26 June, 2011

Of Weddings, Earthquakes and Revving the Engine

I didn't think I needed a holiday. I live in a beautiful place and do a job that I love and my responsibilities barely extend further than making sure my hard-working husband has his dinner on time and a clean t-shirt to wear. However, having just come back from a lovely week in the Yorkshire dales, I am definitely feeling ten times more revved-up and ready to go with the final draft of my children's novel, so perhaps a total break from writing was exactly what I needed. It certainly helps that, just before we went away, I sent some ideas for the re-write over to the author who critiqued the last draft for me and she really, really liked them. I was worried that e-mailing her was a bit cheeky but she has told me that she is willing to be there throughout the re-write to bounce ideas off. It's such a great position to be in - to have new ideas that are entirely your own but also have someone professional to reassure you that they're not rubbish! So I am rested and relaxed and ready to re-write...

Our holiday started in the most perfect way, with the Durham wedding of Paul's sister, Naomi. I was honoured to be a bridesmaid for her and it was a fantastic day. Now I may be a tad biased as, in the two and a half years since she became my sister, I have grown to love her tonnes, but she made the most beautiful bride I've ever seen. Her husband is a top man as well and God really blessed them by taking a weather forecast of heavy showers and turning it into quite respectable day with even a little bit of sunshine. I know some of my blogging friends are planning weddings themselves, so here's praying for sunshine for you too.

The rest of our holiday wasn't quite so exciting, but lovely all the same. Paul and I continued our steady decline into middle-age by looking round castles, eating damp picnics whilst huddled in our raincoats, playing speed-scrabble in the evenings, making good use of our National Trust membership - and loving every minute. Nothing however, aged us quite as much as the moment when we were climbing on the rocks in Gordale Scar and heard an enormous roar above us. It turned out to be a fighter plane going over, but sounded exactly like what you would expect a massive rockfall to sound like if it was crashing down on top of you. Took years off my life, I can tell you! We did plenty of walking too and climbing on the amazing rock formations at Brimham Rocks (see picture) before returning to our equally wonderful home in another of England's national parks to find there had been an eathquake in our absence! It ran along the fault line across Dartmoor from Sticklepath to Torquay and sure, it was only 2.7 on the maginitude scale, but it was enough to unnerve some people.

The only negative side to holidaying is all the driving - I hate being on the road. But it did at least give me the chance to study the map and pick out potential names for future characters. The villain of my children's novel is Hinton Blewitt - named after a tiny village in Somerset - and I intend to use village names for many more characters in future. Unfortunately, our favourite Dales names of Giggleswick and Blubberhouses don't make for good characters, but how about Kirk Langford or Martin Hussingtree (yes, there is a village called Martin Hussingtree!)? What wonderful place names do you know? Any that I could use as character names? I have a couple up my sleeve but suggestions are always welcome!


  1. At the moment, all I want for my wedding in terms of weather is that it isn't icy. A lack of torrential rain would be nice too though.

    Perhaps it speaks a lot about me that I would quite happily use Giggleswick as a surname. It wouldn't look out of place in the right fantasy novel. Or maybe it's because I actually live and grew up in Yorkshire. Kirk Langford is a particularly good, strong name, the kind that anti-heroes would kill for.

    It's lovely to hear that you have had a good holiday and come back refreshed. Sometimes even a brief change of scene gives us a chance to make sense of whatever has been puzzling us for such a long time.

    HC x

  2. Hi Chloe, it's great that you have some support / feedback / mentoring from an author you connect with. Sometimes it's the unexpected observations that can unlock a problem and give you an insight that changes everything.

    I liked Newton Tracey and for a while Tracey Newton was a book character. Sadly, the book never developed although I did use the character name in a spoof article about human hybrids!

  3. When is your wedding HC? Most months of the year shouldn't be too much of a problem! Ours was in January 2009 - luckily just before the heavy snow that brought the country to a standstill! It was one of those beautiful cloudless, crisp winter days - but FREEZING! No ice though.

    I think Giggleswick would make a grand last name - but I like to find villages with two words in their names so I can be lazy and not invent any of it!

    Tracey Newton is such a wonderfully plausible name, Derek! I think finding names that are either plausible or from really tiny places is kind of fun. Then, when my books are famous, it will be like having a little in-joke with the residents of that place. That's what I'm aspiring to anyway!

  4. My wedding is on 3rd March - the date seems to be racing closer. How lucky you were to be married just before the horrible snows hit. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for one of those perfect early spring days. I might even see a bit of cherry blossom. :D

    Working for a national greetings card company I get to see wierd and wonderful names from all over the UK. You could probably find a suitable first name to go with Giggleswick. Although, Sophie sounds like a good first name...just say Sophie Giggleswick to yourself...it works.

  5. As a resident of County Durham since '92 I've seen most of what the north has to offer and it does a nice line in National Parks and stately homes. As a member of English Heritage (even though I'm a Scotsman) I enjoy regular visits to castles and stately homes, etc. They are great for inspiration.

    I do have to admit that my first love is the glorious Scottish Highlands.

    I'll keep my eyes open for place names for you. I never go anywhere without my notebook so I should get back to you on that one.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.