Sunday, March 26, 2017

Emerging Into The Light

Zoë Sharp

This week, Spring officially sprang. In the Northern Hemisphere it was on March 20th at 10:28 in the morning. I never knew they could pinpoint it so precisely.

It feels quite appropriate, that I have just emerged, blinking, into the light of a new season. I've been holed up, head down, with a miner's lamp on my head, chipping away at the word-face.

But I have finally finished the new Charlie Fox book. Hurrah!

There have been times, I don't mind admitting it, when I didn't think that light at the end of the tunnel was ever going to get any closer.

Of course, as I write this I have yet to receive my publisher's and editor's feedback, but it feels good to have typed the last word of the epilogue and think that it all makes sense -- more or less, anyway.

So now I have to try to catch up with all the emails I should have responded to but have pushed aside because any time spent with fingers on keys should be adding more words to the book. And it also gives me time, however briefly, to catch up with friends I also have felt unable to go and see.

And that, as it turned out, was a big mistake on my part. A week or so ago I travelled north to attend the funeral of a very dear friend, someone I've known for probably forty years. Her daughter is a week different in age to me, and in the past I've had the privilege of sailing and skiing with the family. I used to be at their house so often when I was younger I think they felt either they should adopt me, or charge me rent.

Listening to the eulogy, I was in awe, as always of how much she packed into her life. She may have been taken from us early, but nobody could possibly say she squandered a moment while she was here.

It's made me realised that I, too, do not want to squander time. So, anybody who's ever airily made the offer, "Come and stay!" may soon have cause to regret their generosity. On the plus side, I'm quite handy to have around the home. I called in on a friend locally a couple of days ago, and ended up dismantling and reassembling their sticking front door lock over a cup of tea.

Finishing the book also seems to have kick-started my brain into plotting. I have two short stories with deadlines that are rapidly approaching. They were really quite generous deadlines when I first agreed to them, but with the overrun of the latest book, they're now starting to loom just a teensy bit. I vaguely looked at them while I was still working on the book, and nothing occurred, but as soon as I'd hit 'Send' on the email with manuscript attached, the bit of my brain that was obviously churning things over woke up and spat out a couple of workable ideas. I love the subconscious mind!

I also have a garden to sort, which I held at bay over the winter by covering the weeds with bits of old carpet. I now have to uncover the earth and actually plant things in there which I hope might flourish. Any suggestions for plants that someone with the opposite of green fingers can look after -- and that might have a reasonable life expectancy under those circumstances -- gratefully received.

I've been thinking of putting in some form of small ornamental bamboo, just for the wonderful calming rustling noise it makes in the breeze. But I confess that when it comes to plants I am no expert!

I also love aliums, but am not sure if I have the right sort of soil to grow them:

And any kind of interestingly shaped greenery, like box:

As well as a pair of bay trees for either side of the front door in planters:

Although, of course, first I would need to build some wooden planters! Basically, I want to put together a quiet little space where I can sit out and make notes, or tap away at my keyboard, without feeling I should be weeding constantly. What's not to like about that?

And with British Summer Time -- or Daylight Saving Time, if you prefer -- officially starting at 1am on Sunday, March 26th, the time for sitting out in the garden is nearly upon us.

This week's Word of the Week is Ostara, which as well as being the Germanic goddess of Spring, fertility and new life, is also a holiday. Her symbols include eggs, rabbits and others that denote fertility and it is after Ostara that the Easter holiday is named. Hot cross buns were originally offerings to this goddess.


  1. Congratulations on finishing the new book, Zoë! The 'release' experienced at completing a huge project is wonderful. Too bad it takes so much hard work to achieve... :-)

  2. Zoe, I'd plant Irises and peonies because they are my favorites, and they come back every year. Bamboo is beautiful, but it needs to be contained because it sends out runner roots an can take over. Plant something that blooms white near your entry way. That way, when you come home after sunset, the white flowers will fluoresce in the dim light and tell you "Welcome home." Begonias work wonders by blooming in half lit places. I have had to give up my garden and I miss it dreadfully. Weeding was my most satisfying form of meditation.

    I wish for Ostara to bless all of our imaginations.

  3. Wish I could help you with the plant selection process, Zöe, but most of my hands-on gardening experience seems to lean toward species of the poison ivy variety.

    Congrats on finishing this big step in Charlie's next journey...

  4. Congrats on finishing Fox Hunter!

    The site stories and advice articles may be helpful, and color pallet article may be helpful for your garden work.