so mundane. Anyway this weekend there have a been a few happenings of interest, not least the subjects of the above picture.

They are (to me) Nick and his chicks or (to Hannah and Rosie) Troy, Gabriella and Sharpay. They were on Freecycle and we had an empty chicken pen, so ours they have become. We collected them from a farm in St Nicholas on Saturday afternoon and this morning were rewarded with our first cockadoodledoos.

You see, we had a theory about a 'free to a good home' cockerel. We bet that he would have the loudest voice in the world and that we would be startled out of our beds at the crack of doom by his blood curdling yell. Luckily, this is not the case. He's a sweetie. He thinks he's a big bad cockerel boy, cookadoodlin' like a good 'un. In fact he's more of a toot tooter. Perhaps his voice will break and then he'll have the last laugh.

Other excitement was when our little lane became the stage of a car rally. This lane is my school run and is chock-a-block with steep twisty hairpin bends and 90 degree corners. You can see why the rally boys wanted to whizz along it at 3 am. Yes, it was a night stage. I woke up in the early hours of Sunday dreaming of motorbikes, but I could still hear them. The rally cars! I shook Brian who said " off" and "duck" or something, so I pulled on a woolly pully or three and headed out into the sparkling night.

The stars were out, it was crisp and clear. It was completely bonkers. Lots of little cars with their drivers and torch clutching co-pilots zooming past the end of our drive. Overhead I saw two shooting stars. It was magical and bizarrely funny.

This morning on the school run I saw the scars of the rally; rubber everywhere, skid marks and dinks in the hedge banks and, in one particularly bendy bit, the perfect impression of the front of a rally car in the bank. I can just see it now: "Left bend, right bend another left, I said LEFT!"


Other bits of Preseli life include a new pony, more of which in future blogs, I'm taking part in NaNoWriMo again, we've nearly finished the kitchen, and the washing machine has been fixed and is now 'boring' rather than 'shock and awe'. Right now, the kids are back at school after half term and I'm off for a three and a half mile run in the sunshine.